Into the Sea! And Other Times, to See

Summary:
March 13, 2015: Arthur and Namor meet alter the fate of Atlantis and it's people.

Atlantic Ocean, Poseidonis Capital City of Atlantis

The Ocean Depths


Characters

NPCs

  • Vulko

Mood Music:
[*<http://insert.video.or.music.link.here>]


It's been a week. To say that Namor wasn't high on the list of priorities would have been incorrect, and to say that Aquaman hasn't been busy would be just… well stupid. Still. It's been a week. A week since the start of the halted invasion, a week since the vanguard of the Atlantean military began it's assault on the surface world. A week since Namor, who's done little /but/ antagonize the surface, very nearly saw the beginning of a third world war. Only this time it was one that had been preparing for the engagements for nearly three millennia. It may have been a war, more likely a genocide. A week. Vulko, reputedly Arthur's right hand during and after the crisis of his 'death', came personally to find Namor, seeking him out doggedly and with a polite request asked Namor to join Arthur in conversation. Vulko is an older man, looking older still as of late, but he has the arms and eyes of a one time warrior, a fervor that all the bowing and obescience in the world cannot hide from Namor's keen eyes. The sort of man it would be hard to win over one would suspect.

The throne room is devoid of life with a brain large enough to process anything greater then basic want/need equations, except of course for the King sitting upon it. Arthur is slumped slightly in the throne, his trident propped against the arm of the throne idly and in the water there's the stale scent of blood, the fading remnants of Aquaman's wounds he's not yet rested enough to let heal. The room has been drained of water for the meeting, a pocket of air for the two half-breeds to speak in. Upon his entrance Arthur pulls himself up from the throne, dark circles under his eyes and nods, "Namor." he says conversationally before nodding to Vulko who closes the doors behind him with a soft thud. "As you know sound carries differently in the air then water, this is one of the most effective anti-listening technologies my fore-bearers ever invented. Simply …" he waves a hand at the mostly waterless room, save a few puddles. He comes down off the dais, "We may be here a little while, would you care for something before we begin?" He moves stiffly, but not gingerly, and leaves the trident where it rests not bothering to bring it down with him.


Namor's arrival in Poseidonis is just short of a phenomenon. A once in a human lifespan event as his own people, the blue-skinned Atlanteans who developed around the Antarctic after the Cataclysm that destroyed Atlantis have been severed from the 'pink skinned' homo mermanus for countless years.
Emissaries and refugees are the extent of the 'Southern Tribe' Atlanteans presence in the capital of Arthur's domain.
Namor is in full regalia for this visit, which means little more than bracers, leg cuffs that are a current fashion fad and the black and gold uniform with his own symbol of a trident on the buckle. He is even adorned in bits of scaled and plate armor, a helmet as well. One would think he was headed to a very fancy war.
"Arthur."
A hand rises up and he waves off the offer for anything, "I have eaten and require no drink."


Aquaman nods as he moves across the room to a cleared spot in the center of the room. He waves a hand and from the coral floor a table rises into the air, growing from the ground and taking on the Atlantean design sensibilities, namely that of crustacean like smooch exo plating. Arthur leans on the table and stares into it, the water there begins to form images, a sort of liquid 3D display, a playback of the events on the beach. He lets it run, saying nothing, his expression hardening behind his beard into one of titanium rage as he watches the goings on. He waves his hand again, fast forwarding, going more and more quickly through the images as the water splashes about, forming the events that took place in Metropolis. "Stop." he says firmly, his voice echoing in the empty room. The image freezes in place, showing Namor slamming into the great war machine that on it's own could have laid waste to Metropolis in a single well aimed bombardment. Arthur stares at it, then shakes his head slightly at the image of the crab creature stumbling, the shot that should have leveled a dozen buildings or more only managing to drop one, the secondary salvo that killed dozens, but not hundreds or thousands as it could have. He makes another motion and the shot pans out, showing the battlefield whole. Arthur begins removing forms from the board, his soldiers, the heroes, a particularly vicious swipe of his hand splatters his brother onto the floor and out of the bowl like table entirely. It leaves just the city, Namor, and the biotech war behemoth.

Arthur shakes his head, "Incredible." he says simply, his expression settling into a small frown. "Do you know how many lives you saved?" he asks, then waves away any answer that was to come, "By our estimates that one blow, right there, saved roughly thirty-two thousand lives. That one." he points. "There." He then looks over to Namor, "I couldn't have done it." he says simply, shaking his head. "I don't have the strength needed, can't fly either much to my chagrin. If that had been me, not you, that single salvo would have leveled most of the business district of Metropolis. Sky scrapers would have dropped like trees, killing everyone below, like dominoes dropping the buildings around them, which would have dropped others. Chain reaction. The cost in the lives of first responders to the tradgety would have netted another five thousand, minimum, over the course of the next year. The toxins released, the disease that came from the corpses another ten to fifteen thousand." he walks away from the table, leaving the image up in place, "With that one blow you saved more lives then you've ended in the last seventy years of your life combined. One blow."


"Humans." Namor says with a disconnected and rather cold tone. "The fallout from such an action saved Atlantean lives. That is where my concern lies." As if catching himself the hybrid's jaw ticks and a brow lifts higher, "It was necessary."
The Sub-Mariner does not hate humans, he will actually save them should he deem it necessary but his focus is his people, their people, he can count on both hands in all of his years and adventures to the surface the amount of humans worthy of respect and notice, amongst that number majority of them dead now.
"It was a learning experience, however, to say the least. I seen myself in Orm, the destruction he wrought, the terror on the faces of the masses, our own and those of the surface. I no longer wish to be that monster and I see in you, a certain… " A lip quirk and it looks like the man is choosing his words carefully, "humanity that Atlantis could use, these are a new times, a time of change and the surface is now witness to much of our might. We are not simply a myth or a childhood story… " This is obviously a struggle for the prideful and often arrogant Southerner. "Your leadership is better suited for these times. Which brings us to this moment now."


Aquaman nods his head, "Yes. Humans." Arthur agrees, "But lives none the less." Arthur tilts his head to the side, somewhat surprised by this, "Well." he says, blinking, "Then I think this will make what I have to say a bit easier." he offers a small hopeful smile. "I admire your passion and your conviction Namor, like my brother, you put Atlantis first and everything else second and there is a simplicity to that point of view that appeals to me in ways I know you understand. Part of me, a large part, /wanted/ something like this to happen. Not /this/ but… something." he shakes his head, "Orm, like you, possessed boundless conviction, infinite passion, but where he fell short and where I see the promise in you is in temperance, wisdom. If you knew how many times I've wanted to-" he makes a motion of crushing something in his hand but stops before he's made a fist, "but my life is not mine. It belongs to my people, and they are not served by an emotional King, nor by a robotic emotionless automaton. There is middle ground, passion and strength tempered by reason and mercy. It is a razor's edge… but it is there. Orm never understood that. He believed all things were best served by ruthless strength and passionate submission. I love my brother, even now, but…" Arthur's shoulders slump a little and there's visible wear on him. The injuries he's suffered, the war, the clean up that's only just begun, he's not a man easily tired but clearly he's exhausted.

"But Orm can never sit upon this throne." Arthur lets his hand rest upon the arm of the chair from where he stands a few steps down, his eyes staring up at the throne with a mingling of resentment and resolve. "And I will not live forever." he draws his hand back and touches his chest, "As we are all now very aware of." he offers a small grin, "So I have an offer to make. Currently Atlantis is without an heir, and as much as I love my wife it is unlikely Atlantis will accept her on a whole because of her heritage, even our half-breeding is preferable to most of them over a Xebelean. Which means a Crown Prince is required. Eventually Mera and I may conceive a child of our own, and on that day I believe this conversation can be raised again, however, until then, I would like you to fill the role. Until here," he motions with a hand at the image still frozen in the table, "I feared what an Atlantis ruled by you could become. You were so rash, so angry, so…" he huffs, "Orm." he offers an apologetic look for the use of the 'adjective', "But this has changed my mind. I have seen some of the work you did during the second World War, my connections with the old league opened many doors, and this here confirmed my hopes making them greater then my fears." he walks over to the table again and makes a motion with his hand, zooming the image down and fast-forwarding it once more, this time to an image of Namor helping wounded Atlanteans off of the beach, of him leading soldiers to the water, carrying corpses over his shoulders, "Hope." he says, freezing the image again. "I know it's something of a demotion from King of New Atlantis, but I was wondering if you might be willing to adopt the title of Crown Prince of the Atlantean Empire instead. Smaller title, somewhat… larger job requirements."


