HOOVES AND HARLOTS (02-09)
IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE? (10-15)
THE QUEST (16-25)
A NECESSARY EVIL (26-27)
MATERNAL INSTINCTS (28-30)
THE BITTER SUITE (31)
Xena, Ephiny, and Gabrielle -- Amazon royalty, no waiting.
Introduction The evolving relationship between Gabrielle and Ephiny, which has now spanned three seasons of Xena: Warrior Princess (XWP), is one that has never really been fully explored. The Amazon Queen and her regent have gone from being wary strangers to the best of friends over the course of time.
HOOVES AND HARLOTS Gabrielle and Ephiny first met during the episode HOOVES AND HARLOTS (10/110), shown during the first season. Terreis, Amazon Princess and sister to Queen Melosa, was quick to observe that while Xena knew Amazon ways, she was not "one of us." She then turned to Gabrielle and smiled, "And you're really not one of us." Gabrielle's reply of, "Hey, don't judge a scroll by its paper," was an indication that Gabrielle possessed more confidence in herself than was granted to her by the Amazon warriors.
 As they walked back to the Amazon village, Terreis and Gabrielle discussed Amazon traditions. Suddenly, there was a sniper attack, and arrows rained down from an unknown location. Terreis was mortally wounded, despite Gabrielle's heroic deed of shielding Terreis with her own body. Ephiny was shocked when a dying Terreis gave Gabrielle her "Right of Caste" - which included not only all the rights and privileges of being an Amazon warrior, but those of an Amazon Princess, as well.
 Queen Melosa charged Ephiny with Gabrielle's education into the world of the Amazons. While Gabrielle was being fitted with Terreis' clothes, Ephiny arrived at the hut to escort the new princess to a weapons lesson, commanding her to, "Come. Now." Ephiny's words and manner brazenly indicated that having this outsider become the heir to the Amazon throne did not thrill her. But Gabrielle's reply of, "I'm sorry, you must have mistaken me for a pet," was meant to inform Ephiny and the other Amazons present that she planned to take her role of Amazon princess seriously.
 While Gabrielle was getting her first lessons in the Amazon ways, Xena and Ephiny each worked separately to learn the truth behind Terreis' murder. Phantes, a Centaur, and son of Centaur leader Tyldus, had been captured and charged with the murder. Though Ephiny believed in Phantes' guilt, Xena was unconvinced.
 Once the Amazons' period of mourning was over, their law dictated that Gabrielle, as Terreis' "heir," become the slain princess' avenger and use Terreis' sword to execute Phantes for the murder. Gabrielle, still a blood innocent at the time, balked at carrying out the execution. Just as Gabrielle lifted the sword to Phantes' throat, Ephiny and Xena returned to the village from their investigative journey and presented evidence that Phantes was innocent. However, Melosa refused to accept the evidence, so Xena demanded the challenge - a fight to the death with Melosa.
 Because Xena was not an Amazon, she was not "legally" allowed to make the challenge, but Gabrielle, as an Amazon Princess, could - and did. When Queen Melosa asked Gabrielle if she wanted to fight her in a battle to the death, the young bard hesitated. Ephiny urged her to, "Choose your weapon, or choose your champion, Gabrielle." Gabrielle finally understood the cue and chose Xena as her champion. Melosa then declared that if Xena lost the fight, she, Gabrielle, and Ephiny would be killed.
 But Xena fought Melosa and won. Phantes was set free, and the Amazons and Centaurs then proceeded to attack the camp of the warlord Krykus, who was responsible for the ambush of the Amazons. The "Hooves and Harlots" were victorious.
