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Why have you disturbed my meditation, young one?
~ The Ancient One

The Ancient One is a character from the Dr. Strange comic series of Marval Comics, he was the Sorcerer Supreme before Stephen Strange, the titular Doctor Strange. The Ancient One maintained the balance of magic for years.

Background

The Ancient One was born Yan, in a small village called Kamar-Taj in the mountains of Tibet. Yan had a hunger for knowledge and a sixth sense which he nurtured until it manifested as psychic powers. Yan was not alone in his path and was joined by his neighbor and childhood friend Kaluu, the two were brought close by their like minded training and both would eventually unlock the secrets of magic. Eventually Yan's powers advanced so much that he was able to turn Kamar-Taj into a Utopian society. Kaluu took up his role as ruler of it applying his powers to assert his dominance over the population. Yan was wary of his friend's control over their home but did not oppose it for Kamar-Taj was free of troubles thanks to his magic and Kaluu ruling did not disrupt that, so Yan remained by his friend's side, partially to maintain the blessings upon the village and partially to keep an eye on his friend.

One day Kaluu grew bored with his rule, the day to day of a perfect society became dull. Yan met with Kaluu one day and came to find Kaluu was planning on conquering the neighboring territories. Yan opposed the notion of disrupting other societies. Once Kaluu saw his friend would not only refuse to support him but might have even fought him over it, he cast a paralysis spell on Yan before he could stop him. Kaluu left and began conquering other villages with his powers and the people of Kamar-Taj as a mystically empowered army. The battles were over quickly and Kaluu used the conquered peoples as slaves to wait on them hand and foot. The people of Kamar-Taj became spoiled and gluttonous and all the while Yan was frozen in place watching.

Eventually Yan was able to manifest his powers, Kamar-Taj was ravaged by pestilence, famine and bad weather Kaluu soon realized that Yan was behind it. Kaluu was a gifted mage but as he had learned, his talents for domination sake, he had not continued his training after achieving the ability to cast the spells he needed, where-as Yan had been continually training for study sake alone; with this in mind Kaluu knew he was no match for Yan and left for another dimension, choosing to flee rather than face Yan's wrath. What Kaluu did not know was that the plagues beset on Kamar-Taj were not intended to hamper him but rather were meant to directly harm him. Yan had wanted to kill Kaluu but his aura was too strong to be affected by Yan's improvised spells in is immobilized-state. The spells had deflected off Kaluu and manifested against the collective village instead, leaving only Yan and Kaluu unaffected due to their powerful-aura.

Once Kaluu had left the dimension, his spell over Yan faded and Yan was once again free to move. Looking out at his devastated village, all the residence either killed or fled, Yan decided it was his duty to not only become a better mage but maintain magic to prevent it from being misused or misapplied. Yan hollowed out the village and turned it into a massive shrine where he continued to mediate and train until he comprehended magic as a universal force; A force which he harnessed and controlled to keep stable. Yan's continued study was dedicated to making sure not only that no one followed in Kaluu's foot-steps, but also that neither Kaluu, nor other entities from other dimensions could pass into his with any level of ease.

Sorcerer Supreme

Eventually Yan was called The Ancient One, a title given by the survivors of Kamar-Taj and their children, and their children's children until he was a creature of folklore, a boggy-man of the Himlayias. The Ancient One had, among many other things, discovered how to extend his life drastically and had been around for centuries, during this time his staple as a mystical anchor for the world brought him to the attention of many other mystics, some who considered him a master of the craft to be admired others who challenged him in formal sorcerers-duels. The Ancient One's continued success against all challengers earned him the title "Sorcerer Supreme". Eventually one of the sages named Karl Amadeus Mordo came to train with the Ancient One beseeching him for the guidance to better his talents.

The Ancient One had turned away prievous applicants but he was getting near the end of his considerably long life and told Mordo he wished for the perfect apprentice to pass on his training and title of Sorcerer Supreme to and for this he would need Mordo, thus was Mordo brought into the temple village of Kamar-Taj to train under The Ancient One.

