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The Maids of Mytilini

by Sherrie Johnson (a.k.a. TrueBlue)



Fade in.

We see Xena on a forested, day lit hill top as she peers from behind some trees. She watches about ten soldiers and ten kidnappers in the clearing below as they march along a road with a dozen fair maids who are shackled together.

Cut to Gabrielle who stands behind Xena in a clearing practicing with her staff and hidden from the men below by the brush.

Gabrielle: “Can you see them yet? There are about...what...twenty men, right?”

Xena: (still watching) “Um hum”.

Gabrielle: “That’s not too bad. You can have the big man in front...and those two next to him. I’ll take on that little guy behind them. Little but wiry” (she rehearses her battle) “Then you distract the rest of the men and I’ll get the maidens away from that woman in the mask and chest armor”.

Xena: “Man”.

Gabrielle: (stopping her staff and turning to look at Xena) “What?”

Xena: “He’s a man, not a woman. A eunuch actually. There to protect the concubine from the soldiers and kidnappers assigned to transport them”.

Gabrielle peers through the brush to look at the masked, armored and well armed eunuch with a single, long black braid down his back

Xena (con’t): “Can’t let the merchandise get spoiled before they are delivered to the buyer”.

Gabrielle: (narrows her eyes looking at the eunuch) “I can take him out”.

Xena: (moves away from the shrubs and into the clearing where Gabrielle had been practicing) “Maybe so but not today”.

Gabrielle: (stepping beside Xena) “We’re not going to rescue those women?”

Xena: “Oh, we’ll rescue them...but not here. Those prisoners are shackled together. They’ll be in too much danger if we attack now. They can’t run. And if we don’t find a key for their chains traveling with them will be extremely difficult”.

Gabrielle: “So what are we going to do?” Xena moves over to another stand of trees to get a better look at the passing group. Gabrielle watches over Xena’s shoulder.

Xena: “We are going to wait for a better opportunity”.

Gabrielle: “But those women are being delivered to the king today where they’ll be put behind a thirty foot castle wall, imprisoned within the palace and surrounded by an army of soldiers”.

Xena: “Like I said, a better opportunity”.

The scene closes with a shot of the men shoving along the frightened maidens and a close up of the plotting Xena.

Fade out to commercial.

(Act I)

Fade in.

The scene opens with a shot the castle at night as it sits perched on the face of a cliff rising over the sea. A twisting road winds up from the beach to the castle and a few small ships sit in the harbor below. Cut to Gabrielle and Xena as they peer past some trees at the northern castle wall. It is very dark although a few torches on top of the stone wall light the area dimly. Occasionally a guard walks along the top of the wall checking the perimeter of the castle.

A commotion of soldiers is heard off stage. Xena signals Gabrielle to stay where she is as Xena darts out of their hiding spot. She dashes across the clearing like a cat and presses herself up against the castle wall. From there she slinks along the wall until she comes to the corner where she peers around to see soldiers working at the entrance to the castle.

Captain: (cracking his whip and shoving the soldiers) “Come on! This equipment was suppose to be within the castle walls by sun down!”

The soldiers grunt and groan as they move wagons and other equipment into the castle. Xena returns to Gabrielle’s location.

Xena: (whispering) “The distraction at the castle entrance will make it easier once we get inside”.

Gabrielle: “But how are we going to get over the wall?”

With that Xena jumps forward, flies across the clearing and with sheer velocity propels herself several feet up the stone wall. As she reaches the apex of her accent she grabs the whip at her side and snaps it around a stone gargoyle which protrudes from the wall. She shimmys up the whip, flips herself on to the top of the wall and knocks out the guard before he even has a chance to see what hit him.

Gabrielle: “Okay, I meant, how am I going to get over the wall?”

Xena signals Gabrielle over and Gabrielle scampers across the clearing. Xena dangles her whip down to Gabrielle. Gabrielle leaps several times to grab the end of it but fails.

Gabrielle: (whispering loudly) “It’s too high. I can’t reach it”.

Xena: (looks over in the direction of the castle entrance and then back to Gabrielle) “I saw a rope in a wagon just around the corner”.

