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EXT. CYRENE'S INN - FRONT DOOR - MOMENTS LATER
Gabrielle bolts from the inn, her sais in her boots, Xena's sword clenched in one fist, and her chakram in the other. It is a relatively imposing sight and small animals run in terror as she races past.
The piles of debris are hiding the fight she can hear going on loudly behind them.
Take your time!
Gabrielle frowns, but does not slow down. She goes between the piles of debris and disappears.
EXT. CYRENE'S INN - FRONT - BEYOND THE PILES - CONTINUOUS
Eight raiders are surrounding Xena in a circle, running their horses around her and trying to attack.
Xena stands in the center with a pile of sticks, and is fending off each man as he tries to get close to her.
C'mon you cowards!
Afraid of a girl???
Xena takes the biggest bit of plank in her pile and waves it like a baseball bat that will not be invented for two millennia. One of the raiders comes right at her, yelling at the top of his lungs. Xena waits until the very last possible moment and then swings, whacking the raider on the head and knocking him sideways on his horse.
He hangs on to the saddlehorn, jerking around crazily as the horse runs past and heads for the hills.
Behind the hedges, the villagers watch the action, growing more concerned as they see Xena whipping the bad guys.
Gabrielle halts and looks for a way to get Xena her weapons, then realizes she's doing just fine with the ones she has.
Still likes variety.
She is momentarily stymied. She does not want to put Xena's gear down for the raiders to steal, yet she does not want to fight with it either.
A raider spots her, and resolves the dilemma by turning his horse and charging at her. Gabrielle ducks under his sword and swings up with Xena's weapon, chopping the man's hand off with his sword in its grasp.
The raider leaps off his horse at Gabrielle. Instinctively, Gabrielle brings her left hand around with the chakram in it, and cuts his throat. He collapses to the ground in a shower of blood.
Gabrielle takes a step back and looks at the body.
Isn't that easier
than it used to be.
Gabrielle shakes her head and looks towards Xena, only to find that through the chaos of men and horses, Xena is staring at her.
Their eyes meet only for a moment, then two raiders rush between them and the fight continues.
Xena puts down her sticks and leaps at the head raider, grabbing him by the neck as she flies past and pulling him right off his horse to the ground. She raises her hand and in an instant, she is catching her sword and twirling it, then putting the point of the blade at the man's throat.
HOLD IT OR I GUT HIM
LIKE THE PIG HE IS!!!
The raiders slowly stop and face her. Gabrielle stands to the side, holding the chakram.
I don't know what you scum have
been used to, but you're not
welcome here anymore.
Xena presses the blade against the raider chief's neck.
You think you can stop us?
Xena leans closer, the blade now cutting the man's skin.
I know I can.
And you know it too.
The raider grimaces in pain.
Xena leans even closer.
This is my home.
Not according to the rest of them!
I don't give a damn about the rest of them.
Stay out of here!
Xena suddenly stands, lifting the raider as she does. She picks him up and throws him at the rest of the men, letting out a wild yell at the same time.
She points at them with the sword.
You come back, you'll die –
all of you. I swear it.
The raider drags himself back onto his horse, wiping the blood from his neck. He glares at Xena hatefully, but motions to his men to leave.
Don't think this is the end, Xena.
Xena rolls her eyes in a ‘been there, done that, have so many t-shirts she could make a quilt’ kind of way. The raiders gallop off. The dead man's horse follows, its stirrups bouncing emptily.
The villagers all sneak away quickly.
Xena and Gabrielle are left standing together near the piles of debris. After a moment, Gabrielle takes the edge of her skirt, and wipes the blood of the chakram before extending it towards Xena.
Not that you needed it.
Xena takes it, puts it in the hand she already has her sword in, then without speaking puts her arm around Gabrielle and pulls her close, laying her cheek down on the top of Gabrielle's head. Her expression is sorrowful.
You okay? What's this for?
