Episode Guide Teaser Act 1 Act 2 Act 3 Act 4



ACT THREE

FADE IN:

INT. ZENOBIAíS ROOM. EVENING.

Zenobia and Gabrielle are having dinner in Zenobiaís private living quarters. Zenobia watches, concerned, as Gabrielle pushes her food around the plate, having consumed only half of what she was given.

ZENOBIA
(kindly)
You fought as hard as
any five of my soldiers
today. I would have
thought you to have been
well on your way to
a third helping by now.

GABRIELLE
(looking up, smiling)
I havenít had much of an
appetite lately. Not since . . . .

ZENOBIA
(gently)
Xena died?

GABRIELLE
Yes. She was . . . my life.
She meant everything to me.

Gabrielle looks back down at her food and takes several more bites, before lapsing into her thoughts once again.

Zenobia looks on, indecision plain on her face, before she finally reaches over and gently touches the back of Gabrielleís hand.

ZENOBIA
Though you might think this a
useless platitude, I do understand
what you are feeling right now.

Gabrielle looks up, ready to dispute her words.  Then she sees a flicker of grief, kindred to her own, shining in the Queenís dark eyes.

ZENOBIA
My husband was a fair and just
ruler, beloved by his people.

(sadly smiling)

Unfortunately, he was not a very good
fighter. We were visiting this
very city when Brakus began his
attacks. My husband insisted
on leading the charge against him,
even though his advisors and myself
begged against it.

(beat)

He would not listen.
He told us that he could not ask his men
to do something he would not.

GABRIELLE
He was killed?

ZENOBIA
Yes. The first day.

GABRIELLE
Iím very sorry for your loss.

ZENOBIA
(smiling slightly)
Thank you.

(beat)

When I learned of his death, I
thought that Ra had hidden his
face permanently from me, so dark
had my world suddenly become.

GABRIELLE
(interestedly)
What did you do? How
did you handle his death?

ZENOBIA
I didnít. I lived within the
well of my grief. It seemed . . .
safer that way.

GABRIELLE
Youíre not living there now.

(pausing)

Are you?

ZENOBIA
No.

GABRIELLE
How did you . . . .?

ZENOBIA
(softly, gently)
I was needed.

(beat)

My husbandís rule fell to me, as Queen and
regent to our young son. Amun, the man you
met earlier, convinced me that my people could
not afford to wait until I was finished grieving.
They were losing their loved ones as well.

GABRIELLE
Did that help?

ZENOBIA
Not at first, no. But eventually, I
learned to put on . . . a mask, if you will.
It separates the woman inside from the
Queen the people see.

(beat)

And sometimes, that mask allows
me to . . . forget . . . for a short
time the grief that I bear.

GABRIELLE
(sadly)
I donít think Iíll ever forget.

ZENOBIA
(wisely)
When you were fighting those men
today, it seemed as if you were
able to do just that.

Gabrielle looks by turns shocked, then horrified, as she realizes that Zenobiaís assessment is correct.

ZENOBIA
Please do not feel guilty, Gabrielle. The
capacity to forget is one of lifeís greatest
gifts. It allows us to survive against
odds we think impossible.

(pausing)

Your grief will always be there.
Sometimes it just hides away.

(beat)

There are still many nights, when
I am alone in my rooms, that I long
for the touch of his hand against my
face, and the sound of his voice
in my ear. And I know, deep
within myself, that that will never go
away. And I would never wish it so.

GABRIELLE
You really do understand.

ZENOBIA
I do. Just as I know that
your love for Xena burns strong,
and that you honor her memory,
and her legacy, with your every breath.

(beat)

Just as I try to do for my husband.

She gives a small smile.

ZENOBIA
(cont'd)
Perhaps, for now, we can try
to do it together?

GABRIELLE
(returning the smile)
Thank you. Iíd like that.

ZENOBIA
(nodding)
Good. Then it is settled.

(slyly grinning)

Now, if we are to be partners
in this venture, I must insist
that you finish your dinner.

Gabrielle smiles, and nods, and attacks the remaining food with a vigor unknown to her since before Xenaís death.

CUT TO:

INT. HELL. SEVERAL DAYS LATER.

Xena is having a look around Luciferís domain. She is being escorted by a large demon, who doesnít appear any happier about escorting her than she is about having him right on her heels. She purposely stops suddenly causing him to nearly crash into her. He stands there not moving, breathing down her neck.

