Korren watched the two leave. He didn’t know John could be like that. He was even more shocked that he was still alive, if it wasn’t for Len he was sure he wouldn’t be. He didn’t stand a chance against John Travis. Especially if he wanted blood and Korren didn’t. He owed his life to Len, and she had seen him kill her brother moments before. If only he could explain, maybe she would listen.
“Wait!” He called after them, “Please you don’t understand!” They didn’t top though, or even turn their heads. It was too much to expect her to listen after what she had seen, he had to find his parents, now that he had saved his father’s life. Perhaps they could explain to john what was going on. So he returned to their camp, but there was hardly any sign that it had been occupied only hours before. Everyone had left already, why? He was stranded, he had no way to make it back, and now that the tournament was over, especially since Outworld had lost he could expect no further hospitality from them. Considering how tightly controlled this island seemed to be he could only think of one option that would not run a risk of getting him killed that he did not like. Though making a deal with this devil was not much better, he would have to take his chances.
“So the son of Sub Zero wishes my help.” Said Nitara, with obvious relish as the vampires twists her hair and smiled.
“I need to get back to Earthrealm.” Korren said.
“Indeed you do, and why should I help you return there?”
“Because I am stranded here and I know I won’t be able to make it off this island myself. I know this isn’t going to be free so just tell me what you want.” As the vampiress chuckled her smile became a little more ironic, Korren could see that she would be more than happy to assist him, but it would surly come with a price.
“I will be happy to send you to Had’ra’din. If I do, you will owe me a favor. I am not sure what yet, but as I am likely saving you from Sektor and his ‘automation’ I doubt that is much to ask.”
“I need to get to Earthrealm not Had’ra’den.”
“You have many friends in that realm, does it really matter that much?” She had a point. Nitara held out her hand. Reluctantly Korren shook it, but the moment his hand was in her grip he could feel and see the strange green magic coursing into his body like lightening. “Good luck to you Korren.” Then she let go and Korren felt himself falling through a portal.
He felt himself reemerge and land feet first onto solid ground. He almost lost his balance with the hard impact, the sorcerer had dropped him from more than ten feet up. Darkness was coming, he looked all around him for some sign of someone, and he saw a small fire light, a hundred meters or so away. As he got closer he could see it was a camp, all the fires were out except for one, probably the night watch. As he got closer he could see a man and a woman sitting around the fire, he could also see their grey eyes glowing in the dark.
“Hello? May I enter your camp?” He called out.
“From what clan do you hail?” Shouted back the man.
“No clan, I am from Earthrealm.”
“Earthrealmers eyes do not glow.”
“No, but mine do.”
“Korren?” Said the women, it was a voice he recognized. She stood up and turned toward him and he saw her face, it was Terra.
“Terra? I am glad to see you.” He said in relief, the approached the fire.
“What are you doing here?”
“I got left behind in Earthrealm, I couldn’t get back their but I found a way here.”
Her expression changed to one of dread, “Korren, what did you do?” Now his smile faded, and he told his sad story, but then she told him what her mother had told her. Then he received the horrible revelation that he had been manipulated. He pulled Shean’s dagger from his belt and clenched it in his hands.
“Shean, I’m so sorry.” He started to weep. Never before had he felt so foolish, so helpless, or so alone.
John, Silene, and their children spent the first two days after their return in mourning. As there was no body to bury all Shean received was an empty urn placed onto a shelf in the temple, where the ashes of all their dead were placed. He did not receive ashes. They honored him the way enenra honored their dead. John had not spoken to anyone besides Silene for a few days, not even his children, but now he came out of the temple, with his family and closed the doors to the mausoleum. It was the last time Ye-Jun was sure. This whole situation made it difficult. His son was gone, and he wanted to mourn for that, but his son had murdered his friend and the son of his closest friend. So, he wasn’t sure how to feel. Or what to do. How could he mourn the loss, though not death, of his oldest son, when he was the murderer of Johns own. John came closer and Yo-Jun put his hand on his shoulder.
“John, I’m sorry.”
“Yo-Jun, I’m old, and I’m too old for all of this.” He kept walking. His wife passed by, then Len, and his next oldest daughter. She would be the same age Shean in a few years, then her sister, a few years younger, who was holding her brothers hand, who was only a few years older than his daughter. He looked at his wife and daughter standing next to him. The little girl would grow up without ever knowing her brother. He didn’t know what had driven Korren to his actions but he would make sure that his daughter would not make the same mistake.
“John, what will you do now?”
