Malveaux photos (A) / (B) / (C)
  Baptism of Alexandria, 926 (A) / (B) / (C) / (D)
  Malveaux & Alexandria (A) / (B)
  Listening to Alexandria, 935 (A) / (B) / (C)
  The Wedding, 945 (A) / (B)
  The Confession, 945 (A)
  The Sacrifice, 945 (A) / (B) / (C) / (D) / (E)

  949 GUE:
    Malveaux in sarcophagi (A) / (B)
    Malveaux 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)

  Malveaux's Copy of Yoruk's Book, 949 GUE

BISHOP FRANCOIS MALVEAUX

Francois Malveaux was born in Port Foozle on Oracle 10, 900 GUE. He was one of the chief cornerstones in the establishment of the curse of the Forbidden Lands which would completely devastate much of the Eastlands in the 940s. This secret circle of outwardly respectable citizens were in reality rogue alchemists—the pious Bishop Francois Malveaux, the military hero General Thaddeus Kaine, the music conservatory mistress Madame Sophia Hamilton and respected asylum chief Dr. Erasmus Sartorius. The cult was in search of the goal of alchemy: the fifth element of the quintessence, the elixir of life, the philosopher’s stone which would bring to each one immorality. But unlike traditional alchemy which teaches that it is through the distillation of metals, that the elixir can be found—this cult practiced a twisted, deviant belief. They believed that this elixir could be created, only when the final element—a drop of the most purified, rarefied blood was distilled and spilled. To achieve their goal, they would create a woman. In the process, these four would release a vengeful force known as the Nemesis which tormented innocents throughout the Eastlands.


Francois Malveaux Elected Bishop (922 GUE)
Francois Malveaux was raised in a middle-class family. His performance in school was average, but only because he did not see a reason to put in the effort. However, Malveaux discovered he had a talent for manipulating people and, at the same time, he also discovered his taste for opulence and privilege. Still, due to his poor grades, his parents sent him to the Steppinthrax Monastery to become a monk in the Zorkastrian religion.

The Zorkastrian religion was empty to Malveaux, and he sought answers beyond it. One day, exploring the catacombs beneath the Monastery, he found the journal of Saint Yoruk, who had descended into hell and then returned. From this secret text, he wrote his Zork-wide best-selling book, “Revelation and Eternity,” which thousands in Zork credit for a resurgence of interest in (and financial contributions to) the Zorkastrian religion—although some jealous critics have said it was written with the help of a demon. The book caused enough of a stir to get Malveaux elected Bishop of Zork at Steppinthrax Monastery in 922. As the youngest in history to be invested in this second highest ecclesiastical office in Zork (about 22 years of age), the book was not enough to propel Bishop Malveaux into Zork's highest office—Grand Inquisitor. That same year, Sophia Hamilton, Thaddeus Kaine and Erasmus Sartorius all read Malveaux’s book. He additionally authored "The Brogmoid Fallacies" sometime between 900~923 GUE.


Malveaux Meets Sophia Hamilton (922 GUE)
During the year of 922, the powerful bishop of the fire-based Zorkastrian religion told Sophia Hamilton about alchemy. With the determination and patience to experiment with it, and the motivation to achieve its goal of eternal life, she would become a proficient and capable alchemist. Henceforth, she continued her alchemical studies in secret with Malveaux.

Malveaux's Sickness (922~3 GUE)
Living off tithes and indulgences, Malveaux knew that he was already damned; he would never rise above his current position or stature and attain to Grand Inquisitor. Worse still, he began to suffer from a horrible disfiguring disease. This disease is described in the book “Strange Diseases of the Great Underground Empire,” in an excerpt from Chapter Seven: Of Which There is No Cure:

 
If the condition worsens—if the boils blacken, the fever climbs, and the skin begins to fester and puss, then the Alert Physic must keep a vigilant watch for the spreading of the tumors. If the tumors spread from one quarter of the body to another, then the disease can be diagnosed as systemic, which is to say, the Interior Cavern of the body is also riddled with growths various and maligned. If this is indeed the case, there is no cure. Upon desiccated human flesh, the well-working of the Physic can amount to no appeasement, and the…

 

The book goes on to explain the various stages of suffering. The first is marks on the hands. The second a hunched back. The third being robbed of the strength to even walk, requiring the use of a wheelchair. The final is being completely blanketed with welts and various disfiguring marks all over the body, requiring the victim to permanently be deposed on a cot in a ward.

