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ACT THREE

 

FADE IN:

 

INT. STABLE - EARLY MORNING

 

Xena crawls out from under a blanket on a pile of hay where she and Gabrielle spent the night. Stretching, she gathers up her cloak, and throws it around her shoulders. Reaching for flint and stone, she uses it to light a lantern on an overturned crate serving as a table.

 

XENA

Gabrielle, come

on time to get up.

 

 

GABRIELLE

(groaning)

Iím up.

 

She slowly moves from under the blanket and rubs her eyes.

 

GABRIELLE

(contíd)

Just once Iíd like a bad guy that

works normal daytime hours.

 

XENA

If they had real jobs, they

wouldnít be bad guys.

 

GABRIELLE

Good point.

 

She stretches and crawls toward the edge of the loft to look down into Argoís stall.

 

GABRIELLE

Xena?

 

XENA

Yeah?

 

GABRIELLE

We have a problem.

 

XENA

What?

 

GABRIELLE

Come look.

 

Xena moves over and looks down into the stall.

 

XENA

No.

 

They both watch Argo who is lying on her side, obviously quite pregnant.

 

GABRIELLE

Werenít expecting that were we?

 

DISSOLVE TO:

 

INT. STALL - CONTINUOUS

 

Gabrielle has Argoís head in her lap. Xena is inspecting her bloated belly.

 

XENA

Sheís in labor.

 

GABRIELLE

How long?

 

XENA

Shouldnít be too long.

By mid day Iíd think.

 

GABRIELLE

We donít have that long.

We need....

 

XENA

I know. How about you stay here and

welcome the little bundle into the world,

and Iíll go check on our poachers?

 

GABRIELLE

I donít think we have much

choice in the matter.

 

 

XENA

Okay, Iíll be back as quickly as I can.

 

She notices Gabrielle is looking a little green around the gills.

 

XENA

(contíd)

You all right?

 

GABRIELLE

Yeah, Iím fine. I just hope she can do

this on her own. I have this thing about

Ďhelpingí. Maybe I should go and you

should stay. You know, in case

she needs Ďyourí help.

 

Xena pulls Gabrielle up and into a tender embrace.

 

XENA

Youíll both be fine. Gabrielle, youíre

one of the best battlefield

healers Iíve ever known.

 

GABRIELLE

Oh that kind of thing I can deal

with. Itís the sticking my arm....

Never mind. Just be careful.

 

XENA

You donít have to tell me twice.

Take care of her.

 

GABRIELLE

I will.

 

Xena picks up a large pack and a smaller sack, and shouldering both of them she winks at Gabrielle and heads out the door.

 

DISSOLVE TO:

 

EXT. FORREST - MORNING

 

Xena is moving quietly through the woods.  She has had little trouble picking up the trail of the hunters and sheís following them at a discreet distance. As she follows them, her worst fears are confirmed when she sees several sets of prints in the snow that belong to other Pegasus.

 

She looks around to see whatís available to her for stopping the hunters before they manage to follow the trail to the heard.

 

XENA

Rock slide?

(beat)

Done to death. I need

some new material.

 

 

She decides to take the high road that would have been the starting point for a rockslide.  She knows that getting above them will give her a better vantage point.

 

CUT TO:

 

INT. STABLE - MORNING

 

Gabrielle is kneeling over Argo, stroking her coat and whispering nonsensical words of comfort to the animal.

 

GABRIELLE

Easy girl.

 

Argo lifts her head and seems to give Gabrielle a VERY annoyed look.

 

GABRIELLE

(contíd)

I know, I know, but itíll

be okay. I promise.

 

She blows out a long breath and settles down next to the horse and continues to stroke her neck.

 

GABRIELLE

(contíd)

So this is what you were doing the

other night? Didnít anyone ever

tell you itís a bad idea?

 

The horse snorts and weÖ

 

CUT TO:

 

EXT. RIDGE - MORNING

 

Xena is slightly ahead of the hunters now, keeping a watchful eye out for the herd. She knows sheís getting close because her ever sensitive nose can tell theyíre in the area. Glancing down she sees that the hunting party has stopped to have a bite to eat and rest.

 

XENA

Small miracles.  Thatís all I

need to make this work.

 

She checks to make sure theyíre staying put for a bit then heads off to where she thinks the herd maybe.

 

XENA

(contíd, to herself)

Carried Zeusí thunderbolts huh? Now

thereís an idea. Take your time

eating boys. I have work to do.

 

CUT TO:

 

INT. STABLE - MORNING

 

Argo is fully committed to giving birth to her foal and Gabrielle is doing a fine job of coaching her as much as a human can coach a horse.

