Eisenstadt, Oktober 13th
Adewole woke up. His throat burned inside and out, and his nose was rubbed raw. He lay not on the floor but on something soft and yielding. His head still ached, but only when he moved--and movement was difficult. His arms, his legs, all of him moved as if he struggled against a strong current pushing him down toward blackness. "Water," he croaked.
"He said something," said a voice nearby. Adewole forced his eyes to slit open. The voice's owner came into hazy view above him: a middle-aged woman in the blue-and-white stripes of a nurse, her graying hair caught back in a voluminous white kerchief. "Professor, can you hear me? I can't understand you."
"He's speaking in Jerian, he asked for water," said a more cultured, charmingly dry voice, a woman older than the first.
The nurse pressed a water-soaked cloth to his lips. He tried to turn his head toward the other woman, but something kept his head and neck in place. The nurse placed a cool, restraining hand on his forehead. "Professor Adewole, you cannot move your head, please stay still until the doctor comes and sees you. You must not move. I'll wring the water into your mouth--don't worry, I'll give you more."