8.10 Troubled Faces



Xena, Gabrielle and Eve are walking down a wide, straight dirt road. Xena is leading Argo and is slightly ahead of Gabrielle and Eve, who are talking animatedly and leading their own horses.

     Eve, of course a person can become someone else--

EVE (interrupts):
      Pretend to be someone else.

     But once you've started showing a false face to the world, who is to know what's real and what's not?

     You can't keep it up forever, though, can you? Sooner or later, no matter how good you are, something real will slip through the mask. It's bound to happen. And then what?

     Then, you have everyone so confused that they won't know it's real.

     But that doesn't answer the question. To become someone else, you need to convince yourself that you've become that person. Otherwise it's just acting.

     Don't you believe that if you do something for long enough, it becomes second nature to you?


     Doing and being aren't the same thing.


GABRIELLE (shakes her head, smiling):
     You just won't let me convince you, will you?

EVE (smirking slightly):

     You've been trying since we left Amazon lands, Gabrielle. If you haven't convinced her yet, I doubt you ever will.

GABRIELLE (smiles brightly):
     Yeah, well--we still have a way to go before we get to Eve's family's home, so never say never.

XENA (quietly, her face unreadable):

She walks off ahead a little way again. Eve and Gabrielle look at each other and Gabrielle shrugs. Eve goes to join Xena.

EVE (slightly warily):
     You know, you don't have to come with me.

Xena puts a hand on Eve's shoulder.

     Eve, we've had this conversation. Since we're headed in the direction of Rome anyway, we might as well visit Orphelia. And as long as you want me to come with you, I'll come.

     I just don't want you to be--uncomfortable on my account.

     Look, it's not your fault I didn't get to raise you... (pause) Besides, when else will I get to meet the woman who did?

     Orphelia? I don't think you and she will get along, to be honest. She's not really your kind of person. She wasn't really close to me growing up. I think my brother Larus and I were a burden on her more than anything else.

     Perhaps she's mellowed out a bit since you last saw her.

EVE (pushing back her emotions enough to keep outwardly calm):
     It's been a long time since I saw her. She and Toricles--my father--didn't like where my life took me after Larus was killed.

     People react in strange ways to losing a loved one. Especially a child.

EVE (closing the conversation):
     Anyway--you can judge for yourself in a few hours.

XENA (nods, changing the subject):
     You sure you don't mind having Sabina stay with the Amazons?

     I told you, it's all right.

Gabrielle appears behind them, with her sais ready to fight.

GABRIELLE (pointing further up the road):
     I hate to ruin the moment, but there's trouble up ahead.

Eve and Xena look to see a group of about a dozen ruffians headed their way, swords out. Xena draws her own weapon and looks at Eve, who is also preparing to fight.

XENA (holds out her sword to Eve):
     Do you want this?

EVE (looks at it for a moment before shaking her head):
     I don't need a sword to look after myself, Mother.

Before Xena can reply, Eve flips over the heads of the ruffians, who look confused, not knowing who is likely to be more dangerous: Xena and Gabrielle, or Eve. They split into two rough, disorganized groups and each goes for one opponent. They obviously aren't used to fighting as one unit, as they are all trying to do different things, with no one person acting as the leader.

Pan to Xena and Gabrielle fighting in tandem to take out three men at once: Xena distracts them by flipping over them with a war cry, and Gabrielle knocks two out with the blunt ends of her sais, leaving the third for Xena to dispose of.

Pan to Eve, who is managing just fine without a weapon, using her fists, elbows and knees to great effect, though not quite as acrobatically as Xena; she is a lot stronger than she looks.

As all four of her limbs are occupied with two attackers, a third man comes at her from behind and knocks her to the ground. She falls on her back as the first two men try to hold her down. She wriggles frantically, giving the first a good kick. As the third man's sword comes down towards her throat, she manages to wrench free of the second man and yanks him into the line of the blade. His blood splatters all over Eve; he dies instantly.

Close-up of the shocked face of the second man, who wielded the sword. He lets go of the handle.

Pan back to Eve, who grabs the sword, seemingly without thinking, and unhesitatingly rams it into the stomach of the second man, then swings it around into the side of her final opponent.

     Nice try.

Her eyes have an odd look in them. We can see that she is not regretting her actions.

Pan to Xena and Gabrielle, who have taken care of their attackers and are watching Eve.

GABRIELLE (bewildered and clearly uneasy):
     What is she doing?


XENA (slowly):
     I don't know, Gabrielle...

Pan to Eve, who is running her sword through another man. The only one still left alive, obviously scared witless, turns and runs. Eve takes off running after him; Xena catches up to her and grabs her arm.

XENA (shocked):
     Eve, what's going on?

EVE (trying to break free):
     Nothing, Mother! Let me go.

Gabrielle comes over to join them.

     Eve, are you all right? You were scaring me there...

Eve's eyes slowly lose their murderous expression as she returns to reality. She drops the sword she has been holding and sinks to her knees.

XENA (worried):
     What happened there, Eve?

EVE (upset):
     I don't know...

     One of those guys almost killed her, Xena--she had no choice. It was them or her.

EVE (dully):
     No, it wasn't. I could have gotten out of the way without killing anyone...

XENA (crouches down next to Eve):
     Oh, Eve...

Quick pan to one of men downed by Gabrielle before, as he scrambles to his feet and runs away. Pan back to Xena and Eve, still in the same postures as before, and Gabrielle standing over them.

     Eve, if you had seen the look in your eyes just now...you looked like-- (breaks off her train of thought abruptly) --well, not yourself.

EVE (looks up, obviously sickened):
     You mean I looked like Livia.

GABRIELLE (softly):
     You could say that.

EVE (roughly shakes her head):
     Well, don't get used to it. It won't happen again.

XENA (helps Eve to her feet):
     Don't get yourself down about it. Sometimes you really don't have a choice about fighting.

EVE (anguished):
     But I did then. I took that sword and I killed all these people. (gestures at the bodies around them) I don't think I should be allowed near weapons anymore. (to Gabrielle) Maybe it's just like I was saying before...you can pretend to be someone else--but sooner or later the mask starts to crack and the person underneath shows.

Eve walks away down the road before Gabrielle can reply. She and Xena look at each other in consternation.

XENA (changes the subject):
     I wonder what those men were after...

Xena and Gabrielle walk after Eve.


Inside a tent, a group of men are sitting around eating roasted meat. They are rough-looking people, with shaggy hair and beards, muscular and presumably good fighters but clearly not selected for their intelligence. Their rough, unkempt looks are mirrored by the surroundings. One man, young and blond, clearly the leader of the group, is seated at the table eating and drinking wine. He is very different from his men--clean-cut and, by the looks of him, well-bred and smart, but with a definite menace in his demeanor.

MAN #1:
     Don't worry about that, I've heard she's turned into a complete pacific these days. Changed her name and everything--now she's Eve.

MAN #2 (blank look):
     A what?

MAN #1 (rolling eyes):
     A pacific. You know--she doesn't fight.


LEADER (smoothly):
     You mean a pacifist, Borlos. I've heard the same thing, but it doesn't pay to take chances. Things can change fast. I've heard plenty of rumors about our dear Livia. (he spits out the name like an insult) Everything from how she's become the Queen of the Amazons to how she's raising cows on a little farm in Thrace.

BORLOS (completely serious):
     Do Amazon queens raise cows in Thrace?

LEADER (irritated):
     No, that's my point--you don't know how much of what you hear is true, so it's safer to assume none of it is. (strokes his chin thoughtfully) I'm getting a little bit worried about the men we sent after her, though.

There is a noise outside and the tent flap opens to reveal the two men who managed to survive the fight with Xena, Gabrielle and Eve. They stare breathlessly at the leader as we: