Our world is but one of many parallel realms....
Eons ago the existence of Earth was recognized by the Elder Gods. These Gods ruled various realms which make up the unstable universe all worlds must occupy. The delicate balance of a realm's existence rests on its furies - negative and positive forces which keep the realm from collapsing onto itself. Each realm, in itself, is therefore very powerful, containing a portion of the energy which makes up the universe. Our realm, Earth, however is special. As a gateway or crossroads to other realms, the young world is considered one of the most powerful of all...making it attractive to other dark forces in the universe - forces like that of Shao Kahn. For thousands of years Shao Kahn has been stealing realms, transforming them into his ever expanding collection of vanquished realms known as the Outworld. He has even attempted to invade the Earth realm and steal the world from "inferior" human occupants. His plans were thwarted by a group of wise men from the Far East, who thousands of years ago sensed a weakening of Earth's own furies.
Knowing that the eminent Outworld invasion would prove too much for Earth, the wise men appealed to the Elder Gods. They believed that Outworld had an unfair advantage over of the Earth, and thought there was a more honorable and traditional way to battle for the realms. The wise men felt that a tournament would be the noble solution. It was for this reason the Elder Gods created the tournament called Mortal Kombat.
Mortal Kombat would allow Earth to fend for itself, pitting the finest warriors from both realms against each other in honorable kombat. The rules of the tournament were simple - the first realm to win a consecutive set of tournaments wins the contest. If Earth wins, they have successfully defended their realm from an Outworld invasion. If Outworld wins, then Earth's furies would be weakened and Shao Kahn would be able to step through the dimensional gate which separates the two realms.
The first Mortal Kombat was held nearly ten centuries ago and it was won by Shao Kahn's demon sorcerer, Shang Tsung. Shang Tsung used his dark and unholy powers to steal the soul of his vanquished opponents. But his reign as champion was not long lived as he was defeated by a noble warrior from the Temple of the Order of Light in China named Kung Lao.
Earth basked in the glory of its victories over the dark realm and Kung Lao proved to be a gifted warrior. Because the champion of Mortal Kombat doesn't age until the next tournament, Kung Lao would return to defend his title as grand champion. But for Kung Lao, the tournament was over, he had won. It was now time to get on with his life, give up his training, and fall in love. It was what he wanted and what he's yearned all his life for. However, Kung Lao became plagued by dark and treacherous visions. It was then that he realized he wouldn't be able to defend their realm forever.
Following Kung Lao's victory, Rayden, God of Thunder and Protector of the Earth Realm reveals to him that as the last defending warrior of Earth Realm, he is charged with training a new army of warriors to compete against Shao Kahn's henchmen in future rounds of Mortal Kombat. Unfortunately for Kung Lao, this wasn't what he had in mind--he figured after successfully defending the Earth Realm, he'd be able to go on with his life as it was before Mortal Kombat.
Two big parts of this life are the Temple of the Order of Light, which trained Kung Lao to be a warrior and Jen Reyland, a local Baron's daughter. During the week that the Temple was celebrating the victory in Mortal Kombat, Jen, accompanied by her bodyguard Siro, went to make an offering to the temple and its fighters. On the road they were met by three monks who turned out to be highway bandits trying to rob them. Luckily for Jen, but not the bandits, Siro is a master martial artist, who not only defended Jen, but also took one of the bandits, Taja, prisoner. Taja would eventually become a servant in Baron Reyland's household.
Turning his back on his destiny, Kung Lao asks for Jen's hand in marriage, but is quickly rebuffed by the Baron who states that Kung Lao's association with the Temple and the "Elder Gods" and "Realms" is not a suitable lifestyle for his only daughter. When Kung Lao protests, the Baron tells him that any further contact with his daughter would be considered a threat and he'd have no choice to but to have Kung Lao killed.
Meanwhile, in the Cobalt Mines, Shang Tsung has taken up with Vorpax. While neither can be trusted, they need one another as Shang Tsung still has his powers of sorcery, but cannot leave the mines and Vorpax, although not as powerful as her partner, is able to cross through portals into other Realms to carry out his evil deeds. In his first strike against Kung Lao, Shang Tsung enlists the deadly warrior Scorpion to visit the Earth Realm and begin his revenge.
Through a series of malicious machinations involving Scorpion, Shang Tsung is able to thwart Jen and Kung Lao's planned elopement; have Kung Lao captured by the Baron's guards and sentenced to death; and have the loyal Siro disgraced and banished from the Baron's household--leaving his fate, as well as that of Jen and Kung Lao up in the air.
As Siro is being led away from both Baron Reyland's house and daughter, both of which he's guarded for years, he warns Jen that something is not right with her new guard Takeda. Little does he know that Takeda has been possessed by Scorpion who has been sent by Shang Tsung to eliminate Kung Lao and all that he holds dear.
Shang Tsung isn't the only one who wants rid of Kung Lao. When Kung Lao was caught trying to sneak Jen away from the Baron's house, he was caught and, true to his word, the Baron sentenced him to death. As the preparations for Kung Lao's execution are being made, Taja, the captured bandit who was made a servant in the Baron's household, is visited by Rayden disguised as a beggar, who convinces her that her best hope for escape lies in helping Kung Lao also escape. Later, still disguised as a beggar, Rayden happens upon the banished Siro and lets him know that Jen, may indeed, be in danger.
Taja, with the help of Jen, is able to overpower the executioners and free Kung Lao. Taja and Kung Lao flee the Baron's compound, leaving Jen to face her father's wrath.
Fearing the worst, Kung Lao and Taja sneak back into the Baron's compound to free Jen. Unbeknownst to them, Siro is there for the same reason. When the three run into each other, it becomes clear to Kung Lao that Rayden is behind their coming together and that it must have significance beyond mere coincidence. Unfortunately for the three, they don't realize that they are walking into an ambush at the compound which, before it's over, will cost the Baron his life.
Takeda, on behalf of Shang Tsung, traps Kung Lao and is about to capture his soul for Shang Tsung's dark purpose, when he is outnumbered by the Baron's guards. In a desperate attempt to maintain a bargaining position, Takeda kidnaps Jen and disappears into the night.
Exasperated in their search for Jen, Kung Lao, Taja and Siro are aided by Rayden, who instructs Kung Lao to follow the visions that have been plaguing him. These visions lead him back to the Temple of the Order of the Light--where he was trained to be a warrior and where Takeda is now holding Jen hostage. Rayden warns Kung Lao--until he fully commits to being a warrior, he is most vulnerable at the Temple and will not be able to defeat Takeda.
When he arrives at the Temple to rescue Jen, Kung Lao discovers that Takeda has fully transformed into Scorpion, a deadly Ninja with magical powers. In the ensuing battle, in which Kung Lao defeats Scorpion, Jen is killed, but before she dies she tells Kung Lao she will always be with him in his heart.
In light of the turmoil he's seen in recent days, Kung Lao is filled with a new purpose and accepts his destiny to raise an army of warriors to defend the Earth Realm against the evil forces of Emperor Shao Kahn and Outworld. Looking for a higher purpose in their lives, Taja and Siro join Kung Lao in this quest.
As decreed by the elders, there is only one place for Kung Lao and his companions to go, one place which contains all that they search for. It is the city of Zhu Zin. And although it is known as the crossroads to the continents, it is the most dark and treacherous place one could be. It's a city where nothing is as it seems. Streets can seem to go nowhere forever. Doorways can transport you to other realms. And around every corner, in every nook, something or someone awaits.
