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INT. TOWN INN CELLAR - NIGHT
Xena has the kids in a circle around her. On the ground are small pots, with strings attached to them. Also on the floor are a pile of rocks, and some sticks.
All right. Here's what
we're gonna do....
What are those?
Patta picks up a jug and sniffs it.
Xena takes the pot and puts it back down.
Now, at each door,
you put one of these.
Will you shut up?
You're such a GIRL!
Xena looks at Ziggy and raises her eyebrows. She pushes several pots over to him and gives him a bit of wood with a smoldering end.
Take this. Put the pot down,
then light the string.
Xena can't quite stop him in time. The string catches and burns down, and the oil in the pot starts smoking. The stench is incredible.
The children run away from the pot, leaving Xena to douse the smoke with one of her hemp bags.
Get back here. We
have to get these ready!
(covering nose and mouth)
How come? Those guys
will just hurt us! You're crazy!
Xena looks up the ceiling, and appears to be talking to herself. After a moment, she looks at the kids.
Listen to me. Your families might be out
there, might be hiding, like you are.
They're counting on you to help them.
Do you want to let them down?
Slowly, the children edge back towards her.
But we're just kids.
This is so stupid.
It's not stupid.
You're stupid, Patta.
Xena rubs her head with one hand. She starts to get up, but moves the wrong way and half sits, half falls back down. The frustration at both the children and her injury is almost too much. Xena grabs one of the pots and glares at it.
Ziggy grabs Patta and another girl and pulls them over. They sit down next to Xena.
That hurts a lot huh?
Xena slowly puts the jug down.
You gonna help, or not?
I don't get it. Why do
we need to do this?
Remember my friend?
The rest of the children come over.
The one who ran away?
She didn't run away. She went to get
help. She went to get all your fathers,
so they could come back here
and beat up all the nasty guys.
Yeah. Except when they get here,
if they can't get in, they can't help us.
(looking at pots)
So... what do these
do, besides stink?
Xena picks up a stick and draws a circle in the dirt floor.
Here's your town. All around you got
lots of trees, with lots of thick leaves.
Fill the town with stinky stuff,
where's it gonna go?
The kids all look at each other.
Nowhere. It'll just stay
here and stink!
Xena takes her bit of wood and draws a line through the circle.
Xena waits. The children all look at her uncomprehendingly. Then Ziggy puts his finger on the line Xena just drew.
Unless they open the gates? Like when
the wind blows in from behind the barn and
they gotta do that so you don't smell the....
Yeah. You got it.
Patta picks up a pot.
Ooohhh. Okay. You really think your
friend will come back? I sure wouldn't.
Finally, Xena smiles, just a little.
She'll be back.
Patta shakes her head as she picks up another pot.
She must be crazy.
Xena watches the children leave the cellar through the hatch. The hatch closes and she looks at the remains of the one, ruined, stinky pot.
Crazy like a fox.
EXT. TOWN GATES - OUTSIDE - NIGHT - SOME TIME LATER
The wagon train is pulled up down the road, out of sight from the town gates. The stretch of road and the open space between the walls and where they are seems vast, and it is well lit by moonlight.
Guards stand behind the wall, just visible with crossbows at the ready. Logs have been pushed up to reinforce the gates.
Gabrielle stands behind a tree with Balar, reviewing the scene.
To rush the gates is lunacy.
We'll all be killed.
Gabrielle stares at the gates.
We should go get the prince. His
forces will smash these brigands!
But the people inside there will be
dead by the time you get back.
Are you willing to risk that?
If we die trying to save them, is
that a risk they would want us to take?
For a long moment, Gabrielle is silent.
I don't know.
(looking at Balar)
But it's a risk I will take. Will you?
EXT. TOWN INN - EXTERIOR - NIGHT
Loud voices drift out the door to the inn. It has been taken over as the raider's new headquarters, and there are many men inside.
A small figure runs over and stoops near the door. The door slams open, and a man leaves the inn, belching loudly. He walks right past the boy hiding in the shadows and heads towards the gates. The door swings shut.
Ziggy puts the pot down, and tries to light it, but his hands are shaking so badly the rope will not catch.
Finally, it catches. Ziggy pulls another pot from his pocket, and looks around, then runs off.
EXT TOWN STABLES - NIGHT - SAME TIME
Patta and her friend run over to the door to the stable and set their pots down. They look around, but the area is relatively deserted.
They whisper together, turning their backs on the path as they concentrate on lighting the rope.
I still think this is stupid, Bean.
Shh. Let's hurry up and get
out of here before I throw up!
Behind them, unseen, a man appears. He spots the two girls.
The two girls turn around and spot the man. They get up as he starts towards them, and turn and run.
Stop! Stop! Hey!
You brats! Stop!
EXT. TOWN ROAD - NIGHT - SAME TIME
Gabrielle stands before two groups of men. One group holds farming tools, the other sacks over their backs.
Balar, take your men and go to the spring.
