Cradle of Hope


TEASER

King Gregor's palace.

NEMOS
Hurry up, old woman. His Majesty hasn't got
all night.

KING GREGOR
Patience, Nemos. The future has all the time
in the world.

Cynara puts stones in a cup and holds it up.

CYNARA
Almighty Zeus. Grace me with the vision of your
all-seeing eyes.

She drops the stones on the floor.

KING GREGOR
Well, what do they say?

CYNARA
There is truth to your dreams, your Lordship.
There is indeed a child in your future.

KING GREGOR
You're reading the past, woman. My son died
in childbirth, months ago.

CYNARA
Apologies, my Lord, but this child is not of your
line. He is an orphan, of humble parentage, born
on the equinox. He is a child in your possession.

NEMOS
Such an infant was born to one of your servants.
The mother died in childbirth.

KING GREGOR
Then, what of this child?

CYNARA
It is puzzling, my Lord. I only speak the vision.

NEMOS
No one is going to blame you for your gift.
What is it?

CYNARA
The child will one day occupy the throne. Your
throne, my Lord.

King Gregor laughs.

KING GREGOR
Why, that's ridiculous!

CYNARA
The stones do not lie.

NEMOS
What is it, then? Will he attempt to take the throne
by force? Will he grow to lead an army? What is it?!

CYNARA
I cannot read that. But whatever it is, his birth
has set the course of events in motion.

KING GREGOR
Thoughts, advisor? We're talking about a mere infant.

NEMOS
Threats to the crown take on many guises.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
In the servant's rooms. Ophelia, who heard what Cynara said, speaks with Philana.

OPHELIA
You promised his mother on her death-bed that
you'd care for him as your own, did you not?

PHILANA
You know I did, but-

OPHELIA
But then, listen to me, Philana. The child is in
grave danger. The king's advisor, Nemos, is
hunting for him. Put him in the basket.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Night.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ophelia moves to a lake.

OPHELIA
May the gods protect you, child.

Ophelia sends the baby down the river in a basket.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena and Gabrielle's camp in the morning. Xena enters.

XENA
Hey, sleepy-head. Wake up.

GABRIELLE
Good morning. Did you sleep okay?

XENA
Like a rock. You?

GABRIELLE
On a rock. I kept trying to find that one patch
of ground that didn't have a boulder on it.

They hear a sound.

GABRIELLE
What's that? Is that a cat?

Xena draws her sword.

GABRIELLE
A big cat? Or--or--or a griffin, yeah. A big griffin
with a cat in its mouth.

XENA
Shhh!

GABRIELLE
Maybe not.

Xena moves the reeds in the water and sees the baby.

GABRIELLE
What is it?

XENA
Well, it's not a cat or a griffin.

Gabrielle sees the baby.

GABRIELLE
Oh!

END OF TEASER



ACT ONE

Gabrielle looks into the basket.

GABRIELLE
You're just the most precious little thing. Yes,
you are. Xena, can we keep him? It is a him,
isn't it? Oh, I always wanted a little brother.

XENA
He belongs with his mother!

Gabrielle picks up the baby.

GABRIELLE
Well, uh, whoever she is, she obviously doesn't
want him. I mean, imagine sending a baby
down a river.

XENA
Maybe she had a reason.

GABRIELLE
Well, I guess we should find out. Shhh!

XENA
Why's he crying? Are you holding him wrong,
or something?

GABRIELLE
No, uh, maybe he's hungry.

XENA
He must have come from that village upriver.

GABRIELLE
Shh! Shh! Shh! Shh! Shh! Shh! Shh!

XENA
We'll get him something to eat there, and find
out who he belongs to.

GABRIELLE
What should we call him? I mean, until we find
his mother. You know, Gabriel's a nice name.
Then of course, Xenos is good, too. Shh.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gregor's kingdom.

KING GREGOR (voice-over)
I miss you so, my love.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
King Gregor looks at a picture of his dead wife. Nemos enters and clears his throat.

KING GREGOR
Any news?

NEMOS
None, my Lord. But we have just begun our
search. The child will be found, don't worry.

KING GREGOR
Perhaps, we should let things be. I mean, do
we dare tamper with fate?

NEMOS
I believe that fate is just an excuse for men with
no destiny. You, my Lord, are destined for greatness.
And I would hate to see that threatened by the
hand of a child.

KING GREGOR
When the child is an adult, with a dagger to my
throat, then I'll view him as a threat. For now-

NEMOS
I would agree with you, my Lord, except word
of the prophecy has already reached the outer
villages. There are some who already consider
him your successor. And if the child were to fall
into the wrong hands-

KING GREGOR
The people can't afford another civil war, Nemos.

NEMOS
You brought us through the last one, my Lord.
How many lives were saved through your
leadership? And how many lives are at stake,
should the child remain free?

KING GREGOR
It's been six months since she died, taking my
son with her. This child. My command is unchanged.
Bring him to me. I'll decide what to do once I
have him.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena and Gabrielle move along, Gabrielle humming to the baby as she rides Argo.

WEASEL
That's it! Tie it tighter! Watch your hands!

A group of villagers have a woman with a noose around her neck, a horse under her, ready to ride off and leave the woman hanging.

XENA
I take it you're in charge.

WEASEL
It's that obvious?

XENA
In my experience, cowardly mobs are usually
led by weasels.

GABRIELLE
What's this woman done?

WEASEL
Send her to Hades.

EXTRA
Finish her off!

They make the horse run and the woman dangles in the air. Xena throws her chakram, which breaks the rope.

EXTRA
Hey now! Wait a minute!

Xena uses her whip to start hanging the Weasel.

XENA
Didn't your mother ever tell you not to turn your
back on a lady? Any volunteers to replace him?

The others run off.

XENA
I didn't think so.

Xena lets the Weasel go and he runs off.

GABRIELLE
Are you all right?

PANDORA
I'm fine.

GABRIELLE
You're fine? Did I just miss something? They
were going to kill you.

PANDORA
Yes. I think they were. Thank you.

GABRIELLE
You're welcome.

She takes Pandora's bag.

GABRIELLE
Here, I'll get this.

PANDORA
No, no wait, please. Just, be careful with that bag.

GABRIELLE
It's all right, I've got it.

They hear the sound of thunder.

XENA
We better get this baby to shelter.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
In a cave.

XENA
This'll have to do 'til the storm passes.

GABRIELLE
Good.

Gabrielle puts down Pandora's bag heavily and her box falls out.

PANDORA
Wait!

GABRIELLE
I was only trying to help.

XENA
Does that box have anything to do with what
those people wanted?

PANDORA
In a way. But it was me they were after.

GABRIELLE
After you, because...

PANDORA
Because I was born into the wrong family, and
I'm paying for it now. My name is Pandora.

GABRIELLE
Pandora, the one who opened the box?

PANDORA
No, that was my grandmother. We have the
same name, but, yes, I still carry...

GABRIELLE
The box. The box!

PANDORA
No, don't, don't, please, Don't worry. It can't hurt
you. If you know the story, you'll remember, all
the desires of mortals were released when my
grandmother opened it.

GABRIELLE
Except the hope of mankind.

PANDORA
Yes, the hope of mankind is the one thing my
grandmother managed to trap. That's why we
all still have hope. It's the rest of man's desires
that are fleeting.

GABRIELLE
Like what?

XENA
Gabrielle.

PANDORA
That's all right. This box is the most important
thing in my life. It's why I can't live my life.

XENA
Gabrielle, give the baby to Pandora and come
help me here.

PANDORA
Ah, look , I'm not really the best one to be trusted
with a baby.

GABRIELLE
Just, hold your arms out.

PANDORA
Um.

GABRIELLE
Make sure you hold his head up.

