GABRIELLE'S HUT - SUNRISE
Gabrielle is seated at the table dressed in light brown, fringed hunting leathers with matching soft soled boots especially made for silent tracking. She is finishing breakfast which consists of a multi grained mixture of nuts, berries barley and wheat heated to a consistence of mush. Xena is seated across from her, giving last minute instructions.
Okay, let's go over it one more time.
Tell me what you're gonna to do after
the Amazons leave you.
First I locate the nearest stand of trees
and find a sturdy branch to make a staff.
And how tall should the staff be?
As close to my height as I can get.
Now what do you do next?
Then I find a safe place to build a camp. If there are
no caves, I look for a rock face or any kind of tree cover
that will protect me on at least two sides. Then I collect
enough wood to keep a fire burning hot throughout the night.
Ephiny and four Amazon scouts appear at the door to the hut. Xena stands up to face them and Gabrielle stands slightly behind her.
Are you ready Gabrielle?
(taking a deep breath)
As ready as I'll ever be.
These scouts will take you up to the location
where you are to stay for the next three moon rises.
Gabrielle nervously turns to Xena as she walks towards the scouts.
Well, wish me luck.
Xena turns and puts a firm hand on her shoulder.
Everything is going to be fine. Just do what I told you
and you'll be back here before you know it.
Gabrielle moves forward, taking her place with the four Amazon scouts. As she walks out of the hut and moves away, Xena steps out onto the porch and yells to her.
Good luck Gabrielle.
You'll do great.
Gabrielle smiles back at her as she continues to walk away.
After they disappear from site, Xena starts to pace like a caged animal, back and forth on the porch of the hut. Ephiny leans her back against the railing with arms folded watching the worried warrior.
Finally, Xena stops and leans forward over the railing, totally ignoring Ephiny.
Don't worry. She'll be okay.
Xena turns to Ephiny in an agitated state, which causes the Amazon to straighten and instinctively take a defensive stance. Ephiny admires Xena's strength, skills and the ability to resolve seemingly impossible situations, but Xena's former reputation as a killing machine also gives her an uneasy feeling.
Don't you have any other Amazon rituals you
need to take care of? I think we're done here.
A hint of a smirk comes over Ephiny's face as she relaxes her stance.
No... Actually, I thought I'd spend the day with you.
Xena turns away and leans over the front railing.
Well, think again.
Xena... You know and I know you're
going to go out there and keep an eye on her.
Xena turns around and pierces Ephiny with an ice blue stare that causes the Amazon to inwardly freeze in fear.
And what if I am?
I thought I 'd go with you.
Caught off guard by Ephiny's response, Xena's tense, spring-loaded, muscular frame relaxes as she regards the Amazon woman with a new respect.
Give them about an hour to get her
to the place and then we'll leave.
I know a short cut.
DEEP IN THE HILLS OF LISSOS - LATE MORNING
The scouts have left Gabrielle in the spot where she is to spend the next three moons rises. After the Amazons disappear from site, Gabrielle surveys the landscape and marvels at the breath-taking beauty of the wilderness area with its hills and valleys. On one side, Amazon country stretches as far as the eye can see. On the other side, the Centaur nation begins in the valley just over the next hill. Finally, she stops day dreaming and begins to perform the tasks that Xena instructed her to do.
As Gabrielle fashions her staff, a chill suddenly runs down her spine when reality sinks in that she is in the middle of a strange land with no one to rely on for protection except herself. She did not realize until now just how effortless Xena made the daily routine of keeping them safe look.
After arming herself, she begins her search for a suitable campsite. Unable to find a cave, Gabrielle picks a stand of trees just up wind of a shallow stream that meanders downward into the valley below. The trees not only provided protection but also a rich source of downed branches for firewood.
With the fire built to a substantial level, Gabrielle begins her search for food. The land yields a variety of nuts and berries which will provide enough nourishment for the remainder of the time she will be in the wild.
Just before dusk, Gabrielle hauls the last of the water she will require, which she neatly stores in a hollowed out gourd she discovered while searching for food.
After setting the water down, Gabrielle steps back and observes the smartly constructed campsite she has just completed, as the sunset spreads a sepia toned hue over the surrounding area.
(talking to herself)
Not bad Gabrielle...Not bad at all.
But then you had the best teacher
in the world, didn't you?
OVERHEAD TREE BRANCHES ABOVE GABRIELLE'S CAMP - DUSK
Xena and Ephiny sit comfortably perched high in the tree branches above Gabrielle's campsite. A spray of foliage obscures them neatly from view. Ephiny looks over to Xena, who is resting against a fork in the tree with a satisfied look on her face. They begin to converse in low, quiet voices.
So what's it like to be the object of
some one's hero worship?
Xena rolls her eyes.
Hey, I just gave her a couple of pointers.
Yeah...right. A couple.
