|Episode Guide||Teaser||Act 1||Act 2||Act 3||Act 4|
INT. CASTLE - NIGHT
A man is pacing in what appears to be a royally appointed room. He is dressed in fine silk robes of pale yellow and deep green and embossed in gold trim. He stops in front of his writing table and picks up a parchment, breaking the wax seal to expose the contents. He examines the words intently as he strokes his beard. A gust of wind blows through the open window and a shadow is exposed behind the large tapestry hanging near the window but the man does not see the presence watching him.
Soon I’ll have the last piece
in place for my rise to King.
He takes the parchment and walks to the fireplace. He tosses the parchment on the fire, staring at it as it burns.
No longer will I have to suffer
taking orders from a woman!
Cyrus laughs heartily and walks to his bed. He removes the green robe, tossing in on the stool beside the bed then slides beneath the silk covers. He continues to laugh as the scene fades to black and the shadow runs unseen from his room.
EXT. CLEARING - NIGHT
Xena and Gabrielle are seated together on logs opposite the young woman who has appeared, asking for their help. Gabrielle shivers and rubs her arms as a cold night breeze blows across the campsite. Without taking her eyes off the visitor, Xena reaches back and grabs a cloak, covering Gabrielle against the night air.
Xena just nods and keeps her arm around Gabrielle, noting that their guest is unaffected by the cold breeze. Xena stares intently at their visitor.
Why do you think the
Queen is in trouble?
I don’t think the Queen is in trouble.
I *know* the Queen is in trouble.
How do you know?
Carena stares at the fire. She lifts her head and looks pleadingly at them.
I have heard Cyrus
make his plans.
Who is Cyrus?
He’s the Queens advisor...
and he is a very evil man.
Gabrielle and Xena look at one another startled by the bitterness in Carena’s voice.
Okay, tell us what’s happening.
My…Queen is a wonderful ruler. She is kind
and generous and truly cares for the people
of this land. Cyrus is an evil, greedy man and
cares for only one person…himself! He has
convinced my … Queen to sign a document
that would make him the King should anything
happen to the Queen. He convinced her that this
would keep her land and her people safe from
being attacked by warlords wanting to take over.
Is the Queen without heirs?
Lowering her head, Carena nods.
Yes, she has no one.
That sounds logical if there
is no heir to the throne.
That does make sense, Carena.
Unless you know something else?
Cyrus is planning on having the Queen
assassinated sometime just after the
end of the new moon. That is when
this document becomes law.
She looks hopefully at them.
Will you help…my Queen?
XENA AND GABRIELLE
Xena and Gabrielle stand extending their arms toward Carena. As they reach out to extend their arms in agreement, another stronger breeze blows across the span between them. The gust stirs up the fire sending sparks and ash into the air. Xena and Gabrielle embrace, sheltering their eyes from the sparks and ash. When the breeze dies down, Carena is nowhere to be seen.
Where did she go?
Xena unsheathes her boot dagger and moves quickly and cautiously around the campsite, eyes narrowing as they pierce the blackness of the night.
What do you think Xena? Do
you think she’s telling the truth?
I think she’s hiding something.
But, is she genuinely concerned
for the safety of the Queen?
EXT. SMALL TOWN - MID MORNING
Xena and Gabrielle return to the town and head directly to the castle. The townsfolk watch quietly as they walk past the market place and Inn but begin to mumble as they pass the common areas and head to the main gate.
Not much of a change in
attitude from yesterday.
Nope. Still seem to
be a wary bunch.
Wonder if that has
to do with Cyrus.
Xena shrugs her shoulders as she leads Argo up the path to the main gate where they are stopped by two burly guards. The guards cross their spears, barring them from entering.
We’re here to seek an
audience with the Queen.
Do you have an invitation
from the Queen?
Then you cannot enter.
Is there any way we can see the
Queen without an invitation?
The guards look at each other obviously not knowing the answer to the question.
Xena sighs. She looks down at Gabrielle and raises an eyebrow in question.
Deciding to take a different tact, Gabrielle walks over to the second guard and smiles.
My name is Gabrielle and
this is my partner Xena.
At the mention of Xena’s name, the guard swallows hard.
Do you think your Queen
would be happy to know you
turned away visiting royalty?
I’m an Amazon Queen and we
are here to visit your Queen.
The first guard looks Gabrielle up and down.
You don’t look like royalty.
Enough of this. Move.
The guards look at Xena, then at Gabrielle. The guards wisely step aside.
INT. CASTLE HALLWAY - DAY
Xena and Gabrielle walk down a long, wide hallway filled with various tapestries hanging on the walls. They seem to be in historical order showing battle scenes, festivals, an intricate labyrinth and many of two children with their mother. Most are filled with happiness, peace and prosperity. Halfway down the hall, the tapestries end abruptly.
I wonder what happened here.
