The following episode written for The Xena Warrior Princess Virtual Season is a work of fiction based upon the television series Xena: Warrior Princess.
The original characters are used strictly for fan purposes and not for profit.
There is no intent to infringe upon or violate any copyrights held by Studio USA, Renaissance Pictures, Universal Television or any other organization that owns the rights to this series.
Episode 7.1: Honor Bound, Part 1
Previously on Xena: Warrior Princess. In order to rescue the souls of the 40,000 residents of Higuchi that perished in an accidental fire caused by the warrior princess, and who were taken prisoner by the evil kami of Yodoshi "The Soul Eater" Xena had to become a spirit in order to get close enough to Yodoshi to destroy him. However, once the souls are rescued, Xena learned that there was no return from the land of the dead.
EXT. OCEAN - NIGHT
From a distance, we see a small oriental vessel, sails billowing with the gentle sea breeze. The sky is black, save for the full moon that reflects off the calm waters of the open sea like a mirror to another world. A few crew members are on deck talking and drinking. The navigator is at the helm, maintaining course toward Chin. As we grow nearer, we recognize the ship as the one Gabrielle boarded shortly after Xena's death.
2. INT. BOAT NIGHT
A hammock gently sways with the motion of the ship. The hammock is laden with the body of a sleeping man. Below him, sleeping on a small rumpled pallet, lies Gabrielle. Her blanket is a crumpled mass at her feet. Pressed against her stomach is her backpack, with Xenas urn, thoughtfully wrapped within. A protective hand rests upon it. She furrows her brow.
3. EXT. DREAMLAND - NIGHT
The buildings of Higuchi are ablaze. People are running and screaming. A man on fire rushes past Gabrielle, nearly knocking her over. Gabrielle is searching for someone. She holds Xena's sword in her right hand, and as she turns she calls Xena's name, which spills silently from her mouth.
A look of relief crosses her face as she glimpses Xena through the chaos and heads for her, only to find she's vanished when she should have reached her. She turns again, and in doing so, accidentally decapitates Xena, who was standing behind her. Horrified, she fumbles for the head as it falls and tries desperately to press it back onto the fallen body.
4. INT. BOAT - SAME NIGHT
Gabrielle, tosses in her sleep. Her hair is matted. Beads of perspiration dot her forehead. She moans, tosses and turns. In her sleep she calls Xenas name. The disgruntled man sleeping in the hammock above shifts fitfully and yells down at her.
He angrily turns to his side and forcefully pulls his covers up around his ears.
5. EXT. DREAMLAND - DAY
Higuchi lies in ruins, dead bodies are strewn everywhere. Ash rains down like snow. Xena is seen standing and talking to an old man. Gabrielle recognizes him as Harugata, the Ghost Killer, and smiles as she approaches. However, as Gabrielle nears, Xena looks angrily at her and, pointing a finger, declares:
Xena points to a row of stitches around her neck. Gabrielle, shocked, turns and flees.
6. INT. BOAT - SAME NIGHT
Gabrielle tosses and turns. Her sleeping mind is crying out for answers to Xenas accusation. A small sound of protest escapes her pursed lips. She instinctively pulls the backpack containing the urn, up toward her face and presses it under her chin. A desperate and pleading look washes over her face. She frowns and tears begin to well in the corners of her eyes.
7. EXT. BOAT - MONTAGE
We see a sunrise that slowly dissolves into a sunset.
8. INT. BOAT - ANOTHER NIGHT
Gabrielle is asleep in a fetal position, her body wrapped protectively around the backpack. Her head twitches and her arm flails out. Slowly we are drawn into the haze of her dreams.
9. EXT. NIGHT - DREAMLAND
Xena and Gabrielle are hanging onto the rope that has them sailing over the burning village of Higuchi. Gabrielle turns to Xena, but is met by a decapitated body. She screams out a shout of protest and releases the rope.
10. INT. BOAT - SAME NIGHT
Gabrielle jerks in her sleep. She kicks off her blanket and it ends up in a heap between her legs. The man in the hammock climbs out and is about to shake her by the shoulders, when he sees the tears flow down the side of her face. He straightens and waves his anger off then stomps away.
