The Debt


TEASER

At night, Xena rolls over and throws her hand over Gabrielle, but Gabrielle is not there. Xena wakes up.

XENA
Gabrielle?

She gets up and leaves.

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Gabrielle is sitting on her own.

GABRIELLE
Hmm.

Gabrielle is thinking. Xena enters.

XENA
Everything all right?

GABRIELLE
Yeah, fine. Just thinking. Hmm. Thank you.

XENA
For what?

GABRIELLE
You stuck by me through everything.

XENA
Likewise, I'm sure.

GABRIELLE
I hope I never disappoint you, Xena.

XENA
Impossible.

GABRIELLE
I've learned that anything is possible. There's
somebody in the shadows by the poplar tree.

XENA
I know.

Xena moves to the trees and a Messenger falls into her arms.

MESSENGER
Xena.

XENA
I'm Xena.

MESSENGER
I was sent by the weak one who's soft as water-

MESSENGER and XENA
Hard as the raging flood.

Ninjas enter and Xena fights them.

XENA
Eat dirt.

Xena kicks one of the ninjas. Xena moves to Messenger and examines his wounds.

XENA
I'm afraid I can't help you friend. You're wound's
too severe.

MESSENGER
I bring a message to you.

XENA
I'm listening.

MESSENGER
The Green Dragon has become too large, and
must be made small.

The Messenger dies.

GABRIELLE
The Green Dragon?

XENA
I'm going on a long journey.

GABRIELLE
You're going on a long journey. What happened
to 'we'?

XENA
This time's different.

GABRIELLE
What's so different about it?

XENA
I have to travel toward the rising sun for many,
many days.

GABRIELLE
Xena, that's not a problem for me.

Xena starts to load up Argo.

XENA
The land that I'm traveling to is as different to
ours as night is to day, the kingdom of Chin.

GABRIELLE
You think that's an argument against my coming?
It sounds fascinating.

XENA
If you came, you could get in my way.

GABRIELLE
Are you saying I'm a nuisance?

XENA
No, you just wouldn't like what I'm going there
to do.

GABRIELLE
Okay, let's forget the cryptic part. Are you going
up against a dragon?

XENA
No.

GABRIELLE
Is the Green Dragon a person?

XENA
Yes.

GABRIELLE
Which person?

XENA
The one I'm gonna kill.

END OF TEASER



ACT ONE

Villagers move outside.

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Xena gathers what she needs in a shop.

GABRIELLE
Maybe there's something that I don't understand,
some subtlety I'm not getting? Xena, I'll tell you
what it looks like on the surface. You plan on
traveling this long, grueling trip for the sole purpose
of killing someone.

XENA
That pretty much sums it up.

GABRIELLE
But, you can't do that!

XENA
Like I said, maybe it's better you don't come.

GABRIELLE
Try and stop me. At least, tell me why?

XENA
You will never understand.

GABRIELLE
After all we've been through, you can say that?

XENA
(to Merchant) How much for the lot of this?

SHOPKEEPER
Twenty dinar.

GABRIELLE
Twenty dinars? Do we look stupid?

SHOPKEEPER
Oh, well, fifteen dinar.

GABRIELLE
Give him twelve; it's more than it's worth.

XENA
Thanks, Gabrielle.

GABRIELLE
You're welcome. I'm glad I could help you get a
deal on the things you need to commit a murder.
Xena, what are you doing?

XENA
Gabrielle, this just something I have to do.

GABRIELLE
Then, explain it to me. Who do you have to kill? Why?

XENA
To understand what I have to do, you need to
understand what was left undone.

Wind blows Xena's hair.

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Clips from "Destiny."

XENA (voice-over)
Ten years ago, as you know, Caesar left his
mark on me.

CAESAR
Break her legs.

XENA
A new Xena is born tonight, with a new purpose
in life. Death.

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A red line is drawn on a map of the known world to show Xena's path. Images of warriors fighting are shown throughout scene in an overlap (many of the clips are from cut scenes from "The Gauntlet").

XENA (voice-over)
With shattered legs and crippled soul, I went
east to lose myself in vengeance. Not against
Caesar, but the entire human race.

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One pack of horsemen chase another. The men of Chin are killed by Borias' army, through arrows, horse drags (Xena's move) and sword fights. A man begs for his life and Xena runs him through. Another soldier watches in terror and falls to his knees, speaking another language. Xena is about to run him through.

BORIAS
No! We don't slaughter them!

