The Gauntlet


TEASER

Cretus and Darphus ride to join Xena who is waiting for them on a hill.

CRETUS
Darphus gave them your demands, just enough
crops to feed our men -- only the buildings needed
to quarter them.

XENA
Their answer?

DARPHUS
They've decided to defend themselves.

XENA
Stupid. We'll give them the night to reconsider.

DARPHUS
Give them nothing! I say, we attack now,
and wipe them all out! Let the gods sort out the
women and children.

XENA
We are warriors, not barbarians. Cretus,
you made it clear that anyone who raises a
sword against us will die.

CRETUS
They said they'd rather die, defending the fruits
of their labour, than give it to renegades.

XENA
Then tomorrow, they'll get their wish.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hercules eats in a tavern.

HERCULES
Oh, wonderful, Ipicles, absolutely wonderful.
It's a four-star meal for sure.

IPICLES
Why four stars?

HERCULES
Uh, that's just a manner of speaking. It's something
I picked up from an Epicurean friend of mine.

IPICLES
Well, why not five stars? Or--or a constellation
of stars?

HERCULES
Uh, a constellation it is.

Iloran enters.

ILORAN
Hercules?

HERCULES
Iloran!

ILORAN
Hello, cousin. It's been too long.

HERCULES
Ah, it must be five years. Ah, come! Sit down!
How have you been?

ILORAN
Good. Look, we've got big problems in the
Parthian province.

HERCULES
What sort of problems?

ILORAN
Marauders. And they're merciless. Last week,
they attacked a village near us. Killed every last
man. Look here.

He draws a map in the dirt with is dagger and marks the locations of the villages.

ILORAN
On my way here, I found out that six more villages
have been destroyed in the last month.

HERCULES
Looks like they're intent on overrunning the
whole peninsula.

ILORAN
And Parthus, my mother's village, will be right
in their path.

HERCULES
Then we don't have any time to waste.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena's army awaits the order to attack.

XENA
No word?

CRETUS
Their only activity has been to fortify.

DARPHUS
We should've attacked yesterday.

XENA
It won't affect the outcome, only make it more
interesting. Let's go!

The army cheers and they ride.

XENA
Yah!

Xena ululates. The army rides into the village. Villagers run, and cry out. Xena's army lays waste to the village.

XENA
Surrender, or die!

EXTRA
Never!

Darphus comes across and old man and a woman.

EXTRA
No! Have mercy!

He kills them.

EXTRA
There she is! Kill her!

EXTRA
Destroy the witch!

EXTRA
Destroy her!

Xena throws her chakram and knocks them out.

END OF TEASER



ACT ONE

The warriors take things from the dead villagers.

EXTRA
A fine attack!

EXTRA
Victory!

EXTRA
Long live Xena!

Salmoneus is dressed like a woman. He's pushed towards Xena and Darphus by Cretus.

SALMONEUS
I'm a modest woman. Please don't touch me there.

CRETUS
Look at what we found hiding in the feed-bin.

SALMONEUS
Ow! Ow!

DARPHUS
Well, what've we got here?

SALMONEUS
No, no.

Darphus rips off Salmoneus' veil.

SALMONEUS
I work in the circus.

Darphus rips off his wig.

SALMONEUS
Please, don't kill me! Please! I beg you!

XENA
Give me one good reason.

SALMONEUS
It would be very unpleasant for me! We haven't
even been introduced! My mother will cry.

XENA
Take him away.

SALMONEUS
Wait a minute! Wait a minute! I'm not even
supposed to be here! I'm a traveling salesman!
I can get you a great deal on some clay dinnerware.
I've got this walnut utensil, opens-

DARPHUS
Kill him!

SALMONEUS
Hold it! You're very quick with the "Kill him!" Wait
a second, please! I know people in high places!
Uh, I--I--I know Hercules!

XENA
What do you know about Hercules?

DARPHUS
He knows nothing!

SALMONEUS
I do to! I-we-oh, oh, we-e-I'm his best friend!
We're like this! Well, not like that, kinda, kinda
like th-kind--kinda it's platonic. It-we're like...that!

XENA
Come here, little man. You amuse me.

SALMONEUS
Amusing? You like amusing? A guy goes into
a bar walking a duck. Owner says, "What're you
doing with that pig?!"

XENA
Cease! I'll let you know when I wanna be amused
again. Bring him along.

Salmoneus starts to take off the dress.

XENA
Leave it. It becomes you.

SALMONEUS
Right! Certainly. You've got excellent taste.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hercules and Iloran walk along.

HERCULES
I can't believe it's been five years since I've seen
you. Why does it have to take bad news to bring
us together.

ILORAN
Well, you're not the easiest person to get a hold of.

HERCULES
Yeah, I, guess you're...right.

They come across the village Xena and her army had just destroyed.

EXTRA
She destroyed everything.

EXTRA
Mommy? Where's Daddy?

EXTRA
Not a man alive. Curse her!

HERCULES
Who did this?

YOUNG WOMAN
Marauders. Renegades.

HERCULES
Did you see their leader?

YOUNG WOMAN
She was like, a demon from Hades.

HERCULES
A woman.

ILORAN
Do you know who did this?

HERCULES
I've got an idea.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Salmoneus moves to take some meat, but Darphus grabs his hand.

DARPHUS
That meat is for warriors.

SALMONEUS
Ah. Um, uh, there's more than one way to wage
a war.

XENA
Oh? Tell me about it.

Salmoneus joins Xena.

SALMONEUS
Well, an army such as yours, with such a beautiful
leader like you--you need publicity, public relations.

XENA
Hah! I prefer my relations to be private.

Salmoneus laughs.

SALMONEUS
No. You need something to trumpet your victories.
But you don't wanna seem overbearing or
merciless. You need a theme song. Wait a second.
(singing) "Xena, coming to your town.
Xena, don't you wear a frown."

He stops singing.

SALMONEUS
Don't talk about destruction. Talk about collateral
damage. Uh, be like a tax collector. Tell people
you're doing it for their own good.

XENA
You know for such a wretched little man,
you are mildly entertaining. Tell me more.

SALMONEUS
Okay, uh, can I just...yeah. Always address your
troops from your right side. It's your best side,
not that you have a bad side. It-you've got beautiful
eyes, you've got great cheek structure. Smile
more. Show off your cheeks. See? Ahh. Uh-huh.

Xena makes an attempt to smile, but she can't and she frowns, then gives Salmoneus a whole chicken.

XENA
Don't stop amusing me, now.

SALMONEUS
No, your Highness, your Worship, your--your,
what is your titular? Um, wh, uh, uh, how do you
like to be undressed? Addressed? Hmm?

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Iloran and Hercules are in the woods.

HERCULES
Any sign of trouble?

ILORAN
Not that I can see! We're making good time. I
can see the hills of Parthian province. Also, I
think we're being followed.

HERCULES
I know. I saw him by the river.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Deros rides along.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
In Xena's tent, she and Darphus look at a map.

DARPHUS
I say we go here.

XENA
The western villages?

DARPHUS
Lightly defended. We wipe them from the map.
An easy victory.

XENA
Easy victories make for weak soldiers.

DARPHUS
As long as the men get what they want.

XENA
I don't want soldiers following me out of greed.
I demand loyalty.

DARPHUS
Loyalty, greed, fear, what does it matter? As
long as they obey orders.

XENA
It matters to me.

DARPHUS
Maybe, one day, we'll find out whose strategy is
best, yours or mine.

XENA
I'll go north with my scouts. I'll see for myself.
And when I return, we attack.

Darphus leaves.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Moon.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Night in the camp.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
In the camp.

DARPHUS
Still no sign of Xena and the scouts? The men
are ready for a night attack. I don't wanna lose
the element of surprise. I won't wait any longer.

