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Theodore 'Teddy' Klein

The end is nigh...

"I want you to take this, Diz." The boy held a pocket watch out to her, the product of many weeks worth of work.
"It's beautiful. Why do the hands move backwards." He blinked trying to find a way to explain.
"Ah," she nodded, "weird stuff?" she continued to watch it swing, wondering if it would ever stop.
"I made this for you," he began, "It's quite special. I need you to keep a watchful eye and if the hands ever begin to move clockwise, you should reconsider whatever you planned on doing, and get the hell out of there." He caught a glimpse at the clock on the wall. The hands moved clockwise and were just passing the 9 on the clock face.
"Allright." she said.
"One last thing," he said smiling, forcing the watch to stop swinging with his hand. This should be her decision, he thought.
"Since this is the last time I'll see you," he began, those particular words catching in his throat, "I would love to know your name, your real name." She smiled and seemed reluctant at first. It was against the rules, after all. She eventually leaned in and kissed him deeply, not like the usual lustful assault but calm, and caring.
"Lea Herbert." she spoke clearly. He smiled in reply, letting the watch swing once more.
"I like Lea more." Ted teased. The watch swung back and forth and she seemed to focus on it more so than before, her eyes sagging as if about to sleep. It was finally time. He placed the bottom of his palm over her eyes...
— from Blood and Ashes


A Boy and His Watch

To call Theodore Klein "Young" would be more than inaccurate, it would be offensive to all he has given to accomplish his mission. Theodore may be in a 16 year old body, but he is one of the oldest members of The Web. If you look in his eyes for a little too long, if you stare at them and truly open yourself up, you'll see the true nature behind them. There's age behind those eyes, hidden well by a fountain of youth. This boy has experienced many lifetimes. He retains every moment spent in every Incarnation. He gets older and wiser with every life he lives. His looks change with each incarnation. He bears the same name, though the surname changes with each life. His current body has an athletic build of a man with golden hair. It's a shame that his time is running out. This current Incarnation happens to be his favorite.


Theodore is one of a handful of Quasi-Immortal beings that exist in The Web. Mortals find it impossible to avoid Death, and she takes it personally when one succeeds in doing so. The term quasi-immortal may be strange, but there's no such thing as a true immortal. One can postpone their death. One can even come back from death in a myriad of ways, but no one can avoid Death's embrace forever.

The most one could hope for is to be as close to an immortal as possible by making themselves either exceptionally difficult to kill, or difficult to keep dead. In the case of Theodore Klein, the situation is more complicated. When each Incarnation reaches 17 years old, he will die. The universe will go out of its way to make it happen.

In one Incarnation, it was a mugging gone wrong, the next was due to violent infection suffered on a battlefield. In another, it was cancer that appeared out of nowhere in a time before treatment was available. His last Incarnation ended with sudden heart failure. For whatever reason, with every Incarnation, death becomes more sudden and quick. This game played with Death becomes more and more of an inconvenience with every life. Death stopped caring enough to make him feel pain ages ago.

Theodore and The Web

Theodore is an honorary member of The Oxford Cabal, a membership he takes seriously. He keeps himself isolated from members of The Web, rarely joining operations. He does this for two reasons: For starters, the appearance and limitations of his age have made it very difficult for him to participate. Secondly, he has bigger things to worry about. He spends much of his time studying the arcane and the metaphysical. He is not capable of using the prestige, the magic system of The Web, but this study along with his many other talents make him useful to the cabal, and assists in his ultimate goal.

Theodore has a remarkable understanding of how things work. By simply looking at a thing, he can fully determine how the thing functions, the parts that allow it to function in this way, and most importantly, how to fix it if it breaks. Moreover, knowing how to fix something also gives him a keen understanding of how to break it. This gift allows him to tap into talents that other people spend decades perfecting. By looking at the human body he understands how it works and how to repair it, making him an excellent surgeon as well as a skilled combatant. It also makes him an excellent mechanic and technician. These skills are nothing compared to what he can do when given a blank slate. His ability to invent and craft intricate devices he allows others to use make him invaluable to The Web as a whole.   These talents are all designed to assist him in his ultimate goal. There's a reason he suffers as much as he does. Theodore has an obsession with what he refers to as the "Second Shudder," a term only members of the cabal can understand in full. Eons ago, at the dawn of humanity, the world existed in a golden age. The Antediluvian Age ended due to a catastrophic event the cabal refers to as "The Yggdrasil Shudder."    

The Second Shudder

Even Theodore doesn't know what this next cataclysm has in store for the world. It could be a beneficial event that hurls humanity forward in leaps and bounds, or could be so devastating that it sends humanity back to the stone age. Theodore keeps a stunning and beautiful pocket watch that is unlike any other timepiece in the world. At first glance, one would think it was broken. The hands stay motionless 90% of the time, and on the rare occasion that they move, they count backwards. There is a ticking that can be heard from within the gold and silver casing, which Theodore can listen to and know exactly how much time he has before the next cataclysm occurs. The pocket watch is an invention that took multiple lifetimes to develop.

