Originally created as the playthings of the human scientist Archimedes, the Clockwork served the other Beast races so well after mankind destroyed himself that the Goddess Gaia blessed them true life. They make for implacable foes and loyal friends.
The history of the Clockwork begins long ago with the fall of the Mystarchs. As all know, some of the Mystarchs were executed for their crimes while others were exiled from Europe. Heraclitus was one of those exiled, and the story of the Clockwork is the story of his life in exile.
Like all Mystarchs, Heraclitus had used the power gained from the Mysterium Primordial to augment his lifespan considerably. The Mystarchs were not immortal, but they could expect to live to nearly a thousand before perishing. Unlike the other Mystarchs however, Heraclitus's specialty was fire and flame. He had delved further into the study of these things than any and he understood the similarity between fire and that little spark inside that makes us all truly alive. He had used his magic to extend his lifespan far beyond that of the other Mystarchs, from a thousand years to tens of thousands of years.
After he was exiled, Heraclitus fled to a small uninhabited isle in the middle of the Mediterranean, south of the isle of Sirako, called Meli. There he lived out the years, fishing for his food and refraining from anything other than minor magic. He grew bored, and began to create small toys to amuse him. A little spider that could walk slowly around and jump into the air. A bird to sit on his shoulder and warble.
Time passed, and his toys became more complicated and capable. Fish that could swim through the water. Eagles that could soar through the sky. Great cats that would hunt down food for him. They weren't alive, but they were wondrous creations. They were his companions as years turned into decades, decades into centuries, and centuries into millennia.
Eventually, Heraclitus began to reach the limits of his capabilities in creating these 'toys' of his and without this progress he grew bored and felt, most keenly, the boundaries of his small island. He decided it was time to explore the lands to the south, beyond the southern borders of Amizeh, in the Wild Lands that stretched south further than any Beast of Europe knew.
The Mystarch constructed a giant mechanical turtle and crossed to Africa on its back. Once there, he snuck through the lands of the Dog Soldiers until he had passed beyond its borders, into the Wild Lands. We know little of his journeys in the Wild Lands save that he encountered a people called the Banta, who had long necks and spotted skins. The Banta were masters of creating the kinds of toys that Heraclitus prized and he spent many happy years among them, learning their secrets until he could craft creatures that could speak.
Heraclitus was very fond of the Banta, and they of him, but ultimately he always felt like an outsider. They were both like and unlike Beasts, and though he counted them friends he did not understand them, nor they him. Eventually, after mastering their knowledge, Heraclitus felt it was time for him to leave and go back home to the isle of Meli. He bid his farewells and returned home.
Once there, he began to build toys again, this time incorporating the knowledge he had gained from his time with the Banta. He was now able to build toys that could talk to him and hold rudimentary conversations, but as always he was still lonely. As a Mystarch, he was alienated from all Beasts who knew him and the long time spent alone wore on him. Heraclitus decided to create a wife for himself.
He spent two years building her, getting every detail as perfect as he could. He wasn't creating life, but he was attempting to construct the most convincing simulation of it the world had ever seen. When she was done, he named her 'Dori'. She was beautiful to him and when he started the mechanisms that gave her the appearance of life she woke up and worked flawlessly! Heraclitus was inordinately pleased with himself.
His pleasure was soon diminished, however, when he realized that although Dori was a pleasant companion and friend, she lacked that 'something' that makes us individuals. She laughed at his jokes unfailingly, no matter how bad they were. She agreed with anything he said. She would not offer an opinion on anything, instead asking Heraclitus what he wanted her to think. She was, in short, a perfect servant, but not truly alive and not truly a person.
Heraclitus created others, making small improvements here and there that he thought might unlock the individuality in his Clockwork as he called them. After Dori was a male named Ori. Then another female named Nori, and a male named Bari, and on and on. He created over a dozen Clockwork in all, but he never achieved the kind of simulation of life he hoped for and eventually he gave up creating more in despair. He maintained his Clockwork and kept them running smoothly, but he did not create any more.
The years plodded on and through his magic Heraclitus watched the passing of the world. He saw the birth of Man from the cursed Dog Soldiers. He saw the rise of Mankind and its growing domination over the Beasts, and he wept when he saw Mankind rout the Beasts and nearly wipe them out. Finally, he bore witness to the Migration, when Gaia transported the Beasts to the Groves to save the last remnants of them and was saddened beyond words that he was not part of the Migration. He disguised the isle of Meli as a series of barren, jagged rocks so that human sailors would go nowhere near it, for fear of tearing the bottom of their wooden boats out.
