The Architect's Essence, The Diary of Sunrise

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Unknown Date 2479 A.R.T

Our party had met at the top of the Day Care steps at daybreak as arranged and once again Horizon had led us down the mountain. This time he had opted to leave his celestial compass in its pocket at his waste, apparently no longer needing it to make the journey. I had found that I was also becoming more surefooted on the treacherous steps, knowing instinctively where the ground was firm and where it was likely to crumble beneath my feet. Butter however had still managed to fall an alarming amount of times, practically bouncing down the mountainside. She had been caught on several occasions however by Skull who had seemed to have appointed himself her chief minder.

Omen had taken my arm as we had neared the lava flow and he had held up his slate. It had read, Hold my hand and I’ll be brave. I had nodded in agreement and had taken his hand, remembering his previous issue with crossing the glassy river of cooled lava. His hand had been atremble with fear, his small stature making him resemble a frightened child.

Do it for the bunnies, I had written, hoping to rouse his courage.

Horizon had been the first to slide out onto the lava flow. He had paused midway, dabbed his forehead with his neckerchief and had looked to the east with his spyglass, shielding his face from the glare of the sun. He’d looked back at us and shrugged. It’s gone! his slate had read as he’d held it aloft for all to see. The whole forest has vanished!

Taboo had written something unrepeatable on his slate.

I had slid out to join Horizon and just had he had said, the canopy of autumn colors which we had seen the previous day had vanished from the eastern horizon, the barren, ash-clogged wasteland filling the space where it had once been. As he had done before, Horizon had held his compass out and had turned it so that the words ‘New Horizons’ pointed out toward where the forest had once been. He had then tapped on its glass dome in quite an agitated manner as if it were giving him an inaccurate reading and he was trying to knock some sense into it. Much head scratching, pointing into the distance and confused gesticulation had followed.

It’s no good, Horizon had finally written. There’s no point us going if there’s nowhere for us to go to.

I had nodded in solemn agreement. I’m sorry, I’d written, but the forest has indeed disappeared. I’m afraid we’ll have to go back the way we came.

But we were doing it for the bunnies, Omen had written.

Poor hungry bunnies, Cloud had added, hanging his head.

***** the ****** bunnies, Taboo had scrawled. Let’s just get the ******** ***** *** back up the mountain!

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