Queenside Castle
Roleplaying Log: Queenside Castle
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Emma Frost and the Maximoff Twins meet, for the first time, as White Queen and King of a united(?) Court.

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: December 20, 2018
IC Location: The Hellfire Club, New York
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 01 Jan 2019 06:05
Rating & Warnings:
NPC & GM Credits: Sebastian Shaw
Associated Plots

Emma Frost was her third whiskey into the night, and it had done much to take the edge off of things.

Dealing with Shaw often brought out the worst in her, and tonight proved to be no exception. Her humour was the awful sort, although it was hidden beneath a haughty veneer that kept the worst of it from view.

The memory of a chastisement stings as it comes unbidden, her upper lip drawing into the warning twitch of a sneer and her hand tightening around the crystal tumbler it holds.

’It’s time for a king, Emma.’

’I need nothing of the sort.’

The silence had been deafening, and Sebastian Shaw’s look had carried the storm of threat in it. She knew better than to read his thoughts to confirm what she read on his hard features. And then he’d wordlessly left the room. Left her to come to terms with his decree. She had failed him again, failed the Inner Circle again, and he was never the sort to forgive.

A few days later, she had the names of several candidates for recruitment in hand when she walked into the company of the Inner Circle.

It had all happened here, in this room deep in the bowels of the 5th Avenue club, and now the whole thing is tainted by the recollection. The velvet wallpaper bore witness, and the blonde telepath wants nothing more now than to burn it down. She does not burn it down, weathering the humiliation anew, although she gets lost in watching the fire from the large chesterfield armchair that she presently occupies. She sinks deeply into it, and her chin is nearly lost in the thick white fur that covers her shoulders and mingles with the tresses of blonde that flow over it.


The invitation was for Quicksilver, son of Magneto. The seat was for Quicksilver, son of Magneto.

But everyone knows, implicitly, that both things were truly meant for Magneto himself, and the son is again only a shadow.

That implicit knowledge had hovered over the entire transaction, from first contact to inaugural meeting, and clear up until now. None of it had left Pietro in a good humor himself, his mood one to match Emma Frost's about the entire thing… though his initial impulse to coldly refuse to be a placeholder for his father suffered a mysterious change after a few moments alone with his twin in the linked halls of their minds. Wanda Maximoff — his wiser half.

The Scarlet Witch, his more subtle half.

If nothing else, she whispered at his back, it was critical to at least gain entrance to watch — and learn.

It is the first time the Twins have crossed paths again with Frost since that fateful evening. There is a typical protocol for these sort of things, Pietro is given to understand; miraculously he was corralled enough to actually wear white, though the modern cut of his suit speaks to a certain degree of lingering rebellion.

His sister, he left to dress as she would. She has a theme, after all.

He is first down into the room, as always, with his twin an attendant shadow at his shoulder. A superficial read might conclude it is because he is the one who is the titleholder… but that is a superficial read indeed.


The Maximoff twins are a study in juxtaposition — no further opposites formed than them.

Sun and moon. Pale and dark. One trapped to his dragging second of the present, and the other scattered to her once-beens and will-bes. The prince locked at his father's side, the constant lieutenant, and the princess long-removed from sight — perhaps Magneto's desire that the world does not soon learn her secrets.

Even Quicksilver arrives, dressed in a stately, military white — all sharp lines and hard edges. And the Scarlet Witch remains his opposite, even here: her dress is arterial-red, gossamer and flowing, garrotted with its high collar, and its whimsical cut bearing here-and-there glimpses of her dusky skin. Her inky hair curls from the cage of its half-knot, shrouded by a veil that rivers crimson beads down her temples.

Elaborate costuming, but none would expect less of Lehnsherr's blood.

Her head holds itself in a humble half-bow, as if Wanda Maximoff were perpetually in supplication for prayer; however, her eyes never shut — always open, blue like her brother's, and her pupils always dilated millimetres too large than normal. Focused on things beyond the here and now, and seeing things either within her madness or something else.

