|Episode Guide||Teaser||Act 1||Act 2||Act 3||Act 4|
EXT. STREAM - MID-AFTERNOON
Boots off, Xena is lying on the bank of a wide stream, eyes closed and head tilted toward the sun filtering down through the leaves of the overhanging trees. By her side is a sizeable string of rather enormous fish, some of which even Xena with her vast experience has never seen before.
Her eyes pop open, and a moment later, a strange sound can be heard coming from the trees. She leaps to her feet just as a man with long blonde hair and sporting a leopard skin loincloth comes swinging toward her on a vine, a scroll clutched tightly in his free hand.
As he swings past, Xena neatly plucks the scroll from his hand, smirking.
His return swing brings him back and he hops off the vine, landing in front of Xena.
Me Tarxan. You Bard?
Xena gives him a slow, wicked smile, displaying all her teeth.
Do I look like a bard to you?
Tarxan considers for a moment, then shakes his head and holds out his hand imperiously.
No bard, no scroll.
Ah…so you want this, huh?
Tarxan want scroll.
Give Tarxan scroll.
Xena lifts an eyebrow.
He appears briefly to consider using force to regain the scroll, then just as quickly discards the option as he eyes the woman standing in front of him. Putting his hands on his leopard skin clad hips, he leans forward and opens his mouth wide.
Completely unfazed, Xena merely blinks at him.
Discomfited by the non-reaction, Tarxan swallows hard, shrugs and tries again even louder.
(Very VERY loudly)
Xena’s slow smile spreads again.
With a sound very much like a whimpering puppy, Tarxan grabs his vine and climbs it as fast as his legs can carry him, soon disappearing into the trees.
Chuckling, she gathers up her catch, tucks the scroll under her arm, and heads back to the temple.
INT. APHRODITE’S TEMPLE - MID AFTERNOON
Whistling, Xena walks through the door to Aphrodite’s temple and once again stops dead in her tracks.
Gabrielle and Aphrodite turn to look at her. They are dressed in fluffy pink robes with their hair hidden beneath matching towels. Their faces are completely covered save for the eyes and nostrils with some sort of white glop that Xena can’t readily identify, nor would she wish to.
Their toes are separated by white balls of cotton; newly manicured nails painted a flaming pink match equally manicured and polished fingernails.
Each has some sort of glossy bound scroll in her hands. Gabrielle’s bears the title “Cosmo-polis” while Aphrodite is apparently reading something called “Vanitas Faire.”
Between them sits a huge wooden bowl filled with what Aphrodite calls popcorn.
Behind them, two barely clad and massively muscled men wave huge pink-feathered fans slowly.
Gabrielle gives Xena a huge grin, which turns her face into a grotesque mask that is a little hard to look at.
Xena! How was fishing?
In answer, Xena holds up the large string of even larger fish. Then she tosses the scroll in Gabrielle’s direction.
Picked this up from an interesting
character by the river.
Dropping the magazine, Gabrielle catches the scroll and quickly unfurls it. Her grin widens as she quickly scans the text, causing a bit of the white glop to fall from her face and land on the scroll. She wipes it away impatiently, still reading. Finally she looks up.
All right! Great news!
Rolling the scroll, she gets to her feet, stepping toward Xena.
C’mon, Xena! We’ve delayed
here long enough. Time to
head to Amphipolis!
Amphipolis? I thought we
were going to Poteidia?
Oh. Yeah. Well… that’s
what the good news is!
Xena’s eyebrow climbs.
Yeah! See, it turns out that Heap Big
Chief Diva Hornyfeather wasn’t lost in
the raid after all. She was just on
something called a Jamboree,
whatever that means. So, you see?
We’re free to head right to
Amphipolis! So let’s go! C’mon!
Gabrielle walks quickly for the door, then stops when she realizes she is walking alone. She turns with her hands on her hips, and wide, questioning eyes peering out from an all white face.
Xena pauses, obviously considering what she wants to say.
You might wanna....
She brings her hand to her face in a scrubbing motion.
Gabrielle copies her, only to wind up with a hand full of white glop. She laughs, embarrassed.
Uh… yeah. Aphrodite?
Aphrodite looks up from her magazine and grins.
Sure thing, sweet pea!
A waggle of her fingers and Gabrielle is instantly transformed back into her regular, glowing self. With pink fingernails. And toenails, which are thankfully hidden by her boots.
Ahhhh… much better. Thanks!
No worries, Gabs! Thanks for
the girl chat! Stop by again, k?
With another flick of Aphrodite’s magic hand, Xena and Gabrielle disappear from the temple, only to reappear exactly where she’d originally accosted them. Argo, happy to have her mistress back, nudges Xena and the trio starts off down the road to Amphipolis.
EXT. AMPHIPOLIS - NIGHT
It’s nighttime when Xena and Gabrielle finally get to the town proper. The first thing they notice is that like the night around it, the town is mostly dark and a bit foreboding.
Though no one’s on the streets, Xena knows that Amphipolis isn’t deserted. She can feel the people hidden behind shuttered windows and thick wooden doors.
