|Episode Guide||Teaser||Act 1||Act 2||Act 3||Act 4|
EXT. FOOTPATH - DAY
Xena, Gabrielle, and Argo II meander down what is nominally a road, but really is more of an overgrown footpath. It appears that not many people have gone this way in a long time.
It is very quiet around them. They are walking through an evergreen forest, with little evidence of any habitation. Birds chirp overhead. Somewhere not far off is the sound of running water.
You're sure this
is a short cut?
Of course. Aren't I always?
Gabrielle looks away and whistles. Xena boots her in the butt. They both laugh.
Well, I'm not positive. But
it's as good a path as any.
Gabrielle looks around, takes a deep breath.
Yeah, it is. I don't think
we've been in these
parts before, have we?
Xena looks around thoughtfully.
Great! Who knows
what we'll find?
Gabrielle turns and walks backwards.
Sure. I know we'll find crickets,
dust, a river, and a bunch
of pine trees. C'mon.
Xena and Gabrielle continue walking along the road. It dips down into a hollow, and at the bottom of the hollow is a small creek.
The path goes right to the edge, and picks up on the other side. From the worn away appearance of the foliage on either side, it is apparently a ford.
Xena leads Argo II to the ford and starts across. Gabrielle follows her. They slosh through the water, which comes up to Xena's thighs and Gabrielle's waist.
Halfway through, Gabrielle stops.
Xena stops. Argo keeps going, and Xena releases her reins.
Xena sloshes back over to Gabrielle and looks. In the water, there is a glint of something underneath, and the water swirls around an object.
Could be a tree... but....
Xena walks forward into the deeper water, feeling her way cautiously. She reaches into the water up to her elbow and feels the obstruction.
What is it?
Wagon, I think.
Xena removes her hand, and it comes up unexpectedly holding a broken sword. The blade is dented and twisted, but the hilt appears relatively clean.
Xena tosses the sword to the opposite bank, then reaches back into the water. She pulls her hand back again, and this time it holds a skull.
Hope that wasn't cargo.
Driver. Looks like trouble.
Trouble? Gee. Hm. It's been three
days.... Yeah, it's about time.... I
was starting to think we'd lost
our edge in finding it.
Xena walks back over to Gabrielle carrying the skull. She examines it.
Hasn't been here that long.
Xena turns and tosses the skull back into the water. It sinks, then pops up and goes tumbling past Gabrielle down the creek.
Was that a sword
cut in the top?
They walk back to the fording point and climb up the opposite bank, where Argo II is waiting. Xena picks up the broken sword and sticks it under one of the saddle straps.
They move on, but they are now far more alert.
EXT. TINY RUNDOWN VILLAGE - DAY
In a roughly cut clearing in the forest is a small village. The huts are lashed together from whatever was available - most of the supports are tree limbs, and the roofs are made of woven branches with leaves tied over them to keep most of the rain out.
There is a general air of poverty. There are no herds of stock visible, except for a few goats tied near the huts. A fence of sticks cut from limbs surrounds a tiny, bedraggled garden near one hut.
In the center of the town is a water trough. A young woman stands at the trough dipping a bucket into it. She is dressed in neatly kept rags, and she is barefoot.
She hears the sound of hoof beats and she reacts in almost panic, dropping the bucket and ducking behind the trough. She looks past the last hut, and sees Xena and Gabrielle approaching on the path.
The woman gets up and runs away, dashing into the nearest hut.
Xena and Gabrielle pause at the entrance to the village. Gabrielle looks around.
Wow. Thought I was
from a small town.
Xena walks over to the hut with the garden and looks over the stick fence. Gabrielle walks on into the center of the village, which is silent and empty. She sees the bucket, and walks over to it to pick it up.
Xena joins her, looks at the bucket, touches the damp wood inside.
Someone was in a hurry.
Gabrielle sets the bucket down next to the trough. She and Xena look around. A gust of wind opens a door on one of the huts and swings it shut again. The town appears deserted.
What do you think?
Xena walks over to a half collapsed hut almost behind one of the trees. She picks up what had been the door frame and looks at it - the limb has been chopped in half with some kind of sharp edge.
I think these people
have a problem.
They're out there.
Gabrielle steps away from the trough.
Hello? Anyone here?
There is no answer. Gabrielle looks questioningly at Xena. Xena taps her ear, and smiles. Gabrielle shrugs.
Maybe they don't
INT. VILLAGE HUT - DAY
The woman from the water trough crouches next to a man, behind the stick door of the hut.
