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The Legacies of Callisto: Redemption
The characters of Callisto, Xena, Gabrielle and others belong to Universal, Renaissance and whoever else owns the property. Forbidden Mountain belongs to Pash O'Connor and no copyright infringement was intended. All other characters are entirely my own (except for the Gods obviously) and anyone else is welcome to use them.
After seeing a few episodes featuring Callisto, and reading the short story "Forbidden Mountain", I was inspired to try my hand at writing continuations of my own. The following series of stories is what I came up with. I hope you enjoy them.(at the moment I haven't seen all the episodes of Xena and Hercules to feature Callisto please forgive any continuity errors or mistakes I've made with the characters past) The first part of this story is heavily influenced by Forbidden Mountain.
The creators of Callisto, she's great
Hudson Leick for playing her so well and getting me interested in Xena
Pash O'Connor for writing "Forbidden Mountain", my inspiration
|Redemption||Mortius||The Shadow Riders||Soul, Strength And Faith||Out of Time|
Prologue: A Cruel Dream
The flames tinted the night sky to the colour of blood as the little girl watched the fire spread. It would leap form one house to the next devouring them as it swept through the small thatched village. For every house it consumed the raging inferno glowed brighter and roared more fiercely. The villagers hurried back and forth desperately trying to extinguish the flames that destroyed house after house. Anything that could hold water was being used to carry it up from the nearby river, but none of it was enough. The girl continued to watch the fire rage. Eventually the Gods saw fit to end the suffering of the villagers and the cloud filled sky parted pouring rain onto the burning buildings below.
The girl wandered through the smoking remains of her home. The frail skeleton of what had once been a house filled with happiness and warmth creaked under her every footstep.
"Mama." She called through the smoke filled room. Nothing. She continued through the house shouting forlornly. Eventually she came to her parents bedroom. She slid nearer to the smouldering ruin of the door. Reaching out tenderly she pushed at it. The door collapsed inwards with a resounding crash disturbing the acrid smoke that still hung in the air. A figure lay under the tattered sheets of the bed.
"Mama!" she wept happily and ran to hug her. The figure did not return the gesture.
"Mama?" the girl said questioningly and reached out to turn the figures head to look at her. The face was burned almost beyond recognition. Tattered wisps of hair that had withstood the fire hung loosely from the woman's blackened scalp. The eyes were burned to little more than cinders while the scorched lips were drawn back in a crooked grin to reveal filthy charred teeth. The girl screamed.
Chapter One: The Dark Place
Callisto's eyes flew open at the memory of the dream. Slowly she let them travel around her unfamiliar surroundings. Where was she? In her travels Callisto had visited many strange places but she had never been here before. The room was dark and appeared only to be made of cold, hard stone. Slowly she sat up and took a better look around the chamber. It reminded her of a dungeon that she had spent a long time shut away in. The last thing she could remember other than the dream was being stabbed by Xena with the Hinds blood dagger. By all rights her spirit should have been hurled into oblivion. So what, in the name of all the Gods was she doing here in this dark, dank room. She slid off the cold stone slab she had been lying on and tried to stand up. She felt her knees quiver below her. She reached out a hand and steadied herself on the slab. Why did she feel so weak? Tentatively she released her hold on the slab and tried to take a step, her knees buckled and she fell flat on her face. A laughing voice emanated from the darkness.
"Be careful," it said slowly, "You won't have regained all your strength yet. Being dead is a tremendous drain on the bodies resources." Slowly Callisto managed to pull herself up into a sitting position.
"Where is this place?" she demanded as threateningly as she could. It was hard to be threatening when you were sat on the floor and felt as weak as a newly born kitten.
"Such aggressiveness Callisto. You will have to learn control of it." The voice was muffled, even if she had heard it before she wouldn't have been able to recognise it.
"Where am I?" she said again, "Am I in Tarturus again? Are you Hades?" She heard the sounds of movement in the darkness as an old man with a thick white beard and eyes that sparkled with twice the intensity of diamond stepped out into the light.
"No and no." he replied curtly, "I am Zeus and this is Mount Olympus, welcome back among the living Callisto." She looked at him, a confused look spreading across her face.
"So I was dead." She said slowly. Zeus nodded.
"Oh yes. The Hinds blood dagger went very deep."
"So how am I here? Hinds blood can kill anything, even Gods." Zeus held out a hand to her.
"All your questions will be answered in due time. Come," he said warmly "You must be starving, and you'll need to eat to regain your strength." Callisto refused his hand and used the slab to ease herself up onto her feet.
"Gods don't need to eat." She said as if she was talking to an idiot rather than the king of the Gods. Zeus chuckled
"Ah yes, but you are not a God any more." Callisto's eyes widened.
"Did you just say I'm not a God anymore?" Zeus nodded
"Oh this is just great. Not only have I been brought back to life, which I didn't want in the first place," she said pointing at him, "but now I've had all my powers taken away from me." She turned away and stared at the stone slab. She could feel Zeus' eyes drilling into her back. Callisto had never felt uncomfortable before, she didn't like it.
"You hated having those powers, they didn't bring you the peace you wanted." Callisto whirled round to face him and immediately wished she hadn't
"That maybe, but they had some value. No one could best me in a fight." She tried to walk away and felt her knees buckle once more. Zeus kneeled down by her fallen body.
"Let me help you out of this dark place." He said gently
"I don't need help!" she shouted. Zeus sighed
"Don't be so stubborn. Of course you do, you can barely stand." Grudgingly she reached out and wrapped her arm around his surprisingly strong shoulders. He in turn wrapped an arm around her waist and helped her to her feet.
"You mustn't be afraid to trust people Callisto, not everyone will attack you the moment you let your guard down. Now come on, let's get you out of this awful place."
Chapter Two: Godly Perception
Callisto swayed dizzily as Zeus helped her down into the cushioned chair at the head of a table crammed so full with food that it creaked under the weight.
The smell of the perfectly cooked wild pig and fine red wine tingled in her nostrils it was an effort not to reach out and grab the nearest piece of food.
The Gods knew she was hungry enough. But she did not want Zeus to see her give into him a second time. Instead she stubbornly folded her arms and looked up at him.
"How did you bring me back? I thought it was impossible to revive those killed with Hinds blood."
"Being the king of the Gods, I know a few things that the others don't. It gives me an edge that I don't intend to lose to the likes of Ares. Or to you." He added. Callisto glanced longingly at the table but quickly returned her gaze to the God standing by her side.
"Okay." She said, "that's one question out of the way. Question two, why did you bring me back?" Zeus sighed and shook his head.
