He emerged from the cave into a night song of wind and insect.
They left on streamers of pearly light that drew on itself in the sky, like reverse video of an explosion. Then there were just stars and a feeling in the heart.
It was not emptiness. It was not regret. Noah explored further, delving deep inside himself. It was determination. Triumph. He knew he had done the right thing. The future was bright for humankind, the potential limitless. The visitors had shown him that.
But they would not take shortcuts. They would do it the hard way, and learn all the lessons along the way. Noah smiled, felt the warm pressure of a playful breeze on his face. He was surprised to find the medallion clutched in his hand. It was cool, inert. He looped it around his neck. He started walking.
Noah didn’t know it at the moment, but he would go on to unite the remnants of humankind under the medallion’s emblem, and draw them esoterically inward while pointing them towards the stars.
And rise, they did, like the phoenix.