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Die Outomaat - Prologue

The animated figures stand
Adorning every public street
And seem to breathe in stone, or
move their marble feet.

- Pindar’s seventh ‘Olympic Ode’
--- --- --- ---
 

The workshop of Yyrv Vraatnn was dimly lit by a single torch mounted on the wall by the worktable. The clicking sound of gears turning filled the room, as a tall, dark-skinned man sat bent over the table, intent on his work. Small, metal parts were strewn across the table, but in the center, directly in front of Yyrv – as indeed the man was – rested what appeared to be a head, made entirely of bronze. The clicking sound that filled the room emanated from the head, as revolving gears could be seen through the gaps in the skeletal structure.

 

Yyrv’s hands seemed to fly about, snatching up parts from the table and attaching them to the head in their proper places, each piece making the work in progress look less like a mechanical blob, and more like an actual head. Resting in the eyesockets, the eyes moved around to follow Yyrv’s hands wherever they moved, as if watching him piece it together.

 

After what seemed like hours, but was most likely no more than thirty minutes, Yyrv picked up the final part lying on the table, and held it up to the light. He had been working on this for his entire life, and he was hesitant to complete it, lest it not work. Yyrv examined the final piece held in the light of the torch, looking for the smallest mistakes. Finding none, he set it back down on the table, and pressed a lever on the head, causing the top to slide open. Yyrv picked the final piece up again, and slowly lowered it into the small hole.

 

Now no longer lacking a brain, the mechanical head on the table focused its eyes on Yyrv’s face, seeing for the first time. It opened and closed its eyes a few times, and then finally opened its mouth. “Who am I?”

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