Tanya ~ New Girl (#TanyaMKX)

Previously ~ Cold-Blooded Snake

"Her name is Tanya; they say she is an Edenian who studied under Shang Tsung," Jade reported to her Queen.  She was tall woman, long-legged with dark skin and even darker hair.  Dressed in shimmering green, she was often heralded as the great beauty of the court.

"An Edenian?" Queen Sindel was intrigued for the first time in months.  She looked away from her golden vanity, keeping her voice low so the gaggle of handmaidens cleaning her vast chambers wouldn't hear.  "From what house?"

"If I understand the oral records correctly, her father was the late Ambassador who advised our King," Jade replied.

Sindel turned back to her mirror, applying a light cream to her pale skin.  She was a buxom, graying woman of refined beauty, often robed in purple and black.  Though not particularly liked by the Outworlders, she was still respected as the Edenian wife of the Kahn.

"What's she like?" the Queen asked.

"We know nothing of her thus far.  She was to be betrothed to General Rain, but they say she's been demoted to the status mistress."

Sindel's mood soured.  "She probably couldn't stomach being married to such a traitor."

Tanya ~ Cold-Blooded Snake (#TanyaMKX)

Previously ~ Servants of the Kahn

"Your desperation knows no bounds, old man."

Shang Tsung's teeth grated.  "I can assure you, General, it's no lie that I've taken her into my bed, many times, since last you were here."

Rain calmly sipped his afternoon tea, once again enjoying the fragrant breeze the of lush gardens.  He briefly gazed into his cup before raising level eyes to the old sorcerer.

"That's what I mean," he said calmly.  "I knew you favored her the moment I met you.  The way you tried so hard to sell me on the fortress...."  He shook his head and laughed.  "I should've known.   You're not the only palace lord to bed his court ladies, sorcerer.  Queen Sindel loathes the very sight of the Emperor; how do you think he satiates?  He keeps a beautiful woman at arm's length at all times."  The Edenian flashed a handsome grin, relishing the wave of irritation that swept over Shang's face.

"Since betrothal contracts insist that the future bride be a virgin, I obviously cannot make her my wife" -- and here, Shang detected the tiniest note of relief -- "but she can still be my mistress.  Either way, she comes with me."

Tanya ~ Servants of the Kahn (#TanyaMKX)

Previously ~ Control

Tanya strode determinedly to her chamber, not waiting for Li Mei to catch.  She needed to look and feel her best tonight.  This was her one chance to get out of this hell and she knew it; after all, what were the odds the Emperor himself would just randomly show up to Shang Tsung's island?

"Fetch me a bath," she commanded the first maid she saw as she entered the palace.  "Make sure the water's piping hot.  And send in the girl who does massage; I think I pulled a muscle at practice."

Tanya noticed the tightening of the maid's jaw as she bowed and left.  Tanya felt a wave of irritation; these Outworlder servants didn't like her new status at the palace and though they were obedient, she could still sense their indignation.  Sometimes she felt the urge to remind them who was boss.

All I have to do is show that miserable old sorcerer some affection, and he'll rend the flesh from your bones for me.

But then...she'd be stuck on his island for all eternity, and she wasn't about to have that.


Tanya ~ Control (#TanyaMKX)

Previously ~ Tangled Webs

Another few days came and went, the girls soon resumed their training under Sheeva.  To their unspoken surprise, they were not invited to dine with Rain, and they were not allowed to eat in the great hall until after he and Ermac departed.

The wheels in Tanya's head irritably began to spin.

One night...the man is forever old and yet after one night with a woman, he becomes unhinged and behaves like a vindictive schoolboyIt is pathetic beyond words.

If he thinks to keep me for himself, it will come at a steep price.

She already knew it was coming and braced herself for it.  The issue was no longer whether she could talk her way out of sharing his bed (for she already knew she couldn't), but what she could gain in return.

The night Rain left, Tanya was not surprised she was summoned to Shang Tsung's chambers.  He was waiting for her in his younger skin, and when he strode toward her, it was with a newfound confidence.

"It appears Lord Rain considers marriage too much of a burden, and has decided a bride is not a necessary part of negotiation.  He settled for 10,000 soldiers and a fortress instead."

Tanya ~ Tangled Webs (#TanyaMKX)

Previously ~ Deceptions

Shang Tsung's household was always up by dawn; Tanya and Li Mei had their regular training with Sheeva, and the servants had their errands and chores.  But when a guest was visiting, the household often played by ear, giving the ladies time to practice their more courtly skills, tending to their looks, showing off their charms, and other such frivolities.

Breakfast was served about an hour after dawn; there was a delightful spread of fresh fruits and bread straight from the ovens, slathered with sweet honey and buttery oils.  Li Mei ate with good appetite while Tanya pushed her food around her plate.  Shang Tsung, back in the guise of a wizened old man, sat drinking most likely his sixth cup of tea, but Rain was absent.  The demon Ermac eventually arrived to confirm he was hung over.

Tanya's ears pricked up.  "I can see to him, my lord," she volunteered.  She turned to a nearby page.  "Send to the kitchens for some bitter tea.  It will help settle his stomach."

"No need," Shang Tsung piped up.  Everyone at the table looked at him in surprise, since she had merely offered to do what most future wives did.  "Let our guest sleep.  He's traveled a long way."


Tanya ~ Deceptions (#TanyaMKX)

Previously ~ Compromises

After lengthy negotiations over army size and encampment locations, Tanya finally suggested that Li Mei dance for them.  Rain's eyes followed the Outworlder woman closely as she moved, and Tanya briefly breathed a sigh of relief.  For things to work, she'd have to carefully maneuver all the pieces.

Thankfully, Rain was already quite tipsy, having drunk several cups of wine over the course of evening.  And since Tanya needed to keep him off balance, she filled his cup again and again without needing to be asked.  It also helped that Li Mei, who was apparently easily charmed, kept her eyes glued Rain as she danced for them.

It won't be hard to convince her to go to his room.  In fact, she expected Li Mei to offer to take her place, and she had no plans to object.  She needed those two occupy each other tonight, and Tanya was certain it would be easy.

It was the part which came afterward that would be difficult.

Tanya ~ Compromises (#TanyaMKX)

Previously ~ Centuries Past

Apparently, Li Mei and the older sorcerer must have been of one mind, because a dress was specially sent to their for Tanya.  It was a deep, golden yellow color, gauzy and sheer in textured.  It draped over a single shoulder and dragged across the floor when she practice walking in it.

Li Mei, who was wearing a pretty pink dress that covered far more, whispered in awe.  "It's enchanted."

"Oh?" Tanya looked down.  "How do you figure?"

"The gauze can make you appear either naked or fully covered, depending upon the viewer's gaze.  I had to wear something like this once before; Shang Tsung charms the fabric himself."

Tanya wanted to roll her eyes.  So...the old man is a pervert after all.  She suddenly paused, slightly surprised by this realization.

"He must like you in that color," Li Mei guessed.  "At least...that's the reason he gave for putting me in a purple dress."

Tanya actually preferred blacks and reds, but if Shang Tsung favored her in golds and yellows, she would have to take that into consideration.

In the distance, a temple bell tolled, announcing sunset.  Tanya looked at her roommate.  "Shall we go?"