If you are reading this, then you don’t know me. But it means I was able to save your life.
If I could, I would tell you everything about me. But I cannot. I will not even tell you my name, for it has been long since I have gone by it, longer back even than when I will begin to tell you the tale.
It started on a day, much like any other day. Far before the time you know, when the things you take for granted every day were beyond even what we could dream. In that time, it was not uncommon for people to borrow the powers of the land, the gods of various religions, and of the underworld. It was in that world, in that time, when I met my master.
She was a beautiful woman with silky blonde hair, and the most devilish grin you would ever know on a person. She appeared young, spirited, but like many of the witches of the day, she used powers beyond human skill to make sure she stayed that way. I never knew her age, but I do know she predated me by at least several hundred years. But I never have, and never will, looked at her for affection, for love as an equal companion. Because we were not equal, nor could have been. If we were equal, if we could be equals, then she would never have had to save my life, and I would never accept the offer she gave to me.
“It is your choice,” she had said to me. “If you turn it down, you might live, but more likely die. But if you accept, I will save your life, but you will have to return it to me.” An offer to either die, or live the rest of my life in servitude to the witch that was before me. Had it not been for my knowledge, I would never have even gotten her attention, and my life would have spiraled down into elimination. It took me the greater part of a day to decide, but I finally decided to accept her offer.
She saved my life, from what it does not matter for this tale. I wasn’t to immediately abandon my identity and work for her, however, it was several years before she came calling. But in that time, knowing what was coming, everything seemed different. The mundane of daily life, the routine, if such a term can be applied to my job, of my travels and the fantastical tales they brought me, it all seemed distant. The world was no longer mine, yet nothing had yet changed.
It was a simple letter, delivered by an unremarkable carrier. All that the paper read were the words “It is time”, but from that I knew exactly what had to be done. My travel was well known, and the people knew I had traveled through some less explored regions to interact with people. Simply another of these trips was what I embarked on. But to everyone else, my travel led to my death.
She knew where to be waiting, and she was there. With her power, combined with my own simple tricks I had learned in the years leading up to this, we faked my death, and I vanished forever from the world.
From that day on, I worked as her servant and bodyguard. I too lost my age, as she had, and lived for many years more with her than a person normally could. We traveled all around, completely ordinary looking to everyone else. Even those whom I had worked with regularly could no longer recognize me, and saw me only as a stranger, for the giving of my life to her meant that it had no meaning to anyone else.
We traveled, all around the world we traveled. Through wars, famine, plagues, and storms, we wandered all around the world so she could learn new spells and find new objects with strange powers. Several things we kept, carried with us for use to defend ourselves or to study, while most of the others we hid where no other person would ever be able to find them. We had amassed a great collection, but nothing could have prepared us for our strangest, and most feared discovery. It was a simple object, skillfully crafted but otherwise just like any other of its kind.
It was on that day, years ago, that the air was not silent, for it was full of celebration. An air filled with the noise of the people, crowding the streets late into the night, celebrating over some victory in a battle or something. But our celebrating was not joyous, victorious, or even noisy. We stood in that awful room, silent, bewildered, amazed, dreading. It was that night that we found the pocketwatch.