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INT. INN CELLAR - NIGHT
The children are seated around Xena, clamoring at her with incessant questions.
(pointing to chakram)
Xena picks up the chakram and tosses a bit of straw into the air. With a swipe, she slices through the hay and sends several toothpick size pieces scattering over Ziggy's lap.
Yeah. Wanna wear it?
What's your name? That other
lady called you Weener. Is
that really your name?
The kids jump back. They stare wide eyed at her. Xena growls at them. The kids scramble away from her.
Yeah! I am!
So don't you forget it.
EXT. FOREST ROAD - NIGHT
Gabrielle runs along the road at a good pace. It is very quiet around her, and she looks to either side in some concern, aware of how exposed she is in the moonlight on the road.
She looks around her. On either side of the road is a line of prickly hedges.
Smart, Gabrielle. How about thinking
next time, and maybe stopping to
get... oh, say, a HORSE to ride?
Suddenly, around the bend in the road ahead comes the sound of hooves. Gabrielle slows, unable to believe her ears.
Don't tell me Argo....
The hoofbeats multiply. Gabrielle leaps off the road just in time, rolling behind a bush as a group of six men ride past.
Whoa! Hold up!
There's a spring!
Gabrielle looks behind her, spotting a pool of water less than a foot from her boot. She looks plaintively up at the sky.
The men jump off their horses and lead them to the pool, letting them drink. One man squats to fill a waterskin. From where he is standing, if he lifts his eyes, he will be looking right into Gabrielle's.
Lookin’ good, boys!
Gabrielle's fingers slowly close on the hilt of her sai.
Yeah! So let's get inside,
and get some beer!
With those walls, we'll be able
to hold off a damn army!
Jagos had a damn good plan.
Yeah! Our new fortress! And
we didn't even have to fight for it!
The riders all laugh.
Wish we'd found
that hellbitch, though.
Ah, she's dead. C'mon! All the
beer'll be gone ‘fore we get back!
Still laughing, the riders file past Gabrielle's hiding place, one man's boot just brushing the sole of hers. The man pauses, and glances down.
Gabrielle remains utterly motionless, only a splash of moonlight glittering off her eyes.
The lead rider turns. Gabrielle slowly draws her sai, her hand out of the man's line of sight.
Yeah? What? C'mon! You were
bitching about the beer! Move it!
The man hesitates, then shrugs and walks on. Gabrielle waits for him to disappear behind the bush before she lets her sai slide back into it's sheath.
Gabrielle cocks her head to listen intently, until she hears the sound of the horses leaving. Then she crawls out from under the bush and stares after the men.
She closes her eyes.
Gabrielle gets to her feet and jumps back onto the road, then freezes, obviously torn. She starts back towards the town, then hesitates again.
Abruptly, Gabrielle turns and breaks into a run again, heading away from the town. Now she is running full out.
INT. TOWN INN CELLAR - NIGHT
Xena has pulled herself more upright. She looks across the room at the water bin, then attempts to get to her feet. She doesn't make it any further than an inch off the ground before she sets herself back down hastily, her face going dead white.
The children have clustered around her again, apparently having lost their fear.
Does that hurt?
What do you think?
I bet it does. I bet it hurts
more ‘cause you're so mean.
Xena scowls at the girl.
I'm not mean.
Yes, you are.
No, I'm not.
Yes, you are.
Xena takes a breath to yell, then looks into the girl's eyes and decides otherwise. Perhaps there is something familiar there.
Wanna do me a favor?
No. You're mean and
nasty. I don't like you.
Then again, maybe not. Xena looks at Ziggy.
I'll do it! I'll do it!
Xena hands him a wooden cup she found among the sacks.
Put some water in that.
Ziggy beams, and runs off with the cup. A loud crash is heard overhead, and the children all cringe. Xena's head lifts and she listens intently, her brow creasing.
Shoulda been done by now….
Done with what?
There is the sound of hammering, next. Xena listens even more intently. Then she slowly reaches up and takes hold of an iron bar. Using only her arms, she pulls herself upright.
What are you doing? Are you
crazy? I think you're crazy
AND mean AND nasty!
Xena grabs another bar, and now is dangling above the ground. She pulls herself all the way up until her head is near the ceiling, the floor of the inn.
Wow. And strong!
Did you see that! Hey!
Why? There's nothing to hear!
You are just a meanie, Weener!
Xena glares at her. The girl reluctantly shuts up. Xena listens.
All right! Enough drinking! Get
your butts out there and start
nailing those logs against the wall!
Xena's eyes widen.
RAIDER SECOND IN COMMAND
This is gonna be
some fortress, boss!
Son of a BACCHAE!
Find any stragglers,
kill ‘em like the others!
Xena looks down at the children, and realizes they heard the man. She lets herself down onto her good leg.
The children are panicked. They start pulling at Xena's leathers.
What does he mean? Did they
hurt my mama? She told me to
come down here. Is she okay?
Xena sits down in the straw. The children gather around her again. Xena tries to figure out what to do now. She had not planned on this scenario.
Are they gonna kill us?
Several of the children are crying. Xena looks at each of them as she thinks.
She looks at the children.
You're gonna be all right.