 

GABRIELLE

There you go. Youíre

almost there girl.

 

She helps as much as she can by cleaning the colt as it is born front legs and head first. Agro whinnies and the colt is fully born, with a gush of fluid that splatters up on Gabrielleís arms and chest, just missing her face.

 

GABRIELLE

(contíd)

This is why I didnít want

to live on a farm.

 

 

She grabs a large cloth and begins cleaning the colt as Argo gets to her feet and turns in the stall to look at her baby.

 

Argo is nosing him as Gabrielle dries him.  Almost as soon as she removes the cloth, he is struggling to his feet. Getting up on wobbly legs he immediately begins searching for a warm meal, which Argo is ready and willing to give.

 

Taking another cloth to wipe off her arms and chest, Gabrielle watches with a satisfied smile as the colt nurses. She moves a bit closer to inspect him and notices to small growths on his back.  They look like small bird wings that have yet to grow feathers.

 

GABRIELLE

(contíd)

Peachy, just peachy.

 

DISSOLVE TO:

 

EXT. RIVERBANK - DAY

 

Xena is still above and ahead of the hunting party.  She has stopped at the river that she and Gabrielle had crossed on the lower ground.  This is a faster running branch that feeds the one below from a waterfall.  Looking down Xena can see the land bridge near the falls that the hunting party uses to track the herd. Across the river there are several large fallen trees begging her to use them.

 

XENA

Perfect.

 

Finding what she needs to cross the river she takes a run toward the bank and leaps to the middle of the river, landing neatly on a rock submerged just below the surface.

 

XENA

(contíd)

And Gabrielle says I canít walk

on water.  You just need to

know where the rocks are.

 

Grinning to herself, she leaps from the rock to the opposite bank.

 

Jogging through the woods, she looks down the hill and sees the herd.  Stopping, she takes just a moment to watch them.  Another large stallion is wandering around in circles protecting three females and two colts.  The colts appear to be newly born, still staying very close to their mothers.

 

XENA

(contíd)

So thatís why you donít fly away.

You canít leave your babies.

 

Finding a rocky path down the side of the cliff she begins her climb down.

 

 

CUT TO:

 

INT. STABLE - DAY

 

Gabrielle is now standing outside the stall, leaning against the wall, watching Argo and her baby.  The colt is now stretching its bare wings and trying to flap them without much success.

 

GABRIELLE

Heís adorable, but Iím not

sure what weíre going to

do with a baby Pegasus.

 

Argo nuzzles her baby and then looks to Gabrielle, who pats the horseís nose.

 

GABRIELLE

You did good, girl.

Heís beautiful.

 

Argo nods her head and steps forward to closer nuzzle Gabrielle.

 

DISSOLVE TO:

 

EXT. FOREST CLEARING - DAY

 

Xena carefully approaches the herd. She stops in her tracks when the stallion turns and stares at her.

 

XENA

Iím not here to hurt you.

 

He snorts and takes a step toward her.  His muscles ripple in his chest as he paws the ground in warning.

 

Xena is undaunted as she takes a very slow step forward. She holds her hand out palm up and speaks to him in low soothing tones.

 

XENA

(contíd)

Itís okay. Iím here to help.

 

He snorts and shakes his head, his mane whipping wildly about his head as he does. He rears up slightly, just enough to try and warn her off.

 

XENA

(contíd)

I bet you just want to protect your

family, huh?  I can help you.  Itís okay.

 

 

She takes another step forward. He looks at her and takes a step back.  She smiles, knowing that she has won the battle. The war however, is still going strong.

 

He takes two steps backward as Xena takes another step forward.  With a lunge, she grabs him around the neck and pulls herself onto his back.  He immediately starts trying to throw her, bucking and flapping his wings. Heís doing his best to rid his back of the uninvited visitor.

 

 

Xena laughs as she tightens her hand in his mane and grips his sides with her legs.

 

XENA

(contíd)

Youíre going to have to do better

than this to get rid of me. Iíve

been on your Norse cousins.

 

The Pegasus is not amused and he spends his energy moving between rearing and twisting, leaving the ground a few feet to try and dislodge her.

 

CUT TO:

 

INT. STABLE - AFTERNOON

 

Gabrielle is crouched over a small pot simmering on a very tiny fire built in what looks like a frying pan. She is stirring a spoon through stew. Taking a taste, she determines it is about ready to eat when the door to the stable opens.  Looking up, she recognizes on of the men as the owner of the inn.

