We are where we came from.
"I will tell you a story of the Whirlwind," Eido begins. She speaks with a solemn intensity. The hatchlings often laugh and coo at her stories—but these young are two molts past their hatching, and they know that mention of the Whirlwind should silence them. The Great Machine looms above their rooftop gathering, and Eido almost feels like it is listening too.
Eido knows many things, but here, her wisdom is fragmented; Misraakskel never spoke of the Whirlwind or those who witnessed it. His mother had, but all Eido knows of her is her name: Inaaks. Misraaks was raised in the Great Machine's absence, what came after the Whirlwind; and so this is what Eido shares with the young for now.
"We live in the presence of the Great Machine," she says. "But it was not always so."
The young know this. Like Eido, they know the cold of Europa.
"There was a place called Riis. The mothers and fathers of our mothers and fathers were born there. It is where the Eliksni came from."
The young know this. Like Eido, they do not know the embrace of Riis.
"The Great Machine was once above Riis," she says. "As it is now above Earth."
The young know this. Like Eido, they know this planet's sky.
"When it left Riis, the Eliksni went to find it. They looked for a very long time, and—" Eido pauses. She must choose her next words carefully. She must tell the truth.
"They came to Earth to take it back."
But the young do not know this. Unlike Eido, they have not lived long enough to know this sadness.
"But we share it now," Eido says, "with the Humans, and with the Guardians."
Eido knows the unspoken question. The young do not ask it. Instead, they fix their eyes on the Great Machine, and Eido wonders what they see.