Malvaeux attempted everything to cure his disease, powders and pills, pain-killers, injections, creams, herbs. He even was on Prozork. Although it appears that Erasmus Sartorius initially contacted Malveaux, the bishop’s search took him to inquire of the Doctor in regards to his sickness. Sartorius replied with this letter (922-05-07):

 
    Dear Father,

    I have investigated all the texts I can and researched extensively your disease. There is no known treatment. It begins with a simple lethargy, sometimes a small rash. It is a quiet disease. It makes no noise coming in and no noise going out.

    Sartorius

Malveaux’s reply has been lost, but a further correspondence was written from Sartorius to Malveaux (922-12-15):

 
    Dear Father,

    You must live with it. Accept the life that you have and accept the death that will come–for all of us—someday. Perhaps you would like to be included in my experimental work. If I am successful, you will be cured of every ailment you have ever suffered—there are certain risks of course.

    Sartorius

 

In a letter found in Malveaux’s file at the Asylum, Malveaux finally wrote the following reply to Sartorius (923-08-05):
 

   Dear good doctor,

   I find myself getting weaker and I find I have strange fevers which leave me sweating profusely. At nights, I burn as if on fire. I thought I would be ready for death. I have spent my life preparing for the afterlife. But in my heart I am not prepared. I am ready to do experiments, risky as they may be. My mind is open.

    Yours truly,

    F. Malveaux


It is probable that Sartorius sought to test the waters before revealing his controversial alchemical studies to the Bishop. For in the following undated journal, the Doctor, having made a collection of his father’s work, wrote about additional correspondences with Malveaux and the desire to meet with him face-to-face:

 
 Malveaux’s book on revelation is bringing people back to the fire-cult by the thousands, but I suspect there is more to the man than he lets on. The notion of fire-worship is close enough to the alchemical tenets of respect for the elements to make me suspicious. I was right to contact him. His reply was guarded, but he will open up should I pursue him further.


Here, Sartorius mentioned that Malveaux had sent him a brief piece on the Steppinthrax Monastery, which in turn the Doctor suspected to be the new center of the alchemical cabal.

 

The brochure goes on, but says little more of importance. The connections at least have become more clear. From Malveaux and the fire-worshippers of today, there is a direct line of succession back to Agrippa, Locksmoore, and perhaps through them even back to the ancient knowledge of Yoruk himself. I must go there, and learn the truth for myself.


Sartorius and Malveaux finally met at the Steppinthrax Monastery. It was then that the Bishop realized that his only salvation was in alchemy. Not only would the art give him eternal life for survival, but a chance at religious power. Thus the two began to explore the power of alchemy.


After their first meeting, Malveaux wrote, suggesting a location suitable for them to meet and discuss the powers of alchemy. What he did not know was the Sartorius had already learned about this place:


Dear Dr. Sartorius,

I believe I have stumbled onto a place of power and magic. I believe it was built by Agrippa, an engineer of the time of Duncanthrax who built the great underground highway. It appears that Agrippa shut off this temple, using it for his own rituals which I believe may have involved alchemy. I found the map of this place in the secret catacombs below this monastery. We must meet there.

Malveaux


Drawn by these legends, the two selected the Temple of Agrippa as their site of worship. Remote and forgotten by all, this temple proved to be the perfect place for discreet worship and ritual, free from the stifling restrictions of the Guild of Enchanters. Since the days of Duncanthrax, the ceiling of the hollowed out mountain where the temple dwelled had suffered from earthquake damage, exposing the earthen innards to the sky.


Sophia Meets Sartorius (924 GUE)
Malveaux, who had been collaborating with Sophia for approximately two years, decided that he would write to inform Sartorius that be believed she would be able to assist them in their endeavors (924-01-20):

 
Thank you doctor. You are truly a misunderstood genius. For the first time in many months I have hope of a life without pain. Knowing our need for further apprentices, I spoke to Madame Sophia of the Frigid River Branch Conservatory. I believe she is the perfect person to assist us in our quest.

