If you are reading this, I am most likely dead – dead for the final time.
I do not know when you might be reading this – when the contingencies I have set in place will trigger and send this letter to you. I do not know what will or will not be public knowledge by then. But here is what I know for certain, right now, at the time I write this:
One, that there is something that has gone badly wrong with death. No soul can be called back from beyond the gates of death, no matter how willing they are, or how powerful the call.
Two, that those who have died at least once before are being – pulled back to those gates. That is the long and short of it. My recent illness, my frailty – it is all the consequences of my deaths past, no longer to be delayed.
Three, that this is due to a curse of some kind, and that the curse issues from a place named Omu. This, my friend, is the reason for the rather blunt request I made of you a few days past. And I am incredibly grateful for all of the information, scattered though it may have been, that you were able to give me about what and where Omu may be.
Four, that I must gather my strength, leave my sickbed and the organization of supporters and spies that I’ve grown here, remember how to be a monster, and go venture to seek Omu myself.
Aerthrandir, the best lesson that Barovia taught me is that not all the wit or wealth or political maneuvering in the world can save you when death comes calling in earnest. If I die upon the road, I will be just as dead as if I had stayed bundled up safely in my office. But if I do not die upon the road, and find Omu, and find the source of this curse, and learn what there is to be done about it…
I am not ready to lie down and simply let death take me just yet.
(I do not think I ever will be.)
But if you are reading this, of course, then I have failed. If you are reading this, this great metaphysical threat is still present, and still needs someone brave and clever and knowledgeable to gather allies and face it.
And if these are to be my last words, let us not shy away from matters we have left unspoken for a long time; I will state that if you are reading this, it is proof that I have not taken Vampyr’s bargain. For if I had, and if I yet survived, then there would be no need to send this letter to you, and I would have it destroyed before it could fall into your hands. (You are, of course, perfectly at your leisure to consider whether that’s precisely what someone who had successfully taken Vampyr’s bargain would tell you.)
It has been a great privilege to have journeyed with you and fought for our lives together. Barovia was accursed in more ways than one, and its shadow will always lie upon our lives, but having survived it with you and Amity and Caoimhe and Lucian? I would not trade that for the world.
P.S. Regarding the naming of your daughter – yes. It would be an honor.
This letter was never sent.