written for The Xena Warrior Princess Virtual Season is a work offiction based upon the television series Xena: Warrior Princess.
The original characters are usedstrictly for fan purposes and not for profit.
There is no intent to infringe upon or violate anycopyrights held by Studio USA, Renaissance Pictures, Universal Television or any other organization that owns the rights to this series.
Xena: Warrior Princess Virtual Season
Episode 716: All Roads Lead to Rome
Written by Joseph Connell
1. INT. - DARKENED CORRIDOR
We sense more than we see that we are moving through a stone corridor, perhaps far underground.
There is a faint rumble in the background. It is not ominous, but we are given the feeling of something powerful behind it.
This continues for a few more seconds, then...
2. INT. - DARKENED CORRIDOR
We now hear and see a little more clearly: there are torches along the walls, and a crowd of voices somewhere ahead of us.
We can't make out any words yet.
The distant roar comes from many, many throats. This continues for a few more seconds, then...
3. INT. - VIEWER'S BOX - DAY
We realize we've been walking through a dimly lit corridor leading to a viewer's box of the Coliseum in Rome.
The setting is opulent: tapestries of royal violet embroidered with gold and silver thread cover the floor or hang from the walls, gold and other shining metals are abundant.
We continue to move forward.
A couple of legionnaires, in full armor, snap to attention as we pass the entryway.
There are others present: a few more legionnaires standing at full attention and a couple of older men in Senatorial robes bow respectfully towards us.
Our vision seems to bow in return.
As we continue forward to the box's throne we see the bleachers of the Coliseum crowded to capacity.
The crowd is so thick it almost moves like a wave of humanity.
It is now clear we have been following from someone's POV.
We have no idea just who yet.
3. INT. - VIEWER'S BOX - DAY
We swing around to see it has been Gabrielle's POV we've been following.
She is dressed in Roman finery: white robes and golden jewelry.
More puzzling, she looks decidedly confused at being there.
The Senators move forward obsequiously, saying something to her that is lost in the noise of the mob beyond.
Gabrielle can only nod and continue to look about, confused and nervous.
A commotion within the mob outside directs her attention across the Coliseum.
We see Emperor Nero step into view from his own box.
He is a tall man, slightly rotund, but not quite fat, with dark hair slicked back and somewhat chubby cheeks.
He isn't terribly bad looking, but not quite handsome either.
We see Nero flash the crowd a wide, handsome smile and throw his arms wide as if to embrace them all.
The crowd cheers wildly at this.
We can start to make out some of what they're chanting.
4. EXT. - EMPEROR'S BOX - DAY
Nero tries to wave them into silence, without success.
His smile becomes a little forced now.
The crowd goes almost insane at hearing this.
Nero eats this up, smiling even more widely.
5. EXT. - SENATOR'S BOX - DAY
Gabrielle begins to breath slightly harder, as though on the verge of a panic attack.
The Senators and legionnaires either don't see this or are unconcerned.
Nero again gestures expansively to the crowd.
6. EXT. - COLISEUM FLOOR - DAY
The crowd roars loudly as the gates open at either end of the main floor.
Out of one strides a giant gladiator, dressed head to toe in black armor that vaguely resembles Ares'.
He wears a helmet that covers his head entirely, so we have no idea who it might be.
He carries a circular shield and a large battle-axe, which he promptly hefts upward in salute to the crowd.
The crowd in turn cheers him on.
7. INT. - SENATOR'S BOX - DAY
Gabrielle visibly pales at the sight of him.
The giant begins marching to the center of the floor as his opponent steps into view.
8. EXT. - COLISEUM FLOOR - DAY
The opponent is a woman, dressed in the same armor as Eve wore in "Strange Tidings" (episode 703), but wearing a full-head helmet like the giant's.
She is armed with a sword and a shield, though she simply marches forward.
9. INT. - SENATOR'S BOX - DAY
Gabrielle leans forward in her seat, eyes on the woman, clearly recognizing the armor.
She seems to try to say something, but this too is lost in the roar of the mob.
10. EXT. - EMPEROR'S BOX - DAY
Nero manages to wave the mob to semi-calm.
The air fairly simmers with anticipation.
He salutes to the floor below.
11. EXT. - COLISEUM FLOOR - DAY
The two gladiators look up to the Emperor's box.
The giant returns the salute but says nothing.
The woman simply turns back to watch her opponent.
The two hardly seem evenly matched. The giant suddenly turns and brings his axe down on the woman, who manages to block the attack with both sword and shield.
The mob roars in approval.
12. INT - EMPEROR'S BOX - DAY
Nero smiles broadly, clearly amused.
13. INT - SENATOR'S BOX - DAY
Gabrielle flinches, but continues to watch in almost horrid fascination.
14. EXT - COLISEUM - DAY
The action slows down.
The giant strikes again and again, the woman blocks and attempts to counter each blow.
Each blow in turn brings a new roar from the mob above.
Gabrielle's image is briefly laid over the action.
She flinches every now and then, eyes reflecting her fear.
Eventually the giant gains the upper hand, and the woman suffers a blow to the head, which knocks her helmet completely off as she falls to one knee.
She nevertheless manages to rise and look up; it is Xena.
The mob roars again.
15. INT - SENATOR'S BOX - DAY
Gabrielle jumps to her feet.
She cries out in slow motion.
16. INT - EMPEROR'S BOX - DAY
Nero clearly roars in laughter along with the mob.
17. EXT - SENATOR'S BOX - DAY
The fight continues, both warriors moving in slow motion: Xena staggers, her footing unsure as the giant relentlessly batters her.
She is soon sent sprawling back to the dusty ground, her sword and shield knocked from her hands.
The giant holds his axe at her throat as Xena defiantly glares up at him.
We zoom towards Gabrielle's box, which we can see over the giant's shoulder.
Gabrielle is horrified, holding the edge of the box with a white-knuckled grip.
18. EXT - EMPEROR'S BOX - DAY
Nero stands, still smiling, and gives the thumbs-down.
19. EXT - SENATOR'S BOX - DAY
Gabrielle sees this and screams again.
Outside the mob roars.
20. EXT - COLISEUM FLOOR - DAY
The giant looks down and raises his axe, swinging it down with irresistible force.
The world goes completely red and we...
21. EXT - CAMPSITE - NIGHT
Gabrielle abruptly sits up, fully awake and sweating profusely.
She's dressed normally and finds Xena asleep beside her.
She looks up towards the night sky, a terrible knowledge reflected in her eyes.