Thaddeus, Elizabeth, Lucien, 920 GUE
Kaine posing, age 24, 923 GUE
Kaine with dog, age 24, 924 GUE
Plaque in Conservatory
Baptism of Alexandria, 926 (A) / (B) / (C) / (D)
Sophia & Kaine (A) / (B) / (C) / (D)
The Painting of Alexandria, 944 (A)
The Sword, 944 (A) / (B) / (C) / (D) / (E) / (F)
The Wedding, 945 (A) / (B) / (C) / (D)
The Sacrifice (A) / (B) / (C) / (D) / (E)
(F) / (G) / (H) / (I) / (J)
Kaine in sarcophagi (A) / (B)
Kaine implores the pilgrim (A) / (B) / (C)
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)
The Ceremony defeated (A) / (B) / (C)
Ellron's men attack Irondune
Plans for two unknown battles fought by Kaine:
I have found some items pertinent to your excellent collection—the most remarkable weapons of assassinations—a sword that masks as a snake, and a clever cannon disguised as a cat. Lord Flathead himself commissioned the menagerie of arms to prove his compassion for animals runs as deep as his nature is violent. I will arrange a showing at your convenience.
I have enclosed a check for 500,000 zorkmids to be used in the pursuit of religious ideals. I hope you and your chapter will find it valuable. I would like this to be considered an anonymous donation, although I would appreciate a receipt for tax purposes.
Sophia tells me you have been having some financial troubles as the medical establishment has sought to shut down your fine institution. In the spirit of supporting a medical and research facility, I hereby include a check for 500,000 zorkmids. Please be discreet in allowing information about this donation to be disseminated although I would appreciate a receipt for tax purposes.
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.
Your refusal to acknowledge the persistent inquiries from myself and my attorneys leave me little choice but to appeal to the authority of King Syovar. I believe that I have the evidence that will allow me to resume my rightful claim to the border regions between the former Aragain and Desert River Provinces and that I will carry the day in all other matters. The time for compromise had ended.
Your pathetic attempts to harness the lethal magic of Thaddium were futile. The Guild is now supporting my cause and we have something far more powerful than Thaddium. In five years, your precious Irondune will be nothing more than dust blowing in a wasteland, and your men as weak and womanish as your own Lucien.
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.
I am pleased that you have joined us in our quest for the meaning of all life. In answer to your inquiry, the process of distillation of alchemy is essential to its success. All alchemical processes must involve the presence of earth, air, water and fire which are used to distill the essence of the metal or substance. This is important. The order of the processes, the colors that result are part of the mystery revealed through experimentation.
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.
I have found the perfect specimen. On the day of the solar eclipse we will be ready. Kaine has volunteered to assist in the conception.
The Enchanters’ Guild is gaining strength in their power and magic. They have formed a unified coalition and I am losing control of the Westlands. I believe Lord Ellron is now under their control. I can no longer rely on the magic of the scroll.
Since the destruction of the GUE, the barbarians have begun their massive invasions in the north. The Quendoran military force is suffering under their attacks. I have been made aware of the presence of Thaddium in your vicinity and of a particular invention which may assist me in my battles. Whatever you require to fund your experiment, I will gladly provide.
-Syovar, Vice Regent and General of the Royal Quendoran Army
Birth of Alexandria Wolfe (925
As we discussed, I will bring her to you one week after birth, with a nurse who will raise her through her early years. In this way her education in purity and religion will be insured. Do not underestimate the importance of your task. Her spiritual progress and the purification of her soul is essential to the process. She will be a gift to all mankind.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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—
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.
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.
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.
I have seen him outside the school. I know something is going on. She has become increasingly defiant and rebellious.
Dr. I am writing concerning an uncomfortable matter. My son, Lucien, has been behaving strangely. It appears he is infatuated with Alexandria and nothing I say or do can deter him. He is close to fanatical about the subject—spends days in a room painting her image over and over. He is obsessed. We have never had any such behavior in the Kaine family and I am unclear how to handle him. If his mother were still alive, she would know how to handle matters of the heart. As for myself, I have no solution. Please I ask for your help and recommendations.
I conducted a careful examination of Lucien and have found that he is a deeply troubled man who most likely should be institutionalized and subject to my ecstatic-shock therapy. The sooner you bring him, the more likely we will be able to stop his deviant obsessions.