The threat to Kung Lao and his warrior companions, Siro and Taja, is enormous, for not only is Outworld plotting its takeover of Earth, but other worlds are as well. These other realms realize, that if Kung Lao and his warriors are destroyed, they'll be able to enter the tournament and win. Warlords from other realms will stop at nothing to kill Kung Lao and his warriors. Realizing there is strength in numbers Shao Kahn and Shang Tsung often form allegiances with these otherworldly warriors in order to help them with their plan for Kung Lao's destruction.
Now, Kung Lao, Siro and Taja's task is made more treacherous as they must decide who is friend and who is foe in this world where nobody is as they seem. The potential threat of being stabbed in the back by a new found "ally" adds to the terrible pressure Kung Lao is already facing. Trusting nobody, they must find warriors worthy of a responsibility as great as defending the Earth Realm. The God of Thunder, Rayden, will guide the warriors as best he can. But, humanity and its fate are left up to the humans. Only by belief in themselves and using the only force Outworld can't defeat - human spirit - can humans win.
At the Lin Kuei compound, a strange ceremonial initiation is taking place. The Grand Masters of this cadre of assassins for hire are training a fierce new warrior in their ancient arts. As is the case with most things diabolical, Shang Tsung has a hand in this evil.
Meanwhile, following his defeat of Scorpion, Kung Lao , accompanied by Taja and Siro , heads back to the city of Zhu Zin, specifically to the trading post of the now-deceased Baron Reyland. As the Baron's daughter, Jen, lay dying in Kung Lao's arms, she gave him the key to the entire compound, and the threesome have decided to use the post as a training center for future fighters in Mortal Kombat.
When Kung Lao, Siro and Taja reach Zhu Zin, the men decide to get provisions at the bazaar and Taja heads straight to the trading post. Upon her arrival she discovers that the post has been ransacked and, even worse, the marauder is still on the premises and proceeds to attack her. Kung Lao and Siro arrive momentarily and stop the attack, only to discover that the "burglar" is actually a Ninja from the Lin Kuei.
It turns out that before his death the Baron had purchased a magical crystal that makes inter-Realm travel possible and hid it somewhere in the trading post. Shang Tsung will stop at nothing (including the Lin Kuei) to get his hands on this crystal to buy his freedom from Shao Kahn.
After the first attempt at retrieval failed, Shang Tsung has the Lin Kuei dispatch three more Ninjas to the trading post--where they are eventually defeated by Kung Lao, Taja and Siro. As the defeated Ninjas retreat from the trading post, Siro secretly follows them back to the Lin Kuei training compound and witnesses the unveiling of Sub Zero, a Ninja/sorcerer who, in addition to being a fierce martial artist, is able to fire deadly blasts of ice and cold from his palms.
Realizing there must be something extremely valuable hidden in the trading post, the new tenants beginning searching every nook and cranny. Kung Lao and Taja find the crystal just as Siro comes bounding in to tell them what he's seen at the Lin Kuei compound. Unfortunately, Sub Zero comes bounding in right behind him and a heated battle over the crystal begins. In the end, Kung Lao, Taja and Siro are able to defend the crystal and send Sub Zero on his way, but the battle is far from over.
It is learned that the Essence of Edenia has been smuggled to the Earth Realm by the warrior Daahraan. Thought to have been destroyed, the Essence is all the Edenian race has left after their Realm was overrun by Shao Kahn. The Essence provides Edenians with the hope that they may rise again--precisely why Shao Kahn wants to destroy it once and for all.
When Princess Kitana, Kahn's stepdaughter and herself a vanquished Edenian, hears of the Essence and Daahraan, she and her lifelong friend, Qali, set forth to retrieve the Essence. Since their intent for the Essence is in direct opposition to Shao Kahn's, this is literally a life-or-death mission.
Shang Tsung also wants to get his hands on the Essence in order to get back into Shao Kahn's favor. He dispatches Vorpax to follow Kitana and Qali.
Kitana convinces Kung Lao to go with her to meet Daahraan. When they get to the warrior, they find that he is dying, having been brutally attacked. As Kung Lao tries to help him, he utters his dying words--that Kitana is Shao Kahn's stepdaughter.
Kung Lao is incensed and goes after Kitana, not knowing two important facts about her: She is not an agent of her stepfather's evil, but an Edenian trying to protect her race, and she is a fierce warrior with special powers including a pair of fans that act as both a shield and a weapon.
Once Kung Lao learns of Kitana's true mission, he agrees to help her by hiding the Essence somewhere in the Earth Realm. A series of double-crosses (some well-intended, some not) leads Qali, Vorpax and Kung Lao to a face-off over the Essence. In the middle of this, Shang Tsung appears (having temporarily left the Cobalt Mines), grabs the pouch containing the essence and escapes back to Outworld with Vorpax close behind.
Kitana is despondent when she learns that Shang Tsung made off with the Essence. What she does not know, is that the pouch Shang Tsung has is a decoy and Kung Lao had successfully managed to protect the Essence, thereby preserving the hope of the Edenian people.
Kung Lao takes Siro and Taja to the Temple of the Order of Light for some meditation and reflection. What Siro and Taja discover after some reflection is that this isn't for them and they decide to leave Kung Lao and head back to the trading post.
As they're leaving the post, and elderly monk notices a water sack hanging on a post, and assuming it's theirs runs after Taja and Siro to give them the sack. The monk drinks some of the water before he gives it to them. The sack, as it turns out, is Kung Lao's, but his friends take it anyway.
The monk returns to the Temple and dies shortly thereafter. As the other monks are preparing his body for burial, it continues to age and disintegrate until there is nothing left except a pile of dust. It is clear to the other monks that the dark powers of sorcery are at work.
Vorpax , having completed her mission, is discovered trying to sneak away from the Temple. Kung Lao chases her and she narrowly escapes through a portal back to Outworld. Piecing together the events of the day, Kung Lao surmises that Vorpax, acting for Shang Tsung , put something in the water sack that was meant for him, not the monk. He then realizes that Siro and Taja have the water sack and are probably drinking the remainder of the potion that caused the monk to age into oblivion--and will do the same to them.
The monks tell Kung Lao of a woman, Omegis, a sorceress who has defeated mortality and can reverse Shang Tsung's potion. Unfortunately, the monks warn, Omegis is a friend to no one and only serves her own desires.
Arriving at the trading post, Kung Lao discovers that his friends have already aged almost 20 years from the day before, and the aging shows no signs of slowing. Their journey to Omegis is labored, considering that Taja is more than 50 years old and Siro is well past 60. Sensing time is running out, Kung Lao leaves his friends at an abandoned temple and goes on alone.
Kung Lao tells Omegis why he's come, but as he was warned, she is unsympathetic and unwilling to help. She tells Kung Lao that he should get used to seeing his friends die--since he's immortal (until he's defeated in Mortal Kombat), he'll outlive everyone he meets. Kung Lao persists and Omegis finally relents, giving him a potion to reverse Shang Tsung's sorcery.
By the time Kung Lao gets back to Taja and Siro at the temple, they have been taken captive by Shang Tsung. Unless Kung Lao agrees to face off with Shang Tsung there and then in Mortal Kombat, Shang Tsung will keep Taja and Siro from getting Omegis' potion. It's fierce battle, but once again, Kung Lao is victorious and defeats Shang Tsung (who barely has the strength to make it back to Outworld) in just enough time to get the antidote to Taja and Siro.
