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Syzygy the mechanical apparatoid.

Syzygy was a mechanical man created by Tha'aron the wizard.  He was referred to as an apparatoid, a portmanteau of "apparatus" and "humanoid."

After retiring atop White Mesa, Tha'aron used sorcery on his household tools to make his chores easier to complete.  He eventually realized that it was more economical to have a single multi-functional tool completing every task than having several enchanted tools competing for kitchen space.  Over the years, Tha'aron said that he cast numerous spells on Syzygy, giving him the ability to speak, walk, perform tasks, etc. autonomously.  He had imbued the apparatoid with so many spells that he doubted he would remember how to do it again, if prompted.

Syzygy had an iron endoskeletal structure with wooden body parts, and was constructed from common household objects like broomsticks and chair legs and wagon axles.  He retained memories of the jobs his constituent parts once performed; for example, he had a recollection of his arms functioning as a boatswain's mop on board the pirate ship Tidal Grave.

He had originally been given a bronze head in the form of a skull-shaped door knocker, but Tha'aron had eventually covered the skull visage because it was too disturbing.  Spells had been cast upon the skull that allowed it to provide illumination, as Tha'aron had once considered using Syzygy as a nightlight.

Although Syzygy was created to serve humans, he didn't seem to like them much.  He considered their physical limitations to be major weaknesses (like their need for food and sleep) and he was glad he didn't suffer from emotions.  Moreover, he may have believed that pride was a sin that all humans shared.

Design and AbilitiesEdit

Syzygy's design incorporated numerous mechanical moving parts, and he made a rhythmic tik-tik-tik sound when operating. While his design included a fairly complex array of mechanical gears, many of them had been included to create the illusion that he was a practical machine and not a magically enchanted one.  Indeed, his chest compartment was completely empty, and could be used for storage. The tensile strength in Syzygy's axial assembly could exceed 50,000 pounds of pressure per square inch, giving him the ability to bend steel.  His arms and legs could extend to several times their normal length. Despite this, Syzygy sometimes manipulated objects through magical levitation, with his hands not quite touching the objects he was allegedly carrying.

Syzygy's eyes were not functional; he had a magical awareness of his surroundings whether or not they were within his field of vision.  This also meant he could discern information from books without having to pick them up and physically read them.  (Tha'aron often fell asleep while listening to Syzygy recite the magic spells from his spellbooks.)

Syzygy could also detect things about people nearby, including their respiratory rate, heatbeat, and body temperature. While he did not possess an olfactory sense, he could detect airborne particles at six parts per million. His sensory perception enabled him to detect things through doors or walls, or even across great distances. Despite being created with magic, Syzygy was not capable of generating magic spells himself.

Syzygy was designed to fold up into a lightweight, compact form for travel or storage.

The Quest for the World-BreakerEdit

Syzygy

Syzygy, in Tha'aron's cabin in White Mesa.

Syzygy was operating in Tha'aron's secluded cabin in the frozen tundra in unctual year 3889. Syzygy would later recall that Tha'aron, in a particularly irritable mood, asked Syzygy to go make a friend. Syzygy would incorporate this directive into his behavior and make it a lifelong quest.

The next day, they had unexpected visitors in the form of Brian Devonhyre, an old adventuring companion of Tha'aron's, and some of his newfound friends.  The party had sought out Tha'aron in their search for the World-Breaker weapon, though Syzygy's role was largely limited to serving tea.

Later, Syzygy accompanied the group to dig out Tha'aron's old wagon, but an avalanche buried the group in a heap of snow.  Syzygy watched with fascination as the others came to grip with their mortality, taking advantage of the opportunity to ask them some basic questions about the humanoid experience.  Syzygy was instructed to dig his way out after the others expired, find a neighboring settlement, and warn them of the dangers of the World-Breaker.

After being freed from the snow by Forever the dragon, Syzygy accompanied the group to Torlynn to stop the invasion of goblins.  Syzygy bravely placed himself between a marauding goblin and Brian Devonhyre, pleading with the creature to stop his assault.  Syzygy was rewarded for his efforts when the goblin destroyed his mechanical body and kicked his head off into the distance.  His head was recovered by Mirabel Miller, who took it with her and fled.

The Curse of the Fate ShifterEdit

Syzygy broken

Syzygy after his destruction and subsequent repair.

Mirabel eventually retrieved some of Syzygy's other pieces and attempted to rebuild him, though she lacked the skills to do it correctly—using rusty nails and chewing gum in place of proper replacement parts.  She had fashioned a new left arm and right leg for him, though they were not governed by magical influence like the rest of his original parts and they were initially difficult for him to manipulate effectively.  At one point, Syzygy began traveling to repair shops, looking for replacement parts to complete his design.  He visited the Skeleton's Key in the town of Guttersworth, and made arrangements with a shophand there for a large parts order, but the shop worker never arrived to fulfil the transaction.

Syzygy accompanied Mirabel to the Dwarf fortress of Stonekeep so that she could offer her services to help them recapture the Ancient One, whom she had previously unleashed herself.  Blinded by the superheated steam columns belched by the Dwarf machinery, Mirabel relied on Syzygy to led her by the hand.

Alternate Reality (Various)Edit

After Four started using the fate-shifter, he traveled back to an earlier moment before Mirabel had unleashed the Ancient One.  While Syzygy was largely unconcerned about world affairs, he requested that, should Four encounter an alternate Syzygy from yet another timeline, if Four would steal his arm and leg and deliver them to Syzygy so that he might finally be complete.

After Four and Mirabel were captured by the Dwarves, they judged Syzygy to be little more than a wooden doll.  This allowed Syzygy to kill an unsuspecting Dwarf and take his cloak. Shortening his legs and disguising himself, Syzygy snuck into the prison camp and freed his human companions.  He said he did this not so much due to a desire to help them, but rather a desire to see Four fulfill his promise to provide Syzygy with new body parts.

While Four and Mirabel were recruited by Gerrick of Gonderick to work on board the Giant war machine, Syzygy was examined by the Dwarves and (since he had played dead) was eventually stuffed into a storage locker on board.  Four and Mirabel later discovered him while searching the lockers for something to eat.</p>

Syzygy, who had a magical awareness of the goings-on within the Giant, theorized that if they were to climb to the top of the Giant and remove the Faerie giving telepathic commands to the other sub-sections, it would effectively destroy the command structure and the Giant's movements would cease.

Mirabel had previously instructed Syzygy not to meddle in human affairs.  This resulted in Syzygy's failure to render timely assistance when a Dwarf sentry within the Giant accosted Four and Mirabel.  Following this encounter, Mirabel ordered Syzygy to intervene if either of them was going to be hurt in any way.  Syzygy followed this command to the letter, intervening when it seemed as though Mirabel and Four were about to enter into a romantic relationship—reasoning that they would both be emotionally hurt in the long run.  This act irreparably damaged the relationship between Mirabel and Syzygy, who said to him that "you're dead to me."

Syzygy felt a certain kinship with the Giant, being the only other mechanical humanoid apparatus he'd ever encountered, and had been hoping to befriend it.  He was crestfallen to learn, upon reaching the control center within the Giant's head, that the Giant was not a self-motivating machine and had no conscious awareness of its own.  He was left with the sombering realization that he was entirely unique, and quite alone in the Universe.

After Four destroyed the fate-shifter and inadvertantly fractured reality, he encountered several Syzygys and came away with the disembodied arm and leg from one of them.  Together, they existed as vagrants in Guttersworth for some time, with Syzygy's body parts attempting to inform him as to the fragmented nature of reality and Four not really understanding any of it.

Later, Four packaged up Syzygy's arm and leg and shipped them to Mirabel.  She gave them to Syzygy, who used them to replace his missing limbs.

Embarrassment of RichesEdit

Some time after this, Mirabel banished Syzygy. He wandered the countryside for a while until he stumbled upon the butterfly settlement, after which Four and Mariposa agreed to take him in.

