Episode Guide Teaser Act 1 Act 2 Act 3 Act 4

ACT FOUR

 

FADE IN:

 

EXT. ACADEMY - MORNING

 

Xena and Gabrielle make their way unnoticed from Twickenhamís villa and begin to make their way in toward the city center.  In the distance, they can see and hear a stage being set up near the main fountain.

 

Gabrielle spots Homer standing tall among a group of his cronies, many of whom she recognizes from her own Academy days, including Twickenham, and one other.  Her face lights up in a smile.

 

GABRIELLE

Thatís Euripides!  By the gods, I

havenít thought about him in years!

He told the most awful stories!

 

XENA

(muttering)

Theyíre not much better now.

 

ĎGabrielleí turns wide eyes to her partner.

 

GABRIELLE

Wait.  You know him?

 

 

XENA

Letís just say we had some words.

(beat)

And if his voice is higher

than you remember....

 

Stopping, ĎGabrielleí lays a hand on ĎXenaísí wrist, halting her as well.

 

GABRIELLE

You didnít....

 

XENA

Oh, I most certainly did.

 

GABRIELLE

When?  Where??  Why???

 

XENA

(succinctly)

Last night. At the reception. Because

he had some less than complimentary

things to say about you.

 

Gabrielle looks quite confused.

 

GABRIELLE

Are you sure weíre talking

about the same Euripides?

 

XENA

If weíre talking about the man

over there practically draped all

over Homer, then yes, weíre

talking about the same Euripides.

 

 

GABRIELLE

But thatís....  Why was he at the

party?  It doesnít make any sense.

 

Xena shrugs.

 

XENA

Maybe he couldnít cut it as a bard.

Decided to ingratiate himself

with the rich merchants instead.

 

GABRIELLE

No, Xena.  Heís not that way.  Heís....

 

XENA

Itís been thirty years, Gabrielle.

That kind of time changes people.

Even people you thought you knew.

 

Shaking her head, ĎGabrielleí looks over at the man in question who appears to be having a grand time with Homer and his compatriots.

 

GABRIELLE

No. Not Euripides.  I canít believe that.

There must have been some other

reason he was at that party last night.

 

A slight smile breaks over her face.

 

GABRIELLE

(contíd)

Iíll bet he was there for the same reason

we were.  To find out what was going on

and how to stop it, if he could.  He

probably ingratiated himself with those

men so he could spy on them for Homer.

 

The face itself might be Gabrielleís, but the look of doubt is all Xena.  Seeing it, Gabrielleís smile fades.

 

GABRIELLE

(contíd)

At least admit that itís a possibility.

 

 

Xena sighs, then nods.  Gabrielleís smile returns.

 

XENA

Weíve got the next few hours to confirm

or deny it, so I suggest we get going.

 

GABRIELLE

All right.  Letís....  Uh oh.

 

Xena looks up in time to see Homerís entire group turn toward them, grinning and waving their arms in identical beckoning gestures.

 

HOMER

Gabrielle!

 

TWICKENHAM

Gabrielle!  Weíre headed Stallonusí

villa to prepare for this evening!

Come with us!

 

GABRIELLE

(whispering)

What now?

 

Xena eyes the expectant men. Itís obvious theyíre not going to take Ďgo to Tartarusí for an answer.

 

XENA

Go on as we planned. Head for the

Academy and do some snooping.

Iíll keep an eye on the rest of them

and see what I can find out.

 

GABRIELLE

Ok.  Iíll meet you behind

the stage later, alright?

 

Xena nods.

 

GABRIELLE

(contíd)

And Xena?  Itís not that I mind my

reputation being tarnished, but....

I really donít think Athens is ready for

ďThere once was a man from Arenis....Ē

 

 

Giving her partner the most withering of looks, Xena lengthens her stride and is soon within the grasp of Gabrielleís old friends. As she watches her partner adroitly avoid the Roman hands and Russian fingers of the admiring men, Gabrielle sends up a quiet prayer that those same men will live to see the ceremony with most of their limbs intact.