SALMONEUS
Uh, excuse me? Wouldn't Xena be upset, if you
don't wait?

DARPHUS
You know, little man, you don't amuse me at all.

He draws his sword. Salmoneus laughs timidly, and then goes back to his food.

DARPHUS
We go now. I don't wanna see a living thing
when you're through, not a man, woman, or child,
understood?

CRETUS
Don't you think that Xena-

DARPHUS
Forget Xena! I want that village destroyed!
The men can take what they want.

CRETUS
Yes, sir.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
The warriors stand ready to attack.

DARPHUS
Attack!

The warriors decimate village.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena enters the destroyed village.

XENA
What have you done?!

DARPHUS
A message to those who defy us.

XENA
You killed women and children?

DARPHUS
If this doesn't strike fear into the hearts of the
northern villages,nothing will.

XENA
You're a butcher. Your disobedience will
not go unpunished!

DARPHUS
I expected as much.

A baby cries and Xena picks it up.

CRETUS
I thought I killed them both.

DARPHUS
Kill it!

Cretus takes a few steps towards Xena.

XENA
Stop! You kill this baby, you die next. Contrary to
what some might think, I still lead this army.

Xena leaves. Cretus looks at Darphus who smiles wickedly.

END OF ACT ONE



ACT TWO

Deros rides along.

HERCULES
Looking for me?

Hercules knocks him out.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Deros is tied to a tree. Hercules wakes him up.

HERCULES
We can do this the easy way, or we can go back
to that village you destroyed. Let the orphans
and widows decide what to do with you.

DEROS
Women and children don't scare me.

HERCULES
Don't they?! Who commands you barbarians?
It's a woman, isn't it?

DEROS
We're not barbarians. We're soldiers.

HERCULES
"Soldiers"? Killing unarmed people. I guess
that qualifies you as a soldier, doesn't it? So,
where is your leader, Xena?

DEROS
When she finds out I'm missing, she'll have you
two for breakfast.

HERCULES
Where is she?

DEROS
Doesn't matter. You're too late anyway.

Hercules looks to see smoke rising over the hill. He throws the knife in his hand which frees Deros.

HERCULES
Get out of my sight.

Deros reaches for the knife.

HERCULES
I wouldn't.

Deros leaves.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hercules and Iloran run towards the village.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hercules and Iloran enter the village. Spiros, who is hidden, watches them.

SPIROS
(to himself) Murderers.

ILORAN
No one's alive, not even a child.

HERCULES
They killed children?

ILORAN
They killed everyone. Women, children...babies.

HERCULES
I swear by my mother, this won't happen again.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena enters a cave with the baby and finds Salmoneus there with a Shepherdess.

XENA
What are you doing here?

SALMONEUS
I thought you might need some help taking care
of the baby, so I found this shepherdess.

XENA
I've got no intention of taking care of this infant.
I merely saved him.

SALMONEUS
No, of course not.

Salmoneus laughs.

SALMONEUS
If you had any maternal instinct, you would-not
that you don't have maternal instinct, but with
all the fighting-

SHEPHERDESS
I have some milk for the baby.

The Shepherdess takes the baby from Xena and moves aside.

SALMONEUS
Oh, proud warriorress? Can I talk to you for
a moment?

XENA
About what?

SALMONEUS
It's Darphus. He scares me.

Xena grabs Salmoneus' face.

XENA
Everyone scares you.

SALMONEUS
Very observant. But in this case, I don't think
he's exactly in your corner, either.

XENA
You mean his insubordination.

SALMONEUS
That and he's been stirring up the men about
saving the baby.

XENA
I've got no reason to doubt my soldiers' loyalty.
And I'll deal with Darphus.

SALMONEUS
Yes, I'm sure. But--but--but, the best course of
action, given that you and Darphus are at odds-

XENA
I don't run from my problems. I confront
them. And I'll deal with Darphus.

