XENA - ANOTHER SEASON 5 - Episode 1

AFTERLIFE

by Andreas Hloupy
andreas.hloupy@siemens.at

Follow the whole TV-like series on http://members.tripod.com/XENA_Another_Season5/index.html

Xena: Warrior Princess, Gabrielle, Argo and all other characters who have appeared in the syndicated series Xena: Warrior Princess, together with the names, titles and backstory are the sole copyright property of MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. No copyright infringement was intended in the writing of this fan fiction. All other characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the author. This story cannot be sold or used for profit in any way. Copies of this story may be made for private use only and must include all disclaimers and copyright notices.

NOTE: All works remain the copyright of the original author. These may not be republished without the author's consent

 

EXT. Forest clearing - Night

ELI stands in the middle of a small forest clearing where snow covers the ground. The night is full of stars and so there is enough light to see fairly well. He is dressed in his usual robe and seems to be calm but thoughtful.

Suddenly there is a noise from the side of the forest Eli is looking at. A ROMAN SOLDIER steps out into the clearing, dragging two large bags behind him. He stops close to Eli, letting go them.

The two men look at each other for a long moment, silently.

Roman Soldier

Here they are. My debt is paid.

Eli

If giving two dead women a decent burial is paying of a debt to you, so be it.

Roman Soldier

Don’t give me that, preacher. If it were not for my wife, I wouldn’t be here. Those two were rightfully executed, as far as I know they are just two criminals, brought to justice.

Eli

Do you ever think about the people you … execute?

Roman Soldier

I had my orders. And if you’re interested, in their case the orders were to let the vultures feed on their dead bodies.

Eli

So you really think that someone, anyone, deserves to end like that?

Roman Soldier

That’s not my decision because I don’t make the laws.

Eli

You have a free will. You decided to bring their bodies to me. If this time there was a reason, maybe another time there is, too?

Roman Soldier

As I said, the debt of my family is paid. You saved my child and I brought you … this. From now on, never ever let me see your face again, because tomorrow you are nothing more to me than an escaped convict.

The roman soldier turns around and hurries away. There is silence for a moment, than AMARICE steps out into the clearing, quickly walks to the bags, knees down and opens the smaller one of them.

In it there’s GABRIELLE, and although her dead body shows very visual signs of her torment, her expression is peaceful, almost happy. Amarice is crying.

Amarice

I will revenge you.

Amarice looks up to Eli.

Amarice

And I will start with the one that just left.

Eli

Don’t let yourself be pulled into this spiral of hate and revenge. The only think you will achieve is death, theirs and maybe your own. Gabrielle should be remembered for her love, her friendship, not acts of violence in her name.

Amarice

I never understood you and I never understood Gabrielle’s way.

Amarice stands up but stares down at Gabrielle’s face.

Amarice

But she became my friend … my tribe. I think you are right, she wouldn’t want me to take a single life in her name. Let’s just bring them home to Amazon land and bury them like the queens they are.

Amarice knees down again and opens the other bag, where XENA is revealed. She has the same look on her face as Gabrielle, even so her body looks beaten and broken.

Eli

I have made arrangements for you to be brought safely back into Amazon territory.

Now Eli knees down, too, and puts a small coin each in Xena and Gabrielle’s mouth.

Eli

May your journey into the afterworld be swift and peaceful. And maybe, sometimes, in a better world, we meet again.

 

CUT TO:

EXT. Riverbank - Day

A wide and slowly floating river runs by some small hills, groups of trees are scattered around, breathtaking mountains fill the background. XENA and GABRIELLE stand side-by-side, eyes closed. The surrounding is totally silent, not even birds or the wind can be heard.

Slowly Gabrielle opens her eyelids and while her head stays steady her eyes wander around. Then Xena opens her eyes, too, and takes in a deep breath.

Gabrielle

We’re here.

Xena

It certainly looks different now.

Gabrielle

That’s a strange think to say about the river Styx, the river of the underworld.

We see now that both are dressed in floating white dresses. Their hair is perfectly done and their faces show not the slightest flaw. They certainly have an unearthly look about them.

Xena

Gabrielle?

Gabrielle

Don’t apologize again.

Xena

(smiling)

I wish you could have lived the longest and happiest of lives, but still, somehow, I’m glad that you’re here with me. I know that sounds selfish, but …

Gabrielle

I know what you mean – and I feel the same way. And don’t be afraid, nobody will separate us again, not after all what we have gone through together.

Xena

Tartarus holds only one horror for me – to be parted from you.

Gabrielle

You have changed so much since your evil times, so many people are in your debt – gods too. I know your soul in good hands.

Xena

Gods tend to forget their debts and remember more of the trouble you’ve given them.