In the end, despite the circling reputation of the Madness of the Scarlet Witch, Wanda both knows conduct and protocol.

When the invitation comes to Pietro alone, son and sole heir of their missing patriarch, she makes no single complaint.

And when Pietro wills to reject it, Wanda offers a different recourse.

An alternative that sees them, here and now, into the room that opens for no one — none save the chosen few.

All of this is an elaborate dance, and the Witch tips her head once to join its theatre. Her performance? Etiquette. "My brother, Pietro Maximoff. And I am Wanda. Your kind invitation is duly received."


She feels them before she hears them; the press of minds in the space where the empty air once hung alone. A long and whiskey-soaked exhale escapes Emma’s lungs moments before they pass the doll-masked guards and cross the threshold into the room where she waits for them.

And then, because she never knows who might actually be watching, she does as she should. She pulls herself out of her chair when Pietro enters, and just before Wanda speaks, her crimson-stained lips curled into an enigmatic smile.

Her revealing court wear, the ridiculous lingerie dress code that she endures without so much as a flinch, is secreted away in the dark and shadowed folds of the cloak she allows to nearly close.

“Good evening,” she offers, her tone a different sort than she has used with them before as she allows her head to gently cant a few slim degrees to one side. It’s softer and darker, but every bit as sure. “I trust that you had no issue getting inside?”

Trust is such a funny word, isn’t it?

She doesn’t need a king. She doesn’t want a king. But Sebastian Shaw does.

So here one is, and it seems that she will patiently abide.

For now.

“An invitation is received,” she says to Wanda, just before her pale eyes slip back to the silver-crested scion of Magneto, “but I do not hear that you have as yet accepted.”


Pietro stays half a step in front of Wanda at all times, his posture and positioning both implying he leads her — but also guards her. For a wonder, though, he is not the first one to speak. His sister is the one to announce them both, her soft voice taking on the intricate steps of etiquette for them both, as he maintains a frowning, watchful silence.

His gaze takes in the room in an instant, searching for physical threats, finding none — but still cautious. They are wanted creatures, and have not lived this long by being incautious.

His attention finally reroutes fully back to Emma Frost as the lady rises to greet them. The brief glimpse of her attire that he gets before her cloak draws shut brings his mouth to thin. Perhaps picturing the getup on his twin, and disapproving of the idea.

Her greeting receives an inclination of his white-haired head. "No difficulty at all," Pietro says, his voice calm enough — but still clipped and short compared to the grace of his sister. The White Queen's follow-up, however, brings both his brows to lift.

"I did," he says, his voice cool. "A few days prior. In conversation with Shaw."

His blue eyes turn briefly to his twin, before returning to Emma with the faintest hint of amusement. "Did he not inform you? Not yet? Many of these practices here are archaic, I find."


It is equally difficult to say if Wanda similarly took in that heartbeat-quick glance of Emma Frost's clothing —

— and just as equally difficult to say if the witch cares at all for the lady's uniform of the Inner Circle. Little slips past the gates of her face, somewhere between polite nonchalance and innocence's blind spot; Wanda does not even seem to look direct at Emma in those beats between moments, her eyes straying somewhere to the left — the way someone has to look slightly away to see starlight best in the dead of night.

Pietro assumes the dominant, protective role in all way; Wanda makes no movement to argue with a single ounce of his body language. Perfectly content with her position.

Long-fingered hands clasped together, head slightly tilted, the so-called witch does not answer the White Queen's first question. Her blue eyes do not miss a blink as the newly-appointed White King provides his answer.

She smiles pleasantly through it all, witnessing all with the delight of watching two old friends interact. Her eyes, however, turn the moment Pietro glances her way. The Maximoff twins, as painfully synchronized as the rumours suggest.

"Now, Pietro," adds Wanda, however the shape of her words, there is no degree of chiding in her voice. No room for anything but affection. "There is much the past can offer us. And none can contest the comfort of enduring tradition."