Gabrielle sneaks along the wall, considerably less cat like than Xena but no less effective, until she gets to the corner. Xena follows along on top of the wall. Gabrielle peers around the corner and spots the rope on the driver’s bench of a large wagon filled with straw. With a quick look to the soldiers at the entrance who are all preoccupied with the transport of a particularly heavy piece of equipment, Gabrielle climbs up the wagon to the bench, grabs the rope and standing on the bench she heaves the rope to Xena above. Xena’s attention is on the rope as she snatches it out of the air. She doesn’t see Gabrielle lose her balance with the toss and fall backwards into the pile of hay in the wagon bed.

Sound FX: *SPRONG*

The camera is on Xena working with the rope as we see a surprised Gabrielle sail lightly over Xena’s head followed by an aerial trail of hay. Wide eyed, Xena ducks and watches Gabrielle land on the other side of the wall in a large, convenient pile of straw. Xena looks down to the wagon and we see a sprung catapult and hay everywhere.

Xena: (to herself) “Hmmm. A small catapult hidden in a hay wagon. The could be useful”.

Some soldiers shout and Xena ducks. Quickly she descends the wall.

Cut to a shot of several soldiers as they walk through the hay to the sprung catapult, scratching their heads.

Cut to a few minutes later as Xena and Gabrielle sneak through the castle out buildings up to the main structure. Xena peers in a couple windows. She stops at one and Gabrielle ducks down. Xena turns to her, places her index finger before her lips in a signal to stay quiet, and then Xena climbs into the window. We hear a muffled “gaak!” and thud and Xena then appears in window to signal Gabrielle inside. Gabrielle climbs up through the window.

Cut to inside the building. We see Gabrielle begin to enter through the window with a triumphant smile but then she loses her balance and belly flops onto the floor with a quiet “oof” and “thunk” where she lands next to the unconscious and unmasked eunuch. Gabrielle quickly stands up and sees Xena standing among the maids who lie on blankets and pillows on the floor. Xena quickly quiets them as they wake up.

Xena: (softly, to one of the maids) “My name is Xena. I’m here to help. Where are you from?”

Maid #1: “We are from Mytilini, on the island of...”

Xena: “I know where it is”.

Maid #1: “We were all kidnapped from our homes...” (Xena puts her hand on the woman’s shoulder to quiet and comfort her).

Xena moves back over beside Gabrielle.

Gabrielle: (quietly) “Okay, so what’s next?”

Xena: “I disguise myself as one of the Mytilenes while you help the one I replace get out of the castle”.

Xena walks back over to the maids who are all getting off the floor. Gabrielle watches to see Xena standing head and shoulders above all of the fair haired maidens.

Gabrielle: (flatly) “Yeah, right. The six foot, brunette Mytilene”.

Xena looks around at the small women.

Gabrielle (con’t): (Making a joke) “I’m sorry Xena. I could impersonate one of the virgin maids but you would have better luck impersonating that eunuch”.

Then...Gabrielle and Xena look at each other and smile lightly as the both begin to mentally formulate their plan.

Fade out to commercial

(Act II)

Fade in.

The scene is early moring inside the castle walls near the entrance. Xena, dressed in the eunuch’s clothes and armor, steathfully dumps the still unconscious eunuch into a crate on a horse drawn wagon. The wagon is loaded with several crates and the eunuch begins to come to as he lands inside but Xena quickly knocks him back out and pulls the lid down over the crate. She backs away from the wagon and hides in an out building. Two men approach. One gets up onto the driver’s bench.

Man on the Ground: “The ship sets sail shortly”.

Driver: “I’ll have these crates loaded onto it by then”.

The driver pulls away and exits the castle.

Gabrielle, dressed in the skimpy outfit worn by the concubine, creeps up to Xena.

Xena: “Did you have trouble getting the Mytilene out?”

Gabrielle: “None at all. The soldiers weren’t watching people leaving the castle very closely, just the ones coming in. In fact,” (Gabrielle looks down at her chest which is barely concealed by veils) “I think they were just watching me”.

