XENA - ANOTHER SEASON 5 - Episode 2

I NEED A HERO

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. RIVER - DAY

A river, maybe 30 feet wide, runs slowly past a small hill with a few trees standing on top. With his back to one of those trees sitting there is JOXER, throwing stones into the water. He wears his usual armor but the helm is lying next to him. He seems thoughtful.

He starts to hum his song, than he starts to sing silently.

Joxer

Joxer, the Mighty, roams through the countryside, he never needs a place to hide. With Gabby as his sidekick, fighting with her little stick …

He stops, sighs, looks around and then starts again.

Joxer

Joxer, the Only, sad and lonely, everybody thinks the same, he's a joke and that's his fame, Gabby just ignores his sight, Xena thinks he cannot fight, running fast and being last, always in some warlords grasp. He's Joxer, …

Suddenly there is the sound of someone crying in the distance and Joxer stops immediately, listening hard.

Than he jumps up, grabs his helmet and runs towards the sound, stumbling down the hill and than following the river upwards.

 

CUT TO:

EXT. RIVERBANK - DAY

A GIRL, maybe 10 or 12, stands close to the river and looks into the water. She is dressed in a simple cotton dress and wears no shoes. She cries bitterly.

Suddenly JOXER appears from behind a few trees, still carrying his helmet in his hands, stumbling towards her. When the girl hears him she just turns her head, tears continue to roll down her face.

When Joxer sees the girl he immediately stops, puts his helmet on and tries to look strong and confident.

Joxer

Don't be afraid, Joxer, the Mighty, is here to help you. Nobody can harm you as long as you are under my protection.

The girl doesn't react and Joxer gets a little uncomfortable with the situation. After a few moments of thought he takes off his helmet again and starts to slowly walk towards the girl.

When he reaches her he knees down next to her, setting down his helmet and his sword on the ground. The girl still hasn't moved or stopped crying.

Joxer

(comforting)

It's okay. I'm here to help. If you tell me what happened, I might be able to do something about it. Maybe I … should bring you home?

Girl

(sobbing)

Theodorus fell into the river.

Joxer

Into the water?

Joxer takes a quick look towards the river, but nobody and nothing can be seen in the water.

Joxer

Were?

The girl points at the water in front of her, only a few feet into the river.

Girl

Right there.

Joxer

When?

Girl

Just now. I want him back!

Joxer

Stay right there!

Joxer jumps up and takes off his armor and his boots. Just in pants he starts to wade into the river. When the water reaches his belt he stops and turns around, towards the girl.

Joxer

Don't worry - I’ll save him.

He takes a deep breath and than jumps forward, diving into the river. For a few seconds nothing can be seen, the river just passes by slowly.

Than Joxer’s head appears out of the water, grasping for air. After a few quick breaths he again goes underwater. This time he stays a little longer.

The girl has stopped crying and watches Joxer’s ordeal.

When he comes up again, with the back towards the girl, he holds something in his right hand – a feet long cotton doll. He again rings for air but doesn’t go down immediately when he regains his breath, instead he looks into the water.

Joxer

I can’t find him. I looked on the ground and thought I had him, but it’s just this rugged think of a toy.

Girl

Theodorus!

Joxer hurls around – as good as someone can do it in the water – and looks around.

Joxer

Where?

Girl

There … in your hand. You found him!

Joxer stares at the doll in his hand, slowly understanding the meaning of it all. With an angry look on his face he wades out of the water, towards the girl.

Joxer

You let me jump into the cold waters of a dangerous river to rescue a … puppet?

The girl takes the doll out of Joxer’s hand and hugs it happily. Joxer’s anger is quickly washed away.

Joxer

Well, another day, another deed. If someone is asking you, Joxer the Mighty retrieved your little cotton companion.

The girl doesn't listen, trying do dry her doll. Joxer leans forward and picks up his armor with a sigh.

Joxer

At least my armor stayed dry this time.

When Joxer gets up again he slips and falls backwards into the river, dragging his armor with him. The girl giggles and than runs away while Joxer struggles to get on dry land again.

 

CUT TO:

EXT. River - DAY

JOXER stands behind a few bushes – naked, but wearing his helmet – right next to the river, a small wooded area in his back. His armor and the rest of his clothing are hung out to dry in the sun on the bushes around him.

He hums his melody, taking care of his cloths.

Suddenly sounds can be heard from the forest. Joxer stops in his work and his humming. Slowly he bends down and picks up his sword. He stands up, waits a few moments and than turns around quickly towards the wooded area.

Joxer

Show yourself – or even better, don’t show yourself. In any case, be warned … I am Joxer, the Mighty. Giants tell their children stories about me to scare them. In some peaceful countries they are not allowed to speak out my name, because it’s a weapon of its own. And if you see me shaking, it’s only the missing cloths.

Joxer is shaking and his voice sounds not very confident.

Than four AMAZONS, armed and with masks, jump out of the wood and surround Joxer in a moment. He immediately drops his weapon.

Joxer

Well, there is no need to shed blood – at least not mine.

The Amazons do not react. Instead they muster him from top to bottom.

Joxer

You didn’t kill me immediately – that’s a good start. You’re Amazons, so you should know Gabrielle, right? I know her. In fact, I’m a very good friend of hers. To be precise, I am one of her best friends and we have shared many adventures. Of course there’s Xena, but that’s a girl thing …

One of the Amazons steps in front of Joxer and stabs with her sword past him, missing only by inches. Joxer freezes, but is relieved when the Amazon just lifts his pants from the bushes behind him with the tip of her sword and holds them up in front of him.

Amazon

Dress and follow!

Joxer grabs his pants.

Joxer

Well, you could have been a little more polite.

Amazon

Hurry!

Joxer

That’ll do.

Joxer doesn’t move, just stares at the Amazon in front of him.

Amazon

What?

Joxer

Could you … please turn around?

 

CUT TO:

TITEL SEQUENCE

CUT TO:

EXT. AMAZON Village - DUSK

The Amazon village looks dark and silent. One big funeral pyre was erected in the middle of it, a few Amazons are still piling wood. Other women are busy between the huts and all have a serious, sad look on their face. They all wear simple dresses, no masks or weapons.

JOXER and his four Amazon guides, two in front of him and two behind, enter the village and walk straight towards the Queens hut. Joxer looks weary and somewhat confused.

 

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INT. QUEENS HUT - Dask

The hut is dark except for two torches, held by CHILAPA and AMARICE, standing guard in front of two coffins.

Both coffins are covered with painted sheets, showing pictures of Amazon lore in earthly colors. On top of one coffin the broken Chakram is laying, on top of the other the bag with Gabrielle’s scrolls rests.

Chilapa, in front of Xena’s coffin, and Amarice, in front of Gabrielle’s coffin, each wear a warrior-like Amazon outfit, complete with weapons but without mask, their faces painted black with ash, also covering their hair.

JOXER enters the hut alone. He looks first at Chilapa, then at Amarice, but doesn’t seem to recognize either of them. Then he sees the coffins and what’s on top of them. He stumbles forward, devastated.

Joxer

Xena? Gabrielle?

He passes the two Amazons, shortly touching Xena’s coffin and then turning to Gabrielle’s. He carefully touches the bag, then the coffin itself, dropping to his knees. He cries.

Chilapa and Amarice watch his ordeal silently for a few moments, then Chilapa speaks to him, softly.

Chilapa

Our true Queen and Xena have left this world and are now under the guidance of our goddess Artemis. They’ve died like they lived … protecting the innocent. The Amazon nation is in deep mourning and with those two we are burying many hopes for renewal, even survival. You are one of those Gabrielle told us to call upon if this would happen. She thought of you as a valued friend … and now we all do. After tonight’s ceremony they need one last service from you.

Joxer, who didn’t listen much – engulfed in pain and sorrow – now raises his head towards Chilapa.

Joxer

I never told her … they were all the family I really had, and I …

Amarice

Now is the time for grief, for remembrance. But tomorrow we have to rebuild our lives … and you have to carry out one important task.

Joxer stares up to Amarice, hopefully.

Joxer

They come back … they did before. Isn’t there anything we can do?

Chilapa and Amarice exchange looks, dark, sorrowful ones.

Chilapa

There is nothing left. We have tried to contact their spirits, but they already entered the underworld. There is nothing more for us to do then honor their bodies with a proper burial.

Amarice

Everyone in the Amazon nation would have happily sacrificed their own life for each of them. Gabrielle was our heart … and Xena our hope. Now there is nothing … left.

Joxer stares back at the coffin in front of him, tears run freely down his face.

JOxer

What can I do?

Chilapa

We have send for all their friends, but you are the only one that made it in time for the ceremony. We feel that it would be appropriate their families receive the terrible news from someone close. You know their families … in Amphipolis and Poteidaia?

Joxer just nods, than he buries his face in his arms.

Amarice

We know it’s an unthankful task, but sending some Amazons they don’t know isn’t something we even considered. Will you do it?

Joxer nods again, still hiding his face.

 

CUT TO:

EXT. AMAZON Village - Night

The village lies silent and dark. Only a few of the gathered Amazons carry torches. They surround the funeral pyre in a loose circle, all dressed in their Amazon outfits but without masks, their faces covered with ash like Chilapa and Amarice before.

 

CUT TO:

EXT. AMAZON Village, Outside of Queens hut - Night

The hut lies in darkness, too. To the left a single woman stands in the shadows, unrecognizable.

After a few moments first CHILAPA, then AMARICE, each dressed as during their watch, leave the hut and slowly walk towards the funeral pyre, still carrying the torches. Behind them the coffins follow, each carried by four Amazons. JOXER is last, still devastated.

 

CUT TO:

EXT. AMAZON Village - Night

Sounds of mourning, even pain, rise above the village while the two coffins are carried towards the funeral pyre. CHILAPA and AMARICE position themselves right in front of the piled wood, waiting for the coffins to be placed on top.

Very carefully first Xena’s, then Gabrielle’s coffin are placed on the funeral pyre, next to each other. After placing them their, one Amazon of each carrying group takes away what’s still lying on top of the coffins – the broken Chakram and the scrolls.

While the Amazons that carried the coffins join the circle of women, JOXER, steps behind Chilapa and Amarice, his head lowered and his eyes staring at the ground.

Chilapa and Amarice rise the torches in their hands high above their heads. Total silence falls upon the place, nothing seems to move for a few seconds.

Chilapa

We are a tribe of tradition. We are a tribe of warriors. We are the rest of the once great Amazon nation. This day marks an ending. The end of fighting, the end of life as we know it. With these two women we bury our past and our presence.

