Whoosh! Issue 22 - July 1998


IAXS project #491
By Julie Ruffell
Copyright © 1998 held by author
4010 words

Introduction (01)
THE PRICE (13-26)

Xena vs. Dark Xena:
The Internal Struggle


We're cousins -- identical cousins in every way.  Well, something
like that.

Xena and Diana have a chat in WARRIOR...PRINCESS.

"We've all got that evil spot somewhere."
     - Xena, Warrior Princess, WARRIOR... PRINCESS (15/115)

[1] For some of us, that evil spot is closer to the surface. Xena is one of those unfortunate enough to have to fight her evil spot everyday. Xenites have come to call Xena's evil spot, Dark Xena. When Xena's inner demons torture her to a breaking point that is when Dark Xena emerges. Luckily for the Xenaverse, Gabrielle is there to calm Xena's rage and recapture the demons, for a time, anyway. Nevertheless, every time Dark Xena surfaces, she brings about a change in Xena. This essay will focus on Xena's encounters with her "dark side", since she became good.


"I'm not her anymore!"
     -Xena, DREAMWORKER (03/103)

[2] Yes, Xena keeps saying that, but it is only a half-truth. She is not all-evil anymore, but she still kills -- that part of her is still with her. Though she has embraced goodness, she could still actually go either way. Gabrielle keeps her good.

When I said I wanted to be tied up, this isn't quite what I had
in mind, Xena

Xena gives herself up to the village mob in THE RECKONING.

[3] Xena's first repossession by the "Dark Xena" was in THE RECKONING (06/106) when Ares framed her for murder. Ares wanted Xena back on the wrong side of the tracks. He tempted her with an army of her choice. He spoke of her past glories while the friends of those murdered beat her while she was chained up in the jail. "Call forth that super-mortal strength of yours", Ares tempted. Xena then yelled at the top of her lungs and broke out of her chains. She also broke down the prison door with one solid kick and beat the guards. Gabrielle entered, and Xena, in a blind rage, hit Gabrielle with a mighty backhand, sending her flying. Gabrielle crashed against the stairs and then ran out.

[4] At that point, Xena regained control of herself. She tended to the wounded guards, and then went back to jail to await the judgment. While in jail, she walked around, thinking she would never see Gabrielle again. However, the young bard returned, wanting to break Xena out. Xena did not understand.

XENA How could you come back after what I did? GABRIELLE What you did wasn't you. I know that.
[5] So, when Xena loses it, we, like the bard, are just supposed shrug it off and say it was not her? Nevertheless, it was her: that evil side is a part of inner being. Whether Dark Xena is in control, or buried deep, she is still a part of Xena. That is something Xena has to accept before she can move on. She has accepted that Dark Xena made her who she is today, but not that Dark Xena is still there, waiting to emerge.

[6] After the incident in THE RECKONING (06/106), Xena learned that Gabrielle would remain at her side through anything. It was a big comfort, but Xena also saw how easy it was for her to give in to Dark Xena, so she tried harder to prevent it.


Xena, I am Ares.  I mean, your father.  D'oh!

Ares impersonates Xena's father -- or is it really an impersonation -- in TIES THAT BIND.

[7] Xena's next encounter with Dark Xena was in TIES THAT BIND (20/120). This episode took place a good deal after THE RECKONING (06/106), meaning that Xena had become quite good at keeping Dark Xena away.

[8] In TIES THAT BIND (20/120), Ares disguised himself as Xena's father, who had walked out on Xena's family when she was little (at least, that is what Xena had been told). As her father, Atrius, Ares made Xena trust and love him.

[9] When they arrived in a small village they had set out to save, Atrius was captured, supposedly for betraying the villagers the last time he was there. Xena made a deal that if she saved the village from the oncoming army, the village would free her father. Xena defeated the army's commander and took over. She led the army to the village, only to find her father beaten and hung up for the vultures. Xena ordered the army to take the village. All the villagers were brought before Xena, and shortly after, Atrius died in her arms. Xena drew her sword and exclaimed, "Kill them all"!

