|Episode Guide||Teaser||Act 1||Act 2||Act 3||Act 4|
INT. CONQUEROR’S BEDROOM - SAME TIME
Xena is ready for the attack and goes easily to the floor using the Conqueror’s force against her. Xena continues to fall into a backward roll and winds up on top of her attacker, pinning her shoulders to the floor.
The Conqueror fights back violently. In her anger and grief, she brings her hands up between Xena’s and grabs Xena by the throat.
Releasing the Conqueror’s shoulders, Xena executes a quick jab to pressure points on each forearm allowing the grip on her neck to loosen sufficiently to escape the hold. Standing, Xena hauls the Conqueror up and tosses her back toward the bed and taking in a gasp of needed air.
The Conqueror regains her balance quickly and charges at Xena with renewed force.
Xena side-steps the charge and pushes the Conqueror toward the wall behind her as she passes.
The Conqueror slams into the wall with her shoulder, grunting with the blow.
Xena turns and grabs the Conqueror by the shoulders once more, and smacks her body hard up against the wall.
Two sets of cerulean blue eyes search each other, one set projecting empathy, the other, projecting the pain of truth.
The Conqueror, weakened by her grief and the reality of Xena’s words, begins to sob as she slides to the floor.
When all is said and done, Xena cradles the Conqueror in her arms while she struggles to regain her composure. Finally, the Conqueror draws a ragged breath and speaks.
How did you know?
Xena slowly pushes back the hood that she has hidden behind the entire time. The Conqueror gasps in recognition.
Bu... but... y...y...
I could have been... once.
I made the decision not to be,
and allowed someone into my
life that makes every day that I
share with her worth... everything.
It is too late for me... for us.
What if it’s not?
Xena looks at the Conqueror with compassionate eyes.
I want you to think about it. I want you
to think about what you would do if you
had the chance to make things right.
She motions to the room around them, taking in the ornate tapestries, the elegant furniture, the marble floor.
Would you risk everything... give all
this up for a chance with Gabrielle?
It doesn’t mat.…
Xena holds up a hand to halt her speech, and moves to the door.
IF it were.… If ANYHTING were
possible.… Think about it, and
when you have an answer,
send word to the temple.
As the Conqueror turns and gazes out the window in contemplation, Xena steps silently across the threshold, and makes her way unseen into the night.
The Conqueror stares out the window for a long time after Xena has gone, thinking hard about what she said. Then she moves to the bed and climbs in.
Wonder how much of this I’ll
remember in the morning?
INT. CORINTH TEMPLE BACK ROOM - LATE NIGHT
Rebel Gabrielle is dozing fitfully in the fading firelight. It is otherwise dark in the room. It is unclear whether her restlessness is due to her concern for Xena and the Conqueror or the pain caused by her broken legs.
She is wide awake the minute Xena steps into the small room.
How did it go?
She looks Xena over, noting a few scratches, a couple bruises, and swollen knuckles. There is a large tear in the cloak, but Gabrielle sees no evidence of blood.
How does she look? You didn’t
hurt her too badly, did you?
I expect she’ll feel it in the morning...
on a lot of levels. But no, I didn’t
really hurt her. I just gave her
some things to think about.
Xena shrugs out if the cloak and tosses it to the chair. Then she steps to the table and begins mixing herbs in the cup.
Gabrielle watches her with a combination of despair and relief.
Do you think it will
make a difference?
Xena recalls vividly the anguish in those familiar blue eyes.
Yeah... I think it will.
Xena offers the medicine to Gabrielle, who accepts it without hesitation. Gabrielle swallows it down without protest, then settles more comfortably on the cot.
Xena moves to her own pallet and removes weapons and armor before sliding beneath the sheet. She begins searching for the warmth she ascribes to her own Gabrielle. Smiling, she allows herself to relax, and fall into a light doze.
Instantly Xena is awake and on her feet, sword drawn.
What?? What is it?
I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you.
There’s nothing wrong. I just wanted
to say thank you. No matter how this
turns out, I appreciate all you’ve done.
Xena relaxes and puts the sword to one side of the bed again. Then she walks to Gabrielle’s cot and takes a seat gently, so as not to jostle her legs. She reaches out and covers Gabrielle’s hands with her own.
Have a little faith, Gabrielle. I think
this is gonna turn out all right.
Gabrielle smiles up at Xena with tears in her eyes.
I hope you’re right.
Xena kisses her forehead and moves back to her own pallet. She slides back under the covers and turns on her side toward Gabrielle.
By the way, the priest and acolytes
moved the guards and Ares’ priest
back to the main hall. Apparently
they were very confused
when they woke up there.
Good. One less thing to worry
about. Good night, Gabrielle.
Soft snoring is her only answer.
She focuses on the warmth she feels from her own bard.
Good night, love.
