"Look, they'll pay for her. You need to feed the kids? They'll pay for a body."
"Get away from me!"
"I know you don't wanna hear it...but she's gone now, she's not here. And those Alchemists have a wagon in town, I saw it this morning. They'll give you gold. If you really loved her, you'll take care of the kids, whatever it takes. She can still help you do that."
- a bereaved local and his neighbor, circa 7500 AC
The Alchemists were assembled in the wake of the Aeternum
's rise to power. At first, the divine emperor's research department was made up of Archivists
alone. He soon realized that the Great Library
and the endless cataloging and exploration of the books inside would be taking up most of their time. A new division was needed, solely dedicated to probing the science of the physical world.
Looking for another building of similar size and fabled glory, the Aeternum settled upon the Cathedral of the Imprisoned Champion
that stood by the Sunlit Sea
. It was rechristened as the First Hall of Alchemists
, and was quickly filled to capacity by some of the greatest minds the Seven Kingdoms
There is a special 'school' dedicated to every branch of science, both Natural and Formal. The idea behind this is that, while the members may be geniuses in and of their own right, there is no end to what science can teach. These schools are run by their Head Researcher
(called the Boffin by his peers), whose primary duty is to ensure that each and every member is doing their utmost to expand the number of scientific tools at the disposal of the Aeternum. It is extremely important to please the Head Researcher, since he has the power to expel anyone he deems is wasting time.
Besides the basic schools, there exists a Department of Affairs
, made up of twelve individuals who manage accounting, public relations, and the procurement of supplies.
There is also a small group of hopeful applicants, many of whom end up 'stumbling' into experiments and becoming unfortunate parties to them...often ending with permanent disfigurement, brain damage, or complete fatality.
At the top of this is the hierarchy is the Council of Five.
These wise and venerable men and women are not only scientists, but generals who answer directly to the Aeternum and are ever mindful of his political bent. They ensure that the Alchemists always serve their emperor's various needs for conquest and control.
Interestingly enough, there are two ways to rise in the ranks of the Alchemists. One of these is to be a person of financial substance. In this way an Alchemist may purchase a comfortable position in the Middle to Upper echelons. The position is precarious, however, as the scientific engine is never one to rest on its laurels, and being a useful contributor to the agenda is a far better protection than gold.
The other way to rise in the ranks, for poor and rich alike, is to have a veritable intellect and a healthy ability to invent and adapt. These are the ones who will gain the approving eye of the Council, and perhaps their name will even reach the ear of the Aeternum himself.
The goal of the Alchemists is always to further science in ways that can assist the Aeternum. Biological warfare, poisons, weapons, magic...all of these are richly funded and rewarded by the Emperor. There are some sects devoted to bettering the life of the common man, but only because the sick and dead are not very satisfying to rule. They are not as well funded.
Above the Law
The Alchemists, like their brother Archivists, are the only individuals allowed to bend and break the laws of the state. They are universally granted the power of deciding for themselves how to handle a situation. It can be a dangerous gift, as sometimes the Emperor disagrees with their decision and may take disciplinary action.
Whatever the end state, all civic and military forces at both the national and local level must grant assistance when asked, and submit themselves to the authority of the Alchemists. This can be particularly distasteful, such as when an Alchemist discovers a rich mineral deposit under a village and orders the town immolated, or when the search for cadavers leads him to demand assistance in harvesting a local graveyard for corpses.