Reality is divided into many realms. Each realm exists as a separate universe, independent of the dimensions which hold all other realms. The realm in which we exist is called the Earth realm. At the dawn of time the elder gods created these realms and agreed not to interfere in the natural progression of life within each one. All of the elder gods maintained the balance of power amongst themselves and resisted the urge to conquer the many realms of reality and therefore control reality itself, all except for one elder god named Shinnok.
Shinnok allowed his wish for power to take priority over his responsibilities as an elder god. He wished to take over each realm, one by one, until his power was so great that he could destroy all of the lesser gods, then the elder gods themselves. The Earth Realm is pivotal in his plan. More realms can be accessed from the Earth Realm than from any other. Any successful takeover of all realms in existence must begin with the conquest of Earth, and Shinnok knew this.
He attacked the Earth Realm, using the powers he drew upon from his amulet, the source of any elder god’s power. His war was with the mortals of Earth at first, but soon he was fighting against his fellow gods. The war was both brutal and destructive. Billions of people across hundreds of realms were killed as the gods battled to defeat Shinnok. Finally Shinnok was stopped, particularly due to the efforts of the thunder god, Rayden. But in achieving his victory Rayden was also responsible for the destruction of an entire realm and all the mortals on it.
The elder gods stripped Shinnok of his power by taking his amulet from him. Shinnok himself was banished to a desolate realm of dead souls often called Hell but more commonly known as the Netherrealm. Shinnok became confined in it’s flames and was forced to endure unending torture, the entire time wanting nothing but vengeance against the elder gods and against Rayden. Rayden knew he had done what was necessary to stop Shinnok, but still felt that he was responsible for the entire civilization that was destroyed in the battle. As repentence he appointed himself protector of the Earth realm, and vowed never to let it’s people be destroyed in the same way.
Two important decisions were made by the elder gods after defeating Shinnok. First, Shinnok’s amulet was placed in a temple on Earth. To make sure no servant of Shinnok could take the amulet the gods of Wind, Earth, Water, and Fire would be summoned when anyone with intentions of taking the amulet entered the temple. Second, the elder gods learned from Shinnok’s attack that there would be beings who would try to gain power the way Shinnok did. They decided to find a way to make sure future battles would not result in the loss of life this one had. Two of the elder gods devised a fighting tournament. The idea of this tournament would be that any being wishing to conquer a realm could do so if he could defeat that realms best warriors in battle. Every participant in this tournament, no matter how powerful, would fight the others on equal terms, as a mortal. This tournament came to be known as Mortal Kombat.
At this time there existed an immortal named Shao Kahn who ruled over a wasteland called Outworld. It was a realm that had once been vibrant and alive but had all but died under Shao Kahn’s rule. Kahn was immensely powerful, but wasn’t satisfied with the power he had. He studied the rules of Mortal Kombat carefully, and set out to use the tournament to his advantage to ultimately conquer every realm in existence as Shinnok tried to do. He trained vicious warriors to compete in Mortal Kombat and soon began conquering realm after realm, merging each realm with his own until they each became a part of Outworld itself.
Meanwhile, Shinnok struggled to free himself from the torture of the Netherrealm. He was unsuccessful until he was approached by a sorcerer named Quan Chi. Quan Chi offered to help Shinnok defeat the ruler of the Netherrealm, Lucifer, and rule the Netherrealm himself. Shinnok agreed and promised Quan Chi a position of power once they were successful. With Quan Chi’s help Shinnok quickly defeated Lucifer, and became ruler of the Netherrealm, but still could not escape from it. Even though he had taken over his prison it was still a prison, and he despised Rayden even more for it.
Shao Kahn was growing in power. He had already taken over dozens of realms, and he knew he would soon be able to take over the Earth realm and expand his empire farther than he could imagine. To reach the Earth realm he first needed to conquer a realm called Edenia. He challenged Edenia’s warriors in Mortal Kombat, and defeated each of them thanks to a Shokan named Goro, who had risen to become one of the most supreme warriors in Kahn’s army. Kahn killed Edenia’s king, Jerrod, before he could even celebrate the birth of his and his queen Sindel’s new daughter, Kitana. Kahn then forced a marriage between himself and Sindel so that he could lay claim to the throne. Kahn drove Sindel to commit suicide and began to raise Kitana as his own daughter.
Kahn challenged the Earth realm in Mortal Kombat. During the merger with Edenia Kahn’s head sorcerer, Shang Tsung, had tried to overthrow the emperor. For this treason Kahn banished the sorcerer to the Earth realm. Since Shang Tsung is a free roaming sorcerer and could move between realms without being detected by that realm’s gods, he was the ideal choice to oversee the tournament. He was instructed to take Goro to the Earth realm and to win the necessary victories in Mortal Kombat so that Kahn could enter the realm.
Earth’s greatest warriors were summoned to compete in Mortal Kombat. Rayden saw a fighting monk by the name of Kung Lao as having the best chance at beating Goro and Shang Tsung. It was hoped that he would be victorious. He wasn’t. Shang Tsung and Goro had taken control of the tournament. They would go on to win nine victories for Outworld. Only one more would be needed for Shao Kahn to begin his invasion of Earth.
Meanwhile, Quan Chi was attempting to find a way to regain Shinnok’s amulet. He knew that it still existed somewhere in the Earth realm, but it had been hidden so well by the elder gods that even he couldn’t locate it. He finally struck a deal with the Outworld sorcerer Shang Tsung. Shang Tsung knew of a map kept by the Shaolin Monks in China that gave the location of the amulet. He told Quan Chi how to find this map in exchange for the information he would need to resurrect Shao Kahn’s dead queen Sindel in the Earth realm.
