XENA - ANOTHER SEASON 5 - Episode 6

THEY LIVE

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. Tartarus, Forest clearing - Day

It’s a small, burned out clearing in the middle of a dense forest. Large but unhealthy looking trees surround it, with their almost leafless branches reaching over the clearing to provide a kind of a roof. Smaller trees and bushes, forming thick undergrowth, fill the room between the massive trunks.

What little can be seen of the sky over Tartarus is gray, dark, providing almost no daylight.

GABRIELLE is standing alone in the middle of the clearing. She wears a dirty, ragged outfit consisting mostly of cloth and leather bands covering her chest, lower arms and the area between hip and knees – she is barefoot. She holds two wooden sticks, one in each hand – very similar to the Amazon fighting sticks called chobos. They have leather bands partly wrapped around them for a better grip.

She carries out a series of fighting moves with the chobos, defending against a few imaginary opponents – the moves look competent and effective. Gabrielle seems concentrated and calm.

After a few more maneuvers she stops for a moment. When she continues, the moves change from defensive to offensive, aggressive. Now she definitely attacks the invisible foe, her facial expression changing towards belligerent and hostile.

The strain of the exercise is clearly visible. Gabrielle is sweating heavily now, her hair sticking to her head and covering part of her face. Her breath is hard and irregular.

Finally she stops her practice and leans with her back against one of the big trees, deeply in- and exhaling – she closes her eyes.

When TELCHIN, the lightly build and mentally unstable arsonist who had befriended Gabrielle in this realm of the damned, steps onto the clearing Gabrielle doesn’t seem to notice.

Telchin wears an old, dark robe and faint reminders of sandals. He has his usual haunted, restless expression on his face – although he calms down a little bit when he sees the bard.

Gabrielle

I almost went looking for you.

Telchin

Oh, I just lost my way a little bit, lost a little. How went your practice, your fight?

Gabrielle

Good … I remembered another move that I had seen from the Amazons.

Telchin

I hope we won’t need your new skill.

Gabrielle opens her eyes and pushes herself away from the tree – her breath is now normal again.

Gabrielle

I once thought I can just lay down all weapons and follow a nonviolent path. But on my way, there is no room for peacefulness … I wish it would be otherwise but it isn’t. I envy Eli … his strength is so different to mine.

Telchin

Eli … the preacher you told me about, your preacher?

Gabrielle

Yes. He probably would be disappointed … I followed Xena on her journey … until the very end.

Gabrielle takes both chobos in her left hand and with the right hand she moves her hair back, away from the face.

Gabrielle

When I made the choice to share her life, I didn’t know the consequences … but when I decided to share her death I finally knew what to do.

Telchin

Still, I would prefer a peaceful afterlife.

Gabrielle

Telchin, everyday we wake each other with the sound of nightmares … the rest of the day we both yearn for something that we will never see again … you for the tiniest of flames and I … for Xena, for the chance to see her again, only once.

Telchin drops his head and stares to the ground. Gabrielle watches him with a determined, almost cold look on her face.

Gabrielle

We will have to make the best out of it … an eternity between the worst scum that has lived and died since the beginning of mankind … that asks for trouble, sooner or later. And there is no place to hide.

CUT TO:

EXT. Elysian Fields, Green hill - Night

A series of soft, green hills are stretching as far as one can see, the knee high grass bending under a refreshing breeze. The sky is blue and clear.

First SOLAN, than XENA, only a few yards behind him, come running up one of those hills. Both are dressed in simple white togas and are running barefoot, laughing all the way.

Xena is closing in fast and actually catches her son right before they reach the top. Xena tries to grab Solan around the chest, but he avoids her hands. Both are dragged forward by their momentum and they stumble – fall. They roll a few more yards through the grass before they lay still.

Solan

I win!

Xena

You didn’t reach the top before I got you!

Solan sits up and looks over to his mother.

Solan

But I have reached the top now. Look around.

Xena closes her eyes, smiling.

Xena

Okay, you win. The next time we cut your lead … you’re getting too good at it.

Solan

I’ll have to tell Marcus about that.

Xena

I’m sure you won’t forget one little detail. Has he finished your tree house yet?

Solan

No, but I would like to help him anyway.

Solan stares at Xena’s face, his expression getting thoughtful.

Solan

Mother?

Xena

Yes?

Solan

Are you happy?

Xena opens her eyes and her face gets serious. She sits up too.

Xena

As long as I am with you … yes, than I’m truly happy.

Solan

And when I am not around?

Xena

Don’t trouble yourself with that … I’ve found peace here.

She sighs.

Xena

My soul might not be complete … but the part that is here has family … friends … enough reason for a joyful existence. Love has found a way.

