Callisto, Xena and all elements from the TV show 'Xena: Warrior Princess' are the property of MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. All other elements belong to the author. No copyright infringement is intended with this fan fiction which may not be sold, may be copied for personal use only, and must include all notices of copyright.
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Callisto: Quick Study
by Joseph Anderson
The young blonde was hidden as she watched the attack. There was Xena leading the mounted charge, her men in a tight wedge behind her. They cut through the opposing line of Royal infantry then turned and began cutting the soldiers to pieces. Callisto studied her carefully. The girl had just turned 18. This was the first battle she had seen Xena in, though she had seen her destroy several villages similar to Cirra, and she had seen the aftermath of some personal combats the Destroyer of Nations had been in. She could see Xena was doing more than just her own fighting; she was watching what everyone else was doing too and Callisto guessed she was giving orders as she was fighting. As soon as this part of the fight was clearly won, Xena rode off to another part of the battle where her own infantry was engaged and sustaining casualties from archers. Callisto saw that round thing fly out and kill some of the bowmen before it returned to the warrior princess. What was that? And where could Callisto get one?
The young woman continued watching the fight to its bloody conclusion. The other side finally surrendered and Callisto watched as the prisoners were all herded into a large area. She smiled appreciatively as she heard Xena's war cry and suddenly her men began shooting arrows and hurling spears into the unarmed mass of men. That round thing flew out again and again. She could hear the screams from here. After the killing ended Xena rode off somewhere and her men began stripping the dead soldiers. Callisto climbed down from her high vantage point on a rock and got her horse. She would try to analyze everything she had seen. Draw the troop movements out on the ground until she understood everything Xena had done. Callisto could tell the battle was just the culmination; that somehow Xena had maneuvered her opponents and deployed her troops before the battle was joined so that the outcome was never in question.
Callisto was sharpening her sword. It wasn't bad; not great but not bad. She had been getting better and better swords. Each time she killed someone, if they had a better sword than she did she would take it. That was why she'd killed that last one. She smiled remembering how excited she was to get that first piece of junk she'd had. Her teacher had just given her that. If she touched something like that now she'd want to wash her hands. She'd been 14 and there was a local man who would periodically leave for a time and return with new clothes or horses or even female slaves. She had gone and told him she wanted to learn to fight. He'd laughed and asked her why he should teach her anything and she had gotten on her knees and showed him. In two months she was better than he was. Then she killed him and took HIS sword and one of his horses. He wasn't the first person she'd killed, though it was the first in a fight. She'd murdered three people before that: one for food and the other two because they'd refused to pay her after she had sex with them. She just continued doing that, finding better and better warriors to learn from. She didn't always kill them eventually though she often did. Some of them seemed to actually like her though she really didn't understand about things like that. She was still just trading sex. One of them said he'd loved her and when she left, he'd just given her his sword. She didn't have to kill him for it. That made her uncomfortable. It seemed weak of him and she felt weak herself when he did that. She went back later to see him but he had been killed. She hunted down who had killed him and then took HIS sword. She still had the other though; she didn't know why she kept it since it wasn't that good.
Callisto needed to get some men. She needed to learn to lead and how to control and deploy them. She knew she should just join an army but she couldn't do that; she couldn't take orders from anyone, even temporarily. She would learn what she needed on her own. And she would only lead. Never follow.
She wiped her sword down with a cloth and replaced it in her scabbard. Someday she would get a sword from Euphemies.
The bandit chief parried the unexpected attack expertly, and threw his wine in his attacker's face. He'd come into this little tavern with his lieutenant when the scum suddenly drew on him. Blinded by the wine the man was swinging widely with his sword and killed the tavernkeeper who hadn't been fast enough in getting away. The chief carefully watched his man then struck his hand and his sword fell to the ground. The yelling was cut short by the quick thrust into his heart. The chief looked down at him. This really stunk. Now he didn't have a lieutenant and this town would probably hate him because of the tavernkeeper's death.
He looked around to see if there was going to be any trouble. There had been a few people in the room but they'd all fled, all but one. A beautiful blonde girl who was dressed like a warrior was still sitting at her table eating her soup. She smiled at him.
"That was pretty good fighting. I'm impressed."
The man grunted, watching her carefully.
She continued. "There's not a garrison here, so you don't need to worry about soldiers. Everybody saw you were justified. I don't think anyone will come after you. Too bad about the tavernkeeper. He made good soup."
