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XENA

Roses are Red

Written by Lindsey L. Rush
llrush@viaccess.net


ACT 1



FADE IN

EXT. OUTSIDE A CAVE AFTER HEAVY RAINS - DAY

Joxer emerges from the cave and trips on a stone. His face with mud, he picks up the chiseled stone and is about to heave it when the top of the stone falls off. He looks inside at the parchment and pulls it out, shoving the stone down into his armor.

JOXER
Hmmm. A map. Hey! I found something!

XENA
(as she passes by Joxer, shoves him out of the way)
Yeah, what mud tastes like.

JOXER
(wiping his face as Gabrielle passes him by, holds the map to her face)
I think that it’s lost treasure.

GABRIELLE:
Joxer, the only thing that’s lost, as usual, is you.

XENA
(standing with Argo)
Well, we have a few days to kill. I say we go fishing.

GABRIELLE
(curling her lips at the idea)
I say that we just enjoy nature, the peace and quiet. Relax.

XENA
(curling her lips at the idea)
Gabrielle, the definition of relaxation is fishing. It’s peaceful, quiet. How much closer to nature can you get than by fishing?

JOXER
(frowning)
I say that we find the lost treasure.

Xena and Gabrielle ignore Joxer and keep talking.

GABRIELLE
I’d rather stay in the cave than go fishing.

XENA
Well, I think that we should fish. That way we’ll have fun and supper.

GABRIELLE
Why is it that you always get to choose what we do whenever we have a few moments to ourselves?

XENA
(shrugging)
Because I’m bigger and stronger?

GABRIELLE
Well, that and the fact that I always let you. But the Denar stops here.

JOXER
What Denar?

GABRIELLE
It’s a figure of speech, Joxer.

XENA
Well, Gabrielle. You don’t have to fishing. But I think that deep down inside, you really want to. It’s you just haven’t gotten the hang of it yet.

GABRIELLE
I like fishing as much as Joxer likes taking a bath.

XENA
You hate it that much, huh?

JOXER
Hey!

GABRIELLE
(inhaling deeply)
Smell that nature, Xena. The birds, listen to the crickets. Feel the sun upon your face.

CUT TO

DISTANCE IN THE FOREST - DAY

Everything is soggy, drips of waterfall from the leaves.
The clouds are just starting to fade.




JOXER
(inhaling deeply)
Hey, there’s no sun. All the crickets are hiding and all I smell is Argo’s wet dung...

Joxer peers over to Xena and swallows.

JOXER
Hmmmmm. Roses. Was Argo eating roses?

GABRIELLE
Perfect example of what I’m talking about. Argo’s wet droppings do not smell like roses, but in order not to offend the Warrior Princess, Joxer would probably make a bouquet out of it. And what’s this fun part you mentioned a moment ago? Don’t you mean that Xena will have fun?

XENA
Come on, Gabrielle. You obviously have some issues on your chest, so why don’t you just get them out?

GABRIELLE
My issue is fishing! I don’t want to go fishing!

XENA
What if I promise that I’ll take my time and teach you?

GABRIELLE
Forget it. Your eyes are already starting to bulge out of their sockets. I’d rather starve than go fishing. Besides you know how you get when you’re around fish.

JOXER
Since you can’t decide on what to do, let’s find the lost treasure.

Xena and Gabrielle snap their heads toward Joxer.

Joxer swallows and looks around at the trees, as if he had said nothing.


XENA
What do you mean, ‘the way I get’?

GABRIELLE
Xena, please. Your eyes bulge out, like just now. You get all hyper and you babble on without end... You talk to the fish.


XENA
(insulted)
I do not! I mean I love fishing but my eyes do not bulge out!

JOXER
(clearing his throat)
As a matter of fact, Xena, yes they do.

Joxer begins to form huge circles around his eyes with his hands, to mimic the size of Xena’s eyes.

Xena growls at Joxer.

Joxer quickly closes the circles into fists and rubs his eyes and then stretches. He yawns.


JOXER
Yep. This weather sure makes me sleepy.

GABRIELLE
(shaking her head)
Well, it’s not one of my favorite extra-curricular activities. Besides, I don’t see any water around anywhere.

GABRIELLE
(whispering under her breath)
Thank the Gods.

XENA
OK, Gabrielle. If you can find one dry spot after such heavy rains, then I’ll be the first kick back, relax and gaze at the sky. As you everything is drenched.

XENA
(whispering, under her breath)
Thank the Gods.

JOXER
(mumbling)
One wants to do something; the other wants to do nothing, while I have in my hand, a map to lost treasure...Hmmm, let’s see.. tough decision on what we should be doing.

XENA
(without turning to Joxer)
Did you say something, Joxer?

JOXER
(eyes widen)
Me? No. Of course not.

Joxer clenches the map in his hand.


GABRIELLE
(shaking her head)
Joxer! Stand up for yourself. Say what what want to say without cushioning every word or backing down! What are you going to do? Hurt Xena’s feelings?

JOXER
Maybe, but she might hurt me.

GABRIELLE
(frustrated)
I just don’t get it. I say something and it’s a joke. No one takes me seriously without a challenge. Xena say’s go to Tartarus, and everyone says, point the way.

XENA
Oh, I see what this is about.

GABRIELLE
Oh, you do now, do you?

XENA
Gabrielle, there is no honor or pride in fear.
And that’s what most people respond to when I’m around; taking or receiving something because people are afraid of you only means that there’ll always be someone out there ready to plunge a dagger into your back. And there will always be people who see what I used to be, who only remember the bad things about me and respect me not for who
I am now, but what I used to be, because of fear. My past could never be erased, not in my mind nor anyone else’s that was a part of that dark time. At
least you gain respect by proving that you deserve it, by demanding it in an honorable way.

GABRIELLE
At least no one questions you.

XENA
Except for you.

Gabrielle smiles.

GABRIELLE
You’re right. I stand up to you don’t I?

XENA
You sure do.

GABRIELLE
Then we’re not going fishing!

XENA
We are to!


GABRIELLE
Are not!


JOXER
And the battle comes to a standstill! The Warrior Princess and the Bard...

Gabrielle cut’s Joxer off.

GABRIELLE
Excuse me. It’s the Bard and the Warrior Princess.

JOXER
Come on, guys. We’re not getting anywhere.

Xena and Gabrielle both sigh and look around.

XENA
(sighing)
You know, we’ve never been this far east.

GABRIELLE
Why are we this far east?

Xena and Gabrielle turn to Joxer.

XENA
Because someone got lost.

GABRIELLE
(frowning)
Oh Yeah.

JOXER
(hesitating)
I was not lost. I just wasn’t sure of where I was going.

XENA
Joxer you would have never been chased by that warrior if you weren’t such a bumbling fool.

JOXER
How was I supposed to know that his foot was still in his shoe? I was only trying to scrape the little yellow bird...


XENA
(cutting Joxer off)
Please Joxer, spare us the details.

GABRIELLE
(shaking her head)
Only you, Joxer, only you.

XENA
We’re lucky that you left enough tracks behind for us to find you. I mean, just when did you plan to stop running? When you reached Tartarus?!

JOXER
(slapping his chest)
Warriors never run... Jog, maybe, sometimes but never run.

XENA
Let me put it this way, Joxer. You were running so fast that you blazed a trail behind you. We followed the singed grass.

GABRIELLE
(leering)
Let’s flip for it.

XENA
(eyes turning to slits)
Heads I win. Tales you lose.

GABRIELLE
It’s a deal.

JOXER
(suspicious-rubbing his chin)
That’s good, Xena. You win in either case. You see, a Denar only has two sides and if it lands on the head you win. If it lands on the tale, Gabrielle loses and you still win.

Xena rolls her eyes, baring her teeth at Joxer.

Joxer’s eyes widen and he gulps.


GABRIELLE
(eyes becomes slits as she looks at Xena)
Heads I win; tales you lose, ha, ha, very funny, Xena. We’re not going fishing!

XENA
(running to Joxer and flipping him into the air)
Who said anything about a Denar?!

Joxer flips though the air and lands on his head against a
tree.


XENA
Yesss!

Joxer falls to his side.


GABRIELLE
Ha! you lose!

XENA
(looking at Joxer)
I don’t see him standing on his feet. You lose too.

JOXER
(struggling to stand but falling back down)
I win... Maybe not.



CUT TO

MIDDLE OF LUSH FOREST - DAY


JOXER
Now let’s see...

Xena snatches the map from Joxer.

XENA
You idiot! You’ve been reading it upside-down!

Joxer has disappeared.

GABRIELLE
Where’d Joxer go?

Gabrielle walks a few feet and disappears.

XENA
(running in direction Gabrielle disappeared)
Gabrielle!

CUT TO:

EXT. GARDEN OF ROSES -DAY

GABRIELLE
(looking from within the massive trees)
It’s beautiful!

XENA frowns. It as if they had walked through an invisible wall and are in another world filled with roses.

Xena and Gabrielle see Joxer a few feet away.

Joxer tries to pick a red rose but it won’t uproot or break. He pricks himself with the thorns. He finally sits down and begins to pluck the petals.



JOXER
She loves me. She loves me not. She loves me...

Female Apparition appears - Keeper of the Gates.

KEEPER
You have awakened them from their sleep, by plucking the petals that were yours not to reap.

GABRIELLE:
Who are you? What are you talking about

XENA
(as Joxer smells the rose)
Joxer, no!

Joxer has already inhaled the scent of the rose and his eyes roll in his head. He yawns and falls to the ground. He begins to snore.

KEEPER
(swinging her arm over to Joxer)
Roses are red, Some are white, to inhale those colors, will bring you eternal night.

GABRIELLE
(running to Joxer)
Now you tell us!

KEEPER
(peering over at single black rose in garden)
Black is the sacred color of she, but to be cut by one, death will come instantly.

XENA
What is this place?!

KEEPER
(uninterested, looking at her fingernails)
She with two heads and four eyes you will have to slay, or your souls will be hers, comes end of day.

Keeper disappears and suddenly re-appears.

KEEPER
(yawning)
Oh, I forgot, the yellow ones turn you into stone, so try to keep clear of them. At least you’ll have a sporting chance.

Xena looks around at the eternal rose garden. She stands where they entered the garden, but beyond the row of trees are more trees. She runs to Joxer and begins to feel his body. She finds the stone. She rubs her hand over the engravement that was filled in with mud. The engravement is of a woman with snakes as her hair... Medusa.

XENA
(whispering-fear and desperation)
Garden of the Gorgons.



ACT II


FADE IN

EXT. GARDEN OF THE GORGONS- DAY


Gabrielle is trying to slap Joxer awake.

XENA
It’s no use, Gabrielle.

GABRIELLE
Xena, where are we, really?

XENA
The Garden of the Gorgons.

GABRIELLE
The Gorgons? But Medusa was killed by Perseus.

XENA
There were three sisters. Medusa was the only mortal one. The other two were Gods.

GABRIELLE:
That’s just great.

Gabrielle kicks Joxer.

XENA
The other two sisters were Sthenno and Euryale, demi gods, before the Titans. After Medusa’s head was taken by Perseus, Athena condemned the sisters to a lost garden of roses. It represented the beauty that only they could never have, internally or externally. And although the roses were beautiful, the sisters could never touch them or they would be condemned to the fate that each rose carried.

GABRIELLE
I’m ready to leave now. How do we get out?

XENA
I don’t know, Gabrielle.

GABRIELLE
There was a way in so there must be a way out.

XENA
It was said that only fools could enter the garden.

GABRIELLE
Well, he did, so what are we doing here?

XENA
I guess that we were fools to follow him. Argo seems to be the only logical one between us.

Gabrielle kicks Joxer.

XENA
Gabrielle, we need to figure out the riddle or we won’t stand a chance.

GABRIELLE
(taking a deep breath and exhales)
OK. First, we have no stay away from the roses.

XENA
(sarcastically)
Brilliant idea. I knew that we should have gone fishing.

GABRIELLE
You know, it’s odd that I’ve never heard of this place. I know many of the tales, but not this one.

XENA
Not many have, Gabrielle. It’s said that once every hundred years, this garden appears to reap from the world of as many fools as it can snag... in that one day.

GABRIELLE
(abrupt laugh of desperation)
What are the odds that we’d come upon it? One day, in one hundred years, we happen to pick the unlucky one?

XENA
Let me put it this way. If there was a needle in a haystack the size of Athens, Joxer would be the first to find it, when he wasn’t even looking for it.

GABRIELLE
(talking to herself)
When we get out of here, Joxer is going to be scraping himself off of the bottom of my shoes. He thinks that little yellow bird, that got us into this mess, was flat, he’ll feel really flat when I’m through with him.

XENA
Gabrielle, it’s mid-day. We don’t have much time.

GABRIELLE
(snarling down at Joxer)
Well if I start now, will he be able to feel as I jump up and down on his chest?!

XENA
(grabbing Gabrielle’s shoulders)
Calm down. We’ll find a way out.

Xena paces back and forth.

XENA
Come on, Gabrielle. Help me... You have awakened them from their sleep, by plucking the petals that were not yours not to reap.

GABRIELLE
They know that we’re here.

Pause of desperation:

GABRIELLE
She with two heads and four eyes you will have to slay, or your souls will be hers comes end of day... So we just sneak up on them and chop of their heads.

XENA
It doesn’t make sense. The Keeper referred to the Gorgons as ‘them’ but then she said ‘she’ which is one. She with two heads and four eyes. And just how do you slay a God?

GABRIELLE
Xena, she said that we would have to slay her, so there must be a way... The Hynds Blood Dagger?

XENA
That would come in handy right about now, but as you can see, we’re not that fortunate.

JOXER
(talking in his sleep)
What an ugly woman.

Xena and Gabrielle turn to Joxer.

GABRIELLE
Only Joxer could be condemned for eternity but still talk in his sleep.

XENA
(frowning, looking at the stone in her hand)
He never saw the engravement. The map!

Xena looks on the back side the map. There is a drawing of Athena and below her, the sisters Sthenno and Euryale in a side profile, one head but two faces on either side. There is a dagger running through the body.

XENA
(angered)
This was on the map and the fool saw it?!

GABRIELLE
(dumbfounded, softly)
And we followed him.

Gabrielle kicks Joxer.

XENA
Of course we could enter. Who else in Tartarus would even contemplate following the village idiot?

Gabrielle kicks Joxer again.

GABRIELLE
What does it mean, Xena?

XENA
The sisters were the only ones that could look at each other. Athena must have merged them into one, their head having faces on separate sides so they could never see each other again.

GABRIELLE
There goes sneaking up on them.

KEEPER
(appearing)
To figure out the riddle of two heads and four eyes, the Sword of Perseus is your prize.
Remember, she must be slain by end of day,
prepare yourselves for now, the Gorgon comes this way.

XENA
Wait!


KEEPER
(reappearing)
I don’t do overtime. Figure out the next riddle and I’ll be back.

GABRIELLE
What riddle?!

XENA
Come on Gabrielle. We have to get going!


GABRIELLE
Where and what about Joxer?

XENA
They’ll be after us. He’ll be OK. He’s asleep. He can’t see them and it’s better this way. After all, he’ll only get in our way.

Joxer rolls and his hand falls near the black rose.

Gabrielle quickly hits the rose with her staff.

A terrible cry rises from the distance.

Xena and Gabrielle drag Joxer into the clear and lay him next to a tree.


CUT TO

DISTANCE IN THE GARDEN - DAY

A quick view of the Gorgons as they head toward Xena and Gabrielle. The Gorgons sniff into the air and let out a roar.


ACT III

FADE IN

EXT. GARDEN OF THE GORGONS- DAY

The Gorgons hunt Xena and Gabrielle. Xena and Gabrielle stop to rest against a tree.

XENA
(exhaling, looking at the Sword (of Perseus))
The sword of Perseus. Even if the Gorgons were belittled from Gods to immortals and merged into one, Perseus’ sword killed a mortal not an immortal.

GABRIELLE
By taking her head. She had one head.

KEEPER
(appearing)
You’re good at riddles, aren’t you? Finally some live ones. The Gorgon’s head the sword can take...

Keeper pauses.

GABRIELLE
Well?!


KEEPER
No mortal has ever gotten this far, OK. So just keep your shirt on.

Keeper searches her pockets.

KEEPER
Can’t find my hand scroll, so I’ll just have to improvise. The Gorgon’s head the sword can take... but the sword can only swing at a mark that it can see.

Keeper shrugs her shoulders.

GABRIELLE
That does not rhyme.

KEEPER
(frowning - disappearing)
Don’t push me, Blondie!

XENA
So she’s immortal but Perseus’ sword can take her head. She can die. How in Tartarus can I take her head if she has two faces? Surely I’ll turn to stone.

KEEPER
(appearing-clapping)
Find the one that the sword can see that it’s blade will cut and set you free.


GABRIELLE
My head hurts.

KEEPER
Does it have anything to do with being blonde?

There is crackling within the trees.

Keeper disappears.

Xena and Gabrielle begin to run.


CUT TO

DISTANCE IN THE GARDEN- LEGS RUNNING - DAY

Gabrielle has been separated from Xena and as she runs, peering over her shoulder, she collides with something from the opposite direction.

Gabrielle scurries to her feet and presses herself against a tree behind her.

Princess Ariea rolls forward and springs to her feet, swinging her sword at Gabrielle’s neck.


GABRIELLE
(shrieking scream)

ACT IV

FADE IN

EXT. GARDEN OF THE GORGONS- DAY

Princess Ariea’s sword stops centimeters from Gabrielle’s neck. She reaches out and feels Gabrielle’s face.

PRINCESS ARIEA
To pretty to be a Gorgon.

Princess Ariea suddenly drops to her knees, facing Gabrielle, and thrusts her sword backwards, stabbing a barbarian in his stomach. He falls to his knees with his sword raised above his head, falls to the ground.

PRINCESS ARIEA
(kneeling down and touching Barbarian’s face)
If it sounds like a Barbarian and smells like a Barbarian, then it’s a Barbarian.

Xena suddenly appears and Princess Ariea quickly stands, clutching Gabrielle behind her and places her sword to
Xena’s throat.


PRINCESS ARIEA
If it is like the wind on a windless day, then it must be Amazon. Be you friend or foe, Amazon?

Gabrielle runs to Xena.

XENA
I am no emery of yours. Gabrielle, are you all right?


GABRIELLE
(shaken)
Yes. I mean, she almost took my life and then she saved it.

XENA
Who are you?

Gabrielle observes the young woman warrior.


GABRIELLE
You’re blind aren’t you?


Princess Ariea turns away. She slides her sword into her sheath and begins to walk away.

GABRIELLE
Wait... Xena, maybe we can use her help.

At the mention on Xena’s name, Princess Ariea stops and turns in Xena’s and Gabrielle’s direction.

PRINCESS ARIEA
Xena? Warrior Princess?

XENA
Yes.

PRINCESS ARIEA
Perhaps... That’s why I thought you were Amazon, but Xena is no fool. This garden would never allow her entrance.

Princess Ariea sighs and turns to walk away.

XENA
This garden allowed us entrance because we were fools to have followed a fool here...
Now who are you and who’s he?

Xena uses the tip of her foot to roll the barbarian over.

PRINCESS ARIEA
I am Ariea.

Xena grows suspicious. The young woman warrior reminds her of someone from her past, but surely, it could not be the same person. Xena knew of a Princess Ariea, met her once a long time ago, in battle. Flashes of Xena’s past run through her head. Xena’s Army had attacked King Dante’s kingdom. But his army, led by his daughter, had fought them to a
standstill. The battle was great and the losses many, but, Princess Ariea had refused to back down. During a cold night, Princess Ariea had silently entered Xena’s tent. Xena could still remember the cold steel of the dagger’s blade against her throat.


CUT TO

(XENA’S PAST) IN A TENT - NIGHT

Princess Ariea has a healing cut across her left cheek as she presses the dagger against Xena’s throat. She brings her face inches away from Xena’s.

PRINCESS ARIEA
(whispering)
I can end this right now.

XENA
(smirking)
Then end it.

PRINCESS ARIEA
You welcome death as quickly as you welcome war. To kill you this way carries no honor. If we were in battle, it would be different.

XENA
(confused then gargled laugh)
You better learn quickly, little girl, because I wouldn’t give it a second though of killing you if I had the chance. War has no honor, except among fools.

PRINCESS ARIEA
Take what’s left of your army and leave. The battle is over.

XENA
We haven’t begun to fight. They send a gutless little girl to kill me. A way in but no way out. You didn’t think of that did you.

Princess Ariea looks around. Xena grabs the dagger and flips Princess Ariea onto her back. Xena straddles her. She raises the dagger into the air and stops. She reaches down and pulls the crest that hangs from the gold chain around the girl’s neck. Xena frowns and then grins. She uses the dagger to rip the girl’s clothes open. There she sees the birthmark in close likeness to the Crest of the Dante Kingdom.


XENA
(surprised and angered)
You?! You’re the one leading King Dante’s army...that fought my army to a standstill... Well, you should fetch a handsome price... I smell profit...lots of it. You’re a fool for not killing me when you had the chance, Princess.

Princess Ariea’s men suddenly burst into the tent. They have surrounded and captured most of Xena’s men. Princess Ariea has rolled away from Xena and as her men converge upon Xena, Princess Ariea steps in front of them.

PRINCESS ARIEA
No more. There will be no more bloodshed.

1ST WARRIOR
King Dante has order her death.


PRINCESS ARIEA
(drawing her sword)
And Princess Ariea, the leader of this army, has ordered her release. Now step aside, soldier.


2ND WARRIOR
(pointing to Xena with his sword)
That hydra dies this night.

PRINCESS ARIEA
And so will you, soldier, if you do not step aside!

The warriors step aside as Xena and Princess Ariea exit the tent. Princess Ariea walks Xena to a horse.


PRINCESS ARIEA
(shouting to her men)
Let no sword be drawn and let no arrows fly! Xena has been granted safe passage from our kingdom!

As Xena rides away, she peers over her shoulder to princess
Ariea
.

CUT TO

GARDEN OF THE GORGONS - DAY

XENA
Why didn’t you kill me when you had the chance?

PRINCESS ARIEA
(drawing her sword and then lowering
it)

We had already dismantled your army but I saw something within you, Xena that I simply could not destroy. You and your army had slaughtered hundreds of my subjects, killed many of my best men, but there was something within you, a light that none other could see, that I could not kill or let die. There were several times in battle when I clear shots that would have easily ended your life, your reign of terror and I could never understand what held my hand fast, until I was in that tent, watching you sleep.

Xena has disappeared and suddenly reappears in front of Princess Ariea, taking her sword from her hands.

PRINCESS ARIEA
(hanging her head)
I guess I welcome death after having been in this forsaken place for so long.

Silence.
PRINCESS ARIEA
(unbuttoning her shirt)
You hesitate... Yes, Xena... I am Princess Ariea. Do what you so wished so long ago. There is no profit here.

Princess Ariea opens her shirt to expose the Dante Crest, hanging from the gold chain and the birthmark in close likeness to the crest.

Gabrielle gasps and turns her face at Princess’ Ariea bare
chest.

Xena reaches out and touches the birthmark.

A sharp gasp escapes Princess Ariea’s lips.

Xena hands Princess Ariea her sword and buttons her shirt.


XENA
I have no intention of killing you. I am not the same person that I used to be.

GABRIELLE
It’s true. Xena has changed.

XENA
What are you doing here?

PRINCESS ARIEA
The wrath of the God of War.

XENA
And your sight?

PRINCESS LIEA
Punishment by Ares.

GABRIELLE
I don’t understand.

PRINCESS ARIEA
That night that I granted Xena safe passage from our kingdom, but took prisoner most of what was left of her army, Ares visited. He was angered that I ended the battle, refusing to further kill in his name by executing the prisoners. He was even more furious that I did not even attempt to kill Xena when I had the chance. I told him that I was not nor ever would fight in praise of him, nor shed blood unless it was to defend my kingdom. That I simply could not see myself killing Xena, who was unarmed.

GABRIELLE
Xena is always armed, weapon or not.


PRINCESS ARIEA
Like Xena, Ares called me a fool. He said that if I could not see myself killing Xena, then I could not see myself at all, nor anything else, ever again. In his anger, he threatened to destroy my kingdom and everything that moved within it. If I joined him, my kingdom would be safe... All I had to do was find Xena and join her...

XENA
And you made a deal with Ares?

PRINCESS LIEA
No. I refused and he expelled me to this place without sight, until I call his name and prepare to do his bidding. He granted me immunity from the roses and the beast within this place... by taking my sight. The beast does not hunger, at least not for flesh, but when it thirsts for sport, it hunts.

Princess Ariea turns and lifts her shirt. There are several claw marks running down her back.

PRINCESS ARIEA
I don’t know how long I’ve been here.

XENA
It’s been five years.

PRINCESS ARIEA
What of my father, my kingdom?

XENA
(placing her hand on Ariea’s shoulder)
I’m sorry... Your brother is now King. Your father had given up hope that you would ever return. He’s been heartbroken ever since you disappeared. Your brother reported that that they had found your body, only recognizable by the crest in a nearby an abandoned camp site and declared himself the new king. Your father resigned himself to the royal chambers and has not been seen since. That was two years ago.

GABRIELLE
(looking down at the dead barbarian)
So who’s the Barbarian?

PRINCESS ARIEA
Now and then, for what ever spur of the moment foolish deed, decision, or deal with the Gods, someone like him is sucked into this place, or sent. Those that I have encountered have been sent by Ares to persuade me...

XENA
Well, we have but one chance to get out of here before this garden disappears for another hundred years. You’re protected by Ares but we’re not. We have until dusk to find a way out.

XENA
Has the Keeper ever given you any hints?

PRINCESS ARIEA
The Keeper of the Gates? Her words upon my ears were silence by Ares. All I ever heard was her speak her own name and then silence. I was deaf and blind to her.

GABRIELLE
Well, she’s been giving us hints that don’t make sense. Xena was given the Sword of Perseus and the Keeper said that we’d have to find the one that the sword can see, whose blade will cut and set us free.

There is a whizzing sound of an incoming arrow. Princess Ariea leaps through the air and Xena catches her in her arms as the arrow enters Ariea’s back. Princess Ariea grunts in pain.

PRINCESS ARIEA
What a bitch... The beast is near.

Xena reaches to touch the arrow embedded in Princess Ariea’s
back.


PRINCESS AIREA
No! That of which is hers carries her damnation. You touch it and you’ll turn to stone.

GABRIELLE
What are we to do? Let you bleed to death?

PRINCESS ARIEA
I can be hurt, but I cannot die... at least not by the hands of the Gorgons. You must go. Now.

Princess Ariea grits her teeth as she breaks the arrow that protrudes from her shoulder. She screams in pain. She pulls the other piece out of her back. She walks to a tree and slides down to a sitting position.

PRINCESS ARIEA
(as her eyes close)
Go. I will be asleep until my body heals itself. It’s not the first arrow....

Xena and Gabrielle drag Princess Ariea deeper within the trees.

1st GORGON
(sniffing the air)
I smell them, two of them.

2ND GORGON
We will hunt and they will run, but hope will be no more with the setting of the sun.

Xena and Gabrielle run in the opposite direction of the
voices.


ACT V

GARDEN OF THE GORGONS - DAY

XENA
Find the one that the sword can see. Hmmm. We are the wielders of the sword, and the sword can only see what we can see. Its blade can only cut what our eyes can behold. Gabrielle, it’s not the Gorgon’s head that we’re after. It’s something else. Something much more obvious.

KEEPER
(appears sighing)
All this appearing and re-appearing is getting me air sick.

GABRIELLE
You know, that must feel like seasickness. Boat rocking back and forth, your stomach churning like...




KEEPER
(turning to Xena)
My condolences. You must suffer a great deal to put up with the likes of her.

XENA
We figured out the last riddle. So what’s the next one.

KEEPER
(rolling her eyes and peering at Gabrielle)
I’ll be back. I have make sure that my riddle
rhymes.

GABRIELLE
Wait! I was just kidding. You don’t have to rhyme. (Voice drops) Great, an apparition with an attitude.


XENA
We’re missing something, Gabrielle. Something so simple that only a fool would find it.

GABRIELLE
Xena, if you haven’t noticed, Joxer isn’t available.

KEEPER
(reappearing)
Upon the last, I think you’ll see, the color in this garden that will set you free.

The Keeper grins as she peers over to Gabrielle.

GABRIELLE
(shaking her head)
Better, but a bit repetitious aren’t you?

XENA
(angered)
Gabrielle!

KEEPER
(as she disappears)
After you’ve turned to stone, if you’re that lucky, I’m going to bury you upside-down in the garden, with your feet sticking out, so I won’t have to see your face, which would remind me of your aggravating voice!

XENA
Great, now you’ve gotten us on her bad side.

GABRIELLE
Xena, she doesn’t have a good side.

XENA
Point taken. Now let’s put our heads together and figure this out.

GABRIELLE
Upon the last I think you’ll see, the color in this garden that will set you free.

Gabrielle gasps and turns to the roses.

GABRIELLE
Oh no. Xena. It’s all a lie. The riddles. They all lead back to those forsaken roses. The only way to freedom is to choose they way we want to die, before the Gorgon gets to us.


ACT VI

GARDEN OF THE GORGONS -DAY


Xena leans against a tree, thinking.

GABRIELLE
We’re really going to die. Xena at least I get the chance to say goodbye. (monotone) Ha, I just made a rhyme. Die - good-bye.

XENA
Gabrielle, we’re not dead yet. Now be quiet. The Keeper has given us all of the riddles. Each one contains something that equals the final answer that we’re looking for.

GABRIELLE
Yeah, death.

A warrior suddenly emerges from the trees and charges Xena. Swords clash, a fight ensues. Xena finally kills the warrior. Ares appears clapping.

ARES
(appears, looking at dead warrior)
They’re damned if they do, and damned if they don’t. Fools for accepting the deal and fools if they don’t. Godhood could be such a sweet thing.

XENA
There is nothing enticing about controlling mortal fates, twisting lives to suit your own petty wants, Ares.




ARES
Don’t knock it till you try it, Xena. You would make a great God.

XENA
What do you want, Ares?

ARES
Xena, Xena, Xena. All of this time, I’ve been pitting my best warriors against you, and all it took was a bumbling fool.

XENA
If you came to gloat, Ares, do it and go!

ARES
Xena, you’re not fighting a warrior this time; you’re not even fighting the God of War. You’re fighting fate and it is inevitable.

XENA
Like I said, what do you want, Ares?

ARES
Must you even ask? What I’ve always wanted. Join me, and I’ll take you out of this forsaken place.

Xena looks to Gabrielle.

ARES
I still don’t know what you see in her, but hey, to each his own. I’ll take you both out.

GABRIELLE
And what about Joxer?

ARES
(laughing)
The fool that led you here? His existence has no bearing in this world. If he lives or dies, it doesn’t make a bit of difference to anyone, or anything. As a matter of fact, I would think that you would want to rid yourselves of him. Have you noticed that every time he’s around, you end up in a situation like this? You know, if he’s good for anything, it’s the amusement that he gives the Gods by his foolish hindrance upon mortals.

GABRIELLE
Maybe he means nothing to you, Ares, but he has something that you will never have.

ARES
And what’s that? Ultimate stupidity?


GABRIELLE
Joxer has us. We love him and care about him.

ARES
You didn’t love him when he led you here. What was that about jumping on his chest? Xena, time is of the essence. What will it be? The Gorgons, or me?

XENA
(turning to Gabrielle)
Gabrielle, do you know what this would mean?

ARES
It would mean leading my army, where you belong! It would mean power and fear... and being where you once were. On top of the world, where your name was spoken of as if you were a God.

XENA
Power through fear...It would mean killing, shedding of innocent blood.

ARES
Only for those that defy you. You are the shepherd and they are the flock. You lead; they follow. It’s as simple as that.

XENA
When it comes to you Ares, nothing is as simple as
that.

ARES
Well, now that you mention it, I expect that when you’re not at war or pillaging some helpless village, that you join me for some, rest and relaxation, if you know what I mean.


GABRIELLE
(angered)
Maybe it would be better to choose our own fates. After all, the God of War is hardly known for keeping his word.

ARES
Oh, I will take you out of here, if Xena
accepts my offer. I’ll even throw in the idiot, if it sweetens the offer. What’ll it be, Xena?

XENA
Gabrielle, saving you is more important to me than
saving myself.

ARES
Come on. It’s not like you have a choice here. Soon, it will be day’s end. You can either turn to stone, lose your souls, or accept my offer.

XENA
You know the answer, don’t you Ares? You know the answer to these riddles.

ARES
(looking to the roses, then Xena)
Beautiful to look at, forbidden to hold, Having so many truths, left untold. They remind me of you, in so many ways, By Zeus, how long I’ve waited and counted the days. Not by a warrior, but by a fool you were delivered unto me, At last you’re mine, no fight, no trickery.

GABRIELLE
What is it with this place? Everybody’s a poet.

ARES
Come one, Xena. Wake up and smell the roses. It’s obvious that you have but one chance, here. Join me. One chance, no matter how dark it may seem.

XENA
That’s it! One dark chance. The roses!

Ares frowns.

XENA
No deal, Ares! It’s going to take more that a Gorgon for me to join you.

ARES
(as he disappears)
Well, my sweet, it was nice knowing you.

GABRIELLE
Xena, you could have tricked him like you’ve done before. He was our only way out.

XENA
Gabrielle, the Keeper said, ‘Upon the last, I think you’ll see, the color in this garden that will set you free.’

GABRIELLE
(frowning)
Pick your poison, right, Choose between facing the Gorgons or the several different ways to die that the roses can give us.

XENA
I think that the last means the only one. Upon the last, we can see the rose in the garden that will set us free. Black is the sacred color of she but to be cut by one, death will come instantly. The thorns prick, not cut. The black rose is the only one of its kind in the garden... so obvious at the entrance.

GABRIELLE
Maybe you’re right, Xena. The black rose brings instant death, not just to mortals but to the Gorgon.

XENA
She cried out when you bashed it with your staff.

GABRIELLE
(gripping her staff)
Let’s go whack it a couple more times to be sure.

XENA
(thinking-nodding)
That’s it. The sword was never meant for the Gorgon’s head. It was meant for that one black rose. The sword can only swing at a mark that it can see. That’s why it’s so sacred to her. It is as immortal as the Gorgon and she suffers the same fate as the roses. And all this time, it was right under our noses.

GABRIELLE
Hey, you just made a rhyme. Roses, noses.

Keeper appears wearing a bib with food stains on it. She
frowns.


KEEPER
You’ve figured out the riddles, now be quick from this place, For the Gorgon has gone to guard the rose, with her ugly face.

GABRIELLE
How’d she know that we figured the out riddle?

KEEPER
A little bird told her, so she can finish eating in peace! These constant interruptions are annoying me.

XENA
(begins to run)
Come on, Gabrielle. We have to get to that rose! And the sun is about to set.

They can hear the Gorgons talking.

1ST FACE
This is all your fault. All you want to do is sleep. If you’d gotten your lazy carcass up when the petals were plucked, they’d never have gotten this far.

2ND FACE
How was I supposed to know that there were three
of them?

1ST FACE
Like I said, if you had gotten your lazy carcass
up.

2ND FACE
All you ever do is complain. I should have been the only one to have a mouth.

1ST FACE
At least, my scenery all day isn’t my backside.

2ND FACE
Look, the sun is about to set. They will never get to the rose, even if they try. We’re either going to have three more statues, or three more roses spring up in the garden, so don’t get your scales in a bind, sister.

GABRIELLE
Xena, did you hear that? These roses are the souls of their victims, if they’re not turned to stone. So many of them. We’re doomed.

1ST FACE
Little pigs, little pigs, please come near,

2ND FACE
Look at our faces and the snakes of our hair,

1ST FACE
Lose your soul or be you stone,

2ND FACE
Your time has run out and you’re all alone.

1ST FACE
The riddles you’ve solved and freedom is the rose,

2ND FACE
But how will you cut it, when it lays at our toes?

Gorgons begin to laugh.

1ST FACE
Tick, tock, tick tock.

XENA
I’m going to go out there Gabrielle. At least you’ll have a chance if I can get to that rose.



GABRIELLE
No, Xena. I can’t let you that. I could never live with myself knowing that you sacrificed your life while I stood by. We do this together.

Keeper appears

GABRIELLE
How was dinner? You big rat.

KEEPER
(to Xena)
Never have I met a fool so intelligent, tantalizing and brave, Perhaps this once, a soul I can save, But my every word shall come at a price, all you have to do my pretty, is be extremely nice. Comply with my wish and your reward shall be, warrior by my side, this garden, forever yours to oversee.

KEEPER
(to Gabrielle)
Hit the road, Blondie, or should I say the roses.

XENA
I think that you’ve been here a tad bit too long. Stick to your riddles.

KEEPER
Have it your way. I think that I’ll put you, right over there when the Gorgon turns you into stone.

GABRIELLE
Xena! What are you doing?

Gabrielle runs over to Xena and begins to whisper:

GABRIELLE
Xena, we’re at the end. Save yourself. Tell her how beautiful she is; how creative her riddles are, be nice.
XENA
I don’t think that she means nice in that way, Gabrielle and besides, it’s like what you said. We’re in this together.

XENA
(to Keeper)
Nice try, Ares.

Keeper transforms into Ares.

ARES
(shaking his head)
By Zeus you’re still so good! What gave me away?

XENA
(curling her lips)
That insatiable look in your eyes and the fact that the Keeper couldn’t rhyme to save her existence.

ARES
(as he disappears)
I’m really going to miss you, Xena.

All of a sudden, they hear kissing and the Gorgons crying
out.

Joxer is sleepwalking and dreams that he is kissing Gabrielle, but is trying to kiss the Gorgons.

The Gorgons begins to run, never having been accosted before by a mortal, especially one who attempted to kiss them, who did not turn to stone as their face met hers.

Xena springs over to the rose and chops it at the stem until it separates and falls to the ground.

Lightening ignites in the sky. Perseus’ sword leaves Xena’s hand and imbeds itself in the Gorgons’ chest. She screams out and turns into dust. Each rose begins to vaporize and form into a person, their souls having been set free from within the roses. The look to Xena in appreciation and disappear.


KEEPER
The garden is no more, and again shall never be, so leave this place and take with you, this fool that kissed himself free.

GABRIELLE
(to Keeper)
What was it you were saying about burying me up side down?


KEEPER
(shaking her head, looking over to Xena)
Again, my condolences. (Keeper disappeares)

The scenery transforms into the forest that they had been in before entering the garden.

Princess Ariea walks from within the trees.


PRINCESS ARIEA
(softly)
I’m free, finally free.


JOXER
(standing and stretching- looking around)

Hmmm, I could have sworn that I fell asleep in a bed of roses.

GABRIELLE:
And I bet that you just had the most wonderful dream.

JOXER
Now that you mention yeah. I dreamed that I was kissing... uhm.. You know, that type of dream.

GABRIELLE
Yeah, the type where you were kissing a Gorgon?

JOXER
Yeah, right. I mean no! You’re not a Gorgon... Oooops.

XENA
Actually, Joxer, you were kissing Medusa’s sisters.

JOXER
You guys...

Joxer realizes the seriousness in Xena and Gabrielle’s stare and begins to rub his lips harshly and spits.

JOXER
If that’s true, then where are they?

XENA
You kept them occupied long enough for me to get to the black rose.

JOXER
I think that I’m missing something here.

GABRIELLE
(as she passes Joxer)
Joxer, you’re always missing something, like a few Denars up there (She pokes the side of his
head)


JOXER
Will someone fill me in. I’m lost here.

XENA
(as she passes by Joxer)
As usual.


ACT VII

FOREST - DAY


Xena, Gabrielle, Joxer, and Princess Ariea walk through the
forest.


GABRIELLE
Joxer, Joxer, pudd’n and pie, kissed the Gorgons and made them cry.

JOXER
Oh yeah. Well, Very funny, Gabrielle.
(sniffing) Hmmm? What’s that order that I smell.

XENA
Joxer had an accident earlier today, when from the mean old warrior, he ran away.

Laughter fills the forest. Joxer peers behind to Princess Ariea who is lost in her thoughts.

JOXER
What’s with the her?

XENA
Nothing that we can’t fix.

CUT TO

DANTE KINGDOM - DAY


XENA
(to princess Ariea)
I’m just making sure that it’s safe for you, that’s all. A lot has happened in five years.

PRINCESS ARIEA
I can take care of myself. Besides, there is no soldier or subject of this kingdom, that would deny me entrance.

XENA
And what of your brother who is now king? Do you think that he’ll just step down after having tasted the throne?

PRINCESS ARIEA
My brother is hardly a fighter. He cared not of our kingdom or our people. Only the comfort and luxury that was offered him by royal blood. He was heir to the thrown until my father decided otherwise.

GABRIELLE
All the more reason for Xena to made sure that it’s safe for you.



PRINCESS ARIEA
(looking around)
It does feel strange here. I do not see the prosperity in our land. Where the surrounding villages were plentiful, it is now barren. I do not hear the children’s laughter or the maiden’s song from the falls.

XENA
Your brother has taxed your people into poverty... What used to be your army are now just enforcers of your brother’s every whim. The water from the falls is no longer free. Even it comes at a price to your people. Some have abandoned your land, but many have stayed, praying to the Gods for your return.

PRINCESS ARIEA
(angered)
I’m coming with you.

XENA
No. When I’m sure that it’s safe, I’ll give a
signal.

PRINCESS ARIEA
Am I to hide like a frightened rat in my own kingdom from a brother that has reaped my people of that of which they created?

XENA
No. You are a great warrior but you would make an even better queen.

PRINCESS ARIEA
This is my kingdom and I will do as I please.

GABRIELLE
It’s also your life that we’re taking about, and the future of your people.

Gabrielle, Joxer and Princess Ariea peer through the brush as Xena approaches the guards at the entrance of the Dante Castle.

XENA

I’d like to see King Dante.

1ST GUARD

And I’d like... you.

Xena backhands the 1st Guard and knocks him out.

XENA
(to second guard)
As I was saying, I’d like to see King Dante.


2ND GUARD
(drawing his sword)
The only thing that you’re going to see is Tartarus

XENA
(shaking her head)
They never learn.

As the guard thrusts his sword, Xena grabs it and takes it away from him. Xena collars the guards and pushes him into the castle wall.

XENA
Why is it so quiet? And why just two men at the castle entrance.

2ND GUARD
The king and his friends are having a...party.

XENA
It’s mid-day.

2ND GUARD
Every day. He uses the soldiers still loyal to Princess Ariea as personal servants and those loyal to him are allowed to feast at his parties. Many of the people work for scraps in the castle or in the fields, drawing water, anything for food. Hoping where hope has already died for the return of the deliverer of our kingdom. She that bears the crest upon her chest.

XENA
And are you loyal to the new king?

2ND GUARD
Never. He has brought us misery and poverty. We once flourished like the roots of the trees near the river’s edge. Now, we thirst; we hunger. His taxes continue grow with his desires for luxury.

Xena turns and whistles.

Gabrielle, Joxer and Princess Ariea approach the Xena and the 2nd guard. The guard becomes confused as he looks at the princess.


2ND GUARD
It cannot be. Is it truly you?

The guard’s eyes fall to the Dante crest that hangs from the chain on Princess Ariea’s neck. He falls to his knees and bows his head.

2ND GUARD
Thank the Gods.

PRINCESS ARIEA
No. Not the Gods. Xena... Rise Soldier.


2ND GUARD
We have bled and wept your name in our misery for so long... my queen.

PRINCESS ARIEA
I am not your queen. Where is my father?

2ND GUARD
He has been in the royal chambers. Rarely seen. I have always made sure that he is kept well. Your brother has little patience with that of which he considers to be a nuisance.


CUT TO

INSIDE OF CASTLE - DAY

Party is underway. Drunken soldiers litter the floors. A feast is on the table. Poorly dressed and tired commoners clean and serve. The huge doors to the hall swing open. Xena, Princess Ariea, Gabrielle, Joxer and Guards 1 and 2 enter. Music stops and all eyes focus on the group.

PRINCE LYCOS
Party crashers. Do you know what we do with those uninvited to our parties?

Princess Ariea steps forward from the group and looks
around.


PRINCESS ARIEA
What have to you done to our kingdom and our people... Brother.

PRINCE LYCOS
Brother?

Prince Lycos realizes that his sister, the true heir to the throne has returned.

PRINCE LYCOS
Impostor! Kill them all!

As they fight the soldiers within the castle, one by one the servants recognize and begin to help to Princess Ariea. Soon, Prince Lycos stands alone with a few guards.

PRINCE LYCOS
Well, don’t just stand there! Get them!

1ST SOLDIER
(shoving Prince Lycos aside)
Get them yourself, you big wimp.

2ND SOLDIER
(dropping his sword)
We stopped being soldiers and protectors of this kingdom when you took the throne. You were never meant to be king.

PRINCE LYCOS
But I made you fruitful! I gave you luxury.

3RD SOLDIER
(throwing his sword at Lycos’ feet)
At the cost of having our families go hungry... I steal bread from you lavish table to feed my children.

P
RINCESS ARIEA
Step down, Lycos, and leave my kingdom.

Princess Ariea’s Father appears from the top of the balcony, looking down into the great hall.

ARIEA’S FATHER
No one exiles my son from the throne!


ACT VIII

INSIDE DANTE’S CASTLE - DAY


Everyone looks up to the retired King.

PRINCE LYCOS
(surprised)
That’s right. No one expels me! Tell them father.

RETIRED KING DANTE
No one expels my son, but me.

PRINCE LYCOS
But, Father.

RETIRED KING DANTE
Your fate Lycos, will be determined by the true heir to the throne. Kneel to your queen.

PRINCE LYCOS
Never!

PRINCESS ARIEA
Guards, take Prince Lycos to every door within this kingdom and have him tell our people that their true King has reclaimed his throne and all within our kingdom is as it was before Lycos.

Three guards seize Prince Lycos.

PRINCESS ARIEA

Oh, and let them know that tomorrow night we shall have a feast for which they are all invited...and we’ll be having a royal servant to satisfy their needs.

PRINCE LYCOS
Father, stop this madness, please! She can’t make me do this!

KING LYCOS
Do what, son? What you have been doing for the past two years to our people? Now go, before you become the royal water boy. The rest of your punishment will be decided in due time.

Princess Ariea runs up the steps and hugs her father before
a cheering crowd below them.


CUT TO:

OUTSIDE OF THE CASTLE - DAY

PRINCESS ARIEA
Xena, none of this would have been possible if it wasn’t for you and Gabrielle.

Gabrielle nudges Xena.

GABRIELLE
Did you hear that? She actually said, and Gabrielle. Someone has finally acknowledged my participation in a heroic deed.

Joxer clears his throat several times.

PRINCESS ARIEA
And Joxer, I thank you for your role, whatever it was, in my freedom and the restoration of my kingdom.

JOXER
Don’t mention it. You know, they don’t call me Joxer the....

PRINCESS AREIA
(cutting Joxer off)
Anyway, I will be forever grateful to all of you.

Princess Ariea walks over to Gabrielle and hugs her. She kisses Gabrielle on the cheek. Gabrielle’s eyes widen.

Princess Ariea then walks over to Xena and shakes her hand firmly. She stares into Xena’s eyes and Xena stares back at her. They both acknowledge the past.


PRINCESS ARIEA
The past is done. It has died with this hand shake and should you ever need anything, anything at all, just send word and I will be there.

XENA
And if you ever need me...
(Xena peers over to Gabrielle)
us, we’ll there, Princess.

PRINCESS ARIEA
Xena, if anyone has earned the right call me as equal, it is you. So please call me Ariea.

Gabrielle’s mouth opens as she looks at Xena and Princess Ariea. It is as if a bond has formed between them in that handshake.

GABRIELLE
Well, Ariea....

GUARD
(standing with Princess Ariea)
That privilege, Little One, was extended only to Xena.

GABRIELLE
(mimicking the guard)
That privilege was only extended to Xena. What’s new?

Ariea looks to the ground and releases her grip on Xena’s hand but Xena does not let go. Princess Ariea looks back into Xena’s eyes. They both nod and break the handshake.

As Xena, Argo, Gabrielle and Joxer walk away in the distance from the castle.

GABRIELLE
Xena, what was that staring thing about?

XENA
What staring thing?

GABRIELLE
Not that selective memory lapse again. Words were being said in that stare. I just wanted to know if it was a warrior princess kind of stare. After after all, you both are warrior princesses.

XENA
And you’re an Amazon Princess.

GABRIELLE
Yeah, but I don’t lock eyes with the Amazons like that.

XENA
You wouldn’t understand.

GABRIELLE
Try me.

XENA
(Exhaling)
Once in a lifetime, Gabrielle, if you’re that lucky, you change someone’s life, or they change yours in a way that’s infinite. Any you would do anything at any time and any where for them, just because they’ve asked. It was an acknowledgment of an eternal debt.

GABRIELLE
From Princess Ariea?

XENA
From both of us.

GABRIELLE
(frowning)
But you were the one that saved her life. Her kingdom.

XENA
Yes, this time. But she saved mine long ago. It was a debt that I only acknowledged in that forsaken garden.

GABRIELLE
And what do you call the many times that I’ve saved you? Chopped hydra? You don’t look into my eyes acknowledging that eternal debt.

Xena grabs Gabrielle and spins her towards her, looking into
Gabrielle’s eyes.


XENA
Ariea was the second to have changed my life, and save it as well; you were the first.

GABRIELLE
(frowning)
But, Xena, what happened between you two was way before you met me.

XENA
Any was only acknowledged by me two days ago.

GABRIELLE
(smiling)
I love being first.

JOXER
(clearing his throat)
Xena, remember the time that... uhmmmm, remember when...

GABRIELLE
Joxer, remember this!

Gabrielle turns and punches Joxer in the nose.

Joxer cries out.


JOXER
(covering his nose)
Yeah. I remember that, when we first met. And it hurts just as bad.

GABRIELLE
(grabbing Joxer by his ear)
Next time you get the urge to scrape a bird off of a warrior’s boot, which is still attached to his foot, just think of the pain, remember the pain, remember...Gabrielle.

XENA
(inhaling deeply)
Ahhh, just like old times.

Xena turns and looks at the castle one last time and is surprised to see Princess Ariea standing in the same place looking at them as they make their way out of the Dante Kingdom. Xena stops and looks at Gabrielle and then Princess Ariea, who is still in her soldier’s attire.

Joxer has ran far ahead, escaping from Gabrielle. Gabrielle, smiling turns to see Xena looking at Princess Ariea who has not yet returned to the castle. Gabrielle frowns, as she waits on Xena. She sees Princess Ariea make a step towards Xena when King Dante places a hand on her shoulder. Princess Ariea turns and walks away with her father, peering over her shoulder in Xena’s direction. Xena exhales.


GABRIELLE
Xena?

XENA
Gabrielle, there’s something deep within about Ariea that I can’t quite put my finger on. A feeling that we’re closer than we appear to be.

Gabrielle hangs her head.

XENA
It’s a lost feeling. Like the way I feel when I think about Lycious.

Gabrielle exhales a sigh of relief.

GABRIELLE
Do you think it’s possible that she’s related to you?

XENA
No. I don’t think so. I guess that it’s just me. Grateful that she spared my life so long ago and the regret that I never acknowledged it.

GABRIELLE
OK. Now that’s over with, let’s go terrorize Joxer. It’s kind of fun.

XENA
Gabrielle, we don’t need to do that. He does it to himself all on his own... I say that we go fishing.

END

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