Description: The conquering of Earthrealm has been a slow, scattered affair, lacking any sort of unity. But all of that is about to change. Kotal, once worshipped as a god of the Aztecs, has returned from Outworld to spearhead the anti resistance effort. At his side is the wandering mercenary Erron Black. What do they have in store for Earthrealm? Find out inside.
OUTSKIRTS OF MEXICO CITY
A sight that one might expect to see in this part of the world. Standing upon the peak of mount Popocateptl is a statuesque creature, a tall man, chiseled with muscle and seem to be built out of jade stone. Dressed in what appears to be Aztec Eagle Knight regalia, the statue overlooks the city of Mexico from a top the high mountain whilst resting his hand upon the pummel of a wickedly serrated sword. A macuahuitl.
Except, this is no statue, it is in reality a man. Kotal, or as he was once known Huitzilopotchli, glances down upon the fog covered city with piercing glowing eyes, almost as if they were miniature suns peering from under the beak of his eagle helmet. With the feathers of his helm flowing in the wind and that slow gaze in which he surveys the city, it appears that he's looking for something.
Or perhaps waiting for someone.
That 'someone' makes himself known slowly, his presence joining the looming statue a bit at a time. First comes the steady rhythmic scrape of boots on stone, followed by the gradual rise of a shadow, projected up the west slope of the mountain by the low hanging sun.
A black cowboy hat ringed with pistol rounds peeks above the edge of the ledge, heralding the arrival of a rather muscular fellow in dark, rugged leathers. Moments later he clambers to the top of the mountain, straightening to stand a short distance from the much larger figure of Kotal. His garb brings to mind dusty wastelands and western dramas, being a fusion of old west and post apocalyptic warrior.
"Coffee's not bad." Erron Black murmurs in way of greeting, his deep, sardonic drawl muffled slightly by the grey leather mask covering his lower face. The rest of his features are cast into shadow, figure made slightly ominous as he saunters up to stand beside the towering Aztec. That seems to be all the unprompted information he is willing to give on his short scouting mission into Mexico City, but it couldn't be entirely bad. He made it out, at least.
Then again, he isn't eight feet tall and peculiarly colored. He can get away with walking the streets a smidge easier than his employer. Who knows what will happen if Kotal decides to investigate himself.
Scouting is indeed needed for every military campaign and although Kotal is able to manipulate the color of his skin through magic, it is another matter entirely to change his height. A scout like Erron Black is needed for these parts, particularly when the invasion has been planned out so haphazardly that random individuals of Outworld have all but stumbled into Earhtrealm without any real sense of strategy. Then again, that is the nature of Outworld, with the so called Emperor Shao Kahn placidly sitting upon his throne of skulls whilst his minions figure out the details.
In this case, it falls upon Kotal and Erron to figure out where Earthrealm stands after such a long time without contact. The Aztec's frown however might an indication to the cowboy behind him that more details are needed.
"What of the others?" Asks the Aztec to his counterpart, going straight to business as others. "Reptile's abilities would be useful here, and I have heard nothing of Ermac since we lost contact with Earthrealm. D'vorah and Ferra/Torr too, are they still in Outworld?"
Kotal looks over his shoulder to sneak a glance at the Outworld mercenary. "And what of Princess Mileena? She was last seen in Earthrealm as well. Skarlet and Sheeva were sent to retrieve and we have heard nothing from them since."
"Do we literally know anything about where our troops stand right now?"
At times, it occurs to Erron that since his life was extended he has fought for, and against, literal gods. All the tall tales of his youth have turned out to be true, in some fashion. But when all of this begins to weigh down upon him, he considers how many of those spectacular creatures have died. They have passed on to other realms, while he has continued to survive.
"Reptile, Ferra, and D'vorah are in Outworld." The mercenaries reply is only a fraction distracted as he pulls himself free of his thoughts. Continuing to walk across the mostly barren mountaintop, he comes to a large flat rock and gives it a light kick. When no snakes begin to rattle, he takes that as a sign the rock is unoccupied and lowers himself down in a casual sit atop it. His various bullet harnesses and weapons clink and shuffle with the motion. But once he is finally settled, his full attention fixes itself upon Kotal.
"Mileena and her tails have gone to ground." The slightly sardonic note in Erron's voice has faded, tone one of serious business as he braces his hands on the holsters at his thighs and meets his employer's back-cast gaze. "Ermac was seen recently. Had a fight with Scorpion and a werewolf. I'd bet he's gone back to Outworld to regenerate."
One gloved finger taps lightly at the grip of a gun. it is a small tap, tap. Not much, but still a sign that he is thinking.
"It looks like it's down to you." The mercenaries tone is frank, words drawled with lazy ease. But that is his way. Until the blades come out, he tends not to worry about things.
Kotal is of the same school of thought as Erron even if he himself has been heralded as a God before. Little known fact, Kotal used to be mortal many eons ago and it was not by birthright that he became second in command to the forces of Outworld, but by hard training and perseverance. Like Erron, he too is unimpressed by the supposed legends of both Earthrealm and Outworld, he approaches war like a businessman, and thus far business has been very good.
This time, Erron's information proves to be more useful. The Aztec deity return his gaze back to the city of Mexico whilst the cowboy takes a seat next to him. It seems that Kotal prefers to stand. "I see, so we are scattered to the four winds as usual." His lips tighten slightly at the thought of not having all his forces on the ground. Thins might prove difficult without D'vorah, Reptile and Ferra/Torr and with Ermac recuperating his wounds even more so, though then again, when have things ever been simple? If this conquering business was easy everyone would do it.
"It is for the best that Princess Mileena and her cohorts stay hidden. She is far too erratic to be relied upon. By the Eldergods, knowing her and her antics she would even start attacking us for sport." He chuckles despite the gravity of the situation.
Taking a deep breath, Kotal considers Erron's words and gives a grim exhale. "When has it ever not?" Grimaces the Aztec. "The Emperor is known as the Konqueror after all, not the Strategist. He will not act until a perfect plan has been crafted for him so that he may reap the spoils of his slaughters." So Kotal and Erron get to do all the heavy lifting whilst Shao Kahn takes the glory. "That is fine." The Aztec ends up scoffing. "It is why, as they say, we get paid the big bucks."
A glance of glowing eyes is once again given to Erron. "It has been nearly three hundred years since I was here in Earthrealm. I have not tread the soils of my beloved Aztlan since the Spanish came and brought their pox with them."
"You on the other hand have been more closely in touch with Earthrealm, Erron. What can you tell me about the world that would benefit our invasion?"
"Not going to take Earthrealm by force." Erron notes dryly, seeming to agree with Kotal's assessment of their relative lack of strength. "There is big power here. Pretty spread out though. May be, that you can turn them against one another."
The mention of Mileena causes the cowboy to go silent. He does not join in the laughter. Bad mouthing princesses is bad for business, and he'd rather not have anything said that could haunt him later. He does not defend her, however, which is likely enough of a hint on where he stands.
Shifting slightly on his perch, the mercenary follows Kotal's gaze back out toward the city sprawled out beneath them. Beneath the brim of his hat, his own eyes are hidden, posture conveying nothing of what he might feel for the land of his birth. he has never been very clear about where in Earthrealm he came from, though one more versed in modern accents might guess it was a place not far north of here.
"This isn't my war, Kotal. But as long as you pay me, your problems, are my problems." Though his smokey voice remains relaxed, there is a gentle reminder there. Too often his employers forget that he is not their friend, nor their servant. Fortunately, Kotal has a good deal more wit about him than a typical warmonger of Outworld. Like him, he does truly understand that this is why they 'make the big bucks.' It's easy to forget that a good hire isn't your friend.
"A lot has changed since I roamed this land. Guns are bigger. News spreads quicker. They've got a lot more than the telegraph. Might be best if you walk careful for a while, until we know more."
"It is as it has been before." Comments the Aztec warlord when Erron informs him of the great powers that are in Earthrealm. "Great men and women have always walked the Earth. Even now, I still remember the exploits of the Hayabusa clan, the Holy Order of Knights and countless legacies of Darkstalkers that roamed the world. All with enough power to rival the might of Outworld." And then Kotal smiles. "But they have never been united. If the world were to fight under a single banner, then there is no doubt in my mind the Emperor would never have his prize of Earthrealm. The might of the mortals united is far too great."