What are they doing?
Just standing there.
Maybe they won't do
anything... just leave.
Don't be stupid, Casey.
Well, look! They're
not doing anything!
They peer through the sticks in the door.
Only because there's nothing
more to destroy. Just keep quiet.
They watch. Xena roams around, examining everything. Gabrielle stands quietly by the trough, scooping a bucketful up and offering it to Argo II.
See? They look okay!
Don't tell me that. You
haven't lost two sons!
The woman grips the sticks of the door so tightly her knuckles turn white.
EXT. TINY RUNDOWN VILLAGE - DAY
Xena hears something. She reaches for her sword and Gabrielle goes for her sais as a loud bang is heard. After a second, a goat comes flying out from between two huts, chased by a small boy.
Come back here! Hey!
The goat runs right under Argo II. The boy chases him, then he pulls up as he sees Xena and Gabrielle but he can't stop in time.
Xena makes a grab for the boy, Gabrielle makes a grab for the goat. Both are successful.
Lemme go! Lemme go!
INT. VILLAGE HUT - DAY
The woman jumps up.
Dorst! Oh no! Casey!
The woman pulls the door open, hitting Casey and knocking him down. She runs out and heads for the trough.
Let him go! Help! Help!
EXT. TINY RUNDOWN VILLAGE - DAY
Xena picks the boy up.
Hey! Shut up!
I’m not hurting you!
Lemme go!! AHHHH!!!!
I'm dying! Ahhh! Help! Help!!!!
The woman comes pelting out of the hut, waving a stick
All of you! Come out!
We can't lose another one!
Rise up! Rise up!!!!!
Doors open around the village, and villagers come pouring out. They all have sticks, stones, frying pans, etc. They are frightened, but determined, and they are all heading towards Xena.
Gabrielle lets go of the goat and pulls her sais, putting herself between the oncoming rabble and Xena.
Let him go, Xena.
Why? There's only a score
of em. You can handle it.
The boy is struggling in Xena's grip, and yelling his head off. The crowd breaks into a run.
Hey! Would you calm down?
I'm not doing a thing to you, kid!
The boy stops yelling. The crowd doesn't stop coming. They wave sticks, and a few people throw stones.
Hold up!! Hey!!!
You won't get us this
time, you... you....
Xena tosses the kid on Argo's back as the first wave of villagers reaches them. She starts grabbing sticks, as Gabrielle deflects stones.
The volume of Xena's voice makes the crowd waver, and Gabrielle claps a hand over one ear nearly conking herself in the head with her own sai.
WE'RE NOT HERE
TO HURT YOU.
Gabrielle edges away from Xena and sticks her right sai in her boot. She extends her hand.
Hi. My name's Gabrielle. I
think we just started off
on the wrong foot here.
The boy thumps his bare heels against Argo's shoulders. He is obviously unhurt.
Hey... Ain't this a pretty one?
Argo turns her head and looks at him. Casey pushes his way forward and takes Gabrielle's hand.
See, Peti? I toldja they were
okay. My name's Casey.
The crowd stirs, then puts their weapons down.
And this is Xena.
Xena watches the crowd, but her name seems unknown. She relaxes. The woman, Peti, still looks suspicious.
Sorry about all this.
Had some trouble here lately.
The woman approaches them and looks at them skeptically. She goes to Argo's side and examines the boy.
How do we know you're not
with them? You look like
you're the same type.
Xena picks the boy up off Argo and puts him on the ground.
We're only with each other.
Same type of what?
Are you being attacked
here? By who?
The villagers are now gathered around them. They are all similar in build and coloring, and their ragged clothing is all in a similar style. One man is carrying a scythe, which has symbols written on its blade. Xena notices it.
Wild animals pretending to
be humans, that's who.
Casey. Shut up.
(to Xena and Gabrielle)
Why don't you just keep
on moving? We don't need
any more trouble here.
Xena and Gabrielle exchange knowing looks.
Maybe we can help. We
have a lot of experience
dealing with this kind of thing.
Oh, I'm sure you have.
You look like you'd fit
right in with them, too.
Peti! Cut it out!
He looks to Xena and Gabrielle.
We'd like to hear any ideas you've
got. We're pretty desperate.
They start to walk towards the huts. The crowd slowly parts to let them through.
You don't really look like those
troublemakers. Peti's just saying
that because you're women.
Like the one that runs them is.
Xena looks thoughtful, as she and Gabrielle follow the villagers home.
END OF ACT ONE