Whoosh! Online
Edition Centaurs Don't Eat Hay!

TRANSCRIPTION OF
THE RECKONING



“The Reckoning”  Episode 06/106

                            By Peter Allan Fields

                        Based upon the Shooting Draft 
				           Rev. Sept 10, 1995 - Pink

                          Directed by Charles Siebert

                                CAST LIST

                                   XENA
                                GABRIELLE
                           PERANIS (Per-AN-iss)
                          TERACLES (TER-a clees)
                          TERESIA (Te-REES-ee-a)
                          GRATHIOS (GRA-thi-us)
                            BENITAR (BEN-i-tar)
                                   ARES
                     AREOLIS' WIDOW (a-ree-OWE-liss)
                                TEEN SON
                          PALINIOS (Pal-IN-ee-os)
                         DORACLES (DOR-a-clees)

                                 SET LIST

                                    INT:
                              Large meeting hall
                                 Xena's cell
                            Xena's fantasy boudoir
                         Corridor outside Xena's cell

                                   EXT:
                              First site in woods
                            Second site in woods
                             Third site in woods
                     Road near woods/Attacked wagon site
                              Ravine in woods
                              Stream in woods
                          Street fronting meeting hall
                                  Stone jail
                                Village street
                                    Road
                                Country road

                              CHRONOLOGY

                             Day 1 scenes # 1-6
                             Night 1 scenes # 7-9
                             Day2 scenes #10-22
                            Night 2 scenes #23-33
                            Day3 scenes #34-34A                                       

[TEASER]

FADE IN:

1 EXT. FIRST SITE IN WOODS - DAY

Xena rides, Gabrielle walks as usual -- and is trying to see
through the wooded
landscape on either side. 

G:  (Frustrated)  “I'm gonna go find that road.”

X:  “It should be straight ahead, I told you.”

G:  “Yeah, well you told me that an hour ago when I still had
feet.”

Gabrielle angles off; will disappear into the woods, during:

G:  “Maybe it’s over here.”

X:  “Don't get lost.”

Xena continues on her way.

ON XENA

just a little farther now, she brings her horse to a pause.

CLOSER - XENA

as, listening, she hears the faint sound of a man crying out in
pain.

RESUME - ON XENA

She spurs her horse forward with urgency.

2 EXT. ROAD NEAR WOODS - ATTACKED WAGON SITE - DAY

Villagers:  “Mercy!  No!”

A wagon has been stopped in the road. Doracles and Areolis, two
of its hefty male
occupants, by now lie sprawled, lifeless, on the ground. The
third, POLINIOS, still
living (and conscious, but slipping away fast), is seated on the
ground, looking
stunned. The fourth, still (but barely) alive, will prove to be
named, TERACLES.
Badly wounded, he's seated on the ground, his back against a
wagon wheel.
Though he's totally defenseless, his attacker -- a tall,
cloaked, HOODED BEING
(who'll later prove to be ARES) -- is just about to finish him
off anyway, as : 

XENA 

sees this grisly scene and urges her horse forward -- drawing
her sword as she
goes. 

ATTACKED WAGON SITE

The Hooded Being turns from Teracles to give his full attention
to the onrushing
Xena. 

XENA - HOODED BEING - INTERCUTS (AS DESIRED)

In a fluid movement, Xena dismounts.

X:  “You're pretty good against unarmed people.  How are you
against somebody who can fight back?”

She engages the Hooded Being, blade-to-blade. Xena feints,
then thrusts -- but the Being parries; 

Xena lashes across his legs, but he adeptly jumps above the
cutting sword, and brings his own blade hard toward her
head; 

Xena shields her head with her blade, but the unusually powerful
downward hack
of the Being sends her down to one knee for a moment... and on
the defensive
now, she must parry to left, then right, then thrust with great
effort just to get the
Being to retreat a step so that she can regain her feet. 

CLOSE - POLINIOS

He's been watching Xena's valiant fight... but now dies.

RESUME - XENA - HOODED BEING (INTERCUT AS DESIRED)

Outraged at facing one who seems to be, so far at least, as good
at this as she is,
Xena ROARS as she throws her whole body into a frontal assault
on the Hooded
Being... 

...who jumps high, OUT OF FRAME, causing her to be assaulting
thin air. She
regains her balance -- wheels; finds herself facing... 

XENA'S POV

...no one. Where the Hooded Being should've landed after
somersaulting over her
-- there is no one. He's evaporated. 

CLOSE REACTION - XENA

Confused disbelief. Beat -- then we HEAR the GROAN of:

TERACLES

Bleeding badly, he still sits against the wagon wheel. Xena
ENTERS FRAME to
kneel next to him. As she inspects, and then treats him, her
hands will become
covered with his blood. Noting the sword cut at the base of his
neck, she quickly
rips away his already torn sleeve, folds it, presses it against
the neck wound. She
then uses her sword as a lever; its tip under the bottom of the
wagon, the flat of
the great blade laid hard against, and covering, the now
wound-soaked cloth. With
her free hand, she brings his hand to press down on the blade
where it helps
staunch the blood flow from his neck via direct pressure. 

X:  “Stay with me.  You’re going to make it.  Press down on this
as hard as you can.”

WIDER ANGLE

She inspects his badly wounded leg. Looking around quickly, she
spots the money
pouch attached with leather string to his waist. She rips the
pouch off, strips it of
the leather string, dumps out the pouch coins, and -- utilizing
the string as a leg
tourniquet -- uses the pouch (as one would a stick) to turn that
tournuquet and hold
it in place. 

TERACLES:  (indicates bodies; very weak)  “My brother.”

X:  “Yeah.  We just have to stop the bleeding.  Keep pressing
down hard.”

But Teracles, weak but slightly crazed now by his loss of blood,
throws off the
(now bloodied) sword, and rips away the tourniquet, during: 

TERACLES:  (weakly)  “My friends!  My friends.”

Just as Xena's picking up her bloody sword:

PERANIS (O.S)  (shouting)  “There they are!

OVER XENA'S SHOULDER - LONG SHOT

Several villagers, led by a young, strong-looking fellow named
PERANIS, are
rushing toward Xena and the wagon scene. Among them is a lovely
young woman,
TERESIA (whom we'll learn is Teracles' wife), AREOLIS' lovely
young pregnant
WIDOW and a large, 40ish farm fellow named GRATHIOS. Aside from
one or
two farm-working knives, they carry only pitchforks, scythes,
wooden staffs.
These are all big, tough farmers with big scary farm implements. 

ON XENA

She rises, absently holding her sword, as she sees them coming.

FAVORING PERANIS, TERESIA AND VILLAGERS

Teresia rushes immediately to Teracles. Peranis, forgetting his
pitchfork and letting
it drop, will kneel alongside each of the dead bodies in turn. 

TERESIA:  “Teracles!  Oh!  Oh!”

XENA - PERANIS, TERESIA AND TERACLES - VILLAGERS (INTERCUTS)

To Xena's surprise, Grathios and the other villagers will
surround her; level their
farm implements threateningly, as : 

TERESIA:  “Teracles!  Husband!  Can you hear me, my dearest?!”

Peranis, his quick inspection of the others finished, comes to
kneel alongside
Teracles. 

PERANIS:  “We heard the cries, and the swords clashing.  We came
as fast as we could.”

X:  “We've got to stop the bleeding.”

                     But as Xena approaches to once more give
                     aid, the
                     grief-stricken Teresia rises quickly to her
                     feet -- blocking
                     Xena's access to Teracles. Confronting
                     Xena, she'll fix her
                     eyes on Xena's bloody sword and hands. 

