A small errata: I am, with everyone’s permission, going to rewrite things slightly and make the swath of cloth that Mearcair delivers to Barlow came in addition to the letter, not found in the Arboretum. Sorry!
After the very busy evening everyone had, Father Souisse awakens to find the letter telling him to eliminate Dana Nightingale. He wrestles briefly about how to go about such a task. He prays and heads over to the Kerberos Club. Mearcair Gaoth is prowling along the West India Docks palming some shiny objects (and replacing them elsewhere). A pudgy, merchant-looking fellow comes up to Mearcair and delivers him a letter and a small satchel. The letter instructs him to go to the Ball at the Winston Estate and deliver the cloth to a man named William Barlow.
Yada arrives at the Club just a little after Stony Joe who did his morning constitutional (push ups and smoked a cigar). They see, briefly, a man escorted out by the odd butler who addresses him as Inspector Marsh and welcomes him to the Kerberos Club. The group heads out looking for the building that Yada saw on his astral sojourn. The consummate professional, Lucien Brielle, the coachman who has become the man responsible for transporting Father Souisse around, has looked up the address of William Barlow’s home. They stop in and find the place abandoned but with a snide letter and an invitation to the Winston Ball where Barlow hopes to speak to them on relatively neutral grounds. After confirming that Barlow has not left anything in his home the group headed farther West to the very edge of London where Yada immediately recognizes a small copse of trees outside a large building with a sign that read “London Municipal Water Works”. Yada storms in (in his typical fashion) and begins politely asking about a tour. One of the workers goes and gets a supervisor. The supervisor leans in to Father Souisse and says, “Get the fuck out of here or I will kill all of these people,” before going back to being very polite. Yada sees a large black tentacle going into the back of his head (he had an angelic script inscribed back there too!). Yada actually sees approximately 75 tentacles coming out from the bowels of the water treatment building and going all over London (perhaps beyond?). The supervisor recommends they come back after hours and some arrangements can be made for them. The group decides to leave for the time being to avoid putting so many people in harm’s way. Mr. Brielle recommends a good French restaurant and the party eats and prepares for the Ball that evening (they have a really hard time finding shoes in Stony Joe’s size).
Mearcair, another resident of the Kerberos Club, accidently meets up with the other players on his way to the Ball. He shows them the strip of cloth he was supposed to deliver to Barlow. Yada realizes that he is the one in the picture laughing (and crying) over the burning London below. Heading to the Ball at the Winston Estate the group rapidly finds Barlow chatting with a group of a few people, Lady Lancastor and Lord Harland Crossan. While Crossan is very interested in the players, Lady Lancastor excuses them from Barlow understanding intuitively that they are there on business. After flashing a menacing stare at Barlow, the group ushers him outside to have a slightly more privacy. Mearcair engages in some thievery, planting the pearl necklace on Barlow. Yada mixes with the higher society of London and they are very patronizing. They talk with Barlow before Mearcair hands over the scrap of cloth with the picture of London and it strikes fear into Barlow’s heart. Yada, watching the exchange with his sight, is suddenly looking through the veil of time and he is standing in a courtyard near a fountain with a group of about 30 children bowing in front of him. He knows they were sent to beg for his mercy and he is about to wipe them away like a bunch of leaves. The sting of the vision in front of him shook him to his very core and he realized that his vision was locked on. With a supreme effort he closed off his vision with the guiding faith of Father Souisse. Mearcair induces a horrific hallucination of flames jumping from the scroll to Barlow who tried to scratch his eyes out (he succeeded in scratching out his right eye). Gathering up Barlow and Yada the group slips away after Father Souisse says that they are going to take Mr. Barlow home because he had drank too much. Souisse finds that when he calls upon the Word of God he becomes euphoric afterward. He has another glass of port before leaving.
The group takes Barlow to a doctor, Larry Leeches, a trauma doctor that Stony Joe knew who was really good at patching up boxers. After that the group heads back to the Club where they hope to leave Barlow under the care of a physician. An old man, Arcabius Wren, who reads his newspapers, had a stack of newspapers with an invoice on the top saying they had come from the Morning Star. Mearcair notices this and Wren just chuckles and recommends in very curt terms that he not try and follow it. Another member, Dr. Arthur Addington Cavindish, mentions that he has techniques that will allow one to question a man without the “blocks” that he develops through life. He takes back Barlow and the group to his laboratory that, in the front, looks very much like a doctor’s office. Dr. Cavindish, through the use of modern science, manages to transplant a 5-year-old’s heart into Barlow to revert him back to the innocence of that age (and inability to lie or deceive).
Barlow, in the eerie voice of a 5-year-old girl, tells a great amount of information to the players. He began his partnership with Dr. Morgan Sinclair (whom Father Souisse recognizes as a man exorcised by the Catholic Church) approximately 3 years ago. He received samples of pollen and seeds from another place (Mearcair recognizes them from the Faeland). He began developing different strains of silkworms that produced the kind of fibers that Dr. Sinclair needed. They had experimented on people in horrific ways for several months until they realized that implantation on the back of the skull was the best way for the people to receive the signal. Barlow was not involved in the signaling, only the production of the thread itself. He said that Dr. Sinclair would pick up the thread and some of the thread was sent overseas, but again Barlow was not involved in the export aspect. He and Dr. Sinclair had found a purchaser for this technology and had begun doing demonstrations for the buyers. Gregory Toffin, the man killed by a cast iron pot by Stony Joe, was an example of just what horrible things they could get people to do with one of these implants. Dr. Sinclair told Barlow one time about some early experiments that suggested the technology could be used to communicate instantaneously across the globe. He found that when the distance between sender and receiver got to a certain point that occasionally “things” could come along with the signal when it popped out on the other end. Barlow called them demons but Dr. Sinclair thought that was oversimplified.
After he answers these questions, Dr. Sinclair transplants Barlow’s head onto the body of an octopus. He saves the little 5-year-old girl too although she mentions that Dr. Sinclair had promised him much more cash than that. Obviously, there are side effects.