|Episode Guide||Teaser||Act 1||Act 2||Act 3||Act 4|
INT. TOWN HALL - DAY
Escobar stands in front of Xena's judging throne, holding a scroll. He unrolls it, but it is lacking a scroll holder on either end, so it rolls back. He unrolls it, it rolls back.
The first case....
He unrolls the scroll. It rolls back.
The first case today will be....
He unrolls the scroll, it rolls back. Xena looks around the room, apparently searching for something. Gabrielle digs in the pouch at her side, also looking.
Darn it, I thought I had....
The cloaked men fire their crossbows. Xena stands and catches them both out of mid air without twitching an eyebrow. She continues down the steps and grabs the scroll from Escobar.
Oh yeah, those'll work.
Xena ties the scroll to the arrows, and hands it back to Escobar. She turns and goes back to her throne and sits down, arranging her skirts with a sharp motion.
Escobar stares at the arrows, then at Xena. Behind the platform, the two cloaked men crane their necks to see what happened. They look at each other in bewilderment.
T... thank you, your Majesty.
The cloaked men put down their crossbows, and huddle together, whispering.
Of course. Ahem. The first case
today will be Jason the herdsman,
who is charging Koch the miller of
cutting down trees in his pasture
and killing two sheep.
A man in the front stands up. He is very well dressed. Another man tries to push through from the back, but he is stopped at the rail.
Xena points at the first man. He was one of the men who tried to bribe her.
Who are you?
I am Koch. I am innocent, your
majesty. This is what happened,
I was just passing through that
miserable bastard's meadow, and
I ruined a good pair of boots doing
it! Those sheep! They stink! But....
She points at the second man.
Who are you?
Ten dinars it's Jason.
I am Jason, your majesty!
Jason stops speaking and waits. Xena smiles at him. She motions him forward.
Let him up here.
Grudgingly, the guard lets Jason enter. He walks up to the platform. His boots are covered with what you would expect a shepherd’s boots to be covered with, and he smells like someone who spends a lot of time among sheep.
(behind her hand)
Gabrielle just gives her a look.
Tell me what happened.
But your majesty!
I wasn't finished!
Xena glares at him.
It was cold. I had my herd on
one side of the meadow near
the trees, out of the wind.
That's a lie!
(pointing at Koch)
Shut up or I'll rip your tongue out.
Everyone stares at Xena. Gabrielle scratches the bridge of her nose.
She's not as kind and
gentle as she looks.
Xena was about to speak. She stops and gives Gabrielle a look.
The miller started to cut the
trees down, I told him to wait,
but he refused. He cut down a
tree, and it fell on my herd.
Two sheep were killed.
Jason points at Koch.
Lies! Who can believe
How much were
the sheep worth?
Fifty dinar apiece.
Lies! I was no where
near that meadow!
(pointing at Koch)
Thought you said you were.
Thought you ruined your boots.
Caught by his own words, Koch sits down fuming. Xena and Gabrielle lean together briefly and whisper.
Probably didn't kill the
damn sheep on purpose.
And sheep aren't
worth fifty dinars.
Xena considers. Behind her, the two cloaked figures reappear, this time holding poison darts.
All right. You....
She points at Koch again.
... were responsible for taking
away part of this man's herd.
(pointing at Jason)
And unless your sheep have
golden fleeces, I think fifty
dinars is a little much.
The shepherd grins, and shrugs.
Didn't think I'd get a hearing.
Thought I'd try anyhow.
(pointing to Koch)
Here's what you're gonna do.
You're gonna give him
firewood all winter. Got me?
Jason looks surprised, thinks, then nods. Koch opens his mouth to yell, then stops, thinks, and also nods.
Escobar goes to his scroll. The crowd starts to chatter. The cloaked figures crawl forward, and raise their blowpipes.
INT. TOWN HALL - DAY - BEHIND THE THRONE PLATFORM
We see a view from the cloaked figures POV. We can see Xena's shoulders and head, and the back of Gabrielle's arm. One of the cloaked figures lowers his hand.
Got a good angle?
On the big one, yeah.
Not the other one.
She's too short!
INT. TOWN HALL - DAY - JUDGING PLATFORM
Gabrielle looks at Xena.
Did you just make a short joke?
(looking at Escobar)
Escobar has several small pieces of parchment he is juggling.
A moment, Majesty. This
case is very complex, and
I have many notes...
Escobar drops the notes. He kneels down to pick them up. Xena starts to twitch. Gabrielle notices. She pats Xena’s hand and gets up, walking over to an ornate piece of carved wood sticking up on one side of the platform.
If I can just get these
arranged we can begin.
INT. TOWN HALL - DAY - BEHIND THE THRONE PLATFORM
The cloaked figures get ready.
That's better. Got her now.
I got the big one. Ready?
Wait. Let's use two each.
Make really sure.
They load the blowpipes with two darts, then inhale and put the pipes to their mouths, aiming right at Xena and Gabrielle.
