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Written by Judy (Wishes)

Disclaimer: The characters of Xena and Gabrielle are the property of Pacific Renaissance Pictures. They are most respectfully borrowed. There is no intention and absolutely no possibility of profiting financially from their use.

Shooting Draft, June 1997





Names said in dialogue:

ANTIPHONE (an-TIF-o-nee)
ANNIUS (AN-nee-us)















A MAN DRESSED in black armor and wearing a hooded helmet stealthily enters the campsite. He creeps past Gabrielle, who is sleeping on one side of the campfire, which has died down. He pauses as she stirs. She smiles in her sleep, seemingly having a pleasant dream. He turns away and moves silently toward the bundled figure on the other side of the fire. There is the sound of an impact, and he abruptly sinks to his knees. A sword blade appears at his throat, and a hand tears away his helmet and hood. CLOSE on his face as he slowly looks up into the face of his captor. FOLLOW his gaze at it tracks up black leather and skin to XENA'S face, looking fierce and implacable.


It is full daylight, and Xena, Gabrielle, and the stranger are sitting around the campfire, which has been built back up. Xena and the man are sitting side-by-side on a log. Gabrielle sits nearby on the ground. They are finishing up the remains of a meal and laughing.

GABRIELLE (looking back and forth between her two companions): I still don't understand how Princus got that far into our camp. And why his head is still on his shoulders.

Princus and Xena exchange a glance.

XENA: I've known since yesterday morning that we were being followed.

PRINCUS (teasingly): You did not. Gabrielle, she's always claiming she knows more than she does. And sooner.

XENA: I did know someone was behind us yesterday morning. I didn't know who it was until the afternoon. (to Gabrielle) Remember when I told you to go on while I scouted a little on Argo?

Gabrielle nods.

XENA: Well, that's when I doubled back and waited in the forest for our clumsy stalker. He rode right by on that poor excuse he calls a warhorse.

PRINCUS: You may insult my skills, but DON'T insult my warhorse.

He makes as if to draw his sword, and Gabrielle jumps up and grabs her staff. Xena just raises an eyebrow, and Princus and she laugh and clap each other on the back. Gabrielle settles back down, a little embarrassed.

When the laughter has died away,

XENA: Before the sleepy one, the one who would let an army walk into our camp, woke up, you told me that Antiphone sent you to find me. Is there trouble in Castalia again?

PRINCUS: Nothing serious. She does want your valuable counsel about a (he hesitates before finding the right words) possible difficulty.

XENA: Is he a tall blond or another dark-haired muscleman?

PRINCUS: Blond and a muscleman.

XENA: Then we had better go at once. Before she gives away the keys to the kingdom.

PRINCUS: Well, actually.....

XENA (laughing): Oh, no. (to Gabrielle, who looks mystified) Queen Antiphone can rule a whole kingdom, but she has a little trouble ruling herself. Princus and I had better get to Castalia as quickly as we can.

GABRIELLE: No problem. I would love to meet Antiphone.

XENA: There isn't any reason for you to go all that way. We're going to be riding fast and furious. If that nag of Princus's can keep up. (Princus flips off the log, pulls his sword, and takes a swing at Xena. She stops the blade as it touches her neck and turns it back toward him. Her face shows no strain, but his does. She continues talking as if nothing else is happening.) You know how much you hate fast riding. Why don't you visit that village we passed a while back?

Gabrielle is wide-eyed, but tries to ignore the struggle as Princus drops his sword and, using his left hand, pulls out a wicked-looking dagger. With Xena still holding his other wrist, he raises the dagger.

GABRIELLE: You mean the village where we couldn't stop to shop? Even though they had the prettiest little pieces of blue cloth? It would be fun

to spend some unhurried time in a market.

Xena effortlessly flips Princus over her head. He lands on his back on the fire, completely covering it with his body. Xena is now holding the dagger, which she casually uses to clean under a fingernail.

XENA: That's settled then. You go have some fun in your market, and Princus and I will go solve Antiphone's latest problem. Let's meet back here tomorrow night. (to Princus) Thanks for putting out the fire.








There are several outdoor stalls scattered around a village square. The market is busy and noisy, with farmers carrying produce in big baskets, a wagon loaded with casks being pulled by draft horses, villagers and travelers shopping and bargaining, and tradesmen calling their wares. One figure, a short, sturdy young man in peasant garb is carrying a large basket of vegetables on his shoulder, as he weaves through the background of the shot. His face is not shown clearly. The camera follows him until he passes behind Gabrielle, who is strolling in the opposite direction. He passes from view as the camera begins to follow Gabrielle. Gabrielle carries her sack over her shoulder and her staff in her left hand.