All Amazons start to sing, as if a command was spoken - it's a slow and dark song in an ancient tongue.

Chilapa

(shouting)

We are a tribe of resistance. We are a tribe of defiance. We are the seed of a great nation. This day marks a beginning. The beginning of hope, the beginning of life as we want it. This fire will show us the way.

With these words, Chilapa and Amarice throw their torches onto the funeral pyre. The dry wood immediately catches fire and in a matter of seconds the whole pyre is ablaze.

The singing ends and the only sound left is coming from the flames. All the Amazons and Joxer watch silently as the two coffins catch fire, too.

 

CUT TO:

EXT. AMAZON Village, Outside of Queens hut - Night

Dancing shadows by the funeral fire are thrown against the hut. Standing to the left there is still that single woman, her face hidden in darkness.

The woman, dressed in a black robe, steps forward, and her face can finally be seen – it’s CALLISTO.

Callisto

(to herself)

No tricks this time … no tricks.

She seems very thoughtful.

Callisto

Strange. I can’t find my hate for her right now. Instead, her death feels almost … like a loss? I’ll miss the fight … I thought it would never end. Joined in an eternal struggle, going down in flames … instead she is going alone.

Her look grows darker.

Callisto

She has stolen my vision, my victory, and left me nothing but emptiness, loneliness, boredom. No matter what happened between us, at least there was reason to live and reason to kill. Everything now is just good enough to keep me … occupied.

Callisto steps back into the shadow, hiding. Two Amazons walk by the hut, not noticing the women in the dark.

When the two Amazons have disappeared, Callisto steps forward again. She locks after them, than her attention turns again towards the funeral.

Callisto

They even change guards to give everybody the chance to honor her. How pathetic.

After a few silent moments she starts to smile.

Callisto

Maybe it isn't over yet. Maybe she finds a way back … I have, and more than once. Maybe there is a chance to once again test our skills against one another, maybe a chance to hand her the suffering she deserves.

Callisto seems to relish the thought.

Callisto

It was much more satisfying to lose against her … then to win against anybody else.

 

CUT TO:

EXT. AMAZON Village - Night

While the fire rises into the night, most of the Amazons surrounding the pyre silently stare into the flames. But some of them show their emotions more openly, crying, mourning, supporting each other when the legs didn't seem to be carrying their weight anymore.

Suddenly rain starts to poor down on the funeral and wind is coming up, too.

The shower quickly turns into heavy rain, but not a single Amazon leaves the place. They stay their ground against the elements, the wind and the water.

Amazingly, the funeral fire also seems unaffected by the rainstorm, defiantly raising its flames against the sky.

 

CUT TO:

COMMERCIAL BREAK

CUT TO:

EXT. Road - DAY

JOXER is slowly walking along a small, dirty road – barely a path – over a group of green hills. It’s still raining, although not as heavy as before. Joxer is soaked through and through in his normal outfit, also carrying Gabrielle’s bag with the scrolls and Xena’s Chakram inside.

While he walks along, downside one of the hills, a large group of armed horsemen appears behind him. They also follow the road, riding in pairs and closing in fast on Joxer who doesn’t hear them over the rain. He seems totally engulfed in his thoughts.

Moments before he is reached by the first horses, he hurls around, utterly surprised. Unable to move, the first pair of raiders passes him without touching.

The horsemen simply ignore Joxer, neither attacking nor avoiding him. After dodging a few more of the horses he is finally struck by one and thrown to the side. He lands in the mud beside the road, losing his helmet and the bag.

In a mixture of amazement and anger he watches, sitting in the dirt, as the rest of the cavalry is passing. He follows them with his look until they vanish behind the next hill.

Voice (Off)

You should have stayed at the left side of the road. Every child knows that.

Joxer’s head turns around. There, in the middle of the road, stands ARES, in his usual attire, untouched by rain or mud. He has picked up Gabrielle’s bag and has taken out one of the scrolls. He looks at it rather indifferent.

Ares

I always wondered, what she was writing about me.

Joxer

You’re Ares.

Ares

How observant.

Joxer

What are you doing here?

Ares slowly walks towards Joxer, sitting down next to him.

Ares

Oh, you know, god business. The riders you just stumbled upon have an important appointment on my behalf.

Joxer

With whom?

Ares

(sighing)

With Hades, I suppose. They don’t know it yet, but they’ll face an army ten times as strong. I guess there will be a lot of heroism involved, and afterwards tales will be told, hymns will be sung. But lets face it … their fools on the way to the butcher.

Joxer

You could stop them.

Ares

Oh, but I won’t. You see, I’m the god of war, I don’t care who is winning … most of the time. A battle, a little skirmish, even a single fight, that’s what I’m here for.

Joxer stands up and picks up his helmet.

Joxer

Well, I have to go. I’m on a mission.

Ares

Oh yeah, the messenger of death. I might miss Xena and her little sidekick.

Joxer

Gabrielle!

Ares

I know! She was annoying enough to be remembered.

Joxer

(angry)

I won’t allow you to talk about her like that.

Ares

Oh. It’s okay, I know. Aphrodite told me. Your secret is save with me.

Joxer turns away from the sitting Ares, showing his back.

Joxer

I don’t know what you are talking about.