“I’m going to pray for your family and mine, and your son. We all need it right now.”
“Indeed we do.”
“Len, would you join me. I need to speak with you in private.” He heard John say. His friend was right, whatever god or gods were out there, he hoped they were with his son. He was in a very bad place right now, where ever he was. Somehow too, he knew this was only the beginning.
Shean had just finished packing to leave when Taryn came to him with the news of what had happened. He was surprised but didn’t miss a beat when he was told to go find Korren. But he couldn’t find him; he wasn’t anywhere around the camp. It wasn’t until he looked outside of camp that he found him on one of the trails leading from the village.
“Hey, Korren, come on, we need to get back to camp.” He turned and took a few steps but could tell Korren wasn’t following. “Come on we need to hurry.” He said again.
“I’m sorry Shean, I really am. But you didn’t give me any choice.”
“What do you-” Korren took a step closer, and Shean felt something cold and sharp slide between his ribs. He looked down to see a blade of ice sticking into his chest. Razor thin, and going right to his heart. He wasn’t mad actually he kind of felt like it was his fault, at least in part for not telling Korren when he had the chance. He didn’t even feel surprised actually, just a soaking cold moving out from his heart.
Shean hadn’t returned yet, and John was starting to wonder what was keeping his son.
“Len, come on, let’s go find the boys.” They went searching around the camp first and then began to spread out from there when they found nothing. John and Len were checking one of the trail when they found them. “Shean, Korren, come on we have to…” He began to realize something was wrong, Shean didn’t move to react, and Korren seemed frightened to see him. Then Shean fell. “No!” He ran and landed next to his son as he fell. He cradled him, but he was fading away now. Shean’s blood continued to spread through his cloths, and now his body was returning to smoke and vapor, he was dying. He had seen it all too many times, never did he want to watch another one of his people die, to hold them in his arms as they slipped away, again. “No, no stay with me Shean, stay with me.” He could feel the tears forming in his eyes as he clung to his son. No matter how tightly he held on though he couldn’t stop him from returning to the wind and the air his people had been made from. In death they returned to Yahale. It wasn’t long before Shean completely faded away, gone to sit beside God. “No, no…” He began to hold his head and the tears poured out. His first born son, his child was dead. Like so many times before, he had been helpless to save his own flesh and blood from a Grey Eye. He turned back to see Korren. He could see the fear in the young assassin’s eyes as rage and anger boiled in his. He looked at one of his son’s blade, left in his hands as Shean died, he clenched it in his fist.
“John” Something grabbed his arm, preventing the tense muscles from pulling back and sending a deathblow at Korren. It was his own daughter. He looked up at her, his own eyes red with tears and anger. She looked like her mother, regal, controlled, but with just her eyes she conveyed all of his grief all of his sadness all of his rage and just a simple request. She did not want him to spill anymore blood. He pulled himself to his feet and threw the blade down with a clank.
“You have killed one of your own, that makes you an outcast of the Lin Kuie. If they find you they will hunt you. If they catch you than they will kill you. If they bring you back or if you come back...” He had the mind to kill the boy right there and then, but not the heart to. He had a heart to morn. To be alone with his grief for a while and let it pass. If he ever saw that unholy half breed again he might not be able to control himself. “Then I will probably kill you. He turned away “Len.” He said and began to walk away, he saw her come up beside him out of the corner of his eye. Korren shouted after them. But with one cold and deadly look John silenced him, out of fear or something else he stopped calling. John really didn’t care why he stopped.
Taryn was waiting and beginning to become impatient. When John and Len finally returned, but without Shean and Korren.
“Well?” She queried.
“I think they must have returned to Earthrealm before we could catch them. We can manage this without them though.”
“I don’t think they would have done that.” Taryn saw his eyes then. She normally didn’t look at his eyes but he had seen them so often hat he usually saw the same thing. They were different this time, withdrawn, almost robotic.
“They must have; we don’t have any more time to waste on finding them so we should just go ahead and start this.” Taryn looked to Len for an answer, nothing about her seemed out of the ordinary. Something was wrong though, she didn’t know what, but for the moment he was right. The time to waste wasn’t there for Kitana.
“You two go ahead, we will need information before we move.” They suddenly dissipated and rushed off. The speed of an Enenra was far greater than any human when in their ethereal form. It always sort of creeped her out to see what looked like a human being suddenly disintegrate into vapor like that.