The Scarlet Witch's blue, blue eyes — blue as Magneto's — center on Emma. "You need not bear the weight of your court alone, not a moment more. I assure my brother will provide immeasurable resources."


Did he not inform you?

The twitch under Emma’s eyes is a subtle indicator that no, he most certainly did not. Her lower lids twitch up, and so too her lips in a smile.

Her voice is the warning hiss of an adder.

“No,” she says, voice dripping like ice. “He left for urgent business at his factory in Hong Kong two days ago.” And left her with the off footing in her own court as a lesson in questioning his desires, t’would seem.

A court that she need not bear alone, but that she’d much prefer to. And her gaze to Wanda is a considering one. But not one testing wave of her telepathy laps against the mind of either twin. Instead, the woman in white merely agrees. “I would hope so.”

And then, as if to reclaim her control over the room because she refuses to yield it easily, she abruptly turns her back to them both to go to the sideboard. She pours glasses there as she speaks, fuming away from their gaze as she does so.

“You will need to come up to speed very quickly. Did Shaw do that for you as well, or will I be for once spared the necessity of unteaching his—” She draws herself short, and her nose twitches. “Particular methodology?”

Another twitch, this time at her lips as her smile makes its struggle to hold. “I can offer a lesson. If it pleases.”

—-

There is much the past can offer us, says Wanda. Pietro's irritability smoothes and mollifies to the mere sound of her voice — especially when she speaks of the resources he can provide. They can provide. "I suppose," he concurs, indulgent. "Though any organization benefits from an injection of new blood from time to time, I think." He's probably talking about more than one organization, there. "And sometimes… all these old traditions become so comfortable that their old adherents lose the ability to turn in new directions."

His eyes briefly hold Emma's, with that remark. Might she know anyone of that description, perhaps?

«No love lost between this one and Shaw, my sister,» is his private thought traded with his twin. It says something, perhaps, that he's brazen enough to just go around thinking freely around the White Queen. «I can smell the petty back-and-forth from here.»

He steps farther into the room even as Emma rises. Ushering his sister along with him, he sees her to one of the seats opposite Emma's abandoned chair, before taking the one beside her.

Did Shaw bring them up to speed? "No," answers the new White King. His expression glosses with something like amusement. "The conversation was quite short. Likely that urgent business in Hong Kong." He exchanges a glance with his twin.

"Fortunately doing things quickly is a certain specialty of mine," he remarks dryly, his attention returning to Miss Frost. "Let's hear it."


"Hope has never been our currency, I'm afraid," Wanda answers Emma, with quiet amusement. "But we can offer something better."

Helped to her seat, the so-named Scarlet Witch sits there politely, unassumingly, her hands docile in her lap. No part or parcel of her body language seems to suggest any wrest of control, on her own end, her presence pulled in, and her gestures all small, reserved things. She looks like a guest in someone's home; comes with the chaos, Wanda finds. Existing between probabilities makes her feel like a guest in a billion homes.

«Father must have detested this,» muses Wanda into Pietro's mind. «Every gilded inch of it. There is an offering here that would have made him find a well of patience what even surprises me. That, or he liked to keep Shaw lovelorn for his participation.»

Privately, it surprises her further she has not yet felt Emma Frost, with all the rumours of her formidable, unbreakable mind — not test the surface thoughts of the Maximoffs. It would not be much for her to plait the strands of scarlet Wanda has woven between hers and her twin brother's minds. Perhaps an act of truce. Perhaps no need yet for curiousity. Hard to say.

For now, Wanda keeps her gracious smile. She does not offer comment on Shaw, or any conversation with Pietro — he's already demonstrating himself the dominant twin, either by personality, gender, or traditional creed that the son carries on the will of the father — and merely respects same with her silence.

When Emma offers a lesson, Wanda tilts her head charitably. She respects education.


"Obviously," Emma begins, "the passing of the registration law was something that we hoped to avoid." The woman carries a second cup of whiskey to Pietro and delivers it into his care. Even as she does so, however, there is a look given to Wanda. It has beneath it a thought, but the meaning perhaps get muddied along the way. It is apology? Disdain?