Pandora holds the baby while Gabrielle goes to Xena.

GABRIELLE
What do you need?

XENA
Get me my saddlebag.

GABRIELLE
For that you needed me?

Gabrielle goes to touch the box as she leaves.

XENA
Don't even think about it.

Gabrielle gives her a look and leaves.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Nemos leads his soldiers.

NEMOS
We do not rest until the infant is found. But
remember, he needn't necessarily be found alive.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena and the others enter an inn.

INNKEEPER
Wait a minute, wait a minute. You'll have to check
your weapons.

XENA
We just want some milk and some port.

INNKEEPER
Weapons first, then milk.

XENA
(to others) Go ahead and sit down.

GABRIELLE
He's cute, isn't he?

PANDORA
Mmm--hmm.

GABRIELLE
I'd like to say he has my nose. Huh! What can I
say? He does.

Xena hangs up her weapons.

INNKEEPER
(to boy) Get Nemos.

PANDORA
Um, can you hold him?

GABRIELLE
Huh, okay.

She takes Gabriel.

INNKEEPER
(to boy) And hurry.

GABRIELLE
Gabriel.

XENA
We're looking for the mother of this baby.

INNKEEPER
I'm an innkeeper, that's all I know. That'll be
six dinars.

Pandora turns the lock on the box then takes the baby back from Gabrielle.

PANDORA
Okay. Oh, yes, hello.

XENA
Something about our baby bothering you?

INNKEEPER
No. No, I got work to do.

Nemos enters.

NEMOS
Keep moving.

He holds blade at Xena's throat. She looks across the room at her weapons.

NEMOS
By the order of King Gregor, that child is
under arrest.

Xena looks to her weapons hanging so far away.

END OF ACT ONE



ACT TWO

Tavern.

NEMOS
Give me that child.

PANDORA
Shh! Shh! Shh! Shh! No, no, don't be afraid,
little one. Shh!

XENA
Better do like he says.

Xena takes a drink of her port, and then holds open her arms for the baby. Then, she turns and grabs a torch, blowing her port onto it and making a huge fireball, which shoots at Nemos and a soldier who screams.

XENA
Get behind the bar.

PANDORA
The box!

GABRIELLE
Come on!

NEMOS
Get the baby!

A spear is thrown at Xena, but she jumps to avoid it.

GABRIELLE
Get down!

Xena fights the soldiers, when one make it to Pandora and Gabrielle.

EXTRA
Give me that baby!

XENA
Pandora, get down!

Xena gets her chakram and throws it at the soldier, killing him. Nemos attacks Xena. She loses her sword and he holds his at her throat.

NEMOS
Surrender now and I'll spare your life.

XENA
I was about to say the same to you.

Xena fights with a candle stick and then beats up Nemos.

NEMOS
Get her!

Soldiers attack as Nemos grabs Pandora's box. Xena wins and the soldiers leave.

XENA
(to Gabrielle) You all right?

GABRIELLE
Yeah.

Xena walks over to the innkeeper.

INNKEEPER
What? What do you want with me?

She knocks him up against the bar.

XENA
You sent the boy after them. I notice things
like that.

She puts The Pinch on him.

XENA
That weak feeling is the blood to your brain being
cut off. You'll be dead in less than a minute. Or
we could talk.

INNKEEPER
Let's talk.

XENA
You're smarter than you look.

She releases him.

XENA
Now, who's Gregor, and what's all this about?

INNKEEPER
King Gregor. The baby belongs to one of his servants.

GABRIELLE
What does he want with him? He's not gonna
hurt him, is he?

INNKEEPER
I don't know.

Xena gets ready to do The Pinch again.

INNKEEPER
Okay, okay. An oracle told him that, one day, the
baby would take his throne. The word's out that
he wants him killed.

Pandora looks in her bag to find the box is gone.

PANDORA
No!

GABRIELLE
What's wrong?

