SNOW NINJAS Episode 1 – Hell Above, Death Below By David Zuzelo
PAGE 1 SPLASH PAGE: A shot of 4 ninja warriors charging towards a castle wall. Snow covers the ground and shadows are cast all across the white snow all around them. The ninjas are slashing their way through a horde of bizarre looking enemies. These are the Kumamoto Castle guards. The guards are dressed in post nuke outfits looking more like The Road Warrior characters than a classic ninja tale. Each of the ninjas is doing their own thing, but all are equally smashing their opponents. Akage is the leader… a katana specialist. Bakemono is using two short swords and is wearing a stylized goblin mask as opposed to the normal ninja hood. Lotus is our female ninja and is not using any weapons, focusing more on hand-to-hand combat. In the rear of the group we have Vascar, the ninjitsu magic stylist. He is obviously concentrating hard and directly next to him two Kumamoto guards necks are exploding in geysers of blood, though no weapon is touching them. The blood showers Vascar, covering him. 1. CAPTION (Akage): Again we are knee deep in death, with only the payment of one night’s respite from our own end to hope for. 2. CAPTION (Akage): The last world, the world of our fathers is gone…replaced by blood, snow, monsters and magic. Why? 3. CAPTION (Akage): Why is not our concern… our only goal now is to survive. These are my only companions… and we will take any job that will pay and let us use our skills. 4. CAPTION (Akage): In this new world… a winter nightmare run wild. We have only… TITLES: Hell Above, Death Below
PAGE 2 PANEL 1: A tight shot of Akage, slashing a guard in half. He is right at the door of the castle they are approaching now. 1. DIALOGUE (Akage): Vascar…the gates! PANEL 2: Vascar steps forward as Lotus throws a guard out of his way. Vascar looks calm and focused here. Blood stains the snow all around him.
PANEL 3: Tight on Vascar’s face…he still looks calm. A dark energy is appearing around him faintly now. 2. DIALOGUE (Vascar): My friends… you may want to run. PANEL 4: The rest of the team takes off. Akage and Lotus are running full tilt away while Bakemono walks backwards, throwing spiked darts and taking down three guards who are approaching Vascar. PANEL 5: A long shot now as we can see bodies exploding all around Vascar as a black flame bursts away from his body, ripping through the walls and bodies of the guards. BLAM, make it gory.
PAGE 3 PANEL 1: Overhead shot as we see Vascar standing in the center of the destroyed palace gate as well as the dismembered limbs of the guards, now splattered all about. The rest of the team is leaping into frame. 1. DIALOGUE (Bakemono): Vascar, nobody clears a room like you. Lotus… you do the dishes. 2. DIALOGUE (Lotus): You think that housework comes with the breasts Bakemono? I hope your obvious lack of skills without those stubby blades isn’t… PANEL 2: The team moves forward into the main courtyard of the palace now, and no guards are approaching them. Bodies and body parts are scattered all around. Akage is leading and we can see that Vascar is obviously drained and weary from his efforts. The other two are protecting him as they move on. 3. CAPTION (Akage): Children… with death skills taught from the ancient ninja… huh. We need to finish this. Alright then... 4. DIALOGUE (Akage): This isn’t the time you two… hold your chatter until after we have the magician and his kind agreement to come with us. PANEL 3: A wide shot of the team making their way through the main door of the castle, entering. It’s a beautiful sight inside, jeweled and somewhat decadent. Again, no resistance is heading the group’s way. They all look ready to fight however, with the exception of Vascar, who still appears drained from his efforts in the courtyard. 5. DIALOGUE (Bakemono): …comes with the breasts??? Hah. 6. DIALOGUE (Lotus): yeah yeah…keep talking.
7. CAPTION (Akage): I wonder if my father had to deal with this? Games they play as we kill to pay for our next meals… I hope he would understand. PANEL 4: An overhead shot of the group moving forward into a large main hall, we get a nice shot of the castle interior. However, from above them… a large slimy mass seems to be falling into frame. PANEL 5: A small inset panel of Vascar’s face reacting to what the others don’t see yet. He looks almost frightened. 8. DIALOGUE (Vascar): all of you….move!
