XENA WARRIOR PRINCESS
Episode: LOVE AND HONOR (Series Finale)
Teaser setting: A rocky Roman road, the Via Claudius, winds its way through the fields and forests of Gaul.
Costuming note: XENA wears her battle leathers, and GABRIELLE is dressed in the light armor of the Roman cavalry.
Teaser: Xena and Gabrielle are on a wild ride to the north. Xena rides an ebony stallion, and Gabrielle rides a snowy mare. Along the way, they pass the smoking ruins of peasant villages, fields of burned and trampled crops, and more than one corpse. They meet a caravan of refugees, mostly forlorn and frightened women, children, and old men. Ragged and exhausted, the people struggle to get a rickety cart off the road and out of the way of the galloping horses. One of the peasants, a young woman, no older than Gabrielle when she first left Poteidaia, stands defiantly in the path of the two travelers. She raises her only "weapon," a wooden rake missing most of its tines. "You wont harm my family or take what little we have left. Not without killing me!"
Xena brings her stallion under control and looks down at the young woman. "Arent you even going to ask if were Romans or Gauls?"
The young woman looks from Xena to Gabrielle. She answers Xena, "Who cares? Roman or Gaul? Both ride the horse of War. Both carry with them Death."
Setting: Command tent of the Roman General LUCIUS SEVERUS.
Xena, Gabrielle, Lucius Severus, and the generals second-in-command PAULUS VARIAN stand around a table that holds a map of Gaul. Severus is a grizzled veteran of many campaigns. Paulus Varian is a clean-shaven young man full of fire and pride. Xena comments, "So Gaul really IS divided into three parts."
Varian is not amused. "Claudius sends a barbarian to instruct us in the arts of war, and she thinks shes a comedian." He looks at Gabrielle. "And with her comes a woman who dares to dress as a Roman officer."
Gabrielle says, "The Emperor insisted I wear this uniform as a badge of office for our mission, which is not war, but peace."
There ensues an argument about war versus peace. Varian argues that barbarians only understand peace at the point of a Roman sword. He says he is tired of being on the defensive and with only the "barbarian and mongrel" troops he is given. He urges Severus to give him command of a hundred Romans of pure blood, and he will subdue the Gauls and their allies in one mighty battle. He drives his dagger into the map to show where he would attack the enemy. Xena laughs and strikes the dagger with her fist, driving it into the table to the hilt. She says, "Attack between a forested hill and a swamp, and youll be buried just like this blade. And all that pure Roman blood will fertilize Gallic ground." Varian pulls his short sword, and Xena steps toward him, but Severus stops them with a word. "Enough!" Severus turns to Gabrielle and asks her to explain her plan for peace. Gabrielle explains that Claudius is offering to keep his troops south of where the current battle lines are drawnbut only if the Gauls agree to cease all raids into southern Gaul and to spill not one more drop of Roman blood. She indicates the point where Varians dagger is embedded. She picks up a quill and slashes a strong line east and west through that point.
Setting: Night. The camp of the Gauls and their allies. Two shadowy figures can be seen working their way from the surrounding forest and among the shelters.
TIGON, the leader of the Gauls, wakes to find Xenas blade at his throat. Gabrielle lights a small torch that reveals her to him, and he says, "Roman bitch. Kill me. My people have greater warriors than I."
Gabrielle smiles, "Lets talk first." She gestures toward Xena. "She can slit your throat later."
Setting: A grassy hill near the camp of the Gauls. The open fields and wooded areas of the countryside lie revealed to those at the top of the hill.
Gabrielle, already dismounted, holds Xenas horse, as Xena reaches up to help TIGON. The bearded, burly Tigon walks with difficulty and obvious pain. He leans on a wicked-looking pike. He gestures toward the north and says, "So your emperor offers to give us what we already hold in return for what is rightfully ours." Gabrielle tells him why he should accept Claudiuss offer, how peace will benefit his own people, how the fields below will be planted again, and that no more young men will have to die. Tigon asks Xena what she thinks. She says, "Like you, Im just an old warrior. Shes the diplomat." Tigon asks, "But what would you do? Would you take this deal? If I stole your saddle and offered to let you keep your horse, what would you do?"
