Waiting in queue to pass through Cantilever’s apparently rigid customs, the heroes are surprised to receive word from Professor Kajetan of House Jasper, in the form of an inefficiently worded sending ritual. Through the confusion, he gave the party instructions to congregate at the House Jasper Stead in Cantilever’s Embassy Ward.
After making the indelicate acquaintance of Chief Inspector Culas of House Topaz and her squad of ironforged soldiers, the heroes pass not entirely unhindered into Cantilever; both Zencaré and Zanna being forced to submit personal information for the city’s records, on the grounds of being of Imaldi origin, evidently. Not entirely certain why the moonfolk were being so singled out, the heroes obliged the customs officer all the same and headed into Cantilever.
Boarding the inexpensive Cantilever Municipal Interward Railway Locomotive that encircles the city, our heroes travel to the Embassy Ward and make the acquaintance of Steadmaster Ebrek of House Jasper, who, on behalf of Kajetan, provides them full accommodation at their embassy. After a brief conference with Kajetan via the stead’s scrying pool, the heroes of reminded of their ultimate objective – find the sunset ship and recover Kajetan’s stolen gear.
Powwowing at a local tavern in the Arkhosian Ward to discuss how best to lure the dusk elf pirates into action, the party is suddenly assaulted by a trio of drunken, bigoted dragonborn, who specifically antagonize Chogaruk, Zencaré and Zanna, treating the former like a slave and the latter two as personal enemies.
After an explosive scuffle in The Emperor’s Crown, involving a rapidly spreading fire, the heroes manage to defeat the three bravos and learn, from a bewildered bartender, that all three were sailors aboard The Pseudodragon, a powerful privateer in Arkhosia’s employ. Compensating the barkeep for her trouble and scampering from the scene of the combat before any dragonborn retribution descends, our heroes run headlong into Chief Inspector Culas and her ironforged retainers. Luckily for them, however, they’ve other business on their minds than quelling a simple tavern fight. It seems the Craftmistress, one of the three ruling bodies of Cantilever, humble requests an audience with our heroes.
After ascending to the highest heights of her floating fortress, the adventurers meet Ûbolya, Craftmistress of House Topaz, a dwarven woman equal parts decadent and serpentine. Inventor of the city’s ironforged police force, Kajetan’s sister-in-law and one of his ancient rivals, Ûbolya, it seems, disdains the Professor’s fascination with preserving and studying the artifacts of the Nameless Empire, of which she claims there are twenty-seven others, of various sizes and powers. The Craftmisstres, ever the innovator, has higher ambitions than research – she desires to put these artifacts to use, to expand her House’s power and influence.
To this end does she offer the heroes a job; protecting the very gear that keeps her stead afloat. In two days, she anticipates, the sunset ship will arrive in Cantilever and she has every assurance that they’ll attempt to steal it. Offering the use of her ironforged household guard, as well as five hundred golden dragons a head, she seeks to hire the heroes as personal security.
A substantial debate arises amongst the adventurers, whether or not to trust the obviously clandestine Ûbolya or whether to use this opportunity for their own purposes. In the end, after much discussion, they agree to accept the job offer, hoping to possibly capture and interrogate a dusk elf. After convincing an enraged Kajetan of their intentions to hoodwink his old rival, the heroes divide up to spend the remaining daylight to pursue individual goals, until the morning, when they must accept or decline the Craftmistress’ offer.