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The Vulcan Gods

by Sherrie Johnson (a.k.a. TrueBlue)


Fade In:
Opening scene: Daylight. Xena and Gabrielle are walking into another town. Argo follows with Xena holding her reigns and Xena notices many families with overloaded wagons leaving town. Gabrielle is jabbering away and mentions that there is something odd about the town but she is unable to identify it. She also mentions that she is feeling strange herself, exhilarated and giddy, like something is waiting for her. She returns to her idle chatter and after Xena ties up the horse they enter an inn for something to eat.

Inside the tavern/inn Xena sits down at a table and Gabrielle sits down beside her. Scruffy patrons mingle and drink in the background.

Gab: “I know what it is”.

Xena: (taking a drink) “What what is?”.

Gab: “What’s strange about this town. I’ve only seen a few young women and I haven’t seen any adolescent girls. Little girls, yes, but no older girls”.

Patron: (off screen) “Their fathers’ have sent them away”.

Xena turns to the patron. The camera follows with a pan to the left.

Xena: “The girls?”

Patron: “The virgins. The priests are looking for a virgin to sacrifice to the Vulcan gods. All of the fathers in town have sent their virgin daughters away. You won’t find a virgin for 50 leagues. If the priests don’t find a virgin soon the gods will be angered and we’ll all be destroyed by the volcano”. (Said volcano rumbles in the distance and the ground shakes, getting everyone’s attention).

Xena: “I imagine it won’t be long before that volcano explodes. I suppose that’s why all those people were leaving town”.

Patron: “Yes. Our only hope is for a virgin who may be traveling through”.

Xena: “Yeah, and you think she’ll cooperate?”

Patron: “The priests have cast a powerful spell over the land. Any virgin who wanders into town will be irresistibility drawn to the temple at the volcano’s rim”.

Xena looks to her right. The camera pans over and we see an empty chair. Gabrielle is gone. Xena grabs the patron by the collar and hauls him over the table.

Xena: “Which way to the temple!”

Xena exits the inn and heads for her horse. She arrives at the hitching post to find Argo gone.

Xena: “My horse!? She took my horse!? Raargh!”

Xena runs out of the shot.

Fade out to commercial.

Fade in.

Next scene: Gabrielle trots up to the temple, encouraging Argo to go slow. Her eyes are wide with awe and her smile grand from the effects of the spell. She clumsily dismounts Argo who protests her rider’s incompetence. She steps up to the entrance of the temple.

Gabrielle’s P.O.V.: We see the large interior of a stone temple with golden art works decorating the area. A red light bathes the scene. Priests in crimson robes stand in rows with their backs to us watching their high priest. The high priest wears a white robe and gold jewelry and he stands on a stage above. Nearby is an iron cage and in it is a fair maiden dressed in white with flowers in her hair. At the high priest’s command two priest enter the cage and extract the girl inside. She is struggling desperately and cries out as the priests hold her tightly. She is pleading for her life. Beyond the stage the temple is open with a narrow platform rising over a bright red glow, showers of fire and sparks and a dull roar. It is the volcano’s active crater. Gabrielle sneaks into temple.

Ducking behind columns Gabrielle sneaks up closer to the stage.

Gab: (to herself) “I’ve got to save her!”

Gabrielle takes a little step forward. Then she hears the priest exclaim to the crater that the gods want a virgin and he would deliver one into their firey hands. Gabrielle takes a little step back.

Gab: (again to herself) “I’ve got to get Xena!”

Gabrielle retreats behind the columns and sneaks out of the temple.

Looking over her shoulder toward the stage Gabrielle exits the building and she literally bumps into Xena. Gabrielle looks up. Fear of Xena fills her eyes. She takes a step back. Xena takes a step forward.

Xena: (Speaks deliberately and dangerously) “If you....” (steps forward)

Gab: (Steps back. Speaks nervously and quickly) “I stepped out of the inn for just a minute for a breath of fresh air...”

Xena: “EVER....” (steps forward)

Gab: (steps back) “And then I saw this temple on the mountain side....”

Xena: “Steal MY horse....(steps forward)

Gab: (steps back) “I don’t know what came over me...”

