Ramonda flees. With both arms, she cradles Shuri tight to her chest, heart beating wildly below.
Her child in dead. T'Challa is dead, killed by the cousin they never knew existed. It is only for Okoye and her quick thinking that they have even managed to escape at all. Her mind is in turmoil, all she can recall is the stricken features of her eldest child moments before he disappeared, thrown to the crushing water during ritual combat. The boy had offered her child a chance to yield but T'Challa, her brave and good son had refused. Undoubtedly aware of what will happen should he fail.
Only now, T'Challa is dead and that outsider sits upon the throne. Where can she even go? The tribes now answer to the outsider who sits upon their throne, whose first act had been to have her husband arrested. Ramonda tries to not think too hard upon that, her innards already alive with fury whenever she considers her husband right this moment. He had known. He had known N'Jobu had a child; there's some dark secret there, some kind of vileness that she's been protected from. Only, that protection has cost her T'Challa.
Sobs wreck her body but Ramonda pushes onwards, stumbling through the wildness as Shuri sleeps against her shoulder. There are ring blades clipped to her belt, a Heart-shaped Herb hastily stuffed into the bag Okoye had given her. She's not sure what is supposed to become of this; her husband too old to fight the outsider, no other of royal blood barring… Barring Shuri. But it will be years before she will be old enough to fight, years in which the outside could tear Wakanda apart with his ignorant ways. It cannot be meant for her either; Ramonda may know how to fight, but she is well aware she would not be capable of besting the outsider. T'Challa was the best of all of them… and he is gone. No, her precious son should have been able to win, he should have triumphed in ritualistic combat. For all that the outsider is well-trained, he is no true Wakanda. They are advanced in every way when compared against the outside world; in technology, economy, politics and social ways. In hand-to-hand combat. No, her son had been compromised by the accusations that had been slung at his father. For all that he is an outsider, N'Jadaka is smart, that much is clear.
Stopping for breath, Ramonda removes the tear stains from her cheeks, forcibly stills her shaking limbs. She has to remain strong. Shuri is depending on her. Maybe the future of Wakanda does as well. She's not sure; other than vengeance for the death of his father (for 'panther claws in his chest' is descriptive enough), she has no idea what N'Jadaka wishes for. What he envisions now that he sits upon the throne of the most powerful country in the world. But surely it cannot be anything good. Perhaps she may take some comfort in knowing it is her husband that is the current focus of his anger. For all that she loves T'Chaka, she is always aware the outside has desires on his vengeance before he moves on for whatever master plan he has. If she knows her husband, he shall delay the bastard for as long as possible. It will give her time. For what, Ramonda is unsure. She has nowhere to go, all the tribes are no longer loyal to her… yet, there is on tribe that has never been sworn to them. Just like the Jabari never agreed to follow the lead of her husband, they will not swear to the outsider either.
How terrible that they have become her best bet. With any luck, their newly installed leader will allow her an audience. It is, after all, her only option now.
With the power of the Heart-shaped Herb bubbling through his veins and mind spinning with his own trip to the ancestral plains, Erik stalks through the door before him, the Dora watching hi with shrewd, traitorous eyes. Yet, they're bound to their own fucked up rules; he won the ritual combat, he's king now. Not the fucker than sits in the chair before him, head in hands. Now that it's finally here, now that he's finally in the position where he can extract his revenge, Erik finds himself at a complete loss of just how to do it. Sure, he'd spent years imagining it. He has so many different scenarios pictured in his mind, so many different ways he could avenge his Baba's murder. Words weigh heavy, the features of his father's face bathed in that mystical purple light. He pushes the thoughts away again, not yet ready to begin reviewing all that occurred within the ancestral plains. Not yet. Not when he can finally look his father's murder in the eye and ask that one question. Why. Why the fuck would he kill his own brother, his own blood? What one thing could push him to that extreme? He knows his father's crimes now, even though they have yet to sink into his bones. Why the fuck did those violations tar him with the same brush? Why the fuck were they enough for this fucker to kill his Pops. It's getting to the point where he's done with questions, where he just wants to scream in inarticulate rage.
No. He will come at this with a cool head. He's the one with all the power here. It doesn't matter the fucker has years of life experience on him. He's also ignorant to the way the world works out there, to the great game of life that Erik had learnt to play, to own. Now he knows how to grind to rack up the most points; he's the master at it. Wakanda's segregated itself; both it and its people will have no idea just how to deal with him.
Former King T'Chaka, his uncle and his father's murderer, still has yet to lift his head. To look him in the fucking eye. Erik's not gonna push, he's happy to wait right now. It means more mental anguish for the fucker; that's nothing but good for him. So, he drops into one of the extravagantly large chairs, sprawling until his muscles can loosen, until he can roll his shoulders back and just… exist. He's here, finally in Wakanda. All the stress of the outside world, all his SEAl missions, all the fuckers who he'd had to put up with and all the hoops they'd made him jump through; none of it matters anymore.
The scrappy white girl's outta reach too. That's a subject he doesn't wish to dwell on too much right now so Erik pushes the thought of her (green eyes, scarred brow and unfinished business) away. He's tired of waiting, actually. He wants to bask, to revel in his glory and his triumph. He doesn't want to wait for the fucker that's coming to terms with the fact his actions have led to his son's murder. Perhaps there's a bit of regret there for Erik; his cuz hadn't known the truth, it'd been written all over his face. And Erik had used him, abused that trust in family and blood in order to usurp his place as the Black Panther and forcibly take the throne from his father too. 'S not T'Challa's fault he got stuck with a shitty father. At least he had one.
"A son without a father, and now a father without a son. See what ya own actions have brought about?" Erik's head tilts to a side, eyes narrowing; embodying the panther name he now lays claim to. His peoples' protector. Who does he classify as his people? Certainly not the people of Wakanda; those that abandoned him, however ignorantly they did so. No, it is all his black brothers and sisters. It is his job to protect them, his job to defend them. To lift the oppression that chains them down. "I grew up alone, no parents because the system took one and you murdered the other! Was it worth it? Now that it's all come back 'round, was it fucking worth it?!" T'Chaka doesn't answer and the rage coils in Erik's limbs, snapping and reforming again and again. He has to get out of here. He thought he'd been ready for this, thought he'd been ready for this confrontation but there's a million and one things he wants to say but he's only got one mouth. It keeps getting clogged, fights for the advantage until there's nothing that can escape his lips.
Shooting to his feet, Erik storms for the door, throwing it open and ignoring the horrific bang it makes against the wall as it swings 'round. He's too furious, too angry, too fucking raw to be dealing with this shit right now. He needs time, he needs to get his head on straight. Leaving T'Chaka to rot in his guilt and agony will do for now. Let him torture himself before Erik takes his lump of flesh.
He doesn't know whose room he decides to take over, if it belonged to his cuz, his father, or some other male relative. He knows it's not his uncle's; he made sure the king was separated from his own room and stuffed in one the Dora could keep an eye on, made sure he got the guards to highlight just which room belonged to the former king. He's got that on watch too. His cold auntie seems to have disappeared with the wind, taking his other cuz (the only one still alive) with her. That he does feel bad for; the girl shouldn't have had to lose her brother, but what about life is fair? He shouldn't have lost his mother, she should have never been left to rot in jail for a crime she didn't commit but the system hadn't cared. No one had. No one had cared when his Pops had passed. Not until Erik had shone so fucking bright that he'd seared himself into their brains.
Dropping onto the bed, Erik tears the boots from his feet, flexing his toes as the African air kisses up at sweaty soles. He's running on three hours sleep still and it's been far too long since he last put his head down. He tentatively has the country's loyalty, the tribes' loyalty, as declared by the rules of ritual combat. How long that will last though, given his status as an outsider, Erik cannot begin to guess.
He needs to plan, needs to cram in as much knowledge of the place that should have been his homeland as he can. He cannot afford any fuck-ups, not when he's just destabilised an otherwise secure monarchy. First the country needs stability before he goes about installing any other plans. It would have been a different if the country had already been in turmoil. However, he is the upset. Right now, smoothing things over so that is no longer the case is his first priority. Reclining back into the comforts of the mattress, Erik laughs in irritation. It's far too fucking soft to ever be of any comfort to him.
Snatching up a pillow, he makes for the most defensible position in the room, throwing the covers down the floor. Perhaps someday he'll get used to life's luxuries. Today is not that day.
"Baba." His arms as strong, wrap around him just like in his memories. He's a child again, a child with a father long since lost. All that differs is the purpurate light they are bathed in, seeping in through windows that had once looked upon a broken-down basketball court.
"You have made it home. Yet, I fear you are still lost."
"But how can I be lost, Baba, if I am home? This is my chance, the chance to help all those like us. To save them, like my mother, like you, like me, never had been."
"N'Jadaka, my son…"
Rubbing her eyes as she stumbles out of the airport, Harrie Potter squints against the burning sunlight of Hong Kong. It's bright, though the air remains cold in the throes of winter. Huddling deeper into the thick material of her coat, she tightens her grip on the handle of her suitcase and sets off.