Before Xena can answer, another horse thunders up the hill. On it is a magnificent Celtic warrior. Without dismounting, he swings his mighty axhammer at Xenas head. She dives to the ground under his horse and, as the horse rears and plunges around her, she scrambles for control of a front hoof. Finally snatching a hoof and pulling it back and up, she rises under the warhorse and forces him to his side. (Note: This must be an animal trained to fall on cue, and soft, breakaway stirrups must be used. No animal will be harmed in this production.) The warrior rolls to his feet and roars, "I am GAELARIC, son of Nym, grandson of Boadicea! You, Xena, will die." Gaelaric and Xena fight with swords and fists and feet. Other Celtic warriors run up the hill, and Gabrielle fights them. Tigon stands in the middle of the melee but takes no part in it. Finally, Xena disarms Gaelaric and throws him to the ground. She holds his own sword to his throat. "Kill me, or Ill kill you," Gaelaric tells her. Xena says, "Your side might do better if you werent all so eager to die." She hands Gaelaric his sword.
Setting: The Gauls camp. Interior of a shelter, a hut apparently made of sticks and mud.
Xena is eating porridge from a wooden trencher. She makes a face and puts it down. "This stuff must have a better use. Hey, maybe it could be used to stick stuff together?" Gabrielle shakes her head and asks, "What would you stick together?" Xena replies, "I dont know. Parchments maybe. Or things we broke. We do break a lot of things, you know, Gabrielle."
Gabrielle seems preoccupied. She and Xena review what they learned about Gaelaric. Gaelaric has told them that he hates the "good emperor" Claudius for successfully invading Britannia, something Julius Caesar couldnt do. But Gaelaric hates Xena even more. He blames her for the death of his grandmother Boadicea. Although Boadiceas army defeated the Romans, she herself died in the battle. Gaelaric saw his own mother and aunts slaughtered by the vengeful Romans before Caesar abandoned the island. Gaelaric blames Xena for not standing with Boadicea. (Insert clips from "The Deliverer.")
Gabrielle says she thinks they have made a mistake. Tigon the Gaul has agreed to discuss a peace plan, but only if General Severus comes to him within the next two days. The tribes wont accept a treaty unless the Romans seem to be humbling themselves. To ensure good faith, either Xena or Gabrielle must remain as a hostage in the camp of the Gauls. Xena says, "And Im the one wholl stay. Thats already been decided." Gabrielle says, "YOU decided. I didnt. I should stay. Nobody here has a blood feud with me." Xena tries to reassure her, but Gabrielle keeps repeating that she has a bad feeling. Gabrielle says, "You act sometimes as it youre immortal, and that scares me." Xena says, "I know Im mortal. Believe me! But havent I always come back to you? Havent we always managed to be together?" Xena argues that Gabrielle is the one with the emperors "badge of office," while the Romans consider Xena just another barbarian warrior. Xena reminds Gabrielle of the greater good and adds, "And dont forget that I have every reason to live." Gabrielle asks, "EVERY reason?" Xena starts to count out her reasons, giving Gabrielle a kiss for each: "One, you. Two, you. Three, you . . ."
Setting: The Roman camp, exterior and interior of the command tent.
Gabrielle brings her galloping horse to a quick halt. She leaps off and runs into the tent. Breathless, Gabrielle demands of the Roman officers, "Where is General Severus? I have to talk with him immediately." Paulus Varian blocks her way. He towers over Gabrielle and sneers down at her. "Weve had word that a fortress east of here is under attack. He took that barbarian rabble he calls the auxiliaries with him, thank Mars." Varian claps the shoulder of the young officer standing beside him. "Nothing here now but us true Romans, hey, Septimus?" Gabrielle explains the situation with the Gauls, but Varian is not interested. He says he will solve the problem of the Gauls himself. Varian yells for guards to "rid him of this Greek slut," but Gabrielle fights her way past the guards and jumps on her horse. She gallops out of the camp as weapons whistle past her.
