The Elemene Tabulata is a constantly updated tome, started in ancient times by
an unknown Daran gnome, and dedicated
to the recording of all things related to the practice of alchemy. It was begun
by gnomes long ago and is still being rapidly
expanded on by today’s gnomish alchemists.
Contained in its pages is a detailed list of all the known basic elements,
sorted in to the Trej Blaks, or the three Main Elements - the castes of
categorization - along with a fourth for Gnuuth (Fire),
which is not considered an actual element, but as a catalyst or bonding agent
between the different elements (as is the common view in the similar
elven and human
concepts). Generally, solid elements belong to Behta (Earth),
liquids belong to Bassha (Water) and
gaseous-like elements belong to Giagula (Air).
The tome also contains different formulae and processes (Phormei), and elemental tests (Euxperi), describing their effects, outcomes, and procedures in striking detail. Different theories (Openti, singular Opentium) and abstracts are also present in the book, providing a particular individual or group’s outlook on a certain subject or issue of alchemy. For example, in the book, one might find Stujuck Bilge’s outlook on Fire as a real element, or Nolan Drinkbrewer's recipe for his popular sober-making beverage, svaq.
Image description. The "Elemene Tabulata", the legendary gnomish tome containing all alchemical knowledge up to date. Picture drawn by Seeker.
Due to its massive size, age, ambitious goal, the
incredible number of contributors and how sought-after it is, many partial
copies of the book have been made. What follows is a description of the
original, by information obtained from one of its keepers.
The Elemene Tabulata certainly emits an air of legacy; its nondescript cover is plain and black, and cracked with age. At every turn, its ancient yellowed pages ruffle and crunch in a melancholy melody. It bears the marks of extensive use, with many pages burnt, ripped or bent, and covered with smudges of ink. It smells of a thousand aged scholars, a million alchemical experiments, an uncanny, earthy smell that makes one want to reel in revolt but, at the same time, to keep inhaling, to breath in more and more of such an exotic aroma.
Inside its pages are numerous writings of varied penmanship - a rushed print, an elegant, flowing script. Diagrams stand in the margins of each sheet, messy scrawlings of untalented but brilliant origin. It is the collective spirit of every alchemist that has ever bent over its form, that has ever spent hours and mountains of parchment slaving over one single line of print, of every location it has called its home, of every voice it has heard; it is all of these that mark its brilliance and elegance. It is a different sort of beauty altogether. It is knowledge.
Content of the Book. The Table of Elements is a book dedicated to the art of alchemy - the art of manipulating the composition, structure, properties, and reactions of matter. For many scholars alchemy is a way of life, a belief and a passion and, unlike many other similar industries, is not practiced purely out of necessity or convenience. This book contains everything related to the art, composed and collected by many different people from many different walks of life.
The first pages contain a foreword and discussion of the basic principles of alchemy, written by two of the twelve Praesidii (singular Praesidius), or guardians, of the book – Einrich Dugal and Baldrik Gudrew. This foreword is roughly fifty pages in length, and was written around 1655 to replace the old one, which was written over a hundred years previously. The rest of the book is separated into sections for different aspects of alchemy; one deals with listing and describing the basic elements, while another might deal with theoretical aspects, such as the idea of the Cylgromin Rock, the perfect element, the secret to life. Others might be dedicated solely to industrial uses of alchemy, dominated by entries of scholars in the Trigusteme school of thought, for applied alchemy.
The Elemene Tabulata indeed contains a table of sorts, which organizes all of the basic elements onto a simple graph that groups elements of similar composition together. This table is in the shape of a diamond, with each side representing one of the three main Elements, with Fire dominating the fourth. The elements that are most predominantly alike to their Elemental category are on the outer edges, and as one progresses inward, the elements are more and more akin to another category, but still, by majority, belonging to one dominant one. This table is one of the most important aspects of the book, as it is certainly one of the oldest, and is its actual namesake.
The pages that appear immediately after the Elemene Tabulata provide detailed descriptions of all of the basic elements currently known of. Each description is so detailed that even the most unelaborated is at least two pages in length, and each lists its dominant Element, its appearance and basic behavior, its reactions to certain other elements, and any elements it can be combined with in an Euxperi to produce a result of any significance. These entries are sorted in alphabetical order.
