A Cloak for a Princess

January 05, 2018:

While on a walk on the beach, Arthur once more chats with Lorna.

Beach in Hammer Bay, Genosha


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Acolytes, Magneto

Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

It was night and Lorna was tired. An emotionally draining several weeks, and physically. At least in the relative comfort of the night there weren't snipers and Hammer Bay came alive with civilians out to trade or to get supplies. Lorna had a bodyguard now, well, two different women that traded off even when she left the shadow of the base.

But they kept their distance, close enough to intervene if needed, but far enough away to give the green haired mutant some sembalance of privacy as she walked the sandy beach at the bottom of the rocks of Magneto's military complex. It was highly defensible, and above, surrounded by steel and iron, it looked as safe as any building could be.

The stars were out and the night was warm, Lorna had traded in her green body suit for a simple black tanktop and sweat-pants. She'd even kicked off her boots to walk bare foot on the sand. She had no idea if her father had actually followed through with peace talks while she'd been captured, though she knew he had agreed to them.

But that wasn't what was on her mind as she walked on the sand. Her hands rubbed against her the flat of her stomach, her head angled low as she muttered softly to herself.


WHUMP!!! the impact of something massively heavy and large sends a gyser of sand a good fifteen feet into the air, the incoming object having given no warning as to it's tradjectory. From the crater caused by the landing, the King of Atlantis rises, his battle armor glinting in the pale moonlight, his eyes and expression cast in shadow by the helm he wears, "You," he says flatly, "are very late." presumably to the time and date of their last meeting…. um…. which was well over a week ago. He stares up at her from the bottom of the crater, the edge of which depresses only a foot or so from her toes. "Tula was worried. You owe her a fruit basket, she saved your little island."


Lorna jumped, startled out of her revere and thoughts as the sound and vibrations of the heavy impact followed. She stumbled, catching herself as she backpedaled and her hands leapt up, ready to command the mass amounts of steel and iron above to her.. and then let it go upon seeing it was Arthur. She swallowed a heavy lump in her throat, and rubbed at the corners of her eyes. Tears glittering gently in the moonlight above.

She forced a weak and brittle smile. "Sorry. Someone.. captured me.. Tried to use me against my father. I've had a pretty bad holidays." She murmured, her voice more fragile than the last time she'd spoken to him.

"Everything is kind of a mess.."


Aquaman nods his head, "Tula said as much." he says as he rises out of the pit of sand either by magic or by dint of simply knowing how to walk on sand better then most men despite the weight of his armor, "She took something of a risk to learn what had happened to you." he moves to stand next to her, or rather a bit over her, and looks down, "You okay kiddo?" he asks finally, all the bravado and regal air of impending doom fading away, replaced by the voice of the guy she met in an alley way one bad night in New York.


It seemed as if putting on a brave face all day in public and into the evening, even when surrounded by her friends had been too much. The simple question of whether or not she was okay, seemed to push her over the edge and tears stung her eyes as she shook her head and heaved in a great gust of a breath, led it and let it go.

"I'm not. I'm really, really not okay. I'm holding on by a thread. And I feel like I'm going to snap." Her voice was barely a whisper, high and tight as she clearly tried to pull back her emotions. She hated crying. Hated being seen to cry. Even in front of Marcos, her fiance, she hated it.

It made her feel exposed. Vulnerable. Something raw and unsteady. All the things that she despised showing to anyone.


Aquaman is silent for a moment and then he thrusts the trident down into the sand and reaches up to pull off his helmet to look down at her, "My brother," he starts simply, bending over to set the helm down in the sand as well before reaching up with a gauntleted fingertip to scoop a tear off of her cheek gently, "had never seen anyone cry before." he says as he then moves to take a seat in the sand next to Lorna's standing form, his feet hanging off a bit into the crater his impact made, "It was a year after my father had died and I'd fled to the sea to seek out my mother's people. I had found him, ruling, and he'd offered me the crown on the spot, as it was my birth right by being first born. He didn't even hessitate." Arthur's quiet for a moment, as if wondering at that moment now so many years past.