Peering with blurry eyes against the dazzling expanse of glass and metalwork, Harrie hails a cab and then slumps into the backseat, luggage pulled up into the footwell beside her. It's been... probably a day since she last saw Erik. Since she saw him disappear into the sky on that spacecraft-like aeroplane that is cousin had arrived in. She has no idea what he's doing right now, no idea if he's alright and happy and if he's found what he's so desperately been seeking. All she knows is that he's alive. Her fingers trace over her soulmark, exposed by the sweater-sleeves that're rolled up to the elbows. Some of the words she can read, some of them she doesn't have a hope of understanding. For example, one of the markings on the deathstick has changed, but since it's not in parseltongue, she doesn't have a hope of understanding just what it has changed into.
Perhaps she's a little strange, documenting each change to her soulmark, taking photos every month and logging them in an album but... as a child, it'd been the only thing keeping her sane. That promise of someone, somewhere out there, being perfectly matched for her. Someone the universe had decided deserved her, and someone who she deserved to be connected with. Checking the markings, copying them down, it'd been what kept her going. Then, then she'd met Erik. She hadn't even known his name for the first few weeks. She's still not quite sure how old he actually is, other than the fact he can't be that much older than her. She's met him as a gangly teen, after all. She's seen him grow through their meeting place and, although she doesn't have any actual pictures, she does have the memories. His facial expressions don't change that much, ranging from bored to pissed to disgruntled to solemn. The rare tweaks of genuine amusement is something she lives for. Like back with the turkey leg joke; it's taken her a while to come up with it, but the look on his face has been so worth it.
It's strange, really. When she'd first met, Harrie had seen Erik as what she deserved. At that point, she'd been an outcasted weirdo, hated by most of the school for an element of herself she couldn't control and certainly never asked for. He'd hated her for the tone of her skin and Harrie... she hadn't been sure how to deal with that. She still isn't. Though she's starting to suspect that Erik is realising skin-tone doesn't matter. Even if this personal development has taken long years of constant exposure to her spectacular self.
"English then? Are you going anywhere, Lady?" Startling, Harrie swears as her elbow makes contact with the doorframe at that awful angle that jolts the funny-bone.
"Shit. Yeah, sorry. Nearest five star hotel, please."
The hotel room is amazing, as she's come to expect by now. Harrie is not a good person; that much is evident in the way she pictures Aunt Petunia's face upon learning jus this her hated niece is living her life. Maybe she should take a photo to send Dudley as a late Christmas card. In fact, that's exactly what she's going to do right now.
Still dressed to the nines, Harrie sets up a camera on one of the shelves, adjusts the tasteful jewellery that frames her neck and clavicles, posing up against the huge glass windows. The expense of Hong Kong and it's setting sun are all that outline her form. It's a good phot, she knows it before she already sees it. But even the thought of Petunia frosting at the mouth isn't helping here. All she can think about is Erik. Again.
Groaning, Harrie throws herself back into the bed, stretching out into its butter-soft, air-freshened comforts. God, it's so incredibly gentle on her back, it's like sleeping on a cloud but without the water vapour. Perfect. Peeling the necklace from her throat, Harrie drops it into the handbag, ignoring the empty suitcase that she dumped by the door as soon as she came in. It's for aesthetic purposes only. After all, everything she needs is housed within her handbag, a lesson she'd learnt from Hermione. So what if it's filled with jewellery and fashionable clothes and three more racing brooms than she actually needs? Harrie fought a war. She's dedicating her life to helping people. She can afford to splash some of her own cash on herself too just because she's out here helping people make their lives better, doesn't mean she cannot treat herself too. Being a good person doesn't mean letting go of everything that makes her happy and if she can get some joy from material things, then why not? Once she grows tired of it, she'll sell it on or donate it to a good cause.
"I cannot stay focused today." The words slip from her mouth without any due thought but they're painstakingly true. Hariel Potter is struggling to keep her mind focused on anything but the one thing that is bugging her. Eyes once again drifting back to her soulmark, Harrie runs her fingers across the dark syntaxes, tracing over the 'magic' and 'Marauder' markings that make up the invisibility cloak signifier. She prays those two never leave, they're an intricate part of what she is, two key definitions. A witch, a bring of pure magic. A Marauder, the daughter/goddaughter of one.
Harrie's fingers halt on a new word, stomach dropping. Erik better be in their meeting place tonight.
She wants a solid explanation on why 'king' has suddenly appeared on her wrist.