|❖ Alchemy ❖|
The Immortals (不死者 fushisha) are humans who attained complete immortality either by imbibing the Grand Panacea or the Cure-All Elixir, or attained incomplete immortality by imbibing a failed version of the Cure-All Elixir.
While immortal homunculi and incomplete ageless homunculi exist, and certain immortal homunculi abide by the same rules as complete immortals, they obtained their immortal qualities through alternative means and are not the focus of this article. However, more information on immortal homunculi is available on their corresponding page.
Complete immortals cannot die by mortal means, and their immortality is defined by Ronny Schiatto's rules: Although they are able to use a false name for temporary introductions to mortals, their bodies reject all attempts to establish lasting false identities. They must use their real names when speaking to another complete immortal—and this is an involuntary measure; it is physically impossible to give a false name when there is another complete immortal in one's vicinity. Furthermore, they are also unable to write a false name on documents (including family registers and passenger lists).
There is a single method through which a complete immortal may be permanently killed: another complete immortal must place their right hand on the first complete immortal's head, and think, "I want to eat." Upon devouring another complete immortal, the surviving complete immortal receives the deceased's knowledge, memories, and emotions associated with them.
The ability to devour and be devoured therefore distinguishes a complete immortal from a 'perfect' immortal and no elixir is currently known to grant the latter. However, Ronny has stated he can give a complete immortal 'perfect immortality' by taking this ability from them—though whether he has ever done so is unknown.
No other means of escaping or becoming immune to devouring are otherwise known to exist. That Lebreau Fermet Viralesque appears to have survived being devoured at least twice is not necessarily proof of such a loophole, as there is no proof he himself was the one devoured on those occasions.
One of the failed byproducts of Szilard's research into the Grand Panacea was a substance that grants incomplete immortality: immortality that allows an individual to survive all manner of injury or sickness, but does not prevent them from dying of old age. An incomplete immortal is able to live under a false identity, unlike a complete immortal, but—crucially—can not devour immortals of any type. Conversely, the incomplete ageless homunculi of the Lamia do not physically age and cannot die from old age, but can otherwise be killed from fatal diseases or injuries in the manner of mortal humans.
For all that Szilard considers the incomplete elixir to be a 'failed product', it is incredibly useful for his purposes; by making mortals incomplete immortals, he can harvest their knowledge freely without putting himself at risk. In other words, incomplete immortals' true origin is as a class of people who exist solely to be exploited. As an unending harvestable resource of knowledge, they are little more than 'livestock' in Szilard's eyes.
Qualities of Immortality
- Immortality as a Default State
When an organism imbibes or otherwise intakes the elixir, it permanently preserves the imbiber's body in the state it is in at the time of consumption: Czeslaw Meyer will forever remain in the body of a child; Elmer C. Albatross's body is still covered in the scars he bore prior to imbibing the elixir; and Niki has suffered in agony for three hundred years from the near-mortal wounds she possessed when she became immortal.
Since an immortal existence is essentially an eternally preserved one, any potential changes to an immortal body are rectified, regenerated, and restored to its original 'default' state. An immortal body hence does not regrow severed body parts; rather, those individual parts attempt to rejoin and reform the "original, aggregate whole." Provided that the process is not physically interfered with, successful regeneration is possible even when the body has been burned to ash or vaporized. Complete destruction results in complete, flawless restoration.
Physical interference with regeneration is interference that ultimately prevents a full restoration of the 'whole' to its original state. Such interference is commonly achieved by physically confining a detached body part—whether by burial or containment—in conditions it cannot escape, though it will nonetheless 'tug' in the direction of its host. One can thus exploit a detached part as a 'homing beacon', which Renee Parmedes Branvillier does with Huey Laforet's left eyeball in 1935. Some uncertainty remains as to whether there are physical complications so extreme as to be unrecoverable from; Czeslaw wonders in 2001 whether he could "return to normal completely" in the event he was fused with molten iron, but the answer is not given.
On only one occasion has it been suggested an immortal's 'original state' may be altered: in 1932, when Elmer claims, "I've been told [the Grand Panacea] has a bit of a mind of its own and naturally improves things overtime" in reference to Lester's injuries; he further supposes that the duration would correlate with how severe one's injuries are. As this claim exists in isolation its actuality is presently unverifiable.
- Bodily Functions, Reactions, and Conditions
Immortal bodies undergo regular metabolic processes as they did when mortal, though they do not necessarily suffer the same consequences that mortal bodies do when under duress. Though an immortal will not succumb to malnutrition like an immortal, for instance, they may feel the psychological effects of hunger; it is more efficient for an immortal to keep themselves fed. They eat, sweat, excrete, and breathe; Isaac & Miria suffocate when mining in California due to want of air. In cases of physical exhaustion, an immortal may potentially recover faster than a mortal; when Firo Prochainezo pushes his muscles past their limits in 1933, his destroyed cells regenerate completely during a short respite.
