Xena: Warrior Princess is copyright MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. All original content of Xena: Warrior Princess 2.0 is copyrighted by the author and is not to be used or modified without permission. All rights reserved.
INT. AMPHIPOLIS XENA'S MASTER BEDROOM SUMMER/PREDAWN
Xena lies limply on the bed, tired, disheveled and sweaty, hair plastered to her face. Cyrene stands near the bed and coos at Hope who is being swathed in a blanket by the MIDWIFE. Sophus slumps weakly against the wall nearby, looking more worn out than Xena.
The MIDWIFE brings the girl to Sophus and hands her over to him.
Congratulation Sophus, you have a healthy daughter.
Hope reconfirms that her lungs are fine by crying again as she is passed to her father.
Sophus cradles his child for a moment, observing the tiny infant, who calms down immediately in his arms. Then he straightens up and wearily moves bedside.
Sophus, to Hope, showing her to Xena, warmly
Meet your mother.
He gently kisses the girl and then offers her to his wife.
Sophus, to Xena, lovingly
Here is your Hope.
Xena, taking her daughter, misty eyed, firmly
Sophus leans down and kisses his wife.
Our love. Our Hope.
Sophus kneels by the bed and tenderly embraces Xena and Hope. He lays his head on Xena's shoulder and the three share a quiet family moment.
Cyrene wipes her eyes and smiles thru the tears at the sight.
The MIDWIFE approaches and begins cleaning Xena.
INT. AMPHIPOLIS XENA'S MASTER BEDROOM FALL/MORNING
Xena walks into the bedroom with a crying Hope in her arms. She is wearing a simple tunic that opens in the front. Taking a seat on the bed, she repositions the baby against her shoulder. With her free hand, she loosens the leather ties on her front, allowing her swollen breast to spill out, ready for feeding. A quick adjustment and Hope latches on hungrily and starts eating with gusto. Tiny fists seek and grab at the tunic with tenacity.
Just so you know, there are two of those, you little moocher. Gabrielle would love you.
Xena, starring at Hope, with a hint of sadness, affectionately
You have another mother, Hope. She is wisdom, beauty, and compassion; an unequaled strength wielded by a loving heart that embraces all. Gabrielle: my love, my soul. We joined in Potidaea
END OF TEASER
XENA'S FANTASY/EXT. POTIDAEA - CLEARING BY THE RIVER LATE MORNING
Two ARCHERS are watching four THUGS get ready to tie up Gabrielle, Lila, and the young village GIRLS. There is a sound of something cutting thru the air and one ARCHER suddenly sports a chakram embedded in his chest. He is dead instantly. The second ARCHER pays for watching as his neck is broken and his body tossed to the side, without seeing his attacker or even knowing there was one.
Xena draws her sword and closes the distance. The THUG WITH STAFF goes down as she slips the blade past his block into his gut. The THUG WITH ROPE drops it and raises his hands in surrender. He does not find mercy in Xena's eyes, only death at her hand. Xena throws her sword and spears the THUG charging with a club. The dagger from her belt takes care of the second THUG. She casually walks past the stunned group and retrieves the sword and her chakram. The whole fight takes mere seconds.
Six other THUGS and the THUG LEADER come running up and gaze first at the destruction and then the cause of it. Xena makes it a point to look at Gabrielle briefly, avoiding her eyes. She shrugs apologetically and drops the sword and the chakram. Gabrielle watches her closely, fascinated.
As one, the THUGS charge, drawing the wooden clubs as they do so. The seven of them are no match for Xena, who easily kicks and punches them into unconsciousness in short order. During the fight, Gabrielle moves closer to get a better view and to capture the fine details of Xena's movement and strikes.
It is soon over and Xena turns and looks straight into Gabrielle's eyes. Everything stops as they lock their gazes and the sounds of the world fade away. They stand perfectly still, two bodies frozen, starring deep into each other souls. The universe is silent and focused on just those two.
Long seconds, possibly minutes, pass before they break contact. Gabrielle shakes her head, as if trying to clear it, while Xena looks at her, smiling warmly. Lila and the GIRLS observe this happen and stay out of it there is a sense of destiny in the air.
Abruptly, Xena walks over and picks up the bloody sword. She moves in front of Gabrielle and kneels. Xena places the tip of the sword on the ground and her hands on the pummel. He posture and expression is one of submission and humility. The GIRLS and Lila gasp at the impossibility of this fierce fighter prostrating before Gabrielle.
