An hour after Tan and Uli departed, a woman knocked on Amil’s door at the Traveler’s Cave hotel. She was past middle-age, of Azanta extraction, with a dark flowing mane streaked with grey. Her name was Sumnaya.
She took charge of him at once. “You will not lock your door. I or one of my subordinates will enter at all hours. If you are modest, learn not to be. If you think poorly of the Vanya, you are not mistaken, but I must tell you I am Vanya. Are we reading from the same book so far?”
“Good. Many of the women who work here are Vanya. They have come to escape from fathers, brothers and husbands. Do not court or flatter them. They are done with men, even beautiful and civilized ones like you. You will not sport with the Sadhu ladies, either. Do you understand me?”
“Tell me what is wrong with you.”
Sumnaya helped him with his shower, and on the toilet. She put him to bed and brought extra pillows to put under his legs. Despite the stern lecture, and the fact that she was Vanya, Amil found her to be a person of exceptionally kind demeanor.
The next morning, he woke and could barely move. He lay in bed and studied everything he could see. He made a game of deciding which articles were made on Laghu, which were brought over before the Quarantine, and which came afterwards.
He thought: When somebody comes to get me, I will make a list.
It was much later before anyone checked on him. He had already urinated in the bed. The lady who found him alone cringed with shame and regret. “This will never happen again. I promise you.”
By late afternoon, Amil’s care team appeared to be fully engaged in their mission. He felt certain there would be no more incidents. Paca and his son visited, bringing him a robe, slippers, and a second armor vest to wear as a brace.
Amil prayed that evening, thanking the Gods for bringing him there.
Shortly after midnight, the building shook from side to side. Amil heard distant explosions, and shouts from the parking lot outside. He lay in the dark, unable to help himself, unwilling to call through the open door.
It was only a few minutes later that Sumnaya came and sat on the edge of his bed. She gripped his hand so hard it hurt, but her voice was steady, her posture fearless.
“The Accord is firing lasers into the city from orbit.”
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