Gabrielle can also feel the weight of many eyes on her as she and Xena make their way cautiously toward the Tavern. The usually bustling evening market is empty, its stands bereft of their usual colorful fabric and shouting vendors.
Even Argo’s acting a little spooked.
Xena’s eyes dart back and forth as she draws her sword from its scabbard.
I don’t like it.
Something’s going on.
Maybe they just like
to turn in early?
Though she can’t see her eyes, Gabrielle knows Xena is giving her the Look.
Just a thought.
When they finally come upon the tavern with its darkened windows and the quarter-moon shining down through the building clouds, it looks much as it did when the mouth of hell was taking up residence in its backyard.
Like the town itself, the tavern appears deserted but isn’t. Xena can feel her watchers as easily as she can feel the light caress of Gabrielle’s breath on her shoulder. Sword at the ready, she edges past Gabrielle to the door.
Gabrielle laughs a tad nervously.
Come on, Xena. I’m sure there’s a
perfectly rational explanation for....
I said stay back.
Taking a step back, Xena measures the strength of the door with her eyes. Gabrielle can almost see the angry energy swirling about her like a cloud.
Xena, please. If you go barging
in there like that, you might
wind up hurting....
With a soft grunt, Xena lifts her leg and kicks the door open. It swings hard and hits something.
Xena jumps into the space she’s created and brings her sword down....
Just as several dozen candles flare, lighting the room and the people within. They all stare at her, open-mouthed.
Somewhat stunned, Xena looks around blinking, then looks down at her sword which has managed to cut a large and well-decorated sheet cake directly in half with almost surgical precision.
Holding one half, Lila looks at the Warrior Princess with wide, slightly chagrinned eyes.
Gabrielle steps past Xena and looks at the other half of the cake that is pressed rather intimately against Lila’s daughter Sara, who is passed out cold on the floor.
INT. CYRENE’S TAVERN - SEVERAL MOMENTS LATER
Most of the guests have recovered from their initial shock and are slowly approaching the guest of honor, who’s managed to get over her own shock. Xena has sheathed her weapon, though she looks as if she’s ready to draw it again any second.
The townspeople are much friendlier than they were during her last visit. Each one comes up quietly to offer their best wishes and thanks for her help in restoring the tavern.
After they leave, Xena turns to Gabrielle who is trying her best not to smirk and is failing miserably.
You knew? Of course you did.
You set this all up, didn’t you?
Yup. Hey! I had to get you back
for all those mean tricks you
pulled on me the last time.
Xena rolls her eyes, but the grin she’s been trying so hard to hide twitches her lips briefly. For Gabrielle, it’s a beaming smile and she tilts her head as Xena moves in.
They break apart only after the wolf whistles and catcalls have settled down somewhat. Xena doesn’t even bother glaring.
So… that’s what all the lame
scroll stories were about, huh?
I was trying to figure out your angle.
They were not....
Ok, ok, I’ll admit it. They were pretty lame.
But I got you on the Hornyfeather thing.
C’mon, Gabrielle. Hornyfeathers?
Please. And that wave....
Grinning, Gabrielle demonstrates it for her then laughs.
At that moment, Aphrodite in all her finery pops in with a huge pink cake with pink frosting. One candle is in the shape of a little Xena and remarkably lifelike for its wax nature sitting atop the cake. With a grin, she sets it in front of the Warrior Princess and leads the group in a rousing chorus of “Happy Birthday”.
Xena endures it all, and Gabrielle can tell that her cheeks just slightly resemble the cake’s frosting. She hides a grin behind her hand, then joins in the last chorus.
Make a wish and blow out
the candle, leatherbabe!
With another eye roll, but secretly pleased, Xena does as she is bade and snuffs the candle in one soft breath.
The crowd cheers.
So? What did ya wish for?
That’s for me to know and
you... not to know.
As the partygoers amble over to have a piece of cake, the door from the kitchen opens and Lila and a neatly recovered Sara come out bearing a medium sized chest. With matching grins, they place it on the table in front of Xena and step back.
We, um, found these things when
we were cleaning out the rest of
your Mother’s room. We figured
you might like to have them.
With a little trepidation, Xena opens the lid and sees several cloth-covered objects. Pulling out the first one, she unwraps it and a definite tint of redness comes to her cheeks as she spies what’s inside.
By the gods, that is adorable!
Let me see!
Xena grabs the object and holds it out of her reach.
Please? It’s so cute!
Please? C’mon, Xena, let me see.
Finally Xena relents and hands it over. It is a small, much faded and much loved stuffed purple dragon.
Oh, Xena, this is absolutely
precious! What’s its name?
It doesn’t have a name.
Come on, Xena. All kids name
their stuffed animals. Even you.
So give. What’s its name?
Xena mutters something under her breath.
I couldn’t quite catch
that, Xena. Say again?
(softly, but distinctly)
I said… his name is Flameball.
Awww! How sweet!
She holds the dragon slightly away from her face.
Hello, little Flameball.
How are you?
(Gabrielle’s high pitched voice)
I’m fine, Gabrielle. How are you?
Give me that!