Xena, bowing her head, sincerely
I am Xena, Warrior Princess. I am yours.
The GIRLS and Lila start to whisper in the background, not believing the words spoken and more to the point, by whom.
Gabrielle, completely flummoxed, manages to eke out her name after a lengthy pause
Gabrielle bends and takes the sword in one hand; with the other she helps Xena stand.
Please, stand up. You are your own.
Xena, going for humor, grandly
I am a rescuer of fair maidens and punisher of evildoers.
Gabrielle, handing back the sword, warily
You are not the woman of stories.
I could revive the bad guys and beat them up again.
Oh. I am a hero.
Don't others have to proclaim you one first?
I am ahead of my legend.
Gabrielle, warming up to the charm and wit, teasing
What happened to villainy, murder, and mayhem?
That's in the past. You are my future.
Gabrielle, giving her a strange look, pointedly
You don't know me.
Xena, opting for direct approach, firmly
What did your gift show you?
You are the greatest bard in Greece, unmatched archer, and a master with the staff. You are ready to travel the world and record our exploits. You like women; really like them. And now that our souls are bonded, that is two things in my favor.
How do you know those things?!
I have many skills.
Gabrielle, mulls this over for a few seconds and then looks Xena right in the eyes
What do you want? Besides me, obviously.
Xena, hiding nothing, holds her gaze
I have family to rescue, warlords to defeat, and an open position for a friend and a fellow hero. Interested?
Gabrielle, with calculating look, judging Xena
There will be no unwanted advances?
There already are and they are mutual; or will be.
Gabrielle, pressing, still skeptical
This is not some ploy to seduce an innocent village girl?
I plan to court you openly.
Gabrielle, satisfied, deciding
I believe you. Fair enough, what's next?
I throw you on Argo and take you away.
Can I pack first?
Sorry, takes away from the drama and the romance.
Please? You can still throw me on the horse afterwards.
Gabrielle, I cannot say no to you.
Gabrielle, unable to suppress her curiosity any longer, needing to know
What did you see when we locked eyes?
You know the answer.
Gabrielle, wisely, nodding
Xena, worried a little, concern showing in her voice
You okay with it?
I like that future.
Xena, returning the smile
XENA'S FANTASY/INT. WILDERNESS TEMPLE EVENING
Xena comes awake and gingerly gets off Gabrielle, who is squashed under her. She easily lifts Gabrielle off the altar and holds her close to her body. With the bard safely and comfortably positioned, she rests her head on Gabrielle's. Tears fall.
Shortly, Gabrielle wakes up with a start and a gasp; she calms down as she recognizes the person cradling her and the source of the moisture. Xena raises her head and looks down on the bard's wet face, inches away.
Gabrielle, surprised yet grateful, with relief
You are here.
Gabrielle reaches up and touches Xena's face shyly.
XENA'S FANTASY/EXT. TRACUS SLAVE PENS DAWN
The scene is pure chaos. Individual MERCENARIES and GLADIATORS are fighting one on one and there is little organization on either side, except for a group of a dozen MERCENARIES trying to rally near the gate. They are set upon by Gabrielle, flanked by Dictus and Brisus. The bard is mowing down anyone foolish or brave enough to step into the staff's range and her guards finish them quickly; they also watch her back and any threats that try to close in.
Gabrielle's progress is significantly slowed by the growing teamwork in her opposition. Realizing that single or even double, coordinated attacks are doomed against a fighter of her caliber, half a dozen MERCENARIES charge her. The rest fall back and sound a rallying call.
Single MERCENARIES break off engagement and run for the reforming mass. Gabrielle is busy with four MERCENARIES pressing her and two occupying her guards. She falls back and gets separated from her escorts; her skill and her weapon's long range the only things preventing her demise. The MERCENARIES push their advantage and now come from all sides. There is no one to give orders to the GLADIATORS and the confusion spreads.
The MERCENARIES pay dearly for withdrawing; many fall to the pursuit. However, a score and a half manage to coalesce into a formation and close ranks. The MERCENARIES throw the remaining spears, taking a measure of revenge on the GLADIATORS. They take out their swords and begin another organized assault on the remaining GLADIATORS. Things are starting to look grim.
Xena, war cry, loudly
The MERCENARY behind Gabrielle drops his sword and reaches for his back. He wobbles and falls face first, chakram sticking out of his back. The shock is still fresh when Xena tears into another MERCENARY, this one to Gabrielle's left. The MERCENARY just barely blocks the blow coming fast at his head yet the force behind the descending blade is such that it rips the sword out of his hand and sends it flying. Xena draws a dagger and stabs him in the neck; she moves to retrieve her chakram.
