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Asterion's special blood

Asterion bleeds a mixture of red and black-- mortal blood and divine ichor, I believe.  This further affirms his mortal and divine lineage, among other sources (Underworld trial, Robert's soul reading). Here are instances where this is mentioned:

  • Asterion's back sores ooze a black oily liquid, and you notice dried flecks (presumable normal, red blood) (first time you meet him)
  • Asterion stains his lyre black and red in one of his tantrums (just before the concert preceding the ruthless route)
  • Laomedon training Asterion to be the buff minotaur that he is (12th tablet)
  • Asterion's beheading (17th tablet)

Asterion's special blood also has the curious property of "hardening" or crystallizing into a 'brittle stone as if from a volcano'. I'm almost certain this is a reference to those terrifying crystals surrounding Hermes' shrine. Asterion himself tells us that it as "obsidian" when you ask him about it (a vitreous, brittle volcanic rock). The Master actually breaks off a shard of it and as he fiddles with it, leaving "oily black spots and watery red blotches". 

  • Blood hardening (12th tablet)
  • 'Obsidian' shards (hotel's basement when Asterion first takes you there)

The basement scene in particular should have more discussion because of some interesting tidbits; Asterion intentionally introduces it as obsidian (as if hiding its identity from you), and expressly tells us to wash ourselves, get rid of our clothes, and avoid touching it further. He also describes it as "dirty", and covered in "centuries-old dust and grime". He also stands between you and the crystals after this, and wants us to spend the least amount of time there if possible. If these details aren't suspicious, what are?

And finally, some potential wrench in the theory or inconsistencies:

  1. In the ruthless routes where Asterion gets gored, in his sprites, you can only see red stains, and none of the black ichor. Potential theory-breaker, oversight, or intentional design. I've heard theories of demoralized no-birthmark Asterion having repressed divinity. However, this still comes to odds when you consider that he also bled black before the concert prior to the ruthless route. (Maybe because he was recollecting a memory when he was still divine?)
  2. In your 2nd deal with Argos, you can potentially choose Hermes' shrine with the crystals as the site of the sacrifice. This makes a great, big fire. However, the 12th tablet expressly states that the hardened blood of Asterion is a major fire hazard. I doubt Asterion (who probably knows its burning properties) would allow the sacrifice to be conducted there-- contracts and blueprints and whatnot. I'm stumped by this, actually. (Actually, maybe Asterion was confident the surrundings wouldn't catch fire or something. He also possibly burns the offering in front of Hades' shrine among a dense patch of his beloved asphodel flowers without much worry.)

Edits: Recalled Asterion's back sores, provided possible reason for fire hazard worry

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Don't forget about the labrys, it is also secreting the mixture of blood and ichor.

I think one of the tablets (17) mentions that this was not originally the case, and that only after the labrys was used on Tithonus did it secrete the black ichor, and later blood red after being used on Asterion.

The labrys that we find locked up might be secreting the blood of Asterion (or Asterions mortal blood mixed with Tithonus ichor) and as it dries it forms the ever expanding obsidian we find behind Hermes basin. It has to be going somewhere. It would also play into Asterion thinking of himself of himself poorly till further into the good route. 


Huh, I guess I agree with this now. Initially I thought only Tithonus's ichor persisted, as the 17th tablet used 'stained' instead of 'unwashable' in the former case. The game describes the artifact to be leaking a dark red liquid though, so the blood-ichor mixture attests to this.

In the ruthless routes where Asterion gets gored, in his sprites, you can only see red stains, and none of the black ichor. Potential theory-breaker, oversight, or intentional design.

I'd rather not confirm or reject any theory but on this case I can tell you that there were "lore details" I thought of including on that sprite that ultimately weren't implemented because drawing it was not nice in any shape or form and I consider that sort of stuff mentally harmful. I didn't want nanoff to put any more time on it than necessary, we aren't Naughty Dogs.


<333 this reply. That Naughty Dog shit is so demoralizing. It's the same thing with Mortal Kombat and a lot of AAA developers. So thank you for this. It's absolutely the right approach to take.


Yeah those sprites are definitely in my top 3 least favorite assets to do and I'd rather not go back and add ichor to them.

