Death in Chains


TEASER

Sisyphus' castle. Night.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Inside.

KARAS
Only a fool would challenge the gods this way,
Sisyphus.

SISYPHUS
Don't worry, Karas. I've taken care of everything.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Celesta appears and floats towards the guards at the gates.

GUARD
Sorry, sweetheart. The king doesn't want any
visitors, today. But, stick around. I'll show you
a good time.

The guards laugh. Celesta continues forward.

GUARD
Hey, I said no-

He lays a hand on her shoulder to stop her, but he grabs his throat, choking. He dies.

EXTRA
Hey!

EXTRA
Oh!

EXTRA
Run!

EXTRA
Don't touch her!

EXTRA
She killed him!

The guards run away.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Inside.

KARAS
How can you eat at a time like this? It's a trap,
isn't it?

SISYPHUS
Patience, Karas, you'll spoil the surprise.

There's three knocks at the door. Sisyphus opens it and Celesta enters.

SISYPHUS
Come in. We've been expecting you. I guess you
know who I am. And this is my wife.

CELESTA
Karas, hello.

KARAS
You know my name?

CELESTA
I know everyone's name, though few know mine.
It's Celesta. Are you ready to begin your journey,
Sisyphus?

SISYPHUS
Of course. But first, there's so much I wanna
know about you.

CELESTA
You're not afraid of me.

SISYPHUS
On the contrary, I'm fascinated. And how about
you, Celesta? Are you not the least bit curious
about my world? Sit. Enjoy a sumptuous feast
of earthly delight.

She appears at the chair.

CELESTA
All right, Sisyphus, but this doesn't change things.
As soon as we're finished, we will go.

She sits.

SISYPHUS
Splendid. After all, a visit from you happens only
once in a lifetime. A toast, to a long life, and a
peaceful death.

Shackles come out of the chair, trapping Celesta. Her candle moves away from her.

CELESTA
My flame! What is the meaning of this?! I wasn't
told you were a sorcerer.

SISYPHUS
No sorcery, my dear. A simple trick, devised
with wires and boards.

He gets a staff.

SISYPHUS
An illusion I created to deceive you.

CELESTA
But, do you realize what this means?

SISYPHUS
Of course.

An explosion comes from his staff.

SISYPHUS
And I wouldn't have it any other way.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena and Gabrielle move through an apple orchard. A couple kisses.

GABRIELLE
Looks like they're having fun. Not that I envy them,
or anything. I mean, what does she have that I
don't have? Okay, love. But what about the important
things in life? Travel, adventure, meeting interesting
people? And as for the apple, I can pick my own.

She moves to pick one when an arrow shoots through it.

TOXEUS
Well, well-

Xena draws her sword.

TOXEUS
-if it isn't the legendary Xena.

GABRIELLE
I lost my appetite.

XENA
Do I know you?

TOXEUS
I'm Toxeus. I saw you fight in Nespa awhile back.
My army could do with a warrior like you. How
about it?

XENA
Join a band of worthless, lowlife scum. I think
I'll pass.

TOXEUS
Pity, I have a strict recruiting policy. Join or die.

Toxeus fights Xena and she kills him. His men run off.

XENA
Another wasted death.

Xena and Gabrielle leave. Toxeus comes back to life, looks at his wound and laughs.

END OF TEASER



ACT ONE

Xena and Gabrielle move along (Xena on Argo).

GABRIELLE
I don't get it. Toxeus knew your reputation. So,
why would he wanna fight you?

XENA
Because he knew my reputation.

GABRIELLE
Oh. You mean he wanted to be known as the
man who killed Xena.

Argo starts to whinny.

XENA
Come on, Argo.

GABRIELLE
That's not a smart goal.

XENA
What's up?

The ground shakes. Argo whinnies and moves about, scared.

GABRIELLE
What's happening?!

XENA
I don't know.

She draws her sword.

XENA
Take cover.

A chariot pulled by two horses appears.