XENA
Do you mind?
Ever hear of personal space?

He only growls, and Xena is not impressed. She takes a long step forward, then turns around and puts her arm out to stop his advance.

XENA
(cont'd)
You stay this far away from me.
Got it?

After a moment, he nods and Xena resumes her walk down the hall. She hears loud voices echoing from a room directly in front of her. She listens, her curiosity getting the better of her as she approaches the door.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. HELL. CHAMBER.

A half dozen demons are standing in front of a large portal, watching what appears to be a battle. They laugh and even boo among themselves, apparently having a very good time with their entertainment.

DEMON 3
Oooh, this should be good!
I bet Brakus takes her in five minutes.

DEMON 4
Five? Heíll cut her to pieces
in half that time!

Xena draws closer, mischievously looking over the shoulders of two of the demons.

XENA
Is this a private party
or can anyone join?

The first demon gives her an annoyed look but steps to the side, gesturing grandly. Xena steps forward and peers into the portal.

XENA
(cont'd)
What are we watching?

She looks closer at the portal, squinting. The image is fuzzy and shifts erratically.

XENA
(cont'd)
Your reception stinks.

The image clears for a moment, and Xena sees Gabrielle and a small force of Egyptian soldiers slinking along the base of a tall sand dune.

FADE TO:

EXT. DESERT. DAY.

Gabrielle, one of Zenobiaís commanders, YAVIN, and a handful of soldiers are at the top of a dune watching a supply train approaching the warlord camp. Gabrielle glances back, seeing that more Egyptian troops are nearly concealed and preparing for battle. Chewing on her lip she looks back at the caravan.

GABRIELLE
This is a good sign.

YAVIN
It is?

GABRIELLE
It is.
This shows Brakus wasnít
prepared for a long fight.
Heís not as well prepared as
he could be. Heís from Greece,
He has no concept of desert fighting.
He needs those supplies to mount
a further campaign, so we need
to stop it from getting through.

Gabrielle watches as the caravan continues to move slowly through the sand. She is actually very pleased with their lack of progress. She knows that gives them more time. Yavin points to a SCOUT on horseback being called to the front by the COMMANDER.

GABRIELLE
He's going to send him ahead
to tell Brakus and maybe get
help moving the supplies.
Weíve got to stop him.

Gabrielle motions for one of the SOLDIERS. The man crawls over to her and looks to where she is pointing.

GABRIELLE
You have to stop him.
Cut him off just behind
that dune. Do whatever
it takes to stop him.

The soldier looks to Yavin who nods his approval. The man then leaves to do Gabrielleís bidding.

YAVIN
And now?

GABRIELLE
And now, we stop that shipment.
We let them get just a little ahead
of our position then we start the
attack from the rear and work
our way forward. Try not to
destroy the supplies. If Brakus
can use them so can we.

Yavin signals his men and they prepare for the attack. Gabrielle looks to the men and waits for the caravan to move, slowly she raises her hand, preparing to give the command. Luck is with them when one of the wagons gets caught up in a loose spot of sand and begins sinking. She smiles when the reinforcements begin frantically scurrying around to get the wagon free.

GABRIELLE
NOW!

The line charges over their concealment and begins the attack. Gabrielle is right in the front, leading the charge. She is taking down man after man, paying little attention to where they fall. She hears the battle all around her, she knows that they are being successful in the attack, but concentrates on finishing the fight. Turning, she finds the commander coming at her, thereís a frustrated but determined look on her face as she uses her sais to first disarm him then to knock him to the sand. He lays there unmoving as she stands over him, looking down. She just shakes her head.

Gabrielle is brought from her thoughts by Yavin approaching. Going entirely on instinct she turns on him in defense. Then relaxes when she sees he is a friend.

YAVIN
Your plan worked well.
My men will gather the supplies
and bring them back to the city

GABRIELLE
Right.
Make it as quick as possible.
We may not have a lot of time.

CUT TO:

INT. HELL. PORTAL.

Xena and the group of demons continue to watch as the battle plays itself out.

XENA
Sheís impressive.

DEMON 3
Sheís a woman.

XENA
And?

DEMON 3
No mere woman could ever beat
one man, let alone an army of them.
Itís impossible!

XENA
(smirking)
Ri-ight.

They all look on just in time to see Gabrielle disarm and then disable the opposing forceís commander.

XENA
(wincing)
Ooh. Bet that hurt,
huh, boys?