Xena's face suddenly turns stern.
The easy part's done.
Her real test begins after dark.
Xena stands and surveys the landscape with an uneasy gaze.
I've got a bad feeling about this place.
When was the last time you were up here?
Ephiny adjusts her position on the branch she occupies.
Relax Xena. The only threat is an occasional wolf
and if she keeps that fire going good, they'll stay away.
Xena sits back down, with heightened senses still pulsing through her body.
AWAY TEAM CAMP - DUSK
Is everything secure, Tasha?
Yes Captain, all supplies and equipment are
inside the force field. We're safe for the night.
Good. We wouldn't want another encounter
like we had last night with those wolves.
I've never seen anything like that.
Usually they only hunt in small packs.
It was quite an oddity.
Fortunately no one was hurt.
Captain Picard looks over to the campfire, that Worf insisted they build instead of using the portable heaters that are standard issue on an observation away mission. Worf and the historians are seated around the blaze discussing the days activities and what they observed. Tasha walks to the other end of the camp and peers out into the distance. Squinting, she observes a flicker of light she determines to be a campfire just over the ridge. She quietly slips through the force field and makes her way toward the light source.
GABRIELLE'S CAMPSITE - AFTER DARK
Gabrielle is seated with her back against the trunk of a sturdy tree. Her eyes scan the landscape as she listens to the sounds of nature chattering around her. An army of crickets and frogs battle with each other to see who can be the loudest. The bay of wolves begin in the far distance, which makes the hair on the back of Gabrielle's neck start to bristle.
(talking to herself)
What I wouldn't give for one simple little
warrior princess sitting next to me right now.
(a giggly snort)
OVERHEAD TREE BRANCHES- SAME TIME FRAME
Feeling Gabrielle's uneasiness added to her own, Xena adjusts to a kneeling position and scans the landscape with night vision eyes. Adjacent to the camp, she observes something moving dangerously close. Just a she prepares to leap, Ephiny grabs her shoulder.
At the far end of the campsite, a human form positions themself so that the firelight briefly illuminates the figure of a woman with short blonde hair dressed in Amazon type leathers.
Who is that?
Ephiny leans over Xena's shoulder to get a better look.
She looks Amazon, but I've never seen her before.
Suddenly, the figure disappears back into the shadows.
AWAY TEAM CAMPSITE - SEVERAL MINUTES LATER
Tasha bursts though the force field, startling the historians. Captain Picard and Worf rise from their seated positions around the fire and go to her.
What is it, Tasha?
Just over that ridge...
Tasha points to the next hill.
...there's a young girl out there alone.
If we don't do something she's going to
be ripped to shreds by that wolf pack
we tangled with yesterday.
More wolf howls are heard in the distance.
Who in heaven's name would
send a girl out alone to a place like this?
The wolf howls get closer and closer.
Captain, we need to do something IMMEDIATELY!
You and Tasha go to her.
I'll break out the the phaser rifle
and follow behind.
Worf leaps through the force field with Tasha close behind.
GABRIELLE'S CAMP - NGHT
With the sound of the wolf howls getting uncomfortably close, Gabrielle throws several more logs on the fire to heighten the blaze. Her heart is pounding from fear and her hands shake as she holds her staff in an defensive position across her body. Gabrielle's eyes nervously shift from one side of the camp to the other searching for movement.
(talking to herself, scared voice)
Xena, maybe this wasn't such a good
idea. How do I manage to get myself
into these predicaments?
OVERHEAD TREE BRANCHES - SAME TIME FRAME
Xena stands up and unsheathes her sword, sensing impending danger and Ephiny does the same.
What's goin' on here?
That wolf pack sounds huge.
I'm getting her out of there, NOW!
GABRIELLE'S CAMPSITE - SAME TIME FRAME
Gabrielle does not need a honed warrior's instinct to sense the danger that is about to come down on her. Feeling that something is watching her, she scans the darkness intensely for any signs of movement. Then suddenly she sees a pair of yellow eyes staring at her from the edge of the camp and hears a low sustained growl. She continues to hold a defensive stance with her back to the tree, just like Xena had taught her.
Fully prepared for the worst, she sees another set of yellow eyes appear and then another. With staff up, she can feel she is seconds away from an attack. Then suddenly, she sees a large gray and black mass of fur with glistening white teeth, growling at the edge of the camp.
Ha!...Ha!... Get out of here.
The wolf continues to snarl and bare its teeth, revealing a wicked smile. Then with a powerful leap it lunges at her.
BRANCHES ABOVE GABRIELLE'S CAMP - SAME TIME FRAME
Xena is a millisecond away from flipping out of the tree when she sees a hulking form leap out of the darkness and hurl itself toward the wolf.
GABRIELLE'S CAMP SITE - SAME TIME FRAME
Gabrielle braces herself to receive the force of the weight of the animal coming at her when suddenly, a large hulking form with a ridged forehead comes sailing out of the darkness and tackles the wolf.
