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“Cradle of Hope”  Episode 4/7


Nemos:  “Hurry up, old woman.  His Majesty hasn’t got all night.”

King:  “Patience, Nemos.  The future has all the time in the

Oracle:  “Almighty Zeus.  Grace me with the vision of your
all-seeing eyes.”

King:  “Well, what do they say?”

Oracle:  “There is truth to your dreams, your Lordship.  There
is, indeed, a child in your future.”

King:  “You’re reading the past, woman.  My son died in
childbirth, months ago.”

Oracle:  “Apologies, my Lord, but this child is not of your line.
He is an orphan, of humble parentage, born on the equinox.  He is
a child in your possession.”

Nemos:  “Such an infant was born to one of your servants.  The
mother died in childbirth.”

King:  “Then, what of this child?”

Oracle:  “It is-- puzzling, my Lord.  I only speak the vision.”

Nemos:  “No one is going to blame you for your gift.  What is

Oracle:  “The child will one day occupy the throne-- Your throne,
my Lord.”

King:  “Why, that’s ridiculous!”

Oracle:  “The stones do not lie.”

Nemos:  “What is it, then?  Will he attempt to take the throne by
force?  Will he grow to lead an army?  What is it?!”

Oracle:  “I cannot read that.  But whatever it is, his birth has
set the course of events in motion.”

King:  “Thoughts, advisor?  We’re talking about a mere infant.”

Nemos:  Threats to the crown take on many guises.”


Ophelia:  “You promised his mother on her death-bed that you’d
care for him as your own, did you not?”

Philana:  “You know I did, but--”

Ophelia:  “But then, listen to me, Philana.  The child is in
grave danger.  The king’s advisor, Nemos, is hunting for him.
Put him in the basket.”


Ophelia:  “May the gods protect you, child.”


X:  “Hey, sleepy-head.  Wake up.”

G:  “Good morning.  Did you sleep OK?”

X:  “Like a rock.  You?”  

G:  “On a rock.  I kept trying to find that one patch of ground
that didn’t have a boulder on it.  What’s that?  Is that a cat?
A big cat?  Or, or, or a griffen, yeah.  A big griffen with a cat
in its mouth.”

X:  “Shhh!”

G:  “Maybe not.  What is it?”

X:  “Well, it’s not a cat or a griffen.”

G:  “Oh!”


G:  “You’re just the most precious little thing; yes, you are.
Xena, can we keep him?  It is a him, isn’t it?  Oh, I always
wanted a little brother.”

X:  “He belongs with his mother.”

G:  “Uh, well, uh, whoever she is, she obviously doesn’t want
him.  I mean, imagine sending a baby down a river.”

X:  “Maybe she had a reason.”

G:  Well, I guess we should find out.  Shhh!”

X:  “Why’s he crying?  Are you holding him wrong, or something?”

G:  “No, uh, maybe he’s hungry.”

X:  “He must have come from that village upriver.”

G:  “Shh!  Shh!  Shh!  Shh!  Shh!  Shh!  Shh!”

X:  “We’ll get him something to eat there, and find out who he
belongs to.”

G:  “What should we call him?  I mean, until we find his mother.
You know, Gabriel’s a nice name.  Then of course, Xenos is good,
too.  Shh!”


King:  “I miss you so, my love.  Any news?”

Nemos:  “None, my Lord.  But we have just begun our search.  The
child will be found, don’t worry.”

King:  “Perhaps, we should let things be.  I mean, do we dare
tamper with fate?”

Nemos:  “I believe that fate is just an excuse for men with no
destiny.  You, my Lord, are destined for greatness.  And I would
hate to see that threatened by the hand of a child.”

King:  “When the child is an adult, with a dagger to my throat,
then I’ll view him as a threat.  For now--”

Nemos:  “I would agree with you, my Lord, except word of the
prophecy has already reached the outer villages.  There are some
who already consider him your successor.  And if the child were
to fall into the wrong hands--”

King:  “The people can’t afford another civil war, Nemos.”

Nemos:  “You brought us through the last one, my Lord.  How many
lives were saved through your leadership?  And how many lives are
at stake, should the child remain free?”

King:  “It’s been six months since she died, taking my son with
her.  This child-- My command is unchanged.  Bring him to me--
I’ll decide what to do once I have him.”


