Alphonse finished sweeping the laboratory, frowning in thought. Each bit of broken glass, sticky residue and ash that he swept out the door mirrored the clarity that had crept over him in recent months. Around him brushes scrubbed and rags boiled themselves, animated by his art.
The mists were clearing. He could feel it. And somehow that was affecting him, too. His listlessness, his cravings and his distractions were all fading. It was time to work.
He considered the bottles on the counter one last time. Then, with a nod of conviction to himself, he scooped them up and stepped outside. Methodically, he bound the burdens of Earth and called upon the beasts of the land and air. Birds and squirrels surrounded him as he continued to cast until finally he had enough for the task. He tied the recently cleaned vials to each animal carefully, not wanting to impede their movement. Then with a gesture, he bade each of them go. Eight directions by land and eight directions by sky.
Each bore the same note, written in a neat hand:
“My name is Dr Alphonse Veneaux. I serve House Beauchene of Luisant in the Lorrasaint region of Capacionne.
All is not well. We have been lost in strange mists for generations. These same mists bind some remnant of the Witchking Chiropoler and ancient malefic created by his atrocities. Our House is fallen and we are without leadership or protection.
The mists are now clearing. Some here wish to make deals with strange spirits to make them stronger, but not I. No devil’s deal can compare to the might of mankind united. Send the questing heroes and knights of House Marseilles. Send the Templars and the Church to guide us in these dark times. Tell them there are monsters here. And tell them there are people, too. People who need their help.”