PANDORA
The box is gone.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
The palace.

NEMOS
It's worse than we imagined. Xena is involved.
The Warrior Princess has the child, and more
than that, she has Pandora. I was barely able
to escape with the box.

KING GREGOR
Xena. You were lucky to escape with your life. I
fear the day I might have to go up against her army.

He touches the lock on the box.

KING GREGOR
So, this is it.

NEMOS
Ah, my Lord, that design might trigger the latch.

KING GREGOR
I'm not gonna open it, Nemos. No man in his
right mind would.

NEMOS
But a Warrior Princess might. Or at least, use
it to blackmail a king.

KING GREGOR
You think that was her intent?

NEMOS
She has the child, she had the box. What else
am I to think? She has conquered larger kingdoms
with weapons less than this.

He points to spots on a map as he talks.

NEMOS
We have sent men into the outlying
villages, and cut off all escape through the mountains
here. These areas are secured, so we know they
must be somewhere near here -- the peasant
area. Of course, this is all useless. We know
the solution it's just too horrendous to consider.

KING GREGOR
I'm afraid, I don't see your solution.

NEMOS
The child. I can't believe I'm going to suggest this.
The child must be killed...as soon as possible.

KING GREGOR
I am to order the death of a child?

NEMOS
No, but you are to order the life and prosperity
of your people. This child is already dead. Do
you think Xena cares about its well-being? And
if it lives, it'll just become a pawn in the battle
for the crown. It has no life, and neither will
your people, so long as it remains a threat.

KING GREGOR
You have a plan?

NEMOS
I have two plans. I have sent out agents with a
reward for the baby's capture. If they choose to
live among the peasants, we'll get the peasants
to work for us.

KING GREGOR
And the other?

NEMOS
We trade Xena the box for the baby.

KING GREGOR
None of these ideas please me.

A message is handed it Nemos.

KING GREGOR
What is it?

NEMOS
It seems our warrior friend is one step ahead
of us. She wants to meet you.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena sharpens her sword while Pandora stares blankly, rocking the baby. Gabrielle knocks on the door and Xena opens the door and let's her in.

GABRIELLE
Gregor agreed to meet with us.

XENA
Good. I want to look into this man's eyes. And
he's not meeting us, I'm going alone.

GABRIELLE
But, ah, whatever. But I want you to know, I managed
to get some milk for this baby, and it wasn't
easy. You know, there's a reward out for us? The
word has it, it's over a thousand dinars. I'm tempted
to turn myself in. What's wrong with Pandora?

XENA
She's been like that ever since the tavern. I think
it's the first time she's been without that box.

GABRIELLE
Pandora, are you all right?

PANDORA
I have to get it back.

XENA
You will. First, we make sure the baby's safe,
and then-

PANDORA
It'll take too long. I made the wrong choice, I
should have grabbed the box.

XENA
You made the only choice.

GABRIELLE
Gregor's not stupid enough to open the box.

PANDORA
It doesn't matter how stupid he is. You don't
understand, if I don't have that box in my possession,
it opens itself. See, that's the curse of my family,
that's why we must always carry the box. I am
the only one who can reset the lock. And if I don't
have the box before midnight, it opens, and
hope escapes.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
The lock turns.

END OF ACT TWO



ACT THREE

Nemos and the King enter the tavern.

KING GREGOR
I guess I can't expect someone like Xena to be
on time.

NEMOS
And she has nothing but contempt for you, my Lord.

INNKEEPER
Are you alone, my Lords or shall I prepare a
drink for your guards?

NEMOS
Just the two of us. Ale for the king.

INNKEEPER
Only two?

NEMOS
Only two? Is there something wrong with my voice?

Xena pops up with a dagger on the innkeeper.

XENA
I wanted to make sure this little party was just
between us. Do sit down.

They sit and Xena joins them at the table.

KING GREGOR
Where is the child?

XENA
Safe, and non-negotiable. That's not why we're here.