INT. CORINTH TEMPLE - THREE DAYS LATER - LATE MORNING
The Conqueror strides into the temple giving the impression of a confidence she does not feel. She is met by Ares’ priest. He bows and smiles at her in an attempt at an engaging manner.
Welcome, Majesty. You
honor us. It has been a while.
The man bows and nods, shooing the acolytes and lesser priests out before him.
As you wish, Majesty. You
have but to ask if you are
in need of anything.
The Conqueror waves her acknowledgement to the man, and waits until the main chamber is empty before she begins searching the room with her eyes.
The secondary priest has seen her enter, and he steps out of his small atrium area towards his tiny residence.
INT. CORINTH TEMPLE BACK ROOM - SAME TIME
Gabrielle is sitting in the room’s lone chair, and Xena is kneeling at her feet.
Xena and Gabrielle are slowly working through some exercises. Between Nicklios’ acupuncture therapy and Lao Ma’s meditation techniques, Gabrielle has a nice cushion between her awareness and the pain.
Still, Xena moves her very slowly and gently. She has no desire to hurt Gabrielle further.
Hmm? Lift it just a little higher.
Gabrielle complies, moaning a little when Xena lowers the leg back down.
Can I tell you something, and
you won’t get offended?
Gabrielle, even though you are not
my soulmate, I am still glad I could
make a difference for you. If we’re
lucky, you and your soulmate
will get second chance.
How did you know?
Because you are much like my Gabrielle
was years ago. You and she are different
people, just as the Conqueror and I are.
My Gabrielle is my better half,
just as you are the Conqueror’s.
Your Gabrielle is a
very lucky woman.
I think we all are.
Gabrielle smiles, and Xena lifts her gently and tucks her into bed.
Xena moves to the table and begins mixing the herbs for Gabrielle,
Not too much.
Xena raises an eyebrow in question.
The pressure point needles and the
mind techniques seem to be holding
their own against the pain for now. I’d
like to try to stay alert for a while if I can.
Okay. How would you like to
soak in a tub for a bit then?
Gabrielle’s smile is answer enough.
All right. Let me see
what I can arrange.
Xena reaches for the door handle just as a knock sounds. She doesn’t even flinch, but opens the door to the waiting priest.
Show her back. And could we
get a tub and some hot water?
The priest nods and leaves. Xena turns back toward the bed.
Gabrielle’s eyes are wide.
She came. You ready?
A decisive nod is her answer.
INT. CORINTH TEMPLE MAIN HALL - SAME TIME
The Conqueror is alone in the main chamber not sure what to do next. She has spent several days in solitary contemplation, and has decided she has nothing to lose by coming here.
A familiar tingling makes her skin crawl, and she sneers.
Show yourself, Ares.
Well, the wanderer has returned to
the flock. Welcome back, my dear.
I am not here to see you. I told
you we were done. I meant it.
I don’t think so. You belong to me.
No. I belong to no one but
myself. And possibly a little
blonde if I am very, very lucky.
The last is said on a whispered breath.
Ares’ face is an interesting study in rage. His eyebrows furrow, and his lips thin and curl back in a snarl. His eyes literally burn, and the Conqueror feels the heat of his stare.
I thought I told you to get rid of her.
I DID!!! I sent her away! And she
still stood up to me, even when she
knew it could cost her everything.
I crucified her, DAMN YOU!!!
Ares evil laugh echoes across the hall in great ringing waves.
And you think she is going to forgive
you for this?? You think you can
become friends... or more??
Ares snorts in disgust. The Conqueror’s hands twitch, and she balls them into fists.
You are a fool. She will
cost you everything.
He extends a gloved hand to her, and looks at her with a form of compassion.
Forget about her, and all is forgiven.
She is the only one who can
offer forgiveness for this.
And she is worth everything.
Ares drops his hands and steps back a pace.
Then you are a greater fool. When
you are ready to beg MY forgiveness,
you know where to find me. Until
then you are on your own.
Hold your breath, Ares.
I don’t need you any more.
Ares disappears in a shower of flame.
The priest, who had been watching the entire exchange, steps from his alcove and extends a hand towards her.
Majesty, if you would
follow me, please.…
The Conqueror turns and follows him on unsteady legs.
The hall is lit by the daylight that streams in through the slit windows along it. They stop in front of an unremarkable door.
The Conqueror draws a deep breath, then draws a second as she wills her heartbeat under control.
Are you all right, Majesty?
The Conqueror nods her head in the affirmative, but doesn’t say a word. The priest raises his hands and knocks softly three times.
INT. CORINTH TEMPLE BACK ROOM - CONTINUOUS
The knock sounds loudly in the small chamber. Xena looks at Gabrielle before crossing the two steps to open it.
With her hand on the latch, Xena looks at Gabrielle once more to make sure she is ready. Gabrielle nods and gives a tremulous smile.
Xena smiles back at her and opens the door.
We’ve been expecting you.
END OF ACT THREE