[10] The loss of her father caused Dark Xena to resurface. Yet, again, Gabrielle stepped forward to talk sense into the Warrior Princes:

GABRIELLE (holding a pitchfork) Wait. XENA Gabrielle? GABRIELLE Put it down, Xena. XENA They killed my father; now they'll die too. GABRIELLE (holds the pitchfork at Xena's neck) XENA Get out of my way. GABRIELLE No! Look at me! I am standing up against a murderous warlord, like I saw you do against Draco, but this time the warlord is you!
[11] Xena grabbed the pitchfork and pulled Gabrielle behind her, out of the way. Gabrielle turned around and slammed the pitchfork against Xena, and it broke on her head. Gabrielle was shocked by her own actions, as Xena fell. When the Warrior Princess got back to her feet, the evil look had been replaced by one of utter shock.

[12] Xena had regained her control. A good smack was all she needed to pull her back. Xena was once more devastated by her actions. Being good was turning out to be a bigger challenge than she thought. This experience taught her about Gabrielle, as well. Gabrielle would not allow Xena to follow her old footprints. This time she only injured Xena, but, if necessary, could Gabrielle kill her? An interesting question for both Xena and the viewing audience. For Xena, it was even more reason to fight against Dark Xena.


I'll be glad when nail clippers are invented and I don't have to
use these things

Xena is alone with her thoughts for a moment in THE PRICE.

[13] We have to give Xena credit! She lasted for a long time, but the past is difficult to overcome. Xena made it nearly to the end of season two, but in THE PRICE (44/220), Xena actually called on Dark Xena to help her!

[14] When Xena and Gabrielle came up against The Horde, a pack of men who hunted like wolves and killed like demons (e.g., skinning people while still alive), Xena knew that she would not be able to fight them alone. She even warned Gabrielle: "Things are going to get worse, especially with what I have to do to get us out of here".

[15] Xena and Gabrielle teamed up with an isolated troop of Athenian soldiers inside a small battlement. The soldiers had lost hope, but Xena revived their spirit:

XENA We're not going to let these b*st*rds defeat the elite of the Athenian army, are we? SOLDIERS No! SOLDIER #2 Tell us what to do, Xena. XENA Do? (pause) We're going to kill them all!
[16] As this was the mantra for Dark Xena, Gabrielle was now getting a little nervous. Xena had already left a group of soldiers to die at the hands of The Horde along the riverbank, and now this. The way she said, "Kill them all", sent a shiver down Gabrielle's spine. However, Xena had not actually done anything too drastic...yet.

[17] When Gabrielle entered the hospital and found many injured men, she got down to work. Xena entered shortly afterwards. Gabrielle assured Xena that no one would die. Gabrielle had set up the walking wounded as nurses, but Xena sent them outside to the wall. Gabrielle protested that she needed them to help her with the more seriously injured by bandaging, and getting food, and water. Xena stood straight and delivered her orders:

XENA Yeah, get a water bag for yourself, Gabrielle, but no food or water for the seriously injured. Only for the men who can fight. GABRIELLE But these men will die without water. XENA It won't matter if we can't defend the compound. GABRIELLE You expect me to decide who lives, and who dies? XENA I want men outside, Gabrielle. You figure it out. And let Mercer know when they die. We need them on the wall.
Dark Xena had consumed Xena now, and Gabrielle was beginning to see it.

[18] The Athenians started a fight and led The Horde into the battlement, where all the attackers were killed. Xena wore a smile as she slit the throat of a Horde member. When one escaped, Gabrielle watched in horror, as Xena threw an ax into his back. Xena then joined Gabrielle in the storage room to confront her about all the food Gabrielle had distributed.

XENA I told you to ration the food to the men outside. GABRIELLE What's going on with you? XENA I'm trying to save our skins. Those things will kill us all. [...] GABRIELLE I can't believe this, Xena. You're scaring me. XENA This is war! What did you expect? Glamour?! There are no good choices, only the lesser degrees of evil. GABRIELLE There is a choice -- to stop fighting. XENA They aren't like us. There is nothing about them that we can or should understand. GABRIELLE But have you even tried? XENA I know them, there's nothing. You make sure that these rations get to the men on the wall.
Gabrielle could not believe what she was hearing. This was not her friend. Gabrielle saw that her Xena was not home, but Dark Xena was.

