Six months earlier…
"Amelia," someone called from the other side of the door. I turned suddenly, surprised at hearing my name called. Recognizing it as Captain Wilkins' voice, I smirked and called him to enter. As I heard the door open, I quickly hid a sheet of paper I had been writing on and rose to greet him.
"How are you today, Captain?" I asked sarcastically. "I trust that you fare well?"
"I am perfectly fine. You?" Wilkins' answered cooly. He remained standing, his arms hanging stiffly at his side.
"I am doing as well as I could be, considering the circumstances." I replied. He turned, shutting the door behind him. Hearing the door click, I jumped. "What do you think you are doing?" I asked, slightly alarmed.
"I have very good news for you." Wilkins said suddenly, pulling a small sheet of paper out from his coat pocket. I approached him carefully, looking at the sheet of paper with a hint of suspicion in my features. He smiled, holding it out for me to take.
"A letter." He said simply. " A letter from your father." My eyes widened in shock. I glanced down at the sheet, not understanding at all why they would allow me to receive correspondence from him. I was so surprised, that I hadn't even realized that Wilkins had continued on from there. "General Cornwallis has deemed it necessary that you respond as soon as possible." I looked up at him, somewhat surprised.
"I don't understand." I said simply. I took the letter from his hand, noticing that the seal had been broken. I looked back to him, gesturing to the letter. "It's been opened." I said simply. He smiled.
"Any correspondence entering or leaving the vicinity of this area must be opened and read beforehand, per orders of the General." Captain Wilkins said simply. "You understand, I'm sure." I smirked and turned my back to him, heading towards my bedside.
"It's been so long…" I said, my eyes slightly tearing as I recognized the handwriting of my father. I looked up to Wilkins, forcing a smile. Wilkins nodded, and simply turned away, heading towards the door. I heard it click softly behind him. I was finally alone.
I looked down at the letter, with what must have been a starved look in my eyes. The paper seemed to have been through the mud, rain, and dirt, and I noticed a small fingerprint stain in the top left-hand corner of the letter. I smiled, recognizing the large size as my father's. As I read it, my heart tore in two.
"My dearest daughter,
I don't know what to say, except that I am so very sorry for the predicament that I have placed you in. There is so much I want to tell you, so much that I wish I could do. It hurts me deeply, to the very core of my being; that you have been thrown into the center of this war. You've spent months alone, without anyone there to comfort you, and keep you safe. It hurts me most that I was not there to prevent this.
Why couldn't I have been there, at the exact moment that you were found, so that I could have kept you safe, as I had done so many times before when you were but a child. You remember that day you fell from your small horse, hard onto the ground? I was there to pick you up, to bandage your skinned knee, to heal your wounded pride. But I know, though I regret it so much now, that I couldn't be there to help you when you needed it most. Many years have passed since the day you fell from the horse, and it eases my guilty conscience to know that you have grown into a strong young woman. All I can tell you to do is to keep your chin up, and be brave.
Have faith that I am doing my very best to help you. I only hope that they will keep you safe. I must go, sweetheart, I am needed elsewhere. If you will have faith in nothing else, please at least have faith in this: that I will do all that is in my power and everything I deem necessary to set you at your freedom.
Your most affectionate father,
Gen. G. Washington"
I looked at the letter for some moments longer, my eyes not believing what I read on this simple piece of paper. How could I reply to something like this? He had admitted himself that he was as helpless as I in this situation. My father wasn't and couldn't be there to help me. I stood from my seated position on the bed, my eyes still firmly locked on the paper. It took me quite a while before I could pry my eyes away and lay it gently on the bed. I took one final look at the letter before heading towards the door and closing it gently behind me. Apparently, I was going to find myself here longer than I thought.
"Colonel!" General Cornwallis called, as he sat leaning over many sheets of paper, his mind completely absorbed with the task at hand. Maps had been strewn carelessly about, smears of ink staining the once beautiful desk. Colonel Tavington stopped in his tracks, hearing his name called.
"Would you please come inside for a moment? I would like to speak to you in private." He said, gesturing towards the Colonel. Tavington could only sneer as he entered the room, shutting the door silently behind him.
"So what does me the great honor of your presence this evening?" Tavington said sardonically, once they were alone. He looked around the room for a moment, noticing that one other person stood in the room as well. "Oh." He said smiling. "I didn't expect to see Colonel Norrington in here as well. I suppose it has something to do with Amelia, wouldn't you say?" he said. Norrington stared angrily at Tavington, wanting so much to speak, but holding his tongue.
"I would hold your tongue if I were you." Cornwallis said, interrupting him suddenly. "I called you in here for a reason. I suppose you know why. You have heard, I'm sure?" he said quietly, looking up briefly from his papers.
"I was right." Tavington answered simply. "When isn't it about her?" he said to himself. Cornwallis glared at him angrily, stopping him suddenly. "I have heard some things. It appears we've received word from her father. How does that concern me?" Tavington asked. Cornwallis smiled and returned to perusing the maps. Norrington continued on.
"It seems that Amelia is to be brought elsewhere. We have received word that a loyalist family has agreed to take her in, as a favor to us. The General has decided that you will accompany her to that place."
"Forgive me, my lord, but I must intervene!" Tavington said suddenly. "Why must I go? I'm sure you could find fifty such people who would do as well as I." Cornwallis looked up suddenly from his work, his eyes blazing with anger.
"Colonel Norrington, would you leave us for a moment?" Cornwallis asked, his voice faltering with anger. Norrington turned his gaze from Tavington to Cornwallis, a surprised look on his face.
"Of course…" he said, walking quickly towards the door. Hearing the door quietly click as it shut, Cornwallis unleashed his full fury.
"You will not question my authority again, Colonel." Cornwallis yelled angrily, stepping around his desk to confront the frustrated Tavington. He turned away from him, walking back towards his desk.
"I am the best soldier you have, my lord." Tavington said angrily, following behind Cornwallis. "Any fool with half a mind can play guard dog to a simple girl. I belong on the field, winning battles." Cornwallis smiled as he reached over his desk, taking a pen in his hand.
"You are right, Tavington." Cornwallis replied. "You are my best soldier. But," he said, turning once again and perusing the pen in his hand. "You are also the most reckless, pigheaded, and brash man I have ever had under my command. If it were not for the formalities of war, I would have had you killed a long time ago." Tavington laughed.
"It's a pity isn't it?" he asked after a moment. Cornwallis looked up from his pen, concentrating his steady gaze on the Colonel.
"What do you mean?" Cornwallis asked. "A pity for me that you haven't died yet, of course." Tavington smirked.
"It's such a pity that she has been put in our charge. So many things could have been accomplished by now had it not been for the burden of having her in our hair."
"It is most definitely not a pity." Cornwallis replied. Tavington turned, confusion in his eyes. "We have the General in our grasp. This girl is our winning hand, Colonel. I could think of no one better to accompany her than yourself. I'm sure you understand why."
"You expect him to follow his daughter…" Tavington answered. "You think that by having my men in her presence, I will be able to stop the rebellion in it's tracks."
"You are brash and reckless. Your…innovative…approaches to conflict could be used to our advantage, for lack of a better word." Cornwallis replied. Tavington smirked, laughing quietly to himself.
"I suppose I could pry myself from the duties of war for a few days, my lord." Tavington replied. Cornwallis laughed.
"You will be out of my sight. That is all that I ask." Cornwallis answered. He waved Tavington away. "Now go. I will call on you tomorrow to explain to you in further detail."