XENA - ANOTHER SEASON 5 - Episode 7

FOOTNOTE TO HISTORY

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. Hilltop - Day

A series of flat hills is stretching to the horizon, covered with high grass and occasional tree groups. Dark clouds travel along the sky, their shadows wandering over the hillsides.

A strong wind is blowing, bending the grass and moving the trees. Apart from that, the hills lay empty, silent.

For a moment, sounds can be heard in the distance … sounds of a battle, weapons clashing, shouting, cries of pain and triumph. But than it is silent again.

From the distance the wind carries a cloud of dust towards one of the larger hilltops. Coming closer, the cloud grows, not in size but in intensity. Like a small, man-sized whirlwind the cloud slowly takes shape.

First unrecognizable, once it reaches the hilltop a human form can be made out more easily. The cloud stops, hovering over the middle of the hill while collecting more dust and particles, loosing its transparency.

Suddenly the cloud shrinks to about half the size, only to explode a moment later, obscuring the sight for a few seconds.

When the dust slowly sinks down a human figure – a real one, not a shaped cloud – is left standing where the center of the cloud was.

It’s XENA, dressed as she was on the day of her crucifixion – wearing a small, dirty outfit, barefoot. Her right hand clings to … the Chakram. Her head is laid back, eyes closed. Her face is showing sadness, holding back tears.

CUT TO:

EXT. Another hilltop - Day

Another series of flat hills – probably the same – fill the view. Dark clouds still wander along the sky, their shadows moving over the hillsides.

Again, a cloud of dust appears, moving towards the hilltop. The cloud grows in intensity and takes shape. On top of the hill the cloud stops, hovering over the center while collecting more dust and particles, loosing its transparency and forming out a human shape.

The cloud shrinks to about half the size and than explodes a moment later, obscuring the sight for a few seconds.

The dust slowly sinks down and another woman is left standing where the cloud was.

This time it’s GABRIELLE, also dressed as she was on the day of her crucifixion – a ragged, two-part outfit and barefoot. Her hands are empty, only holding her own shoulders as her arms a crossed in front of her body. Her face is looking straight, but her eyes are closed, too. Her expression shows fear.

CUT TO:

EXT. Hilltop - Day

XENA is still just standing there, on top of the hill.

After a few silent moments, she slowly raises her head and opens her eyes. Still not moving her body she looks around, her look turning into surprise.

When the shadow of one of the storm clouds darkens the hilltop, she looks up – straight up.

Rain is starting to come down, first only a few drops but in a matter of seconds water is pouring down and the sky grows even darker.

Xena’s expression now turns from surprise to anger.

Xena

(shouting)

Ares! I told you I wouldn’t do it. I will not be in your dept. I don’t want my live back … not from you!

CUT TO:

EXT. Another hilltop - Day

GABRIELLE, still eyes closed, drops down on her knees and falls forward onto her outstretched hands.

With the right hand she grabs some of the grass, rips it out of the ground and holds it towards her nose. She takes a deep breath, inhaling the smell.

Than she opens her eyes, looking around. Here, too, rain falls in fast. When Gabrielle feels the first drops she pushes herself up, sitting back on her knees.

When moment’s later heavy rain sets in, she spreads out her arms, looks up into the sky and closes her eyes.

Gabrielle

(shouting)

Xena! Xena!

CUT TO:

EXT. Hilltop - Day

XENA is still standing in the middle of the rainstorm, her expression somewhat angry, but also tired and resigned.

Gabrielle (OFF)

(distant)

Xena! Xena!

Xena hurls around, staring into the direction where the voice came from.

Across a green field surrounded by groups of trees at the foot of the hill, another one raises approximately to the same height as the one Xena is standing on … and there is GABRIELLE, kneeing, her arms spread, shouting towards the sky. She is maybe 500 yards away, barely recognizable through the rain and the distance.

For a few moments Xena just stares at the bard in the distance. Her expression turns from surprise into joy and than into irritation and wonder. In the end joy takes over again and Xena makes a step forward.

Xena

(shouting)

Gabrielle! Gabrielle!

CUT TO:

EXT. Another hilltop - Day

GABRIELLE still knees, eyes closed and her arms stretched out on the grass.

Xena

(distant)

Gabrielle! Gabrielle!

Gabrielle opens her eyes, drops her arms and turns her head, staring into the direction the voice came from.

There, on top of the next hill, XENA is walking towards her, moving faster with every step - starting to run.

Gabrielle's eyes fill with tears although her face shows overwhelming joy.

When Xena disappears from view behind some trees that are standing between the two hills, Gabrielle raises her face towards the sky again.

Gabrielle

(whispering)

Thank you!

Than she jumps up and starts to run herself, down the hill towards the field.

CUT TO:

EXT. Field - Day

The field lies empty between two hills and groups of trees on the other two sides. Heavy rain is pouring down and small puddles have already started to form.

XENA, still running, has just reached the edge of the field. She still carries the Chakram in her right hand, although she does not seem to notice it. She slows down and continues walking towards the other side.

There, on the opposite side of the field, GABRIELLE now appears next to a few trees that have obscured the view. She runs past the trees but stops immediately she sees Xena. After a few moments she also starts walking.

Both women are wet to the bone, but they don't seem to feel it. Their looks are locked onto each other, there expressions showing joy, with a little disbelief mixed in - with the rain coming down it's hard to tell, but both seem to have tears in their eyes.

Suddenly, when the two are just a few steps away from each other, shouting is coming from the trees on the two open sides of the field.

Groups of roman soldiers appear between the trees, running towards the center of the fields, urged forward by officers. They all wear normal Roman armor with large shields and pillums - the roman spear.

