XENA - ANOTHER SEASON 5 - Episode 10

DIE? HARDLY!

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. Prince Agatom’s Palace, Outside - Day

The Palace of Prince Agatom is a big, three-story building with a bright white, richly decorated, friendly exterior. A small river is passing close by and a small stone road is leading to the main gate - a large two-part iron door with engraved pictures on it.

A single SOLDIER, armed with a halberd, stands in front of the gate and seems rather bored.

XENA is approaching the gate, slowly walking along the stone road. She wears dark-blue leather trousers and knee high black leather boots. Over a hard black leather top she wears an open, armless coat made of large patches of dark-blue leather and light gray cotton parts, stitched together and padded. She carries a sword on the back and the Chakram at her belt. Her right arm is in a heavy wooden cast and a sling, while her left hand holds a bag over her shoulder. Her look is relaxed, almost happy.

The soldier steps into Xena’s way.

Soldier

Hold! What is your business?

Xena stops right in front of him and throws an observant look past him onto the gate.

Xena

I’m Xena.

Soldier

Ah, yes. But you weren’t expected until next month.

Xena

I … I finished my business early.

Soldier

Of course … one moment, please.

The soldier turns, steps to a small, face-high opening in the wall next to the gate and looks through it.

Soldier

It’s okay … open the gate!

CUT TO:

INT. Prince Agatom’s Palace, Gatehouse - Day

A SOLDIER turns away from the other side of the face-high opening, inside the gatehouse walls, and steps to a lever on the other side of the small room. To his left there is a small wooden door while to the right a complex formation of waterwheels, gears, ropes, counterweights and similar mechanical elements covers the whole wall up and into the ceiling.

When the soldier pulls the lever, water starts to flow onto one of the waterwheels, putting the whole mechanism into movement and into work.

CUT TO:

EXT. Prince Agatom’s Palace, Outside - Day

The two parts of the main gate start to move slowly to the side, revealing the entrance hall of the palace.

The SOLDIER with XENA smiles proudly - as if he has build this himself - while Xena stays unimpressed.

Soldier

The prince has employed the finest architects and engineers from all over Greece to build this palace. You will see more of its wonders inside.

Xena

I’m not here for sight seeing.

CUT TO:

INT. Prince Agatom’s Palace, GREAT HALL - Day

The main hall of the palace, accessed either through a large door or impressive wide stairs on the opposite side, is a huge room with a series of columns on two sides and a lot of space in between. Right now it’s bright and colorful decorated and a celebration seems to be going on. Dozens of guests stand around, eating, drinking and talking.

PRINCE AGATOM and GABRIELLE stand together near the staircase, talking animatedly. Gabrielle wears a beautiful blue dress and her hair still short. The prince himself is a young, handsome man, only a little older than Gabrielle, dressed simple, but in the latest style, a simple silver band around his head holds his long, black hair.

XENA is lead into the hall by a SERVANT. At the door another servant stops them and gestures Xena obediently to hand him her bag and the weapons.

Absentminded, already looking expectantly through the crowd, she hands the second servant her bag, the sword and the Chakram.

While this one disappears Xena is lead determinedly by the other servant towards the stairs. When she sees Gabrielle Xena starts to smile and stops a few steps away from her, observing her intense talk with the prince. The servant stays back a little and waits.

After a few moments Gabrielle seems to notice something and turns her head towards Xena, immediately stopping her conversation with the prince and smiling happily at Xena. She storms forward and hugs the warrior princess.

Gabrielle

Xena! You’re back!

Xena winces in pain a little bit when Gabrielle presses herself against the hurt arm and Gabrielle lets go of her immediately.

Gabrielle

Sorry, I forgot. I thought you wanted to stay at the mineral springs until your arm is healed completely?

Xena

It’s not that bad anymore … in a few weeks it’ll be okay anyway. I … I missed you. It’s good to see you.

There follows a moment of silence.

Prince Agatom

I greet you, mighty Xena. Your friend Gabrielle told us so much about you … it feels like knowing you for many years.

Xena talks to the prince without looking away from Gabrielle.

Xena

It’s true, she knows me like no one else. But I think we haven’t met yet.

Prince Agatom

Oh, I’m sorry, how rude. I’m Prince Agatom, your humble host.

Xena

I have to thank you for the hospitality you showed my friend.

Prince Agatom

Oh, Gabrielle more than repaid what little I could offer. Her stories about your life and adventures excited us through many dull evenings.

Xena

I’m happy our lives and sufferings have entertained you.

(towards Gabrielle)

But now I think it’s time to go.

Gabrielle

Why don’t we stay here for a while? Prince Agatom has invited me … us to be his guests … for at least another month. Your arm needs rest.

Xena

My arm needs action … and even if I weren't completely fit again, I think there are more important things to do than to fight boredom.

Gabrielle

Xena, here I can talk to the brightest minds in all of Greece … and tell our tales to a great audience. It finally feels good to be a bard … again. Let’s stay for two more weeks … you won’t regret it.

Prince Agatom

Listen to your friend. Life in this palace can be very … stimulating. Two weeks will pass in an instant.

Xena

Thanks … but no. Gabrielle, we are on our way.

Gabrielle

But maybe … I want to stay a little longer.

Xena

Gabrielle, first you didn’t want to stay behind at all and now you want me to leave alone?

Xena and Gabrielle stare into each other’s eyes, both seem disappointed.

Prince Agatom

Maybe it’s best to not decide this immediately. You had a long journey, you probably want to freshen up a little bit. And than, during dinner, you two can decide what to do.

Gabrielle

Xena … please?

Xena

All right. Let’s think about it.

Prince Agatom waves for the still waiting servant.

Xena turns away from Gabrielle and follows the servant up the stairs. When they have disappeared from view Gabrielle turns back to the prince, looking thoughtful.

Prince Agatom

Your friend is exactly like your tales suggested … passionate, impulsive, single-minded … strong headed. I wonder how you keep up with her?

Gabrielle is silent for a moment, staring at the prince.

Gabrielle

Xena is the foundation of my live and if she really wants to leave … than I will go with her.

Prince Agatom

You would give up such a great opportunity … because of her?

