Prior to the episode that introduces her, Callisto puzzles over what to do about the warlord who “made” her and has suddenly switched to performing good deeds. The story also makes particular reference to THE RECKONING, TIES THAT BIND and THE GREATER GOOD.
Look at her. All puffed up and humble like some kind of hero. Disgusting, really. And those fools – cheering her, touching her, making her think she’s so different and good. I’d puke if it’d change anything. Pffft! Won’t change me or what she did. Won’t change what she really is inside, no matter how many people she saves. You can see it in those cold, hot eyes. That cruelly smiling mouth. The blood-splattered sword and leather. Yet still she wraps those fools around her little finger. Mind boggling. What in Tartarus is there about her, that they just don’t get it?
Gods, they trust her with their babies! Come on – brats are snacks to her. She spits out the young like seeds on sand, to shrivel, rootless, rotting in the sun. Most not so lucky enough to blow somewhere they can survive. Feeding off the cold ground and their hunger for what they don’t have and never will. No, not that lucky, like me. I do have her to thank for that. Ironic, I wouldn’t be here otherwise. I could’ve perished with the seeds she chewed up and swallowed. Or crushed with her big boots.
Heh. Those feet sure have covered lots of territory, stepped on more hapless villagers than you can count. The Titans she fought had nothing on her. She could’ve joined them and together ruled the world. If she’d been in her right mind. Hmmm. When did she lose it exactly? They say it was with Hercules. Figures. A “goody two shoes” would be that dumb. Bet she played him like that silly redhead she’s been dragging around with her lately.
What’s up with that anyhow? I mean, the tagalong I can understand. Obviously has the sense of a baby chick who’s never wandered farther than its mother’s breast. Another kind of lucky, just stupider. Doesn’t know a wolf from a hen. But the wolf? Why not gobble up the chickadee? Why let it stay? Likes playing it? To play with it? Play to it? Yeah. An audience. A naïve little soul to practice on, to convince the doubters. “See, if somebody like that believes in me, I must be okay.”
Her sword used to be a good enough persuader, when she had her right mind. I actually had some respect for her then. Sympathy even. I could understand taking what you want. Answering to no one. Being your own family and best friend. Surviving off rage and shattered dreams. Off the hunger for what you’d lost and wouldn’t have again. Blood sisters we were then. Her, my older role model. Showing what life’s really about – death. Teaching me to be true to myself, to use stunted growth to my advantage.
I believe in being honest about that – giving credit where credit’s due. Sure, most everything I know, I got from her. Experiencing her. Hearing about her. Watching her. Following in her giant footsteps. I may not have her size, but I can fight with the best. Ride like the wind. Outsmart any opponent. Handle her weapons like they were mine. She should be proud. Funny, I don’t think she will. Too bad. I’d let her have that. Before I killed her.
My men think I’m going crazy. Well, crazier. They haven’t seen me so conflicted. Heh. Neither have I. I’d heard she was in the neighborhood, so figured I’d check it out. Got there as she gave herself over to a scrungy mob. Seems they planned to execute her for some crime or another. The clueless tagalong insisted she was innocent. Innocent?! What a hoot! That wolf’s guilty of everything there is! About time she paid for some of it.
Almost fell out of my tree laughing, when they dragged that straw dummy down the road, giving her a little demonstration of what she could expect. But my glee was short lived. Oh, not because she stood there all stoic like just another walk in the meadow. Nobody’s as good at that, not even me. I tend to get the giggles. “Justice?” Give me a break. Could there be a more ridiculous concept? Besides “love,” that is?
No, what hit me was that it wouldn’t be in my hands. All those years a slave to my fantasies, every nightmare and waking moment devoted to her and her demise, then robbed by stupid villagers she just met? Another warlord maybe, even a vine snapping on one of her daring-do rescues. But justice? Nobody deserves that more than me. Call it a birthing gift due me in honor of the day she grunted me out of that fertile darkness of hers. Ha! My momma and my sis! Hysterical!
Suddenly all those scenarios flashed through my head, as it seemed they’d never be. The dramatic one when I hold a mock trial, parading up and down in front of her like those pompous prosecutors. Then switch sides with a sniveling defense. Sniff. “She didn’t mean to burn my house and murder my family. No no no no no. Probably picking her teeth at the time, took her eyes off her men. Is it fair to hold her responsible for a bit of stuck meat? Why, that could happen to any of us.”
The creative scenario has me pretending I’m someone in need, worming my way into her confidence, betraying her just when she believes she’s safe. The “honorable warrior” one, where we battle to prove I’m as good – or bad – as her. Toying with her for hours, slicing her till she’s ribbons of flesh begging for mercy. Squeezing her hand as she bleeds to the nothing she left her victims.
In the sentimental favorite, I snuff out her family while she watches helplessly from her own funeral pyre. Or my least favorite, probably the most realistic. She pisses me off just breathing. I whack her in a rage, and it’s over just like that No suffering. No time for regrets or maybe even learning who I am. Not much satisfaction in that. I do hope I can control myself.