Xena: (glances at Gabrielle’s chest and then heads for the door) “With a little luck and ingenuity she should be home in a couple weeks. Good luck to her. Come on. We’ve got to get back to the concubine. The king will negotiate with the kidnappers for the final price tonight so if we want to spare the maidens the slimy paws of the king we’ve got to get them out today”.

Fade out.

Fade in.

It is early evening as Xena and Gabrielle stand in the harem room discussing the movements of the guards and the best way to get the maids out. The Mytilenes groom each other and quietly talk in the back ground.

Xena: (quietly, so as not to be heard by the Mytilenes) “We will have to take them over the wall one at a time. If we’re lucky we should be able to get about half of them out before we are discovered”.

Gabrielle: “Then how do we get the rest out?”

Xena: (a beat) “We don’t”. (Gabrielle looks striken) “We can rescue some of them Gabrielle. That’s better than none”.

Gabrielle: “No! We have to get them all out. There has to be a way!”

Sound FX: *Bang* *Bang* *Bang*

Xena and Gabrielle startle at the loud knock at the door.

Xena puts on her helmet/mask and opens the door to two soldiers.

Soldier: “The king wants the concubine in the main hall” (he smiles nastily) “He wants to check out the goods”.

Xena signals the women over who walk past her out the door. Xena and Gabrielle share a meaningful glance as Gabrielle, the last maiden, passes her. Xena closes the door.

Cut to the head kidnapper and the king as they share in a marvelous banquet with several of the king’s men and other kidnappers. The king (portrayed by Jay Leno. Hey, he OWES Lucy) and the head kidnapper sit next to each other. They laugh, drink and talk crudely. One of the unkempt kidnappers grabs at a servant girl as she puts some food before him. She slaps him across the face hard. He pauses, then laughs and quickly pulls the struggling girl onto his lap.

King: (to the head kidnapper) “You’ve arrived just in time! I’ve been under so much stress lately. Do you know I’ve lost two royal food tasters just this month to poisoning?”

Cut to a shot of the skinny, trembling little man sitting between and behind the king and head kidnapper as he shakily takes a tiny bite from a bun, forces himself to swallow, sighs with relief at not having just died, and then puts the bun on the king’s plate.

Head Kidnapper: “The girls I have brought you will take away all of your worries”.

King: “I want to see these girls you ask such an outrageous price for”.

Head Kidnapper: “An outrageously low price. These are the finest of maids. All virgins, I guarantee”. (the king looks at him suspiciously) “They are from Mytilini” (the king smiles in recognition and nods). “And I’m throwing in the eunuch for free. Hey, it’s not easy finding eunuchs these days and there’s not a single soldier in your whole army you can trust to guard these beautiful women”.

Enter the masked Xena as she marches into the hall. The maids follow, Gabrielle being the last, and the two soldiers bring up the rear. The men at the table all stare gape jawed at the scantily clad women and the girl who had been grabbed by the kidnapper takes the opportunity to escape. The Mytilenes stop and stand before the table, the two soldiers standing behind them. A very drunk man gets up from his place at the table and staggers over to the women. He drools visibly over the Mytilenes, closely inspecting each of them. He walks up to Gabrielle.

Drunk: (leaning into Gabrielle) “Well, hello beautiful!”

Gabrielle fans his alcoholic breath away. Next, he stumbles over in front of Xena.

Drunk: “Now I like my women tall and strong!”

Startled, Xena looks over at the men at the table, all of whom appear to still think that she is the eunuch. Xena smiles at the drunk, grabs him around the back of the neck with one hand, and hauls him in for a big kiss full on the mouth. The men at the table burst into laughter.

King: (Shaking his head and then to the head kidnapper) “My idiot nephew” (Shouting to the drunk) “That’s the eunuch, Tollious”

Xena laughs and the appalled and embarassed Tollious attacks Xena. With barely a movement she knocks him out cold. The king orders a couple of soldiers over who remove the unconscious drunk. Xena takes a position behind and to the left of the table where she can watch the men and the Mytilenes.

Head Kidnapper: (smiling) “See? What did I tell you? Beautiful, all of them” (the king leers) “Sweet natured. Quiet. Just waiting for a virile man like yourself to teach them what real love is”. (a pause) “What would you like to see them do?”