For the record, the other two are probably Kota's CG (I don't like how it turned out and I want to give it another shot in the future) and  some of the sprite revamps (it's a dull, repetitive process)

I don't know if it's any consolation, but the awkward smile that replaced the blushing sprite on Asterion is my absolute favorite in the game. I suppose that's probably not what you're talking about, so Luke's wild bug eyes that can be seen even when wearing sunglasses is up there, too. Is it just so it matches your current style and shading when doing new sprites?


The one I was thinking of was the Asterion one, yeah.
Basically the way sprites were set up (a simplified explanation) was

  1. A layer with the fur as a solid color and all the color details like Asterion's muzzle and nails
  2. A face layer, with facial expressions
  3. A lineart layer, which included the shading done in black and white
  4. Then all the clothing layers on top

Now this had two big disadvantages: 1) Shading with black and white (as opposed to using desaturated colder hues, and warmer hues with higher saturation, respectively) looks fucking terrible and I have no idea why I did that for years and 2) since the clothing layers have to go on top of the expression layers and the lineart layer is fixed for each pose, Asterion's muzzle was set at a fixed position. So if I wanted him to open his mouth to laugh, the muzzle would still be as wide as it was when his mouth was clothed, which doesn't look great. It severely limited his expressions.

So, after doing that revamp, the layers are set up like this:

  1. A layer with the fur color and shading, this way each fur color has specific shading and lighting colors (eg. brown has a more saturated orange for lighting and desaturated reddish purple for shading)
  2. A layer with all the lineart and details in one
  3. A bunch of the clothing layers like neckwear and upper body clothes
  4. The face layer, which includes the edge of the muzzle. This way the mouth can go over the upper body and neckwear layers and Asterion's muzzle can change shape easily
  5. The rest of the clothing layers

And... I had to revamp all of those, 4 times, one for each of Asterion's poses, and modify some of the clothing sprites to accomodate for the missing space where the muzzle used to be. Well, 4 and a half considering that Asterion's arms change on the pissed off sprite and the surprised sprite. And all the faces were redrawn to fit my current more expressive style.

So yeah, you can see why this one makes the top 3.


I mean, the clothes in general are a lot and something a lot of VNs don't have to deal with. I think the closest is Extracurricular Activities and they all follow the same basic shape except for special occasions, where they typically have like a month for a single character route. And none of those are player chosen, so CGs don't need to consider what a user has chosen outside of the MC hair and skin color. Like, the amount of work you already do seems exhausting even before hearing that process. It makes sense for the story and getting players into the headspace of the master, as well as showing how much control they have over him superficially to imply just how much power they have in general, but it's definitely a lot. Seems like the new workflow should be better for not having to get creative to get the expressions you want, though. But yeah, no surprise it's in your top 3 after just how much you had to redo.

(As for shading, I used to digitally restore photographs from a few major companies archives at my old job. Since we would sell images as needed the idea was we'd fix up the image and then it would always be done. It meant less time to correct if I would see errors years later since we'd also do the often large prints ourselves so you could see every imperfection and digital mark. Eventually I had it down where I could over sharpen to adjust for the smudging with ink to look sharp and make it so all of my healing wasn't noticeable, but some of my earlier work looked awful and I'd sneak in reworking when I could. You just get so used to a process that when you find something better, if you're forced to keep seeing your previous work you can't help but want or need to redo it, especially if it's going to be mixed in with your more contemporary output. I am happy to not have to worry about that anymore lol. )


I think looking back at older work and cringing is good and healthy, it's a way to know that you're improving. I'd be more concerned if I looked at old drawings I made and DIDN'T cringe, because it means I stagnated.

Definitely. There's a lot of photography I have online that's fucking embarrassing and makes me laugh, but I wouldn't ever get rid of it because of where I got from that point. It also helps if you're in a rut to remind yourself of how different things are now. It's just part of the creative process. Always another cocoon to break out of. 

I was already surprised at how gory it got, really glad it was not worse.


Excellent investigating, ChronicQuery! I think you're really on to something. 

With what you've put forward, I think the person who helps Argos on the ruthless route directly has our answer about the Bedrock and 'Obsidian': (Some spoilers expunged since it's a little out of scope for our topic at hand 😉)

On the night of [this realm's] creation [the gods] offered [their] ichor as ink for its constitution. First a droplet from each of the twelve atop Olympus, who cast their votes in the hybrid's trial. Then five more from those denied a say in the matter [...] Each drop carrying the echoing will of its god, mixed together to write the realm's legal bedrock.

