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.
EXT. AEGEAN SEA BOW/ATHENIAN WAR QUADRIREME - PREDAWN
Xena, in full gear, is outlined against the bow of the ship and the fast encroaching light. Staring out into the future, she appears lost in thought.
Gabrielle intrudes on the solitude, hugging the Warrior Princess from behind and then resting her cheek on the leather armor. Xena does not so much as twitch in surprise, appearing subconsciously attuned to the relative closeness of her best friend. She proves it with her words.
Hey, sneaky bard.
Gabrielle leans back and brings back her right hand to root thru Xena's hair, messing it up on purpose.
Gabrielle, after a few seconds of studious searching, sounding disappointed
Nope, no eyes.
Xena vigorously shakes her head, splashing the dark strands free. The bard doesn't mind the hair shower; reinstating her full hold on the Warrior Princess, she patiently waits for an explanation. It comes immediately.
You, Athena, and mother are the only people to even think of surprise embraces. Same three to actually do it
Our soul hums in proximity.
The bard considers the answer and drops her head onto Xena back, returning to the familiar spot.
Gabrielle, clearly intrigued, slightly muffled
I knew after coma. Acceptance took longer, sat uncomfortable intrusive even.
The next moments are overshadowed by the emerging sun, seemingly floating up from Poseidon's depths. The heroines enjoy a peaceful break from the troubles of the world.
Gabrielle, having digested the revelation, peaking around Xena's shoulder at the sea
You are this ship, battered by rushing memories.
Oh? What else am I thinking?
You have to ask?
Fine you are.
You mean right?
Gabrielle laughs and looks up at the Warrior Princess, finding a rapidly clouding expression.
Xena, abruptly spilling her worries on contact, fretting
There is this fear inside of not voicing something important, of missing
Gabrielle, interrupting, firmness cut with tenderness
Gabrielle, locking eyes with Xena, warmly
Xena, there is nothing left unsaid that is felt. Rest matters not.
And Xena believes.
INT. ATHENIAN WAR QUADRIREME CAPTAIN'S QUARTERS EARLY MORNING
The largest cabin on the ship has been appropriated by the three guests of honor, but aside from Xena's rumpled bedroll and few packed belongings, the décor remains sparse and military, tending naval. In the middle of a small bed Athena sprawls on her stomach, suffocating a pillow.
Underwraps-clad Gabrielle sits backwards on the fixed chair, watching her sleeping wife. The bard's gaze brazenly caresses and lingers touches on the exposed skin.
The soundness of sleep loses to unspoken but wished desire; the Goddess comes to rejecting the substitute. The pillow is tossed aside and a sleepy head scans the room, finally locating and affixing on her missing spouse.
Gabrielle, in greeting, affectionately
The Goddess turns over and sits up, the sheet offering a meager, enticing cover of her body. Unbidden, Gabrielle stands up, smoothly clearing the chair.
Athena, appreciatively devouring Gabrielle with her eyes, purring
Mmmm, morning. The bed could use your warmth. So could I.
Prometheus' warning brings hope.
Athena, her mind and attention occupied elsewhere, unconcerned
Another prophecy; the Titan's children are favored indeed.
Athena, catching herself in arrogance, genuinely remorseful
Mortal the lot, divine the lifelong company.
The Goddess takes the good humor as permission.
Athena, languidly getting off the bed, teasing
Divine, you say?
The Goddess slowly approaches the hypnotized bard until the space between them nearly vanishes. She drops the sheet and presses tightly against Gabrielle.
Gabrielle, overwhelmed by sensations, croaking weakly
EXT. AEGEAN SEA MIDDECK/ATHENIAN WAR QUADRIREME - MORNING
Gabrielle leans on the rail, pulling on a waterskin, when Xena steps to her. Without a word, the container is passed as Xena takes a place right next to the bard. Then it is Warrior Princess's turn to drink deeply.
Both women are profusely sweaty; their condition and nearby pile of weapons and armor giving mute testimony to the training accomplished a short while in the past.
Xena, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand, reflective again
I lived loud.
Gabrielle, wisely not saying anything, scoots closer, touching hips. Xena visibly brightens at the physical connection.
Now, I find peace in silence.
And the music that is my voice?
Xena, softly, ending with an quick appraisal of bard's front on last sentence
Lovely. Gabrielle, I cherish the truth of your soul, the openness of your heart, and the sharpness of your mind. The wrapping they come in is nice too, especially when it is not.
That gets a puzzled expression, complete with a raised eyebrow.
