When a Prince and a god MET (T'Chantem & Erik)

OOC: Joint Post between GrayGladiator and Turk

Following the departure of the Avenger’s Compound on Happy’s orders, T’Chantem spent a majority of his time continuing the work on his various personal projects. While he didn’t have the usual immediate luxury of working in a laboratory, he managed to remotely continue his progress and planning via a holographic tablet. However, at the particular hour on the day, T’Chantem had scheduled to meet Erik at the entrance on the inside of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. While he had invited his teammate so that he could better familiarize and learn more about the demigod, T’Chantem also arranged the meeting to offer the same in return, as well as to gauge Erik’s thoughts on the current position of the team and its evolution. Despite the fact that the week’s events had caused the past several days to feel more as if it had been several months, T’Chantem was offered and accepted little opportunity to properly introduce himself and meet the new Avengers’ latest additions.

Rolling up the sleeves to a white button up shirt that was only half buttoned, T’Chantem fastened a silver, touch-responsive, digital watch to his left wrist, opposite of his kimoyo bead bracelet. He then proceeded to make himself decently presentable by sliding on a pair of light beige chino pants, which he secured with a black leather belt before tucking in his shirt, and lacing a pair of white leather tennis shoes. The weather had called for a light rain throughout the day, but T’Chantem easily readjusted the atmosphere with a quick thought, sending the group of dreary and gray tinted clouds further down south and out of sight. He then continued to meet his arranged ride, before arriving in front of the museum's Fifth Avenue location. The sleek, black limousine had managed to catch the attention of several bystanders, all of who T’Chantem was certain expected to meet a local celebrity, which became even more evident when a majority of the group that cared to pay attention immediately lost interest upon seeing his unrecognizable face.

Brandishing his ticket to the gentleman who non threateningly blocked his entrance into the building, he was granted permission to enter. He had also taken the liberty of personally providing Erik with a ticket as well, hoping that the gesture would cause the other to overestimate his kindness, and as a result cause him to feel more inclined to accept the invitation.

Erik had left his mother’s room with some apprehension but plenty to think about. His mom had gone a long way to ease his mind, but as always he had so much to think through. His world had changed so quickly and with so little notice over the past few months, let alone the last few days, that he still felt like he was reeling from the trip to NYC alone.

As he stepped back onto 2nd avenue he got a ping on his phone. Worried again for a second that his mom had some new info for him he hurriedly grabbed at his pocket and produced the phone. Rather than a notification from his mom it was his own alarm reading MET Team Meeting. Shit he had completely forgotten he had gotten the tickets from T'Chantem.

He quickly typed the Metropolitan Museum of Art into his maps app and started a nice jog up toward 5th, or at least he hoped that the grid of NYC wouldn't betray him. He certainly wasn't fast as Niko, but he figured he got to Central Park at a good clip, though he was slowed down once or twice by a wandering group of pedestrians and a particularly territorial pigeon. Seeing the green again brought him back to another uncertain time from the past few days and the memories of memories that weren't really his memories came back slightly but he felt more in control of them now. A few more minutes passed and he began to see the structure of the museum loom ahead of him in the distance. In truth he had planned to come here on his own at some point, his mom and him had made a list of 'places to see' while they were here. Placing one foot on the iconic front stairway he knew that she would've loved this place and made a note of the best to report back to her on.

He made his way inside to the main hall and did his best to retain a low profile. Thankfully the sheer number of people meant that not too many were ever focusing on Erik at one time. He looked down at his phone and pulled up the digital tickets as he hopped on line, still unsure of where T'Chantem or any others were and wishing the group had shared contact info at some point. Though then again he considered, as the prospect of an unfiltered stream of Theo messages would look like, maybe that not occuring was for the best.

T'Chantem patiently thumbed through a small, red pamphlet, which detailed the entirety of the museum’s every floor and hallway, of which he committed several locations and exhibits to memory. Every so often he would glance upwards, ensuring that Erik hadn’t arrived, until the young demigod finally caught his eye. It was obvious that Erik was uncomfortable being amongst the mass of people, something that T’Chantem was unable to personally relate to. He had spent his entire life in what felt like a metaphorical limelight, his every move being watched, judged, calculated, criticized, and without a single doubt, corrected. Eventually the nerves that came with being constantly assessed faded away, or at the very least T’Chantem learned how to deal with them so that they no longer served as a hindrance to his life.

“Erik, I’m happy you decided to join me,” T’Chantem greeted with a smile. He extended his arm to shake the Asgardian’s hand, maintaining a friendly and direct demeanor in hopes to soothe any disquietness in their meeting.