CUT TO:

EXT. Mountain, A little stream - Day

It’s a massive scenery – a host of sky-high mountains fills the horizon on every side, their peaks lost in dark clouds. Smaller mountains and foothills fill the area in between. Vegetation is scarce at best and snow reaches down from almost every mountaintop.

A small path leads along a small stream up to one of those foothills. Although day the long shadows of the mountains in the background and the dark sky in between prevent the sun from entering this valley and so everything lies in a kind of twilight.

Only the sounds of the water can be heard.

Suddenly, CALLISTO appears in a flash of light. She wears a heavy coat, leather boots, thick gloves and a fur cap. She carries a heavy backpack including a bedroll.

What little can be seen from her face looks angry.

Callisto

Why, by your hell, do I have to … walk?

The voice answering her comes from nowhere, sounding like thunder rolling down the mountainside.

Voice (OFF)

We don’t enter some peasant’s hut … you will approach a fortress, a sanctuary, a temple that was build even before the gods were born, even before the Titans ruled this land. Ares protects it, Zeus watches over it, …

Callisto

Cut it. So you can’t do it … fine, I’ll walk.

Voice (OFF)

Why do I keep up with your impertinence?

Callisto

Because you need me?

Voice (OFF)

I have millions of minions at my disposal.

Callisto

I’m flattered … let’s just say I’m the best woman for the job.

Voice (OFF)

You will not fail me!

Callisto

We have a deal … I’ll do my part.

Voice (OFF)

Good.

Callisto

The map will show me the way up and into these mountains, the book will open the gates … tell me again, what does the scepter do?

Voice (OFF)

It’s the key. The scepter of Ganymede … to unlock the treasure.

Callisto

I thought we’re after a mirror?

Voice (OFF)

We are.

Callisto

So where’s the profit in a piece of glass?

Voice (OFF)

It will bring my kingdom to this world … first gods and heroes have to be vanquished, than, from the ruins, a new kind of world will rise, formed after my will.

Callisto

Nice story … let’s cut the crab and go to work.

No answer this time, the voice seems to have vanished. Callisto looks around for a few moments, than shrugs her shoulders and pulls a scroll out of her coat. She unrolls it and holds it up, looking at it intensely.

Callisto

That won’t be a stroll down the lakeside.

CUT TO:

TITEL SEQUENCE

CUT TO:

EXT. Mountain, Steep path - Day

A steep path leads fairly straight up a mountainside, vegetation is scarce and snow covers rocks and the occasional tree. Deep cracks in the rock face determine the exact route. A strong wind blows down from the distant mountaintop.

CALLISTO fights her way up this path, leaning forward against the rise and the wind.

When the path splits right in front of her, she stops for a moment to get out and take a careful look at the map she still carries under the heavy coat. She tries to shield it from the wind while reading it. Her face is hidden under the fur cap.

After a few moments of research she puts the map back under her coat and turns to continue her way up.

But when she rises one foot to make her first step, the other loses its grip and Callisto falls forward. In addition to that the ground beneath her gives way, big and small rocks starting to role down the path.

Hitting this mass of moving rock Callisto starts to slide down the path. She desperately tries to get up or at least grab something that might stop her accelerating decent - but nothing helps.

This roller coaster ride leads directly towards one of the bigger cracks in the rock. Feet first Callisto approaches the cliff like riding on a sledge. The sound has by now reached a deafening state.

For a moment, Callisto gets hold of a dead tree root, grabbing it with her glove-covered right hand. But the rockslide immediately carries her on again and she loses the grip - the glove is ripped from her hand and she continues her slide.

Now she starts to shout angrily and continues to feel for something to grab and stop her movement.

Callisto

Aaah!

Finally the slide reaches the crack and the rocks are catapulted into a free fall down the chasm. Callisto's body also loses every contact to the ground and seems destined to plunge to its death.

But Callisto somehow gets hold of a small ledge with her naked right hand. When her body drops down she claws her fingers into the rock.

While she dangles over the abyss, tons of stones and rocks slide past her into the crack. When she tries to grab the ledge with her left hand, too, her arm is hit by one of the bigger rocks and she winces in pain.

Callisto

(shouting)

Aaah. I hate rockslides!

Finally the last rocks drop past Callisto and the noise quiets down. She is left hanging from the ledge on her right arm - while the left arm seems broke or at least dislodged - and only the sound of the wind can be heart.

Callisto

Help?

(shouting)

Help me!

Callisto tries to pull herself up with only one arm, but she can't.

Callisto

Maybe when I get rid of the backpack …

Voice (OFF)

Don't you dare!

The VOICE is seemingly coming from everywhere. It sounds dark, angry.

Callisto

I thought you cannot approach the mountain.

Voice (OFF)

I didn't want to … I shouldn't … the gods may become aware of me … but your failure gives me no other choice.

Callisto

If you want to save your precious scepter you better act quick …

Callisto by now breathes heavily and her hand has started to slip from the rocky ledge.

