The Crimson Council just started its second night of meetings.
A second night.
This was new.
Juniper had woken at precisely midnight, an unease falling over her. UA wasn’t in the room, but Juniper could feel her in the House.
The House was abuzz.
On bare feet, Juniper headed towards the kitchen where the House seemed to be the most awake. What she found made her feel strangely anxious. What appeared to be all of the Keahak Masters were milling around in small groups, whispering, heads conspiratorially bowed together. The predominant smell was that of freshly brewed coffee. Everyone was fully awake.
Where is UA? Juniper moved through the kitchen, stopping to get herself some coffee, a yawn failing to convince her to go back to sleep. When she arrived in the front rooms of the House, more Masters were huddling around fireplaces. There appeared to be more fireplaces than usual. The House provides.
Off to the far end, Juniper finally found UA standing like a pillar staring into a fireplace. She stood alone. When Juniper got close enough, she realised why. UA wasn’t really “there”. Her face so relaxed it looked almost out of focus.
Deciding it was probably best to leave UA as she was, Juniper moved off to a bay window to make herself comfortable, staring out of the window at the fresh snow falling ever so softly under a full moon so bright no light was needed to find your way outside.
But nothing moved outside, but the falling snow.
Juniper jerked awake as someone lifted the empty coffee cup out of her hand.
“What’s happened?! What’s..where…who….oh, UA you’re back!” Juniper straightened herself up, making room for UA next to her on the bay window seat.
UA sat down curling her legs under her, turning to look at the view Juniper was enjoying until she fell asleep again, lulled to rest by the falling of the snow.
The full moon had set, dawn was approaching, the snow had stopped, and the resulting view was breathtaking. The potential for sunrise sparkle was high.
Suddenly UA turned to face Juniper, “He’s ready for us. Come we have to go now.”
Juniper knew better than to argue with UA when she had THAT look on her face, so she merely jumped up and said, “Let me go get dressed, it’s going to be cold out there.”
‘No time.’ UA extended her left hand and touched the House, then reached over with her right hand to grab Juniper’s wrist. With a tiny ‘zweeeee’ noise and a small flurry of air Juniper found herself fully dressed and ready to go. “Now, come!'”
UA grabbed Juniper’s hand and at a jog ran out the front doors and down the stairs. Here UA took a sharp left into the open fields on the outskirts of the University.
Juniper realised they were not alone. Other Keahakers were following; some were ahead, all going in the same direction. There was no time for questions, UA was single-minded and setting a bristling pace.
Finally, they reached a clearing and UA slowed to a stop.
In the field was a bright crimson hot air balloon. It was already floating some 5 meters off the ground. At each corner was a rope tying it down to four sandbags, the weight of which was holding the balloon in place.
In the basket, stood Professor Adamus.
As the last of the Keahakers arrived, the Professor stepped forward and proclaimed loudly, “It is done!”
With a step back, he lifted his hands, and with a flick, the ropes untied themselves and the Crimson Balloon shot up into the sky! The laughter of the Ascended Master was the only sound, as the balloon soared off towards the horizon right at the precise moment the sun’s first rays broke the new day.
UA turned to Juniper a huge smile on her face, she grabbed Juniper’s wrist once more and pulled her towards a waiting hot air balloon. Suddenly the field was full of them. All were standing at the ready, waiting a few meters up off the ground.
Juniper arrived under their balloon and looked up to find UA already standing in the basket.
“Er… think you could drop me a ladder UA?!” Juniper called. Moments later a rope step ladder appeared at eye level. Juniper scurried up it into the basket, landing ungracefully in one of the corners.
UA wasn’t wasting time, “Grab the side, ready?!”
Wordlessly Juniper grabbed the sides, nodding as UA lifted her hands and with a flick they were soaring into the sky.
The pressure of the sudden upward move found Juniper crumpled into the corner. As the balloon finally slowed and started drifting sideways, Juniper stood up now fully aware of the fact that she was in a hot air balloon and had no idea how to “drive” it!
“Uhm, UA?! We’re drifting! How the hell do we steer this thing?!” Juniper had not let go of the sides gripping them for dear life, knuckles now white.
UA stepped forward grabbing Juniper by the shoulders, making her release the side. Looking into her eyes, she said, “What do we do?”
Juniper stopped. “We breathe,” she said, taking a deep breath.
“We allow,” UA released Juniper on the allow, “And then we get out of our way.” Juniper took a step from one corner of the basket to another.
A faint ‘pfffffffft’ erupted from the corner Juniper had just been occupying, followed by a ‘plop’ as the holographic Hot Air Balloon pilot appeared looking disgruntled in Junipers direction.
“Well. I dare say! You were standing on my holographic plate Madam!” the pilot bemoaned, before continuing, “Shall I now take control of the vessel, my lady?” with a small bow to UA.
“Yes please Jeeves! And can we have some champagne?” UA linked arms with Juniper and drew her towards the side of the basket, “And that’s how we do the allowing waltz?”
Juniper giggled then turned asking, “Are you going to tell me what happened tonight? What did the professor mean when he said, it is done?”
UA smiled before turning towards the rising sun, the air now filled with hot air balloons, similar conversations going on in each of them.
“This is truly a new dawn Juniper. Last night the Council experienced a schism. The professor chose to visually share this news with the hot air balloon, as it expressed the feeling perfectly. With the letting go of those that are not ready, those that are will now shoot up into the sky!” UA’s eyes were shining; her beautiful face lit up with a smile so bright it equalled the rising sun.
Juniper didn’t respond, after all, what was there to say.
Instead, she breathed, allowed and got out of her way.
All was still well in all of creation.
Cheers to that!