Xena: “AGAIN...” (steps forward backing Gabrielle into the temple wall. Xena is in Gabrielle’s face. Her hands on the wall on either side of Gabrielle’s shoulders blocking any ill conceived retreat).

Gab: (meekly) “There’s a woman who’s about to be killed in there” (she attempts to point to the stage in the small amount of personal space Xena has granted her).

Xena: “There’s a woman who’s about to be killed out here!”

Off stage scream from the priest’s victim. Xena is distracted by the sound and after giving Gabrielle THE LOOK she heads for the temple entrance.

(Fight scene #1) Xena attacks the priests who quickly arm themselves with weapons that hang on the walls. At one point Xena is being dangled over the lava crater by a priest and we cut to commercial. Upon return Xena gets the upper hand and Gabrielle gets the girl out of the temple. Xena meets them outside and puts the girl on Argo and directs her to ride back to her father’s home in the next town.

Xena and Gabrielle descend the mountain. The volcano’s rumblings are getting more frequent. Gabrielle is still under the power of the spell and is obsessing about the temple. She keeps looking back at it and stopping but Xena urges her along.

Xena and Gabrielle are walking through the village headed out of town. It is still daylight but it is dark and the weather is ominous. The villagers eye Gabrielle suspiciously and occasionally we hear one whisper, “Virgin”. The patron that Xena talked to earlier points out Gabrielle to another villager and tells him that she had been attracted to the temple. Xena pulls Gabrielle aside, out of view of the villagers.

Xena: “Let your hair down”.

Gabrielle pulls out her braids and runs her hands through her hair. Not enough. Xena tugs Gabrielle's blouse down to reveal her shoulders...then shakes her head. Still not enough.

Xena: “Could you push those (gesturing uncomfortably to Gabrielle’s breasts and trying to demonstrate the maneuver in front of Gabrielle’s chest) out a little bit?” (Gab does to reveal a little more cleavage) “Now...look sultry”.

Gabrielle does her very best “sultry”. Xena sighs. It is hopeless.

Cut to outside of the inn.

Xena and Gabrielle walk nearby and Gabrielle is trying to look sultry for the people they pass but she only looks comical.

Xena: (looking at the large, dark clouds in the evening sky) "There are some bad storms brewing.... We’ll get soaking wet on the road tonight (Gabrielle looks pained) I don’t like the thought of spending anymore time in this town than we have to but... (looking again at the sky) we’ll spend the night at the inn and leave at first light”.

Gab: (happily) “We’ll get a room with some nice comfortable beds?”.

Xena: “Yes”.

Gab: “And clean sheets?”

Xena: “Okay, we’ll spring for clean sheets”.

Gabrielle beams and they walk into the inn.

Cut to a small candle lit room at the inn. Xena is arranging her weapons on the bedpost of the left bed and takes off her armor. Gabrielle goes to the window between the two beds. She pushes the curtains aside and from her p.o.v. the temple high on the mountain can be seen. It is glowing red from the lava pools and lightning flashes above it. Xena steps beside Gabrielle and yanks the drape back over the window, breaking Gabrielle’s trance. Gabrielle sits down on the right bed and loosens her dress. Xena eyes her warily.

Xena: “Huh uh. You’re sleeping over here” (pointing to the left bed), “up against the wall”.

With a puzzled look Gabrielle complies and climbs into the left bed lying down close to the wall. Xena blows out the candle, climbs in beside Gabrielle and lies down as well. She glances suspiciously at Gabrielle and then drapes her right arm over Gabrielle’s torso. They get comfortable, close their eyes and are still for a moment. Then Gabrielle quietly and carefully reaches up toward the window to try to peek out at the temple.

Xena: (sternly) “Lay down!” (Gabrielle darts back under the blanket).

Fade out.

Fade in.

Gabrielle snores and Xena is sleeping beside her. The rain and rumbling thunder outside are heard . Off stage there is a clunk and some whispers. Xena’s eyes snap open. Lightning flashes and thunder claps. She jumps out of bed and grabs her sword. A half dozen priests rush in and the patron from earlier can be seen directing them in.

Fade out to commercial.

Fade in.