Xena takes off her 'hood'.

XENA
I'm telling you, Borias, the only way to deal with
these scum is through terror.

BORIAS
And if we kill them all, who's left to be terrified?
(to soldier) Tell Ming what happens to his soldiers
when he sends them against Borias.

The soldier runs off, muttering.

XENA
Borias.

BORIAS
Yeah.

XENA
I want the dead.

BORIAS
The dead?

XENA
Yeah, these ones and the ones back on the
battlefield. I'm gonna put them to work.

BORIAS
Fine, do what you will with them. Yah!

Borias and the others ride off.

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The heads of the dead are on spikes, facing the walls of Chin.

XENA
This will convince Ming to talk, more than all of
Borias's diplomacy. We sit out here, in the middle
of nowhere, while all the riches of Chin await us.

CHUANG
Both families of Chin are very powerful.

XENA
We could take them one at a time. First we hit
Ming, and then we turn on Lao.

CHUANG
Borias wants to form an alliance with one family
first, before he moves.

XENA
And while he waits, what's to stop Ming and Lao
from forming an alliance with one another? Oh,
no. No, they don't wanna cooperate. I say, kill
'em all!

She puts down the last head, which is the soldier Borias had ordered Xena to spare.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Borias' yurt.

BORIAS
Sit down.

Xena sits next to Borias. A man enters, looks at them and leaves.

XENA
Did you see what he was wearing? Pure silk and
he's just a lackey. I'm telling you, Borias, these
people are ripe for-

BORIAS
Quiet.

Ming Tzu and Ming T'ien enter. Borias stands and pulls Xena to her feet.

BORIAS
My humble yurt is unworthy of your presence,
Ming Tzu.

MING TZU
Not at all, Borias. This is my son, Ming T'ien. As
sole heir to my kingdom, I'm teaching him to rule.
He's here to learn how to deal with thieves.

BORIAS
Insults aren't the best way to begin negotiations,
Ming Tzu.

MING TZU
You misunderstand. I have the greatest respect
for thieves. Every man born to wealth has a good
thief amongst his ancestors, somewhere. Remember
that, Ming T'ien.

Xena snarls at Ming T'ien.

BORIAS
Have a seat.

MING TZU
Thank you, but I would rather stand. I won't be
staying long. Your offer sounds simple enough.
You raid Lao's region, and I remain neutral.

BORIAS
And in return, you receive one-third of our loot.

MING TZU
One-half.

XENA
No deal.

MING TZU
This woman is in charge?!

BORIAS
No, she's not. But your offer-

MING TZU
It is not an offer. It is a statement of fact. If you
want my cooperation, you will give me half of
everything you steal.

BORIAS
Half, huh?

XENA
You're not gonna pay this pig half.

MING TZU
I'm sorry to have wasted your time, Borias, but
clearly, your friend is not interested in doing business.

Ming Tzu leaves.

BORIAS
Wait a minute, don't listen to her. Ming Tzu!

Borias leaves.

XENA
Hmm.

Xena sits and takes a drink form her cup. She sprays out water and Ming T'ien runs out. Borias enters and grabs Xena.

BORIAS
He's gone, huh?

XENA
Because I called him a name? Then he's too soft.

BORIAS
Ah, you don't understand these people. No matter
what, you have to always let them save face.

XENA
Saving his ugly mug wasn't exactly what I had in
mind. And, besides, what kind of a deal was that,
huh? We do all the dirty work, and he gets half.

BORIAS
You're a fool. Whatever deal I made with him, I
will then go to Lao, and make a better one.

XENA
What do we need either one of them for? When
Ming sent his soldiers after us we chopped 'em
up pretty good.

BORIAS
We held our own. But what if Ming and Lao were
to ally against us?

XENA
Oh, then I'd say-

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Xena and Gabrielle ride Argo.

GABRIELLE
"Kill 'em all."

XENA
Yeah, that's what I said.

GABRIELLE
That was obviously your answer to everything in
those days, Xena. I can't believe it's the same
Borias who later helped the Centaurs.

XENA
We were quite a pair in those days.

GABRIELLE
And to think that two people like that made a
beautiful child like Solan.

XENA
Hmm.

GABRIELLE
Huh.

XENA
You ain't heard nothin' yet.

GABRIELLE
I don't think I want to hear any more about this
tale of war, greed, hate.

XENA
Hate? It's not about hate. It's about love.

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Borias and Xena get it on, on a horse. Chuang enters on horseback.

