Episode Guide Teaser Act 1 Act 2 Act 3 Act 4



ACT ONE

FADE IN:

EXT. DAY. CAPITAL.

Gabrielle approaches the city. Sheís dusty, sunburned, and travel-weary. The city itself is in even worse shape. Smoke from untended fires rises like a pall into the deep blue sky, and the smell of burning and death hangs heavy in the air. Sheís passed several groups of enemy soldiers scattered about outside the city walls during her journey, but has managed to evade them all with an ease that surprises her.

Slipping through the unguarded gates poses no problem, and as soon as sheís inside, she dismounts and pats Argoís sweaty neck.

GABRIELLE
(to Argo)
I know youíre thirsty, girl.
Soon, I promise.

She walks slowly through the city, Argo in tow. Carnage is everywhere. There are several small fires burning, debris in the streets, carts and merchant stands have been over turned or smashed to bits.

The streets are deserted and eerily quiet. Itís readily apparent that sheís being followed, but she senses no danger, and so continues ahead, face set and grim. A noise sounds off to her left, and with a smile devoid of humor, she darts in that direction and plucks a young boy from his hiding place behind a wrecked cart.

GABRIELLE
Why are you following me?

BOY
(struggling, points to the
chakram at Gabrielleís hip)
I was sent to bring the one who
wields that weapon to my Queen.

GABRIELLE
Your Queen? And who would this be?

BOY
(frightened, but trying not to show it)
Queen Zenobia.
I am her best scout!

GABRIELLE
(peering closely at the struggling boy)
Arenít you a little young?

BOY
All of the men are busy fighting
the enemy.

(a beat)

The ones who are still alive, that is.

GABRIELLE
(grimly)
I see.
Take me to see your Queen.

BOY
Could you let me down first?

Her expression sheepish, Gabrielle releases the boy, and follows as he runs on ahead, leading her deeper into the decimated city.

CUT TO:

EXT. MISTY LIMBO.

Xena walks slowly through a gray void. All around her, a colorless mist hangs, obscuring her view in every direction. She walks on, unconcerned, having long ago gotten used to the formless limbo that holds her soul when she is not with Gabrielle. Occasionally, the mists will part, like a curtain, giving her a glimpse into the land of the living, and Gabrielle.

When they part again, she stops to view her soulmate following a half-grown boy through the burnt-out remains of an Egyptian city. As she watches, the two pass a crumbled building from the depths of which comes a pack of slat-thin dogs, mad with hunger, who snarl and snap at them both.

Without thought, Xena's hand reaches for her hip, and she knows that all she has to do is to take one step into the void and she'll be at Gabrielle's side, helping to fight off the starving pack.

As her hand passes through the space where her chakram used to hang, Gabrielle's voice fills the void, and she freezes, an instant before making the leap to her lover's side.

GABRIELLE
(VO)
I stood by and let you make your choice, Xena.
Now I need you to stand by and let me make mine.
Let me go. Let me grieve. Please.

Xenaís intent expression crumples and an agonized misery stamps itself on her face. She stands by and watches as Gabrielle beats off the dogs, then continues on her way deeper into the heart of the city.

She reaches a hand out, almost touching the view before her, then drops it and bows her head as Gabrielle moves beyond her sight.

XENA
(whispering)
Iím so sorry.

CUT TO:

EXT/INT. DAY. ABANDONED TEMPLE.

The boy leads Gabrielle to the remains of an abandoned temple. At the bottom of a short ramp is a thick door, and the boy points to it as he starts down.

GABRIELLE
Wait. My horse.
She needs water.
And tending.

BOY
As soon as I present
you to my Queen, Iíll return
and tend to her.

Gabrielle nods and tethers Argo to a rail, then follows the boy down the dirt ramp. He knocks twice, then stands back as the door slowly opens, illuminating the form of a large, scruffy man armed with a spear.

BOY
(cont'd)
(self importantly)
Let me in by order of
the Queen. I have returned
with the warrior.

After a moment, the guard steps aside, and Gabrielle enters, still following the young scout. The smell of sickness and unwashed bodies is almost overpowering, and Gabrielle takes several deep breaths to steady her stomach before proceeding further into the dark room. People are packed in all around her, and stare at her through glazed eyes all but devoid of hope.

She is led into another, smaller room. The boy stops suddenly and bows deeply.

BOY
(cont'd)
My Queen, the
warrior you seek is here.

ZENOBIA
(ahead, from the shadows)
Thank you. Now leave us.

BOY
Yes, my Queen.

ZENOBIA steps forward into the flickering torchlight. Slightly older than Gabrielle, she is tall and slender, with a regal bearing still evident despite the tattered robes she wears. Her hair and eyes are very dark, and her face, though dirty, is quite beautiful.

Without speaking, she circles Gabrielle, examining her as one would a prize animal at the market. Stopping at Gabrielleís right side, she looks down at the chakram, then into Gabrielleís eyes.

ZENOBIA
You are different than the
legends describe you, Xena.

GABRIELLE
My name is Gabrielle.

ZENOBIA
(surprisingly)
The Battling Bard?

GABRIELLE
Some call me that.

ZENOBIA
And Xena?
Do you no longer travel
together?

GABRIELLE
(swallows heavily)
Sheís dead.

ZENOBIA
(concernedly)
When? Where? How?
Our legends say she could not
be defeated.

GABRIELLE
Two months ago. On
an island far to the east.

(a beat)

And how is something I would
rather not think about.

ZENOBIA
And yet you are here?

GABRIELLE
(firmly)
Xena made a promise.
Iím here to keep it.

Zenobia takes a step back, her weariness now evident in the lines of her face.

ZENOBIA
This . . . complicates matters.
As you can see, we are in the middle
of a war. I had hoped to engage
the talents of the Warrior Princess in
order to defeat the enemy.

GABRIELLE
Before she . . . died, Xena taught
me everything she knew about
the art of warfare. I traveled with
her and fought by her side for
six years.

(a beat)

Iíd like to help, if I can.

Zenobia stares into space for a long space of seconds, apparently lost in thought. Then she turns and eyes Gabrielle frankly again, a slight smile gracing her features.

ZENOBIA
I suppose there are worse fates than
having Xenaís finest student
at oneís side during a war.

GABRIELLE
(softly, in pain)
Far worse, trust me.

ZENOBIA
(opening arms)
Welcome, Gabrielle, and thank you.
Egypt accepts your offer.

Lowering her arms, the smile fades from the Queenís face as she looks around at the hovel that has become her palace.

ZENOBIA
As you can see, we are somewhat
lacking in accommodations at the moment.
However, I can offer you some food,
hot water for a bath, and clean
straw to make your pallet. I would
guess you could make use of all three,
after such a long journey.

GABRIELLE
(half-heartedly smiling)
They would be welcome.
Thank you.

ZENOBIA
Think nothing of it. Iíll take
my leave of you now. If you wish
something, simply ask one
of my guards, and it will
be granted if it is within
my power to do so.

Gabrielle nods in thanks as the Queen slips back into the shadows.

CUT TO:

EXT. MISTY LIMBO.

Xena sits atop a small boulder whose very tip juts out from the thick ground mist. Her eyes shine with a bottomless grief, and it is written large across her face. Voices fill the space around her, cutting through the still air like a sharp blade. Each voice adds a note of condemnation to the misery already seething in her soul.

Though part of her wants desperately for the voices to stop, she bears their taunts stoically, knowing this to be her true penance.

Her own voice, stating long ago thoughts, stands out from the rest, forcing her to listen.

XENA
(VO)
If there was a reason for our
travels together, it was because I
had to learn from you the final,
the good, the right thing to do.

The final four words of Xenaís declaration echo in the void, eclipsing the other voices so that nothing exists but herself and those words, far more mocking than the worst accusations thrown at her.

XENA
I was so sure I was right. The
souls of all those people depended
on me to make the first unselfish
choice of my life.

