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The Archon

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Disclaimers: The following story is classified as Fan Fiction. The characters of Xena, Gabrielle and others who have appeared in the series, Xena: Warrior Princess, are the property of MCA/Universal Television and Renaissance Pictures. I only borrowed them. The story itself is mine and cannot be redistributed in any form without my consent.

THE ARCHON
© November 1997

 

SUMMARY

Xena and Gabrielle are invited to witness the investiture of Athens first democratically elected leader.

ALIGN="CENTER">TEASER
EXT ROAD AT MIDDAY

Xena and Gabrielle are walking alongside Argo toward the not very distant edifices of majestic Athens.

GABRIELLE

Any idea why Theseus sent for you, Xena?

XENA

They've just had an election and picked a regional magistrate.

GABRIELLE

Know any more about it?

XENA

He wants me to vouch support for this new Archon. It would make the transition smooth.

GABRIELLE

So, the noble Xena vouchsafes Greece's newest form of government. I like. Definitely has many possibilities.

XENA

How?

GABRIELLE

He wouldn't have asked you to vouch for this new government if the people wouldn't heed your word.

XENA

I guess you're right. Thanks to your stories my reputation is no longer in tatters.

GABRIELLE

Thanks to my stories? You act as if I make everything up. You had a lot to do with it. You DID it all. I just "told it like it is," you know?

XENA playfully cuffs GABRIELLE on the shoulder as they reach the massive gates of the central city. Two GUARDS stop their progress.

GUARD #1

What is your business, ladies?

GABRIELLE

(importantly)
We have an invitation to the appointment of the Archon, by King Theseus himself.

GUARD #1

(stepping aside)
Papers?

XENA fishes out a small piece of parchment from the pouch on her hip and passes it to the guard. He briefly scans it, nods and hands it back.

GUARD #1

Show that to the gate guard at the palace. He'll let you in. Down the street until you see a squat building on your left beyond the shops.

GABRIELLE

Thank you.

XENA replaces the parchment in her pouch and leads GABRIELLE and Argo past the guards. The couple, and their horse are soon swallowed by the crowds mixing it up on the market street.

GABRIELLE

Now that wasn't so hard.

GABRIELLE and XENA weave their way down the street, XENA occasionally gingerly moving aside a talkative salesman or GABRIELLE shushing along a rambunctious child.

GABRIELLE (cont'd)

Do you think we'll get to meet the Archon before the ceremony?

XENA

I hope so. I don't swear allegiances easily. I'd like to get a sense of the man the people chose to govern them in Theseus' absence.

GABRIELLE

Must be someone pretty special.

The two women finally stop in front of a squat building in front of a high steel gate. This is the PALACE GUARDHOUSE. A GUARD steps forward and holds out his hand. XENA fishes out the parchment again, with a look of "so this is bureaucracy." The GUARD's face lights up and he puffs up straighter as he steps aside.

GUARD

You are most welcome, Warrior Princess. King Theseus and the Archon await your arrival in the main throne room. Go straight ahead. If you like, you can stable your mount or I can get one of the city lads to do it?

XENA

I can certainly do it...

GABRIELLE

Let them stable Argo. I want to meet the Archon.

XENA hands over Argo's reins to the GUARD, and is practically pulled along by GABRIELLE before the horse has been moved away.

GABRIELLE

Come on.

XENA

You should be the one to approve this man. You're certainly more excited about it.

GABRIELLE

It's a new government form. No more kings. Not that Theseus isn't a good ruler, but the people need a fair shot at ruling themselves.

XENA

You have a lot more faith in them than I do.

GABRIELLE

Cynic.

XENA shrugs, then smiles as GABRIELLE leads her under an archway and into...

INT ATHENS PALACE THRONE ROOM

The women are now standing in a spacious, but attractively decorated reception area. No one approaches them immediately, and the two women notice a pair of men conversing near a far exit. They have their backs to the women and are in deep conversation. One, wearing a short cape of royal purple, but otherwise normal everyday Greek garb, is KING THESEUS, a middle-aged man. His companion is very young and XENA senses something familiar in his bearing...

GABRIELLE, turning in a circle admiring the room, stumbles and the noise of XENA keeping her from falling over, draws the men's attention at last, and they turn.

