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INT. HEDELON CITY MAIN TEMPLE - INNER CHAMBER - CONTINUOUS
Gabrielle stands her ground, but after a moment, Eve ducks from between her entourage and heads over to Gabrielle hastily. Gabrielle walks forward to intercept her.
Eve embraces Gabrielle wholeheartedly. Gabrielle is a trifle surprised, but she responds in kind, giving Eve a warm hug in return.
It's been a long time.
Gabrielle looks over Eve's shoulder, to see the entourage staring at them wide eyed. Gabrielle smiles at them, a little amused.
They part. Eve puts her hands on Gabrielle's shoulders and just looks at her briefly.
We need to talk.
Would you all excuse us, please?
Uncertainly, the entourage turns and starts to leave. They are obviously unwilling, and they watch Gabrielle with doubtful suspicion.
The door finally closes and they are alone. Eve leads Gabrielle over to a seat and sits next to her.
I can't believe you're here.
When I heard, I tried to find you. I
searched for months but no
one knew where you went.
For a moment, Gabrielle has to really think hard about what Eve is talking about. Then she realizes, and lifts her hand to her face, as she comprehends this is more of a sensitive chat than she had bargained for right off.
I didn't know you...
would have heard.
Eve puts a hand on Gabrielle's shoulder.
I was coming back from Chin.
Of course I heard... I was....
There were so many things
I never got to tell her.
Gabrielle leans forward and rests her elbows on her knees.
I was so proud of her. But I was
worried about you. I knew she
did the right thing but....
Eve pauses, and touches Gabrielle's shoulder again.
I know what she meant to you.
Gabrielle's eyes gaze off into the distance.
(cont'd, to eve)
One thing I've learned in my life with
your mother, Eve. It's almost
never as simple as it seems.
Eve looks a little puzzled.
I guess that's true about life
in general, isn't it?
I started off running a
soup kitchen here.
Gabrielle also looks around, appreciating the irony.
I started off just getting water
for my mother's fish soup.
Eve, there's something
I have to tell you.
Eve takes Gabrielle's hand.
I think we both have
things we can share.
(a touch of dark humor)
Mm. One more than you imagine
we do. Your mother's alive.
Eve stares at Gabrielle in shock.
And we're not here
for a family reunion.
EXT. HEDELON CITY DOCKYARD PRISON - DAY
Xena lands in the shadows on one side of the inner courtyard of the prison. She presses herself against the wall, and watches as two men run past carrying poles. They run to the gates, and meet the two guards there. All four men start talking excitedly.
Xena slips past them without a sound. She walks over to where the workers are and hides behind a stack of boxes, watching them.
The man nearest to Xena is building a crate out of wood. On the sides are painted the crowned sun sigil. As he finishes one box, he adds it to the stack Xena is hiding behind.
The man pauses and wipes his brow. He is visibly tired and covered in sawdust and general grime.
Get back to work!
The guard walks over and smacks the man in the back of the head with his pole.
Shut up! Next time
you'll think twice of cheating
the one who listens!
I didn't cheat anyone!
That was all my money!
The guard hits him again.
Haven't you heard of the sharing?
Nothing's all yours. We'll take our
share one way or the other.
This is the other.
The prisoner goes back to his task, glowering at the guard. The guard goes to stand next to the stack of boxes, leaning against them not an arm's length from Xena.
The prisoner loses his grip on a piece of wood and it falls to the floor. The guard goes to smack him with the pole again, but finds his hands empty.
He turns and looks around, then looks on the ground, trying to find his pole.
The prisoner looks up, and sees the guard searching. He stops working to watch. The guard unstacks all the boxes, stacking them in a pile right next to where they were. Xena kneels as he pulls the boxes off, then quickly switches to the other stack, and stands up as he puts the last box in place. He still cannot see her. She is holding the pole.
The guard turns around in a circle, then scratches his head. Suddenly, the pole appears between his legs, moving rapidly upward.
The guard screams as it impacts, and drops to his knees. The pole clatters to a halt next to him and lies there, apparently having attacked the guard by itself.
