2020-03-04 - It's No Bull Oh Wait ...


To be inducted as representatives of Wakanda, Steve, Chris and Mari - along with T'Challa - have to face a challenge

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Wed Mar 4 05:13:47 2020
Location: Wakandan Embassy

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The Wakandan Embassy yard, the back yard, the private yard, is decked out for a party. Well a ceremony with booze and food. There is a large fire burning in a pit clearly made for this purpose, a number of Wakandan dignitaries - read important Embassy staff - on hand and even a few of the guards. There is a great deal of local wakandan food, quite savory, and Wakandan booze with some concessions to western sensibilities in the form of good beer and good wine. There's music - traditional music which means largely woodwinds and drums - and people are singing in that odd harmonic way that makes tribal tunes from certain parts of Africa distinct to the ear.

T'Challa is here and seems to be having a grand old time. He hasn't removed his shirt yet. It's not yet that part of the party though that part of the party is coming quite soon.

Nearby the royaly is the blond super-soldier himself. He is also not shirtless…yet. It's inevitably going to happen given the necessity of the ceremony at hand. Steve thought ahead and wore a plain button-down, forest-green, with a pair of beige slacks. These, at least, are hemmed and fitted for movement. Otherwise, loafers shine in matte black.

A sip of the Wakanda drink in his hand has him nodding thoughtfully. "This is singular. I like it," he says to T'Challa, smiling a small smile towards the man. "How high-octane is it?" Firelight from the grand collection of burning wood dancing off the man, catching in his hair and gleaming in his eyes.

Mari is dressed in … tribal fashion, as she stands by T'Challa's side. The design isn't the same as the Wakandans but it's similar - it's also obvious this isn't a fashion statement but something a little more traditional for the woman.

Swaying in time to the drums and the singing, Mari smiles at one of the Wakandans as they address her. "I assure you, Minister, I do my best to look after him. Sometimes he doesn't make it easy."

Mari might wonder about the smirks and knowing looks that are given about the cricle.

Taking a sip for the mug in her hand, the ex-model grins at Steve. "Just be thankful for that metabolism of yours. It might not be Asgardian but I've known Mohanndan alcohol to knock a big man flat for several days. I assume that Wakanda uses similar ingredients given the countries border each other."

Christopher Powell isn't even legal to drink, so he has something non-alcoholic in hand, probably a ginger ale or some other mixer that other people are using to make more potent drinks with. He definitely looks out of place, the kid in his jeans — at least they're nice, not-ripped jeans, black suede oxfords, and a pressed button-down dark blue shirt. Look, he doesn't actually own anything formal. This is as close as Chris is going to get. At least he tried. His hair tries to do what it wants, but some effort has been made to comb it into submission. He kind of sways along with the sound of the music as he finds a place to wallflower from and watch people around him, occasionally offering a flash of a smile or a raise of his glass in greeting.

Mari's fashion is subtly different from that of the Wakandan women in attendance and it isn't a stretch to surmise that it comes from whatever nation SHE comes from. Which is, indeed, Mohannda. A small poor nation neighboring Wakanda which is - so far as anyone without very high security clearances knows - itself a small, poor nation.

"There's some face paint, some ritual dancing which I assure you isn't very hard and the a test to prove that you are fit to represent the Four Tribes, which is a bit physical. After which there is food and more drinking and you will probably be asked to dance again, this time with a partner. Though that last bit isn't required."

"You are looking comfortable, Chris. Or at least I hope you are." The Minister Mari was talking to laughs. "And I am sure you do Miss McCabe. And equally sure he does not. Ah! There's the Charge d'Affairs now. We're about ready to begin."

The Charge-D, a man in his late 30's named M'Pande, steps onto the raised area where the bonfire is burning and raises his glass. "Wakandans! Honored Guests! Your Highness! Today is a happy day. Today is a day where Wakanda gains new voices in the world and new strong right arms to represent it. Today is a day in which we recognize new representatives for our kingdom!"

Cheers ring out and do not die down for a few minutes. The drums swell.