She abides by the strictness of the hierarchy imposed, however, because one never knows who is watching. Pietro receives his glass, but his sister will need to get hers by his hand or decree.

"A little more than hope, I daresay; we'd sunk a considerable amount of resource into the effort. The London Chapter's leadership has sent along its condolences, which are… needless to say… hardly sent for kindness's sake. I will prepare for you a brief of the present arrangement of the Inner Circle, so that you will know the players." There is a pause, and then an appraising look as she settles into her chair once more. "You should consider me a resource at your disposal."


There is a brief moment, after Pietro accepts the glass of whiskey from Emma, of absence. There is a step in the social dance that is missing. It takes Pietro a few moments to register the lack, and a few moments more to identify what it is. Emma's brief askance look, when he catches her making it, helps him identify what is missing.

He doesn't react outwardly, but there is a momentary flickering of question that passes between the twins' linked minds. Pietro listens to some unspoken response to his unvoiced question.

Then there is a slicing whisk of air. A sleek blade of wind cuts through the room, there and back — and faster than the eye can perceive, Pietro is back in his seat, exactly in his spot, not a hair out of place; but his sister now has a glass of red wine.

As if nothing happened, he listens gravely to Emma's subsequent debriefing. "We all hoped to avoid this, but I've rarely known flatscans to respond appreciably to anything softer than outright force," he begins. "I have no doubt they took your resources with one hand while preparing the collars and chains with the other." As for the London chapter? "Condolences or taunts?" Pietro wonders. "They shouldn't rest too smugly on their laurels. If it's seen to work well here, registration will spread. Without a doubt."

Emma's offer to prepare a brief of the current state of the Inner Circle seems to reel him in, however. You should consider me a resource at your disposal. "I intend to," Pietro says levelly, his blue eyes resting on hers. Perhaps for a nice change, at the least, there is little to suggest lasciviousness in the remark. "You may coordinate with my sister on what we need to know."

He exchanges a glance with his twin, before returning his gaze to Emma Frost. "We are of a single Court, now. You should likewise consider that we are here to assist you."


There are those in the world who would meet that absent drink with disdain, even offence — especially now, when society has promised people entitlement beyond the trappings of class and traditional protocol.

Wanda Maximoff, for her part, does not look aggrieved. Whether it is her knowledge of the Hellfire Club's elaborate Court rules, or simply her own upbringing, she sits without expectation; perhaps it is simply a symptom of being the Scarlet Witch, and a lesson she'd taught herself long ago: it is best she not sit at any of humanity's many tables. Surely, the probabilities always whisper to her never to get too attached to just one iteration —

But Wanda catches Emma's look, and receives it in silence. Truth be told, she does not know what is communicated — does not know which meaning of many is communicated from the White Queen. But that does not bother her. The witch's purpose is not meant to have answers, but to court the possibilities all within. In the end, she realizes the message is meaningless; that Emma gave her a look at all, when she easily could not — that means everything.

And, in something so small, an offered insight into a woman as transparent as a mirror reflecting back.

Wanda turns her eyes briefly to Pietro; inside a heartbeat, thanks to his speed, he brings his Court attendant her own wine. Her ring finger brushes his briefly when she accepts the glass.

As Pietro speaks, Wanda samples the wine. "It will spread," she finally speaks, seconding her brother's predictions — though, with the witch, her words always bear finality. "It always has. As it shall again. Those who suppose that it can be stopped — they are the ones who make the first mistakes. It is past stopping. But not past ending."

The Scarlet Witch loves to speak in her vagaries. She meets Pietro's glances. "We can be better than friends. We are all paths seeking the same end. My brother is our father's conviction, but he is not our father. For that matter, neither am I. We will value honesty from the White Queen; do you agree with our father's methods?"


The offer of mutual assistance comes, and the blonde head tilts to one side and the neighboring scarlet lips twist in an enigmatic smile. As with most things, the White Queen is very accustomed to assistance coming with a price. Too often, she has found it to be a price she would rather not have paid. Too often, she's paid it anyway.

