|Episode Guide||Teaser||Act 1||Act 2||Act 3||Act 4|
EXT. INLET - NIGHT
The four remaining pirates jump into their boat. Two man the long oars as the other two take seats in the bow and stern. Gradually, the boat pulls away from the shore toward the darkened hulk of the pirate ship awaiting them.
They get perhaps five boat lengths out when a hand comes up out of the water and pulls the pirate sitting on the bow backwards. The splash isn’t heard over the roar of the crashing waves, and his presence isn’t immediately missed.
A second later, the pirate at the stern disappears in a similar fashion.
This time the oarsmen react, stopping their rowing and straightening on the planks that serve as their seats. Simultaneously, their oars are ripped from their hands and they find themselves becoming one with the ocean as the butts of those oars clout them across the head, toppling them over the side.
Silently, Xena and Gabrielle hoist themselves into the boat and grab the oars to prevent them from floating away on the tide. They look at one another grinning, and settle down to row.
EXT. PIRATE SHIP - NIGHT
Xena privately thanks the darkness as two hooks come barreling down from the pirate ship. Torches set into the ship’s rails are too far away to pick out their features. In concert, Xena and Gabrielle grab the hooks and attach them to the carved loops at the bow and stern. Xena gives a long wave over her head, and the boat is slowly raised from the water.
As I’ll ever be.
Let’s go, then.
As soon as the boat comes even with the ship’s rail, Xena stands and draws her sword. The waiting pirate blinks stupidly as the face revealed by the flickering torchlight isn’t the one he’s expecting. He goes down like a sack of turnips as Xena drives the pommel of her sword into his jaw. Shouting her battle cry, she vaults over the railing, sword flashing.
Gabrielle enters more sedately, simply stepping onto the deck before loosening her sais. She straightens in time to see two huge pirates lumbering toward her, wickedly curved swords drawn and ready for action. Standing perfectly still, she gives them her best smile, and a rather flirtatious wave for good measure.
Both men come to a skidding stop and ogle her not-quite-clad body. Leers spread over their unshaven faces, and they begin to approach, more slowly this time.
Come to papa, you
comely wench. I’ll... oof!
The first man goes down quickly from a sai butt to his massive belly. The second quickly follows from a spinning kick to the jaw.
Sorry, boys. There’s only one
person who can call me
‘wench’ and you’re not it.
With a little waggle of her fingers to the woozy pirates, Gabrielle darts off in search of more trouble.
EXT. DECK PIRATE SHIP - XENA’S POV - NIGHT
Xena steps her way over downed and bleeding pirates until she is standing on the steps to the forecastle deck. A large, well-built, and expansively dressed man, obviously the PIRATE CAPTAIN, mans the wheel.
This is my ship now, Captain.
Turn over the wheel, or die.
The Captain throws back his head in laughter and draws his sword from the bright sash around his middle. He steps away from the wheel as Xena darts up the steps, and the two clash in the middle. The Captain is strong, fast, and an expert swordsman. Sparks fly as swords strike one another again and again, their echoing clang heard over the crashing of the waves.
Xena laughs, delighted at having such a worthy opponent, and spins away as he attempts to cut into her side with a wide sweep of his cutlass. He turns with her, but is a step too late as the edge of her sword bites deep into the meat of his thigh.
(growling in pain)
You die now, wench!
Guess again, ‘Captain’.
Again, Xena darts out of range, laughing as his desperate, enraged lunge misses. Swords clash again, then lock. The Captain uses his greater weight to bear down on Xena. She lets him think he’s winning, then pushes him away and clouts him across the jaw with the pommel of her sword. He drops to his knees, gasping. Xena grabs his hair and yanks his head back, staring deep into his dark eyes.
You’ve lost. Swear fealty to
me or swim with the fish.
With a grunt, Xena grabs his heavy bulk and tosses him over the side. He screams until he hits the water. Then nothing is heard but the pounding surf.
