|Looking Death in the Eye|
|Series:||Xena: Warrior Princess (1995)|
|Broadcast:||10 May 1999|
|Previous Story:||Antony and Cleopatra|
In a tavern, a man offers items for sale. He holds up a scroll. He says it is the last known scroll of the Bard of Potedia. A man turns around. It is Joxer, old now, in his 50's, perhaps. He says he knew the Bard. He looks at the scroll. It is Gabrielle's handwriting. He buys the scroll for 65 dinars, all the money he has, and hurries away. He goes into a house, where the voice of Meg off-camera complains about the loss of money. Joxer goes out to the barn. He joined by two children, a girl and a boy. He asks if they want to hear the tale of a beautiful warrior princess. He begins to read.
After many ceaseless battles with the gods, Xena finds herself at the doorstep of the Three Fates, seeking answers. The Fates tells Xena it is the time of the twilight. They say that Xena must die, for only in the essence of death will Eve fulfill her prophecy. The sooner Xena dies, the faster Eve will bring about the prophecy and the fall of the gods. Gabrielle comes in, and tells Xena she doesn't want to hear any of this. They make their own Fate. But Xena says she has to listen. She says it is the only way. She has to die.
Xena, Gabrielle, and Eve make their way through the woods. Bolts from the blue cut through the trees. Xena tosses her chakram and knocks an invisible Hades to the ground, shaking lose his Helmet of Invisibility. Athena and her warriors arrive. Athena tells Xena to hand over the child. Xena throws her chakram, Gabrielle fights warriors. Xena gets cut on the upper left arm. Gabrielle gets a cut on her face. Gabrielle yells for Xena to throw Eve to her, but Xena doesn't, and Athena makes a remark about Xena not trusting Gabrielle. The dynamic duo get tossed about (Eve is on Xena's back), and then Gabrielle tosses the Helmet of Invisibility in the air. Xena hits it with her chakram, and sparks fly and fall all over the two gods. Xena and Gabrielle take Eve and make their escape. They take shelter with Octavius. Xena treats Gabrielle's wounds with a tincture that she says is poison when swallowed. She treats her own wounds as well. Gabrielle asks Xena about Athena's comment about trusting Gabrielle with Eve. Xena explains that it doesn't matter whose arms are around the child, her life is in constant danger.
The gods hold a meeting. Ares is there, too. Celesta, Death herself, is called forth, and asked why she hasn't just taken Xena. Celesta says she will always be needed, and the gods surmise that Death/Celesta is immune to the prophecy. Celesta says it is forbidden for a mortal to be taken before her rightful time.
Xena goes to Hephaestus. She fights him. He beats her badly. He tosses her against something, she is bleeding, cut on the right arm, blood from her mouth. Celesta appears. Hephaestus asks Xena how it feels to be in the presence of Death herself. Xena says, "What took you so long?" Hephaestus goes to deliver the final killing blow, but Gabrielle stops him. Xena grabs some chains of Hephaestus, and wraps them around Celesta while Gabrielle fights Haphaestus. Xena stops him from killing Gabrielle, and kicks him over a cliff. Gabrielle helps Xena up; she is limping a little. Gabrielle takes Celesta away. Xena limps behind, and picks up Celesta's candle. Outside the cave, Octavius hands Eve to Gabrielle. Celesta, Eve, and Gabrielle are all loaded into a wagon. (Argo is no where in site, she isn't pulling the wagon.)
Athena and Ares talk. Athena reminds Ares that he fought at Xena's side in Amphipolis. They talk about Eli, and how his death has only fueled the people against the gods. Hephaestus and Hades arrive and tell them that Xena has captured Celesta.
