At precisely midday today, as the bells ring out across Buentoille, the great red doors of Timphony Tower will open by themselves and from within a strange procession will spill onto the streets. Visitors to the city may have wondered why the tram tracks run all the way up to the tower’s doors, and today their questions will be answered.
There are no humans on the procession, but a large group of automata slowly whirr along the tramlines. There are around thirty automata on the procession, with designs ranging from a military commanders seated on her horse, to a skeletal boatman, to writhing dragons and upright bears. They form a motley crew that make their way about the city (all trams are diverted from their path) each following their own complex set of instructions. According to the Society of Automata Enthusiasts (SAE), every automata has 365 individual actions which they perform across their journey: they turn to each other and chat, point at the scenery or crowds and share a joke; they play solos with trumpets and guitars, or bang drums with gusto; they pause for a tea party, passing cutlery and jam between them.
Whilst each action has been extensively mapped by the SAE, there is usually some kind of change implemented each year, which is met with excited calls from the groups of enthusiasts surrounding the procession, making neat markings in squared paper notebooks. To a casual observer, it would seem as if the automata were actually alive. This year a new figure will join the procession, referred to only as The Creator. Its existence is only known ahead of time because a very drunk member of the Eternal Fraternity of The Designer (EFTD), the group who created this year’s addition, blurted it out at The Sheavewoman’s Arms last Wednesday.
The EFTD are an old sub-section of the Guild of Clock Smiths who became convinced that life, like clockwork, had been designed by a creator, rather than appearing spontaneously as the dogma of the Chastise Church states. They were initially persecuted for these beliefs (although the Church is much more tolerant nowadays), so met in secret, designing strange automata with which they intended to prove that the creation of life was a replicable event. The EFTD has been at the forefront of robotics and genetics for many years, and there are rumours that they still pursue their goal to create new life in their highly secretive labs within their compound in eastern Buentoille. Their addition to the procession today is thought to be a tribute to their history and beliefs, rather than part of this goal.
After covering much of the City, the procession will end at midnight, then the doors on the opposite side of the tower will close behind the automata, hiding them away for another year.
Other festivals happening today:
The Festival of Mittens and Oven Gloves
The Song of Angels Annual Competition
Hamich Isgil’s Playing Card Factory Tour Day