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"From the dawn of the universe, there was nothing. Then... boom. The Big Bang sent six elemental crystals, hurtling across the virgin universe. These Infinity Stones each control an essential aspect of existence."
Wong[src]

The Infinity Stones were six immensely powerful stone-like objects tied to different aspects of the universe, created by the Cosmic Entities. Each of the stones possesses unique capabilities that have been enhanced and altered by various alien civilizations for millennia.

Only beings of immense power can directly wield the Stones, such as Celestials,[1] and the Mad Titan Thanos.[2] Lesser beings face dire consequences: Jane Foster became ill after being exposed to the Aether and Carina exploded when she touched the Power Stone; however, these effects can be reduced if a group is sharing the power among themselves.[1] It is also possible to place an Infinity Stone (or multiple) inside a container to allow the user to wield the Stone's power without suffering the normal repercussions. Examples include the Space Stone inside the Tesseract, the Mind Stone inside the Scepter and later in Vision's forehead, the Power Stone inside the Orb and later the Cosmi-Rod, the Time Stone inside the Eye of Agamotto, the Reality Stone as the Aether, and all of the Infinity Stones housed in the Infinity Gauntlet.

When Thanos successfully collects all of them, he uses their phenomenal powers to annihilate half of all living creatures in the universe. He later uses the stones' power to reduce them to atoms, so as to prevent his work from being undone.

Five years later, the Avengers travel back in time to retrieve the stones from alternate timelines in order to undo Thanos' act of mass genocide. After the Battle of Earth, Captain America returns the stones to their proper place in time to prevent any alternate branch timelines from forming.

History

Creation

"Before creation itself, there were six singularities. Then the universe exploded into existence, and the remnants of these systems were forged into concentrated ingots... Infinity Stones."
Collector[src]

Before the Universe began, six singularities existed. Sometime after the universe exploded into existence, these were formed into the six Infinity Stones by the Cosmic Entities. Each stone represented a different aspect of the universe (Space, Mind, Reality, Power, Soul, and Time).[1]

Weapon of the Celestials

"These stones, it seems, can only be brandished by beings of extraordinary strength. These carriers can use the stone to mow down entire civilizations like wheat in a field. Once, for a moment, a group was able to share the energy amongst themselves, but even they were quickly destroyed by it."
Collector[src]
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Celestials use the Power Stone's destruction

In the distant past, the Power Stone was used by the Celestials as a means of placing judgment upon worlds and their populaces, wiping out entire civilizations by touching its power on the planet's surface. However, the stone was just as dangerous to its handler as it was to the societies against which it was used, as its insufficiently powerful handlers were destroyed by its power.[1]

First Dark Elf Conflict

"Sire, the Aether, shall we destroy it?"
"If only we could, but its power is too great. Bury it deep. Somewhere no one will ever find it."
Einherjar and Bor[src]
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Malekith attempts to use the Aether's power

Malekith and his army of Dark Elves attempted to harness the power of the Aether and use its destructive power to destroy all of the Nine Realms. Led by Bor, the Asgardians managed to steal the Aether and stop Malekith's war. In response to the defeat, Malekith sacrificed the majority of his people, including his own wife and son, in an attempt to wipe out the Asgardian invaders, putting himself, his second in command Algrim and a few survivors into hibernation.

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Bor orders that the Aether be hidden away

With the Dark Elves seemingly having been defeated and the Aether now in the possession of Asgard, King Bor was asked what was to be done with it. Bor knew that the Aether was far too powerful to be simply destroyed as he would have preferred, so he ordered that it be buried deep where nobody would ever be able to find it. Under Bor's orders, it remained hidden and untouched for five thousand years.[3]

World War II

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Red Skull creates weapons with the Tesseract

"My weapons contain enough destructive power to decimate every hostile capital on Earth. Quite simply, gentlemen, I have harnessed the power of the gods."
Johann Schmidt[src]

During World War II, Johann Schmidt became fascinated by tales of ancient mythical powers and decided to locate the Tesseract to discover its true power. In 1942, Schmidt invaded Tønsberg and found the Tesseract in a box hidden behind a sculptured mural of Yggdrasil, the world tree. Schmidt took the Tesseract back to HYDRA Headquarters to be experimented on by Arnim Zola. Schmidt and Zola were able to harness the Tesseract's power to create and fuel their weapons of war.

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The Tesseract teleporting Red Skull to Vormir

In March 1945, Schmidt intended to use the Tesseract-powered Valkyrie and its flying nuclear bombs to attack the United States of America. However, Schmidt was confronted by Captain America and the Howling Commandos who aimed to stop him. During the battle, Rogers damaged the machine that was using the Tesseract to power the Valkyrie. Angered, Schmidt physically handled the Tesseract, burning his hand. As punishment for abusing the power of an Infinity Stone for selfish gain, the Tesseract opened a portal leading to the far-off planet of Vormir and banished Schmidt to remain there.[2]

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The Tesseract is found by Howard Stark

With Schmidt believed dead, the Tesseract fell while burning through the floors of the Valkyrie, causing it to plunge into the sea below. Sometime later, it was recovered by Howard Stark, CEO of Stark Industries and a member of the Strategic Scientific Reserve, who was attempting to locate his friend Captain America. Stark had the Tesseract locked away with the SSR where it was kept and studied for the next seventy years.[4]

Kree-Skrull War

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Carol Danvers is exposed to the Space Stone

Understanding that the Kree brought only misery to the Skrulls during the Kree-Skrull War, the Kree scientist Mar-Vell intended to help a group of Skrull refuges led by Talos in finding a new home. She impersonated as a human named Dr. Wendy Lawson and worked for the United State Air Force in Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S. in order to harness the power of the Tesseract to develop a Light-Speed Engine. The pilots Carol Danvers and Maria Rambeau were unknowingly testing the engine in test flights. The Tesseract was stored in Mar-Vell's Laboratory, located in Earth's orbit.

