2019-07-11 - The Cat Returns.


T'Challa swings around the Embassy for a friendly visit, which turns into a highly political one.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Thu Jul 11 08:26:27 2019
Location: Wakandan Embassy

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T'Challa hasn't been in New York for very long and he's spent some of that time establishing some necessary business activities and much of the rest of it… well… that's a good question. He would have dropped by the embassy sooner but between everything he hadn't been able to manage it yet.

And since it has now been several days and his sister is in town, he figured he'd better take the chance he had to swing by even if that did mean bringing by a prospective business partner with him. He suspects he's in for a bit of a scolding anyway, not dropping by sooner.

At least he's not going to be talking state secrets. Politics, yes, but not state secrets.

The Wakandan Embassy is rather nice for a nation as poor as Wakanda is known to be. It is of course not grandiosely opulant but it IS nice. T'Challa guides Mari in the front door and nods to the security staff. "Would you let the Ambassador know I am here with a guest and would like to speak in some privacy with her?"

T'Challa had told Mari he needed to make a detour before they went to dinner and some detour it was, indeed. The dark skinned ex-model is outfitted in one of her creations, a sleek deep purple dress with a shawl draped over her arms, as she's escorted into the Embassy. "A private interview with the Ambassador?" she asks quietly. "I suppose being from a good family and the business person you are, might allow for that." she teases a little.

She has no idea who T'Challa really is and why would she?

Taking the time provided to find the ambassador, Mari looks around, noting things as she does. Interesting.

The guard nods and does a call to someone up the food chain, but there is one downside to coming such short a notice: The Ambassador is at the phone, trying to deal with stuff that was happening earlier. Which in this case she was at the phone, trying to get some report sent to her from a lab back in Wakanda she had sent a sample to some time ago. "I know you can't do magic, just get me more than this preliminary report." She finally hangs up, some poor attache slipping into the office to hand her a note.

A moment later the door to the private wing flies open, Shuri exiting in a stride that might match an ambassador leaving the building after getting a serious inult or a declaration of war. The tail of her headgarb almost tried to do a cape immitation, as she closes in on the entry through the hall, pretty much the only public room that looked fancy. The decorations were heavy on the black feline emblem side, so much was clear.

"Look what the desert winds dropped at my doorstep…" she spoke quite loudly as she got down the stair, a little on the sharp side of punctuation. "Is it He, who puts the knife where it belongs?" Rarely someone translates the names to their meanings, her eyes reding her brother's face for a couple moments before they wander to Mari, giving her a calculating one over. "It's rare to see you in such company. Though I presume I do not need to call the Queen Mother, or do I T'Challa?"

"That has been debated." T'Challa says with a trademark faint smile. He clasps his hands behind his back and looks up at the women descending. "Shuri. It is good to see you. May I present you with Miss Mari McCabe. And no, a call to mother will not be necessary. We are on our way to a working dinner but as I had not been able to stop by and as I do have some fairly important news I thought I would come and accept my tongue lashing for not having dropped in first thing."

How DID he get here? Well. Shuri knows that he didn't come conventionally. None of Wakanda's diplomatic craft have been diverted and he most certainly didn't just fly commercial.

"Mari, may I present the Ambassador from Wakanda, Shuri." Beat. "My sister."

There's a pause. "No hug for your brother?" He miiiiight be teasing.

T'Challa had conjectured to himself during their last discussion just how well Mari could hid her surprise. He's about to find out.

When Shuri descends on them like that the ex-model steps back a bit, giving the business man room to greet her. "Queen Mother?" That's said as much to herself as to anyone.

Why would the Queen Mother need to be called. And because of her?

Not that it shows of course, as the T'Challa introduces her. "A pleasure to meet you, your excellancy." She says as she holds out her hand, giving the man a sideways look.

Mother Hoo Boy. This is not what she expected.

The young woman gives her brother a long stare as he claims that a call to their mother would not be necessary but then claims important news, giving him the chance to introduce each other, but then again, one of Parker's photos had been decently sized in the Bugle showing off her on her Gala when she arrived.

Shuri lets her brother sit on the hot pan a couple moments before giving him finally a smile, offering him a warm hug, but not giving him totally free right after it, gently pushing him a little towards the stairs before offering her hand to Mari. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Miss McCabe, but I will have to urge you to cancel your reservation at the restaurant." She lets a moment pass before continuing, her handshake on the firm side. "Instead, I offer to be the host for this meeting here, that is, if my brother does not object…"

She looks over to the man in question, giving him a slight scolding look for not calling. "…or has some other plans for the evening."

If Mari didn't expect that she's REALLY not going to expect what comes next. T'Challa returns the hug and laughingly heads toward the stairs when pushed. He pauses only to make sure that the other two are following. Clearly he's been here before because he knows where the conference rooms are.

"I would be delighted to have dinner here." Mari may want some extended explanations when this is all done anyway.

He's not immune to the glare and gives his sister an apologetic smile.