 

CUT TO:

 

INT. ACADEMY - AFTERNOON

 

Gabrielle is walking toward the administration offices. She is watching the crowd already gathering for the ceremony and she knows by the time it actually begins; there will be very little room to maneuver through the crowd.

 

Slipping into the main section of the academy that holds all the administration offices, as well as the library, she is relieved to find it mostly deserted. There are a few students milling around, but they donít look like theyíre interested in much of anything, including her.

 

She takes a moment to read a sign on the wall, which directs her to the second floor and the Chancellorís office.

 

GABRIELLE

Like taking candy from a baby.

 

Looking around to make sure no one is around, Gabrielle heads up the steps. At the very top she finds the hallway is locked off by a large gate.

 

GABRIELLE

(contíd)

A cranky baby.

 

Looking at the gate, which reaches from ceiling to floor, she contemplates her next move. She leans down and examines the lock, scratching her chin; a smile slowly breaks across her face. Taking the dagger from her bodice, she places it between the lock and the gate. Efforts to pry the lock open are proving less than successful.

 

GABRIELLE

(contíd)

I should have listened to Autolycus

when he wanted to give me lessons.

Of course the lessons he was offering... well....

 

She tries again to pry the lock and is getting more frustrated when it doesnít show any sign of budging.

 

GABRIELLE

(contíd)

Son of a....

 

 

Pulling the knife away, she beats the side of her fist against the gate in frustration, then almost jumps out of her skin as the gate opens pretty as you please.

 

GABRIELLE

(contíd)

... centaurís uncle. Heh.  Watch

out, Xena, I just might decide

to keep this package.

 

Carefully, so she doesnít cut anything precious, she puts the dagger back and walks through the gate, making sure to close it behind her.

 

CUT TO:

 

INT. STALLONUSí VILLA - AFTERNOON

 

A large group of men are gathered in a tight crowd, red-faced, shouting, and pointing accusatory fingers at one another.  Outside of this circle, Xena stands, arms crossed over her chest, eyes narrowed to dangerous slits, one boot tapping on the ground.

 

HOMER

What do you think, Gabrielle?

 

ĎGabrielleí gives them all one long, sweeping look.

 

XENA

What I think is that if you donít start

acting like men instead of a bunch

of overgrown boys, Iím gonna start

busting heads and be done with it.

 

A loud murmuring, punctuated by a gasp or two, fills the overcrowded room as the men react to her comment.

 

YOUNG MAN

(to friend)

I thought she was supposed

to be the nice one.

 

XENA

I AM the nice one.

 

 

CUT TO:

 

INT. ACADEMY - AFTERNOON

 

Moving carefully down the long hall, Gabrielle is quick to look about just to make sure her presence still hasnít been detected. Treading lightly she continues down the hall, finding herself rather impressed with how easily it is to move so quietly in Xenaís body.

 

All her years with Xena and under the tutelage of the amazons, she has learned how to move without being seen or heard, but she had a feeling that everything Xena did was natural to the body she currently occupies.

 

She stops quite suddenly, almost as though the body has stopped on its own. She hears movement at the end of the hall. Pressing herself against the wall, she carefully peers around the corner to find two guards standing at the other end.

 

GABRIELLE

Perfect.  Just perfect.

 

Taking a deep breath and closing her eyes, she contemplates her next move.

 

GABRIELLE

(contíd)

What are the odds theyíre guarding

a door I *donít* want to go through?

 

Looking around, she doesnít find anything that she thinks she can use to take their attention away from their post.

 

Moving to the window, she looks out and finds that there is a thin ledge along the side of the building that could get her closer to the room in question.

 

GABRIELLE

(contíd)

Nothing is ever easy.

 

 

Climbing out onto the ledge, she is very careful to make sure she has her footing before even attempting to take her first step. Sliding her feet, she moves across the ledge, inching closer to what she hopes is the window leading to the office. As she places her foot for the next precarious step, the ledge crumbles and she falls.

 

Having reflexes that are lightening fast pays off for her and she grabs at the ledge, stopping her fall, she hangs on the side of the building by her fingertips. Looking down briefly, she decides that falling to the ground below is not high on her list of objectives for the day.