Man:  “That’s it!  Tie it tighter!  Watch your hands!”

X:  “I take it you’re in charge.”

Man:  “It’s that obvious?”

X:  “In my experience, cowardly mobs are usually led by weasles.”

G:  “What’s this woman done?”

Man:  “Send her to hades.”

Man2:  “Finish her off!”

X:  “Didn’t your mother ever tell you not to turn your back on a
lady?  Any volunteers to replace him?  I didn’t think so.”  

G:  “Are you all right?”

Pandora:  “I’m fine.”

G:  “You’re fine?  Did I just miss something?  They were going to
kill you.”

Pandora:  “Yes.  I think they were.  Thank you.”

G:  “You’re welcome.  Here, I’ll get this.”

Pandora:  “No, no wait, please.  Just, be careful with that bag.”

G:  “It’s all right-- I’ve got it.”

X:  “We better get this baby to shelter.”


X:  “This’ll have to do till the storm passes.”

G:  “Good.”

Pandora:  “Wait!”

G:  “I was only trying to help.”

X:  “Does that box have anything to do with what those people

Pandora:  “In a way.  But it was me they were after.”

G:  “After you, because--”

Pandora:  “Because I was born into the wrong family, and I’m
paying for it now.  My name is Pandora.”

G:  “Pandora-- the one who opened the box?”

Pandora:  “No, that was my grandmother.  We have the same name,
but, yes, I still carry--”

G:  “The box.  The box!”

Pandora:  “No, don’t, don’t, please-- Don’t worry.  It can’t hurt
you.  If you know the story, you’ll remember, all the desires of
mortals were released when my grandmother opened it.”

G:  “Except the hope of mankind.”

Pandora:  “Yes-- the hope of mankind is the one thing my
grandmother managed to trap.  That’s why we all still have hope.
It’s the rest of man’s desires that are fleeting.”

G:  “Like what?”

X:  “Gabrielle.”

Pandora:  That’s all right.  This box is the most important thing
in my life.  It’s why I can’t live my life.”

X:  “Gabrielle-- Give the baby to Pandora and come help me here.”

Pandora:  “Ah,  Look , I’m not really the best one to be trusted
with a baby.”

G:  “Just-- hold your arms out.”

Pandora:  “Um--”

G:  “Make sure you hold his head up.  What do you need?”

X:  “Get me my saddlebag.”

G:  “For that you needed me?”

X:  “Don’t even think about it.”


Nemos:  “We do not rest until the infant is found.  But remember,
he needn’t necessarily be found alive.”


Inn:  “Wait a minute, wait a minute.  You’ll have to check your

X:  “We just want some milk and some port.”

Inn:  “Weapons first, then milk.”

X:  “Go ahead and sit down.”

G:  “He’s cute, isn’t he?”

Pandora:  “Mmm--Hmm.”

G:  “I’d like to say he has my nose.  Huh!  What can I say?  He

Inn:  “Get Nemos.”

Pandora:  “Um, can you hold him?”

G:  “Yes.”

Inn:  “And hurry.”

G:  “Gabriel.”

X:  “We’re looking for the mother of this baby.”

Inn:  “I’m an innkeeper; that’s all I know.  That’ll be six

Pandora:  “OK.  Oh, yes, hello.”

X:  “Something about our baby bothering you?’

Inn:  “No, no, I got work to do.”

Nemos:  “Keep moving.  By the order of King Gregor, that child is
under arrest.”


Nemos:  “Give me that child.”

Pandora:  “Shh!  Shh!  Shh!  Shh!  No, no, don’t be afraid,
little one.  Shh!”

X:  “Better do like he says.”

Sold:  “Aaaaaah!”

X:  “Get behind the bar.”

Pandora:  “The box!”

G:  “Come on!”

Nemos:  “Get the baby!”

G:  “Get down!”

Sold:  “Give me that baby!”

X:  “Pandora-- Get down!”

Nemos:  “Surrender now, and I’ll spare your life.”

X:  “I was about to say the same to you.”

Nemos:  “Get her!”

X: “You all right?”

G:  “Yeah.”

Inn:  “What?  What do you want with me?”

