Hey, remember who was also developing military technology a little over 26 years ago in Rexxentrum, doing illegal human experimentation, and believed the strong and intelligent should rule the weak? Anna Ripley. Trent Ikithon would have been in his 40s.
Ripley was court-martialed when it was discovered what she was doing. Three individuals turned her into King Bertrand Dwendal, who would have been in his 40s. One was Alchemist Ozwyn Gruude of Rexxentrum & the Arcana Pansophical. Richter Wells may have been another of them. So, it’s possible that the experimentation Trent Ikithon is in fact still illegal, and he would be court-martialed for it. He may be running a shadow government. Or over the years King Dwendal has softened his position on human experimentation or is pretending not to notice.
We also know that Ripley had no qualms about taking who or what she needed for her research. Castle Whitestone has over a site she needed, so she was perfectly happy to assist in getting rid of its residents (with the help of another scholar, Professor Anders).
Which we now know is exactly how Ikithon operates. Need a skilled alchemist? You take one and make him work for you, probably using mental control magic, like he did with Caleb. (Professor Anders also used magic to bend people to his will).