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Fan Fiction - Ultimate Armageddon

Throughout all of the realms, throughout all of time and space, there is only one absolute. For some, it is a path to enlightenment. For others, a tool to be used for destruction. It is both a defense for entire worlds and a threat to all of existence. Some seek to manipulate it to selfishly benefit themselves. Some wish to utterly control it and decide how it is used, be it for good or evil. There exist individuals whose entire lives are defined by it, and others who want nothing further to do with it, yet find themselves unable to escape from it. It has wrought the painful deaths of millions, and birthed the eternal legends of those who survive it. It takes many different shapes and forms, each determined by those who control it and those who participate in it. It can be a tournament, pitting powerful forces against each other in a bloody contest of might. It can be a single match, with only two individuals seeking the other's ultimate death. It can be a war that will annihilate everything that exists. It has been all of these things in the past, and it will be all of these things in the future.

For it has always been, and it will always be.

This force, this power, this weapon, this living essence... knows only one name.

"MORTAL KOMBAT!"

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The Edenian half-god Taven stood over the body of the defeated hell-spawned warrior who called himself Scorpion. Moments earlier, the revenge-driven spectre had pulled Taven into his lair, a dark place somewhere in the bowls of the hellish Netherrealm. Scorpion sought vengeance against the Elder Gods, and wished to eliminate their only means of stopping Armageddon: Taven and Daegon, the prodigal sons of the god Argus and the Edenian sorceress Delia. Taven knew not why the Elder Gods had apparently betrayed Scorpion, whose only wish was to have his clan brought back to life. They granted his wish, for whatever service he had provided them, though Taven wondered if Scorpion had failed them; as they resurrected them as undead hellspawn, just like the deceased ninja. Taven had just fought through multitudes of the horde before defeating the manifest of Scorpion's hatred, a mammoth-sized skull burning with hellfire.

Taven caught his breath. The battle had worn him out slightly, but he would be back in fighting condition soon enough. Before his eyes, the spectre burned away, though Taven knew that such a monster could not be killed so easily. Most likely, Scorpion had retreated to a different part of the Netherrealm. Taven wondered how he was going to escape this place and return to Edenia. With his dragon guardian Orin slain by Quan Chi, he had no other means of teleportation that he could see before him. Before he could think of his next move, however, he heard an all-too familiar voice behind him.

"Well done, Taven," his brother spoke with a condescending tone. Taven whipped around and laid his eyes upon his traitorous brother.

"Daegon!" Taven said, clenching his fists. Daegon looked much similar to his twin Taven, with the exception that he was decades older. While Taven had smooth, handsome facial features, Daegon's face was rough, with a distinctive scar over his pure-white right eye. Taven had closely cut hair on his head, while Daegon's scalp was devoid of any hair, though they both shared similar goatees. They also shared a tattoo, that of a dragon, though while Taven's tattoo displayed the dragon climbing up the right side of his face, Daegon's was the opposite, with the dragon climbing down the left.

Daegon had been awoken long before Taven, unintentionally. Both of them were sealed in rock, placed under the watchful eyes of their dragon friends Orin and Caro. For their protection, they were hidden in Earthrealm. Taven and Daegon were to be the keys to saving all the realms from ultimate destruction, an inevitability foreseen by their mother. The fire elemental Blaze, a creation of hers, was to monitor the realms and the strength of the kombatants, and when the time came, he would send a signal to the dragons, instructing them to awaken the sleeping twins and send them on their quest to save the realms. However, as Taven found out when he stormed Daegon's fortress at Charred Mountain, Caro had long ago lost mental contact with Blaze. Mistaking it as the signal, he released Daegon long before the time was right. A mistake that began a series of events culminating in this moment.

"I was hoping Scorpion would kill you and spare me the effort, but it looks as though I'll have to finish you myself," Daegon said sinisterly, readying himself in a combat stance. Taven prepared himself as well, raising his fists. He wasn't afraid of fighting his brother. Rather, he welcomed the notion after all that had transpired.

A flash of fire interrupted them as Blaze teleported into the lair. He created a line of flames that separated the two of them. The fire elemental stood, resembling a man made of fire, with metal gauntlets wrapped in chain on his forearms.

"Blaze?! Why did you interfere?" Daegon demanded of the fiery warrior.

Blaze help up his hand. "The quest has been corrupted. All did not go exactly as my creator had foreseen it."

Taven's eyebrows furrowed at the mention of the quest. Since he had awoken in the alien world of Earthrealm, Taven's life had been twisted upside down. Everything that happened along his journey, his mother and father dead, his guardian Orin killed by the Netherrealm sorcerer Quan Chi, his brother's corruption and his enslavement of Caro, the betrayal of Raiden the thunder god... nothing made sense anymore to the young half-god. All he knew was that Daegon, the one responsible for the deaths of their parents, was going to die by his hands.

Blaze continued speaking. "You are in the wrong location. I will transport you to the rim of the crater where the final battle will take place. The quest will conclude when one of you defeats me there in kombat. We must make haste! Many warriors are gathering. If I am defeated by one of them, they will steal the prize and the true purpose of the quest will have failed. Armageddon will be upon you all."

