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Katalina


Katalina had a bad feeling about the number before Sumi said something... indicating that to get passage someone would have to stay. Katalina didn't want to suggest herself, but she would have if... Hannah had not spoken up. She looked over at Hannah and walked over and hugged her tightly. "I know we didn't... but take care of yourself. And... thank you. I will remember your song... and..."

Katalina reached into her pocket and pulled out the oyster in there. She opened it and spoke a word, and a bubble of water came out. "Here. You can break it if you need it, and you never know when you might need a way to escape." She handed the pearl of water to Hannah and then sighed. They would have to explain to Eleanor, but she knew the woman had up her sleeves stories to tell for when a kid went missing or found their way home. Christopher had told her as much before. That worked for her. Her own parents had pretty much just left her at that school. She wasn't going to ever go back to those ignorant assholes anyway. They didn't understand their daughter was gone. She was long gone, left behind when she fell through that door.



Astrid


Astrid looked over at Hannah and simply saluted her. She had not been at the school long enough to know the other girl, but she did recognize what she was giving up. However, Astrid knew her door would open again one day. Odin and Freya had promised her. She just had to finish becoming what she was meant to be.

With the salute giving, she stepped onto the ledge and then stepped forward and found herself... falling. Falling and falling. Oh the feeling was a rush!

For everyone left, the number ticked down to four.
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Alexander


While the others took their turns, said their goodbyes, and quite literally took their number, Alexander quietly stood there with his brow furrowed in thought. Somebody had to stay here. Some sort of screwed up price for trying to get where they were going. Like everything else, to him it was more than a little ridiculous on principle alone. Tolls for passing through territory were nothing new of course, but demanding an entire person was unheard of. Plus, if passing through your territory was required to get to something important, it was generally agreed upon that making sure nothing went wrong with that important thing was part of your responsibility- or it was where he came from, anyway. And now, because of this, Hannah was planning on resigning herself to living in this dreary place ruled by jackasses.

He wanted to volunteer himself. Sure, the place was awful and dull, and he would never sleep right knowing how petty and stupid whoever ran the place was, but at least he'd have a piece of home in Wash. It would of course mean giving up his right to go home, but realistically speaking what were the odds of that anyway? How many people actually went home, and how many just learned to accept living in that boring place and 'graduated' that way? Would it really be that much of a loss for him? At the moment, he didn't think so.

But, before he could give his thoughts a voice, he looked Hannah in the eye and shut his mouth. She was resolved in doing this; he could see it in the way she looked back at him. He could object all he wanted, but he just knew that she would not move no matter what he said. And, well, that was something he had to respect.

"You've made up your mind then," he said unquestioningly as he walked toward her, "Alright then. Tell Wash I said hi, and that he's to make sure you get along here or else, right?"

He leaned in a little closer and spoke in an almost inaudible whisper, only for her to hear. "If I ever find my door, we're coming back for Wash. And for you."

And then he turned and took the the ledge at a run, vaulting over the parapet and into the unknown descent. The number ticked to 3.
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Hannah smiled at Alex, "Thank you and I will." She could feel the power of the beasts she had bested in her world just under her skin. That was the real reason she had been stumbling and having so many issues here. It was all so close to the surface and she hadn't had that in what felt like years. She took the bubble from Katalina "Thank you. Save the school, it's a good place." She briefly wondered what was going on there and how much time had really passed.

Katalina jumped, the number dropped to 2. Christopher gave Hanna a nod and followed. A blazing 1 was left as was Kade and Hannah alone on the tower. "I shouldn't let you do this."

"You don't have a choice."

"I know. Your parent's?"

"They don't care about me. Tell them I ran away. The lies will reassure them."

"Elenore?"

"Give her my thanks. She saved my life." Kade nodded and pulled Hannah quickly into a tight hug.

