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Dear Xena

by Satachrist

Now hereís a story about Callisto. Maybe what you will read here is not true. But then again all writers are liars in a way. Personally I think that Callisto is one of the most tragic characters of the show, and she deserves to be mentioned in a story of her own. Only fair. And believe me, itís not about pity. Itís about respect.


Disclaimer:

The characters who appear in the show Xena: Warrior Princess are property of MCA Television, donít forget that. What a property, huh?

Beware of violence and bloodshed in this story. If itís about Callisto itís bound to be about pain.

You may contact me at Satachrist@xenafan.com. If you like to that is.

Enjoy the story.


 

Dear Xena

 

I cast aside my chains
Fall from reality
My purgatory unleashed
Now burn the face of the Earth
Purgatory Unleashed
Now burn the face of the Earth

The face of all your fears
All your fears unleashed
The face of all your fears


-At The Gates: Blinded By Fear

 

 

The merchant Bradylos had no illusions about his future. He had lived as a merchant for more than forty years and it was absolutely clear to him that he would also die as a merchant. Thatís what his father had always told him. Once a merchant, always a merchant. What a wise man his father had been.

However, it is a popular notion among humans to beg for their lives. And it is traditionally second nature to merchants. Not that it had ever served any purpose. It was simply tradition.

"Please, I want to see my children before I die! And my wife! She will be deeply worried when I donít return today!"

He looked down at the charcoal remains of his two partners. They had said about the same thing. It hadnít helped them. But he would nevertheless try his best. His father had always told him that he should never give less than his best.

"Please? You can take him instead."

His third partner Deidolos was not at all pleased by this comment. And despite his more than already unpleasant situation, he still managed to look a little bit more displeased than before.

"Bradylos, you coward! At least die as a man!"

But Bradylos knew better. He would die as a merchant.

"No, no lady! We make a deal! You take him and let me go. How about that?"

"I donít think so," said the woman that held Deidolos by his throat, three inches above the ground. "You see, I already have him. Thereís no point in bargaining. Apart from that," she grinned at the man in her hand, "I donít make deals."

With horror Bradylos watched how his friend and last piece of protection was rapidly reduced to a smoking pile of gleaming cinders. From one second to the other he had caught fire like dried straw in a in a camp fire. Or rather a volcano. Now he was no more than dust in the wind. The woman blew into her right hand and some desolate ashes leapt off into the blue sky. She chuckled.

"Well, well, well. What should we do next? Ah yes. I almost forgot my manners. Now, jolly fat man... you are jolly, arenít you?"

Bradylos nodded feverishly.

"Good," exclaimed the blonde. "How would you like to die then? Oh please, say that youíd like to burn! You know, I love fire so much."

The merchant began to sweat. During his profession he had acquired an instinct for deals. He felt exactly when a bargain was making good progress and when the progress was rather bad. This bargain was definitely not progressing to his satisfaction.

Therefore he did what every good merchant (including his father) would have done. He shifted tactics.

"But my lady, these wagons have to reach my village, otherwise all inhabitants are going to suffer."

The woman lifted a bored eyebrow. Wrong tactic. He thought that maybe he should try a more devote bargaining position. He knew some of his clients enjoyed the semblance of domination. The problem being that he was on his knees already.

"Please, my lady! It is of utmost importance that we..." he glanced at the three piles of ashes, "that I deliver these goods! Perhaps I could..."

"What do you transport, fat man?" asked the blonde woman, inspecting her fingernails.

"Gold," Bradylos bit on his tongue. But not too hard, that would have hurt. Maybe his father had been right. Maybe he should have become a farmer. His father had always said that his son had not enough wits to catch a dead fly with. His father had been a wise man.

"You can have as much gold as you like and I take the rest, what about that?" he asked expectantly.

The warrior woman looked openly dismayed.

"Are you out of your mind? What should I do with that?"

Bradylos was baffled. A thousand possible standard answers raced (at a comfortable pace of course) through his head but somehow they all seemed inappropriate at this moment. This lady did not make the impression of being in terrible need of financial support. In fact she did not make the impression of being in need of anything a merchant could offer her. Bradylos could almost see his last chance drift away into the afternoon heat.

"Gold is no fun", the woman continued. "Death is fun. So, why shouldnít I kill you? You traversed my territory."

"This is your territory?"

"Every ground I stand on is my territory," the woman explained.

"We... I didnít know that!"

"I know."

The merchant was puzzled. "Excuse me?"

"I said I know that you didnít know. It wouldnít matter if you did anyway. You canít be deader than dead. Trust me. I have lots of experience with that problem."

Bradylos felt increasingly more uneasy. He didnít like conversation that was focused on themes like death and fire. And he didnít like people who were focused on themes like death and fire. To tell the truth he didnít like death and fire at all. On the contrary. He rather clang to his humble, worthless life, and he very much loved the watery element. Preferably in a bathing tube. With two women therein. Or mixed with a few potent spirits. The water not the women. Thinking about this it became more and more obvious to him that he was in a very grave situation indeed.

He folded his hands in a pleading gesture.

"If you let me go I will bring you anything you want. Anything. Whatever. Just say and Bradylos will go and find it. For an acceptable price."

The blonde cocked her head sceptically. The merchantís tongue tried to catch up.

"I mean for free! Of course for free! Nothing but free!"

The woman looked at him. Bradylos wasnít quite sure what he should say next.

"Well," he continued. "What now?"

A smile crossed her face.

"Say... cheese?"

Bradylos thought about this.

"I beg your pardon?"

"Cheese, jolly fat man. Say cheese and die with a..."

"Cheese. All right. No problem. Iíll be right back."

Then he began to run. And everyone who could watch him at this moment was quite sure that he wouldnít stop before he had reached a place where he could acquire as much cheese as a man could carry.

Callisto was genuinely perplexed. Then she shook her head in disgust.

Incredible. Some people are so stupid, they donít recognise their own death even when it points a burning finger at them. Bet this idiot didnít even notice he was talking to a goddess.

She looked after him. Since he was not in anything close to a good shape she could still see his figure clearly.

Bloody Hades.

Although raw stupidity was nothing that would fascinate her under normal circumstances, such an unhealthy amount thereof was still a source for amazement. Callisto wondered how this moron had found the way out of his motherís belly. He probably needed a guide to find his own butt. Not that it could be overlooked.

Casually she inspected the wagons and groaned as she saw that he had indeed told her the truth. Gold. How incredibly boring.

Then something peering out of one bag caught her attention. Licking over her lips she pulled out the scroll and examined it intensely. It was a fresh, new, untouched scroll. A virgin scroll. Not for long, Callisto thought and chuckled. I will take your virginity, little scroll. Her expression suddenly became attentive as if she was listening to something. Then she smiled. No, I will not be gentle and I donít care if itís your first time. Take what you get.

She sat down on the wagon and began to think about what she could write. Since she didnít like tales of any kind she decided to write a letter. Yes, a letter to her best friend, thatís it! Wait, come to think about it, she did not have any friends. Well, then she would write to her best enemy: Xena!

Callisto clapped her hands together in euphoria. She would write a letter to Xena. Not a love letter... a hate letter! Oh pretty!

Grinning, she placed he scroll in her left hand and raised her right hand above it. Her index finger began to burn with a small but hellish flame, so intense it was almost white. The finger descended onto the scroll and the flame painted smoking, coal-black signs into the parchment.

To my much beloved and behated girly girl Xena,

how are you? Iím fine. I just killed a few innocent people and it was fun as usual. What are you doing? I miss you so much already. Howís Gabrielle? Tell her that I visited her husband lately and that heís doing well. For a dead rotting corpse! Oh, I miss her, too. How I wish she could be here with me, and I could feel her... intestines. Sheís so good! When she cries she always makes me laugh! And when she screams I always have such a nice warm feeling in my stomach... hmmm. Ooops, Iím getting hot, sorry.

I hope you will suffer eternal agony and the undying flames of Tartarus (yep, Gabrielle will get there soon; I had a chat with Hades lately and he canít wait to have her!)! Oh goody! I like flames.

Your lovely frienemy

Callisto

The Goddess of Hate smiled happily and bit into her lower lip out of sheer enthusiasm. She giggled innocently and eventually signed the letter with a flame shaped symbol. Thatís fun!

She gazed at the scroll for a while and didnít notice that her thoughts began to drift away. When she at last became aware of that fact her mind had already taken position around a well-hidden fragment of her being and her memory. Her eyes stared blankly at the parchment before her yet she did not see the words but rather the meaning behind them. It was like looking into a mirror. And she hated mirrors. She hated to see herself. She hated to see what had become of her. There was silence.

With a devastating shriek she set the scroll on fire, and held it in her hands until it was all black and broke apart to be carried away by an upcoming breeze. She didnít even know where the breeze came from. Maybe she had summoned it unconsciously as all gods did. She didnít know. She didnít want to know. They all thought she didnít understand but she understood all too well. But...

Yeah, but what, huh?

But it was easier to ignore it. And the more she ignored it the more she believed her own ignorance to be the truth.

Callisto shook her head in rage and prepared herself to discharge her anger into a blazing ball of energy that would catapult the wagon into the skies and let it rain down again as the pieces of the thing it used to be. Her eyes gleamed white and her trembling finger aimed at the vehicle and the horses. She felt the reality around her twinkle nervously in an attempt to cope with the upcoming force of supernatural power. Her mouth opened to accompany the ball of flame with a thundering scream that could plant the seed of terror into every human mind. Her whole body anxiously awaited her to execute this wonderful act of destruction.