Taven stepped forward. With determination and anger in his voice, he spoke, "I want nothing more to do with his quest. My business is with Daegon." He turned to his brother. It looked as though the two would leap at each other in kombat, but once more Blaze filled the air between them with fire.

The elemental shouted, "You have no choice! We are all bound to the quest! The fate of the realms will be decided today!" he declared, holding his arms up to heighten his point.

Daegon nodded. "Then let's get this over with! I have waited an eternity for this moment!" he said as he turned to Taven.

Taven stepped towards his brother and boldly told him, "When this is over, I am going to finish you."

Blaze raised his arms into the air and fire consumed both brothers, though they felt no pain. They were transported across the realms to their home of Edenia, to the ancient craters of the southlands. Taven and Daegon found themselves on a platform of stone created from the rock of the side of a cliff face. The platform was circular, much like an arena. In the center was a symbol carved into the rock, that of two swords crossing beneath two dragons which resembled their facial tattoos. There was a gate that faced outwards, away from the face of the cliff and towards the canyon beyond. The gate was an arch of stone with two dragons, very much resembling Orin and Caro, emerging from the stonework. A field of blue energy stood in the center, creating what resembled a portal. Around the platform were destroyed columns of stone, withered away due to their incredible age.

Taven saw all of this as he looked around, in addition to his brother. "How did we... Daegon!" he said as he laid his eyes upon his traitorous sibling. He charged at this brother, roaring as he did so. Daegon stood still, his red cape blowing slightly in the breeze. At the last second, he moved, expertly tripping his brother who fell forward and hit the ground rolling, a victim of his own momentum.

Daegon smirked. "You used to be faster than me. Last time we raced through father's temple I believe you won." He looked up to the orange, evening sky and remarked, "Seems like only yesterday..."

Taven grunted as he stood up. "It was yesterday," he said.

Daegon nodded and looked aside. "I suppose it was... for you," he said, pointing a finger. "But I was awakened prematurely. Over the millennia I've grown much faster, much stronger, much more powerful than you," he spoke as he held up his arms and clenched his fists. "This time my victory is assured."

Taven quickly shot back, "The only thing that is assured is that you will pay for killing mother and father!"

Daegon seemed slightly taken aback, and turned to look out over the canyon. "So you know. Yes, I killed them. I had to!" he said, spinning to face Taven. "Lord Shinnok had warned me that they had decided to assist you! I wasn't going to let you have their support in gaining the ultimate power of godhood from Blaze!"

This revelation shadowed Daegon's mention of Shinnok, someone whom Taven thought was an ally, but couldn't be more wrong about. Taven's eyes widened and his tone grew accusatory. "You killed them over the prize!?" he shouted.

Daegon smirked. "With the very weapons father left behind for us to use against Blaze," he said, drawing the twin golden-handled drakeswords from behind his back. "I've grown incredibly skilled in their use. And now, I will use them to destroy you. Fight!" He quickly skimmed the blades together, creating a sharp sound. He held the drakeswords in a balanced position, one above his head and the other held down below, parallel to the first.

Taven's hands flared with fire manifested with his inner ki using a technique he perfected in one of the magically enchanted monoliths left behind by their parents, intended to train the two of them. He put his hands together and blasted a fireball towards Daegon, who crossed his swords and grunted as he used his power to block the fiery projectile. Moving his feet quickly while spinning his blades, Daegon sprinted towards his brother, twisted around and brought one down upon Taven, intending to split his skull open. Unfortunately for the evil twin, Taven easily sidestepped the attack, which left Daegon vulnerable to attack.

His hand surging with inner power, Taven swung his fist upwards and landed a vicious uppercut, sending Daegon flying backwards and hard landing on his back. He shouted and swung his legs, getting back up on his feet and regaining his composure. Taven charged forward, leaping into the air with a kick. Daegon ducked underneath it, and swiped at his brother's back as he landed. Though the drakesword didn't cut through the armor Taven's mother had forged for him, Taven felt the blow and knew that it could have killed him had it not been for his armor.

Taven whipped around with a powerful roundhouse, but Daegon performed an acrobatic backflip, putting himself out of the range of the kick. Taven launched a second fireball, but Daegon, in a surprising move, dived and rolled forward underneath the attack, only to rise up and slash Taven vertically with his sword, nicking part of Taven's torso. He felt the wound and looked at his hand, seeing the fresh blood. He looked up at Daegon, who held up his swords and smiled wickedly, obviously content with having wounded Taven.

Taven growled and charged forward. Daegon prepared to intercept his attack, much like when he had when they were first teleported here, but Taven had learned. He faked a high kick, leaving Deagon to block his face and his midsection open. Taven kicked his stomach, then followed up with three rapid punches to Daegon's now-exposed face. Daegon growled and tried swinging both swords together into Taven's side. Using his inner power, Taven stepped just out of reach of the blades, he suddenly surged forward. With his hands aflame, he landed three powerful punches, two to his enemy's chest, then a final one to his face.

Daegon stepped back, very much feeling the pain. Taven had little intention of stopping the assault, and attacked with another roundhouse, but in a copy of Taven's previous move, Daegon stepped just out of reach then charged forward, concentrating his inner power in one punch. Taven had the wind knocked out of him as he took the punch square in the stomach, which caused him to fall down. Daegon turned one of his swords over and stabbed downwards, confident that the battle was his. Rolling out of the way at the last second, which caused the darkesword to hilt halfway into the stone, Taven swept his leg and tripped Daegon, who lost his grip on the imbedded sword.