 

Standing up, she moves backward to Argoís stall to block her and the foal from view. Both men are involved in a conversation and havenít noticed her yet.

 

INNKEEPER

I expect Errilis and his men to be

back tonight with another catch.

I told them I would pay them double

if they brought me a live colt.

 

Gabrielle turns, grabbing a horse blanket from a wall as she dashes in the stall and throws it over the foal. This movement causes the men to notice her.

 

INNKEEPER

You there!

 

Gabrielle smoothes the blanket over the foal and steps from the stall.

 

GABRIELLE

Yes?

 

INNKEEPER

What are you doing here?

 

GABRIELLE

Waiting for my partner to get back.

 

INNKEEPER

The tall one with the black hair?

 

GABRIELLE

Thatís her.

 

 

INNKEEPER

And where has she gone?

 

GABRIELLE

If itís any of your business,

sheís gone to get supplies.

 

He looks at her and then slightly behind her, which causes her to move to block his view.

 

INNKEEPER

What do you have there?

 

GABRIELLE

You know the first question is free...

after that theyíre usually a dinar.

My partner and I paid to stable our

horse here. Sheíll be back in

a bit and weíll be on our way.

 

He stiffens at the way she is talking to him, but after noticing her sais tucked in her boots, he decides not to push it.

 

INNKEEPER

Fine.

 

He looks to her cooking fire.

 

INNKEEPER

(contíd)

Just try not to burn

the place down.

 

He and the other man leave and Gabrielle has a very childish reaction.

 

GABRIELLE

(mimicking)

Try not to burn the place down.

(louder)

You old goat, the last place I

burned down was an inn.

 

CUT TO:

 

EXT. FOREST - DAY

 

Xena is now working with the Pegasus stallion, who seems to have accepted her begrudgingly.  She has a rope looped around his neck and the other end tied to several large fallen trees. Tying off the rope around the trees, she moves to him and pats his neck.

 

XENA

Thatís it boy. Letís give

them a surprise.

 

He snorts and begins moving the load of wood toward the river and the falls. Xena picks up several long thin poles that have had points sharpened on one end.  The stallion stops at the edge of the water and waits patiently for Xena.

 

Several of the large logs have been moved into place behind a quickly constructed rope barrier that is keeping them from going over the falls, but still allows the water to flow freely.

 

XENA

(contíd)

Weíre almost ready fella.

 

 

She removes the rope from his neck and uses her sword to cut the rope binding the logs.  She puts her weight against them to move them into the river with the others.  One of them refuses to move, putting her back into it, she grunts with the effort to move it.

 

The stallion moves to her, puts his head down on the log next to her and helps her push it in with the others.

 

CUT TO:

 

EXT. FOREST - EVENING

 

Xena is mounted on the back of the Pegasus.  She has several of the pointed poles tied in a bundle on his side. Next to her, stuck in the ground is a small torch. In her hand is the end of a rope, which holds back the logs. She watches as the men in the hunting party move toward the land bridge.

 

XENA

Thatís it, you bastards.

Come to Xena.

 

She waits until just the right moment and pulls the rope, setting the logs on their downward plunge to the bottom of the falls and the men walking next to them.

 

As she lights one of the poles, she yells and send the Pegasus off the edge of the falls and into the air.

 

Below her the men are scrambling to get out of the way of the logs.  They are running in every direction, including into the freezing water as the logs begin to roll over them.

 

One of the men notices the Pegasus and as he runs out of the way of one of the falling logs, he decides to try and save the day.  He prepares a net and is getting it ready to toss when Xena throws the pointed, burning spear. The flames seem to spread up the shaft as it flies through the air, looking very much like a lightening bolt.

 

Xena makes the horse return to the top of the falls where she lights yet another spear.  The three remaining men stop and look up as she and the stallion move off the edge and hover above them.

 

XENA

(contíd)

How dare you hunt

the steed of Zeus!

 

Before they can do anything she throws the second burning spear. Taking a third, she reaches back and sets it alight.

 

XENA

(contíd)

Go now, before I send the wrath

of Zeus down upon you! And

never hunt these animals again!

 

She throws the third bolt, which lands right between the legs of the youngest man, coming very close to setting the crotch of his trousers on fire.

 

She hopes they canít hear her laugh as she watches them run towards the town.

 

When they return to the ground she slides off the stallionís back and pats his neck.

 

XENA

(contíd)

Not a bad impression of

a godís messenger.

 

The Pegasus whinnies and nods his head.

 

FADE OUT.
 

END OF ACT THREE

ACT FOUR