|Episode Guide||Teaser||Act 1||Act 2||Act 3||Act 4|
INT. INN - EVENING
Xena and Gabrielle enter the local inn, which is packed to the rafters with people. Everyone is talking and laughing and having a good time, but it is standing room only. They make their way through the crowd to the bar where the INNKEEPER looks up and greets them.
Welcome strangers. What can
I do for you this fine night?
We need a room.
Ah yes, well with the festival taking
place I only have one room left. Itís
not the best room in the place and Iíd
feel bad about charging you for it. Why
donít you just go ahead and take it?
Third floor, last room on the left.
Why thank you.
Thatís very kind of you.
In the spirit of the festival.
As they walk away Xena watches everyone in the room and just shakes her head.
These people are way too happy.
Gabrielle takes a good look around, noting that most everyone has one thing in common with everyone else there.
Nah, theyíre just drunk.
INT.HALLWAY - EVENING
Finding the door to their room, Xena pushes the door open and stops dead before entering. The scowl on her face says more than words.
He wasnít kidding.
Xena steps back and Gabrielle peers into the room which is just big enough to hold the small bed with just a few inches of room around it on either side-. It is debatable if the bed is large enough for one of them, much less both.
Their belongings will have to hang from the pegs jutting from the walls, and Xena looks doubtful as to whether or not the heavy saddlebags will stay without bringing the walls down around them.
Okay, itís small.
Xena raises an eyebrow and looks at Gabrielle incredulously.
Small? Gabrielle, weíll have to come
out into the hall to change our minds.
Gabrielle laughs but tosses her bag on the bed.
Weíre only going to sleep in it
Xena. Itís not like weíre going
to host a festival party.
Xena agrees and tosses her saddlebags in before letting Gabrielle go in ahead of her.
INT. BEDROOM - EVENING
The bag and saddlebags are now hanging precariously from the wall pegs on either side of the bed. Gabrielle lies down on the bed, because with her and Xena in the same room there just isnít a lot of choice.
Ugh, the mattress is lumpy.
Oh come on, how bad can it
be in this slice of Elysia?
Gabrielle scoots over to try and make room for Xena, discovering she canít roll off because the wall is holding her in place. She sighs and motions to the small space left.
See for yourself.
Lying down next to her partner, Xena wiggles around in the bed a little, trying desperately to find a comfortable spot. After a minute or so she stops and smiles at Gabrielle.
There ya go. You only had to find
the dents left by the last occupant.
Tell you what. You lay on the
mattress and Iíll just lay on you.
Gabrielle climbs on top of Xena and smiles down at her. She wiggles a little getting into her favorite spot, and makes herself comfortable with a sigh.
Youíre welcome to stay there,
but I have to tell you, the
mattress is not that bad.
Thatís okay... I really
prefer *this* mattress.
She pats Xenaís chest.
Xena begins laughing so hard that Gabrielle and the bed are both shaking. Gabrielle joins in on the laughter and after a few seconds the bed collapses under them. They pause and look at each other and then break out into new gales of laughter.
INT. INN - EVENING
They return to the common room to find it more crowded than before. Xena makes her way along the wall to the end of the bar where she manages to capture the innkeeperís attention.
She has to practically shout to be heard over the revelry.
Any chance of getting a hot bath?
Eventually, but there are about
a dozen people ahead of you.
A hot meal?
Second seating is
in about two marks.
He sees the dark look on Xenaís face and the rather disappointed look on Gabrielleís and makes another suggestion.
There are public baths two streets over
and a lot of vendors for the festival have
fine food if you donít mind eating outdoors.
Xena and Gabrielle exchange a wordless look. Xena then turns to the innkeeper and nods.
Thanks. Thatíll do.
EXT. STREETS - EVENING
Walking down the street, itís clear that the festival is in full swing, even more so than it had been earlier. There are bright colors all around them, and the people are singing and dancing. Music is playing from somewhere off in the distance.
Vendors are selling every manner of food and drink imaginable to man, and the smells are curiously enticing.
This is kind of nice. We havenít
been to a real festival in a long time.
I think a break is in order. Weíve
been through a lot this year.
Iím all for that. So whatís
first, food or bath?
Food. Definitely food.
EXT. VILLAGE - EVENING
Torches are being lit all around the village and the party shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. Xena and Gabrielle are sitting at a table eating from plates piled high with different types of food.
Well, you certainly get your
moneyís worth in this village.
And the food is good too.
Thatís a switch.
As they eat, they notice a man dressed in armor take the makeshift stage that has been set up nearby. They watch as a crowd gathers around him. He has a staff in his hand and invites them to listen to him.
They turn their attention to listen as well, wondering if the man is some sort of bard.
Ladies and gentlemen, His Majesty, King
Nessos of Argos, hopes all of you enjoy
the festival. For those of you who are
willing, King Nessos extends an invitation
to join in the hunt for the Ring of Zeus.
There is an excited buzz at this pronouncement and the crowd becomes a bit more animated.
Xena and Gabrielle look at each other without speaking a word, then they rise from the table and move to where the man is standing. Others who have been listening to him file over to a table where two more guards are taking down names.
What is this about a ring?
Youíre not from around
here, are you?
Does that matter?
Not at all. Iím Ithlas, the
Kingís Chief Guard.
How do you do, Ithlas? Iím
Gabrielle and this is Xena.
His eyes widen and a smile comes across his face.
THE Xena and Gabrielle?
From the legends?
The only ones we know of.
King Nessos would be delighted if you
two would join in the hunt this year.
If you could find the Ring of Zeus,
you would be rewarded well.
Tell us more about this ring.
Actually, why donít you accompany
me to the castle? Iím sure that King Nessos
would be happy to tell you more about it.
Xenaís raises one brow as she considerers the request.
Can we get a bath?
Absolutely. The king would be delighted
to have two heroes such as you as
guests for this yearís festival.
Xena and Gabrielle look at one another for a long moment before reaching a wordless decision. There is something almost comical in their expressions, and Ithlas watches them in fascination.
Weíll have to go back to
the inn to get our....
Nonsense! Iíll be happy to send
a page to fetch your belongings.
Please come with me.
INT. CASTLE Ė NIGHT
Ithlas leads Xena and Gabrielle into a large, well appointed throne room. He gestures to a table and chairs.
Please wait here. Iíll let the
King know youíre here.
Ithlas leaves and Xena starts snooping around the room. Sheís peeking around statues and looking at the weapons and the tapestries hanging on the walls.
Gabrielle takes a seat and drums her fingers on the table, making her own assessment of the room. It is comfortable without being ostentatious, and show signs of loving care and use.
Xena drops into a chair next to Gabrielle and props her head on her fist.
So, do you think thereís
a ring of Zeus?
Iím sure there is.
Zeus was a show off.
Thereís an understatement. But how
do you suppose it ended up here?
Xena rises and walks back towards the window, crossing her arms over her chest as she considers the question.
Actually we donít even know there is
a ring. I overheard conversations in
the square that Nessos has been
holding this scavenger hunt for
years and no one has found it.
But there is a ring.
They both turn to face the King who has entered without them noticing. He traverses the room with arms extended in greeting.
Welcome to Argos. It is a
pleasure to have you here.
Thank you, Sire.
The King moves to his throne and takes a seat. He studies them for a moment, then gestures to Xena to resume her seat. She does so with a bit of reluctance.
Gabrielle folds her hand on the table and leans forward in a listening position. Xena crosses her long legs at the ankles, and folds her arms across her chest, effecting an air of bored indifference.
I assure you Xena, there is a ring
and it is here, somewhere. When the
Gods were in fear of the twilight....
He pauses and waits for a reaction from Xena and Gabrielle that never comes. They both continue to watch and wait for him to continue.
As they prepared for the end,
various Gods spread their treasure
around the known world. The
Ring of Zeus was left here.
And youíre sure of this why?
Because I have seen it.
Xenaís eyebrow arches, but that is the sole indication that she heard the Kingís words.
So why donít you go get it?
Gabrielleís face creases in a frown.
I tried, but despite my best efforts,
I donít know where it is. Every
time I think I have it figured
out, well, itís not there.
Xena looks at Gabrielle and then to Nessos. Not surprisingly, the more they learn, the less understandable it is becoming.
Then how did you see it?
As a boy, my education was conducted
under the tutorship of Zeusí priests. I
was in the temple the day he left the
ring and instructions with his high
priest Emanus. I only caught a
glimpse, but I know it is real.
Why do you want it?
Because with the Ring of Zeus
will give me the power to be
a great king. A king of kings.
I need to talk to my
partner for a moment.
Of course. Take your time.
Xena gestures to Gabrielle, and they move to the other side of the room for a more private conversation. Gabrielle leans her head in toward Xena to whisper softly.
What do you think?
I think we need to find this ring before
he does. Nobody needs that much
power, especially if they want it.
I canít argue with that logic. Besides,
there is something almost... familiar
about this ring story... something
important. I guess weíre in?
Yeah, I think so.
They both turn back to Nessos and smile.
It sounds... intriguing.
Excellent. Please allow me to offer
you the hospitality of my home.
Chambers have been prepared and
your things are waiting for you.
INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT
The room is cozy. The bed is large and soft, and takes up the better part of one wall. Aside from the table with two chairs, there is also a low-slung couch in front of the fireplace. The bathing chamber is off to one side, emitting the delicate scent of jasmine. The sound of running water comes from that direction.
Gabrielle is seated at a table, peeling an apple with a small knife. Xena is tending to the fire, poking it and carefully putting on another log.
I need to do some research. I am
sure there is more to this than just
being able to become a king of kings.
Zeus would never have made it possible
for a mortal to become so powerful
without some sort of catch.
Agreed. We were a little too busy at the
time of the twilight to pay attention to all
the stories and rumors floating around then.
Youíre really worried about this ring
thing arenít you? That it might be true.
Yeah, the gods themselves were bad
enough. Can you imagine what the
world would come to if mortals
possess the things that hold that power?
Can you imagine what the world would
have been like if *I* had had that
kind of power before I met you?
You really think the world would
be that much different?
So much so that if the ring does exist
and we find it... Iím going to destroy it.
Try to destroy it, you mean. If it
really is the Ring of Zeus,
destroying it may not be possible.
This is true, but if I canít destroy it, I
can certainly put it someplace no one
will ever find it. Thereís still an active
lava flow near the old Amazon village.
A knock on the door stops further conversation. Xena strolls over and pulls it open to find a small man who looks like he is about to have a nervous breakdown. He is holding an arm full of parchments.
Xena motions him in and he steps over the threshold... barely. She doesnít have room to close the door.
She looks at Gabrielle who shrugs in return.
Good evening Madam. I am Laramont,
the Kingís Chief Advisor. I have brought
you the map and the list for the hunt.
The scavenger hunt? The king indicated
you had agreed to participate. People find
different items that have a point value and
the person with the most points get a prize.
Oh, right. The hunt... Iíd
forgotten about the list.
He looks at her strangely for a moment, then pulls two pieces of parchment from the stack and a sealed envelope from the King and gives them to Xena.
Closing the door, Xena turns and holds up the papers. Gabrielle holds out her hand for them. Xena obliges and gives them to her, looking over her shoulder as Gabrielle opens them and begins to study them.
No wonder no one can find the ring.
He treats it like a party. No focus.
Xena, I think his focus is on his people
and not really the ring. When was the
last time we were in a village where
EVERYONE loved their king?
So while everyone else is looking
for all the other stuff, weíre
going to be finding the ring.
You know me so well.
After all these years? I should.
Xenaís attention shifts to the still running bath water then back to Gabrielle. She smiles invitingly.
Now, since weíre not doing
anything tonight, how about
that bath? Weíre both overdue.
I thought youíd never ask.
Maybe I can remember what
the stories said about that ring.
END OF ACT ONE