Gabrielle runs up onto the forecastle deck. Xena grabs her around the waist and pulls her in tight, eyes sparkling wickedly, grin as feral as any predator’s. She turns and her gaze out over the deck and the injured pirates who are just now picking themselves off of the hard wooden planks, groaning and holding tight various injuries.
Seems there’s been a
management change boys.
Play nice, and we’ll
get along just fine.
Who... who are you?
Me? I’m Xena.
INT. PIRATE SHIP - MAIN DECK - NIGHT
Torches blaze as Xena walks along the line of thirty pirates all standing at attention. Her gaze is as cold as the ocean below as she stares down each man, straightening a sash here, checking the sharpness of a sword there.
Several of the men scowl after she passes by, but none of them have a chance to do any more than that as they are reminded of their place by a smiling blonde with an affinity for sais and a definite ability to use them.
Finished with her inspection, Xena moves to stand before the men, Gabrielle at her side. She smiles.
Instead of cursing me, you
should be thanking me. I
am soon going to make
all of you very rich men.
There is a long moment of silence, broken only by the shuffling of feet on the deck. Finally, one pirate, a giant with a flowing blonde beard, gathers up enough courage to speak.
How you gonna do that?
Xena’s smile cranks up a notch. All of the men notice that it doesn’t reach her eyes.
We’re sailing for Ikos.
The men shout out their disbelief and displeasure in colorful language, each louder and more vehement than the last until it appears that they’re on the verge of an all-out mutiny.
Gabrielle calmly reaches over, detaches the chakram from Xena’s hip, and tosses it. It sails just over the heads of the men, caroms off the mainmast, clangs against the torch brackets one at a time, hits the mainmast again, and sails back into Gabrielle’s hand. She smiles and replaces the weapon as the ship becomes deathly silent.
Xena tips Gabrielle a wink then turns her attention back to the pirates.
As I was saying, we set sail for
Ikos. I think it’s time Igor the
Black got a taste of his own
medicine. And I think you’re
just the crew to give it to him.
The pirates shuffle their feet again, none quite daring to speak up. Several cast furtive looks in Gabrielle’s direction. She grins at them, waggling her fingers.
What’s in it for us?
Once Igor is out of the
way, all the loot you
can carry is yours.
The men stare at her, open-mouthed. What she’s just proposed is unheard of among pirates. Captains always get a cut of the booty.
Every last dinar.
A pirate with a hideously scarred face and missing fingers on his left hand steps forward.
All the dinars in the world won’t
be no good if we’re dead. Nobody
gets on that island without the
Black’s permission. Everyone
who ever tried it is dead.
There’s a first time
Not for me, there ain’t.
He turns to face his fellows.
C’mon, ya lillylivers! There’s thirty
of us against two of them! Let’s
take ‘em and be done with it!
Xena holds up a hand. The men freeze in place.
Never let it be said that Xena of
Amphipolis is an unfair woman.
You all have a choice. You can
either come with me and make
yourselves rich beyond your
wildest dreams. Or…you can
join your former Captain
and feed the sharks.
With a growl, Scarface turns to her and draws his sword. Laughing, Xena draws her own and with two quick moves, his sword is fluttering overboard and hers is at his throat.
Xena looks casually into the glittering, hate filled eyes of Scarface, then past him to the rest of the crew.
So, what’s it gonna
be, boys? Yes…
She pushes the tip of her sword into his neck just hard enough to draw a droplet of blood.
The men look at one another and shrug.
XE-NA! XE-NA! XE-NA!
INT. PIRATE SHIP - MAIN DECK - DAY
The main deck of the ship is dotted with groups of men who diligently go about their appointed tasks. One man stands high in the crow’s nest, on the lookout for other ships. Others man the sails, turning the wenches that wind the thick ropes onto the spools. Still others mend sailcloth, make ropes and repair nets.
Blonde Beard, First Mate, walks among the men, shouting out orders left and right.
Avast ye landlubbers! Stop
swingin’ the lead or by the
sake of the gods, I’ll
keelhaul ya myself!
A group of six men ignore the warning, standing near the stern and talking among themselves while making it look as if they are repairing netting. So intent on their conversation are they that they don’t see a slight, blonde shadow that eases its way closer to their position.
Others notice, however, and pay the price. One pirate, so captivated by the way that the wind plasters the gauzy material of Gabrielle’s top to her body, walks into the rail and almost flips into the drink. He’s saved at the last moment by a rough hand to the back of his vest, to the general laughter of his fellows.
Another pirate, enjoying the same view, gives himself a concussion by walking directly into the giant timber that makes up the mizzenmast. More coarse laughter follows this.
(to his fellows)
Bilge rats, the lot of ‘em, bendin’
over for a woman. Give me
the wheel, and I’d clap em all
in irons and tie her to the
mizzenmast and flay her alive.
The men around him grumble, mostly in agreement.
I’m not goin’ down without a fight,
I’ll say that. All the gold in the world’s
not worth my skin. We’re pirates.
We can get all the loot we want
anywhere. I say we take our ship
back and knock some sense into
those yellowbellied scallywags.
But how? She’s already
beaten us once!
Scarface smiles, showing all three of his remaining teeth.
I’ll tell ya how.
The men’s heads bend closer together. The blonde shadow listens for another moment, a smile growing on her face before she silently glides away, leaving the men none the wiser.
INT. PIRATE SHIP - MAIN DECK - EVENING
The evening wind has picked up a pace, and the ship bounds and rolls over the increasing waves. The pirates, well used to rough seas, tend to their tasks with one eye as the other watches the unfolding drama taking place by the wheel.
Xena stands at the wheel, expression stoic, eyes staring straight ahead. Gabrielle stands facing her, face curd-white with a definite greenish tinge. Her hands underscore whatever point she is trying to make, though Xena’s expression doesn’t change.
The ship rolls and yaws wildly courtesy of a gigantic wave. Gabrielle falls into Xena and clings tightly to her as the ship finally, slowly, rolls back to an upright position. Xena’s eyes soften just slightly as she looks down at Gabrielle, then harden once again as she shrugs off her soulmate’s grip.
Gabrielle steps back, and as the ship rocks under the force of another wave, she puts a hasty hand over her mouth and runs for the rail.
Hidden in the shadows, Scarface grins nastily and nods to his compatriots.
INT. JUST OUTSIDE SHIP’S CABIN - NIGHT
Scarface and two of his cohorts stand just outside the door to Xena’s cabin. All are armed and one bears a torch which crackles in the humid silence of the enclosed space.
Stay right here and guard
the door. I’ll call you
when I’m done.
The men nervously look around.
What about the captain?
She’s no Captain and you’d do
best to stop calling her one or
I’ll send ya over the side myself.
Fine. Xena, then. If she
comes down here….
She’s not coming down here, ya
yellowbellied bilge rat! She’s
manning the wheel. Besides,
did it look like she cared about
the little wench’s wellbeing to you?
The men consider for a moment, then shake their heads ‘no’.
Right... so just mind my orders
and man the door. And if you
even think of leavin’ your post….
Just remember you promised us
a piece when you were through.
Scarface draws a dagger from his sash and presses it against Pirate #2’s neck.
Don’t you be remindin’ me
about keepin’ my word, Talbat.
N... no, sir. I mean yes,
sir. I mean....
Shut up. You just do as
I say, and I might even
let ya have seconds.
The men laugh lecherously.
Scarface nods to them both, silently opens the door, and slips inside. The men strain to peer into the room, then back off when the door is closed in their faces.
INT. SHIP’S CABIN - NIGHT
The interior of the small cabin is dim with one small, guttering torch casting a shadowy light over the boxes and scattered possessions of the two women who share the room. It is dominated by a large hammock that bisects the cabin down the middle; a hammock which is currently occupied by a deeply slumbering Gabrielle. The top of her head is the only thing visible over the thick fur covering the rest of her body.
Scarface fancies he can smell sickness in the room despite the small porthole that is open admitting the fresh, ocean-scented breeze. He smiles. It’s a supremely nasty expression.
