Best Argo General Story
Argo and the Golden Horde
by Gloriosus, scout58, LRMS
The ACTION PACK
The winds howling sounds in the background as we hear a falcons cry. FADE FROM BLACK TO a falcon soaring in a clear blue sky. PAN DOWN from the falcon to reveal the silhouette of several mounted figures swathed in heavy fur cloaks. Two of them bear falcons perched on their arms.
(Voice Over) "Look well, my sons," CUT TO the stern visage of the speaker, "This is what comes to those who would rely on the dead to achieve their aims." PAN TO speakers view, revealing a valley filled with petrified warriors. (Voice Over) "Rely on yourself to gain what you want in this life."
(Young Voice Over) "And what do YOU want in this life, father," CUT TO the elder mongol, who looks at his questioner and smiles.
"I want whats best in life," he says, "Tell me, Belgutai, what is best in life?"
The young son, squints his eyes as he looks to his father, "The open steppe, a fleet horse, a falcon at your wrist, and the wind in your hair."
"WRONG!" exclaims Yisugei, "Temuchin, what is best in life?"
His eldest son answered without hesitation, "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of their women."
"HA-HA, thats correct. Come, we march on Chin!"
CUT TO the soaring falcon, while in the background we hear galloping horses, and shouted orders.
FADE TO CLOSE UP of Kao Hsin awakening from her meditations.
"What is it, Mistress?" asked a servant.
Kao Hsin sits in stunned silence before answering her earnest questioner, "The Golden Horde advances on the Wings of the Falcon. Oh, to whom can we apply for help? Lao Ma, please guide me."
CUT TO a pair of horses, one a Palomino, the other a Chestnut, galloping across the grassy plains.
Music swells and OPENING TITLES -
A lone equine figure in a verdant field, as clouds billow and rush overhead, "In a time of Myth and Legend, of Spirits and Demigods "
Shot of a team of horses pulling a chariot, " A horse was considered nothing but a beast of burden "
Now a galloping Argo, in full harness, fording a stream with the warrior princess on her back, " but one would challenge this assumption "
Title Display: ARGO, MARE OF JUSTICE
Shot of a galloping Argo with Autolycus riding her barebacked, " She was Argo, Mare of Justice "
A shot of a galloping Chestnut Mare, " The Passion "
A PAN-SHOT of a herd of wild horses streaming across the screen, " The Fury "
Poseidon rising out of the surf before a challenging Argo, " The Danger "
CLOSE-UP of Argo rearing against a reddening sky, " Her courage will change the world."
Subtitles sequentially appear:
ARGO AND THE GOLDEN HORDE
Across the verdant plains of Chin our mares race, urgently striving to reach what was once the Palace of Lao-Ma.
*And you know our help is needed here, how?* asked the Chestnut Mare.
*I saw it in a dream,* explained Argo. *I saw a golden falcon sweeping over these vast fields, and under its ever-growing shadow, the crops were withering.*
*So there wont be any grain to eat?*
*No, silly,* the Palomino snorted. *According to Gabrielle, dreams are very rarely literal. I recognized the landmarks, so I know where to go, but I still have no idea what the threat is.*
Ruffian whinnied her skepticism, *Argo, sounds to me like you got an over-ripe batch of hay.*
Argos ears flipped back as she replied, *My rider used to have these dreams, so why not me?*
ESTABLISHING SHOT The refugees fleeing across the plains, close-up of the refugee trail, with families and their belongings bundled up on Ox-drawn, or Man-drawn wagons, or otherwise herding their cattle and livestock.
(Voice Over (Kao Hsin)) "Look at them, like leaves caught in a storm."
CUT TO Kao Hsin and Lin Qi, standing in Lao Mas old study. In the background is a large wicker cage holding a dozen pigeons. Their cooing provides the background noise.
"Kao Hsin, the monks have offered their monastery as temporary refuge for these peoples trip south, but they are not prepared to take this many of them."
The young woman nodded her understanding. "Then we must make the tunnels available." Lin Qi looked uncomfortable with this decision. "What is it, Lin Qi? After all weve been through, there shouldnt be any hesitation."
"Dear, Kao Hsin, your compassion is truly worthy of your mother; but we cannot house the refugees here, for we cannot guarantee their safety."
"Lin Qi? If we do not provide for them, who will?"
"We have to have our fields clear to fight these Barbarians, if we concern ourselves with these refugees, we will be in no position to offer resistance."
Kao Hsin sighed, and looked back out the large window. "They are our neighbors, Lin Qi, we will provide for them, for that is what wed want them to do were our situations reverse," the young warrior started. "But have no fear, Ive sent a messenger pigeon to An Lu-Shan asking for his assistance."
"Then it shall be as you command, my lady," consented the warrior as his noble lady drew in her breath. "What is it?"
"Look there!" she exclaimed, pointing out the window. "The gods have not abandoned us."
CUT TO Kao Hsins POV: Cutting across the field of refugees are two beautiful mares. CUT TO Close up of Argo and Ruffian ably making their way through the press of the crowds to the palace.
FADE TO The dun-colored ponies, and be-robed Mongols moving South.
