XENA - ANOTHER SEASON 5 - Episode 12

CALL TO ARMS

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

INT. Tavern, Port of Argos – Day

The tavern is an old, wooden-build house. It is two stories high and the ground floor basically is one large room with a long counter running along one side. The place is filthy and scarcely lit. Maybe a dozen guests are scattered around the room, sitting alone or in groups at one of the many shabby tables.

The BARTENDER, as old and filthy as the whole tavern, stands behind the counter and looks rather bored, cleaning some mugs.

When the door to the outside swings open all eyes in the tavern turn to the opening where light and fresh air manage to penetrate the room.

First nothing happens, but after a few seconds a figure appears and slowly stumbles towards the counter. The man wears shabby trousers and worn boots, the faint remains of a metal armor jacket over a dirty brown shirt and a strange-looking pointed helmet. He is slightly shacking and seems unstable on his feet.

It is JOXER.

When he reaches the counter he leans against it.

Joxer

I want …

Bartender

(angry)

I know what you want. Earned any money lately?

Joxer shakes his head slowly.

Bartender

No money … no drink! It's that simple. And now … get out of here before I get my club from under the counter.

Joxer stares at the bartender for a few moments, then he turns around, walking towards the still open door.

One of the other guests, a BLACKSMITH according to his clothes and size, has followed the exchange with the bartender.

Blacksmith

You … yes, you, with the silly hat.

Joxer stops and turns towards the table where the blacksmith is sitting with two friends. All three seem to have had a few over their thirst.

Blacksmith

I remember you. You were singing that song … jerk and moron something.

Joxer

Joxer the Mighty …

Blacksmith

Yes, right. You know what … you sing that song and I pay your next drink. What do you say?

Joxer stares at the man who is obviously very amused over the whole situation. The rest of the tavern has in the meantime turned their attention to this exchange, too.

Joxer closes his eyes, his whole body slightly shaking.

Blacksmith

So … you want a drink or not?

Joxer opens his eyes again and looking straight past the table with the blacksmith into the dark and empty tavern space behind him - he starts to sing.

The song is missing any emotion. Joxer just presents the word, one after another.

Joxer

Joxer, the Mighty, roams through the countryside, he never needs a place to hide. With …

Joxer stops – not as if he is overwhelmed by feelings or memories, but as if he actually doesn’t remember the words anymore.

Blacksmith

Go on … the whole song. Half the song is only half the drink!

He takes two coins out of a pouch and lays them on the table in front of him. Then he takes one of them and throws it into the direction of the counter.

Joxer’s eyes follow the coin, which falls into a pot on the floor next to the counter – a spit pot.

The whole tavern starts to laugh and loudly congratulate the blacksmith to the throw.

Joxer slowly walks towards the pot and goes down on one knee in front of it. He puts one hand into the pot, feels around for the coin and then pulls it out again.

Bartender

That’s disgusting … you clean that before you dare giving it to me.

CUT TO:

EXT. Street, Port of Argos – Day

It’s a busy street at the outskirt of the port of Argos, south of Corinth. Traveler and merchants crowd the road in both directions. Buildings – some wood, most of them stone but all of them pretty shabby – are lined up on both sides and their inhabitants add to the traffic.

XENA and GABRIELLE are amongst those on their way to leave the port.

Xena 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, the Chakram at her belt and a large bag over her shoulder.

Gabrielle wears boots, a brown, shorter than knee-length skirt with extra, darker parts in front and on the back that reach down almost to the ground, a short rust-red top and brown leather straps around both lower arms. Her chobos, two wooden fighting sticks with leather gripping, are held together by a loop of rope and carried over the shoulder. She’s also carrying a bag, dragging it in her right hand.

They walk side-by-side, relaxed, talking intensely and mostly ignoring their surrounding.

Gabrielle

Still, I like my chobos.

Xena

I just thought … now, that you are more comfortable with … fighting … that you might want to try other weapons, too. It might come handy, someday.

Gabrielle

I give it a thought. But I’m still not into weapons like someone I’m waking up next to every morning.

Xena

Well, I like to vary … to improvise.

Gabrielle

For you, a fight has to be interesting … for me it has to be over quickly.

Xena

I should have put Argo in a closer stable … I don’t think we will reach him today.

Gabrielle stops and after another step so does Xena, turning around to face the bard.

Gabrielle

Are you changing the subject?

Xena

No.

The other travelers on the street pass to the left and right while they stand in the middle, talking.

 

Gabrielle

So you admit it.

Xena

Admit what?

Gabrielle

Fighting … it’s more of a sport to you. It’s like Olympic games every day of the week.

Xena

It’s just what I'm best in.

Suddenly Xena hurls around, dropping her bag. Her right hand darts forward and grabs an arrow, targeted at the two women, right out of the air.

Both Xena and Gabrielle stare at the arrow for a moment and then, simultaneously, look into the direction where the arrow was coming from.

For a moment, a figure can be seen on a flat roof on top of one of the buildings next to the street. But the shadow quickly disappears by backing away from the edge of the roof.

Xena and Gabrielle both push forward to get through the crowd, but they don’t get through very quickly.

Suddenly Xena lets out one of her warcrys and forward flips over the heads of the people, landing next to the building. Another cry and she jumps upwards to reach the roof of the two-story house.

Gabrielle in the meantime continues to push through the crowd.

Gabrielle

I cover the back.

CUT TO:

INT. Tavern, Port of Argos – Day

Only a few minutes have passed in the tavern. The guests have returned to their own drinks and talks while the BARTENDER clears some tables.

JOXER stands at the counter, holding a mug with both hands. He leads it to his mouth to drink while his hands are shacking.

The door to the outside is still open – and now XENA and GABRIELLE enter. They are dressed as before and seem focused on a serious discussion.

Xena

I don’t understand how he could escape.

Gabrielle

He was climbing, running and jumping at least as fast as you are.

Xena

Maybe it’s not a he … somehow the moves reminded me of an Amazon.

Gabrielle

You cannot seriously believe, that an Amazon would attack you.

Xena

Maybe the arrow was not meant for me.

They have almost reached the counter when they finally notice Joxer.

Both faces light up for a moment when they recognize him, but both looks change to worry and wonder when they see Joxer’s condition.

Gabrielle

Joxer!

Joxer doesn’t react. After a few moments Xena grabs his shoulder and turns him around.

Xena

Joxer, it’s us!

Joxer looks at them without any recognition in his eyes – and he stays silent.

Gabrielle

Joxer, don’t you recognize us? It’s Xena … and Gabrielle!