Hefting his dagger, he slips forward while loosening the tie that keeps his trousers up.
Just as he is about to reach the hammock, he hears a rich, almost friendly voice directly behind him that stands the hackles behind his neck on end.
Didn’t anyone ever teach
you that it’s rude to enter
a lady’s room uninvited?
Growling, Scarface turns, dagger at the ready. The movement causes his pants to puddle down around his ankles.
Unarmed, Xena stands with her arms crossed. Her eyebrow rises as she flicks her gaze down, and then back up again. She smirks.
Seems that we have a …
tiny … problem here.
Scarface growls and draws the dagger back, only to be stopped once again; this time by the very sharp tip of a very pointy sai pressed between his shoulder blades.
He spins back toward the hammock, scowling as he finds a very hale, very hearty and very wide awake Gabrielle smirking at him.
You were expecting
He thrusts the dagger forward in a strong lunge. Gabrielle easily counters it with the side of her hand to his wrist, but he stumbles from the force of her counterattack, tangling his feet in his pants. He goes down hard, landing on top of Gabrielle.
The hammock swings wildly, and tips them both out. Gabrielle lands hard on her back, her wind temporarily lost. Scarface seizes the advantage, hitting her with a solid blow to the jaw and preparing to finish her with his dagger.
He never gets the chance as he finds himself hauled bodily upwards by the back of his jerkin and tossed hard against the rear wall of the cabin. Before he can even blink, Xena is standing above him, eyes glittering murder.
Gabrielle gets to her feet, rubs at her jaw, and touches Xena’s back to let her know she’s all right.
I think we need to learn a little
lesson on the dangers of touching
other people’s property without
their permission, don’t you?
Scarface lets out a breathless little scream as he’s once again hauled up and carried from the cabin. He looks down in time to see his cohorts slumbering peacefully on either side of the door, courtesy of Xena’s fists.
INT. MAIN DECK - NIGHT
Torches blaze as the last strap lands on Scarface’s naked back. Groaning softly, he sags against his bonds, his legs barely strong enough to hold him upright.
Handing the flogger to Blonde Beard, Xena nods to one of Scarface’s accomplices, who has regained consciousness just in time to see his leader receive his punishment. Shaking his head nervously, he tries to back away, only to be caught up by several pirates who stand behind him.
Do it, or you’ll
be joining him.
Rather unsteadily, the pirate walks over and grabs hold of the rope handle of the seawater-filled bucket, hefting it. His nervousness causes some of the water to slosh over the bucket’s sides, earning him a fierce glare from Xena.
Taking a deep breath, the pirate grabs the bottom of the bucket, tilts it, and tosses the cold water onto the striped and reddened back of Scarface who lets out one breathless scream before sagging in his bonds again, blessedly unconscious.
With a nod of satisfaction, Xena steps away from the beaten man and turns to face the remainder of her crew, eyes pinning each one of them to the deck.
You have all learned a much
needed lesson in the
respect for property. This…
She holds out an imperious hand. Gabrielle closes quickly, sliding her hand along Xena’s outstretched arm until she is caught and whirled in tight against Xena’s body.
Is mine. This….
She indicates the rest of the ship with her free hand.
She indicates each man standing before her with a sweeping glare.
You... Are mine. You live because
I allow it. You breathe because
it pleases me to let you. And if it
pleases me to halt your breathing….
I’ll do that too. Am I
Good. Now, I suggest that those of
you who are off watch return to your
bunks and get as much rest as you
can. We’ll arrive at our destination
soon, and there is a great deal
to do to prepare for our visit.
Captain! About the prisoner?
Leave him there. He’ll serve
as a reminder to the rest about
what it means to cross me.
You have the wheel. Wake
me at dawn. We have a
full day ahead of us.
Xena pulls slightly away from Gabrielle and takes her hand. The others studiously ignore the couple as they make their way along the deck and into the cabins beneath.
END OF ACT THREE