Voice (OFF)

Maybe I have put to much faith in you.

Callisto's hand finally loses the grip and Callisto drops away from the ledge.

But suddenly she disappears in a flash - moments later she reappears on the spot where her downslide has started, only about two yards above it.

She crashes heavily into the ground and immediately grabs her left arm with her right while quickly struggling to her feet.

Callisto

Aaah! It's broken … it's broken!

Voice (OFF)

Stop whining … you have a long way before you … you're not allowed to give up yet.

CUT TO:

EXT. Tartarus, Forest - Night

It's night over Tartarus, which means it's a little darker than usual. The forest is quiet, dead. It's a not so dense part of the wood, between the large trees there is almost no undergrowth. There is nothing green worth mentioning, only dead trunks and lifeless branches.

One thing is unusual, though … a beautiful deer is standing right next to a few smaller trees, looking around. It seems quiet, calm.

Suddenly a group of four male souls appears between the trees. They have surrounded the deer before they approached it. They are all wearing simple, overused clothes and carry sharpened sticks.

They slowly close in on the deer, pointing their spears at it. Even so they outnumber it they seem careful, if not scared.

Voice (OFF)

Let it go!

All four hunters turn their heads towards the owner of the voice … GABRIELLE. She has appeared behind one of them, only a few yards away. She is wearing her outfit mad from cloth and leather bands and holds the chobos in her left hand.

The group of hunters doesn't react.

Gabrielle

I said, leave it alone. Your not alive anymore … there is nothing you achieve by killing this creature.

The closest soul, seemingly the LEADER, now turns completely towards her and leans against his spear.

Leader

You don't understand, precious … we just do it for sport … entertaining. But maybe it's more fun if we took care of you?

All four now start to grin, obviously liking the idea. Gabrielle actually smiles back, taking one of her chobo sticks into the right hand and extending her arms to the side, away from her body.

The whole time the deer watches the scene with very intelligent eyes.

Gabrielle

I'm not helpless, you know.

Leader

And we're not stupid.

The leader raises his spear and waits for a moment. The other three quickly join in, raising their pointed sticks, too.

Gabrielle just waits, now calm and concentrated, stepping back with her right foot to give her a better stand.

Leader

Now!

All four of them throw their spears.

Gabrielle doesn't try to dodge the weapons - instead she uses her chobos in a few lightning quick maneuvers. The spear of the leader reaches her first, of course, as he is the closest. She sweeps it to the side with the stick in her right arm. The next one is pushed upwards over her head with both sticks. The last two reach her in the same moment - she just hits them from above with her sticks and both drive into the ground only inches away from her left foot.

The hunters are stunned, staring at her with open mouths.

Gabrielle now moves quickly forward, passing through the two spears in the ground and attacking the leader in front of her.

She crosses the sticks and pushes them against the throat of the surprised hunter. The man goes down immediately, grabbing his throat and letting out a few unarticulated sounds.

Gabrielle steps over his wincing body and stops for a moment, looking around to choose her next opponent. But the three other hunters have decided otherwise - they just turn and run, leaving her leader behind.

Gabrielle again takes both chobos into her left hand and slowly approaches the deer, extending the empty right hand towards it.

Gabrielle

You don't have to be afraid … they're gone now.

CUT TO:

INT. Elysian Fields, Hall of Heroes - Day

The hall is one huge ring with a dome on top. The circular room has a diameter of one hundred yards or more, being at least as high. The dome has a hole on top that let’s light in – the rest is covered with paintings of heroes, gods and their most famous deeds.

The walls are covered with tapestry, filled with big Greek letters, listing all the names of the great heroes. This reaches from the bottom of the dome almost to the ground.

The bottom level of the wall is covered with a selection of weapons, armors and other tools used by the different heroes – going all around the hall.

The floor of the hall is made of marble – but the whole hall is empty with the exception of those wall decorations.

XENA is standing alone in the middle of the hall. She thoughtfully stares at the dome above her, letting her eyes wander along the paintings.

She wears a new white toga and small sandals.

Voice (OFF)

Glorious days, weren't they?

Xena doesn't move - she seems not surprised.

Xena

I knew you would come … sooner or later.

ARES has appeared only a few feet away from her. He slowly musters her from top to bottom.

Ares

I thought you would be happy to see a familiar face.

Xena turns her head towards him, also mustering him.

Xena

Familiar maybe … but not welcome. Don't you have a war to plot?

Ares

Nothing could keep me away from visiting my warrior princes.

Xena

You never owned me … you never will.

Ares

You're just saying that because … you're dead.

Xena

You've lost, Ares.

Ares

My loss is everybody's loss … I'm a god.

Xena turns away and slowly walks towards the big, open door leading outside.

Xena

I thought Hades doesn't allow the other gods to enter the underworld anymore.