XENA
Go!

Gabrielle hides. Xena dismounts. Hades removes his helmet.

HADES
Always ready for a fight. That's why I like you, Xena.

XENA
Hades.

HADES
God of the Underworld, at your service.

He gets off his chariot and moves to Xena.

XENA
What do you want?

HADES
Hey, relax. I'm a big fan, though for a while, you
were working us pretty hard down there. I need
your help. My sister's been captured by King
Sisyphus. He holds her at his castle. I want you
to rescue her.

XENA
Why me?

HADES
You know him. You've seen the deadly tricks
he's capable of. But you have to act quickly. Time
is short, and the price of failure is high.

XENA
What are you talking about?

HADES
In a few hours Celesta's eternal flame will burn
out. If you don't release her before that happens,
eternal suffering will be the fate of all mankind.
You know who my sister is don't you?

XENA
Death.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena and Gabrielle move along again.

GABRIELLE
I've been thinking. If Sisyphus gets his way, and
nobody ever dies, people will have to watch how
they word things. I mean, if you tell someone that
you'll love them forever, it means forever.

Xena hears something and rides ahead.

GABRIELLE
Xena!

Gabrielle follows.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Injured people lie about.

EXTRA
Thank you.

Xena enters and moves to help the injured.

XENA
Let me take a look. Take this. It's for the pain.

Gabrielle enters.

GABRIELLE
Is his leg broken?

XENA
Among other things. Gabrielle, take this. Go
help the others.

STREPTUS
Save your medicines. There's nothing you can
do for him.

XENA
What happened here?

STREPTUS
Rock slide in Cadmus. The others are old or sick.
We're heading for the hospital in Corinth.

XENA
Let me help.

STREPTUS
Suit yourself; but you're wasting your time with
that one. Only death will give him release.

Xena moves on.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gabrielle tends to a Wounded Man.

GABRIELLE
Hold still.

WOUNDED MAN
Ah-h. Get away from me.

GABRIELLE
I, look, I'm trying to help you.

TALUS
Here.

GABRIELLE
Thanks. I've gotta stop his bleeding.

TALUS
(to Wounded Man) Easy, easy, you'll be okay.
So, where you from?

WOUNDED MAN
Carthage.

TALUS
Carthage? Well, we have your great city to thank
for the weather. There was once a young man,
Lapithus. And he met the beautiful Io in Carthage.
They fell madly in love. The gods, they grew
jealous of their great love and condemned them
to separate destinies, Lapithus to live only in
the summer, and Io, only in the winter. Luckily,
Aphrodite, she took pity on the lovers and, uh,
thought of a way to reunite them.

WOUNDED MAN
How?

GABRIELLE
What's it gotta do with the weather?

TALUS
Well, Aphrodite turned Lapithus into snow and
Io into rain. So, in the winter, when snow falls,
it's really Lapithus, blanketing his love, Io. And
in the spring, well, the gentle rain, that's Io
caressing Lapithus. You'll be all right.

WOUNDED MAN
Thanks.

Talus and Gabrielle stand.

GABRIELLE
Where did you learn that?

TALUS
Ah, books. I read a lot about medicine.

GABRIELLE
No, I meant the--the great bedside manner.

TALUS
Oh, well, I guess a good story always helps me
through the hard times. Hi, I'm Talus.

GABRIELLE
Gabrielle. Where are you headed?

TALUS
Well, I was on my way to Corinth, when I met
these people. Never seen so much suffering.

XENA
Gabrielle?! Get me some more water.

TALUS
There's a pond not far from here.

GABRIELLE
Let's go. And I've got a story for you.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Talus and Gabrielle move to the pond.

GABRIELLE
And so, until we release her, nobody on earth
can die.

TALUS
Well, that explains it. You know, awhile ago, I
would've been glad to hear that Death had
been taken. But now...

GABRIELLE
I know. It's like, after seeing all this suffering, I
understand how important she is.

