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Villagers (from afar): Xena! Xena! Xena!
GABRIELLE: There they go again
GABRIELLE: Listen! Doesn't that make you feel good?
XENA: I'm tired, Gabrielle.
GABRIELLE: Well, of course you are. I mean an army of 150, taking down 10 men without letting go of . . .
XENA: We'll stop here
Xena hands Argo's reins to Gabrielle and walks off the path to lie down underneath a tree.
GABRIELLE: But it's still three hours till sundown, we're not even a mile from Blesus yet and Anolna is 12 miles . . .
Xena rolls over to face away from Gabrielle
GABRIELLE: well . . . all right . .this is a very fine spot
As Gabrielle leads Argo to another tree and begins to unsaddle her, the horse whinnies
GABRIELLE: "Oh, I know. But she's tired and it's the least I can do. You know I'm barely holding up my end of this partnership. (She puts the blanket that was in Argo's pack over Xena.)There's a very good reason why people don't chant Gab-ree-ell! Gab-ree-ell!, other than it's too long and people tend to mispronounce it, anyway, it's because I let Xena carry the weight. Oh, don't pretend to be surprised, Argo, you've always thought that.
Well I've just got to get better. (She starts whipping her staff around) I've got be quicker , stronger.
"Wooee! Aiyaa! Whoosh whoosh
Xena rolls over , looks at Gabrielle's shadow fighting , rolls her eyes and closes them again.
GABRIELLE: I've got to show these mildew smelling scoundrels that they've got ME to contend with too, and . . . I've got to stop talking to the horse.
Gabrielle takes a few more swings at imaginary foes and nearly cracks the head of a man dressed in the clothes of a nobleman, he ducks just in time. He is standing with a handsome young man.
VANSUR: You should be careful with that thing.
GABRIELLE: I'm . .I'm
BEED: (Young Man): I'm Beed, and this is Counsel Vansur.
GABRIELLE: Oh good, I'm sorry, I didn't hear you come up, I'm Gabrielle, this is my friend . . ..
VANSUR: It's not important. We wanted to know if you knew if Blesus is safe to pass through. Did you come from there?
GABRIELLE: Come from there? Let me tell you, we cleaned up that town. When we arrived, 14 men were guarding the . . .
VANSUR: Never mind that, I am on a mission from Alnona. Our great leader is summoning the help of Telbon to save our city from ruin. Thank you for the information, we will be traveling on. Come Beed.
Beed and Vansur walk on toward Blesus. Beed stops Vansur and speaks to him. He comes running back to Gabrielle as Vansur continues on toward the town
BEED: Please, excuse Vansur's rudeness. He's really a decent man.
GABRIELLE: He tends to interrupt.
BEED: He feels he's on an important mission that will help our people but I fear it will be the damnation of every man, woman and child in Alnona.
GABRIELLE (to Beed): What could be so dangerous. Xena says Alnona is a prosperous town, with contented people. We were going to stop there for a few days.
BEED: You will get no rest there, unless it is eternal rest.
GABRIELLE: What do you mean?
BEED (looks over Gabrielle's shoulder): Oh no!
There are two burly tall men coming at them with mace and sword.
Gabrielle looks at the sleeping Xena, looks back and forth at the men and turns to Beed.
GABRIELLE: Do you mind?
Beed looks at Gabrielle frightened and puzzled: Gabrielle turns around and whack whack whack and whack again.
Xena opens one blue eye, assesses the situation, and pulls the blanket over her head to sleep.
Whacka Whacka Whoosh
TWO MEN: Oof! Oof! (respectively)
At the end of this encounter they are propped up against each other on the ground.
GABRIELLE: Now get out of here! You don't want me to wake up HER do you? She lifts up the blanket from Xena's head and Xena is glaring at them.
They scramble away.
GABRIELLE (to Xena): Okay, that was good, you can go back to sleep.
GABRIELLE (to Beed): Who were those guys.
BEED: Our great leader must have sent them to ensure Vansur would carry out his mission to bring back Avor. I think he knows that I do not support him.
XENA: You are right not to want Telbon to come to your town. He is a lizard. Who is this "Great Leader" of yours that he welcomes hellbringers to those he protects?