Francois

Sartorius heeded Malveaux’s advice, and the Bishop quickly arranged to introduce Sophia to the Doctor. Afterwards, Malveaux invited Sophia to meet with them at the Temple of Agrippa. Malveaux’s correspondence to Sophia (924-02-12):

 
Dear Sophia,

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.

Father Malveaux

In response Sophia wrote 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.

The following undated letter from Malveaux to Sartorius was most likely composed after Estuary of 924:

 

Dear Erasmus,

I cannot sleep – the weight of invention pressed upon me. I believe, Doctor, that we have discovered a science – a philosophy – that will relieve of us of the binds of mortality and of our bodies. It is a science that will surely transform the world – Yoruk will praise this Great Work!

Francois


General Kaine Joins the Alchemists (924 GUE)
Although Sartorius’ doubts about uniting with Malveaux to find the quintessence were suppressed, it appears from the following letter (924-08-02), that Sartorius had not yet been convicted that Sophia was the third member to join their cabal:

 
Dear Father,

I am encouraged by your zeal in finding the quintessence. I do not mean to be discouraging but alchemists, including my father, have searched for ages for the philosopher’s stone, the elixir of life with little success. I have come to see that the quintessence cannot be created by one person. There are four elements we must master, and four metals we must purify. Much as we have found each other, we must search out two others who have the will and courage to take on this study.

S.

 
General Thaddeus Kaine was entrenched in a war against Sir Ellron and the Enchanters' Guild. Refusing to give up his ambitions, he found his answer to achieve ultimate power when his lover Sophia introduced him to Malveaux and Sartorius. Kaine was sketpical at first. He saw it as impractical and foolish, an overly spiritual belief for the weak. But when he realized that the reward for the practice could mean eternal life, riches, and power, he preserved and became an alchemist.

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 process:


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.


In turn, each of the four took responsibility for one of the elements and began to study it intensively. In addition, each had a mystical sign, indicating planet, and took upon themselves a certain metal. Malveaux's element was fire, his metal was lead, his planet Saturnax, and his zodiac nabiz.


Sartorius Finds a Host (925 GUE)
At the beginning of 925 GUE, Sartorius, in his quest for creating the pure spirit, sought a host for the birth of their virgin from amongst his own patients at the Gray Mountains Asylum, Alexandria Wolfe. The Doctor wrote to Malveaux:

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.


Zoe was taken into the Surgical Theater with Sartorius and Malveaux on the 20th Level of the Asylum where she was placed on a treatment table.


Sartorius in surgical garb puttered, setting up his equipment while Malveaux looked on. Although Sartorius claimed that Kaine had volunteered to assist in the conception, it does not appear that he was able to attend.

Zoe weakly protested, grieved and convicted, “Please, I can’t. It’s…a sin. It’s wrong.”

Malveaux was comforting. “Never. Your child will be conceived in purity.”

“How…?”

“Miraculously. Divinely. And the child? Her destiny will be great.”

Zoe began to clam as Malveaux’s words worked their soothing magic.

“Yes,” he continued. “And your name will be blessed, for bringing this child to the Great Empire.”

Sartorius turned towards the table, holding a syringe, prepared for the artificial insemination. Malveaux, barely able to repress a wince, spoke softly to her, “It’s time.”

Zoe saw what was coming, but her trust in Malveaux was strong. Summoning up her courage, she laid down. Sartorius stepped forward with the nasty syringe.

“Relax, dear,” Sartorius spoke calmly and prepared for his injection into her belly.


It is uncertain if Sartorius had sexual relations with Zoe Wolfe and impregnated her prior to the syringe injection, or if it was the medical techniques alone that injected some sort of purified sperm into an unfertilized egg already present. Regardless, Sartorius used a special technique to ensure that this child would be the perfect specimen for their alchemical ritual.