Gabrielle collects water.

TALUS
You know, not everyone would risk so much for
the sake of mankind. You're very brave, Gabrielle.

GABRIELLE
Well, I have a lot of help.

TALUS
When I was a small boy, my mother worked for
King Sisyphus.

GABRIELLE
Really?

TALUS
I practically grew up in the castle. I could show
you the way.

GABRIELLE
That sounds great.

He gives her a flower.

GABRIELLE
What's this?

TALUS
Jasmine blossom. It's a rare beauty...just like you.

Toxeus grabs Talus and throws him aside.

GABRIELLE
Talus! Wait! No!

Talus moves to fight Toxeus, but he punches him.

GABRIELLE
Stop it!

Toxeus grabs Gabrielle.

TOXEUS
Where is she?

XENA
Some guys never give up.

She draws her sword.

XENA
You look good.

TOXEUS
Like I said Xena, I don't take "No" for an answer.

Toxeus and Xena fight.

TOXEUS
I could get used to this.

Toxeus attacks Xena. She stabs him.

TOXEUS
Give it up, Xena! You can't kill me. I'm a god.

XENA
You're no god, Toxeus. Death's capture has
kept you alive. And when I release her, you will die.

TOXEUS
That's not gonna happen!

He attacks her.

TOXEUS
Just where I want'cha!

Xena throws her chakram which saws off a branch. It lands on Toxeus, trapping him.

XENA
I'm not that easy.

Xena, Gabrielle and Talus leave. Toxeus yells at them and tries to get out from under the branch.

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

SISYPHUS (voice-over)
I know I can't blow out-

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Inside.

SISYPHUS
-your candle, Celesta. But I've noticed, when
you're not holding it, it burns down very nicely.

CELESTA
If it burns out, I will cease to exist.

SISYPHUS
Well, that's the point. You should've thought of
that before you came to my castle.

CELESTA
I had no choice. You should not have angered Zeus.

SISYPHUS
I can't concern myself with Zeus' petty jealousy.
My kingdom needed water. I made a deal. It's
not my time, and you know it.

CELESTA
That is a decision for the gods.

SISYPHUS
Not anymore.

KARAS
It isn't like you to be so cruel, Sisyphus. What
happened to the compassionate man I married?

SISYPHUS
My compassion brought Death to my door. If I
release her now, it'll be all over. What else would
you have me do?

KARAS
I want you with me, my love.

SISYPHUS
And I will be. In a few hours, the candle will burn
down, and extinguish. So will Celesta. And you
and I will be together for all eternity.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Toxeus' men sit around a lake.

SEERUS
Men, follow me to the next village. There, we'll
make our own conquests.

TOXEUS
So, you're the new leader, huh, Seerus?

SEERUS
Toxeus?

EXTRA
He's alive!

EXTRA
But, Xena killed you!

SEERUS
You're still alive.

TOXEUS
Very observant.

He shows his wound.

TOXEUS
There is no death anymore.

SEERUS
But how?

TOXEUS
That's not important. What I need is an army to
stop Xena, before she ruins it for all of us. Who's
with me?

SEERUS
Xena's a powerful woman. I mean, look what
she did to you.

TOXEUS
Cowards! Maybe this will make you change
your minds!

Toxeus stabs his men. They don't die.

SEERUS
So, what did you have in mind?

EXTRA
We should be dead, but we're not.

TOXEUS
I knew you'd come around. Saddle up! We'll
follow Xena to Corinth and capture Death for
our own safe-keeping.

SEERUS
What if she tries to stop us?

TOXEUS
How can she? We're immortal! And if she tries
we'll make her one of us.

The men cheer.

END OF ACT ONE



ACT TWO

Gabrielle, Xena and Talus move along (Talus ahead).

GABRIELLE
So, what do you think of Talus?

XENA
He's nice.

