2020-08-15 - You're Invited To Dinner


A trip to Wakanda

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sat Aug 15 07:50:39 2020
Location: Wakanda

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This city is… so very lively. So very unusual. So very unlike anything else found anywhere in the world.

Birnin Zana, the Golden City, is the Capital City of Wakanda. It is a marvel of technological sophistication. Ultra modern. Sleek while still retaining touches of a rustic, ancient history that goes back thousands of years.

T'Challa has been waiting for a long time to show this off to Mari McCabe and a pressing need to tend to affairs in his Kingdom provided just that. Granted they spent about a day underground while T'Challa spoke with ghosts and kept old kings in line. But that done instead of beseeching the Goddess to bring them back to New York, T'Challa brought Mari to the surface and now… well. Now they're walking downtown.

Mari has been busy in the Disaster Zone. T'Challa knows this and had to slip this visit into her calendar. Not that she would miss it for the world - even if they had only stayed underground - which she had expected they would.

T'Challa should be working out that despite her reckless nature, Mari has a lot of patience.

When they'd emerged into the city, her eyes had shone as she slipped her arm through T'Challa's.

"It's … beautiful, T'Challa. You might never get me to leave …" They need to speak about what she's found in the Disaster Zone but for now, it's nice a little break. She's a little amazed that he hasn't been swamped by people - but maybe that's still to come.

Not mobbed no, but they have definitely been watched. People are watching with a great deal of interest even though no one has yet approached them. She can hear the murmurs though, and she well… can she really be surprised?

They've been in the market district for a solid thirty minutes now, looking at this and that and taking in the scenery. There IS an outdoor market here and it is rather busy though not so crowded that they can't rather easily make their way through.

"It is beautiful and I do often miss it. Though my duties have often called me elsewhere." As for getting her to leave it, well she has a company to run. And it would be hard to incorporate it in Wakanda.

Up ahead several red-dressed women are approaching. There's a distinctly military air about them. They stop and offer a short bow. "Your highness. Your family in the palace sends greetings to you and your guest."

"Hello Ayanna." T'Challa says with a smile. "Good to see you as well. May I formally introduce to you Mari McCabe."

They doubtless know who she is. After all he had a security check done on her.

"Maybe we can get you reassigned. I could talk to Bast, if you like." Mari teases. Knowing she had been coming to the Undercity, the ex-model has dressed in Mohanndan style - a rather eyecatching riot of colours and patterns. She's also purchased several things on their journey through the area - little things that have caught her eye.

It's hard to miss the women as they march through the street. "Looks like your time playing hookey is up." she murmurs, oferring a polite smile to the woman who seems to be leading them.

"Hello. It's a pleasure to meet you." Will they be going to the palace? Or will he and will she have to cool her heels in the cafe over there. "Are you required, mpenzi wangu? I can fill my time until you can return."

"A pleasure, Miss McCabe…" Ayanna says with a bow.

"I doubt it." T'Challa chuckles. "But tell me, Ayanna, what is it my family has sent you to convey? Surely it was not just to greet me in the market and allow you to meet Miss McCabe?"

"No indeed." Ayanna glances over at Mari and she might see a small smile. "There was a question about whether you were staying the evening and if so, what your plans for dinner were."

"I may possibly be persuaded to stay and I had thought to introduce Mari to some fine Wakandan cooking."

"Then may I suggest that the palace would be very happy to host the both of you…"

That was, of course, always going to be the mission. Try to charm T'Challa into staying for dinner. Charm, of course, because no one can really MAKE him stay. He may not be king of the living anymore but no one waylays the king of the dead if he says no. He is after all the goddess' favorite.

Mothers may try to waylay the King but only as a last resort. Mari smiles "Mari, please. Ayanna, yes? Or is there a title I should use when I address you?" The discussion between T'Challa and Ayanna has Mari chuckling, it really is a form of fencing.

Glancing at T'Challa, Mari takes in his reaction. "I cleared my calendar until tomorrow, if you wish to stay, I would too. As to where we eat, I defer to you."

Dinner at the palace might be a little nerve wracking.

"Who would be present at the meal?"

"Ayanna is sufficient." The woman says. The other women have been silent but that would be expected in any vaguely military organization.

"Ayanna is one of the royal guard." T'Challa explains. He does NOT explain that this royal guard is also generally expected to comprise of potential wives for the king as well, that's not especially relevant at the moment now is it?

"Whatever members of the family are available. Some of them are elsewhere. Also members of the privy council and others who might be interested in the prince and people close to the prince."

