"Stupid girl." The Son of Tarrant let out a low growl as he marched down the tapestried hall, his knuckles clenched white into fists. Didn't she understand the choice he had made? What it cost him. The sacrifice... "No," Peter chided himself sourly. He exhaled, his eyes drifting to the black glove covering his hand. He could still feel the dull ache. The burnt flesh. The bone that had been broken and reshaped. She can never understand what I've given up. He turned it over, spreading his fingers, testing the new hand. Nor will she. He parted the curtain and entered the candlelit chamber. She must never know what was done here. He paused at the edge of the bed, the dim light casting shadows across crimson sheets. They had spent the past hour arguing. About what he had become. Why he had given this all up. The promise of power as a Sorcerer. He had managed to convince her this was his choice. That it was of his own free will. That he did not want it. But he knew that was a lie. He would never again touch the Aether. Never feel the cold rush of tectonic mana rushing through him. And it was all for naught. Why did he give up what he was to join some logging company out of Minoc? He asked himself the same question a thousand times... His amber eyes drifted towards a piece of paper tacked to the wall. It had faded in the three years since he put it there... "This official document certifies that the nation of Britannia, prefecture of the High Council and Lord Francesco, appoints the name Crimson Alchemist to Peter Tarrant, in the name of His Holiness, Lord British. The Royal Alchemist shall follow all orders and policies of the Royal Britannian Guard. A research assessment shall be held once every year. In the case that the Royal Alchemist does not show signs of progress as a result of the examination, he shall be discharged from the services of Royal Alchemist. The Royal Alchemist is entitled to the use of ample research funds, unrestricted access to classified documentation, access to various state facilities and a rank equal that of "Major." - Malcador the Royal Inquisitor. It was gone. His connection to the Void. The sight that had once allowed him to perceive the rudimentary elements of creation - Mana and Aether - and transmute them into a desired form. It had been a year since he had sacrificed it all to perform one forbidden act. One enchantment. And I failed you, brother. He felt a single tear slide down his cheek. I tried. I just wasn't strong enough to bring you back... He ripped the lamp from the desk and flung it against the wall, plunging the room into darkness.