Ares

Well, it doesn’t matter. But think about it, now that she’s dead she can hear your thoughts. So she knows, too.

Joxer turns around and stares down at Ares.

Joxer

I wanted to tell her, I always wanted her to know. But there was never …

Ares

(interrupting)

Don’t give me that, I have heard that a thousand times. Friends, families, lovers, even enemies, standing over a dead body and regretting that they hadn’t enough time or the time was never right to tell them … Zeus knows what. The truth is, you pity yourself for your own failures. That’s not mourning, that’s justifying.

Joxer

(angry)

What do you know about loss, about mourning?

Ares

(very serious)

As I said, I’ve observed it so many times … and I’ve lost close ones myself. I may be a monster for you, but the difference between a god and a mortal isn’t as big as you imagine.

Ares stands up right in front of Joxer – they now stand face to face.

Ares

(still serious)

You should hurry, bad news travels fast, and you don’t want some fool to tell the tale, don’t you?

Ares puts the scroll back into the bag and holds it out to Joxer. Their eyes are linked and Joxer’s slowly fill with tears.

Joxer

Without you Gabrielle would be still alive!

Joxer grabs the bag from Ares.

Ares

Without war many mortals would be still alive. The question is … would it be a life worth living? In the end, even Gabrielle thought that some things are worth fighting for!

Ares disappears in a flash, leaving a lonely, dirty, very thoughtful Joxer behind.

 

CUT TO:

EXT. Poteidaia - DAY

The little village of Poteidaia looks peaceful and happy – the sun is shining. The villagers are talking, trading or simply passing through. Nobody seems armed or worried while the children are playing on the streets.

JOXER appears between the buildings, determinedly walking towards the house of Gabrielle’s parents. The people around him seem to feel the serious aura surrounding him, interrupting their leisurely tasks to look at the passing stranger.

Joxer has cleaned his armor and clothing – a bit. The long travel through bad weather still shows.

 

CUT TO:

EXT. GABRIELLE’S PARENTS HOUSE - DAY

The house on the outskirt of Poteidaia is a simple wooden building, well kept and clean. The door is open and someone inside can be heard humming a happy tune.

JOXER walks straight towards the door, but than stops right in front of it. His look wanders over the whole building, sad and thoughtful. His arm extends to knock on the doorframe, but before he does so he freezes, then pulling the hand back. After a few more moments he simply enters the house.

 

CUT TO:

INT. GABRIELLE’S PARENTS HOUSE - DAY

The interior of the house is simple, functional, with only a few decorations. LILA, Gabrielle’s sister, is working inside the house, sitting at a long table, alone, and cleaning some vegetables. She’s the one humming that tune.

She sits with the back towards the door where JOXER is just entering, so she doesn’t notice him at first.

Joxer just makes one step into the room and than stops immediately. He stares at Lila’s back, unsure what to do.

Finally he takes off his helmet and Lila hears it. She turns quickly, recognizing him immediately. Happily she jumps up, leaving her work at the table, and runs towards Joxer. She hugs him, laughing.

Lila

Joxer! It’s so great to see you.

Lila steps back and looks past Joxer through the door, to see if anybody else is coming.

Lila

Are Gabrielle and Xena with you? Or are you visiting us alone?

Joxer just continues to stare at Lila, right into her eyes. He seems unable to speak and looks sad and serious.

Lila

What’s the matter … lost your tongue?

Lila looks into Joxer’s face and suddenly gets serious, too.

Lila

By Zeus, Joxer, speak. Otherwise I have to believe something terrible has happened.

Joxer opens his mouth, but still cannot say anything. Tears start to role down his face.

Lila grabs him on his shoulder and shakes him wildly.

Lila

(shouting)

Tell me, she’s okay. Tell me!

Joxer simply closes his eyes, crying silently.

Lila lets go of him and stares to the ground. Slowly, she starts crying, too. Overcome by sadness, she stumbles back a step but cannot keep her body upright. She falls to her knees, now weeping uncontrollable.

 

CUT TO:

EXT. GABRIELLE’S PARENTS HOUSE - DAY

Rain clouds are covering the sky fast, the first few raindrops fall to the ground.

 

CUT TO:

INT. GABRIELLE’S PARENTS HOUSE - DAY

LILA is sitting at the table, her eyes are red from extensive crying and every bit of happiness seems to have left her. JOXER stands next to her, one hand on her shoulder, but unable to comfort her much in his own grief. Gabrielle’s bag and his helmet are lying on the table.

Joxer

(thoughtful)

Life will never be the same.

Lila stares at the bag.

Lila

It wasn’t the same the moment she left.

Joxer

She loved you, no matter where she was.

Lila

I know.

Joxer

She just … she told me that she had found things that where worth dying for.

Lila jumps up and walks towards the still open door. She stops right in front of it, than turns around to face Joxer.

Lila

(angry)

And what about us? What about things that are worth living for?

Joxer

She always talked about destiny … and about friendship.

Lila

(still angry)

That doesn’t leave much place for family. First she moved away and now she left me.

Joxer walks to Lila, who has a bitter and angry look on her face. He takes her into his arms and she doesn’t move to support or hinder it.

Joxer

You’re not angry with her.

Joxer seems to remember something.

Joxer

We pity ourselves for our own failures.

