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Disclaimer: Callisto is property of MCA/Universal. No copyright infringement is intended. This story contains Callisto, which means VIOLENCE. If you do not like violence, although mildly described here, please do not read this story.
by The AnOrExOrCiSt
Awise man once threw a rock into the still waters of a lake, causing it to ripple. Although the lake soon became still again, the rock the man had thrown there remained in the lake, forever changing it. My life was forever altered in one single night, many years ago, in a place called Cirra. My family was destroyed by a marauding army, led by the Warrior Princess; a young woman named Xena. Her heart, eaten away by hatred, had turned her into a monster. As a villain, she was awesome; efficient, merciless, and disdainful toward all things in life. Like the lake, she had once been still waters. But still waters run deep, and the lust for revenge would soon make a ripple in her life that did not allow her to settle again for many years to follow.
Of course, my own ripples have never faded.
I am vengeance. I am as dark as the blackest of nights. But what right do I have to make such claims? Who is it that I send these words out to? Why do I write these words? Maybe it is so that my story, the whole story, can finally be told. Maybe it is so that Xena, my nemesis, my enemy, my friend, can understand how complexly I viewed our relationship. Xena? Are you out there? Do you see these words, do you hear my final thoughts? Oh, Xena, how I miss you. You were my entire life for so many years; hunting you, tracking you down, destroying you was all I could think of, dream of, live for. I hated you, while at the same time, mixed up in that hatred, I needed you. And while I both hated and needed you, I loved you as well. You see, you were the ultimate goal. In order to defeat you, I had to become you, and the more I became you, the closer we became, and the more respect and love I had for you. I know you probably donít understand, Xena dear, but the worse I became, the more I began to understand how hard it must have been for you to turn your back on the madness, and try to put your miserable existence back into something that could be called heroic. I also knew that I lacked the strength to turn away from my own madness, and it made me hate you all the more because it was the one thing that you could do that I could not. But I still needed you as an object for my madness. And I did love you because you were responsible for what I had become; indirectly, you raised me. I was closer to you than anyone else when I died; the you of the past and me before I became a god; we could have been sisters, you and I. At the head of an army we could have ruled the world. No one would have been able to defeat both of us. These feelings toward you were why I reached out to you, and wanted to touch you, and behold you, as the last thing I saw before I slipped into the void of oblivion when you stabbed me with the dagger that held the Hindís blood. You were the only person since Iíd lost my sanity to ever mean anything to me Here, you must think it is my madness speaking. Allow me to explain what I mean. Perhaps saying that I loved you in my own weird way is too strong a phrase for you to comprehend. I donít really know for certain that I did love you I do know for certain that I needed you, and need is a close kin of love although the two should never be confused, and often are. We both know I hated you, for what you did to me, for what you did to my poor family. I could never forget my motherís screams and my sisterís wailing as my home burned to the ground, with them inside. I needed the idea of you, and what you were to me, to get me through the toughest years of my life, when I was first on my own, as an adolescent. It was during those years that I decided you had to pay for what youíd done to my family, to my village. It was that thought that pushed me toward becoming a warlord. I know that few know the details of my past, but what scant information there is that does not come from me will confirm this. I do hope you read my story, Xena, to see where I came from, and how I became what I was when you first met me. I also want you to know that it wasnít you who pushed me over the edge. I only wanted to get you because I thought, deep down, it would bring me peace and that it would allow my family to rest in peace, which I will explain in my story. They haunted me as often as you did, especially at night, when it was the hardest and I could not sleep. I always wondered if you were able to sleep well at night, Xena. I wondered what it was like to destroy so many lives and then try to make up for it. I meant what I said about you being a hero. Youíve become a sentimental fool. Whereas at one time, even when you were first starting out as a hero, you destroyed whoever opposed you, now you allow them to get off with a simple knock on the head even when they deserve to die. Your sword has become useless, and your chakram a toy. I shudder to see whatís become of you. Xena, thereís no reason at all that you cannot still be a prolific warrior and fight for good. It would have been much more fun to fight you had you still possessed your killer instinct. But youíve lost it, Xena, and with it, youíve lost your charisma. I do hope you get it back. You werenít any fun after you mellowed out. But I should not be saying these things To you, Xena, I owe my entire life. Thank you. Without you I might have become a boring housewife with screaming children, and I probably would never have left Cirra. Whereís the fun in such an existence? To Gabrielle, your annoying little friend, I would like to say this: Sorry about your stupid husband. I realize now that I shouldnít have killed him. I should have just killed you and gotten it over with. Youíre irritating, and I wonder what Xena could possibly see in you. What color is your hair, really, for the godsí sakes? Blonde or red? Please, pick one And to Joxer, (your other little friend, Xena) youíre an idiot. You will never be a warrior. You will always be a clown. Burn in Tartarus.