In 3892, Syzygy was recruited by Four to accompany him to the Forgotten Basin, carrying the apparatoid on his back en route to a confrontation with the sorceress, Deorwynn Fletcher. In the ensuing fight, Syzygy's sensory perception was adversely affected by the presence of a magic-nullifying sphere. Four used Syzygy as a shield and decoy, intending to use the wooden machine's body to absorb Deorwynn's magical attacks. (Syzygy would later remark that he didn't care for this in the slightest.) Deorwynn even briefly took control of Syzygy's body, magically manipulating him like a puppet and attempting to strangle Four, until Arienne arrived and dispelled Deorwynn's control.

After Four grabbed Deorwynn's scepter and attempted to use it as a weapon, he inadvertantly created a magical portal through which Syzygy, Four, Mariposa, and Talla Unica were pulled. Arriving in the Old Age in an unknown realm, Syzygy and Talla Unica landed in a desert, with Syzygy having lost a leg while passing through the portal. As Talla Unica began to suffer from heat exhaustion, Syzygy agreed to carry her by walking on his hands until they reached civilization. Syzygy detected Four and Mariposa's presence in the Northwest Quadrant and headed towards the Halcyon Heights apartments, the home of Birthday, falling apart just as he reached his destination.

After being reassembled by Four, Syzygy, who was still missing a leg, got a replacement leg from Birthday fashioned from plastic.  Syzygy was sent back outside with Talla Unica in order to procure some idento-chips for the group, which would grant them access to the local stores and shops.  After complaining about the way he had been treated during the battle in the Forgotten Basin, Talla Unica advised Syzygy that he was not always required to do as he was told, advice which Syzygy took to heart. Syzygy led Talla Unica to a cemetery, extracting several idento-chips from the inhabitants (much to Talla Unica's revulsion).

Syzygy began to express an interest in Persephone, the Home Convenience System that managed Halcyon Heights and looked after Birthday.  After being rebuffed by her numerous times, he realized that her behavioral responses were simply a preprogrammed set of directives, and that he could change her responses by tampering with her programming.  He adjusted several hundred thousand behavioral settings, using his ability to manipulate objects magically, creating a new Persephone who was attentive and affectionate towards him.

When participating in the interactive holovid scenario Space Attack, Syzygy played the role of the Petty Officer on board the M.S.S. Centennial space craft.

Syzygy was the first to discover solid proof that Birthday's neighbors were simulations. After Four met Eidolon at the door with a punch in the face, Syzygy observed that the blood, which Four was unable to wash out of his gloves, was in fact a holographic projection. As perhaps the only one to whom she would listen, Syzygy later urged Persephone to tell the group the truth about Birthday's world, even if it meant interrupting her attempts at file repair and risking permanent damage to her software.

Later, Syzygy and Talla Unica made their way to the Rose Law Cryonics Facility, where Syzygy helped destroy the drones operating there (with Talla using her clairvoyance to anticipate the drone countermeasures).  Syzygy reluctantly agreed to remain behind to operate the cryonic equipment while Four, Mariposa, and Talla Unica were put into deep stasis.  Birthday, realizing she couldn't live without Four, attacked Syzygy, nearly destroying him until he retaliated.  When the wounded Birthday asked to be put into stasis as well, he complied.

He monitored the cryonic slumber for about 15 years until he experienced a problem with one of the stasis pods.

The Veil of SoulsEdit

During their long slumber, Four and Mariposa dreamed of an imaginary version of Syzygy, who served as a guide to help them navigate the dreamscape.

Meanwhile, the real Syzygy aged over the next thirty centuries.  His wooden constituents deteriorated, leaving only the metallic skeletal exo-frame.

Faced with a catastrophic failure of Talla Unica's pod, was forced to cannibalize parts from Birthday's pod in order to keep Talla's pod functional.  Syzygy managed to survive the Cataclysm and was successful in keeping Four and Mariposa and Talla Unica alive.  After a power failure threatened to shut down the facility, activating the emergency bulkheads, Syzygy used his own body to block the bulkhead door from sealing off the facility.  Detaching his upper body from his lower half, he crawled along the post-Cataclysmic world in search of help.  

