The same scene as before. The two survivors of the fight stumble into the tent.
Well, Cyrus? Did you get her?
No, Resor-- (off his disdainful look) --excuse me, my Lord, we didn't. She was too strong for us.
What do you mean, she was too strong? You outnumbered her twelve to one.
No, my Lord, there were three of them--she and two other women. The other two were pretty amazing fighters--but it was Livia that killed by far the most of our men.
You mean you and Oran are the only ones still alive? (nods towards the second man)
RESOR (shaking head):
This just gets better and better. Did you recognize the other women?
No, we didn't. One was tall, with black hair. The other was shorter, and she had these two little daggers that looked like kebab sticks.
Sounds like she kebabbed you all right.
No... It couldn't be them. (to Cyrus) The tall woman, did she give a loud, piercing war cry when she fought?
CYRUS (pleased to finally have something positive to say):
She did--gave me a headache too.
No, it can't be them! (to himself) The fool scouts told me she was alone on that road... Do you fools know who those women are?
The men look around at each other doubtfully.
Does the name Xena ring a bell to any of you?
She's the Goddess of War and Weaving.
RESOR (exasperated; slowly):
No, Borlos, that's Athena. Xena is the Warrior Princess--and Livia's mother!
The men look at each other again, this time with wide eyes. They start talking over each other:
--We're in trouble now!
-- Do you know, I think she's killed even more than Livia in her time.
-- Know what I heard about her and that blonde friend of hers?
-- I heard she's soft on the God of War.
-- (Borlos' voice) She couldn't have both... could she?
The men stop abruptly.
All right. This could be more complicated than I had thought. Leave me, all of you. I need to think.
The men lumber out of the tent, shoving and jostling each other.
Resor pushes his plate aside, spreads out a map and looks at it, tracing a line with a quill; there are several other similar lines on the map. Then he makes a note on a piece of parchment.
Footsteps are heard outside the tent; Resor looks up warily. The flap opens to show Virgil standing in the entrance. As they look at each other, Resor's face spreads into a smile. He gets up and goes over to meet Virgil; they embrace.
Virgil! It's been too long.
Two years and counting.
I guess we've both been pretty busy.
VIRGIL (steps back a little, the smile fading from his face):
Actually, that's why I'm here. I've been hearing stories that you've gotten into bounty-hunting. I was hoping it wasn't true, but-- (looks around him) --it seems I was wrong.
I'm sorry if you don't like it, Virgil, but it's none of your business.
What are you expecting to get out of it? By the time you actually collect any bounty, you'll have spent so much money on all this (indicates tent) that you won't even get a profit.
RESOR (sneering a little):
I'll keep the operating expenses in mind when I set my fees. But actually, this time, I'm not in it for money.
I can't tell you yet--think of it as a surprise that's been a long time coming. But trust me, you'll love it.
Xena, Gabrielle and Eve, who are leading their horses towards a majestic-looking villa with vineyards in the background. The house itself is large, with a long road leading up to it. It is roughly square in shape, and appears to be built around a central courtyard, although it is still difficult to make out from this angle. The land is well-tended but the building itself looks dilapidated. The sun is low in the sky.
Eve stops and looks around, turning slowly to see all of it.
Well...this is it.
Home sweet home.
Eve stands for a moment longer and then suddenly turns around and heads back up the road they've just come down.
You know, on second thoughts, I doubt anyone still lives here. I shouldn't have dragged you both all this way for nothing. We should leave and just--go collect Sabina.
Hey, Eve, calm down. If no one answers the door you can at least show us the outside.
I'm sure it's just as beautiful inside as out. I can't believe you grew up here, Eve. It's so different from any child's home I've ever seen.
Come on, Gabrielle, you've seen young princes and princesses, surely. It isn't that different.
Well, yeah, but that's different. You're one of us.
Gabrielle gives her a penetrating look as Eve walks ahead.
This is harder than you were expecting, isn't it?
It's not that, really. (off Gabrielle's skeptical look) Well, maybe a little. I'm trying to put on a brave face for her, but just being here, knowing this was where she grew up--where she took her first steps, where she fell in love for the first time--it's hard.
Sometimes I forget she's your daughter. She just seems more like a really good friend. There's so much about her we don't know, and you always expect to know everything about your child.
Anyway...as long as she's happy. It can't be easy for her, either--not if her parents really objected to what she became.
I know her mother didn't like it, but what about her father? She said he was a senator...perhaps he supported her publicly whatever he thought about it. Anyway, it'll be fine, Xena. We're both here for her.
Inside the villa. It has the same feel as the outside: that it was once a fine building, but has fallen into disrepair. We are in the kitchen, a cavernous old room with lots of grey stone everywhere. There is an entrance into the garden on one side of the room. Through a wide doorway at the far end of the room, we can see an atrium. Xena, Eve and Gabrielle enter, looking around--Xena and Gabrielle obviously curious, Eve lost in memories.
Wow. It's exactly the same as I remember, only messier. It feels like a very long time since I've been here.
How long ago were you last here?
I left a few months after Larus was killed. I had just turned sixteen.
Footsteps are heard; a middle-aged woman comes through the doorway leading from the atrium. She is dressed simply yet she has an air of class and breeding.
WOMAN (briskly, her voice genteel but strained):
Whoever that is, get out of my house.
We're sorry, we just wondered if--
She is interrupted as the woman sees Eve. Her face changes from irritated to stricken and a little nervous.
Livia? What are you doing here?
Eve looks at the woman, trying to gauge how angry she is before she replies.
Orphelia, I'm not going to be here for very long. I wasn't sure if anyone was still living here. I just wanted to show (a pause as she decides how to refer to Xena) my mother where I grew up.
I had heard rumors that you had found your real mother, that she was a warrior. Caesar never explained to us where he had found you, Livia.
EVE (indicates Xena):
This is Xena, my mother. (to Xena) This is Orphelia--she raised me here, with her husband.
Toricles would have loved to have seen you again. It's a pity you didn't come a few months earlier--you could have seen him before he passed away.
EVE (puts a hand on Orphelia's shoulder):
Don't be. He grew very sick after you left and had to give up his Senate seat. He was bedridden for years. At least now that he's dead, he's not suffering anymore.
Eve looks down guiltily, even though Orphelia hasn't directly accused her of anything.
XENA (taking over for Eve):
We just wondered if anyone was still living here. I wanted to see where Eve grew up.
ORPHELIA (a little defensive):
Well, here it is. She had a good childhood, we did right by her.
So we see...she's a lovely young woman.
ORPHELIA (to Xena):
I'm sure you take most of the credit for that.
No, you've both done so much for me. I was hoping you would still be here, so that I could show my mother that I had a happy life.
Orphelia looks at her, then slowly comes toward her and hugs her. Both of them look rather awkward. Xena and Gabrielle smile, also a bit uncomfortable.
It's been a long time since I've had visitors...this will keep me going for years. You know, Livia--I have such a vivid memory of you right here in this room, standing at this table (points to a table) how you used to make bread at this table right here in this room. You used to love throwing the dough around.
EVE (looks at the table):
I loved doing that, but I remember only ever eating what I made if it was cheese bread. Anything else, I made it and left it there for the crows.
Xena and Gabrielle exchange uncomfortable looks; Xena is clearly uneasy with another woman having memories of her daughter's childhood.
GABRIELLE (trying to help Xena out a little):
So that's why you always complain about how the bread we get from anywhere else doesn't taste like bread...next time I buy bread, I'll get something with cheese in it.
XENA (with a notable lack of enthusiasm):
Or maybe you can make some for us, Eve.
EVE (looks at Xena's and shrugs non-committally):
Yeah, maybe. (pause) Listen, there's not too much light left; I want to go outside and look around the garden for a while. (looks first at Orphelia and then at Xena) Is that okay?
Of course, go on. (to Xena and Gabrielle) We can go and sit down somewhere.
Eve smiles and goes through the main doors of the kitchen into the garden.
The other women head through to the atrium, their voices getting quieter as they go. Xena turns back briefly and watches Eve walk away from the house.
So, tell us more about Eve when she was little...
The sun has almost set and the garden is much darker. We see the house some distance away. There is an olive grove at the edge of the garden, but most of it is grass, trees and flowers.
Eve is sitting on the ground below a large oak tree, picking at a leaf. She looks up at it as though considering climbing it (it has several branches that could serve as seats) but doesn't. She stands up and walks even further from the house, effectively out of view from any window. There is a pathway leading towards the olive grove next to her, flanked by thick bushes.
EVE (looks back at the tree):
The more things change...
There is a tiny noise, barely audible to the viewer. Eve stiffens and looks around. No one is there. She walks up the path a little way.
A small band of men (among them are Cyrus, Oran and Borlos) emerge from the far side of the bushes and surround her. Eve does not look surprised, but she stands calmly, her hands at her sides.
Don't make a sound.
EVE (not bothering to lower her voice):
This is private property. I suggest you leave.
ORAN (comes up behind her):
Oh, we're leaving in a moment. We just need you to come with us.
Eve turns around and raises an eyebrow at him.
No. You'll leave now.
Oran raises his fist to strike her head; she ducks out of the way, and he loses his balance and staggers forward. With a nasty smile, Eve turns, kicks him in the behind and send him sprawling.
BORLOS (taken aback):
Well--so much for that pacific thing. Boys...I guess Livia isn't so reformed after all.
Eve's smile fades and she looks down.
Nope. Once a killer, always a killer.
What do you want?
We want--you. You come with us, we'll leave your family in peace.
CYRUS (looks at her thoughtfully, having noticed her reaction):
Or else...you can kill us all right here.
Eve looks torn. The camera pans to Oran, who has snuck up behind her with a dagger in his hand.
Heck, maybe we won't even put up a fight since you'd beat us anyway--at least we'll save you and ourselves the trouble.
While Eve continues to hesitate, Oran raises the dagger and slams the handle down on her head. She crumples to the ground.
Two of the men pick Eve up roughly and carry her away. The camera follows them down the path, then zooms in on Eve's hair-clip which has fallen to the ground as we:
END OF ACT ONE