Joxer

(sad)

You're not Xena and Gabrielle ... they're gone ... forever.

CUT TO:

TITLE SEQUENCE

 

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:

EXT. Outside the Tavern, Port of Argos – Day

It’s a side alley next to the tavern. The alley is only about four yards wide and empty except of a watering place for horses.

XENA and GABRIELLE are standing next to that and the warrior princess is just throwing JOXER into it.

He lands with a big splash in the water and struggles to get his head out of it again. Xena grabs his hair – he has lost the helmet during the fall – and pushes him below the water again.

After a few repetitions she lets go of him and he finally is able to sit up, gasping for breath.

Joxer

What by Tartarus …

Xena

Come on, Joxer … you needed that.

Gabrielle

Do you recognizing us now?

Joxer looks up into the expecting faces of Gabrielle and Xena, standing left and right to him.

Joxer

You look like … but it can’t be.

Xena

(angry)

Joxer … has someone removed what little was left of your brain?

Joxer

They died … I was at their funeral. I told their parents … their family.

Gabrielle

We know that … and we’re very grateful for that. But when our parents belief us … why don’t you?

Xena and Gabrielle look at each other, over Joxer’s head, worried and a little confused.

Joxer

You don’t understand. I have suffered enough.

Xena

(angry)

We were dead! Gabrielle was thrown into Tartarus. Don’t you think we had a hard time of our own?

Joxer

Don’t do that … stop talking as if you’re them.

Gabrielle

Joxer … by the gods, what has happened to you?

Joxer looks down, into the water, thoughtful.

Joxer

I …

Gabrielle

Tell us.

Joxer

When … when I stood in front of their funeral pyre … I thought … I should be dead too. And then I had to face their parents … Lila … I thought there was no heart to break anymore … but it shattered every time.

Joxer looks up for a short moment.

Joxer

I loved Gabrielle … I still do.

Xena and Gabrielle again look at each other, serious and troubled – but knowingly.

Gabrielle

I know.

Joxer no longer seem to hear them.

Joxer

I never told her … until it was too late. I tried to get away from it, tried to fill the hole they left. Meg … she helped me.

Xena

(calm)

She’s a good soul.

Joxer

Then I saw her again … Gabrielle … or rather someone looking like her. I had almost … but now I couldn’t get them out of my head anymore. Meg … looking at her reminded me every day … so I left.

Joxer slowly stands up and crawls out of the water place, now staring into the ground.

Joxer

I traveled … but I couldn’t think of anything else … anything but her. But with drinking … there I have found something that helps. I have finally accepted that they are gone … and I don’t think about them anymore. I won’t allow you to ruin my peace.

Joxer starts to stumble towards one end of the alley, but Gabrielle grabs his arm and stops him.

Gabrielle

No … you have to believe … I am Gabrielle … and that’s Xena. We’re back … the gods gave us a second chance.

Joxer pulls his arm free and continues to walk away.

Joxer

(contemptuous)

The gods … they would have never allowed the gods to help them.

Gabrielle turns to Xena, which throws Gabrielle a reproachful look.

Xena

I didn’t.

Gabrielle

(slightly angry)

Okay, I did. You haven’t complained about living again so far, have you? Don’t worry, I will take care of my debt by myself.

Xena

(appeasing)

Gabrielle … I didn’t mean … I’m sorry.

Xena and Gabrielle look at each other, both obviously sorry about the exchange. After a moment of excusing looks they both start to smile.

Thug (Off)

What a pretty picture!

Xena and Gabrielle turn their heads towards the voice, not hasty but slowly, controlled - somehow knowingly.

On one end of the alley four thugs in shabby clothes and armed with clubs have appeared, slowly closing in on Xena and Gabrielle.

When Xena and Gabrielle turn around to the other side they find that two more thugs, equally bad dressed, are approaching from the other end of the alley.

Joxer, only a few yards away and now between Xena and Gabrielle and the four thugs, has stopped and leaned against the wall, staring at the armed men.

When the first one is passing him, the thug casually turns his head to Joxer and smiles. Than, without warning, he swings his club and hits Joxer on the head, sending him reeling to the side and landing unconscious on the ground.

Xena immediately jumps forward, letting out her war cry, and attacks - Gabrielle watches her for a moment, than she turns around to face the other two, taking her chobos from the shoulder.

Xena, no weapon drawn, lands right in front of the thug who had hit Joxer, and sends him back with a wide, sweeping kick. Immediately the next of the thugs attacks, wielding his club.

Xena easily blocks and dodges while giving the four men a hard time, sending each to the ground in turns.

Gabrielle, in the meantime, faces two opponents - and although they seemed unarmed at the time, before the fighting starts they both draw swords and attack simultaneously.

Gabrielle is able to block both attacks, but gets pushed backwards towards the water place. A quick look shows her that Xena is occupied. So she plants her feet and awaits the next attack.

The two thugs try to coordinate their efforts, but Gabrielle is able to dodge the next two attacks - ending up with the back to the wall. The two thugs press forward and raise their weapons for mighty blows. Gabrielle dives forward, making a role between the two men and ending up on one knee just behind them. Before they can react Gabrielle lashes out with both chobos to hit one of the thugs on the legs.

While one thug falls forward the other hurls around and tries to bring his sword down on Gabrielle, but she jumps up and runs forward, towards the other side of the alley. The standing attacker turns and follows her only to see her running up the wall and back-flipping over his head, landing behind him. Before he can turn again she hits him hard with her chobos on both shoulders, sending him to his knees and making him drop his weapon.

Then Gabrielle brings her fighting sticks up again to block an attack over her head, made by the second thug behind her, which has stood up again. Before he can attack again, Gabrielle hurls around and swings her chobos sideways towards his now exposed body. The hard, rip breaking hit downs the man right on the spot.

The second attacker, without sword, has now drawn a dagger and thrusts it forward - Gabrielle, still under control, just sidesteps the attack and turns halfway around. First she hits the hand holding the dagger with one chobo, next the other chobo is smashed right into the men's throat. Without a sound, just with a surprised look on his face, the man falls straight down, most likely dead before he touches the ground.

The other attacker has in the meantime scrambled to his feet and makes a thrusting attack against Gabrielle, right over the dead body of his comrade. Gabrielle barely directs the attack to the side with her leather-cover lower arm and follows up with another sweeping attack from the side. The man instinctively blocks it, shouting in pain when the two wooden sticks crash into his lower arm.

He stumbles forward and Gabrielle has time to look to Xena for a moment. The warrior princess has a firm handle on the four thugs, all of which seem heavily beat.

