Part 3 of the Chthon Arc.
|Dates run:||December 27 2008 - January 3 2009|
|Read the logs:||Operation: Anansesem|
"We lost our powers and I lost my identity. What is knowledge without the ability to use it? Especially when my people so often suffer. I was unable to help anyone, let alone myself. A man came to me, having gotten my name through less than honorable means, and the things he promised me..."
While on a vacation, of sorts, with Amanda, Marie-Ange and Farouk, Wanda was unexpectedly attacked from a mysterious source; dreams turned into nightmares and pain racked her body. When she came to, Wanda was able to supply the name of Monona Konmlan and that it was somehow tied into the Shadow King.
Monona had been one of the three mages that Wanda had helped to ground during the assault on the Astral Plane but they hadn't been in contact at all since then. Soon after, Amanda had disturbing news that those same three had all gone missing; sensing something deeper, the call went out to X-Force for help.
Farouk had been roped into escorting Wanda to Romany Wisdom in London in hopes that Rom would be able to pinpoint the problem and fix it. But it was a difficult path and Wanda was overcome again and again with attacks and lingering pain. Romany found the way blocked by Chthon's damage as something else used it to its advantage. She was joined by Emma and Betsy and they launched a coordinated attack against the hold in Wanda's mind - unable to free her, they learn they need to send Wanda to Africa or risk losing her.
Meanwhile, three teams had been sent out to discover more about the missing mages.
In Germany, Amanda, Mark and Marie-Ange found and located Kristoph, Jane Burr's apprentice, and it became clear that it was no suicide. They found evidence of a blond man having followed Jane for days before her 'death' and maps regarding ley line activity in Ghana were missing. Kristoph had a remaining copy and gave it to Amanda for study.
In Japan, Doug and Sarah investigated the disappearance of Nakamura Kyousuke, discovering more information about a blond man and that information regarding summoning were gone.
In Africa, Remy, Jubilee, Bishop and the newly recruited Morgan had a more interesting time of it. They were forced to deal with McLeish, the White Ghost, an assassin and killer Remy knew from his days as Gambit. While Remy and Bishop dealt with him to find out that a certain blond man was sniffing around with magical interests, Jubilee and Morgan made a shocking discovery of young women being held captive to be sold into slavery. As the girls worked to get them out and get the needed information, Remy and Bishop were forced to take a more active approach with McLeish.
When the dust settled, everyone was eventually called to Africa. All the pieces of information were pointing to an isolated and abandoned village in Ghana and once Wanda, fading fast under the constant onslaught, arrived they made their way there.
They found the place abandoned but more recently than one would expect but it obviously had been used as a slaughtering ground. One lone survivor didn't last long before the mages made themselves known. Or what was left of them - Monona had been tricked into opening a portal, told that it would restore their powers, and the spirit of one of Ananasi's children (insane and locked away) took over their bodies.
Through the spell, the three had been merged into a horrific parody of a spider and they mindlessly attacked the group. Wanda used Amanda and the power of Naming to draw out what was left of Monona's mind; the woman explained that during the grounding for the Astral Plane, an unknown magical connection between Wanda and Monona had been formed, though it had laid dormant due to Monona's lack of magic. Once the portal had been opened, the connection between the two had been activated. Monona went on to admit that it was her mistake that led to the joining and that there was no going back for the three - the bodies would never be separated and the minds were mostly dead. She begged Wanda to end it and, knowing there was no other path, she did so by shutting down Monona's heart.
As the creature died, they tossed it back in the portal to make sure it was closed and Wanda, free of pain finally, passed out for the first restful sleep she'd had in over a week.
As they would find out later, there appeared to be some sort of tie between the attacks in the sewers with the supposed Church of Humanity and the incident in Africa.
Trivia and Meta
As a parting gift, one she hasn't figured out yet, Wanda was left with Monona's necklace that she wears as a bracelet.
Alasdair socked both Romany and McLeish.
The events of this plot still occurred in Phase 2, but specifics, such as which characters were involved, remain fuzzy for the purposes of not breaking the world. ;)