DEMON 4
(stupefied)
It must be a trick.
No woman could ever
defeat a man. Itís unnatural.

XENA
Unnatural, huh?

(evilly grinning)

Care to make a little . . .
wager on that?

DEMON 4
(straightening)
What kind of wager?

Xena studies her nails, pretending to consider.

XENA
You look like the big,
strong, manly type. Think
you can beat me?

DEMON 4
I would squash you
like a bug!

XENA
(smiling)
Care to put your reputation
where your mouth is?

(beat)

You against me. Right here.
Right now. If I win, you
admit that women are
capable of beating men.

DEMON 4
And if . . . when I win?

XENA
(smiling broadly, turning seductive)
You, and all of your close friends
here, can do exactly as you
like to . . . show me the
error of my unnatural ways.

DEMON 4
And what is to stop us from
doing that right now?

XENA
(dangerously soft)
Youíre welcome to try.

The demon considers Xenaís proposal, egged on by his friendsí catcalls and jeering. Finally, he nods.

DEMON 4
I accept your wager.

He grabs a sword from his friendís scabbard, and tosses it to Xena.  He then draws his own sword, twirling it in vicious, rapid arcs, grinning broadly as he does so.

DEMON 4
Any last words?

XENA
See you in Hell.

Xena launches into her attack, swinging her sword with stunning speed. The demon blocks her first strike, and their weapons clash, sparks trailing down both blades to land on the hot stone floor. Xena disengages and resumes her attack, raining blow after blow down on him. The large demon stumbles backward, but manages to keep up his defenses, though itís clear from the start that heís hopelessly outclassed.

Still, he fights gamely, even managing to swing a few blows until he is disarmed by a vicious strike.

The entire group watches as his sword tumbles through the air, only to disappear as it hits the portal.

Roaring, the demon comes at Xena, claws extended, and stops when Xenaís sword enters into his chest. His eyes bulge as he looks down at his chest, then into Xenaís shining eyes.  He gasps with his dying breath.

DEMON 4
Un . . . natural

As the demon slumps, Xena removes her sword. There is a pause, and then the rent in his chest opens, and a dark, light emanates from the gaping wound. It flows out quickly, covering Xenaís sword, her arm, and finally her entire body.

Her body goes rigid, her head falls back, and her mouth opens wide in a soundless scream.

The light disappears, and in its place stands DEMON XENA. Her skin has turned the color of an elephantís hide.  Her eyes are a glittering, glowing, eerie silver. Demon wings sprout from her back, and her hands and feet have become clawed talons.

She laughs at the looks of stunned disbelief on the faces of the demons surrounding her. Before any one of them can make a move, she turns and vaults toward the portal, disappearing as soon as she hits it.

CUT TO:

EXT. CAPITAL CITY. DAY.

Gabrielle and Yavin return to find a few brave souls waiting to great them after their victory and to assist in getting the pillaged supplies to safety. Gabrielle is doing her best to be cheerful and greets all those who offer her their hands in gratitude, but itís clear that she is not entirely comfortable with the platitudes.

YAVIN
(to the crowd)
We owe a great debt to Gabrielle,
the Battling Bard. She has led
us to a wondrous victory this day.

GABRIELLE
(demuring)
Yavin please, there is still a lot to do.
We won one small battle. The war
is far from over.

YAVIN
You are a natural leader,Gabrielle.
My troops and I will follow you at every turn.

GABRIELLE
I donít want you to follow me,
I just want us to end this conflict.

A YOUNG BOY runs to them, bowing deeply before Gabrielle.

BOY
Queen Zenobia asks that you
come right away and tell her
of your victory first hand.

GABRIELLE
Of course, where is she?

BOY
In the hospice, visiting
the sick and wounded.

GABRIELLE
Tell her I will be there right away,
I only want to get something to drink.

BOY
You go. I will bring it to you.

GABRIELLE
(smiling at the eager boy)
Thank you.
Come on Yavin, letís
go tell the Queen.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. HOSPICE. DAY.

Gabrielle enters the room being use to care for the wounded. A new light of respect, awe, and hope shines from almost every eye that meets hers, and she ducks her head to hide her blush at such adulation.

As she continues on, she spies a pretty young girl lying along on a pallet.  There is a dirty bandage wrapped around her arm. Steering herself in that direction, she comes up beside the bed and lowers herself to sit next to the girl.

