The Path Not Taken


TEASER

Jana and Agranon sit under a tree.

JANA
Agranon, will you promise me that when we're
old, we'll still come back here and sit under
these trees?

AGRANON
When we're old? We'll do it every year, on the
anniversary of our wedding day. And one day,
we can bring our grandchildren, lots of grandchildren.

JANA
Ten years ago, a marriage between our families
would have been impossible. Does anyone even
remember what the feud was about?

AGRANON
No one in my family remembers. Whatever it
was, it's centuries old, and it ends when we
are joined.

JANA
We'll definitely bring our grandchildren. We can
tell them that peace was finally made here.

AGRANON
And that one of their parents was made here.

They kiss.

JANA
After our wedding, maybe.

They are watched.

JANA
That's very strange.

AGRANON
Strange?

JANA
There's somebody out there.

AGRANON
Who is it?!

He draws his sword.

AGRANON
Who's there?!

Men attack them.

AGRANON
Run!

Jana is captured.

JANA
No! Get your hands off me!

EXTRA
We've got the girl! Come on!

JANA
Agranon, help me!

Agranon is knocked out and they run off.

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

GABRIELLE
You see, Xena, the way I look at it, life is an adventure
to be explored and without adventure, what's the
point? Granted, with you sometimes it gets a
bit too adventurous. But that's what makes it
interesting. Who was it that said, "If curiosity is
the food of life, then adventure is a meal"?

XENA
Sounds like something you might have said.

GABRIELLE
Oh, huh! Maybe it was me. Speaking of a meal, hmmm.

EXTRA
That's it!

GABRIELLE
Places like this always have the best food.

A man is thrown out of the window.

GABRIELLE
Ha-ha! And atmosphere. Two important ingredients
to fine dining. I jest, you know?

The man stands and draws a knife.

GABRIELLE
Let's see what's on the menu.

Xena whistles and Argo kicks the man.

GABRIELLE
You whistled?

XENA
Yeah, wait for me.

They go in.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Inside. Men whistle. As Gabrielle talks, Xena knocks out men two men who hit on her.

GABRIELLE
Lovely. Now, this is the salt of the earth. Well,
you gotta admit, the people of Lerna might never
appreciate who you are, but King Gregor certainly
did. He would've lost his whole kingdom, if it
weren't for you. Ale, please. Yep, the baby got
a home-

EXTRA
Nobody does that to me!

GABRIELLE
-Gregor got a son, Pandora got some rest and
the way you figured out that prophecy, well, I, for
one, am still amazed.

The man draws a dagger and moves on Xena, who (has taken a drink of port) spits on a torch and it flames out at the man.

EXTRA
Okay! You win!

XENA
Ah.

They move to a table and everyone clears out.

GABRIELLE
Hah! Did you ever notice that we never have
trouble getting a table?

XENA
A mystery to me.

Agranon steps before them and places a bag of money on the table.

AGRANON
That's if you're for hire.

GABRIELLE
Hey!

XENA
Not that kind of hire, Gabrielle. (to Agranon) Go on.

AGRANON
May I sit down?

XENA
No. Keep talking.

AGRANON
I'm not sure where to begin.

XENA
Who did you want me to kill?

AGRANON
No one, unless you have to. May I please sit down?

XENA
You're new at this, so listen up. Anyone coming
into a place like this, carrying a bag of gold, is
looking to live a short life with a messy death.

AGRANON
I don't care. I've gotta get her back.

GABRIELLE
Her?

AGRANON
My fiancée. She's been abducted, and if she's
not returned, there will be a war.

GABRIELLE
What? Who kidnapped her?

AGRANON
The King of Beocia thinks we did it. My own father
thinks they did it to have an excuse to attack us.

EXTRA
Nice legs!

XENA
So, who do you think did it?

Xena kicks the man and knocks him out.

GABRIELLE
Sorry, that happens sometimes. You were saying?

AGRANON
I think Jana was taken by someone else, someone
whose livelihood would be destroyed if this
marriage took place.

XENA
Does this someone have a name?

AGRANON
He's an arms dealer who operates from the
walled city of-

XENA
Tracus. I've heard of Mezentius.

AGRANON
I imagine you might have. Tracus seems to be
a crossroads for murderers and mercenaries.

GABRIELLE
No offense taken.

AGRANON
Sorry. You must help us. We're talking about two
nations going to war!

XENA
I don't work for nations, I don't work for money
and I won't work for you.

She throws the bag of money back at him.

AGRANON
Please! Please, you're right. I don't know what
I'm doing. All I know is the woman that I love more
than my own breath, my Jana, I love her, and I
will die for her if I have to. Ask anything of me
and it's yours.

XENA
First, there are hungry people in this town who
could use that gold. I'll take this.

She rips the medallion off of his neck.

XENA
And you'll get your Jana back.

AGRANON
Thank you.

Agranon leaves and Gabrielle takes the medallion from Xena.

GABRIELLE
Can I see?

XENA
Give me that!

Xena rips the medallion out of her hand.

END OF TEASER



ACT ONE

GABRIELLE
Why don't I like the sound of this? You're going
to a place known the world over as the den
for cutthroats, thieves and mercenaries and you're
not wearing a disguise.

XENA
Don't need a disguise. They'll remember me. I
think I can use that to my advantage. And besides,
in a strange way, it'll be nice to see some of them again.

GABRIELLE
You're terrible at reassurance, did anyone ever
tell you that? I don't want you to go in there and
then decide that you like it again.

XENA
It won't happen. I'm getting in there, getting the
girl, getting out.

Agranon enters.

AGRANON
I did what you said. I gave out the gold to the poor.
Now what do you need me to do?

GABRIELLE
You're to stay here and keep me company, while
we wait.

Xena hides the medallion in her cleavage.

XENA
I'll be back as soon as I can.

Xena leaves.

GABRIELLE
Have a seat. Let me tell you a story.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena rides along on Argo through several scenes.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena rides up to the gates of Tracus. Xena whispers to Argo.

XENA
Go on.

Argo leaves.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Inside Tracus. The Brisus signs a scroll.

BRISUS
You're certain these weapons will be delivered
to Beocia immediately.

MEZENTIUS
As soon as my people can produce them. Kidnap
your Princess, did they? Kolonus scum! You'll
get the best of my stock, believe me.

BRISUS
I appreciate your concern over the loss of our
sweet princess.

MEZENTIUS
I know what it's like to lose a loved one.

Brisus leaves.

MEZENTIUS
Is the princess here yet?

MARCUS
She was brought in this morning.

MEZENTIUS
Well, tell the emissary from Kolonus, that it's half
the gold up front. What do you think, Marcus?

MARCUS
I think you're going to be a rich man.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tavern.

ANTONIUS
And Dictys, he cuts him all the way from his neck
to his gullet!

DICTYS
He said I grabbed her. She was asking for it,
for Dionysus' sake.

EXTRA
Of course she was.

ANTONIUS
Oh, yeah, or speaking the language of love, was
she, Dictys? Yeah, yeah. Long live Dionysus!

Xena enters.

XENA
Long live who?

The crowd is silent.

EXTRA
Xena!

EXTRA
Xena!

EXTRA
You're back!

ANTONIUS
What happened to you? You disappeared, then
there's this talk all over the place that you've been
working for peasants for no profit.

XENA
All part of the cause, boys. All part of the cause.
It's called gaining their trust. Once you do that-

She flips him and holds a sword on him

XENA
-you've got them right where you want them.
There's profit to be made.

ANTONIUS
This calls for a drink!

EXTRA
Yeah, right!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Later.

ANTONIUS
So, all that stuff about fighting for peasants
and farmers-

XENA
Was Draco's pay back for my trouncing him.

EXTRA
Yeah, Xena!

XENA
Enough, already.

ANTONIUS
And why would you go after Draco?

XENA
Because he went after my mother.

EXTRA
Uh-oh!

Marcus enters.

MARCUS
You expect us to believe that?

XENA
You got something to say to me?

MARCUS
I got something to say about your mother.

There's a long pause.

MARCUS
How is your mother, Xena?

XENA
Marcus, it's been too long!

They hug and the crowd laughs.

MARCUS
Come.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Other tavern.

GABRIELLE
So how did you two meet?

