The Treasure of Zeus Production Draft

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The Treasure of Zeus

Episode #1
Production #V0801

Story by: Robert Tapert & Liz Friedman

Teleplay by: Mark Edens

Directed by: Chris Graves

Production Draft April 20, 1998 - May 22, 1998

Pacific Island Pictures, LTD, All Rights Reserved © 1998

Cast List

Hercules
Jason
Iolaus - (ee-OH-lus)
Cheiron - (KI-ron)
Strife/Nysus Gaius - (NICE-us GUY-us)
Alcmene - (alk-MAY-nee)
Ares
Kora

Set List

Interiors:
Cheiron's Academy - Classroom
Kora's Inn
Hera's Cave
Alcmene's Barn
Ares' Temple

Exteriors:
Cheiron's Academy
Hera's Cave
Mountains
Road
Alcmene's House
Ares' Temple

Teaser

FADE IN:

EXT. ARES' TEMPLE - DAY (STOCK)

To establish. But we hear a strange sound: the CLASH OF METAL AGAINST METAL.

INT. ARES' TEMPLE - CONTINUOUS

ARES, armed only with a sword, is fighting coolly and calmly against a Warrior who isn't there: helmet, shield, sword, body armor, but no body inside them. (If this effect is too difficult, an alternative would be a faceless warrior completely swathed in black cloth.) STRIFE is sitting in a chair, watching the fight. He seems nervous, bored, restless.

ARES
You know, being a god, living in Olympus -- it's not a job for a weakling. Take me, for example. To be the God of War, even I have to work hard. It's a constant battle.

Ares strikes to the center of the Warrior with his sword -- and the armor CLATTERS to the floor. Where the Warrior had been there is only a wisp of smoke.

STRIFE
I'm tired of being a nobody, Ares. I mean, 'Strife, the God of War's nephew' -- what does that say to anybody? I'm ready for the big time -- you know what I mean? Why can't I be 'Disaster,' or 'Catastrophe'? Well, okay -- that one's hard to spell --

With a CLATTER, the armor and weapons rise up off the floor, and the shadow warrior reassembles. Ares begins fighting again.

ARES
If you want to be a real god, you have to prove yourself worthy.
STRIFE
Yeah? How do I do that? What's the trick?
ARES
You have to act like a god -- and make mortals suffer.
STRIFE
Been there, done that. Hey -- I'm Strife. I'm bad.
ARES
Try naughty. If you were any good and being bad, you'd dare what no god has dared before. To destroy a mortal son of Zeus.
STRIFE
You mean Hercules?

Ares puts his hatred into his blows, striking harder and harder against the shadow Warrior --

ARES
My half-brother. Alcmene's brat. The apple of my father's all-seeing eye.

Ares smashes the shadow Warrior, which CLATTERS to the floor again, leaving only a wisp of smoke. Ares relaxes.

ARES
Hera wants him gone, and so do I.
STRIFE
Whoa -- time out.

The Warrior starts to reassemble, but Ares raises a hand --

ARES
Don't get up.

-- and the armor CLATTERS to the floor again.

STRIFE
No god can do Hercules in without getting fried for eternity by Zeus -- am I right, or am I right?
ARES
Half-right. We can't attack him directly. But sometimes a little Strife can bring on a major -- catastrophe.

Ares moves away. Strife chews his fingernails nervously, thinking. Then his eyes light up and he smiles.

STRIFE
Hercules, here I come!

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. ALCMENE'S BARN - DAY

Sweaty and grain-dusty, naked to the waist, HERCULES swings a heavy sack of grain onto his back, spins around a couple of times, and heaves it onto a pile of grain sacks. Playfully he bounds up the heaped grain sacks, leaps in the air, and grabs a rope hanging across a rafter. He climbs hand-over-hand to a loft filled with hay: he's left a rake in the loft. He picks it up -- and notices a knot hole in the wall across the barn. He hefts the rake like a spear (handle tip pointed away), taking aim. Then he closes his eyes. Eyes closed, he hurls the rake. It sticks in the wall, dead-center in the knot hole. Hercules smiles. Then he jumps off the edge of the loft, grabbing the rope and swinging into the center of the barn. He does a couple of flips, and lands near the sack on the wall. The rake is gone. Hercules looks around, puzzled. The rake is lying on a nearby haystack -- must've fallen off the wall. He reaches for the rake -- and a hand shoots out of the hay and grabs his wrist.

HERCULES
Hey!

