1965-02-07 - Queen of New York
Summary: The richly, kingly few gather at a fancy function to hob-nob with the.. other rich and kingly few.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
tchalla able suriel kaleb elektra 

CHAPTER 2: Queen of New York

La Caravelle contained the who's who of New York tonight. Senators, other sorts of Politicians and those who had enough money to make things move were in attendance. The tables were pulled back in the fancy place to allow the wooden floors to be seen, polished to a fancy shine to allow those who fancied a dance or two to cut a rug upon the floor. A small little band played off to the side, not nearer to the kitchen where the drinks and the fancy food made its way from the depths, but a little close to the door where some could offer up a tip of cash to those who played and should be thankful to be in their presence.

The money makers. The shakers. That 1% who thought they were a little too good and just by turning their nose up at you was a gift you got to tell your friends at christmas time.

Pinkertons, Rockerfellers. Smiths. Old money. Jazz. Black bowties and fancy sequined dresses. Diamonds and pearls that hung around slender or thick necks, gloved fingers grasping flutes of wines that cost more than some cars in the city.

Yeah. You had to know someone to get here. Even then you quite possibly had to donate your first child and their child after that.

"Well I'll say.." Fanny Richards says, a large older woman, grey hair yet most hidden beneath a hat and pincurls that accented the webbing that hangs down from the top. Her ruby red lips nearly smeared upon the glass as she lifts it with a snap of her fingers. "..I am -surely- surprised that any of the Rothschilds managed to show up. What with their son missing and all. I tell you what. I bet you its the drugs. You keep your kids on a tight leash and that's where they end up. I for one thought my Susie was going to fall for one of those black men o'er there. Soon as she caught a wiff I shipped her off to England and the doggone girl nearly came back a Dutchess!"

Hoity toity laughs all over the place. Elektra fit in as she would; politicians daughter. Rubbing elbows. Greasing palms. Greasing palms with money made from the skinned backs of those who ran the city before and soon to be there after. Blood born from throats that were slit and civilizations quietly taken down. And she was elegant with it. Slim cut black dress. White diamonds. Gloves. Dark hair curled in rivulets that would make anyone jealous.

"Surely the ethnicity of the man does not matter." The deadly woman murmurs in cool tones.. "Maybe, the contents of their wallets?"

Mrs. Fannie Richards gives Elektra a nearly cruel-yet playful look, and they both break out into pish-posh laughter..

As a connoisseur of the best things in life, Able can often be found at galas, grand openings, upscale fundraisers, and other fine events. He's rubbed shoulders with aristocrats, tyrants, despots, generals, and far more, especially where his creator's memories are concerned. He's not just comfortable drinking champagne and sampling canapes, he's actually enjoying himself despite not being able to talk Jean into joining him.
And so he mingles. Tonight he's opted for a tux that accentuates his tall, slim frame, an off-white dinner jacket and silver cuff links. Glass in one hand, he gestures with the other as he regales a fellow partygoer with a story from his vast repertoire.

Then come the comments. He excuses himself and turns with one eyebrow raised. "As a former military man, I can confidently tell you that the measure of a man is neither, ladies. True worth is measured by determination. Willpower. If you carry enough of it, the rest will follow."

Suriel's dressed in the best of his best tonight, suit tailored perfectly to his slim frame, bowtie crisp and rakish hat perched just /so/ on his swept-back shining hair. As a musician with underground cachet, a man on the up-and-up, he knows a guy who knows a guy.

Those who know him best might not recognize him tonight, but he wears elegance like others wear their finest suits.

He's got a glass and watches the crowd, taking his time about finding himself some conversational companions.

T'Challa (n.)
1. Politician
2. Those who have enough money to make things move.
3. Shaker
See also: Richer than Croesus (Or Genghis Khan). Cat.

He might be the only representative of his continent here, at least one separate from Anglo-Boer South Africans. Dressed in his dapper suit, the Wakandan king does not spare much expense to infuse his particular choice of fashion with subtle accents to remind them just whose company they share. Conversation brings out the best of his Oxfordian education, faint smiles and diplomatic reserve exuding mystery of a man ruling an ostensibly poor nation somewhere around Kenya.