Setting: The hill near the camp of the Gauls. Gauls, Celts, and other tribesmen and tribeswomen are gathered on the hillside. All are bristling with axes, spears, slashing swords and stabbing swords, longbows and arrows, and some carry small or great shields. From their dress and armament and facial painting and tattoos, it seems like every tribe and clan of Gaul and Britannia is represented. Yet, for the size of their camp, this seems to be an amazingly small number of warriors.
At the top of the hill, Tigon the Gaul stands quietly looking to the south. Gaelaric and Xena stand on either side of him. Gaelaric says that his scouts have returned. A small force of Roman infantry and cavalry is nearing "the trap." He exhorts Tigon to launch an attack. Xena asks, "Are there are auxiliaries with the Roman troops? Thracian spearmen? Syrian archers?" When Gaelaric says no, she guesses, "Then Varian is leading those troops. General Severus would never expose his men without archers to soften up the enemy and spearmen to guard their flanks." She points. "And that hill. He would take that hill first, or he would never attack. Unlike Varian, Severus is no fool."
Tigon says he had hoped to bring peace to his people, "at least for a few years," but he will have to launch the attack. He cannot allow the Romans to advance any further. Gaelaric starts to mount his horse to deliver the order. Xena stops him with a hand on his arm, and he reaches toward his sword. "Wait," Xena says. "Listen to me. Then you and I can fight. To the death, if you want." Gaelaric waits. Xena says to Tigon, "You say you want peace. But you know if any of your people spills another drop of Roman blood, there will be no peace. Rome will send all its legions and kill or enslave your people. They will take all of Gaul." Tigon nods, but says, "I will not give them one more foot of our land. To do that would also mean that they will take it all." Xena agrees. She says, "Someone must fight the Romans, but you cant. I can."
Setting: A Roman border fortress surrounded by stone walls about five feet high.
Gabrielles white mare, hooves ringing against the rocky pavement, gallops into view. Sentries inside the wall raise the alarm and their weapons, but Gabrielle calls for more speed, and horse and rider clear the wall and the heads of the soldiers. Gabrielle makes a flying dismount and lands in front of none other but a startled General Lucius Severus. Gabrielle tells Severus of the situation with the Gauls and that the chance of peace will be lost if Severus does not get to the Gauls camp by the end of the day. Severus says that he and his troops arrived at this fortress to find that there is no trouble and that the officer in charge did not send for help. He suspects that Varian faked the message asking for reinforcements so he could put into effect his own plan to attack the Gauls with "Romans of pure blood."
Setting: a dry, flat strip of land, about twenty feet across, between a
forested hill and a swamp. In the near-distance to the north can be seen the grassy hill and the warriors who wait on it. In the near-distance to the south can be seen Roman troops, some on horses, some marching. At their head is Paulus Varian.
Xena, Tigon, Gaelaric, and a few of Gaelarics Celts ride up. Xena and
Gaelaric dismount. Gaelaric is carrying a stout peg and his hammerax. Attached to the peg is a leather thong no more than ten feet long. Gaelaric asks, "Do you know the purpose of this thong?" Xena says, "Yes. Among your clan, warriors use it to prove their courage. By staking themselves to a part of the battleground, they are saying they will die rather than give ground." Gaelaric says, "We also use it for another purpose. Do you know the other purpose?" "Yes," Xena answers, "an unreliable warrior is staked in the thick of the battle so he has to stand and fight." "So SHE has to stand and fight," Gaelaric corrects, "so she has to stand and fightuntil she dies."