Gabrielle

I would sacrifice everything for her … as she would for me. If my tales haven’t told you that, than I’m maybe not as good a bard as you think.

In that moment a group of armed men and women storm the hall from the door side, weapons drawn. All the guests and servants, including Gabrielle and Prince Agatom, are quickly and brutally hurdled together in one corner – resistance is impossible as nobody in the hall carries any weapons and too many innocent people stand in the way. Sounds and protest quickly die down.

First a look at the nine warriors:

WORFUS, a big, brutal fighter with a sadistic laugh, wears a combination of heavy leather and chain armor, carrying a two handed axe.

RIKUS, a smaller build fighter, bears a certain resemblance to Worfus, although he seems more calm and efficient. He wears normal clothes and a beard while armed with a sword.

OBRINUS, is very heavy build, actually overweight, but looks intelligent and stays in the background – he seems to carry no weapon.

BRUNTUS is the biggest of them all, but doesn’t look too bright - and he doesn’t talk. He swings a mean club, wearing normal clothes.

PARES, good looking and dressed in a black leather outfit, carries only throwing knives as weapons – but lots of them.

BELANAIA is a warrior woman in brown leather armor. She doesn’t seem to care too much for her look – she is dirty and ragged. Only her sword seems well cared for.

WESLIUS is the youngest of them all. He is silent and seems a little unsure, wearing normal clothes and a short sword.

SEVENA is a cold looking Amazon, wearing a tight leather outfit and a sword – but while rounding up the hostages she only uses her unarmed skills, keeping her sword on the back.

The leader of the group is SISKUS and he enters the hall last, when everything is already under control. He wears black leather armor but no visible weapon. His face under short blond hairs seems intelligent and determined. He is calm and speaks slowly, deliberately.

He positions himself in front of the surrounded people. A few of them start to talk but are quickly silenced by the warriors around them.

Siskus

Please, if you keep silent and follow our orders, nobody will be harmed. My name is Siskus. You all are held hostage to be exchanged against imprisoned followers of our cause. If the king agrees to our demands this will be over very soon. If you make any problems, your life will be over even sooner.

CUT TO:

INT. Prince Agatom’s Palace, Guest quarters - Day

The SERVANT who has lead Xena away from the great hall is just leaving a room unsuspectingly when one of Siskus’ men, WORFUS, surprises him, grabs him at the throat and pushes him down the corridor, towards the waiting BRUNTUS.

Worfus

One false move and I ask my friend here to rip your arm off.

(towards Bruntus)

Take him to the others.

He watches while BRUNTUS drags the scared servant away. Then he turns and takes a quick look into the room - but nothing unusual can be seen, the room lies empty and dark. Just when he seems to have decided to enter the room, RIKUS appears behind him.

Rikus

It’s okay Worfus, all servants, guards and invited guests are accounted for, there is nobody left missing.

Worfus

If you say so, brother.

They both leave, walking back to the great hall. Moments later XENA drops down from the ceiling inside the room. She only wears the dark-blue leather trousers and knee high black leather boots with the hard black leather top. She immediately grabs her right arm in the cast with a painful expression on her face. Then she moves her hand towards the place where the Chakram would normally be. A grim smile appears on her face.

Xena

Some heavily armed thugs, dozens of hostages, my own weapons gone … exactly what the doctor has ordered.

CUT TO:

 

In a time of ancient gods ... warlords ... and kings ...

... a land in turmoil cried out for a hero!

 

She was XENA ...

... a mighty princess, forged in the heat of battle.

 

The power ...

The passion ...

The danger ...

Her courage will change the world!

 

CUT TO:

INT. Prince Agatom’s Palace, NEAR Library - Day

XENA is slowly walking down a corridor, obviously trying to avoid any noise. Reaching a door she listens, opens it carefully and than peaks inside. Disappointed, she closes the door again.

Xena

(whispering)

Don’t they have any weapons in this building?

When she listens at the next door, she seems to hear something. She crouches down beside the door and then slowly pushes the door open.

CUT TO:

INT. Prince Agatom’s Palace, Library - Day

The library is a large room with maybe a dozen bookshelves standing around in no particular order or symmetry. A few comfortable chairs, some writing desks and a few benches at the wall form the rest of the interior.

There are SISKUS, OBRINUS, SEVENA and PRINCE AGATOM, all standing in the middle of the room. Sevena stands behind the prince while Siskus stands in front of him. Obrinus keeps a few yards distance to the group. In the background the door to the room slowly swings open, but nobody seems to notice it.

Siskus

Now, I would like a little favor from you.

Prince Agatom

I will never help to free your henchmen.

Siskus

Well, I will keep that in mind. For now it would be enough for you to open the vault beneath your palace.

Prince Agatom

What?

Sevena hits the prince in the back and he falls down to his knees.

Siskus

You see, I don’t like to repeat myself, but to show you my good will I wave this rule for now. I want you to open the vault that lies hidden within the palace dungeon.

(sarcastic)

Please.

Prince Agatom

You’re just a thief? A simple, common thief?

Sevena hits the prince again and he falls forward.

Siskus

I will not repeat myself again. Sevena here couldn’t care less if you life or die. I would prefer to handle this affair without casualties, but again, for now I might wave this rule.

Prince Agatom

You will never escape with my treasures. The king’s guard will catch you the moment you leave my palace.

Sevena kicks the prince and he looses his consciousness.

Siskus

Obrinus, you can open the vault for me, right?

Obrinius

I wouldn’t be here if I couldn’t handle that, would I?

Siskus

Well, I didn’t bring you for your charming personality. Sevena, you dispose of our headstrong host here.

Sevena

Of course.

Siskus and Obrinus leave the room while Sevena drags the prince towards a bench at the wall.

CUT TO:

INT. Prince Agatom’s Palace, NEAR Library - Day

SISKUS and OBRINIUS leave the room through the open door and quickly disappear around the next corner.

Obrinius

He was right though … you know that. The treasures in his vault are much too bulky to get away with them unseen.

Siskus

Keep focused on your task and let me handle the details.

When the two are out of sight XENA comes out of the room next to the library, moving quickly to the still open door and peaking around the corner.

