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December 23, 2010

It's a cold and dreary day in late December, at least here in the Northern Hemisphere where most people live. It's no better in Freedom City, where a heavy snowfall last night has transformed into dirty ice and slush by the unaesthetic mechanics of life in a major urban area. It's a good day to be inside with a strong cup of hot cocoa or eggnog, letting ceremonial libations shake away the incipient holiday blues. Luckily this is generally a quiet time for superheroes: most supercriminals are people too, and even the ones without Christmas cheer have been socked away at home thanks to the lousy weather. You need a good reason to be out tonight, whether it's carrying out the duties of a government agent's patrol, hunting for last-minute Christmas presents, or else dealing with problems that have nothing to do with the season.

-

"Growing tired of these lies," said Avenger, leering malevolently down at the snitch he'd cornered in the Fens back alley. There were new heroes active in the Fens, he knew, but these were _his_ streets, and he was possessive enough, and secretive enough, that he preferred to keep his own council even when dealing with notorious criminals. "Christmas will be difficult in prison. Worse in prison hospital." He grabbed the frightened man by the collar and jacked him up against the wall with one hand, a murderous look in his eyes. "Where's the shipment?"

"Oh God, don't hurt me, please!" Mondale Tommahan whimpered, still wearing the shattered sunglasses that Avenger had broken on his face and then neatly put back there after dragging him away for interrogation. He'd heard all about the notorious vigilante, about his brutality and uncompromising violence, and watching him tear through his friends in the Irish mob in their favorite bar that evening had certainly put the fear of Avenger into him. "Look, the X-Ray stuff was just a joke, man? What kind of scuzzball would take naked pictures of Lady Liberty-"

"A SCUZZBALL LIKE YOU!" Damn, Jack loved the look in their eye when he _yelled_. "Already know you inside. Time to show you!" He went for the machete on the wall, the one that usually had them wetting themselves before his hands were on the blade, but his nighttime exertions were suddenly interrupted as a brilliant white light shone on the wall in a pattern of brilliant hexagons!

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A rare, quiet night for Dragonfly - she had no leads to pursue, and while she had a few projects sitting around they were nothing that couldn't wait. Down on the floor her little ball pet was bumping around the workshop, relearning the layout of her benches and shelves after she'd upgraded its mapping AI; the young woman herself had just finished one creation and was taking it easy, up on the second level loft in a comfy chair, some hot chocolate steaming in a cup next to her as she played her violin, letting herself let go into the music.

Though she wore her gauntlets to practice playing with them on, her gear was shut off and with her eyes closed and senses floating away on the instrument and bow she didn't notice the glowing pattern that appeared on her wall right away....

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Victory was spending his night high in the skies, as usual. He decided to take a shift doing a late night patrol, so he'd have some free time of Christmas Day. Not that he was going anywhere, but he thought it'd be a good time to catch up with people. Maybe crash a party or two.

The weather wasn't the best for going on patrol, though. The sky was still quite cloudy, even with the snow already fallen. Therefore, Victory has to fly a bit lower than normal. At the moment, he decided to take a momentary break in his flight, sitting down on the edge of a skyscraper. As he comes in to sit, all the snow in a circle around his landing spot melts immediately, due to the incredible heat generated by both his engines and his body. Leaning his back against a wall of stone, his enhanced vision scans the city, his infravision actually assisted by the cold weather, as it puts normal humans in greater contrast due to the cold air in comparison with a normal human body. He idly wonders what each of these people were doing to celebrate the holidays, and who doesn't at all.

However, it isn't long before his thoughts are interrupted. In front of his eyes, his vision was suddenly overwhelmed, and switched back to normal mode, to be met with the sight of a strange pattern floating in the air in front of him.

"....what is it now?"

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"Who brings a stroller into a crowded store?" Erik Espadas grumbled as he tired in vain to maneuver through the gridlock of last minute shoppers while balancing a stack of cumbersome packages. With his brown, wool lined jacket buttoned tightly about him, the dusty brown haired acrobat glared flatly at the crowds of Ashton Mall, his teeth grinding behind his customary light stubble.

Behind him, his younger sister sipped serenely on a hot chocolate, a deep red scarf tucked into her black peacoat and her dyed locks covered by a snug toque. "Should have done your shopping online, hermano. I was done my shopping ages ago," Ellie boasted.

