Ares sets a trap for Xena aimed at returning her to her former life as a ruthless warrior. When Xena comes upon a hooded swordsman about to kill Teracles, the last survivor of an ambushed party of four villagers, she draws her sword and charges the brutal attacker. After proving himself a match for Xena with his quick reflexes and powerful blows, the swordsman suddenly disappears, leaving Xena to tend to the badly wounded man as the other villagers arrive. Distraught over the slaughter, they assume Xena is responsible for the killings. Unable to convince them of the truth, Xena manages a quick escape on horseback with Gabrielle. Rallying most of the villagers behind them, they set a trap for Xena, and when Gabrielle is caught, Xena surrenders. Xena is thrown into a prison cell where she is visited by the hooded Ares, who reveals himself and promises to rescue her and make her queen of the world. Xena resists him and prepares to meet her fate.