One day, Mar-Vell flew with Danvers to the lab but were attacked by the Starforce. The two crashed and before Mar-Vell's death, she revealed herself to Danvers and urged her not letting the Kree taking the engine. Starforce commander, Yon-Rogg, was about to kill Danvers, but she shot the engine and created an energy explosion. Danvers absorbed the Tesseract's energy and gained superhuman abilities. Yon-Rogg took her as a new soldier to his Starforce, erasing her memories in the process.

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The Tesseract being vomited up by Goose

After six years, Danvers returned to Earth, joined forces with Nick Fury from S.H.I.E.L.D. learned the truth about the Kree-Skrull War from Talos and regained some of her memories. Wanting to assist Talos' people, Danvers and Fury flew to Mar-Vell's laboratory to retrieve the Tesseract. When they found it and the Skrulls, the Starforce arrived and tried to take the Tesseract. Fury fled to Earth with the Skrulls and the Tesseract, which had been swallowed by the Flerken Goose. Following Danvers' victory over the Kree, she left Earth with the Skrulls, letting Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. keep the Tesseract.[5]

Chitauri Invasion

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The Tesseract transports Loki to Earth

"I've seen worlds you've never known about! I have grown, Odinson, in my exile! I have seen the true power of the Tesseract, and when I wield it..."
"Who showed you this power?"
Loki and Thor[src]

In 2012, after his defeat at the hands of Thor, Loki came into contact with the alien race known as the Chitauri, and their master, Thanos, who had already been seeking the Tesseract. Loki promised to retrieve it from Earth and give it to Thanos in exchange for his army. Through manipulation of the Tesseract's energy, Thanos teleported Loki to the Tesseract's location at the Joint Dark Energy Mission Facility.

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Hawkeye is controlled by the Mind Stone

Thanos also provided Loki with a Scepter containing the Mind Stone. Once Loki arrived on Earth, he found a team of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who had been experimenting with the Tesseract's power. Loki used the power of the Scepter to defeat them all, before putting Clint Barton, Erik Selvig, and several other S.H.I.E.L.D. agents under his complete control, ordering them to kill Nick Fury and steal the Tesseract for him. Selvig continued to experiment on the Tesseract in order to learn how to open a large sustainable portal.

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Bruce Banner unwittingly holds the Scepter

When Loki was captured by S.H.I.E.L.D., the Scepter fell into their hands and was experimented on by Tony Stark and Bruce Banner. However, the Mind Stone's power proved more subtle and began to infect the Avengers personally, making them more doubtful and causing a large argument between them that only ended when Banner realized he had been unwittingly made to pick up the Scepter. During the Attack on the Helicarrier, Loki regained the Scepter, which he used to murder Phil Coulson before escaping.

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The Tesseract opens a portal between worlds

Selvig used the Tesseract and Stark Tower to create a portal above New York City which allowed Loki's army to pour through and attack, beginning the Chitauri Invasion. With hordes of Chitauri and Leviathan charging through the portal, only the Avengers stood in their way. Loki tried and failed to control Iron Man with the Scepter. Eventually, Black Widow was able to close the portal using the Scepter while Iron Man destroyed the Chitauri Command Center with an Atomic Bomb before Loki was captured by the team.

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The Tesseract is handed over to Asgard

While Loki was taken back to Asgard with Thor to await punishment by their father Odin, the Tesseract was handed over to Thor to be kept away from the World Security Council. Thor and Loki used the cube to teleport themselves back to Asgard[6] before Thor handed it over to Heimdall who used its power to rebuild the Bifrost Bridge,[7] which had been destroyed during the Duel at the Bifrost Bridge,[8] finally allowing Thor and the other Asgardians to be transported across the Nine Realms with ease once again.[3]

Second Dark Elf Conflict

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Malekith finally regains the Aether

"The Asgardians will suffer as we have suffered. I will reclaim the Aether. I will restore our world. And I will put an end to this poisoned universe."
Malekith[src]

As the Convergence began across the Nine Realms, Jane Foster accidentally discovered and became infected with the Aether, alerting the Dark Elves to its presence. Malekith waged war against Asgard, who were protecting Foster, to regain the Aether. Eventually Foster came to Svartalfheim where Malekith reclaimed the Aether and absorbed it.

Capture

Malekith unleashes the Aether's power

Malekith took the Aether to Earth where he attempted to use its power to infect the entire universe into eternal darkness. Thor also returned to Earth where he confronted the leader of the Dark Elves. Malekith used the Aether to battle Thor across worlds during the Convergence until eventually, they became separated and Malekith unleashed the Aether's power. Thor and Erik Selvig were able to destroy Malekith before he could complete his plans.

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The Aether is given to the Collector

The Aether was soon regained by Asgard who decided that it was too dangerous to keep two Infinity Stones so close together, so they kept the Tesseract where it was and decided to relocate the Aether. Eventually, Sif and Volstagg decided to hand the Aether over to Taneleer Tivan, who vowed to keep it safe within the Collector's Museum. However once the Asgardians left, Tivan announced to himself that he intended to locate the other five stones.[3]

HYDRA's Experiments

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Baron Wolfgang von Strucker with the Scepter

"What we have... is worth more than any of them ever knew. We've only scratched the surface and already..."
Wolfgang von Strucker to List[src]

While the Tesseract was taken to Asgard, the Scepter remained on Earth where it fell into the hands of HYDRA's leader Wolfgang von Strucker. In HYDRA's hands, Strucker and List began experimenting with giving normal humans gifts via the Scepter's power, and, in the process, killing everyone except for Pietro and Wanda Maximoff, who were granted incredible powers to be used for HYDRA's benefit in their war with S.H.I.E.L.D.[9]

Quest for the Orb

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Star-Lord discovering the Orb

"Yes, that was our agreement. Bring you the Orb, and you will destroy Xandar for me. However, now that I know it contains an Infinity Stone, I wonder what use I have for you."
Ronan the Accuser to Thanos[src]

The Orb was hidden away inside Morag's deep Temple Vault where it was eventually located by Yondu Udonta's Ravagers. Before Udonta could claim it, however, Star-Lord found it and took it for himself, only to be almost immediately confronted by Korath the Pursuer who had been ordered to find it by Ronan the Accuser. During their ensuing confrontation, Star-Lord escaped with the Orb, despite being chased down by Korath's army of Sakaarans and becoming the target of Gamora, who had been sent by Thanos and Ronan to reclaim the Orb. The Nova Corps captured Star-Lord for his crimes and also took the Orb.