By the way, thank you for your generous donation. Finally I meet someone from the community who understands true brilliance.
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?
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…
I have long dwelt on the power of air, but not considered it as a source of Purification. At such velocities as your blueprints describe, I feel sure it would tear impurities from even the very core of evil. I am certain none but the purest metal could withstand it. Destruction of purity. A perfect solution.
Still, I have some misgivings. Before Air, your plans suggest the simultaneous combination of forces of Fire, Water and Earth. This must necessarily be an explosive combination, but not an impossible problem. I have long experimented with injection unmolding for limb replacement. As long as the mold is inserted into the case holding before applying heat, my experiments have been successful.
The Alchemists Fear Lucien (944 GUE)
…temperature at which you attempt to cast metal. Casting at too cool of a temperature is useless. Casting with too intense of heat and have fatal results, of which proof is my recently destroyed laboratory in Fenshire.
I paint, I write, I draw and I miss you. My father wants me to join his army in their fight against the Enchanter’s Guild and Ellron. He’s been our nemesis for so long, I feel I know him intimately. Magic, powers and politics, When did they get so complicated and corrupt? My father says he fights in the name of honor and truth. No truth I know of. Medicine, Education, Law and Religion: they mean nothing to me. My only trust is you and your music.
Kaine entered, approaching his son and examined the painting. Lucien sat, jaw clenched, daring for his father to speak.
“Is this your imagination or your memory?” Kaine inquiring of the painting.
Lucien hesitated. Kaine figured he had made the right conclusion. He “hemmed.”
“The archbishop would take a very dim view of your bedding his daughter.”
“I want to marry her,” Lucien returned.
Kaine had amused indifference. “An orphan, without a name?”
“She can have mine.”
Though speaking in a tone of camaraderie, Kaine knew he was being ugly in the subtext. “Let me ask you something. It was easy, am I right? She gave herself to you? It was even her idea, perhaps?”
The slur his father put on her character angered Lucien. If this had been anyone but his father… His voice was menacing. “Don’t talk about her like that.”
“Go ahead, amuse yourself, if you must. For Godsakes, be discreet.”
He turned passionate, threatening.
“But remember this,” Kaine added. “She will never have your name.”
I am missing twenty sacks of gunpowder. How can I defeat my enemies abroad when Irondune itself is not secure? Look into it.
I don’t know what to make of Lucien’s odd behavior—painting pictures of naked women and then hiding them on his own easel.
He’s becoming a man, with a man’s freewill. But what of my missing gunpowder and supplies? Am I to tolerate insurrection in the name of my son’s independence?
It seems as if he wants nothing better than to irritate me. Much more of this and I will be forced to send him to his mother in Antharia.
This is to certify that:
By the powers vested by the Authority of Syovar, General of the Royal Quendoran Army, you are hereby drafted into the ranks of the Military forces of the Desert River Regiment.
General Thaddeus Kaine,
Desert River Regiment
Lucien sat in a corner near the fireplace of the Irondune ballroom sketching a violent scene. Thaddeus, dressed in battle gear, approached his son. In one scabbard on Kaine’s waist was a sword, in another short scabbard also hung a dagger. He pulled the sword from the scabbard and offered it to Lucien.
Lucien continued to paint without even glancing at his father, faintly indicating “no”.
In disgust, Kaine threw Lucien’s sword to the ground. “You should be with me. You belong by my side.”
Lucien painted calmly, eyes still intently pinned away from his father.
“Children draw pictures. Men fight.”
There was still no response from Lucien.
With greater disgust, Kaine spoke outright, “If you didn’t sleep with the archbishop’s daughter, I wouldn’t even know you were a man.”
Lucien was riled. He raised his eyes to his father’s. “I don’t want you to talk about her.”
Kaine was amused at the anger that had ignited in his son. He sought to fan it further, “Who? Your whore? Maybe I’ll try her myself.”
Unable to contain his rage in spite of his father’s heavy insults, Lucien leapt to his feet, knocking over his easel. He grabbed the dagger from Kaine’s belt as he knocked him to the floor. He forced the blade to his father’s throat, pinning him down.
“Finish,” Kaine demanded, in a commingling of anger and fear.
