Chapter 1: Chapter 1
Major John André couldn't help but marvel at how spectacularly his rather convoluted plan had worked. Not only was Sackett removed from the equation, but his agent had returned with documents on Washington's little intelligence ring. Invaluable information about this so called Culper ring.
He was so pleased with himself that even her appearance in his chambers couldn't dampen his mood. "Most guests would call at a more respectable hour, they would also use the door," he drawled not even bothering to look up from the documents he was studying as he heard the click of the window closing.
"where would be the fun in that," responded a light airy voice. "I should note that your security leaves something to be desired though John it was far to easy to sneak into this room."
André finally glanced up at the young girl standing near his quarters window. She was a tiny slip of a thing, maybe seventeen or eighteen and all hard lines sharp edges beneath a too large shit and pair of trousers her dark curls were tucked up beneath a cap and her face streaked with mud and soot, making those eerie blue gray eyes of hers even more striking. "And you my dear are meant to be in New Jersey watching over the Hightower family."
"No real need to keep a close eye on the dead, they can't go causing more trouble now," she commented, moving closer to inspect some of the papers on his desk. "House fire, two nights hence, bodies burnt to a crisp. Seemed a waste of my time watching that when you've got all sorts of trouble cooking up here. finally get a break through with the Culper Ring is it? Bravo in dealing with Sackett, quite the inspired plot."
André was momentarily stunned into silence. He hadn't shared a word of what was contained within the retrieved documents with any of his agents. No one aside from him should even know what the name Culper meant. "How exactly did you come to know this name?"
She he leveled him with an unimpressed look. "By now I thought you would have learned that urchins and street folk like me are privy to all sorts of information we shouldn't be. So easy to overhear things you shouldn't when you're all but invisible to the common masses.". She pulled up a sheet of paper, only having a moment to glance at the contents before André had snatched it out of her grasp. "The streets of New Jersey are positively alive with the whisperings of names like Brewster, Tallmadge and the mysterious Mr. Culper."
"it's an alias of course," he countered after regaining the ability to articulate his thoughts. It was unsettling how much information she had access to.
She hummed in agreement before flicking through some of the maps laid out. "Certainly, but I'm more interested in dealing with those men we already know are involved than chasing shadows."
"Brewster is the least of my concerns and if I had access to Tallmadge I can assure you he would already be dead."
"You managed with Sackett."
"A trick I'm afraid I will not be likely to replicate."
She let out a dramatic sigh. "Really John, you have no imagination. You've pulled the honey pot scheme so many times, by now I thought you would have realized how useful it could be in this instance."
André cast an incredulous look in her direction, "both Tallmadge and Brewster have shown an unwavering dedication to their cause. I highly doubt they would turn away from it for a women even one with such charms as yourself."
"Perhaps they haven't met the right women yet. And I have no intention of trying to turn them to our cause, simply drive a wedge between the two of them and watch their little intelligence ring crumble. You'd be amazed how quickly best friends will turn on each other when they are in love with the same woman."
André's interest had been sparked, but he still doubted that she would be successful. "Even if I believed you capable of making these two men fall in love with someone, I have no way of putting you in their path the rebels are going to be on high alert for an potential spies slipping into their camp, even women."
"For spies yes, but I doubt suspicion would fall upon the youngest daughter of the Hightower family, a well known patriot family with ties to Franklin and Adams. No someone such as her would be beyond reproach."
"A girl who is dead," he commented essentially dismissing her and returning to his papers. "Whatever my skills may be, I have not yet managed to turn the dead to suit my purpose, that is beyond my considerable talents."
"Yes, a dead girl who is a recluse and hasn't been seen or heard from in over ten years. A girl who rumor would have it I bear a striking resemblance to. A girl whose body will never be found," she finished with a feral grin as she sat down in André's desk. Not for the first time in this night he wondered what hand she had in the fire that killed the Hightower's. Of course he chose to overlook this and instead marvel at how devestatingly good she was at playing this game, maybe even better than he was.
"It seems you have this all worked out, why even come to me in the first place."
She shrugged. "You're blessing for this would be nice."
"And you shall have it, any thing else."
"A horse and a rebel military uniform should do," she paused for only a brief moment considering her options. "I will also need someone willing to shoot me."
Chapter 2: Chapter 2
"Abe's not just Abe, he's Culper," Caleb responded with a wry grin. It wasn't a particularly great plan, Ben knew this, but they needed to get to Hewlett if they had any hope of preserving the ring.
He was moments away from giving his assent for Caleb's mad scheme when he was suddenly cut off by the sharp whistle of one of the sentries and the abound of an approaching horse.
Both men turned sharply, just in time to see a figure clad in military blues on the edge of camp tumble from a pale, well bred mare. Ben was off like a shot, Caleb not far behind, neither man willing to risk allowing unknown newcomers into camp without review after what occurred.
A small crowd of soldiers circled around the stranger as Ben knelt down next to the unconscious figure. The newcomer had a slight build, barely more than a boy, and was covered in dirt and grime from the road. A gash cut across one sharp cheekbone, but more concerning was the rapidly spreading red stain on his left arm, blood seeping through a poorly tied bandage to stain his coat and sleeve.
"He's bleeding," Ben shouted "we need a physician." After all, he couldn't very well question the dead.
"Tall boy," Caleb interjected, drawing Ben's attention back to him. "That's not a boy"
A murmur of surprise went up throughout the surrounding soldiers and Ben quickly looked down. Now noting the barest swell of breasts beneath the shirt and coat. "Shite," that changed things Ben thought as he bent down carefully lifting her into his arms. She was far too light but what was truly worrying was the way she didn't even stir when he stood.
Her cap had fallen off when he had lifted her and began the trek towards the physicians tent, a tangle of dark curls spilling out. Now that he knew, he couldn't even begin to fathom how he had thought her a boy. She had thick dark lashes with delicate features and sharp high cheekbones. She wasn't just a woman, she was an exceedingly handsome one at that, one who was beginning to shiver in the cold winters air. He needed a doctor.
"She's wounded," he called and he stepped into the tent, placing her on one of the open cots before being shoved aside by the physicians. They quickly stripped her out of her clothing to get a better look at the wound and Ben caught sight of her slim naked shoulders before he turned away, dragging Caleb, who had followed him into the tent, out with him in an effort to preserve the girls modesty.
"Send word to General Washington, he'll want to know this," he ordered Caleb.
"And what do you plan on doing Tall Boy."
Ben glanced back at the closed tent flap, "I intend to have a word with our newest arrival when she wakes up."