 

CUT TO:

EXT. River Styx - Day

The boat of CHARON, the blind ferryman, is slowly approaching across the river. XENA and GABRIELLE wait patiently. He stops at the riverbank and prepares to take his new passengers on board.

Xena

Long time no see.

When Charon hears Xena’s voice, he seems to remember and suddenly he gets very angry.

Charon

You! You stay away. I will not have any part in your foolish adventures. This is the realm of the dead and no living thing may pass. If someone has died, then get used to it. There is no getting-in, making-deal, taking-dead, and getting-out any more. There are rules and I will follow every one of them to the point.

Xena

Calm down, Charon.

Charon

That’s easy for you to say, the last time I let a living mortal pass, Hades chained me down for a whole year.

Xena

We don’t live.

Charon

No matter what you say, I will not fall for your heroic nonsense. I … you … you don’t live?

Xena

That’s right, Charon. That’s our last journey.

Charon

Well, that’s something completely different. I rarely get famous heroes in my boat these days. Most of them have struck some deal with a god and end up in the strangest of places.

Gabrielle

Well, we seem to have missed that one.

First Xena and than Gabrielle climb on board, each handing Charon a small coin. Than the ferryman prepares the boat to start its journey.

Voice (OFF)

Stop the boat!

Xena, Gabrielle and even Charon turn their head and at least the two women seem surprised.

 

CUT TO:

TITEL SEQUENCE

CUT TO:

EXT. Mountains - Dusk

CALLISTO, dressed in white and with a short haircut, stands alone in a snow covered mountain valley. The sun is almost gone, long shadows are everywhere. There is no sound and the air doesn’t move.

Suddenly wind is coming up, rising in strength to a point Callisto has problems to keep standing. Suddenly a deep, slowly speaking VOICE can be heard, seemingly coming from all sides.

Voice (OFF)

You didn’t follow the rules.

Callisto

I know, I know. Don’t touch, just talk. But what can a girl do when she is outnumbered.

(getting angry)

Xena had to be pushed off that stupid way of hers. Coming to terms with her own sins … she killed my family!

Voice (OFF)

Cesar is dead, too.

Callisto

(real angry now)

Aaarg! Fool! I bet it was Brutus, I told Cesar not to trust him.

Voice (OFF)

So you failed in every way.

Callisto

(suddenly calm again)

You won’t hold that against me, right. I did what you wanted me to do.

(getting angry again)

I will not go back to hell. You seem to know everything. You should have known what happened.

(shouting)

You used me.

Voice (OFF)

You bend the rules … and I like that. Rules are for weaklings. You didn’t corrupt Xena, but she is dead now, so it doesn’t matter any more. And Cesar … his death is the only real inconvenience. But dictators grow on every tree and in less than a year someone else will take his place in Rome. The Republic is already dead.

Callisto is getting more surprised with every word, first turning around left, than right, at the end looking up into the sky.

Callisto

So you don’t take me back to hell?

Voice (off)

No. But your service is still needed. You’re not free either.

Suddenly the wind is gone. There is a long moment of silence.

Callisto

(smiling)

I killed Xena.

 

CUT TO:

EXT. River Styx - Day

Voice (OFF)

Stop the boat!

The boat of Charon, the ferryman, still lies at the riverbank. XENA and GABRIELLE look surprised at the source of the voice approaching while CHARON himself is very businesslike.

The newly arrived passenger is CESAR, dressed in a white toga.

Cesar

I’m glad to see you here, Xena. It tells me that at least some of my men still follow orders.

Xena

I’m glad to see you, too. It tells me that at least some people stand up against tyranny.

Charon

Please, no fighting. You both are dead and with your last breath all past quarrels became insignificant.

Xena

He ordered our death.

Cesar steps into the boat and flips a coin to Charon.

Cesar

And I’m sure she had her hand in mine!

Gabrielle steps between Cesar and Xena.

Gabrielle

It doesn’t matter any more.

Charon

Listen to her! I won’t have any of this on my boat. This used to be the quietest job down here and that’s why I took it.

Charon now puts the boat in motion. Xena and Gabrielle quietly sit down on one side while Cesar sits down on the other. Xena and Cesar continue to eye each other suspiciously.

Cesar

How does it feel to be crucified … I always wondered.

Xena

Lay your hand on a plank and I show you.

Charon

(bored)

He wouldn’t feel a thing … because he’s dead! Now, please, stay quite and let a professional do his job.

Again, everybody is quite for a moment.

Xena

Can I ask you something … ferryman?

Charon

If you absolutely have to, go ahead. But I would prefer if you rather not.

Xena

What would happen if I throw someone – let’s say, Cesar – overboard?

