Aesinia wins the sparring match and then she joins her father. He introduces her to the Arisen as Atticus, Amelia and Gaius. She’s a bit snotty about having to learn Persian but her father insists she learn. Shen invites Lupo to sit in on the lesson.
As part of the lesson, Shen inserts words of a mythological nature to see how Lupo reacts and tries to decipher which side of the fence Lupo is on. Lupo leaves before the lesson ends.
After the lesson, the Arisen return to the Tavern to wait until their meeting with Massiato and the Pact later that night.
They meet Massiato in the sewers. He leads them on a very circuitous route so they’ll have a difficult time finding their way out or back.
They enter a room filled with a lot of people. Felix and Senator Lupo are there. Felix is sitting with a swarthy gentleman with a beard holding a staff with trinkets hanging from it. Massiato heads to an area with a woman dressed in noble robes. The man near Felix introduces himself as Marrud, the Grand Hierarch of the mages of Rome. He says Senator Lupo holds a similar position for the werewolves and he says Lucinia, the woman next to Massiato, is the Prince of the Camarilla, a similar position to theirs. He says he sees magic in the three Arisen, but not like his or Lupo’s.
There’s another group of six people in the room. Their leader is a woman dressed more provocatively than Lucinia. Marrud introduces her as Sadera, the current Queen of the Fairy Courts. They are the newest faction of the Pact.
Shen explains how the three Arisen have learned about the Pact and are interested in joining.
Lucinia says that they created the organization because there are too many supernatural in the city. The Pact stops trouble from occurring between groups and they help each other. She explains that there are gods attacking the changelings, Mages fighting Mages, werewolves fighting werewolves to destroy the city. She says the Brotherhood of the Black Star is bringing them these bad groups in.
Lupo says that the Brotherhood has access to a Koesh. What he describes is known to the Arisen as an Amkhat, a creature that is anathema to their gods and that the Judges want them to kill. Lupo explains that if the Brotherhood sacrifices a human, the creature will manifest briefly. They are using it to kill his people’s blood kin.
Lupo and some of his warriors have killed Antonius but he came back to life angrier.
The leaders of the Pact decide that they need to determine which faction the Arisen should belong too. The trio states that they would have a problem taking an oath of subservience. The leaders say the oath of the Pact is not one of subservience but of equality and support. The Pact is also for creating a strong Rome. They ask the Arisen no to undermine that goal even though steps are being made through diplomacy for Rome to acquire Egypt. The Arisen agree to work with Lucinia’s faction. Then Marrud has them recite an oath. He uses magic to bind them but their death Judges prevent it from actually binding unbeknownst to Marrud and the others.
Afterward, Lucinia says her main problem in the city is with the Juliai. They wish to be the leaders of Rome. She also has an issue with Antonius’ connection with the Stricts who want to destroy all vampires.
Sadera says the changelings don’t have enemies of that kind but she doesn’t want a demon awoken. She says the King who will take the power from her in one month’s time is more militant. Summer is the time for war and his name is King Regulus.
Lupo’s problems come from a group of his kind called the Pure. They take offense at all the advancements humankind has made.
Marrud’s people have two threats. One is a group of mages called Secundus that want to keep all magic secret from humanity. The other threat, called the Nephandis, wish to destroy everything.
All of these factions are united with Antonius. The Pact plans on backing Julius Caesar. He has the will of the people and they believe he is the chosen of the gods, Jupiter and Mars. The Pact believes Rome should have one leader. The Senate stands in Caesar’s way. The Pact hopes that their influence will motivate Caesar into taking down the Senate.
The Arisen say that they can be most useful by hunting down the Koesh.