Erik lurched to one side as a pair of children racing by at waist height knocked into him, forcing him to shift quickly to keep his gifts from topping over. "And yet here you are," he pointed out, raising one eyebrow slightly. "What, you came for moral support?"

"Mostly I just draw power from your suffering," the shorter Espadas quipped airily, catching a small bag in her palm as it fell from the top of her brother's pile.

"Right, silly me," Erik drawled dryly with a slight snort. Before he could offer a retort, however, a rising commotion from the crowd drew his attention to one of the store fronts, where a pattern of brilliant white hexagons were shining with blinding light.

Ellie shielded her eye with her paper cup. "Dios, that's some window display. What is that, the sunglasses shop?"

The elder sibling's eye narrowed slightly as a frown slid over his face. "...I don't think so."

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For once, Gina was spending the evening in her living room instead of down in her basement, away from her state of the art computers and ergonomically designed command center. The holidays spilled a depressing number of noobs into her favorite games, and for once she didn't feel like either shepherding them or flattening them, which were the only real uses for noobs. Instead, she curled up in her overstuffed papasan in front of her giant flatscreen TV and let Christmas movies play while she surfed her laptop and drank nicely doctored eggnog from an oversized plastic tumbler.

All her gifts to her family members should've arrived by now, according to the various tracking numbers and promises of expedited shipping. She was socially networked with all of them who were online, whether they knew it or not, and was interested to see if anyone mentioned it. Being rich had its advantages when it came to Christmas. It was easy for her to remember the years when her Christmas presents had all been dresses, or a new musical instrument to learn, or an appointment with yet another coach. It sucked. Now she had everything she wanted, more or less, and could play a little Santa Claus.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, she discreetly investigated what her niece and nephew's fondest Christmas wishes were, and what the hottest toys for their age group were, and made those wishes come true. Her brother didn't have a lot of money, and he and his wife worried at each other over email while he was working out of state about what they were going to get the kids. That wasn't going to be a problem anymore, and if they relabeled the gifts as coming from them, no harm done. She'd never even met the kids. Her brothers and her father all got season tickets to see the Tigers play, and hotel vouchers so they could afford to go. They'd have fun with that, she figured, it was one thing she remembered them doing whenever they could when she was growing up. For her mother, she bought a home waxing kit, the cheapest she could find, and from a secondary seller, so hopefully it was pretty old, too. She trusted that the message would be sent. She didn't expect she'd get any gifts in return, but that didn't matter, because there was nothing she needed.

To fill the time, she donated to Toys for Tots and Child's Play and the Heifer Project, carefully noting the donations for her taxes. She wondered where Freebooter was tonight, if he'd hijacked the bank account of some captain of industry and was filling peoples' stockings with it. The thought made her smile, for all she'd knocked him offline plenty of times. She was just thinking about linking in and seeing if she could find him when suddenly a bright light shone in her face and made her look up. Something was shining in her window from the street, white hexagons that looked like snowflakes. What could it mean? She set her computer aside and went to the window, trying to see what was shining the lights.

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From the white light stepped a figure Avenger immediately recognized: from the billowing black cape of flight to the glowing blue eyes, from the mystic symbol he wore as a brooch to the sheer aura of arcane power that seemed to crackle from him, Avenger immediately recognized the Master Mage of Earth. (He was fairly sure Phantom could take this guy without a problem...but Taylor was visiting her family tonight, and he'd taken the freedom of a sleeping baby to go get in some much-needed solo work). Glowing with arcane power, the Master Mage looked down at Avenger and said "Greetings, Avenger. A grave crisis has arisen which threatens the spirit of the world itself. Sinister forces threaten to devour the very spiritual essence of the coming days."

Avenger slugged Tommahan in the back of the head, knocking the ex-hitman cold. "Listening."

-

Across the city, Eldritch gazed levelly at Dragonfly. "I am Eldritch, the Master Mage. You need not fear your secrets in my hands; I am but a shadow sent to summon heroes in a time of great need. A new and terrible magical power threatens a master craftsman, a being whose commitment to building instruments of joy and wonder is legendary across all Creation. This crisis threatens to steal the magic of the coming days and cast shadows of darkness and cold upon the soul of the Material Plane. Will you assist in the salvation of the world?"

