When the Tower fell, the thirteen stonemasons tried to arrest its collapse with their hands and bodies. For three times twenty-two generations, their families had been slaved to laying stone, and they knew nothing else. Their children were born with an innate knowledge of the lever and the pulley. When the stones began to fall, what else could they do? The stonemasons linked themselves—arm in arm—in looping chains, they clustered in awkward pyramids, but each stone was too big, too heavy.
The dust raised by the fall was damp and dark, and it left a permanent stain on all the doors and windows of the city. The sun wept, and hid its face behind a veil of ash for a year. The moon, emboldened by the sun's dismay, stayed full during this cycle of mourning. It laughed every night as it rose over the pall of the broken pit.
The architects were dragged from their palaces by the widows of the stonemasons. Hung in wicker cages, the architects were forced to instruct the children gathered in the square below them. If they could teach the youngsters the secrets of their art, if the tiny models built from sticks and mud and shards of stone stood for an hour, they would be given water. If the model stood overnight, they would be given food.
The architects all died of thirst within a week, for no matter how they cajoled and wept and shouted, none of the children were able to understand what they wanted.
On the anniversary of the Tower's collapse, the sun wiped its face clean and blew away the perpetual dust that clung to the stone-choked pit of the Tower. Every door and window in the city had been left open, and the sun crept into each house—peeking in all the rooms, snooping in the cupboards and closets. It found no one; the city was empty. After a year of madness and despair, the people had fled.