'Alchemy' Act 1

Prologue: (Somewhere in the Italian Alps)

There is a gunshot! 

As the report echoes around the mountains, a body falls off the edge of the plateau, leaving Lord Henry Jagman standing there with a smoking gun in his hand. His associate, Benjamin Greaves, packs down the camp as Jagman reflects on the current state of affairs. Finally, he has everything he requires to reach his goal. It is simply a case of studying the clues. 

All he needs now… is time!



Scene 1: (A cell in Newgate Prison – moonlight shines through the bars)


Months have passed since the incident in the Alps.

Amelia Darvas is languishing in debtors’ prison. Her mother died in childbirth, and her father struggled with ill fortune and bad business decisions until the family fortune was lost. Her father had died in a duel, but not before entrusting a rather strange family secret to Amelia – the location of an underground labyrinth. Apart from that, Amelia was left with nothing but debts. This has led to her current predicament in Newgate Prison - imprisoned for owing money. 

She is alone now. Not a friend in the world.

That evening, Jagman visits her cell, and offers to clear Amelia’s debts and secure her immediate freedom in exchange for the location of the Labyrinth. Desperate to clear her family name, Amelia agrees to the deal and reveals that it can be found in the Black Forest within the German Confederation, in a place called ‘Die Halbmond-Lichtung’ (The Half-Moon Clearing).

With that vital information revealed, Amelia has no further value to Jagman and he slaps her to the floor, taunting her gullible nature. He gloats about how easy it is to manipulate people and then he decides to ‘tidy up’ loose ends by engineering Amelia’s execution for ‘treason’.


2 The Gallows AwaitScene 2: (The gallows outside Newgate Prison – a crowd has gathered)

A few days later Amelia is taken outside the walls of Newgate Prison to the cries of the baying crowd, and dragged towards the scaffold. She is proud and defiant – she curses Jagman for his actions, and even in this desperate situation Amelia swears revenge, in this life or the next.

Suddenly there are some small explosions and the crowd is swamped by plumes of thick green smoke pervading the air. People are confused and blinded by the dense fog. Through the haze Amelia sees two hooded figures threading their way towards her. Further away, there is another man, again masked, leaning on a stick, observing the situation. A scuffle ensues, and within seconds Amelia has been freed. With the help of the three mystery figures, she is ushered away into the gloomy side streets, and lost in the confusion.


Scene 3: (On Southwark Bridge)

After eluding the guards and covering their tracks through the streets of London, Amelia and her saviours eventually reach Southwark Bridge. Masks are removed and Amelia is introduced to Professor Samuel King, William Gardelle and Eva Bonaduce. 

After William receives a rather cold reception, the professor tries to explain the urgency of the situation, and discovers that Jagman now knows the whereabouts of the Labyrinth. Amelia, still shocked by her recent experiences, is filled with resentment and a desire for revenge against Jagman. She reacts aggressively, but is warned off by Eva, who seems devoted to the protection of Samuel King. 

In a confrontation between Eva and Amelia, Eva explains how she found King, badly injured in the Italian Alps. She nursed him back from the brink of death, and has vowed to assist him in bringing down Jagman.

Eventually they leave the bridge, with Gardelle hanging back, as he ponders his feelings for Amelia. 


3 Southwark Bridge II


Scene 4: (Inside ‘The St. Lazarus Refuge’ for the homeless and destitute)

The refuge is busy, but no one is interested in the quartet as they sit in a corner talking. King has rooms above the refuge and his financial contributions enable him to remain anonymous here.

King explains to Amelia what has been happening to lead them to this moment…

King had been a keen student of the great alchemists, particularly Thomas Anzeray (1535 -1607). After finding several letters written by Anzeray to his disciples, he realised that he might have the key to discovering Anzeray’s greatest legacy… the path between life and death, known in legend as the ‘Anzeray Resurrection’. Towards the end of his life, Anzeray was aware that enemies were threatening to steal his work. He went on a journey, splitting his discovery into three parts and hiding them across Europe. After that journey Anzeray was never seen again.

