The night’s silence was broken by the gurgle of a man being strangled, yet to the strangler, the noise seemed as loud as a shout. Barbary grunted with effort as she garroted the life from the man. She was of medium height, with a sun-bronzed, oval face, large, dark eyes, high cheekbones and firm pointed chin. She wore the uniform of the Army-in-Exile of Auriga: a plumed brass helmet, articulated shoulder armor, and a cuirass of many-layered canvas. The cuirass hung below her sword-belt, its lower half cut into feather-like strips that protected her lower abdomen and groin.