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In dynastic China, a dying king chooses his young son, Prince Zhao to be his successor, giving him the imperial seal and sending him away in the care of his older sister, Princess Lian. Shortly thereafter, their sadistic older brother, Prince Shing, murders the King in a fit of rage after having been passed over as heir. Shing assumes command of the Emperor’s Black Guard, ordering the deaths of his siblings in order to obtain the seal and the legitimacy of the throne.
Zhao and Lian only travel a short time before they are apprehended, but then saved by Jacob, a disillusioned and opioid-addicted crusader who, initially war-weary, is reluctant to become involved in the conflict. Though upon remembering the deaths of women and children in one of his last battles, he relents, escorting them to the find the generals and win the support of the military. Traveling through a village destroyed by the Black Guard, they rescue a girl, Xiaolei. They attempt to take refuge in the desert city Jingshao. They are betrayed by their hosts, who summon the Black Guard, hoping to win the price on their heads. This forces them to fight their way out.
Retreating to the mountains, they are saved by Gallain, a former commrade of Jacob’s, who also became disillusioned with war and is now a bandit leader known in China as The White Ghost. At the hideout, Jacob is healed of his wounds and the two reconcile from the things they did during the crusades. Gallain and his bandits are tracked by Shing and his Black Guard, who then attack the hideout. In the ensuing battle, Gallain and his bandits kill a large number of guards but he is ultimately killed when Shing arrives. Jacob fights Shing but is gravely wounded, at which time Lian intervenes and tries to kill Shing. However he stabs her instead. Jacob, in rage, overwhelms and kills Shing. Captain Peng, who had witnessed Shing’s treachery, pledges the allegiance of the rest of the Black Guard to Zhao.