Two days after he regained consciousness, Adewole's condition had improved. Major Berger's attaché Isidore Lentzen had been by to see him, asking whether the professor knew where Deviatka might have gone to ground. He could say no with a clear conscience, as he was unsure himself. Doctor Ansel allowed him cautious walks through the hallways, clutching the ratty bathrobe Mrs. Trudge had brought from his wardrobe; a nurse always followed behind toting the basket crammed full of food Mrs. Trudge sent daily--far, far more than he could eat. He'd been passing it out to the other patients, a plausible excuse to get out of bed and a chance to scope out the hospital. Doctor Ansel's caution emanated from nothing more sinister than concern for his patient, but Adewole increasingly felt held prisoner. Back on his feet now, he had to plot an escape.
Corporal Linnea von Sülzle
Risenton Road ran straight over almost flat country; any unevenness folded more like a wrinkle in a sheet than a hill. As they walked along, the roadside became less rural and more urban.
Within two hours, they entered the City. The buildings here were far, far older than anything they’d seen elsewhere on the island, or in Eisenstadt, where old buildings tended to be torn down and replaced. Soaring buttresses, arches and magnificent carvings reminded Adewole of the thousand-year-old cathedrals and palaces found on the Rhendalian plains, decorated with chiseled mottoes only scholars like Adewole could read these days—mottoes much like the ones he found inscribed all around him. Even among these ancient and impressive structures, newer cob buildings and larger ones of salvaged stone squatted in the margins, their roofs thatched and their few windows unglazed.
The autogyros returned with the support crew, the mission readied itself, and the explorers moved out. Sergeant Jagels and Corporal Wirtz took picket. Peter Oster followed; the two professors and Major Berger walked beside him. Signalman Oberman rode herd over Doctor Ansel, who was forever finding matters of high biological interest on the roadside, and Lieutenant Lentzen and Corporal von Sülzle brought up the rear.
The journey took them along what Peter called the Great Road, which he said ran around the island’s entire circumference: “They do say a wall once stood here, all round the island.” A pastiche of stone and bricks, many crumbling, made up the road’s surface, repaired piecemeal over centuries. Time had eroded what must have been wheel ruts; animals had once drawn carts here. No carts traveled the road now as far as Adewole could tell. Barrowmen and fast-moving people on foot passed them in both directions, most hailing Peter Oster and goggling at the expedition, especially Adewole. Those on foot—the ones Peter called couriers, who delivered small packages and messages—slowed down to stare at the party, often walking backwards to get a good long look. No one ever stopped; Peter said unlike him, they couldn’t afford to. “Couriers and such, their job’s in not stoppin’. Do I stop, I get work. Not them. See Kolbsgate in the distance?” said Peter, nodding toward a stone edifice far off down the road. “Thass that we go to.”