Valley of the Shadow Shooting Draft

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Valley of the Shadow

Episode #50
Production #V0850

Story by: Mark Edens

Teleplay by: Vanessa Place

Directed by: Simon Raby

Shooting Draft - December 16, 1998
Pages 5-6A, 10-12A, 16, 19-21 - December 21, 1998
Pages 6, 7-11, 13-15, 19-20A - December 30, 1998

Pacific Island Pictures, LTD, All Rights Reserved © 1998

Cast List

Hercules
Iolaus - (ee-OH-lus)
Theseus
Aegeus/Zeus - (eh-GEE-uss)
Vendor
Hera (V.O.)

Set List

Interiors:
Cave
Cave - Second Chamber

Exteriors:
Hera's Valley
Marketplace

Teaser

FADE IN:

EXT. MARKETPLACE - DAY

PAN ACROSS a small, bustling mart over to a BAIT & TACKLE kiosk. IOLAUS sits near it, bow and quier and pack over his back, sharpening an arrowhead with a stone as a PAIR OF STREET URCHINS look on. Iolaus pauses, noticing the small kids, and growls at them, trying to looktough. The kids look at each other, then grin and GIGGLE, as:

VENDOR (O.S.)
You'll steal the fish from Poseidon's plate! Only ten dinars!

HERCULES, also carrying hunting, fishing, and camping gear, hefts a fishing rod, then spins and lifts it like a pool cue, eyeing expertly down its length. THESEUS, similarly equipped, watches/paces impatiently. Nearby, a shabby old man (AEGEUS), with a bright new creel (fish box) around his chest, pokes through the bin o'bait. Hercules seems distracted, out of sorts.

HERCULES
(handing the rod back)
It's bowed.
VENDOR
It's as straight as my leg! Five dinars!
HERCULES
I don't know about your leg, but that rod's bent. What else do you have?

Iolaus joins Theseus as they swap a look of concern.

IOLAUS
(lightly kidding)
You know, Hercules, the problem with a weekend camping trip is it's pretty much limited to the one weekend.
HERCULES
(distracted, irritable)
Fine, Iolaus. Maybe we ought to just forget it.

He drops the pole back in the pole barrel and looks away, distracted, off in his own world.

VENDOR
Three dinars, and that's my final offer.
THESEUS
(to Vendor)
One dinar and you're lucky to get it.
(to Hercules)
Look. We're going on this trip to have some fun -- lighten up -- the academy's been brutal lately --
HERCULES
(snappish)
Theseus, are you saying I'm slacking off?!
THESEUS
(calming him down)
No. I just mean it's been hard on everybody. Lately.
IOLAUS
(crowing: Hercules)
I did whomp you good on the ropes, didn't I?
(quickly correcting)
But you were doing really well before you fell off.

This snaps Herc out of his funk. He looks at Iolaus and Theseus, then shakes his head as he manages a half-smile -- still in no way happy-go-lucky.

HERCULES
Okay, I give. If Iolaus is cutting me slack, I must need a break.

He picks up the rod, and hands a single coin to the vendor, who shrugs and quickly pockets it.

THESEUS
Let's get moving -- we still have to hike all the way to Polonus.

The shabby old man looks up brightly.

AEGEUS
Going fishing in a puddle? Must be after minnow.
(shrugs)
But boys want to play, fine. Men want to fish, they go to --

He catches himself and clams up; Hercules, like any true fisherman, can't resist the lure.

HERCULES
Where?

Aegeus glances at the vendor, then motions them close. Hercules leans in, enthusiastic for the first time.

AEGEUS
Ten dinars.
IOLAUS
To tell us where to fish? I'll tell you where to go for free!
AEGEUS
(to Hercules)
Ten dinars -- trap boars as big as horses, take fish as big as your friend's mouth. Very near.

