Baptism of Alexandria, 926 (A) / (B) / (C) / (D)
Sophia & Kaine (A) / (B) / (C) / (D) / (E)
Sophia catches Lucien & Alex, 945 (A) / (B)
Sophia tries to prevent Alex from leaving, 945 (A)
The Sacrifice, 945 (A) / (B) / (C) / (D) / (E)
Sophia in sarcophagi (A) / (B)
Sophia implores the pilgrim (A) / (B)
The Four vs. Lucien #1 (A) / (B) / (C)
Tempting the pilgrim with poision (A) / (B)
The Four vs. Lucien #2 (A) / (B) / (C)
The Ceremony (lose game) (A) / (B) / (C) / (D)
The Ceremony defeated (A) / (B) / (C) / (D)
Sophia profile (A) / (B)
"Sophia Hamilton Plays the Blues" album
Zork Musical Academy, class of 946
Dr. Sartorius is a brilliant man. This experiment will be the biggest breakthrough since the beginning of Zork. If you are still interested, make your way to the Temple of Agrippa. But—take great care, and do not speak of it. There are those who misunderstand Alchemy—those who would kill for our secrets, in their search for gold.
undated reply to Malveaux:
You are right. Dr. Sartorius is a brilliant man. He is strange and he has that annoying laugh, but nonetheless I think his medical studies may be very valuable. Please send me any alchemical materials or notes that you have obtained.
Yes, I did a magnificent job with Countess Orlanda’s skin. It went from the skin of a wrinkled hag to the skin of a young child. The fact that she never followed the careful instructions I dictated to her illustrates her own stupidity. I could do the same thing for you. I am currently experimenting on something that could be much more powerful. By the way, I understand you have been experimenting with herbs and natural substances. Could you share some of those with me?
Later in 924, Sophia introduced Kaine to Malveaux and Sartorius. Kaine was skeptical at first. He saw it as impractical and foolish, an overly spiritual belief for the weak. These fundamentals were clearly demonstrated in a letter he composed to Sophia (924-11-20):
Dr. Sartorius is a strange but fascinating man. I agree he has ideas what while almost fanatical, could be the final solution. As you know I am not prone to dabbling into strange, self-indulgent philosophies or womanish New Age experiments—but there is something to the man, of that there can be no doubt. And still I wonder—might the Doctor’s way be the only way of securing power in this perpetually unstable world? I could have great use for him—and his philosopher’s stone—in my campaign against the Enchanters. I cannot hold them back much longer.
Say nothing—I will write you of this further.
Kaine realized that the reward for alchemy could mean eternal life,
riches, and power, he joined the cabal. By the end of that year, the
four alchemists delved deep into the power of dark alchemy. They
learned that to finish their work and gain eternal life—the ultimate
transformation—they had to conceive and sacrifice a virgin during an
eclipse. She had to be born under the perfect alignment of the spheres,
raised and have her soul purified through the power of music. A short
undated journal entry of Sartorius’ details his thoughts regarding this
The quintessence can only be obtained through blood. Pure blood. This person must be pure of heart, pure of spirit, conceived in purity, conceived when the sun and moon are aligned as one.
Soon after, the four alchemists stood together in the patient ward of the Gray Mountains Asylum. Zoe Wolfe lay on her side in a fetal position, gazing with pure love at her newborn infant, who was on the bed in the tiny circle of space between her mother’s bent knees and arms. It was a lovely moment of bonding. Sartorius had a pair of bloody forceps in his hands. Both he and Sophia, in doctor’s garb, looked exhausted, but were really gratified, for they had obviously assisted in the birth. Kaine and Malveaux were visitors/well-wishers.
“This is the Genesis moment.” The pumped up Sartorius made a giddy laugh. “Now I know how God felt.”
Sophia laughed. She teased him, but with less of an edge than usual. They had bonded through birthing this baby.
“Who’d have dreamed Sartorius—the great man of science—would get so excited over…” she finished dryly, “…a little bitty wrinkly baby.”
“Baby? That’s not a baby. That’s a formula. The key to unlocking the most hidden knowledge in the universe.”
The four alchemists, dressed in their priestly gear, surrounded a stone basin in a semi-circle. Malveaux held the baby Alexandria, who was wrapped in a silver cloth, in the air above the basin. Malveaux rose the wrapped infant into the beam of light coming down from above. He whispered a line from a magical text and tossed a small bit of powder into the bowl. The flames briefly flared up. He then lowered the baby into the flame for a second.
In turn, each of them spoke a line from the following demonic chant:
“Endless fire which passeth through all things.
Cleanse soul through flame.
Protect the innocent and perfect the healing stone.
Let this spirit be washed and whitened by the Philosophic Fire."