AGRANON
I was out for a ride.

GABRIELLE
In the woods, I bet, on a moonlit night.

AGRANON
No. It was a hot summer day, and no woods. I
was getting a drink from a spring, when her
reflection suddenly appeared. I thought it was
a water goddess, Panope. Then, I looked up,
and I saw it was someone far more beautiful.
She smiled. From that moment on, I dedicated
my life to making that smile appear as often
as possible.

GABRIELLE
That is just too beautiful. Did you tell her father this?

AGRANON
No.

GABRIELLE
Really? You must. I mean, once he hears the
story, he's got to believe that you would never
have kidnapped her. Let's go.

AGRANON
Gabrielle. You don't understand. There's no way
I'd ever reach him.

GABRIELLE
I'll get you in. I can be very persuasive when
I want to be. Come on!

They leave.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Marcus and Xena share a drink.

MARCUS
Where have you been all this time? I lost track
of you after the raid on Sympius.

XENA
That was a while ago.

MARCUS
Yeah.

XENA
I've been keeping busy, here and there.

MARCUS
I don't hear much about the great Xena conquests
any more.

XENA
I don't care much for popularity. I just came from
Lerna. The king there had a baby I ransomed.

MARCUS
I've missed you, Xena. I've thought about you a lot.

XENA
I've thought about you too, Marcus.

MARCUS
You have?

XENA
Yes, many times.

MARCUS
Thoughts of anger or what we had?

XENA
Both. I heard Beocia's going to war. I smell profit.

MARCUS
I guess a baby's ransom can't support an army
for long.

XENA
Not mine.

Mezentius enters.

MEZENTIUS
Dictys! I'd like some words with you.

DICTYS
What about?

MEZENTIUS
A case full of my new arrows. A cart full of spears.
They're missing.

DICTYS
I don't know what you're talkin' about.

MEZENTIUS
Of course not. I know you stole them. But I
also know you have someone on the inside,
working for you. And the idea that anyone would
betray me-

He kills the first spy and a guard kills the other.

MEZENTIUS
You're scared. You're afraid of me. That's good.
And you turned two of my men. That's smart. Stop
by my office tomorrow, and you got a job, otherwise,
get out of Tracus.

Mezentius leaves.

XENA
Mezentius.

MARCUS
He's my boss.

XENA
Did he kidnap the princess?

MARCUS
Ah, let's just say he has all the angles covered.
You are so good.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Square.

EXTRA
Just be a moment!

MARCUS
I can't guarantee his mood, but usually, he's
pretty happy after he's killed someone.

XENA
I don't care if he's doing back flips. I need to talk
to him.

MARCUS
Let me give you fair warning, Xena. This guy
could charm the song out of a siren.

XENA
As I remember, I wasn't too bad at it myself.

MARCUS
Ha-ha-ha! Don't you dare bring that up? That
wasn't charm. You tricked me.

XENA
What trick? You said you'd do anything for me.
I just called your bluff.

Mezentius and his guards enter with Jana. She is taken up a flight of stairs.

MEZENTIUS
Have her bathed and perfumed and taken to my
chambers! It's just as easy to kill her in the morning.

MARCUS
Mezentius.

MEZENTIUS
Ah, Marcus. Why didn't you tell me the girl was
such a beauty? I'm gonna have a fine time
with her.

MARCUS
Mezentius, I'd like you to meet an old friend of mine.

MEZENTIUS
Yes, I know who you are. And, I know why you're
here. Guards!

Xena and Marcus are surrounded by archers and Mezentius laughs.

END OF ACT ONE



ACT TWO

MEZENTIUS
The great Warrior Princess. I'm honoured. I saw
you at the tavern, and I wondered, "What would
bring Xena here? What do I have that Xena could
possibly want?" The answer was obvious.

XENA
Make it more obvious.

MEZENTIUS
Do you think I'm stupid?! You think I haven't heard
what you did to Aescalus? Stole all his weapons
and ransomed them back to him. It was brilliant!

XENA
I take it you're not so easily fooled.

MEZENTIUS
Not by you. Not by anyone.

XENA
Are you going to kill me?

MEZENTIUS
Kill you? Far from it. It's people like you who make
people like me.

