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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/878215
Rated: 18+ · Script/Play · History · #878215
The historical background of 17th century China.
CHAPTER 1.1: THE WARRIOR IN THE SNOW
(1-1-1) INT. WULIN MONASTERY – NIGHT.
FADE IN:
The monastery is in shambles, ransacked and abandoned for many years. The statues of two stone guardians remain standing in the darkness. In the center of the monastery stands a SWORDSMAN, calmly preparing his sword. Dressed in a heavy winter coat and wearing a straw hat, his stature suggests nothing but fierceness.

SWORDSMAN
I have suffered great pains in my journey. So many loved ones gone, so many others perished, all under my hand. Everything which I have held dear to my heart, everything, has been blown away like dust to another world...
FADE TO:

(1-2-2) EXT. WULIN MOUNTAIN TRAIL – NIGHT.
In the mountains of central China, snow covered bamboo trees line both sides of the trail on this cold winter night. A set of tombstones lay on one side of the trail. The howling wind and intense snowstorm has made travel impossible, yet a group of seven heavily dressed and heavily armed HORSEMEN approach rapidly. Suddenly, the road explodes in a flurry of snow as a man jumps out from under the snow and slays the lead rider with his sword. The lead rider falls to the ground and forms a pool of blood in the snow. The remaining six horsemen immediately pull the reins on their horses and turn around. The swordsman stands calmly under the extended shadows of the bamboo trees.

MANCHURIAN SOLDIER #1
Name yourself!

The swordsman does not answer, but approaches the six soldiers slowly. The six men immediately stick their torchlight’s into the snow and draw their assortment of weapons, from double swords to spears to battle-axes. The swordsman, still approaching slowly, raises his sword so that it is visible in the moonlight.

MANCHURIAN SOLDIER #2
(horrified)
It is the Tzixing Sword! Yang Wulong! Stand where you are!

MANCHURIAN SOLDIER #1
(summoning courage)
Under General Wu Sangui's orders, kill him!

The six Manchurians let out a deafening battle cry and charge forward. The swordsman changes angles and his grip on the sword and charges towards them. A brutal sword fight ensues. The six men engage in groups of three. The swordsman clangs swords with one of them, flips over him, grabs the man's queue in mid air and kicks him in the back. The Manchurian soldier is sent forward but pulled back, right into the hands of the swordsman who slashes his sword across the Manchu's throat. The fight continues and the swordsman slays all but one, who is now mortally wounded. The Manchurian soldier struggles hard from his wounds to crawl towards his weapon. The swordsman walks in front of him.

MANCHURIAN SOLDIER #1
(coughing out blood)
Yang Wulong of Wulin... you may have killed us...but your end is near...

Still silent, the swordsman ends the soldier's life with one stroke from his sword then swiftly sheaths it back into its scabbard.

SWORDSMAN
(wearily)
My end came ten years ago.

The swordsman walks away from the red snowy site, the torch fire still flickering in the wind, the horses still neighing where they stand.
FADE TO BLACK:

MONTAGE - HISTORICAL OVERVIEW

A) The decline of the Ming Dynasty.
(1-3-3) EXT. FORBIDDEN CITY - DUSK.
FADE IN:
The silhouette of the Imperial Palace rests upon the setting sun. A flock of birds flies overhead.

NARRATOR
(voice of Zhang Liang)
These are the waning years of the Ming Dynasty. As the string of incompetent emperors continued down the line of succession, Imperial power crumbled respectively. With political control more autocratic than any previous dynasty in history and in the hands of various rivaling factions of Court Eunuchs, the Empire rotted away at its core.
FADE TO:

(1-4-4) INT. FORBIDDEN CITY - NIGHT.
Within the palace sits the Emperor, who, surrounded by beautiful women and a splendid array of food, holds a banquet for his officials. The court officials who are seated below the throne along both sides of the palace hall all share a look of uneasiness and disappointment. They realize the system has failed. Sheets of yellow silk curtains hang directly behind the throne, concealing an inner chamber where several faceless Eunuchs stand firm. The figures of their shadows can be seen upon the curtains, and it gives off a feeling of darkness.
FADE TO:

(1-5-5) EXT. COUNTRYSIDE VILLAGE - DAY.
An abandoned village occupies the land. The searing heat has baked the ground and its buildings, and all grass has been dried yellow. The wells have run dry and the not a soul is sight.

NARRATOR
(voice of Zhang Liang)
High taxes and rampant corruption devastated the common people while floods, famines and wars devastated the landscape.
FADE TO:

B) The rise of Qing power.
(1-6-6) EXT. GREAT WALL GARRISONS - DAY OVERCAST.
A heavy storm approaches, yet Ming banners fly high and proud upon the Great Wall. Many soldiers patrol the wall; a few horsemen are also seen riding from post to post. Tens of soldiers man each of the rampart towers, observing the distant northern landscape with their spyglasses.
FADE TO:

(17-7) EXT. FIELD - DAY OVERCAST.
The Jin Emperor Nurhachi, dressed in full body armor rides vanguard and is surrounded by a protective ring of escort bodyguards. Behind Nurhachi rides his army, a blanket of tens of thousand of armored men and cavalry whose footsteps shake the very earth.

NARRATOR
(voice of Zhang Liang)
In the forty-third year (1616 AD) of Emperor Taichang's reign, a new northern power presented a clear a present danger to the survival of the Ming Empire. Nurhachi unified the Jurchen tribes and proclaimed the founding of the Great Jin Empire. Two years later, open confrontations with Imperial Ming forces begin on a massive scale. The war of the North had begun.