Gabrielle, down to two MERCENARIES, quickly sends them crashing to the ground, unconscious. She then moves to help Dictus and Brisus. She arrives in time to see Brisus die and her strike is too late to save him.
Dictus wins his fight and joins her; other GLADATORS fall in around her in a mob. Gabrielle is about to give and order to advance when a sound cuts thru the air. Out of nowhere, a shield flies true and strikes the heads of MERCENARIES in the front row, immediately followed by the second one. On the heels of the impromptu missiles comes Xena and she plunges into the hole she created.
Gabrielle and the GLADIATORS take advantage of the distraction and close the distance. The battle shifts once again, as Xena cuts a bloody swath of destruction inside the formation, while the GLADIATORS swarm the outside. The MERCENERIES' will shatters and so does their discipline. The combination of Xena, Gabrielle, and the remaining GLADIATORS finally overcomes the MERCENARIES and they break.
XENA'S FANTASY/EXT. TRACUS SLAVE PENS EARLY MORNING
Xena and Gabrielle slowly walk to the area being prepared as a field hospital. The newly freed SLAVES are helping with the setup and providing assistance in the treatment of the wounded.
Gabrielle, just now remembering, worriedly
Xena, matter of fact
Not as important as you.
I scouted it after we parted and it did not need me there. You did.
Is that the warlord talking?
Xena stops and faces Gabrielle.
Yes to the first and guilty of caring deeply on the second.
Gabrielle looks Xena in the eyes, judging her. Satisfied, she nods and they resume walking, closer now.
Thanks. So all I warrant is caring?
Xena, putting an arm around Gabrielle and drawing her in, seriously
My place is with you. You ask and I will give everything to you, freely.
I like it better when you offer.
You already have it. You had it from the beginning.
Where is the fun in that?
Don't you know by now Gabrielle? All I need is you.
I was promised wooing and courtship by the famous Warrior Princess. I am holding you to it.
You paying for the wining and dining?
Sure do and I expect returns.
I am waiting for the wedding night kind of gal.
And if I ask nicely?
Sorry, my impatient bard. No ring, no play.
Gabrielle stops abruptly and appears to consider something. Xena waits patiently.
Gabrielle, resolved, quietly
Anastasia was my first kiss and a mistake; I am very sorry for hurting you. Xena, all the other firsts are yours.
Xena turns her head and kisses the top of Gabrielle's. Gabrielle wraps and tightens an arm around Xena's lower back in silent, appreciative answer. They resume walking.
INT. AMPHIPOLIS XENA'S MASTER BEDROOM FALL/AFTERNOON
Xena sets Hope in the cradle and tucks her in. She plants a few kisses; drawing back, she simply watches her daughter fuss. A smile of peace and contentment breaks on Xena's face and the baby instinctively breaks out in her own; small hands reach out for her mother. Xena coos at the baby and lets her grab a finger. The grip is very strong, reminding Xena that her daughter shares her strength but not her restraint.
Trying a different tactic, Xena starts to sing Gabrielle's lullaby. The magic is intact as the infant relaxes and starts drifting off. Xena adds the motion of the cradle to her voice and the baby descends into sleep. Visiting Morpheus, Hope does not let go; she keeps the connection with her mother intact, albeit with less physical intensity.
The sun falls on the mother and daughter thru the open window, and the voices and sounds of the village enter freely. It is a lazy, pleasant autumn day and everything is alright with the world. Everything is as it should be.
END OF ACT ONE
XENA'S FANTASY/ INT. PELLA INN/ROOM AFTERNOON
Gabrielle is sleeping when the door opens quietly. Xena comes in and walks over to the bed. She stands still, looking at Gabrielle.
I can hear you pretending.
Gabrielle, opening her eyes and greeting Xena with a warm smile
No taking advantage of my condition?
No. Of you? Maybe.
Xena walks to the bed and lays out on it, right next to Gabrielle. Their hands meet and fingers intertwine.
Gabrielle, her mind turning to other matters, serious
Xena, what are we going to do about Teresia?
Trust me, it is handled.
How many heads did you have to crack?
Her father arranged a marriage for her. I was very persuasive.
How about I hand feed you lunch?
Gabrielle, squeezing Xena's hand, happy
I like your many skills.
