The Clockwork Cathedral, the youngest of Absalom's Great Schools, specializes in the studies of mechanical engineering and constructs. The Cathedral is located in the Merchants' Quarter, within The Coins district of Absalom.1
Less than one hundred years ago, the founder of the Cathedral, a mysterious figure known only as "The Assembler" arrived in an iron-hulled ship from parts unknown. It is reported that the ship bore no living creature upon it. Upon arrival, the Assembler purchased a ruined temple to Asmodeus, and overnight the site had been replaced by the Assembler's ship. By the end of the month the ship had been transformed into what is now known as the Clockwork Cathedral.1
The Cathedral itself is a clockwork device resembling a centipede. A clock tower rises from what would be the centipede's "back." The walls are comprised of iron plating, gothic archways, moving joints, and thousands of gears. The interior is comprised of a single hallway divided into segments by giant, levered gears and supported by wrought iron sliding braces. Driven by the clock tower, these gears periodically move and change, adjusting the size and accessibility of each of the academic rooms.
While many suppose the interior of the Cathedral to be made of metal as well, the furnishings, minimal though they may be, are made of other materials. Most living students find the interior uncomfortable, as the building was not designed for beings with physical needs such as eating, drinking, or relieving oneself.
Admittance to the school is controlled by a governing body known as the Ruling Escarpment. The Escarpment is never seen or spoken to directly by living beings. All messages, tuition payments, and faculty salaries are handled by Thumpers.
Anyone can apply to take courses at the Clockwork Cathedral. Applicants to the program receive their acceptance or rejection letters from Thumpers. Acceptance letters include the cost of the student's tuition, which vary for every student; it is unclear what guides these rates.
Introductory-level courses are taught by upper-level students outside of the school's main campus. Once a student has completed basic coursework, she can apply to take advanced classes. All new advanced students are placed on a probationary status pending their ability to attend classes on time, after having deciphered the mechanics required to enter the classroom. Failure to arrive to one's first class on time results in a dismissal and ban from the school for one year. After students complete an advanced class, the Escarpment might offer them a position teaching introductory courses.1
The independent nature of the school's academic program has led to the development of informal competitive student cooperatives called "Cognates". Groups range in size from as few as three to as many as seventy students who share living expenses and specialize in unique areas of study in construct technologies.1
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