Eleven days since the first needle of daylight pierced the darkness of the tunnel. The miners had been so startled, they had stood frozen, staring at the hair-thin shaft of white, so faint that it did not reach the tunnel floor. A brief celebration had followed at their successful breakthrough, with drinks and the pounding of fists and feet. All emberlights were moved temporarily away to better allow the natural light of the surface to penetrate.
Since then, work had resumed at its literal grinding pace. Hadsun arrived to relieve his cousin Erdak, who dropped stiffly off the scaffold without a word and limped off into the distance. The other workers continued to widen the tunnel’s end, but it was thankless work. Everyone wanted to widen the breakthrough, so the honor was given in shifts.
Hadsun contemplated the square of light. During these last days, it had been widened to the size of his fingertip. The strata was incredibly dense and could only be scraped away by hand. Undaunted, he set to work.