"Be safe." And he turned and jumped. What happened to Hannah was now anyone's guess.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE (Of sorts)

Sumi would have let out a whoop if she hadn't just left her friend behind. Instead, the fall was made in silence. There were drafts that pulled at her and for a while, it was nothing but darkness and wind. She did hear the others falling behind her. "Alexander!" She yelled back hoping he had followed. "Have the wind take us to the Index line!" This was a place Hannah would have loved. She would have been able to shift here, Sumi knew it. The walls between worlds were the thinnest here. Technically speaking Alexander might even be able to have the winds take them right back into his world, but then they would be there and unable to fix the problem.
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Alexander


"WHAT?!"

Sumi was a nonsense kid. He'd known that. She'd made it abundantly clear from her very demeanor since the day he'd met her. And nonsense kids tended to be a little... out there, in word, deed, and thought. But nowhere in Eleanor's lectures on nonsense versus logic had it been mentioned that they tended to ask someone to use abilities they did not have. He knew how to read air currents, how to fall through them and weave around them, and how to find the fastest slipstream in the immediate area, but understanding the wind and knowing how to use it and outright COMMANDING IT were very. Different. Things. Maybe in Sumi's home the wind was more affable, but in Sylvent nobody told the wind to do anything. And here she was, asking him to just do it offhand as if it were the most natural thing in the world.

"Sumi, I can't-" he was interrupted by a snarl of wind that tried to flip him over as he fell. It took some doing, but he did right himself.. and then recognized that even if Sumi could hear him, she'd probably ignore what he was saying.

"You've gotta be kidding me..." he muttered as he closed his eyes. It was no big deal, he tried to assure himself, except he had no idea how to begin. Well, when he had learned how to fall, so to speak, one of the things that had been drilled into him was to think of the air around him as an extension of his senses. That was as good a starting place as any, even if it would be taking the lesson just a bit literally. Alright, he thought, let's see. Extend your senses, read the wind, feel it, see what's doing, but instead of playing by it's rules tell it to take us to the Index-

"WHOA" he yelled as a sudden howl shattered his thoughts as the winds flared up and roared, tossing him and everyone else out of their freefall in a violent tempest. Alexander found himself being battered about in the wall of the windstorm as he fought to keep himself aright, but it seemed that in every second he gained some balance it was immediately torn away from him again. He knew it had been a bad idea, and here was the proof. The air had bucked him off like a wild stormwing, and now it would do who knows what with them. Why had he even tried? He wasn't some master of the sky! He was just a poor, lonely, lost boy who'd been flung far from home.

CAW!

Wait, he thought as his eyes snapped open and his focus hardened instantly. He knew that noise. He'd heard it in his dreams, almost every night since he'd stepped off the ship. But this was no dream, of that he was certain. He struggled his way to a stable fall again, and immediately threw his head around in every direction. She was here. He heard her, the sound was more clarion than anything in his life, but by the clouds where?

Quietly, with an almost serene certainty, he began to feel her presence get closer. He turned his head to the side, where the outer wall of the tempest still raged, and as if it had been cued he began to see the shadowy silhouette of a great bird, wings splayed out in a grand glide come into form on the other side of the raging winds.

"Julie," he dared to breathe.

There was no mistaking it, not now that she was so close. He began to reach his hand out toward her, but he soon realized there was something in the way. Not just the howling air, but something like a veil, a shroud that came between them. Something told him it would be easy enough to breach, to rip straight through. And he so badly, so dearly wanted to do it, to reach out and touch her, to grab the feathers at the back of her neck and nestle his knees in the small of her back... but that would leave them all falling through an empty sky, and only he and one other he chose to catch would have salvation from the drop. Besides which... Sylvent was his home, but not anyone else's. They would all be stranded, unable to get back home or even to the school. To say nothing of their current task's completion. Tears welled up in his eyes only to be flicked away by the upward rush. He was so close, SHE was so close, yet still a world apart.

Caw.

