Having returned the shards to VARIAN’S care, Aly, ARCTURUS, Cat, and MANTIUS go—Aly hanging back somewhat to apprise Arc of Vindar’s revelation—to discuss the reestablishment of the Diamond Legion with JUDEA, who unfortunately is less helpful than they might have hoped, being constrained by her office from offering opinions on the decisions of Peerdin’s owners. They note, however, that a red band appears to be progressing downward across the Writ of Diamond, signifying a limited time period in which they need to complete the Legion by filling up the first tier as well as the Circle of Ten.
Meanwhile, hurtful words are exchanged between Ian and Vindar, the latter of whom apparently knows what has happened between the former and THESSALY. Thess comes out of her room soon after and reiterates her love for Varian, who tries to tell her it was a mistake, only to be informed, rather chillingly, that “no one leaves” her.
At lunch, Cat finds out, with the assistance of the Head of Kitchen GERTRUDIS, that ‘announcing the new regime’ refers to the appointment of at least six of the seven first-tier warders required for the new legion. She is able to bargain for three hours for the party to somehow find the people for this number, and—leaving Thess and Vindar to stall on the group’s behalf—Cat, Aly, and Arc first request a dialogue with CANAR, drawing Ian and the Bejeweled Nuncio into the empath communiqué as well.
Despite his somewhat dismaying readiness to abandon Mantius for Nessus, Canar proves more than obliging on a number of the party’s requests; and alliances are formalized between the Renegade’s Number and the new Diamond, and the Renegade’s Number and the former Ninth. The Bejeweled Nuncio, for his part, attempts to convince Varian to depart with them, but Ian declines, asking his friend to understand his loyalty to his troupe. The communication ends and Canar initiates a dialogue with Mantius, in which matters are likewise ended on good terms, with the Renegade leaving his actions available for Mantius’s use.
The quintet of mounts then moves outside the dome of Peerdin in order to call, through empath synergy and the Renegade’s summon sharded mount ability, their hastily assembled list of candidates for the first tier. Notwithstanding unavailable individuals (including the reputedly deceased Aloysius and Banisa), the necessity of convincing people, and Fida’s troubling refusal to comment on the whereabouts of the rest of the Second Number, the new roster of ruling warders comprises:
- SENATOR PATRICUS, the Diamond Silver Sallet Warder (oversight),
- OLIVERUS, the Diamond Ash Gorget Warder (strategy),
- FIDA, the Diamond Midnight Cloak Warder (operations),
- CINELIS, the Diamond Smoke Vambrace Warder (communications),
- TERENTIUS, the Diamond Shadow Bevor Warder (intelligence),
- AUDEN, the Diamond Coal Greave Warder (recruitment and training), and
- KENJIRO, the Diamond Obsidian Couter Warder (finance)
the last having appeared—accompanied by the Emerald’s Tenth Number’s KATSUMI, Lady of the Broken Mirror’s Reflection and HIRAKU, Triple Jade Unsung Hero, both of whom soon leave—in the midst of apparent heated battle with Terentius.
The entire assembly—now including various members of the new first tier’s previous numbers as well as the former Tenth, summoned by Mantius—moves back into the dome to formalize the appointments and complete the ceremony, only to realize that they are now expected to name the ten numbers of the new legion as well. The former Ninth are thus forced to make some hurried and potentially unpopular decisions, but are able—with the timely arrival of the Mariner of Stars ROGELIO with the Verdant Craft Mage PORTENTIA—to fill in nine of the Ten, leaving the Tenth position open for an unspecified group.
The first-tier warders then recluse themselves to discuss the new course of action, during which time the members of the former Fifth arrive and thankfully consent to divide themselves among the new Third, Fourth, and Eighth; and Nessus makes his appearance as well, meeting Mantius and Varian. The Saint of Warrens evidently elects to remain with the party, as does the Bejeweled Nuncio DIONES, to Ian’s surprise and the Prodigious Scholar’s angry and hurt dismay.
Soon after Oliverus’s public announcement of the confiscation and redistribution of all unworn shards, Cat and Terry’s private conversation via Minder, and the introduction of the irrepressible TOBIAS, the viewers witness VEDA’S negotiation with the AZURE QUEEN OF FROST at Castle Thistlethorn in the Azure Lands, in which the former promises “anything” in exchange for recovering her lost friends. This is closely followed by a scene featuring the tortured but steadfastly defiant NICOMEDES.