|Series:||Xena: Warrior Princess (1995)|
|Writer:||Robert Tapert & R.J. Stewart|
|Broadcast:||15 May 2000|
|Previous Story:||The Abyss|
|Following Story:||The Ring|
The full moon. A howl. Xena, wearing a Valkyrie helmet, sits by a fire. A monster crashes through the woods. A ring. Images of molten gold. Xena stares at the ring. The monster. Xena puts the ring on. The monster. Xena talks to the monster. Xena and the monster fight. Xena gets the monster behind bars, and seals the bars with a lock with two birds on it. Xena tells the monster it can't win while Xena has the ring. The monster tries to choke Xena through the bars. The monster rips the ring off of Xena's finger. Xena rides away on a flying horse.
35 years later
A man enters a tavern. Xena and Gabrielle eat. Xena is still hungry and wants Gabrielle's food. The man stares at Xena. He asks Xena if she is Xena. He says his name is Beowulf. He throws down a metal symbol thing. Xena tells Gabrielle she has to talk to this guy. Gabrielle looks at the symbol. It is a metal thing with two birds on it.
Xena returns. Gabrielle offers Xena her food. Xena isn't hungry anymore. Later, in their room, Gabrielle says, "Still keeping secrets from me after all these years." Xena says their friendship is the most important thing in her life. Gabrielle says part of being a friend is letting people keep their secrets. They go to sleep. Gabrielle wakes up to find Xena gone. Xena left a scroll telling Gabrielle she had to go take care of some unfinished business, and she doesn't expect to survive. She says she can't have Gabrielle dying with her again, so she's left her behind.
Gabrielle writes in her scrolls. She says she can't respect Xena's wish that she remain behind, so she's been following Xena. Xena's path is her path, she says. She's been traveling due north for weeks. Gabrielle, astride a white horse, rides into a snow-covered village. She sees a story tapestry, and asks the man about it. He tells her about Odin and the Valkyries who ride the flying horses. Odin uses runes to teach the Valkyries how to fly or something like that. Gabrielle says one of the Valkyries is different. The man says that one is ... he forgets. A woman, who has been watching Gabrielle, says that the woman's name is Xena. Gabrielle asks the woman to tell her about Xena. The woman says Xena's reign of terror ended 35 years ago.
The woman says Xena came in from the distant land of Chin. In a flashback, we see Xena finds Odin, the Norse God, crucified on a tree. He is in despair because he doesn't find any good in life. Xena says the challenges of life are the good things. Odin tells Xena that someday someone will conquer her. Xena says she knows that, but in the meantime she isn't going to waste her time on some two-bit god who doesn't know what to do with his immortality. Xena brings Odin out of his despair and in return he makes her a Valkyry.
Xena doesn't get along very well with Grinhilda, the head Valkyry and Odin's lover. Xena persuades some guys to fight in Odin's name, and they all die, even though Grinhilda thought surrendering was a good idea. Later, in the halls of Valhalla, Xena dines with Odin. Grinhilda comes in; she is late because she has been escorting the men to their chambers in Valhalla. Xena says that's great, the guys have earned a spot at Odin's table. Grinhilda is not buying Xena's world view and she leaves. Odin says he loved Grinhilda once. Xena says she can live without love and Odin can, too.
Gabrielle says, "Poor Xena." Brunnhilda, who is telling the story, says, why poor Xena? Gabrielle says because she thinks she can live without love. She tells Brunnhilda she is Xena's friend. Brunnhilda says she'll come back later, after Gabrielle has established camp, and tell her the rest of the story. Gabrielle writes in her scrolls that Xena is back, that she came back to correct some great wrong she did. That is Xena's great curse, to constantly continue to try to correct all her wrongs as she seeks redemption.
Gabrielle hears a noise and rises. She gets out her sais. She calls out to Brunnhilda. She looks startled. Brunnhilda attacks Gabrielle she eventually takes Gabrielle down, but not before getting cut. The woman tells Gabrielle she attacked her to prove to XEna's friend that she is worthy of fighting along side Xena. The woman wants to help Gabrielle find Xena.
Continuing the story in flashbacks, we see Xena concentrating and lighting fires with her mind. Odin is giving her all kinds of powers. Odin says Xena can turn her energy into a never-ending flame if she wants too. Xena says that's it, I can be a barn fire forever? She wants more. She asks Odin about the Rheingold. He won't tell her. Xena says she can't give her love to someone who doesn't trust her. Xena cries. Odin says there, there, he had no idea. He tells Xena the Rheingold is very danger to someone who has forsaken love.
Grinhilda tells Odin she wants the command of the Valkyries back. Xena has gone to speak to the Rhein maidens about the Rheingold, and she must be stop. The Valkyries give chase, on flying horse. They can't stop Xena. She tosses them all off their steeds and they fall to earth. Finally Grinhilda and Xena fight. They knock each other from their flying horses and fall to earth. Xena gets her sword. She goes to kill Grinhilda, but then just whacks her across the head and knocks her out. Xena's flying horse comes to her, and she hops on and flies away. Then, only the Rhein maidens stood between Xena and ultimate power.
Xena plays in the water with the Rhein maidens. One of the maidens says she loves Xena. Xena tells her she wants to be a Rhein maiden, too. And in order to do that, she says, she has to see the Rheingold. The maiden says, okay, follow me. After a really long underwater swim, Xena emerges in a cavern. She sees the Rheingold. The maiden tells Xena she mustn't touch it because it will bring about her own destruction. Xena bloodies the maiden's nose and takes the gold.
Xena forges the gold into a ring. A ring from the Rheingold gives Xena ultimate power. Gabrielle says Xena doesn't need a ring. She's a great fighter. Brunnhilda says Gabrielle must love Xena very much. Gabrielle says, yep. Xena and Beowulf walk through the snow. Beowulf says Xena misses Gabrielle very much. But neither of them will live long enough to see Gabrielle again.
Gabrielle tells Brunnhilda that Xena came north because Beowulf came to her. She tells Brunnhilda about the lock with the birds. Brunnhilda says she knows now where Xena is going; she is on a suicide mission. Xena sees murdered men all around her. She pulls out her sword. "Stay strong, Gabrielle," she mutters.
Inside a barn or something, Beowulf sharpens his sword. The beast/monster is now loose, he says. It killed his friends and two of his brothers. The beast/monster is called Grindl. Xena makes a few comments and Beowulf says Xena knows a lot about this monster. Xena says she should, she created it. Gabrielle and Brunnhilda walk in the dark. Brunnhilda says Grindl was held by a raven lock. And something to do with this ring.
Beowulf and Xena hear the monster outside. It reached through the walls and grabs Beowulf. Grindl enters. It is wearing the ring. Xena stabs Grindl. Xena says the ring has to go back to the Rhein maidens. Xena attacks Grindl. Xena and Beowulf fight Grindl. Xena hits Grindl with the chakram. Grindl beats up Xena and knocks Beowulf asunder. Grindl goes after Xena.
Gabrielle and Brunnhilda arrive in the village, and go to the building (which appears to be the only place standing). Gabrielle tells Brunnhilda that Xena's path is her path. Gabrielle and Brunnhilda go into the house and find Beowulf, all covered up with parts of the building. They dig him out. He says Grindl dragged Xena off. Gabrielle sees Xena's breastplate. She picks it up and fingers it. "Xena," she whispers, looking anguished.