“Keith! I-I’m sorry,” I apologized.
“Don’t worry about it. Libraries are opened to the public. Besides, that’s a quality read you’ve got in your hands.”
“What exactly am I reading?”
“Ever heard of Leonard Lusk?”
I shook my head.
“What!?” Keith was appalled, “He’s only one of the greatest philosophers of our time! He’s written so many amazing commentaries about the Solar Convergence! He has to be one of the greatest minds of our generation!”
I stared at Keith, completely bewildered.
“Whatever. But that book you were reading is probably his best work: Under the Sun, Above the Moon. It’s all about the true nature of light and darkness, or at least, what Lusk thinks it is. He makes some really provocative arguments, like what you just read.”
“That one passage...it must be important to you.”
“You could say that, although admitting so would be denouncing the cause that this entire place is built upon: separating the light and the darkness. Of course, we simply want to end the Solar Convergence, but…”
“It feels like an act of defiance just thinking about it.”
“Yeah, actually. I love the Order, don’t get me wrong. It’s just...I’d rather not waste my effort on some false hope. I mean, what if there’s no way to reverse the Solar Convergence? Like Lusk said, this could teach us all something about the true nature of humanity.”
I grew fascinated by Keith. He really seemed torn by his philosophies. “Do you really think that the light and darkness can’t be separated?”
Keith pondered for a bit, “Well, take a look at the floor.”
Confusion was daubed over my face. “What does the floor have to do with any of this?”
“Just take a look, Elijah.”
I fought the urge to press him about it and followed his instructions. My shadow casted a faint outline on the royal blue carpet. It was then that I began to see his point.
Keith nodded, “And what is creating that shadow?”
My eyes grew wide, “Light.”
“There you go. When light shines on something, a shadow will always form, no matter what. If anything, more light will create a darker shadow. Cynical, I know. But in lieu of Lusk’s words, it makes so much more sense. The more we try to separate ourselves from darkness—”
“The closer we get to it,” I finished.
“Exactly. But if that’s the case, what do we do about it? All we’ve ever known is to be afraid of darkness. We can’t just...embrace it, can we?”
That was a difficult question to answer. What would embracing the darkness entail? What if doing so created even more problems?
This discussion reminded me a lot of the one I had with Mr. Tinker before I left Old Tenebris. Before I collapsed, he told me something that I easily shook off: In some ways, the twilight is what protects us from such darkness. As the thought travelled past me, I realized what Mr. Tinker might have hinted at.
“Maybe Lusk doesn’t want us to embrace it. Maybe...we just need to accept it.”