"How much were you told about what happened last year, Shuri?" He says once the doors are shut and he's seated. "Did you know that I've not been reigning for the past year?" Reigning? That's got to surprise Mari. Reigning as in… king?

Mari watches the siblings as they interact. Slightly bemused but covering it well. "It seems that I'm happy to accept your invitation, your Excellency." the ex-model murmurs and follows the pair as they traipse though the Embassy. "If T'Challa has other plans, I'm not privvy to them. As he said, it was business dinner."

Once inside, the dark skinned woman finds somewhere out of the way to sit, still wondering a little why she is here. He has to be testing her - right? See how well she handles surprise situations? Something you do to all prospective business partners.

"Excuse me?" She finally says politely enough. "This 'good family' you come from, is the Royal One and you are … or at least were… The King?"

"You forget I had been there. At the very tournament and coronation. The fact that he jumped over the line right in front of me was why I joined the diplomatic corps after all. But it does not change that you are still her champion of champions." Shuri follows indeed, helping to guide Mari along a little. "Great, we can call the kitchen staff from the meeting room. Azari has a murderous good chicken…"

In the conference room she calls the Kitchen a couple moments, letting them know about the sudden change of plans. "I know this is on a short notice, but my brother comes and goes pretty much as he pleases… Yes the very same… I understand." As she puts the phone down, she smiles a little appologetic. "It will take our kitchen most of an hour to change the plannings they had, but they are happy to put together a humble menu for the evening." A humble 5 course menu deserving the King of Necropolis, but that is unsaid.

"T'Challa, what did you tell her if not that?"

"Very little. I went to her business to get suits and ran into an opportunity." T'Challa chuckles.

"And yes. I was the King of Wakanda until very recently, Mari. However things change and I have taken on other duties." He keeps busy. But do other duties necessarily involve business? Or is there more for a former king?

"Ah. Azari's food is always worth waiting for. We are in for a treat." The smile on T'Challa's face briefly grows wider and then he settles and becomes a bit more serious.

"As you know, Mother and my former regent have been holding rule of the kingdom quietly, it was thought best to avoid a succession crisis. But pressures will soon force them to hold a new tournament. One that I will be unable to contest, and I have been told that the leader of the Jibari plans to make a bid for the throne."

By the way he says that, this would be a bad thing. But Mari might still be recovering from the whole 'former king' thing. Well, current king kind of sort of but he's not getting into that just now.

"The sort of thing most business people from an African nature tell you." Mari answers, clearly displaying she's not idea about the true nature of Wakanda. "Comes from a good family that allowed him to study and express his creative desire for engineering, rather than keeping him on the farm, raising crops." Because, you know, Wakanda's an agrarian nation - or at least that's what the brochure says.

"If you were the king, what are you now? And who's her…" Mari heard that as Shuri said it and got the nuance.

The rest for the moment, is taken in and processed. She might not have a top class education but she's not stupid.

The groan Shuri let's go about the news from the Homeland isn't entirely Ambassador-like, but she nods. "I had heard what they told me, but the grapevine wasn't silent on the matter either. Of course M'Baku will try to rally people to try to manage what all the generations before him could not. But what do you think of a solution about?"

"Oh, Wakanda is an agrarian nation, that I can assure you, but a Farmer he never was. The main bulk of our exports is Grain from the Alkama Fields. But the head of state of Wakanda is chosen in a trial by combat." As if that tidbit would explain everything. It's not even a closely guarded secret.

"The mother of our nation of course." T'Challa explains to Mari. He cannot possibly mean the queen mother, can he? Is there another ceremonial position in their political structure that might give the king new duties which he would feel are important enough to step down from the throne?

"I told you they did not need me in the fields." He adds with a wink when Shuri says that there is a trial by combat. Which there is. And he's talking about another one coming up very, very quickly.

"And as to what I am, why, I am a Prince of Wakanda. I get to keep that, I believe, even if I have laid aside the crown."

Crown being sliiiightly metaphorical there.

"Having M'Baku as king is not an option that anyone who is sane wants to see come to pass. And as I cannot the number of people whom I think are suited to the task - whom have perhaps prepared their whole lives for it - is rather small…"

In fact it's one. Just one that he trusts. Which is why he's here.

So that news is bad. Mari can read people fairly well but Shuri doesn't make that necessary. "You want your sister to enter this ritual tribal by combat to retain the throne for your family? Might I ask why T'Challa doesn't just take the Crown up again?" He might have set it aside but it doesn't sound like he's completely renounced it, does it?

"Also, who is the Mother of your nation?" Not the Queen mother, Mari's sure. She snorts a little at Shuri's comment "He's not built any farmer I know. Then again, it would have been a shame to waste his mind. So there's that."

"Of all the eighteen tribes, the Jabari never were never the ones that were the most loyal to the Panther tribes leadership. Fierce guards of the northern border, but always challenging each sign of weakness." Shuri noted, more to her brother than Mari, before sighing at what she thinks he hints at. "You're serious, aren't you?"