Birth of Alexandria Wolfe (925 GUE)
As the birth of the child of purity grew near, Sartorius contacted Malveaux reminding him of his task involving her upbringing. This letter was discovered in the Steppinthrax Monastery (925-05-15):

Dear Malveaux,

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.

Dr. Sartorius


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.”


And thus, Alexandria Wolfe was born under the perfect connection of stars and moon. Her mother, Zoe Wolfe, died in the asylum soon afterward under mysterious circumstances; it was later confirmed that Sartorius had murdered her.

Seeking to have Alexandria brought up in the Steppinthrax Monastery to be raised in an environment where her purity and progress could be carefully monitored and controlled, Malveaux feared that he would not be allowed to house her in the exclusively male institution. Thus he fabricated a plausible tale that, as a baby, she had been left on the local monastery’s doorstep, the illegitimate daughter of a peasant, and contacted the Grand Inquisitor. In an undated rough draft of a letter found in the Monastery, Malveaux sought to ensure that permission would be granted to raise her beneath his oppressive oversight:

The Monastery has in its spirit of generosity and good will accepted the responsibility of raising a small child, an orphan, who were it not for us would be left to die and rot. I hope this meets with the Inquisitor’s approval.


In an undated letter found in the Monastery, the Grand Inquisitor wrote back to Malveaux:

I was much moved by your tale of the orphan child. As a result, in a spirit of good will, I have agreed to grant your request. You may take this baby and raise her until she reaches maturity.

    Yoruk be with you,

    The Grand Inquisitor



The Baptism of Alexandria (926 GUE)
Malveaux, having been given the authority to house Alexandria at the Steppinthrax Monastery, invited the remainder of the cabal to participate in the infant’s baptism ceremony in 926:


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.


Alexandria was then carefully raised by Malveaux as an orphan, with a focus on ensuring her purity, singing music of the spheres to ensure that Alexandria would be cleansed. It was certain that she was born with a musical gift. From the age of three, as she grew under the loving, yet controlling hand of Bishop Francois Malveaux, Alexandria would have a genius for melody. Strong-willed, defiant, and iconoclastic, she would learn to play the violin. What Malveaux did not expect was that he would grow to love Alexandria as his own child.


Decision to Bring Alexandria to the Frigid River Branch Conservatory (c. 935 GUE)
At the age of 10, Alexandria was thin, waif like, with unsettling eyes and pale skin. Her primary focus had been upon her violin performance and strict morality. Her innocence over the course of her childhood is depicted in the following undated diary entries:

Dear Diary,

I wonder where my mommy is. All I have left of her is this locket. Father says if I am good, I will get to see her one day in heaven.


And in another undated entry, she wrote about the six notes of the Harmony of the Spheres:

Sometimes I hear these in my head. Father says they are divine.


Now that Alexandria was reaching a mature age, the Grand Inquisitor believed that it was inappropriate for a woman to be dwelling amongst the ascetic order at Steppinthrax. Thus he wrote this undated letter to Malveaux:

I have been tolerant of the abomination of a young girl in a monastery only because of your pleas and assurances that she is receiving a strong moral upbringing. It has been called to my attention, that now being a woman, she has become a distraction and a potential temptress to the other monks. She must leave at once.


Seeking an alternative placement for Alexandria, so that she would not topple out of the oversight of the alchemists, Malveaux sought to have her transferred to the Frigid River Branch Conservatory and the watchful eye of Sophia Hamilton. The Bishop wrote this undated letter to the headmistress:

The Grand Inquisitor has commanded that I remove Alexandria from the monastery. With her talent for music, I think it would be good for me to transfer her to your conservatory.


Although it appears there was a missing correspondence between Malveaux and Sophia, a letter shows her favorable reply (935-01-16):

Dearest Malveaux,

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.

Yours truly,

Sophia.


Upon Sophia’s approval, Malveaux informed the Grand Inquisitor that arrangements had been made to send her elsewhere. He sent the following undated reply to the Bishop:

As Alexandria has grown into a young woman and a talented musician, you will be sending her to the conservatory for her training and education.