Wending their way through the passes, orders are issued over the noise of the advancing troops as they clear the valley of the petrified army. Il-Khan Arghun gallops up to his Khan, who is supervising his armys progress.
"My Khan, we will soon be approaching the lands of Lao Ma."
"Very good, Arghun," complemented Yisugei. "Temuchin, and our scouts, have set out to find us a suitable battlefield where we shall meet the armies of Chin."
"Yes, my Khan; and what do you want done with An Lu-Shans spies that weve captured?"
Yisugei stroked his mustache as he thought on the matter. "Let them go," he finally decided. "We can always hope that their report will draw out his entire army to face us."
Arghun grinned, "Very good, my Khan. All we need is for Lao Mas daughter to ask for his assistance, and our trap will be set. Do you think SHE might suspect something?"
"Hardly shell be more concerned with the well-being of her neighbors that weve displaced, than with fighting us."
"But Lin Qi is a capable commander, wouldnt he advise her otherwise?"
"Lin Qi is her faithful lap-dog, what she decides, he will do. And what does a woman know about waging war, anywise eh?" sneered the Khan.
CUT TO Exterior, Kao Hsin is stroking Argos head, as the Golden Mare nuzzles her. Beside her is a bemused Lin Qi.
"My lady," began the captain of the guards. "Im pleased that the presence of these mares give you comfort, but how can they possibly be of assistance to us?"
Kao Hsin smiled. "We can gain wisdom even from the animals, if we but listen." She then turned towards Lin Qi. "This is Xenas own mount, and certainly she must have picked up some tricks of the trade from her rider."
Lin Qi exhaled gustily, "As you wish, Kao Hsin. But, if you will excuse me, I believe I can of more use to you recruiting from the refugees to bolster our own forces."
Ruffian watched Lin Qi stalk away from them as Argo knickered. "Hes a good man, Argo," said Kao Hsin. "He just has problems believing in those things beyond his understanding."
CUT TO A cattle filled field, where Argo and Ruffian are foraging for grass. The lowing of the cattle provide background noise as the two horses discuss the situation.
Ruffian snorted and pranced over to her golden companion who was lunching on some grass. The golden mares ears twitching and swiveling in response to her surroundings. *A Horde?* the chestnut asked. *Were going to fight a Horde? Argo? Mate? I know Ive done some bone-headed things in my days, but tackling an army?* Ruffian suddenly shouldered an ox who had wandered too close to them. *And will you scoot private conversation!* she snorted at the beast who just looked at her while he chewed his cud, before taking another step closer to the pair. With a whinny, Ruffian skittered away, and then shouldered into the ox again, with even greater determination. The ox calmly relented, and rejoined his brethren as the chestnut mare looked on in exasperation. *Aargh! Never have I met slower witted animals then these oxen.*
*Easy Ruffian,* Argo soothed. *What did you expect from beasts that have to be led by the nose? Now, if youd just relax, Ive got some ideas on how to deal with this horde.*
*But Argo, were not talking about some petty warlords band here.*
*I know, I know but the principles should be the same, and in any case, we wont be tackling them alone. What with Kao Hsins guards, and the help the expect to receive, the odds will be nowhere near as bad as those Xena faced.*
*Uh-huh, and just how are WE going to stop them?*
Argo looked up from her grazing, and began to make her way out of the cattle herd. *Well, if youd follow me, Ill show you." Argo remarked archly, flipping her tail to get the chestnut to come along.
DIAGONAL WIPE (bottom-right to top-left) a deeply shadowed ravine. It is late afternoon, and the Mongolian scouting party, led by Temuchin, is returning from their reconnaissance.
"This will be the best way," remarked Commander Mukali to Temuchin, "the pass is wide and clear, and more than able to accommodate our army."
Temuchin grinned at the observation. "Indeed, by this time tomorrow we shall be in possession of the lands beyond, and what armies may come will have to fight on fields of OUR choosing."
The scouts laughed while their stout mounts cantered back through the chasm. Suddenly the troop stopped at the sound of a whinny reverberating through-out the defile. The riders quickly scanned their surroundings as their horses danced about in surprise.
"Look! Up there!" cried one of the scouts, pointing.
CUT TO the scouts POV. Atop the darkened overhang of the ravine, two horses stood, looking down at the Mongols. The mares golden and chestnut hides standing out clearly against the clear blue skies.
"Ho! This must be a vision. Have you ever seen anything so lovely?" asked Mukali.
CUT TO the Mongols at the foot of the slope.
"Indeed not," exclaimed Temuchin, "They are the most beautiful horses Ive ever seen," at this, his own mount snorted and let loose with a whinny of complaint. "Next to you, Tyfun, my friend," comforted the Mongol, as he stroked his mounts neck. "I meant to say, Next to my splendid steed, they are the most beautiful horses Ive ever seen." The dun-colored mount whuffled, accepting his riders apology.
Another neigh filled the ravine, as the horses disappear from the Mongols view, and the drumming sound of hoof-beats began to resound throughout the chasm.
CUT TO Aerial view of the two mares galloping back and forth on the cliffs rocky ledge.
CUT TO The underside of the overhang as dust and pebbles begin to fall and skitter down the steep slope.
CUT TO Close-up of Temuchin, his eyes widening, as he begins to shout orders to his men to get moving, just as the overhang rumbles and begins to crash down.
A huge cloud of dust billows through the chasm filling the screen, as we see the shadowy forms coalesce into madly riding Mongols galloping out of the dust cloud. They look back from where they came.
CUT TO Mongols POV as the dust settles, they see the once clear pass, blocked with debris and giant boulders.
CUT TO the Mongols.
"Gah! This is that witch-daughters doing. Kao Hsin has summoned demon horses to combat us!" cried one of the scouts.
"Silence!" shouted Temuchin, reining in his mount. "Whether she has, or not, is not important," he explained feverishly to his men. "She will not stop us. Those horses will not stop us." He said pointing at the distant equine figures. The young Mongol then turned in his saddle and angrily shook his fist at the two horses who were surveying their handiwork. "YOU WILL NOT STOP US!"
CUT TO Argo and Ruffians POV.
"Well, isnt he the stubborn one?" quipped the chestnut.
"Come on, that should hold them for a couple of days," Argo said, turning herself around to make her way back down the narrow path they had traveled to get there.
CUT TO the Mongols, watching the departure of the mares.
"The Khan wont be pleased to hear about this," muttered the Mongol Commander.
"Then I will tell him," promised Temuchin, as he started to lead his men out of the defile. "But let us figure out how to address this little problem."
CUT TO Silohuettes of approaching ranks of tasseled spears, and flapping banners, blackly displayed against the reddening skies of sunset as in some shadow play, while warning drums beat, and trumpets sound and answer, announcing their arrival.
Over the cheers of the refugees, Lin Qi studied the approaching army from his post on the Palace walls. He grinned as he spotted the portly figure leading the troops on his dappled gray. Grabbing a courier Lin Qi instructed him to go to Kao Hsin. "Tell her that An Lu-Shan has come to aid us."
OPEN at Night, light from mounted torches cast their flickering orange light against the steep sides of the pass, as swarms of laborers pound and cart away the rubble blocking the ravine. To one side is a wood and bamboo bridge, with an overseers platform at its apex, over which Mongol skirmishers lead their horses. On the platform stands the Mongol Khan, Yisugei, and his son, Temuchin.
"The bridge was a good idea," remarked Yisugei. "The Il-Khan, Arghun, will take the skirmishers and try to secure our advanced positions."
"Thank you, father. I apologize for not being able to prevent the landslide."
"Huh No apologies. In life all things are uncertain, I, however, can at least claim to know the joy of having a son who makes me proud to be his father."
Temuchin stood taller at Yisugeis praise. "We will have this cleared by morning." The young Mongol promised.
"See that you do," replied his sire, gripping his shoulder. "And make sure that you, and your men, have something to eat off our kitchen wagons. It does no good to arrive at the battle, if you have no strength to fight with." The Khan pointed off towards the plains. "Look, even as we speak, our adversary arrays his forces against us."
CUT TO The Khans POV. Against the blackness, torches flame as stars in the nights sky, as troops are marshalled and deployed in the darkness. Reflections of the Mongols own torches glint off the helmets and shields of their skirmishers, as the men advanced, becoming shadows and fading into the night. ZOOM IN to hear the orders being issued from the Chin Officers, as they seek to ready their men for tomorrows battle. The two giant forces groping towards each other blindly, seeking to close with an enemy dimly perceived. CAMERA PANS to follow the sound of hoof-beats, and creaking wheels as wagons are moved to their positions. Off in the distance, a mountain pass glows a dim orange from the Mongols fires.
PULL BACK to reveal the faintly lit scene of the encamped Chin Army, their fires providing dim illumination to their tents and wagons, as the soldiers work towards setting up camp. Behind their lines march the newly arriving ranks of Colonel Suns Division.
Argo silently bears Lin-Qi, as he makes his rounds accompanied by Colonel Pos head sergeant, Ya Li, who rides beside them upon Ruffian. "So you see, Suh, we will form up our divisions, hopefully paralleling them barbarians, what with the grounds being as youve described them, Suh. And I must say this is a luverly horse youve got here," commented the large sergeant as he patted Ruffians neck. Ruffians ears pricked up at the unexpected complement.
"just treat her with respect," replied Lin-Qi, glad for the sergeants chatter, for it served to cover up his own nervousness. "These horses are on loan to us, and their owner would make the Mongols appear as welcome family coming to dinner if anything should happen to them."
"Yes-suh! I understand the sentiment, being that I grew up around horses and all," the two riders danced aside to let some wagons rumble by. "Thatd be the artillery, suh."
"Gods," muttered the captain. "What use would they be? Its not fortifications were going up against."
"Well now, I wouldnt be one to second-guess the warlord, but Id say theyd do some frightful hurt to the enemy formations." The sergeant reined in Ruffian upon hearing some shouting. "Ah, you hear that, suh? Thatd be the warlords own son, Colonel An Shang."
CUT TO two mounted officers, one with a ring crest on his helmet, another with a half disk, both crests were framed by tall plumes. Behind them rolled wagons, and ranks of spears. The babble of the soldiers fill the air.
