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INT. TORIS’ COTTAGE - NIGHT
It is very tense inside Toris' cottage. Gabrielle and Xena stand on one side of the room, Toris on the other. The room itself is relatively spare and simple. There is a bed on one side, and handmade furniture, a small table, and a chest under the window.
Damn Jaral for bringing you here.
Xena's eyes narrow. Gabrielle holds up a hand.
Wait a minute. He didn't
bring us. We decided to help.
Help? YOUR help is the one
thing we don't need here.
Oh yeah, you're doing great.
Toris turns and points at her.
Get out of here, Xena.
Gabrielle's peacemaker gene kicks in, reluctantly. Toris has never been her favorite person, and time has not warmed her regard for him.
Okay, hold it. We didn't come
here on purpose. We were just
passing through and heard fighting.
You should have kept passing.
And let those people
die? Not our style.
Toris stares at Gabrielle
Look, I know it's a
shock seeing us, but....
How about nightmare? If there
was one good thing about your
disappearing, it was that you'd
never be back to cause more
pain to my family again.
Gabrielle is taken aback.
What? What did I ever
do to your family?
Xena's face changes, as she realizes what Toris means.
Not you. Oh, not you, Gabrielle.
You're just the unlucky little
pawn stuck to my sister.
He turns, and stares at Xena.
I watched our mother burn.
Gabrielle steps between them.
That wasn't Xena's fault.
Don't lie, Gabrielle. It was
her fault, and she knows it!
(pointing at Xena)
Xena's face is grim.
Go on, Xena. Tell me it wasn't your
fault she was taken out, beaten, and
burned to death! Because of you!
Toris! We would have
stopped it if we could have!
It doesn't matter! Don't you see?
Wherever she is, pain and grief are.
She killed my entire family.
I don't want to be next.
Come on, Gabrielle.
Xena starts to leave, taking hold of Gabrielle's arm.
Xena, wait a minute.
This isn't fair.
Gabrielle has to choose whether to pull herself free from Xena or allow Xena to tow her out of the room. She chooses to leave.
But not without a final word.
What about the men who
died tonight? Aren't they on
your conscience, Toris?
Xena and Gabrielle leave. Toris stands looking at the open door for a long moment, then goes to it and slams it closed.
EXT. CAMPSITE - NIGHT
Xena and Gabrielle are back in their own campsite. Xena sits by the fire, staring into it. Gabrielle is still outraged.
How can he say things
like that, Xena?
Because they're true.
Gabrielle stops pacing.
C'mon, you know they're....
Gabrielle, they are true.
Lyceus, my father.... My mother...
my son. They all died because of me.
Gabrielle comes and sits next to Xena, putting a hand on her arm.
He's right. Everyone who
gets close to me gets hurt.
Gabrielle takes a breath.
Xena looks at Gabrielle.
Look me in the eye and
tell me that's not true.
Gabrielle does look her in the eye.
Life hurts everyone, Xena.
Xena gets up, and tosses a rock into the fire. It sends sparks flying upward.
Yeah. Well, I guess that just proves
the old saying that life sucks.
Xena walks off into the darkness. Gabrielle is left to stare pensively at the fire.
EXT. VILLAGE SQUARE - MORNING
In daylight, the village looks even more battered. Jaral walks across the square, and stops, looking around. He shakes his head. Toris approaches him from the opposite direction.
We have work to do.
Jaral looks at him.
She could have helped us.
Toris is angry.
You don't know anything about it.
You don't know her. Thank the
gods we no longer have that
I kept it that way for you.
I don't understand.
Toris grabs his sleeve and starts walking towards one of the town's buildings.
You don't have to. Gather the
men. I want to talk to all who
were attacked last night.
Something must have been missed.
Nothing was missed, Toris! There
were just too many of them! They'll
be back, and we can't stop them.
We'll find a way. Go find the men.
Toris gives Jaral a shove towards a side street, and continues on to the building.
(under his breath)
I thought we found a way last night.
Shaking his head, Jaral goes off.
EXT. CAMPSITE - MORNING
Gabrielle is asleep, still covered in furs that appear to have been tucked carefully in around her. The fire has been tended, and the campsite tidied.
It is quiet, and apparently peaceful. Suddenly, however, Gabrielle wakes with a start and half sits up, looking around her in alarm. Xena is nowhere to be seen.
Xena appears from among the nearby trees. She is obviously just coming from a bath, her hair is wet, and there are water droplets on her skin.
Gabrielle spots her and appears relieved.
There you are.
Xena sets her armor down and walks over to where Gabrielle is sitting. She takes a seat on a log next to her.
Morning. I was trying
not to wake you up.
Gabrielle sits up and pulls the furs around her. She is still a little dazed from sleep.
Wish you had. I might have missed
that last dream. Been up long?