Xena and Gabrielle turn around, each facing a different group of soldiers. They look at the soldiers, angry, frustrated. Than they turn their heads towards each other.

Only a few yards apart, their eyes lock and they both smile.

Than they look back towards the oncoming soldiers and get ready to defend themselves. Xena stands sideways and has the Chakram ready in the back hand, slightly whipping with her bend knees. She shakes her head to get the dripping hair out of her face. Gabrielle awaits the Romans frontally, her arms hanging loosely at her side.

Both women look determined, even happy.

Than, almost at the same time, both groups of soldiers reach the area around the two women … and attack each other.

More or less ignored by the soldiers, Xena and Gabrielle find themselves standing in the middle of a fierce battle between groups of Roman soldiers, barely to be separated.

Both groups fight well organized, attacking each other in teams, putting good use to their shields. One of this formations moves forward, between Xena and Gabrielle, pushing them further apart. The two women watch the battle around them in surprise and disbelieve.

Then one of the Roman soldiers tries to push Gabrielle out of his way with his shield - Gabrielle moves fast and efficient. She steps to the side, grabs the mans pillum with two hands, turning it around and thereby forcing the soldier to let go of it. With one sweeping motion she pushes his feet away from under him and he falls on his back.

Gabrielle then breaks the pillum over her right knee, raising the two resulting sticks high over her head. With full force she brings them down on the lying soldier, hitting him flat on the chest with both of them - the soldier writhes in pain for a moment and is than relieved by unconsciousness.

As if this was a signal for both groups, soldiers of both sides, while still mainly fighting each other, now suddenly seem to see Xena and Gabrielle as their enemies, too.

Gabrielle and Xena are pushed further apart while they try to leave the battlefield, occasionally attacked or blocked by soldiers.

But even while fighting, both women use quite moments in-between to look for the other one and when their eyes meet they through each other encouraging smiles.

Xena puts her Chakram to good use to block and disable the Roman weapons while obviously holding back on any attacks. One try to somersault over a group of soldiers behind their shields fails because of the heavy ground.

Gabrielle uses her provisional chobos very efficient, mostly attacking the lesser-protected legs of the soldiers.

Neither Xena nor Gabrielle has killed anyone, so far.

In the mean time both sides have brought in reinforcements and the whole field is crowded with fighting soldiers - neither Xena nor Gabrielle are able to leave the field through that mass of fighters.

Suddenly, there is the signal of retreat - almost simultaneously on both sides. Officers shout for their man to pull back in orderly fashion and to take the wounded with them.

Gabrielle is right now fighting with one soldier carrying a short sword. She blocks his wild swings with her chobos, returning blows against his head. He can block one blow with his damaged shield, but the other hits him on his helmet and he is thrown back, to the ground.

Gabrielle moves forward, towards the man lying on the ground. The soldier lifts his head, sees the approaching Gabrielle and, showing panic in his expression, throws his sword towards her. Gabrielle avoids the thrown weapon with a quick sidestep, but one feet is caught in an peace of armor, lying on the ground and she slips.

Gabrielle tries to find her balance, but the slippery ground doesn't allow it - she falls sideways. Letting go of her chobos she is able to break the fall with her arms.

When she pushes herself up again, her face covered with mud, obscuring her view, another soldier jumps forward and hits her head with his shield. She is thrown to the side and falls down again, nearly unconscious.

Soldiers, already on the retreat, hurry past her - but two soldiers stop next to her, each grabbing an arm and dragging her with them. Gabrielle's weak struggle is unable to prevent this.

Xena in the mean time has fought against one of the officers, blocking the blows of his sword with her Chakram. After a view defensive move she pushes away the sword, whirls around and hits him in the chest with a high kick, sending him flying back.

With soldiers running away from her and no immediate enemy Xena turns and looks for Gabrielle, finding the bard being dragged away by two soldiers.

Xena

(shouting)

Gabrielle!

Gabrielle

(weak)

Xena!

Xena makes a step towards the bard, but in the mean time the officer has stood up and has approached her from behind. Diverted for a moment, Xena notices the attack to late and she is hit on the head with the broad side of the sword, sending her stumbling forward and finally falling to the ground, unconscious.

Two soldiers pick up Xena and carry her away, following the retreating soldiers - but in the opposite direction as Gabrielle. The officer picks up the Chakram and follows them.

Gabrielle

(weak)

Xena!

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. Camp of the senate's army - Day

It's a roman army camp - and it's a large one. Rows of tents for soldiers and equipments are surrounded by wooden fortifications. Catapults and wagons are standing around in groups, small and large groups of soldiers can be seen everywhere, acting disciplined and serious. In the middle of the camp a group of larger tents form a circle, with the one for the army commander especially large and the covered entrance guarded by two soldiers.

Although it doesn't rain, the heavy, wet ground shows that it has until not long ago - making it difficult for everyone to walk through the camp. Everything is covered with mud and dirt.

BRUTUS is standing in the entrance of the tent, under the canopy, between the two stone-faced guards.

He wears a polished silver armor and seems to be the only one around not dirty or covered in mud. He looks serious, thoughtful, staring into the distance.

An CENTURION is approaching Brutus, stopping a few steps away from him. He waits patiently until Brutus turns his attention towards him.

Brutus

Another skirmish?

Centurion

Yes, consul. A cohort tried to surround our left flank … but it was stopped and made a hasty retreat.

Brutus

(thoughtful)

Two armies … two weeks … still no decisive battle.

Centurion

We should attack … Rome is behind us.

Brutus

Yes … because it's hiding in our shadow. Do not confuse the support of the senate with the support of the people. This is the last battle … there is no retreat, no draw. And the people of Rome will celebrate whoever leaves this field alive.

The centurion is quiet for a moment, nervous and unsure. He looks around and finally seems to find something to say.