"No " drawled Colonel Shang, with rapidly diminishing patience. "You are not forming here, you are forming to our left. THAT way." Colonel Sun nodded as Shang pointed in the direction he wanted the men to go. The two barely noticed their being joined by Lin-Qi and the sergeant.
"Certainly, you must be able to tell me if we are on good ground," demanded Colonel Sun.
"All I know is that the Mongols are that way," countered Shang, indicating the orange glow of the distant pass. "We just arrived in the twilight of dusk ourselves, so we have no idea how the ground lies."
"Gah! What a way to fight a war." Sun shook his head in dismay, anticipating the headaches hed have to endure for the rest of the night. "Yes? What can we do for you?" He asked the recent arrivals.
"Good evening, Im Lin-Qi," began Kao Hsins champion hesitantly, "And I believe you know Sergeant Li? From Colonel Pos Division."
"Yes, yes, and what is he doing on an officers mount?" demanded Colonel Shang.
The two horses started, Ruffian letting loose a snort. "With all due respect, suh. The lady, Kao Hsin, herself, loaned me this horse, so Id more ably coordinate things with her Captain, here suh."
The two colonels looked back at Lin-Qi with a new respect. "Ah, please excuse us," began Colonel Sun.
Colonel Shang nodded his agreement with Suns apology. "Yes, night maneuvers are a bear to deal with in the best of conditions, please excuse our shortness."
"I understand," Lin-Qi replied. "Battles seem never to be fought at our convenience."
"HA! Now there speaks a veteran," Colonel Sun exclaimed delightedly, clapping the young warrior on his shoulder. "Will we have the pleasure of fighting beside your men in tomorrows battle?"
Lin-Qi nodded. "Yes, they were attached to Colonel Pos men, when he first arrived."
Colonel Sun scowled at Shang, who shrugged. "The warlord, my father, thought theyd fight the hardest, if they were directly protecting their own Palace."
PAN TO Silhouette of Palace. ZOOM IN on a large, brightly lit window.
CUT TO Main Palace Chamber, An Lu-Shan sits opposite Kao Hsin over cups of tea, while shouted orders rise up from the outside night. The campfires are visible through the large window.
Kao Hsin bowed to her guest. "Again I must thank you, An Lu-Shan, for coming to our aid."
The portly warlord held up his hand to stem her gratitude. "No thanks are necessary. I am sorry, though, that my army must still arrive throughout the night. I hope that our noise wont disturb your sleep."
"But the noise shall be as a lullaby to me," responded the young lady smilingly. "I shall sleep all the better, knowing that our saviors have come to my kingdoms assistance."
An Lu-Shan sipped at his tea, as he looked closely at his hostess. "I hope that my troops wont disappoint you," the warlord said gently. "I just wish there was more time to make ready. The Khan is a capable and determined foe, and not to be taken lightly."
"Indeed, and I thought you prided yourself on being the Master Warrior of the northern provinces."
"HA! Well, I may have made some boasts to that effect. It is just as well that I brought the black-powder rockets with which to fight him."
Kao Hsin looked at the stout warlord in shock. "An Lu-Shan," she remonstrated. "The production and use of Black Powder has been forbidden by the Emperor, himself."
The warlord smiled, "My lady, Kao Hsin, that is true. However, the Mongols are here, and the forbidden city is a long ways away." An Lu-Shan finished his tea, stood and bowed to his hostess. "With your permission? While my son is a more than capable officer, trying to orchestrate an army at night is not something I should leave to anyone else."
"Then ready your men, An Lu-Shan. Hopefully, tomorrow, fortune will smile on us."
"I will, and who knows? Perhaps we will have a surprise or two in store for these Mongols." The famed warlord, departs walking past the camera.
FADE TO Morning. CLOSE-UP of mist shrouded grasses, and a forest of galloping hooves. PULL BACK to reveal darkly dressed Mongolians being closely pursued by the brightly caparisoned Chin counterparts. The Chin officer resplendent in his black-lacquered armor, and helmet crested with tall feathers bracketing a gold crescent. Some of the Chin lancers, have arrows sticking out of their armor, as the Mongolians try to disengage. A Mongol turns in his saddle and looses an arrow that strikes the officer full in the chest, throwing him from his horse. Momentum tumbles him, until he lies in the dust, dead.
LONG SHOT of the pursuit, as the Chin soldiers rein their horses back, turn, and run in the face of the Mongolian reinforcements cresting the hill, and charging them.
CUT TO An Lu-Shans pavilion. An Lu-Shan walks into frame while strapping on his armor. The noise of battle the skirmish is heard in the background. A dusty runner, in his battered armor, comes to deliver his report.
"Sire, weve been unsuccessful in driving the Mongols from the heights."
CUT TO the warlord, his eyes widening in anger.
"What fool ordered this attempt!" cried the warlord. "Weve yet to realign our forces."
"It was Colonel Po, sire."
"That IDIOT; it wont be the Mongols who kill me, but my own officers! Colonel Sun! Colonel Shang! Ready your men, it appears this battle has started without us."
