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Production #V908 - Episode 08
EXT. WOODS - SUNSET
The young man rides slowly through the thick, forested land, neck craned and eyes squinting in an attempt to find a sign of his quarry before darkness truly falls and forces his delivery to be delayed until morning. That would get him in trouble with the Boss, and trouble is one thing he doesn’t particularly relish. This is his third job in as many moons and if he can’t manage to keep this one, his new wife will certainly go back to her parents.
He is dressed all in brown; brown shirt, odd brown trousers that end at the knee, brown socks that peek out of short brown boots and a brown cap perched jauntily on his head. His horse is almost the exact same color, as are the bulky saddlebags, except where they are emblazoned with a bold, golden ‘USS’.
When the narrow path he is following abruptly widens out into a small clearing, he reins his weary horse to a stop and pulls a small wooden placard from the pocket of his shirt.
Well laid camp. Check.
Two people, I think. At least
there are two bedrolls. Sorta.
Yellow horse. Perfect.
Nodding in satisfaction, he slips down from his horse and grabs a scroll from the saddlebag. The camp is empty, but from the looks of the slowly roasting meat over the cheerily blazing fire, its inhabitants are close by.
Closer than he thinks, as he is brought to an abrupt halt by the sudden appearance of a tall, half-clad, beautiful woman holding a razor sharp disc to his throat. He swallows hard and the razor edge gives him a shave he doesn’t recall asking for.
The woman stares at him through narrowed, steely blue eyes.
He swallows again. Hard.
The woman continues to stare at him as if he’s speaking some language other than Greek.
With exaggerated slowness, he raises the scroll and peers at the name written on the attached tag.
For Miss… um…
Are you her?
For a second, just a second, he fancies he can see a glint of amusement in those striking eyes, but then brushes it off to an overactive and terrified imagination as the gaze returns to its former inscrutability.
If you’re not her, d... do you
know where I can find her?
This time he is sure he can feel it... a slight lessening of the intense pressure against his throat. A moment later, a young, blonde woman enters, dressed only in a brief towel that barely covers her modesty. Looking upon her loveliness, he blushes hot enough to rival the fire.
Oh, Gabrielle. There’s
someone here to see you.
Gabrielle turns and sees Xena and their guest, and offers both a bright smile. She approaches, apparently heedless of the effect she’s having on the poor young man.
Hello there. Can I help you?
He clears his throat and tries again.
Are you er....
He looks at the tag again.
Gabrielle’s gaze switches to Xena. They share an amused look.
Some people call me that.
I’m Gabrielle. Can I help you?
The young man blinks, startled out of his haze.
Er, yes! I have this scroll
for you. Special delivery.
Their hands brush as he hands it over, and the delivery man considers fainting, then considers it again as she bestows upon him another beautiful smile, this time in thanks.
He hears something suspiciously like a growl to his right and startled, he looks in that direction. Only to be sorry he did as Xena’s eyes threaten to incinerate him on the spot.
Oh! Um... if I could just get you
to sign this, Ma’am, to show
you’ve received it, I’ll just...
you know... be on my way.
Gabrielle takes the proffered placard and quill, signs her name with a flourish, and hands them back.
Thanks again, and be careful
getting home in the dark okay?
She turns away.
Give the man a tip,
will you, Xena?
He looks at Xena expectantly.
Don’t take any wooden dinars.
The look he receives sends the poor man vaulting onto his horse and riding away in a cloud of dust, too fast and too frightened to hear the peals of laughter following him home.
END OF TEASER