CHUANG
Lao approaches!

XENA
Let him wait!

BORIAS
Come on, Xena. We can do this anytime.

XENA
Don't be so sure.

Borias throws Xena off of the horse.

BORIAS
Ah. I don't want you messing things up.

He tosses Xena her cane and rides off.

BORIAS
Yah!

XENA
Run to your master, puppy.

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Xena rides to Borias' camp.

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Lao Ma is brought into Borias' camp.

BORIAS
Borias extends the sincerest welcome to the head
of the house of Lao.

Lao Ma steps out. She lifts her head to reveal she is a woman. Xena rides in and walks over to them. Lao Ma bows.

LAO MA
I'm Lao Ma, wife of the great Lao. Please forgive
my husband for sending his insignificant wife to
handle such...difficult affairs of state. But he's very ill.

BORIAS
I'm sorry to hear that. You're very welcome, of course.

LAO MA
I know you're a great warrior, Borias, but I've also
heard that you're a man of honour.

Xena snickers. Lao Ma looks at her.

LAO MA
You must be Xena.

XENA
Oh, you've heard of me.

LAO MA
Oh yes. They say you're a dangerous woman.

XENA
Well they're right.

BORIAS
You have nothing to fear, Lao Ma. We will negotiate
with honour, and with fairness. I hope we will find
common ground on which to stand.

Lao Ma bows her head and Borias does the same. He glares at Xena who then slowly bows her head.

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Xena smokes opium and watches Lao Ma and Borias at the dinner table. Borias is flirting. Lao Ma reaches out her hand to the table. Xena throws a dagger which lands in a piece of meat.

XENA
That's my piece of meat you're reaching for.

LAO MA
You're wrong. I don't eat meat.

Lao Ma takes a piece of bread. Xena leaves in a huff.

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Borias and Lao Ma enter a tent.

BORIAS
I apologize for this...simple dwelling.

LAO MA
It's an honour for me to accept whatever hospitality
you can spare.

BORIAS
What we talked about tonight will benefit us both.

LAO MA
Yes, it's an agreement that will make my husband
most happy.

Borias leaves and Xena enters with daggers in hand.

END OF ACT ONE



ACT TWO

Xena and Gabrielle ride Argo as she moves across a river.

GABRIELLE
You wanted to kill that poor, innocent woman, out of jealousy.

XENA
Jealousy? Over Borias? You gotta be kidding. No,
Borias and I were just using each other.

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Xena, Gabrielle and Argo walk along.

GABRIELLE
Then why?

XENA
I wanted to kill Lao Ma because I knew in my heart
that she'd be a civilizing influence on him-

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Xena and Gabrielle ride atop Argo through a field.

XENA
-and I liked him wild, like I was. An animal, living
from one moment to the next, driven by desire alone.

GABRIELLE
Did you kill her?

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena stands before Lao Ma.

XENA
I don't know if you people pray to the gods, but if
you don't, now'd be a great time to start.

They fight, Lao Ma ending the battle by sending Xena flying with Chi power. Xena crashes to the ground unconscious. Lao Ma pulls a broach from Xena's hair and uses it to break a water skin, spraying water on the warrior's face. Xena wakes up and Borias walks over.

BORIAS
What happened?

LAO MA
I'm sorry, Borias. I'll be leaving immediately. I don't
think an alliance is appropriate, now.

Lao Ma whispers to Xena.

LAO MA
Fill yourself with desire...

The rest can't be heard. Lao Ma leaves.

BORIAS
It's over, Xena. You have until sunrise to get out
of this camp. After that, I'll kill you on sight.

Borias leaves.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena and Gabrielle walk along, Argo in tow.

GABRIELLE
Xena, when she whispered in your ear, what did
she say?

XENA
She said, "Fill yourself with desire and see only
illusion. Empty yourself of desire and understand
the great mystery of things."

GABRIELLE
That's good. I take it that you didn't listen to her.

XENA
No. No, not then, not for a long time. I decided to
accomplish what Borias had only dreamed of, to
get rich with the help of one of the houses of Chin.
I decided to make Ming Tzu my creature.

GABRIELLE
How were you going to do that?

XENA
By appealing to his sense of family values. Come on.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ming Tien plays a game, when Xena comes crashing in on horseback. The guards attack. She makes short work of them. She puts The Pinch on one.

XENA
I've just cut off the flow of blood to your brain.
You'll be dead in a minute.

SOLDIER
What do you want to know?

