7.22 Sisterhood


ACT THREE

FADE IN

Gabrielle in her room, lying in bed. Eve walks in. Seeing her outfit, Gabrielle smiles.

GABRIELLE:
     Look at you--you're quite the Amazon now.

EVE (shakes her head):
     The Amazons still don't trust me, Gabrielle. I can feel it.

GABRIELLE:
     Eve, there's nothing to worry about. You're one of them. Amazons are loyal to their sisters.

A sad, regretful look crosses Eve's face as her eyes meet Gabrielle's; Gabrielle sighs and averts her eyes.

EVE (quietly):
     I hope you're right. (changing the subject) I thought Mother was with you?

GABRIELLE:
     She said she was going to try to sneak into Euric's camp and see what they're up to.

There is a knock on the door and an Amazon peers inside.

AMAZON:
     Queen Gabrielle, sorry to disturb you... Princess Eve--Xena is here with some important news.

CUT TO

Outside, in the torchlight, Xena is standing with Varia, Antiope, Myopi, and a few other Amazons. Eve comes up to them.

XENA:
     Eve. I overheard Euric talking to one of his men. He plans to attack the town tomorrow night, just after nightfall, thinking he will take us by surprise. We'd better be ready. I got a good look at the size of his camp--he must have nearly twice as many men as there are Amazons here.

EVE (nods and speaks with sudden, quiet authority):
     Then we'll have a surprise for them. I have an idea what to do...but for now, I think we should all get some rest.

The Amazons bid each other good night and disperse. As they leave, Varia and Antiope exchange quick glances; Varia gives Eve a lingering look, and Myopi catches this and glances at Varia and Antiope, then walks away.

XENA (with a proud, warm smile, gives Eve a friendly poke in the arm):
     You know, I think you're a natural at this Amazon stuff...just like Gabrielle. (Eve nods) Good night, Eve.

EVE:
     Good night, Mother.

Xena walks away. The camera follows Eve as she goes into one of the cabins, puts down her sword and sits down on the bed to take off her boots. She puts out the lamp on the bedside table.

CUT TO

It is pitch black out. All of the houses are dark except for one, with a light in the window. The camera moves inside, on Varia and Antiope making preparations; Varia is rolling up a sturdy rope while Antiope takes a piece of cloth. Varia picks up the animal-fang necklace.

VARIA:
     Now is the best time if we're going to do this.

Antiope nods, though she still seems somewhat reluctant. They leave the cabin.

CUT TO

Outside, Antiope and Varia are creeping stealthily through the streets.

CUT TO

Inside Eve's room. Antiope stays behind, holding the coiled rope, while Varia creeps toward Eve, who stirs in her sleep. Quickly, she stuffs a cloth into Eve's mouth. Eve's eyes fly wide open but she can't cry out. Varia punches her in the face to knock her out.

The camera pans over to Antiope, who winces.

VARIA (whispers):
     Hand me the rope.

ANTIOPE (regretfully):
     I'm sorry, Varia...I just can't go along with this. This isn't right. I can't help you anymore.

VARIA (in an exasperated whisper):
     Fine, then. Go. I'll do it myself. I shouldn't have asked for anyone's help anyway.

Antiope drops the rope on the floor, gives Varia a hesitant and almost apologetic look, and walks out. Varia snorts contemptuously and starts tying up Eve.

CUT TO

A close up of Eve slowly opening her eyes. She is gagged, her hands and feet securely tied, lying on the floor of a small cave, its entrance partly covered with grass, roots and vines. There is a sudden flash of light and Varia's face is seen in the entrance of the cave; she is holding a lantern that partly illuminates her face. She is smirking with satisfaction. Eve's eyes show initial shock, and then resignation, almost as if she expected something like this to happen.

VARIA:
     Enjoy your new quarters, Eve, Amazon Princess--or should I say Livia, Bitch of Rome. (she chuckles as Eve makes a muffled sound.) Sorry, you're going to have to speak more clearly. You know, when you tried to take control of the Amazons, you just went too far. I couldn't let that happen. Well, now, I'm going to beat Euric--and who knows, I just might get my title back.

Eve makes more muffled sounds.

VARIA (chuckles):
     You're so pathetic. Right now, it's hard to believe you used to be Livia.

She chuckles again, puts out the lantern and leaves. Eve struggles against her bonds but it's no use. The camera moves out of the cave and follows Varia as she walks back toward the town through the woods.

CUT TO

Eve lying in the cave exhausted, her eyes closed, not struggling anymore. Two hands reach into the cave and pull her out. Terrified, she opens her eyes, struggling and making muffled sounds as the unseen person puts her down on the ground. Her gag is suddenly gone and she bursts out coughing, still unable to speak. The camera pulls back to show Ares kneeling over Eve. As Eve sees him, her eyes widen in surprise.

EVE:
     What are you doing here?

ARES (rolls his eyes):
     A social visit.

He waves a hand, and the ropes that bind Eve fall off her. She sits up, rubbing her arms, stiff from being tied up. Ares stands up, looking at her impassively. After a moment, Eve stands up too, and looks at him with slight astonishment.

