All were assembled, silent, waiting: the twelve Counsellors sitting in rows right and left, and between them the Ponti¬fex, whose dark gaze made Livia uneasy even when she encountered him in the most casual of circumstances. Here, in the hush of stones and skeletons, it was all she could do not to squirm. She stood silent; it was protocol that the Pon¬tifex should speak first, though in truth Livia could not, at that moment, have spoken at all. A shuddering conflict had enveloped her, familiar from her first Summoning. Like all Noantri, Livia felt an immediate comfort, a sense of grateful belonging, in a group of her own people. It was physical and instantaneous, a calling of blood to blood. The relief of it had flooded around her when she walked into the crypt. But here, it was illusion. These black-robed Counsellors were not her friends. Standing before them for the first time, she’d sensed individual flashes of sympathy behind the unanimous disapproval. This time, though she didn’t yet know why she was here, nothing but anger filled the dank air.