Memories. Interspersed with blackness. One Dora Milaje desperately tries to fight back against Doctor Doom. An explosion.
"No!" With that cry, T'Challa awakes. Don't fear, beloved, the Dora Milaje, who appears before him tries to soothe him. She is here to take him home.
Somewhere in a small isolated hut in Wakanda. The old man Zawavari tells the Queen Mother Ramonda, who has brought Ororo here, that this is a surprise. He knows why they've come, Ramonda replies. Of course, comes the reply, he usually expects to see people only during a crisis. But T'Challa's always been uncomfortable with the old ways. What does she believe?
That nothing in life is certain, the Queen Mother replies. She will look anywhere for answers when her son's life is at stake. Will he help them? He will not, Zawavari replies but he will enable them to help themselves. At what prize? Ramonda asks. Zawavari just grins and tells her to consider it a favor. As always, he lives to serve.
He explains that T'Challa's spirit is in limbo - the world between the living and dead. A wandering spirit cannot find its own way home. Someone must serve as a guide. A living person with a powerful lifeforce. He will transport Queen Ororo's spirit out of her body and into that place. The rest is up to her.
Ororo asks if the panther god might aid on this mission. The gods do not interfere in the affairs of the mortal world, comes the reply. Life and death are the natural order. Nothing more. To attempt to cheat death is to aspire to godhood. The ritual they are about to invoke is extremely dangerous. Is she sure she is up to it? Tell her what to do, is the reply.
Well, that's the thing, the old man replies He hasn't done this in over a century, so-- So tell her what he does know, Ororo stresses impatiently. Her task won't be easy, he warns. The tug of the afterlife is very strong. The longer one stays there, the more powerful the gravity. And there are rules. What she is about to face is the ultimate test of her resolve. Ramonda orders him to get to it. Just tell her. As she wishes, he replies with a smirk.
Meanwhile, Shuri is climbing a mountain. What might seem a challenge to others is rather disappointing to her, seeing as how Zuri warned her she'd be facing the greatest challenges on the path to the panther god. Please. Walking barefoot across fire - she was doing that for fun when she was twelve. Dodging arrows and spears - did that when she was eleven. Meditating for six hours in a scorpion filled pit - boring. And now rocks. She climbs rocks for -- The rock in her hand breaks off, interrupting her soliloquy. Instead of falling, she elegantly somersault until she can hold on to another ledge. Okay, she tells herself. Object lesson on overconfidence: don't mock the difficulties of a physical trial when the supernatural is involved. Come on, you were born for this! she tells herself. This is yours by right. Go get it!
Meanwhile, on the far side of the African continent, chanting men in a circle have called a being who appears surrounded by smoke. A powerfully built naked man with glowing eyes. Welcome, Morlun, one of them greets him. He thirsts, Morlun replies. They have just the thing to quench that thirst, he is told and he orders them to tell him.
Meanwhile, Zavawari whispers the conditions of the spell into Ororo's ear. There's always a catch, isn't there? she asks. It's the way of the universe, he agrees. So be it, she tells him. Let's get started. The wizard smiles.
Elsewhere, Shuri has finally reached the mountain top. Bigger mountain than she thought, she admits. Add that to the list of things mother thinks she canï¿½t do. So what else have they got? she asks with a cocky grin that falters a moment later. The panther herb is surrounded and guarded by a horde of panther. Twenty-five of them, she counts. Taking catnaps round the herb. Beautiful and hers for the taking. Again she grins.
Morlun draws the life energy from those who summoned him. Their sacrifice is appreciated he remarks wryly. Now he has bigger game...
But she s dead! T'Challa tells the Dora Milaje. Of course, she agrees, She died for him. He knows where he is, doesn't he? Is this what it looks like? he asks. He didn't make it, she agrees. His injuries were too severe. No, T'Challa insists. Not like this. Like what? she asks. Did he really expect to die in bed? A man like him?
Gently, she strokes his face and asks him to let go. He is about to transition to a higher plane of consciousness. The petty concerns of his previous life will shrink to insignificance soon. No, he insists. His country, his family is in danger. She smiles. The time for things like that is past. Now come. Where? he asks. She takes his hand and leads him toward a light. To his reward.
Elsewhere, Ororo has lain down. The wizard instructs her that she must keep T'Challa on the forefront of her consciousness. That's the only way she will find him. Her heart must lead the way. Concentrate on her husband. On her love. On what connects them both, he will handle the rest. He swallows bird's blood and the spell begins.
Ororo remembers how they met as teenagers, how they got married.
Elsewhere, Shuri tries to sneak past the sleeping Panthers and grabs the herb. Of course, the moment she touches it, the panthers awake and begin to growl. She jumps aside and dares them to get her. One jumps at her but she jumps down the slope and grabs a vine. Triumphantly she clutches the herb. Time to meet the panther god.
Elsewhere T'Challa stands facing the light. Doesn't it feel good? the Dora Milaje asks. Yes, he agrees, it warms his bones but-- He looks at her eyes, suddenly seeing death reflected within. He shoves here away and finally sees her true form, that of Death. Doesn't he trust her? Death asks.