You say you blame yourself for the way Armand turned out. How can you place that on yourself for something Santiago and his satan vampires did to him?
I’ve thought thousands of times what I could have done to save Armand.
Should I have walked into his stinking crypt and demand he come with me? Would he have even come? I do not know. Pride insists that I could have saved him, but a more humbled soul reminds me that even at my best I could not best Santino and the dozens of vampires he sent to destroy me. By the time I was of strength to seize Armand back, it was too late; his mind was already gone to the children of satan’s abhorrent ideology. Armand had become one of them– he wasn’t pretending in order to preserve his own life. Armand had always needed others to tell him what to believe. He has the soul of an apprentice, not a master.
Yet I still feel that I failed him by not trying, even if that trying meant my destruction. He was worth it, certainly, but I was a coward and looked to myself and not those I had a responsibility toward. I had given him a world so beautiful and incomparable that he could not endure the bitterness of losing it. I had always seemed to him to be infallible, and he did not cope well to learn that I was, and am, not. I betrayed him, I left him to be tortured, and that torture transformed his heart into a thing gnarled and angry.
Ultimately, I know the choice was his. Could he have chosen to die rather than renounce the values and principles, the very world, I had shown him? Yes, but I am glad he did not.