|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 is a now-deceased well-known alchemist of Akkerman Anglian origin whose path into the field began in a realm of grays and trickery. Traveling across Anglia, he originally sold products that barely worked, if ever, but soon learned genuine skills to sate his genuine curiosity, which ultimately culminated in attention from notable nobles of the Regalian Empire. He later traveled into a much wider sphere, enjoying friendships with many Allar and the eventual founder of the Iron Fist, an Alchemy organization in Ithania. He is regarded as many things to various groups, but to alchemists, a father of the modern field which has seen Alchemy reach near-equal ability to Magic in some respects.
Origins and Early Life
Alestaire Middencroft was born at the dawn of an early autumn day in 199 AC to two Anglian parents. He was their sole child, and while great pressure was placed on him to take over the farm, he was frequently sick. He had been born early, and seemed to be a product of a bad match in his parents, for they had no more children after him. Still, he was loved, and well cared for by his mother when he fell ill during these early years. She was a well-traveled sort, having visited Axenfoord and coastal cities of Door-Inner, and had also been the originator of his rather un-Anglian name. These stories, and the other myths she told, fascinated the young Alestaire, as did the various concoctions local alchemists and healers gave the family to help him shake off his various bouts of illness. An alchemist later recalled that at the age of nine, he was already able to smell distinct bouquets of the various herbal and alchemical plants used in healing droughts the alchemist provided the Middencrofts. Ultimately, the illnesses Alestaire suffered in his youth kept him from many of the norms of Anglian childhood, with limited education and not getting to know other local children save his cousins who came to visit on occasion.
By the age of ten, Alestaire was beginning to shake off his childhood weaknesses, and so his father put him to work more and more. However, the young Middencroft hated it, preferring to sneak off into the rough country bordering his family’s farms and explore, encountering the range of plants found there. He dried and kept them, though his father would commonly burn these samples if he found them in the open. As Alestaire approached his teenage years, he grew in many ways, physically growing narrow and tall, but also developing important skills. Due to the unfamiliarity locals had with him, he began to pull little tricks and scams with ease, most commonly targeting those his own age, but also suckering some adults on occasion to their humiliation, and then anger. At the age of thirteen though, his father had enough, and they had a loud row that ended with Alestaire being kicked out of the house. However, he did not stick around and took this as a sign his future was elsewhere. He left his small rural community that night and was soon on his way to Axenfoord.
Middencroft’s life on the road was that of a con artist. While he had some degree of knowledge of plant life and some alchemical processes, he could not properly read or write, nor have any skills other than his wits, and his herbalistic knowledge. He used this in a variety of schemes, reaching Axenfoord at fourteen and becoming a staple to the city’s citizens, who knew to watch out for him. He commonly struck during market days, lacking his own stall but suckering visitors and newcomers with silver words to buy what was essentially cold tea, water with herbs floating in it. An Axelland alchemist named Larss took note of the conboy, and approached him after yet another brush with arrest. His deal was simple, come work for him, get him the herbs and more he needed from outside the city and within, and he would teach the upstart genuine alchemy. Alestaire immediately took him up on the offer, and the two were kindred spirits. While Larss was no cheat, he was a master of the act of exaggeration, and Alestaire watched him engineer repeat trips from many customers. By this time, willowy Alestaire was not as easy at scampering away when in trouble, so he turned more and more to his silver tongue to get him out of trouble. This partnership worked for several years before Alestaire struck out on his own–with a few stolen coins and ingredients from Larss private stash.
Alestaire Middencroft traveled to Door-Inner, and during this trip went back to his old ways, though with far more flair and always selling one successful product for every three duds he sold. Upon arriving in the artistic center of his people just shy of twenty years old, he began to provide his services to an array of theater companies, granting them Alchemy that was key for their performances. He never messed these up, because while most of these companies were small-time and local, angering them and having whole crowds sicced on him was not an entertaining prospect. One company was also very different, being the illustrious troupe sponsored by the now-infamous House Lo. In this era, they were merely a powerful family whose patronage he courted fervently. These efforts were successful, especially as while within Door-Inner, he finally began to read and write in earnest, no longer scrabbling for a livelihood. He soon learned that many of his processes, and alchemical creations, were innovations, not solely time-saving shortcuts like he’d performed in his youth. His first edition of Modern Apothecarium was published when he was only twenty-three, and soon got him the attention of others beyond the Los.
House Kade came knocking, but so did his family. His name, unique and somewhat infamous in the rural countryside, had now appeared on a fast-selling work of literature that had made it into the hands of an alchemist familiar with his family. The reunion was bittersweet, with his father having passed away and his mother a ghost of her former self. He immediately sought to help her, paying a considerable sum to his cousins to look after her, before departing to serve House Kade. These years are the most mysterious time of his life, referenced only vaguely in his well-structured autobiography. By the time he left their service at forty-seven, he was far more worldly and finally sought to travel beyond the shores of the Regalian Archipelago. He was aided by his new employer, House Ivrae, though most would say his employer was still House Kade given the significant power the ascendant Morgan Kade had over the Imperial Family. Alestaire left the Archipelago and first sailed west, developing an appreciation for the finer things in life which he took his time to explore while in Ithania, before he moved down into Daendroc and explored Daen’s wide range of plants the whole time. His last trip took him south to Hadar and the Chrysant Kingdom of Permatajan, where he made many friends among the Allar community there. He expanded his craft, writing his second edition of the Modern Apothacarium, and having the chance to meet with the future founder of the Iron Fist, Amelie D’fer. By this time, he was in his fifties, and she was in her young twenties. While some claim a romance blossomed, many who knew both lambast such an idea, instead calling their connection a friendship and a bridging of the minds over shared interests that went no further.
