Thursday, May 31, 2012

Strangerside Scholar: The Elemental Alleviators

Heinrich Khunrath

There are four of them - and there always have been. They travel together across the spheres. As long-time companions on the road they seldom feel the need to converse. Each of the four has an apprentice or companion. A caravan travels in their train, carrying their impedimenta and equipment.

"The First Stage of the Great Work" by Hans Vredeman de Vries

The Elemental Alleviators are an ancient society of elemental wizards. Each wizard is a master of an element and of the cosmic forces associated with that element. They can restore the balance in a realm. Or they can let it die. If they help, they will always exact a price.

They are always headed somewhere, but some worlds they cannot reach in time. Others, they judge beyond their capabilities. Still others, unworthy of assistance

But when they choose to help, the Elemental Alleviators can make a real difference. An imbalance among the elements can put a realm at risk of annihilation or implosion. This is what occurred in the realm of Bensalem after their religious revolution; the Alleviators were not there to help the realm, and it is no more.

The Elemental Alleviators begin to help by identifying what is wrong in a realm. Their tools include divination and magical metrology, the sciences, and more mundane means of investigation. They will present the authorities of the realm with an analysis and a plan to address the realm's existential threat. This may involve potions or gases; magical or political intervention; scientific and social innovation or reform. Solving a sphere's core problems usually requires multiple methods of intervention.

Iranian Alchemist

Finally, the Elemental Alleviators will always ask for something significant in return - a boon, a new apprentice or companion, a safe house, or some other favor. Most realms are only too happy to oblige. Unfortunately, some try to renege on the deal once the Alleviators have done all the hard work.

Ancient scroll records within the Library of All Worlds claim that the Elemental Alleviators are nearly ageless and immortal. Some have suggested they were the first Spherewalkers to follow in the Walker's footsteps. An ancient portrait of one, Lord Fire, hangs in the Hall of the Chamber Platinum. But the fact that they always have an apprentice or companion also suggests that they can be killed. It is said that they always watch their backs, for a few desperate Spherewalkers pursue them, hoping to appropriate their storied Spherepaths and possessions.

  1. What was the most recent realm where the Elemental Alleviators were of help? 
  2. What challenge was the realm facing? How were the elements out-of-balance?
  3. What boon did the Alleviators demand for their help?
What are your answers?

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