|Episode Guide||Teaser||Act 1||Act 2||Act 3||Act 4|
INT. BARD ROCK CAFÉ - NOON
Gabrielle is already rising as Xena arrives, and together they pull Marcellas Flavias to her feet. The older woman is dusty, but appears basically uninjured except for a small knot on her forehead where it collided with the ground.
Are you all right?
Yeah, but this roof falling on
us thing has got to stop soon.
It’s becoming a hab....
Her voice trails off as she turns to face the café’s entrance. Her eyes widen.
What the...? It can’t be. Snow?
In the middle of summer?
Turning, she retraces her steps to the door with Gabrielle close at her heels. Both look out toward Vesuvius.
By the gods....
A massive column of white smoke rises thousands of feet into the air, blocking the sun and sky before them. As they watch, the column darkens to grey and jagged forks of lightening illuminate it from within.
All around them, small pellets of rock fall, sounding like hailstones as they quickly coat everything in the city in a thick fall of grey. As they watch, the fall deepens until it is at ankle level.
Xena? How do we
get out of this?
Xena turns to Marcellas Flavias.
You’ve got pillows
around here, right?
P-pillows? Well, yes, but....
Get them. One for each of
us and one for Loos. Go.
A question in her eyes, Marcellas Flavias rushes off to do Xena’s bidding and quickly returns with four plump pillows.
Will these do?
Grabbing two pillows, she hands one to Gabrielle, who gives her a questioning look. Xena holds her pillow over her head in demonstration. Gabrielle smiles.
Protection from the
falling stones, right?
Right. Let’s go.
EXT. POMPEII - JUST AFTER NOON
The scene outside of the café is chaos. Men, women and children run pell-mell through the streets, terrified. Still others pour out from the myriad of buildings lining the street, dragging huge sacks of precious possessions behind them.
In the center of it all, and seemingly untouched by the tumult around him, stands Loos, laughing. The falling stones seem to have less effect than raindrops on his fanatic joy.
Who is the madman now, Pompeii?
I warned you!! I warned you!!
You wouldn’t listen, and now
you’re paying the price in blood
and tears!! I warned... oof!
He finds himself looking up at the ash-filled sky, knocked off his feet finally by the onrushing crowd. A hand enters his field of vision, and he finds himself yanked up by the front of his toga. A pillow is shoved hard against his narrow chest.
Put this over your head before I
use it on your mouth. Now move!
The small group falls in with the stream of Pompeians running for the harbor. Daylight quickly gives way to dusk as the ash spewing from the volcano paints the sky a thick, angry grey.
Up ahead of them, a young girl is turned this way and that, constantly buffeted by the onrushing crowd. Her dark eyes are tear-filled and huge as she obviously searches for someone she knows.
Before Xena reaches her, a young woman appears out of the crowd and snatches the child up, holding her close to her breast.
Nearby, a man trips and falls to his knees, then is squashed flat as another man runs right over him, unseeing. Reaching down, Xena yanks him to his feet without breaking stride.
Suddenly, the ground trembles violently again, throwing men and women hard to the ground. With a booming roar, fresh lava and ash shoot out of Vesuvius, towering into the sky. Hot ash and pumice rain down on them in a blizzard, obscuring everything in sight.
An older woman hits the ground and screams in agony, her leg obviously broken and pinned beneath her.
Seeing this, Gabrielle grabs Xena’s arm and tugs.
Xena, we have to help her.
Xena! She’s in pain!
She needs help!
We don’t have time!
Taking a quick glance over her shoulder, Xena’s eyes narrow as through the swirling ash, she can see the smoke and flames that signal the burning of the homesteads closest to Vesuvius.
We’ll make time! We can’t
just leave her here!
Reaching out, she grabs two running men, dragging them to a rather abrupt stop.
You two. Pick her up and
carry her to the harbor.
Are you crazy?!?
Yep. And if you don’t wanna
see just how crazy, you’ll
do as I say. Now!
Something in her eyes tells them that listening would be their safest course of action. Lifting the woman rather roughly between them, they resume their flight to hoped for safety.
Xena and her small group are about to resume their run when yet another older woman comes out from the archway of a fine house lining the road.