King: (wide eyed) “Can they dance?”

The head kidnapper smiles and jumps to his feet. He points a mutton chop at one of the girls and gruffly hollers at her.

Head Kidnapper: “You! Dance!”

The music starts up and the frightened girl begins to slink across the floor.

The head kidnapper smiles at the king who is obviously enjoying the show.

Head Kidnapper: (snaps at the girl) “Come closer!”

The maiden dances over to the table where the louts begin to hoot cat calls at her. One of the king’s men reaches across the table and grabs for the maid. Xena is immediately behind him and promptly grabs him by the hair and bangs his head into the table. He falls unconscious into his chair. Xena takes an apple from the mouth of a roasted pig on the table and puts it in the slack jaw of the unconscious man. Another man reaches for the girl. Xena takes the knife that man was using to cut his meat and stabs it into his sleeve, pinning the man’s wrist to the table.

Xena: “You can touch the girl, or you can keep your hand. You decide”.

The man lowers his eyes to Xena’s challenge. Xena removes the blade and the man quickly pulls his hand back. The girl, frightened by the scene of potential dismemberment before her, runs back to the other maids.

King: “That was marvelous! Can they all dance like that?”

Head Kidnapper: “Oh yeah” (points to Gabrielle) “You! Dance next”.

Gabrielle: “Me?”

The music starts up. Xena looks at Gabrielle worriedly.

Head Kidnapper: “Yes you!”

Gabrielle: “Oh no. You see, I don’t dance...”

One of the soldiers behind the Mytilenes shoves Gabrielle forward. Gabrielle starts to dance...badly. The king scowls. The kidnapper glances at the king and looks concerned. Gabrielle stops dancing.

Gabrielle: “Okay. So I can’t dance. But, I tell a great story! Why just last week a woman told me that I was the best bard she had ever...”

King: (scowling some more) “She talking. Why is she talking? Who wants a harem girl who talks?”

The head kidnapper, worried about his price, begins to negotiate.

Head Kidnapper: “I don’t know how she got in with the other girls” (Xena and Gabrielle dart a look at one another. The head kidnapper turns to a kidnapper beside him) “Who picked her out? Did you pick her out?” (the head kidnapper smacks the other kidnapper in the back of the head. Then to the king) “Okay, I’ll throw her in for free along with the eunuch”.

King: “But what am I going to do with her?”

Food Taster: “GAAK!!”

The food taster collapses into the king’s plate, dead. The king and the kidnapper look at each other, then to Gabrielle. Gabrielle shifts uncomfortably from one foot to the other.

Cut to Gabrielle seated in the food taster’s chair, a plate being held before her. The louts at the table all whistle and hoot at the maids dancing before them and the king and kidnapper again laugh at their raunchy jokes. Cut to a shot of Xena still standing to the left and a little behind the table as she closely watches Gabrielle who nervously looks at the plate.

Fade to commercial.

(Act III)

Fade in.

Gabrielle: “Oh no. Really. I couldn’t. I just ate...fourteen hours ago”.

King: (leaning in to Gabrielle) “You’re the royal food taster. Now taste it!”

Gabrielle takes a tiny bite of the dish before her. Cut to a shot of Xena looking concerned.

Gabrielle: “A little salty”.

The king grabs the plate and sets it in front of himself. Gabrielle leans back and shrugs at Xena. Another dish is held in front of Gabrielle.

Gabrielle: “Ooooo! Nut bread!”

Xena rolls her eyes at Gabrielle’s enthusiasm.

Gabrielle again takes a little bite. She waits for a moment to see if there is a reaction, then, feeling none, takes a couple of larger bites.

Gabrielle: “Generally, I like my nut bread with dates but this is still very good”.

The king scowls and snatches the bread from her.

Head Kidnapper: (to the king) “So, do you think we can come to an agreement tonight?”

King: (thoughtfully rubbing his prominent chin) “Yes, we may be able to agree on a price shortly. We’re not too far apart”.

Two kidnappers begin to scuffle at the end of the table. The head kidnapper gets up and strides over to them.

Head Kidnapper: (pulling the two apart) “Hey! You guys are guests of the king. Try and show a little class” (the head kidnapper then procedes to slug the two men).

