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#V810 - Episode 10
INT. FOREST CLEARING - MORNING
GABRIELLE stands alone in the center of a forest clearing. Blindfolded, her posture is relaxed but alert. A small, almost secretive smile graces her face.
With a soft whirring sound, Xena’s CHAKRAM burst forth from the woods that ring the clearing. Gabrielle’s head cocks and at the last possible moment, she reaches up and catches the weapon, grinning as she tosses it back the way it came.
A battle cry frightens the wildlife and Xena flips into view, catching the chakram in midair and hooking it to her leathers before landing and withdrawing her sword. There is an almost-feral smile on her face, and her eyes are flashing.
With true economy of motion, Gabrielle bends, releases her sais, and parries Xena’s first blow easily, seeming to relish as her opponent does, the clash of steel against steel. Xena’s blows come from all angles, fast and furious, and while it’s obvious she’s not going full out, it’s equally clear that she’s going full out enough to best anyone except perhaps Ares or Hercules.
Gabrielle parries every blow, sometimes using the butts of her sais to punch the sword away, sometimes using the tips to catch and deflect the sword strokes. She gives some ground, but is always ready for the next stroke, no matter when or from where it comes.
Springing up, Xena flips over Gabrielle and strikes at her back. Gabrielle twists her torso and locks her sais onto Xena’s blade. A quick twist and the sword flies from Xena’s hand.
Grinning, Xena stomps the ground. A staff flies up. Dropping her sais, Gabrielle catches the staff, turns to face Xena, and twirls the weapon in her hands too quickly for the eyes to follow. Xena flips a second staff into her own hands and the battle begins in earnest.
The sound of wood hitting hard against wood once again startles the morning birds who had come back to roost in the trees surrounding the clearing. With a great whoosh of wings, they take off once again, bound for safer, quieter nesting grounds.
Though still blindfolded, Gabrielle is a master of the staff, and it shows. Her blocks are picture perfect, and her thrusts are thrown with true power and precision. When Xena turns up the heat a bit, Gabrielle responds smoothly, arcing her hip out of the way a split second before it would have been dealt a truly stinging blow.
Xena begins to circle in an effort to disorient her opponent. To the left two steps. Three steps to the right. Then a complete circle and back three-quarters of the way, raining blows down on Gabrielle without pause.
Gabrielle is beginning to tire, though no-one but Xena would notice. She tries for a leg sweep. Laughing, Xena vaults over her partner’s head and lands pressed up against her so that they are back to back. Her boot toes a fine cord lying on the ground, which triggers a hidden pair of loaded crossbows. As the quarrels head for the duo, Gabrielle thrusts her staff over her head. The metal arrowheads imbed themselves at either end of her staff simultaneously.
Darting out of the way, Xena trips another hidden line.
Gabrielle spins and repositions her staff so that it is held before her, parallel to her body. The arrows bury their heads into her staff scant inches away from either hand.
Sliding in behind Gabrielle, Xena removes the blindfold and dangles it in front of her partner’s face.
Gabrielle grins as she looks down at the perfectly positioned arrows.
Pretty impressive, if
I do say so myself.
And you do.
Laughing, Gabrielle turns so that she is facing Xena, face flushed with exertion, and eyes sparkling with not-quite-hidden pride.
Suddenly, Gabrielle lashes out to the side with her staff, catching yet another arrow.
Sneaky, Xena. Very....
Her words are cut off as Xena reaches around her waist and catches another arrow inches away from penetrating Gabrielle’s thigh.
The two look at one another then quickly separate, circling towards the woods from where the arrows came.
END OF TEASER