While it's easy to assume the ink for the constitution is literal ink for the Primordal Contract we find, its description outright says otherwise:

In truth, these pieces of parchment are merely a copy. The original Constitution of the Labyrinth does not exist in paper and, in fact, was never meant to be read by mortals. Its original format is beyond human understanding, and even today lies hidden from sight.

I think the obsidian at the bedrock (our ruthless route friend deliberately says bedrock above) is the mixed together blood of the gods, and its interior contains the real constitution which also powers the realm. It is, after all, the literal bedrock the realm is built on.

To further back this up, also in the ruthless route, a certain location will not work because it does not have salt, as salt is one of the forbidden substances to be generated by the realm. The friend gives Argos "a powerful artifact, the only one of its kind within this realm", and at the location, the friend says "That artifact I gave you shall be a sufficient substitute." Here's what happens when Argos uses the artifact:

He unwraps the artifact [...] from the cloth that swaddles it, freeing that hunk of cursed rock from its hiding place. Dark as obsidian. Dark as the still waters stretching out within that underground cavern. Dark as the ichor which runs in the gods' veins. It was no easy matter to steal it away from its origin deep within the bedrock of the realm.

I suspect it's a specific god's drop of blood, pulled from the obsidian in the bedrock, and it even gets compared to divine ichor because I think it is divine ichor. 

If all of this is is true, it explains why Asterion doesn't want us poking around: he still wasn't sure if he could fully trust us back then, and it's just not safe to mess with if it's the literal magic stuff that's keeping this realm together. Heck, if it's supposed to be beyond human understanding, it might hurt our brains to try and observe it, so Asterion is also keeping us safe by just covering it up as 'unclean obsidian' that we should just leave alone.

It might also explain why the MC can hear the bedrock grinding more than Asterion when we go down to visit it the first time, this artifact , no matter what it is, might be trying to make itself known from in the crystals, now that we know it's hidden in there from the ruthless route. It would be a great place for a different Chekov's gun to come into play if this artifact is dangerous to access or remove, but that's not really tied to this topic of blood so we'll let it lie for now.


Oh wow. That's a dang lot you've made me think about. I commend you for your eye for details, good sir.

That bedrock is shown to be far more significant, as you have presented in the instances above. I've never thought of that link between the ichor-made constitution and the bedrock. Your first and second quote I did know about, but I dismissed the bedrock to be nothing more than a metaphor. The third quote, in comparison, is more incriminating. I've finished the ruthless route, but definitely missed the detail of the artifact coming from the bedrock itself. Whatever that artifact was, it is likely related to ichor (also resembling the bedrock's obsidian) and had the power to produce an effect that violates the labyrinth's constitution. 

With this, let's make a theory and their implications: 

Hardened ichor is the format of the Labyrinth's constitution, and is found in the bedrock
By the gods' combined ichor the Labyrinth is created, a prison for those deemed eternally unworthy of respite. Through their ichor each god is allowed to leave a living legacy in the realm.

You can interpret this as their hardened ichor forming the contract/s that consequently made the labyrinth into existence. If Asterion's blood can harden as such, perhaps he can fashion something to exert his will upon the labyrinth. Though only being part divine, the volume of blood he'd have spilled over the years would suffice, no? He's been tortured over the years, wine and natural regeneration here and there.

Asterion of Crete, adopted son to King Minos, and every drop of his blasphemous blood is hereby sentenced to the Labyrinth.

If the constitution is indeed found at the bedrock or at the least can be interacted, accessed or affected within the labyrinth, perhaps Asterion can append/overwrite it with something of his own design.

If this is true, why hasn't Asterion tried to do this before? Perhaps the years of torture and servitude have made it so that the thought hasn't crossed his mind once to even start thinking it. He confessed himself that he was deserving and a 'wretch' as he describes it. Additionally, what if he can't because he hasn't truly contributed to the realm like the other gods?

In accordance with the hybrid's trial the Olympians staked each a drop of their ichor. One by one each deposited their power on the threadcutter's rhyton. From this shared bounty the realm is created to imprison the damned hybrid and all the Olympians deem guilty of the most reprehensible crimes against divine order.