PAGE 4 PANEL 1: An overhead shot coming down at the group as Akage, Lotus and Bakemono leap away. This is from the perspective of the monster dropping down from the ceiling … Mrthokloptyk! We can see slimy tendrils reaching down towards the group. Vascar is looking directly up, he appears calm. 1. CAPTION (Akage): Another friend lost, and why? I’m sorry we found you Vascar and I will hope your next life will be warm and comfortable now. And we will gain vengeance, if that is any comfort. 2. DIALOGUE (Vascar): no. PANEL 2: SLAM! Mrthokloptyk lands directly atop Vascar and we can see a HUGE splash of blood where he would be standing. Obviously, Vascar isn’t coming back for another story. PANEL 3: Bakemono leaps forward at the monster now, hurling darts at it. 3. DIALOGUE (Bakemono): Always with the monsters… I’ve had too much of you already you freak, time to die. 4. CAPTION (Akage): Finish…live… find a place… a home. Priorities priorities… PANEL 4: Bakemono is atop Mrthokloptyk stabbing with his short swords and pieces of monster flesh are flying. Akage is leaping into frame. 5. DIALOGUE (Akage): Lotus…find the sorcerer. Stop him and stop this thing. Go, finish the mission!
PAGE 5 PANEL 1: Lotus leaps OVER the two ninjas and the monster towards a balcony. She is looking down towards the splattered remains of Vascar as she soars over them. 1. DIALOGUE (Lotus): Gods… you always were a little slow Vascar, but I’ll miss you. PANEL 2: Lotus lands on the balcony. Behind her we can see Bakemono flying upwards and upside down, away from Mrthokloptyk… things are not going well. PANEL 3: Lotus is slinking down a long corridor, clothed in darkness and looking very…ninja. There is a door at the end of the hall she is headed towards. 2. DIALOGUE (Lotus): time to make that money and get rid of old sludgy down there. PANEL 4: A small insert as Lotus’ hand comes crashing through the door towards the reader, putting us in the room. PANEL 5: Lotus leans into the room, her eyes wide now. It looks like a prison inside, not a sorcerer’s lair, as we would expect. 3. DIALOGUE (Lotus): Well…this is unexpected.
PAGE 6 PANEL 1: Back to the main hall, as Akage and Bakemono continue to fight with the monster. Both of them are taking huge chunks of flesh from the beast, and are covered in its blood. It is so huge they don’t seem to have any way to do more than hurt it with their swords. 1. DIALOGUE (Bakemono): This stopped being fun minutes ago Akage… are you sure this is an etherist’s work and not one of the Wildings we have encountered? 2. DIALOGUE (Akage): Absolutely… Lotus will find the source and shut it down. Soon… hopefully. PANEL 2: The monster rears back and the two ninjas are hurled away HARD. PANEL 3: An angled shot of Lotus from the floor up. She is completely inside the room she kicked her way into…it is a prison cell and we can see the wet brick wall behind her.
The shot is looking up because it is from the POV of the child the group will come to call Escher. Escher is an 8-year-old boy of Korean descent. 3. DIALOGUE (Lotus): You need to take that creature back… you know that. Don’t you… PANEL 4: An overhead shot of Lotus and Escher in the cell now. She seems relaxed and Escher is revealed as a young boy. His eyes are glowing and energy is pouring off him. 1. DIALOGUE (Escher): I’m sorry…are you going to hurt me some more? PANEL 5: A close up of Lotus’ face, her eyes squeezed tight. 2. DIALOGUE (Lotus): I’m supposed to…but I don’t have to and I’ll still get paid. So the answer is no. Reel in your friend…now.
PAGE 7 PANEL 1: Escher leaning over he is muttering a strange language (note to letterer…this is an alien language, go wild) 1. DIALOGUE (Lotus): This always hurts my ears…though I bet the boys will be happy. PANEL 2: A close up of Escher’s face as his eyes snap open wide, the alien language pours forth and stops at an exclamation point. PANEL 3: Back in the main hall we see Akage and Bakemono watching as Mrthokloptyk is seemingly imploding… a huge toothed opening, like a giant mouth, appears to be screaming. 2. SFX (Mrthokloptyk) VRARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! PANEL 4: More of Mrthokloptyk disintegrating, a huge skeleton standing in the midst of disintegrating flesh. PANEL 5: A small insert of the monsters bones falling to the floor, smoke pouring out of them.
