Heaven. Michael is looking through a portal, watching Ares, Gabrielle, Eve, and Callisto at the campsite. There is a satisfied smirk on his face. Uriel is standing next to him.
You've done a magnificent job this time, Michael. How did you get Ares to agree to your deal?
He's a fool. I told him that only by becoming an angel could he rescue Xena--and he agreed to it.
URIEL (slightly confused):
But a true angel wouldn't want her returned to the mortal world, with its wickedness and (dreamily) --temptations. He'd want her brought over to the... (pauses as he realizes; he grins) Light.
URIEL (claps slowly; smiles):
Brilliant. Simply brilliant.
The campsite. Gabrielle walks up to Ares--who still shows no emotion.
GABRIELLE (snapping her fingers in front of his face):
Ares, what's gotten into you? You can't be an angel!
ARES (looking at her):
The Light has "gotten into me"--and I most definitely am an angel.
You're the God of War!
War has no meaning without a righteous cause--it's empty. I have seen the truth, Gabrielle. War means nothing to me now.
GABRIELLE (going against her better judgment):
Don't you remember how thrilling it is to kill people, seeing them scream and run in fear of you, feeling their blood on your hands? You really want to give all that up for a fancy pair of wings?
This (he indicates himself) is only a material manifestation of what really matters. Love--and its God.
Doesn't sound like the Ares I know.
ARES (looks at Eve and Gabrielle):
This is who I am now so you'd better get used to it. The old Ares is gone...for good.
GABRIELLE (deliberately goading):
I bet that'll disappoint Xena.
Xena will be grateful when I help her find her salvation--and that's just what's going to happen.
He flashes out of the campsite. Gabrielle looks over at Callisto.
Callisto, what's going on? Why is Ares an angel?!
Callisto looks very troubled.
I was sure I was doing a good thing, I swear.
She shakes her head and disappears. Gabrielle sighs and looks at Eve, who is half-heartedly emptying their burned dinner out of her pot.
Now what do we do?
Gabrielle shrugs her shoulders.
Hope that Xena can snap him out of it. Otherwise...
The realm where Xena is trapped. She is sitting down on the ground. Ares appears in front of her. When she sees him, she stands up, looking over him in utter disbelief.
She tries to come closer, but he stops her with an outstretched hand.
I have been redeemed, Xena. Purified from the evil--which had infested my soul.
And what, if I come any closer, I might defile you with my wickedness?
Perhaps. I'm not sure how this works--but until I ask Michael, I will take no chances.
This is sick. You, nipping at Michael's heels?
ARES (a hint of the real Ares emerging):
It would be a far more enjoyable task with you by my side.
As an angel?
XENA (shaking her head):
This isn't you, Ares. This isn't who you are.
You've said it yourself; you wanted me to change.
Not into a bathrobe with feathers!
But Michael said--
I don't give a damn about what Michael says! And neither did you--until now.
Xena steps closer to him, her eyes betraying various emotions, all negative. He frowns, but doesn't stop her this time.
Will you get me out of here?
You are free to leave...as soon as you accept your salvation.
That's the offer. Accept the God of Love into your heart. There is no room for war anymore. And then...you'll be free.
Ares, we've been through hell together--more; I know you're stronger than this. Are you really just going to let Michael take hold of you? You're losing everything you love because of him. Don't let him take that away.
Ares again winces--and his face looks very troubled.
It's better this way.
XENA (sensing progress):
Just like it would have better to leave your family rotting in Hell? That kind of better? Well, I didn't let that happen and I'm certainly not going to let you go without a fight.
Ares is about to speak--but just at that moment, Michael appears next to them. Ares looks at Michael.
Ares, you're wanted back in Heaven.
Ares gives Xena a slightly regretful look and disappears. When he's gone, Michael looks at Xena, grinning.
Do you feel free of guilt yet, Xena?
Xena stares at him for a long moment and then smiles briefly--but with a cold glint in her eyes--looking much more confident.
XENA (no longer smiling):
You know, Michael, I may never know if everything I do is right and I may never be free of guilt, but I do know one thing: it has nothing to do with you, or your god--you can't judge me.
She walks forward and the invisible wall no longer holds her in place. It opens up before her and she strides straight through it.
The place where Xena had been speaking to Michael before she'd been transported to the other realm. Xena steps out of thin air, looking slightly dazed.
MICHAEL (appearing before her; unwillingly impressed):
Well, well, you are certainly one tough opponent.
XENA (raising an eyebrow):
I'm only just getting started.