The prisoners watch in fascination.
Hey. Sure you paid your
taxes? Maybe the high
pooh-bah heard you didn't.
The prisoners all laugh. Xena glides through the shadows and through an archway leading further into the prison, disappearing from view.
INT. HEDELON CITY MAIN TEMPLE - INNER CHAMBER - DAY
Gabrielle is sitting on the low bench near the door. Eve is faced away from her, staring at the far wall.
I can't believe it.
Gabrielle stands and walks over to her. She puts a hand on Eve's back.
It's been a long, hard road.
We didn't know you came
back to these parts.
Eve turns to face her.
Have you been back long?
We've been a lot of places.
The monk I spoke to was so
sure of what happened.
But I should have known
she'd find a way out of it.
That's not exactly....
Where is she? Here? In the city?
A knock interrupts them. Eve looks at the door, and it opens to reveal a young man in a robe like hers, and sandals.
Enlightened One, the hospice is
asking for you to come and speak
to the sick, to give them hope.
Eve hesitates. Gabrielle touches her arm.
Go on. It'll give you a
chance to think, anyway.
Why don't you come with me?
You know the message I'm
trying to spread here...
probably better than I do.
The acolyte looks scandalized. Gabrielle just appears thoughtful.
I hope so.
Eve seems to collect herself.
Then you can take me wherever
she is. I need to talk to her.
Gabrielle nods, as she follows Eve from the room.
(under her breath)
If she doesn't find us first.
INT. HEDELON CITY DOCKYARD PRISON - DAY
Xena slinks along the corridor, seeming to blend in with the shadows. There are windows spaced every so often high on the walls, but the majority of illumination comes from candles in sconces.
There are barred doors also evenly spaced. Xena peers into one of them.
Inside a man is sitting dressed in rags. He has a plain wood pallet to sleep on, and that is about it. The room is otherwise empty, save for a wooden board with the crowned sun symbol.
The man looks up, startled.
Who... who is it? What do
you want? It's not time for
me to work yet, is it?
The man looks around, then gets up off the pallet and limps over to the door. He wraps his hands around the bars and peers through, jerking back in surprise when he sees Xena.
Oh! You're a woman!
Thanks for noticing.
What are you in here for?
The man looks suspicious.
Why are you asking? If you're in
here, and not locked up, you
know what we're all here for.
Pretend I’m stupid.
The prisoner looks at her very skeptically.
I came here to sell my woven goods.
They wanted half of what I took
in. I refused. Here I am.
That's right. I would have made less than
it cost me to make the goods. So I tried to
run for it, but they caught me. Now I have
two moons of hard labor, and no dinars.
Next time, I'll know better.
Not sell here?
No. Join the temple. I hear if you get
in good with them, you get a cut,
instead of having to pay.
Footsteps approach. Xena steps back from the door and presses herself into a dark corner. Three men in robes walk past briskly, coming so close they brush Xena with the fabric of the garments they are wearing.
I think those guards had too much ale,
thinking they saw someone jump the
fence. Who'd want to get IN a lock house?
SECOND ROBED MAN
Yeah. We'll need another one if this
keeps up. That was a great idea of
Branton's to scam everyone for
fifty percent. Either they pay....
Or they pay twice!
The men laugh, and keep walking. Xena watches them go.
They say this is supposed to give
us something to believe in again.
Yeah. Gimme Ares any day.
Xena reacts to the name, then she looks at the prisoner.
Careful what you ask for.
Xena turns and walks away. Unexpectedly, two men appear at the end of the corridor and spot her.
Hey! You there!
Instead of running, Xena stands in the middle of the corridor, and puts her hands on her hips.
You talking to me?
Yeah! Don't move!
Wouldn't think of it.
Xena gleefully meets the two guards, grabbing the pole from one's hands and knocking the second's weapon free with it. She twirls the pole and rotates at the same time, smacking both men with either end repeatedly.
Xena ends with the pole under her arm, and both men on the ground in a heap.
Wow. I don't think that prophet
woman's gonna like you.
She better like me.
I'm her mother.
