A perfectly innocent spiral-bound book whose plastic covers bear colorful
illustrations of various plants. The interior pages are slighlty yellowed
from age and smell of old tobacco. The first two hundred pages are filled
with blocks of text and a number of black-and-white illustrations, some of
which are reproduction of medieval wood cuts and engravings. The last twenty
pages were blank, and are covered with recipes and hand-written notes in
faded ink of various colors. The main text is in English, with the occaisional
Latin quotation. The notations are in New Orleans French.
The Pharmacopeia was a very minor publication, with only five hundred copies
production during its 2015 print run. Ostensibly presenting the magical potency
and use of various herbs, mushrooms, spices and plants; the Pharmacopeia
is a typical example of such small-press books at the time, being a collection
of holistic medicine and folklore. The book stands out from most of its better-selling
and less useful competitors for not including mythical plants and actually
having researched the myths and folklore behind the 500-odd short entries
in the book. Modern talismongers who peruse the tome might note that some
of the recipes and preparations presented in the text are nearly identical
to those used in preparing modern materials of the herbal arcanum.
This particular copy of the Pharmacopeia languished for several decades in
the house of Augustine ("Augie") Le Fousteu's grandmother. The Le Fousteu
family's heritage is a hopelessly tangled quagmire of love, immigration,
teenage pregnancy, marriages in church, synogogue, mosque and Buddhist shrine,
and ultimately death in childbirth, running from the law, and the next ship
leaving port. Suffice to say that Augie grew up with his grandmother on the
outskirts of Algiers in New Orleans. Le Fousteu's grandmother was not a magician,
much less a mambo, but she did described herself as "Practicin' my religion."
which more or less entitled her to a complex weekly schedule at Catholic
Mass, offerings at a small Buddhist shrine, philisophical conversations and
bingo at a local Masonic hall, routine chats and offerings at the gravesites
of the various Le Fousteu clan, and visits to the local houngan, Papa Demiere.
In any event, Augie figures Gran got the book at a swap meet or yard sale.
After she passed away, Augie took it down and read it. He might have been
able to sell it to some sympathetic bookdealer for the price of a cup of
soykaf and a beignet, but instead Augie turned it to his business of choice:
Being fairly unscrupulous to begin with, and with a number of slightly seedy
and eccentric connections, Augie Le Fousteu quickly became a (very) small
time type of dealer. He started out by growing marijuana in his back yard
and running a still in his house. Eventually, he upgraded a little, investing
in an online chemistry course. Fairly soon, Augie was supplying small quantities
of more-or-less quality pharmaceuticals designed for the magic-minded around
Algiers and even into the French Quarter. Which is where the trouble happened.
No one quite knows whose toes Augie stepped on when he ran a couple tablets
of psyche and a quart of goat's blood into the little pseudo-vampire shop
that hot August night last year, but the last Le Fousteu wasn't seen again
after that night. His house was raided by his friends inside a week and cleaned
out. The Pharmacopeia made it into a little used bookstore in the French
Quarter, where you might still find it today...
Augie's handwritten notes detail ten recipes he commonly used, and which
vary from the useful to the very weird-Le Fousteu had some unusual customers,
after all. Each is written one to a page, with the back page usually blank.
The various recipes are detailed below:
1. A recipe, mainly of tobacco and willow bark with a few other herbs, supposedly
based on an old AmerInd recipe.
2. Instructions to properly distil absinthe from wormwood.
3. Instructions to properly create laudanum usuing xerxes.
4. Gran Le Fousteu's recipe for jambalaya, including a small side-bar detailing
her prized pickled okra.
(The back of this page contains what might be the correct chemical formula
for the antidote to the alkaloid-based "zombie powder" used by houngans of
the Petro rite. It is written in invisible ink, and can only be seen by careful
application of heat, lemon juice, UV light or some other catalyst).
5. An old family remedy, based on crushed aloe, garlic, camphor, and oil
of cloves. Does not specify whether this is a topical ointment or a tincture
to be ingested.
(The back of this page contains incomplete notes, labelled as "Formula for
Laés-wine," but actually for distilling the elven liquor Taéngelé,
obviously copied by Augie from another source. This page is written in Sperethiel
with invisible ink.)
6. The correct chemical formula for the street drug Zen.
7. The correct chemical formula for the antidote to the street drug Zen.
8. The correct chemical formula for the designer drug Psyche.
9. The correct chemical formula for the antidote to the designer drug Psyche.
10. The correct chemical formula for the antidote to the magical compound
(The back of this page contains what might be the correct formula for the
magical compound Deepweed, but is written in invisible ink and does not include
any instruction in the metamagical technique needed to create it.)