"May I ask the representatives to step up here with me and show us your strength that we may deck you in the colors of the tribes!"

"It's paint time." T'Challa says to the others. "Shirts off."

As the Charge-D begins to speak, Steve rises up on his toes to seek out Chris visually. Once he spots the young man, he does a brisk wave-in in summons to the young man to invite him over. The Captain then lifts a glass in salute to the brief speech and hollers a few times amidst the cheers for good measure; there's a bit of a tingle in his fingers, but nothing overmuch or impossible to overcome.

"That time already?" The Captain can be seen to briefly look about for a place to set his unfinished drink. There's a table nearby and there it is placed, perhaps to be regained at a later time. Then, with a dignity about himself like a cloak, the man walks up to join M'Pande upon the stage. Button by button, with chin tucked and eyes downcast, Steve works at removing his shirt. He chose not to wear a white t-shirt beneath and, well…

The visual is pleasing, to say the least, and proof that Erskine's serum did its work very well. Steve then stands calmly, shirt slung over his forearm, and waits for this affair with the paint.

Mari links her arm through Chris' and draws him into the circle with them. She makes a mental note to organise some formal clothes for him - though she'll have to work out how to do that without embarassing or shaming him. "It's all a bit overwhelming, isn't it?" She says sotte voca to the youth.

The Minister, G'Ronde, has done something to try to ease that and for that he gets a bright smile from the ex-model.

Then M-Pande is speaking and Mari glances at the three she is with. And smiles even more brightly.

Joining the procession up to the raised area, taking Steves shirt and handing it to an Aide. "Don't take it too far, he'll want it back." She winks at the Super Soldier for the teasing.

For herself, it's a moments work to remove the wrap of fabric from her torso, to reveal a bikini top made from the same fabric. After handing the wrap to the same aide, Mari takes her place with the others.

Dark skinned and toned, it's obvious why she had a successful career as a model and even more obvious that she works to herself fit.

Is he looking comfortable? Chris is decidedly not comfortable, but he's capable of smiling and nodding and saluting with a drink. It doesn't take a whole lot of effort or diplomacy to at least be friendly even if he's unsure about this whole face paint and physical challenge business. There's a somewhat pained look at that. Sure, Chris is athletic, and his fighting skills are largely his own. But this is not the form in which he is used to taking on physical challenges. He's looking decidedly uncertain about this whole plan as he takes another swallow of his ginger ale to cover it. But then they are being called up and he swallows it down as though he were taking a shot.

Mari pulls him toward the circle and there's no escape — not that he intended to make a break for it even if his expression might lean in that direction. "It's uh.. something," he mumbles in agreement. Oh, and it's shirt time. Chris isn't particularly shy and so he unbuttons his shirt and pulls it off without much thought. He's strong, athletic. He doesn't have the extra height or bulk he does with Razor, but he's fit in his own right. He is, however, unsure what to do with the shirt, but an aide soon relieves him of his looking about, for which he gives a grateful smile.

T'Challa removes his shirt as well. It's a good thing all four present are in relatively active professions, so that none need be unduly embarrassed. Some surely will be anyway but at least no one needs to be about being out of shape. Mari gets a chuckle for how much she is obviously enjoying this.

Some attendants take the shirts to lay them off to the side while others bring up small bowls of paint and start painting patterns on the abs and the arms and the face, and the shoulders and, for the men, also on the chests. They're rather intricate and made of four colors. While that is happening people move the tables toward the back of the yard and some people haul out a very large cage in which is what looks VERRRY much like Zebu bull.

"Do they know, your Highness?" One of the attendants murmurs.

"I hadn't told them." T'Challa coughs. "We need to catch and wrestle it to the ground as a show of strength and worthiness."

The attendants step away and the sides of the cage fall away and there's a bull. It eyes the four standing up there as if trying to decide whether to charge or bolt.

"And now our new representatives will demonstrate their tenacity in the face of… stubborn negotiators."

That gets a laugh from the crowd, which has moved back.

