|Planting Seeds of Doubt|
|What: A chance encounter with the Goddess Sif gives Wanda Maximoff the chance to 'enlighten' her about human cuelty.|
A nice enough day in Manhattan, really. Summer without being overbearingly hot. For the first time in a while, Sif has left her apartment and is on her way to one of the coffee shops. She's heard of a new drink she wants to try.
Of course, someone of Sif's size doesn't go unnoticed but the fact that she's dressed in her tradition red and white leathers and her armor with her sword at her side draws more than a little attention as well.
The Goddess doesn't notice. Or, at least, seems not to but instead continues on her way, nodding once or twice to people. What does get her attention, however, is a stormy blue dress in a small boutique window. She even stops for a few moments to consider the garment carefully.
Sometimes, fate has a way of playing with those that have a deep connection to it. Like Wanda Maximoff, the mutant with the ability to alter probability and chaos. Appropriately enough, her life this past month or so has been chaotic, as she struggles with many questions that she'd never thought to have asked just a few months ago. And as the mutant in scarlet walks down the streets of New York, she definitely notices the warrior goddess. While most seem uncomfortable approaching or talking to Sif, Wanda walks up, curiosity getting the better of her, and she looks at the dress Sif : is observing. "I think that color would go well with your eyes and hair," Wanda casually comments.
Sif blinks a few times before looking over at the woman who has joined her at the storefront window and smiles. "It is one of my favorite colors. There are few styles on Midgard that seem to fit me and this is close to what I wear at home." She looks back at the dress a moment, gives a wistful sigh and then turns to her companion again. "And thank you for the compliment, my Lady."
"Midgard? And home?" Well, Wanda's curiosity has certainly landed her somewhere interesting. "Then you'd be one of the Norse gods? I heard that the one named Thor was here on Earth. Rather strange to think that the legendary Gods are real and walk with us." Then again, Wanda manipulates probability, why shouldn't the Gods be real?
"Thor is my betrothed." Sif smiles warmly, lovingly when she speaks of the Thunder God. "My name is Sif, Lady of the Blades, Shield Maiden of Asgard, Sword Maiden to Prince Thor, and Goddess of War." The Goddess bows at the waist. When she straightens, it's with a smile. "Aye, my Lady. Midgard... You call it Earth, I believe. And my home is Asgard. Where Thor and I are from."
Wanda nods. "My name is Wanda Maximoff. It's a pleasure to meet you, Sif." She's not totally sure on the proper form of address, but Wanda holds out her hand to shake if the goddess desires. "So, what brings you and Thor to Midgard?"
"A pleasure to meet you, Lady Wanda." Sif grins and then makes a motion with her hand. "I was on my way to get something called an Iced Latte if you'd like to join me." That hand immediately comes around to grasp the other woman's gently. "My Lord and I are here because he is Midgard's Protector."
Midgard's protector? That's not exactly a good thing, in Wanda's opinion. She smiles as she shakes Sif's hand, wondering if these two might fight to protect the humans. "Well, having two more such strong defenders is a comforting thought. And i would be happy to join you for an iced latte. I can even treat you to it, since you probably don't have much use for Earth currency."
Sif chuckles softly, releasing the woman's hand and nodding. "That would be lovely, thank you. I do have some of your currency on me. Apparently what we use in Midgard is valuable here." She gives a light shrug of her shoulders and begins her walking again. "It is our honor and duty to defend this realm and all it's people."
"All it's people?" Wanda asks as she walks alongside Sif. "There's still a great deal of division among humanity, through race and religion. How do you decide which is more worthy of protecting? If one group acts as an oppressor to another, do you fight to free the oppressed, or do you leave humanity to figure it's own way out?"
Sif blinks at this, her brows furrowing together as they walk. "Well, the situation is assessed and based on our knowledge and the situation at hand, it is determined then." Although, she gives the woman a confused look. "Such oppression is common on Midgard?"
As they arrive at the coffee shop, Wanda opens the door. "It can be," she says. "During the Second World War, Nazi Germany tried to exterminate the Jewish peoples, they succeeded in killing over 6 million Jews. Executing them, putting them in gas chambers. Burning them alive. Used in horrific experiments. My own people, the Romani, face prejudice wherever we go. We're seen as thieves and seductresses. Traveling around Europe with my clan, we were run out of towns routinely." Wanda shrugs. "Even here, in the United States, there is intolerance for anything not 'normal'. Minorities. religion. Sexual orientation. One of the political factions that governs this country even tried to treat women like second class citizens; they rather have women stay at home, silent and pregnant with no say in their lives."
Sif smirks slightly. "My own culture is male dominant. For a woman to become a warrior and not a Valkyrie is nigh impossible. I fought very hard to earn my place at Thor's side. Had I not grown up with the Princes and had my father not been who he was, I doubt I would have succeeded. Even being the warrior I am, it is also my place to see to my Lord's Hall and to his needs. I am both his warrior and one day wife. Even when I am Queen, I will have these duties and responsibilities." It's just the way it is for them.
The rest of it though, that gets Sif to frown as she walks up to the counter. "Where were the heroes I have met then? Their ancestors?" She knows mortals have short lives but surely... "And this is normal for this realm?"