GABRIELLE
"Nice"? Hah! You're kidding, right? You didn't
hear the story he told. It was warm and sensitive.
And it cheered up that poor man. He's perfect,
Xena. He's funny, he's smart, he's-

XENA
All right. All right. He's more than nice. I'm glad
you'll have some company.

GABRIELLE
Why? Where you going?

XENA
You two head to the hospital. I'm going on alone.

GABRIELLE
But, what if-

XENA
Gabrielle, the hospital should be full of people
looking for relief. Tell them about the injured
people on the roadside. And stay out of trouble.

Xena rides off.

TALUS
She'll be all right.

GABRIELLE
I hope so.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Toxeus and his men watch.

TOXEUS
They've split up. We'll do the same. One of them
will lead us to where Death is held prisoner.
Follow them closely! And report back to me.

Some men move to follow Xena.

EXTRA
Yes, Toxeus.

TOXEUS
Remember, your deaths depend upon it.

They laugh.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Two warriors follow Xena.

EXTRA
Faster!

EXTRA
Lead the way!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena rides to a tree and looks up.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
The warriors ride towards the tree, where Xena is hiding. As they ride by, Xena swings down and kicks the men off their horses.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena rides to the castle.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena moves along the wall of the castle. She sees spears sticking out of the wall. She jumps up on and climbs onto one. She then climbs over the wall.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Inside. A guard leaps out at her, but Xena knocks him out.

XENA
Nice try.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sisyphus enters the room where he's keeping Celesta, laughing.

KARAS
What is it?!

SISYPHUS
Xena is here to rescue Death.

KARAS
Xena?! Why?!

SISYPHUS
She's a warrior. Without death, Xena has no way
to defeat her opponents.

He laughs.

SISYPHUS
This makes things much more interesting.

He laughs and leaves.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hospital.

OLD WOMAN
Water. Water. Please. Someone?

TALUS
You see what you can do for her. I'll fetch water.

Talus moves off, but he clutches his chest in pain. Gabrielle dabs the Old Woman's head with a cloth.

OLD WOMAN
Thank you. Don't be afraid when I tell you this. I
died this morning. But as I was crossing to
the other side, a strange thing happened and I
wound up back here. Where is Death?

GABRIELLE
King Sisyphus has captured her. But don't worry,
my friend, Xena, will make everything all right again.

OLD WOMAN
Oh, is your friend a god?

GABRIELLE
No, but she knows Sisyphus, and she can
take care of herself.

OLD WOMAN
But what of Death? How will she handle her?

GABRIELLE
What do you mean?

OLD WOMAN
Come closer. If your friend touches Death, or
allows Death to touch her, she will die.

Talus arrives.

GABRIELLE
Xena's in trouble. I have to go to her, Talus.

TALUS
Sisyphus has guards posted at every gate.

GABRIELLE
It doesn't matter. You know the castle. Now tell
me how I can get in.

TALUS
I'll do better than that. I'll show you.

GABRIELLE
You don't have to go, Talus. We may come in
contact with Death herself.

TALUS
I assure you, Gabrielle, I'm not afraid of her.

They leave.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
In the castle, Xena sneaks about.

SISYPHUS
Welcome back, Xena.

Sisyphus appears in a puff of smoke.

XENA
Always the grand entrance. We need to talk.

SISYPHUS
What should we talk about? Relive old battles?

XENA
Let's talk about Death.

SISYPHUS
Must we? So depressing.

XENA
Don't you realize the pain you've caused?

SISYPHUS
Nonsense. My subjects are overjoyed. Their
king has given them eternal life.

XENA
You're blinded by your selfish desire to live,
Sisyphus. Now, tell me where she is or I'll make
your eternity a living hell.

SISYPHUS
Still favouring brawn over brains, Xena? Think
about it. You must have loved ones, somewhere.
You never have to leave them, never have to watch
them leaving you. You'd have eternal bliss. Perhaps
you should take some time. Mull it over a while.

XENA
Sorry, Sisyphus, time is the one thing I don't have.

