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Alkimia is a shared universe of urban fantasy creative works, revolving around the seven alchemic elements and the misfits, loners and losers who wield them. The keystone work is Ghosts in Quicksilver by Elliott Dunstan.

Alkimia is a verse very much like our own, yet in its own ways very different; the disenfranchised have powers of their own, faeries flicker between the worlds at their own whim, and the old gods use human squabbles as a spectator sport, placing bets here and there on the next development. The central premise of Alkimia is that all humans are born associated with a single element, much like we are born under star signs or on days of the week. These elements don’t matter beyond points of interest or to fortunetellers – until the person in question undergoes some form of trauma. The trauma unlocks associated abilities as a form of defense, and the human becomes known as an Elemental.

Elementals, for the most part, aren’t physically distinguishable from other humans – and for the most part, they don’t distinguish themselves from other humans, any more than most trauma survivors do. Not every trauma survivor unlocks these powers, but there is a certain kind of kinship that comes with survival. There is the odd inflated ego – the ‘we’re better than the Weak and Ordinary’ – but it largely boils down to blending in, keeping your head down, and using the abilities you have to keep life as simple as it can possibly be.

Of course, it often doesn’t work out that way. The fey seem to love poking at Elementals, and the normal problems of misfits, loners and losers – late bills, asshole exes, bad traffic, quitting smoking – get that much harder to deal with when a growl of rage can send off literal sparks or you’ve got ghosts lecturing you on your relationship problems. As a result, Elementals tend to gravitate towards each other.

As part of the trauma-based nature of Elementals, elemental powers have a tendency to spiral out of control in response to emotional stress or triggers. The exact nature of this varies from element to element, but all of them have severe consequences. Different elements balance each other and help to bring the magical half of the equation under control – which makes it easier to smooth out the emotional end of things as well. Usually, simply the presence of the correct Elemental helps, although physical contact can speed things up. 

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