A week and a half after fulfilling their end of the demonic the group is waiting for news. Willers questions Mortis about Rapture and she convinces him that she was sent to the Maw as part of a scandal. At the same time Vraen tells Regyr and Grrner to meet him outside of the village at night.
After these scenes play out, word quickly spreads that three ships have arrived. Everyone gathers on the coast as rowboats reach the shore. Scudder and an unknown tiefling join the group. As Scudder tries to explain the news from Dimos another tiefling and a samsaran approach and explain that they are mercenaries sent by the Aurex to secure the colony. They introduce themselves as Zed Brock, a massive tiefling with a broken horn and a commander of the Blades of Empyrean, and Ankita Kaur, a mute paladin of Mephibosheth and a lieutenant of the Blades of Empyrean. Scudder hands Mortis a proclamation from the Aurex that explains that after the two deaths that occured on the Maw experts were asked whether the colony could survive. It was determined that the gnolls could become aggressive in the future and in the interests of safety she would send some of her own mercenaries to protect the colony. Scudder also introduces the other tiefling as the famous author Servius Wakefield.
Wishing to discuss private matters the group leaves the mercenaries to speak to Scudder and Wakefield about the goings on of the colony. They explain to him about Tezcacoatl, Maiara and the cult of Barsaborak, leaving out the contract with demons, the death of the Beast Heralds and Sahir being Apophis. In turn, Scudder tells them that the Aurex has rallied people to her side and now the colony and the Empyrean Commercium are very unpopular. He also tells them that Rearden Metal Smithing was a company run by a tiefling man named Rearden who rose up from being a coal miner. He was constantly trying to innovate, but on the verge of creating something extraordinary he vanished and his company quickly declined when his sister took over and was eventually bought by Willisa Mouch. Apparently, Rearden came to the Maw, based on the journal entries that they found and went to try and rebuild. Scudder suspects the Aurex may be responsible, but has no real evidence against her. The group asks Scudder what he knows about Zed and Ankita, but he knows very little. Finally, to make sure everything stays smooth they get Scudder to inform the mercenaries about the specifics of the contract and that they can not expand.
When Scudder is gone they talk with Wakefield and he explains that he is there to research gnoll culture for a book he is writing on world culture. He asks about Tezcacoatl and learns as much as he can about them and what has happened in the colony thus far, writing it all down in a notebook he caries with him everywhere. Eventually, everyone leaves and Grrner, Regyr and Sahir go to talk to Zed and Ankita. Zed and Regyr get along well and they explain that they are only there on a job and don’t hold anything against the gnolls. Zed explains that he got his horn borken during the Dimo-Qurturbian War and met Ankita in Rajilara. Ankita was born mute and sent off to be a priest, but quickly showed her affinity for combat and became a paladin. Zed recognizes Sahir as they used to work together, but she left.
Everyone goes their seperate ways until dinner and because of the new arrivals both the colony and the village are open to everyone. During the meal Mortis talks to Wakefield and asks him what he knows about Apophis. He explains that from what little information he gathered Apophis was some gigantic ophidian creature that served Barsaborak and was a harbinger of the apocalypse. She gives him her notes that she had gathered over her time on the Maw and they talk about her findings through the meal.