CUT TO:

INT. Prince Agatom’s Palace, Library - Day

SEVENA has placed the unconscious PRINCE AGATOM on the bench and looks down on him. When he moves and opens his eyes, she grabs his throat single handedly and starts suffocating him, seemingly without effort. The prince grabs her arm and tries to push it away, but without any result. He starts to faint again.

Sevena

Resistance is futile.

Xena (Off)

We’ll see about that!

Sevena lets go of the prince and turns around. XENA has entered the room and stands only a few feet away.

Sevena

Shouldn’t you be in the hall with all the other hostages?

Xena

Shouldn’t you be in Tartarus with all the other vermin?

Sevena tries to draw her sword but Xena jumps forward, throwing her whole body against her and both women hit the ground hard. The sword slides away while the two fighters roll on the ground.

Both Xena and Sevena jump up immediately, with Xena getting the advantage and hitting Sevena with a kick to the chest. Sevena stumbles back but can block the next attack by Xena, countering with a straight hit to her face resulting in a cut and some blood over Xena's left eye.

Xena

You fight like a girl.

Xena attacks again, but Sevena can dodge away and answer with a kick towards Xena's right arm. The wooden cast on the arm is smashed and Xena is thrown back, wincing in pain and frustration.

Sevena smiles triumphantly and jumps forward, covering Xena in a series of attacks, both kicks and hits. Xena can barely block them all, but her hurt right arm is hit twice and her defense seems to falter. Finally, a sweeping kick by Sevena can't be blocked or dodged by the warrior princess and she falls to the ground.

Sevena

Now … you will die.

Sevena stands over the exhausted and injured Xena, smiling. Then she turns sideways and goes to one knee to pick up her sword.

In that moment Xena rolls backwards, beneath one of the freestanding bookshelf and pushes it with her feet to fall towards Sevena. Xena’s opponent cries out, but is than buried beneath a heap of wood, scrolls and books. Blood appears underneath and forms a small, red rill.

Xena

A friend of mine always told me the scroll is mightier than the sword … I guess she's right.

Xena lies back for a few moments, breathing heavily and pressing her right arm against her chest. Than a moan comes from the prince and she stands up slowly and staggers towards him.

Xena

(weak)

You’re badly hurt. I have to hide you and than you can tell me what's going on here.

CUT TO:

INT. Prince Agatom’s Palace, Great Hall - Day

All prisoners are hurdled together in one corner of the room, sitting on the floor with GABRIELLE right between them. BRUNTUS and WESLIUS guard them while SISKUS, WORFUS and RIKUS stand in the middle of the hall and talk, looking over some scrolls.

Rikus

Pares and Belana are almost finished.

Siskus

Excellent, everything works according to plan.

Suddenly a noise turns the attention of both villains and hostages towards the big staircase at the end of the hall. Sevena is rolling down the stairs, lifeless.

Before she even hits the bottom, Siskus, Rikus and Worfus run towards her. Rikus is the first to reach the dead body and after checking her breath he shakes his head.

Siskus in the meantime has walked up next to them and looks down on the dead warrior woman, trying hard to stay calm and don’t letting his obvious anger overcome him.

Rikus

(looking up to Siskus)

I think we have a problem.

Siskus

Take your brother and turn this palace upside down. And don’t forget to look for the prince, too. I have the feeling he isn’t dead yet.

Worfus

Maybe he did it?

Siskus

I wouldn’t count on it.

Rikus

Should we bring them alive?

Siskus

I have no use for more whining hostages. Just get rid of them!

Rikus nods towards his brother and than walks up the stairs. Worfus follows right behind him. Siskus sits down on the stairs next to the dead body of Sevena.

There is some whispering amongst the hostages. One GUEST, sitting next to Gabrielle, turns towards her.

Guest

I don’t like that. Whoever does this risks our lives.

Gabrielle

I think that person’s life is more at stake than yours.

(more to herself)

But since when do hopeless odds and a broken arm stop her.

Guest

Her? Of course, your warrior friend! I saw her arrive.

Gabrielle

You have to be silent about it. I don’t think they know with whom they are dealing right now.

Guest

If you want to pin all your hope on her, suit yourself. But if they start killing us because of this foolishness don’t expect me to stay quiet.

Gabrielle

She will have us free before the hour is over. Trust me.

Guest

Trusting you? She has no chance at all. She’s alone.

Gabrielle

She knows what she is doing. And she is not alone.

CUT TO:

COMMERCIAL BREAK

CUT TO:

INT. Prince Agatom’s Palace, Dungeon - Day

It’s an underground cavern with long rows of pillars. Some are torn down and replaced by wooden ones, which are connected by ropes. There are tools and wood, laid out across the floor. It’s fairly dark, only a few torches give some light around the center.

BELANAIA and PARES appear out of the dark. They look exhausted.

Belanaia

If we aren’t finished in time, Siskus will tear out our hearts.

Pares

I have lost mine years ago.

Belanaia

Cut the crab, we have a job to do. Later there is enough time for your little games.

Pares

I always thought you liked them.

Belanaia grabs Pares on his armor and pulls him close.

Belanaia

Go to work. Now.

Pares

Of course I will.

Belanaia let’s go of him and they start working on the wooden pillars.

Pares

Still, you’re looking great when you’re mad.

CUT TO:

Int. Prince Agatom’s Palace, Roof - Day

A knee-high stone parapet surrounds the roof of the palace, which is laid out like a big garden with stone walkways in between, covering the whole area. In the center a spiral staircase leads into the palace.

XENA is standing on the top of the stairs. She has removed the rests of the cast and sling from her right arm and presses him against her chest with her left hand – she seems in pain. She has put Sevena’s sword in her belt.

Xena

Okay, there are only eight of them left and you have a weapon … that shifts the odds a little.

Xena looks around, searching.

Xena

The prince is hidden … I think it’s time to get the attention of the outside.

Rikus (Off)

But we wouldn’t want that, would we.

Xena whirls around, letting go of her hurt arm and grabbing her sword with the left. RIKUS and WORFUS stand a few steps down the staircase, both have drawn their weapons.

