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Re: Questions about alchemy

OOC: This is a private correspondence and therefore cannot be referenced IC. However, I plan on subbing the results of Nimdok’s research as published lore eventually, which your characters will be able to read and reference to their heart’s content.

To: Errik Nimdok
From: Starlin Rand
Re: Questions about alchemy

Professor,

It’s been a while, I hope you’re doing good. I’ve been busy, and I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. I have a few questions I want to ask you about alchemy. I admit I don’t really know a whole lot about it, aside from the examples I’ve seen. But those examples have been pretty impressive, to say the least. I mean, Syd herself is apparently a product of alchemy, a “Force Spawn”, and she enchants all her weapons and armor besides. Although I think I once heard her refer to what she does as “alkahest” rather than alchemy, maybe just to differentiate it from Sith alchemy.

I also met a Sith alchemist recently (please don’t worry, he didn’t even bother trying to corrupt me, in fact it's a funny story, I'll have to tell it to you sometime) and I got to wondering why exactly the Jedi don’t allow this sort of thing. I think I sort of understand, because it involves twisting the Force to do your bidding, and a lot of it seems to be Sith who just want to crank out monster henchmen and wicked blades, but I still don’t completely get it? I mean, what separates what Syd is doing from what the Sith are doing? Actually, don’t answer that. I know what you’re gonna say already. Speaking of which, how’s that Laertia Io bio coming along?

Starlin

P.S. People have told me that my Force Light could destroy Sithspawn and other products of alchemy, but if that’s the case, is alchemy only possible with the Dark Side?

~~~

To: Starlin Rand
From: Errik Nimdok
Re: Questions about alchemy

Starlin,

I am doing well, thank you. So is the Laertia Io biography, though I have been delaying due to recent events potentially changing the shape of my thesis. Nothing more annoying than a thesis which is already outdated by the time it's published.

To answer your questions, I feel I must clarify what exactly alchemy is. It is any process of transformation, creation, or combination which uses the Force as a tool to manipulate, transform, and combine matter. That is why the creation of an enchanted object, be it a weapon, armor, or other material, is lumped together under the same banner as the creation of Sithspawn or “Force Spawn”. The word "alkahest", on the other hand, refers to a fabled "universal solvent" which could dissolve any other substance without destroying its components. It does not surprise me that Syd would use the term to describe the form of alchemy she practices, as enchanting weapons and armor does not necessarily alter or transform the very nature of the item itself.

Creating mutant henchmen is one thing, but what we have seen in the modern era is a large increase of individuals who willingly submit to transformation at the hands of alchemists, as well as alchemists who seek to create new life forms and new combinations of life forms for no other reason than "the hell of it". There is a growing interest in the field, even amongst the Jedi, but few understand why Jedi have historically banned the practice of alchemy. You are somewhat correct in concluding it has to do with the nature of alchemy, which involves imposing one’s will on the Force, but it can be argued that every Force User does this in one way or another. In other words, I do not find this explanation sufficient.

Based on my research, it seems to me that the aversion to alchemy has more to do with how the Jedi have conceptualized purity and its relation to the Light Side of the Force. The Light is often seen as synonymous with purity, and purity is what is natural and unpolluted. The Dark Side corrupts and pollutes. Too simple again. So let’s define what the Light Side is.

Many will disagree with me on this, but I have come to understand the Light not as an entity unto itself, but as any instance of the Force being used for unselfish purposes. I’m sure you’ve been taught that the Jedi, unlike the Sith, don’t use the Force for selfish ends such as gaining power—well, what could be a greater expression of one’s power than manipulating the Force to permanently transform a being or object into something unnatural? That is what the Jedi teachings and traditions clash with more than any notion of “defying the will of the Force”, though that is certainly part of it too.

But I want to be clear on one thing. This desire for purity, when taken to its extreme, does not lead to the sort of Jedi radicalism most would think of, with crusaders running around blasting Sithspawn with Force Light. Rather, it leads to cults such as the Chaldean Potentium, who believe the power granted to individuals by the Force is so dangerous to the soul, so great in its potential for corruption, that they must exorcise it from themselves as they would a demon. So, while it is true that Force Light such as yours has been seen to “unmake” alchemy—the magic sword becomes an ordinary sword, the enchanted armor crumbles to dust, the Sithspawn begins to deteriorate, etc—perhaps what matters more is its application and purpose. Imbuing an item with the Force does no harm on its own. Indeed, many Jedi have gotten into the practice over the centuries. You may even one day become interested in it. In the case of “Force Spawn” like Syd… well, I assume you know the price she pays for what she is.

Sincerely,
Professor Errik Nimdok, University of Alderaan
About author
Jacen Nimdok
Me love fiction. Me want to be writer. No get published yet - but will someday.

Comments

I wrote this in like two hours late at night, I apologize ahead of time if it is a huge nosedive in the typical quality you're used to seeing from me.
 
I think the two of us could have a great discussion about this. I'd love to teach you some Alkahest skills.

Also, not all alchemised creatures are horrible monsters. Some of them are Nibbles!
 

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