But I digress. To whomever is listening, it wasnít entirely Xenaís fault that I lost my mind; it took more than one night to drive me insane. It was not hatred, nor was it rage, that drove me at first to become a warrior, although later the emotions were to play instrumental parts in my choosing to command an army as its Warlord. I didnít have much of a choice in the matter, actually. I was ten years old when I was orphaned at Cirra, and the few who survived along with me did not fare well. I left them within a yearís time, striking out on my own. I was young, impetuous, and I wanted to see what was out in the world, away from what had once been my home and what would forever bring me painful memories. I was attacked on the road to Athens; Iíd heard so much about Athens that Iíd decided to go there, and try to start my life over. I was good with my hands, I thought I could make pottery and sell it in the marketplace there. But I never made it to the Golden City of Greece. I was captured by a slave trader named Micenius and auctioned off at a slave traderís post for a good price. Fortunately, the gods smiled upon me. I was bought by a queen who possessed a barren womb. Because I was exceptionally pretty for my age, I had stood out amongst the other slave girls, and she had chosen to raise me as the heir to her throne.
It turned out that she could not have made a bigger mistake.
I had what could best be described as cruel intentions from the start. But things could have changed.
Iwasnít always insane. That came later, of course, but at first I was just like any other young girl; excited that I was moving into a palace, and unable to believe that fortune had smiled upon me. After losing everything, my entire village and my whole family, it was a dream come true for me to be taken in by a queen and to be raised as her heir.
After Iíd been purchased, Iíd been chained and led around to the back of the auction. The buyer, an auburn-haired young woman who had the prettiest green eyes I had ever seen, had come with her bodyguards to make the final deal with Micenius about me. As anyone would be, I was scared, but defiant; I was no slave, and had no intention of being a cooperative one. Micenius had made a point of telling me that this would make me even more valuable to prospective owners because feisty slaves were good slaves. This dumb lady didnít know what she was in for.
Micenius had me heavily chained, and shackled. I could barely move when the woman was given the keys to my chains and I was led to her wagon. The entire walk to the wagon, she kept looking at me and smiling, and gushing over how beautiful I was. She spoke directly to me several times, but I just glared at her or else didnít pay much attention to her. I was already trying to figure out how to get myself out of these chains, and away from this slave owner. One thing Iíve always hated is the idea of slavery. If they donít want to serve you, you should put them out of their misery, or let them go because they will be trouble, and while Trouble is my middle name, I certainly did not want to deal with troublemakers when I had my army; itís a lot harder to keep men disciplined when there are troublemakers around. Men have short attention spans and are easily distracted. I found it was better to let them decide to join me than to force them to. That way everyone was pleased, myself included, and no one had to die.
I was going to make trouble for this lady. Then I was going to escape. There are five universal and instinctual rules when trying to survive that every warrior knows, and the first of these is to run. The second is to surrender, then run. The third is that if they outnumber you, let them fight each other while you run. The fourth is talk your way out of it. The fifth is to defend yourself by any means necessary. I would go as far as need be to do so, except that I would not kill. This I had decided long ago, for it would make me as evil as the warrior who had stolen my life, and many othersí lives, that night in Cirra. I did not want to be like her. I aspired to be her nemesis. But not right away. First, I had this slavery issue to deal with. I prepared myself for the worst, and to be extremely insolent while experiencing it.