Taryn and Ye-Jun left the camp for a small cave in the forest. Shean had told them about it and it was a discreet place to wait for Len and John to return. Hopefully with their camp deserted Shao Khan would assume they had all left. Shean and Korren didn’t show up at any point so Taryn became more inclined to accept John’s assumption about them leaving. After an hour or maybe two John and his daughter returned.
“The fortress is pretty solid, there’s a tower along the north wall that we can come over though without too much trouble and, if we’re careful, we shouldn’t be able to stay undiscovered. It looks like Kitana and Jade are being held in the center of the fortress, looks like Kahn has put a Tarkatan guard on her.”
“Don’t forget about the two assassins in the cell with her, they hiding up in the rafters.” Len told them.
“Right, getting in won’t be a problem, just getting out. You have that spell ready right Taryn?”
“I do.” She had been trying her hand at magic lately and had a bit of a talent for it. She couldn’t summon things up on command, but as long as she had something prepared in advance she could summon it up quicker than any powdered summoning spell.
“Follow us.” They followed the pair through the woods until they reached the tower along the wall they had been told of.
“Give me one of your blades,” John said to Taryn. She pulled out one of the cool, liquid hard blades she had been given by her biological father. He took it and then rushed up as smoke. The others started to scale the wall and Len followed her father a moment later. When Taryn reached the window and Len helped her in she was shocked by what she saw. All of the guards, cleanly and coolly killed, no, not all. A few were simply unconscious. The fact that any were dead surprised her because looking around she was sure John didn’t have to kill them. Len and John both had objection to killing if it was at all avoidable, for practical and philosophical reasons. For John to kill like this, then there was the way he was acting, something was wrong. It was very unsettling. They followed as he led the way. He moved on very efficiently. Something was upsetting him too. He had that strange determination you got when you were upset and you just wanted to get something done so they could sit with whatever emotion they needed to deal with. That didn’t make the fact that he was acting like a robot any less strange. They moved quickly and covered the fortress grounds, making their way toward the prisoners hold in the center. They quickly cleared the Tarkatan and the two assassins did not prove too be much trouble. Things were going very smoothly.
“Coming back for us was unnecessary,” Kitana told them, “but I thank you.” She stared at Len for a moment, probably seeing something familiar. The group started to move again. They just as easily moved through the fortress on their way out as in, only this time with fewer encounters and bodies, until they were approaching there exit. They found their way blocked by Cyrax and four of his cyber ninja blocked their way.
“Stand to the side.”
“Negative, I-” Without another word John rushed forward, rematerializing in front of one cyberninja and burying Taryn’s blade into his skull. Taryn rushed forward and deftly engaged, so did Ye-Jun. He smashed a cyberninja’s jaw with the palm of his hand then grabbed its arm and swung it into the wall, where in a burst of ice it was frozen into the spot, Taryn dropped hers to the floor and slashed its torso open from each shoulder to the waist. John had easily dispatched the other and was now on Cyrax. The other fought and John seemed to just be dancing around him, that was when Taryn realized that Cyrax wasn’t fighting his body was just moving with the blows, as he was slowly cut to pieces, once his arms had been disabled John tossed him aside. He stood there for a moment, taking deep, almost ragged breaths.
“Let’s keep moving.” Then Jade took Taryns blade form her hands, and with a leap landed on a knee and planted the blade in Cyrax’s skull.
“Why did you do that!” Taryn barked. Cyrax may have been their enemy but he was a Lin Kuie, and he could have been helped.
“He was an enemy.”
“He was not well; we could have helped him.”
“So you would have carried him then. If he was a warrior worth your pity than he would have preferred death to this soulless existence.”
As much as she hated to agree, the woman was right. “Let just go.” They kept going Across open ground to the tower they had entered through.
“Why do you run Earthrealmers?” That was a voice no one wanted to hear, it was Shao Khan. They stopped, and turned around to see him and a small horde of his guardsmen forming up in front of him. “Your battle has only just begun.”
“I think we could use that portal now,” Len said.
John reached behind him and pulled a pistol from his belt, he tossed it to Len. “Cover us.” She immediately began dropping guardsmen as Ye-Jun and John rushed forward to engaged. Taryn did not watch any longer to see the battle happen. She concentrated on trying to weave her magic’s.
“Jade!” She heard Kitana shout, but could not pull any more of her concentration from her magic than she already had. The portal was slowly starting to form, she only needed a few more moments.
“A little faster Taryn,” Len said. Just a little more time was needed.
