by Joseph Anderson

Xena, Gabrielle, Callisto 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.

This story includes extreme graphic violence and rough language.

1. Baby Steps

A few stars shone through the interlacing branches which trembled slightly as small unseen animals made their way among them. Beneath them, the blonde woman sat sharpening her sword carefully and looked at the sleeping child near her. It was just sinking in on Callisto what she had done. She didn't regret it in the least but it was a pretty big move to make on impulse like she had. Callisto had ridden hard to put as much distance between herself and the little girl's town as she could in case there was pursuit. She knew they wouldn't come for the girl from what she had seen of that cesspool, but she had killed a soldier and maimed the girl's father, a thief who obviously had been paying off the local garrison. Those were a couple of reasons for pursuit much stronger than a little girl no one cared if lived or died.

Callisto had seen a lot and been through a lot but Jilly's plight had done something to her. The child WAS her. Her circumstances were different but just as horrific as Callisto's own had been. HER father hadn't cut Callisto's tongue out just to keep her quiet. It took a lot to impress Callisto with cruelty but that did it. She looked at the sleeping, too-thin, 8 year old. She looked just like her sister. The warrior shook her head. This was dangerous. Feeling like this was dangerous and weak. She couldn't give her to anyone else. No one cared about Jilly anymore than anyone had cared for her once Xena had burned her family. Everything changed for Callisto when she learned to fight, when she could stop whoring and people started respecting her. She would teach Jilly what she knew so people would respect her, too. That was the only answer. Besides, Jilly would be seen as a way to get at her. She couldn't allow that. She had to turn it to her advantage so that Jilly was an asset. Callisto wouldn't be like Xena, at the mercy of anyone who grabbed Gabrielle. She would make sure that anyone who grabbed Jilly would have a hard time grabbing anybody else without any feet, hands, or eyes. The way the little girl had pinned that soldier's hand to the table back there showed she had it in her. It took Callisto quite a while to reach her current level. Maybe she could just bring Jilly up like that, though.

Inside the inn the few customers looked up as the door opened. There was an intake of breath. It had to be Callisto though none of them had ever seen her. The blonde warrior had a raggedly dressed little girl with her who seemed to want to hang onto her leg so that Callisto had a hard time walking. That couldn't be Callisto! She killed children; she didn't let them slow her down. They were relieved.

Callisto took the child's hand so she could move easier. If someone attacked her with Jilly hanging on her like that she would be in trouble. "Two meals," she said to the innkeeper then led Jilly to a table. She spoke to her softly so no one could hear. "Jilly, look around. Who in here would need to be watched?" The little girl looked blankly at her and shook her head. Callisto sighed. "All right, this is a bad case because no one is really dangerous here, but the hunter at the table near the entrance has a knife within easy reach. It's a good quality knife and his gear is well cared for. That makes him possibly dangerous. Not really though, because he clearly really is a hunter from the look of him. Not some kind of bandit." Callisto stopped talking as the innkeeper brought their food over. She smiled at them but neither Callisto nor Jilly returned it. Hurt, the friendly woman walked away stiffly. As they began eating the warrior continued, "It's not the case here, but a lot of times when someone smiles at you they are trying to put you off guard so they can kill you. If you're not sure, it's best to be safe and just kill someone. Understand?" The little girl nodded as she ate. Since Callisto had come along she wasn't hungry for the first time she could remember. And being with the woman Jilly felt safe. She had never felt safe before.

"Good food, huh?" the warrior said, and the little girl smiled, nodding vigorously. Callisto tried to keep from smiling at Jilly. She usually reserved her smiles for when she wanted to frighten someone or mess with their heads like with Gabrielle. She smiled naturally in combat and when she was killing someone, too. She couldn't stop herself though. The girl made her smile. Dangerous, she thought. This is dangerous.

