Day of the Sphinx

28 Feb

Siluan threw the curtains aside and squinted at the sky. The day was so clear it hurt his mercury eyes, and as the sun rose on the southern edge of the hexagonal horizon, he knew the time drew close without even looking at the everclock.

A black dot flickered in the distance.

Siluan turned to look at his house. He had built it over the past two centuries, after his first architectural mechanum had crashed in an abysmal display of the ever growing cosmic yearning for entropy. Everything had been scrapped – metal, stone, marble, wood, gold, copper, chrome, silver, cloth, ceramic, crystal and water.

The dot grew wings.

Everything but the artwork. No true maester would conceive of recycling beauty. It was an irrepeatable and incomprehensible occurrence of fortunate uniqueness. It was a thing no maester could complete himself and always bought at high cost, but never forgot to respect it in full. Never scrapped for transformation. Never reused. No matter how poor he had been at the time, the platinum statues of egrets were molten and sold as bars, for a thousandth of the value they had as art objects.

It occurred to Siluan he had never seen real egrets.

The sphinx began it descent.

It would soon reach his balcony through the cloud alley Siluan had sculpted for it one hundred and fifty years ago. Working on a cloud fence for the house had been like etching filigree on armor.  So fine, so difficult to pin down and shape into a solid shape that would hold to wind and rain. Building the tools alone had taken him forty years, but it was well worth it. It looked … fitting. Perfectly.

The sphinx entered the inner cloud circle.

© Wizards of the Coast

Siluan raised his mask, made from silver. The metal acknowledged him as a maester, the mask acknowledged him as dead.

The sphinx landed softly on the open balcony.

Siluan put his mask on and stepped in front of the funeral mechanum. The sphinx’s gilded face reflected the sun, while Siluan’s silver face, built to perfect similarity, reflected it back. The maester’s mercury eyes looked into the golden mirrors of the winged mechanum. A metallic tune humming inside the winged funeral chariot confirmed recognition, and the two touched their foreheads.

The huge, golden masks lining the walls stood mute, looking in the distance. Each one of them was, to atomic perfection, an identical copy of the two worn by Siluan and the Sphinx.

The maester climbed on its back and caressed with critical fingers every irregularity he had purposefully allowed into the cast to simulate muscle and feather. An eccentric imperfection he had allowed himself in preparing the hearse.

The sphinx shot up into the sky, traversing the corridor cut through clouds by the maesters’ fog trimmer.

The huge, golden masks lining the walls whirred their own metallic tune, grieving for the maester.

The house began the mourning by disassembling itself.


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