CUT BETWEEN XENA's amazed face and an older SOLAN smiling

GABRIELLE steps forward as XENA tries to think of something to say as THESEUS and SOLAN walk quickly toward them.

END TEASER

 

ACT ONE

 

FADE IN

XENA, GABRIELLE, THESEUS and SOLAN are still standing in the center of the room. XENA can't take her eyes off her son.

XENA

Solan?

THESEUS

Welcome, Xena. So you already know the man I would entrust my kingdom to?

XENA

He's the son of Kaleipus, the Centaur leader on the outskirts of Amazonia.

THESEUS

He joined up with the local citizens' advisory council about a year ago. Impressed his neighbors and me so much we quickly put him in charge. The election last week made it all official.

SOLAN

(smiling at Xena)
I told you I didn't want to be a soldier. Hi, Gabrielle.

SOLAN embraces GABRIELLE, who is smiling so big you'd think her face would freeze that way.

GABRIELLE

Well, you certainly aren't that. What brought you to Athens?

SOLAN

I thought it was time I went and sought my own way. The Centaurs have been wonderful. But they weren't family. Not really.

XENA

I thought you were happy there?

SOLAN

I was. But what can I do in a nation of Centaurs? I'm a man. I should be making my way in the Greek world.

XENA

Was Kaleipus upset?

SOLAN

No. We talked about it for a long time. We talked about a lot of things.

THESEUS

Would you like to join Solan and me for the midday meal?

GABRIELLE

We'd love to, wouldn't we, Xena?

XENA

All right. We have been on the road all day.

GABRIELLE

And I, for one, am FAMISHED.

SOLAN

(chuckling)
You haven't changed much in all this time, have you, Gabrielle?

GABRIELLE

(smiling and taking his arm)
Oh, a little here and there.

SOLAN leads GABRIELLE and THESEUS gestures for XENA to precede him out of the room.

INT ANOTHER ROOM AT THE PALACE

An office of sorts, it has a desk with writing implements and is piled high with parchments. Two men (NEREUS, CALADON) and a woman (MANILLA) are present, discussing something about one of the parchments on the desk.

MANILLA

Are you certain the election commission didn't do ANYTHING irregular?

NEREUS

Nothing I can see. But that's what I want Caladon here to check. What can you make of it, Caladon?

CALADON

It may take a few hours to examine all the writings of the council, and the election papers. But perhaps I can find something to help you.

NEREUS

You'd better. I was supposed to be Archon. Not some wispy teenager barely old enough to grow whiskers.

MANILLA and NEREUS look on expectantly as CALADON sits down at the desk and riffles through the papers.

int palace dining room 4

SOLAN and GABRIELLE are monopolizing the conversation. XENA is trying not to look interested in what they're saying while she eats.

GABRIELLE

So, you were challenged by a Centaur boy for the watch post?

SOLAN

Yeah, he pounded me pretty good too. I knew then I had to find someplace else.

GABRIELLE

They didn't drive you away.

SOLAN

No, it just was the logical choice.

GABRIELLE looks at XENA. Mother and son aren't so different.

GABRIELLE

Okay. So. What made you choose Athens?

SOLAN

(shrugging)
Well, nothing in particular, really. It's big. I guess I kind of hoped to get lost here.

GABRIELLE

Fat chance of that now.

SOLAN

Yeah. It surprised me that people thought my ideas were this good.

THESEUS

He's incredibly modest. Solan came up with the idea of regulating the public houses, so that the poorest could at least have night shelter.

XENA looks up at this and smiles briefly at SOLAN, unseen by the young man, but GABRIELLE catches the smile and nods.

GABRIELLE

How'd you do that?

SOLAN

I convinced the tavern owners that the homeless could be nightwatchmen, or women, protecting their properties in exchange for beds and meals.

GABRIELLE

You must have been very convincing.

THESEUS

Anyone who talks with him long enough recognizes the earnestness... and the honesty.

XENA

So, what do you hope to do as Archon?

SOLAN

I was going to start with the city works. Reform some of the ways public services are rendered.

XENA

And the city council supports this?

SOLAN

Most of them do. I think I've got a few who aren't happy with my leadership.

XENA

Are they going to be a problem?

GABRIELLE

Not for you. Right, Solan?

