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August 29, 2018 

Claremont Academy (Rita Kord Dorm, Room 411) 


To say getting into Clarement Academy on move-in day could be hectic was possibly the grandmother of all understatements. The Rita Kord dorm had become a storm of activity. Students both new and returning were coming in and out of its walls in all manner of directions and methods. Speedsters were racing to get to their rooms, teleporters were popping in and out with their supplies, phasers nonchalantly passing through walls and people, flyers attempting to avoid the congestion on the floor only find out they weren't the only one's with that idea.


In a word, it was chaos. And Astrid loved it. 


Easily holding a massive overstuffed duffel bag in one hand and her favorite guitar in the other, Astrid made her way through all the madness with a grin on her face.


Asgard had been chaotic too, but there was a sameness to all that wonder. As strange as seeing giants, valkyries, dwarves and gods together was they all kind of clicked to together to make a whole that had its own internal logic and theme. Claremont, on the other hand, was just plain mad in Astrid's eyes. Everything and everyone seemed to keep from different worlds, each with its own unique theme. The school was diverse in the truest sense of the word, with super-geniuses, mutants, aliens, Atlanteans, and yes, Asgardians walking around every which way.


Despite it all Astrid felt a there was sense of koselig here, a feeling of cozy belonging that permeated across the whole dorm as she made her way through it. It might have just been wishful thinking, but Astrid's gut told her it was genuine. 


When she finally made it to her new home in Room 411 she broke the dorm room in by causally flicking her duffel bag to one of the room's beds and gently putting her guitar there as well.


Astrid was told that she would have a roomie to share the dorm with. Was it a Nicole Whitfield-Hall or a Nicole Whitefield-Hall? As Astrid began to unzip her duffel bag and unpack she wondered what kind of person this Nicole was. Looking at her guitar for a moment, Astrid certainly hoped she was someone who liked heavy metal. 



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Whoever had thought to put her on the fourth floor needed to drill screws into their frontal lobe.


It was bad enough to be forced to use the elevator whenever she wanted to go up and down, but the elevator had broke down before she had arrived and she had to wait half an hour for maintenance to come in and give it a fix through some good old percussive maintenance. It wasn't all bad of course. There was a vending machine on the ground floor lobby and she spent her time sipping iced tea and chatting Eliz in the phone to tell her that she was a-okay. She had all her things and, yes, she was in school. Safe and sound as a teddy bear in a machine shop.


Fun, normal things even if a small part of her thought she could have gotten the elevator running under a minute if she could have only reached the broken pieces.


But now she was on the fourth floor, chatter and moving-in noise wafting through the halls and thin, plaster walls as she pushed a large and overstuffed luggage bag in front of her.  She was wearing a plaid dress over dark leggings when she wheeled into Room 411. She was here, back in Claremont, and the closest thing she had to a home. Maybe it could have been a sad thought but she was comfortable here.


It was the start of another year.


She found her roommate already inside with a duffel bag and guitar beside her. Red-haired and tall, taller than Nicole would have been standing on her two legs, and she was built like an athlete where Nicole could be considered lanky. Pale rather than tawny. But other than appearance, Nicole knew not a thing about her roommate. Not her name, age, achievements, online history, purchases, personality, favorite streamed movies, or whatever else was out there.


Odd, a little bit annoying, but mostly interesting to not know anything yet.


She cleared her throat to signal her presence then moved forward, hand outstretched. "Hi, I'm Nicole Whitfield-Hall and I guess we're roommates?"


She indicated with one hand Astrid's duffel bag then to her own luggage. "I see your packing light."

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue

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Astrid had been halfway getting this and that out of her duffel bag when Nicole made her presence now. It was a good thing to that she arrived when she did because Astrid was about fish out her headphones and blast some Enslaved in her ears to make unpacking a bit more exciting. If she had it would probably would have taken a megaphone for her to hear anything but viking metal.


Letting go of the duffel bag she took Nicole's hand and gave her a strong (but not too strong) handshake. Giving hardy handshakes was point of pride in Asgard, and while Astrid had been trying to tone down the Asgardian know that she was back on Earth stuff like that slipped though every once in a while.


Taking the opportunity to finally get a good look at her new roomie, Astrid realized that she was actually pretty tall and likely would have been almost as tall her if not for the chair. She also noticed she was wearing a pretty nice placid dress, but the thing that truly drew her eye was the glasses she was wearing. Something about them just felt... familiar but different at the same time and Astrid didn't know why. 


Figuring that being caught staring at her glasses would be a pretty bad start to their cohabitation Astrid decided that it was about the right time to let go of her hand and start opening her trap. 


"Well, I couldn't figure what to leave behind out a home so I decided to just bring everything with me," she replied using good old sarcasm.