SISYPHUS
On the contrary, time is the only thing you have.

He disappears and a trap door opens under Xena. She falls, screaming as she goes. Her hand grabs something. It's a skeleton's arm.

END OF ACT TWO



ACT THREE

The arm breaks off and Xena falls, screaming as she goes. She hits a stone floor, hard, and loses consciousness.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Talus and Gabrielle move along the wall.

TALUS
I found an escape tunnel, back when my mother
worked in the castle. Nobody knew about it, except
us children. Here it is. Come on.

They enter.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Inside. Talus pushes open a stone door and Gabrielle and Talus enter.

GABRIELLE
Not much of a housekeeper, is he?

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Toxeus' men move through the tunnel.

EXTRA
This way. Yeah.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Inside.

GABRIELLE
Talus, this could be dangerous. You should
go back.

TALUS
And leave you alone.

GABRIELLE
There's no reason for both of us to risk our lives.
Look, Xena's my friend. It's got nothing to do
with you.

TALUS
I'm not leaving you, Gabrielle. I've never met a
girl who knows every line of Sophocles by heart.
I'm not gonna let anything happen to her.

GABRIELLE
Thank you. Actually, I'd rather not be alone in
a place like this.

TALUS
Well, there's no need to worry about that.

They turn the corner and see Toxeus' men.

GABRIELLE
You, you know there's--there's a high rate of infection
in wounds left untreated.

TALUS
Right, uh, maybe we should find you a doctor,
uh, you can't be too careful.

GABRIELLE
Then again, we could just-

GABRIELLE and TALUS
Run!

They run.

EXTRA
Get them!

GABRIELLE
Which way?!

Gabrielle and Talus run up some stairs, but as Talus follows Gabrielle, the stairs turn into a slide and he falls down a trap door.

GABRIELLE
Talus?!

The stairs turn to normal. Toxeus' men go after Gabrielle, and she runs.

EXTRA
Forget him! Get the girl! Get her!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena wakes up. She hears Talus screaming. She moves about, trying to find the source. Talus falls into the prison through a shoot. Xena stands in front of him, sword drawn.

TALUS
Wait, it's me.

XENA
Talus? What are you doing here?!

TALUS
Gabrielle wanted to tell you not to touch Death.

XENA
Of course not. Where is she? I told her to stay
out of trouble.

TALUS
She was concerned about you. I--I don't know
where she is now. We ran and there were these
tall, ugly guys who looked like they were dead.
And then I fell in here.

XENA
They were Toxeus' men. We've gotta get out
of here.

TALUS
Ah, it's all my fault! I should never have let her come!

XENA
When Gabrielle has her mind set on something,
nothing can change it. You'll learn that soon enough.

TALUS
We've got to find her. I've never seen this part
of the castle before. It must be in one of the king's
traps. We'll never get out.

XENA
Shh! Listen.

TALUS
It sounds like water.

XENA
It must drain somewhere.

Xena finds a grate in the floor.

XENA
I found it. Let's go.

Xena and Talus jump into the sewer.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gabrielle moves through the halls. Toxeus' men can be heard.

EXTRA
I want her!

EXTRA
Hey!

EXTRA
This way!

Gabrielle hides behind a tapestry.

EXTRA
Find them!

Toxeus and his men enter the hall.

TOXEUS
Where are they?!

THUG
We cornered the girl, but the guy fell down the
trap door.

TOXEUS
You lost them?!

A rat moves along a shelf behind Gabrielle as Toxeus yells at his men.

TOXEUS
Fools! Search the castle! Find Death, and bring
her to me!

EXTRA
Right!

EXTRA
Let's go!

EXTRA
Come this way, quickly!

EXTRA
Check behind those arches!

The rat smells Gabrielle's face and she covers her mouth to keep from screaming.

GABRIELLE
Shoo.