SALMONEUS
Excellent choice. It was just a thought, thank you.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena holds a sword at Darphus' neck.

XENA
You defied me.

DARPHUS
You wanted the village destroyed, we destroyed it.

XENA
I didn't order you to burn it, or to slaughter every
living thing.

DARPHUS
I gave you my reasons.

XENA
I'm relieving you of your command.

DARPHUS
My men won't allow that.

The army surrounds Xena.

DARPHUS
Yes, my men. You're the one who's stepping
down. And you'll leave the only way a warrior can.

XENA
The gauntlet? There's not a man here
who'll raise a hand against me.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Darphus draws a line in the dirt with his sword. Xena is led in. Darphus walks towards her. The Gauntlet is two lines of men, facing each other. The first few are unarmed, but halfway through, they have clubs.

DARPHUS
Take off her armour.

He laughs. Cretus takes off Xena's armour. She grabs him.

XENA
I'll bury you and your new leader.

SALMONEUS
(to Soldier #1) Can she really make it through that?

SOLDIER #1
No one ever has.

DARPHUS
Begin!

The drum is beaten. Xena moves through the gauntlet, taking blows. She starts to fight back, ululating as she does.

SALMONEUS
Go, Xena, go!

Xena is beaten with the clubs. She falls to the ground. The soldiers continue to beat her. Xena pulls herself over the line and then falls.

EXTRA
She's dead.

Darphus laughs. The warriors start to move away, when Xena rises. The smirk on Darphus' face disappears.

EXTRA
Xena.

EXTRA
She survived.

DARPHUS
Kill her!

SOLDIER #2
But she made it through.

DARPHUS
Good for her! Now, finish it!

SOLDIER #3
She fought by the rules.

EXTRA
Right.

SOLDIER #3
I won't cross that line.

EXTRA
No.

EXTRA
No.

EXTRA
Me neither.

DARPHUS
(to Xena) Enjoy your exile.

Xena spits at him.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
The sun is high.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hercules and Iloran run through the woods.

ILORAN
Hercules? How about a break?

HERCULES
We'll rest when we find 'em.

ILORAN
We won't be in any shape to fight if we don't
stop soon.

HERCULES
When we find 'em.

Iloran is hit by an arrow in the shoulder.

HERCULES
Come on. You'll be all right. You stay here.

Hercules finds Spiros.

HERCULES
Who are you?! Who are you?! Why are you
attacking us?!

A rock swinging from a tree hits Hercules in the head. Spiros attacks.

END OF ACT TWO



ACT THREE

Hercules throws him to the ground.

SPIROS
Go on, kill me. I have nothing to live for anymore.

HERCULES
Who are you?

SPIROS
Spiros. You killed my wife and son.

HERCULES
I'm Hercules and I didn't kill anyone.

SPIROS
Hercules? But I saw you looting the bodies in
the village.

HERCULES
We were burying them. They were already dead
when we got there.

SPIROS
My wife and child were in that village.

HERCULES
You have my sympathy. Come on. Let's see how
much damage you've done to my cousin.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hercules treats Iloran's wound.

HERCULES
You'll live.

ILORAN
Thanks.

SPIROS
I should never have left.

Hercules joins him.

SPIROS
I should never have left.

HERCULES
Why did you?

SPIROS
No one wanted to leave their families, but we
knew someone had to go for help, so we drew
straws. I drew the short one.

HERCULES
You shouldn't feel guilty. You did what you could.

SPIROS
But everyone I loved they're gone now. Dead.

HERCULES
I once lost my family, too.

SPIROS
Then you'll know there's nothing you can say
that'll make me feel better.

HERCULES
Yeah. We will find Xena and her army. I promise you.

SPIROS
I can be your scout. I know this countryside well.

HERCULES
Done.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Salmoneus runs along.

SALMONEUS
All right. All right. You're safe. You found some
armour. You don't know where you're going, but
you're making really good time. Let's hear it for
me! Hip-hip, hooray!