How nice--and I was just finishing up. I must congratulate you--as bait, you really shine. (Xena scowls) Ares serves our Lord now. Who would have ever thought that the Olympian God of War would become an angel of the Light? (Xena's eyes narrow, he grins sarcastically) Goodbye, Xena--it's been fun. (disappears)
Looking furious, Xena walks off.
Heaven. Michael is again sitting on his golden chair, a very smug grin on his face. Callisto appears before him.
Callisto, all of Heaven sings your praise. You have given us a great deal of power in the former God of War. We thank you. (he waves his hand and a portal opens up, with an image of a sunny day inside) The Elysian Fields. Your family awaits.
I changed my mind.
CALLISTO (sounding very much like her old self):
I had a little chat with my daughter, Archangel. (Michael folds his hands on his chest, trying to look like he doesn't care) A funny thing--it seems that you've been pulling her strings since the day she was born. Using her to manipulate her mother--and everyone else.
This-- (nods at the portal to the Elysian Fields) --is a limited time offer. I hardly think it's the moment for discussing your offspring.
On the contrary, it's the perfect moment. You must admit that I have quite a vested interest in Eve's welfare--seeing as she and I are the same spiritual being.
You know that's not true. It was merely something to tell Xena.
Oh, I know.
Callisto comes up to him, so close that it makes Michael rather uncomfortable.
It was-- (sing-song) --just-another-lie. No, I sold Xena's gift--my existence as an angel--to make little Eve. For you.
What do you want?
What do I want--now let me think--what do I want? Hm, yes. (contemptuously) A concept so simple, even you might understand it. Justice, Archangel. Justice for Xena, for Eve--and for me.
MICHAEL (through his teeth):
The Elysian Fields are waiting!
Callisto looks regretfully at the portal, then her gaze hardens again.
Oh, no. You're not rid of me yet. (disappears)
Michael grits his teeth, looking very irritated.
The campsite. Eve and Gabrielle are sitting around the campfire. Gabrielle has her head in her hands and is mumbling about something to herself. Eve looks despondent. Eve is fiddling with a stick, running it through the dirt aimlessly. Xena walks up silently behind them.
Their faces light up with delight and they stand, hugging Xena tightly.
Xena! You're all right!
They break the embrace and look at Xena.
You won't believe what has happened while you've been gone. Michael--
He's turned Ares into an angel.
You saw him?!
I saw something white and feathery that looked vaguely like him.
EVE and GABRIELLE:
You saw him.
We've got to do something.
You mean you didn't think it was an improvement? We could just leave him like that.
As Michael's trophy?
Make that, "we've got to do something soon."
I have to confront Michael. This has to end once and for all.
Callisto appears; she is met with three very angry stares.
What's going on, Callisto? I know you're a part of this.
What are you talking about?
I wanted out. But according to Michael, the only way I could join my family was if someone took my place in Heaven.
Yes. I know now that it is wrong to force redemption on anyone. I want to help undo what I've done.
You class that as redemption?! He's a babbling idiot.
Well...it should have been redemption.
How can we undo anything Michael has done? He's too powerful.
There are others who don't agree with Michael's policies.
What about Raphael? He's tried to stand up to Michael before.
With a little encouragement from Ares.
EVE (to Callisto):
Would Raphael help us? He is one of the archangels, after all.
I can be very persuasive.
Xena nods and Callisto disappears.
Yeah, like she persuaded Eli to get himself killed.
It was Eli's choice, Gabrielle.
Xena sighs and looks out into the quiet forest.
What I can't understand is how Michael was able to trick Ares into becoming an angel. Ares would never do something like that voluntarily.
There must be an explanation.
There is a flash of light and Raphael appears before them with Callisto, who moves out of the way, looking smug.
EVE (under her breath):
That was quick.
Xena. Callisto tells me you have a quarrel with Michael.
Now there's an understatement.
Tell me, Raphael. How much longer are you going to allow Michael to play in his power games? Doesn't sound much like what you say the God of Love is all about.
RAPHAEL (looking doubtful):
Michael's always been more powerful than I, Xena. He is the only one of the archangels who has a direct line of communication to the Lord.
Sounds awfully convenient.
It is the Lord's choice. (hesitates, then continues) But many of the angels see it your way.
And what do you think?
There are times when I believe them.
Then you'll help us defeat Michael? Surely you can see how dangerous he's getting--and it will only get worse.
Raphael looks troubled, but sees Gabrielle, Xena and Eve's hopeful expressions.
I don't know how much I'll be able to help, but I'll try.
Raphael nods and then disappears as we:
END OF ACT THREE