"From King of a dying people of lost times to Prince of a new era." Namor vocalizes, to himself and to Aquaman it would seem. "Admittedly I am diffused amongst my own people, like my cousin Byrrah and Kang there are other minds who would wish me ill within my own." A long stare is given the display and what Arthur presents, images of him aiding during the fall of Orm.
"I am still a rash, impulsive and brutal man, you understand this I presume and I had come to tell you, threaten you even, that should you fall or fail again I will take the crown from you. " Which in that alone says he had come to actually swear allegiance in some extent, "Your wisdom is beyond your years, Arthur Curry." A drawn out pause, an inward look and a sifting through thoughts and quite possibly emotions beyond rage and turbulent energies and he speaks again, "King Arthur Curry."
A hand extends, forearm presented for a clasp, "This I give, do not yet expect me to be so humbled by your words and towheaded presence that I would bow. You have yet to earn that but I accept and I shall pledge the Southern Tribes to the united Kingdom of Atlantis under your name."
"No… Empire of Atlantis." A wry half-smile forms.


Aquaman snorts at that, "Wise? No. Not yet otherwise this debacle never would have happened." he reaches out and clasps Namor's forearm with his own, "But Posieden willing, one day. Soon." he offers a small smile, "And Princes do not bow in my throne room, not if they are of my family. Welcome to court Namor, Crown Prince of Atlantis. Perhaps I could use a little bit of your fire to goad me from my oft times to cautious nature… and hopefully you'll learn to be /somewhat/ more temperate." he smirks, "But lets not set the bar to high for either us, eh?" he claps Namor on the shoulder and lets out a breath, "I admit, I had feared you and I would not agree on this point and things may have become somewhat… ugly. I'm in no shape for a brawl, was not looking forward to being hurled from my own throne room." he offers a wider grin and releases Namor.

"Now!" he says, walking over to the table and waving his hand anew, "Let's discuss the rewards of royalty. Starting with our people, your once lonely subjects and the new addition to my somewhat crowded list." he moves his hands in complicated gestures, "I am not certain what you wish done, but I have drawn up a few options in case we got this far. I have a team of engineers and shipwrights standing by if you wish for your people to continue living in your fleet." he draws up some repair and refitting plans that are clearly only half finished but clearly show signs of having been worked on. They're all of Namor's ships. "I have architects and engineers prepared to return with you to your home and begin repairs upon the damaged structures there if you prefer that." he shows a few 'new' city plans also halfway done, mostly conception work, of what Namor's destroyed home could look like once more. "Or," Arthur offers and he lets out a small breath, "there is this." he draws in a new image. There is a city-state of rather sizable proportions in the image, it's a bit decrepit, but not destroyed, just hold and in need of care. The image isn't a concept or a plan, it's a recording of something that stands now. "This was Tritonis, once upon a time. We lost it to the sea, according to our records, some eight hundred years ago. There is little recordings explaining why, but none live there now." he shoots Namor a look and nods his head in the 'we both know what that means' kinda way, "So most likely a sea monster lives there now. The buildings are intact, the structures are sound. It requires some work, clearly, but it could be a prosperous home for you and your people if you can tame it." he grins, "There's even a palace." he spins the images around to show the domed structure with it's arching spires. "The sea there is untouched for a long while, it is rich with promise and needs only a hand to guide it and people to work it. I know your people are mostly warriors and I would not take that from them. If they wish to serve, they are welcome in the military, but if they wish for a home, a place of their own, I will happily give you any of these options or listen to a third if you have one."


"So be it brothers we are from this day onward. Under Poseidon's very gaze… and yes, I prefer you be at full strength when we clash. That day is not this one." The hand withdrawn and Namor turns to the viewer once more, arms folding across his muscled chest and fists tucking in to biceps. "Kamuu is poisoned by the surfacers weapons and Tha-Korr is lies in wreckage that would take years yet to unearth. I only require that they remain sacred lands… " A stare is given towards Tritonis. "I had heard Mer-People tried to make it a home, this monster is the reason they did not?"
An uplift of his chin and Namor speaks again, "A home we have to battle for is fitting. My people will revel in either taming or destroying this beast."
"Our people differ in our cultures but ours has adapted to life amongst the flotilla. Many of them will want to remain as such but they under my Warlord's commands and now your own will remain nomadic along the reaches of the sea at your call. Those who are of castes not born of travel and bloodshed as we have been forced to adapt will gladly welcome a home and change. It is a new era, my subjects will be given the right to choose what they wish to make of themselves in your new Atlantean Empire."