You think pierced ears are tough, look at my nose!

Xena questions a prisoner in THE PRICE.

[19] Xena sent Mercer out to get reinforcements, and while the Horde was distracted, Xena ran out and dragged a Horde member inside. Gabrielle was happy, because she thought that Xena was back, but Dark Xena set her straight: "Gabrielle, I didn't rescue him. We need answers and he's going to give them to us. One way, or another". Xena then brought the Horde member inside the command hut for questioning:

XENA Let's keep this simple. I know you don't understand me, but I want to make some things clear. (points to spot on map) We are here. (The Horde member looks away, earning a hard punch in the face from Xena.) GABRIELLE Xena! XENA (points to map again) We are here. (The Horde member nods.) You, where? SOLDIER #1 Look! The animal understands, but he's not going to help us. (draws sword) Let me try! XENA (Stops the soldier) Gabrielle, go outside. GABRIELLE No. (Xena puts the pinch on the Horde member.) By the gods, Xena! SOLDIER #2 What have you done? XENA I've shut off the flow of blood to his brain. He'll be dead in minutes, and he knows it. He can feel his life draining away. GABRIELLE Don't do this. It's murder. XENA I told you Gabrielle, this is war. Go back to the hospital. GABRIELLE So I can pick and choose who lives and who dies? So I can be murderer too? XENA (Taking the pinch off the Hordesman) Take him to the supply room. Chain him up. SOLDIER #1 You mean kill him. XENA I mean, chain him up. (The soldiers take the Horde member away and Xena shakes her head.) GABRIELLE Thank you. XENA Don't you ever question my authority or methods in front of my troops. I told you I'd do whatever it takes, and if that means killing him later, I'll do it. GABRIELLE Your troops? I don't understand. XENA We didn't ask for this. If they want a fight to the death, they'll get it. What part of that didn't you understand? GABRIELLE You! Who are you Xena? Where's the Xena I know? XENA That Xena can't help us now. If losing her is the price for saving us all, I'll pay it. This is just a part of me I didn't think I'd need anymore.
[20] This episode marked the greatest development of Dark Xena and Xena. They were working as a unit. Dark Xena still held the control, but only because Xena had allowed it. In the last two lines of the dialogue above, we saw that Xena was speaking from both sides, as both Xena and Dark Xena. This was a scary time for Gabrielle (and fans), having never seen Xena like this before. Something had to be done.

[21] Gabrielle learned that the injured Horde members lying outside the walls were begging for water as they died. She left the safety of the battlement to give them water. The Horde surrounded her as Xena watched in horror. Fortunately, the Horde thought that Gabrielle was calling a short truce to retrieve the wounded. The Athenians also went out to get their soldiers while Xena went for Gabrielle.

Drat!  Do you know how tough it is to get blood stains out of a
white shirt?

Mercer blows it big time and pays the ultimate price, no pun intended.

[22] At that point, the Athenian soldier, Mercer, who had been sent to get reinforcements crawled into the scene, unsuccessful and having had been mortally wounded. Gabrielle grimly told Xena, "Looks like you got your fight to the death".

[23] Through her compassion and her unwillingness to compromise her standards, Gabrielle reached Xena within the darkness. Xena opened her eyes and saw what she had become once more. She knew that she had to stop the war, and she had to do it her way, without Dark Xena.

[24] Xena learned that the Horde had a code of honor. She sent out her prisoner to fetch his leader. She then sent men to help Gabrielle in the hospital and sent food to the injured. It was then that Gabrielle knew her Xena was back.

[25] Later that evening, Xena joined Gabrielle in the hospital. She sat beside Gabrielle and told her that giving the water to the Horde was the right thing to do.

XENA And I let my fear and hatred blind me to everything. GABRIELLE Sometimes the past can do that. Xena, if I had been through what you've been through... XENA No. No. You understand hatred, but you have never given into it. You don't know how much I love... that.
[26] Xena had had such trouble in this episode because she feared the Horde. Fear was an emotion that Xena did not often feel. This helped Dark Xena gain control of her. Again, Gabrielle helped Xena regain control. It was amazing that Xena had called on Dark Xena. Not only did it show us what people are capable of when terrorized, but also it added a new layer to Xena, and Gabrielle.