The Wakandan had taken him by surprise it seemed,as Erik finally seemed to pull T’Chantem’s face from the crowd just as he was right in front of him. He had hoped he might have some more time to fix himself up and work through what he was going to say in his head a few times. He wasn't quite sure if he should be bowing or not but given how no one else on the team has offered the gesture he figured it was best to stop gaping at the man and to shake his hand.

He shook with an unknowingly tight grip as he quickly tried to compose himself in the crowd. "Hey T'Chantem, glad to be here and thank you for inviting me. Is everyone else here yet or should we wait?" He looked about the room to see if he could spot the telltale signs of any other members of the team, his hand still gripped around T'Chantem's.

“Everyone else?” T’Chantem bemusingly mimicked, “I didn’t invite everyone else. This wasn’t intended to be a team assembly, as I’ve failed to notify you. It will just be you and me,” he informed. As he did so, he carefully put his other hand on top of Erik’s, slightly nudging him to encourage the other to let him go. “I invited you simply because we haven’t had an appropriate opportunity to properly meet one another, and it’s important to familiarize ourselves with our team mates. Would you like to look around a bit first? The ancient Egyptian exhibition seems intriguing.”

“Oh thats…” he looked down to his hand and realized the situation he had put himself in. He uncoupled his hand from T'Chantem's, "Sorry about that I kinda... assumed." He grinned awkwardly and scanned the room as if someone else might appear. Shit, he thought, he knew he should have read that message more closely. He was right of course, they hardly knew one another but that kinda went for everyone else on the team. He returned his gaze to T’Chantem and gave a weak smile, “Yeah sure, Egypt, sounds great, Aegyptus...uhh lead on". He hoped that this exhibit would be as good as it sounded, he needed time to think of things to say so that maybe he wouldn't put his foot in his mouth with one person on the team.

The pair moved out of the main hall and made their way, at T'Chantem's recommendation, to the Antiquity wing of the museum. Erik grabbed a map off the racks on the wall and rejoined his companion. He looked intently on the map, he hadn't figured out exactly what to talk about yet but he was mentally debating between some observation about the weather or the exhibit.

T’Chantem watched as Erik continued to glance throughout the area, allowing himself to finally confirm that they were the only two from the team who had arrived. He returned Erik’s attempt at a smile with a friendly one of his own, and upon the demigod’s confirmation, he quickly weaved a path through the crowded museum towards the first exhibit on his list. The room was less occupied than the main hall, but close enough to the entrance that people lingered throughout in collective masses. Even so, T’Chantem took his time in admiring what the display had to offer. The walls were lined with glass which protectively encased hundreds of small artifacts and ornaments, all of which were things that held their value precisely because they were antique.

However, T’Chantem’s true interest blossomed when he finally made his way towards the ruins and remnants of what were once grand walls and buildings. Hieroglyphs adorned almost every inch of stone, most of which were formed on now damaged bricks which had either been pieced back together, or partly lost to the history of the Earth itself. “I’ve visited the temples of Egypt multiple times over the years when I was studying my own culture and training. Nevertheless, I have not once failed to admire the Ancient Egyptian’s constructs and hieroglyphics. While their art and the items they used in everyday life are important in understanding much of history, it never quite interested me as much as their tombs and temples,” T’Chantem shared with Erik. He decided to break the ice with more casual and personal conversation after giving themselves time to view parts of the exhibit, in hopes to further help Erik relax into their meeting. “In Wakanda most people have a devout, yet fond relationship with the Goddess Bastet, which is one reason why understanding the Ancient Egyptians is necessary. It was during their era that Bast was primarily worshiped publicly, but over the centuries people fell out of favor with most of their gods.”

Erik followed after the prince, taking a bit of extra time to read the signage and stare a bit at each piece. As they entered the walls of hieroglyphics put a hand along the glass as they walked through, carefully considering each one. In truth he never much enjoyed trying to learn hieroglyphs, but Uncle Erik had left plenty of books around so on a few nights when his mom didn’t have any more work for him he would look into them and try and piece together the pictographic language. He could recognize a few symbols of course, but most of the context was lost to him. T’Chantem’s statement snapped him from his internal considerations however, and broken up an endless debate on conversation topics.

He appreciated the steps that the prince took to make any sort of conversation. He didn’t know much if at all about Wakanda and its people so any details were happily taken note of. “I didn’t know that your people made contact with the outside world at all, that’s interesting though that you share a belief system.” He looked over the walls again and made out a few sentences about grain and a god or something like that, before continuing, “So you and your people still worship Bastet? That’s a long time to hold onto a religion that strongly.” He looked back to the wall before realizing he might have offended him. He quickly turned back and offered in a remorseful voice, “Sorry..I don’t mean anything by that it’s just….ahh sorry.”

