The shrill scream pierced the grave air and echoed as hot tears slid down my bruised cheeks. The world seemed to darken and spin as I beheld Blaze depart from his life slowly, a pain that I could not describe in words. Fiery, crimson blood stained the harsh grass, and my sore knees gave out, my shallow breath getting caught in my hoarse throat as I fell wearily to the frosty ground, my strangled sobs mournfully shaking my frail body. I was helpless, and for once I wished I wasn't so mortal and pathetic.

I detected hands jerking me to my feet, the ringing in my ears getting louder by the second. Black dots danced in my vision as I struggled to support my own weight. Suddenly, a high-pitched scream filled the air, and I held my ears despite myself, snapped out of my trance. A head shot out of the nearby lake, followed by another. Jace, startled, seemed to have lost control of the branches and reluctantly released my brother. Blaze, weakened and wounded, fell to the firm ground with a slight groan. He merely held up a trembling hand, his bloodless lips moving to form words,

"L-Lyra..." I was by his side faster than I could comprehend, shaking uncontrollably from my silent sobs. Panic overtook me as I pressed his wound as if to prevent the blood that flowed out of him, capturing his life with it. The life was draining out of him, and I witnessed it and weeped, but no help could have been delivered to him now for he had lost so much of the crimson substance.

I glanced up as the sounds of violent struggle broke out. The sirens that I had scarcely met in the underground cavern had come to our aid. Jace fought with all his might, but the Sirens had the advantage of water. They slipped in and out, slashing him with their long nails and razor sharp teeth. I turned back to Blaze and stroked his sunken cheek.

"This is all my fault! If only I-," His troubled eyes disturbed me, and before I could ask what had happened, I noticed he stared behind me.

"C-C" He struggled desperately to form urgent words, his violent coughs terribly shaking his tender form. Blood kept flowing out of him and my wounded heart felt as if cruel thorns were squeezing it tighter and tighter as the precious seconds flew by. I turned to where he stared dully, and there it was; a vicious panther the size of a lion. It started growling and showing its glistening teeth and got ready to spring at me. As it sprang, I fasten my eyes tightly. At least I would die with my brother.

I scarcely felt peculiar shade overtake my quivering form, and braced for the terrible pain. However, it never came. A growl and a hiss were heard, and my eyes sprang wide-open as I stared, dumbfounded. The panther was in conflict with another creature. Something clicked in my head and I let out an audible gasp.

"J-J-Jeff?!" He turned to me briefly, looking at me with those crimson eyes. Jeff inclined his head, a faint smile playing over his lips, and then went back to the panther, hissing and spitting. His tentacles slashed at it and hurled it around mercilessly. I turned away, not wanting to watch, and pulled Blaze onto my lap, stroking his disordered hair as it entangled in my sore fingers. His eyes were closed, and his breathing slow, his temperature dropping rapidly at a horrifying rate. I didn't care that my shabby dress was now bloodstained or that there was conflict right behind me. I merely focused on my dying brother, whom I had hopelessly lost for so many miserable years. I had finally found him and I had let a lowlife seize him from me once more. No, I could not allow this to happen. I gently lay him down, then saw Max striding towards me, his eyes glassy and lifeless.

"Lyra, don't do anything...rash. I can heal your brother," The strength fled me as I breathed a sigh of relief, and Max assisted me to sit down.

"How?" I breathed, my voice small and shaky. Max seemed to gaze at me with his sapphire eyes, taking me in. His mouth reluctantly opened and closed several anxious times before he finally spoke:

"I have to turn him into a vampire." Time seemed to stop, and my sorrowful heart started beating faster than it already was. Memories rushed and threatened to overpower me, and I gave in. Everything came back to me from back then. Max and Jace, Blaze sitting beside me on the wooden stairs of our house as we observed them. Max grasping my hand as we spun on the ferris wheel. Jace taking care of his frail flower and the peculiar trick he did to make it grow faster which did not go splendidly. Cathy. Cathy laughing as Jace fell clumsily on his face into the foul mud, Blaze and Max helping him up as they struggled not to laugh. We were...a family.

"Do it." I felt fresh tears slip from my burning cheeks, and struggled hopelessly to keep my hoarse voice straight.

Max turned to Blaze, slashing across his arm and propping it to Blaze's lips. For an agonizing moment, he did not stir. And then Blaze was coughing and sitting up, breathing shakily. And then he was looking at me, his golden eyes bearing into mine. I laughed inappropriately, embracing him from overwhelming joy.
"I thought I would lose you." I sobbed and sobbed as happiness washed over me. Max cleared his throat, gesturing impatiently to the battlefield. I had momentarily forgotten the dreadful mess we were in, and I sprang up, with Blaze and Max by my side.

"Let's do this."