SOLAN

Well, Nereus was very disappointed he lost. But I think I can bring him around.

THESEUS

So, Xena, will he do?

XENA

If he wants to be Archon, I certainly can't see any reason I wouldn't support him.

THESEUS

Thank you, Xena.

SOLAN

Yes. Thank you, Xena. Your support means a lot to me.

XENA looks away uncomfortably from SOLAN's gaze. She stands, as does GABRIELLE.

XENA

Well, Gabrielle and I had better settle into a room at the inn. So we're fresh in the morning.

GABRIELLE

Xena, couldn't we -- ?

XENA

No, I don't think so. It -- it wouldn't help the people view me with impartiality tomorrow if they know I slept in the palace.

GABRIELLE

(reluctant)
I guess you're right.

XENA

Solan, King Theseus. We will see you in the morning.

THESEUS and SOLAN both stand and THESEUS shakes XENA's hand. GABRIELLE gets another hug from SOLAN and SOLAN reaches out a hand to XENA. She looks at it a long moment and, finally, instead of taking it, pulls him to her for a quick hug.

SOLAN

(in a whisper)
I'll see you in the morning...Mother.

XENA pulls back and tries to wipe the shock off her face quickly. THESEUS is looking at Solan and doesn't see the look. GABRIELLE does and takes matters quickly into her hands.

GABRIELLE

Come on. If we don't hurry, there won't be any rooms left.

XENA follows GABRIELLE but not before giving SOLAN another quick look. SOLAN only nods. They obviously will talk later about this.

THESEUS

Xena isn't the same warlord I met on a battlefield in Thrace just after I became king.

SOLAN

She's certainly changed a lot even since I saw her last.

THESEUS

How did you two happen to meet?

SOLAN

(ruminatively)
She came to Kaleipus' village when Dagnine was after the Ixion stone.

THESEUS

She routed Dagnine?

SOLAN

Handily. I was only 10 at the time.

THESEUS

Have you seen her at all since?

SOLAN

Nope. She never came back.

THESEUS

Centaurs don't like her? Make her nervous?

SOLAN

No. I think I do.

THESEUS gives SOLAN a querulous look but has no chance to say anything as SOLAN turns on his heel and strides out of the room.

EXT ATHENS MARKET STREET EVENING

XENA and GABRIELLE are walking in silence down the street. GABRIELLE is occasionally scanning the signs looking for an inn. She finally stops in front of "The Goose Inn." But XENA, lost in her own thoughts doesn't stop.

GABRIELLE

Xena? Let's try here.

XENA

(absently)
Fine.

GABRIELLE

Are you going to be all right?

XENA

Fine.

GABRIELLE

Well, for starters -- you're a little preoccupied. You didn't even notice the guy who tried to lift your money pouch.

GABRIELLE holds up XENA's money pouch that she rescued. XENA takes it.

XENA

Thanks.

GABRIELLE

You're welcome.

XENA

Gabrielle, Solan knows.

GABRIELLE

He does?

XENA

When I hugged him.
(faltering)
He called me "Mother."

GABRIELLE

Did he sound angry or upset?

XENA

I don't know.

GABRIELLE

Do you want to go back to the palace and talk to him?

XENA

No!

GABRIELLE

(with a small sigh)
All right. So, what DO you want to do?

XENA

I want to get out of Athens.

GABRIELLE

Nope, not an option, and you know it.

XENA

Made me feel good... for about a second.

GABRIELLE

Come on. Let's get a room.

The two women enter The Goose Inn.

FADE OUT

END ACT ONE

 

ACT TWO

FADE IN

INT BEDROOM AT THE PALACE

SOLAN enters quietly and goes to sit at the foot of a large bed. In the bed lies a sleeping woman. This is his wife, SYLVIE. She is the same age as Solan, with brown hair to his blond and delicate looking.

SOLAN

Sylvie, wake up.

SYLVIE

(groggily)
Solan?

SOLAN

She's here.

SYLVIE

Does she look well?

SOLAN

As far as I can tell, yes.

SYLVIE

Have you had a chance to talk to her?

SOLAN

I was thinking of going out to find her tonight. We need some time to talk alone I think.

SYLVIE

All right. I'll be waiting. Be careful. Nereus really wasn't very happy about the election.

