Hercules was angry to learn that the warrior princes Xena was raiding villages to increase her power and territory. What Hercules didn't know until later was that Xena's lieutenant, Darphus, was the cruel and heartless one. When Xena spared the life of an infant, Darphus forced her to endure the Gauntlet, a series of trials in which she was punished by her own soldiers. Fleeing on her own, Xena challenged Hercules to a duel - and lost. But he spared her life, so she joined him in defending the village of Parthis from her former lieutenant.