Julie spoke to him again. It was no tongue known to man, but he understood her perfectly. Even through the veil, her feelings resonated in his heart. And he knew the opposite was true. He couldn't give up. Whatever was troubling him, he could handle it. And... one day they would meet again, and soar as they ever and always had. Those were Julie's feelings. Alexander closed his eyes, etching the moment into his mind and soul.

"I'm coming home," he whispered, "I promise. Just not today."

Caaaaaw!

"Thank you," He said as he opened his eyes again, a fire lit within them now. "Alright then, let's see where this goes!"

With a mustering of will he reached out to the air again. It had been his uncertainty, his fear that drove it wild before. Now, he was calm and determined. These winds WOULD listen to him, and they WOULD take them to the Line. And they would do it swiftly, gently, and without incident or loss. Those were his orders... and before his eyes the wind listened. The tempest slowed, growing tranquil by the moment, as Julie's shadow faded back into nothingness. And then they began to shift again, but this time in a structured fashion, forming a tube of winds further down that ran perpendicular to their current course.

"THERE! INTO THE SLIPSTREAM!" he yelled for the rest of the group to hear as he shifted his weight to align with it. He rolled himself to disperse the force of the direction change as he hit the streaming winds himself, and as a pack they were whisked away at incredible speed to their destination.
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Astrid


The sensation of the wind blowing through her hair was one that Astrid had missed, more than anything in the world. However, as they fell through this place between worlds, she felt a surge as her strength came back to her. Her sense of the living and the dead, hearing those that were going to fall in battle...

She looked to her companions and gasped a bit. Christopher, so bright and vibrant like the world he called home; Katalina looked older, like she was and older woman, worn down by war; and she glanced over at Alexander and for a moment she saw a kindred soul. Sumi had yelled at him to manipulate the wind, but no one ever told the wind what to do, at least in her experience.

However, she was distracted by everything by a familiar whinny in the background and the sound of partying and drinking just beyond the veil. "Home...Valhalla..." Oh she could hear the cheers of those drinking, the ever on going party of those that had died so honorably in battle. All she had to do was reach through, to tug herself through the veil, to get back home but no. Odin would not want her to come back in such a dishonorable way, having not fully finished becoming what she was truly to become. She touched the patch over her right eye and nodded. No, she was on a quest, and if she had learned anything from her time in Valhalla, it was that you always followed a quest to the end.

Alexander's voice broke her train of thought, as she heard him tell them to head into the slipstream. She moved to roll herself into the slipstream and then aimed herself that way. She looked back towards that last whinny and simply nodded. "I'll be back, my friend." She closed her eye, feeling a tear roll down her cheek. She then opened her eye and rolled into the slipstream and followed it. She saw that Katalina had done the same, but the other girl looked terrified as she kept falling, and she swore the other girl was screaming, loudly.
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Sumi and the others rolled into the slipstream. It felt like hours or even days may have passed as they fell. Katalina's voice became hoarse and she was soon unable to scream. The next time she tried to speak it would be weak and whispered.

Finally, a bright pure white light flooded their vision. It hurt after such a long time in the dark, and then they were on the ground. Landing hurt, but they at least didn't hit at terminal velocity.

They now stood in a void of white light. The distance was impossible to tell and eventually, it just faded into a fog. Sumi stood up and looked around, she looked at Kade who nodded. At least it seemed they were in the right place.

"Okay stay close to each other. Kade, let's all eat something. I'm starving." He nodded and pulled his backpack off and handed everyone a granola bar, a piece of fruit, and a bottle of water. He peeled is orange quickly and put the rind in a bag that he offered to the others for their trash. Sumi ate a snickers.
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Katalina


Sweet Nereids, Katalina had never been more thankful for solid ground under her feet at that moment than she had felt thankful for it since she had been tossed back to Earth. Her throat was raw and throbbing as she had screamed so loudly and the entire way down. She shuddered as she pulled herself off the ground, whimpering a bit as she did so. She'd be bruised later, and it would hurt so much, but she was thankful that her two feet were on land.