Centurion

At least we have made prisoners!

Brutus follows the outstretched arm of the centurion with his look, being pointed towards a group of chained prisoners, guarded by Roman soldiers, walking past the ring of bigger tents.

The prisoners are about a dozen soldiers … and GABRIELLE. Her short blond hair, apart from being dirty, shows patches of dried blood, her own most likely. Someone has given her a blanket she has herself rapped into, but she is still barefoot. She looks tired, but deep in thought.

Brutus is more than surprised to see her. He seems stunned.

Brutus

Gabrielle?

CUT TO:

INT. Camp of the Triumvirate's Army, Commanders tent - Day

It's the inside of a large, circular tent, split in half by a closed curtain. Maps and crude charts are hanging from the walls while a large table with a single map, covered with small wooden figures, is standing in the middle of this part of the tent. The floor is covered with carpets, there color not longer visible under the dirt.

OKTAVIAN is standing in front of the table, his eyes staring at the map in front of him. He has one of the wooden figures in his hands and plays with it absentminded. He wears a polished golden armor and a red cape.

He is a young man, wearing his brown hair short and his face beardless. His body is well trained, but the most striking feature are his piercing blue eyes.

With the back towards him, looking at one of the charts LEPIDUS is standing in the tent, too. He wears armor very similar to a normal soldier, but he carries a golden baton in his hands, indicating a higher position.

Lepidus is an older man and his long hair and beard are already gray.

Lepidus

Brutus is no fool … he will wait for the right moment to catch us of guard.

Oktavian

Both armies have dug in. Both camps are well established. Nobody will be caught of guard here. The question is, does the time work for him … or for us?

Lepidus

Only history will know.

Oktavian

We don't have time for that … great man write their own history. Do you think Caesar become what he was by letting history decide. He had a destiny.

Lepidus

And now he's dead.

Oktavian

But we are here to fulfill his dream. We will make Rome strong and healthy - the senate has to be restricted.

Lepidus

You don't have to argue with me, I'm on your side.

Oktavian

Yes, you are.

There are a few awkward moments of silence.

Lepidus

What if time is not on our side?

Oktavian

Than we will be forced to attack … and Brutus gains the advantage. We both have excellent defensive positions, but in an attack …

Lepidus

We also have the problem of the new recruited legions … their unproven.

Oktavian

Brutus has the same problem … our armies grew to fast for their own good.

Suddenly the curtain covering the entrance is pulled to the side and MARK ANTONY enters the tent. He wears a silver armor and a black cape.

He has short, blond hair and a lean figure. He smiles, which gives his face a boyish look.

Mark Antony

There was another small battle.

Oktavian finally lifts his head and looks away from the map, now staring at Mark Antony.

Oktavian

The cohort we send around the flank?

Mark Antony

As expected. There is no weakness or hole in Brutus' forward observation.

Oktavian

We are pretty evenly matched … I cannot make out an advantage for either side.

Now Lepidus has also turned towards Mark Antony, who is still standing near the entrance.

Lepidus

And why are you smiling?

Oktavian

Mark Antony always smiles … life is a big joke to him.

Mark Antony

Your not totally wrong there, Oktavian. I don't have your sense of egocentric destiny or the prejudice ignorance of Lepidus. I still can enjoy all this in its blinding glory. We are the most powerful men in Rome, only a little detail away from taking control … how can life be not wonderful.

Lepidus

This little detail … I suppose you mean the army of the senate under Brutus?

Oktavian

Don't let him provoke you - the strength of the second triumvirate comes out of unity. If Caesar made one error than it was his decision to fight Pompey.

Mark Antony

By fighting Brutus … don't we do the same? And if we win against him … how long will it take for us to be on each other's throat.

Lepidus

That will never happen.

Oktavian

Let's handle Brutus first.

Mark Antony's smile grows even wider.

Mark Antony

By the way, we made a few prisoners during the fighting.

Lepidus

We should execute them immediately.

Oktavian

That isn't very encouraging for soldiers that would want to switch to our side.

Mark Antony

Actually, that wasn't the point why I mentioned it. There is a very special prisoner amongst them.

Oktavian

An officer? A spy?

Mark Antony

Xena.

Oktavian's face shows surprise while Lepidus fails to get the point.

Lepidus

Who's Xena?

Oktavian

Only Caesar's nemesis. She was the only person in the world he loved, hated, respected and feared at the same time. She's quite a warrior … and an excellent strategist in her own time.

Mark Antony

It is said that she had her hand in Caesar's death, too.

Lepidus

So we should kill her immediately … if only to honor Caesar.

Oktavian and Mark Antony look at each other and their smiles show a silent understanding.

OKTAVIAN

Xena would be a powerful ally ... of course, she wouldn't help us, knowing that we are Caesar's successors and here to fight Brutus and the senate.

Mark Antony

She might not know … the political situation in Rome is chaotic at best, accurate news haven't reached this area for a long time.

Lepidus

What do you have in mind?

Oktavian

We ask her to help us … she has fought more battles than we three together. If anyone knows a way out of this deadlock, it's her.

Mark Antony

I will talk to her.

CUT TO:

INT. Camp of the Senate's Army, Commanders tent - Day

It's a large tent with no separations - in the background a more personal area can be seen with a bed, a few chests, armor and weapons as well as papers lying around.

In the front half of the tent, opposite to the entrance, a large table goes almost from side to side, with a few benches standing around. Maps, but also food and a dirty cape are spread across it. It's half-dark, only a small fireplace and thinner parts of the tent spending any light.

BRUTUS is sitting in the only chair on one end of the table, leaned back, eyes closed. He is alone, still wearing his armor.

