10. Warning

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The rest of the morning I spent sitting on the pier above the lake. The water reflected the summer sky like a mirror. From a distance the surface of the lake was bright blue but the closer you looked, the darker it got, and right under the pier you could see the bottom of the lake clearly. A school of small perches was swimming around the poles of the pier. They avoided open water where birds could see then, and the pikes hunting at the edge of the rushes.

I was not sitting all alone, though. Jonathan was nearby, either standing leaning to the birches or sitting on the porch of the old sauna. He kept a keen eye on me. I did not feel comfortable with that. Knowing his hatred of vampires, maybe he now hated me and waited for the opportunity to get rid of me.

I noticed my hands kept on touching the bite marks on my neck. They were no longer swollen and were only slight irregularities on my skin now. They did not ache either, but felt cool to the touch. I felt shivers of cold despite the heat of the day. The sensation resembled that of fever rising. Must be the vampire blood in me.

I felt the pier sway when someone stepped on it. I looked over my shoulder and saw Orri approaching.

"May I sit?" he asked in a polite manner.

I nodded, too deep in my misery to talk.

"This is a hard thing for you to take," Orri observed, "But remember you are not yet vampire. You could be, very easily, but thankfully, the old knowledge of Creatures is keeping you safe. For now at least. You only have to keep your medicine at hand all the time, and keep drinking it. I came to tell you that the chaga mushrooms have now been boiled as long as is necessary. Nana is about to go and add the other ingredients. You should go and learn how it is done, as your life as you know it depends on it from now on."

"I'll be spending the rest of my days staying near the medicine bottles, then," I said, "I cannot travel anywhere. Or if I do, I have to take bags full of the medicine with me. And guess what – no customs officer will ever let me through to another country with a suitcase full of suspicious liquid bottles. Therefore, whatever we are supposed to see at the bone church will remain a mystery to me. I cannot go there."

Orri looked pensive. He moved his strong legs in the water, scaring the perches. His tail rested on the pier, its tip moving ever so slightly as he thought.

"Yes, you have a point there. But there are other ways to travel..." he said almost to himself. Then he lifted his legs from the water and rose to his feet gracefully. His movements were soft and fluid, not exactly what you'd expect from a goblin. "I apologize. I have to go check something. Please go and learn from Nana how the medicine is made."

I did not get up immediately, but eventually I understood I could not feel sorry for myself forever and got up. I walked to the shore under the watchful gaze of Jonathan and headed for the little building where the medicine was made.

Nana was already there with a big basket filled with all sorts of bottles and paper bags.

"And how are you now?" she asked, "You have your medicine with you?"

I nodded. After I had woken from the kitchen floor Nana had given me an old overcoat, which seemed to be sewn together from old pockets. She had put at least five vials of the medicine in them and made me wear it despite the heat. I did not feel hot in it, though. Short cold shivers kept me cool.

"At the slightest taste of iron, take medicine immediately. We need to keep you as yourself if you are to be of any help in the search for the Creator. Also you need to tell us about your writing. We haven't discussed that at all."

"We... Why are you three cooperating, anyway?" I avoided answering the question.

Nana unpacked her basket and put the ingredients in a neat row on the old table.

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