The bandit, who was a burly man around 40 with a heavy brown beard, walked over to her. "That does smell good." He disappeared into the kitchen and returned with a bowl of soup of his own and another cup of wine.
"I'd like you to teach me to fight like that," the blonde said to him matter of factly.
He looked at her and smiled. "You're Callisto. I've heard of you. I think I'd rather live a while longer. I do admire the way you're going about learning to fight. You are a beautiful girl but a little sex isn't worth dying for."
Now Callisto smiled. "Okay. Just teach me and I promise I won't kill you when I've surpassed you."
"When you've surpassed me. I like that. If I didn't know so many dead warriors I'd laugh at you. As it is I'm going to believe you could surpass me. You want to learn something? this one's free. Don't let arrogance make you careless."
She was studying him. He was in a whole different league than anyone she'd met before. She had to get him as a teacher. "What's your name?"
"Galt," he answered as he was eating his soup.
"What can I do to convince you, Galt?" she said seductively. She had him; she could see he wanted her though it would take a while. That impressed her. Maybe she would keep her promise and not kill him. Callisto was glad she wasn't a man and ruled by sex like they were. She couldn't believe how vulnerable it made them.
Galt was carefully studying a map in his tent. Callisto got up from their bedding and walked naked over to put a hand on his shoulder and look at what he was doing. He glanced up at her. He still thought she would probably kill him eventually, but he had lied to her when he said a little sex wasn't worth it. Galt hoped maybe Callisto actually liked him a little. He liked her a lot.
She spoke. "I've been thinking, Galt. Why are you just a bandit? You're better than that. I've seen plenty of bandits and they're nothing like you."
"Figured that how, huh? Well, it's like I told you before. I don't really want to die any time soon. I could probably fight my way up in a warlord's army--though I'm getting old now for that. But then what? You know what the life expectancy of a warlord is? For every Xena or Draco there's probably a dozen leaders who don't last more than a few months. Some don't last a week. I'm no Draco or Cortese. I know that about myself." He turned in his chair and Callisto sat on his lap. He ran his hand through her hair. She was so beautiful. "But you know what? you are."
Callisto was just looking at him. She had been with him almost three months, the longest she'd been with anyone. She didn't like how he was starting to act with her. It was weak. "I never lied to you, Galt."
"I know that, Callisto." He indicated for her to get up and he gruffly said, "Get some clothes on so I can explain what I'm doing here. I can't concentrate with you that way."
"What is it you're after, Callisto?" Galt said. She was diagramming out a battle formation that Galt would then critique for her. She looked up at him. She was naked like she often was in his tent. She knew Galt liked that so she felt like it was part of her agreement with him.
"I want to be a warlord, Galt."
"I know that, but why? It's a terrible life. Most are out of work soldiers who just fall into it because they can't do anything else. Or else they're addicted to the blood and excitement. It's not something you consciously set out to become. Well, you are. But no one else." He paused. "It's vengeance, isn't it.? Your whole life is dedicated to vengeance and you see being a warlord as the way to accomplish that."
Callisto looked back down at the battle map, without answering. Finally she looked back up. "I'm going to destroy Xena. She killed my family, everyone I knew. My entire life!"
The burly man nodded. "Sweet Athena. Xena. I'll bet that's how she got started or something like it. Even if you do manage it, you'll be just like her and there will be others coming after you."
"Then I'll kill them. Don't waste your breath on this, Galt."
The bandit looked sadly at the beautiful nude girl sitting on the floor of his tent. He got up and left and she returned to her battle map.
It seemed to Callisto like she was learning from Galt but she knew she wouldn't handle things the way he did, anyway. Seeing how he always approached things with his mind, looking for the most efficient way to accomplish anything was the most important thing she got from him. He did improve her swordsmanship, seeming to take a real pleasure in her progress. And he showed her on maps how he planned his attacks on merchant caravans or military shipments. She'd been around lots of bandits and they never did this. They just went out and hid behind a tree and attacked whoever came along. It offended her in a way, Galt being a bandit. It was like using a good sword to chop vegetables.
Galt's men had the travelers standing by the road. It was a wealthy family with several soldiers as their guards. Galt was happy no one on either side had been hurt. He wanted to keep it that way. He had a new man, a big young one, who made him nervous, and of course Callisto. He sensed there was a side to her he'd never seen and never wanted to see. The father of the family seemed relatively calm. He understood it was business, Galt guessed. He had a son who looked like he wanted to be a hero and there was the wife and a couple of daughters, who looked frightened to death. That was all right. He indicated for Callisto to come over to him. "I'm glad you're here. I want you to search the women for jewelry."