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The Collector finally opens the Orb

Star-Lord and Gamora made a deal, along with Rocket Raccoon, Groot and Drax the Destroyer to join forces to escape the Kyln and sell the Orb to the Collector. The plan worked out and eventually, the group made it to Knowhere where they were greeted by Carina and the Collector, who told them the full story of the Infinity Stones. Just before the Collector could buy the Orb, Carina touched the stone inside, causing a massive explosion which destroyed the Collector's Museum and forced them to escape.

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Ronan the Accuser takes the Orb's power

As a result, the Orb was located by Ronan the Accuser, whose forces of Sakaarans led by Nebula managed to overpower Gamora and claim the Orb for themselves. Having learned that the Orb contained the Power Stone, however, Ronan chose not to hand it over to Thanos as he had agreed. Instead, he took its power for himself, planning to use it to destroy Xandar before attacking Thanos himself, while gaining the support of both Nebula and Korath the Pursuer in his plans.

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The Guardians of the Galaxy unleash the Power Stone

Although Ronan the Accuser attempted to destroy Xandar with the Power Stone's incredible power, he was confronted by the Guardians of the Galaxy who were supported by the Ravagers and the Nova Corps who all fought against him and his army. During the Battle of Xandar, Ronan's ship the Dark Aster was destroyed and he himself was killed when Star-Lord took the Power Stone's power. Gamora sealed the Stone back into the Orb and Star-Lord handed it over to the Nova Corps to be locked away for safety.[1]

Creating a Vision

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Tony Stark finds and takes the Scepter

"I don't know what this is. Not really. I know it's not of this world, that it powered Loki's staff, gave you your abilities. But its true nature is a mystery and yet it is part of me."
Vision and Scarlet Witch[src]

Having been held by Wolfgang von Strucker, the Scepter was eventually found by the Avengers and taken into the custody of Tony Stark, who decided to use it in his experiments to bring life to Ultron, who he planned to use to bring about a peaceful world with the help of Bruce Banner. However, the Mind Stone's power gave Ultron too much wisdom and gave him a vicious and bloodthirsty viewpoint of humanity itself, driving him to the point that he sought to destroy it completely.

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The Mind Stone gives birth to the Vision

During his war with the Avengers, Ultron stole the Scepter and used it, while combining the knowledge and resources of Helen Cho and the vibranium he had taken from Ulysses Klaue, to create a new and powerful body known as the Vision. The being was taken from him when the Avengers stole the Cradle during the Battle of Seoul, leading to Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, and Thor granting the being life with the Mind Stone embedded in its skull.

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Vision destroying the army of Ultron Sentries

The Vision viewed Ultron as a danger to Earth and decided to join the Avengers in fighting him. During the Battle of Sokovia, the Vision used the power of the Mind Stone against the overwhelming army of Ultron Sentries and combined its power with Iron Man and Thor's power to overpower and defeat Ultron, who could not match Vision's power. With the war won, Vision decided to join the Avengers and use his remarkable power to aid the protection of Earth.[10]

Thor's Vision

Thor discovers that Loki's scepter is the Mind Stone

Thor is given a vision of the Infinity Stones

"The Mind Stone is the fourth of the Infinity Stones to show up in the last few years. It's not a coincidence. Someone has been playing an intricate game and has made pawns of us."
Thor[src]

Thor went to the Water of Sights to see again the disturbing vision that Scarlet Witch had caused him to have during the Battle at the Salvage Yard. Garnering better details, Thor saw the Scepter relieved of its stone, the Aether, the Orb, and the Tesseract all lined up into a row. Thor then went to Avengers Tower and helped to bring Vision to life because he possessed the Mind Stone; Thor understood its relationship to the other Stones and how Vision could help in the final defeat of Ultron. Later, Thor related his knowledge that four of the Infinity Stones had been located.[10]

A Mystery

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Vision expresses his fears to Scarlet Witch

"I wish to understand it. The more I do, the less it controls me. One day... who knows? I may even control it."
Vision[src]

As they were talking at the New Avengers Facility, Vision explained to Wanda Maximoff that although he knew where the Mind Stone had come from, he did not know its true nature. He said to her that the more he understood it, the less it controlled him and someday he may control it. Later, during the Rescue of Wanda Maximoff, Maximoff used her powers to control the Mind Stone and push Vision many meters beneath the facility.

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Vision accidentally shoots War Machine

The next day, at the end of the Clash of the Avengers, War Machine asked Vision to disable Falcon's wings with the Stone. However, the beam Vision fired accidentally hit War Machine's Arc Reactor, causing him to crash on the ground. At the hospital where James Rhodes was treated, Tony Stark approached Vision and asked him how it had happened. Vision answered that he had been distracted, which he did not know was possible.[11]

Attack on the Sanctums

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Doctor Strange uses the Eye of Agamotto

"Wise choice. You'll wear the Eye of Agamotto in time. Until then, best not to walk the streets with an Infinity Stone."
Wong to Doctor Strange[src]

Having been stored within Kamar-Taj for safeguarding, the Eye of Agamotto was eventually discovered by Doctor Strange during his studies. Taking the Eye, Strange experimented with its power by creating a time loop in which he regrew an apple several times until he was discovered by Wong, who warned him to stop due to the risks of using such a powerful item. Strange kept the Eye with him during his battles against Kaecilius and the Zealots, not yet using its power.