Worfus

You’re hurt … good.

Rikus

You surely don’t want to risk any more lives, do you? I say you give up and we forget the mess you made with our … colleague.

Xena

I don’t know … I kind of liked it.

Letting out her war cry Xena summersaults backwards, away from the staircase and into some bushes. Rikus and Worfus take the last steps with a few quick jumps, but before they follow her into the garden Rikus stops his brother by grabbing him on the shoulder. Worfus turns and looks angrily at Rikus.

Worfus

What are you doing … we can’t let her get away.

Rikus

Of course, we don’t. But you stay here and guard the stairs … than she’s trapped on the roof. I take care of her.

Worfus

She killed Sevena.

Rikus

That fake Amazon was always too arrogant. I bet she underestimated that woman. I’m not a fool … trust me.

Rikus nods towards his brother, than he turns and slowly, carefully follows the path Xena used. Worfus follows him with his angry look. When Rikus has disappeared between the bushes he leans his back at the wall surrounding three sides of the staircase, pulls out a whetstone and starts working on the blade of his axe.

CUT TO:

Int. Prince Agatom’s Palace, Roof - Day

In this part of the roof a small area is reserved for bow and arrow practice. A few straw targets are lined up near the parapet on the edge of the roof, about 20 yards away a table holds a few bows and a bucket full of arrows.

XENA is standing next to the table, holding a bow in her right hand – the arm is hanging down straight at her side. In her left hand she holds an arrow, looking at its head.

Suddenly RIKUS steps out of a group of trees, only a few steps away from Xena. He stops and looks smilingly at Xena’s back, as she is turned away from him.

Rikus

I don’t think you will be able to fire that bow … with you injured arm.

Xena slowly turns around, somehow looking satisfied instead of surprised.

Xena

You’re probably right.

Rikus

You can’t even raise the bow … let alone bend it.

Xena

Well … I should have thought about that.

Rikus

Of course you could draw your sword … but I don’t think that would do you any good, either.

Xena

You seem pretty competent … in my condition I would stand no chance.

Rikus

So we agree then … and you give up.

Xena starts to smile – Rikus does, too.

Xena

Let me first put the arrow away.

Xena raises her left hand with the arrow and then, with one quick motion, throws the arrow towards Rikus.

The arrowhead drives right through Rikus’ throat. His look turns into silent surprise, his eyes wide open. His left hand slowly moves upwards and then grabs the arrow.

A moment later he slowly falls backwards.

Xena

That woman at least took me serious …

Xena turns back to the table and picks up another arrow. Then she walks over to the straw targets and steps between two of them. She holds the arrow with her teeth while fixing the bow horizontally between these two targets, directed to shoot away from the roof.

Xena

That should do.

CUT TO:

EXT. Prince Agatom’s Palace, Outside - Day

The palace lies quietly, the gate is closed but no guard is in sight.

Along the path a single SOLDIER, carrying his halberd rather bored, walks slowly towards the palace. Before he reaches the gate the two doors silently slide open and SISKUS, dresses as a guard and carrying a halberd himself, steps outside.

The SOLDIER stops right in front of Siskus.

Siskus

What is it? Is there a problem?

Soldier

No. Well, actually there is one … a minor one. The commander of the king’s guards has send me to ask the prince … well, someone is shouting burning arrows over to the king’s palace on the other side of the hill. So … my commander knows the prince’s taste for fun and entertainment … but could he maybe stop it?

Siskus throws a look up towards the roof of the palace.

Siskus

I will get the message to the prince immediately … I’m sure he will put an end to this … foolishness.

Soldier

I would use some other words … but anyway, it’s your problem now.

The soldier turns around and starts walking away while Siskus follows him with his eyes, smiling.

Suddenly, a familiar war cry can be heard from above and the soldier stops, turns and looks upwards – just in time to see a human body falling down from the roof. Siskus’ head also turns upwards and his look immediately looses its friendly smile.

The body – the dead Rikus – hits the ground only feet away from the soldier who stares at him, utterly surprised and confused.

Siskus is the first one to react. He turns around and runs through the open gate.

Siskus

(shouting)

Obrinus … close the gate … and kill that damn soldier.

The gate starts to close immediately after Siskus has passed the two doors. The soldier, staring at the dead body to his feet, seems to wake up from his trance and looks at the gate.

Right above it a row of flaps, until now disguised as normal stone, open up and reveal a series of automatic crossbows, ready to fire.

The eyes of the soldier grow big and he turns around in panic. He just starts to run down the road, away from the palace, when the first crossbow fires.

The bolt hits the ground only a feet to the side of the soldier, the next one misses the head of the soldier by even less. He throws away his halberd and races for a line of trees and bushes next to the road. One bold knocks away his helmet, another one rips open his armor on the shoulder – but finally a desperate jump takes the man behind the tree line and into safety.

CUT TO:

INT. Prince Agatom’s Palace, Great Hall - Day

The hostages are still sitting on the floor in one corner, still guarded by WESLIUS and BRUNTUS. SISKUS, PARES and BELANAIA stand in a group next to them.

Belanaia

We’re finished with the pillars … but Obrinus can't open the vault.

Siskus

I know. But don't worry … I'm prepared for this. That woman on the roof on the other hand is really annoying … but there is still enough room in my plan to set things straight.

Pares

Worfus is still guarding the roof?

Siskus

Yes … she is trapped there.

Belanaia

Did you tell him that his brother is dead?

Siskus

No … I need him focused … at least for now. But he will find out soon … the roof isn’t that big.

OBRINUS storms into the room and runs right to Siskus – he looks worried.

Obrinus

They have surrounded the palace … a whole regiment of the king’s guard.

Pares

We need more time.

Siskus

We have to stall them. Obrinus … take Bruntus and prepare everything for their attack. I try to get a few more minutes out of them. The rest stays put.

Obrinus

But … the vault?

Siskus

I take care of that … now go.

Obrinus nods and walks over to Bruntus while Belanaia and Pares join Weslius in guard duty.

Siskus also walks up to the group of hostages and lets his eyes wander over their – mostly scared – faces.

