|Episode Guide||Teaser||Act 1||Act 2||Act 3||Act 4|
EXT. SEAPORT - MORNING
While Xena arranges stabling for Argo, Gabrielle walks along the rows of merchant shops facing the harbor. Though they’ve arrived at their seaport destination, the question of where they will go for their vacation is still up in the air. Various places have been tossed about but each has been rejected for various reasons.
Gabrielle stops outside of a shop that announces itself as “FALAFEL’S TRAVEL AND CHARIOT RENTAL AGENCY”. And, below that, in smaller letters, “We Try. Really!”
Nah... it couldn’t be.
Giving a small shrug, she enters through the beaded curtains.
INT. FALAFEL’S SHOP - MORNING
The shop is empty when Gabrielle enters, and she takes her time examining the interior. The walls are covered with lurid stick figure drawings of sailing ships and what she takes to be passengers waving from the railings. Each drawing bears a loud caption scrawled in bold ink strokes.
‘Visit the land of the Norse Gods
on the Grecian Cruise Line’s newest
unsinkable ship, the Titan!’
Been there, done that.
She strolls on.
‘Last Chance to Visit the Unique
Continent of Atlantis! The Perfect
Trip for Those Who Want to Get
Away from It All. Permanently!’
A rattle of beads and the shop’s proprietor steps through, smiling at her. Gabrielle’s eyes widen.
But you don’t know what
I was going to ask you.
Yes I do, and the
answer is no.
But you look just like….
Never mind. Now, how can I
help you this morning?
Interested in seeing the world?
Just looking to get away
for awhile, I guess.
Well, I can offer you an excellent
deal on our Atlantis package.
Not that far away.
Falafel frowns. Then his face clears.
The Pride of Japa sails in
a little over an hour, if
you’re interested in that.
No… My traveling companion
lost something there
the last time we visited.
Ah. How about beautiful
Rome? The villas, the
Someone else lost
his head there.
Oh. North Africa?
Hmm. How about Indus?
Did you lose anything there?
You, dear lady, are making this
very difficult. However, I’m not
about to allow a good sale…I
mean a valued customer…
get away from me so easily.
How about the Norselands?
You’re making this up,
dear lady. You must be!
Not a word.
Falafel looks at her for a long moment and believes.
Well, and I can’t believe I’m
actually saying this, but with luck
like that, one would think you’d
be looking for ways to stay home.
Gabrielle gives him another look. He blanches.
He looks down at the brochure in his hand and smiles again.
How about Pompeii?
Another beheading. Xena’s
doing. Though it was
for a good cause.
Not the General, my dear
lady. The island!
As he notices Gabrielle’s sudden interest, his greasy grin broadens.
Oh, fair Pompeii, the land of
beauty and legend, an artist’s
paradise! Rolling green hills, the
beautiful Mount Vesuvius....
Excuse me. Did you
say ‘artist’s paradise’?
Indeed I did, dear woman. Indeed
I did! Why, Pompeii is known around
the world as a haven for artists and
artistic types of all stripes! It’s a
veritable wonderland of plays,
performances, concerts, festivals....
But I didn’t even tell
you the pri....
Will that be cash
EXT. SHORES OF POMPEII - DAY
The ship is no more than docked when Gabrielle rushes down the gangplank and all but kisses the ground. She spins in a circle, taking in the sights, arms flung wide.
By the gods, Xena, did you
ever see anything so beautiful?
Xena, carrying the lion’s share of their combined baggage, steps off the gangplank and drops the bags to the ground.
It’s not bad.
Not bad?! Look at it! The hills,
the temples, the villas, the
architecture! It’s so… so… so….
I couldn’t have said
it better myself!
Well, I’m sure it’ll be just
as beautiful once we
actually get inside, so….
You’re right, of course.
What are we waiting for?
Entranced, Gabrielle heads off at a quick clip, leaving Xena to roll her eyes and heft the baggage back over her shoulders. She sighs and begins walking.
EXT. CITY OF POMPEII - DAY
A wide-eyed Gabrielle strolls down the Via dell’Abondanza. Unfortunately, she is walking against the flow of traffic, and nearly gets flattened by a group of boisterous, toga-clad citizens. Only a quick grab from Xena saves her from an up close and personal view of the cobblestone streets.
You need to watch
where you’re going.
Finally, Gabrielle takes a look around, and sees the setup of the streets.
Whoops is right. How about you
helping me carry some of this gear?
I’m beginning to feel like a pack mule.
Gabrielle laughs, a little embarrassed and takes some of the bags, lightening Xena’s load somewhat.
Much. Did this ‘travel agent’
of yours happen to set us
up with a place to stay?
Well…no. But Xena, look around!
All the cute little cafes, the shops.
It’s a vacationer’s paradise! I’m sure
we’ll find a place without a problem.
Xena looks unconvinced.
Famous last words.
Turning away, Gabrielle once again becomes completely engrossed in the wonder that is Pompeii. Not so engrossed, however, as to miss the sudden gathering of citizens very close to them, nor to miss the pointed looks and whispered words, many of which sound remarkably like “Warrior” and “Princess”. With a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach, she comes to a stop before an immense TOGA-CLAD MAN blocking the road.
Are you the
Xena stares back at him evenly.
To Gabrielle’s immense surprise, the man breaks out into a beaming smile and opens his slab-like arms.
Welcome to Pompeii,
He turns to an equally immense man standing to his right.
See, Stentonious? I told you
it was her! I’m never wrong
about these sorts of things.
We’re all great fans of yours
here, Xena. The way you
showed up those bastards
Julius and Caligula. It was…
magic. Pure magic.
