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ROYAL SWORDS is a spin-off, featuring new characters that I created in
"Royal Rendezvous", which is a Xena script, but the four young heros of
ROYAL SWORDS live in a distant corner of the Xenaverse. Xena and Gabrielle
are not in ROYAL SWORDS; however, our beloved heros just may turn up in
future episodes of RS, if I write any. Should I?
Copyright © 1998, revised 1999, by Eddie A. Palmer. (The main title: Xena, Warrior Princess and the characters: Xena, Gabrielle, and Argo are the copyright property of MCA/Universal Studios and Renaissance Pictures). No copyright infringement was intended in writing this script. All other characters and the story itself are the sole copyright property of the author, and may not be used in any way without permission.
VIOLENCE AND SEXUAL CONTENT: The violence depicted here is relatively mild and not graphicly described. There is almost no sexual content in this script. Now, in my personal fantasies... well, I guess that doesnt really matter.
Finally, let me say, I wrote these scripts out of love for the characters and the stars of XWP. I am posting them here as a tribute to those wonderful and talented people who mean more to me than I can fully express here.
Please send me your comments at: email@example.com
XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS
By Ed Palmer
EXT. A NARROW CALM RIVER - DAY
XENA and GABRIELLE are in a canoe, leisurely cruising down the gentle stream, not far from the bank. They are intermittently in bright sunshine and then cool shade of large overhanging tree limbs. It is Spring in all its glory. New green leaves are thick on the trees, various white and colorful blossom pedals float thick on the smooth surface of the deep dark-green water, and a variety of insects fly to and fro in the warm air.
Xena is in the back of the canoe, effortlessly rowing, while Gabrielle sits at the bow and enjoys the ride. They are happy and very relaxed. Its a lazy day.
Spring was made for weddings.
Tis the season of love and
Yeah, theres always a lot
of weddings this time of the
year. Of course, many people
just seem to go crazy in the
Spring, too. Spring fever.
Nice try, Xena, but you are
not going to bring me down!
No, way. Im in a romantic
mood, and Im very excited
about going to this wedding.
back at Xena)
And you dont fool me for a
moment! You are just as
excited about Taras and
Adams wedding as I am. Just
Of course, I am, and it will
be good to see them again.
And Prince Markus and...
And Princess Darcy, too! Yes,
I know, Gabrielle, but Im
not sure youre going to live
through all this enthusiasm!
I dont know if I am going to
be able to live with you. I
bet the bride is calmer!
I bet she isnt. Were talking
about Tara here, remember?
Oh, yeah, good point.
It's too bad we can't take this
boat all the way to Hope Haven.
This is so much better than a
horse, don't you agree?
They both have their place, but
you know I feel bad about leaving
Argo behind, so don't keep on
reminding me how happy you are
that she isn't here!
Actually, I kinda miss her, too,
and she would have made a lovely
flower girl at the wedding.
So how far can we take the boat?
We'll stay on the river the rest
of the day, then we'll make camp.
Tomorrow we cut across the
mountains on foot. By the time we
make the castle, you'll be ready
to kiss Argo full on the lips.
By the gods, Xena, that's a
Xena merely smiles, as she pulls harder on the paddle, sending deeper ripples across the calm surface.
EXT. HOPE HAVEN CASTLE - NIGHT
Although it is midnight, it looks almost like day. The castle gleams under a bright full moon hanging in a bluish-black sky.
Hope Haven is actually a large complex of many structures. The huge castle has several towers and three extended wings. It is surrounded by spacious lawns and gardens, large trees and open areas often used for exhibitions or official ceremonies. The castle and grounds are enclosed within a high stone wall. Spreading out from one side of the royal compound is a medium-sized town and a small military installation maintaining about one-hundred soldiers.
INT. PRINCESS DARCYS BEDROOM - SAME
The elegant room is dimly lit by two candles in a wall holder and by moonlight filtering in through the white gossamer drapes covering the large windows and the balcony doors.
Darcy is sleeping, but it is a restless sleep. She turns her head from side to side, making LOW SOUNDS OF FEAR AND PAIN, as nightmares disturb her slumber. Finally, she is jolted awake. She sits up and looks at the thin white curtains flowing in the breeze from the open balcony doors.
Darcy gets out of bed and goes into the adjacent chamber, where she finds her five-year-old adopted daughter, RACHEL, sleeping soundly. She smiles at the child, then returns to her own room.
Darcy stops in the center of her bedroom and turns to stare at the balcony again. The fear and uncertainty is again evident on her face. She slowly walks through the thin white drapes onto the balcony.
EXT. DARCYS BALCONY - SAME
Darcy walks to the railing and looks off in the distance. The disturbing feelings continue to cloud her expression.
(a desperate whisper)
Who are you? What do you want
EXT. A BACKWOODS VILLAGE - DAY
Xena and Gabrielle stroll into the little village, drawing only a curious glance or two from the few villagers that can be seen. The place is not much more than a dozen cabins constructed of timber from the surrounding forest.
I just have to find a wedding
From the look of this place, I
doubt you'll find a suitable
gift... for royalty.
You never know. Maybe I'll find
something rare and exotic!
Oh, sure. All right, you go look
for a gift, and I'll go check on
a few needed supplies. One of us
has to be practical.
That's definitely you, Xena! Always
sensible and practical. Only what
are you going to give them at the
wedding of the decade?
I'm thinking about it, okay?
Gabrielle hurries off on her own, and Xena walks off in a different direction.
EXT. ANOTHER LOCATION IN THE VILLAGE - SAME
As Gabrielle walks passed a small shop, a big MAN rushes from between two of the buildings and grabs her. With his hand clamped over her mouth, the mean-looking man easily drags the twisting and kicking woman back into the narrow alley.
EXT. CENTER OF THE VILLAGE - SAME
A very upset Xena paces back and forth, surrounded by a dozen or so of the villagers. The Warrior Woman is a very strange sight to these backwoods people, you can see it in their faces, and you can hear it in their silence.
What do you mean you didn't see
her? She came into this village
with me, only a little while ago!
(she points at them)
And I saw you... and you...
gawking at us! Now, I mean to
find my friend, if I have to tear
this place apart stick by stick!
A mumbling sound sweeps through the group, and they all look away from Xena, to some new interest. Xena follows their gaze, to see two men walking into the village.
What is it?
Two more strangers. That's a lot,
all in one day. Months can pass
around here without seeing a new
The two young men walking toward them look more like farmers than outlaws or warriors, even though they are armed with swords and axes.
The villagers, as is their custom, stand and gawk. Xena steps forward to face the two newcomers.
Stop right where you are!
The two men stop... and just... gawk.
Are you sure they're not from here?
They look like they're from here.
State your business!
YOUNG MAN #1
We're looking for our sister. She
was taken from our farm three days
ago. We tracked them here.
My friend is missing, too. Who took
YOUNG MAN #1
We don't know. The signs are, it's
a small band. They strike quick and
move fast. We heard of other women
being stolen, too. Just women.
Where is this farm of yours?
YOUNG MAN #1
Three days journey west.
So, they're probably moving east
along the river. Most likely they're
headed for Hope Haven, or farther on
to the sea.
We can catch them before they reach
the mountains, maybe even before
they get out of this valley.
The two young men walk up to stand beside Xena.
to the villagers)
Well, are there any volunteers?
The villagers gawk some more, then quickly disperse.
This ain't none of our business.
You're strangers here, now just
go away and leave us alone.
YOUNG MAN #2
It's our fight, not theirs.
YOUNG MAN #1
We don't need the likes of them.
I agree. Let's go.
EXT. WILDERNESS TRAIL - DAY
The four horses hooves are rapidly digging into the ground and throwing up dirt. Darcy, Tara, Adam and Mark are riding abreast, at a full run. The royal quartet is dressed for action and armed with their swords.
EXT. A STREAM - SAME
They stop to rest and water the horses. They stand at the waters edge as the animals drink. As usual, Adam and Tara move off to themselves and soon start hugging and kissing and sighing.... Darcy gives the pair a perplexed look and then turns away. Mark notices her reaction and he smiles.
We still have a wedding to
get through, but I'm already
thinking about the honeymoon.
The rest of our lives is going
to be one big endless honeymoon.
Then, back with Darcy and Markus:
I know its your sister and
my brother, but dont those
two sometimes make you cringe?
Truthfully? I sometimes envy
them. I wouldnt mind being
in love like that.
Darcy looks at him with surprise.
Well, I never expected such an
admission from the tough, would-
be-Hercules Prince Markus.
Tough on the outside and
tender on the inside. Both
warrior and poet.
Mark, have you actually ever
Mark looks away and doesnt reply.
You have! May I read it? Ill
tell you some of my herbal
(trying to sound
Listen, young lady, dont go
starting any rumors, or Ill
show you just how tough I
Adam and Tara wander back to Darcy and Mark.
Thank you again for coming
with me. I know we cant
push the horses too hard,
but I feel a real sense of
Exactly what kind of images
do you see?
