Chariots of War


TEASER

Xena and Gabrielle walk along in a tavern.

GABRIELLE
And so, Zeus, in his appreciation, turned the two
lovers into oak trees. And then do you know
what happened?

XENA
Somebody built a boat out of them?

GABRIELLE
No, their branches intertwined, and they spent
the rest of their days in each other's embrace.

XENA
What's the point?

GABRIELLE
Come on, Xena. I believe everyone will find their
tree in the forest someday. Even you.

XENA
I find the strongest trees in the forest stand alone.

GABRIELLE
You don't have to be strong all the time, Xena.
Sometimes it's good for the soul to be soft.

XENA
Oh, yeah. Look, I'm gonna ride up ahead and
see if we can ford the Meleatus River. Otherwise,
we'll have to double back two days. Let's find
some place you can wait for me.

GABRIELLE
What's wrong with this place?

EXTRA
Hello, beautiful.

He belches.

GABRIELLE
Another place sounds good.

EXTRA
Come on blondie, tell me a story.

He belches.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena rides off.

GABRIELLE
Don't forget about me.

XENA
I won't.

Xena rides away.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Villagers work to re-build a barn.

EXTRA
Hang on! A little more. Now, lift! All right.

Argolis hits himself with his hammer.

ARGOLIS
Oww!

DARIUS
Are you all right? Hold the peg like this. See,
and you won't hit your hand.

LYKUS
Dad?

DARIUS
What?

LYKUS
How come those riders destroyed Tynus' barn?

ARGOLIS
Does that mean we're going back to Troy?

DARIUS
No. No, no matter what happens, this is our
home now.

LYKUS
Told you!

TYNUS
Darius. How's it coming with the little carpenters?

DARIUS
Oh, don't you worry. We'll have your barn up in
no time.

TYNUS
Good.

DARIUS
Sarita, let's go cut some more boards.

They move off. Sarita sees a chariot and tugs at her father's clothes.

DARIUS
What is it, Sarita?

She points, but the hill now hides the chariot.

DARIUS
You know, there's nothing there, honey.

EXTRA
You got it?

EXTRA
Yes.

She looks again and the chariot comes over the hill. Once more she tugs on her father's clothes.

DARIUS
What is it this time?

SPHAERUS
Go!

DARIUS
Take cover!

The warriors move to tear down the barn. Xena rides in and looks over the situation.

DARIUS
Argolis, where's your brother?

ARGOLIS
I don't know.

DARIUS
Go, go, go!

Xena rides in to help. Darius is hit. Xena ululates. She takes out a man on horseback and several on foot, while still on Argo. Lykus is hiding in the barn that is about to fall.

ARGOLIS
Dad?

Xena rides in and saves Lykus just before the barn falls on him.

XENA
Gotcha!

DARIUS
Thank you. Who are you?

XENA
A friend.

SPHAERUS
Archers, fire!

Three arrows are shot at Xena. She catches two, but the third plants itself into her stomach and she falls from Argo.

END OF TEASER



ACT ONE

Darius lies Xena down. He takes Xena's weapons.

DARIUS
I'll take these.

XENA
No, I need them.

DARIUS
Not here. Not in my house. I've never done this before.

XENA
It's all right, I have. Put a poker in the fire.

Darius goes and the children come in to watch.

XENA
Boo!

DARIUS
Everyone, out, out!

ARGOLIS
Do we have to?

DARIUS
Yes.

ARGOLIS
We always miss everything good.

They leave.

XENA
So, who was I fighting back there?

DARIUS
They were the men of Cycnus, a warlord. He's
laid claim to our lands.

XENA
Looks like he was doing more than that.

She looks at her wound.

XENA
The arrow didn't pass through.

DARIUS
Ah, good.

XENA
No, it's bad. You'll have to push it through.

DARIUS
I don't think I can do that.

XENA
Do it!

He does, and Xena hisses in pain.

DARIUS
Now, break the arrow head. Pull out the shaft.

He does, and Xena cries out in pain.

DARIUS
Oh, thank the gods that's over.

XENA
Not quite. Get the poker.

He brings it to her.

