What does an immortal keep with him?
It’s a simple question. What do you keep as you go through the centuries? Technology? That quickly becomes obsolete.
Photographs? They weren’t meant to last. Most of them fade, and they’re unfortunately too flammable to survive the inevitable housefire.
Not to mention the fact that they can raise suspicion. Sure, your grandfather can look like you, even be almost identical. But if every single ancestor of yours looks just the same as you in every photo, that becomes a problem.
You went through so many reinventions, so many personas. And the trick where you stay in a single place for a long time simply does not work. People are nosy by nature, it’ll take them less than a year to start sticking their noses in your business.
So, photographs need to go.
Now, clothes? Those go out of fashion so fast it’s not even funny. So the immortal simply gets into the routine of throwing everything away, yes, everything, and going out to buy new clothes every five years or so.
So, that’s settled.
Weapons? Like what, a sacrificial dagger? He gave them to a museum.
Rocks? Rocks are a good idea. Getting a rock from every place you visit, that one’s good. They’re immutable, epochal. That was an idea the immortal had actually, but it became too depressing after three centuries. The rocks, you see, didn’t change. But he needed to change, he needed to adapt.
How about books? Those ended up in museums and libraries every fifty years or so, no matter how much it pained him to let go. Books, especially signed by historical people are a dead-giveaway that there’s something up. And sure, he could pretend to be a collector. But having all those treasures, keeping them to himself… He just never felt it right.
Intellectuals might think that knowledge is what an immortal keep. But the human brain is finite, and it forgets things to make room for new experiences. Just like anybody else, the immortal forgets a lot of the things he has lived through, and holds on to precious or traumatic events.
Okay then, what is it that an immortal keeps throughout his long life?
The answer is simple.
It’s impossible to keep track of them all, but he has a general idea. It’s easy to figure them out, for they have blue eyes. Scientists say that all blue-eyed individuals might have one common ancestor. They have no idea how close their theory was to reality itself.
The immortal was the only one with blue eyes in the beginning. Just an innocent mutation, one that made him irresistible to women. They called him Casanova, they called him Don Juan, they called him Rasputin. Different personas of his long life, the times where his charisma and gravitas inevitably poured out and got him into history books.
No, he never took up religion, he was never a man for that sort of thing. Those were other people, mortal ones, though arguably, charismatic enough to rival even him. He begrudgingly agreed he’d be able to form his own religion in record-time, but he simply never felt the calling.
So, he simply lived his life, hedonistically, yes, and produced offspring. He slept with men and women and those in-between, all done for variety’s sake, but he preferred the comfort of a woman. And he liked to spread his seed, and he liked to disappear as soon as their bellies started to swell.
Oh, he stayed a few times, raised a family. It never went well, it always ended in heartache and misery for him. Call him a coward, call him a bastard, he couldn’t bear to lose any more loved ones.
For a time, he thought he was cursed. Then he thought he was blessed, when he appreciated the gift of longevity he was given. Then he circled back to thinking he was cursed. These days he has settled on a ‘c’est la vie’ philosophy and simply doesn’t think of it that much.
He has fought for many countries and ideologies. He has been a coward, a lover, an artisan, a philosopher, a thug, a farmer, a rancher, pretty much everything.
And the only thing he has kept through all his changes in life were his children. There are a lot, these days. No, not all blue-eyed people are his direct children, but they are all descended from him. And his own children are about a million. He’s been around.
The immortal was worried that his children would have his longevity as well, but sadly, this was not the case. In the beginning, he made sure to check for a few generations, and other than his eyes that resembled the sky, they did not differ from any other human.
So, yeah. Children. He tries to keep an eye on some favourite bloodlines of his, but always from afar. Every time he needs to ditch his financial assets and disappear he simply makes sure they end up in their possession.
But now with the world-wide data mining and the DNA ancestry tests he fears he’ll be discovered. Already, the scientists can tell there’s a common ancestor to all the blue-eyed people. Already, they can track migrations, baby booms (he’s been responsible for most of them,) race and so much more.
The immortal is anxious for the first time in centuries. This world that emerges is one of information and connection. There are machine minds that can fill in the gaps, there are people that can compare the discrepancies he has caused throughout history, there are paper trails that have been digitised and can be followed to track his movements throughout the decades.
So he sits still now, in the middle of the greatest city in the world, the one he helped raze, Constantinople.
No more personas. No more changing his name. He lives his quiet life, waiting for his children to figure out the biggest puzzle of them all and to come home.