He nibbles on a canape sparingly, biting the wafer-thin cracker smeared in some kind of fancy mousse that probably costs more than a steak. His entourage is slim enough from the consulate, a lovely, tall woman polished like ebony in an amethyst dress downplaying a lioness' physique.

"Is it not a sign of bravery and conviction to appear?" he asks. He is enjoined in the conversation now and then, preferring to contribute soft-spoken, pithy questions now and then. Fanny can rub shoulders with everyone, but not just anyone. That dark-skinned woman pops up at T'Challa's elbow to stop unwanted contact like she is on some kind of touch timer.

Kaleb was here with his father, The K. Mitchell Miller, builder of the Pentagon, and hobknobber of people that bore the ever living shit out of Kaleb. He was on his second glass and seemed to endure the biting comments of the superficial, the greedy, and the prejudiced. It would always be something: their skin colour, their religion, who their grandmother voted for, if they were with the Daughter of the American Revolution, if they were a Mutant (god forbid). One of the older women, skinny as famine and carrying more gold embellishments on her than a kobold asked with a charming smile that might withstand a nuclear winter, "Mitchell, you look wooooonderfull. Kaleb you've done well for yourself. When are you going to come meet my daughter Tabitha?" Echo's smile was sharp and ever so cordial as he responded, "For her sake? I should hope never. You look wonderful Ms. Masterson. Please excuse me. Father." He nodded to them both leaving the woman slightly aghast. Nine hells he needed another glass if he was going to survive the dowry raffles that went on under the table at these things. He excused himself and found a familiar face greeting, "Able. Evening. Sharp suit. I like how that one turned out." Hi eyes followed his ear to the conversation he wa listening to. "Oh good lord." he murmured.

Sure, there was laughter there. Though if anyone knew the way that eyes work, would see that none of the enjoyment reaches Elektra's eyes. But Fanny couldn't see it. Her mouth ran a mile a minute while she was intoxicated, and even the lift of her wrist and a snap-snap of her fingers called to a waiter who replaced her drink almost immediately. Able's interjection draws a faint brow from Elektra. A gloved hand to grasp her pearls as if his appearance offended her, yet no emotion plagues those eyes. Yet, it was Fanny who took the lead of the conversation, rather boisterously of course!

"OH blaaaaah blaaaaaah blaaaaah.." Fanny drawls out, Meryl Streep style. Willpower and determination my large kaboose!" Elektra opens her mouth, but wisely shuts it as she hangs back. Look pretty, girl, let the elder do the talking.

"Everyone knows that the men are nothing more but pocketbooks and paychecks. The women drive them to the bones with us carrying the babies and whispering a little toot-toot in their ears." She chuckles once more. "You see. As it stands Mr. Richards already had a leg up. Came from old money. But so wet behind the ears when I got to him I had to tell him what to do with it. Thank god he was white." She laughs again, taking a sip of her drink, nearly recoiling as T'Challa makes his mark. With a little lean in, she murmurs to Elektra.

"See? Pretender. Don't know who let that one in but I assure you, Charles is going to get a carefully worded letter from Mr. Richards.." Then again, Fanny was all wide eyes and bright smiles, even as Elektra shakes her head.

"Nevermind Mrs. Richards." Elektra finally speaks, the grecian accent like honey to the ears to those who could tolerate it, head tilted and the remainder of her wine tucked away upon a tray. Smooth. Soundless. They were gathering quite the crowd, quite the crowd indeed!

"Why Fanny!" Sarah Rothschild manages to interrupt, the younger Rothschild, not shy of nineteen years old. "I think I have to get your husband, you're two sheets to the wind!" She exclaims.

"I am not!" The old woman implores. "I was just explaining to Ms. Natchios here about the luck that my dear Susie had gotten by returning a Duchess. You didn't hear about ol' Nancy, that disappointment." If Fanny could spit, she would. "Why.. you wouldn't think that a girl who opened her legs to every color of the ra-.."