Anyway, I needn’t have worried. Gotta love `er. She managed to go free as usual and give me another chance. Only problem is, the longer I wait, the more ideas I get. I’m having trouble making up my mind. What to do, what to do?
Okay, now she’s really driving me nuts. Nuttier. I figured she wasn’t going anywhere soon – execution, accident, illness, or otherwise. I tell ya, the woman leads a charmed life, along with her “many skills.” I busied myself recruiting more men and training them, practicing some new tricks I’d seen her do. A few months passed before I left to scout her again. I came upon her freeing slave girls from a warlord named Karilus. Ho hum. Nothing to write home about – if I’d had one. Just as I’m about to pack it in, she goes to Karilus’ camp. She fights him and takes his army! My skin starts tingling. Could it be? Has she regained her mind? Ready to show her true colors?
She leads the army to the village she’d left earlier. Sees some old guy strung up. Even from where I am, I can feel the fury rolling off her like carcasses in a plague. “Take the village!” she screams. Yes! I knew it was a trick! That sickeningly sorry façade was finally crumbling! I could hardly breathe, waiting for her to wreak the havoc I knew so intimately. Her men herded everybody together. She dismounted, gathered up the staked-out old man and carried him threateningly to the villagers. I nearly bit through my lip in anticipation of the slaughter, when things go all wrong.
I can’t believe what I’m seeing! The chirpy chickadee turns into a tiger and hits the wolf with a pitchfork! The wolf becomes a sheep, backing off her threats. The old man transforms into Ares, who fights the sheep, who tries to do to the God of War what she should’ve done to the pushover villagers. And wins! Stands there all puffed up and humble like some kind of hero while the idiots cheer! Again! Arggghhh! I can’t take it anymore! She has got to go!
Fortunately, I have an optimistic streak. Not sure why …. Anyway, I may be crazy, but at least I know my own mind. I haven’t lost sight of what makes my heart beat. Somebody else might’ve gotten discouraged, might’ve felt too much like pushing a boulder up a mountain trying to defeat an enemy apparently blessed by the gods. Not me. I don’t care if she is a monster with many lives, two faces and super-mortal abilities. People can rejoice all they want `cause she’s skewering now for “good.” I won’t be blinded by that. She committed crimes. I’m one of them – here to remind her and make her pay. Nothing, no one, will stand in my way.
I found a poison for her. Fitting, when you think about it, considering she poisoned me first. It was supposed to disable her, make her suffer, hopefully to her last breath. I put it on the tip of a dart I shot her with. It seemed to work, but I guess she wouldn’t be as much fun if it had. She recovered of course. Weird, but I think I might’ve missed her otherwise. She finally knows I’m out here – one of the few mysteries she might need to worry about, which could strike anywhere, any time. I’m thinking she’ll be more fun with me as her playmate face to face.
I’ve surprised myself with my patience. Wasn’t sure I had that in me, but it’s paid off. I’ve seen enough to achieve an enlightened state. I realized I’ve been too short-sighted, too narrow in my focus. I’m much more ambitious now, in keeping with my elusive foe. I’ve decided I don’t need to choose anymore between my various scenarios. I’ll go after `em all. And more. Isn’t that what optimists do?
See, I won’t simply be her enemy, her creation or pretend friend. I’ll be her. And make her in my image like she did me. Twins! But none of that “greater good” puke. Nuh uh. The beauty is, I can be my whacko self and still say I’m her. Killing, plundering, dragging her name through the mud everywhere I go. And the fools’ll believe it! Why not? Her name is much more notorious than mine. Face it, what’s my name, who am I anyway, without her? Most likely nothing more than a pitiful peasant girl saddled with a boring husband, bunch of brats and doddering old parents to take care of.
Thanks to her, I was raised instead for a life of adventure -- traveling, meeting all sorts of people, acquiring many skills. Gave me purpose and direction. Freed me from ties that bind or distract. She’ll make my name for me, give it meaning and power. I’ll return the favor – ensure she reclaims the evil inside which she may, amazingly, actually believe she can control like her armies. Well, except for that last one. I hear her “loyal” men did quite a job on her. Hmmm. A blow to the head? Could that’ve done it? Knocked the sense out of her? Who knows. Maybe it’s the chickadee, rubbing off on her, turning her into an optimist too.
No matter. Wait’ll I strip away whatever she’s wrapped herself in, whatever she’s got holding her together, bit by bit. That high and mighty reputation, her loved ones, her chakram, even that precious nag. The one she rides, I mean, though I suppose I could throw in the brat for sport. We’ll see what happens when the real her stands naked to the world. She’ll be “some kind” of hero, all right. My kind. Gone. Forgotten. Dead. Like me. My dear blood sister. Can’t get any closer than that. Touching, in a way. Almost makes me wanna cry. Bwahahahaha!
Return to the Academy