Snatching the toy away, she sets it aside then reaches in for the next object. This one is longer and heavier, and she sets it before her and carefully unwraps the cloth. Tears spring to her eyes when she sees what’s inside.
Two crude wooden swords obviously shaped by a child’s hand lay on the soft cloth. The initials on the pommels are only light smudges now, their grooves worn down by many hours in the hands of active children, but Xena can see them as easily as when she carved them so many years ago... X and L.
She closes her eyes for a moment, her fingers caressing the smooth, aged wood over Lyceus’ monogram, swamped by sweet memories of hours spent with her beloved brother in the woods or in some farmer’s field playing war with one another.
She takes a deep breath, lets it out slowly, and opens her eyes. The others in the room are looking away, talking quietly amongst themselves to give her the privacy she needs. Gabrielle’s hand is warm and loving on her arm, and she takes comfort from that.
More steadily now, she reaches into the chest and picks out the last object, which is a simple piece of cloth. She takes one look at it, and tucks it in her hand, rising slowly, and leaving the tavern.
Gabrielle rises as well, and smiles at the stunned guests.
It’s ok. Just… keep eating your
cake. I’ll be right back.
She gives a brighter smile to a plainly confused and saddened Lila and reaches over, squeezing her wrist.
It’ll be fine. I promise.
With that, she turns and leaves.
EXT. CYRENE’S TAVERN - NIGHT
Gabrielle spies Xena in the dark, leaning against one of the porch posts and gazing up into the sky. The moon is brighter now, and Gabrielle can easily see the tear tracks gracing Xena’s cheeks.
Softly, she approaches Xena and stands silently by her side, offering her the only support she can. She notices the small bit of cloth hanging limply from Xena’s fist but says nothing.
Without turning her head, Xena hands Gabrielle the cloth and Gabrielle looks down at it. It is a small, faded, much folded and obviously much beloved embroidery sampler crafted from a child’s quite talented hand. In the center, the word “Mom” is done in incredibly tiny, very neat stitching, causing Gabrielle to marvel anew at the vast well of talent Xena possessed even as a child.
I…um.... That was the first piece
that I was really proud of. I gave
it to her for her birthday.
Clearing her throat, she looks up at the sky again, giving a minute shrug of her shoulders.
I… never saw it again,
so I figured....
She shrugs again, tossing off an old childhood hurt as fresh tears spill down her cheeks.
Moving in, she wraps an arm around Xena’s waist, please to find Xena respond by wrapping her in a tight hug and laying her cheek on soft, golden hair.
It’s funny.... All along, I thought she
didn’t care, only now to find out how
much she did. And now, it’s too late.
No. You listen to me. She knows.
You know she does. She always has.
Xena doesn’t respond. She just hugs Gabrielle tighter, turning up her eyes back to the stars as we....
END ACT FOUR
INT. LYCEUS’ TOMB - NIGHT
Xena is standing by Lyceus’ casket, her hand brushing softly over the cast of his face.
Still dirty, I see. A lot of people don’t
like places like this, Ly, but I do because
it makes me feel close to you again.
Smiling, she wipes a few tears from her eyes.
Mother saved those swords of ours, Ly.
Kept ‘em with her all these years.
Remember the holy Hades she used
o give us for fighting in the tavern?
Laughing softly, she shakes her head at the memories.
Anyway, I guess I just wanted to say
‘hey’ and tell you that I love you still,
and always will. My life’s gotten a lot
better these last few years, Ly, and
it’s good not to feel so alone anymore.
You’re never alone.
Xena turns slowly, her face a mask of shock.
With a broad smile and tears brimming in her own ghostly eyes, Cyrene enters the crypt and opens her arms in welcome.
Happy Birthday, my little one.
Xena falls into her mother’s embrace, feeling the woman solid and warm against her. She buries her face into the much missed fragrance of Cyrene’s hair, tears slipping from her eyes like diamonds.
I love you, Mother. I miss you.
I love you too, little one.
More than you’ll ever know.
I never got to tell....
Shh. I know, my daughter. I know.
I’m here with you, always. There isn’t
a day that goes by that I don’t look
at you, at the wonderful woman
you’ve become, and beam with
pride. You are my heart and my
joy and you always will be.
They hold one another for a very long time, parting only when each realizes that Gabrielle is standing quietly just outside the tomb, tears of her own running unashamed down her face.
Cyrene smiles and holds an arm out.
Come in, daughter.
Gabrielle’s eyes widen a bit at the name she’s been given.
Yes, you. Come, come.
Slowly she approaches the duo and is soon wrapped in two sets of arms.
Thank you, Gabrielle, for making
my little one so happy. Her love
for you shines from her soul, and
for a mother, that is the most
beautiful sight in the world.
Gabrielle can feel a flush heat her face, but she smiles and hugs the two women to her more tightly than ever, reveling in the all too absent sense of contentment, peace, and joy.
Happy Birthday, Xena.
Many deliverymen were harmed during the making of this motion
picture, but according to Heap Big Chief Diva Hornyfeather,
they're all convalescing nicely. TarXan, however, is still running
for his life and was last seen on a New York City rooftop.