Laws of the Land
The Adler Woman's thoughts on Jack's victims
Forgive me for not having time to return your call – things are happening very quickly here and I need to get my thoughts down as soon as possible before we get moving.
Given Jack’s parentage, it is most likely that his influence over these people would appear to mundane eyes like some sort of brainwashing or emotional conditioning. Back when my freehold starting taking in other escapees from the Hedge I did some research on people who were extracted from cult compound environments that were as close as anything I could come to.
The difference being that a single member of the Gentry wields hundreds of times the manipulative power of any cult leader – the way that the “reality” of their world responds to their whims is something akin to being trapped in another person’s lucid dream. Many years ago, my freehold was hunted by something akin to a bounty hunter – an abductee whom the Gentry had willingly sent back to Earth to retrieve several changelings who were important in some regard. He wielded some tiny fragments of the Gentry’s massive power, amongst them the ability to peer into the dreams of humans if he slept somewhere physically near his subject. Jack may have a similar ability as part of his parentage – it would certainly allow him to condition people in a semi-permanent fashion. My kind have advanced psychic defenses against such things, and I suspect you may be similarly armored – the only time I ever tried to sense your dreams I was assaulted with an overwhelming array of scents and tastes which I could not unravel. You dream at least partially as animals dream, and the way of animals is something the Gentry gave up millennia ago when they abandoned Earth.
That said, I do not know if there is anything to be done to help those that Jack has influenced. Assuming that his mother was left in a similar state, the facts are not encouraging – we were not able to heal her so much as carve away the emotional poison with as little collateral damage as possible. Parts of her soul had to be amputated to allow her new persona to exist, but it will never be as vibrant as who she used to be.
The only hope I can give you is that your ways are not our ways – changelings must live within the boundaries of the contracts etched in our souls and the scars we bear from our time on the far side of the Hedge and the trauma of its crossing. You are wired into truths I don’t even remotely understand, and that may be your best weapon against these kinds of terrors.
I don’t know when we will be able to speak again – we’ve taken on so many refugees that it is simply more than the freehold can bear. The flow across the Hedge has stopped, but it worries me that the most recent batch are more badly traumatized than any I have seen. Something awful is happening in the realms of the Gentry, and its getting closer to our world.
I’m taking a small caravan west to Kansas; I have friends there with more space and seclusion than Chicago can offer. This email address should work, please write when you can and I will do the same.