Suddenly light falls into the tent as the curtain covering the entrance is pulled aside. GABRIELLE enters, slowly and suspicious. Behind her the curtain is closed again.

Gabrielle was obviously bathed, her skin and hair shining in the dark surrounding. She wears a Roman armor, but of course no weapons, shield or helmet. Her sandals seem new, but are already dirty from the mud outside.

She looks around, not yet fully accustomed to the darker inside of the tent.

Brutus

I'm sorry about the armor, but we are not equipped for female visitors.

Gabrielle seems surprised.

Gabrielle

Brutus?

Brutus

Sit down … eat something. You looked terrible when they brought you in.

Gabrielle

You mean when they captured me!

Brutus

That was a very sad misunderstanding. Of course you are free to go at any time. Although I never had the time to contact you after our last meeting, I still consider the Amazon nation a possible ally for Rome … and you an honored guest.

Gabrielle, seemingly satisfied with the answer, moves forward and sits down at the table. She pulls a plate with food towards her, but doesn't touch it.

Gabrielle

So you came to power after Caesar's death?

Brutus

The senate called upon me to lead their armies against the new triumvirate.

Gabrielle

Another triumvirate?

Brutus

They see themselves as Caesar's successors. Oktavian, Mark Antony and Lepidus … they helped Caesar to get what he wanted … almost. Now they have it in reach themselves. You don't seem to be informed to well.

Gabrielle

I was …

Brutus

Once Caesar was out of the way I immediately tried to stop your execution … but it was too late. However, when I heard that your bodies are missing, I already thought … well, I thought you somehow escaped the cross.

Gabrielle

We didn't.

Brutus

What?

Gabrielle

We were dead … and buried by the Amazons.

Brutus

But that is impossible … you're not a ghost.

Brutus leans forward to get a better look at Gabrielle.

Gabrielle

How long is it … since our execution.

Brutus

Almost two years.

CUT TO:

INT. Mark Antony's tent - Day

It's another large tent, this one separated in several compartments by thin curtains. The area immediately behind the entrance is richly decorated, with carpets, braziers, cushions around a low table and a few chests.

MARK ANTONY, still in his armor, walks up and down, deep in thoughts, his hands crossed behind his back.

The curtain at the entrance is pulled aside and Xena enters. She still wears her ragged outfit, dirt and blood all over her body. She looks around suspiciously when the curtain behind her is pulled down again.

MarK Antony

I heard you didn't want to bath or change before our conversation … I hope you understand that I cannot offer you a place to sit in this condition.

Mark Antony has stopped his walking and stands now only a few steps away from Xena. They are both looking at each other, Antony amused and Xena still distrustful.

Xena

I don't want to accept something and be sorry about it, later.

Mark Antony

I can understand your suspicion. I heard your execution date on top of a Roman cross was already set.

Xena

Something like that …

Mark Antony

You know who I am?

Xena

I'm not … up to date with Roman politics.

Mark Antony

What a shame. My name is Mark Antony. You know that Caesar is dead?

Xena

I saw him …

Mark Antony

Right before his death?

Xena

Right afterwards!

Antony looks surprised and irritated for a moment, but than he goes over the comment with a nervous smile.

Mark Antony

Well, after he was gone … unrest was spreading and … some renegade legions of his tried to overthrow the senate.

Xena

The question is … what side are you on?

Mark Antony

I'm a faithful servant of Rome.

Xena

I have a friend, Gabrielle … in the fight were I was captured she was taken away by the other side.

Mark Antony

Some troops of the renegade legions I mentioned. They have a camp not far from here and we are determined to end this threat to peace once and for all.

Xena expression softens a little bit.

Xena

That soldiers … they carried Caesar's banner.

Mark Antony

I told you so.

Xena

Where is Brutus?

Mark Antony

He gave his live stopping Caesar from becoming emperor. We are here to honor his death.

Xena

He was … an honest man.

Mark Antony

Brutus is dead and your friend Gabrielle is in the hands of these renegade legions. Join us, Xena.

Xena

Joining you?

Mark Antony

Peace in Rome means peace in your country. And you can help your friend.

Xena

Give me a few men ... I will take care of that.

Mark Antony

You will be of more use to both our causes when you join the war council. A victory by our legions also means freedom for Gabrielle.

Xena stares at Antony for a moment, thinking.

Xena

(nodding)

Agreed.

CUT TO:

COMMERCIAL BREAK

CUT TO:

INT. Camp of the Triumvirate's Army, Commanders tent - Day

It's again the inside of the large, circular tent, split in half by a closed curtain. Maps and crude charts are hanging from the walls, although fewer than before. A large table with a single map, covered with small wooden figures, is still standing in the middle of this part of the tent.

OKTAVIAN is standing one side of the table. He still wears a polished golden armor and a red cape. MARK ANTONY stands on the opposite side, wearing his sliver armor and black cape. LEPIDUS stands on the third side of the table, leaving the side towards the entrance open. He has changed into a dark, blue robe, richly decorated - he doesn't fit the surrounding but seems to ignore the fact.

Oktavian and Antony study the map in front of them while Lepidus watches the entrance to the tent.

After a few moments the entrance is opened and XENA steps into the tent. She now has cleaned herself and wears a Roman armor, complete with sword and sandals. She moves confident, walking right up to the table, talking the fourth side of it.

While Lepidus watches her the whole time, Oktavian and Mark Antony still focus on the map.

Oktavian

I think that is yours?

Casually he brings forward Xena's Chakram and hands it over to her. She takes it, a little surprised, weights it in her hands and than hangs it over the sword at her belt.

Xena

You probably think that I should thank you for all of that?

Mark Antony

We don't want your thanks … we want your council.

Xena

You all … well, most of you look like seasoned commanders.