Gabrielle: (munching on a chicken leg and putting the rest of the bird before the king) “So, how much is he asking?”

The king glances around and then whispers something in Gabrielle’s ear.

Gabrielle: (looking shocked) “You’re kidding!”

King: “Do you think it’s too high?”

Gabrielle: “Oh yes! Much too high!”

The king pauses for a moment looking at Gabrielle and then scoffs.

King: “Bah, what would you know about the price of concubines”.

Gabrielle: “Hey, I know a lot. Why, our little island is raided all the time for harem girls and I’ve known plenty of families who have had to buy their daughters back”.

King: “Yeah?”

Gabrielle: “Um hum. And what he’s asking for each of those girls is at least twice the going rate for even the finest maids”.

The head kidnapper returns and Gabrielle shuts up. The king eyes him suspiciously. The kidnapper smiles at the king who frowns back at him.

King: “I’m changing my offer!”

Head Kidnapper: (looking shocked) “What?! To what?”

The king whispers in his ear.

Head Kidnapper: (his face flushing) “That’s outrageous!”

King: “That’s my offer!” (he stomps away)

The head kidnapper is standing there stunned. Gabrielle is seated beside him stuffing herself with food from the king’s plate.

Gabrielle: (to the head kidnapper) “I heard that. It was an outrageous offer. Now I’ve never bought any slave girls myself but even I can tell that those Mytilenes are worth three...four times what he’s offered”.

The head kidnapper stalks away and storms past a confused Xena. Gabrielle, still eating, leans back in her chair, grins, and gives Xena a thumbs up. Xena lifts an eyebrow in response.

Cut to the harem room where the Mytilenes rest on the floor as Xena paces back and forth waiting for Gabrielle. The door opens and Gabrielle enters.

Gabrielle: (her hand on her stomach) “Oh, I am SOOO full!”

Xena: “What happened in there?”

Gabrielle: “I bought us some more time. They aren’t anywhere close to agreeing on a price now. Here...” (Gabrielle unwraps a meat pie and some fruit she had hidden in her veils) “I brought these for you”.

Xena takes the food and looks at Gabrielle with a surprised expression. Gabrielle misinterprets the expression, grabs the meat pie, takes a bite to check for poison, then hands it back to Xena.

Gabrielle: “Mmmm. Excellent. I’ve got to go. The royal food taster’s room is just off the kitchen and that’s where I am suppose to be. Meet me there tomorrow morning after breakfast and we’ll figure out a way to get the Mytilenes home” (a beat) “All of them”.

Gabrielle quickly exits and leaves Xena standing next to the door staring at the food in her hands.

Cut to early morning in the day lit kitchen. A large, matronly woman hands Gabrielle a big tray loaded with food.

Matron: “Here, take the king’s breakfast up to his room” (Gabrielle takes the tray and walks past a couple of guards to leave) “And make sure you taste everything before you give it to him” (Gabrielle nods and leaves the room).

Cut to Gabrielle snacking at the items on the plate as she passes two soldiers who guard the king’s chambers. Holding the tray one handed, she lightly knocks on the door of the king’s bedroom.

Gabrielle: (cheerfully calling through the door) “Good morning. Breakfast is here”. (Gabrielle hears a grumbled response through the door) “Are we decent?”

The grumbled response is louder this time and Gabrielle takes it as an invitation to enter. She carefully pushes the door open and peeks into the room.

Cut to inside the room as the rumpled king rolls around under his blanket. Gabrielle enters the room and puts the tray down on a table. She opens the shutters to let some light in and the king growls unappreciatively. Gabrielle then sits down next to the tray of food and casually begins to eat.

Gabrielle: “Oh, it looks like such a nice day. A good day for a sail, don’t you think?”

King: *grumble*

Gabrielle: (talking around a mouthful of food) “Yes, a good day for a sail. You should get away from those low class kidnappers for awhile. In fact, you should take a good part of your army with you...Ooo, these quails eggs are cooked to perfection. They can get tough if you cook them too long you know...You should take your soldiers out on training maneuvers or something. I think they could use some extra training on the sea. You know a good friend once said to me about armies that...”