Brac, you and your group run to the wall
when I give you the signal, and start digging.
But they'll see us! This is crazy, we
can't beat these men. We'll all be killed.
No you won't. They'll be busy.
The other group leader scratches his head.
I don't get it.
Gabrielle picks up a long stick from a nearby wagon. She hefts it.
I'm going to go distract them. With any
luck, they'll be busy coming after me,
and that'll leave you free to go.
But.... They'll kill you.
They might. But it's my life, and it's
the one I’m the most willing to risk.
Gabrielle walks away from the men, away from the trees, and emerges into the moonlight.
Why are you doing this?
What's in it for you?
Gabrielle resumes walking towards the walls.
Yeah. And so are we.
EXT. TOWN SHOPS - NIGHT - SHORTLY THEREAFTER
Ziggy puts down his last pot. He looks up when he hears Patta and Bean yell.
The two girls are running towards him, being chased by a dozen men.
Ziggy panics and starts to run too.
Stop! You little bastards!
We'll roast your skinny hides!
Ziggy crashes into another boy who was putting pots out. The plan is now a rout, and instinctively they all bolt for the one safe place they know.
INT. TOWN INN - CELLAR - NIGHT
Xena sits alone in the cellar. Now that the children are gone, she has no need to dissemble and she leans against the wall of the cellar, her face ashen, her eyes closed. One hand rests on her injured leg; the other is clenched around a bit of broken wagon spoke.
The only sound in the room is muffled thumps and blurred voices from the inn, and a soft creak of breaking wood from the vicinity of Xena's fist.
Slowly Xena lifts her head, and tosses the wood from her. It is crushed. Xena looks around the cellar, then picks up her sword, and lays it across her lap. Her hand flexes on the hilt incessantly.
EXT. TOWN GATES - NIGHT
Gabrielle walks up the road towards the gates. The men see her, but at first do not react.
The guards look at each other.
Hey! You bunch of losers!
Get outta here, woman!
No way, you scum sucking pig!
Now Gabrielle has the guards’ attention.
Scram, or we'll shoot you!
Gabrielle makes a face at them, then gestures rudely.
You couldn't hit the broad
side of the Palladium!
The guards all raise their crossbows, and one man fires at Gabrielle. She jumps out of the way. Another man fires. Gabrielle leaps over the bolt. A third fires.
Gabrielle catches it, gives it a quick double take, then throws it away.
Losers! That the best
you can do!!!!!
The guards are all focused on Gabrielle. Gabrielle raises her hand and waves it. The waiting townsmen start to crawl forward.
EXT. TOWN INN - CELLAR DOORS - NIGHT - SAME TIME
The children dash for the cellar and throw the door open, scampering inside only steps ahead of the raiders. Ziggy turns and slams the door shut.
INT. TOWN INN CELLAR - NIGHT - MOMENTS LATER
Ziggy frantically tugs the lock into place then overbalances, falling down the steps and rolling to a halt in front of Xena.
All the children are talking at once.
They chased us!
They're gonna kill us!
They're right outside!
All the rest of the children are crying and yelling. Xena sits in their midst, the calm eye in the storm.
The cellar doors suddenly bow inwards, and a thunder erupts as the men bang against them. Bits of wood immediately start to fall down, littering the floor.
Ah! Ah! We're gonna be kilt!
No, you're not.
Xena reaches over her head and grabs the iron bars again, and pulls herself up, getting her good leg under her and picking up her sword. The children all look up at her and fall silent.
Get behind me, over there.
Xena points with her sword.
What are you going to do?
One of the doors splinters and breaks, half of it falling into the cellar.
I'm gonna do what I do best.
The door breaks the rest of the way open, and the men come down the steps. They spot Xena and halt, pulling out their weapons.
Lookie here boys....
We hit pay dirt.
Xena smiles with absolutely no humor.
You sure did.
She flips the sword in her hand.
C'mon. Who's first?
With a yell, the men charge.
EXT. TOWN GATES - NIGHT
Gabrielle picks up a rock, and throws it with unerring aim, hitting one of the guards. Her voice is hoarse from yelling, and she is running out of energy to dodge arrows with.
C'mon, you scum suckers!
Come and get me!
You think we're stupid? You think we're
gonna open these gates? Hahahahaha!
Gabrielle's face goes very still. Then she suddenly launches herself at the gates, apparently intent on taking them in a single assault.
The guards start firing, rushing to the center of the wall and yelling.
INT. TOWN INN CELLAR - NIGHT - SAME TIME
Xena is fighting like a cornered wolf. She is holding off two men with her sword, but a third slams her in the side, and she hangs onto the iron precariously.
Xena somehow holds her weight on one arm and kicks the man with her uninjured leg, while deflecting a cut from the man in front of her.
Two men already lay motionless on the floor. There is not enough room for all of them to attack her at once, the only reason Xena is still standing.
A half dozen more men rush down the stairs. They hold one of the battering rams in their arms.
Xena spots them.