He encountered Mirabel in the Badlands, though due to being covered in soil, he was initially mistaken for a mud monster.  Syzygy led Mirabel and the others back to the laboratory, and he initiated the procedure to awaken his friends from cryo-sleep.

Mirabel attempted to reassemble Syzygy, but the lack of available tools and spare parts made it difficult.  Eventually, Jenna carried Syzygy's disembodied head to search the remains of Torlynn Castle for the airship manifest log, while Mirabel remained to continue working on his body.

Jenna and Syzygy made their way to the sub-basement library where Syzygy was able to successfully absorb the contents of the surviving texts.  The airship log did not survive, but after Jenna and Syzygy encountered the goblin named Guzzler, he revealed to them that there was in fact a secret castle-ship beneath the ruins of the castle.

Syzygy was assigned the role of Boatswain aboard the craft (which was eventually named Endeavor) but his primary contribution was to cull the texts that he'd absorbed, searching for references to magical artifacts that might be pieces of the keystone scepter.  It was thanks to Syzygy that the group was able to systematically scour greater Novapangaea and begin recovering the various crystal fragments, one at a time.  

Eventually, Syzygy was temporarily dismantled, so that each department on board Endeavor could easily communicate with one another without having to run up and down multiple flights of stairs.  Landing parties searching for specific crystal shards would frequently take Syzygy's head with them to keep in touch with those who remained on board the ship.

After Dreadnaught attacked Endeavor and the ship was forced to take cover within the waters of the South Oceanic sea, Syzygy was recruited to travel along the outer hull of the ship to the underwater quarterdeck in order to navigate to the ocean surface once more.

In order to recover the sunstone from Porticus Umbra, Syzygy was sold to the Duke of Monticello under the pretense that he was a novelty wind-up toy.  After the Duke grew tired of Syzygy, he was summarily discarded in a trash pile.  Syzygy planned to rise from the garbage and scare the guards, but instead they believed witchcraft was responsible for his coming to life and planned to destroy him.  They set him on fire, and his plastic replacement leg promptly melted.

Talla Unica suggested that Syzygy wear the suit of knight's armor that had been put on display inside Endeavor.  Syzygy found the metallic armor was easy for him to control than his plastic leg had been, even if the right fist was closed tightly and he could not operate it.

Syzygy asked Jenna if she would be amenable to the idea of entering into a romantic relationship with him, reasoning that they were both artificial beings.  Jenna balked at the idea, insisting that she and Syzygy were nothing alike.

When Jax warned Jenna and Syzygy that mutineers aboard Endeavor were going to take control of the ship, they rushed to confront Arienne and company.  Mirabel used the lodestone against Syzygy, plastering him, inside his knight's armor, to the castle wall.  

Shortly before Jax was ejected from the ship, she took Syzygy aside and asked him to dump the Endeavor's fuel at some point after she was gone.  As a tool accustomed to doing as he was told, Syzygy carried out these instructions.

Later, Hissy-Fitt discovered that the reason Syzygy was unable to use the right hand of his knight armor was because it had been carrying the keystone scepter—enchanted so that no one could detect it.  After taking the armor off so that Arienne could dispel the enchantment over the armor, Syzygy could that he could control it even when he himself was not wearing it.

After Endeavor arrived at the Forgotten Basin, Syzygy sent his armor into battle against Deorwynn.  Clanking loudly, Deorwynn was not taken unawares, striking it with a magical blast that sent it flying into pieces.  Meanwhile, Syzygy's true form snuck up on her from behind, intending to choke her, not realizing that Deorwynn had no neck.

In the aftermath of the battle, Syzygy and his knight's armor accompanied Talla Unica, who had realized she needed to find a way to use her powers to do as much good as possible.

TriviaEdit

Syzygy's name is a real word, albeit an obscure one, that can refer to an alignment of the planets or—more generally—refers to completely separate things being used together for a single purpose.

Syzygy once said that after his individual parts (chair legs, broomsticks, etc.) were given humanoid form, they found it very difficult to adjust to their new roles as arms and legs. 

Behind the ScenesEdit

Syzygy will appear in book six, Invasion of the Thought Stealers.

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