|Haven's Fall by Elizabeth A. Schechter|
Still reeling from his final encounter with the Elders, Matthias finally reaches the promised safety of Haven. There, he is met with suspicion and accusations, learning too late that the new world he’s entered is built on as many illusions and lies as the world he’s left behind, and that the safe home he’s been searching for isn’t safe after all. When all the illusions come crashing down, and Matthias barely escapes with his life and his friends, he finds himself going back to the start — and finds himself one step closer to the truth.(M/M, M/F)
Solomon looked at Matthias’ hand, then up to meet Matthias’ eyes. He smiled broadly, clambering to his feet before pulling Matthias closer. He cupped Matthias’ cheek in his hand. “I’m not leaving you alone. Not ever again. I promise.”
Matthias smiled, leaning into Solomon for a brief moment, breathing in his warmth before letting him go and offering his hand again. This time, Solomon took it, scooping up his own pack as they followed Dancer and Tam off the sleigh. For the first time, Matthias looked around, and stopped in his tracks, unable to do more than stare. They were in a valley, surrounded on all sides by high mountain peaks. Heavy, gray clouds scudded overhead, and Matthias could have sworn he saw a swirl of snow, but none drifted down to the ground.
“There are shields up there,” Tam said, coming to stand on Matthias’ other side. “The dome keeps the weather out, and keeps it livable inside. Linnea says it glows from the power in it.”
“Shields?” Matthias gasped. “How can they manage to control shields that size?” He looked around, seeing a man and a woman coming through a gate and approaching. He ignored them for the moment. Dancer had landed the sleigh in the middle of what appeared to be an open space meant especially for sleighs — there were several crafts of different types all around them. Beyond them, Matthias could see peaked roofs, taller structures that seemed to be made of windows and light, and four slender towers that seemed to scrape the skies.
Welcome to Haven, Dancer murmured.
“You just beat the storm, Dancer,” the approaching man called out. “And you finally found them? Very good.”
The woman sniffed. She was taller than Matthias, almost as tall as Solomon, and everything about her seemed narrow and pinched. She reminded Matthias strongly of one of the Enclave women he’d known as a very small boy — a widow who didn’t care what others thought of her. She’d deeply disliked Matthias’ mother, and the two of them had often had the brunt of her abuse when they’d come into the Enclave to trade. He couldn’t think of her name anymore, but he still remembered the sharpness of her tongue, and her complete disdain of anything that didn’t fit her idea of order. This woman had the same air to her. She stopped not far from the group, folded her arms over her chest, and narrowed her eyes.
“Which is it, Dancer?” she demanded. “Which one is the murderer?”
Matthias gaped at her, stunned into immobility. Murderer?