That is, I planned to be until we reached her wagon, and my shackles were removed, along with my chains. Needless to say, I was surprised. I stared at her, dumbfounded, as her bodyguards threw the chains into the back of the wagon, and the woman came forward and gave me a big hug. I was not used to such gestures; my mother had not been big on hugs, although Iíd been close to her and weíd spent a lot of time together. I was confused, but I returned the hug. The young woman released me, and smiled at me. "Hi. Iím Melissa. Whatís your name?"
I just stared at her. She found it amusing. "You donít have to be afraid. Everything is going to be all right. Iím not going to hurt you." When I did not reply, she added, "I will explain everything if you just do me a favor, and climb up into my wagon. Can you do that, sweetie?" I looked around; her guards did not appear mean, or tough. They watched us with amusement. This lady did not look like a typical slave owner; cruel, and business like. She was kind, and warm-hearted. I didnít trust her, though. Most kind and warm-hearted people were foolish, although they always had the best intentions at heart. But I shrugged and climbed into her wagon. She was pleased as she climbed in beside me. "Thatís good. Thank you for trusting me."
"I donít trust you," I said.
She looked surprised at my sharp tone. "You should. Iíve not come to make you my slave."
"Then why did you buy me at a slave auction?"
That seemed to take her aback. "Youíre smart for your age. How old are you?"
"Old enough to know better than to tell you." I folded my arms over my chest and leaned away from her. "Iíve heard you whip insolent slaves. You will have a lot of whipping to do if you think that you can tame me."
"My, youíre a feisty one," Melissa laughed. "Maybe I should be training you to lead my army, not to be my heir." I raised an eyebrow.
"My heir. My womb is barren, young one. I came here today to find an heir, not a slave. I chose you." She smiled. "Youíre free to choose whether to stay with me in my palace, or to leave and force me to look elsewhere for my heir."
I stared at her with disbelief. "Youíre serious?" I asked.
She found that amusing. "Yes, extremely. My husband, King Nomar, and I, Queen Melissa, are going to raise you as our own. Youíre a little older than we were looking for, but I can see that you are incredibly smart, and you are extraordinarily pretty. Youíre perfect. I know youíll be a perfect queen when your time comes."
"Iím not perfect." I still didnít trust her, but I did drop my guard a notch. Wow; me, an heir to a throne! Was it just a year ago that my family had been killed? Just a year since the screaming in the night, and the fire, the burning the pretty, dark haired warrior whoíd swept through our mountain valley like a plague. I would find her name. In my nightmares, she was always there, I remembered every detail of the glimpse of her that Iíd seen. In those dreams, she was always standing over my parents, and my sister, and slitting their throats, laughing because I was helpless to stop her. Laughing because my family cried out to me to save them, but I was just a young girl I could not
I shook the thoughts from my mind. "Far from perfect," I added.
But Melissa was happy with me. And I decided to give myself another chance at a normal life.
I think itís why, ten years later when Joxer called me the "Warrior Queen," I enjoyed the title so much. After all, had I not eventually destroyed my own kingdom, the title would have been appropriate.
Point of View
King Nomar loved me. Heíd dreamed all his life of having a little girl, and now that I was living in the palace as the princess, his dream had come true. Three years after Iíd been brought to the palace, at the age of fourteen, I was having the time of my life. I never forgot Cirra, true, but I had been well-educated by the best tutors around, and I had finally begun a dream of my own; training to become a warrior. At the time, I was close to a final exam from my current instructor. Heíd marveled at my natural instincts and my natural skills. He said my potential was far greater than any heíd ever instructed. He swore I was destined for greatness on the battlefield. He was looking forward to the final exam as much as I was; also, I craved knowledge, and enjoyed feeding my intellect as much as or more than I enjoyed sparring. I often read with the King in his library of scrolls. As a result of such readings, and because of my expensive education, I developed a biting wit, a to-the-point way of speaking, and a vast vocabulary. It was also discovered that I had a brilliant mind, especially for planning tactical military maneuvers. The king and I often played strategy games, and I usually would beat him, and beat him badly. He and I enjoyed a much better relationship than Iíd ever had with my real father. Being a princess was a joy I thought Iíd never experience. My king was also my best friend, and my queen was the sister I lost in the flames of Cirra. My life was going better than I could ever have hoped for. Iíd found a home, and two people to take care of me and love me, and I was happy. You may ask what became of my cruel intentions?