He's caught in a trap, pulled upside down and hung from a tree.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena enters the cave, moving slowly, obviously in great pain and the Shepherdess moves over to her. Xena holds out a hand, stopping her.

XENA
I can take care of myself!

Xena sits.

SHEPHERDESS
One of your men came here, looking for you, today.

XENA
I have no men.

SHEPHERDESS
He was a scout named Deros.

XENA
What did he want?

SHEPHERDESS
He said he needed to warn you, that Hercules
was on your trail.

XENA
Hercules?

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hercules, Spiros and Iloran walk along and hear Salmoneus.

SALMONEUS
Please, somebody help me, if you can hear
me! Help me!

They run to find the source of the pleas.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
They come across Salmoneus who is hanging upside down from a tree.

SALMONEUS
Please, somebody help me!

HERCULES
Salmoneus?

SALMONEUS
Hercules?!

HERCULES
It's nothing, just someone hanging upside-down.
Come on.

Hercules pretends to leave.

SALMONEUS
Hey! You can't leave me like this!

HERCULES
I know. I know.

SPIROS
You know him?

HERCULES
Unfortunately.

Hercules cuts Salmoneus down.

SALMONEUS
Does he know me?! I fought a cyclops with this
guy! And a lunatic centaur. And what about the
fifty randy daughters of King Thespius, huh?

HERCULES
Can we reminisce some other time?

SALMONEUS
I had to help the big guy out.

HERCULES
Yeah. I should know better than to ask, but, how
did you get up there?

SALMONEUS
I have no idea. I was escaping this band of
murderous thugs, led by this fierce, beautiful
woman with great-

HERCULES
You were with Xena?

SALMONEUS
You know her?

HERCULES
Yes, I do.

SALMONEUS
They humiliated me. They starved me. They took
my entire line of kitchenware.

HERCULES
Salmoneus.

SALMONEUS
I've got this great utensil. It cracks a walnut into
two smooth halves.

HERCULES
Salmoneus.

SALMONEUS
Protects the nut and there are no splinters.

HERCULES
Salmoneus!

SALMONEUS
Yes.

HERCULES
Just tell me where they are.

SALMONEUS
They're on their way to Parthus. And if anything
like the last time, there won't be any Parthus left!

HERCULES
Let's go.

SALMONEUS
Ah, what about my cookware?!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Deros leaves Darphus' tent.

DARPHUS
So, the great Hercules is on our trail.

CRETUS
Maybe it's time to change our plans.

DARPHUS
No.

CRETUS
But Hercules can still-

DARPHUS
Be defeated like any other man! He doesn't know
we know he's on our track. That gives us an edge.
Here, outside Parthus, where the road splits,
that's where we spring our trap.

CRETUS
But suppose he's waiting-

DARPHUS
We'll crush him like a bug!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
The four men walk along.

SALMONEUS
Can we take a break? I'm hungry. I don't know
how I get myself in these messes.

HERCULES
You might try staying away from killers like Xena.

SALMONEUS
I wasn't with her by choice! And I'll tell you
something, she's not as evil as you think she is.

HERCULES
Of course not, she only kills people for sport.

SALMONEUS
Well, at least she allows them to surrender
before massacring 'em.

HERCULES
She's all heart.

SALMONEUS
She's got some heart. She's not into that
scorched-Earth policy like Darphus.

HERCULES
You're serious; that she's not a cold-hearted
evil bitch.

SALMONEUS
Believe me. Compared with Darphus, she looks
like the Goddess of Love and Light.

HERCULES
Who is Darphus?

ILORAN
Hercules!

Xena holds Spiros, a sword at his throat. Xena is wearing gold armour.

XENA
Hah!

HERCULES
Looks like we'll get the chance to see which
one of us is right. Hello, Xena.

XENA
Hello, Hercules. Looks like you're losing your
touch! Your scout would never make it
in my army!