PAGE 8 PANEL 1: Akage and Bakemono stand in the room, the mucky remains of the monster remain all around and on them. Both are putting away their respective weapons. 1. DIALOGUE (Bakemono): Well Akage, that is… as they say, that. 2. DIALOGUE (Lotus off camera): Perhaps not, though certainly for poor Vascar this was the last night of sleeping in the cold. PANEL 2: Lotus and Escher stand above on the balcony, looking down at the other two ninja. Escher is standing behind her leg, frightened. No energy is coming from his body now. 3. DIALOGUE (Lotus): Here is our etherist. Seems a natural born one. Great control as well, he brought down that thing quick enough it would seem. 4. DIALOGUE (Lotus): Good for Bakemono, I’m sure those little stickers weren’t much help. PANEL 3: Lotus drops down into the main hall holding Escher to join the others. As she lands in the monsters remains she utters 5. DIALOGUE (Lotus): ick. I mean that. What a mess. PANEL 4: Akage approaches Lotus and Escher, his katana pointed directly at Escher’s neck now. 6. DIALOGUE (Akage): You know the mission… do you want to get paid Lotus? I trust you to do these things right. PANEL 5: Lotus stands between Akage and Escher, blocking Akage from harming the boy. 7. DIALOGUE (Lotus): You know me better Akage…but you also know what we have to do now. 8. And we no longer have Vascar…
PAGE 9 PANEL 1: A group shot as the four of them begin to walk out main hall and back towards where they came from.
1. DIALOGUE (Bakemono): Yeah… it’s a long walk back and lots of activity out in that waste field we had to come through. This kid could be our only safety if we bump into another crew. Or worse. PANEL 2: A wide overhead shot of the group just outside the castle. Back in the snow and going through the courtyard. The dead guards bodies are still scattered all about in pieces, most are partially buried, showing that the snow is constant. 2. DIALOGUE (Akage): Fine…but we give him to the Abbot on arrival, take our payment and transport then continue on. Agreed? Don’t answer me… it’s a rhetorical question. PANEL 3: A large panel as we follow our group through a deserted snow covered wasteland. Akage goes back to narration here. 3. CAPTION (Akage): More of this endless trudging through the wastes. Little gangs, big gangs, magicians, thieves, fighters and fools. After the event we only know as the Panic in Year Zero most of us have found only limited social outlet… and even less safety. 4. CAPTION (Akage): Luckily my father had trained me as a child…and over the years I’ve found like souls. Bakemono, Lotus, Aramaeus…Vascar. Some dead now, some alive…and others destroyed. 5. CAPTION (Akage): Living underground like rats, we still don’t fit in. 6. CAPTION (Akage): But when we get payment for this etherist, we can move north again…away from the Abbot and his Silver Fox clans and find someplace above… someplace warm.
PAGE 10 PANEL 1: The group continues to walk through the snow in silhouette. An empty wasteland is all that is around them. This should run over the top of the page leading to… PANEL 2: A shot of the group as they approach a new location. This is the villa of The Abbot, The Silver Fox. A run down “city” made of huts and built up trailers. Again, snow covered. They are approaching an outer gate. In the distance we can see two guards standing there. 1. DIALOGUE (Lotus): Doesn’t look like anyone has cleaned up…must be a shortage of housewives, eh Bakemono? 2. DIALOGUE (Bakemono): Hrmm…well it’s a good thing we are here, you can do wonders with a mop. Just keep it away from me (note..smaller lettering here)…I remember that not feeling to good.
PANEL 3: The group comes to the gates. Standing there are two BRONZEMEN warriors! The Bronzemen are armed with maces and stare directly at Escher, ignoring the group. 1. DIALOGUE (Bronzeman 1): Thought he would be taller. The abbot is waiting… Enter. PANEL 4: The group goes through the camp. The people mulling around appear to be beggars and nearly homeless. All are bundled up for the weather and look miserable. The group is approaching what looks like a shed. 2. DIALOGUE (Akage): Now let’s finish this off and get going. 3. DIALOGUE (Bakemono): Well…we do have to take the Abbot and his harem for a spin though…right. Akage…hey! PANEL 5: The shed door swings open and we see Akage pushing Escher into the little building.
PAGE 11 SPLASH PAGE: The underground city of The Abbot and his Silver Fox Clan. The ninjas and Escher are on an open platform traveling downward. Industry is thriving all around, and we can see workers and Bronzemen all around performing various tasks. The city seems much nicer and more opulent than the above ground would make a visitor think. 1. CAPTION (Akage): Silver Fox Clan… revered by some and feared by others. The world is full of the same kind now. Thugs and thieves all rising to the top like rotted cream in hot coffee. Scum. 2. CAPTION (Akage): But working for them…working for Otaku Vanish Crew… or even Tsuburaya, it’s all the same. 3. CAPTION (Akage): I only want to take my friends, and myself… away from here. There must be something… anything better. 4. CAPTION (Akage): Why the boy though? The Abbot has gone out of his way to hire us for this. Perhaps this child is more important than the money. Best to have our game face on and figure out what is the most valuable angle we can play. Perhaps Saku Sifu has some thoughts on this… I wish I had contacted him before coming down here.
