An Amazon council of various tribes has a meeting. Varia says she will be the Head Queen over all the tribes. Someone says Roman tribes are in the Amazon woods. Eve walks through the woods. She turns and sees a Roman contingent marching after her. The leader says the new Emperor sent them to protect her as she spreads her message of peace. She politely objects. The Amazons encircle the army. Eve backs up to the Roman soldiers for protection. The Amazons all attack. Eve stands and watches. Varia comes face to face with Eve and orders her taken prisoner. She says Eve will now pay for her crimes. A Roman officer runs away; he sees that Eve was captured.
Xena and Gabrielle seek lodging in a village, but because Roman legions are passing through there are no rooms at the inn. The escaping Roman officer collapses in front of Xena and Gabrielle and tells them that the messenger of Eli was captured by the Amazons. Amazons bring captured Romans to Varia. Varia says kill them. Some of the Amazons object. Xena and Gabrielle go to the site of the fight. They see the surrendered soldiers all lined up, dead, with arrows sticking out of their backs. Xena pulls out an arrow and says it is from Cyane's tribe. Cyane's tribe appears, and greet Gabrielle. Xena gets her hackles up, but Gabrielle says they should stay calm and keep their friends as friends. The new Cyane offers to lead Xena and Gabrielle to the Amazon council. Xena and Gabrielle go inside. They understand that former Queen Marga said Eve could leave that last time but she was banished and now Eve has returned. Gabrielle is recognized as a Queen and given the right to stay at the council meeting. Xena stays too.
Varia tells how six years ago, Eve, then Livia, attacked the village and killed her sister. Varia says she had a chance to kill Livia, but it was her first fight and she failed. So her sister died instead, at Livia's sword. Eve looks at Xena and says yes, I did all that bad stuff. She is offered death or banishment. The Amazon council says well, she was already banished. They all stand up and declare a death sentence for Eve. Xena looks upset. Varia pulls out her sword. Gabrielle says Xena, as Eve's mother, has the right to attempt a defense for her daughter. Xena is given one hour to present her case. Varia sheathes her sword and walks off. Xena tells Gabrielle that the sword came from Ares.
Xena hunts down Varia. Varia says yeah, I'm worshipping Ares now, what of it? She and Xena spar. Xena says only Ares could stop some special move, and so she knows Ares is training Varia like he did Livia. Varia says he's helping her rebuild the Amazon Nation by uniting all the scattered tribes. She says she needs Ares. Xena returns to the council. She asks Eve questions. She says that Eve has to tell the whole truth. Eve says that she was fighting two campaigns in the North and Ares came to her and told her to attack the Amazons and make them slaves to Gurkhan. He said it would bring a lot of glory to her and Rome. So, Xena says, Ares was behind the raid. The Amazon council looks at each other, but Varia says she'll ask Ares what really happened. Gabrielle asks to join the council in deliberations. She tells Xena to be patient, that she'll talk to the council. Xena says if Gabrielle can't talk to them then it'll be done her way.
Varia finds Ares. Ares said he had Livia raid the village in order to unite the Amazon Nation. He tells her that Livia didn't sell the slaves to Gurkhan; she threw them all overboard. He tells Varia to lead the Amazons against Rome. At the council, Gabrielle has to agree that Eve is guilty. Xena hears Gabrielle's pronouncement and storms off angrily. Gabrielle goes after her, but Xena says she just can't talk to her right now. Gabrielle says she will be able to have a voice at the sentencing hearing and will try to reason with the council. Xena goes off alone and yells for Ares. She asks him why he is doing this to her. His voice comes all around Xena and he tells her the story of the scorpion and the swan. The scorpion wanted a ride across the river and the swan obliged, only to be stung. Ares says he does it because that is what he does. He also needs something on his score card to get his reputation back.
Varia declares the death sentence on Livia. Gabrielle says she declares the Right of Challenge, so Varia isn't Queen until she defeats Gabrielle. Gabrielle asks Xena to promise she won't interfere in the fight. Xena agrees. Varia and Gabrielle fight, in a type of boxing match. Varia knocks Gabrielle unconscious. Gabrielle falls to the ground, and Xena runs to her. The Amazons lead Eve away. Xena tends to Gabrielle. Gabrielle says she is sorry. Xena says no, I'm sorry. Now I have to do what I have to do. Gabrielle says yeah, go do it.
Xena goes out and yells for Ares. She tells him the scorpion drowned when the swan was stung. Eve is lead to some volcanic mud pits. Xena comes up and says Varia isn't killing Eve for revenge but because she couldn't kill Livia a long time ago. Varia pulls her sword. She and Xena fight. Xena takes down Varia, then sheathes her sword, offers words of wisdom, Varia pulls her sword, goes to kill Xena, Xena is going to let her kill her, but Varia sees the ill of her ways and falls to her knees crying. Xena pulls her sword and cuts Eve's bonds. Eve runs to Varia and hugs her. Varia stands up and says Xena is our friend. Council, we gotta talk. Ares, watching, claps. He tells Xena she had that planned perfectly. Varia pleads for Eve. Then she sentences Livia to death so that Eve, the messenger, may live. There are hugs all around. Xena tells Eve she should forgive herself for all she's done. Eve asks Xena if she's forgiven herself for all she's done. Eve says she is leaving to go east, to Chin. She thanks Gabrielle for saving her mother and for bringing her happiness. Eve and Xena hug and say "I love you." Eve says good-bye. Xena tells her to stay out of trouble.