Gaelaric and Xena walk forward until they are in the middle of the strip of flat land. They stop only a hundred feet or so from the Roman troops. Gaelaric uses his hammerax to drive the stake into the ground. "I will stay near with my bow. If you pull the stake free or cut the thong, you die," he tells Xena, who just nods. Gaelaric remounts and rides to the open field, where Tigon and the others wait and watch.
Completely contemptuous of one "barbarian" female facing his legionnaires, Varian forgoes the "turtle," the maneuver in which his men would advance slowly under cover of their shields. He gives the order to attack, and, with no archers to take Xena out of their path, sends his cavalry forward first, followed quickly by his infantry. In the narrow pass, the horses charge in close order. As Xenas chakram whirls among them and her sword sings, riders and horses begin to panic. Horses and men stumble, and equipment becomes entangled. Horses trample infantry, and horses and men, trying to flank the wild Greek warrior, become bogged down in the swamp. Their heavy weapons and armor make struggling out impossible. A few Romans try the other flank, the hill. From behind every tree and bush steps a Celt or Gaul. The barbarians dont attack, but, brandishing their weapons and clashing them against their shields, they begin a deafening roar of threats and war cries and insults about Romans who cant beat one woman. The Romans withdraw from the hill.
Within minutes, Xena has reduced the effective Roman force to less than a third. However, Xena is hurt, losing precious blood from many wounds. No Roman has gotten past her, but she is weakening as she fights on. Varian, seeing a chance for what he would call glory, finally enters the battle. He charges Xena while yelling for his remaining legionnaires to get out of his way. He is determined to kill this Greek bitch himself. His men are willing enough to break off the fight. Xena runs to meet Varians charge, and he strikes at her with his short sword, opening a head wound. Xena falls. Varian charges her again, as if to allow his warhorse to trample her, and Xena leaps up, and does a flip over him. The thong attached to her ankle snaps across Varians neck, pulling him from his horse. But Xena, too, is down.
Theres a shout, and two more horses gallop along the narrow strip of land. "Stop! In the name of Lucius Severus, General of Rome, I order you to stop!" Looking confused, the legionnaires watch as their general and a small, blonde woman leap from horses and run toward them. The legionnaires let their weapons, heavy in their exhausted arms, point to the bloody ground.
Varian regains his feet as Xena struggles to rise. Ignoring Severuss orders, The Roman raises his sword. As it begins its deadly downward plunge, Gaelaric can be seen in the background, bow raised. An arrow whistles through the air. Xena launches herself behind Varian, and falls back to the ground. From the center of her chest protrudes a dark arrow bearing the blue fletching of the Celts. Varian stares down at her. Severus shoves him aside, and Gabrielle drops to Xenas side. She starts to touch the arrow, but Xena says, "Leave it."
Gabrielle cries, "Oh, my sweet, my love, why did you do that? Gaelaric would have missed you and hit Varian." "Gaelaric now knows I will stand and fight," Xena says. "He tried to save me by shooting Varian, but I couldnt let him kill a Romannot if you were to make the peace I know you will." Xena smiles and adds, "I wish there had been time to catch the arrow another way." Gabrielle is trying to staunch the blood that is pouring from Xenas wounds. "Tell me how to save you," she begs. Xena says, "Just kiss me. Thats all the paradise Ive knownor will ever need."
Xena and Gabrielle kiss. Into this kiss go all the love they have ever felt and all the words between them, both the spoken and the unspoken. When the camera pulls back, we see that Xena and Gabrielle are within a circle formed by Gaelaric, Tigon, Varian, Severus, Roman soldiers, and "barbarian" warriors.
As the kiss ends, Xenas spirit, strong and beautiful, is freed from her battered body to look down upon this tableau. Xenas spirit whispers, "Ive finished my work. But you still have great deeds to do and wonderful words to write."
Gabrielle looks in horror at Xenas still body. "Dont leave me, Xena!" she screams.
"Well be together soon," Xenas spirit whispers. "Forever and forever and beyond."
Gabrielle cries again, "Dont leave me, Xena!"
But Xena is gone.
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