She began thinking, when I get an army I can use Jilly to put rivals at ease, approach towns, send her to gather intelligence. Spontaneously, the warrior just reached over and hugged the little girl to her. "I'm glad you're with me, Jilly!" The little girl gave her a smile of such love, Callisto looked away. Dangerous. This is dangerous.

The bandit swaggered out of his tent, looking around closely. The guards appeared to be in position. Good. They had an easy raid tomorrow, a small undefended village which should provide enough food for a few weeks, till they reached more profitable areas for raiding. He was nervous though. He had heard rumors Callisto was in this territory. If she was rational she would just let her anger at him go. This was Callisto though. Rationality wasn't exactly what she was known for. His superior had been one of her lieutenants and betrayed her. He had gone along with the plan since it sounded smart. She'd discovered it and killed her lieutenant and he had fled. It wasn't personal; anyone should know that. Xena had always just killed the ringleaders. It was one reason people liked being in her army. Callisto took everything personally and would hunt down every single person who betrayed her. He looked around again. It was just a rumor she had been seen. A blonde female warrior with a child who looked like her daughter had been seen. What would Callisto be doing with a child? He went to the mess tent.

"Commander, look what I found." The bandit chief looked up from his frugal meal--they had to capture some supplies soon--and saw one of the perimeter guards approaching him holding the hand of a ragged child.

"Well, so what? It's a kid. We're not that far from a village."

The young guard looked hurt. "Sorry. It's just she's so cute and she looks hungry. Okay, if I feed her?"

The bandit chief looked at him in disbelief and the girl had an almost identical expression on her face looking at the young man.

"No, you can't feed her. We're on half rations as it is. We're probably going to kill her family tomorrow, anyway. Get her out of here and kill her so she can't warn her village." Looking at the young man, he said, "At least tie her up somewhere." He shook his head disgustedly as the young guard led the child away holding her hand, careful not to walk too fast.

He took her back to his perimeter post and knelt down. "I'm sorry. Here." He opened his bag and took a small piece of bread and some cheese out, the only things in it, and handed them to her. He looked at her closely, his eyes red. "Don't go home tonight, okay. Go to relatives or just stay in the forest." He seemed to decide something. "Listen, I'm going to go with you and warn your village. I can't do this!" Suddenly he yelped and grabbed his hand from a slash on it. The girl was gone and he looked at his bleeding hand. He stood and looked back towards the camp and into the forest. He walked into the forest.

The expected attack on the village never came. They were prepared but instead of the gang of bandits--they couldn't be called an army--all that came into the village was a lone woman on a black stallion. She had a small child riding behind her. When the villagers saw her that was enough to send most of them running for their lives. The young man stood his ground though, holding his sword. Riding with those bandits was the most shameful experience of his life. Maybe he could redeem himself now. The horse stopped not far from him. He was sweating and shaking as he realized who it must be but he remained where he was. The child slipped down from the horse and he recognized her from the previous day. She approached him. The woman on the huge stallion spoke.

"What's your name?"

His throat was dry but he answered in a clear voice, "Veder." The little girl approached and indicated for him to put his sword away. He looked at her and did. She took his hand.

The woman on the stallion continued. "Well, Veder, I'm Callisto and this is Jilly. You can tell these villagers to relax. There won't be an attack. Their leader died unexpectedly and the rest ran. Here," the woman took a ring from her finger and tossed it to Veder.

Veder caught the ring and looked down at the little girl holding his hand. She looked at his slashed hand and patted it. Callisto spoke, "Jilly can't talk. She likes you a lot. Jilly." The girl released his hand and ran back to the black horse where the woman held a hand down and helped her up. Veder watched the warhorse turn and walk away.

2. Learner's Permit

"Catch, Jilly," the girl looked up as a sword came flying at her and caught it deftly. Kimberly was taking her helmet off and set it on the the table inside the tent. Jilly looked at the sword, her heart starting to beat faster. "I had Euphemies make me a new sword so I thought I'd let you have that, if you want."