“It’s ready, Len grabbed Kitana and ducked through. Under the circumstances Taryn struggled to hold the portal. She looked back to See John, his neck thoroughly in the grip of Shao Khan, why didn’t he move, why didn’t he turn into smoke? He sliced up with his blade. Cutting across his thumb before kicking off and changing as he rushed toward them. He hit the ground near her and rematerialized into his human form. He was panting hard and holding his throat, he coughed hard and Taryn was surprised when she didn’t see blood. He pulled himself onto his feet and staggered through without a word. Then Ye-Jun and Jade came closer. Panting, Taryn released the portal, she had put enough power into it that it would hold itself open for a few minutes.
“Go,” he told her.
“No, we’ll hold it until the last minute.”
“Yes we will, but not you.” She felt something hit her in the back of the neck, and then her vision went black.
When she came to again she was in Earthrealm, where she wasn’t sure, she had only been aiming for Earthrealm.
“Where is Ye-Jun?” She asked.
“Not back yet,” Said John.
“What? then let’s go get him.”
“No.” She stopped and stared at him.
“No. There would be no point.”
What was he saying, no point? “He’s your friend?”
“And he wouldn’t want you to endanger your life for his.” As if that ever would have stopped her and John and Ye-Jun both knew it.
“Coward,” she spat the word at him. She tried to turn but he grabbed her wrist and spun her around. He looked at her with cold eyes that seemed to be able to dismiss her concerns as nothing, dismiss her as nothing, there was no emotion at all.
“Do not test me, not now.” He released her.
“What I wrong with you.” She was dead serious. He never acted like this, there was something very wrong with him. The way he was acting, it was very much like something she had heard. She was going to do something that might be a bad idea.
“Kill Hound.” Suddenly his hand was on her throat, now there was bloody rage somehow seething in the coldness. A killer’s blank stare.
“I have been hurt enough by your kind today, do not test your luck or I will show you what that name meant to your people.” Defying his eyes, his voice held something not so hot, something like sadness. It was the only emotion, like it was the only thing he could feel. He released her and started walking. “Let’s go.”
Taryn moved closer to Len to ask what had happened. That was when she heard about John’s pain, and she understood, and she sheared it.
Ye-Jun had been inside his cell for… he wasn’t exactly sure, a day or so probably. It was completely dark so he had nothing to orient himself besides his own sense of the flow of time. He had not slept so he didn’t lose any time sleeping. He heard footsteps on the stone floor, armored boots. No, they were metal feet. The door was opened and the flickering light of fire swept his sell, he shielded his eyes for a moment while they adjusted. When he got a clear look, he could see it was Sektor.
“Shao Khan wishes to see you.” Of course, that was not a request, the alternative was probably him being dragged before the conqueror, so he walked, if he was about to die at least he could do it with dignity. Sektor put a firm hand on his arm, as well as another one of his cyberninja. They took me to the throne room at the center of the palace, where Shao Khan waited, with the vampiress and in the insect queen flanking him as Kitana and Jade once had.
“Cryomancer,” He said with a hint of nostalgia. “I almost destroyed your people ones, how whatever father you come from escaped I must wonder at, it is not important. Do you know why I have summoned you?”
“To kill me.”
“In due time, but not yet. For now, take a message to your realm. That I do not take treason lightly,” despite his menace and the dripping poison of his words Ye-Jun still looked up at him. “You, and all the others, will be dealt with when I am ready.”
“What did you do with Jade?”
A slightly smile turned from the corners of his mouth. “I’m surprised you haven’t realized. Take him away.” The two cyberninja clamped a steal grip on his arms and started to drag him away. What had he meant. Ye-Jun looked to sector and to the other ninja dragging him it was a different model, slimmer and more feminine in construction, painted a flat black with a few, slight, green accents. They escorted him through a courtyard, where a portal was already waiting. They took him right up to the horizon of the swirling magic and as he fell through. He suddenly realized what Shao Khan had meant. He felt his feet hit gravel and he almost slipped, wherever he was it was hot, but he could find his way home. He started walking toward what looked like a petrol station in the distance. After this very long and disappoint tournament, he would be happy just to rejoin his family again. After all, as long as he kept his family together, was anything more important?
Some people call me the Space Marine cowboy,
Some people call me the author of love (not really).
Some people call me the Trivia Master,
Because I know everything about Star Wars, and Halo, and history and I'm a Christian to... you know the rest of the song if not you should find out it's great.
Put this on your
---██--- DeviantArt page
█████ if your
---██--- not embarrassed
---██--- to tell
---██--- others that
---██--- you're a Christian