The turning swordsman draws Gabrielle's attention towards him once again when he raises his sword, mad and angry from pain and frustration.

Gabrielle crosses her chobos in front of her and when he brings down the sword in a wide, powerful angle she thrusts her sticks upwards, catching the sword over her head and redirecting it to the side. She combines the move with a kick from the side towards his head and the thug crashes into the sidewall, headfirst. He loses his sword and slowly slides down to the ground.

After a few relieved breaths Gabrielle looks over to Xena where her four opponents flee from the warrior princess right now. Xena turns to look at Gabrielle and both smile.

Their looks return towards serious very quickly when Gabrielle looks after the still unconscious Joxer and Xena pulls the surviving thug from the ground.

Xena

What was this all about?

Thug

We … just wanted your money.

Xena

I believe you … almost.

Xena quickly uses her pinch on the man.

Xena

You have 30 seconds to find a better answer.

Thug

I … I can't … she'll kill us …

Xena

Who … who send you?

Before he can answer an arrow hits him right in his back. With a surprised look on his face he slowly glides out of Xena's grip and falls to the ground.

The warrior princess has looked up when the arrow hit, but no bowman can be seen.

Gabrielle

Joxer is okay … just a bump to his head.

Xena turns around and walks up to Gabrielle, which is kneeing next to Joxer.

Xena

Someone is seriously interested in killing at least one of us.

Gabrielle looks up to Xena, worried.

Xena

The question is ... do they want to kill you ... or me?

CUT TO:

INT. Tavern, Port of Argos – Day

XENA and GABRIELLE have occupied one corner of the tavern, having laid the still unconscious JOXER on a table, his head rested on Xena's backpack. The rest of the tavern is occupied with themselves.

Xena is checking Joxer's head wound while Gabrielle is standing at the window, looking out.

Gabrielle

We need a plan, right?

Xena

Yeah … it's getting closer. These past attacks were more of a test. The next time we should expect the real thing.

Gabrielle

The local authorities …

Xena

I have no friends here … and without friends they won't do anything before someone is dead.

Gabrielle

And we don't want that.

Xena

(smiling)

Not really.

Gabrielle turns around and her eyes follow Xena's hands, bandaging Joxer's head.

Gabrielle

What about him?

Xena

He's maybe a pain in the ass … but he's a friend … even family. We have to take care.

Gabrielle

Yes.

Xena

Feeling uncomfortable?

Gabrielle

Not about him loving me … not anymore.

Xena turns shortly to look at Gabrielle.

Gabrielle

He's like a brother to me … nothing more … nothing less. But him denying us … that worries me.

Xena

He will come to his senses.

(smiling)

Maybe the blow to his head helped?

The BARTENDER approaches the two women.

Bartender

Sorry …

Xena talks to him without looking up from her work but Gabrielle watches him closely.

Xena

Yes.

Bartender

About what you wanted to know … yes, another mercenary groups got hired … well paid, too. A dozen men … and well armed.

Xena

Thanks.

Bartender

I … I heard they will take care of business today … I … I don't want them to come in here. I have to ask you …

Xena turns around and the bartender backs away a step, frightened.

Xena

Don't worry. We won't damage your precious property. We face them outside.

The bartender bows and hurries away while Xena returns to her work.

Gabrielle

Do you have an idea, yet?

Xena

Maybe. But I don't like it.

Gabrielle

Any other chance?

Xena

No … probably not.

Gabrielle

I have an idea, too. Wonder if it's the same.

CUT TO:

COMMERCIAL BREAK

CUT TO:

INT. Tavern, Port of Argos – Day

XENA and GABRIELLE are still in their reserved corner in the tavern, with all the other guests keeping at least two or three tables distance. JOXER is back on his feet, although his head is bandaged - unable to wear his helmet he carries it under his right arm. He stands near one of the windows, watching Xena and Gabrielle closely.

The two women obviously prepare for a fight, checking their clothing and armor, Xena looking after her sword and Chakram while Gabrielle repairs a few loose leather bands on her chobos. They look calm and focused.

Joxer

I will help.

Gabrielle and Xena both raise their heads in surprise.

Gabrielle

Joxer …

Joxer

I still don't think that …

Gabrielle

Joxer, how can we prove it if you don't believe your eyes and ears.

Xena

Let it go, Gabrielle. We can think about it afterwards.

Xena turns her attention back to her weapons. Gabrielle stares at Joxer for a little longer, than she returns to her chobos, too.

Joxer turns away from them and looks through the window. Then he raises his left hand up to his face, trying to keep her steady in front of his eyes - but the hand is shacking heavily. With his ill complexion, the dry mouth and the wide open, dark underlined eyes its clear that he suffers from alcohol withdrawal.

Xena, finished in her efforts, turns to Gabrielle and watches her work on the sticks. Feeling her look Gabrielle raises her head after a few moments and smiles.

Xena

Ready?

Gabrielle

As ready as one can be.

Xena

Good. Just stick to the plan and …

Gabrielle

I know. I can handle it.

Xena

A few years ago we might have been in serious trouble … but now …

Gabrielle

I know what you mean.

Gabrielle stands up and takes one chobo in each hand, looking very ready for a fight.

Xena lays her right hand on the Chakram and finally returns the smile.

CUT TO:

EXT. Outside the Tavern, Port of Argos – Day

The area in front of the tavern is strangely empty … only a few people can be seen and they are all leaving the place right now. Between a heap of wooden-build houses and the tavern an empty, roughly circular area is left out. The ground is basically mud, fairly wet and deep.

Some inhabitants of the buildings are closing their doors and windows shut right about now - the guests in the tavern do it the other way around, opening up all windows and waiting behind them for the show.

A light breeze is moving through the air and the sky is dark, cloud-covered, even so it's far from sundown.

After a few very silent moments, XENA, GABRIELLE and JOXER leave the tavern.

Xena has left her coat behind and holds the Chakram in the right hand, carrying the sword still on her back.

Gabrielle follows her closely, holding one chobo in each hand, letting her arms hang down loosely on her side.

Joxer comes last, with a little distance. He is unarmed and has left the helmet in the tavern. His head is still bandaged.

Xena walks up almost to the middle of the place and than stops. Gabrielle walks up to her and takes a stand right next to her, on Xena's left side. Joxer stops a few steps behind them, looking around nervously.

Xena and Gabrielle seem calm, relaxed. When nothing happens for a few seconds they turn their heads towards each other - almost simultaneously. They look at each other - serious.

Gabrielle

What if they don't come?

Xena

They come …

Gabrielle

But what if …

Xena

Gabrielle … there's no time for questions anymore. We're prepared … we have a plan … now we have to allow the things to develop.

Gabrielle

I'm not worried about the fight … we can handle that … the unknown worries me.

Xena

Me too … but there's nothing more to do than to give your best … and hope that it's enough.

Joxer (Off)

Gabrielle wouldn't have fought … she gave that up after she traveled to India.

Gabrielle turns around to face Joxer, looking at him somehow sad. Xena in the meantime lets her eyes wander across the line of buildings.

Gabrielle

The way of peace … it wasn't for me. I realized there are things that I have to fight for.

Joxer and Gabrielle look at each other for a few moments, both searching something in the others eyes.

Xena

(urgent)

Gabrielle!

Gabrielle turns around and notices the reason for Xena's call. Armed men appear between a few buildings, approaching the field from three sides.

They are all wearing gray cotton pants and shirts, leather boots and some have a hardwood harness as armor. Many have helmets, other wear caps, but all are heavily armed, already carrying their swords, axes and hammers in their hands - some of the weapons are even two-handed.

The three groups of four mercenaries each don't seem to have a leader, but they still act very concentrated and in order. When they have crossed half the distance between the buildings and the middle of the area they stop.

Xena has made a step forward and is weighing the Chakram in her right hand. She turns her head to look at each of the three groups and than, with a quick but powerful movement, launches her throwing weapon towards the group to her left.

Before the Chakram can reach anything he is hit in midair by a throwing knife and brought slightly out of its original path. It misses the mercenaries and smashes square in one of the wooden building, getting stuck.

Xena hurls around to see, where the knife was coming from, but at first she seems to notice nothing. She looks quickly to Gabrielle - and the bard just silently points towards a point next to the tavern, almost behind them.

There, in the shadow of a small stable, a figure is standing, hidden inside a dark-green coat. She just puts her right arm back under the coat. The face is completely covered in darkness and not even the gender of the person can be determined.

Suddenly, as if receiving a secret signal, the mercenaries raise their weapons and storm forward simultaneously. All twelve warriors seem determined to attack.

Xena quickly turns over to Gabrielle and the two women exchange a quick look. Xena nods and then both of them start running towards one of the three groups of fighters. Xena pulls out her sword while Gabrielle raises one of her chobos over her head, holding the other one horizontally in front of her. Joxer is following them, less than enthusiastic.

Before Xena reaches the line of warriors, she summersaults forward, over their heads, and lands behind them. Suddenly these four mercenaries have Gabrielle in front of them and Xena in their back.

Gabrielle stops moments before the attacker reach her and looks straight at the one closest to her. When he swings his sword at her she pushes his weapon to the side with on of her fighting sticks and hits him hard in the side with the other. Still in a forward movement, he is thrown off his feet and rolls past Gabrielle.

Xena in the meantime has kicked one of the remaining three soldiers in the back, reeling him forward against a second mercenary, both tumbling to the ground. The forth attacker, wielding a big sledgehammer, has stopped and now swings the weapon in a wide, horizontal arc towards Gabrielle.

Unable to block such a powerful attack, Gabrielle makes a roll forward, dodging the attack. Xena jumps over the crouching Gabrielle to attack the two warriors she sent to the ground. Both are just scrambling to their feet when Xena reaches them, hitting the sword of one of them to the side, following up with a sidekick to his head, sending him back to the ground.

The second one has jumped up in the meantime and tries to thrust his sword into Xena's side. She redirects his weapon upwards with her own, gripping his lower arm with her free left hand. Then she hits the fighter with her right fist, holding her sword, across the face - twice. When the man stumbles back she lets go of his sword arm, kicks upwards and sends his weapon into the air. Then she thrusts her own sword forward, through the chest of the mercenary, killing him instantly. With her leg she pushes her sword free and then easily catches the other sword with her free hand.

Gabrielle, in the meantime, has blocked two hits by the warrior she encountered first while the fighter with the sledgehammer prepares another of his powerful, but very slow attacks. Joxer has reached the area of the fighting and looks around, unsure what to do.

Before Xena turns to face her second opponent again, she throws the sword she acquired to Joxer.

Xena

Joxer … here, take it.

Joxer catches the sword clumsy and turns towards Gabrielle's opponents.

She has, in the meantime blocked another hit but is now facing the hammer-wielder, too. Again, she is only left with the option of retreat and she jumps backwards.

With Xena facing one and Gabrielle and Joxer facing two opponents and holding their ground, the other two groups of four mercenaries each have almost reached them.

Xena, seeing the urgency, jumps forward, letting down a hail of attacks against the other fighter. Able to block the first two, he falls back a step on the third, drops down to one knee on the fourth and loses his weapon on the fifth. Xena only hesitates for a moment then she thrusts her sword through the man's throat, pulling it out again immediately.

Joxer and Gabrielle, now side-by-side, have in the meantime fought of the attacks by their two opponents without reaching any advantage.

First Xena is reached by reinforcements - the four warriors next to her attack her quickly and wildly. The first one, carrying a large, two-handed axe, swings it against her legs. She jumps upwards, avoiding the attack. When the man takes his stance right in front of her, she kicks against the handle of the axe to push her upwards, so that his chest is left defenseless.

With a hard thrust she pushes her sword deep into his chest - and than let's go of the handle. Quickly she pulls the axe away from the dying, falling man and raises the weapon while hurling around.

With a powerful movement, throwing her whole body forward, she throws the heavy axe towards the two fighter facing Gabrielle and Joxer. The axe hits the swordfighter right in the chest, throwing him to the side and backwards, right into the path of the approaching third group.

Now, not waiting for her other three opponents to attack her from behind, Xena jumps into the air, flipping backwards over their heads and leaving their weapons nothing but air to hit. Without weapon but in good position she lands right behind them, smiling grimly.

Gabrielle and Joxer meanwhile face the big warrior with the sledgehammer, having gained a little more time with the reinforcement on their side delayed by the obstacle of the reeling corpse.

The fighter has changed to less powerful, but quicker attacks, holding the hammer close to the top and using it almost like a staff with one heavy end.

Gabrielle pushes Joxer to the side to take on the opponent on her own. She quickly lets down a hail of attacks with her chobos, directed against the whole body - but the mercenary is able to block most of them and strong enough to ignore the rest.

Joxer has stumbled to the side a few steps and is now watching Gabrielle fight. When he sees the last four fighters finally approaching he raises his sword, lets out a shout and storms forward, right into the midst of them.

