Shattered mirrors: Prologue
by Odeena Skywalker
The narrow passage was barely lit up by half-burnt torches settled against the walls here and there. The holding cells had been carved directly into stone, and each was cold and barren. The weak light casted faint reflections on the thick steel bars, and there was not a sound disturbing the silence of the unholy crypt.
Many of those who had been imprisoned here were immortals; most of them, gods of various realms, who had dared to stand up against the invading forces from the Ourworld, and were now paying the price for their act. All had been defeated, their worlds destroyed and their allies killed. Some hadn’t seen the sun or the sky in millennia; others had slipped into the abyss of insanity over the years. But all had one thing in common. They had defied the renegade Elder God who had started this whole war – they had defied Shinnok.
Confined in one of the cells however, there was a mortal. A fighter from the realm of Earth.
From a distance, it was hard to tell whether the warrior was alive or not. He lay on the cold floor, his long, dark hair sprawled over the rocks in disarray, and his deep, brown eyes wide open.
But he was not dead. No. He was merely… thinking.
Everyone had warned him not to venture into the Outworld alone. Everyone had told him that it was a lost cause. They had all tried to stop him.
But he didn’t listen. When Rayden had told him that Quan-Chi had captured Kitana, rage had blinded him. He had only had one thought in his mind: to free her. At any cost.
At first, it had all been easy. Too easy. Having disposed of the three or four guards, the fighter had sneacked into Shinnok’s fortress, and then, unseen and unheard, had made his way to the fallen god’s throne room.
And then it happened. In a split second, hundreds of fighters had poured into the room. He had tried to fight them, but even with his unmatched strength and skills he was outnumbered. In a matter of seconds, he was immobilized, beaten and bruised.
Then Quan-Chi had appeared–and he was holding Kitana. Weakened and defeated, he could only watch then as the sorcerer had stolen the princess’ soul, slowly, enjoying her agony, laughing at his lack of power; a terrifying laugh, a laugh which would torment his mind each and every moment from then on.
Suddenly, he heard a faint sound, and felt another presence. Despite himself, Liu Kang turned his gaze towards where the noise had come from.
At first, the only thing he saw was a pair of deep, emerald-green eyes; then, as if materializing from the shadows, the face of a woman came to sight.
She looked very young; probably, no more than sixteen or seventeen years old. She had long, brown hair, and a thin, golden band arched around her forehead. She didn’t say a word; she merely looked at him. But there was something in her eyes that made him trust in her, even though he didn’t know very well why.
A small hand reached for one of the steel bars; the woman shuddered a bit, but her gaze remained pointed at him. One of her thick, gold bracelets caught a ray of light, and it beamed for a second, sending faint refflections around.
Slowly, painfully, the warrior stood up. Not knowing very well why, he tried to reach for her hand. Sensing the move, she pulled back abruptly.
“Who… are you?” Liu whispered, touching the cold bars.
She looked in his eyes, ready to answer, when they both heard the sound of approaching footspeps. In an instant, she seemed to dissolve in the shadows, and Liu threw himself down just as two guards went past. They eyed him suspiciously for one moment, then moved on.
Liu Kang waited until the sound of their footsteps fainted in the distance, then quickly stood up. The sudden move sent flashes of pain through his entire body, and he leaned against the bars and closed his eyes.
A cold hand reached for his, and he opened his eyes. For a second, all he could see were her wide, green eyes; then, she arched back a little.
“You’re… a mortal.” It was more of a statement then a question.
Liu smiled grimly. “How did you know?”
“Your blood”, she answered. “Only mortals bleed.”
She looked him straight in the eye.
“Are you the one who defeated Shao Kahn in Mortal Kombat? Are you Liu Kang?”
Liu nodded weakly.
“I am honored then.”
The warrior was more and more confused. “Are you a deity?”
“Yes. I am the Goddes of the Ocean”, she said, smiling proudly.
“Well, your eyes do remind me of the ocean”, Liu said involuntarely. A memory flashed through his mind: the sun, setting into the ocean as he walked on the beach, alone, with his thoughts…
“Yeah, that’s what the other monks used to say.”
He raised an eyebrow. “What monks?”
She realised what she had just said and her eyes widened. “I… shouldn’t have said that. Please… forget about it, alright?”
Liu was taken aback by the sudden panic he read in her eyes. “O… kay, I’ll… I’ll forget you said anything.”
She relaxed a bit. “Thank you.”