[27] Perhaps the single most terrifying Dark Xena moment ever displayed on Xena was visited in THE BITTER SUITE (58/312). In this episode, Xena had just lost her son, Solan, at the hands of Gabrielle's daughter, Hope. While Gabrielle was able to find friends and support with Joxer and the Amazons, Xena, by choice, was alone.

I get this urge to mutter 'Rosebud'.

Xena and Ares on a snowy mountaintop in THE BIITER SUITE.

[28] The Warrior Princess stood atop a high mountain with snow falling. The environment captured the nature of Xena's soul at that moment: dark, lonely, and cold. Ares moved in on her weakened state, sure that he could win her back.

ARES Look, I feel your pain OK-- but how much longer before you start doing something about it? XENA My son is dead, ya soulless b*st*rd! What can I do about that? ARES Just goes to prove what I've been telling you all along-- no good deed goes unpunished-- saving people, defending the weak, trusting someone who betrayed you. XENA Gabrielle. ARES This whole-- atonement kick you've been on lately -- it's not you. You're full of fire-- bending the world to your will-- full of rage-- and revenge. Accept it, Xena. Embrace it. You know what to do-- who to kill.
[29] Ares knew what to say to bring out the rage in the hurting warrior, and he was successful. Darkest Xena rode into the Amazon village, nothing but a force of rage and hatred. She came with only one thought in her mind: to torture and kill Gabrielle.

[30] Ephiny tried to stop the warrior, but Xena made short work of both Ephiny and the Amazon Nation, and later of Joxer. She roped Gabrielle's legs with her whip and then she hopped upon a nearby horse. She rode off, dragging Gabrielle across the lands of Greece. Dark Xena had full control as she dragged Gabrielle through fire, lakes and over rocks. She brought Gabrielle to a cliff and stared at her with hate-filled eyes. Xena was gone, and Dark Xena was making plans to stay. The one who had always helped Xena keep Dark Xena at bay was now the one Xena wanted to destroy, thus handing her soul to Dark Xena.

[31] Xena picked up Gabrielle over head, and in her final descent back into darkness, she screamed, "Vengeance", as she was about to throw Gabrielle off the cliff. However, the bard miraculously regained consciousness, and escaped from Xena's grasp. She looked at Xena, and yelled, "I hate you!" before taking them both over the cliff, and into Illusia.

[32] In Illusia, Xena was separated from Gabrielle, and seeing Callisto did not change her revenge-seeking attitude, "All right Callisto, cut the song and dance. What's going on? Where are we"?

[33] Callisto's song only added to Xena's annoyance, as the expression on her face became darker. Finally, Xena had had it with the riddles.

XENA All right Callisto. You like little ditties? Fine, I got one for ya. "You're acting so strangely That I hardly know ya, But still I wouldn't trust ya As far as I could throw ya." CALLISTO "You're wrong not to trust One that knows you so well I never betrayed you That was, Gabrielle." XENA Gabrielle. Is she here? The one who betrayed me, is she in this land?
Callisto would not answer the question without a riddle, and still it was not an answer. Xena spun the wheel of fortune, wanting to find Gabrielle and finish what she started.

[34] Xena was brought into a hall filled with warriors ready to die at her word. Ares was there as well, taunting the warrior to do his bidding: to kill Gabrielle. Xena was not of a mind to fight her dark side, so when Gabrielle was placed before Xena, she did not give a second thought to driving her sword into the bard. Callisto came before her, and with her words, she reawakened Xena, who was then able to bury Dark Xena for the rest of the season.


Jacqueline Kim isn't the only one who wears silk well!

Xena in silk in DREAMWORKER.

[35] Xena actually got to face a personification of her evil side in DREAMWORKER (03/103) while in her dreamscape passage. Xena ran to open the door out of the passage, when someone laughed. Xena, dressed in a purple kimono, turned to see a figure standing in the shadows. Xena did not know who it was, but the figure spoke with Xena's voice and goaded her.