Father Malveaux had not anticipated that he would grow to treat Alexandria as his own daughter. On a certain day after sharing with her that she would be leaving the Monastery, he listened to her perform a violin piece in her bedroom:

Reposed in a lush velvet chair, he watched her play, concentrating deeply on the music before her, “Harmony of the Spheres Concerto for Violin and Orchestra.” His long, healthy, well-groomed tresses framed a plump face; he was a pampered man. A huge ruby ring glittered on his manicured hand. There was a harsh look on his soft face, contrasting sharply with the soothing music of the strings. When Alexandria noticed his disturbance, she ceased suddenly and with concern asked, “Father?”

Trying to put on a fašade of peace, Malveaux smiled benignly at her and replied, “Your music was lovely, Alexandria. Like the harmony of the spheres.” He opened an arm, inviting her to come to him.

While heeding his beckons, she sat on his knee, setting aside her violin, “Then why does it make you so unhappy?”

He placed on arm around the precious child, drawing her close and smoothing her shining hair. He looks into her eyes while she smoothed his hair. “I was thinking how much I am going to miss it…” A world of regret, pain, and guilt flickered for a nanosecond in his eyes, and then it was gone. “…when you’ve gone.”

“Why can’t you visit me at the Conservatory?” she asked, looking sorrowful.

He shook off the mood. “I can.”

“And,” there was a grin, “since I’m never getting married…”

“Oh.” His smile broadened. “You’re sure you destiny is a nunnery?”

Alexandria smiled back and nodded confidently. “I can come back here and play for you. Until you’re old and feeble and totally deaf. Forever and ever.”

Malveaux tapped her on the nose, and then seeing that distant thing in his mind’s eye, lost his smile. “Amen, my child.”


But it would be approximately two years before the Frigid River Branch Conservatory would be Alexandria’s new home.


Alexandria Enrolled at the Frigid River Branch Conservatory (937~940)
Having kept Alexandria at the Monastery for two years after the Grand Inquisitor demanded that she depart, the time finally arrived for Malveaux to send her away. A letter composed by Malveaux (937-10-15):

Dear Sophia-

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.

Fondly,

Malveaux.


In 938, at the age of 13, Alexandria was brought to the Conservatory. An early undated letter which Alexandria addressed to Malveaux:

Dear father, I am enjoying my time here. Sophia seems to have taken a liking to me and treats me very well. I am composing much music, although my teachers say it is extreme and too unconventional for their taste. I find it is the only way I am able to play. Take care of yourself and do not worry about me.


An undated letter to Malveaux from Sophia:

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.


An undated letter in 939, from Sophia to Malveaux:

Dearest Malveaux,

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.

Sophia


Alexandria’s Perturbation (941~2 GUE)
Alexandria engaged in several public violin recitals. She composed this letter to Malveaux:

Dear Father,

I miss you. Madame Sophia seems to be paying much attention to me. She believes that in my soul, I possess the very power of music, and with practice I will find the precious notes which are the “Harmony of the Spheres.” I’m not so sure. Everyone believes my music is strange. Do you think me strange? I know I am lonely.

Always missing you,

Alexandria


She also wrote to Malveaux on a separate occasion her perturbing dreams:

I can’t sleep anymore. I hear music in my dreams. In my dreams, I see water spilling out of pipes and tidal waves sucking me down. In my bones, I feel that something wrong is going on. Are you alight? I am worried about you. Have you been seeing Dr. Sartorius? I hope his treatments are working. Please write and let me know that everything is fine.



Alexandria Meets Lucien Kaine (943 GUE)
Following her Oracle 15, 943 performance of “Harmony of the Spheres” she met Lucien Kaine, who lit a flame that illuminated the empty spaces in her life. But not all as well. 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. Sophia urged Kaine to keep his son away from Alexandria.


At the same time, Alexandria joyfully contacted Malveaux (943-05-01):

Dear father,

I’ve met someone and for the first time in months I feel optimistic about the future. I sleep. I dream. His name is Lucien Kaine, and he is the one person, except for you, who seems to understand my music. When around him I don’t have to apologize for who I am or what I believe. I’ve finally found my kindred spirit, as you always promised I would.

Be happy for me!

your Alexandria.