"This is Callisto's sword. You took it when you killed her."

"Yeah. I can't get you a car for your 16th birthday so I thought I'd give you that. It's time for you to have a full-size sword, anyway."

Kimberly was always saying things that didn't make any sense. Jilly knew she was just amusing herself and didn't bother asking anymore what she was talking about. The girl looked at the sword, running her hands over it. Callisto had used it to kill her father--eventually. She'd been holding it over her when Jilly first met her; the warlord hadn't realized it was just an 8-year-old, starving child following her. She'd put it away and gotten her something to eat.

About a week later, Weldon was standing talking with Joxer, and Kimberly and Jilly were in an open space outside camp. Kimberly said, "We haven't practiced in a while. I want to see where you're at now. Have you gotten used to the longer sword?"

"Uh huh."

"Let's do it then." Kimberly drew her sword and leaped at the teenage girl, who dove to the side and was instantly up with Callisto's sword drawn. As they began fighting, quickly slashing, parrying and thrusting, Jilly had a shocking realization. She knew Kimberly was one of the greatest warriors in Greece--Kimberly had beaten Callisto--but it was like she was moving in slow motion. Jilly could see every move the warlord would make. She had all the time in the world to do whatever she wanted. Jilly could disarm her, kill her, dance with her if she felt like it. She tried something: suddenly Kimberly's blade was flying high in the air, wheeling around. It came down into Jilly's waiting hand. The warlord stood still, removing her helmet after a moment. "Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!"

"Who?" Jilly said. She was worried now. She shouldn't have done that. It was just an impulse.

Kimberly shook her head, "Just some people who aren't born yet, Jilly. How long have you been able to do that?"

"Never before now. I'm sorry, Kimberly."

"You're sorry." The warlord turned her head and yelled, "Hey, Weldon, did you see that?"

The tall Celt smiled and said,"Yes."

"What did you think of that?"


"Yeah, impressive," Kimberly said sourly.

Jilly said, "Are you mad at me, Kimberly?"

The warlord was just looking at the ground shaking her head. "Of course not, Jilly. I'm just very, very impressed." She seemed to come to a decision. "Show me how you did that, Jilly."

3. Coincidence

The carpenter made camp. He was nervous. There was no other way for him to go, but this stretch of territory was also the route warlords always took. It wasn't as bad as it used to be since the Sword of Ares had exterminated so many of the others, but they were coming back since she had disappeared years before. There were stories she had left Greece and was trying to conquer the world, but he thought she was probably just dead.

"Veder," Marina said. He looked over at her. They'd been married 9 years. When he had turned his life around she had been in the village he came to warn. She couldn't have children; she couldn't believe he would want her anyway. He couldn't believe how lucky he was to have her. "What's that over there?" she pointed. He shaded his eyes. Marina was more observant than he was. He must've been a pretty lousy guard back when he thought he was a bandit. Veder finally saw it. A slight dark movement on the ground near some trees. Puzzled he and Marina walked over to investigate. As they approached they began to make out a human form. They both stopped a moment then Marina just continued on.

Marina was kneeling down by the bloody figure. It was a half starved young woman. There was dried blood and old bruises and scars all over her. "Men!" she thought disgustedly as she looked at the skimpy black leather costume she was wearing. What a ridiculous outfit. It was practically in shreds, too, though it probably didn't cover that much when it was new. Veder came up and looked at her. He practically jumped.

"Gods, that's Callisto!"

Marina looked at him. She had to remind herself he was her husband sometimes. "Veder, this girl can't be more than 20. Callisto was older than that almost ten years ago. It's just a pretty blonde in not enough clothes who ran into some bad trouble." She tried not to be sharp. He was just a soft hearted guy who said whatever popped into his head. If it wasn't for Marina no one would ever pay him, probably. That was what she loved about him but sometimes it got on her nerves.

