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"You cannot stop this, Mister Doctor. This is the end and the beginning."
Kaecilius to Doctor Strange[src]

The Attack on the Sanctums was a series of attacks executed by the Zealots in their quest to destroy the Masters of the Mystic Arts, summon Dormammu and merge Earth with the Dark Dimension.

Background

Rise of the Zealots

"Time is unmerciful... I knew before the doctor even set foot in that room that you were lost to me, just as our son was lost to us, and you were going to be joined together in a place I could not follow. I failed you both..."
Kaecilius to Adria[src]

Kaecilius lost his wife and son, prompting him to seek help from the Masters of the Mystic Arts. Under the guidance of the Ancient One, Kaecilius eventually became one of the most powerful sorcerers. However, Kaecilius eventually became disillusioned with the order, as he failed to understand why his wife and son died. He also realized that the Ancient One was drawing power from Dormammu, despite her forbidding any of her students from connecting to the Dark Dimension. Horrified by the Ancient One's deception, he gathered a group of sorcerers who also felt disillusioned with the Ancient One.[1]

Theft of the Book of Cagliostro

"Master Kaecilius... That ritual will bring you only sorrow."
―The Ancient One to Kaecilius[src]

Upon infiltrating the library, the Zealots overpowered and restrained the librarian before watching as Kaecilius calmly decapitated him with his Scythe Daggers. He then located the Book of Cagliostro and found the ritual, which he ripped out of the book. 

Theft of the Book of Cagliostro 3

The Ancient One battling Kaecilius

The Ancient One suddenly appeared and advised against performing the ritual, prompting Kaecilius to open a portal so he and the Zealots could escape. The Ancient One followed them through the portal to London before trapping them in the Mirror Dimension so they could not endanger innocent lives.

Although the Zealots restrained her legs, the Ancient One escaped with ease and conjured her Tao Mandalas, which she used to take out several Zealots.

Sensing that the battle was lost, Kaecilius used his Sling Ring to open a portal so he could escape with his remaining followers. The Ancient One, meanwhile, restored the warped landscape before exiting the Mirror Dimension.[1]

Summoning Dormammu

DS First Ritual 4

Kaecilius gains some power from Dormammu

In a church, the Zealots used the ritual from the stolen pages to call on Dormammu, who bestowed power on them to influence the dimensions, and they began their campaign to destroy the Earth sanctums so the Dark Dimension could be unleashed.[1]

Conflict

Destruction of the London Sanctum

Sol Rama 2

Sol Rama is killed by the Zealots

"The London Sanctum has fallen. Only New York and Hong Kong remain now to shield us from the Dark Dimension."
Ancient One to Doctor Strange[src]

Making their way to London, the Zealots infiltrated the London Sanctum and engaged in a fierce battle with its protector Sol Rama. Sensing that the battle was lost, Rama attempted to escape through the portal leading to Kamar-Taj only to die after being impaled by a Space Shard wielded by the Brunette Zealot.

Kaecilius then proceeded to cause a massive explosion that destroyed the Sanctum and ripped through Kamar-Taj, sending new member Stephen Strange through the portal leading to the New York Sanctum.[1]

Battle at the New York Sanctum

DS Spot 19 - 2

Daniel Drumm is killed by Kaecilius

"You defended the New York Sanctum from attack. With its Master gone, it needs another... Master Strange."
Ancient One to Doctor Strange[src]

Making his way through the New York Sanctum, Doctor Strange came across Kaecilius and two of his fellow Zealots fighting Daniel Drumm in the main foyer. Just as Kaecilius was preparing to deliver the fatal blow, Strange made his presence known from the second-floor landing.

Not recognizing the Ancient One's latest recruit, Kaecilius asked Strange how long he had been at Kamar-Taj only to start an awkward conversation about the latter's name. The lead Zealot proceeded to execute Drumm and bring the conversation to an abrupt end before charging towards his newest enemy.

DS Hero Acts 4

Doctor Strange prepares to fight the Zealots

Strange attempted to evade the Zealots by running down the hallway leading to the Rotunda of Gateways only for Kaecilius to manipulate the corridor and place it in a kaleidoscopic state.

Despite struggling with his Eldritch Whip and Tao Mandalas, Strange successfully overpowered Kaecilius' right-hand man Lucian Aster and the other remaining Zealot. Strange then sent the Zealots through the portals respectively leading to the rainforest and the desert. 

Whip x Shard

Doctor Strange using the Eldritch Whip on Kaecilius

Strange proceeded to fight Kaecilius and threw him into a glass case holding the Cloak of Levitation before reaching for an axe. The Cloak, however, noticed the Crimson Bands of Cyttorak on the other side of the room and pulled Strange across the room, for him to use it instead.