Lepidus

We all are.

Oktavian

But the situation is difficult and we thought your famous inspiration could be of help.

Xena now looks at the map.

Xena

That is the situation?

Lepidus

These are our latest informations.

Mark Antony

You probably can see our dilemma.

Xena

Two strongholds … bad ground for any attack … the weather isn't helping. How is the artillery?

Oktavian

Ours as well as theirs suffered heavily under the weather. Most catapults are damaged … useless.

Xena

Which of the troops are seasoned and which are newly recruited.

Mark Antony

More than half of our army consists of green troops. But the other side has the same problems.

Xena

So it's a standstill … no side dares to move … and with every day passing the situation gets more stuck.

Lepidus

You're very good at this.

Xena

We should move out and try to find better ground for an attack.

Oktavian

Sadly, that's one option we don't have … we must get the decision here. Once the enemy can move out into the open he could outmaneuvers us … and than march on Rome.

Mark Antony

There are no troops left … we have to win or all is lost.

Lepidus

So … what is your suggestion?

Xena

Attack!

Oktavian and Mark Antony look at each other with the hint of a smile.

Lepidus

But … you just said that any attack would fail.

Xena

No, I said that any attack will meet heavy obstacles … the ground, the defensive positioning, the weather … but it is still the only option. We can get the momentum … and the surprise.

Oktavian

That will not be enough.

Xena

Well, we will need a good plan. As far as I can tell, the number of troops is about even.

Mark Antony

That's true.

Xena

So we have to fool them. We mass the best legions on one flank, while the center and the other flank are left for the green troops to hold.

Lepidus

But the enemy will cut through our center without any effort.

Xena

They will just have to stand their ground for a little while … it's ideal territory to defend. Of course, the enemy legions, seeing the weakness of our center, will attack it. And than we move our strong flank forward and sweep them away from the side.

Lepidus

That's a great plan, isn't it? Isn't it?

Lepidus looks questioning to Oktavian and Mark Antony. Before they can answer, Xena suddenly moves.

She backs away from the table with a quick step, draws her Chakram and throws it with one fluid motion. The sharp weapon cuts through the tent's wall and hits something on the outside. A short, painful sigh can be heard, followed by the noise of someone falling to the ground.

Xena smiles satisfied while three Romans look at her surprised.

Moments later someone pulls aside the curtain of the entrance.

Voice (Off)

A spy … a spy was found next to your tent.

Oktavian

Is he dead?

Voice (Off)

No, unconscious … he was hit in the helmet by … some strange weapon.

Oktavian

Take him away … and bring back that weapon.

The curtain is closed again. Oktavian and Mark Antony now are smiling, too while Lepidus is very excited.

Lepidus

The gods are really on our side … if this spy would have got away he could have told … the enemy … all our plans.

Mark Antony

(sarcastically)

That would be really a shame.

Oktavian

How long before we let him escape?

Xena

He will be out for some time … in the darkness you can let him slip away.

Lepidus

I don't understand … why should we let him escape.

Oktavian

Because, obviously, this was Xena's plan all along.

mark Antony

She must have noticed the spy the moment she entered … very impressive.

Lepidus now seems totally confused.

Lepidus

But when they know our plan …

Xena

We need a new one.

Oktavian

You didn't think we would follow such a stupid and dangerous gamble.

Lepidus

Well … of course not.

Xena

Actually, the real plan isn't much better.

Mark Antony

But now we have the advantage of deception.

Lepidus

So, what is the plan?

Xena

We will move all green troops to one flank to simulate the massing of our elite legions. Meanwhile the veteran soldiers form the center and the other flank.

Oktavian

With what they will hear from the spy they will attack the weak flank, thinking that the equally weak center will be unable to help.

Mark Antony

But actually our best troops will be there and the moment they move against that flank, we can swing the center and crush their troops between us.

Xena

That's the plan.

Antony looks straight at Xena, smiling.

Mark Antony

You are a remarkable women … intelligent, determined, resourceful … and beautiful.

Xena looks up from the map and throws a contemptuous look at Mark Antony. Then she turns her attention towards the map again.

Oktavian

This day will be ours.

CUT TO:

INT. Camp of the Senate's Army, Commanders tent - Night

BRUTUS is alone in his tent, standing thoughtfully in front of the fireplace. He wears a simple gray robe, his armor spread next to the fireplace, probably to dry.

Brutus

Ares …

It seems hard for Brutus to find the right words.

Brutus

… I didn't ask for your help before. I don't share Caesar's fascination with war … with you. I always thought you're not interested in the result of a battle as long it was bloody enough.

Brutus turns away from the flame and stares at the table with the maps.

Brutus

But tonight is different. I'm not the second in command anymore … my orders will decide the fate of Rome … the fate of the world, maybe. If Oktavian and the others win ... than we have stopped Caesar for nothing.

Brutus walks to his chair and falls into it, sighing.

Brutus

Not only the weather is bad … the omens are, too. And nightmares are torturing me for months. Ares, if you know some mercy, if you care at least a little bit about what's happening here … give us the victory.

Brutus silently listens … but only the fire can be heard.

Brutus

I shouldn't have used Caesar's banner … even with the troops used to it. One more bad omen on our side.

Brutus leans back and closes his eyes.

Very faint, somewhere in the distance, someone laughs.

CUT TO:

INT. Camp of the Triumvirate's Army, Commanders tent - Night

LEPIDUS, OKTAVIAN and MARK ANTONY, all three wearing armor again, are standing in the back half of the tent they held their war council in. It's a provisional temple for Ares … the sides lined with racks of weapons and armor, in the middle a small golden figure of a warrior on a marble pedestal. Lit braziers spend light and some warmth.