Sarah gasps, and immediately begins to tug the older woman away, pulling her through the crowds much to the elder womans hesitation. Elektra looks on, her lips furrowing a worrying line.. "That was the most lively conversations I've had all night." She remarked blandly, then turned her gaze back to the men. "Gentlemen."

In his soiree attire among relative strangers, Able is draped in the charming, cosmopolitan-yet-controversial facade of an Eastern European immigrant who's made good for himself in America. A small smile tugs at one corner of his mouth, yet he salutes the dark-skinned man across from him and takes a long sip of champagne before replying. "Mm. Well-spoken, sir." A second salute, this time to Kaleb as he approaches. "You're looking dapper as well. Join us, we were just debating the finer points of humanity."

And then things get interesting.

The doctor clears his throat and glances at the remaining members of the conversational group. "She was right about one thing," he says drolly. "Her hindquarters are… expansive, to say the least. I'm glad some of us are a bit more enlightened."

Suriel is close enough when this all goes down that he hears every word, and his own soft voice, after the drunken socialite is hauled away, slips through the crowd to Elektra's ear.

"Strange how the most righteous somehow nonetheless look down upon those made first in God's own image." He is as pasty as they get, but his gaze shifts to T'challa with no censure at all. If anything, his fair face looks rather like that of some marble church statue, gazing with melancholy distance upon the flock.

He smiles faintly wryly, though at Able's quip. "You've restored my faith in humanity tonight."

Let the debased woman consort with her mistaken opinions. T'Challa keeps on that polite expression absent a smile, eyebrows raising slightly. Pretender? The representative of a dynasty older than the standing pyramids sighs inwardly. It takes sharp ears to so much as catch the hitch in his lungs. Throat muscles contract, that stilled effort to hold back a grim chuckle.

Excitement over the wedding plans of duchesses and moneyed families being what they are, the very much unwedded T'Challa turns away to snare a champagne flute, something he will not drink. "Determination, what is it without vision?" he inquires softly of Able, the Xhosa overtones stitched through every murmuration. He could peer into that glass, that most ideal accessory. Bubbles pop in honeyed glamour, angled at Able. "Would it be to me to judge those who presume upon others?"

Kaleb tilted his head accepting the compliment in kind with a smooth and gracious nod. He was 18 but as Max once clained, he was never a child. This discussion was the very crux of his problem with humanity as a whole: it was utterly inhumaine under the gilded vaneer. Kaleb had a different angle on the conversation and smiled, warm, charming, and absolutely sharp on all sides of his idle question looking genuinly interested…this should be a flag oto anyone that's met him. "Is that why she left school early, Ms. Richards? I heard otherwise, but good for her." He went to sip his drink and paused feighning thoughtfulness but knowing how to ride a line between scathing commentery through observation and maintaining respect for one's 'peerage'. "Say what you will but I'm fairly certain he didn't convveniently forget to send an invitation to his mother-in-law for the holiday party last december." Unlike you the comment seemed to suggest. Whoops. Throw more stones, lady, we brought a baseball mitt to catch those with so we can return em. Looking to T'challa the slight bow of his head was actually sincere. He stayed quiet looking from he to Able, then noted to Suriel, "Wait. THey'll ruin it. Give them time."

Thankfully, Mrs. Richards wasn't privy to the mention of her big kaboose. IN her drunken state, she would have backed it against Able in fine fashion, since he was one of the other younglings here with whom she could have taken a fancy. Elektra smiled, but it was a fleeting one, even Kaleb's last digs had Mrs. Richard glancing back with a scowl, even though Sarah headed her off, once again, at the pass. It was then that the other Rothschild approaches, a light hand touching upon Elektra's elbow to pull her aside just a little. "Elektra, wonderful.. wonderful.." Marcus murmured.

He fit in. Elder gentleman with white hair, moustache that fit the times yet the lines of worry remain upon his face. "I assume the donation we've given to your organization was received?" The woman nodded there after, glancing off towards the gathered crowd as she takes his elbow in turn and pushes him aside. "Yes. It was. And we'll do everything to find your son, John. I'm glad you listened to reason and not have gone to the papers. The Devonshires have not been so fortunate as to find Kenneth as of yet."