Quan Chi obtained the map by hiring a Lin Kuei warrior named Sub-Zero to steal it. He found out about the temple in which the elder gods had placed the amulet and about the four gods that would be summoned in their mortal forms to guard it. He once again hired Sub-Zero to get the amulet. After getting it, Quan Chi took the amulet back to the Netherrealm so that Shinnok could finally free himself from it. However, Rayden sent Sub-Zero to the Netherrealm to get the amulet back. Sub-Zero was successful, and Shinnok was not allowed to escape from his eternal prison.
During these events, Shang Tsung was preparing for the tenth tournament. He was confident that his champion, Goro, would be able to defeat Earth’s warriors as he had defeated all past warriors and that Shao Kahn would be able to begin his invasion. However, a young Shaolin warrior named Liu Kang finally broke Goro’s winning streak. He defeated both him and Shang Tsung and became the new Mortal Kombat champion. Shang Tsung was forced to go back to Outworld and face Shao Kahn after having failed to win the Earth realm.
Kahn nearly killed Tsung for failing to complete his mission. Kahn wanted to rule over all realms, and taking the Earth realm was vital to do this. In order to save his own life, Shang Tsung told Shao Kahn about what he had learned from Quan Chi. Tsung now knew how he could resurrect Sindel in the Earth realm. If he did so, Kahn would have the right to enter the Earth realm so that he could reclaim his queen. Tsung also suggested holding a tournament in Outworld to distract the gods, especially Rayden, while the plan was executed. Kahn agreed to Shang Tsung’s plan and even restored his youth to him.
Shang Tsung organized a tournament to be held in Outworld. Kahn selected his best warriors to compete in this new tournament. Several of the warriors from Earth who were involved in the Mortal Kombat tournament were lured into Outworld so that they could also compete. The winner of this tournament would fight Shao Kahn himself. The tournament was not fought with the code of honor the Mortal Kombat tournaments were. Kahn used hidden assassins and dirty tricks to give himself the upper hand. Liu Kang almost defeated Shao Kahn in the Outworld, but the Earth warriors were attacked by Kahn’s armies before Liu Kang could finish Kahn off. Rayden transported the fighters back to the Shaolin temples on Earth before any of them were killed. No winner was declared to that tournament, but Earth’s warriors got their first glimpse of Shao Kahn. It wouldn’t be their last.
As the tournament was ending, Shang Tsung was completing his work. The incantation was finally cast, and Sindel’s dead body rose on Earth. It was once again infused with life. However, the spell was not perfect, reviving Sindel as more of a creature than a person. But it was enough to allow Shao Kahn to open the portals linking the Earth realm to the Outworld. Kahn began merging the Earth realm with Outworld, and using his power to strip away the souls of Earth’s inhabitants. The gods, having little warning, only had enough time to protect several thousand souls out of the billions on Earth from Kahn’s magic.
To combat those who were left, Shao Kahn organized groups of warriors in extermination squads to seek out and kill all the remaining humans. He chose a Centaurian named Motaro to lead these squads. The extermination squads killed most of the humans who were left on Earth. However, a small group, led by Liu Kang, survived the attacks and made a final assault against Kahn himself. They reunited Sindel with her daughter, Kitana. Kitana told Sindel of her true past, and Sindel soon turned on Kahn and helped the Earth warriors to defeat his minions. Finally, Liu Kang was able to face Shao Kahn on equal terms. They fought a hard battle, but Liu Kang successfully defended his title as Mortal Kombat champion and won his battle with Shao Kahn.
Having lost Sindel, his foothold in the Earth realm, Kahn was able to be driven back into Outworld. Outworld was once again separated not only from Earth, but from Edenia as well, and the souls Kahn had taken from Earth’s inhabitants were returned to their bodies by the elder gods. However, the lives of a great number of Earth warriors were lost in the battle. Liu Kang returned his temples and mourned the death of his allies Kung Lao and Johnny Cage.
It seemed that with Shao Kahn’s threat gone the Earth realm would no longer be at war. However, during Shao Kahn’s occupation of Earth, while Earth’s gods had no dominion, Kahn took Shinnok’s amulet from it’s temple, hoping to use it to further his own power. When Shao Kahn was defeated, the amulet was left behind in a temple in Edenia, where Kahn had taken it to use later. Rayden tried to locate the amulet, but by the time he did it was too late. The amulet had already been taken by Quan Chi.
Quan Chi gave the amulet to Shinnok. With his powers restored, Shinnok executed a plan he had been concieving since he was first banished to the Netherrealm, revenge against those who had trapped him there, and then a takeover of every realm in existence. With the help of an Edenian loyal to him, Shinnok was able to trick the newly crowned queen Sindel into allowing him into Edenia. From there he waged a war against his once fellow elder gods. A new war between the gods had been started.
Fearing a repeat of the loss of life seen during their last battle with Shinnok, the elder gods declared a Mortal Kombat. The current Mortal Kombat champion, Liu Kang, and the warriors of his realm would battle against Shinnok’s forces from the Netherrealm. It was agreed that whoever won this tournament would control the Earth realm, and whoever lost would be at the mercy of the victors.
Knowing the rules of Mortal Kombat well, Shao Kahn took this opportunity to once again try to win Earth, and to get revenge against the Earth warriors, particularly Liu Kang. By the rules of Mortal Kombat the former champion may enter his realm in such a tournament. Shao Kahn offered Goro the position of general of Outworld’s armies if he would enter the Outworld in the tournament. Goro wanted to restore his honor that was lost in the Shaolin tournament and agreed to Kahn’s plan.
This is the tournament that is commencing at this moment. It is probably the most important Mortal Kombat that has ever been fought. If the Earth warriors can defeat the Outworld and Netherrealm warriors, Earth will be protected from them for generations. If they fail, the Earth will be doomed for eternity . . .