X:  “You sent the boy after them.  I notice things like that.
That weak feeling is the blood to your brain being cut off.
You’ll be dead in less than a minute.  Or we could talk.”

Inn:  “Let’s talk.”

X:  “You’re smarter than you look.  Now, who’s Gregor, and what’s
all this about?”

Inn:  “King Gregor.  The baby belongs to one of his servants.”

G:  “What does he want with him?  He’s not gonna hurt him, is

Inn:  “I don’t know.  OK, OK-- An oracle told him that, one day,
the baby would take his throne.  The word’s out that he wants him

Pandora:  “No!”

G:  “What’s wrong?”

Pandora:  “The box is gone.”


Nemos:  “It’s worse than we imagined.  Xena is involved.  The
Warrior Princess has the child, and more than that, she has
Pandora.  I was barely able to escape with the box.”

King:  “Xena-- You were lucky to escape with your life.  I fear
the day I might have to go up against her army.  So--  this is

Nemos:  “Ah, my Lord, that design might trigger the latch.”

King:  “I’m not gonna open it, Nemos.  No man in his right mind

Nemos:  “But a Warrior Princess might.  Or at least, use it to
blackmail a king.”

King:  “You think that was her intent?”

Nemos:  “She has the child; she had the box.  What else am I to
think?  She has conquered larger kingdoms with weapons less than
this.  We have sent men into the outlying villages, and cut off
all escape through the mountains here.  These areas are secured,
so we know they must be somewhere near here-- the peasant area.
Of course, this is all useless.  We know the solution-- it’s
just-- too horrendous to consider.”

King:  “I’m afraid, I don’t see your solution.”

Nemos:  “The child-- I can’t believe I’m going to suggest this--
The child must be killed-- as soon as possible.”

King:  “I am to order the death of a child?”

Nemos:  “No-- but you are to order the life and prosperity of
your people.  This child is already dead.  Do you think Xena
cares about its well-being?  And if it lives, it’ll just become a
pawn in the battle for the crown.  It has no life, and neither
will your people, so long as it remains a threat.”

King:  “You have a plan?”

Nemos:  “I have two plans.  I have sent out agents with a reward
for the baby’s capture.  If they choose to live among the
peasants, we’ll get the peasants to work for us.”

King:  “And the other?”

Nemos:  “We trade Xena-- the box for the baby.”

King:  “None of these ideas please me.  What is it?”

Nemos:  “It seems our warrior friend is one step ahead of us.
She wants to meet you.”


G:  “Gregor agreed to meet with us.”

X:  “Good-- I want to look into this man’s eyes.  And he’s not
meeting us-- I’m going alone.”

G:  “But, ah-- Whatever.  But I want you to know, I managed to
get some milk for this baby, and it wasn’t easy.  You know,
there’s a reward out for us?  The word has it, it’s over a
thousand dinars.  I’m tempted to turn myself in.  What’s wrong
with Pandora?”

X:  “She’s been like that ever since the tavern.  I think it’s
the first time she’s been without that box.”

G:  “Pandora, are you all right?”

Pandora:  “I have to get it back.”

X:  “You will.  First, we make sure the baby’s safe, and then--”

Pandora:  “It’ll take too long.  I made the wrong choice-- I
should have grabbed the box.”

X:  “You made the only choice.”

G:  “Gregor’s not stupid enough to open the box.”

Pandora:  “It doesn’t matter how stupid he is.  You don’t
understand-- If I don’t have that box in my possession, it opens
itself.  See, that’s the curse of my family; that’s why we must
always carry the box.  I am the only one who can reset the lock.
And if I don’t have the box before midnight, it opens, and hope



King:  “I guess I can’t expect someone like Xena to be on time.”

Nemos:  “And she has nothing but contempt for you, my Lord.”

Inn:  “Are you alone, my Lords?  Or shall I prepare a drink for
your guards?”

Nemos:  “Just the two of us.  Ale for the king.”

Inn:  “Only two?”

Nemos:  “Only two?  Is there something wrong with my voice?”

X:  “I wanted to make sure this little party was just between us.
Do sit down.”

King:  “Where is the child?”

X:  “Safe, and non-negotiable.  That’s not why we’re here.”

Nemos:  “Then, we have nothing further to discuss.”

