The Reckoning


This transcript is dedicated to the memory of Kevin Smith


TEASER

Xena rides, and Gabrielle walks.

GABRIELLE
I'm gonna go find that road.

XENA
It should be straight ahead, I told you.

GABRIELLE
Yeah, well you told me that an hour ago when I
still had feet.

Gabrielle moves off. Xena laughs.

GABRIELLE
Maybe it's over here.

XENA
Don't get lost.

Gabrielle gives her a look and moves on.

EXTRA
Mercy! No!

Xena rides towards the cry.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Doracles and Areolis, lie sprawled, lifeless, on the ground. Polinios, is seated on the ground, near death and Teracles is leaning against the wagon, barely conscious. Ares is in a hooded cloak and is just about to finish Teracles off. Xena draws her sword and rides in. Ares turns to face her.

XENA
You're pretty good against unarmed men.

She dismounts.

XENA
How are you against someone who can fight back?

Xena fights Ares. During the fight, Polinios watches and then dies. Xena and Ares keep fighting. Xena lunges forward, but Ares leaps over her. She turns to face him, but he is gone. Xena looks about with confusion, but then she hears the groan of Teracles, and moves to his side to help. She rips his sleeve and puts pressure on the cut on his neck. She then uses her sword to hold the cloth there.

XENA
Stay with me. You're going to make it. Press down
on this as hard as you can.

TERACLES
My brother.

XENA
Yeah.

She inspects his badly wounded leg. Looking around quickly, she spots the money pouch attached with leather string to his waist. She rips the pouch off, strips it of the leather string, dumps out the pouch coins, and uses the string to tie his leg.

XENA
We just have to stop the bleeding. Keep pressing
down hard.

Teracles throws off the now bloodied sword, and rips away the string.

TERACLES
My friends! My friends.

Xena picks up her sword, when she hears yelling.

EXTRA
There's something wrong.

TERESIA
Teracles! Teracles!

Several villagers rush toward Xena. Xena rises, absently holding her sword, as she sees them coming. Teresia rushes immediately to Teracles. Peranis, forgetting his pitchfork and letting it drop, kneels alongside each of the dead bodies in turn.

TERESIA
Husband! Can you hear me, my dearest?!

Peranis, his quick inspection of the others finished, comes to kneel alongside Teracles.

PERANIS
We heard the cries, and the swords clashing. We
came as fast as we could.

XENA
We've got to stop the bleeding.

As Xena approaches to once more give aid, the grief-stricken Teresia rises quickly to her feet, blocking Xena's access to Teracles.

TERESIA
No! Stay away from him. Haven't you got
enough blood on you already from our poor
good neighbors?!

TERACLES
That woman...

Teracles passes out and the villagers begin to circle Xena.

PERANIS
We'll get him home.

EXTRA
Murderer.

XENA
Now, wait a minute.

EXTRA
Don't let her get away.

EXTRA
Don't let her get away.

END OF TEASER



ACT ONE

XENA
I didn't kill these people. There was a man here
with a sword.

PERANIS
You're the only one we've seen.

GRATHIOS
He was my friend!

Grathios raises his staff to strike Xena down, but she grabs it and shoves him back.

XENA
I don't wanna hurt anyone. I fought the man that
killed these people!

PERANIS
Fought an invisible man, did you? One who ran
away without the money he was stealing? And
left his blood all over your hands and sword?
I don't think so.

GRATHIOS
Together now. Take her!

Xena gives her yell and swings her sword.

XENA
Stand back!

Xena flips and lands on Argo.

EXTRA
After her!

EXTRA
Come on! Let's go!

EXTRA
After her!

EXTRA
Come on!

EXTRA
We can do it!

EXTRA
Hurry!

EXTRA
Hurry!

EXTRA
Quickly!

EXTRA
Come back!

EXTRA
Better grab her!

EXTRA
Murderer!

EXTRA
No!