4 Bleeding Hand Tavern III
King deciphered clues in the letter, revealing that there were three artifacts: a Journal, a Skull and a Casket of Seven Sacred Stones. Thanks to these letters and years of study King was finally ready to search for the artifacts and reconstruct the legendary ‘Anzeray Resurrection’. Such a quest, however, would be expensive and complex. It was clear that he would need a benefactor. Support was offered to him by the wealthy Lord Henry Jagman, a notorious member of the Hellfire Club, but also a well known explorer and adventurer. Despite the darker rumours surrounding Jagman, King elected to accept him as a partner in the search to rediscover the ‘Anzeray Resurrection’.

They traveled into the Italian Alps where they managed to unearth Anzeray’s Journal. As King browsed through the book, he read a stark warning from the Alchemist, that mankind may not be ready for this discovery. It could cause cataclysmic disaster to the world, if it should fall into the wrong hands. King told Jagman that these artifacts should remain undiscovered, but was betrayed. Jagman shot him and left him for dead. Thanks to the ministrations of Eva, King survived, but he hopes that Jagman is unaware of his survival.

Just as Amelia is trying to take in all this information, Gardelle catches a girl trying to pick his pockets. Her name is Jessamine, and despite the indignation of Gardelle and Eva, Amelia intercedes suggesting that kindness would be better than punishment. King brings calm to the argument, reminding Gardelle that he is in fact a thief also, and that is how he first met the Professor. King then organises food and clothing for the girl. Jessamine remains somewhat defiant as to her activities, but is appreciative of King’s generosity.

The four then return to the matter at hand. Thanks to Amelia, they now know that the Casket of Sacred Stones is hidden in The Labyrinth in the German Confederation. However, as with Henry Jagman, they are in the dark as to how to negotiate the web of paths down there, and failure to know the way would lead to certain death. In the meantime, King suggests to Gardelle and Eva that they break into Jagman’s town house in an attempt to find out where the skull is hidden. Amelia offers to go too, but is prevented on the basis that her wish for revenge would be too powerful a force, and could jeopardize the whole mission. The Professor then takes the opportunity to teach Amelia the need for patience and planning.


Scene 5: (The study in Jagman’s town house)

Gardelle and Eva break into the house, and creep around Jagman’s study. They search for, and find, some key information. Suddenly they hear a noise, and are forced to hide. 

Ben Greaves has been drinking, and stumbles into the study, closely followed by the housekeeper, Mrs. Muncey. She is not happy about this visitor. He has been sent by Jagman to collect some items for him. Greaves and Muncey argue, whilst giving away vital information about the Skull. It is now hidden somewhere in Highgate Cemetery. The exact location is still a mystery, but when the light of the full moon shines through the ‘angel’s harp’, they will know where to look. 

The full moon takes place on the following night and Jagman plans to gather the Hellfire Club at Highgate for some revelry, during which he intends to procure the Skull. After that he will set sail for the German Confederation in search of the third artifact, the Casket of Stones. 

Greaves departs the study, followed by the scolding Mrs. Muncey, and William and Eva are left to enjoy their newfound information.


Scene 6: (The Professor’s rooms above the Tavern)

7 London RooftopsKing is seen giving some money to the pickpocket Jessamine who then leaves. Amelia enters, impatiently wondering if there is news from Gardelle or Eva. There is none. Absently, she sings to herself. King asks her the origin of this song, and Amelia explains that it was the only other thing her father left her… a lullaby that he would sing to her as a child.

Suddenly Gardelle and Eva arrive back. They are excited and eager to tell King the news. Eva presents the Professor with some papers, from which he soon realises that the Skull they seek, belongs to Anzeray himself! He is then told of the conversation between Ben Greaves and Mrs. Muncey, revealing that the Skull lies in Highgate Cemetery. They decide to disguise themselves as gypsies and infiltrate the Hellfire Club festivities; Amelia slips out onto the roof of the building…


Scene 7: (On the roof of the ‘The St. Lazarus Refuge’, overlooking London)

Gardelle finds Amelia sitting pensively on the roof, staring over the London skyline. He tries to reassure her that things have a habit of working out. Despite her initial cold reaction towards William, Amelia values his efforts but warns him that she is running from a dark shadow that has ruined her life and all that she has known and loved. The shadow’s name is Lord Henry Jagman, and she will not rest until justice has been served. For her, revenge is paramount!