She stops at a stand that displays various kinds of leather goods. Gabrielle keeps her innocent demeanor as she looks at the various items, picking each up, looking at it in a puzzled way, and then putting it back down. She gains the attention of the leather merchant.

GABRIELLE: Do you carry whips?

MERCHANT: Ah, you are interested in our special merchandise.

He reaches under the counter and pulls out a cat-o-nine-tails. He places this in front of Gabrielle. She shakes her head.

GABRIELLE: No, a whip. Plain, long. Black braided leather. It's a gift for a friend. Well, more of a replacement really.

MERCHANT: I'm afraid not. I don't get much call for that kind of thing.

Gabrielle strolls on. Her attention is caught by a disturbance on the other side of the square. She sees three ruffians attacking the young man who was carrying the basket of vegetables. They are knocking him around, stamping on the vegetables, and laughing at him. The young man makes no attempt to defend himself. We still don't see his face.

Gabrielle, her staff at the ready, races across the square. Reaching the fray, she yells at the ruffian who has just put the basket over the young man's head. She drops her sack on the ground and prepares for a fight.

GABRIELLE: Stop it! Let that man alone!

FIRST RUFFIAN: Stay out of it, little girl.

He starts punching the young man through the basket, knocking him back and forth. Gabrielle, her temper flaring, swings her staff in a big arc and hits the First Ruffian in the stomach. He goes to his knees.


The Second Ruffian grabs at Gabrielle from behind, and she drives her staff straight back. He falls, too, clutching himself.

THIRD RUFFIAN: You'll pay for that.

She turns to meet his charge, whirling her staff. He hesitates and then starts to circle her. When Gabrielle's back is turned to the young man, he reaches up and removes the basket from his head. However, his face stays out of focus in the camera shot. The camera circles with Gabrielle, showing the scene first from her viewpoint and then from her attacker's. The ruffian finally lunges forward and goes low, trying to take Gabrielle's feet out from under her. She crouches and places the end of the staff between his feet. As he tries to recover, she tucks and rolls, and the staff lifts his feet off the ground. His head hits the ground with a loud thud.

The other two are back on their feet but don't appear to want any more trouble with Gabrielle. One rubs his stomach, and the other is walking in a tight crouch. Gabrielle stays between them and the young man. With her staff, she gestures toward the Third Ruffian, who is out cold.

GABRIELLE: Take your friend and get out of here. Now.

FIRST RUFFIAN: You'll be sorry you stood up for that spawn of the witch.

GABRIELLE: I'll take my chances. Get!

She makes a threatening move toward them, and they grab the arms of their fallen companion and roughly drag him out of the scene.

The young man has placed the basket on the ground, and he is bent over, trying to salvage vegetables from those scattered and smashed on the ground. Gabrielle bends to help him. CLOSE on Gabrielle as she turns toward him. She gasps and seems about to faint. CLOSE on the young man's face, which shows concern, but no recognition. TWO-SHOT of Gabrielle and the young man.

GABRIELLE: Perdicus!



Aerial establishing shot of a large open field. The camera closes in on a couple sitting on a large rock in the middle of the field. TWO-SHOT of

Gabrielle and the young man.

GABRIELLE: And you say your name is Shimon?

SHIMON (nodding. There is a naive innocence about him.): Yes. I'm sorry I'm not your friend Perdicus.

GABRIELLE: You look so much like him that I still can't believe it.

SHIMON: Is that why you keep looking at me like that?

GABRIELLE: I don't mean to make you uncomfortable. I just don't understand how two men could look so much alike.

SHIMON: That's why you should come with me to see my mother. If anyone can explain it, she can. She's very wise.

GABRIELLE: Those men at the market, they said your mother was. (she hesitates, not wanting to hurt Shimon's feelings.) They said....

SHIMON: They called her a witch. A lot of people do. Mother says it's just a name for women who know more than other people. She says the villagers sneak to her door fast enough when they need a cure or a charm. Or when they want someone cursed.

GABRIELLE: Your mother curses people?

SHIMON: No, that's the one favor she won't grant. Mother says that if they call her a witch, they should at least call her a good witch.

Shimon reaches beside the rock and picks two perfect blue wildflowers. He hands them to Gabrielle, who smells them and looks at him questioningly.

SHIMON: These are gentians. Nobody plants them. They just appear wherever they want and are beautiful. Like you.

GABRIELLE: Thank you. I have a friend whose eyes are the color of these flowers. And she's as wild as they are. Her name is Xena.

SHIMON: It sounds like you have lots of friends. Xena. And Perdicus.