Xena and Cesar now have their eyes locked.

Charon

(annoyed)

Nothing! In case of emergency – don’t bother, because you’re already … ah, I give up.

Cesar

I really miss our little fights.

Gabrielle stops trying to calm and comfort Xena, which has her attention focused on Cesar, and turns towards the blind ferryman.

Gabrielle

(towards Charon)

Charon?

Charon

Well, as there seems no way to avoid getting sucked into this … what is it?

Xena

For your little fights thousands had to die.

Cesar

My actions where statesmanship, while yours where just murder.

Gabrielle

(towards Charon)

Do you bring everybody that dies across the river Styx?

Charon

Ah, okay, let’s do some small talk. Everybody that isn’t related to a special spiritual group will have to use my service. A payment of some sort, usually a coin, is mandatory. So, if you don’t get a regular burial you end up in between worlds, not able to cross the river Styx nor able to go back. Sad, actually.

Cesar

I wonder who buried you, Xena, because I gave the order to let your corpse rot.

Xena

I’m sure it was easy to find people that would pay to see you underground.

Gabrielle now stands up and steps towards the front of the boat, looking over the river.

Gabrielle

So you must have heard a lot of stories?

Charon

Actually, I like it when they are quite. The stories are usually pretty sad, telling of death and loss. This boat can’t carry the weight of all that pain.

Xena

There had to be thousands with your name on their lips, Cesar, your soldiers and your enemies cursing you alike.

Cesar

You led armies into battle, you shouldn’t judge our profession.

Gabrielle starts to cry, quietly, visually getting more upset with every moment.

Xena

Knowing what a conqueror has to do, sometimes, makes me an even better judge of your … of our crimes.

Cesar

The difference between heroics and atrocities is only defined by scale and success. I don’t think that future generations will see crimes in my victories.

Xena

I’m rather forgotten than remembered for your kind of victories.

Cesar

Your type always will be forgotten, it’s men like me that shape the future.

Gabrielle can’t hide her feelings anymore, puts her hands in front of her face and cries, her whole body shacking. Xena reacts immediately, jumping up, stepping behind the bard and laying her hands on Gabrielle’s shoulders.

Xena looks worried and upset.

Xena

What is it?

Gabrielle

Don’t leave me.

Xena

Never again.

Xena comforts Gabrielle and they both sit down. Gabrielle puts her head on Xena’s shoulder and Xena puts her arm around the bard.

Xena

It’s okay, little one, it’s okay.

Cesar

Death doesn’t become her. You should have taken better care of her.

Xena stares at Cesar for a moment, than she turns her attention back to Gabrielle.

The boat silently continues its journey.

 

CUT TO:

EXT. River Styx - Day

The boat of CHARON, the ferryman, has reached its destination, the other side of the river Styx. XENA, GABRIELLE and CESAR have already left the boat, with Xena still having her arm around the bard and Cesar following them a few steps behind.

They walk towards a big, temple-like building, standing alone atop a hill close to the river.

Xena

That looks different, too.

Cesar

Your constant references to earlier visits into the underworld are very irritating.

Xena

And we wouldn’t want to irritate you, would we.

Gabrielle

Xena, please.

Suddenly HADES appears out of nowhere, taking his helmet of invisibility off, right in front of the small group.

Hades

You should listen to your friend, your little war of wits with Cesar won’t impress your judges.

Xena and Gabrielle stop, while Cesar ignores the group and simply walks past them towards the building.

Xena

Since when do you mind a little joke?

Hades

Oh, I don’t mind but that doesn’t matter, because I’m not your judge.

Xena and Gabrielle both look surprised.

Gabrielle

But you are the god of the underworld, you decide who goes to Tartarus and who is allowed to enter the Elysian Fields.

Hades

(smiling)

That was the rule and I … changed it. I selected three honorable men to form a jury that sentences every soul to punishment or to reward. No deal, no influence, just a scale tipping in one direction or the other.

Xena

Seems like a good idea.

Hades

You shouldn’t be too happy about it. I would have been in your debt, those three in there are not.

With that Hades puts his helmet on again and disappears. Xena and Gabrielle are left behind, looking at each other thoughtfully.

 

CUT TO:

COMMERCIAL BREAK

CUT TO:

INT. Court - Day

The court is one large but almost empty hall with a stage on one side with the three judges standing on it, next to each other, and a few torches that shed an eerie light across the scene, letting shadows dance on the wall like an audience.

CESAR enters the hall and marches straight towards the stage, with a confident and proud look on his face.

