Upon Layers, pt 1
Roleplaying Log: Upon Layers, pt 1
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

As the largest donor for a charity fashionista's expo, T'Challa uses his influence to arrange for two very dangerous people to meet. But what is the true purpose of this meeting, and will everything go as planned?

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: July 07, 2019
IC Location: "Fashionista's Row" Convention Hall
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 08 Jul 2019 10:24
Rating & Warnings:
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

Though many have noted it is surprisingly unexpected for the young king of Wakanda, the humanitarian efforts T'Challa has elected to host in both Gotham and New York have far outstripped his country's noted income, which news outlets have pegged as sparse. Wakanda's textiles and jewelry industry are lucrative draws for the country, but even a country full of master artisans does not bear the capitalist burden of relief efforts that Wakanda routinely engages in. One would argue this is especially irregular for a notoriously xenophobic country such as Wakanda.

Of course, one could then argue that that is exactly the point.

T'Challa attends and is in at least one part a large sponsor of a fashion gala hosted by a major philanthropist's interest, fundraising for relief in third world countries. A runway has dominated the hall and the attention of most who have come, but the show has mostly ended by now. However, his contribution to the event is enough that his attendance was somewhat celebrated earlier, and he is given an honors seat off on his own in the massive convention hall. Dressed in his customary suit of state, a large sash stripes across his chest, concealing the teeth at his throat. Though a drink is positioned carefully at the table at his place, he has mostly disregarded it, engaging in mild conversation with his contemporaries and in passing. Even then, he consults his phone as he goes.

Thank you, thank you. You are gracious to have invited me. I am sorry for my vagary, matters elsewhere consume my attention.
The truth of the matter is, as in all things, T'Challa is not here solely to mingle, and his sizable donations buy him more than the nod of men ostensibly far richer than he.



The models have been asked to mingle in the aftermath of the runway show. Haute couture can often be uncomfortable and challenging to wear, but Mari moves with easy confidence and certainness of foot. Her own necklace does not appear to be around her neck, but one would be hardpressed to imagine that the totem bearer doesn't have it somewhere on her person.

Backstage gossip being what it is, she'd known T'Challa was in attendance before she even put one high heel on the runway. Even if he's not the spender that some others might be, the fact is, he's royalty, which carries a certain fairy tale allure all its own. It's the buzz of backstage, primarily of the models, each one imagining they might catch his eye either while on the catwalk or during the social mingling. Mari, for her part, seems to take his presence in stride, agreeing and listening to those who cluck around her about it so as not to stand out, but not nearly as enthused as the other models.

But eventually, the models do emerge, and start mingling with the attendees. No few make their way past T'Challa's table either with a casual air or with clearly overt intent. No one, as of yet has had the chutzpah to outright approach his table, nor has he indicated a desire to bring anyone to it. Mari stands by one of the bar set-ups, a drink in her hand that she's only nursed slightly, in view but engaging with those who beg a moment of her time.



In the past, and perhaps the future too, a place like this would probably be all the norm for Amelie. This many powerful people in a room? Any number of them could have been a target one day or another. This wasn't the first time the French woman wrapped in the deep blue gown had walkes among high society hiding a weapon and it probably wouldn't be the last.

What made tonight different? Her rather impressive bill had been footed for the purpose of preventing attack rather than inflicting one. Good, because her price for targeting heads of nations tended to be well above modest!

With her inhuman perception drinking in the room, of course Mari had been noticed. Amelie's path however? It kept her close to the table of T'challa. No incidents yet, this might be some of the easiest money she'd made in a while!



Politics, when one finds its way to the core of the thing, is largely a matter of feigning interest. However, this way has never been the young king's style. Preferring to maintain the facade of brutal honesty where it suits, T'Challa is able to clear his table with time, though the affair is a long and torturous one. The time spent waiting on simple peace alone is long enough to be agonizing, as T'Challa graciously manages to navigate the various jests and japes with a careful blend of affected disinterest and kind words both meted out in equal sum. Minutes stacked high on the plate later, peace.

