8.15 Just Listen



Early morning. The stables. Xena walks in, and stops in dismay when she sees Argo's stall empty. She looks at Klio.

     Where's Argo?

     I don't know...she wasn't here when I woke up.

Xena looks horrified.

HORSE (off-camera):
     That beautiful golden mare...she's gone. (Xena turns and sees Falcon, the horse who asked her for a date with Argo the day before.) I thought you had taken her away for an early-morning ride.

XENA (quietly furious):
     The thief...that thief took her. Well, now he's gone too far.

The stableman shuffles into the stables. Seeing Xena, he stops. Xena whips around, glaring at him.

     What happened to my horse?

The stableman stares at her in bewilderment.

XENA (raises her voice; we now hear her as the stableman does):

Impatient, she points indignantly toward the empty stall.

STABLEMAN (stammers, looking scared):
     Uh...I don't know where she is... I swear, ma'am, this is the finest establishment in town! We've never had any problems like this! She must have run off during the night!

Xena tries to listen, cocking her head, but then obviously gives up on trying to understand him. She starts advancing on him threateningly while he backs off in fear.

Suddenly, Xena stops and looks over the stableman. He is short and plump, with tufts of hair on both sides of his balding head. There is a "gotcha" flash in her eyes. With a snarl, she leaps at the frightened stableman, pins him to the wall and grabs his left arm.

     Wh-what are you-- (yells) Help!

Xena rolls up the sleeve of his shirt. The camera zooms in to show nearly healed scratches on his arm just below the elbow.


     It was you, you bastard!


Gabrielle rushes into the stables and sees Xena.

     Xena, what is it? What did this man do?

XENA (turns her head, still pinning the stableman to the wall):
     He's the one who's been stealing all those animals! And now he's taken Argo!

We hear a "rewind" sound; the camera pulls back to show the same scene again from Gabrielle's point of view.


Close-up of Gabrielle's face; she is in dismay.


     Oh, Xena...it's getting worse. Now I don't understand you at all.

Another "rewind" sound while the camera pulls back to show Gabrielle from Xena's point of view.

     Owiwa...ibatawoh. Nahabokulaflam uhadaw.

Xena and Gabrielle stare at each other in horror. Xena loosens her grip on the stableman, who takes advantage of the moment to try to run; quickly remembering him, Xena leaps after him and drags him by the collar.

STABLEMAN (yells):
     Get me away from this lunatic!

Pinning him to the wall with her left hand, Xena grabs a piece of coiled rope hanging on a post and starts tying the stableman to the post.

     Let go of me!

     Xena, what are you doing?

Xena points to Argo's empty stall.

GABRIELLE (gasps):
     Argo's been stolen? (looks at the stableman) You think it was him?

Xena points to the scratches on his arm.

     Scratches on his arm...you think he's the thief the animals told you about? (sees the incomprehension in Xena's face) Oh, Xena...this is terrible. (gets an idea) Wait--maybe Ares can help you. After all, he is a god. (raises her voice) Ares!!! (there is no response) Oh, come on... Ares!

Xena looks at her, comprehension dawning on her face, and holds out her hand in a "keep still" gesture.

XENA (shouts):

Another brief pause. Then there is a flash of blue light and Ares appears. The stableman's eyes bulge with fear.

ARES (surveys the scene, including the stableman tied to the post):
     Whatever you're up to, I'm not joining in.

     Ares, dammit--this is serious! Argo's been stolen!

ARES (looks at Xena, incredulously):
     And--you want me to help?

     Ares, it isn't just Argo. Xena-- (she doesn't quite know how to explain what happened)

ARES (slightly alarmed):

He turns to Xena, who shakes her head and looks away.

     You can't talk?

     Xena, say something. Maybe he'll understand you. He's a god.

ARES (bewildered and alarmed):
     All right, what's going on? (turns toward Xena) Xena? (looks to Gabrielle again) What--she's gone mute?

     Not quite. (takes a deep breath) Since yesterday morning, Xena's been able to talk to animals and to understand them. The downside is, she can't communicate with people anymore.

ARES (stunned):
     Run that by me again?

     Don't tell me it's catching. (off Ares' glare) She can talk with animals. Anything she says comes out as gibberish to us--and vice versa, apparently.

     You're making this up.

     Hey, hey! I've had just about enough of this nonsense! I don't really care who she can talk to--just get me out of here!

XENA (glares at him, losing patience, and then steps toward him threateningly):
     If you don't tell me what you did with my horse, you little tub of lard--

Ares looks at her in open-mouthed dismay.

GABRIELLE (gives up):
     You don't understand her either.


     And there's nothing you can do?