Hercules looks at Iolaus and Theseus, hesitation. Aegeus seizes the moment, opens his creel, smiles, and hoists an enormous, beautiful, glistening fish. A beat; despite himself, Hercules slowly grins.

EXT. HERA'S VALLEY - CAMPFIRE - NIGHT

The boys are littered around the campfire, in mid-feast contentment. Iolaus is wearing a large chamois OVERTUNIC (poncho). An enormous FOWL roasts lazily on a spit; Aegeus' creel is in the foreground. Hercules adjusts a loop of huge fish hanging on a branch.

HERCULES
The old man was right -- we'll get enough to feed the whole academy! This place is worth every dinar we gave him. (sitting by the fire) Okay, Theseus. Go on.

Theseus melodramatically continues his ghost story:

THESEUS
They were sure the monster was asleep.

Hercules and Iolaus share a quick smile of ghost-story anticipation. Theseus builds the tension:

THESEUS
The boy reaches his hand into the cage... Further, further... until he can just touch the golden key pinned under the monster's bloody jaw... He pulls at the key... a little more... a little more... then --

Suddenly a blood-curdling, spine-twitching SHRIEK skirls through the night. They all startle, look quickly around, then ehale hard. A beat, then:

THESEUS
(half-joking, half-scared)
That wasn't me.

A CRASHING sound; something running. They boys jump to their feet. Another CRASH, another splintering SCREAM.

HERCULES
It's big.

A beat, then the CRASHING picks up, becoming LOUDER and obviously nearer as whatever it is rushes toward them.

HERCULES
(concerned)
Really big.

He grabs a staff; Theseus takes his bow; Iolaus unsheathes a sword.

MYSTERIOUS POV comes through the dark forest, accompanied by STOMPS, heavy BREATHING and low GROWLS. Branches brush to the right and left as they are pushed aside, foliage bending in front, CRASHING SOUNDS sensed all around. Pause as POV sees the cadets at a slight distance through the thicket.

The guys circle, backs to the fire, looking left and right, trying to figure out where the sound is coming from: it's too loud and echoey to pinpoint.

IOLAUS
It's over there!
THESEUS
No. It's over there!

Finally there's a BIG CRASH right behind THESEUS -- bushes smashed apart by some form blowing through them. The trio twirls towards this slice of hell. PUSH IN on Hercules' shocked face as they see:

HERCULES
(awestruck)
No... It's right in front of me...

FADE OUT.

Act One

FADE IN:

EXT. HERA'S VALLEY - CAMPFIRE - CONTINUOUS

The cadets, clutching their weapons, brace for the attack. It doesn't come: silence.

HERCULES
Where did it go?!

They frantically scan the broken, shifting woods. Then the creature (PROTECTOR) starts moving again, but in the pitch of the night and the thick of the forest, it's difficult to make out exactly what the thing looks like. The beast SCREAMS and bits of it glint in the dark.

IOLAUS
You had to ask!
THESEUS
What is it?

As the Protector continues to circle them.

IOLAUS
It's hungry, that's what it is.
THESEUS
Iolaus!

Hercules looks over and sees the roast burd on the spit.

HERCULES
Then let's feed it!

Theseus, who is closer, grabs the spit; using it as a feeding pole, he offers the Protector the bird.

THESEUS
('good doggie, nice doggie')
Peacock? Tastes just like chicken.

Instead of taking the treat, the beast WAILS, drops its head, and charges. It moves so quickly that, again, it's difficult to see exactly what it looks like, though the cadets sense something bigger than themselves is moving in their midst. Something smashes into Hercules, batting him easily from the clearing. A blur as the strong swie of a leg takes out Iolaus. Theseus, sword ready, looks desperately around, trying to get a fix on the beast.

HERCULES
Use the fire!

Hercules, on the ground by the fire, grabs two half-burning branches and lobs one to Theseus. Theseus catches it and turns, waving the lit branch to drive away the SCREAMING creature. The beast leaps back into the dark.

THESEUS
Go on! Get out of here!