Loneliness of an unutterable degree possessed Heraclitus. He was an old man now, despite the magic that had kept him alive for so long. He would not survive much longer and he feared for what would become of Dori, Nori, Ori, Bari, and the rest of the Clockwork. They could live forever if maintained well but with his passing who would oil them and ensure the salt air did not corrode their bodies?
Heraclitus decided that he could not simply abandon his Clockwork. He had watched a Man named Archimedes who lived on the large, nearby island of Sirako. Archimedes was a Man of learning and of tolerance. Better yet, Heraclitus saw through his magic that Archimedes himself built some basic toys like those that Heraclitus did. Feeling that his life was surely running out, Heraclitus acted. He rode his giant sea turtle to Siroka and visited Archimedes, first in disguise and then revealing his true nature as a Noctari.
Archimedes was astounded both by this Noctari in front of him and by the story of Heraclitus's life and that of the Clockwork, who were creations far beyond anything he had imagined possible. Beasts were but a myth to mankind by now, but Archimedes quickly adjusted and agreed to take the Clockwork under the care of him and his family, who were all scientists of one sort or another. They pledged to keep the Clockwork secret, for they knew that there were those who would use the Clockwork for their own ends, to the detriment of Heraclitus's creations.
Heraclitus traveled back to Meli, retrieved the Clockwork, and returned to Archimedes in Siroka. He said his goodbyes to Dori and the rest, weeping, while they simply tried to comfort him. They didn't understand the concept of being parted from Heraclitus permanently, and were cheerful as he set off to visit the Banta once more before his imminent death. The Clockwork simply assumed he would be back soon, as always. They did not change, so why should Heraclitus?
They would never see him again. We do not know where Heraclitus went, but here he disappears from history's view.
Archimedes and his family kept the secret of the Clockwork, far beyond the death of any who had met Heraclitus. For generation upon generation they kept the vow, and kept their mechanical companions operating and away from the knowledge of Men who would certainly use them for their own ends. Finally, of course, Man approached the apex of his power and the moment of his destruction. The descendants of Archimedes, two thousand years after his death, saw the end coming. They shut down the Clockwork and buried them in a cellar deep beneath a mountain on the isle of Siroka, and waited for the end that we now call the Cataclysm.
Afterwards, when the Maar were cleaning the venomous energy that lingered in the aftermath of the destruction of Man, they discovered the Clockwork's hiding place. The Maar reported their find to the God Hephaestus, who took an immediate interest in them. Hephaestus started the Clockwork up and was amazed at what Heraclitus had accomplished, unbeknownst even to the Gods. These were better simulacra than he or his fellow deities had ever built. He realized that they were impervious to the poisonous aura that lingered on the Earth and that the Maar were cleaning and removing. Hephaestus set Dori and the rest of the Clockwork to cleaning up Siroka. They did an excellent job, and Hephaestus realized he could build more of the Clockwork to assist the Maar and speed up the process.
Gathering his smiths, they began to construct more and more Clockwork to assist the Maar. When the job was finally done, Hephaestus had grown exceptionally attached to the Clockwork. They were his favored servants and he after he taught them to build new versions of themselves, they were his most productive smiths. They had been happy, nay, eager to help perform the arduous task of cleaning up the Earth and Hephaestus felt they deserved a rich reward for their loyalty. He wished to gift them with the spark of life in the same way that Gaia had blessed the Anura, and he asked Gaia for the favor.
Gaia had spent the last few thousand years witnessing the horrific consequences of her interference with Earth when she had cursed the Dog Soldiers and effectively created Mankind. At the same time, she recognized the work the Clockwork had done, and she also wished for her beloved Beasts to have allies when they inevitably returned from the Groves to the Earth. She decided to grant Hephaestus his favor and instill the spark of life into the Clockwork, changing them from immortal machines into mortal, living creatures. However, she first required that Hephaestus build utter loyalty into the Clockwork for ten generations. For ten generations the Beasts would have unquestioned, absolute loyalty from the Clockwork, who would do anything to protect their charges as a result.
They did serve, and the Clockwork were instrumental in the successful return of the Beasts to Earth after their time in the Groves. They fought with the Beasts against the re-emerging Vampires, the Undead, the Ferals, the newly-created Rotted, the Goliaths, and more. Vast numbers of Beasts owed their lives to the efforts of the Clockwork, and at the end of 10 generations, when the Beasts had once more set down roots in Europe, Gaia fulfilled her promise and granted the Clockwork the spark of life.
Immediately, the Clockwork began to develop individual personalities that could question what they heard, could exercise judgment, and were, in fact, alive. No longer immortal, they would now age. They looked a bit different from the Beasts but they had been such loyal allies since the Reclamation of the Earth began that the Beasts were eager to accept the Clockwork as equals with them. Like the Yeti, Cyclops, and Daemons long after, the Clockwork are now as close to us as any other Beast.
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