|Episode Guide||Teaser||Act 1||Act 2||Act 3||Act 4|
INT. CORINTH TEMPLE ALCOVE - SOME TIME LATER
There is no one here, save Xena and the priest. He dismissed his own few acolytes earlier when the Conqueror came in. Everything is spotless though, and the offerings are neatly arranged on the altar.
Xena left the back room almost immediately upon the Conqueror’s arrival, at Gabrielle’s request. Now she and the priest are sitting on the pristine white benches talking softly. There is the sound of a fountain in the background. Otherwise, it is silent.
You are Aphrodite’s
priest, aren’t you?
I serve all but Ares, but
she is my patron, yes.
How did you know?
Xena just smiles enigmatically at him.
I recognized her fine hand.
But that’s a good thing. In
another life, she’s my friend.
The priest opens his mouth to comment, but is stopped by the opening of the back room door. Instead, he and Xena rise and wait for the verdict.
It takes a moment, and they hear Gabrielle moan softly. There is a scuffling of steps, and then the Conqueror comes into view, cradling Gabrielle gently in her arms.
Blue eyes meet blue in a long moment of understanding before the Conqueror turns to the priest.
You did a fine thing, Priest,
and you will be well
rewarded for your service.
Gabrielle is my friend, Majesty.
That she finds happiness
is reward enough for me.
Amazingly, both the Conqueror and Gabrielle find this embarrassing, and twin blushes color their features.
<ahem> That is something I plan on
working on. But I believe there will still
be some sort of reward for you as well.
The priest bows his head in acceptance.
Thank you, Majesty.
Now, if you don’t mind, Gabrielle and
I have come to an understanding.
We still have things to work out, but
for now, I would like to take Gabrielle
home... with me... to the palace, I mean.
The Conqueror flushes slightly at her stuttering, but the priest simply nods his acknowledgement of her words. The Conqueror turns her attention back to Xena.
Will you walk out with us?
EXT. CORINTH TEMPLE - MID AFTERNOON
The carriage is large and ornate. The footman doesn’t even twitch at seeing the Conqueror’s double. He simply opens the door for them. He does manage to slyly wink at Gabrielle when the Conqueror isn’t looking.
The Conqueror deposits Gabrielle gently on the cushioned seat. She steps back to allow Xena the chance to say goodbye.
Thank you so much.
You have no idea.…
Yeah, actually, I do.
I’m glad it worked out.
Me too. I think this may make
all the difference for us here.
She leans forward and gives Xena a soft kiss on the lips.
Thank you. Tell your
Gabrielle she is very blessed.
Xena doesn’t answer with words. She simple smiles and squeezes Gabrielle’s hands before stepping from the carriage.
This has been quite the
Let her continue to help you.
You can learn together.
The Conqueror nods and steps up into the carriage. Then she turns to face Xena.
I have one question... you
know where the Ring of
Zeus is, don’t you?
Xena doesn’t even twitch, her face a mask of impassivity.
You see, no one really wants me
to have it. And I really can’t
imagine how else you got here.
Does it matter? What you have with
Gabrielle is worth more than anything.
The Conqueror looks at the woman in question. Gabrielle cannot hear their conversation, but smiles brightly at the Conqueror when she turns to look at Gabrielle.
The Conqueror returns Gabrielle’s smile and brings her attention back to Xena, her eyes shining with tears.
True, and even more precious when I
think how close I came to losing it.
Thank you, Xena, from the bottom
of my heart. This is a debt I
will always, gladly carry.
Just let it make a difference.
The Conqueror nods, and settles into the carriage. With a wave and a nod, she and Gabrielle head back to the Corinthian palace.
Xena watches them until they are some distance away, before turning her thoughts and attention towards going home. She can feel Gabrielle’s warmth reaching out to her.
Finally... it’s time. I’m ready to
get back to my Gabrielle.
She opens the pouch without touching the ring.
And you are the key to that. Let’s
hope this works in reverse.
Xena closes her eyes and concentrates. A small smile crosses her face as the warmth that is Gabrielle invades her soul. She takes a deep breath and places her hand in the pouch, reaching for the ring.
INT. ARGOS TEMPLE - EVENING
Less than an hour in this timeline has passed. Gabrielle is sitting in the lotus position in the temple. There is a small fire in front of her, and her eyes are closed in meditation.
She focuses her energies on Xena, concentrating her love to seek out the other half of her soul. She smiles as she begins to feel the reciprocal warmth from Xena.