Gabrielle lowers her head and may be brushing away a tear.

GABRIELLE: Don't you have friends?

SHIMON: Just Mother. And now you maybe?

GABRIELLE: Me definitely.

(She places a hand on his shoulder and squeezes it.)

SHIMON (seeming very happy): You should come home with me now. You can ask Mother your question about Perdicus. How I can look so much like him. And Mother can thank you for saving me from those men in the village.

GABRIELLE: No one needs to thank me for that. They were just being mean. But I think I would like to meet your mother.

Gabrielle picks up her sack and staff, from where they lean against the rock. She jumps up and takes Shimon's hand. Together, they start walking across the field. Shimon is picking up other flowers and handing them to her as they start running and playing through the meadow grass.



An elderly woman, a crone, walks out the cottage door and looks down the dusty track. She seems to be watching anxiously for someone, as she wipes her hands repeatedly on a leather apron she wears. The apron looks more like something a blacksmith would wear than what an old woman would wear in her kitchen. The crone sees someone coming and looks happy and then surprised. She steps forward to meet GABRIELLE and SHIMON as they enter from her right.

SHIMON (running forward and pulling Gabrielle with him): Mother, look, I've brought a friend. (He stops in front of his mother, still holding Gabrielle's hand. He leans forward and gives his mother a kiss on the cheek.) This is Gabrielle.

COLTRAI (trying to recover from her surprise): Gabrielle, did you say? (to Gabrielle) What a pretty girl my son has found for a friend! I am Coltrai. Welcome to my home.

GABRIELLE: I hope you don't mind my coming. Shimon really wanted me to meet you.

SHIMON: Mother, Gabrielle saved me from those rough men in the village. They ruined our vegetables, and they were beating me up, and....

Coltrai interrupts him and motions toward the door of the cottage.

COLTRAI: Save all that until our guest is seated inside. Dinner is almost ready. (to Gabrielle) You could eat something couldn't you?



The inside of the cottage is a combination of kitchen and workshop or laboratory. There is a square table in the center of the room with four chairs. Around the three walls visible are a large stone fireplace with a big kettle hanging in it, a large chest, workbenches, a couple of other tables, boxes, all cluttered with mortars, pestles, pots, vessels of various sizes and shapes, and small pots bubbling over fat candles.

At the fireplace, Coltrai is ladling bowls of thick stew from the kettle. Gabrielle and Shimon are seated across from each other at the table, and Shimon is excitedly telling his mother about his adventure in town.

SHIMON: and the biggest one, Mother, that one that is always trying to trip me when I take our vegetables to the market, he put the basket over my head, and all I could hear then was some yelling and fighting and. . . .

COLTRAI: Take a breath, son.

Coltrai sets two steaming bowls of stew in front of Gabrielle and Shimon. She takes the third bowl herself and sits down between the two young people. After Coltrai takes a spoonful, Gabrielle digs in and starts to

eat hungrily. She has a look of great satisfaction on her face as she tastes the stew.

SHIMON: When I finally got the basket off my head, Gabrielle had two of them down and soon made short work of the third. She did it all with that big stick she carries. And she didn't really hurt any of them.

GABRIELLE: (looking up momentarily from her bowl) Not permanently anyway.

SHIMON: The mean men left, and then I thought Gabrielle was going to fall down on the ground herself.

COLTRAI: Were you hurt, Gabrielle? I'm not mainly a healer, but I do know some things.

GABRIELLE: No, I wasn't hurt. None of the men touched me.

Gabrielle has finished her stew, and she pushes the bowl away. Without commenting, Coltrai refills the bowl and returns.

GABRIELLE: Thank you. I guess I did work up a bit of an appetite.

(She eats again.)

SHIMON: She was real surprised, Mother. She called me Perdicus.

COLTRAI: Perdicus?

SHIMON: She says he's a friend of hers. And that I look just like him. Can you believe that, Mother? Me looking just like someone else?

COLTRAI: That would be hard to believe. That anyone anywhere could be as handsome as my son. (She pats his hand.) (to Gabrielle) Does your friend live near here?

Gabrielle pushes the remaining stew away. She seems to be looking into the distance--or into the past.

SHIMON: Gabrielle, Mother asked if your friend. . . .


Gabrielle shakes herself and seems to return to the cottage kitchen.

GABRIELLE: It's okay. Perdicus was my husband.


GABRIELLE: He was killed soon after we were married.

COLTRAI: I'm sorry. If my son really looks that much like your husband, seeing him would have been quite a shock.

GABRIELLE: You have no idea how close the resemblance is. They even sound alike except that. . . .

Gabrielle stops speaking. Coltrai turns to her son.

COLTRAI: Dear, the chickens have probably laid a few eggs while you were gone. You're so much better at finding their hiding places than I am. Would you go take a look? So we can offer our guest a good breakfast, too?

SHIMON: Gabrielle's staying? All right! I'll find lots of eggs. Two each. No, three!

Shimon hurtles out the open door. Coltrai waits until he is out of earshot.

COLTRAI: My son is slow, Gabrielle. That is the difference between him and your husband.

GABRIELLE: I was actually going to say that he is younger than Perdicus.

COLTRAI: How old was your husband?

GABRIELLE: He was twenty-four when he died. Now he would be twenty-five.

COLTRAI: Shimon was born but a few months after your husband. He is slow, Gabrielle, and perhaps a little sheltered. He's not a boy.

GABRIELLE: He is very kind and gentle. And he knows a lot about flowers and nature.

COLTRAI: He's the light of my life, and I thank you for sparing him further pain at the hands of those villagers. I will do anything within my power to thank you for what you have done.



It is the next morning. Gabrielle enters the cottage kitchen from a door to the right. She is stretching and has obviously just gotten up. Her hands are empty, her sack and staff nowhere in sight. As Gabrielle enters, yawning, Coltrai, who is standing at one of the workbenches, looks up from her work.

COLTRAI: Good morning, Gabrielle.

GABRIELLE: Good morning. I'm sorry I slept so late. My friend usually wakes me.

COLTRAI: The warrior woman? Xena?

GABRIELLE: Yes. How did you know?

COLTRAI: Shimon must have told me. He must have repeated to me every word you've said to him. Twice. Maybe three times. He's finishing his chores. We'll eat as soon as he comes in.

GABRIELLE: Is there anything I can do to help?

Gabrielle walks up behind Coltrai, who shakes her head and turns back to her work. Coltrai has a tall narrow vessel in one hand and has been pouring a glowing liquid from it into a jar. She puts a cork stopper into the jar and sets it aside. Gabrielle looks into the narrow vessel, which still glows inside.

COLTRAI: The glowing is the same as that of fireflies and certain fish. Not magical at all. But it makes people believe more in the potions and medicines.

Shimon enters hurriedly. He grins when he sees Gabrielle. He hands her a bouquet of wildflowers, blues, and pinks, and yellows. Impulsively, Gabrielle hugs him and gives him a quick kiss on the cheek.

COLTRAI: Sit down, you two. Hold up your plates. These eggs and pork strips are hot.

Gabrielle and Shimon sit down and hold out their plates. From the frying pan she holds, Coltrai fills their plates with a colorful mixture of eggs, pork, and vegetables. She fills a plate for herself and sits down.

GABRIELLE: This smells wonderful. If I stayed around here long, I would have to let out these clothes.

SHIMON: Stay, Gabrielle. You can keep my bed in Mother's room, and I'll

stay in the animal shed like I did last night. I like to sleep out there. The hay smells good, and the sounds the animals make are friendly. Gabrielle can stay, can't she, Mother?

COLTRAI: Shimon, I hope Gabrielle will stay with us for a few days. Then she'll want to get back to her friend.

SHIMON: But I want her to stay here and be my friend.

GABRIELLE: I am your friend, Shimon.

SHIMON: Then you'll stay here?

GABRIELLE: Just for today. Then I have to meet Xena.

Shimon stands up and stalks outside. Gabrielle gets up and starts to follow him. Coltrai touches her arm to stop her. Gabrielle sits back down.

COLTRAI: He's lonely. I've known it for a long time. Maybe he didn't know it until just now.

GABRIELLE: I'm so sorry. I shouldn't have come here. And I shouldn't have kissed him. It's just that he gave me those flowers and then looked so much like Perdicus standing there. For a moment, I let myself believe that's who he was.

Coltrai seems to make a decision.

COLTRAI: Remember when I told you that I would do anything within my power to pay you back for saving my son? Now may be the time, but I'm not sure if what I have to give you is a boon or a curse.

GABRIELLE: Shimon already told me you don't do curses.

COLTRAI: Don't be too sure.

Gabrielle and Coltrai look toward the doorway as shouts and fighting can be heard outside. They hear Shimon cry out, and both women leap up and run toward the door.


Gabrielle and Coltrai exit the cottage. Outside are eight roughly-dressed men on horses. Three of the men are the ruffians Gabrielle had thrashed in the village. The other five are an even bigger rougher lot and look more like bandits or mercenaries than villagers. The biggest and meanest is holding an unconscious Shimon draped over his saddle in front of him. Gabrielle starts forward, then looks down at both empty hands as if realizing that her staff is still somewhere inside the cottage.

