“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
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