XENA
Then call off your dogs. Then, maybe we can
talk business.

MEZENTIUS
Business?

He laughs.

MEZENTIUS
Business, yes. One hour, in my office. Marcus,
don't let her out of your sight.

Mezentius and his archers leave.

XENA
So, show me around.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gabrielle and Agranon walk along in the woods.

GABRIELLE
Don't worry, we'll reason with them.

AGRANON
I don't know if he's gonna be in a very reasonable mood.

GABRIELLE
Listen. A sensitive guy like you would only fall
in love with a very special girl. And anyone who
would raise this special girl is probably very
special himself, and therefore, reasonable. It
makes sense, doesn't it?

AGRANON
I think so.

EXTRA
Who's there?

SOLDIER #1
Who goes there?

GABRIELLE
Let me handle this. (to Solider #1) Take us to
the king.

SOLDIER #1
Who are you?

GABRIELLE
My name is Gabrielle. And this is Agranon, Prince
of Kolonus.

SOLDIER #1
Get his sword. All right, let's go.

GABRIELLE
Perfect, we're getting into the castle.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Later.

MARCUS
And that's the weapons warehouse, where we're
assembling the shipment for the Beocian war.
Let me show you one of my favourite places in
the compound.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
They enter the bath house.

XENA
Very nice.

MARCUS
Mezentius discovered this hot spring under his
fortress two years ago. Heats the whole building.
This room has its uses, too.

XENA
I'll bet.

MARCUS
You look just as beautiful as I remember.

XENA
What do you remember?

MARCUS
Mmm, everything. Every sound, every touch,
every smell. Do you remember?

Marcus kisses her hand. Jana is lead by the window by two guards.

EXTRA
Now watch out.

JANA
No! Leave me alone! Leave me alone!

XENA
I think we better get back to Mezentius. We can
talk about this later.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Outside. Mezentius walks by.

XENA
Mezentius, we had a meeting.

MEZENTIUS
I'm busy. It'll wait.

XENA
No it won't. We talk now.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mezentius's office.

XENA
I want to make an offer, and I want to give you
some advice. Both are worth a fortune. Neither
comes free.

MEZENTIUS
I never make investments without examining
the goods. I don't intend to start now.

XENA
Very well. Kolonus and Beocia are about to go
to war. Beocia's army is far better. It'll be
over in a month.

MEZENTIUS
Poor Kolonus.

XENA
Poor arms dealers. You'll be winding down before
you finished gearing up.

MEZENTIUS
I'm listening.

XENA
I can keep the war going indefinitely.

MARCUS
Interesting.

MEZENTIUS
There might be a deal here. Go on.

XENA
I don't care who wins. My army will fight for one
side, and then the other. I'll keep them far too
busy to figure out that you've got the princess.

MARCUS
Ah, she figured that out herself; I didn't tell her that.

MEZENTIUS
I don't need you for that. The girl will be dead by
tomorrow, her body found by her family, the
apparent victim of the Kolonus barbarians. Your
offer is shallow at best. No deal.

XENA
Which brings me to my advice. The girl's worth
far more to you alive. When the war's over, the
victor will pay his treasury to get her back,
either as a trophy or a daughter.

MEZENTIUS
Intriguing. What's all this gonna cost me?

XENA
Weapons for my army and half your profits, from
the war and ransom.

MARCUS
Xena.

MEZENTIUS
Why stop at half?

XENA
Well if you push me, I won't.

MEZENTIUS
I wouldn't dream of it. Very well, a deal.

JANA
(yells from outside) Stay away from me!

Mezentius stands and leaves.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mezentius steps outside with Xena and Marcus.

MEZENTIUS
What's going on?

EXTRA
Up there.

Jana stands on the ledge, a knife at her throat.

MEZENTIUS
Well, look at this.

JANA
Keep away from me, I'm warning you. I'll jump.

MEZENTIUS
Oh! The sheep has fangs. Good. This is getting
tedious. I'll bring her down.

He grabs a crossbow.

XENA
Wait. Let me handle this. Worth more alive, remember?

Xena runs up the stairs.

MEZENTIUS
This Xena is a strange woman. I like her...energy.