 

With a groan and tremendous concentration, she pulls herself back up and finds her footing once again.

 

GABRIELLE

(contíd)

Now I know why she likes a good

massage at night. Controlling

this thing is a chore.

 

Now trying to make her way without slipping again, she can feel the muscles in her body tensing and un-tensing as she moves. Finally reaching the last window on the side of the building, she pushes the wooden shutters in, hoping that the cracking of wood doesnít arouse the attention of the guards on the other side of the door.

 

CUT TO:

 

INT. STALLONUSí VILLA - AFTERNOON

 

The men have finally settled into smaller groups, each vying for the honor of being the first to tell his tale to what promised to be a massive audience.  Homer, already having decided that for himself, beckons ĎGabrielleí to his side, along with Twickenham.

 

HOMER

When Merikus begins to speak, weíll

make our entrance.  Twickenham and

I will lead a column on from the left,

and I would like you to lead the

column from the right.

 

XENA

Fine.

 

Homer lays a hand on ĎGabrielleí arm.

 

HOMER

I would also like you to tell

the first tale, Gabrielle.

 

Xena turns wide eyes toward Homer, her mind scrambling to come up with something suitably Gabrielle-like to say in response.

 

XENA

That... I....  Thank you, Homer.

For that honor, but....

 

 

HOMER

I insist, Gabrielle.  Youíre the best

of us all, and itís only right that you

be given the honor of presenting our

case based on the strength of your skill.

 

Xena stares at Homer, truly between a rock and a hard place.  She well knows that Gabrielle deserves the honor being bestowed upon her.  But she also knows that she is not Gabrielle, and by her acceptance runs the risk of turning the honor into a farce.  Still, her pride in her partnerís skill and accomplishments leads her to answer in the only way she can.

 

XENA

I accept.  Thank you.

 

Homer and Twickenham beam.

 

CUT TO:

 

INT. CHANCELLORS ROOM - LATE AFTERNOON

 

The sound of footsteps comes through the door, nearing the chancellorís room.

 

Dropping inside, Gabrielle immediately goes into a crouch, eyes and ears alert to any possible danger or threat. Her eyes fall on shadows just outside the door.

 

GABRIELLE

Just stay out there, guys. You

donít want me to have to test

this thing out, do you?

 

The shadows stay beside the door as Gabrielle waits, then slowly they move away.

 

GABRIELLE

(contíd)

Good decision.

 

Standing, she moves around the room. A swinging candle holder comes dangerously close to smacking her in the head but at the last minute, Xenaís reflexes keep her from hitting it.

 

GABRIELLE

(contíd)

Whoa.

 

She ducks under the lamp and heads for the large, ornate desk in the center of the room.

 

Looking at the surface of it, she finds it covered with papers and rifles through them.

 

GABRIELLE

(contíd)

Well, well. What do

we have here?

 

Gabrielle holds the parchment up to the light.

 

GABRIELLE

(contíd)

A thousand dinars, huh?

Nice donation.

 

Gabrielle holds up another parchment, almost identical.

 

GABRIELLE

(contíd)

Two thousand. Didnít know

storytelling was that lucractive.

Maybe I should.... Nah.

 

Shaking her head in disgust she takes a seat in the large chair and continues to examine the desk. In the back, she finds a small panel. Pressing it, the small door pops open and she retrieves several scrolls. Unrolling them one at a time, she reads through each carefully until she finds what she thinks she is looking for. As her eyes scan the third scroll, she shakes her head, not believing what sheís seeing as the lines of text form themselves into words that shock her to the core.

 

GABRIELLE

(contíd)

(anguished whisper)

No. Euripides. Why?

 

 

Putting away the other scrolls, she takes the last one she read and tucks it away in her bracer.

 

Standing, she looks at the window reluctantly. She walks over and peers out, then with a decisive grunt backs away and heads for the door.

 

GABRIELLE

(contíd)

Letís try the other route.

 

Gabrielle pauses and looks at the desk. She shakes her head sadly.

 

GABRIELLE

(contíd)

I guess you were right after all,

damn it. All right, Euripides. You

and I are gonna have a little talk

right after I check in with Xena.

 

Going to the door she stops long enough to listen to the men talking on the other side.  A strange expression comes over her face, and she lifts her hands, clenching and unclenching them.

 

GABRIELLE

(contíd)

Weird....

 

Her right hand curls into a loose fist, as though her fingers are closing around the hilt of a sword.

 

Gabrielle touches the pulse at her wrist, then slowly lets her hand fall. She looks at the door, and her eyes narrow, a slight smile appearing on her face.

 

Pulling the door open she is met by two VERY shocked guards.

 

GUARD 1

(completely surprised)

Hey!

 

GABRIELLE

Hiya fellas. Nice day

for a nap, isnít it?

 

 

Before either of them can react, she grabs them both by the neck and knocks their heads together. They go limp as they are dragged back the room. She drops their bodies and steps back, looking at them intently.

 

GABRIELLE

(contíd)

Wow.  That was different.

 

Gabrielle flexes her hands again, then she rubs them together and gets to work tying the men up.

 

Closing the door she starts back down the hall, she leaves the building as quickly and quietly as she made it in.

 

CUT TO:

 

INT. STALLONIUSí VILLA - LATE AFTERNOON

 

Standing in one shadowed corner, Xena watches as Euripides, who has been rather quiet and evasive all day, begins to inch his way toward the door.  After a last furtive look around, Euripides slips out of the villa through a side door.

 

Taking in a deep breath, Xena pushes herself away from the wall and moves after him.

 

CERAS

Gabrielle!  There you are!  Please,

you must help me with my delivery!

 

Xena looks up at the large, triple-chinned man in the garish red robes and, praising her newly diminished physical stature, easily ducks beneath the massive arm set to swing itself about her shoulders.

 

XENA

Sorry Ceras, but I need to

see a man about a donkey.

Catch up with you later.

 

Turning, she nearly collides with several more bards who all but surround her, begging for her help with one thing or another.

 

The stature she just blessed she now curses as the men block her view to the outside, allowing Euripides to slip further and further from her grasp.  Resisting the urge to crack skulls and be done with it, she decides upon a tried and true Gabrielle method, one that has always worked on her.

 

She smiles and adds a nose-crinkle for effect.

 

 

The men smile back.

 

One or two even blush.

 

XENA

(contíd)

(secretly impressed)

Sorry, guys, but I have to take care

of something.  Iíll be right back with

you as soon as I can, all right?

 

The men nod eagerly and, as if by magic, the way to the door is opened for her.

 

XENA

(contíd)

Hm. That was different.

 

Darting through the seam, she almost makes it to the outside when a hand on her shoulder stops her.  She whirls, then halts as Homer takes a step back at the look on her face.  Carefully schooling her features, she looks at him expectantly.

 

HOMER

The sun has almost set.

Itís time to go.

 

Xena looks at him for a moment, undecided.

 

XENA

Iíve been thinking about

this, Homer and....

 

HOMER

Gabrielle, you promised.

Please. We need your help.

 

Sighing, Xena finally gives him a nod.

 

XENA

Fine, then.  Letís go.

 

CUT TO:

 

EXT. ACADEMY GROUNDS  -  ALMOST SUNSET

 

Gabrielle exits the main building and sees the crowd gathering for the induction ceremony not very far away.  Men and women of all classes and ages swarm toward the stage like lemmings toward a cliff.  The air is tense with excitement and expectation.

 

GABRIELLE

Wow.  Last time I saw a crowd

this large, they were filing into

the Roman Coliseum.

 

 

She moves with the crowd, intent on getting to the stage, and Xena, with her findings.

 

Just then, she spies a vaguely familiar figure as it pushes its way through the crowd like a salmon swimming against the current.  Her eyes narrow as the man looks up and she recognizes his face.

 

GABRIELLE

(contíd, whispering)

Euripides.

 

She tracks him as he bulls his way to a stand of trees just to the left of the large stage, where he disappears from sight.  After a longing look at the stage, she takes the bit in her teeth and begins to move against the crowd, angling for the stand of trees and Euripides.

