|Full Name||Alestaire Middencroft|
|Date of Birth||Autumn, 199 AC|
|Date of Death||August 12th, 271 AC|
|Real or Mythical||Real|
|Claim to Fame||Famed alchemist and author|
Alestaire Middencroft was a snake-oil-salesman of Anglian descent who became a renowned alchemist. Middencroft longed to travel and developed a fondness for alchemy. He worked in many diverse fields (some more morally dubious than others), including a pivotal role as a member of the Iron Fist in its very early years. He is regarded as the man who launched alchemy from an obscure, occultish practice into a true and formidable branch of science.
Origins and Early Life
At dawn on one early autumn day in 199 AC, a baby was born in Anglia. Even as a young child it was impressed upon Alestaire that he was expected to do great things. Unfortunately, Alestaire was something of a sickly child. While bedridden from his varying illnesses, his father told him stories of far off places and strange cultures. He found himself dreaming more and more of traveling to one of those places to escape all the expectations and hopes that rested on his frail shoulders. When he was well enough, Alestaire was shuffled around to all sorts of apothecaries and healers. It was here that he discovered first-hand how desperation for a miracle cure could cause people to buy almost anything. His parents began rapidly running out of the resources it took to shuttle their only son to physicians, and turned to the help of cheaper, but less reputable alchemists. While the boy always felt better directly after taking his medication, he returned to lethargy only hours afterward. Curious about the noble art of alchemy itself, and what his “cures” truly contained.
Middencroft began his career in alchemy as a conman. Having been exposed to those same techniques as a boy, and longing for the nomadic life of a traveling salesman, he began purchasing mass quantities of mundane alchemical concoctions and rebranding them. Middencroft’s potions allegedly cured everything from infertility to insomnia. After a few years, he began to learn how to create the alchemical potions himself to cut down costs and increase profits. He discovered that he had a talent for alchemy, and used his plentiful wealth to hire a senior alchemist as a tutor and traveling companion. After fourteen years together on the road, cheating every person gullible enough to buy his products, Middencroft gave up his portion of the business to his partner and left with a small fortune to seek new adventures. At the age of thirty-two, he sought employment under Ser Walter Fitzherst, an secret Vampire aristocrat who was obsessed with the Sanguine Curse. He hired Middencroft upon learning of his anemia, knowing he would not be so tempted to drink the blood of such a sickly specimen. Fitzherst eased Middencroft into his work as court alchemist, asking for increasingly difficult potions and lotions over a period of months. When Middencroft earned the eccentric man’s trust, he disclosed his true nature as a vampire.
Shocked and appalled, but sensing opportunity, Middencroft stayed on at the man’s court. Eventually, he created one of his most famous alchemical products: Middencroft’s Decoction, a blood thinner, for use by his patron. As paranoia increased regarding the Sanguine Curse, Middencroft felt increasingly nervous working for a vampire. At a dramatic moment during a jousting tournament, he whispered to a nearby guard that the pale, reclusive Fitzherst was secretly a blood drinker. The aristocrat was promptly arrested and soon cleansed of his affliction, despite his vehement protests. Middencroft was praised, privately, for his brilliant detective skills. At the same tournament, he came across an Ivrae princess, whom he charmed. In her burgeoning romantic affection, she attempted to convince him to move to the Holy City. Unfortunately, the two were separated by circumstance but kept in touch through secretive letters. He moved to Regalia, years later, with the intent of finding a new patron, but instead was granted funding by the Ivrae clan itself as an Imperial scholar. During that period, he began unscrupulous experiments on unsuspecting Vampires and others.
Well into his fifties, Middencroft remained unwed and seemingly uninterested in romance. His Ivrae princess had married a wealthy, foreign prince and he fell into despair. His journals indicate that his experiments in alchemy became ever darker and more terrifying, but fruitless. Nevertheless, he wrote each one down meticulously. After his funds from the Ivrae dried up, he abandoned the Holy City and set course for Califaera. He had a connection in Ashanna which he used fully to his advantage. After months of wild partying, he settled down to become a military leader. Using some cross between conniving and bribery, he ascended the ranks of the military rapidly, despite not having a lick of experience. His victories in battle were many, most of them won through unspeakably dirty tactics, and his enemies rose quickly in number. He retired from his military career at age sixty. He assumed a peaceful life as an alchemist in a rural Califaeran town and took this time off to release his magnum opus: Modern Apothecarium.
In 264 AC, at age sixty-five, he left Califaera and retreated, temporarily, to Ithania. There, he befriended Amelie d’Fer of the Iron Fist, which was a young collection of alchemists who were glad to have a veteran among them. They gratefully added the Modern Apothecarium to their library as a touchstone text for all members. Amelie, in particular, was taken with his writing credentials. The young noblewoman compensated him handsomely for his contribution. She was, according to him, the only friend he ever felt was truly his equal. At seventy, he returned to Anglia with a fat coin purse and no relations to share it with. He purchased a handsome, but modest, estate in the countryside. He died, eventually, surrounded by servants and other impersonal staff, who saw that his funeral was a private affair. It was said Amelie was in attendance. He left his fortune to her, and her organization, stating in his will that the most valuable commodity was knowledge.
Alestaire Middencroft, despite being a con artist in his early years, was not an unkind fellow. He had a mild manner and was quite calm and level-headed. However, his greatest sin was greed. He developed an incurable addiction to money at a young age, and never really shook it. His miserly nature caused many to paint him as a frugal, ornery alchemist, but that simply wasn’t the case. He enjoyed his wealth but shared it often with whatever community he found himself in, partly out of guilt for his days as a conman. Religiously speaking, he was somewhat skeptical of Unionism but practiced nonetheless. He found himself caring for the people around him when he felt his religion had fallen short. Deep in his heart, he held some little dislike for the Regalian Empire and its strict regulations and desire for control. He was never a true Ailor supremacist, and therefore could never truly believe in all of the Unionist dogma.
A complex, interesting man, Middencroft’s legacy is mixed. Some praise him for his charity at the end of his life, while others scorn his memory for all his scheming and cons. Many alchemists have read his book, which is seen as essential literature in the field, and therefore many hold a mixture of contempt and gratitude for the writer of their wordy textbook. Undeniably, Middencroft’s discoveries and writings helped propel the field of alchemy into true relevancy. His name is synonymous with Regalian ingenuity, from its altruistic aspects to its selfish ones.
Middencroft was an only child, and a good majority of his family perished in a terrible fire years before he was born. Upon his death, Middencroft was the last of his line and the last of his name. He was never married but was speculated to have been a lover to the Ivrae princess who funded his early work. Their time together produced no children.
- It is entirely possible that Middencroft intentionally never sired an heir just to spite his demanding father.
- Despite many rumors to the contrary, Middencroft and d’Fer were never romantically involved and never desired to be so.