Taven flipped up to his feet and wrapped his hand around the drakesword, unhesitant in pulling it out of the ground. Daegon looked up at his brother with hatred in his eyes. Taven swung the sword down, but Daegon held his sword up and blocked it. Both brothers pushed as hard as they could, locking gaze as their teeth gritted and sweat formed on their bodies. Both refused to give the other an inch as they continued pushing their swords together. Daegon finally took one hand off of his sword to send a surging fireball up towards Taven, which hit him in the face and temporarily stunned the noble brother. Daegon grinned as he brought up both of his feet to kick his brother's midsection, putting some distance between the two of them. Daegon quickly got to his feet, and much to his dismay, he saw that Taven still possessed the sword.

Taven shook the smoke away from his face as he focused once more on Daegon. His hand surging with fire once more, he leapt into the air and slammed his fist onto the ground, creating a powerful circular blast of energy that rippled throughout the ground of the stone arena, cracking it in some places. Daegon anticipated this, however, and leapt above the shockwave. Leading downwards with his sword, his attack was deflected by Taven's blade. They began exchanging blows as the sound of sword against sword rang out again and again.

Daegon proved to be a cunning swordsman, having trained for years in the use of his drakeswords. For whatever reason, however, he found himself at even odds with his brother, who should have had lesser training than his in sword fighting. What Daegon did now know, however, was that Taven had discovered a monolith that he himself had not, in Outworld. It was in this magical monolith that Taven achieved a more powerful command of sword wielding, fighting off magical replications of Shao Kahn, among other warriors.

The battle came to a sudden shift when Taven was able to disarm Daegon, throwing his sword far to the side, where it embedded itself into the rock. Daegon was about to charge after it, but Taven quickly turned and forced his elbow into his brother's face, knocking him down. Taven then, in a move that surprised Daegon immensely, threw his own sword aside. Daegon, blood flowing freely from his nose, looked up at his brother. Realization dawned upon him that Taven was trying to be fair and just.

"You're a fool," he said as he leapt up, attempting to kick Taven's face. He caught Daegon's foot and twisted, once more resulting in Daegon on the ground.

"And you killed our parents. You know nothing of honor," Taven accused. "I don't need your sword to kill you."

"To each his own, brother," Daegon said, rolling away and getting back on his feet. "Only it'll only be me when this is over."

Taven's only reply was a fireball. Daegon shot one as well. The two projectiles collided in the air, resulting in a small, surging explosion. Taven and Daegon both charged forward, but Daegon used his power to propel himself towards his brother, ramming his shoulder winto Taven's chest with incredible force, again ridding him of his breath. He had moved so quickly and powerfully that fire was left in his wake. Daegon leapt over to his brother, who was lying on the ground, and brought his foot up high with the intent to slam it down upon Taven.

Roaring, Taven slammed his fists into the rock at his sides, fracturing the stonework, forcing himself upwards. He caught Daegon's leg while it was still high up and pushed it forward and moved his foot behind Daegon's supporting leg and pulled it back, expertly and swiftly flipping his adversary onto his stomach. Daegon shouted as his center of gravity shifted, leaving him open to attack. Taven slammed his foot onto Daegon's back three times. Focusing his energy into his hand, Daegon swung his arm at Taven's foot, attempting to trip him. Anticipating the attack, however, Taven performed a maneuver akin to a cartwheel, dodging the swift strike. As he came towards Daegon once more, he learned that his move had given his brother all the time he needed to quickly shoot up and deliver a powerful uppercut to Taven's chin, which sent back a few steps.

Daegon felt sore. He was bleeding from three different wounds, one of which was sustained from their earlier swordplay. He was growing frustrated. Taven was not supposed to put up this great of a fight! He watched as Taven picked himself up, shaking his head and rubbing his cut chin. He stood tall and proud, perhaps just as strong as Daegon was now, despite his years of living while Taven had slept! He should not have been this strong! Daegon, in that moment, felt jealousy he hadn't felt in years upon years. Suddenly, they were both back home, competing against each other in games of strength and endurance. Taven won most of the games, impressing father. They favored him. They favored him, and not Daegon! How dare they!

Daegon threw his arms out to the side and shouted in anger at Taven, suddenly once more the ever-jealous younger brother. He charged at the subject of his hated. Taven would have none of it. To him, this wasn't about fighting his impatient and envious brother. It was about fighting the man who had killed his parents, his friends Orin and Caro, and conspired to commit murder against him too many times to count. Taven was long past dealing with an angered younger brother. He was facing a cold murderer who deserved nothing less than death. He too charged towards Daegon, but he wasn't shouting in rage like his sibling was. Copying Daegon's earlier tactic, he used his inner power to speed forward, leading with his shoulder and leaving a trail of fire in the air behind him.

