First Hall of Alchemists
once a great cathedral, now an altar of science
History Before the invasion and subsequent conquest of the Aeternum, the First Hall of Alchemy was a church known as the Cathedral of the Imprisoned Champion. It was a place of extreme cultural and religious significance to those of the Old Faith. It sat on the edge of a massive body of water, with many fair pavilions, balconies, and open-air galleries that looked directly out over the Sunlit Sea. More importantly than the sea, however, was a salt spring that was protectively enclosed by the high walls of the courtyard. This was known as the Pool of Sorrows, and was revered as the place where the Lone God, disguised as a man, mourned his sons. Knowing that one son had betrayed him and the other had given up everything for their little brothers and sisters, the Lone God supposedly wept to honor the Younger Ethelen for forcing himself and his brother beyond the Ura, locked into eternal combat forever. This was the meaning behind the name of the Cathedral...it was to honor Alaron, the Child of Burden. Baptisms were carried out here, season in and season out. The faithful flocked from the four corners of the Seven Kingdoms, eager to touch the tears of the bereaved god and to mourn his son who had helped to save them. One of the most interesting features of the Cathedral were the ten Sentinels, gigantic statues that lined the outer walls. Each of them were three hundred feet tall, made of solid stone and shaped like knights in full armor. They had been created long ago by a team of six hundred men, under the leadership of a magician and scientist by the name of Eldinar Fathombright. His promise was that the knights could be magically animated to protect the Cathedral in time of need. He failed to deliver on this promise as he was never able to bring them to life.
"Alaron was a Champion, and this is the closet thing to a memorial that we can give him. His father chose this place. Although it will be a pitiful offering, I can't help but think my stone Sentinels might make fitting guardians for the tomb of the Ethelen." - Eldinar Fathombright, pitching his half-baked idea circa 2493 AC.Present-Day In 6040 AC, six years after the conquest by the Aeternum, the Cathedral stood empty. All its priests had been slain, and its relics and books had either been burned, delivered to the occupied Library, or spirited away by courageous members of the Old Faith. The Alchemists, a subdivision of the Archivists, was assigned to take up residence in the Cathedral and repurposed it into a useful institution. As the scientific branch of the Aeternum's government, they quickly set about inventing ways to harness the power of the tide, experimenting with the chemicals found along the shore, and of course spending a good deal of their efforts trying to successfully animate the Sentinels. They have not as yet succeeded but, if they do, the Aeternum's control of the continent is all but assured. As for the Pool of Sorrows, it has been left to nature and time. While the walkways around the spring and the statues and the gardens have fallen into disuse, the courtyard wall itself has several holes and fissures left by the original violent takeover. True believers and the superstitious will make the trip to sneak their infants into the salty water, but the risk is great and the trespassers grow fewer in number every year.