Scene 8: (Highgate Cemetery)

8 Highgate CemeteryThe next night is the full moon, and the gathering of the Hellfire Club in Highgate Cemetery. Jagman opens proceedings by wishing everyone a good time, and promising that soon he will share with them all what is possibly the greatest discovery in history. They must be patient just a little longer and then he will amaze the world.

As the party begins, Jagman is lost in the crowd. The clock strikes midnight and a small band of gypsies appear. Amelia and her friends have arrived. She soon has the revelers attention and offers to read palms for them, promising to reveal their futures. All the time she and her ‘musicians’ (Gardelle, King and Eva) are searching for the statue of the angel and the harp. Amelia, however, is more interested in finding Jagman, but Gardelle is trying to keep her under control. He has already taken responsibility for Amelia, his feelings being clear to King and Eva.

As the party continues, they find the statue of the angel, and sure enough the light of the moon shines through and marks a grave… but the earth has already been disturbed! In the hole there is a box, but it is now empty… the Skull is gone! 

King concludes that their last chance is to get to the German Confederation and beat Jagman to the final artifact at all costs. Amelia refuses to leave, because she still wishes to find Jagman. Eventually, William manages to coax her away from the party.

This is now a deadly race for the third and final artifact!



'Alchemy' Act 2

Scene 1: (The mouth of the Labyrinth)

1 The Entrance to the LabyrinthThe Professor and his party stand at the mouth of the Labyrinth, unsure of how to find their way through the puzzle. The Labyrinth is reputed to have been the death of many people who have tried to negotiate the long winding passages and deadly traps. 

It is then that King makes the connection between Amelia’s lullaby and markings above the entrance. She already holds the key, taught to her as a child, by her father. Gardelle is far from convinced about this solution, but elects to trust in Amelia. Tentatively they walk through the corridors and successfully claim the Casket of Sacred Stones.

The Professor takes out the Stones and replaces them with seven worthless rocks he has in his pocket, reminding Amelia it is important to be prepared for any eventuality.

He gives the real Stones to her for safekeeping. Then, they leave the Labyrinth.


Scene 2: (The Crescent Moon Clearing in the Black Forest)

Lying in wait in the Half Moon Clearing is a band of mercenaries, led by Milosh. They have been hired by Jagman to capture and kill King and his people, once they have the Casket of Stones. Jagman has been aware of King’s survival for a while now.

As King and the others emerge from the underground Labyrinth, they are set upon and captured by the mercenaries. Milosh takes the Casket, and apologises for their impending demise. The Professor pleads for a moment to be heard before such drastic action. He then offers the band limitless wealth due to his command and understanding of alchemy. He proceeds to demonstrate the turning of lead into gold by the means of a special powder. This is in fact a simple slight of hand. King keeps the mercenaries’ rapt attention by appealing to their sense of greed. By the time the Professor produces the gold, Milosh and his compatriots are all convinced of imminent fortune. During the celebrations, King and his friends escape. Gardelle and Amelia go in one direction, King and Eva, another. They agree to meet at the harbour in Hamburg. 

2 The Forest ClearingMoments later, Jagman arrives accompanied by Greaves. He is incandescent with anger when he discovers the mercenaries have failed to kill King, and indeed the stones are not the real ones. Milosh is immediately ‘punished’ and then Jagman sends Greaves to get the Stones… whatever it takes!

Lord Henry Jagman, however, cannot resist taking a moment to pause and explain the extremity of his actions to the remaining mercenaries, just in case they are not clear on his determination to succeed.