Funny you should ask. There
are no images at all, only
feelings. Its like shes
cut off from the world.
You said she?
Yes, and her name is Althea.
She told you her name?
No, it doesnt work like that.
I can feel her feelings, and
just somehow know her name.
What are these feelings like?
Shes afraid and crying out
No images and cut off from
the world. Maybe shes blind.
Maybe. I dont know.
Are you sensing anything now?
Not really, but Im sure we
are going the right direction.
Mark leads his horse away from the stream.
I suggest we get going. This
Althea could be running out
Yes, Im sure of it.
They mount up and quickly ride away.
EXT. ROCKY TRAIL AT THE TOP OF A HIGH CLIFF - DAY
Xena and the two brothers are walking up the trail. Xena is slightly in the lead, scanning the ground, as well as their surroundings.
|YOUNG MAN #1|
I thought we would catch up
with them by now.
YOUNG MAN #2
Are you sure they came this
It looks like a whole army came
through here today. Can't you
YOUNG MAN #1
I'm a good tracker, and I can't
see their trail here. I haven't
seen it since we left that village.
YOUNG MAN #2
That could be because you've
been too busy looking at her.
We don't know this woman. How do
we know we can trust her? For all
we know, she could be one of that
Xena whirls and grabs the young man by his throat, then tightens her grip.
I'm going to find my friend, with
you or without you! Now if you
want to come along, shut up! I
don't have time to nursemaid two
pups, is that clear?
YOUNG MAN #1
(to his brother)
There you go again. I can't take
then to Xena)
I think he's got the point. You
can let him breath now, if you
want to, that is.
Xena releases the man, then turns to his brother.
The same goes for you.
YOUNG MAN #1
Sure. We just want our sister
back, that's all.
And your friend, of course.
All right, you can tag along, but
stay out of my way.
Xena turns determinedly away and walks quickly up the trail. The brothers glance at one another, take a deep breath, then hurry up the trail.
EXT. HIGHEST POINT OF THE CLIFF - SAME
The trail opens onto a flat spacious area at the top of the cliff. A green valley stretches out far below them. The shimmering river can be seen through the tall trees that reach up from the base of the cliff.
Half a dozen outlaws bolt from behind rocks and bushes. Xena jumps out of the path of a charging attacker, then spins and kicks him over the cliff. She immediately swaps blows with two more men, but she isn't too busy to see both of her companions be cut down by vicious killers with swords.
Xena reacts to the killings, letting it distract her for a moment. In that split second, a man savagely hits Xena in the head with a piece of heavy chain. The clanging links wrap tightly around her head like an iron snake. She spins away, blood pouring down the side of her face, almost blacking out.
A second outlaw attacks her with a big club, actually a log that he has picked up from the ground. The impact is at the base of her skull, and she pitches forward, flying off the cliff like a bird taking to flight.
Gabrielle, standing nearby in shackles and chains with several other women, screams as Xena tumbles in mid-air hundreds of feet above the valley below.
Gabrielle's desperate cry echoes from the surrounding hills, as Xena plunges downward. Like a limp rag doll, the Warrior Princess falls into the tops of the huge trees, then crashes down through the thick branches. The last large limb that she encounters breaks cleanly from the tree and falls with the woman. Entangled in the twisted branches, Xena at last plunges into the river. Badly injured, bloody, and unconscious, she is carried away on the large tree limb by the gentle currents.
EXT. FOREST - DAY
as the royal four continue their quest. The trail has become almost nonexistent in this heavily wooded area. They stop when they see several objects nailed to some trees: a skull, other bones, and wooden signs with strange symbols.
What does it mean?
It means this is a place
haunted by the spirits of
Do you believe in any of
that stuff, Mark?
I cant dismiss it. Ive
seen some things in my
travels hard to explain.
It doesnt matter one way
or the other. This is the
place, and were going on.
Without hesitation, Darcy rides passed the ominous markers and heads into the thick forest. The others hurry to catch up.
EXT. DEEP FOREST - DAY
They come to an area that is rather dark because the sun is blocked by the thick trees, yet there are spacious clearings here and there. There are many small bushes and a thick blanket of leaves on the ground. They dismount, and Darcy walks off a few steps and then slowly turns around.
This is the place.
Darcy, theres nothing here.
This is the place. Something
has to be here.
Darcy slowly walks across one of the more open areas, as if drawn by some force. The others follow her, looking all around as they go. Suddenly, Darcy stops and stands very still.
Darcy falls to her hands and knees. She sweeps the thick layer of leaves away, and then digs into the soft dirt with her hands. The others join in, and they soon uncover a wooden door. They pull it open to discover a shallow empty grave. Darcy walks away again, stops and looks around.
Those graves, or whatever
they are, are everywhere.
Dozens of them, all empty.
But what about Althea?
Darcy walks back to the others and looks at the empty chamber in the ground.
Im certain she was in this
grave, but now shes gone.
We have to find her, if
were not too late already.
And what is going on here?
They look at each other, then look back at the empty grave. Mark lets the door fall shut, with a loud slam and a swirling cloud of dust and leaves.
As the four royal warriors walk back toward their horses, savage war cries erupt several yards behind them. They turn to confront a half-dozen attacking, sword-wielding outlaws.
A group of young women in chains are huddled nearby, too frightened to do anything but watch the fight.
As the attackers draw near, Darcy moves to the left and Mark moves to the right, forcing the attackers to spread out. Adam and Tara spring high into the air, flip head over heels and tumble down behind the attackers. The royal four draw their swords and meet the challenge being forced on them.
The first man to reach Darcy gets too close before he draws his sword back for a swing, so Darcy backhands him, and then kicks the second man. Finally, there is a clash of blades, as the third man tears into her.
Mark is blocking and dodging blows from two men.
The two men that Darcy downed recover and go after Adam and Tara.
The forest is filled with the sounds of clashing steel, vicious kicks and groans of pain. At first, the royal four are only defensive, but their attackers give them no choice but to be more aggressive. They are forced to start killing.
As one of the outlaws charges toward Darcy, obviously bent on murder, another outlaw turns and stops him, saying:
Shes only a girl!
Outta my way!
No! Leave the girl alone!
The bad outlaw pulls back and thrusts his sword into the good outlaws stomach. When he turns toward Darcy again, she wastes no time in cutting him down.
When the fight ends, the four young warriors are standing among the bodies of their enemies. Darcy kneels and lifts the head of the man who tried to help her. Near death, he stares at her and tries to speak, but he cant.
The man continues to stare at Darcy, his face distorted with intense pain and fear, but his lips never move.
|GOOD OUTLAW (V.o.)|
(fear and pain)
All right, Tras. I want you to
tell me whos behind this? Who
do you work for?
GOOD OUTLAW (V.o.)
The man dies and Darcy lowers his head to the ground. She looks up at her friends with a very disturbed expression.
He was working for Judge Xendar.
Theres got to be some kind
of mistake, Darcy!
The man was dying. He knew he
was dying! Why would he lie?
We can discuss that later.
Right now, we need to help
They walk over to the frightened women. All the women are wearing locked wrist cuffs and chains, with a long central chain connecting them together.
(afraid, but hopeful)
Are you going to let us go?
Yes. You have nothing to fear
Where are you from?
They kidnapped us from our
village in the next valley.
Is there an Althea among you?
The young women look around and shake their heads no.
We need to find the key.
Maybe not. Hold out your
The women raise their chained hands. Adam cups his palms over the bracelets one at a time and the locks release and fall free. The women are amazed and react with joy.
Nothing to it really. Its
just a little trick I do.
Do you know where these men
were taking you?
The women again shake their heads no.
Have you heard of any other
Weve heard rumors of missing
women, but thats really not
all that unusual, you know?
Can you get home on your own?
You just watch us! Thank you
all so much!
The excited group of women run back into the forest.
Well, I think its obvious
what were dealing with here.
They snatch women from all the
villages around here, and bring
them to these holding bins. And
when they have their quota, they
take the lot on to somewhere
Where theyll be sold like cattle.
And probably taken off to some
distant land, never to be seen
or heard from again.
What are we going to do about it?
The only lead we have is Judge
Xendar. We have to return to
Hope Haven and see if he has
any of the answers.
(critical, but unsure)
Darcy, weve known Judge Xendar
all of our lives. He and our
father were boys together. Do
you really think he could be
involved in this?
His name was the last thought
of a dying man. Now, its up
to us to find out the truth,
whatever that truth is.
And we have to hurry. There
are other captives out there,
including your Althea.
You arent sensing anything
more from Althea?
No. Theres only silence now. It
leaves a strange emptiness in me.
Well find her, Darcy. I know
we will. We wont give up.
Darcy smiles at Tara, then nods. They sheath their swords and head for the horses.
EXT. THE RIVER - DAY
Still unconscious and entangled in the large leafy tree limb, Xena continues to float down the river. Blood flows from her many wounds, and scarlet streamers swirl away from her in the dark water.
A MAN, at first glance obviously a MOUNTAIN MAN, stands on the low bank and stares silently into the deep water. There is enough chill left in the early Spring air, that he hasn't completely shed his crude fur garments. He holds a fishing pole in his hands, and his eyes are perhaps focused on the spot where his line vanishes beneath the surface of the water. The hardened expression on his deeply lined face suggests he isn't seeing the water at all, but instead some distant and sad memory. He has had nearly half a century to accumulate those dark memories.
Movement in the center of the stream draws his attention. The thick leafy limb slowly turns in the lazy current, finally revealing the woman. The man's expression changes from curiosity, to profound surprise, and then concern. He throws the fishing pole down and dives into the river, swimming toward the injured woman.
With only a few determined strokes of his strong arms, he reaches Xena. He holds onto the limb and quickly examines her. He then pulls her from the branches and drags her back toward the bank, at last coming aground on a wide sandbar. They lay together at the water's edge, Xena near death, and the man clearly more alive than he was only minutes before. Breathing hard, he looks down at her in disbelief.
INT. GRATH'S CABIN - SAME
The mountain man, GRATH, has placed Xena on his bed at one end of the rectangular room. It is evident that he has made some effort to clean her up, attend to her more serious wounds, and make her as comfortable as he can. She is still wearing her wet clothing, but he has draped a blanket over her from the waist down.
Grath throws a log on the fire in the large fireplace, then stands looking over at the still unconscious woman. He seems completely uncertain about what to do next. After a long moment, he walks over and looks down at Xena.
You just better be glad that I
decided to go fishing today.
I've never caught anything like
EXT. A THICK FOREST - DAY
Gabrielle, shackled and chained to seven other young women, stumbles along the barely discernible path. There are four men in the lead, and two more bringing up the rear. No one is happy, neither outlaws nor captives. Nobody says a word, and the only sounds are their feet rustling through the leaves and the occasional patch of grass. The women are frightened and exhausted, and the gang is sullen and indifferent.
EXT. A MOUNTAIN STREAM, ABOVE A WATERFALL - DAY
A very reluctant Gabrielle and her fellow travelers jump from rock to rock that extends above the surface of the water. The remnant remains of a toppled tree provides a convenient handrail halfway across, where it ends in mid-air. The stream gushes down the slope, sending white water foaming into the air. The strong rapids look and sound threatening, and they are a formidable obstacle that they must cross.
Mid-stream, the frightened women panic and freeze in their tracks. An angry and impatient man, who has already made it across, jerks hard on the long chain. Screaming, the women desperately try to leap to the next rock, but two of them don't succeed. Gabrielle and another woman manage to pull one of the fallen women from the water, but the last woman in the group flounders helplessly in the rapids, as the other women struggle to keep from plunging into the deadly stream.
One of the outlaws from the rear arrives and sizes up the situation. With one swift blow of his heavy sword he chops the woman's hands off. The remaining women watch in horror as the woman disappears over the waterfall. Nobody says a word, as they turn away and continue on across the stream.
EXT. WIDE CLEARING IN THE FOREST - SAME
The men stop Gabrielle and the others at the edge of the clearing. Four of the gang walk out into the clearing and begin digging in the soft ground with their hands, then they open hidden doors and pull more women from the grave-like compartments. Once the occupants are removed, the doors are again concealed beneath a bed of soil and leaves. Now a total of fifteen chained women are herded on their way through the forest.
EXT. TOWN OF HOPE HAVEN - SAME
The royal four ride into town, passing an array of buildings and a large open-air market. The citizens are clustered in various locations, while many others are walking about. The four ride passed a large fountain in the town square and dismount at a hitching rail in front of one of the larger stone-block buildings. The towers of Hope Haven Castle can be seen in the distance. They wrap the reins around the rail and slowly walk over to a nearby tree. They stand in the shade and look around for a moment. No one else is nearby, and no one is paying them any notice.
Just how are we going to do this?
If we watch him, who knows how
long it would take for him to
make a wrong move?
Exactly. We dont have time.
We could wait until dark and
break into his office.
Oh, sure! And if we didnt find
evidence, we would all be in
serious trouble with both Judge
Xendar and my father!
Mark, how can you even suggest
such a thing?
Were up against some ruthless
scumbags, there are no rules!
The point is, we dont have time
to waste. I say we go in there
and confront him with what we know.
What you suspect, Darcy.
I have some questions, and he
better have some good answers.
If he is involved, we could be
tipping him off.
Thats a risk we have to take.
Darcy, since you and Adam know
Judge Xendar, perhaps you two
should talk to him. Mark and I
could just complicate matters.
Little sis is right. Well go
for a stroll through the market,
while we wait for you.
But if you arent out of there
within an hour, were coming in.
Adam squeezes Taras hand and gives her a kiss.
Well be fine. See you shortly.
Mark and Tara head for the market, as Adam and Darcy pass through a gate into a walled courtyard.
EXT. ANOTHER STREET IN HOPE HAVEN - DAY
Two young women are walking along the otherwise empty street. They are talking and laughing, paying almost no attention to their surroundings. Suddenly, two rough-looking outlaws rush from an alley and grab the women, covering their mouths to prevent screaming. Both women try to struggle, but they are easily dragged away down the alley.
INT. JUDGE XENDARS CHAMBERS - DAY
JUDGE XENDAR is a bit more than middle-aged, yet he isnt old. He is healthy and exudes a youthful vitality. He gets to his feet and walks around his large desk, as his man servant leads Adam and Darcy into the room.
Welcome, my young friends! And
to what do I owe the pleasure
of this royal visit?
I well remember you two running
and playing in this very room
when you were youngsters, but
now I rarely see you. Is there
a problem? Hows your father
Theyre fine, Judge Xendar. And
how are you doing?
Excuse me, but thats enough....
Enough small talk. We have a
very important matter to ask
(with a weak smile)
So, what can I do for you?
(jumping in to
cut Darcy off)
We were attacked on the road
this morning by a group of men
who were obviously slave traders.
Judge Xendar appears to be shocked, and he doesnt seem certain what to say.
Well, are you two all right?
Tell me what happened. Where
are these men now?
We were forced to kill them,
but before the last man died
he told me his name was Tras,
and that he was working for
you. Thats why were here,
we need some answers.
You killed Tras?
Actually, he tried to help
me, and he was killed by his
Yes, that figures. Tras was a
A good man? He was a slaver!
And he tried to murder us.
You dont understand. Tras
told you the truth, he was
working for me.
Adam and Darcy look at each other, and their hands instinctively reach for their swords and rest there, waiting for the next sandal to drop.
EXT. ANOTHER LOCATION IN HOPE HAVEN - DAY
A young man and woman hurry across an almost empty street and turn the corner onto a narrow side street. They are confronted by three men with swords. The outlaws rush forward, kick the young man to the ground and grab the woman. When the young man recovers and tries to fight back, the outlaws run him through, and then drag the woman away.
EXT. THE MARKET - DAY
Mark and Tara are looking at various items piled on a long table. It is growing late in the evening, so the crowd is beginning to thin out. Tara walks away from Mark and hurries over to another display several yards away.
One of the outlaws slowly walks up to Tara, hesitates to quickly glance around, then he grabs the princess and drags her between two buildings. Mark looks up just in time to see his sister disappear, and he charges after her.
When Mark enters the alley he is confronted by two men, one with a sword, one with a club. Mark jumps high and kicks both men in the face, sending the men and their weapons flying in different directions.
Mark is immediately blocked by two more outlaws, both with swords. Mark pulls his sword and moves forward, then he parries their thrusts and kicks them unconscious.
Mark runs to the end of the alley and turns the corner, to see Tara being dragged toward a stand of trees. Before Mark can fully react, an outlaw smashes a large board into the back of his head and knocks him unconscious. The other outlaws rush over the fallen prince to join the one with Tara, and they all vanish into the forest.
INT. JUDGE XENDARS CHAMBERS - DAY
Adam and Darcy stare at Judge Xendar with growing suspicion.
What about the women?
Adam and Darcy pull their swords and glance around expecting trouble. Adam stands firm, as Darcy walks over and glances out the open door. Seeing nothing suspicious, she returns to her brothers side.
Who said anything about women?
What do you think youre doing?
Put those swords away, before
Im forced to go to your father!
We never told you about the
women being there, so you
better explain how you knew.
This whole thing is about
women. I know whats going on,
and you must have run across
them with women, or they
wouldnt have attacked you.
Are you saying you know whats
going on, but you dont know
who is behind it?
Precisely, my dear. Tras was
my agent. At last report he had
infiltrated the gang, and he
was confident that he would
soon identify their leader. My
investigation has been going on
for months, but all the leads
died with Tras.
Maybe we can find out something,
and pick up where Tras left off.
You two? No, this is much too
dangerous for you two to get
Were no longer those two little
kids that use to play here, and
disrupt your business meetings.
No, you most certainly are not!
But I still want both of you to
promise me you will leave this
matter alone. The great laws of
this land shall prevail, justice
will be served, I promise you
that, my young friends.
Thank you for seeing us, Judge
Xendar, and please let us know
if there is anything we can do.
Please come back more often.
Oh, Ill see you at the
Adam and Darcy sheath their swords and walk out.
EXT. HOPE HAVEN TOWN SQUARE - DUSK
Adam and Darcy come through the gate from the walled courtyard and see Mark staggering near the fountain. They run to him, as he falls to his knees. Adam and Darcy sink to their knees and grab hold of Mark.
Mark, what happened?
(pain and sorrow)
They have her.
Who has her?
The slavers. They escaped to
the forest south of town.
Two soldiers come running up, and Darcy stands to face them.
What happened, Your Highness?
Princess Tara has been abducted.
Report to your commander, and
then begin a search of the south
Right away, Your Highness!
Both soldiers bow, then hurry away.
(anger and fear)
They cant mount a search
before morning, its getting
Darcy again kneels and tends to Mark.
Shell be all right, Adam. They
want the women alive and in
good condition. Well find her.
(trying to sound
Yeah, I know Tara will be okay,
its the bad guys Im worried
about. Theres no telling what
shell do to them.
In spite of herself, Darcy smiles at Adams remark. Then, Mark collapses into Darcys arms, and the seriousness of the situation returns.
INT. GRATHS CABIN - DAY
Grath sits on the edge of the bed beside Xena. She is still unconscious. He slowly reaches out and gently turns her face toward him. He just looks at her for a moment, then gently brushes the long hair back from her face. After a long moment of thoughtful silence, he takes a wet cloth from a pan of water and tenderly baths her face for a while. Then, Grath sits back and looks intensely at the woman.
You just rest for now. The
gods have brought you this
far. They have brought you
to me for a reason, so they
wouldnt take you away so
INT. GRATHS CABIN - NIGHT
Grath throws a log into the fireplace and stands with his back to the bright, warm flames. He looks across at Xena, bathed in the soft glow of several candles placed near her. He has left the cloth folded across her forehead, and the blanket has been pulled up to her neck.
Grath walks back to the bed and again sits beside Xena. He again wets and wrings out the cloth, then places it back on her forehead. To his great surprise, she reacts to his touch and turns her head away.
Grath quickly, but gently, turns her face toward him again. She slowly opens her eyes, and struggles to focus on the man leaning over her.
From Xenas P.O.V., Grath is only a shadowy blur at first, then the wavering image sharpens briefly. She clearly sees the big man leaning over her, and the concern on his face. She isnt frightened at all, she even tries to smile, but then her vision blurs and everything goes black.
Xena has slipped back into sleep, but Grath is happy about this hopeful occurrence. He nods and almost smiles, but not quite. He just sits, unable to take his eyes off her.
INT. GRATHS CABIN - NIGHT
Xena is barely awake, propped up on her pillow. Grath is again on the edge of the bed, this time spoon feeding her chicken broth. Neither of them says a word, but their eyes are locked in silent communication. It is clear that his only concern is her well-being. She is perhaps trying to figure this strange man out, since his rugged appearance is such a sharp contrast to his behavior.
I have pulled many a wild
creature from those murky
waters but, by the gods,
you are the prize.
Xena manages a weak smile, then she sips more soup.
INT. GRATHS CABIN - NIGHT
Xena is alone. She wakes up and throws the covers back. She slips her legs off the bed and strains to sit up. After a moment, she attempts to stand, at last making it to her feet. She looks across the room like it is a vast and threatening place, uncertain if she can traverse such a vast distance.
Grath comes through the front door, and he is shocked to see Xena standing. He drops the ax that he is carrying and rushes toward her, but Xena raises her hand to stop him. He immediately freezes in his tracks and intensely watches her. Xena is clearly still very weak, and every movement causes her body to tremble. She takes several unsteady steps, then she looks up at him and smiles, very pleased with herself. Grath is very pleased with her, too. He nods and returns her smile.
EXT. THE OPEN AREA NEAR THE FORT - NIGHT
Gabrielle and the other fourteen young women prisoners are ready to drop in their tracks, as they emerge from the thick forest into a large area of cleared ground. There are several fires burning in the distance, campfires or maybe torches, or both.
There is a full moon overhead and only a few scattered clouds, so it isnt totally dark. Gabrielle stares at the spots of light up ahead, then she makes out the outlines of various structures within a tall fence made of slender trees. The place is obviously a village, a military-like compound, or a wilderness fort.
As they approach the tall barrier, the gates swing open. As the women stumble into the fort, one of the men stops and motions for the women to keep moving.
to his men)
Throwem in one of the holding
pens for the night, well deal
Gabrielle and the others are herded into a large pen made of slender logs like the rest of the structures. Gabrielle looks around at the other women, who are falling to the ground, several beginning to cry. Gabrielle turns away from the other women and presses her face between two of the logs, and stares silently into the night. She looks like her whole world has come to an end.
INT. HOPE HAVEN CASTLE - NIGHT
King Micha, dressed in ceremonial robes and crown, leaves his throne and quickly approaches the people standing before him: General Aram, Judge Xendar, several soldiers, Adam, Darcy, several dignitaries and several men and women who are obviously the elite members of society.
Queen Kara takes her husbands arm to calm him.
This evening was supposed to
be a celebration of the high
standards of life we have
achieved in this community!
Instead, the unthinkable has
happened. General Aram, you
are supposed to have soldiers
on those streets.
Our patrols were on the streets,
Your Majesty. They saw nothing.
(anger and sarcasm)
Bodies in the streets and young
women, including Princess Tara,
being abducted in broad daylight,
and they saw nothing?
I will double the patrols at
once, Your Majesty.
You do that. And, at first light,
I want every available man in the
south woods. You are not to stop
until those women are found, and
those animals in chains!
Yes, Your Majesty!
The general makes a fast exit. Adam and Darcy walk up beside their father and mother. Judge Xendar approaches.
with the king)
Well bring these criminals
to justice, Micha. And when I
get them in my courtroom, I
will put an end to this terror.
The king doesnt say anything, so Judge Xendar turns to Darcy. He reaches out and takes her hand.
Thank you for your visit today.
(to Adam and Darcy)
I hope you will come back more
Im sure Princess Tara will be
Darcy suddenly increases her grip on Judge Xendars hand, as a series of images flash through her mind: She sees half a dozen strange men climbing the back stairs of the castle, leading to her private chambers, and little Rachels bedroom.
Darcy cries out, draws back her fist and smashes it hard into Judge Xendars face. Xendar slides across the wide polished floor and lays unconscious.
Dont let him escape!
(looking at Xendar)
Are you kidding?
Darcy turns and runs away, toward a flight of stairs.
Daddy, toss the good judge into
raising his right hand)
Anything for you, Sweetheart!
After all, he's just one of my
oldest and dearest friends.
Come on, Adam!
Adam dashes after his sister. The king and queen, along with everyone else, watch the pair run up the steps.
(first looking at
Xendar, then to
Do you sometimes wonder if
maybe we made some big mistakes
in raising our children?
The king smiles at his wife, and she again takes his arm.
INT. HOPE HAVEN CASTLE, UPPER LEVEL CORRIDOR - NIGHT
The wide corridor is very spacious, lined with an array of large potted plants and various displays of weapons and related battle paraphernalia: lances, battle axes, swords and shields, and several designs of body armor. The area is a virtual museum displaying the history of Hope Haven Castle.
As Adam and Darcy reach the top of the stairs, the six armed men emerge at the far end of the corridor, carrying Rachel and dragging her frightened young nanny, TESSA, along, too. With drawn swords and high determination on both sides, they all rush forward to engage their enemies in battle.
The swordplay goes on for some time, then Darcy and Adam suddenly move in unison to parry and kick, parry and kick, taking out the first four men. The remaining two are holding Rachel and Tessa with knives at their throats. Darcy and Adam step toward them, and they move back against the wall, pressing their blades tight against their victims skin.
Darcy looks sternly at the two men, then stares intensely at the nanny for a prolonged moment. The young woman becomes calm, blinks a few times, then she collapses to the floor. Darcy quickly throws her sword into the surprised mans heart.
Now, the last man is near panic, so he holds Rachel even tighter and attempts to move away. He backs into a nook between a large potted plant and a display of swords and shields. Adam and Darcy slowly approaches them, then they stand silently watching and waiting. Adam stares at the sword and shield display and the shield moves slightly, making a LOW CREAKING SOUND. The man with the knife reacts and glances around, but he quickly recovers. Adam stares at the display with more determination, making the shield spin and fall to the floor. The startled man drops Rachel and turns to face the noise. Darcy kicks the man against the wall, then steps forward and punches him hard in the face. With the last man out cold, Darcy quickly turns and kneels down to hug and comfort Rachel.
Youre all right now, sweetie.
These bad men wont bother you
Momma, can I learn to fight
like you and Uncle Adam?
When you get a little older.
Adam is attempting to assist the young nanny, as she slowly regains consciousness. She sits up and looks around, obviously still feeling faint.
I guess the stress got to you.
Im a nanny, Prince Adam. After
the things Ive seen, do you
really think a gang of murderous
maniacs would phase me?
They both laugh, as Adam helps her to her feet.
King Micha storms up the stairs with a squad of his guards.
to his men)
Lock these men up, and then
post more guards around the
castle. I want two guards in
this corridor at all times.
(to Adam and Darcy)
I have no idea whats going
on here, but I have a bad
feeling my son and daughter
are right in the middle of
it. And I want some answers
from you two right now!
Thats fine, Daddy. Well tell
you everything we know on the
way down to talk to the Judge.
The nanny takes Rachel away.
What has Xendar got to do with
Hes involved with all these
abductions that have been
taking place throughout the
kingdom. He knew these men
were going to kidnap Rachel
tonight. I saw it in his sick
Lets go question Judge Xendar.
If he knows anything about Tara,
I mean to get it out of him one
way or another!
Adam walks passed his father and goes down the stairs. Darcy and King Micha hurry after the angry prince.
INT. A CELL IN THE DUNGEON - NIGHT
Adam and Darcy are standing on opposite sides of the cell, staring at a very distraught Judge Xendar, who is seated at a small table in the center of the floor. A couple of flaming torches throw a flickering orange glow over the dismal scene.
Darcy steps up to the table and glares across at Xendar.
Before you tell us everything
you know, let me tell you what
Xendar slowly looks up, revealing a twisted face and tearful eyes. Darcy is momentarily quieted by the mans appearance. She glances away, but quickly looks back at the prisoner.
You are a despicable liar, a
kidnapper, and a murderer!
No! No, thats not true!
Im sure you didnt abduct or
kill anyone yourself. Youre too
much of a coward for that, but
you had others do it for you!
No! Youve got this all wrong!
Ive been trying to stop this
terror and to bring the guilty
to justice. Tras was my agent,
just like I told you.
You knew those animals were up
there abducting my daughter!
You cant deny that, Judge!
Xendar lowers his head and weeps, the proud professional has been reduced to a weak and pathetic creature.
No, I cant deny that. Im
sorry, but I had no choice!
Darcy reacts swiftly and angrily, pulling her sword and cutting a long scar in the table between Xendars hands.
Give me one good reason why I
shouldnt end this right here
Because that wouldnt end it.
That would make no difference
at all. Tell me, young lady,
how did you feel when those
men went after your daughter?
Im serious, how did you feel?
Angry and.. sickeningly afraid.
(nods his head
They have my daughter!
Adam and Darcy look at one another, shocked by the revelation.
INT. THE DUNGEON CELL - NIGHT
Adam and Darcy are silent, still not sure how to react to Xendars news about his daughter. Darcys anger has clearly been vanquished.
The slavers have Sarenna?
(hanging his head)
Thats how they got to me.
They were trying to stop my
investigation, but Tras was
still on the job.
Tras was trying to find out
whos behind these abductions,
but he was also trying to
Yes. Now they may kill her.
I dont think so, Judge Xendar,
because there wouldnt be any
profit in that. Theyre taking
all these women somewhere, and
were going to find them.
Why did they want Rachel? To
hold her for ransom?
Oh, no! Theyre getting ready
to pull out of the country for
good, and they wanted your
daughter to assure them safe
passage to freedom.
Im going to give them safe
passage straight to Tartarus!
INT. KING MICHAS PRIVATE CHAMBERS - NIGHT
The king has shed his ceremonial garb and now wears a simple house robe. He is seated on a low sofa amid an assortment of puffy cushions. Darcy is standing nearby before a large fireplace. She slowly turns to face her father.
These abductions are such an
insidious crime. Obviously,
this has been going on for a
long time, but most people
dont realize whats happening!
One woman even told me that it
isnt unusual for women to just
Well, it isnt. Many people run
away or often are taken away for
many reasons. Women often run
away to marry, or to escape a
cruel husband, or whatever.
Of course, but this is something
else entirely, and we have to do
something about it. And this is
only one problem, there are many
others. We cant just sit here
and wait for the people to come
to us, we have to go to them.
It is our purpose to serve the
people, not the other way around.
Just where did you get such crazy
From my father.
Have I told you Im proud of you?
Oh, only a million times or so.
Its still not enough! You are a
wonderful daughter, Darcy, and a
wonderful person. I am proud.
Well, I have wonderful parents.
You and your brother have been
getting involved with some
dangerous situations lately,
dont think Im not aware.
Its a dangerous world out
there, but we cant just hide
and hope it goes away. I also
learned that from my father.
Where is your brother, and how
is he holding up?
He went to check on Markus, I
think. They have a common bond
in Tara, and Im sure theyre
trying to help each other deal
There are TWO KNOCKS at the door.
Ill get it. I know who it is.
Darcy opens the door to find Judge Xendar and a guard. She steps back and motions for them to enter.
Xendar takes a few uncertain steps into the room. He is haggard, with reddened eyes, and a large bruise on his left cheek where Darcy struck him earlier. He stops and stands, silently waiting, as Darcy walks back to the fireplace.
Father, I sent for Judge Xendar
because I think he should hear
Most people dont
trust outsiders, and they want
to solve their own problems, but
sometimes that isnt possible.
I have always encouraged people
to be independent and to strive
Of course, but were all very
much connected in many ways
that cant be denied. We all
live in the same world.
So, what do you suggest?
We have to learn to trust and
help each other more. It seems
to me that the biggest problem
is a lack of communication. We
need to reach out to the people,
to let them know were here for
them. We have to show them that
we can be trusted and counted on.
How do you purpose to do that?
We need to go out and meet the
people, to show them we care.
We should have messengers
traveling regular routes, so we
can get reports of crimes or
unusual activities. If we had
had such a system before, these
abductions could have been
stopped months ago.
I agree, but can it be done? On
the surface, this is a simple
plan, but in reality it would
be a massive undertaking.
Yes, it will be, but we have
the manpower, horses, wagons
and other equipment, now all
we need is a coordinator.
Oh, now, Darcy, I dont see how
I can take on any more.
You would be perfect, Daddy, but
Im not asking you. Thats why
I sent for Judge Xendar. I think
he should do it.
Xendar is surprised, slightly shocked. He looks at them in amazement.
You would let me do this,
after what Ive done?
Darcy walks over and stands directly in front of Xendar.
I know you were still trying
to do your job, even though
you were terribly concerned
for Sarenna. If my daughter
was threatened, I might take
drastic measures myself.
Xendar touches his bruised face.
I can attest to that.
(to the guard)
Escort Judge Xendar home.
Youre letting me go?
Well talk more later.
When I bring Sarenna back, I
dont want her finding her
father locked in the dungeon.
Do you really believe you can
bring her back, Darcy?
Well find her, I promise.
Xendar turns and goes out, followed by the guard.
That was a big promise, Darcy.
Yes, but one that I fully intend
to keep, even if I have to go to
the ends of the Earth.
EXT. MOUTH OF LARGE CAVERN - NIGHT
Under a full moon, eight chained young women are being led by six outlaws along a narrow trail leading into the cave. Tara is at the head of the line, looking exhausted and extremely unhappy. The princess tries to stop at the cavern entrance, but one of the captors gives her a hard shove, and everyone enters the cave.
INT. LARGE CAVERN - NIGHT
The chained women are led into the enormous cavern, where there are several more outlaws waiting. There are two roaring campfires that cast a ruddy glow on all surfaces and leave the recesses in total blackness. The women are herded against the cavern wall only a few feet from one of the fires.
The women remain standing, fearfully glancing around. The girl beside Tara is struggling to choke back her tears, but she isnt having much success. ONE OF THE OUTLAWS walks up and grabs the girl. She cries out in fear, and the man laughs in her face.
Tara kicks the man hard in the crotch. When he doubles over in pain, the princess kicks him even harder in the face. The outlaw flips backward into the fire.
ANOTHER OUTLAW rushes at Tara. She kicks him in the stomach, and then in the face. He flips backward and rolls through the flames. A BIG, MEAN OUTLAW appears carrying a whip coiled in his hands. With a flick of his hand, he uncoils the whip with a snap, all the time staring at Tara.
Youre a real wildcat, eh? Lets
just see how tough you are!
The man slings the whip behind him, reaching far back so he can strike with maximum force. The whip is suddenly jerked out of his hand by a somewhat younger and stronger outlaw, obviously the one in charge.
Leave the women alone! They are
valuable merchandise that must
be delivered undamaged!
As the outlaws turn away and go about their business, the women slide down the wall into a sitting position. Tara attempts to comfort the girl beside her, who is still crying.
Everything will be all right.
Were going to get out of this,
I promise. My friends will find
us soon, youll see. (beat) So,
whats your name?
The girl manages to choke back her tears and find her voice.
Im Tara. Im glad to meet you.
I never seen a girl fight like
you. Where did you learn that?
