Kenya, Africa, one month ago:
In one of the villages that once worshipped Storm as a goddess, the woman Ainet is running for her life, until she falls and one of her hunters informs her it is over. Life drains from her. He offers her a hand. He tells her to swear to Uovu and she will receive medical attention. Never! she vows. Ororo the windrider is their one true god!
The old man spits that she is no god and adds she left these plains long ago. He orders her to swear or die. And so, Ainet swears. But not to Uovu or even her beloved Ororo. But to forces even more ancient and primordial. She swears to the old gods of the old ways. To give her Ororo the power of divinity. To make her a true god.
Ironically, her prayer is answered by another pantheon altogether ,as in the ruins of Asgard a hammer is awakened and feels the anguish of its mistress currently entrapped in a small cell. And it flies to her aid.
Ainet senses something happening and dies with a smile on her lips.
At the Xavier Institute, Jean Grey telepathically scans Rachel Grey’s mind. Calling her ‘mom,’ Rachel asks about results. Jean shushes her and tells her she is not her mother.
Afterwards, she announces that she detects no psychic abnormalities. There is no trace of Mesmero. With a smile, she tells Rachel she has a clean bill of health. Kitty Pryde thanks her for helping. Jean leaves.
Rachel asks Dr. Cecilia Reyes about fieldwork. Cecilia replies that physically there is no issue but Kitty decides. They’ll talk about it, is Kitty’s evasive reply. Rachel wants to know what there is to talk about. Nightcrawler reminds her she just went through a trauma. A polite way of saying she tried to kill her teammates, Rachel spells out, but they heard Jean and Dr Reyes. She is fine. The only question seems to be… is she still an X-Man?
Storm, in the meantime, has been asked to the Wakandan consulate, where the ambassador Mr. Wanjku addresses her as queen. She reminds him that she is queen no longer. He tells her, to some, she will always remain queen of Wakanda, which is why he called her. She asks if everything is well. In Wakanda, yes, she is told, but not in Uzuri, the village where Storm lived before coming to America.
He tells her conditions there have grown severe. Communication there is limited - hence the circuitous route this news has taken to get to her. He then informs her that her mother, Ainet, has passed away.
Storm turns around shocked, babbling that Ainet wasn’t her birth mother, but she sheltered her, raised her, protected her. She asks about the condition of the village. He tells her they have heard a Death Cult has arisen in the village. The villagers have turned away from the god they formerly worshipped to a far more malign one. Details are sketchy. They don’t even know which god they were worshipping before. It was her, Storm replies calmly.
Later, she packs, intending to return to Uzuri to pay her respects to Ainet. Kitty Pryde remarks that they don’t think Ainet’s death and this cult are unrelated, do they? Storm tells her this is personal. Kitty retorts there is no law saying she has to do this alone. Storm reminds her that, with Colossus gone, Gambit and Rogue on their honeymoon and Rachel’s condition, the team is shorthanded enough as it is. She promises to contact the X-Men at the first sign of trouble.
In downtown New York, lovers Kurt Wagner and Rachel Grey sit in a coffee bar. Kurt wants to know how she really is. She assures him she is really fine, but there is something she wants to talk to him about. She needs to end their relationship. She explains she nearly killed everyone. She learned she is capable of that. Like mother, like daughter.
When he protests, she states she needs some space. She loves him and these past months have made her happier than she could have imagined, but they’ve also shown her there is something she clearly needs to work through.
Kurt reminds her that Mesmero is behind what she went through. Rachel isn’t so sure about that and she doesn’t know how to sort it all out when she is one half of a relationship. It wouldn’t be fair to him.
In the meantime, Ororo has arrived in Uzuri, on the outskirts of Kenya. She asks an old woman about the specifics of Ainet’s death and is assured she died peacefully in her sleep of old age.
Ororo continues about the Wakandan consulate mentioning a death cult. The elder tells her that religion stirs deep feelings. The term “death cult” smacks of bigotry. Those who follow Uovu simply keep to themselves. Ororo asks who Uouvu is. The elder replies that it is a relatively new religion but a valid one Storm points out that ‘Uovu’ means ‘evil’ in Swahili. Annoyed, the elder replies they wouldn’t appreciate them speaking about their religion in that way. She offers to take Ororo to Ainet, so she can pay her respects. Then she can return home.
In a nearby hut, some men gathered around a shady giant remark, she is suspicious. They should eliminate her. The being in the center replies that would only draw more scrutiny. Better to draw her to their cause…
The elder leads Ororo to a small cemetery and in front of Ainet’s grave. Ororo greets Ainet and apologizes for not seeing her sooner. She did not even invite her to the weeding. She does not have a good explanation. Except life. It overtakes and sweeps her away sometimes. Making her leave behind her old life. But Ainet always held a place in her heart… the woman who raised her after her parents died. Her second mother. Who turned her from a street urchin into a goddess. She’s left them behind as well. And now it seems a darkness has taken root in her place. She promises Ainet she will find the truth and maybe that will atone for abandoning Ainet and the village.
At night, the Elder Hiari against her will takes Ororo to the meeting place of the new religion. Hiari tells her this is not her village any longer. Another voice considers that harsh. A large stone-like being greets Ororo, introducing himself as Uovu.
At the sight of the dark god, she reacts on instinct, calling Stormcaster and transforming into her Asgardian garb. Unimpressed, he promises he wants no aggression. She calls him a pretender. He finds that amusing and shows her two familiar shapes, those of her parents. Very much alive, David and N’dare Munroe greet their daughter.