The three are standing along the curtain separating the tent and look seriously towards the little statue.

Lepidus

And if victory will be ours than we will build you a great temple in Rome, bigger than anything …

Suddenly, in a flash of light, an armor-clad body appears next to the pedestal - MARS.

He has the face and statue of Ares, but wears blood-red leather armor with a large, decorated helmet. A black cape hangs down from his shoulders and although the air is totally still inside the tent, the fabric is constantly moving, waving like in a strong breeze. He carries no weapons, his arms hanging loosely at his side. His expression shows anger and arrogance. He just stares at the three Romans.

Lepidus is the first to find his voice.

Lepidus

Ares. You actually …

Mars

(thundering)

I'm Mars, god of war.

Lepidus is totally confused while Oktavian and Mark Antony look at each other, seemingly unsure about the situation.

Mars looks to the side, at the small golden statue next to him. With his right hand he grabs it and holds it towards the mortals.

Suddenly the statue starts to burn, at the same time melting down. The metal drips to the ground and forms a small golden puddle at the floor, burning through the carpet.

Mars

I hate statues. I hate temples. If you want to serve the god of war you have to do it in battle.

Lepidus

But … Ares …

Mars

Ares will be destroyed … and soon he will be forgotten. This battle will mark the turning point.

Oktavian

So we will win this battle?

Mars

Rome is the most powerful nation … but it is still clinging at these pathetic little imitations of real godhood. Rome needs strength … Rome needs power … Rome's destiny is to rule the world … in our name.

Mark Antony

We …

Mars

You will win this battle … but you will not thank Ares for that … from that moment on you owe me alliance. Trust me … you will not regret this.

In another flash of light Mars disappears.

CUT TO:

EXT. The void - Darkness

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

Zeus

It has started.

Hera

I know. What did you expect?

Zeus

Maybe it was a mistake to wait this long.

Hera

Maybe.

Zeus

Not even we can change it anymore.

Hera

The others have already started their selection.

Zeus

I know.

Hera

You, of course, will ask Hercules.

Zeus

Of course … sad to say that your choice isn't that clear … you have surrounded yourself with mindless thugs for far too long.

Hera

(angry)

You … don't concern yourself with that … I will find the right one.

CUT TO:

INT. Camp of the Senate's Army, Commanders tent - Day

BRUTUS is again alone in his tent. He stands near his bed, dressing. He already wears most of his armor and is just tying the belt around his waist. He looks tired.

The curtain at the entrance is pulled aside and GABRIELLE enters the tent. She again wears a Roman armor and looks refreshed, confident.

Brutus

I have arranged for your save departure. A group of my best soldiers will travel with you until you have brought save distance between you and this battlefield.

gabrielle

I cannot go … Xena is somewhere in the other camp. I have to find her. I don't even know if she is still alive.

Gabrielle's expression turns into sadness. Brutus looks at her, seriously.

Brutus

I have news from the enemy's camp. A spy could escape with important information … he listened in on some conversations of the commanding council. Beside that, he saw a woman enter the tent and than she seemed to have taken an important role in the discussion. I think it's a fair guess that Xena is on their side.

Gabrielle is surprised and shocked.

Gabrielle

She would never help them …

Brutus

Maybe they misinformed her … I knew I shouldn't have used Caesar's banner. They probably tricked her into helping them. It's not important anymore. Today the final battle will be fought … and there is no second price.

Gabrielle

You have to promise me that you will not kill her … even when she is fighting for them.

Brutus

I would do it … if I could. But in this battle everybody has an equal chance to die. I could tell my troops … but if she opposes one of my soldiers, I could not blame him for defending himself.

Gabrielle turns around and steps towards the entrance, pulling aside the curtain. Suddenly she stops.

Gabrielle

You said a spy escaped … after listening in on Xena?

Brutus

He was captured first, but in the night he got away.

Gabrielle turns back and walks towards Brutus.

Gabrielle

Xena would never make such a grave mistake. If this man knew her plan he should be dead by now.

Brutus

What's you point?

Gabrielle

If he escaped, than because she wanted him too.

Brutus

You know what you're saying?

Gabrielle

I cannot let her win … not this time.

Brutus sits down on his bead, shaking his head.

Brutus

If this is true, then we have lost our advantage. The battle will happen today, but we don't know her plan.

Gabrielle

I know Xena … let me help you.

CUT TO:

COMMERCIAL BREAK

CUT TO:

INT. Camp of the Triumvirate's Army, Commanders tent - Day

The tent is empty, left like it was the day before. Many sounds come from the outside - shouting soldiers, wood- and metalwork, signal horns and animals.

The curtain at the entrance is already pulled away and XENA is the first one to enter. She wears the roman armor, sandals, carrying a short sword and her Chakram.

She walks over to the table and thoughtfully looks at the wooden figures, representing the battle order.

A few moments later MARK ANTONY enters the tent and stops right at the entrance. He smiles when he sees Xena and observes her patiently. He has changed his silver armor for a standard one, complete with helmet and sword.

Xena

Is everything ready?

Mark Antony

Every man is in position since dawn. The first reports of movement come just in … they seem to take the bait.

Xena

The commanders on the front know about Gabrielle?

Mark Antony

Orders went out to look for her and immediately bring her back into safety when she is found.

Xena

Then we'll have to wait.

Antony walks to the table and leans backwards against it, not letting Xena out of his eyes.

Mark Antony

You're a fascinating woman.

Xena

You repeat yourself.

Mark Antony

You're so close to power … still, your main concern is your friend.

Xena

I have learned that friendship isn't something Romans can understand.

Mark Antony

Oh, but I have many friends.

Xena

For how many of those would you give up all this?

Mark Antony

Well … I can see your point. But maybe I haven't found the right friends yet.