T'Challa chuckles again. "What do you think Mari? It would not be too much different from having dinner with members of the board."

Mari isn't dating any of her board, or the son of a board member, or the chairman of the board. She *is* dating T'Challa though and when they were in Genosha, they let a few things slip to feed the rumour mill.

"Ayanna then and it's pleasure to meet the rest of you, as well. I hope our time and our duties allow the opportunity to converse in a less formal manner." Mari is aware that this guard is comprised of potential brides and she's determined to enjoy what time she has with T'Challa.

"I would like to meet your family, mpenzi wangu. I will need to freshen up before I do, though." She did bring an overnight bag, after all. What she also doesn't say is how worried she is.

"Fortunately everything we need to freshen up is likely to be at hand." The Prince says. "What time, Ayanna?"

"Six o'clock." The woman replies. So they have a few hours yet.

"Wonderful. We shall be there."

Ayanna bows once more. "A pleasure meeting you, Mari." And then she and the other women retire.

"Well…" T'Challa hadn't expected to be somewhat cagily invited to dinner but… well he hadn't NOT expected it either. He knows that any time he shows up this is liable to happen. ESPECIALLY if he shows up with a woman.

"What do you need to freshen up?"

"A pleasure for me as well." Mari dips her head in what she hopes is a respectful gesture, silent as the guard disappear. "Well, they're imposing …." she murmurs at last to T'Challa. "Also, you had to expect something like that." It's not accusing, not really.

With another chuckle, Mari glances up at the Wakandan Prince "Now you ask, after you tell me we have or can get what I need …" That's said teasingly. "I bought a change of clothes, on the off chance you wanted to go dinner and what I'm wearing wasn't formal enough. So somewhere to change and bathe a little." A shower would be good, but Mari can bird bath as well. "I wouldn't want to let you down in front of your family."

"This is Wakanda. You can find anything here. Anything you could get elsewhere and more than likely a few things that you can't. If you want formal Mohanndan fashion I am sure we can find someone specializing in it. If we go to the high end fashion stores you will PROBABLY even find that your name is recognized. Wakanda holds as you have seen technological supremacy over much of the world but one thing in which our vibranium deposits do not give us a decisive world beating edge is in the world of fashion."

And like everyone else in the fashion world, Wakandan fashion designers pay close attention to global trends, more for ideas than anything else its true since there's no direct competition, but still.

"We can arrive early enough that you can use facilities at the palace for bathing and changing concerns. So let us get you fitted out for battle."

The prince pulls up the city map and directory on his bracelet. "Where to?"

"Uh…." Mari should be used to T'Challa doing this, surely. It's still a little shocking that he does. He's got money and is used to the comfort and convenience it brings. "Uh … Which ever store has the best Yelp reviews?" It's a little flippant, as she looks at the map, leaning against the Princes arm when does. "This store looks good. And there's several around it but surely, T'Challa, you had better things to do than to take me shopping for clothes."

"Tell me what to expect of this 'quiet family dinner'."

"A great deal of interest and inquiry about you and your business." T'Challa says as he signals for a transport and closes the map. "A great deal of ribbing me in a good natured fashion. They'll be curious but as I am no longer the king their curiosity will be somewhat lessened. The fact that I had you vetted through the traditional methods means that most of them will already know something about you and thus you won't be a complete surprise to them."

Which is probably a good thing.

"And shopping for clothes for you sounds like a fine way to spend the afternoon, especially if we wind up with something that you wish to take home with you." And then everyone can try to guess just WHERE Mari got such a garment. Because people WILL pay attention to that in her world.

The transport arrives. T'Challa and Mari step in and off it goes. Flying.

"It's a flying car, T'Challa…." Mari says as she stares. "I'm not sure anything could have prepared me for this. Wakanda has done a good job of keeping this all quiet - it can't have been easy. Do you ever just want to spill the beans?" She slides into the vehicle and looks out the window.

The city really is very pretty.

"We let a lot of hints drop while we were in Genosha. Will they have heard of that and wonder just how true that is?" And if they do, what will he say? Mari will follow the lead there.

"As to shopping for clothes, don't you have any museums or galleries you want to show me? Catch up with old friends and shoot the breeze?"

"It has not been and is not easy. Secrecy is a way of life in this nation and there have always been people within it who want to stop hiding or otherwise flex our muscle. Cooler heads have always prevailed but it has always been and I suspect always will be controversial…"

The car, yes, it flies. T'Challa just grins as it does so. He knows people in the US who would kill for this.