It came from an idea. He decided to turn his unique understanding of how things work on the universe itself, and what he saw left him white as a sheet. He saw endless strands of possibility, uncertainty, and entropy. He turned away, and the last bit of information he pulled from the sight was a series of horrible disasters that he swore to stop, and a means of resurrecting himself to do so. The pocket watch was created a few lifetimes later. He used his knowledge of how the universe worked, or at least the knowledge he was able to retain, to create a method of calculating every major event the future could hold. The moment the intricate mechanisms within began to tick, he knew he was already too late. Each hand signified an amount of time before the cataclysm occurs. The hand that is normally dedicated to hours and minutes represent years and months respectively. A third hand was added to assist the hand counting seconds. These hands represent days, the numbers they point to multiplied should the number of days exheed 12.

When he looked at the watch moments after completion, he had less than an hour to act. He stared at the clock face defeated, fearing the worst. When the clock ticked down to zero, each hand pointing to twelve, an American businessman jumped out of the window to his death. Theodore turned to his window and saw the blur of the man who lost everything and believed he no longer had a reason to live. This moment, while traumatizing for Theodore and tragic in its own right, filled him with the slightest hope. This was not the second shudder he witnessed. This was a different disaster altogether. When the clock ticked down to zero, the Great Depression began.

A thankless job

For almost a hundred years after he created the pocket watch, Theodore dedicated his life to averting moments of crisis, never knowing if the next event will be his dreaded Second Shudder. He works in the shadows from the age of ten and up with every incarnation. His parents die shortly before the age of 10 in each cycle. This allows him to return to work every ten years or so, after his death.

His diligence is not callus or unfeeling. He is deeply hurt by the tragedy, and still remembers every parent he ever had by name. He spends the first ten years developing. He learns to walk and talk, puts together his memories, and seeks to restore himself to some sense of normalcy before he returns to work.


Fun fact: misery loves company

Theodore's unique brand of immortality came from his gift which he had since he was born in his first lifetime. He has never given a specific date, but many believe his first life occurred sometime in the late 1600s. This belief comes from the fact that he rarely discusses events that occurred before this time.

He's been a member of the Oxford cabal for almost 50 years, finding a comfortable and welcoming home. He is particularly fond of the cabal. There are other quasi-Immortals like himself within its membership, and he adores being able to mingle with "kids his own age." He often claims that this current Incarnation is his favorite due to the advances that humanity has been able to accomplish in recent years. He relishes the fact that he will never have to use an outhouse, or fiddle with a telegraph again.

While his peers do not share the same form of immortality that Ted gained, they are able to empathize much with his suffering. Morrigan, a woman who is extremely hard to kill, remains his closest friend. Both have made serious sacrifices to obtain their special brand of immortality, which led to an understanding and kinship between the two that could never exist with anyone else.

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Cover image: by Gabriel Laroche


Please Login in order to comment!
Jacob Billings
27 Dec, 2019 17:56

Wonderful article, though I would like to mention a few things:  

By simply looking at a thing oh, he can fully
— Theodore and the Web
My main note with this is that the "oh" seems rather out of place. The sentence would flow a little better were to read "by simply looking at a thing, he can fully".  
It keeps a stunning and beautiful pocket watch that is unlike any other timepiece in the world.
— The Second Shutter
Perhaps you meant "he" instead of "it"? I was surprised and jarred at the "it", as it took me a moment and a reread to come to the conclusion that you were referring to Theodore. This was because my initial connection was to the Second Shutter, but it would have made little sense in that context. Likely just a small error.  
It came from an idea.
— The Second Shutter
Perhaps you could specify what you are meaning, as the "it" is an opener to a paragraph. While this is not an actual error, it may better suit common grammar to respecify what you are speaking about when switching paragraphs.  
He used his knowledge of how the universe worked, or at least the knowledge she was able to retain, to create a method calculating every major event the future could hold.
— The Second Stutter
I have to assume that this is a typo, where it says "she was able," as you are speaking about your male character in this circumstance?  
This also grants have knowledge on who his next parents will be.
— Next Lives
This sentence in particular is slightly confusing and jarring. It doesn't specify an immediate subject to lead the sentence, as it is simply stating that "This also grants" as a transition from the previous subject and "have knowledge on who his next parents will be." This may be a typo, but either removing the "have" or replacing it with his name would be possible solutions.   Other than those few things, your article is incredible. I love the character and the personality you were able to create despite his many lives. As well, the opening and ending quotes are interesting and really offers a great pay off to finishing the article with. As well, your style of organization for the article is wonderful and allows the reader's eyes to follow the story.   Great work on this article, definitely a good one.

R. Dylon Elder
27 Dec, 2019 21:34

Duuuuude! Thanks so much! Sorry bout those typos. This one was slightly rushed and I missed them I do apologize and will fix these mistakes promptly!   Thanks for the kind words, and the like my friend. Ted is a favorite of mine, and I'm glad the article flowed as intended. I love hearing it and love that others enjoy it! If you have one you'd like me to gender at let me know!

R. Dylon Elder
27 Dec, 2019 21:34

An article to gander* at XD

Sage Timepool
Garrett Grace Lewis
30 Dec, 2019 19:34

Unfortunately I don't have the time to write as detailed a comment as I wish right now— I'll simply say this, I really enjoyed this one!

R. Dylon Elder
30 Dec, 2019 21:15

No problem at all! I understand entirely. I've been super busy as well. Regardless I'm happy you enjoyed it, and appreciate the like as well as the time taken to say you liked it. Thanks so much!

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