A part of Astrid worried that her Norwegian accent might be too thick, but pushed the concern aside as baseless first meeting jitters. She always had to a gift for languages and had already meet a couple Americans that seemed to understand her just fine. Besides, she had a feeling that the girl in front of her was smart enough to get through language barriers with ease. 


"The name's Astrid. Astrid Torsten officially, but most of my old friends just called me Thursday. You're Nicole Whitfield-Hall, ja?" 

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"Really, that sounds like a pain in the ass," Nicole replied, playing along with the sarcasm. "And I've only brought half of my house with me."


Then she cocked her head to the side. Curious. The accent was one she had not heard before and it clearly marked Astrid as not American.


"Yes. That's me." She nodded her head.


"Astrid Torsten. Torsten. Torsten," she mumbled, pulling back from the handshake to look at Astrid better. "That's European? Northern or Central? Wait, no." Then she snapped her fingers in recognition. "Scandinavian! Sorry, I'm not familiar with foreign cultures."


"You're pretty far from home. I mean," and she waved her hand around as if to encompass the whole of Claremont inside their room. "I can see why. There's a lot to take from here."


Astrid was a new student. Nicole would have recognized her otherwise, either that or Astrid was really good at hiding.


"But you're looking for what exactly?" Nicole looked at the other girl sideways, daring her to say something stupidly stereotypical. Like snow control.

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue

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Astrid just had to smile.


She liked anyone who had the spunk to match sarcasm with sarcasm. Back in her hometown of Risør people could be so self-serious and stiff. The same could be said about Asgard. When a typical Asgardian wasn't feasting or fighting they could be just as self-important and dreary. It was one of main reasons why she left Asgard after a while. 


Pulling her head of the clouds, Astrid decided to answer a couple of Nicole's questions. 


"Well I think I can really find myself here, you know," she said, putting on the most obnoxious Valley-Girl affectation she could muster. 


When it was clear that Nicole hadn't bought it she switched back to her usual tone. "Haha. Sorry couldn't resist. I do that to almost all the new people I meet."


Becoming more serious, Astrid told Nicole the truth. "You were right about me coming from Scandinavia," she started. "I'm from a place in Norway. Don't bother asking about it. It was a pretty boring place." 


"Long story short, my long-lost deadbeat dad turned out to be a bigshot who whisked me and my little brother away to Asgard after our mother died." Astrid said briskly, as if it was no big deal.


Astrid didn't like explaining her "origin." It always made her feel awkward, so she always tried to get it over with as quickly as possible. The past the was the past after all. Bringing it up always felt kind of pointless and painful. 


"Anyways, I stayed there for a while but came back to Earth once I figured out that I probably wasn't going to get a proper education in a place where indoor plumbing hadn't been invented yet. And so I came here." Astrid opened up her arms in a wide gesture to indicate their room. 


"What about you?" She asked wanting to change the subject. "Why did you decide to come this crazy school?"



Edited by Cubismo

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Nicole winced, though she felt like spitting in disgust, at Astrid's mention of her long lost dad showing up all of a sudden. Her own dad wasn't a paragon of fatherhood either and to be treated as just an asset, a mere avenue to achieve their own plans... it struck a chord. She would have called Astrid's dad something insulting but Astrid had mentioned where she been taken.


Asgard. The "godly" realm from the Norse myths if she had her history straight.


Nicole's eyes widened and she gave Astrid a once-over, as if she could find something that would give Astrid's demi-status away on the second try. In hindsight, Nicole shouldn't have been surprised. She had been to many different realms and had been slowly learning the cosmological theories. Hypothetically, the old myths were true and their realms accessible but to have a living specimen prove both to her only brought stock to the old adage.


Seeing is believing.


"Real flesh and blood," she muttered and shook her head. "I wonder what made the old Norse think of you and your blood as gods. There isn't anyone here to take to Valhalla, Valkyrie." She flashed Astrid a smile to take the bite off.


"But if you're asking me..." she said, caught up in the flow. She lolled her head back and sighed, eyes turned to the ceiling. "A lot of things. One of which is how you could get anything worth anything here. It's a datamine and you just need to reach out and take it."


She brought her gaze down to Astrid's level. "You'll see what I mean later on. But it's only here you get everything from bleeding edge tech to magic tomes centuries old and everything in between. This school has everything worth anything and you'd think I was lying until you see it for yourself."


She shrugged. "Take the advanced classes, ask the professors, buddy up with the smart kids. All of the above. Do anything except learn to just punch things."

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue

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Astrid didn't have to be a psychologist to tell that her story had ticked Nicole off something furious. As much as she tried to forgive her father for what he did, the fact was that she still kind of hated him for what he did and it was kind of cathartic to see someone else express that same anger. Maybe Nicole had father issues of her own? Astrid made a mental note to remember to ask her about her own domestic situation. 


"I've haven't a clue? I've meet a couple of the Gods and trust me. When it comes right down to it their just humans with a bunch of fancy powers and egos the size of Yggdrasil." That got Astrid laughing and it almost made her forgot about her issues. Almost.


