The coterie is on the move, and the mortal followers have orders to only stop for a brief time during daylight to speed up the journey. Fherah receives information from Zavid that a camp of some sort is located ahead, and rides forth to investigate. Hector is approached by Borwald, who informs him that some of the men are longing for a prepayment from their salary, if only to bolster their morale. Octavius have a conversation with Huril, the last remaining Ghoul servant of Coramius encountered the previous night. After the conversation, Huril agrees to return to Glevum, with Octavius’ expressed apologies for the misunderstanding to his master. Gaius meets Pernik for the first time and is introduced. Castor starts to feel his land pulling for him, and feels very unease. Vivia starts the tutoring of Raul, asking him questions of his past and his abilities to discern his capabilities. She also decides to seduce him to ease the administration of the Blood Oath, and starts making some discreet moves. With the help of Castor’s koldunic rituals, the coterie is also able to discern the identity of the camp ahead, as Octavius recognizes the head as Elsbhec, the infamous Nosferatu Slaver.
The coterie meets with Elsbhec after reaching her, to purchase both slaves and information. After receiving a few gold pieces, the Slaver informs them that Demprios, the Leper Assassin, met with her while on his way to Calleva the previous night. With some swift conclusions they agree that this must be the same Leper that Octavius met back in Verulamium a few nights ago. Hector and Octavius arrange a deal with Elsbhec, by offering her a total of 10 warriors from Hector’s “mercenary army”, to handle as she pleases, and also paying a small amount of gold in between, they gain 5 conditioned slaves, and also receive one “free gift” as they mention the name of Shaqifa. Gaius also buys two slaves for his own use. As the others close the deal, Vivia also visits the Leper to replace a pair of missing vessels from her herd, and is charged a hefty amount from her treasury, probably due to her “reputation” among Britannia’s Lepers. As the business is finished, they continue their journey, until they reach a raft point where Octavius uses his Presence Discipline to obtain free transportation across the Tamesis.
While the others are crossing the river, Hector decides to cut down his expenses while also aiming to claim a few new ghoul guardians. He coerces the remaining Saxon mercenaries into a “tournament” with sharp weapons, where the survivors would be awarded a large sum of money. The slaughter takes place and afterwards 3 men remain; named Ida, Alric and Ulw, all with convincing injuries. After some debate and persuasion, they agree to sup on his blood, becoming his ghouls. The fights are witnessed by Gaius for a while, after he bores and proceeds to cross the river. Afterward, Hector drains the remaining blood from the corpses and fills his wagon with as many as he can, before he also proceeds onto a raft and crosses over. Meanwhile, Fherah takes a bath with Vivia and have her clothes “taken care of”, gaining some replacement quite unfit for a warrior. Castor uses his Pool of Secrets again to try and discern the location of Demprios, and comes to the conclusion that he hasn’t reached Calleva yet. The coterie meets to plan, and they decide that they will leave the men and wagons behind first thing next nightfall, and ride forward to Calleva, in order to arrive as soon as possible. Castor offers himself to fly ahead to reach the ruins tonight already (using his Chiropteran Marauder form), while the others prepare for a hasty departure the following night.
Castor reaches Calleva shortly before dawn, and meets with Lancius and his adviser, Hildegard. He informs them about the impending arrival of Octavius and his followers, along with Lancius’ childe, Gaius. He also tells him about Demprios’ assignment from Rowena. Lancius thanks him for his help, and offers him a haven in his ruins, wherever he may wish. They retreat before dawn. Castor resumes his conversation with Lancius at nightfall, discussing different matters. Using his Way of Spirit sorcery, Castor is able to locate a lone Leper nearing the ruins. After giving the description to Lancius, he is informed that it would be Imwreigh, the grieving Leper living outside the ruins. Hildegard joins them shortly before he arrives. He proves to be very rude and shaken, as he asks Castor if he is traveling with the Murderer, Vivia Valerius Vetus. He answers yes, after which the Leper leaves, and Lancius tries to talk with him, without success. He tells Castor that Imwreigh is the childe of Symeon, who died in a tragic event some 150 years ago, and that Imwreigh haven’t been able to handle his grief.
Octavius, Gaius, Hector, Fherah and Pernik arrive in Calleva, where they encounter Imwreigh at the entrance to the ruins. He is visibly upset, demanding to know where the Murderer is. As Octavius isn’t very fond of appeasing the needs of unknown lunatics, he is returned with an array of insults, which nearly sends him into frenzy. He decides to stay at the entrance while the rest continue towards Lancius. Hector quickly uses his Farsight Discipline to warn Vivia of what awaits her. She arrives shortly after the others, in the company of Raul and one of her ghoul bodyguards. She is instantly approached by Imwreigh, who yells insults and accusations at her, demanding her to show regret. After asking him what would please him, he responds that if she would kneel on the ground and kiss his feet, he would accept her plea for forgiveness. They try to convince him that time is short, but he refuses to settle with anything lesser than the gesture he demands, or the promise of the same. Eventually she refuses, after which he grows silent and leaves. Suddenly they feel tremors in the ground, after which they decide to hurry towards Lancius.
While waiting in Lancius’ “haven”, Castor suddenly notices the smell of oil in the air. Before having time to do anything else except yelling “Get out of here!”, fire leaps from the ground near the entrance and grows nearer with alarming speed. Castor quickly takes to the most powerful weapon in his arsenal, Kupala’s Fury. As he directs his will, the ground starts to rumble, the floor cracks and parts of the walls and ceiling crackles. Small burning parts of hay and debris flies across the room and start fires in the midst of the assembles cainites. Hildegard falls through a crack in the floor into a basement, while Castor falls to the ground. Lancius manages to stay on his feet while attempting to put out the fires. Castor joins him in the effort, the ground still shaking, and manages to put out one fire before succumbing to Rötschreck.
As Hector, Gaius, Fherah and Pernik reach the center building, they are surprised by the sudden quake after dismounting. Hector falls to the ground, Gaius and Pernik rushes inside while Fherah stands guard over Hector. Encountering the flames inside, Gaius succumbs to Rötschreck, rushing back out to safety, all while Octavius, Vivia and Raul ride forth to assist their companions. This is where we leave the coterie, for this time…