 

The crowd, however, has other ideas and isnít about to let one woman, even a fully armed and fierce looking woman warrior, keep them from trying to get the best seats in the house.  As hard as she pushes against them, they push back harder, forcing her to give two steps of ground for every one she gains.

 

Time is running out, and finally she can think of no other option but to use one of Xenaís techniques.  Reaching behind her, she unsheathes her sword and holds it before her.

 

GABRIELLE

(contíd)

MOVE!

 

 

The first wave stops, wide-eyed.

 

GABRIELLE

(contíd)

NOW!

 

The way parts clear to the trees and Gabrielle smirks, impressed.

 

Sheathing the sword, she strides through the now open path as if she owns it.

 

GABRIELLE

(Contíd, muttering)

I could get used to this.

 

CUT TO:

 

EXT. STAGE Ė SUNSET

 

Xena stands off to one side of the stage, quite concerned.  Gabrielle is nowhere to be found, and Euripides is still absent as well.

 

Mistaking her concern for anxiety, Homer approaches and smiles down at her.

 

HOMER

Youíll do fine, Gabrielle.  I have faith

that all will go as planned this evening.

 

Xena gives him a distracted smile and nod.

 

XENA

Oh yeah. Iím sure.

 

 

Twickenham steps behind Homer and smiles at them both.

 

TWICKENHAM

Merikus is taking the stage.

Itís starting.

 

CUT TO:

 

EXT. TREES - SUNSET

 

Peeking through the foliage, Euripides raises his small crossbow as the students and alumni of the Academy led by Homer and ĎGabrielleí enter the stage and form several rows behind Merikus, who is still speaking in loud, grating monotone.

 

A hand touches his neck, along with a sharp blade.

 

GABRIELLE

(softly)

Drop it.

 

He freezes.

 

GABRIELLE

(contíd)

Drop it, Euripides.  Iím not kidding.

 

Slowly, so as to not get cut, he turns his head, staring up into the fierce blue eyes of the Warrior Princess.

 

EURIPIDES

I....

 

GABRIELLE

Iím not interested in your excuses,

Euripides.  Drop it.  Now.

 

CUT TO:

 

EXT. STAGE - SUNDOWN

 

Receiving her cue from Homer, Xena takes a deep breath and steps forward so that she is directly next to the droning Merikus.  She scans the crowd for Gabrielle, but after a moment, she raises her hand and rubs her eyes, shaking her head a little.

 

XENA

(mumbling)

Maybe thatís her secret. She

just doesnít see all the damn

people watching her.

 

 

Merikus looks at her from the corner of his eye, scowling deeply but continuing his speech.

 

MERIKUS

And of course, all know of the

great, wondrous bard of Potadeia,

who honors us with her presence!

 

Xena looks out over the crowd. She looks down at her hands and realizes they are shaking. She licks her lips, realizing she has gotten in deeper than she thought.  A thousand eyes are on her.

 

Xena takes a breath. Her eyes widen as she realizes Merikus is almost finished introducing her. She has no idea what she is going to say when he is done.

 

CUT TO:

 

EXT. TREES - SUNDOWN

 

Gabrielle spots Xena, seeing the look on her face as she realizes the predicament they are in.

 

GABRIELLE

Oh boy.

 

EURIPIDES

Itís almost time.  You

have to listen to me.

 

Blinking, Gabrielle turns her attention back to the traitor.  Her eyes narrow.

 

GABRIELLE

Listen to you? Why you would

want to silence her voice, and

voices like hers, is beyond me.

 

EURIPIDES

Silence...?  Xena, I donít want to

silence them.  I want to give them

the same opportunity that I had.

 

GABRIELLE

By assassinating Homer?

 

EURIPIDES

Homer?? Iím afraid youíre mistaken,

Xena.  Iím not trying to kill Homer.

Iím trying to save him.

 

Gabrielle looks from his face, to the crossbow he still holds in his hands, back to his face again.

 

GABRIELLE

Youíll forgive me if I have a

hard time believing that.

 

EURIPIDES

This isnít for Homer.

 

He gestures toward the stage.

 

EURIPIDES

(contíd)

Itís... ahh!