He clears his throat and looks back out at the black expanse of the sea, "We grew close in those first years, political differences aside, we were the only family either of us had left and we'd lost so much…" he shakes his head, "He was my best friend and my tutor in the ways of Atlantis, infinitely patient with me, always allowing me room to recover from a failure, gentle even. I asked him to come with me to visit my father's grave when the anniversary came around, and while he hates the surface world, he loved me, and so he came anyway. We stood in a field of dry dirt and looked down at a simple stone with a name carved in it, and he said nothing, did nothing, while I wept like a child." Arthur is quiet again for a long time before he speaks once more, "When I was done, when I had said all I had to say, I appologized to Orn for my weakness. Atlantis isn't big on it, especially not in the royal family. My brother, who hated the surface, hated my father, and hated even breathing air just looked at me and asked what I was talking about. When I pointed at my face he just shook his head and said, 'Don't worry Arthur, in Atlantis no one can see you cry.' and he wiped the tears from my face and smiled at me, 'What are a few more drops of salt water to the sea? Weakness isn't in the weeping, it's in the lies we tell ourselves so we don't weep at all.'"

Arthur looks back up at Lorna, "What's a few more drops of salt water to the surface, Lorna? Weakness isn't in the weeping, it's in the lies we tell ourselves so we weep at all." he offers a small smile.


Lorna rubbed her upper arm as he leaned down to gently wipe her cheek, shock flitted over her expression before it vanished as he sat and started in on his story. She swallowed a lump that constricted her throat and slowly, came to ease down beside him. Her knees drawn close to her chest as she settled her chin a top them, her arms wrapping around them as she squeezed her eyes shut.

"I still hate crying.." She whispered, her voice raw. She felt as if all she did was cry, even when logic demanded her to admit that it was not.

But as the silence between them continued against the crash of waves on the beach in the night she found her voice once more.

"I killed my mother…" Her voice was soft, and she turned her gaze to the sands. "It's likely why he didn't want to raise me.. my father. Magneto. When my powers manifested.. she.. her husband… We were in a plane. I ripped it apart somehow. Magneto found me and.. he had the memories blocked from my mind. My powers dampened." She squared her jaw, and leaned back, turning her eyes to the sky above. It was a clear night, stars spangled over the blackness of the sky and lit up around the near full moon above.

"I pushed him to tell me what happened.. after finding out I was pregnant.. while I was captured… I never wanted, expected, any of this and it feels like just so much." Her throat tightened as she blinked back tears.


Aquaman glances over at her and reaches up to unclasp his cloak with a flourish drapes it around her shoulders. It's shockingly heavy, but in a cozy sort of way. The texture is odd, it's not soft like fur, but instead soft like silk, only if silk were hundreds of times more dense. The inside of it supple and rolling to the touch, the outside somehow rough and almost sand pappery if fingers slide against the grain, buttery and luxurious if they pass with the grain. It's an animal skin, that's clear, but not from any animal Lorna's ever seen turned into a garment, one that makes the wind a nonissue at all and is cozy warm inside in moments, "I'm the reason my mother was killed." he says after a moment, "Not the same, granted, but close enough if you ask my guilt." he doesn't do the usual thing, say he's sorry or offer her platitudes, he's heard them himself and they never help. He just sits there like a giant immobile stone, solid and unyeilding, "Had any time to process it yet?" he asks after a bit.


Lorna's brows pinched in surprise as he settled the cloak around her shoulders, and her fingers ran over the texture in silent awe. She seemed distracted from her misery for the briefest of moments, holding it over her shoulders as its weight surprised her just as much as the fine, and odd feel of the material. Still, his words jarred her back into reality, and she couldn't help but stare at him for a long moment. Her lips parting, then resolving into silence as he let it settle between them.

His question had her shaking her head. "No. I found out yesterday. My fiance doesn't … understand. He just kept saying it wasn't my fault. I was three.. my powers manifested by surprise.." Her voice was quiet, and she dragged a hand over her features.

"It doesn't help. Nothing does.."


Aquaman grins, "My father always knew I was different, he … he wouldn't let me in the water at first." he turns to look out at the ocean again, "He was terrified I'd hop in and never come back. I got angry, I guess I was six or seven, and I threw his recliner through the front window onto the lawn." his teeth flash white in the night, a smile of mirth there, "He let me take baths and stay at the bottom of the tub for hours if I wanted to after that. Made that window into a bay window with a little reading bench in it." he's quiet for a long moment, "You woulda liked him." he says after a moment, "My Dad I mean. I meet people like you, people who're hurting, who have problems bigger then most, things they can't deal with on their own, and my first instinct is to take them home to Dad. He'd know what to do, he always did."

