The Ancient One was a woman, reportedly of Celtic origin, who trained in the mystic arts and eventually came to lead the Masters of the Mystic Arts based in Kamar-Taj, Nepal. She also held the title of Sorcerer Supreme, bestowed upon one who masters the mystic arts to such a degree that they become the most potent of magic users. Her task as the Sorcerer Supreme was to keep practitioners of the mystic arts on the right path and to train them to eventually become masters. Along with the Masters of the Mystic Arts, she would also keep the peace in the world of mysticism by preventing the knowledge or mystical relics from ending up with those who would use such things for harm. In order to continue this work through the passage of centuries, she committed to prolonging her life by drawing on the power of the Dark Dimension, an act that came from a darker mystical knowledge.
One day, while trying to meditate, her apprentice Mordo entered her chambers to inform her that the Arrow of Apollon had been recovered by a group of bandits, who were using it to hold up a nearby town. Eight hours later, the Ancient One and Mordo travelled to the town to confront the bandits, who were also in possession of the Bow of Apollon. After deducing the limited ambition of the bandits' leader, Jião'ào Zhànshì, the Ancient One tried to convince him to resist the temptation of the relics' power. In response, Zhànshì fired the arrow which caused a fight between the two sides. The Ancient One and Mordo quickly disposed of the bandits, and Zhànshì was forced to return the bow and arrow. Later, the Ancient One reflected upon the incident while projecting herself into the Astral Plane.
When Kaecilius raided the Kamar-Taj library for the Book of Cagliostro, the Ancient One learned of the intrusion and intervened. She followed Kaecilius and his zealots through the dimensional gate to the London Sanctum, and then out into the streets of London where she forced them into a confrontation in the Mirror Dimension. While she was successful in beating back multiple attackers, she failed to prevent Kaecilius and several of his followers escaping through a portal of his own.
In the coming days, the Ancient One met Dr. Stephen Strange, a brilliant neurosurgeon who had come to Kamar-Taj seeking her help in restoring his hands from extensive nerve damage. The man's rudeness and arrogance soon caused the Ancient One to have him thrown out of Kamar-Taj, but Mordo convinced her to give him a second chance. She soon saw that the newcomer had potential, but his self-doubt continued to hold him back, and so she intervened personally to give him the push he needed to overcome his shortcomings.
When Kaecilius attacked again, he assaulted the London Sanctum and destroyed it before the other Masters of the Mystic Arts even knew they were under attack. The Ancient One took Mordo and followed Kaecilius to the New York Sanctum where they found its master Daniel Drumm already dead. Strange, who had previously been shunted through the dimensional portal to the New York Sanctum, soon made an appearance and explained how he had fought Kaecilius and two of his followers. His efforts had saved the Sanctum, if not its master, and so the Ancient One conferred the title of master to him along with an offer to take up the now-vacant post as master of the New York Sanctum, but Strange was torn by the desire to use his new found knowledge to restore his hands and return to his old life.
Kaecilius and his followers were then noticed in the foyer, having returned to complete their desecration of the New York Sanctum. Strange and Mordo interrupted their ritual, with Strange shifting the combatants into the Mirror Dimension. The Ancient One followed them and stopped Kaecilius in the act of killing Strange. Again she was effective in beating back Kaecilius's group, but she also fell victim to a grievous wound that sent her tumbling off a building onto the concrete below.
Strange and Mordo rushed her to hospital in a desperate bid to save her, and as she lay on the operating table she released her astral form for one last look at the world around her. Strange noticed the transition, and followed her in the Astral Dimension to urge her back to her body, but she persisted in explaining that through all the years she had looked through time and averted many terrible futures, she had never been able to see beyond this particular point in time. Her final moments were spent asking Stephen Strange to consider the purpose that his new talents had laid out for him, all while taking a moment to watch the snow fall outside, and then she slipped away.
Master Sorcerer: The Ancient One possessed substantial mastery of the mystic arts, which she used to defend her native reality from threats of a mystical nature. Many of the feats this knowledge confers comes from manipulating extra-dimensional energy to control matter.
- Astral Projection: The Ancient One is capable of separating her astral form from her body in order to traverse the Astral Dimension. In this form she exists in a non-coporeal state, able to pass through walls and remain unseen by those in the physical world. She is also able to free the astral form of another person in her vicinity, and communicate with that person in the Astral Dimension.
- Conjuring: The Ancient One is able to harness extra-dimensional energy to form weapons and shields for use in combat. These typically have an orange glowing appearance. She also has some capacity to override the conjured armaments of others, effectively able to ignore binding attacks used upon her, and then effortlessly yank her attackers off their feet.
- Virtual Immortality: The Ancient One has had her life expectancy greatly extended by drawing extradimensional energy from the Dark Dimension to prolong her life for centuries. Her physical aging has largely been suspended, thus permanently preserving physical vitality such as endurance and strength. Despite living for centuries she is still biologically human and can die from wounds and physical trauma. She still requires sustenance and has to eat, sleep, breathe.
- Matter Control: The Ancient One can manipulate physical matter. She restricts such activities to the confines of the Mirror Dimension where the world can be reshaped without impacting the natural order of the real world.
Master Martial Artist: The Ancient One is a highly skilled combatant, having learned and adapted over the centuries.
Scholar: The Ancient One has amassed a vast amount of knowledge throughout her years. Her knowledge of the mystic arts is of the highest order, and despite her ancient origins she is also quite conversant with modern developments.
- Sling Ring
- A personal collection of books on mystic lore kept in the Kamar-Taj library, including the Book of Cagliostro
- World globe
- 6 Appearances of Ancient One (Earth-199999)
- Minor Appearances of Ancient One (Earth-199999)
- Media Ancient One (Earth-199999) was Mentioned in
- 5 Images featuring Ancient One (Earth-199999)
- 2 Quotations by or about Ancient One (Earth-199999)
- Character Gallery: Ancient One (Earth-199999)
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