Xena doesn't answer.
Did you go to sleep at all?
I heard staying up all night is good
for ya. Thought I'd give it a try.
Gabrielle reaches out and puts a hand on Xena's leg, giving her a comforting pat.
Why don't we stay here another
night, instead of heading out?
Xena looks around, then looks back at Gabrielle.
No. There's no point in sticking
around. We should get going.
Her subtle ploy not working, Gabrielle decides to play her trump card.
I could use a day off. I think I moved the
wrong way during that fight last night.
Xena's attention is distracted by this. She moves from the log to sit down on the furs next to Gabrielle and begins to examine her in concern.
Gabrielle complies. She turns over and lies down, putting her head in Xena's lap as Xena looks at her healing back wound.
Looks all right, but....
Gabrielle's eyes twinkle, slightly.
If it's bothering you, better not
take a chance. We'll stay put.
I can fix some things....
Restock on herbs.
(under her breath)
Take a nap....
I said, that sounds like a great idea.
INT. VILLAGE BARRACKS - DAY
Toris and Jaral meet with a score of others. This is the village militia, and they are a motley group that includes older men, barely adolescent boys, and even two older women.
It should have worked.
We thought it would. It almost did.
It was like they found us at the last
minute, Toris. We were so close!
Toris paces back and forth clearly upset.
That's the third merchant wagon they
got. If this keeps up, we won't be able
to get any traders to come here.
We need that trade.
Don't you think I know that?
The militia is uneasy.
What if they come here again?
We have to build up our defenses.
We need to make the walls
higher, the gate stronger....
You think that will keep them out?
What we have now won't.
The people in the room mutter agreement.
All right. Let's get to work. Maybe
if we can make it tough on them,
they'll find easier targets.
Jaral and the others nod.
Toris... What about those women
from last night? Jaral said....
Forget about them. We'll do this
ourselves. We don't need help.
Toris leaves. The rest of the militia hesitate, then follow him. Jaral and the woman are the last out.
What thing was so horrible that he
hates them more than the raiders?
I think he's related to them.
The woman shakes her head as they walk out.
EXT. CAMPSITE - AFTERNOON
Xena is beneath a tree, working on fixing a piece of her armor. Gabrielle sits nearby, not doing anything in particular. She is chewing on a stalk of grass, just watching nature pass them by.
After a few minutes of silence, Gabrielle clears her throat and speaks.
Know what I was thinking?
Xena looks at Gabrielle with a knowing expression. It is one of half amusement, half annoyance, and yet is all loving. Gabrielle does not see it.
I think if you and Toris could just sit down
and talk to each other, it might help.
I think if we end up in the same room
again, talking will be the last thing we do.
Gabrielle turns and leans on one elbow.
You'd beat up an old man?
He's only two years
older than I am.
Give or take three
I still think....
Xena pauses, and puts armor down.
Listen, I appreciate what you're
trying to do, but some things can't
be fixed. Toris and I never did get
along. Nothing's going to change that.
Especially not now. Not after...
what happened to mother.
Gabrielle considers this. She watches Xena's face, which is stormy. She decides not to press the point, at the moment. Instead, she crawls closer to Xena and lies down, putting her head in Xena's lap and closing her eyes.
At first slightly annoyed, after a few moments Xena begins stroking Gabrielle's hair with her fingers and this seems to work a calming magic.
Thanks for trying.
That's what friends do.
But I'm not done trying.
Gabrielle kisses Xena's knee, then puts her head back down.
Xena smiles. She puts her arm over Gabrielle's shoulders and leans against the tree. Shortly after, her eyes drift shut.
EXT. VILLAGE SQUARE - EARLY EVENING
The militia is finishing their work. They have greatly enhanced the outer wall with more logs, and built up the gates higher, and wider.
Toris is inspecting the new defenses, and appears pleased. There are also several villagers nearby, pointing and nodded. They also seem pleased.
Good job. Tomorrow, we work
on the rest of the wall.
We did a lot. I feel better
behind those gates.
Yes. At least we have that!
Toris straightens, obviously proud of his idea. He dusts off his hands, scraped and raw from helping with the wood.
We can find the answers. Now we're
on the right track. Let's go wash up,
and have some dinner together.
The militia enters the gates, and start to close them. When they are halfway closed, a yell suddenly erupts from the forest surrounding the village and before they can get the gates locked, a group of raiders burst through them on horse back and attack.
Caught totally by surprise, the militia can only scramble to get out of the way as the men start to destroy everything within reach.
Get your weapons! Hurry!
Toris picks up a small barrel and throws it at a raider. It hits the man, and deflects him from stabbing an older woman. Other militia members start to try and fight, but the raiders are overwhelming in numbers.
The village begins to burn.
END OF ACT TWO