"Another thing you must learn my dear is patience. All will be revealed in due time but first you must eat." He offered her bowl of fruit. Callisto plucked a single grape from the bunch and grinned smugly as she popped it into her mouth. She had to stop herself groaning with pleasure at the exquisite taste. She didn't want Zeus to think she was beginning to crack. Not that she was mind you.
"Now answer my question." She said, "How. Did. I. Get. Here?" she paused between each word for emphasis. Zeus' face took on a stern expression.
"My reasons are my own. All you need to know is what I have planned for your future." Callisto laughed.
"I have no future. The first chance I get, I'm going to run myself through." A knowing smile passed across the Gods face.
"No, I don't think you will. You see Callisto, I have watched you for a very long time and I know you better than you know yourself." Callisto turned away. She didn't like the look on Zeus' face. It made her feel nervous, another sensation she hadn't felt before.
"What do you mean?" she said questioningly. Zeus kneeled by her side and smiled smugly.
"Eat and I'll tell you." He said. Callisto wanted to punch that ridiculous bearded face of his. Instead she turned to the table and began to tuck into a plate of steaming hot beef. The moment she took the first bite she knew that she wouldn't be able to hold back. The scent and taste of the meat simply inflamed her hunger even more. It was like a burning sword thrust through her chest, desperate to be healed. Zeus moved over to another chair and sat down to watch.
"Good." He said, "Its good that you're eating. It was getting to the stage where I would have had to bind you and force the food down your throat." Callisto's eyes widened. She might have taken it for a joke if it hadn't been for the fact that the kind looking old man sitting opposite her could have done it without batting an eyelid. She swallowed a large hunk of beef and spoke
"You were going to tell me what you meant when you said you didn't think I would be able kill myself." Zeus smiled again.
"I was wasn't I?" Callisto sighed
"Yes. You were." She was becoming bored with this little game. So, it appeared, was Zeus.
"Alright," he said knowingly, "what I meant was I don't think you want to die anymore." Callisto laughed at him.
"What are you talking about. If I didn't want to die I wouldn't have let Xena stab me." Zeus wearily shook his head.
"You didn't have much choice in the matter. Anyway, as I was saying. Just before Xena stabbed you, you said that with Gabriele gone you had a reason to live." Callisto slammed her fist violently on the table.
"I was teasing Xena. I wanted her to hurt." She yelled furiously
"No Callisto." Zeus said tenderly, "You wanted to live. For a brief moment you imagined that someone could love you, care about you, and for that brief moment you realised you wanted to live." Callisto slid back her chair and stood up. Her legs still felt weak but her burning hunger no longer burned quite so brightly.
"We both know I was fooling myself." She said, her anger replaced by sadness. "No one could love me. I mean, look at what I've done. No one would be able to see past that. Not that there's anything underneath anyway." She tried to walk back to the table but the best she could manage was a slow hobble. Zeus was immediately by her side and helping her to back to the seat. This time she didn't even try to refuse his aid.
Zeus sat her back down and a chair materialised beside her own. The God sat in it and took one of her hands in his.
"You're wrong Callisto there are people out there who can love you and who will love you, and you will love them." She turned her brown eyes to look at him.
"This time I know you're joking." She said.
"I would never joke about anything so serious." Zeus said. Callisto sighed again.
"Okay, who are they?" Zeus laughed.
"I'm not Aphrodite Callisto. Its up to you to find them, all I intend to do is point you in the right direction." Callisto arched her eyebrows at him.
"You're letting me go? How do you know I won't run off after Xena again?" Zeus stood up and walked away from her.
"Quite simple really, where you're going Xena hasn't even been born yet." Callisto was confused
"What did you say old man?" Zeus turned to look at her.
"I'm sending you into the past. Two hundred years into the past to be exact."
"Why?" asked Callisto
"It is the perfect opportunity for you to start your life again. No one will know who you are, or about your past. You will simply be another traveller. Albeit a very attractive one." Callisto raised her eyebrows at him.
"I didn't think you brought me back to flirt with." She said scornfully.
"Callisto, you must take this seriously. It took a lot of effort for me to set all this up. If you are to take this journey then you will need to obey the rules I have imposed." Callisto shook her head.
"I knew it," she said "there's always catches with you guys. So what are these rules." When Zeus spoke his voice was like iron. These rules were for real.
"First, you will never draw your sword against anyone other than in defence of yourself or another. Enough innocent blood has already been spilled upon your hands. I will not see yet more added to it. Second, only those close to you who may be trusted can know your true past and where you come from. Time is a fragile thing and I will not tolerate any unexpected disruptance. Should you break either of these two rules then I will have you back here on a Olympus before you take one step. Do you understand?" Callisto nodded then folded her arms and cocked her head to the right.
"I have a question of my own." she said plainly
"Go ahead." Said Zeus.
"What if I don't want to go on this journey?" she said earnestly. Zeus leaned down in front of her face.
"Then you can spend eternity being tortured for your crimes in Tarturus. And believe me this time you would not escape. Hades is looking forward to meeting you again."
"Well I can't say I'd be thrilled to meet him again." She sighed reluctantly "I'll undertake the journey."
"Then I shall leave you to eat." Zeus turned on his heel and began to leave. As he neared the arch at the far end of the hall he turned and gazed steadily at her.
"Don't consider this an extension of your life Callisto. Consider this a rebirth. This is your one chance at redemption. Do not ruin it the same way you did your last life." And with that he was gone.
Epilogue: Down To Earth
Callisto hacked her way through the dense undergrowth of the dark forest as she vainly struggled onward. She had bought the sword with fighting in mind. It had never occurred to her that she might have to hack her way through this near primeval forest with such a cheap and badly forged blade. She sighed and stopped as the last branch gave way. Massaging her aching shoulder she looked up to the leafy rooftop above her head.
"Curse you Zeus." She muttered under her breath "Couldn't you at least have given me the money to buy a halfway decent sword." Taking a deep breath she started forward once again. She had been down here for two weeks and so far she had seen neither hide nor hair of any large settlement. If she remembered rightly the area she was in should be filled with large towns and even the odd city. Unfortunately the knowledge she had of the area was what it would like in two hundred years time, not right now.
She grunted as she finally severed a particularly thick branch. Zeus had dropped her here with nothing other than the battle dress she normally wore. She had never felt so stupid as she had done walking into that village three days ago in full battle dress but with out one weapon to her name.
"Curse you Zeus." She muttered again.
