This question includes NPC lore spoilers for Curse of Strahd, proceed at your own risk.
While running Curse of Strahd and prepping ahead, I have happened upon a rather glaring contradiction in the backstories of two of the important NPCs. I'm wondering if anything has been said by the developers regarding this...
This contradiction centers around
Ezmerelda d'Avenir and "Rictavio" (Rudolph van Richten)
In the former's backstory, we have this little snippet regarding their first encounter with the latter.
When Ezmerelda was a little girl, her family kidnapped van Richten’s teenage son, Erasmus, and delivered him into the clutches of a vampire. Even today, years later, she can still hear Erasmus’s pleas for mercy. That event haunted her childhood. Van Richten tracked down Ezmerelda’s family soon after the kidnapping, but not before the Vistani had sold the boy. Though van Richten could have done them harm, he instead interrogated Ezmerelda’s mother and father on the whereabouts of his missing son. Satisfied with their answers, he spared their lives before departing with the information they had given him. Ezmerelda witnessed van Richten’s act of mercy and was deeply moved by it.
Curse of Strahd p320
However, in Appendix F (Handouts) we have the...
Journal of Rudolph van Richten
In which we find this entirely contradicting statement...
When I found the caravan [that had kidnapped Erasmus], I threatened to set the zombies on the Vistani unless they returned my dear boy. They replied that he had been sold to the vampire, Baron Metus. Something inside me snapped. I released the zombies, and the entire tribe was eaten alive.
After this, it goes on to explain
That this is where van Richten got is "monsters kill everyone you love" curse.
I know that if you go back to the AD&D2E Ravenloft books, the story from the Handout is how things actually went down, and the character who is the subject of the first story is a new character that was invented for the 5E Module.
Has anything been said about this backstory contradiction? It's kind of a big deal if these two characters turn out to be important to the plot (which they will in the game I'm running).
If the first story is true then...
Ezmerelda's family was not killed by van Richten, but the event that should have caused van Richten to get cursed never happened.
If the second story is true then...
Ezmerelda's origin and relationship with van Richten doesn't make sense, as she should have died with the rest of her family...and there was no 'act of mercy' for her to witness that made her want to seek out van Richten.