Siskus

The law has taken position outside of the palace … I think it’s time to set things straight. And one of you is going to help me.

GABRIELLE stands up and looks at him, proud, even smiling a little bit.

Gabrielle

Take me … and let the others alone.

Siskus turns towards her and musters her.

Siskus

Young female … blond … fairly good looking … yes, I think you would make a good extra in my little play.

Gabrielle is a little surprised by that response, but also angry.

Gabrielle

I rather play the lead.

Siskus

I’m sorry … but that role is already taken.

CUT TO:

EXT. Prince Agatom’s Palace, Outside - Day

Soldiers have surrounded the castle, positioned behind the natural cover of trees and ditches as well as shields.

They watch the palace while a few officers have a conversation near by. The attention of everyone turns towards the gate when the two doors slide to the side.

SISKUS, pushing a tied up GABRIELLE – her hands are tied behind her back - in front of him, steps through the gate. He then stops, holding her at the shoulder while keeping a dagger at her throat. She looks angry while he smiles friendly.

Siskus

(loud)

Let’s keep it simple … I have hostages and total control over the palace … if you try something stupid … they’re all going to die.

One of the OFFICERS steps out, onto the road and walks a few steps towards the palace.

Officer

What do you want?

Siskus

I will give you my demands in due time … until then … keep out of my way.

Siskus slowly walks backwards, dragging Gabrielle with him. When they are through the gate it closes.

CUT TO:

INT. Prince Agatom’s Palace, Great Hall - Day

SISKUS enters the hall dragging the still tied up Gabrielle with him. WESLIUS, PARES and BELANAIA are guarding the hostages.

Gabrielle

You will never escape.

Siskus

Are we the defiant one. Don’t trouble yourself with my problems … everything is under control.

Suddenly OBRINUS comes running down the stairs on the other side of the hall.

Obrinus

(shouting)

They are coming … they are attacking the main gate.

Gabrielle

But … they know you have hostages.

Siskus

The king’s guard is not known for it’s delicate crisis management. A soldier will always think as one … and act as one.

Siskus pushes Gabrielle into the direction of the other hostages and Belanaia grabs her.

Siskus

I love it when a plan works out.

CUT TO:

EXT. Prince Agatom’s Palace, Outside - Day

A group of eight soldiers has approached the gate, carrying a ram. Upon reaching the metal doors they immediately starting to ponder it with the log. Each hit produces a deafening sound.

Suddenly another row of secret flaps opens right above the gate, this time revealing metal pipes. Before the soldiers below the gate can react, boiling oil comes out of all the pipes, forming a deadly curtain.

All eight soldiers are hit and drop screaming to the ground, rolling around to get the oil of their burned bodies.

CUT TO:

INT. Prince Agatom’s Palace, Roof - Day

XENA hangs over the parapet, looking down at the scenes in front of the gate. The screams from the eight soldiers can be heard quit clearly. She looks angry, frustrated.

Xena

Idiots.

Xena looks around, seemingly searching something. A flagpole at the edge of the roof catches her look. She immediately runs towards the pole and jumps on top of the parapet next to it.

She looks upwards and than checks the rope that runs in a large loop from top to bottom. She draws her sword – with the left hand – and cuts the loop, grabbing one end with her right hand even so it seems to hurt. She quickly ties this end around the hilt of the sword and than grabs the other end with her left hand.

Worfus (Off)

Where do you thing you're going?

Xena slowly turns around. WORFUS stands only a few steps away, holding his axe in both hands, smiling sadistically.

Xena

Where your friend has gone … only a little better prepared.

Worfus

What have you done to my brother?

Xena

Brother … I should have seen the resemblance. Well … my condolences.

Now Xena just lets herself fall backwards, off the roof. Worfus cries out hatefully and storms forward, rising his axe.

Xena drops a few yards, about the length of the pole, while dragging the rope with her. The sword in the meantime is pulled up, and when it reaches the wheel on top of the pole it stops the rope from going any further.

Xena’s fall is stopped and she swings towards the palace front, towards a row of windows, closed by wooden shutters.

Up on the roof Worfus has reached the flagpole and – with no Xena in reach – swings his axe at the wooden pole. One hit of the mighty axe cuts the pole near the bottom and it starts to fall off the roof, too.

Xena - robbed of her hold - is now freefalling towards the palace front, covering her face with the left arm right before she hits one of the wooden shutters.

CUT TO:

INT. Prince Agatom’s Palace, Boiling room - Day

The boiling room is a large room right above the gatehouse. It contains four large fires with cauldrons held above them on iron tracks along the ceiling. Oil is kept in these cauldrons and they can be dragged along the tracks to a gutter in the floor, which leads to a series of metal pipes, disappearing into the floor – obviously reappearing above the gate.

BRUNTUS seems to have emptied one of the cauldrons into the gutter and has pushed the empty one to the side. Now he is dragging a second one towards the area where its deadly content can be released.

In that very moment XENA comes crashing through one of the closed windows, landing hard right next to the iron pipes – actually on top of one of them.

She immediately reacts, rolling to the side – but the remaining oil has already burned her left leg below the knee. She cries out and with pain and determination in her face she jumps up and pulls off her left boot, avoiding most of the damage.

Bruntus has followed all this utterly surprised and stunned – but now he picks up his club, lying next to him on the ground, and walks towards Xena.

Xena looks up and sees him approaching – a quick look around allows her to analyze the fighting grounds. A grim smile appears on her face.

Bruntus swings his club and Xena manages to dodge the blow. His movements are slow, but powerful while Xena is obviously hindered by her injuries.

Bruntus slowly drives Xena back, towards one of the fires with a still full cauldron above it. A low blow by the club hits Xena’s right knee and sends her flying backwards. She lands hard on the floor, right next to the fire and Bruntus lets out a triumphant grunt.

But Xena manages to jump up and dodge the next blow. She somersaults forward, over the surprised Bruntus and while in the air she kicks his head from behind, sending him stumbling forward, against the cauldron.

He stops his fall with one hand against the metal, but of course he burns himself and immediately pushes himself away again, with a painful look on his face. He turns around, swinging his club in a wide arc about waist high, but Xena has rolled away the moment she touched the floor. Near the cauldron at the gutter Xena stops, kneeing on the ground, looking exhausted and in pain.