Registration will - like a cancer - spread, the twins chorus. "Undoubtedly," Emma replies to add her voice to the distrustful tune with a flick of eyebrows and a sip of amber distillation.

To the question they put at her, Emma laughs softly. Perhaps in part because it seems she needn't worry about yet another set of eyes she hasn't the patience for enduring this evening, she then finally crosses her legs and spreads her cloak enough to rest her arms upon the supports offered by the chair she occupies. The glass is lifted and swirled around, and she watches the way crystal and whiskey play in the firelight. "And thank God, I'm not my father either. You'd hate him as much as I do, I'm certain. But with regards to my agreement or disagreement, I suppose that rather depends on the method in question," she says at last.

Then her eyes sharply turn to the pair, regarding them. It is perhaps then that she might be known in the ways that cannot be easily discerned; her observation stretching into the psychic realm as gently as softly falling snow. "Not all methods are the same," she explains, "and it's dangerous business to dabble in wholecloth sales."


She needn't worry, indeed. Pietro Maximoff shows no interest in what is displayed when Emma Frost grows comfortable enough to let her cloak drape open. His eyes turn to his twin instead, watching her as she speaks, nursing his glass of whiskey as she puts forth that question to the White Queen. Does she agree with their father's methods?

He listens to the answer. Across their link, his twin would feel a note of irritated amusement from his mind. «Evasive as ever.»

"Our father could be subtle," he says. "Yes. My sister notes what I took from him; but she took something, herself." He regards Emma coolly. "But it wasn't really subtlety he became famous for, was it?"

He glances at his twin again. "I am not a subtle person myself. But sometimes that's an aid to those who are."


Overall, Wanda Maximoff seems to be very careful with her wine. She spreads out her measured sips, and seems to take care not to indulge too much; for ten years, she disappeared from the public world, and the day-to-day pursuits and violent plots of the Brotherhood. For ten years she was missing, returned only in their father's current absence, and as this new creature: a perfect picture of restraint, caution, and most of all, control.

Emma's remark on her own father draws a note of amusement to Wanda's blue eyes. The invitation, itself, seems to amuse her. Perhaps spiritual sisters when it comes to hating their fathers, though she speaks nothing so much aloud.

Instead, Wanda sips her wine as Pietro speaks into her mind. «Good,» she answers, wry. «It's clever.»

When Pietro gives his compliment, Wanda rewards those words with a turn of her eyes, meeting her twin's with an appreciative glance.

"It is an ugly cause we serve," she says, "but, far more ugly is its necessity. But, yes, even if we deal primarily in strength, it never made my father a stranger to secrets. He prized both methods — to a point." Wanda's eyes turn briefly to Pietro. "But as our father was immovable in many ways, you will find my brother far more fair. Far more willing to listen to things beyond conviction."


“You will find that Sebastian Shaw is not,” Emma says quietly with another ambiguous flicker of a smile. “And he is joined by the public opinions of most of the Inner Circle, regardless of ‘side’.” Private opinions, they are another matter. “Additionally, no matter what he tells you, you will do well to be cautious of his queen, Selene.”

“But I do not think that the cause is really that ugly at all. This terrible ‘everybody wins’ culture is a lie. Nothing created is satisfied being equal. The lion does not lie with the gazelle. The cow does not pity the blades of grass. No, there is always someone who will seek to be atop the mountain as king. If it is not mutant kind, we will be relegated to the valleys. To the mines. All we do is respect the immutable laws that govern societies.”

“Furthermore, I can appreciate a dichotomy of approach. So long as it does not jeopardize this organization or, more importantly, my very treasured…” She searches for the word for a moment, her whiskey glass swirling more until she finds it. “…incomplete public profile.”