DARIUS
Wait, uh, you're not gonna just-

Xena puts the poker into the wound, hissing in pain. She hands it back to Darius and loses consciousness.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sphaerus fights a warrior and wins.

CYCNUS
Leave us.

The room is cleared and Cycnus steps up to fight with a staff. They battle as they talk.

SPHAERUS
Hello, Father.

CYCNUS
You're growing more powerful, my son. Ares
will be pleased.

SPHAERUS
My warrior education is complete. I am ready to
take your place.

CYCNUS
Ha, ha. No, there's still something missing. The
desire to kill.

SPHAERUS
You're wrong. Today, I killed a great warrior in
the valley.

CYCNUS
Who?

SPHAERUS
She fell before I could ask her name.

CYCNUS
A woman! Ha, ha. You think that would impress
the God of War?

SPHAERUS
But she was a-

CYCNUS
The honour of keeping Ares' horses falls to the
mightiest warrior. He will not choose you merely
because you're my son. You must prove yourself worthy.

SPHAERUS
I am.

CYCNUS
Why haven't you conquered this valley yet? These
farmers dishonour the God of War with their
peaceful ways. Strike them down. If your brother
Stentor were alive-

SPHAERUS
I am not my brother.

CYCNUS
Every time I see you in battle, I'm reminded of that.

Sphearus knocks Cycnus' staff away.

SPHAERUS
Now, am I worthy of Ares?

Cycnus swings him around and holds him in a headlock.

CYCNUS
Ha, ha! Almost.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Lykus and Argolis move into Xena's room.

LYKUS
Did you see the way she bashed up those guys?
Zing pow! Do you think she's gonna die, Argolis?

ARGOLIS
If she does, I get her horse.

LYKUS
Do not.

ARGOLIS
Do to.

Xena opens her eyes.

ARGOLIS
I'm the eldest. Besides, you're too little to ride.

LYKUS
Am not.

ARGOLIS
Are too.

Xena sits up.

XENA
I don't know what you guys are arguing about.
It'll take more than an arrow to get rid of me.

LYKUS
Father, she's awake. She's awake.

Lykus runs out of the room, calling his father. Xena lies back down.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gabrielle waits in a tavern.

GABRIELLE
I'm sure she'll be here any minute. She's very
dependable. Of course, she also takes a lot of risks.

HOMESTEADER
You gonna have a drink or not?

GABRIELLE
Yes, thanks.

HOMESTEADER
It's not a gift.

GABRIELLE
What? Oh, hah. I have money. Actually, I'm not
a big drinker. Do you have any water? You have
a very nice establishment. How late are you open?

HOMESTEADER
Late.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena is sitting in bed up with the children gathered around her.

XENA
So this giant had me trapped in a boxed canyon.

ARGOLIS
Did he try to step on you?

XENA
Yeah, sure he tried, but I was ready for him. I
jammed this big-

Darius clears his throat.

XENA
Um, feather-

ARGOLIS
You mean, you tickled his foot with a feather?

XENA
Well, not just a feather. See, you gotta remember,
these guys have really big feet. I had to use the
whole goose.

The children laugh and so does Darius.

ARGOLIS
You got an exciting life.

LYKUS
Do you travel with your family?

XENA
I don't have a family.

ARGOLIS
I wish I could ride with you.

XENA
No, you don't. The road is a hard place to live.
Not knowing where you'll sleep, what you'll eat.
I don't often share a meal with such good company.

DARIUS
Neither do we.

Xena looks at Sarita.

XENA
Hey, what's your name?

ARGOLIS
She doesn't talk.

XENA
No?

DARIUS
Not since we lost her mother.

There's a knock at the door. Darius opens it to see Tynus.

DARIUS
Tynus.

TYNUS
We have to talk. Why is that woman still here?
She's not one of us, Darius. She fights. You've
seen that with your own eyes. Her kind make
enemies. She'll have to leave your home.

DARIUS
No, she saved my son. She's a guest in my
home until she's well.

TYNUS
There's talk, Darius. Your house has been without
a woman for a long time. But, but this is not the
answer. By keeping her here, you break your oath.

DARIUS
What oath have I broken, Tynus?

TYNUS
To live only for peace.

DARIUS
To care for a wounded woman is not an act of war.