Bruntus lifts his club and storms forward, throwing caution away. A quick smile appears on Xena’s face, than she jumps upwards again, grabbing the track above her head and at the same time kicking with her right foot the lever at the cauldron – which results in the cauldron tipping over.

The boiling oil, flooding out, misses the gutter – but hit’s Bruntus. The big man cries out when the mass of burning hot liquid hits him, engulfs him. Moments later the sounds die down.

Bruntus – or what’s left of him – lies on the ground, in a big puddle of steaming oil. Xena hangs above him, only holding herself with her left hand.

Xena

Now would be a good time for another cheesy one liner.

CUT TO:

COMMERCIAL BREAK

CUT TO:

EXT. The void - Darkness

There is total darkness … and total silence … except for two voices.

Apollo

You can’t do that … he is only a thief.

Hermes

I like that.

Apollo

We all know your preference for shady characters … but this is serious business. Only the worthy should be selected.

Hermes

What’s so worthy about your priest?

Apollo

Abaris combines all the best qualities … he will be an excellent champion.

Hermes

Personally I think he has no skills of his own and only lives through your support. Autolycus on the other side is a very skillful character.

Apollo

He’s a thief … he lacks the moral basics we need for this task.

Hermes

Apollo … relax. What would it be worth to be a god if we couldn’t have a little … fun?

CUT TO:

INT. Prince Agatom’s Palace, Great Hall - Day

The hostages are still sitting on the floor in one corner, but most of them are tied up, now. PARES and BELANAIA are busy tying the last of the hostages. WESLIUS overlooks the others, with GABRIELLE sitting near the edge of the group.

SISKUS stands in the middle of the hall, eyes closed, seemingly waiting for something.

Suddenly OBRINUS storms into the hall.

Obrinus

They closed the dam … the stream next to the palace runs dry … without the water nothing in this palace works! We've lost the defenses!

Obrinus stops, exhausted, right in front of Siskus. All eyes in the room, villains and hostages, stare at him at the moment.

Siskus slowly opens his eyes and smiles at Obrinus.

Siskus

Good.

Obrinus

Good? They already have started to work on the gate again, they can come in here any minute!

Siskus

Probably.

Obrinus

So what?

Siskus

I want you to go down to the vault again.

Obrinus

But I can't open it!

Siskus

Because some of its locks were water operated …

Obrinus

But now … there's no water.

Siskus

Right.

Obrinus

Of course … now I should be able to open it.

Siskus

Everything works according to plan.

Suddenly noise from the staircase interrupts the conversation.

It's XENA, running down the stair, closely followed by a furious WORFUS, shouting and swinging his axe against the warrior princess - but her lead is still enough, although she seems strongly hindered by her injured, barefoot left leg.

Now everyone in the hall is staring at them as they reach the bottom of the stairs and Xena continues to run, towards the other exit.

Siskus and Obrinus draw hidden daggers out of their clothing, but Xena has passed them before they can attack. While Belanaia finishes tying up the last hostage, Pares draws one of his throwing knifes.

Before he can throw it, Gabrielle gets on her feet and throws herself forward, against the unsuspecting Pares. Although her hands are tied up behind her back she hits him with her shoulder in the back and both fall to the ground.

Xena stops shortly at the door leading out of the hall to look at Gabrielle. Their eyes meet and they smile at each other for a moment. Than Xena throws herself forward, through the door as Worfus' axe, thrown by him two-handed, hits the door right where Xena was standing before and almost splitting it.

Worfus lets out an angry shout and than storms forward to get his axe back. Pares in the meantime has scrambled to his feet and has grabbed Gabrielle at her throat, threatening her with another knife.

Siskus and Obrinus are still standing in the middle of the room, almost stunned.

Siskus

What, by Tartarus, was that?

Worfus

(angry)

She killed my brother. I will cut her to little pieces and …

Siskus

We don't have time for that.

Worfus

I don't care.

Siskus

She will get what she deserves, but now I need you to focus.

Worfus

She also killed Bruntus … I found her there.

Siskus seems surprised for a moment. Worfus has in the meantime prayed his axe from the door and looks at Siskus, angry and barely in control.

Worfus

I kill her.

Siskus

No. With Bruntus we've lost three men … I need you. You escort Obrinus to the vault … we cannot allow any more interference.

Siskus stares at Worfus, trying to look determined, commanding. Worfus finally nods.

Worfus

Okay … but if I run across her, I will do her.

Siskus nods relieved and than turns to Pares and Belanaia.

Siskus

You go down to the dungeon and make sure that the pillars are prepared. Be careful … she might stumble across our little surprise.

Pares

After that I need a few weeks in the sun.

While Worfus, Obrinus, Pares and Belanaia leave the hall, Siskus walks towards the hostages, now only guarded by Weslius.

Pares left Gabrielle lying on the ground when he and Belanaia walked away. Now Siskus stops next to her, looking down on her.

Gabrielle

What?

Siskus

You risked your life for her … you know her?

Gabrielle

She's your enemy … what more do I need to know.

Siskus

Well, maybe you really don't know her … but maybe you do. She's not a simple guard or guest … she killed three formidable warriors … although she seems injured herself. If you two know each other … don't you agree that this would put me in a much better position?

Gabrielle

She'll get you anyway.

Siskus

I see … well, why not make sure you're there when she does.

Siskus grabs Gabrielle at her right arm and drags her up.

CUT TO:

INT. Prince Agatom’s Palace, Dungeon - Day

It’s the underground cavern with the long rows of pillars. Basically every second is torn down and replaced by a wooden one, all connected by ropes. The rest of the wood and some tools are laid out across the floor. It’s still fairly dark, only a few torches give some light around the center.

BELANAIA and PARES are standing near one of the wooden pillars, very close and face-to-face.

Pares

So … what about a little infight?

Belanaia

We only have to stay focused for a little longer … so control your hormones.

Pares leans forward, kissing Belanaia on her lips. She first leans back herself, away from the kiss. But than she closes her eyes, grabs Pares and answers with a long, passionate kiss.

