Altared States


TEASER

Bird-eye view of the woods.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Village.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Icus' home.

ICUS
It's not true! It can't be!

ZORA
Icus, he told me himself.

ICUS
Oh, but mother!

ZORA
There's no time to argue. Now, get your coat while
I pack some food. You're bound to get hungry.

ICUS
How long must I be gone?

ZORA
Until it's safe for you to return.

ICUS
Oh, but mother, I don't understand.

ZORA
Neither do I, love. Neither do I.

There's shouts from outside.

EXTRA
Icus!

Zora hugs Icus.

ZORA
Run!

She opens the door.

ZORA
Find a place to hide and stay there. I'll find you
when it's safe.

ICUS
Oh, but...

ZORA
Go!

Icus leaves.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Landscapes.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena and Gabrielle's clothes lie spread about. They can't be seen.

GABRIELLE
How was that?

XENA
Very good, you're getting the hang of it.

GABRIELLE
Really?

XENA
Come on, Gabrielle, you've been wanting to do
this for ages.

Xena and Gabrielle are naked in the lake.

XENA
Just reach under this rock. Give it your best shot.

GABRIELLE
Okay.

Gabrielle dives underwater. Xena smiles. Gabrielle comes up with a fish in her hand.

GABRIELLE
I did it! I did it!

Icus runs in. Men can be heard following him.

EXTRA
Where is he?

Xena and Gabrielle go under the water.

EXTRA
Over here!

EXTRA
Head to the west!

Icus falls. Xena holds out her hand.

XENA
Here.

Xena drags Icus into the water.

EXTRA
Check behind those trees.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Zealot #1 looks over the lake and then runs to it. He picks up Icus' bag. Icus comes out of the water.

EXTRA
Here! Come on.

ZEALOT #1
You're mine.

Zealot #1 grabs Icus and hauls him out of the water.

ICUS
Let go!

Xena rises from the water (still naked). Zealot #1 and Icus stare at her. She walks onto land.

XENA
Didn't your mother ever teach you, it's rude to stare?

Xena punches Zealot #1. She puts on her leather and picks up her string of fish. More men enter. Xena fights them with the fish. Icus is with Gabrielle (who is now dressed).

GABRIELLE
Stay here. You'll be safer.

Gabrielle moves off.

XENA
Come on Come on.

A man draws a sword behind Xena. Gabrielle comes up to him.

GABRIELLE
Excuse me.

Gabrielle takes the guy out with her staff. Xena keeps fighting. Xena flips with a yell and laughs as she takes out the last men.

MAELL
Enough! I don't know who or what you are. But
this business is none of yours.

XENA
My name is Xena, and the way I see it, half a
dozen men going after one small, defenseless
boy kinda makes it my business. Call it
my maternal instinct.

ICUS
Don't let them take me, please.

XENA
No one's taking you anywhere. (to Maell) Hmmm?

MAELL
What will be, will be! This isn't over.

Maell and his men leave.

XENA
What was all that about?

ICUS
That want to take me to be sacrificed.

GABRIELLE
Sacrificed? You mean like on an altar,
with a knife?

XENA
Who would do such a thing?

ICUS
My father.

END OF TEASER



ACT ONE

Waterfall.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena, Gabrielle and Icus move along with Argo.

ICUS
I know how it looks, but my father's a good man.
Once, when I was sick, he stayed by my bed,
night and day. He never left 'til I was feeling better.
He's always been like that.

XENA
Then why did he send that thug after you?

ICUS
Thug? Oh, you mean my brother, Maell.

XENA
Your brother?

GABRIELLE
Nice family.

ICUS
Maell and his men are very strong in their faith. He
helped my father teach our people new ways to
farm. Now we grow twice as much as we used to.

XENA
And your mother? You said she warned you.
How does she feel about all this?

ICUS
Oh, I don't know. She's mixed up about all this
too, I guess.

Xena moves off.

ICUS
It's just my father's never hurt anyone, ever.

GABRIELLE
There's gotta be an explanation. Look, we'll find
it, right Xena? Xena? Xena!

XENA
I'm up here, I found it!

Xena runs out from behind a tree.

GABRIELLE
Found what?

XENA
This cave. My army came through here a couple
of years ago. I used it as shelter for my wounded
men. You'll be safe here. So make camp. I'll be
back as soon as I can.

ICUS
Where are you going?

XENA
To have a talk with your family. I wanna see for
myself what kind of a father would want to kill
his own son.

Xena leaves.

GABRIELLE
Come on.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena rides Argo.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Icus' home.

ANTEUS
Are you telling me you don't have Icus.

MAELL
Well, at the moment, no. But, don't worry, my
men and I will get him back, even if we have to
die doing it.

ANTEUS
No! There's been too much violence already.
That's not our way.

MAELL
Well, nor would I choose it, father. But this Xena's
left me no alternative. These are new times. They
demand new ways.

ANTEUS
To follow a path of peace is new. We teach by
example, not by force.

MAELL
But when the truth can help so many, surely,
we're honour-bound to spread it in the most
aggressive way we can.

XENA
One that includes killing children?

Maell gets ready to draw his sword.

ANTEUS
No.

Maell draws his sword anyway.

ANTEUS
I said no!

Anteus holds his head in pain and stumbles.

XENA
You better sit down. You don't look well.

Anteus moves to sit and Maell helps him into a chair.

MAELL
My father's health, like everything else here, is
not your concern. Now, just give us Icus and be
on your way.

ANTEUS
You have Icus? How is he?

XENA
Confused. He doesn't understand how his
father could love him one day and wanna kill
him the next.

ANTEUS
I don't want to kill him. Surely, he knows that.

XENA
Then, why are you doing this?

ANTEUS
Because God has commanded it.

XENA
God? Which god? Ares? Or Zeus?

MAELL
There is only one true Supreme Deity. The
Almighty God of my father. The one whose voice
speaks only to him.

XENA
Uh-huh. So this all-powerful deity, he told you
to kill an innocent boy? And I thought Ares was
cold. Why does he want you to do it?

MAELL
Our Holy One is not accountable to anyone, let
alone a non-believer.

XENA
Then you'd better pray he has a change of heart.
Because, until he does, Icus stays with me.

Xena moves and Maell draws his sword once more. Anteus stands and holds Maell back.

ANTEUS
She goes unharmed. I will pray for guidance,
but until I get it, there will be no more violence.
(to Xena) Of any kind.

Xena leaves.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Maell stands before his followers.

MAELL
She's gotta die.

ZEALOT #1
But how? You said yourself, Anteus forbids it!

MAELL
My father is a wise man, but also an aging man,
in failing health. No doubt, he doesn't see Xena
for what she truly is. A trial, sent to us, by the
Almighty, to test our resolve. Can you doubt it?
All you have to do is look at her to see she's
unnatural, an affront to God. A woman with the
strength of ten men? Out in the world alone, save
only her scrawny little companion? It's a
complete abomination! And to think, this freak of
nature has my brother, a boy so innocent and
pure, that the All-powerful One has called him to
his side at the tender age of twelve. How do
you think the Supreme Deity feels about that?
Leaving his chosen one in the hands of a woman
whose gods are as primitive as she is!

EXTRA
Xena must die!

EXTRAS Yeah! Yeah!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cave.

GABRIELLE
Then suddenly, the soldiers burst out of the
wooden horse, surprising everyone, and uh-

She sees Icus isn't really listening.

GABRIELLE
-and then the--the Trojans turned into growling
lions, with blood dripping from their lips. And
then, oh, the Greeks, they brought in an army of,
oh, fire-breathing, tin-headed Hydras. And
this is very interesting, isn't it? Right?!

ICUS
Oh, yeah. Right.

GABRIELLE
Huh! You haven't heard a word I said, have you,
hmm?

ICUS
Sorry, you tell a great story. It's--it's just I can't
stop thinking about my father, a--and wondering
why he'd wanna-

GABRIELLE
Oh, hey, look, there's no use in speculating.
We'll know more when Xena gets here. I just
hope she brings some food. I'm famished.

ICUS
Oh, I've got food.

GABRIELLE
You do?

ICUS
My mother packed it for me. I've got apples and
pears and cheese and some-

GABRIELLE
Is this nutbread? Ah, yum! I haven't had this
since I was home.

ICUS
Help yourself. I'm not hungry.

GABRIELLE
Oh, no, I couldn't. I...well, if you're sure. Hah-hah!
Yeah. You don't know what you're missing.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Zora is before a shire of Hestia.