He hit Daegon like a speeding train, both of them smashing into each other, but Daegon was the only one knocked down. Taven stood above his brother's twitching body, as Daegon tried to get up to his feet. Daegon was on his knees, swaying slightly back and forth. His vision was swimming, and he wasn't able to focus his thoughts. Taven, calm and collected, walked behind Daegon and wrapped his arm around his brother's neck and placed his other hand atop his head. Daegon struggled as Taven tightened his muscles, clamping down on the neck of the man who murdered his parents. Daegon futilely pulled at Taven's arm with his hands, but he was too weak. Taven's teeth gritted tighter as he continued attempting to snap Daegon's neck.

Daegon desperately tried to escape Taven's death hold, but it was no use. Taven leaned down closer to his brother's ear.

"I told you..." Taven muttered through his teeth, "I told you... that I was going... to finish you."

A loud, concussive snap was heard as all the resistance Taven felt from Daegon suddenly vanished, and his head turned too far to the right for his life to continue. Taven dropped the lifeless body to the ground, where it lay very, very still. Daegon's left eye now appeared just as lifeless and dull as the right.

Taven stood over the body of his brother. He couldn't help but contemplate everything he had gone through, how it had all led up to this moment. He had won, but he didn't feel like he had won. He felt as if he had lost. Lost his parents, his friends, his very way of life... everything had been claimed by this godforsaken quest. Even his brother. Taven had loved him, he truly had, back in his old life. He had won most of the games, but never was it to show up his sibling or gain the favor of his father. He would often stop to help Daegon, be it climbing a wall or performing a difficult maneuver. He didn't want this to happen, but he knew, he truly knew, that it couldn't have been helped.

Taven's ears perked up when he heard Blaze teleport in. He turned to face the fire elemental, who regarded him with bright and curious eyes. Taven breathed deeply a few times and spoke.

"You watched," he said.

Blaze nodded. "I did."

"You didn't interfere this time," Taven noted. He looked down at Daegon, then back to Blaze. "Yet you did in Scorpion's lair. Why?"

Blaze averted his gaze. "My creation carries with itself a series of rules. In my current form, I am unable to harm either of you, unable to interfere with kombat. It is only when the pyramid of your father rises, and I assume my true form, when can I kombat you. You and Daegon were doomed to fight. I knew it when I saw how you two treated each other in the Netherrealm. While I knew I could not stop you two from battle, I could at least bring both of you to the most appropriate spot for your final confrontation." The fiery warrior walked over to Taven and looked down at the lifeless corpse of Daegon. "It is unfortunate. It was not intended that the brothers kombat each other. It is further proof of how awry this quest has become from its original design." Blaze met Taven's gaze. "Daegon has fallen. Now you much fulfill your obligation."

"Obligation?!" Taven replied, anger in his voice. "The quest destroyed my family!" He indicated Daegon's corpse. "Killed my mother and father, corrupted my brother to the point where I was forced to kombat him to the death! Explain to me why I should care!" he said as he turned his back to the firespawn.

Blaze stood silent for a moment. "Your mother, my creator, foresaw the coming Armageddon: that through Mortal Kombat, warriors would unknowingly tap into the very forces that make reality possible." Taven turned to regard Blaze and his words. "Those warriors are in the crater below, engaged in Mortal Kombat."

Taven's eyes widened. He moved to the edge and looked below. "All of them? But with that many fighting in once place..."

He could see them. Two armies clashed together before his eyes, warriors doing battle, displaying incredible powers and abilities.

"There have been many powerful warriors throughout the millennia. But ages of Mortal Kombat have begun to tear up the fabric of the realms. The critical point has finally been reached. It was foreseen by your mother that one day kombatants would grow too powerful... and too numerous. If left unchecked, their intensifying kombat would weaken and shatter the realms, and bring about the apocalypse.

"This crater will be the origin of the apocalypse unless something is done to prevent it. The Elder Gods had demanded your father to orchestrate a solution, a safeguard to be put into place so as to avoid total destruction. He decided to kill them all when the time came." Taven looked at Blaze, finding himself unable to believe his father would make such a decision. "But your mother argued to merely strip the kombatants of their special abilities, for some were heroes, undeserving of death."

Taven resumed looking out over the edge of the platform into the crater below. The kombat was hard to tear his eyes away from. Something else caught his eye then, a strange formation of clouds about the crater. A large, spinning funnel was beginning to take shape.

"In the end, they conceived of a contest between you and your brother. The victor would unleash one of two solutions." Taven once more turned to Blaze, only this time he didn't turn away. He walked towards the elemental as it continued to explain. "Like a coin toss, one side would disarm the warriors: the other would destroy them all."

Taven's eyes narrowed. "Which side of the coin am I?"

Blaze shook his head. "It is unknown even to me. Your armor is the catalyst. The fates of the kombatants will be revealed when our battle is done."

Taven looked down to his armor. He remembered when he had retrieved it in his mother's temple in the northern reaches of Earthrealm, a place known as Arctika. There, he discovered that a clan of warriors calling themselves the Lin Kuei had taken up residence in his mother's long abandoned temple. After battling his way inside and facing their grandmaster, Sub-Zero, he was able to negotiate a truce between himself and the icy warriors. This allowed him to find the vault containing his armor. It was the first moment he suspected that something was wrong with his brother, as his vault was already open, and by Sub-Zero's own admission, it had been open before his clan had arrived.

Taven's tone lightened slightly. "So, by defeating you, I could be killing them all," he said, once more looking out into the crater.

