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int. shipís hold - day
The captives are chained to the deck. Many struggle against their chains. Guards walk on planks set above the level of the deck with long whips, lashing the captives that struggle most. One captive grabs a guardís leg and tries to pull him to the deck. Several other guards grab the man. One of the sailors comes over and forces some of the liquid down the manís throat. The man almost chokes on it, but the sailor persists. They throw the man to the deck when they finish, and he lies there gasping.
Try that again, and youíll be over the side.
The guard snaps his whip over the heads of those nearby, making them duck. The captives mutter, but hunker down to avoid any more violence.
The guards walk past a darker portion of the deck and look down, then walk past, laughing.
After they pass, the torchlight suddenly reflects off a pair of pale eyes. Xena watches them go by, then she sits up. Gabrielle is lying next to her, sick to her stomach.
How are you doing?
Ugh. What was that stuff?
Xena makes a face and wipes her mouth with the back of her hand.
Wish I knew. It has a nasty kick.
Glad I kicked it out of me, then.
Couldnít be any worse than it was.
Xena cautiously looks around. She watches a captive one section over get kicked in the head and she starts to jump up, but stops when a sailor slaps the guard.
The sailor shoves the guard away.
Any sign of Varia?
Sailors start moving among the captives, passing out mugs and hard loaves of bread. One sailor hands Xena and Gabrielle their portion.
Here. Donít spill it.
Xena takes the mug and smells it.
Herbs. Sleep ones, and
Gabrielle puts hers down, along with the bread.
No thanks. Iíll pass.
Xena is worried. She knows they both canít last without water.
Take off your skirt and
Gabrielle gets up on her elbows and stares at Xena. Xena crooks a finger at her. Gabrielle shakes her head, but starts to unbuckle her belt.
Why canít we ever use yours?
Teach you to buy those
int. shipís hold - three days later - day
The hold ramp is open, and daylight is flooding inside the ship. Outside, there is the sound of life and activity, even music.
The sailors are lining the captives up to be taken off. In contrast to how they boarded, the captives are now docile and stand without protest as they are pushed into place. They are exhausted by their captivity, and by the voyage.
Varia is carried over a guardís shoulder, apparently out cold.
Xena and Gabrielle are at the end of the line, appearing as disheveled and worn down as the rest. Gabrielleís knee is still bandaged, but she is not visibly limping. The guards drive them down the ramp and out of the ship.
EXT. island dock - day
It is bright daylight out side. The captives blink and try to shade their eyes, now used to the dark confines of the ship. Men with rods are waiting for them there. The slave master stops them just short of the men.
Hereís the merchandise, Avon.
A man walks up and down the line of captives, then turns to the slave master.
Pickings getting slim? Not much to see....
(points to Varia)
What happened to her?
She needed extra work. A real feisty one.
The sailors all chuckle. Avon pulls Gabrielle out of the line.
This oneís damaged. Why should I take it?
Gabrielle looks him right in the eye.
Because Iím a Queen of the Amazons.
Avon stares at Gabrielle. He examines her, turning her head this way and that, and poking at her. Behind them, Xenaís face is impassive, but she is very tense.
Eh. Nothing to look at,
Avon shoves Gabrielle back into line. Xena catches her by the shoulders and steadies her.
Youíll see better next time.
Avon hands the slave master a large bag of coins.
(to men with rods)
Take them to the cells.
Wash them first.
ext. slave compound - day
The men with the rods circle the captives and herd them along. At the end of the line are Xena and Gabrielle. A man prods Xena in the back. Xena doesnít turn around, but she snarls silently. The man prods her again.
Moving very quickly, Xena lifts her shackled hands and nails the man in the jaw with her elbow. The man falls down, but Xena is so fast, no one sees her do anything.
Careful what you ask for.
They are entering a large courtyard. A huge gate closes behind them with an ominous bang. Inside, groups of slaves dressed in black and wearing collars are being instructed. The slaves sit obediently, nodding in unison when the man speaks.
You must always obey.
The slaves nod.
Xena and Gabrielle are stunned.
Still sure weíre gonna find live Amazons here?
I donít see any. Xena, look at them.
Gabrielle watches the scene, visibly disturbed. Gabrielle and Xena are pushed into an enclosed area with the rest of the captives, and a gate is shut behind them.
int. slave Enclosure - day
The captives all stand in the enclosure.
Men with huge barrels of water appear above the enclosure walls, and dump the water over the slaves, drenching them. Gabrielle spits out a mouthful of the water and wipes her eyes, then turns and looks at Xena. Xena is completely drenched.
