Over some time, Colino has kept in contact with Kether who finally has arranged for the coterie to visit Bethlehem.
In preparation for the trip, both Colino and Christophe send correspondence to Anton and Sabine respectively, telling them of the coterie's intension to travel through Jaffa and Jerusalem to Bethlehem. Colino and Aziz agree that gifts to the Imam - for giving them access to Damascus – and Bethlehem's Prince, Etheria - for when they arrive - would be appropriate. The Toreador aluminates a few apt hadith for Suleiman and copies a historical work for the Prince. Sir Thomas drafts a letter of introduction on behalf of the coterie for the Brujah Prince, of whom he has heard next to nothing.
Anton responds that they will not be allowed inside Jerusalem's walls due to the volatile situation. No word from Sabine is received before they leave.
Favourable winds have them dock at Jaffa three days after departure. Christophe instructs du Lac to continue down the coast to Alexandria to keep up trade. He is to return in two weeks time. Amand is not pleased to leave young Mercier's side.
The coterie opts to leave Jaffa the same night, not wanting to stir the ire of the Prince or give the impression that they have unreported business in the port. It is a three day journey inland to Bethlehem, skirting the walls of the Holy City.
Bethlehem is a city of barely a few thousand local residents. It does however have a steady influx of pilgrims come to see the birthplace of Christ and haggle for relics. There is a clear Knights Templar presence in the city, which main objective seems to be oversight and protection of the pilgrims. The city core is walled off, but much of its buildings are scattered outside over a large area. The characters are surprised to see a mosque still standing across from the Church of the Nativity renovations. Kether lives outside the walls in a humble home but has an immoderate workshop inside the city center. Accommodations have been arranged for the coterie in the same area as the workshop.
The Tremere brings the characters to a large villa to see the Prince. The Brujah receives them pleasantly and yet projects a persona that is clearly not to be meddled with. She explains that all are welcome in her domain as long as they don't upset the calm or interfere with the fragile relationship to Jerusalem. She seems pleased with her gift, if not already closely familiar with the author.
Aziz states his affairs and asks to be allowed to investigate and possibly approach the Order of Saint Addai. Colino humbly asks to converse with the Prince about Felix's dealings in the region, for his research. Etheria gives her consent.
Christophe requests to have a friend visit the domain, thinking of Sabine. The Prince retorts that if the person introduces herself and keeps to the rules it will not be problem.
Although Sven is along to guard them during the day, Aziz convinces one of the local vermin to keep an eye on the comings and goings in their temporary haven in exchange for food.
The next night they gather at Kether's workshop. The Tremere has quietly been acquiring information on the order. It keeps mostly to itself and has a compound a few miles out of town. Over the last decade since their arrival in Bethlehem they have preached their message of impending doom and penance only a handful of times in public. More recently they have erected a small monument in one of the outer graveyards to one of their members; Sufyan al-Iskafi.