Please, you must help me.
My husband, he’s bedridden,
and I’m not strong enough to
move him. I have no other family.
I... please. Please, help me.
Suppressing a sigh, Xena nods.
Gabrielle, you take her and
Marcellas Flavias and keep
heading for the harbor. I’ll
meet up with you in a minute.
Loos, you’re coming with me.
Here, take this and put it over
your head to protect you
from the falling stones.
Handing over her pillow, Xena gives Gabrielle a pleading look. Gabrielle bites her lower lip, then nods. Xena smiles in thanks, and grabs Loos by his toga, yanking him into the house.
INT. VILLA - AFTERNOON
A frail, elderly man lies in a canopied bed. His legs are withered, his skin sallow, his breathing raspy in his narrow chest. Regardless, his toga is bright white and clean, and he’s been freshly shaven. It is obvious he is well cared for and well loved.
Who... who are you?
What are you doing here?
We’ve come to help.
My... my wife...?
... is safe. She’s headed for
the beach. You’ll be
together again shortly.
Thank you. Oh, thank you.
Help me lift him,
and be gentle.
Loos stares at her, lip curled in derision.
Why? He has already been
judged and found wanting,
Xena. Leave him here to
die in his own filth.
Straightening slowly, Xena pins Loos with her iciest of glares. He pales, but holds his ground.
Is this what Eve taught you
about the Way of Love?
I am acting as my
God commands me.
Can’t answer the
question, can you?
Bending, she lifts the old man into her arms as gently as she can. Through his pain, he smiles at her in thanks.
Get outta my way.
EXT. POMPEII - AFTER NOON
Xena quickly catches up with Gabrielle and the others. The man’s wife, also infirm, has been having difficulty walking over the loose, constantly shifting mass of volcanic rock being hurled down at them from above.
Gabrielle smiles in relief as Xena comes into her sights, and quickly hands over her head-cover to protect the frail man lying in her partner’s strong arms.
Thank you, kind woman.
You’re very welcome.
(beat, to Xena)
We can’t go very fast.
I know. Let’s just make
it as quick as we can.
With that, they start off, moving once again to the beach and safety.
EXT. POMPEII - AFTERNOON
The group is just about to move past the last row of shops and homes when Xena feels the hairs on the back of her neck stand straight up. With an icy sense of dread, she looks over her shoulder in time to see one of her worst fears confirmed.
The cone of the volcano has collapsed and as she watches, a huge surge of ash is forced down to the ground and out, heading directly toward them at an incredible speed.
Looking quickly to her left, she spies an archway heralding a deep alley and she heads in that direction at a run.
Everyone! Follow me!
Without thought, Gabrielle lifts the frail old woman into her arms and bolts after Xena, knowing by the tone of Xena’s voice, something horrible is about to happen.
No! I won’t!
He begins to turn.
Loos! Hurry! Don’t
look back! Hurry!!
INT. ALLEYWAY - AFTERNOON
Stepping aside, Xena nudges Marcellas Flavias through first, and herds her to the very back of the alley, against the stone wall that marks its end. She quickly, though as gently as she can, dumps the old man in her lap.
Turning back, she pelts down the alley, pulls the old woman from Gabrielle’s arms and pushes her back toward Marcellas Flavias.
Turning back again, she grabs Gabrielle’s arm, yanks her inside the alley, holding to her arm tightly.
Gabrielle struggles in Xena’s grip.
Xena! We have to get Loos!
We can’t just leave him!
There’s no time!!
Gabrielle almost succeeds in pulling away. Xena grabs onto her with both arms and goes to her knees, embracing Gabrielle tightly against her body, protecting her as well as she can.
Gabrielle’s voice is muffled against Xena’s chest.
EXT. POMPEII - AFTERNOON
Loos stands looking at the onrushing cataclysm, face painted in rapture.
The Hand of God!
INT. ALLEYWAY - AFTERNOON
Loos voice is abruptly cut off as a toxic wind, faster and stronger than the strongest hurricane and hot enough to boil water, jets across the city, flattening much of it in its wake.
The group in the alley huddle together, awaiting their fate.
END OF ACT TWO