INT. TOWN HALL DAY - JUDGING PLATFORM
Gabrielle thumps the board with one hand and it comes free. She picks it up and examines it, then turns to Xena.
Got any nails?
Xena studied her hands, then extends them.
Gabrielle walks back over with the board anyway. Xena gets up as she arrives, and reaches her hand out for the board.
Escobar, get up here.
Escobar hurries to join them, but trips as he gets to the platform, scattering the bits of parchment everywhere. Gabrielle tosses the board to Xena as she kneels to help pick them up.
As the board passes between them, Xena steps forward in front of it and the four darts embed themselves in the wood with a series of tiny 'thwoks'. Xena grabs it and keeps moving, handing the board to Gabrielle as she straightens up.
Oh... hey, thanks.
Gabrielle pins the notes to the board with the darts, then hands it over to Escobar. Gabrielle dusts her hands off and stands up. She and Xena walk back and sit down. Escobar holds the board up and starts to read.
INT. TOWN HALL -DAY - BEHIND THE THRONE PLATFORM
The two cloaked figures look at each other in consternation.
All right. Now I'm really mad.
Yeah! We gotta get nasty now.
The two crawl off.
INT. INN BANQUET HALL - DAY - LATER
The room has been set up to serve a lavish lunch. Well dressed townspeople are standing around, all speaking with animated gestures. It is obvious they are not entirely happy.
Xena and Gabrielle enter. The room goes silent. Everyone glares at them. Xena and Gabrielle stroll across the room, pretty much oblivious to the murderous looks.
I think we did pretty good,
don't you? Five down, and
how many to go?
Xena appears pleased.
Yeah. That one guy with five
people accusing him of cheating
them pissed me off though.
I think he got that point after you
told him to let them each go into
his store for a quarter candlemark
and take whatever they wanted.
I thought that was pretty lenient.
They both step over a rope stretched across the floor. As they continue walking, a trap is sprung and the rope turns into a lasso that rapidly contracts around their legs.
Xena and Gabrielle step out of the closing loop just as it reaches them and continue up a low step to a table set for them. They take seats on the two big chairs. The rope collapses together and flies up in to the air, slamming into a set of three pitchforks lashed together overhead.
I think the tough cases are
after lunch. That's when
Maltos' problem comes up.
They are seated at a square table. There are four other chairs present. Reluctantly, Maltos, Escobar, and two others climb up to join them and sit down. They all appear nervous.
So, how are we doing so far?
All four stare at her.
Thanks. We thought so too.
Servers enter with trays. One holds a tray with two sets of dishes, obviously meant for Xena and Gabrielle. The other tray has dishes for the rest of the table. The two servers approach and we realize it is the shadowy cloaked figures now dressed in frilly shirts and knickers.
(to the table)
Careful what you
ask for next time.
The servers start to set the bowls down, but they are interrupted by the door opening. A poorly dressed man in rags and bare feet rushes in and heads for the head table.
Men run to intercept the man, but he evades them and throws himself down at Xena's feet. Xena leans over the table to look at him.
The man rises on his knees.
Your majesty, please!
I need your help!
The room stirs nervously.
Your Majesty, this man
should not be allowed....
Good reason for us
to hear him. Go on!
Gabrielle gets up and turns to the servers, smiling at them as she takes the bowls from the trays and puts them down, setting the two meant for her and Xena in front of Malcos and Escobar. She puts down her and Xena's bowls, then sits back down.
Sorry. It's been a long
time since breakfast.
The two servers look at each other in despair.
You seem to want to hear the
truth. I will tell you the truth about
what FAKES THESE MEN ARE!
The man points at the table. Everyone freezes in shock. Xena takes a spoonful of soup and slurps it in all that silence.
No sheep dung, Cicero.
G'wan. Tell us more.
The man smiles. Malcos holds out his bowl of soup.
Here, good man. Have some.
You look like you could use it.
The man takes the bowl, and starts to drink.
INT. BANQUET HALL - DAY - MOMENTS LATER
The man stops in mid sip.
He puts the bowl down on the ground.
They give me hives. Now
your majesty, let me
begin my story.
The man removes a tattered scroll from his back pocket, and unrolls it. It is covered with tiny writing, front and back, and even sideways in the margins.
I have all the injustices suffered
for a decade. I have heard that
you are a just woman, and I
am sure you will fix them all!
Xena is caught drinking from the edge of her soup bowl as everyone's head swivels to stare at her. She raises an eyebrow, and spits a bit of root back into the bowl before she sets it down.
How many are we
talking about here?
Four hundred and twelve.
Gonna be tough to do in
one day. Better read fast.
No! I mean.... We cannot
allow this! It will ruin us!
With any luck.
The townsfolk in the room gasp. Malcos stands up abruptly.
No! I won't allow it!
We must stop him!
Everyone! With me! Now!!!
Malcos leaps over the table. The rest of the crowd hesitates, then they all jump up and rush the man, holding anything in their hands such as knives, forks, and bowls to beat him with.