King: “Aargh!! Quit talking! Just sit there and be quiet for a minute”.

Gabrielle shuts up but continues to eat. Slowly the king gets out of bed. He slides his feet into his slippers and stumbles over to the table and sits down. He looks over at the tray and suddenly Gabrielle realizes that it belongs to the king and she apologetically pushes it over to him. He eyes the toast crusts and egg shells which are all that is left. He glares at Gabrielle.

Gabrielle: (picking up the tray) “Let me get you a fresh tray”.

King: (angrily) “Forget it! With you as my royal food taster I’m sure to starve! You’re fired!”

Gabrielle: “I’m a slave. I don’t think you can fire me”.

King: “Then report to the head of staff! She’ll find something for you to do! Go!!!”

Gabrielle quickly exits as the king chases her out.

Cut to a shot of a large vat of grapes. *Sloop* *Sloop*. Barefoot, Gabrielle, back in her old clothes, steps into it.

Matron: (chastising) “And don’t stomp too hard or you’ll turn the wine sour”.

Gabrielle begins to stomp, making faces as the grapes mash between her toes. The matron leaves. Gabrielle begins to grumble about getting fired when...

Xena: “Gabrielle”.

Gabrielle startles.

Gabrielle: “Oh Xena, it’s you. Don’t sneak up on me like that”.

Xena: “Don’t let me sneak up on you like that”.

Gabrielle: “How did you get in here? There are guards posted all around the kitchens what with the attempts to poison the...” (Xena smiles) “Never mind”.

Xena: (eyeing the vat Gabrielle is standing in) “Is this a new duty of the king’s royal food taster?”

Gabrielle: “The king took pity on me and didn’t want to see me die a terrible death by poisoning”.

Xena: “You ate his breakfast didn’t you”.

Gabrielle scowls as Xena laughs and reaches in the vat to pop a grape in her mouth.

Gabrielle: (seriously) “About the Mytilenes...”

Xena: “You’re stomping too hard. You’ll turn the wine sour”.

Gabrielle: (stomping even harder) “About the Mytilenes; I was talking to the kitchen staff last night. They really don’t know who has been poisoning the king’s food and it doesn’t sound like any of them are doing it. Rumor has it that there are secret tunnels in the castle that run down to the shore and that the assassin is using those to access the castle”.

Xena: (looking around) “Then at least one of those tunnels must come up to the kitchen here”.

Gabrielle: “We could use a tunnel to get the Mytilenes out of the castle, if we can find a tunnel”.

Xena begins to examine the walls.

Xena: “Or, if we can find the assassin. But getting the Mytilenes out is only half the problem. We will still have to transport them back to their island and we’ll probably be doing it with a whole army on our tail”.

Gabrielle and Xena turn as they hear the commotion from some soldiers down the hall.

Xena: (quietly) “Find out all you can from the castle staff. Talk to the ones who have been here the longest. Then meet me in the court yard by the rose garden at midnight tonight and we’ll devise a plan”.

Xena quickly and quietly exits through a window as some soldiers and staff enter the kitchen.

Gabrielle smiles at the people who enter and stomps.

Cut to Gabrielle sitting next to a virtual mountain of potatoes as she diligently peels them one at a time. The matron stands nearby preparing more vegetables.

Gabrielle: “So, have you worked here...well, slaved here a long time?”

Matron: “I remember when the queen was born”.

Gabrielle: “The queen?”

Matron: “Yes, the queen. The king’s wife”.

Gabrielle: “HE has a wife. The fellow who wears a big crown? The one trying to buy a concubine?”

The matron nods as Gabrielle absorbs the information.

Cut to late that night in the garden where Gabrielle waits. Gabrielle hears the *oof*, *oof*, *thud* of a soldier and then Xena appears in the scene. She is no longer in her eunuch disguise but wears her own clothes.

Gabrielle: (quietly) “You know, people are going to start getting suspicious when they keep finding unconscious soldiers all over the place”.

Xena shrugs.

Xena: “What did you find out?”

Gabrielle: “Did you know that swine of a king has a wife?”

Xena: “He does?”

