Enjoy the first scenes of the Malama Katana Pilot in the PDF below
Introductions from the Past
Thousands of Memorial Day lanterns float in the water, the backdrop to chaos. The sound of death and destruction fill the night, victims scream in terror as the undead tear into their flesh. The innocent try to flee but the crowds are too thick as the corrupted create victims, adding volume to their legion.
Hisato stands before the hoard, Katana in hand, a golden shimmer flashes across his eyes.
A mask too well worn, the lanterns light in the ocean hides the glowing eyes, the surprise was lethal. Nearly forty thousand people attend the annual Memorial Day Lantern Festival in Honolulu every year. A cultural celebration of life and those who left us, a ceremony in which the lanterns carry well wishes and letters of love lost but never forgotten.
The first to go were the ones in waist deep waters, sending off the lanterns as if for a brief second, they hoped to touch the spirits of those beyond their reach. Glowing eyes in murky waters yield the second surprise as those just a bit closer to shore succumb. Soon, the crowd begins to react, and chaos is met with carnage as the corrupted clear the beach and move into the park
Hisato moves through the crowd, his motion masterful, as if he already knows the outcome, dodging the innocent and dislodging the corrupted from their curse. His katana swift, silent, and precise as he moves towards the beach, the blade is practically clairvoyant with movements and strikes that seem to defy reason. Hisato cuts his way towards a large group of families cornered against the seawall, placing himself between them and the oncoming hoard.
The massive hoard rushes towards Hisato as his powers peak, a golden shimmer flows through his sword into his arms and chest as his eyes light up.
Hisato screams in the darkness, startled by the dream as he sit ups in bed, his ships quarters are dark as the sun’s rays creep through heavy drapes. He moves quickly to his desk and writes down the moments of his dream with a large quill, placing a rather large paperweight made from crystal on the parchment so it can dry.
A Katana hangs upon a weapons rack near Hisatos desk, awaiting its rightful place at his side.
Hisato opens the heavy curtains to reveal the morning sun as the clear waters of the ocean offer up their revelations. He smiles and slowly turns his eyes to the Katana “ I hear you over there old friend.” Hisato walks across the room and two friends start another day. Hisato leaves his quarters and begins his normal rounds which include but are not limited to, the above deck inspection and reports from crew, tea, morning kata and a nice long walk around the ship and below deck.
The ships passage is gracious, allowing Hisato to breath as he heads above deck. His frame is a bit taller than most, a little bit more defined than most, his eyes hazel green with a splash of blue around the edges. Most attribute his size and skill to the sword and they would be right, however the true power that holds it all together would be his heart. Most Japanese ships are large and elaborate and this ship would be no different with several below deck levels and many amenities for long sea voyages.
The sun greets Hisato before his feet touch the deck and life on the ship is busy, deckhands and crew efficiently move about, long in the tooth of their duties. “Hisato, I trust you slept well?” Kenzou approaches Hisato and bows briefly. His old frame hidden beneath blue robes and a long grey beard, his eyes old and wise, carry the scars of regrets and battles buried. “Good morning Kenzou, it is you I should be worried about, you always beat me to the punch.” Hisato smiles at his mentor and gives him a morning pat on the shoulder. “So deliberate in your delivery, almost as if you have your actions planned out a hundred years in advance.” Hisato jest as sounds of excitement ripple across the ship. A deckhand rushes up to the men “my lord, we have spotted land!”.
An island breaks the horizon, possibly two as Hisato looks towards destiny. “Kenzou? Do you carry the map with you?”, “Always.” Kenzou produces a hard leather-bound scroll case from a finely made satchel at his side. “Your instincts are right; it is time to update the map and update our plans.” Kenzou unties the case and unrolls the map on a nearby table. “we have followed the path of this prophecy sparing no miner detail and we have arrived just in time, now tell me more about these dreams, these visions?” Hisatos eyes look back into time as Kenzou prepares a seat at the table. “ Corrupted men, unlike anything I have seen before, a faint glow of a captured soul behind sunken eyes that have not seen life in many, many years.” Kenzou reacts with a cautious tilt of his head “Where are you in these dreams?” Hisato walks up to the table, “No where on this map, there are lanterns, thousands of lanterns and thousands of the corrupted. They are mounting an attack on a city of lights near the ocean, a foreign land with foreign people, I recognized not their custom nor clothing.’ Hisato grabs a quill, dipping it in an ink well and ever so carefully begins to update the map as another deck hand rushes up, bowing. “lord, we are close enough to the island, an away skip has already left.” The deckhand swiftly leaves as soon as his message is dispatched. Hisato turns towards the island as Kenzou fans the map ever so gently, drying the fresh ink.