Aquaman nods his head, "A small contingent of the mer-folk were given the land a century or so ago, an experiment that according to our records went horribly wrong. None of them were heard from again, there was no sign of them." he frowns, "I would prefer that not happen to you or our people again." he glances at Namor, "I was American before I was King, and while they do many /many/ things wrong they do many things right. I believe in freedom and meritorious advancement over a caste system that keeps the ambitious and well equipped down simply because of their birth. I will not force my ways on your people, nor will I require them to change, but I will require them to take on a handful of soldiers from my military. Noncoms, no officers, I will have my people set an example of what strength freedom can bring. From the bottom up, not from the top. Do you agree with this course or do you believe that constant segregation would be better suited to bringing our nation together?" Five minutes the Crown Prince and already Arthur is forcing Namor to think about changing things. One may note he's doing this in private, alone, where only they can hear. Testing Namor yes, but a test who's results would be known to only them. Aquaman has clearly thought all of this through.


"No, I have anticipated the exchange of officers in any outcome. I have already selected those amongst my own I wish to be part of your court and forces. It would only be cordial and respectful to expect the same in return. My Tridents are the most prideful and unchanging, I suggest you send your more tolerant and hardy officers to go amongst the Fleet."
An exhale from Namor, "Tritonis, the sound is not unpleasant to my ears."


Aquaman considers it for a moment, then grins a bit, "I have a few in The Drift that I think would relish the chance to impress your people." and it's not like the name of The Drift doesn't come with it's own rather impressive level of respect. They would make a good place to start showing how things could be different and better without forcing anyone to change. "But enough of that, those are details we can hash out later with our respective commanders. Tritonis is yours if you can tame it, and it goes without saying I will assist you in anyway I can." the one power Arthur possesses that Namor does not is a way with the creatures of the oceans, even the monsters can be calmed by him, it's something of a show of command down here and a joke on the surface. "But I fear, atop claiming your new title and your new home there is one more burden I wish to lay upon your shoulders."


"Yes, such things can be approached in front of advisers and bureaucrats." Obviously an area the newly (re-)titled Prince of Atlantis has no solid focus for. One of those already arched brows tilting high again, "What burden is this?"


Aquaman takes a deep breath, "A heavy one." he admits moving over to the throne once more. While there he leans forward, reaching pass the trident to pluck something up off of the armrest there and returning, "When I was making the most headway, the best progress on the surface world with their people and politicians, it was while they saw me more as a hero then a King. With recent events my legacy may be unalterably linked to a single moment in time where my armies invaded a peaceful city and slew her children. It will be a long /long/ road back for me to once more claim the title of hero. Besides that, this new Justice League is not mine, it is linked to tightly to SHIELD and the UN for my tastes, even if it's just barely that. But you," he looks over at Namor, "you were seen defending the surface from Atlantis' armies. You did not mean that, but that is how they will see it and I would use their perception to our advantage. I cannot be the symbol of our greatness currently, but you can." he tosses what he's holding to Namor, a belt buckle shaped like a trident, an almost exact replica of that he wears now, but etched lightly into it's surface is JL:A in strong blocky script. "I would have you be our ambassador to the world. Don't worry," he says, holding up his hand to stop any complaints, "I'm not asking you to sit through negotiations or hash out treaties, I know you've little patience for that, but you can do good works up there. Save lives, human lives yes, but lives, and in doing so you can begin to repair the damage that has been done to Atlantis' reputation. For years you have been the Atlantean boogie man that they ahve feared while I have been the laughing stock of the surface world's heroes. I would have them question that now. Now I would have them fear what they once mocked and admire what they once feared." he motions to himself first then to Namor, "I would have you be the man," he waves at the imaging table which no longer shows the image of Namor hitting the behemoth but really doesn't need to to make it's point, "that I know you can be. Show them the might of Atlantis. Show them the mercy of her royal family. Show strength and kindness in equal measure, to show respect to their heroes while bowing to no one. It will not be easy," he freely admits, "gods know I came to blows with Superman and Wonder Woman and the lot of them more then once, but it was always /always/ worth it. I need you to be what I cannot while I will be what they never guessed I could become." he nods at the belt buckle, "That is tapped to the JL:A communication frequencies. When you wish to trigger it you tap it, twice in a row to turn it off, simple enough but effective. Nearly indestructible as well." he eyes Namor for a moment, "I know it is much to ask."