Xena

Maybe you're not even looking.

Xena finally looks up from the map and turns towards Mark Antony.

Xena

What do you want?

Mark Antony

(smiling)

I want to win … this battle.

Xena

Not what you want from today … what you want from the future.

Antony is silenced for a moment.

Mark Antony

I don't share your sense of philosophy … life must be something to grab, not something to think about.

Xena

If that's what you want.

Xena turns away and slowly walks towards the curtain separating the two halves of the tent.

Mark Antony

What do you want?

Xena

Gabrielle.

Mark Antony

Not what you want today … what you want for the future.

Xena stops in front of the curtain, closing her eyes.

Before she can answer an exhausted CENTURION is entering the tent in a hurry.

Centurion

I have news from the battle.

Both Xena and Mark Antony turn to him and look at him expectantly.

Mark Antony

So?

Centurion

The enemy is attacking our left flank in full force.

Xena

But … that's the strong flank.

Mark Antony

There has to be a mistake.

Centurion

No, they are attacking the stronger flank.

Mark Antony and Xena look at each other seriously, silently. After a few moments of waiting the Centurion finally turns around and hurries outside again.

Xena

If they attack our left flank …

Mark Antony

With all those new recruits …

Xena

It will be a slaughter …

Mark Antony

The ground doesn't allow the center to turn left … this could easily split our troops in two.

Xena

How could that happen? Who could be so insane as to attack the seemingly stronger flank?

Mark Antony

Another spy?

Xena

Maybe … but I have a bad feeling.

Mark Antony

Still, it is our stronger flank … if they can hold their ground long enough to let the veteran legions move around we still can turn this to our advantage.

Xena walks back to the table and again stares thoughtfully at the wooden figures.

Xena

Shouldn't you command the left flank?

Mark Antony

I gave the honor to Lepidus … he seemed happy about it. And Oktavian is commanding the rest.

Xena

So a merchant commands the forces under attack … and the only good commander in the field has his hands full with too much of the front.

Mark Antony

Maybe I should …

Xena

It's to late now … if the left flank holds for a little while Oktavian might have time to reorganize his troops. If not …

Another exhausted CENTURION enters the tent. He struggles to regain his breath.

Mark Antony

Talk, man, talk!

Centurion

The left flank … the recruits are falling back. In a few minutes we will have an all-out retreat on our hands … if we are lucky. If not …

The Centurion turns around and leaves the tent.

Xena

If not … than the whole army is lost.

Mark Antony

We have to do something. Maybe I can reorganize some of the retreating troops to form a defensive position.

Xena

How could this happen. You said these are renegade legions … how could they look through our deception … through our plan.

Mark Antony

I don't know.

Suddenly Xena turns to Mark Antony, showing an expression of realization.

Xena

Except … except if Gabrielle is helping them.

Mark Antony

Gabrielle … that little bard you described? How could she …

Xena

She knows me better than anybody else. She fought on my side so many times. She knows all by past battles. If she is helping them …

Mark Antony

How very unfortunate.

Xena

She would never help some renegade commander … she would trust nobody … except …

Mark Antony

What?

Antony, seeing Xena's fast approach towards the truth, has slowly moved his hand towards the sword on his belt, watching Xena closely.

Xena

Brutus … she would trust him … but that would mean …

Xena slowly moves back and away from the table, looking into Mark Antony's eyes.

Xena

That would mean she is with the senate's army and I … I helped the renegade legions.

Mark Antony

We are no renegades … after Caesars death Rome desperately needs new leadership. Brutus is just a henchman of the corrupt senate … men like Oktavian and myself are needed to lead Rome towards it's destiny.

Xena

Some people use this word much to fast … not every belch of history that throws a megalomaniac tyrant into power equals destiny.

Mark Antony

Now that was … rude.

Xena

Oh, you haven't seen what I do when I'm rude.

Xena takes her Chakram into the left hand and draws the short sword with the right. Mark Antony immediately draws his own sword, too.

Mark Antony

Guards!

A few moments of silence … nothing happens.

Xena

They are probably trying to defend the camp … now I'm suddenly very happy that my plan failed. It seems the good guys win at last.

Suddenly OKTAVIAN storms through the entrance. His golden armor is dirty and damaged and blood runs down from under his deformed helmet. He carries a bloody sword in his hands and seems exhausted.

Oktavian

The left flank is rooted, I have brought most of the other troops around and with a little luck we can stop …

Oktavian stops, quickly understanding the situation and turning towards Xena.

Oktavian

So you finally looked through our little play.

Xena

I cannot understand how I could be so naive … I must have lost some of my edge.

Oktavian

That's not all you will lose.

With that Oktavian and Mark Antony attack Xena simultaneously. She can block both blows, one with the sword and one with the Chakram.

Xena

I will end this here and now … I will not allow you to become another Caesar.

CUT TO:

INT. Camp of the Senate's Army, Commanders tent - Day

BRUTUS and GABRIELLE, both in roman armors but without helmet or weapon, stand next to each other at the table, looking at a map in front of them.

Brutus

You were right in every way … the strong flank was in fact the weak point. Only green troops were positioned there … they immediately retreated when our best legions attacked.

Gabrielle

I … I'm not proud of it.

Brutus

I know how you feel about this battle … any battle … but this victory is so important. A new time of peace and prosperity is going to start here and now. And the Amazons will profit from that, too.

Gabrielle nods silently.

A CENTURION appears at the tent entrance.

Centurion

Consul? There is news from the battlefield. The triumvirate has pulled together some defensive forces to slow down our advance … and their veteran troops finally seem to regroup.

Brutus

Thank you … bring my horse, I will take command myself. We will not leave this battlefield until the triumvirate is dead or captured.