Crushed the barbarian hordes and even the grand Syovar seems content! Congratulations on your recent victories; but take heed upon your return. The battle is far from over. In your absence, Ellron has discovered a powerful scroll and I am scared. We are deep into the Great Work. If they learn of our secrets, the Enchanters’ Guild, and others, will surely kill us.
Though you were far away, all the Eastern provinces are proud of your recent successes. I only wish that the rebellion will end soon and you are in my arms once again.
I lie here in my bed and listen to the Poetics and I miss you. Damn Ellron. I know you are fighting for what you believe in. I hate him for what he’s done to you, and I hate him even more for keeping you from me. But still, there are those I hate more.
I’m so jealous, Thaddeus; you can pick up a sword and gore your enemy in the name of all you love. My enemy is bosomy and soft-spoken—and she wears a dress and sleeps in your bed, my heart. Would that I could be your wife, that we could have a family… something more than stolen moments, this lost life of mine.
I cling to your dear Mad Doctor and his dreams of oblivion. For an eternity with you, I will endure all his pretentious, alchemical trumpeting—and fifty Lady Kaines—and a hundred Ellrons!
I am delighted by Alexandria’s progress. I think that your use of puzzles to sharpen her mind and spirit is working beautifully. And already, I can see promise in her music. I will be saving a seat for her in the conservatory.
same year, Kaine and Sophia exchanged several correspondences to one
another while he was away at battle against Ellron. The first
It is rainy and grim here. The fields are muddy and littered with corpses. I am tired of all this. All I want in the world is to return to my castle and back to you. The battle at Flood Control Dam number 678 was more brutal than I expected. Ellron and his hordes somehow had found out about my strategy. Backed by the Enchanters, he has discovered some magical scroll which causes weapons to turn to fudge. It is disheartening and sticky. Our surprise attack was foiled and I lost half my men. Ellron is becoming more and more powerful. Unless I do something, he may gain control of the entire terrain. Morale is low. The worst are the damn night attacks of grues. We barely have enough torches to light a fourth of our camp for more than a few more nights.
Liz wrote that she is considering spending the fall at her mother’s villa in Antharia. Say the word and I will further convince her to make the retreat to the restorative island clime. For her health, you know—and for mine.
desperate Sophia's reply:
Damn those filthy dark-loving Grues for keeping you away from me! I hate all of them. I know you have little time to read, so I will keep my letters short. I love you I love you I love you!
Kaine remained absent from his castle due to the war, he wrote:
Sophia, the battle against Ellron continues and I believe we are winning. Lieutenant Ramsey is a loyal and fierce warrior and has proved an effective leader; I will make him the keeper of my castle if we escape this war alive. I miss you and I think about you constantly. We must finally be together. Sophia, will you please check in on Lucien. I know that you are uncomfortable around him, but I have not heard from him, and I am concerned. He is going through a strange phase.
Upon hearing about his victory over Ellron, Sophia wrote:
Thad my love,
I hear that you have crushed the rebellion and are coming home soon. We are preparing to ring the monastery bells for you as soon as we see your wagon train on the road to the south. Bring back a Grue ear for my charm bracelet!
The time has come. I think you will be proud of me when you see her. She is a charming brilliant child—and I have grown to care for little Alexandria as if her parenting were my only office.
Her music is unschooled, but I hear in it—somewhere—the harmony of the spheres. It is there for you to distill. I expect much work, and great things from the both of you.
938, at the age of 13, Alexandria was brought to the Conservatory where
Sophia took a liking to her and treated her exceptionally well,
although her unconventional musicial aptitude caused her to be shunned
by her peers.Sophia wrote:
Alexandria is doing well. She is not particularly well liked and appears to be somewhat of a loner. She is stubborn and her music is wild and eccentric. We are trying to tone her down. How did she get like this? What did you do to her while she was at the monastery? Maybe it is part of the process.
The path to purification is through the magic of the notes.
You will be glad to know Alexandria is flourishing here. She has a gift, of that I am certain. I have given her books on the Harmony of the Spheres and I believe she hears the notes in her dreams. Such a queer little thing; I see how she has won your heart, old monk.
This is a difficult process. At times I am uncertain—I don’t know how hard to push—but I will not let you down. Such strange parents we make.
