|Episode Guide||Teaser||Act 1||Act 2||Act 3||Act 4|
EXT. CASTLE WALL- NEAR DAWN
Xena and Gabrielle are standing in deep shadows on the far side of the castle wall. A guard comes around the corner, and the two of them go very still. He walks right by them.
There werenít this
many guards yesterday.
Xena somersaults to the top of the castle wall.
She reaches a hand down to Gabrielle who takes a running leap towards the wall before accepting the hand. Xena pulls Gabrielle to stand beside her.
Thanks. You think
theyíre looking for us?
They jump down to the other side, looking around again to see if theyíve been spotted.
Good bet, yeah.
They move into the shadows.
A pair of guards walk over and stand inches from them. The guards look the area over carefully.
Iím telling you I saw something.
Well, thereís nothing here now.
Letís get back to our posts before
Cyrus gives us stock duty.
Both wince and turn to go. Two shadows follow them back to the castle unseen.
Xena and Gabrielle lose the guards when they enter the castle.
Okay, now what?
Now we find Rhea
in this maze.
Xena begins retracing their steps from the previous day. She hears two voices approaching them. She and Gabrielle slip into an alcove.
Rhea and what appears to be a chambermaid walk by. Xena reaches out and taps Rhea on the shoulder.
Rhea stops walking, looking around carefully and peering into the darkness before finally spotting them.
Go ahead, Miriam.
You have work to do.
The chambermaid nods her head and withdraws.
When she is out of hearing range, Rhea moves to the alcove.
What are you doing
We need to find out exactly
what Cyrus is up to.
When did he add
the guard patrols?
Last night. He knows you
were here yesterday.
Yeah, we had
company last night.
She looks around thoughtfully.
We need a way to blend in.
INT. CASTLE - LATE AFTERNOON
Rhea is leading a now disguised Xena and Gabrielle along the corridor. She hands Gabrielle a cloth and opens a door, motioning her in.
Gabrielle nods and steps into the room, closing the door firmly behind her.
Rhea looks to Xena and beckons her with a nod.
Címon. I think they need
more help in the kitchen.
Xenaís eyes widen in horror. She motions back towards the room where Gabrielle is.
Kitchen!? Um, no.
Gabrielle should take
the kitchen, and Iíll....
Rhea takes her arm with a chuckle
You donít have to cook... well, not
much at any rate. You just have to
listen. Trust me; itís the best place for
gossip in the whole castle. Gabrielle
said you had the perfect ears for it.
Xenaís eyes narrow, and she casts a final glance towards Cyrusí room before motioning to Rhea.
Well, lead on, then.
INT. CYRUSí ROOM - SHORT WHILE LATER
Gabrielle is wandering through the room, not really sure what she is looking for. The large desk on one side draws her attention.
She sees a small stack of fine parchment sitting on one corner of the desk.
Wow! Thatís nice parchment.
Must have cost a fortune.
She looks around the room.
Not like he canít
afford it though.
Gabrielle runs a hand across the soft texture, her brow furrowing at the surprising lack of smoothness. Her eyes widen when she realizes there is a firm imprint on the sheet. Taking a chance, she folds the page and carefully stuffs it in her bodice.
She shifts uncomfortably.
Ouch. Pokey parchment.
The door swings open.
INT. KITCHEN - SAME TIME
Xena is in an alcove. Her back is to the room, but she can still hear plainly all the conversation in it. She is busy stirring the pot and the look on her face shows she is not thrilled to be here.
A nearby conversation catches her attention.
Itís not right, Bellus. Serena is a
good Queen. Or she was until
Cyrus started running things.
Hush, Myra! Do you wanna
get us all into trouble?
No! But Bellus, you know the staff would
rather take orders from the Queen. She
should have given those strangers a
chance. They were willing to help.
AndÖ donít forget the castle guards.
Most of them hate Cyrus and only follow
orders from him because the Queen said
to. Besides, Cyrus has managed to cut
off all outside trade and get himself named
as heir. Itís only a matter of time before....