At the time I never lost sight of them, but my intention of carrying them out grew less and less the happier I became. Soon I was fifteen years old, and a formidable opponent for any warrior. The pretty little blonde girl had turned into a capable adolescent with a bright future. I was the best warrior around, and a female no less. My instructor often joked that the apprentice, me, would soon become the master. Of course, I thought he was just joking, but later I would find out that he had prepared a final exam for me that I would never forget.
Our kingdom was at war with a place called Nyclops, led by king and founder Nyceus. It lay in the valley across the forest, and over the mountains. King Nomar wanted peace more than he wanted anything else, but King Nyceus was determined to overrun Cephalus, our kingdom. The war had raged for a year and I was clamoring to join the army as a captain; I wanted to show my king that I was a capable warrior and that the enemy could be defeated. King Nomar knew of my brilliance in strategic games, but was concerned about risking me on the battlefield. He would not allow his heir to join the army. This, of course, angered me, and there are legends all over Greece about my anger.
King Nomar never knew how many assassins Iíd sent back to Nyceus with broken bones and bruised egos at having been beaten up by a teenage girl. Heíd sent many to the palace to break in, but fortunately Iíd begun to take walks late at night when I couldnít sleep, when my nightmares haunted me and reminded me of my dark past, and the revenge I had yet to reap. Iíd intercepted the assassins each time they had come. But he was beginning to increase the number he sent, and I was starting to have trouble beating them. I told my king that the enemy had to be dealt a crushing blow or we would never be rid of them. I wanted him to give me control of the army, as its general.
He would not hear of it. "This is my fight," he said. "I will deal with it. You go, enjoy your youth. These are adult matters and you will have enough of them to deal with soon enough." I ended up storming out of the throne room in a purple rage, heading immediately for my training room and taking my anger out on the expensive equipment King Nomar had purchased for me and put there.
Queen Melissa came to talk to me. Sheíd overheard the king and I and wanted to talk. I gestured for her to come in as I went through a quick routine of basic hand to hand combat techniques. Melissa closed the door gently behind her and made herself comfortable on the couch in the room. "That was quite an argument you made," she said thoughtfully, watching me exercise. "You have some good ideas."
"Good ideas?" I snorted. "Theyíre great ideas. I know where the enemy is weak, and I know how to defeat them. Nomar just doesnít see it that way. He is a sentimental fool. He still thinks the matter can be resolved peacefully!" I screamed as I buried my fist in the sack of flour that hung in front of me. The queen raised an eyebrow.
"Why canít it?"
"Every night I take a walk around the palace. In the few places where we do not have guards stationed, assassins come each night. I have been dealing with them personally. They come for you, and they come for him. King Nyceus is not playing by the rules. He wants the two of you dead, or out of the way, and he wants this kingdom." I glanced in her direction. "That cannot be allowed to happen."
"Why didnít you tell us about these assassins?"
"I enjoy beating the stuffing out of them," I replied. "Itís so much fun. But they are sending more and more each night. Sooner or later, heíll send a battalion and I will fall."
Queen Melissaís voice hardened. "That will not happen. We will have guards stationed at every position at the palace walls."
I nodded. "That will take care of the battle," I said. "But what about the war?"
"I will talk to the king." Queen Melissa smiled and came across the room to give me a hug and a quick smile. "Donít worry, Callisto, everything will be all right."
"I hope so."