In the middle of the stage MINOS is standing, his features, including the head, hidden behind a black robe that covers his body and face. To the left there is RADAMANTHYS, with a gray robe and holding a large book, having a very sincere look. To the right AIAKOS is standing in a brown robe, watching the approaching Cesar with an open and friendly smile, holding a burning candle in his hands. While Minos face cannot be seen the other two look old and have a very pale complexion.

When Cesar is within a few steps of the stage, Minos starts to talk.

Minos

Who is next?

Aiakos

It’s Cesar …

Radamanthys

… of Rome.

Minos

Step forward then, Cesar, and receive you judgment.

Cesar has already approached the stage and is now standing right in front of it.

Cesar

Nobody has the right to judge me but history!

XENA and GABRIELLE now enter the hall and stop right next to the entrance, watching Cesar’s trial.

Radamanthys

Nobody stays above the law, above the final judgment. You will face our sentence like all the others before.

Aiakos

This court doesn’t care for kings or peasants, social status is not on trial here.

Minos

Death makes us all equal in suffering, and your past determines your future.

Cesar

I will not accept your ruling. I was a leader amongst sheep, almost a god amongst mortals. I demand to be treated accordingly.

Minos

I’m Minos, I was king of Crete, blessed by Zeus and Poseidon. I represent force in this council.

Radamanthys

I’m Radamanthys, I was respected as a legislator by all people. I represent the law in this council.

Aiakos

I’m Aiakos, I gave my live for justice and fairness. I represent honesty in this council.

Minos

You will accept this court because there is no other way. You will leave this hall only for Tartarus or for the Elysian fields.

Cesar stays silent, he doesn’t move, but his face showing defiance and anger.

Minos

What do you think you deserve … reward or punishment?

Radamanthys

You don’t have to answer and it will not affect our judgment.

Aiakos

But we have found out that the answer is a very good indication of the later ruling.

Cesar

(looking back to Xena)

There are certainly some that want me to plead guilty … but I will not.

(facing the stage again)

I cannot feel guilt over the death of a soldier in war, I cannot feel guilt over the execution of a criminal according to law.

Radamanthys

So you plead not guilty?

Aiakos

So you feel worthy of a reward?

Minos

Let the session begin!

 

CUT TO:

INT. Court Entrance - Day

XENA and GABRIELLE follow Cesar’s trial closely, standing next to each other.

Gabrielle

What do you think will be their ruling?

Xena

Like you said before, it shouldn’t matter to me, not anymore … but it does. If he isn’t send to Tartarus for all his crimes, than Hades did choose the wrong judges.

Gabrielle

Have a little faith.

Xena

In a god? Seems a little late for that.

Gabrielle

(smiling)

Don’t be too hard to yourself.

Xena

I just can’t stop thinking what makes me any different than Cesar. I’ve committed similar crimes and, more than that, I killed so many with my own hands.

Gabrielle

But you felt remorse over what you did, you changed your life – he didn’t. That has to be worth something.

Xena

You’re probably right.

 

CUT TO:

INT. Court - Day

CESAR is still standing in front of MINOS, RADAMANTHYS and AIAKOS, the three judges of the underworld.

Radamanthys

There is no need for any witness, we know everything that has happened throughout your life.

Aiakos

We are familiar with everything that may count for or against you. The weight of every life is put on our shoulders and we have to find the one moment in your life by which we will sentence you.

Cesar

One single moment?

Minos

One single moment decides your afterlife, one moment overcomes all others in your past. By comparing good and bad deeds in ones life you only get confused, you only make the decision harder.

Aiakos

In every life there is a single moment, a single action, that outweighs all the others. By finding this moment, the character, the true self of that being, is revealed beyond doubt.

Radamanthys

This is not a normal court. You will have no chance of defense and our ruling is final. It is not about fairness, it is not about justice, it’s only about the law. You may not like our decision, but that’s how it was, how it is and how it will be.

Cesar

Okay, so choose. Why not take one of my great victories. The day I was elected consul. Or do you want something with a few more tears – what about the moment I’ve been killed by traitors.

Minos

The decision is already made.

Radamanthys

Are you ready to receive your sentence?

Cesar just nods slightly.

Aiakos

Do you remember Thoas?

Cesar

(surprised)

No. Is it a name?

Radamanthys

Thoas was a slave in your father’s household. He was responsible for the light in your room.

Cesar

So?

Minos

You ordered him executed when you burned yourself on a lamp.

Cesar

I don’t remember that, but if so, he was a slave.

Aiakos

He was the first one to die a senseless death because of you … and so many followed. One moment … represents the whole.

Cesar

Wait!

Radamanthys

The sentence is clear … you’re going into the abyss!

Cesar

No! You can’t do that. I conquered the world … I had all the power …

(shouting)

… I would have been emperor!

