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Death is no Obstacle was a narrative released on the official Killer Instinct website to serve as a backstory for Kan-Ra in Killer Instinct (2013). It was released in a news post on January 27, 2016.

Kan-Ra's Story[]

Kan-Ra was a vizier in Babylonian times—an extremely handsome man with a powerful magnetism and ability to sway peoples’ minds. His hubris led him to orchestrate a conspiracy against his monarch that involved a wealthy noble, a general, a bandit, and himself. The King, much wiser than the conspirators, was well prepared for this betrayal. He used all the powers at his disposal and the darkest magicks he could conjure to curse each of the four, damning them with unique punishments.

The King utterly stripped away Kan-Ra’s ability to influence people and exiled him from the realm. Nobody would follow him ever again of their own free will. But Kan-Ra was determined to break this curse. Desperate in his thirst for knowledge, he sought out every magician, alchemist and mad hermit he could find, undergoing brutal treatments, horrific surgeries, and dark corrupting magicks. In his obsessive quest, the dark arts that Kan-Ra invoked and embraced slowly consumed him. His body rotted, withered and became desiccated; but he found he could not die.

Learning of Kan-Ra’s survival and nefarious corruption, the Babylonian King sent the ancient sentient war golem Aganos to hunt him across the globe, but neither one was able to defeat the other, a recurring personal war waged every century or so whenever Aganos managed to track Kan-Ra down yet again. But Kan-Ra would always escape. Centuries went by as the sorcerer traveled the Mediterranean and Africa, always on the run, always hiding his decomposed face in rags; and using his magicks to secure positions with the rulers of a plethora of city-states and kingdoms, causing death and mayhem wherever he alighted.

During the 4th century BC he was serving the ruler of the Phoenician city of Tyre when Alexander the Great invaded the land and demanded to make a sacrifice inside the city’s famous temple of Melqart. Here were kept two sacred and magical Egyptian daggers named Temperance and Vengeance—golden daggers that were guarded day and night by armed warriors. Kan-Ra lusted after these weapons and knew that if Alexander saw them he would seize them for himself. Kan-Ra convinced the ruler of Tyre to have Alexander’s envoys beheaded, causing the enraged Macedonian king to put the city under siege. After seven months the starved population could no longer resist Alexander’s army and the walls were breached. In the chaos of the slaughter that followed, Kan-Ra slew the guards in the temple of Melqart, took the daggers and escaped the city.

The sorcerer eventually found his way across the Atlantic Ocean to the New World, and a remote citadel nestled deep in the Andes Mountains. He used his powers to trick the people living there into thinking that he was a messenger of Viracocha -- the Incan god of creation. The Inca worshiped the mummified bodies of their ancestors, and so they believed that Kan-Ra was one of these forefathers come back to life. The sorcerer reigned as a petty tyrant in this little kingdom, terrorizing the locals and earning the citadel the name “The Mountain of the Dead.”


Kan-Ra delved deep into his studies, poring over arcane tomes that he had collected in his travels, trying to figure out a way to open a doorway to the Astral Plane—the home of celestial beings and powerful gods. He also had the fragments of a papyrus document recounting a great battle waged by creatures called Shadow Lords. The Astral Plane, he knew, was the key to gaining unlimited might.

Centuries went by before Aganos was able to track down Kan-Ra again, but this time, the Night Guard—an Inca order of monster hunters—appeared, turning the tide on Kan-Ra and preventing his escape. Unable to kill the sorcerer who had plagued their land and enslaved and murdered their people, the order burned Kan-Ra alive and sealed away his corrupted ashes in a vault deep beneath the citadel. The order claimed this place as their base of operations and kept watch over the sorcerer’s remains, along with his massive collection of powerful and dangerous artifacts. Kan-Ra, unable to die, swirled for centuries as a formless dust.

Over five hundred years later, when Ultratech attacked the Night Guard’s citadel, Kan-Ra’s spirit was accidentally set free. The sorcerer fled from the temple, reforming into his current physical manifestation once again. Now he sought the power to rule the world which he felt he so rightly deserved, in a new age that was unaware of his gifts, and unprepared for the magicks he wielded.

In a quest to control the Astral beings and the forces that gathered beyond a portal that he finally managed to create, Kan-Ra baited Aganos into a final battle. Subduing the immortal machine, he tapped into its connection to the Astral plane and drew tremendous energies through it, imbuing himself with enough power to create a stable connection to this other realm.

Drunk on power, Kan-Ra realized too late that the obsession to trap and control that which lay in wait on the other side of the portal was not of his own doing, for he’d been tricked into these actions by a malevolent Astral entity—one of the Shadow Lords he had read about long ago. Given a brief vision of the true power of the thing beyond, Kan-Ra recoiled in fear, realizing that he was nothing but a speck when compared to the might that was waiting to invade the Earth. Regaining his senses, he commanded all the energies at his disposal to shut the portal, but it was too late. A connection was made, and soon the shadow beast would come for them all.

Undaunted, Kan-Ra knows the world is not without balance, and for every evil creature and dark desire, there are opposing forces and ideas that will rise up to face such threats. He turns his attention towards finding and studying these saviors, so that he can take their powers for his own, and then subjugate all with control over both forces.

He is constantly searching for rare and sacred artifacts; and is always managing the symmetry between curses and boons as he seeks more power. Death is not an obstacle for him, and he believes that there will always be yet another chance to tip the scales in his favor.

Kan-Ra's Biography[]

Babylon, 559 BC: Kan-Ra is named vizier, head advisor to the throne.

Over his years of study in this position, he becomes fascinated with the King’s enigmatic royal guard – a living statue – and the magic that keeps it alive. From all of Kan-Ra’s cautious attempts to observe and study the creature, he deduces that its power source could theoretically keep it alive forever. The thought of being able to study and learn until the end of time enthralls Kan-Ra and feeds his obsession for knowledge.

Scholarly research in the royal libraries into past wonders and lost arts of magic fuels his ambition; Kan-Ra feels that as the smartest person in Babylon only he is qualified to rule. He seduces the King’s wife using a charm spell and begins setting in motion a plan to take the throne by using the Queen as his assassin.

Lacking the power to control the spell effectively, it wears off prematurely. The Queen, thinking herself simply coming to her senses after being seduced by Kan-Ra, is overwhelmed by guilt, killing herself and leaving a note detailing her and Kan-Ra’s betrayal.

Enraged, the King has Kan-Ra hunted down and captured by his royal guard, who brings a bloodied and beaten Kan-Ra before the throne. The King summons his most powerful sorcerers and curses Kan-Ra with a withering curse- a painful dark spell that disintegrates flesh and organs slowly... and painfully. Writhing in agony, rotting a bit more every day, Kan-Ra was exiled, his ambition doomed to wither away into nothingness along with him.

In exile Kan-Ra uses what little knowledge he has gained of magic to slow down the withering of his organs and body. While the King assumes he is dead, Kan-Ra’s intellect is focused on reversing the rot so that he can have his revenge. He tracks down sorcerers and occultists versed in dark magic, learning what he can. Unable to slow his rot further, he instead places upon himself other curses that work to offset the rot. He seeks out magical artifacts and talismans to ease the pains and ailments these layers of curses cause him, carrying them on him in an ever-growing number; a magical balancing act of curses and boons at play throughout his being.

External Links[]

Kan-Ra's Official Backstory on the official Killer Instinct Website

Kan-Ra's Character Page on the official Killer Instinct Website