Girl Genius
Girl Genius

Enigma is an "official" (though not canonical) name for the mysterious entity which briefly manifests before university student Agatha Clay on a street in Beetleburg. The name is what she is given on her card in the original version of The Works Strategy Card Game, and it remained apt at least until we learn the name that master-Spark Van Rijn used for her: The Muse of Time.

Though so far seen in person only for one (or two) pages, this first appearance is the pivotal point in Agatha's life and the true beginning of her story — resulting in Agatha losing her precious locket, and her spark finally being released.

Physical Appearance[]

In this first appearance, the entity has a feminine mouth and lower face but no visible nose.[1] Long, thick, beaded strands (possibly wires) with curled ends fall like hair from under the beekeeper-like hood which shrouds the upper face; due to the shadow, its pupil-less eyes, barely visible beneath, appear to glow.

It points with a mechanical claw-like hand from the thick robe draping its left shoulder and arm. We see very similar claws later: In Theopholous DuMedd's (fictional, though possibly prescient) story "The Dragon from Mars", Dr. Mongfish has one; one appears in Lady Vrin's (presumed factual, if incomplete) story of the Other War[2]; Maxim's artificial/gloved hand is not dissimilar; and one is worn by a Wulfenbach minion helping load troops for Sturmhalten . It is also very similar to Von Pinn overall - the shape of the face, the claws, and the dissimilar eyes.

It speaks the words "[l]ike that?!"[3] in a voice which resembles the mechanical voices of Tinka or Anevka Sturmvoraus when distressed; i.e., with square bits coming off the largely rectangular speech balloon. Though somewhat threatening in appearance, the comment "Like that?!" can be interpreted as the Enigma simply responding to some "off camera" prompting, or it may have been the end of a question of its own. (e.g. "You wish to return to being like... that?!")


Enigma/Entity, as she appears in the card game The Works

The picture in The Works is colored in monochromatic blue, similar to the apparitions Bangladesh DuPree reports in her phenomena log (but perhaps even more so as some "flash-concurrent" frames are colored — it may just be an inaccuracy in the color saturation of that page), as would be expected from the similar thick-framed angular shape and electric discharge sound of the portals. The Enigma stands against a background virtually identical to that behind (individuals who appear to be) Agatha Heterodyne, Gilgamesh Wulfenbach, Moloch von Zinzer and an unnamed Geisterdame in DuPree's observations.

One page in Van Rijn's infamous and much-traveled notebook features a sketch which is almost identical to the being's first appearance, however, the metallic strands emerging from under the hat are now clearly snakes. One is depicted with an open mouth, snapping at the viewer, and the sketch is captioned both "Mechanical snakes- Medusa?" and "Very Angry." It should be noted that 1. the sketch is also explicitly labelled as being drawn from memory rather than life and 2. with the addition of pages of outside content to the notebook by unknown individuals, it's possible it was not Van Rijn who wrote up this particular description. (Thanks to the mention of time travel as well as pie-eating, a possible alternate author is Agatha's ancestor Robur Heterodyne.)

The Muse of Time[]

Though he did not build or create it, as was the case with the Storm King's Muses, it is eventually revealed that Van Rijn had a life-long obsession with the Enigma and as noted gave it the name the Muse of Time.

When, 200 years later, Agatha gains entrance to Van Rijn's Hermitorium workshop concealed within the Immortal Library of the Grand Architect beneath Paris, she finds what is evidently the man's mummified corpse, along with a barely-surviving female entity he managed to trap inside a translucent pear-shaped device. Agatha revives this latter individual, who, in the process of making a short triumphant speech and disappearing, is revealed to be a part-organic part-mechanical construct who bears almost no resemblance to the "original" Enigma. An examination of the notes that Van Rijn left behind at the scene reveals (along with that label) that he had relatively brief but inspiring encounters with the Enigma all through his life, prompted in some fashion by his use of "blasphemous energies". This culminated in an aged Van Rijn finally capturing the Entity in an obviously failed attempt to extend his own lifespan.The notes further state that the Enigma never appeared in the same guise twice, and evidently had an erratic relationship with linear time as Van Rijn experienced it, speaking of the future at some points, and displaying ignorance of the past at others.

Albia's Revelation[]

After Paris, Agatha and Co. make their way to England, where events lead to Queen Albia's recovering a long-dormant memory: It was, somehow, Lucrezia Mongfish who led to the collapse of the Mirror network and the end of the Golden Age of the God-Queens. This prompts Albia to do more digging through her centuries of backstored memories, whereupon she discovers and announces that the Entity/Muse, in all of its (wildly-varying) appearances, is/was indeed Lucrezia (and therefore The Other).

The Works[]

As noted, the Enigma has her own card in The Works, where she is given the label Mysterious Entity, and has the power of causing all of the cards in play to rotate, which is a very large change to the game board.

See Also[]


  1. At least when shown in black and white. When the scene was re-posted in shaded color, the Enigma now featured a nose-shaped protuberance in the appropriate location, but still no visible nostrils.
  2. In the print novel Agatha H. and the Clockwork Princess, Vrin names the owner of this claw as "The Lady of the Sharp Crystal", a particularly fearsome aspect of The Other.
  3. Possibly pointing to the locket in this earlier-version sketch; see caption