CUT TO rear shot of massed ranks of infantry, a mounted officer waves his sword signalling the charge. Trumpets sound, and a cry is raised from the Chin ranks as the blue-clad guards in Kao Hsins service, and the crimsoned uniformed soldiers of Colonel Pos Division lurch forward towards the swarming black-clad Mongols. CUT TO the front ranks of spear-men as they determinedly advance, only to fall under the rain of incoming arrows.
A crash is heard with the impact of the Mongols against the rank and file of the Chin army.
CUT TO Mongols POV, Temuchin is looking at the action occurring on his left.
"The Il-Khan started too soon," the young Mongol muttered to himself before turning to his right to witness the banners of his fathers, and Commander Jebes, Divisions signal the attack. Temuchin raised the cry, "Commander Mukali! Signal our attack!"
CUT TO distant shot of the Mongol horde sweeping down upon the misaligned divisions of the Chin army.
CUT TO An Lu-Shan mounting his dappled gray stallion.
"Steady, Ironshanks, we shall be to battle soon enough," the warlord swung himself over and stood in his mounts stirrups to survey the battlefield. His eyes swept the grounds before him, before settling on his own left flank. "GAH! This is what I get for trying to marshall the men in the dark. You there!" He shouted at the rider at his side. "Go tell Colonel Sun to wheel his men across the creek to align with the rest of our divisions."
With an enthusiastic "Sire!" the young messenger galloped off.
"Damn Po!" the warlord cursed. "If he survives this battle, Ill kill him myself!"
CUT TO the sun rising in the sky, shining redly through the dust cloud raised by the colliding armies. The ringing of blades, and the cries of soldiers are heard.
CUT TO Lin-Qi in the midst of a fiercely fought melee, his straight blade clashing against the curved saber of the Mongol, before the Mongol is hauled physically from his saddle and tossed towards a black-clad archer by Sergeant Li, standing in the stirrups of Ruffian.
"Theyre pressing us back, suh! What are your orders!" Sergeant Li shouted above the din of battle.
"Where are Pos officers?"
"The good ones have gone down AND WILL YOU KINDLY NOT STRIKE AT MY HORSE!" Li cried at the startled Mongol, barely parrying the Mongols slash with his own straight blade.
"Oh! My apologies!" cried the Mongol, just as Ruffian landed a solid kick to the rider knocking him onto a forest of Chin spears.
"As I was saying, Suh! Those that remain I wouldnt trust to go to the bathroom without supervision!"
"Damn!" Lin-Qi cursed as he rebuffed the attacks of yet another determined opponent. "If you can get me some room, Ill think of something."
"Suh! Yes-suh!" Sergeant Li turned himself about, issuing orders to the guardsmen who had remained close to them. The blue-clad soldiers set their mouths in a determined grin as they charged into the teeth of the Mongol cavalry, parrying saber strikes with their lances, and managed to force a cordon around their captain and the sergeant.
Lin-Qi, stood in Argos stirrups, surveying how the press was going. "Sergeant! Have the men reform reform about our wagons, well make a stand there!"
Yes-suh!" saluted the sergeant. "All right you apes, fall back and reform about the wagons. At the double!" Suddenly Lin-Qi doubled over in his saddle, as Argo danced about, struggling to keep his seated.
Sergeant Li reached over to steady his superior as they fell back under the relentless Mongol pressure. The captains side was pierced by a black arrow.
CUT TO Il-Khan Arghun exhorting his men.
"Archers, loose yet another round to their rear! Well put them to rout yet!"
CUT TO a swarm of arrows ascending from the Mongol ranks.
CUT TO Kao Hsin looking out her window at the battle. CUT TO Kao Hsin POV as she witnesses the near collapse of the Suns Division on the Chins left under pressure of the Mongols right. Nearest the Palace, she notices the remainder of Pos Division and her guards on the Chins right, being forced out of contact with the rest of An Lu-Shans army, their backs towards the palace, and being pressed back against their own luggage under the continuing hail of arrows. ZOOM IN to An Lu-Shan sending half his reserves to bolster Suns Division, as he leads the rest to prevent the imminent Mongol breakthrough. CUT TO Kao Hsins face, a look of barely concealed horror cracks her composure as she witnesses Lin-Qi falter.
"My lady! It is not safe for you in here!" cried one of Kao Hsins handmaiders.
"But I must know how the battle goes," replied Kao Hsin just as a forest of arrows slammed into the window frame, and the ceiling, with a single black shaft sprouting from her arm. The noble lady looked at the arrow in shock, as if it was some kind of apparition that had just appeared. "How extraordinary," she managed as her ladies in waiting pulled her out of the chamber.
"Youll know our destiny soon enough, I fear," her handmaiden said grimly, breaking off the fletches, and pulling the shaft the rest of the way through, before bandaging her ladys arm.
CUT TO a dismounted Sergeant Li helping lower Lin-Qi off of Argo while calling for a medic. They are next to a wagon, with the backs of red and blue uniforms impinging as the Mongol onslaught makes itself felt to even the rearmost ranks of the formation, the medic pulls the arrow from the Lin-Qis side, and quickly binds the wound.
