Description: Kotal, high class General in charge of much of Outworlds' armies worked his way up, talented and loyal yet- still single, with career focused outlook on life after a bad break up with his last culture. More than a few hundred years without a vacation even a chance at a working holiday might be welcome and eagerly embraced. Sent back to the old neighbourhood, the Earthrealm of new has finally revealed itself to actually be: well, it's kind of filthy; full of poor and unhealthy people, pollution, vice and violence. The world as it was has been changed (culturally and technologically) the old ways discarded, lost or in danger of being so. For now General Kotal is still the expert and man with the plan! Compared to the latest arrival; just when everything is starting to take shape the boss's daughter arrives out of nowhere. Haughty, powerful and beautiful she still keeping daddy appraised of how the work is going. "Cortez" just can't catch a break, work follows him home and now his workload doubles as he has to help her blend in also. <Rated PG>
A city that is a ceaseless mass of castles and towers. All of them seemingly occupied by the throngs of people gathered around places of gambling, transport and low brow entertainments. Light's that burn so as to turn the night into day all in many colours and gaudily advertising many businesses, many not even within eyeshot.
The lone figure standing on the rooftop while wreathed in a hooded travel cloak gave the impression it was shaking it's head. For one such as the she to be surprised and a little dismayed by opulent displays of wealth, and waste. It was testament to its sheer scale and nature for her to acknowledge it.
For all that which she had never seen before, it was still familiar. The poor below hid in their cheap and dingy hovels, monsters and predators stalking the alleyways while on the streets the peasants tried hard not to notice them, the poor or the monsters. A utopia of 'technology' it might appear at a surface level glance, this wasn't true at all, it was instead a collection of Sin and Vice simmering close to boiling point. A curious tension running through the populace for which their answer was violence or even louder revelry.
The view that had been afforded from on high was advantageous, Hopping back from her perch she allows time for her eyes to adjust after staring so into the light to scan the darker recesses. At street level, she had underestimated how much she would appear to stand out even wearing as plain a garment as this cloak. The peasant crowds at street level going as far as to stare or even dare touch she had been forced to take her study of the lay of the land to the rooftops, or perhaps taking off hands at the elbow.
There was some time before the portal would be re-opened to allow her return, she must not miss that window. Therefore she mustn't risk travelling any further in, best to fill her mind with the sights she can make out from here and still make it back in time. She begins her paced and measured retreat across the rooftops back toward the wooden glade where her portal had first been opened.
The hooded stranger moving through the rooftops is not the only visitor from another world. Kotal had too be prowling the streets of Metro City in order to better acquaint himself with Earthrealm's opposition. He had discovered a broken people, full of despair and vices, their lives consumed by addictions of all kinds, drugs, money, power, lust, violence. There was a poison in their hearts though a different one that could be found in Outworld. The burning hatreds that burned in the citizens of Outworld were.. pure.. in comparison to this Earthrealmers, every Outworlders yearned to be the strongest one so that they might one day lead and raise above all else. Not so much with most of the people here, they seemed content to live their meaningless lives of ennui.
In fact, thus far Kotal had discovered that it was only those warlords already in power that would be a biggest hurdle to the invasion. Those powers such as Shadaloo whom had dared take over his once land of Aztlan, Huitzilopotchli had a special kind of torment prepared for those agents and their leader. But what of the heroes who would rise against Outworld? What of those pure of heart that would oppose the Emperor and the Immortal Armies of the Dragon King? Had it been so long since the last Mortal Kombat tournament that no one remembered of the threat of Outworld?
Kotal had come here following the advice of Erron Black hoping to find a clear grasp of the opposition and those of evil heart that might wish to join Outworld for a better life? Instead, the Aztec warrior had found nothing but down trodden folk who had already been vanquished by war and poverty. This time the invasion might be easier than the Emperor realizes.
Kotal had actually fared fairly well at blending in with the local populace. Though he was still a seven feet tall muscle bound man, Kotal had changed his attire and skin color to better blend in with the city. Apparently, tall muscled warriors such as him were common in the streets of Metro City and most people have him a wide berth when he walked the streets.
This meant that he was free from distractions when he sensed an Outworld presence moving on the rooftops of the city. The Aztec deity looked up and frowned, leaping towards the tallest building with a single bound.
Following the trail of Outworld chi, Kotal walked towards he sensed the presence and the lingering magics of Shang Tsung's portals. There was someone here, someone who frequented the palace, but he wasn't sure who exactly.
"Warrior of Outworld." Kotal calls to the darkness, his guise turning back to his normal Eagle Knight attire. "I know you are out there. It is I, General Kotal, show yourself."
