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

OOC: Continuation of the Joint Post between GrayGladiator and Turk

As the pair moved on to the next portion of the exhibit, T’Chantem finally stopped analyzing Erik, which had eventually started to look more akin to staring, and instead focused on the art he hadn’t planned to observe. “Technically I am not King until the completion of the crowning ceremony,” T’Chantem corrected, however he was still able to piece together Erik’s intentions of what he was asking, and continued to clarify. “Fifteen years ago, when our parents suddenly vanished, most of their adversaries were vanquished along with them. As a result, Wakanda has no longer seen need for an elite warrior gifted with Bastet’s abilities, and so another was never tested to be chosen. The Black Panther serves as the protector of Wakanda and as a nonpareil warrior, sometimes they are also the head and ruling monarch depending on the circumstance. When there is no competition or threat to protect the country from, there is no need for someone to ask Bast for more power than what is necessary. I was groomed my entire life to eventually be offered her gift, but my schedule hasn’t always gone to plan recently. It was intended that I would leave for Wakanda over a week ago to possibly approach her, and I also planned to make arrangements to leave today, but alas my duty brings me elsewhere, so instead I am now here; talking to you,” T’Chantem responded. Erik wasn’t the only person on the team, or that T’Chantem had met throughout his life, who fretted over offending him, and so T’Chantem had learned that at times he had to choose his words carefully to avoid any misinterpretations of slight aggression or annoyance. “This was my own choice of course, there was nothing or no one, other than myself, stopping me from leaving, but it is important that I help the team while we are beginning,” T’Chantem further clarified.

“Nevertheless, it has become increasingly more obvious that threats will ultimately return and attempt to send the world into peril, and I want to be properly prepared for when they finally do. After all, if we are now fully grown and prepared to take our parent’s place, than there is undoubtedly those contrary to us, who are now preparing and ready to fill the voids left behind by those who opposed them.” With his final statement, T’Chantem looked back to Erik who was now looking at him.

“Oh uhh..wow...thank you for sharing that...that’s...wow.” It gave Erik a brief inward respite that perhaps not everyone’s life besides his was sunshine and rainbows with the new superhero gig but T’Chantem’s intensity was something else as well. Every moment they spoke he could feel like his eyes were probing him. Now this was hardly a new sensation with the team, but with Theo you could tell it was on his ass, but with T’Chantem it felt more predatorial, and it gave him some pause as they now faced one another.

“Follow me to the Lehman collection,” T’Chantem instructed before heading towards the American Wing. While the prince didn’t mind sharing details about his culture, he primarily didn’t invite Erik to meet with him to discuss his and Wakanda’s personal endeavors. Instead, T’Chantem was more concerned about Erik’s behavior, more specifically his behavior and hesitation on the battlefield.

“If you don’t mind me asking, I’ve noticed something about you,” T’Chantem began as the two continued to walk, “Back at the compound when we first arrived, why did you hesitate to fight?” T’Chantem questioned. Ever since he had stopped Erik from backing into him in an attempt to remove himself from the conflict, T’Chantem had spent time hypothesizing on Erik’s disinclination towards combat in the heat of the moment.

Erik stopped following in the hallway at the question and went red. “Oh well...I mean...I wouldn’t say I didn’t…I definitely fought it’s just…..” He looked away from T’Chantem toward the sides of the hallway where he hoped some art might be to distract him. Of course they seemed to be in the one hallway of the MET with no damn art and so he ended up staring at a blank wall. Damn it if this was going to be his excuse he had to commit to it, “Hey wasn’t...you think when they paint the hallways they take some kind of special care with…..you know with the paint? I mean you have everything else here and it’s...it’s all fancy so…” He placed both hands on his sides and looked over the wall with some new faux fascination, red covering his face as he avoided the subject about as well as anyone could expect he would.

T’Chantem initially wasn’t pleased with Erik stopping before they had even broken the halfway point to their next destination. However, his concern shifted when Erik began to speak. He remained stoic throughout Erik’s response, and almost lifted an eyebrow when he was finally finished speaking. “When I ask a question, I expect a real answer,” T’Chantem flatly stated. He didn’t want to force Erik into revealing anything that he wasn’t comfortable with, but when the secrets he kept could greatly affect the outcome in the midst of a battle, there was more to take into consideration than one’s personal feelings. “You definitely did fight, but that isn’t the issue. Hesitation in battle could not only cost you your own life, but someone else’s as well,” T’Chantem took a moment to notice Erik’s reddened face before quickly continuing. “My intentions are not to force you into an uncomfortable situation, but if I noticed your incertitude, if even for just a moment, what would stop an enemy from noticing and acting on it as well? You may be next to invulnerable, which is something I’m sure you know, and you are most certainly raw power wrapped in impenetrable flesh and unbreakable bones, but the rest of us aren’t. There is going to be a time when we need you, and I need to be able to trust that I can depend on you when that situation arises. You don’t have to tell me anything, I’m not your king, but I am asking as your teammate, as someone you should feel that you owe this to, to communicate with me. I know that I am a stranger, but I am trying my best not to be, and if you won’t cooperate, than why are you here other than to get in the way?” T’Chantem asked, naturally keeping his composure.

In his experience with diplomacy, T’Chantem learned not only how to stay calm when in opposition, but also the importance of keeping a level head when challenging another’s presentation. He wasn’t necessarily angry or annoyed with Erik, or with any of his actions, but he most certainly needed the other to see his true intentions, and understand that what he was trying to accomplish was only for their benefit. “I’m trying to help, and as a team that means being there for one another and working together.”