Arthur is quiet again, apparenlty the sort of guy who's okay with extended silences, the pounding of the waves all the noise he really needs, "When this is done, however it ends, and assuming we're all still alive and well and you don't hate me, I think I'd like to take you to my home town. If you ever feel the need to just be away from everything, and I mean it, away from the world at large, it's the best place to just disappear for a bit, get your mind right." he glances her way, "If you think 'away' is what you could use."


Lorna smiled weakly, propping her head up as she watched Arthur as he spoke about throwing a recliner through a window. As the wind whistled around them, warm on the tropical breeze, and the waves crashed over the beach beside them she turned her gaze back out to the ocean. "He sounds like a good man." She murmured, "Better than my foster parents were with me. They made me dye my hair. Scolded me for using my powers. They hated that I was … different." She looked saddened at that and her hands curled around her stomach.

Green eyes lifted after another long pause, at his offer to go to his home town and she arched a green eyebrow upwards. "I'd like that.. though I don't know how much I'd be able to… stay for. That whole pregnant thing means I'm on a time limit. Even more so to secure a future for it. Even if I didn't actually … want this kid. It's coming. And I won't be like my father in that respect. Even if everyone keeps telling me how much like him I am otherwise.."


Aquaman chuckles at that, "Stay as long as you like. What's the point of a retreat if people can't use it? Me and Mera go there from time to time, when things have been bad and are just calming down." he snorts, "A year ago an Elder God ripped his way into this dimension. A bunch of you up here were batteling some mutant king or something, floating pyramids and what not about the sky, and three miles down my entire people were batteling a creature who's tentacled arm reached for a mile with ease. It's movements cause tectonic shifts, earthquakes, tidal changes, it wiped entire city states from our Empire. Putting it back in it's box came at a heavy price, this was just following my return from the dead, so to speak, and so you can imagine I was not in the best space." he reaches down to pluck a crab from the sand next to him and sets the little guy up on his knee, "Home is where I went to get my breath back, wash some of the damage away, not all of it, that's not what it's there for, but just enough that the remainder of the burden was manageable."

He looks her way, "Being a leader, helping a people be better then the sum of their parts, to bring prosperity and peace to them, it's hard work, good work. My father, in his older times sensibilities, would have called it a 'mans job' and nodded somberly and with appreciation. I agree. But it could be just…" he raises his thumb and forefinger up about a centimeter apart, "a little easier. Because in that bit," his hand drops down to toy with the crab who's waving his claws about menacingly at the King, "is all the difference. What's what my home is. It's that little bit, the peice that takes /just/ enough off of my shoulders so the rest seems manageable."


Lorna hung her head slightly, settling her chin against the tops of her arms once more as her gaze returned to the ocean. "Apocalypse. He attacked then I guess.. I was … I was keeping my head down. Trying to do what little I could without attracting attention. I didn't want the responsibility that came with using my powers. With acknowledging who I am. I didn't want to be 'Polaris, Magneto's-daughter, the Mistress of Magnetism'. I just wanted to be Lorna for a little while longer.." Her voice was soft.

"For all the good it did me. People still harassed me.. chased me out of college.." She swallowed a lump and shook her head.

"The X-men have always been my family since High School. Always cared for me. Been there for me.. but I can't be one of them. It's not my dream anymore. And I hate that I don't fit there like I used to." She sighed heavily.

"..I guess what I'm trying to say is.. that .. I don't exactly have that home anymore. Not like I used to. So, yeah.. I'd be happy to borrow your's sometime.. Thank you."


Aquaman nods his head, "Sure thing kiddo, just don't through the recliner through the bay window. Sentimental value." he bumps her lightly with his shoulder and sighs heavily, "I don't want to invade." he says suddenly, his tone down and tired, "I narrowly avoided one war with the surface, just finished a war with an Elder God, I'm tired of wars, of fighting. I'm tired of other things, other people, thinking we are safe targets for their hate because we have never lashed out before. I'm having to put down a tidal wave of decent amongst my people, I've stopped two generals from going rogue and invading of their own accord, but I'm not sure how much longer I can merely hold the line. One way or the other, Genosha must pay for what it's done."

Arthur's fingertip is clasped by the little crab, and he wriggles it back and forth, wrestling the little fella, who adds a second claw to the first in a vain attempt at dominance, "Tell your father the talks must procede. I will give you an additional week to get your afairs in order, I wish I could offer a greater respite but…." he shakes his head, "I'm not sure how long I can keep the violence leashed."