ZORA
Hestia, Goddess of Hearth and Home. It is many
years since I've honoured you. But, please, hear
my prayer. Protect my son, Icus.

Xena enters.

XENA
Don't worry, Icus is safe.

ZORA
You know my son? Where is he? Who
are you?

XENA
My name is Xena. Icus is staying with me and a
friend until we can sort this thing out. That's why
I wanted to talk to you.

ZORA
But how did you know I was here?

XENA
Where else would a woman who loves her son
enough to defy her husband go? A shrine to the
patron goddess of families.

ZORA
If Anteus knew I'd broken with his Gods and
gone back to the old ones, it would kill him.

XENA
Not a tough choice, seeing his God wants to
kill Icus. How can he believe in a God who
needs to murder children?

ZORA
Well, he never has before. And what's even
stranger, not two months ago, our Supreme One
told Anteus to break with tradition, and make
Icus our next leader, not our oldest son, Maell.

XENA
Does Maell know this?

ZORA
I don't know. Lately, Anteus has seemed so secretive
and strange. I'm afraid he confides more in
his own God than he does in me. That's why
you have to try and reach him, Xena, please.
To kill a child, it can't be right, no matter
what god you follow.

XENA
I'll talk to Anteus. It's probably better if we went
separately. It might not be good for your health
to be seen with me.

ZORA
Oh, wait, wait, I have a little more nutbread. Would
you take it to Icus? I packed some in his sack,
but, well you know how children are about nutbread.
And, Maell had this one specially made, so,
I thought...

XENA
Maell had this made?

ZORA
Uh-huh. It's one of those special treats he's been
bringing Anteus lately. Still I don't think he'd mind
Icus having some, do you?

Xena smells the nutbread. Zora turns to see Xena gone.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena rides Argo.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena runs into the cave and finds Gabrielle lying unconscious on the ground.

END OF ACT ONE



ACT TWO

Xena runs to Gabrielle.

XENA
Gabrielle. Gabrielle, can you hear me? Wake up.

Xena pulls open one of Gabrielle's eyes and she looks about.

GABRIELLE
Uh-h-h-h-h-h.

Her eye sees Xena and she smiles.

GABRIELLE
Ah.

XENA
Here. You all right?

GABRIELLE
I'm great. I--I can't see, but, I'm good.

XENA
Try using both eyes.

Gabrielle opens her other eye.

GABRIELLE
Oh, ah, yeah, that's better, uh-huh.

XENA
Think you can stand?

GABRIELLE
You mean, I'm not?

XENA
Come on!

She helps Gabrielle up.

XENA
There you go.

GABRIELLE
By the gods!

XENA
What is it?

Gabrielle falls to the ground.

GABRIELLE
You are beautiful!

XENA
Uh-huh. And you are drugged.
Xena helps her up again.

XENA
With henbane, if I'm not mistaken, so the effects
should be temporary. But we've got to get you...

Gabrielle starts moving around, almost dancing.

XENA
...walking. Come back here. Gabrielle, I need
you to concentrate.

GABRIELLE
Okay, uh, yep. But I think this is a big waste of
time, because I have been walking since I was one.

XENA
This is not about walking, Gabrielle. It's about
Icus. You do remember Icus, don't you?

GABRIELLE
Of course I remember Icus.

XENA
Good. Do you know where he is?

GABRIELLE
Where?

XENA
No, I'm asking you. Where's Icus?

GABRIELLE
I don't know.

She looks around the cave.

GABRIELLE
Icus! Icus!

She whistles.

GABRIELLE
I lost Icus!

She sits on a rock.

GABRIELLE
I lost him. I lost Icus! (crying) I lost Icus!

XENA
Gabrielle, calm down.

Gabrielle hugs Xena.

XENA
Look, I'm sure you didn't lose him. He probably
just saw you pass out and went for help. By the
way, how much nutbread did Icus eat?

GABRIELLE
None! He, oh, you know, I really wanted
to share, but it was just too good! And he said
he wasn't hungry. And, then, the next thing I knew,
it was just gone! Like Icus!

Gabrielle falls down crying.

XENA
It's okay.

Xena stands and takes a step forward.

XENA
There's no sign of a struggle. My guess is he
went to get his mother. Aside from us, she's
his only ally.

Gabrielle pops up in front of Xena.
GABRIELLE
What are we waiting for? Let's go! The rest of
you, follow me!

Xena looks to where the 'men' are, but there's no one.

XENA
Hold it!

GABRIELLE
At ease! (to Xena) Yeah!

XENA
I've got a better idea. I'll go and get Icus,
while you and the...others try to, um-

GABRIELLE
Work on our song? Mmm, yeah. Just between
you and me, the altos are slightly flat.

XENA
Perfect. Gabrielle, don't let anyone leave the
cave. Understand? Stay here, and wait for me
to get back. Have I made myself clear?

GABRIELLE
Uh, no. You're a little fuzzy around the
edges, so you keep trying, you'll get there.

Gabrielle moves to the stones.

GABRIELLE
Now I want everyone this side of the cave. We're
gonna keep working 'til we get it right! And I've
got all day. So, let's start with the top! Are
you ready? You!

Xena runs out.

GABRIELLE
You're a tenor. Get away from the sopranos! Hey,
hey! You're standing like a stone. Relax.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gabrielle rides Argo.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Icus' home.

ICUS
Hurry, mother. I think she's really sick. She started
talking all strange and then she fell asleep, and
I couldn't wake her!

ZORA All right, I'm coming. But I'll be no good to this
Gabrielle without my medicines, now, will I?
Here, go get me some bitterwort from the garden.

Icus leaves.

ZORA
Oh, oh, Icus, I need some haleanthus, too. Icus?!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Zora steps outside.

ZORA
Icus, do you hear?!

Zora sees Icus caught by Maell's followers.

ZORA
No! No! No! No!

The men push her down.

ICUS
Mother! Don't hurt her! I'll go with you! Just, don't
hurt her, please!

SENIOR ZEALOT
Make sure she stays here.

All but one man leave.

ZEALOT GUARD
Don't give me any trouble!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena rides Argo. Men follow.

EXTRA
Close in behind.

Xena sees a blockade ahead of her.

EXTRA
Come on!

XENA
Yah! Yah! Yah!

Xena stops Argo at the blockade and flips over.

EXTRA
Oh.

EXTRA
What'll we do now?

XENA
Hmm.

Xena runs off.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gabrielle conducts the rocks.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Outside Icus'. The Zealot Guard hears something. While he looks away, Zora sneaks up and attacks him with a large shovel. He takes away the shovel and gets ready to hit her.

ZEALOT GUARD
Why, you. I-

Xena enters and grabs his neck.

XENA
That looks mighty painful. You really oughtta
see a doctor about that.

He loses consciousness.

XENA
Are you all right?

ZORA
Don't bother with me. The zealots took Icus.
You've got to stop them.

XENA
Where? They took him where?

ZORA
To the mountain; to Anteus.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Anteus waits at the altar.

ANTEUS
Please God. I beg you God.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Icus is led up the mountain. Xena moves with them on a higher ledge. Xena throws a rock.

SENIOR ZEALOT
What was that? You and you, go!

Two men run off. While the men look around, Xena lassos Icus and pulls him up to her.

XENA
Shhh!

The men come back.

ZEALOT #1
We couldn't find anything.

SENIOR ZEALOT
It's some sort of trick. Keep moving! Hurry!

They turn.

EXTRA
Where's the boy?

EXTRA
He's gone! Icus is gone!

There is the sound of thunder.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gabrielle conducts the rocks.

GABRIELLE
Wow! Great percussion! Now, from the top!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Thunder. The followers run.

XENA
And I thought our gods were harsh.

Xena and Icus move on.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Anteus is at the altar.

ANTEUS
Please, please, almighty God. You alone know
how I have struggled to follow you always. I have
given you my life! To use however you will.
And it is yours even now, to take or leave as
you choose. But, my son. Please, don't take Icus.

Maell's voice is heard as he pretends to be god.

MAELL
How dare you deny me anything? Either
sacrifice Icus before the next sun, or I will
turn my face upon you and your people forever.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena and Icus hear Maell.

MAELL
Prove your faith to me, Anteus. Prove it to me
above all things.

END OF ACT TWO



ACT THREE

Greece.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Anteus lies with his head on the altar. Xena and Icus run up.

ICUS
Father! Father! What's wrong with him?

XENA
The strain must've been too much for him.
Anteus. Anteus!

ICUS
Father, it's me!

