Eric Lecardes Diary...
My journey has been long, my fatigue growing with every passing day. Since the horrid events that set my grim quest in motion May of last year, I have found, however, that with every passing day my dedication grows as well.
I try not to think about the past.
In the months since leaving the town of Veros I saw to it that I remained out of sight. Living like a recluse in the wilderness of greater Romanias outskirts, my only companions were the animals I found myself surrounded bysome friendly, some not. Those many months I trained, honing my skill in both body, mind, and the family heirloom Alcarde Spear I bear. I had no shortage of enemies with which to test myself againstthe feral zombies, ghouls, and wolfmen that roam wild in these dark days are quite abundantand did not stop until I was sure I was at my peak.
It was Christmas Day that I made my mind up, alone and bitter in my camp within the snowy forestry. It was not solace I found in my short self-exile, but peace of mind, or at least clarity of purpose. When I realized that day I no longer had any fear I knew I was ready; ready to at last take on the Countess Elizabeth Bartley.
I knew where she was. Not milling about the innumerable villages of Transylvanian Romania, but Castle Dracula itself. Rather, what was left of it after standing the continued test of time.
Beyond the Borgo Pass I went, across the Arges River, high in the Transylvanian Alps of Romania, nearly at the point where they merged with the Carpathian Mountains on the horizon. The smell of the Black Sea lingering in the air, before me soon lay the decadent ruins of the castle long forgotten I sought.
I had been a toddler when last I stood in this place; when I had watched from the shadows with my American childhood friend, John Morris, as Quincey Morris, Jonathan Harker, and Abraham Van Helsing carried out their final confrontation with Count Dracula. That had been 1897, and the castle was already in a ramshackle state then. The passing of unkind centuries had made the once-impressive structure nearly indistinguishable from the rock, soil, and smoldered forest that surrounded it.
Yet as I stood before the rickety gates of the dismal, ruined castles foundation, it was not another ghoul I found waiting for me to step out of the shadows, or yet another zombie, or even the Countess herself. It was someone even more shocking; a face from a past I had tried so hard to forget yet was standing right here before me.
John Morris. A warrior-like composure was about the Texan, who had a durable-looking whip in-hand. He lowered his weapon and I lowered my spear as we believed the unbelievable.
John Morris Diary...
I could see in my childhood friends eyes that my surpriseno, my shockwas mutually felt. Without further ado we lowered our guard and embraced each other in a good, old-fashioned bear hug.
"Sorry I missed the wedding..." I offered moments later, not thinking. I didnt realize I was opening what had to have been the biggest wound of his life until it was too late.
"Thats okay," Eric bit back, thankfully not taking it the wrong way. "I never wrote."
"You know why Im here?" I asked. He must know, I knew.
"Unless you were looking for me, my guess is the same reason Im here. Lets hear it."
"To kill the Countess Elizabeth Bartley." I nodded at the remnants of Castle Dracula beyond us. "I tracked her here... shes trying to resurrect Count Dracula himself."
"And so am I," Eric affirmed. "To drive a stake through her black heart and cleave the head off her wretched body so that I may burn whats left... and avenge my Gwendolyn."
It was different between us. For Eric, it was personal. His enemy was the Countess herself, who he explained had vampirized his wife and forced him to kill herher, his own wife! For me, it was more about duty, more about upholding the family traditionthat Reinhardt guy had filled me in on the Belmont history enough to know what those who came before me went through. My beef wasnt so much with the Countess so much as with what she was trying to do, which was resurrect Count Vlad Dracula, supposedly her uncle.
It was enough that Count Dracula had taken Quincey P. Morrismy fatherwith him in death when my father drove his Bowie knife through the vampires heart, but so many in my familys history had dedicated their lives to keeping the Count downSonia, Trevor, Simon, Christopher, Richter, that Reinhardt guy since the fifteenth century. I suppose it was like my responsibility, and it was like all those Belmonts are looking to me from beyond the grave and counting on me to do what they did.
No pressure, right?
"I guess were in this together, then, John," Eric said after a long moment of silence.
"Yeah... I guess we are at that," I conceded.
Eric flashed a brief grin, gesturing at the gate with the ornate Alcarde Spear he held. "After you?"
It was going to be a long hard road out of hell, but at least I had company.
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