INT. ATHENS BROTHEL 8 MONTHS AGO/LATE EVENING
The small room has a fireplace and is decorated with tapestries and rugs woven in bright colors and featuring nature. Two long benches sit against one wall; they are empty save for one CLOAKED WOMAN. In the middle stands a table with flowers and a selection of alcohol. Most of the sconces in the walls hold oil lamps but one is burning incense.
The door opens and Xena walks in. She takes in the scene and makes for the drinks. Xena downs one quickly and then turns to the only other person in the room with her. That is when her courage fails her and she looks down at her feet, embarrassed and shy.
The CLOAKED WOMAN stands up and saunters over to Xena. A hand reaches out from beneath the cloak and lightly grazes the flesh of the neck where the armor ends; Xena shudders. Fingernails travel up the neck and under the chin, lifting it. The other hand reaches up and throws the hood back.
Xena's eyes open wide at the impossible sight. Standing before her is Gabrielle? The CLOAKED WOMAN, satisfied she has Xena's complete and undivided attention, releases her chin and drops the cloak completely.
Standing before Xena is either Gabrielle or her twin. The CLOAKED WOMAN wears a revealing dress, cut low in all the right places to accentuate the assets of its owner. The fabric is white and sheer, hugging and revealing the shapes under it, strongly hinting at what treasures it contains within. There is nothing conservative about this cut of cloth. Without realizing it, Xena licks her suddenly dry lips.
Xena, finding her tongue with effort, croaking out
CLOAKED WOMAN, musically and seductively
I will be her if you want?
Xena, desire obvious
The CLOAKED WOMAN breaks into a wide smile; she reaches out and takes Xena's right hand into hers. The CLOAKED WOMAN laughs as she drags the very willing Xena to the only other door in the room. Xena follows, answering smile on her face and eagerness in her step. The CLOAKED WOMAN'S back hits the door and she giggles. Xena closes in and puts her left hand on the door, beside the CLOAKED WOMAN'S head.
Xena, leaning in, bringing their faces near each other, predatory
It appears I have you trapped.
CLOAKED WOMAN, grinning
I throw myself at your mercy.
XENA'S FANTASY/EXT. LOCIA VILLAGE MID MORNING
Xena breaks into a gallop at the sight of Locia. She thunders thru the deserted village on her way to the town square. At the edge, she reins in Argo and nimbly dismounts. The large, open space is devoid of men and beast alike. Only a clothed bundle of flesh claims the center. Her sharp eyes focus on the battered and beaten remains of a man. Her father, she is sure. She walks up to him slowly, not believing her eyes, circling. Dark droplets color the packed earth around him, spread like red pearls in offering to Hades. Ending at the head, she more falls than kneels in shock. Xena brushes his bruised and cut face with her fingertips, convincing herself this is no illusion. She lightly strokes his hair and then closes his eyes as her own lids drop heavy curtains on the world outside. Grief wells up in her and she holds it down with iron will, body taut, fists balled, muscles cramping in response. She is lightheaded from the effort, this surge of feelings for a man not long ago dead to her. Then she hears them and opens her eyes.
The VILLAGERS come out from behind the buildings, most unarmed, a few wielding bloody farm implements. Xena knows whose blood is on them and a growl escapes her lips. The VILLAGERS gaze back at her, eyes filled with bloodlust, minds bent on vengeance; men and women, young and old, consumed with hatred. They scream and attack.
A vision of Gabrielle appears between them and Xena. It is the bard as she left her behind, fighting the MERCENARIES. The entire world goes into slow motion as Gabrielle speaks.
Gabrielle, with conviction, passionately
You are Xena, the greatest warrior in Greece. You are Xena, the hero that fights for greater good. You are Xena, the mortal human who fails as we all do. You are Xena, with dark past and bright future. You are Xena, the woman who lost her brother and father. You are Xena, who found Toris and Atrius again. You are Xena, a woman with friends and family who love you. You are Xena, a good person. You are Xena, a woman with unshakable faith in the above. You are Xena and I believe in you. Xena, see what I see.
The universe returns to normal speed and the figure of the bard fades away.
Gabrielle, mouthing the words silently as she disappears, affectionately
I love you.
Gabrielle vanishes but it is enough to break to spell of hate.
A quick whistle and Xena is in motion, running at an angle towards Argo, already trotting. She intercepts the horse and mounts on the run. As she gallops away from the village, Xena chokes on the pain pouring forth with the tears.