 Ephiny's attitude, from first meeting Gabrielle to their parting after the war, had changed tremendously. She became a friend - even to the point of giving Gabrielle the staff her own Amazon mother had given her, a very notable gift. [It is interesting to note that the staff Ephiny originally presented to Gabrielle had a hawk-like decoration at the top, which is in keeping with the style of the Amazon masks. However, this decoration was seen only in the episode HOOVES AND HARLOTS (10/110) and whatever became of the original staff is unknown. It is, like the many changes in the staff's appearance (or even disappearance on occasion), one of the unsolved Gabriellian mysteries.] The staff was symbolic of Ephiny's belief that Gabrielle was worthy to carry and use it, of Ephiny's trust in Gabrielle, and of her growing friendship with the young princess.
IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE? We next saw Ephiny in IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE? (24/124), the episode that closed the first season of Xena: Warrior Princess. A very pregnant Ephiny, escorted by her husband Phantes, had been traveling to Athens for the birth of their baby. While passing through a war zone, Phantes was killed, leaving Ephiny stranded in hostile territory.
 Xena and Gabrielle, who were also traveling to Athens, came upon Ephiny, who had been in hiding. A distraught Ephiny intimated that she felt all alone, but Gabrielle reminded her that her family was with her. "Don't forget - I'm your sister Amazon," she consoled.
 Xena and Gabrielle took Ephiny, along with a Thessalian general Xena had deliberately wounded, to a Mitoan healing temple for care. While helping to treat the wounded inside the temple, Gabrielle was stopped by a man who begged her to help find his little boy, who was still outside in the midst the fighting. Touched by his plea, Gabrielle left the temple, only to be brought back on a stretcher, mortally wounded.
 As Xena sutured Gabrielle's shoulder wound, Gabrielle called for Ephiny, who rushed to her friend's side. Believing she was dying, Gabrielle tried to give Ephiny her Right of Caste, but Ephiny refused it, insisting that Gabrielle was not going to die.
 Xena delivered Ephiny's child by Caesarian section, then immediately had to deal with Gabrielle, who went into cardiac and respiratory arrest. By performing a rudimentary form of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, Xena brought Gabrielle back to life. Later, a recuperating Gabrielle watched Ephiny play with her Centaur son, and relished her new role as an aunt.
 Ephiny's belief in Gabrielle as a true Amazon was evident in her refusal to accept the Right of Caste, and her recognition that the young Princess was indeed a part of her family. "I won't lose her, too," she said. Gabrielle had become her friend, her sister Amazon, and someone she had grown to respect.
Flag Scene or Midriff Scene, you choose.
 Ephiny's increased admiration for Gabrielle became even more evident in THE QUEST (37/213). In the opening scenes, a mourning Gabrielle is seen fulfilling Xena's last wish, that Xena be taken back to Amphipolis to be buried next to her brother, Lyceus. During the journey from the healer's hut where Xena had died, Gabrielle encountered a group of masked Amazons. The warrior women paid homage to the fallen Xena by placing their swords on her sarcophagus. They then removed their masks and Gabrielle recognized Ephiny among their number. The two greeted each other warmly. Ephiny told the young bard that the entire Amazon Nation was in mourning and that they wanted to honor Xena with a traditional Amazon funeral pyre. Though Gabrielle hesitated, Ephiny convinced her to come to the village for a rest before continuing her journey. Gabrielle agreed, and then asked to speak with Queen Melosa. Ephiny informed her that Melosa was dead, killed by Velasca, who had since assumed the throne. Velasca reminded Ephiny that it was, "Fair combat. You keep omitting that word, Ephiny." Reluctantly, Velasca admitted that since Gabrielle had now returned, the Queen's Mask was rightfully the bard's.
 After Gabrielle and the Amazons arrived back in the village, Ephiny asked Gabrielle to assume the throne, fearing that should Velasca become queen, she would drive the Amazons into another war with the Centaurs. Gabrielle at first declined, stating that she had to take Xena's body home to Amphipolis. But Ephiny finally convinced her that it was time to let Xena go, to get on with her life.