King:  “Then why are we here?”

X:  “I wanted to look into your eyes-- To see what sort of man
would order the death of a defenseless child.”

King:  “I could order your death right here and now.”

X:  “Under a flag of truce?  Then I would know what kind of a man
you are.”

King:  What would a flag of truce mean to a cold-blooded
murderer?  I know who you are.  And you disgust me.  You swept
across countless nations, and saw the world tremble at your feet.
But my people are not gonna be your next victims.  If it means my
death, or the death of this-- child, so be it.”

Nemos:  “The answer is simple-- We have the box.  We know you
want it.  You have the child.  We want him.”

X:  “Did you bring the box?”

Nemos:  “Did you bring the child?  I didn’t think so.”

X:  “He can’t hurt you, Gregor.  He’s just an infant.”

Nemos:  “That’s right-- He’s just one infant.  And surely his
life doesn’t compare to losing the hope of mankind.”

X:  “You’re not mad enough to open the box.”

King:  “24 hours to make your decision.”


X:  “Who’s this?”

G:  “Ophelia.  She works as a servant in the castle.”

Ophelia:  “I was the one who put the baby into the river.  Is he

X:  “Pandora?”

G: “Oh.”

Pandora:  “Oh, yes.”

Ophelia:  “I brought him some blankets and some food.”

G:  “Oh.”

X:  “Where did you find her?”

G:  “Hey, you fight; I talk.  We each have our gifts.  You wanted
me to scout a way into the castle?  Huh!  She’s the way.”

X:  “Good work.”

G:  “So, how’d it go with Gregor?  Is he the worm’s tongue we
thought he’d be?”

X:  “No, he’s not.” 

G:  “He’s not?”

X:  “I looked into this man’s eyes, and I didn’t see an evil man.
I saw a king trying to protect his people from a cold-blooded
murderer-- His words.  You see, an evil man wouldn’t have cared.”

G:  “Did you tell him about the box opening?”

X:  “No, I almost did.  But that advisor of his-- Nemos?-- I
don’t trust him.  Knowledge is power, and I didn’t want to give
him that power.  Ophelia?  Gregor has a wooden box, with a palm
design on it?”

Ophelia:  “I’ve seen it.  Nemos either keeps it in his room or
under close guard.”

X:  “I need to get into the castle.  Can you help?”

Ophelia:  “Yes, but not tonight.”

Pandora:  “It has to be tonight.”

Ophelia:  “No-- The quartermoon festival is tonight.  There’s too
many people there.”

G:  “What happens at this festival?”

Ophelia:  “Eating and drinking.  Then Nemos has several of the
servant-women dance for him, and he chooses one.”

X:  “Are you one of the dancers?  What time do you have to be


Falafel:  “I haven’t got the baby anywhere.  Stay away from my
cart.  I am warning you.”

Man:  “I heard a baby cry.  I swear it came from here.” 

Falafel:  “It’s the grease.  Haven’t you ever heard grease

Pandora:  “Look at these people.  They’ve gone crazy trying to
find the baby.”

G:  “They’re scared, or greedy.  Maybe a little of both.  This


G:  “This should be close enough.”


Nemos:  “Throw me.  That’s true.  Come on, come on.  Dancers!
Whoa!  My Lord.  Please, join us.  The search goes on, and things
are well in hand.”

King:  “What is this doing here?”

Nemos:  “I feel much safer if I know where it is.  And I would
think we have enough men here to protect it, if need be.”

King:  “I think it’ll be better protected with me.”

Nemos:  “I’m beginning to believe His Majesty is becoming
distracted by his moral convictions.  Gather as many men loyal to
me as you can.  I wanna have a strong hand in case our king
suffers a temporary loss of judgment.  But first we deal with the
Warrior Princess.  You!  Come here.  Have her brought to my


G:  “Gabriel, Shhh!  He’s going to give us away.  You have a
knack for this kind of thing.  He likes you.”

Pandora:  “Really?”

G:  “Yeah.  Have you ever thought about having a baby?”

Pandora:  “No-- I can’t afford to dream about something that’ll
never be.  Now, I feel as if I know too much.  But I wouldn’t
trade it for anything.  You know, I wouldn’t.”