When he reaches them he tries to attack the first one but his hit is easily deflected and the mercenary just pushes him to the side, not even attacking him properly.

Gabrielle in the meantime has continued her attack on the large fighter. She finally sidesteps one vertical attack by the mercenary, hitting one of his hands holding the big hammer with one of her chobos. He had to let go with this hand and the head of the hammer falls down to the ground. Gabrielle jumps forward, stepping on the hilt of the weapon and kicking against the face of her opponent. After that she lands on the other side.

Still not affected by her attacks, the man starts to smile and leans forward to get his second hand on the weapon again - to pick it up. Gabrielle goes down on one knee and lashes out with both chobos against the back of his knees. Out of balance he falls forward, ramming the hilt of the hammer into his stomach.

Now Gabrielle quickly stands up and jumps onto the back of the mercenary - with the added weight and momentum the man is thrust onto his own weapon. After Gabrielle has slid down back to the ground, he slowly falls sideways and now it can be seen that the handle of the hammer was pushed into him. He hits the ground silently, with a surprised look on his dead face.

Xena's opponents have in the meantime turned around and surrounded the unarmed warrior princess. For a few moments, neither side seems willing to do anything. Finally, the warrior at Xena's left side, armed with a one-handed axe and a shield, jumps forward and attacks.

Xena dodges the first attack, only to come into reach of the second warrior, armed with a sword. He thrusts forward and glances along Xena's back, leaving a bleeding wound. Xena quickly let herself fall to the ground and rolls to the side. The third warrior, carrying a sword, too, now jumps forward, hitting down hard on the prone woman.

Xena lets out one of her warcrys and jumps up, making a backward flip while kicking the third attacker in the face. She lands right to the side of the first fighter, while the second one is pressing forward for a frontal attack. Before the first mercenary can do anything, Xena has grabbed his left arm with the shield and pulled the shield in front of her to block the attack of the other fighter. While holding the shield and his left arm in front of her she hits him in the face with a right hook and grabs his other hand with the axe.

After a second hit, this time with the elbow into his face, the warrior lets go of the axe and shield and stumbles backwards. Now Xena faces the sword of the second warrior armed with an axe and a shield.

The last four mercenaries finally reached Gabrielle in the meantime. Joxer was pushed to the side by them without much trouble and scrambles to his feet a few steps away.

Not waiting for their attack, Gabrielle crouches down and rolls forward, lashing out left and right with her chobos. The first two warriors, each hit on the knees by the wooden sticks, are send to the ground, falling past the bard.

Gabrielle rises up again in front of the other two fighters, blocking their simultaneous first attacks with one chobo each. The two men quickly position themselves on opposite sides of Gabrielle, putting her in the worst possible position.

Both mercenaries, each armed with a sword, attack Gabrielle almost at the same time, going for different targets. Gabrielle can barely block the first two attacks and finally receives a cut on her left leg with the third one.

Meanwhile Joxer has attacked one of the two fighters that were grounded by Gabrielle and is now actually in a fight with him. While still clumsy, he can hold his ground, seemingly out of desperation.

The second fighter send to the ground by the bard is also standing again and seems ready to join the attack against Gabrielle.

Xena has meanwhile blocked a few attacks by her opponent. When another, vertical attack ends with the sword stuck in the shield she quickly swings down the axe against the hilt of the sword - and severs the hand from the right arm of her opponent, who cries out in pain and stumbles backwards.

Xena throws away the useless shield-sword construct and actually finds time to look over to Gabrielle. Seeing the third attacker approaching her friend she raises the axe and throws it quickly.

The weapon hits the mercenary in the left shoulder. The man breaks down on his knees and cries out. He drops his weapon and grabs for his shoulder were his arm is almost severed. After a few moments of agony he loses consciousness and drops to the ground.

Xena, now again unarmed, faces two opponents - the swordfighter she kicked and the warrior she took the weapons from who has drawn a dagger. And while Joxer still keeps one warrior busy Gabrielle tries to figure out a way to overcome her two enemies.

Still holding their positions on opposite side, Gabrielle's opponents try to coordinate their attacks - and have some success with it. But after a few more hits and another wound on her left shoulder, Gabrielle is finally able to move past one of the fighters, bringing him between her and the second one. Faced with only one attacker for a moment, she immediately uses the situation for a fierce attack.

She is able to push the sword of the man to the side and hit his sword arm with a crushing blow. The mercenary pulls back his arm and lets go of his weapon. Defenseless and stunned for a moment he stares at Gabrielle. The bard doesn't hesitate and swings both chobos against his head - hitting him hard on the side.

The mercenary is send flying to the side and hits the ground, unconscious. The second fighter, who wanted to move around his partner to get into Gabrielle's back again cries out angrily and storms forward.

In the meantime Xena has slowly walked backwards, looking at her last two opponents and their moves. They seem very couscous and advance carefully. Finally Xena, seemingly tired of that, changes her direction and jumps forward, surprising the other fighters. While the fighter with the sword raises his weapon for a slashing attack the second warrior thrusts forward his dagger.

Xena grabs the hand with the dagger and actually pulls towards her. When the other fighter brings down his sword against her, she turns sideways and pulls the first one between her and the sword. The weapon hits the man right in the back and cuts deep into his spine. Xena just steps to the side and allows the corpse to slide to the ground.

Gabrielle, faced with her last opponent, has blocked his first, wild attacks and counterattacked with her chobos. After she blocks another vertical slash by the mercenary she kicks upward and sends the weapon flying straight into the air. Before the man can react she turns sideways in one fluid motion and goes down on one knee. With that movement she hits the warrior with her chobos below his knees, pushing away his feet from under him. Unable to avoid it he falls forward, flat on the front.

Gabrielle completes her turn and rises up again, now standing right in front of the head of the prone fighter. She crosses her chobos and before her opponent can do anything, she buries them into the ground right across his neck, pinning his head and upper body to the ground.

Unable to move he tries to grab Gabrielle's weapons - and is hit in the back by the falling sword. The weapon buries itself deep into the man's body and his movements end.

Xena's last opponent, meanwhile, has stared at her for a few seconds - and than turns and runs away, as fast as he is able to in this deep ground.

Xena turns to see after Gabrielle and sees her just standing up. When their eyes meet both smile, looking exhausted but satisfied.

Suddenly Gabrielle hurls around, remembering Joxer. He has bravely kept up with his lone opponent, but now he has lost his sword and a kick sends him backwards, to the ground. The mercenary, maybe unaware of the situation, jumps forward, weapon raised - ready to kill Joxer on the spot.

Gabrielle

No!