There are many undated events that have been revealed in various
undated letters and accounts of the affair between Thaddeus Kaine and
Sophia. And it is evident that Thaddeus’ wife, Elizabeth was not
unaware either. The first of these letters between the adulterers,
which had been dated upon its composition (940-11-14): ADULTERESS LOVE
And so the holidays pass, and still, we are nowhere near each other. Liz and I are fighting again, which does dampen the festivities somewhat. It’s not that she questions my formal loyalties to her and my family—she knows I will never leave her—but I suppose I can hardly blame her if she feels my heart is no better than any. How I hate to discuss these matters—as if I were a gossiping girl. I live where I live, and I love whom I love. Praise Yoruk—that is all there is to say on the subject—
Elizabeth took it into her own hands to confront Sophia. Her detest is evidence in the letter, although she seemed to have false assurance in Kaine that unfortunately did not exist:
Dear Madame Sophia,
While we have never been formally introduced, I feel as if I’ve known you for years now. At least, I know many things about you. I know you sleep with my husband. I know you’re only one of his many mistresses. Or did you think that he loved only you? Has he been teasing you with talk of your future, of marriage? Did you imagine he would leave me for you, and you would rule Irondune as the next lady Kaine? Let me assure you, madam, that you have no future with my husband. He needs me, my family, and our lovely money. Without me, there is no Irondune. And there is nothing and no one he loves more than that.
is also documentation of a breakout of unknown offense that occurred at
some point in their affair:
Sophia please forgive me. I made a mistake. I know it would be a cliché to say that it meant nothing to me—but it is true. I know that I am not communicative in the way you want me to be. I love you. Please forgive me. I will do anything for your forgiveness.
I have enclosed a check for 750,000 Zorkmids for the improvement of the stage. Please take this as a token for my plea for forgiveness.
Do you think that money will buy me? Do you think that is the way for forgiveness and apologies? This is the worse insult you could cast my way. Save it for another woman.
from their frequent acts of adultery, on one occurrence, Kaine gifted
Sophia with a silver tuning fork engraved, “With love, -K”.
ALEXANDRIA MEETS LUCIEN
Following her Arch 5, 943 performance under the stars, “Music for the Moon,” by the river of the Frigid River Branch Conservatory, Alexandria, at the age of 18, again played “Harmony of the Spheres” on the evening of Oracle 15. Her music was complex, perhaps even atonal, daring, compelling, unafraid to shock and a little strange—in fact, it reflected the musician's persona. Lucien Kaine was the only one who applauded her. After the concert was over, Alexandria and Lucien met for the first time. The infuriated Sophia saw that Lucien was an intervention into their smooth plan. She had to keep them apart, because if they came together, all the alchemists’ years of possessive preservation of Alexandria’s purity would disappear in an instant. She quickly composed a letter to Kaine at Irondune:
I saw him at Alexandria’s performance. What was he doing there? I know that you have done all that you can, but your son is a dangerous influence. I know of his reputation. Keep him away from her. I have this feeling about him and my feeling tells me he will be the ruin of all of us and all our dreams.
And in another
undated letter, Sophia wrote to Kaine:
I have seen him outside the school. I know something is going on. She has become increasingly defiant and rebellious.
Thaddeus Kaine forbade Lucien to have any contact with Alexandria, he
was not swayed. Kaine had he temporarily admitted to the Gray Mountains
Asylum under the care of Erasmus Sartorius who prescribed him ProZork.
Lucien refused to take the medication. Kaine related his
resentment to Sophia in a letter which was found at the Frigid River
Branch Conservatory (943-06-02):
You say I seem wrathful—Aye, that and far beyond—I am close to giving up on my son. I have tried to control him. I talked to Dr. Sartorius who prescribed Prozork for him but he refuses to take it. Lately, Lucien has become suspicious—nearly paranoid—searching my room, pilfering my private papers. I have been forced to lock my room. I am at a loss. He is in love with that girl—your precious “prodigy,” I know—and nothing I say or do will stop him. You say to be forceful—and I try—but he is my only son. It is hard for me to deny him that which he wants most. I know it is a phase and that it is best for him, still it is hard. So what then?
the four alchemists feared that the untamed Lucien would
despoil their virgin of purity, they delved even deeper into their dark
arts, doing their best to discreetly keep Lucien and Alexandria apart
and to encourage her to maintain purity. The battles against Ellron and
the Enchanters Guild kept Kaine
considerably occupied. In a letter found at Castle Irondune, Sophia
reassured him that they need not worry, but only persist in their work
I read about Ellron and his alliance with the Enchanters Guild, and I wept for you. These are dangerous times, and I will not sleep until all those who mean you harm are put to eternal rest.
But I take heart, knowing that we are growing stronger, deciphering more secrets of this magical science with each new day. Soon, love, we will not worry about power…
follows, are several undated correspondences between Sophia and the
other alchemists, detailing their aspirations and discoveries as they
nearer to solving the mystery of the quintessence. A letter from
Sartorius to Sophia (unknown year-04-07):
I have had some success supersaturating liquids in the generation of large crystals. It appears small crystals are ideal seeds for growth. I feel this combinations of water and earth, heated with fire and burning with air, will provide fertile new avenues for our venture.
from Sartorius to Sophia (unknown year-05-31):
Your concerns about the purity of my crystal generation is well-founded. I think I have the solution. It involves the dissolving of white calcium bromide, which has the added benefit of settling my acid indigestion while I am in the lab.
It appears that
Sophia and Kaine tried to restrain Lucien and
Alexandria’s relationship without informing the other alchemists (at
least Malveaux). When their interactions were discovered by him, the
disturbed Malveaux wrote to Sophia (944-03-02). The following letter
was discovered at the Frigid River Branch Conservatory:
I have much unsettling news. It has come to my attention that Lucien Kaine, with his troubled, rebellious spirit, his slacker morals—and his strange disposition—has been bothering Alexandria. Under your own roof. Madame! I fear she knows little of the ways of men—who are not monks, that is. Please—you should know better than I—Alexandria needs to study and perfect her art.
Our plans may be falling apart. Alexandria has, I believe, fallen in love with Lucien; you remember, Kaine’s son. Nothing we do seems to have any impact on them; as if they were under some strange spell. You must put a stop to it. She has come so far with her music. Act quickly, or it will all have been for nothing…
reply from Malveaux to Sophia:
I have done what I can. I have explained to her the significance of her virtue and why Lucien Kaine with his troubled youth, his questionable morals, and his strange disposition is not right for her. I can’t do much more.
Realizing that there was something wicked going on about them, Lucien and Alexandria secretly met one 945 GUE night behind the stage at the Frigid River Branch Conservatory to discuss their suspicions about Sophia and Thaddeus.
While together, Alexandria grabbed her locket off the floor which was lying beside her violin. Lucien had lowered his shirt for her gaze and she studied him coolly—like he was an object. He was very awkward and self-conscious. Alexandria moved away from her belongings to join him.
“I feel like a fool,” Lucien stated.
“Mmm. A beautiful fool,” she returned.
Alexandria trusted her arm at him and the locket’s silver chain spilled out of her clenched fist. She opened her fist and showed it to him. Inside was a picture of her mother, Zoe Wolfe.
“Here, this is for you. I want you to wear it.”
Lucien nodded, transfixed. She rose on tiptoe to clasp the locket around his neck. Their faces were close, and moving closer, into an embrace, but Sophia’s voice calmly interrupted out of their range of sight.
Lucien pulled back guiltily. The moment was broken, but Alexandria still tried to kiss Lucien in order to spit the meddling Sophia who had caught them together. Lucien refused, drawing his shirt back on.
“Lucien.” Sophia was shocked by his presence, staring as he dressed. “What a…pleasant…surprise.” She noticed the locket around his neck. “Your locket.”
Lucien, very self-conscious, slipped the locket from around his neck.
“I’ve never seen it off you,” Sophia finished.
Alexandria would not deign to answer.
Sophia took the locket into her hand, pretending to admire it. “It’s lovely.” Then she accidentally dropped it, feigning to be upset. “Oh!”
The broken part of the locket fell on the floorboards, bounced, then slid through a crack in the stage floor. The broken piece continued its downward flight, coming to rest on the floor, near a pool of water in the boiler room, glittering in the darkness.
wrote an undated letter to Kaine regarding this event:
I caught the two together on the stage of the conservatory. Imagine the nerve of the girl! Does she think I am an idiot? She brazenly disregards all rules of the school and certainly all rules of decency. Do something about your son. He is poison to her and to us.
after, Lucien and Alexandria made the decision to get married. She
wrote to her father, who agreed to perform the ceremony at the
Steppinthrax Monastery. In desperation, the four alchemists gathered in
Sartorius, Kaine and Sophia gathered with Malveaux in his office at the Steppinthrax Monastery. The Bishop stood between the others who occupied three of the four chairs. He took a letter from the copious sleeve of his robe and laid it on the table.
“Our worst fears have come true,” Malveaux stated. “They’ve asked me to marry them. They intend to leave.”
There was an exchange of alarmed looks from the others.
“No, she cannot leave,” Sartorius protested, “absolutely not.”
Sophia had angry concern. “Leave? What are you talking about?”
Kaine directed his words to her, “Don’t act so surprised. It’s all taking place under your roof. You can’t pretend you didn’t know about it.”
She spoke through gritted teeth, “I tried to guide her, Kaine. I can’t run her life. If she wants to spend time with Lucien, let her. But marriage, Malveaux? Surely you didn’t encourage them.”
Malveaux spoke as though he had a dark secret, “But I did.” Despair creased over his face even further. Once Kaine had left, Malveaux continued, “I tell you he’s watching everything we do. I can sense it. He’s dangerous – and he’ll do anything he can to get what he wants. Our only hope of survival is to give him our secret.”
Sartorius was wrathful, “Have you gone mad?!”
“I don’t want to die,” Malveaux replied, remorseful.
“We can’t give in to him,” Sophia stated.
Malveaux shouted back, content, “He’s insane!”
“We must be strong,” Sophia comforted. “We can’t give in to this, this Nemesis.”
