An alchemist is normally not very normal as people go, or so most people might think. An alchemist works with everyday minerals, metals and miscellaneous, trying to mix and match and mash them together in order to form a more perfect union. No, no, I don’t think any of our founding fathers were alchemists in the pristine sense of the word; maybe they were philosophically, but that’s another topic.
Alchemists generally work alone. Their friends think they are crazy, or at least smelly. They do work with some rather foul substances in their dimly lit dungeon-like laboratories. There seems to be a lot of potentially dangerous chemicals, not to mention risky magic associated with the sort of alchemy associated with the Medieval practitioners who work in rather primitive settings.
Modern alchemist (yes, there are lots of modern alchemists; they’ve just dropped the ‘al’ off the word), on the other hand, usually work in safer conditions constructed by big corporations and businesses. (example: http://www.alchem.com/ )
What are they looking for…. these alchemists? Does it work? They are all looking for the same thing: The Panacea, The Cure-All, The Fifth Element. Anyone who knows anything about anything think they know that alchemists are always trying to make gold of base metals and this is true both physically and meta-physically. Would not a material or substance that would cure everything be pure gold? The modern pharmaceutical companies are constantly turning out less than perfect versions of this Panacea and charging what amounts to pure gold for them. Who then can deny the success of modern alchemists?
Of course, the difference between these modern and ancient alchemists and the alchemist/assassin in The Red Cross of Gold:. Assassin Chronicles is magic. The modern alchemists do not believe in it while the ancient alchemists didn’t know how to use it properly. The Chevalier Mark Andrew Ramsay does not have this disadvantage. He knows the magic! His Fifth Element actually turns base metals into pure gold and his Panacea can actually cure what ails you. Unfortunately, he is not at liberty to use his skills for just any purpose or just any time because he is one of the ruling Council Members of the Order of the Red Cross of Gold.
The inner circle of the Order consists of the Council of Twelve. Each member is endowed with a Divine Mystery, or at least, they should have been. One of them does not have a Divine Mystery and one of them has two. This could possibly lead to trouble down the line, but I digress.
The word Alchemy calls up images of dark secrets, black magic, crows and owls. It has recently been romanticized by a number of trends including Steampunk, Goth, Vampires, Zombies and New Age Magicians. A number of books, movies, TV series, musical endeavors and video games have connections with alchemy and alchemists. If you are interested in learning more about alchemy, I’ve included some links below: