Later in the day Lacy heard footsteps coming up the stairs. She recognized those little footsteps as Danielle's. Lacy strolled into her daughter's room. "Hey sweetheart weren't we suppose to pick you up?" asked Lacy confused.
"Ya, but Tracy's mum was going to do their grocery shopping and I didn't want to go, so they dropped me off," explained Danielle.
"I'm glad you're home early, tell me what you and Tracy did last night," coaxed Lacy as they both sat on the bed catching up with their mother and daughter chat. Lacy and Danielle finished out their weekend with enjoying each other as always.
Lacy concluded filming the final shoot for season five as Bob continued to be swamped with show scrambling for the fall season. The next several weeks, Lacy was busy traveling to the states, enjoying time with her children and thinking a lot on her final season direction. She kept touch with Gigi as they shared several fun phone conversations.
Lacy cancelled her schedule in the states and headed back to her Auckland home, anxious to be back with Bob and planning to meet again with Lizzie and Gigi with high hopes of getting season six on the right track.
While holding a quiet meeting in Lacy's house. Lizzie, Gigi and Lacy discuss the script Lizzie wrote to begin season 6.
"Lizzie I can't wait to hear what you've come up with for a storyline, come on tell us," urged Gigi.
"Ok but this isn't my final version, I'm still working some things out, but here we go," exclaimed an excited Lizzie as she began to read, gesturing with her hands on each sentence.
"I see this story is from the character's point of view, about the time she met Xena and Gabrielle," Lizzie explained to Lacy and Gigi. To start out with, some background information to get to know the character."
"My name is Portraya. I was born and raised in a tiny village of what was left of our mighty Amazon Nation. I grew up learning how to fight off our attackers, along with our day to day task of surviving starvation.
My mother and her sisters taught me the art of using a bow and arrow for hunting game to feed and clothe our people. When I was of age to hunt on my own, I found myself sketching out a likeness of the animal in the earth before I killed it.
On the days of blue skies and large fluffy clouds, images would appear to me as I daydreamed skyward between my duties.
One day as my mother was stretching a hide to cure. I took a piece of burned, blackened wood from a cold campfire and drew my mother's face onto the dried skin of a deer.
The sun shined brightly that day, my sketch showed the cracks of time on her face. This was a hard life and I wondered about my future within the confines of this small village.
The entire tribe learned of my ability to draw. As I grew older I sketched out the faces of my sisters and other familiar faces of our tribe.
One day, my mother never awoke from her slumber. The ties to my village were severed that day and I felt the pull to venture forth into the unknown world….
I left the morning of my mother's funeral pyre, a drawing of her and my tribe members packed in my travel sack. The day was heavy with the sadness and good-byes but soon I felt my excitement grow with every step that distanced me.
Days grew into weeks, weeks grew into months until I finally entered the city of Athens. I couldn't believe the size of the buildings and the number of people. So many different people, wearing strange clothing or was it me wearing the strange garb?
It had been weeks since my arrows had tasted the blood of fresh meat. I was down to my last strip of dried venison and needed supplies but I had no dinars with which to buy food or shelter.
Looking around, I saw a nearby Tavern. I had the thought perhaps someone might desire a likeness of themselves in exchange for food and drink.
I entered the building called "The Warrior Inn and Tavern" and quickly scanned the room to locate the bar and barkeep.
" I wonder if I could barter with you or your patrons for some food?" I asked the barkeep. "In exchange for what?" He replied to me.
I explained how I used small dried animal skins and some coal chunks from the fireplace to capture a still likeness of his face. "My face?" The man laughed heartily, "I don't look in the mirror any more, and I have no need of a picture."
Laughing uncontrollably, the barkeep gave me a small mug of ale just for offering him such humor. He remarked "You look well traveled young woman, go, go try peddling this on my customers," as he was still laughing.
I chose a table nearest to the fire, eyeing the many pieces of coal.
The ale felt good on my throat, having only tasted it a few times whenever it was brought back to the village from a nearby small town.
I asked two men sitting just two tables over if they were interested in having a sketch made of themselves in trade for my supper. One man offered me supper if I would go up to his room , claiming I'd have the time of my life.
Taking a handful of coal bits, I moved to a table closer to the door. I could see the sun was already setting and I would have to find a safe place to sleep soon.
After many attempts and failures of drawing for my supper, I noticed two women walking in together. Bellying up to the bar, they ordered wine and meat.
One was a sleek, tall, dark haired warrior in leather with a sheathed sword on her back. The other a more compact, muscle toned blonde, dressed in Amazonian style garb with weapons tucked into her boots.
I couldn't help but stare and I was about to offer my services, when a huge bear of a man approached me. "Hey the barkeep told me you draw faces, well do mine! " he slurred out.
"Yes for the price of supper I will sketch your face on an animal hide."
The rather grossly featured bearded man nodded, as he sat across from me at my table.
I could see as I sketched the faces of the Tavern customers watching me, including the two women warriors.
I quickly wore down the piece of coal I used to fill in his beard and reached for another to blend his bushy hair.
I finished, giving the burly man first glimpse of my work. He jumped up astonished, yelling "You made me down right UGLY, that's NOT me and I'm not paying ya!" He scowled.
Just as he went to leave the Tavern, the tall brunette warrior grasped the animal hide from my hand, snarling. "I think this looks just like you. She's captured your face perfectly! You should pay what you owe her!"
The expression of anger on that thug was enough to scare a child as he turned around to face the warrior woman. Again she repeated, "Pay her!"
The mammoth man charged the warrior woman with all his bulk as she dodged him kicking him on his rump. Again he ran for her, this time she kicked the man squarely between his eyes, knocking him out.
The warrior reached into his purse taking out enough dinars for a meal, handing them to me, as she threw his picture on his body.
"You were amazing!" I said excitedly as I thanked her over and over.
I went to the bar to get my food where the smaller blonde invited me to eat with them.
She introduced herself as Gabrielle and pointed to the tall woman telling me, this is Xena.
"Xena and Gabrielle!" I repeated. You two are Amazon legends! " I blurted out in surprise.
"I'm Portraya and I am also an Amazon" I respectfully told Queen Gabrielle.
Queen Gabrielle and I talked for hours about the tribe I left behind and my desire to pursue my passion for sketching portraits of people that would save them for all time.
Xena stood quietly just listening as we talked.
Just then the barkeeper announced he was closing.
"Where are you staying?" Gabrielle asked me, as I was embarrassed to tell her "I don't know maybe I'll sleep in the stable on some hay."
"No, Xena and I have a room, we can't allow a sister amazon to sleep in a stable when we have plenty of room," exclaimed Gabrielle.
So I accepted her invitation, how could I not?
As we climbed the stairs I explained this was the first Inn I had ever stayed in. Xena opened the door as we all found there were two beds in the small room.
I quickly told them I would sleep on the floor. I was grateful for having a roof over my head but Gabrielle insisted I take a bed and she and Xena would share the other.
I wasn't very tired from the excitement of the day's events so the Queen and I talked further into the night, while Xena lie beside Gabrielle on the bed. I showed her my sketches of my family and fellow amazon sisters.
Gabrielle showed me her scrolls as I quickly noticed the parchment was so smooth and the ink she used had such clean lines. She offered me a scroll and handed me her quill.
With the aid of only candle and a full moon's light, I drew her face as we talked about our futures. Gabrielle asked that I travel with them to see more of the country and explore other cities.
I loudly said, "YES! YES!" Too loud, I woke up Xena whose look threatened us both with bodily harm if we didn't go to sleep.
Gabrielle slid comfortably along side Xena as I laid on top my bed sketching the two women as they slept.
When dawn came I was still awake and the scroll Gabrielle had given me was filled with their content faces and spooning bodies.
I was fueled by the thoughts of traveling with Xena and Gabrielle.
I would draw pictures to her stories, chronicling their adventures, for the world to see.
Walking towards my future, what does destiny hold for me?
For now, I was content with the knowledge that I was part of a legacy as yet unforetold.
"The end, " said Lizzie as she looked up at Lacy and Gigi's faces to see their reactions.
"That's it? That's all?" asked Lacy surprised "Ya it ended too soon," proclaimed Gigi.
"Well that's the first story of the arc," explained Lizzie as she added "the show's writer's can take them into adventures for the rest of the arc."
"Well I really like the idea of Xena and Gabrielle's lives having pictures to go with Gabrielle's scrolls. That is a really nice touch to share their history with the world," said Lacy.
"Yes, Lizzie it was very good," commented Gigi.
"I just have to polish up some grammar on some sentences then we are ready to show Bob," announced Lizzie.
" Bob, yes Bob, he'll like it, I know he has good taste, he chose me didn't he?" Lacy said playfully.
Bob continued to be overwhelmed with the one remaining 30 minute show and preparations for a new program in the works during the break from XWP but at least had enjoyed the time with Lacy, Janus and Danielle.
Time was becoming critical and Bob struggled with concerns of a completely new writing staff working with D.J. No one had given him a script he could bite into or would breathe life into a character worthy of Katie Langley's guest appearance.
Just this very morning, Bob had arrived at his studio office to find the sets of the other shows in total chaos and confusion. After trying to put some order in the filming for those shows, Bob sat quietly in his office sorting through several first drafts of stories for XWP and throwing page after page on the floor in disgust and despair.
Lizzie let Lacy keep the copy of the script she wrote having the original back in her Auckland home.
As she nursed Janus, Lacy thought hard about the best way to approach Bob with the recently written script.