It appears from both the above conference and the following letter, that Lucien took his own initiative to investigate more of the scheme that was transpiring around him. While the precise date of Lucien’s “haunting the asylum” and “threaten[ing]” of Sartorius is not known, it may have happened during one of his scheduled treatments. This letter was discovered at the Gray Mountains Asylum (945-06-17):
I understand you are still perfecting the science of the ritual, but we must act now; if we do not, the quintessence will slip through our fingers. I know he has threatened even you, haunting the asylum. Patience has its place and so does action. During the next solar eclipse we must make our move. Our work must be completed at the Temple of the Ancients. Write and I will arrange to meet you there.
discovered at the Frigid River Branch Conservatory, in response to the
I have much to prepare. I don’t think you understand the intricacies of this philosophy. This is not cooking, this is science. This is the true mystery of life. Nonetheless, you are right—we cannot wait any longer. We must take a risk. Meet me at the Temple of Agrippa. I will summon the others. What has begun must take its course. It is our only chance—before we are destroyed—
Thus fearing that they would not be able to keep Lucien from sullying Alexandria, the Circle of four met at the Temple of Agrippa to accelerate the schedule for Alexandria’s sacrifice to coincide with an upcoming partial eclipse. In the meantime, Alexandria was in preparation to leave the Frigid River Branch Conservatory and make her way to the Steppinthrax Monastery for the wedding. Hoping to persuade her from leaving the school, Sophia confronted her in the student dormitory on the night before she left:
Alexandria lay on the bed, while Sophia sat on its edge. They were only lit by the light of an oil lamp. Sophia talked quietly, regressing into her heart. She spoke with thought and deep commitment.
“I know the power of love. It attacks your heart until you have no power to fight. Sometimes it picks men who’ll only hurt you. It becomes stronger than you, and sometimes you end up doing stupid things, enduring infidelities…and still there’s nothing you can do because you love him.” Sophia realized that she had revealed more than she wanted to, and smiled wanly.
Alexandria replied, “I’m in love with Lucien, and that’s my business.”
“Alexandria, I want you to find love. But I don’t want you to lose anything by finding it. I was a pianist. I wasn’t like you—a genius—but some thought I had talent. Some thought I could be…great. And I gave it up because I thought I was in love.”
“I want to make my own mistakes.”
“I listen to your music,” Sophia continued, undaunted, “to the passion and brilliance of it, and I know that you are not ordinary. Don’t you see that?” She leaned forward and put her hands on Alexandria’s arms. “You are brilliant. Important.” Then she whispered, “Magical. Please don’t throw away this power.”
“I won’t. I’ll always play the violin. Even after I die. I’ll play.”
“It’s not worth it. Let him wait. Please. Don’t leave.”
Sophia got up from the bed, kissed Alexandria on the forehead, and picked up the lamp to leave.
refusing to heed the warnings of Sophia, Alexandria travelled
to the Steppinthrax Monastery to elope with Lucien. Thaddeus Kaine was
warned of the event and went with two soldiers to interrupt the
ceremony and arrest Lucien. He was brought to the Irondune dungeon.
Disconcerted, Alexandria returned to the Frigid River Branch
Conservatory alone. There, on Augur 1, 945, the depressed woman would
manifest her dismay by performing “Descent of Yoruk into Hell.”
With Lucien firmly out of the way, imprisoned within the Irondune dungeon, the four alchemists hastily finalized their plans for Alexandria’s sacrifice. Sophia composed letters to at least two of the alchemists. The first, to Sartorius:
We will meet during the solar eclipse at the Temple of Agrippa.
And the second
I think there is only one solution to this mess. We must expedite the process. It cannot wait. The next eclipse will be in three day’s time. This is our only chance. Do what you must. It cannot wait.
favorable reply to Sophia:
Ellron is at my gates, threatening to destroy the little power I have left. You are right—we must act now.
Before stating Malveaux’s reply, Malveaux's sickness was getting worse. When he wrote his reply to Sophia, the further development of his disease was clearly manifested:
I have spoken to Dr. Sartorius, and we are both ready. My fevers are worse, and now I constantly burn. I have very little time left, and I am ready to begin my leap of faith.
THE SACRIFICE (945 GUE)
The alchemists, dressed in their ceremonial attire, gathered in the dome room of the Temple of Agrippa to invoke the Great Eclipse. Sophia restrained Alexandria, who violently struggled to gain her freedom. Sartorius forced a bowl to her lips, steam swirling out of the liquid. She drank and her eyes instantly began to droop.
The four alchemists placed Alexandria upon the altar in the center of the temple; an altar which they had personally constructed. She was sitting up, but only with the help of Sartorius and Kaine. Sophia made a last brush stroke through her dark hair, then set down the brush to take a white veil, which she placed over the head of their virgin sacrifice.
