A brief investigation of the site of the explosion makes it clear that it was a deliberate act, requiring the transfer of a number of powder kegs from the protected magazine at the back of the warehouse. It would appear that Futz, Itchy, or both were the intended targets. The party spends the rest of the day attempting to find clues to the explosion but, apart from gleaning the knowledge that the rank-and-file of the Northland army do not know of Volkov’s alleged treasons, they find out nothing new. Warders Erik and Joseph have also been quietly assigned to the party’s unit, presumably to act as bodyguards.
The next morning finds nearly the entire Society in Hillcrest, so an extensive “family breakfast” is convened at the farmhouse, with nearly every active Society member on hand except a few Warders on assignment and Itchy, who is in a coma in the infirmary. The party exchanges intelligence and banter with Jacob bin Warri’s unit and discovers that they, too had been ambushed by an Avenger driving a company of orcs. Like the party, they were fortunate because it looked like the ambushers had encountered and battled yet another group of greenskins before their battle. The party loads up on extreme cold-weather and mountaineering gear and head off to the South with Warders Erik and Joseph on their mission to discover the nature of the Bubblesneezer Cannons in Penshin.
After three days of hard, extremely-loaded-down travel into the snowy Masaan range, Erik unexpectedly offloads all of the party’s mountaineering gear into a hollow tree and leads them into a cave system that appeared to have been carved out by an underground river. After a day of steady descent through the cave system, the party encounters two humans, waiting in the caves for the party to arrive. Lucas, an aging Etu’sauri swordsman and Billy, his apprentice, have been sent by unspecified parties to kill Erik. He also warns the party that a contingent of Kisharans has been sent, further down in the cave system, to stop them. He claims he doesn’t know how those who employed him knew the party would be coming south, nor how he knew how to find them in this highly secret and obscure passage through the mountains. Fearing that Lucas could kill half the party before being overwhelmed, Erik encourages the party to proceed on without him.
After several more hours of travel downward, the party encounters a chamber where three Avengers have been waiting for them to arrive. A pitched battle ensues, during which Warder Joseph is slain saving Gronk’s life, Poppy is also seriously wounded.