TYNUS
She lied to you. Other people have heard of this
woman. She's no warrior. She's a murderer.
A killer.

DARIUS
As soon as she's able to ride, she'll leave.

TYNUS
Good. You know, I hope for your sake she
recovers quickly.

Darius looks to Xena's bed, but she is gone, having heard what was being said about her.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena is in the stable, saddling Argo.

DARIUS
You can't be thinking of leaving in your condition.

XENA
I left a friend back in the last village. She depends
on me.

DARIUS
Your friend can take care of herself for a few days.
You need more rest. Look, if what Tynus said is-

XENA
What Tynus said is true. I've done some horrible
things in my past.

DARIUS
Your past is your past. The Xena I know risked her
life to save my son. That's who I let into my home.

XENA
And I appreciate it, but it's time for me to move on.

She picks up the saddle, but then hunches over, crying out in pain.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Warriors ride in with torches.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Darius tries to help Xena.

XENA
It's all right.

DARIUS
Are you so brave that you fear someone caring
for you?

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
The soldiers ride to Darius' house and throw their torches on the silo.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena and Darius hear horses.

DARIUS
What's that?

XENA
Trouble.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
They run outside.

DARIUS
The silo! Our food!

He starts throwing water on the blaze. Xena looks down the path the warriors came from.

END OF ACT ONE



ACT TWO

Gabrielle enters the tavern.

EXTRA
There he is!

GABRIELLE
It's a bit early for a celebration. Can I have some
water, please?

UGLY RUFFIAN
Let me buy you a mug of ale, but then you'll owe me.

Gabrielle laughs.

GABRIELLE
How generous. Of course, I have to decline. What
would people think? I mean, me a--a young,
innocent girl, taking gifts from a swarthy stranger?
Hmm! The gossip alone would send this town reeling.

UGLY RUFFIAN
Is that "yes"?

GABRIELLE
Well, not in the customary sense of the word,
but maybe you could help me. I'm looking for
a friend of mine.

UGLY RUFFIAN
I can be your friend.

GABRIELLE
I'm serious, and you'd better back off before I
find her. It's Xena.

UGLY RUFFIAN
The Warrior Princess?

GABRIELLE
Yeah.

UGLY RUFFIAN
Well, I like it. I could be a friend to both of you.

GABRIELLE
And I'm looking for my boyfriend. Big, strong,
jealous type, huh, and there he is now. Hmm!
He's resting, after polishing his giant, lethal
sword collection.

It's Sphaerus.

UGLY RUFFIAN
He's not your boyfriend.

GABRIELLE
Oh, you don't think so?

UGLY RUFFIAN
No, I don't.

Gabrielle walks over, kisses Sphaerus and sits in his lap.

GABRIELLE
Pretend you know me.

SPHAERUS
Ah, no problem.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena looks for her weapons.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Darius and Tynus talk outside.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena continues to look for her weapons when Darius walks in.

DARIUS
What are you doing?

XENA
Where are my weapons?

DARIUS
We don't need you to fight.

XENA
Who else, Darius? Someone has to stop them.

DARIUS
No, I mean, we don't want you to fight. Tynus
just told me they're giving us a peace offer.
We're meeting them in town.

XENA
Is burning the silo a peace offer? Don't be foolish.
Cycnus only respects power.

DARIUS
Xena, I went to war once. I went to war. I lost
everything I was fighting for.

XENA
I am sorry, but you can't make peace with war
makers. I know these people, Darius. I was these people.

DARIUS
But Xena, something changed you. Maybe we
can change them. Can't you see that this is our
last hope before bloodshed? It's worth a try, isn't
it? Please, for the sake of peace.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
The tavern.

SPHAERUS
So, um, how long've we been seeing each other, ah...

GABRIELLE
Gabrielle. And you fell madly in love with me
the moment we met.

SPHAERUS
Well, it's no wonder. The--the way you kiss. Uh,
what brings you to this place?

GABRIELLE
Ah, I'm looking for my best friend. Maybe you've
seen her? Six feet tall, dark hair, lots of leather.
She fights like the Harpies in a bad mood. Her
name's Xena.

Sphaerus realizes this was the woman who he had hit with the arrow.