She looked at him. She had already taken more orders from him than she ever thought she would from anyone. "I'm not doing that, Galt." She walked back to her horse and just watched the proceedings. Galt stared at her, annoyed, then returned to his prisoners. He wanted the jewelry but that son looked like he'd flip if any men went near the women. He was searching the father when he heard a scream.
"Shit!" he said running down the line. That new man had just ripped the clothes off one of the daughters and now he had his sword on the son, taunting him.
"Take a look at this brave boy," the new man said sneeringly.
Galt was relieved nothing worse had happened. He indicated for one of his other men to come over. "Hold the boy." When the young man was firmly held he turned to his sneering man and knocked his front teeth out. He just looked at him on the ground. Galt hadn't even drawn his sword.
Cursing the young bandit got up. "You're dead, Galt!"
The bandit was several inches taller than Galt and at least 20 years younger. He charged the bandit chief who side-stepped and with a kick broke his leg. "I would advise you to quit now," Galt said to the man who was now writhing on the ground. He began swinging his sword at Galt who stood out of reach. Galt sighed and drew his sword. He knew what was coming and deflected the thrown sword easily.
"What are you doing?"
Galt answered Callisto, "I'm maintaining discipline."
"Why are you wasting your time on this offal? Just kill him, Galt!"
Callisto didn't understand what was in his eyes when he looked at her. "It's just not that easy for me, Callisto." He looked back at the cursing man on the ground who drew a dagger to throw. Galt prepared to deflect it but instead saw Callisto leap and slash down with her sword, beheading the man.
She looked at him. "I understand now why you don't want an army, Galt." She searched the other women for jewels while Galt made sure the daughter was all right.
The bandits were waiting for the soldier's conveying taxes to the provincial capital. Callisto admired the way Galt's men were deployed. She realized they could be troops instead of individual men. Galt could be conquering cities instead of robbing travelers. She felt contempt for his lack of ambition but then she felt there was some reason she shouldn't feel like that. The teenage girl didn't understand it.
Galt watched the soldiers. Everyone was in position. There was the girl looking at him like he was a grandmother or something. When he was her age that's how he would've felt too. After he'd been in a few big battles and seen the birds and dogs feasting on the dead he'd gotten over that. Galt remembered seeing that maniac Achilles at Troy cutting down people like grain. Galt made a nice living and didn't have to wallow in blood. Some people didn't mind it. Callisto probably wouldn't mind it. Galt tried never to hurt anyone if he could help it.
Something was wrong! Galt sensed it though he couldn't see what it was yet. He raised his left hand to signal he was calling off the robbery. An arrow struck his hand. "It's a trap!" He yelled, grimacing from the pain of his mangled hand with the arrow still in it. The gold wagon was filled with archers! There were other men coming out of the forest, too. He began riding toward Callisto, hoping to get her out. There was yelling all around and arrows flying. A good third of his 20 men were already down. Someone must've sold them out.
Callisto's eyes were wide and she was baring her teeth as she watched the arrows flying. Someone had betrayed them. She saw Galt and he had an arrow through his hand. He was riding toward her and she started toward him but a terrible pain ripped her back and she was down in the middle of the road. A soldier was over her about to finish the arrow's job with his sword when she saw him turn and cry out as Galt's horse rode right over him. The stocky bandit leapt off his horse and drove his sword through the man's face before he could stand. Then he came over to Callisto and helped her up. She felt a sharp pain as he snapped most of the arrow sticking out of her off.
"Get on my horse!' he yelled at her. She managed to reach it. There wasn't much time. Galt boosted her up and was about to get on himself when he caught another arrow in his leg. He slapped the horse and it took off riding, with Callisto unable to stop it and barely able to hang on. She caught a glimpse of Galt surrounded by archers who were preparing another volley.
Kalman grinned. He'd never had so much money. His brother had told him about the planned robbery, bragging. Too bad about him. Their mother hadn't stopped crying. He'd been celebrating all month. Now he was in the tavern and he'd just been telling everyone how clever he was--nothing specific of course.
"Hi, looking for some company?" Kalman looked at who was speaking to him. It was a whore, a really good looking one. Blonde with brown eyes and a nice smile.