 

Gabrielle jerks and turns around just in time to meet a masked, cloaked figure leaping at her with sword extended, aiming for Euripides.

 

GABRIELLE

Hey!

 

Gabrielle shoves the attacker back and faces off against him. He turns from Euripides and goes after her, using his sword with skill and aggression.

 

EURIPIDES

Wait!

 

The man slugs Euripides and he goes down without a sound. Gabrielle tries to just let instinct take over. She steps forward and swings her sword, but it doesnít quite hit in the right place and the man deflects it easily, driving her back a step.

 

GABRIELLE

Why isnít this as easy

as she makes it look?

 

 

CUT TO:

 

EXT. STAGE - SUNDOWN

 

Xena sees some confusion at the back of the crowd, but she cannot see over it to figure out what it is.

 

MERIKUS

And now, I give you the

great Gabrielle!

 

The crowd cheers and claps. Xena stares at them. After a second, the clapping fades, and it grows silent.

 

Xena takes a breath to speak, then as the last clap fades she hears the sound of crossing swords and suddenly claps her hand over her stomach.

 

 

XENA

(whispering)

Gabrielle.

 

The crowd murmurs, shrugging.

 

MERIKUS

Gabrielle? We await

your words of wonder.

 

Xena is searching the crowd again, but cannot find Gabrielle anywhere.

 

XENA

Ah... Iíve got... something

to tell you all.

 

Xena falls silent, and closes her eyes.

 

 

CUT TO:

 

EXT. TREES - SUNDOWN

 

Gabrielle stumbles, unable to gain control of Xenaís body using her own instincts.

 

CLOAKED MAN

Ha! The great Xena is

not so great after all!

 

GABRIELLE

Damn it.  I canít use this thing.

 

The man comes after her. Gabrielle stumbles backward, ducking under the manís sword but almost banging her head against the tree limb they are fighting under.

 

Euripides gets unsteadily to his feet and makes a grab for the man. The man turns and hits him, then as he falls, raises his sword to finish him off.

 

Gabrielle lunges forward and grabs Euripides in mid fall, throwing herself and him out of the manís reach. They hit the ground and Gabrielle rolls over to get up, but finds her sword trapped under Euripides body and looks up to find the attackerís blade coming right at her.

 

She closes her eyes.

 

GABRIELLE

(contíd, whispering)

Xena, I need you.

 

 

CUT TO:

 

EXT. STAGE - SUNDOWN

 

Xena stands with her eyes closed, the crowd forgotten.

 

CUT TO:

 

INT. XENAíS MINDíS EYE VIEW

 

A thunder is heard. Two sets of pounding.

 

GABRIELLE

(V.O.)

Xena!

 

Xena is hunting, following the sound. A blast of light appears and she runs towards it. The pounding gets louder, almost overwhelming.  As Xena runs, the thunder slowly changes, becoming a singular pounding as the sound becomes recognizable as a heartbeat.

 

Of two heartbeats becoming one.

 

 

CUT TO:

 

EXT. TREES - SUNDOWN

 

The attacker yells in triumph and raises his sword, swinging it down towards Xenaís kneeling form.

 

CLOAKED MAN

Iíve got you!

 

As the sword comes within a whisper of her neck, the still figure stirs and evades it in a flickering motion.

 

The man swings around, but by the time he catches his balance Xena is up and facing him, her sword in her hand and a fierce grin on her face.

 

XENA

Oh yeah. You got me.

 

 

Xena twirls her sword. She goes after the man with glee, slicing his cape to ribbons.

 

The man stumbles back. Xena pounces on him, ripping off his hood in triumph. It is no one weíve seen before.

 

XENA

(contíd)

Bad plan.

 

Oddly, the man just smiles at her.

 

CUT TO:

 

EXT. STAGE - SUNDOWN

 

Merikus strides towards Gabrielle. Homer rushes after him.

 

MERIKUS

As I have long suspected! You

are an impostor! A fake! Guards!

 

HOMER

No, wait!

 

Gabrielle opens her eyes and looks at him. She spreads her arms and takes a deep breath.