Erik briefly met T'Chantem's eyes and then looked down to the floor, "I know you are, everyone is. I mean that's the reason I joined the team after all," He raised his arms and looked over his hands, "to hopefully get all this under control." He paused and thought over the prince's words again and measured his own response. He exhaled softly and continued "I'm not..I'm not afraid to fight, okay? I'm just worried about what I might accidentally do because I'm not trained or able to restrain anything I do."

T’Chantem didn’t waste a moment responding to Erik before beckoning him to continue walking with a slight tilt of his head. He refused to have another word of their conversation in front of an artless wall in the middle of an empty hallway in one of the world’s largest and most renowned institutions for art."It's starting to sound a lot like you are afraid, because 'afraid' is the word you decided to use, not me. If you are interpreting what I said as accusing you of being afraid, therefore you more than likely are. If you are worried, than you aren't too far from being afraid, and it will essentially lead to the same results when in action," T'Chantem replied. It was anything but a surprise to him that Erik was poorly trained, if trained at all; not everyone had the responsibility of being a warrior for their country resting on their shoulders, and the lifetime of preparation that came with it. "If you don't feel adequate enough to participate in conflict with the team, than that is a concern that we need to be aware of, because we need to ensure that you are prepared to deal with the various obstacles we will face. It will be far too late if that realization doesn’t come until we are on the battlefield, and we die because of it. Do you understand the point I am trying to get across? This is real, and we can’t always afford to make mistakes. If and when, we are faced with a true adversary, there will be no hesitation from them. They will take every opportunity to exploit our every mistake, miscalculation, or lack of judgment, and the price will be at its heaviest. I suggest you begin training with someone as soon as possible, and learn how to be comfortable with yourself. The team isn’t a group of nannies, none of us can afford to constantly check over our shoulder for anyone in the middle of combat, not even you, not while we have actual powerless people to protect,” T’Chantem sternly lectured.

Thorson followed silently as he was scolded, shoulder low and now disinterested in the art around them. Of course he agreed with everything that T'Chantem said, and it only compiled on to his already poor mood. He offered his explanation as weakly as he felt inside, "I know...I'm sorry about that. I didn't think I'd be fighting or doing anything besides train when I joined up. I'm... I'm going to work on it I promise." He looked off to the side and over a painting and tried to think over a plan. He just felt like shit though.

Taking notice of Erik’s intense change in demeanor, T’Chantem led them to a less crowded area, detouring them from their destination before stopping and turning to face the now sullen demigod. He wasn’t entirely sure how to respond to Erik’s vivid display of despondency. He wasn’t a Wakandan soldier, someone who was used to taking constructive, if even harsh, criticism, and even if soldiers didn’t like being criticized, they weren’t permitted to show so, and T’Chantem at least knew that they understood the cause. However, neither was Erik a child, so T’Chantem couldn’t afford to coddle him or his feelings, especially if they were going to be working future missions together.

“Look at me,” T’Chantem ordered, unfamiliar with asking people to listen to his commands. He waited until Erik raised his eyes to meet his, “I’m only telling you this because I care that we stay protected. You, me, the team, the millions of citizens we are doing this for. Don’t apologize for anything, I’m not upset with you, just concerned for you. I don’t mean to make any assumptions, but you’ve probably heard similar before, correct? From people that care about you? I understand that you may be a bit misinformed about what your purpose in joining the team was, but hopefully some of that has become more clear in recent days. Now that you know we are faced with real and impending danger, the only thing you can do is prepare yourself to handle that, or leave,” T’Chantem informed. He did his best to maintain eye contact with Erik, in hopes to show that he was still serious and that a single word was not to go wasted. “I am willing to help you if you so desire, but I won’t come to you asking,” T’Chantem then offered.

Erik's face eased to a small smile. "I'd really appreciate that. I know what we were getting into and I'm on board to handle that...I just don't want to cause problems by being thrown in there too early." His shoulders eased up and his frame overall loosened. T'Chantem was certainly intense, intimidatingly so, but he was certainly looking out for everyone. "I mean...I'm not going to ask you for some kind of karate kid or Creed training stuff... but maybe if you wanted to show me how to actually fight?" He scratched the back of his head as he tried to think of some kind of fair compensation, "I can probably take a few hits so you can practice all your crazy stuff on me and I can see what I pickup if that works for you? I mean we don't need to start now or anything, we should probably get back to the compound where there's space for it...and really whenever is good for you I mean I don't want to intrude on anything you have going on at the moment so like…" He collected himself from the runaway train of ideas, "Can we maybe talk about logistics while we look at the gallery? Or maybe we can just not do that and talk about anything else, I don't mean to sound rude but I don't know anything about you and I'm about to ask you for a big favor."

"I mean...I've been told about the files that everyone has and I figure you know some stuff about me on there but I didn't and so uhh, I don't mean to sound rude about this but..I don't actually know your full name?" Erik's seemed a bit frantic at this thought as though years of etiquette training via a stern mother had come rearing its head, which was convenient because that's exactly what had happened.

T’Chantem took a moment to listen as Erik rambled on, listing a few concerns and offering several suggestions. “I’ve never read any files about you, and I don’t care to. I don’t need to read a file when I have the real you in front of me. I would much prefer to learn about you, as well as the others, first hand,” T’Chantem informed him before guiding him back through the halls of the museum. “We can talk the specifics on the way over to the Lehman collection, you aren’t a punching bag and you shouldn’t allow yourself to be treated as one. You won’t learn a fighting style by only watching and trying to imitate unless you have an adoptive muscle memory. You are also not asking as big of a favor as you may think, but I do obviously believe that we should be better acquainted. Outside of Wakanda I prefer to be referred to as Prince T’Chantem Munroe, however simply T’Chantem or Prince T’Chantem will suffice between us.”

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