HERCULES
You're right. He's not a baby-killer.

She knocks Spiros out. Iloran puts his hand on his sword.

XENA
Don't tell me you're gonna spoil it by bringing
your friends into it.

HERCULES
No, Xena. I think I can handle this one on my own.

END OF ACT THREE



ACT FOUR

Hercules walks towards Xena.

HERCULES
We've been down this road before. The last time,
you almost cost me a friendship.

XENA
This time, it'll cost you a life!

Xena throws her chakram.

SALMONEUS
Xena, why are you doing this?!

XENA
If I can bring back the head of Hercules, I can
get back my army!

HERCULES
So you can murder more women and children?

XENA
That was not my idea! I never murdered
women and children!

SALMONEUS
You shouldn't be fighting each other! Darphus
is the enemy! You should be on the same
side fighting him!

Xena throws the chakram again. Hercules blocks it with a rock and it almost hits Salmoneus.

SALMONEUS
On second thought, maybe you should
work it out between you!

Xena and Hercules fight. Xena gets Hercules down and holds her sword over him, about to kill him.

XENA
I've got you now, Hercules!

ILORAN
Xena!

Iloran runs at her. Xena punches him, which gives Hercules time to recover. Salmoneus gets Iloran out of the way.

SALMONEUS
Come on. Come on. Let's go.

Hercules beats Xena and holds his sword at her throat.

XENA
Go on, finish it. Prove you're the greatest warrior.

HERCULES
Killing isn't the only way of proving you're
a warrior, Xena.

He lets her up.

HERCULES
And I think you know that.

XENA
What do you intend to do?

HERCULES
We're going after your army. Why don't you join us?

XENA
No.

She walks off.

SPIROS
Coward! You can make war on a defenseless
village, kill women and children, but you can't
fight a worthy opponent.

Spiros moves to follow her, but Hercules stops him.

HERCULES
Let her go! She has a fight of her own to deal with.

Xena leaves.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
The four men move along.

HERCULES
Over here!

SPIROS
More tracks.

HERCULES
They tried to cover them up to this point. Looks
like a larger body of troops went that way. Let's go.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
They come upon Darphus' camp. Hercules sees men hiding in the bush, waiting for them.

ILORAN
Let's wipe 'em out. Come on, we can handle them.

HERCULES
No. That's what they expect us to do.

He points to the men in the bushes.

HERCULES
That's their surprise.

ILORAN
An ambush? For us?

SPIROS
So, what do we do?

HERCULES
We even the odds. And we get to Parthus before
they do.

SALMONEUS
Even the odds?

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hercules beats up a soldier.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hercules beats up two soldiers.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Spiros takes out a soldier coming up behind Iloran.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Iloran runs by a soldier.

ILORAN
This way, goat-breath!

Hercules takes out the soldier.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Another soldier is taken out.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Salmoneus releases the horses and Hercules takes out the soldier sneaking up on him.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Later in the camp.

DARPHUS
We've been ambushed and our horses are gone.

CRETUS
But how? Hercules was never here!

DARPHUS
He was here, all right.

The warriors draw their swords.

DARPHUS
Fools! He's long gone now.

CRETUS
But where?

DARPHUS
Parthus.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Parthus at night.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
In the village.

HERCULES
Women and children all evacuated.

SALMONEUS
And the old men and the boys. I still say we
should've kept some.

HERCULES
No, they're no match for that army out there.

SALMONEUS
Yeah and we are? All four of us?

HERCULES
Well, the villagers cooked up some surprises.
That'll help.

SALMONEUS
Yeah? Well, what happens when the surprises
run out?

The army comes over the hill.

HERCULES
Looks like we'll find out soon enough. You better
get to your post.

DARPHUS
Ready! Attack!

Hercules fights Darphus and his army. Salmoneus and Iloran release traps. Just as Hercules is getting beaten up by a group of soldiers, Xena gives her ululation and swings into the scene, joining the fight.