Katalina took a bottle of water and nearly downed the whole thing in one gulp before she accepted the fruit and the granola bar. She simply nodded her thanks, as her throat was still too raw to talk. She sighed as she looked around at where they had landed. However, it was just a void of white light, nothing to distinguish it at all.



Astrid


Astrid landed with a bit of a grunt, as she had tried to position herself for the landing, but she had miscalculated. She'd bruise her knuckles the way she had landed, but thankfully, nothing else would be hurt. She looked over at her companions and sighed a bit as she realized that they had to be in the right place, but where they were? It was oddly quiet, and flooded with light. She looked around and then paused as Kade handed out refreshments.

"Thanks." Astrid checked the watch she had and realized that no, not that much time had passed. She would be fine for now. She sipped the water and then looked around, and over to Alexander. "I... have to ask how you did that. They always say the wind obeys no one, but you got us into a Slipstream." She smiled a bit as she nibbled on a granola bar, while looking at the slightly older boy.
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Alexander


Exiting slipstreams was tricky, but once you knew the process it was pretty easy to do. The key was to disperse the momentum you'd built up without crashing into the ground, or rather the white void that acted as the ground. And as Alexander was ejected from the stream he started wheeling his legs until one of his feet struck something solid, at which point he allowed himself to tumble forward, landed on his upper arm, and rolled for a few more feet. As he got up, it struck him how utterly bizarre this place was. He didn't mind emptiness- an empty sky was an absolute joy to fly through after all, but this wasn't quite the same.

Before he could think too much about it, Kade was handing him an apple and he realized just how hungry he'd gotten. "Much obliged," he said as he took it and began to chomp into it from the side. While he was eating, Astrid approached and asked him a question.

"Honestly? The hell if I know," he said between bites of apple, "Never done anything like it in my life. I kind of just... felt the wind, and tried commanding it like a mount almost. And somehow it worked. Maybe because of whatever was in that tunnel?"

He took another large chomp. "Your guess is as good as mine."
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Once everyone had had their fill of granola bars, fruit, and water Sumi stood up. She looked at Astrid and Alexander, "He was able to do it because this place feels your essence. Alexander is a child of wind and sky, and here only here would he be able to bend it to his will. Though it is less bending it to his will and more..." She trailed off and looked to Kade for the rest of her thought.

"Here it is more like becoming part of it. For a moment you were the wind." Kade finished.

"Alright, now does anyone have experience with magic in their world? Specifically finding lay lines." Sumi asked and looked at the group. They were diverse enough of a group it was possible someone had at least a passing knowledge of how to find lay lines.
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Astrid


"It's just... I was always told when flying that no one can command the wind. Even Veðrriddari could not fight the strongest of winds, and he.... Oh he was magnificent." Astrid nearly teared up as she thought about her mount and then looked over at Sumi as she explained that this place felt their essence a bit. "I suppose that does make sense?" She shrugged a bit as she finished off her granola bar and was about to ask Alexander another question when Sumi asked about magic.

"I do. Valkeries have access to it and we use it. I... know about lay lines as well. It is one of the ways we find our way to the Tree when we need to use it to travel." Astrid sighed a bit as she set down her bag and then felt the air around them a bit. "This place has more Magic than Earth does, so that will make it easier." She reached around her neck and unfastened the necklace from around her neck. She gently took her spear pendent off and she ran her hand along it until she found the little knot on it.

Soon, the spear was growing to it's full length, and Astrid was using the tip of it to trace a rune into the ground as she muttered to herself.




Katalina


Katalina had been watching with interest the others in their little rag-tag group. It was obvious that Astrid had many questions to ask Alex, but now was not the time to get to know one another. She did hope for their sake they would get some time later. She was thankful the younger girl, okay younger and older at the same time, had some knowledge of magic. The most magic Katalina knew about was the oyster in her pocket. Other than that, she was a warrior, a fighter. She wouldn't know how to use magic if it bit her in the butt.

"So, ley lines... this is what you guys were talking about earlier?" She looked up at Kade at that point.
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Alexander


"Ahh. Right. 'See the wind, feel the wind, be the wind'," Alexander replied as he finished eating the apple, "Just in a much more literal sense. It'd be pretty useful to be able to do that everywhere, but that would also be kind of unfair."

He stowed the core in his jacket pocket, mostly out of habit because he used to feed them to Julie, but also because it was never really a good idea to leave the things lying around wherever. Then he took to keeping an eye on the surroundings while Astrid drew something on the ground. He had no idea what it was; magic was something entirely foreign to him. But, it was obvious she was focusing on it, and when someone was doing that during a task everyone else's job was to either watch them so they did it right or watch around them so nothing stopped them. It was just how you did things in the crew, and this was hardly any different. So, since he couldn't watch her so she did it right, he watched around them so nothing would stop her.

He did notice, however, that her necklace grew into a spear. Which seemed incredibly useful, even though his preferred weapon stowed nicely on his belt. And, thankfully, it was still there as he confirmed it by running his hand along the hilt.
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Sumi stood nervously by Astrid as she searched for the ley line. They would need the magic to find the cause of the storm. Sumi wasn't entirely certain what would be wrong, and neither was Kade. But the two of them both had their theories. Kade gathered the trash from everyone and made sure they had had their fill before putting everything away. Sumi had only munched on a chocolate bar not bothering with the fruit as it wasn't candied.

For Astrid, her rune would fail. The magic slipped through her fingertips and refused to cast. She knew that the magic here was powerful. She knew that she could try again, but if she failed again it could hurt her. Luck had been the only reason it hadn't burned through her and only just barely. Her whole body would feel like every nerve for a moment had been shocked. It wasn't the magic telling her no. It was testing her as much as she had been trying to test it.
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Astrid


Astrid's brows furrowed as the rune failed her when she first tried to use it. She knew that this place had magic, she could feel it. Her empty right eye was prickling with the magic in the air, her body humming with it. God, she was so close to it, and yet, she had failed. She had made a promise to the Allfather, that she would be worthy. If she could not prove herself on this quest, was she worthy of her wings, of her spear?

She gently knelt down on the ground and paused for a moment. She traced her fingers in the ruin and traced it softly, trying to figure out how the magic here worked. "Please... I wish only to help." She muttered to herself as she closed her eyes and focused on casting again. She knew that it could hurt her, but... one of their members had already sacrificed herself to this quest. How could she do any less?
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Alexander


For a while, nothing happened. Then nothing continued to happen. And after a little bit more uneventfulness, along with some looks of concern and frustration among those present, it became pretty clear that whatever Astrid had been attempting hadn't worked. The way she'd been drawing the symbols on the ground certainly gave the impression that she knew what she'd been doing, and nothing he could see looked out of place- not that he really knew of course, but it all seemed organized enough. Which meant the fault probably wasn't in what she'd done.

That, in his mind, meant one of two things. Either Astrid had been at odds with the place itself, or something had interfered and wanted her to not succeed. And whichever of those it happened to be, it was entirely possible that something would use her attempt to find them and make things messy. He turned about more often while she tried again, keeping his eyes even more alert than before, and all the while he kept a hand on his knife.
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Kade placed his hand on Astrid's shoulder lending his strength to the spell. Hoping this time it would work.

Astrid would find the rune start to slip, but she would be able to hold it. She could feel four major lay lines, the one to her left seemed tangled.

Alexander as his gaze went out into the foggy nothingness to Astrid's right would see something strange. For a moment he would be certain there was a person.