Anteus wakes up.

ANTEUS
What happened. Who-

XENA
Don't try to speak.

Xena and Icus each put one of Anteus' arms over their shoulders.

XENA
You're very ill. We'll get you home.

ANTEUS
You heard it, didn't you? The voice. You heard it.

XENA
Yes, but unlike you, I don't believe everything I
hear. This way.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
The cave. Gabrielle yells at a rock.

GABRIELLE
What did you say? I asked him. What did you
say? That's what I thought. Thank you! I gotta go.

Gabrielle walks back, then comes back and points at one of the rocks.

GABRIELLE
You stay here!

EXTRA
Oh-h-h-h-h!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena helps Anteus along.

XENA
We'll stop and rest a while. No sense in killing
ourselves. So to speak.

ANTEUS
You don't think much of us, do you?

XENA
I don't think much of your god or any god who'd
wanna kill a child. But then, I'm not sure he does.
It'll ease your breathing. Lean forward.

Xena uses pressure points on Anteus' neck.

XENA
Anteus, I know your mind is hazy right now, but,
did you ever stop to wonder why he'd ask
you to do such a thing?

ANTEUS
Every waking moment of every day since it
happened. I keep wondering, is it me? Have I
done something wrong, and he's punishing me?
Or is this some kind of a--a test, to see how
far I'll go to prove my faith? (to Icus) Or, is he
angry with me because he knows how much I
love you? Or does his love demand the best,
the brightest? You see, it--it never stops.

XENA
You can stop it. You're still the leader here.
You don't have to do this.

ANTEUS
You're asking me to deny my god.

XENA
I am asking you to spare your son!

ANTEUS
And teach him what?! That faith is just for those
times when it's convenient to believe? That--that
when it gets hard, and--and--and it hurts to keep
faith, y--y--you let go, until it gets easy again?
What's the good in sparing his life if I rob him
of the very thing that makes it worth living?

XENA
You know, I'll stop you.

ANTEUS
I know you'll try. God help me, deep down inside,
part of me hopes you succeed.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Icus' home.

ICUS
Mother!

ZORA
Oh!

ICUS
Mother!

Icus and Zora hug.

ZORA
Icus, you're safe! Anteus! What is it? What's wrong?

XENA
Nothing that some rest and a change of diet
won't cure. He's being drugged. That's why he
seems so strange to you lately.

ZORA
Drugged? But I don't understand. Who'd want to..

Someone knocks on the door. Xena motions with her head for Zora to open it. She moves to it.

ZORA
Y--yes? Who's there?

GABRIELLE
You don't know me. I'm looking for a woman
named Xena, Warrior Princess!

Xena opens the door and Gabrielle runs in. Xena grabs her by the ear and pulls her back.

GABRIELLE
Ah! No! Ow!

XENA
What are you doing here? I thought I told you to
wait for me at the cave.

GABRIELLE
I did, and then this rock told me I had to
come find you.

XENA
The rock spoke to you.

GABRIELLE
Oh, yeah, I mean, his voice was a little gravely,
but I understood.

Gabrielle runs up to Anteus and Zora.

GABRIELLE
Right.

XENA
You see, even she's hearing voices-

Gabrielle pokes a pillow with her staff.

XENA
-and all because she ate some of the drugged
food meant for you.

Icus looks out the window to see Maell and his followers. He runs out. Xena follows.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena follows Icus outside.

XENA
Where are you going? What's the matter? What
is it, Icus? Come on, I can't help you if you won't
tell me what's wrong? What is it?

ICUS
You! It's God's command I should die but as
long as you're free, we can't obey him.

Xena opens the doors and runs inside to see Maell and all his followers, Maell holding a dagger on Gabrielle.

MAELL
One move and she dies.

ANTEUS
Maell, what are you doing?

MAELL
Quiet, father. The time for peaceful ways has passed.

GABRIELLE
You know, he was just outside.

MAELL
Silence!

XENA
All right, you've made your point. Now, let her go,
and I'll come with you.

GABRIELLE
You know, she gets to go everywhere. You
could take me.

MAELL
I don't bargain with savages.

XENA
And what are you? Drugging your father. Trying
to kill your own brother.

MAELL
Enough! One more move and I'll
kill her, I swear!

Gabrielle scoffs. Icus runs in.