 Gabrielle then talked with Velasca, who tried to convince her that since she, Velasca, was truly the rightful queen, the mask should be hers. Gabrielle, in a state of mourning and confusion, "talked" with Xena, then came to a decision. She commanded Ephiny to prepare a traditional Amazon funeral pyre for her friend. She then stated that following the ceremony, she intended to take Xena's ashes to Amphipolis and return to the Amazon village to rule as queen. Ephiny's quick nod of the head and confident smile showed that she felt Gabrielle had made the right choice.
 During the coronation, Eponin handed Gabrielle the mask of the new queen. Velasca, mistakenly thinking she had convinced Gabrielle to relinquish the mask, stepped forward to receive it, then erupted in rage as Gabrielle lifted the mask to her own face. "She says she received the Right of Caste, but who here was there to see it"? Ephiny swore that she had heard Terreis give Gabrielle the Right of Caste. Velasca scoffed at that claim, "You? Who married the enemy and bore his child?" Velasca stormed away in disgust. But Ephiny's defense of Gabrielle was a sign that she believed Gabrielle had matured to the point that there was no question she should assume the throne and lead the Amazon Nation.
 After Gabrielle discovered Autolycus (whose body had been possessed by the spirit of the Warrior Princess) trying to steal Xena's body, he attempted to explain that, "Xena's inside me." But Gabrielle dismissed his explanation and ordered Autolycus to be jailed until after the funeral. However, he escaped, and during his attempt to steal the sarcophagus, Gabrielle watched as The King of Thieves completed several very Xena-like moves, which convinced her he was telling the truth. Autolycus escaped on Argo, Xena's sarcophagus with Gabrielle riding it in tow - although Ephiny had tried to stop Gabrielle from leaving.
 Velasca ordered Ephiny to organize a war party to go after Autolycus and Gabrielle. Ephiny refused, saying that she would go alone. Velasca declared that Gabrielle must die because she betrayed the Amazons, and that she, Velasca, was now the rightful queen. She forced the Amazons in the village to choose sides - with her or against her. Ephiny chose to stand with Gabrielle, preferring to die rather than live under Velasca's rule as Amazon queen. Those who stood with Velasca outnumbered those who stood with Ephiny, and Velasca had the traitors jailed, declaring that they would die with the "imposter to the crown," Gabrielle.
 Velasca caught up with Gabrielle and Autolycus in the Hall of Ambrosia, where they had gone to get the Ambrosia needed to bring Xena's body back to life, and took them back to the Amazon village. While torturing Autolycus, she discovered the Dagger of Helios, which was the key to acquiring the Ambrosia. She then returned to the hall, determined that she would find the ambrosia and become a god.
 Meanwhile, Gabrielle convinced Ephiny that all was not lost, and Autolycus helped the Amazons escape. Gabrielle sent Ephiny and her troops to find Xena's sarcophagus, which she and Autolycus had sent down river. Gabrielle and Autolycus then pursued Velasca to the Hall of Ambrosia. Just at the point Velasca seemed certain of retrieving the ambrosia, Xena's spirit entered Gabrielle's body and the possessed bard engaged Velasca in a fight. In the ensuing battle, Velasca fell, seemingly to her death, and it appeared the ambrosia was lost as well. Yet, a small piece of ambrosia had lodged inside Gabrielle's top. Gabrielle forced the Ambrosia into Xena's mouth, restoring her friend to life.
 Ephiny saw that Gabrielle not only wanted to keep Velasca from becoming queen, but that she desired to keep the Amazon Nation at peace. And one way to ensure this was by keeping Velasca from getting to the Ambrosia and becoming a god. Gabrielle had no wish for the Ambrosia for herself, and had instead used what little was left to restore Xena's life.
 By her actions, Gabrielle had proven her unselfish motives and wisdom to Ephiny and the others. Ephiny, in turn, had shown Gabrielle her loyalty, that she considered Gabrielle a friend and a worthy queen, and that she would be willing to protect the young queen with her own life, if necessary.
A NECESSARY EVIL This trust meant a lot to Gabrielle, who, at the beginning of A NECESSARY EVIL (38/214), handed the mask of the queen to Ephiny. Gabrielle told her that it was what Melosa would have wanted. Ephiny agreed to take it, but only as regent in Gabrielle's absence.