Hercules waves his own flaming branc at the creature as Iolaus stumbles up to join him.

HERCULES
(hopeful)
I think it's working!

A movement in the brush as the Protector throws back its head, then flings it forward and rips out a head-splitting SCREAM; the exhale blasting from its mouth extinguishes Hercules and Theseus' makeshift torches, and the cadets' campfire. A grim beat in the sudden gloom. Then:

HERCULES
Run!

The trio breaks for it.

EXT. HERA'S VALLEY - NIGHT

Heavy vines whip the boys' faces as they reel between the trees, feet slipping on the dark forest floor, the sound of their BREATHING brken by the WAILING and POUNDING of the thing chasing them. Iolaus rushes into a clearing, sees something --

IOLAUS
Over here!

-- and falls flat over a tree root. He looks down and sees that he just missed falling over the edge of a cliff to certain death.

IOLAUS
(quietly innerved)
Oops...
HERCULES
'Over here' what?!

Hercules' eyes go wide as he sees the cliff edge. He yanks Iolaus to his feet. The Protector's squalls come closer.

Iolaus points to a thin, shadowy crag in the rocks about 30 feet away. As Theseus races up to join them.

IOLAUS
A cave!
THESEUS
What cave?

A sharp SCREAM, quicksilver flash: Protector has snatched Theseus and thrown him like a rag foll. Herc and Iolaus turn, but they're too late. Theseus is dragged, fast, back to the forest. Theseus uselessly claws the ground, struggling.

THESEUS
Het it off!

Hercules scans for some way to save him, then snaps off a thick vine and loops it into a lasso.

HERCULES
(determined)
Hang on!

He winds-up the heavy vine, throws, and neatly ropes Theseus' upper arm (NOTE: CAN SIMPLY GRAB ON TO THE VINE IF MAKING A LASSO TAKES TOO LONG). With a mighty jerk, Herc frees him. The Protector SCREAMS as its prey is snapped from its grasp. Hercules quickly drapes a stunned, groggy Theseus' arm around Iolaus' shoulders.

HERCULES
Get Theseus in the cave! Go!
IOLAUS
You don't have to ask me twice.

The protector turns to come back at the cadets. Iolaus starts half-dragging Theseus to the crag. Herc looks over and waves an arm at the (O.S.) aproaching beast.

HERCULES
(determined)
That's right. OVer here.

The horrifying creature lunges. Herc takes, then leaps aside at the last second. The creature scrambles and turns as Herc tumbles back to his feet.

HERCULES
You are fast.

Hercules looks and sees Iolaus and Theseus disappearing, squeezing into the thin cave opening. Just then the Protector charges again. Herc leaps up in the air and gives it a kick in the chest. The creature is so big that it is only knocked back a couple of steps, while Herc is knocked flying the other way.

HERCULES
And tough.

Herc looks at the cave opening. The creature ROARS. They're both about the same distance from the opening. Herc bolts towards it. The Protector charge to cut him off. It looks like the creature is going to grab Herc before he can make it into the cave. But as The Protector lunges, Herc runs and dives for his life.

INT. CAVE - NIGHT

...face down, just inside the cave opening, near Iolaus and Theseus, who is getting his senses back. The cave is dark, though a shaft of moonlight snakes through the TALL, NARROW, SLIT-LIKE CAVE DOOR. A beat, then a Protector ROAR makes Herc scramble the rest of the way into the cave, with the Protector SLAMMING against the outside, unable to get int. Stalactites drip from the ceiling, stalagmites jut from the floor. The beast outside SCREECHES as the cadets struggle to their geet.

IOLAUS
It's too big to get in!

Rejoicing, Iolaus turns to the others, his back toward the cave opening. He feels secure.

IOLAUS
Funny thing about size -- I mean, take me, for example --

A dark flash behind him.

THESEUS
Look out!

Theseus pulls Iolaus forward as something rakes his back and is gone -- Protector can just get its arm through the cave mouth. Hercules picks up Iolaus' overtunic and holds it up: moonlight streams through three long, jagged tears. They instinctively shrink back while the creature HOWLS outside the entrance.

HERCULES
(grave)
Please step away from the door.

Theseus stands, a bit shaken. Iolaus and Hercules look at each other, trying to muster a bit of their usual bravado, but their faces harden as they give in to the real gravity of their situation.

IOLAUS
We need new weapons.
THESEUS
(exasperated)
We had weapons, remember? We might as well have hit it with peacock feathers! That thing is serious!
HERCULES
(dead calm)
Then we'll make serious weapons.

INT. CAVE - SHORT TIME LATER

By the light of a small fire, Hercules finishes the axe he's made by splitting the top of a piece of wood into a "Y", inserting a sharp stone, and securing the stone with a strip of tunic. He hands the axe to Theseus, who has two long stalactites strapped lik sword to his back. Iolaus wears an axe and small stalactite on his belt. Theseus is still agitated with fear/anger from his brush with the beyond.

THESEUS
I swear to the gods if I ever find that old man who sent us here, I'll feed him to that thing!

Hercules stands, hefting three long strips tied together in a large knot at one end - the other ends lashed to large stones.

IOLAUS
We're all packed -- now what?
HERCULES
(distracted)
I don't know.
THESEUS
(irritated)
What do you mean, you don't know?!
IOLAUS
Come on, Theseus...
THESEUS
No, you come on!
(to Herc)
How many choices are there? We fight it now, or we wait for morning and fight it then.
HERCULES
(bursts out, furious, not whiny)
I don't know, all right?! I thought I knew what to do with Marco and the sandshark, and Marco's gone. You were there. We did all we could, and we lost him!

Theseus and Iolaus are taken aback by Herc's fury. But the outburst lets Herc calm down and get control.

HERCULES
(quietly intense; to Theseus)
If you're in such a big hurry, you decide.

Theseus doesn't know quite what to say. As Theseus frowns, trying to respond, Iolaus turns and sees something O.S.

IOLAUS
How come there's moonlight coming from the back of the cave?

As Theseus looks with Iolaus, Hercules joins them.

HERCULES
(excited)
It has to be another way out.

They hurry back to check it out. At a back wall, there is a six-foot stone pushed in front of an opening in the wall. Faint light seeps in around an edge.

HERCULES
C'mon!

They grab hold, and together they grunt and shove the stone far enough aside that they can get through the opening.

IOLAUS
All right!

INT. CAVE - SECOND CHAMBER - NIGHT

When they step in, they find themselves in a corridor that leads to the light source, around a corner. As they start forward, they hear a noise -- CLUMP, CLUNK -- and Herc puts out a hand to stop them

HERCULES
Wait! Did you hear that?

As they look ahead, not breathing, they seem to see some movement -- a big shadow crossing the light. they ease forward again, VOICES LOW, concerned.

IOLAUS
So maybe somebody -- or something -- lives here.
THESEUS
(disgusted)
The way things are going, there's probably a hundred of that thing's eggs back here waiting to clamp on our faces and hatch through our chests.

They all pause a beat as Herc and Iolaus stare, not believing what they're hearing, at Theseus.

THESEUS
(grim)
These things happen.

Then they hear a THUD. They look forward and see a huge shadow loom up, being cast from around a corner. They grab hold of their weapons and ease forward.

HERCULES
It looks like we're going to find out.

FADE OUT.

Act Two

FADE IN:

INT. CAVE - SECOND CHAMBER - NIGHT

The three cadets, holding their weapons, look at each other.

HERC/IOLAUS/
THESEUS
Now!

They lunge around the corner of the cave corridor, weapons raised, blood up, prepared to do deadly battle with: A BEDRAGGLED OLD MAN. It's Aegeus, the guy from the market, carrying a large armful of firewood. He sees them and takes, startled, and drops a piece of wood (with a THUD, like before).

AEGEUS
What are you doing here?!

The guys are astonished and relieved.

IOLAUS
It's the old guy from the market!

Aegeus looks at them for a short beat, then continues on with his wood toward his fire as if they weren't there.

AEGEUS
(unfazed)
Catch any fish?

Theseus draws one of his sword-stalactites.

THESEUS
You almost got us killed!

Theseus starts for the old man; Hercules grabs Theseus.

HERCULES
Theseus! Don't!

Theseus, enraged, flings Hercules off and starts for Aegeus, intent on runnning him through. Aegeus calmly puts the wood down by the fire. As Theseus lunges for the old man, Iolaus tackles him at the last second. Hercules joins Iolaus holding Theseus.

THESEUS
Let me go!

As they restrain their friend, Aegeus calmly stands, pokes the fire, and dusts his hands.

AEGEUS
Sit down. It can't get in. And it leaves at sunrise. Might as well sit here with old Aegeus.

Theseus roughly shakes off Hercules and Iolaus, stomps to a neutral corner. Hercules wheels furiously on Aegeus:

HERCULES
Theseus is right. You led us here.

Aegeus dismissively turns and tends his fire.

AEGEUS
You want to know where to fish, I tell you.
HERCULES
But you didn't tell us about the man-eating monster!
IOLAUS
And you took us for ten dinars!

Aegeus steps back and anxiously claps his hand to his pocket as if yo protect his hill-gotten money.

AEGEUS
You want to know about fish, I tell you about fish. Ten dinars. You want to know about Protector? That would be much more.
HERCULES
'The Protector'?

Aegeus sits back down at the fire and pulls a blanket around him.

AEGEUS
Tell me. You boys lucky today?
IOLAUS
Sure. Fish, peacock, Theseus almost bagged a boar...
AEGEUS
Ah, yes... Hera's Valley is rich with much game.

Hercules GROANS as the metaphoric light dawns:

HERCULES
Hera's Valley? And the peacocks --
AEGEUS
-- are sacred to the wife of Zeus.

A particularly horrific O.S. Protector SCREAM:

HERCULES
And say you kill one of Hera's sacred peacocks in Hera's valley?
AEGEUS
Protector comes and catches you up at night. Keeps you nice and alive for his own breakfast -- at sunrise.
HERCULES
But you knew we were going hunting!
AEGEUS
(shrugging)
People do what people do. It is no business of mine.

He bends to stoke the campfire; behind him, Iolaus WHISPERS conspiratorially to Hercules:

IOLAUS
But if the Protector's just after us for poaching one of Hera's peacocks, can't you ask your step-mom to call it off? Tell her we're really sorry --
HERCULES
(incredulous)
Are you kidding? Hera can't stand me! Anyway, Aegeus said the thing leaves after sunrise. We'll wait.

A second SHRIEK is heard, different from the Protector's. The Protector falls silient.

THESEUS
What was that?
IOLAUS
Peacock. My uncle used to keep them.

He does a dead-on imitation.

THESEUS
That's smart, Iolaus -- call it! And while you're at it, invite it inside!

Protector ROARS into the outer chamber of the cave, but is interrupted by the real peacock. Silence.

AEGEUS
No worries. That bird sounds hurt. Protector must go to make sure no other hunters are about. So. You boys have any food?
HERCULES
(slightly sarcastically)
Sorry, but we broke camp pretty fast.
THESEUS
Hercules -- look.

Hercules lifts his torch; Theseus points at the wall beside him, strung with bounty stolen from the boys' campsite: their clutch of fish, Hercules' new rod, and the shining new creel last seen in the Teaser.

IOLAUS
That's our stuff!
HERCULES
(horrified/angry)
So you steer people into Hera's Vallry and then clean up after the Protector?

Aegeus sneers and turns back to tending his fire.

AEGEUS
I tell people where to fish...

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. CAVE - SECOND CHAMBER - LATER THAT NIGHT

Iolaus has dozed off. Still fuming, Theseus paces some distance from the others. Herc works on a weapon as Aegeus lifts a cooked fish.

AEGEUS
(unconcerned)
Special Aegeus Recipe: little cider, cover in cornmeal --
HERCULES
And our fish!

He jerks his thumb toward a corner stuffed with sacks of cornmeal, a "Cider" barrel, and the boys' roasted and still-spitted peacock. Hercules sees, then looks back.

HERCULES
How many people have you fed to that creature?
AEGEUS
Angry boy... Do you yell at your father this way, with such disrespect?

Hercuels stops as if he's been struck and steps away. Theseus pauses in his pacing, near Aegeus.

THESEUS
(sotto to Aegeus)
He doesn't know his father.
AEGEUS
(a new, sympathetic tone)
Oh. That is a sad business. Very sad. I understand. I myself have a son, a truly ine boy, but...

His voice drifts off, melancholy. Then, with forced heartiness:

AEGEUS
Come. Try Aegeus' fish. Your fish. You need energy for sunrise, when you go home.

EXT. HERA'S VALLEY - NIGHT (STOCK)

The moon in the night sky -- time has passed.

INT. CAVE - SECOND CHAMBER - LATER THAT NIGHT

Both Iolaus and Theseus sprawl in sleep at one side of the chamber. Unable to relax, Hercules has resumed pacing. Aegeus keeps the fire going as they speak:

HERCULES
If the Protector can't get in, and leaves at dawn, why do you stay up all night?
AEGEUS
Aegeus doesn't sleep -- much. Like Hercules, eh?

Hercules smiles slightly in spite of himself. He drops next to Aegeus, and takes over the poker.

HERCULES
Go ahead. I'll heep it burning.
AEGEUS
(shakes his head)
It has become Aegeus' habit to stay awake, until the light. But thank you.

A pause as the two men, one old, one young, acres of difference between them, share their sleepless solitude. Hercules glances over at Theseus & Iolaus. Off his look:

AEGEUS
They are lucky to have such a good friend to take care of them.
HERCULES
I don't take care of them... lately, I don't take care of much of anyone.
AEGEUS
You sound like one who takes care of too many. Aegeus tell you -- people are only people. Most troublesome.
HERCULES
Is that what happened between you and your son? Was he too much trouble?

Aegeus pulls his blanket tighter and stares into the fire before answering:

AEGEUS
No. We are just not close.
HERCULES
Why not? He's your son -- if you love him, why don't you tell him that you think about him and --

He stops, struggling to keep his composure: he knows he's goign too far, looking for an answer to another question, an answer this seedy old man can't possibly give him. Aegeus smiles, almost ruefully.

AEGEUS
He is a better man without me.

Aegeus turns from Hercules and stands up. Taking a torchpole from his supplies, he dips it into the fire. He smiles at Hercules in the new light; Hercules looks resignedly at the old reprobate.

AEGEUS
Come. Wake your friends. We check for daylight while Protector counts Hera's peacocks.

INT CAVE - A FEW MINUTES LATER

Aegeus sweeps the first chamber with light: nothing. He steps to the mouth of the first chamber with light: nothing. He steps to the mouth of the cave, looks out, and turns back to the guys (Herc awake, the others rubbing their eyes):

AEGEUS
Not quite dawn. We wait just a few more minutes then --

Great Protector SHRIEK as Aegeus is snatched & dragged from the cave. A beat as the boys stare at the now-empty entrance, stunned/horrified at his sudden abduction. Hercules starts towards the door; Theseus stops him.