Minos

Your days in the light have found its end, you’re sent to the darkness that lives in your own heart.

Aiakos blows out the candle in his hand and all the lights in the court go out, too. Darkness surrounds everything.

Cesar (off)

(shouting)

You have no right to do that!

Cesar’s voice slowly moves into the distance.

Cesar (off)

A slave! He was just a slave. I can’t even remember him. His life doesn’t matter … it never did. They were all just figures in a game that I played. You loose them, you replace them!

(shouting)

This is not the end!

All the lights in the court, including the candle in Aiakos hand, come to life again. Cesar is disappeared but everything else looks exactly like before.

 

CUT TO:

EXT. Mountains - Dawn

CALLISTO lies alone on the ground in the snow covered mountain valley, her eyes closed. The sun is just raising and there is no sound.

Suddenly wind is coming up, but Callisto shows no reaction, seemingly sleeping.

Voice (OFF)

Callisto!

Callisto opens her eyes but does not move otherwise.

Callisto

(bored)

You betrayed me. This has to be hell!

Voice (OFF)

Don’t challenge me. If you have already forgotten the real meaning of punishment, I can show you.

Callisto

Ah, grumpy again.

Callisto sits up, lays back her had, closes her eyes and absorbs the morning sun.

Callisto

So why do you disturb my sweet dreams?

Voice (OFF)

You have to find something for me.

Callisto

And that would be?

Voice (OFF)

A mirror. A very special one.

Callisto opens her eyes and raises her head. She looks surprised, almost interested.

Callisto

I didn’t know that you do care for your looks.

Voice (OFF)

Don’t try to understand, just obey.

Callisto

If I do this for you, what will be in it for me?

Voice (OFF)

You will be spared pain beyond your imagination.

Callisto

Don’t give me that twist and torture speech again, I’ve already been through that. You want something, you give something, that is the philosophy of your realm.

Voice (OFF)

What do you want?

Callisto

Just a mortal soul. I want to live in a world where Xena is dead. Maybe settle down, conquer me a small kingdom. For a girl with my talents there are a lot of opportunities, now that the warrior witch is dead.

Voice (OFF)

That is within my powers. But you will owe me one more service once you’re mortal again.

Callisto

Two for the price of one … why not, I’m in a generous mood.

Voice (OFF)

So be it. But first you will get me that mirror.

Suddenly Callisto disappears in a flash and it’s again silent in the valley.

 

CUT TO:

INT. Court Entrance - Day

XENA and GABRIELLE still stand next to each other, staring at the place where Cesar was standing. Both look very thoughtful.

Xena

Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Gabrielle

You mean if he had changed his ways, would they still have him judged by this one moment?

Xena

Well, we’ll see.

Gabrielle

They will not send you to Tartarus, they can’t.

Xena

(smiling)

Oh yes, they can. But you don’t have to worry, I have found my peace. I couldn’t change what I had done but once I found my way I followed it with all my heart - and with part of yours.

Gabrielle

Just remember our fight against Alti. We will be together again … in the future.

Suddenly Hades appears next to them, taking off his helmet.

Hades

Part of your essence will move to a future live, will reincarnate, that is true, but what is here, what is left of Xena and Gabrielle, will end its eternity in Tartarus … or the Elysian fields.

Xena

I thought you didn’t make judgments anymore.

Hades

I will not miss you standing before the final court. Your live was always … interesting, to say the least. So was your death. I just cannot associate you with a dull afterlife.

Xena

I wouldn’t want to disappoint you.

Gabrielle

Would you have sent Xena to the Elysian Fields?

Hades

I could tell you either way, because it doesn’t matter anymore. It is no longer my decision.

Gabrielle

But you could overrule their judgment.

Hades

Maybe, but it won’t happen. I’m just here to watch.

Minos (OFF)

Who is next?

Aiakos (off)

It’s Xena …

Radamanthys (off)

… of Amphipolis.

Minos (off)

Step forward then, Xena, and receive your judgment.

Xena, Gabrielle and Hades all turn their heads towards the three judges.

Xena

I think it’s my turn.

Xena takes a step towards the stage, than stops and turns back towards Gabrielle.

Gabrielle

We see each other on the other side.

Xena

Gabrielle, you have to promise me something.

Gabrielle

(whispering)

Anything.

Xena

If they send me to Tartarus and you to the Elysian Fields … be happy about it, don’t try to change it.

Gabrielle

(protesting)

Xena, I never …

Xena

(interrupting)

Promise me, Gabrielle. Consider it my last wish.

Without waiting for another answer Xena turns away and walks towards the judges. Gabrielle’s look follows her in tears.

Hades

It might not come so far.

