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Nathan Giovanni's Reassurances

November 21, 2008

Dearest Marcus,

I am sorry that you had to hear tidings of what might be construed as the less than savory part of our Clan's activities in such a fashion, and I apologize for not apprising you of this sooner. Yes, childe, there does exist such a ritual as the Endless Night, and to my knowledge many members of our Clan and family do make attempts towards it's actual completion. Some of them for no doubt though nefarious means. It does not surprise me that the woman you make mention of is one of them. The Ghilberti, not being part of our original lineage, often feel that they have a lot to prove, and will often go to extremes to curry the favor they perceive themselves as having been slighted out of.

Before you ask, yes, the Ritual of Endless Night is approved of and supported by Augustus and the anziani, and technically all of us are are required to support it as well. For many of us not initiated in the arts of necromancy, this generally just means not proving a hindrance while the black-robes do their thing. From what I can tell, few people really pursue it as their primary long term goal, given the fantastical nature of the task.

So, what does the ritual entail? In the broadest sense, it concerns itself with the accumulation of one hundred million souls which may be harvested for their spiritual energy. Yes. I know that sounds strange. Strange and horrible and ludicrous. However, Marcus, it is true, and the reality of the situation is decidedly complex.

These souls can be "reaped" as it were, through means such as what you've described Art for Life doing, and admittedly often at a fast pace. However, elder members of our line have learned throughout the centuries to be measurably more patient and diplomatic than young hotheads with something to prove. Doing things in the Ghiberti's way can lead to complications. Those who dwell on the other side obviously would not be content if it were the case that every necromancer were to attempt this: to try to trick, coerce and imprison sentient spirits. And to do so for a hundred million souls? Surely, the fact that the restless dead have not taken it upon ourselves to seek out our destruction at every turn is a testament to the fact that most who seek to achieve this goal do so without violence toward wraith-kind.

Marcus, the number of those who pass on and reach the other side fully intact is surprisingly low. Many people survive as no more than "echoes," figures doomed forever to repeat their last actions ad infinitum. Many don't even become something cohesive enough as to have bodies. These things, which are sad commonalities over there, have no visible understanding that they have died. They have no memories. They have no thoughts.

Both us in the lands of the living and those in the lands of the dead have, for better or for worse, decided it beneficial that these wretches be "recycled" after a fashion. The dead, from what I hear, fashion them into all manner of objects and tools and furnishings for themselves, having no such devices of their own. We, on the living side of things herd them to our vaults and leave them to their eternal slumber, until such an evening as the ritual calls for them.

No doubt, you must be wondering what the result of the Ritual of Endless Night shall be. From what I can tell, it is a spell from Chaldean texts which the anziani uncovered. They believe that if it is applied correctly, it will allow the line between the living and the dead to at last be bridged. I do not know all the details of what this is supposedly entails, not being entrenched in the project, myself, but I know that those who have died would at long last be able to touch and be seen by those who still live, in theory. It might well, according to some scholars, eventually be able to put an end to death as we know it. Think on it. Those who have passed before us would at last be reunited with all those they had wished so long to see. Think of those you might well wish to see yourself.

I know there are many I would welcome the sight of.

Then again, not having dedicated my life to its study, the reality of the ritual might well be something different. It might well be a convoluted Gnostic metaphor we've yet to decode. Any way it's examined, I respect those who wish to partake in such an adventuresome quest, even if I often might disagree with their methods and even if the road is very long. Having the potential to change the world in such a radical manner, and a manner that I do feel will prove to man's betterment in the end, is a possibility that at least warrants exploration.

I cannot say that the Endless Night is without it's victims, but I assure you that you shall never hear of any being victimized at my hands, and that the practices you describe, while technically permissible according to the Venetians, is far from the rule. I am sorry if this is unsettling to you, and I know that such talk of magic and souls comes across as very fanciful and strange to one not well practiced in the arts.

If you like, Marcus, I can endeavor to have you receive some training in the mystical arts. Perhaps it will help to answer some of your questions.

Write again and often if you have need of further answers,

Yours,
Nathan

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