Xena's look gets a bit sadder.
Just felt like doing it. Want to take this
stuff in, and I'll clean up out here?
Gabrielle looks at the dead raider, then at Xena. She takes the sword and chakram.
Sure. Meet you inside.
Gabrielle turns and goes back towards the inn. Xena watches her, then she sits down on the pile of debris rests her elbows on her knees.
The sunset paints Xena, the destruction, and the dead raider in a splash of red-gold light.
INT. CYRENE'S INN - KITCHEN - SUNSET
Gabrielle stands near the window, which has had broken shutters cleared from it and is now nothing more than an empty frame leading outside.
The inside of the kitchen has been emptied of most of the destroyed furniture and debris. It is still in very sad shape - there are holes in the wall, and in the roof - over Gabrielle's head sky can be seen.
Gabrielle's travel bag is on the floor near her feet, and she is using a broken plank set across two nubs sticking out from the wall as a sort of table, preparing some odds and ends she has taken from the bag. Her hair is damp, and she has exchanged her traveling outfit for a shift.
A figure appears in the door to the kitchen and watches her silently.
After a brief moment, Gabrielle senses the eyes on her, and she turns, but the figure vanishes before she can focus on it. She puts down the small knife and bit of end and walks to the door way, peering outside it.
You know, you're gonna have
to stick around sometime.
We won't hurt you.
Are you hungry?
There is no answer. Gabrielle shakes her head and goes back to her task. She picks up the knife and cuts the odd and or end up, putting the pieces in a small iron pot.
She takes the pot and goes to the destroyed fireplace, where she has scraped out one corner and built a small fire. She puts the pot over it, and then sits down on a piece of stump. She looks around, at the holes in the roof, and the stump she's sitting on. She shakes her head again.
Xena pauses in the doorway and watches her much like the figure had done a moment prior. Gabrielle also senses this, but does not look surprised when she lifts her head and sees Xena standing there.
What's going on in here?
Xena enters and kneels down next to Gabrielle. Gabrielle rolls a stump over for her and pats it.
Just putting some soup up.
Xena sits on the stump.
You didn't have to do that.
Much as they hate me, I'm sure I
could have bought something
from that baker down the road.
Gabrielle rolls a third stump, much lower over and plops it between them. She gestures to it.
C'mon, Xena. How often do I get to
serve up dinner on your kitchen table?
She looks around.
We used to eat in here all the
time when we were kids.
Gabrielle takes a candle stub out and sets it on the 'table' stump.
Tomorrow I'll go out and catch something.
We must be pretty low on supplies.
Considering I had to cut some leather off
your armor and put it in the soup? Yeah.
Xena reacts, looking at Gabrielle in concern.
Just kidding. Here.
Gabrielle pours some soup for Xena, and gives her half of the small bread she has left. She lights the candle and they sit together quietly for a moment.
I don't think those bastards are
going to stay away for long.
Me either. So what do we do, stick around
and just keep knocking them off?
Xena stares at Gabrielle. Gabrielle just keeps eating.
Long as we're here, at least the people
around this place might get a break.
Xena slowly breaks a piece of bread off and fiddles with it.
Yeah. They might. For a while. Hey,
nice job getting this place cleaned up.
Gabrielle peers around. She smiles.
Well, I lived with my family... then I lived with
you. I never really had any place of my own.
It's an interesting feeling, being here.
Yeah, it is.
Xena slowly chews her bread. Gabrielle drinks her soup. Behind them, a figure appears in the outer doorway, peeking around the sill at them.
EXT. CYRENE'S INN - FRONT - MORNING - FIVE DAYS LATER
Xena walks across the front of the inn, leading Argo II. The horse is pulling a load of freshly cut logs and does not look entirely thrilled about it.
Xena is wearing only her leathers and boots, no armor, and it is apparent she's been doing some pretty hard labor in them. There are cuts and scuffs on the leather, and tar stains both on the leather and on Xena's legs.