With Taja and Siro back to normal and Shang Tsung back in Outworld, Rayden visits Kung Lao and berates him for selfishly putting all of the Earth Realm in danger by engaging in Mortal Kombat to save two friends. Oddly enough, Rayden's warning echoes Omegis'--immortality comes with a price.
Siro is attacked in the bazaar by four would-be robbers but is too proud to call out for Kung Lao. Luckily, Kung Lao's instincts led him back to the bazaar where he was able to help Siro defeat the thugs.
Both Siro's body and ego took quite a bruising--he's angry (yet a bit grateful) that Kung Lao came to his aid. As he's leaving the bazaar, Siro is approached by Ankha, who tells him that she has a friend who is a seer and can give him the keys to becoming a great warrior.
Curiosity and foolish pride combine to lead Siro, with Taja in tow, to the seer, Kiri. Kiri tells Siro that Zhu Zin is built on the ruins of great buried city with a shrine guarded by two powerful warriors. She assures him that if he seeks out these warriors and defeats them, their strength will flow into him and he'll be as fierce as Kung Lao.
Siro, intrigued by what Kiri has told him, sets out to explore the underworld city, again with Taja in tow. As they're heading through the tunnels and passages, Taja and Siro notice that the deeper they go, the ground is covered with an oily muck. Finally, they come upon the ruins of a shrine as Kiri said they would--but there are no warriors guarding it, only clay statues of warriors. As Siro presses on, the two clay warriors come to life and attack him, knocking him to the ground trying to suffocate him in the muck. Upon hearing the struggle, Taja comes to Siro's aid, using an iron rod to attack the clay warriors, who shatter like broken pottery.
Covered in muck, the two return to the trading post and deposit their filthy clothes in a corner of the courtyard. Once again, Siro's pride is hurt. He asks Taja if she feels the warriors' strength within, since she's the one who defeated them. She tells him the only thing she feels is that Kiri set them up by sending them to the underworld.
It turns out Taja's instincts were right. From the pile of discarded garments in the courtyard, the muck seeps until it's a solid form that slithers out of the courtyard and off to Kiri's house. Once at Kiri's the ooze coalesces into the warrior Noob Saibot. Kiri used Taja and Siro to not only kill the guards that were keeping Noob Saibot in the underworld, but also to transport him to the surface. Kiri's purpose for summoning Noob Saibot--to kill Kung Lao and win favor with Emperor Shao Kahn.
Noob Saibot appears at the trading post, announces that he's Kung Lao's executioner and then disappears. He leaves behind a footprint of the oily muck that Taja and Siro recognize from the underworld. Taja reluctantly tells Kung Lao of the previous day's events and the two head for the underworld to search for Siro, who has disappeared. When they come upon the temple ruins, there's no sign of Siro, but Noob Saibot quickly materializes and attacks Kung Lao. Siro arrives on the scene and rescues Kung Lao by igniting Noob Saibot, who shatters into fiery shards. Kung Lao, Taja and Siro literally run for their lives as the underground city begins to burn and then explodes into a fireball.
Debt of the Dragon
To make extra money, Taja opens a bazaar in the trading post's courtyard. One night as she's closing up, Jola and her body guards force their way into the courtyard and demand that Taja, Siro and Kung Lao vacate the premises.
According to the intruders, the trading post is theirs, owed to them by the Baron to cover a gambling debt. When they won't surrender the post, Taja, Siro and Kung Lao are attacked by Jola and her co-horts. As the fight intensifies, Jola's brother, Kebral, arrives and demands that Jola stop the fight and leave. Kung Lao, Siro and Taja mistakenly think that Kebral has put an end to this nonsense when he ominously states that they will be back to take possession of the trading post.
It turns out that Jola and Kebral are members of The Black Dragon, an underworld organization known for its deviousness. The Black Dragon is a familial organization led by Bannak, who opposes Jola's use of force and agrees with Kebral that there are other ways to intimidate, extort and exploit.
Siro knows of The Black Dragon and their ways--he wants to strike back at the organization and show them that they will not be able to prey on him, Taja or Kung Lao. Kung Lao is opposed to any use of violence against The Black Dragon and asks Siro to restrain himself.
Concurrently, Jola is furious that the men in her family have sided against her and seeks out Shang Tsung in the Cobalt Mines. It turns out that Jola and Shang Tsung have had dealings before and were once lovers. In the Cobalt Mines, Jola begs Shang Tsung to return to her the powers of the Dragon--forces that her family once used to control and destroy their enemies. Over generations, the powers surged out of control and the family turned away from them as they became too dangerous. Jola seeks the powers to settle the score with her family and anyone else who gets in her way.
True to their word, The Black Dragon begins a campaign of terror against Kung Lao, Siro and Taja by killing one of the Temple's monks and hanging his body on the wall of the trading post. Affixed to the monk's body is a note that says one more shall die each day the threesome resists The Black Dragon. Against the counsel of Kung Lao, Siro begins a retaliatory crusade of his own.
When Bannak turns up dead, The Black Dragon assumes it's the work of Siro. Unbeknownst to everyone, it is Jola who killed Bannak. Later in the Cobalt Mines, Jola makes a deal with Shang Tsung for the powers of The Dragon.
With her new powers of darkness, Jola visits the trading post with the intent to kill Kung Lao and settle her debt with Shang Tsung. What she's not counting on is the unified front presented by Taja, Siro and Kung Lao. Despite the fact the her new powers have made her a fierce fighter with the ability to throw flames from her palms, Jola is pulled back to Outworld by Shang Tsung just as Kung Lao is about to finish her. Telling her she's failed him, Shang Tsung intends to keep Jola in the Cobalt Mines where he will train her in the use of the powers.
For the time being, the trading post and Zhu Zin are free from the reign of The Black Dragon.
Taja is being followed by a mysterious hooded figure. When she catches a glimpse of her pursuer, she thinks it's her father, from whom she'd been separated years ago (she tells everyone she's an orphan, we learn she may have been abandoned). He then flees and she follows him into an alley where he grabs her and pulls her through a portal into the Cobalt Mines of Shokan. She is squarely deposited at the feet of Shang Tsung and Vorpax . Throughout her ordeal in the Mines, Taja is alternately befriended and betrayed by Vorpax.
The following day, Shang Tsung sends a vision to Kung Lao telling him that Taja has been taken prisoner and he must come to Outworld to free her. Siro also sees the vision and is determined to fight alongside Kung Lao in Outworld.
Kung Lao is not convinced that the Shang Tsung's message is anything more than a trap to lure him to the Cobalt Mines. When he and Siro are unable to find Taja and hear rumors of her abduction, they begin to take Shang Tsung's message seriously.
Deciding it's the only way to save Taja's life, Kung Lao heads for his appointment to be transported to Outworld. Siro surreptitiously follows him and when the portal appears, he leaps through it against Kung Lao's demands. When they land in the Cobalt Mines, Shang Tsung is quite pleased--he believes his trap has worked and Kung Lao is now on his turf and will be dealt with by his minions.
Not one to walk blindly into such an obvious trap, Kung Lao has brought with him the crystal they had earlier discovered that allows for travel between realms. Just as Kung Lao is about to use the crystal to transport them back to the Earth Realm, Taja runs into the mines saying she must find her father--if it was in fact him who lured her to the mines and not a trick being played by Shang Tsung and Vorpax.
