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EXT. FOREST - THUG'S CAMP - NIGHT
It’s a large clearing in the center of the forest. On one side is a corral for horses. Around a central fire pit are lean-tos, rough shelters where men loll around, drinking from cups and horns.
Near the edge of the camp is a tree, and the six girls from the village are tied around it, trussed like turkeys and gagged. They appear petrified.
Boxes are stacked under another tree, items spilling out of them obviously plundered from traveling merchants. A few kegs of ale sit near the boxes, and weapons are lying around or propped up against trees and boxes everywhere.
Near the fire, two men are sparring. One slips and the other punches him, then kicks him into the fire. The man rolls away from the flames, his pants alight.
The crowd of watching thugs laughs. One kicks the burning man as he rolls past.
Hope you burn to a crisp, you
lousy bastard! You'd smell better!
The leader of the thugs swaggers over to the tree, circling the girls with a leer.
Now that's a fine catch!
The girls struggle and try to scream through their gags.
Hey boss, we gonna draw
straws this time, or what?
The leader sticks his thumbs in his belt. The rest of the men gather around, some actually drooling as they watch the struggling women.
I may try ‘em all out first.
EXT. FOREST - OUTSIDE THUG'S CAMP - NIGHT
Selsha crawls under a bush, peering out from the bottom branches. She is covered in dirt, muck, forest debris, etc. Her clothes are torn, and there are several scratches on her face.
She looks around. She spots the boxes stacked up near the tree. With a determined expression, she starts crawling forward.
A branch gets caught on her belt, and the bush starts moving with her.
Selsha feels the pull, frowns, moves forward. The bush pulls back.
Oh my gosh!
Selsha panics, tugging and crawling forward frantically, dragging the bush branches after her.
The bush reaches the end of its floral tensile strength and snaps back, pulling Selsha with it into the depths of the interior of the bush.
EXT FOREST - THUG'S CAMP - NIGHT
The men are hooting and hollering, poking the girls and making rude comments.
Hey baby.... You're gonna make
me real happy tonight, ain'tcha!?
The leader hears a noise.
Hey! You hear that?
All I hear is this little
piggy a squealin’!
The leader steps away from the tree where the girls are and walks closer to the provision area, listening intently.
He walks underneath a tree limb and stops, squinting and staring into the underbrush.
Who's there! Hello? Hey! I'm gonna
kill you if you don't come out!
Very slowly, behind him, Xena emerges from the tree, hanging upside down from the limb.
Hey! I said come out!
Xena opens both her arms wide and slams her hands together, smacking the leader on either side of his head.
The leader drops to the ground, senseless. Xena pulls herself back up into the tree and disappears.
EXT. FOREST - THUG'S CAMP - TREE - NIGHT
Xena stands up on the limb. Gabrielle stands next to her.
Xena, we have to hurry up.
Those guys aren't going
to wait much longer.
Xena walks along the branch towards the end of it. The limb starts to dip towards the ground.
All right. You ready? I'll keep ‘em
busy, you cut the girls loose.
Right. Then we go for the horses...
you think you can get them to ride?
They'll ride one way or the other.
Xena gets ready to jump. Gabrielle follows her. The limb starts to bow in earnest.
Hope this tree forgives us.
Xena jumps off the branch, followed by Gabrielle. The tree limb springs back, seemingly in great relief.
EXT. FOREST - THUG'S CAMP - NIGHT
The first thug takes out his belt knife and approaches the girls. He looks behind him.
The thugs all look around them furtively. They do not spot the leader, lying under the tree between the boxes.
Musta gone to take a leak.
The men laugh.
Maybe he couldn't uh....
He mimes a stick or other long straight object.
The men all laugh again.
Well, I’m taking some,
Hades with him.
The men rush towards the tree. The girls scream into their gags and struggle wildly.
Xena and Gabrielle drop into the firelight and race towards them.
Hey! Hey! Leave them alone!
The men whirl and spot Xena and Gabrielle. They grab for their weapons and run to confront them.
Who the Hades are you?!
Get out of our camp!
Xena roundhouse kicks Thug 1, sending him flying into the bushes. She draws her sword and meets Thug 2, engaging him in a fight as three or four other thugs run towards her with axes and knives.
Gabrielle races past towards the girls, but she stops as she sees two more thugs run from the behind the tree towards Xena with long lances in their hands.
Xena! Look out!
Xena turns and spots the two men. She leaps up and kicks the ends of the long lances down as the men run forward, slamming the points into the ground and catapulting the two men over her head and into the fire pit.
Gabrielle runs towards the girls. She draws out a small knife and starts to cut them free.
Take it easy! We're going
to get you out of here!
Xena slams her elbow into a thug who is about to jump on her back. She kicks a second in the knee, and punches a third in the jaw.
Gabrielle finishes cutting the girls free, and urges them forward.
Go for the horses! Hurry!
EXT. FOREST - OUTSIDE THUG'S CAMP - NIGHT
Selsha finally untangles herself from the bush and scrambles forward, sticking her head out and stopping as she spots Xena and Gabrielle fighting the thugs.