Gabrielle, shrugging apologetically
Sadly, your body and mouth lie by habit, but your blues are pure and beautiful. I quench the truth in their twin pools.
Xena, play pouting
You and Athena conspiring on backhanded complements?
We love you.
I love you too.
The ships' crew ends the special moment prematurely. Having taken inspiration from their heroines, few YOUNG NAVAL OFFICERS join Xena and Gabrielle on the open portion of the deck and start sparring with swords. YOUNG NAVAL OFFICERS are wearing trousers only, the bare chested display meant for the benefit of their audience.
Xena, enjoying the view, cheerfully
Look Gabrielle, all those pretty, pretty boys and you with a wedding band.
Predictably, the all-male muscle show has no effect on the bard.
Not interested and don't you start.
I won't, I am spoken for.
More like spoken at; repeatedly.
You jest but you love me.
Yes, I do. There is no one I rather have watch my back
Xena leans further back and drops her gaze to the body part in question as Gabrielle's voice drifts off.
Gabrielle, realizing what Xena is doing, affecting stern
stop staring at it.
I am doing my job. Watching your a back is a chore I gladly carry out at great personal sacrifice.
Xena, throwing out her ace card, triumphantly
You said hands off; nothing in there about eyes off.
Gabrielle, shaking her head at the antics, amused
Fine, gape away, but be subtle about it.
Xena, basking in victory, smugly
I will be over there, inspecting things. Important, precious things.
You do that.
Taking the now empty waterskin, Xena takes a few steps towards their pile of gear. Glancing back she decides that the view could be much improved.
Could you shift from one leg to the other more often?
Xena, not sorry one bit, singing out
The Warrior Princess beats retreat.
Gabrielle, calling after her best friend, provocatively
Xena, spinning around, eagerly
Gabrielle turns towards the sea and does a little shimmy with her hips. YOUNG NAVAL OFFICERS come close to fatal injuries due to distinct lack of concentration; or rather, concentrating on the wrong thing and not the sharp blades being waved about.
Xena claps her approval and whistles. She is startled when an arm goes around her shoulder.
Sorry friend, that was for me.
Athena draws the Warrior Princess close and squeezes her. It is a warm gesture but there is a hint of warning in the power behind it.
Xena ducks and slips from the hold and is about to take off when a hand grabs her chin and brings their eyes together. The Goddess winks at the Warrior Princess, indicating fun at her expense.
Without a further word Athena walks right next to Gabrielle and joins her at the rail. Gabrielle scoots closer and wraps her arm around the Goddesses' middle. She rests her head on the convenient shoulder as Athena draws her closer still with her own arm around Gabrielle. Gabrielle releases a happy sigh. They watch the waves in silence, content in their shared proximity and company.
Xena gets the message loud and clear and yet heads below deck with jauntily whistled tune.
The YOUNG NAVAL OFFICERS decide on safer pursuits and abandon the spot to the two lovers as well.
END OF TEASER
EXT. SEA OF MARMARA BOSPORUS STRAIT 10 YEARS AGO/FALL/MORNING
Byzantium: the crossroads of east and west. And unlike Damascus, not stinking of Romans; the ideal place for a young woman looking for the right opportunity.
A massive merchant ship enters the waterway that will take it to the Black Sea. There are vessels everywhere on the calm waters, most heading to or leaving Byzantium.
The sprawling city, bristling with stonework of city walls, buildings, and towers, surges into the water. The busy port, with its wooden piers, wades in and reaches towards Asia. On the opposite side of the channel, Chalcedon, far smaller and poorer for its inferior location, gazes jealously upon its European neighbor across the water.
EXT. CHALCEDON OUTSKIRTS MORNING
A colorful yet faded tent holds the office of a camel trader. The corral stretches around it and contains a few sorry looking camels, with plenty to drink but little to eat. The air of the place is one on its last legs and close to bankruptcy. It is a tossup which is going to die first: the animals or the business.
The OWNER, likely eating his merchandise to maintain the corpulent shape, sits on the pillows and swats at the buzzing air with a fly-whisk. He exudes sleepy and bored.
Surprisingly, among the decay and laziness, a young horse frolics. She suspiciously resembles Argo and stands out by her vigor and excellent health.
It is this horse that attracts a customer Xena.
Xena strolls towards the animal, the cotton kaftan flowing about her figure. The sash holds a sheathed, curved scimitar. She is wearing pointed-toe, black leather Persian boots. Her head is bare, black tresses cascading down her shoulders.