Sumi was pacing now, watching Astrid attempt the spell again, but glancing up at Astrid hopefully. There was worry written on her face and some sadness. Christopher stood calmly off away from the group, this wasn't his expertise. And if anyone was honest they hoped that Christopher's expertise wouldn't be needed at all.
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Katalina


The feeling of disappointment was swelling in her chest at that point, as she could tell something was going on. Astrid had looked so disappointed and here she was... trying again. She looked over around the group, and then to Sumi. "Hey... it will be fine." She said softly as she walked in closer to the nonsense girl and tried to calm her down. "I'm sure she..." She trailed off as she saw Christopher off to the side. "I'm sure she'll be fine."

She then walked over to the other boy and then looked up at him. "You ok?"



Astrid


Astrid looked up a bit as Kade placed his hand upon her shoulder and she offered him a small smile in thanks. She then closed her eye and focused on the power. "One...two...three...four..." She counted out as she felt the lay lines and then turned to the left. "That one. It's tangled... wrong." She said softly as she looked over the lines for a moment.

"Three others..." She pointed in those directions and then looked over and around at the group. "I say... we go left." She then held her spear close and gently ran her hands along it for a moment before opening her eye and smiled a bit. "Does that sound good to the others?"
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Alexander


Alexander's eyes were pretty good. Usually. When he was actively looking for things and paying attention to his surroundings. And over time he'd learned to trust his senses as well as his instincts. So, when guys eyes told him there was something just to Astrid's right side and his instincts told him it was not a something but a someone, he immediately started digging figuring out what to do about it.

For a start, he would have to be careful; Astrid was still concentrating, and a sudden move on his part could disrupt her easily. That was a no go, especially when this attempt seemed to be going so much better. Subterfuge it was then. Subterfuge he could do, even though it wasn't as flashy as he usually liked. He started circling around toward that area, slowly and quietly. He threw his gaze around to each corner, but every so often he'd steal a glance back to where he'd seen the figure, until he was practically right on top of it. Or so he guessed. Alexander couldn't very well see it, and he had to assume it could see him, but this way if it tried anything it would have to first go past him. Which, if he did things right, wouldn't go well for whatever the thing had in mind.

"That way sounds good to me," he said in reply, "Ladies first."
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Sumi chewed on her lip. But gave Katalina a nod when she spoke to her. "We have to succeed." Was all she said to the mermaid.

Christopher gave Katalina a worried smile. "I feel out of my element is all. You doing okay? You didn't seem to handle the fall to well." Christopher asked her, as he did he tilted his head as if he heard something in the distance. Katalina would hear the sound of the surf.

As they started to walk the direction Astrid pointed it felt to her as if the lay lines moved. Slipping around her. It was hard for her to keep a bead on which line was which, except for the tangled nature of the one she wanted to follow.

Alexander would lose the figure completely as the fog around them shifted. But he would hear something that sounded like the creaking timber of a ship.
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Katalina


"We will..." Katalina said softly to Sumi and then turned to Christopher. "Well, I'm better now that we're on the ground. I've just... never been a child of the air. I'm a child of the sea, and... I..." She turned to hear the sound of the surf, and tried to find where it was coming from. She wanted to follow it, but Astrid had found the way they needed to go. So, she would have to abandon the sounds of the ocean and surf, and continue with the others.




Astrid


Astrid was trying her best to follow the tangled line, the one that they would need to fix, but the further they got from where she had cast her runes, the harder it was to focus on the other lay lines. So, she would worry about that later, if need be. They had to focus on the tangled one for the moment.
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Alexander


Alexander watched and waited. And he continued to do so, until the lack of anything became unnerving. At that point he threw his gaze directly toward where he had seen the figure- only to discover that it wasn't there anymore. Great, he thought, so it's either gone and not a concern anymore, or it can move around undetected at will and is a greater concern. He was soon distracted, however, by a familiar creaking noise that made his heart ache.

"Did anybody else hear that?" he asked with a slight bewilderment. Ships meant home, but they also meant people, and a good many of them housed crews that they would NOT want to meet with right now.
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