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by Liz Zellner (Goldmoon)
Bright sunlight streams in through a small window in a luxirious bedroom. A girl around thirteen or fourteen enters the room very quietly. She is dressed in a long, expensive looking gown. She tiptoes to where an elaborate tapestry is hanging on the wall. The girl pulls back the tapestry to reveal a secret passage! She tiptoes through the doorway and disappears into the black of the tunnel.Fade out.
Gabrielle and Xena are walking along an obviously well traveled path.
Gabrielle: Where are we going
Xena:We are going to visit a friend of mine, Lenoticus. He's a horse breeder, he's having trouble breaking in a foal. I told him I'd help him with the horse.
Gabrielle: (slightly disapointed) Oh.
Camera pans a small ranch in the country. In the background you can see a large castle.
Xena: Hello, Lenoticus.Long time no see.
Lenoticus: It has been a while, too long I believe. How about coming inside and having a good meal together, I'm certain you are tired after your long day on the road.
Xena: Yes, we're coming, just let me put Argo in the pasture.
She heads over to the small pasture where many other horses are grazing.
The same girl from before emerges from the tunnel. This time she is wearing simple hunting clothes. She has strapped a small dagger to her ankle. Her long golden blond hair streams over her shoulders where she has a quiver of arrows with purple feathers strapped to her back. A simple longbow is in her hands. She holds it with an air of familiarity and quickly exits the room.
The girl is being pushed along very gently by two armed guards. They take her to where a middle-aged man who wears a thin band of gold aound his head sits.
King: Lydia, my daughter, when will you ever learn, it is not right for a princess to go tromping through the woods hunting when she has to prepare a wedding that will take place in two weeks.
Lydia: But father, I cannot stand Justarius, he is a snotty little upstart who will make a horrible king one day.
King: Daughter, you know I wouldn't have you marry Justarius if I had a choice. But if you don't, King Adragius will declare war on our small kingdom. Besides, your changing the subject, no more hunting, do you hear me?
Lydia: Yes father, I will not hunt again...(under her breath) today.
King: (Not having heard her mumbling)That's good honey, now run along now and finish your needlework.
Lydia; (playing the happy daughter) Ok father!
(Back in her room) Lydia:(pouring over a thick book) ..and the mighty Amazon nation was born. If only I could be one of them, to hunt and study books and learn how to fight with weapons without having to sneak around....(Fade out with Lydia dreaming of being an Amazon)
Camera pans a large piece of land before settling on Xena, Lenoticus, Gabrielle, and a frisky young foal. Lenoticus puts a saddle on the foal and hands the reins to Xena.
Lenoticus: Well here he is, try and ride him, he's a hard one to break, but I know that your up to the task.
Xena: Let's show this little horse a thing or two about being ridden shall we?
Gabrielle:(in Xena's ear) I have a bad feeling about this.
Xena: (in Gab's ear) I'll be fine, don't worry about me.
Xena mounts the foal. She easily rides in a circle around Gabrielle and Lenoticus. Then she starts getting careless. She lets go of the reins and rolls her eyes at Gabrielle. Then, the little horse sees a large shadow in front of it. It spooks. Xena tries to grab the reins, but she is, for the first time in her life, too slow. She falls from the horse in slow motion. When she hits the ground her arm is sliced by a sharp rock. She winces, but does not cry out. Gabrielle instinctively runs to her side. Lenoticus is only two steps behind her.
Gabrielle: I told you I had a bad feeling about this.
She takes some bandages out of her pouch and bandages up Xena's arm.
Gabrielle:(to Leno) this will stop the bleeding. That's a nasty gash on her arm, but it could have been worse.
Xena:(between gasps of pain) Help me up.
Gabrielle and Lenoticus try to help her up. Xena cries out in agony.
Xena: My..my hip, ..it's....broken..get...a...stretcher.
Gabrielle's face is full of concern for her friend.
Xena: Don't look so....depressed..I'll be fine... it'll..just take...time to..recover.
Gabrielle quickly builds a makeshift stretcher using Lenoticus's cloak and two strong branches.
(Fade out as Gabby and Lenoticus carry Xena towards Lenoticus's house.)
(Fade in, setting: a small dark house (Lenoticus's) Xena lies on a small bed in the corner.Gabrielle sits beside her looking concerned.
Lenoticus's wife enters with some soup.
Wife: Here's some soup for you Xena, I'm terribly sorry about your fall. My husband shouldn't have made you ride that silly horse.
Xena: (softly) that's OK it was my fault really. I shouldn't have let go of the reins.Thank you for the soup.
Wife: (also softly) you're welcome
Wife exits the room.
Xena: (even softer) Gabrielle, I need you to get something for me.