T’Chantem’s focus mainly shifted from admiring the museum to watching Erik. Almost instinctively he studied how the other talked, stood, walked, and overall presented himself, even to the point of paying attention to what drew Erik’s attention in the exhibit. With careful observational skills and knowledge on human interaction, one did not always have to be psychic to understand what might be richoteching throughout another’s mind. “We’ve always interacted with the outside world, just in limited ways. My grandfather and father mostly motioned the change of gradually departing from being a strictly isolated country, especially since my father took interest in philanthropy work that I attempt to continue in some aspects,” T’Chantem responded. “Even in ancient times when Wakanda first primarily began to go into solitude, my country’s people were never forbidden from intermingling with the outside -- as long as they maintained the guise of Wakanda being nothing more than a poverty stricken merchant civilization,” T’Chantem continued before addressing Erik’s astonishment to the correspondence in religion between Egyptian Mythology and Wakanda.

“Is it really? Don’t most countries follow a theology that is similar, if not directly imitated from another’s belief system? Egypt and Wakanda are distanced, but not so far apart as to avoid being introduced to one another’s cultures. It’s not too confounding that there are existing influences and parallelisms in certain cultural aspects. I don’t believe that our overarching religion itself is too similar to Egyptian mythology however. I’m honestly not cognitive as to why Bastet spread her influence to the Ancient Egyptians, but perhaps it has a relation to power. I would imagine that the existing gods sought, and currently still do seek, to be worshiped. I can’t be for certain, but if Bastet had a personal relation to the other possible primordial beings that the Ancient Egyptians worshiped, than there is the possibility that she simply followed her own pantheon,” he informed Erik. He continued to watch the other, their conversation making it easier and offering an unspoken explanation as to why T’Chantem may have focused on Erik instead of the museum, which would possibly hide the truth that T’Chantem was analyzing Erik’s mannerisms, rather than just simply focusing on his target in dialogue. T’Chantem smiled as Erik fumbled over his words, trying to sweep up a metaphorical mess that had never been created to begin with.

“I’m not offended in the slightest. How long do you think my people have followed Bast? Ancient Egypt and their mythology began roughly five thousand years ago. The rise of Hinduism a little over four thousand years, and Judaism not too far after that; both are religions that are still strongly worshiped today, and some of the largest on Earth. Not too farcical in comparison, no? Or maybe to you it is, depending on how you view theism. What if I told you that Bast’s first follower in Wakanda began worship over two mega-annums ago after being gifted by her? My people and I worship Bastet because we have never been given a reason not to. Our civilization has thrived since its creation, and ever since the first follower, the first king of Wakanda, my oldest traceable blood ancestor, was gifted by Bast herself and shown clarity in a vision, that exact same gift has been passed to the rising warriors through my familial history by her personally. How could we not believe, when Bast has done nothing but endlessly shown her existence to us firsthand for millions of years? Wouldn’t you believe something that you could not only feel or sense, but actually physically see, touch, hear, and experience with your basic and primary senses? In truth, I believe that following Bast is one of the most logical religions still in existence, which is why it has existed for so long. We aren’t conditioned to believe simply because of stories about Bast or told to be hypersensitive towards miniscule signs that she might be showing us. Her power literally runs through the veins and flows through the spirits of my lineage that is set to be chosen by her, and eventually I will be chosen as well,” T’Chantem explained. It wasn’t his intention to particularly enlighten Erik to his personal beliefs, but he did attempt to give a cerebral explanation and reason to his history and style of living.

Initially relieved that he hadn't caused any offense to the prince, every bit of information was eagerly taken in by the Asgardian. Of course he had heard of the Black Panther and some events in the news that brought Wakanda up on the local news cycles back in Oklahoma, but the Wakandan culture was such a mystery to the world. Inwardly he was honored by the opportunity to learn, but he tried his best to hide his excitement lest it make T’Chantem feel awkward or believe he had overshared. Erik considered this further as they made their way out of the hieroglyphs and into a larger area featuring more late kingdom and early Greek figures. "That makes sense. I mean when the gods provide a tangible effect it would certainly be hard for any reformation movements to exist.” He looked over the room again and began to gravitate toward one statue of a seated pharaoh and his queen “Must be nice though…” he was quiet for a bit as he looked over the figures, standing together in power. It was old and dusty but still held much of the grace and form that was to be expected of a leader. He wondered briefly what that feeling was, to have those that followed your orders without question and cared to your every whim at the drop of a hat, surely T'Chantem would know something about that. “But wait…” Erik looked with light confusion to T’Chantem, “You say you aren’t chosen yet, but with your..” He decided to avoid the subject, “Aren’t you technically already king?”

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