Finally she hacked aside the last branch and stepped out onto soft grass that lined a long beach of dull yellow sand. At last she had reached the coast. Zeus had told her to head South until she reached the coast but had not given her even the slightest clue as to where to go next. There was a clap of thunder from the dark black clouds that hung heavily overhead. Great, just what she needed, not one village in sight and now a thunderstorm to cool off in. To the West a large group of rocks stretched up out of the sea and up form the beach. Maybe she could get a better view of the land around her if she climbed one of them. Besides it was a good a direction as any to head in.
The rain lashed at her as she climbed the sheer rock face, making the stone slick and hard to keep hold of. Added to the howling winds hurling themselves down at her and she had some pretty awful climbing conditions. Slowly she struggled up onto the top of the rock face she had been climbing and tried to stand. With the wind desperately trying to pull her down onto the sharp rocks below and lashing her long waterlogged hair across her face it was a near impossible task, but somehow she managed it. As he she strove to maintain her footing in the face of the storm she threw her head back and laughed. So far this journey had been more difficult than she thought. Maybe it would be interesting after all. As the spray from the huge breakers drenched her even more she held her sword aloft.
"A Journey to find myself." She bellowed into the raging wind.
Prologue: A Restless Night
The little girl watched as the flames from the roaring funeral pyre licked higher and began to devour the bodies of her family. The smoke stung her eyes but she had no more tears left to ease the pain. She watched the fire crackle and spit as completely enveloped them, roaring louder as the flames took hold of the already burned flesh. She felt a strong hand on her shoulder trying to comfort her. She walked away from it. She didn't want to be comforted, she wanted to hate. She wanted to hate more strongly than she had ever done so before. Slowly the onlookers began to walk away leaving her alone by the fire.
She stood watching the flames for a long time, letting them fuel her anger until the fire in her heart raged uncontrollably. Eventually she turned and ran. She could not stand to watch those flames any more. Her small bare feet pounded the grass of the hillside. Occasionally she would stumble and cut herself on sharp rocks but she didn't care. Her fury made her oblivious to the pain. The birds had stopped singing and the moon was high in the sky by the time she emerged from the trees onto the summit of the hill. She stood panting heavily and staring down into the still smouldering remains of the village at the base of the valley. How could they all just mope about down there when most of their families had been murdered. How could they not act. Well she would act for them all. She would make her families killer pay with her very soul.
"Death to the warrior woman." She bellowed. Finally she turned and began to make her way back to the trees. As she left she thought she caught a glimpse of a strange hooded figure shaking its head sadly.
Chapter One: The Battle
Callisto awoke suddenly. The dream had been a painful but unusual one.
Many times she had dreamed of the fire that had killed her family but never before had she dreamed of the funeral. The hooded figure was strangest of all.
She could not remember ever seeing that before, in a dream or in life. Sitting up, she shook her head dismissing the dream that was already slipping from her memory as quickly as it had come. Dawn was getting near and she had best get moving soon. Maybe at the next village she would be able to find a horse. That would certainly make her journey easier. Tiredly she clambered to her feet and kicked the sand around her over the flames.
"Time to move on." She muttered wearily.
The village looked peaceful nestled among the trees with the sound of the ocean washing against the rocks of the shoreline not far away. Callisto was tired. It had been three weeks now since Zeus had placed her back upon the Earth and in all that time she had only come across two villages. This was the second.
Slowly she stumbled down the hillside toward it. Even if she only stayed one night, a night in a proper bed would be bliss after weeks of sleeping on hard rock, grainy sand or wet grass. It was at times like this she wished she still was a god. At least she didn't have to sleep then. As she grew near to the village she began to catch sight of its finer details. Dogs barking, people moving back and forth, the sounds of an average day in any village, or were they. She listened more intently. The sounds of battle. Summoning what strength she had, she ran for the village. Zeus had said no fighting except in defence of herself or another, but if she ran into the middle of a battle she was bound to find an opportunity to fight using defence as a good excuse. Besides what better way was there to begin your redemption than saving a helpless village.
Smoke was gathering in the sky over the village by the time she reached the West gate. Inside the walls of the small community the sounds of battle raged on unabated. Drawing her sword in readiness for the possibility of a fight she stepped carefully past the gates. The village was quite large giving plenty of room to manoeuvre in the wide streets. Good, that made fighting a bit simpler.
She watched as two men locked in one on one combat moved past. One was dressed from head to toe in tattered leather battle armour with a conical helmet perched on top of his head. Probably one of the attackers. The other wore a mixture of home made armour, bits of pan and cooking pots attached to some slightly more professional looking gear. Probably a member of the village guard she thought.
The guard seemed to be holding his own quite well against the attacker, in fact he seemed to be winning. This was different to say the least. Most of the villages and towns she had raided had never put up a very good fight. This place would have made a refreshing change. She shook her head. She was trying to get away from that past, not relive it. Suddenly a second attacker joined the fray, this one a bit more skilled, and in no time at all the village guard was fighting for his life. Now would be a good time to get stuck in. Quickly Callisto leapt to the struggling fighters aid. The two attackers drew back as the strange woman in leather battle dress and with long blonde hair whooped her way into the battle.
"Who are you?" asked the village guard. Callisto never took her eyes off the two men stood in front of her.
"I'll tell you later." She said coolly. One of the attackers laughed.
"For you there is no later." He growled, "C'mon, let's get 'em." The fight was over in seconds. Callisto easily parried the first blow and brought her sword up, its tip slashing the mans throat. Without waiting to see if he went down she turned her attention to the second attacker. As the guard parried blow after blow Callisto quickly ducked in and ran the leather-clad warrior through.
"Nothing like a good sword fight to wake you up in the mornings." She grinned as she wiped the blood from her sword. Turning her gaze to the guard she asked
"What's your name soldier?" The guard looked at her cautiously. Callisto suddenly realised she was grinning like a maniac and tried to wipe the satisfied look from her face.
"Teleaus." He said nervously. "Who are you." Callisto rammed her sword into its sheath.
"My name's Callisto and I'm a friend. Now where's the rest of the fighting?"
"Over the other side of the village." He answered.
"Okay, lets go."
The East side of the village was burning when they got there. From what Callisto could see the village guard were coping very well with the situation.
While some held off the attackers others were desperately trying to save the innocent bystanders by herding them towards the villages West side. Teleaus immediately ran off to help two more guard members in defending the walls of the village. Callisto looked around for something to do. The village guard had just about everything wrapped up. Everything that was except for one little girl stood near a flaming building. Quickly she darted across the soft muddy ground and knelt at the girls side.