Gabrielle

It won’t.

 

CUT TO:

COMMERCIAL BREAK

CUT TO:

INT. Court - Day

XENA is standing in front of MINOS, RADAMANTHYS and AIAKOS, waiting calm and quite for them to start. She looks peaceful, almost happy.

Minos

I’m Minos, I was king off Crete, blessed by Zeus and Poseidon. I represent force in this council.

Radamanthys

I’m Radamanthys, …

Xena

(interrupting)

I heard that already, let’s get it over with.

Aiakos

Do you want to say something before we begin, maybe plead guilty or …

Xena

Actually I want. I watched Cesar’s trial and all I can see right now are all those innocent lives I took. All that I tried to do later on to … save my soul, it could not bring them back to life. And many of them will have found their way into the Elysian Fields … I cannot picture myself amongst them. I plead guilty.

 

CUT TO:

INT. Court Entrance - Day

GABRIELLE watches silently, holding back her tears. She seems to be prepared for the worst. HADES on her side seems curious, almost amused.

 

CUT TO:

INT. Court - Day

XENA is still standing in front of MINOS, RADAMANTHYS and AIAKOS, looking down.

Minos

Let the session begin!

Aiakos

Actually, it wasn’t easy to find a sentence for you, Xena.

Xena looks up, surprised.

Xena

Why’s that?

Radamanthys

Your life is so sharply split in two, every moment we considered seemed only to represent half of it.

Aiakos

A very unusual situation. Quite a challenge.

Minos

But this court always finds a ruling.

Xena

So what moment did you choose?

Aiakos

Do you remember Ming T’ien?

Xena

Yes. I killed him.

Minos

You killed him in your second life because of things that happened in your first.

Xena

I’m not proud of it.

Aiakos

I can understand that. No matter how noble your cause was at first, how big your debt that let you travel so far, in the end you killed him out of rage, out of revenge.

Radamanthys

His death is not the moment we choose.

Aiakos

But maybe we should have. She is a warrior and has killed for so many reasons, good ones and bad ones.

Minos

And we decided not to consider this in her sentence.

Aiakos turns his head towards the other two judges.

Aiakos

(angry)

Her change, her way of fighting for the greater good, her self control, all that is only an illusion thrown over her true being, over her rage and hate, a shield created by other people that saw something inside of her that isn’t there.

Radamanthys

This is not the place and not the time.

Aiakos

Well, the law doesn’t require us to make unanimous decisions.

Aiakos turns his head back to lock at Xena. The warrior princess seems unsure what to make of this dispute and her head turns from one judge to another.

Minos

Your objection is duly noted.

Radamanthys

I’m sorry Xena that you had to witness this dispute. Be assured that our ruling was carefully discussed and honestly decided.

Minos

You were ready to risk everything for a debt you collected in a time you now wish to forget.

Xena

I never want to forget Lao Ma.

Minos

And this shows your true self. Aiakos may be right in saying that you hide a terrible beast inside of you, but your life follows the path of friendship.

Radamanthys

Your dark side is part of you and while Aiakos says that you only cover it we say that you control it.

Aiakos

So, warrior, in the end you will be judged by the good things others saw in you … isn’t that ironic.

Xena

(confused)

But …

Minos

Hear your judgment.

Radamanthys

The sentence is clear … you will go into the light!

Xena doesn’t move and seems overwhelmed by emotions.

 

CUT TO:

INT. Court Entrance - Day

GABRIELLE smiles happily while tears of joy run down her cheek. HADES next to her has a very thoughtful look on his face.

 

CUT TO:

INT. Court - Day

XENA is still standing in front of the judges, her body slightly shacking.

Minos

Your days in the darkness have found its end. You will walk the fields of fortune and witness the home of heroes. You will enter the Elysian Fields.

Aiakos blows out the candle in his hand and all the lights in the court go out, too. Darkness surrounds everything.

Gabrielle (OFF)

Xena!

Xena (OFF)

It’s okay, Gabrielle! We’ll see each other on the other side.

Gabrielle (OFF)

It’s over, Xena. Finally it’s over.

There is a moment of silence.

Hades (OFF)

I wouldn’t be too sure about that.

 

CUT TO:

EXT. Elysian Fields, at the sea - Day

It is a long, beautiful sand shore, rising slightly towards green hills under a clear, blue sky. A light breeze moves the air, the sea is quiet, almost without movement.

MARCUS, Xena’s former lover, and LYCEUS, Xena’s brother, stand side by side, watching the water, obviously waiting for something or someone. Both are dressed in light, white clothes and have a happy, satisfied look on their face.

