This article is about the person. For the creature, see Sphinx (Creature)
The Sphinx, also known as Rhodes, is a powerful man in the Fablehaven Series. He is very old, having lived many centuries, and his life and motives are shrouded in secrecy. He survived for years by drinking from the Font of Immortality every week. In Keys to the Demon Prison, the Sphinx is called the Ethiopian by the Lammasu Halad.
Little is known about the Sphinx. His name is a conundrum, as no one knows his true form, despite many theories. He is first seen in Rise of the Evening Star, as a very dark-skinned man with short beaded dreadlocks. He was known as one of the most powerful and most trusted allies for the Conservator's Alliance. His help dated back to the 12th Century, so he is very old. In the end of Rise of the Evening Star, Vanessa Santoro claims that the Sphinx is a traitor to them, as he is secretly the leader of The Society of the Evening Star. He shrouds himself in mystery purposely. He is, as of book three, a known traitor, and the leader of the Society of the Evening Star. He was also the captain of the Knights of the Dawn.
The Sphinx is an enigmatic man who deliberately shrouds himself in mystery to impress a sense of awe in those who trust him in order to manipulate them.
His past as a slave shaped him into the person he became, that the Sphinx became determined to end the need for prisons (viewing preserves in a similar light despite their intended purposes) and enslavement and to make the world better for it. Along the way however, he became corrupted by his growing love of power as well as his enjoyment of living, which likewise grew from his dependence on the Font of Immortality to extend his life so as to see his goals to the end.
He came to view acts of deception, lying, theft, manipulation, and even murder as means to an end and claiming to harbor no personal animosities towards those he wronged apart from those he feels treated him unjustly (such as his original slave-masters). By his conversations with Seth and Kendra respectively, he shows the extent of his hubris and certainty that he is in the right despite the obvious evils he's committed over his age-long life and holds no true remorse for the harm he's done or the lives he destroyed.
According to Vanessa Santoro, after committing some mischief or misdeed the Sphinx will "burn down the neighborhood" in order to cover his tracks. This was proven after the Sphinx took the Sands of Sanctity under the pretense of relocating it to a safer place, along with the prisoner of the Fablehaven Quiet Box (who was later revealed to be Navarog), but was in fact stealing the artifact for himself and he released Navarog within the boundaries of Fablehaven and as a result is indirectly responsible for the Shadow Plague that very nearly destroyed Fablehaven and all who lived there. A similar scheme happened to Lost Mesa where Navarog (disguised as his human avatar Gavin Rose) freed the dragon Chalize and Mr. Lich raised the undead to successfully overthrow Lost Mesa, which resulted in casualties, including Rosa.
When at last he is confronted by the Lieutenants of the Knights of the Dawn about his actions, the Sphinx simply mocks them for having taken so long to figure it out and easily escapes, having already had a means prepared to do so, exemplifying his lack of remorse and even his arrogance in having fooled and manipulated his enemies for so long.
The Sphinx almost always appears to be calm, cool, and collected, as he's usually seen to be in control of whatever situation he's in, so it takes a great deal to throw him off balance. This was shown when he met Seth in his office (while Seth was escaping with the Translocator and the Sands of Sanctity) and appeared to be in a mad and panicked state.
He worked to undo the turned tables by arranging for Kendra and Bracken to escape Living Mirage and later aided in the battle of Zzyzx and surrendered himself. He and Agad had a long conversation and after consulting with the others, Agad chose to make the Sphinx one of the new Eternals for the new demon prison, allowing the Sphinx to continue existing under some enforced conditions, like having his shadow charmer abilities weakened.
However, rather than truly make amends for his wrongdoings, the Sphinx has merely taken advantage of his new situation and continued to conspire and exploit. The next time he met Kendra, she saw that he hadn't changed in the slightest.
The Sphinx was originally a slave from Ethiopia who was brought to work at the Living Mirage. The caretakers of the preserves lived like tyrants, forcing the slaves to do dangerous and tough work. Instead of doing a symbolic uprising which would result in a lower status, the Sphinx planned his uproar carefully, with the one goal of succeeding.
He visited Nagi Luna in the Dungeon and recieved a needle who would die the next day if stung. She also made him a Shadow Charmer. His motivation increased when he got to know about the artifact hidden there, the Font of Immortality. It is unknown how he overthrew the caretakers of Living Mirage. He capured Bracken years later and also created the Sealed Shrine.
When Ruth Sorenson takes Kendra and Seth to meet him. He tells Kendra that she is Fairykind, and tells Seth about Olloch the Glutton. He later comes to Fablehaven, putting Vanessa into the Quiet Box, taking the previous resident out (Navarog/Gavin), and taking the Sands of Sanctity away.