"They are unimportant," Blaze insisted. "Whichever outcome, you will be saving the realms. But Taven!" he said, getting the half-god's attention. "You must not let anyone else kombat me."

"Then allow me to win and I'll put an end to this!" Taven replied.

"No, Taven. Like before, I must act according to my creator's design. Now, take your sword, walk through the archway and finish the quest."

Blaze disappeared in a blast of fire. Taven took a moment to weigh his options, but he knew what he had to do. He walked over and took the sword that he had thrown aside earlier during his fight with Daegon. He walked up to the glowing blue gate and looked up at the two stone dragons. He realized then how very much his and his brother's lives were tied to the dragons. Their tattoos, their guardians Orin and Caro, even their swords had a dragon twist to them.

Taven sighed, mentally preparing himself, and walked through the blue energy field which dissipated as he did so. Now, from a small platform, he felt the ground all around him quake. Deep below in the crater the ground below split, and the pyramid Blaze spoke of, the pyramid of his father, rose from the fracture. The sky darkened as the multi-layered structure took full shape and was witnessed by all. The top of the pyramid was a flat arena, and in the center of it was a burning essence. Taven watched, as did every other kombatant below, as Blaze revealed himself in his true form; the massive firespawn was more intimidating and magnificently powerful than any creature Taven had ever witnessed. Blaze roared, a sound that echoed for miles, and then shouted for all to hear:

"Now face me... In Mortal Kombat!"

Taven knew that although the transformed Blaze's challenge was for himself and himself only, every single warrior in the crater below would take it as their own personal challenge and chance to gain their greatest wish. He wouldn't allow it to happen. Holding up his sword, Taven leapt off the platform. During his quest, he traveled to the Netherrealm, where he discovered how to survive seemingly deadly heights. Focusing his power, and shouting all the way, Taven flew towards the ground like a falling rock. He held his fist out and impacted on the canyon floor, creating a fiery shockwave that knocked down many of the surprised kombatants he had landed in the center of. Ignoring the dull pain he felt in his arm, Taven didn't hesitate in the slightest. He charged towards the pyramid, and he was going to make sure that nobody got in his way.

Taven would never have guessed that a second entity, other than Blaze, had been watching their battle. As soon as he had leapt off the platform, a portal opened up near Daegon's body. Through it stepped a tall figure dressed in blue and golden robes, with a red silken crown. His skin was gray, and his eyes were pure white. He was Shinnok, a fallen Elder God, current ruler of the Netherrealm. Shinnok looked down at Daegon's corpse.

"Pathetic."

He raised his hands, glowing with violet energies, using his magic to raise Daegon's body. He began muttering a spell, as the corpse began to turn, its joints bending in every possible direction. Shinnok began filtering life back into it, pulling into the vast regions of the damned to retrieve Daegon's soul. With a final shout and a tightening of his fists, it was done.

Daegon dropped to the ground, desperately scrambling to pull Taven off of him before he realized he was no longer in the chokehold. Daegon warily got up, and turned, surprised to see Lord Shinnok, the being he served. "Shinnok? But how-"

"There is no time to talk, fool!" Shinnok spat. "The pyramid has risen. The kombatants all seek to eliminate Blaze! You must get down to the crater and serve your part!" The former Elder God grabbed Daegon by his neck and held him up, so that his feet dangled above the ground.

"It was Taven! He was too... too strong!" Daegon insisted as he gasped for air. He didn't like the idea of being brought back just to be killed, but Shinnok had no such plans for him. He threw the half-god aside, and conjured up a purple glowing portal.

"Step through this gateway. You will be taken to an empty side of the pyramid." Daegon quickly got to his feet. As he was about to run through, Shinnok held up his hand. "And Daegon... should you fail me again, you will know pain unlike you've ever imagined. Now go!"

Hastily nodding, Daegon leapt through the portal. Shinnok closed it behind him and walked over to the edge of the platform, looking down into the crater below. He had created a magical duplicate of himself and sent it down to fight in his place, so as to fool everyone into thinking he would have no part in Daegon's slaying of Blaze. Shinnok knew that he would. Only he and Taven wielded the weapons that could successfully cut through Blaze's defenses. Cunning as always, Shinnok had created the portal on the side of the pyramid opposite all of the kombatants, so that Daegon could run up unhindered.

What Shinnok did not know, however, was that someone else, a warrior who had been unseen in ages, already had similar plan.

Taven rushed up the pyramid, not letting himself be distracted by any of the warriors he fought along the way. Sektor, the cybernetic ninja who had captured him in his father's temple, attempted to stop him. Taven knocked him aside with a strong kick and continued up. A woman, with strange demonic wings, leapt at him and snarled, revealing a mouth of fangs. She was the vampiress Nitara, though he did not know her name. All he knew was that she was an obstacle. He grabbed her and threw her behind him, off the edge of a pyramid. He encountered the same oni monstrosity he had fought on the cliffs of the Netherrealm, a tormentor known as Drahmin. Taven knocked the monster aside with a strong, fiery backhanded fist. As he continued up, nearly halfway there, a beast of Outworld jumped at him with sharp blades extending from his forearms. Taven grabbed Baraka in the air and rolled back, using his feet to kick the Tarkatan off of the pyramid.