Suddenly XENA appears out of the water, slowly but easily working her way towards the shore. Her eyes are closed. Her white dress dries immediately, as if never touched by water. When she steps on the beach she stops and slowly opens her eyes.

Lyceus

Sister!

Marcus is just smiling, silently.

Xena

Lyceus!

Xena runs towards her brother and jumps into his arms, they hurl around together, laughing.

When she separates from her brother, Xena turns towards Marcus, becoming a little more sincere, but still smiling.

Xena

I hope you’re not mad at me because I killed you the last time we saw.

Marcus

(sincere)

I know that this dagger through my heart hurt you much more than me. Don’t forget, the dead can hear the thoughts of the living.

(laughing)

Because of you, I’m here, because of you I left Tartarus behind. And more than that, now, so are you. Welcome home.

Marcus steps in front of Xena and hugs her, she lets her body rest against his, eyes closed and with a happy smile.

Lyceus

You will find others here that prayed for you arrival.

Xena opens her eyes and loses her smile.

Xena

And what about those that wish me into Tartarus? All that died by my hand or order have to be furious to see me send here.

Lyceus

Don’t underestimate the power of forgiveness. Everybody here knows that you redeemed yourself. In every sense possible you went to Tartarus and back.

Marcus

Don’t worry, my love. You will find peace here.

Lyceus

There is someone else who wanted to meet you right away.

Xena separates from Marcus and looks around. When she sees SOLIN standing on a nearby hill, watching, she isn’t surprised. All her rage, her anger, her pain and her sorrow seem to vanish and peace and tranquility appear on her face.

Slowly she walks towards the hill while Solin just stands there, staring at her, dressed in a simple white toga. With every step a part from the warrior princess seems to fade away, leaving only the woman and mother.

When she reaches the boy she drops to her knees and without a single word draws him to her, pressing him against her body. Tears fill her eyes, but joyful ones. Marcus and Lyceus appear next to them, watching and smiling.

Suddenly all this is changing – Xena pushes away Solin and raises her head, staring into the sky. First surprise, than wonder, finally anger appears on her face. Through drying tears the old Xena emerges again.

Xena

(shouting in anger)

Gabrielle!

 

CUT TO:

INT. Court - Day

GABRIELLE is standing in front of MINOS, RADAMANTHYS and AIAKOS. She looks confident and happy.

Minos

Do you think your worth of the Elysian Fields, bard?

Gabrielle

I don’t know. I’m just the friend of a great woman, a great hero.

Aiakos

Someone’s live isn’t defined by the deeds on somebody else.

Gabrielle

I know that. But without Xena my live wouldn’t have made any difference. Through her I was allowed to change things, help the weak, protect the innocent.

Radamanthys

Bring evil to justice?

Gabrielle

That too. I tried hard to do the right thing at the right time, to follow my way … our way … and make the world that little bit better.

Minos

So you think you did everything right?

Gabrielle

No, I guess nobody can say that. I just tried very hard.

Aiakos

That’s all anybody can ever ask.

Radamanthys

Do you remember Ming T’ien?

Gabrielle

I can never forget him, for as long as I …

Minos

An evil tyrant if ever there was one. The woman you call friend was destined to stop him, driven by a debt collected long before you knew her.

Radamanthys

You betrayed her. This almost cost your friend’s life and secured Ming’s tyranny.

Minos

You dropped all your principles in the blink of an eye. And for what? To satisfy you jealousy, your anger. To punish her for following her heart, her debt to a friend long gone.

Gabrielle

I was wrong … but I thought I did it on good intentions.

Aiakos

You did. But betrayal is taken very serious down here.

Radamanthys

Trust in one another is sacred. Who knows how often you might have done the same if time and circumstance had allowed.

Aiakos

We don’t sentence on possibilities.

Minos

But we sentence on failure … failure to follow the path of friendship.

Gabrielle is now close to crying again.

Gabrielle

But I did everything I could. I even killed for her!

Aiakos

It will not help you on your way, but I didn’t agree on your ruling.

Radamanthys

Your right, it won’t help her.

Minos

Hear your judgment.

Radamanthys

The sentence is clear … you will go into the abyss!

Gabrielle is shocked, unable to move or react.

Minos

Your days in the light have found its end, you’re sent to the darkness that engulfs your eyes.

Aiakos blows out the candle in his hand and all the lights in the court go out, too. Darkness surrounds everything.

Gabrielle (off)

(desperate)

Xena!

There is a moment of silence.

Gabrielle (off)

(shouting)

Xena!

All the lights in the court come to life again. Only the three judges and Hades are left.

Hades

They always seem to plead guilty when they’re innocent and not guilty when in fact they are.

Aiakos

That’s why it’s used to be such a good indicator. I’m not so sure anymore.