Doctor Strange

One day Kamar-Taj was visited by a man named Stephen Vincent Strange, a doctor from the United States. Stephen came begging to be healed by The Ancient One, Mordo was appalled at the simple man who dared to come before him and his master to ask for such trivial thing. Before Strange could plead his case The Ancient One called him forward and with a mere thought was able to gaze into Stephen's mind and knew his whole story in seconds. Stephen was a world-famous-surgeon who had exploited his gifts to become wealthy but was robbed of those gifts after getting into a car crash, the glass from the crash had left nerve damage in Stephen's hands preventing him from keeping a steady hand and preventing him from continuing his practice. Though Stephen could have lived well as a consultant he refused to be robbed of his true skills to advise others. Strange spent all his remaining money seeking treatments and cures. Eventually Strange heard of "the Ancient One" a so-called mystic who could heal any wound and used what money he still had travel to the Himalayas in search of the fabled mystic or die trying.

The Ancient One announced he knew of Strange's story before he could even explain it, impressing upon the skeptic doctor that he was in-fact a true mystic. The Ancient One said he would give Strange the ability to use his hands again if he stayed on as a servant. Mordo was opposed to the notion saying they needed no such servant and leading Strange to believe the old man simply intended to exploit him but he had not journeyed through the snow and slopes to spit in the face of his one hope and so he agreed to the condition. The Ancient One gave Strange many demeaning tasks such as cleaning the grounds, tasks which the doctor came to resent. Soon Strange overheard Mordo preparing a spell to kill The Ancient One and take his power as his own. Stephen attempted to warn The Ancient One but Mordo spotted Stephen and cast a spell of silence upon him so that Strange would be unable to speak. Strange still attempted to warn The Ancient One but found he could not, Mordo made the accusation that Strange had gone dumb and that he knew they should not have taken in such a desperate man so close to the edge of his own sanity. As Strange attempted to patomime the danger to The Ancient One to no avail, Mordo used him as a distraction to get close to The Ancient One as he was focused on Strange. As Mordo was about to strike he was overpowered by The Ancient One who cast a silence spell upon him instead, with Mordo unable to utter his incantations, he was powerless to enact his plan to kill The Ancient One.

The Ancient One stated he had known from the moment he met Mordo what Mordo's ultimate plans would be for him, but that was of-course why he brought him on in the first place. The Ancient One saw that Mordo's ambitions would test the hearts of anyone else who came to train with him and the one who stood-up to him would be truly worthy as an apprentice. The Ancient One banished Mordo from Kamar-Taj never to return and with the better part of his magics sealed away, though he still possessed the knowledge to re-train himself eventually. The Ancient One lifted the spell on Stephen Strange and told the doctor that though he was unable to act he still tried and was putting himself at the center of Mordo's wrath to do so and all for the sake of some old man who he actually resented. The Ancient One considered Stephen Strange to have proven himself as the sort of person fit to train under him. Strange accepted the position and began training as a martial-artist, then psychic and soon enough into the transcendence of magician. The Ancient One wished for Stephen Strange to take over for him when he died, however Stephen had no desire to see The Ancient One die and instead worked to protect him instead of surpass him. The main point the two disagreed on, strongly, was over Strange's ambitions or rather lack there of.

Personality

Like Strange, The Ancient One is highly dedicated to knowledge as a concept. The Ancient One routinely stabilizes energy fields around the material plane to prevent demons, dimensional overlords and gods from invading earth. The Ancient One's extended meditation sessions are in-fact when he is at work repairing and re-enforcing the dimensional barriers or reality. The Ancient One is a perfectionist when it comes to his craft, not just for himself but for his apprentice. While Stephen Strange eventually became willing to push himself as a sorcerer to any length The Ancient One wished without complaint, he was not willing to do so when it came to his personal life. Strange wanted to help the common man with his powers but The Ancient One, having learned the hard way that helping society will just create imbalance that the forces of greed and oppression would take advantage of, discouraged interference in everyday society.

Eventually Strange met and fell-in-love with Clea of the Dark Dimension, niece of the dimensional conqueror Dormammu. Clea wished to help stop her uncle from hurting other dimensions and helped Strange, whom she had also fallen in love with. The Ancient One was fiercely opposed to the union and actually banished Clea from Earth after Strange saved her from Dormammu's prison in the Dark Dimension. The Ancient One said even if Clea's intent was genuine that Dormammu would use her as a anchor to earth and as such she could not be there. Strange never forgave The Ancient One for the banishment and for the remainder of The Ancient One's life it was a constant battle to get Strange to be willing to continue his training to surpass The Ancient One as a sorcerer.

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