Approximately 20 years ago, Shao Kahn was banished to purgatory. He was sent there by Raiden channeling the power of the Elder Gods. Facing execution for breaking the laws of the Mortal Kombat tournament, he remains in a solitary confinement, a hellish void of nothingness that leaves him alone with his thoughts. Finally, after a long time the Elder Gods finally reach a conclusion of what to do with the fallen Emperor.
Recent events had struck a blow to the Elder Gods. The deceased Mortal Kombat champion of Earthrealm had become the ruler of the Netherrealm, and their guardian of Earthrealm had gone rogue. Not only that, but without a ruler, the freed Edenia went from an idyllic paradise to a realm of chaos. People were vying for control and nobody was powerful enough to bring order to the now ruined realm…at least nobody powerful enough in the Elder Gods' control.
But there was one person they knew who could possibly unite Edenia into one…maybe even stop both the rogue Thunder God and prevent Liu Kang from trying to conquer the realms. That man was the very one they held in prison, Shao Kahn. The Elder Gods were weary of the emperor but they had no choice. He looked up to them, as they went from formless to the shape of dragons, "What do you wish to see me for, Elder Gods? After you left me in purgatory, I thought I would've stayed."
The Elder Gods all spoke at once in unison, "You have been brought here to serve us, Shao Kahn."
Shao Kahn laughed at their offer, "You come to me for my help? What makes you think I will do as you say?"
"We can offer you freedom." The Elder Gods replied. Shao Kahn gave their offer greater thought now that he knew this could be his only way back to the realms. He nodded at them, "Very well, I shall serve you as long as you deliver me my freedom."
The Elder Gods then stopped him, "Wait. You will not be granted total freedom. You are not allowed to merge the realms and you must repent."
Shao Kahn grimaced at their orders, "You dare limit me?! I shall merge the realms, and not even you can stop me!"
The Elder Gods looked at each other with concern. They flew high into the sky and formed a vortex. The vortex showed a vision of the past. Shao Kahn looked up the vision as he doubted it, "What is it you are showing me?" Inside the vortex, Shao Kahn saw a large shadowy being with fire for eyes and a large appetite. It fed on dragons shaped very similarly shaped to the Elder Gods. Eventually this would be this being's downfall as the dragons ripped right through the shadow's stomach. The stomach split into six parts, and the mind of the beast split as well. It showed the mind of the shadow being spread into Shang Tsung, Quan-Chi, Onaga, and even Shao Kahn.
The vision fades as the Elder Gods returned to their position. Shao Kahn paced around the Elder God's coliseum. He wondered what it meant. He pondered, he thought, and he just plain wondered what it meant. But then he realized it, "I had heard legends of the One Being."
He looked up to the gods, "He fed upon you worms and eventually you split his consciousness between the realms. As long as the realms remain apart, he too will remain apart."
The Elder Gods nodded, confirming he was right so far. He continued, "And you're saying that the One Being manipulated my mind…" The dragon-like gods spoke, "Yes, you have been a puppet to them and you did not even know."
Shao Kahn's brow furrowed and his teeth scraped against each other in rage, "I am a puppet to nobody! The realms shall remain unmerged as long as I live! Wait…am I not a puppet to you?"
The Gods were pleased with this outcome, "Good, good. And no, you are now our champion! Champion of the Elder Gods!"
Shao Kahn grinned, "Yes! I am Shao Kahn, champion of the Elder Gods! Edenia shall become mine once more and so shall Outworld!"
The Elder Gods didn't want him ruling Outworld once more, but they didn't let him know that right now, "You are a formidable foe. We shall send you to the Netherrealm, from which you shall escape."
"You expect me to escape the Netherrealm?" the Emperor asked. The Elder Gods remained as stoic as ever in replying, "You are our champion, it shall come easily."
Shao Kahn's ego was satiated by their compliments. So much so he was more than willing to attempt it, "You're right! No Oni, zombie, or anything will stop me from claiming what is mine!"
The Elder Gods surrounded Shao Kahn and orbited him. Molecule by molecule, Shao Kahn faded from sight. He looked as his hand vanished, and then his other hand. Eventually his entire body was gone and he had finally descended back to the 6 realms.
In the Netherrealm, a hand rose out of the brimstone ground. Another hand rose out as well and Shao Kahn finally pulled himself out of the ground. He looked at his surroundings. It sure seemed like the Neatherrealm between the rivers of lava, the stony ground, the Oni walking around and of course, the zombies. He then looked down to himself and saw he was completely naked.