A guard strides into the room, coming to a stop at the bottom of the stairway next to Xenaís alcove.
He turns to her, grabbing her by the arm. He jerks her around to face him.
Where is...? Hey, youíre X...!
Xena throws a punch right from the shoulder laying the guard out flat. Heads turn at the commotion as Xena steps nonchalantly into the main kitchen area.
Bet he doesnít put his
hands there again.
Xena walks out the door without a backward glance. She hears the conversation behind her.
Yeah. Things are
suddenly looking up.
Xena makes a beeline for the stairs... and Gabrielle.
INT. CYRUSí ROOM - CONCURRENT
Gabrielle hears a noise in the hallway and begins dusting the desk when the door swings open and slams against the wall. Cyrus notices a body but not a face, and begins demanding petulantly.
Girl, I need fresh sheets... and towels.
And clean up the mess in the bathing
room too. Oh, and I need a flagon
of wine and two more pillows.
Gabrielle is fuming, but keeps her head down. She nods.
Cyrus doesnít acknowledge her again, but picks up several parchments from the table near the door and slams the door shut behind him.
Of all the chauvinistic,
Her fuming is stopped by the reopening of the door.
Címon. Weíve got trouble.
Thereís something new.
INT. CASTLE STAIRS - SAME TIME
Cyrus passes Xena and Gabrielle without giving them a second glance. He stops at the door to the audience chamber. They slide off into the shadows.
The guard Xena hit comes staggering out of the kitchen holding his face. He sees Cyrus walking down the corridor and shouts.
in na cassle.
He snatches the manís hands from his face and sees the manís nose has been broken.
What in Tartarus
happened to your face?
in na cassle.
Cyrus stands perplexed processing the manís nasally words for a moment. When light dawns, he gets a panicked look on his face.
INT. CASTLE - EARLY EVENING
Xena is standing in the middle of the hall frowning, hands on hips muttering to herself. Gabrielle is peering around a conveniently placed tapestry that affords her a view around the corner without putting her in plain sight.
Itís never easy.
Two lefts, one right, another left,
down the stairs, left, up the stairs,
two more lefts, then a right. I know
thatís how we got there before.
Well, weíve got bigger
problems right now.
Guards are headed this way, and by
the look on their faces, itís not for a
friendly chat. I think weíve been made.
We donít have time for this.
Three guards step into the hallway where Xena and Gabrielle are. Xena doesnít hesitate. A head butt to the first man causes him to fall into the two behind him, and they tumble down the two short stairs in a pile.
Xena takes Gabrielleís hand.
Before they can choose a direction, running footsteps are heard coming from two different directions.
They choose the only direction theyíve got left... forward.
The guard leader spots them.
INT. DARK ROOM - EVENING
Xena and Gabrielle rush into a darkened room, surprised by several whoosh sounds and the lack of footsteps behind them.
Ouch! Something cut me!
They keep moving, around several high walls until the guardís voice can barely be heard.
Pull back. Thatís the labyrinth.
If theyíre in there, theyíre
history. Letís move.
Xena and Gabrielle wait patiently until the footsteps fade.
Ya ever have a day that
goes from bad to worse?
Why do I get the feeling the answer
to that question is gonna be yes?
Because youíre smarter than
the average battling bard.
She draws a deep breath and tries to see in the dark.
Unless we find a torch, weíre
gonna have to figure a way out
of this labyrinth in the dark.
Wonderful.... Well, at least I wonít
be able to see myself bleeding.
INT. LABYRINTH - EVENING
They walk slowly in the pitch darkness, feeling their way along the high wall. They reach an opening in the wall, stumbling slightly.
What was that?
Xena feels around on the floor. A strike is heard, then a spark is seen.
Someone died trying
to get outta here?
Looks like it. Címon.
Xena takes Gabrielleís hand and holds the torch high with the other. They step between the high walls and stare across the flat expanse of space.