TERESIA:  “No!  Stay away from him. Haven't you got enough blood
on you already from our poor good neighbors?!”

TERACLES:  (last gasp; re: Xena)  “That woman--”

Teracles passes out.

Now Peranis slowly rises to stand alongside Teresia, with:

PERANIS:  (to Teresia)  “We'll get him home.”

Peranis joins Teresia in riveting his loathing gaze on Xena.
Xena, in turn realizes
what these looks portend, and: 

Woman’s Voice:  “Murderer.”

X:  (calmly)  “Now, wait a minute.”

But as one, the villagers with their levelled farm implement
weapons, close in --
with Xena's back against the wagon, as we : 

FADE OUT

----------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------

[ACT I]

FADE IN :

3 EXT. ROAD NEAR WOODS - DAY - FULL SHOT - ATTACKED WAGON
SITE -
CONTINUING INTERCUTS ( AS DESIRED )

No time has passed. Teresia and Peranis again turn their
attention to the
unconscious Teracles. The rest of the villagers still crowd
slowly in (Trepidatious,
but determined) toward Xena. 

X:  “I didn't kill these people. There was a man here with a
sword.”

PERANIS:  (interrupts; deadly)  “You're the only one we've
seen.”

GRATHIOS:  “He was my friend!”

Grathios raises his staff to strike Xena down. She easily
catches his wrist; holds it
immoble; squeezes just enough to force him to drop the staff,
as: 

X:  “I don't wanna hurt anyone. I fought the man that killed
these people!” 

Peranis, with Teresia helping, has been lifting the unconscious
Teracles; is now
cradling him in his arms. 

PERANIS:  (scornfully)  “Fought an invisible man, did you?”

Peranis watches Tersia bending to pick up Teracles' blood-soaked
money pouch
and a couple coins, as: 

PERANIS:  “One who ran away without the money he was stealing?
And left his blood all over your hands and sword? I don't think
so.”

GRATHIOS:  (pitchfork forward)  “Together now. Take her!”

WIDE ANGLE

X:  “Stand back!”

Xena doesn't want anyone else getting hurt, but doesn't want to
be captured either.
She swings her huge sword around above her head... and the
Villagers step back
and aside almost reflexively... as she dashes out of the
semicircle to her horse. But
even as Xena mounts, the Villagers are recovering. As she wheels
the horse, and it
takes a first galloping step away, Grathios and several
Villagers are after her at a
frenzied run, farm weapons brandished. 

Villagers:  “After her!  Come on!  After her!”  “Come on!  We
can do it!”  “Hurry!  Hurry!”  “Quickly!”  “Come back!”  “Better
grab her!”  “Murderer!”  “Stop her!”

ON PERANIS, TERESIA, AND TERACLES

Peranis and Teresia remain preoccupied with Teracles, whom
they'll begin loading
gingerly onto the cart, as we go to : 

4 EXT. SECOND SITE IN WOODS - DAY - FOLLOWING XENA

Loping along through the woods, looking for:

X:  (calling O.S)  “Gabrielle!  Gabrielle!”

5 EXT. STREAM IN WOODS - DAY - ON GABRIELLE

Fully dressed, she's just emerging from a blissful time in the
cool stream. Behind
her, in middle b.g., is the crest of a small hill. 

X:  (from distance)  “Gabrielle!”

                          Gabrielle quickly puts her sandals
                          back on, during:

G:  (calling O.S.)  “Here!  Come on in.  This stream is great!”

INCLUDING XENA

as she rides into view over the crest of the hill and down
toward the stream.

X:  “Gabrielle-- come on.  Time to go.  (reaching Gabrielle)
Climb aboard.”

G:  (no way)  “This horse hates me.”

Villagers:  “There she is!  This way!  Over here!”

X:  (still calmly; proffers arm)  “No time to argue.”

FAVORING CREST OF HILL

The Villagers, led by Grathios and coming hard, crest the hill
in a horizontal line,
"weapons" in hand. 

Villagers:  “Hurry!”

RESUME - XENA AND GABRIELLE

As usual, Gabrielle's a very quick study. One look at the
oncoming Villagers, and
she extends her arm to meet Xena's. As Xena hoists her aboard. 

XENA AND GABRIELLE - VILLAGERS (INTERCUTS AS DESIRED)

Xena will spur her horse across the stream, with Gabrielle
hanging on for dear life
behind her. As they disappear into the heavy woods on this side
of the stream, the
Villagers halt on the far edge, looking vengefully after their
escaped prey. 

6 INT. LARGE MEETING HALL - DAY - FULL SHOT

This is the City Hall of the villager. Later, it'll be used as
the courtroom. In addition
to the main door at the front, is a side, interior 0door,
leading to some other part of
the building. 

The villager elder, BENITAR, speaks firmly to the large
gathering of Villagers.
Toward the front of the gathering are Teresia and Peranis, who
hugs to him a
weeping woman (Palinos' Mother). Three of four other tearful
mourners (Including
Doracles' TEEN SON and Areolis' Widow) are alongside. Also near
the front is
Grathios. 

INCLUDING HOODED BEING

Unobstrusively, he enters, stands in the rear, and hears:

BENITAR:  “Grathios? You're sure she's trapped in the mountain
glade?”

GRATHIOS:  “There’s no way out except through the pass we've got
covered. She can't escape-- not even on horseback.”

BENITAR:  “Good.  Then I can begin preparations for the trial.”

ON PERANIS

He glares around at his neighbors; disapproving and incensed.

PERANIS:  “Trial?!”

Man:  “Trial!”

Woman:  “We don’t need a trial!”

PERANIS:  “I saw her standing over the bodies, and her hands,
covered with their blood. We don't need a trial!”

BENITAR:  “She should be heard-- like any other accused.”

PERANIS:  (indicates Doracles' son)  “Will Doracles' son and
daughters care what excuse their father's murderer may offer?
And Areolis--”

ON AREOLIS' WIDOW 

Hearing her husband's name, she resumes her soft weeping.

PERANIS (O.S.):  “-- whose young widow carries his child. You
expect us to stand quietly at this?!”

RESUME - SHOT

Peranis now points his finger at Grathios, with:

PERANIS:  “Grathios-- didn't Polinios labor in your fields as a
boy? I say, why waste time with some useless hearing?!”

BENITAR:  “She will have a fair trial.  (off Peranis' scowl)
Peranis, I understand your rage. But we can't allow ourselves to
become as savage as the savage we hunt.”

CLOSE - HOODED BEING

Watching the goings-on

FAVORING GRATHIOS

More meditative than the fiery Peranis, he nonetheless has come,
in his own time,
to the same conclusion as Peranis. 

GRATHIOS:  “With respect, Benitar-- you weren't there.  You
didn't see the carnage.  (suddenly strident; to all)  Neighbors,
Peranis is right!  We need swift revenge, not slow justice!” 

FULL ANGLE

This time more Villagers than before are rooting for vigilante
justice, as we hear: 

VLLAGERS:  (simultaneously)  “He's right!”  “Let's do it!”  “I'm
ready!”  “We're with you, Peranis!”

Most of the Villagers (excepting Teresia, the grieving Palinios'
Mother, Areolis'
Widow and the other Mourners), rally to, and behind, Peranis --
as he turns to lead
them out. 

FAVORING HOODED BEING

He's not even seen by Peranis, Grathios and the crowd of
Villagers who storm
right THROUGH him on their way out. 

ON TERESIA

As sad as everyone else, but still understanding the need for a
balanced justice. 

FOLLOWING - BENITAR

Beat -- then, in agreement, he rushes to follow the vivilante
segment of the
Villagers. CAMERA STOPS on the Hooded Being -- and we HOLD on
him for a
beat -- as Benitar, too, goes right past without seeing him. 