Startled, the wolf yelps and lopes away into the darkness only to be replaced by three more sets of snarling teeth, which leap toward Worf and Gabrielle.
There is a loud rustle from the trees above, a shrilling war cry and Xena lands next to Worf just in time to intercept the lunge of the third wolf.
Swinging her staff with all the strength she has, Gabrielle deflects the progress of one of the wolves, who skids to the ground and is temporarily stunned. Xena and Worf fight in a back to back position as they fend off the attack of four more wolves, with long sword and batleth.
There is a slight pause before the next wave of deadly fur attacks so Xena looks over her shoulder in Worf's direction.
The name's Xena.
Worf looks back over his shoulder, catching a glimpse the warrior out of the corner of his eye.
Another wave of wolves leap into the camp and begin to circle Xena, Worf and Gabrielle. As they prepare to attack, Ephiny leaps from the tree on one side and Tasha skids into the camp from the other. They all engage the attacking wolf pack.
Xena works her way over to Gabrielle's side.
Yeah! Boy am I glad to see you.
Just passin' through.
Xena takes on another wolf, deflecting it out of harms way with the weight of her body. Gabrielle clubs another attacker and then yells over to Xena.
Who are these people?
Don't know, but I'm glad they're here.
Gabrielle swings her staff wildly knocking powerful bodies from side to side. Tasha and Ephiny team up to repel the advances of snarling teeth coming from the backside of the camp. Worf is knocked to the ground under the force of a pair of gray and white attackers. Xena leaps onto the pile and strips one of the wolves off, heaving it into the night.
As they fend off the angry pack, in the distance they here high-pitched bursts of sound, which are foreign to Xena, Gabrielle and Ephiny but are phaser music to the ears of Worf and Tasha.
A few more fur-filled barrages, then the attack is over and all becomes calm. Tasha and Worf feel an uneasiness come over them because they made unplanned contact with the people in this time period, but it could not be helped. .
After a long pause, Worf turns and walks over to Gabrielle.
Little girl...what were you doing out her all alone?
Well I was performing an Amazon ritu....
Hey! wait a minute...who you calling a little girl?
Xena steps over and puts her hand on the Gabrielle's shoulder to settle her down, then takes over the conversation as she eyes the ridges on Worf's forehead.
Who are you?
Tasha immediately steps over and stands next to Worf.
My name is Tasha and this is Worf. We've come
from a far away land to seek the knowledge
and customs of other people.
You fight well. Have you ever spent time with Amazons?
No. Our travels were to the Centaur land and now
that this young girl is safe with you, we'll be on our way.
Gabrielle steps up to Worf and also eyes the ridges on his forehead.
Do you have to leave so soon? I have a thousand
questions I'd like to ask.
Gabrielle! These people just helped save our skins.
I don't really think they're up to getting the third degree.
Hey! I'm a bard. This is what I do.
What ever you say, your majesty.
Gabrielle rolls her eyes at Xena while Worf regards Gabrielle and admires her boldness.
You fight well with that staff.
What do yo want to ask us?
(under her breath to Ephiny who is at her side.)
Now he's done it. They're never going to get out of here.
Let's start of by telling me what your
people are called?
I am a Klingon.
Klingon aay. I like the sound of that.
Everyone sits down by the fire and starts to talk. After awhile they pair off. Gabrielle and Worf debate the validity of the Ixion Stone. Ephiny and Tasha converse about Amazon rights and rituals. Xena sits resting against a tree trunk, poised instinctively in a defensive position watching Gabrielle converse with this unusual stranger and inwardly marveling at her ability to peacefully interact with anyone and everyone.
Captain Picard observes the scene from a distant hill and wishes he could be included but the less contact, the better in these situations.
Finally, the sun peeks over the ridge, bathing them in the soft golden glowing of dawn.
Worf, I think we should be going now.
Tasha and Worf stand up to leave.
Before you do...
Xena motions for Worf to hand her the batleth. Taking the half moon shaped weapon, she elegantly twirls and spins the hardware around her body and over her head, totally impressing Worf and everyone else.
After she finishes her demonstration, she smiles in satisfaction and returns the batleth to Worf.
Nice feel. Thanks.
Gabrielle walks over to Worf and Tasha as they start to leave.
Thanks again for coming to my rescue.
This will make a great story.
Worf and Tasha look at each other nervously as they disappear into the brush.
Gabrielle comes back and stands facing Xena and Ephiny with her hands folded against her body.
Now can you two tell me just exactly how
long you were up in that tree?
Xena smirks while Ephiny looks innocently up to the sky.
Like I said Gabrielle,
just passin' through.
Gabrielle eyes the two warrior women for a moment then pulls them both into a hug.
Ephiny smiles contently and Xena groans in reluctant submission.