The Hunter's Watch by Reba Elias A gurgled gasp echoes through the trees weaving around the headstones

carried on the autumn wind. Sensing the quickly fading essence of life, the witch begins to run with her feet barely touching the ground. Flying past headstone after headstone, she spots the hanging man behind the crumbling mausoleums and the robed man scaling the fence into the woods. Without missing a step, she pulls a long sickle blade from the folds of her flowing robe. She slows only briefly to grab the hanged man's left hand and slices through the wrist in a single blow of the blade. The witch resumes her flight after the fleeing man, sensing that he is a neophyte without much experience in the hidden arts. She wraps the stump of the hand and ignites the fingertips with the eternal fire while maneuvering around him to a small clearing. Acting quickly while cloaked by the invisibility provided by the Hand of Glory, she pulls a rope from her bag and fashions a snare trap. The neophyte steps into the loop hidden in the ground covering and is snatched into the air. As he is dangling upside down by his foot, the witch releases the invisibility spell revealing her nature to him. She approaches the captured neophyte and raises her blade letting out a piercing battle cry. He watches the razor sharp blade reflect the light of the moon slicing in a downward arc to separates his head from his body. His head tumbles to the damp earth and his eyes catch sight of his hanging body with the bent knee. The vision darkening, he wonders if it is him, not her, who is guilty of divine treason. In the autumn chill of the night air Becca pulled her black woolen cloak tighter around her shoulders. She made her way through the leaf covered graves toward the far back of the cemetery grateful for the bright full moon. Most trips into this cemetery felt like being a child playing in the comfort of her backyard but tonight invoked a fear so strong she tasted its metallic tingle on her tongue. Demons and evil danced in the shadows reaching out toward her at every step. When she reached the older graves in the back, she spotted a body hanging from a yew tree in the cemetery between two ancient mausoleums. The body was a tall pale man with a slight sheen on his bowed hairless head. The hanging man looked familiar to her in an almost forgotten way. It took her a moment to realize the man was an eccentric artist known years ago. Becca wondered what had led this man to such a gruesome fate in this lonely graveyard and if it was amusingly bizarre as her memories of him. He was dressed in worn black leather pants and a flowing leather trench. His neck was broken and bruised in the rough noose. Hanging across his chest was a placard of parchment with a single word scrawled in drying blood, “Murderer”. His crisp white shirt had been ripped open revealing a nasty bloody carving of the astrological symbol of Saturn and his left hand missing. One of his muddied biker boots had fallen to the ground underneath him exposing a sock of black silk and cashmere decorated with whimsical skulls in delicate silver thread. Next to the fallen boot a silver and golden pocket watch rested in the dewy grass, the scrolling symbols along the cover's circumference sparkled under the moonbeams. Becca stooped down to take a closer look at the watch noticing the dull multi-hued metals of the intricate gears turning beneath the crystal glass insert in the cover.

