Name: Mattie
Player: Umi
Character LJ: Heart of Gears
Original canon: The Alchemy of Stone by Ekaterina Sedia
Age: Appears to be mid-twenties. Chronologically, she is thirteen.
Race: Automaton

What is the person's housing situation?: Lives alone in a studio apartment. She could afford bigger, but as she isn’t a person who needs to sleep or cook or anything, she really doesn’t need it. Most of it is devoted to lab space for alchemy. The landlady doesn’t mind so long as nothing gets damaged.

Job: Licensed pharmacist by day, more unconventional alchemical projects on the side for those who know to ask.

Physical description: Mattie was made as a woman of average height and build, though of course she is heavier due to the materials she was made from. She is pale-skinned (artificial), with large blue eyes (artificial), and long black hair (real). Her face is effectively a very human-looking mask that does not display emotions well, though she has learned body language and vocal modulation to make up for the deficiency. Under her chin is a delicate latch that allows someone to take her face off to tinker with the functions of her head. Between her breasts there is a small glass window that displays a clockwork heart. In the center of this heart is a keyhole where a key is inserted to wind her. She keeps this covered in public as displaying it feels as vulgar to her as spreading the legs would to a human woman. Indeed, the keyhole is the closest thing she has to sexual organs.

Beyond this it must be said that while Mattie was designed to be aesthetically pleasing, she is not comforting to the touch. With the exception of her hair she is a machine, hard and cold. Every motion no matter how small is accompanied by some whir or click, and of course her clockwork heart is always ticking. Being made of metal, she clangs when she comes into contact with hard surfaces.

Abilities: Mattie is an alchemist, which includes both the science of pharmacy and the magic of potion-making. She can mix anything from perfume to poison, though don’t ask about that lead into gold nonsense.

Related to what she is, as long as she keeps wound and in good repair, she can keep running forever. She is also stronger than a flesh and blood person and, unless she needs winding, she does not tire.


In a sense, Mattie’s story begins years before she was made, when a little boy died in an orphanage. His friend, heartbroken and afraid he was probably the next to go, cut off the boy’s hair and kept it. What possessed him to hold on to that hair for so many years, no one knows. Perhaps the same madness that made him scar his own face. This second child did live, though, and grew up to be a robotics expert and Mattie’s eccentric creator, Loharri.

That eccentricity was why he made Mattie, when he could have made a simple automaton that didn’t think or feel. He only needed a maid, after all.

Mattie was “born” on a table, conscious before she was complete. The memory of her legs standing in the corner separate from her still gives her chills. In the beginning, everything was simple. She existed at Loharri’s whim, cleaning his house, cooking his food, and providing pretty and intelligent company when he didn’t feel like seducing anyone. But even in these early days when she didn’t know she could possibly have more, Mattie was her own person with her own ideas and projects, such as planting rosebushes outside Loharri’s house.

It was in running errands with Loharri that she learned about the world and one day it hit her. If she wanted to get away, she had to get a proper education and not the strange form of homeschooling she’d been given. Of course, she knew that if she just asked her maker for permission, it would never happen. She instead talked about it to other people while he was around, making it socially awkward for him to claim she was not intelligent enough or to refuse her wishes. Eventually, she got her way.

Having had quite enough of machines, she studied alchemy.

When she completed her studies she was legally emancipated, meaning she was acknowledged as a fully sentient being that could live separately from her master. Loharri didn’t fight this. But he kept her key, which no one could do anything about. It is bound to him, and so cannot be taken by force. Worse still, Mattie is never sure exactly when she’ll need to be wound. And most humiliating, she was designed to like being wound, a sensation akin to sexual pleasure.

Such was how things continued for some time. Mattie lived her own life, practiced alchemy on the side, and went to see Loharri from time to time, loving and hating him and never sure which should win out. But when Mattie was about ten, political unrest on Ayona began resulting in acts of terrorism and revolution, and many people began to leave. Loharri packed up and came to Kin, though Mattie was certain that he only did it to make a point to her. She was not far behind, forced to abandon her few friends and an important project involving Ayona’s native race, the gargoyles.

What else could she do, but follow her key?


What should be said about Mattie first is that despite the fact that she is a machine and was not built to be a particularly expressive one, she has a full range of emotions. And while she sometimes deliberately plays up the unfeeling, unthinking machine act for eavesdropping purposes, nothing upsets her more than when the people around her forget that.

Mattie has genuine good will and a kind nature. While she initially went into alchemy to wrest some small degree of power from the man who created her, once she realized how much she liked helping people and how much she could help people, she thrived in her chosen field. She likes giving people pleasure and takes pride in taking away their pain. She strongly empathizes with others who are powerless or otherwise looked down upon for being different, as she herself is. In her experience, however, they do not always empathize with her in return since as she’s a machine they do not understand that she can, and does, suffer, or that she has needs and wants and dreams just like they do.

As a result, Mattie is desperately lonely. She is not human and so has trouble integrating with them, and she has not come across others like herself. Similar to how she can cause a sense of “uncanny valley” in humans, she experiences the same unease and distress when she sees machines that bear some resemblance to her but do not have minds of their own.

Kindness and loneliness feed off each other as the latter drives her to make herself likeable and the former makes it hard for her to speak up when someone is treating her in a way she dislikes. She’ll say she’s upset, but really letting go and letting someone have it is pretty much impossible to think of, let alone do.

Which is part of why she still clings to Loharri emotionally. All in all, for how much she hates him, he never made her feel unwanted or out of place. It makes him very hard to let go of.

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