A short moment she gives T'Challa a harsh look before sighing again. "I won't be able to pull the stunt with the mask you did ages ago… But there's… well, My brother took over a different obligation when he stepped down. The ruler of Wakanda is also the head of the cults, a messanger… Let's keep it simple: it's also a religious position and the title of the the leader of the living, besides a political and economical one. But his current job does not work well with some, if not all of them. And the office comes with the definite article, instead of the indefinite one…"

The instead of A is what Shuri means though Mari will doubtless pick up on it. "I do yes, Mari. I think Shuri is best suited to lead out of all the possible candidates. Some of them want radical social reform that would take us years backwards - and not in the way people here in the west mean. Our nation is not a rich one but the people have worked hard for their way of life. There are those who would dismantle even what we have."

Wakanda is just a farming nation, after all…

"Let us say without getting too complicated that there is an office in Wakanda to which even the Kings and Queens must appeal. The holder of that office assigned me duties incompatible with the kingship." King of the Living, Shuri said. Surely that's an affectation.

"Can you think of a better idea, Shuri? I know that I took the wind out of your sails when I ascended the throne, but I never had any doubt that you could have won that challenge, even years ago."

Panther Tribes. Mari picks up on that as she listens carefully. Jabari - bad. At least as far as these two were concerned. Given Mari has little to go on but her own experience with Tribes, she's not likely to disagree. Though she might try some research of her own.

Good luck. Wakanda keeps close tabs on what's released outside its borders.

"What do you mean, stunt with a mask? Are women not permitted to challenge for the position?" And if not, why wouldn't the mask work again? Maybe they've put processes in place to account for it.

"Social reform rarely works as people expect particularly in poor nations. If it must be done, it needs to be done slowly and carefully. I get that." And yes, agrarian nation. "You have me wondering who sits about a monarch, except a God. But I'll hold my questions to till later." the ex-model adds.

But later, yes. T'Challa may get a grilling.

"You do bring this fast, but a better alternative I have not on hand. At least I could manage to convince her I am enough to wear the smaller office…" Shuri gives to note, sighing slowly. "The Taifa Ngao might be good at the day to day handling for your replacement, but in times of crisis Wakanda needs The Black Panther to rally behind…"

As Mari wonders about the Mask, Shuri laughtes though, shaking her head. "Oh, quite in the contrary, but they rarely do. There have been some that tried over the 1000 generations of Wakanda, but never succeeded win." Oh, a sharp one this Mari…

"It is not always a case of reform either…" T'Challa mutters. "However that is a topic for another day. And I think it would be better for you to have the office and the title than for the nation to be tilted toward, say, the white ape."

Clearly T'Challa thinks that's an awful idea though why is not immediately obvious. As to the mask he just smiles and taps his nose. "That is a story for another time."

"Now, I shall be staying in New York for some time. My present duties demand it and there are some good business opportunities here. Things that might benefit out nation later, but will at least benefit my work in the short term." Which means he'll be about, if not right here.

"I expect though that you'll need to return to Wakanda. Quickly."

"Who sits above a monarch, Mari? Depends on the nation. In England, it became 'A Parliament'. Do not tell the people that they are gods. I do not think that will go down well."

"Forgive me. I am your guest, I'm just curious." Mari murmurs graciously, realising how far she'd pushed the line. There were clearly things of a political nature that they didn't wish to share with a stranger and she can respect that. Beside, T'Challa had said another time.

"Trial by combat are rarely won by women. We are by nature smaller and weaker than our male counterparts." She smiles at Shuri. It's true. It doesn't mean that a woman wouldn't make a good ruler but it's telling of the type of the challenges a country expects to face. A physically strong leader is often required. If they're smart, they'll take a clever wife or partner.

"In many ways, that is true T'Challa and yet, the English constitution still requires the monarch to approve, if only ceremonially these days, many things." That's definitely a topic for another day. She doesn't think they mean Parliament for Wakanda either.

"Ancient laws and traditions that even a monarch can't change often dictate the ways of countries," Shiri chimes in, sharing a glance with her brother, silently asking him how fast she'd have to be. "And Wakanda claims 100000 years to form these."

"There are plenty of stories of men that won the tournament to failed to becoming King, but also some of women that bested their King in combat and did not claim the throne but their monarch's heart as their prize. How true these hold I can't tell though, and strong Kings those were they fought with."

The look T'Challa gives her says 'pretty quick'. "It will not be an easy challenge. It never is, not for anyone. But I have confidence in my sister, both to meet the challenge and to rule the nation well."

It's a pretty definitive statement of support he's giving even if it is quite quiet.

"But, for now let us turn to lighter topics. Did they ever finish the garden, Shuri? We might take a walk there while we all wait for Azari to finish making dinner."

"The garden… Oh, the terrace is almost complete. They have never managed to get the sprinklers in…" Shuri explains

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