|Dates run:||June 27-28, 2008|
|Read the logs:||Red God|
The Panther loved the people more than he loved the Lion, and so she swore to take the people away from him...
On a routine visit to Wakanda to check up on projects its government is running in cooperation with Elpis, Nathan, Jean and Ororo are drawn onto a mysterious collective mindscape and into a war for the soul of the Wakanda people.
T'Challa, Achebe, Sekhmet the Lion God
Nathan, Jean, and Ororo were invited to Wakanda by T'Challa - Nathan and Jean to observe the progress of two of the projects T'Challa had initiated with Elpis's help, Ororo in a more social capacity. They were barely five minutes off the plane when the whole world changed around them, plunging them into a shifting astral representation of the Wakanda of centuries ago. In the sky, what Ororo identified as the vibranium meteor (or at least a representation of it) was approaching.
Uncertain as to what was going on, the three X-Men set out in search of T'Challa. They soon discovered that a force from early in Wakanda's history was on the loose in the mindscape; some of the Wakandans themselves, lost in a collective nightmare, were praying to Sekhmet the Lion God, the ancient rival of the Panther God. Sekhmet itself manifested to kill an 'unbeliever', and the three X-Men started to realize that they were caught up in a spiritual battle.
Soon, they encountered Achebe, a mad mystic who revealed to them that he had helped Sekhmet bring about the mindscape, and that if the Wakandans did not convert once more to the Lion Cult, the fall of the meteor would lay waste to the dream version of Wakanda, with horrific consequences in the real world.
Jean pursued him to the summit of Mount Kanda, defeating him in astral combat by manipulating the world around them and countering each of his attacks; despite the power lent to him by Sekhmet, Achebe was not a telepath, and no match for Jean in a realm of pure thought. Meanwhile Ororo and Nathan continued to search for T'Challa. Reaching Warrior Falls, they found him in the shape of a giant panther, chained beside the waterfall. Upon seeing him, Ororo was possessed by Sekhmet, who transformed her into a giant lioness and fought the panther. Nathan, observing helplessly from the sidelines, was given advice by a talking plant - the heart-shaped herb of Wakandan legend, which allowed him to see that his friends were still there, only trapped, and to know that separating the combatants and freeing the panther was the way to end the vicious battle. Transforming into an eagle, he did so, and the mindscape dissolved, restoring the physical reality of Wakanda.
Nathan and Jean were both left disoriented by the psionic overload of their exposure to the astral plane, although Jean far more so. After trying to help calm his people, T'Challa checked back in with Ororo the following morning, and tried to explain what might have happened by telling her about one of the earliest versions of the Lion and Panther legend, where their conflict was a lover's quarrel grown into a struggle for the souls of their people.
Trivia and Meta
To intervene in the Lion/Panther battle, Nathan had to face his fear of astral combat stemming from the Shadow King incident.