EXT. CORINTH - MID AFTERNOON
Xena touches the ring, and almost immediately is engulfed in lightening. She never sees the attention she draws, or the contemplative raised eyebrow of her counterpart.
The Conqueror watches the show and smiles to herself in satisfaction. Then she refocuses her attention on Gabrielle, whose head is lying in her lap.
INT. ARGOS TEMPLE - EVENING
Gabrielle hair stands on end seconds before Xena drops down beside her. Xena groans. Gabrielle moves immediately to her side. Xena pulls Gabrielle into a strong hug that she is happy to return in full measure.
Gabrielle pulls back slightly, running her eyes and then her hands along Xena’s form as she reassures herself that Xena is indeed alive and real.
She brushes her lips on Xena’s forehead.
Ugh. There has to be a
better way to travel.
I vote not to travel that way at all.
I can go for that.
Thanks for leading me home.
Gabrielle leans down and Xena reaches up, and their lips meet for a timeless moment.
Xena sits up, an odd expression on her face.
You wanna talk about it?
Later. We’ve gotta get rid of this
damn ring first. There are some
things a person should never see.
Gabrielle wonders at the vehemence in Xena’s answer, but nods her agreement.
Okay. Um, you do know that part of
the Cronos stone is in that ring, right?
Figured it was something
like that. C’mon.
She gets to her feet and holds out her hand.
Let’s make sure no one can
ever find this thing again.
EXT. ARGOS - LATE EVENING
The city is celebrating. People are drinking and dancing once again, dressed in their very finest. Nessos is presiding over the festivities, and has crowned a winner in the scavenger hunt. It is the woman from the swamp.
Xena and Gabrielle walk into town dirty and disheveled, and they stand out noticeably from the crowd. The people part for them as they approach the dais.
Nessos looks at them hopefully.
You have good news?
No. There was nothing
but quicksand and snakes.
The King shudders at the description and shakes his head in despair.
How am I ever going
to be a great king?
You already are. You city is
prosperous. Your people love
you. What else do you need?
No one needs the kind of
power you were seeking, Nessos.
He looks at Xena, and sees something in her eyes he finds disturbing. It gives him pause.
Perhaps you are right.
He looks around at the happiness apparent in the populous.
Sometimes greed and temptation make
you miss what is right in front of you.
Thank you for reminding me of that.
Can I offer you the hospitality of
the palace? A hot bath perhaps?
That sounds lovely. Thank you.
INT. PALACE BATH - NIGHT
The water is steaming and jasmine scented, and Xena and Gabrielle are relaxed against the sides of the large pool. Gabrielle looks at Xena, who still wears a disturbed look on her face.
She pushes Xena forward to slide in behind her, rubbing her shoulders with a firm touch. Gabrielle smiles as Xena relaxes into the massage.
That must have been very strange...
running into people who were us, but not.
Yeah. It made me realize that even
with everything we’ve been through,
we have a lot to be thankful for.
We sure do.
You think they’ll be as
happy as we are?
I think the odds are in their favor.
It is quiet for a bit as Gabrielle continues to massage along Xena’s neck and shoulders. She can still feel tension in the muscles, and leans forward until her lips are pressed to Xena’s ear.
What’s still bothering
you about all this?
I can understand his temptation.
Xena, *I* can understand his temptation.
But we both know that we don’t need it.
What we have is much stronger
than anything the gods left behind.
They smile and reach for one another as we...
END OF ACT FOUR
EXT. VOLCANO’S EDGE - SUNSET
Even riding Argo, it has taken two full days of traveling to reach the lava flow. Already, they are contemplating the time it will take to get to somewhere more comfortable.
It is hot here. Steam rises and hisses at odd intervals, and the smell of sulphur hangs heavy in the air. Noses crinkle reflexively at the odor.
Xena looks down into the crater. The lava flow is sluggish but moving.
It won’t destroy it, but hopefully it will
keep the ring out of human hands.
It’s the only way, Xena.
Xena removes the pouch from her waist, and drops the whole thing into the pit. They watch as the leather burns away and the lava begins to flow around and cover the ring.
With a little luck, people will forget
about it. Soon, the Ring of Zeus
will be nothing but myth.
One day we will all
be nothing but myth.
I can live with that.
They smile at one another.
C’mon. I’ll bet we can find more
trouble to get into down the road.
You are an animal with long and
short hair. Do you walk on two legs?
Xena laughs as they join hands and turn away from the volcano. Xena takes Argo’s reins, and we watch them walk away. The camera pans away from them slowly, and our final shot shows the hardened lava that the ring is now covered in glowing just slightly before we...