Veder looked at his wife. He knew she didn't think he was very smart. Actually he was much more intelligent than she was; he knew she was more practical in certain ways, though. Distinctions like that were the kind of things he didn't think she could grasp. She was naive and didn't know it. She was right that this couldn't be Callisto, but she was wrong if she thought this was just some girl in trouble. Those were fighting leathers--what was left of them--not some dancing girl outfit like Marina seemed to think; and that was a better sword than he had ever seen in his life. She was wearing a chakram, too. That was more than a little scary. "Well, let's get her back to our camp," he said, and they each took an arm and lifted her up. Even if she wasn't Callisto something seemed familiar about her though. Suddenly he and Marina had both been propelled several feet and fell. They looked at the girl. She was standing, weaving, looking at them with a wild look in her eyes. She tried to reach for her chakram but tipped over again. She tried to stand but collapsed. They reapproached her cautiously. Her eyes were half open watching them.

Marina said, "We aren't going to hurt you, honey. Veder, take her arm again." When she heard the name something happened in the girl's eyes. She silently said, "Veder" and smiled, then closed her eyes. This time she remained unconscious and they got her to their camp. Marina began preparing supper and Veder got some water and was washing her face. Something about her. There was something about her.

When the food was ready they managed to wake her up enough to eat. She was still only semiconscious though. "She'll be better when she wakes up," Marina said.

"Veder." He and Marina looked in surprise over at the girl. She had slept for a day and a half. He had wanted to wake her so they could move camp but Marina had gotten it into her head they should let her sleep. So they did. She sat up. Marina went to get her some more food.

"Do you know me?" he said.

"I gave you that scar on you're right hand. Where's Callisto's ring?"

"Gods! You're Jilly!" Veder loudly said, as he held his left hand up and showed the girl the ring on his little finger. He heard Marina drop the ladle in the stew and curse as she fished it out. "Marina, this is the little girl who was with Callisto when I came to your village. We might've never met without her."

Marina didn't answer but brought some more food to the girl who was sitting up now. She gave Marina a radiant smile and began wolfing the food down.

"Where are the men that did that to you?" Marina now said. Jilly looked at her in surprise, and then at Veder. He was keeping his face expressionless. Jilly recognized couple stuff when she saw it.

"A long way off," she answered. "I wasn't raped if that's what you're thinking. I was in a battle on the other side of the eastern sea and I haven't stopped riding since then."

Marina made a snorting sound of disbelief. Veder looked away, embarrassed by his wife. The girl just smiled, though. "I can't fool you. I was ashamed to admit what happened to me. My mother will kill me if she finds out. I was at a harvest festival and drinking wine and the next thing I know these guys had CARRIED me off! I finally got away but, well, you can probably guess what happened."

That was what Marina wanted to hear and she said, "Oh dear, she'll just be glad that you are all right!" She came over and hugged her. "Those beasts! Dressing you up like that!"

"Yeah, it was just AWFUL!" Jilly said emotionally. "I've never been so embarrassed in my life! Oh, GODS! I'll never be able to get a man now--now that I'm not PURE anymore!" She put her face in her hands and began loudly sobbing. Marina held her tightly. Veder had to walk away. He couldn't keep a straight face any longer. He had realized who Jilly was; not just the girl with Callisto. Jilly was one of the lieutenants of the Sword of Ares. She was also a good story teller, apparently. Some people thought the Sword of Ares and her two lieutenants were really the god himself and his children Rage and Panic.

As Veder and Marina rode in their wagon Jilly rode alongside them on a huge black stallion. She had disappeared and reappeared with the horse. She had just fallen off the horse from exhaustion and hunger and the horse had wandered away. "Can I ride along with you two? I'm scared. I hear this is a dangerous road," Jilly had said to them wringing her hands, and Marina adamantly told her they would protect her.