A HOODED MAN rises up out of the hay and flips Hercules across the barn. As Hercules rolls to his feet, the man grabs the rake and twirls it in front of him, martial arts style. Hercules grabs a coiled rope and tosses one end into the twirl, catching the rake. He jerks the rope, and the rake flies out of the man's hands. Bare-handed, the man runs toward Hercules, attacking. Hercules grabs a grain sack and flings it into the man: the sack knocks him backwards. Hercules hefts an even bigger sack and launches it at the man, who rolls out of the way. The man grabs a ladder and charges Hercules, using the ladder like a battering ram. Hercules catches the end of the ladder and flips it up, lifting the man off the ground and tossing him into the loft. Hercules starts up the ladder after him. When he nears the top, the man shoves the ladder away from the loft. Hercules teeters, then manages to walk the ladder towards the opposite wall. He's almost made it when the man grabs a rope and swings over to the ladder. Now both of them are at the top of the ladder, on opposite sides, each trying to push the other off as the ladder walks around the barn. The ladder comes apart under the strain, leaving each of them clinging to one of the side poles as the rungs CLATTER to the floor. They sway for a moment, and both of them reach for the same rope, grab it. A brief struggle clinging to the rope -- and then suddenly it snaps under their combined weight.

They land on a huge sack of feathers, which bursts in a pillow-fight blizzard. They roll onto the floor, wrestling, through a pile of muck, through the dust, crunching over baskets -- until a bucket of cold water is thrown on them. They stop, surprised, gasping for breath. ALCMENE stands over them, smiling with an empty bucket.

ALCMENE
Like two bulls, knocking your heads together to see how thick they are!
HERCULES
Mom, he attacked me!

Alcmene snatches the hood off Herc's attacker, revealing IOLAUS.

HERCULES
Iolaus!
IOLAUS
'Expect the unexpected.' I was mopping the floor with you, till your mom saved your pitiful hide.
ALCMENE
How about mopping the floor with this?

Alcmene smiles as she tosses a pair of brooms to Hercules and walks out. Hercules looks around at the mess. Feathers are still drifting in the air. Herc offers a broom to Iolaus.

HERCULES
Here.

Iolaus grasps the broom -- and Hercules flips him overhead. Iolaus lands in the muck.

HERCULES
'Expect the unexpected.'

Smiling, Hercules sets to work.

FADE OUT.

Act One

FADE IN:

EXT. ALCMENE'S HOUSE - DAY

Hercules and Iolaus wash up beside the well.

IOLAUS
You missed a spot.

Iolaus splashes water at Hercules. Hercules grabs a bucket, ready to throw the water on Iolaus.

ALCMENE
Hercules.

Hercules quickly puts the bucket don as Alcmene walks from the house, carrying a bundle.

ALCMENE
I've packed your things for the academy.
Iolaus
I stashed mine behind the house. Be right back.

Iolaus gives Hercules a last flick of water, then runs off behind the house.

HERCULES
There's still a lot of work left to do, mom.
ALCMENE
How do you think I get by when you're at the academy?
HERCULES
I don't know. I know Zeus doesn't lend a hand.
ALCMENE
Hercules, I wish you weren't so obsessed with your father.

Alcmene and Hercules walk slowly toward the house, with Hercules carrying his bundle.

ALCMENE
Since you were little, you've taken every dare, no matter how dangerous -- or how foolish. Always trying to prove yourself worthy of Zeus.
HERCULES
(it is true)
That's not true!
(turns away; to himself)
How can I be obsessed with somebody I've never met?!
ALCMENE
You can't escape your birthright. But what you become -- That's in your hands.
(She takes his hands)

To be a good man, a good friend -- it's hard work, Hercules.

(showing him his hands)
I know you're not afraid to work hard.
HERCULES
You're the one who's worked hard all your life. Because Zeus abandoned you.
ALCMENE
Zeus gave me the thing I treasure most.

She brings his hands up and kisses them. Herc looks embarrassed -- especially as Iolaus returns, carrying a bundle for traveling.

IOLAUS
Well, I guess we'd better get going.
ALCMENE
(turns to Iolaus)
You know, Iolaus, when I was little, my mother would bake cakes and put them in the window to cool, and I'd always sneak up and steal them. When I got older, I realized she was baking the cakes for me.

As Alcmene speaks to Iolaus, Herc's dog, BEAR, comes up to Iolaus and sniffs and whines hungrily at Iolaus' bundle.

IOLAUS
(guiltily)
Interesting story. I guess there's like a moral in there somewhere.
ALCMENE
Don't strain yourself looking for it. Now get going, both of you -- before I put you to work again.

