2020-03-25 - Returning Home


T'Challa has been away on a visit to Wakanda.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Wed Mar 25 08:10:52 2020
Location: New York

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T'Challa has been gone for the last two days. He left a message for Mari saying he needed to attend to something back home. Now it is late in the evening and there is a flash in the penthouse suites that he calls home. T'Challa appears, looking tired and worn. There is a ghostly crown upon his head and he is dressed in somewhat traditional clothing which leaves his chest partly bare.

He looks good like that but at the moment he looks like a man who wants a shower and a stiff drink more than anything else.

T'Challa travelling isn't unexpected. Both he and Mari are busy people and being called away suddenly is just part of the business. Still, Mari is expecting T'Challa sometime tonight, she's just not sure when - which is why there's food being kept warm in the oven and a bottle of good scotch, with two tumblers and a bucket of ice, sitting on the counter.

Looking up from the book she's reading at the flash of light, Mari blinks at the Prince who stands there. "Well, if this is what I can expect with every flash of blue light that will occur, I must say I approve." She smiles, rising to her feet to greet the man. "You … look tired."

T'Challa kisses Mari on the cheek when she greets him. "I am. I have just spent two days wrangling dead kings. Who are still egomaniacs even long after they have left the throne." He probably shouldn't change that as he does occasionally have to channel them but they really all do think that they have all the answers to whatever the question at hand happens to be.

"Mmmmm. What is that I smell? It smells delicious whatever it is." He's quite lucky she is here, really. And he thinks that to himself regularly.

Mari returns the kiss, giving T'Challa a quick hug. "Mmmm, let's see. Butter Chicken, Beef Vindaloo, Raita, Rice and Na'an bread. None of it prepared by my hand, of course, but lovingly placed in the oven awaiting your arrival. I thought you might be hungry and need a drink."

Stepping back to take him in, the ex-model cants her head "Can you tell me what it was that required your attention so quickly?" It's an easy question and he knows she won't be offended if he says no.

"But before that, did you want to shower? I can prepare you a drink and lay out the food. Or we can relax in the hot tub while we talk. Whatever you prefer."

"Why don't we move it to the hot tub. I will explain there once I have sufficiently relaxed that things don't hut quite so much." T'Challa kisses Mari on the cheek once more and then goes to change into something suitable for the hot tub before returning to help her move meal time there. It's a good thing that the place comes equipped for just such an occasion and a good thing that the hot tub heats very quickly because today is definitely one of those days where it is needed.

In any case in about thirty minutes time T'Challa is relaxing in the heated water and juuuust about starting to look human again.

"It's a deal." Mari returns the kiss with a smile adding "I missed you…" before turning to set the food out and start to move it to the deck where they can enjoy it.

She's quiet once they settle, making sure the Prince has a drink and is comfortable. While they relax she says vignettes of the days he's been gone. One of them involve a humorous story about a disastrous dry run for a show which has her chuckling.

And yes, T'Challa looks more relaxed and Mari is prepared to let him take his time.

T'Challa chuckles, getting more relaxed as the water and drink and food soak in. Eventually he is just nibbling a little bit, mostly done with food and looks over to Mari. "So, the reason I spent a long time wrestling ghosts is because something roiled the underworld near Wakanda. I cannot be quite sure what but it felt similar to what has happened here. Fortunately extensive searches reveled no cracks like we have found here, but the kings all had opinions on what should be done and I had to remind them that the goddess only appointed ONE king of the dead."

Because despite the fact that he doesn't use the title, T'Challa IS a king and his Kingdom is far more present than most realize.

Mari takes the plates they've been using and stacks them over on the side. She leaves one plate with food to graze on before settling down next to the monarch. "I hope when you say wrestle, you don't mean physical."

The news though is not welcome, not at all. "There's no fracture but something is riling your departed up … " There's a few things she can think of and none of them.

It takes her a moment to process what T'Challa has said, looking at him thoughtfully as she does. "One King of the Dead. They were all Kings though, it can't be easy for them. Had any of them held the mantle before you?" That's just curiousity.

"And what was it that you decided?"