SPHAERUS
Ah, no, uh, sorry. This friend of yours, you were,
you were close?

GABRIELLE
Are you kidding? Like this. I don't know what I'm
worried about. If anyone can take care of herself,
it's Xena. So what do you do?

SPHAERUS
I, uh, I work for my father. I took over for my brother
after he died in battle. But, he makes me do
things I never thought I would. Things I regret.

GABRIELLE
Mmm, I can understand that. My mother always
wanted me to get married and have kids. And I
remember, telling her that I'd always be grateful
for the way that she raised me, but she couldn't
expect me to pay for that with my future.

SPHAERUS
That's um, that's very insightful.

GABRIELLE
It's a gift. Anyway, I came to a point in my life
where I had to make a choice. And I thought
about who I really was, and I made it.

SPHAERUS
Well, look, um I better go. Um, maybe I'll see
you around sometime?

He leaves and Gabrielle smiles.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena enters in full armour.

XENA
I'm ready.

Darius sighs.

DARIUS
I-

XENA
What?

DARIUS
I just don't think that you should wear...this, to
the meeting.

XENA
Well, I don't have anything else.

DARIUS
Come with me. Come on.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Darius pulls out a chest, and takes out a blue dress from it.

DARIUS
This should fit you.

XENA
I've never worn anything like this before.

DARIUS
It belonged to my wife.

XENA
I couldn't. It wouldn't be right.

DARIUS
Well, it's either this or the warrior outfit. I just
don't think the settlers will react very well to that.

XENA
Well, I don't think a dress is gonna change their
attitude toward me.

DARIUS
Ah, you'd be surprised by the power of this dress.
She was wearing it the first time I saw her.

XENA
Even more reason why I shouldn't wear it. I don't
want to spoil a beautiful memory.

DARIUS
Xena, my wife's memory lives on in my heart.
I want you to wear it.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena puts on the dress and looks in the mirror. The wind blows.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sphaerus enters his father's tent.

SPHAERUS
You called for me, Father?

CYCNUS
I've made things easy for you, Sphaerus.

SPHAERUS
How's that?

CYCNUS
I've arranged a meeting, to talk peace with these
simple farmers.

SPHAERUS
You mean it? We're gonna have a council of peace?

CYCNUS
And I want you to go to the meeting and talk to them.

SPHAERUS
Definitely, everything can be worked out.

CYCNUS
And kill them all. Make me proud of you, my son.
Make Ares proud, huh?

Cycnus looks over to a warrior in the room.

CYCNUS
Make sure he kills them all.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Darius'

LYKUS
Dad, since we're meeting the men who burned
our grain, does that mean we're friends with
them now?

DARIUS
Not quite. But still, we're hoping for peace, and
maybe friendship.

ARGOLIS
It might require a sacrifice. So, we've decided
to give them Lykus.

LYKUS
What?!

DARIUS
Argolis! Don't taunt your brother.

ARGOLIS
But, it's so much fun.

Xena enters wearing the dress. Sarita runs over to her. Darius smiles.

DARIUS
Well, it looks like we're ready to go to the meeting.

They head out.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
At the meeting.

SPHAERUS
Uh, while we wait for the others to arrive, I'd like
to say how, how happy I am we're going to be
able to settle this issue, once and for all.

Xena, Darius and the children enter.

DARIUS
Now you see, I told you we could trust them.

TYNUS
What's she doing here?

DARIUS
I invited her.

TYNUS
We need peace-makers, not warriors. She could
ruin everything.

DARIUS
I thought that-

XENA
It's all right. I'll wait back here.

She moves away.

SPHAERUS
Uh, the violence in our valley is unnecessary.
We have to learn to live together. I'm--I'm so glad
we can meet like this and talk over our differences.

DARIUS
I think this is gonna work.

SPHAERUS
My father has a--a solution. And it's--it's my job
to present it to you. We know you came here
from Troy, and are tired of the scourge of war.
We are tired, too. We want peace just as you
do, but...

Xena looks at the door to see a dagger starting to open it. A group of soldiers are coming in.

END OF ACT TWO



ACT THREE

In the hall.