Taven passed a wounded warrior, a man with a red blindfold. He had little time to observe the blind human and continued racing up. Raiden, whom Taven had fought and defeated in Shao Kahn's throne room only a short time ago, shot a blast of lightning at the half-god. Scorpion, similarly fresh off of defeat from Taven, launched a kunai at the end of a rope, his specialty, at Taven as well. Both projectiles missed, as Taven did not stop to deal with them. Raiden was tackled out of the air by the saurian Reptile, and Scorpion was then frozen on the spot by Frost, Sub-Zero's former student.

Taven reached the top of the pyramid and laid his eyes upon Blaze's true form for the first time. Standing at nearly twelve feet, the fire elemental had turned into a living, humanoid stream of molten rock. His body was covered in areas by hard rock, and his body still constantly exuded flames. His hands and feet each had only three large digits. His eyes, mouth and the center of his upper torso burned white-hot.

Taven watched in awe as Blaze single-handedly fended off several warriors attacking him at the same time with martial arts and special powers alike. Blaze seemed to shrug off every attack, knocking foes aside and off the pyramid as if they were playthings. Blaze rose one hand and created three large columns of flame, one of which an unfortunate kombatant found himself caught inside of. Blaze then held his arms to his side and leaned forward, spewing a stream of lava from his mouth. Taven knew then that the fire elemental's power had indeed grown immensely, and that it would be almost impossible to defeat him.

But he was going to try.

Daegon, halfway up the pyramid, was suddenly tripped by an invisible force. He rolled and got up, desperately looking around. A figure took shape then, a strange-looking ninja with translucent skin. His cloth clothing seemed to change colors before Daegon's eyes. "And just what are you?" he spat at the ninja.

"The prize will be mine," the warrior spoke in a strange voice, before raising a hand and shooting a cone of frost. The only thing he froze was the ground where Daegon had been, as he had rolled backwards and was on his feet once more.

"I'll not be delayed by the likes of you!" Daegon shouted, charging forward.

The saurian known as Chameleon met his charge head on, drawing his own blade to clash with the half-god's.

Not far above them both, Taven had engaged in battle with the large firespawn. His drakesword cut through Blaze's defenses with brutal efficiency--it was true that they were forged to defeat the elemental. Blaze fought back with monstrous ferocity, however, forcing Taven to think on his feet. All around him, warriors continued battling each other and, occasionally, attempting to attack Blaze. Most were knocked aside, but Taven was the only one able to repel Blaze's powerful strikes, for the sword could not only defeat Blaze's blocks and fiery shields, it could protect him from his attacks. Taven fought on with courage unmatched by any of the warriors on the pyramid. The fact that he was actually having an effect on Blaze and harming the monster was not lost on the warriors around him. Taven smiled as he executed a powerful upwards swipe, slicing Blaze's torso, but his smile vanished as he was kicked in the face by a yellow-clad female with a mask over her eyes. Her garb was unmistakably Edenian, but he didn't recognize her. And he shouldn't, as he had never met the traitor known as Tanya.

It didn't matter, however, as she was quickly knocked aside by a human cannonball, who flew through the air and smacked into her, then flipped and unfolded before Taven's eyes. It was Kano, the strange warrior with half of his face covered by a metal plate, whom he had met in Charred Mountain during his battle with the Red Dragon clan. Kano fixed his gaze on Taven. "Gimme that sword, mate!" he demanded in his odd accent.

They were interrupted by Blaze, who saw fit to melt into a pool onto the ground, and rise up in between the two of them. Blaze turned and sent Kano flying with one arm, then brought the other down upon Taven, who raised his sword to block it. He was successful, but Blaze's next punch, lower that Taven's sword, hit him right in the gut and he soared backwards. Blaze began to approach Taven, but then, in a surprising turnabout, Onaga the Dragon King appeared and tackled the fire elemental.

Taven was about to get up to his feet, when a blade in the shape of a fan was positioned at his neck, easily able to slit his throat and kill him. He looked up, and saw a woman in a blue and black leotard that was, like the woman before hers, Edenian. She also wore long gloves and boots with a similar style. She had fair, light skin and long, raven black hair tied into a long ponytail behind her head. One strand of hair hung freely down her face, half of which was concealed by a blue mask. Her eyes, however, shined a bright blue. Taven thought she looked beautiful, but deadly.

"Who are you?" she demanded to know. "Do you fight for the Forces of Light or Darkness?"

"Neither!" Taven said. "My fight is with Blaze!"

"Who are you?" she asked again. "And why do you wield a sword that can harm the firespawn?"

"I am Taven! I have no time to explain, but if I am not the one to defeat Blaze, then all of the realms will be destroyed by Armageddon!" he told her, staring defiantly into her eyes.

She seemed to pause. "Tell me why I should believe you and let you fight the monster," she said.

"If you are Edenian, then you are my friend. I am Taven, son of Argus and Delia! You must trust my word that I am who I say I am!"

Her eyes widened. "Argus?" She knew the name well. It was her realm's chief god, after all. "You are Taven? Impossible. My mother told me that the brothers, the sons of Argus, vanished untold millennia ago..."

"You must let me up! Many warriors are trying to kill Blaze. If it is not me, then the prize will be stolen and the destruction of the realms will be imminent!" Taven told her. "You have to believe me!"