"In a couple of cases that is literal yes." T'Challa says ruefully. "And yes the fact that they were kings is the problem. They are very powerful personalities or they would not be intact after all these years but that also means that they can be… stubborn…" Annoyingly stubborn.

"Pacifying them took some time and then I had to wonder to myself - why there and why now? We do not after all know what caused that here in New York but I must assume for the moment that they are related. They might not be… but that doesn't seem like something to leave to chance.

"That explains the bruises then." Mari smirks a little, tracing one on T'Challa's collar bone. "Perhaps you should bring your champion with you next time. She wouldn't take kindly to her charge being treated so." It's a light teasing joke, but Mari is concerned, nodding slowly as T'Challa continues.

"That's … what I was wondering when you started to tell me this. What if someone is trying to cause you problems back home and using this as leverage." She doesn't say the name, but she knows Klaue and T'Challa and Black Panther have … history.

"Would you care to be that? My champion to fight in my stead?" Because being a king he COULD do that. Well some of the time he doubts he could get away with it all the time because it would be seen as a weakness. T'Challa leans back a bit more in the hot water.

"That is possible. Klaue is the most likely but not the only explanation. I have rivals at home though I cannot think of any who have the knowledge or contacts. It is also possible some third party is taking advantage of all this…" But whom? Well that he doesn't know either.

"How have things been here, other than fashionable?"

Mari … blinks at T'Challa "That was mostly in jest. I didn't think it would be permitted for a King like yourself to do so. But … yes. I would. I've told your Goddess I have care of your person and I wasn't joking, T'Challa. It's not just that I want to avoid an International Incident…" The faint smile acknowledges the joke that's become. "… I care for you and we get into some dangerous situations. Fighting is as much my job as being CEO of McCabe Industries." If only she knew the truth about T'Challa.

"I was thinking Klaue, yes. He doesn't like you and he's been dabbling with the 'arts', so to speak. We shouldn't discount the others though - I want you to tell me about them and share what intel you can." That might be precious little and Mari knows it.

She might not mean this instant either.

"Busy. The work in the Disaster Zone continues apace, the building refurbishments will take some time but you can see the difference. The gangs are still a problem but there are others patrolling there now as well - which makes it a little harder for them to get a toe hold."

She sighs. "There was a report in the media today, about a spate of deaths that are suspicious. They think there's a bad batch drugs out there - things that seem to generate a state similar to 'roid rage."

'Challa smiles and puts his hand on Mari's. He takes in a breath and lets it out slowly, considering. "Well there's a tribal leader who consistently opposes me back in Wakanda. But I do not think he'd resort to this kind of thing even if he were able which I am almost positive he is not. There are a handful of supervillains who clashed with Wakanda while I was on the throne but none of them really do magic and none of them should know of my new status. It is difficult to track when I can simply teleport to my new kingdom."

He shakes his head. He's not sure who else. That argues in favor of a third party but that means they simply don't have enough data yet.

"SHIELD should be prepared to push those mercenaries out of the DZ soon. If we can get that done we can put a squeeze on Klaue's operations, but do not forget we have a date in Genosha. And one in Canada, seemingly." So many things for them to do.

"Oh? And that is a concern to you as Vixen? Or is it something that impacts things you are doing as Mari?"

"I know your nation isn't wealthy, but I assume you have something similar to the CIA? Can they get you any intel on the tribal leader in question? You really need to do all the homework here. And ask Steve to run a check on those villains. SHIELD might be tracking them or at least know where they are."

Turning her hand over to lace her fingers through T'Challa's. "You didn't say whether you were joking about me becoming your Champion."

"And I haven't forgotten Genosha or Canada. I'm already packed - just name the dates."

"Vixen. Mari isn't some drug lord who is worried about someone encroaching on her turf. But … the reports say these deaths were around Red Hook and that the victims all seemed to exhibit some form of super human ability before they literally burned themselves out." She looks at T'Challa. "I was wondering if it might be related to that flower."

"Not that I have heard of lately. And yes we do have an intelligence service. They are quite good if I do say so myself." T'Challa says and smiles. "I was not joking. If you wish to be embroiled in the worst kind of eternal politics to take some of the weight off me, I will happily let you." Such a sell, that.