NEMOS
Then, we have nothing further to discuss.

KING GREGOR
Then why are we here?

XENA
I wanted to look into your eyes. To see what sort
of man would order the death of a defenseless child.

KING GREGOR
I could order your death right here and now.

XENA
Under a flag of truce? Then I would know what
kind of a man you are.

KING GREGOR
What would a flag of truce mean to a cold-blooded
murderer? I know who you are, and you disgust
me. You swept across countless nations, and
saw the world tremble at your feet. But my people
are not gonna be your next victims. If it means
my death, or the death of this child, so be it.

NEMOS
The answer is simple. We have the box. We
know you want it. You have the child. We want him.

XENA
Did you bring the box?

NEMOS
Did you bring the child? I didn't think so.

XENA
He can't hurt you, Gregor. He's just an infant.

NEMOS
That's right, he's just one infant. And surely his
life doesn't compare to losing the hope of mankind.

Xena stands.

XENA
You're not mad enough to open the box.

King Gregor stands.

KING GREGOR
Twenty-four hours to make your decision.

King Gregor and Nemos leave.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena opens the door, and Gabrielle enters with Ophelia.

XENA
Who's this?

GABRIELLE
Ophelia. She works as a servant in the castle.

OPHELIA
I was the one who put the baby into the river.
Is he safe?

XENA
Pandora?

Pandora enters.

GABRIELLE
Oh.

PANDORA
Oh, yes.

OPHELIA
I brought him some blankets and some food.

XENA
Where did you find her?

GABRIELLE
Hey, you fight, I talk. We each have our gifts. You
wanted me to scout a way into the castle? Huh!
She's the way.

XENA
Good work.

GABRIELLE
So, how'd it go with Gregor? Is he the worm's
tongue we thought he'd be?

XENA
No, he's not.

GABRIELLE
He's not?

XENA
I looked into this man's eyes, and I didn't see
an evil man. I saw a king trying to protect his
people from a cold-blooded murderer. His words.
You see, an evil man wouldn't have cared.

GABRIELLE
Did you tell him about the box opening?

XENA
No, I almost did, but that advisor of his, Nemos,
I don't trust him. Knowledge is power, and I didn't
want to give him that power. Ophelia? Gregor
has a wooden box, with a palm design on it.

OPHELIA
I've seen it. Nemos either keeps it in his room
or under close guard.

XENA
I need to get into the castle. Can you help?

OPHELIA
Yes, but not tonight.

PANDORA
It has to be tonight.

OPHELIA
No, the quartermoon festival is tonight. There's
too many people there.

GABRIELLE
What happens at this festival?

OPHELIA
Eating and drinking. Then Nemos has several
of the servant-women dance for him, and he
chooses one.

XENA
Are you one of the dancers?

She nods.

XENA
What time do you have to be there?

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
In the village. Men tear at a street vendor's cart.

STREET VENDOR
I haven't got the baby anywhere. Stay away from
my cart. I am warning you.

YOUNG MAN
I heard a baby cry. I swear it came from here.

STREET VENDOR
It's the grease. Haven't you ever heard grease sizzle?

PANDORA
Look at these people. They've gone crazy trying
to find the baby.

GABRIELLE
They're scared, or greedy. Maybe a little of both.
This way.

EXTRA
On the other side.

EXTRA
Did you check this yet?

EXTRA
I looked it over.

More mumbling.

GABRIELLE
This should be close enough.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
The lock turns. The soldiers eat and drink. The dancing women enter. Xena is one of them. She catches everyone's eyes.

NEMOS
Throw me. That's true. Come on, come on.
Dancers! Whoa!

Xena dances with Kastor who laughs. She passes him on to another girl.

EXTRA
Look at him!

EXTRA
Come on! Hold on!

EXTRA
More.

Xena moves towards the box, when Gregor's hands land on it.

NEMOS
My Lord. Please, join us. The search goes on,
and things are well in hand.