After this are the Four Books, one for each of the main schools of thought among alchemists:
The Book of the
The first is the Book of the Trigusteme, which describes the basic concept of the school of applied alchemy, and provides different theories, opinions and Euxperi written by many different alchemists, all pertaining to the creation of useable materials and goods.
The Book of the
Then comes the Book of the Cylgromist with articles and experiments pertaining to the more religious aspect of alchemy, which is the belief that a "perfect element" can be created, called the Cylgromin Rock, which can help "restore" the world and balance the Elements.
The Book of the Larcadia
Following the Book of the Cylgromist is the Book of the Larcadia, which is a less "arcane" practice of theoreticizing, which the followers think will bring a new state of peace and racial harmony. The Larcadians are attempting to create their own set of writings - called the Cadian Codex, which dictate the rules for living as a Larcadian. A small portion of the Codex is included in this book, supplemented by the regular content contained in the others.
The Book of the
Lastly, comes the Book of the Almithrite, the book representing the school of alchemists who dream of recreating the legendary mithril, or transform other metals into it through use of alloys.
The Book of Ceterus
Other entries that do not fit in to the other categories come after this, in the Book of Ceterus, which serves as an appendix. Near the end of the book is a colossal index, which contains the majority of the subjects referenced in the previous texts (many are overlooked by mistake).
Origin of the Book.
The origins of the Elemene Tabulata are very
fuzzy and confused, and the little facts that were known of its early years
have been lost in the depths of time. However, from the oldest sheets and
writings in the book, the Praesidii have managed to extrapolate some minor
details of its history.
It is thought that the book was originally merely the journal of a Daran alchemist living in New-Santhala around the time of Santharia’s formation, in which he recorded his thoughts, and his alchemical discoveries. It was the first of its kind that attempted to collect all articles of alchemy in an organized and categorized manner, and far surpassed the measly diaries of its later peers. The book was passed onto his son who did likewise, and continued as a family heirloom until it disappeared for some years.
The Praesidii are uncertain to what exactly occurred, but they propose that a rival alchemist stole the book to learn the secrets of his nemesis. When this gnome died, the book fell into the hands of the head of a private alchemy guild in the city, and he encouraged all of its members to contribute to its contents. The tradition of cooperatively adding to the book is said to have stemmed from the group’s efforts, and although the Praesidii are uncertain as to how the book became so well-known, it is suffice to say that its already considerable base of knowledge made it desirable for other alchemists, eager to add their own findings.
History and Influence. By 800 a.S., the Elemene Tabulata (as it was now called) had become almost a legendary relic among the gnomish alchemists in Santharia. In fact, it was so sought after that many groups made fortunes producing partial copies of the book for others’ personal study. Its influence became so incredible that, when it fell into the hands of a notable figure in Gnorath municipal government in 1016 a.S., it was decided that a council of keepers was to be appointed to look after the book, and to read over entries sent in by other gnomes for approval and insertion into it. Twelve important alchemists were chosen from within the city and the book was entrusted to their care. Whenever a Praesidius passes away, the eleven others nominate another.
While many of the basic elements were added and described in the book, it wasn’t until the Praesidii came into possession of it that an actual, formal table was designed to display them all in a concise manner. The design was a diamond, with each side representing one of the four Elements (Behta, Bassha, Giagula and Gnuuth), with the elements most predominantly conforming to one particular element on the outer edges of their respective Main Element, and the others becoming more and more “distilled” near the center. At the absolute center of the Elemene Tabulata is the Cylgromist Rock.
Importance. The Elemene Tabulata is a tome of incredible knowledge, considered by many to be the ultimate book of answers. It is filled with an incredibly vast amount of alchemical wisdom that it would take many years for one to read through the whole, static book. However, it is not a static being; it is constantly growing, being constantly added to, and the Praesidii that preside over it are constantly adding new entries to it, and revising the ones that are out of date, or incorrect on some manner. The book itself is so important because of the incredible impact it has on the world of alchemy; it is the collective studies of many generations of scholars.