In the short term, I'll pursue a different set of opportunities altogether. The bazaar holds some really fun goodies. Faust's Contract is available. This item is a high priority for me. It improves tribute gathering, which is central to the whole game through generating resources. Having it would give me the potential for Diabolism 7 (keep 5) which is not reachable through charisma alone. It also improves diplomatic position by a point, but that's just icing on the tribute cake. It does get me thinking, though. If I don't get to buy it, I'll want to know who did so that I can use Looting the Vaults more on that target, maybe eventually Dark Augury to see it in the Ritual Chamber and steal it. I record my diplomatic options relative to everyone else. If I do miss out on Faust's Contract, I'm going to see if any of these options change shortly thereafter. That would indicate a rival messing with diplomatic rank.
Also worth buying if I get a good chance: Veil of Smoke and Bleeding Wound are each available. Each is a worthwhile praetor combat move, and each is a single volume manuscript. If a single player gets them both, then they can both get trained onto the same praetor with a single order slot. Unfortunately, praetor combat is really only relevant to prestige wins, and I'm already leaning away from that. Infernal Engine is available. It provides a moderate buff to each of the attached legion's combat stats, and it makes capturing PoP's (including Pandemonium) much easier by doubling the damage. Lords of the Pit have flying 3.
As is often the case, my highest priority at the start of the game is a relic, so I heavily favor souls and darkness in my tribute choices. I got a lot of ichor offered to me. In the screenshot, I have to choose between a 1-darkness and a 1-soul card. I choose darkness. Souls come up somewhat more often than darkness, so it makes sense to take this darkness now, while I have the chance.