Norma Hughes is the bestselling author throughout The Clockwork realm. Norma travels between the different worlds documenting the people she encounters along the way. She has also started the "Handy Cures" collection of recipes from the Witches and Wizards that have mentored her throughout her journey. Norma's mother was taken from her many months ago, but she hopes once she saves her, Norma will be able to return home and become a full-time writer.
Upon a well-worn writing desk in the old watchmaker’s cabin was a clockwork toy. Atop a wooden pedestal, held up by two metal prongs, was a round globe not nearly the size of a tea cup. With his deft fingers and fine skills, the watchmaker carved varying detailed landscapes across its surface, in likeness to his own world. And slinking throughout, made of delicate silver links, was a Salamander who traversed the landscape with great ease. It had been his life work, and into it he had poured all his skill and time. So much time in fact, that his own hands, and those of the numerous clock that crowded his wall, soon began to slow. It wasn’t until the final strokes of his rabbit hair paintbrush upon the glossy varnished surface of the toy that the watchmaker became motionless. As the clocks stopped their ticking, an omniscient quiet filled the cabin, and all within the world stopped. That was until the toy began to wind itself, and the long-tailed, silver Salamander slowly began to wind its way around the globe.
Time began on the small world. The Salamander slithered across sandy deserts, into crystalline water, through the swaying grass of prairies, and slowly from between the paint’s cracks crawled five beings, who roamed the earth alongside the great silver creature. They were the most basic of beings, their bodies so slight that they appeared as faint shadows in a harsh light. Wherever the beings walked new formations would sprout from their steps, and soon the globe was covered in craggy rocks and gems, lustrous plants, bubbling volcanos. These beings soon became the spirits of the land, each a protector of the elements, each as fierce and as passionate as the landscapes they had shaped. It was not long, however, before the great Salamander grew hungry in its pilgrimage, and it consumed the beings. Not accustomed to confined spaces, the volatile creatures soon fought with one another till they tore and ripped each other apart inside the belly of the beast. Their pieces created small microcosm from which worlds grew, and soon a great many worlds resided within the Salamander’s stomach.
The Salamander continued to drag its swollen belly, as the worlds developed within it. Essences of the first beings became the foundations for each of the worlds, and they expressed themselves through the impetuous and impulsive mannerisms of the budding inhabitants.
The silver Salamander’s insides churned as conflict claimed the world of Earth, but many neighbouring worlds too, and so it nibbled on some bitter grass till it was sick. Two worlds were expelled into the clockwork realm; the world of The Timekeepers and The Watcher. The time keepers were from a stark, desolate land, and had known nothing but eternal emptiness in the grains of sand beneath their feet. Their sky was the deepest of blacks, not graced with stars or moons and instead had fleeting flashes of white for each soul lost within the clockwork realm. Over time, they learnt to record the comings and goings of souls in the sands, till they were able to predict the death of an individual. So, when they landed in the realm of the Salamander, they settled in the desert and continued their equations, marking all the deaths that had been, and all those that would be.
The Watcher was the only fleshed creature in his land, or what there was of it, for most was sunk below churning waters. From the silt and mud, the Watcher had built a tower to escape the ravenous, skeletal creatures that curveiled his small plot. Unable to drink the noxious water below, the Watcher built and built his tower till it was amongst the clouds where he collected his water from the sky. The clouds took pity on the helpless man and would tell him of what they’d seen as they passed between this world and the next. Wishing to see what they saw, he pulled out one of his eyes and gave it to the clouds. It was with great relief that the Watcher found himself in the realm of the Salamander, and he laboured with elation over a beautiful tower within which he could sit and continue his observations from above. The Watcher knew where every land was, and their history. The Time Keepers and the Watcher became the ruling forces of the worlds and sought to maintain a balance between the new creatures, and the ancient ones. It is not uncommon for such powerful immortals to grow weary and corrupt though, and they soon began meddling in the lives of the mortals.