Gabrielle sings to Eve, and cuddles her, while Xena talks to Celesta. Xena reminds Celesta that when the candle burns down, Death will die. Then Xena and Eve will live forever. Celesta reminds Xena of all the suffering souls who need to die, and says that Xena's actions aren't in character. Xena has more compassion, more morals, than to want to live forever. Celesta and Xena discuss who decides when it is someone's rightful time to die. Xena mentions Solan, and how his life was taken from him. She mentions Marcus, and Lyceus, her brother and best friend. Gabrielle tells Xena to stop. Celesta is immortal, she will never know loss, or understand the pain of losing someone. Gabrielle cuddles Eve. Celesta says losing Hades, her only brother, the only one who understands her, would be unthinkable. She cries. Xena wipes her tears. Xena asks Celesta what Hades will think, when his sister is dead. Will he care? Xena says she can't lose what is left of her family. And she won't lose another child. Gabrielle tells Xena that even if she can't die, the gods will inflict pain and suffering on all they care about. Gabrielle goes into a tavern, seeking Joxer. Athena's warrriors come in. They grab Joxer. Athena whacks Gabrielle. Hades takes Gabrielle to kill her, but Athena says no. They can't kill the child until Celesta is free. Athena chokes Joxer, and Gabrielle tells Athena that Xena is headed for the ocean. Two of Athena's warriors take Gabrielle. Another one punches Joxer out.
Celesta languishes, with the flame burning low. Athena pops in. Her warriors have Gabrielle. Gabrielle apologizes to Xena. Athena says even if Eve lives forever, she will be hunted for eternity by the gods. Xena nods, and Gabrielle goes to her. Xena unchains Celesta. Ares pops in and sits in the drivers' seat of the wagon. Other gods begin to show up. Gabrielle gets in back of the wagon. Ares, in the front seat, hands Xena the reigns. They go riding away. Athena says when they clear the forest, kill them. Joxer walks through the woods.
Xena and Ares converse in the front of the wagon. Ares says he can help. He says he can make it all go away. Xena says Ares always wants what he can't have. He says okay, and leaves. In front of Xena, Hades stands ready. She tells Gabrielle, "we're on." Bolts are tossed. A scroll falls from the wagon. Old Joxer says that is the end of the scroll, children. But not the story. He says, I was there.
Joxer (young) watches from the woods, at a distance, as Athena's warriors send arrows at Xena and Gabrielle. Xena keeps driving the wagon. She sees a cliff, the horses run parallel along the cliff. More arrows. Flames. Gabrielle throws her sais and takes out two of Athena's warriors. The wagon stops. Xena throws her chakram and takes out a platoon of Athena's warriors. Athena sends a fire bolt. The wagon burns, the horses are loose from the wagon and they run. Gabrielle lays back, as if overcome from smoke, Xena calls for her, and reaches for Gabrielle. The wagon goes over the cliff.
Gabrielle lies on the sand. Xena lies on the sand. Xena moves. She stands up. She sees Gabrielle, and heads for the wagon's wreckage, calling for Eve. The fire consumes everything. Joxer watches. Athena says the prophecy has been shattered. Xena goes to Gabrielle. She sobs over Gabrielle's body. The gods watch. Xena takes her sword and prepares to kill herself with it. Ares grabs the sword. Xena tells Ares it is over, and he can't stop her. She takes a bottle out, and swallows the poison. She tells Ares to go join his family. He watches in horror as Xena dies. The gods vanish, satisfied. Ares looks at Xena. Joxer runs down to the beach. Ares picks up Xena and disappears.
Octavius rides up. He tells Joxer that Xena and Gabrielle aren't dead. Octavius has Eve. Old Joxer tells the children that Xena and Gabrielle took the tears of Celesta, swallowing the "essence" of death, as stated by the Fates, which made them dead for a while. Xena had never planned to kill Celesta, she just wanted her tears. The gods assumed Xena would never leave her child elsewhere. Gabrielle drank the tears while they were in the wagon, and then Xena put on a convincing show. The effect of the tears would soon wear off. But they did not count on one thing. Ares. They did not count on Ares taking the bodies of Xena and Gabrielle before Octavius could arrive with Eve.
Ares carries Xena through the snow to an ice cavern. An icy coffin, with Gabrielle's body sealed in it, is joined by an empty coffin. Ares places Xena in the coffin. He tells Xena that Gabrielle knew what she needed -- unconditional and unselfish love. Ares sayshe appreciated Xena's rage and violence. "You were hers when you sacrificed for others, but when you kicked ass, you were mine," Ares says. He kisses her on the lips. He tells her he loves her. He seals up the ice coffin. He puts her sword and chakram as a headstone between the two coffins. He walks out into the snow, and seals the cavern. He disappears. The two women lie sealed in their coffins, with Xena's sword and chakram marking their tombs.