|Episode Guide||Teaser||Act 1||Act 2||Act 3||Act 4|
int. temple - afternoon
Gabrielle runs into the temple, looking desperately around for any sign of Xena.
She quickly scans the floor, which is littered with fallen debris. It is as musty and silent as a tomb. She runs forward toward the half-fallen altar, hopping over crumbled bits of marble and masonry without really registering her actions. She moans softly as she spies her fallen lover, her legs pinned beneath the remains of the heavy altar, unmoving.
No. No, not again.
Please not again.
Dropping to her knees, she reaches out a trembling hand, tears already trebling her vision. Her fingers unerringly find the pulsepoint at Xena’s neck, and her eyes squeeze shut tight in relief as she feels the strong, steady beat under her questing fingertips.
Oh, gods, thank you.
Xena? Xena, can you hear me?
There’s no answer, and Gabrielle leans back, assessing the situation. The marble of the altar-top is cold to the touch, almost unnaturally so, and very heavy, but it shows some give when she applies gentle pressure.
Jumping back to her feet, she uses all of her strength to lever the heavy object off of Xena’s legs. To her relief, Xena’s heavy leg armor seems to have protected her legs from any lasting damage.
Xena stirs as the sound of the slab hitting the ground echoes through the once silent chamber, and she moans softly as her eyes flutter open and try to focus.
Seeing this, Gabrielle drops back to her knees, her smile brilliant.
Xena doesn’t reply immediately. Her normally clear eyes are glazed and foggy.
Gabrielle frowns. Reaching down, she takes her partner’s hand and squeezes gently.
Xena blinks, and produces a slow smile.
Never could…resist a… good mystery.
Laughing softly, Gabrielle helps Xena to sit up, then supports her as Xena leans against her for a brief moment, rubbing the area above her brow and frowning.
What’s wrong? Are you in pain?
No. Just a little dizzy. I’m all right now.
Xena pulls away and rises to her feet. She looks around at the destroyed interior, down at the marble slab once covering her legs, then over to Gabrielle.
Do you remember what happened?
Bits and pieces.
I remember walking in here, the altar,
and a flash of red light. The rest....
How long was I out?
Not long. Are you sure you’re all right?
You took a pretty bad fall.
Instead of the irritation Gabrielle half expects, Xena smiles and reaches out to gently touch Gabrielle’s face.
I’m fine. Really.
Gabrielle returns the smile, though a kernel of unease remains within her.
Well, if you’re sure, maybe we should
think about getting out of here. These
columns don’t look all that stable.
Xena looks around, then nods in agreement.
ext. town - evening
Dusk has fallen by the time Xena and Gabrielle make their way back into the town. The merchants have closed their stalls for the night, and the streets are filled with people making their way home for dinner. Blazing torches on high posts light the way.
The blacksmith approaches as Xena and Gabrielle head for the main thoroughfare.
She’s shod, brushed down, and back
in the stables having some dinner.
Gods… I completely forgot....
That’s all right, Miss. I figured you were out exploring
the wonders of our town here. And I have a lot of
extra room in my stables, so it wasn’t a problem.
I was just about to head to Spiros’ Inn for
some dinner of my own. Would you join me?
Both women nod, and the trio continue into town.
int. sleeping room - night
Night has fallen by the time the meal is finished, and Xena and Gabrielle have agreed to accept Spiros’ hospitality and his offer of a room for the evening. The room is small, but very clean. A good-sized bed rests against one wall. A small table, topped by a burning oil lamp stands next to the bed, and an unlit fireplace covers most of the opposite wall.
Xena stands before the open window, looking out into the darkness as the light breeze flutters her hair. Gabrielle putters around with their gear, stashed in one corner next to the fireplace. Gabrielle straightens and walks over to the window. She places her hand atop Xena’s, which is resting lightly on the open window’s sill.
Xena turns her head slowly and looks down at Gabrielle. She smiles softly.
Fine. Just enjoying the quiet.
It was getting kinda noisy down there, wasn’t it?
A little, yeah.
Xena turns back to the window, and her expression goes distant and slack once again.
Gabrielle’s brow furrows.
Where are you?
Xena looks back at Gabrielle, eyebrow raised.
Where are you?
Ever since this afternoon, when that temple
collapsed, you’ve been…somewhere far away.
It’s worrying me. Are you sure nothing
happened to you that you’re not telling me?
Xena turns fully to Gabrielle and rests her hands on her shoulders.
You know everything I know, Gabrielle.
Xena tightens her grip on Gabrielle’s shoulders, and pulls her into her embrace. The two hug tightly for a long moment before Xena pulls away slightly and trails a thumb against Gabrielle’s cheek, just beneath her eye.
I love you, Gabrielle.