GABRIELLE
Whatís your name?

GIRL
(shyly)
Auset.

GABRIELLE
Thatís a very pretty name.

AUSET
I was named after
my grandmother.

GABRIELLE
Iíll bet your grandmother
is very proud that youíre
named after her.

AUSET
She died.

GABRIELLE
Iím very, very sorry.

(beat)

Does your arm
hurt, sweetheart?

Auset nods.

GABRIELLE
Do you mind if I take a
look at it? Maybe I can
make it feel better.

Auset looks at her bandaged arm, then back to Gabrielle and nods, her dark eyes large and frightened.

GABRIELLE
(to Yavin)
This needs changing. Bring
me some of the cloth we
liberated from the enemy stores.

Yavin leaves to get the cloth and Gabrielle begins gently tending to the wound. Her light is blocked for a moment, and when she can see again, a rolled cloth bandage is presented to her by Zenobia, who is smiling.

ZENOBIA
A healer too?
You do have many talents.

GABRIELLE
(taking the bandages)
I learned a lot from Xena.

Zenobia settles on the bed next to Gabrielle.

ZENOBIA
So it would seem.
My men and my people think
you are our savior.

GABRIELLE
Iím not a savior.
Just one of many trying to do
the right thing.

Zenobia notices Gabrielle's discomfort.

ZENOBIA
I would think you would be
used to the adulation. Was it not
much the same when you
fought at Xenaís side?

GABRIELLE
Xena wasnít much for accolades.

(remembering)

Usually.

Zenobia nods wisely and remains silent as she watches Gabrielle carefully tie off the end of the new bandage and smile at her young patient.

GABRIELLE
All done.
That wasnít too bad was it?

Auset shakes her head and smiles.

AUSET
Why do they call you the
Battling Bard?

GABRIELLE
(pausing, taken aback)
Well, I suppose because I fight.
And because I tell stories.

(beat)

Would you like to hear one?

Dark eyes shining, Auset nods firmly. A murmur goes through the room, as every head is turned toward Gabrielle, eager to hear her tale.

As if just realizing the implications of her offer, Gabrielle is torn as she bows her head and closes her eyes. Her best known tales, the ones she loves the most, are all of Xena and their travels together. She is just about to demur, not wanting to open herself up to the pain she knows telling a story of Xena would bring.  She opens her eyes again, and takes in the expressions of the people surrounding her. Faces that just moments before had been filled with misery now shine with eagerness, joy and hope.  It makes her struggle a fruitless one, and she gives in to the inevitable.

Gabrielle sits up straight and takes a deep breath.

GABRIELLE
All right.
I sing a song of Xena:
Warrior Princess

(beat)

and my soulmate.

CUT TO:

EXT. BRAKUS CAMP. EVE.

Demon Xena stands at the edge of the camp, looking at the men who are starting to settle in around campfires. She smiles and cracks her knuckles.

XENA
Time for a little mayhem . . . Xena style.

She moves into the camp and as the men stand to challenge her she proceeds to toss them all over the camp, until finally because of the noise, BRAKUS exits his tent with his SWORD in his hand.

BRAKUS
WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?

Xena is currently holding two soldiers about a foot off the ground by their necks.

XENA
Not much.
Just a surprise training exercise.

Brakusí eyes widen and he drops to one knee, with his head bowed and his sword stuck in the ground.

BRAKUS
Forgive me.
Iíve been expecting you.

XENA
You have?

BRAKUS
Yes. I knew when Our Lord
saw my defeat he would
send a servant to punish me.

The look on demon Xenaís face is priceless. An odd cross of amusement and orgasmic pleasure.

XENA
(quietly)
Punish you?
Oh, the game gets
better all the time.

She drops the soldiers and steps toward the kneeling man.  She hooks him under the chin with a nail, and raises his head.

XENA
Dear boy, Iím not here to punish
you. Iím here to help you.

BRAKUS
(puzzling)
Help me?

XENA
Iím afraid youíre right.
Our Lord is not a happy camper.
And when Lucifer isnít happy . . .
No one is happy.

(beat)

So hereís what weíre gonna do.

Xena draws him up and leads him back to his tent.

XENA
Got any wine?
I could really use it.

CUT TO:

INT. HOSPICE. EVE.

Gabrielle and Zenobia have spent most of the day tending the injured and talking about both Xena and Zenobiaís husband. Both women now wear smiles that they havenít worn since they met.