Alexandria’s cloth-covered body was lowered upon the altar. She was sleeping peacefully. Kaine held the alchemy book. All gathered around the altar, with their hands outstretched over her body, except for Malveaux, who raised a sacrificial dagger into the air. He began to chant,
“No generation without corruption.
No life without death.
The blackness of putrefaction
Must precede the whiteness,
As night precedes day.”
Then the four alchemists in unison chanted, “Natura, Anima, Spirit of Perfection. Purify, Cleanse, Transmute these metals into the Philosopher’s Stone.”
Sophia closed her eyes, swaying to the sound. The intensity increased. Sartorius waved his hands above the altar symbols. The symbols began to spin. The knife of Malveaux lifted higher. It hovered for a beat above Alexandria.
Beyond them, at the top of the stairs leading to the altar, Lucien suddenly rushed into the room, crying out, “No!”
But was too late, for Malveaux drove the dagger into Alexandria, taking the life of the young woman. She convulsed. The culmination of their dark ritual was finished, and they knew they would soon become immortal creatures.
Just at the moment when they were becoming empowered, the rage of the warrior came to the fore. The chagrinned Lucien, entangled by blind rage ran up to the altar and rushed for Malveaux. Easily overtaking the frail monk, he pushed him backward. The momentum threw Malveaux back toward the railing that surrounded the altar. He fell and was impaled on the shard finial of the banister. Malveaux gagged and gasped with the metal piercing entirely through his body.
Sartorius tried to get away, but quickly spinning around, Lucien picked up a candle and flung it at him. Sartorius’ robe caught on fire, engulfing him in flames. As he burned, Lucien looked to the altar where Sophia was trying to complete the ceremony with Alexandria’s body. He approached her.
In despair, Sophia muttered with fear, “No, please don’t! No.”
But Lucien was not sedated. He reached both hands around her neck and strangled her beneath her punitive whining, “Noooooo!” Dead, he tossed her to the floor.
Lucien looked in anguish at Alexandria, who lay dead with the sacrificial knife deep in her chest. Then he looked up across the altar and saw his father glowering at him. Yanking the bloody dagger out of Alexandria’s chest, Lucien turned to face his father, who contemptuously stood his ground fearlessly placid. Had Lucien not been consumed by his terrible bombastic rage, he would have noticed that his father was eerily calm. They stared into each other’s eyes, until Lucien placed the knife upon his father’s throat for a moment, just as Thaddeus Kaine had dared him to do in their previous encounter. But his father did not wince. He simply lifted his hands in the air as if in a state of worship, a martyr pleased to accept his death. And unlike before, Lucien stabbed deeply into the throat of his own father and he fell dead.
Dropping the knife, Lucien leapt upon the altar, crawling over the lifeless body of his beloved Alexandria, and sat over her. His eyes were glued to her and already filled with the haunted, hunted look of the Nemesis. He touched her face, the lifted up his hands to shield his own as though an invisible entity were coming down upon him. And he screamed, “NOOOO!” in a voice that was not his own, but hideously demonic—the primal yell of anguished filled the entire temple.
As a result of
the conflict, Lucien, initially a young innocent, was
transformed into the embittered, tortured dark force known as the
Nemesis at the moment he watched all those whom he had trusted plunge a
dagger into his lover’s heart. Though the ceremony was incomplete,
Alexandria’s spirit was dispersed throughout the temple and remained
Four huge glass
sarcophagi beneath the temple dome were created the
moment Lucien murdered the cabal. Because they had been in the midst of
a powerful alchemical ritual, when Lucien plunged the knife into each
of their hearts, their elements (fire, water, earth, air) consumed
them. The Nemesis, realizing that these elements might be important
instruments, ripped their elements essences out of their souls by
unknown magic and placed their souls in the four sarcophagi. Although
Lucien did not know at this time the significance of these substances,
he knew that they were powerful and held the key to some form of
eternal life. He knew they could prove useful in the future. Thus he
kept these elements alive and vibrant, but hidden throughout the temple
where he presumed no one could find them. Lucien was able to keep the
souls of the four alive in their bodies, while maintaining intense
torture for them in an “eternal hell.” Lucien also smashed the four’s
alchemical device and placed the different colored fragments of their
metals in another room of the temple to be studied. Lucien could
implement only two powers—keeping the body of his lover in stasis, and
trapped the souls of the dead cabal in their sarcophagi. Still, he was
unable to find the secret of the Philosopher’s Stone or the Elixir of
Several entries in Lucien's journal detail his workings with the alchemists and their elements:
Last day of the Year of the Misuse, I’ve hidden the sources of their powers away from their control. Without them, they are unable to hold back the very elements they used to keep dominion over. (945-12-31)
I live every day with the reminder of the horror I have inflicted on the others. Their crimes were great, and I had to be judge, jury and executioner. Yet, they do not succumb to my torture. Sartorius seems the weakest, but even that bastard will not break his silence. (undated)
killed by the Second Dungeon Master in 948. Confined as a spirit within the
Temple of Agrippa, the Nemesis did not
cease to expand his knowledge of alchemy in order to resurrect both
himself and his beloved. He continued to inflict grievous tortures upon
From their sarcophagi, they will tell me nothing: I have all but ripped their throats out, so that is to be expected. How many threats can you use upon the dead? It sickens me to live here, a Daemon trapped in a temple. But I must finish their work, and fuel my hate with the power of the Quintessence. (948-11-06)
that I have stolen the four elements—Earth, Air, Fire, and Water—I have
them in this unholy temple, where they will never be found. I cannot
discovery, and have employed a great number of
machinations to assure their seclusion. (949-02-22)
Some small progress. I can now link each of my rotting alchemists with their respective signs. Malveaux has mastered the element of fire—and has made a lucrative career of fire-worship along the way. Sartorius, my mad Doctor, is Air—precisely because it is largely this element that fills his pompous brain. Kaine must have chosen earth, because his head is filled with sod and his soul is consumed with earthly things. And Sophia, mistress of the Frigid River Conservatory is water—as befits the cold hag.
