Synopsis for “Of Knights — and Pawns”
Doctor Strange has been called to Avengers Mansion to inspect the wreckage of the statue form of the Black Knight and uses his magical powers to reassemble the statue to it’s former condition. However, to the surprise of everyone, the repaired statue is also holding the Knight’s Ebony Blade, which seems impossible as the sword was sent into the past where the Knight is fighting in the Crusades. Curious about this mystery, Strange is given permission from Captain America and Iron Man to take the statue and the sword back to his Sanctum Sanctorum for examination. Strange leaves with the sword and teleports the statue to his Sanctum.
Adopting civilian clothing, Strange and Clea carry the sword through the streets of New York unaware that they are being watched by the Dweller in Depths who is plotting another attack against the mage. The Dweller puts a man in his thrall and forces him to commit suicide by setting off the gas on a hot dog cart causing a massive explosion. When the smoke clears the man has been transformed into one of the Dweller’s shadow thralls and begins rampaging in the streets. Witnessing this, Clea and Strange are forced to reveal themselves to try and mystically subdue the thrall.
As Strange is busy battling the creature, the Dweller tries to find allies in other mystical realms to help him destroy Dr. Strange. Every mystical being that he asks from Tiboro to Umar refuse to aid the Dweller, but the creature finally finds an ally in the demon known as Ludi. Ludi explains that he is willing to aid to get revenge against humanity for the crimes he believes they had committed against his godhood. Ludi shows the Dweller a the creatures “brother” Ningal frozen in a mystical cylinder, trapped with Ludi’s mortal enemy the adventurer known as Murdoch Adams. Scanning the minds of the two trapped beings the Dweller finds a mean in defeating Strange and decides to use them as pawns against the Sorcerer Supreme.
As Dr. Strange and Clea seemingly destroy the shadow thrall, however in reality the Dweller turns it into a portal and dispatches Ludi to Earth and boosts his power in order to fight the two magicians. As the battle rages, the Dweller then also frees Ningal and Murdoch and transports Murdoch to Earth with an implanted idea to go to the Sanctum Sanctorum. Strange manages to finally defeat Ludi by attacking him with the Ebon Blade while he is positioned back on the portal, shunting Ludi away and restoring the thrall to his human form.
While their battle concludes, Murdoch arrives at the home of Dr. Strange, and bangs on the door. When Wong answers the door Murdoch demands to speak to Doctor Stephen Sanders.
This story is continued next issue….