Shang Tsung grabs the crystal away from Kung Lao, imprisons both him and Siro and dispatches Vorpax to find Taja. When Vorpax catches Taja, she continues to taunt her--one minute saying her father is in the mines, the next saying it was all a conjuration by Shang Tsung. When Taja won't cooperate with her double-cross, Vorpax returns Taja to Shang Tsung. Gloating, Shang Tsung prepares to present Shao Kahn with both the prisoners and the crystal.
Futilely, Taja attacks Shang Tsung, before he throws her in the cell with Siro and Kung Lao. Fortunately, this is exactly what she had wanted--the attack on him was just a ruse for her to get close enough to Shang Tsung to employ her skills as a pickpocket and get the crystal back from him. Once she's thrown in the cell, the threesome use the crystal's power to transport them back to the Earth Realm.
The evil sorcerer Quan Chi dispatches a trio of deadly women from the NetherRealm, which he rules, to do away with Kung Lao , Taja and Siro . However, it's not an ordinary execution Quan Chi has in mind for Kung Lao, Taja and Siro, but a plan by which each would die in shame.
Quan Chi has his three she-warriors, Mika, Siann and Sora, insinuate themselves into the lives of Taja, Siro and Kung Lao and with a little trickery, each is able to "infect" her intended victim with a potion of Quan Chi's creation.
The potion that was given to Kung Lao, Taja and Siro masks all of their good qualities and enormously magnifies their shortcomings--Siro becomes an obnoxious drunk, Taja goes back to thievery in a big, big way, and Kung Lao finds that his temper is uncontrollable to the point of violence and paranoia. Unaware that they've been the victim of sorcery, Kung Lao, Taja and Siro don't recognize their own destructive behavior and only see how out of control the other two have become.
At one point, Kung Lao attacks Siro at the trading post and nearly kills him, throwing him out of a second-floor window. During this fight, Rayden appears and after seeing the irrational Kung Lao and the near-dead Siro, surmises there's more at work here than meets the eye.
Rayden then finds Taja just as she's about to be executed for stealing from the villagers. Among the mob chanting for her death he recognizes Sora and things start to make a little more sense. Rayden corners Sora and makes her tell him what's going on. Once Sora explains Quan Chi's spell to Rayden, it's up to him to convince Kung Lao, Taja and Siro, that only they can break the spell by accepting that life contains both darkness and light and they must choose to live in the light and contain the darkness.
When Quan Chi learns of Sora's betrayal, he is furious and decides that he'll take care of Kung Lao himself. Quan Chi's hope was that Kung Lao would kill an innocent person in a fit of rage. As a warrior, Kung Lao would be disgraced and banned from his temple, sure to die a broken man. Quan Chi would then take Kung Lao's soul back to the NetherRealm where he would sell it to the highest bidder--most likely Shang Tsung who would use it to win his freedom from Shao Kahn.
Rayden explains this scenario to Kung Lao and warns him that if he is to fight Quan Chi, he must remain focused and not fight in a blind fury. Kung Lao heeds this advice, and when Quan Chi sees that he cannot win the battle he returns to the NetherRealm.
Despite the bruised egos, hurt feelings and broken bones, Kung Lao, Siro and Taja realize what they mean to each other and return to trading post to put their lives back in order.
Kung Lao is once again being plagued by visions of his own defeat--visions that Rayden tells him can only affect him when he's filled with self-doubt and uncertainty. Kung Lao is feeling the pressure of being the victor of Mortal Kombat and is becoming resentful of the sacrifices he's had to make because of it.
In an elaborate and ambitious attempt on Kung Lao's life, Shang Tsung engineers an uneasy partnership with the evil sorcerer Quan Chi. While both are powerful in their own right, this alliance, in theory, could make them unstoppable.
With Kung Lao in his weakened and vulnerable state, Shang Tsung has Quan Chi lure him away from the Earth Realm into a parallel realm that contains everything his heart desires, including his simple pre-Mortal Kombat life and his beloved Jen. As is most often the case with Shang Tsung, there's more, much more, than meets the eye.
The "parallel realm" that Kung Lao has been lured to does indeed have everything he's been longing for--in fact, whatever he desires appears before him. What Kung Lao doesn't know is that this isn't a parallel realm at all, but a 24-hour illusion being maintained by Shang Tsung. When the 24 hours has passed, Kung Lao will become Shang Tsung's prisoner for eternity, which would leave the Earth Realm without a defender in Mortal Kombat and could ultimately free Shang Tsung from the Cobalt Mines to return to his destructive ways.
The plan is proceeding without a hitch, until Shang Tsung double-crosses Quan Chi. Originally Shang Tsung had agreed to share the secret for drawing the life force out of one's victims and harnessing that power for one's own gain (in exchange for Quan Chi luring Kung Lao away from the Earth Realm). Once Quan Chi had this knowledge, however, he would become much more of a challenge to Shang Tsung, so Shang Tsung reneged on his deal.
As one good double-cross deserves another, Quan Chi goes to the trading post and tells Taja and Siro exactly what's going on and what they can do to stop it. While they're reluctant to believe him at first, they realize that if Quan Chi has come to them in an effort to foil Shang Tsung, there must be serious trouble.
Quan Chi transports Taja and Siro to the "parallel realm" and they're able to see that it is an illusion and one that's fading fast. Kung Lao, on the other hand, isn't as easy to convince--it's not until Siro drives a dagger into Jen and nothing happens, nothing at all--that he's able to see he's being manipulated by the forces of evil. With only seconds to spare, Kung Lao, Taja and Siro make it through the portal back to the Earth Realm, once again scrapping Shang Tsung's plans.
Thicker Than Blood
While Siro and Kung Lao are busy recruiting prospective warriors, Taja is running her bazaar out of the trading post's courtyard. A mysterious woman approaches Taja looking for Siro. When this woman, Hannah, tells Taja that she once almost married Siro, Taja is stunned and intrigued.
Hannah, it turns out, is now married to Siro's long-estranged brother, Cassar. She has come to Siro because Cassar is missing and she fears that he's in trouble. Siro, who was dumped by Hannah years ago, is ambivalent toward her plight and tells her she's on her own.
Meanwhile, Scorpion reports to Shao Kahn his plans to raise a dark army in the Earth Realm. He's recruiting only the deadliest fighters to carry out his plans. Unfortunately, Cassar has fallen under the spell of Scorpion and has joined him in his quest.
Cassar and another of Scorpion's warriors go to the trading post to recruit Hannah to join them. When she resists, a fight breaks out and Cassar escapes, but the other warrior is captured by Kung Lao, Siro and Taja. With a little persuasion and big dagger, Siro and Kung Lao "convince" the captured warrior to tell them where Scorpion is headquartered.
Since they'd be outnumbered by Scorpion's warriors, Kung Lao and Siro devise a plan to infiltrate his operation and get to Cassar. They decide to send Hannah to Scorpion, pledging her loyalty to the cause as her husband has. Once she gets Cassar alone, Hannah leads him into a trap set by Siro and they take him back to the trading post where they work to "deprogram" him.
Cassar and Siro attempt to sort through years of sibling rivalry which was fueled by their father who always made them compete with one another. Finally, Kung Lao, Taja, Hannah and Siro are able to convince Cassar to stay and join them in their noble quest.
