“I sit and watch it pass, Clasping time to my heart and breast A cavalcadium…”
“Cavalcade,” Edmund said, sighing. “Cavalcade of time.” He knew his penmanship wasn’t the cleanest, but he had tried to pay very close attention to the legibility of his words when he wrote. Tayatra, as brilliant a creation as she was, must not have been perfect with calligraphy. He settled back in the chair, waiting for Tayatra to continue.
At first, she didn’t. She was thinking, loudly. Her arms and torso were frozen, held in the shape of intense study, while her head slowly rolled about, looking around as though she was confused.
“Tayatra?” Edmund asked, leaving his seat to approach her. She acknowledged neither his movement nor presence, instead continuing to roll her head like she had never seen the study before. Suddenly, her head stopped, and stared straight ahead of her. A sound like a branded cow rippled from her vocal chords, and a loud clanging echoed from her alcove. She spoke again, her voice flat and monotone.
“Brought forth from the glory, Hidden under the foundation, The Cavalcadium of Fortune liiiiieeeesss”
With a sound like a spring wound too tight finally giving under the weight, Tayatra’s strings suddenly became loose, sending her torso slumping forward, her head plummeting to the marble desk with a loud crash.
Edmund leapt from his chair like it was on fire. He ran to Tayatra’s side, complete diagrams from ‘The Symphonic Physicium’ flipping through his head, urging him to check for a pulse, examine the iris of the eye, and hold a mirror up to the mouth to test for breath. He stopped when he reached her side, his confusion pulling his muscles in a indecipherable back-and-forth, preventing him from doing anything at all.
“Tayatra?” he asked, finally finding his voice. The statue didn’t move. “Tayatra, what happened? Can you hear me?” His voice became more and more uncertain, more frightened, as his questions went unanswered. He reached out and tugged gently on the string connected to her upper arm. When there was no response, he gripped the arm itself, pulling and tugging in vain desperation, hoping and praying the machine would reactivate on its own.
Nothing. Tayatra was as still and silent as when he had first found her. Fighting the rising panic, he rushed around behind the statue, dodging the strings that entwined her, and pulled the thin stone panel away.
The vial of Mechanus Vitae was still almost half full, glowing gently in the darkness. Edmund reached into the depths of machinery and flicked it gently with his fingernail on the off chance Tayatra was simply confused, and simply needed a gentle reminder that it had everything it needed to function.
Tayatra was dead.