The Clockfolk, as they are now known, started off as the pet project of a lonely, widowed and extremely talented watchmaker. He set out to craft a small replica of his lost wife, something to immortalize her. It was meant to be able to move in a realistic way, and to that end he built the finest, most delicate joints ever seen. Tiny hands, with realistic motion. Proper articulation on all the limbs. Adorned with a bit of actual hair from his wife, and with eyes from a bit of sapphire dust. After a few years of work, he sat back, and viewed his completed creation. A perfect miniature replica, save a small hole for winding. Then, the moment of truth: carefully, lovingly, he wound the spring. Then, watching in amazement, the small model lifted its head and looked around. Getting to it’s feet, it began to carefully and somewhat shakily walk across his desk. Just as he was congratulating himself on such realistic movements, he was stunned to hear a small voice ask a simple question:
"Where am I?"
Somehow, his creation of infinite complexity and delicacy had achieved life.
His invention, the first of the Clockfolk, spent the rest of the watchmaker’s days with him. At his side, she learned the intricacies of of how a watch works, the potential of a wound spring and the other details of his craft. When he passed away, as a happy old man, she knew what her work would be. Through her, his highest achievement would live on. But she wouldn’t live on alone. He had taught her all he had known, and she had proven to be every bit as talented as he had been. By her hands, a new race was born: bit by bit, she built more of her own kind. Thus, the Clockfolk were born.
Clockfolk look like a miniature person, perfect in all regards. The one sign that they are inorganic is that all of them, somewhere on their bodies, have a small hole that a winding key can fit into. These are generally located somewhere the individual can easily reach.
All Clockfolk have an innate talent for clockworks, and combined with their size, they are capable of crafting the most delicate and precise examples of the craft anyone is ever likely to see. They don’t age, nor do they need to eat or sleep, but they need to be wound once every few hours. Most Clockfolk keep their winding keys on them at all times, often as a choker. They are never worn loosely, for to lose their winding key is to almost guarantee their deactivation. In some cases, a lost key has been found and used to bring back a deactivated Clockfolk, but they invariably show permanent signs of mental decay. It seems that whatever odd spark of life they have suffers greatly when they wind down. In some cases, when they have been left unwound for long enough, even winding them cannot bring them back.