HERCULES
We can't let that thing eat Aegeus!
THESEUS
(angry)
No? Well, we can't stop it, either. Remember? If we go out there, it'll kill us and Aegeus.
HERCULES
Wo what are you saying?
THESEUS
(YELLING)
He brought us here! He knew about that thing!
HERCULES
No. I have to go.
IOLAUS
Hercules, Aegeus is a rotten old con-man who doesn't give two dinars about anybody but himself.
THESEUS
Why get yourself killed helping him?
HERCULES
Because we don't get to pick who gets saved.
THESEUS
Is that really it? Look. I'm sorry about Marco... I wish you could have pulled him from the sand shark. But you couldn't.
HERCULES
(struck a nerve)
I can help Aegeus! If you don't want to, then get out of my way!

Hercules glares at Theseus; as they face off, Iolaus moves cautiously to the mouth of the cave and looks out.

IOLAUS
Guys, this is all really interesting, but it's almost sunrise.
HERCULES
(fiercely determined)
No one will die this morning.

EXT. HERA'S VALLEY - PRE-DAWN - SOME MINUTES LATER

Hercules is barely visible amid the foliage in front of the cave. Theseus, his stalactite-swords primed, crouches in a blind they've built on the right side of the clearing using the sacks of cornmeal covered with grass. Some PEACOCK FEATHERS are visible inside the blind. Hercules CALLS OUT to someone, O.S.:

HERCULES
Again!

Iolaus emits a loud peacock CRY as he is revealed, sitting out in the middle of a clearing, on a stump or piece of wood. He is covered in peacock feathers, hidden by foliage, only his feathered head visible. He frowns.

IOLAUS
Monster bait. Not exactly what every kid dreams of becoming when he grows up.
(to O.S. Herc)
You sure your plan will get The Protector before he eats me?

Then we hear the Protector's answering CRY. Iolaus reacts. Herc and Theseus react, poised to act. Away in the distance, the monster begins to break through the woods towards them.

PROTECTOR POV: Great LUMBERING, then a CRASH as it bursts into the clearing, and stops, splitting the night with its enraged SCREAM.

Iolaus swallows hard and looks anxiously around a bit, eyes only, trying not to move a muscle.

IOLAUS
(weak smile)
I mean, it doesn't have to get all the way over here for you to attack it.

The monster is finally fully revealed: a large mottled bipedal mass of coiled muscle; huge black eyes, a beaked but well-toothed mouth, horns, and some nasty-bad talons. Aegeus us being dragged behind him by a foot. As the creature sees the Iolaus head and rushes forward, it lets go of the old man and stomps forward, up to the Iolaus-head decoy.

IOLAUS
Uh, any time, guys.
HERCULES
Now!

As the Monster reaches the Iolaus head, it realizes the ruse and SCREAM just as the cadets attack. Hercules whirls, bashing his staff into the Protector's beak. The staff shatters in half as the beast angles its head and whips a leg around, smashing Hercules, knocking him into Iolaus, sending both to the ground. Meanwhile, Theseus hurls one of his stalactites, which skitters uselessly across Protector's smooth hide like a toothpick tossed at a chunk of glass.

THESEUS
It's not working!

Off to the side, Aegeus shakes his head to clear it, looks up at the fight, and quickly crawls away. Hercules spins the staff sections, letting one fly at the creature's head. As Protector raises one arm to knock the whirlybird aside, Hercules rushes it, jammnig the other section at the thing's presumably unprotected inner flank. Again, the beast's thick shellacked skin easily repels the weapon. Hercules hits the Protector hard; the creature rocks, then returns a crushing backhand blow. As Hercules prepares to bazooka the beast, Iolaus, raising his axe, runs to rejoin the fray.

IOLAUS
Leave 'em alone!

Before Hercules can react, the Protector grabs Iolaus, cradling him in its icy grip like a hard-boiled egg waits in a slicer, its great dark eyes shining in the moonlight as it brings Iolaus terrifyingly close.

IOLAUS
(struggling)
You could leave me alone, too.

The Protector starts to close its nails on Iolaus...

HERCULES
Theseus -- 'plan B!'