EVE:
     I never expected you to help me.

ARES (dryly):
     Occasionally, I like to surprise people.

EVE:
     Just doing Mother another favor?

ARES:
     Who knows, maybe I think you're the right person to lead the Amazons.

EVE (disbelieving):
     The Amazons? But Varia had your favor in the past... (Ares rolls his eyes) Besides, you never cared about the Amazons--last time you were involved with them, all you wanted was to get them into a war. Why would you care about them now? (eyes Ares suspiciously) Wait...is this because you want to see me fight again?

ARES:
     Isn't that something. I get you out of a jam and you're going to stand here questioning my motives. (grins) Well, I suppose if you assumed that I did it out of the goodness of my heart, then I'd really start to worry.

He starts to disappear.

EVE:
     Ares--wait.

ARES (materializes fully, impatient):
     What?

EVE:
     Thank you for helping me...and the Amazons.

ARES (looks away):
     See, now you're embarrassing me.

Eve

EVE:
     And Ares... (he looks at her) There's something I've been meaning to tell you. (pauses) Back when you gave up your immortality to save my life--I didn't know how to deal with that because-- (her voice breaks off and she looks away). Well, anyway, I want to thank you now. It's taken me long enough.

Ares nods and then disappears. Eve shakes her head and walks back to the town.

CUT TO

Varia walking into her room. Suddenly, the dark room is illuminated by a glowing light that seems to come from nowhere. Close-up on the shocked look on Varia's face. The light fades to revel the ghostly figure of Marga.

VARIA (stunned and tearful):
     Marga...?

MARGA:
     Yes, Varia. It's me.

VARIA:
     I've missed you.

MARGA:
     And I you...but you've disappointed me, Varia.

VARIA:
     Disappointed? Why?

MARGA:
     You haven't turned out to be the Amazon that I always hoped you'd become. I thought you were destined for great things when you succeeded me, Varia--but you haven't fulfilled that promise. (Varia looks shocked) Look at the things you've done. If it hadn't been for Xena, you would have gotten the Amazons involved in a destructive war with the Romans. Then you betrayed Xena and Gabrielle when they fought Bellerophon.

VARIA:
     Marga, I did it all for the good of the Amazon nation...

Marga

MARGA (sternly):
     Are you sure it wasn't just for your petty ambition? (Varia lowers her eyes) And now, out of ambition and vengeance, you have plotted to kill one of your sisters...

VARIA:
     You mean Eve? She shouldn't be an Amazon! She doesn't deserve to be one!

MARGA:
     Do you, Varia?

Varia

VARIA (appalled):
     You don't mean that...

MARGA:
     You were given a second chance, and look how you're choosing to use it--by killing a woman who is doing her best to help the Amazons.

VARIA (angry):
     She slaughtered the Amazons!

MARGA:
     Killing her won't bring them back...but letting her help the Amazons now can save other lives. She is trying to make amends--you should give her a second chance, too. (pause) Sometimes I feel that I've let you down, Varia.

VARIA:
     Let me down? How?

MARGA:
     Maybe if I had not died, if I had been around to guide you, you would have grown into the Amazon, and the woman, that I always dreamed you could be.

VARIA (shaking her head):
     It's not your fault.

MARGA:
     If not mine, then whose? Varia, you can't continue like this. All you're going to do is hurt yourself and others... Live up to your promise, Varia. Don't let pride, stubbornness, and anger get in the way.

A mix of conflicting emotions flashes across Varia's face. Then her eyes soften and she looks at Marga with sadness and shame.

VARIA (voice almost breaking):
     I'm sorry, Marga. I'm sorry I disappointed you.

MARGA:
     Varia--you still have time to correct your mistake. Go on. Perhaps someday you'll make me proud.

The glow of light forms around her figure again and she is gone. Varia drops her head in shame, then looks up and walks briskly out of the house.

CUT TO

Gabrielle, sleeping. A hand touches her shoulder.

GABRIELLE (opens her eyes):
     Xena?

The camera pans over to Antiope standing by Gabrielle's bedside.

ANTIOPE:
     Queen Gabrielle, it's me. I need to speak to you.

GABRIELLE:
     What's going on?

ANTIOPE:
     I'm sorry, my Queen...I should have stopped her, but...

GABRIELLE:
     Stopped whom?

ANTIOPE (lowers her eyes):
     Varia. She...she kidnapped Eve so she could get her out of the way and lead the Amazons herself.

GABRIELLE (shocked):
     What?

ANTIOPE (kneels):
     I'm sorry, my Queen...I didn't stop her when I could have...worse, I actually promised her my help.

GABRIELLE:
     Oh, Antiope--why?

ANTIOPE:
     My sister, Ossil, died at Livia's hands years ago...Varia appealed to my thirst for revenge. I was weak.

GABRIELLE:
     It's all right, Antiope. You did the right thing telling me. Where is Varia now? And where did she take Eve?

ANTIOPE:
     She said something about taking her to a cave in the woods, about half an hour's walk from the city walls... She's probably back by now.

GABRIELLE:
     Go and wake Xena right away.

CUT TO

Varia stands outside the cave, a bewildered look at her face as she looks at the ropes lying on the grass. Then she shakes her head and starts walking back toward the city walls. The camera pulls back to reveal a shadowy figure following her.

CUT TO

Outside Varia's cabin. Antiope, Myopi, and several other Amazons with lanterns in their hands stand by the doors. The sky is beginning to turn light. Xena comes out of the cabin. She looks worried but focused.

XENA:
     She's not here. We have no time to lose--let's go out into the woods and look for that cave.

KLYMENE (off-camera):
     I think I might know where it is.

Everyone turns to look at her. The camera pans over to Klymene, whose face is a little haggard from crying, but has a look of determination.

XENA:
     What do you know, Klymene?

KLYMENE (a little reluctantly):
     The other day, my friend Sarika and I were playing in the woods, about half an hour's walk from the city gates, and Sarika's puppy ran into a cave--we had to go in there and get it. It's a cave in the side of a hill--its entrance is covered with tree roots and vines so you can barely see it...

XENA:
     Will you lead us there?

Klymene nods. Xena comes over to her and hugs her.

XENA:
     Klymene...I know you're angry at Eve. It was very brave of you to put it behind you... You acted like a true Amazon today.

KLYMENE (sniffles a little):
     I'm going to save my anger for the real enemy.

XENA:
     Good for you. Now let's go find my daughter.

CUT TO

Gabrielle sitting up in bed. The door is cautiously pushed open and Varia comes in. Her eyes meet Gabrielle's.

GABRIELLE (bitterly):
     What's the matter, Varia? Want to get me out of the way, too?

VARIA (shocked and ashamed):
     You know about--

GABRIELLE:
     Yes, I do. Antiope gave you away.

VARIA:
     Gabrielle, I'm sorry...I was wrong. I see that now. I have been wrong so many times... Can you forgive me?

GABRIELLE (brusquely):
     Varia, the important thing right now is to rescue Eve. Xena and the others have gone out looking for her... Where is she?

VARIA:
     I don't know.

GABRIELLE (angrily):
     Varia, you ask my forgiveness and then you continue to play games!

VARIA (defensively):
     I am not playing games! Gabrielle...after I left Eve in the cave... (she lowers her eyes) something happened and I realized what a terrible thing I had done. So I went back there--I wanted to free her, I swear. But she wasn't there. The rope with which I tied her was lying on the grass...

GABRIELLE:
     Maybe she freed herself somehow?

VARIA:
     That's impossible!

They exchange puzzled looks.

CUT TO

The city gates. As Xena, Klymene, Antiope and the other Amazons approach, a sentry posted on a platform at the top of the gate cries out.

SENTRY:
     Someone is coming toward the gates!

Xena and the others stop.

ANTIOPE:
     One of the barbarians?

SENTRY:
     No, it looks like one of us...an Amazon...

XENA:
     Varia?

SENTRY:
     Eve! It's Eve!

Xena and the others breathe a sigh of relief. Several Amazons rush to open the gates. Eve walks in, looking exhausted and with some scrapes and dirt on her, but unhurt. The gates are closed again.

XENA:
     Eve! (she rushes to hug her daughter.) Eve, are you all right?

EVE:
     Yes.

As mother and daughter hug, the camera pans over to a sad-looking Klymene, who lowers her eyes.

XENA:
     What happened? How did you get out?

EVE:
     I... (she hesitates)

Suddenly, there is a murmur among the Amazons. Xena whips around to see Varia standing very stiff and still, a guilty yet somewhat defiant expression on her face.

XENA (narrows her eyes angrily):
     Varia. Trying to kill my daughter is a habit you just can't break, can you? (Varia lowers her eyes silently) Well? What do you have to say for yourself?

GABRIELLE (off-camera):
     Xena!

The camera pans over to show Gabrielle hobbling toward them, supported by two Amazons.

XENA:
     Gabrielle! What are you doing up?

GABRIELLE:
     I just wanted to tell you that Varia did try to make things right. She came to me to confess what she did. She told me that she went back to rescue Eve, but when she got to the cave, Eve wasn't there. (to Eve) I'm so glad to see you're all right.

VARIA:
     I'm sorry, Eve. I betrayed you and my sisters... And I betrayed you too, Xena, after everything you've done for us. (to Gabrielle) I'll accept whatever punishment you choose for me.

EVE:
     Varia... (softly) ...I know what it's like to be blinded by ambition and rage. If anyone has a right to judge you, it's not me. I forgive you...and I hope you find it in your heart to forgive me, as well.

Varia and Eve clasp hands, then lock forearms in the traditional Amazon salute.

VARIA:
     To a strong Amazon nation.

EVE:
     To a strong Amazon nation.

Xena gazes proudly at her daughter, tears welling in her eyes as we:

FADE OUT

END OF ACT THREE