While Entaro was on his way back to the ship from some errand or another, he was ambushed by a shadowy assailant, whom he barely managed to notice in time to parry the assassin's strike. An extremely short battle followed wherein Entaro killed the hell out of the attacker. The assailant, who had no face, only a smooth, grey head, melted into a viscous slurry when killed, leaving behind only his unremarkable (and now messy) clothing and his knife.
Entaro investigated the weapon, noting both the presence of an unidentified substance on the blade and the presence of the maker's mark, "NM." He immediately found a local apothecary (read: poisoner), who identified the substance as Grave Dust, a cruel poison comprised of ingredients from the Underworld.
Entaro reported back to the ship, sharing the details of his venture with the rest of his command crew. Together, they identified the maker's mark as belonging to Noria Mabusa, a spectral smith who operates out of Skullstone and whose steel is sought all across Creation. They also identify the assassin as a Greater Minion of the Eyeless Face, a being summoned (created?) through powerful sorcery of the Sapphire Circle.
About this time, they receive an invitation from Shanston Red, asking them to meet with the Admiralty Court again. When they arrive, Red reveals that every member of the Court was also targeted for assassination, with several of the assassins succeeding. He shares that only the intervention of a pair of wandering "heroes" saved his own life, and introduces none other than Meticulous Owl and the Maiden of the Mirthless Smile.
Red asks Entaro and crew to investigate the assassinations, meaning that they will need to actually GO to Skullstone, a plan that none of them appreciate. They decide to take the Nightmare instead of Entaro's ship, as an attempt to disguise their arrival. Meticulous Owl volunteers to come with, but leaves the Maiden behind to help protect the remaining members of the Court against further assassination attempts.
Upon arriving in Skullstone, Owl used some strange magic to appear as someone else, and the crew set off. They investigated Noria Mabusa, who appeared to be a perfectly legitimate businesswoman. She revealed that she HAD produced a bundle of daggers matching the description of the assassins' weapons, but that they had been requisitioned by the palace. She even showed them the bill of lading indicating that they had been signed for by a Marius Wolfe.
The PCs also investigated known sorcerers in Onyx, Skullstone's capital, but determined that they were only mortals, and could not have been initiated into the Sapphire Circle of sorcery. Kushtaka also hunted one of the red widows that populate the island to add its shape to her library.
The PCs then received another invitation, this time to the palace, where the Silver Prince had prepared a dinner in their honor. Upon meeting with him, the group was extremely up front about their intentions, even going so far as to implicate the Silver Prince himself. He proposed an alternative theory, producing a Sidereal spy from his dungeons. The group was unconvinced by his evidence, though the Sidereal did admit to being a Sapphire sorcerer (but then, so did the Silver Prince).