Slowly, the bitterness and anger is washed away from Lila’s face. Grief and sorrow take over once again and tears flow freely. She leans her head against Joxer and closes her eyes.

 

CUT TO:

EXT. Poteidaia - DAY

Rain is now getting heavier and the people outside hurry to get into their homes and shops.

 

CUT TO:

INT. GABRIELLE’S PARENTS HOUSE - DAY

LILA is still standing at the door, now leaning against the frame and watching the rain outside. JOXER has fetched the bag from the table and steps next to her. Both have regained their composure a bit.

Joxer

Where are your parents?

Lila

They’re buying supplies.

Joxer

I should go and look for them … I don’t want them to get the news from a stranger.

Lila

I … I stay here.

Joxer and Lila stand next to each other, silently. Joxer seems very thoughtful for a moment, but than he just touches Lila’s shoulder and walks through the door.

Outside he puts on his helmet and walks towards the village.

 

CUT TO:

INT. SHOP - DAY

It’s a small house, jam packed with goods, mainly food in all shapes and sizes. HERODOTUS, Gabrielle’s father, and HECUBA, Gabrielle’s mother, are the only costumers right now and they seem almost ready to leave, already haggling with the SHOPKEEPER for the price of a few supplies, spread out on the counter.

HERODOTUS

Twelve Dinars? I don’t want to buy your whole shop.

Hecuba, in the mean time, has started to pack the goods into a leather bag.

Shopkeeper

Twelve Dinars wouldn’t normally pay for half of the things you want … but for how long do we know each other now? Twenty years? I couldn’t bring myself to ask for more than that if I would go bankrupt on it.

A DRUNKEN MAN suddenly stumbles into the shop. His simple clothes are soaked and dirty. He stops, tries to rise himself to full length and walk as dignified towards the counter as possible. He fails and has to grab for support to not fall flat on his face. Reaching the counter he interrupts the haggling with a loud belch.

DRUNKEN MAN

You wouldn’t refuse a good man something to drink, would you? You have something to drink, right?

Shopkeeper

You can buy wine, but you have to drink it elsewhere! And you have to wait.

He turns back to Herodotus.

Shopkeeper

I could go down as far as eleven Dinars, but I would have to charge the extra Dinar on some other poor soul if I don’t want to starve to death in a week. If you can load that on your conscience, we have a deal.

The drunk grabs Herodotus and turns him around, staring into his face.

Drunke Man

You wouldn’t mind letting me go first, would you?

Hecuba, finished with the bag, leans over to her husband.

Hecuba

(whispering)

Just let him.

Herodotus throws a dark and angry look at the drunk, but finally he steps back and nods towards the shopkeeper.

Drunken Man

Thank you. I always liked you. That thing with your daughter is really a shame.

He turns towards the shopkeeper. Herodotus and Hecuba throw surprised looks at each other, than they move closer to the drunk.

Hecuba

What do you know about our daughter?

The drunken man speaks without turning.

Drunken Man

You know, the one that followed that warrior woman.

Herodotus

Yes?

Drunken Man

Wouldn’t bring her any good, now that she’s …

Joxer (OFF)

I pay for the man’s wine!

JOXER has entered the shop without anyone noticing so far. Now everybody turns towards him, surprised.

Joxer grabs a full wineskin, walks to the counter and hands the surprised drunk the wineskin.

Shopkeeper

Wait a minute!

Joxer quickly pulls out a few coins and throws them to the shopkeeper, who counts them and seems satisfied. Meanwhile Joxer grabs the drunk on his arm and drags him towards the door.

Joxer

You better hurry. See, it almost completely stopped raining. You will be home and unconscious in no time.

Joxer pushes the drunken man out of the shop, although the rain is pouring down heavily.

Hecuba

Joxer! What are you doing here?

Herodotus

What did this scoundrel know about Gabrielle?

Joxer turns back to Gabrielle’s parents and looks at them very seriously.

Joxer

We probably should talk about it at your home.

Herodotus steps in front of Joxer and grabs his shoulder.

Herodotus

(angry)

You tell us now. Now!

Hecuba

Please, tell us. Did something happen?

Joxer looks first at Herodotus, than at Hecuba. Again, he struggles for words, finally walking towards Gabrielle’s mother and handing her the bag with the scrolls.

Joxer

She would have wanted you to have them. She always wanted you to understand.

Hecuba stares at the bag in Joxer’s hand, unable to move. Than she starts to cry, covering her face with her hands. Her body starts to shake uncontrollable. Herodotus is quickly at her side and takes her in his arms. She buries her face into his chest and continues to weep.

Herodotus looks angrily at Joxer.

Herodotus

So Xena finally managed to get our child killed. Why isn’t she here to tell us herself?

Joxer is stunned and needs a few moments before he can answer.

Joxer

(swallowing hard)

She’s dead, too. They died both on roman crosses, after they helped a group of innocent to escape certain death.

The face of Gabrielle’s father doesn’t change. It continues to show anger and defiance.

Herodotus

(slowly)

Not all innocent escaped. This would never have happened if she had stayed here. The Romans will not even give us her body.

Joxer seems ready for an angry reply, but he controls himself and instead just turns around and leaves, still holding the bag.

Hecuba turns her head to look up to her husband.

Hecuba

She’s dead! By Zeus, she’s dead!

