The beginning of the adventure
You are all connected in one way or another to a man named Albertus Crogue. He is the official alchemist serving the duke of Caheldonne, for some reason he is very wealthy and very well connected even though he appears to be nothing more than a scholar in the service of a local countryside duchy.
These connections allow him to have access to the rarest and most precious alchemical components, as a result he is often led to work for the court of Caheldonne.
He is constantly in contact with his masters from the Alchemist guild to whom he writes letters on a weekly basis, even though it is extremely costly for him to do so (the headquarters of the guild being over a thousand miles away, messengers' fee are quite substantial).
As an alchemist, he specializes in the study of medicine, which leads rich patrons from outside of the nobility to require his services from time to time.
He is also frequently in contact with people who can provide him with strange and hard to find components, wether it is hunters who bring him the guts of strange animals they killed, herborists who bring him plants or even common folks and children who bring him anything odd they encounter during their day to day activities (a farmer brings a goat with a strange looking defect on its head, some kid from the city bring him a weird stone they found while playing trolls under a bridge…). This doesn't mean he will accept anything nor that he pays for stupid items, but he is ready to inspect most things.
He doesn't seem to have enemies himself but his contacts within the nobility do, and for some it can be a worthwhile endeavor to make sure that the alchemist's clients never get what they ordered.