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EXT. TOWN GATES - CONTINUOUS
Gabrielle grabs Xena's arm.
Then I'll carry you.
No time for that.
Grab my sword.
The men close in on them. Gabrielle realizes Xena is right, and she takes hold of Xena's sword, turning to face the oncoming raiders with it in her hands.
Xena grabs Gabrielle's fallen pole and some how levers herself up to her feet, leaning on the improvised staff as she pulls out her chakram. Her knuckles are white where she grips it.
Yeah, I know.
Gabrielle moves closer to Xena, and twists her boots into the dirt as the first wave of raiders climb past the woodpile and heads for them.
A horse without its rider suddenly bucks past, trampling the first man and kicking a second. Unexpectedly, it's not Argo.
The raiders jostle each other, getting in the way of their progress as one man trips and falls in front of them.
Xena turns, hearing a sound behind her. She spots a small boy waving.
Hurry! You can
hide wif us!
Xena tugs the back of Gabrielle's halter, pointing when Gabrielle turns.
Let's go while we
got the chance.
Xena lets fly with the chakram, taking out the two nearest torches and throwing the area into darkness. Gabrielle puts her arm around Xena's waist, and Xena leans on her as they make their escape.
INT. INN CELLAR - NIGHT -SHORTLY THEREAFTER
The cellar is dark and full of frightened children. The only way in is a double hatch door over their heads, which is crudely barred from the inside with a makeshift latch.
Their eyes grow wide as the heavy door to the cellar creaks open, and two big, shadowy figures start down the steps.
A small boy runs before them, and scampers down the steps two at a time.
I got ‘em! Look!
Xena leans against the earth wall as Gabrielle bars the hatch behind them. It is obvious she is in great pain. Gabrielle finishes and lends Xena support to get down the rest of the steps.
The children gather at the bottom of the stairs to wait for them.
Okay, let us get past here.
Xena, can you...?
Just keep moving. I'm fine.
You was beating all those guys
up! I saw you! I saw you!
Xena slips slightly on the last step, and puts pressure on her broken leg. She turns absolutely white, but in front of all the kids, her facial expression never falters.
Yeah, you saw me.
Gabrielle helps Xena over to a pile of dusty woven hemp bags and manages to get her sitting down on them without jostling her leg too much.
Lay down, maybe I
can... oh, Xena.
The children crowd around them, dirty and frightened, and glad of this distraction.
Even in the low torchlight, the injury looks horrific. Gabrielle sits back a little, not really sure where to start.
Does that hurt?
Xena looks at the boy. She shrugs.
Nah. Not really.
One of the other children, an older girl comes forward.
My mother sent us all in here.
She said not to go out,
but Ziggy never listens.
Gabrielle has unlaced Xena's boot, and removed her knee armor. Now, at a loss, she looks up at Xena.
Xena points at the boy. He grins.
Great. You got some
water down here?
Over there! Do you want
some? Are you thirsty?
Hey, stupid! If she's thirsty,
we got beer! Nobody drinks
*water* unless they gotta!
Should I go get my mother?
Xena and Gabrielle exchange looks.
No. You better stay here,
like she said. But we could
really use that water.
The children all rush over to a trough against the wall of the cellar, and grab for buckets in a messy mass of juvenile eagerness.
Xena and Gabrielle just look at each other in silence for a beat.
You're not supposed to get
hurt. Isn't that some kind of rule?
Xena smiles faintly. Then her smile fades.
You're going to have to set that.
She looks back.
Those kids. They're so scared,
and those killers up there....
Xena puts her hand on Gabrielle's knee. The children come back, carrying a big bucket of water sloshing between them.
First things first. Wash it out
good, then pull my leg straight.
A crash makes them all jump and look up. They hear angry yells, but cannot make out the words.
Gabrielle takes the bucket, and takes a deep breath.
You know this is going to hurt
me as much as it hurts you.
Go on. Just do it.
Gabrielle tips the bucket, and begins to pour. On her far side, out of sight of the children, Xena's hand clenches around a piece of firewood so tightly it creaks.
INT. CELLAR - NOT LONG AFTER
Xena is now lying flat on the sacks. Her sword lies by her hand, half hidden in the straw on the floor.
Gabrielle is wrapping a bandage around Xena's knee, being held straight by several sticks. The children are sitting around, wide eyed.
Wow! My dad yells when he pulls
a splinter out. You're awesome!
Xena gives him a look. She lifts her right hand and examines it. There are several splinters embedded in the palm from the wood she was clenching. With a shake of her head, she lets her hand fall.
All right. Best I can do.
Xena inspects the result. Her leg is encased in a tight bandage from her mid thigh to her mid calf.