The filly stops her motion and watches the advancing woman curiously, showing no hint of fear. Xena approaches from the side and stops. The horse and human inspect each other for a long time, as the suddenly awake OWNER shifts his bulk expectantly, smelling a sale.
Sniffing and staring done, the friendship is sealed with an apple, produced from a sleeve and eagerly devoured. It is now just a matter of price, as Xena heads into the open tent.
INT. CHALCEDON CAMEL TRADER'S TENT MORNING
The silk banner near the ceiling proudly proclaims, in Greek, this fine establishment to be Honest Mitak's. The rest of the place raises serious doubts about the owner's business acumen but casts no opinion on his ethics.
Xena sits cross legged and takes the offered, super sweet tea in a tiny cup. She disposes it in one gulp and then points a thumb at the horse. Mitak somewhat hides unhappy and gets on with the transaction, but he is visibly offended.
Mitak, trying again, good-naturedly
Greetings, traveler. The weather had been kind this year.
Xena, caring not for chatting, coldly
Where did a trash like you get a horse like that?
Mitak, ignoring the insult, expertly pitching the product
Ah, you have an excellent eye. That filly comes from a fine pedigree indeed. Why, I
Xena, leaning forward, menacing
Who did you kill for it?
To his credit and confirming his unsavory connections, the owner does not blink.
Mitak, slightly irritated
I paid a good one hundred drachmas and did not ask que .
The obese man drifts off as blood runs from his mouth. Surprised, Mitak looks down and sees the kindjal that skewered him to the pommel. Xena's expression remains unchanged throughout.
Suddenly, Warrior Princess' fist smashes his jaw and lands Mitak on his back. She swiftly follows his fall by taking to her feet and closing the distance.
Xena, placing a foot on the Mitak's chest and pulling the dagger free, indifferent
I am taking her.
After wiping the blood and sheathing the weapon, the Warrior Princess rifles the dying man's pockets. She collects a large pouch of coin for her efforts and juggles it to determine the approximate value.
Xena, her sharp eyes flying about the inside of the airy tent, intrigued
What you hiding, pig?
Outside, a handsome MAN dressed in linen chiton enters the corral. He is accompanied by heavily armored and armed bodyguard. They spot Xena but she does not notice them yet. With a gesture of his head, the MAN sends the BODYGUARD charging.
Aside from the pillows and food containers, there is something about the squat clay pot that marks it foreign. Xena moves to it and crouches in front as the BODYGUARD begins to draw the scimitar of his own.
The perfection of the attack lies in the fact the unsheathing is part of it and intended to alert the opponent past the point of reaction. Not so with Xena.
The Warrior Princess smoothly grabs the jar lid and fires it discus-like at the exposed throat of the BODYGUARD, brutally crushing it. With her immense power behind it, the BODYGUARD is lucky to not suffer a broken neck.
That saving grace becomes moot when Xena produces her own sword and buries it in him as she explodes from crouch. The BODYGUARD dies without a chance to free his weapon.
In response, instead of escaping with his life, the MAN strides confidently towards the fight. Trying to make a short work of the perceived nuisance, the Warrior Princess lets out the kindjal and sends it hurtling towards unprotected flesh. This takes place just outside the tent.
Not only does the knife miss the target, but it is parried with its twin.
You have to ask yourself: why the shiny distraction in this discrete of affairs.
The rapid exchange that follows confirms that both combatants are experts in knife combat, but not equal. Xena is worse for it, sporting a few small nicks. The MAN remains untouched.
Xena, grinning and bluffing
The master does not depend on dogs? Placing your faith in a trick?
MAN, circling Xena, charming
Suppose killing you proves problematic. Suppose we share the opium and part ways.
You keep the majority?
Xena, switching hands and offering her free one, amiably
Throw in provisions and lessons; drugs are yours.
The MAN forearm shakes, sealing the deal.
MAN, pointing out a unique rock formation in the distance, away from town
Midnight; bring the pot.
The MAN spins on his heel and leaves, walking fast. Xena confirms the departure before heading back inside Mitak's office.
EXT. CHALCEDON CAMEL TRADER'S CORRAL MORNING
The Warrior Princess returns to the filly, bearing another juicy offering.
Xena, petting the horse, softly
The animal accepts the newest bribe and with it, the Warrior Princess.
You are Argo, I'm Xena, and we are going to be good friends. I can tell those things.
EXT. KAZAKHSTAN STEPPE LATE FALL/AFTERNOON
Twenty heavily laden camels step in a single file. They are tied together and stretch for a good distance. The first one had a lighter load and a CARAVAN DRIVER. The last camel in line has a bell attached, ringing in the silence pressing in all sides. The CARAVAN RIDER is dozing.
