|Episode Guide||Teaser||Act 1||Act 2||Act 3||Act 4|
EXT. STRONGHOLD - COURTYARD - DAY
The crowd has increased. They are yelling, and laughing. In the very center of the crowd, two people are fighting. One is Xena, The other is a huge bear of a man in Mahon's colors. They both wield the large, two handed broadswords.
Brax swings at Xena. Xena is having an enormous amount of fun, and it shows. She blocks his swing and locks her arms, swinging the big sword in a circle and throwing Brax's attack off. Xena steps in and whacks Brax in the ribs with the broadsword, making him yelp.
Fergal lets out a whoop. Brax spits on his hands, then takes a better grip on the sword. He comes after Xena. He takes a swipe at where she should have been, but Xena has already jumped out of the way. Xena stops, then steps forward and leaps over Brax's head, landing behind him and swatting him in the rump with the broad sword.
Hey! You're asking for trouble, lassie!
I am trouble.
(motioning him forward)
Brax is now mad. He leaps at her, attacking seriously. Xena blocks his downstroke, and for a moment they are nose to nose. Not a pleasant moment for Xena. She gathers herself to shove him back, then abruptly she stops, her attention focused elsewhere as she senses an urgent need.
Got you now!
Play time's over.
Xena whips her sword sideways, then lashes out and kicks Brax into the crowd. She drops the broadsword and bolts, leaping over the first ranks of the crowd and landing on a table. She jumps from table to table to the end of the room, then runs at full speed down the corridor. The crowd stares after her.
INT. STRONGHOLD - CORRIDOR - DAY
Gabrielle is fighting for her life. Six men are after her, the corridor too dark for her to see much of what they look like. The torches on either side of her have been doused.
With her sais, she catches most of their attack, but some hits get through and it's taking it's toll.
The fight is eerily silent. The men do not speak. They simply come at her with grim determination.
Gabrielle is grabbed by one of them. She twists free, but two more jump on top of her and bear her to the ground. Her sais are pulled from her hand.
The two men hold her down, and a third stands over her, his sword upraised.
Gabrielle looks up - all she can see is his eyes glinting in the dim light, and the flash as the sword starts to come down. She fights furiously, but the two holding her outweigh her by double and she can't budge them.
The sword comes down - but halfway there, the man wielding it gets hit from behind. He catapults over Gabrielle's body, smashing into the wall on the other side.
A dark figure swirls in, tearing and ripping at the men holding Gabrielle down, emitting a low growl. The sound of a sword being drawn is heard, and both men roll away from Gabrielle frantically, scrambling on their hands and knees away from her.
They get up and run off into the darkness, turning corners and disappearing.
Gabrielle remains still, on her back. She is straddled by a pair of legs. She groans, and pats them with both hands.
Great timing. Thanks.
Xena sheathes her sword and stares after the men, caught between wanting to chase them and needing to make sure Gabrielle is all right. She drops to her knees and gently feels Gabrielle's body.
No. Just kicked around a little.
Xena sits down and pulls Gabrielle into her arms and hugs her.
This just got very not funny.
Gabrielle looks up at Xena wryly. For her it has been not funny for a while. Xena looks down.
I shouldn't have volunteered you.
I made a big mistake. Iím sorry.
Gabrielle is stunned. She remains silent for a moment, surprised at the emotion she's feeling.
I wonder why it hurts so much more
to hear you say that then when I do.
Xena frowns at the response.
I guess it's one thing to tell myself
I can't do something - it's something
else hearing it from you.
Xena's expression clears.
NoÖNo, that's not what I meant.
I got us involved in something a
lot more dangerous than I realized.
Paybacks, I guess.
For all the times I've done that.
Xena chuckles wryly. After a moment, Gabrielle joins her. Gabrielle puts her head down on Xena's shoulder. She is still shaken by the attack.
I met the most amazing man, Xena.
The old Chief Bard. He told me a lot
of things about how these people work.
Anything that might explain this?
Yeah. Maybe. The Chief Bard has a lot
of power. It's not just about money.
Maybe I should talk to him.
Did he tell you anything else?
Gabrielle is momentarily silent.
Yeah. He made me think
The sound of yelling suddenly echoes through the corridors. A horn is heard, and running feet. Xena gets up, lifting Gabrielle to her feet.
It's coming from that way.
Xena points in the direction Gabrielle came from. Xena and Gabrielle head off in that direction.
INT. STRONGHOLD - CORRIDOR OUTSIDE CHIEF BARD'S ROOM - DAY
A crowd is gathered around the door to Padraig's room. Voices are raised in anger. Gabrielle pushes through the men. She reaches the door and looks inside. She is horrified by what she sees.
Xena looks over her shoulder, to see Lorcan standing over a man lying on the room's bed. The man's arm is outflung, and his eyes are open and staring. It is Padraig. He is dead.
INT. STRONGHOLD - CHIEF BARD'S ROOM - A SHORT TIME LATER
Four of the clansmen stand around the bed. Lorcan is pacing nearby. Gabrielle is kneeling at the head of the bed, visibly upset. Xena is examining the old man's body.