An immortal will become temporarily feverish if poisoned or infected, and they may pass out as mortals do from overwhelming stress, temperature, or pain relative to their tolerance levels. As evidenced through Szilard, an immortal can potentially lose one's sense of pain with enough effort; the method he used is not yet clear. All immortal bodies, meanwhile, can become "proportionally used" to regenerating through repeated experience as demonstrated when Dallas Genoard is shot in the head for the second time in 1930: because his head had been destroyed in the same way once already, his body regenerates faster than it did on the first occasion. Ennis has also hypothesized that physically younger bodies regenerate at a naturally faster rate than older ones.
Immortals are able to become pregnant and give birth if they were able to do so when mortal, and do not 'pass on' immortality to their biological offspring: Chané and Leeza Laforet, as mortal daughters of complete immortals, prove immortality is not an inheritable condition.
- Knowledge, Absorbed Knowledge, and Memory
According to Szilard Quates, an immortal body "not only grasps the knowledge it 'eats' with its brain, it physically 'knows' it." After absorbing the knowledge to ride horseback or dance, an immortal should be able to do either perfectly the first time they try.
Immortals are able to transmit information and memories only to their linked homunculi by placing their left hand on the homunculus' forehead. In the 2007 anime adaptation, immortals are capable of transmitting information to homunculi and immortals by placing their right hand on the other's head. While Maiza uses this method to 'transmit' his knowledge of the elixir to Gretto in the anime, he simply tells Gretto half of the recipe in the novels.
Dalton Strauss has observed that one's capacity for memory "expands beyond that of a normal human" once one becomes immortal, though immortals still forget "in the same way anyone else would." This expanded capacity may explain why immortals can retain the absorbed knowledge and memories of other immortals, though not all absorbed memories are rendered equal: while Szilard's memories are relatively clear in Firo's mind (should he actively engage with them), the memories he has absorbed by proxy are increasingly distinct according to the level of removal. Szilard's memories will be clearer than those of an immortal Szilard devoured, and those immortal's memories clearer than the ones of someone they devoured.
The Science of Immortality
To be added.
At least three generations of complete immortals are currently confirmed.
This generation consists of ten people who likely became immortal in either the 1400s or 1500s: nine alchemy students and their teacher Dalton, who first heard of the immortality elixir from Majeedah Batutah. Their first decade of immortality passes in peace that comes to a swift end when an immortal devours his own mother, causing Archangelo to see the other immortals' existence as an inherent threat to Renee; in response to this first murder, he, therefore, takes it upon himself to devour the rest of his comrades.
The war for survival thus leaves only three survivors: Archangelo; Renee; and Dalton, the last of whom severs his own right hand and gives it to Archangelo so as to eliminate himself as a threat. Archangelo proceeds to bury the hand in a spot whose whereabouts only he knows, and he, Renee, and Dalton continue teaching alchemy into the early 1700s. Dalton is confirmed alive in 2003 as the head librarian of the Third Library, while Renee and Archangelo are confirmed alive as of 1935.
This generation consists of thirty people—the majority alchemists—who obtained immortality aboard the Advena Avis.
Fleeing persecution in Lotto Valentino, the group escape the city via the Advena Avis and set a course for the American colonies in 1711. Maiza Avaro summons the 'demon' Ronny at some point during the transatlantic crossing, and Ronny bestows upon Maiza alone the knowledge required to concoct the Grand Panacea. All present save for Sylvie Lumiere become complete immortals. The day of the summoning, Maiza teaches his younger brother Gretto half of the recipe before deciding that he will seal the knowledge within him for the time being.
Outraged, Szilard later attempts to devour Maiza but mistakenly devours Gretto instead, thereby absorbing his half of the formula. He devours twelve more alchemists over the course of a single night before jumping overboard to evade capture; once the surviving sixteen alchemists arrive in the colonies, many go into hiding across the continent in a bid to escape Szilard's notice. Szilard devours five of them over the course of the next two centuries; Ennis devours a sixth.
It is later revealed that three of the passengers (Huey, Elmer, and Fermet) each sent Lucrezia de Dormentaire portions of the elixir: Huey and Elmer each sent her half of their portions, and Fermet sent her a 'sample' several years later. Lucrezia imbibes the elixir and has Niki and Maiza's father intake it as well. The Dormentaires proceed to experiment on Maiza's father for approximately two centuries.