Once more, she paused, seemingly deep in thought. She took the steel fan away, closing it and putting it in her sash behind her back. She held out her hand, offering to help him up. Taven accepted it.

"I know not where you come from, or the true meaning behind everything you say, but I have a feeling you are not lying. I pray that I am right," she said.

"Help me. Keep the other warriors off of Blaze until I can finish the deed," he pleaded. He looked over and saw Blaze fending off two large monsters, the Dragon King Onaga and the tiger shokan Kintaro. "I don't have long. Soon, the top of the pyramid will be overwhelmed with warriors."

She urgently spoke, "Say no more, and defeat Blaze! I will instruct my allies to help keep him clear of enemies!" Taven nodded and rushed back to the center of the arena. Kitana, the princess of Edenia, looked over to her Earthrealm ally Johnny Cage, who was using his shadow maneuvers to keep enemies from reaching the top. "Johnny! We must help the warrior with the sword!" she called out.

Johnny couldn't replay, as Jarek, former second-in-command of the Black Dragon clan, had just charged towards the film superstar with his axe. But Cage heard her all the same, and decided to follow her advice. Kicking Jarek in the face, he grabbed the warrior's weapon out of his hands and swung it like a baseball bat, once around his head and then into Jarek's side, causing him to fall down the stone steps. Johnny intentionally hit him with the blunt side of the axe, sparing Jarek a most painful death. He turned around and took off his sunglasses to better see the spectacle of Kitana distracting both Onaga and Kintaro. While it was extremely impressive, he didn't intend on just sitting back and watching her get eventually slaughtered. Putting his shades into his pocket, he ran forward and shot a kick at Kintaro, leaving a blurred green trail in his wake. His shadow kick hit the tiger shokan in the small of his back, enraging the four-armed warrior. He turned to face Johnny Cage, and with both of his right hands he swiped at the human, but Cage had a much more devious, and classic, plan.

In one swift motion, Johnny's legs parted and he did a split right on the spot. He then shot a punch towards Kintaro's crotch, hitting it dead-on as hard as he could. Kintaro cried out in pain as his lower arms cupped the area, and he leaned forward.

"Been forever since I punched a shokan down there..." Johnny Cage said, referring to the time when he had done so on Goro during his first Mortal Kombat tournament so very long ago. Johnny pulled his legs together, standing back on his feet, and performed a shadow backflip kick on Kintaro's jaw, knocking the shokan flat on his back. Cage landed and pulled out his stylish sunglasses as he said, "And I'll be damned if I don't enjoy it so much more than I should." He then cringed very slightly and shook his punching hand. "But damn if it doesn't hurt..."

Onaga gave a mighty flap of his wings, creating a burst of wind that would knock down any normal mortal. But Kitana was no ordinary warrior. Having taken out her steel fans, she used them to deflect the force of the wind, then whipped one at the large lizard-man. The steel fan flew through the air, spinning like a wheel, before cutting into Onaga'a chest and leaving a visible (and bleeding) mark. The fan returned by way of magic, rematerializing back in her hand in a small flash of light. She closed the distance between herself and her opponent, then leapt up and kicked the monstrous, winged humanoid in the face. Onaga tried to retaliate, but Kitana wasn't going to let him get close to winning. This was the first time she had faced the Dragon King since he had resurrected her and used her as his slave. Eventually, she was freed by the efforts of Ermac and the spirit of her former love interest and Earthrealm champion, Liu Kang.

Onaga tried to claw her with a mighty swing, but she moved aside and used her steel fans to cut a line up his arm. He roared with draconic fury as he kicked towards her, but she ducked underneath his thick leg and scored another bloodying knick on his other leg's thigh. Onaga attacked at with abandon then, swinging his arms left and right in failed attempts at hitting the nimble princess. He wasn't going to let her make a fool out of himself. He perceived himself to be a much more powerful being, one that could not possibly be defeated by the likes of Kitana. His hubris was his weakness. Kitana continued battling the Dragon King, dodging his attacks and dealing her own when she saw her openings to do so. She was tiring, however, and did not know how much longer she could press on in her effort to buy Taven more time.

Taven pressed on, hacking and slashing at Blaze. The firespawn raised his arms in defense, but the power of the drakesword enabled Taven to slice right through the appendages. They would fall to the ground, melt into a pool of orange, burning liquid, then roll back to Blaze's feet, at which point his arms would reform, but not before Taven got in some dreadfully wounding blows with his sword. All around them, warriors battled each other. Taven didn't have time to pay any attention to them, though. That's why he didn't notice Daegon reaching the top of the pyramid, directly behind Blaze.

Daegon had fought the mysterious, color-shifting ninja. The strange warrior displayed many unique and varied special moves, but Daegon proved to be the superior warrior. Desperate and crazed, Daegon fought off the ninja. He had no idea what this warrior truly was, for when he sliced the ninja in the arm with his drakesword, he bled a fine green. The only other creature he knew that did that was the saurian warrior Reptile, but he was certain that the warrior was completely different from the green-scaled raptor. The kombat between the two of them raged until finally the ninja vanished in a puff of smoke. Daegon didn't know if he had teleported away, or simply become invisible, but he saw his chance and dashed up the pyramid, tripping only once and cutting his chin. Grunting, he pulled himself up and ran the remaining distance. There, he saw Blaze, with his back turned to Daegon.