XENA
Nothin'. I'm just letting you know how long you
got left, so you can enjoy it. (to Ming T'ien) Come
on. Yeah.

Xena kidnaps Ming T'ien.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena plays tic-tac-toe.

XENA
Xena wins again.

Borias enters.

BORIAS
You're insane!

XENA
And you're scared. Why is that?

BORIAS
You got Ming and Lao breathing down my neck.
They think I had something to do with this.

XENA
Ming and Lao together?

BORIAS
Nothing brings royal houses together faster than
kidnappers.

XENA
Well, if I'm dealing with the both of them, I'm
doubling my demands.

BORIAS
Where is the child?!

XENA
Hey Chuang, he thinks I'm gonna tell him. What
I will do, however, is cut you in on the deal, if
you set up the exchange. We meet in your yurt
on the plains, north of the Great Wall. Ming brings
me fifty of his best horses, and twenty-five, no,
fifty bags of gold, and I give him his boy. For your
part, you get five per cent. Oh, and, uh that's not
an offer, that's a statement of fact.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena enters Borias' yurt.

XENA
Check the gold.

Chuang checks the gold.

BORIAS
You saw the horses?

XENA
Oh, yeah. Nice.

MING TZU
The boy?

XENA
You got a smart kid. Of course, he got a whole
lot smarter when he was with me. He's on the
third packhorse out there, under some skins.

Ming Tzu leaves.

XENA
Well, that was a thing of beauty.

Xena and Borias kiss. Chuang has snuck behind Xena, and he hits her in the back of the head with a stick. Ming Tzu enters with Ming T'ien.

BORIAS
As promised.

MING TZU
Good, you take the gold and horses. I get the woman.

BORIAS
You're going to die, Xena. And that's a statement
of fact.

Borias punches Xena.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
At the docks.

GABRIELLE
You kidnapped that child? And you would have
killed him if you didn't get what you wanted?

XENA
Yes.

GABRIELLE
I can't go there with you, Xena, and I don't mean
the kingdom of Chin.

XENA
I know what you mean.

GABRIELLE
You're going through with this, aren't you?

XENA
Yes!

GABRIELLE
Well, I'm turning back! Who's the Green Dragon?
It's not Borias, he's already dead. The other guy
who betrayed you. What's his name?

XENA
Chuang? No, I killed him a long time ago.

GABRIELLE
Ming?

Xena doesn't answer.

GABRIELLE
I'm sorry, Xena, but I can't help you commit murder.

XENA
Gabrielle, I am catching a ship here that will carry
me close to the kingdom of Chin. If there was ever
a time to turn back, it's now. I understand.

Xena hugs Gabrielle and kisses her head.

GABRIELLE
You owe someone so much that you would just
throw away these last few years.

XENA
Yes.

Xena leaves.

END OF ACT TWO



ACT THREE

A boat sails.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena looks out over the ocean from the rail of the boat.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
The ocean.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena is pulled along in a cage, in the woods. Ming T'ien looks back at her and she growls at him. Lao Ma enters with her servants.

MING TZU
Welcome Lao Ma. I hope you don't mind us hunting
so close to Lao territory. But the terrain here
is perfect.

LAO MA
Perfect? For what?

MING TZU
Her. The woman who succeeded in doing what
a hundred diplomats could not do. Make an alliance
between our two kingdoms.

LAO MA
You plan to hunt her?

MING TZU
Yes. We're going to enjoy this, aren't we, Ming T'ien?

LAO MA
Well, please do not hesitate to use Lao land for
your pleasure. I brought something for you, Ming
T'ien. I made it, myself.

She gives Ming T'ien a gift and he throws it away. Lao Ma looks at Xena.

LAO MA
A beaten, half-dead cripple doesn't sound very
sporting, Ming Tzu.

MING TZU
No, but it will be entertaining.

LAO MA
I must go. Enjoy your entertainment.

Lao Ma leaves.

MING TZU
You could have at least looked at her gift. Let
me see.

The gift is brought so Ming Tzu can see.

MING TZU
Ah, she knows my nickname for you. Show it to him.

It is a picture of a green dragon.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena is chased by dogs.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ming Tzu and Ming Tien follow on horseback.

MING TZU
She has to die, Ming T'ien. She is your enemy.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena runs from the dogs. She falls, only to see Lao Ma before her.

LAO MA
Come with me if you wish your freedom.

