The Architect's Essence, The Diary of Sunrise

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Unknown Date 2479 A.R.T

In the days following his realization of the butterfly’s demise Cloud had continued to carry its tiny corpse with him and he had sought solitude in his grief, usually sitting alone on the top step of the worn staircase, his chin resting on his palm. He hadn’t written a single word on the subject and any attempt to console him was met with streams of tears.

In an attempt to console him, an individual who quite aptly had named himself Butterfly had examined the tiny corpse of Cloud’s butterfly and had informed him that it was a Western tie-dye butterfly which had likely been blown off course by the approaching storm before having its wing scorched by the heat of the volcano. He had given Cloud some in depth information about the butterfly, telling him of how they emerge from their chrysalises with pure white wings and how they had the semi-fey ability to suck the color from objects with their proboscis, using the stolen color to tint their wings any color they desired. Though Cloud had been very interested by Butterfly’s insights, the information hadn’t helped to lessen his grief.

When Cloud was at his lowest, Bubbles, an upbeat individual who seemed to have boundless energy had come to me with a plan to cheer him up. Bubbles had proposed that we attempted to leave the mountainside using the stairs in the hopes that the sights of the journey would be beneficial and help Cloud to forget his sorrows. She had also suggested that we play some games that would appeal to his child-like personality and had mentioned hide-and-seek, tag and something called huckle-buckle-beanstalk. Horizon had seemed very excited by the prospect of exploring the surrounding land and he had procured his compass in readiness. I’d had to admit that a change of scenery had also sounded very appealing to me.

I had scratched a large notice onto the wall with my spoon, advertising our planned trip and advising all who wished to come to meet us at the top of the staircase at daybreak.

The trip had quickly become the talk of the mountainside and everyone but Darkness had said that they would like to come. Darkness’ excuse had been that he would be unable to play the planned games, stating that hiding would be hard for him and seeking just wasn’t his thing. He had also said that Cloud would not agree to go if no one stayed behind to watch over the remains of his butterfly. At the time this had seemed like a feeble excuse but later Cloud had in fact stated that he wouldn’t go on the trip if it meant leaving the butterfly alone. After Darkness had promised to watch over it however Cloud had reluctantly agreed to come.

I had been baffled by how Darkness managed to keep track of what was going on around him. Though we could not talk and Darkness could not possibly have read my advertised trip he had still discerned what we had planned. His blindness hadn’t hindered him in the slightest and he had also seemingly possessed some sort of strange precognitive ability which none of the rest of us possessed. In these early days he would often mention places such as The Snug Barracks and The Restricted Greenhouse, facilities which would not be built for another seventy years. He also often wrote fondly of someone called Edelweiss, an individual who we were yet to meet and who now sadly, as I write this, is no longer with us.

As the sun had begun to dip below the horizon Yarn had come at me brandishing knitting needles and yet another plan to cheer up Cloud and had suggested that we knit him a scarf or a hat with a nice fat pom-pom or possibly crochet him a set of doilies which he could stand his favorite writing stones upon. Yarn had been very excited by his plan and had stated that Nothing can cheer you up like a nice warm woolly jumper which has been knitted with love. Yarn had only dropped the idea after I had explained to him that, while the idea was lovely, we did not possess any wool with which to make his plan a reality.

Yarn’s knitting needles, like Horizon’s celestial compass, Script’s Satchel and Butter’s sunhat had been a gift of the Architect, found at his side when he’d awoken. As well as the knitting needles Yarn had also received some crocheting hooks, a rather lovely pin cushion complete with pins and needles and a set of copper thimbles, all of which had come in a rather stylish sewing basket. Though a lovely gift, the Architect had failed to provide any wool or cotton with which to utilize these needlecraft tools and unfortunately our mountain was devoid of any accommodating sheep or wooly echidnas and we had a definite lack of looms with which to create any wool.

After returning his needles to his sewing basket Yarn had walked away most dejectedly and I had made a mental note that if I ever had the opportunity to buy him a present then that present would be wool.

As I mentioned him in this last passage, I would now like to give you some information on my good friend Butterfly who over the years has become a well-known and celebrated figure amongst both zoologists and conservationists alike.