Xena (Off)

Don't you have your own room?

Belanaia and Pares break up the kiss and turn around. XENA is standing near the center of the cavern, watching them. She looks dirty and her clothes have suffered heavily from the past ordeal - the left foot is still bare. She has picked up a two-handed axe from amongst the tools and weighs it in her hands.

Pares moves away from Belanaia to give them some room and pulls out a throwing knife. Belanaia draws her sword.

Belanaia

Sevena was my friend …

Xena

Well, I could reunite you in Tartarus.

Belanaia

Or you just bring her a message from me.

Pares throws the knife with a quick move of his hand and immediately draws another one, at the same time walking a few steps to the side.

Xena blocks the knife with the axe and advances towards him. But Belanaia steps between them and immediately attacks Xena with a fury of powerful swings.

Xena can block Belanaia's attacks, but she is driven backwards. When Pares throws his second knife, Xena can dodge it but is at the same time unable to avoid an attack by her second opponent and Belanaia's sword thrusts into her right thigh. Xena cries out angrily and swings her axe in a wide, powerful arc. Belanaia has to dive to the side and Xena's axe hits one of the replaced pillars, sending wood in all directions, getting stuck.

Pares

Stop that! You kill us all.

Xena throws a surprised look to Pares, than to the pillars. Finally she seems to understand.

Xena

You want to collapse the whole building.

Belanaia

Very clever.

Xena

But that will kill all the hostages!

Belanaia

And the soldiers that are attacking us right now!

Xena

You really think I will allow you to do that?

Siskus (Off)

But it's not their decision!

The heads of Xena, Pares and Belanaia turn towards the back of the cavern. SISKUS and WORFUS are standing there, Siskus with a smile on his face, Worfus angry but controlled, a thick rope in his hands. The rope leads forward to the first two wooden pillars. If these are collapsed, the ropes connecting them to the next will collapse those too and result in a chain reaction, basically bringing down most of the support the palace is build upon.

Xena is the first one to react, ripping the axe out of the wood and in one fluid motion turning and throwing it towards Belanaia. The woman tries to block it, but the throw is too powerful, pushing her sword to the side. The blade of the axe thrusts deep into Belanaia's chest and the whole body is thrown backwards.

Quickly Xena turns towards Pares who seems horrified by the death of his partner. He stares at the dead body for a moment but than he notices the approaching Xena and turns towards her.

Xena, now injured on both legs, moves fairly slow. Pares raises a third throwing knife and smiles, angry and determined. Xena stops and awaits his move.

Pares throws the knife with a quick, powerful motion, but Xena seems prepared. She lets herself fall backwards, making a complete backwards roll, at the same time picking the knife out of the air. When she has completed the roll she knees on the floor and has the knife raised herself. She immediately throws it against Pares.

The surprised Pares is too late in his attempt to doge the counterattack - the knife hits him square in the head, throwing him backwards, too.

Now Xena whirls around - as good as the injuries allow - and looks for Siskus.

Siskus has lost his smile and now nods angrily towards Worfus. The warrior fastens his grip around the ropes and pulls hard. The first two pillars immediately start to give way.

Xena

No!

Xena throws a quick look around and than jumps forward towards Pares' dead body. When she reaches him other pillars have already started to fall and the first rubble from the ceiling is coming down, too.

Xena grabs a knife from Pares' belt each with her left and right hand and turns around. She throws both knifes basically out of the hip and they fly towards two ropes connecting pillars that didn't fall yet.

Siskus

No!

Both knifes hit their target and the chain reaction is broken. But almost half the pillars are down and the ceiling is starting to collapse anyway.

Siskus

You see … you can't stop it.

He turns and disappears in the darkness while Worfus stands there and stares at Xena.

Xena seems to think for a moment to follow, but than she turns and runs - or rather stumbles - towards the other side.

CUT TO:

INT. Prince Agatom’s Palace, Great Hall - Day

The tied up hostages are still sitting in the hall, guarded now only by WESLIUS who seems lost, confused. There are sounds of soldiers coming nearer from the door and he desperately looks around for a way out.

But it's XENA who first enters through the door. She is now covered in dust from the cavern, blood is running down from the leg wound and a few more cuts on her arms and head. Each step with the burned left foot seems to hurt and she presses her right arm against her chest. Right behind her is PRINCE AGATOM - he seems better now and looks determined and in control.

When WESLIUS sees them he raises his weapon and points it at Xena - but he doesn't seem to sure about it. Xena stops and looks over the hostages while talking to Weslius.

Xena

Listen, boy, we don't have time. The whole palace will collapse any moment now. So why don't you do yourself a favor and help me rescue these people … I guess it wouldn't hurt during your trial.

Weslius hesitates for a moment, than he steps towards the nearest hostage and cuts the ropes with his sword. Xena smiles satisfied and steps to the next HOSTAGE, helping her up and untying her. The Prince gives a helping hand, too.

Xena

Where is Gabrielle … blue dress, short, blond hair, beautiful?

Hostage

Their leader … he took her with him.

Xena's look darkens, but she continues the work. The untied hostages help and everybody is free very quickly.

Suddenly the ground starts to shake and parts of the floor break away, leaving dark holes. The walls start to crumble, too and first small parts of the ceiling are falling down.

Xena

Everybody, leave the palace … quickly!

Xena doesn't have to tell them twice. Everybody, Weslius and the Prince right between them, storm through the door. The hall is now quickly dissolving into a rubble field, dust fills the air and bigger parts of the floor disappear.

Xena is the last one to leave the hall.

But moments later she dives back through the door, followed by wooden splinters flying around. Xena drops to the ground a few yards away from the door, immediately turning and looking back.

WORFUS steps through the damaged door, weighing his axe in both hands. He looks more insane than angry.

Worfus

Now … finally … you will die.

Xena

We both will, if we don't leave.

Worfus

So be it.

Worfus raises the axe and marches towards Xena. The warrior princess scrambles to her feet and looks for a weapon - but rubble and dust are all that is left. All around the two fighters debris is coming down or parts of the floor are breaking away.