A dog runs up. Lao Ma steps in front of Xena and stares at the dog. The dog stares at Lao Ma and then runs off with a whimper.

LAO MA
Hurry, he'll be back on the scent, soon.

XENA
Why are you doing this?

LAO MA
I have been blessed, or cursed, with the ability
to see into the souls of others. You don't know
it yet, Xena, but you're a remarkable woman, capable
of greatness. Come quick. We'll take refuge in
my home.

END OF ACT THREE



ACT FOUR

Ming Tzu enters with his soldiers.

MING TZU
Lao Ma, my hounds have followed Xena's trail here.

LAO MA
They're probably just hungry.

MING TZU
(to soldiers) Search the room.

The soldiers search. Xena hides under the bath water.

LAO MA
Now, if you'll respect my privacy.

The soldiers leave. Ming Tzu starts to leave, but he turns back. Xena is running out of air, so Lao Ma puts her head under the water and breaths into Xena. Ming Tzu comes back into the room.

MING TZU
You had better not be hiding her.

LAO MA
My Lord, I would never hide what is yours.

MING TZU
When I arranged your marriage to Lao, I expected
you to show more loyalty towards me.

LAO MA
I was a courtesan, and you sold me. You expect loyalty?

MING TZU
You're a strange woman, Lao Ma. Soft and hard
at the same time.

LAO MA
Like water. Nothing is soft as water, yet, who can
withstand the raging flood?

Ming Tzu leaves and Xena comes up for air.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lao Ma washes Xena's hair.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lao Ma brushes Xena's hair.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena is dressed in Chin robes, and Lao Ma puts the brooch in Xena's hair.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena paints her body with a black paint. As she does, she remembers her conversation with Gabrielle in her head.

GABRIELLE (voice-over)
Are you going up against a dragon?

XENA (voice-over)
No.

GABRIELLE (voice-over)
Is the Green Dragon a person?

XENA (voice-over)
Yes.

GABRIELLE (voice-over)
Which person?

XENA (voice-over)
The one I'm gonna kill.

Lightning flashes on the now painted black Xena.

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Xena sticks her head out of the water, a dagger in her mouth. She jumps over the wall. The guard doesn't see her.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
A guard walks by. Lightning flashes and lights up the room, Xena isn't there. When the lightning once more removes the shadows, Xena is against the wall, holding her dagger. She moves though the hall past bird cages. She closes her eyes and remembers.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Clip from "The Debt."

GABRIELLE
You owe someone so much that you would just
throw away these last few years.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena in Ming T'ien's palace.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Clips from "Is There a Doctor in the House?" and "Return of Callisto."

XENA
Wake up!

CALLISTO
Help me! Help me!

Callisto screams.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena in Ming T'ien's palace.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Clips from "Is There a Doctor in the House?" "The Price," "Ties That Bind," "Callisto," "The Price" again and "The Debt."

XENA
You understand hatred, but you have never given
into it.

XENA
Take the village!

GABRIELLE
There's only one way to end this cycle of hatred,
and it's through love.

XENA
We're gonna kill 'em all!

EXTRAS
Yeah!

GABRIELLE
You owe someone so much that you would just
throw away these last few years?

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Xena in Ming T'ien's palace. She snaps out of her remembrance and moves swiftly through the hall. Xena crawls along. She moves into Ming T'ien's bedroom, and holds the dagger over the figure moving under the blankets. The blankets are thrown back to reveal Gabrielle. Guards enter.

GABRIELLE
I'm sorry Xena, I couldn't let you do this.

Ming T'ien enters, a picture of a green dragon on his clothes. He takes the dagger from Xena, and wipes some of the black from her face.

MING T'IEN
Lao Ma said you'd return one day.

Xena looks at Gabrielle, who looks away.

MING T'IEN
Lock her up.

END OF ACT FOUR

STARRING
Lucy Lawless as Xena
Renee O'Connor as Gabrielle

GUEST CAST
Jacqueline Kim as Lao Ma
Marton Csokas as Borias
Grant McFarland as Ming Tzu
Daniel Sing as Ming T'ien
Daniel Lim as Ming T'ien (12 years)
Tai Hadfield as Chuang
Blair Fraser as Messenger
Peter Mason as Shopkeeper
William Kwan as Soldier

Teleplay by: R.J. Stewart
Story by: Robert Tapert and R.J. Stewart
Directed by: Oley Sassone

Disclaimer: No Frock Tarts were killed during the production of this motion picture although they wish they had been.