Rayden is better known as the god of thunder. Long ago, Rayden was one of the gods responsible for imprisoning Shinnok in the Netherrealm. Afterward, he took on the responsibility of protecting the Earth realm to atone for the civilization he destoryed during the battle. When Shao Kahn challenged the Earth, Rayden helped the Earth warriors fight him in Mortal Kombat. He took his mortal form to compete in the Shaolin tournament, but played only a support role as Liu Kang won the tournament. When Shang Tsung began luring Earth warriors into Outworld, Rayden traveled there after them. He competed in Shao Kahn’s tournament, not knowing why Kahn was holding that event and wanting to keep a close eye on him. Little did Rayden know that this was exactly what Kahn wanted. The thunder god was unprepared when Shao Kahn resurrected Sindel and opened the portals to the Earth realm. With the Earth realm merging with Outworld, Rayden had lost his dominion there. Not content to stand by and watch the Earth warriors fight Kahn’s armies alone, Rayden gave up his own immortality and fought as a mortal, for the first time being vulnerable to death. He was nearly killed during the invasion, but was crucial in Shao Kahn’s defeat. After Kahn is driven out of the Earth realm, the elder gods restore Rayden’s immortality. Rayden begins helping to rebuild the Earth, but soon realizes that there is one important thing now missing, Shinnok’s amulet. Rayden immediately begins his search for the amulet. He knows that if he doesn’t find it before Quan Chi, the results will be disasterous. He tracks the amulet to a shrine somewhere in Edenia, but when he arrives there, he finds the amulet gone. At that moment his fears are confirmed, the amulet is now in the possession of Shinnok. Shortly afterward, Shinnok escapes from the Netherrealm and begins his assault against the gods. The fight doesn’t go well, and the losses are heavy. In a final attempt to end the fighting and protect the Earth realm from Shinnok, Rayden declares a Mortal Kombat. What Rayden didn’t expect was that by a technicality Shao Kahn would enter the tournament as well. If Rayden and the Earth warriors can defeat Shinnok and Shao Kahn, the Earth will be safe and both will be banished back to their realms. But if they fail, the Earth will be quickly overrun by one evil, or another.
Shinnok is considered by many to be the most evil creature to have ever been in existence. Even Shao Kahn’s tyranny is a small evil compared to the terror that Shinnok can and does bring. He was once one of the elder gods, the highest order of gods who maintain order throughout all realms of reality. Unlike his fellow gods, Shinnok longed for power beyond what he already had. He wanted to control all of reality by conquering every realm in existence. He attempted to do so, drawing on the energies of his amulet, the source of any elder god’s power. Shinnok gathered his worshippers and began his assault. Immediately, the gods retaliated, striking back at Shinnok whenever possible, but even they had a hard time fighting him off. The battle resulted in billions of lives being lost. One realm was completely destroyed, an act which the thunder god Rayden holds himself responsible for. It was because of Rayden and the other gods that Shinnok was finally beaten and confined in a desolate place called the Netherrealm. Shinnok was thrown into the fiery pits of the Netherrealm, tortured for centuries, the whole time longing for revenge against the elder gods, and against Rayden. He was trapped in the Netherrealm, at the mercy of it’s ruler Lucifer, until he met the sorcerer Quan Chi. Quan Chi offered to help Shinnok defeat the Netherrealm’s ruler and eventually to strike back at the ones who imprisoned him there. The condition was that Shinnok grant him stronger abilities as a sorcerer and give him a position of power in the empire he believed Shinnok would eventually rule over. Shinnok, with Quan Chi’s help, was able to conquer the Netherrealm and take Lucifer’s place as it’s ruler. He then started to plan his revenge against those who banished him there. He knew his amulet will be the key to his escape from his prison, so he sent Quan Chi to retrieve it. For thousands of years Quan Chi tried to get the amulet, finally succeeding after the defeat of Shao Kahn. With his power restored, Shinnok escaped from the Netherrealm. From there he began his war against the elder gods. With stronger allies and a rage that had been building for millenia, Shinnok was striking at the elder gods harder than they were prepared to handle. Seeing many of his fellow gods being beaten, Rayden makes the risky decision to declare a Mortal Kombat against Shinnok, to which the winner goes the Earth realm, and eventually all of reality.