XENA'S FANTASY/EXT. THERMOPYLAE PASS 3RD DAY/DAWN
Gabrielle stares at ten thousand IMMORTALS facing them. Better armor, longer spears, bronze shields, still inferior to her HOPLITES. She turns to Xena, smile lighting her face as the sun burnishes her armor. She is glowing.
Athena visited two nights ago. Today, we are destiny.
Xena, his gaze on the sky and ocean in the distance, alive with color
It is beautiful. Like you, my love.
Good day to be alive. Better, with you.
Xena, flaring her nostrils, breathing in sharply
They will sing of us.
We are forever.
The earthly concerns float away and peace and love fills their souls.
XENA'S FANTASY/EXT. DREAMSCAPE MIST LIGHT
Xena knows this place, thou the details are fuzzy. Gabrielle on the other hand, this being her first visit, runs around with wild abandon, chasing the fog and having a great time. She tries to catch and taste the mist. Xena marvels at the childlike wonder of the bard: such sweet innocence.
You see the beauty in everything.
Gabrielle runs up to her and laughing, grabs Xena's hands and starts spinning them both, going faster and faster. Once they are good and dizzy, she lets go, sending them both tumbling into the mists.
Xena has barely regained her balance and found her feet, when the crazy whirlwind of a bard is on her again, taking her into her arms.
Gabrielle, eyes sparkling, smiling
Dance with me, beautiful.
Xena loses herself in those eyes and smile. She is deliriously happy, Gabrielle's simple joy infecting her. They flow as the fog swirls around them, bodies completely in sync. Those two souls dance together for the first time and yet there is no hesitation and no awkwardness. From the first step together they are of one mind, merged into one body and one soul, united in purpose, joined in execution. Time ceases to exist.
They wind down, labored breathing testament to time reasserting itself after long absence. Gabrielle lets Xena go and Xena immediately plops down on the misty ground and starts making mist angels, giggling uncontrollably. Gabrielle shakes her head and sits down. Xena sits up, big grin on her face; it finds a matching one on the bard.
Xena, taking Gabrielle's hands and rubbing them
Sorry, got carried away.
Told you not to eat the mist.
Xena, kneeling before Gabrielle, honestly and with emotion
There is a joy and wonder in you that touches others. When you took me in your arms and danced with me, it was a precious gift. You gave me another moment of perfect happiness. Gabrielle, I want to share your life as I share your heart. You are my best friend, you are my champion, and I want you for mine. I will be your protector and your hero. Gabrielle, I love you.
Xena takes Gabrielle's hands to her lips and kisses the fingers affectionately. Gabrielle, smiling warmly thru the tears of joy, reciprocates the feelings, glowing with emotion. Xena knows the answer before asking the question.
Xena, looking deeply into Gabrielle's eyes, lovingly
I want a lifetime of dances. Will you marry me, Gabrielle?
Gabrielle, happiness and love sparkling in her watery eyes, committing wholeheartedly
XENA'S FANTASY/INT. AMPHIPOLIS TEMPLE MORNING
Gabrielle is a wearing a rich white gown and there is a glow about her. She radiates love and joy from within, her skin lit up in a golden light. She does not appear mortal, more a Goddess. She is light.
Xena is calm and serene, the white dress showing off her figure to full effect. Jet black hair frames her face, contrasting with the dress. Her beauty is primal, stark and raw, sharp angles and planes. Yet in that hardness there is softness, curves, and vulnerability. Her eyes reflect her feelings and her smile adds to the glow about her, matching Gabrielle's. She is love.
The wedding ring is a symbol of eternity. It is an outward sign of an inward and spiritual bond which unites two hearts in endless love. And now as a token of your love and of your deep desire to be forever united in heart and soul, you Gabrielle may place a ring on the finger of your bride.
I give you this ring as a symbol of my love and faithfulness to you.
She places the ring on Xena's finger and her hands only shake a little.
By the same token Xena, you may place a ring on the finger of your bride.
I give you this ring as a symbol of my love and faithfulness to you.
Xena happily claims her bard.
Now that Xena and Gabrielle have given themselves to each other by the promises and rings they have exchanged, I pronounce them to be wife and wife. Let it be witnessed by Zeus, the Olympians, and we gathered, in this very temple.
Cheers erupt from the wedding party and both Hecuba and Cyrene wipe tears from their eyes.
Priest, eyes twinkling
You may now kiss.