"I am not unfamiliar with the silly super hero clubs of the surface world." Namor says while snatching the belt buckle out of the air a look at it and his lips curl up, "I have encountered this Wonder Woman." NO further on that. The Sub-Mariner won't mention she cleaned his clock in that encounter.
"Mercy and kindness, these are a stretch, you ask these things and I can more readily show them indomitable force, unbending will and what Atlantis is capable of with one man alone." A swallow and the Avenging Son continues, "I will do this however, I will become our ambassador as I have my own retribution to earn in the process. This I do not do for that alone, I care little for the lives of humans but… our own people require such things, the symbolism tied to all of this and to further encourage my stance in our alliance or newly formed brotherhood. Atlantis will have it's ambassador and the JL:A will have me to deal with." A catch of his words and he rephrases that,"To call… ally. For now. Though, what if they do not accept me? I hear things are not as they once were years ago when you were in their ranks and I am no longer a hero of their Axis war, my deeds have lost me that prestige over time."


Aquaman grins at that, "I said I was not welcome by the people of the surface, I did not say the heroes would not take me. I am mocked by the ignorant, but those that stood by my side, that I have shed blood with before, know my worth. They will accept you because I will tell them they must. You are Atlantis' Prince now Namor, and as much as they may distrust you or even fear you, you have legitimacy you may have lacked before, and the backing of a nation they now fear. You have heard the phrase 'keep your friends close but your enemies closer' I assume. They will want you close. And I will want you close to them. We, both sides, will be trying to use you to see into the activities of the other side, we will both know we are doing this, we will both politely ignore it." he shakes his head, "These games I must play are infuriating but necessary. But as much as they will fear and distrust and push you away, I have faith that you will prove their fears unfounded, their mistrust a weakness. You will show them not only what might Atlantis can bring to it's enemies, but what a glorious ally it can be, what it's friendship is worth."


"You look weary, rest, Arthur. I will make arrangements to approach the surface and rally my people to Tritonis and the new Empire. There is much to be done." Namor closes his fist over the JLA/Trident buckle and gives a nod of his head towards Aquaman. "We will speak again soon, brother." The last word sounding awkward coming from him. A work in progress. There is much to consider now and they have many avenues ahead of them but Atlantis has just moved a step forward, a monumental one."


Aquaman eyes Namor and his grin softens at the edges, "If it were so simple." he says as he turns back to the throne and begins to mount the steps, each foot fall seeming to weigh him down more then the last, "But alas my friend," he plucks a simple gray adamantine circlet from the seat of the throne and settles it on his head, "you know what Shakespeare said about a throne." He takes a moment and settles himself firmly in the chair, his shoulders stiffening over a straight spine and his fingers curling around the shaft of the trident.

"Canst thou, O partial sleep, give thy repose
To the wet sea-boy in an hour so rude,
And in the calmest and most stillest night,
With all appliances and means to boot,
Deny it to a king? Then happy low, lie down!
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown."

He grins at Namor and shrugs, "Or more simply put? Man's gotta do what a man's gotta do, and I have to over see the rebuilding of our military and their city. Work work work." bangs the trident on the ground three times with booming consequence and suddenly the ocean pours back into the throne room with all the pressure it can muster. It doesn't so much as shift either of the two men, then Vulko opens the doors and bows deep before Namor, "Highness." he says politely, "Would you like to see your palace quarters?" Arthur, who's face is now a stern stoic evenness offers Namor a nod of parting.


A glance over his shoulder at Arthur and Namor grins while speaking in passing to Vulko, "Go see to your master, Warwick, I wish to explore your city unattended with my thoughts."


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