It canít be that easy.
Xena examines the floor nearest them.
Itís not. Look at the floor.
The floor is covered with odd markings and glyphs.
There has to be a key to
unlocking the pattern.
Yeah, but what?
They study the floor.
You think it might be something
in those tapestries we saw?
I dunno, but it doesnít do us
a lot of good in here if it is.
Xena takes a tentative first step. Successful, she turns to Gabrielle.
Make sure you step
exactly where I do.
No problem there.
Xenaís takes a second step and is nearly skewered by the blade that springs up from the ground.
You all right?
Yeah. Bad choice.
She steps safely again. Then she takes another, and this time the ground begins crumble out from under her, revealing a very long drop.
Her next step drops a blade from the ceiling and she twists out of the way.
Okay, this isnít working.
You want me to try?
NO! I have an idea.
Gabrielle steps tentatively to share the marked stone Xena is standing on.
Whaddya think about
making a run for it?
Iím thinking someone really
doesnít want anyone in here.
She looks at the ceiling, then at the blade that narrowly missed Xena.
Wonder what other lovely
surprises are hidden in here.
Perhaps I can help?
Out of the darkness, Carena seemingly floats into their circle of light.
How did you...?
It doesnít matter. Can
you get us out of here?
Yes. The entire castle was built with
secret passages and tunnels, and a
labyrinth surrounds the royal quarters.
The only way in or out is through
the front, or knowing the secret.
My great-grandfather was...
shall we say, eccentric?
So whatís the key?
You were right... the answer is in the
tapestry. It shows exactly what steps to
take, but you have to be taught to read it
correctly. It is how we learned the way.
Can we discuss this later?
We need to get to the Queen.
Certainly. Follow my
Carena lifts her gown to her knees, and suddenly her feet are apparent. Xena follows directly behind Carena with the torch in one hand and holding Gabrielleís hand with her other as they make slow progress through the floor puzzle.
Left, forward, skip two, forward; right, right, forward, skip.... and so forth.
Once we reach the other side, Iíll take
you through the other maze. Then youíll
go through the door and it will take you
to the audience chamber. You should
be able to find Serena there or in
her private rooms just off it.
Thank you, Carena. Iím not sure
we could do it without you.
Carena casts a glance at Xena.
You and Xena would have found a
way Iím sure, but I was glad to help.
Serena is my sister, and I love her.
You must, to have stuck around
here all this time. Why didnít
you go to the afterlife?
I couldnít... I couldnít leave Serena alone.
I tried to appear to her shortly after my
death to comfort her and say goodbye,
but it sent her into a terrible depression
so Iíve stayed around to protect her.
When I found out about Cyrusí plan
I knew I would need help.
They reach the other side of the puzzle, and step back into the maze.
Careful. It gets a
little tricky here.
At least we have
light this time.
Finally, they reach the end of the labyrinth and arrive at a door.
Now you must go, quickly.
We donít know how much
time we have left.
Gabrielle removes the paper sheíd stuffed in her bodice earlier.
We might be able
to find out though.
She hands the paper to Xena, who unfolds it carefully.
Not for long.
She looks at Carena.
How do we get the door open?
Sorry. Push the stones.
Top, left, left, right, bottom.
Xena follows her directions and the door silently swings open. Xena douses the torch. The trio steps through to an empty room. Xena goes directly to the fireplace.
Carena glances at Xena, who has placed the parchment on the stones and is carefully shoveling warm ash to one side of the fireplace.
What is she doing?
Finding some answers.
Xena spreads the warm ash on the parchment and waits a moment. Then she removes the parchment from the stones and gently shakes the ash off.
Gabrielle and Carena make their way to her side. Xena hands the paper to Gabrielle.
The sound of a door opening draws their attention and Serena steps into the room
What are you two doing
here? Better yet, HOW
did you get in here??
Xena and Gabrielle look at one another, realizing the Carena has once again disappeared and they are alone with an unhappy Queen.
END OF ACT THREE