PAGE 12 PANEL 1: The elevator stops at the bottom of the mechanism, and our clan is at ground level. Several Bronzemen are arriving to escort them. 1. DIALOGUE (Lotus): Ohhh…hard like bronze. Ugh ugh! Or are you just happy to see a kunoichi around your parts? 2. DIALOGUE (Akage): Lotus, please. What is the boy’s name? PANEL 2: They continue on now, escorted towards what appears to be an old fashioned Wudang temple! It’s very ornate and looks like it just fell off the Shaw Brothers studio lot. 3. DIALOGUE (Lotus): Uptight as always, come on Akage…the mission is finished. I don’t know the boys name, if you haven’t noticed it, he is quiet if nothing else. 4. DIALOGUE (Bakemono): Tough little one though, that monster trashed us Akage. PANEL 3: A close shot of Akage as he pulls off his ninja hood, we see his face revealed. He is in his thirties and Caucasian. His face is VERY battle scarred, with marks all over his skin that we are seeing for the first time. 5. DIALOGUE (Akage): Yes my friend…he is very powerful. And valuable. PANEL 4: Silver Fox exits the temple, greeting the group. He is a tall young man with white hair and a white beard (the classic kung fu movie Silver Fox). He is looking directly at Escher ONLY, and he carries a satchel with him.
PAGE 13 PANEL 1: Silver Fox throws the satchel to Akage who is going to catch it easily. Silver Fox is still glaring right at Escher. 1. DIALOGUE (Silver Fox): Thank you ninja clan… though I recall more of you. Goodbye now. 2. DIALOGUE (Akage): First a word Silver Fox. PANEL 2: A shot of Akage and Silver Fox looking straight at each other. Escher is between them. Silver Fox looks amused, while Akage is DEADLY serious.
3. DIALOGUE (Akage): We lost a friend for you… and I want to know why. What is this boy to you… we are not slave traders. 4. DIALOGUE (Silver Fox): Presume to speak further ninja, proceed to regret it. PANEL 3: Lotus pulls Escher away from the two men, and Bakemono is stepping forward towards them. Several Bronzemen are looking very attentive as well. 5. DIALOGUE (Silver Fox): I do not explain, nor negotiate with your ilk. Have you no… “Honor?” 6. DIALOGUE (Bakemono): Hey pal, we’re Ninja, don’t you know what we do? 7. DIALOGUE (Silver Fox): I care not what you do fool. And I am Silver Fox… pal. You should know what I can, and will, do. PANEL 4: Lotus leaps upwards with Escher, away from the men, and we see Akage and Bakemono drawing weapons. 8. DIALOGUE (Akage): A simple request first, and now a demand Silver Fox. Speak or forfeit your prize.
PAGE 14 PANEL 1: Silver Fox in close up as he throws his head back and laughs at the ninjas. 1. DIALOGUE (Silver Fox): Impudent ninja… I like you, so I’ll tell you the tiniest hint of what I know. This boy is a battery that will power the future. 2. DIALOGUE (Silver Fox) And I… PANEL 2: A wider shot showing Akage and Bakemono with their weapons pointed straight at the bronzemen who are closing in on them slowly. Silver Fox looks calm. 3. DIALOGUE (Silver Fox): Well, I will rip that potential out of his tiny body and make it my own. No concern of yours… you’ll be working for me again, as will all the clans. PANEL 3: An overhead shot of the two men, with Lotus looking down with Escher from above them. We can now see that Akage and Bakemono are being surrounded by the Bronzemen. Silver Fox is stroking his beard. 4. DIALOGUE (Silver Fox): Why so quiet ninja? Perhaps you realize that I don’t need to give you money, because now…you can just die for me. And I get the boy and the life of your friend is just a bonus loss for the day. Probably not worse than your own life.
PANEL 4: Lotus leaps down directly at Silver Fox! She is going for the kill to kick off our battle sequence that starts right about…
PAGE 15 PANEL 1: NOW! Silver Fox swats away Lotus and she goes flying away from him. Silver Fox is a badass…keep that in mind. His stance is that of the best Mantis Kung Fu masters. PANEL 2: Akage is swinging his sword, cleaving a bronzeman in two, and he is not even looking in the enemy’s direction. Instead he speaks to Bakemono. 1. DIALOGUE (Akage): Third route out… proceed. Check on Lotus. 2. DIALOGUE (Bakemono): Sure thing… I take it you have a plan? 3. DIALOGUE (Akage): A better deal…if we survive. PANEL 3: Lotus lying on the ground. She is coming too now. But Silver Fox is walking towards her with a big stride. PANEL 4: Lotus snaps up to her feet and pulls her hood off to face Silver Fox. She is Swedish with long blond hair, looking nothing like a “ninja.” And she certainly isn’t Japanese. PANEL 5: Lotus smiles in close up. 4. DIALOGUE (Lotus): I’m supposed to be the fox here Silver. So come get trapped.
PAGE 16 A full page fight sequence of Lotus against Silver Fox. PANEL 1: Silver Fox strikes forward with a mantis technique again. Lotus is ducking the blow. PANEL 2: From her ducking position, Lotus strikes with a snake styled blow towards the midsection of Silver Fox. Silver Fox’s hand is a blur as it goes to block the strike, still in Mantis position. PANEL 3: Silver Fox blocks the strike, pushing Lotus’ strike away, which she uses to begin to spin her body crouched low…so that she can…
PANEL 4: Lotus locks Silver Fox with her legs, and he is tripping to the ground face first. 1. DIALOGUE (Lotus): Fox trap for the Silver Fox. PANEL 5: Silver Fox’s face in close up as it smashes to the ground. His eyes look stunned.
PAGE 17 PANEL 1: Lotus has twisted around and is now on the back of Silver Fox. She taunts him briefly… 1. DIALOGUE (Lotus): Not even 14 rounds albino… it’s over. PANEL 2: Lotus rips the eyes out of Silver Foxes head! Her fingers penetrate deep into his skull. 2. SFX (Silver Fox): RRRARRRRRRRRRRHHHHHHHHHHH PANEL 3: Lotus in close up as she looks with fake disgust at her bloody fingers. 3. DIALOGUE (Lotus): uh…boys? PANEL 4: A wide shot of Akage and Bakemono with piles of dismembered Bronzemen lying all about them. But more still come. A lot more.
PAGE 18 PANEL 1: Akage and Bakemono are back to back slashing down Bronzemen as they charge their position. Bakemono still wears his mask, so we haven’t seen him, but he looks very pleased with the action from his body language. PANEL 2: Lotus lands right next to them now, while scoring a kick that sends a bronzeman flying away. 1. DIALOGUE (Lotus): Gentleman, your chariot…the elevator…awaits. Let’s go. 2. DIALOGUE (Bakemono): I knew we kept you around for a reason…nice work
PANEL 3: The three ninjas leap back and upwards out of frame and come down on… PANEL 4: the elevator, joining Escher. The boy doesn’t look frightened strangely. Lotus is bent down to speak to him. 3. DIALOGUE (Lotus): You know if you want to live what you have to… 4. DIALOGUE (Escher): Yes. We better run. PANEL 5: Small insert panel of Bakemono’s hand pushing the lever to start the elevator upwards and away.
PAGE 19 PANEL 1: A close up of Escher’s face…the dark energy pours out of his eyes and the alien language begins again. That would be to summon… PANEL 2: Another creature that looks exactly like Mrthokloptyk is falling past the group now…this one is huge! All the ninja look amazed at the creature and we can see Escher focused on his summoning. PANEL 3: Most of the page here: An overhead shot looking down as the Bronzemen try to fight the huge creature. Mrthokloptyk is destroying the temple and all around it. Explosions are occurring all around. 1. CAPTION (Akage): Science…magic… thieves and heroes all alike now. Our world grown cold, with Death and despair above, and the hell of these cities below.
PAGE 20 PANEL 1: The group walking away from the shed that the elevator was in, a huge fireball behind them. 1. CAPTION (Akage): We hold a key, a living key. Perhaps it will lead to something better. Perhaps not, but it gives me hope. For us and for our fallen friends… something to keep us warm in this unending snow. PANEL 2: The group walking out of the town and into the desolate area around. This takes up most of the page. Both Akage and Lotus are pulling their hoods back on.
2. DIALOGUE: (Lotus): Well, no one woman could clean all that up…nice work boys. Even you Bake-sale. I might even be nice to you for a few hours. 3. DIALOGUE (Bakemono): Hah… it won’t last. Would have been good to have grabbed some transport, but I had no desire to tangle with…whatever that was. But this walking… it just never ends. 4. DIALOGUE (Escher): Someday it will end Bakemono… I know it will. PANEL 3: A smallish but long panel as we look from VERY high up and see our group from the sky. All around the desolate area we can see monsters that would be just out of their range of sight. Nasty creatures, reflecting the magic and myth of this world. 5. DIALOGUE (Akage): Well it won’t end tonight. Shut up and walk. END SCRIPT