'The Noisy Tide of Time'
A Legendary Clockmaker
The watchmaker Hoeven van den Hoffle-Poffle told you the legend of the Montagnard Vaucason who came to Avalon amid the White Plague, as the fog of the Vodacce-Venden Merchant War was just descending. He came, after travelling the length and breadth of Théah, at last to rebuild his lost fortune free of the charges of unclean sorcery that followed him. Legend says he was met Dockside by the notorious drunkard and killer Cheap Jack. Cheap Jack cut him from crotch to chin and dumped him in the river Dee and sold everything he had in his travelling case. In any case, Cheap Jack was the one who sold Hoffle-Poffle the turtle. A fascinating piece now in the possession of Vera, it is a little automaton that looks like a perfect, palm-sized turtle made out of metal, which, when a ring on its shell is turned, pretends to bend its head to eat, raise it to chew, and then stretch its neck to swallow before rolling over to expose its shell; while on its back, its tiny legs flail, and its breast plate pops open to reveal the cleverly-hidden watch face.
Mere legend or not, Count Rumford mentioned ‘that bastard Vaucason’ as he lay dying. The clockwork beetles that attacked the party at Epsom Downs, the homunculi, and the turtle seem to share a common maker.