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#V1005 - Episode 05
EXT. DIRT ROAD - EVENING
A good sized wagon train filled with farm produce and hand-made items is stopped in the middle of a well-traveled dirt road. Women and children are huddled behind the wagons as the men, farmers all, attempt to fight off an army of twenty or more ill-clothed bandits.
Xena and Gabrielle are in the thick of the battle, each with a group of bandits around them. Xena is kicking, punching, and swinging her sword in mighty arcs while Gabrielle is using her sais to good advantage. She knocks down the man in front of her with a hit to the temple while she kicks behind her and sends a second flying.
Xena, meanwhile, has her hands full with three huge thugs all trying to be the first to whack her head off. She parries one's blow then slices his gut open, head-buts the second into oblivion and engages the third, by far the largest of the bunch.
She hears something, and looks over his head to see two archers in the trees looking for a good shot. Her free hand fingers her chakram, but the behemoth in front of her is much too big to get a clear shot off.
Without looking, Xena tosses the chakram to her partner. With one fist still engaged, Gabrielle lifts her free hand and catches the weapon on the tip of her sai, swirls it once and launches it. The chakram hits a rock outcropping, reverses itself, hits another outcropping and neatly slices the branches holding up the archers, one after the other. As the men fall, it hits the trunk of a third tree, reverses direction and heads toward Gabrielle.
Gabrielle tosses her sais, pinning both archers to the ground, catches the chakram and wings it toward Xena, then kicks her last opponent in the breadbasket, watching as he goes down in a slow crumple.
Catching the chakram, Xena uses its deadly edge to slice the huge thug's belt. As he stupidly looks down at his suddenly lowered trousers, she lifts a knee and rams it into his lowered chin, sending him down for the count. The rest of the bandits pick themselves up and run away, limping and holding tight to various injuries.
She looks over at Gabrielle and smirks.
Gabrielle smiles primly.
I have many skills.
Rolling her eyes, Xena turns to the group of farmers and their families. Women and children slowly come out from their hiding places and run to embrace their husbands and fathers. Only two are injured, and their injuries are very minor.
Maltheus, the head of the caravan, strides over to the two women with his hands outstretched.
Xena, Gabrielle, thank you so much.
I don't know what we would have
done if you two hadn't been here
and helped us like you did.
We were happy to help.
We don’t have much in the way of
material belongings to offer, but
please, join us for the evening meal.
The food is fresh, and we have
several excellent cooks among us.
Oh, yes. Please stay!
Xena and Gabrielle exchange glances. Xena nods and Gabrielle turns her smile to Maltheus.
Thank you. We'll stay.
EXT. FIELD - NIGHT
A huge bonfire has been laid, and the delicious scents of cooking food mingle in the air. Off to one side not quite in the shadows, Xena and Gabrielle share a fur. Both have large bowls of steaming stew in their hands and are eating heartily. The food is, as promised, delicious and both are hungry after the fight.
Maltheus and his wife, a beautiful young woman, walk up to them. Maltheus smiles.
Everything to your liking?
It's absolutely delicious!
Yes, it is. Thank you.
You're both very welcome.
You know, when I was younger, I
spent some time with the local militia.
Never in all my years of holding a
sword did I ever see fighting like
I saw today. It was... amazing.
When neither answers, he continues, though a bit less comfortably than before.
And that weapon, the one on
your hip, what do you call that?
I've never seen the like.
No, that's what it's called. A
chakram. This particular chakram
is unique, made for Xena herself.
But... I saw you wield it as
well. Like a pro, you were.
Yes, well, that took years
and years of practice.
Xena grunts, swallowing the last of her meal.
She's a natural.
Gabrielle grins at her.
Well, natural or not, it was
surely a sight to see.
Where would one go to...
find a weapon like that?
Maltheus laughs. It's exactly the wrong reaction, and his wife notices it, even if he doesn't. She taps him on the arm and smiles.
Maltheus, dear, why don't we leave
these two alone for a bit, hmm? I'm
sure they'd like to finish their meals
in peace, and I could use your help
getting the children down for the night.
Maltheus looks at his wife in irritation for a moment, then finally notices Xena's icy stare. He reddens.
Um... yes... yes... of course. It is
getting late, after all. Would you...
er... care to spend the evening with
us? We've an extra tent if you'd like.
No. Thank you, but no. Xena
and I have a site already
picked out for the evening.
Brushing her hands off on her skirt, she stands.
We do thank you for your hospitality,
though. It was nice having a meal
someone else cooked, and it
was very good. Thank you.
Maltheus' wife beams.
You're very welcome. It was the
least we could do to thank you both
for saving our lives and our goods.
It would have been a hard winter
indeed if we hadn't been able
to get them safely to market.
Yes, yes, thank you.
Thank you very much.
Like I said, I'm glad we were there
to help. We won't be camping too
far away, so if you should run into
anymore trouble during the night,
call out. I'm sure Xena will hear you.
Maltheus looks at Xena, who stands and levels him a rather pointed look. He swallows uncomfortably and tugs at his collar.
Well, I'm sure you both scared the
ruffians off this day, but if we do
run into trouble in the night, we'll
be sure and holler for help.
Good. Well, goodnight, then.
And good luck at the market!
With smiles and waves, the farmers and their families bid Xena and Gabrielle a good night. Both turn and leave the small camp. Gabrielle notices the grim, set look on Xena's face and sighs quietly. It promises to be a long night.
END OF TEASER