Butterfly, as his name suggests, is an individual who is very keen on lepidopterology (the study of butterflies and moths.) He has, for want of a less terrifying term, published several papers on the subject and has become known throughout the Known Expanse as one of its leading lepidopterists. Butterfly has also discovered several new species of butterflies and moths, the most famous of which he caught in the Weed Garden of our own Mount Bedlam, ensnaring it in his butterfly net whilst trampling a bed of Oats’ prized dandelions, an offence which Oats has never forgiven him for. The specimen in question was around the size of a pigeon when viewed through the wrong end of a spyglass from a distance of around five medium paces. It had black wings with white steaks and long bushy eyebrows which Butterfly had called feathered antennae. Butterfly had quite aptly named this previously undiscovered species the Bedlam Chalkboard Moth.

Despite Oats and Butterfly’s ongoing feud over the trampled dandelions Oats has allowed Butterfly to construct a large butterfly house at the rear of the Southern Garden. Oats keeps the butterfly house planted with a wide range of exotic hothouse plants which would not usually survive in Phoenixhelm’s climate and Butterfly tends the butterflies, moths, caterpillars and pupa which live there. The butterfly house is home to many species of moth and butterfly which are currently in danger of extinction, most notably the Northern O’Shrafe jacquard butterfly, the caterpillars of which have been hunted to the brink of annihilation for their luxuriously soft velveteen fur, a sought-after and expensive pelt used to make ladies fur coats and hats. It takes almost eighty thousand jacquard caterpillars to make a coat and the species became critically endangered after the creation of just two coats and a hat all of which were commissioned by the Countess of Smog whose wardrobe is reputed to contain garments made from the skins of every species of creature in the Known Expanse. The jacquard caterpillars grow their fur to cope with the chilly climate of the Abyss Mountains where they make their home and so cannot be kept in the warm environment of the main butterfly house so Butterfly constructed a magically chilled annex especially for them. At the moment Butterfly has successfully bred over eight hundred jacquard butterflies from a single mating pair, specimens which, with the cooperation of the Five-Fold Parliament, he is hoping to release back into the wild under strict conservation laws.

Another species which Butterfly is currently trying to save from extinction is the rare and venomous aracnoptera butterfly, a species which I must admit I find quite off-putting. The aracnoptera is believed to have originated as the hybrid offspring of a butterfly and some poisonous member of the arachnid family, though how their union was possible is still unknown. For this reason, there has been much controversy amongst entomologists as to whether aracnoptera belongs to the family Lepidoptera or Arachnida. It has long been accepted however that since aracnoptera has a larval stage and possesses the ability to fly it should be grouped with the butterflies and moths rather than the spiders. Its acceptance into the Lepidoptera makes it one of only two carnivorous members of the genus, the other being the parasitic marrow miners, the larva of which burrow into the bones of their victims to devour the marrow within.

The adult aracnopetera possesses the eight legs and silk glands of a spider but the wings and body of a butterfly. Like a spider it preys on flies and other insects and it has quite a unique technique for catching its prey. It spins a web between its eight legs and holds it out like a net as it flutters through the sky, ensnaring flies, bees and other butterflies whilst in flight. The aracnoptera also possesses a poisonous bite which, though not fatal, causes nasty hallucinations and severe pain. In recent years aracnoptera numbers have dwindled, earning them a place of the endangered species list. It is thought that their declining numbers is largely due to cannibalism, the species literally eating itself to death. Due to their unique diet and cannibalistic nature Butterfly keeps each of his aracnoptera specimens isolated from the other butterflies and from each other, only allowing contact between them in order for them to breed.

Butterfly is also the proud owner of the fifty-year-old pupa of an epoch butterfly, a rare and exotic species from beyond the Isles of Gramer Grey. The epoch butterfly is reputed to spend fifteen years as an armoured caterpillar, fifty-five years as a pupa and then thirty years as the largest insect ever recorded within the Known Expanse. When the pupa finally hatches out Butterfly informs me that the emergent epoch butterfly will have a wingspan of over six-foot, which in comparison to the Bedlam Chalkboard Moth would be more around the size of a roc viewed through the correct end of a spyglass from a distance of just two paces. The butterfly is said to emerge with thirty-five red spots upon each of its wings, one for every year of its life to that point. It then gains an extra spot every year until it bears a full century on its wings, an indicator which sadly marks the end of its long life.

We openly encourage our patients to visit the butterfly house as we find that watching them provides a welcome escape from the noise and bustle of the wards whilst also calming tensions and alleviating stress. Some patients have become so taken with the butterflies that they spend most days in there and help Butterfly tend to them, a task which not only occupies their minds but also gives them a great sense of purpose and satisfaction.

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