Before she became a full-fledged alchemist, little Laura had to learn the tricks and tools of alchemy. This is much easier said than done, as it is with most things. “Just learn alchemy,” like that. Sure.
Thankfully, she had supportive, weird, hippie parents who indulged in all her strange childhood ventures, whether that was a fleeting interest in beekeeping, a passing desire to be a professional roller derby girl (this one ended quickly when she fell and busted open both of her knees at the same time; she’d never been on skates since), to her hobby of collecting funny/silly coffee mugs from flea markets and vintage stores (she still did this even as an adult), nothing was off-limits or deemed inappropriate.
When she’d first heard the idea of arcanum, or the secret knowledge alchemists were trying to obtain by studying chemicals and reactions to somehow understand the mysteries of the universe, she was hooked. She watched and read all the pop culture depictions of alchemy, from The Dark Crystal to the Discworld novels, that she could get her hands on. Laura was enraptured by this mystical practice; it seemed like actual, practical magic she could do with her own two hands, no special gifts required. All you had to do was study, learn, and try. That seemed well in the realm of possibility for her.
So the years went by, Laura studying and learning and trying as hard as she could to learn both the fantastical and practical sides of alchemy. Her parents bought her some of her first equipment and helped her learn how to make distillates using her alembic. Her mom even found a bezoar, somehow, which Laura kept just in case she made something that went horribly wrong (can’t be too careful when potential poisoning is involved). She perfected her aqua vitae early on, and started studying metals and their properties.
Of course, all this studying, trying to really learn the arcanum, meant that she wasn’t exactly popular in high school; she mostly kept to herself, got through the school day, and went back home where she could read and experiment. Of course she wanted to turn metal into gold, but she was also interested in practical alchemy, self-improvement, and herbalism, and combining those things together became her life’s mission.
The day she figured out how to turn metal into gold was one of the happiest days of her life. Laura finally figured out the answer to the life, universe, and everything: 42. Applying that principle, she easily turned her small vial of quicksilver into gold. Why all the ancient male alchemists had failed to figure this out and an 18 year-old girl discovered it in just a few years, she didn’t know. What she did know, however, was that she was officially an alchemist, and she was absolutely thrilled.
Scent notes: Oakmoss and labdanum grows on the ancient stone walls of a legendary library. The last peach blossoms blow through the air as autumn sets in, and the last meyer lemon hangs from the tree. Rows and piles of ancient tomes sit, waiting, while students read by the light of carefully protected wax candles.