The party recuperates at the ski lodge for several days. They recover little of value, and there is no salt to be found. When they leave, the sun is shining and the slopes are slick; they narrowly avoid an avalanche that crushes the lodge. Surprised but undaunted, they proceed onward to the trade hub “Bruyere.”
On their way down from the mountains, they contend with frostbite and a bioengineered “BEngibeast” mountain lion. They arrive in the rubble community called Bruyere, and near the outskirts help a medic bury a dead patient. The medic calls himself Francois, and advises the party to not reveal where they are from; raiders and opportunists may find their mountain community easy prey. Francois also points them in the direction of a relatively honest merchant.
The characters haggle and get 49 kilos of salt. Also while in town, they save a Witness of Tamarika K. from some violent youths, and watch a hoverjousting tournament held by the warlord who calls himself King Merovic. They stay with Francois the medic, who reveals that he is an Aesculapian psion. Specifically, he is defying an order to stay away from ruined France, due to kidnappings of vitakinetics by warlords who want their own private physician.
With their salt, the party heads back to Chanon. They sense that they are being followed, and use their knowledge of the terrain to elude their pursuers. Coming near to their home mountain, they see ominous clouds of smoke. It takes them most of another day to finally approach the ruined bridge near the base of the mountain. Margot’s grandpapa meets them and explains that raiders of the Wargang have taken over Chanon; they have an Aberrant with them, who can shoot nuclear flames from his hand.
Grandpapa leads them through old tunnels dating back to WWII and the Aberrant War. He shows them to the police station where the gang is holed up, and to the ruins of the agricultural school. There, at the school, Xena fashions a fertilizer bomb. After nightfall, the party infiltrates the police station, and there they find members of the Wargang taking care of a grievously wounded and brain-damaged Aberrant. Sneaking past, they freed several townspeople including Prof. Senghor, who had suffered torture. They engage in a brief gunfight and retreat to the church, where Mother Marie has sheltered the children and the wounded. Prof. Senghor reveals that he has created several more fertilizer bombs, but pleads with the party to flee the village and save their young lives.
The party declines, and decides to set a trap for the Wargang. They lure the Wargang and their servile Aberrant to the stone arch in the front of the town, where they had hidden the explosives. In a massive conflagration they kill most of the Wargang and their Aberrant.
Shortly after, Legionnaires fly in on a drop ship. They take custody of the Aberrant body, and a clairsentient among them notices that all members of the party are actually latents. The Legionnaires compliment them on killing an Aberrant and offer to take them all to the 6th Legion command in Milan. The older villagers protest that the party represents the best youth of their community, without whom their future is in doubt. The party manages to convince the Legionnaires to provide supply support to the village, and even set up a forward base there.
After saying their goodbyes to Chanon, the party is taken to Milan, where they are provided barracks and given latency testing. Commander Mossalo herself meets with them, and helps to review their options. It turns out that each member of the party has a slight tendency to a separate Aptitude. Commander Mossalo graciously offers each of them transport to whatever Psi Order they would wish to join, or anywhere in near space for that matter.