Just as the conversation with the two moved to lower tones, another man drew closer. He wasn't as drunk as Mrs. Richards, but he was soon getting there. "Well -WHO- let the cat INTO the bag!" The man howled. One hand reaching out to lightly clap Able upon the shoulder as he begins to laugh heartily. "Why.. when you said you were working on something, I didn't know it was youth formula!" He chuckles, removing his hand and takes a large sip of his drink, twirling about.. old and lively as he was, to snag a little treat from a passing tray.

Deviled eggs. Of course.

"I mean, shocking to me to see you here amongst the riff raff." His posh way of speaking and slight accent, and not so subtle ways tilts a head towards T'Challa and his woman, and the younger three. "You deserve better company. Come come come.. I -must- introduce you!"

And another..

"That is a -wonderful- suit you're wearing!" A younger woman, Kathleen murmurs to Suriel. She was at least no older than 20. "Well alright. My mother thought it best to introduce myself because she thinks my wit and charm could get me married off, but.. just pretend like we're engaging in good conversation so she could get off my back?"

Annnd another..

"Kaleb? Kaleb Miller?" An older woman approaches. Straight backed. No nonsense and no mess. "The General would like to speak with your father, can you point me in his direction?"

Annnd another.. but yet.. this was poor Mrs. Richards who came back to accost the lovely couple. "I'll have you know, young negro man, I called the authorities and they'll be here so—.." And there's Sarah, pulling her away again..

"In this case I think a bit of judging wouldn't go amiss," Able responds ruefully. But he's pleased to see his counterpart not only unbowed, but truly uncaring of the insults thrown his way. "Again, I'm forced to agree with you. 'Conviction is worthless unless it is converted into conduct,' he quotes. "'And nothing is more terrible than activity without insight.'"

That said, he's almost immediately accosted. His eyes widen slightly at the sight of the older man, an almost imperceptible sign of recognition. Then he removes the hand from his shoulder in a manner that's both polite and firm. "I'm in good company, thank you, and I'm quite sure we've never met. A few too many drinks must have you confusing me with someone else."

Suriel smiles winningly back at Kathleen, and offers her his arm. "Isn't it? But who'll look at it while you're at my side?" The flattery is gentle and easy, even if there's no desirous spark in his eyes. "And sure, I'll be your beard tonight. Mothers can be such tyrants, aren't they?"

The riffraff? He's going to just shut the hell up at that, and T'Challa raises the glass to his lips in a heated cloud of condensation. Flowing silver runs down the chilled wall, and he shoots back that look without so much as flinching. Lidded, fathomless eyes gleam dark as a glow.

Mrs. Richards closing upon him in an effort to banish him meets that unmoving figure, a cornerstone of quiet dignity. By no mean is he a small man, far from short, and that wide-bottomed dreadnought receives a mild, pointed look. "Here to remove an original signatory protected by the Vienna Convention of Diplomatic Relations, ma'am?" Might be a few of those in the room, and 'Senator' won't count. He never raises his voice, softly tempered to calm. "The authorities will not violate the immunity your esteemed government and president honour." He does not bow his head; tracking Able, briefly, he holds fast. Retreat will be her job, not the monarch's.

Kaleb was going to gain 10 pounds gluting himself on all of the reprisal that would befall the mighty and most wicked. So good, but then he was being spoken to and it was to the three gentlemen he was speaking with to give a nod to Elektra as she tried to quell some of the unrest of uncivil tongues. A nod interrupted as he was being spoken to. Aaaaah no nonsense. He might even like this one.Smoothly he transitioned to a business mode and said to her, "M'am I'd be delighted to take you to him." And with that the drink was set down never to be reclaimed again. An arm was offered and for a moment he said, "Excuse me, gentlemen, I'll return." He looked to the General's wife and didn't make the faux pas of inane small talk instead favouring efficiency.

The man looks wholly offended at Able's unrecognition of him. "Maybe you're the one who had too many drinks. My good man! Engel! Engel Stansislav, it's me! Artredes Karrenko! We worked together in Berlin!" He shakes his head faintly. "There is a -rare- opportunity to meet Johann Schmidt but I do highly believe you have -lost- that chance Sir. I say good day!" The man turns and storms off, muttering a few slew of words beneath his breath. He was -not- happy at all!

