Alchemists are something between scientists and witches; in Etsey they serve as doctors for those witches won’t serve or those who would rather not hear a lecture about the nature of service and duty of man to their Creator. Licensed alchemists are members of and approved by a guild (which is closely monitored by the aristocracy); practical alchemists are self-styled and rogue. They are tolerated, but only insofar as they know and keep to their place, which is on the very fringes of society.
While alchemists deal in magic, it is only with self-serving and dark aspects of magic. A popular Etsian series of jokes features the “altruistic alchemist,” a phrase which even alone is joke enough.