"That's possible. We should look into that you and I. I take it the police do not yet have anything on the drug? If they have a sample I would be happy to analyze it or failing that get it to someone who is more expert."

Though T'Challa seems to know a fair bit about that plant. So he might be able to do the analysis on his own.

"I … would like that, T'Challa. I want to know more about Wakanda and its people. Not that wrestling with your undead Kings is likely to tell me a lot but …" It keeps him near her and that's always a bonus in Mari's book.

"We can talk to Detective Gibbs down at the Department. See if he has anything he can tell us." Mari settles against T'Challa, wrapping his arm about her. "How is it you know so much about this flower, T'Challa?"

"It will tell you some of our history." The Wakandan prince says. "They can probably tell you a great deal… if they can remember. Ghostly memories are a bit unreliable, though." He slips a bit closer when she tugs his arm about her and smiles.

"The flower is very important to rituals surrounding the monarchy and I made a rather extensive study of it. This is what I do. I may fight, I may tinker, but more than anything else I study. Knowledge is the greatest power of all, or so my father told me." And he has found that to be true even in all the strange situations he has found himself in.

"It will. And one day, you'll permit to meet your friends and the rest of your family and that will tell me even more about you and your country." Mari lets out a deep breath as T'Challa draws closer. She's careful of the fact that he's sporting bruises.

"I know you study, research. An awful lot. It's a wonder such a bookish man has a physique like you do." The ex-model teases. She knows he works out too. "What are the rituals, T'Challa?" She's curious, not suspicious. "How is it that a flower that has bioreactive qualities is important to the monarchy? Is it purely ceremonial, or do you use it to transform the monarch?" Now, she's really teasing.

"One day yes, though you know the moment that happens they're going to want to know all about you and whether or not you're in line for the title of Princess." The prince, well King, chuckles. Princess in Wakanda. Queen in the realms of the dead. Not exactly the most flattering of things but there one has it.

"It has been since time immemorial. If you want to hear the story I can tell it to you some time. Or one of the other monarchs can."

Of course their memories are a bit spotty. But traditions are traditions and in a nation like Wakanda traditions are often very, very, very old. Dating to prehistory, in some cases.

"I'm not … so you should tell them not to worry before you introduce us." Mari answers. "It's been used since time immemorial to transform the monarch?" Her eyes flash with mischief. "That sounds like a story I might like. Perhaps you can tell it to me as a bed time story."

"What did you agree with your Kings then, you didn't actually say. Do you have a course of action to determine what is happening?"

"Perhaps one day when we are not both rather worn out." The Prince smiles. He takes another long breath and blows it out. Ah this is nice.

"We agreed that I will decide the courses of action. They have some good ideas. It was never about that. It was about them deciding that they wanted to implement those good ideas and me not wanting that authority usurped. Once that kind of authority is gone it is nearly impossible to regain and I would have to watch the realm much more carefully than I currently do."

As to what they're going to do. "At the moment there is little that can be done in the kingdom. So I returned here. Here I have a better chance of gathering information."

"I'm sure you will have that discussion again with them." Mari murmurs, putting her weight against T'Challa. It is nice. "As you said, they can be a bit forgetful at times." She does understand about devolving authority and trying to wrest it back later.

Not at the level of a Kingdom to be sure, but business works the same in many ways.

"Well, I'm glad you returned. If only so that we may continue to Genosha."

Among other things.

"I am glad I returned for a number of reasons." T'Challa says and leans over to kiss Mari's cheek once more. "And yes I am sure we will have that discussion again. But that is the price, I fear, of dealing with immortals. They have long memories and even if those memories are faulty they do tend to hold grudges. And they tend to be proud."

And T'Challa will deal with it. Because he must. For Wakanda.

"Now. What shall we do for the rest of the evening?"

"Oh, I'm sure we can find something to do." Mari smiles. "Let me clean up while you shower and then … I think there's a movie with our name on."

She's planned to stay in, knowing T'Challa would likely be tired. Tomorrow is soon enough to deal with the rest.

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