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Overview
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Concept Art of the Hourglass

The Hourglass, sometimes referred to as Kronika's Hourglass, is a special relic controlled and maintained by Kronika, the Keeper of Time and Architect of History. The Hourglass is the focal point of her power, allowing her to alter time and space itself, plan or alter course history, or even bring those in the past to the present. The Hourglass is protected by Kronika and her forces in the very heart of her personal keep.

History

The Hourglass has served as Kronika's focal point and symbol of her absolute power over time for eons. With it, she has created countless timelines, all in the name of seeking out order and balance through all realms. Whenever history begins to go in a direction that displeases her, in specific cases the scales between good and evil go out of sync and lose balance, Kronika begins gathering as much power as she can before turning back the Sands of Time within the Hourglass itself to wipe out the current timeline and begin again.

Kronika has created New Era after New Era a number of untold times, but her final attempt to rewrite history came when she became displeased by the thunder god Raiden once more upset her balance by changing history himself through giving his younger incarnation visions of the future with a warning to change history and prevent Armageddon, in which the conqueror Shao Kahn ultimately emerges victorious and all powerful. When Raiden, newly corrupted after his battle with Kronika's own fallen Elder God son, Shinnok, decapitates and prepares to use Shinnok's severed head as a symbol of warning for those who would challenge him or threaten Earthrealm, Kronika finally intervenes and begins making preparations to rewrite time.

To protect herself and her Hourglass, Kronika enlists the vengeful Revenants, Liu Kang and Kitana, their fellow undead Kung Lao, Jade and Kabal, their demonic army, and uses her Hourglass to collide the past with the present, summoning multiple kombatants, most dead in the present with few now having both past and present incarnations at the same time. Among those she summons are Shao Kahn, his enforcer and War Chief of the previously extinct but also restored Tarkata, Baraka, presumed dead blood mage Skarlet, and younger versions of the Black Dragon mercenaries, their leader Kano, gunslinger Erron Black, and bladed speedster Kabal.

Whether by design or accidental, Kronika also brings younger versions of Johnny Cage, Jackson Briggs, and the younger Sonya Blade, who's present counterpart had recently died. Summoned alongside Shao Kahn and his followers were living versions of Liu Kang, Kitana, Kung Lao, and Jade. A past incarnation of Raiden, before his corruption, was also pulled into the present, but due to Raiden's status as an immortal god, this caused his present day Dark Raiden incarnation to cease to exist, crumbling him into sand.

After recruiting Shao Kahn and his followers to her side, Kronika next used her Hourglass to restore Sektor and his Cyber Lin Kuei Assembly plant back to full function, bringing his slave Cyrax back as well. The Cyber Lin Kuei would kidnap and cyberize members of Grandmaster Sub-Zero's Lin Kuei clan to create cyborg ninja soldiers to further increase Kronika's forces. The only Lin Kuei from Sub-Zero's clan to willingly be turned was the renege Frost. Kronika also recruited the shadowy specter Noob Saibot to her side with promises of a clan of his own in the New Era.

To further empower herself to create the New Era, Kronika sent her personal enforcer, the automaton construct, Geras, to gather vials of Earthrealm's Jinsei, sending the past version of Scorpion to aide him, the fiery revenant promised that his wife and child would live again in the New Era. Though the past Liu Kang and Kung Lao attempted to stop Geras, Kronika personally intervened and they left with the Jinsei.

Wishing to weaken Raiden's forces, Kronika sent her Black Dragon followers, to whom their leader, past and present versions of Kano, she promised to ensure their supremacy in her New Era, to kidnap the past Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade, essentially holding the present Cage and his daughter, Cassie Cage, hostage by threatening to kill them and thus their present selves.

Kronika next recruited the present Jax Briggs by promising him and his family a better life in her New Era, and next had her daughter, the Elder Goddess of Life and Virtue, Cetrion, betray her fellow Elder Gods, allowing Kronika to kill them so they would not threaten her plans. Kronika then had her followers go to retrieve her crown from Shang Tsung's Island, where it was absorbing the countless souls Tsung himself had stored away in his Well of Souls so that Kronika could use them to gain the last bit of power needed to begin turning back time.

Though Raiden and his forces stormed her Keep, with the thunder god surprising Kronika for the first time in ages by giving his power to Liu Kang, turning him into a Fire God and making him the only threat left to her plans, Kronika succeeded in turning back time after absorbing Cetrion and her own power, but was killed by Liu Kang before she could begin creating her New Era. With Kronika's destruction, the Hourglass was left in Liu Kang and Kitana's possession, the two vowing to let mortals choose their own destines in the New Era they would craft, free from Kronika's corrupt balance at last.

In Aftermath, Liu Kang was shown to have made a grave error as Shang Tsung, Nightwolf and Fujin emerged from a portal from the void to warn him to stop tampering with the Hourglass. In destroying Kronika, her Crown was destroyed as well. Shang Tsung reveals that the Crown was not merely an amplifier, but the most vital component of the Hourglass. Without it, the Hourglass will begin to break and in doing so, doom all of reality. However, the ability to travel back in time was still within Liu Kang's power. Though the fire god proposes to simply go back and redo the fight so that the Crown could be taken from her, Shang Tsung objects as it would leave too much to chance. He instead suggests he be sent back in the previous timeline so he can return to his island and bring it to Raiden and restore history. Raiden questions why he should be trusts, but Shang Tsung retorts that as Kronika's pawn, he alone knows more about the Hourglass and the Crown than anyone. Suspecting betrayal, Liu Kang pulls Fujin aside and informs him of his plan to confront Shang Tsung himself should Tsung prove duplicitous, take back the crown and restore history. Liu Kang assures him that the risk is worth the reward and says not to tell Nightwolf anything. Liu Kang agrees to Shang Tsung's plan and sends him along with his Earthrealm friends to retrieve the Crown.

Through the Hourglass, Liu Kang witnessed the events unfold, from the gathering of forces to Shang Tsung's secret scheme unfold, leading to Fujin giving Shang Tsung the Crown when he was in the guise of Raiden as well as defeating Shao Kahn, Sindel and even Kronika. At that moment, Liu Kang traveled back to combat Tsung one final time for final possession of the Crown, confident that his victory over the Titan would ensure him victory over his longtime foe.

Should Liu Kang win, Shang Tsung ceases to exist. Liu Kang takes up the crown and restores history. However, as the new protector god of Earthrealm, he decides to make a small deviation. Traveling back in the distant past, he meets a young Kung Lao and personally enlists him as his new disciple to prepare him.

Should Shang Tsung win, he consumes the Fire God's soul and rewrites history, becoming the sole Elder God, on a campaign of conquest of all realms with Raiden and Fujin as his enforcers. With Earthrealm, Outworld and the Netherrealm under his control, he smirks, poised to rule over all.

Trivia

  • Inside the Hourglass flow the literal Sands of Time, with both the sands and the hourglass itself commonly used visual metaphor used to represent the passage of time itself across various media.
  • In most endings, the Hourglass transforms the user's body and clothing as they become Keeper of Time
    • Despite all endings giving the winner freedom to rewrite history with the Hourglass, none of them depict the victor with the Crown as Aftermath reveals its necessity to control it despite it being left behind after her death
      • Even more confusing is that Fujin, Sheeva and Robocop - characters introduced in Aftermath where this plot point was revealed - do not wear the Crown in their endings when they use the Hourglass.

See Also

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