Patiently, with skin on display, Steve watches the ritual painting. When asked, he rotates his place and when he realizes the undersides of his arms need be painted as well, he turns up his palms. There's the sound of something large moving into place behind him, but he'd rather not turn and disrupt or disrespect the process of the paint being daubed upon him.

His hearing is sharp enough to catch the side-chatter between one of the aides and T'Challa, however, and his turn of head leads him to stare at the creature. "…well, it's not gonna be any more hard-headed than Barnes," the Captain can be heard to murmur to himself with a wry little grin. The bulky, grey-coated creature seems docile enough with those big dark doe-eyes, but…it isn't about to be hugged willfully.

"Gimme a few." And there goes Steve, walking over towards the Zebu bull. It takes one look at the man and drops its head with a loud SNORT. A hand upraised and soft shushing sounds are Steve's first attempt at soothing the creature — he speaks in a lilting, soothing run of Gaelic — but that's apparently not going to do it either. A mock charge stops short of the man and the Zebu bull dances back, large ears flapping. "Alright, have it your way." A quick dart towards the animal means it has enough time to jank sideways in surprise, but then there's Steve with hands on its horns. Muscles flex and he then plants himself, heels dug into the dirt, as the creature bawls.

"Look, buddy, you're no worse than my husband!" Steve grits out as he keeps the thing in place by sheer dint of stubborn willpower alone. His heels drag to dig up a little dirt, but the Zebu bull does most of the flailing until it finally gives up. Carefully, gently, he cranks on the bull's head until it collapses to one shoulder with a bawl of dismay. Then, quickly, he dances back as he releases it, dusting off his hands. With a nod, he returns to the others.

"Easier than Barnes," comes the dry quip.

Mari is enjoying this. As she does most things. But really, she gets to look at three incredibly good looking men - what could better? The chuckle from the watchers has her winking at them, her arms raised so the attendents can do their work. In a way, this is not very different to modelling.

As T'Challa coughs, Mari gives him a dry look "Is that so." Wrestling a cow, isn't her favourite thing but then Steve is doing his thing and the poor creature goes over.

"Somehow, I don't think it's that easy." she says, as much to Chris as to the other two.

A glowing silhouette of a Rhino appears behind her as she strips the skirt she's wearing away, and separates from the group a little - watching the bull and the area carefully.

There's paint, and Chris manages to stand still for it even if they hit a ticklish spot once or twice and he has to grit his teeth and smile and try not to wriggle a bit. The conversation off to his side gets his attention and there's a vague look of uncertainty. When the painting is done, he turns around in time to see Steve bring the bull to its knees. His mouth sort of drops open, not because he had any doubt that Steve could do just that, but because he has no idea what /he/ is going to do with the bull. "Oh, uh…"

He glances over toward Mari with the glowing Rhino and then toward T'Challa, and then back toward the bull. He walks up toward it, palms up in a kind of gesture of: don't trample me bro. Then he just sort of pats the thing on the side and says, "Look buddy. I don't think either of us wants to wrestle today. How about we just uh, go get a nice bale of hay or something? Have a little chew. Watch some nice cows.. or bulls.. whatever you like. Maybe have a nap?"

The bull does not look like it either understands nor cares, but since Chris isn't exactly /doing/ anything to it, it just continues to eye him idly, and snorts. Then, when he lets his guard down and starts to turn back to the others, not sure what to do, the big beast swings its head, and knocks him right over. This is not going well.

T'Challa approaches from the opposite side of Chris and winces as the man gets knocked down, then he grabs one horn which leads to the bull roaring and swinging it's head the other way. T'Challa gets struck square in the chest and only doesn't fall because he's hanging onto it's horn. Then the bull backs up and starts dragging the African prince with him.

"I suppose this is a bad time to tell you that I need help getting a sizeable sum of money out of my country." He grunts, trying to prevent it from bolting or running it over. Mari and Chris will be up in a moment, right?

"You've got this." Steve says this to Chris with a big, supportive grin and gesture towards the Zebu bull giving everyone the hairy eyeball now. Mari's summoning of her powers garners her an impressed lift of brows. Then, the bull is in action — and boy, it's action. As part of the crowd, the Captain watches and winces at the appropriate times, especially when the creature swings its head to attempt to dislodge the burrs of human beings attempting to cling to it.

