“Our ancestors,” Tatiana said, as the sanctuary was plunged into darkness, “took refuge here during the Wars of the Lost. Some already lived on these islands. Some came as the reach of the wars grew ever wider. But all were forced eventually underground. When the Lost realized what they’d done, that they were the last generation of healthy people, they struck out with unthinkable rage against any and all who had avoided Reduction, hoping to be the last ones, at least, left standing over a ruined world.” She blew out the final light. Above them, the miracle flickered to life.
“For years—some say more than a generation—the Luddites lived in the darkness. And then . . .” Tatiana’s voice fell silent, and they all stared up into the vertex of the cavern.
It was filled with stars. From every corner of the cavern, tiny, twinkling points of light glowed, a green so pale as to be nearly white.
“In the old stories,” said Tatiana, “a man built his followers a boat to ride out the flooding of the world. And when the flood was over, God showed him a rainbow to tell him that the worst was over. And after the wars of the Reduction were over, God showed us the stars, and we knew we could come out of the caverns and take our rightful place on the surface of the world.”
But Elliot knew the truth was more complicated than that.