Those pirates are just cowards.
If my dad was here, boy,
they'd have run away!
Yeah! Mine too!
The other children agree in a chorus. Gabrielle turns to face them.
Where are your fathers?
I didn't see any men u...
when we were outside.
They all went down the river to
the prince's house. They're
gonna bring us all back toys!
Gabrielle appears confused.
All of them? You mean all
your fathers went away?
The children all nod at her. Outside, the noises have mostly faded, but the sound of hoofbeats is still heard.
When did they leave? I saw men all
around here when we came in.
Tonight. When it got dark.
They took all the wagons, too.
(to Gabrielle, softly)
They must have taken the harvest
to market. You can catch them.
If you leave now, you can get to them
by sunrise and bring them back...
No telling how long those bastards
are going to be out there, Gabrielle.
Gabrielle is not pleased, but she also realizes that Xena is right.
I don't want to leave you here.
Xena looks at the kids, then looks at Gabrielle. She lifts both of her eyebrows.
I'd love to run right along with you.
She touches leg.
But I can't. G'wan. Faster you
go, faster you come back.
You gonna go get my
dad? C'n I come?
Gabrielle takes Xena's hand and squeezes it. She looks at Ziggy.
Well, I'd like the company, but...
I'd feel a lot better if a nice strong
guy like you stayed here to watch
out for my friend while I'm gone.
Xena gives Gabrielle a look that would curdle milk still inside the goat. Ziggy positively beams.
I can do that!
Thanks. I really appreciate it.
Gabrielle turns to Xena.
gonna pay for that.
Gabrielle gets up and dusts her knees off. She is clearly reluctant to leave, but she seats her sais and goes to retrieve the stick Xena had taken from her.
Want to take this instead?
Xena indicates her sword, then taps the stick.
I might need that.
Gabrielle hesitates, then shakes her head.
I'll find another one when I
get outside the gates.
You be good, okay?
Me, good? Never. G'wan.
Gabrielle turns to go, then she stops and returns to Xena's side, kneeling next to her and putting her body between the children's curious eyes and her partner.
Xena holds her bravado for a moment more, then realizes what Gabrielle has done and she relaxes, letting her head rest against Gabrielle's shoulder as she briefly allows the pain to show on her face.
Just as briefly, Gabrielle cups Xena's cheek with her hand, and gives her a kiss on the head.
Then they part, and as Gabrielle rises, Xena pulls herself upright on her sacks and sets her sword across her thighs.
You guys just stay here, and I'll be
back as soon as I can with your
folks, okay? Don't go out there.
With a last backwards look, Gabrielle steps cautiously up the stairs and unlocks the hatch, pushing it carefully open just a little and peeking outside. After a moment, she is satisfied, and she opens the hatch fully, slipping outside and closing the door behind her.
The children pause, their eyes fastened on the door, then slowly they all swing their heads around and focus on Xena.
Xena looks back at them.
The children all scuttle closer and gather around Xena in a tight circle.
Xena's eye widen slightly in alarm.
Something you want?
They all look at Ziggy, their ringleader.
Are you a Roman soldier?
EXT. TOWN GATES - NIGHT - SAME TIME
Gabrielle slips along the edge of the town wall, staying as much in the shadows as possible. There are still raiders riding around, though most of the townsfolk seem to have fled, or were either dead or injured. The inn is a source of loud noises, and by the singing it was evident the raiders had found the ale supplies.
Hope they find all of it.
Make my job easy.
Gabrielle sees several raiders walk past the gates, then go to stand near the edge of the path leading to the inn. She takes the opportunity to leave the shadows, slipping through the gates before anyone sees her.
Gabrielle pauses outside the gates to listen, then she starts down the road, satisfied she hasn't been seen.
EXT TOWN GATES - SHORTLY THEREAFTER
The raider leader and his second stand talking.
Chief, that was too easy.
Piece of baklava, like I toldja. Now
let’s get those gates shut and see if
anyone's sober enough to guard ‘em.
You think anyone's gonna
come back here tonight?
The chief looks around.
Ya never know. That woman
might show up again.
No way! Probably dead by now.
Crawled off after we beat her up.
The chief seems doubtful, but he shrugs.
Maybe. Just get those gates shut!
The second man and a few others run to the gates, and swing them closed. They march to the locking bars, lifting them up with cheerful whistles, and throwing them into place.
The chief looks on, satisfied.
That's it. This place is ours now!
Anyone wants in, they're
gonna have to die for it!
The men all laugh.
EXT. FOREST ROAD - NIGHT
Gabrielle heads away from the town at a run. The moon slowly rises through the trees, lighting her way and throwing her shadow far down the road ahead of her.
END OF ACT TWO