8.20 The Rebel



The camera slowly zooms in on a beautiful classical Greek temple. Intricately designed pillars hold up the entryway. The pathway toward the temple is lined with rose bushes and marble statues. As the camera moves in closer, we hear the sounds of chaos inside--voices shouting, things being smashed.


Inside the temple. There is a mob of people--men and women in simple clothes--trashing the place. They are breaking vases, tipping over statues, and tearing down the curtains.

The camera pulls around to show an exquisitely crafted statue of Aphrodite, zooming in on its face. Then we see a hammer smash into it, breaking off the nose. The camera pulls back to show a tall, burly red-headed man swinging the hammer and hitting the statue again, then knocking it to the ground. The man turns around--he is very ugly, with crooked front teeth, a huge nose and warts on one cheek--raises the hammer in the air with a yell of triumph.

RED-HEADED MAN (yelling):
     That'll show those gods! Down with the Olympians!

The other vandals erupt in cheers.

FEMALE VOICE (off-camera):
     Please stop this!

The camera pulls back to show two young, pink-clad priestesses of Aphrodite trying to stop the mob.

     Stop! You'll destroy everything!

A stocky, rough-looking middle-aged woman grabs the priestess by the hair.

     That's the point!

She throws the priestess to the floor. The rest of the mob laughs.

     Please! What has the Goddess of Love ever done to you?

RED-HEADED MAN (scoffs):
     Done to me? What has she ever done for me, huh? (turns and kicks the fallen statue)

Priestess #1 tries to get up but the woman pushes her down again. Priestess #2 rushes to her aid but two other women block her way and start pushing her.

PRIESTESS #2 (frightened):
     Aphrodite, help me!

MAN (off-screen):
     The gods will not interfere here.

The camera pans around to show a man in his mid-30s, in an elegant red silk robe with a golden sash belt, slouching casually against the wall. He is quite handsome, with dark brown hair, a chiseled face, and a dark curly beard. He surveys the destruction around him and a smile comes to his face. He looks at the people and the frightened priestesses. Then he stares intently at the statue of Aphrodite that has been knocked to the ground. After a few moments the statue begins to shake, then rises off the floor and levitates as the people gasp. With a loud crack, the statue shatters to pieces. There are more gasps and cries of amazement.

     Do you see? I, a mere mortal, have been granted the power to end Olympian rule. Humankind has no more use for the gods!

PEOPLE (cheering):
     Down with the gods!

MAN IN RED ROBE (raises his hand):
     This was the last of the Olympians' temples in Pelius. I now declare this city-- (he pauses dramatically as the camera pans over the faces of the mob and the two terrified priestesses) --a god-free zone.

More cheers go up from the mob.

     Hail, Paeonis, the liberator!

The people cheer again; cries of "Hail, Paeonis!" are heard.

PAEONIS (glares harshly at the priestesses):
     I didn't hear you.

Close-up on the priestesses, who remain silent, their lips trembling. Then pan back to Paeonis, who smiles cruelly.

     Take them away--we'll deal with them later.

As the crying women are hustled away, Paeonis makes a sweeping gesture pointing to the riches of the temple--gold, fruit, jewelry.

     And take this away, too.

Some of the people start loading the treasures in wheelbarrows as Paeonis looks on, obviously pleased.

PAEONIS (smiling, quietly to himself):
     For you, father.

His smile suddenly fades to a frown and he turns toward the doorway. A woman who seems to be in her sixties, slender and of medium height, is coming toward him. Her hair is gray and pulled back in a tight bun, and she is dressed in an austere dark blue dress. She looks around at the looters, a sad and stern look on her still-beautiful face.

     What are you doing?

PAEONIS (looking away):
     Mother...I am doing what I was always meant to do. Don't try to stop me. (He turns toward her. A close-up on his face, cold and hard) You're the one who taught me to hate the tyranny of the gods.


Xena and Gabrielle are riding along a road through a hilly area. Daytime. A city is visible in the distance.

     So Darion can stay with the Amazons for now.

GABRIELLE (chuckles):
     Eve can be very persuasive.

XENA (pensively):
     She's come a long way... (glances uneasily at Gabrielle) How's Lykia?

GABRIELLE (a little uncomfortably):
     Uh...all right. She--doesn't tell me much. She's so determined to become a full-fledged Amazon--she's already practicing with the staff... (Off Xena's thoughtful look) Xena--is there something you know about Lykia that you haven't told me?

XENA (abruptly):
     Like what?

GABRIELLE (slightly exasperated):
     Well--if I knew, I wouldn't have to ask you, would I?

XENA (sighs):
     Gabrielle...Lykia was a slave for nearly a year. Nero's slave. Who knows what she's been through... There may be things she wouldn't want anyone to know.

As she speaks, Gabrielle stares at something ahead of them. Xena follows her gaze. We see a group of about twenty people coming toward them. A single horse is a pulling a cart laden with a chaotic pile of various possessions--clothes, household utensils, etc. Some of the people are carrying bundles. Most of them are men of varying ages, clad in leather; some are accompanied by women and children. As the camera pans over them we see that many of these people look battered and bruised. The apparent leader of the group, a stately man in his fifties in a black robe embroidered with silver, with graying dark hair, has bruises on his face and a bandaged arm. As they approach, Xena and Gabrielle stop and look at them with a mix of curiosity, sympathy and concern.

     What's going on here?

The man in black looks up at her.

MAN IN BLACK (bitterly):
     What does it look like? We're leaving town.

     Why? Was it attacked by an army, or--

MAN IN BLACK (vehemently):
     An army! That man--our ruler--is worse than six enemy armies. Who wants to live in a city where you're liable to get your throat slit for worshipping your god?

GABRIELLE (taken aback):
     Your god? (looks over them, hesitantly) Are you--followers of Eli?

MAN IN BLACK (even more vehemently):
     Eli? I curse the followers of Eli! Damned rabble-rousers--

As Xena and Gabrielle looks at him curiously, the camera zooms in on the pendant on his chest. It's shaped like the rune pendant Ares wore in Season 1 and 2.


GABRIELLE (shocked, to Xena):
     They're worshippers of--

XENA (nods, quietly):

Bewildered, they stare at the group of refugees as we: