Immortal

September 13, 2010
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I have seen so many sights. I have seen the sky explode into fire, I have seen the aftermath of the apocalypse, I have seen the rebuilding of the world. The black rain has fallen upon me and the burning sun has warmed my head. I have watched murders and thefts, witnessed the rise and fall of both the good and the bad. I have felt the smooth touch of a lady and the rough hand of a gutter rat. I have accompanied wizards and princes, pages and peasants, merchants and thieves, jesters and convicts. I have been gripped in sweaty palms for luck and thrown across a pond. I have been hurled at dogs and cats and thieves, I have been fitted in a sling and felled giants.

Where am I now? My current position is on the desk of a young, impetuous wizard, holding his papers in place. Every morning I witness the wizard stumble home, inebriated and soiled. I hear his slurred ravings and loud snores as he collapses far from his bed into a deep doze. This is not the most exciting existence.

The drink dulls the wizard’s powers, but he still manages to perform small magics that earn him enough coin to buy his liquor. I have only once tried to interfere and influence this worthless man’s life, when his hand once brushed past me as he reached for a quill. Taking one of the very few chances I ever receive, I pushed whispers of a greater life into his mind. Murmurs of good deeds, powerful magics, costly rewards, and grand adventures. All this could be his, if only he were to reach out and take it!

I admit that my promises were a bit exaggerated. This wizard was hardly powerful to accomplish much, even sober, but anything would be better than what he was doing now.

None of my suggestions reached any important part of the brain, for the wizard merely cursed and shoved me out of the way. I let out a small sigh, but overall was not terribly disappointed. I am a patient creature, and I know that one day this man would cease to exist and I would move into other hands. They could be worse, they could be better.



My predictions came to pass less than a year later, when the wizard, drunk as usual, stumbled over himself, fell, and struck his head upon the edge of my table. He lay there for days before the smell alerted the neighbors.

The next owner of the small apartment took quite a while to discover my presence. When I finally came to his attention, he picked me up with a curious expression. “Wizard’s stone...” he muttered, half wary and half greedy. He gave me a shake, seemingly expecting me to perform some great magical feat. I disappointed him, laying in his palm as motionless as a rock. The man gave a snort of disgust and threw me out the window.

I immediately saw where my flight path would land me, though my thrower had no way of knowing. A brief twinge of regret passed through me as I hurtled towards the young girl, but nothing more. I never feel more than brief twinges of emotion.

The girl let out an immense wail as her temple started to bleed. She cried and cried until her mother ran out into the street, gathering her up in her arms and hurling imprecations on the window I had come from. No one appeared at the window, so the woman stomped off in a fury, never releasing her grip on her bawling child while I laid on the ground, forgotten.



Years passed, battles raged, and people died as I laid there in the street. I never once moved more than a foot. The surroundings of the street had changed dramatically as the times moved forward. Humble home were replaced with larger buildings of stone and mechanical machines rode the streets instead of carriages and horses. I had seen much of it before in various travels. Stones have a knack for getting into places nothing else can. We are the motionless version of cats.

The street was paved and I was shoved aside, where I eventually found myself wedged in the shoe of an elderly gentlemen. I caused him to limp the rest of the way home, where he sat down, removed his shoe, and shook me to the floor.

“Ah...” he let out a sigh of comprehension and reached down to pick me up with aged hands. Turning me over and over, he examined me with dark eyes. “Hello, little thing.” he said in a hushed voice, stroking my smooth surface. He gingerly set me down on a desk, then went about his business.

I enjoyed my time with the gentlemen far more than the wizard. I had discovered that the gentlemen was not entirely sane, but his mental illness was harmless and friendly. In fact, his insanity seemed to have pointed things out to him that only a few other people knew. Several of these people visited him from time to time, and I enjoyed listening to their conversations. I had heard it all before, but just the sound of intelligent dialogue washed over me like a cool waterfall. They talked of many things: of wars, of people, of places I had visited and places I had not. I watched them meet in secret and I witnessed their extravagant parties. It was a most pleasant chapter of my life.

Then one evening the gentlemen entered his study, sat down before his desk, and did not get up again. He was found only a day later, when one of his acquaintances came looking for him. I remembered this man as a great and dear friend of the gentlemen. He had been called Aleksander.

I do not believe there are words or even a proper name belonging to the emotions that accompanied Aleksander’s discovery of the gentlemen’s lifeless form. Aleksander knelt at the gentlemen’s side, face lowered, and wept. He murmured very softly in and out of different languages, some of which I had not heard in over a millennia. “Rest in silence, my dear friend,” Aleksander whispered, slipping a small silver coin into the pocket of the gentlemen’s dressing gown.

As Aleksander straightened, his eyes fell upon me. He stood motionless for several minutes before picking me up and slipping me in his pocket.



Aleksander has not been my first owner of a strange sort, and he will not be my last. One day, possibly soon, he will die and I will eventually fall into the hands of someone else. I am the closest thing to immortal there is in the physical world.

While in the hands of Aleksander, I have seen phenomena I have witnessed only a few times before. I can tell Aleksander has seen it all as well, but the repeated exposure to it all is wearying him. He appears a young man, but I know he is not. While still far from my age, Aleksander could be the oldest owner I have ever had. He will not be around much longer.





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