However, Xena is whistling under her breath and appears in a relatively good mood.
C'mon, girl. Last load
for today, I promise.
Xena laughs. She releases the logs near the inn and gives Argo II a slap on the backside.
Go on. I keep my promises.
Argo II trots off, not needing to be told twice. Xena picks up one log and sets it on a makeshift sawhorse, picking up her ax and twirling it in her hand.
She pauses, and turns to look at the inn.
It is starting to look like an inn again. Freshly cut wood supports are now in place, and the front walls no longer have holes in them. The windows are still just spaces, but a new layer of thatch covers most of the roof. One space is open, lacking supports.
Xena hears something coming up behind her and turns, to find six or seven villagers approaching. She lets her ax hang at her side, and puts her other hand on her hip.
The villagers approach. One steps closer than the others. It is the same man who has been the most vocal all along.
What is it now, Jares?
A merchant just passed through.
He wouldn't stay, naturally.
He said a man on the road told him the
warlord Xerxes is the one behind the raiders.
He's really mad at what happened here.
Xena shrugs again.
He's going to come and destroy the village
if you don't give yourself over to him.
Xena twirls the ax again.
He can try whatever he likes.
I'm not going anywhere.
The villagers look at each other.
That's what we thought you'd say.
So we are. We're all leaving. Today.
Jares turns and walks off followed by the rest of the villagers. Behind Xena, Gabrielle appears in the entrance to the inn, listening to what is going on.
Why are you bothering to tell me?
The villagers stop, and Jares looks back over his shoulder at her.
Your mother was a friend, once. I keep
wanting to think she was right about you.
Jares shakes his head and continues through the trees. Gabrielle walks over to Xena. Gabrielle is dressed in a non-descript shirt belted at her waist, and boots. The shirt is so liberally stained with just about everything, its color is impossible to pin down.
Wonder what that means.
Given the range of your mother's
opinions in the time I've known you, that
could mean just about anything.
Xena scratches her jaw and shrugs, conceding the point. She seems a little discouraged, however.
I thought they were
getting used to us.
Gabrielle wipes her hands on a towel hanging from her belt.
Well, maybe it's for the best, Xena.
They leave, we take care of the warlord...
and maybe they'll all come back.
Maybe. But now we need to
take care of the warlord.
Damn, they multiply like rabbits.
Hm. Think we should start castrating
them instead of killing them?
Xena reacts, looking at Gabrielle in shock. But Gabrielle smiles at her, and winks.
Just kidding. Want
some help out here?
Xena relaxes. She picks up the log again and Gabrielle picks up the other end. They put the log on the braces and Xena begins chopping it with her axe as Gabrielle braces the log.
They pause as the sound of hoofs and wagon wheels reaches them. On the road leading past the inn, the villagers are moving out, taking all their possessions with them. No one looks over at them as they go past.
The villagers move on, without a backward glance. After a brief silence, Xena continues chopping.
INT. CYRENE'S INN - KITCHEN - NIGHT
The hearth has been nearly rebuilt with new river stones, and the worktables against the walls have had their legs fixed. Everything inside is neat and tidy, and a new table sits in the center of the room. In the center of the table is an earthen jar with a handful of wildflowers in it.
Gabrielle enters and lights several candles, resulting in a warm, golden glow in the room. She is now in a clean white shirt, and she hums under her breath as she moves around taking out wooden platters and eating utensils.
Xena appears in the doorway, also cleaned up and looking spiffy. She leans on the newly fixed edge of the door and watches Gabrielle for a moment before she enters. Then Xena smiles, and walks over to the hearth.
I could get used to this.
Xena kneels and warms her hands by the fire.
Behind her back, Gabrielle stops what she's doing and turns, visibly intrigued. She studies Xena, then she smiles also and goes back to what she's doing.
You never told me
you could build things.