Following a celebratory feast, Siro and Cassar are at the trading post, catching up on the years they'd been separated. Scorpion appears and says he's come to reclaim what is his, meaning Cassar. For the first time in their lives, the brothers fight alongside each other instead of against each other. Scorpion, seething from Cassar's betrayal has only one goal--to kill Cassar--and he does, then vanishes into the night.
Shadow of a Doubt
Kung Lao is attacked by the warrior Rain, who has the ability to summon lightning from the sky to strike his opponents. Shao Kahn has sent Rain to kill Kung Lao, which would give him control of the Earth Realm, as well as keep Shang Tsung in the Cobalt Mines for eternity.
Taja and Siro come upon the fight causing Rain to flee. Unfortunately, Rain has hurt Kung Lao badly and he'll require a few days' bed rest. Shao Kahn decides this is the perfect opportunity to infiltrate the trading post and finish the job Rain has begun.
In order to gain access to Kung Lao, Shao Kahn calls upon the warrior Mileena who he transforms to look like his stepdaughter and friend to Kung Lao, Princess Kitana. He sends this substitute Kitana to the trading post with orders to kill the weakened Kung Lao. The evil Kitana arrives saying that she heard that Kung Lao needed some nursing, and she wanted to repay the favor for the time he helped save her life.
When Shang Tsung learns of Shao Kahn's plans to kill Kung Lao, he immediately dispatches Vorpax to foil the plans. If Shang Tsung ever hopes to escape the Cobalt Mines, it is he alone who must vanquish Kung Lao.
Vorpax convinces the evil Kitana that Shao Kahn is using her and once she kills Kung Lao, she too will be finished. Vorpax tells her that the longer Kung Lao lives, the better off she is. The evil Kitana begins an affair with Kung Lao and making excuses to Shao Kahn.
Taja has become suspicious of Kitana's behavior--it is markedly different from the last time she visited from Outworld. Coupled with the fact that Kung Lao is getting worse instead of better, Taja becomes increasingly wary of this Kitana.
Meanwhile, Siro has been tracking Rain since his attack on Kung Lao. When Siro comes upon Rain in an abandoned temple, he's not ready for the intensity of his attack. Just as Rain is about to finish Siro with his trademark lightning blast, Rain is struck from behind by one of Princess Kitana's fighting fans.
It turns out that in a last ditch effort to keep Kung Lao alive, Shang Tsung alerted the real Princess Kitana that Shao Kahn had sent Rain (a former Edenian and friend of Kitana) to kill Kung Lao. In her pursuit of Rain, she came across the fight in the temple in which she saved Siro's life. Following this, Siro asked how she had been able to get from the trading post to the temple so quickly. At this point they realize that the Kitana at the trading post is an impostor sent by Shao Kahn.
The real Kitana hurries to the trading post and confronts the impostor--a raging fight ensues. In the midst of the fight, the women are transported back to Outworld by Shao Kahn. He punishes Mileena by taking away the beauty she had received to pose as Kitana; when he turns to the real Kitana, she tells him that she was not disobeying him when she went to Earth Realm, rather she was serving him by exposing Mileena as a fraud who was both impersonating her and trying to kill Kung Lao--something Shao Kahn is forbidden to do by the Elder Gods. Kitana trumps Shao Kahn's plans and is safe for the time being.
A traveller, Tomas, arrives in Zhu Zin and tells Kung Lao and Taja that he wants to join their cause defending Earth Realm. He tells them that he was supposed to compete in the Mortal Kombat tournament which Kung Lao won, but he was trapped in his village by an avalanche.
When Siro returns to the post and meets Tomas he is immediately skeptical--and a bit threatened. When Siro challenges Tomas to a "training match," Tomas ends up being the better fighter and actually hurting Siro. Siro's not the only one Tomas is having an effect on--Taja is seriously falling for the guy.
Around the same time Tomas arrived in Zhu Zin, a barmaid at the tavern (who Siro had feelings for) was murdered. A few days later a second barmaid was also killed. Kung Lao and Siro set out to investigate the murders and avenge their friends' deaths. The only evidence they find at the crime scene is a man's bracelet. When they take it back to the trading post, Taja reveals it is very similar to one she had bought for Tomas the day before. When Kung Lao and Siro ask to see Tomas' bracelet he cannot find it.
The "evidence" against Tomas grows: Siro saw him washing up in the courtyard late the night of the second murder and he has scratches on his chest (as though he had struggled with woman) that he can't explain. Tomas swears he's being framed and sets out to clear his name.
Kung Lao, in a quandary, seeks counsel from Rayden . Rayden tells Kung Lao that as a fighter he must follow his instincts about Tomas.
Travelling outside the city, Tomas hears a woman being attacked and rushes to her aid. It turns out the "victim" is Vorpax setting a cleverly designed trap to make it appear as though Tomas was attacking her. When he goes to help her, her "attacker" disappears, Vorpax tears her own clothing and starts screaming that she's being attacked. When a crowd of villagers appears, Vorpax tells them of Tomas' attack and suggests that he's also responsible for the murder of the two barmaids.
Following the incident in the woods, a group of villagers returns Tomas to the trading post and demands justice. Kung Lao says that he will take responsibility for Tomas.
Back in OutWorld, Shao Kahn is quite pleased that Vorpax's plan has gone so well. It turns out that Tomas is, in fact, who he says he is and if he joined forces with Kung Lao, they could present a formidable front against Shao Kahn--hence Tomas must be destroyed by turning Kung Lao against him.
Tomas continues to defend his innocence and when Kung Lao and Siro will not change their minds, Tomas says he's leaving. Kung Lao tells him he cannot leave as he's under house arrest--and this begins a brutal fight. Taja is able to interrupt the fight just as the two warriors are about to kill each other.
His plan temporarily foiled, Shao Kahn sends in the warrior/creature, Reptile, to finish them off. Just as Reptile sprays a shower of deadly acid toward Kung Lao, Siro and Taja, Tomas jumps in front of them to take the hit. Tomas is killed instantly and Reptile disappears back to OutWorld, his job done.
The Festival of Death
Kung Lao has taken a friend from his past, Lori on as a martial arts student. Although Lori's enthusiastic and hardworking, Kung Lao and Siro doubt her abilities as a fighter. Lori, on the other hand, is overly confident about her ability and wants nothing more than to fight.
One day, a traveling circus of sorts arrives in Zhu Zin with the fighter Qali as its ringleader. On the surface it appears to be just another carnival with acrobats, jugglers and costumed characters, but as Kung Lao, Taja and Siro know, where Qali's involved, trouble is sure to be close at hand. (The last time Qali was in Earth Realm, she betrayed Princess Kitana on behalf of Shao Kahn.)
Taja and Siro warn Qali that they're watching her and will not tolerate any trouble. Qali claims that the festival allows her to make a living since being shunned by both Kitana and Shao Kahn--which is only partially true. She has been shunned, but the festival isn't a living, it's actually a means for Quan Chi to collect humans to raise an army of undead warriors!
Each night, the festival holds secret fighting contests in which the villagers compete for a chance to win money. At the end of the night, the strongest villager (and thus, the best candidate for Quan Chi's army) faces the assassin Mika, whose stunning beauty belies her deadly skill. Once Mika has beaten the villager, Qali releases one of Quan Chi's undead souls to take over the body.
Shang Tsung is concerned that Quan Chi is raising an army as a way to strengthen his alliance with Shao Kahn. If Shao Kahn begins to look favorably at Quan Chi, then he'll have no use for Shang Tsung, when and if he is ever freed from the Cobalt Mines. Shang Tsung knows he must put a stop to Quan Chi and dispatches Vorpax to Earth Realm to investigate.