"I do indeed but it is not like the city is going anywhere. We can return and see them another time when my family will be less… insistent about dinner."

The transport lands and lets them off in front of a very sleek looking clothier. High end if Mari has ever seen anything that fits that description. Much of the clothing HAS to be custom made.

And she's not three steps inside when someone off to her right gasps and cries out "You're Mari McCabe!"

"Wakanda could do much good in the world, T'Challa." Mari murmurs as the car moves through the city. It's a rather large city, much larger than the borders of Wakanda indicate. "But your technology can also do much damage. If the likes of Ulysses Klaue get their hands on it … " Mari understands the dilemma and now understands, a little at least, why T'Challa wanted to help in the Disaster Zone.

"It's not like you get back here often, not even with your unique mode of transportation." Mari feels a touch guilty in diverting his attention. That is until she sees the store and her eyes go as wide as saucers. "Oh my …"

Once inside, Mari starts to look for a sales assistant only to be recognised. "I would much rather they recognised you …" she murmurs to the prince, before plastering a smile of her face and turning. "I am, yes. And who do I have the pleasure of meeting?"

"And more than that it is certain that less scrupulous nations would eventually begin fighting for it. Fighting both us and each other." But he trails off as they enter Mari's domain. Fashion. Clothing. Yes she knows this.

"Call me Nia. I am one of the designers here. It IS you isn't it. Wow. I never thought that… wait. What are you doing here in Wak- OH! Your Highness!"

T'Challa laughs and waves it off. "Hello Nia. Mari and I have a dinner engagement later today and she is looking for some formal wear."

"Oh well I'm sure we can - but why would you need us here? Any of us? I'm sure the other designers would be thrilled but you INVENTED vibranium-based fashion, Miss McCabe. It's not often someone beats Wakanda at the Vibranium game but… oh wow. The others are going to be so jealous…"

Mari squeezes T'Challa's hand as he adds to her thoughts about revealing Wakanda, but Nia is soon gushing at her. "An engagement that both T'Challa and I must keep and I fear, I only came equipped for a quiet dinner with your prince here."

The ex-model shakes her head and looks at T'Challa "I had the idea and T'Challa was able to help me make a reality. It was a team effort really." He had put the patent in her name - a very generous gesture on the Princes part.

"And because I don't have the means to just whip myself up something PLUS I wouldn't want to make a cultural gaff, here I am. I really do hope you can help me."

Mari is good with people. Just the amount of confidence but in a way to put people at ease. "You see, I'm meeting the family tonight."

Nia just STARES at Mari. "You're meeting the royal- You want to wear something we make to meet the royal family?! Please, please, come back here. Rush orders like this are a bit unusual but I have no doubt at all that the partners will feel that getting one of our pieces in front of the royal family is worth it! Oh- I need to make a call. Just, um, come back here and look through some of these images. Get some idea what you would like. These are all of our latest lines. I need to call someone! I'll be right back!"

The two are taken to a holotable like Mari has seen before and Nia runs off to 'call' someone. Likely her boss to say 'The Prince and Mari McCabe are here and they want to wear something we make to a royal dinner. HELP!!!'

Shortly thereafter she comes back with another woman. "Hello, I am Amani, one of the partners here. You must be Mari McCabe. And of course there's no mistaking you, Prince T'Challa. Nia here tells me that you're looking for a rush piece for a very important meeting. Nia is one of our most talented designers but if you would prefer I or one of the partners can assist you with the designs."

Yes, no one wants to just 'take' this from Nia, buuuuut no one wants to slight Mari or T'Challa either by not giving them red carpet treatment especially given the occasion.

Mari wonders if this is what it's like for T'Challa most of the time and resolves to ensure his time with her is as 'normal' as possible. At the table, she leans against his shoulder as they look through the designs "Is there anything that catches your fancy?" She asks quietly.

When Amani comes in, Mari looks up with that smile all too ready for her. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Amani. Yes, I'm Mari and I'm would very much like Nia to work with me." This is awkward. Mari doesn't want to slight anyone and she's not sure of the protocol in these instances.

So she casts T'Challa a look that says 'help' herself. Perhaps he needs some duds for tonight!

"Well these are rather nice. I like the lines. Traditional with a nod toward classical european fashions as well…" T'Challa points out a few things that are 'flowing' but not bulky. Something that would not be out of line for evening wear back in the States.

