Time’s strange shifting and the monstrous attacks in the night have drawn the attention of the City Watch and their magical colleagues from Tower Hill. Master Kulver Klein, owner of Klein’s Clocks, is marked as a suspicious character, but avoids arrest due to lack of evidence. Other mysterious figures come calling on the merchant, leading Miched Dufraine to suspect trouble. He confronts the quartet and draws them into The Sleeping Tabby, where a kind of truce is negotiated.
Masters Kulver Klein, Finniad of Quyrric, Durvis Adrad, and Deferendus Durbleman are the senior-most members of the Watchmakers’ Guild, and have sworn to root out the cause of the arcane, chronomantic disturbances that have been plaguing Pacht for near-on a decade. They claim to know the forbidden arts of Chronomancy, and have developed a magical device that will let any who wear it retain their memories after time has been altered, as the guild believes it has been on many occasions. Samael finds their tale too unbelievable, and with reason, as the four admit they were exiled from the Cinquerre College of Magic for the practice of this dangerous power. A choice must be made.
The five consent to help the Watchmakers, if only to learn more about what they saw when Time was broken, and they agree to help Klein and his peers complete their magical devices. But in order to do so, a rare moss from the Obliviax plant must be obtained. Called Memory Moss, the group discovers that colonies of the stuff can steal memories (and spells) from any nearby. They locate the spores in the wooded ruins of an amphitheater north of the city, and deal both with the Obliviax and the Thorny Dogs that guard it with great aplomb.
While Vadran continues to heal small hurts at The Tabby (thus drawing in much-needed business), he also manages to cut a deal with the neighboring alchemist — leftover memory moss in exchange for bank notes and gemstones.
Including the kobold Fahage, Hasnim adds to his circle of beastly friends two small shoots from the Thornies, hoping to grow and raise them as useful pets. His letter of introduction to Professor Safal, an elf of some skill in the mystical arts, begets more questions than it answers, for Safal is nearly killed by his attempt to probe the nature of The Crying God’s Smile.
Also at the college, Miched digs deeper into the library stacks to find the old spelling of the Dufrayn surname and the truth of the eight families that share pieces of his own heraldic crest: Some eight-hundred years in the past, they were all of one lineage. His own line was all but wiped clean from history by assassins and traitors, or so it would seem, and those that survived split eight-fold. But why? No tome in that great place of learning holds the answer.
Lieutenant Thrushton meets Captain Adal Abenforth and First Lieutenant Stene Drummond at what passes for the Embassy, finding the former great of girth and light of wit. The latter is a greasy schemer who may have had something to do with the recent loss of the deed to the first and true Royal Embassy of Haelmgood — a shameful stain on the very honor of The Crown itself, and an act that must be set to rights.