Warren thinks that the Sphinx is the leader of the Society of the Evening Star, and everyone knows it, despite that he never reveals himself. Warren questions Dougan Fisk, one of the Lieutenants for the Knights, if the Sphinx is the Captain, but Dougan denies it. In the last chapter, Dougan visits Fablehaven, bearing news. He tells them that he conferred with the other Lieutenants about the Sands of Sanctity, which were removed from Fablehaven by the Sphinx. None of them knew, which was a severe breech in protocol. They confronted him, but the Sphinx escaped, using the copper rods, which revealed his true alliance.
Dougan then says that Lost Mesa has fallen. Apparently, Chalize, the Dragon from Painted Mesa, got free and attacked the house. Several skeletons from the museum came to life and attacked, which included the skeleton of Ranticus doing the most harm. Dougan tells that a powerful viviblix reanimated them. A few zombies had gotten loose as well. As result, Lost Mesa fell, and only Hal and Mara survived.
The Sphinx is revealed to be completely human. His continuous life is explained by the Font of Immortality, which he has had in his possession for many centuries. He explains that he was a slave at a young age and was sold to the Caretaker of Living Mirage. He then meets Nagi Luna, who helps him to become a Shadow Charmer. In time, the Sphinx, after long and careful planning, overthrew and usurped the caretaker, taking over Living Mirage with the outside world none the wiser.
After capturing the Translocator from the Knights' rescue mission, the Sphinx, underestimated his mentor, Nagi Luna, and the loyalties of some of his followers, as Nagi Luna instructed Mirav to aid Seth in escaping the dungeons with the Translocator and the Sands of Sanctity.
In keeping with his promise, Seth returned to Fablehaven and healed Graulas, only to be betrayed by him when the Demon (who'd been contacted by Nagi Luna) stole the artifacts, including the Chronometer, killing Coulter in the process and overthrowing the treaty of Fablehaven. Graulas came to Living Mirage via the Translocator and quickly won over the majority of the Evening Star, including the Sphinx's bodyguard Mr. Lich. The Sphinx was forced to submit to Graulas's leadership to avoid being sent to the dungeons but secretly aided Kendra, Warren, and Bracken in their escape from Living Mirage.
He kept in contact with them via a telepathic coin left for him by Bracken to keep them updated on the Evening Star's progress, and eventually met up with them on the Shoreless Isle. He retrieved some of the artifacts after killing Mr. Lich but had been unable to obtain the Sands of Sanctity or the Oculus from Graulas and Nagi Luna respectively.
When Kendra, Seth, and Tanu meet Lomo in the Terrabelle dungeon, Lomo tells them that his imprisonment was a result of the Sphinx writing a letter to Lord Dalgorel three years prior to the events of Wrath of the Dragon King (meaning the Sphinx was Captain of the Knights at the time) that Lomo's activity outside the sanctuary violated the Fair Folk's policy. Lord Dalgorel then dispatched agents to capture Lomo.
The Sphinx has infiltrated Wyrmroost to receive and assist Seth with unleashing the undead from the Blackwell, resulting in the fall of Wyrmroost. It is also revealed that the Sphinx's powers as a Shadow Charmer have been weakened as part of him becoming one of the new Eternals.
Powers & Abilities
The Sphinx is among the most dangerous people in the world, having used and manipulated many people in order to get what he wants.
- Shadow Charmer - By his mentor, Nagi Luna, the Sphinx became a Shadow Charmer, and displayed powers like plunging a room into darkness, lowering the temperature, and unleashing dizzy spells as a demonstration to Seth, who also became a Shadow Charmer. His status as a Shadow Charmer gained him power over the Undead and clout among trolls and demons, giving him access to darker allies and opportunities.
After becoming an Eternal, his Shadow Charmer powers were weakened, preventing the Sphinx from being able to communicate with or even control the Undead.
- Immortality - Originally, the Sphinx's long life was owed to his frequent use of the Font of Immortality, allowing him to extend his lifespan as long as he drank from the Font at least once a week lest he turned to dust.
Since becoming an Eternal, he is now truly immortal by the magicks that give him lasting life though he could still perish by means of powerful magical weapons.
- Genius-Level Intellect - The most dangerous of the Sphinx's powers however is his mind. He is supremely intelligent, a master manipulator, and has masterminded the operations of the Society of the Evening Star along with the Knights of the Dawn and plotted the downfalls of multiple preserves, all the while never raising true suspicion from those he fooled until Vanessa accused him as revenge for abandoning her.