"What's wrong?" she asked trying her best to sound caring.
She had never comforted anyone before. The girl pointed at the burning building that looked something like an inn.
"My daddy is in there." She said, her voice choked by tears.
Callisto didn't hesitate. She leapt forward smashing through the weakened wooden door. The heat would have been unbearable for almost anyone else but Callisto had spent along time being tortured in Tarturus. The flames may burn but when you'd burned solidly for hours on end it didn't seem to hurt quite so badly. The inn had been lavishly decorated before the fire. Huge expensive looking rugs smouldered in the heat on the floor and an ornate fireplace was beginning to give under the weight of the roof no longer supported by beams. Callisto coughed in the thick smoke.
"Is anyone alive in here?" she yelled. A weak voice echoed out of the smoke
"Over hear." It called. Quickly Callisto began to make for the source of the noise.
"Keep talking." she shouted. "What's your name?"
"Caylon, my names Caylon. Now could you hurry up and get me out of here, the roof's starting to give in." Callisto rounded the bar and saw the man trapped under two large barrels that had fallen from the shelves above him.
She leaned down next to him and gripped the underside of one of the barrels. She wouldn't be able to lift it bare handed. Thinking fast she drew her sword and wedged it under one end of the barrel at Caylons feet.
"Okay," she said trying to sound reassuring, "on the count of three I'm going to try to pry this barrel off you. When it lifts you should be able to get out from under the other one, but you'll have to do it quickly because I can't hold it for long. Do you understand?" Caylon nodded. Callisto braced tightened her grip on the sword and tensed every muscle in her body ready to heave the barrel aside.
"Okay, one... two... three..." she grunted as she felt the barrel begin to give under the pressure. As it lifted Caylon quickly rolled from underneath. Not a minute too soon either. The moment he was clear the blade of her cheap sword broke in two and the barrel crashed to the floor.
Discarding the useless hilt she turned to Caylon and helped him to his feet.
Above them the roof creaked ominously.
"Run!" shouted Callisto pushing the dawdling man in the back. The two of them ran for the open door. Caylon reached it just as the roof began to give above them. As Callisto dived for the door she felt something hot and heavy slam across her back and knock her to the wooden floor. Pinned to the ground she twisted to see what held her. The remnants of a roof beam lay across her back.
She let out a resigned sigh. Three weeks and she was going to die.
"Thanks Zeus, it was fun, while it lasted." There was a groan from overhead as the final beams began to give way.
Chapter Two: Torment And Comfort
Callisto was surrounded by darkness. Inky blackness that her eyes could not penetrate. She stood stock still in the deathly silence. For the first time she could remember fear penetrated her soul. It reached down into her body and chilled her very bones.
"What are you doing Callisto." A familiar voice spoke from inside the darkness.
"Show yourself." She demanded in what she hoped was a threatening manner.
"As you command my sweet." The mocking voice replied. The first thing to emerge form the blackness was a leg. A black leather boot reached up to its knee followed by the figures skinny waist. A fragmented black leather skirt hung down around the figures thighs and leather brazier wrapped around the woman's upper body with studded straps running up over her breasts attached to large ridged shoulder pads. The last detail to appear was the woman's face. Long blonde hair framed the woman's thin features and large brown eyes. She wore a wicked grin like she had been born with it.
Callisto was staring at herself.
"Why are you trying to change what you are?" her double asked, "you know it isn't possible."
"Zeus said I could be loved. If you are me then you'll know that is what I, what we want." The double laughed cruelly.
"Why do you trust a God? They've betrayed you before." Callisto turned away. She couldn't look at that cruel grin anymore.
"He's the father of the Gods." she said miserably "maybe he's different." Her double walked round her and looked into her eyes again.
"Of course he isn't." she snapped "he's just like all the others, scheming and plotting. He's using you." Her double leaned back and folded her arms. The taunting grin was back. "And why shouldn't he, after all you don't deserve any better."
"I don't want to hear this anymore." Said Callisto. She tried to turn away again but this time she felt the doubles hands gripping her shoulders tightly. She was whirled around to face the double and now the grin was gone, in its place was a look of unrestrained fury.
"You murdered women and children by the hundred and all in the name of revenge against Xena, when it wasn't really revenge you wanted. It was love." Callisto pushed her hands over her ears in an attempt to block out that bloodcurdling voice.
"No." her voice wavered. She closed her eyes in pain as the doubles fingers dug deeply into her shoulders and blood began to poor from the wounds.
Eventually the grip was released and she opened them. She found her self standing in among long grass. Nearby two young lovers were kissing passionately.
"I don't want to be here." she said hurriedly. "Take me away from here now!" She heard her double whisper into her ears,
"Oh no. I'm going to make you watch. After all, why do you deserve love when you have denied it to so many others." The image in front of her changed to show a woman with dark hair wearing a leather bodice, tightly clutching a sword and watching in horror as a third Callisto drove her sword through the young mans chest.
"No!" Callisto screamed.
Callisto sat bolt upright sweat pouring off her body, her long hair matted into sodden streaks.
"No!" she screamed "Take me away from here. I don't want to see this. Take me away now!" she heard a door slam open and strong hands clutch her shoulders.
"Calm down." Said a soft voice "Calm down." Tears streamed down Callisto's face as she hugged the man who held her
"Take me away from here. Please." She begged as she wept over the mans shoulder. The man patted her gently on the back
"Shhh." He comforted her "Where ever you were, you're not there any more. It's all over now. Shhhh."
Callisto stayed wrapped in the mans arms for a long time. She felt safe there, away from that taunting voice and that devilish grin. All the time he whispered gently to her trying to comfort her and stop her stream of tears.
Eventually she separated herself from his grasp and tried to compose herself.
She couldn't believe what she had just done. Sat here in this total strangers arms crying over his shoulder about things that technically, she hadn't even done yet.
"Feeling better?" the man asked as if he did this everyday.
"Uh, yeah. I think I am." She said wiping her eyes. "Listen, I don't want you to think I do this all the time, it's just that I...." The man raised his hands palms showing.
"Hey, doesn't matter to me in the slightest. It's your business, not mine." Callisto nodded
"Yeah, yeah you're right, it is my business." The man extended an open hand
"Hi, my names Lazarus, Callisto" Callisto took his hand and shook it.
"And my name's Call.... Wait a minute, how do you know my name?" she asked suspiciously.
"Teleaus told me." Callisto looked surprised.
"Oh. Is he alright?"