Herodotus suddenly softens, his look gets worried and tears start to roll over his face, too. He strokes his wife’s hair carefully, lovingly.

Herodotus

It’s okay. It’ll get better. Now she will be with us every day.

 

CUT TO:

INT. GABRIELLE’S PARENTS HOUSE - DAY

LILA sits at the table again, holding a knife in one hand and a vegetable in the other – but she doesn’t move, just staring into the back of the room.

The door is still open, although it’s raining heavily by now. After a few moments JOXER storms into the house, soaked but trying to cover the bag with the scrolls from the rain with his body and arms. Lila turns around when Joxer stops in the middle of the room, dripping like a wet dog.

Lila

Did you find them?

Joxer

Yes, I told them. They didn’t take it very well. I think it is best when I go before they are back.

Lila

Sometimes they cannot show their true feelings, especially father.

Joxer now hands Lila the bag.

Joxer

Here, these are her scrolls. Everything she wrote during her journeys. It’s mostly about Xena, but … I think it will help them understand.

Lila just looks at the bag for a few moments, than she takes it, very carefully as if it might brake. She sets it down on the table and slowly opens it.

She takes out one of the scrolls and unrolls it.

Joxer

They where buried by the Amazons, honoured with a huge ceremony. They both would have wanted it that way. It didn’t mean any disrespect to your family.

Lila looks up from the scroll into Joxer’s face.

Lila

I never was very good at reading. Gabrielle always read to me or told me the stories.

Again, Lila starts to cry.

Lila

I’ll promise I learn.

She sits down and starts to slowly decipher the writing on the scroll.

Joxer in the meantime looks into the bag, seems surprised and takes a closer look. After a few moments he starts to frantically search through the bag. Lila looks up and watches this for a few moments.

Lila

What’s the matter? Is a scroll missing?

Joxer stops the search and looks back to Lila.

Joxer

The Chakram. It’s not in the bag.

 

CUT TO:

COMMERCIAL BREAK

CUT TO:

EXT. Road - DAY

JOXER is again walking along a small, dirty road, thoughtful. It’s not raining, but heavy clouds are hanging in the sky. After reaching a hilltop Joxer sees that the road is leading to a small wooden bridge.

 

CUT TO:

EXT. Bridge - DAY

JOXER approaches the bridge and stops. His look wanders over the bridge. The wood is old, wet and dirty – it doesn’t look to secure.

Joxer

Why do I even bother? The news has surely reached Amphipolis by now and I don’t have the Chakram anymore. One little task, and I’m unable to do it right.

He shakes his had and slowly starts walking again. He takes every step on the bridge very carefully. Once it looks as if he might slip, and the bridge is shaking a bit the whole time, but he crosses over without incident.

Joxer

(while crossing)

I can’t give up now. I’ll find a way. If all that is left to do in Amphipolis is console Xena’s mother, than at least I have to do that.

When he reaches the other end he stops again.

Joxer

There is only one question left. Who would steel a broken Chakram?

He just stands and thinks for a few moments, than he seems to have a revelation.

Joxer

Ares!

Voice (OFF)

Not quite!

A blind CYCLOPS appears between a few rocks next to the road and walks towards Joxer. He isn’t armed and seems unthreatening.

Joxer freezes and just stares at the Cyclops who stops a few yards in front of him.

Cyclops

(amused)

I’m big, but I’m not the god of war.

Joxer

(stammering)

You’re the Cyclops Gabrielle told me about, the blind one.

Cyclops

Very true, scared one.

Joxer

So you’re now … going to eat me?

Cyclops

No.

Joxer is visibly relived.

Cyclops

I’ve already eaten. Big, fat merchant … very tasty legs.

Joxer swallows hard, looking as if he might vomit any second.

Cyclops

You’re lucky. Times are good to me right now. I don’t need to keep you. Fresh food is walking by all the time.

Joxer grabs his sword.

Joxer

I …

Cyclops

You want to talk a little bit? I like that after dinner.

Joxer

Actually … I’m in a bit of a hurry. So, if you don’t mind I just … go.

The Cyclops seems a little disappointed, but after a few silent moments he just shrugs his shoulders, turns and walks away.

Joxer just stands there and watches him until he is gone.

Joxer

(angry)

Let’s face it Joxer, you’re a coward. You couldn’t face a blind Cyclops … you’ll never be able to confront the god of war.

 

CUT TO:

EXT. Amphipolis - Night

It's dark in the village of Amphipolis, but the tavern of Xena's mother is very much alive. Light floods from all the windows and the sound - voices, laughter, even music - can be heard from quite a distance.

JOXER stands in the middle of the street and quietly stares at the building. Than his look start to wander, first to the ground, than to the other buildings. His clothes, his armor and he himself need cleaning desperately.

When he looks at the tavern again he seems to have made up his mind, slowly starting to walk towards it. The noise gets louder as he comes closer, finally stepping next to an open window and looking inside.

 

CUT TO:

INT. Amphipolis, Cyrene's Tavern - Night

The tavern is packed to the last place. There seems to be a celebration of some kind. CYRENE carries at least half a dozen huge beer mugs through the crowd towards an especially loud and merry table.

Cyrene seems quite happy herself, she exchanges a few words here and there with customers, laughing over a joke.

 

CUT TO:

EXT. Amphipolis - Night

JOXER is still standing next to the tavern window, looking inside.

With an abrupt movement he turns and takes a few steps away from the building. He stops again, shaking his head.

Joxer

I can't do it.

GUARD (OFF)

Who's there?

Joxer turns his head and notices a man standing only a few yards away from him. He is leaning against a spear and wears a simple leather armor. His face is obscured by the darkness.

GUARD

Have you lost your tongue or are you so drunk that you can't understand me anymore?

Joxer

I can understand.

Guard

Good. So … you're not from here, therefore I need to know who you are.

Joxer

Of course, you're only doing your job.

There are a few seconds of silence. Joxer looks down on his rather ragged appearance.

Guard

(impatient)

So?

Joxer

What?

Guard

Your name!

Joxer

Oh, I'm Joxer. I'm here …

Guard

Yes?

Joxer

… because of a friend.

Guard

Okay, but you should hurry. If you don't find quarters in time you will spend the night in our comfy little prison.

Joxer

Sure.

The guard shoulders his spear and turns around. After a step he stops again and turns his head back to Joxer.

Guard

You seem to have a long journey behind you.

Joxer just nods.

Guard

Not really the weather for it. Must be some friend if you go through all of that.

Joxer nods again, more thoughtful.

Joxer

Yes. But she would do the same and more.

Guard

If you don't find anything, ask the tavern keeper. She has always a warm fire and a friendly meal for weary travelers … sometimes free if you can't afford it.

The guard turns and slowly walks away. It starts raining again.

 

CUT TO:

INT. Temple of Ares - Night

It's a small temple, more of a shrine. It has only one room, circular, with an open door on one side and on the opposite wall a big painting of Ares, watching two armies fight. A few weapons decorate the wall and a single brazier in the middle gives barely enough light to make out details.

Outside a storm seems to have risen and rain even comes through the open door and has formed a puddle inside.

Lightning strikes and the thunder only moments later shows, that it's very close.

Suddenly JOXER comes running into the temple, fleeing the weather outside. When he reaches the dry part of the temple he stops and throws off first his helmet and than the armor.

With the rest of his clothing still soaked he steps to the brazier and warms himself for a few moments. While doing it he looks around, mustering the weapons and the painting.

Joxer

(whispering)

I probably will regret this.

Joxer stops his futile tries to warm and dry himself and steps back, until he reaches a wall.

Joxer

(shouting)

Ares!

Joxer looks around, but nothing happens.

Once again, lightning strikes and thunder fills the air. Joxer seems to shrink a little bit, his face doesn't show much confidence.

Joxer

Ares?

He slowly walks towards the door and looks outside. When the next lightning strikes, he shrugs back and almost slips on the wet floor.

Joxer

At least I'm not scared.

Ares (OFF)

Really?

Joxer turns around, surprised, tumbles back and finally stops his movement at the wall next to the door. Right in front of the painting ARES has appeared, amused watching Joxer.

Ares

You're not visiting my temples very often.

Joxer opens his mouth but not a single sound comes out.

Ares

You should find your voice quickly because otherwise I'm gone. I don't do this one-on-one talks with everybody, you know. Most of the time I have more important things to do.

Joxer

You know why I'm here.

Ares starts to stroll around, looking at the weapons on the wall while continuing the conversation with Joxer, who still leans at the wall next to the door.

Ares

You want to talk about our common friends?

Joxer

They weren't your friends.

Ares

Oh, but Xena was.

Joxer

Xena stopped following you a long time ago.

Ares

Oh, but she never stopped following me. She was a warrior to the bone … something you will never understand.

Joxer

You can throw your insults against me, that doesn't matter. But if you do that with Xena or Gabrielle …

Ares stops and turns towards Joxer.

Ares

(slowly and accentuated)

You have to understand that I have the highest opinion for both. We might have had our little differences, but if you have watched Xena in battle … only once … you had to admire her.

Joxer

They've crossed you plans so many times.

Ares

And still I could not bring myself to throw the full force of my powers against her. She and that irritating blond, they seem to grow stronger with every disaster hitting them. I always thought, they even survive death.

Both Ares and Joxer are quiet for a moment, thinking.

Another lightning strikes down outside and both turn their head to the open door. The roaring thunder is separated from the flash by a few seconds, indicating that the storm is moving on.

Joxer

I want the Chakram.

Ares turns towards Joxer again, surprised.

Joxer

Don't look surprised, I know you took it.

Ares

I'm not surprised you found out … although the brightness of your mind wouldn't light an outhouse … but I am surprised that you found the courage to confront me.

Joxer

That might not be the last surprise for you.

Ares

Yeah, a fool's gonna do what a fool's gonna do.

Joxer

I’m no fool!

Ares

Only a fool would run away from an equal enemy but stand and fight against hopeless odds.

Joxer stares at Ares, angry, but unable to find a reply.

Ares

You know that this is hopeless, don't you? Nothing that you say or do could bring the god of war to change his mind.

Joxer

Why? Why keep this broken weapon away from good people who just would want to have a remembrance for a beloved woman.

Ares

Touchy.

Joxer

(shouting)

Why?

Ares turns away and walks towards the painting, stopping in front of it. He looks at it, thinking.

Ares

I once was told that this weapon would hold my destiny … unlock my future. I never found out what it actually means … and now with Xena dead I probably never will.

Joxer walks towards the middle of the room, folding his arms before his chest. His face shows clarity, understanding.

Joxer

You could bring her back.

Ares

Maybe.

Joxer

But you won't.

Ares

No. Hades wouldn't approve. He warned us to intervene in his domain anymore. Xena's fate is sealed.

Joxer

You still care for her.

Ares

You don't share such passionate love … and hate … with someone and than just forget his existence.

Joxer

So you want to keep the Chakram as a reminder?

Ares turns around - in his hands he holds the two pieces of the Chakram.

Ares

You know that Xena prayed to me for the first time in this very temple? I immediately saw her potential. Both your and my existence where touched by her, and nothing stayed the same. I can travel to a thousand places that remind me of her. I don't need this broken toy.

Joxer

Than give it to me.

After a few moments Ares actually tosses the two parts of the Chakram to Joxer, who is almost to surprised to catch them.

Joxer

You actually give them back?

Ares

I’ll reacquire them later, when the curiosity has faded and they're nothing more than a worthless peace of chunk.

Joxer

A worthless peace of chunk you fear!

Ares

Only fools fear the weapon. But the wise warrior respects the arm that strikes with it.

 

CUT TO:

COMMERCIAL BREAK

CUT TO:

INT. Amphipolis, Cyrene's Tavern - Day

The tavern is empty and quiet, but the remains of the festive night are still lying around. CYRENE is busy sweeping the floor, humming a little tune.

She stands with the back to the open door when JOXER enters the room. He looks tired, beaten, ragged. He seems to have cleaned himself a bit, but that didn't help much. He has his helmet beneath his left arm and the two pieces of the Chakram in the right hand. He stops halfway between the door and Cyrene and just waits.

After a few moments Cyrene finally turns around to pick up something, noticing Joxer. She immediately stops her work and smiles at him.

Cyrene

Joxer! What a nice surprise. Come in. Did you travel over night … during that storm?

Joxer is unable to return the smile.

Joxer

I … I have something to tell you.

Immediately Cyrene gets serious, sensing that something is wrong. She sits down on a bench and looks straight at Joxer.

Cyrene

What is it? Is it about Xena?

Joxer

Yes.

Cyrene

Is she in trouble, does she need help?

Joxer slowly walks towards her.

Cyrene

(demanding)

What is it?

Joxer

She's dead …

Cyrene eyes widen, she looks horrified for a moment. But she recollects herself very quickly, her face showing quiet sorrow beneath her tears.

Cyrene

How?

Joxer

Romans. She and … Gabrielle. The Amazons held a funeral for them.

Cyrene

She would have wanted it that way.

Joxer

I was asked to tell you and … to give you that.

Joxer hands her the broken Chakram. Cyrene takes it and stares at the peace of metal in her hands. Joxer sits down next to her.

Cyrene

I lost her once … and got her back. Now she's gone.

Joxer takes her hands inside his own.

Cyrene

A child shouldn't die before his mother. But she never listened.

Joxer

She followed her own way.

Cyrene stands up and walks over to the counter. Slowly, very carefully, she puts the two parts of the Chakram on the wooden surface.

Cyrene

(whispering)

I'll forgive you, my little one, I'll forgive you.

 

CUT TO:

EXT. Road - Day

JOXER is on the road again. He seems calm and relaxed, but still very serious. The sun is shining again, but his clothes are still showing the abuse from the last days.

He starts to hum his song, than he starts to sing silently.

Joxer

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

He stops his singing and his mind seems to wander while he walks on.

Suddenly there is the sound of someone shouting for help in the distance and Joxer stops immediately, listening hard.

Than he starts to run towards a group of trees, right next to the road in front of him, losing his helmet on the way.

 

CUT TO:

EXT. Wood - Day

Between this small group of trees two ruffians, dressed in black leather and armed with wooden clubs, hit away on a smaller, unarmed man. The victim is trying to cover his head, shouting for help, but the two attackers don't seem to mind.

After an especially vicious blow the victim, a simple peasant by his cloths, breaks down and stops shouting. Now the two ruffians start to kick the man.

Suddenly, JOXER appears between the trees. He has drawn his sword and runs straight towards the little group, letting out a strange, failing war cry.

The two attackers turn and for a moment they look surprised and stunned at the closing madman.

Joxer

For Gabrielle … and Xena!

Before the ruffians can react Joxer is upon them and tackles them with full force. Joxer and one of the attackers roll on the ground for a few yards while the other one hits a tree with his head and goes down unconscious.

When Joxer comes back to his feet - the sword lost in his initial attack - he sees the other ruffian still moving and dives right at him.

 

CUT TO:

EXT. WOOD, BEHIND A TREE - Day

Watching Joxer’s fight with some interest, CALLISTO stands in the shadow of a big tree nearby, still dressed in a black robe. She is almost smiling.

Callisto

Interesting. The sheep tries to hunt the wolves. And he might actually win. Maybe I underestimated him?

Joxer (Off)

Not my hair!

Callisto

Maybe not. I must be out off my mind, watching the king of fools fighting it out with a bunch of even bigger losers.

Callisto turns and slowly walks away.

Callisto

Let me see, I have the book and I have the map … all I need is the key. But that's the tricky part.

Callisto stops for a moment.

Callisto

I wonder what Xena is doing right now?

She continues to walk away, suddenly disappearing in a flash of light.


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