Gabrielle runs and jumps before the mercenary can complete his last attack. She hits the warrior in the back and both fall to the ground, rolling to the side.

While the two are struggling Joxer jumps up and picks up his sword again. He turns and quickly moves towards the wrestling bodies. Meanwhile Xena is running towards the group, too.

Joxer raises the sword, hesitates for a moment - and then thrusts the weapon into the body of the mercenary. The warrior rolls around for a few moments and than lies still. Just before his movement stops Gabrielle lets out a painful shout, shudders for a moment and than lies still, too.

Xena freezes on the spot and Joxer stares down to the two bodies.

Joxer

No!

He drops to his knee, letting go of his weapon. He pushes the body of the mercenary to the side and takes Gabrielle's motionless face into his hands. He stares at her for a few long, silent seconds and than rises his head to the sky.

Xena is still standing a few yards away, staring at them.

Xena

(quietly)

By the gods …

(shouting)

Joxer!

Joxer

She's dead, Xena … she's dead.

Both stand frozen in their emotions for some moments. Finally, reacting to some motion from the edge of the battlefield, Xena turns her head.

From the small stable, where she has observed everything, the mysterious figure is slowly approaching the group. It's a woman, as old as Xena and with the same experience shining out of her brown eyes. A leather strap holds her long, red hair together while the rest of the body is still hidden behind the green coat.

Under the watchful eye of Xena she stops maybe halfway between the tavern and the group, looking mostly at Gabrielle's body.

Xena

Who are you?

Camilla

My name is Camilla … but that's not important anymore.

Xena

It's important to me. You hired them.

Camilla

Yes.

Xena

Why?

Camilla

To get rid of your little friend.

Xena

But why?

Camilla finally looks at Xena.

Camilla

A new era is approaching … and there will be a glorious battle welcoming it. Sadly, she would have fought on the wrong side.

Gabrielle (Off)

We see about that.

Camilla turns back to look at Gabrielle, utterly surprised. The bard has suddenly moved, sitting up on the ground and grabbing the chobos that lie next to her. Joxer, behind her, has stood up and watches all this almost emotionless. Xena has started to smile.

Camilla

But …

Xena

It seems you have failed.

Camilla, quickly seeing through the trick, looks back to Xena, angry.

Camilla

You tricked me.

Xena

We had to know, who's behind all this. We thought … if she dies you might show yourself.

Camilla

How did you even know it's not you I was after?

Xena

The first thugs you send … they were just keeping me busy … but they attacked Gabrielle for real.

Gabrielle has now stood up and looks at Camilla, also smiling, holding one chobo in each hand. Joxer has made a few steps forward, standing next to her.

Gabrielle

(to Joxer)

You did a good job … pretending that I'm dead. It almost seemed like you really cared.

Joxer

(to Gabrielle)

I … I still don't …

Gabrielle

(to Joxer)

It's okay. We talk about it afterwards.

Camilla has turned towards Gabrielle again.

Camilla

It doesn't matter … the next time you'll be mine.

Ares (Off)

I don't think so.

All heads turn towards the war of god who has appeared only a few steps away from them.

Xena

Ares … what do you know about all this?

Ares

Ask her.

Before Xena can turn, Camilla opens her coat and raises her right arm, holding a throwing knife.

Camilla

Mine, I say!

She throws it right at Gabrielle. The bard reacts immediately, bringing up her chobos to block the weapon.

Joxer

No!

Joxer jumps forward and throws himself into the path of the weapon, getting hit on the left side and falling to the ground right in front of Gabrielle, bleeding heavily.

Gabrielle is shocked for a moment, than she drops her sticks and knees down next to Joxer, looking for his wound. Joxer, barely conscious, just stares at her.

Meanwhile Camilla has turned around, not waiting for the result of her action, and runs towards the tavern. Xena makes a step to follow her.

Gabrielle

Xena … he's dying!

Xena stops and turns back to help Gabrielle with Joxer while Camilla is fleeing.

CUT TO:

COMMERCIAL BREAK

CUT TO:

EXT. Outside the Tavern, Port of Argos – Day

Xena

He'll live.

XENA is kneeing next to JOXER, taking care of the wound close to his left shoulder. GABRIELLE stands next to them, looking down.

ARES is still here, watching the group from a few steps away. Near the buildings surrounding the place people finally start to appear again. The area itself is still littered with dead and injured mercenaries, weapons and blood.

When Xena is finished bandaging Joxer she carefully places him on the ground and stands up, taking a look around. Now Gabrielle goes down on her knees and strokes Joxer's face, finally putting her hand on his healthy shoulder, pressing it a little. Joxer - weak but conscious - looks up into her face.

While Xena walks away, towards the place where her Chakram is sticking out of the wooden wall of a small building, Joxer tries to sit up and talk, pushed down again by Gabrielle.

Gabrielle

Lay still … it's over.

Joxer

Gabrielle …

Gabrielle

(smiling)

Yes?

Joxer

I knew it … I suddenly knew it … when the knife, targeted to kill you, flew through the air … I suddenly lost all doubt.

Gabrielle

We're back.

Joxer

Yes.

Gabrielle

We'll take care of you.

Joxer

You always did. I … it seems so foolish …

Gabrielle

Quiet …

Xena has meanwhile reached her Chakram and pulls it out with one quick movement. She looks for the blade and than puts it back on her belt. When she turns around, Ares is standing in front of her.

Ares

We have to talk.

Xena

Normally I would say … no. But I want to know what this was all about.

Ares

Let's take a walk.

Xena

I have to stay with Gabrielle … this Camilla might return any moment.

Ares

My sister can take care of her.

Ares nods towards Gabrielle and Joxer, which were joined by woman, standing next to them and talking quietly to Gabrielle.

Xena

(surprised)

Artemis.

Ares

You're right.

Xena

What …

Ares

I can tell you … if you let me.

Xena looks at him for a moment, thinking. When he turns and slowly walks away she hesitates for a moment and then follows him. They pass through an alley between two buildings and reach an open field.

Xena

So, what is this all about?

Ares

There's a war going to happen.

Xena

Isn't there always?

Ares

Not a normal one … a war of the gods.

Xena

You quarrel all the time … why should that bother me?

Ares

Oh, the Greek gods are united like never before … the enemy lies elsewhere. Another Pantheon was created … as powerful as ours.

Xena

There are lots of other gods around, beside you …

Ares

The new ones don't want to co-exist … they want to take over.

Xena

What … or who created these other gods? How are gods created, anyway?

Ares

We are born, we live, we die … not so different from mortals, but on a much grander scale. We don't know, who or what's behind all this … but we have to handle the consequences.