-

"The children of the world look up to you as a shining beacon of hope, Victory," said the mystic who comfortably kept pace with Victory in the sky: impossibly, he was not 'there' on any of Victory's internal sensors, but he was clearly visible to the cyborg hero's eyes and ears. "As they do for very few even in this much beloved city. The world needs you to defend the hearts of those children today, and to ensure that those hearts and minds are filled with joy and wonder, not tainted with the cold darkness of the Adversary and her attempts to gather all the light of the coming season for herself. Will you battle for justice in the realm beyond this one?"

-

Floating just inside Gina's window, Eldritch added to his earlier speech, "While Cyberknife's services would be welcome on this plane, there is another who could be of far more use in the chilly realm to which you and your allies must travel. This is a great and weighty task, and so too the danger may be great and weighty." He looked steadily at Gina and said, If you can summon that other, I can ensure that her powers will not fail her even through the mystic portal to the realm so threatened by the cold and sinister magics of the Adversary."

-

Across the city, a similar conversation was taking place with the Espadas siblings, the shadowy form of the mystic drifting where shoppers were still passing right through his billowing cloak. "I am given to understand that the you, Erik and Eliza Espadas, have personal knowledge of champions of justice who can join together with other champions of justice to save the spirit of the coming days for all mankind. If that is true, they must come with me through the mystic portal, so that justice may prevail for all mankind."

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Gina didn't bother to ask how Eldritch had found her, or how he knew her identity. She was much too smart for that. The master magus of Earth, whatever the source of his amazing powers, had his ways, and he had been refining them for many long years in service to goodness and freedom. She tried to ignore the part of her that felt naked and vulnerable, concentrating on what he was saying. "So what, I'm supposed to help stop someone from shanking Santa Claus?" she quipped at the end of his speech. She blinked when he didn't so much as turn an eyelash. "Christ." Wishing she hadn't had the eggnog, she finally nodded acquiescence. "Miss Americana will be happy to help. What's the plan?"

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Dragonfly just...stared for a moment, gauntlets on and halfway to bringing a hand up to blast the mysterious stranger who'd just waltzed into her warehouse. The second floor of her warehouse...

Very slowly she lowered her hand, paying attention to what he was saying - and the fact that her defense system hadn't so much as twitched since he'd appeared. master craftsman - must be joking - doesn't look like he's joking - craftsman who? - suppose stranger things have happened? The violin and bow twisted and disappeared into her dimensional pocket. "Suppose," she said, quietly getting to her feet, "if you wanted to hurt me you could have done it already. ...guess I have to trust you." She flexed her hands, a rippling wave of distorted air traveling up her arms and across her form to leave her in full costume, and tilted her visored head at the...messenger. "Seem...oddly trustworthy. Lead the way."

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There was a stunned pause as the Espadas siblings regarded the Master Mage. "...this is why I keep telling you to get a cellphone, you know," Ellie noted finally.

"Don't you start with me, Eliza," her brother warned her, closing his eyes tightly then reopening them in lieu of a free hand to rub his temples. Even Eldritch's projection thrummed with enough mystic might to vibrate the energy manipulators back teeth.

Pulling a face at the mention of her full name, Ellie tossed her cup in a nearby receptacle and pointed a finger at Erik. "I will punch you in the throat, seriously."

"Uh huh. Give us a minute, chief," he told the cloaked sorcerer before leading his sister around the corner of a hallway leading to one of the mall's loading bays. Discreetly stowing their packages away where they were unlikely to be stumbled upon, the siblings quickly changed into their more iconic personas.

Zipping up her crimson jacket over the the black thermal body stocking she'd adopted for the winter months, Jill O'Cure asked, "So, just to be clear: we're going to go save Christmas?"

Jack of all Blades flashed a broad, toothy grin as he tugged his royal blue bandanna mask into place. "Hermanita, we're gonna go save the hell outta Christmas."

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Victory did have a vague idea who this may be. In his interactions with the Freedom League, they allowed him to browse through a selected list of their allies and enemies, in case he ran into any of those individuals in the future . One of the ones who stood out to him most was a man known as Eldritch. Some manner of Master magician. The picture looked much like this figure now. Any message from someone such as that would imply a grave situation indeed, and Victory didn't have to think twice. Pushing off of his perch, Victory uses his jets to float in the sky, in front of this messenger.

"What do you need from me?"

He certainly couldn't refuse any request to help prevent anything that would ruin this time for the people of Freedom City.