"Yeah, he's just fine, along with the little girl and her father. You know, you've become something of a hero these past few days and only a few people have actually seen you." Callisto laughed
"Me, a hero? No I don't think so. I'm not that kind of person." Lazarus smiled. He had a kind smile. It made her feel at ease around him.
"You could have fooled me." He said. Callisto returned the smile and looked around the room. It was very plain. A crooked table sat next to the bed with a pitcher and bowl of water placed on top of it. The bed itself was made up of straw with a sheet laid across the top and second sheet to serve as a blanket. Other than these meagre furnishings the room was empty.
"Where am I?" she asked
"I'm afraid to say you're in my house." Said Lazarus "A lot of houses were burned during the attack so at the moment there are virtually no free beds anywhere in the village." There was a knock at the door. Lazarus turned irritably.
"Who is it?" he asked
"Teleaus sir." Lazarus sighed.
"What do you want?"
"It's Magar." Came the muffled voice, "He wants to discuss the payments."
"Oh great." Lazarus groaned. "Listen, I'll be right back." Callisto leaned forward
"What's going on?" she asked curiously
"Magar's been bugging me to pay him money he says the village guard owe him money for his inn burning down because it wasn't well defended enough." Callisto leaned forward interestedly
"You're in the village guard?" she asked raising her eyebrows.
"I'm the captain." Lazarus smiled
"Ooh, I'm impressed. Hey, maybe you ought to let me have a word with him. I bet I could make him ease up off your back." She grinned impishly.
"I'm sure you could but maybe you ought to get dressed first." Lazarus nodded at the bedside table. As the door shut she looked down at herself. All this time she'd been talking to him she'd been stark naked! Quickly she hopped out of bed and began to look for her clothes.
She found them folded neatly under the bedside table. Hurriedly she began to get dressed. Suddenly the door opened and Lazarus poked his head back inside.
"By the way," he smiled "You've got very nice legs." She threw a boot at him.
Chapter three: An Unexpected Invitation
Callisto emerged down stairs fully clothed about half an hour later. Lazarus was sat in a dark stone living room sharpening a dagger on a grindstone. She walked in and sat in the chair across from him. He looked up from his work at her.
"Can I ask you something?" she said. He placed the grindstone on a nearby table and sheathed the dagger.
"Go ahead." Callisto leaned back in the chair and folded her arms.
"What happened after the beam fell on me in the inn? Who got me out of there?" Lazarus linked his fingers together and sat back in his chair.
"Thank Caylon. When he came out and you didn't he immediately ran and found me. Luckily at this point most of the attackers were dead or in retreat so I was free to come and help. When I got to the inn it was starting to rain so the fire was going out. With the fire out it was a pretty simple matter of looking through the wreckage for you. You were buried under a beam and a hell of a lot of rubble from the roof. I'm telling you, you must have had the luck of the Gods to have survived that stuff falling on you." Callisto gingerly touched a lump the size of an egg that was nestling on the back of her head.
"Yeah, sometimes I think I do too." She winced.
"Anyway, we dug you out and brought you back hear straight away. You weren't all that badly wounded. It was mainly just cuts and bruises and a concussion but that's it. By the time we had you sorted out Teleaus had been going round telling everyone about this strange warrior woman who rescued him from two of those barbarians and Caylon was going round telling everyone how he'd been saved from a raging inferno by a strange woman in leather with blonde hair. It didn't take long for people to realise that it was the same person and they've seen you as a hero ever since despite not actually laying eyes on you."
"Sounds like I should be thanking you." Callisto said.
"No. If it wasn't for Caylon we wouldn't have even known you were underneath all that rubble." He leaned forward and stared into her eyes. Other than Zeus and Xena she had never seen anyone with such intense eyes.
"So," he said inquisitively "I've told you about how we found and rescued you. Maybe you could do me the honour of telling me who you are and what you are doing here?" Oh great, thought Callisto. What am I supposed to tell him. I used to be a mass murdering butcher from two hundred years into the future where I died twice until Zeus resurrected me and sent me on a quest to find myself and maybe fall in love, I only helped because I'm trying to redeem myself otherwise I would have just gone straight past this place and not looked back. Yeah right, and Ares just decided to promote world peace.
"I'm just a traveller who was passing through and thought I'd lend a hand." She said.
"As long as Teleaus isn't exaggerating it sounds like you're a remarkable fighter. How did you learn?" he asked. Things were starting to get a little too personal for her liking. Zeus had said to not be afraid to trust people but she had only just met this man. He might not be like any other man she'd met before but she still wasn't going to tell him about her past straight away.
"Its a long story." She sighed.
"I have plenty of time." Said Lazarus. Callisto smiled
"I don't." she said.
"Fair enough, I understand you don't want to talk about it. I have just one more question."
"What's that?" asked Callisto. Lazarus stood up.
"Are you coming to the party with me?" Callisto's brow furrowed.
"The whole village is having a party to celebrate defeating those barbarians. It's really to try and keep spirits up till we rebuild. I expect you'd be the guest of honour there. So, will you accompany me to the party?" he said
"Hmm," she pretended to think about it. "I've never been the guest of honour at a party before. I'd love to." She smiled.
Chapter Four: A Day of Firsts
By the time they reached the Village Square the party was in full swing.
Colourful banners had been strung from the houses around the square that still stood. People walked back and forth, talking, eating and smiling. Some even danced to the music that was being played. Callisto could vaguely remember times like this back in her own village all those years ago. She'd loved them then. After her family had died in the fire it had all seemed a bit frivolous to her. As they approached the milling crowds a young woman emerged running towards them. She had long red hair that hung down to her waist in a plat and a plump face that wore a kind smile.
"You must be Callisto." She said excitedly. Callisto looked at Lazarus. He simply grinned at her. She turned back to the woman.
"Uh, yeah. I am." The woman's smile widened.
"Oh that's great. My name's Talan. I just wanted to thank you for saving my husband."
"Husband?" said Callisto absently
"Yes, you saved Caylon. We've been married for three years."
"Oh, so you're Caylon's wife." Talan nodded. She turned and looked at the crowd
"Everyone is looking forward to meeting you Callisto. Come with me and I'll introduce you."
"Well I'm not sure that I..." Callisto never finished the sentence. Talan grabbed her by the arm and led her toward the crowd.
"Oh come on." She said warmly "You'll enjoy it." Callisto glanced back over her shoulder and gave Lazarus a pleading look. He merely shrugged his shoulders and walked off in a different direction. Turning round she found herself being brought face to face with a group of men and women who were stood talking and drinking by a large thatched barn. She recognised one of them straight away as Caylon. Talan released her arm and ran over to the group. Callisto followed slowly. After a few words between Talan and Caylon the whole group turned and applauded her. Callisto was taken aback. What were they applauding her for? Caylon walked up and extended a hand to her.
"Hi, I never had the chance to thank you for what you did in the inn. I owe you." He said gratefully.
"No!" Callisto said sharply. Noticing the surprised looks on the groups face at her tone of voice she quickly amended it "That is, you don't owe me anything. But thanks." She added quickly. Talan looked around at the others who still stood in stunned silence. She coughed.
"Well Callisto, I think there's someone else you should meet." Callisto was confused now.
"Who?" she asked. A little girl pushed her way out of the crowd.
Callisto immediately recognised her as the girl stood outside the inn, Caylon's daughter. Smiling she kneeled down in front of the girl
"Hello." She said, trying hard not to frighten the girl.
"What's your name?" The girl looked at the floor.
"Sara." She said quietly. Talan knelt down beside the girl.
"Didn't you have something for Callisto?" she said gently. Sara reached behind her back and instinctively every muscle in Callisto's body tensed. Sara pulled out a doll woven out of strands of corn. Callisto relaxed.
What had she expected, a dagger, some sort of poison. This was a little girl, not a trained assassin.
"Thank you." She said, taking the doll from the girl. "No one ever gave me anything like this before." Suddenly she heard a cough from over her shoulder. Looking up she saw Lazarus stood behind her.
"Okay everyone," he said smiling, "You'd best let other people have the honour of meeting our guest." Kneeling down he helped Callisto to her feet and led her off into the crowd. Once they were out of earshot Callisto turned to him.
"Thanks. I didn't think they were going to let me leave." She whispered. Lazarus looked down at her.
"Listen, I've got to go find Magar. Think you can look after yourself for a bit?" Callisto smiled and glanced around the milling people.
"I don't know." She said sarcastically, "I might have to fend them off with a sharp stick or something." Lazarus laughed and let his hand rest on her shoulder.
"Take care Callisto and I'll see you in a hour or so." Callisto watched him push his way off through the crowd.
"Yeah," she whispered to herself. "I like him."
She spent the next hour wandering around listening to people's conversations.
If anyone asked her anything or tried to draw her into the conversation in anyway she made her excuses and left. She didn't see much point in getting to know these people when she was probably going to leave in the next few days.
After a while she made her way over to a wooden bar with mugs of drink lined up in rows along it. She grabbed at a cold metal mug of ale and tipped the contents down her throat. She wouldn't normally have touched anything alcoholic.
She had often said she preferred to experience life in all its agonising glory and that she didn't want to dull the sensations in any way, but hell, she was starting a new life and this was a party. Drinking was what normal people did, and she didn't see why she shouldn't. Suddenly Talan appeared beside her with a tray.
"The men have sent me to get some more." She said simply. Callisto watched as the poor woman loaded mug after mug onto the tray and then tried to lift it. Her balance was poor. The moment she took a step with that tray then the drinks were going to go flying. Quickly Callisto reached out a hand to steady the shaking tray.
"Let me help." She said. Slowly she slipped another arm under the tray and pulled it free of the woman's grip. Talan tried to stop her.
"I can't let you carry that thing all on your own." She said and tried to grab for the tray. Callisto moved it up out of her reach.
"Relax," she said soothingly "I've carried men twice my size off battlefields, you think I can't handle a tray of drinks?" Talan laughed
"Alright, you carry the tray." As they made their way through the crowd Callisto caught sight of Lazarus in among the dancers. He was dancing with a young girl. Callisto had to admit she was very attractive, with short brown hair and sparkling eyes set into soft, gentle features. She felt an emotion wash over her that she had never felt before. She didn't like this girl dancing like that with Lazarus.
"Do I detect the green eyed monster?" asked Talan teasingly.
Callisto looked around sharply.
"Monster! Where?" Talan smiled
"Relax Callisto, it's a figure of speech." Callisto let the tension drain away. "It means do I detect a hint of jealousy." Callisto laughed
"Jealousy, over Lazarus." She paused "Nah." Quickly she turned back to see what he was doing. The girl was still there.
"You like him don't you?" said Talan
"Who? Lazarus. He's," she paused trying to think of a way to describe him. "nice." She finished.
"Nice huh," grinned Talan "well, he needs someone to think of him as "nice" after what he's been through." Callisto turned away from gazing at him again.
"What do you mean?" she asked curiously
"Oh didn't you know?" Talan looked past her at the dancing man. Callisto did the same. "When he was young a war broke out near Athens. He went to fight as a soldier and follow in the footsteps of his father. When the war was over he decided to wander the world for a while, see what he could learn from other warriors. While he was gone the village was raided and his sister was killed. As soon as found out he came straight home but it was too late. He's never forgiven himself for what happened to her." Callisto stared at him even more intensely, studying his every nuance and facial expression.
"Really?" she was shocked "It doesn't show." Talan sighed sadly
"Oh, he does a good job of hiding his anger from everyone, even himself. A lot of us think that it's because he's lonely. That perhaps all he needs is someone close by." Callisto turned to see Talan staring straight at her.
"And you think that someone is me?" she said pointing at her chest
"What makes you think that? You barely know me." Talan shrugged
"Just the way you two look at one another."
"Yeah, right." Callisto said scornfully.
"Suit yourself." said Talan as she walked off with the mugs.
Callisto turned back to watch Lazarus. Did she love him? There was certainly something different about the way she felt about him but could she call it love?
She didn't know. Suddenly Lazarus looked up from the dance and caught sight of her. He smiled warmly and excused himself from the dance. Carefully he weaved his way back through the dancing couples to the side of the wooden platform that had been erected for dancing. He jumped down in front of her still smiling.
"Hi." He said
"Hi." she replied. There was silence
"Um, I was wondering if you wanted to..." he stopped, unable to finish the question
"Dance?" Callisto finished the sentence for him.
"Uh, yeah that's it." She smiled
"I'd love to."
Lazarus lead her up onto the dance floor and before she even had a decent footing she found herself being swept away by him into the tide of moving bodies with him. Gradually the pace of the dance began to pick up and before long they were whirling in and out of one another's arms like they had been doing so together for years, their every move complex and difficult to perform yet each was executed perfectly Callisto was surprised to find herself smiling for no other reason than she was simply enjoying herself. Something she had never expected to happen in circumstances like this. As the sun fell low in the sky and the amount of drink being consumed increased so do did the rowdiness of the celebrations. Eventually the two of them tired of dancing and Lazarus lead her back to the edge of the stage.