But she didnít.

Instead she walked over to the baggage and fetched another fresh scroll, a quill and a bottle of ink. Then she again sat down on the wagon and with a uncharacteristically serious expression she began to write.

 

Dear Xena,

actually I donít think that you will ever lay eyes on this letter. And if you do you will probably rip it into as many pieces as you can before you even finish this sentence. In case you really read this letter till here you might wonder why I write to you. The answer is quite simple. I have no one else to address. No one who knows me as well as you do, no one who understands me as well as you do, no one who has come so close to what I am now, than you.

Yeah, you were a regular juicy little bitch, werenít you?

Callistoís lips curled into a devilish grin and her thoughts began to face the direction her lips were pointing at. But this time they refused to be decoyed. Therefore the grin soon vanished from the face of the goddess and she crossed out the last sentence she wrote. She breathed deeply, a very unnecessary thing to do for an immortal, and continued her letter.

Well, I want you to know that I have always been watching you from a safe distance (now which distance can be said to be safe when it concerns you, right?). Itís easier now, as a goddess and all. And I have to admit that I adore you. Since the time I first saw you raiding and burning my village and my family I thought that this is how I not wanted to become. But I was wrong. I became more like you than anyone else, and now we are two sides of the same coin. Yeah, I know itís depressing but face it! We are of one kind, Xena. In a sense you taught me everything I know (like Gabrielle; oh, what a dreadful thought!) and we truly have a lot in common. Only that you are the stronger one of us. Yeah, read it twice if you canít believe it but I know you are stronger! I simply know. Your past is just as unhappy as mine but you chose the difficult path of life. You made your petty mortal existence harder and still you passionately cling to it. You refused godhood when it was offered to you. Tell me, how stupid can one person be? You would have become a REAL goddess. Not one of those cheap kind of immortality-inherited-holier-than-thou freaks. You would have smashed them under your heels. But you chose mortality. For a very long time I did not understand why. I think now I do. Immortality sucks. Harder than you can imagine. Believe me. I have a lot of experience with that problem.

I also know that you will kill me one day. Itís inevitable. The fates are by far less flexible than you might think. And we are in the upper league, you know. We are important. Gods, half-gods and heroes all have a set place in the game of destiny. Exactly, there are powers that manipulate even the gods. I was able to find out at least that much. Thatís why all immortals are sort of paranoid. They know thereís something out there that could easily kill them in an instant of its preference. Yet it doesnít. Creepy, huh? And sometimes you feel like a pawn. Like a puppet whose strings are a bit loose but unmistakably there. I felt like that when I was a mortal and I thought that the "gift" of immortality could give me more power to get away from that. But it only got worse. Much worse. Sometimes it seems that I have no control at all over my actions, my intentions, my whole existence. As if I was under the control of someone else who enjoys macabre games of that kind (not that I donít). Didnít you ever wonder how strange it really is that we always end up on opposite sides? I mean, I am the villain, right? And you are the heroine. According to legend you will win in the end. Why the hades should I bother attacking you at all? Because I want to hurt you as much as possible? Maybe you are right.

Thatís what I believed in the beginning. That I hate you and that I want to hurt you, no matter what it costs. Shall I tell you something? I donít. After so many years I donít care about what happened then. I donít feel it anymore. There is no real passion behind this hate of mine. It doesnít burn, if you get my meaning.

Why do I do it then in the first place? Because there is nothing else I can do, dammit! I grave your attention, my dear, you should feel honoured. I turn to you because there is no one else I can turn to! No one who cares! You hate me but you understand me. Thatís more than I get from anyone else. You have your new-found goodness (argh!), your purpose... and Gabrielle. Yes, I envy you for Gabrielle. Maybe thatís why I killed Perdicus. I envy you for every stinking bit of focus you have because I have none. I have only you and my hate. And I have to keep this hate alive somehow for otherwise I would end up trying to throw myself repeatedly from a cliff. And you know that it would have no effect. No frigging effect at all!

Oh, I asked you for help. So many times I almost begged you to help me. Not with words but with my hate. I am empty without my hate. I am empty without you. I need you, perhaps more than Gabrielle ever needed you. So many times I stood before you, motionless, defenceless, ready to accept everything you had to give. You gave me nothing. And I come back, crawling before my own hatred. And I hate myself because I have become so pathetic. I canít stand to look at myself because the truth hurts too much. Yet I occasionally do it since this is one of the only feelings I have left. Pain. Pain and hate. Pathetic. But it is better than to feel nothing at all. To be only empty and desolate. Barren land. And I cannot turn back. Not like this. Not alone. I need you. So much.

Aw, just listen to all this whining. Silly, silly Callisto. Silly dead Callisto. Silly immortal Callisto. Silly, silly, silly...

In the end we have no choice. We have to accept the role we have been granted by destiny. Itís a lot like theatre. Youíre never really yourself, only on the outside (and thereís still the make-up - yay!). You do what the story commands you to do. No chance for improvisation. We great heroes and villains, we donít live for ourselves but for the sake of the stories your little Gabrielle writes down day and night (how I hate when she does that!). Thatís our true purpose. When weíre all gone the people will still remember what we did... no, what we were SUPPOSED to do... and what we were. Not WHO we were, mind you. No one really wants to know that. And we play along. Because we have nothing else to do. We exist for stories. Funny, isnít it? Youíre right. Itís not.

You know, I thought about this. Maybe I should be a hero like you. But then again, I feel like Iím really needed as a villain. Hey, Iím unique! Apart from that the villains have always been cooler anyway. I mean, think of Ares for a start. You get the drift.

And I need the cruelty. I need to see how far I can go until I feel something. I have to test the remains of my conscience in a desperate attempt to find the core. To know if I still have one. To convince myself that Iím not completely cold yet, that Iíve not become one of them. But Iím afraid I have. Maybe itís too late. Gods, I am sick of this charade!

Itís all a mirror. Everything. Only a mirror. And I see only darkness. And I canít turn away.

I know that my "deeds" will send me to Tartarus in the end. Iíve been there already. Itís been bad but no so bad. At least I had a purpose there. But now Iím immortal. And killing me is too much even for me to achieve. You think this is fun? Do you? I thought becoming a goddess would spare me all this shit. Oh fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck...

I really hate this. Much more than I ever hated you or anyone else. Or even myself. But it is not important because no one cares.

Maybe we could just talk. Talk about all this, and maybe you would not feel altogether alien to these things. We could bring it to an end, one way or the other. I canít do this anymore. I refuse my role. I give a flying shit. Maybe we could talk. Please.

Yours

Callisto

 

Callisto stared at the last two words for the better of an hour. And she didnít hear the two persons in front of her approaching. However, her attention shifted when a sword cut the scroll she held before her in two parts of equal size.

She looked up. Two familiar faces looked down at her nonchalantly. She had fought with both of them. And apparently some things never change. Casually she observed how well they stood there, side by side as a team, their muscles linked directly to their instincts. It was plain that something strong connected those two wonderful women, a bond that was stronger than friendship, maybe stronger than love. It made them more dangerous to hostile outsiders than they could imagine. Anyone with eyes in their heads understood that they could be quite deadly when they acted in concert. And those who had brains to the eyes knew that it would prove advantageous to stay out of their way. Yet Callisto had always defied those instincts with a smile. She had never fought against them but against herself. She held tight to this thought for she could already feel it slip away like a struggling fish. Artificial hate waited at the corner of her mind, anxious to get onto the stage and perform.

Not this time, Callisto thought. Not now.

"Xena..." she whispered. It sounded almost like a sigh. Her undead heart beat wildly in her chest. She didnít know how to start. The words evaded her mind.

"Xena... I... I am..."

"Look, she wrote something," Gabrielle interrupted. Callisto hated to be interrupted. "What do you think it is?"

Donít talk about me like I wasnít there! Something inside her head struggled frantically.

Xena shrugged. "Probably some kind of evil fairy tale or a hate letter or something. Nothing worth to be read in any case."

Callistoís eyes widened. She sensed a creeping force beginning to cloud a vital part of her thoughts. She hated to become predictable. She hated when people told her so. Her muscles tensed painfully. Let me out, come on...

No, the goddess thought. Forget it. Not now.

"Xena," she began again, "I want you to..."

"Burn?" Xena lifted an eyebrow.

"Why do you have to be like this?" asked Gabrielle, a hint of disgust in her voice.

Callisto couldnít say anything. Her attention was focused on the battle within her. She knew she was losing this fight. Again.

"Enough of these games," said Xena. "We both know where this is going to lead. Draw your... fire."

Something slipped. Callisto relaxed. Bow to the audience...

"Oh yes," the goddess hissed. She let the two parts of the scroll drop into the ash heap to her feet. Then she stood up with the movements of a wild cat and drew her sword in one fluid motion. "Burn Xena, burn Xena, burn Xena, burn... Gabrielle."

She grinned as Gabrielle took three steps backward, her staff held with both hands in a defending position. Callisto laughed out loud. Oh, isnít this REAL fun!

The warrior princess moved in front of her.

"Come on, Callisto," she said coldly. "Letís bring it to an end."

And the Goddess of Hate didnít stop grinning.

Curtains...

 

THE END

 

i abhor you i condemn you
cos this pain will never end
you got away without a scratch
and now youíre walking on a lucky path
i have to laugh
but you better watch your back

thereís pathetic opposition
theyíre the cause of my condition
iíll be coming back for them
iíve a solution for this sad situation
nothing left but to kill myself again
cos iím so empty


-anathema: empty

 


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