Story Treatment: The Knight and the Mountain Black

          In Chineese Wuxia there are figures we’d call knights known as Youxia. This is the story of one encountering a foe culled from one of the darkest imagination’s the West has ever known, H.P. Lovecraft.

          Wei Yu rode his horse into a small secluded town. He asks some fishermen returning with their catch where the inn is. They just point him in the direction while pulling the hoods over their heads. Wei Yu rents a room at the “House of Leaves” inn. He asks how one would get to the mountain trail. The innkeeper pales and asks what the knight wants to go there for. Wei Yu proclaims he seeks to reach it’s peak, but he doesn’t say why. The innkeeper says he doesn’t know the way and then disappears behind the shutter he pulls over his desk. That night, Wei Yu is awoken by a banging on his door. Two brutish men can be seen in the threshold as they break down the door. Wei Yu rolls from the bed and kicks the bedding at the two. Another kick to the cushion forces the two attackers tumbling down the stairs behind them. Wei Yu draws his sword and seemingly glides to the open resting and eating area of the inn below. For all their freakish size and strength, the assassins are without tact or skill. One dies quickly, but the other is left bleeding out. Wei Yu tries to interrogate who sent them, and why. The remaining foe begins chanting in a guttural, sloppy, croaking tongue that Wei Yu winces at the sound of. Suddenly, the wounds on the man begin to ooze an inky black substance. Worms, fish, and other slithering vermin begin to burst from the man until nothing is left but a shriveled husk.

            Wei Yu grabs his personal belongings and heads to the local Temple. Only to discover that this town has none. A frightened voice calls out for help and the knight is approached by a young girl. In her wake are more of the villagers. In the torchlight, their features are revealed to be twisted and grotesque. The girl, Ming, clings to the knight’s leg and the leader of the mob demands Wei Yu release the young one. The villagers plan to sacrifice Ming in an unholy ritual. Wei Yu whistles and his horse gallops toward him. Sweeping Ming up, Wei Yu swings atop his horse and rides from the town and to the mountain trail. Wei Yu instructs Ming to hide while he fights their pursuers. After a few try and fail to stop him, the Cult Leader Hai Pan offers to show Wei Yu exactly why he should hand over Ming and why his quest to scale the mountain is pointless in the first place. In a nearby cave, Hai Pan chants a spell in the same fiendish tongue that Wei Yu heard before. It is revealed to him via a vision just what the mountain truly is, the physical anchor of an eldritch being named Mogwaithan. Wei Yu is shaken by the enormity of what he faces, but tells Hai Pan it will not stop him, nor will it convince him to give up Ming. Hai Pan orders his followers to kill the Youxia, but Wei Yu is too strong and skilled to fall to them. He rejoins Ming and they continue their ascent.

            As the two climb higher up the mountain, Wei Yu begins teaching Ming in both his martial arts as well as the philosophy linked to them. He passes on the lessons taught to him by his master, Shen. The two are set upon by more of Hai Pan’s followers. Wei Yu cuts loose a chute of bamboo and uses it as a weapon to defeat them. He then stabs the sharpened wood into the mountainside. Taking more bamboo with him, he continues to plant the chutes into points in the mountain. Ming asks why but Wei Yu doesn’t tell her why exactly, only that she will understand eventually.

            Near the summit, the duo is confronted by Hai Pan himself. The madman gives up his mind and body to his master in an unholy rite. His mind shattered, the cultist transforms before their eyes. His limbs twist at unnatural angles and sickle like blades of bone sprout from his wrists and ankles. Hai Pan throws himself at Wei Yu. The fight is intense, with Wei Yu having difficulty countering the demon’s unearthly fighting style. Wei Yu’s sword is knocked out of his hand and it goes flying off the edge of the mountain. When it appears Wei Yu is finished, Ming flies into action. Though she doesn’t do any real harm, she distracts Hai Pan long enough for Wei Yu to kill Hai Pan with the last of his gathered bamboo spears. Ming begins to cry and Wei Yu brings her into a comforting hug. She asks him how he can be so courageous in the face of such powerful alien forces. Wei Yu tells her because he has faith that they are not more powerful than people can become. He tells her of how he saw his own master attain enlightenment and ascend beyond everything, even Mogwaithan.

            The master and student at last reach the peak of the mountain. Wei Yu instructs Ming to meditate at a very precise location and to not stop until he says it’s okay, no matter what. Wei Yu then begins to meditate himself, while simultaneously going through his forms. Mogwaithan then appears before him in his mind’s eye. It tells Wei Yu that his struggle is meaningless, that whether or not he attains enlightenment he will still exist in its domain. That human existence is an accident, devoid of purpose as well as consequence. Wei Yu says nothing during all of this but continues to go through his stances. As he does though, for every powerful stomp, the mountain shakes just a little and it’s getting louder.

            The bamboo chutes are acting like acupuncture needles. Wei Yu’s strategic stomping is acting as the last straw that breaks the camel’s back. Mogwaithan realizes too late what’s happening and tries to bargain with Wei Yu, offering him women, wealth, and power. Wei Yu follows through with a mighty punch to the very crown of the mountain. A massive avalanche occurs as the rocky exterior of the mountain crumbles away, crushing the village below and leaving a smooth plateau. Ming is then told to open her eyes. She is upon a raised steppe of the plateau and a ghostly apparition of Wei Yu appears before her, having plummeted to his physical death. Before his ascension, he instructs his disciple to go and find another to teach as his master taught him, and he taught her.

The End

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