Word is filtering down from the Bluepeak Mountains that the mining communities there are being afflicted by a virulent sickness. Whilst the Tender church prepares a mission to assist the stricken villages, the People's College is looking for troubleshooters to travel to the region and attempt to determine the source of the contagion.
After waking up the defeated mercenaries the party strikes a deal with their leader, exchanging the details of the killers' contract for a promise of release. The captain reveals that he was employed by one Grigor Alexi to 'clean up' the alchemical workshop and dispose of those within. Dolna and Mink react with some outrage, explaining that Alexi was the businessman who employed them to conduct this project in the first place.
The mercenary suggests that it would probably be best for all involved if Alexi believed that the clean up had been successful and that no word of this matter got out. The party agree with this and the killers head off back to Caul as the group begin the long trek back over the mountains and home to Acryn. En route they find that the sickness still appears to be afflicting the mountain villages, the white smoke that cured their condition apparently not having reached these places before the Ghost Fire destroyed the source.
Returning to the People's College they report their findings to Konstantia van Strice who is appropriately appalled to learn that this is no disease outbreak but an incident of mass poisoning. Dolna is hustled away to the department of alchemy along with one of the renaming philtre's containing the purifying essence. They are assured that the information along with any cure that can be developed will be passed on to the Church's expedition and they are paid the full 36R they were promised. When Konstantia voices that she will be reporting the incident to the Council, Tabitha quickly volunteers to stand forward as a witness.
The convened council committee is concered about the affair, but despite Tabitha's well prepared demonstration on the subject, is unwilling to commit to enforcing Acryn law out on the borders with Caul. In private she consults the Traitor about whether she should be attempting to stamp out this legal grey zone but is commanded to leave it alone.
Whilst Astraeus returns home to get in hot water with his fathers, Hod, Tamburlaine and Mink walk across to the Wayfinders' Guild and ask about applying for membership. Mink swiftly signs up and begins to brief the guild about the problems caused by the Ghost Fire, but Hod is reluctant to sign on the dotted line and makes excuses about having to get approval from the Terrec family. Followed by Guild enforcers and not anxious to return to the Terrec estates, they seek refuge with Astraeus' family. After they explain the situation they strike a deal with the Arcane Arbitrator to provide a future (ethically acceptable) favour in exchange for protection from the Guild and being hidden from Tamburlaine's parents.
Tabitha learns that Tam has gone missing and begins wandering the streets (Dan in tow) searching for her kinsman. Eventually she recieves a missive bidding her meet with the missing pair on the edge of the flux. There Tamburlaine explains that he is unwilling to go back to his parents strict rule when he should be out doing good in the world. Tabitha demands that they come home and orders Dan to drag them back if need be, but before the bodyguard can secure the youth, Hod grabs him and the pair flee off into the flux.
Tabitha reports this meeting to the worried parents and they vow to find the missing pair and bring the might of the Terrec family down on whoever is responsible for harbouring their runaway son.
Having ingratiated himself with the Cargan-Graves, Wilkins returns to Lady Marian Terrec and reports that he has suspicions that her cousin Tabitha is showing concerning signs of possible Traitor involved. The inquisitor is grateful for the tip off and makes plans to investigate the matter further…
Pig travels down to Caul to try to find Roan the alchemist and the steel Golem friends she made at the workshop. Roan is easily located and spends a couple of days tutoring Pig in her laboratory, advising her to return when she has developed her alchemical skills and decided upon her path in life.
Finding Minecart and Query String proves more difficult, but eventually Pig discovers her doll Philia lying discarded on the path up to the temple of the Lord of the Rock. Inside she is treated to horrible scenes of golems toiling in servitude and even being made to destroy one another. Her fears are confirmed when she speaks with a priest who tells her that her friends are no more and that she killed them by making them lose their way.
Making her way back to Acryn Pig reports in to Jimmy Hoskins, who is extremely pleased with the delivery of a Pigload of evidence of bad behaviour on the part of Acryn's young nobles. Pig asks him to declare that the golems of Acryn should be free but he fobs her off with promises of future assistance should she continue to prove herself useful.
A second trip to Caul sees Pig accost a Priest of the Rock in the street and demand an explanation as to how the golems of Caul differ from those of Acryn. Once it's made clear that the golems are part of the Lord of the Rock, living only through an expression of his power, Pig loudly announces that she will no longer be seeking to murder the god…though she's still deciding on the fate of his mean priests.
One detainment by the Watch later, Pig is shipped back to Acryn and Jimmy firmly explains that she mustn't go back to Caul again, or plot to kill people without running it by him first.