It is quiet for a few seconds, then a thunder of footsteps is heard, and a whole contingent of guards round the corner, and head towards Xena.
get into the act.
Xena picks up the second guards pole and heads for the oncoming men, letting out her battle yell at full volume.
INT. HEDELON CITY TEMPLE HOSPICE - LATE AFTERNOON
Gabrielle kneels beside a wounded boy. She had a piece of linen over her shoulder, and she has just finished changing a bandage on his leg. She smiles at the boy, and he smiles back at her shyly.
How'd you do this?
I was bringing my mama some
herbs and a wagon went over me.
Wow. I bet that hurt.
Yeah. A little.
(looking at leg)
You did that really fast. Can you
do it all the time? Those other
guys take too long and it hurts.
Gabrielle ruffles the boy’s hair.
I get a lot more practice
than they do, I bet.
Eve comes over and kneels at Gabrielle's side. The boy looks at Eve with a mixture of awe and apprehension.
Well, Evan... I see you
got taken care of.
Yes, ma'am. This lady's nice.
Eve looks at Gabrielle.
Yes, she is. I bet if you asked her,
she'd even tell you a story.
Gabrielle smiles at the boy.
Sure. Just give me a
few minutes, okay?
Gabrielle gets up to dispose of the old bandaging. Eve comes to stand next to her, and they look out over the hospice. There are pallets spread across the room in an orderly fashion, and robed attendants go from one to the other, comforting the men and women lying there.
Gabrielle notices that two or three guards slip into the room and take up positions near the wall unobtrusively. They watch Eve closely, but Eve does not seem to be aware.
Just so many people
need so many things.
Gabrielle folds her arms, and gives Eve a quick, sideways look.
How did you get started with this,
Eve? I know you went to Chin
to spread Eli's teaching, but....
I didn't get far. His message...
it was just too different. I got
knocked around a lot.
Eve's expression is dispassionate.
So you came back here?
I knew there was a void here.
Gabrielle's eyes narrow slightly.
The old gods were gone.
People were looking for something
to believe in. I gave that to them.
She looks at Gabrielle.
I'm proud of that.
Gabrielle looks troubled. She reviews the hospice for several moments in silence. She is about to answer, when two more guards rush in, look around wildly, spot Eve, and hurry over to them.
Enlightened One, please. There is
some disturbance in the city. We
must get you back to the temple.
What kind of disturbance?
What's going on?
I... I don't know. I was just told to
come get you and bring you
back... please, Enlightened One....
All right. Gabrielle....
Gabrielle has a pretty good idea what the disturbance is, and is not overly concerned for Eve's safety just yet.
I've got a story to deliver. I'll be
there soon as I'm done.
Eve looks disturbed, but nods, and then follows the guards from the hospice. Gabrielle watches her go. Several of the patients nearby are watching her curiously. Gabrielle goes back over to Evan's side and sits down on the stool next to him.
INT. HEDELON CITY MAIN TEMPLE - EVE'S CHAMBERS
Eve's chambers are austere and plain. There is a simple small bed on one side, a washing bowl and towel on a wooden table on the other, and some small personal effects scattered all over.
Eve enters, followed by a man in the uniform of a guard.
Mercanius, I don't understand what this
is all about. Are you telling me there
are people attacking the city? Why?
Enlightened One, I cannot say. Just
know that some of your faithful followers
were viciously attacked down by the
waterfront, and we have not yet caught
the ones who did it. It is your
safety that concerns us.
We, ah... it was just felt that it was
your vision... your message...
that was being attacked.
That's ridiculous. Someone probably
got into too much ale, and it's nothing.
Mercanius, please leave me. If it
makes you feel better, I'll stay
here until evening service.
I will post one of my men out side
your door, Enlightened One.
No, you won't. Now
just leave. Please.
Mercanius leaves. Eve sits down on her bed and stares at the opposite wall, her expression troubled.
Everything's just going sideways
all of a sudden. I can't explain it.
Xena steps out from behind the simple wooden linen press against the wall.
I bet I can.
END OF ACT TWO