"I've found Sebastian Shaw is not a lot of things," is Pietro's rejoinder, a hint of his more familiar acerbic nature finally sneaking through the controlled demeanor he's presented so far. It's a credit to his self-control — or perhaps to a psychic pinch on his metaphorical arm — that he doesn't go much further than that. "But I was well aware of the nature of this organization before I signed on the line. I'm capable of restraining myself."

There is a slight edge to his voice at that, some old ingrained reflex developed after a decade of trying to prove himself in his father's eyes. That edge only flints harder when his twin speaks of how he is far more fair than their father — far more willing to listen. His hand tightens on his glass. Yes — he will do better. Father, he will do what you didn't and what you could not.

His attention only returns off that old resentment at the renewed sound of Emma's voice. You would do well to be cautious of his queen, Selene. "That part will come easily," he says bluntly. "I have never been a particularly trusting sort."

He has little to say outright to Emma's polite demurral about the cause not truly being all that ugly at all. Little save this: "History has told that well enough. Our father saw it firsthand. I barely even see it as a matter of dominance. At this point, it is survival."

As for Emma's concerns? "If you want to guide the herd in a certain direction, it often helps to have a whip behind them, driving them." He glances at his twin. "We mean to be the whip. And it can be done with discretion and deniability. We don't make it our business to out our own kind." He angles a direct look at the White Queen. "Though our end goal here is a world in which that does not have to be a concern at all."

He finishes his glass and sets it aside with a certain finality. "The brief is a good place to begin. My sister will also advise you of what other immediate resources we might offer the Court." Manpower, to be specific — or womanpower, as the case might be in this instance.


As Emma Frost speaks about the truth of society — that its supposed ugliness is no more than faceless, natural law — Wanda listens. Her eyes, however, gain a wistful mien about them, the way a person gets when memory strikes when they least expect it. She covers it up with another measured indulgence of her wine.

Words which parallel that from Magneto, who refused to look guiltily, or ashamedly, on the inherent violence of his actions, of his orders. He never spoke much of his life, even to her — especially to her — but ensconced in his every action was the belief that one could have control or have weakness. To have both was a contradiction — a failed state. A part of her hoped against it for so long, that their father's words were some Machiavellian delusion —

But the world kept proving him right. Again, and again, even beyond his disappearance.

Isn't there a truth in that — there may be no ugliness in their violence. There may be no ugliness in this world at all. Only possibilities, some bearing pleasure, some bearing pain, only to be perceived by minds that think them good or bad. They simply are. And necessary, at that.

Mention of Selene comes and goes, and Wanda takes the advice through the shutter of her half-lowered lashes. The rumoured sorceress, in particular, has the Scarlet Witch's attention. She answers the caution with a smile: brief, polite, and thankful.

She shares Pietro's glance. "Our public profile does not exactly rhyme well with most things," she muses, amused, "so they shall never cross. We wish to keep our houses separate, and in order. But we do have a candidate or two we will donate to the Court. Our best and most faithful. Yours to use, should you see fit."


As everything she says seems to be received for the most part, although it's hard to miss by means of her empathic barometer or her ears that there is that edge, Emma considers. "We'll start there, then. I'll compose your brief, and you can prepare for introductions."

With a practiced ease, Emma lifts her glass to drain what's left of its contents. She draws in a sharp breath as it burns, and then slowly rises to her feet and lets her cloak fall closed once more. "Our dear Black King is quite impatient to see what a whip can do with the proper resources. I suppose we'll see."


Wanda listens, and grows wistful; her brother's head turns slightly towards hers, though his eyes don't precisely leave Emma Frost. There is a brief communing between the twins, a sensation not unlike the warm affectionate linking of fingers.

Then it passes, and Pietro is briskly setting aside his glass, apparently finished with the meeting. Some things about Quicksilver never change, and his low tolerance for sitting still for long periods of time is one of them.

"Settled, then," he says. "We will speak again when it's time to move forward." He rises himself, and reaches to hand his twin up from her own seat. His eyes half-lid at Emma's final remarks, and a flicker of mentallaughter tremors that bond between the twins. "Let's not keep 'our' Black King waiting."

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