"It is their arrogance that will be their undoing in the end. If it were not for the Mortal Kombat tournament uniting them, they would have fallen long ago." Kotal doesn't add that he himself had participated in the tournament against Outworld hundreds of years ago. He's not very vocal about his reasons for leaving Earthrealm and he is not planning to change that now. His focus at least is clearly now towards world domination.
"The spoils of war await you, Erron." The Aztec now in turn reminds the mercenary. "You need naught but to take them."
"But you are right in that things have changed drastically in Earthrealm. I suspect that powers have shifted over the centuries. Many of the clans that gave me trouble in the past still exist, but it would be best if we find who is the newer, ambitious blood roaming the lands now."
Kotal narrows his glowing eyes towards the city in consideration. "Let us go make some friends first." He suggests. "The Black Dragon clan has been known to work closely with Outworld in the past. Let us see if Kano's loyalties can be bought once again. We should also see if we can rally some Darkstalkers to our case, I hear a great many of these spirits have awakened from their slumber. The Lin Kuei should be contacted as well. There has always been dissent in their ranks, and some of them could be lured to join us."
"Do you know of anyone else who would have reasons to fight for the Emperor?"
"I prefer less risky ventures." Is Erron's blandly worded reply to Kotal's offer of spoils. Always it has been so. There is apparently something in his manner, or perhaps his particular brand of honor, that relies upon the steady trade of coin for service. The lure of eventual treasure holds little sway with him.
"Kano's loyalty can't be bought. At best he's rented, and he'll turn on you if the money's right. Let me worry about the criminals." Erron's muffled drawl holds a certain note of quiet disdain as he discusses the business practices of the Black Dragon. Though Kano is a fellow mercenary, they couldn't be further apart in attitude and style. Still, if anyone would know how to avoid a back stabbing, it would be the Outworld cowboy.
Shoving back up to his feet, Erron rests his right hand on the handle of his revolver, head tipped back to cast a quick glance toward the sky. Even now, so many years from when he last walked the Earth, it takes only a moment for him to gauge the time.
"Anyone I knew is long dead. I'll see what can be stirred up further north. If you want to track down the Darkstalkers, I heard some talk about a portal opening on the east coast, in Metro City. That'd be the place to check. Means we'll be moving in the same direction, for a while."
Casting a shadowed glance over at the huge man at his side, the eternal cowboy gives a slow shake of his head. Little puffs of dust rise up to cling to his pants as he steps forward, beginning to walk steadily toward the path back down the mountain. His hand lifts from his revolver, and he reaches up to tip the brim of his hat ever so slightly downward.
"You taking a portal, or coming with me? Looks like drive has a whole new meaning, and I aim to figure it out."
% The warlord gives a smirk at Erron's response of preferring to play it safe. "You are in the wrong profession if you do not enjoy risks, Mr. Black."
Despite Kotal's jab, he does respect Erron's judgment when it comes to Earthrealm mercenaries and he nods when Erron warns Kotal about seeking contact with the Black Dragon. "Very well, deal with these mercenaries as you see fit."
When Erron rises from his perch in preparation for the journey, the Aztec heaves his massive serrated macuahuitl sword and places it on his back. The blade seems to cling to him without the need of a scabbard as if it was magically connected to the Aztec's turquoise colored skin. "Then we shall venture to Metro City next and see what fortune awaits there."
At the mention of taking a portal, Kotal makes a disapproving gesture with his face and shakes his head. "I tire of taking portals everywhere. Relying so much on Shang Tsung's sorcery makes me ill. Besides, it is clear that the Emperor is in no hurry. I shall take my own time in carrying out his will if he seems satisfied in merely letting me be the vanguard for his invasion."
The Aztec channels magic and a swirl of golden power surrounds him. In a flash, his Eagle Knight armor is gone and is instead replaced by more modern clothing, a white cotton shirt, a red sash, deer skin pants and leather sandals. His turquoise complexion also changes opting more for a darker tone of skin that alludes him as a man of Hispanic descent. Now under the guise of a mortal, albeit a very tall and muscled one, Kotal prepares to move out along with the cowboy.
"Let us go."
Log created on 19:11:10 07/19/2016 by Erron Black, and last modified on 13:49:09 07/20/2016.