I have a mean older brother.
(nods and smiles
Thats a joke, right?
Maggie settles down, leans her head on Taras shoulder and immediately falls asleep.
Tara looks down the line of exhausted and frightened young women, and she is feeling their pain as much as her own. The Princess then slowly scans the cavern with a very different emotion on her face. She sighs and leans her head back against the stone, trying not to disturb Maggie.
INT. GRATHS CABIN - NIGHT
Xena is sitting on the floor near the fireplace, with a blanket draped over her shoulders. She is aglow in the bright firelight. It is a scene that any romantic artist might be inspired to paint.
Grath is seated in a chair not too far away, but far enough that his features are somewhat lost in the shadows. We can see him well enough to know that he is watching the woman at his hearth.
So, you live here all alone?
My Lydias been dead these
five years now.
One day I came home from the
hunt and I found her lying in
her rose garden out there.
Not a mark on her. It was like
she just laid down among her
roses and went to sleep.
I buried her right there.
(a beat, as she
turns to him)
Im so sorry.
You would have liked my
Lydia, Xena, and I know
she would have liked you.
Xena merely smiles.
We were young when we met.
Our families had feuded for
many years, so our fathers
forbid us to see one another.
We didnt care about their
feud. We were too much in
love to hate anyone, and too
much in love to stay apart.
So, we ran away, and we were
We had some bad times, but we
also had the best of times!
For years we traveled around
getting in and out of trouble
at every turn, its a wonder
that we survived.
(he laughs lightly)
Then we came into this valley,
and we both knew that we had
finally come home. We had two
glorious decades right here.
Will you show me her rose garden
With great pleasure.
Xena turns back to the fireplace and stares silently into the flames. There is a deep sadness in her, and it shows in her eyes.
INT. GRATHS CABIN - MORNING
Xena is obviously feeling much better. She picks up a cup of tea, takes a sip, then carries it to the cabin door. The door is open, and she stands there looking out.
The first rays of morning sunshine are illuminating the top of a nearby hill. Xena sees what appears to be a white pony just coming into view. The animal stops on top of the hill, then slowly turns its head to reveal a single sharp horn jutting from its forehead.
Grath walks up to stand near Xena at the door.
Are my eyes deceiving me, or
is that a unicorn out there?
Yes, he comes every morning.
Since the end of Winter, yes.
I wonder why he comes?
Oh, I know why he comes.
Grath steps out the door, then holds his hand out to Xena.
You can use some fresh air,
and the walk will do you good.
Xena puts the cup down and takes Graths hand, as she steps out the door.
Where are we going?
I have something to show you.
EXT. EDGE OF THE FOREST, NEAR THE CABIN - DAY
Grath and Xena come walking around some thick flowering bushes. Xenas face lights up, and she rushes a few paces ahead, where she stops and smiles.
They are standing beside a large cage-like pen constructed of saplings. Inside the pen is a somewhat smaller version of the unicorn on the hill. The little animal just stands quietly and looks at them.
Xenas smile quickly fades, and her expression changes to one of concern.
Thats why he comes. You have
Thats right, and I intend to
have him, too, if I can.
By using her as bait.
Why do you say it like that? In
Athens, this animal will bring a
fortune! Why, any king in the
land would give me a fair share
of his kingdom for this creature!
Youre right. Its your business.
I have no right to tell you what
I thought you would be pleased.
Im pleased to see her. I think
she is beautiful and amazing.
Im a hunter and a trapper! Its
what I do!
I know. Really, I know.
Come on, Ill take you back to
the house. You dont want to
over do it.
Xena takes his arm and they walk back toward the cabin. On the way, Xena glances over to see the unicorn still standing on the hill. Then, she spots the rose garden, and the single grave, but she makes no comment about it. She glances up at Grath, and they walk on toward the cabin.
EXT. GRATHS CABIN - DAY
Xena emerges from the open cabin door and walks across the yard to where Grath is standing.
I feel like going for a walk.
I could go with you.
No. Im sorry, but I need
some time alone. You understand.
Dont get lost.
I promise, I wont.
Xena turns away, walks around the corner of the cabin and continues down the hill. It is a bush-covered gentle slope that goes all the way to the river.
Grath stands and watches Xena until she is out of sight. He appears to be in some distress, trying to make a difficult decision. Finally, he gives in and follows Xena.
EXT. NEAR THE RIVER - DAY
Grath stands at a good vantage point on the hill, watching Xena below. She really isnt far away, and he can clearly see her, except when she momentarily passes behind a bush or a small tree.
Xena stops among the bushes on the river bank. She immediately begins to undress. Grath reacts to this, and turns away for a moment, but then he looks back at her again. She is soon totally nude, and the smooth contours of her body are only partially obscured by the leaves and her outfit draped over some branches.
Xena slowly walks to the edge of the water and dives into the deep river. Grath has a brief view of the beautiful woman just before she vanishes beneath the surface. When she comes up the water cascades down over the black silk of her long hair and her face, and finally over her breasts. She stands waist deep and slowly turns around, then she springs up and dives down again. Her buttocks flash in the bright sunlight, just before she disappears again.
Grath is very pleased by it all, yet he also seems to be under some great pressure, perhaps from his conscience. He watches a moment longer, then turns and walks away.
EXT. THE GRATH CABIN - DAY
Grath again stands silently in the yard, as Xena returns from the river. She is now fully dressed, but her hair is still wet.
So, how did your walk go?
Wonderfully. I went for a
(looking at her)
Yes, I can see that.
The water was wonderful. I
I have a confession to make.
I was watching you... down
there in the water.
Yes. Yes, Im sorry.
I, too, have a confession to
I knew you were watching, and
Im not at all sorry.
if not shocked)
You are a shameless woman,
When I want to be.
Xena walks to the door and enters the cabin. Grath stares after her. After a moment, a smile slowly grows on his stern face.
INT. GRATHS CABIN - NIGHT
Xena is in the bed, propped on her elbow watching Grath go about his nightly ritual. He throws a couple of large logs on the fire.
There! That should hold it
for the night.
Grath walks across the room and starts to blow the candles out.
There is a quality in her voice that says far more then her words. He leaves the candles lit, and turns to look at the woman in his bed, not sure what to say or do next.
That floor must be getting
mighty... hard by now?
Xena moves over slightly, and lifts the covers. Without a word, Grath joins her.
INT. GRATHS CABIN - DAY
Xena sits on the bed, and Grath stands across the room. There is a great tension in the air.
I held you in my arms. I
felt your breath panting
warm in my face. The scent
of your body is like a rare
perfume. I drank the sweat
from your body as if it was
a fine wine...
You had my body, not my heart.
No, I had far more than that!
(a beat, then
Are you saying that it meant
nothing to you?
It meant a lot to me. You
mean a lot to me. I wanted
I wanted to give you a gift.
Dont spoil it now, by asking
more than I can give.
No! I wont let you go!
I will make you stay!
Grath bolts out the door, slamming it behind him. Xena looks devastated, but she merely lowers her head and sits there.
EXT. THE UNICORN CAGE - DAY
Xena comes from the cabin and walks to the edge of the yard in time to see Grath open the gate and free the unicorn. The little animal trots away, toward her mate waiting on the nearby hill.
Grath is standing with his back to Xena, and he doesnt turn around when she speaks.
Why did you let her go?
Because I realized... that I
Xena slowly walks to him, places her hands on his strong arms, and leans her cheek against his back. It is a quick, heartfelt embrace, then she returns to the cabin. Grath continues to stand there, still not turning around.
INT. GRATHS CABIN - NIGHT
Grath and Xena are in the bed. She is laying with her back to him.
I leave at dawn.
EXT. GRATHS CABIN - DAY
Grath has completely shed his furs now. He is dressed in an outfit of leather and light wool. He has a quiver of arrows on his back and a bow in his hand. He is target practicing on the trees at the edge of the thick forest.
Just what do you think youre
If you wont stay with me,
then I want to go with you.
I dont think that would be
a good idea.
I can be useful to you. Watch!
He raises the bow and lets an arrow fly. The arrow sticks in a slender sapling at the edge of the forest.
How do I know thats the tree
you were aiming at?
Grath looks at her in exasperation, pulls another arrow from his quiver, and implants it directly below the first arrow.
He quickly pulls three more arrows, one at a time in rapid succession, and shoots them toward the forest. Now five arrows are in a neat vertical row in the tree.
Well, is that the one you
were aiming at?
He looks at her, and they both laugh.
If youre sure, you can come
I wont take no for an answer,
Xena. I have to do this for you,
and for your friend.
Xena nods and smiles at him.
EXT. THE RIVER AT THE CLIFF - DAY
Xena and Grath are in a rowboat, coming up the river. They look up through the tall trees at the high rock brow of the cliff.
You are an amazing woman!
And dont you ever forget it.
Not a chance.
Grath smiles at her, as he rows toward the river bank.
EXT. TOP OF THE CLIFF - DAY
Xena and Grath climb over the rim of the cliff and stand looking around.