Ares

Hades knows I'm here … there is a good reason for my visit.

Xena

Are there not enough mortals anymore to satisfy your hunger, Ares? Do you have to visit the morgue?

Ares slowly follows Xena towards the exit.

Ares

You don't understand. I'm here because of old times sake … you still hold a special place in my heart.

Xena stops right in front of the doorway and turns back towards Ares.

Xena

I'm no longer your toy, Ares … my time has ended.

Ares

I might have failed with you … but look into the world. I've won … war is ruling the mortal realm.

Xena

I guess you're proud of it?

Ares

It's like raising a child … watching it stretch its arms and legs, slowly growing.

Xena

Than go on and enjoy your victory … there is nothing more to say.

CUT TO:

EXT. Tartarus, Forest - Night

The forest lies there as before - dark, quiet, dead.

GABRIELLE has almost reached the deer, which seems to watch every step by the bard.

Gabrielle

How could a beautiful creature like you have come to Tartarus?

Before Gabrielle can touch the animal it backs away. Gabrielle stops and the deer stops, too.

Gabrielle

Okay, so that's close enough.

Gabrielle sighs.

Gabrielle

There are thousands of tortured souls out there that would love to hunt you down … just for a little distraction.

Voice (OFF)

They're better off leaving me alone.

Gabrielle steps back, surprised - the voice seems to come from the deer.

Suddenly, an eerie light appears around the animal and the creature slowly transfers into a beautiful dark-haired WOMAN.

She is dressed like an Amazon, with a scanty, two-part leather outfit, adorned by bands and feathers. She wears leather boots, a dagger in the belt, a bow on the back and a simple, but colorful woven band around her head instead of a mask.

Gabrielle stares at her, utterly surprised while the woman is silently smiling, watching her patiently.

Gabrielle

You … you're …

Woman

Yes, I'm Artemis, goddess of the Amazons.

CUT TO:

COMMERCIAL BREAK

CUT TO:

EXT. Tartarus, Forest - Night

The forest lies there as before - dark, quiet, dead.

ARTEMIS is still standing only a few feet away from GABRIELLE, smiling. The bard is slowly regaining his posture and her look turns from surprised into questioning.

Gabrielle

But … what …

Artemis

All questions shall be answered …

(smiling)

… if you manage to get them out.

Gabrielle

Why are you here?

Artemis

You're an Amazon, aren't you?

Gabrielle

If I … was one, why I'm here? Xena told me of the Amazon afterlife.

Artemis

Oh, that little detail … one could argue, you cannot be an Amazon because you're not born one.

Gabrielle

You think I am … an Amazon?

Artemis slowly walks past Gabrielle towards the two spears the stick out of the ground, examining them.

Artemis

You should be … you were their queen.

Gabrielle

By accident.

Artemis

By fate. Don't underestimate your calling, Gabrielle. Of course, there were greater Amazon queens in the past … it once was a great, proud nation … but you can find a place amongst them.

Gabrielle

I'm no longer queen … and I'm dead.

Artemis

Neither of which has to stay that way.

Gabrielle is stunned … again she just stares at the goddess.

Artemis

Don't you want to live?

Gabrielle

But … why?

Artemis

I need you … the Amazons need you. The nation is crumbling … you can save what's left.

Gabrielle

You're offering me … life?

Artemis

It's not that easy.

Gabrielle nods, her expression turns into anger.

Gabrielle

It never is. What would I have to do for this … gift? Kill someone? Lead them into war?

Artemis

You don't understand. It's not about the Amazons alone anymore. Hades and the other gods know, that I'm here … there is more at stake than the leadership of my people. You're the last hero the Amazons have … they … I need you.

Gabrielle suddenly seems to get an idea.

Gabrielle

You … you asked Hades to send me into Tartarus. You thought I would be easier to convince.

Artemis steps right in front of Gabrielle, looking her straight into the eyes, seriously.

Artemis

I didn't … but I know who did … it's not important either way. Your people need you … they are calling for you.

Gabrielle's look gets softer, sad - she looks down to the ground.

Gabrielle

I will never again give up the way of friendship.

Artemis smiles.

Artemis

I know … you're soul is strong, radiant. You're not born to be protected … you're born to protect. Let me give you back your life … and reclaim the Amazon throne.

Gabrielle

It's not that easy.

Artemis

But it is. You just have to say the word and you can follow your destiny in the mortal world.

Gabrielle

And take back the mask of the queen?

Artemis

Yes … and accept … a debt.

Gabrielle raises her head, surprised.

Gabrielle

What?

Artemis

A debt … a service I will have to ask from you somewhere in the future.

Gabrielle

(angry)

So … so that what it's all about?

Artemis

I can't tell you more right now … but you have to trust me.

Gabrielle

Trust you?

