Campbell calls this stage “Woman as Temptress”, but the world of Libria and the Tetragrammaton Council is distinctly patriarchal, and I choose to emphasize the temptation as a particularly warped masculine one.
Normally this stage is listed later in the Initiation process, well after the Road of Trials. Brandt is introduced early, however, just before Preston meets Mary O’Brien (see John Preston Meets Mary O’Brien: Guide and Goddess). He is immediately a hard juxtaposition to Errol Partridge: smooth, eager, and idealistic. “I only hope to one day be as uncompromising as you,” he tells Preston in one scene. “I’m like you, Cleric– intuitive,” he tells him in another, asserting that he can tell what a sense offender is thinking before he thinks it (reminiscent of an identical claim Preston makes to Vice-Counsel DuPont, who censures him for his late wife’s crime).
More particularly, Preston begins to assume the sentiments of his late partner Partridge, right down to the dialogue in some cases (Preston: “Why didn’t you leave that for the evidentiary team to log?” Partridge: “They miss things sometimes”, later, Brandt assumes Preston’s line, and Preston assumes Partridge’s). Brandt is wise to these changes in Preston– observations that conflict with the reputation Preston has as Libria’s senior ranking Cleric. He eventually confronts Preston with his suspicions:
Brandt’s challenge is the beginning of the Road of Trials. He reveals that the Council has accelerated prosecution of sense offenders, and this will prove harder for Preston as he seeks to discover the Resistance and the Underground.
EDIT 26th July, 2013: I’ve made a minor change post-publication– Brandt’s line in full is “Cleric, I hope to one day be as uncompromising as you.” For some reason I had the word “compromising” instead. Many thanks to Mark Armstrong for catching this error.