7.15 Princess of Thieves


ACT ONE

FADE IN

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):
     What?

XENA (raises an eyebrow skeptically):
     Oh really? How did you know that and when did you know it?

AUTOLYCUS:
     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.

Gabrielle

GABRIELLE:
     You were married?

AUTOLYCUS:
     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.

AUTOLYCUS:
     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.

GABRIELLE (deadpan):
     For your commission you mean.

AUTOLYCUS:
     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.

XENA (encouraging):
     What happened?

AUTOLYCUS:
     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?

AUTOLYCUS:
     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.

[FLASHBACK]

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.

Autolycus

AUTOLYCUS (confused):
     Mind explaining in non-oracle terms?

The Oracle looks straight at Autolycus with her dark eyes and whispers.

ORACLE:
     The son of Hermes.

[END OF FLASHBACK]

AUTOLYCUS:
     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.

XENA:
     So Hermes is your father?

AUTOLYCUS:
     I guess so. The truth of it really only hit me when I didn't age, that was just...too weird.

XENA:
     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.

GABRIELLE:
     I'm so sorry.

AUTOLYCUS:
     Thanks.

XENA:
     How did she die?

AUTOLYCUS:
     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.

AUTOLYCUS (smiles):
     She's just turned twenty-three. She has my eyes and her mother's hair, prettiest girl in all of Greece.

XENA (smiles):
     Spoken like a true father.

AUTOLYCUS (smile falters):
     Unfortunately, she has inherited my sense of adventure...but not the skills to go with it.

GABRIELLE (confused):
     What do you mean?

XENA (interrupts):
     He means that she's a thief as well, but not a very good one.

AUTOLYCUS (sigh):
     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.

GABRIELLE:
     What did she try to steal?

XENA (gives him a probing look):
     Something to do with the Olympians?

AUTOLYCUS:
     Yeah.

XENA:
     Why am I not surprised.

[FLASHBACK]

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.

HEPHAESTUS:
     What can I do for you, Zeus?

ZEUS:
     I need you to make me a chalice of sorts.

HEPHAESTUS:
     Another present for Mom?

ZEUS (irritated):
     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.

ZEUS:
     Just do it!

HEPHAESTUS:
     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.

Zeus

ZEUS:
     This statue must be stronger than the brass jar that held Ares.

HEPHAESTUS:
     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.

ZEUS:
     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...

ZEUS:
     Sapphires for eyes, rubies for lips, make it beautiful, make it quick.

HEPHAESTUS:
     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):
     This.

[END OF FLASHBACK]

GABRIELLE:
     Wow. So Eurystheus has this statue now? And that's the statue Anticlea wanted to steal? Obviously, she's ambitious.

XENA (chuckles):
     A chip off the old block.

AUTOLYCUS:
     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...

GABRIELLE:
     So what are you going to do?

AUTOLYCUS:
     Rescue my daughter, what else?

XENA:
     Sounds like you could use some help.

FADE OUT

END OF ACT ONE