Gabrielle: “A queen. In fact, this was her kingdom until she married him. She was suppose to keep control of the kingdom after the marriage but he weaseled himself into power anyway. He would have gotten rid of her a long time ago but apparently in order to legally remain king he has to stay married to her”.

Xena: (pause) “What would you do if you married a man who stole your kingdom and was in the process of buying a concubine?”

Gabrielle: “I’d kill him”.

Xena: “Where is she?”

Gabrielle: “She resides in an older part of the castle. It used to be the quarters for the royal family but now just houses the staff”.

Xena: “And the kitchen buildings?”

Gabrielle: “Yes, the kitchens are in the older section too. I don’t know why she stays over there. The royal suites are much nicer and big enough that she could still avoid the king”.

Xena: “Because it’s the older buildings that have the secret passages. The reason the king has not been able to stop the entry of the assassin into the kitchens through the tunnels is because he doesn’t know where the tunnels are. If the queen grew up here then she has probably been running around those tunnels since she was a child”.

Gabrielle: “Then I think it’s time we had a visit with the queen”.

Cut to Xena and Gabrielle as they sneak down the dark hallways of the castle lit dimly by the occasional torch. They hear the marching of some guards ahead. Xena pushes Gabrielle into a dark shadow in a corner. With Gabrielle’s back to the wall, Xena joins her in the shadow by pressing herself into Gabrielle.

Gabrielle: (whispering urgently) “Your breast plate is poking me!”

Xena shushes Gabrielle and presses herself even closer as the guards walk by. Xena then leans out to watch the guards turn the corner and releases Gabrielle as she turns to head down the hall. Gabrielle takes a big breath, rubs the sore spot on her shoulder, and turns to follow Xena.

Cut to inside the queen’s bedroom with a shot of the beautiful queen sleeping peacefully in her bed. Something causes her to stir and she opens her eyes to see a shadowy Xena standing over her. She starts to scream.

Fade out to commercial.

(Act IV)

Fade in.

The queen starts to scream and Xena claps a hand over the queen’s mouth. Gabrielle steps a little closer holding a torch from the hallway.

Xena: “I’m not going to hurt you”.

Queen: (frightened) “What is it? What do you want?”

Xena: “I want you to show me the tunnels”.

Queen: “I don’t know what your talking about”.

Xena: “Oh, I think you do. Those tunnels you’ve been using to get into the poison the king’s food”.

Queen: “You’re wrong”.

Xena: “Am I?”

Xena walks over to the balcony which is crammed with a virtual little garden of potted plants. Xena peers through them in the moon light.

Queen: (getting out of bed and headed for Xena) “Get away from there!”

Gabrielle backs the queen off with the torch.

Xena finds what she’s looking for. She picks up a small potted plant, smiles, and breaks off a little flower. The rest of the plant she hurls over the balcony where it crashes below. She walks over to Gabrielle and the queen.

Xena: “A nightshade flower. These yellow ones are very rare. A pretty little thing isn’t it. Who would guess that something so lovely and delicate could be so deadly under the right circumstances”.

The queen’s gaze narrows.

Queen: “What do you want?”

Xena: “The same thing you do: The concubine out of this castle”.

Queen: “What I want is the king dead”.

Xena: “Well, I’m not going to help you with that”.

Queen: “Then maybe I’m not going to help you either”.

Xena sneers at the queen, whips the flower on the floor and grabs the queen by the shoulders.

Xena: (dangerously) “Three men have died because of you. Poisoned. I could turn you into the king for their deaths. He can remain married to you while you rot away in his dungeon”.

The queen concedes and Xena releases her. She signals Xena over to a wall which she pushes open to reveal a secret passage. Xena, Gabrielle and the queen enter the tunnel.

Cut to dawn the next morning. Gabrielle crouches on the castle wall as she looks down into the courtyard. Xena slinks up beside her.

Xena: (quietly) “I’ve switched the wagons. With the deal done the kidnappers will be leaving shortly with the money”.

There is a commotion down in the courtyard and Xena and Gabrielle watch as the head kidnapper leaves the palace carrying a small but apparently quite heavy treasure chest. The king follows him. Xena signals Gabrielle who, with a couple of sturdy bags tucked in her waistband, climbs down the exterior of the castle wall on a rope. The head kidnapper puts the chest in the wagon and turns to discuss with the kidnappers the transport of the group to the ship waiting for them in the harbor. Xena slings her chakrum at the wagon which trips a lever in the wagon bed.

Sound FX: *SPRONG*

The catapult jumps and the chest sails over the wall as the men watch in disbelief. Xena laughs at the men below as they look at her, stunned. She jumps off of the wall and disappears.

Cut to the king, soldier’s and kidnappers as they race around the exterior of the castle only to find the chest busted open and all of the money gone.

King: (roars to the men) “FIND THAT WOMAN!”

Cut to a shot of Xena closing a passage entrance in the face of the stone wall.

Cut to inside the stone tunnel, lit dimly with torches. Gabrielle watches the daylight disappear as Xena pulls the passage door shut. The voice of the raging king is silenced as the entrance is closed.

Xena runs up to Gabrielle and hands her one of the two bags of gold coins. Gabrielle grunts under the weight.

Xena: “Use the tunnels to get down to the harbor. Find a captain of one of the ships and offer him this if he agrees to take us to Mytilini. Tell him he can have the same again once he gets us there”.

Gabrielle: “Half now. Half upon delivery. Got it”.

Xena: “I’m going to get the Mytilenes and will meet you down there”.

Xena quickly departs carrying the other bag of gold.

Gabrielle: (calling after Xena) “Be careful!”

Xena turns her head around to grin at Gabrielle and keeps running. Gabrielle shakes her head and starts down the passage as well.

Cut to the harem room. The door flies open as a soldier is flung into it. The soldier lies unconscious on the floor as Xena enters, sword drawn. The girls jump and huddle together in fear.

Xena: “Come on ladies. This is it. I’m taking you home”.

Cut to Xena, carrying the bag of gold over her shoulder as she races along the winding castle corridors with the Mytilenes right behind her. She charges the soldiers she comes across and quickly disposes of each of them.

Xena: (to the Mytilenes as they come to an intersection in the hallways) “The kitchens are this way”.

The women turn the corner to find the head kidnapper with his men and several soldiers blocking the hallway.

Head Kidnapper: “Now I’ve got you!”

The kidnappers and the soldiers charge. Xena meets them but fortunately for her the narrow hallway only allows a few men to attack at once. Xena drives them back, smiting them with her heavy bag of gold, and after a fierce battle she runs with the maids the other way down the hall as the men regroup. Xena rushes the women into a back entrance to the kitchen, taking out two more guards. She pushes a section of wall aside to reveal a tunnel entrance, herds the women inside and then quickly shuts the door.

The head kidnapper bursts into the kitchen with the men behind him. But they look around in confusion as the women seem to have disappeared.

Cut to the beach as Xena and the Mytilenes exit a cave along the cliffs. Gabrielle, who has been watching for them, waves them over to a boat. Xena smiles and hustles the women down to the boat.

Fade out.

Fade in.

The shot is of a boat, sails bulging in the wind, as it skates across the blue sea. Cut to Xena and Gabrielle as the lean over the railing of the boat and watch a small green island come into view.

Xena: “There it is. That city on the coast is Mytilene”.

Gabrielle: “That looks like a nice little island. Peaceful. Maybe we should stay there for a while. You know, take a break”.

Xena: (smiles sardonically) “Oh, you’d probably never get me off. No, we’ve got to get back to the mainland”.

Gabrielle: (nods) “There are people there that need us”.

Xena: “Villagers being terrorized by warlords”.

Gabrielle: “Peasants being captured by slavers”.

Xena: “Girls to rescue from arranged marrages”.

Gabrielle: “Well, I guess I’ll have to do my relaxing right now”.

Xena: “If your lucky you’ll have a few minutes before the pirates take the ship”.

Gabrielle and Xena laugh.

Fade out.

The end.

Author’s note: A very special thanks to Lollious (I hoped I spelled that right) who inspired this story with her/his marvelous parady of the Gilbert and Sulivan tune, “Modern Major General”.

And a special get well wish to Roo too.

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