(From the desk of your EM on Lake Superior: A Bio) The Story of Nimrad the Alchemist He was laying on a hard pallet in a dark room staring up toward the ceiling. He knew he was fretting Nimrad, was suspicious of the new ruler. He wish to speak to the capricious “king”, yet had no way to confront him. He had always been the smart one, never the brave one. Would a lone alchemist ever be able to confront a great ruler? Nimrad often wondered. He wished to be doughty like the knights of the royal guard. Every day, night, and waking moment Nimrad prayed that something or someone would come to him, and help him with his goal, give him the valour he needed and truly desired. These feelings had magnified since the death of another great magic man. “You there!” a shallow voice pierced through the darkness of the room. "why are you lamenting again? Get up!" Nimrad quickly arose to see who invaded into his quaint abode. “It seems I startled you. That is okay there is still work to be done! You wished and asked for this, now use the ingredients on your desk to make a new potion, one that will solve your problem.” “Who are you? Why are you helping me?” millions of thoughts went through Nimrads head, why had there been no foot steps? How could he have not heard the creaky iron door open? He stuttered. “Show yourself! Theif you just want my secrets. GUARDS! GUARDS!” Hours seemed to pass without a sound. No guards, no one in the room… Was this just a dream, or was it real? He had heard a voice. He was certain. The light peeked into the room and gently caressed Nimrad's face, waking him up. “The sun shouldn’t be up.” He thought to himself. He looked about and out his window. People in the city were already up and about… He missed another chance to meet the Ruler for his morning speech. A thought came to him, “back to work, or I won’t have my coppers for today!” He had an order for healing potions and peptics for the local healer and another private order for strength and cures from the local horticulturist. He rushed to his desk to try and get everything in order. There was a nimiety of items strewn about his desk. He stared bewildered. Some he’d never seen before. Amidst all the items there was blackrock, of all things, an illegal item to possess. How did it get here? Did that voice from last night put all these things here? Is it trying to help me? Or is it trying to frame me? Nimrad pulled a large tomb from a shelf that hung strategically over his door. A Treatise on Alchemy, Advanced Readings. He opened to the page he had read many times. Shaking all over he quickly closed the book and decided the effects of the black rock were too dangerous for him to use. Only a very high level Alchemist would ever be able to use it and even then the outcome was precarious. What to do? He was pacing back and forth. He pondered the situation. Every night for the last week he had heard that voice. Every night he paced and, fretted and pondered! He was passing his window when he heard a loud ruckus in the alley way. Likely some brigands had found an unlucky Lord to rob. Nimrad never did understand why they walked the back streets in all their finery. One would think a Noble would have the sense to know they stand out with all their pomp. Their jewels scream "steal me!' Then the sounds were more frantic like a riot. He looked out his window just as something flew into his room. Acrid smoke from the conflagration filled the room. The ensuing explosion was followed by flames that quickly engulfed everything in his lab. He was thrown through the window and onto the street. His face was burned, his hair all singed. His lungs burned. Every gulp of air sent excruciating agony through his being. So this was it. His life was for naught. His dreams unfulfilled. He wished death would come faster. Every second seemed like hours as the pain surged again and again. He thought his eyes were melded closed. In his minds eye he imagined the stranger who visit him appearing before him. The stranger put out his hand and whispered one word. "Life" Nimrod reached. "No Nimrad, not just life. Greatness, a life like no other. I can give this to you if you pay the price. Obedience. Hard work. Study. and Action" He stretched his hand out again. Nimrad grabbed it. His eyes opened. He was not on the street but in one of the healer’s rooms just outside of Yew. He knew this healer well. He had always been a good customer. The healer was staring down at Nimrad with an expression of total perplexion. Nimrad closed his eyes once more. The voice was in his head again. "Get up and leave. You can not go home. There is a secret lab I will show to you. Come now. Remember, obedience." "How long have I..." "Not long. I have been ministering to your needs when necessary. Now come! No one must know" He did not feel hale enough to journey but he dragged himself up and to the door. He saw no one yet he seemed to be following. In a daze he wandered following some mirage that he could not even see. Into the forest, deep where the sun did not shine he wandered. *Whoosh!* Suddenly he was carried away to an unknown location. The trees were no longer thick and lush. No they were fine and spindly. Spinney cacti covered the sere ground, some with huge flowers that looked grafted to the stem. It was hot here. Haloes of heat radiated from the earth. He continued to walk. He needed water. He knew the building before him must be a trick of his mind. An oasis to finally give him rest. Perhaps he was dead. Perhaps this was where the souls that did not fulfil their destiny went to forever thirst. One step. Two. He climbed. The steps were real. Three, four, five, a door. He reached to open it. It swung open easily. The hinges made no noise. "Courage" he said to himself. He felt he had betrayed himself. This courage coming now when he was dead. "You are not dead Nimrad. I spoke life to you. I hope you like this lab." He gestured at tables of exotic herbs, unusual potions, reagents that he had never seen in sosaria. Oh yes and Blackrock. Lots of it. "I asked you to make a potion. Now I am telling you. Here in my lab there are no limits. No laws to bind your skills. No danger of detection. This potion works by infesting the mind." Nimrad thought the voice snickered. "I like getting into the minds of others. It’s my speciality. Anyway where was I. Ah Yes! Your potion. It is a serious thing we do. It will slowly sep into the victims mind causing schizophrenia. He will hear and see things he believes to exist and always think it is someone else. No Nimrad I did not use it on you. You are not crazy. You are clairvoyant. Work!" It took many tries over many months but finally Nimrod had mastered his potion. The voice told him. "Use it wisely. With power comes great responsibility. We have already seen how power can corrupt some. If you fail to control your power it will consume you too! Heed my words" Nimrod nodded then said yes master. Obedience.