SALMONEUS
I don't believe it. She's come back.

Xena and Hercules fight the soldiers. Spiros fights Cretus.

SPIROS
That bracelet belonged to my wife!

Spiros kills Cretus. Xena and Hercules continue to beat the soldiers.

EXTRA
Retreat!

EXTRA
Let's get out of here!

The men start to run out.

DARPHUS
Fight! Fight!

Darphus kills men as they run by him. He and Xena meet eyes and then they fight. After several sword clashes, Xena kills him by stabbing him in the chest.

EXTRA
Let's go!

The warriors retreat.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Later. Xena washes her hands. Hercules joins her.

HERCULES
I'm glad you came back.

XENA
I had to. They weren't true warriors. They had
to be stopped.

HERCULES
Is it over now? All of it?

XENA
Yes, it is.

Salmoneus, Spiros and Iloran enter.

SALMONEUS
Well, I'm not making any promises.

HERCULES
What is it?

SPIROS
Salmoneus told me that Xena saved a baby
boy at my village.

HERCULES
Is that true?

Xena gives a small gesture with her head in acknowledgement.

SPIROS
Was he, uh, did he have a birthmark on his
left leg?

Xena nods her head.

SPIROS
That's my son. Oh, gods above, thank you. I
don't know how to-

XENA
Suppose I don't wanna give him up.

SPIROS
What do you mean?

XENA
I put my life on the line for him. Would you?

SPIROS
Yes and I'll fight you if I have to.

XENA
You'd lose.

SPIROS
Doesn't matter. He's my blood.

Spiros starts to draw his sword, but Hercules stops him.

HERCULES
Xena, why are you doing this?

XENA
You've shown me all I need to know. Just raise
your son to be as brave as you. Salmoneus
will take you to him.

SALMONEUS
You sure you don't wanna join us? You know,
for old times' sake? I just don't want to fall into
any more traps.

HERCULES
Yeah, I'm not sure how many people could
stand the sight of you upside down.

The men laugh and Xena gives a weak smile.

SALMONEUS
I happen to think I have nice legs.

HERCULES
Salmoneus, Spiros will keep you safe.

Salmoneus and Spiros leave.

ILORAN
Thank you, cousin.

HERCULES
You're welcome. Let's not wait five years to see
each other again.

ILORAN
Not a chance.

HERCULES
Take care.

Iloran leaves.

HERCULES
So, what now?

XENA
What do you say we go find out together?

HERCULES
Yeah.

Xena gives Hercules a full smile.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
A hooded Emissary enters the village. He takes Xena's sword out of Darphus, who rises to his feet. He now has blood red eyes.

EMISSARY
Feeling better?

DARPHUS
Who are you?

EMISSARY
Call me an emissary of Ares.

DARPHUS
Ares, God of War. What does he want with me?

EMISSARY
He wants to give you your revenge against Xena.
But first, you must do something for him. You
must kill Hercules.

DARPHUS
Hercules, how? He destroyed my army.

EMISSARY
You'll need help -- more help than any army can
give you.

Graegus enters.

EMISSARY
This beast can give you that help. Under your
control, it can destroy Hercules once and for all.

Darphus laughs.

END OF ACT FOUR

STARRING
Kevin Sorbo as Hercules

GUEST CAST
Lucy Lawless as Xena
Robert Trebor as Salmoneus
Matthew Chamberlain as Darphus
Dean O'Gorman as Iloran
David Aston as Cretus
Peter Daube as Spiros
Vanessa Rare as Young Woman
Anthony Ray Parker as Ipicles
Sela Brown as Shepherdess
Nathaniel Lees as Emissary
Mark Clare as Deros
Ross Campbell as Soldier #1
Lawrence Wharerau as Soldier #2
Mario Gaoa as Soldier #3
Fleur and Zana Goric as Baby

Written by: Robert Bielak
Directed by: Jack Perez