EXTRA
Stop her!

They chase Xena.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena rides, looking for Gabrielle.

XENA
Gabrielle! Gabrielle!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gabrielle sits at a creek, washing her arms.

XENA
Gabrielle!

GABRIELLE
Here! Come on in. This stream is great!

Xena rides in.

XENA
Gabrielle. Come on. Time to go.

She reaches out for Gabrielle.

XENA
Climb aboard.

GABRIELLE
This horse hates me.

EXTRA
There she is!

EXTRA
This way!

EXTRA
Over here!

XENA
No time to argue.

The villagers enter, weapons in hand.

EXTRA
Hurry!

Gabrielle mounts Argo with Xena.

EXTRA
That's them! Come on!

EXTRA
Catch her!

Xena and Gabrielle ride off through the stream. The villagers watch them go.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
In the village.

BENITAR
Grathios? You're sure she's trapped in the
mountain glade?

GRATHIOS
There's no way out except through the pass we've
got covered. She can't escape, not even on horseback.

BENITAR
Good. Then I can begin preparations for the trial.

PERANIS
Trial?!

EXTRA
Trial?

EXTRA
We don't need a trial!

PERANIS
I saw her standing over the bodies, and her hands,
covered with their blood. We don't need a trial!

BENITAR
She should be heard, like any other accused.

PERANIS
Will Doracles' son and daughters care what
excuse their father's murderer may offer? And
Areolis, whose young widow carries his child.
You expect us to stand quietly at this?! Grathios,
didn't Polinios labor in your fields as a boy? I say,
why waste time with some useless hearing?!

EXTRA
Yeah!

BENITAR
She will have a fair trial. Peranis, I understand
your rage. But we can't allow ourselves to become
as savage as the savage we hunt.

Ares appears, unseen by the villagers, and still cloaked.

GRATHIOS
With respect, Benitar, you weren't there. You didn't
see the carnage. Neighbors, Peranis is right! We
need swift revenge, not slow justice!

EXTRA
He's right!

EXTRA
Let's do it!

EXTRA
I'm ready!

EXTRA
We're with you, Peranis!

The villagers leave, moving right through Ares.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Woods.

XENA
We'll wait here till nightfall. Then we can slip by
them in the dark.

GABRIELLE
I don't know what you're worried about. They're
farmers, not warriors.

XENA
I've seen what can happen to people whose loved
ones are butchered. Their vision gets bent and
twisted. Then there's no telling what they'll do.

GABRIELLE
But you didn't do anything.

XENA
The villagers saw me standing there, covered
with blood.

GABRIELLE
Well, appearances aren't everything. That's why
they have trials. If it comes to that, we'll just prove
you didn't do it.

XENA
That hooded assassin who did do it, he fights
as well as I do, maybe better. He's strong and
fast, and then he just disappeared.

GABRIELLE
Do you have any idea who it might have been?

XENA
Maybe. Gabrielle, if anything happens to us, and
we get separated, I want you to get as far away
from here as possible.

GABRIELLE
What do you mean? What do you think is going
to happen?

XENA
Just do it.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Night falls.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Day arrives. Xena rides, Gabrielle walks.

GABRIELLE
Looks like the way we came up is the only way
back down.

XENA
Uh-huh.

Xena sees the villagers moving about in the bushes.

GABRIELLE
What's the matter?

XENA
Here, get up on the horse. Now.

Gabrielle gets on Argo.

GABRIELLE
What is it? What's wrong?

EXTRA
Come on!

EXTRA
This way!

EXTRA
Keep her moving!

EXTRA
We almost got her!

Xena turns the corner, and Argo stops, since spikes are ahead of them.

XENA
Whoa.

Argo rears and Gabrielle is thrown to the ground.

EXTRA
We've got one of them!

EXTRA
Hold onto her!

EXTRA
Now!