Gabrielle backs away from the goddess until she leans against a tree, staring at her.

Gabrielle

Why didn't you help the Amazons when they needed you … why didn't you help me? You tell me I'm an Amazon! What sacrifice can you ask that we haven't already given?

Artemis

Gabrielle, would you be an Amazon by birth than you would know that they are a proud nation … they wouldn't accept pity by anyone, not even a goddess. I cried, seeing their downfall …

Gabrielle

When gods cry than it's because one of their toys is broken … not because they care.

Artemis

Gabrielle, don't …

Gabrielle

No … I will not accept. You will have to find someone else to carry your debt.

CUT TO:

EXT. Mountain, A Fortress at the top - Day

It's the top of one of the smaller mountains. All around higher peaks rise into the sky, walls of rock that surround it, hiding this foothill from any outside view as well as keeping most of the light away. With clouds covering the sky, it's much darker than one could expect at this time of day. No plants - and no animals - seem to exist and it's quiet and calm.

Right in the middle of the snowy plateau a stone fortress can be seen. It looks more carved than build - walls surround a central tower, all massive and big.

How big can only be understood when CALLISTO, who is approaching the massive gate, is compared to it. The walls seem at least 120 feet high, and the tower in the middle may well be over 300 feet.

Callisto, carrying her left arm in a provisional cast, crosses the plateau with slow, tired steps. She has lost or put away her cap and her face shows the strain of her journey. Her breath is heavy, sporadically - and clearly visible in the cold air.

CUT TO:

EXT. Fortress, The gate - Day

Right in front of them the walls of the fortress seem to touch the sky - the gate, a massive wooden wall itself, is at least 60 feet high. No opening seems to exist in the gate or the wall.

CALLISTO approaches the gate without looking. When she reaches it she drops her backpack and than sits down, with the back leaning at the gate. Her right hand holds the left arm and every movement seems to result in pain - that pain is the only thing that results in any facial movement. Other than that Callisto just stares straight ahead, seemingly in trance.

Slowly, her breath gets easier and regular. Finally she drops her head back and closes her eyes.

Callisto

That wasn't so hard.

She takes one deep breath, than she opens her eyes, leans forward and pulls the pack towards her. With only the right hand she opens it and pulls out a book, obviously old. It's a large tome, bound in heavy leather and darkened by the centuries.

She places the book on her lap and carefully opens it - again only with her right hand. She turns a few pages, obviously searching a certain passage.

Callisto

Why couldn't they just use a key?

Finally, Callisto seems to have found the right page. She sets the book aside and with the help of her healthy arm she stands up - slowly.

When she finally has pulled herself straight she grabs her pack and puts it back on. Than she bends down another time and picks up the book.

Now she turns towards the gate and slowly walks away backwards, at the same time letting her eyes wander over the wooden surface.

After a few steps she stops, continuing searching for something at the gate. Suddenly, her face lights up for a second.

Callisto

There you are.

The faint reminder of a carved symbol seems to have caught Callisto's attention. She now lifts the open book up to her face and looks inside - the open pages consist of symbols - very similar to the one on the gate - and written words next to them.

Callisto seems to find what she is looking for after a few moments and holds the book up in front of her, so that she has the book and the symbol on the gate in her vision.

Callisto

And … there you are again. Now lets see if it works.

Callisto drops her right arm to the side, still holding the open book.

Callisto

(shouting)

Open, in the name of Themis!

Callisto is waiting expectantly for a few moments, while nothing happens.

Suddenly, the enormous wooden gate slowly moves upwards. Callisto watches as the opening gate allows a look into the fortress … but with the exception of the tower the room inside of the walls seems to be empty.

Slowly, Callisto walks towards the now gaping hole in the wall. When she reaches it, she suddenly stops. The book, which she had kept in her right hand, drops to the ground.

She stares straight ahead, her face frozen. She seems to listen to something on the inside, shocked.

CUT TO:

EXT. Outside of Cirra - Day (VISION)

It is Cirra, the village in which Callisto was born - and it's the day where Xena's army burns it down. The village is already under attack and partly on fire. Xena's army brings death and destruction upon the peasants.

On a nearby hill there she is - sitting on her horse, wearing her full armor. But in this vision it's CALLISTO.

Callisto, dressed like Xena, has a dark, satisfied look on her face when she sees the battle in front of her. She draws her sword and raises it high above her head, letting out her war cry.

Xena / Callisto

Aijijijijijij!

Then she gallops down the hill, towards Cirra, swinging her sword down at fleeing villagers she passes. She rides right into the burning village, continuing to deal out death.

Suddenly she sees a girl in front of her, stumbling out of a burning house - it's young Callisto.

But there is no stopping now, Callisto urges her horse forward, again rising her sword, riding straight towards the frightened girl.

Xena / Callisto

Aijijijijijij!

CUT TO:

EXT. Fortress, The gate - Day

CALLISTO, in her trance, is still standing inside the open gate. Her face shows fear and terror and she is shacking.

Voice (OFF)

Callisto!

It's the booming voice again, sounding even angrier than the last time. Still, Callisto doesn’t react immediately.

Voice (OFF)

Callisto!

Finally Callisto snaps out of her frozen state, whirling around to look back at the plateau. She is breathing and sweating heavily and her look still shows panic and confusion.

Voice (OFF)

You made me come here … now the gods now my presence for sure.

Callisto

What?

Voice (OFF)

Callisto … focus! You still have a task to fulfill. If we hurry than the gods will be to late. Now is the moment!

Callisto looks around, still confused, but than she turns and slowly starts walking towards the tower inside the fortress.

Voice (OFF)

Good girl.

CUT TO:

INT. Elysian Fields, Hall of Heroes - Day

XENA is still standing in front of the exit, with ARES a few steps away. They look at each other - silently, for a moment. When Xena turns away to finally leave, Ares once again starts to talk.

Ares

It doesn't have to end like this, you know.

Xena stops again, already standing in the doorway.

Xena

Leave me alone … I'm tired of this.

Ares

Xena, I almost don't recognize you anymore. The Elysian Fields have made you soft … weak.

Xena turns around, angry.

Xena

Don't tell me about weakness … I was a warrior … and I am still. But I'm not your warrior anymore.

Ares

Well, if that spark is still inside of you … what about taking it back into the mortal realm?

Xena seems confused, surprised even.

Xena

What?

Ares

You've heard me … I offer you back your life.

Xena

You never offer anything … except, of course, it serves your purpose.

Ares

Don't be so negative, Xena. I haven't asked for anything, yet.

Xena now leans against one side of the doorway and looks at Ares knowingly.

Xena

But you will, right?

Ares

Only a small favor, sometimes in the future. I promise you, it won't be anything that you wouldn't do anyway.

Xena

And why should I trust you.

Ares

Because you have no choice … I don't think you have a better offer.

Xena

You're wrong, Ares. Before I would owe you a favor, I rather stay dead.

Ares

You don't know what you are saying.

Xena

Oh I do … can you tell me more about the favor?

Ares

I can't tell you yet ... but believe me, it's no longer about fighting the will of the gods ... it's about survival. Yours ... and ours.

Xena

Wrong answer, Ares.

Ares

Don't deny me, Xena … not this time. You would regret it.

Xena

Don't threaten me, Ares. It didn't work when I was alive and it certainly will not work now.

Ares

You're wrong to see me as the enemy … I'm not. Not this time.

Xena

Ares?

Ares

Yes?

Xena

I left you a long time ago … and there is nothing that will bring me back. No, I will not accept your offer.

Xena pushes herself off the doorway, turns and quickly moves outside.

Ares watcher her walk away, then he disappears in a flash of light.

CUT TO:

COMMERCIAL BREAK

CUT TO:

EXT. Elysian Fields, In front of Hall of Heroes - Day

The white and golden exterior of the hale of heroes glisters in the sun. XENA comes out of the only door and stops for a moment. Before she can continue her hurried retreat ARES appears right in front of her.

Xena

(angry)

Ares, I told you … leave me alone.

Ares

I heard you … but before I will follow your request I want you to look at this.

Ares brings forward his right hand … holding a - the - Chakram.

Xena

Is this … ?

Ares

Yes, it's your weapon.

Xena

How did you … ?

Ares

Joxer … I think you remember him … was trusted with the two parts of your Chakram … it wasn't too hard to get them. He ended with replica.

Xena

Why?

Ares

Too many questions! Won't you take it?

Xena carefully takes the weapon out of Ares hand and weights it in her own.

Ares

It was as closely repaired to its former condition as possible.

Xena lifts the weapon in front of her face and looks at Ares through the loop.

Xena

You still haven't told me, why?

Ares

You still haven't thanked me!

Xena

For stealing it?

Ares

Oh, Xena. Think about my offer … think about all the memories this weapon represents. Your life doesn't have to be over … this Chakram represents what you were, what you are … and what you might become in the future.

Xena

How desperate are you? How desperate do you think I am?

Ares

Xena, I cannot believe that you would accept death so easily.

Xena

It wasn't easy … believe me, it wasn't easy at all.

ARES

Just one task, Xena … one silly service and you can live you life again.

Xena

No, you can't buy my trust. You will have to use someone else.

Ares

Xena … what is it that you are afraid of?

CUT TO:

EXT. Tartarus, Forest - Night

GABRIELLE has left Artemis behind and walks aimlessly through the dead forest. She looks thoughtful and a little angry.

Suddenly ARTEMIS appears in a flash of light right in front of her. Gabrielle stops and moves back a little bit.