Worfus, ignoring the danger, swings his axe against Xena widely. She can dodge the blow, but her maneuver almost drops her into one of the holes in the ground.

When Worfus raises his axe another time Xena storms forward and throws herself against him. And really, Worfus drops his axe, but he can keep his balance and grab Xena's hurt right arm with his left hand. He pulls the arm upwards and Xena's face shows pain, anger, but also defiance.

Worfus actually manages to lift Xena up from the ground a bit while he ignores Xena's left fist that lands in his face a few times. He turns and suddenly Xena is hanging above one of the open holes in the ground. Worfus smiles into her face.

Worfus

Now, who's smiling?

Worfus opens the grip around Xena's arm and she starts to fall. But before she drops into the hole she grabs Worfus belt with her left hand and uses it to swing her legs, followed by the rest of her body, between Worfus' legs - landing on save ground. Worfus is surprised for a moment and that seems to be enough for Xena. Lying between his legs she hits him with a hard left fist in the lap and than she kicks the pain-bend fighter with both legs into the back, toppling him over into the hole.

Crying out angrily Worfus disappears in the darkness.

CUT TO:

EXT. Prince AgAtom’s Palace, Outside - Day

Soldiers are helping the hostages away from the palace while others have tied up WESLIUS and lead him away, too. Even from the outside it's now obvious that the palace will fall. Large clefts are running all across the outside, parts of the front are breaking out and clouds of dust come out of every opening. Fires seem to have started inside, too.

PRINCE AGATOM is standing together with some officers, watching the spectacle sadly.

Prince Agatom

So neither Xena nor Gabrielle has been found?

The officers just shake their heads.

Suddenly the whole palace gives way - in a huge cloud of dust, throwing rubble to all sides, the palace finally collapses. When the noise and some of the dust have died down, it becomes obvious that only a pile of debris is left.

Prince Agatom

Nobody could have survived that.

CUT TO:

COMMERCIAL BREAK

CUT TO:

INT. Prince Agatom’s Palace, Water shaft - Day

It's a circular shaft, about four yards in diameter, build in stone, with metal supports. It's extremely wet and water stands about two feet at the bottom.

SISKUS, carrying a big, obvious heavy bag and dragging the still tied up GABRIELLE along, walks next to OBRINUS, who carries a bag himself in addition to a torch.

Gabrielle

(angry)

You won't get away with that!

Siskus

You're angry because we already did. For everybody up there we are dead … you, too. This channel leads to the river bed … with the water supply cut off its an ideal escape route.

Gabrielle

So everything worked out fine.

Obrinus

If that bitch hadn't killed the others we could have carried away a kingdom.

Siskus

A fortune will have to do.

Obrinus

When do we get rid of her? I can't stand her banter.

Gabrielle

You wouldn't talk like that if I were armed instead of tied up. 

Siskus

Well, are we the lucky guys.

Xena (Off)

Well, you just ran out of luck.

Siskus and Obrinus turns around - XENA is standing only a few yards behind them, at the edge of the light by the torch. She looks even more exhausted as before, but she smiles.

Xena

It's over.

Siskus

Not as long as I have my little insurance here.

A dagger appears in Siskus hand and he holds it at Gabrielle's throat.

Xena

She doesn't like that.

Siskus

Too bad. Obrinus, you take care of our uninvited guest. When she moves … blondie dies.

Obrinus pulls out a dagger himself and walks towards Xena, smiling. Xena looks past him and her eyes meet Gabrielle's.

When Obrinus is in front of Xena he raises the dagger.

Obrinus

Heart or throat?

Xena

What about the secret third option?

Xena's left hand moves almost to quickly to follow … within a moment she has pressed her fingers against Obrinus neck and used her deadly pressure points on him. Obrinus eyes open up wide and he falls down on his knees, grabbing his throat.

At the same time, before Siskus is able to react, Gabrielle throws herself backwards, away from Siskus. With the fall her left leg goes up and her knee hits him right in the chest, taking away his breath. Gabrielle falls into the water and rolls backwards, ending the movement on her knees, ready to strike again, even with her arms tied at her back.

Siskus throws a look at Xena, not so sure about himself anymore, and than turns away, trying to get past Gabrielle for his escape. But Gabrielle jumps upwards, landing a sweeping kick right in Siskus' face, sending him reeling backwards into the water and letting him lose his weapon.

While Xena is watching smilingly, Gabrielle lands on her feet, rolls forward and puts one knee on Siskus' chest while the other presses his face under water. Gabrielle smiles and looks at Xena.

Xena

Good to have you back.

CUT TO:

EXT. Prince Agatom’s Palace, Outside - Day

PRINCE AGATOM and his men are still standing in front of the ruins that were once his palace.

Prince Agatom

That will cost me a fortune to rebuild.

Xena (Off)

How about that one?

The Prince turns around, utterly surprised. Xena, supported by Gabrielle, has walked up to the group, dragging tied up OBRINUS and SISKUS with her. Both still carry their back bags.

Prince Agatom

Xena! Gabrielle! You're alive! We thought you were buried under the palace walls.

Gabrielle

Rumors of our death were highly exaggerated.

The prince gestures a few soldiers to handle the two prisoners and they are dragged away.

Prince Agatom

I owe you my life.

Xena

Well, maybe we can arrange something.

Gabrielle helps Xena to sit down.

Gabrielle

If the offer still stands, I think we could use a little rest.

Xena

My thought exactly.

Prince Agatom

Well, my palace is not a very hospitable place anymore, but I'm sure my father will be honored to have you as guests as long as you wish.

Gabrielle

That would do just fine.

Prince Agatom

I will get you a healer for the warrior princess.

The Prince bows and walks away, letting Gabrielle and Xena alone. The bard is carefully taking care of Xena's wounds.

Gabrielle

What a day.

Xena

I'm sorry.

Gabrielle

(surprised)

That you saved us all?

Xena

That I didn't want to stay at first.

Gabrielle

I would have gone with you.

Xena

I know. You always do. I should have considered your whishes … I rarely do.

Gabrielle

And I'm still following you … what does that tell you?

Xena

That it's actually my lucky day.

 


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