The rat drops to the floor and moves out from behind the tapestry. Toxeus kills it, laughs and moves on. Gabrielle comes out from behind the tapestry and moves the other way.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena and Talus move through the sewer pipes.

XENA
Come on.

Xena and Talus hear rats. A whole bunch come running up the tunnel.

END OF ACT THREE



ACT FOUR

Rats move towards Xena and Talus. More rats fall on them from above.

XENA
Rats!

Xena and Talus move on.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena moves a gate in the floor and she and Talus re-enter the castle. Karas watches.

XENA
Stay right behind me, Talus.

Talus pulls himself up, and clutches his chest in pain. He keeps moving, but the pain continues. He stops following Xena.

XENA
Talus?

TALUS
I'm okay. I guess I'm just not used to this much
excitement.

XENA
Why were you headed to Corinth?

TALUS
I grew up in Corinth. I guess I just wanted to
see it.

XENA
One last time. Is there anything I can do?

TALUS
No. Thanks.

XENA
Does Gabrielle know?

TALUS
I should'a told her, I know.

XENA
How long have you known?

TALUS
I started getting the pains about a year ago. And
they've been getting worse ever since.

XENA
This makes my job a lot tougher.

TALUS
What you're doing is right. There are too many
people who need her.

XENA
I can see why Gabrielle thinks you're so special.
Come on.

They move on. Karas moves another way.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Karas enters the room where Sisyphus is keeping Death.

KARAS
Sisyphus, I need to talk to you.

SISYPHUS
Not now, Karas. Xena has proved more of a
challenge than I thought.

KARAS
What we've done is wrong. I realize that, now.

SISYPHUS
We've cheated death. How can that be wrong?

KARAS
What about those who need her?! The people
who are in pain?!

SISYPHUS
I've given them life. Isn't that what they want?

Karas grabs a dagger off the wall and holds it at her chest.

KARAS
If I were to give myself a mortal wound, would
you have me suffer as well?!

SISYPHUS
Enough of this nonsense!

He takes the dagger.

SISYPHUS
If Xena wins, I die.

He leaves. The candle has almost burnt out.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Talus and Xena move along.

TALUS
This hall leads to the king's private chamber.

XENA
Good.

Karas enters.

KARAS
Xena.

TALUS
Your Highness?

KARAS
Talus. I want to help you.

XENA
Why?

KARAS
Because what my husband has done is wrong.
Look, you can't defeat him without me. Even if
you survive his traps, you'll never reach Celesta
in time.

XENA
Thanks for the advice.

Xena starts to leave.

KARAS
Wait! Please. I know another way.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena grabs the door into the room where Sisyphus is keeping Celesta and a cage falls down.

SISYPHUS
Well, Xena. It seems, finally, the spider has
caught the fly.

Karas is in the cage.

SISYPHUS
What's the meaning of this?

Xena enters behind him.

KARAS
It's time for you to listen to reason, Sisyphus.

XENA
I agree.

SISYPHUS
Xena.

XENA
It's time to let Death go, Sisyphus.

SISYPHUS
Not without a fight. Draw your weapon.

XENA
No weapons. There's someone you should meet.

Talus enters.

TALUS
Do you remember me, your Highness? My mother
and I lived in the castle when I was a small boy.

SISYPHUS
Talus! How are you, my boy?

TALUS
Not good, your Highness. I'm dying, or at least,
I should be. You were very good to my mother
and me. Now, I ask you for one more act of
kindness. Let Celesta go.

SISYPHUS
You don't understand. If I let her go, I will die.

TALUS
You shouldn't fear it. I did for the longest time.
But now my suffering has grown so real and
deep. Now I know death can be a friend, a
resting place.

SISYPHUS
You must understand, Talus that I'm not suffering.
My life can still be good.

TALUS
I don't believe that. When the good King Sisyphus
sees all the pain and misery he has caused
the world, he'll die inside a million times in
regret for what he has done. Don't you see? It's
not how long you live that matters. It's how well
you live. Please, let her go.