Alcmene embraces Hercules. Iolaus studies the ground as he pushes the insistent sniffing, whining Bear away.

ALCMENE
Take care, Hercules.

They part. Hercules looks over at his dog.

HERCULES
Down Bear! Come 'ere!

The dog rushes to Herc, who gives him a quick hug/rub.

IOLAUS
So are we goin' or not?
HERCULES
(to Bear)
See ya, buddy.

Alcmene waits by the door, waving as Bear ambles up beside her. Hercules looks back, then forward, eager for the road. Iolaus pulls the cake from his bundle.

IOLAUS
You want some cake?

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. ON THE ROAD - DAY

Hercules and Iolaus hike across an impressive landscape.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. KORA'S INN - NIGHT

A pair of shaggy-legged SATYRS are snarfing down food from a shared plate, with atrocious table manners. They pause and look up suspiciously as Hercules and Iolaus enter.

IOLAUS
I hear thus inn's got a new owner.
(indicating the Satyrs)
The old one wouldn't serve anybody without shoes.
JASON
Hercules! Iolaus!
HERCULES
Jason!

JASON gets up from a table as Hercules and Iolaus hurry over. Jason and Hercules exchange a back-slapping embrace.

HERCULES
How are things in Corinth?
JASON
Same old, same old. How's your mother?
HERCULES
She's fine.

Jason and Iolaus exchange a similar embrace.

JASON
Hey -- you been working out?
IOLAUS
Just enough to kick your royal backside.

The embrace ends with some good-natured push and shove.

JASON
You and who else?

Iolaus grabs an item of Jason's clothing (a vest or a belt) made of leather. He's needling Jason.

IOLAUS
Hey, is that new? Fine Corinthian leather -- fit for a king.
HERCULES
Comes with a matching crown.
JASON
(grimaces)
Are you going to start that already?

Jason sits down at the table.

IOLAUS
His highness is displeased!
JASON
Would you knock it off?

Iolaus and Hercules sit down, laughing.

JASON
That's what I like about Cheiron's Academy -- I'm not a prince there, I'm just another student.

A beautiful young woman named KORA appears with Jason's food.

KORA
Did I hear that right -- you some kind of prince?
JASON
(instantly charming)
Well -- actually I'll be a king soon. The King of Corinth.

Hercules and Iolaus look at each other.

HERCULES & IOLAUS
Just another student.
JASON
If you're ever in Corinth, I could show you the palace.

Kora leans in seductively, giving Jason her best smile:

KORA
(breathy, overdoing it)
Gee, a palace! I -- I think I might faint.
(back to Herc and Iolaus, snappy)
Now are you two arch-dukes gonna order, or are you just waiting for the king's leftovers?
IOLAUS
We'll have what he's having -- and put all three of 'em on my bill.

Iolaus tosses his money pouch onto the table. There's no chink of coins.

KORA
Sounds empty. No dinars, no dinner.
JASON
It's okay -- I'm buying tonight.
IOLAUS
Hey, I'm tight with the owner of this place. He always gives me credit.
KORA
Nice try, curly. I'm the owner.

Kora walks away. The guys stare.

IOLAUS
She's got a really great --
HERCULES
Attitude.
JASON
Yeah.

Iolaus retrieves his money pouch.

HERCULES
The academy tuition's due this week. How are you going to pay it if you're broke?
IOLAUS
Who says I'm broke?

Hercules and Jason exchange looks. Iolaus whisks his money pouch off the table -- it says he's broke.

A teenager wearing a rather dorky-looking hooded traveling cloak enters the inn. As he walks past the satyrs, one of them sticks out a shaggy leg and trips him. The boy falls headlong to the floor, and the Satyrs laugh (their mocking laughter ends in goat-like bleating). Hercules stands up.

HERCULES
Why don't you keep your hooves to yourself?
IOLAUS
Uh-oh.

The Satyrs stand up. Jason stands up beside Hercules. The teenager gets to his feet -- and we see that it's Strife.

STRIFE
Please, no violence. We're all human beings here, more or less.

Iolaus pulls Strife aside.

IOLAUS
If I were you, I'd get out of the way.

But then Iolaus takes his place beside Jason and Hercules.

IOLAUS
Too bad I'm not him.

The Satyrs and the three guys start toward each other --

KORA (O.S.)
Hold it right there!

They react with surprise as Kora steps between them.

KORA
If you kiddies want to play, take it outside. When I want things broken around here, I'll hire a dishwasher.

The Satyrs lock eyes with Kora -- and back down, looking away, cowed. Hercules notices, and reacts curiously. As the Satyrs leave, Iolaus gives them a mocking wave.

IOLAUS
(a goat bleat)
By-y-y-y-ye.
KORA
I'm gonna have to put up a sign: 'No shirt, no feet, no service.'

Kora walks off. Strife looks at Hercules.

STRIFE
Thanks for standing up for me. You can sit down now.
HERCULES
Who are you?
STRIFE
Nysus -- Nysus Gaius. I'm on my way to Cheiron's Academy.
(sudden pride)
I'm gonna be the new top student there!

Hercules, Jason, and Iolaus look at each other -- and burst out laughing.

INT. CHEIRON'S ACADEMY - TRAINING HALL - DAY

Weapons twirling in exert hands, a wooden practice sword banging against a moving target, Young Men doing martial arts routines. ACADEMY STUDENTS, doing drills. Jason throws Iolaus while wrestling. Iolaus grabs Jason's ankle and jerks him off his feet. Hercules and Strife work out with padded spears, doing precarious footwork on crisscrossed ropes stretched taut as few feet above the ground, like a net with very large spaces. As they "fight":

HERCULES
You know that the hardest thing is here at the academy? The ground.

Hercules trips Strife with his spear, and Strife tumbles to the ground. He rolls -- into a horse's legs.

STRIFE
What is it with hooves in this burg?!

He looks up -- and sees Centaur CHEIRON looking down at him.

STRIFE
(suddenly meek)
Uh, sorry, sir. I didn't recognize you.

Strife scrambles to his feet as Hercules jumps down, joining them.

CHEIRON
I see you're showing the ropes to our newest cadet. I trust you're being gentle with him.
HERCULES
As gentle as if you were teaching him yourself, Cheiron.

Cheiron almost smiles. It comes out as a grumble.

CHEIRON
The tree that grows on stony ground as the strongest roots.

Cheiron moves away. Herc and Strife climb back up onto the ropes.

STRIFE
And my uncle ways I'm hard to understand. Does he always talk in tree roots?
HERCULES
You get used to it. Come on -- let's try that work-out again.

They vault up onto the ropes again, and start working out: thrust, parry, counter-thrust, parry.

STRIFE
My uncle's the reason I'm here. He used to tell me about this place. The academy, and that cave up on the mountain.
HERCULES
What cave?
STRIFE
He said it used to be famous. They got a chalice up there made by Zeus himself.

Distracted, Hercules slips and almost falls. Cheiron sees him from across the room.

CHEIRON
Watch your footwork, Hercules!

INT. CHEIRON'S ACADEMY - TRANING HALL - LATER THAT DAY

A sweaty Jason and Iolaus get a drink from a big clay jar of water. Strife comes over.

STRIFE
Hey, guys. I just want you to know -- you're looking good.
JASON
Yeah. You too.

Jason and Iolaus roll their eyes -- what a weirdo -- and walk away. Strife begins playing the side of the jar like a bongo drum. Hercules comes over and dips some water.

HERCULES
That chalice you were talking about -- the one in the cave. You say Zeus made it.
STRIFE
That's the story. Wedding present for Hera. But they say he wants it back, you know, now that they don't see much of each other.
HERCULES
If Zeus wants it back, why doesn't he just take it?
STRIFE
Maybe he promised not to. Even Zeus has to keep his word.
(shakes head)
What a shame. All this fuss over an ugly old cup she probably never used.
HERCULES
(lost in thought)
Yeah... probably never even used.

Hercules moves away, thinking. Strife keeps drumming.

ARES (O.S.)
(echoing)
Strife.

Strife stops drumming, looks around. Then he peers into the jar. The face of Ares is reflected in the water.

ARES
Is my dear brother hooked?
STRIFE
Like a little fish, uncle -- ready for Hera to filet.

Strife smiles, wickedly, as we --

FADE OUT.

Act Two

FADE IN:

EXT. CHEIRON'S ACADEMY - NIGHT

Hercules, wearing a BACKPACK, sneaks out of the academy dorm -- and suddenly someone leaps onto his back.

IOLAUS
Gotcha again!
HERCULES
Iolaus --

Hercules flips Iolaus off his back. Iolaus lands on his back. He raises up on his elbows.

IOLAUS
I gotta quit doing that.

Jason appears beside Hercules.

JASON
If Cheiron catches you sneaking out after curfew, he'll kick your rear -- and he can really kick.
IOLAUS
I bet he's sneaking off to see that girl at the inn.
JASON
She liked me more than him.
HERCULES
She didn't like any of us.
JASON
Good point. But if you're not going to the inn, where are you going?
IOLAUS
Yeah. There's nowhere else to go around here.
HERCULES
There's a cave in the mountains with a -- a treasure hidden inside it.
IOLAUS
The old treasure in a cave story. This guy'll believe anything.
HERCULES
It's dangerous. I don't want to get you guys hurt.

Hercules walks away. Iolaus and Jason exchange looks.

IOLAUS
He's trying to get rid of us.
JASON
And keep all the glory for himself.
IOLAUS
He can have the glory. I just want the treasure.

They hurry after Hercules, catch up with him.

IOLAUS
So what exactly are we talking about here? Gold, silver --
HERCULES
It's a chalice.
IOLAUS
A chalice?
JASON
A goblet -- a drinking cup.
IOLAUS
I know what a chalice is.
(to Hercules)

Is it gold?
HERCULES
I don't know what it's made of. All I know is, it belongs to Zeus.
IOLAUS
Hold it -- time out, guys.

They stop.

IOLAUS
You're going to snag a chalice that belongs to Zeus? Is this one of those father-son things?
HERCULES
I'm not taking it from Zeus -- I'm taking it back to him.
JASON
You mean we're going to spend all night climbing a mountain just so you can get a pat on the back from your dad?
HERCULES
I didn't ask you to come with me. I can do this myself.

Hercules walks on. Iolaus and Jason exchange a quick look, then follow him.

IOLAUS
All right -- but if there's something in the chalice -- like gold -- we split it three ways.
HERCULES
Two ways. All I want is the chalice.
JASON
One way -- I'm just coming along to keep you jerks out of trouble.
IOLAUS
I love these guys.

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. THE MOUNTAINS - NIGHT

Pan across a magnificent moonlit landscape, toward mountains.

EXT. OUTSIDE THE CAVE - NIGHT

Hercules, Jason, and Iolaus move cautiously toward the cave.

IOLAUS
The cave looks unguarded. How hard could this be?

There's a CLUNK, and they all stop and look at their feet. There is a pile of old bits of tarnished armor and bent and broken weapons. (BS&P: A FEW BONES, PLEASE.) The guys get the message:

JASON
Ask them.

They look at each other, then each bends and picks up a spear (bent, broken).

IOLAUS
Just in case.
JASON
Yeah. Just in case.

They ease forward again, carefully.

IOLAUS
What kind of cave is this, anyway? Is there anything slimy living in it? I hate those slimy things that live in caves.
HERCULES
(nervous, sees something)
What about those things that live just outside of caves?

All three look ahead, take in surprise, and stop dead.

JASON
It's as big as a house!

Silhouetted in the mouth of the cave is a huge, dark, motionless bird of prey. (PS&P: they can tell it isn't human.)

HERCULES (O.S.)
(hoping, not sure)
It's just a statue to scare people away.
IOLAUS
You sure?

The guys are all scared: In the dark the thing looks terrifying.

HERCULES
Sort of...
JASON
(determined)
There's one way to find out.

The guys gently lift up their spears to throw them.

JASON
(whispered)
On the count of three. One, two, three.

They throw their spears -- and we hear the hollow THUNK of the spears hitting wood.

HERCULES
That sounded like wood.

Jason taps Iolaus on the head.

JASON
You're right.

Iolaus slaps Jason's hand away, good-naturedly. The bird has the three spears sticking out of it: it's made of wood, like a carved statue. The three guys walk up.

HERCULES
It's just a statue, to scare people away.
IOLAUS
Imagine the ducks you could catch with a decoy like that.

Jason shoves Iolaus: get outta here. Hercules pulls his spear out of the wooden bird --

INT. THE CAVE - NIGHT

Light moves on the cave walls. Hercules, Jason, and Iolaus venture cautiously into the cave, with Hercules in the lead, carrying a torch.

HERCULES
Wait.

Hercules crouches low, holding the torch close. A thin string is stretched across the cave, at knee height.

HERCULES
It's a booby-trap.
IOLAUS
That's easy enough to get past.

Iolaus uses his spear to help him vault over the trip-wire -- and as soon as his feet touch the floor of the cave beyond it, the ground gives way and he falls into a pit trap. Iolaus SCREAMS -- and Hercules grabs Iolaus' spear. Iolaus dangles from the other end of the spear, with sharpened stakes below.

HERCULES
Jason!

Hercules tosses the torch to Jason, then uses both hands to pull Iolaus up to safety.

IOLAUS
Did I say easy?

WIPE TO:

Deeper in the cave, the guys move along again -- with Iolaus tapping the ground in front of him with his spear. Hercules sees up ahead a high stone dais with a red gleam atop it: a large chalice made of red crystal.

HERCULES
There it is -- the chalice!

Hercules steps forward eagerly --

JASON
Look out!

-- and Jason tackles him from behind, as a mass of razor-sharp swords bound with rope (the points stick in all directions) swings across the cave, right where Hercules had been standing. As Jason and Hercules get to their feet, Iolaus cuts the rope with his sword, and the ball of blades CLATTERS to the floor.

HERCULES
I guess I got a little eager.
JASON
Better watch that.

The red chalice gleams in the torchlight as they approach.

IOLAUS
What do you think's in it?

He starts to peer inside --

HERCULES
Could be a snake.

-- but jerks his head back.

IOLAUS
Have a look.

Hercules approaches the Chalice and peers cautiously inside. What looks like water, but with a faint fiery red flicker inside it. Just the light through the red crystal?

HERCULES
It looks like water.
JASON
Maybe the cave leaks.
IOLAUS
Let me see that.

Iolaus takes the chalice and looks in it.

IOLAUS
You telling me I came all this way for a drink of water?

Disgusted, he pours the water out. The water splashes against the rocks -- which immediately burst into flame and roiling smoke. Iolaus gasps in surprise.

IOLAUS
Suddenly I'm not thirsty.

Iolaus tosses the chalice to Hercules.

JASON
Let's get out of here!

As they take off running, the flames erupt in a huge fireball. Hercules, Jason, and Iolaus sprint through the cave, with the fireball right behind them. They leap the stake pit without slowing down.

EXT. OUTSIDE THE CAVE - CONTINUOUS

Hercules, Jason, and Iolaus run past the wooden Phoenix and dive for the ground. The fireball rolls out of the cave and over them, missing them. Then it disappears, vanishing into thin air. The guys dare to look around, get up. The wooden statue is scorched and smoldering. But Hercules has the chalice.

IOLAUS
Remember the time in the dining hall when they served beans for a whole week straight?

They look at each other, and burst out laughing.

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. THE MOUNTAINS - DAWN

The sun is rising over the mountains.

EXT. OUTSIDE THE CAVE - DAY

The scorched wooden statue of the giant bird is still smoldering. A tiny flame leaps up. Then another one. Then suddenly the whole statue bursts into roaring flames. The wood is transformed by the fire, as if instantly burned away -- revealing a real, living PHOENIX inside. The Phoenix spreads its wings and gives a tremendous eagle-like cry. Then it takes off.

EXT. CHEIRON'S ACADEMY - DAY

Hercules, Jason, and Iolaus sprint across an open space and flatten themselves against the wall of a building. Hercules carries the chalice inside his backpack.

HERCULES
Everybody'll be in the training hall by now.
IOLAUS
Oh, great -- we missed breakfast.

Iolaus snatches the chalice out of Herc's backpack and looks at it.

IOLAUS
All for this dumb cup.

Suddenly they hear a tremendous bird of prey SHRIEK. They look back -- and the Phoenix swoops down and grabs Iolaus.

HERCULES
Iolaus!

Hercules sprints across the courtyard. He bounds up onto a cart, grabbing a coiled rope off of it as he goes, and leaps through the air and catches hold of the Phoenix's leg as it flies away with the struggling Iolaus.

IOLAUS
Did I say we missed breakfast? I meant we are breakfast!
HERCULES
Not yet.

Hercules swings himself up and kicks the Phoenix in the belly. The Phoenix SQUAWKS ANGRILY, belching a ball of fire, and lets go of Iolaus (NOTE: THEY AREN'T FAR UP -- MAYBE 20 FEET.) Iolaus lands on Jason -- a comical effect. The Phoenix dives straight at us, SHRIEKING, trying to shake Herc, who struggles to stay on.

JASON (O.S.)
Hercules!

Jason and Iolaus grab at the bird as it swoops just over them, but they miss. The Phoenix flies up and away, carrying Hercules. Strife watches from the corner of a building as Hercules is carried away. Strife holds his sides as he grins with glee.

STRIFE
(gleeful laugh)
Unc is gonna love this.

Strife gives Hercules an innocent little wave.

STRIFE
Have a nice flight.

TO BE CONTINUED...

END OF EPISODE ONE