Luckily, the smoke and steam of the realm dramatically covered him up. He breathed in, he breathed out. The air of the Netherrealm was overwhelming. It smelled of the decaying corpses at his feet, it smelled of the smoke, but most of all, to Shao Kahn, it smelled like the first step in conquering.
An Oni walked up to him, about ready to attack but then…Shao Kahn struck the Oni down with one punch. He ripped the skull from its oversize cranium. He placed it on his head, and he smirked, "That's more like it." He then snatched the loin cloth the beast wore, to have some sort of decency.
All the other demons watching this gasped, only when he placed that skull on his head did they recognize who he was. They screamed, "It's Shao Kahn!"
Shao Kahn laughed at their horror. He ripped a stalagmite from the ground and held it like his Warhammer. He swung it into the back of an Oni's neck, causing the Oni to split in half in the torso. The other Oni cringed, "Don't! Don't!"
He stared them all down and asked, "Where is an escape?"
"We don't know!" the demons screeched. Shao Kahn frowned, "Very well, I will find one myself."
He stomped away from the fear filled demons with a stride to his steps. He had forgotten how much fun it was to watch his enemies cower before his might. Each step caused fear to rumble throughout the realm. This disturbance even reached Liu Kang, who removed himself from his throne, "Something is wrong…"
Kitana placed her hand on his shoulder, "Calm down, Liu. I am sure it's nothing."
He removed her hand from his shoulder as he ominously looked up at the ceiling, "No Kitana. Something is very wrong..."
Back with Shao Kahn, he continued to fight his way through anybody unfortunate enough to even step in front of him. Soon he ran into a jet black entity with piercing white eyes. Kahn stared this entity down and simply demanded one thing, "Move."
The shadow finally formed into Noob Saibot, who seemingly survived being sucked into the Soulnado. Noob looked at the former Emperor with shock, "You cannot be alive."
Shao Kahn then recognized him, "Ahhh…a member of the Brotherhood of Shadow…your group betrayed me and for that they will pay."
Noob kneeled beneath Shao Kahn, showing his allegiance, "Do not worry, the treacherous Quan-Chi has paid for his crimes."
Shao Kahn decided he had enough of the specter and he stomped his foot right onto Noob's chest, sending him down. Shadowy hands reached out from a portal, grappling onto Shao Kahn's other foot. First, he used his makeshift club to bat the hands off, secondly he picked Noob back up by his neck, and finally he began to squeeze. Noob tried begging for mercy, but Kahn's grip was so tight he was having difficulty getting the words out.
Kahn dropped him, in a rare act of mercy, "Consider your punishment having to remain here as I escape."
Noob's head crunched into ground. He grunted, "I will not stay for long…"
Kahn continued on his rampage until he found it. It was a portal leading from the nightmarish Neatherrealm to some place new. Wandering near the gate was a brown skinned woman dressed in green garb. Shao Kahn recognized her instantly. This set him off. He readied his club as he stared at this woman, "Jade."
She turned back to him but seemed unfamiliar with him, "Jade?" Shao Kahn squinted at her beneath his crude skull helmet, "Are you daft, woman? That is your name!"
She tilted her head, "Jade's my name? I guess that'd explain the green outfit."
Kahn tilted his head and then he realized it, "You're stricken with amnesia…"
"I'm afraid so it seems." She said. The champion of the Elder Gods decided to use her disadvantage to his advantage, "I know who you are. You are Jade, my personal assassin."
She then seemed to remember something, "Wait yes! Shao Kahn! You are Shao Kahn. I shall serve you just as I have before."
Kahn was elated his plan worked. He motioned to the rift.
He crossed into the rift between realms and found himself in another coliseum-ish structure. It was very similar to the meeting place of the Elder Gods, but this had six other portals. These gates lead to each of the six realms.
Shao Kahn was ready to step into the Outworld portal and take back what was his, but then it shut. He looked at the Earthrealm portal with an evil grin. He was about to step into that one, but then it also shut. He looked around and asked, "WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS?!"
The voice of the Elder Gods spoke to him, "You are here to save Edenia first. Worry about the rogue Thunder God later. Outworld is not a concern to you."
Shao Kahn stomped his foot, "I'll do as I please!"
The voice was unfazed by Kahn's rebellion, "You will not, you are our champion. If you wish to remain in life, then you shall do as we say."
Kahn crossed him arms and begrudgingly obliged, "Very well. I shall do as you wish, Elder Gods."
Jade was also in the Nexus now. She looked at him oddly, "Do you always talk to yourself?"
Shao Kahn swerved he head to her, "Do not question me, Jade."
She nodded. The Elder Gods gave Shao Kahn one final command before leaving, "Remember, you are a Champion now. You must only kill when necessary. Needless rampages are fine in the Netherrealm but anywhere is a no-go."
