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Over the two centuries since its inception, the Golden Order has come to dominate and even own all the most respectable schools and guilds of Alchemy within the Empire. Most famous of all the Golden Order's lesser guilds is the locally named "Wizards and Alchemists Guild" in Middenheim. The Guild is the oldest place of organized learning for alchemists in the Empire and has a formidable reputation. Founded as the "Guilde of Alkemie" sometime between 1200 and 1600 IC (the records are hazy and somewhat contradictory), it was the focal point for alchemists from all over the Empire who wanted to deepen and broaden their understanding of the sciences for nearly a thousand years. In the early days, alchemy was far less developed or understood, and its theories were a jumble of primitive chemistry and herbalism, dominated by superstition, occultism, and elements of hedge wizardry. Yet the Guild was renowned as a place of learning and science, and few outside of it really new or cared what went on within it.[1a]

The Guild has had many vicissitudes in its long history, and the Graf of Middenheim forced the guild members to bend all efforts solely to the betterment of his city rather than the deepening of alchemical understanding. With the coming and eventual defeat of the Great Chaos Incursion, and when Teclis was asked by Emperor Magnus to teach the secrets of magic to the Empire, there were some in Middenheim who were outraged that the Emperor chose Altdorf to be the seat of learning for what they saw as a new and better funded College of alchemy: the Golden Order. It may have been a political decision on the Emperor's part, strategically placing the Colleges at the centre of the Empire, midway between Nuln and Middenheim and under his own watchful eye and that of the Grand Theogonist in the heartland of the Sigmarite Cult.[1a]

The period following Teclis' inception of the increasingly famous alchemical thaumaturgy of the Golden Order saw great turmoil with Middenheim's Alchemists’ Guild. With the Magister Alchemists of the Golden Order breaking new ground in Altdorf and many of the alchemical theories of previous centuries being proven incorrect, a major reorganization of the Guild was called for. By Imperial edict and persistent pressure from various cults, all elements deemed magical were purged from the teachings and practices of the Guild. But without access to the closely guarded secrets of the Golden Order, the Alchemists' Guild found that it was being left behind and increasingly ignored. Magisters from the Golden Order began to appear in Middenheim, invited by nobles and merchants. Even the Graf himself installed a Magister Alchemist in his court. Things looked bleak for the Guild, and it found itself demoted to teaching apprentices the rudiments of alchemy.[1a][1b]

Eighty years ago, the Guild was finally forced to close its doors. Few alchemists of any skill chose to study or teach at the Guild when they could apply to one of the schools controlled by the Golden Order, and the Guild certainly was not attracting wealthy students or endowments like it used to. It could no longer to pay for the upkeep of its ancient, sprawling buildings. This appeared to be just what the Golden Order of Magic had been waiting for. Representatives from the Golden Order approached the one-time owners of the Guild's land, saying that they were interested in buying the property to renovate and refit it with new laboratories. They even said that they would employ the old alchemist scholars to teach initiates the basics of alchemy.[1b]

The reason for this sudden interest was because Middenheim was so far away from Altdorf and was quite difficult to reach, making it hard for the Golden Order to service Ulric’s great city to the degree they desired. So indebted were the old alchemists of the Guild and with nowhere else to go, they had little choice but to accept.[1b]

Upon hearing of the Golden Order’s plans for the old Guild buildings, senior Magisters from the Celestial Order approached the Golden Order to come to an agreement never before reached between two Colleges of Magic. The Astromancers of the Celestial Order had the same problems servicing Middenheim as the Golden Order, but the Astromancers were also interested in establishing observatories in Middenheim because of its commanding position high atop a mountain and yet well defended from wandering beasts and bandits. After wrangling over the funding and building of the laboratories and observatories and the jurisdictions of the two Colleges' Magisters who would work and live within the old Guild buildings, the Colleges reached an agreement and built the Guild of Magisters.[1b]

Now the Guild has sprawling laboratories within its compound and needle-like observatory towers of the Celestial Order's Astromancers thrusting high above the city. The main building is three stories, built in a grand but eccentric style, with a pillared entrance rising all the way to the roof. A large library is on the first floor along with research laboratories for alchemists. The Guild has permanent accommodations for the senior Magisters that reside there as well as a large dormitory where Apprentices to both the Celestial and Golden Orders bunk. In addition, over a dozen rooms are available to Magisters of either Order who are visiting Middenheim but have no accommodation of their own or even just those who prefer company who won't look at them as if they were a dangerous animal, as indeed most of the citizens of Middenheim do.[1b]

Still remembering the old days and somewhat in ignorance and awe of the Magisters who descended upon them, the people of Middenheim came to refer to the Guild as the "Wizards and Alchemists Guild," and the name has stuck. Over the last eight decades, the newly restructured College has thrived like never before. Once again it has become a focal point for young alchemists, and it is second only in size, respectability, and power to the Golden Order in Altdorf. The Guild has the best facilities and libraries of arcane lore outside of Altdorf. Many use the Guild as a stepping-stone on their way to the Imperial Colleges in Altdorf, the Gold and Celestial Magisters residing at the Guild are permitted to take apprentices, though only the College at Altdorf has the authority to accept apprentices as full Magisters.[1b]

The Guild has been approached by the Magisters of the Bright Order who, upon the request of the Graf of Middenheim, wish to fund much of the Guild's renovation in return for barracks and training grounds of their own within the sprawling property. Negotiations continue, but it seems likely that the Bright Order will be welcomed.[1b]

Source

  • 1: Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd ED -- Realms of Sorcery
    • 1a: pg. 96
    • 1b: pg. 97

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