FIGURE No, no, Xena. You can't leave yet. You haven't passed your final test. XENA Who are you? FIGURE Oh you know me. You know me better than any opponent you've ever faced. This might be your dreamscape, but you can't control me.
[36] The figure stepped out of the shadows to reveal that she was Dark Xena, dressed in Xena's leather and breastplates, but with eyes of pure black. She reached a hand to Xena's face, but Xena turned her head.

DARK XENA I am you. (pause) You can't go through that door until you have the key, and you can't go through life trying to deny that I'm the real you. We were so happy all those years, don't you remember? Putting fear into all, pushing aside those who stood in our way, taking whatever we wanted. Ah, those were the days. XENA That wasn't me. That was never who I really was. DARK XENA Well, let me ask you this, back then, didn't it feel right? Everything we did felt right, it felt... good. XENA But it wasn't. DARK XENA Oh, how would you know? You think this goody-goody act of yours is going to last? There's no glory in being a hero, ask around. You're weak without me Xena, but the fire is still there. Join me. XENA All through this dream passage, I've had to fight people I've killed before, and I couldn't bring myself to kill them again. But as I face you, I realize that it can only mean one thing. DARK XENA Yes, it means what? Tell me. XENA It means I finally get to kill you. (Xena starts to fight Dark Xena, but she can't win.) DARK XENA You can't defeat me. I'm stronger, I've always been stronger. XENA You're just a dark reminder of a disease I once had. If you were that strong, I would never have left you, but I did. (Xena runs to the door, but suddenly, Dark Xena is there.) DARK XENA Ever wonder how the rest of the world sees you? Curious? Watch as if you had the eyes of your victims. (Dark Xena's eyes glow a brilliant white and then burn a red hot fire. She then kicks Xena and continues to beat her up.) No, no, my sister, you can't leave. You still have not found the key. You take for granted all your gifts and talents: me. Everything you are today came from me. Every spark of noble quality that made you a great leader, me. The strength that made men tremble at your name, it all came from me! You understand. XENA I understand. If it weren't for you, I wouldn't exist. Whether I like it or not, you're the key. (pause) You're the key. There's only one way out of this dreamscape. You. You're the key to my nightmares, and no matter what part of me you think you are, I control you.
Xena grabbed Dark Xena and threw her through the door, escaping from her dreamscape passage. She also escaped the temptation of Dark Xena for another day, but for how long?

[37] Although Xenites have come to enjoy watching Xena struggle with her inner demons, the struggle itself amazed me -- the fight of good and evil lived everyday in the soul of one woman. The Horde might have scared Xena, but the most terrifying thing for her (not counting losing those she cared for) was to once more give in to her "dark side", and to not be able to regain control. She feared becoming evil again. She also feared that she would never be able to get away from her evil temptation, something she expressed at the end of DREAMWORKER (03/103).

[38] Gabrielle was at a lake, and Xena walked up to her.

XENA Ready to go? GABRIELLE Xena, I could have killed someone. I mean, I was capable of it. XENA We're all capable of it. The point is you didn't cross that line. GABRIELLE But I got close enough to peek over, and what I saw scared me. XENA See how calm the surface of the water is? That was me once. And then... (tosses a stone in the lake) ...the water ripples and churns. That's what I became. GABRIELLE But if we sit here long enough, it will go back to being still again. You can go back to being calm. XENA But the stone's still under there. It may look as it did before, but it's forever changed... GABRIELLE For your first stab at wisdom, you did all right.
[39] Yet as Gabrielle walked on, Xena looked back at the now calm lake and smiled. Perhaps Gabrielle was right. Maybe she could defeat Dark Xena and become calm. Maybe one day, she could be free.


Julie Ruffell Julie Ruffell
Known as Xena Torres: Warrior Writer online, I am an old timer Xenite, who loved Xena the SECOND she started kicking b*tt on the screen! BATTLE ON XENA! Love writing for Whoosh! and Warrior Princess Press, but writing fan fiction is STILL my fav to do! My work is posted on Tom's Xena Page.
Favorite episode: THE PRICE (44/220)
Favorite line: "I have many skills". THE BLACK WOLF (11/111), TIES THAT BIND (20/120), and HERE SHE COMES...MISS AMPHIPOLIS (35/211).
First episode seen: THE GAUNTLET (H12/112)
Least favorite episode: THE TITANS (07/107)

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