Once a choice has been made, there is no going back. It was foolish of me to try to sail out of London on my own, but at the time, I didn’t feel I had any choice. The London I knew was rapidly disappearing, swallowed by something called the Nexus. Even if my home had not been being consumed, my time there was coming to an end. Too many friends had passed out of my life, to who knows where. I had little left to live for, still less to keep me in a London that had grown increasingly foreign to me. I had one ambition left; to find my lover, my sire, the one who had made me what I am now.
It had been my choice to take a mistress in a foreign port; for all that I had loved my wife. It was my choice to run to her when my dear Alexandra died giving birth to our son. And that was the fateful choice; for I disturbed Katharina, my lover, while she rested during the day, not knowing of her darker nature. In the frenzy of her awakening, she almost destroyed me and had no choice but to make me anew, to make me a creature of the night, like her, a creature that, until then, I knew only from folklore. The name of that creature, whispered to put fear into men’s hearts, was Vampire.
I do not know what choices she had to make after that. Only that she disappeared, leaving me only with a note and a few burned letters. It was in search of her that I took myself to the Americas. It was as a consequence of my actions there that I found myself in London, where I made myself at home. But, it was not to last. London was going, consumed by the Nexus, and so I left, my destination, the port of Bremerhaven, where I had last seen my Katharina.
I do not know where, or how, I lost my way. All I know was that a storm took my ship. Took her from my control, took her from under me and gorged upon her, casting me into the maelstrom, clutching onto a portion of the deck, knowing not where the wind would take me.
I awoke, with a mouthful of silt, somewhere in a river. A shadow fell across me and I looked up to see a man, standing in a boat, regarding me with an expression of mild amusement. His voice was almost musical as he held out his hand and offered me the choice, to cross the river with him, and make a new life. I laughed as I struggled to my feet. “What is this, the river Styx? And you, the ferryman, Charon?” He smiled and shook his head, his hand still outstretched to me. I shrugged and took his hand. It was a choice he had offered me, but I saw little alternative.