Melos was my fighting instructor. A former warlord, and general in the Athenian Army, he was the best around. I didnít think Iíd be able to beat him if that was what he had in mind as my final exam. He paced as I warmed up, going through my hand to hand fighting techniques. "Thatís good, Callisto. Intensity is the key. If youíre not intense, you will get your ass kicked in a real fight." I was always intense during workouts. I happened to take them very seriously. An image of the dark warrior woman always came to my mind. I knew I must find her. King Nomar had guessed, and given me a name.
The Destroyer of Nations. He thought her name might be Xena. I would check into it later, Iíd told him, but I had a personal vendetta against her. Iíd been vague as to how Iíd become a slave when asked by Nomar and Melissa. They had ideas, but never anything solid. Xena was going to be my problem, and Iíd make sure she paid for her crimes when the time came that I was good enough to defeat her in combat.
"How good am I?" I asked Melos, as I finished up hand to hand fighting and went to fetch my sword from the corner of the room. Later, many would wonder when Iíd had my jeweled sword created. Well, it was a gift for my fifteenth solstice from the king. It had sentimental value to me, and that was my reason for never parting with it over the years. I also received my black leather from the king, although I wore it under other armor during my years in the kingdom; a Roman legion affair with black leather and a gold cuirass instead of red and gold. "Good enough to fight Xena?"
He laughed. "No one is good enough to fight Xena, child. Where did you hear tale of that warrior bitch?"
"I hear things." I drew my sword as Melos drew his own. "Can she be beaten?"
"Itís never happened before," he replied. "At least, not that I know of. Push such thoughts from your mind."
"If I were to defeat her, what would that do for my reputation?" I asked.
"You would be considered the greatest warrior, and hero, in all of Greece," was Melosí reply as he attacked me. I parried his blows, opting to use a defensive angle today.
"Greater than even Hercules?" I slipped an attack in between parries, and caught him off guard. He almost lost his insides, as Iíd swung for his gut.
"Youíre getting better," he observed.
"Iíve been practicing." I attacked him ferociously, tapping into centers of rage I held in check only until it was time to wield my blade as if it were the black hand of death. Melos looked stunned as he was suddenly on the defensive, but he quickly regained his composure and used a quick leg sweep to knock me onto my backside. With his blade pointed at my throat, I dared not move. He smiled and kicked away my sword.
"Youíre ready for the final exam. Come with me, I must show you something." He allowed me to get up, and to retrieve my sword, which I sheathed. Naturally, I was thrilled. It was finally time for the final exam! I was finally going to be a warrior!
I will never forget how happy I was following Melos to the throne room. I assumed we were going to tell my king of my triumph, and I couldnít wait to see the pleased expression on the manís face when he learned what Iíd accomplished. Melos pushed open the door, standing aside for me to go in first.
Queen Melissa would be so proud of me. Iíd come to enjoy the hugs that she gave me, the warmth of her arms, the sound of her voice when she praised me, and even on the rare occasion that I was mischievous and she scolded me.
The word echoed in my mind as I entered the throne room. There was blood everywhere. Splattered on the walls, on the floor, even on the ceiling. The King and Queen sat in their respective thrones, every inch of both bodies had been slashed beyond recognition. I stopped dead in my tracks and stared in disbelief. This could not be happening to me, not twice in one lifetime. Please, I begged the gods, not twice. Not to me. Not again.
But maybe it was destined. Maybe my fate had already been woven in the grand tapestry of life. I was never to know. What I did know is something snapped inside me right then, something that had been on the verge of snapping since Iíd crawled from the ashes of Cirra. My mind went blank, my heart went numb, and then there was a bright flash of white light.
And red rage.
Melos had closed the door. Iíd wondered how the assassins would know which weak points to penetrate the palace. It seemed they knew each and every one, and when the guards would not be around. It figured that King Nyceus would have a stooge in our palace. Melos was a traitor. One of King Nomarís most trusted advisors, and heíd slaughtered the king, and the queen, in cold blood. Melos drew his sword. "Welcome to the final exam."
"Why did you do it?" I asked, my heart breaking for the last time. "Why did you kill them?" Melos shrugged as if it were not important.