BEED: His name is Aberdeen.
XENA: The Monk!
GABRIELLE: He's a monk?
XENA: Let's go! (She starts repacking Argo)
BEED: Where are we going?
GABRIELLE: How do you know all these scoundrels?
XENA: I was one of those scoundrels.
GABRIELLE: Ahh yes. Well since you only got 15 minutes of beauty sleep (as if that would make a difference) remember, I'm stronger now. Let me help a little.
XENA: You do help.
BEED: Let's go
All three begin to walk down the road to Alnona
Xena, Gabriell arrive at the gate of a large, luxurious palace. Beed hangs back in the shadows.
XENA (to Gabrielle): Stay here with Beed.
GABRIELLE: I'm going to help you.
XENA: If you keep Beed safe from the lizard, that will help.
Xena enters the palace gate. Gabrielle walks over to Beed.
BEED: Where is she going!?
GABRIELLE: I think she will be dealing with your Great Leader.
BEED: But he'll kill her!
GABRIELLE: I doubt that very much.
BEED: Why didn't you go with her? you know how to use that stick thing.
GABRIELLE: At the moment I am using the stick thing to keep you safe.
BEED: I'll go with you. Please, you've got to help her. The Monk is ruthless..
GABRIELLE: I suppose I could protect you and help Xena at the same time. Great! How do we get in?
Xena enters a great hall, The Monk is holding forth over his Counsel and some town leaders.
THE MONK: When Vansur returns with Telbod, we must prepare the townspeople for a celebration of his arrival. We will hold a festival to for Zeus and honor Telbod and his Legion of Bravery for helping us achieve affluence and peace beyond the bounties we already have.
COUNSEL MEMEBER: Bounties that we owe to you, Aberdeen.
THE MONK: I am humbled by your words. I do the work I must do for my people.
Xena steps forward.
XENA: Like selling your people as slaves so you can wear gold embroidery and spit into a silver cup?
THE MONK (as he lowers his silver cup): I believe you must be Xena.
XENA: I am.
THE MONK: My child, you are misled. You look tired, can we offer you rest?
XENA: I am tired., but you are a mad dog and I can't rest till you are in chains.
THE MONK: Soldiers!
Xena fends off many attackers then finds it behooves her to scurry up the curtains behind The Monk's throne and hop away on the exposed beams of the ceiling. She is gone.
Meanwhile . . .
Gabrielle and Beed are in one of the corridors of the palace. They hear the shouts of the fracas.
BEED: What is that?
GABRIELLE: Ahh, That would be Xena.
The noise has died down. Beed searches for the least conspicuous way to navigate the castle without running into trouble. Unknown eyes are watching.
GABRIELLE: How are we going to find Xena, if we're always hiding.
BEED: We have to hide, the Monk is the cruelest man in the land!
THE MONK (standing behind them as they turn around): A compliment Beed, indeed.
The pair is grabbed by several soldiers, one who throws Gabrielle's staff to The Monk.
THE MONK: Oh, a stick. If I weren't going to kill you, I'd beat you into dogmeat with it.
GABRIELLE: Like that wouldn't kill me.
BEED: Let her go!
GABRIELLE: You are a lizard.
THE MONK: You know, in a way, I am. I love insects and other crawling things. (He pulls a blue glass vial out of his cloak. A large spider is crawling around inside it) Take a look at this.
The Monk begins to walk along looking lovingly at the spider. Gabrielle and Beed are pushed along by the soldiers.
THE MONK (to the spider): Ah, here we are, my deadly little Venus.
The soldiers open up a small wooden trap door that goes down into darkness. Gabrielle is alarmed, Beed is terror-stricken.
THE MONK: Please, it's not so bad. There's plenty of company down there, some are my dearest friends. And here's another companion for you my little lying traitor!
The Monk pulls the stopper off the vial and dumps the spider down the front of Beed's shirt, gives it a pat and the soldiers throw Beed and Gabby into the darkness, shut the wooden trapdoor , throw the bolt and fasten it with a locked chain. Gabrielle shouts, then Beed screams out in pain.
Xena is outside looking for Gabrielle and Beed to no avail. She overhears a townsperson say that messengers from Telbon have already arrived that he and his elite battalion already set their way to Anolna. Xena goes into the marketplace and comes out with a bundle, then goes to the outskirts of town where Argo is waiting. She's off.
Many miles down the road Telbon and a group of men riding toward Anolna, they see a middle-aged woman, flogging herself on the back. Telbon rides up to her.
TELBON: What is the meaning of this, madwoman?!
XENA: I am a madwoman, my life is in ruins, my beloved city Anolna is doomed.
Telbon exchanges glances with his men.
TELBON: There is a problem?
XENA: Problem?! You goat's curd! We were to be redeemed by the mighty Telbon, thanks to our Great Leader, but it is not to be. Oh DOOM! Oh MERCY!
TELBON: What is it woman! Get to the point!
XENA: Forgive me, lord. But that vile woman, that WITCH! Xena.
TELBON: What about her?
XENA: She has ridden into our town with a thousand men, if I hadn't have fled, I would have lost my life. But what is my life worth now. DOOOOM!
TELBON (to his soldier): This might not be a good time.
SOLDIER: I think not sir.
TELBON: Monk may have been trying to lure me into the hands of Xena.
SOLDIER: Indeed, sir.
TELBON: I won't fall for that.
SOLDIER: No, sir.
TELBON: Let's see, Perlion is to the north, is anyone up for a night with a fine woman.
Soldiers all: To Perlion!!! (they take a hard right and head north)
XENA (to herself): Idiot Warlords, my favorite kind.
Back in the Castle, The Monk is eating a snack in his room. Xena drops from the rafters onto the table where he's eating, sword drawn.
XENA: It's time for your dessert!
THE MONK: She-devil. Harlot.
XENA: Please. You're a man of meditation, the language that comes out of your mouth. Tsk. (She backflips behind him) and holds the sword in front of his eyes.
XENA: Would you like to meditate on this?
THE MONK: What do you want?
XENA: Where is the young man Beed?
A knowing look comes into the Monk's evil eyes. He looks over at Gabrielle's staff that is propped in the corner. Xena follows the look and yanks his head back., fear and hate travel across her face.
XENA: Where did you get that staff?!
THE MONK: I might tell you if I wasn't so distracted.
XENA (through clenched teeth): I'll distract you so much you won't know tomorrow from a shiny dinar.
THE MONK (indicating the staff): I think I have the upper hand here
XENA: I think not.
3 minutes later, he's hanging upside down from the rafter wrapped up in the bedspread, his mouth gagged with an apple..
XENA: Just tell me where they are and will leave the door open when I leave and someone might see you and let you down. I don't know if hanging upside down all night will kill you, but . . .. Interested?
The Monk shakes his head no.
Xena opens the door and grabs a servant girl into the room and shuts the door again.
SERVANT GIRL: Hello.
XENA: Umm, I just wondered, would you be willing to tell me what the Great Leader does to his enemies if I threatened to kill him?
SERVANT GIRL: I don't know? I'm scared.
XENA: Naturally, now just tell me what he does to his enemies. I'll be scared too and I'll leave him alone, because I'm his enemy.
SERVANT GIRL: First, he blesses them.
SERVANT GIRL: Then he kills them (fear again on Xena's face) but he usually just has them stay downstairs.
SERVANT GIRL: Under the door in the floor.
We next see the servant girl tied up and a bit more comfortable in a chair, with a cloth tied over her mouth. The Monk dangles above her
Xena is looking through the palace, knocking out guards left and right till she comes to the trapdoor. She struggles with the lock, the iron bar out of a torturing rack and knocks that lock off with a clang.
Xena opens the trap door. There's nothing but darkness, then Gabrielle comes out of the darkness, she's dirty and dazed. She looks at Xena then holds out her hand as if to say stop, she puts her head down to reach below her. She pulls Beed up by his arm, giving his hand to Xena. He is clearly dead with his eyes frozen in pain and terror. Xena is disconcerted but hauls the boy's body out of the hole. Gabrielle holds out her hand again. She dips back into the darkness. She is saying something, but it's unintelligible. She comes back up toward the light dragging another arm, this is the arm of a person dead for weeks, with leathered brown skin that is drawn away from the eyes and the teeth.
XENA: Gabrielle, no.
