7.15 Princess of Thieves


ACT TWO

FADE IN

Close up of a puddle of water on a gray stone floor, pan back to see a wall where water is dripping down. The sound of water hitting water is incredibly loud and slowly dies down to the sound of crying. We move across to see Anticlea huddled in a corner, her long hair hanging forward, covering her face.

Two guards are sitting at a table playing a game of rock, dagger, parchment. The older of the two looks over at the girl and gives an irritated snort.

GUARD #1:
     Is she ever going to shut up?

Anticlea looks up quickly and fresh tears stream down her cheeks. Both guards look at her for a moment.

GUARD #2:
     Well not if you keep asking that, it seems to set her off even worse. You have three daughters; I thought you of all people would be slightly more sympathetic.

GUARD #1:
     Look, my daughters never tried to steal from our King before.

GUARD #2:
     You got a point there. I'm just not sure sticking her down here is the right thing to do.

Anticlea sobs loudly yet again rather dramatically.

GUARD #1:
     That's it! I need to rest my legs and stretch my ears...dammit, I mean the other way round. See what a state she's gotten me into? I'm going go get something to eat, want anything?

GUARD #2:
     No thanks; I'll be fine.

The older man gets up and moves toward the exit. He turns back and spares a knowing glance for his companion before slipping out. The second guard stares at the young girl silently for a few minutes before she looks up.

ANTICLEA (irritated):
     What?

GUARD #2 (smiles awkwardly):
     My name's Laertes.

ANTICLEA (softens):
     Anticlea.

LAERTES:
     Yeah, I know.

ANTICLEA (whispers):
     What are they going to do to me?

LAERTES:
     I really don't know. You're the first person that I know of that ever tried to steal from the King. He's not exactly known for handing out candy and kissing babies. (pause) Why did you do it? Was it just the money?

Anticlea

ANTICLEA (ponders whether to tell or not, gets a feeling she can trust him):
     No. It wasn't that at all. (sighs) Ever since I was little my father would tell me wonderful stories. Adventures of Xena, Hercules, slaying hydras, defeating armies... He knew them; I even met Hercules a few times. My father was a thief, and yet he was friends with these wonderful people. They saw good in him, so did I. The last job he ever did almost killed him. King Eurystheus hired him to steal a statue, he heard some story and wanted it.

[FLASHBACK]

Young King Eurystheus looks around the small town with disgust. He is surrounded by dozens of guards and looks as if this is the last place he wants to be. He slowly makes his way towards a door and knocks. The door swings open and a woman in her mid twenties with long chestnut colored hair is standing there.

PENELOPE (smiles brightly):
     May I help you?

YOUNG KING EURYSTHEUS:
     Ah yes, I'm looking for Autolycus.

PENELOPE:
     Come in; come in. Autolycus, honey, there's someone here to see you.

Autolycus rises and shakes hands with the King before motioning to sit.

AUTOLYCUS:
     What brings you to my home?

YOUNG KING EURYSTHEUS (looks pointedly at Penelope):
     I want to discuss a matter of business with you.

A startled look overcomes Autolycus' face before he smiles slightly and clears his throat.

AUTOLYCUS:
     Penny, can you please get our guest a mug of water, he must be thirsty.

PENELOPE (smiles obliviously):
     Be back before you can say "slay a hydra".

The cheerful Penelope happily goes off to fetch some water. King Eurystheus pulls a map out of a saddlebag and opens it before laying it upon the table.

YOUNG KING EURYSTHEUS:
     I've been told you are the best; I need the best. I'm offering to pay you three thousand dinars to steal a small statue for me.

AUTOLYCUS (smiles slightly):
     What's the catch?

YOUNG KING EURYSTHEUS:
     There is a little tiny story behind the statue, nothing big.

AUTOLYCUS:
     No story, no Autolycus. I want to know what I'm getting myself into.

YOUNG KING EURYSTHEUS (defeated sigh):
     Years ago when only a few mortals roamed the earth, Zeus became infatuated with a water nymph named Inyx. He stalked her day and night, never letting her rest. After months of Inyx denying him, the King of the Gods decided he wasn't going to take no for an answer. But as he accosted her, Hera appeared and answered the nymph's prayers. Hera saved her soul, or so she thought. It is said that after the Queen of the Gods left, Zeus imprisoned her soul in a solid golden statue.

AUTOLYCUS:
     So you want me to steal a statue that belongs to Zeus?

YOUNG KING EURYSTHEUS:
     Belonged. He's dead now thanks to Hercules and the Warrior Princess.

Autolycus

AUTOLYCUS:
     Look, I'm not really a big fan of stealing from the Gods, even dead ones. It tends to come back and bite you.

YOUNG KING EURYSTHEUS (smirks):
     Fine then, I'll just get Gyges to do it. He's pretty new on the scene but I heard he can become invisible.

King Eurystheus stands and turns to leave but is halted by Autolycus also standing quickly.

AUTOLYCUS:
     Fine...I'll do it. I need a day or two to get prepared.

YOUNG KING EURYSTHEUS:
     Wonderful.

[END OF FLASHBACK]

ANTICLEA:
     While my father was stealing the statue, he fell into a trap...he went missing for over a year, and my mother died while giving birth to me. Every day of his life, he has regretted that she died alone, and blamed your King and that stupid statue. For as long as I remember, I was going to get that statue back. I was hoping that your King wanted it badly enough to be miserable without it...maybe as miserable as my father was without my mother.

LAERTES:
     So this is a vengeance thing. Do you really think your father wanted you to do this?

ANTICLEA:
     I needed to do it!

LAERTES (softly):
     You don't blame King Eurystheus; you blame yourself for your mother's death.

CUT TO

Xena, Gabrielle and Autolycus are walking along a worn dirt road. Everyone is silent, even the birds are keeping quiet. Tall dark, green trees tower over the three, casting shadows in every direction. Xena stops and looks around for a moment.

XENA (whispering):
     Three in the trees, four on the ground--think you're up to it, Autolycus?

AUTOLYCUS:
     Been a long time but I think I'll live. (grin)

XENA:
     Ayiyiyiyiyi...

Xena flips up onto one of the tree branches and knocks out one of the men who falls to the road with a loud thud. The four men on the ground come out of hiding and rush the bard and thief.

GABRIELLE:
     Work out time.

She pulls out her sais and easily knocks her attacker unconscious. Autolycus has a bit of a harder fight but eventually manages to get two soldiers to knock each other out. Xena flips from one branch to another and disposes of the other two in the trees. She jumps down and puts the pinch of the last fighter.

XENA:
     30 seconds, no blood to brain, yadda, yadda, yadda.

SOLDIER (finding it hard to talk):
     I'm aware of that.

XENA:
     So start talking, 25 seconds.

SOLDIER:
     King Eurystheus sent us, he wanted to make sure Autolycus came alone.

Xena takes the pinch off him and he passes out.

XENA:
     Well now he has company.

GABRIELLE:
     What do we do with these guys?

XENA:
     Ah, let them sleep it off. (smiles sweetly)

FADE OUT

END OF ACT TWO