SOLAN

(cockily)
Hey, I can handle myself. I'm the son of the great Warrior Princess.

SYLVIE

Well, you're still my husband, and our baby's father. I don't want to be a widow already.

SOLAN lays his hand on SYLVIE's which is on her stomach. They share a smile.

SOLAN

You won't. I promise.

SOLAN kisses SYLVIE and then leaves her to sleep as he leaves.

EXT STREET AT NIGHT

SOLAN is walking quietly along, looking around. He is talking to himself as he decided exactly how to give his mother all of the news.

A Guard, MATRIAS, walks up and starts to ask for identification when the moonlight shows him it is SOLAN.

MATRIAS

Evening, Solan.

SOLAN

Evening, Matrias. How is your family?

MATRIAS

Fine. And your Sylvie?

SOLAN

(with a big smile)
She fares well.

MATRIAS

How much longer?

SOLAN

Probably another two moons.

MATRIAS

May the gods smile on you.

SOLAN

Thank you, Matrias. Good night.

MATRIAS

Where are you headed?

SOLAN

Visiting a friend at The Goose Inn.

MATRIAS

Yeah? Be careful, I heard the Warrior Princess is staying there.

SOLAN

Yes, I know. She is here to participate in the ceremony tomorrow.

MATRIAS

Really?

SOLAN

Yes, really. She's very different now.

MATRIAS

I've heard some of the new stories. But didn't believe them. If you say they're true though, Solan, she's a saint in my book.

SOLAN

That trust means a lot to me, Matrias.

MATRIAS

It means a lot to us too, Solan.

SOLAN accepts a pat on the back from MATRIAS and the two men part ways.

In the nearby shadows a MAN now stands and moves in the same direction as Solan.

SOLAN now nears The Goose Inn, and is about to duck inside when the MAN grabs him from behind. Though fighting well, Solan is overpowered rapidly. He looks up to a window on the second floor and wildly hopes.

SOLAN

Xena! Help!

As Solan and the man struggle, XENA comes leaping out of the window with her battle cry, and lands near the struggling men on the street.

XENA

A little upset with your new Archon, eh? Come on!

Xena separates Solan from his attacker and kicks her foot into the man's throat. He goes down without a sound. Xena lifts him by his shirt collar and snarls into his face.

XENA (cont'd)

Hell of a democracy ya got here, Solan.

SOLAN

He's probably from the one I was telling you about.

GABRIELLE (O.S.)

Nereus?

GABRIELLE is walking out of The Goose Inn and up to Solan and Xena in the street. MATRIAS runs up. Xena looks to Solan then hands over the man to the guard.

XENA

And make sure he stays behind bars. I want to talk to him in the morning.

SOLAN

Xena, our magistrates can handle this.

XENA

Why weren't you walking with that guard?

 

SOLAN

I don't need a guard in Athens. This is MY city. Not some hellhole without law and order.

XENA

Fat lot of good it did. What were you doing out alone after dark?

GABRIELLE

Xena, I think we ought to, um, take this inside. Someplace quiet. Don't you?

XENA looks from Gabrielle to Solan, realizes she was dressing down a grown man in public and nods, but she doesn't look like she's doing this graciously.

XENA

Inside.

GABRIELLE

Come on, Solan. I'll have the barkeep give us a round of drinks.

SOLAN

Thanks.

SOLAN leads the way into the tavern, Gabrielle is on his heels, and Xena, shaking her head, brings up the rear.

INT GOOSE INN TAVERN

The BARKEEP brings three mugs to Xena, Gabrielle and Solan as they sit around a small table near the back.

Many people come up and greet Solan warmly, expressing distress at the episode outside. SOLAN accepts the warm wishes graciously, but finally he, Gabrielle and Xena are left alone.

GABRIELLE

So, what brings you out on a night like this?

SOLAN

I wanted to talk.

XENA

About what?

SOLAN

What do YOU think?

GABRIELLE

Before you say anything else, let Xena explain.

SOLAN

I don't need her to explain. I understand.

XENA looks disbelieving.

SOLAN (cont'd)

I do! It wasn't easy, but I do understand. I'm not some naive little kid anymore.

XENA

And now?

SOLAN

I'd like to introduce you to my family.