Lin-Qi blinks back his tears while the sergeant hovers near by. "Are you all right, suh?"
With a cough, the captain answers, "Im still moving, and not tasting blood. I suspect Ill live." Through the sublime acuity of his pain, he hears, whispered, *The Rockets.*
"Very good, suh! Come on, weve a battle to fight."
"What was that, sergeant?" Lin-Qi asked in confusion. The sergenat started to answer but was drowned out by the clamor from the arriving reinforcements.
CUT TO Argo and Ruffian.
Argo looked from her wounded rider to her Chestnut companion, *Ruffian, see about releasing the latch on the corral, will you? This might take a little while.*
Ruffian snorted her assent and side-stepped away from the group, looking past the heaving formations of the Chin army. *Oh, thats brilliant!* she neighed in understanding as she judged her upcoming task. *Hmmm thats about eleven furlongs from here to the corral call it twelve to skirt the fighting Yeah!* And the throughbred darted forward, her tail held high like a banner in the wind.
CUT TO Lin-Qi.
Shaking his head, Lin-Qi focused on the sergeant. "The Rockets," he said, in his confusion.
"No, good, Suh. The barbarians are at our ranks. We cant use them this close."
The captain, watching Ruffian dart away, focused on her course, and with dawning realization stated. "No. Not at the Mongols. At the corral."
"Whats that, suh?" The sergeant followed his superiors gaze. "Oh, I see, suh! Very good, suh!" Ya Li exclaimed with delight. "You men, help us here."
Argo snorted, shaking her head, as she began to urge the men as they hurriedly unloaded the wagon, and began setting the racks into the grounds for the black powder rockets.
CUT TO Temuchin and Mukali, who have pulled back to make sense of the melee that is swirling around them.
"Sir, the Il-Khan almost broke through their right!" shouted the Mongol Commander.
"Gods above, what a mess!" exclaimed Temuchin, standing in his stirrups to survey the situation when his eye is caught by the sight of a speeding Chestnut. "Is that what I think it is?" the young Mongol asked, pointing out the horse to his Commander.
CUT TO Temuchins POV. Then CUT TO the Mongols.
"Yessir, its the Demon Horse! A hundred gold-pieces to he who brings down that horse!"
The Archers cheer and began to loft a swarm of arrows at the Thoroughbred.
Under the arrows, Temuchin shielded his eyes, "Such a waste," he lamented.
CUT TO a galloping Ruffian, her ears pricked forward, CAMERA PANS following the Chestnut Mare.
CAMERA STOPS to focus on the dust cloud raised by Ruffians passage as arrows suddenly sprout in her trail.
CUT TO Mukali, his eyes opened wide in astonishment.
"Oooh, shes fast!"
CUT TO Yiguchei leading his men onward against the still failing Chin flank.
"Onward, my men, this day will be ours!" the Khan cried, as he hewed his way through the massed ranks of Chin soldiers, his body guard close beside him.
CUT TO Long shot of Ruffian skirting the flanking Mongols, and the extended fringes of Colonel Suns Division, as the black clad soldiers sweep past the makeshift gate of the corral Kao Hsin had established to house the refugees cattle.
Sounds of trumpets fill the air.
CUT TO An Lu-Shan riding up to Lin-Qi.
"I have to take charge of our left flank; its up to you to hold the line against the Mongols. This battle will decide the fate of Chin."
A stunned Lin-Qi, managed to acknowledge the order and promise "Yessir, they shall not pass."
The warlord whirls Ironshanks about and gallops towards the beleaguered left wing of his army, past Colonel Shangs men who are managing to resist the determined Mongol charge.
CUT TO Lin-Qi, who turns back to his men who are carefully laying out a trail of black powder that will act as a fuse to safely ignite the racks of rockets they had set up.
"Are the rockets ready to fire?" asked the Captain.
The sergeant waited for the nod of the men who just finished their task. "They are, suh!"
"Fire!" cried Lin-Qi. There is an embarrassed silence as the blue-clad troopers pat themselves down looking for some flint and steel.
CUT TO Ruffian who has managed to lift the rope loop that was holding the gate closed.
With a great neigh, she reared up in encouragement for the cattle to charge forth. Instead a couple of the oxen looked up from their grazing and stared at her while they continued to chew their cud.
CUT TO Argo, who has trotted up to the frantically searching soldiers. She rears up, and with her fearsome war-whinny brings her iron-shod hooves down with a crash on a conveniently placed rock striking sparks. The sparks ignite the black powder trail.
CUT TO Ruffian, who is still trying to get the cattle to move.
*Come on you oafs! Run! Be free! MOVE IT!* She neighed again in her growing frustration. Suddenly from overhead a whistling sound is heard as smoke trails arc over the herd. Then great plumes of dirt erupts into the air with loud explosions as the rockets strike the far end of the corral.
With panicked lowing, the cattle pressed against the gates, and began their frantic charge down the grade towards the black-clad horsemen in front of them, as the second wave of rockets arrived.
CUT TO Ruffian racing by the panicked herd.