Centurion

Yes, consul.

He turns away, but is stopped by Brutus' voice.

Brutus

Wait. What is the name of the nearest village?

Centurion

Philippi, I think.

Brutus

The battle of Philippi … history will remember this day.

With a gesture Brutus allows the Centurion to go - which he does.

Gabrielle

Is it over?

Brutus

Almost … now it's time to turn the troops to face the center of their army. And when they approach to help out their rooted flank, I will bring forward my reserves and attack them from behind.

Gabrielle

You …

Before Gabrielle can complete the sentence a man storms into the tent and runs towards Brutus.

The ASSASSIN wears blood-red leather armor and holds a short sword in his right hand. Before Gabrielle can react the assassin jumps forward, thrusting his sword into the back of Brutus.

Assassin

For Mars!

The consul stumbles to the side, turning towards the assassin, who now stands near the table, the bloody sword still in his hand, seemingly surprised about his own success. Brutus looks at the killer with wide-open eyes, showing a mixture of surprise and sadness.

Gabrielle, overcoming her first surprise, now moves quickly. She jumps forward, throwing her whole weight against the assassin while Brutus is slowly sinking to the ground.

They both fall to the ground, Gabrielle on top of the man. She grabs his right hand with both her hands and twists it around until the assassin drops the sword.

With the left hand the man now tries to get to his dagger he has in his belt, but Gabrielle acts quickly and determined. She lets go of the assassin's right hand, locks her two hands together and hits killer right across the face … twice.

After the second hit the assassin stops to struggle - unconscious.

Gabrielle jumps up and moves over to the dying Brutus, kneeing down next to him. He lies on his back and blood appears on the carpet, forming a growing spot. Gabrielle takes one hand of Brutus and squeezes it. She has tears in her eyes. Brutus himself still looks surprised.

Brutus

Why …

Gabrielle

Quiet.

(shouting)

Help! Someone help me … Brutus … they tried to kill him.

Brutus

It's okay … I don't feel anything … I know what that means.

Gabrielle

You will make it.

Brutus

Don't lie to me …

Gabrielle

All your dreams …

Brutus

Don't forget, once I was only Caesar's henchman … I killed Ephiny … you shouldn't feel sorry or sad … I probably deserve …

Brutus' voice is slowly fading.

Brutus

The battle … someone has to …

Another CENTURION storms into the tent, only to stagger back outside when he sees the dying Brutus.

Centurion (OFF)

Brutus … Brutus was killed!

Brutus

(smiling)

They don't learn. I fought for the senate … the people of Rome … but the legions only fight for their leader. I probably could have …

Brutus suddenly seems to feel a surge of pain as he grabs Gabrielle with both his hands, trying to pull himself up.

Brutus

No … it's not done yet …

Gabrielle can only watch in tears as Brutus sinks back again.

Brutus

Forgive me … someone please forgive me …

With that a last shudder moves through his body … than he lies still. Gabrielle carefully closes his eyes.

CUT TO:

COMMERCIAL BREAK

CUT TO:

INT. Camp of the Triumvirate's Army, Commanders tent - Day

XENA, OKTAVIAN and MARK ANTONY are still fighting. Xena has positioned herself in front of the entrance to block Oktavian or Mark Antony from leaving. She continually blocks their attacks with her two weapons, but she isn't able to effectively counterattack against these two able fighters.

Xena

Your armies have probably lost by now.

Oktavian

You cannot stop us forever.

Xena

But I can try.

Suddenly the voice of Lepidus can be heard from the outside.

Lepidus (Off)

(shouting)

Oktavian! Mark Antony! We have won! Victory is ours!

Xena as well as the two Romans are totally surprised.

Oktavian

What?

Xena

No!

Lepidus (Off)

(shouting)

Brutus was killed … and his replacement led the army straight into our regrouped center. Somehow it held and suddenly the fleeing recruits started to re-form and … everything went our way from there. One of our legions has already reached the senate's army camp … it's a triumph!

Xena stares to the ground in disbelieve - shock. Oktavian and Mark Antony on the other side smile triumphantly.

Oktavian

It's over, Xena. You've lost … we've won. Brutus is dead, we will kill you … and our soldiers will take care of your precious Gabrielle.

Xena lifts her head and stares hatefully at Oktavian.

Xena

I will not forget you … but first I have to find Gabrielle.

Xena quickly turns and runs out of the tent. The surprised shouting of Lepidus and other soldiers can be heard.

Oktavian

We will …

mark Antony

Let her go … don't let it get to you like Caesar did. She's not important … we've won! Rome is ours.

They smile at each other.

LEPIDUS now enters the tent, looking dirty and tired.

Lepidus

Xena … she ran away … has she found out? Should we send soldiers to capture her?

Oktavian

Let it go … forget her. Today we celebrate a new era.

Mark Antony

What to do with prisoners?

Oktavian

Let's follow a good, old tradition. We take them into our service … after every tenth soldier has been executed.

Lepidus

What … what about Mars?

Mark Antony

We probably owe him this victory …

Oktavian

Maybe it is time for Rome to have our own gods … we can take care of it with the rest.

Lepidus

In Rome.

Mark Antony

Yes, in Rome.

CUT TO:

EXT. The void - Darkness

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

Zeus

So, you have finally found someone you think worthy.

Hera

Cleobis … he is the son of one of my priestesses … he is strong, skillful, brave and … good-hearted. He will make a good champion.

Zeus

How did you find him?

Hera

His mother pointed me his way … she prayed for him to become the best a mortal can achieve.

Zeus

And so you let him become a hero who might very well safe the world, as we know it.

Hera

The best a mortal can achieve is a peaceful death … so normally I would have given him that. But right now I need him … alive.

 


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