Tear him apart!
The frustration of the past year now comes rushing out as the crowd goes wild and turns into a raving, insane mob. The man screams, and disappears under a pile of arms, legs, and waving utensils.
INT. INN BANQUET HALL - DAY - SAME TIME
Xena and Gabrielle stare at the seething pile, then at each other.
What was all that
about being peaceful?
What was all that
about not kicking ass?
They both stand up and toss aside their napkins, kick over their chairs, and leap over the table towards the fight in perfect unison.
INT. TOWN HALL - LATE AFTERNOON
Everyone is in the town hall. This time, the prosperous people are behind the railing. They are dirty. They are banged up. They are bruised. Many have torn clothing. It looks like the entire bunch of them have been dragged behind several horses over a very rough road and then pooped on.
The rest of the townsfolk are seated on the benches, hands folded and on their best behavior.
Xena and Gabrielle enter. Their clothing is pristine, and un-creased. They do not have a speck of dust to be seen on either of them. They appear fresh as daisies as they walk to the platform and sit on their thrones together.
She pauses, and looks at Gabrielle.
Gabrielle stands up and clears her throat.
Okay. It's pretty obvious
to us that your system
here is just not working.
Hesitantly, Escobar raises his hand. Gabrielle pauses and looks at him.
I think we just got carried
away. It is not usually like this.
The beaten-up townsfolk murmur agreement.
Yeah, sure. You just
buy the judge off!
The poor townsfolk start yelling agreement. Xena stands up.
Everyone shuts up as though their tongues were severed.
Your traditions are hogwash.
Gabrielle clears her throat.
You've been using traditions
to mask injustice.
(under her breath)
I just said that.
Letting everything build
up all year, and then
fixing it so nothing gets
resolved. It's not fair.
It is fair! We paid
good money for it!
Xena growls. Malcos hunches down and disappears.
That's not justice. You just
got your way because
you have more money.
Well, that is the way we
do it here. It's our choice!
The crowd in back agrees. The crowd in front disagrees. Xena stands up and everyone falls silent again. Xena turns and gives Gabrielle a meaningful look. Gabrielle exhales, and shrugs.
Do you really believe this is
the best way? Hurting poor
people so rich people can
have what they want?
The crowd in back has the grace to look embarrassed. The crowd in front wipes a tear from their eye.
Um... what other way is there?
Xena and Gabrielle exchange glances. Xena sighs, then she removes a coin from her belt pouch and tosses it to Gabrielle. Gabrielle catches it and winks.
Glad you asked.
We've got some ideas.
END OF ACT FOUR
INT. ROYAL GARDEN - EVENING
It is near sunset. Xena and Gabrielle sit together on the garden bench, dressed in their usual traveling clothing. Next to them is their gear. The house behind them is dark, and shows evidence of being torn down. There are rich draperies hanging out of the window, and the shutters are missing. Ladders are leaned up against the walls.
You know, I was thinking.
If you say you're wondering
if we did the right thing, I'm
gonna beat you over the
head with those daisies.
No. I know we did. Convincing
them to elect a panel of half
rich people, and half poor is a
great start to real justice.
Xena leans back on her hands and looks up at the sunset.
You really think so?
Xena remains silent.
You think they're just going to
go back to doing what they
have been, only find someone
more bribable next year, don't you?
I think they'll at least try another
way. All those people who have
been conned won't let them not try.
Xena apparently has her doubts.
Gabrielle links her arm through Xena's, and leans against her.
You need to have more faith
in people, Xena. Sometimes,
they can surprise you.
Xena looks at Gabrielle. The words have a deeper meaning suddenly than they appear on the surface. Xena looks into Gabrielle's eyes.
Sometimes they don't
surprise you at all.
Gabrielle looks down, then she looks back up at Xena.
No, sometimes they don't.
Xena takes Gabrielle's hand, and they sit watching the sunset together. After a few minutes of silence, Xena leans over and gives Gabrielle a kiss on the cheek.
You were right. Sometimes
talking through a problem
is the right choice.
Gabrielle seems charmed.
You were right too, though.
Sometimes you just have to kick
people's ass to get them to listen.
They spend a few more moments watching the sunset. It paints them in a rich golden red light.
And besides, we can always
come back next year
and check up on them.
Xena rests her head against Gabrielle's.
And kick their asses
all over again.
They both chuckle. Gabrielle reaches behind her and pulls out a new leather bag, obviously stuffed with something.
Our dresses. I rescued
them from the shredders.
Xena looks intrigued.
I thought maybe you'd like
to join me for a little midnight
picnic and dance tonight.
Hmm....I think I could be
bribed to show up for that.
Oh yeah? How much?
Bout that much.
No royal prerogatives were harmed during the filming of this motion
picture, but Xena still can’t get Gabrielle to stop embroidering little
crowns onto her curiously bland and often dangerously exposed lingerie.