The arm was taken by Kathleen, who immediately clings to Suriel's side. For a moment, she looks troubled, but as she glances back towards her parents, who beam proudly to her, she puts on a grand smile and forces a blush by biting the side of her cheek. "I hope no one else!" She manages to chirp out, offering a gloved finger wave to her units. With a turn back to lead Suriel out of view.. or.. atleast somewhere safe, she murmurs. "Yes. They can be. I think the forced appearance tonight was the fact that I expressed my wish to never marry nor have children. People of the world are my children. I want to do humanitarian work, but I'm afraid I can't do that if I'm disinherited.." She looks glum. "You've seen the bad parts of our city, right? Who in their right mind could ignore all of that suffering?"

Yes. T'Challa was riffraff. Riffraff that gained a look of shock and more scowls to the retreated Mrs. Richards. But Sarah doesn't dally long, for she returns with a sorrowful expression, hands clasped in front of her towards the larger gentleman and his date, her head bowing ever so slightly as one hand reaches up to press against her breast. "I'm sorry, King T'Challa.." Yes. Sarah knew who he was. Why wouldn't she? She did her studies.

"I know this is something that you didn't expect to find in attendance here.. but I know the peoples of La Caravelle and this city entirely are just so pleased to have you." Another smile. "In fact, I didn't want to come here. I wanted to continue the search for my brother, he's gone missing a few days ago without a word.."

The General's wife took his arm, still straight backed and straight faced. "I believe the General has plans that your father needs to look at. Something about some underwater doodad or something that goes beneath something or other. Some buildings. Beneath New York, I suppose? Not the whole but.. I don't know. A tunnel digger." She sighs briefly. "I could never keep anything that's going on on the up and up. This architecture talk is for the birds." One would think she held all the smarts, and truly she does, for the look she gives Elektra is one of knowing.

Elektra glances towards the Generals Wife as she continues to talk to the man in hushed tones. A hand was taken and knuckles were kissed.. and soon.. Elektra moves through the crowd to fraternize with the others.

Able glances over at T'Challa and gives his head a small shake. Apparently neither of them are destined for much peace tonight. He touches his brow in an old-fashioned salute.

And then he's accosted again, insulted, and called out by a name that would be better off forgotten. Unlike the King of Wakanda, the doctor isn't above beating a dignified retreat. It's a better fate that being recognized as an accused and barely exonerated war criminal.

"Even if you can't get your hands dirty," Suriel states quietly and gravely to Kathleen, "Your inheritance itself will make a great difference. But if you do take the rougher path, and they cut you off, helping those in need will be its own reward. There are many paths to service, and all of them will cost you— but to sacrifice is to serve."

There is a quality of serenity around the angel, and one might well get the sensation of great, unseen wings shutting out the world. It's quite at odds with the dapper appearance, but not his face. "Humanity has a remarkable ability both to see what is there, and to see what they want. Your insight is a gift, miss Kathleen. Whatever you choose, I know that it will be good."

How lovely that all is, how surreal and mundane in the same microcosm. T'Challa gives a simple salute, nodding; he easily turns to drop off his untouched alcohol upon a tray for someone else to worry themselves with. He moves all too easily through the club, smooth on his feet, happy to engage in another conversation with his faithful amethyst warrioress echoing his route.

Let them all watch what he can from the fringes, caught in conversation, touched by the divine.

Kaleb was young but a bright lad, He was also a superlative listener. He…really had no choice in that matter. "Yes! My father mentioned something along those lines. I heard Dubai wants to make a hostel sub-aquatic. Almost lacks imagination to stop at entertainment purposes, doesn't it?" Building underwater? Sorry guys, Kaleb's going to actually be sitting in on that meeting. There was a hint of amusement from the young architect. He wouldn't make her bore him with details she didn't want to offer and found the General giving him a nod and a solid handshake with a gesture to where his father's table was to make the hand off and lurk like a fly in the Chardonnay.

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