Sometime after arriving in the colonies, 1711 immortal Denkurō Tōgō attempts to return to his homeland in Japan. Fermet intercepts him in the North Pole, entraps him in a box while he is asleep, and sends the box into a crevasse. Denkurō remains encased in ice for the next two hundred and fifty years.
Sylvie does not drink her portion of the elixir until several years have passed, believing she will have a better chance at devouring Szilard if he does not recognize her. She and Maiza both spend the next two centuries intending to be the one who devours Szilard, while Nile spends them on the front lines of the worst battlefields. Elmer, meanwhile, spends much of his time tracking Szilard in the hopes he can convince Szilard to repent and smile.
This group of complete immortals consists of an indeterminate amount of people who drink the Cure-All Elixir—Szilard's newly completed version of the immortality elixir—in November 1930.
Most of the complete immortals of this generation become immortal by accidentally drinking the Cure-All Elixir at Firo's promotion party. These immortals include: Firo; Isaac & Miria; the Gandor brothers; all the Martillo executives (and some of their family members); Lia Lin-Shan; and Seina.
It is revealed in a drama CD that a young man called Pietro Gonzales recovers a bottle of the elixir from Barnes' collapsed granary and drinks it on the assumption it is alcohol. Once he learns he is immortal he is horrified, and with his friend Dominico Fuentes he searches for a way to 'cure' his immortality and become mortal again in the summer of 1936.
The complete immortal white rodent Barnes experimented on remains at large.
Barnes joins Szilard's "members" circa 1910 and at some point after the fact becomes an incomplete immortal, meaning the failed byproduct was already recognized and in use by that time. In the year 1927, Szilard turns Donatello into an incomplete immortal.
By the 1930s, 1711 immortal Sylvie is making her living as a singer; 1711 immortal Begg Garrott is serving as an apothecary for the Runorata Family, and 1711 immortal Victor Talbot is working as the assistant director of a BOI department dedicated to immortal affairs. Huey's activities are particularly concerning affairs during this time, and Huey is arrested prior to 1931 for an alleged plot to overthrow the government. Huey will later be confined to Alcatraz once it opens as a federal penitentiary.
In November 1930, Firo devours Szilard the day after his promotion party. The same month, Szilard's subordinate Paula Wilmens stows a bottle of the incomplete byproduct at her husband's grave; two years later, Lester drinks the contents of this bottle and becomes an incomplete immortal in August 1932, afterward doomed to suffer in agony underneath the floorboards of Coraggioso.
After Szilard's death, both Huey and the Nebula corporation attempt to obtain what is left of Szilard's incomplete elixir—a race that dominates much of the early 1930s. Huey instructs the Lamia to steal the elixir from Nebula in September 1933, but Renee distributes it to all twelve hundred Nebula Mist Wall employees of the Mist Wall without their knowledge or consent prior to the Lamia's arrival.
In November 1934, Victor arranges for 1930 immortals Isaac and Miria to be arrested under false pretenses. His men only manage to arrest Isaac, whom Victor sends to Alcatraz with the aim of using him as future leverage against Firo.
By December 1934, Nebula has distributed the remaining incomplete elixir to certain executives of the Russo Family (including don Placido Russo and capo Krieck) on the condition that the Russos capture the Lamia. Placido recalls Graham Specter to Chicago and orders him to capture the Lamia alive, but Graham ultimately fails to do so. As a consequence of the Russos' failure, Renee later devours Placido, Krieck, and the other incomplete Russo immortals.
The same month, Victor has Firo incarcerated in Alcatraz as a pretense and orders him to investigate how Huey is communicating with the outside world. When Firo and mortal inmate Ladd Russo meet with Huey, it is revealed that Renee has hired several Felix Walkens (all of whom are Sham vessels) to steal Huey's eye. Per a temporary alliance, Firo gouges out Huey's left eye on Sham's behalf. The move enrages Huey's daughter-cum-Hilton vessel Leeza, who later retaliates by stealing Firo's left eye in turn.
Isaac and Huey both leave Alcatraz for Chicago, Isaac via official discharge and Huey via Sham and Hilton smuggling him out of prison. Once they reach Chicago, Huey helps facilitate Isaac's reunion with Miria and afterward personally gouges out Renee's left eye in retribution. Firo does not return to Alveare until January 1935; there, Hilton returns his eye to him via her vessel Annie, an Alveare waitress.
In February 1935, Huey hires the mortal Felix Walken to guard the immortal homunculus Melvi Dormentaire for the duration of the party at Ra's Lance. The party is intended to distract Victor and his agents from Huey's real scheme, which is to taint New York City's municipal water supply with a certain substance developed by 1711 immortal Begg. The experiment ultimately does not succeed.