On a light day of re-shoots for the other show, Lacy decided to go see Bob at his office for lunch. She planned to take him out to eat then present the script to him after having a pleasant meal.
Little did Lacy know what she would find when she got to the office....
Bob's anger was building as he put aside the poor first draft scripts D.J.'s new writers submitted and popped in the most recent footage of film on the sets of that morning. After only a few minutes of observing frame by frame, Bob really became irate with the obvious poor camera angles and bad lighting of the action shots. Bob pounded the extension to his secretary's phone and demanded she order the director to his office immediately.
"Sloppy, unthinking, half wits!" Bob shouted at the director, referring to his displeasure of the film from the morning shoot. He yanked the tape recklessly from the DVRex editor, waved it around in the air continuing to show his temper when surprisingly he noticed Lacy had entered his office.
Lacy could tell by Bob's red face and bulging veins at his temple that things were not going well.
"Hi Hon, I thought I'd come down and take you out and looks like you could use it," remarked Lacy lightly.
"How sweet honey and I wish I could go, but I have so many things not going well, I don't dare leave," Bob half - heartily admitted as he dismissed the director to go re-shoot the scenes he had ordered.
"I have something here that I'm confident will help one of your situations" said Lacy with cautious optimism as she took the thick stack of typing paper from her rather large bag and handed it to Bob.
"What? Oh, is this the deal you were working on with Lizzie?" asked Bob glaring at his wife.
"It's actually a storyline she's put together and she's working on the dialogue as we speak," replied Lacy. "Bob this is really good, it's the first of a story arc, it brings back the Amazons, you really should read it over, Bob."
Without sounding too egotistical that Lacy had handled this while he was covered up with other production matters, Bob took the papers and sat more relaxed at his desk and began to read. As he read, Lacy explained,
"Katie's part is a new character worth exploring with a second and third episode. I'll have someone get us some sandwiches and tea for lunch. I want to be here when you finish to discuss this with you."
"Lacy your enthusiasm is a pleasant change to my day and catchy," Bob noted as he started becoming engrossed in the story Lizzie had written. "Alright we'll eat lunch here while I finish reading this over. I'll have Catherine (his secretary) to hold all calls until we're done." Bob leaned back in his large executive chair reading and Lacy watched her husband's eyes grow intense with each page as she sipped her tea.
After sometime Bob put the stack of papers down on his desk.
"I like it Lacy!" Bob happily announced looking across to his wife.
"We'll have Katie narrating her character's story and thoughts! When can Lizzie have the full script ready? Lizzie brings out Gabrielle's excitement of writing again, that's good. This amazon Portraya is new to her surroundings so maybe she could get into some trouble that Xena and Gabrielle can get her out of?" Bob said thinking out loud.
"Oh Bob you don't know how relieved that makes me feel, I didn't like going behind your back at all. It's just that I knew Lizzie could put a great story together, I remember how much she enjoyed working Xena and Gabrielle's lines," Lacy finally revealed.
"I'm sorry you were forced to go covert with this, sometimes I can be stubborn. You tell Lizzie whatever contract price, she's got it. This is just what I needed after volumes of bad writing being piled on my desk lately. More importantly, this is the key for Katie Langley" Bob rattled on as he kissed Lacy on the cheek showing his excitement.
I'm sure Lizzie knows how to hold down the costs, she did work for you before. It's so good to see you filled with joy again Bob, I don't know how you tolerate the weight of balancing all these shows on your shoulders," Lacy sighed while shaking her head.
"Remind me later tonight when we're in bed to ask you to rub these tired shoulders," whispered Bob as he took Lacy into a full embrace, then putting his mouth on hers, inducing a passionate kiss.
Bob informed Lacy he would waste no time alerting D.J. to bring the new writer's up to par and his choice to utilize Lizzie often on a continuing arc for Portraya. Katie Langley's agent had offered three available dates to choose from that she could guest star and Bob decided immediately he would contract for all three times.
After such a pleasant lunch, Bob ordered some things completed on the sets and at the office and suggested to Lacy that he end work early. Bob asked Lacy about Janus to learn he was at home with the Nanny as he walked Lacy to her car and went himself to head home for a quiet evening.
Driving home, Bob recalled how it was Lacy and Gigi that had turned the show to being such a success for him in the first place. Once again, it was Lacy that cared enough to take action to save their final season. What a team we all are ! Bob thought of himself and all those now working to insure this season was back on track.
Later that night in bed, Lacy asked Bob if he really was okay with her rounding up Lizzie and that she and Gigi involved themselves in the story for their final season?
"You know honey, " Bob replied, "the cost of writing and a great guest star will be returned easy. This is exactly what you were talking about last season, our futures, your career and my track record. Ya know, I feel really confident we are going to save the goose and if we're lucky, we might just eat it too" Bob said in his silly voice as Lacy turned off the light.
"Rub my shoulders now, will ya darling?"
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