Lowering her head, Xena brushes her lips against Gabrielle’s in an impossibly tender kiss. When the kiss ends, Gabrielle looks up into Xena’s eyes and sees nothing but love and a bone deep adoration reflected back at her. Her worries quiet, for the moment, and she can’t help the smile that breaks across her face.
Come on. Let’s go to bed.
Best idea you’ve had all day.
int. sleeping room - next morning
Gabrielle wakes up alone, and by the coolness of the furs at her side, she’s been that way for quite awhile. Unconcerned, she yawns and stretches luxuriously, then sits up and runs a hand through her hair to order it.
As her gaze sets upon their neatly stored gear, she freezes, hand in hair. Though her armor and leathers are gone, Xena’s weapons remain behind, gleaming in the light cast through the open window.
Face set, Gabrielle slips from the bed and dresses quickly, slipping her sais into her boots and straightening her skirt.
Time to get some answers.
int. inn - morning
Gabrielle walks down the stairs and into the dining room of the Inn, where she deftly avoids a collision with Spiros. He is backing out of the kitchen bearing a laden tray.
Spiros turns and smiles in welcome.
Good morning to you, Gabrielle! I’ve saved a
table for you in the corner there. If you’ll just....
Thanks, Spiros, but I need to find Xena first.
Did you see her this morning?
Yes. Maybe an hour ago, I think.
She was headed toward the stables.
Gabrielle leaves the Inn.
INT. stables - morning
The blacksmith exits the stables just as Gabrielle is about to enter. He greets her with a beaming smile as he wipes his large hands on his already filthy leather apron.
Good morning, Miss.
Your horse is out in the corral if you want her.
Thank you. Is Xena there with her?
No. I saw her, just a little while ago, but she headed
off into the woods. She said she would be back soon.
Thank you. I need to talk to her.
We’ll be back with the money we owe you.
No hurry, Miss. Take your time.
ext. temple - day
Xena sits on the temple steps, staring out into the woods beyond. The tense planes of her face soften as she watches Gabrielle step into the clearing and approach.
Thought I’d find you here.
Ya did, huh?
Gabrielle closes the final distance between them and squats down on her haunches.
And now that I’m here, you’re going to
tell me what’s going on with you.
(beat, off Xena’s look)
I’m serious, Xena.
I’m not leaving this spot until you talk to me.
She takes Xena’s hands.
Xena scans the area before returning her gaze to Gabrielle.
There’s something about this place that…draws me to it.
As if I’m being pulled here for some reason.
And I don’t know what that reason is.
Gabrielle nods, understanding how hard it is for Xena to admit to anything less than complete confidence, even to her.
When did this start?
I felt it a little when we passed by here the first time.
But since this temple collapsed, the feeling
has been stronger than ever. I just don’t....
Her voice trails off as her fists clench in frustration.
It’s all right. Whatever it is, we’ll figure it out.
Xena shakes her head.
I don’t think that’s possible. There’s nothing
here but a ruined temple and some dead trees.
There has to be something. Whatever made
that light flash and the ground shake like that....
... Is long gone now.
You went back inside?
I had to.
Gabrielle nods, reluctantly. Xena looks around once more, sighs in frustration, and resolutely squares her shoulders.
Standing, she reaches down a hand, and pulls Gabrielle to her feet.
We could ask Spiros about this place.
I mean, he’s got to know something about it, right?
Even if it’s just who it used to belong to?
That’s a good idea.
I’m known to come up with them on occasion.
Xena grins and shakes her head, and together the two make their way back to the town.
EXT. Town - morning
Xena and Gabrielle walk into a mob scene. Townsmen, armed with clubs and other crude weapons, swarm the square, shouting incomprehensibly.
Xena and Gabrielle are spotted, and the mob turns on them.
There she is!
Kill the murdering bitch!
Gabrielle unsheathes her sais and crouches in a defensive stance. Beside her, Xena stares into the crowd, but makes no move.
The crowd rushes in, but stops short of the pair, wary of Gabrielle’s armed determination.
What’s going on here? Why are you attacking us?
That monster murdered Belerron!
Mur-- Wait! Who’s Belerron?
Don’t play daft, woman! He’s the blacksmith!
Enough with your games!
We saw it with our own eyes!
That harpy killed him in cold blood!
Xena didn’t kill anyone!
We weren’t even here!
(beat, as she looks at her partner)
The crowd presses in, but Gabrielle pushes the leaders back, making the rest hesitate again.
Gabrielle looks over her shoulder at Xena, who is still as a statue.
Xena, do something!
At least defend yourself!
It’s as if she’s talking to air. Xena doesn’t respond. Her face has paled to an unnatural white, and her eyes appear empty and lifeless.
Gabrielle turns back to the crowd.
A stone sails over the crowd and hits Xena in the belly. She doesn’t react. Her face is set as granite, emotions unreadable.