"There is good on Earth," Wanda admits. "But there's also a great deal of bad. Some heroes try to change things, but most of them choose not to interfere." Wand orders some hot tea from the counter when it's their turn to order. After Sif places her order, Wanda pays for the drinks. "Take Superman. Someone that tries to be a noble hero. But he ignores problems like racism, prejudice against sexual minorities, homelessness and many other ills. Most heroes keep a 'hands off' approach to the cruelties that humans do to each other, hoping that humanity will eventually deal with these things themselves. But the problem is, it's human nature to fear and try to destroy anything different. Different is a threat to the normal. If you look at human history, it's a long list of humans with an advantage oppressing other humans that are different. Colonial America decimated the native peoples that lived here and had institutionalized slavery. Even after slavery was abolished, black Americans were still oppressed by laws enacted by the white majority."
Sif listens to all of this after ordering a caramel iced latte. The longer Wanda talks, the more the Goddess frowns. "I know of the homelessness. I have met several young ones who are without a place to live. My Lord and I have opened his Hall to him. One now lives with us and is family to us in all ways that matter. The others know they are always welcome to come and get what they need or stay. It pains me to see children in such a position."
The mention of Superman causes Sif to snorts and her posture to become mildly aggressive. She did not have a good experience with him. "My Lord Thor protects Midgard from those that would harm it and those that would conquer it. It saddens me to say it but it is difficult to protect a people from themselves."
Wanda nods. "Unfortunately, the truth is that most humans are disinclined to care unless those in power force them to care. And the ones in power now have no intention of doing something like that. They deny basic rights and protection to people on the flimsiest of reasons. How does it detract from someone's marriage if 2 men or 2 women that love each other are allowed to marry and given the right to demonstrate that love?" Wanda sighs and shakes her head. "No matter how many heroes there are, humanity seems to be determined to remain petty and small." Now, for the risk. "And sometimes, the hate is mixed with jealousy. Envy of people born with advantages others don't have. Is it right to hate a child that was born different? One that has given no offense beyond a quirk of genetics?"
Sif is silent as she listens. She remains silent on the issue of homosexuality because of her own realms outlook on men being together. The end, however, causes Sif to quirk a brow. "You speak of how most mutants are treated, nay?" Sif shakes her head in confusion. "I do not understand it. Myself, my Lord, Iron Man, even the Captain do not seem to be met with such problems... Superman... None of that animosity is turned on us. I cannot fathom why. Tis not right, in my opinion, to worship some as heroes and hate others when there is not any true difference between those they compare."
The drinks arrive and Wanda smiles a bit as she sips her tea. "You've heard that there are some trying to pass a law in the United States forcing mutants to register, even if they've committed no crime. Does that seem fair or just to you?"
Sif had the latte most of the way to her lips when what Wanda says causes her to frown. "What? Why ever for? If they have done nothing wrong then I see no point. Those they tout as heroes are allowed their secret lives outside of the mask. Why would the mutant population be any different?" the Goddess seems genuinely confused.
"Because humans hate and fear what they don't understand. Or don't have." She sips her tea. "The Romani are hated not because we're thieves, but because we have a true freedom that many don't because they tie themselves to material possessions. Similarly, many humans hate mutants because mutants have powers and abilities that humans are envious of and wish they had. It's a sad story that replays itself through every age. Think of how your worshipers diminished because the Christian church was greedy and wanted more followers to tithe."
That comparison causes Sif to stop and think, brows shooting upwards as she draws the lines. "I see. Why not persecute those like Superman, Martian Manhunter or Thor and I as well though?" That's what confuses her the most. She sees no difference as far as mortals are concerned. "Is it, possibly, because we are not from this realm?"
"I don't know," Wanda says with a sigh. "Maybe because you're too powerful and humanity would rather be bullys to people they think won't fight back. Maybe it's because mutants *are* humans, or at least born from humanity. Maybe it's because they feel threatened by mutants being the next step in evolution, the way cro-magnons feared and hated the neanderthal. You could guess for years and still not have an exact reason. And humans rarely need a logical reason to hate."
Sif frowns at this. "There is no need for them to fear those that seek to protect them..." The latte is /finally/ sipped at before the Goddess shakes her head. "The more I learn of this culture, the more confused I become. Mortals were much simpler in the old days."
Wanda nods and finishes her tea. "I'm sorry to be the one to disillusion you. But I'm glad that you're understanding that matters on Earth are more complex. And that humanity aren't always the paragons of virtue that they like to think they are. Especially those humans that sit in power. Perhaps registering mutants is only the first step. Perhaps next, they'll think about forcing registration on other people with power. Because if there's one thing the rulers of humanity want, it's control over everything and everyone."
Sif blinks a moment as she let's what Wanda says sink in before a soft growl comes from her. A memory comes flooding forward and she stiffens. "I believe they are already attempting something of a similar fashion." Her hand not holding the latte flexes, her temper slowly rising.
"Well, at least you can see what is on the horizon," Wanda says as she pulls out some money for the tip. "Too many people are either unaware or pretend that such a fate isn't coming." She stands up, smiling at Sif. "For what it's worth, Sif...I believe you and Thor will do the right thing, if the situation becomes dire. You'll stand on the side of justice, rather than let the cycles of oppression and hate continue."
Sif blinks a few times and nods her head, a grim smile forming on her features. "Aye, Lady Wanda." She stands with the woman and bows again. "It was a pleasure getting to speak with you. Very enlightening. My thanks." When she rises, she's gotten herself under control and offers a warmer smile. "I believe you are right and I look forward to the pleasure of your company again." This is all, of course, assuming that Wanda is getting ready to go.
Wanda is indeed getting ready to go; she has to report this development, after all. "A pleasure meeting you as well, Lady Sif. May you and your Lord find good fights and good comrades." She doesn't think that's the right farewell, but it sounds appropriately Norse. "Until we meet again," she ends, waving farewell as she walks out of the shop.