It is certainly less T'Challa's careful applique of statecraft and more the fact that the show models have begun their branching comb through the dance hall that guarantees his relative isolation, as the crush of attention for a few well-placed bats of combed and smoky eyelashes easily consume any brokering for status amongst the retinue. To his own comparably miniscule merit, T'Challa nods with knowing deference at those fashionista charitable and brave enough to pass his table, though his attention is always elsewhere.

The truth of the affair is that this scene is almost entirely manufactured. The source of the contract to protect his life is T'Challa himself, a man whom ostensibly can care for himself, even setting aside his own group of guards, those women whom are never far from him. One is actually very likely to be the source of the Frenchwoman's contract itself. The narrative, however, takes the form of an expected attack on the king of Wakanda, one that will occur soon. Of course, the elaboration of such an attack is left to the contractor herself.

Dark eyes lift over to the bar for ghostlike moments, T'Challa's glance breaking across the models gathered there for only moments before his attention strays once more.

The Wakandans have organized the event as a test, of sorts. There is an old friend in the crowd, and a test of skill is underway. Perception is just as important to politics as discretion and patience. "Whom do you think will make the first move," T'Challa comments to the shadow somewhere behind him. Silence is his answer. Which of the two will prevail first, those who the spies sing praises of?



It may be a point of arrogance on Mari's part to assume that T'Challa is here to make contact with her. On one hand, this is a very public event, and it would be far easier (and less expensive) to simply send an email. Or even a text. This is a lot of money for a potential face to face conversation. On the other hand, if he felt it necessary to spend money like confetti in order to have this encounter, there is perhaps a reason he wants to be seen in public with Mari. Either way, she seems quite situated over at the bar. Possibly she's waiting for a summons, covert or otherwise. One does not simply waltz up to the king of Wakanda. Or even sashay. It's a thing.



Amelie could tell when eyes were on her, it was a skill learned certainly, but bolstered by abilities. There were differences though between admiring a form and curious assessing. It was enough for her gaze to flick to T'Challa himself almost at the very same moment he looked to her over the rim of her glass.

Being watched was one thing, Amelie was more interested in being the 'watcher' tonight and sure enough, her path and attentions come to Mari once more. She couldn't pick supernatural power at a glance…but there was a certain 'confidence' in certain types of people that most of the gathering probably lacked outside of T'Challa's companions.

Soon enough, the French woman moves to sit herself down at the bar beside the woman. "Quite the party, non?"



As it happens, T'Challa is less predictable than that. As is his nature, there is certainly something specific he's after with regards to Mari McCabe, but on another hand, he has never been the type to take on such unnecessarily complicated means for such a comparably simple hypothetical end. However, these questions never get the chance to be posed to the young king and his goals remain, as always, frustratingly opaque.

A silken comment threads into his ear from his side, a woman in a perfectly cut black suit with pencil skirt slipping from the dark. His attendants were all like that, some of his business partners have noted. All women. All black. All bald. All business. The meaning of what is said to him is hard for casual listeners to grasp onto, words sewn from the west African languages. The mercenary has the soul of someone wiser, he is told in Hausa, but the Ibimbi is calculating. The commentary is almost immediately reacted to by T'Challa, the king's stone expression lengthening and deepening as if he were met with some long standing disagreement or objection.

"Be nice," he remarks mildly in English, disapproving.
"Aaaah…" is the rasping dismissal he's met with.

T'Challa's attention returns to the crowd and the two women, his silver-edged attention keen as a broadsword's edge as he relaxes. A thought turns over in his mind as he watches. Some would find the stalemate excruciating, but T'Challa has always been a student of subtleties. "Watch them closely," he decides, rising from his seat. "Tell me if they come too close to killing one another," he informs his foreboding assistant, "I am going to send a message to the Americans."

And then, just like that, T'Challa excuses himself to the back rooms. It is almost sure that the timing is intentional. Perhaps it is the covert signal he means to send. And how will his hired hand respond to his sudden absence?

= TO BE CONTINUED =

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