The freedom of the Nomads: where the land infinitely chases the sky and where a sixteen year old ex-Captain makes a new past.
Escorting the goods are two local NOMADS. They wear no armor, only thick hide and their weapons are of poor quality. The LOCAL NOMADS halt the caravan when they spot an unusual sight ahead of them.
In the brownish, windblown grass, Argo stands alone. Saddled and provisioned in the traditional manner, she guards a large, furry lump on the ground.
Curiosity piqued and greed awakened, the two NOMADS run ahead and then cautiously advance the final feet. Seeing no movement and confirming with a kick at the legs, they turn to the main profitable item: the prize war horse.
The NOMADS are defenseless when Xena pops up; she takes them both out in one arc of the scimitar with nary a scream to announce their passage. Showing no emotion or remorse, bloody blade in hand, she mounts Argo and heads for the terrified CARAVAN DRIVER.
CARAVAN DRIVER, Death coming for him, crying out pitifully
Show me how to drive the camels.
The CARAVAN DRIVER, incapable of words, nods submissively. He might yet live and that spark of hope illuminates him.
EXT. KAZAKHSTAN STEPPE THREE DAYS LATER/MORNING
When I look behind me, I see all the corpses laid out single file, the line stretching to Tartarus. I look ahead because to look back brings despair.
The caravan, with Xena on the lead camel and Argo following to the side, advances steadily. It leaves behind a stripped body of the CARAVAN DRIVER, face down in the dirt. The carrion birds are circling overhead and hopping on the ground, inexorably inching towards their prey.
INT. NOMAD VILLAGE KHAN'S YURT EVENING
The leader, or Khan, of this settlement is elderly and colored by harsh life. He is also a practical man. Surrounded by WIVES, serving food and drink, the Khan reclines across from Xena. The atmosphere's tension comes from the Warrior Princess, unwilling to relax or disarm.
Very well, ch'agua (Mongolian: outsider). Three mounted bowmen with provisions and full discretion on the source of merchandise.
Xena, stubbornly ornery, rudely
Score loaded camels don't wonder in by themselves, you old fool.
Khan, putting the Warrior Princess in her place, harshly
You are a barbarian stranger: collect this free advice. A tradition of hospitality ensures your safety in the village and hut, not your gender or skill of arms. More to the point, being a woman places you below the lowest of the man. I do honor by meeting you in person and you disrespect me, my usun (Mongolian: family), and my aimak (Mongolian: clan).
Not liking the language, Xena rises slightly out of her seat and reaches for a weapon.
Khan, not intimidated, sternly
I say to you what I said to my own: behave, child.
The message on cultural differences finally sinks in or perhaps the universally understood concept of a parent chastising a misbehaving young one resonates and Xena arrests her hand. Redirecting it, she reaches out and takes a small cup of coffee from the tray.
Now you are thinking like one of qaracha arad (Mongolian: common people).
I don't do small talk.
Introduce your horse.
The topic resonates.
Xena, instantly growing animated
Chalcedon harbored a jewel in the roughest of places Argo.
EXT. KAZAKHSTAN STEPPE 9 YEARS AGO/EARLY WINTER/DAWN
Xena, on Argo, watches a hundred camel caravan plod the frosty ground, complete with GUARDS and MERCHANTS. It's quite a prize. Next to her is a heavily scarred, young man, in throes of hero warship.
Xena, flashing her teeth in a predatory smile
Asudai, are you afraid?
Asudai, unslinging a bow, cocky
Race you, Xena Khan.
Xena laughs and spurs Argo, sending her charging down the slope. Asudai follows closely, drawing an arrow. They are going straight for the caravan, making it explode into a frenzy of defensive activity.
Xena, war cry
On the signal, from the opposite side of the depression, a squad composed of ten MOUNTED BOWMEN rushes out, screaming and hollering.
Instead of focusing on Xena and Asudai, the GUARDS and MERCHANTS pivot on the bigger threat. The entirety of MOUNTED GUARDS, all three of them, attack the Warrior Princess and the rest engage the MOUNTED BOWMEN.
Asudai evens the odds with a well-placed arrow and drops his jaw when Xena catches two arrows and avoids a third one. Tossing them aside, she falls on the two MOUNTED GUARDS and cuts them from the saddle before they can reload or change weapons. Then she is thru the line of camels and out on the other side, Argo eating the ground effortlessly.
