[fade in]


Gabrielle walks over to Xena and tugs at her elbow.

Xena, what do you mean we're leaving? 
I haven't performed the ritual yet.

Xena pulls away and continues to pack the saddle bags.

(angry voice)
Because what they want you to do is ridiculous.

It's not to me.

Xena stops packing and looks at Gabrielle.

Listen!  I am not going to risk your
life over some stupid rule the Amazons
are enforcing because they were to
pig-headed in the first place to take my advice.
(a pause)
I got you into this by challenging Milosa
and it will be a cold day in Tartarus before I put
you in deliberate danger to fix something I caused.

But Xena, I want to do it.

For the Amazons?

(sheepish tone)
No. For me.

Xena walks over to Gabrielle and puts her hand on her shoulder.

What are you saying?

Gabrielle pulls away and moves over to the table, then sits down.

For the past six months I've been following
you around like a little puppy dog.  Every
time you get into a fight, I can see you watching
me out of the corner of your eye to make sure
I'm okay, and I know that's very distracting. 
(a pause)
I'm just a liability to you.

Xena comes over and sits down at the table across from Gabrielle, who has buried her face in her crossed arms.  Xena reaches over and tilts her face up to make eye contact .

That's not true.

Yes it is and you know it.

Gabrielle, you are very important to me.

Gabrielle stands up and walks over to the window.

I know, but I don't want to be a liability anymore.
(a pause)
If I can complete this ritual, it'll
make me a better helper to you.

Xena gets up and stands next to Gabrielle at the window.  They both stare out into the village for a moment.

I like you just the way you are.

Well, I don't.

Xena continues to stare out the window for another moment in contemplative thought.

The full moon's tomorrow night.
We'd better get back to work if we want you ready.

Gabrielle grasps Xena's elbow, giving it a quick squeeze.

(big smile)
Thanks Xena.

[cut to]


All the gear has been unpacked and Tasha has assembled the portable force field that surrounds the perimeter of the camp.   Each member of the away team has recalibrated their communicator badge to a special frequency that enables them to freely move in and out of the force field.

A high powered telescope has been assembled for long-range viewing of the the Centaur villages and surrounding areas.

Captain Picard walks through a stand of trees just over the ridge and finds Worf perched at the edge of a cliff looking down to the valley below.  Tiny specks of light can be seen from the villages that make up the Centaur nation. 

The sun has just set and the serenity of the night with its sweet, fresh air is a welcome change from the confines of the ship.

Look at the beauty of the Earth under the sky Mr. Worf. 
That's something we just can't appreciate, being in space.

It's something that I often long for, Sir.
The holodeck has many programs,
but there is nothing like the real thing.

Worf takes a deep breath and slowly inhales the brisk, pine scented air.  In the distance a lone wolf bays and is joined by another and another until a symphony is formed.  Captain Picard looks up
to the sky and observes the heavens.

Looks like we'll have a full moon for tomorrow night.
(a pause)
Out of all the curiosities we've seen in space,
the familiar stars of home are always the best site.

Captain Picard sits down on the ground and grabs a handful of dirt, bringing it up to his nose and inhales the aroma.

Ahh!  There's nothing that smells as
good as the soil from which life emanates.
(a pause)
I need to do this more often.  No
sense in letting you and Commander
Riker have all the fun.

Worf props his foot up onto a nearby rock and leans forward onto his knee.

Well Mr. Worf are you ready to see ancient
history tomorrow?  I know your fondness for the Centaurs.

Worf's eyes light up.

I've studied the Centaurs in depth.  They are a proud
race and noble warriors.  Just like the Klingons.

As Captain Picard and Mr. Worf continue to enjoy the peacefulness of their surroundings, suddenly the calm is broken by the feeling they are being watched.  Captain Picard quickly gets to his feet.  

As they start back to the camp, they look behind them and see a set of yellow eyes staring in their direction from the top of a nearby hill.   Then another and another appear until at least twenty pairs of eyes are coming toward them in the shadows of the moonlit landscape.

(elevated voice)
Run Mr.Worf.

It's a foot race to make it back to the safety of the camp and its surrounding force field before they are over taken by the hungry wolf pack.  The sound of paws hitting the brush in concert with howling and barking, is almost deafening as the two men begin to tire from the pace.

Emerging up over a hill, they can see the campsite in the distance.  A few more meters and they'll be safe, but the noise of the pack is uncomfortable close.  Worf feels a nip at his heal but tactfully side steps a second strike.  Captain Picard looks back and sees a huge fury gray body lunge at him, but manages to duck and then leaps over the sprawled out animal in his path.

Finally reaching the force field, Worf and Captain Picard dive through and watch wolf after wolf bounce off the protective shell, then angrily skulk away.

