It was an era of enlightenment. A time for exploration, experimentation, and discovery by anyone who was curious enough. A chance to develop questions, and form procedures and processes to uncover answers, whether they were right or wrong. Ideas and theories were shared between fellows' of similar trades and crafts. Eventually, Guilds were formed, and the exchange of knowledge ran freely.
There was only one problem to the Guilds. They were for men only.
The Alchemy Guild was considered one of the more elusive, and eccentric groupings. It often required the assistance of the local fire brigade to douse unwanted flames from misbegotten experiments. Choosing to ignore the unusual reputation Alchemists received, most members of the Guild are known for their charity work and civil service to doctors and hospitals. A vast majority of the pharmaceutical advances and discoveries are attributed to the experiments (sometimes wrongfully conducted) of their members, in particular, a fellow named Jimi.
Jimi is extremely popular within the Alchemy guild for his amazing talents and intelligence. He is a quick and logical thinker; two talents often favoured in Alchemists due to their constant experimentation with the unknown. Many of the current potions and elixirs used to generate revenue for the Guild were concocted by him. Jimi is sadly plagued with muteness but he communicates easily with his portable slate board and chalk. It is whispered that when the current Guildmaster resigns from his post, Jimi will be who is elected for his replacement.
There was only one problem with Jimi. He really isn't a he.
Nimi hurried down the cobble stone street back towards her quaint town house. Her arms were laden with bags and boxes from her tripping excursion. Most of the items were ingredients for her newly designed experiments and simple potions, but the soft clink of glass on glass could be heard when Nimi moved a bit too quickly. Nimi was always on the look out for beautifully crafted and unique glass vials to house the finished potions and elixirs. She was quite lucky with today's shopping to trip to find three!
As Nimi approached her destination, she eyed a carriage waiting just outside her residence. Dismissing it after a quick glance, she hurried up the stairs to the house. The front door was unlocked as usual, and she used her hip and some package jostling to open it. Leaving the door wide open, Nimi approached a sideboard table and gently placed her goods on it, making sure the vials package was secured.
"Mistress Nimi! Welcome home miss!" called out an older woman's voice from behind a closed door to her right.
"Yes yes, I'm home, Lana," Nimi replied. "You won't believe the beautiful vials I purchased today!"
After making sure all the items were safely on the table, Nimi turned around to close the front door. She began removing her hat as she walked through the door towards Lana's voice. Lana Flavery was the Primary Maid of the household. Under her management, there were two other serving girls in Nimi's employment, Lila and Marienne Lonstrad. The three women were godsends to Nimi's life, and they made sure all household duties ran smoothly while she was otherwise preoccupied with her Alchemy duties.
Behind the closed door was a spacious kitchen and common dining area. Lana sat on a wooden stool, preparing tonightï¿½s dinner. The sisters were quietly mending and sewing clothes at the large table.
"There's a carriage parked outside of the house, do we have a visitor?" Nimi asked the women and set her hat down on the counter.
"No one has come calling yet," Lana replied just as the front door's bell chimed.
Nimi let out a deep sigh, and looked helplessly at Lana. "Girls, will you go answer the door please?" The two sisters dropped their needles and fabric, exiting the room in a flurry of skirts.
Gathering her hat from the counter, Nimi listened to the muted voices coming from the next room. Lila rushed back into the kitchen alone, and quickly explained that Councilman Rosen had come to pick up a potion from Jimi.
Lana uttered a choice explicative, and Nimi rushed through another side door, heading into one of the down stairs bedrooms with the two women trailing behind her. "Lila, show him up the library please! Tell him that Jimi's still in the workshop! Lana help me get ready! Don't forget the blackboard either please, Lila!"
Lila exited the room through a different door, while Lana began to help Nimi undress in haste. They removed her dress, and pettiskirt, throwing it all into a pile. Next Lana began to quickly wrap thick canvas fabric around Nimi's upper body, making sure to keep the material taunt. Nimi was in the process of pulling out bobby pins that had been used to secure a flaux ponytail in place. The wig was tossed onto the bed and the pins deposited on a dressing table. After binding Nimi's chest area, Lana helped her don a voluminous long sleeved shirt. Nimi pulled on a pair of breeches a size too big, and a pair of dark brown leather boots.