The villagers capture Xena with lassos, but she cuts through them. She dismounts, and sends Argo away, the mare riding past the lines of the villagers.

XENA
It's me you want. Let her go.

Benitar enters.

BENITAR
Then give up your sword.

XENA
She has done nothing. So either she goes free
right now, or she comes with me right now.

Swings sword.

BENITAR
So be it. (to villagers) All of you, Peranis, Grathios,
the young girl goes as she pleases. (to Xena)
You have our word.

Gabrielle is let go, and Xena drops her sword to the ground.

GABRIELLE
What're you doing?

Peranis knocks Xena out with a shovel.

GABRIELLE
Xena!

END OF ACT ONE



ACT TWO

Xena is sturdily shackled by her arms to the ceiling and her feet to the floor. She has been stripped of her armour and wears only her undergarment. Gabrielle enters.

GABRIELLE
You all right? That was quite a blow you took.

XENA
I do have a throbbing headache. It's not my biggest
worry right now.

GABRIELLE
Why did you just give up? Why didn't you fight them?

XENA
They're not warriors. It would've been a slaughter.
Gabrielle, I told you to get away from here if anything
happened. I meant it. Save yourself. We're
up against more than you know.

GABRIELLE
I understand you may be feeling a little negative at
the moment. You can't give in to that! Justice prevails.

XENA
Well, that'd be nice.

GABRIELLE
I'll get you out of here.

XENA
No, Gabrielle, leave. Get away from here.

GABRIELLE
Guard?

Gabrielle leaves.

ARES (voice-over)
Look at you.

Ares appears.

ARES
Hardly a suitable situation for a Warrior Princess.
You're probably wondering who I am.

XENA
No, I know who you are. Ares, God of War.

ARES
Very good.

He takes off his hood.

ARES
I should have known you'd figure it out. Who else
could outfight your sword?

Ares releases Xena from her chains with a wave of his hand.

ARES
Behold your former mentor, and still greatest
fan, at your service.

XENA
I used to wonder what you looked like.

ARES
Ah, now that's the problem. You used to wonder.
I can't tell you how disappointing that is.

He massages Xena's shoulders.

ARES
Better? Of course it is.

Xena moves away.

ARES
Take my hand, Xena. Give me your hand-

He holds Xena's hand.

ARES
-and come with me, out of yourself, into what
is wonderful.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
The jail becomes a lovely room.

ARES
Behold.

XENA
You slaughtered those four villagers.

ARES
Only three so far. That one you ministered to might
actually recover.

He pulls out a green dress for Xena.

ARES
By the gods you are a beauty. You must know
I've missed you.

XENA
What do you want?

ARES
I want you back, of course. My Warrior Princess living
as my warrior queen. We were once a great match.

XENA
I didn't know any better then. I thought your ways
were all there was for me.

Ares holds out a dress.

ARES
I think you'll be more comfortable in this. Now
that you do know there is another side to life, now
tell me, are you really having more fun these days?

XENA
I'm fighting for a better world.

Xena slips off her undergarment. Ares puts the dress on her as he speaks.

ARES
My dear Xena, you were always fighting for a better
world. You were going to conquer it and then you
were going to rule it, the perfect way to bring order
out of chaos. And you were doing very, very well.
Take a look at these documents on the table here.

Xena reads them.

XENA
"Each village taxed only on its profits." "Comfort
for the elderly." "The teaching of medicine."

ARES
They need only your signature.

XENA
I can pass these decrees?

ARES
If it'd make you happy. Your destiny is to rule the
world with me. Fulfill your destiny. And fill me again
with the delicious sight of you, the warmth, the
strength of you. Go look out the window.

Xena does.

ARES
What do you see?

XENA
Warriors. Thousands of them.

ARES
All of them yours. Trained, ready; willing to die if
you command it. With an army like that, you could
mold the world anew, eradicate injustice. You
can't tell me that all this holds no attraction even
maybe a slight...fascination?