Tasha kneels down by Captain Picard, who is still on the ground.

Are you all right Sir?

Picard exhales releasing the adrenalin rush that powered him to safety, then stands up.  He tugs at his clothes to reposition them correctly on his body.

(smiling in relief)
Well, Mr .Worf, that certainly got the heart pumping.
(a pause)
Are you all right?

Worf stands and dusts off his clothes, then turns to Captain Picard.

Yes Sir.

I guess we'll be making our way into camp
before sunset tomorrow.

The pack circles the campsite for the next hour, occasionally leaping at the force field and being rewarded with a nasty sting on the nose.  Then one by one they slowly move away.

Before the last wolf leaves, he urinates at the edge of the force field to mark the territory.

[fade out]

[fade in]


A gigantic bon fire blazes away in the center of the village as Amazons dance around the inferno to the methodical beat of a drum as they chant.

Gabrielle is seated on a platform above the dancers, dressed in royal leathers and Amazon jewelry.  Ephiny is seated to one side and Milosa on the other.

Xena observes from the doorway of the hut, unable to attend the ceremony because she is not a member of the Amazon nation.

Ephiny stands and walks to the head of the platform.  After a moment, she raises her hands and all activities stop.  The Amazons gather around the platform to listen to their leaders.

(loud voice)
Sisters... Queen Gabrielle will speak now.

Ephiny sits down and Gabrielle gets up, taking the center of the platform.

Sister Amazons.  Eight days ago I became your
Queen through the Right of Challenge to bring
peace with the Centaur nation.  But I am young
and inexperienced, and I have much to learn.
(a pause)
My intentions are to relinquish my claim as your
Queen through the Right of Submission.

A loud mur mur goes through the crowd of women.

As my successor, I name Milosa to
lead you.  Her strength and wisdom
and will keep our people strong.

Another mur mur goes through the crowd and then suddenly, they start to chant.

Milosa... Milosa... Milosa...

The drums begin to beat and everyone starts to dance which signals their approval.  

Gabrielle sits back down and shortly after Milosa stands up, taking the center of the platform.  She puts her hands up and the crowd again goes silent.

Sisters, it is with great courage that Queen Gabrielle
has made this decision.  Her heart is truly Amazon.

A barrage of war cries start from the crowd.

To prove her worthiness to our people, tomorrow
Queen Gabrielle will make her way to the Hills of Lissos
to meditate on her decision for three rises of the moon.

A louder war cry emerges and then a frenzy of dancing and drums begins.

Milosa, Ephiny and Gabrielle leave the platform.  Ephiny escorts Gabrielle back to her hut.

[cut to]


Xena stands on the porch of the hut and sees Gabrielle and Ephiny approaching.  When Gabrielle reaches the door she rushes past Xena without saying a word.  Concerned, Xena turns to follow but is stopped by Ephiny.

What's wrong?

She's nervous about tomorrow.
Actually, II think she's scared to death.

Amazons an their useless rituals.

(slightly angered voice)
Hold on a minute Xena.  She's not
scared of letting us down,  She's scared
of letting you down.

That's ridiculous.

No it isn't. The kid worships the ground
you walk on.  She lives for your approval.

Xena looks out into the distance.

I never asked that of her or anybody
else for that matter.

You may not have asked for it, but let's face it Xena,
you are quite an icon.  Most of the Amazons would give
a limb to be in Gabrielle's position, traveling with you.

Xena reflects on Ephiny's statement.

And what about you?

Me?  I'm content with my
nice, healthy fear of your capabilities..

A slight smile forms on Xena's face.
Now why don't you make sure she
gets some sleep.  They'll take her
into the hills at sunrise.

Ephiny walks away and Xena enters the hut.   She sees Gabrielle sitting on the edge of the bed, leaning on her elbows, deep in thought.

Hey, you okay?

Oh, just dandy.
(a pause)
I've just gotta say that I'm pretty
worried about tomorrow.

Xena comes over and kneels down in front of Gabrielle.

Listen to me.  You've trained hard and learned all
your lessons well.  I want you to know that I'm very
proud of you and have total faith in your abilities.

Gabrielle relaxes.

Do you really mean that?

Hey, you've been around me long enough
to know I always mean what I say.

Got that right.

Good.  Now let's get you out of those
leathers and you need to get some rest. 

[cut to]


Worf is peering through the telescope in the direction of the thunderous drums they hear in the distance while Tasha stands beside him with a pair of high-powered binoculars.  After he is through looking, he eyes over Tasha's clothing from head to toe.

The historians costumed you well.
You could easily pass for one of those
women in that village below.

They're having quite a celebration.
I wonder what's going on?

[fade out]


Story Guide


Teaser   Act 1  Act2   Act 3   Act 4

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