Im sure they were headed in
that direction. We should be
able to pick up their trail.
Its an old trail now, Xena.
Not for me.
Your modesty is charming.
Im not out here to be charming!
Im sorry. Im worried about my
I know. Well find her, Xena.
Suddenly, back down the trail toward the backwoods village, a large flock of birds burst from the tree tops.
Xena leads the way up a rocky embankment to a point where they can see the trail coming up from the valley. Two men are walking up the slope.
Theyre the two that put me
over the cliff. Maybe we can
follow them back to the others.
Since you can follow the trail,
why dont we just throw them
off the cliff?
Xena just looks at him critically and remains quiet.
EXT. THE RAPIDS, TOP OF THE WATERFALL - DAY
The two men make their way across the stream and hurry on into the forest.
Xena and Grath reach the rapids. Grath takes the lead, crossing the stream. He is almost across when one of the outlaws charges from the trees toward him. Graths bow is strapped to his back, so he is defenseless against the man with a sword.
Grath does as he is told, and Xena throws her chakrum, implanting it in the outlaws chest. The man flips back onto dry ground.
Graths evasive maneuver causes him to loose his balance, and he plunges into the stream. He manages to grab hold of a rock and hangs on, but he is almost invisible in the strong foaming rapids.
Xena rushes to him and grabs his wrist. She is barely able to hold him, clearly there is no way she can pull him out.
Let me go! Xena, let go!
In a terrible strain, Xena continues to hold him. She looks up at the raging waterfall only a few feet away. Shear terror distorts her expression.
Let go, or youll go with me!
No! Ill never let you go! You
think you know me, but you
really dont know me! I wont
let you go!
Xena looks over at the old dead tree sticking out over the stream. Holding Grath with her left hand, she reaches out with her right hand. It is a desperate struggle, but she finally grabs hold of the tree.
Xena hangs on, looking at the tree. There is a large clump of roots on the other end, embedded in the bank. She looks hopeful, liking what she sees.
Now, listen! When I jump in...
What!? Youre going to jump in?
I said, listen! When I jump in,
grab around my waist, and hang
With all her might, Xena pulls on the tree. At last the roots give and the bank caves in, dropping the heavy end of the tree into the rapids.
Still holding onto the tree, Xena jumps into the raging rapids beside Grath. He wraps his arms around Xenas waist, just as the rapids swing the tree around and sends them flying through the air to dry land.
They are laying together in a tangled heap. Exhausted and in pain, at first they just moan and dont try to move.
You are an amazing woman!
And dont you ever forget it.
Not a chance!
EXT. IN THE FOREST - DAY
The remaining outlaw is running for his life. He is tearing through the bushes and trees like a crazy man. Abruptly, an ear-piercing war cry shatters the silence. The man looks back as Xena is tumbling high over his head, and he doesnt see her.
Grath is closing on him fast, so the man turns and starts to run even faster, only to encounter Xena in his path. She slugs him and he drops like a rock.
INT. DARCYS BEDROOM - NIGHT
Darcy is sleeping, but the strange mental impressions are again disturbing her slumber. She moves her head from side to side, softly murmuring unintelligible sounds. The dreams intensify, and she suddenly sits bolt upright, breathing heavily. For a moment she stares wide-eyed into the darkness, then she springs out of bed.
EXT. THE HOPE HAVEN CASTLE GATES - NIGHT
Darcy, Adam and Markus exit the compound on horseback at a full run. Two guards standby and watch them ride away, then they close the heavy wooden gates. It is still dark, and several blazing torches on the walls cast a bright light around the area.
EXT. WILDERNESS TRAIL - MORNING
Darcy, Adam and Markus ride fast down the trail. While darkness still lies ahead, a brilliant sunrise is blazing in the south-eastern sky.
EXT. WILDERNESS TRAIL - DAY
Darcy, Adam and Markus stop their horses in the shade of large trees. They remain mounted, looking around silently. Markus grabs his water skin and drinks deeply.
I dont hear you complaining,
Markus, but I can feel your
doubts loud and clear.
I have faith in you, Darcy,
and in your powers, but this
time maybe your hunch is bad.
We have been riding for half
a day, Darcy.
Its more than a hunch! These
impressions from Althea are
All Im saying is the army is
heading south, following a
solid trail. Youre taking us
north, and so far we havent
found a trace of anything.
Were not there yet.
Do you know where youre going?
No, I dont, but Ill know it
when we get there.
Look, if you two want to turn
back, then go ahead. Althea is
out there somewhere, and Im
sure she holds the key to all
Well, fine! Im going on.
Darcy quickly rides away, leaving Adam and Markus to stare after her, and both are clearly displeased.
Darcy can make mistakes, Mark,
but she rarely does.
It really doesnt matter, we
cant let her go it alone. What
makes me mad is that she knows
well follow her!
Careful, Markus, or some people
may think you arent as tough
as you pretend to be!
Adam laughs, and they ride off after Darcy.
EXT. BLUFF OVER LOOKING LOG FORT - SAME
Darcy, Adam and Markus are laying belly down on a stone ledge, staring at the crudely constructed fort. The place is enclosed within a high wall made of slender poles. A crude catwalk runs along the top of the wall, and several men are positioned there. The interior structures are merely fenced pens and several shacks. There is a single large tower where several lookouts and archers are stationed.
People can be seen moving about, mostly large groups of women, but they are too far away to make out details.
Movement draws their attention downward. Half a dozen men come into view, followed by a line of chained women. They are walking toward the fort.
Adam starts to jump to his feet, but Darcy and Markus grab him and pull him back down.
They will be inside before
you can get down this hill!
Shes right... again! We have
to get inside that prison.
And just how can we do that?
I dont think thats our
only problem. Were about
to have a party, and the
quests have already arrived.
Darcy slowly rolls over and looks behind them. Adam and Markus quickly roll over to follow Darcys gaze. A dozen outlaws with drawn swords and no-nonsense attitudes are quietly standing over them.
Darcy focuses on the closest man, near the center of the pack. He quickly grows drowsy and his eyelids droop. The man falls asleep, leans forward, then stumbles several steps and pitches headfirst over the ledge.
The other outlaws stare in amazement, then look at Darcy. Darcy merely shrugs, and fairly exudes innocence.
Adam concentrates on the sword in his face. Suddenly, the sword violently swings around and slaps three outlaws across their faces. The three painfully surprised men flip into the others, throwing the whole pack into confusion.
Darcy, Adam and Markus are immediately on their feet, with swords in hand. As Adam and Markus plunge directly into the battle, Darcy flies high over the pack and lands behind them. Three surprised outlaws turn to face Darcy. She jumps and spins, kicking all three men in their faces. The three men drop to the ground, and two more jump over their bodies
to charge at Darcy. Darcy blocks and kicks the attackers into unconsciousness. Adam and Markus finish off the final few.
Adam reaches down and takes a large handful of shackles and chains from one outlaws belt.
Lets see how they like these.
Markus is at the other side of the unconscious men, where he reaches down and comes up with more shackles and chains.
Theres more here. Plenty to
And gag them. The others in the
fort could hear screaming from
here. I just hope they didnt
hear the fight.
EXT. WOODED AREA NEAR THE TRAIL - SAME
The gang of outlaws are gagged and chained to trees. Adam and Markus do a quick final check to make sure the prisoners are secure, then they walk through thick bushes to a large clearing.
Darcy is holding a piece of parchment against her saddle, as she scribbles a message. She reads it over, rolls it up, and ties it to the saddle. She then walks up and caresses the horses nose and face.
Go home, girl, and hurry!
The horse bolts away and runs down the trail. Darcy quietly watches the animal for a moment, then turns to Adam and Markus.
We cant wait, you know. We
have to get inside that
prison as fast as we can, so
Darcy hurriedly walks away. Adam and Markus look at one another, then turn their gaze back to Darcy. They quickly follow the Princess.
Dont say, here we go again.
I wasnt going to.
You were thinking it.
Oh, now you can read minds,
Yours is fairly easy!
Well, its a good thing you
cant read my mind, because
I dont think youd like it!
If youve got something to say
to me, just spit it out!
They catch up with Darcy, who continues walking.
Will you two just knock it
off? I know youre worried
about Tara, but dont take
it out on each other. Lets
do something about it! Save
all your hostility for those
And, of course, you have a
brilliant plan, dont you?
Im open to suggestions but,
yes, I have a plan. We dont
have time for brilliant, so
well just have to hope they
are stupid enough to fall for
it. Now, come on.
They walk back through the bushes and trees.
EXT. INSIDE THE FORT - SAME
Tara, Maggie and the other women are marched into the fort. They pass several holding pens full of frightened women, then they walk passed three buildings.
They approach several men standing in a close group, obviously more outlaws, but one of them stands out. He is a big man with a beard and scars on his face. From his demeanor and his manner of dress, he would look more at home at the helm of a pirate ship. There is no doubt that he is in charge here. He lifts his right hand, a signal for them to stop.
(turning to stop
The exhausted women stand in the hot sun, suffering with the burden of the shackles and heavy chains. The CAPTAIN steps forward to stand directly in front of Maggie. He grasps her chin and lifts her face, then he releases her chin and runs his fingers through her blonde curls. Maggie begins sobbing, although she is struggling not to cry or make a sound.
The Captain turns and notices Taras disdainful look, and he chuckles with amusement. He then steps back and motions them on. The outlaw leader jerks on the chains to get them moving again.
INT. A HOLDING PEN - SAME
Tara and her group are led inside the holding pen, a structure with log walls and a thatched roof. The shackles and chains are removed. Their captors then leave, locking the heavy door.
The women look around the place and stare at one another, but no one seems to know what to say or do.
EXT. EDGE OF THE FOREST, NEAR THE FORT - SAME
Markus and Adam have donned coats and hats belonging to the outlaws. Darcy is in chains. Markus is in the lead, and Adam is bringing up the rear, as they leave the cover of the thick trees and walk across the wide open area toward the fort.
This plan of yours will
probably get us killed.
What do you expect on such
Well, one good thing is the
gate is on the west side of
the fort, so the sun will be
behind us, not in our eyes.
I planned it that way.
How could you plan...
is a joke)
Markus, youre too easy!
Were probably about to die,
and you two are making jokes?
Your sister is afraid.
What does that mean?
Just what I said!
Youre laughing to keep
Well, you should go chisel
that one in stone!
Were all afraid, Darcy.
You know, I think its these
handcuffs. They do something
for me, know what I mean?
Just try not to look and
sound so cheerful when we
get to the gate.
EXT. EDGE OF THE FOREST, NEAR THE FORT - SAME
Xena and Grath, along with their tied and gagged prisoner, are concealed behind trees. They are looking at the fort, when Darcy, Adam and Markus come into view.
Wait a minute, I know them.
Theyre friends of mine.
What are they up to?
Theyre probably going to get
Should we stop them?
Its too late for that now. We
will just have to go with their
plan, and hope it works.
Once theyre inside, we make
our move, whether theyre
ready or not.
Xena quickly scans all she can see of the fort.
Can you take out those archers
in the towers... from outside
Sure, no problem. You can count
What are you going to do?
Im going right over the wall.
Have I ever told you that you
are an amazing woman?
Youre an amazing man.
Xena smiles, leaning into Grath and kissing him passionately.
INT. THE HOLDING PEN - SAME
Against the far back wall, several ragged blankets have been hung to form a cubicle. Tara walks up to the girl kneeling at the entrance. The princess then kneels down beside the girl.
Hello. Whats happening here?
Youre new. We have a woman
here about to have a baby.
No, but still Im concerned.
Youre Princess Tara!
Shhh. Please, just keep that
to yourself, for now.
Tara charges through the crowd of women, and sees Maggie being dragged out the door. The princess grabs the heavy door, but the lock clanks firmly into place. She looks through the cracks between the vertical logs. One outlaw is dragging Maggie away, and another one is double checking the lock.
Tara! Tara, please help me!
Where are you taking her?
Captain wants her.
I think hes having her up
for milk and cookies.
Both outlaws roar with laughter, as they drag Maggie away. Tara rushes around the large room, and the confused women scurry to stay out of her way. The princess paces around the walls like a desperate caged animal. Finally, she chooses a spot, then turns away. She quickly swings back around and kicks the wall, sending broken pieces of wood flying in all directions. Tara dives through the hole and hurries off to find Maggie, leaving the other women totally lost in astonishment, blankly staring at the hole in the wall.
Do you think we can escape
before the outlaws catch us?
Damn the outlaws, I think we
should get out of here before
that mad girl comes back.
The women rush over and begin climbing through the passage to freedom.
EXT. THE FORT GATES - SAME
Markus, Darcy and Adam approach the closed gate. Four guards are stationed on top of the wall. One of them shouts down to another unseen guard inside the wall.
|GUARD ON THE WALL|
Open the gate!
As the new arrivals enter, laughter erupts from half a dozen outlaws standing nearby.
|GUARD ON THE WALL|
Thats all it will take!
Silence falls over the crowd. Darcy stares up at one of the guards on the wall, and he pitches over the wall and crashes to the ground. Markus throws his knife and takes out a second guard. Adam grabs the gate keeper, who has just locked the gate, and rams his head into the gate.
Darcy is free of the chains, but she uses them as weapons, knocking the attackers in flying loops. Adam tosses his sister her sword, and the trio slice and dice their way through the savage gang.
EXT. EDGE OF THE FOREST, NEAR THE FORT - SAME
Xena and Grath leave their prisoner and run across the open area toward the fort. A hundred yards from the wall, Grath takes his position and starts shooting arrows toward the archers in the tower. Every time he shoots, a body falls to the ground. Unfortunately, they are shooting back, and there is no cover to be had.
Xena cuts loose with her battle cry, as she somersaults over the wall and lands on the catwalk between the last two guards left there. She backhands one over the railing, and kicks the other one outside the wall. She then tumbles to the ground inside the fort and joins the fight going on there.
INT. THE CAPTAINS QUARTERS - SAME
Tara slams the door open with a loud bang and charges into the large room, which is part parlor, part bedroom, and part warehouse piled full of junk. Maggie is gagged, and her hands are tied to the high ceiling with a leather strap. She cant scream out loud, but her fear and pain is evident in her eyes.
The Captain is standing in the center of the room, while two of his men stand behind Maggie. Tara steps farther into the room.
Ive come for Maggie, and
Im taking her out of here!
The Captain turns and smiles at Tara.
Why dont you come in and
join the party?
Darcy calmly walks through the door, with a sword in each hand.
Darcy tosses Tara a sword. Tara leaps and flips through the air, first cutting Maggie free, then coming down hard on top of the two outlaws behind her.
Darcy streaks across the room and kicks the Captain several times, then smashes the butt of her sword hard into his face.
EXT. THE HOLDING PENS - SAME
Xena finishes off several more outlaws as she makes her way to the caged women. She looks frantically through the wooden bars of the holding pens, quickly moving along the barrier toward the door. An array of pathetic faces are pressed into every crack, their eyes pleading for mercy and freedom.
Xena! Xena, Im here!
Xena swings her sword as hard as she can, shattering the lock and releasing the chains holding the door. The door swings open and the women pour out.
Gabrielle emerges with the crowd and grabs hold of Xena.
Xena, youre alive!
So are you!
They laugh and embrace, then Xena takes Gabrielles hand and leads her out of the place.
Come on, theres someone I
want you to meet.
EXT. OPEN AREA JUST INSIDE THE GATES - SAME
Darcy and the others are trying to reassure the women, as they go about gathering up prisoners. Xena and Gabrielle make their way through the confusion of the survivors and maze of the dead.
Remembering, she looks toward the locked gate. She runs to the gate and swings it open. Her worst fears are realized, Grath is lying in the middle of the open ground.
EXT. OUTSIDE THE FORT - SAME
Xena runs to Grath and lefts his head to cradle him in her arms. There is an arrow through his heart. Tears stream down her face, but she is in too much pain to even cry.
Gabrielle walks up behind Xena.
Get me a good horse.
Reluctantly, Gabrielle turns away.
EXT. THE FORT GATES - SAME
Xena and Gabrielle leave the fort, leading a horse with Graths body draped over the animal.
EXT. INSIDE THE FORT - SAME
As the new mother reclines nearby, Sarenna holds the new baby and shows her off. Darcy, Tara, Adam and Markus turn and walk away as Sarenna returns the baby to the mother. The royal four can hear the conversation behind them:
You have a beautiful new baby
girl, now you need a beautiful
name for her.
Oh, Ive known her name for a
long time.... its Althea.
The royal four are stunned, and they freeze in their tracks.
EXT. GRATHS CABIN, THE ROSE GARDEN - DAY
There are two graves in the rose garden now, one very fresh. Xena and Gabrielle stand and stare down at the graves, in a long moment of silence.
Gabrielle slowly looks up, as a movement draws her attention. The two unicorns are standing nearby, watching the women.
Youve seen them before?
What do they want?
Maybe... to say goodbye.
Come on, we still have a
wedding to attend.
Gabrielle leads the horse, as they walk down the hill. Xena looks at the cabin as they walk passed it, then she turns away and walks on toward the river.
You know, Xena, this is really
a beautiful place.
Tears well up in Xenas eyes, and it is difficult for her to speak.
Gabrielle looks at Xena with deep concern, silently sharing her friends pain, then she glances back to see the unicorns following them.
Xena, the unicorns! I think
theyre following us.
Yeah, I know theyre back
there.... but those arent
just unicorns, you know.
Then, what are they?
Royal wedding presents.
Yeah! Princess Darcy loves
animals. Yeah, thats really
a great idea!
Laughing lightly, the young women embrace one another as they turn down the path that runs along the river, the two wondrous creatures walking close behind.