ICUS
No! Stop! There's no need to hurt them!

MAELL
Then I won't. As long as they cooperate.

XENA
What do you want us to do?

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena is thrown into the well outside. She catches the rope holding the bucket. Gabrielle is thrown down, but Xena catches her.

GABRIELLE
That's a long way down.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Top of the well.

GABRIELLE
Don't let go.

XENA
Just don't let go of my hand.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Icus takes Anteus' hand on the mountain.

ICUS
Come, father. God's waiting.

Icus leads Anteus along.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena holds onto Gabrielle in the well.

END OF ACT THREE



ACT FOUR

The top of the well.

XENA
Go ahead, climb up my body. All right?

GABRIELLE
Yeah.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gabrielle climbs up Xena and holds onto her waist.

GABRIELLE
All right. Okay, now what?

XENA
Now, for the fun part.

Xena pulls the second rope, pulling her and Gabrielle up.

GABRIELLE
Xena, ah, how could you do this? Did I hurt you?

XENA
No, no. Lovin' every moment of it.

GABRIELLE
How did we get in here, anyway? And, why does
my head feel like it was kicked by a centaur?

XENA
Does it? Good. The henbane must be wearing off.

GABRIELLE
Henbane?

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
The log above the well holding the rope cracks.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena drops slightly and elbows Gabrielle in the head.

GABRIELLE
Ah!

XENA
Long story.

Xena keeps going.

GABRIELLE
Yeah, well, if we fall, tell it to me on the way down.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Icus and Anteus move along.

ICUS
I couldn't let others die protecting me, father,
not when my death is part of God's plan. I--Isn't
that right? Father, let me help you.

ANTEUS
No, no, no, it's all, it's all right. Lead the way.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
In the well. Xena pulls them up.

GABRIELLE
Xena?

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
The log cracks further.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena looks up in worry and Gabrielle holds the rope tighter.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Icus and Anteus move along.

ANTEUS
Icus, wait!

ICUS
Father, what is it? Are you ill again?

ANTEUS
No. I can't do this, Icus. I know what I said about
faith but, it's too hard. It's too much to ask! I'm
old! (to Icus) I can't.

Anteus starts to walk off when the thunder sounds, hurting his head. He stumbles.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
A sheet of metal is pounded.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Anteus is in pain.

ICUS
Father, it's okay. Really, it is.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Maell stands with the sheet of metal and listens to Anteus.

ANTEUS
No, our god is a benevolent master.

Maell bangs the sheet.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Anteus is in pain.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Maell looks down at him.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Anteus gets up.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Maell watches.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Anteus moves to Icus and the two keep walking.

ICUS
What is heaven like, father?

ANTEUS
I don't know, son, but it must be glorious.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena pulls her and Gabrielle up.

GABRIELLE
My stomach doesn't feel so good.

XENA
Don't even think about it.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
The log breaks further.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena pulls.

XENA
We're almost there. Almost there.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
The log breaks. Xena pulls herself up and Gabrielle crawls over Xena to safety. Xena gets out of the well.

GABRIELLE
What's next?

'Thunder.'

XENA
Come on.

Xena and Gabrielle move.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Icus prepares the altar while Anteus prays. The 'thunder' continues. Icus touches Anteus' shoulder and the two move to the altar. Icus hands Anteus the twisted dagger. Anteus reluctantly takes it and Icus lies on the altar.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Maell bangs the sheet.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena and Gabrielle move up the mountain.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Anteus looks up.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena and Gabrielle move up the mountain.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Altar.

ICUS
I love you, father.

Maell is heard.

MAELL
Anteus, hear me and obey.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Maell holds up a megaphone made of metal.

MAELL
I am your one, true god.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Altar.

MAELL
The one who should come first in your heart.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Maell's hideout.

MAELL
Yet, you love Icus more. You always have.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Anteus is near tears.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena runs up to Maell's hideout. A rope bridge separates them.

MAELL
Therefore, you must obey this command.

XENA
Tell him to stop. Make him let Icus go.

MAELL
Kill him!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Altar. Maell's command echoes three times.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Maell throws away the megaphone.

XENA
(to Gabrielle) Get that thing! Try to stop them!

MAELL
You're too late! It's already begun!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Altar. Anteus kisses Icus on the forehead.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena starts to cross over the rope bridge which is high above a raging river.

