The room was filled with a thick, rank smoke that could not filter out of the small window fast enough. It was dark inside, save for the torch burning contentedly above the table stacked high with tomes, arrayed with vials, scattered with strange ingredients and well worn with years of scorch marks.
A dwarf sat hunched over the table, palms on his forehead, as a small, purple-coloured puff of smoke swirled its way up from the table and dispersed into the hazy nothingness of the room. The dwarf let out a long sigh. Another failure. He had begun to wonder why his master had instructed him to delve into this alchemy business a few failures ago. Yes, it surely had a myriad of uses in and out of combat. He could see that plain as day, and was sure he could put the various possible gas globes which could be produced with the proper skill to excellent use. Surely, however, there were others with some more natural talent in the actual creation of all these recipes and formulas. He was a smith by trade. He was used to creation by careful application of force. This finicky business of exact measurements and trial by error did not come easy to him.
He had been here, in this dank excuse for a lab, for days now and had yet to even create a simple light elixir. The room itself boggled him. It was almost as though the previous students and masters of alchemy to use it before him enjoyed perpetuating some ridiculous stereotype of a mad alchemist wreathed in smoke and shadow, the light of creation before him all that illuminates his wrinkled and manic face. It could at least have proper ventilation. Some good old fashion dwarven engineering needed to be applied here.
Eventually the dwarf managed to pull himself away from his construction griping and return to the task at hand. He sighed yet again as he read over the recipe instruction for what felt like the thousandth time, and frowned at the page, as he reached out for the measuring spoons and ingredients.
Carefully, with a steady hand, he took care to take the correct amount of each ingredient. Slowly, with a dedicated precision born out of a stubborn desire to accomplish this feat of creation at least once, he poured each part of the formula into the well-used mortar that lay before him. Taking pestle in hand he smoothly mixed and crushed it all together. Finally he decantered it into a nearby vial and cautiously stoppered it shut. He held up the vial to eye height, took a deep breath and gave it one quick, violent shake.
Miraculously, it did not explode in his face. Instead, for the first time, it issued forth a calm, white light. A light to him that seemed as great as the sun and comprised of all his hopes and dreams at this point in time. Maybe there was something to this alchemy business after all.