Nile meets and recounts his past two centuries to Victor at some point during the Cold War, afterward setting out on his own once more. A Soviet nuclear submarine meanwhile encounters Denkurō mid-century at the North Pole and thaws him out; the KGB then chases Denkurō all the way to Germany, where they shoot him off the Berlin Wall. However, a sympathetic East German takes Denkurō under their wing and hides him from danger.
1711 immortals Maiza Avaro and Czeslaw Meyer set off on a road trip in the 1970s to find the surviving members of their generation and inform them of Szilard's passing. Over the next few decades, they locate Nile and Sylvie, but are unable to find Denkurō or Elmer.
After Bartolo Runorata's death circa 1972, Begg falls into a steep mental decline and lives as an inpatient at a hospital for the next three decades.
With the Berlin Wall's fall on November 9, 1989, Denkurō at long last is able to return home to Japan. Shocked at how much his homeland has changed, and with his family line has died out in the mid-nineteenth century, he ends up wandering aimlessly throughout the country.
In 1991, Elmer visits a tourist ninja-themed historical village while in Japan and unexpectedly reunites with Denkurō, who has found work there as one of the 'ninjas'. He eventually leaves Denkurō behind to continue his search for Szilard, which leads him to a certain European country by December 1998. Upon discovering a strange, isolated village in the country, he takes up residence in the village's castle and befriends the homunculus and village pariah Fil.
Having had no luck nor leads in their search for Denkurō, Maiza, Czes, Nile, and Sylvie switch targets and track Elmer to the same country in December 2001. Over the next two months, they investigate the mystery behind the strange village and come to learn of Bilt Quates and Fil's true nature by February 2002. At Elmer's request, his fellow immortals remain in the village for the next six months researching alchemic ways to extend the lifespan of Fil's vessels.
Maiza and Czes return to America in the summer of 2002, where Maiza visits Begg in the hospital upon his return. Elmer, Sylvie, and Nile leave for Japan in July in search of Denkurō, spending the rest of the month sightseeing after successfully locating him.
In August, immortals Firo, Ennis, and Czes board the cruise liner Entrance on the American west coast for the Prochainezos' twenty years overdue honeymoon. At the same time, Elmer, Sylvie, Nile, and Denkurō board its sister ship Exit in Japan at Huey's invitation. The Mask Makers seajack both ships en route, with SAMPLE seajacking Exit at the same time. Fermet masterminds both incidents as a simultaneous member of the Mask Makers and SAMPLE, aiming to recreate the Flying Pussyfoot incident in which he once participated.
Both seajackings are ultimately thwarted, and Mask Maker leader Luchino B. Campanella expels Fermet after learning of his treachery. Fermet remains a SAMPLE supervisor and reveals he is alive to Czes in Kyoto, Japan.
List of known immortals
For a list of immortal homunculi, consult Homunculi.
Elder Immortals (pre-1711)
Immortals created aboard the Advena Avis (1711)
- Begg Garrott
- Czeslaw Meyer
- Denkurō Tōgō
- Elmer C. Albatross
- Gretto Avaro (deceased)
- Huey Laforet
- Lebreau Fermet Viralesque
- Maiza Avaro
- Sylvie Lumiere
- Szilard Quates (deceased)
- Victor Talbot
- Zank Rowan (presumed deceased)
- Pierre (mentioned in Episode 07; deceased)
- Italo (mentioned in Episode 07; deceased)
- Fifteen other alchemists (deceased)
Other Immortals created with the Grand Panacea
Immortals Created with Szilard's Cure-All Elixir (Nov 1930)
- Firo Prochainezo
- Keith Gandor
- Berga Gandor
- Luck Gandor
- Isaac and Miria
- Don Molsa Martillo, all the Martillo Family executives (including Kanshichirou Yaguruma, Randy and Pezzo), a few family members of the executives, Seina, and Lia Lin-Shan
- Pietro Gonzales
- Barnes (d. Nov 1930)
- Szilard's coterie of aging men, including Veld and Stagen Heim (d. 1929)
- Dallas Genoard and his three cohorts (Scott = deceased in Nov 1930; James and the third man = alive)
- The 1200 employees of the Nebula association (including Renee's team)
- Don Placido Russo (d. Dec 1934)
- Krieck (along with an unknown number of other Russo capos; all d. Dec 1934)
- Donatello (d. 1927)
- Lester (made an incomplete immortal in August 1932)
- Three members of SAMPLE: the gorilla-faced man and Bride's two secretaries (made incomplete immortals by Fermet in 2002)
- It is possible that the legendary sage Majeedah Batutah is a complete immortal, as she is the one who first told Dalton about the Grand Panacea at least five hundred years before 2003 and is still alive in the 1700s.