Xena

So you're forming an army to fight them?

Ares

No … I would have liked that, but no. We found an agreement. An all out war between us would have threatened the very existence of the world we live in … what's the point in winning if the price is destroyed along the way.

Xena

So?

Ares finally stops, standing in the middle of the field, and turns around. Xena walks up to him until they stand face to face.

Ares

So each side selects twelve heroes … twelve champions. They will meet in a few weeks near Mt. Olympus. One battle … winner takes it all.

Xena

You let them do your dirty work.

Ares

We prevent the world as you know it from becoming a wasteland, which would happen if the gods themselves would do the fighting.

Xena

What about Gabrielle?

Ares

Artemis has chosen Gabrielle as her champion. As I choose you.

Xena seems not surprised at all.

Xena

Me … fighting for you … in your name. You would like that.

Ares

Xena … the gods need you … I need you.

Xena

No … you will have to chose someone else … I can't fight for you. And I don't owe you.

Ares

It's a good cause.

Xena

Maybe so. Still …

Ares

The other gods … they have already Rome on their side. They helped the triumphirate.

Xena

Marc Antony … Octavian …

Ares

I see, you know them. Right now Octavian is moving his legions towards Greece … and this time they finally want to take over. A small roman province … that's all what will be left in a few weeks.

Xena

You couldn't …

Ares

I have no control over it … the battle near Mt. Olympus will decide our fate.

Xena

Than I know were my place is.

Ares

Good.

Xena

I have to disappoint you, Ares … I won't fight for you. I fight for Greece.

Ares

You can't stop the Roman army.

Xena

We'll see.

Xena turns away from Ares and slowly walks back the way they came. After a few steps she stops and turns her head back to Ares.

Xena

Who was this Camilla?

Ares

A champion … from the other side. I think the goddess is called … Diana. While the rules we agreed on protect the champions until the battle starts, she obviously thought that she could eliminate Gabrielle before Artemis called her to arms.

Xena

Do your rules forbid influencing the battle?

Ares

Neither gods nor mortals are allowed to help … it's strictly twelve against twelve.

Xena nods quietly, turns around and continues her way back. Ares follows her with his eyes until she disappears between the buildings, then he just vanishes in a flash.

CUT TO:

EXT. Road – Day

It's a small, dirty road leading along a group of green and empty hills. A single HOODED MAN is walking along, wearing a wide, black robe with a large hood pulled over his head, obscuring his face. He walks slowly, but it seems by choice and not by age or exhaustion.

Suddenly a shout can be heard from one of the hills and a group of 6 riders appears only a short distance away. The traveler stops and raises his head slightly while the group of six approaches quickly. Behind them another horse appears, carrying two figures. It follows slowly and is still half the distance away when the first six surround the man - who just waits.

The six men that now jump down from their horses are well armed - all have a sword or axe in their hand and a good leather armor for protection. They act threatening and determined, pointing their weapons towards the lone traveler.

Bandit

Your money and other valuables … and you might survive.

Hooded man

Pitiful.

The voice of the stranger is deep and calm.

Bandit

(angry)

What? I think you need to be taught a few manners.

Hooded man

That will be interesting.

The armed bandit that had done the talking steps forward, pointing his sword at the hooded man's throat.

Before he can say anything more, the horse with the two riders has reached the circle around the traveler - CALLISTO and LEONA are the two figures on its back.

Callisto sits in front, dressed as usual in her tight black leather armor, carrying a sword at her side. She looks bored, almost angry. Behind her Leona, dressed in a short, black skirt and a gray top with knee high boots, wearing her long, black hair open, has her arms wrapped around Callisto's body, not looking very confident on the horses back.

Callisto

Let him go … he's right. It's pitiful. Where's the time were people like me had whole armies at their disposal … now I'm left with street robbery.

Ignoring the man that points his sword at him, the hooded man walks past that man and stops in front of Callisto.

Bandit

I show you …

Hooded man

There is someone who might change all this … and you still owe him something.

Callisto looks up, surprised for a moment. She stares at the hooded man, seemingly unsure what to do.

The armed bandit in the meantime has turned around, obviously very angry, and positioned himself behind the stranger, ready to thrust his sword into the travelers back. Before he can execute his plan, a dagger buries itself in his throat - thrown by Callisto.

Callisto

I don't like it when my guests are not treated properly.

Callisto looks around, letting her look pace the other five man of her band. Each one slowly backs away, turns around to his horse, gets into the saddle and rides away, back to the hill were they came from.

After a short while, only Callisto and Leona on the horse, the hooded man and the dead body are left behind.

Leona

Shall I …

Callisto

You stay …

She turns her head to look into Leona's somehow a little frightened face.

Callisto

You wanted me to follow wherever I go, right?

Leona

(hesitating)

Yes.

Callisto

Good.

Callisto turns back, stops for a moment, thinking, than she turns around to face Leona again, giving her an almost caring look.

Callisto

Don't worry.

Hooded man

She don't has to … she can't follow you on your way.

Callisto sits up straight again and leans forward, staring at the head of the hooded man, trying to penetrate the darkness that hides his face.

Callisto

What does he want from me?

Hooded man

Collect your debt.

Callisto

I have checked it so far … what does he want … exactly.

Hooded man

There will be fight … a very important one. You've been selected.

Callisto

Fight? Against whom?

Hooded man

You … and eleven others … twelve champions of the new gods … will fight the twelve champions of the old ones.

Callisto

New gods? The ones I helped to create?

Hooded man

The same.

Callisto

They fight the old ones … Zeus and his bunch?

Hooded man

Yes.

Callisto

I'm in … should be pretty interesting.

Hooded man

The twelve most powerful gods on each side will each select one champion … one hero. To spare the world a battle that could destroy it they will fight in their pantheons name. The god of war … Mars … has selected you.

Callisto

I'm … almost honored. I don't know him but I assume he's okay … selecting me … and all.

Hooded man

We will travel to the battle grounds together … your little friend will have to leave us eventually.

Callisto

Until then … she goes along.

Hooded man

One more thing … and you have to listen very carefully.

Callisto

Actually, I have a lot of questions … I don't think one answer will cover it all.

Hooded man

I will tell you everything you need to know … but first you have to know that Xena might be one of your opponents.

Callisto's face freezes - she stares straight at the hooded traveler without showing any emotion.

Callisto

(quietly)

She lives?

Hooded man

Yes … and Ares will probably call her to arms for this battle.

Callisto

Then I will take care of her … once and for all.

Hooded man

The experience tells another story. No … this battle is too important to be disturbed by personal feuds. There is a battle plan … and you have to focus.

Callisto stares silently for a few seconds, than she sits up on her horse.

Callisto

Okay, no games.

Hooded man

You can't take this personally … this service for Mars asks for calmness and control … only if everyone follows the plan to the point …

Callisto

Okay, okay … I get it. As long as I'm this … champion … I'm not allowed to let my personal feelings for Xena get in the way of my focus. I can do that. 

The hooded man nods and than slowly walks past Callisto, following the road again. Following him with her look for a short while, she finally turns her horse and follows him.

Callisto

(to herself)

But afterwards … she's mine.

Leona shows a scared, confused and very worried look on her face.

CUT TO:

EXT. Outside the Tavern, Port of Argos – Day

The place in front of the tavern is still empty except for the remains of the battle, GABRIELLE and JOXER. People have appeared between the buildings, but no one dares to come closer so far.

Gabrielle is helping Joxer to sit up when XENA returns. When the warrior princess stops next to Gabrielle, the bard looks up to her, questioningly.

Xena

You talked with Artemis?

Gabrielle

Yes.

Xena

You will be her champion?

Gabrielle

I have to … and I want to.

Xena

It will be different to everything you encountered before … not even I can imagine this battle.

Gabrielle

I understand that. Will you …

Xena

No … Roman legions march towards Greece … and this time they want to stay. I have to stop that … besides, I can't fight for Ares … not after what I'm through … not even if the cause seems to be a good one.

Gabrielle

I understand.

Xena

Really?

Gabrielle

Yes.

Both are silent for a few moments, staring at each other. Gabrielle is still holding Joxer who tries to not disturb the conversation, although he seems in pain.

Gabrielle

I have made another decision.

Xena

What?

Gabrielle

I'll take back the Mask of the Queen. I wasn't ready to lead the Amazons before … I am now.

Xena

Yes, you are.

Gabrielle

It's on the way.

Xena

I probably should go to Athens … warn the free cities. Maybe I can raise support.

Gabrielle

I have to follow my calling as Amazon queen. If you want to march against the Romans ... than we are heading into different directions.

CUT TO:

COMMERCIAL BREAK

CUT TO:

INT. Octavian's house, Rome – Day

It's Octavian's working room. For one of the members of the second triumphirate and thereby maybe the most powerful man in the known world, this is the place were he plans Roman politics - and Roman wars. An enormous desk is taking one side while the opposite wall is covered with shelves, holding thousands of scrolls.

OCTAVIAN himself is standing next to the desk, leaned over a spread out map of Greece. He wears a simple white tunica and seems concentrated, focused.

After a few moments a slave is leading MARC ANTONY into the room. The second member of the triumphirate seems relaxed, smiling constantly. He wears a white toga with a purple ribbon across the chest.

The slave bows deeply and leaves the room quickly while Marc Antony casually strolls towards the desk and looks over Octavian's shoulder.

Octavian

You're late.

Octavian talks without looking up from the map.

Mark Antony

The Senate … it needed a little cheering up because of the ongoing recruitments.

Octavian

We should get rid of them once and for all.

Mark Antony turns and slowly walks to the shelves on the other side, checking some of the scrolls seemingly interested.

Mark Antony

The Senate is Rome … it's a few centuries too late to get rid of it. But … as long as it does what we want … it can get the occasional cookie.

Octavian

Let's go over the plans for Greece.

Mark Antony

Don't we wait for Lepidus?

Octavian

He has finally left for Sicily … an island is about all he is able to handle.

Marc Antony

He had his uses.

Octavian

Yes. About Greece …

Mark Antony

Octavian … that's your little project, not mine. Greece is neither a threat nor has it resisted Roman demands during the last couple of years. I would think there are better places to keep our legions busy.

Octavian

Greece is rich, independent … and sits right at our border. I say we take it.

Mark Antony

I have told you before … if you want to do that … go ahead … have fun. I will in the meantime enjoy the distractions of Rome. But I always knew that you can't enjoy yourself.

Octavian

You should thank the gods that at least one of us is taking care of the … Republic.

Mark Antony

I don't know anyone who speaks out this word with such disgust.

Ark Antony slowly walks over to the door where he came in.

Octavian

So we agree?

Mark Antony

Of course.

At the door Marc Antony stops for a moment.

Marc Antony

You mentioned the Amazons.

Octavian

Oh, yes. I hired mercenaries to deal with them. They are a threat to my flank.

Marc Antony

Deal with them?

Octavian

Eliminate them.

Marc Antony thinks for a moment, than he nods and leaves the room. Octavian is still standing as he did when Marc Antony came in, leaning over the desk.

Octavian

Nobody can stop my legions … Greece is ours.

CUT TO:

EXT. Outside the Tavern, Port of Argos – Day

XENA and JOXER are standing in front of the tavern - the area around it has returned to its normal busyness, with dozens of people filling the streets again with their business and pleasure.

Xena has put on her coat again and her backpack stands right next to her on the ground. Joxer is standing in front of her, listening to her closely. His wounds are still bandaged and his face still misses any healthy look, but overall he looks better now - and seems concentrated.

Xena

Athens should be your first target … they will help you to contact the other cities. They have to raise every soldier they can lay their hands on.

Joxer

You really think it's that serious.

Xena

I know Ares … believe me, he wasn't joking. And besides … it makes perfect sense. Greece got along very well with the Republic … but with the triumphirate it was only a matter of time.

Joxer

And you think we can stop them.

Xena

First we have to warn the free cities. If they have any courage and intelligence left they will act quickly … and jointly. Tell them … tell them that I will join the army … if there is one … as soon as possible.

Joxer nods. Xena looks seriously into Joxer's face, than she stretches out her right hand.

Xena

Good luck.

Joxer looks down on her hand for a moment, than, hesitantly, he takes it.

Joxer

Thanks. I … I hope I'm worthy of you trust.

Xena gives him an encouraging smile.

Joxer

And … and tell Gabrielle goodbye from me.

Xena

I will.

Joxer turns and slowly walks away through the crowd.

After he is out of sight GABRIELLE comes out of the tavern, dragging her bag with her. She stops next to Xena, looking at her expectantly.

Xena

I will stay with you. At least until the Amazons …

Gabrielle looks straight and very serious into Xena's eyes.

Gabrielle

Until the greater good demands something else …

Without a replay Xena picks up her bag and walks away, followed slowly by Gabrielle. Both seem thoughtful and serious - even melancholic.

 


Return to The Bard's Corner