Veder and the girl had a couple of short conversations without Marina around. He and Marina were the ones being protected, he knew. He had asked her why she could talk now but not before. She answered, "You probably won't believe this, but Ares gave me back my tongue. That's why I will always serve him." She was right. He didn't believe it. He just figured she didn't talk when she was a child for some reason; Veder had heard of things like that.

They had been traveling together for a week when they saw horsemen coming the opposite direction. Marina and Veder were both nervous but the girl seemed relieved. She had been seeming bored recently. As they got closer Veder began feeling sick to his stomach. He could see they were armed. Marina said "Gods!" and looked over at him. Veder glanced at Jilly. The girl had a strange light in her eyes and a scary smile.

"I recognize them. I'm going to ride ahead."

Marina started to forbid her but the girl was already galloping off. Veder stopped the wagon. She looked at him. Marina started crying. "Oh, that poor girl!" He held her. He was worried too but not like Marina was.

"Marina, believe me. She's not as helpless as you think."


"Yes, real..." he stopped. Marina looked at him. He was staring down the road and Marina followed his vision. All they could see was that the figures were in a jumble now, with rearing horses. They could hear yells. After a moment he began the wagon going forward again.

Jilly was going through the last of their saddlebags when the couple reached her. She had a pile of several coin purses and also food which she had transferred into her saddlebag. As they approached she looked up. "Oops, let me get that!" She began pulling bodies off to the side of the road, picking up two severed heads and just tossing them aside, which she also did with several swords and a hand. The six horses were just milling around.

Veder and Marina were both shaking. He could hear his wife making little moaning sounds.

"You two will be safe from here on. No more than one band like this would be working this area, and if a warlord was around these dung eaters wouldn't be. Here." Jilly tossed Veder three of the coin purses. He watched the girl remount her huge stallion. "You ought to take those horses, too. A couple of them are pretty good. I'm glad I had a chance to do something to thank you. Goodby, Marina. Sorry I fooled you like that--it just felt nice to be treated that way. No one ever did before. It was good seeing you, Veder." With that the girl began riding down the road and soon disappeared from view as it wound behind a hill. Marina and Veder looked at each other, then got down from the wagon and began gathering the horses.

4. Bad Timing

Jilly was already awake listening. It was definitely horses and armor. Glancing over, the young woman checked on the twins. They were sleeping together like they always did, even though Joxer had put a second bed up. What is it like, Jilly wondered, to be innocent little children trusting in your father like that. She wished for a second Joxer could've been her father but then put that thought away in a compartment. It was dangerous and weak. Jilly looked at the children and wondered what it was like not to know what cum tasted like. She couldn't remember that far back.

She looked down at the shift she was wearing that Meg had given her. Without a thought Jilly stripped it off and slipped out of the room. She grabbed her sword out of it's scabbard and slipped out a window just as the door burst open and the men rushed in. It still wasn't quite dawn. Holding her sword Jilly looked around her while listening to what was going on in Joxer's home. She would just jump in if it sounded like anybody was in danger. Jilly thought of the twins. The men were just yelling and threatening. The girl could tell they were amateurs and not good ones at that. About five men were in the house and Jilly saw five more outside on horses. Just dirty clothes and old cheap armor--a couple of good pieces they'd probably scavenged from a battlefield.

Inside the house she could hear Joxer telling them to get out of his house before he had to hurt them. Jilly smiled; he'd gotten a lot more down to earth but when he was stressed that old stuff popped up. She'd never seen him when he was really loony but she'd heard stories about "Joxer the Mighty" and heard his song. Weldon used to say he missed the old Joxer. Jilly was working her way over by the horsemen as these thoughts were going through her head. She could do several things simultaneously. Sometimes in her head she could hear different parts of herself talking to each other, discussing what to do, arguing--the "Warrior" always took over when she was needed though.

