The Clock, The End of Dying
The hour hand of the clock was a scarred battle-axe, the cutting blade chipped and pitted, the butt cracked through to the haft. It was topped with a bent spike that scraped the clockface as it made its tortured way around the wheel of the day. The minute hand was the remains of a sword, rust and long-dead barnacles all but completely obscuring what it had once been, pommel and guard nothing more than a gesture of girth at one end. It gave the impression of something that had been recovered from a shipwreck only to be promptly forgotten, buried for a few decades, and then pulled from the earth and put to makeshift use in the timepiece. It marked the minutes, nothing more. The second hand, however, was a masterwork: a keen-edged scythe honed to a shine along the blade, the haft made from peeled oak that looked to have been grown for its purpose. Through some hidden reservoir or more arcane method, the blade was slick with black fluid, scattering droplets as it whirled its way through the minutes. The death-blade was the quickest and smoothest in its relentless motion.
The alchemist reached down and grabbed the second-hand just below its dripping blade. The mechanism of the clock groaned and creaked, water spilling from buckets held too long in one place. “This must stop,” he said. And began his great work.