 

GABRIELLE

I sing of an Amazon Queen, who in

the midst of her grief, fought bravely

against treachery and reached out

to a place beyond death to rescue

a fallen warrior from the grave.

 

Gabrielleís voice lifts up over the crowd, which quiets down to listen.

 

GABRIELLE

(contíd)

I sing today of grief, and of passion,

and of a love so great it has the

power to make two lives...

(smiling)

One.

 

Merikus stops in surprise.  Homer gives him a shove.

 

HOMER

I told you!

 

Merikus turns and glares at Homer. Twickenham slips up to stand behind both of them, motioning to Gabrielle for her to continue.

 

TWICKENHAM

N-n... now b-b-b-boys. W... weíre i...

in... interrupting... our g-g-g-g-g-guest.

 

Merikus and Homer subside, bowing towards Gabrielle. Twickenham and Merikus exchange looks.

 

Gabrielle turns and faces the crowd, then suddenly dives for the ground as Xena leaps onto the stage, hurling herself right over Gabrielleís head and into the three men.

 

The figures roll several times before stopping. A knife slides along the stage until it hits Gabrielleís boot. She bends over and picks it up, then continues to where Xena is just pulling away from the would-be assassin.

 

XENA

Hereís your traitor, Homer.

 

Homer and his compatriots gasp as the assassinís flushed face is revealed.

 

HOMER

Twickenham?!?!?

 

Merikus gets to his feet his florid face flushed with anger.  Several bewildered looking guards cluster around them.

 

MERIKUS

Now see here....

 

GABRIELLE

Guards!  Arrest this man for

conspiracy to assassinate the

rightful Chancellor of the Academy.

 

GUARD

Twickenham?

 

Gabrielle points.

 

GABRIELLE

No, Merikus.

 

 

MERIKUS

Now wait just a moment!  I....

 

GABRIELLE

(angrily)

How much did he pay

you, Twickenham??

 

TWICKENHAM

IĖIĖIĖI....

 

GABRIELLE

How much?!?

 

Xena pulls the terrified man up by his robes and shakes him.

 

XENA

Iíd suggest you answer her.

 

 

TWICKENHAM

T-t-ten th-th-thousand d-d-d-dinars.

And the a-a-a-a-assistant

Ch-ch-ch-chancellorship.

 

MERIKUS

Lies!  All lies!!  Theyíre setting me up!

Canít you see that??  Theyíre all in

league with one another.  They all

want to discredit me. Theyíre

all lying!!  All of them!!!

 

Euripides jumps onto the stage and strides over to the group, pulling a scroll from his robes.

 

EURIPIDES

Theyíre not lying.  Look.

 

A guard takes the scroll and unrolls it to reveal a contract between Twickenham and Merikus; a contract written in the same hand that wrote the documents condemning Euripides that Gabrielle had found earlier.

 

GUARD

This is your writing, Merikus.

I recognize it from a contract

you drew up for my wife

and me last harvest.

 

MERIKUS

Lies!  Youíre all lying!!

All of you!  All of you!!!

 

GUARD

Take him to the prison.

That one too.

 

Xena hands Twickenham over to the guards.  He looks at his assembled friends, tears sparkling in his haunted eyes.

 

TWICKENHAM

I-I-I-Iím s-s-s-sor-sor-sor-sorry!

 

No one answers him as he is led away.

 

As the men disappear from view, Homer turns to Xena.

 

HOMER

Thank you, Xena.  You saved my life.

 

XENA

(looking at Gabrielle)

I had a lot of help.

 

Gabrielle grins and rubs her nose.

 

HOMER

Of course. You are quite a team.

 

GABRIELLE

(dryly)

We have many, many skills.

 

 

Homer laughs softly, looking at each of them in turn.

 

HOMER

That I can well believe. Thank you

both.  Youíve done the Academy

and Athens a great service.

 

Xena and Gabrielle nod in unison.

 

GABRIELLE

Any time. Right Xena?

 

XENA

Right.

 

Gabrielle indicates the crowd, which is pushing forward to goggle at the goingís on.

 

GABRIELLE

I think you better distract them.

Know any good stories?