Slashing and trampling the scattering GUARDS and MERCHANTS, Xena swings the skirmish's outcome over to her side. The demoralized, surviving GUARDS and MERCHANTS drop their weapons and surrender.
Xena, to arriving second in command, ordering
Secure the spoils and leave no witness; you have half an hour.
Yes, Xena Khan.
EXT. NOMAD VILLAGE KHAN'S YURT PREDAWN
The settlement is aflame and bodies are everywhere; the villagers were indiscriminately executed with no regard for age or gender. Xena imperviously watches Asudai deliver a kick to the ribs of the Khan who bought her first loot of camels.
Waving her dog off, she steps closer and ends with her boot crushing Khan's already-broken hand. The old man looks up, seeking mercy. He finds none.
Khan, spitting blood, lamenting
Tengri curse you. Why?
I'm strong and you are weak.
END OF ACT ONE
INT. MONGOLIA TRADING OUTPOST/TAVERN LATE WINTER/NIGHT
Borias nurses a drink and his behavior and table set for two indicates he is waiting for someone. Instead, he gets Xena.
Borias, glancing up from his mug, dismissively
Not hiring mercenaries.
The Warrior Prince takes a seat on the opposite, unoccupied chair and Borias reaches for his sword.
Xena, deadly sweet
Overconfidence, like gambling on reaching the sword before I kill you, is fatal.
A kindjal driven into and thru the thick tabletop changes Borias' mind in a hurry and the warlord prudently places his hands on the table instead.
Borias, rattled, unsuccessfully covering it with attitude
What do you want, ch'agua?
The world but I will start with Chin.
Take it if you can.
Plan on it.
What's stopping you?
Lack of allies.
Recruiting warlords? That's a dangerous proposition, even for one of your prodigious talents, Xena Khan.
Good, we can skip the introductions and comparing sizes. Mine is bigger.
Borias, bursting out
Borias, deciding to play along
Love to join. However, there is a small problem.
If rumors are right, the Silk Route has new vultures. No respectable warlord will carry with carrion feeders.
You want them, you got them. Surely, such a capture would raise your status?
If the Warrior Princess wanted the warlord's attention, she had captured it with her offer.
Borias, rightly hoarding reservations, suspicious
And where does that leave you?
Your second in command.
Coincidently, Mangghudai fell off the horse and broke his neck.
He was born on a horse!
He died on one too; life is funny that way.
Borias, putting the pieces together, leery
With loyalty like that, when comes my turn?
Xena, winding up the sales pitch, convincingly
Family name protects you.
Borias, taking a bite, cautiously optimistic on the potential of an alliance
And what do you bring?
Xena, counting off on her fingers, smoothly
Roman military tactics, guerrilla warfare, funding, leadership, and vision.
And you trust me because ...?
Xena, really selling it
Borias Khan, Emperor of Chin. You can be a minor noble squabbling over meager inheritance or a great and powerful man.
And she has him; it's in his lit eyes and hungry expression. Every man has a price and Borias' is power.
Xena takes to her feet and stows away the kindjal in flowing, agile motion. Judging from lust shining in the warlords eyes at the display of martial prowess, Borias' desires more than the casual partnership with the Warrior Princess.
Xena, capitalizing on it, leaning forward, seductively
Do you want to be a great and powerful man with me under you, Borias?
Before the warlord can articulate his want, the Warrior Princess straightens up and strides away. Borias watches her until she is gone and then drains his drink. Needing more, he empties his former second in command's mug.
EXT. MONGOLIA STEPPE EARLY SPRING/NIGHT
Asudai, along with thirty NOMADS are laid out spread eagle and tied to stakes. BORIAS' SOLDIERS are milling about, checking the tightness. Xena and Borias watch impassively from a distance, atop horses.
Eastern Wu is of later concern. Of the Cao Wei and Shu Han, the first is the weakest of the three but the Emperor is indisposed and Lao Ma rules in his stead. We ally with her since there is no heir.
How soon for the campaign?
I storm thru Shu Han with a minghan (Mongolian: 1000 men unit) in the summer, scorch and slaughter the countryside bare, and leave them to starve out the winter. If opportunity arises, we assassinate Ming Tzu's only son Tien, throwing the kingdom into succession chaos.
What's my role?
Put the Batzorig name and connections to use: wine and dine the Khans, make overtures to the Empress. Next year we finish the weakened Shu Han and make plans for Cao Wei.
Borias, impatience plain, out of the blue
When will you be mine?
