When she sensed she was alone, she raised herself up on her elbows. Her head swam in a massive wave of dizziness. She lay back down and turned to her side, curling up in a fetal position until the room stopped spinning. Whatever herbs they had put in the wine she had drunk last night were not sitting well with her body and head this morning. She wondered if it were still morning as she lay there waiting for equilibrium. She couldn’t tell the time of day from where she was.
This time she rolled over and up from her side, her movements slow and deliberate. The silk covers slid off of her body like water, pooling at her feet as she stood up. If she didn’t move her head fast, she was steady and clear headed. She parted the bed curtains and stepped into the room, which was warm and draft free. The large bathing tub had been removed and the carpets that were under the cooper container had been replaced with fresh rugs. There were no signs of an indentation or the water that had sloshed out while the women had been bathing.
There were no other people in the pavilion.
She would have to make do with what was at hand and there were plenty of things to choose from here. She would need to work fast before any of the slaves or their masters returned. She used her teeth to rip the seams on a silk comforter, making two large bolts of material. She tore a hole in the middle of one of the sheets of silk and draped it over her head. She tore strips from the second piece of material and used these to tie and wrap the material around her waist and pull the hem up so it did not drag the ground and trip her. While adjusting her makeshift gown, she heard the clang and jangle of metal just outside the tent entrance. She rushed to the bed, crawled under the piles of covers and held her breath.
She heard voices and movement muffled by the blankets over her head. The sounds got closer and she could make out the voice of a woman and of a girl. The netting around the bed shifted and one of the two stroked her hair from her forehead.
“The wine must have been too strong for her,” said the woman.
“I think we will need to put fewer herbs in tonight’s cup, although the display was quite lovely last night.” Silva chuckled low and with little true mirth. “This one is a good distraction for the ladies.”
“It was good to be able to sleep in peace last night,” said the girl. Hers was a voice
“Do you think she would do for the men, too?”
“Only if the Mistress tires of her and I do not think that likely to occur anytime soon. There is something about this one that The Lady wishes to possess.”
“Place the water pitcher on the table and leave her things on the stool. We must go see to the finish of the platters for the evening meal before The Lady returns. They should be back soon. It is almost full dark.”
“Should I wake the girl?”
“When we are done with the food, we’ll come back and get her ready. Come.”
The back of the pavilion faced the woods. A short open distance was between