 

Homer grins, and starts towards the crowd followed by his friends.

 

HOMER

Just leave Ďem to me.

 

Xena and Gabrielle move off to one side into the shadows where they stand to watch, hands clasped. After a moment, they exchange looks.

 

GABRIELLE

You okay?

 

Xena nods.

 

XENA

How about you? That was....

 

Xenaís voice trails off. Gabrielle nods.

 

GABRIELLE

Yeah, it sure was.

 

XENA

Could have been worse.

 

Gabrielle thinks about it for a moment.

 

GABRIELLE

I think I need time to... think about

all of it.  But Iím glad to be home.

 

Xena grins and squeezes Gabrielleís hand warmly.

 

XENA

Me too. I was getting a crick in

my neck from being so short.

 

Gabrielle puts her hand on her hip and gives Xena a look.

 

GABRIELLE

Donít get me started.

 

 

Xena grins.

 

XENA

I thought you liked my body.

 

GABRIELLE

Mm... Letís just say we need to

discuss some of your urges.

 

Xenaís eyebrows go right up and sticks there. It is Gabrielleís turn to grin.

 

FADE OUT.

 

END OF ACT FOUR

 

TAG

 

FADE IN:

 

EXT. HOMERíS VILLA - DAY

 

Their belongings packed, Xena and Gabrielle, happily in their own bodies, are readying themselves for the road.  Homer and Euripides join them as they make ready to leave.

 

HOMER

Are you sure you wonít stay?

 

EURIPIDES

Yes, weíre planning a

huge celebration tonight.

 

GABRIELLE

Thanks, guys, but we

need to be moving on.

 

EURIPIDES

(doubtfully)

Well, if youíre sure.

 

XENA

We are.

 

 

HOMER

Iíd like to thank you both again.  If it

wasnít for you, I might well have been

dead, and the Academy would once

again have been in the hands of the

merchants.  If thereís ever anything

I can do to repay you, please ask.

 

Gabrielle smiles.

 

GABRIELLE

No payment necessary.  Itís what we do.

Just give everyone an equal chance to

study and learn there. Thatís all we ask.

 

HOMER

You have my word.

 

Gabrielle sobers.

 

GABRIELLE

I still canít believe it.

Twickenham, of all people.

 

EURIPIDES

I didnít want to believe it either.

Even when the proof was there.

(beat)

He was my best friend.

 

GABRIELLE

I wish I understood why he did it.

 

 

EURIPIDES

It was his stutter.  It kept him from

being the bard he wanted to be.

I think after a while he just... gave

up.  It was easier to side with the

rich who were willing to offer him

anything, than to continue to struggle

along doing something he felt he

would never be very good at. He

always wanted respect, and felt

heíd never get it with his stutter.

 

XENA

Why involve us? Thatís what I donít get.

 

HOMER

(shaking head)

He figured your being here

would be a distraction?

 

EURIPIDES

(grimly)

He probably figured heíd have

someone to blame the death on.

(apologetically)

Sorry, Xena.

(beat, to Gabrielle)

Merikus always had an idea

that you werenít.... Um....

 

GABRIELLE

Telling the whole truth in my scrolls?

 

HOMER

Something like that.

 

EURIPIDES

(sighing)

And I suppose Twickenham

just wanted to be somebody

else for awhile.

 

Xena and Gabrielle exchange a significant glance.

 

GABRIELLE

That might be a good fantasy,

but in reality, itís not all itís

cracked up to be, believe me.

 

Homer and Euripides look at her strangely.

 

GABRIELLE

(contíd)

Just... take my word for it.

 

Xena nods to them both.

 

XENA

Homer.  Euripides.

 

HOMER

Good journeys, Xena.  Please bring Gabrielle

back to visit us again soon.   Iíd love to

hear the end of that story she was telling.

 

Gabrielle grins.

 

GABRIELLE

So would I.

 

Xena and Gabrielle leave, two puzzled men staring after them.

 

FADE OUT.

 

DISCLAIMER

Xena and Gabrielle's sense of self wasn't harmed during the making of this

motion picture.  Argo, however, is requesting several weeks of intense therapy.