In the New York Sanctum, Doctor Strange witnessed the death of Daniel Drumm, the sanctum's guardian, and the inexperienced sorcerer fought against them. He was able to strand two in other areas of the world and, with the help of the Cloak of Levitation, subdue Kaecilius. However, one of the Zealots, Lucian Aster, obtained Strange's Sling Ring and surprised Doctor Strange, striking him with a Space Shard. The Cloak fought the Zealot as Strange used the Sling Ring to get to the Metro-General Hospital to get help from Christine Palmer.[1]

Duel on the Astral Plane

"I'm going to have to vanish now."
"No, I..."
"Keep me alive, will you?"
Doctor Strange and Christine Palmer[src]

Seeking out Christine Palmer, an old colleague, Doctor Strange convinced her to operate on him despite her confusion towards his random presence. She brought him to an operating room and began to treat Strange's wound only to be surprised when Strange projected his astral form to assist her.

StrangePalmer-MidOperation-Projection

Doctor Strange begs Christine Palmer to save him

Meanwhile, Lucian Aster managed to escape from the Cloak of Levitation by projecting his astral form and followed Strange through the portal to Metro-General Hospital. Detecting Aster's presence, Strange engaged the Zealot in a fierce duel that took them throughout the hospital. When Strange's heart stopped beating, Palmer used a defibrillator to shock his body, causing his astral form to release an extremely powerful shockwave that caused Aster to cry out in agony. Realizing that the shock from the defibrillator increased his power, Strange told Christine to increase the voltage on the defibrillator.

DStrange-PowerUp-FightingLucian

Doctor Strange overloads and kills Lucian Aster

Despite her protests that Strange's heart was still beating, Palmer did as she was told and shocked Strange's body again. As a result, Strange's astral form released a far more powerful shock wave that incinerated Aster's astral form while simultaneously causing his physical form to stop operating.[1]

Battle of the Mirror Dimension

Doctor Strange 67

Doctor Strange and Karl Mordo escape Kaecilius

"The Mirror Dimension. You can't affect the real world in here. Who's laughing now, asshole?"
"I am."
Doctor Strange and Kaecilius[src]

As Kaecilius prepared to destroy the New York Sanctum, Doctor Strange attempted to contain the situation by trapping everyone in the Mirror Dimension. Kaecilius, however, revealed that his connection to Dormammu enhanced his abilities while in the Mirror Dimension.

Realizing he made a grave error, Strange stole Kaecilius' Sling Ring and fled the Sanctum with Karl Mordo. Strange then used the Sling Ring to conjure a portal only for Kaecilius to distort gravity and make him lose focus. The Zealots proceeded to pursue the two Masters throughout New York City, twisting the landscape to the point where it was unrecognizable.

Mirror Dimension Battle run

The Zealots lost in the Mirror Dimension

Despite Kaecilius' best efforts to kill them, Strange and Mordo successfully countered his attacks with help from the Cloak of Levitation and the Vaulting Boots of Valtorr. The lead Zealot eventually managed to separate the two and began chasing after Strange while his remaining followers pursued Mordo. Using the changing landscape to his advantage, Kaecilius cornered Strange, pinned him to the ground, and reclaimed his Sling Ring.

DS Promo Clip - 5 Days 2

The Ancient One prepares to fight the Zealots

Kaecilius was about to kill Strange when the Ancient One appeared and used her powers to create a battle arena out of subway station walls, causing the Dark Dimension's symbol to be burned on her forehead. As a horrified Mordo realized that Strange had been telling the truth, the Ancient One tried to convince Kaecilius that she was attempting to save him from himself by not revealing her secret.

Kaecilius, however, refused to believe his former mentor and ordered the Brunette and Tall Zealots to attack. He then watched the Ancient One fight his followers and waited until she was fighting the Tall Zealot before conjuring a Space Shard.

DS Spot 21 - 3

Kaecilius mortally wounds the Ancient One

Quietly approaching his former mentor, Kaecilius used the Space Shard to stab her through his follower and mortally wounded the duelers. Satisfied by his actions, Kaecilius proceeded to throw the Ancient One out of the Mirror Dimension, where she fell several hundred stories to the ground below.[1]

Preparing for War

After hearing words of wisdom from the Ancient One in her last moments, Doctor Strange spoke with Karl Mordo that he needed his help to stop the Zealots from destroying the Hong Kong Sanctum.[1]

Battle at the Hong Kong Sanctum

Hong Kong Sorcerers

Wong and the Masters prepare for battle

"It's too late. Nothing can stop him."
"Not necessarily."
Karl Mordo and Doctor Strange[src]

Determined to prevent Kaecilius and the Zealots from destroying the Hong Kong Sanctum, Wong ordered the Masters of the Mystic Arts to prepare for battle. Despite their best efforts, the Masters were defeated and the Sanctum was destroyed, leaving the Earth vulnerable to Dormammu.