XENA
What's in it for you?

ARES
The world at peace under a great leader...you.
And to bring all this about you need only call out
my name. Call upon me to help you, and I shall
be there instantly.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
The room once more becomes the jail. Xena is chained again. Villagers can be heard yelling in the background.

ARES
I seriously doubt you're gonna get a better offer.
Just call for my help, Xena and you'll hold the world.
And you better hurry. That crowd doesn't seem
as fond of you as I am.

Peranis enters with the guards. Ares disappears.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Benitar and Gabrielle sit together.

BENITAR
Your friend will have a hearing. We're not barbarians.

GABRIELLE
Who will speak for her?

BENITAR
I'll act as her advocate if that's what you mean.

GABRIELLE
With respect, sir, the fairest way would be to let
her advocate be the person who believes the most
in her innocence, like me.

BENITAR
That's impossible. You don't understand. It was
all I could do to get these people to agree on a
trial. If I were to allow a--an outsider to speak on
her behalf, they may explode.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
The villagers drag a straw dummy through the streets. Xena is lead out by the guards. Peranis picks up the dummy and holds it over his head. Gabrielle and Benitar enter.

GABRIELLE
What is this?

BENITAR
This is the way the condemned are executed.

Ares appears, and raises an eyebrow. Xena shakes her head.

END OF ACT TWO



ACT THREE

The rope is being attached to Xena's legs. Gabrielle rushes up, and loops the middle of the rope around her own neck.

EXTRA
Hey! Is she crazy!

EXTRA
She can't do that!

EXTRA
Get away from here!

XENA
Stop that. This isn't about you, Gabrielle.

GABRIELLE
If you're going to murder one, why not murder two?!
What's the difference?!

PERANIS
She's the only murderer here.

GABRIELLE
Not for long. (to all) And she's no murderer!

BENITAR
Stop!

Benitar approaches Gabrielle. He removes the rope from around her neck.

BENITAR
I was chosen by you all to bring justice to this
village! This is not it!

EXTRA
Get that old fool out of here!

EXTRA
Come on!

EXTRA
Yeah!

The guards stand in front of Benitar before the villagers.

BENITAR
If you want blood now, you'll have to come through
them. And if you get through them, you'll have to
kill me. Peranis, justice will be done. I promise
you. Return her to her confinement.

EXTRA
Come on! Move!

Xena is taken away.

BENITAR
You may act as her advocate.

The villagers leave, and Ares disappears.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
In the cell, Gabrielle and Xena are together.

XENA
That was a pretty dumb thing you did back there.

GABRIELLE
Well, you would've done the same for me.

XENA
That's different.

GABRIELLE
Why? Because you're a warrior? Yeah, well, normal
people like me take chances to save their best
friends too, you know.

XENA
You don't get it, do you? They've got eyewitnesses
who saw me standing there with a bloody sword
and no one else around.

GABRIELLE
Which brings us to the subject of your defense.
Are you sure that none of the villagers saw you
fighting this mysterious hooded man?

XENA
I'm sure.

GABRIELLE
Well, I'll just have to find some exonerating evidence.

Gabrielle leaves.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gabrielle is walking around the wagon looking for clues. She stops and studies something carefully. Boot prints are everywhere. She kneels down to measure first one with her hand and then the other.

GABRIELLE
That's it. Hah!

She starts running toward the town.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Benitar is crossing the street. Gabrielle runs up to him.

GABRIELLE
Benitar! Benitar! I can prove that there was someone
else at the murder site, and that Xena fought him.

BENITAR
What are you talking about?

GABRIELLE
There are two sets of footprints face-to-face. One
is Xena's and the other is longer and wider. They're
definitely prints made by warrior boots. Not the
footwear of choice for humble villagers.

BENITAR
Show me.

GABRIELLE
It's right up here, over the hill.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ares appears, and waves his hands. Dirt covers the footprints.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Benitar and Gabrielle walk along.