Vorpax reports back to Shang Tsung and the two devise a plan. If they can get Kung Lao to fight at the festival and he is beaten, then Qali would unleash a soul to take over his body. If Shang Tsung could control the soul that's put into Kung Lao's body, then his value to Shao Kahn is restored.
Shang Tsung needs Qali to help him carry out his plan, so he tells her that once he's back at Shao Kahn's side, she will benefit--perhaps even getting Princess Kitana's throne. She agrees to have Shang Tsung's fighter face Kung Lao and will make the soul transference as instructed. Getting Kung Lao to fight, however, is another thing.
Lori has heard about the fighting contests and thinks she's got what it takes. Determined to fight, Lori sneaks out to the contest. Once there, she's taken in by Qali, who is using her as bait to get Kung Lao to the fights. It works.
When Kung Lao agrees to fight in Lori's place, Qali presents Shang Tsung's fighter--a giant of a man who looks as if he'll crush Kung Lao. It's a fierce battle, but Kung Lao manages to get the upper hand. As Kung Lao delivers the final crushing blow, the giant falls to ground knocking over the chest containing the undead souls of Quan Chi and creating a firestorm of unworldly pandemonium. Kung Lao, Taja and Siro literally run for their lives, leaving Lori behind--for she's already joined Quan Chi's dark legions.
The Serpent and the Ice
Shao Kahn summons the warriors Sub-Zero (acting on behalf of the Lin Kuei) and Scorpion to Outworld where he informs them that though enemies, they will partner to destroy Kung Lao. Their payment for this task: they will share Earth Realm equally. Both reluctantly agree to the arrangement, while simultaneously trying to figure out a plan to double-cross the other.
Rayden gets wind of Shao Kahn's plan and alerts Kung Lao, Siro and Taja. Rayden's advice to the trio is to learn as much as they can about their enemies in order to defeat them. Kung Lao and Taja consult a monk knowledgable of the Lin Kuei; Siro sets out to find a woman, Peron, he believes may have ties to Scorpion.
In a war of wills, the Lin Kuei order Sub-Zero to kill Scorpion, while Peron, who it turns out is now Scorpion's second in command, is plotting Sub-Zero's demise.
Meanwhile, Kung Lao and Taja learn from the monk that the Lin Kuei has a history of kidnapping teenagers and making them prisoners to the Lin Kuei. They surmise that since Sub-Zero is a fighter from Earth Realm, and aligned with the Lin Kuei, it's quite possible that he was once one of those kidnapped youths.
Following this idea, Kung Lao visits the home of a family who lost a child to the Lin Kuei years ago. As he arrives, he comes upon two masked ninjas attempting to kidnap the family's daughter. Kung Lao defends the family and takes them to the trading post for safekeeping. Sub-Zero, who is trailing Kung Lao, sees him rescue the family--and something unfamiliar stirs inside him. The family, it turns out, is Sub-Zero's and he now feels a debt of honor toward Kung Lao for saving his family.
Kung Lao wrongly suspects the Lin Kuei is involved with the kidnapping--which is exactly what Peron had hoped for. Her plan to crush Sub-Zero involved finding his family in Earth Realm, kidnapping his long-forgotten sister and using her to get him to surrender to Scorpion. Kung Lao, however, foiled this plan--bringing Scorpion, Peron and Sub-Zero to a face-off in the courtyard of the trading post. Fearing another kidnapping attempt, the teenage girl, Sub-Zero's sister, flees, running into the streets of Zhu Zin. A seemingly kindly woman offers her shelter-- just before brutally killing her. The seemingly kindly woman, it turns out, was Peron.
Sub-Zero witnesses his sister's murder and in retaliation kills Peron. This infuriates Scorpion who goes to the Lin Kuei and tells them Sub-Zero has turned against them and is now fighting with Kung Lao instead of against him. All of this infighting infuriates Shao Kahn, who is no closer to conquering Earth Realm than he was at the beginning of this mess--he orders both Scorpion and the Lin Kuei to finish what's been started.
The Lin Kuei dispatches an army of ninjas to kill Sub-Zero, but they are no match for him. Next, Scorpion enters the fray and the two fight savagely--but there is no victor--neither can land the final, crushing blow. When the fighters are momentarily distracted by Kung Lao, Scorpion vanishes into the night, as does Sub-Zero, seconds later. The inability of these two warriors to cooperate has inadvertently spared Kung Lao and the Earth Realm from Shao Kahn's evil.
Shang Tsung is brutally attacked in the Cobalt Mines by three female warriors. Just as he's about beaten, Vorpax appears, but instead of helping him, she delivers the blow that levels him. Shang Tsung is spirited from the Cobalt Mines and taken to Earth Realm as a prisoner.
Vorpax and the warriors, it turns out, are subjects of Empress Kreeya, a woman warrior determined to topple Shao Kahn's empire. Like Shao Kahn, Kreeya has been amassing her universe realm by realm, growing stronger with each conquest. Now she has her sights set on Outworld--thus the invasion of the Cobalt Mines.
Kreeya has settled on the neutral, and therefore relatively safe, Earth Realm as the place where she will raise her army to defeat Shao Kahn.
Meanwhile, Rayden warns Kung Lao, Taja and Siro that something is amiss in their realm. He can't quite name it, but something is definitely not right.
Presently, that something arrives at the trading post in the form of Vorpax and two of Kreeya's warriors. Vorpax invites Kung Lao, Taja and Siro to meet with Kreeya and hear her plans to bring peace to all realms through the destruction of Shao Kahn--the three are even asked to join Kreeya's armies. Taja and Siro are intrigued by the invitation and meet with Kreeya; Kung Lao is skeptical and stays behind. In an effort to woo Kung Lao, Kreeya shows up at the trading post with Shang Tsung in chains.
Kreeya tells Kung Lao of her people and their quest. She goes on to tell him that her people are a powerful race and when they breed with others, their traits prevail--eventually erasing all traits other than their own. Kreeya proclaims this is all in the name of peace and harmony, however Kung Lao sees it more as the conquering and vanquishing of entire races and realms.
Reluctantly, Kung Lao goes to Kreeya's compound to learn more of Kreeya and her people. Simultaneously in Outworld, the Shadow Priests have brought Shao Kahn news of Kreeya and her impending attack. Shao Kahn now declares war on Kreeya--even though she is on Earth Realm, which is technically off limits to him. Shao Kahn will deal with the Elder Gods once he's dealt with Kreeya.
At Kreeya's encampment, Kung Lao learns much more about Kreeya and her ways than he planned. He discovers a "hive" filled with thousands of incubating female warriors who will grow to adulthood in a matter of weeks--all spawned by Kreeya! When he confronts Kreeya, he and the others are given a choice: join them or perish. When they refuse, they are taken prisoner with Kung Lao being put in the cage where Shang Tsung is being kept. Kreeya, it appears, plans to "mate" with each of them to create new legions of super warriors.
Kung Lao, realizing the desperation of their situation, goads Shang Tsung into a fight. Once Shang Tsung strikes Kung Lao, Rayden appears--the rules of Mortal Kombat have been violated and he can now intervene. Rayden frees Kung Lao and Shang Tsung and, ironically, the mortal enemies must fight together to stop Kreeya and save the Earth Realm from her invasion. The two are successful in destroying Kreeya's compound and the hive, but disturbingly, when the dust settles, Shang Tsung, Kreeya and Vorpax have all gone missing in the Earth Realm. Back in Outworld, Shao Kahn has discovered that Kreeya deposited thousands and thousands of hives on her visit and his kingdom is about to be attacked by hordes of her warriors.