     Hey, I don't even know what's causing this. (looks at Xena, who stands menacingly over the stableman) First things first. She thinks this guy stole her horse?

     Apparently so. See, there's been a rash of animal thefts in this town and--

Xena taps Gabrielle on the shoulder, interrupting her. Then, with a snarl, she jabs her fingers into the stableman's neck.

     Well, there's one form of communication he'll understand.

XENA (as heard by Ares and Gabrielle):

GABRIELLE (coughs):
     I think I should translate. (to the stableman) Look--I hate to say this, but if you don't tell her everything you know--

     Hold on. You're not doing a very good job of this. (assumes a threatening look and leans toward the stableman) Listen, you little tub of lard. You'll be dead in thirty seconds if you don't spill the beans about the horse and anything else she wants to know.

STABLEMAN (coughing and wheezing):
     All right, all right--I'll tell you! Yeah, it was me--I took the horse!

Ares taps Xena on the shoulder and nods, indicating that it's safe to take off the pinch. She jabs her fingers into the man's neck and he gasps for breath.

     Go on, we're listening.

STABLEMAN (still gasping):
     I took the horse...I sold her to a merchant I know. Such a fine animal would make a lot of money on the market.

     And that wasn't the first time, was it? You're the one who's been stealing all these animals in this town...animals people loved with all their hearts...and you sold them all so you could put a little money in your pockets, didn't you? (The stableman says nothing, looking scared.) Well?

     Yes. Yes, I did.

     And you never thought about what it would do to the people whose animals had been taken away from them? Aren't you ashamed?

ARES (rolls his eyes):
     Look, why don't we save the noble sentiments for later. Where did your merchant friend take the horse?

     He...he's supposed to put her up for auction this afternoon in Photia...it's a few hours' ride west of Anderida.

     All right--then that's where we're going. (To Xena, beckoning her) Come on.

They head toward the door.

     Wait, wait--what about me?

     That's for the people of Anderida to decide.


A wide shot of Xena and Gabrielle riding down a hill toward a town seen in the distance.


A crowded square. The camera moves over the heads of the crowd as a loud voice is heard in the distance, getting closer. Finally the camera zooms in on a platform. There stands the merchant from the night before, next to a sad-looking Argo who is tied to a post.

     And a magnificent animal it is, too! A golden coat--look at how smooth it is, so sleek she almost glows! (runs his hand over Argo's side; she whinnies) Look at that mane! Look at those legs! This is truly a dream horse for anyone who has ever been a horse lover. So, why don't we start the bidding at forty dinars?

MAN #1 (in the crowd):
     I bid forty.

MAN #2:

     Forty-three, we have forty-three. Forty-five, anyone?

Pan to Xena and Gabrielle pushing their way through the crowd.


     Fifty! I bid fifty!

Xena and Gabrielle come to the front of the crowd. Xena looks furious.

     Fifty-five, anybody?

Argo looks up and sees Xena. She tosses her head up and lets out a loud neigh.


     Hang tight, girl. I'm getting you out of here.

MERCHANT (puts out his hand to stop Xena who is heading toward the platform):
     Excuse me, ma'am--you're not allowed to go near the merchandise. If you want to make a bid--

Xena growls at him and he shrinks back.

     That's her horse!

Ares steps out from behind a post at the corner of the platform and approaches Xena and Gabrielle, stepping between them, his hand on the hilt of his sword. The three of them stand together, reminiscent of the famous shot in OLD ARES HAD A FARM where they confront "Battling Siki."

ARES (aside to Gabrielle):
     I think I can do a better job of delivering her lines. (to the merchant) What the lady wants to say is something like this (glares menacingly at the merchant) That's no merchandise, that's my horse!

A murmur goes through the crowd.

MERCHANT (trying to keep his cool as Xena, Ares and Gabrielle advance toward the platform):
     The last bid was fifty dinars!

He puts his hand on Argo's bridle. Xena snarls.

     And that means: Take your hands off my horse, you pathetic excuse for a horse thief, or I'll rip off your head, suck out your brains and--

Xena stomps on his foot. Ares gives her a startled look.

ARES (to Gabrielle):
     Hey--did she understand that?

GABRIELLE (shakes her head and smiles a little):
     Nah--she just...knows you well enough.

Xena goes up the steps to the platform, glaring at the merchant. He backs off. The murmur in the crowd grows louder. Xena grabs Argo's bridle. Argo neighs loudly.

GABRIELLE (turns to the crowd):
     Sorry, folks. This auction is closed.

The people begin to walk away, murmuring in disappointment.

The camera zooms in on Xena and Argo.

XENA (untying the rope):
     I've got you, girl.

ARGO (whinnies):
     What took you so long?

     Sorry. (pats Argo on the neck) Miss me?

ARGO (lowers her head):
     I was starting to think I'd never see you again.

XENA (smiles and strokes Argo's mane):
     What, you think I'd ever give up on you? I would have looked for you to the end of the earth.

Argo nuzzles Xena.

The camera pulls back to show Ares and Gabrielle coming up the platform.

MERCHANT (angry):
     I was sold this horse fair and square!

     Fair and square? Really? That's a stolen horse.

     How was I supposed to know she was stolen? (Ares advances on him, hand on the hilt of his sword, and he backs up further. He raises his hands in a gesture of surrender) All right, all right--I knew. I confess.

     Well, your days of dealing in stolen animals are over. We're taking you back to Anderida to face justice.

MERCHANT (terrified):
     No, please! Anywhere but Anderida! Those animal nuts will tear me to shreds!

ARES (with an evil grin):
     I hope you mean that literally.

     Maybe you'll get a break if you help them track down the stolen animals you've sold.

     There's no way I can do that!

     Too bad for you, then.

He continues to advance on the merchant, who continues to back off until he stumbles and falls from the edge of the platform, sprawling on his back with a groan. He jumps to his feet and tries to escape, but Xena leaps after him, knocking him down, and ties his hands with a rope.


Xena and Gabrielle are riding out of the town, Xena on Argo, the merchant slung over Eve's horse which Xena rode into Photia.


Xena, Gabrielle and the merchant ride through the Anderida city gates.


Xena, Gabrielle, and the merchant ride up to the inn, where a small crowd has gathered. The sun is starting to set.

     -- Xena!
     -- She's back!
     -- That must be one of the thieves!

Eve and Darion come out of the inn. Darion sees Argo and grins happily.

     Argo! You got her back!

Xena smiles at him and dismounts.

GABRIELLE (raises her voice):
     There will be no more animals stolen from Anderida. Xena and I have caught the thieves.

The crowd erupts in cheers.

     What about the animals who were taken?

     They've already been sold. (scattered groans) But I'm sure that he (pointing to the merchant) will gladly tell you what he knows if you promise to go easy on him. You may be able to recover some of the animals.

Xena drags the merchant down from the horse and hauls him up on his feet.

A middle-aged man with a dignified appearance steps forward.

     I want to thank you, Xena, on behalf of the people of Anderida. I'm the chief magistrate of this town. I'll take it over from here.

He grabs the man by the collar, to cheers from the crowd. Xena nods distractedly and the cheers turn to puzzled murmurs.

GABRIELLE (awkwardly):
     Look, she's...uh...not in a very talkative mood today.

VOICE (off-camera):
     Thank you, Xena!

Xena looks over to see a cat sitting on a wall.

     You did a wonderful thing for the animals of Anderida.

LOWER VOICE (off-camera):
     We'll be in your debt forever.

Xena looks over to see a dog lying by the porch of the inn, wagging his tail and looking at her.

     Thank you, Xena. All the animals thank you.

XENA (smiles):
     You're welcome.

The crowd murmurs again; someone is heard saying, "What did she say?" Gabrielle gently puts her hand on Xena's shoulder and leads her toward the stable. They lead the horses with them.


Inside the half-dark stable. Argo is munching peacefully on some hay while Xena is eating a piece of bread.

     Well, here we are, girl. You think I'll be stuck this way forever, huh?

ARGO (whinnies):
     I like you this way.

XENA (smiles):
     I bet you do. Hey, I enjoy talking to you too. But not being able to talk to other people is pretty tough.

     Really? It's not like you're a big talker.

XENA (chuckles):
     You're right. But sometimes there are things you really need to say.

She hears a noise and lifts her head. Stripes, the cat she saved earlier, runs into the stables, comes close to Xena and stops.

     Xena. Thank you for saving the animals.

     You're welcome. (stares at Stripes) Wait a minute...


Xena's dream:

Xena is standing under the arch at the Anderida town entrance, holding Stripes the cat. Stripes meows and leans closer to Xena, licking her face. Then she meows again--and her meow suddenly becomes an articulate voice.

     Just listen, Xena. Just listen.


     It was you, wasn't it? You gave me the power to talk to animals after I saved you.

     I did. I was doing what my mistress told me to do.

XENA (puzzled):

Clelia enters the stables and approaches Xena, picking up the cat.

     Yes, Xena. It was me.

Xena looks stunned.

     Wait--I can understand you--

     That's because I speak the language of animals, too.

A bright burst of white light engulfs her and the cat. When it clears, a beautiful golden-haired woman in a magnificent purple gown stands in Clelia's place, holding a pure white cat. Xena looks at her in shock.

     You...you're the goddess Epona.

     You catch on quickly. I'm the one who gave you this power so that you could put a stop to these animal thefts. Having you save my cat was just a test--I had to make sure you cared enough about animals to take on the job.

XENA (rises to her feet and stares angrily at Epona):
     You're a goddess. Couldn't you have tracked down the thieves yourself without messing with my head?

EPONA (smiles):
     Yes, I'm a goddess. That means I don't take matters into my own hands when a mortal can handle the task--I just need to find the right mortal for it. I found out you were coming to town and so I decided to give you the power. After all, you're a problem-solver and this town had a problem.

     Well, in case you haven't noticed, now I have a problem.

     I know. (sighs) Unfortunately, no mortal mind can handle the ability to talk to animals for too long without losing the ability to talk to humans. (she smiles) But not to worry--I can take it away. I assume that's what you want? (off Xena's glare) Yes, obviously you do.

She comes close to Xena and holds the cat close to Xena's face.

     Oh--wait...I just want to say a few words to Argo...while I can.

     The change will not happen right away. You'll still have time.

Xena nods. The cat licks her face. After a moment Epona steps back.

     It's done. (pause) I bid you farewell, Xena. May you always continue to help those in need, whether they be people or simple creatures of the forest.

XENA (coolly):
     I'm glad I was able to help.

Epona disappears. When she is gone, Xena goes up to Argo and pats her muzzle.

     Can you still understand me, girl?

     Yes, I can. (whinnies) I'll miss talking to you.

XENA (smiles tenderly, stroking Argo's neck):
     I'll still talk to you. And we'll always understand each other...just not the words. I always knew you had thoughts and feelings just like I did...but now I know for sure.

Argo nuzzles her.

     Well, as long as you still understand the words--mind if I ask for something?


     How about a bridle with a special design? (Dreamily) Something that would really say "Xena." Maybe one studded with a couple of little round things like this one. (nods toward the chakram)

XENA (smiles):

She leans forward and kisses Argo on the muzzle. Then she sits down in the hay again, lost in thought.

There is a flash of blue light. Ares materializes.

     Thought I'd find you here. (He sits down next to her.) So...no change? (Xena stares at him uncomprehendingly. Ares gives her a suddenly wary look, as if trying to figure something out.) Say, I meant to tell you--I just got Gabrielle to agree to lead my army. (Xena strains to listen; her expression doesn't change. Ares shakes his head) You really don't understand a thing I'm saying, do you. (He sighs and draws an arm around her.) Don't worry, we'll get you fixed up. And if not...hey, talking isn't the most important thing in the world.

She rests her head on his shoulder as he continues to stroke her hair. Then he pulls back and gently takes her hands, looking straight into her eyes as he speaks softly and tenderly.


     You know, I've wanted to tell you this for while. Do you know that I've lived for thousands of years but I never really felt alive until I met you? I never thought I'd love anyone--never wanted to. And then you came along and opened my heart... (chuckles slightly) I never even knew I had one. It's a funny thing, being in love. You can make me happy in a way I could never even imagine...and you can hurt me worse than eternity in Tartarus. (He lifts her hands to his lips and kisses them) And now that you're with me--I'd rather spend eternity in Tartarus than lose you again--or hurt you again. (pauses) I love you, Xena.

He leans forward and gives her a long, tender, passionate kiss. Then they pull apart.

XENA (lifts a hand to touch his face):
     I love you too.

ARES (stares at her in shock):
     You can talk! (stammers) Wait--how much exactly did you, huh--

XENA (smiles a little mischievously):
     Wouldn't you like to know?

ARES (deeply embarrassed):
     Well then--we'll just, huh--forget all about this little incident, right?


     Not very likely. (teasing) Opened up your heart, did I?

She moves in for another kiss; as they kiss, Ares leans into her until they are both lying in the hay. After a moment Xena gently pushes him back and they both sit up.

XENA (motions toward Argo):
     Not in front of Argo.

Argo tosses her head and whinnies as we:



[Gabrielle's horse got a name during the production of this motion picture.]

Xena: Warrior Princess
Shipper Seasons
Season 8

Episode 15
Just Listen

Story By: Aurora and LadyKate
Written By: Aurora and LadyKate
Edited By: Tango
Collage By: Aurora
Images Gathered By: Aurora


XenaLucy Lawless
GabrielleRenee O'Connor
EveAdrienne Wilkinson
Kevin Smith
DarionAlexander Gandar
CleliaJulia Tantom
EponaRuth Willis
ArgoBrittany Hase
StripesAmanda Richmon
Stable OwnerScott Turner
MerchantJoseph Cotter

Original Airdate

July 11, 2003

Gabrielle's horse got a name during the production of this motion picture.


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© Shipper Seasons





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