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The community room strongly reminded of a pub with its many small
tables and the dim lighting. And indeed people were sitting around
them chatting, joking, telling stories and now and again taking big
sips out of the big mugs in front of them. In fact it was as close a
pub as you could find in an elven place – and as unlike a pub as it
was possible; it was impossible to get any form of alcohol here.
Instead, in the corner of the room, there was a large kettle full of
steaming tea, its spicy aroma floating through the air.
There was a sudden rush of cold air as Laiva slipped inside.
The talking abruptly came to a halt. As if she hadn’t noticed she
turned to the wall and put her cloak on one of the hooks; even so she
could feel the looks piercing her. Slowly she turned back to the
Sweat drops formed on her forehead. Nothing could ever prepare
you for a situation like that. Werewolves and dragons were nothing
compared to that. They don’t expect you to do anything, anything
except dying, but here people were expecting her to do… something?
Say something? Laiva didn’t know.
It was the voice of the doctor that broke the silence and
giving her a thankful look Laiva made her way to her table. Talk
continued as if it had never stopped.
Laiva nodded. She was glad she no longer stood around like a
statue in a museum. Then again the doctor probably hadn’t meant that.
‘Let me introduce you to someone.’
Only now Laiva realized that there was another person sitting
at the table, a girl slightly older than her. And she looked familiar.
‘This is Saya.’ the doctor continued. ‘I think I will get
myself a new mug of tea. Could take some time…’
And off she went. Laiva stared at the other girl. She looked
quite different now, but this undoubtedly was the girl from the
‘I… I do not know how to start… I mean… if you had not
been… that night… they would have…’ Saya was sobbing, unable to
say any more word.
She grabbed Saya’s hand.
‘It is all right. It is over now.’
This was pathetic, but at least it seemed to soothe Saya a
‘I… I… I just do not know how to thank you…’
She let go Saya.
‘But… I want to… to thank you…’
‘Thank me? What for? Nearly getting us killed? Both of us?!’
‘But… you saved me. You are a hero!’
Laiva couldn’t stand it any longer. She jumped up and ran
through the room, hardly stopping to grab her coat and before anyone
could have stopped her, the door had already slammed shut behind her.
‘And who cares how I feel?’
Laiva stood on the topmost platform of the village and
listened to her words echoing through the night.
‘Does anyone ask me if I want to be a hero?’ she added; no
longer shouting, but almost whispering. Slowly she lowered herself
into a cowering position.
‘Because I do not want to…’
Laiva jerked her head around; she hadn’t noticed the doctor
stepping up on her.
‘I do care.’
Laiva looked at her with watery red eyes.
‘Leave me alone.’
‘Do you really want me to?’
Laiva stared at the colourful liquid in her cup.
‘Do not be afraid. It will not make you forget anything, it is
‘How do you… ?’
‘You talked in the fever. Five days are much time to talk.’
‘Five days?’ Laiva asked with astonishment in her voice.
The doctor nodded.
‘I had almost given you up, but you never did. You kept
Laiva sipped at the tea; it had the sweet taste of summer.
Which was odd – summer didn’t have a taste the same way red didn’t.
‘I cannot remember a thing.’
‘It is probably better this way. Fever dreams only make you
worry, but you should not worry about dreams.’
Reality is worrying enough. Some things don’t have to be said
aloud. Laiva nodded and took another mouthful of tea.
‘What did actually happen? The last thing I do remember is…
‘A patrol found you and brought you here. They followed the
howling of a wolf, but instead found you. There have not been any
wolves in this forest for decades.’
Laiva almost dropped the cup; she had completely forgotten
about him. She hardly managed to put the cup on a little table next
‘I have heard you saying that before, in your fever dreams. Is
it a name?’
But Laiva didn’t listen. She jumped up and was already half
way to the door, before the doctor managed to say anything.
‘Where do you think you are going?’
Snow blew through the half open door. She was stupid, stupid,
stupid. Running into the forest in the middle of night to search for
Mynor! He could very well look after himself and besides, what
difference did one night make after five whole days?
Laiva let the door fall back into its frame.
‘Take my advice: Get a good night’s sleep. You are still a
weak and there is nothing you could do now that could not wait until
tomorrow, or is there?’
‘I… I’ll be in bed then.’
The doctor sighed. One done, one to go; time to check on Saya.
Why had she become a doctor?