After turning sixty in a foreign land, Alestaire finally felt the pangs to return home. His personal wealth by then was vast, for while his funding and association with the Imperial Family had ended in recent years, he had long held onto a personal fortune which had only grown during his travels. When he returned, he brought with him plants and creatures alchemists in the Regalian Archipelago had never seen, especially those in his native Anglia where he settled himself, back near his old hometown. He had an estate built, and he finally reconnected with long-distant kin in the final years of his life. He also spent his days writing works of alchemy scholarship, and documents on his own long life, rather than craft new alchemy. He watched the Iron First emerge, as well as the Essa Empire, but was spared from any problems his connections and fondness for the Allar Race might have caused thanks to his wealth, and success as a father of modern Alchemy. His fourth and final edition of Modern Apothecarium, with a complete assessment of the Five Forms of Alchemy, and creations from across the spectrum of Race and Culture. It was published when he was seventy-one, a mere year before his ultimate death, in his sleep, at the age of seventy-two.
Alestaire Middencroft was a complicated man who went through a long evolution in his life, though many of his core traits remained throughout his life. His biggest characteristic was his clever mind and sly manner, which coupled with his resourcefulness, allowed him to escape trouble many times, or at least avoid the worst of it. He rarely ever fought by hand, instead using his words, wits, and once or twice, his alchemy skills to solve problems when they became physically threatening. He was also a bit of a prankster and liked to target people he felt deserved some humility or were disliked by what few friends he had throughout his years of moving about. Alestaire was fiercely protective of his friends, using his aforementioned skills to shield them when their own schemes went awry in his younger years, and later using his weight and finances to assist them in their woes. It also cannot be denied that he had a streak of greed in him, seeking wealth and money not simply to survive but because, as he himself wrote, it made him feel greater than his origin and allowed him to bask in times he had formerly only dreamed of. As mentioned before, he was not stingy, and by the end of his life had left many of his more negative traits or edges for a philosophy of high quality and assistance to those closest to him. Many believe he would have been heartbroken to see the Chrysant War break out, since many of said friends were Allar.
Alestaire Middencroft is often portrayed in the modern imagination as a swindler who struck on a few brilliant, accidental successes, while also copying many of his greatest successes from the Allar. These assessments are incorrect, and paint a fairly negative picture that many believe stems both from popular perceptions of his earlier career, and also lingering anti-Allar sentiments from the Chrysant War. Some even believe that young Allar alchemists who came to the Archipelago after the war found his work, and decried it as appropriation of their people’s efforts, unaware of Alestaire’s ties to the Allar. Among the scholarly and alchemical communities, he is considered an undeniable father of modern Alchemy. Modern Apothecarium is considered a standard textbook for education in the field (at least for non-Allar), and while some of its content is no longer accurate, or has been made outdated by new methods, its format and careful consideration of many factors involved in Alchemy creation lifted it above many books of its time which has remained the case until today. He is also partially credited with helping to found the Iron Fist, which formed from the efforts of his friend Amelie d’Fer with aid from Hadarian natives. All in all, Middencroft’s name is synonymous with Regalian ingenuity, from its altruistic aspects to its selfish ones.
Alestaire was in the uncommon situation of being an only child. His father, Floris, and mother, Beatrix, were known to seek alchemical solutions to try and resolve their difficulty in having more children, but reaped no success. While Beatrix’s family was not local but from a community closer to Door-Inner, Floris’s extended family surrounded Alestaire in his young life and continued to play a role into his old age. Two children of his father’s brothers and sisters were named for him, while three more went into the Alchemy field themselves. Today, the Middencroft family is alive and well, keeping his name and accomplishments alive. Alestaire himself had no known offspring, despite many rumored lovers. He was a discrete man, and never settled down for long enough to marry.
- One of the most common rumors of Alestaire’s love life was his supposed entanglement with Amelie D’fer, but this falsehood is thought by some to obscure another, much more likely relationship with an Ivrae princess. Indications that he knew Ithanian phrases, drank their wine, and stayed in Ithania for far longer than seems normal, lead to this theory, as does the extended presence of several Ivrae princesses in Ithania far from the reach of Morgan Kade during a similar time to Middencroft’s travels.
- Alestaire’s memory has inspired many Anglians into the pursuit of alchemy. One of the most notable is the grandson of one of his old family playmates. Aerge Middencroft showed an incredible skill in Alchemy at the age of eleven, and was last seen in Ithania in 309 AC.
- Alestaire Middencroft’s steed of many years, a Stadder Horse named Klein, was certainly not like its master. Stolen by Alestaire at the age of fourteen, by his departure from the Regalian Archipelago, he had become a well known stud of fine offspring sought after by wealthy Anglians across Axelland and Akkerman areas. He died while Alestaire was overseas.