7 EXT. SECOND SITE IN WOODS - DUSK - XENA AND GABRIELLE

Gabrielle is lying on her stomach. Xena is alertly peering into
the woods.

X:  “We'll wait here till nightfall. Then we can slip by them in
the dark.”

G:  “I don't know what you're worried about.  They’re farmers,
not warriors.”

X:  “I've seen what can happen to people whose loved ones are
butchered. Their vision gets bent and twisted.  Then there's no
telling what they'll do.”

G:  “But you didn't do anything.”

X:  “The villagers saw me standing there, covered with blood.”

G:  “Well, appearances aren't everything.  That's why they have
trials. If it comes to that, we'd just prove you didn't do it.” 

X:  “(thinking aloud)  “That hooded assassin who did do it--”
(to herself now)  “-- he fights as well as I do-- maybe better.
He’s strong and fast; and then he just disappeared.”

G:  “Do you have an idea who it might have been?”

X:  (thoughtful, troubled)  “Maybe.  (suddenly)  Gabrielle, if
anything happens to us, and we get separated, I want you to get
as far away from here as possible.” 

G:  “What do you mean?  What do you think is going to happen?”

X:  “Just do it.”

CAMERA now PANS SLIGHTLY, so that Xena and Gabrielle are OUT OF
FRAME. Then, it ZOOMS SLOWLY IN TOWARD, and INTO, the dense
woods. 

8 EXT. RAVINE IN WOODS - DUSK - SLOW PANNING SHOT

[The first people we see -- through the foliage -- are Grathios
and another Villager,
both at work sharpening stakes. PAN further to see three or four
Villagers doing
the same. 

MEDIUM CLOSE ON GRATHIOS AND VILLAGER

His stake sharpened, Grathios now picks up several stakes
already at his feet, and
begins taking them somewhere. They're vicious looking
instruments.

ON PERANIS AND A VILLAGER

Each with a lasso in hand, they start climbing a pair of trees
on opposite sides of
the relatively narrow ravine.]

9 EXT. VAST MOUNTAINOUS WOODED AREA - NIGHT (STOCK)

Establishing the area at night. Beat, before:

10 EXT. MOUNTAINOUS AREA OF WOODS - SUNRISE (STOCK)

Establishing -- early morning.

11 EXT. THIRD SITE IN WOODS - DAY - XENA AND GABRIELLE

Xena rides, Gabrielle walks.

G:  “Looks like the way we came up is the only way back down.”

X:  (looking around; preoccupied)  “Uh-huh.”

CLOSER - XENA

She senses something which seems not quite right in the foliage
through which
they're moving. 

G:  “What's the matter?”

Xena continues peering from left to right, trying to see through
the dense foliage.
Something... 

X:  (calm but not conversational)  “Here-- get up on the horse--
now.”

                    RESUME - XENA AND GABRIELLE

G:  “What is it?  What’s wrong?

  Xena's tone impels Gabrielle to do as instructed without the
  usual hesitation. She
    grabs Xena's outstretched arm and again finds herself riding
    behind Xena. 

XENA

More and more wary of what she cannot see but somehow feels is
out there.

XENA'S POV

The right and then left side of the ravine. Are bushes moving
slightly?...

Was that a bit of leather clothing we just saw back in the
shadows?

XENA AND GABRIELLE

And Xena suddenly spurs her horse forward.

INCLUDING VILLAGERS

Carrying long spikes, they rush forward from the foliage on
either side -- just a
beat too late to nail Xena and Gabrielle. 

VILLAGERS:  “Come on!”  “This way!”  “Keep it moving!”  “We
almost got her!”

FAVORING XENA AND GABRIELLE

as Xena guides her galloping horse around a bend in the ravine
-- she suddenly
reigns in tightly, stopping the horse on a dime, because: 

SHARPENED STAKES

are jutting up out of the ground directly across their path.

RESUME - SHOT

X:  “Whoa.”

As Xena turns the horse, it rears -- and Gabrielle slides off
onto her butt on the
ground. 

VILLAGERS:  “We’ve got one of them!”  “Hold onto her!”  “Now!”

WIDER ANGLE

Before Xena can react, the lassos thrown expertly from the two
trees entwine
Xena. Despite this, she draws her sword and hacks away the
lassos. 

ON GABRIELLE AND VILLAGERS

Before Gabrielle can regain her feet, the Villagers are upon her
-- pinioning her
arms behind her and with a couple of pikes ready to run her
through should she
struggle. 

XENA AND HORSE

With Xena having hacked away the lassos, her horse will dash
forward, carrying
Xena away from the immediate harm surrounding Gabrielle. But
Xena slides off
the horse, sword in hand -- leaving the horse to continue its
gallop away from the
scene. 

VILLAGERS SURROUNDING GABRIELLE

She's scared; they're venomous.

INCLUDING XENA

Sword still in hand, she walks back toward the Villagers
surrounding Gabrielle.
Despite theire number, they're very uncertain about having to
face her sword. 

X:  “It's me you want. Let her go.”

INCLUDING BENITAR

who comes into view from the foliage for the first time.

B:  “Then give up your sword.”

X:  (re: Gabrielle)  “She has done nothing.  So either she goes
free right now, or (brandishing sword) she comes with me right
now.”

B:  (thoughtful beat)  “So be it.  (to Villagers)  All of you--
Peranis-- Grathios-- the young girl goes as she pleases.  (beat;
to Xena)  You have our word.”

Benitar gestures the pikes away from Gabrielle. The Villagers do
back off and
lower their pikes. 

ANGLE

To the Villagers relief -- and Gabrielle's shock -- Xena tosses
her sword at
Benitar's feet. 

GABRIELLE

in semi-shock.

G:  “What're you doing?”

RESUME - SHOT

Xena stands there, waiting for the Villagers to do whatever
they'll do. Suddenly: 

PERANIS

appears behind Xena and slams a club down on her head. As she
falls to the
ground unconscious, we: 

G:  “Xena!”

FADE OUT.

----------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------

[ACT II]

******NOTE:  Scenes twelve and thirteen were not in the final
episode.  I left them in for your perusal.******

[[[[[FADE IN :

12 EXT. LARGE VILLAGE - DAY - FULL (STOCK)

Re-establishing.

13 EXT. STONE JAIL - DAY

A crowd of the still-irate Villagers is gathered. A genreal
lynch mob mentality...
With Peranis and Grathios the motivating hatemongers. Two guards
stand between
the crowd and the jail. 

P:  ( to all )  “If enough of us are willing, we can give her
our own special hearing.”

The crowd responds with an affirmative ANGRY HUBBUB. Not yet at
fever
pitch, however.

P:  “She took our loved ones from us.  We have to make her pay
for that.  Quickly, and without mercy.  A trial is a waste of
time and will just give her 
                a chance to escape. We owe her nothing but an 
                             efficient execution. 

INCLUDING GABRIELLE

as she walks bravely makes her way through the crowd toward the
jailhouse door,
which is barred from within. 

                                 PERANIS
                               ( to Gabrielle )
                       I'd get away from there if I were 
                              you, young lady.

Gabrielle, careful to appear unintimidated, and certainly
undeterred, bangs on the
door, as: 

                                GABRIELLE
                              ( in Peranis' face )
                  You gave your word. I'm free and I can go 
                   where I want. Or does your oath mean as 
                          little to you as your laws? 

Someone opens a peephole from within; sees Gabrielle.

                                GABRIELLE
                              ( staunch dignity )
                     I'm here to speak with the wrongfully 
                              detained hostage.