Hades

I agree. Most of the time I can follow your line of thought, your ruling. This time I can’t.

Radamanthys

We don’t make the law.

Minos pulls back his hood and reveals a terribly mutilated, burned face.

Minos

We just enforce it.

 

CUT TO:

COMMERCIAL BREAK

CUT TO:

EXT. Tartarus - Night

It is a small clearing in a dark, jungle-like forest, a light fog floats between the trees, and strange sounds come from every side. The sky is dark and without stars or moon.

MERIDIAN, the priestess that was killed by Gabrielle in Britannia, and CRASSUS, the roman leader who was executed although Gabrielle could have saved him, stand on opposite sides of the clearing. Crassus wears only a dirty loincloth and looks beaten while Meridian wears a simple gray dress, having a healthy and peaceful look on her face, although her eyes are closed.

Suddenly GABRIELLE appears out of the ground in the center of the clearing, obviously quicksand. She slowly crawls out of the dirt, dressed in one of her simple, two part outfits. Her eyes are closed and she has a tortured look on her face.

When she is free from the quicksand she opens her eyes and looks up, first to see Crassus.

She is more than surprised and jumps back, slipping and almost falling back into the quicksand. She stares at Crassus, terrorized.

Crassus

I take it, you remember me?

Gabrielle is unable to answer.

Crassus

Who would have thought, that little, blonde sidekick is send to Tartarus while Xena enjoys the Elysian Fields.

Gabrielle still can’t answer, she just stares at him, slowly crawling backwards.

Crassus

(angry)

Look at me. Everybody in Tartarus is tortured in a different way. I am of royal blood, destined to become emperor. Now I’m just a slave, serving even the lowest scum down here. Someone will have to pay for this.

Crassus makes a step towards Gabrielle. She jumps up and turns, only to be face to face with Meridian.

Meridian

And what about me? I know you remember me because I know you dreamed of me … regularly.

Gabrielle tumbles backwards until a tree stops her. She closes her eyes.

Gabrielle

I didn’t want to kill you.

Meridian

It wasn’t an accident, you stabbed me in cold blood. And than the judges blamed me for that very moment. Look at me!

Gabrielle opens her eyes and stares at the priestess, which now stands only on step away, facing her. Meridian still has her eyes closed.

Meridian

You can be proud, you took my life and you took my hope.

Meridian opens her eyes, revealing two empty sockets.

Meridian

And you took my eyesight.

Gabrielle almost drops to the ground, grabs a branch, pulls herself away from the blind priestess and than starts to run into the woods, the eyes open in terror, never looking back.

Meridian (off)

(shouting)

I hope they found the right punishment for you!

 

CUT TO:

EXT. Tartarus - Night

GABRIELLE is sitting lonely on the ground, with her back to a dead tree, crying. Strange sounds seem to come from everywhere.

Suddenly a small, haunted looking man – TELCHIN - disturbs her and sits down next to her. He looks around a few times as if someone is following him. Gabrielle tries to ignore him.

TELCHIN

Heard you are new. Try to be alone. That’s not good, not good. They will attack the weak, the lonely … so lonely.

Gabrielle

(sad and angry)

Just go away.

Telchin

I’m Telchin, you can call me Tel - everybody does.

Gabrielle

(sad, but softer)

I don’t want to talk to you.

Telchin

Nobody does, nobody. But you can listen, Tel knows, Tel knows everything. They don’t listen.

Gabrielle

Who are they?

Telchin

Those that think inflicting pain takes away their own agony. They are dangerous, believe me, they are.

Gabrielle

They seem to let you alone.

Telchin

They say I’m mad and they keep away from the insane. But really, I’m not mad, I’m not.

Gabrielle’s curiosity now seems to overtake the sadness and anger.

Gabrielle

So why are you down here, than?

Telchin

(getting excited)

Oh, I like the flame. Things burn, you know, they are supposed to. I just help a little, a little. Didn’t want to hurt anybody.

Gabrielle

You set fire? You set fire to what?

Telchin

Only little things, little things … at first, like a cart or a haystack. But bigger things burn better, bigger.

Gabrielle

You put houses on fire?

Telchin

I always looked that nobody was at home, I always looked. Nobody got hurt, nobody.

Gabrielle

(thoughtful)

Well, at least you didn’t betray someone.

Telchin

Ah, betrayal … they don’t like that at all, at all. Who did you … you know?

Gabrielle

My best friend.

Telchin

You should start to forget these things, it’s the best you can do. I do.

Gabrielle

Did you forget?

Telchin

No, not yet. But I try, try hard.

Gabrielle

For how long?

Telchin

(thoughtful)

Eternity. Eternity.


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