Wife, four concubines, and several body slaves not enough?
You know the meaning of our union.
Xena, frightening in her unnatural calmness
I do. Let me ask you: do you?
We will see.
INT. ARMY CAMP BORIAS' HAREM SPRING/EVENING
The space bears burning incense in holders, pillows and rugs, a variety of food and drink, and a low table. Fire prays to the heavens visible above. WOMEN and FEMALE SLAVES lunge lazily, enjoying the privileges of station. A lone EUNUCH attends them.
Into this domestic arrangement the flaps part from outside and Xena enters, scimitar in hand.
EUNUCH, protesting instantly
Borias will hear of this! You are a de
The blade dances thru the air and Xena steps over the twitching body of the EUNUCH. WOMEN and FEMALE SLAVES cower away from her bloody weapon in the back of the large tent.
Xena, unapologetic, remorseless
There can be only me.
The Warrior Princess wades into their screams and makes it so.
INT. ARMY CAMP BORIAS' TENT SPRING/LATE EVENING
When bloody Xena enters, Borias sits on a low table, working on getting smashed and doing amazingly good job of it. Not there yet, but not far away either as evidenced by slight swaying. The warlord is solely wearing trousers with the leather ties undone, in anticipation of the evening ahead, no doubt.
Borias, openly ogling Xena, amiably
Xena walk to the bed and starts tossing aside armor and weapons, her undressing merely practical with no hint of seduction. Borias is fascinated regardless.
Tying lose ends.
Done with equipment, the Warrior Princess begins on her clothes. Borias raptly watches.
Do I know any of them?
Will I miss any of them?
Down to her underwraps, not bothering to wipe the crimson still clinging to her, Xena gets in bed and lies on her back invitingly. Borias accepts the invitation, clumsily regaining his feet and stumbling towards her. Her next words stop him cold.
I disposed of your harlots and their litters.
Borias realizes whose life stains Warrior Princesses' features and his face twists in rage. Producing a kindjal, he rushes the bed, thinking to vent his grief and anger on the insolent woman who took everything from him. He fails.
Xena catches his hand when he jumps her and flips him over. Pinning him down, she slaps his face while she disarms him.
Xena, bringing their faces close, menacing
Chin will be mine, your army is already mine, you are completely mine, and Borias I don't share.
Xena kisses Borias, hard. The Warrior Princess then backhands the warlord, splitting his lip; she grabs him by the throat and drags him to the edge of the bed. Discarding the warlord on the floor, she returns to her previous spot.
Borias curls in a ball and cries; Xena looks mildly disgusted.
EXT. CHIN/SHU HAN - LAKE EARLY SUMMER/NIGHT
The wall abuts the lake in a tall tower. There are no sentries or watch fires visible they are either missing or sleeping. In the lake, hundreds of dark shapes are moving towards the sandy shore.
Xena and Argo are the first to escape the water, shortly followed by the rest.
A thousand SOLDIERS silently gather around their Khan.
The word gets passed and in answer one thousand throats hum an ancient Mongolian war tune.
Xena raises her sword and points ahead. She signals Argo into trot and the horse obliges. Behind the Warrior Princess, the vibrating mass of men and horse stretches out, the dark arrow aimed at the heart of Shu Han.
END OF ACT TWO
INT. ATHENIAN WAR QUADRIREME CAPTAIN'S QUARTERS AFTERNOON
Gabrielle leans against Athena, both women sitting on the bed. In stark contrast to earlier confessions, Xena shifts nervously on her feet before them. Standing feels more appropriate given the gravity of the crimes recited.
Gabrielle, breaking the loaded silence, quietly
Did it work?
Xena, tearing up, stricken
Gabrielle, patting her lap, warmly
Xena does not have to be told twice; she sets a record for fastest time from standing to head on bard's lap. Gabrielle's hands find and soothingly stroke Warrior Princess' hair.
Past is stone and tied around my neck.
That's one rope you willingly don.
Unnecessarily, I add. Unified Chin, abhorrent the means, benefited the people.
You find the greater good in this butcher's work?
I sing of Lao Ma, the Golden Empress, who ushered peace and prosperity to shattered lands.
She is not the woman of stories.
Xena, in a softer tone
Lao Ma is a different monster, but a monster nonetheless. I know my kind.
Behind the scenes, keeping clean?
Gabrielle, nodding sympathetically
Shu Han crumbled, Borias became honorary Prince of First Rank, and we set about consolidating Cao Wei power
Xena, what went wrong?
Xena, in hollow voice
The night of thousand knives.
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