At nearly 4:00 in the morning, Christophe arrives at the Hilton in Saratoga Springs. Eleven comes down to meet him. She is smiling weakly, and says that she is ready to leave. Christophe asks about the new vamp, and Eleven becomes evasive, saying that it isn’t a problem. Christophe presses her, and she makes him promise not to kill the new girl. The girl’s name is Milan Foster-Whittig, part of the wealthy and influential Foster-Whittig family of New York City. Christophe is displeased with the young heiress, but realizes immediately that killing her would be a bad idea. To his dismay, she will need to stay with them for the time being.
Back in New York, Cassandra is still adjusting at Victor’s apartment. Leon has been staying close to her, filling her in on the denizens of the night, the dangers of unlife, and his adventures since his embrace. The once-vibrant researcher is frail and quiet, a reminder of what Leon did to her. Cassandra admits that while she understands why her ex did this, she can’t help but resent him for her new state.
The next evening, Cassandra is getting back to her normal self, and manages to chow down on two rabbits. Christophe brings Eleven and Milan home, where Brian is a bit confused by the new girl, but otherwise is happy to have his girlfriend back. Victor brings Cassandra to the penthouse, while Orion checks out the Zoo. Deacon has been out in Albany for three nights so far, but that isn’t the air-tight alibi that Orion was hoping for. Once all the new vampires are assembled at the penthouse, Christophe lays down the law for the fledglings, and punctuates it with the DVD of Corinth’s diablerie. They won’t forget anytime soon.
During this time, Diego has gone to meet with the Assamite who contacted him. Hasim is calm and gracious, promising to educate Diego on the truth of his situation. The Camarilla, he says, sees Diego only as a valuable novelty. They want their Assamite Sheriff, and intentionally keep him ignorant of his alternatives. Alamut (Assamite HQ), however, recognizes that he is one of them. There is no anger over Mohammed Abdullah’s diablerie; if Diego was capable of it, then clearly Abdullah was not a worthy vessel for that blood. Diego remains aloof, despite Hasim’s blandishments, but does ask what it is that the Assamites want. Hasim informs him that they would want to use him as a mole in the Camarilla, at least for a short time, before they take him back to Alamut for proper induction into the clan. As a sign of friendship, Hasim hands over a small bottle of elder blood. Diego suggests that they share a drink, but when Hasim is all too eager, the canny professor withdraws the offer, satisfied that the blood is not tainted.
At the same time, Kurt Panzermayer is checking up on Ten-Pound Jimmy’s old neighborhood in general, and the abandoned house in particular. He finds the lock busted open, and a bunch of homeless people camping out inside. One of them, when questioned about the symbols marked throughout the building, says that someone told him they were signs of protection, like from a gang. Kurt immediately orders the impoverished squatters to leave, directing them into the torrential rains outside. As he is orchestrating this massive act of bastardry, a mysterious assailant slams him into a wall. Despite Panzermayer’s impressive strength, this foe still is able to pin him, and hisses in the Brujah’s ear. “These people are mine! Leave them alone.” The voice is harsh and graveley, and the speaker disappears as quickly as he came. Confused, Kurt allows the squatters to stay until the rain stops, then returns to his car, wary of another attack.
Shortly before midnight, the coterie assembles at Christophe’s penthouse before driving down to City Hall. Jafar has appropriated a sinecure, the Mayor’s Advisor for the Arts and Humanities, that allows him to maintain an office on the premises. The woman at the front desk, the same one from “Goldman’s” tenure, recognizes the coterie and gives them directions. The office door is flanked by two of the Setite bodyguards, who enter the room just behind the guests. Jafar sits behind his desk, flipping through sheets of paper, jotting down notes, and generally appearing busy.
Seven seats have been prepared, leaving two empty. When Jafar finally looks up from his work, he notes the absences. “Ah, yes, Mr. Dixby is away on Syndicate business.” The chair is removed by one of the Setites. “And Mr. Rutledge… Is no longer with us.” The chair remains, causing Kurt, Orion, and Victor to bristle at the reminder.
Jafar wastes little time after that. He informs the assembled members of the Camarilla that unlike Prescott, he has no personal grudges against them. He is entirely focused on maintaining the prosperity and stability of New York. If they do nothing that might harm the city or the Sabbat, then he will not take any action against them. If they should accept Prescott’s offer to join the Sabbat (an offer, he is quick to mention, that is still on the table), then they would be welcomed into his inner circle. This suggestion is quickly shot down by Panzermayer in a typically rude manner, but Jafar seems unfazed. Instead, he offers up another possibility. Clearly, the coterie had their hands full cleaning up “Goldman’s” messes, which they did quite well. Although the Regent is nowhere near as incompetent as the Prince, an experienced group of problem solvers could still earn some gratitude. Christophe asks if that gratitude might take the form of an end to a blood hunt, and Jafar smiles. That would indeed be possible, though it would take a considerable amount of gratitude.
Although he is evasive on the matter, it seems that Jafar would like to use the coterie to “resolve” internal rivalries in the Sabbat, particularly in Miami. That way, as he explains it, they are able to serve both him and the Camarilla, without feeling there is a conflict of interest. No one quite believes him.