 Velasca then appeared before the shocked Amazons. After taunting them, she ate a piece of Ambrosia that had escaped the fire, which transformed her into a god. Ephiny and the other Amazons rallied to protect Gabrielle from Velasca, who had sworn vengeance on the woman who kept her from being a queen. The Amazon warriors implemented a number of delaying tactics to slow Velasca until Xena and Gabrielle managed to set up their own plan to have Callisto, who was by then an immortal, fight her.
Ephiny is relieved to see Gabrielle again in MATERNAL INSTINCTS.
 The Amazons returned in MATERNAL INSTINCTS (57/311) during the third season. Xena and Gabrielle had returned to the village of the Centaurs to join in the celebration of a peace treaty. Kaleipus, the Centaur who raised Solan, Xena's son, had negotiated between various Centaur factions. Also joining in the celebration were Ephiny and her son, Xenon, a Centaur prince. By this time, Ephiny had become so attuned to Gabrielle's moods that she knew immediately that there was something wrong with the bard. She sent Xenon and Solan out to play so she could talk to Gabrielle.
 Gabrielle told Ephiny only that something bad had happened to her in Britannia and that she had given birth to a child who later died. She did not, however, tell Ephiny the entire story about Dahak and Khrafstar, but only about Hope. Ephiny assured Gabrielle that she could not blame herself for Hope's death, unaware that Hope's death was a fabrication to keep Xena from killing the child of Dahak.
 Following the tragic events which led to the death of both Xena's and Gabrielle's children, Ephiny sang the funeral dirge for Solan and Hope. At that point, Gabrielle left Xena and went to the Amazon village, where she still felt she had a friend in Ephiny and an Amazon "family."
THE BITTER SUITE Later, in the episode THE BITTER SUITE (58/312), we find Gabrielle undergoing the Amazon purification ritual. Ephiny explained to Joxer that without undergoing the ritual, Gabrielle would die from despair. Later, when Xena stormed the village seeking to kill Gabrielle, Ephiny valiantly tried to protect the queen by deflecting Xena's chakram, and she suffered a broken arm in the attempt to stop the Warrior Princess.
Conclusion From a skeptical Amazon meeting a young innocent girl from Poteidaia, to acceptance of Gabrielle as an Amazon, then to confidante and protector of the Amazon Queen, Ephiny's role in Gabrielle's life has changed tremendously. It is Ephiny to whom Gabrielle turns when she needs someone to rule in her absence. Yet, while their relationship has grown closer, there was still something that kept Gabrielle from being totally honest when it came to telling Ephiny about Britannia. Was she afraid that Ephiny would think less of her for what had happened? The growth of the friendship between Ephiny and Gabrielle has followed a natural progression, and though it will, no doubt, be tested, will continue to do so.
Sue Stacy is a true Buckeye, having been born on the main campus of Ohio State University one or two years ago. She has a Bachelor's degree in Radio-Television from Southern Illinois University and a Master's Degree in Modern American History (Broadcasting) from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. She and her companion, GabTBard, have turned their apartment into a shrine to the Warrior Princess and Amazon Queen. Besides Xena: Warrior Princess, Sue enjoys amateur radio (call sign KG8X), genealogy, and Scottish Terriers. SueDayton and GabTBard enjoy the privilege of being parents to one cat, four comet goldfish, and six rats -- Xena, Gabrielle, Lucy, Renee, Ephiny, and Liz.
Favorite episode: A DAY IN THE LIFE (39/215)
Favorite line: Gabrielle: "Does an Amazon Queen beat a Warrior Princess?" A NECESSARY EVIL (38/214)
First episode seen: THE TITANS (07/107)
Least favorite episode: PROMETHEUS (08/108)
Favorite moment:The look on Gabrielle's face when Joxer looks at Xena's neck and asks, "Is that a hickey?" in BEEN THERE, DONE THAT (48/302)