|Episode Guide||Teaser||Act 1||Act 2||Act 3||Act 4|
INT. VILLAGE INN - NIGHT
The inn looks better than might have been expected. It is small... a half dozen wooden tables, a firepit and some benches and stools are inside. Xena, Gabrielle, and the musicians sit around the largest table; there are three other villagers at a second. The rest are empty.
So, you asked me about the last
village we were in. It was
Petronikus. Have you been there?
Xena and Gabrielle exchange looks. Xena shrugs.
Not lately. What happened?
It was the craziest thing. We'd been
there a couple months before,
and it was fine. But this time....
The musicians all shake their heads.
This time they nearly arrested us.
Told us music wasn't welcome
there anymore. Real strange.
They ran us out of town.
Is it some kind of local superstition?
No. Some kind of new god.
Xena rolls her eyes.
A god who hates music?
That makes no sense.
That's what we thought. But they told
us their new teachings said music
and dancing were immoral.
Xena rolls her eyes again.
Not only that, they were talking
about spreading all this teaching
stuff to the other villages.
I'm sure it's just a temporary thing.
Next time you go back there, it'll be fine.
I don't know.... They seemed
really well organized.
Goats look well organized
when they're being herded.
Gorat looks uncertain, but shrugs and nods. He gets up. The other musicians join him.
Maybe you're right. I hope so.
If that spreads far, we're sunk.
He looks at the others.
So let's enjoy our nice
reception while we can.
The musicians leave. Xena and Gabrielle sit for a moment, then get up and follow them.
INT. XENA AND GABRIELLE'S ROOM - NIGHT - SHORT TIME LATER
Xena is sitting up in the somewhat small bed. Gabrielle is lying down with her legs over Xena's thighs. Xena is applying a bandage to Gabrielle's knee. They are both dressed in their all purpose muslin shifts, and near the window their regular clothing is hung out to dry.
Gabrielle flexes her leg.
A little better. How's your hand?
Xena flexes her hand, also encased in a new bandage.
A little better. Teach me to
punch a bear in the head.
Teach me to try stealing
honey from one.
I think we should go back to
that town and see what's up.
With the music?
Sounds like it's more than music.
I'd just like to be sure.
Xena thinks about it.
Maybe it's nothing, but on
the chance it isn't....
We can nip it in the bud.
Sure. It's not like we've got anyplace
we've got to be otherwise. Might as well.
Gabrielle looks up at the ceiling.
Good a direction as any, huh?
They both sit quietly for a few minutes, relaxing and enjoying the peace.
But let me tell ya, we find a guy
in a condom hat again, I'm
not wasting time on talking.
Gabrielle groans, and covers her eyes.
And if we find another Tara, I'm
not waiting to get my ear bitten.
She makes a punching motion.
Bam. She's going down.
They both start laughing and we -
EXT. COUNTRY ROAD - MORNING
Xena and Gabrielle walk down a dirt wagon road. Gabrielle still uses her staff as a prop, and Xena appears to be weaving something out of tree vines in her hands.
Argo II ambles along behind them, appearing moderately bored.
It is bright and sunny, but there is a strong wind, and it blows leaves across the road, pelting both Xena and Gabrielle with them. Gabrielle catches a leaf, and examines it.
Why do leaves fall, Xena?
Xena gives Gabrielle a strange look.
Because they're dead.
You know, it's that whole
circle of life... thing.
Well, yeah, I know, but why do the
leaves all die every year? You'd
think it would be better for the tree
to keep them around it to keep
it warm in the cold weather.
Xena continues her work. She is braiding some kind of basket.
Trees' got limited resources in the
winter, so it kills off its leaves
so it doesn't have to feed them.
Nature. It's practical.
And sometimes very brutal.
They both look up as they hear people coming down the road towards them. It is what is left of a merchant train... a wagon that has seen much better days, two bony, tired looking horses, and eight or ten men and women walking beside it. The wagon has a few boxes and some bundles of cloth in it.
As the people come up to them, they slow and stop, obviously wanting to speak.
Ho, strangers. Where
are you headed?
The people look at Xena and Gabrielle uneasily.
I meant no offense! My name is Elios,
and I was just going to pass on a
friendly warning! But never mind...
we'll just go on our way.
Xena, be nice.
You're the nice one, remember?
So get cracking.
The people start to move on, edging around Argo II who is standing in the middle of the road. Gabrielle goes after them.
Sorry about that... we don't usually
find friendly people in our travels.
We're headed to Petronikus.
Elios is still in a bit of a snit. The others react visibly to the town name, however, whispering to each other and giving Xena and Gabrielle doubtful looks.
Have a nice trip, then.
A woman behind him pokes him.
Elios, tell them.
Tell us what?
Gabrielle takes Elios arm.
Really, we're sorry.
Elios allows himself to be charmed. Xena watches this and rolls her eyes, then she goes to Argo II and starts packing away her vine basket.
(over her shoulder)
She's Gabrielle, by the way.
If you're going to Petronikus, I
hope you're not staying long.
We've just come from there.
Ran from there, you mean.
It was horrible. They invited all
the merchants in the area to
come to their festival, and then....
Then they robbed us blind!
Xena looks up over Argo's back in surprise.
They did! Oh, they claimed it
was god's tax. Some new temple
they put up there... they've taken
the place over. Everything's changed.
XENA AND GABRIELLE
Oh, we could sell our things, sure,
but they took half of whatever we made.
XENA AND GABRIELLE
And they made us sit and listen to
this new doctrine they're preaching.
All about how we have to listen to
god, and do what god says, and
give god all of this, and all of that....
Doesn't have a name, according to
those guys. It was creepy. How can
you pray to a god with no name?
What do you call him, hey you?
Xena and Gabrielle exchange looks.
Well, thanks for telling us. Sorry
you had such a rough time.
The wagon starts to move on. Xena, Gabrielle and Argo II move in the opposite direction.
Hey.... Where are you going?
Gabrielle turns and walks backwards.
But we told you what happened to us!
That's why we're going. We
don't want it to keep happening.
Gabrielle turns and catches up to Xena. They continue walking away down the road.
I don't like the sound of that.
Me either. You think it's a scam?
Xena looks vaguely troubled.
Well, we'll find out soon enough.
And next time, you get to be nice. I'm
over being the nice one all the time.
Xena looks at Gabrielle.
You ever see me try to be nice?
You can be very sweet when you
want to be, Xena. Don't give
*me* that old curmudgeon act.
Xena gives Gabrielle an evil look.
END OF ACT ONE