When the son of the watchmaker is woken by a discomfiting sound, he knows it means trouble. Outside on the wet and slippery cobblestones of the once-thriving port town of No Man's Landing, the metal boots of the automatons clang with regimented force enforcing the Emperor's curfew. But that's a sound Barthian has known since the day he came into this world, so it's hardly something that would wake him from sleep.
From his straw bed in the workshop, Barthian can hear his father's gooey cough as the fog fever takes hold of him again. It's a damp night, and although it's slightly warmer inside the cottage than it is out here in the workshop, Barthian can tell that his father is struggling . If he doesn't get a tonic from Lukas soon ... well, it doesn't bear thinking about. But that's not the sound that has woken Barthian.