|Episode Guide||Teaser||Act 1||Act 2||Act 3||Act 4|
EXT. FOREST CAMPSITE - NEAR SUNSET
Xena and Gabrielle sit near their fire, wrapped in the odd linen shifts they seem to use as towels, underwear, beachwear, and crucifixion gear. The villagers are sitting around the fire, on the other side.
Look. I'm flattered.
But there's no way....
Gabrielle takes Xena's hand in hers, and distracts her by squeezing it.
It is only for a day. Please, won't you
help us? This is a tradition of our
village, going back many, many years.
You would be only the latest of those
who have given this one day to our cause.
She looks at the villagers.
Would you excuse
us for a minute?
The villagers look at each other, then they get up and walk off into the thick forest, but not far enough to disappear. They watch the shadows nervously.
Save it for someone who
doesn't wash your underwear.
She smiles impishly at Xena's startled and bemused expression.
Look, remember what we were
talking about? Leadership?
Here's a chance to see which
one of us is right. You try your
way, I'll try my way.... It'll be fun.
Did you have something else
planned for tomorrow?
C'mon. It's only one day.
This whole things a setup, isn't
it? How'd you manage it?
Setup? I haven't been out of
your sight for a month! Get real!
I had to sleep sometime.
Gabrielle just laughs and shakes her head. Xena throws her hands up in defeat.
Okay, fine. One day.
How bad could it be?
Gabrielle motions the villagers over.
Guys, you got a queen.
The villagers look extremely pleased. They nod and smile and Escobar seems especially happy.
Excellent! Wonderful! Our village
is just over the ridge. If you would
be so kind as to follow us, I will
bring you to the queen's residence.
Xena glances around at the campsite and shrugs, seemingly reconciled to the idea.
Gotta have a softer
bed than this place.
Xena and Gabrielle start packing up their gear, as the villagers eagerly 'help.' One man goes to pick up Xena's sword. Xena boots his hand out of the way, then boots the man gently away from her stuff.
Don't touch anything.
You could get hurt.
Gabrielle twirls her sais and seats them into her boots. She is grinning.
Come, and I will have everything
made ready, and prepare
your gowns, and....
Xena looks over her shoulder and cocks and eyebrow at him.
Oh, I'm gonna love
this. I just know it.
Xena tosses her bag to her, and they start off. Xena is shaking her head. She is beginning to suspect she's been had.
EXT. TOWN SQUARE - EARLY EVENING
The town is a very good size one. There are cobble lined streets, and several of them are lined with well made houses. It is obvious this place is prosperous. The town square has a big hall on one side, a two story inn on a second, what appears to be a mercantile on the third, and on the fourth side is what in this place passes for a mansion. It has three stories, and is meticulously kept. The gates are polished, and the walk is lined with scrupulously trimmed hedging.
Townsfolk walk back and forth, most of them well dressed. They spot Escobar returning, and everyone stops to watch as the group troops into the square triumphantly with their prize. Xena and Gabrielle are in the center of them, and as Xena is spotted, a crowd starts to gather to point and stare.
Escobar goes to the center of the square, where there is a very large community well, and a bell set into a wooden structure over it. With a theatrical flourish, he picks up a wooden striker and tolls the bell three times.
(under her breath)
Wanna guess what that's for?
Hope it's the dinner bell.
Xena rests her arm on Gabrielle's shoulder and shakes her head. She appears amused.
Some things never change.
Escobar walks over and rejoins the group, then he leads them towards the large hall.
INT. TOWN HALL - EARLY EVENING
Xena and Gabrielle look around as they enter the hall. As in much of the rest of the town, it appears well built and well kept. There are seats for many people, and on one end is a raised platform. On top of the platform has been constructed what appears to be a judge's bench.
I should explain our traditions
before we go further.
Xena takes a seat on one of the trestle tables and waves her hand at him to continue. Gabrielle wanders around the room examining the wall's painted decorations. She is also listening, however.
A man enters. He is dressed very richly, and has a gray beard and moustache. He crosses to where they are, and studies Xena briefly before making a slight bow in her direction.
Malcos, I was just going to
explain to our royal guest....
So I see.
Malcos flicks hand at Escobar.
So you are the one he has found.
What is your name, child?
Xena's eyes nearly come out of her head. She gets up and walks over to him, leaning over him until he backs up several steps.
The name's Xena, grandpa.
Xena. That's a very interesting
name. Do you hale from these
parts? It seems familiar, somehow.
Escobar interjects his body between them, and steers Xena back towards the trestle tables.
Malcos, there will be time later
for you to speak with our guest.
Reluctantly, Malcos leaves. Gabrielle watches him go, then she turns and goes to sit next to Xena on the table.
As I was saying.... It is our tradition
that once every year, all the crimes
and the troubles of our town are judged.
Gabrielle's jaw drops slightly. Xena appears surprised.
You mean... you have
no law otherwise?
Yes. We used to have soldiers and a
magistrate long ago, but they became
too expensive, and the soldiers would
often fight. We decided on this way,
so that during the year there is peace,
and all know they must bring their
disagreements up to one place, at one time.
Xena and Gabrielle exchange glances.
Wow. There must be a
lot to do that one day.
He turns to Xena.
You will have perhaps a score of
cases to hear tomorrow. We are
a peace loving, prosperous place.
A score? You sure you're
not all just dead?
The men and women in white chuckle nervously.
It must seem strange to you, but it
is true. We use tradition and ceremony
to ensure harmony and justice.
Even Gabrielle appears dubious.
Sounds... perfect. But.... I mean,
what if someone does something
like.... Well, if they kill someone.
We are not that kind of people.
Xena rolls her eyes. Gabrielle scratches her jaw.
But if that were to happen, day
after tomorrow, yes. That person
would wait to be judged until the
time of reckoning comes again.
So now that you understand
our ways, come. I will take
you to your place of honor.
Xena and Gabrielle look at each other, then they both shake their heads at the same time. Xena picks up her bag and slings it over her shoulder, and follows Escobar out. Gabrielle remains perched on the trestle table.
The remaining white clad women and men look back at her. They seem uncomfortable.
She picks out one at random.
What's your name?
The woman she is pointing at looks around, as though she has no idea who Gabrielle is speaking to, then she realizes it is her.
Oh. My name? It's Clarissae.
So.. what kind of problems are
we looking at here, tomorrow?
Street thieves? Stolen cows? What?
Not... Really. It's more like....
Jothan's youngest son
insulted the miller's daughter.
Yeah, and then there's
The miller accused her of
charging too much for his bread.
Uh huh... What else?
The men and women gathered more closely around her, they are more animated now and less wary.
The mayor's dog bit
my mother. She's suing.
Don't forget the witch.
Malcos is convinced she cursed his
store. He's owns the big one across
from here. It's needed a new roof,
and the shelves all fell down....
Gabrielle holds her hands up.
Okay... I get it. Thanks. One of
you want to take me wherever
it is they took Xena?
Um... Well.... You can't.
The men and women look at each other.
It's your friend who was chosen.
No one sees the judge before
the judging. It's the law.
Gabrielle hops off the table.
Hmm. That may be your law. Let
me let you in on me and Xena's law.
Where Xena goes, I go. You don't
get one of us and not the other.
We come like a pair of boots.
Pair of shoes? Team of horses?
Salt and pepper? A set of oars?
Two peas in a pod?
Two ruts in the road?
OKAY! Okay... we'll take you over
there. Just don't say I didn't warn
you. It's against our laws, and....
And we can judge ourselves
on that tomorrow, right?
The men and women look at each other in some confusion, but eventually troop out, leading Gabrielle out the door.
END OF ACT ONE