“What is religion if not love. Through love one sees the heart, where lies ever hidden the philosopher’s stone."
                                                                                   -Cornelius Agrippa

Although the worship of fire and its corresponding elements has its roots in the primitive tribal cultures that thrived before the Age of Entharion, the modern form of the religion traces its origins to the time of the alchemist Cornelius Agrippa and the long-lived ascetic wise man Locksmoore. When Pseudo-Duncanthrax invaded the Eastlands in 666 GUE, he was one of the first to establish friendly contact with the king. Well-versed in the lore and religions of the primitive society, Locksmoore shared this information with the Quendoran newcomers, managing to befriend Agrippa, the king's Chief Engineer, during his visits with Pseudo-Duncanthrax to the east.

One of the most noteworthy projects in 668 GUE was the Temple of Agrippa, said to be the roots of the secret alchemical society. When the armies of Pseudo-Duncanthrax’s conquered Kivolli (the region near what would later be known as the “Desert River Province” and much later, “the Valley of the Sparrows”) the ancient town was little more than ruins within the bowels of a huge mountain, stacked on subterranean cliffs at the base of the Temple of the Ancients, both connected to the surface by earthen tunnels. This underground archaic temple had once been dedicated to the pseudo-god Athena, and later used by Locksmoore for his experiments and religious dedication.

At any rate, Pseudo-Duncanthrax gave the entire area to the Agrippa clan in a land grant that they would hold onto for another two hundred years. In that year, the mountain was further hollowed out, the inner sanctum rebuilt, the temple significantly expanded, and the Frobozz Magic Construction Company connected the temple to the rest of the underground at Mile 735 of the Southern Highway. Some say Locksmoore was responsible for the reconstruction; others claim that this was highly unlikely. The head of the Agrippa family in the seventh century was the only person outside of Duncanthrax himself that could have afforded the job. It appears that Locksmoore heavily imbued the temple with magical powers—the magical symbols and emblems woven by the sorcerer into the very architecture and fabric of the temple. Agrippa erected a unique model of a flat Zork being held up by the great brogmoid, specially noted for the inclusion of stars, as well as the moon and sun, represented by a silver and gold ring, respectively.

Cornelius Agrippa himself seemed to have been the first head of the modern alchemical order, the first in a direct line of succession that still survives possibly even today. Perhaps in his exploration for the temple ruins, he discovered some way to unlock the secret science of the ancients. Agrippa was one of the few friends that Pseudo-Duncanthrax kept with him throughout his whole time as king. He was also one of the first engineers and explorers to accompany Pseudo-Duncanthrax during his first expeditions into the newly-discovered underground caverns in the east. Perhaps there, Agrippa too discovered the alchemical truths that had been revealed to Yoruk a millennium before.

It may be that Agrippa was able to unify the beliefs of Brogmoidism and alchemy into one. For in 949 GUE, in the depths of the Temple of Agrippa, an ancient contraption was discovered which seems to have been primitive a marriage between the Planetary Model and Brogmoidism -- a representation of the Zorkian universe as conceived by Cornelius Agrippa. This contraption consisted of four concentric hoops of steel mounted on swivels. At the center of the hoops was a flat plate painted green and blue that bore semblance to a squashed globe. A small figurine held the plate in the air, and another small figurine stood on the top of the plate. The small figures were brogmoids, who keep Zork from falling through the void. The two largest hoops hold two small jewels which represent the brightest stars in the sky. The other two held one ring each, silver on the smallest hoop, representing the moon, and gold on the neighboring hoop, representing the sun. (when the sun and moon (gold & silver rings) were both placed at twelve-o-clock on their hoops, the gold ring animated and transformed into a glowing ball—the light from the ball fell on the silver ring, which now appeared spherical, and in turn caused a shadow to fall on the disk.

Which Duncanthrax attempted to quietly murder Cornelius Agrippa in 668 GUE is a matter of much controversy, and is a rather unsolvable puzzle. As Drespo Molmocker’s impersonation of Duncanthrax was unmasked that same year, it cannot be determined whether the homicide occurred before or after this discovery. A few historians point to the letter from Agrippa to the king, making note of the overabundant praise in the greeting, as well as the tremendous insults that were not characteristics of the second king. One does well to keep in mind that the authentic Duncanthrax, while having nothing left to conquer, did his best to finish the ruthless deeds of underground expansion. It also is possible that Agrippa, residing in the isolated underground temple, had no recollection of the restoration of the true monarch. This would account for the heavy feeling of betrayal and the bizarre murder attempt that would seem to be a rather quick change of behavior. It should also be noted that the Unnatural Acts, banning illegal magic were enacted during the days of the authentic Duncanthrax, and it does not seem outside of his character to have banned alchemy as an evil practice from the start.

Whichever king it was, Agrippa, who had continued to practice alchemy within, decided that since the temple had been devoted to the power of love, as well as a barrier to heartless adventurers, he decided that the art was too dangerous to be exposed to men devoid of compassion. Duncanthrax sent a spy with poisoned fruit, hoping to trick Agrippa into consuming it. But the spy ended up consuming the fruit instead, choking to death on his own villainous bile. Thus in response to the quiet assassination, Agrippa carved a curse near the entrance of the temple, which read, "A pox on Duncanthrax, a ruler without heart, the greatest evil known to man." Then he proceded to seal up the temple with heavy explosives so that the king would never have access to what he sought, and then composed the following letter:

    To King Duncanthrax, My Holy and Exalted Ruler, The King of Kings, The Emperor of All Both Above the Earth and Below, More Bellicose Than Mother Hungus Defending Her Young

    A greeting to your lecherous soul. I bear ill news.

    Your spy is dead, choked to death on his own villainous bile. He had consumed the sweet, but deadly fruit you so kindly bequeathed to me. You stand alone as a soul of pestilence and putridity, a festering wart on the hindquarters of humanity. Be you assured that I have sealed off the places that you seek, made certain with your tools of choice, with powder and with fire, that you shall never find the places that you seek. I, too, practice more than alchemy.

    Nor think you that my secrets are of maps and words alone. In the black darkness of your heart, there is not room enough for the smallest inkling of the knowledge that you seek. Nor will your brilliant scientists avail you. To them, Alchemy is nothing but a principle – the purification and transmutation of base metals into Gold, the search for power. The goal of goals, the Quintessence, pure distillate of Human Spirit, lies well beyond their ken. They have too much in common with your most learned and thoughtful self; their hearts are black as pitch and bled of any memory of love or empathy. In all due time, their highest honors and diplomas shall follow you on your stately journey into Hell. With men such as you, it is better to let knowledge fallow than curse the world with your brand of benevolence.

    With all Humility,

    Your Most Insignificant and Smelly Servant,


    The Eastlands

    668 GUE

Agrippa was buried in the Steppinthrax Monastery graveyard, where his tomb would join other members of his society, including Satchmoz the Incomparable and Ozmar. Before his death he authored the famous alchemy book, "Alchemical Wedding, The: Love as the 5th Element". Mumboz Agrippa is a descendent of Cornelius.


"The greatest achievement in science and medicine, in religion and law, give us nothing if we have not love, for power without love can only bear the fruits on infamy. Only the pure of heart and of soul may hope to enter here and survive."

"Love is like water the bearer of life."

"The heartless scientist knows only hot air."

"What is religion if not love. Through love one sees the heart, where lies ever hidden the philosopher's stone."

SOURCE(S): Zork Nemesis (Game, Design Documents, Official Website)