Alchemy & Magic

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The world of Give the Dark my Love is one where alchemy has replaced science. This isn't that far-fetched, historically--during the Middle Ages, alchemy worked hand-in-hand with science. The only difference is, in the world of my story, alchemy actually works.

Although, truth be told, alchemy worked in the medieval era, too. It's a precursor to chemistry, and some discoveries that happened along the way were legitimate chemical discoveries. Although we tend to think of the big "failures" of alchemy--the quest for the philosopher's stone (which could provide immortality) or the attempts to turn lead into gold--alchemists during the Middle Ages were actually doing science. They refined methods of distilling, they explored and observed chemical reactions, and they applied the scientific method to their work. In 1669, Hennig Brand was attempting to create the philosopher's stone when he discovered phosphorus. (Look up the ingredients he used...I mean, they were at least golden in color...)

In the world of Give the Dark my Love, I used vessels instead of chemicals to create alchemy. "Crucibles" are, by definition, a container that can melt metals or other substances. The crucibles in Nedra and Grey's world are used to conduct power. 

Early on, I decided to play with the idea of certain metals being linked to certain powers. I chose to focus on three: copper, gold, and silver. 

Copper crucibles are used for transactions--put something in, get something else out. You can hide something in a copper crucible and it will only be revealed when you pay the price to retrieve it. 

Silver crucibles are for transformation. You can--at least temporarily--transform one object into another by putting it into a silver crucible. The change isn't permanent, particularly if you're transforming one thing into something very different. 

Golden crucibles are used to transfer. Specifically, medicinal alchemists use a golden crucible to transfer pain from a person into a lesser creature, such as a rat. 

There is a fourth crucible, although it is forbidden throughout the lands. This crucible is made of iron. Iron is an amazing metal. It exists in the land--those of you whose soil is reddish-brown or red clay walk across iron-rich ground. It exists in your blood, giving it red color. Legend has it that some battlefields of ancient wars are found by geologists thanks to the high concentration of iron from the bloody fighting.

A crucible made of iron is for transcendence. 

A crucible made of iron raises the dead. 

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