When the city of Ember was just built and not yet inhabited, the chief builder and the assistant builder, both of them weary, sat down to speak of the future.
"They must not leave the city for at least two hundred years," said the chief builder. "or perhaps two hundred and twenty."
"Is that long enough?" asked his assistant.
"It should be. We can't know for sure.
"And when the time comes," said the assistant, "how will they know what to do?"
CHAPTER 1: Assignment Day"We'll provide them with instructions, of course," the chief builder replied.
In the city of Ember, the sky was always dark. The only light came from great flood lamps mounted on the buildings and at the tops of poles in the middle of the larger squares. When the lights were on, they cast a yellowish glow over the streets; people walking by threw long shadows that shortened and then stretched out again. When the lights were off, as they were between nine at night and six in the morning, the city was so dark that people might as well have been wearing blindfolds.
The City of Ember. Jeanne DuPrau.