XENA'S FANTASY/EXT. APOLLO'S TEMPLE TEMPLE STAIRS DAWN
Xena and Gabrielle make their stand on the temple steps, supported by wounded MITOAN and THESSALIAN SOLDIERS who decided to help with defense and backed by handful of TEMPLE GUARDS. The latter are nothing more than village militia in heavier armor. Things are not looking good, not that it's a surprise.
Around and below them a battle rages. Mitoan and Thessalian infantry, led by their respective Kings, are locked in the three way struggle for the control of the temple. It is rapidly dawning on the Kings that if they bleed themselves dry, there will be nobody to collect the spoils.
MITOAN KING is the first to take action. He turns his horse and points at Gabrielle, figuring that the Chosen is a larger threat than even legendary Xena. The response from Xena is swift and merciless; no one threatens her bard and lives.
The chakram is an extension of her and it takes no effort to lock on to the MITOAN KING and release the weapon. Unerringly it flies, cutting through MITOAN KING's armor, flesh, and bone, coming to rest in his heart. He crashes to the ground.
Unfortunately, this causes the wounded MITOAN SOLDIERS fighting on their side to turn on them, taking revenge for their king's death. Multiple strikes connect before Xena and Gabrielle fight their way out of danger, but by then it is too late. Xena takes the brunt of the damage, wearing an inferior armor and Gabrielle is bleeding freely from her limbs.
Seeing this, the THELLIAN KING seizes the chance to win the contest. He moves to the bottom of the stairs and slowly starts walking his horse up them. He figures to inspire his troops and swing the fight in his favor. The MITOAN SOLDIERS are wavering, bereft of leadership, and the temple defense anchored by Xena and Gabrielle is crumbling. He takes down a few MITOAN SOLDIERS and his troops take cheer and surge.
Xena reads the situation. Out of choices, she disarms the nearest spear wielder and claims his weapon. Leaving herself exposed, she throws the spear with deadly intent and accuracy, piercing his throat. The THELLIAN KING joins his counterpart in the afterlife and Xena pays the price. Swords and spears drive into her undefended torso and the leather armor is no match, exploding in crimson at the impacts.
Gabrielle scream is inhuman and the fury that follows it drives them off but it is too late and the greater good claims its sacrifice. Xena collapses, her blood staining the altar of marble steps. Weeping, Gabrielle drops her weapon and shield and is instantly at Xena's side, gathering her in her arms.
Around her, the truth sinks in on the MITOAN and THESSALIAN SOLDIERS. Pale and shaken, both sides drop their weapons. The arrogant kings lie in the bosom of Death, punished for their sacrilege. The war is over.
XENA'S FANTASY/EXT. APOLLO'S TEMPLE TEMPLE STAIRS EARLY MORNING
The world narrows down to Gabrielle, cradling Xena against her chest. They both know the injuries are mortal.
Xena, coughing blood and crimson foam, whispering
In your arms safe.
Gabrielle, falling apart
I don't want to live without you.
Xena, reaching out and cupping Gabrielle's face, tenderly
In life or death I will never leave you, my bard.
Weak now, she slumps and Gabrielle hugs her tightly. With a last, great effort, Xena lifts her head and looks up into Gabrielle's wounded eyes.
Xena, rasping out with difficulty
I love you always
Gabrielle's eyes pour tears as Xena's empty of life. And then, with a slight sigh of exhale, Xena is no more. Her last sight is her beloved Gabrielle.
EXT. AMPHIPOLIS RIVER BANK FALL/MIDMORNING
Xena sits on the log, cradling Hope, and rocking her slowly in her arms. Hope watches her intently, fixated on the long, black hair that plays in the wind. Tiny fingers reach up and try to catch it and Xena makes a game of moving it away at the last minute, out of range. Her scabbard with a sword is next to her but her simple dress belays any impression of a warrior underneath. She is simply a mother bonding with her child.
Xena, tenderly kissing her daughter, hurting
There is no going back. My Gabrielle is gone and I won't see her again till Hades calls me for judgment. Then, we will be together again, for all eternity.
Xena, letting go, tearfully
Hope, you are my second chance at a good life and I am taking it. Goodbye Gabrielle, my love. We will meet again.
END OF ACT TWO
INT. AMPHIPOLIS INN STABLE FALL/AFTERNOON
Sophus is busy spreading fresh hay in the stalls, readying them for arrivals this evening. He takes a break to wipe his brow and a drink from the waterskin. He is about to return to work when he senses someone watching him.
Frowning, Sophus turns and a smile breaks out on his face and in his eyes. Xena leaves her spot by the door where she was watching him hungrily and stalks him. Her intent is clear and it makes Sophus toss the waterskin and set aside the pitchfork. He takes one step forward before his wife stops him.
