When a wizard named Mendalus develops a spell that summons an obedient woman named Catherine--exactly like any other summoning spell--it creates chaos in the wizard-metropolis of Meltheria, as many interested parties struggle to understand the nature (and legality) of the Catherine spell, while vast fortunes hang in the balance.
"We're nothing new. We've always been here. YOU're the newcomers. You're the animal that forgot that it was a man. Stop crying, you animal, you sleepwalker! If you opened your eyes for only an instant you would see that. You're a race of amnesiacs, of dreaming children. I said STOP CRYING! You disgust me. That's why I'm not going to explain anything else. That's why you will die--screaming--without ever having truly woken up. I will paint every inch of this floor with your blood."
-An Awakened, formerly Ms. Albright, speaking to Albert Frond, immediately before his murder
A family of semi-retired doomsday cultists, just trying to live a quiet life while tending an apple orchard in the country. Except with complications.
Wytchwolde-Under-Ash, once a great Thorpe, was razed to the ground by the ruthless, and truth told more than slightly deranged, Porcelain Princess and her henchmen, the Purifiers. When the flames had at last subsided, and a kaleidoscope of swirling, dull-gray ash choked the sky, nine hundred acres of old growth iron spruce, black larch and weeping birch, was burned to utter cinders, along with the entire coven of witches comprising the Sisterhood of the Silver Teat.
Now, centuries later, the forests are somewhat re-grown, and the town of Foolswater stands where Wytchwolde-Under-Ash once did. It is said that even to this day, one can still find ashes in the otherwise potable well-water of this village. Once a year during the Winter Solstice, the “Ash-Wind” comes to Foolswater, a suffocating black cloud that passes quickly but leaves dead birds and animals in its wake, darkening the trees, and staining the sky with black snow. The inhabitants of the village know better than to be caught outside during the day-long Ash-Wind. Everyone is locked snugly inside, singing old hymns that curse and re-curse the burned witches who once called this place home.