The figure in the cowl moves only when stirred by the breeze at first until the pursuers identifies himself. On the far side of a 'device' on the rooftop, gently humming and emitting steam the figure steps around to make themselves partly visible. She was already so close to the portal the fact someone was following her so closely, she had been sure this encounter would turn deadly. The metallic grate and whisk-snap of a particular weapon as it folds closed.
The temerity of a man her father had named General to announce aloud his name an position. It was more than suitable! Near admirable, but not a role they shared. A princess would make for a terrible and shameful hostage. A general could die for their service with great honour.
"You do me honour announcing yourself General."
A coward would have fled on hearing it. The cloaked figure however refrains from identifying herself. Now exposed at least partially to the light the soft blue colour of the travel cloak, is distinctive enough, the sound of voice and ring of weapon being sheathed? For an Intruder from another realm such as Outworld they remain assured of their place in this new one.
As they walk further out into the light the click of heels when they step, slight frame would indicate a woman, if completely hidden away.
"What would you have of me General? To bar my path or-?"
Was he hoping to make use of the portal himself? The robes stir at some unseen gesture behind the curtain. The long dagger like object sheathed at her waist carefully so as not to tear or cut that cloak. Glinting just a little in the depths of the hood, relflected light. Her eyes saw this world as it was now -- what did Kotal's eyes see? Was this world different now than when he had left it all behind. In just a few thousand years?
Huitzilopotchli is no coward. Even if it had been the very Emperor himself appearing before him, Kotal would not flee or tremble. He is after all the Earthrealm God of War, that is not a position one attains by being frail of spirit. He is, however, very respectful and adheres to the chain of command. Unlike many Outworld denizens, Kotal is a being of peerless honor and though, yes, he has a hidden agenda, he is also one that treats with respect those who deserve it.
And who better than Princess Kitana to be deserving of this respect?
"Ah, Princess." Huitzilopotchli recognizes the chi signature and the voice of Shao Kahn's daughter immediately. As the cowled assassin emerges from her hiding spot, the Aztec warrior bows his head for a respectful salute. "It is you who honors me with your presence your highness. I did not expect to see you here."
The Aztec straightens up, glowing golden eyes that pierce the darkness of the night blink. Kitana's question intriguing him somewhat. "Bar your path, Princess? Why would I do such a thing?" The warrior frowns thoughtfully. Could it possibly be that Kitana doesn't know that he's in a scouting mission? Considering he heard no news that he was receiving support from Outworld outside of his chosen warriors, it is entirely possible that Kitana's presence here is a matter of happenstance and not actual reinforcements.
"Does your father know you are here in Earhtrealm?" Kitana's answer should provide Kotal with enough means to conclude on what is happening here.
In the depths of the hood and obscured by a mask, a scowl forms as she is addressed so. Even so close to an exit and safety. If forces lead by any of this realms gods were to detain a member of Shao Kahn's own family there would be consequences for the next Mortal Kombat tournament.
For the benefit of listeners, It was the first name that popped into her head, Mariko was much softer a name, she recalled it of a servant girl from some time past. More importantly it was -Not- Kitana, that name would be dangerous in these parts. Not in this place where the night may have ears. The word held the bark and sting of a command before she composes herself, a slip of her own tongue to take such a tone. Clearly just a little agitated she keeps her speech civil and begins to patiently answer.
"My Father trusts my eyes, my ability to relay to him what I have seen."
She mentions no names, speaks not of any authority she may or may not have. Sometimes her counsel was valued, but she was hardly the authority in these matters. The world was foreign to her, the peoples choosing to advance their 'technology' while in Edenia there was much greater a focus on magic's; in Outworld it was about cultivating strength and power.
"My perspective may be different from someone born in this realm."
Her amnswer betrays the curiosity. A well-travelled Princess, Assassin and Emissary of the throne she was no stranger to visiting the realms as was required of her. But trespassing on 'Earth' was new to her, as was being completely surrounded by enemies who would not recognize her worth or status in a most dangerous game.
Again does Kotal frown when 'Mariko' answers him in such a way. The Aztec deity had always known Princess Kitana to be one who values greatly the art of subterfuge, a drastically different view than her twin sister Princess Mileena. Although Kotal is vaguely concerned as to why Kitana would opt to take on a nomme de plume whilst visiting Earthrealm, far be it from him that he would question Shao Kahn's daughter. Of the two daughters, Kotal has always valued Kitana's judgment far more than Mileena, and who knows, given her dedication to her father and his orders perhaps the Princess is seeing something that he is not.
