Xena, Gabrielle and Autolycus are sitting in a busy tavern. Each has a bowl in front of them containing their lunch. Gabrielle is pouting because hers is obviously not Indian.
GABRIELLE (in between a mouthful):
So, Autolycus, how have you been? Come across a fountain of youth in your travels?
AUTOLYCUS (takes a breath):
I'm a demigod.
GABRIELLE (spits a mouthful of mead across the table):
XENA (raises an eyebrow skeptically):
Oh really? How did you know that and when did you know it?
Well, after the last time I saw you, business was a little slow. I headed back home and only did small jobs, you know, a statue here, a purse there. You get the picture. (sighs) Then one day this King came knocking on my door, said he had a job for me, something big. I may have been laying low but I was still the King of Thieves and was not about to give up the title. Unfortunately my wife didn't agree.
You were married?
I got married about a year after you two disappeared. Figured any chance with Xena was gone. (cheeky grin)
XENA (uncomfortable look):
Back to the point.
Penelope, that was my wife, pleaded and begged for me not to go. Well my ego being the size of Mount Olympus I went. Stole the statue; that was easy, nothing to it. How was I to know the old beaten down building was actually a temple of Zeus' that was still in working order. There was other stuff in there, hidden where the statue was. The King's boys hauled it out of there and I went back for a better look around.
For your commission you mean.
Whatever you want to call it. There were traps, lots of them. Worse than any others I'd ever encountered. I ended up on a cold stone floor in the dark; with no way out.
At first I was sure I was going to die. I had no food, and only a little water dripping from the ceiling. But then I thought--nah, they're not gonna get the King of Thieves that easily. So I started chipping away at the wall with another rock. A month went by and I was still alive, even though I was starving. That's when I started to think something funny was going on. It took me a year to get through that wall and to my freedom.
GABRIELLE (clearly amazed):
Wow, then what happened?
I ate enough to pick the whole forest clean. (chuckles) I slowly made my way back home, but exhaustion won me over one day and I took refuge in an oracle's temple. This woman was weird (shudders theatrically) ...no, more than weird, she was scary. But she did have some interesting things to say.
The Oracle is standing over Autolycus' form; she is waving her hands around in the air. All of a sudden she stops and her green eyes transform into pools of black. Autolycus looks terrified but is too tired to run.
ORACLE (chanting to herself):
Blood of God, Blood of God, Blood of God, Blood of God. Your veins are immortal, within you flows life.
Mind explaining in non-oracle terms?
The Oracle looks straight at Autolycus with her dark eyes and whispers.
The son of Hermes.
[END OF FLASHBACK]
Lets just say the minute I felt better I was out of there. I wasn't entirely sure if I believed the old bag but if it was true, it sure explained a whole lot.
So Hermes is your father?
I guess so. The truth of it really only hit me when I didn't age, that was just...too weird.
What happened to your wife?
AUTOLYCUS (sad look):
I'm getting to that. After weeks of traveling I made it home. My homecoming was not what I expected...Penelope was dead.
I'm so sorry.
How did she die?
Childbirth. A neighbor informed me that only a few days after I left she had found out there was a bun in the oven. I really do have bad timing. I'd lost my wife but gained a daughter, Anticlea.
GABRIELLE (the "bard" spark returning to her voice):
You have a daughter! How old is she, what does she look like, is she...
XENA (motions for Autolycus to continue):
Slow down, Gabrielle.
She's just turned twenty-three. She has my eyes and her mother's hair, prettiest girl in all of Greece.
Spoken like a true father.
AUTOLYCUS (smile falters):
Unfortunately, she has inherited my sense of adventure...but not the skills to go with it.
What do you mean?
He means that she's a thief as well, but not a very good one.
Yep, you got it. She tried to steal something from King Eurystheus, and now he's got her imprisoned. We have a score to settle and he's using her as bait.
What did she try to steal?
XENA (gives him a probing look):
Something to do with the Olympians?
Why am I not surprised.
Camera pans back to show a large cave illuminated in a red glow. Hephaestus is in a corner making weapons presumably for Ares. Zeus appears in a golden light. Hephaestus looks up from his work but does not move.
What can I do for you, Zeus?
I need you to make me a chalice of sorts.
Another present for Mom?
No. I want it to be in the form of a statue, and made of solid gold, I also want it sealed.
HEPHAESTUS (looks interested):
Well that's not an everyday request.
Just do it!
Fine, fine...don't get your thunderbolts in a twist, Dad.
Hephaestus picks up a piece of parchment and a quill. He licks the end and waits patiently for Zeus to describe what he wants.
This statue must be stronger than the brass jar that held Ares.
Gee you don't want to mention that little incident in front of him, I accidentally said someth--
Hephaestus stops when he sees the look on Zeus' face. The King of the Gods doesn't look too impressed.
As I was saying, it must be strong. I don't want a Hydra to be able to get in this thing...or even worse, Hera.
HEPHAESTUS (under his breath):
That was way harsh...
Sapphires for eyes, rubies for lips, make it beautiful, make it quick.
I'll have it done in a candle mark, what exactly do you wanna put in it?
ZEUS (pulls out the white ball of light):
[END OF FLASHBACK]
Wow. So Eurystheus has this statue now? And that's the statue Anticlea wanted to steal? Obviously, she's ambitious.
A chip off the old block.
The story I heard is, Eurystheus is completely obsessed with the damn statue. Who knows what he might do to someone who tried to steal it...
So what are you going to do?
Rescue my daughter, what else?
Sounds like you could use some help.
END OF ACT ONE