CUT TO the rear of the Mongol formation, as a couple of soldiers turned towards the sound of thunder coming from behind them. Their eyes widened in fear, and cries of "Break off! Break off!" are heard as they strive to get out of the way of the stampeded.
CUT TO the rear of the Chin formation, as the spear-men break ranks despite their officers attempts to rally them. The mass of stampeding cattle prevent most of the Mongol host from taking advantage of the situation, and incidentally isolate Yisugei, his standard-bearers, and guards from the rest of the Mongols.
CUT TO Colonel Sun reluctantly falling back as he tries to regain control of his division, the laggards of which are cut down by the Khan and his men. The crimson ranks halt in their flight upon sighting An Lu-Shan, astride his noble warhorse, Ironshanks, galloping towards them.
CUT TO Yisugei wearing a big grin and calling his men to a halt. Behind them the cattle are still streaming through the locked combatants, effectively separating the Mongols from the left and center of the Chin host.
CUT TO An Lu-Shan making his way to the head of the rapidly coalescing Chin ranks of Suns Division.
"An Lu-Shan!" shouted Yisugei. "We meet at last!"
"You should not have come!" returned the warlord, reining in his mount. "For today you die!"
The Mongol Khan gave a great laugh. "HA! It will be YOU who dies this day!" Brandishing his curved saber, Yisugei urged his mount forward.
Giving the Mongol a quick salute with his own straight blade, An Lu-Shan spurred Ironshanks into action.
The two mighty warriors galloped at each other, and as they passed, the sound of steel could be heard from their cuts and parries. Their very speed carrying the two past the other.
CUT TO Temuchin who spies his fathers standards behind the Chin lines. Paralleling his own forces, he calls for Mukali, and some attendant horsemen to accompany him.
"Come, Tyfun," urged the young Mongol, and his spirited pony started to pick up speed as the Mongols sought a safe way to cross the fields in light of the stampede. With the passage of the last of the cattle, the Mongols suddenly swept into the stampedes wake, and pierced the confused lines of Chin soldiers.
CUT TO Colonel Shang, who calls upon his officers to join him when he sees Temuchins maneuver.
CUT TO the dueling generals, who make two more passes at each other, Yisugei sporting a cut on his cheek, and An Lu-Shan missing one of his plumes, holds onto his arm where the Mongols blade sliced through the heavy cloth of his sleeve.
An Lu-Shan grimaced, and clinched his teeth in fury as he wheels his mount about for another pass at the Khan.
Yisugei, turning his own steed, laughs joyously, and charges again at the Chin warlord.
On this pass, An Lu-Shan snakes his sword arm over the Mongols cut, and drives the point of his sword into Yisugeis breast, un-horsing the Mongol in the process. "HA!" He cried in victory, lifting his sword to his men in celebration.
CUT TO the lead ranks of Suns Division as they cheer, and then stop in mid-hurrah.
CUT TO shot of An Lu-Shan, whose figure is suddenly eclipsed by a galloping Temuchin, and a whistling blade is heard. When the black clad shadow gallops past, we see a headless body still in the saddle before it falls off the horse.
CUT TO close-up of Shang. His expression horrified as he witnesses the death of his father.
"NO!" cried An Shang, as he rode determinedly through the ranks of soldiers to avenge his fathers death, outstripping his companions. The soldiers, spying him, plead for Colonel Shang not to ride out to engage the young Mongol.
CUT TO close-up of Temuchin, pulling back to reveal him giving his saber a twirl and urging Tyfun forward as he charges towards An Lu-Shans son.
PULL BACK to wide-shot of the two hard-riding horsemen. Temuchin on his dun-colored steppe pony, An Shang on a white stallion.
The riders swing, their swords whistling while the two gallop past each other.
CLOSE UP of a grim Temuchin reining Tyfun around.
CUT TO Temuchins POV as he sees Colonel Shang and his horse turn around. Colonel Shangs lifeless body, topples from the saddle.
CUT TO the Mongol Commanders, Jebe and Mukali, raising their hands, the Khans standard bearers dip their tall white standards, with the rear two raising theirs again. Behind them stand the reformed ranks of Mongol horsemen. A Mongol horn sounds, its deep clear tones cutting across the battlefield. Another Mongol horn sounds, before the firsts notes fade.
CUT TO an astonished Colonel Sun who makes urgent motions to someone off camera. A higher pitched trumpet is then heard returning the Mongols notes.
CUT TO a dismounted Temuchin gathering his dead sire up, and placing the cloaked wrapped corpse upon Tyfun.
PULL BACK to reveal the Mongols parting before the son of the Khan.
CUT TO Commander Mukali, who watches the grim visaged Temuchin silently ride past him, clutching his father to his chest. Tears begin forming in Mukalis eyes. The notes of the horns resound down the battlefield.
"Come, Temuchin," comforts the Mongol Commander. "Lets go home and bury your father. Chin will wait."
The rest of the Mongols nodded their agreement with Mukalis statement, and offered their own condolences as they turned away from the massed Chin forces. Jebe looked at his comrades tears. "Mukali, why do you cry?"
Mukali wiped away his tears, and nodded towards the retreating figure. "He is Temuchin, a True Son of Yisugei and Ho-elun. He will not cry so I cry for him."
