King of Swords

In order to make the eerily beautiful Corpus Clock, inventor John Taylor sought the help of 200 engineers, sculptors, scientists, jewellers and calligraphers. While the show is stolen by the clockwork beast that sits astride it, snapping its jaws and blinking its eyes as it devours the passing minutes, the clock's most impressive elements are hidden away inside:

"For all its apparent eccentricity, the clock is based on solidly traditional clockwork - unusual in these days of digital electronic clocks. It has taken seven years' research and construction, incorporates six patented inventions, and is predicted to run for at least 250 years assuming the world lasts that long."

It may seem like a strange paradox to spend so much time and effort creating a device that symbolizes the brevity of our mortal lives, but this is the essence of the King of Swords. One could say that the fact that he has a contraption like this where his heart should be is what makes him such an effective leader. He may astound you with his dextrous wit and flexibility, he may awe you with the cool air of calm that he brings to any challenge -- but unlike the Queen, whose brushes with injustice and loss have commanded a defensive nature , the King is too inspired by the possibility of perfection to care much about human foibles and failings. They don't come much stricter or straighter than this!

This ideal is one that's very difficult to ever truly attain, but also one that a great many people aspire to. It's bound to leave most of them feeling quite insecure; oh sure, you may occasionally get to revel in being a paragon of mankind's evolutionary achievement -- but being human also means having to blow your nose, or tripping over cracks in the sidewalk, or becoming tongue-tied around people who resemble your ex-girlfriend. Just as Icarus flew too close to the sun, a person can't leap too high or far in a single bound without occasionally landing on their face. For you careerists out there, the King makes an excellent mascot, a force to channel judiciously in key situations. Appeal to him and learn from him to your heart's content. Try to become him, however, and it will sting all the more when you remember that in the end, the Chronophage devours themighty just as readily and steadily as it devours the world's fools, lovers, and paupers. [Via]

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