"King Nyceus offered me a good deal," he replied. "I knock off the three of you, and Cephalus is ripe for the taking. Nyceus wants this town; he wants it bad. Heís paying me quite well."
"Thatís money that you will never see."
"I wonít? You have to beat me, or die, Callisto." Melos smiled. "And you donít have what it takes to kill. Youíre an excellent warrior, but you donít have the killer instinct. If youíd had it, you would have killed Nyceusí assassins." I drew my sword. My heart was going numb again. Everything seemed to be slowing down except me. I was acutely aware of my surroundings, and of Melos. He was gloating.
And waiting. He wanted me to attack him. He was trying to use my rage against me. That could only mean that he knew he could not defeat me in combat unless I was disoriented. I took in several deep breaths as he approached me. I took a step back, but held my ground. Melos nodded. "You have gotten smarter. Very good."
He was still the instructor, I was the apprentice. Well, that was going to change. I leaped and swung, trying to get him in the side of the head with my left boot. Melos ducked and rolled, and came up with his back to me. I thrust out with both legs and knocked him forward, sending him sprawling. I screamed and ran after him. He raised his sword as he rolled over and parried my blow, and kicked me in the chest, knocking the wind out of me. The hilt of his sword came down on the back of my head, and I cried out in pain. He kicked me and I fell to the side, my world dimming quickly. I fought to stay awake, but Melos showed no mercy. He proceeded to tenderize me like a cheap side of beef, kicking until I was crying, literally, in pain. My ribs were burning; I knew they were broken. Melos laughed as I writhed in pain. "That the first time youíve been beaten up like this?" he asked. "Huh, you stupid bitch?" I spit blood and couldnít believe my foul luck. The gods were not smiling upon me anymore. "Get up!" he yelled at me. "get up, now, and fight!" I didnít move. Melos reached for his belt. "All right. If you wonít give me the pleasure of a fight, Iíll take my pleasure another way!"
I brought my fist around with all my might. Melosí nose looked as if it had been a balloon, waiting to pop and spill its blood over his face. He cried out and tried to kick me, but I rolled and got to my feet. I was suddenly no longer afraid of him. In fact, I was thinking that in a few minutes, he would be very afraid of me.
I faced Melos. He held both swords; his own, and mine. He began to march toward me, twirling both of them. I settled into my fighting stance, but when he was close enough to cut me, I began to weave a dance of death. Melos looked startled as I moved, majestically, defensively, and began to circle him. He continued to twirl the swords as he watched me. Soon he tired of watching me and lunged. As he did, I turned sideways, avoiding both sword by mere centimeters, and thrust out with the butt of my left palm. My hand smashed into Melosí nose. He looked stunned as his eyes rolled back into his head, and he fell over, dead. The swords clanged to the ground. I stood there, motionless, as the white raged roared in my head, and my mind absorbed the fact that I had just killed this man, with my bare hands. I was frozen in place. A strange sense of euphoria had taken over me. It was logical, in my mind, that since my enemy had destroyed my family, I would destroy my enemy. With Nomar and Melissa dead, I was the heir to the throne. I was the Queen of Cephalus. Now I could take over the army.
I smiled down at Melos as I reached for my sword. Removing my cuirass and wearing only the black leather that would become my outfit of choice in the future, I smiled and stabbed it through his black heart to be certain he was dead. He looked up at me with dead eyes, his blood mingling with that of Nomar and Melissa. "The master becomes the apprentice," I told him. "And the apprentice is now the master."
But something was wrong with me. Something was missing. It left me that day and never came back.
I think it was the remainder of my soul.
Or my humanity.
The void of insanity is not a place Iíd wish anyone to visit. It is hard to even recognize what is real and what is not. My nightmare plagued me during my days as well as during my nights. I knew no peace, I knew nothing but agony, gut wrenching agony and explosive rage deep inside what was left of my heart. All of the agony, the hatred, and the rage, pointed in one direction: to the Warrior Princess, the ultimate source of my pathetic, fucked up life. She would pay, I would make sure that she paid, but first things first.