Becca closed her eyes and slowly opened her mind to what the watch had to tell her. After he had buried his three closest friends. Allan sought to cheat his failing health and impending death so that he could aid in the direction that this New Aeon would take. She almost felt his gleeful anticipation as he carefully unwrapped and inspected the watch. She looked carefully around to make sure that she was still alone and sat down on the dewy grass. any rite involving those daemons would always demand a dire payment. Eugen Grosche and Albin Grau. She definitely had her share along the way. After Marcel arrived.She wondered if she could discover the preceding events from the watch on the ground. she was able to see the attempts to destroy the pocket watch but it would not be destroyed or altered by either fire or ice. coming in and out of focus. With the dawning of the New Aeon. The watch casing was made from the pilfered silver and gold teeth from corpses after defiling the sanctified ground with their debaucherous Grand Grimoire rites. pausing briefly to see him in contemplation of a wish while his fingers absently traced the intricate symbols on his beloved pocket watch. taking a moment to steady herself from the surge of energy as her fingers touched the metal disk. In his experiments with the amulet. Becca shook her head in empathy knowing even the more advanced masters could make such neophyte mistakes. he discovered a most gruesome curse of the watch. The world began to spiral into a blur as she was transported back in time until suddenly the blur became clear and she saw her old acquaintance open a small white box. Most practitioners knew. The world began to spin again. to see him in celebration of unexpected windfalls of success and fame followed by watching him mourn the sudden deaths of his friends and loved ones. For every change the possessor wished for. The casing was engraved in ancient symbols empowering the amulet to bring to its possessor a change in their astrological energies as they wished. regardless of their motivation. earth or the fiercest of storms. Allan resigned himself to finding a suitable guardian for its safekeeping. he engraved “avaritia ” on the chain's clip. She recalled since the early 1900s. She watched him attach the chain to a button hole and slid the watch into the pocket of his Steampunk styled waistcoat. as Becca watched his life fast forward. She gingerly picked up the watch. After meticulous meditation. The rumors speculated this watch being cleverly stolen from Eugen by another occultist named Allan. The most common trap was of greed masquerading in the most noble of intents. he requested Marcel to visit on his way back home. As the sequence of events unfolded in her mind's eye. To prevent theft. Allan devised a protective shield on the watch enabling the ownership of the watch to only be passed on only after the guardian's death. the energies would be pulled from the people closest to the possessor. Becca began to wonder if the watch in her hand was the mythical and highly rumored Watch of Death. he vowed to not let the watch be used again. Since Marcel was in the United States and Allan was unable to travel from England due to his deteriorating health. She swallowed hard against the nausea as her teeth began to tingle. he decided on an unlikely candidate who was known more as an artist than occultist named Marcel. Allan instructed him on his impending responsibility with a warning of no matter how innocent the desire to change one's lot in life . As a warning to those that would claim ownership. there had been rumors of an amulet shaped as an ornate pocket watch created to capture the power of Chronos and Saturn by the original founders of the Brotherhood of Saturn. The intricate gears were fashioned from the metals of the planets and mimicked the astrological movements. Willing herself to travel further back in time.

After a scuffle and suffering from a broken nose. As the guardians began to heed the warnings. he reveled in the act and losing all sense of urgency to take possession of the watch. the change of ownership slowed. The earlier ones dismissed the warnings resulting in their unnatural deaths but the watch still did not fall into the hands of the Brotherhood. Hearing a ghostly scream from the woods. The Brotherhood of Saturn began to infiltrate the revived occult circles. without thinking of the consequences. the neophyte hung the unconscious artist in the noose and began the bloody rite to claim ownership. The most novice of the three was given the territory of the United States to search. Becca watched the Saturni became more violent. Becca was able to follow the paths of those three murderers chasing after the watch that had been right in their grasp. Early the next morning after finding Allan dead. The neophyte sensing that a witch frequented the decaying graveyard in which the guardian enjoyed nighttime strolls. The decoy replicas sent the men scurrying in multiple directions. A Cheshire smile creeps on her face spying her shadow self walking along in the woods gently swinging a head by its hair and humming an eerie tune.was. Becca stands quickly. Appalled by the resulting greed and pain. Becca offered her services of counter curses and protection to those caught in the evil. The ingredients and rites were not for the faint of heart and brought the practitioner to desolate and morbid places such as this hidden cemetery. he came across that eccentric artist. The alerted former guardian had slipped the watch into a shipping box meant for a replica he had produced for the art market and had barely finished addressing the box when three men in black robes slid into his shop. Seizing the opportunity. he bolted towards the back fence. sacrificing those they suspected of possessing the watch in attempt to claim it for themselves. Filled with exuberance. He watched and followed the artist to make sure that he was indeed the new guardian. albeit unknowingly. The guardians had received anonymous warnings of the Saturnian assassins. chasing the speculations of the watch's whereabouts that surfaced after Marcel's death. he waited with reluctant patience for her absence. He stumbles on an upgrown root startled by the wind created from an unseen creature flying past him. scaling it with ease and disappearing into the trees that surrounded the cemetery. The magickal violence escalated and more occultists and witches pledged their allegiance increasing the fearsome power of the Brotherhood. . After observing several of the recipients. that greed was purchased with the terrible price of death of those you held most dear. Marcel packed up the watch and returned home. From that transfer node in time. he heard the crunch of footsteps in the leaves approaching where he stood. evading the hunters. She slips the watch into her tool pouch and begins her walk out of the cemetery. Suddenly. the neophyte was able to easily follow him and corner him behind the mausoleums.

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