"Very well, Mariko." Kotal complies to the Princess' request to be addressed in such a manner. As she explains then that it was indeed Shao Kahn who sent her to be his eyes, a smirk spreads over the Aztec's lips and his tattoos glow faintly with gold on the night. "Wonderful, then perhaps you may be able to assist my warriors and I. Surely you must know that the Emperor has sent us to be his vanguard in Earthrealm."
Kitana's next point draws a slight surprise from Kotal. There it is, the 'thing' that Kitana was seeing and that he did not. "Aah." Kotal says as he finally seems to understand. "Could it be that this is your first time in Earthrealm?" Mayhap the reason why the Princess is here is not entirely because her father had ordered her to scout. She must be experiencing a case of curious Princess.
"I see, I see. Forgive my manners, er, Mariko. You know how I tend to focus far too much on business."
"Would you, perhaps, be interested in a tour? Much has changed since I walked the Earth, but I can still recognize a fair amount of things."
The robed figure remains still, asilently considering and weighing his words alongside her options. She picks her words carefully to impart meaning more to one familiar with their positions.
"I will assist as best I can. However, it would be disastrous for the upcoming festivities /and/ my family if I were to remain here."
Her tone is most light; the words themselves are chilling to her. (If Princess Kitana were to be apprehended her in Earthrealm. It could cause disastrous penalties for the Mortal Kombat to come.)
"I am not entirely unfamiliar with the place."
It was indeed her first time here in the realm and most books and works she had read of on this subject appeared to be from other locations or well out of date. The usual assuredness in her voice is feigned, a verbal tic or the royalty where they rarely admit to having no experience or first-hand knowledge. If experiencing something for yourself were to be venerated higher than the pursuit of knowledge. Farmers would be idolized and scholars scorned. She knew all that was recorded in Edenia and Outworld, Which was admittedly not much.
"I would much like to hear of your experiences, how this world has changed. As well as any relevant information from your servants."
Yes, she knew about the infamous Erron Black. The gunman's reputation preceded him, his notably unusual form of dress and exotic weaponry. A former Earthrealmer and General of her father's forces hiring another of his kind. She was intrigued! Not entirely without suspicion but most interested in two different perspectives to compare against her own.
"You are right, of course." Says the Aztec deity as he once again reminded why is it that he favors Princess Kitana over Mileena. It is no secret that Mileena had dived head long into Earthrealm a few months ago, with total disregard to the consequences of what would happen if she were to be captured. Kitana is no such fool and has taken preventive measures, even more of a reason why Kotal seems to be very eager to sway her into aiding his team. "But fear not, as long as my warriors and I are here, we shall make certain that these loathsome mortals do you no harm." Truly, though the reconquest of his lands are currently Kotal's top priority, he would truly put everything down if it meant to save the Princess. Kotal still has his honor even if he is now within the ranks of Outworld.
"It would be my pleasure to show you all that Earthrealm has to offer, my lady." Smiles Kotal with a bright gesture that somewhat mimics how closely he is related with the sun itself. "Long have I studied the history of Earthrealm and mingled with its people for nearly thousands of years." After all, Kotal is an Earthrealm native and he would know such things. "I am certain I can deduce what happened in the long years of my absence after some studies. After all, that is partially the reason why I am here."
"As for my warriors, Erron is currently in a mission of his own, researching some brigands that may be interested in joining our forces. However, the bulk of my chosen warriors still remain in Outworld. Ermac was injured in an expedition and currently regenerating in his chamber. D'vorah, Reptile and Ferra/Torr are still pending leave of absence approval from the Emperor's armies."
The offer was a tempting one. She wasn't aware of many of the social graces and how best to move without attracting notice, just yet.
"Your offer does possess... substantial merit. Very well." The offer was intriguing, mostly for what it offered as a guide. Readily swayed by reason and evidence it would be a wise investment of her time. It might have been enlightening to join the expedition proper, but the Princess had little interest in the other forces involved. They appeared primarily comprised mostly of Imbeciles and primitive intellects. Things that might not be missed or best served as cannon fodder.
Though, The news regarding Ermac was just a little alarming. What on this earth could possibly have caused that?
Kitana seems unmoved by mention of such a timeframe as thousands of years. Generals must plan wars, The Edenian being especially long lived; her own age was reportedly over ten thousand years. To her alien eyes it's more an amazement that this world has changed so in such a brief amount of time. If he had been studying them thus for long then he should have a stronger lead and depth of understanding to the changes.
"I go where I am needed. Formally? I was never here at all."
She could not simply or officially join these forces, with a little time and effort she could probably construct another identity that could seemingly allow her to do so at a whim. Gloved hand rising to cradle and stroking an obscured chin, something she could solve but still considered as a problem for another time and place.
Excellent news indeed. Whether Kitana was motivated out of curiosity for Earthrealm or a desire to please her father, it ultimately did not matter to Kotal. He doubted she was interested in fully joining his forces outside a direct mandate from the Emperor, royals such as her rarely sullied their hands by mingling with the 'rabble' that was considered Kotal's elite force. Even someone as relative down to earth as Kitana still saw everything with the perspective of those that made their living within the Imperial Palace. No, it did not matter to Huitzilopotchli the why or the how Kitana accepted to participate in his expedition. Having the Princess herself was a tremendous boon, and that is all that mattered.
"You honor me." Says Aztec simply with a winning smile. Direct assistance from a royal was far better than he expected, perhaps he would not have to carry the entire weight of the invasion on his own shoulders as he feared.
As to Kitana's insistence that she could not officially join him, Kotal of course understood. "Fear not, my lady. As far as the Emperor and his pet sorcerers are concerned I am not even here either." Its very common in Outworld for the right hand not to know what the left hand is doing.
"Ah, but before we begin our journey." Kotal points out. "You may wish to rethink your attire, Mariko." He astutely points out that Kitana is wearing the standard Outworld garb of robes and cloak, something that is decidedly out of fashion in Metro City. "We should endeavor on acquiring a better disguise for your highness. I am confident I can help you better mingle with these mortals."
As if to show his own expertise with Earthrealm, Kotal snaps a finger and his turquoise skin turns to a more human brown. His Eagle Knight attire changes too, and is transformed into a cotton shirt, jeans and sandals, looking like someone from south of the border.
"In the meantime why not address me by a more Earthrealm name?" Looks like Kotal liked Kitana's idea of having a codename. After all 'Kotal' is a name that would garner much attention no matter where he went. He smiles as he remember his exploits of the past and thinks of a name that irk him greatly back in the day.
"Call me Cortez whilst we are here, my lady." Inwardly, Kotal hopes that the spirit of that Conquistador Hernan somewhere felt his name being used by his ancient enemy, the God of the people he sought to enslave.
The transformation in Kotal is impressive, the skin tone is not a subtle shift but on the whole the transformation is. Small changes overall to hide his true form. His chosen name is meaningless to her in historical context. Her calling him so in the here and now acceptable unconditionally since it probably alluded to a 'nationality' or regions naming convention he was attempting to pass as.
Finally deigning to remove the hood the princess reveals much of why she was attracting notice on the ground below. Her hair tied back, framing her face on either side. The light silvery touch of makeup and shadowing around her eyes is bordered and accented by the royal blue mask, the high collar of the outfit worn below the cloak clinging to her throat. Any fool peering curiously into the hood would have seen those eyes in the depth, enough to cause her problems in a society where people were free to question, interrupt or try to stop her. What she might do to those impediment's in her path?
"Very well, Cortez. Will it take long to arrange?"
A disguise would be most helpful. She must still stick to schedule however. Concerned with keeping to her word and meeting obligations. If she did not return in time, might be a case of the messenger's being killed when trying to inform someone in authority they had lost or misplaced one of the Royalty. If for some reason The Princess had unexpectedly and completely missed her deadline to return? There would be consequences for the ritualists who had begun the ritual to send her. It was not just Shang Tsung's magic's anymore; he had pioneered the magic's it was true! The Art had been of his devising, but it belonged to the Throne now. Ritualists however were not as valuable as the genius himself and didn't have his... protections.
Perhaps in her time spent with General Kotal and his troops, Kitana might understand the intricacies of Earthrealm and see it with the same eyes as the God Huitzilopotchli. For it is not well kept secret that Kotal is from Earthrealm and that he fought against Outworld in a Mortal Kombat tournament long ago. He does have a certain fondness for the realm, although he wouldn't be the only one from Earthrealm that now fights for the Emperor, one needs to look no further than Erron Black to know that.
When questioned about time constraints, Kotal frowns and pulls a small sun dial that he carries with him at all times. His eyes narrow and he shines a small portion of stored sunlight within him to look at what time is it currently at night. The answer doesn't seem to please him too much. "Unfortunately, most mortals sleep at this time, at least the ones who own shops and would willing to sale their wares." Kotal can actually think of a few shops in Metro City that are open at that time of night and would sell clothes, but nothing that he would want the Princess of Outworld to wear, particularly not Kitana.
