Author's Note: This is my first Mortal Kombat fan fiction. Reviews and constructive criticism are welcome, but people usually don't like flames. (Unless you're Blaze.) I took some liberties with the whole demon dying part, but I felt it was necessary. Oh, and I don't own Mortal Kombat, Scorpion, Ashrah, or any other need for Midway to perform a fatality on my online alter ego. Enjoy.

Moment of Contrition

The battle was over. With one final, soft groan of pain, her broken body collapsed onto the barren ground of the Netherrealm, sending up a small cloud of dust, the ancient debris of the dead. Her white, once-pure robes were tainted by a growing tinge of scarlet, and her ornate headdress lay strewn in the distance, long forgotten during the fury of battle. Her breathing became shallow, with each rasping breath spilling more blood from the lethal wound in her chest. The wound placed there by Scorpion's own hands.

He did not know why he had killed her. She was different from the other foes he had slain in kombat: mutant half-breeds, power-hungry sorcerers, a ninja who had massacred his clan. She, it seemed, had simply been there. A single, unexpected enigma in his path for vengeance, and one that he did not hesitate to eliminate. Had she even wanted to challenge him? He supposed he would now never know.

Walking up to her still figure, he glanced down into her eyes, rapidly dimming beneath the Netherrealm's stifling sunlight. Her hand still clutched Kriss, the hallowed blade that had defined her existence in the Netherrealm. Many warriors had noble goals: saving the realms, serving justice to the fallen; others killed for pleasure, or else served the vile plots of their yet viler masters. Her motives had not been nearly so elaborate; she had simply wanted to escape, and perhaps she was not so different from him after all.

Gently, he removed the blade from her grasp, and her failing body seemed to relax at this soft touch. The touch of the one who had killed her. Grasping Kriss firmly, he felt the presence of countless dark yet surprisingly pure souls within the sacred metal. So this was how the blade freed its followers, he realized. Perhaps he, his soul filled with such searing hatred, had simply been another step toward her salvation. One that had been denied to her, along with her life.

But perhaps it was not too late for his own salvation. His hatred burned strong within his soul, but he had not yet been completely consumed by the Netherrealm's dark essence. Perhaps this was not his place, he thought, testing the weight of the blade in his hands. He did not belong with the demons and wraiths of the Netherrealm; he belonged with the spirits of his ancestors in Earthrealm. Glancing from the blade to his newfound savior, he realized what he must do. He expressed an overdue word of thanks, a word that he did not speak.

In one swift motion, he drove the blessed weapon deep into her heart, and her life ended without delay. Then without another word, he was gone, leaving his battle-scarred former weapon to watch over his redeemer's body. In time, her remnants would be consumed by the Netherrealm's ravenous hellfire, and she would at last be free.