"Double time on your feet! I know you're faster than it, Chris! Seen you move on the course!" At the Triskelion, of course. "Move from its blind-side!" Steam means well as he calls out, but at the same time…he's trying not to laugh at the sight of T'Challa being dragged along through the churned dirt.

…because Steve knows who really sports that Vibranium-laced catsuit.

Mari winces as Chris is knocked down. "Don't get to deal with livestock much?" She asks and watches as T'Challa gets dragged. "Now Steve, not everyone has the benefit of your … experience." Did she just make an age joke? She might have.

The silhouette of the Rhino is joined by a silhouette of a panther and a rhinocerous beetle on Mari's shoulder. "I know you're strong, T'Challa but I'm not sure this is the best course of action." She says as she circles to the opposite from Chris. That will give the youth time to find his feet and let her …

Dart in far more quickly than a human should be able to able and grab the horn to try and get the bulls attention. With the rhinocerous beetle, she should be able to outmatch its strength. But she really doesn't want to hurt it. "Come now, boy. This will be done in a bit … "

Christopher Powell sighs at Steve and smirks at Mari and mutters something under his breath along the lines of you should see what he can do with New York City and LA rats. But no, bulls, cows, chickens, pigs, and livestock of various nature are not something that the city boy has any experience with. He drags himself to his feet and dusts himself off. He doesn't look like he's sure what he'd even do if he ran up on the thing's blind spot.

When Mari comes running in and grabs it by the horn, he backs off, letting her take her turn at the bull. She's definitely got the strength. He's seen what that beetle can do before.

T'Challa grunts at Mari, that's the only thing he can do. The bull is thrashing now but the two of them can wrestle it to the ground. As they do so he turns and shoves it toward Chris. It slides, tumbles and winds up at Chris's feet. Then it starts to scramble back to it's hooves, but of course right now it would be quite easy to get down. After all human beings do this all the time on rodeo. Usually the JUMP on the thing but control the head, control the body, and it's head is only a few inches off the ground as it starts to try to get up.

The crowd waits the bated breath to see what the forth of their champions will do.

"Come on Chris!" T'Challa cheers. "Do it for William Crystal!"

William… Billy… did he just make a City Slicker's reference?

Beat. "Mari did you just call Steve old?"

"Youth's wasted on the young anyways," hollers Steve back after T'Challa's question in a rare public showing of sass. He still grins to show dimples: his visage is stuck yet just shy of thirty as it stands. "You got it, Chris! Jump at the horns 'nd turn his head, like they do in the rodeos! Backwards but not too hard!"

Needless to say, his attempt to provide verbal cheerleading is…rather loud while the rest of the crowd is silent, but Steve too is still on tenterhooks to see how this entire escapade ends.

Mari grunts as the bull fights them. It's likely as scared as is it ferocious. "Tell me again …" grunt "… T'Challa… why you're doing this?"

As T'Challa shoves the bull away, Mari rolls to her feet, covered in grit and dust, and looks … regal. "I didn't *call* Steve old, no." Steve gets a grin "You mean age and treachery will outsmart youth and skill, Steve?" Back to T'Challa "Now, I did."


"William Crystal? Oh honey, we are going to have to give you some pop culture lessons."

"Come on Chris!"

Christopher Powell takes the opportunity when it presents itself. Before the bull can get back up he slings a leg over its neck and sits on it, grabbing it by the horns and uses his weight to keep it off balance enough that it can't quite manage to get back up, even though it thrashes and tries to throw him off. Has Chris ever seen a Rodeo? No, folks. The answer is no. Only when the thing seems to give up and sinks to its knees and just stays there, making a woeful bovine sound, does Chris finally climb off before letting go of the horns and dancing back and away from it — just in case it isn't feeling particularly friendly when it does get back up. The cow just turns its head and eyes him. Moo.