Although the four alchemists feared that the untamed Lucien would despoil their virgin of purity, they delved even deeper into their dark arts, drawing nearer to solving the mystery of the quintessence.

A letter from Malveaux to Sartorius:

Sartorius-

I have recently come into possession of a most unusual relic, a mirror know among Zorkastrians as the Implementor’s Eye. Like an ancient seerstone, it alters the words of the faithful to illuminate hidden truths. Hopefully, it will expedite my attempts to refine the alchemical essence of Iron. Perhaps Yoruk takes pity on this old, sickly monk, and sends help at last.

-Malveaux


A letter from Sartorius to Malveaux:

Malveaux,

I am familiar with the old school of alchemy although not much remains on it. They believed that pure love was the 5th element and only the pure of heart could evil distill it. My father and I have refuted that na´ve, albeit charming, philosophy. Read this-

S.


A dream of Malveaux, as related in his personal journal:

Last night I dreamt of a nightmarish ride through the impoverished classes. The dream haunts me. I am dazed by the dirt and sheer noise. My coach trips over and the crowd closes in on me life an Egg, crushing me like the grip of Earth. Their spit burns me like the Fire of emotion. Despair fills me—and then—Air. Sweet, sweet Air clears away the crowds. Is this a sign of my fallen state, or simply my Work?



The Alchemists Fear Lucien (944 GUE)
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):

Dearest Madame,

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.

Father Malveaux


In the meantime,
Thaddeus Kaine diligently and ferociously tried numerous ventures to force his son Lucien away from Alexandria, but the romance between the two lovers intensified, such as is seen in this undated letter:

Lucien,

I love you. Have I written you that today? I’m distracted and playing quite horribly. I have been having nightmares again, the same ones. My father is performing some Zorkastrian fire ritual, and the flames leap up, higher and higher, until they devour him. He screams in pain but I cannot move. Then the sky grows dark and I cannot see the sun. I don’t know what it means. I know I worry as his illness worsens. Come tonight. I am afraid.

Alexandria



The Concerns About Lucien and Alexandria Deepen (944 GUE)
The following letter is jus tone of Malveaux's attempts to encourage Alexandria to keep away from Lucien and cleave to purity (944-09-01). It is likely in reply to a lost correspondence sent by Alexandria to Malveaux detailing her frustrations at Sophia’s attempts to keep her away from Lucien.

My dear girl,

Please do not be upset. Madame Sophia wants only the best for you. You will always be my child, my only family. But you must always remember that you are one of those people for whom life has chosen a special destiny. We all believe in your magical talent. Be pure of heart and spirit, and I shall always be

your loving father


In an undated letter found at the Steppinthrax Monastery, Sophia wrote to Malveaux:

Malveaux;

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…

Sophia


The undated 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.



Decision to Marry (945 GUE)
Lucien began to suspect that there was something greater going on with his father than he first thought. Judging from the nature of a few correspondences between Alexandria and Lucien, the two lovers began to understand that some sort of conspiracy or scheme was going on behind their backs that was deeper than either of them would have anticipated.

Alexandria later wrote to Malveayx regarding her decision to marry Lucien (945-05-22):

Father,

You are the only one I can confide in. The girls here are gossipy and jealous. They think I am strange—and I must say, I agree. I don’t fit in here. I have tried over and over to play the sappy and boring music they find fitting. I have tried to be sweet, I have tried to care—but I don’t. There is something strange going on and I have to get out of here. It is best. Lucien wants to marry me. And I want to marry him. Please understand that this is right for me. I know that you will. We will come to you at the next full moon. Marry us and give us your blessing for the future. I know your concern for “purity of the spirit” but remember, not all of us are destined to marry Yoruk and live in a Monastery.

    A.


Almost immediately after, Alexandria wrote to Lucien. This letter was discovered at Castle Irondune:

You are right. Something is going on. We must leave. I wrote Father, telling him everything and asking him to marry us. Father will miss me, but he’ll understand. We will escape to the Westlands. I’m not frightened, Lucien; I know everything will be all right, if I am with you. Does that sound childish? I’ve never felt more a woman—and I am, as always,

    your Alexandria



The Alchemists Respond (945 GUE)
In an undated letter found in the Monastery, Kaine wrote to Malveaux:

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.