Shao Kahn was about ready to explode at that rule. How could the Elder Gods take away the violence he so loved? It was the violence that made the battle worth fighting. The screams of the conquered, the yelping of the defeated, the falling of the enemy, that's what he loved. He scowled but agreed, "Fine, I will only kill when provoked."
The Elder Gods were pleased by this revelation and they finally relented. He saw the portal to Edenia. He walked inside and Jade followed.
Shao Kahn expected to see the lush green environment that Edenia was known for. The peaceful villages, the wandering villagers, and of course the guardsman who didn't have to do much because of how peaceful it was. He got something entirely different.
When Edenia was split from Outworld, the citizens rejoiced. But then they realized both their queen and princess were gone. There was nobody to receive the throne. It seemed like they might be able to diplomatically handle it, but instead a war broke out. Different sides were vying for control of the Edenian Empire because Edenia was well known for being looked up to by other realms. Eventually, the realm tore itself apart in trying to find a new leader. The environment had changed drastically. A purple haze filled the air, and the ground a purple soil. Whatever buildings that hadn't been destroyed had just been covered in plant life and mold. If nobody knew any better, the once peaceful realm of Edenia could've been mistaken for the madness that was Outworld.
Shao Kahn overlooked the destruction of Edenia with great pleasure, "To think this all could've been prevented if only I were still leader of this realm."
Jade looked at her former war torn world with confusion, "What happened to this place?"
Shao Kahn got a devious idea, "You see, Jade, this world was once yours. But when the royals began to fight you had to leave. You came to me to save your realm, but the evil Raiden and Liu Kang tried to put a stop to me. Liu Kang's evil queen made you think you were friends until she let you die. Then they killed me to prevent this world from ever reaching true peace."
Jade gasped, "What?! I find that very hard to believe."
"Believe it." Kahn iterated, "This was once a realm of peace until those three interfered with it."
The amnesiac didn't know any better thanks to losing her mind so she believed Kahn, "How could they?"
Shao Kahn shook his head in dismay, "We may never know…"
He looked down to his feet, to which he saw an Outworld guard's body. He ripped the harness from the guard's broken chest and placed it on his torso. He clipped it on and he was one step further in regaining his old looks. When he looked back up, he saw a familiar face looking at him. It was Ermac, who seemed very angry, "How dare you!"
Shao Kahn asked, "Ermac? Who are you to judge your commander?"
"You are not my commander!" Ermac answered with contempt, "You are merely impersonating him. Shao Kahn died years ago and I shall not let an impersonator take his name in vain."
Shao Kahn gave the soul composed warrior a dark stare, "I am no mere impersonator, I am the real deal."
Ermac scoffed at the former Emperor, "Then show me the Emperor's old power in a fight. I challenge you to Mortal Kombat!"
Shao Kahn swung his makeshift club in preparation of the incoming battle, "Very well. If you think you stand a chance then you're in for a painful surprise."
Elsewhere in Earthrealm, Raiden sensed a disturbance. Not only was this disturbance a strong one, but it was a familiar once. He sensed it in an empty forest, far away from any person. It being night only made this sense of loneliness ever stronger. Not that he minded. It seemed as the days passed by, the more Raiden tired of other mortals. He was sick of having to protect them from their own mistakes.
He sneered in rage at even thinking of this presence, "It can't be! Time and time again, when it seems to be over it only starts again!"
The thunder god's blood was boiling at the thought of even having to save Earthrealm once more. He paced around the darkened woods, "Shao Kahn is alive once more and I'm sure he'll attempt to merge the realms together!"
His brow furrowed and his lips were curled up, exposing his gritting teeth, "How am I to protect Earthrealm with all of these threats?! And the Elder Gods give me no answers. They give me nothing! I thought they had control of Shao Kahn but yet…here he is yet again!"
Then he realized something, could the Elder Gods be setting him up for failure for his thoughts of treachery of the system of Mortal Kombat? This only made the rage within him even stronger, "They would not dare betray me like that! The ancient rules of Mortal Kombat do not matter in this modern world! After I am finished with Shao Kahn, I just may move on to the Elder Gods themselves…"
The Elder Gods heard his plot of betrayal against them, but they decided to wait and see how the fight with Shao Kahn played out. They were hoping for Kahn to knock some sense into Raiden, but it could turn it far worse. The cleansing of the Jinsei Champer corrupted the Thunder God. It made him almost similar to Shinnok and Shao Kahn…and maybe like them he too could be under the control of the One Being.
Whatever the case, they hoped that their new Champion may put an end to Raiden's insanity. If not then the Six Realms themselves may very well be doomed…