Dear Mom and Dad:

Let me make this as short and direct as I can, because it's going to hurt like hell and I don't want to prolong it.

Good news first: I'm alive. I'm in one piece. I haven't picked up a Blackened Denarius.

That's about it for the good news.

Now for the rest of the news:

I'm the new Winter Lady.

I know it's an article of your faith that these things involve a choice, an act of will. Mine didn't. Maeve, the Winter Lady that was, was murdered. I was the nearest eligible person to her when she died. Voilá.

I was practically immortal before; I'm entirely immortal now. (Not that I can't be killed, as witness what happened to my predecessor. I just won't die until something kills me.) I was constantly being tempted to misuse my power before; both the power and the temptation are greater now, and the constraints and threats hanging over me if I crossed the line have essentially all been removed.

Do not look for help from Harry. He's the Winter Knight, and has very similar troubles of his own. Though at least in his case, he had a choice, and he made it for (I think) sufficient reasons.

I have little consolation to offer. Here's what I have:

Both of you, and all my brothers and sisters, will be remembered, and I hope remembered with love, as long as I live. That could be quite a while. Possibly until the end of days.

There is work for me to do, and some of it is the kind of work you could both be proud of.

And finally: we know a man who threw a Blackened Denarius into the Volga, turned his back, and walked away. In a universe where that can happen, there's always going to be some shred of hope.

Your daughter,

(Think about that for a minute, Mom and Dad. Your daughter. If I have hope of redemption, it lies in that.)

Molly