SPHAERUS
I, we--we need to keep communications open.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hall. Sphaerus can be heard.

SPHAERUS
It's the only way we can find a solution. I hope
we can all agree on that.

Xena leaps into the room where the warriors are hiding. She rips the dress and fights them. She kicks a man into the room with the villagers.

TYNUS
I told you she'd ruin everything!

Xena comes in. She beats up the other warriors.

XENA
Everybody out!

EXTRA
You've got the children?

The villagers leave.

EXTRA
After them!

SPHAERUS
No! Let them go.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Darius' home. Xena enters.

DARIUS
Why couldn't you just stay out of it?!

XENA
Darius, those men were waiting there to slaughter
you. Do you really think you could've made peace
with them?

DARIUS
Well, I guess I'll never know.

XENA
Don't run. Sometimes you have to stand and fight.

DARIUS
Do you think I like running? Part of me would
love to pick up a sword! But I have seen the pain
that war brings. I can't do that again.

XENA
Your suffering will not be eased by letting men
like Cycnus crush the innocent.

DARIUS
Xena, I need to take my children to safety. It's
what I have to do.

She starts to leave.

DARIUS
Where are you going?

XENA
To do what I have to do.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cycnus' tent. Cycnus yells at a warrior.

CYCNUS
The warrior woman defies me and still lives.
You failed. I kill you right now!

SPHAERUS
No--no, it wasn't his fault.

CYCNUS
Then, whose fault was it?!

SPHAERUS
Mine. I, I didn't give the signal in time, and I
ordered them not to give chase.

CYCNUS
Why?

SPHAERUS
I--I couldn't bring myself to murder those helpless
people.

CYCNUS
My son, the coward. You disgrace the memory
of your brother.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
The wind blows as Xena changes back into her armour, and it blows a piece of fabric over her chakram, hiding it. She picks up her sword.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena saddles Argo.

ARGOLIS
Are you gonna fight Cycnus?

XENA
If it comes to that.

LYKUS
You can't go, they'll hurt you.

Lykus hugs Xena. Darius enters. He hands her a small parcel.

XENA
Hey.

DARIUS
It's something to eat.

XENA
Thanks.

DARIUS
You can still change your mind, you know.

XENA
I wish I could.

She mounts Argo.

DARIUS
Take care.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cycnus sharpens his spear.

TYNUS
Thank you. Please, ex--excuse this intrusion.
I've come to assure you, that we were in no way
responsible for the disruption of the meeting.
It was Xena.

CYCNUS
Xena?

TYNUS
She--she's not part of our community. We want
nothing but peace.

CYCNUS
Peace, yes, and peace you shall have very soon.
All your people. Eternal peace. Now go back to
your flock and await the slaughter.

TYNUS
"Slaughter"?

CYCNUS
Prepare my chariot.

TYNUS
No, wait.

Sphaerus enters.

SPHAERUS
Where are you going?

CYCNUS
To do what you should have done. To kill the
warrior woman.

SPHAERUS
She's just passing through the land. I mean,
there's no reason to kill her.

CYCNUS
The warrior woman is Xena, a curse on our family.
She killed your brother.

SPHAERUS
But, my brother fell in battle near Corinth.

CYCNUS
Your brother was murdered by Xena. Like a
coward, she killed him when his back was turned.

SPHAERUS
I'm going with you. Let me avenge the death of
my brother.

CYCNUS
How I've longed to see that fire in your eyes.
Come, it's time for Xena to die.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena rides along and sees Gabrielle.

GABRIELLE
Xena, it's me!

Xena rides over to her.

GABRIELLE
Where have you been? I've been looking all
over for you.

XENA
I ran into a little trouble.

GABRIELLE
You? Trouble? That's a surprise! You couldn't
send a messenger? I was worried sick!

XENA
I'm sorry.

GABRIELLE
Did you just apologize?

XENA
There's a farmhouse down the road. Nice people.
I want you to wait for me there.

GABRIELLE
Where are you going? No, no. No, I'm not waiting
around while you have all the fun. Now, come on.

She starts to walk of. Xena doesn't follow.

GABRIELLE
You going to just stand there all day?

Xena follows.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sphaerus and Cycnus ride in a chariot towards the village. There's a second chariot with them.