Hercules dives to the blind, grabs a cornmeal sack, and throws it towards Protector.

HERCULES
Now!

Theseus also tosses a heavy bag, and both bags slam into the creature's head and chest, knocking him back a bit. Temporarily dazed, the beast falters, BELLOWING mightily and dropping Iolaus.

HERCULES
Iolaus! Call it!

Iolaus scrambles on all fours over to the edge of the cliff that he almost fell off of earlier. He looks down again at the deadly drop.

IOLAUS
Why am I always the bird?

Iolaus turns and PEACOCK-SCREAMS. The angry creature shakes its head clear as it stumbles towards the sound. It has Iolaus trapped between it and the cliff edge. It CRIES OUT and prepares to lunge at Iolaus, who just ducks under its grasp and through its legs. Herc throws a bola at the monster. It hits, wrapping around the beast's feet, tangling it, holding it in place. It SCREAMS, tryign to keep its balance. Herc looks at Theseus:

HERCULES
Now!

Herc and Theseus race at the foot-bound monster and leap, both kicking it in the chest at once. The Protector teeters, then topples backward. With a SCREAM more hideous and terrifying than before, Hera's Protector falls off the cliff edge. As Herc and Theseus struggle to their feet, rubbing their bruised bodies, Iolaus joins them and looks O.S. at the vanquished monster. They are exhausted -- more relieved than victorious.

IOLAUS
(understated)
Nice kick.

Then Theseus looks around:

THESEUS
Where's Aegeus?

They look: there's no sign of the crafty old bird.

IOLAUS
He didn't even say thank you -- after you saved him from that thing.
THESEUS
He'll get his someday.
HERCULES
(turns toward the cave)
I'll get our gear.

Suddenly there's a BIG FLAPPING NOISE. The gang freeaes. A beat, then they see that a stray peacock has landed in the clearing. The bird CRIES and flies off.

HERCULES
(LAUGHING)
Let's just leave the stuff.
IOLAUS
Your fishing rod? My lucky waders?
THESEUS
After last night, how lucky would you say they are?

EXT. HERA'S VALLEY - DAYBREAK

To establish.

EXT. HERA'S VALLEY - DAY

The cadets make their way down a small wooded path winding up the hillside, heading home. As they walk:

THESEUS
You know, Aegeus is probably already out selling that creel you bought from him.

PULL BACK: our heros dwarfed by the lush splendor of Hera's big valley.

IOLAUS
Or maybe he's just --
HERCULES
(grinning)
'Gone Fishing.'

PULL BACK to reveal the gloriously robed back of an OLDER MAN, with hair like Aegeus'. When we see the man's face, close, it's clear that it's Aegeus, cleaned up, bemused.

HERA (O.S.)
Zeus! You made that mortal brat of yours destroy my precious Protector!

PULL BACK: HERA'S PEACOCK EYES in the sky; Aegeus in fine & flowing robes, stands at the top of a knoll, spying on the boys below. He's gone god.

ZEUS/AEGEUS
(new conorous, goddish-voice)
I did nothing of the sort. They had every opportunity to escape unharmed at dawn's light.

He smiles slyly to himself.

ZEUS/AEGEUS
Who could have guessed the boy would foolishly try to fight that creature of yours, just to save me --
HERA
He had no idea you were a god! The little bleeding-heart couldn't even abandon that pathetic old man you pretended to be! Typical human.
ZEUS/AEGEUS
Hercules did come through rather nicely, didn't he?
(smiles)
Got his spark back.
HERA
(disgusted)
You're spoiling that horrible half-breed!
(more disgusted)
You're starting to act like its father!
ZEUS/AEGEUS
Well, after all...

EXT. HERA'S VALLEY - DAY

Hercules good-naturedly shoves the bickering Iolaus and Theseus. CLOSE UP on his LAUGHING face as:

ZEUS/AEGEUS (V.O.)
(with pride)
...He is my son.

FADE OUT.

THE END