Liu smiled. “No, thank you.”
“What will happen to you, Liu Kang?” she asked in a whisper. “Will… will you die?”
“Yeah, I guess I will.” He had never thought of it before, but now that he had said it, it seemed inevitable. “They left me die here. I didn’t eat, or drink, anything, in–” he stopped in mid-sentence, not wanting to show his weakness “–a while”, he finished quietly.
He could see tears starting to glow in her eyes, and his confusion deepened. Who was this girl – this deity – who, although she seemed to be on Shinnok’s sire, felt sorry for the death of their greatest enemy? Why was she honored to meet the one who had defeated Outworld’s great emperor Shao Kahn? And frst of all, why was she even here?
He was about to say something–when a very familliar voice, a deep, hatred voice, boomed across the narrow catacomb.
“Diva!” came general Reiko’s voice. “Diva, are you here?”
The girl started up. “I have to leave”, she whispered hurriedly. “But I will be back–I promise!” With that, she ran away.
Liu watched her until she went out of sight, then sighed. Somehow, he realised numbly, this meeting had done something almost impossible. Whereas before he was prepared to die, now he found himself thinking that, against all odds, there could have still been a chance. If only…
Suddenly, he heard a faint sound, and he turned around, looking towards where it had come from.
Clear, bright water drippled along a sharp rock, then fell down in a small gathering. It seemed to glow faintly in the dark, and, without knowing very well why, the warrior extended his arm and took a sip.
For a second, he felt nothing; then, the unperceptible smoke which seemed to cloud his vision was gone, and he welt an irresistible wearmth flooding him. Slowly, he laid on the floor, which no longer seemed cold and barren.
“Thank you, Diva”, he whispered.
Then, he slipped into a peaceful sleep.
‘In your next battle, use the ellement which gives life.’
The cave was cold and dark, and he felt fear rising. He heard faint cries for help.
He took a step forwars, extending his hands in front of him cautiously, and suddenly, he fell. He shrieked, trying to grab onto something; but the void was mercyless.
‘Liu, if anything happens to me, I just want you to know that–‘
‘Kitana, I have lost everything, and I’m not going to loose you, too.’
He landed hard on something; the same time, cold wines wrapped tightly around him.
‘They’ve got Kitana… There was nothing we could do… there was too many…’
A cold hand reached for his.
‘It will be alright.’ Was that Kitana, who whispered into his ear? But it couldn’t be. Kitana was dead.
‘I love you, Liu Kang.’
‘Just hold still, this won’t hurt you.’
‘Liu, don’t go. It’s a trap, and you know it. Please, listen to me! Don’t go!’
‘But I must save her… I must…’
Hypnotic, green eyes glowed faintly in the dark.
‘I love you, Liu Kang. Love you…’
The eyes came closer.
Liu bolted upright with a shriek.
“No…” his voice was barely above a whisper. The dream would return, over and over again, to torment his soul. He closed his eyes and, despite himself, a single tear ran down his face. A second later, a cold, small hand wiped it.
Liu opened his eyes. Next to him, Diva smiled, although her eyes showed concern.
“Are you alright?”
Somehow, her voice, her touch, made him feel secure for a moment. “The dream…” he whispered. “It just won’t… won’t go away. It’s all… my fault… that…”
Diva reached for his hand. “It’s alright. It’s over now. You shouldn’t weep on the past. It’s done. You can’t change it.”
He sighed painfully. “I know… But I just wish… wish… that…”
“‘Analyze the past, live the present, and you will be prepared for the future’. Reiko told me that once.”
Liu frowned. What was the connection between Diva and Shinnok’s general? And why, when she spoke of him, he could sense something different in her voice? Was it… affection?
Liu Kang snapped out of his thoughts.
“I have to go now. Reiko’ll get suspicious if he sees me around here too long.” She frowned for a second. “I hate lying to him about all this”, she confessed. “But you…” she trailed off, looking a bit troubled. “I’ll be back–and I’ll try to snitch some food, too”, she said quickly.
“But how are you going to–”
She giggled and waved her hand, her bracelet sending weird refflections around as she did so. “I’m a deity, remember? Watch.”
Before Liu’s stunned gaze, Diva seemed to liquify, and the next thing he knew, small rivers of water passed the bars of the cell easily. Moments later, she materialized on the other side.
“Take care, Liu Kang. And don’t loose your faith.”
With that, she walked away.