Artemis

We're not finished yet!

Gabrielle

Yes, we are. I will not be your toy … you will have to find someone else.

Artemis

After what has happened to you I can understand your mistrust against gods … but you have to find faith again.

Gabrielle

I have faith … enough to keep me going through this place.

Artemis

You don't have to endure Tartarus … let me help you. You can have a long, fulfilling life.

Gabrielle

I rather prefer being able to live with my early death than to regret a long life. No … I will not serve you.

Artemis

Gabrielle … what is it that you are afraid of?

CUT TO:

INT. Fortress, Inner chamber - Day

It's a big, circular hall with simple stone walls, at least 60 feet wide and twice as high. A single doorway - without door - provides entry into this room. And a single object is all the furniture that is visible. The exact form of the object cannot be seen as a big cloth is thrown over it, but it seems to be flat, approximately 20 feet high and 5 feet wide.

Although the room doesn't seem to have any openings - with the exception of the dark doorway - there is a good level of light. But no sound can be heard.

Finally someone is approaching the doorway with slow, heavy steps. CALLISTO enters the room, dressed almost as before but now she wears the coat open and the backpack only on the right shoulder.

She stops, looks around for a moment and than walks towards the object. She drops the pack next to it and than takes another look around.

Callisto

Are you here?

Voice (OFF)

Of course I am. Hurry, the gods can try to stop us any moment.

Callisto

I thought you don't fear them?

Voice (OFF)

(angry)

You should fear me, imbecile.

Callisto just shrug's her shoulders and steps in front of the covered object. She grabs one end of the cloth and pulls it away with one quick motion.

A big mirror appears, once the cloth is removed. Strangely enough, although the walls are reflecting in the mirror - Callisto is not. Not one part of her, including clothing, results in an mirror image.

Callisto

That … I call strange.

Voice (OFF)

This is the Mirror of Uranus, grandfather of Zeus himself. It only reflects gods and godly artifacts.

Callisto

I was a god, once!

Voice (OFF)

You're not right now.

Callisto

So … what should I do?

Voice (OFF)

Smash it.

Callisto

Smash it? I climbed all the way up here to … just smash it?

Voice (OFF)

This is one of the mightiest and oldest artifacts in existence. Its power is drawn from the first moment of creation itself. It holds the mirror image of every Olympian god … and we will release that.

Callisto

And … what will happen when we do?

Voice (OFF)

A new pantheon is born … and it will help us destroy the old one.

CUT TO:

EXT. Tartarus, Forest - Night

GABRIELLE and ARTEMIS still stand face to face.

Artemis

Gabrielle … what is it that you are afraid of?

CUT TO:

EXT. Prison compound, Mt. Amaro - Day (VISION)

It's the inside of the prison complex where Xena and Gabrielle were captured and later crucified. Right now Xena and Gabrielle are helping Eli and his followers to escape, while Callisto is watching.

But it's not Callisto - in this Vision it's GABRIELLE who holds the Chakram and watches hatefully while Xena seems to succeed in freeing Gabrielle an the others.

Finally, she cannot hold back anymore - she throws the Chakram.

Callisto / Gabrielle

No! No-o-o-o-o-o!

Xena is hit in the back - painfully slowly she falls forward, unable to move anymore because of the broken spine.

CUT TO:

EXT. Tartarus, Forest - Night

Back here GABRIELLE snaps out of the terrible vision - sweating, with a horrified look on her face.

Gabrielle

Because of me she died.

Artemis

You didn't throw the Chakram … in reality.

Gabrielle

But Xena came back because I was unable … no, unwilling to fight. She allowed me to become something better … she allowed me to become me. I will always owe her that.

Artemis

So be it. Your life, Gabrielle ... and that of Xena. I offer you both a second chance.

CUT TO:

EXT. Elysian Fields, In front of Hall of Heroes - Day

XENA and ARES still stand face to face.

Ares

Xena … what is it that you are afraid of?

CUT TO:

EXT. Prison compound, Mt. Amaro - Day (VISION)

It's the inside of the prison complex where Xena and Gabrielle were captured and later crucified. Xena was already hit by her Chakram and has dropped to the ground. Gabrielle is right now storming forward to protect her friend.

But it's not Gabrielle - in this Vision it's XENA who picks up a sword, a spear, a dagger to throw herself between her friend and the advancing Romans.

Gabrielle / Xena

Go! Let's go!

Xena

No!

Gabrielle / Xena

Get up!

Xena

I can't, Gabrielle. It's my spine. I can't move.

Callisto

Interesting.

Xena

Aah. Aah! No, Gabrelle, no!

CUT TO:

EXT. Elysian Fields, In front of Hall of Heroes - Day

Back here XENA snaps out of the terrible vision - sweating, with a horrified look on her face.

XENA

She gave up her way for me … she gave up everything.