C'mon, boys. We'll just
ram this right up her....
Xena steels herself, releasing the iron rod and throwing herself to one side as the log comes towards her.
A huge roar suddenly erupts from behind all of them.
In mid motion, Xena is suddenly picked up by a wall of water and carried forward, smashing into the children who clutch onto her like a leather covered raft.
Whooooaaa! What in the....
The water sweeps them in a whirlpool circle, and without warning, they are thrown over the raiders and propelled up the steps and out of the cellar past them.
EXT. TOWN GATES - NIGHT - SAME TIME
Gabrielle runs full tilt at the gates yelling at the top of her lungs. The men on guard turn from her, and scramble from the wall.
Yah! Yeah! Gutless cowards!
Run! That's it!
(under her breath)
I just hope they're running
for the right reason.
Gabrielle runs right at the gates, and just as she reaches them and appears to be destined to crash bodily into them - they swing open and a wall of water rushes out, picking Gabrielle up off her feet and slinging her sideways.
Gabrielle flings her arms out to keep from going under, and her hands hit something familiar.
She grabs hold of it, pulling Xena's body up out of the swirling water and into her arms. Xena grabs hold of Gabrielle, and they tumble through the water, as the raiders wash past them on all sides.
Xena catches hold of a passing stump and they pull themselves out of the water to lie on the side of the road as the raiders keep going, the water taking them off into the darkness away from the town.
END OF ACT FOUR
INT. TOWN INN - PRIVATE ROOM IN THE BACK - MORNING
It is midday. The room is cheerfully lit by sunlight, and the windows are open to let in the cool breeze.
Xena is lying on the bed dressed in her shift with her bandaged leg propped up on several very fluffy pillows.
At her side is a table loaded with assorted goodies, including fruit and pastries. Xena selects a grape and consumes it.
The door opens and Gabrielle enters. She is carrying a jug of something, which she brings over to the bed. She sits down and pours something from the jug into a cup, and offers it to Xena.
This should take the edge off.
Xena sniffs the cup, then takes a sip.
She looks at Gabrielle.
Thanks. I'll just let this
thing rest up a little and....
Gabrielle reaches over and covers Xena's mouth.
I had to put up with how many moons
of Xena, Warrior Hen? We're not
going anywhere until that heals.
The door bursts open, and the room is suddenly filled with children. Ziggy, Patta, and Bean come forward, the rest stay back giggling.
Xena studies a butterfly conveniently visible only to her outside the window.
We brought you something!
Gabrielle waits for Xena to pay attention. When she doesn't, Gabrielle pokes her in the arm.
Xena looks at the kids. Ziggy pushes forward and offers Xena a basket.
It's from my folks.
They think you're cool.
Xena accepts the basket with visible embarrassment.
I think you're cool, too.
Ziggy flings his arms around Xena and gives her a hug, while Gabrielle watches in delight.
Sorry we messed up your plan.
Xena pats him on the back.
S'all right. You did your best.
Ziggy steps back and Patta comes forward. She thrusts a wrapped bundle at Xena. Xena warily takes it.
I thought you were a
mean old crock, Weener.
Gabrielle quietly loses her mind trying not to laugh.
But you said those guys wouldn't
hurt us, and you were right.
That was pretty cool.
Patta turns and marches away. Bean sidles up to the bed.
She's just jealous ‘cause the boys
all think you're prettier than she is.
Gabrielle covers her eyes. Her body is shaking with laughter.
Bean ducks her head and escapes back to the giggling group of children.
The kids leave, slamming the door behind them. For a moment, there is utter silence. Then Xena clears her throat.
Laugh it up, blondie.
Gabrielle reaches over and strokes Xena's hair, ruffling it playfully as she finally lets the chuckles out.
They're so sweet. You really
were a hero to them, Xena.
Hmph. Yeah, but I'm damn glad
your plan worked better than mine did.
She pauses, then looks up at Gabrielle.
Gabrielle sobers. She looks down at her hands, turning them over and examining the palms.
Yeah, well. I'm just
glad no one got hurt.
Xena watches Gabrielle's face. She puts her hand on one of Gabrielle's and clasps it.
Sometimes people do,
in war. You know that.
I know. But those men weren't
warriors and I knew that, but
I made them fight anyway.
She looks out the window.
I guess I have to reconcile in my heart
the fact that I was willing to risk
their lives in order to save yours.
Gabrielle, they were fighting for
their homes, and their families.
Gabrielle's face tenses into a pained smile.
Yeah... but I wasn't.
Fighting for their homes and families?
Xena gives Gabrielle's hand a squeeze, and then she offers her a cookie from her basket.
No, but you were fighting for yours.
Gabrielle thinks hard about Xena's words, and then she nods slightly, taking the cookie from Xena and biting into it. She offers the other half to Xena.
Xena puts her arm around Gabrielle. Gabrielle stretches out next to Xena in the bed, and lets her head rest against Xena's shoulder.
No small children were mortally injured in
this motion picture,