Amani smiles at Mari's answer and nods. "Of course. Nia did not wish to… well. She did not wish to appear improper but she is eager to help and to be honest I am eager to see what she can help you come up with. I'll be over there if you need anything." She says pointing toward what very much looks like an executive work station.

And then Amani walks away with a wave and Nia clears her throat and sits down looking very much like a kid in a candy shop.

"So, did anything catch your eye?" She powers up the workstation and oh thank goodness it is so much like the one T'Challa has. She could probably use it herself if she had to.

"You have a good eye…" Mari murmurs to T'Challa, taking a critical look at the images he's indicated. "Not improper at all." She says as Amani explains. "Please, don't let me distract you from anything you need to do. I'm sorry for any inconvenience I've created."

Her attention drawn to Nia again, Mari nods and indicates the images that T'Challa has picked. "These are along the lines of what I was thinking. I was wondering though, if you could put a Mohanndan slant on the lines and the colours?" This has to be boring for T'Challa. Mari glances at him again.

"Oh I think so. Now what about something like… these colorings. I know you've used gold before but it sets off both your skins and your eyes. Purples and greens are also quite popular but if you wanted to be really daring…" White. Dazzling, silver and white. Nia has several variations on images up.

T'Challa looks properly amused as he watches Mari work with someone else's fashion house. Nia is of course trying oh so hard, bringing all her training and experience to bear for this one moment.

The white is … astounding and just lovely. Mari falls in love with it almost immediately. "I like that but … would it be too much?" Too grand standing or show boaty, is what she means. It would certainly contrast well with her colouring.

T'Challa looking amused puts Mari at ease for the moment. "What do you think, mpenzi wangu? Too much for a dinner with your people?"

"Well I don't think so, it would make a statement. The question is do you want to make that statement with white…" Traditional US bridal colors after all…

"I would avoid red because of the royal guard. But if you wanted to go for something a bit more understated…" Nia works quickly replacing the white and silver with a light orange that fades to a champagne yellow. She adds a few accents. Something like a sunset now.

"How about that. Still sets off your skin and avoids any cultural color connotations…"

That is not the statement Mari wants to make. At least, not at this juncture in time. Maybe one day but not now.

"You're right, of course. It's a lovely design though… " Definitely not red, Mari tries not to wear too much red at all. But Orange … yes, that works.

"I like that, very much, Nia. It has just the right feel to it and the colours are perfect. Now, are you able to fabricate this in such a short time?" Mari has seen what Wakandan intelligence can do, but she's not sure if that's common technology.

She would love to have a machine like in her shopfront.

"Yes, especially because this is similar to things that we keep in stock. So we have much of the fabric. Speaking of the fabric though…" She pulls up the list of fabrics from heavy to light and gestures. "I was thinking something in the fine linen and silk category unless you would be more comfortable in something heavier. And maybe a scarf like…" That. A longer, lighter, flowing scarf meant to accentuate movement and draw the eye a bit.

"What do you think? Whatever you choose we can have it ready in about an hour and then fit it properly to you. Should take an hour and a half in total."

That is FAST, but of course this is a royal rush order so that's probably NOT something they do every day. The fact that they CAN do it though speaks volumes.

"Fine linen and silk sounds divine to me. It should sit just perfectly." And also breath, Wakanda is rather warm after all. "The scarf is a nice touch as well." It says a lot for Nia's talent that Mari has agreed so easily. Of course, Mari knows she doesn't know a lot and when it comes to Wakandan fashion, it's not something she's up on - yet.

That may change.

"Wait, did you say that you can have this all done in an hour and a half? That's amazing …" It would take Mari at least a day, if she pulled all the stops out.

"I hope you're going to charge me accordingly, as well."

"Oh well yes. We wouldn't dream of insulting you. Um, which one of you planned to be paying?" Nia looks between the two.

"I will just for ease of monetary conversion. You can pay me back later, Mari." T'Challa wouldn't dream of asking Mari to just accept this of him. Though he may try to convince her later. But he is correct that it is simpler for him to pay.

"Very well. There are some wonderful places for a drink and a small snack if you two would like to return in an hour, then? Just let me get your measurements and we'll get it started. Then you can come back, we'll fit it and make final adjustments and you will be ready."

And Mari will look glorious.

Mari wouldn't accept it from T'Challa but she'll enjoy his attempts to cajole her.

"Then it's all settled then. Let Nia get the measurements, mpenzi wangu and we can head off. I'm sure you can find us somewhere to get a drink while we wait." Somewhere where they might be a little inconspicuous.

"Thank you again, Nia and you Amani." That's all there really is to do until tonight.

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