The following episode written for The Xena Warrior Princess Virtual Season is a work of fiction based upon the television series Xena: Warrior Princess.
The original characters are used strictly for fan purposes and not for profit.
There is no intent to infringe upon or violate any copyrights held by Studio USA, Renaissance Pictures, Universal Television or any other organization that owns the rights to this series.
Episode 707: The Laurel Tree
1. EXT. COUNTRYSIDE - DAY
A caravan of traders follows a well-worn path out of the foothills. Horses laden with goods that clang together with every step are lead by their masters. Animals and people labor equally in the noon sun. The Traders talk amongst themselves. Xena and Gabrielle walk, leading a horse behind them. They are travelling in the same direction, but not with the caravan.
Before them stretches parched grassland and in the distance a town rises up from the plain.
There's the town Xena. It doesn't look too bad.
The feeling, is it still there?
Unseen shadows whisper in the trees and a smoky apparition fades away.
2. EXT. COUNTRYSIDE - DAY
A different group picks its way along another path. Goods clanging and thumping away. These men look rough and grimy. Their horses look very tired. A bulky cruel looking man appears to be the leader. He rides his horse as he leads the group off the foothills. The leader spots the other caravan just as it is coming out of the hills. He flies into a rage.
3. EXT. COUNTRYSIDE - DAY
A tired squad of Roman Soldiers is wearily making their way out of the same foothills from yet another path. A Roman Centurion on horseback watches as the marauding thieves swoop down on the caravan of merchants. As the thieves move to encircle their victims, their swords are raised high in the air. The Centurion realizes what is happening.
4. EXT. COUNTRYSIDE - DAY
The Traders are desperately trying to save themselves and their merchandise from the band of thieves. They put up a good fight. But still, the thieves manage to seriously wound one or two. Xena and Gabrielle mount their steed and charge toward the battle, warding off the thieves and protecting the merchants whom aren't equipped with much in the way of weapons.
As Xena arc's her sword through the air preparing to strike her intended target, Gabrielle jumps off on the opposite side.
She takes down a thief who raises his sword over a man pinned against a wagon.
The pinned man seizing his opportunity, scrambles out of the way, as the thief loses his balance and topples to the ground.
Gabrielle punches the thief in the jaw, knocking him out.
Xena, still on horseback, punches with the hilt of her sword and kicks the thieves away.
The thieves, seeing two more dangerous opponents, forget about their prey and concentrate on the warrior and Gabrielle.
Gabrielle blocks several blows from one of the marauders with her sais.
The thieves attempt to outflank Xena and Gabrielle by cutting off any escape.
One thief with a nasty looking sword advances toward the warrior.
She looks over his shoulder with a surprised look on her face. He looks around.
Xena runs the grimy thief through.
Another thief runs toward Xena.
Xena spurs her horse forward and kicks him out of the way. He flies somersaulting backwards.
Gabrielle and one of the thieves circle one another.
He grins through rotten teeth and lunges.
Gabrielle knocks his knife away with a powerful downward thrust of her sai.
As the man loses his balance and falls forward, she kicks him in the face, sending him flying several feet before he lands heavily on the ground.
Xena rides her steed hard towards the battling bard.
Xena, in one fluid motion, reaches down and heaves Gabrielle up behind her.
She pulls right on the reins to steer the horse away.
They see the Roman soldiers at the same time.
The Roman Soldiers rush in to break up the melee, pushing and shoving everyone still fighting into a group.
Xena and Gabrielle dismount and join the traders and thieves.
The Roman Soldiers herd the traders and thieves into a tight group.
The Roman Centurion on horseback slowly rides up to them and stops when he approaches Xena and Gabrielle.
He eyes them both with curiosity, then turns his mount and backs up several feet before addressing them.
The soldiers surround the group and escort them towards town, Xena and Gabrielle having no choice but to follow.
Behind them, out of sight of Xena and Gabrielle, a smoky apparition begins to appear.