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Strange uses the Eye to defeat Dormammu

When Strange and Karl Mordo traveled to Hong Kong to confront Kaecilius, they discovered that the Sanctum located there had already been destroyed and that Kaecilius and his Zealots were successful in their plan to bring Dormammu and the Dark Dimension to Earth. Strange then used the Eye's power to rebuild the Sanctum by reversing time. However, Kaecilius stopped him, almost allowing Dormammu to come to Earth, so Strange went into the Dark Dimension and used the Eye to trap Dormammu in a time loop.

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Strange returns the Eye

Each time Doctor Strange was killed by Dormammu, time reversed until just before their confrontation, where Strange kept Dormammu prisoner, albeit at the cost of his suffering. Strange told Dormammu to end his assault and take his zealots with him in exchange for Strange breaking the loop. With the war over, Strange left the Eye in Kamar-Taj with Wong having confidence Strange could wield the Eye without abusing its power once he has mastered its powers. Until then, he cannot wear it in public.[12] Strange would soon bear the title of Master of the Mystic Arts and did eventually earn the right to wear the Eye, as was seen during his meeting with Thor.[13]

Ragnarök

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Hela sees the Tesseract

"That's not bad."
Hela[src]

When Hela was in Odin's Vault, she passed by the Tesseract and noted that it "[wasn't] bad," making it the only relic she was actually even remotely impressed by. Later, as Loki was about to summon up Surtur to cause Ragnarök, he passed by the Tesseract as well and took it so he could warp himself to the Statesman ship with Thor and the rest of the Asgardians before Asgard was obliterated.[13]

Infinity War

Thanos (I Am)

Thanos brandishes the Power Stone

"When I'm done, half of humanity will still exist."
Thanos[src]

The Mad Titan, Thanos, brandished a gauntlet created to harness the power of the Infinity Stones, having decided to personally hunt for the Stones after having lost much of his resources in his failed alliances. Along with his children, the Black Order, he traveled to Xandar, decimating the Nova Corps and Empire to acquire the Power Stone while also massacring half of Xandar's population as part of his goal to wipe out half of the universe. A week later, he attacked the Asgardian ship, the Statesman, killing half the population aboard (which was already dwindling in numbers due to Hela) and beating both Thor and Hulk almost to death. To stop the assault, Loki gave him the Tesseract, which Thanos shattered to reveal the Space Stone inside. Thanos then used the Space Stone to stop an attempted assassination from Loki, whom he killed and left aboard the exploding Statesman to continue his mission.

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Thanos obtains the Soul Stone

Upon arriving at Knowhere, Thanos confronted the Collector for the Reality Stone and used it to trick and capture his daughter, Gamora. Upon seeing her sister, Nebula, being tortured by their father, Gamora revealed the hidden location of the Soul Stone. Together Thanos and Gamora traveled to Vormir and confronted a wraith form of Red Skull who had been teleported to the planet over 70 years ago after his brief contact with the Tesseract. Red Skull revealed the Soul Stone could only appear after one sacrificed the thing they loved most, claiming it was a trading of souls. A heartbroken Thanos tearfully threw his daughter over the cliff and she fell to her death. After a blinding light, Thanos awoke with the stone in his hand, which he added to the gauntlet.

Meanwhile, Doctor Strange had continued to defend the Time Stone in the Eye of Agamotto and placed a spell on the necklace to protect it. After a conflict with Cull Obsidian and Ebony Maw, Doctor Strange was captured and taken aboard their ship where he was tortured by Maw until he was rescued by Iron Man and Spider-Man. The trio then traveled to Thanos' homeworld, Titan, and met with the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Strange gives up the Time Stone

Doctor Strange handing over the Time Stone

After a lengthy battle with Thanos, in which the power of the Infinity Stones proved crucial for Thanos' victory, the group was defeated and Strange was forced to relinquish the Time Stone to Thanos in order to save Iron Man's life. Thanos then used the gauntlet to teleport to Wakanda where, after he was severely injured by Corvus Glaive and Proxima Midnight, Vision and the Mind Stone were located.

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Thanos finally collects all of the Infinity Stones

At the Battle of Wakanda, Thanos used the Infinity Stones' powers to effortlessly overpower every single hero that opposed him. Scarlet Witch was forced to destroy the Mind Stone and Vision as she held back Thanos. After briefly attempting to comfort a grieving Scarlet Witch, Thanos used the Time Stone to restore Vision by reversing the explosion. After ripping the Stone from his head, Vision died once again and Thanos finally completed the Infinity Gauntlet. Thor, with his new weapon Stormbreaker, attacked Thanos with one powerful hurl of the enormous battle axe, inflicting a near-fatal injury on the Titan. Not to be deterred, however, Thanos mocked Thor before completing his goal and snapping his fingers. Immediately after, Thanos used the damaged gauntlet to simultaneously heal himself from the battle wound and teleport to safety, having succeeded in his mission.

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Thanos successfully causes the Decimation

A few moments later, half the population of the universe began to disintegrate. Bucky Barnes, T'Challa, Groot, Wanda Maximoff, Sam Wilson, Mantis, Drax, Peter Quill, Stephen Strange and Peter Parker all suffered this fate along with Maria Hill, Nick Fury, Sif, Betty Ross, Hank Pym, Janet van Dyne and Hope van Dyne, as well as Laura Barton, Cooper Barton, Lila Barton, and Nathaniel Barton.[14] Thanos reappeared on a quiet forested planet. His arm was still scarred from the snap, but all of his other wounds had fully healed and he satisfactorily gazed at the sunrise with a smile on his face, still having the completed Gauntlet, although still showing signs of remorse over Gamora's death.[2]

Ambush on Thanos

"Where are they?"
"Answer the question!"
"The universe required correction. After that, the stones served no purpose, beyond temptation."
Black Widow, Captain Marvel and Thanos[src]

Three weeks after snapping his fingers and erasing half the population of the universe, Thanos once again used the power of the Infinity Stones, alerting the Avengers. Quickly mobilizing, the Avengers, along with Captain Marvel, Rocket Raccoon, and Nebula, journeyed to Planet 0269-S to confront the titan. After doing recon, Captain Marvel, War Machine, and Bruce Banner attacked Thanos, restraining him. Thor then amputated Thanos' arm, which revealed that the gauntlet no longer had the Infinity Stones. Thanos tells them that he had used the stones to reduce themselves to the atomic level to prevent them from being used again, which caused him extensive injuries. An enraged Thor decapitated Thanos, killing the Mad Titan.[15]

Time Heist

"The stones are in the past. We can go back and get them."
"We can snap our own fingers. We can bring everyone back."
Scott Lang and Natasha Romanoff[src]

Five years later, Earth was struggling to recover. Ant-Man, who had been trapped in the Quantum Realm at the moment of Thanos' snap, reappeared. After quickly getting his bearings and learning about what transpired while he was gone, he traveled to the New Avengers Facility and met with Captain America and Black Widow. He told the pair that he had spent only five hours in the Quantum Realm, and that time moved differently in the realm. He said they currently don't have a way to successfully navigate through time, but theorized that being able to do so could help undo Thanos' Decimation.

The trio went to Tony Stark and asked for help developing a machine to help them navigate through time in the Quantum Realm. Tony refused to help them, saying it was impossible and laughable. It also could mean losing his daughter Morgan. They then asked Bruce Banner, who was now merged with the Hulk, and he stated he might be able to help but that he was no expert on the science involved. While the group sent Ant-Man back in time one week, Tony accidentally figured out how to successfully travel in time, but was reluctant to share the information. Pepper Potts told him that if he didn't help the other Avengers, he would never truly be able to rest.

While the test to send Ant-Man back worked, it turned him from a grown man into a child, an old man, and a baby version of himself, before being brought back to normal. Tony arrives shortly and tells Steve that he figured such a thing would happen due to the EPR Paradox. He then shared his "time-space GPS" to help navigate the quantum. He stated that he was ready to bury the hatchet between him and Steve, while also giving Captain America his shield back.

Soon afterward, all the Avengers convened at the facility and brainstormed locations of the Infinity Stones in the past. Rocket Raccoon shared that Peter Quill had found the Power Stone on Morag. Nebula provided that Thanos had gone to Vormir with Gamora to acquire the Soul Stone. Thor shared his story when he encountered the Aether, or Reality Stone. While talking about where Doctor Strange lived, Black Widow realized that the Time, Mind, and Space Stones were all in New York at a very specific point. The Avengers suited up and began their mission in three teams.

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Nebula manages to steal the Power Stone

Traveling to Morag in the year 2014, Nebula and War Machine, waited for Peter Quill to arrive, while Hawkeye and Black Widow flew to Vormir. After knocking Quill out, Nebula retrieved the Orb and handed it to Rhody who traveled back to 2023. Nebula, however, began interacting unwillingly with her 2014 self. Thanos became aware of their plan and captured the present Nebula and had the two trade places.

Arriving on Vormir, Red Skull appeared to Hawkeye and Black Widow saying that only one of them could leave with the stone. After engaging in a brief combat Hawkeye jumped off the cliff but was tackled by Black Widow. The two clung to the cliff before a tearful Black Widow wiggled out of Hawkeye's grip falling to her death. The sacrifice fulfilled, Hawkeye awoke with the Soul Stone in his hand.

Appearing on Asgard in the year 2013, Rocket and Thor made their way to Jane Foster, who was infected with the Aether. Thor found it too difficult to continue forward and ran away. Rocket acquired the Reality Stone, while Thor had an emotional talk with his mother, Frigga, who realized he was from the future. The two had an emotional goodbye before Thor called Mjølnir to himself and traveled back to the present.

Meanwhile, Captain America, Iron Man, Ant-Man, and Hulk appeared at the Battle of New York and split up. Iron Man, Captain America, and Ant-Man grabbed the Scepter, holding the Mind Stone. But ultimately lost the Space Stone as Loki grabbed the Tesseract and teleported away. Hulk approached the Ancient One, who explained he was five years too early to talk to Doctor Strange. The two had a lengthy discussion where the Ancient One said taking an Infinity Stone from the past would create an alternate doomed reality. Swearing to return the stone to the moment they took it from, Hulk explained that Strange had handed over the Time Stone to Thanos, shocking the Ancient One. Carefully removing the Time Stone from the Eye of Agamotto, she stated he must have had his reason in doing so.

Tracking the Tesseract to 1970, Iron Man and Captain America traveled to Camp Lehigh and acquired the Space Stone and more Pym Particles. Iron Man had a lengthy conversation with his father, and finally got a proper goodbye, even though Howard didn't know who he was. The two traveled back to 2023 and rejoined the other Avengers.

Hawkeye revealed that Black Widow had sacrificed herself for the Soul Stone, and the Avengers mourned her and then got to work creating a new Infinity Gauntlet.[15]

Reversal of the Decimation

"Alright, the glove's ready. Question is, who's gonna snap their freakin' fingers?"
Rocket Raccoon[src]

Using Stark tech to create a new gauntlet, Iron Man inserted the six Infinity Stones into the weapon. A small debate broke out on who should wield the gauntlet. Meanwhile, 2014 Nebula, who had infiltrated the Avengers, created a time gateway to the 2014 Sanctuary II which emerged in 2023 and destroyed the Quantum Tunnel.

Hulk holds the Iron Gauntlet

Hulk wielding the Iron Gauntlet

Eventually, the Hulk put on the gauntlet, which caused him incredible pain. Slowly raising his arm, Hulk snapped his fingers and undid the damage done by Thanos five years previously. Immediately birds flew onto trees outside the Avengers Facility pleasing Ant-Man, and Hawkeye received a phone call from his now resurrected wife. Before the Avengers could celebrate, the Sanctuary II rained down missiles on the Avengers Facility.[15]

Battle of Earth

"I will shred this universe down to its last atom. And then, with the stones you've collected for me, create a new one. Teeming with life, but knows not what it has lost but only what it has been given."
Thanos[src]

Separated by the attack, War Machine, Hulk, and Rocket were pinned under the rubble but Ant-Man was able to rescue them. Hawkeye stirred in a hallway and grabbed the Infinity Gauntlet before running from the Outriders who had entered the compound. Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor faced off against Thanos. While Thanos proved to be too much for the trio, Captain America proved himself to be worthy of Mjølnir and damaged Thanos' armor, who still overwhelmed the First Avenger.

Facing off against Thanos' army alone, Captain America stood strong and prepared for the end. Suddenly sling ring portals opened all around Captain America and the heroes who had been killed by the Decimation appeared next to him as well as the remaining Avengers, the armies of Wakanda, Asgard, and Sorcerers. Captain America leads the army calling them together and charging against Thanos' army.

A large battle broke out between the armies. Present Nebula killed 2014 Nebula when she tried to kill 2014 Gamora, and they went out onto the battlefield. Captain America told Hawkeye to get the Infinity Stones as far away from Thanos as possible. Passing the gauntlet from Black Panther to Spider-Man, Ant-Man and the Wasp went to Luis' Van which had a quantum tunnel that could return the Infinity Stones to their correct times. Captain Marvel took the gauntlet from Spider-Man and made her way toward the tunnel. Thanos, however, threw his sword at the tunnel, destroying it.

Captain Marvel, Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man tried to prevent Thanos from grabbing the gauntlet but failed. Captain Marvel was unfazed by Thanos' attacks and stopped him from snapping his fingers again. Removing the Power Stone, Thanos blasted Captain Marvel away and once again prepared to decimate the universe only to once again be stopped, this time by Iron Man. Thanos threw Iron Man away and snapped his fingers stating he was inevitable. When nothing happened, however, Thanos looked to Iron Man who had created his own gauntlet with nanotech and brandished the stones himself. He stated that he was Iron Man, and snapped his fingers.

Moments later, Thanos' forces and his ship turned to ash, while Thanos watched in dismay. Turning around and accepting his fate, Thanos sat down and turned to dust as well. Iron Man stumbled away and collapsed against a piece of rubble. War Machine, Spider-Man, and Pepper surrounded the dying Avenger who struggled to speak. Pepper told him his work was done and that she and their daughter would be okay, allowing him to rest.

Following Iron Man's funeral, Captain America, with Hulk's help, went back in time and returned the stones to their proper timelines before settling down with Peggy Carter in the 1940s. After he had grown old, he returned to the main timeline and handed Falcon his shield, passing the mantle of Captain America to him.[15]

Stones

Space Stone

Space Stone VFX
  • Stone Color: Blue[10]
  • Original Containment Unit: Tesseract[16]
  • Current owner:Loki (alternate self from 2012)
  • Previous Owners:
  • Last Location: Inside the Infinity Gauntlet (2018, destroyed)
  • Description: The Tesseract is named for its cube-like appearance and is capable of controlling space itself, providing the user instant access to any location throughout the universe if used correctly. The unique element that composes the Tesseract has also been used to create advanced weaponry by races like the Humans. This stone played an important role in humanity's development during the dawn of the superhero age, attracting the attention of forces such as Red Skull and Thanos, both of whom sought to use the Tesseract's power for their own sinister intents. It is later revealed that the cube is a containment unit built around the actual Infinity Stone so that it could be somewhat safely handled and controlled. Despite such protection, touching the Tesseract barehanded can still have dire consequences as seen with Red Skull. However, it was later hinted that the Space Stone punished Red Skull for abusing its power for his own gain, suggesting at least some of the Infinity Stones can be touched directly by ordinary beings if they are deemed worthy. In Thor's vision, the Tesseract is shattered to unveil the blue Space Stone contained inside it. Thanos later acquired the Tesseract from Loki, who had saved it from Asgard's destruction. With only his bare hand, Thanos crushed the Tesseract and extracted the Space Stone within before he inserted it into the Infinity Gauntlet.In an alternate timeline,during the Time Heist on 2012,Loki picked up the Tesseract and used it to escape from S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers.

Mind Stone

Mind Stone VFX
  • Stone Color: Yellow (Blue within Scepter)[10]
  • Original Containment Unit: Scepter[10]
  • Previous Owners:
  • Last Location: Inside the Infinity Gauntlet (2018, destroyed)
  • Description: The Scepter was a weapon that utilized the yellow Mind Stone housed inside a blue computer module, which also masked the stone's presence. Stark originally saw the Stone as a power source, whereas once J.A.R.V.I.S. had the opportunity to study the stone he stated it was more akin to a very powerful computer. The stone within had already been in the possession of Thanos when he gave it to Loki to aid him in his invasion of Earth. It grants to the user powerful mental abilities, like the power to subjugate the minds of others, bending them to the will of the user, as well as project the user's consciousness to a higher plane of existence. The stone was also said to greatly increase the intelligence of those capable of wielding it, as shown in the cases of Loki and Wolfgang von Strucker. When Loki failed in his campaign, the Scepter fell into the possession of S.H.I.E.L.D., eventually being passed on to HYDRA via sleeper agents. The Scepter was then used in various HYDRA experiments, notably inducing superhuman powers in young Sokovian twins Wanda and Pietro Maximoff, and other capabilities such as mind control, astral and energy projection were unearthed as well as telepathic and telekinetic powers. The protective casing of the Scepter's gem was eventually broken by Ultron and the contained stone was used to bring life to Vision. Thor later entrusted the stone to Vision, stating that Vision was worthy and that safety was hard to come by nowadays. Despite being a part of him, the stone's origin was a mystery for Vision and he wished to understand it so he could control it. The Mind Stone was the last stone Thanos would acquire, which he forcibly removed from Vision, killing him.

Reality Stone

Reality Stone VFX
  • Stone Color: Red[10]
  • Original Containment UnitAether[3][10]
  • Previous Owners:
  • Last Location: Inside the Infinity Gauntlet (2018, destroyed)
  • Description: The Aether appears as a dark, red, viscous liquid. It acts as a symbiotic force, capable of being absorbed into the body of a living host, giving the user the ability to warp reality at will, granting that person immense strength, durability, powers, and subjective influence over the universe. Malekith planned to use the Aether's reality-bending abilities to cover all Nine Realms in darkness; however, he was stopped by the combined efforts of Thor and Jane Foster. Only two people, Jane Foster and Malekith, are known to have been hosts for the Aether, but circumstances prevented the full extent of the Aether's potential from being explored. It is later shown that the Aether is actually an Infinity Stone contained in a liquid form, and in Thor's vision, this liquid solidifies into the red Reality Stone. The Aether is given to The Collector by Thor's companions, Sif and Volstagg and later seized by Thanos, who solidified it into the Reality Stone and inserted it into his Infinity Gauntlet.

Power Stone

Power Stone VFX
  • Stone Color: Purple[1]
  • Original Containment Unit: Orb[17]
  • Previous Owners:
  • Last Location: Inside the Infinity Gauntlet (2018, destroyed)
  • Description: The Power Stone is an incredible power source, it increases the user's physical abilities and allows it to manipulate energy, which, when used at full potential, has enough power to obliterate an entire planet when unleashed. This stone was sought by Thanos, who tasked Ronan the Accuser to acquire it from the dead planet of Morag, in exchange for destroying Xandar. However, Star-Lord acquired the stone first and was prepared to sell it to Taneleer Tivan ("The Collector") with Gamora until its destructive power was unleashed at Knowhere. Soon after, Ronan obtained it and harnessed its energy with the intent of destroying all life on Xandar and killing Thanos. Star-Lord and the Guardians of the Galaxy were able to take the stone from Ronan and collectively harness its power to destroy him. They then gave the stone to Nova Prime Irani Rael for safe-keeping on Xandar. However, Thanos would wipe out the Nova Corps in a successful attempt to acquire the Power Stone and he then inserts it into his Infinity Gauntlet.

Time Stone

Time Stone VFX
  • Stone Color: Green[12]
  • Original Containment Unit: Eye of Agamotto[12]
  • Previous Owners:
  • Last Location: Inside the Infinity Gauntlet (2018, destroyed)
  • Description: The Eye of Agamotto is an ancient artifact, a pendant created by Agamotto, the first Sorcerer Supreme, presumably to contain and harness the power of the green Time Stone contained inside. After being stored for an unknown amount of time on a pedestal in Kamar-Taj, it was recently wielded by Doctor Stephen Strange, first to aid him in his learning of sorcery, then in his final fight against Kaecilius and Dormammu. When wielded by someone having the necessary knowledge and skills, it appeared to be able to control the flow of time, be it on a small or massive scale, notably to turn back something to a previous state, to accelerate its time in order to apply changes that have not happened yet, or to lock it in a time loop, resetting its state until the wielder stops its effect. It appeared skilled sorcerers, or perhaps users of powers from the Dark Dimension could to an extent subtract themselves to the effects of the stone, stopping the time reversal affecting oneself or detecting one was stuck in a time loop. It was noted by Wong and Karl Mordo that the use of the Eye was contrary to the natural order of things and extremely dangerous. With Wong's approval, it was placed back on its pedestal by Strange until he learned how to properly harness its powers. Strange wore it once again a little while later while meeting with Thor and Loki. Strange was forced to later surrender the Stone to Thanos in order to save Tony Stark's life.

Soul Stone

Soul Stone VFX
  • Stone Color: Orange[1]
  • Original Containment Unit: Shrine on Vormir
  • Previous Owners:
  • Last Location: Inside the Infinity Gauntlet (2018, destroyed)
  • Description: According to Wong's ancient texts, the Soul Stone could prove to be the greatest threat out of all the Infinity Stones.[18] Gamora knew of the location of the Soul Stone from a map she found to its whereabouts (which she burnt) but kept this a secret from Thanos. Once captured and interrogated by her father, whom tortured Gamora's sister Nebula, he took her to its holding place on Vormir, where Red Skull, the Soul Stone's guardian, told them that it could only be accessed after a personal cost was paid - namely, the sacrifice of a loved one, to ensure that the owner understood its power. Thanos then tearfully sacrificed his daughter and later woke up with the Soul Stone in his hand, adding it to the Infinity Gauntlet shortly thereafter before heading off to retrieve the Time and Mind Stones.

Capabilities

"With all six Stones, I could simply snap my fingers. They would all cease to exist. I call that... mercy."
Thanos to Doctor Strange[src]
Thor discovers that Loki's scepter is the Mind Stone

The Mind Stone, Power Stone, Reality Stone, and Space Stone

As the Infinity Stones are the representation of all the necessary aspects of existence, they have absolute control over the fabric of reality they represent and from it, they derive extremely powerful capabilities to be wielded and are the most powerful artifacts in the known universe. Thor describes the Infinity Stones as the greatest power in the universe, and "unparalleled" in their destructive capabilities. The power of the Time Stone was able to render even a tremendously powerful cosmic being of Dormammu's caliber powerless to do anything to break it. The Reality Stone's power can affect the whole universe, with Malekith intending to use its capabilities to cover the whole universe in darkness. The Space Stone was thought to be capable of channeling energy sufficient to destroy a planet with the Power Stone being able to destroy worlds simply via its energy making contact with their surface. Even Asgard deems it unwise to house two stones in one place, despite the fact that their vault is extremely well guarded.

Augmented by the Power Stone, the Dark Aster was able to easily breach the considerable defenses that surrounded Xandar with Irani Rael declaring a state of emergency once she learned that Ronan wielded it. One of the greatest feats of power ever to be seen from the use of the Infinity Stones was their power to force living beings to die out. Such power alone was the true motivation for Thanos to seek out the Infinity Stones in the first place. When all six Stones are brought together and properly channeled, they make their wielder virtually omnipotent, being able to affect the universe in almost any way they choose, which Thanos demonstrated when he killed half of all life in the universe via a simple finger snap. However, the same Infinity Stones were even used to resurrect all those who were decimated by Thanos. Interestingly, the combined power of all the Infinity Stones could not resurrect Natasha Romanoff, who had sacrificed herself so that the Avengers could have the Soul Stone.

The Soul Stone was located in Vormir and had held a very special place within the ranks of the Infinity Stones. According to Wong's ancient texts, the Soul Stone could be the most powerful Infinity Stone there is. In order to wield the Soul Stone, the Soul Stone demanded those who seek to wield it must first sacrifice someone they genuinely care for, so as to ensure that he who seeks the Soul Stone does indeed understand its power. The Soul Stone can manipulate the spiritual essence of living or deceased beings, making it the most powerful of all the Infinity Stones. The Soul Stone even has a pocket dimension within it called Soulworld. Soulworld consists entirely of shallow water underneath a dim orange sky, where the souls of the dead can be communicated with.

However, due to their sheer power, only a single being of exceptional power, or collections of lesser beings who are unified and focused in their intent, is able to wield the stones. As a result, the Stones were often placed in mediums that would allow for a limited, but more stable, access to their power such as the Eye of Agamotto or the Scepter. The power of all six Stones can be harnessed collectively, but prior to Thanos completing the Infinity Gauntlet, this had never been accomplished, all who attempted being overwhelmed by the powers of the individual Stones. However, even the Gauntlet itself was left heavily burnt from channeling and focusing the power of all six Stones.

The Stones, due to their immense power, are almost completely indestructible with King Bor viewing even the full might of Asgard as insufficient to destroy the Aether with the same stone later being unharmed by Thor unleashing his lightning on it. The only known way to destroy an Infinity Stone is for a sufficiently powerful energy source that is similar to that of one of the Stones to be fully unleashed upon said Stone, as Vision theorized and proven when Scarlet Witch, by concentrating all the force of her power, which was derived from the Mind Stone, back into it, eventually managing to shatter it although it still took considerable time and effort. The Stone's destruction unleashed all the energies contained within, though the resulting wave was harmless. The only known way to recreate a destroyed Infinity Stone is to use the Time Stone to rewind time to before its destruction. Following the Destruction of Asgard however, Thor believed that the fully empowered Surtur had destroyed the Tesseract, suggesting a sufficiently powerful being could destroy a Stone. After the decimation, Thanos had destroyed the Infinity Stones by turning their own power against them.

Using the combined power of all the Infinity Stones simultaneously through the Infinity Gauntlet puts incredibly high amounts of strain on the wearer of the Gauntlet, should the user survive the snap their entire arm and part of their torso is left completely burned. Thanos barely survived a second snapping which he used to destroy the stones, but it left him severely injured and weakened, so much that he was unable to defend himself against the Avengers when he was ambushed. Hulk was also able to survive a snap due to the energy released by the Infinity Stones being mostly gamma radiation, but he was left incapacitated for most of the Battle of Earth. According to Hulk, even a powerful Asgardian such as Thor would not survive a snap, though it should be noted that Thor was not in good physical condition at the time.

The energy derived from the Stones has shown the ability to grant superhuman powers. When exposed to the Space Stone derived energies of the Light-Speed Engine, Carol Danvers was gifted with powers based on those of the Space Stone, particularly her enhanced speed and energy channeling. Likewise, the energy of the Mind Stone allowed Wanda Maximoff to develop telekinetic and telepathic abilities and also granted her brother Pietro the power of superhuman speed.

Trivia

  • In the comics, the stones were originally referred to as Soul Gems before Thanos decided "Infinity Gems" was a more appropriate name. The six gems consist of Mind, Soul, Power, Space, Time and Reality and all of the gems, with the sole exception of the Time Gem, were shattered. They were recreated after Secret Wars ended and the Marvel Universe was restored, with the Reality Gem appearing in the extra-dimensional Weirdworld.
    • As of 2015's comic event Secret Wars, there is now a newly created seventh Gem: the Death Gem, able to instantly kill anything. It is yellow like the Reality Gem (comic version) but it was created to be a decoy for it, and it was used on Thanos by its creator, Anwen Bakian.
    • In another universe called the Ultraverse in the comics, there is a seventh gem in the mainstream comics called the Ego Gem, which is gold colored. 
  • Ultron's use of the Mind Stone is a substitute for the encephalo-ray he uses to brainwash or mind-read his victims in the comics.
  • Vision's Mind Stone is the substitute for the Solar Gem he uses in the comics.
  • Only extremely powerful beings with a powerful physical constitution can touch and wield the Infinity Stones without being harmed. These include the Celestials and Thanos himself. All others, such as Humans and Krylorians, are promptly killed by its power. It is also possible for the power of an Infinity Stone to be shared across multiple beings long enough to control and use it. Additionally, artificial beings such as Ultron or Vision can touch the stone, as seen when Ultron holds the Mind Stone and puts it in Vision's forehead. Wielding all six Infinity Stones is so difficult that it has been said that none who have attempted such have survived until Thanos, using the Infinity Gauntlet as well as Bruce Banner (with Hulk's powers) using the Infinity Gauntlet made by Tony Stark.
  • So far, at least one Infinity Stone appeared in every phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The stones were first named as such in the Phase Two film, Thor: The Dark World.
  • Of the stones, the Reality Stone in the form of the Aether is the only one that is fluid and ever-changing, while four of the other stones were contained in objects, namely the Tesseract, the Orb, the Scepter, and the Eye of Agamotto.
  • A deleted scene from Avengers: Age of Ultron, where Thor goes to the Water of Sights, explains how he knew that four Infinity Stones were found at that time, despite being ignorant of the events in Guardians of the Galaxy.[19]
  • Despite it being stated that all the Infinity Stones will destroy any ordinary being that touches them, this has only been shown with the Power Stone. This suggests that only the Power Stone will destroy any ordinary beings that touch it and the containers prevent the other stones from punishing anyone who abuses them for personal gain.

References

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