This is monstrous! Someone will
pay for this. I swear it.
He was strangled.
Xena shows the marks on Padraig's neck. There is an impression of fingers. She sets hers against them and it's obvious the hands were larger than her own. Lorcan points at Gabrielle.
You! You were the last one
with him. Fergal told me!
Xena gives him a disgusted look, then picks up one of Gabrielle's hands and holds it against hers.
He was fine when I left here.
He was sleeping.
So you say!
Gabrielle holds up Padraig's hand, which is clenched around a dagger. The dagger is covered in almost dried blood.
He marked whoever did it.
Lorcan stares at the knife. His expression changes to one that is more wary.
So he might have.
It will wait for the naming of our
new Chief Bard then, to discover the
truth. Until then, we have no law.
Lorcan motions to his men.
Guard this room.
Lorcan storms out, shoving men out of his way. The men mutter uneasily, staring into the room at the dead bard. The guards push them back, shutting the door in their faces and leaving Xena and Gabrielle momentarily alone.
Gabrielle is very shaken. She gently folds Padraig's hand over his chest, his fingers still wrapped around the dagger.
It took death to let you find
your dream again, didn't it?
Xena kneels on the other side of the bed, facing Gabrielle.
What does that mean?
Gabrielle gazes at Padraig's face. She lifts her hand and shuts his eyelids.
All his life, he wanted to fight
for his clan. He never could.
Gabrielle bows her head briefly. She lifts her eyes and looks at Xena.
Iím not going to wait that long to find my
dreams again, Xena. I may not be able to do
this, but damned if I'm not going to try.
Xena is troubled, but not surprised.
If they went after him, they want to control
who gets his job. You'll be a target.
I know. But I've got you. Iím not worried.
Now Xena is surprised, but very pleased with the words. She hides the reaction, however, and merely nods.
All right. Why don't you go back to
Fergal's quarters and think about what
you're gonna tell them, and Iíll see if
I can find out what The Hades is going on?
Gabrielle nods. She covers Padraig's body with the blood stained blanket, and closes her eyes for a moment. Then she stands and joins Xena at The door.
INT. STRONGHOLD - COMMON ROOM - AFTERNOON
The atmosphere is now strained. The clansmen and women gather in their family groups, and voices are low. Padraig's death has shaken the clan.
Mahon walks over and sits down next to Fergal.
Tis a bad thing, man.
Mahon leans closer.
Fergal, tis no time for strangers here.
Pull your entry. Let's get the clan settled.
Come on, man. You know you
If you're so sure of yourself,
Your honor, Fergal.
Fergal gets up and shoves his chair into the table. He turns and leaves the common room.
INT. STRONGHOLD - FERGAL'S QUARTERS - AFTERNOON
Gabrielle is sitting on her and Xena's sleeping furs. She has a quill in her fingers, but she is not writing with it. She turns it over and over in her hands, seemingly lost in thought. She folds her hands and rests her forehead against them, her body tense with effort.
After a few minutes, she gets up and throws the quill across the space, hitting the opposite wall. She walks over and stares at the quill, then slams her fist into the wood.
Gabrielle shakes her head, then she returns to the furs and collapses onto them, a look of defeat on her face.
INT. STRONGHOLD - CORRIDOR
A man slowly inches down the corridor, listening intently. In his hands, he holds a crossbow. He pauses outside Fergal's area. He hears footsteps, and he ducks behind a corner.
Two of Fergal's men walk by, talking to each other.
EXT. STRONGHOLD GATES - AFTERNOON
Xena strides along the wall. She singles out one of the clansmen, and points a finger at him, crooking it. The man looks around, then approaches her, wiping his hands, a look of anticipation on his face.
Xena puts her arm around his shoulders and leads him into the storage shed. The men around them chuckle knowingly.
INT. STRONGHOLD - FERGAL'S QUARTERS - MOMENTS LATER
Gabrielle pulls her bag over to her. The top opens, and things fall out. Gabrielle sighs. She shoves the items back in, and stops, lifting one up and looking at it.
It is a bit of cloth. Once, it might have been a piece of a baby's blanket.
How can I recapture my dreams, if
I still hold on to my nightmares?
Gabrielle studies the piece of cloth intently. She gets up and walks to the wall torch, hesitates, then in one quick motion, she puts the cloth to the flame.
It does not catch. Then it does, in an angry burst of flame that almost consumes Gabrielle's fingers. She gasps and releases the fabric. The sparks rise up, dancing in front of her, then just as quickly turn to dust.
It is a very private moment. Gabrielle stares at the space where the sparks were, then she returns to the furs and sits down. She closes her eyes.
INT. STRONGHOLD - CORRIDOR - A SHORT TIME LATER
The crossbowman sticks his head out, sees no one, then he creeps out again, and flattens himself against the wall. He eases around the corner of Fergal's area and stops, spotting Gabrielle.
Gabrielle is pacing back and forth, her hands moving in slight gestures as she whispers.
The crossbowman watches. He lifts his weapon and takes aim, waiting for her to cross his sights.
END OF ACT THREE