I have secreted their alchemical elements away in the temple, employing, as security, a complicated series of machinations—the solutions to which I alone know. They will never be able to reclaim their powers, or their secret science. They will never be able to surpass the nefarious obstacle of the star field. They will rot; unavenged IN HELL…
Still, I find myself spending endless hours in the lab, with the shades drawn. My work with air has been frustrating thus far. I accept the irrefutable precept; that air has no color. I will keep working, alone in the dark until I find the best method of purification. But make no doubt I will possess the four elements and then the four metals. I will find the Quintessence, and forge the Eclipse. There is no hatred stronger, no power greater, than that which will be mine. (undated)
It is more difficult to forge the four alchemical metals than I first thought. I have learned, through a painful process of trial and error, that it is not safe to keep the elements in their purified form. The four are not so stupid as they look; gaining access to their secret laboratories has been a labored process. I will go drag a hot poker down Malveaux’s rotting belly and see if he cries out something helpful. (949-05-15)
I am tired of this game. I ransacked Sartorius’ laboratory today, and while blood flowed down the halls, I made little progress in my quest for his tin. I am as impatient as that stupid spy who thought any fistful of dirt, any drop of water – a spark from his fine Accardian cigar, or a mouthful of his foul breath – would constitute an element. I must return to my work with elemental Air. As I rise up to my lab and pass the twinkling star field, the blue reminds me of blue skies, a more peaceable time. But I can remember little of my life before the evil descended. Before my bloody rebirth. (949-08-25)
I ransacked the Doctor’s Asylum today and while I was letting the blood flow in his halls, I found a revealing notebook. Earth, Air, Fire and Water. Tin, Lead, Copper and Iron. Four are hidden in the Temple. For are not. If I can recover them all, I can summon the Quintessence.
But finally it will be wasted effort if I cannot discover the fifth element. I have searched many books—but philosophers disagree as to the nature of that element. The strongest power in my universe is hatred and wrath. There is nothing that cannot be tortured into existence, of that, I am certain. (949-08-25)
RESURRECTION OF THE FOUR ALCHEMISTS
A lone female pilgrim made their way to the Temple of Agrippa in 949, where the spirits of the fourl alchemists, Alexandria and Lucien were still trapped within the temple environment. Their interactions were limited. They were able to react to the pilgrim’s stimulation, but went off on their own dialogue course. The trapped spirits worked in this fashion because they were imprisoned in another dimension. Certain enchanted objects were able to invoke them, but they were not completely free. With horror, she learned that the souls of the four alchemists were entrapped in grotesque stone crypts in the temple dome room. When she first encountered the alchemists, they had almost no powers. They were trapped and tortured souls whose very spirits were being drained and sapped by Lucien. They claimed to have been entombed by a vengeful half-human creature they called the Nemesis. The four said that without her help, they would perish. She was their only chance of salvation. The pilgrim also learned that if she did not assist these trapped souls, she would suffer the same miserable fate. Each made enigmatic request in turn to search the temple for their alchemical element that would restore their strength so they could be freed from their suffering. Fire belonged to Malveaux, air to Sartorius, earth to Thaddeus Kaine, and water to Sophia. Afterward, the souls could only speak in gasps unless their life elements were brought to them.
To retrieve these elements, the pilgrim solved a series of puzzles within the Temple of Agrippa, enabling her to retrieve each of the four elements. As the each of the four elements was unearthed from their hiding places deep inside the dark recesses of the temple, each one was placed upon the temple alter where they became fused to it and could not be removed. In turn, the souls of the alchemists were temporarily revived. Each related a corrupted version of their story, donning the role of an innocent and staging the Nemesis to have been evil from the start. They also wore facades of regret and shed false tears of repentance for their acts of involving Lucien and Alexandria, which resulted in their murders at the hands of the Nemesis. Once all four were helped, the Nemesis awakened.