As the door is opened from within, Gabrielle tries another
verbal thrust at Peranis
and the nasty crowd: 

                                GABRIELLE
                       ( her first try at defense counsel )
                 She could've just ridden away, y'know. Have 
                           you thought about that?


                                GRATHIOS
                                  ( easily )
                     The only place to go, little lady, was 
               right back down where the rest of us were
               waiting. 

This evokes a derisive HECKLING CHUCKLE from the Villagers.

INCLUDE GUARD #1

Even bigger than Grathios, it is he who's admitting Gabrielle.

                                 PERANIS
                           ( shouting to guard #1 )
                       Alinar! I'd like a word with you.

Guard #1 acknowledges Peranis with a friendly nod, and holds up
a finger
indicating Wait just a minute.' Then, he closes the door behind
Gabrielle.]]]]]


14 INT. XENA'S CELL - DAY - FULL

Xena is sturdily shackled to an equally sturdy wall. She has
been stripped of her
armor and wears only her undergarment. Through a small barred
window, we may
hear the WALLA of the ( far O.S. ) Villagers. GUARD #2 (also
huge ) unlocks the
cell door from without, and admits Gabrielle -- closing the door
again behind her. 

G:  “Are you all right?  That was quite a blow you took.”

X:  “I do have a throbbing headache.  It's not my biggest worry
right now.”

G:  “Whe did you just give up?  Why didn't you fight them?”

X:  “They're not warriors.  It would’ve been a slaughter.
Gabrielle, I told you to get away from here if anything
happened.  I meant it.  Save yourself.  We're up against more
than you know.” 

G:  “I understand you may be feeling a little negative at the
moment.  You can't give in to that!  Justice prevails.”

X:  ( wearily )  “Well, that'd be nice.”

The door's opened by Guard #2.

G:  “I'll get you out of here.”

X:  ( as Gabrielle exits )  “No, Gabrielle, leave.  Get away
from here.”

The door's closed and locked; Xena's alone again.

ON XENA

She takes a deep breath, closes her eyes; exhaling lengthily,
as:

A:  ( V. O. )  “Look at you.”

We follow Xena's startled gaze across the cell to discover:

ON THE HOODED BEING (ARES)

Leaning casually against the opposite wall.

A:  “Hardly a suitable situation for a warrior princess.”

XENA - HOODED BEING (ARES) - INTERCUTS (AS DESIRED)

Her face reflects only great caution and distrust, not fear.

A:  “You're probably wondering who I am.”

X:  “No, I know who you are-- Ares, god of war.”

A:  “Very good. I should have known you'd figure it out.  Who
else could outfight your sword?”

The Hooded Being now comes toward her -- and pulls off his hood
as he does so.
He is tall, lithe, dark-haired and sophisticatedly handsome.
He's neither slithery nor
a creep. Worst of all, even we may find some charismatic charm
in him. 

A:  “Behold-- your former mentor, and still greatest fan-- at
your service.”

X:  “I used to wonder what you look like.”

Reaching her, he begins removing her shackles without the
slightest difficulty. And,
having done so, he'll begin gently to rub her aching wrists...
massage her equally
aching neck... rub her throbbing temples. He displays nothing
but true and gentle
kindness. Throughout the above : ..............

A:  “Ah-- now that's the problem.  You used to wonder.  I can't
tell you how disappointing that is.  ( re: massage )  Better?
Of course it is.”

She hesitates; his smile remains truly kind. Understanding.

ANGLE (OPTICAL)

A:  “Take my hand, Xena.  Give me your hand-- ( as she does so
)-- and come with me-- out of yourself-- into what is
wonderful.”

The entire SCENE CHANGES around Xena and Ares. And, though
standing just
as they were, they are now: 

15 INT. XENA'S FANTASY BOUDOIR - DAY

The entire boudoir is scarlet in color. Magnificent scarlet
drapes hang from ceiling
to floor here and there; opulently framed full view mirriors; a
chandelier such as
Xena's world has never seen; a wonderful fireplace; a lushly
cushioned

chaise-type couch; a great four-poster bed. On one table is a
candle-lit dining set
for two; and alongside a window ( which we cannot see through
this angle ) is a
table on which we'll soon learn are several documents. 

A:  “Behold.”

ON XENA

Looking around; awed... but catched herself; resumes as much of
a poker face as
she can muster. 

X:  “You slaughtered those four villagers.’

ON ARES

He walks to a large closet.

A:  “Only three so far.  That one you ministered to might
actually recover.  By all the gods you are a beauty.  You must
know I've missed you.”

He opens the cabinet. Inside is a dazzling wardrobe fit for a
queen.

X:  “What do you want?”

TWO SHOT

Ares takes out a beautiful robe from the wardrobe.

A:  “I want you back, of course.  ( gestures around )  My
warrior princess living as my warrior queen.  We were once a
great match.”

X:  “I didn't know any better then.  I thought your ways were
all there was for me.”

Ares gently drapes the robe across Xena's shoulders.

A:  “I think you'll be more comfortable in this.  ( beat )  Now
that you do know-- there is another side to life-- now tell me--
are you really having more fun these days?” 

X:  “I'm fighting for a better world.”

A:  “My dear Xena, you were always fighting for a better world.
You were going to conquer it-- and then-- you were going to rule
it-- the perfect way to bring order-- out of chaos.  And you
were doing very, very well.”

Xena allows him to finish putting on the robe.

A:  “Take a look at these documents on the table here.”

She moves to the table; perfunctorily goes through the
documents, with:

X:  ( re: 1st document )  “Each village taxed only on its
profits.  ( re: 2nd document )  Comfort for the elderly.  ( re:
3rd document )  The teaching of medicine.”

A:  ( re: documents )  “They need only your signature.”

X:  “I can pass these decrees?”

A:  “If it'd make you happy.  Your destiny is to rule the world
with me.  Fulfill your destiny.  And fill me again with the
delicious sight of you-- the warmth-- the strength of you. Go
look out the window.” 

Xena does so; peers out.

A:  “What do you see?’

X:  “Warriors-- thousands of them.”

WARRIORS:  “Xena!  Xena!  Xena!  Xena!  Xena!  Xena!  Xena!
Xena!”

A:  “All of them yours.  Trained; ready; willing to die if you
command it.  With an army like that, you could mold the world
anew-- eradicate injustice.  You can't tell me that all this
holds no-- attraction-- even maybe a slight-- fascination?”

Xena's affected, and it shows. But she summons all her will, to
wonder aloud: 

X:  “What’s in it for you?”

A:  “The world at peace under a great leader-- you.  And to
bring all this about-- you need only call out my name.  Call
upon me to help you, and I shall be there instantly.”

The entire SCENE CHANGES around them -- back to:

16 INT. XENA'S CELL - DAY

Still Xena and Ares -- but she's still shackled to the wall as
we first saw her here.
Ares facing her. 

A:  “I seriously doubt you're gonna get a better offer.  Jusst
call for my help, Xena-- and you'll hold the world.  ( indicates
window; re : angry crowd noise )  And you better hurry.  That
crowd doesn't seem as fond of you as I am.” 

ON XENA

She turns for a beat to the window; then turns back to find...

XENA'S POV

Ares is gone.

CLOSE ON XENA

Surprised, and a bit confused. Did this actually happen?

FULL SHOT

The heavy cell door crashes open, Guards #1 and #2 enter. They
wait for a
hate-filled Peranis to enter between them. He stops; stares at
her in nasty
anticipation. Obviously, he's got a little something planned. 

17 INT. MEETING HALL - DAY

Currently, only Benitar and Gabrielle are present. He sits
looking up at her in some
surprise; whatever he's been writing momentarily forgotten, as: 

B:  ( all business )  “Your friend will have a hearing.  We're
not barbarians.”

