A Shift is a portal, rift or opening of sorts between worlds. The first Shift we saw was an eerie but beautiful portal that looked almost organic (and which sent April to Marcuria upside down). The Shifts since have been something like very bright patches of blue light in midair. When April first opened a Shift using her artistic talents, it appeared as a rippling effect over her painting that finally became a doorway.
Not a lot is known about the nature of Shifts and Shifting, but the general consensus is that it involves having a strong imagination, giving you an ability to reach the world of dreams in a waking state and pass through it to your destination. It is also possible make shifting impossible by means of wards, such as those placed on the House of All Worlds in order to prevent Saga from leaving.
A Shifter is, as described by Vestrum Tobias Grensret, "Someone capable of opening doors between worlds, a Shift, a portal between the realms of Stark and Arcadia. Only a Shifter's own power can allow her to travel. No one else can do this for her."
Shifters often start to demonstrate their powers while they're dreaming. However they can get help from a powerful being, such as one of the Draic Kin, to channel their talent and open a Shift while awake. Lady Alvane has also demonstrated this ability to help, to a slightly lesser degree, though she appears well-informed about Shifting too.
Seems like Shifters passively warp reality around them, especially where they stay a lot - when Divide started to fail separating worlds, first leaks occured at April's home (Fiona and Mickey and possibly April brief travel to unknown forest) and work (sudden appearance of Banda), where she was spending most part of her time and was most emotionally attached.
Known Shifters Edit
- April Ryan - Her first experience with shifting was in her sleep, but she gains some control of her abilities on her journey. She is helped by Cortez, who channels her powers to send her to Arcadia on her first conscious Shift.
- Adrian - The 12th Guardian: an 11th century native of Stark who, having remained in the Guardian's Tower for 2 centuries longer than was intended, abdicates, returns to Stark, and is abducted by the Vanguard. He is rescued by April Ryan from the Morning Star space station and travels with her to the Guardian's Realm, where he performs the Changing of the Guard ritual with Gordon Halloway.
- Gordon Halloway - The 13th Guardian: a 23rd century man, also a native of Stark, who was twisted by Jacob McAllen's experiments into a divided persona. He is a cold, analytical man in Stark and is represented in Arcadia by a destructive Chaos Vortex (which was a Vanguard champion in the invasion of Marcuria). He is the leader of the Vanguard's 'black' operations before he is united with his erstwhile, chaotic self in the Guardian's Tower by April Ryan. He did not complete his thousand year term before the Two Worlds were reunited.
- Saga - Perhaps because of her connections to both April Ryan and the White of the Kin, Saga was able to shift from a very young age. After opening her first shift at seven years of age, she would periodically use them to walk, unsupervised, across worlds. Despite Magnus' attempts to keep Saga confined within the house by means of wards, she was eventually able to bring those wards down and left permanently.
Jacob McAllen also shows April glass tubes in his office and laboratory where he claims to be breeding 'Warrior Shifters' who will eventually serve him. How they were created and what happened to them after McAllen's disappearance is unknown.
Dreamfall EditIn Dreamfall, April tells the reborn White Dragon that she has 'lost' the ability to Shift (or 'Travel' as Na'ane and Chawan put it). The White of the Kin tells her it's not something she can 'lose,' but that she may have forgotten (an apparent psychological block probably caused by her fear of returning to Stark.) As Cortez once did, the White Dragon is able to channel April's own abilities to open a Shift. While it is now possible to Shift directly to the Guardian's Realm, the White also claims that April cannot Shift without Crow going with her , coinciding with the White's statement that "everything has changed, and everything is still changing."
In her discussion with Zoë Castillo, thinking she was a Shifter, April explains that Shifting, once learned, is "like blinking, with your mind."