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Copyright © 1998, by Eddie A. Palmer. (The characters: Xena, Gabrielle, and Argo are the copyright property of MCA/Universal Studios and Renaissance Pictures). No copyright infringement was intended in writing this script. All other characters and the story itself are the sole copyright property of the author, and may not be used in any way without permission.
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XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS
NIGHT OF EVIL
Written by: Ed Palmer
EXT. WILDERNESS CAMPSITE - NIGHT
XENA checks on ARGO one last time before settling down for the night. Beyond some bushes, we can see a campfire in a small clearing. GABRIELLE comes into view with an armful of wood, which she drops near the fire.
Xena walks across the clearing, sits on her rolled-out bedding and leans back against a large log. She looks up through the tall pines at a clear sky filled with bright stars.
Gabrielle throws another piece of wood on the fire, then walks over and sits beside Xena. She follows Xenas gaze toward the stars.
Beautiful, isnt it?
Yes, it certainly is that.
In fact, I dont believe Ive
ever seen that many stars before.
Must be this northern climate,
dont you think?
Dont analyze it, just enjoy it.
Listen to us! I sound like you,
and you sound like me. Its
usually you whos trying to
figure everything out, while I
dont usually demand reasons
for such wonderful gifts as
at the stars)
So like jewels.
Well, youre even getting quite
poetic on me. For this whole
trip, youve seemed... different,
somehow. (a beat) So, tell me
again why we came up here. Weve
never been this far north before,
and certainly not this close to
I told you before, I really dont
know why were here. Maybe there
is no reason, I just dont know.
All right. (beat) You said you
had these... dreams, right?
Yes, Ive had several disturbing
Disturbing? You mean nightmares?
No. No, not nightmares. I cant
remember the dreams, but Im
sure I wouldnt call them bad or
scary, exactly. They just leave
me with a strange feeling, and
I had to come here.
Here? This is the place? This is
the end of the journey?
Something is going to happen
here, I know it.
Gabrielle stretches out on her side of the bed.
Well, Im not complaining! Ive
been having the greatest time
all the way up here. (beat) Just
you and me and all those stars,
what could be better?
Xena slips down into her position beside Gabrielle. They lay on their backs silently looking at the sky. Suddenly, a bright meteor streaks across the sky and arcs earthward.
Oh, a shooting star! Quick, make
Well, you saw it first, you make
Okay. Okay, I wish this night would
The fire is still blazing brightly, as Xena and Gabrielle drift off to sleep.
EXT. THE CAMPSITE - SAME
The fire is now very low, not much more than glowing embers. A large full moon floods the forest with an eerie bright glow. Gabrielle is sound asleep, but Xena is gone.
|XENA (O. s.)|
(Loud and urgent
cry, from a distance)
Gabrielle bolts up to a sitting position and looks around.
|XENA (O. s.)|
Gabrielle jumps up, grabs her staff, and charges through the bushes into the darkness.
EXT. ANOTHER CLEARING IN THE FOREST - SAME
Xena is in full-on battle with a vicious pack of... wolves. The savage animals circle their prey, snarl and growl, then they leap, but Xena manages to deflect the attackers with her sword.
Gabrielle runs to Xena, grabs tightly hold of her arms, and begins shaking her.
Look out! Get back! Theyre all
around us! Fight! Fight!
Xena! Xena, theres nothing there!
Xena looks at her friend, clearly stunned, then she slowly looks around, as the WOLVES VANISH one by one.
Those wolves were real. Maybe they
just disappeared, but they were
real, Gabrielle. Didnt you see
No, Xena, I didnt see anything at
all. (beat) And why are you out
here walking around in the middle
of the night?
Thats just it! By my estimation
its more like noon, Gabrielle.
The sun should have come up hours
ago, but it hasnt.
Gabrielle is stunned this time, and for a moment she just stares at Xena. Realization finally sinks in.
Youre serious, arent you?
How can that be?
I wished the night would
never end... Xena.
You didnt cause this.
But I wished on a falling star.
Xena scowls at her for a prolonged moment.
No, Gabrielle. It took a power
much greater than your wish
to stop the sun from rising.
END OF TEASER
EXT. A TRAIL IN THE FOREST - SAME
Carrying their belongings, and leading Argo, Xena and Gabrielle hurry along the trail.
I remember passing the temple
yesterday... or whenever it
was... but can you find it
again in the dark?
Here it is.
They emerge from the trees and cross a wide open area to the large stone building. Xena ties Argo to a post, and the women walk through the wide entrance.
INT. MAIN HALL OF THE TEMPLE - SAME
Xena and Gabrielle find themselves in a huge cavernous chamber, mostly void of furniture or anything else. Torches in wall holders throw a dim ruddy light around the place. A throne-like chair sits on a stage-like platform at one end of the room. Steam from underground hot springs rises from many cracks in the floor, especially around the altar area.
An old man in a flowing white robe appears from a dark recess at the back corner of the chamber.
Im sorry, but we are asking
everyone to come back when
the sun rises.
You know as well as I do, the
sun isnt going to rise. Not
anytime soon, at least.
The purpose of the Oracle, is
to answer such questions.
Of course. (a beat) But the
Priestess isnt feeling very
A movement near the altar draws their attention. An old woman wearing a flowing white robe appears from the cloud of steam and sits in the large chair.
What enlightenment do you seek
from the Oracle?
Well, isnt that obvious?
What my friend means is, well,
the sun didnt come up this
morning. You have to admit,
thats a bit unusual, to say the
least. And, well, we kinda miss
We kinda miss it?
And we figured if anybody
would know whats going on
with the sun, it would be
the sun god himself.
Now, I cant believe that you
havent already posed this
mystery to your god, so what
has he told you?
We are not meant to know all
things. Now, please leave.
Thats it? We came to you for
answers, and you just turn us
He doesnt know. Thats it,
isnt it? Even he doesnt know
whats going on. The all-seeing,
all-hearing great Apollo, hasnt
got a clue!
(she turns to
Come on, Gabrielle. There are no
Xena makes for the exit, and Gabrielle hurries to keep up.
What can be going on, if one of
the most powerful gods doesnt
know about it? How can that be?
Nobodys perfect, even the gods.
EXT. ENTRANCE TO THE BUILDING - SAME
Xena and Gabrielle come out of the temple, and Xena grabs Argos reins and walks back toward the forest.
What does this really mean, if
one of the most powerful gods
doesnt understand it?
I guess it means that this is
even... bigger than I imagined.
Xena, the sun didnt come up this
morning, how could it get any...
bigger than that?
Im afraid, were going to find out.
Where are we going now?
We have to continue on the way
we were going, thats where
the answers are, I just know it.
Coming back here was a mistake,
weve wasted valuable time.
So, we dont know where were
going, but were in a big hurry
to get there. (a beat) Youre
basing all this on those feelings
you have, right?
Xena stops and looks at Gabrielle.
You dont have to go with me.
Of course, Im going with you!
I love you, Xena, and I trust
you. You lead, Ill follow, you
know that. Besides, Im not
staying anywhere alone in the
Xena smiles and then walks on her way, Gabrielle at her side.
EXT. ON THE FOREST ROAD - SAME
Xena and Gabrielle slowly make their way along the road that winds its way along the base of a steep ridge. The full moon floats along with them, high above the towering pines. A gentle wind whispers through the evergreens above the travelers heads.
Gabrielle looks frightened, cutting her eyes back and forth, watching the road ahead and quickly glancing up the high hill that rises steeply from the edge of the road.
Xena... (beat) Xena...
So, this time you see them, too.
Xena continues walking, looking straight ahead. Gabrielle slowly looks up the steep slope again.
The wolf pack is stalking them. The animals are rather high up the hill, and widely spaced out, moving unhurriedly among the trees and large rocks that they are using for cover.
Yes, I see them. Now, what are
we going to do?
We cant run, and we cant hide.
Just keep walking, but stay on
your guard. Be alert for...
Maybe we could build a fire to
keep them away.
No time for that...
Xena whirls to face the rocks above them, and she throws her chakrum as hard as she can. The wolves are leaping from a rock ledge, but then something extraordinary starts happening, the wolves change in mid-air into human-looking warriors dressed in fur.
The leader takes the chakrum in his chest, and screams in pain. He doubles up and hits the ground like a bouncing ball. The chakrum is ejected at Xenas feet. The dead warrior rolls wildly across the ground, then becomes a blazing fireball that crashes through the trees and explodes. All traces of the resultant fire vanishes.
Gabrielle is keeping two of the warriors at bay with her staff, while Xena crosses swords with three more-aggressive attackers.
Xena quickly goes for the kill, and each warrior tumbles down the hill, where they explode and vanish. The two warriors with Gabrielle turn and run, changing back into wolves as they go. Three more on the ledge change back into wolves and flee.
Suddenly, another wolf springs from the dark shadows and makes a glancing run at Gabrielle, nipping her left leg. She recoils, screaming in pain and fear.
Xena jumps between the attacker and its victim, determinedly lashing out with her sword. She practically beheads the animal, but it still tries to escape. A few yards away, the animal explodes into flame and vanishes.
Xena, what in the name of
Tartarus is going on?
I dont know, Gabrielle, but I
know what it means.
Then please tell me!
Someone knows we're coming, and
they're trying to stop us.
We dont even know where were
going ourselves, how can someone
else know were coming?
There are forces at work here
beyond our understanding, but
Im sure we will find answers
at journeys end.
If we can stay alive, you mean.
Xena picks up her chakrum from the ground, then thoughtfully looks at the weapon. Just then, a wolf howls in the distance.
Yes, there is that...
Xena returns the chakrum to her hip. She gives Gabrielle a quick, reassuring hug, then leads Argo on down the road. Gabrielle hesitates only a moment, to lightly touch the scratch on her left leg, before rushing back to Xenas side. Then, she gives one last fearful look behind them.
EXT. ANOTHER SPOT ON THE ROAD - SAME
The women are still walking, leading the horse. Gabrielle is growing weaker, and she is beginning to limp slightly.
Xena realizes her friend is lagging behind, so she turns and grabs hold of Gabrielles shoulders.
Whats wrong with you?
I dont know. I feel...
Gabrielle bends to touch her injured leg. Xena quickly kneels to examine the wound. It is badly infected. Even in the poor light, the swelling and discoloration can be seen.
Why didnt you tell me that
wolf bit you?
I didnt think it was that bad.
Thats right! You didnt think!
Dont be mad at me, Xena.
Xena stands and feels of Gabrielles face.
Im sorry. (beat) Youre burning
up with fever. We need help. I
have to get you... somewhere...
Xena mounts Argo and reaches down for Gabrielle.
Come on, give me your arm!
Gabrielle complies, and Xena swings her up behind her.
Hold on tight!
They quickly ride away, on down the road.
END OF ACT ONE
EXT. A COTTAGE JUST OFF THE ROAD - SAME
Xena and Gabrielle come riding up to the front door. No one can be seen, but the glow of firelight and candles is visible in the windows.
Xena helps Gabrielle to the door.
Hello! Please, we need help!
The door opens and a middle-aged MAN appears. This is a very modest home, and the man is perhaps a farmer or a woodsman.
Yes, what do you want?
Xena, now practically dragging Gabrielle, pushes passed the man and enters the cottage.
INT. THE COTTAGE - SAME
A WOMAN, the mans wife, stands across the room looking confused and frightened, staring silently. The man closes the door and turns to the visitors.
How can we help you?
My friend was bitten by a
wolf, I need to tend to her
Of course, please come right
The woman hurries back through the house, and Xena quickly follows with Gabrielle. The woman takes them into a bedroom, where she turns down the bed covers, then moves back out of the way. Xena helps Gabrielle onto the bed.
(to the woman)
Thank you. Now, I need some
hot water and some clean cloth,
if you have it.
The woman rushes out of the room, and Xena turns to Gabrielle. She sits on the bed beside her sick friend, looking worried.
Gabrielle manages a weak smile.
Dont worry, Xena, well get
through this. Ill be okay in
no time, youll see.
Youve got this all backward,
you know. Youre the patient,
Im supposed to give you the
words of comfort.
Just you being here with me,
is all the comfort I need. I
know Im in good hands. I know
Ill see the sun rise again...
Gabrielle quickly slips into sleep, and Xena takes hold of Gabrielles hand.
The woman returns with a pan of hot water and some white cloth draped over her arm. She places everything on a small stand beside the bed.
There. Now, is there anything
else I can do?
Xena rips off a piece of the cloth and drops it in the water.
Thank you, but this should do
for now. I have to clean the
wound and then apply a tight
Perhaps some food?
Dont go to any trouble. Im
sure my friend wont feel like
eating anytime soon.
You take care of your friend,
and Ill find a little something
for you. You must keep up your
The woman leaves and Xena goes about tending to Gabrielle.
INT. THE BEDROOM - SAME
Gabrielle is still sleeping. Her leg in now clean and bandaged with the white cloth.
Xena is sitting on a stool, leaning against the wall, several feet away. She is tired, and her head is beginning to droop. She is obviously about to go to sleep, but shes fighting it.
The woman of the house returns carrying a wooden tray with a pitcher, two cups, and a small pile of biscuits.
Some hot tea and corn cakes.
The woman sits the tray on a chest, midway between Xena and Gabrielle. She immediately pours a cup of tea, then produces a small clay jar and shakes a light gray powder into the cup of tea. She picks up the cup of tea and moves toward Gabrielle.
And this should help your sick
Xena jumps up and intervenes.
Hold on! Just what is this stuff?
The woman stands and waits as Xena picks up the clay jar and examines the contents, then she sniffs it, then she dips her finger in it and tastes it.
Xena looks at Gabrielle, who is now awake, and obviously unsure about what is going on.
Go on, Gabrielle, drink it. It
should help the fever and the
Gabrielle pulls herself up to a sitting position. The woman helps Gabrielle drink the tea, then she sits the cup back on the tray. She turns to leave, but Xena stops her.
Im sorry I questioned you about
the willow bark. You have been
very nice and very helpful, and
I really appreciate it.
No harm done. I understand. Now
you try the tea and corn cakes
yourself, and Ill check on you
in the morning. (beat) I mean...
The woman remembers, and obviously feels foolish.
Thats okay. I know what you mean.
The sun will rise again. Goodnight.
The woman leaves, and Xena pours a cup of tea and picks up a corn cake. Then she looks back at Gabrielle, who is again sleeping soundly.
Xena looks off at nothing, in deep thought, as she nibbles on the crunchy bread.
Mmmm. Not bad... for corn cake.
INT. THE BEDROOM - SAME
Gabrielle is still sleeping, and now so is Xena, back on her stool leaning against the wall. Everything is basically just the same as it was earlier, except now the house is totally ENGULFED IN ROARING FLAMES. Every exit is obviously blocked by fire, and escape seems impossible.
Gabrielle is jolted out of sleep. She sees the fire, then looks over at Xena.
Xena! Xena, wake up! Xena!
Gabrielle strains to get up, but she is too weak. She falls back onto the bed, exhausted and terrified. She looks back at Xena.
Xena! Xena, youve got to Wake
up! Xena! Xena, please!
Xena finally responds, and slowly sits up. She clearly appears impaired, as if drugged. She quickly pulls herself together and realizes the terrible situation they are in. She jumps up and rushes to Gabrielle, and tries to help her up.
Gabrielle doesnt help at all. She just falls back on the bed, looking around at the fire.
Come on! Weve got to get out
The enter wall where the bedroom door was collapses into an inferno. Xena and Gabrielle look across the room to see what is happening there.
The man and the woman are standing in the fire, watching their trapped victims. Their clothing and hair burn away and they transform into demonic creatures with crimson skin, stubby horns on their heads, and thick short tails.
Were trapped, Xena. There is
no way out... not this time.
Xena looks angry and even more determined. She reaches down and grabs hold of Gabrielle.
Come on, get up.
There is no way out, Xena.
Xena lifts Gabrielle into her arms.
Oh, yes, there is! Do you
You know I do.
Then close your eyes and trust
me now... with all your heart.
Gabrielle does as she is told. Xena, carrying her friend, turns and WALKS INTO THE FIRE, and she continues walking. The two demons cower away, as the humans pass them.
As Xena and Gabrielle reach the living room area, the roaring flames and what is left of the cottage explodes around them and vanishes. The two women find themselves standing in the middle of a large empty clearing. A violent swirling wind rips through the trees overhead, then there is total silence.
You can put me down now, Xena.
Xena puts Gabrielle down.
My leg is completely healed! I
Thats good? Thats all you have
to say? Cmon, Xena, how did you
get us out of that fire?
Faith in what?
The power of good over evil. And
thats what were dealing with
here, pure evil.
After seeing those creatures in
there, I can certainly believe
that, but what do you mean by
Not evil people, but evil itself.
No common mortal foe can perform
such miracles as we have seen.
Faith? Miracles? I dont believe
I have ever heard you use those
Well, personally, I think its
good that you and I still have
some secrets from each other.
Youre putting me off, Xena, but
Ill let you... for now.
Gabrielle watches as her friend walks to Argo, and then Xena leads the horse back to her.
I know youre concerned about
all this and, believe me, so am
I. Im in the dark here, no pun
intended, as much as you. But I
can tell you one thing, were
very close now. It may be just
over the next hill or around the
But what will we find there? And
how will we know? We dont even
know what or who were looking
Well know when the time comes.
Xena and Gabrielle mount Argo and ride away into the night.
END OF ACT TWO
EXT. A WIDE MEADOW AWASH IN MOONLIGHT - SAME
Xena and Gabrielle are on foot again, leading Argo. As they near the center of the large open area, the dark shapes of men appear all around the perimeter. They are totally surrounded by an army wearing black hooded cloaks, and they all have broad-bladed swords in their hands.
Argo is our only chance. Come
on, mount up!
Just as the words are out of her mouth, an arrow penetrates Argos flank, and she goes down. Xena and Gabrielle have no time to react to the wounded animal, because their enemies are swarming in all around them.
The women stand back to back, Gabrielle with her staff ready, and Xena with her sword raised high in the air. The expressions on their faces show that they know they dont stand a chance of survival.
Then, before a single blow is struck, the attackers fall to the ground, hide their faces and whimper softly.
Xena and Gabrielle look around to see a beautiful young girl, perhaps in her late teens, walking toward them. The girl pays no attention to the warriors scattered on the ground.
Xenas sword is still posed in the air, as she watches the girl draw near.
Fear not, for I am but a
messenger, my child.
Oh, yeah? So, just what is
The girl walks to Argo, pulls out the arrow, and places her hand briefly on the animal. Argo gets to her feet, obviously good as new.
Will you walk with me?
Xena is clearly trying to make some sense of this strange situation. Gabrielle quickly glances around at the warriors laying on the ground.
(to the girl)
Personally, Id like to hang
with you for a while!
All right, lets go.
The girl leads the way, and Xena, Gabrielle and Argo closely follow. The frightened warriors crawl out of the way as the girl approaches them. Gabrielle is amazed by it all, but Xena doesnt seem particularly impressed.
EXT. THE CREST OF A RIDGE - SAME
They are approaching the top of the hill, with Gabrielle at the girls side. Xena and Argo are close behind.
Im Gabrielle, and you are?
You may call me Angel.
Angel. Thats very pretty.
And this is Xena.
I think she already knows who
we are, Gabrielle.
What do you mean?
Shes the one who brought us
Not exactly, Xena. I told you,
I am merely a messenger.
Well, you still havent given
us the message.
They stop on top of the high hill, and look down into the valley on the other side. A relatively large town spreads out before them.
The town? What about it?
This is a vile and sinful
place. The evil has been
judged an abomination, and
the punishment is death.
For the whole town?
For those who choose life,
there is life. For those who
choose death, there is death.
How do Gabrielle and I figure
in all this?
All those you can convince to
leave this evil place shall be
spared, and all those who stay
behind shall surely perish.
In deep thought, Xena silently stares at the strange girl. Angel patiently waits for Xenas response. Gabrielle is highly perplexed, and she looks back and forth between Xena and the girl.
You want us to go down there
and decide who lives and who
(a beat, as Xena
looks at Gabrielle)
Well, thats sort of what we
do, anyway, isnt it?
Gabrielle smiles uncertainly, then she knits her eyebrows with confusion, as she looks back at the girl. Gabrielle is even more stunned to realize the girl is gone.
Where did she go? She must
have vanished into thin air!
That doesnt matter. We have
to get down there and see
just what were up against.
You saw how those creeps reacted
to Angel. Why doesnt she just
march down there and take care
of this little problem, herself?
They do seem to work in very
mysterious ways, but I think I
can answer your question. You
cant make people be good, they
have to choose good over evil.
Then, why cant we just go down
there and warn everybody of this
impending doom and give them the
chance to leave?
Because they wouldnt listen,
at least not many.
Because most people down there
are in the grip of evil, and
evil is seductive, Gabrielle.
What do you mean?
Evil gives you power beyond
your wildest dreams, and it
gives you untold pleasures.
Gabrielle follows along with Xena, as she turns and leads Argo down the hill toward the town.
You make it sound wonderful.
It is wonderful. You can have
fame and fortune, and your most
secret fantasies can come true,
but it doesnt come without cost.
Your very... soul.
There you go again. King David
is the only one Ive heard talk
about the soul. (a beat) So, do
you believe in the human soul?
I believe there must be something
beyond the grave. Something that
Yeah. Yeah, me, too.
Are you just saying that because
I said so?
No. No, I really believe it, but
it does give me a wonderful sense
of peace to hear you talk about
it that way.
Thats kinda weird. I learned
most of it from you, Gabrielle.
Gabrielle smiles, pleased by Xenas statement.
Whatever happens, Xena, well
get through it together.
END OF ACT THREE
EXT. TREES NEAR THE EDGE OF TOWN - SAME
Xena ties Argo to a tree, then she and Gabrielle walk toward a nearby building. They stop for a moment, peeking around a corner, then they cautiously move on.
EXT. A STREET NEAR THE CENTER OF TOWN - SAME
Xena and Gabrielle walk slowly along the dark street. Not many people can be seen or heard, except a drunk lying in a doorway, and a drunken man and woman who are stumbling down the street entangled in each others arms. The more they stumble, the louder the woman laughs.
Two men, who are obviously soldiers or guards, come from round a corner and walk directly toward Xena and Gabrielle. Xena spots them and pushes Gabrielle through a large door.
INT. LARGE EMPTY CORRIDOR - SAME.
The long corridor is dimly lighted with torches placed every few feet along the walls. Xena and Gabrielle peer through the slightly cracked door as the two soldiers pass by, then they fully close the door and turn to look down the corridor.
Im not sure I like this. We
dont even know what this
We dont know what any place
is. We have to start somewhere.
We have to find out whos the
good people, and whos the bad
people. Who lives and who dies,
So, come on.
They walk down the corridor side by side. About halfway down they come to a large wooden door on Gabrielles side. Gabrielle suddenly stops and leans her ear toward the door.
Listen! Theres sounds coming
from in there. (a beat) Its
people in terrible pain, Xena!
It must be a torture chamber!
Well, we cant just stand here.
With that, Gabrielle grabs the handle and swings the door open. It is an enormous room filled with naked and half-naked men and women in the midst of a drunken orgy. The people in the room are so involved in their activities, they dont even notice the intruders.
Gabrielles eyes get big and her mouth hangs open. In shock, she quickly shuts the door.
Whoa! Well, theyre gone.
Not necessarily. Come on.
Xena, trying to stop laughing, turns and walks on down the corridor. Gabrielle runs to catch up.
Xena, you cant tell me that
is normal behavior.
Well, maybe not for you and me.
Still, I wish you could have
seen your face!
Go on, laugh!
Well, it was funny.
Ha, ha! Were probably gonna
die here with these... sinners!
They reach the end of the corridor, where there is another large wooden door. Xena takes hold of the handle, but she hesitates to look back at Gabrielle.
Care to guess whats behind
door number three? (a beat)
Do you want to open it, or
Xena, get over it.
Xena opens the door to discover a large crowded saloon. While the uproarious activity here probably couldnt be called an orgy, it isnt too far from it. Most people are too busy drinking, joking and laughing to pay any attention to the two newcomers.
Xena and Gabrielle make their way into the place. They look around, glance at one another, then opt for the bar. The bartender is at the far end of the bar, so they stand quietly and look around.
They spot three of the soldiers walking toward them. Xena and Gabrielle turn slowly and start to walk in the opposite direction, only to encounter three more soldiers standing there looking at them.
What do you want?
The LEADER OF THE SQUAD snarls at the two women.
Youre new here, aint you?
So, I want to see your hands.
He holds his own left hand out impatiently, to reveal a pentacle branded into his palm. Xena and Gabrielle look at the strange brand, then glance at one another.
And if you aint got one like
this, youre in big trouble!
Now lets see your hands!
With the look of shear doom on their faces, Xena and Gabrielle hold their hands out palms up. They are both shocked to see pentacles branded into their left palms.
Xena bursts into laughter and slaps the squad leader hard on his shoulder.
Had you going there for a
minute, didnt we? Hey, come
on, why dont you boys buy us
ladies a drink?
Were on duty. Maybe some other
All righty! Ill hold you to that!
The soldiers walk away. Gabrielle stares at the five-pointed symbol burned into the flesh of her left hand.
Xena just shrugs, looking at her own branded palm.
Well, I guess that answers the
question of how we tell the bad
guys from the good guys.
We cant exactly go around
looking at everybodys hands.
We dont have to. Those creeps
are doing it for us. Only the
people with these brands are
allowed to walk around free.
I see what you mean. The decent
people or either already gone,
dead or... imprisoned somewhere.
My moneys on imprisoned. These
people are still trying to keep
up a semblance of a society,
going about business as usual,
so many of the prisoners are
probably used as slave labor.
Yeah, and who knows what else?
Xena again looks around the large room, scanning the noisy and very animate crowd.
Well, theres obviously nothing
going on here but mindless
debauchery. Lets go and get a
better look at this town.
Xena and Gabrielle stroll quietly out of the place.
EXT. ANOTHER DARK AND EMPTY STREET - SAME
Xena and Gabrielle move quickly along the street, passing in and out of deep shadows, watching and listening as they go.
For a long while, nothing at all happens. The town seems to be deserted, or dead. Then, as Xena and Gabrielle approach a street corner, they hear the sound of multiple footsteps off in the distance. They stop in the cover of shadows, and wait as the footsteps grow louder, and then a group of more than a dozen men and women turn a corner across the way and continue down the street. They look like a group of ordinary citizens, but they are obviously in a hurry to get somewhere, and they are soon out of sight again.
Come on, Gabrielle, lets
They do seem to know where the
Xena and Gabrielle emerge from the shadows and hurry down the intersecting street, in the direction the suspicious group went. They dont get far before sounds from behind them draw their attention. They abruptly stop and look back up the street. They realize the sounds are more footsteps fast approaching them. Xena frantically urges Gabrielle into another dark alley, and they watch as another similar group of people pass by, obviously going to the same location as the first group.
I have a feeling theyre up
to no good.
Either that, or theres a hit
show in town.
Either way, I have the feeling
were in for some entertainment.
Xena hurries off down the street, as Gabrielle runs to keep up.
Id like to point out that it
was your feelings that brought
EXT. LARGE, OMINOUS BUILDING - SAME
Xena and Gabrielle hurry up to the street corner and stop, watching as the group enters the large building.
That looks like some kind of
temple to me.
Maybe its just a town meeting.
As the last members of the group walk into the building, Xena and Gabrielle fall in behind them.
INT. INSIDE THE TEMPLE - SAME
Xena and Gabrielle walk with the group up a short, wide flight of stairs to a mezzanine. From this area they all enter an adjacent large room. It is clearly a dressing room, and many red and black garments hang on hooks that line the walls.
All the people put on the hooded red cloaks, so Xena and Gabrielle do the same. It is a fast and easy task, and everyone is soon filing out another door leading to another part of the building.
INT. A LARGE CEREMONIAL CHAMBER - SAME
Xena and Gabrielle continue to follow along as their group joins the larger crowd already assembled, all wearing the hooded red cloaks.
The place is adequately lighted with large torches in strategic locations, as well as a large ceremonial flame blazing up from an impressive stone altar near the end of the chamber. There is a table-like structure made from a huge stone slab setup several feet from the altar. The central floor is empty, except for a large, precisely-painted image of the pentacle symbol that is branded into the peoples left palms.
Silence falls over the crowd for a long moment, and then a man appears from behind the altar. He obviously is not one of the rather common citizens of this town. He is bare from the waist up, spectacularly muscled, with jet black hair. He is so handsome, he almost seems to glow.
The man is imposing enough on his own, but he also carries a large, shiny sword. The firelight sparkles off the blade as the man moves it back and forth in his right hand.
The crowd starts making a strange sound, not really a chant, but a very low droning hum. In the next moment, two hooded people drag a young woman from behind the altar. The frightened prisoner tries to resist, but she is helpless. She is quickly strapped on the stone table.
Gabrielle turns to Xena, and leans toward her. The expression on her face is one of shock and shear desperation.
Xena, theyre going to kill her.
Sacrifice her! We cant just sit
No, we cant. These people are
mostly mindless sheep. You get
the girl out of here, Ill take
care of... Mister Charisma.
You, too. Now, go!
Gabrielle jumps to the open floor and runs to the stone table. She is unfastening the first arm restraint before anyone has time to react. The crowd merely watches, but the man with the sword starts toward Gabrielle.
Losing the hooded cloak as she goes, Xena flips through the air high over the stone table. She lets out an ear-piercing battle yell while in flight. Then she lands squarely in front of her opponent and backhands him with all her might. Stunned and clearly surprised, the man falls back against the altar, almost falling into the altar flames.
Several members of the crowd are now going after Gabrielle. She punches and kicks a couple of the people away, then flips over the girl on the table. She has to kick more people away as she struggles to unfasten the last restraint and free the girl.
The man raises his sword and charges forward. Xena lashes into him with her sword. He was attacking, but Xena keeps him so busy blocking her fierce blows, thats all he can do.
Gabrielle frees the girl and jerks her off the stone slab. She whirls around and quickly slugs several people, effectively opening an escape route. She grabs the girl and they run out of ceremonial chamber, pausing briefly at the door to glance back at Xena.
Xena spots Gabrielle and nods. That moment of distraction gives her opponent an opportunity to strike, and he takes it. With a powerful backhand blow to the side of her face, Xena flies over the stone table and lands in the center of the pentacle. Her sword lands on the floor a few feet away.
By the time Xena is recovering, her deadly enemy is jumping over the table, coming after her. He brings his sword down hard, as if to slice her completely in two. Xena rolls out of the way, and the large sword hits the stone floor, sending sparks flying from the impact.
Xena grabs her sword and spins around to face her attacker, but he is already swinging his sword, and he knocks Xenas weapon from her hands again. Xena watches her sword sail away across the large room, then she turns to face the very smug man standing before her.
Then Ill just have to take
yours. Its prettier then
Her opponent swings his big sword again. Xena dodges the shiny blade by a fraction of an inch, then springs upward to deliver a powerful uppercut. The man is lifted into the air by the blow, and he flips backward, landing hard on the floor several feet away.
By the time the man is getting to his knees, Xena is there to kick the sword from his hand, sending it flying straight up into the air. Not giving him time to think about it, Xena spins and kicks him on the side of his head. He flips like a limp rag doll and lands on his back inside the pentacle.
The sword returns to Earth, and Xena neatly catches it. Without hesitation, she spins the large sword once, and then forcefully plunges the shiny blade into the mans heart.
Coming from inside the body, fire rapidly spreads outward from the wound, completely consuming the body in only a few seconds. The strange flames grow into a huge inferno, and a large billowing red cloud hovers over the frightened and confused crowd of silent spectators.
An enormous and dreadful face appears in the burning cloud and cries out in a monstrous voice. The demon is hateful and angry, and terrifying.
There! The true face of your
lord and master!
Many members of the crowd are screaming and running for their lives, while others lay helplessly on the floor and cry in fear and disappointment.
Xena turns away in disgust, snaps up her sword, and then leaves in triumph. She disappears through the same door Gabrielle and the girl used.
EXT. AT THE GATES OF A PRISON - SAME
Xena, Gabrielle and the girl they freed are on the outside of the gates, attempting to open them. A large crowd of people are on the other side of the gates, waiting for freedom.
The gates swing open, and the people pour out, cheering.
Listen! Listen to me!
Xena stands before the crowd with raised arms. The people finally quieted down and listen to what she has to say.
We have to leave this town right
now! No time to explain...
Even if you could.
Xena gives Gabrielle a wry look, as she walks off.
Head east, now. I have to
get my horse.
EXT. A HILLSIDE, MILES OUT OF TOWN - SAME
The large crowd of people are staying close together, walking through the night, following Xena and Gabrielle.
As they ride on Argo slowly up the hill, Gabrielle is quietly looking at the sky. It is a cool clear night and the stars are again magnificent.
Just look at those stars! Its
A meteor streaks across the sky, then another, and another. The meteor shower continues in the distance. It is quite a spectacular light show.
Oh, look! Wow, Ive never seen
anything like this before!
It reminds me of the fireworks
I saw in the Land of Chin.
They continue riding up the slope, their eyes on the celestial display. Then, Xenas expression suddenly changes from serenity to terrible fear.
Gabrielle finally realizes something is happening.
Xena reins Argo around to face the crowd.
Listen up, people! Weve got
to get over this hill... NOW!
Move it! Run! Run! Run for
The people obey, quickly spreading out and swarming up the hill as fast as they can run.
Xena, what is it? Whats wrong?
Just hold on tight!
The people are topping the ridge. Xena kicks Argo into a run up the slope. As Xena and Gabrielle reach the crest, a giant fireball streaks overhead, then two more closely follow.
Everyone watches as the meteors impact directly on the distant town, and then the whole valley erupts into an inferno. The explosion is truly massive.
Xena and Gabrielle ride down the hill away from the blast, and the people all dive for cover. At that moment, there is a bright flash and a sheet of energy sweeps across the sky.
In another moment it is all over, and the people slowly get to their feet and continue on their way.
Xena and Gabrielle are still on Argo, leading the way. Gabrielle looks at her left hand, then quickly grabs Xenas left arm. She smiles at what she sees.
Those hideous brands are gone!
We dont need them anymore.
Gabrielle looks ahead at the horizon, to see the sun rising.
Look, Xena! The suns coming up!
Yes, the dawn of a new day.
Today is the first day of the
rest of our lives!
I wouldnt spread that around,
Gabrielle, you just might get
With their faces aglow in the bright morning light, Xena and Gabrielle smile, as they ride on faster toward the blazing sunrise.