Perhaps he needs to make the proper offering on the 'threadcutter's rhyton' to make his additions to the realm. I do not conclusively know what this thing is, but I have a morbid idea. It may be Asterion's severed head (idk if he needs to be beheaded to qualify), or something fashioned like it. I interpreted the threadcutter to be Asterion himself, and that's where it lead. Try and look up 'rhyton' and 'bull rhyton' and you'll see what I mean. 

Also, a very dark theory: In the ruthless ending where Dominikos takes Asterion's place as the Prisoner, what if it was actually Asterion exerting his power over the realm? Asterion is fixated on the repeating pattern he has seen in his life: 

In freeing a prisoner, the redeemer takes on his shackles.

What if Asterion (sub)consciously willed the realm to make Dominikos the new prisoner? After all, this on the route where Asterion did not express pity (he was consumed in outrage) on the Argos's act.

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It's definitely a team effort here, I wouldn't've started looking down this path without what you've already posited! 

Interesting idea about having Asterion be able to add his own addition to the constitution, I think a fully divine Asterion would be able to do that, yes. If we follow the theory that Asterion's birthmark coming back is a sign of his rekindling divinity because he believes in himself, I think he can build up to have this effect, and it explains why even if he understands the obsidian and bedrock, he has never done it before because it wouldn't work for his 'blasphemous blood'.
Speaking of said blasphemous blood, there may be a loophole here in this 2nd quote if he fully ascends to divinity somehow: pure divine ichor clearly can't be blasphemous, right? I'm not sure how we break where it calls out his name, but at least here's an idea that can handle the latter half of that sentence that would prevent him from leaving. 

Mmm, good point on how it specifically says rhyton. With what we know right now, the threadcutter is either Labrys, which we have the axe head of in storage (Where's the rest? What's it shaped like?), or Asterion himself, yes... maybe in a less morbid way it's the rest of Labrys or just one of his horns snapped off and since regrown? googles 'bull rhyton' Yikes, or maybe not.
Still, whatever the rhyton is, I'd agree that if Asterion can muster up more ichor than human blood and add it to the rhyton, he should be able to affect the realm in some way, and possibly amend the constitution at minimum. 

EDIT: Oh forgot the point you had on that one ruthless ending. I think it's just further reinforcing the theme of recursion, and it's also highlighting that the pelt still counts as Asterion in some ways for the realm's constitution. That's also the only ending where there's someone around for the pelt to graft on to with no Asterion around, so it might not be tied to Asterion's subconscioud but instead the laws of the realm just in general... or like, whatever the eff is going on with pelts in this game, lol, the Tapir God's nearly did the same to P.


In the scene where Asterion has a seizure, interesting things are said:

You breathe in again, imprinting that smell, enjoying every second while it lasts. And the minotaur does the same. He buries his nose in your shirt, and a wealth of scents assault him-- the Mediterranean's saltwater, saffron-giving crocus, the decaying petals of deflowered poppies. The smell of bitter, burnt oil that sticks to one's mouth, and the coppery taste leaking from beneath his tongue.

Smell of oil and coppery taste, huh? Suspiciously like ichor and blood, don't you think? Also, this is when Asterion's neck acts up again-- probably the parting wound of his beheading or something. Now, as far as the Master knows, Asterion is fully healed prior to this point. But what if he's not, and that lingering 'wound' has been exuding his blood (in vapor form, at the least) all this time?

But of course, this may be way off and just looking too deep into things. I haven't been able to remember instances of the where the smell of ichor is described. Seeing as it's a divine substance, who's to say that it should smell how it looks like? Next, about the (mortal) blood. How the hell can you make an observation of coppery taste through smell? Besides that, what gave me pause was the location of the taste. 'Beneath the tongue' makes me think about the gold coin Laomedon gave Asterion for Charon's fare. If he was beheaded, the taste should be emanating all over the mouth or  at the back of the throat, and not specifically under the tongue. Does anyone know if gold can produce a similar smell? 

