|Full Name||Alestaire Middencroft|
|Date of Birth||Autumn, 199 AC|
|Date of Death||August 12th, 271 AC|
|Claim to Fame||Famed alchemist and author|
Alestaire Middencroft was a snake-oil-salesman of Akkerman 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), with his alchemical studies gathered from the Allar of Hadar laying the foundations for the eventual formation of the Iron Fist, which came about a decade after his passing. He is regarded as the man who launched alchemy from an obscure, occult practice into a true and formidable branch of science within the Regalian Empire.
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 practitioners. While the boy always felt better directly after taking his medication, he returned to lethargy only hours afterward. He became curious about what his “cures truly contained, hoping to study medical concoctions through the then-obscure art of alchemy.
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, though these potions were closer to quack medicine than any genuine practice. He’d hire a mentor who taught him more about alchemy, with Middencroft able to gain a baseline understanding of the science while also conning every gullible person he came across over the next few years. After going around Anglia as an alchemist and gaining somewhat of a name for himself, Middencroft was eventually discovered by the ruling Kade family, who initially hired him to become their court alchemist in Axford. He forced himself to completely abandon his conman roots and work towards genuine alchemy, as the Kades would never accept a quack doctor. His position afforded him contact with the Regalian noble circles until he eventually came across an Ivrae princess who convinced him to move to Regalia as an Imperial scholar. Now working with the government and funded by the Ivraes, he began unscrupulous experiments on unsuspecting Vampires and Abberants. This experimentation resulted in the creation of Middencroft’s Decoction, a blood thinner, to be used on imprisoned vampires to keep them complacent and docile.
Well into his fifties, Middencroft remained unwed and seemingly uninterested in romance. After his funds from the Ivrae dried up, he abandoned the Holy City and set course for Hadar, with the intent of learning what he could from the homeland of alchemy. The greatest secrets of alchemy were kept under the close scrutiny of the Soor-Rassa-Allar, though it is believed that Middencroft managed to convince an esteemed Allar alchemist that he could be trusted with learning from them. Over the next decade of his life, Middencroft expanded his knowledge of alchemy in a way that he had never imagined possible. During his time in Hadar, Middencroft began compiling what he learned into written texts before publishing them in his magnum opus: Modern Apothecarium.
In 264 AC, at age sixty-five, he left Hadar and returned to Regalia, to begin teaching interested noble students in the science of alchemy. Among these pupils was an Ithanian noblewoman named Amelie d’Fer, who quickly established herself as an alchemical prodigy. Alestaire saw her spark of genius, working closely with Amelie over the next few years and considering her an equal of sorts. 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, 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 vice was his 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 small amount of distaste 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. He didn’t live to see the Chrysant War or the crackdown on both alchemy and Allar Culture, though many contemporaries said that such events would have broken his heart.
A complex and 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 read his book to this day which is seen as essential literature in the field, therefore, many hold a mixture of contempt and gratitude for the writer of their wordy textbook. Middencroft’s discoveries and writings undeniably helped propel the field of alchemy into true relevancy, attracting mainstream interest among the nobility even during Regalia’s initial ban on alchemy following the Chrysant War. Amelie d’Fer would go on to establish the alchemical organization known as the Iron Fist, with the group having its foundation built upon the work done by Middencroft. His name is synonymous with Regalian ingenuity, from its altruistic aspects to its selfish ones.
Very uncharacteristic for being from an Anglian family, Middencroft was an only child by the time he was born, with his mother allegedly having given birth to several sickly children that never lived past infancy before Alestaire came along. 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.