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):

Dr. Sartorius,

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.

Soon, Doctor.

    Sophia


A letter discovered at the Frigid River Branch Conservatory, in response to the above:

Madame Sophia,

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—

    Sartorius


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.


The Wedding of Lucien and Alexandria (945 GUE)
Adamantly refusing to heed the warnings of Sophia, Alexandria travelled to the Steppinthrax Monastery to elope with Lucien. An anonymous letter was hastily written and delivered to Thaddeus Kaine, hoping that it would do something to prevent the anticipated union:

Your son will try to elope with A tonight. Come to St. Yoruk’s at once!


Leaving the note in his bedroom, Kaine hasted for the Monastery with two of his armed soldiers.

That night, Malveaux stood with Alexandria and Lucien in the cathedral of the Monastery, unaware fully of the conspiracy transpiring around them.

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.

“For what?”

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!?”



Final Preparations (945 GUE)
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 to Kaine:

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.

–S


Kaine’s 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, two undated correspondences between the Bishop and Doctor show the state of Malveaux’s sickness and the urgency he would display when writing Sophia. The first, from Sartorius to Malveaux:

Based on all that, I can see you are in some kind of remission. This is a devious, dexterous diseased. It is smarter than we know. But the players are smarter. Trust in all we have done, trust in the prima material. Eternal life will be ours.


And another from Sartorius:

X-ray results reveal that the disease is beginning to spread again. The time of the Great Experiment is nearly upon us. Keep up your hopes.


Thus when Malveaux wrote his reply to Sophia, the further development of his disease is 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.


Sometime prior to Sartorius’ final departure for the Temple of Agrippa, this undated letter, which was discovered at the Gray Mountains Asylum, was sent to the Doctor:

Good Doctor,

Since your cure, my son has kept something of his Magic Eye. He still sees things that cannot be seen, and for a fortnight he has wept for you day and night. He begged me to write you a warning.

     There is a great evil waiting for you. You will soon be dead, he cries, the Asylum destroyed, your great work unfinished. He fears powers have been disturbed, and the innocent will pay. Good luck, Doctor. May Yoruk be with you.

    —S.J.M.



The Confession
The precise date of this event is unknown, though it appears to correlate with Malveaux’s writhing convictions against the upcoming sacrifice of Alexandria. This it seems appropriate to place the Bishop’s night of confession here, where he sat in his room in the Steppinthrax Monastery, holding in his hand a medallion.

The only light came from the oil lamp which casted a warm glow on his face, the medallion, and the photograph of Alexandria.

“A lifetime for some…” He smiled sadly. “A lifetime fashioning a desperate hope, immortality.” His smile gave way to a grimace of emotional pain. He ripped off the medallion with a guttural cry and threw it at the floor. “I can’t! Not at this cost! Hell is better!” He was beat and desperate. “But… I can still pray for forgiveness.”

He put a hand on a carved chair to steady himself, then lowered himself to his knees, shut his eyes and muttered incoherently for a few beats. “Pardon my sins. Avarice, sloth, envy, lust…” His urgent look gave way to blank despair as he realized how numerous were his sins, how profound his fall. His eyes opened. “…deceit, greed, gluttony, unnatural desires, impure thoughts, stealing…” He gazed at some inner vision of hell. He knew his resolve was beaten. Still kneeling, he reached for the medallion. It was too late to turn back. He rose. Sounding like he was still talking to God, he concluded. “Forgive me.”


And thus the alchemists set out to abduct Alexandria and bring her to the Temple of Agrippa to be sacrificed. Her body was useless; it was her spirit that they required. In the meantime, Lucien escaped from the Irondune prison and made his way for the Temple.

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 trapped within.

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 Life. 

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)

Lucien was 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 the four.
 

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)

Now that I have stolen the four elements—Earth, Air, Fire, and Water—I have hidden them in this unholy temple, where they will never be found. I cannot risk their discovery, and have employed a great number of deadly lively 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.