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Hmmm, maybe the answer to this one lies in the middle of that list? Asterion is the one smelling you and he finds saltwater (but no sunlight, leftover from our interaction and blessing from Poseidon?), crocus (makes saffron), and 'decaying petals of deflowered poppies'. THEN gets the smell of the pungent oil and the coppery taste, and finally your human smell. I'm not sure why we smell like crocus and poppies, but of note are the histories/ties of those two flowers:

  • Crocus has two mentioned myths on wikipedia, the more relevant one is this: he was a companion to Hermes that was accidentally killed by said god in a discus accident, and in his grief, he turned his corpse into the crocus flower. (Of note, this is a very similar myth to Apollo and Hyacinth, but Apollo hasn't been very central to anything yet). - Maybe this is Hermes' 'scent' and our brushes with him has it lingering on us? Dangit I feel like I need to playthrough yet again and focus on every smell that gets mentioned, lol.
  • Poppies are heavily associated with sleep and death, said to be created by Demeter so she could get some damn shut eye. They're common offerings to the dead, so their scent might make Asterion think of death and even specifically his death. (They're also heavily associated with Hypnos, god of sleep, and Morpheus, god of dreams, but neither of those two have been mentioned in the novel, so I think we can rule them out for now)

So, I think the smell of poppies makes him think back to his death, leading to the oil smell and coppery taste. You're right about Charon's payment, but since we know it was a gold coin and that gold doesn't taste coppery, I think it was just the blood welling 'up' from the wound as Asterion lay dying - final moments and whatnot. The bitter, burnt oil smell may be from the profaned shrine there in the labyrinth, then? It seems like a dark, cloying scent that might be used to describe defilement, which we know the shrine had been.

Wait hang on, this is right about when the achievement called 'The Tale of Asterion and Theseus' fires, right? With its' description of "Rewrite the story of Asterion and his executioner"... I think we just accidentally did a biiiiiiiiiig recursion breaking ritual where we took Asterion's story and changed it: Man chases minotaur through a labyrinth (literally what just happened in the Deep Labyrinth), man catches minotaur, they fight (note the fight's beginning is when Asterion's birthmark 'first' appears), man someone wins (huh, turns out Asterion can win if you try to double down on strength, like a fool)... but then the man never slays the hybrid (well, until later chapters when we take him to bed, wink). Asterion's story is supposed to have him decapitated, so the ring of fire starts closing in on his neck, but the MC's gentle touch breaks the recursion and rewrite's Asterion's story.

He had been seen as a coward for letting himself be killed without a fight, but this time he does fight (playfully though it was) and that's right when his birthmark reappears. Even though they argued to the judges that it was not a shameful act but instead a holy sacrifice to the gods, now it's not even a shameful act: he fought, we won, and we did not kill Asterion. One of the reasons the gods shoved Asterion in this realm might've just been erased by our actions, hence all the weirdness. 

EDIT: Just adding some extra evidence, when you catch Asterion in the deep labyrinth chase and hug, he "lets out a grunt - liberating, redeeming, as though a lock had come undone in his throat." 

EDIT 2, THE REVENGE: Oh and the god that gave the Roman coin that translates things? Very likely Hermes, which can also explain the smell of crocus in the area since that was one of the offerings to the fire when updating the translation magic. AND that's not even highlighting the actual ritual that occurred down there: a fire, a sacrifice, a story (the hotel's origins), unveiled truths (why Asterion will still call you Master and King); all things Oscar teaches us when he's narrating his ritual for Pedro. Sure they were intended for the translation magic, but that might not stop them from mattering here, we 100% just did some sort of accidental ritual, likely to restoke Asterion's divinity that, as Robert said, had been bled dry from him.


Oh dang, you're right. It seems I've got myself confused on the antecedent of that 'he', hehe. Looking at it closer and in that context, it does make sense. Those smells I believe are still distinctly Asterion's though. Seawater and crocuses were referenced a lot in Asterion's history; I've seen this throughout his ruminations and the clay tablets. I'd chalked off seawater to Poseidon, and crocuses to Crete with their numerous depictions of the flower and its saffron. Maybe he rubbed off on us while wrestling? Or, as I've come to believe (thanks to your reply) is a reenactment of Asterion's fight/execution and funeral.

Let's sort it out detail by detail:

  • While there, the Master and Asterion make a fire. This parallels Asterion's funeral; his body was put to rest by way of a pyre, burning him on the very basin meant for Hestia's flame. Additionally, both are forms of divine worship. The fire reminiscent of his duties to Hestia  in the original labyrinth, and his death was construed as such in the underworld trial. Getting back on topic, the fire made with the Master does something strange. Earlier in the scene, we get this:
The minotaur and you summon meat and fruit, wine and olive oil, dittany and crocus-- all of it fed to the dwindling fire until it shines proud once more. No foul odor wafts from it, neither do violent embers jump out with your offering.

