Lost in the Mists
First of the Seventh Moon, 348
The first half of the new year has been busy indeed. Scores of artisans, masons and architects have invaded the Castle; each working diligently throughout the harsh Baravoian winter to restore it to its former glory. Truly Castle Ravenloft will be splendid once again, regaining its rightful place as a wonder of our world. I am pleased that it has been coming along so quickly; within the next few months it will be complete. It is a pity that my mother is not living to see her Castle. But, I am having my parents’ bones brought to rest in their home.
I have continued my correspondence with Sturm and Sergei. Both of my kin applaud my work. I have invited both of them to come to Barovia. Sturm, as the head of my father’s estates, expectedly declined. Sergei, however, jumped at the invitation and is preparing to journey here. With him will be scores of cousins, retainers and estranged nobles; mostly a swath of people I care little for. As is tradition, Sergei is joining the priesthood, a piety that von Zarovich strength to wasted on incense and prayers, but I am intrigued by Sergei and am eager to meet my youngest kin.
The aspects of running this nation are dull and taxing. Before winter fully set in, I went on a tour of the country. Truly a “land beyond the forest”, it is beautiful. Deep woods surround the tall snowcapped mountains. Clear and cold streams cut through a harsh but tranquil landscape. Every day ravens can be spied easily darting across the sky like large, black butterflies. Every night there are the lonely howls of wolves deep in the wood.
The people, on the other hand, leave much to be desired. They are simple, few can read, and they are afraid. The burgomasters and boyars that controlled the villages during the Terg reign were corrupt and preyed on their people. The first month of my tour, I had five of them killed for skimping on my taxes. The people will hopefully elect most honest leaders for the future.
And the court is dreary. Nobles from neighboring lands are presenting themselves daily to pledge loyalty to me, all in hope of earning my favor. Alek keeps mentioning that I should take one of the ladies as consort and continue my line. A lifetime of blood hasn’t instilled a sense of romance or desire for family. And these women are so dull and shallow.
But yet I feel it: a pulling on my mind, a slowing almost. At times I feel like a great lion, who is now realizing his fangs are softening. In a year or two, people may start to forget. Forget that I, Strahd, am the greatest warrior this land has known. That I liberated them from their oppressors. That I took back my home with blade and blood.