MAELL
You'll never stop the will of our god.

XENA
Killing Icus isn't the will of any god. It's your idea.
Drugging your father simply helped convince him
that your voice was real.

MAELL
You know, for a pagan non-believer, you're really
quite bright.

Maell draws his sword.

MAELL
Pity.

Maell cuts one of the handles of the rope bridge. Xena has one left.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Anteus covers Icus' eyes with a cloth.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gabrielle tries to get the megaphone.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena is on the rope bridge.

XENA
Your schemes won't work forever.

MAELL
It doesn't need to. You see, with Icus gone, father
will have to make me leader. There'll be no one
left to stand in my way. No one.

Maell cuts the other handle of the bridge. Xena has nothing to hold onto. She teeters on the rope beneath her feet.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Anteus is at the altar.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gabrielle tries to get the megaphone.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Anteus picks up the dagger.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena moves across the bridge. Maell watches.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Anteus holds up the dagger to the air.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Maell and Xena.

MAELL
May our god show you mercy, for I never will.

Maell moves to cut the rope. As his blade swings down, Xena pushes down with her legs, bringing down the rope. Maell misses and teeters at the edge of the cliff. Xena flips to Maell's side with her yell. Maell falls, but grabs a hold of the cut handle.

XENA
Take my hand.

MAELL
Let God's will be done.

Maell lets go and drops.

MAELL
Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

Xena runs off.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gabrielle reaches for the megaphone.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena runs.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Icus waits.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena runs.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Anteus gets ready with the dagger.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gabrielle gets the megaphone, but loses it again.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Anteus brings the dagger up.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena runs.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gabrielle gets the megaphone.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Anteus brings the dagger up.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena runs, then stops and throws her chakram.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Anteus holds the dagger, ready to bring it down.

EXTRA (voice-over)
Hold Anteus.

Anteus does not bring down his arm, and so the chakram flies by, doing no harm (Xena having aimed for Anteus if his arm had come down).

EXTRA (voice-over)
Let your son live. Your faith is enough.

Anteus throws away the dagger. Icus and Anteus hug.

ICUS
Father! Oh, father!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena catches the chakram and runs to the altar.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Icus and Anteus hug.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Anteus, Zora and Icus wave good-bye to Xena and Gabrielle.

ZORA
Bye, Xena.

ICUS
Thank you.

XENA
Take care!

Gabrielle and Xena move along.

GABRIELLE
Do you think you can talk any louder? I don't think
they heard you on Mount Olympus. Unless, of
course, you're trying to convert to the one
true god.

XENA
One god. Although, you've gotta admit, it's a pretty
interesting theory.

Xena knocks on Gabrielle's head.

XENA
How's the head?

GABRIELLE
Hey!

Gabrielle slaps Xena in the gut.

XENA
Whoa.

Xena holds up her hands, threatening a pinch move.

GABRIELLE
Look, do me a favour, okay? If you ever see me
take a drug again, just kill me.

XENA
You've got a deal. Still, for someone high on
henbane, you do a pretty fair voice of god routine.

GABRIELLE
What's that supposed to mean?

XENA
Your voice of god impersonation. Not bad, although,
you could improve your timing. You almost cost
Anteus an arm.

GABRIELLE
Wait! Are you saying that you heard it, too? The
voice! And here, I--I thought it was the henbane.

XENA
Very funny. Although, it wouldn't have been if you
had taken much longer getting that loud-talking thing.

GABRIELLE
Well, that's just it, I never did get the loud-talking
thing. I mean, I tried. I even had it in my hand,
but I lost it.

XENA
That can't be. I mean, come on. If you didn't do
it, then who...

Xena and Gabrielle look up.

END OF ACT FOUR

STARRING
Lucy Lawless as Xena
Renee O'Connor as Gabrielle

GUEST CAST
David Ackroyd as Anteus
David de Lautour as Icus
Karl Urban as Maell
Teresa Woodham as Zora
Sean Ashton-Peach as Zealot #1
Graham Smith as Senior Zealot
Jack Dacey as Brawny Zealot
Peter Ford as Zealot Guard

Written by: Chris Manheim
Directed by: Michael Levine

Disclaimer: No Unrelenting or Severely Punishing Deities were harmed during the production of this motion picture.