“Come, Nuptial. We must get home and I’m not sure of the way. We’ll have to walk through the Forest of Dawn and navigate among the Albadorous Mountains.” As they made their way into the black forest, Rucksack held out his wand, which gave light under the canopy of ancient trees. The glow emitted from the stick accentuated the wood in yellow overtones. Large silk worms and caterpillars moved along the branches. Huge webs hung from tree limbs, reaching down to the forest floor. Faint humming came from under the ground. The noise drew nearer, dispersed, and circled back for another pass. Whenever it got too close, Nuptial scurried to the side and whinnied in a frightened voice. They brushed past ferns and needle berry bushes that strained to poke them. Sometimes, brightly colored birds flitted through the treetops to snatch caterpillars. On other occasions, birds were caught in webs and quickly eaten by oversized arachnids.

Soon they reached a desert where the trees ceased to grow and the ground was much hotter. Great pillars of sand extended far into the distance. The sun rose directly over their heads. Its rays beat down on them with unmerciful intensity as if god pointed a magnifying glass in their direction to scorch their flesh. Rucksack realized the danger of walking through an ocean of sand to avoid the dark forest. The trees provided shade, among other resources which were necessary for their survival. Suddenly, Nuptial caught sight of a butterfly that left the edge of the forest and flew across the dunes. It gave chase to the insect.

“You stupid unicorn!” yelled Rucksack. “Come back here immediately!” But Nuptial couldn’t hear his desperate pleas. The magician didn’t have a choice. He entered the vast expanse not knowing of its limits, crevices, or hidden hazards. 

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