The island is lush and green, the waters rough as eight men power towards the island in a strong and sturdy landing craft. They jump out into the shore break and pull the skip ashore as the sun breaks from the clouds and the glory of paradise entices the men. The lead man shouts out orders as the team sets up the skip and readies for exploration. “I need two men to stay behind and guard the skip, the rest with me.” The lead double checks his weapons and they start to walk towards the tree line. The men are in good spirits yet cautious as they step into the jungle, a new world surrounds them as ancient trees covered in lush vines dominate the landscape, so thick that the men create a single line as to efficiently cut through the jungle. The jungle is quiet, not a sound but the wind walking through the jungle and the whistling of a lone crewman mimicking a tropical bird. As soon as the lead man realizes it is not a bird but a crewman, he halts the party and walks back to the perpetrator intent on delivering and quick slap of discipline. As his hand backs up for the slap a bird song returns from the thick of the jungle, the men quickly turn their attention to the sound. “did you hear that, how can that even be possible? You were making that bird whistle up weren’t you?” the lead man interrogates the whistling crewman as a low vibration begins to rumble underfoot. “Everyone stay quiet just for one moment, did you feel that just now, that vibration?’ the lead man leaves the whistling crewman behind as the Bird song repeats from the jungle beyond their view. Three crewmen draw their swords and start off towards the bird song with the others quickly joining pursuit, the lead barking out orders as they move. “Keep it together men, you don’t know what’s out there.” The men scoff at the lead’s orders, as two crewman draw their bows and notch their arrows.
Further and further they follow, their eyes blind as the jungle becomes hollow, the green vines begin to turn grey as bird song sings, their curiosity fails to sway. A hearty crewman with a bow halts the party, “shadow and depth up ahead, do you see it? “ his bow extended, points to a cave hidden by a grey wall over overgrown vines. The men gather to gain perspective as the sounds of bird song escape the cave with muffled intentions. The lead taps his sword against a dying vine, sweat and grime set about his eyes “this feels like a set up.” As he turns away the men begin to laugh. “birds do bother you?’ our hearty bowman boastfully mocks his superior as he turns towards the cave, he lifts his bow and fires a blind shot into the dark depths as a squeal lets out from the unseen impact. The bowman’s face lights up, “is that the squeal of a boar? Looks like we’ve found ourselves the treat of fresh meat.” The men start off into the cave as squeals turn to screams and screams fade away leaving nothing but the faint melody of muffled bird song.
Hisato awaits below deck as word spreads of the approaching skip, the sound of waves interrupted as screams break the silence of a sleeping ship. The ships corpsman runs through the halls towards the lower decks, dodging crewman and servants, his eyes intent, his focus on his duty. He rounds the corner almost in a full sprint as he clips Hisatos shoulder, sending Yuuto off course and into the wall. Yuuto stands and bows quickly “So sorry”, he turns and resumes his sprinting, Hisato follows.
Hisato steps out of the way as servants hustle past him with supplies to treat the wounded.