She moved quickly out the door that Lila had exited, and began to climb the stairs to the second level. Nimi ran her fingers threw her hair, trying to make it more frazzled and full to give the typical illusion she presented as Jimi. At the top of the stairs, the sisters were standing outside of the library door, holding a slate board and a piece of chalk.
Nimi took the offered items, and lowered her voice to a whisper, "Bring us tea, and some of Lana's scones please."
Reaching for the door handle, Nimi gave herself a brief inspection then pushed it open, and walked inside with confidence. The library was a vast room where Nimi often contemplated new Alchemy formulas and methods for new experiments. All Alchemy work was handled in the safety of the work shop down stairs however. The walls were lined with various books, and large blackboards had been set up around the room, some blank, others filled with white chalked markings.
Nimi walked forward to Councilman Rosen with her hand extended before her. After a brief handshake, Nimi gestured towards a pair of chairs near a window. He sat down, and she followed suit, putting the slate board in her lap.
"Master Jimi. Thank you for seeing me on such short notice. I need to pick up that Transmorph Elixir I requested of you last week," Councilman Rosen said he looked at the large blackboards around the room.
Nimi nodded her head, and began to write on the slate. She held it up for him to read, "Excuse me, I will get it for you." She put the slate and chalk down on the table as she got up from the chair. She made a small bow, and exited the room. Nimi moved quickly down the stairs, passing Marienne as she carried a heavy tray of tea and refreshments back up to the library.
Making her way towards the workshop, Nimi produced a small ornate key from her shirt, and unlocked the door. She hurried inside, her shoes making soft sounds on the tiled floor. She approached one of two workbenches full of vials and sorted through them till she found the correct elixir. Nimi pulled a small wooden box lined and padded with fabric down from a shelf, and put the potion inside it, snapping the lid closed. The walls were lined with fresh and dried herbs and plant matter. Shelves brimmed with jars of ingredients and solutions for crafting purposes. A long work bench was dedicated to the distilleries, with a few of them in use. Nimi inspected both of the occupied distills and then left the room, locking the door behind her.
Carrying the wooden box, Nimi ascended the stairs for the third time that day, and returned to the library. Inside she found Councilman Rosen and Marienne carrying on a beign conversation about the weather. Upon hearing Nimi's return, Marienne offered the cup of tea she had been holding to her, which she took and placed on the table by her chair. Marienne directed a small curtsy to both of them, and left the room. Nimi placed the box down next to Rosen on the table. She gathered her slate and chalk, and then took her seat again.
Nimi jotted down some words on the slate again, and held it up for him to read. "You will find the potion inside. Anything else you need?"
"No no, my dear boy! That is all that I need right now! I'm sure I'll think of something else later this evening. Old age is such a bother," he replied as he sipped his tea.
Councilman Rosen struck up a conversation about Guild events, dramas, and other Guild intrigues, while Nimi replied with hand and facial gestures or her trusty slate and chalk. They talked about a variety of topics, and Nimi soon found it growing late in the afternoon. Rosen was known for his ability to chat the day away, and Nimi wanted to return to her workshop before the day grew too late.
A hard knock on the door brought the conversation to a halt for them. Nimi gave a sharp whistle, and Lana entered the room. "Master Jimi, it's growing late sir. You have that dinner engagement remember?"
Nimi gave Lana a look of relief and thanks, and Councilman Rosen took the bait. He stood up, and gathered his belongings including the wooden box. They said their good byes, and agreed to meet at the Guild house tomorrow afternoon to continue their discussion. After he left, Nimi released a deep sigh of appreciation.
"Bloody hell can that man talk!" she said as she returned to the kitchen and headed towards the bedroom door. "Lana, can you get me out of this blasted chest wrap now? Please?"
Story and Graphics - Buttercream
Coding - Tilcara - Bestest Coder Ever
Artwork - mini - Vector Goddess
Artwork - Plipkat - The Queen of Custom Items