CUT TO Lin-Qi, Sergeant Li, and the blue and crimson-clad Chin soldiers who are now backed up upon the wagons and carts, desperately fighting to repel the black-clad Mongols, when a piercing clarion is heard, and then another.
The Mongols disengaged, when from behind the line of wagons, the answering trumpet note is heard.
The dust settled, and the jostling ceased, as the Mongols desisted. The Chin soldiers stand in shocked silence, their gasps and labored breathing filling the void that was previously filled with the din and clamor of combat. They stared in disbelief at their unexpected deliverance from death.
"What is it?" asked Lin-Qi.
"A Cease-Fighting has been called, suh. And answered," replied the sergeant. "I never thought Id live to see the day."
"The fightings over?"
"Aye, and now we get to tally the dead," Ya Li remarked grimly.
PULL BACK to helicopter shot showing the still coherent Chin formations, the receding tide of the Mongols, and the then the entire field, littered with corpses revealing the extent of the Mongol advance.
CUT TO A falcon soaring in the clear blue sky, its cries filling the air. PAN DOWN to reveal that its flying away from the camera, over the pass. Continue to PAN DOWN to reveal a hill, on whose crest is planted a tall white standard, the standard of the Mongol Khan. PULL BACK to a rear view of a couple of Chin watching the snapping banner.
CUT TO reveal the figures to be Kao Hsin, and Colonel Sun. Behind them are rows of pavilions set up to treat the wounded from the battle.
"Youve saved us all," remarked the lady.
Colonel Sun knelt, placing his helmet on his knee. "Im afraid not," (long pause) "While we may call this a victory, it is closer to being a mitigated disaster."
"A mitigated disaster?" Kao Hsin asked, smiling. "What would an unmitigated disaster be?"
"Thats when we lose," remarked Sun. Pointing to the hill-top, he added. "That standard is a promise that the Mongols will return. And with An Lu-Shan, and his heir dead, youre all that stands in their way."
Kao Hsin shivered, and drew her cloak more tightly about her. "Will you serve me, Colonel Sun?"
The veteran smiled, "It would probably be for the best. Im sure An Lu-Shans subjects wont complain too much about being under your dominion."
CUT TO Lin-Qi and Sergeant Ya Li in an infirmary tent. The Guard Captain is getting his wound properly cauterized and re-bandaged.
"You did a good days work, suh."
"(Grunt) You think so, sergeant?"
"Yep, you stick with me, suh, and well make an officer out of you yet in ten or twelve years."
Captain Lin-Qi gasped in pain even as he laughed, nodding his approval of the sergeants remark.
ZOOM IN on the back ground, behind the guard captain and sergeant, where stand two horses, a Palomino and a chestnut mare.
*Well Ruffian, our jobs done here,* remarked the golden mare.
*Im certainly glad of that!* the chestnut heartily concurred, then plaintively asked. *Lets not get involved in any more of these battles, eh, mate?*
Argo whuffled in amusement. *Agreed If Ive learned anything, its never get involved in a land war in Asia.*
Ruffian whinnied her agreement as the two noble mares, turned and started to canter off into the sunset.
CAMERA PANS to follow them, going to ground level when suddenly a dark shape blocks its view with a heavy "Clump"
CUT TO an ox grazing, when it pauses in mid-rumination and turns to the camera.
*Hey! What did that horse mean by us being slow-witted?*
GALLOP ON, ARGO!
GALLOP ON, RUFFIAN!
FADE TO BLACK, Roll credits.
DRAMATIS PERSONAE PLAYERS
Argo (Palomino Mare) Melinda Clarke
Ruffian (Chestnut Thoroughbred) Danielle Cormack
Lady Kao Hsin (Lao Mas daughter, introduced in PURITY) Marie Matiko
Captain Lin-Qi (introduced in BACK IN THE BOTTLE) Antony Wong
An Lu-Shan (Ancient Chinese Warlord) Sammo Hung
Ironshanks (Dappled Gray Stallion)
Colonel An Shang (An Lu-Shans son and heir)
Sergeant Ya Li (Veteran NCO in the Warlords Army)
Yisugei (Khan of the Golden Horde, father of Temuchin) George Takei
Temuchin (Who would one day become Genghis Khan) Jet Li
Tyfun (Dun Steppe Pony, Temuchins faithful steed)
Belgutei (Temuchins baby half-brother, 5th son of Yisugei)
Il-Khan Arghun (Yisugeis deputy, contemporary of Temuchin) Chow Yun-Fat
Commander Mukali (Contemporary of Temuchin) Ken Matsuhaira
Commander Jebe (Contemporary of Temuchin)
Executive Producers: Gloriosus, Hammerhand
Written by: Gloriosus
With a special thanks for their support, I really appreciate it: LRMS, Banana o rama, scout58, argonot, Golden Mare, Smithsonian, XenaBOX
Disclaimers: Argo, Kao Hsin, and Lin-Qi are properties of Studio USA and
Renaissance Pictures, no copyright
infringement was intended.
No Warlords were harmed during the production of this episode. However, liberties were taken with the portrayal of the historical personages who made an appearance.