Episode Guide Teaser Act 1 Act 2 Act 3 Act 4

ACT ONE

 

FADE IN:

 

EXT. DRAB BACKWOODS DIRT ROAD - AFTERNOON

 

Pelenius and his bride to be ride in their miraculously restored wagon, complete with horses. Xena and Gabrielle stroll alongside. The scenery is relatively monotonous forest, but it is shady and a comfortable walk.

 

PELENIUS

It's absolutely amazing how
you found those horses,
Great Xena. Like magic!

 

Gabrielle's eyes twinkle wickedly.

 

GABRIELLE

Oh, that was nothing. You should
hear her call fish. Right out of
the water into my frying pan.

(snapping fingers)

Just like that.

 

 

Xena gives her the look, which Gabrielle blithely ignores.

 

PELENIUS

Really? Incredible!

 

GABRIELLE

And if we walk through the woods?
Deer. Right on our heels. We
once even had a herd of....

 

XENA

Gabrieellllleeee....

 

PELENIUS

Theresa, did you hear that? Deer!

 

Theresa clasps her hands over her heart.

 

THERESA

What a wonderful life you must lead! I can
only imagine the stories you could tell us!

 

XENA

(muttering)

Bet you can't.

 

 

GABRIELLE

Well, as a matter of fact, I happen
to be something of a storyteller.

 

THERESA

Really? Wonderful!

 

XENA

(under her breath)

A rapidly on her way to being a
bound and gagged storyteller.

 

GABRIELLE

(also under her breath, in response)

Promises, promises.

 

Xena gives Gabrielle an astonished look. Gabrielle produces an innocent smile.

 

GABRIELLE

(Contíd)

Loosen up, Xena. These people
haven't heard stories about you
in decades. Iím out of practice.

 

 

The wagon rolls around a bend in the road.

 

PELENIUS

You'll love Thenos. We've lived their all
our lives. It's the best town in the region.

 

GABRIELLE

I thought you said it was
the only town in the region.

 

PELENIUS

Everyone is so friendly! We all share our
harvest with each other, and no one
ever goes hungry. We love each other!

 

Theresa takes his hand.

 

THERESA

We do! I can't wait to be married!
Look!  There's the gates!

 

They top a crest in the road and pause, looking down at a town carved out of the forest. Its walls are tree trunks lashed together somewhat haphazardly.

 

THERESA

(Contíd)

Isn't it beautiful?

 

Xena and Gabrielle look at the place, then at each other.

 

GABRIELLE

(whispering)

Be nice.

 

XENA

Beats where we live.

 

 

GABRIELLE

We don't live anywhere.

 

XENA

Exactly.

 

The town is very small, and by the look of the much-mended fence and the road leading to it, not very ritzy. Outside the walls are several small gardens, with straggly looking plants in them.

 

PELENIUS

Home! At last! Hurry, let's get inside
and welcome our honored guests!

 

Pelenius urges the horses forward. They kick up a cloud of dust that covers Xena and Gabrielle as the wagon leaves them behind.

 

XENA

(coughing)

You sure this is a good idea?

 

Gabrielle is dusting herself off.

 

GABRIELLE

C'mon, Xena. It can't be that bad.
They are friendly, right? At least we'll
get a decent meal and a drink there.

 

 

XENA

A dinner I don't have to catch, you mean?

 

GABRIELLE

A dinner I don't have to cook.
Iím out of rabbit recipes.

 

Gabrielle watches the wagon rumble towards the gates.

 

GABRIELLE

(Contíd)

Reminds me a little of Potadeia.

(sighing)

I bet they take having a home
to go back to for granted.

 

Xena's face briefly takes on a serious expression.

 

XENA

Yeah, I bet they do.

 

 

Xena drapes her arm over Gabrielle's shoulders as they follow the wagon.

 

CUT TO:

 

EXT. THENOS TOWN GATES - AFTERNOON

 

The gates swing open as the wagon approaches. Xena and Gabrielle follow it through into the town.

 

They are immediately surrounded by armed soldiers.

 

CAPTAIN

Halt!