C) Battle of Saerhu.
(1-8-8) EXT. SAERHU BATTLEFIELDS - DAY THUNDERSHOWER.
A mass battle is fought upon the grounds surrounding Saerhu. The scene is one of chaos, involving the full might of Ming General Yang Hao's two-hundred-thousand men strong army against a weaker fifty-thousand men strong Jin army. Entire columns of men and cavalry collide into each other amidst the rain and mud backlit by constant thunderous lightning, and sheets of fire arrows and musket flares fill the air.
General Yang Hao and his staff, all mounted on horseback, are at the far edge of the battle but remain in danger as the fighting surrounds them.

YANG HAO STAFF MEMBER #1
(urgently)
General! I strongly recommend retreating you to a safe distance!

The general is in a state of shock at the state of the battle.

GENERAL YANG HAO
(stunned)
Nonsense! We are on the verge of victory! We outnumber the enemy four-to-one!

Hundreds of stray arrows fly near and cut down numerous surrounding Ming soldiers as well staff members. The command center is now in a state of panic as Jin cavalry vanguards slice through Ming lines. The General begins his escape, followed by his staff and escorts.

GENERAL YANG HAO
(screams)
Where is our southern wing!?
CUT TO:

(1-9-9) EXT. SAERHU BATTLEFIELDS - DAY THUNDERSHOWER.
In the south end of the battle, Ming General Zhao Ting's cavalry division engages in a furious close battle with a mixture of Qing cavalry and infantry, also involving thousands of men, upon a grassy plain covered by patches of thick forest. Zhao Ting, his armor soaked in blood, hacks away at the enemy with his long battle-axe. His aide rides up close beside his lord, courageously killing the enemy as well.

AIDE TO ZHAO TING
Milord! Generals Ma Lin and Du Song have been slain! This battle is lost! Your safety is now our utmost priority!

Zhao Ting kills several more enemy soldiers, showering himself and those nearby in a mist of blood.

ZHAO TING
Victory is possible! Kill! Kill them all! Do not give ground! Forward!

Zhao Ting continues the slaughter of enemy troops while his own troops are being slaughtered by Jin troops behind him. Jin prince Daishan equipped with a halberd charges through the lines with his unit; several horses behind him tow a large wooden coffin onto the field as well.

DAISHAN
Zhao Ting! This coffin awaits your death!

AIDE TO ZHAO TING
How dare you!

Zhao Ting's aide charges forth to engage Daishan but is cut in half in one stroke by Daishan's halberd; the torso falls to the ground while the lower half of the body, still in its saddle continues to ride fountaining blood. Daishan does not stop after the kill and charges towards Zhao Ting without a pause whatsoever. Zhao Ting engages Daishan but is decapitated in one stroke as well; the corpse falls heavily to the ground.
FADE TO BLACK:

NARRATOR
(voice of Zhang Liang)
The Ming army was convincingly defeated at the battle of Saerhu, establishing Jin dominance in the North. After consolidating his gains, Nurhachi once again launched his renewed assault upon Northern China.
FADE TO:

(1-10-10) EXT. NINGYUAN FORTRESS WALLS - DAY OVERCAST.
Rain pours down from the cloudy gray heavens amidst a rainstorm onto the Ming fortress of Ningyuan below. Imperial Ming banners fly high along with banners bearing the name of Ming General Yuan Chonghuang.
Emphasis is placed upon the cannons located atop the fortress walls; a focused shot observes droplets of water dripping from the tip of its silent barrels.
FADE TO:

NARRATOR
(voice of Zhang Liang)
In the fifth year (1626 AD) of Emperor Tainqi's reign, Nurhachi dies from injuries sustained at the battle of Ningyuan. His son Abahai is next in the line of succession and is placed upon the Jin throne. After renaming the kingdom Qing, war continues in the North, moving closer towards the borders of the Great Wall. The province of Liaodong falls under the might of the Qing army.
FADE TO:

D) Rise of Li Zicheng and Zhang Xianzhong.
(1-11-11) EXT. A DESOLATE FIELD - DUSK.
An army of peasant rebels, numbering several hundred thousand strong and stretching as far the horizon can reach, marches across a desolate field of scorched earth. The hot orange sun is partially covered from the dust being kicked under the thunderous march.
FADE TO:

NARRATOR
(voice of Zhang Liang)
Two years later, internal affairs within the Ming Empire began overtaking those of the Qing threat. As famine and drought wreaked havoc upon the lands, the populace rose up in revolt. With chaos spreading across Henan, Shanxi and Shaanxi, Li Zicheng and Zhang Xianzhong would launch their own quests for empires. Now engaged in two separate theaters of war upon two distant fronts, Ming military potential declined drastically.

E) The Warriors of Wulin.
(1-12-12) EXT. IMPERIAL MING TOMBS - NIGHT HEAVY RAIN.
The thirteen Imperial Ming Dynasty guardian statues stand guard in the rain. Rainwater trickles down the faces of the statues, illuminated by a flash of lightning.
FADE TO BLACK:

NARRATOR
(voice of Zhang Liang)
By the autumn of the twelfth year (1640 AD) of Emperor Chongzhen's reign, the Ming Empire in its state of decay was on the verge of collapse. The fortresses garrisoned beyond the Great Wall remained as bastions of Ming power, serving as buffers between the Qing armies and the power base of the Imperial Northern Army at the fortress of Sanhaikwan. Thus during these dark days of China's gothic age, the tale of the swordsman begins as ten warriors depart for Jinzhou, a frontline fortress settled deep in the buffer zone.
END MONTAGE.

NARRATOR
(voice of Zhang Liang)
These deeds I do so that the deaths of our brothers and forefathers do not pass in vain...
These deeds I do so our sons and daughters may live...
These deeds I do without remorse nor pity...
May thy soul find sanctuary of blessed mercy for I shall spare none...
© Copyright 2004 Elysianfields (elysianfields at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/878215