Juniper’s Journals: Seeking Salvation

Entry 8 (by Bastion) 

Well Juniper’s out of it after his encounter with Chigger a few days ago. He’s back in the Temple and a lot has happened during his coma. I’ll fill you in, but first I’ll give you an introduction on who I am. My name’s Bastion and I ran across these guys shortly after their arrival in Hom. Cinder and I have been casually together since we met and I’ve been doing my best to keep these kids out of trouble. If you’ve been keeping up with Junipers Journal, you know that’s not an easy thing to do.

I guess I’ll start with Mana. She’s really shaken up about what happened to her at the Clinic and hasn’t spoken a word since. Juniper and I managed to get her some healing when we had split up after the Clinic escape. An old contact I knew from before my banishment stitched her up and gave us some herbs for her to take to avoid infections. I can’t even begin to imagine the horrors she has to deal with everyday. All we can do is support her now, but I don’t know if she will ever be the same again.

Everyone else is acting weird and out of control, doing things they wouldn’t ever dream of. I think Cinder murdered someone . . . I can sense it in her. Her sister Chigger is on the verge of insanity. She and I had a confrontation and she attempted to slay me for no better reason than she was annoyed. The trip to the Hive had a more powerful effect on the Cell than I had first thought. I’ve heard of the Z’Bri being able to taint people with their very presence but this is getting to be very serious. I care a lot about my companions and I think I know how to fix things.

However, trying to get everyone together to talk about our course of action is liking pulling teeth. How can I make them understand we’re not the enemy ? Hate and tension can be felt as though it were the air we breathe. Speaking to Slash was the only way for me to come to terms and try to draw some conclusions . Slash is adamant about storming the Hive and clearing the beasts hold on my friends. I gave her the directions on how to get there and I told her I would assist where I could. She left to scout out the place and I warned her not to enter alone. During our meeting, Cinder came around and said she needed help. She said she was losing grasp on who she was and didn’t know if her actions were hers or something else’s.

They say things get worse before they get better, and about now things couldn’t get much darker. Chigger had chopped all her hair off and kept etching ‘I am your Salvation’ while running around Hom naked, threatening to stab anyone who looked at her funny. Cinder kept twitching and pulling away every time I went near her, as though she didn’t know how to be intimate with me ; like she could kill me or kiss me, both without a second guess .

I told them there was an Evan Nurse who had exiled herself to help the Fallen. She had a house near the Great Wheel that she used as a shelter for those who couldn’t cope with things. That about fit our description, so I suggested we go speak with her and see what could be done.

The place was real cozy and warm. Upon entering, an audience was listening to a storyteller weave a Legend. Food could be smelled, filling our nostrils with aromas that infused nostalgia of Tribal days and home cooked meals. Large pillows and sofas were strewn about a common room, inviting the weary to relax and enjoy life’s moments. It almost made us forget why we had come. Mari- Anne Melina, the Nurse, came in with a tray of hot teas that left a misty trail of peppermint. After our introductions, she listened intently to our stories and current state of affairs. When we were done recounting our tale, she told us what was plaguing our minds. Our spirits had been marred with corruption. Our encounter with the Z’Bri lair had tarnished our purity and was interrupting our natural connection with the Goddess. A Vision quest was necessary for the scars to be healed. It would, if successful, free us of its evil control.

She also said Junipers soul was lost in the River of Dream and would need to be found in order for his body to heal. The ritual would require three Sleepers, consisting of one dreamer and two travelers to cross the fold. Five active ritualists were necessary to maintain the real world focuses, chants and motions. Cinder, Chigger and Juniper were going to be the Sleepers and Mana, the Nurse, two of her aides and myself were going to be the ritualists. A full moon was an important part of the ceremony so we decided to rest at her shelter and bring Juniper here as well.

Three days passed and we all took the time to center ourselves and prepare for the coming ordeal. The reasons Mana and I were not going to be active in the cleansing were because one, her state was not influenced or induced by the Z’Bri and two, I wasn’t affected in the first place. My role was to help those who needed it. Mari-Anne showed me how to be an anchor to the ritual. It was an important part, for I was the one who would pull the Sleepers spirits back if anything was to go wrong.

And so it is that the Full Moon is upon us and the candles, the censers containing hallucinogenic dream drugs, and the body paints are prepared. We set out the site in the basement of the shelter, where much of the Nurses work is done. The Sleepers painted their faces red and are disrobed in the center of the room. I am singing a Mantra and Mana is lighting the candles and censers. Mari-Anne is circling Cinder, Chigger and the unconscious Juniper, splashing water on their reposed bodies. I can see them breathing in deeply, allowing the hallucinogens to take hold. They’re dreaming now. . . on a quest to save their very souls.

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