"We should commence our exploration in the morning when commerce starts anew and there are less Darkstalkers prowl the streets. Open Kombat is far less acceptable in Earthrealm, Princess. These mortals would not take well if you were to maim them for their transgression, whoever rightfully you may be for punishing their insolence." Thus begins Kotal's attempt at teaching Princess Kitana on Earthrealm manners 101, a subject the Aztec is certain Mileena failed to grasp long ago.
He does, however, notice Kitana's anxiousness and gestures towards her. "But if you must return to Outworld for now, by all means do so, my lady. It would be unwise to keep your father waiting for long."
"We can always begin with our expedition some other time."
As 'Cortez' projects light into and examines his pocket sundial 'Mariko' remains in what polluted gloom this city had instead of real darkness. In Outworld, the blues and blacks would have blended better into darkness and shadow, in this oddly well-lit place she was getting the impression that she stood out because of it.
That this strange city should be so seemingly alive with debauchery at night and yet there was a powerlessness to acquire goods and services. This was a strange and alien world to her but that was perhaps she was seeing the seediest side of it.
If the useful citizens who provided all the commerce and services were the- 'most mortals' whom were asleep at this hour. It would be unwise to set her opinions in stone just yet.
Kitana's resonse to the cautionary warning about Darkstalkers is an modest raising of eyebrows. Simple dangerous beasts or something more troublesome? It's only when this seemingly well intentioned reminder not to punish them for their transgressions against her, does genuine surprise register before her eyes flash angrily. She was used to blending in with some kinds of commoner, those rich enough and well educated enough to step lively to avoid incurring the wrath of such a person. Those who would stop one such as was disguised as... were rabble she was used to being free to dispose of and considered it to be a positive aspect of her work. Better they accost someone capable of defending themselves.
"My patience has its limits Cortez."
Still a royal pain with her adherence to her rightful place in -every- society, the princess had a reputation for having a kind and compassionate streak, caring for her citizens and their welfare was one of her greatest failings in her Fathers eyes. That and the softness that prevented her ending her feud with her twin sister.
"However, being mindful of your advice I will endeavour to be more -- lenient."
It left a bitter taste in her mouth. She would have to try for the sake of the mission and her own satisfaction, but only now was she getting a feeling for how difficult that might be in practice. Going from being the voice and letter of authority to attempting to slink around in the shadows and avoid being noticed while under the jurisdiction of others and enemies.
"My return portal will open shortly and briefly. I will regretfully take my leave then. ...General."
A genteel inclination of her head in his direction is a modest bow, as befitting their proper rank and station before she makes to withdraw. Raising her hood, ensuring it's fitted correctly she produces a metallic Kris from the depths of the robes, the gleaming blade which unfolds into a lethal yet still gorgeously decorative wide fan.
Until their next meeting.
Kitana's jump is modest, keeping a low profile and not rising too high above the cityscape. It's the clap of wind and residual gusting winds in her wake as she turns ballistic in her while speeding away across the rooftops at great speed.
"Of course, Mariko." Kotal answered with humble bow of his head to the disguised Princess. He, perhaps better than most in Outworld, knew of Kitana's tendencies in court. In reality, she was a lot like him in the way they separated themselves from Outworld royalty and those that resided in the court of the Emperor. There were those that fit perfectly well in what Shao Kahn deemed the 'proper' way for his family to behave. There was Mileena who took unspeakable pleasure in gleefully slaughtering anyone that so much as looked at her the wrong way, then there were those mindless drones like Ermac and Skarlet who followed orders to the letter. That kind of behavior was acceptable in court. Not so much the leniency that Kitana and Kotal offered to those less fortunate souls. Perhaps yet another reason why the Aztec warlord was truly elated to see that Kitana had mustered enough curiosity to join his expedition. He could think of no one better from the royal family to join him. Because as much as Queen Sindel had started off as a wise and compassionate leader, the Empress' heart was far too poisoned now by Shao Kahn's evil to be trusted.
"Fare you well then, your Highness. Rest assured I will make the proper preparations for your return."
"You will not be disappointed."
A dark smirk spreads through Kotal's lips when the Princess takes off a neck breaking speeds. He remains in his disguise and watches cautiously as she flies off into the distance.
Good, good. Even if he does not manage to get all his troops consolidated in Earthrealm, a vanguard like Erron and Kitana, plus any stray mercenary and Darkstalker that is swayed by him would provide more than enough firepower to tip the scales for Outworld.
Phase one of the invasion was proceeding smoothly.
Log created on 19:58:05 07/31/2016 by Kitana, and last modified on 20:32:39 08/17/2016.