"I haven't had this much fun in years." He laughed as they hopped to the ground. Callisto laughed as she joined him.
"You haven't had this much fun in years? I've never had this much fun." She said excitedly.
"Listen, do you want a drink or something to eat?" Lazarus shouted over the din of the party.
"What?" shouted Callisto
"I said do you want a drink or something to eat?" Callisto shook her head.
"No. But thanks." Lazarus nodded in acknowledgement and glanced at the other partygoers.
"Do you want to go somewhere quiet?" Callisto cupped a hand behind her ear.
"I can't hear you. What did you say?" she shouted
"Do you want to go somewhere quiet?" he yelled at the top of his voice. Callisto grinned.
"I'd like that." She shouted at the top of her lungs.
"Good." He shouted back "C'mon, I know somewhere we can go."
The two of them sat on the rocks high above the beach together watching the sun set out over the ocean. The huge orange ball of fire gradually sunk toward the horizon, its rapidly diminishing light casting long shadows over the sand.
Callisto stared at the light shimmering on the surface as it reflected up sparkling and dazzling her with its beauty. Below them the sand glittered like crystal in the evening light.
"I never noticed how beautiful a sunset was until now." She said slowly, the wonder showing in her voice. Lazarus turned his head to gaze at her.
"You are strange Callisto. Have you always denied yourself life's simple pleasures?" She looked into his steady gaze and felt her heart begin to beat faster.
"For as long as I can remember." Lazarus looked confused
"Why?" he asked
"I'd rather not talk about it." She said simply.
"Fine." He said and began to lean closer. "Let's talk about something else."
"I thought you'd never ask." She said as they pressed their lips together in a kiss.
Chapter Five: The Undeserving
Callisto wrapped her arms around Lazarus' broad shoulders and hugged him tighter. No kiss she'd ever had, had been like this before. It was wonderful beyond any expectations she had ever had. She never wanted this moment to end. But all the time that voice from her dream echoed in her ears.
"Why do you deserve love when you have denied it to so many others?" Slowly she pushed Lazarus away.
"What's wrong?" he asked. She began to stand and walk away. "Is it me?" he continued. Callisto turned and looked back at him where he sat on the grass-covered rock. She walked back and kneeled beside him.
"I'm sorry." She said apologetically "Its not you. Its me. I want this, really I do but I don't deserve it." He let out a deep breath
"I think I know what your answer is going to be but why don't you deserve it?"
"I don't want to talk about it." She said quietly. Lazarus stood up angrily.
"I knew it." He said. His voice was furious as he paced in front of where she knelt. "Why can't you just let whatever happened go. We could be great together if only you'd forgive yourself."
"I can't believe I'm hearing this from you." She said, her voice filled with amazement. "You barely know me. You don't know who I am, where I'm from or what I've done. And yet you still want to love me."
"I don't know about you because you won't tell me." He dropped to his knees in front of her and took her hands in his, his intense gaze penetrating her soul. "I.... I do love you. But if you won't tell me about your past then I will never be able to trust you." Callisto pulled away from him angrily. Her voice took on a manic edge as she began to walk in circles around him.
"Okay. You want to know about me huh? You want to know who I am, what I did. Fine." She spat. "I'm a murderer. No, scrap that. I'm a mass murderer okay. I killed hundreds of men, women and children with my own hands." She held them up for emphasis. "I slashed them open and I watched them bleed. Not once did I show any mercy." She rounded on him, her mind filled with rage. "That is what I am." She roared furiously, "That is why I don't deserve love, I deserve to burn in Tarturus for all eternity." Lazarus sat, it seemed, unaffected by the shock revelation
"Do you still lead that life?" he asked. Callisto turned away, no longer able to bear his calm penetrating gaze.
"No." she said eventually. "That path left me with a broken mind and a twisted soul. I'll never go back there." She felt his hands lightly touch her shoulders
"Then that is all that matters. We can't change what you did, but we can make sure it never happens again." Callisto felt as if a huge weight pinning her to her the ground had finally been released and now she was able to fly. Slowly she turned to face him. She felt his arms wrap around her back. Gently she rested her head against broad chest.
"Thank you." She murmured
"For what?" he said
"For not judging me by my past."
Chapter Six: A Great Loss
They stood together for a long time. Neither wanting to part from the soothing embrace of the other. The moon was riding high in the star lit sky by the time they began to make their way back to the village. For a long time neither of them spoke to one another, the silence meant for more to them both.
As they reached the woods that bordered the village walls Lazarus spoke.
"You know," he spoke softly "you could stay for a while. I'm sure the villagers wouldn't mind you staying." Callisto sighed
"Yeah, wouldn't mind having a murderer living in their midst." Lazarus shook his head.
"I won't tell them." He said.
"Lazarus, I...." Lazarus took her hand in his
"At least say you'll think about it." Callisto nodded her head reluctantly.
"Alright, I'll think about." Lazarus's face lit up.
"Great." He said. Suddenly screams began to interrupt their conversation.
"What the hell?" said Lazarus. Callisto struck a fighting stance ready for any form of ambush.
"Great." She said sarcastically "And I don't even have a sword." Lazarus was already running away from her into the trees.
"We don't have time to worry about a sword." He shouted back over his shoulder. "My village is being attacked. Come on, we've got to get their as soon as possible." Callisto ran after him.
"For once we agree on something." She yelled.
The village was filled with the sounds of battle as it loomed out of the shadowy night at them. Slowly they crept along the village wall, trying to keep out of sight of any of the unknown attackers. The East gate wasn't far. If they could reach it they would be able to get inside the village and hopefully hit the attackers in the rear. Lazarus had taken point by the time they reached the gate. He held up his hand. Callisto stopped in her tracks.
"The situation's worse than I thought." Lazarus said. His voice was perfectly calm but Callisto could tell he was hiding his true emotions. In his mind, he had neglected his duties once again and the village had paid the price. She walked up behind him and laid a hand on his shoulder.
"This wasn't your fault." She said soothingly
"Wasn't it?" he replied icily before creeping off into the night once more. Quickly glancing around to make sure they weren't being followed, Callisto set off after him.
The situation was worse than it looked. The village's East gate had been burned and battered to the ground. What was left of it hung limply from the stone arch of the wall. Beyond the gate bodies littered the streets. Most of them wore the uniform of the village guard. The few attackers that had been killed were the same barbarians from the previous attack. Callisto walked over to a dead member of the village guard and pulled a sword free from the mans limp grasp. It was a good blade. At least three times as good as the one that she had lost in the fire. She just wished she hadn't gained it in this manner. She turned to look at Lazarus.