GABRIELLE

Really?

SOLAN

She's back at the palace. Her name's Sylvie.

GABRIELLE

When did you meet her?

SOLAN

Shortly after I arrived in Athens. She's the daughter of one of the first shopkeepers I convinced to take in a homeless man to watch his shop.

XENA

Who was the man?

SOLAN

Me.

GABRIELLE

You really have come a long way.

SOLAN

(pointedly to Xena)
I come from good, strong stock. Hard to keep us down.

XENA smiles, unaccountably warmed by the comment.

GABRIELLE

Well, the people -- most of the people seem to like you around here.

SOLAN

It took some time.
(with a grin)
But I wore them down.

GABRIELLE smiles, XENA sees some activity off screen and frowns. Gabrielle notices the change in Xena's expression.

GABRIELLE

What is it?

XENA

Someone over by the door.

SOLAN

(looking)
It's Nereus, and his wife, Manilla.

XENA

I think I'll just have a chat with them.

SOLAN stops XENA with a hand on her arm as she begins to stand.

SOLAN

No.

XENA

You think he was behind the attack on you, don't you?

SOLAN

We don't have any evidence of that though. To confront him here, now, would bring more trouble.

XENA

You've got some things to learn about leadership, Solan.

SOLAN

(neutrally)
No. Maybe you do.

XENA is taken aback.

GABRIELLE

Xena's only trying to help.

SOLAN

Well, I've been doing just fine for quite a while now.
(quietly to Xena)
Let me handle this my way? Please?

XENA sits, frowns, but nods. GABRIELLE pushes Xena's mug toward the warrior and sits back, hiding her exasperated expression behind her own mug as she drinks.

NEREUS and MANILLA study the room for a moment, see SOLAN, who waves a congenial hand. They do not approach, but rather quickly exit.

GABRIELLE

Seems they didn't expect to find you here.

SOLAN

(grinning behind his mug)
Guess not.

GABRIELLE

(shaking her head and playfully slapping his forearm on the table)
I should have expected that.

XENA finally picks up her mug and drinks. SOLAN and GABRIELLE also drink.

END ACT TWO

 

ACT THREE

FADE IN

EXT ATHENS PUBLIC SQUARE

Dressed regally, SOLAN walks down the middle between throngs of Athenians of every walk of life. He waves, and grasps hands with many in the crowd. It is very obvious that SOLAN is well loved by these people. On his arm is SYLVIE, also very obviously in her last months of pregnancy. In the crowd can be seen CALADON, NEREUS and MANILLA. They only, among this jovial crowd, do not wear smiles.

SOLAN's POV THE CENTER OF THE PUBLIC SQUARE

THESEUS, fully decked out as befits his kingship, stands with a selection of his ministers to his left and XENA and GABRIELLE on his right. XENA is watchful, scanning the crowd. GABRIELLE has eyes only for SOLAN, filled with admiration.

THESEUS

Welcome your new Archon! Solan, of Athens!

The people's cheers grow louder. SOLAN moves to the center of the square and steps up onto the platform. Settling his wife between Gabrielle and Xena, he steps forward.

SOLAN

People of Athens! My neighbors. You welcomed me, homeless among you, and have made Athens my home in name and in my heart. I promise, by all the gods, known and unknown, to form the will of the people into the will of the land!

The people raucously cheer. SOLAN smiles and steps back, taking Sylvie's hand in his right, and Xena's in his left. XENA looks down at their joined hands and then up into her son's face. He nods. She looks to THESEUS, who also nods.

XENA

(stepping forward)
As one who used to wield power in Athens and indeed much of our homeland, Greece, I forswear allegiance to the Archon of Athens, Solan!

The people's cheers rise again. XENA looks to GABRIELLE who smiles broadly, and Xena steps back.

THESEUS

To the palace! A public feast awaits!

The sea of people parts between the square and the palace as all in the center of the square move to lead the way to the palace. Solan kisses Sylvie, then steps out from between Xena and Sylvie, linking the two women's hands together as he moves up next to Theseus.

SYLVIE

(after a moment)
Solan looks very handsome doesn't he?

XENA

Yes, he does.

SYLVIE

You aren't very happy?

XENA

I am. It's just that --

SYLVIE

I told him to tell you. That's why he came looking for you last night. Didn't he find you?

XENA

He did. And he did tell me about you.

XENA looks a bit sheepishly down at Sylvie's stomach.

SYLVIE

But he didn't manage to tell you about our child?

XENA

Must've slipped his mind.

SYLVIE

Nothing ever slips Solan's mind. He's wonderful that way.

XENA isn't sure how to take this, and her face shows it.

XENA

I have to go.

SYLVIE

Please don't.

XENA

(honestly)
I'll be back. I just need some time alone. Stay with Gabrielle, okay?

XENA presses SYLVIE'S hand into Gabrielle's. GABRIELLE looks at Xena and then back at Sylvie, absorbs something in silence, then nods and steers Sylvie along with the crowd as Xena disappears back toward the square.

SYLVIE

Gabrielle?

GABRIELLE

Yes?

SYLVIE

Does she like me?

GABRIELLE

Xena just needs some time to adjust. I'm sure she likes you just fine.

SYLVIE

Good, because we wanted to name the baby after her.

GABRIELLE

(smiling but shaking her head)
That'll go over real big. Come on. Let's get you back to your husband.

EXT THE MARKET SQUARE

XENA, needing to work off a little of her confused emotions, almost doesn't realize until she's upon them that she's stumbled into NEREUS and MANILLA. CALADON is with them.

NEREUS

(under his breath)
Bitch.

XENA

Excuse me?

MANILLA

You heard my husband, Warrior Princess. Get out of the way of your betters.

XENA

Oh really?

MANILLA

How can you support such a green youth against the more experienced will of Nereus?

XENA

From your attitude I'd have to say "all too easily."

NEREUS

I will not be insulted by the likes of you.

XENA

Okay, so I won't insult you.

XENA instead decks him. NEREUS goes down, his wife kneels beside him as XENA stalks off. CALADON looks from NEREUS to the retreating back of the Warrior Princess and gestures to another man in the crowd who drops in to follow Xena.

CALADON

(kneeling next to Nereus)
I have sent a man to follow her.

NEREUS

(groggily)
Good. I want to know everything about the Warrior Princess, and why 'The Destroyer of Nations' was chosen to be the affirming champion of our new little Archon.

INT THE PALACE GRAND ROOM

People are milling everywhere, many greet SOLAN and SYLVIE and GABRIELLE who are talking in a corner, offering again their well wishes and their praise to the Archon.

GABRIELLE

Solan, you really should have told Xena SOMETHING last night.

SOLAN

Will she return do you think?

GABRIELLE

She definitely hates surprises. But yes, I think she'll come back.

SYLVIE

I hope you're right.

GABRIELLE

I have been known to be wrong on occasion.

SOLAN and SYLVIE exchange worried looks. NEREUS and MANILLA, with their ever-present third wheel, CALADON, approach.

NEREUS

Archon, a word with you please?

SOLAN

What is it, Nereus?

NEREUS

I have had the council recount and you did indeed win in all the districts. I would like to privately apologize and offer you my support as you begin your new position.

SOLAN

Thanks, Nereus, but I'll be just fine without your help.

NEREUS

(audibly, but under his breath)
Insolent boy.

SOLAN

Excuse me?

NEREUS

Nothing.

SOLAN

I thought so.

MANILLA

(taking her husband's arm)
(with false gentility)
Good day to you both. Solan. Sylvie.

SYLVIE

Good day to you, Manilla.

MANILLA glares at the younger woman who DARED to speak to her. SYLVIE swallows hard but puts on a smile as she turns to GABRIELLE

GABRIELLE

(wryly)
Nice pair... of piranha.

 

SOLAN

They're easily handled.

GABRIELLE

Really?

THESEUS walks up and lifts his fine wineglass in a toast.

THESEUS

To the Archon. And my friend.

SOLAN

(formally)
Thank you your majesty.

THESEUS

(shaking his head)
The whole idea of this new government, Solan, is to equalize the power. I'm not your better, just an equal.

SOLAN

(deferentially)
Yes, sir.
(smiles)
So, how many stabs did it take to kill the Minotaur?

THESEUS

(laughing heartily)
Let us leave the women to their songs and dance, and you and I will have a drink and talk all about it.