MARCUS
Yes.

MEZENTIUS
I really hope I don't have to kill her.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Upstairs.

JANA
Stay back! I'll do it. I'll take my own life.

XENA
You're gonna cut your throat and jump. That's
overdoing it a bit, don't you think?

JANA
I can still jump.

XENA
You can still jump whenever you want.

JANA
I'm not going back to that man. I'm not gonna
let him take me.

XENA
Neither am I. Agranon sent me.

JANA
You lie.

XENA
Come down off the ledge, and I'll prove it to you.

JANA
There's only one way I'm coming off this ledge,
and that's straight down.

Xena holds out the medallion.

XENA
Does this look familiar?

AGRANON
He did send you.

XENA
You're going to be all right.

She helps her off the ledge.

XENA
Do you know where the grotto is?

JANA
The hot spring? They took me there to prepare
for that awful man.

XENA
Meet me there tonight when the moon is in the
western sky. Now, go inside.

She does. Xena goes downstairs.

EXTRA
Can you believe that?

XENA
Did I protect our investment, Mezentius?

MEZENTIUS
You protected my property, yes.

XENA
Good. Now don't ruin things by letting your
passion overcome your senses.

MEZENTIUS
Your friend can be quite insulting at times.

MARCUS
Perhaps, but I found it best to listen when Xena speaks.

MEZENTIUS
Oh, you found that, did you?

MARCUS
Well, there's a reason for her success. She knows
what she's doing.

MEZENTIUS
Go on.

XENA
The princess loses half her ransom value if you
go to her. Now, isn't half a ransom worth a cold bath?

MEZENTIUS
You seem to know a lot about this.

XENA
Well, I've dealt with this situation before.

MEZENTIUS
I'll consider your advice. Oh, and Marcus, don't let
your passion overcome your senses or your loyalties.

Mezentius leaves.

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

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Weaponry. Guard yawns. Xena's chakram flies and hits the wall. The guard looks at it and Xena knocks him out from behind. She enters.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Inside. Xena looks around. She opens crate and looks at the arrows inside.

EXTRA
All clear there?

EXTRA
Yes.

Xena closes the crate.

MARCUS
What's going on, Xena? What happened to the guard?

XENA
I wanted to see what the inventory looked like.

MARCUS
If you wanted to see the weapons, all you had
to do was ask me. Now, tell me the truth.

Mezentius enters.

MEZENTIUS
Faith in the people I work with certainly is in short
supply these days.

END OF ACT TWO



ACT THREE

MEZENTIUS
And what side of the coin do you fall on, Marcus?

MARCUS
Yours, of course. Know your enemies, Mezentius.
Xena's army will be going up against these weapons.
I thought she should get to know the inventory.

XENA
Your weapons are impressive. Too impressive.
I don't want my men to die needlessly.

MEZENTIUS
That's your problem. However it might appear
to you do not deceive yourself that ours is an
equal partnership.

XENA
I wouldn't dream of it, Mezentius.

MEZENTIUS
A wise choice.

XENA
As long as it's equal pay.

MEZENTIUS
Come on.

Mezentius leaves with his guards.

MARCUS
You were going to steal weapons, weren't you?

XENA
I'm sure it's not the first time it's ever been done.

MARCUS
No. In fact, it's still being done. You just have to
know how to juggle the inventory.

XENA
How do you get them out of the city?

Marcus laughs.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
They step up to a well. Marcus pulls up a bucket of water.

MARCUS
This is one of four water wells in the city. Only
this one isn't quite what it seems.

He throws a rock which hits dirt not water.

XENA
A back door right out in the open. I'm impressed.

MARCUS
You know, I never showed anyone this. I never
trusted anyone. You know all that talk about you
changing, trying to leave all this?

XENA
Not you too, Marcus.

MARCUS
No, I--I didn't think you did. But I tried leaving once.

XENA
What happened?

MARCUS
I was in a raiding party. Some old man was
begging us to spare his grandson, who was
crippled. And one of my men said, "Okay," cut
the kid's head off. You would never kill defenseless
people. I always respected that. And I never
really got it until that day. So I walked away, I
thought for good.

