It was strange. Every morning you’d see The Black Slacks walking to work. By this point, the air would crackle around them, thick with rumours of another potential strike, another march. They’d walk in groups, or in pairs, or alone. Hands in pockets. They whistled. But not that morning. At first, it was as if they’d vanished. District management began to panic, sending runners to nearby factories to confirm reports: The Black Slacks had disappeared. No. Not disappeared. In The Southern Bucket, a woman in plain clothes finished her drink and stood up, and, with the brilliant rush of the sound of the chairs on stone, the rest of the pub stood up with her. They poured out into the street and mingled with the other citizens and on the other side of town a storehouse containing sleeping pala-din exploded. Men and women dessed like anybody else stepped out of the crowd and moved quickly to barricade Maddermarket Street. Another pala-din storehouse became flame, and the flow of foot traffic in the city suddenly became a march. The Black Slacks were everywhere, and the high sun pressed down, and today was the day. Today was the day.
There's a phrase you might hear, round academia way. "Wherever you find two scholars, you'll find a schism." Now, most folks might think that's incorrect, and they're right, but for the wrong reasons. See, a lot of people think the scribes and intellectuals at the university are all the same type, a buncha ivory tower elitists who believe the same thing, and couldn't be more wrong. See, the university tower is made of old concrete, not ivory, and the members of the twelve academies, well, they have as many cracks in 'em as the walls do. The truth is, every scholar is a schism. It's been that way since the first student, His Most Honorable Contradiction Samot. Hell, he couldn't even make up his mind whether or not to found the school. Sure, it was clear he wanted to teach and to learn with mortals, but Samothes had not only forbidden regular folk to learn, he had woven knowledge such that it made learning an incomprehensible thing. So, Samot's loyalty kept him from pursuin' that particular cerebral desire. But Samot had garnered the Iron God's affection with his reflective and elusive charm, and Samothes, well, that boy don't miss a beat. He saw what Samot wanted, felt it, knew that there is nothing that will stifle the love of an inquiring mind more than to stand in the way of its study. So he took Samot's hand in his, and taught him how to make a brick. And then a wall. And then a school. It was sacred ground, the one place where folks could learn under the blessing of the gods. And bit by bit, he creeped out. Samothes hadn't realized it. He hadn't taught Samot to build walls. He taught him to build doors, and now they were openin' all over Hieron.