XENA
You're a great king, Sisyphus. Be remembered
that way.

Sisyphus pulls a lever and the cage moves off Karas.

SISYPHUS
I was so concerned with my own life, I forgot
about the rest of the world. I've been such a fool.

KARAS
Oh, it's not too late.

Sisyphus kisses Karas.

KARAS
I will miss you.

SISYPHUS
Don't count me out yet.

XENA
Sisyphus, there's not much time.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sisyphus and the others enter the room. Sisyphus starts to unlock the chains. Gabrielle runs in.

GABRIELLE
Xena! Talus! They're right behind me!

Toxeus and his men enter. Toxeus grabs Gabrielle and holds a knife at her throat.

TOXEUS
Stay away from those chains! Or this young thing
will be Death's first victim.

TALUS
Let her go!

XENA
Talus, let me. (to Toxeus) Shouldn't you be
looking for a shallow grave somewhere?

TOXEUS
Just a few more minutes.

XENA
Come on, Toxeus, wouldn't you rather have me
by the throat than that scrawny little girl?

TOXEUS
Are you offering to join me?

XENA
Run me through, and I'm yours.

GABRIELLE
No, Xena!

Toxeus pushes Gabrielle aside, and grabs a sword. He runs at Xena, but Sisyphus uses his staff to make smoke. Xena kicks Toxeus and he falls back.

XENA
You unlock Celesta. I'll handle the others.

Xena fights Toxeus and his men well Sisyphus works to free Death.

THUG
Die, Xena!

XENA
Not today!

TOXEUS
Get away from those chains.

Toxeus moves Sisyphus away from Death. Xena keeps fighting. Talus tries to take on Toxeus, but Toxeus tosses Talus aside. Gabrielle moves to fight him, but he grabs her. He holds the dagger over her head, but Xena throws her chakram. It hits Toxeus, making him drop the dagger, and then breaks the chains. Celesta is freed and her candle grows to it's full height. Toxeus looks at his wound and Gabrielle gets away. Celesta moves through the room, touching Toxeus' men. They fall down dead.

XENA
You all right?

GABRIELLE
That was a little close.

SISYPHUS
I'm ready, Celesta.

CELESTA
Your time will come. First, someone else needs me.

Celesta holds out her hand to Talus, who moves towards her.

GABRIELLE
Wait. Wait. There's been some kind of mistake.

TALUS
No, Gabrielle, it's no mistake. I have to say good-bye.

GABRIELLE
"Good-bye"? I don't understand.

XENA
Talus is very sick. He has been for a long time.

GABRIELLE
But I didn't know.

TALUS
I'm ready.

GABRIELLE
No. You don't have to take him. We saved you.
You owe us. Please.

TALUS
I should've told you. Forgive me, Gabrielle. All
I wanted was a memory of you.

GABRIELLE
This can't be happening.

TALUS
We'll meet each other again, someday, on the
other side.

GABRIELLE
You won't forget me?

TALUS
How could I?

They hug and Talus moves to Celesta. She touches him and the two move through the door. Gabrielle hugs Xena and Xena tries to comfort her as Talus walks away.

END OF ACT FOUR

STARRING
Lucy Lawless as Xena
Renee O'Connor as Gabrielle

GUEST CAST
Kate Hodge as Celesta
Ray Henwood as Sisyphus
Leslie Wing as Karas
Kieren Hutchison as Talus
Erik Thomson as Hades
Chris Graham as Toxeus
Gordon Hatfield as Seerus
Paul McLaren as Streptus
Kelly Greene as Guard
Beryl Te Wiata as Old Woman
Wayne England as Wounded Man
Allan Wilkins as Thug

Teleplay by: Adam Armus and Nora Kay Foster
Story by: Babs Greyhosky, Adam Armus & Nora Kay Foster
Directed by: Charles Siebert

Disclaimer: No Jumbo Sized Cocktail Rats were harmed during the production of this motion picture.