Scene 3: (Rosenstrasse, near Hamburg docks)

As the sun rises, Amelia and Gardelle are taking a shortcut to the docks, where they plan to meet up with the Professor and Eva. Amelia has finally warmed to Gardelle and the bond they share has grown into something much more. They share a moment of closeness.

Suddenly, Greaves and a couple of the mercenaries appear. They are intent upon regaining the Stones and a fight ensues. In the clash Amelia saves Gardelle’s life by stepping in the way of Greaves’ knife. She falls to the ground as Greaves and his henchmen escape with the Stones. 

Gardelle is shocked and helpless as he tries to comfort Amelia. She makes him promise that he will complete the mission to stop Jagman, and as they embrace, Amelia dies.


Scene 4: (On the deck of the Phaedra, a cargo ship)

4 Deck of the Phaedra IIIt is now a race against time for the Professor to stop Jagman from performing the ‘Anzeray Resurrection’, but spirits are low after the loss of Amelia. Gardelle is bereft as the Captain leads the eulogy for Amelia’s burial at sea. 

It takes all of King’s powers of persuasion to remind Gardelle that he cannot falter in their task, even after such a loss.

As the Phaedra threads its way through the coastal fogs of England, they bid farewell to Amelia. 


Scene 5: (The Professor’s rooms above ‘The St. Lazarus Refuge’)

It is a demoralised group that returns to King’s rooms. They have none of the artifacts, Amelia is dead, and they do not know where the ‘Anzeray Resurrection’ is to be held. Does King have any cards left to play? Surely things could not get any worse!

Strangely, King is phlegmatic about the situation, and chooses to sleep, while Gardelle keeps watch downstairs, and Eva keeps watch over King. This gives the girl a moment to reflect on how things may be between her and the Professor.

Suddenly the door bursts open: Jessamine has led Jagman and his henchmen to King’s hiding place. Gardelle has been captured and Jagman takes great pleasure in rewarding Jessamine well for her help and information. 

But is this really a betrayal? King is strangely calm about the situation. He prevents Eva from attacking Jessamine, explaining quietly that he in fact paid the pickpocket to betray them. He is relying on Jagman’s pride and vanity to ensure that they are all taken to witness the ritual. To witness Jagman’s ‘finest moment’…

He is right!


Scene 6: (The Ceremonial Hall at the Jagman country estate)

5 The RitualJagman is the master of ceremonies, as the members of the Hellfire Club look on, resplendent in their purple robes. There is a fire burning beside an altar. The Skull and the Stones are in place and Jagman is reading from the Journal.

King and his friends are forced to witness Jagman’s triumph, watched by a gun-wielding Ben Greaves. Suddenly there is a low rumble, and a space near the altar seems to literally tear apart. The gateway between life and death!

Through the gateway, Anzeray returns to the living plane. Jagman is jubilant, and claims his right to the power over life and death. After seeming to compliment Jagman on his success, it becomes clear that Thomas Anzeray is far from impressed. As he speaks, more shadows arrive through the gateway - led by Amelia!

Anzeray curses Jagman for his greed and stupidity, and the terrified members of the Hellfire Club are dragged down through the gateway into oblivion. As the shadows move towards King, Gardelle and Eva, Amelia protects them, and then points to a cowering figure in the corner. It is Jagman. He pleads for mercy as the shadows pull him down, screaming, through the gateway. 

In the following calm, Amelia and Gardelle share one more moment together. He wants to go with her, but she will not let him, promising that she will be there for him when the right time comes. With that, Amelia once more departs.

Anzeray is last to leave, instructing King to destroy the artifacts, for the sake of both the living and the dead. Most important is the Journal, which, above all, must no longer exist.

The gateway closes behind Anzeray. 

The Professor tells Eva to lead the devastated Gardelle away. ‘Did they all have to die?’ she asks King. He has no real answer except to point out that the sun is rising and they are still alive. 

The Professor throws the Stones, the Skull and the Journal onto the fire. He starts to walk away, but on an irresistible urge he pauses, and then returns. He plucks the journal from the flames and puts it inside his coat. Only now does he finally leave.

Perhaps the story is not yet over…


Original story by Clive Nolan