Daegon smiled and ran at Blaze with his sword prepared to stab the large elemental. Simultaneously, Taven executed a deadly combo of three slices to Blaze's chest. He saw his opening. Leaping up and spinning, Taven prepared to stab downward into the glowing center of Blaze's torso, using all of his strength and momentum to drive the blade in.

Daegon stabbed upwards. Taven stabbed downwards.

Both swords hit their target at the same time.

The brothers stepped back as Blaze let out a roar that echoed for miles around. Lightning struck the mountains in the distance. The swirling clouds around the pyramid ceased and began to disperse as a light formed in the sky. The light turned into a beam that shot down and encompassed all of Blaze, who then exploded in a fiery, concussive display of power. A strange essence, resembling a fog that glowed a strange bright orange color, washed over the top of the pyramid, then down all of its sides and spread out over the crater. It moved with incredible speed, and it carried a windy force with it, not enough to knock anyone down but enough to be easily felt and noticed. All the kombatants in the canyon stopped, looking to the bright pillar of light that reached from the heavens to the top of the pyramid and observing the strange, colorful aura that had overtaken the entire area.

Then, the strange cloud of energy simply vanished, and the light retreated into the night sky.

Taven's vision was hazy from having looked directly at the great light, but he knew what he saw standing before him. Daegon. He didn't know how his brother was alive, but he knew what had happened. Before Blaze's destruction, he saw the tip of Daegon's sword sticking out of the firespawn's chest. Daegon had cowardly stabbed his target in the back at the same time Taven had done so to his front. Almost immediately, he was prepared to kill his brother all over again.

Then the shaking began. Taven lost his balance and fell flat on his back. The pyramid was violently trembling. Onaga took off, leaving the equally bewildered Kitana behind. Kintaro ran down the side of the pyramid, intent on getting off of it. Nobody knew what was going on, including Johnny Cage, but he knew that staying on this thing would be a bad idea. He looked back at Kitana and shouted at her to follow him off, but she was staring at Taven. To be more correct, she was staring at the crack forming in the stone at Taven's feet.

Daegon and Taven both witnessed the stone between the both of them cracking. All the kombatants noticed the line, which ran from one side of the pyramid to another, almost straight down the middle. The earthquake increased in magnitude as more fighters fled, on foot or otherwise.

A purple portal opened up next to Daegon. The corrupt brother knew immediately that it was Shinnok, creating an exit for him. He leapt through it without question. "Daegon!" Taven shouted, trying to get up to his feet. Another violent shake, more powerful than any of the previous, caused him to fail in his attempt to gain his footing. The portal closed. The pyramid was splitting in half and those halves were quickly moving apart. The small crack began to widen to a large chasm. Rocks and loose chunks of the structure began raining down into the deep blackness. Taven looked all around, seeing that even the great walls of the canyon were cracking in half.

Taven felt himself slipping forward. He looked back, seeing that the slab of rock he had been situated on was tilting forward. Taven knew that he was going to fall. So did Kitana. She ran forward, struggling to maintain her balance amidst the quake, and called out to him. "Taven!" she called out. "Take my hand!"

He rolled onto his stomach and began crawling up the slab of rock that was quickly sliding over the edge. Soon, the center of the rock's balance would shift, and it would fall, taking him with it. He knew he didn't have long, only a few seconds. He moved, fearing for his life, reaching out for her gloved hand. Kitana tried to get as close as possible, but it was difficult, as the terrain had yet to cease its constant shaking. Both of their desperate gazes met each other.

Then, Taven fell.

Kitana watched him descend and then vanish into the blackness. It pained her to see someone die in such a way, but she had no intention of joining him, no matter how selfless she was. Noticing the ground at her feet began to crack, she quickly turned and ran. When she reached the stairs, she saw Johnny and her mother, Sindel, running up. They stopped when they saw her.

"We need to go! Now!" Johnny called out over the loud sound the quake was causing.

"Where?" Kitana asked, taking off her facemask.

"North! To my palace!" Sindel cried. "I will find the other warriors of Light and tell them to flee north! Now go!" Using her powers of levitation, Sindel took off.

Johnny and Kitana ran down the pyramid with Kitana taking the lead. "Follow me, Cage!" she called out. It was her home realm, after all, she knew the way. Behind them, they heard Sindel screaming. But they knew it wasn't in pain, on the contrary in fact. One of the Edenian Queen's powers was the mass amplification of her voice. She called out to all the Forces of Light to reach her palace in the north. Many of them would know the location of it, as that is where Johnny Cage had assembled them only a few days ago to march to this very crater.

Kitana hoped everyone would make it there safely. She didn't truly know what had happened atop the pyramid, with Taven and Blaze, but she severely hoped her trust in him wasn't misplaced. If it was, then she might have willingly handed over the means to the destruction of all the realms, especially Edenia. But something nagged at her in the back of her mind, something that told her something had gone wrong.

Little did she know that she was right, and things had gotten much, much worse.

Visitors Rating

8.5

Rated by 52 Visitors

Written by: Nave_Ninja
Date: August 23th, 2010

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