|Episode Guide||Teaser||Act 1||Act 2||Act 3||Act 4|
INT. CORINTH TEMPLE ANTEROOM - LATE AFTERNOON
Xena quickly assesses the situation and pushes the priest to the far wall where he is out of danger. She flips off her robe and gets the reaction she wanted as the guards stop their forward motion.
The confusion in their faces registers as they see who they think is the Conqueror before them. Taking advantage of their inaction, she reaches for her chakram and sends it ricocheting off their helmets, knocking them unconscious. Then she addresses Ares’ priest.
Ares’ priest shakes his head in the negative, totally confused.
Xena slugs Ares’ priest, sending him unconscious to the floor with the others.
Xena and the priest drag the now bound and gagged bodies to the small storage room. They shove guards and priest in and shut the door, locking it before leaning up against it with a sigh.
C’mon. I wanna go check
on Gabrielle before I have
to get ready for tonight.
INT. ARGOS TEMPLE - EVENING
Only a short amount of time has passed here. Gabrielle has felt intermittent warmth from Xena, and a short, single burst of what felt like ice-cold fury. Gabrielle’s forehead scrunches up in frustration.
What is going on with you
Xena? Why can’t I find you?
INT. CORINTH TEMPLE BACK ROOM - LATE AFTERNOON
Rebel Gabrielle stirs when Xena crosses the threshold.
How do you feel?
I’ve definitely had better days.
It’ll be dark soon.
Yeah... um, are you
sure about this?
As sure as I can be. Let’s
get you some more medicine
so I can get ready to go.
EXT. CORINTH PALACE - NIGHT
Xena is moving from shadow to shadow in her cloak and hood. She has managed to elude the roving guard in town and has reached the outer walls of the palace. There are two stationed at the gate and several staggered intermittently along the wall.
Time to get to work.
Xena confidently strides toward the two guards stationed at the gate. Recognizing their leader, they salute.
Xena stops between them and looks to the guard at her right inspecting him. He stands in fear, looking straight ahead. Xena nods and then clobbers the guy with a solid right jab and at the same time grabs the guard on her left with a chokehold.
As the first guard slides to the ground, Xena turns to the other one and growls.
Pretty sloppy guard
work if you ask me.
She removes her dagger and knocks the guard out. Still holding onto the second guard, Xena picks him up and fixes his armor on the door hook to make him appear to be standing.
Then she affixes the first guard in a like manner on the other side of the gate. Before leaving she gags both with a dark cloth, satisfied that their beards and cloth blend well together.
Two down. Wonder how
paranoid I am here.
She checks her supply of treated needles and hopes she has enough. The potion she dipped them in will put the guards down quickly. She pulls the first one out and attaches it to the ring holder she fashioned at the temple.
Entering the castle, Xena drops her hood and approaches the first guard with the same confident swagger.
Seeing his commander approach, he salutes.
Nightly check, Mistress?
Xena nods and places her hand on the exposed neck of the guard, inserting the needle. As he begins to buckle, she props him up between the battlement he was standing next to, then heads to the next guard.
Within five minutes all the guards are sound asleep at their positions. She double checks each, making sure that they will not draw attention to themselves.
Moving slowly to the darkened courtyard, Xena pulls the hood of her cloak over her head again, avoiding the circles of torchlight. The kitchen area comes into view, and she heads toward that light.
INT. CORINTH PALACE KITCHEN - NIGHT
The kitchen is torch lit, and full of workers. The scents wafting makes Xena’s mouth water, and she smiles to herself. The staff is eating.
Xena slips into the kitchen area. The cook steps into her path to stop her, and she raises a hand to move her aside. Xena’s cloak slides down just enough to reveal her bracer, and the cook drops to the floor at her feet.
Xena looks at the distraught woman.
Apologies, Majesty. Please
have mercy. I didn’t realize
it was you. I thought....
The woman stands and looks back at her fearfully.
You did the right thing.