GABRIELLE: (unintelligible, talking in nonsense trying to persuade Xena)
Xena pries Gabrielle's hand off the corpse's arm: Gabrielle, no (gentler)
Xena pulls Gabrielle out of the hole and sets her away it. Gabrielle just looks at her in an unnerving missing everything way. Xena takes a torch from the wall and shines it into the dungeon. There are hills of skeletons and bodies. Spiders scurry from the light down a leg bone.
Xena puts Gabrielle's staff in her hand. She starts to lead her off and Gabrielle turns back toward the trapdoor, pleading with Xena in nonsense words, she turns from angry to desperate. Xena has to forcibly take her away.
XENA: Come on, let's go get some rest.
A small hut in the woods.. Varon, a friend of Xena's, is sitting at a table he is carving a horse. Xena brings in supplies from Argo's pack. Gabrielle is sitting on the edge of a bed in the corner. She continues to talk nonsense, like she's telling all her stories in a language from another universe.
XENA: Thank you for putting us up, Varon.
VARON: You did a lot more for me Xena than a simple bed and a roof. I wish I had more than one bed to offer you, I could start the fire if you'd like to sleep on the hearth?.
XENA: Thank you, but I need to keep an eye on my friend..
She goes over to the bed, lays Gabrielle down and talks in soothing towns. Gabrielle's nonsense takes on a calmer tone. Xena lays her blanket down on the floor next to her and immediately shuts her eys. Varon walks over to put out the lamp. Gabrielle lets out a shrill fury of fear-filled language. Xena jumps up to hold her. Varon relights the lamp.
XENA (to Gabrielle). Sssh
VARON: I'm sorry.
Xena doesn't hear, she rocks Gabrielle, and begins to soothe her by repeating back some of the nonsense as to a child, then lays her down again.
XENA: Gabrielle, Sleep!. I . . .am . . .tired.
The next day Xena, Varon and Gabrielle sit outside the hut. Gabrielle is holding the horse that Varon carved and is talking the new Gabriellese to it.
VARON: What of Anolna. What will The Monk do?
XENA: I spoke to his counsel of what I knew of Telbon. Village by village, people enslaved, women prostiuted, men women and children killed to fatten the pockets of greedy and evil leaders. They realized that The Monk was selling them like meat and were discussing where to display his head when I left. And I told him about . . .about the hole. She looks away. They sit quietly a moment.
VARON: If you need to go, you can leave her with me.
XENA: I can't.
VARON: They say if you strike someone who is brain fevered, they will be shocked to sense.
Xena gives him a look to mean that is a very bad idea indeed and no more suggestions should be forthcoming.
It's nighttime again. Varon is asleep in the corner. Xena is sitting on a chair watching Gabrielle, who is lying in the bed, looking up at the ceiling and jabbering.
Xena (quietly): Please, just one word, one word I can understand!
The Gabrielle jabber begins to wind down, slow down. Till she is speaking just a word or two. Then she is silent, for the first waking moment since Xena pulled her from the hole of the dead.
Xena realizes that something is different. She looks around, doesn't know what to do? She picks up the lamp and takes it over to the table by Gabrielle's bed. She begins to turn the lamplight down till it is dark and we see them only by moonlight. Gabrielle's eyes stare up wide open. Xena sits and waits. Silence.
GABRIELLE: (a frightened soul-threatened scream): LET ME OUT!!!!!
Xena is frozen GABRIELLE: XENA!!!! Please help me! LET ME OUT!!!!!
Gabrielle jumps out of bed and runs to the door, which she can't open in her panic, she begins to claw at the wood with her hands, ignoring the splinters she is getting. She is sobbing uncontrollably.
GABRIELLE: Please . . .Xena . . .I need you. (she slides down the door) and sits on the floor crying. Varon has relit the lamp. Xena walks over to Gabrielle and kneels by her.
XENA: I'm sorry.
Gabrielle reaches up and clutches herself to Xena, then sits back and looks her in the face.
GABRIELLE: I'm tired.
XENA: Me too.
It's nighttime, through the window of the hut we see Gabrielle sleeping in the bed, Xena sleeping on the floor beside her and Argo standing in the moonlight, tethered by a stream. We see the moon and the distant hills.