But Xena looks very, very worried.
EXT. FOREST ROAD - NIGHT - SOME TIME LATER
At the top of a hill, the moon shines down on the road. Suddenly, Gabrielle runs into the light, then stops, leaning against a tree as she catches her breath. It is obvious she has been running hard for some time.
Gabrielle wipes her face, then she walks to the top of the ridge and looks over. In the valley, she spots the wagon train from the town.
Gabrielle takes a deep breath, then she starts down the hill after the townsfolk. As she reaches the bottom, she starts to yell, waving her arms.
Hey! Hey there! Hey!
The wagon train does not apparently hear her. It keeps moving, the sound of the wheels drowning out her cries.
The last man in line turns, then pulls his horse up when he spots Gabrielle approaching. He apparently does not know what to make of her.
Hello there! Stand clear!
We need no taggers-on!
Gabrielle slows to a halt.
I'm not... I've come
from your town!
Back there? In the hills?
The rest of the wagon train has pulled up, and Balar comes riding back to confront Gabrielle.
What is it? Who are you? What
do you want? We have no
time to waste here, woman!
Your home has been attacked.
That enough reason to
waste some time in listening?
Shocked, the men circle Gabrielle, clamoring for details.
INT. TOWN INN CELLAR - NIGHT - LATER
The sounds around the cellar are getting louder. Footsteps are tramping regularly above their head, and shouts can be heard.
Suddenly, the door hatch rattles, as though someone is trying to get in.
Hey! Whats'n here!
Can't open 'er!
Get a pry!
The children scream, and run to the other side of the room.
Stop it! Be quiet!
They're gonna come
after us! They'll hurt us!
Hurt us? You stupid girl!
They'll kill us, probly!
Cut our heads off!
Xena grabs their arms and pulls them down into the straw.
If you don't shut up,
I'll beat em to it.
The girl starts to cry. Ziggy starts to cry, but pretends he isn't.
Listen to me. They're
not gonna kill you.
No! You are!
I'm not gonna kill you.
What's your name?
The girl looks at Xena.
Why do you care?
I'm a sucker for a cute
face. What's your name?
There is the sound of banging overhead.
Xena pulls them both closer.
All right. Listen to me. You're
not gonna die here if I can help it.
No, I'm Xena. We don't have time
for name calling. We've gotta find
a way out of here before those
big nasties upstairs find a way in.
I can fight those guys!
Xena looks at him.
I can! My dad taught
me to fight! Look!
Ziggy makes fists and starts to flail at Xena. Xena catches his hands and lifts him up off the ground by them. He stops moving and goggles at her.
Save it. I'll need the help later.
Xena lowers Ziggy to the ground.
Come over here, all of
you. We've gotta plan.
The children all crawl over to Xena, and put their heads together with hers.
EXT. FOREST ROAD - NIGHT - LATER
Gabrielle sits in the middle of the ring of townsmen. They are arguing, and obviously in a state of turmoil.
It's crazy! We just left there! You
can't really mean our town! We
just came down the road tonight!
It's the truth. You have to believe me.
The men are angry and upset, worried about their families.
But it makes no sense! Why would they
take over our town... our homes! Our
families! Dear gods, what of our families??
Another round of dismay from the men.
What are we to do!?
Gabrielle has waited for this. She raises her voice.
You have to come back with me.
We have to get your town back.
Town back? She's crazy!
But.... What can we do? They're
soldiers... killers.... We're just....
Gabrielle stands, then realizes that doesn't help much. She jumps up onto the seat of a wagon and raises her hands for attention.
I can help you.
The men laugh uneasily.
Gabrielle puts her hands on her hips and exhales in annoyance.
Y'know, why doesn't anyone ever
question Xena when she says that?
Is it the leather? The boots? The sword?
That's it.... It's the sword, isn't it?
Xena? The great warrior?
You know her?
I know her. But listen, that's not
important right now. I can help
you get your homes back. Don't
you want to do that?
He's right. What can we do?
We're not fighters.
Gabrielle looks at the men. The driver has a point.
Maybe not, but I am.
You? Hah. I'm more that
than you, I'm thinking!
Gabrielle draws her sai and whips it at the man, pinning his coat to the wagon. The metal has passed within a hair of his body.
Want to test that theory?
The men stir uneasily. The driver tries to pull his jacket free, and finds he cannot. The sai has been driven to its hilt into the wood.
We should go get the prince.
He's the man to stop the raiders.
The men murmur agreement.
You don't have time for that. Every minute
we stand here, they're destroying your
homes. Is that what you want?
The men all stare at her. Gabrielle jumps off the wagon and dusts her hands off.
You sure talk a good lot.
Yeah, well, I'm a bard too.
I've got many skills.
The men still look doubtful. Gabrielle turns and starts to walk back down the road. She turns and looks at them, but keeps walking.
Are you coming with me? We don't have
any time to waste, not if you want to
see your wives and children again.
After a long moment, the men start moving, deciding to follow Gabrielle. Once she is sure of that, Gabrielle turns and marches on with a determined stride.
All right. We're with you.
(under her breath)
I just hope I figure out what to
do with you before I get there.
END OF ACT THREE