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"I...what?" It took Avenger a few moments to process what he'd learned. Marriage to Phantom had taught him that magic was a very strange thing. A few minutes ago, I'd have said there was nothing magical that could surprise me anymore. He'd also have dismissed this as a hallucination brought on by too much artificial blood, but he knew just enough about magic to know that the more ridiculously unlikely a threat was, the more plausible it was. You've been to realms of imagination before, he reminded himself. This can't be that strange... " I'm in. Maybe secure present for son as reward." And with that, he stepped into the mystic gate of light provided by the master of magic.

Cold washed over the heroes as they stepped through the gateway, shimmering patterns of sparkly white filling their vision, before they stepped out into the world the mystic had opened up to them. A chill wind swirled around the group, walls of snow and mist rising everywhere as they stepped out onto a field of snow and frost. When the snow cleared, the heroes found themselves standing outside on snow-covered ground in a mountain pass of some sort. Eldrich’s phantasmal form hovered above, a look of strain on his face.

Hmm. Avenger thought. I know Espadas, and that must be the sister. Dragonfly is that teenage gadget girl from Greenbank; and shiny there is that government cyborg Victory. And the lady is...very attractive! Miss Americana, I think, that patriotic superwoman. Quite a team Eldrich has put together.

Before Avenger, or any of the others could speak, the Master Mage spoke for them all. “I have expended my energies,” Eldrich said. “I must return to my physical body at once, in hopes of navigating the netherworlds. The forces that have upset the natural order are close at hand. It is now up to you, my friends. You must put things right once more!”

With those words, Eldrich’s astral form faded and was gone. A cold wind swirled through the pass, whipping up the

snow, and thunder rumbled somewhere in the distance. They were somewhere very far from Freedom City indeed!

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Dragonfly scowled, glad at least that she'd grabbed her scarf on the way out - something about the pattern on the portal had made her cautious. Now she wrapped it up around her neck and lower face before shoving her hands as far into her jacket pockets as they would go to ward off the temperature. next year - either full battlesuit or warmer winter costume - getting sick of being stuck in the cold in this

She tried to take quick stock of her fellow heroes. Miss Americana - Victory - ...don't know the other three - mmh - need to get out more? ".....so," she said, breaking the wintery silence, and glancing toward some thunder. "Only got a cryptic 'help needed' message and a snowflake portal. Anyone have anything more useful?"

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"Hooah, snowflakey," Jack of all Blades observed as he and his sister stepped through the portal, letting out a long breath that formed a cloud of vapour in the frost air before him. "Well, hey, Bright Eyes, Broodmeister! We saving Hallowe'en and the Forth of July, too?"

Straightening her jacket against the chill wind, Jill O'Cure, rolled her eyes. "Can we try not to look ridiculous in front of new people?" she drawled with a brief nod to the unfamiliar pair wearing high tech armor and equipment. "He's Jack, I'm Jill," the coltish teen explained by way of introduction, giving the girl, who looked roughly the same age as her, a small smile of vague camaraderie. "As for a plan... we headed toward the thunder?"

"Well, I'm not going to get to break out the season-based innuendo just standing here," her brother confirmed.

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Miss A hesitated for a moment as the portal closed, looking around as though she were worried about something, then relaxed just as suddenly into her usual confident pose. "Looks like we're all here for the same party," she said with a smile. "And I forgot all my tinsel, too, more's the pity. I'd say following the thunder may be our best bet right now. Does anyone need a ride?" she asked, rising gracefully into the air.

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Miss Americana rose a few feet into the air...and suddenly crashed down again with a thump! While the All-American angel was still perfectly functional, something seemed to be inhibiting her flight systems from operating. Sure enough, similar problems were afflicting the other fliers like Victory and Avenger, rendering them solidly tied to the Earth. "Not the only strange thing," Avenger growled as everyone took in their surroundings. "It _feels_ cold. And I don't. Ever." He hmmed, thinking about their options. "Will be unable to survive on mountainside for long. Recommend we head for bottom of pass." Jack Faretti was a city boy, but he'd watched enough nature documentaries to know that. "Local civilization likely where habitable."

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Still looking like she was trying to cram as much of her upper body into her jacket as possible, Dragonfly paused and glanced up at the...growly person. She could swear he looked familiar. ...and her visor seemed to refuse to pick him up; she couldn't so much as read his height, much less anything else. mmh - very odd - glitch damage (cold portal unknown source) - possibly interference? From the way he talked, she'd swear he was making fun of her if she had any idea who he was or where he'd have heard her before. She shrugged the feeling off.

