Turning to face his mentor for the first time in over two seasons, Gaias discovered that Adamant Rose was expecting a child. Gaias gingerly told Adamant Rose the bare-bones version of the events in the Underworld, culminating in the decision to escape through the Labyrinth and not return to search for her Lunar mate, Howls Justice. The two began a verbal joust that ended in the training ring. Stalwart Second interrupted the duel to protect Gaias, afraid that Rose might kill him. Rose called him out and told him she would deal with him later, ending the fight by disarming Gaias. In front of everyone, she told him he was only as good a fighter as the sword he couldn’t hold since no one would follow him for fear he would leave them behind. She then left the ring and walked back to the temple to plan a rescue mission to the Underworld.
Second followed her closely and told her she didn’t have to be so hard on Gaias if she was only trying to teach him a lesson. Rose disagreed, saying that violence is the only lesson Gaias will understand. Rose told Second that, whatever happened after this night, she no longer had anything to teach Gaias. The rest, she said, he would have to learn for himself. The pair came to an uneasy truce when Second realized Rose truly had Gaias’ best interests at heart and he left her to her planning. Gaias returned to the temple to find Rose’s Dragon-Blooded students packing, either to follow her into the Underworld or to leave the school while she was gone. Gaias approached Rose and made a sincere apology for his words and actions. He then asked for her to remain with the school for one year and allow him the chance to return and rescue Howls Justice so that he could correct his mistakes. Conflicted between her desire to save her husband and her desire to see her best student grow, Rose took until dawn to tell him that she would stay and let him seek his redemption.
Gaias went to Rose’s students and his friends and asked them to join him in rescuing Justice. Nine Willows in Autumn, Senmai and Rami stayed behind, but Pak San-Toki, Maya and five Dragon-Blooded decided to join him. The next day, they left the temple at dawn and were met on the road by the monks and children of the temple and Rami who led them all in one last toast and a bawdy song to see the heroes on their way.
In Nexus, Whispers had finally been given leave to rest after three days of filling out paperwork and answering questions. She’d deduced that her superiors were treating her like a potential spy because of something Shade had said when he reported and resolved to question him about it when next they met. Returning to the inn, she ran into the group returning from their journey and was informed that they meant to hire a helldiver to take them back to Karuth Vlan. Eager to be free of Nexus and the Guild’s overweaning bureaucracy (even if it meant a journey through the Labyrinth again), Whispers signed on for the trip and sought out Shade for a conference. Satisfied with Shade’s reasoning and not asking for too many details, Whisper’s resolved to deal with the investigation amicably until the group left for the Underworld. At least, she reasoned, there was a larger than miniscule chance she might run into Typhon again.
Stalwart Second, Maya, and Jay – one of the Dragon-Blooded students – searched the markets of Nexus for a helldiver for hire. In the strange market east of Bastion, they found a ghost-blooded salesman named Shuko who offered to sell them the name and location of the only helldiver he knew who could take such large crew through the Labyrinth. Shuko made a point to say that he did not want to know any details about their trip other than their destination and how many people would be going. They returned several hours later with Whispers, who managed to bargain him down on the price. Shuko provided the contact information for a helldiver named Deacon and a suggested list of supplies and sent them on their way.