Well done. Carry on.
The cook looks at her, astonished, and nods her head dumbly.
Yes, majesty. Thank you.
Xena walks to the stairs without another word, and the entire kitchen staff watches her in silence until she disappears from view. Then they look at each other in wonderment. The cook shakes her head, and motions for them all to get busy with their dinner again.
Let’s not give her a
reason to lose that mood.
INT. CORINTH PALACE HALLWAY - NIGHT
There are two guards stationed outside the Conqueror’s room.
Xena is out of needles and has to do this the old fashioned way.
She approaches the guards at a fast pace. She drops the hood of her cloak again and they stare at her with startled expressions, then look at each other, thinking this was another of the Conqueror’s many security tests.
They cross their spears in front of the door to block her entry.
How about this?
She reaches out with both hands grabbing each guard around the neck and smashes their bare heads together. The sound of the impact is a muted thunk, then she helps them glide silently to the floor.
Xena brushes her hands off and leans an ear toward the door. The silence is reassuring but she draws her sword anyway, and gently opens the door.
INT. CONQUEROR’S BEDROOM - NIGHT
Xena pulls the hood of her cloak back up before entering the chambers, sword at the ready. Three steps into the room she feels her double’s presence and turns her blade to meet the one coming at her back.
Quickly deflecting the oncoming blade, Xena turns and unleashes a kick to the abdomen of the oncoming Conqueror. The blow is partly deflected by a side step and the Conqueror swings her left hand at Xena’s hooded head. Xena catches the fist and pushes it back towards its owner, then swings her sword up to meet the Conqueror’s blade on a follow-through stroke.
Their blows are matched stroke for stroke as though each is anticipating the other’s moves, but Xena is in better shape than her alter ego, recovering and attacking with more force. The two warriors exchange places with intricate flips through the air, while their blades keep up the rapid pace.
EXT. COURTYARD BELOW CONQUEROR’S BEDROOM - NIGHT
Two roaming guards are looking up at the conquerors bedroom and listening to the sounds of swords clashing.
It sounds like her majesty has
taken up nightly drills again.
Aye, and I’m glad it’s not me that
pulled that duty. I bear the scars
of one of those nightly drills already.
It’s been a long time since she’s
practiced at night. Wonder what’s
got her dander up this time?
INT. CONQUEROR’S BEDROOM - NIGHT
Xena sees an opening and does a turning flip, landing behind the Conqueror. She flips her sword over and is about to knock out her double with its hilt, but is the recipient of an elbow to her abdomen. This causes her to step back to deflect another advance of the Conqueror’s blade as she twirls it to a reversed position for a backward plunge.
The near miss makes Xena feel she is losing ground. Xena realizes she has to match darkness with darkness and allows herself to block out the light in her soul. She charges at her double with renewed energy.
The fear in the Conqueror’s eyes is evident as Xena’s blows come harder than any she has ever felt before. Their fight finally has the Conqueror backed up to a wall.
In a simultaneous motion, Xena flips her sword to her left hand and pins the Conqueror’s sword arm to the wall with it. Then Xena lands a right hook to the Conqueror’s chin with her right fist. Only one punch is needed as the Conqueror slithers to the floor in a heap.
Xena looks at the Conqueror lying unconscious on the floor and shakes her head. Xena sheathes her sword.
Pathetic. All this high living
made you soft, Conqueror.
Xena binds the Conqueror’s hands as a prudent precaution. She grunts as she lifts the Conqueror into her arms and moves her to the huge canopied bed. Xena drops her doppleganger rather gracelessly onto the mattress and moves to the bathing chamber.
Ya know, it’s a little unnerving
to know how predictable I am.
She removes the medical kit, and walks to the table. She picks up the pitcher of port left from the evening meal and pours it into a cup. Then she adds a couple herbs from the pouch and mixes them together.
Xena walks to the Conqueror’s side, and forces her mouth open. Two pressure points later and the Conqueror swallows the mixture. Xena cuts the ties and sits back to wait for it to kick in.