Lorna nodded, a faint smile pulling at the corners of her lips as he bumped her lightly. But the smile faded as he continued and described the troubles he faced. She exhaled a breath, her brows pinched. "Zealot. The man that took me to use as bait.. He's the son of the man responsible for everything that was done to the people here. The genengineer or whatever his title was." She swallowed a lump in her throat as she spoke of him.

"He's a powerful mutate. And he's pretty crazy. He wants to kill or remove everyone that wasn't originally from Genosha to begin with. He blew up a ship of refugees trying to come here… He believes what was done here was right. He thought what his father was doing was right, and for the greater good. If there's anyone that needs to be stopped, it's him. And he buried himself deep within the island's roots. Underground. He dug all of the tunnels there while he was enslaved by his father." She whispered and squeezed her eyes shut, pinching the bridge of her nose.

"He liked to monolouge." She shook her head and looked back to Arthur. "But he's extremely powerful. He controls anything originally from this island. He has some kind of empathetic connection to the island—everything, people, rocks.."


Aquaman's expression grows dark at that and he thinks for a moment, "You know the problem with tunnels?" he asks in a tone that suggests he might do something violent.


Lorna blinked, and tilted her head. "They collapse or can be flooded? Yeah, if you can find them. The problem is he can create new ones and collapse old ones as if they never were. And I think they're deep. Deeper than most. They connect up to the island's geothermal heating and power. I don't know how stable that is. I don't know how many miles of tunnels there are. I just know they exist." She shook her head.

"I don't know where the entrances are. Though, I suppose, if I had enough time, with the majority of the island being made of iron ore, I could help make new ones.. maybe.. It's something worth discussing with my father. He wants Zealot dealt with. So do the X-men. Zealot threatened to kill me to both of them.."


Aquaman smirks a bit, "They are prone to flooding." he says, nodding at her words, "My dear, I'm evolded to see at thirty thousand fathoms and can echolocate through parts of this planet that have not seen sunlight in four billion years. I am but one of legion. He may command the island," he then turns to look back out at the waves and he reaches down to trail his fingers over the trident, and a surge of water appears to build up at the beaches edge, slowly rising and rising and rising as it grows to building size, then higher still, "but the sea knows her souvreign." the wave goes back out to sea as quietly as it built up, and he turns to her, "His power may be great, but my rage is greater. I have battled Gods Elder and New and not once backed away, what makes you think I would balk at having to flush a rabbit from his warren?"


Lorna shrugged lightly, and adjusted the borrowed cloak on her shoulders. Even as he made a demonstration with the trident. "Less balk and more general annoyance. My father hasn't been able to locate him.. and that was just surprising to me in and of itself. I don't know all that you can do, and I hope that you can end this guy. He's.. he's bad news, to put it lightly." Her lips twisted.

"And at least, if he's gone, I can feel safer here on the island. Other people can come here and be safe."


Aquaman tilts his head to the side and looks, this time, out at the island itself, seeming to consider, "I have people." he says after a long moment, "There is no hiding from them… but this is best left for the talks." he sighs and lifts the crab from his knee and puts it on her shoulder gently before rising up to his feet. "Tell your father you have the week again, after that the talks must commence." he lifts the helm to his head and slides it back down over his face, hiding his features from view and plucking the trident from the sand, "And Lorna," he smiles at her from behind the helm, "it's good to have you back."


Lorna glanced up as he spoke, her eyebrows lifting as he placed the crab on her shoulder and she eyed it side long. Even as he stood and replaced his helm and picked up the trident. She shifted on the sand, the cloak still draped over her shoulders. "Uhm.. did you want this back?" She blinked up at him, green hair a tangled mess around her features.

His gentle smile and comment about her return had her reflexively, if not awkwardly smiling. "Thanks. I'll pass word on."


Aquaman he grins and shakes his head, "Naw, I got a hundred of 'em back home, besides, a princess should have something befits her station." He straightens the edge of the cloak so it falls down over her shoulder more fully, encompassing the whole of her. It's a big bit, given the difference in their frames, but it would look amazing hanging like that from someone flying, "Besides, I'm betting no one else up here has kraken-leather in their garments. Bit heavy maybe, but it's better armor then kevlar, also," slight grin, "glistens green in the sun. I don't know if anyone told you but I like green." given his costume, that seems likely.

Then he gathers himself and leaps into the sky, hurteling his way back into the sea in a high arc. At the last moment he tucks and twists and hits the water with hardly a splash, vanishing into the waves like a ghost.

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