She points to the last tapestry that has a scene of a river, a dark cloud with a lightening bolt coming from it, and a child weeping by the river. Xena studies the scene and shrugs.
Looks like a sad story.
An old woman is standing at the end of the hall. She watches as they stop and view the last tapestry before continuing down the hall.
Greetings. My name is
Rhea. May I help you?
Glad to finally see a friendly face, Gabrielle gives the old woman a warm, disarming smile and extends an arm in friendship.
Hi, Rhea. I’m Queen Gabrielle of the
Amazons and this is Xena. We’re here
to seek an audience with the Queen.
The old woman raises her chin as she looks them over, hesitant to comply with their request.
An Amazon Queen, ya say?
Didn’t know there were any
Amazons left in these parts.
Yes I am, and no, there aren’t
any Amazons left in these parts.
We are just passing through
and want to pay our respects.
They used to live up in the hills
on the other side of the river.
Yes, I understand most of them
died from old age. They were
excellent hunters and traders.
Yes, they were well respected in
these parts. I… we miss them.
The Queen is in her private
study. Follow me, please.
Rhea nods and indicates that they should follow her. She leads them through several twists and turns finally ending at a large wooden door. She knocks and waits for the response to enter. Gabrielle looks back over her shoulder.
Maybe we should have left a trail of
bread crumbs to find our way out.
Nah, two lefts, one right, another
left, down the stairs, left, up the
stairs, two more lefts, then a
right and we’re out of here.
Gabrielle shakes her head and laughs as she takes hold of Xena’s upper arm.
Oh, you’re good.
Well, I do have....
Gabrielle holds up a hand.
Don’t say it.
Xena just grins.
Your majesty, Queen Gabrielle
of the Amazons and Xena
are here to see you.
The Queen nods but remains standing with her back to the group.
Thank you, Rhea.
That will be all.
Rhea backs away toward the door but does not leave. She remains unseen behind a set of curtains by the door.
I’ve heard of the two of you.
What brings you to my realm?
She turns to face them and the light from the window highlights a sad countenance. Surprised, Xena and Gabrielle look at each other as they recognize the Queen to be their visitor from the previous night. Strangely, the Queen doesn’t appear to recognize them.
We’re here to
offer our services.
The Queen raises both eyebrows in surprise.
We heard you may be in danger
and thought we could help.
The Queen paces across the room to the window. She stares momentarily out into the courtyard, then turns back to her visitors.
In danger? Where
did you hear that?
The Queen moves nervously away from the window and sits in a large ornate chair by her writing table. Xena and Gabrielle move in front of the table. Xena remains quiet, watching the Queen’s actions. Before Gabrielle speaks, Xena clears her throat and attracts Gabrielle’s attention, making a subtle motion with her head toward the door.
Forgive us, Queen Carena.
We’ve obviously made an err….
Her words are cut off as the Queen stands abruptly, anger and sadness sending a mixed message to the observant Xena.
Is this some sort of sick joke?
Get out! Get out now before
I call for my guards!
Xena takes Gabrielle’s hand and pulls her back towards the door.
The Queen turns and exits the room quickly, tears streaking down her face. Rhea steps out from behind the curtain and beckons them to follow. With a shrug of their shoulders, they follow the old woman.
INT. ABANDONED CHILDREN’S BEDROOM - DAY
Gabrielle looks around the room that was obviously once a bedroom for two small children. Xena observes Gabrielle looking intently at two matching dolls. Xena walks over and picks up the dolls, wiping the dust off the faces exposing faded smiles.
I was the nanny to the children that lived
in this room. You have just met one of
them. I’m afraid she’s a bit…fragile. I
have been very worried about her lately.
She seems so sad.
Aye, she is and has been for a very
long time. Queen Serena has taken
to wandering the castle late at
night on many occasions.
Queen Serena? I thought
her name was Carena.
Rhea inhales sharply, now sure she heard them call the Queen by her sister’s name.
Xena looks over at Gabrielle who is about to speak, but refrains when she sees Xena’s expression. Xena glances back down at the dolls, replacing them on the small desk.
Rhea, please apologize to the Queen.
We’ve obviously upset her.
We’ll be going.
Xena takes Gabrielle by the hand and leads her to the door. Gabrielle begins to speak as they walk down the hall, but Xena puts a finger to her lips.
EXT. OPEN ROAD LEADING FROM THE CASTLE - DAY
Xena steals a look over her shoulder as they walk toward the town and notices the Queen in one of the windows. As she turns back toward the town, she catches a glimpse of another person who is also watching them leave.
Okay, what’s up?
Remember the last tapestry?
The one with the crying child?
I think it may be Queen
Oh…how sad. No wonder she
wanders the castle at night.
That’s not Serena
doing the wandering.
Gabrielle looks at Xena and frowns then sees what Xena has already recognized.
Our friendly campfire
visitor is a ghost.
She steals another look over her shoulder.
We’re being watched.
END OF ACT ONE