Xena goes to the table and sits down. She uncorks the bottle sitting there and pours some wine into her cup, and into Gabrielle's.
I've always been better
at tearing them down.
Gabrielle brings two plates to the table and puts them down. She sits next to Xena.
Well, not in this case. The
place is starting to look great.
Xena studies the kitchen. The walls have been freshly washed, and the windows lined with terra cotta field tiles, with old, faded designs on them.
You're not half bad at this yourself.
Where did you get those tiles?
Gabrielle is pleased that Xena has noticed her work.
One of the boxes we moved out
of that room we're in. Same
place I found this jar.
Xena looks at the jar.
But not the flowers.
No, I picked those in the field out
back. The one with the fence post
with your name carved into it.
That's still there? Must
be petrified by now.
They both laugh. Gabrielle raises her mug, and touches it to Xena's.
Hey, how about we finish up the
bed after we're done here?
My back is on its knees begging.
All right, you're on.
She tastes the food on plate.
This is different... new... Wow!
Thanks. It bakes for hours. Not
something I can do on the road.
Behind them, in the doorway the amorphous figure appears. Gabrielle sees it from the corner of her eye. She doesn't look directly at it, but she puts her cup down and reaches over to touch Xena's arm.
Xena casually picks up the wine bottle and turns it, apparently studying the label. The doorway is reflected in the glass, showing the figure.
Did you see it this time?
Gabrielle turns to look at the now empty doorway.
It hasn't tried to hurt us, but
it gives me the creeps, Xena.
Xena appears very thoughtful.
But there's something familiar...
ah, maybe I'm just imagining things.
Well, at least you saw it this time
so you don't think I am any more.
Xena puts the bottle down and picks up her cup, turning it in her fingers as she ponders in silence.
INT. CYRENE'S INN - BACK ROOM - NIGHT
Xena and Gabrielle have turned the old store-room into a small, but cozy bedroom for themselves. Their gear is stacked neatly in one corner, but some of their things are out and hanging in the room.
A bed-frame dominates the center of the space, the wooden exterior lashed together and a lattice of leather strips almost done making the surface to sleep on.
Xena is kneeling on one side of the frame, nailing a leather strip in place while Gabrielle threads a second through, weaving it over and under.
Just about done.
I'm counting the candle drips.
Gabrielle brings the last strip through, and Xena nails it in place. She presses against the leather, and it rebounds a little in a bouncy way.
Gabrielle opens the door and reaches out, pulling something big and bulky through the opening after her. It is a large sack, filled with something.
Xena gets up to help her, and they both settle the sack onto the leather. Xena pats the sack.
There ya go. Knew that old
coop was good for something.
Gabrielle half jumps, half falls on top of it, spreading her arms out with a blissful smile. Xena sits down more sedately, then stretches out on her side.
Gabrielle turns her head, then reaches over to tickle Xena. Xena jumps, then tickles Gabrielle back. They glare at each other, then scramble together in the center of the bed in a mock tussle, ending up laughing and tangled up in each other.
Whew! Oh, ah.... Stop...
my stomach hurts.
Xena rolls over onto her back and relaxes. Her expression becomes wistful.
That's something we don't
do much either out there.
What, tickle each other???
Just have fun.
She pauses and looks at Gabrielle.
At least not lately.
No. It hasn't been much fun lately,
has it? Sometimes I feel like we're
on this dark road that doesn't lead
anywhere but into more fighting
and more pain and....
And what's the point in it all?
Yeah. I wonder sometimes.
Xena stares at the ceiling, her expression somber.
So do I. Especially now.
Gabrielle reaches out and takes Xena's hand. She starts to speak, but is cut off by screams in the night, easily penetrating the walls.
Both sigh simultaneously. They start to jump out of bed, when the voice changes from noise to words.
Help! Help! They've
taken them all! Help!!!
The gods damn you
Xena! It's all your fault!
They both run for the door.
END OF ACT THREE