ZENOBIA
(laughing)
My husband had a horrible habit of
never getting the mud from his boots.

GABRIELLE
(nodding)
I had nearly the same problem with Xena.
She would always put her boots on the table.
I didnít have to worry about it all the time
but when we were settled for somewhere
for a time, I couldnít get her to keep her boots
off the table.  Used to drive me insane!

They both laugh and then look to each other.

GABRIELLE
This is good isnít it?
Thinking about things Iíd want
to kill her for, then wishing she
were here so I could yell at her.

ZENOBIA
Absolutely.
They loved us, Gabrielle.
They would want us to go on.

GABRIELLE
I hope so.
It just doesnít feel right
trying to go on without her.

Before Zenobia can respond, Yavin bolts into the room waving to them.

YAVIN
My Queen.  Gabrielle.
There has been an
attack on the south wall!

Gabrielle whirls on Yavin, jumps to her feet, and grabs him by the front of his armor.

GABRIELLE
An attack? When?
Why didnít anyone come
for me?

YAVIN
There wasnít time! It . . . it happened
so fast! We never saw it coming!

(pausing)

The fortifications you had us put up,
the defenses around the city, all of
them, gone.

(shaking his  head)

It was as if . . . Never mind.

Gabrielle feels a tendril of something she canít define skitter down her spine. The hairs on the back of her neck stand up, and she feels her heart-rate accelerate as a chill sweat breaks out over her skin. She grabs Yavinís armor tighter, almost shaking him.

GABRIELLE
No. You tell me. It
was as if what?

YAVIN
Nothing. Nothing, I assure you.
Just the overworked imaginations
of tired soldiers, thatís all.

GABRIELLE
(gritting teeth)
Tell me.

YAVIN
Some of . . . some
of my men say that they
saw some sort of . . .
demon leading the forces
against us.

(ruefully laughing)

I told you it was . . . .

GABRIELLE
(over Yavin)
By the gods.

Releasing Yavin, Gabrielle darts out of the hospice at a dead run, leaving the others behind to stare after her.

CUT TO:

EXT. CAPITAL CITY. NIGHT.

Gabrielle runs into the heated night and up the steps to the top of the city wall, pushing soldiers out of her way as she does so. Her eyes are wide, and almost frightened, as she looks around the perimeter. Only part of her is assessing the damage caused by the attack. The rest of her is concentrating on the darkness beyond, and the sounds behind the sounds.

Her instincts are saturated, giving her conflicting information, while her mind is telling her things that cannot possibly be true.

Her intense concentration is broken as Zenobia and Yavin join her atop the wall. Zenobia lays a gentle hand on Gabrielleís shoulder, frowning at the cold sweat dampening her skin.

ZENOBIA
Gabrielle?

(louder)

Gabrielle?

Gabrielle spins quickly, and almost knocks Zenobia off her feet as she does so. Reaching out, she steadies them both, and attempts a smile.

GABRIELLE
Iím sorry. I was just . . . .

ZENOBIA
(concernedly)
I understand.

(softly)

What is wrong?

GABRIELLE
Itís . . . nothing.

(to Yavin)

Weíll need to get these
reinforcements back up as
quickly as we can. See if you
can get some of the uninjured
civilians to help. Iíll join you shortly.

Yavin nods and jumps down from the wall, shouting orders to his men in rapid succession. Zenobia remains behind, the concerned look still present on her face.

ZENOBIA
Youíre hiding something,
Gabrielle. I can feel it.

GABRIELLE
(impatiently)
Itís nothing, Zenobia.
I . . . I just need time to think.

(more kindly)

Why donít you get back down
to the hospice and try to get
some sleep? Itís been a long day.

Zenobia turns away from Gabrielle and looks doubtfully into the darkness surrounding them.

ZENOBIA
Do you think they will
be back?

GABRIELLE
(firmly)
Not tonight. This
was just a warning.
But tomorrow . . . . Gíwan.
Get some sleep, ok?

After a long moment, and against her best instincts, Zenobia finally gives in and descends from the wall, leaving Gabrielle to her thoughts and unvoiced concerns.

Gabrielle turns back to face the darkness in the direction she knows Brakusí camp lies. Her mind is a whirling torrent of indecision, but her tongue gives voice to the only truth she knows.

GABRIELLE
(whispering)
I can feel you.

FADE OUT:

END OF ACT THREE

ACT 4