Doctor Strange EW Screencap 01

Doctor Strange activates the Eye of Agamotto

By the time Doctor Strange and Karl Mordo arrived, they found the decimated city being consumed by the Dark Dimension. Kaecilius prepared to stab Strange with a Space Shard only for Strange to activate the Eye of Agamotto, causing time to reverse.

The Zealots freed themselves and attacked Strange and Mordo. Despite their best efforts, Kaecilius was trapped inside a tiled wall and another Zealot was trapped in a fish tank and was left to drown.

Eventually, Kaecilius freed himself and managed to tamper with the Eye of Agamotto, stopping time. Strange fled the scene and confronted Dormammu, eventually convincing him to leave Earth and take the Zealots with him.[1]

Skirmish in the Dark Dimension

Dormammu 3

Doctor Strange meeting with Dormammu

"Dormammu! I've come to bargain."
"You've come to die. Your world is now my world, like all worlds."
"Dormammu! I've come to bargain."
"You've come to die. Your world is now my world... What is this? Illusion?"
"No, this is real."
Doctor Strange and Dormammu[src]

Entering the Dark Dimension, Doctor Strange came across Dormammu, who manifested as a warped version of the former neurosurgeon's face, and stated that he had come to bargain. Claiming that he had come to die, the entity killed Strange only to watch as he came back to life and repeated his previous statement. While confused, Dormammu killed Strange again only for him to reappear. Strange proceeded to explain that he used the Eye of Agamotto to create a loop that trapped them in the same moment.

DStrange-DormammuBargain

Doctor Strange promises to end the loop

Dormammu warned Strange he would suffer for eternity, to which Strange accepted. After killing Strange several times only to watch the loop reset, the desperate entity begged Strange to release him from the loop. Strange refused, firmly stating that he had come to bargain, and promised to break the loop on the condition that Dormammu put an end to his conquest and take the Zealots with him. The entity agreed to the demands, prompting Strange to leave the dimension and return to the battle.[1]

Aftermath

A New Protector

Doctor Strange returned the Eye of Agamotto to Kamar-Taj and decided to become the new guardian of the Sanctum Sanctorum.[1]

Too Many Sorcerers

Karl Mordo, now disillusioned from the teaching of the Ancient One, believed sorcerers to be the cause of the break in the natural order. While manipulating time saved the world, Mordo believed there would be serious consequences in the future, and made it his mission to rid the world of rogue sorcerers.[1]

References

Wars and Conflicts in Earth History
First Dark Elf Conflict (Pre-2988 B.C - 2988 B.C.) • Kree-Skrull War (995 A.D. - 1995) • Asgard-Jotunheim War (965 A.D. - 2010) • World War II (1939 - 1945) • Johann Fennhoff's Campaign (1946) • Cold War (1947 - 1991) • Chase of Bruce Banner (2005 - 2010) • Chitauri Invasion (2012) • Aldrich Killian's War (2012) • Second Dark Elf Conflict (2013) • Centipede Investigation (2013 - 2014) • HYDRA Uprising (2014) • Quest for the Orb (2014) • Ego's Expansion (Pre-1 A.D. - 2014) • War on HYDRA (2014 - 2015) • Operation Cerberus (2014) • Search for the Kree City (2015) • S.H.I.E.L.D. Civil War (2014 - 2015) • Ultron Offensive (2015) • War Against the Inhumans (2015) • Chase of Luke Cage (2015) • Inhuman Outbreak (2015 - 2016) • Grant Ward's Campaign (2015 - 2016) • Frank Castle's War (2015-2016) • War for New York (2016) • Hive's Campaign (2016) • Avengers Civil War (2016) • Erik Killmonger's Campaign (2016) • Adrian Toomes' Campaign (2012 - 2016) • Rawlins Conspiracy (2015-2016) • Chase of Quake (2016-2017) • Attack on the Sanctums (2017) • Terror in New Orleans (2017) • Aida's Uprising (2017) • War for Harlem (2017) • Triad War (2017) • Kingpin's Conspiracy (2017) • War Against PRIDE (2017 - 2018) • War Against Jonah (2018) • Morgan le Fay's Campaign (2018) • Schultz Conspiracy (2018) • Jigsaw's Campaign (2018) • Chase of Trish Walker (2018) • Infinity War (2018) • War Against the Chronicoms (2018-2019) • Sarge's Campaign (2019) • Izel's Campaign (2019) • Ronin's Campaign (2023) • Time Heist (2023) • Mafia Cold War (2024) • Quentin Beck's Campaign (2024)
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