“Father, I’m…” The shocked Lucien could barely force the words through his mouth.
Ashamed at himself, he relaxed the weapon, but Kaine put his hand to the dagger tip, keeping it held in place. The father showed his teeth in a wolfish smile.
“I said, finish it!”
Kaine pressed the dagger into his own flesh, drawing blood. But Lucien, fighting against the desire to lash out as his father, withdrew the dagger from his throat, got up and walked away. Kaine was left on the floor, panting for breath, still gripping the sword at his side.
I have decided that you will be joining me on the hunt next week. I think you will come to appreciate the art of the sport. We don’t have much time to prepare. You don’t seem to have any kind of knife of your own, so I thought you might make something of my old broken one. There’s no scabbard for it—any empty one will do.
…it’s just that I don’t understand your relationship with your father. If you don’t believe in Kaine’s wars, if you won’t fight his battles, just tell him. Don’t sabotage his campaign against Ellron, and don’t steal from him. He is a good man, who has raised a good son. You must know he loves you, as do I, your devoted.
There is something going on with my father. I thought it was something to do with Thaddium and his battles with Ellron. Now I suspect it is far more dangerous than that. He says little of his latest invention, only that it involves pure lead—and it is very dangerous. My father would not harm us, but I fear he cannot save us either. You once said you wanted to explore the Empire, voyage across the Great Sea. Come with me.
Alexandria, we must get out of here. I don’t know what is going on but I believe my father is involved. I don’t know what they want…
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.
While there is no cause to be alarmed, I do believe that Lucien may be planning to elope with Alexandria. He left me a note alluding to his leaving and he has been suspicious as of late.
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.”
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.
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—
Your son will try to elope with A tonight. Come to St. Yoruk’s at once!
Besides the three, the room was bare of occupants. The couple’s beaming faces glistened with love for one another. Neither was dressed in anything expensive for the wedding—both suits proclaimed casual formality and nothing of glamour. Lucien was in his normal garments, while the black dress and flowers of Alexandria reflected the haste with which their plans were made, as well as her strange imagination. Malveaux gripped a holy book in one hand.
Alexandria had a moment of intimacy with Malveaux, while Lucien waited at the altar. She teased him, much like when she was but a young girl. “Today you’re my father and my priest. You have to give me away, and then you have to marry me.”
Malveaux seemed distracted as though his mind was possessed by other things and that she was a little annoying. “Alexandria, your mind is always working…”
She kissed his cheek and then joined Lucien. He grasped her left hand with both of his.
“This is an extraordinary day,” Alexandria spoke, radiantly jubilant.
“As befits my extraordinary child.” Malveaux took his place before the two at the front of the cathedral. Then, opening his book, he continued, “Now… It’s time for us to begin. Under the fire of Yoruk...”
Suddenly the doors burst open. The shout of Thaddeus Kaine reverberated throughout the vast cathedral. “No, I think actually it’s time for all this to finally end.”
Turning, the couple spied Lucien’s father marching into the room, flanked by two Irondune soldiers. They walked briskly towards the front. Kaine gestured and the two soldiers apprehended the befuddled Lucien, who could only reply almost stunned, “What are you doing?”
“You’re being arrested,” Kaine returned coldly, and disturbingly placid.
As the two soldiers dragged Lucien before his father, wide-eyed Alexandria protested hysterical, “Leave him alone!”
Without much of a struggle, Lucien broke free from the soldiers and adamantly stated, “I’m not going anywhere.”
Kaine wordlessly retaliated with a strong slap across Lucien’s face. The two soldiers again restrained Lucien and ushered him forcibly towards the doorway.
Alexandria shouted, “Please, stop!! Leave him alone. Lucien!!” Dauntless, she tried to run after Lucien, but Kaine blocked her with his big body. She stared directly into the eyes of the stringent, ill-tempered man and straightforwardly asked, “Why are you doing this?”
Countering with an icy, unsympathetic stare that pierced the depths of her soul, Kaine set his back to her and tromped down the hallway without explanation.
Turning around, Alexandria yelled, “Father, help me!” But Malveaux had vanished. Desperately she looked around the room. Confused and betrayed, she could barely force the words past her numbing lips, “Father!?”
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.
Ellron is at my gates, threatening to destroy the little power I have left. You are right—we must act now.
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