END OF ACT THREE



ACT FOUR

The chariots ride towards the village.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena and Gabrielle walk along.

GABRIELLE
I think I might have found my tree in the forest.
He was cute, in sort of a--a rugged, outdoorsy
way, at least I thought so. Anyway, things were
going fine until we started talking about his father.
And then he just gets up and leaves. Well, now,
I have no way of finding this guy, again. What if
I'm supposed to intertwine with him and have
kids? Now I'll wind up some lonely, pathetic
woman, like...never mind. You haven't heard a
word I said.

Xena sees the chariots.

GABRIELLE
Xena, what is it?

XENA
Get on the horse.

GABRIELLE
No, no, no I want to help you.

XENA
You can help by getting on the horse. I need
someone to distract them.

GABRIELLE
I'm not very good at this horse thing.

XENA
Just head downstream, and don't stop.

Xena smacks Argo and she gallops off.

GABRIELLE
Who-o-o-o-o-a! Who-o-o-o-o-o-o-a!

Xena smiles.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gabrielle yells throughout the scene. She rides, the chariots following her. Xena climbs into a tree. She jumps on the second chariot. She ties the men in it up with a rope that is tied to a tree. The chariot keeps going, but they are pulled out.

GABRIELLE
Xena, which way!?

XENA
Yeah! Faster!

Argo turns right.

GABRIELLE
Never mind, this way!

Xena takes a shortcut.

XENA
Faster! Hold on, Gabrielle!

GABRIELLE
Xena, I'm gonna fall! Hurry!

XENA
Hold on! I'm coming!

Xena pulls up beside Gabrielle, now ahead of Sphaerus and Cycnus in the other chariot.

XENA
Jump!

GABRIELLE
Are you crazy?!

XENA
Jump!

GABRIELLE
If I die, I'll never talk to you again!

XENA
Jump, Gabrielle. Come on! Jump!

Gabrielle jumps.

XENA
You call that a jump?!

GABRIELLE
No, it was a frantic leap! Best I could do!

Sphaerus and Cycnus pull up beside them. Cycnus brings down an ax on their wheel.

XENA
Hold the reins.

Xena gives Gabrielle the reins and punches Cycnus.

XENA
I've lost my chakram!

GABRIELLE
Is that supposed to be funny?!

Xena and Cynus fight. Gabielle sees that Sphaerus is diving the other chariot.

GABRIELLE
You?

Xena and Cycnus keep fighting.

GABRIELLE
That's your overbearing father?

SPHAERUS
Stay out of my way!

Xena wins the fight. She breaks the ax holding the chariots together, and Sphaerus and Cycnus are tossed out of their chariot. Xena and Gabrielle watch. Gabrielle isn't watching where she's going, and they hit a log, flying out of their chariot, rolling along the dirt.

XENA
Don't tell me that's him.

GABRIELLE
Afraid so.

XENA
Remind me to talk to you sometime about your
taste in men.

Sphaerus and Cycnus run up. Cycnus faces Xena and Sphaerus goes to Gabrielle.

CYCNUS
Xena, I've waited a long time for this moment.

XENA
Have we ever met?

CYCNUS
It was the battle of Corinth. You killed my son.
You remember the name, Stentor?

XENA
Stentor? He died trying to make peace.

CYCNUS
Not true. He was a brave warrior and you stabbed
him in the back.

XENA
He came to me under a banner of peace. His
own men killed him.

CYCNUS
You'll pay for that foul lie.

Cycnus looks over to Sphaerus and Gabrielle.

CYCNUS
What are you waiting for? Kill her!

GABRIELLE
No. This is it, Sphaerus. This is your moment
of choice.

Xena and Cycnus fight. Xena has no sword, and fights with her hands against Cycnus who is armed. She knocks him back. He brings up his sword, but Sphaerus steps in the way, and meets his father's blade with his.

SPHAERUS
Father! Enough! The killing stops here!

CYCNUS
Get out of my way!

SPHAERUS
No. No one else has to die.

Darius rides up.

CYCNUS
You're wrong. At least one more has to die and
if it has to be my cowardly son, so be it.

They start to fight.

