* * * * *
Consciousness drifted back to Ayda like the waves of a darkened ocean, gently lapping at the shores of her mind. Unknown time passed as she floated into wakefulness, a cottony feeling in her mouth and ears. The rough ground beneath her cheek smelled of deep earth, mold, and something smoky—gunpowder maybe. For several moments, she stared at the gray canvas wall, watching the splotches of mildew grow under the steady drizzle outside. The tent seemed empty otherwise. She rolled onto her back, choking on her own sour saliva.
Her shoulders, tight from her awkward sprawl, protested as she struggled to a seat. Stars sparkled into her vision, blood throbbing painfully through her temples. She gasped in pain, twisting her bound wrists within the rope in front of her. Her hand was bruised and swollen, having been broken once already. There’d be no getting out of the restraints this time.
The pathetic prison of the tent aggravated her. In peak physical condition, Ayda could easily slip free and avoid the guards posted outside. However, not so in her current condition. She ached all over and without the use of he broken hand, she wouldn’t make it far. The English soldiers had proved more capable than in her previous encounters.
Probably traitors, she thought, though still couldn’t understand why her follow citizens would want to betray the greatest Empire of all time—and she wasn’t referring to that of the British.
She’d lost track of how many days she’d been prisoner, or how many days the British had starved her and moved her from tent to tent as they continued their campaign. All her soldiers were gone—likely dead or shipped off to the “New World” colonies. But why keep Ayda? Why drag her around their camps?
They’ll pay for what they did, she thought,bile rising in her throat.
A pang of hunger shot through her gut in response only adding to her nauseous rage. Soon, she reassured herself. But first…to get out of these ropes…