On the surface, Xerxes appears a pious and devoted guardian of the faith, administering religious ceremonies and festivals to honor Athens' chosen Gods. But in reality he's a practical and ruthless operator who manipulates the faithful to his advantage. Medea is his greatest adversary. She knows her husband, the king, cannot thrive without his support, but also knows that Xerxes is constantly looking for ways to usurp her. His greatest ally is Pallas, the king's brother, who he believes is better suited to lead Athens.