He scratched his crotch and winked at her. "I sure am." She sat down next to him and he put his arm around her shoulder but she winced.
"My pimp beat me yesterday. I'm kinda tender back there."
"Ah, poor baby. I've got just what you need," the skinny greasy man said. He reached between her legs. She allowed it though he thought there was something strange in her eyes. He liked it even more if she didn't like it and he continued exploring with his fingers.
"You must really be clever to have so much money all of a sudden. Come on, you can tell me. How'd you get it?" She was smiling at him and whispering in his ear.
"Well, you know. I'm just a businessman...ahhh!" He reacted to her tongue flicking in his hairy ear.
"Oh, but baby. I don't want to do this my whole life. I wanna be smart, like YOU." Her hand had reached between his legs now.
"Ahh, ahh, well. It's just information. You just need information that someone wants. AHH."
"Oh, baby. You are SO SMART, and STRONG, and CLEVER! Can we get out of here, and you tell me all about it."
"Yeah, sure. SURE!"
Kalman and his whore left the tavern, with everybody smirking. They went into a dark alley and the whore said, "But what kind of information? I'm just stupid. What kind of information would somebody wanna buy? Huh?" Her hand was inside his pants now.
Kalman felt wonderful, bragging to this stupid whore with her hand on his dick. He couldn't resist. "Well, something like a robbery, see. A big robbery. You just tell the commander of the garrison and he'll take care of you."
Suddenly those eyes seemed almost like they were glowing or something they were so wide, and that smile wasn't so sweet. It was kinda crazy. She said, "Open wide, I've got a surprise for you." Kalman found a ball shoved in his mouth, then the hand on his dick reached down lower and squeezed--hard. He fell to the ground from the pain and his hands were tied. Then a belt went around his face to keep the ball gag in place. She pulled him further back into the alley where a horse was waiting. The whore managed to hoist him up with a little encouragement from a knife so he was over the back of the horse then she tied him on, mounted and rode away.
Kalman was crying. What was happening? Was this whore doing all this just to rob him? After hours of riding in the black forest the horse finally stopped. Kalman felt the rope tying him on the animal untied and a hand grabbed him and pulled him off.
He was lying on the ground looking at the whore. She barely looked at him but just stripped right there and reached into her saddle bag and brought out some black leather things that she put on. Kalman squirmed as he recognized fighting leathers. She pulled some brass-tipped boots on. Then she took a sword and scabbard off of the horse but seemed to think better of putting her sword on and just set it within easy reach. Kalman recognized her now. She walked over to him and took the belt and ball gag out of his mouth.
"Callisto! I didn't do anything. Sweet Athena, it wasn't me that told about Galt!"
Smiling, Callisto reached out and touched his hair caressingly, then she stood and kicked him over and over in the stomach so he began retching. "Something like you can cause the death of someone like Galt. It just boggles the mind. I mean, Xena ruining my life was bad enough but she has a kind of dignity about her. But YOU! A piece of dog excrement like you killed Galt. It just makes you wonder if there's any justice, y'know, Kalman."
"Please. It wasn't me! It wasn't me! It was my brother. He did it!"
"You mean the brother who was killed along with Galt and the others. Now, why would he do that, Kalman? But you know what, Kalman? I'm merciful and I'm not gonna kill you."
"You're not?" he said hopefully.
"No, I'm not. I'm gonna let you explain your position to Galt, though." Callisto grabbed the slight blubbering man and began dragging him. He saw the hole now and the smell hit him.
"What are you doing? Sweet Athena!" She stood him up and in the moonlight he could see the rotting corpse in the box at the bottom of the hole.
"Like I said, explain it to Galt." She kicked him again in the crotch then pushed him in the hole. She leaped in after him and closed and secured the lid of the box where Kalman was now on top of Galt. There was a small grate over their faces. "There's a water bottle in there, Kalman, if you can reach it. And I'm leaving you a passage for air. If you get hungry, there's always Galt." She fit the tube over the grate and then began shoveling dirt in. She rested once, idly listening to the hysterical muffled screams. When she had the refilled the hole with the tube extending up out of the ground, she said into it, "Sweet dreams, Kalman," smiling at the renewed screams. Callisto picked her sword and scabbard up, looking at it a moment before putting it on. She remounted her horse.
"Thanks for the sword...and everything, Galt," she said, then turned her horse and rode into the darkness.