G:  “Who will speak for her?”

B:  “I'll act as her advocate if that's what you mean.”

G:  “With respect, sir, the fairest way would be to let her
advocate be the person who believes the most in her innocence--
like me.”

B:  “That's impossible.  You don't understand.  It was all I
could do to get these people to agree on a trial.  If I were to
allow a-- an outsider to speak on her behalf, they may explode.”

An uncomfortable beat for him, while he digests this. But then,
they're interrupted
by the sudden LOUD CHEERING of the ( far O.S. ) Villagers.
Benitar rises;
hurries quickly toward the front door. A very concerned
Gabrielle follows. 

18 EXT. STREET FRONTING MEETING HALL - DAY

The Villagers line each side of the street in gleeful
anticipation.

ON GABRIELLE AND BENITAR

as they emerge from the Meeting Hall to watch.

G:  “What is this?”

B:  “This is the way the condemned are executed.”

THEIR POV FOLLOWING CHARIOT

From up the street comes a racing chariot, with Peranis driving.
As it churns past,
we see that, hanging from ropes attached to the chariot's rear,
is a stuffed dummy.
It's being torn to shreds as it drags along. Peranis slows the
chariot, turns it around,
comes slowly back to us. 

CLOSE - THE STUFFED DUMMY

A total, shredded, almost shapeless mess.

REACTION - GABRIELLE

Horrified. Suddenly, the (O.S.) Crowd again CHEERS. Gabrielle
looks up to see:

STONE JAIL - XENA AND GUARDS #1 AND #2

Xena, in chains, is being dragged from the jail.

CHARIOTEER AND CHARIOT

The Charioteer drives the chariot back toward Xena.

GABRIELLE

Horrified, she starts trying to make her way through the crowd.

ON BENITAR

He looks concerned.

ON XENA

Grim, pulling at her thick chains, but without success. As she
looks around her,
someone (O.S.) catches her eye, and she stares fixedly at: 

ARES

No longer hooded, he stands amidst the Villagers who cannot see
him.

CLOSER - ARES

His eyes on ( the O.S. ) Xena. Smiling slightly, he waits for
her to call upon him.
He offers a gesture, which silently says : "Here I am; call me." 

FAVORING XENA

as the chariot arrives, and they start tying the ropes at its
rear to Xena's legs.

CLOSE - ARES

Unpleasantly surprised. Isn't Xena going to save herself?

CLOSE - XENA

Her eyes riveted on ( the O.S.) Ares, she slowly, almost
imperceptively, shakes her
head. HOLD on her resigned expression, then... 

FADE OUT.

----------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------

[ACT III]

FADE IN:

19 EXT. STONE JAIL - DAY (CONTINUOUS)

No time has elapsed. The chariot ropes are being attached to
Xena's chained legs.
There is plenty of slack in the ropes. 

GABRIELLE

rushes up, and loops the middle of one of the ropes around her
own neck.

VILLAGERS:  “Hey!  Is she crazy!”  “She can’t do that!”  “Get
away from here!”

ANGLE

Xena's as surprised as everyone else.

X:  “( to Gabrielle )  “Stop that.  This isn’t about you,
Gabrielle.”

FAVORING GABRIELLE

G:  ( angrily; to all )  “If you're going to murder one, why not
murder two?!  What's the difference?!”

P:  ( re: Xena )  “She's the only murderer here.”

G:  ( in his face )  “Not for long.  ( to all )  And she's no
murderer!”

CLOSE ON XENA

She's staring straight at Ares, who's almost lost in the crowd.

CLOSE ON ARES

Still with his nice, genuinely gentle smile, he waits -- fairly
certain -- for Xena to
call his name. But suddenly: 

B:  (O.S.)  “Stop!”

WITH BENITAR

He approaches Gabrielle. He removes the noose around her neck,
as:

B:  ( to all )  “I was chosen by you _all_--  to bring justice
to this village!  This is _not_ it!”

VILLAGERS:  “Get that old fool out of here!”  “Come on!”

   Peranis steps forward. The Villagers look like they're
   willing to follow. Benitar
   waves toward the Guards who come to his side holding their
   spears in front of
   them sideways. They push the Villagers back a la police
   handling riot control. 

BENITAR:  “If you want blood now, you'll have to come through
them.  And if you get through them, you'll have to kill me.”

The Villagers begin to lose their nerve.

BENITAR:  “Peranis, justice will be done.  I promise you.”

Peranis angrily turns on his heel and stomps away. The crisis is
past.

BENITAR:  ( to Guards; re : Xena)  “Return her to her
confinement.”

GUARD:  “Come on!  Move!”

BENITAR:  ( to Gabrielle )  “You may act as her advocate.”

20 INT. XENA'S CELL - DAY - START CLOSE ON XENA

She appears more annoyed than angry.

X:  “That was a pretty dumb thing you did back there.”

PULL BACK and WIDEN to discover that, once again, Xena and
Gabrielle are
alone in Xena's cell. 

G:  “Well, you would’ve done the same for me.”

X:  “That's different.”

G:  “Why?  Because you're a warrior?  Yeah, well, normal people
like me take chances to save their best friends, too, you know.”

X:  “You don't get it, do you?  They’ve got eyewitnesses who saw
me standing there with a bloody sword and nobody else around.” 

G:  “Which brings us to the subject of your defense. Are you
sure that none of the villagers saw you fighting this mysterious
hooded man?”

X:  “I'm sure.”

G:  ( ever the optimist )  “Well, I'll just have to find some
exonerating evidence.”

Off Xena's sigh, go to:

20A EXT. ROAD NEAR WOODS - ATTACKED WAGON SITE - DAY

Gabrielle is walking around the wagon looking for clues. She
stoops and studies
something carefully. 

CLOSE ON FOOTPRINTS IN THE DIRT

Boot prints are everywhere. We focus on two that face each
other, toe to toe.

ON GABRIELLE

She kneels down to measure first one with her hand and then the
other.

G:  ( eureka )  “That's it.  Hah!”

                      She starts running toward the town.

20B EXT. VILLAGE STREET - DAY

Benitar is crossing the street. Gabrielle runs up to him.

G:  “Benitar!  Benitar!  I can prove that there was someone else
at the murder site, and that Xena fought him.” 

BENITAR:  “What are you talking about?”

G:  “There are two sets of footprints face-to-face. One is
Xena's-- and the other is longer and wider.  They're definitely
prints made by warrior boots.  Not the footwear of choice for
humble villagers.” 

Benitar gives her a thoughtful stare.

BENITAR:  “Show me.”

G:  “It’s right up here, over the hill.”

20C EXT. ATTACKED WAGON SITE - DAY

All is quiet for a moment and then a PIECE OF FABRIC on the
wagon begins
rippling as a breeze picks up. Soon the piece of fabric is
waving like a flag and dirt
has begun to swirl around. 

ON THE FOOTPRINTS

The dirt begins settling on the footprints, covering them from
view.

20D EXT. ROAD - DAY

Benitar and Gabrielle walk along.

G:  “The different footprints are toe-to-toe and they’re are all
over the place, as footprints would tend to be after a sword
fight.”

They round a turn in the road and spot:

20E EXT. ATTACKED WAGON SITE - DAY

Gabrielle runs up to the wagon and points to the ground.

G:  “This will definitely prove that Xena is innocent.  They're
right here--”

She freezes. Benitar joins her.

BENITAR:  “Where are they?”

G:  “I don't understand.  They were right here.”

BENITAR:  “I hope you don’t waste our time with nonsense like
this during the hearing.”

He turns to walk back into town.