Ohh... Amazons are gonna be
Curiously, none of the other slaves seem upset at the water. Another gate opens in front of them, and they are herded through it.
int. slave enclosure - day
Xena and Gabrielle duck behind a wall as they enter, letting the rest of the slaves move on.
Xena and Gabrielle disappear into the darkness.
int. slave compound hallway - day
Xena and Gabrielle walk cautiously down the hallway, listening for guards. They pass a stone aqueduct and Gabrielle stops.
Is this safe to drink?
Xena smells the water.
I think so. Thirsty?
After having only three mouthfuls of sludge filtered
Least it gave my leg a chance to heal. Mostly.
Xena dips her cupped hands into the water and takes a drink, then offers a handful to Gabrielle. Gabrielle drinks the water. They both react when they hear footsteps approaching. Xena pulls Gabrielle into an alcove next to the aqueduct. It is a very tight squeeze, and they are pressed up against each other in the small space.
Avon and his lackey come down the hallway and stop right next to the aqueduct.
This new batch is pretty ragged, mílord.
I know. Soon weíll be breeding our own,
Raise from infants to serve us.
Avon laughs, and they walk on.
Are they gone?
Xena and Gabrielle emerge from their hiding spot, a little more disheveled than when they went into it. Xena plucks one of the feathers from her clothing from behind Gabrielleís ear and twirls it.
Did you hear what they were planning?
I know. Letís go see if we can find
They continue down the hallway. Suddenly, several guards appear from around the next corner.
You there! Stop!
Xena and Gabrielle take off running. The guards chase them.
int. slave enclosURE -halls - day
Xena and Gabrielle race through the hallways. They duck into a doorway just past an intersection, and the guards run right by them. They back into the room and close the door.
int. slave enclosure - harem - day
Xena and Gabrielle stop short as they enter a large room. The room is full of women. They are all dressed in shifts. The room is comfortable, with many beds lining the walls. There is a fountain, and an ample supply of food. The women sit in groups, chatting and brushing each otherís hair. The women look up curiously as Xena and Gabrielle enter.
Gabrielle recognizes the woman as an Amazon.
The women gather around Xena and Gabrielle.
Are you the new ones they
Xena raises her eyebrows.
Weíre going to get you all out of here.
The Amazons whisper to each other, seemingly puzzled.
Out of here? Why?
Xena and Gabrielle exchange glances.
We have plenty of food, everythingís taken
Whatís it costing you?
Cost us? What do you mean? Here.
(hands Xena mug)
Drink this. Youíll feel a lot better. Honest.
Xena hears guards coming. She hands the mug back.
Thanks, but we gotta run.
Gabrielle and Xena back towards the door, and escape through it.
int. slAVE COMPOUND HALLWAY
Xena and Gabrielle pause outside the Amazonís chamber.
I donít believe it.
Xena, do you remember hearing that
Do you thinkÖ.
They hear the guards approaching.
Xena, we canít leave them in here.
Xena urges her down a side corridor.
I know. Iím workiní on it.
Xena opens a door and looks inside. Her face takes on a darker expression.
int. variaís room
Varia is dressed in a blue gown. She is seated on a soft couch with her hands folded in her lap. Her face is still and expressionless. She hears the door to her room open, and she turns to see Xena and Gabrielle there. Varia puts her hands down and curls her fingers around the edge of the couch.
I knew youíd show up.
Gabrielle approaches her.
Varia, I know you didnít want us to be involved,
Xena walks to the nearby table and examines an empty mug. She sniffs it, then puts it down.
Whatís your plan?
Itís... harder than I thought it would be.
The herbs? Is that what they gave the Amazons?
They change everything.
Gabrielle kneels next to her.
What do you mean? How can
Varia looks at Gabrielle. Variaís expression is wondering, and a little sad.
For the first time in my life, I know what peace is.
Thereís no anger. No guilt. I feel whole.
I did, once.
Then maybe youíll understand.
The doors burst inward, and guards start to fill the room, pointing crossbows at Xena and Gabrielle. Varia has sounded an alarm.
Why I donít want to give this up.
Xena and Gabrielle react as one. Gabrielle dives under the line of fire as Xena picks up the table and throws it at the guards. Gabrielle rolls up to her feet and she and Xena run up onto the table, squashing the guards underneath as they leap together over the rest of the guardís heads.
The guards scramble after them. Xena and Gabrielle almost make it out the door, but opens into them and they are thrown backwards into the guardís arms. They struggle, and Xena throws two of the guards back.
The rest of the guards jump on them, and they are pushed backwards against a large, leaded glass window in the back of the room. The rest of the guards pour into the room and shove, and the glass breaks.
Xena rips herself loose, but canít catch her balance, and she and Gabrielle topple through the broken window, into a dark, bottomless shaft.
OF ACT 3