Nemos:  “Don’t be afraid, my child.  My desire is pleasure, not

X:  “My pleasure is yours, my Lord.  I merely want to take your
responsibilities from you-- At least for one evening.  I’m
surprised you have time to take from your work-- Or the king.  Is
he working tonight?”

Nemos:  “He’s in his chamber.  Oh, you smell so good.”

X:  “You mean, I’m actually near the royal chamber.”

Nemos:  “Just down the hallway.  But enough of him.  You spoke of

X:  “And you spoke of pain.”


King:  “My boy; my only son.  What’s become of your father,
child?  The man your mother called husband.  I would have valued
your life greater than my own.  And now another child’s life is
in my hands.  Why were you taken from me?”


Nemos:  “The box.”


Nemos:  “Guards!  That warrior woman is loose!  Search the room!
You two, come with me!  Break it down!  Break it down!  Break it
down!  Well, Xena  You’ve made this far easier than I expected.  


Nemos:  “Hand me the box, and maybe I’ll let you live.  You have
no options; be certain of that.”

X:  “There are many things I’m not certain of, Nemos, but I’ll
bet my life this’ll surprise you.


X:  “Gabrielle!  Gabrielle!  Sorry!  Gabrielle!”

G:  “Xena.  Come here.  We’ve got the baby; we’ve got the box.
Let’s get out of here.”

X:  “No, not yet.  There’s still the prophecy.”

Pandora:  “What do you mean?  The prophecy’s fulfilled if the
baby lives.  He’ll grow up to take the kingdom.”

X:  “That’s right.  That’s why I have to give the baby to


X:  “Don’t  be alarmed.  If I wanted to kill you, you’d be dead

King:  “What is it you want?”

X:  “To fulfill the prophecy.”

King:  “You wanna take my throne.”

X:  “I have no interest in your throne.  I never have.  You’re a
good man, Gregor, and a good ruler.  I know about your wife and
child.  Think, Gregor.  This child will take your throne;  but as
your heir, not as your conqueror.  He’s a child who needs a
father to love him.  You’re a father who needs a child to love.
That’s the prophecy.”

King:  “I was so blind.  I think it’s time my people met their
next king.”

Nemos:  “Have you lost your mind?”

King:  “I’ve come to my senses.”

Nemos:  “You’re being seduced;  it’s a trick.  Hand me that

King:  “I command you to return to your room.”

Nemos:  “What I do, I do for the betterment of this kingdom.”

X:  “No, you don’t!


X:  “Out of my way!”

Sold1:  “It’s her!”

Sold2:  “She’s got the baby!”

X:  “Here, Gabrielle!”

G:  “Don’t!  No, no, no!  Xena, catch!”

X:  “Gabrielle, the baby!”

G:  “Oh, no!”

Nemos:  “Hah, hah, hah, hah, hah!  You should have killed me when
you had the chance.  Any warrior would have done that.”

X:  “What makes you think I’m not going to.”

Crowd:  “Yay!  Xena!”


Pandora:  “I feel a little nervous, just letting it out of my

King:  “Don’t you worry.  As long as I-- or my son-- rule, the
box will be safe in my fortress.  The room is well protected.”

Pandora:  “Well, I’ll still reset the lock every day.  But I
won’t have to wander anymore.  I think I finally have a home.”

King:  “The child needs a mother.  Even as a king, I can’t handle
it alone.  You brought the prophecy true, Xena.  How can I ever
repay you?”

X:  “I didn’t do it for payment.  Have a good life, all three of

Pandora:  “Xena.  Isn’t there anything you want?”

X:  “Name him Gabriel.”


X:  “You ready to go?”

G:  “Sure.  I can’t believe I touched the box.  Pan-- Pandora’s
grandmother was cursed because of this.  And then Pandora is
blessed because of it.  Does it all happen because of fate?  Or
is-- Is it just chance?”

X:  “I think it all happened ‘cause you slept on a rock.”

G:  “It did, didn’t it?  All right, let’s go.  

X:  “There’s nothing in it.”

G:  “All these years, she’s been carrying around an empty box.”

X:  “The box was empty, but Pandora was still carrying our hope.”

G:  “What should we tell her?”

X:  “We tell her the truth:  Hope has been and always will be
safe.  It’s inside every one of us.”

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