"Can't feel cold? Must be nice." note to self - increase priority on full suit - too many days out in the snow lately "Civilization would be nice. Could head for the bottom of the pass. Could just for those buildings." Loathe to take a hand out of her jacket pockets, she just sort of nodded down the mountainside a bit. "Seems closer."

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Miss A picked herself up off the ground and looked around the group, looking unnerved for a moment. "That's very strange," she muttered, brushing snow off her costume.The cold still didn't seem to be bothering her, but the snow spoiled the look of her uniform. "Maybe it has something to do with the polar magnetic fields. I didn't... I've never tried hero work up so close to magnetic north." She looked around the group again, then over in the direction Dragonfly had pointed. "You're right, I see them too. Let's get going." Cautiously, she took a few steps, as though making sure she could walk before she got too confident.

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"Huh, good eye..." Jill murmured as she spotted the buildings the visor wearing young woman had pointed out. Flexing a little warmth back into her gloved fingers, she gestured pointedly as a translucent blue arc spread outward from her body with a slight electrical crackle, forming a wind screen for the assembled group. She moved a little closer to the other girl as the assembled heroes started off, her interest evidently piqued. "So, are you here with the robo-wings guy?" she asked, tilting her head in the direction of the similarly attired cyborg.

The elder sibling, on the other hand, gave Miss Americana a gesture that was somewhere between a gallant bow and an amused shrug. "Looks like you're hoofing it like the rest of us common stiffs, gorgeous." He continued on a few steps to step in next to Avenger before continuing more quietly, "I'd know if it was anything electromagnetic, man. No dice. You're still... y'know, right? Any idea what kind of juju could nip at your nose?" His tone lacked a measure of his usual jocular showmanship, falling back into a more serious demeanor when speaking with the grim vampire.

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Victory, unfortunately, had come through a portal in mid-air...and the one he steps out of is quite high, as well. Thankfully, not as high as the skyscraper, but still a bit of a problem. As he nodded his affirmation and floated through, he found himself hurtling to the ground at a rapid pace, his jets not keeping him alots. Thinking fast, he leans over and pushes his hands down, shooting every last rocket to try and slow the fall to a safe speed. He succeeded, but the landing was still troublesome. He kicked up quite a snowbank, which quickly melted from his body heat...just to see even more snow and ice underneath.

Standing back up, he scowls, then looks about, seeing the other heroes. His eyes scan the other figures, cycling through his different scan modes to see what still worked. While he wasn't getting any errors, he did find something very odd....he could only scan the others around him, and nothing in the distance. He doesn't let on, though, as he greets the others. Nodding to Miss A first, his look lightens a bit. "Ah, hello Miss Americana. Seems we keep running into each other, eh?"

Looking over the others, his scanners go about their business. "Jack of All Blades and Jill O'Cure, am I correct? I wasn't sure if we'd ever meet..." His gaze moves to Avenger, and he takes a moment to test something. Running his heat scan, he finds an interesting result. There doesn't seem to be anything there but air. Definitely answered one of the questions he'd been wondering about. His scanning didn't seem to register him being there, either, even though his eyes saw him clearly. If all of his kind are like that, he'd have to take the potential issue up with R&D. "And you must be this...Avenger I've heard about?" His scan moves to Dragonfly, and he doesn't seem to pick anything up on her. But he did recognize the costume. "....And if I'mnot mistaken, you are...Dragonfly, correct? I believe I saw you at that meeting Archeville was hosting."

Looking them all over again, he shakes his head. "I'm afraid I didn't get much info, either. Something about ruining the spirits of children. Although I could venture a guess what that might imply. But yes...I guess we might as well head towards our only lead. As ominous as it may be."

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"Not the family expert on magic," Avenger admitted in response to Jack of all Blades' question. "If this is magic. Borders between science and magic thin." When Victory scanned him, he gave the cyborg the stink-eye. "Can bend over and take pants off if you would prefer closer look.." Frowning, he faced the wind, wincing at the unaccustomed bite of the cold. "Have been in situations where I felt environment before. Not like this," he said, simply covering for the fact that walking corpses didn't generally feel the cold.