Hisatos face stern and concerned, moves out of the way, his eyes scanning every moment that plays out before him. These men, this crew are more than just a part of a legacy, they are family, battles braved and losses suffered, they have stood together in triumph and terror. Hisato sees not one whom he has grown to know and care for over the last decade at sea. Hisato calls for a nearby servant, “Find Asahi now! I need him safe, do you understand?” the servant bows and runs up the stairs towards the upper deck. Hisato turns his attention back towards the screams of his men. Two corpsman and three deckhands brace as the skip is pulled into the ship by several deckhands. The deckhands use long, elaborately decorated boat hooks, securing the vessel. Two men in the skip are being held down by their peers. The stricken men writhe and scream in pain, a black poison, visible through the skin is seen moving through their veins and spreading into their flesh, the color from their skin slowly draining. The first man, stricken struggles to break free, he screams, his voice cracks and begins to loose its human qualities. “Whats happening to me, I cannot feel my hands, my legs.” He frantically looks about, his eyes wide as if looking at death itself. Held down and restrained he tries to hold up his arms before his eyes to check on them but can only bend at the elbow. He struggles a bit and gives up but for a second before being partially commanded by the venom to resist. At this time the second stricken crewmember begins screaming, interrupting the chaos with his own mumbling and incoherent words, he flails about, grasping at his peers as they feverishly fight to hold him down. “Find my journal, the fire, purple fire, give my wife my journal.” He screams in pain as he is carried away, speaking broken words as his eyes focus on an evil a million miles away.
Four crewmembers are no longer enough to control the men and the two corpsman and two additional deckhands rush in and help control the struggle. Yuuto looks for help, commanding the deckhands ”Get over here now and hold this man down, we need to control him.’ They quickly manage to get the men to the other room and strap them down on crude wooden tables. What a bloody room, initially meant for the butcher, tonight, these tables carry a different type of carnage. While strapping the men down, our corpsman is bitten by first stricken man, Yuuto looks at the man in shock as he applies pressure to the wound. Yuuto “Strap their heads down now!” Holding his wounded arm in front of him, blood soaking through his blouse and dripping onto the deck, Yuuto takes a step back away from the table. The other corpsman strap down the stricken men’s heads and begin to sedate them and dress their wounds.
Yuuto walks out of the room as Hisato rushes to meet him, Yuuto begins speaking with slightly labored breath from securing the men but also from the unknown effects of being bitten. He leans against Hisato as his energy drains, “We have secured the men.’ Yuuto turns back to leave as Hisato moves closer to inspect Yuutos injury. “And you? What of this wound?”, Hisato reaches to grab the corpsman’s arm but the corpsman moves away as screams are heard in the infirmary behind them.
Moving together, Hisato and Yuuto step towards the room as the other corpsman is heard screaming within, inhuman growls and screeches follow as chaos unfolds. Inside the infirmary the dead corpsman lies on the ground, blood spurting forth from a large chest wound. The first man brought aboard, stricken, stands above the corpsman, the corpsmans heart in hand, the corrupted eyes of his killer offer up a faint greenish glow. Three deckhands rush into the room as the sounds of men being bashed, ripped and attacked fill the air. Yuuto walks up to the rooms entrance and before he can turn into the room an arm reaches out from inside the entryway ripping the corpsman’s throat clean from his body, exposing his spinal column. Yuutos eyes search the room for the attacker but it is too late, he crumbles to the floor in a heap, his blood quickly draining onto the deck. The corrupted crewman begins stepping out from the room, stepping over Yuutos dead body. What was once a man is now corrupted and lost, its’ eyes foul with a faint greenish glow, the dark poison controlling his soul, his mind serves a new master. The corrupted steps into the room sizing up the situation, it screeches and growls at the guards like no other sound the men have heard before. The remaining deckhands rush the weapons rack, grabbing three long spears and take up a defensive posture in front of Hisato. They take a strong stance, pole spears outreached towards the creature. As the creature steps forth the middle deckhand plunges his spear through its chest. The creature, with the pole spear stuck in his rib cage moves from side to side as the middle deckhand struggles to free the spear. The two other deckhands rush forward and both spear the creature in both sides of the chest. The middle deckhand frees his spear, pulling back, he thrust his spear into the creatures face. The blade of the spear splits the creatures head down the middle, its glowing eyes diminish, the creature falls to the ground. As the deckhands free their spears from the body of the creature. A second creature lurches towards them from the infirmary, arms outreached as it steps over the dead corpsman. The deckhands are too slow and the creature reaches for the closest deckhand Hisato quickly moves and severs both of the creatures arms with a downward sword strike. Without arms the creature turns to engage Hisato, teeth gnashing and grinding, black blood dripping from the severed stumps. The creature snaps forward trying to bite Hisato as Hisato slips the attack with a 45 degree angle past the creature. Hisato sets up his footsteps and steps towards the creature taking with him the creatures head with a powerful strike.