KING GREGOR
What is this doing here?

NEMOS
I feel much safer if I know where it is. And I
would think we have enough men here to protect
it, if need be.

KING GREGOR
I think it'll be better protected with me.

Gregor leaves.

NEMOS
(to Kastor) I'm beginning to believe His Majesty
is becoming distracted by his moral convictions.
Gather as many men loyal to me as you can. I
wanna have a strong hand in case our king
suffers a temporary, loss of judgment. But first
we deal with the Warrior Princess. (to Xena) You!
Come here.

She does.

NEMOS
Have her brought to my room.

Two soldiers take Xena away.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gabriel cries.

GABRIELLE
Gabriel, shhh! He's going to give us away.

Pandora sings, and the baby is quite.

GABRIELLE
You have a knack for this kind of thing. He likes you.

PANDORA
Really?

GABRIELLE
Yeah. Have you ever thought about having a baby?

PANDORA
No. I can't afford to dream about something that'll
never be. Now, I feel as if I know too much. But I
wouldn't trade it for anything. (to Gabriel) No,
I wouldn't.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Nemos enters his rooms where Xena is on his bed.

NEMOS
Don't be afraid, my child. My desire is pleasure,
not pain.

XENA
My pleasure is yours, my Lord. I merely want to
take your responsibilities from you, at least for
one evening. I'm surprised you have time to take
from your work, or the king. Is he working tonight?

NEMOS
He's in his chamber. Oh, you smell so good.

XENA
You mean, I'm actually near the royal chamber.

NEMOS
Just down the hallway. But enough of him. You
spoke of pleasure.

Xena punches Nemos who is behind her. He is knocked out.

XENA
And you spoke of pain.

She leaves.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena sneaks into Gregor's room and sees the painting of his wife and the empty cradle. Gregor enters and Xena hides. He walks away and Xena locks the door. She moves by Gregor's bed where a dog growls at her. She waves her hand and it whimpers and runs away. Xena sees Gregor kneeling at a cradle.

KING GREGOR
My boy. My only son. What's become of your father,
child? The man your mother called husband. I
would have valued your life greater than my own.
And now another child's life is in my hands.
Why were you taken from me?

Xena knocks Gregor out.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Nemos wakes up.

NEMOS
The box.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena finds the box, and the lock turns. She runs to the window and opens it.

NEMOS (voice-over)
Guards! That warrior woman is loose! Search
the room! You two, come with me! Break it down!
Break it down! Break it down!

Xena ties a rope around her waist. Nemos enters.

NEMOS
Well, Xena, you've made this far easier than I expected.

END OF ACT THREE



ACT FOUR

NEMOS
Hand me the box, and maybe I'll let you
live. You have no options, be certain of that.

XENA
There are many things I'm not certain of, Nemos,
but I'll bet my life this'll surprise you.

She jumps out the window, but the rope stops her right before she hits the ground. She unties herself and runs.

XENA
Gabrielle! Gabrielle!

She kicks a man with a cart and runs over him.

XENA
Sorry! Gabrielle!

GABRIELLE
Xena. Come here.

Pandora reaches out and resets the lock just before it opens.

GABRIELLE
We've got the baby, we've got the box. Let's get
out of here.

XENA
No, not yet. There's still the prophecy.

PANDORA
What do you mean? The prophecy's fulfilled if
the baby lives. He'll grow up to take the kingdom.

XENA
That's right. That's why I have to give the baby
to Gregor.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dawn arrives.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gregor awakens to the sound of Gabriel crying. He goes to the cradle to see him. Xena stands behind him.

XENA
Don't be alarmed. If I wanted to kill you, you'd
be dead already.

KING GREGOR
What is it you want?

XENA
To fulfill the prophecy.

KING GREGOR
You wanna take my throne.