GABRIELLE
The different footprints are toe-to-toe and they're
all over the place, as footprints would tend
to be after a sword fight. This will definitely prove
that Xena is innocent. They're right here.

BENITAR
Where are they?

GABRIELLE
I don't understand. They were right here.

BENITAR
I hope you don't waste our time with nonsense
like this during the hearing.

He turns to walk back into town. Gabrielle follows.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
In the village.

BENITAR (voice-over)
And from your field, you could hear the sounds
of the massacre?

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Courtroom. Xena is now wearing her complete outfit, and sitting at a table.

AREOLIS' WIDOW
I heard men screaming. I left my plow and ran
towards the road. That's when I recognized my
husband's voice. He was yelling, "No! Please,
no!" Then I heard him scream too. I was trying
so hard to get there! But, by the time I did get
there, my husband and the others were dead.
And I saw her, kneeling over Teracles, robbing
him, blood on her hands, blood on her sword,
and my husband's blood coloring the ground.

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

BENITAR
Your father and the others had just been selling
at the market. That would mean that each of them
would have money.

TEEN SON
His purse was gone when they finally brought
him to us. My two little sisters were eating supper.

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

GABRIELLE
You all say you heard the sounds of the massacre
and that is what drew you to the road.

PERANIS
Yes.

GABRIELLE
In addition to the voices, there were the sounds
of the fight itself, the swords clashing.

PERANIS
That's right.

GABRIELLE
But none of the men who died were carrying swords.
If you heard Xena fighting before you got there,
who was she fighting? She said that she fought
with a hooded man, and kept him from killing the
one man who did survive. And that is what you
heard, isn't it?

PERANIS
There was no hooded man. There was only her.

GABRIELLE
By the time you got there, yes. And she was
using her fine medical knowledge to save that
one survivor. If she had killed all the others, why
would she save him?

BENITAR
She was covered in blood, young lady, and so
was her sword.

EXTRA
That's right!

GABRIELLE
Have you ever helped someone on your farm
who was badly injured and bleeding?

PERANIS
One time, yeah.

GABRIELLE
Any of the blood get on you?

PERANIS
Well of course. I was helping him.

GABRIELLE
Exactly my point.

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

GABRIELLE
You say the surviving man, Teracles, he had his
money scattered around in the dirt?

GRATHIOS
If we hadn't gotten there quick as we did, she'd've
picked him clean, too.

GABRIELLE
Hmm, then where's the money? If she had already
robbed everybody else, where did she put the money?

GRATHIOS
So she threw it away...to come back for it later,
I don't know.

GABRIELLE
When the rest of you showed up, she could've
killed you, too.

EXTRA
True. True.

GABRIELLE
No witnesses. Now, why didn't she do that?

GRATHIOS
Hey, if she wasn't guilty, why'd she run away?

GABRIELLE
Nobody here cares that she didn't kill anyone. Nobody
cares that she was only trying to help! Nobody believes
that she fought the real murderer! All you care
about is executing someone! I'd've run away too.
So would you.

Teracles is carried in on a stretcher. Teresia, walks at his side, holding his hand.

EXTRA
There he is, now.

EXTRA
Teracles.

BENITAR
Quiet, everyone.

XENA
(to Gabrielle) That's the man I tried to save.

GABRIELLE
Thank the gods.

BENITAR
Teracles, what happened?

TERACLES
Attacked...so quickly.

BENITAR
By whom? Who murdered our three neighbors
and left you like this?

TERACLES
I felt a sword strike. I fell. Then the sword came down
again. The last thing I remember was that woman-

He points to Xena.

TERACLES
-standing over me, my own blood covering her sword.

GABRIELLE
No!

She moves to Teracles.

GABRIELLE
Sir, if I could just ask you just a couple of questions.

TERESIA
Stay away from him. He already told you what
happened, now leave him alone!