FIRST RUFFIAN: There they are. There's the witch and the fool's girlfriend.

BANDIT LEADER: Listen, witch. We know you've been making gold. We're taking your son. You want him back, you give us the gold. (to First Ruffian) Tell her where.

FIRST RUFFIAN: Bring the gold to the old shepherds'' camp. The one on the bald mountain. Lots of gold.

BANDIT LEADER: You know where he means?

COLTRAI: I know. Don't hurt my boy.

BANDIT LEADER: Up to you. Be there before the sun goes down.

He whirls his horse and thunders out of the cottage yard, followed by all the others except for the First Ruffian. He grins down at Gabrielle.

FIRST RUFFIAN: Let me know when you're tired of the fool.

GABRIELLE: I'm already tired of you.

He whips his horse and races after the rest of the scum.


END OF ACT ONE -----------------------------------------------





Gabrielle and Coltrai are standing outside Coltrai's cottage. Gabrielle has her bag on her shoulder and is holding her staff. Coltrai is leading a donkey that is loaded with several packs. Coltrai carries a gnarled walking stick.

GABRIELLE: Perhaps I should go with you. Together, we could. . . .

COLTRAI: (interrupts Gabrielle) If those packs really contained gold, there would be no problem. Or, if we were only up against men like the ones you beat up in the village, we could handle this alone. But we don't stand a chance of saving Shimon if we try to fight those others by ourselves.

GABRIELLE: I don't even know if Xena will be back at the campsite when I get there. Or if we can get to that bald mountain in time.

COLTRAI: Your friend will be there when you need her. I know this. And I've packed up a few tricks to delay things until you get there. (kissing Gabrielle on the cheek as Gabrielle had kissed Shimon) Bless me and forgive me, girl.

GABRIELLE: I'll bless you, if that's in my power. But forgive you? For what?

COLTRAI: You'll know too soon. Goodbye.

Leading the donkey, Coltrai sets off in the direction the bandits took earlier. Gabrielle watches after her for a moment, then sets off at a rapid pace in the direction from which she and Shimon had come the day before.


Gabrielle comes into the clearing where she and Xena had camped two nights before. She flops onto the log where Xena and Princus had sat. She is clearly exhausted and dejected. Her shoulders sag, and she buries her face in her hands.

XENA: Gabrielle? Are you all right?

Gabrielle looks up, hope and joy lighting her face.


XENA: (holding a water skin to Gabrielle's lips) Here. Drink this.

Gabrielle drinks, tries to talk, and splutters.

XENA: Drink first. Then talk. Not at the same time.

Gabrielle takes a few swallows, then pushes the water skin away. Her words

rush out, tumbling over each other.

GABRIELLE: We have to go help Shimon and Coltrai. The bandits have Shimon, and they'll kill him if Coltrai doesn't give them the gold she made. Only Coltrai doesn't know how to make gold. So Shimon is going to die if we don't get to the bald mountain before Coltrai runs out of tricks and has to give them the donkey.

Xena looks at her for a long moment.

XENA: Okay.

GABRIELLE: Aren't you going to ask any questions?

XENA: I think you about covered the situation.

Gabrielle looks around and back at Xena.

GABRIELLE: Where's Argo?

XENA: That's another long story. We had better save our breath for the run.


Aerial establishing shot of "bald" mountain. Close in for shot of Xena and Gabrielle as they near the mountain. TWO SHOT of Xena and Gabrielle in a copse of trees at the base of the mountain.

There's a terrible cry from above. Xena and Gabrielle look up. Flying from the mountain is a huge creature that looks like a bird with scales. >From its talons dangles a struggling man. With a puff of smoke, the bird disappears, and the man falls. He screams all the way to the ground.

Xena and Gabrielle exchange a look.

COLTRAI: (a hoarse whisper) Gabrielle.

GABRIELLE: Coltrai? Where are you?

COLTRAI: (a little louder) Over here.

Xena points, and they walk to a bush at the base of one of the trees. Coltrai is lying there, and she appears to be very weak. Gabrielle kneels beside her and holds her head in her lap.

COLTRAI: (a weak whisper) Thank the gods you've come. I've used up all my tricks. I've nothing left.

GABRIELLE: Was that flying reptile yours? With magic like that, why do you need us?

COLTRAI: I could get that man because he was too stupid to stay close to Shimon. I got one of the other village bullies, too.

GABRIELLE: He fell from the sky, too?

COLTRAI: No, his death was by fire.

GABRIELLE: I don't think you should be talking.