THESEUS throws an arm of fellowship around SOLAN'S shoulders and the two men walk off, leaving SYLVIE and GABRIELLE.

SYLVIE

(rubbing the small of her back)
I'm a little tired. I think I'm going to retire.

GABRIELLE

Do you want some company?

SYLVIE

No, of course not. You enjoy yourself and I'll be back perhaps in a little while. After I've rested.

GABRIELLE

Can I at least walk you to your rooms?

SYLVIE

I'd like that.

GABRIELLE

Okay. Let's go.

INT PALACE HALLWAY

GABRIELLE and SYLVIE are walking along in companionable silence. SYLVIE stops at one door.

SYLVIE

Thank you, Gabrielle. Will I see you later?

GABRIELLE

(smiling)
Wild horses couldn't keep me away. I'm going to convince Xena we'll stay to see the baby born.

SYLVIE

If you find her.

GABRIELLE

Oh, I will. I have no doubt I know where she is.

SYLVIE

Well...

GABRIELLE

Get some rest. I'm sure Solan will want you by his side for the dancing this evening.

SYLVIE nods and enters her room. GABRIELLE turns and walks back down the hallway.

INT SOLAN AND SYLVIE'S BEDROOM

Two men jump out, one is CALADON, and subdue Sylvie. They tie her hands and stuff a cloth in her mouth before she can scream. Then they drag her away. A table is knocked over as she kicks out.

EXT THE STABLES

XENA is sitting in Argo's stall, currying the mare's coat with steady strokes.

XENA

I've missed so much of his life, Argo. Why did he want me here?

GABRIELLE (o.s.)

(softly)
Because he loves you.

XENA turns to see GABRIELLE leaning against a post.

XENA

How'd you find me?

GABRIELLE

(coming up next to Xena)
I've been traveling with you for the better part of 7 years, Xena. Give me some credit.

XENA brushes more firmly along Argo's flank.

XENA

Childish of me, hmmm?

GABRIELLE comes up and takes the brush out of Xena's hand.

GABRIELLE

No, just not very sporting. He WANTS you here. You should take him up on his offer to get to know him, get to know his wife.
(chuckling)
And get to know your grandchild.

XENA

(groaning)
Yeah, there is that.

GABRIELLE

I never thought to see you as a grandmother, Xena.

XENA switches to combing Argo's mane.

XENA

(soberly)
I never expected to live long enough.

GABRIELLE

So you've got the chance now. What're you going to do with it?

XENA sighs, defeated. She puts down the brush and comb and the two women stand quietly for a moment staring into each other's eyes. Then they turn and walk from the stable.

FADE OUT

END ACT THREE

 

ACT FOUR

FADE IN

INT SOLAN AND SYLVIE'S BEDROOM

Outside people are walking up. A few distinct exchanges can be heard.

SOLAN

She'll be very glad to see you, Xena.

GABRIELLE

She was very tired when I brought her up here. Maybe we should wait?

SOLAN

Nonsense.

The door is opened by SOLAN and the three walk in. Immediately it is obvious something is wrong.

SOLAN

Sylvie!

XENA

Would she have gone for a walk?

SOLAN

Maybe, but I don't think so.

GABRIELLE

Look!

GABRIELLE points out an overturned table and the spilled papers.

XENA and SOLAN

Nereus!

Mother and son both rush for the door.

SOLAN

No, mother, leave this to me.

XENA

I won't.

GABRIELLE

We don't have time for this. Let's find someone who can take us to her.

XENA

(poking a finger in Gabrielle's direction)
She's right.

SOLAN

Yep.

XENA

Okay. Where to?

SOLAN

Let's start with Nereus' office. We might find him or one of his men there.

XENA

Let's go!

EXT ATHENS MARKET STREET

XENA, SOLAN and GABRIELLE come running up to a small building.

SOLAN

This is it.

XENA

All right. Now for my department.

XENA does a spin kick and kicks in the door. She disappears inside, followed quickly by SOLAN and GABRIELLE. They have surprised several clerks at work on accounts. The CLERKS jump up and cower. One calls out.

CLERK

What do you want?

XENA

Where's Nereus?

CLERK

I don't know.

SOLAN

Where would Nereus keep my wife?

CLERK

What?

SOLAN

He's kidnapped my wife! Where is she?

CLERK

Try his home.

GABRIELLE gestures and XENA and SOLAN glare once at all the clerks and then follow.

SOLAN

(stepping into the sunshine)
I need to find Matrias.

XENA

The guard from last night?

SOLAN nods. The three start to run and find Matrias when Xena spots someone slinking back in the crowd. It is CALADON. She turns to pursue him.

XENA

(over her shoulder)
Bring Matrias when you find him!

GABRIELLE and SOLAN nod, and the trio splits up. XENA pursues CALADON down an alley. He ducks into a doorway, but Xena saw him. As he starts to peek around the corner to see if she followed, XENA leaps at his face ululating.

CALADON

No!

XENA

Oh, yeah. Now where's Sylvie?

CALADON

Nereus has her.

XENA

Where?!

CALADON

In here.

XENA

Now we're getting somewhere.

CALADON

What do you care what happens to the Archon's wife?

XENA

None of your damn business.

XENA picks up CALADON and tosses him against the wall. Then she bursts into the door he was standing in front of.

INT A HOME

XENA startles NEREUS and MANILLA pulling a struggling SYLVIE through a back door.

XENA

Stop!

MANILLA

Get her! I'll take the girl!

NEREUS however knows Xena's reputation, and isn't willing to confront her. He just shoves harder on SYLVIE, who manages to dislodge her gag.

SYLVIE

Xena! Thank the gods!

XENA

Sylvie, just hold on.

XENA leaps, covering the distance separating them. She strikes out and catches Nereus off guard, but not Manilla. Manilla strikes out with a foot and knocks Sylvie into Xena, sending both women off balance.

XENA

(quickly, grasping Sylvie's arms)
Are you all right?

SYLVIE

I think so.

XENA

Wait here. Solan and Gabrielle will be along any minute. I'm going after Manilla.

XENA picks up NEREUS by his collar and drags him with her as she goes after his wife.

XENA

Come on!

CUT TO

SOLAN and GABRIELLE run quickly into the house behind SYLVIE, who falls into her husband's arms. MATRIAS and some other guards go out the way XENA and NEREUS went.

GABRIELLE

Are you all right?

SYLVIE

Yes, I'm okay.
(to Solan)
She's gone after Manilla.

SOLAN

Matrias and the others will catch up before anything happens.

But all three look pensively in the direction everyone else went.

FADE OUT

FADE IN

EXT PALACE BALCONY EARLY EVENING

SOLAN and SYLVIE are in an embrace looking out at the rising moon. GABRIELLE and XENA are behind them, sitting at the now upright table.

GABRIELLE

You shouldn't have tried to strangle Nereus, Xena.

XENA

He had it coming. What're you worried about? I didn't kill him.

GABRIELLE

No, but you almost did. How's it going to look when the Archon's first case of justice has to be against his mother for attempted murder?

SOLAN

(entering from the balcony)
No one saw anything, Gabrielle. Or so Matrias claims. I don't have a case to prosecute.
(with a smile to Xena)
Seems Athens has adopted another soul.

XENA

Solan, I'm sorry for a lot of things in this life. But you... I can't be sorry. You've done very well. Certainly better than I could have managed for you.

SOLAN

I know.

SYLVIE

We have decided though, we won't name the baby, Xena. But we'd like you to suggest one.

XENA looks to GABRIELLE and then back to SOLAN and SYLVIE.

XENA

That's not for me. I had a hard enough time coming up with your name.

GABRIELLE

May I make a suggestion?

XENA

(groaning)
Is this gonna be mushy?

GABRIELLE

(to Solan)
Cyrene if it's a girl. And definitely Lyceus, if it's a boy.

SOLAN

Gabrielle, you're the bard. Can you fill me in on family?

GABRIELLE

(with a smirk to Xena)
Sure. How much time have you got?

XENA groans and steps out on to the balcony. In the sky overhead the moon is half full, and a star, the first star of the night, blinks just above it. She closes her eyes and makes a wish.

GABRIELLE

(coming up behind her)
What'd you wish for?

XENA

You. To shut up.

GABRIELLE

(laughing)
Not much chance of that.

FADE OUT

END ACT FOUR

END "THE ARCHON"