“Yes. If a being has too many weak points, it is impossible to significantly strengthen them. So it might be reasonable to assume that the other vampires hadn’t been strong enough to undergo the changes. The brothers were clearly hoping to strengthen you in some way, but I do not understand what they were trying to achieve. What I can tell is that they have tried to change you at a dramatic, massive level. The problem is…some of the equations aren’t adding up. Where your gifts were once strong, they are now weak.”
“As you know, when a person is Turned, their body changes in many ways. As they go through the transition, sensory organs are improved so that vision, hearing, and sense of smell are all enhanced. The circulatory, skeletal, and muscular systems also change, making the body much more resilient. But if a body is frozen in its development on a cellular level, does that really make it stronger? Personally, I do not believe so. It appears that the brothers have managed to…unfreeze parts of you in order to make changes. But I cannot explain what they are, I’m sorry.”
Lena’s gaze danced from both Jared and me. “My main concern is not the changes that are taking place. I’m not proud of this, but when I first began experimenting with my gift, I was very advantageous. I tried to change too much too quickly. The result…it was not pretty.”
Jared narrowed his eyes. “What do you mean by that?”
“I mean that in those cases, the animals’ system sort of went into…well, I suppose you could say ‘override’. It began to shut down in some areas, protecting itself, and trying to rectify these problems. The problems were not always completely rectified even with my help to undo what I had done.”
Jared went even paler. “So the animals died?”
“No. But they became brain damaged. One slipped into a coma from which it never awakened.”
“And that could happen to Sam?” Jared ran a hand through his hair. “Can you help in some way? Can you undo anything of what they have done?”
“I’m sorry, but I doubt I will be able to make much difference, as I do not understand what it is the brothers have done to Sam’s DNA. The only thing that will allow me to have any effect on Sam, a vampire, is that her development is no longer frozen. At best, I can slow the process, ease the side effects, but the changes will ultimately be made unless you can find the brothers and make them reverse the process.”
“I will find them, I will. If there’s some way you can help Sam in the meantime, please, just do what you can.”
“It will be painful, Sam,” warned Lena.
“I don’t care, do what you can.” The pain was quick in coming. It was exactly like the pain I had felt earlier, but this time I could move and I could scream. And I did scream. The entire time, Jared spoke to me telepathically. The pain was so bad that his words were pretty much background noise, but still it helped to hear his voice.
What felt like hours later, the pain vanished abruptly. Somebody thrust a NST into my hand, and I drank it all in one go.
Lena patted my arm. “I’m sorry about the pain.”
“Don’t be. I’m just grateful for any help anyone can give.” And I truly was, because after everything that she had told me, I was at risk of shitting my pants.
Antonio stepped forward. “I think it may be best to keep Sam’s problem very quiet. Currently, a lot of the vampires are nervous of a Sventé being their source of protection once I have given up my position. The only thing making them keep an open mind is that her gifts are so powerful. For them to find out that her gifts are no longer under control, that she may actually lose them…”
Jared cursed, now pacing in front of me again. “If only you’d had some kind of vision, Luther…It’s kind of odd that something this serious wasn’t—” He stopped at the shifty expression on the tribute to Gandalf’s face. “What do you know?”
“Jared,” Luther implored; his expression pleaded with him to understand.
“You had a vision,” Jared immediately realised. When Luther exchanged a look with me, Jared glanced at me and narrowed his eyes. “And you knew he’d had a vision.”
I didn’t deny it. He was always going to find out at some point. I’d just kind of hoped for more time.
Jared came to stand in front of me. His voice was strained with anger. “Let me get this straight. You knew something might happen, but you went to the bungalow with me anyway.”
“I cannot interfere with people’s paths, Jared,” Luther insisted.
Jared twirled around to face him. “Really? Okay, let’s look at this path she’s taking. She has unbearable pain, she’s losing control of her gifts, and two guys did something to her that made other vampires deformed and crazed! Explain to me how that path is a good thing.” He advanced on the Keja vampire until he was almost nose-to-nose with him. “You need to tell me what you know, and you need to do it now. I don’t want to hear any of your cryptic bullshit. Tell me! Tell me so that I can f**king fix it!”
Luther’s small smile was gentle and apologetic. “I’m sorry, Jared. You know that I would do so if I could.”
I honestly feared that Jared might hit him, but instead he snapped, “Fuck it. Fuck all of you.” Without even a glance at me, he teleported away.
Of course I’d known that lazing on a sun lounger on the empty beach wasn’t going to calm me, but I’d sort of expected to feel better after an hour alone. Apparently I was expecting a little too much from life lately. See, I’d expect that the woman I loved would have some sense of self-preservation, but no. I’d expect that if there was something I needed to know – particularly if it was somehow related to her safety – then I’d be told about it. And I’d expect Sam not to keep something so important from me, but, again, no.
Sure, I knew why she hadn’t told me – she’d known that my protectiveness would have hit critical levels and that I’d have done everything I could to stop her from going with me to investigate her weird dreams. Was that really so damn wrong of me, though?
I even understood why Luther hadn’t mentioned the vision. So many times over the years I’d seen him quiet and subdued, and I’d known he’d had a vision that he couldn’t share. Each time, I’d deeply sympathised with him. After all, his gift had to be more of a curse sometimes. But if that vision somehow concerned Sam, I was never going to be so understanding, and he’d known that.