CYCNUS
Peace is an illusion, coward. There's only war,
death, victory, and vanquish. There's no compromise.
Give up, you can't defeat me.

DARIUS
Xena!

SPHAERUS
No, you're right. I can't, but I can still win. I'm not
gonna fight anymore, ever!

He throws his sword away. Darius gives Xena her chakram.

DARIUS
Here.

SPHAERUS
My brother died for peace! I'm no better or worse
than he!

CYCNUS
I should have done this long ago.

Cycnus is about to bring down his sword, but Xena throws her chakram, deflecting his blow. She flips and grabs Sphaerus' thrown sword. Cycnus attacks her back as Xena is kneeling to get the weapon. She brings up the blade and meets Cycnus'. She turns and cuts his midsection. He lies dying and Sphaerus runs to him. Xena throws down the blade.

CYCNUS
If you had done this, I would have died proud.

SPHAERUS
(to Darius) Call your people together again. No
tricks. We will have peace.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
The villagers sit around, feasting.

GABRIELLE
Hey, stranger!

SPHAERUS
Hi. I, uh, understand you're leaving.

GABRIELLE
Yeah. I wanted to say to you that, well that, I really
don't know what to say to you. You--you know,
you did a--a wonderful thing today. You saved
a lot of people.

SPHAERUS
I know he was a terrible man...but he was my father.

GABRIELLE
Do you remember what I said about making a choice?

SPHAERUS
I don't have any regrets.

GABRIELLE
I have to go.

SPHAERUS
Gabrielle?

GABRIELLE
Yes?

SPHAERUS
Thanks.

GABRIELLE
No problem.

EXTRA
To prosperity!

EXTRA
To the future!

Xena is with Darius and his family. Tynus walks over.

TYNUS
Xena, can I talk to you? I may, I may have been
guilty of a misjudgment. Not that we agree with
your methods-

XENA
You're wecome. And don't worry, I'm leaving.

TYNUS
Fine.

LYKUS
Xena. Xena, you can't leave.

XENA
I have to.

ARGOLIS
Who's gonna teach Lykus how to ride?

LYKUS
I can so ride.

ARGOLIS
Can not!

XENA
You guys will be just fine.

Sarita hugs Xena.

XENA
What's wrong?

SARITA
Stay.

ARGOLIS
Dad, she spoke.

SARITA
Daddy, I want Xena to stay.

XENA
I wish I could.

LYKUS
Why can't you, Xena?

ARGOLIS
Don't you like us?

DARIUS
Of course, she likes us. Uh, now, kids, go. I
have to talk to Xena for a moment.

The kids leave.

XENA
So, what have we got to talk about?

DARIUS
I know words really don't mean too much. But
all I can say is I have a home. I have a family.
There's no reason you can't have those things, too.

XENA
One day, maybe. The strange thing is, I have
never thought about having any of these things
until now.

DARIUS
I hope you find your happiness.

XENA
I did. I just have to leave it for a while.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Outside.

GABRIELLE
Are you all right?

XENA
Yeah, fine.

She looks back at Darius and the kids.

XENA
Do you ever miss your family?

GABRIELLE
Sometimes, but not as much when I'm with you.
So do you want me to drive?

XENA
Not on your life. Not on my life.

GABRIELLE
Hey!

XENA
You sure you don't want to ride?

GABRIELLE
Not 'til they make those things closer to the ground.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
They walk along.

GABRIELLE
I learned something really important today.

XENA
That you can find goodness in unlikely places?

GABRIELLE
Yeah, and that I really, really hate chariots.

Xena laughs.

END OF ACT FOUR

STARRING
Lucy Lawless as Xena
Renee O'Connor as Gabrielle

GUEST CAST
Nick Kokotakis as Darius
Jeff Thomas as Cycnus
Stuart Turner as Sphaerus
Nigel Godfrey as Tynus
Patrick Morrison as Lykus
Ruth Morrison as Sarita
Morgan Palmer Hubbard as Argolis
Robert Harte as Ugly Ruffian
Dane Jerro as Homesteader
Story by: Josh Becker and Jack Perez

Teleplay by: Adam Armus and Nora Kay Foster
Directed by: Harley Cokeliss