Time to make reality a
INT. CONQUEROR’S BEDROOM – A FEW MINUTES LATER
Xena leans over the Conqueror and shakes her. Then Xena moves back from the bed to stand in the shadows. After a moment, the Conqueror blinks her eyes open, and looks around, disoriented.
She sits up and rubs her jaw, still sore from Xena’s knockout punch.
What a weird dream.
The Conqueror throws the covers back and goes to stand. Xena steps from the shadows.
Dream’s not over
The Conqueror’s eyes widen, and her face twists in a snarl of rage.
GUARDS!! Who are you? How
did you get in here? What
do you want? GUARDS !!!
They’re not going to answer you...
this is all a dream. As for the
other, well, we need to talk.
This really is a bad dream isn’t it?
Note to self... no more chocolate
covered cherries before bed.
What do WE need to talk about?
Who the Hades are you?
I am who you could be... with
your soulmate... with Gabrielle.
The Conqueror gasps and sits back down on the bed, rubbing her temple with one hand. Pain flickers through her eyes followed by a blast of rage.
Soulmate?!? That nonsense is for fools
and weaklings! The thought of having
another human being who completes you
is absurd and completely unrealistic.
Depends on how you
look at it, doesn’t it?
Xena glances around the room until her eyes spot a beautifully ornate, well-crafted dagger and a small purse. She walks over to them and removes a single coin from the bag and picks up the weapon.
Then she makes her way back to the Conqueror, and sits down within touching distance. Xena hands both objects to the Conqueror. The Conqueror contemplates them speculatively, then looks at Xena, still unable to see her features under the cloak.
Don’t even think about it, or I’ll
make it hurt for real next time.
The Conqueror turns her attention back to the objects in her hands, her jaw reminding her she doesn’t want this to be any more real than it already is.
Look at the coin... the front is one
complete picture. The back is another.
Two comprehensive wholes brought
together to create a new whole that is
valued for its own completeness and worth.
Look, I don’t know who you think you are,
but one person cannot complete another. No
one is going to make you happy all of the time.
That’s true... You have to do that from
within first. But when you do....
NO!! You’re waiting for someone to
come along and fill in all of the gaps
in your heart and mind and that’s
just not possible. It’s a trap.
It makes you weak.
No, it doesn’t. It makes you strong
enough to survive... anything.
The Conqueror stares at Xena for a long time, trying to understand the hidden meaning in her tone. Her shoulders slump in defeat.
Are you so sure, Conqueror?
Xena pauses and stands, stepping away from the bed.
Tell me, Conqueror... why did
you send Gabrielle away?
Because Ares promised you ultimate
power if you did? You already rule the
world. How can he offer you
something he doesn’t have himself?
Xena pauses, waiting to see if her counterpart will answer. Silence is its own answer, and she continues with her analysis.
What can he offer you that he hasn’t
already? Ambrosia? Please... how
many times has he offered you immortality?
How many times have you turned him down?
Xena peers at the Conqueror from underneath the hood, watching her own blue eyes follow her speculatively. She keeps eye contact, knowing she is treading a thin line and wanting to be ready... just in case.
So, even though Ares wanted Gabrielle
gone, and he told you to get rid of her...
you didn’t do it for him, did you? No,
you did it to keep her safe...
because you cared about her.
You did it because you
felt something for her.
You don’t know what
you’re talking about!
Xena continues speaking as though the Conqueror hasn’t interrupted.
And then she spoke out against
you publicly, and you couldn’t
bear that, could you?
Xena tenses and bounces on the balls of her feet, knowing the Conqueror is just about ready to explode.
In your mind she betrayed you, and
you crucified her. And it’s been
eating you alive hasn’t it? HASN’T IT??
With that, the Conqueror goes over the edge, and gives a mighty roar before tackling Xena to the ground.
END OF ACT TWO