XENA
Obviously, you came back.

MARCUS
I wasn't cut out for it, pure and simple. So I said,
"Fine, not for me." So I came back. You know, the
old Xena would have lopped my head off for a
story like that.

XENA
The old Xena.

MARCUS
Yeah, the old Xena. You know, there is something
different about you now. I mean, before, you were
so determined, like you always had something
to prove. But now, it's...

XENA
But now...

MARCUS
It's hard to say. It's like, now, you have the answer.
But I've never even found the question.

They kiss.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gabrielle and Mezentius are locked in a dungeon, Gabrielle in a stock and Agranon chained by the neck.

GABRIELLE
What we have here is a failure to communicate.
No one talks, that's the problem. When I meet
the king, I'll explain that this whole war thing
is just a terrible misunderstanding. We'll get
through this, I'm sure of it. The key is to meet with him.

SOLDIER #1
Noon, tomorrow.

GABRIELLE
To meet the king?

SOLDIER #1
The executioner. The war has begun, and you
two will be the first casualties.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
The well. Marcus kisses Xena.

XENA
Oh, Marcus, I can't do this. Look, not now.

Xena leaves.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bath house. Jana waits. Xena enters.

JANA
Where were you?

XENA
I'm here now. Are you ready? Let's go.

Mezentius knocks on the door.

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

MEZENTIUS
Who's in there?!

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

XENA
Mezentius.

Xena moves off with Jana as Mezentius continues to bang on the door.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mezentius bangs on the door.

MEZENTIUS
I demand to know who's in there!

Xena opens the door, wearing a robe.

XENA
Marcus said it would be all right to use the spring.

MEZENTIUS
His timing could've been better.

He enters and closes the door.

MEZENTIUS
Or, perhaps, it couldn't have been better.

XENA
I don't usually have an audience.

MEZENTIUS
I'm not an audience. I'm a business partner,
and I have something of interest for you. Please,
go ahead.

Xena sits on the bath rim. Jana is hiding in the bath.

XENA
Well?

MEZENTIUS
I've just had word that Agranon, the girl's betrothed,
has been taken captive by Beocia.

Jana gasps and Xena pushes her mouth under the water.

XENA
That could be useful. Are they going to ransom him?

MEZENTIUS
Even better. They plan to execute him and
his companion tomorrow. This war will be
a bloodbath. Great start, isn't it?

XENA
Then I better get ready to fight it, after my bath.

MEZENTIUS
Why don't I join you?

XENA
The last time I talked business with a handsome
man in a hot spring, I almost lost a war. Now, go.

MEZENTIUS
Perhaps another time.

XENA
Count on it.

He leaves. Xena helps Jana out of the bath.

XENA
There's no time to lose.

Xena takes off her rob and puts it on Jana.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tavern.

MARCUS
Give me one.

EXTRA
There you go. Two dinars.

ANTONIUS
You heard the latest news on Xena?

MARCUS
No, but I'll bet you're gonna tell me.

ANTONIUS
I talked to a trader who came from Lerna. He said
she was there.

MARCUS
She told me. She ransomed a baby back to King
Gregor, and made a bundle.

ANTONIUS
What? Ransomed to the King? No, no, Marcus,
she rescued the baby. She didn't kidnap it.

MARCUS
No. You got it wrong.

ANTONIUS
Yeah, I'm sure you wanna believe that.

MARCUS
Is that supposed to mean something?

ANTONIUS
She's got you fooled, Marcus. She's running
something right now, and you're falling for it like
a good, little lovesick puppet.

Marcus hits him and he falls against a table. He draws his sword and attacks Marcus. Marcus slams him into a table, holds his sword hand down and holds his hand at Antonius' throat.

ANTONIUS
This guy worked for Nemos, the king's advisor.
She killed Nemos, because he wanted to
grab the kid and blackmail the king. I swear it!
I swear it!

Marcus lets him up.

ANTONIUS
Where's the profit? I just don't get it.

Marcus leaves.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Inside weaponry. Jana is sitting in a crate.

XENA
You'll be shipped out this morning, right to your
father's encampment.

JANA
I hate little places.

XENA
You'd hate a coffin even more. Trust me.