BENITAR
This hearing is finished. The council will meet
this evening. I'll post my verdict in the morning.
(to guards) Remove the accused.

EXTRA
Take her away!

GUARD
Let's go.

Xena is taken away.

GABRIELLE
Sir, may I have a word with your council?

Benitar nods.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
It's night.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena is again well-shackled to the wall. The guards and Peranis enter. Peranis holds a small whip.

PERANIS
I'm glad we can kill you. We've got until tomorrow
morning until we do kill you. Meanwhile...

Peranis whips Xena.

PERANIS
Polinios.

He punches her in the stomach.

PERANIS
He was my best friend.

Punches her.

PERANIS
I'll tell you about the others you murdered, one by one.

Peranis hits Xena with every word.

ARES
You almost let them drag you to death today.

PERANIS
And Doracles.

ARES
And now some unbearably smelly farmer is beating
you half to death.

PERANIS
And Areolis.

ARES
This is grotesque.

XENA
You above all should know what grief can drive
people to do.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena and Ares are once more in his room.

ARES
I so hoped you'd call my name.

XENA
I think I almost did.

ARES
Ah, now that's the important thing. You did want my help.

XENA
I wanted to live, yes.

ARES
You want more than just living. Danger excites you.
And as you know, I am somewhat dangerous.
Action and power draw you like a moth to a flame.
It burns inside you. I burn inside you. You can
feel me there, like a fever. Xena will never be
answerable to these pathetic creatures, not the
Xena whose army scorched the earth at will.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Clips from "The Gauntlet."

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
ARES
You are remembering it now, the unfettered freedom of it.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Clips from "The Gauntlet."

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
ARES
You're Xena. Unstoppable.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Clips from "The Gauntlet."

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
ARES
Unbeatable.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Clips from "The Gauntlet."

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
ARES
Now summon forth that super-mortal strength of yours.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Clips from "The Gauntlet."

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Back in the cell, Xena lets out a loud cry. She rips out of her chains, and punches Peranis. The guards run out of the room, but Xena kicks down the door. She beats them up. Gabrielle enters.

GABRIELLE
Xena. Xena.

Xena lashes out with a vicious backhand sweep at Gabrielle. The force of the slap flings Gabrielle several feet and flat against the wall. She slowly rises and runs out. Xena regains control of herself.

XENA
Gabrielle?

END OF ACT THREE



ACT FOUR

Xena kneels, tending to the injuries she inflicted on the guards and Peranis.

XENA
Here, take this.

Benitar enters.

BENITAR
Once again, you could've escaped if you chose.
We don't understand you.

XENA
I realize now it doesn't matter whether I killed your
friends or not. I've done a lot worse in my time. And
I guess I'm capable of it again. (to Peranis) You
saw what I did to my best friend.

BENITAR
As your friend argued before the council, we can
hold you answerable only for what you've done
here. Our verdict will be objective.

He leaves.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gabrielle rides Argo to Xena's cell.

GABRIELLE
Hi.

XENA
Gabrielle?

GABRIELLE
I found Argo. I'll wrap this rope around the bars,
and we can pull them out of the wall.

XENA
How could you come back after what I did to you?

GABRIELLE
What you did wasn't you. I know that.
She ties a rope to the bar.

GABRIELLLE
I also know now that there's a big difference between
what justice is and what the law is. I don't think
we'd better wait around for justice.

XENA
No. If I run now, I'll be running forever.

GABRIELLE
Well, it beats being dead. (pause) You've got an idea.

XENA
Someone made me a better offer. I need you to
leave me alone for a while.

GABRIELLE
Okay.

XENA
I didn't mean that like it sounded. I'm glad you
came back.

Gabrielle takes the rope off the bars and leaves.

XENA
Ares.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena falls onto a bed and Ares joins her.

ARES
Somehow I felt I might hear my name.

XENA
If the verdict's guilty, they'll execute me in the
morning. I'd rather live.