Dressed in a hooded robe that obscured, but did not hide his face, the Nemesis strangled Sartorius’ soul with a bolt of lighting before preparing to murder the pilgrim with a ball of fire from his fingertips. The alchemists marshaled their meager elemental powers and drove him away at the last minute, but he promised that he would return. The four captives told more of their distorted tale and implored her to travel to each of their homelands to forge the four powerful alchemical metals which would bring each of their souls to life and allow her to escape from the Nemesis’ clutches.
Their powers were still weak, and the souls of the alchemists dematerialized, leaving behind a sphere of pure gold. She use it to operate the temple orrery and transport herself to each of the four alchemists' "worlds." These were Steppinthrax Monastery, Gray Mountains Asylum, Castle Irondune, and the Frigid River Branch Conservatory. Each of the alchemists hid their practice of alchemical magic, Lucien and Alexandria’s forbidden love affair, and their larger conspiracy in a quest for eternal life. The metals were hidden from the Nemesis, and thus it took much effort for the pilgrim to discover and forge each character’s metal (a purified object that represented each of their contributions to the alchemical table).
In the process, she learned of the narrative that occurred in each of the abandoned environments through flashbacks and hallucinations. The spaces were surreal and strange, haunted by the still smoldering souls of the dead inhabitants and vibrant with memories of past events. When she touched certain powerful objects in each of the buildings, she released the energy and memories they contained. Sometimes these memories were forthright, but most were strange and disjointed, providing snippets of events she had to put together. She also heard audio hallucinations or fragments of conversations and events that took place long ago. Through these mechanisms, she was able to put together the past relationship of Alexandria and Lucien and the evil cabal.
After returning each metal, the alchemists felt as though they had been freed from debilitating torture of their earlier state. It was only after the pilgrim had found and transmuted each of the four purified metals and correctly arranged them on the temple altar, that the alchemists became enfleshed creatures will full alchemical powers. When she placed the fourth and final metal object upon the altar, she was flung backward as if she had been blown into the closest behind the altar. The doors slammed shut. When she opened the doors, she saw the four alchemists standing by the altar with their sarcophagi splintered and cracked apart.
Before her, hovering in space was a strangely luminescent liquid in a crystal vial. The four urged the pilgrim to quickly drink the so-called Elixir of Life, else they would all perish. Having experienced enough of the hallucinations within their homelands, and having unraveled the mysteries of the alchemical schemes, she already did not trust the four. When she refused to swallow the poison, they realized that she was not as stupid as they thought.
Hoping to repay Lucien with an even greater extreme of torture than he had permitted them to suffer, they summoned the Nemesis. He appeared, trapped in a glowing, alchemical force field. Lucien was enraged at what the pilgrim had done by resurrecting the four alchemists. Hoping that she may in fact be able to redeem herself, Lucien tossed a golden ring from his finger to her. As he did so, the pilgrim was thrown backward out of the temple dome room and into the cloister.
When she touched the ring, she received a hallucination of the death of Alexandria. All suspicions were thoroughly confirmed. The four souls that she thought were allies were really her enemies. Lucien, the Nemesis, was truly anguished. Dead was only a physical state, and like all metal in alchemy, may be transformed. The Circle had used this pilgrim in a last ditch effort to complete the ceremony Lucien interrupted so many years ago and made another try at eternal life. The eclipse that would be perfect for the sun and moon to join and their eternity to open drew near.
In the final confrontation between the evil alchemists, the pilgrim had to use everything she had learned about alchemy. Descending into an enormous subterranean world beneath the temple, she searched for Lucien’s and Alexandria’s metals of gold and silver. Using the proper techniques in unison with the mystical and archaic devices in the inner sanctum below, she forged the two metals into one—into the quintessence.
When she returned to the temple dome room, the alchemists were standing around the altar, chanting. The translucent, shimmering soul of Alexandria levitated above the altar’s center. As the eclipse drew towards its completion, the ceiling rent asunder and its shadowy form appeared in the sky above the altar space. At the moment that the eclipse formed, she tossed the quintessence towards the altar. In midair, a blast of light from above struck the infinity symbol and reflected into the four sarcophagi. The alchemists, realizing too late what she had done, screamed as they and their sarcophagi exploded in a blast of wind, fire, water, and earth. The process, with its permanent destruction of the four alchemists, in turn fully restored both Lucien and Alexandria to the flesh.
In an early newspaper report, was a review of Sophia’s performance. There were nice words about her appearance and style but the reviewer gave her negative comments about her playing.