After having a good laugh she started to think about everything else Nicole had just said. She was right. Even after a few hours of being there it was obvious to her that Claremont was a treasure shove of resources. 


"You definitely have a point there. I already know how to give a mean right hook or back swing anyway so focusing on that would be redundant." Astrid did a mock parody of flexing like something out of a cheesy 80s film to prove her point. 


"Honestly, as much as I like fighting, and I really do like fighting, I'm hoping that I get to explore a couple of my other interests here." Astrid tried to hide it but she was actually nervous about sharing what her interests were with people she really didn't know yet. She didn't expect to be laughed at but was still human, at least by half, and could get insincere from time to time.


With a huff she told her. "Well. I'm really into making music, and finding other students or teacher that could help me improve would be pretty sweet. Who knows? I might even might my future bandmates here. That's the goal anyway." 



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"Yeah, sounds like what to be expected. We've got loads of that here too."


Nicole nodded her head along. This Astrid was making a lot of sense and Nicole's opinion of her went up. Making sense was like the first thing anyone should do. Yeah, a lot of people liked fighting. Nicole had to learn how to fight in her own way. It came with the package of their extra-curricular, volunteer work as it was politely referred to. Playing the part of the hero.


"So you're a guitarist?" She asked, obviously rhetorical, glancing at electric guitar on the side. She skidded over to it and looked at Astrid for permission to touch it. "Huh. So a brawler and a guitarist. That's an image right there. You don't seem like the hard drinking, partying type of girl." She chuckled, aware how wrong her idea could have been anyway.


"I don't know that much about music myself but maybe I should have," she admitted. "So you're into the Arctic Monkeys, Fallout Boy, Paramore. That sort of things?"

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue

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It was hard for Astrid not make a lopsided smile. She didn't like to think of herself as a cliche. Who would? But Nicole had her nailed even if she was being obviously sarcastic. The hard drinking, party girl with a thing for music and fights. Yep, that was her. To a tee. She even had the trademark shaggy pixie cut and ripped jeans. But what was bad about that? She liked being that girl. Usually. Astrid sighed a little and allowed the tension in her shoulders to drop.


There was no need to unload all her drama on someone she just meet so she decided to let the conversation flow light and carefree. "Kind of. The Arctic Monkeys and Paramore are up there for me, but my true inspirations are a bit harder that them. Ever here of Enslaved or Adorned Brood?" Astrid asked, trying her damnest not to sound like a pretense ass. When Nicole shrugged Astrid tried to explain. "They're kind of like Led Zeppelin back when he was going through his Viking phase. They mix together heavy metal inspired from what you Americans were cooking up day in the day with ancient Nordic folk songs and themes." 


Still feeling a bit self-conscious Astrid defended her choice of genre. "Yeah, I know. A half Asgardian into viking metal is pretty cliched, but I was totally into it before all the weirdness happened." She pointed to Porrklubba, which was sticking up from her duffel bag, as if that would explain everything.


"What about? You seem like you how to get something useful out of Claremont, but you didn't really say what that was. You seem pretty smart so I'm gonna guess it involves tech and science. Am I close?"

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"Nu uh," she shook her head. So perhaps she shouldn't have been surprised there but heavy metal and viking metal bands? How did they come up with these names? They sounded like someone mixed blood magic lines with a good helping of spikes, leather, and leathery spikes. Then an idea popped in her head and she gave Astrid a slowly forming smile. "I don't have to be worried here do I? Cause I need to know if I need to cook up some really good earplugs and sound proof this room."


She couldn't help but snort, waving her hand in a so-so manner. "Kind of close but it's more anything and everything." As if to stress the thought, she leaned her elbows into her armrest and into Astrid's way. "Tech, science, computers, data, cosmology, magic, runes, energy. Put your finger on it and I know it."


She looked at the bat blandly. Well, it looked like a bat. Yep. Pretty bat-y. But she wanted to humor Astrid and she placed a finger on the side of her glasses. Her glasses lit up with a purple glow, obscuring her eyes. Lightning flashed for Nicole and when it receeded she leaned forward, the bat's wood now containing a lightning bolt and surrounded by blue Nordic runes and cracks of electricity, enveloped by magic, as enmeshed in it as the universal condition.


"Ohhh, runes." She drove herself forward to the baseball bat in a duffel bag, taking in the composition and measurements harkening back to Nordic traditions and symbols. There was power in tales and tales measured in logic and power.


Then her brows furrowed, finger reaching out to touch it. Maybe it was because she was unfamiliar with traditional Nordic runes, but runes was her specialty and she couldn't parse this. Like a grade schooler presented with advanced calculus. "This is... pretty cool." She snapped her head to Astrid, eyebrows raising, hands gesturing to the bat. "Where the hell did you get your hands on this?"

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue

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