ARES
But you won't merely live. You'll make the world
a better place by leading it our way. Mmm, it is
a joy to have you back.

XENA
Well, I'm not back yet.

Xena rises.

XENA
Only if they find me guilty.

ARES
I wouldn't've bothered killing those village fools
if I didn't know they would find you guilty.

Ares rises.

XENA
You did all this just to get me back. I'm flattered.
Well, if I'm going to be your warrior again-

ARES
No, not just my warrior. You'll be the architect of
a new world, my kind of world, where force of arms
keeps the peace and one great warrior queen rules.

XENA
You're irresistible. But I suppose you already
know that. I'll have to have a new army.

ARES
Whatever you want, whomever you want. The
most legendary fighters in history if you'd like.

XENA
Hector? Achilles? Agamemnon? They're long gone.

ARES
I'm Ares, God of War. For you, I'll bring them back
and anyone else you desire.

XENA
Anyone? I just want to be sure of the deal.

ARES
Anyone you name.

XENA
As long as I have your word.

ARES
You have my word, my pledge, whatever you want.

XENA
It's almost time. See you later, then.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena is lead out of her prison.

BENITAR
The woman, Xena, having been found guilty of
murdering the good and innocent men, Polinios,
Doracles, and Areolis, of this village, will now,
and publicly pay the supreme penalty for her crimes.

EXTRA
Die!

EXTRA
She must die!

Xena catches Ares' eye.

XENA
Guilty. You said I could have anyone I name. I
call on you to send forth the following protectors,
the good and innocent men of this village, Polinios,
Doracles, and Areolis.

Ares laughs.

ARES
Marvelously manipulated, my dear.

The three men come out of a home.

AREOLIS' WIDOW
Areolis?

EXTRA
Polinios?

TEEN SON
Dad? Dad!

He rushes to embrace his father.

GABRIELLE
Nobody's even dead. Nobody.

POLINIOS
Everybody! Hear me, my friends! This brave and
noble woman, she was the last thing I saw, battling
a cowardly hooded man who attacked us. She
fought him for our lives, though we were total
strangers. Truly, I say she is the very soul of
goodness. And we thank her, with all our hearts.

The villagers cheer.

GABRIELLE
Excuse me again, sir.

BENITAR
Not guilty. Charges dismissed.

EXTRA
Look, here they are!

Ares joins Xena.

ARES
Well played, my dear. Your choice was totally
wrong, of course, but even as an adversary, you
are one of a kind.

XENA
I know my choice was the right one for me.

ARES
In that case-

He kisses Xena's hand.

ARES
-until next time.

Ares leaves.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena and Gabrielle walk along, Argo following behind.

XENA
You coming back for me really meant a lot after
what I did to you.

GABRIELLE
I trust you. I never thought for a moment you meant
to hurt me.

XENA
Well, I owe you. Thanks.

GABRIELLE
I owe you, too.

Gabrielle suddenly slugs Xena across the breastplates. She grabs her fist in pain. Xena is undamaged.

XENA
What was that?

GABRIELLE
Paybacks for hitting me.

XENA
Feel better?

GABRIELLE
I think I broke my hand, but I do feel better.

XENA
Good. So do I.

GABRIELLE
How did those guys come back from the dead?

XENA
Well, ever hear of Ares?

ARES (voice-over)
Until next time, Xena. Until next time.

END OF ACT FOUR

STARRING
Lucy Lawless as Xena
Renee O'Connor as Gabrielle

GUEST CAST
Kevin Smith as Ares
Bill Johnson as Benitar
Christopher Mayer as Peranis
Danny Lineham as Grathios
Christian Hodge as Teracles
Phaedra Hurst as Teresia
Meryl Main as Areolis' Widow
Sam Holland as Teen Son
Ross Harper as Polinios

Written by: Peter Allan Fields
Directed by: Charles Siebert