This follows a bit later:

The wind blows. A burst of embers dance about in the nude breeze, catching your attention. The air around you is filled with the smell of fire, smoke, and burning wood.

The wind and fire acts up just after Asterion plans to get rowdy with you, asserting himself with renewed confidence.  This is probably the start of weird things happening here. Birthmark alert! Yep, definitely important.

  • Asterion's scent suffused the whole scene as he was a major participant in his execution. Specifically, the smell of seawater and crocus flowers can be attributed to his divine and Cretan origins.
  • Deflowered poppies are also smelled. Poppies are associated with death, which is of course relevant. The addition of the 'deflowered' adjective is strange though, oddly specific. A deflowered plant has had its flower picked-- suggesting the use of poppy flowers for something, like an offering. Maybe Laomedon included some poppy flowers in Asterion's funeral (No such detail in 17th tablet, sadly)? Of course, this may just be for literary effect-- deflowered/picked flowers are subjected to death, after all.
  • Burnt oil and coppery taste was noted. Going back briefly,  Asterion was put to rest by a pyre. Burnt oil may be ichor being burned; his body and the basin where his pyre was was filled by such fluids, after all (17th tablet). Coppery taste is probably (mortal) blood, then.  
  • The Master's smell follows after this. This signifies the presence of the redeemer that has come for Asterion. It came in the form of Theseus in the past, and now, you take his role.
  • Asterion experiences a searing pain around his neck, reminiscent of his beheading. Theseus's coup de grace imparts a lingering scar on Asterion which flares up at this moment. And you, the master, deliver your own brand of mercy by finally ridding him of this.
 Asterion laughs, and yet his throat constricts to choke him halfway through. A ring of fire burns around his neck. An unfamiliar pressure wells inside his chest-- expanding outward, like a star about to burst, until it becomes unbearable. He opens his mouth to cry out, and that's when he feels a hand brushing against the burning collar which threatens to strangle him. A gentle, cold touch, bringing with it liberation like no other. With that the ring of fire breaks for good, and the overwhelming pressure within him can finally burst out.

Yeah, you love this part too. Damn writers making us feel good.

  • The wind picks up again, accompanied by the telltale shuddering of the labyrinth and its obsidian in particular. Act finished, draw curtains.

Yep, really digging where this line of inquiry stumbled upon, hehe. The achievement's name and description has never looked more apt with the reveal of more and more of those details. As for a ritual taking part, I'm not too sure. It has a lot of similarities, but differs in the common component of the rituals (we've seen so far)-- the creation of a ritual focus (e.g. Storm's ear gauge, Pedro's bracelet). Who knows, though? We don't know what the other rituals are, and Pedro's are only a subset of them, I imagine (with the authors' push on different kinds of magic and their authenticity all throughout the world and cultures). With that said, something really significant did happen, with the hotel getting the jiggles and all. 


Yeah, I think you're spot on. I'm going to shamelessly repost what I wrote in another thread that's focused on the tablets, because I hadn't connected a lot of specifics that you've found. 

I've been waiting to read the tablets until I collected all of them. Having done so, I think it does indeed point to his thread being restored. 

This is all my interpretation based on the tablets and the ruthless route, but it seems Asterion was given two options to escape. The first would be to take freedom for himself given to him by those who pitied him or regretted their actions. The second would be to right the wrong he was accused of by actually fighting an opponent who wanted to defeat him. The result wouldn't matter, but he absolutely could not back down. However, he would need enough freedom from a master in order to fulfill this, which is why he's never been able to until now. He needed to stay a prisoner of a labyrinth in order to gain freedom and have his ember rekindled from nothing, essentially, and the rules were created to stop that from happening.

I think Poseidon's gift, which relates to what he sees as a moment of weakness when he questions whether he should escape by sea, is a backdoor. A failsafe. I also think the master situation is a cruel repurposing of his refusal to leave without permission from Laomedon, along with his eventual crime.

Your analysis of the specific meanings is great and it's making a lot of things click that I hadn't caught on to.