Xena rolls her eyes.
I… appreciate the welcome,
but if you’ll excuse us, we
need to find a place to stay.
Rather than giving way, the man bows deeply in her direction.
I, Marcus Antonius, am at your
service, great Warrior. I would be
humbled and greatly honored if
you would stay with me at my grand
villa for the duration of your visit here.
Thank you, but....
Great villa? Hah! I’ve seen
beggar’s huts larger than your
‘villa’, Marcus Antonius!
I, however, have the grandest
villa in all of Pompeii and it would
be my most fervent joy if you
could consent to stay with me
during your visit, Xena.
Should I get out my shovel? It’s
getting pretty deep around here.
Grandest villa in all of Pompeii?
That tumbled down old wreck??
I saw the inspectors out the
other morning threatening
to condemn the place!
You’re one to speak, Africanus!
What would you offer her? A
room in your brothel? I’m sure
she’d love the sounds of your
two bit whores servicing
toothless old Senators all night!
The crowd laughs.
Roaring, Africanus rounds on Marcus Antonious just as Stentonious clobbers him one across the jaw, setting off a brawl that the Pompeian’s join in with gleeful abandon.
Arms crossed and a smirk on her face, Xena watches the growing brawl while simultaneously fielding and rejecting a myriad of increasingly outlandish offers for housing.
Gabrielle, meanwhile, has turned her attention back to the many shops and cafes lining the road. A middle aged, beautifully dressed WOMAN catches her eye from one of the nearby establishments and beckons her forward with a smile and a wave.
Welcome to Pompeii, Gabrielle.
Forgive me for assuming. You
are the Bard Gabrielle, correct?
I’m Gabrielle, yes.
The woman smiles in relief.
I thought so. The descriptions I’ve
heard of you were quite compelling.
You’ve… heard descriptions?
But of course! In many circles
you are just as well-known
as your companion after all.
I am, huh?
Gesturing toward the door to her establishment, the woman inclines her head.
Won’t you come in
and rest your legs?
Gabrielle demurs, glancing over at the growing brawl. Xena is safely out of the way, still watching with avid, smirking, interest. To one side, money appears to be changing hands.
Xena will know where
How do you know?
With a grin, the woman points to the sign she’s standing beside.
The Bard Rock Café.
I like it already!
Then I bid you welcome, Gabrielle.
I am Marcellas Flavias, and
this is my establishment.
Please, come inside.
INT. BARD ROCK CAFÉ - DAY
Entering the café, Gabrielle stops and stares in wonderment. The walls are filled to the brim with colorful, exquisite paintings of famous literary figures Gabrielle could only dream about knowing. Beneath each picture is a small snatch of a scroll upon which snatches of oratory are scrawled, and beneath that, the signature of each artist.
Gabrielle’s shock is conveyed in her whisper.
By the gods! Catullus! Ennius,
the founder of Roman literature!
Horace! Ovid! Plautus! Sulpicia!
Sappho! This is… incredible!
Beaming, Marcellas Flavias glides over, an exquisite long-stemmed goblet in her hand.
Here. Please sample the fruits
of Pompeii as you look around.
Gabrielle looks doubtfully into the mug. Wine has never been her favorite drink.
Please. No one should leave
our shores without having tasted
our greatest treasure. One sip.
I won’t be offended if you
take no more than that.
Still looking doubtful, Gabrielle takes the goblet from the woman’s hand and brings it tentatively to her lips. One sip and a smile blooms over her face.
This is fantastic!
I’m pleased you find it so.
Please, continue your tour.
I’ll be happy to answer any
questions you might have.
Sipping her wine, Gabrielle resumes her walk around the good sized café, her eyes avidly running over the famous lines of text written in each author’s very own hand. Her whisper becomes reverent.
The Elysian Fields
Marcellas Flavias laughs gently.
Gabrielle walks to the wall nearest the bar and stops. Her eyes narrow, then widen as they look over lines of text that are… quite… familiar.
I sing a song of Xena
Warrior Princess, friend, lover, soulmate
Champion of the greater good
Set to wander the earth in
atonement for her past misdeeds….
Her voice trails off as she looks up and sees a very lifelike rendering of herself done in exquisite reds and golds. Her expression one of abject shock, she slowly turns to the proprietress.
Marcellas Flavias walks to her, quill in hand.
Indeed it is. And I would
be most honored if you
would sign your work?
Almost as if she’s watching the action from a distance, Gabrielle reaches out, grasps the quill and slowly signs her name beneath the last line of her poem.
I can’t believe
this is happening.
Just then, a shadow falls across the room, and Gabrielle turns to see Xena filling the doorway, a smile on her face.
Xena! Come, look!
Striding across the room, Xena snags the half filled goblet from Gabrielle’s hand and drains the rest of it in one gulp.
Then she looks at what Gabrielle is staring at and her grin broadens.
Marcellas Flavias approaches again, two filled goblets in her hands.
Welcome Xena. If you’re not already
tired of the testosterone-fueled
boasting outside, I’d be honored if
you would consider staying here
during your visit. I have a charming
little cottage in the back, away from the
crowds and noises we’re famous for.
Xena and Gabrielle exchange a look. Gabrielle’s shining eyes seal the deal, and Xena nods her acceptance to the hostess.
Wonderful! I’ll show you to the
cottage now so you can put down
your luggage and relax awhile. If
Gabrielle is willing, many of our
artisans, writers and actors will be
gathering here tonight to exchange
stories and gossip. You’re both more
than welcome to join in the fun.
Sounds like a plan.
A beaming Marcellas Flavias leads them out the rear entrance and toward the small stone cottage not far away.
END OF ACT ONE