I’ll be at LibertyCon when this goes up. I’m currently working on a sequel (which actually looks like it will be the next two volumes actually) to The Hordes of Chanakra. But the next project once I finish that is slated to be a sequel to Alchemy of Shadows. Here’ a snippet of the opening scene for that:
Jason Gillespie of the DEA was annoyed. I knew that. I could see it in his face. And, from his perspective he had every right to be. I sighed and waved down at the half dozen devices on the table between us.
“They’re difficult to make. They take time. Give me another week and I’ll have some more.”
We sat in a small diner near one of the local universities. I had just finished a lunch large enough to raise the eyebrows of my waitress. I may be only about five foot three inches and just over a hundred pounds but when I am actively working alchemy I need to eat a lot.
Gillespie picked up one of the devices, a small flare, only instead of typical pyrotechnics it contained an alchemical invention of my own, Tru-Magnesium. Lit, it was bright enough, brighter than a normal magnesium flare, but its real secret was in the alchemical Tru-Light that it emitted. This Tru-Light is the only thing I have ever found that can harm, that can kill, the creatures I know only as Shadows. They have chased me for more than two hundred seventy years. And for most of that time all I could do was run.
“Look, Adrian, I can appreciate that you want to keep your secrets, but this is a matter of national security.”
I did not roll my eyes. He was not exaggerating or using empty words as authority. He was speaking blunt truth. I simply nodded and he continued.
“If you could just give us the formula, we could make it ourselves and you could go back to your own life.”
I frowned at that. “You want me to just give it to you?
Gillespie raised his hands in protest. “Not give, no. We could pay you handsomely for it. You’d be set for life.”
I successfully suppressed the urge to chuckle. He did not know just what “for life” entailed for me. Instead I shrugged.
“You certainly don’t mean to tell me that you haven’t had them analyzed, do you?”
Gillespie did laugh. “Reports from three different laboratories. All of them were utter nonsense. There is simply no way what is in this thing–” He tossed the flare up and caught it. “–can do what we’ve seen them do.”
I nodded. “That’s part of it. It’s not something I can just tell anyone.”
People think of alchemy as a kind of primitive form of chemistry. It’s not. Sure, in alchemy I manipulate chemicals but the results have nothing to do with the atoms and the bonds of ordinary chemistry. Instead the manipulations are a way to connect to something other. Call it magic, if you will. A chemist could repeat every one of my procedures, every distillation and composition, exactly as I did and they only would produce piles of wet ash. Without the secret of the Philosopher’s Stone that’s all they would ever produce.
And that secret, I would give to no one. I dared not.
“I’m sorry,” I said as the silence started to lag. “I can’t tell you how to make them, not won’t, can’t. I’ll try to increase my production of the Tru-Light flares. That’s the best I can offer you.”
“You’re not holding out for more money are you, Adrian? Because I’d really hate to think you’re holding the nation hostage.”
This time I did roll my eyes.
“I’ve been fighting Shadows longer than you have.” Okay, I’d been running from Shadows, but he did not need to know that. “This is the best I can do. I’m sorry.”
He stood up and dropped a few bills on the table to cover the cost of the food. “I’m sorry, too, Adrian.”
As he left, I wondered what he meant by that.
In the meantime, you can find Alchemy of Shadows itself here:
I was born in the year 1215 in a small town in Westphalia As a boy, my parents apprenticed me to the famed alchemist Albertus Magnus. Under his tutelage I grew to adulthood and learned the mystical secrets of alchemy including the manufacture of the Elixir of Life. I have gone by many names through the centuries.
I was already centuries old when I encountered the creatures of darkness made manifest that I know only as Shadows. They have chased me down through the years for reasons I have never understood.
Light was the only weapon I had against these Shadows, light that could drive them back but not harm them. And so I ran. Every time the Shadows caught up with me I fled to a new identity, a new life, until inevitably they found me again. At long last, with nowhere left to run, I had to find some way to fight the Shadows, not just for myself, but for the people I had come to care about.
My name is Adrian Jaeger. This is my story