The Arts Of Transmutation by Keiron Tonge

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SUMMARY: A story set in 16th Century Venice about a fleeing alchemist and his son making a new life for themselves and delving deep into the mysteries of science and the Venetian cultures.

The Arts of Transmutation


It was a great year. 1689. People were happy and yet dubious. The streets of Venice were cluttered with the movement of people. And it was both a place easy to hide and hard to be found, as long as you know what you are doing. The canals were choked during the day and empty during the night. At these times people of doubtful character could move with ease. Slipping unseen across rickety docks and slinking into alleys and doorways that are hidden from the eyes of the church. They were everywhere like a great beast. Cardinals for claws and Priests as eyes. And then there was the new Pope Alexander VIII. Who had unseen agendas and hidden wealth's of knowledge that no holy man should. Knowledge condemned by the church and the public alike. And yet some men craved for this knowledge. These men were the forefathers of science. Men of influence in their own right if knowledge truly is power. These men were alchemists. And it is in their footsteps we shall walk. And yet the greatest of their ranks was unheard of. Without the fame of such as Flamel or Newton in his later years. This man's name was Attilio. And right now he is disembarking from a ship in the Adriatic and rowing alongside his son towards Venice.

Act 1

Chapter 1: Venice

The moon lay glistening across the blue seas, no sound could be heard save the soft splash of the oars striking the surface of the Adriatic. The ripples gave off shards of light under the full moon. The two men in the boat were shrouded by the darkness. Only the stars to guide them and the helpful advice of the ships captain as he lowered them into the small boat. They went for several long minutes without speech and allowed only their sharp intakes of breath to break the monotony of noiselessness. This continued until they approached the shore. All that could be seen was the buildings in the distance and only then because of their silhouette in the caress of the moonlight. They were tall, close together almost like bales of hay in a cart. Built from the strongest of Italian stones and the colours were ripe in their youth. No flicker of flame could be seen along the shoreline or on the waterways at such a distance as they were. Only the gentle buffeting of waves on stone. And the moist sound of the algae encrusted walls that seems to have the plant life shuffled by the motion of the sea.

The men approached a stone out at sea that rose above the waves, perhaps five or six feet even. As they came close to the stone they rowed behind it so as to prevent a view from the mainland. The oars were quickly stowed in the little space they had in the small sailing vessel. "This is the place?" a voice asked in the black. It was a soft voice. Belonging to a young man, you could almost hear the innocence in his tone.
"Yes child, light the candle" this voice belonged to an older gentleman. One who had seen many things and this had made him embittered. His voice had the texture of flint to the ears and was deeper than in comparison to the other, the voice of an aged man.

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