Murder of Crows was a narrative released on the official Killer Instinct website to serve as a rebooted backstory for Thunder in Killer Instinct (2013). It was released in a news post on November 2, 2015.
Thunder grew up on a Nez Perce reservation in Idaho with his younger brother Eagle. They were the grandchildren of a chief, and their parents were both tribal police officers who encouraged their boys to “walk with the law,” keeping the moral high-ground and refusing to give in to negativity and vice. The brothers studied hard in school and were gifted athletes. Thunder was built like a mountain and played football, while Eagle was a wrestler and amateur boxer.
When Thunder was a teenager he went on a vision quest in the wilderness to seek his weyekin or spirit guide that would help bridge the gap between our world and the Spirit World. A great storm came as he sat upon a mountaintop, bolts of lightning striking all round him. His spirit guide came to him at that moment. Thunder saw a flock of crows appear from nowhere, and one of them—a great black bird—spoke to him in his native language. It told him that he would fight an evil monster one day, and that he must begin training in earnest with the traditional weapon of Native Americans—the tomahawk. He became obsessed with keeping his heritage alive after that, studying the Nez Perce language, folklore and even traditional medicine with the elders of his tribe, his goal to one day become a teacher at the local Indian college.
Eagle went on his own vision quest a few years later. He would never tell Thunder what he saw, but soon after he discovered his weyekin he started training to become an ultimate fighter with an almost religious fervor.
When Thunder and Eagle were in their late twenties, their parents were killed under mysterious circumstances. The couple was gunned down outside an Ultratech facility near the reservation—a factory that had been fined repeatedly for polluting the native land. The FBI blamed their deaths on drug dealers, but Thunder and Eagle knew better.
The brothers started trying to build a case against Ultratech, which they suspected was behind the murders. But all of their efforts were thwarted by the powerful megacorp. In a desperate attempt to infiltrate Ultratech, Eagle—now a skilled amateur fighter—entered the first Killer Instinct tournament. Ultratech claimed that the young man was killed in a match, but they refused to return the corpse to Thunder and his tribe for burial.
In a fit of blind rage Thunder drove his car through the gates of the local Ultratech plant. He jumped out of his car and fought the security guards who’d surrounded him, putting a dozen of them in the hospital. He was caught by the tribal police and incarcerated, screaming that he would “Burn Ultratech to the ground.” The charges against him were quickly dropped by Ultratech and he was released from jail. That night the Ultratech facility was set on fire by an arsonist and it was completely destroyed, along with any answers about his parents’ death that might be hidden there. Thunder knew that he was being framed for the fire and fled the reservation on his motorcycle.
He was on the run for nearly a year. Finally he went into the high desert mountains near a place called Devil’s Landing and did another vision quest, starving himself for a week. A powerful vision came to him and he saw a metal eagle in the sky, calling out his Nez Perce name “Hinmatoon.” When he awoke, Thunder painted himself with the black design of the eagle on his shoulders, then set out for the second Killer Instinct tournament. Here, during one of the fights, he came face to face with the mechanical being called Fulgore—the newest version of Ultratech’s battle cyborg. Thunder’s gut told him that this mechanical aberration was fighting with the same style as his brother Eagle. He wondered if they had somehow extracted Eagle’s consciousness, but he was not able to prove whether or not this was true. Furthermore he was unable to recover the remains of his brother, and so he continued on what he called the “Path of the Eagle,” vowing to find answers or death.
Thunder’s path led him to a confrontation with Aganos—an ancient war golem who was under the sway of Ultratech. Thunder could sense the conflict inside the creature. He went into a fury, summoning the power of his weyekin and channeling a bolt of lightning, destroying the technology controlling the golem, and thus setting him free. Instantly a strange kinship and telekinetic bond was forged between the two. They embarked on a dual quest: track down Aganos’s enemy—the evil sorcerer Kan-Ra; and break into Ultratech’s labs to search for Eagle’s remains.
Little does Thunder know that he may be forced to ally himself with his hated enemy—Ultratech—in order to face an even more sinister force that threatens both our planet and other dimensions.
The path to truth and justice will be wrought with the corpses of new and more powerful foes, but Thunder does not wish for his new allies to share in this fate. He must train and improve his tribe’s most devastating technique, the Sammamish, as the loss of new friends could be too great for his wounded heart to bear.