Jilly had worked to within a few yards of the horsemen. They were milling around, looking put out that they had to wait outside. What a bunch of idiots! the girl thought. If they didn't hurt anybody she might let them live. If they tried anything she'd kill all of them. If they tried anything with the twins she'd tell Joxer and Meg to take the kids and visit someone for a while. First things first; she leapt and kicked a man out of his saddle and took his horse which she reared up and brought down on him. The four others were staring in shock at a beautiful naked young blonde woman who was suddenly in their midst and might have just killed Benni. Two of them began riding away--she'd track them later--but the other two drew their swords. One was really stupid. "Put that away, little girl. I've got what you need right here."

Jilly smiled and made a quick movement, "You mean this?" she said holding her sword up with something on the end of it. He was hunched over in his saddle moaning. The other man turned his horse to ride away and Jilly threw her sword into his back. She quickly rode over and yanked it out before he had a chance to fall. She grabbed a knife he was carrying too, grimacing at the cheap ugly weapon. She heard a scream from the house that sounded like Meg. Turning the horse she rode back to the little house leaping off the animal and in through the front door. Meg had a bloody nose and was wrestling with a big guy in front of the twins' room. Joxer was down on the floor, looking like he'd been worked over. She could hear the "Warrior's" voice, Callisto's voice, inside her. "Go ahead, Jilly."

Krit thought this wasn't working out like it was supposed to. First that cook tried to fight them, then that big broad wouldn't just strip like they told her. They heard some kids in the other room and the woman went nuts when Phranc licked his lips and went to see. Something had been going on outside, too. All of a sudden though something weird was happening; like a ghost was in the room or something. Seth and Gil who were by the door yelled and fell. Neither of them had feet anymore. Phranc let go of the woman and started to draw his sword but stopped and grabbed his face. The corners of his mouth had been extended all the way to his ears and all of his front teeth were gone. One of the two remaining men tried to get out the door but started screaming and began flopping around. Krit saw there was a knife sticking up his ass. Krit had his sword in front of him. He still didn't know what was going on; it was like some naked girl was just flying around the room bouncing off the walls. Suddenly she was standing still in front of him. She wasn't even holding her sword in a fighting position; just letting it rest on the floor and then she sheathed it. She smiled at him.

"What's you're name?"

He licked his lips. The room was full of his moaning friends and blood was everywhere.


"Well, Krit, are you just gonna hold that sword like your dick or are you going to do something with it?" The girl began laughing softly. "Even though you're probably going to die, you're turned on aren't you?" She looked down at her perfect young body, seeming to appraise it objectively. "It is nice."

Krit looked around the room and dropped his sword. He got down on his knees. "Please don't kill me. Please." He began crying.

"Jilly." The girl looked over at Joxer. Meg had helped him up and they were standing together. The twins were crying in the other room. When Krit heard the name whatever blood was left in his face drained away.

"Are you going to tell me to be merciful, Joxer? I will if you ask me. Seeing what happened to Kimberly taught me my lesson there."

Joxer looked around his little house, at the moaning men, at the blood everywhere, at Meg whose nose was starting to swell. "No, I'm not. Just wait a second while we get the twins though, okay?" The girl nodded. Krit had listened intently, sobbing quietly. Meg and Joxer stepped over the disfigured man writhing in front of Kimberly's and Xeno's room and went inside to come out carrying the crying children a moment later. They had their eyes covered with their hands. Meg had the shift and gave it to Jilly but the girl didn't bother putting it on.

"Why don't you go visit somebody for a few days, Joxer. When you get back I'll have everything cleaned up." Joxer nodded and walked out with Meg, to return a moment later without the child, his face a war of emotions.

Jilly said, "Sorry, Joxer. It's too late now. If it was bad enough that you agreed for even a moment, they deserve what they're going to get. It's not you; it's me. Go take care of your family."

Joxer squeezed her shoulder and left, stepping over the moaning men. Jilly who was still naked and just holding the shift, tossed it aside where it began soaking up blood. She looked with a smile at Krit.

The End