(Fight scene #2) A fight ensues between Xena and the priests. The room is small and Xena has no space to maneuver. She is occupied with several priests and in the mean time Gabrielle is hauled away kicking and yelling. Xena defeats the priests on top of her and rushes outside into the pouring rain, thunder and lighting to watch Gabrielle being carried off on horse back by the priests. Xena runs after them.

Cut to the interior of the temple. It is steamy from the rain that falls into the crater. From inside we see Xena rush up to the entrance. She is breathing hard and is drenched from the rain but the priests inside are too engrossed in their ceremony to notice her.

From Xena’s p.o.v. we see Gabrielle in the cage wearing the ceremonial white gown. The crown of flowers lies crumpled on the cage floor. Gabrielle is pulling on the bars looking for a way out. Xena is looking around the temple planning her attack. There are more priests than before and they are already armed.

Two priests enter Gabrielle’s cell and pull her from the cage. They drag her onto the stage and pull her close to the to the volcano’s bubbling and hissing molten lava crater. Xena attacks. (Fight scene #3) She is momentarily overpowered and is pushed into the cage. A priest slams the door shut and locks it. Xena is trapped and she knows it, as does Gabrielle. Close up of Gabrielle and then Xena as they look at each other.

Fade to commercial.

Fade in.

We see Xena in the cage and Gabrielle being held close to the volcano’s crater by two priests. The high priest walks toward the volcano’s rim chanting prayers from a sacred scroll he carries. He orders the priests to bring Gabrielle over. She is about to be tossed in.

Gab: “Wait a minute. I think you’re making a mistake here. The gods don’t want me. Confidentially, some people find me a little annoying. The gods would be very angry with you if you sent them someone who annoyed them. And as for being a virgin, well, technically...yes....but the thoughts I’ve had!! Whew!” (Gab fans herself).

High Priest: “It says right here on the sacred scroll that when the gods are angry they can only be appeased with the sacrifice of a virgin (pointing to the verse on the scroll).

Gab: “Let me see that” (reviewing the scroll) “Hey, this is old Dorian. A very rare language. I’ve only seen a few examples of it but I am familiar with it and can translate”. (She reads from the scroll) “‘Ye mortals beware when the Vulcan gods grow restless and swell beneath the ground. Their sulfur bellows and brimstone roars are cries of envy. They desire a taste of mortal treasure, a pure...a pure...’”.

High Priest: “‘A pure girl’. A virgin!” (the priests yank Gabrielle closer to the rim).

Gab: “No, no! This is old Dorian, not middle Dorian. You can’t read it the same. The hyphen after the vowel changes the pronunciation of the word and it’s whole meaning. It doesn’t say, ‘a pure girl’, it says ‘some pure gold’!” (The high priest grabs the scroll back and studies it, confused). “You’ve been giving the gods people when they want cash. No wonder they’re ticked”.

The volcano releases a thunderous roar which shakes the ground mightily. It appears close to exploding. Gab grabs a gold amulet which hangs on a chain around the high priest’s neck. She yanks it free and throws it into the volcano. The rumbling stops. Xena’s cage is broken open by some falling stones from the temple wall. The rumbling suddenly returns, more fierce than before. The high priest orders Gabrielle into the crater. Xena intervenes.

(Fight scene #4) More stones fall from the temple walls. Xena fights. The volcano roars. Gabrielle throws a couple of gold trinkets into the crater. It is not enough. She spots a chest of gold coins and with a smile runs over to it. She grabs the handle and begins to run toward the crater but falls on her rear when the chest doesn’t budge because of its great weight. She pitches a few handfuls into the enraged volcano. The high priest goes wild at the loss of the gold and orders a couple of priests to get Gabrielle. Xena steps in and engages them. Gabrielle grabs a gold candle stick. It is not large but she drags it across the floor, grunting and groaning, until she flings it into the crater. She watches it fall and turns around to see a priest that Xena has just sent flying across the room headed right towards her. Gabrielle ducks and the priest hits a large gold statue that teeters...then topples into the crater.

Volcano: *Rumble*. Silence. *Rumble*. Silence. *Burp*.

The Vulcan gods are appeased. The priests cheer. The village is saved.

The End

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