Jana lies down and Xena closes the lid. Marcus enters.

MARCUS
Hi.

XENA
Oh, hi.

MARCUS
What's in the box?

XENA
The box? Some bows, arrows for weight.

MARCUS
Bows and arrows. Arrows like this?

He picks up a mean looking arrow.

XENA
Of course.

MARCUS
I didn't think you'd seen this arrow yet. We just
developed it. It'll go through a wood shield like
a dagger through butter. Leave a hole as big as
your fist. Let me show you. Ah, this box will make
a good target.

It's the box Jana is in.

END OF ACT THREE



ACT FOUR

XENA
Marcus.

Xena steps in the way.

MARCUS
What? Are you afraid I'm gonna hit the princess?

XENA
Please. I have to save this girl and stop a war.
I couldn't risk telling you.

MARCUS
Especially, when I was far more useful being your
stooge with Mezentius. You get a good laugh,
Xena? Hmm? About your old buddy that couldn't
make it on the outside?

XENA
It hurt. I care for you. You're still a part of me.

Marcus lowers the bow.

MARCUS
Then why the deception?

He puts it down and Jana sighs in relief.

MARCUS
Why couldn't you just tell me the truth, and ask
for my help?

XENA
I didn't know how much you cared. Now, I know.
I see it in your eyes. Come with me, now. How
many of us are left from the old days? Most of
them are dead. Marcus, I don't want to stand
by your grave.

MARCUS
You're not better than me, Xena.

XENA
You're right.

MARCUS
What makes you think I want to?

XENA
What made you think you wanted to? Marcus,
it is so simple. You do one thing, one good
thing, for no other reason than you know it's
right. That's the first step.

MARCUS
I'm not that strong. No, it's too late, Xena. I'm
taking the girl. Guards!

Xena knocks him out and opens the crate.

XENA
Come on.

Xena fights the guards.

XENA
Come on. Up there!

Xena helps Jana out.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bathhouse.

MEZENTIUS
What is going on? Marcus. Somebody find Marcus!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena leads Jana up a flight of stairs and hides her.

XENA
Move! You stay here.

Men enter.

JANA
For how long?

XENA
As long as it takes.

Xena flips in and fights Mezentius's men.

EXTRA
Get her!

Xena flips with a yell.

EXTRA
Get her!

EXTRA
That way.

EXTRA
Get her!

EXTRA
Come on!

Marcus gets up.

EXTRA
After her!

EXTRA
Get the-

Jana drops a heavy bag on a man. Xena continues to fight.

EXTRA
Get her!

Xena defeats Mezentius's men.

MARCUS
Xena! Drop the sword!

Marcus holds Jana, a blade at her throat.

XENA
You're not going to hurt her.

MARCUS
Don't bet on it.

Mezentius enters.

XENA
She's no different than the innocent grandchild
of that old man.

MARCUS
You're right, Xena.

Mezentius grabs a bow and an arrow.

MEZENTIUS
I'll have my war, if I have to kill every last one
of you!

MARCUS
No!

Marcus stands in front of Jana and takes the arrow.

XENA
Marcus!

Xena throws her chakram and slices Mezentius's throat. Xena joins Marcus.

XENA
Marcus, I could have saved her.

MARCUS
I know. Was that it? Was that the one step that
you meant?

XENA
Yeah. Marcus, don't make me stand by your grave.

MARCUS
Shh! Shh, shh, shh.

He dies.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena sings "Burial" at Marcus' funeral.

GABRIELLE
I wish I could have met him. I'm sorry.

XENA
He was my friend.

GABRIELLE
To be remembered like that is a good thing.

Xena steps up towards the funeral pyre.

XENA
My friend...my friend.

END OF ACT FOUR

STARRING
Lucy Lawless as Xena
Renee O'Connor as Gabrielle

GUEST CAST
Bobby Hosea as Marcus
Stephen Tozer as Mezentius
Nicola Cliff as Jana
Jimi Liversidge as Agranon
John O'Leary as Antonius
Iain Rea as Brisus
Crawford Thomson as Dictys
Peter Saena-Brown as Soldier #1

Written by: Julie Sherman
Directed by: Stephen L. Posey