Chris doesn't look particularly satisfied with the victory, though, such as it was. He shakes his head slowly and rakes the fingers of one hand through his hair, which only ends up tousling it further and making him a bit more disheveled than before. "Sorry," he mumbles to the bull. The bull continues to look unimpressed.

The crowd of course cheers and one of the guards walks up and after Chris has let the bull go, says something in Wakandan to the bull. Which stands up and begins making friends, which is to say licking him in the face. It might be very impressive that it is a trained bull that they used for this. It might beg the question WHY they train the bulls. But it's probably hard to ask that question while being cow-licked in the face.

T'Challa just chuckles as the tables are moved back in and the music restarts.

"And now my friends." He says to everyone. "We eat, drink and dance. Congratulations. We are all now representatives of Wakanda and I imagine we will soon be asked to go to Genosha and speak with them. You may now put your shirts back on, if you wish."

Mari's disappointment with his pronouncement of Billy Crystal's name gets a confused look. What? Is not Billy a shortening of that name? "You had best be careful or you will be sparring with him all night." Of course maybe she wants that. And maybe he wants that.

Steve joins in with the cheers and hollers a few things in Gaelic to boot. When Chris gets licked? The man busts out into an honest reel of laughter, managing to half-cover his mouth even as he takes a step back, other hand on his hip.

"Good thing he's a good actor. I'm impressed," comments the blond towards T'Challa. Without fail, the royal's gesture of goodwill about returning shirts to torsos means that the Captain does glance about until he sees where his own shirt is hung off to one side on the small stage. Still, he looks to T'Challa and then to Mari, arching a dubious eyebrow.

"Dunno if she'd want to. I'm aged 'nd treacherous — old enough to know better, young enough to think it's something to pursue another time. You meet me in a gym, Miss McCabe, if you're serious about some sparring. We'll have Barnes officiate. He's fair…enough," Steve allows with a warm chuckle.

A few steps brings him towards Chris and he attempts to pat the young man on the shoulder. "You did great, Powell. It was a field of unknowns 'nd you learned 'nd triumphed in it. Plus, you can tell your friends you've wrestled a bull now 'nd Captain America can vouch for it." Cue dimpled grin.

Mari cheers as Chris bests the bull and laughs when the creature stands up and licks him. The glowing silhouettes fade away, leaving the ex-model standing in a bikini next to the men. Not for long as she wraps the skirt about her hips. "Well, that was invigorating and Steve, I might take you up on that. T'Challa here can give me a workout but I still have to go easy." If only Mari knew. "However, right now, I expect to dance with each of you at least once and T'Challa more than once." Sparring all night with Steve might be fun.

But soon they'll have a trip to Genosha and be able to enact their little plan.

Chris gets a clap on the shoulder and a grin from Mari. "Not many that can say that, I must say."

The fact that the bull is trained doesn't seem to improve Chris' mood any. If anything, he looks even more put out at the whole experience, but he tries to swallow it down despite his obvious frustration. He stumbles backward and rubs at his face with the back of his arm, which smears paint everywhere. Then he gives the bull a couple of awkward pats. Nice bull, before he escapes to go find his shirt. He grabs it and quickly puts it back on, buttoning it up quickly both because it gives his hands something to do and because it means he doesn't have to look at anyone else who might be overtly amused at his struggles with the trained bull.

When Steve approaches, he just shakes his head, giving him a sidelong glance, and then mutters, "I sat on a bull's head after three other people, including Captain America, wore it out first. But thanks for the vote of confidence." At least the thanks is genuine, and gets a faint little smile, even if his temper isn't quite letting him appreciate the humor of the situation. He gives Mari a faint little smile as well.

"You did well, Chris." M'Pande says coming up to them. "Would you believe me if I told you people have failed this test before? And on less a fearsome animal than one of our military bulls?" Wait, Wakanda has pack animals or… what?

"But come. That is over and now is the time to celebrate. Save a dance for me if you would, Miss McCabe." He leads them all for the evening's festivities and, like a good host, to make sure that when his guests leave they have - hopefully - had a good time.

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