Xena puts a hand on his chest and sinks her other into his hair. She moves it to the back of his head and firmly guides his willing mouth to hers. They kiss heatedly and Xena pushes him back, until his back hits the post. She rips the tunic in the front, exposing his chest, and taking advantage of bare flesh.
Sophus, grabbing her wondering hand with both of his, flushed
Xena shows her desire clearly by capturing his lips again and pressing her body into his, trapping their combined hands after lowering them. Her other hand tilts his head back and her mouth starts her descent down his neck, marking him as hers.
Sophus, restraining her passion, pleading
Xena sighs and breaks away; they both breathe heavily. They remain in close proximity, unwilling to part.
Xena, resting her forehead on his, eyes closed, trustingly
I want another one.
Sophus, watching her, overjoyed
Does that mean ?
Xena, accepting and giving
My past died at Thessaly. Here, now, is where I want to be; with you.
I love you, my wife.
Xena, opening her eyes, gazing deep into his
I love you too, my husband.
Tonight, I will leave the children with your brothers for sleepover; they won't mind. We will have the house and the night to ourselves.
Ambitious, aren't we?
I want this time, our second first time to be special.
Xena, teasingly kissing him, not making it easy
Think you can wait that long?
We had eight children; patience is a requirement.
Xena leans in again and then at the last minute changes her destination.
Xena, whispering in Sophus' ear, her voice seductive and full of promise
I will make it worth the wait.
Sophus, shuddering with anticipation
You always do.
INT. AMPHIPOLIS XENA'S MASTER BEDROOM NIGHT
Xena and Sophus are cuddled together, covered by the sheet up to their upper chests. Sophus is behind Xena, spooning her.
Sophus wakes up and starts kissing Xena's neck and shoulders. Xena makes happy noises and turns on her back. Her eyes open and catch him and abruptly she stiffens. Xena pulls the sheet up to her neck and there is wariness in her eyes.
Sophus reaches out very slowly and with utmost care, brushes off the matted bangs, revealing more of Xena's face. He leans in close and begins to leisurely kiss various spots on it, staying away from the lips. Xena relaxes slightly under the ministrations and Sophus adds his hand, cupping the cheek and brushing it with his thumb.
Sophus, reassuringly and soothingly
Don't fight it, let it happen. Your body knows and wants to.
Xena continues to watch him and Sophus traces her lips with his finger. When she responds, he follows with a heartfelt kiss.
I love you.
Xena judges his intentions and feelings.
Xena, still trying to take over, ordering
Sophus, planting a feather light kiss on her lips
It is about giving and sharing.
Xena, giving up control, willingly
I love you too. Teach me.
EXT. AMPHIPOLIS ROAD EARLY EVENING
Gabe is on a white horse, dressed in bronze armor. His hair is cut very short, hardly visible under the helmet. In his arms, clad in thick cloak, Teresia sleeps. Behind, a riderless horse follows. A discrete distance back, away from royalty, a score of LIGHT CAVALRY provides the escort.
The VILLAGE ELDER stands in the middle of the road, awaiting the King's arrival. Xena watches from the side, along with numerous VILLAGERS that gathered once the word spread out.
Gabe pulls to a stop in front of him, as Teresia continues to dream.
VILLAGE ELDER, bowing low, keeping the volume low, respectfully
Welcome to Amphipolis, Chosen of Ares. Our humble village is at your service.
Gabe, his gaze drifting over the gathered crowd, addressing everyone
Rejoice in the defeat of those who foolishly thought that Amphipolis and its environs are of no import to your King; the bandits garrisoned in the former Cortese's camp are no more. You will send the wagons to retrieve the bodies. You will provide the labor and materials for the construction of crosses.
VILLAGE ELDER, somberly
Yes, your Majesty. I will personally ensure that an offering to Ares celebrates your victory.
Glory to Ares.
The aura of worship and fear is broken by an unlikely source. Teresia comes awake with a start and immediately turns her face towards Gabe's. Without paying attention, purely by habit, Gabe's arms steady her and hold her secure. She pouts at the helmet blocking her objective, swiftly reaching with both hands for it. She removes the helm without a hint of protest from Gabe and indulges in his lips. The pensive mood lifts and loud cheers erupt from the VILLAGERS and the LIGHT CAVALRY.
VILLAGERS & LIGHT CAVALRY
Long live the Queen!