Gabrielle turns as the crowd encircles them, weapons at the ready. It’s obvious to all that she’ll use them to defend herself and her partner.
I don’t want to hurt you! Please!
Enough talk! Get her!
The crowd presses fully in, and Gabrielle goes into action, using her sais like battering rams against the chests and jaws of the onrushing men. All around the circle, men fall in tangled heaps, only to be replaced by their compatriots, who step into the fray with clumsy, but powerful thrusts of their weapons.
Three sets of hands reach into the melee, grab onto Xena, and begin to pull her from the rioting crowd.
A right, left combination to the head with the butts of her sais takes care of the first man.
A kidney punch followed by a leg sweep tumbles the second man to the ground.
The third, larger by far than the other two, goes down slowly, under a vicious assault of expertly placed punches and kicks. A tree being felled a little at a time.
Gabrielle pulls Xena away, grabbing her tightly above the elbow, when she feels a blow coming from behind. Just managing to deflect it with her sai, she releases Xena and spins, meeting the next thrust with both weapons, and easily twisting the makeshift staff from the man’s hands. She hears the sound of air being driven from a set of lungs, and, distracted, glances toward her hunched over partner just in time to be taken down by a terrific blow to the backs of her knees.
She drops and rolls, but by the time she regains her feet, the crowd has closed completely around Xena and is dragging her away.
She tries to part the mob, but it is impossible.
Suddenly, she spies Spiros standing just outside of his Inn, watching the proceedings with a pained expression on his face. Gabrielle immediately races toward him.
You have to stop this! Please!
I can’t, Gabrielle. I can’t.
You have to!
The person who did this wasn’t Xena!
You have to believe me!
I wish I could, Gabrielle, but I saw her with my own eyes.
She blew in here like a typhoon out of the depths of
Tartarus, grabbed her weapons, and ran back out.
She hurt two of my customers who got in her way.
Then I watched her as she beat the Hades out of the
blacksmith. He managed to get a good lick in with his poker,
burned her bad I think, but then she took it from him and....
It was horrible. He’s lucky to be alive.
He’s alive?!? But they said....
He’s alive. Just.
Spiros, I can prove that it wasn’t Xena.
You said she was burned, right?
Well, go after them and look at her!
You’ll see there’s no burn mark on her!
Spiros looks uncomfortable, but shakes his head sadly.
I can’t be positive she got burned, Gabrielle.
Maybe she didn’t. It wouldn’t prove anything.
Spiros starts to turn away when Gabrielle grabs his arm and spins him back to face her.
Damn you, you listen to me!
Xena did not do this! I swear it to you!
Spiros, I need your help.
Xena saved your life once.
And she’s never asked for anything in return.
Well, I’m asking. Help her. Please.
Spiros stares at her. Gabrielle can tell he’s beginning to weaken.
Please. Just go to her. Look at her.
You’ll know. She didn’t do this.
After a long moment, Spiros finally nods.
All right. But if see one piece of evidence,
just one, I’ll string that rope over the
nearest tree and hang her myself.
I understand. Please, let’s go.
No. You stay here, Gabrielle.
They’re already half convinced that
you’re her accomplice in this.
Let me deal with this alone.
It’s Gabrielle’s turn to reluctantly nod, and she stays behind as Spiros crosses the square toward the mob, and Xena.
Left alone, Gabrielle stares after Xena’s only hope. The hair on the back of her neck suddenly lifts as she feels eyes on her.
She turns around, searching, but the square is deserted. The feeling is still there, however, and growing stronger. She looks back, over her shoulder, toward the woods, suddenly certain that whoever is studying her is hiding in the thick growth beyond the town’s boundaries.
Her eyes narrow with the realization that whoever caused this mob scene is watching from the safety of the woods. Her hands curl into fists and her jaw sets.
Gabrielle turns to see Spiros lifting his good arm in a half wave. Xena stands next to him, looking incredibly pale and tired, but otherwise uninjured. She runs to them.
They’ve placed her in my custody, for now.
But they want proof that you’re telling
the truth, Gabrielle. Absolute proof.
If you can’t find it....
Gabrielle looks up at her partner. There are tears in Xena’s eyes, but she doesn’t speak. Reaching up, Gabrielle wipes a tear away, then turns to Spiros.
I’ll find that proof, Spiros.
The Fates be with you, Gabrielle.
Thanks, but I think I’ll manage on my own.
Take care of her.
With one last long look at Xena, Gabrielle turns and heads for the woods at a run.
ext. temple - day
Sais drawn and ready, Gabrielle steps into the clearing around the temple. Her eyes scan the area, missing nothing.
A flash of sunlight on metal, and a figure steps casually out of the temple, smirking.
Gabrielle’s jaw drops and her eyes widen in horrified recognition.
END OF ACT TWO