COLTRAI: You found your friend. I told you she would be there when you needed her.

XENA: Gabrielle told me the problem. I think we should give them what they want.

COLTRAI: No gold.

The donkey brays, and the camera shows him standing in the copse, still laden with two large bundles.

XENA: They don't know that.

GABRIELLE: What are we going to do?

XENA: You'll lead the donkey up the mountain. Stop before you get to the camp. I'll take care of the rest.

COLTRAI: (attempts to sit up) I'll lead the donkey. Mustn't endanger Gabrielle.

GABRIELLE: You're too weak. I'm not in any danger. Xena's here.


Shot of the bandit's camp. Shimon is conscious, but bound and gagged in the center of the camp. Five bandits and one ruffian are sitting around him as if he were a campfire. The ruffian stands up and points down the mountainside.

FIRST RUFFIAN: She's coming. It's the girl. She's leading a donkey that's loaded down with gold.

BANDIT LEADER: Sit down unless you want to see what it's like to fly.

The ruffian sits down abruptly and scoots closer to Shimon.

Gabrielle is climbing up the steep mountainside leading the donkey. The donkey balks and she turns around and pulls on him with all her might. He doesn't budge. She walks around him and pushes on his rump with her hands. He doesn't budge. She turns around and places her back against his rear end. She leans against him, pushing as hard as she can. He doesn't budge. She walks around to the front and tries again to lead him. He still doesn't move.

At their camp, the men are watching all this with great interest. Several times, the ruffian starts down the mountain. Then he looks at the sky and runs back up to crouch near Shimon. Finally, the Bandit Leader stands up.

BANDIT LEADER: If the gold won't come to us, we'll go to the gold. Get the horses.

Two of the bandits bring the horses to where Shimon is lying. All the men except one mount. That man lifts Shimon onto the saddle in front of the leader. Then that man mounts, too, and they gallop and slide down the mountainside toward Gabrielle. As they pass a large boulder, there is a whistle of the chakram, and two bandits hit the dirt. CLOSE as Xena, standing behind the boulder, catches the chakram and leaps, tucks, and lands on a rock outcropping far down the mountainside. Xena is ahead of the last bandit, and she already has her whip out. As he passes her, she cracks it. He clutches at the whip around his throat and falls backward off the horse. She grins and then, giving her battle cry, flips off the rocks to land beside Gabrielle. We can now see that the donkey is tied to a rock by another rope. The rock anchors the beast to that spot.

The three remaining men reach the donkey right after Xena. The bandit leader lets Shimon fall to the ground. Shimon's head hits the hard ground

with a sickening crack. The leader and the other bandit leap off their horses, draw swords, and charge her. The ruffian slides off his horse and, knife in hand, leans over Shimon. Gabrielle swings her staff and knocks him down. Xena and the two bandits are fighting on the steep, rocky ground. They have the uphill advantage and are pressing her hard. She fights back and gets them to back up the hill, past Shimon and the ruffian. Gabrielle bends over Shimon. Xena ducks as the bandit lunges, and she raises up to throw him down the mountainside. The bandit leader turns and tries to run up the mountain, but he loses his footing and slides into Xena's legs. She puts up her sword, and he is impaled on it. However, she cannot stop her own slide.

Xena falls toward where Gabrielle kneels, and Shimon and the ruffian lie. The ruffian's body stops her. As she gets to hands and knees, her stomach over his body, the ruffian thrusts up with his knife. Gabrielle, still kneeling, strikes out with her staff and strikes the ruffian on the head. Gabrielle crawls toward Xena. Xena looks at her with a surprised expression. Just as Gabrielle touches her friend's face, Xena collapses, her body across the unconscious ruffian.

Gabrielle cradles Xena in her arms and lets out a wailing cry.


The camera pans away in an aerial shot as Gabrielle's cry echoes through the mountains.







Shimon, his face battered and bandaged, sits at the kitchen table. Gabrielle is sitting across from him. He stares at her intently, but Gabrielle is looking off into space. Coltrai holds a cup in front of Gabrielle and, when she doesn't take it, lifts Gabrielle's right hand and presses the cup into it.

COLTRAI: Drink. I need to talk. And you need to be able to listen.

Gabrielle takes a sip, then seems to forget she holds the cup.

SHIMON: Drink, Gabrielle. Mother's tea will help you feel better.

Gabrielle looks at him as if surprised that he is there. She looks at the cup and then quickly gulps down the tea. She makes a face as if the tea is bitter. Coltrai takes the cup from Gabrielle's hand and places it on the table. She stands with her hand on Gabrielle's shoulder.

COLTRAI: What happened today is not what you think.

GABRIELLE: (nodding toward the door on the right) Is there a body lying on your bed?


GABRIELLE: Is it the body of my best friend?

Coltrai doesn't answer.

GABRIELLE: Then I think what happened is pretty much what I think. My best friend is gone, and she's not coming back this time.

SHIMON: Don't cry again, Gabrielle. I'll be your best friend. I won't go away.

GABRIELLE: (to Shimon) Thank you. (to Coltrai) She said that, too. She promised to never go away again, to never die.

COLTRAI: I need to show you something. It's in the other room.

GABRIELLE: I'll go in later. Alone. Not now. Not with you.

COLTRAI: Not that room. The other one.

Gabrielle looks at Coltrai and then around the cottage.

GABRIELLE: What other room?

Coltrai walks over to a large chest that stands against the wall beyond the table. She pulls the chest, and it moves away from the wall. Behind it is a low door. She pushes the door open.


Gabrielle gets up and follows Coltrai through the door. Even these small women have to duck to get through it. Before disappearing inside the room, Gabrielle looks back at Shimon. He smiles.

SHIMON: I don't go into that room. It's the magic room, where I was born.


Gabrielle and Coltrai are in a small room lit by torches on the walls. A table piled with scrolls takes up the whole center space. On the walls are cabalistic designs and ornaments. In the middle of the table, there is one spot clear of scrolls. In this spot rests a large crystal that glows with its own light. Gabrielle looks at it with wonder. Coltrai motions for Gabrielle to sit in one of the two chairs at the table. Gabrielle sits, and Coltrai takes the other chair.

COLTRAI: Have you ever heard of the Crystal of Annius?

Gabrielle stares at the crystal. She shakes her head.

COLTRAI: Then I'm going to tell you the story.

GABRIELLE: (some hope entering her eyes and voice) Can this crystal help Xena?

COLTRAI: Let me tell the story first. Then I'll answer that question. If you still need to ask it.

Gabrielle nods.

COLTRAI: I grew up in that same village you passed through yesterday, the one where my son is now treated so roughly. Although you would not know it now, I was a very pretty girl. And I was smart. My parents did not have much money, but I didn't see why, being pretty and smart, I should not have everything I wanted.

GABRIELLE: (faintly) What did you want?

COLTRAI: That's just it. I wanted everything. A handsome, rich husband; beautiful, clever children; the best home in the village; a party every day. That's what I wanted, and that's what I set out to get. Everything.

GABRIELLE: No one can get everything they want.

COLTRAI: Oh, but they can. I did. What I couldn't do was keep it. A sickness came through the village. My husband was the first in my family to die from it. Then each of my children sickened and died. The eldest boy, the child of my heart, went last. I had already read a little about healing and had collected medicines for most ailments. I used everything I had to treat my boy. I kept him alive long after all of the other village children had died. In trying to hold on to him, I gave him an agonizing death.

GABRIELLE: Any mother would have tried to save her son.

COLTRAI: Perhaps. But what I did next convinced the other villagers that I was crazy and started the rumors that I was a witch.

GABRIELLE: You are a witch.

COLTRAI: Yes, but I was not one then. (she pauses) For eight days, I would not let anyone take my son from the house, as I poured over every scroll about healing that I had collected. When I thought that I had found a new medicine or healing phrase, I used it on his poor dead body. Finally, the stench was unbearable even for me, and, when I stepped outside the house, the sickness's survivors grabbed me and held me while they burned my house to the ground. And my son's body with it.

GABRIELLE: What did you do then?

COLTRAI: I knew then that I didn't need everything to be happy. I needed only one thing.

GABRIELLE: Your son.

COLTRAI: Yes, I needed my son. I knew that writings about healing did not contain the type of knowledge or power that would give me back my son. So I turned to magic. I searched through all manner of magical spells, finally turning to the darkest kind.

GABRIELLE: Did you find what you were looking for?

COLTRAI: I thought so. I found a spell and mixture that would allow me to recreate a human being. I taught myself the words, the tones, the proper rhythms and inflections. And I gathered all the needed ingredients. But there was one thing I still needed. And I couldn't get it on my own.

GABRIELLE: On your own?

COLTRAI: Yes, that's the key.

GABRIELLE: Was it this crystal?

Coltrai nods. She and Gabrielle stare at the glowing stone. As they watch, scenes from Gabrielle's and Xena's lives appear in the stone. Like a silent movie, these scenes continue throughout the conversation between Coltrai and Gabrielle.

COLTRAI: Wanting, if you want hard enough, can even draw the attention of a god.

GABRIELLE: Which god?

COLTRAI: I think you know.

GABRIELLE: He gave you the stone?

COLTRAI: Yes, the stone had been taken out of mortal hands centuries ago. It had been used, it is said, as a decoration in a god's throne. But, as a result of a bargain I made, it was placed in my hands.

GABRIELLE: Wasn't it missed?

COLTRAI: The gods have many treasures. We mortals have so few, and fewer yet that matter.

GABRIELLE: You mentioned a bargain.

COLTRAI: My job was to separate two people Destiny meant to be together. If I did that, I could keep the Crystal of Annius and use it for my own purpose.

GABRIELLE: What did you do?

COLTRAI: With this crystal, I could make a duplicate of any person who walked the earth. All I had to do was call up their image in the stone, say the words I learned and burn a mixture specific to the qualities the duplicate should have. To accomplish the purpose of a god, I made a duplicate of a farmer named Perdicus. But I made him bolder, smarter, and more tender than ever the original was.

GABRIELLE: Perdicus? You're talking about Shimon? He's the duplicate you made?

COLTRAI: He's the second. The first duplicate was your husband. The one Callisto killed.

GABRIELLE: But if the man I loved was a duplicate, where is the Perdicus who was my childhood friend?

COLTRAI: Killed. Fell off a ship bound for Troy. Or pushed. Just as well. That boy would never have made a soldier. The one placed on board to take his place was much better designed for the role.

GABRIELLE: You're saying that the real Perdicus was dead before Xena and I ever went to Troy? And that the man I knew at Troy and later married, was some sort of duplicate?

The scenes in the stone now are of Perdicus and Gabrielle at Troy.


GABRIELLE: And the purpose was to separate me from Xena. So she would go back to her old ways.


GABRIELLE: And I fell right into the trap.

COLTRAI: The plan would have worked if not for Callisto. Without you, would Xena have been able to resist the power of her own darkness? Or would she have gone back to her old ways? We'll never know, because Callisto, by killing your husband, sent you back to Xena, and your lives

returned to their fated courses.

The crystal plays back the death of Perdicus at Callisto's hands.

GABRIELLE: Why didn't you remake your own son, Coltrai? Why did you make Shimon in Perdicus's image?

COLTRAI: Because the stone can only duplicate what it knows. That must come from memory or from an image of a living person somewhere in the world. By the time I had everything I needed to recreate my son, I no longer remembered him well enough to do so. All I could produce were monsters. None lived longer than a few hours. The stone already knew Perdicus, so I decided to use him. However, in trying to make my new son as sweet and good as the old one I remembered, I got the mixture wrong, and that's why Shimon is slow.

GABRIELLE: If I asked you to, could you remake Xena?

COLTRAI: There is no need. The one who lies beyond that wall....

GABRIELLE: (interrupting Coltrai and finishing for her) not Xena.

They both are looking into the crystal. Xena rides Argo into the clearing where she and Gabrielle had their last camp. The image is expanded to fill the screen. Xena looks around and mouths Gabrielle's name. Still holding Argo's reins, she sits down and appears to wait. The image is reduced so that it again is inside the stone.

COLTRAI: When did you know?

GABRIELLE: Just now, for sure. But some things bothered me before.

COLTRAI: What? After you left to find Xena, I came back here and made the duplicate. I used one of the images the stone had stored when someone else was the watcher. I've only duplicated human beings, so I did not attempt the horse. Did I get a detail wrong?

GABRIELLE: Earlier, you called Xena a woman warrior and said Shimon had told you that. I knew I hadn't told him. Then with the duplicate, there were two things wrong. You gave her a weapon Xena no longer has. And you didn't given her enough of Xena's fighting skills.

They sit quietly for a moment.

GABRIELLE: And that last mistake cost the copy her life.



Gabrielle creeps past Argo, who is grazing at the edge of the clearing.

GABRIELLE: (whispering and patting Argo on the nose) Sh, girl. Be quiet.

Gabrielle tip-toes toward the form lying covered by the fire. She hesitates as she studies it.

GABRIELLE: (loudly) Oh, no, Xena, I'm not falling for that one. I know you aren't in those blankets. Come on out.

The blankets stir, and a sleepy face appears. Xena sits up and rubs her eyes. She looks at Gabrielle and frowns.

XENA: It's bad enough you're this late. Do you have to come roaring in here at dawn like you're trying to raise the dead?

GABRIELLE: As a matter of fact, I do.

Gabrielle throws herself down beside Xena and, with a grin, gives her a big smack on the forehead. Xena rubs the spot as if disgusted, but she smiles. Gabrielle snuggles against Xena's shoulder as the scene



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