In addition to finding the scattered pieces of the Sedefkar Simulacrum, the Investigators are gathering lore to devise a “Ritual of Ending” to destroy the cursed artifact. Dilettante Albert Alexis had discovered some of the secret mathematics of the universe, so consulting him would be of great help. He though had been lost in Time and Space aboard the Doom Train. The only clue to his location were glimpses Miss Crispin had of him being hunted through Dream Lausanne by the Duc de Messeraine. Perhaps he could be located there.
With only a small amount of the drug that allows passage into the Dreamlands, the Investigators attempted brewing their own, though what they produced had limited shelf-life and other uncertain properties.
Miss Crispin had a disturbing bout of sleep walking, where strange voices demand she:
Deliver the Message to the Tabernacle. His apprenticeship ends
The Procession nears. He must be ready
You have touched the Skin, but you are not Worthy
The Tabernacle has been prepared, only He must greet the Procession of the Skinless One
Deliver the message. The Tabernacle must be ready
Settling in at a hotel in Lausanne, the Investigators made their plans for journeying to the Other Side of Sleep. To fortify themselves they sat down to a special dinner (including flamingo tongues and a sugar castle) being served at the hotel dining room, only to slowly realize that they had already taken the drug and were dreaming. The Duc knew of their coming and arrived aboard his own dream version of the Orient Express to grant the Investigators an audience. They are welcomed by their old acquaintance Henri, who spirit was drawn to this train after his death in the Waking World.
Brought before the throne of the Duc, in his guise as the Patchwork Prince, the Investigators explained that they were looking for the missing Alexis. Messeraine revealed that he had added the unfortunate man to his collection of rare items, since it is unusual these days for someone to come to the Dreamlands in their physical form. He is currently being kept in a cage transformed into a monkey.
The Duc offered a deal. He would hand Alexis over to the Investigators, if they will do a service for him: His dream kingdom is being invaded by an ever growing gray city, that blights the landscape and draws hordes of dreamers into its walls. He plans to attack and drive back the city, but wants the Investigators to be his advance spies and go into the walls and report what they find there. They are well suited for this mission, as they are newcomers still close to the Waking World and will be able to influence the substance of the Dreamlands with their wills. They agree, though demand that in addition to Alexis they receive more dosages of the Dream Drug.
The Duc’s train dropped them off near the gate of the city, where the Investigators waited with crowds of silent, hunched cloaked figures. Within the tall gates the crowds dispersed, leaving them alone amidst the dim foggy streets and towering, crumbling stone buildings. Miss Johnson and Miss Crispin used their new dreamscaping abilities to blend in, while Umar andDr. Wilke stayed prominent, to attract attention. Which they did, when a cloaked figure appeared and offered to show them the truth of the coming “Great Day, ” if they would follow him. The figure disappeared down an alley, leaving a bone key behind.
The two groups of Investigators then explored the dark city, finding a variety of nightmare tableaus. A preacher warned about the imminent return of Satan to the Earth. Flagellants sought to have their flesh torn apart by a horror in a pit in order to purify their souls. Soldiers were recruited to fight a coming invasion from Mars. An astronomer observed a strange approaching celestial phenomena. A swamp cultist celebrated the rise of Cthulhu from his tomb under the sea. Each twisted scene included a key of a different material for the Investigators to recover: wood, leather, steel, crystal, and stone.
Once the six keys had been collected, the Investigators gathered at the tower in the center of the city. Carved bas-relief on the walls depicted a priest copying symbols from a statue onto a knife and apparently triggering the sinking of Atlantis. After noting these they used the keys to open the iron gate. Within they met the cloaked figure who led them through a huge, empty fortress. On its highest tower he began to speak, telling of the long history of earth, lost civilizations, and the non-human creatures that rules before. His tale began to reach beyond Earth to the vast cosmos beyond, and the Investigators fought to protect their minds from such corrosive revelations.
Realizing their sanity was in jeopardy, Dr. Wilke tackled the cloaked figure, while Miss Crispin slapped awake a transfixed Miss Johnson. The figure laughed and pointing at the coming dawn. If the Investigators were not in their beds by sunrise, they would join him in the City forever. From the height of the tower they could see the Duc’s train outside the walls. Dr. Wilke transformed himself into an eagle, and the others dream up a Leonardo flying machine. They flew off to meet the train where Henri hurried them aboard, back to their rooms at the Lausanne hotel – where they found their own sleeping forms in bed.
The next morning they were met at breakfast by the Duc, who gravely listen to their report. His suspicions about the dangers to the world were confirmed and he offered the Investigators sanctuary in Dream Lausanne, for while it was in danger as well, he believed he could defend it and give it a better chance of survival than the Waking World. After presenting them with the Dream Drug and promising that Albert Alexis would be delivered to them, he vanished in a puff a green smoke.