 

GABRIELLE

(startled)

I think we slept through a change in
the meaning of the word friendly, Xena.

 

 

XENA

No kidding.

 

 

The town appears to be full of soldiers. On buildings nearby, purple banners are draped. The townspeople are lined up near a rickety building, carrying bags. No one looks very happy.

 

Theresa screams and holds her hands over her heart.

 

THERESA

Aieeeee!

 

PELENIUS

What is this?
What are you doing?
What's going on?

 

A man in a purple sash steps forward. He is more richly dressed than the guards, and he has a well-shaped moustache twitching above his lip.

 

PURPLE SASH

Prince Xerxes has graciously
agreed to extend his protection
to this disgusting little town.

 

PELENIUS

I beg your pardon?

 

The man holds a big, brass bound box up. It has a slit in the top and it jingles as he moves it.

 

PURPLE SASH

All inhabitants are being extended the honor
of contributing to his Grace's defense fund.

 

PELENIUS

What?

 

PURPLE SASH

You may now tender to me the visitor's tax.
Ten dinars.

 

The man makes a mark on his slate with a stylus.

 

PELENIUS

But... But we live here!

 

The man erases the mark, and makes a different one.

 

PURPLE SASH

AH! That's different.
Twenty dinars for the residents' tax then.

 

THERESA

But... We're here to be married!
We have no....

 

The man makes three more marks on the slate.

 

PURPLE SASH

The Prince will be delighted! Fifty dinars for the
marriage tax, to be paid before the ceremony.
Five dinars for the privilege of recording it.

 

PELENIUS

But... But....

 

The man points at the wagon.

 

PURPLE SASH

Are those your horses?

 

PELENIUS

Yes, but....

 

Another mark on the slate. The man in the purple sash beams.

 

PURPLE SASH

Five dinars apiece for a stable tax.
Exact change please.

 

Gabrielle steps forward and taps the man with the sash on the shoulder.

 

GABRIELLE

Excuse me....

 

PURPLE SASH

Wait your turn, visitor!
Ten dinars apiece, exact change, please!

 

The man turns his back on Gabrielle. Gabrielle shakes her head and walks back to where Xena is standing.

 

 

THERESA

But... But... But we have no money!!

 

PURPLE SASH

(gasping)

What?

 

The soldiers move forward towards the wagon, pointing their spears menacingly.

 

GABRIELLE

Xena?

 

XENA

What?

 

GABRIELLE

We're going to help them, right?

 

 

Xena considers the question, scratching her jaw thoughtfully.

 

XENA

Do you have twenty dinars?

 

GABRIELLE

No.

 

XENA

Guess we're helping them, then.

 

 

Xena removes her chakram from her belt, and measures a distance, then cocks her arm and lets it fly. The weapon hits a nearby wall, bounces off and cuts through an awning.  It rebounds off a piece of crockery, de-tails a chicken, dives under the belly of the horses pulling the wagon. Finally, it bounces off the ground and sails into the town bell, which rings a long, sonorous note.

 

The soldiers straighten and turn, then march off and away from the gates, falling into step together as they hit their spears on the ground.

 

GUARDS

Heya hullah heya hulla....

 

The man in the purple sash looks around wildly.

 

PURPLE SASH

Come back! Come back!
We're not finished collecting!
Hello??? Hello?

 

The chakram zooms back and smacks the horses on the rump. They bolt, yanking the wagon past the man in the purple sash and thundering into the town. Xena catches the chakram as it zooms past, twirling it on her finger before she settles it back on her hip.

 

PURPLE SASH

(Contíd)

Stop! Stop! Help! Tax evaders!

 

The man starts to run after the wagon, waving his hands. The gate is left deserted, except for two chickens, a small dog, and Xena and Gabrielle.

 

XENA

If we had any sense, we'd
turn around and run.

 

GABRIELLE

Xena, if we had any sense I'd
still be in Potadeia and you'd be in
Amphipolis serving tables with Toris.
Címon. They need our help.

 

 

Xena and Gabrielle close the gates and start off down the path, following the wagon.

 

FADE OUT.

END OF ACT ONE

 

ACT TWO