"What do we do now?" she asked.
"We find the bastards that did this and kill them." He said simply.
They moved on not sparing a second glance to the bodies that lay at their feet.
Eventually they reached the party. Or what had once been the party. The entire place had been wrecked. Carts and tables had been tipped over, the banners torn down and ripped to shreds, homemade decorations torn from their perches and crushed under foot. Callisto had seen sights like this many times before.
Usually it had been her doing the wrecking. She shook her head sadly. Battle was still being done elsewhere in the village, if they wanted to have even the slightest chance of saving anything they would need to find the battle quickly.
It didn't take long. The remnants of the village guard had defended the villagers while they fled from the West gate before turning to make a last stand at the gate itself in an attempt to bye time for the escaping villagers. The barbarians had also suffered casualties however and appeared to be becoming weaker as every minute passed. The moment they rounded the corner in the street Lazarus had roared with rage and flung himself at the attackers, weaving and twirling an intricate dance with his sword. Callisto didn't wait much longer before leaping into the fray herself. She ran shrieking at the nearest barbarian. The moment his sword lifted to attack her she had was permitted to strike. The sword flew at her head. Deftly she side stepped the blow and ran him through without even breaking her stride. Quickly she kicked out with her left leg at a second barbarian with his sword raised before turning and slashing a third across the chest with her sword. Letting her attention wander from the battle for a moment she looked around for Lazarus. He was embroiled in a battle with a barbarian who could be seen as being quite skilled. Next to Callisto he wouldn't have stood a chance but Lazarus was a little more on his level.
Suddenly she tossed her sword to her left hand and thrust it backward into the barbarian who had crept up behind her clutching a dagger ready to slit her throat. Nearby a second barbarian had joined the fight against Lazarus and things were beginning to look bleak for the captain of the village guard.
Without thinking she crouched low and snatched the dagger from the dead barbarians hand. She pivoted on her right leg and hurled it through the throat of one of Lazarus' attackers. Left once again with only one attacker Lazarus looked more able to deal with the situation. She turned away to deal with two more attackers heading toward her, yelling foul war cries. She leapt at the first who had drawn a dagger and was getting ready to throw it. As she moved into arms reach Callisto's eyes widened as he dropped the dagger and swung his sword instead. Unable to parry the blow at such short notice she turned and rolled with it catching a glancing blow across the arm. She hit the ground palms first and rolled, coming up behind the man and backhanding him in the face as he turned to catch her. She hadn't seen the move coming! She couldn't believe it. Normally she would have avoided the blow with out even having to think about it. Being a God had put her out of touch. Quickly she span around and ducked the clumsy sword swipe from the second warrior and slashed her sword across his back as she straightened. She never saw a third barbarian throw a wicked serrated blade at her back.
"Callisto!" yelled Lazarus as he dived behind her. She turned just in time to see the flying blade bury itself up to the hilt in Lazarus' chest just beneath his ribs.
"No!" she screamed. The barbarian rushed at them wielding a second cruel blade. Without thinking Callisto threw her own sword at the attacker. She coldly as it plunged threw his throat killing him instantly. Its quicker than he deserves, she thought. Behind her she could hear the barbarians retreating from the battle, beaten. But at what cost? She crouched low over Lazarus and pulled him up into her arms as he coughed violently, blood filling his mouth.
"I, I don't have long Callisto." He said as muscle spasms wracked his body. "There's nothing you can do." Callisto could feel the tears welling up in her eyes. She had never felt this way about anyone before. Whether or not it was love she wasn't sure but she did know that she didn't want to lose him. Desperately she fumbled with her belt and finally she managed to pull the corn dolly Sara had given her, free. She pressed it into his dying hands.
"Sara gave me this for saving her fathers life. I want you to have it for saving mine." She said, her voice beginning to crack. She could see the tears rolling down his cheeks now
"I.... I onl.... I only wish I could have given you something." He choked.
"You did." She said feeling the pain of the tears. Suddenly he began to spasm harder. Callisto hugged him tighter as the final gasp escaped his lips and his body went limp in her arms.
"You gave me the sunset." She wept.
Callisto watched the flames of the funeral pyre lick higher up Lazarus' body, hungrily devouring his flesh. It wouldn't be long now before the flames consumed his whole body. The other villagers had left her alone by the fire long ago. She felt fresh tears welling up in her already swollen eyes. She sighed heavily and tossed the blood stained corn dolly to the flames. They swallowed it quickly and before long the doll was nothing but ash. High above the moon cast its soft silvery glow down over the clearing where the proceedings had taken place. Callisto couldn't think of a more beautiful night for Lazarus' soul to move on.
"Peace to your soul," she said sadly, "wherever the winds may carry it." The villagers had been very kind to her following the battle.
They had let her sleep wherever there was a free bed and provided her with food and money. When she had told them she planned to leave after Lazarus' funeral they had provided her with a specially forged sword that the village blacksmith had made just to suit her and the finest horse in the village. He was a black coated stallion with a proud stance and brave heart. She could think of no better name for him than Lazarus. As the fire began to burn low she turned to where he stood now and walked over to him. She patted him gently on the neck and he snorted with pleasure at the touch.
"That's a fine animal." Said a familiar voice behind her.
"Go away, I don't want to talk to you." She said, discomfort creeping into her voice
"Well really." Said Zeus in mock offence "I expected more gratitude from you. After all if it wasn't for me you'd be dead right now and would never have met Lazarus." Callisto turned and looked at the bearded old man.
"Maybe I never should have." She said, "I was meant to die when Xena stabbed me." Zeus laughed
"Nonsense my dear, this is what the fates have always planned for you. You truly have no idea how important a role you have to play in events to come." She turned and went back to saddling Lazarus.
"I don't want that role." She could feel Zeus' gaze on her back and once again she couldn't help but feel uncomfortable
"But only you can fill it my dear." He moved to her side
"Did you love him?" the God asked. Callisto looked at the glowing embers.
"Yes." She sighed, "Whenever I was with him, I felt at peace. Everything I've done seemed to disappear when he was near me." Zeus began to walk away.
"Then maybe there is hope for you after all. Until we meet again Callisto." She turned to look at him but the old God had vanished into thin air. She turned back to Lazarus
"Come on boy." She said stroking his silky black coat "Lets go."
She never returned to the village of Garos, but it was to always hold a special place in her heart. One of the few memories to stay with her was that of the glowing embers of the fire as she rode off into the night.
The Legacies Will Continue In Mortius
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