Shang Tsung has escaped to Earth Realm and is enjoying his freedom when he comes upon Master Cho --the very Master Shang Tsung turned against many years ago to join forces with Shao Kahn. Master Cho has been waiting a very long time to settle the score with Shang Tsung, and in no time, physically beats him and then reverses his immortality, turning him into an ancient old man.
The Master leaves Shang Tsung to die and heads to the trading post to find Kung Lao and begin training him for future Mortal Kombat matches. When Taja and Siro see this old man wanting to join their ranks, they're both skeptical and amused--until Master Cho demonstrates some moves that remove everyone's doubts.
The Master reveals his history with Shang Tsung to Kung Lao. Long ago, Shang Tsung was a sorcerer being training to defend Earth Realm in Mortal Kombat. In his first match, Shang Tsung violated the rules of Mortal Kombat and was basically given the choice to join Shao Kahn's dark force or die (Shao Kahn sensed the inherent evil in Shang Tsung and exploited it). Among the moves Shao Kahn taught Shang Tsung was how to take a victim's soul to fuel one's own immortality. What the Master leaves out of his story is that Shao Kahn has also touched him with the "curse" of immortality and what it takes to maintain--the taking of others' life force.
Meanwhile Shang Tsung has summoned Omegis to bring her potions and reverse the Master's aging spell. Omegis comes as beckoned, but only reverses the physical effects, returning Shang Tsung's youthful looks, but leaving his body on the verge of death. Omegis, it turns out, was double-crossed years ago by Shang Tsung and sees this as her opportunity for payback. Many years ago, Omegis had helped Shang Tsung betray Master Cho, with the understanding that they would partner for eternity in Outworld. Instead, Omegis was cursed to immortality by Master Cho and left behind in Earth Realm by Shang Tsung.
Concurrent with Master Cho's arrival, a flu-like epidemic sweeps through Zhu Zin. The illness is revealed to be the work of Master Cho, who, to stay alive, must take a bit of life force from the mortals around him--not enough to kill them, but enough to make them physically ill. When Kung Lao learns of this (and after Master Cho has tapped Taja), he is repulsed and throws the Master out of the trading post.
Finally, Omegis agrees to once again help Shang Tsung if he promises to remove Master Cho's curse and make her mortal again. Shang Tsung agrees, and Omegis reverses Master Cho's curse. Presently, Master Cho arrives on the scene and thanks Omegis for falling into his trap of aiding Shang Tsung--now the two who betrayed him are together and he shall finish them off once and for all. In the ensuing melee, however, Master Cho is beaten by his former students, who then seal his not-dead body in a cave to perish.
Her end of the bargain fulfilled, Omegis seeks her mortality from Shang Tsung. As he did many years earlier, Shang Tsung laughs at Omegis, telling her he can't reverse the Master's curse and then leaves her. Not one to be fooled twice, Omegis returns to the cave and unbeknownst to Shang Tsung, frees Master Cho--now she will have the last laugh.
A villager comes to the trading to post trying to sell Taja something the likes of which he's never seen--a comb from one of Kreeya's hives. Taja, however, knows exactly what it is and calls to Kung Lao and Siro with the news that Kreeya is back in Earth Realm, most likely to raise another army. All three know that they need to move fast, as Kreeya's offspring only need days to incubate before being born as fully grown adults, ready for battle.
Kreeya was forced to reinfiltrate Earth Realm because Shao Kahn has made the destruction of her hives throughout Outworld a top priority, weakening her empire. When Kung Lao, Taja and Siro inform Rayden that Kreeya has returned, he warns them that she has probably aligned herself with another of Earth Realm's enemies and they should be doubly careful.
Kung Lao, Taja and Siro set out to destroy the hives that Kreeya has established around Zhu Zin. During the outing, Siro is attacked by a warrior guarding one of the hives. The warrior turns out to be one of Reptile's Zaterran fighters, thus solving the mystery of Kreeya's new partner. It's a brutal fight, with the Zaterran fighter nearly killing Siro, until he's rescued by Kiri and Ankha, who were last seen fighting against the Earth Realm alongside the evil Noob Saibot. Kiri and Ankha are superior fighters and make short work of the Zaterran fighter.
After Kiri and Ankha save Siro's life, they help him to the trading post, explaining along the way that their last encounter wasn't personal, they're just mercenary fighters and now the money's on keeping Earth Realm safe. Kiri and Ankha explain to Kung Lao, Siro and Taja that they all share the common goal of keeping Kreeya from taking Earth Realm, however, their loyalty is to Shao Kahn, who more than anyone, wants to thwart Kreeya's plans--again.
Reptile's association with Kreeya hasn't been embraced by his key warriors, who feel Kreeya is using the Zaterran race as a pawn against Shao Kahn. When one of the Zaterran warriors turns against Reptile, pledging allegiance to Shao Kahn, Reptile kills him on the spot, thus quelling any further resistance from his troops.
With Siro out of the game, Kiri and Ankha agree to help Kung Lao and Taja search for hives and destroy them with bombs that they've made. Taja and Kung Lao find a hive and destroy it after killing the Zaterran who was guarding it.
The news of the two fallen warriors, in a fight that's not even his own, sends Reptile into a rage. He tells Kreeya that her plan to have Kiri and Ankha divert the attention of Kung Lao, Taja and Siro is not working and now the lethal twosome must kill the Earth Realm warriors. Meanwhile, Siro, has discovered the double-cross and sets out to warn Kung Lao.
Kiri and Ankha have transformed themselves into Zaterran reptilian warriors in order to kill Kung Lao. Just as Kiri is about to unleash the trademark Reptilian deadly acid blast on Kung Lao, Siro knocks him out of the way and the acid spray kills Ankha. Kiri escapes into the night.
With her Earth Realm invasion yet again thwarted, Kreeya convinces Reptile to abandon his people and become her mate to raise countless armies of dark warriors to unleash against the forces of good.
In Outworld, Kahn makes Quan Chi an offer to bring him Shang Tsung. Because he has not turned up yet, Kahn still believes he is the traitor who works with Kreeya. The emperor tells the black arts sorcerer he can name his price to find Shang, who wanders Earth Realm undetected. When the Earth Realm warriors find out dead bodies have been showing up, they know it is Shang Tsung. So against Rayden's hedence, they search for the sorcerer as well. A few miles away, Shang Tsung is attacked by Quan Chi's assassins, who give him a handful. They beat him up pretty badly, so in order to survive, he uses his magic to drive them away, weakening him.
When Siro and Taja come back from searching for Shang Tsung, Kung Lao notices they are acting peculiar, and very attracted to each other. In the morning, the warrior monk actually catches them in bed together, but he doesn't realise that they are really Quan Chi and Mika, who are relying on Kung Lao to lead them to Shang Tsung. Back in the Ethereal, the real Siro and Taja are shackled up by Siann and Sora. While Siann is on watch, Siro and Taja are able to free themselves and kill the already undead Siann. In Outworld, Sora gives Shao Kahn an update, and tries to assassinate the emperor. But Kahn stops her, and demands she reveals her true form, which is Quan Chi. He explains Kreeya's offer was better, so Kahn banishes him to the Cobalt Mines, where his powers are useless. But when the black arts sorcerer arrives, he steals the soul of another prisoner, and reveals himself as Shang Tsung. It has been Shang all along.
