Takwin, the creation of artificial forms of life, has long been a primary goal of alchemists. Most alchemists regard takwin as a metaphor for enlightenment, but others view it as a literal goal.
In Sevrin, the term has been adapted to refer to the development of lifelike clockwork creations. Three of the Adepts are skilled at creating clockwork creatures of great subtlety and complexity, capable of responding to simple questions and following well defined protocols. The other four Adepts take a dim view toward this practice, believing that it veers too closely toward the ancient and forbidden alchemical practice of creating anthroparion.
An anthroparion is similar to a golem–an animate humanoid creation made entirely from inanimate matter–but with intelligence and will. They are created by alchemists who willingly subject themselves to a level of torment that causes a schism between their physical and spiritual natures. The spirit is transferred to a carefully prepared construct, while the alchemist’s body, though weakened by its torments, retains mind and memory.
There are tales (most of them ancient, unsubstantiated legends) of this practice going spectacularly awry, with results ranging from the death of the alchemist, to the transfer of the alchemist’s memories to the construct, to the spirit of an alchemist being trapped in his dead body, to the spirit escaping both alchemist and construct to become an uncontained and often destructive force.
The Arcane are against this practice for many reasons, not the least of which is their inability to agree upon whether or not humans in fact possess spirit. No anthroparion has been created for centuries, so the stories can be dismissed as legends, fairy mischief, or some as yet unexplained alchemical reaction.
There is one thing, however, upon which most alchemists agree. Fey creatures are dyophysite; that is, they possess a second nature–a magical essence housed in flesh–and would most likely be prime candidates for the creation of an anthroparion. But for some reason no one has ever discovered, choice is an important element of the process. No one has ever successfully forced the sundering of a dyophysite being. This is almost universally believed to be impossible. The only people who explore this theme are storyspinners who specialize in dark, improbable tales.
There is one exception to this. Unknown to anyone in Sevrin, one of the Adepts believes that a fey creature can be sundered into two separate beings of flesh and magic.