VILLAGE ELDER, speaking from experience, shrewdly
Your quarters at the inn are ready, your Majesty.
Schedule a council for tomorrow. Now if you will excuse me, a different duty calls.
The VILLAGE ELDER hastily moves out of the way.
Gabe spurs the horse and it jumps, startling Teresia who emits a terrified squeak and clutches Gabe tightly. They take off straight for the inn, only to come to halt shortly near the entry door. Gabe jumps down and helps Teresia dismount. Picking her up easily, he kicks the door open and carries her inside to the ovation and laughter that accompany the little drama.
VILLAGE ELDER, shaking his head, wistfully
Young ones, they are all the same; one thing on their mind. Ah, to be that age again.
EXT. AMPHIPOLIS MILITIA TRAINING GROUND EARLY MORNING
Gabe is sparring with his SOLDIERS, three of them pressing him at once. The tutelage of Ares is apparent in the fluid movements and speed of execution. He disarms them in quick order and looks around for the next challenge. Phokas wisely does not take the bait and the other SOLDIERS know better.
Xena enters, wearing a tunic instead of her usual dress. She picks a sword from the weapons stand and twirls it. She does a brief warm up routine, aware of eyes on her. Xena ends with the blade pointing directly at Gabrielle. With a quick head gesture, Gabe accepts.
Xena walks over and the match begins. The standard circling and probing begins; both fighters are unsure of the skill of their opponent and too experienced to blindly rush in and make a mistake.
Xena, seeking advantage, conversationally
Gabrielle, you told me once: you always come first.
Xena immediately attacks, but Gabe, while thrown, maintains his guard. After that brief burst of activity, the action slows down. They settle into an easy rhythm, letting their bodies fight on automatic while they converse.
Who are you?
The other half of your soul.
You think I would notice that missing.
Xena, resentment seeping thru, bitterly
Teresia is a talented distraction.
You wouldn't orphan eight children? Slavery or cross?
The words have the desired effect. Quick as lightning, Gabe feints and then knocks the sword out of Xena's hand when he catches her overextending. Point of Gabe's sword goes to Xena's throat and holds there.
You are no ordinary housewife and you let me disarm you, without making it obvious.
Gabe gazes into Xena's eyes and they remain lost in each other for a few seconds; unlike the initial contact in Potidaea, but longer than the normal reading.
Gabe, dropping the sword, frowning
Xena, an edge to her tone, nervously
What did you feel when you looked at me?
Gabe, watching Xena closely for reaction
Good heart, good soul. Harder to read than usual, unclear and muddled - almost as if ...
Xena, panicking, urgently
Xena collapses to her knees and embraces Gabe, crying. The hold is fierce and her face is buried in Gabe's tunic. Gabe gives a signal and the SOLDIERS clear out, taking everyone with them.
Once everyone is gone and the two of them are alone, the mask appears to fall from Gabe's face. The expression softens and the familiar bard smile warms her face.
Gabrielle kneels down and hugs the sobbing Xena, starting to hum and rub Xena's back in small, comforting circles. Xena regains her composure after a while and removes her face from a soaked shoulder.
Xena, eyes drinking in the sight of Gabrielle after months apart, with wonder
Gabrielle does not push her for answers. Instead, she patiently waits for the explanation of the woman's behavior.
Xena, sadly, deciding
I found you only to lose you again.
Before Gabrielle can react, Xena parts and applies the pinch on herself.
I take a life.
Goodbye Gabrielle, my love.
Xena slumps to the ground. Gabrielle tries to repeat the motion to reverse the pinch but Xena stops her. Xena captures Gabrielle's hands and holds them tight.
Xena, earnestly, begging
Let me go. Please.
Gabrielle nods agreement and watches Xena pass. She mourns the senseless loss of a life and silently curses the misguided love that would drive a complete stranger to suicide.
INT. FATES' TEMPLE LOOM ROOM TIME UNKNOWN
There is a moment of disorientation and then Xena stands before the Fates again. Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos wear impassive expressions and do not appear to be pleased with her return visit. Xena fidgets, uncomfortable under their unfriendly scrutiny. Her worst fears are confirmed.
Warning was not heeded.
Clotho moves her hand over a portion of the loom. The three tightly joined threads separate; one pair of black and gold continue together and draw closer.
Life was taken.
Lachesis picks the lone yarn and carefully pulls it apart from the others. She hands it to Atropos, who puts it between the blades of her scissors.
ATROPOSXena of Amphipolis has made her fate.
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