As he goes, a confused Gabrielle stares down at the dirt for a
moment and then
trudges thoughtfully back toward the village. 

21 EXT. LARGE VILLAGE - DAY (STOCK)

Re-establishing.

BENITAR (V.O.)  “And from your field, you could hear the sounds
of the massacre?”


                      22 INT. MEETING HALL - DAY

Defendant Xena, now wearing her complete outfit, sits at one
table at the left front
with Gabrielle; Benitar sits in a large, high-backed chair
squarely in the middle; the
witness rail ( before which each witness stands ) is on the
right. Currently, Areolis'
widow is at the rail. 

AREOLIS' WIDOW:  “I heard men screaming.  I left my plow and ran
towards the road.  That's when I recognized my husband's voice.
He was yelling ‘No!  Please, no!’  Then I heard him scream, too.
I was trying so hard to get there!”

E.C.U - XENA'S FACE

Feeling this woman's pain.

AREOLIS' WIDOW:  ( O.S.)  “But, by the time I did get there, my
husband and the others were dead.”

RESUME - SHOT

AREOLIS' WIDOW:  ( at Xena )  “And I saw her--”

E.C.U - GABRIELLE

This is pretty damning stuff.

AREOLIS' WIDOW (O.S.)  “-- kneeling over Teracles, robbing
him--”

RESUME - SHOT

AREOLIS' WIDOW:  “-- blood on her hands; blood on her sword; and
my husband's blood coloring the ground.”

ON VILLAGERS

riveted by her testimony -- and visibly hating Xena.

CLOSE ON BENITAR

BENITAR:  “Your father and the others-- had just been selling at
the market.  That would mean that each of them would have
money.”

FAVORING TEEN SON

We discover it is the Teen Son ( of Doracles ), rather than the
widow, who's now
at the rail. 

TEEN SON:  “His purse was gone when they finally brought him to
us. My two little sisters were-- eating supper. “

CLOSE - XENA

Hurting for this kid. She happens to glance over at:

THE VILLAGERS

By now, there's hard and visible hatred for her emanating not
only from the
general Villagers, but from even the two hitherto tearfully
mourning women. 

E.C.U. - GABRIELLE

G:  “You all say you heard the sounds of the massacre-- and
_that_-- is what drew you to the road.”

As CAMERA PULLS BACK and WIDENS, we see it's Gabrielle now
standing
doing the questioning -- and Peranis at the rail.

PERANIS:  “Yes.”

G:  “In addition to the voices, there were the sounds of the
fight itself-- the swords clashing.”

PERANIS:  “That's right.”

G:  “But none of the men who died were carrying swords.  If you
heard Xena fighting before you got there, who was she fighting?
( off his silence )  She said that she fought with a hooded man,
and kept him from killing the one man who did survive.  And that
is what you heard, isn't it? 

REACTIONS - VILLAGERS (INTERCUT AS DESIRED)

Throughout the following exchanges, we'll see the Villagers
become more
interested than angry; less and less certain in their general
demeanor. 

PERANIS:  “There was no hooded man; there was only her.”

G:  “By the time you got there, yes.  _And_-- she was using her
_fine_ medical knowledge to save that one survivor.  If she had
killed all the others-- why would she save him?” 

                            CLOSE - BENITAR

                       Frowning in slight confusion, as:

BENITAR:  “She was covered in blood, young lady; and so was her
sword.”

VILLAGER:  “That’s right!”

RESUME - SHOT

as Gabrielle turns back to Peranis at the rail.

G:  “Have you ever helped someone on your farm who was-- badly
injured and bleeding?” 

PERANIS:  “One time, yeah.”

G:  “Any of the blood get on you?”

PERANIS:  “Well of course-- I was helping him.”

G:  “Exactly my point.”

CLOSE ON GABRIELLE

She turns away from the witness rail for a couple beats,
thinking. Then, as she
turns back: 

G:  “You say the surviving man-- Teracles?-- he had his money
scattered around in the dirt?”

Again, CAMERA PULLS BACK and WIDENS to reveal it's now big
Grathios
she's talking to as he stands at the rail. 

GRATHIOS:  “If we hadn't gotten there quick as we did, she'd've
picked him clean, too.”

G:  “Hmm-- then where's the money?  ( off his silence )  If she
had already robbed everybody else, where did she put the money?”

GRATHIOS:  “So she-- threw away... to come back for it later-- I
don't know.”

G:  “When the rest of you showed up, she could've killed you,
too--”

VILLAGERS:   “True.  True.”

G:  “-- no witnesses.  Now, why didn't she do that?”

GRATHIOS:  “Hey, if she wasn't guilty, why'd she run away?”

G:  “Nobody here cares that she didn't kill anyone.  Nobody
cares that she was only trying to help!  Nobody believes that
she fought the real murderer!  All you care about is executing
someone!  I'd've run away, too-- so would you.” 

As we hear the (O.S.) Main door of the meeting room bang open:

FAVORING TERESIA, TERACLES AND STRETCHER BEARERS

The wounded man, Teracles, to whom Xena ministered in the Teaser
is carried in
by two Stretcher Bearers. His wife, Teresia, walks at his side,
holding his hand.

VILLAGER:  “There he is, now.”

BENITAR:  “Quiet, everyone.”

INCLUDING XENA

She rises, relieved.

X:  ( to Gabrielle )  “That's the man I tried to save.”

G:  ( mutters to self )  “Thank the gods.”

ANGLE

BENITAR:  “Teracles, what happened?”

TERACLES:  ( weakly )  “Attacked-- so quickly.”

BENITAR:  “By whom? Who murdered our three neighbors and left
you like this?”

TERACLES:  “I felt a sword strike me.  I fell.  Then the sword
came down again. The last thing I remember was-- ( indicates
Xena )  that woman, standing over me-- my own blood covering her
sword.”

A lot of negative, angry WALLA from the Villagers. During this:

REACTION - XENA

She SIGHS in defeat.

RESUME - SHOT

G:  “No!  ( moves to Teracles )  Sir-- if I could just ask you
just a couple of questions--”

TERESIA:  “Stay away from him.  He already told you what
happened; now leave him alone!”

BENITAR:  “This hearing is finished.”

VILLAGER:  “Leave the poor man alone.”

BENITAR:  “The council will meet this evening; I’ll post my
verdict in the morning.  ( to Guards #1 and #2 )  Remove the
accused.”

VILLAGER:  “Take her away!”

GUARD:  “Let’s go.”

As the two Guards approach Xena, and begin escorting her out,
MOVE IN on an
anxious, even desperate, Gabrielle. 

GABRIELLE AND BENITAR

as she moves quickly to him, with:

G:  “Sir-- may I have a word with your council?” 

BENITAR:  “Mm-hmm.”  Benitar nods.

23 EXT. STONE JAIL - NIGHT

Re-establishing the place at this late hour.

24 INT. XENA'S CELL - NIGHT - FAVORING XENA

She's again well-shackled to the wall. This time they left her
full outfit on. The
heavy door opens, spilling light across her. 

FAVORING PERANIS AND GUARDS #1 AND #2

as they enter. The Guards flanking him, Peranis holds a small
horse whip.
He comes fairly close to her, and stops, with : 

PERANIS:  “I'm glad now we can kill you.  We've got until
tomorrow morning until we do kill you.  Meanwhile--”

XENA - PERANIS - INTERCUTS (AS DESIRED)

He uses the whip to WHACK her across the shoulder. If he
expected anything
from her but disdain, he doesn't get it. So: 

PERANIS:  “Palinios--”

He knees her in the stomach, then:

PERANIS:  “He was my best friend.”