Iím sure someone has wondered why Theodorus always called me his queen. It was not because he was in love with me, which he was, it was because to him I would always be the queen. Theodorus was the commander of my army until I took it over soon after The King and Queen of Cephalus had been buried properly. I was a strong leader and charismatic, at first, and my army grew in numbers. We overran the valley after a number of years, and when I was nineteen we controlled the entire mountain region west of Thrace. I ruled it from Cephalus, the capital of my empire. Theodorus was always by my side. Heíd helped me to become unbeatable in hand to hand combat or one on one fighting. All who opposed me died. All who wished to join me where permitted, except those who were weak, whom I disposed of personally. I realized that I had been weak my entire life, and it was why those I cared about had been taken from me. If Iíd been strong, I could have saved them. But I had not been strong. And I had been beaten. I could never get my family back from Cirra, and I could never get King Nomar and Queen Melissa back. But I knew their souls rested peacefully; Melos had been dealt with.
Xena had not.
My cruel intentions resurfaced in my mind. My mother haunted me in my dreams. My sisterís screams were with me every night. They wanted blood, Xenaís blood. It was enough to drive me insane, over the edge. I became obsessed with the idea that Xena had to pay, and that only destroying her as she had destroyed me would make the madness ease and the pain go away. Living every day was torture for me. I lashed out at anyone who wasnít Theodorus, and not him only because I needed him to help me plan my attacks. He was smart, and on the few occasions when I did make mistakes, he knew how to handle me and how not to make me mad. Many others failed to observe and document his methods, and they were sent to Hades probably before their time.
I eventually left Cephalus and it was overrun by raiders from the North. Not that I cared. I didnít want to be queen anymore. I was the Warlord Callisto, and I cared about as much for the people of Cephalus as I cared about anything else. I did not care about anything else. Xena was all that mattered.
I was twenty-one when I found her. Twenty-one years old when I discovered she was trying to turn away from her crimes. I saw her, traveling with a loud little blonde girl who Iíd been told was called Gabrielle. Pretending to be a friend of Xenaís I followed her trail and learned everything about her that I could. I observed all of her battles and noted her tendencies, her touches, even her fighting style. I practiced daily and decided that to beat her, I had to become her. It took little time; the foundation was there, and I was one of the most gifted warriors in the history of Greece. No one could touch me. Those who did, died if I decided that they should, which almost always was an affirmative.
My soul was gone. My heart had been eaten away by years of hating her. She had become the object of my madness the second Melos died. Xena had been the original bad seed, the one whoíd stolen my life away in the first place. Melos had merely helped history to repeat itself. If not for Xena, Iíd never have met Melos. Everything was her fault. She would pay, and I would see to it.
I came up with the idea of the poison dart and pretending to be Xena with my own army soon after. It was perfect. Xena wanted her terrifying image erased so badly, that I knew it would hurt her tremendously if suddenly she were branded as a killer of women and children and again as a warlord. It would make her even more upset if, say, her mother, her little snot-nosed brat of a friend, and her stupid horse paid for being in her life with their own deaths. We would see how Xena felt when her own family was destroyed. I wanted her to feel the same way I did, see the look of helpless rage on her face that Iíd felt when my home had burned so long ago, and my soul had been set afire forever with it.
I had cruel intentions all my life. But it took two tragedies for me to be pushed far enough to carry them out. I guess I wasnít as strong as I thought I was.
The rest is history. Iíve only chronicled what most people donít know. I lost two families. I hold Xena responsible for both. Anyone else who has lost family by violent means knows that no amount of apologizing by the offending murderer or murderess can make up for it. In my eyes, Xena has never been tried for her crimes against me. She deserves to be punished for all the pain she caused me, and countless others that she left devastated in her path. I donít know who these words go out to, that I write as I fall into the void of oblivion, but I do hope that now those of you who hated me for hating Xena can understand why I hated Xena, and wanted to destroy her. Had she never been, I would have never lost any family. Because of her, I lost two. And I lost more than that. Much more.
But does anyone care? Does anyone understand? I doubt it.
And I donít care.
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