She watches Xena throw a thug over her shoulder, while at the same time, kick back and nail another one in the throat. Both thugs hit the ground and stay there.
The girls start to run away from the tree. Selsha looks over at them, spotting Gabrielle herding them away.
Oh. I can help... they can
see how good I am!
Selsha gets up and runs towards the girls. The leader is in the way, groggily getting to his feet. Selsha runs right over him, stepping on his stomach on her way towards Gabrielle.
Selsha ignores him. She runs past. The leader gets up and grabs for his weapons.
Gabrielle turns and sees Selsha. Her eyes widen and she starts to run towards her.
EXT FOREST - THUG'S CAMP - TREE
Xena kicks the last thug and runs after the girls, losing sight of Gabrielle as the horses mill around in the excitement.
Get on! Hurry!
We can't! Oh!
Xena throws the girl up onto the horse's back.
Sure you can. Just hang on!
Xena puts another girl on a second horse. She slaps the first horse on the rump and it runs off. Xena looks over her shoulder, but the thugs are still out for the count.
Hang on! Got a problem!
Xena puts two more girls up, and ducks under the horses' stomach to look for Gabrielle. Too many horses are still in the way.
Xena grabs two of the remaining girls and puts them up on one horse together.
Oh! It's... I can ride!
Good! Head for home!
Xena slaps the horse on the rear, and it bolts. The horse runs out of the camp and the rest of the horses follow it, thundering past the trees and leaving them behind.
(cont’d, looking around)
Love it when the damn plan
works right for a... change.
Xena brushes her hands off and turns to find Gabrielle. She sees Gabrielle rushing towards Selsha and looks past her, spotting the leader.
EXT. FOREST - THUG'S CAMP - TREE
Gabrielle runs towards Selsha, waving her hands.
Get down! Get down!
Behind Selsha, the leader of the thugs releases a hand ax aimed at her back.
Gabrielle dives at Selsha, knocking her to the ground as the ax flies over their heads.
Ow! Hey! What'dja do that for!
Gabrielle draws her sais as she rolls away from Selsha and gets to her feet, just in time to meet the leader charging at her with a two handed broadsword.
Selsha whirls and gasps. She looks around, spots a stick and grabs it, then runs towards Gabrielle and the leader.
Oh! Oh! I'll help! Oh!
Gabrielle deflects the leader's sword with her sai and ducks under his arm. She kicks him in the gut as he lunges past, then turns to meet him as he staggers around.
Gabrielle spots Selsha approaching. She waves her off, but Selsha ignores her and swings her pole at the leader's back.
The leader catches sight of her from the corner of his eye and turns, grabbing the pole and raising his sword as he pulls Selsha towards him.
Gabrielle leaps forward and grabs the leader, swinging him around and throwing her body to one side, knocking him off balance.
Hah! You scummy....
Xena is racing forward towards them.
Selsha tries to grab the leader, but ends up grabbing Gabrielle's arm instead, pulling her sai to one side and out of position just as the leader swings his sword towards her.
Selsha stumbles back, right into Xena, blocking her.
Gabrielle gets her other sai up, but not in time and the leader's sword blade plunges into her side, a splash of rich, red blood erupting into the air.
Xena throws Selsha out of the way and goes for the leader, who pulls his sword back for another strike.
Gabrielle collapses to the ground as Xena meets the leader's sword with hers, driving through his guard and sending the blade flying off in another direction.
The leader takes a step back, but Xena comes after him, plunging her sword into his chest up to the hilts. She yanks her sword back out and turns as he falls, dropping on her knees beside Gabrielle.
Gabrielle is holding her side. Blood is leaking out from between her fingers, and she is very pale.
Damn! I should have
ducked when I....
Selsha gets to her hands and knees, staring at Gabrielle.
Oh... I'm.... Sorry.
Xena and Gabrielle ignore her completely. Gabrielle tries to get up, but falls back, her face tense in pain. Xena gently pulls Gabrielle's hand away from the cut in her side, and her eyes widen in dismay.
You know me. Never
do things half way.
Xena presses Gabrielle's hand against the cut again. She looks around quickly, judging the now stirring men.
Gotta get you out of here....
Here... can you get your arm
around my neck? Yeah.
Xena picks Gabrielle up in her arms, cradling her. She looks around. The thugs are starting to regain consciousness.
Selsha gets to her feet.
Uh... I... um...
can I help... uh... you?
Xena looks at her, and if looks could kill nearly as well as Xena could, Selsha would have been instant sushi.
Stay here and keep
these guys occupied.
Gabrielle lifts her head.
Selsha looks shattered.
I... I didn't mean to....
Xena looks merely disgusted.
C'mon. Maybe we'll get lucky
and they'll all have amnesia.
Xena crosses the campsite and ducks between the trees. Selsha follows hesitantly, and they disappear just as the first of the thugs struggles to his feet.
Wow... what'd we get hit with?
Dunno.... But we better go hunt it
down and kill it before it hits us again!
The thugs get to their feet, and start looking around. One finds the leader's body.
Lookit this! He got axed by
some... some... woman!
We'll get ‘em! Word gets around we
got beat by some woman, we're toast!
The thugs fan out and start to search.
END OF ACT THREE