Gabrielle: (extremely concerned) What? You know I'll get you anything you need.
Xena: I know. It's a small herb that grows in these parts. It's called niondrey. It looks like bear grass but it has a thin furry substance on the leaves. I'm sure you can find it.
Gabrielle: I will. Let me gather some supplies and then I'll leave.
(Fade out of Gabrielle picking up various things around the house)
Gabrielle is walking throught the woods stopping every once in a while to examine a plant that looks like niondrey, but it is always bear grass. Gabrielle is beginning to get discouraged. Her face is a picture of worry and depression. As she stops to examine one more plant, an arrow flies at her back. She catches the arrow with her staff and turns to face her attackers. Three armed thugs step out of the bush.
Thug 1: C'mon Girlie just give us your money and we'll leave you alone.
He is met by a staff to his face. Gabrielle starts fighting three well-trained robbers furiously. She's got one knocked out with a blow to his stomach. Another is taken out with a hit to the back of his head.
Gabrielle is just beginning to attack the third and final thug. She has forgotten about the sniper in the tree behind her.Close up of sniper in tree. Sniper notches an arrow and pulls back his bowstring. An evil smile crosses his face. The smile is suddenly replaced by a look of horror.He cries out in anguish. As the sniper looks down he sees an arrow with purple feathers lodged in his stomach. His arrow misses Gabrielle and hits the last thug. The thug falls down on his face, dead.
End part I...
Shot of sniper's helmet falling off to reveal a handsome young man of around 17.
Lydia: NO!!!!! (she runs to Sniper's body) Tranio!Tranio! Are you OK???
Gab: I'm missing something here, you just shot him I assume (noticing the bow and the quiver of purple arrows on her back) and now you're crying over him???
Lydia doesn't answer her, but quickly makes use of a herb and a small poultice in a pouch hanging at her waist.
Lydia: Oh Great Goddess of the Hunt, please don't let Hermes guide this man to Hades today.
Tranio's eyes open and he moans slightly.
Tranio: Lydia my- (he notices Gabby)- friend, (jokingly) you are getting good with that bow of yours.
Lydia: (blushing slightly) I guess, anyway who are your "friends"?
Tranio: Justaius is recruiting men for his army again, I was to see if they were any good. Apparently, if this woman can take them down, I was wasting my time- I should have just told Justarius that they were suitable recruits.
Gab: (interrupting the two "friend's" conversation and obviously confused) But then if he ever chose to fight a battle, he would lose.
Lydia: That's exactly the point. Justarius is not a nice man, he plans to conquer all of the surrounding area and eventually, maybe all of Greece.
Tranio: (trying badly to coneal his anger) Yes, it is bad enough that he gets Princess Lydia's hand in marriage. I keep an eye on him for her, so we can try to foil his plans.
Gab: (disbelievingly, to Lydia) You're a princess???
Lydia: (rolling her eyes) Yes, even though my cousin, Sempronia, would make a better princess, my father is always telling me so.
Gab: Why would your father say such things?
Lydia: He realizes that I'm not his little girl anymore, and he doesn't approve of my choice to hunt.
An awkward silence follows.
Tranio: Anyway, I'm sorry to have attacked you, Lady -, I'm afraid I have missed your name.
Gab: I'm Gabrielle, pleased t-
Lydia: (interupting) Gabrielle? , the Warrior Princess's companion, the bard, the Amazon Princess??
Gab: (pleased) Yep, that's me. Pleased to meet you Princess Lydia, and you Tranio.
Lydia: It's just Lydia, thank you. Wow, you must tell me of your exploits- Wait a minute, where's Xena??
Gab: A horse threw her and she's resting but she needs an herb, niondrey, to help her recover quickly.
Lydia; I have a whole pouch of it right here, your friend is wise. Niondrey has amazing healing powers. We must go and get it to her.
Tranio: Lydia, I fear for your safety, it is getting dark.Justarius's night patrol will be out soon.
Camera shows the three companions silhouetted against a radpidly disappearing sun.
Lydia: Yes, but they won't harm me and as long as Gabrielle is with me, they won't harm her either.
Tranio sees an all too familiar fire coming to her eyes and knows he has no chance of winning a verbal battle against Lydia when she is this determined about something.
Tranio: I see whatever I say won't change your mind. I need to check back with Justarius again shortly, so I will not be able to accompany you, but I wish you much success. So long my lo- friend.
Lydia: So long Tranio, I'll see you again tomorrow night, you know where. (She embraces Tranio and whispers something in his ear)
They seperate and Tranio walks over to the two still living thugs and starts to rouse them from their assisted slumber.
Lydia: (to Gabby) We had best be on our way, these woods are not safe when the moon is directly overhead, when Justarius releases his night guards it's not safe for anyone.