(a beat)

But how can something so
right feel so wrong?

The mist seems to darken, then part as a STRANGER enters. Heís a wizened old man, dressed in formless robes, who seems neither evil nor good.

STRANGER
(smiling)
Lifeís eternal conundrum.

His smile broadens.

STRANGER
(cont'd)
Right and wrong. Two sides of
the same coin. Who really knows
which is which?

Xenaís eyes narrow as he approaches, but she doesnít move to block his path. If anything, his voice and presence are welcome distractions.

XENA
Who are you?

STRANGER
A friend, perhaps.

XENA
(scowling)
I have no friends.

STRANGER
Not now, but once, yes?

XENA
Go away, old man.
Iím in no mood for games.

STRANGER
Where would you have me go?
This is my home.

XENA
(sarcastically)
Nice choice.

(a beat)

What do you want?

STRANGER
I desire nothing. But you . . . what
is it that you desire?

XENA
(flatly)
To be left alone.

STRANGER
Iím afraid that isnít possible.
Consider me . . . a guide, if you will.
Someone who leads the lost
ones on to their destiny.

XENA
The lost ones?

STRANGER
(gesturing at the void around them)
Yes. Stuck between this world
and the next; a part of both, and
yet of neither. With only the
thoughts of the dead for company.

(beat)

Whose thoughts do you hear?

XENA
None of your business.

STRANGER
Why do you hide from the
light by seeking the darkness?
Are you afraid?

XENA
(eyes narrowing)
Iím afraid of nothing.

STRANGER
Then you must choose your path.

XENA
(sarcastically snorting)
Iíve made too many choices in my life.
Most of them were wrong.

(softly)

She was the only right one.

STRANGER
I see more clearly now.
The choice you made cost you
someone very dear to you, didnít it?

(beat)

I can feel the love in you. The grief.
The anger. They tether you to this
place as strongly as any cord.

XENA
(soundlessly snarling)

STRANGER
You know I speak the truth. You must
purge yourself of these emotions.
Even the love in your heart. It keeps
you here in the world between
worlds, and harms both you
and the one you hold dear.

XENA
Spare me your truths, old man. Iíve been
through this before. There was a time when I
condemned myself to that damnable cross.

(beat)

And now Iíll spend the rest of my
existence knowing Iíve hurt
the only person who meant more
than life to me.

(silent laugh)

Hades himself couldnít have thought
up a worse Tartarus for me.

STRANGER
And the one you love? Would
you have her suffer your fate
as well as her own?
Is that the truth you hide from?

Xena stares at him, profoundly shocked, but doesnít have the words to answer.

The stranger stands and waves his arms. The mist clears, and two paths are shown, stretching into the distance. At the end of one is a brilliant light. At the end of the other is rotting blackness.

STRANGER
(cont'd)
To save you both, you must purge
your emotions and move onward
 into what is meant to be.
There is no other way.

The stranger fades into the mists.

STRANGER
(cont'd)
(VO)

Choose wisely,
Xena of Amphipolis.

After a long moment, Xena stands and begins to walk down an invisible line midway between the two wildly divergent paths. As she walks, a window into the living world opens, and she stops, watching the scene before her unfold.

Gabrielle walks slowly down narrow, twisting corridors, following a large man armed with a heavy spear. Xena watches as her soulmate enters a small bathing chamber and is left alone to slowly disrobe. As Gabrielleís clothes slip from her body, Xena sees, for the first time, the true devastation that her death has wrought. Gabrielleís once sleek, muscled body is wasted and emaciated. As she bends down to slip off her boots, Xena sees the knobs of her spine poke through the flesh upon which her tattoo is drawn.

 

Swallowing hard against a fresh onslaught of tears, Xena continues to watch as Gabrielle slides listlessly into the steaming water. She wants nothing more than to reach out and comfort her beloved, but, once again, Gabrielleís words still her actions. And for the first time, the truth of her choice fills her soul.

XENA
(voice choked with tears)
I canít go back.

FADE OUT:

END OF ACT ONE

ACT 2