Ares

Nobody asked her to.

Xena

But Gabrielle couldn't leave me … she was always there for me … no matter how bad the times. I can never repay her for what she was … that's a debt I will have to carry.

Ares

Than let me make another offer. One service, one debt … and you and Gabrielle will live again.

CUT TO:

INT. Fortress, Inner chamber - Day

CALLISTO is still standing in front of the oversized Mirror of Uranus.

Callisto

So how do I smash it? I guess there is a little more to it than just hitting it hard.

Voice (OFF)

Only a very powerful artifact itself is able to smash the mirror.

Callisto

So that's why I carried the scepter all the time.

Voice (OFF)

Exactly … just shatter the glass with the scepter.

Callisto

That's all?

Voice (OFF)

That's all!

Callisto knees down next to the pack and pulls out the scepter with her right hand. It's an overly decorated golden stick with lots of precious metals and gems attached to it.

Callisto weights the scepter in the hand, than she steps in front of the mirror again. In contrast to Callisto the scepter has a mirror image.

Slowly Callisto raises the scepter high above her head.

Callisto

Xena might have been the destroyer of nations ... but I am the mother of gods!

With that she strikes the blow, putting all her strength and weight behind it.

When the scepter hits the mirror, it simply disappears. Callisto, surprised and confused at the same time, stares at her hand and then at the mirror.

But the reaction from the mirror doesn't wait long. Suddenly, the mirror explodes into thousands of little peaces, from top to bottom.

Callisto realizes horrified that all the mirror peaces will drop right unto her. She stumbles back but can only stare at the massive wall of glass dropping towards her.

CUT TO:

COMMERCIAL BREAK

CUT TO:

EXT. Green field - Day

In the middle of a wide, green field - under a sunny, cloudless sky - CALLISTO appears in a flash of light, still looking up, her right hand moving to protect her face.

The arm risen she realizes, that she is no longer in the fortress. She looks around, her face showing suspicion.

Looking down at herself reveals that her attire has changed as well as her location. She wears a tight leather armor, including boots and sword, covering only her most important parts. And the left arm is not in a cast anymore - Callisto seems to be able to move him freely.

Voice (OFF)

You fulfilled you part … I fulfilled mine.

Callisto

You mean … I'm mortal again?

Voice (OFF)

Like the day before you died … first. You should be careful, though, your next death might be your last.

Callisto

Don't trouble yourself … I have not forgotten that I still owe you one service.

Voice (OFF)

I will not allow you to forget. But until than you can do whatever you like.

Callisto

I live … and Xena is dead. That's how the world is meant to be. For a talented girl like me it shouldn't be too hard to get a job … build a career. I always thought warlord would be a possibility … when my revenge is done. Now it is. And while Xena struggles through the underworld, I can stroll through Athens.

Now Callisto stretches and extends herself, then she slowly, playfully starts walking away.

CUT TO:

EXT. Elysian Fields, In front of Hall of Heroes - Day

XENA and ARES still stand face to face.

Xena

You mean … Gabrielle and myself … send back?

Ares

Yes.

Xena

But I would have to do whatever you ask me to?

Ares

Once … yes. A small price, I might add.

Xena turns away and stares thoughtfully towards the hall.

Xena

But I would have to trust you.

Ares

You can … we had out misunderstandings, but this is much too important to rely on deceit or treachery.

Xena

I cannot trust you, Ares ... never again.

Ares

But …

Xena

No … I would give anything to get Gabrielle out of Tartarus … but I know she wouldn't approve a deal with you. There has to be another way.

Ares stares at the back of Xena for a few silent moments, than he shrugs his shoulders and disappears in a flash of light.

Xena, showing deep sorrow and pain in her face, drops to her knees. She takes her face into her hands and starts to cry.

Xena

Sorry, Gabrielle. Sorry. I should have accepted your way … but I can follow you now.

CUT TO:

EXT. Tartarus, Forest - Night

GABRIELLE and ARTEMIS still stand face to face.

Gabrielle

You would give us both our lives back?

Artemis

If that's what it takes to get you … yes.

Gabrielle

And I would have to reclaim the Amazon throne as well as waiting for you to call me into service.

Artemis

Yes … but the queen hood, that's more of a request than a demand. The important part is the dept you accept.

Gabrielle

And pull Xena away from the Elysian Fields … away from everything I always wished for her? How could I do that, how could I take such responsibility?

Artemis

It's your decision.

Gabrielle turns around and drops to her knees. She hides her face in her hands, crying.

Gabrielle

No … I can't do it. I should accept our fate, be happy about Xena's place in the underworld … but I can't. If there is a chance to see her again, any chance … I will take it.

Artemis

So?

Gabrielle

I accept.

Artemis

So be it … you … and Xena … shall live again.


Return to The Bard's Corner