Gab: (Glad to have found the herb
and perhaps some adventure so quickly) Well then, let's go.The
two women start walking out of the small clearing. Fade Out.
Fde in of the interior of Lenoticus's house, Xena is still lying on the small cot in the corner, but she's obviously feeling a bit better. Gab and Lydia walk in, Xena lifts her head slightly, smiles when she sees Gab. When she spots Lydia, she gives Gabby a questioning look but lets down her head as in pain.
Gab: Hello, Xena. I've got the herb and I've brougth a friend.
Xena: That was quick, Niondrey is usually hard to find.
Gab: Well actually, Lydia (indicates to the princess beside her) had a whole pouch of it.
Xena: (to Lydia) You must know the land wellto have so much niondrey.
Lydia: I've lived here my whole life.I know the land, like (warning, cliche ahead) the back of my hand. It is great to meet you, I've heard alot about you.
Lydia: (realizing that this is not the time to talk) Oh yeah, um...here's the herb.
Lydia detatches the pouch from her belt and hands it to Xena.
Xena: (politely) Thank you, (sternly) Gabrielle, get me some water, this stuff isn't known for its great taste, but it must be ingested to heal the bone.
Gab: (nods and quickly complies with Xena's wishes) Here Xena (hands her the water)
Xena places some of the niondrey on her tongue, takes two large gulps of water, and quickly loses consciousness.
She starts to cry but before she can break into a fit, Lydia intervenes.
Lydia: She's alright, when nionddrey is ingested ir makes your body rest and uses all your energy to fight the illness and mend the body. She'll regain consciousness in a few hours.
Gab: (greatly relieved, but a little mad at Xena for not warning her) She should have told me.
Lydia: She probably just forgot. Tell me of the Amazons, Princess.
Gab: I'm like you, just call me Gabrielle. Anyway, it all started when Xena and I saw some strange signs in the trees, then the arrows came FLYING down and.......
Fade in, it's morning outside Gab is telling Lydia a story as Lydia practices with her bow.
Gab: ....And then....
An arrow speeds away from Lydia's bow and hits a tiny mark on a tree about thirty Xena-sized paces away.
Gab: Good shot.
Lydia: Uh, thanks, but I was just setting up the target.
Gab looks puzzled, but as the arrow flies away and splits the other arrow in two down to its stone head her expression clears up.
Gab: You know who you remind me of- Nemesis, Hera's enforcer until she spared Salmoneus's life. Hera got angry and now Nemesis is mortal like the rest of us. She was-and is- the greatest archer who ever lived.
Lydia: This may sound strange, but I have met her, when I was young, after my mother died, a beautiful woman came to me in my dreams, she was like a mother to me, she comforted me when I was sad, rejoiced with me when I was happy, laughed with me, cried with me, everything a mother would do. When I turned 11, she came to me in person and gave me an arching lesson, one lesson lasted 48 hours. I had never and still never have studied at anything with more intensity, except when I practice. I remember everything she taught me, but then she left....(chokes back a few tears) said I didn't need her anymore, that I could decide my own target for my arrow from then on.......I've never told anyone about her, except Tranio, ...I ...miss....her.
Xena comes out of the hut, she has been awake for many hours now, Gab had been at her side until she woke up again, and when she did she was healthy again, even in a good mood.
Xena: Good morning, Gabrielle, Lydia
Gab and Lydia: (in unison) Good morning, (they laugh happily and Xena just smiles at them)
Lydia: It is great that you are better, Xena , but I must insist that you come to the castle and rest awhile anyway.
Xena asks Gabby with a look, Gab's only reply is a slight nod, Xena knew something more than met hte eye was going on.
Xena: Yes , Lydia, that would be very kind of you. I'm not getting on THAT horse again soon, so we don't have anywhere to be right now.
Gab: Xena's right, Joxer and Meg's wedding isn't for another month and it's only 3 days walk from here, so it would be great to have good food and a warm bed in the meantime.
Xena calls to Lenoticus, who quickly appears out of nowhere.
Lenoticus: Can I do anything for you, Xena??
Xena: No, I just thought that I'd tell you that Gabrielle and I are leaving now, Lydia has invited us to stay with her, Good-bye my friend.
Leno: Good-bye, Xena.
Xena whistles to Argo, who gallops
up to her side. Gab takes her reins and they start off towards
a distant castle on the horizon. Fade out.
Fade in with our small troupe of companions walking though the woods. The sun is out and the NewZealand landscape looks terrific. A tired messenger runs up to the group. Xena's hand strays to the hilt of her sword, but Lydia stops her.
Lydia: Decius, what's wrong????
Decius: It's Justarius, he plans to kill your father. Lydia, tranio told me -
And with that, Decius passes out from fatigue.