In the second chapter (or Canto), Virgil explains to Dante why he has been picked to take this journey (Dante is starting to get cold feet). Virgil tells Dante that the Virgin Mary has taken pity on Dante in his plight, and she in turn told Saint Lucia to help. Saint Lucia then asked Beatrice (whom Dante loved, more on her later) to intercede. Finally Beatrice traveled down to Hell, grabbed Virgil and told him to be Dante’s guide.
Perhaps a little bureaucratic, but things start picking up very quickly. Finally Dante agrees, and the journey to Hell formally begins.
Next- The Gate of Hell