To Avenger's relief, they crested a hill at this juncture, ending their speculation on his identity as they came across a bizarre sight. There was a...thing crashed into the snow bank in front of them, something that it took a few moments to recognize as a sleigh, like something out of a Victorian postcard or a Christmas story. Those sleighs usually didn't have bubble tops, though, nor did were they covered in gleaming chrome. The front hatch of the sleigh was open, and a figure clad in green and red was visible working on the parts inside. On closer inspection, said figure was about three feet tall.

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"What is that?" Miss A asked in fascination, staring at the futuristic sleigh. "I've never seen it depicted like that. Fascin-urp!" Her words were cut off as she abruptly ran face-first into Avenger, who'd been walking in front of her. She was silent for a moment, then said "Ouch!" Using her hands to brace herself against the vampire's broad form, she stepped around him, then resumed her progress towards the sleigh. "Hello!" she called to the small figure.

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"Hey!" Jack was startled enough by the impact and sudden groping that he forgot to speak as Avenger for a moment. "What-Fly like an eagle, walk like an ox!" he muttered, getting out of the way of the bulletproof woman. Privately, he was beginning to worry about what she was seeing, or rather, what she wasn't seeing. Only one good explanation for that... Luckily, or maybe unluckily, their new friend interrupted him before he could speak, or speculate further.

The small figure burst to his feet, a red and white striped cape unfurling behind him. On closer inspection, the small, power-packed figure was wearing a bright red and green mask to go with his fur-lined coat, narrow belt, and red pointy shoes that curled up at the end. In a voice like Avenger himself, or maybe like the Raven, after inhaling a quart of helium, the figure squeaked, "There are seven working defenses from this position. Three of them disarm with minimal contact. Three of them stun. The other stings. Who sent you!?" There was a candy cane visible in his hand.

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The cold was making Dragonfly progressively grouchier, and though Victory answered the question of her identity before she could, she did grump out something about how she wasn't anyone's sidekick before retreating back into her scarf. Miss Americana not seeing the...whatever he was (will just call him Growly Man) was curious, and she was giving him another look with her visor when she caught sight of the crash site.

She stopped cold, standing there in the snow like a statue. The sleigh, of course, was the first thing to get her attention and there was always the part of her mind that never stopped picking apart or designing technology; in a little less than ten seconds she'd figured five or six ways to make it fly, only three of which were overtly unsafe. The little guy, though...that was something else. Something else entirely. Her head slowly started tilting to the right, and something like a nervous smile played on her lips. "...not...going crazy. Crazier. Right? A...an elf. A little, pointy-shoed, green and re---"

a master craftsman, a being whose commitment to building instruments of joy and wonder is legendary across all Creation.

She started muttering bemused (and vaguely impolite) things in Russian. must be- - I don't even- - Santa Claus!?

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"Well excuse me, princess," Jill muttered in return, a bit put off by Dragonfly's derisive reaction to her mistake. "And it's 'junior partner'," she added mostly to herself, crossing her arms although the force field wind shied remained in place over their heads.

Jack for his part gave Avenger a disapproving look in response to the vampire's brusque rebuke of Miss Americana. "Hey now, that's no way to talk to a-- Dios, that's a freakin' sleigh." The fencer blinked a few time before a broad grin spread over his face which only widened as the diminutive figure demanded an answer. "Ha ha, guys, check it out, he's even got a candy cane cape, that's fantastic! Best unexplained teleport into adventure ever!"

Jill moved closer to get a better look, brushing her bangs back with one hand. "Wow. Uh, yeah. This goes right past 'out there' and hits 'touch your nose while walking in a straight line' territory." She gave the elf a small, self-conscious wave. "Ah, hi! We're here to help?"

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Victory smriks at Avenger's little remark.

"Maybe you can do that for the people back at the lab. I'm sure it'd be a good time for all."

Letting that go, Victory does have to agree in the oddity. "But you're both right. This isn't a normal cold. I've gone high into the atmosphere and deep under the sea, and this doesn't feel like any sort of cold I've been in before." Giving himself a quick diagnostic, he moves along with the rest, and glanced down to his fist. The jets gear up as normal, and he takes a jab at the air. Same as it always is. Jets work just fine. But he can't get any lift.

However, he doesn't have enough time to run a more in-depth check of his systems to see any way he could get to the air when they come across the odd spectacle. While he was only momentarily distracted by the little accident, the sleigh and its...mechanic? Whatever it was, this should be....interesting, at least.

"Does the name Eldritch mean anything to you?"

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