At the trading post, Kung Lao is doubtful of his friends, and receives a message to go to the tavern, along with another he tears up. He retires, but sneaks out and meets with the real Siro and Taja, along with Rayden who finds out that Shang Tsung will be arriving at the trading post momentarily. This time, they will let the two sorcerers fight each other.
Balance of Power
Trying to find out who betrayed him, Shao Kahn tortures many of his warriors in hopes of finding the traitor who works with Kreeya. He declares war, and will not stop until he finds the deviant. At Kreeya's camp, the queen keeps her alliance with Reptile by offering him half of her throne. Meanwhile, Vorpax confronts Kreeya, saying that too many of their warriors have died in vain.
Vorpax travels to the trading post to make the Earth Realm warriors a deal, to kill her mother, Queen Kreeya. Vorpax believes that her mother is unjust in her ruling and should be stopped. And by doing this, their realm will be removing one of the more powerful enemies from their flank. At first, Kung Lao refuses to be someone else's assassin, but is convinced by Siro and Taja to go through with it.
Vorpax convinces her queen that the only way to remain in Earth Realm in safety is to kill the three Earth Realm warriors that have caused them so much complication. Vorpax is to go into the trading post first with four warriors to weaken them, but they act as if they are fighting, throwing around furniture and grunting, so that Kreeya, listening in, thinks there is an actual fight going on. When Kreeya enters, she finds Kung Lao, Taja and Siro waiting for her. Double-crossed by her own princess, Kreeya takes on all three, and is defeated. While he body lies there, Vorpax absorbs her energy, then leaves telling the Earth Realm warriors they will never see her again.
Now that Vorpax is queen, possessing all of Kreeya's former powers, she approaches Shang Tsung to seed an army of half warrior, half sorcerers. Shang Tsung agrees, but on one condition, that Kung Lao is to be killed. Taja, spying on them, runs back to the trading post to alert Kung Lao and Siro. With this knowledge, they plot to kill the sorcerer before any such army can be made, but Kung Lao must stay behind because of a wound suffered in the fight with Kreeya.
As Shang Tsung and Vorpax are on their way to kill Kung Lao, Siro and Taja stalk them with a crossbow, ready to assassinate both. But Reptile appears in front of the sorcerer and demands that Vorpax give him what is his. But Vorpax tells him even though Kreeya made a deal with him to seed her armies and inherit half her throne, the deal died with the former queen. She demands that Shang Tsung is her new partner. Enraged, Reptile attacks the sorcerer , and they have an all-out hate-filled battle that ends with Shang hitting the Zaterrean leader with a fireball, sending him back into the depths of the brush. Now fatigued and in the need of fresh souls, Shang Tsung must retreat with Vorpax before he offed by Siro and Taja.
The emperor will sit and watch no longer. Waiting centuries to take over Earth Realm, he has seen, heard, and fought for long enough. Knowing the repercussions, Shao Kahn opens a portal to Earth Realm, dispersing his Shadow Priests to kill every single one of his enemies. And possessing dark magical powers that no mortal has ever seen, they cannot be stopped.
Meanwhile, Rayden enters the portal and meets Kahn halfway between realms, demanding the invasion be stopped. These brothers argue why they are the emperor of Outworld, and the Protector of Earth Realm. In Zhu Zin, Kitana approaches Kung Lao in secret and tells him of the danger that lies ahead.
In Zaterra, Reptile and Kiri are attacked by the Shadow Priests, and easily killed. Next, in the Temple of the Order of Light, Kitana tries to warn the trio of Earth Realm warriors of the danger they are in, but the Shadow Priests teleport in and slay the princess while using magic to freeze the three, rendering them powerless, subjected to watch the murder. Then Quan Chi is paid a visit by the Shadow Priests, killing the black arts sorcerer and Siann. Even Quan Chi is defenceless against Kahn's magical warriors. The next to go is Shang Tsung and Vorpax, they are killed with no remorse, for they are Kahn's most hated enemies.
Having seen the Shadow Priests in action and with no sign of Rayden, the trio finds Omegis within the woods of Zhu Zin. They convince her to lead them to the portal which Rayden entered. So they set a course to the portal, and through her magic, they make it there to find dozens of Shadow Priests waiting for them. Rayden shouts through the portal for Kung Lao, Taja and Siro to leave immediately, or they will be killed. But it is too late. They cannot beat them ... the magical warriors of Shao Kahn are too great.
With Rayden locked up, beaten and fatigued, he prays to the elder gods, who will not allow this to happen any longer. Even though they believe that mortals are the masters of their own fate and should deal with foul play themselves, they will not tolerate the breach of an entire defenceless realm. Kahn's actions are undone by the Elder Gods, thus banning him from any tournaments for five hundred years. He will now act as Rayden does, only as a spectator, and not as a leader, fighter, or anything that has to do with Mortal Kombat.
With this set in motion, Kung Lao, Taja and Siro return to Earth Realm in peace, along with Shang Tsung to Outworld, Quan Chi to the Neatherealm, and Vorpax to the Cobalt Mines. Having not aged before the next tournament, Kung Lao remains in top physical shape, but as for Taja and Siro, they start to age and become less competitive.
For years having dealt with nightmares of his death at the hands of a four-armed monster, Kung Lao is about to confront them in the upcoming tournament. Through Rayden's guidance and instruction, Kung Lao is the best he's ever been in mind, body and spirit. But the thunder god reminds him that his opponent is the most powerful Mortal Kombat has ever seen.
To win back the emperor's favor, Shang Tsung searches the depths of the universe to find a fighter who will undoubtedly win the next tournament. In the realm of Shokan, he finds Prince Goro, an eight feet tall, four-armed warrior born half man and half dragon. The emperor is very pleased and looks forward to the tournament.
When the next Mortal Kombat takes place, it pits the defending champion against the new contender Goro. The match lasts several days, with neither man refusing to quit. Rayden watches as Kung Lao starts to lose his edge, and his life force. Any normal man or Outworld fighter would have surely been defeated by the warrior monk, but Goro is nothing like anyone from either realm has ever seen. After nearly a week straight of the most intense match in Mortal Kombat history, the great Kung Lao is killed by the prince of Shokan.
Shang Tsung forms an alliance with Goro to dominate the tournament ...
Now that Kung Lao is dead, Taja and Siro have grown old and withered away, Rayden must find another to train. He confronts Sub-Zero to fight for Earth Realm, but the ice ninja declines. Rayden will not find the chosen one until almost five hundred years later.
Because Outworld has won this tournament, Shao Kahn restores Shang Tsung to his side as Outworld's sorcerer, and Goro as the emperor's second in command. Now they will need to finish the set of wins to invade Earth Realm, but neither Shao Kahn nor Shang Tsung is worried.
Over five centuries, Outworld amasses eight more victories to make nine, while Rayden looks to the elder gods and demands to know when he will find the Chosen One.
This is as official a novella/timeline for Mortal Kombat Conquest as it gets, having been taken from both the official Mortal Kombat and Mortal Kombat Conquest sites. The text has been left as close as possible to the original, with only tenses altered and some parts edited to fit in with the overall flow.
Other realms ...
Mortal Kombat Novels
Ultimate Mortal Kombat Unchained Website