XENA
I have no interest in your throne, I never have.
You're a good man, Gregor, and a good ruler.
I know about your wife and child. Think, Gregor.
This child will take your throne but as your heir,
not as your conqueror. He's a child who needs
a father to love him. You're a father who needs
a child to love.

He picks up Gabriel.

XENA
That's the prophecy.

KING GREGOR
I was so blind. I think it's time my people met
their next king.

Nemos enters.

NEMOS
Have you lost your mind?

KING GREGOR
I've come to my senses.

NEMOS
You're being seduced, it's a trick. Hand me that baby.

KING GREGOR
I command you to return to your room.

NEMOS
What I do, I do for the betterment of this kingdom.

XENA
No, you don't!

Xena runs off with Gabriel.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena runs through the streets.

XENA
Out of my way!

EXTRA
It's her!

EXTRA
She's got the baby!

XENA
Here, Gabrielle!

GABRIELLE
Don't! No, no, no!

Xena throws the baby to Gabrielle, and starts to fight the guards. Guards come at Gabrielle.

GABRIELLE
Xena, catch!

Gabrielle throws the baby to Xena, but the throw is way off. Xena leaps but catches Gabriel in time, giving Gabrielle a look. The villagers fight the guards too. Xena keeps fighting. More guards come. Xena throws the baby into the air, gets two men with her sword and then catches the child. Nemos enters.

XENA
Gabrielle, the baby!

GABRIELLE
Oh, no!

Xena throws Gabriel, but Gabrielle catches him. Nemos laughs and then the two fight. Nemos gets Xena to the ground and holds his sword at her throat. He laughs.

NEMOS
You should have killed me when you had the
chance. Any warrior would have done that.

XENA
What makes you think I'm not going to?

He brings down his sword, but she catches it, and throws him over her. She then kills him. The other soldiers leave. The crowd cheers.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Castle.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pandora and Gregor walk through a door.

PANDORA
I feel a little nervous, just letting it out of my sight.

KING GREGOR
Don't you worry. As long as I, or my son, rule,
the box will be safe in my fortress. The room
is well protected.

PANDORA
Well, I'll still reset the lock every day. But I won't
have to wander anymore. I think I finally have
a home.

KING GREGOR
The child needs a mother. Even as a king, I
can't handle it alone. You brought the prophecy
true, Xena. How can I ever repay you?

XENA
I didn't do it for payment. Have a good life, all
three of you.

PANDORA
Xena. Isn't there anything you want?

XENA
Name him Gabriel.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena enters the room where the box is kept. Gabrielle is already there, looking at it.

XENA
You ready to go?

GABRIELLE
Sure. I can't believe I touched the box. Pan--Pandora's
grandmother was cursed because of this. And
then Pandora is blessed because of it. Does it
all happen because of fate? Or is, is it just chance?

XENA
I think it all happened 'cause you slept on a rock.

GABRIELLE
It did, didn't it? All right, let's go.

Gabrielle knocks the box off the pedestal and it opens.

XENA
There's nothing in it.

GABRIELLE
All these years, she's been carrying around an
empty box.

XENA
The box was empty, but Pandora was still carrying
our hope.

GABRIELLE
What should we tell her?

XENA
We tell her the truth. Hope has been and always
will be safe. It's inside every one of us.

END OF ACT FOUR

STARRING
Lucy Lawless as Xena
Renee O'Connor as Gabrielle

GUEST CAST
Mary Elizabeth McGlynn as Pandora
Edward Newborn as Gregor
Simon Prast as Nemos
Kirstie O'Sullivan as Ophelia
Christine Bartlett as Philana
Beryl Te Wiata as Cynara
Paul Minifie as Innkeeper
Tony Bishop as Weasel
Paul Norell as Street Vendor
Carl Straker as Young Man
Susan Winter as Woman
Lathan Gains as Kastor
Alan De Malmanche as Old Man

Written by: Terence Winter
Directed by: Michael Levine

Disclaimer: No Babies were harmed during the production of this motion picture.