As he draws the whip back for another swipe:

E.C.U XENA'S FACE

She closes her eyes.

PERANIS (O.S.):  “I'll tell you about the others you murdered (
ominously )-- one by one.”

Now, even as her FACE LINGERS ON SCREEN... and we hear the
terrible
sound of Peranis WHACKING her again, Xena's FACE

BECOMES SLOWLY OVERLAID BY, then FULLY DISSOLVES INTO:

25 INT. XENA'S FANTASY BOUDOIR - NIGHT - XENA AND ARES

Again they stand facing each other across the bed. Ares, wearing
no hood and
looking somewhat dashing, will come slowly around to her,
during: 

A:  “You almost let them drag you to death today.”

PERANIS:  “And Doracles.”

A:  “And now-- some unbearably smelly farmer is beating you half
to death.”

PERANIS:  “And Areolis.”

A:  “This is grotesque.”

X:  “You above all should know what grief can drive people to
do.”

A:  “I so hoped you'd call my name.”

X:  “I think I almost did.”

Still most casual and inoffensively confident, he'll take her
hand. There's nothing
about him to suggest malevolence. 

A:  “Ah-- now that's the important thing; you did want my help.”

X:  “I wanted to live, yes.”

As he did last time, he takes her shoulders in his hands.

A:  “You want more than just living.  Danger excites you.  And
as you know, I am somewhat dangerous.  Action and power draw you
like a moth to a flame.”

TWO SHOT - XENA AND ARES

as he draws her closer.

A:  “It burns inside you.  I burn inside you.  You can feel me
there-- like a fever.  Xena will never be answerable to these
pathetic creatures-- not the Xena whose Army scorched the earth
at will.  You are remembering it now-- the unfettered freedom of
it.  You're Xena ( about to kiss her )-- unstoppable--
unbeatable.  Now summon forth that super-mortal strength of
yours.” 

They kiss.

26 INT. XENA'S CELL - NIGHT - START ON XENA

as she lets out her battle cry. QUICKLY PULL BACK and WIDEN to
see Peranis
and the two Guards jump reflexively back and away from this
suddenly-scary
demon of a woman. 

ANGLE

Almost with ease, Xena RIPS loose from the shackles. With a
single swipe she
sends Peranis flying into the wall and totally out cold. 

ANGLE

Guards #1 and #2 instantly flee. Rushing out through the heavy
door, they lock it
behind them ( the hell with Peranis ). 

FOLLOWING XENA

She rushes at the locked door -- leaping upward and thrusting
both legs full force
against it. 

OVER XENA'S SHOULDER

as the force of her legs striking the door bursts it down.

27 INT. CORRIDOR OUTSIDE XENA'S CELL - NIGHT

Guards #1 and #2 are stunned by Xena's bust-out -- but recover
quickly. As Guard
#1 moves toward her, Xena body-rolls at a low angle into him,
knocking his legs
out from under him. He's down, but not yet out. 

ANGLE

Guard #2 swings his club at Xena's head. She blocks the heavy
blow with only one
forearm; grabs the club with her free hand... yanks it from him
as she uses the
elbow of her blocking arm to cold-cock him. 

INCLUDING GUARD #1

as he ENTERS FRAME by leaping on Xena's back. With him hanging
on her
neck, she bends over -- reaches down between her own legs to
grab his ankles --
and yank them forward. Guard #1 lands flat on his back. Then, as
he starts to raise
his head, Xena delivers a spinning round kick to his jaw. But
just as she's putting
his lights out, we: 

INCLUDE GABRIELLE

who's just entering the other corridor door ( ostensibly from
the (O.S.) Counsil
meeting ). 

G:  “Xena.  Xena--”

But, out of pure instinct, all Xena's aware of initially is that
someone else is coming
at her.

XENA - GABRIELLE (INTERCUTS AS DESIRED )

Even as she's finishing the round kick which just dropped the
Guard, Xena lashes
out with a vicious backhand sweep -- at Gabrielle. 

The force of the slap literally flings Gabrielle several feet
and flat against the wall.
MOVE IN on GABRIELLE'S FACE. A fairly quick return to her senses
is
followed by an expression of her heartfelt anguish. She rises
slowly... holding her
bruised cheek. And with tears welling up in her eyes... 

Only now does Xena vaguely recognize Gabrielle... the sight of
whom will slowly
bring her out of her madness. 

Beat, then -- sobbing -- the heartbroken Gabrielle runs out of
the place... then, with
reality creeping back into her: 

X:  ( dazed )  “Gabrielle?”  ( fully realizing; brokenly )

Suddenly, emptied of all hostility -- indeed, all strength --
Xena leans back against a
wall. What she's done pains her greatly. HOLD on her like this,
before we: 

FADE OUT.

----------------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------

[ACT IV]


******NOTE:  Scene 27A was not in the final episode.  I left it
in for your perusal.******

[[[[[FADE IN:

27A EXT. STREAM IN WOODS - NIGHT

Gabrielle runs through the woods. She looks distraught. She
reaches the stream
and falls down beside it. She's unsuccessfully trying to hold
back tears. A couple
have escaped and are running down her cheek. She reaches into
the stream and
gingerly applies the soothing water to the cheek where Xena
struck her. She's in a
state of despair when she looks up and sees something across the
stream from her.
We don't see what she's looking at. Off her thoughtful gaze, we: 

CUT TO :]]]]]

28 INT. CORRIDOR OUTSIDE XENA'S CELL - NIGHT

A somber Xena kneels, tending to the injuries she inflicted on
Guards #1 and #2.

X:  “Here-- take this.”

Leaning against the door jam leading into the (O.S.) Cell, and
holding a damp cloth
to his bruised face, is Peranis. He'll be staring down at Xena
more in confusion
than with the hatred we're used to seeing in him. The Guards are
both seated on
the floor, backs against the wall. Guard #1 has already had a
plaster placed across
his swollen nose, and his arm placed in a sling. Guard #2 is now
the focus of
Xena's attention -- and he's still scared to death of her
(almost jumps in fear every
time she touches him with the salve she's applying ). Benitar
ENTERS SHOT to
stand over Xena, with: 

BENITAR:  “Once again, you could’ve escaped if you chose.  We
don't understand you.”

X:  ( judging herself )  “I realize now it doesn't matter
whether I killed your friends or not.  I've done a lot worse in
my time.  And I guess I'm capable of it again.  ( to Peranis )
You saw what I did to my best friend.”

BENITAR:  “As your friend argued before the council, we can hold
you answerable only for what you've done here.  ( at Peranis;
edged )  Our verdict will be objective.”

29 EXT. LARGE VILLAGE - NIGHT (STOCK)

Re-establishing. All quiet and peaceful.

31 EXT. STONE JAIL - NIGHT - XENA'S POV

A HOODED FIGURE

on horseback rides toward the jail. The figure dismounts and
walks up to the
window. The figure stands outside the window for a moment and
then throws back
the hood, to reveal: 

GABRIELLE

She gives a little forgiving smile.

G:  “Hi.”

30 INT. XENA'S CELL - NIGHT

Sitting alone and disconsolate on the floor, Xena hears the
(O.S.) sound of a
horse's hooves. She rises quickly, goes to the little window,
and sees: 

GABRIELLE

X:  “Gabrielle?”

32 INT. XENA'S CELL - NIGHT - CONTINUOUS ACTION

XENA - GABRIELLE (INTERCUTS AS DESIRED)

G:  “I found Argo.”  I'll wrap this rope around the bars, and we
can pull them out of the wall.”

X:  “How could you come back after what I did to you?”

G:  “What you did wasn't you; I know that.  I also know now that
there's a big difference between what justice is and what the
law is.  I don't think we'd better wait around for justice.”

X:  ( self-deprecating )  “No.  If I run now, I'll be running
forever.”

G:  “Well, it beats being dead.”

But now Xena's face reflects that she's suddenly lost in the
thought of a new idea.
Gabrielle notes it immediately. 

G:  ( beat; hope-filled )  “You've got an idea.”

X:  ( still musing )  “Someone made me a better offer.  ( beat;
gently )  I need you to leave me alone for a while.”

G:  ( a bit hurt )  “Okay.”

X:  ( quick afterthought )  “I didn't mean that like it sounded.
I'm glad you came back.” 

Gabrielle returns Xena's look with the shiny smile of her
unconditional friendship.
Then disappears with the horse. Stepping back to the center of
the cell, Xena takes
a deep breath... spreads her arms slightly, and: 

X:  “Ares.”

The entire SCENE CHANGES around Xena, to put her again in:

33 INT. XENA'S FANTASY BOUDOIR - NIGHT

Xena is lying on the bed.

X:  “Uh.”

Ares joins Xena.

ARES:  “Somehow I felt I might hear my name.”

X:  ( slight shrug )  “If the verdict's guilty, they'll execute
me in the morning.  I'd rather live.”

ARES:  “But you won't merely live.  You'll make the world a
better place by leading it our way.  Mmm-- it is a joy to have
you back.”

X:  “Well, I'm not back yet.”

Xena arises.

X:  “Only if they find me guilty.”

She finds something very sexy and will begin putting it on.

ARES:  “I wouldn't've bothered killing those village fools if I
didn't know they would find you guilty.”

Ares arises.

[[[[[ARES:  Shall we drink to us? 

                                   XENA
                                  ( pauses )
                  I'm a little concerned about something. If I 
                 do have to escape, the whole village'll be
                 after 
                 me and I won't have my sword. How do I fight
                            my way out of there? 

                                   ARES
                 My dear, do you honestly think I won't supply 
                       you with whatever's necessary? 
                         ( pick up the bottle of wine )
                     This particular wine really is
                     delicious.]]]]]

X:  “You did all this-- just to get me back.  I'm flattered.  (
with that killer smile )  Well, if I'm going to be your warrior
again--”

ARES  ( pouring a drink )  ( quickly; would love some love here
)  “No, not just my warrior.  You'll be-- the architect of a new
world-- my kind of world-- where force of arms keeps the peace
and one great Warrior Queen rules.” 

X:  “You're irresistible.  But I suppose you already know that.
I'll have to have a new army.” 

ARES:  “Whatever you want, whom-- ever you want-- the most
legendary fighters in history if you’d like.

X:  ( wow; that's impressive )  “Hector?  Achilles?  Agamemnon?
They're long gone.”

ARES:  “I’m Ares, god of war.  For you-- I'll bring them back
and anyone else you desire.”

X:  “Anyone?  I just want to be sure of the deal.”

ARES:  “Anyone you name.”

X:  “As long as I have your word.”

ARES:  “You have my word-- my pledge-- whatever you want.”

X:  “It's almost time.  See you later, then.”

And the ENTIRE SCENE suddenly CHANGES again... This time to:

34 EXT. STREET FRONTING MEETING HALL - DAY

The death chariot, with its prancing horse, awaits. All the
Villagers are present
(especially prominent are those mourners -- Areolis' Widow,
Doracles' Teen Son,
Palinios' Mother, etc -- whom we've seen earlier ). 

ON GABRIELLE

Fearful, dreading what's to come -- helpless.

ON ARES

He stands far back in the crowd, calmly and pleasantly waiting,
as:

XENA AND BENITAR

emerge. Xena is in chains.

BENITAR:  ( announces to all )  “The woman, Xena, having been
found guilty-- of murdering the good and innocent men, Palinios,
Doracles, and Areolis, of this village-- will now, and
publically-- pay the supreme penalty for her crimes.”

The Villagers are pleased. Xena looks past most of them to:

ARES - INTERCUT WITH XENA (AS DESIRED)

Catching Ares' eye, she calls to him:

X:  “’Guilty.'  You said I could have anyone I name.  I call on
you to send forth the following protectors-- the good and
innocent men of this village-- Palinios, Doracles, and Areolis.”

E.C.U. - ARES

Evil he may be, but not above a wry smile at the realization
he's been suckered. 

ARES:  [Laughs]  “Marvelously manipulated, my dear.”

OVER XENA'S SHOULDER

Though Xena faces the crowd, that crowd is now looking past her
-- their facial
expressions ranging from disbelieving ( but happy ) shock, to
near-delirious
SHOUTS of exuberance, to instantly tearful, nearly hysterical
SHRIEKS of joy.
They surge forward. 

REVERSE

Emerging from the building behind Xena are Palinios, Doracles,
and Areolis. All
alive and well. 

AREOLIS’ WIDOW:  “Areolis?”

PALINIOS' MOTHER:  “Palinios?”

THE TEEN SON:  “Dad?  Dad!”  ( rushes to embrace his father. )

FULL SHOT

Happy pandemonium.

GABRIELLE AND BENITAR

Getting over her own stunhood, a joyous, almost elfish
Gabrielle arrives to tug at the sleeve of the overwhelmed
Benitar. 

G:  “Nobody's even dead.  Nobody.”

FAVORING PALINIOS

as he spots Xena, and, with his mother still hanging on, moves
to the warrior
princess, with: 

PALINIOS:  ( shouts to all )  “Everybody!  Hear me, my friends!
This brave and noble woman-- she was the last thing I saw--
battling a cowardly hooded man who attacked us.  She fought him
for our lives, though we were total strangers.  Truly, I say she
is the very soul of goodness.  And we thank her, with all our
hearts.” 

FOLLOWING XENA

Even as THREE CHEERS go up for her from the Villagers, she's
making her way
very slowly through the mob toward Ares. As she's doing so: 

G:  ( slight tug on Benitar's sleeve )  “Excuse me again, sir.”

BENITAR:  ( likes her )  “Not guilty; charges dismissed.”

XENA AND ARES

As she reaches him. He is not only still gracious in his defeat,
but grudgingly bows
in admiration as well. 

ARES:  “Well played, my dear. Your choice was totally wrong, of
course, but-- even as an adversary, you are one of a kind.”

X:  “I know my choice was the right one for me.”

ARES:  “In that case--”

Ares gently takes her hand and suavely kisses it.

ARES:  “-- until next time.”

Ares turns -- walks off.

ON XENA

as she watches him go. Feeling pretty good. MOVE IN and HOLD ON
HER
FACE, until we: 

GO TO :

34A EXT. COUNTRY ROAD - DAY

Xena and Gabrielle walk along, Argo following behind. Xena
throws Gabrielle a
thoughtful look. 

X:  “You coming back for me really meant a lot after what I did
to you.”

G:  “I trust you.  I never thought for a moment you meant to
hurt me.” 

X:  “Well, I owe you.  Thanks.”

G:  “I owe you, too.”

Gabrielle suddenly spins and slugs Xena on the arm. She grabs
her fist and groans in pain. Xena glances down at her
arm like someone examining a flea bite. 

X:  “What was that?”

G:  ( still in pain )  “Paybacks for hitting me.”

X:  “Feel better?”

G:  “I think I broke my hand-- but, I do feel better.”

X:  “Good-- so do I.”

G:  “How did those guys come back from the dead?”

X:  “Well, ever hear of Ares?

VOICE OF ARES:  “Until next time, Xena-- until next time.”

FADE OUT



Click here to return to the THE RECKONING page.



Episode
Guide Table of ContentsBack to Whoosh!