Juniper opened her eyes and for a moment wondered where she was. When she realized she was back in her bed in the House of Keahak, she sat bolt upright, now fully awake.
“UA!” she exclaimed aloud, so surprising herself she immediately moved her hand over her lips.
UA was perching on the end of the bed, a beatific smile on her glowing face. She was there, fully, solid.
“You…you’re here.” Juniper stuttered.
“I am always here, Juniper.” UA smiled back at her.
Juniper now excited at the possibilities reached forward and grabbed her hand, “You’re really here,” she whispered, clutching at UA’s hand.
“Yes, I am. Jennifer has allowed me into the House of the Human,” she said, then smiling continued, “She even presented me with my own key!”
Juniper smiled at this as she faintly remembers the imagined exchange. A sweet moment between human and Master.
“And now we’re back in the House. At the University. Oh UA! I’m so behind! And my students. I’ve completely neglected my students, and I’m pretty sure some of them must be borne by now.” Juniper flopped down dramatically on her bed, like a teenager who suddenly remembered they had a test today.
UA laughed aloud before dive-bombing Juniper on her bed and giving her a great big bear hug.
“Worry not my darling Juniper. I am here now, and we are going to have so much fun. As for the students, you completed the course and they are all now experiencing their first lifetimes. We just have to travel back in time a bit to capture the experience. No biggie.”
Juniper gaped at this new, vastly more relaxed UA now reclined next to her on the big fluffy bed in their room in the House of Keahak.
“I wonder what’s been going on in the House while we were away,” Juniper mused.
“Oh I think we’re about to find out,” replied UA.
A knock on the door announced visitors.
“Open the door! We know you’re in there! We want stories!!” came the voices of friends through the closed door.
Juniper happily jumped to open her door and greet her many Keahak friends, but it was UA who reached over and grabbed the foaming cocktail in TADAH!’s hand and take a big swig before proclaiming, “We have a Big Fat Story to tell.”
When Juniper woke up the following morning, it was with a hangover. Off course, she thought. TADAH! and her alchemical cocktails! As she lay in her fluffy bed, bemoaning the hangover another memory of the previous night popped into her minds-eye.
It was late in the evening and the friends were enjoying the impromptu social gathering when UA sidled up to Juniper and casually said, “So tomorrow we have our Master’s Thesis presentation. I’ve invited everyone here to attend.”
Juniper could for the life of her not remember what she had replied, or indeed that she had replied, or even realised what UA had said in that moment. She remembered now and promptly threw up in a bucket that appeared by the side of the bed. Bless the House, its reflexes were impeccable. When she had finished, and the bucket disappeared as quickly as it had appeared, Juniper lay back on her bed staring at the ceiling. UA stood at the foot of the bed, very still, gorgeous as ever, just radiating her Masterness all over Juniper.
“Feel better now?” she asked softly.
Juniper pitched over sideways into bucket number 2. Thank you, House. When done again, she sat up in the bed, and said, “Ok, I think that one did it.” She paused, taking a deep breath to stabilize herself. When she finally felt herself again, she got out of bed and stood to face UA.
“I couldn’t possibly give a presentation on a Master’s Thesis that doesn’t exist! UA!! What are we going to do?”
UA, her ever serene self, simply smiled.
“UUUUAAAAA!!” Juniper shouted, “Stop looking at me like it’s already done!”
UA gave Juniper a sly wink.
“No! It can’t be? I have no mem…” she trailed off remembering where this would lead. She stopped, looked at UA, head tilted, eyes focussing hard.
“Really? It’s done?!” Juniper said.
“And so it is,” UA replied.
Juniper stood gaping for a moment, before shaking it off turning to her cupboard, “Well what on earth am I going to wear?”
Juniper and UA were waiting outside ANA, Lecture Hall 1, where Juniper would be presenting her Thesis to Professor Adamus, Kuthumi and a sprinkling of fellow Keahakers.
Everyone was gathering in the courtyard outside ANA enjoying a refreshing beverage. Juniper turned to UA, UA turned to Juniper.
“Ready?” UA asked.
“Ready,” Juniper replied. Well here goes nothing she thought.
Stepping forward she clapped her hands to get everyone’s attention.
“Welcome everyone. It is my pleasure to present to you my Master’s Thesis. I have named it Juniper’s 44 Essence Index. Its purpose is to create an interactive, fun way of exploring through our very precious, but undoubtedly large and intimidating library. It is particularly aimed at newly arrived Shaumbra, to ease their entry into the Circle that we all love so dearly.”
Juniper took a breath and looked over the gathering faces, everyone was with her, and so she continued:
“The inspiration for the Index came from our love of tarot cards. The play we enjoyed during the awakening stages, using images and intuition to connect with our soul-selves. I wondered if I could take the essence of that playful experience with tarot cards and evolve it in a new energy way to benefit those interacting with it. To create something that would instinctively connect you with the wisdom you seek.
“The Essence Index is the result. So please take a moment to breathe before stepping through the doors. Once through you will find a gallery of 44 images. Allow your senses to lead you. Then pick one.
“When you reach out to the image another layer of symbolism is revealed. It’s number. When you touch it, the third layer of the Essence is revealed, with a word.”
“Each has been carefully chosen to match a particular piece of wisdom in the vast Library. The gateway to which can be found below the image.”
Juniper breathed, looked over at UA who beamed back at her, which made her smile.
“ANA, please open the gallery.” Juniper turned to ANA who threw her doors wide open in welcoming gesture.