Gabrielle moans softly and instinctively reaches out for Xena, but embraces the backpack containing the urn instead.
11. EXT. DREAMLAND - NIGHT
The dream seems to melt and fold into a variation of the same dream. Only this time when Gabrielle reaches Xena in the crowd, she has already been killed. Gabrielle, panicked, picks up the head. It winks at her.
The dreams become more jumbled and chaotic. Sometimes Xena is blaming her as she stands over her body. At times, Xena is standing over Gabrielles. Occasionally Harugata stands over both their bodies sneering, his blade dripping ghostly blood. In one dream, Xena is nowhere to be seen. In another, the town is deserted and Gabrielle is alone, standing there in battle dress, a chakram in one hand and a sai in the other.
Gabrielle angrily raises the chakram to the heavens and screams:
As the dreams shift and change, they are overlaid with images of Gabrielle tossing and turning restlessly on her pallet, the sun rises and sets upon the ocean, a blast of rain, and another setting sun.
12. INT. BOAT - EARLY MORNING
Sunlight filters through a crack in the ship's planking. Gabrielle curled around the backpack containing the urn, has begun to cry. She moans softly in anguish. A figure materializes beside Gabrielle. It is Ephiny. She smoothes the hair along the bard's sweaty brow.
Ephiny fades and as she does, we fade into Gabrielle's dream again.
13. EXT. DREAMLAND - DAY
As if comforted by Ephiny's touch, Gabrielle's dream takes a dramatic turn. Both Xena and Gabrielle are sitting side by side near a stream. Cherry blossoms fall from the sky and one lands in Gabrielle's hair. Xena reaches out and lovingly plucks the stray petal, laughing merrily as she does.
14. INT. BOAT - DAY
Gabrielle wakes with a start; her hand reaches out for a partner who is no longer there. She sits for a moment, her cheeks wet with tears. Her facial features harden with determination and she rises to gather her things.
15. EXT. BOAT DECK - DAY
Gabrielle is on deck looking out to sea. Her backpack is hung over her shoulder, her hand holding, and caressing Xena's urn. Xena's spirit is standing beside her, watching her friend. Her face saddens and she casts a forlorn look out to sea.
She casts a quick glance up at the warrior beside her who looks down and smiles before putting an arm around Gabrielle's shoulder.
They both cast their glances out to sea.
The sun is just beginning to set. Off in the distance is the land of Chin. The ship will soon be in port. Crewmen begin to furl the main sails. Xena touches Gabrielle's brow and lightly places a gentle kiss on her forehead.
Xena looks down at Gabrielle with a loving, yet pained look.
Xena touches Gabrielle gently on the cheek. Gabrielle smiles weakly, leaning into Xena's hand. Xena fades as the sun sets beyond the horizon.
The boat crew casts side-long glances at Gabrielle. They look at one another and shake their heads. One clutches a talisman tied to a leather thong around his neck. The other working beside him, scoffs at the superstitious action. Others give her a wide berth as they move about the ship, tacking the sails.
A hand suddenly settles on Gabrielle's right shoulder as she looks off into the dusky sea.
Startled by the touch and the voice from nowhere, Gabrielle jumps. She relaxes when she turns and sees Ephiny behind her.
Ephiny smiles and stands beside her at the railing. Gabrielle turns her gaze back to the landmass of Chin. Ephiny joins Gabrielle at the railing.
Gabrielle turns and looks up into Ephiny's countenance with a questioning look.
Ephiny begins to fade.
Ephiny vanishes, leaving Gabrielle alone. The ship bumps into the pier. Gabrielle sways slightly with the impact. The anchor is dropped, making a loud splashing sound as it falls into the water.
Ashore we see lanterns being lit along the dock and throughout the village by men carrying long torches. The dock workers carry out their tasks of catching ropes tossed from the ship and securing the vessel to the pier.
The gangplank is put in place and the passengers brush pass Gabrielle.
Gabrielle stands on deck for several moments, puzzling over what Ephiny has told her. Then with a determined air, she ignores the sailor's comments and hurries down the gangplank, clutching her backpack securely and disappears into the crowd.