FOR OLD TIME'S SAKE
by Joseph Anderson
Revised April 2003
jander65@hotmail.com

Xena, Callisto, Gabrielle, 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 contain all notices of copyright. 

This story should be able to be understood on its own. However, it does make many references to other stories I have written in my Jilly/Kimberly series, especially Callisto: Child's Play and My Brother's Keeper.  This story has been revised and edited.  Nothing important is different except it's better written.  I probably wrote the original story in the second or third season of Xena. 

Some violence and profanity.


One

 

"Hail, Callisto! Most magnificent of warriors and mistress of destruction!" Her face was lifted by her hair and she looked at a bald grimacing creature. 

"We can't keep meeting like this, Helms."

Hades' servant pulled her out of the pool of burning tar.  Callisto saw the god waiting with his perfect features and dressed in his customary black.  She began scraping the bubbling glop off.   Helms tried to help until she slapped his pincers away. Hades got tired of watching her and waved his hand, leaving her  naked and clean. Helms winked at Callisto and she kicked him in the face.

"He likes that, you know," Hades said. Callisto looked at the demon with distaste as it's breathing got faster and its pincers turned blue and started to shake.  "You're going back to the land of the living--again."

"Why?"

"Somebody pulled some strings," Hades answered.

"Like who?" she said curiously.

"Jilly. She's got lots of friends: Ares and me for starters. My new assistant Langland too: he was a favorite of Athena."

"Jilly!" Callisto said excitedly.

"..and Kimberly has been agitating for you, even though she's here herself and this might not be exactly what she has in mind. All of Olympus likes Kimberly. She really came through for us and we didn't like the way Ares treated her."

Callisto sarcastically said, "Oh, the poor baby! She's the one that killed me the last time. Why haven't I seen her? And what exactly did she have in mind?"

"Kimberly's not as deep down as you are. She'll probably move to the Elysian Fields eventually. We all want the transfer but she killed an awful lot of people in her campaigns. She wanted us to alter your personality before returning you."

"What?!"

"Don't worry. I don't approve of that. Though she has a point in your case." Hades stopped talking as he glanced at a scroll which materialized in his hands and handed it to Helms, who scuttled off and a moment later was climbing up the side of a wall hauling a screaming man who he stuffed in a smoking crevice.  Helms came bounding back to his side like a puppy. 

"But we're not talking about her. We're talking about you and I'm sending you back. I have to say; I think it's a mistake. Jilly remembers some idealized version of you. You can't tell mortals anything though. I'm sure you'll set Jilly straight and send plenty of souls my way."

"But what.." Before she could finish she found herself outside of a village, wearing weapons and her old leathers.  A palace stood in the distance.

Once in the village she paused. It must be market day. A table was set up with a child selling toys: a stake about six inches long and attached to it on a string was a straw man. Callisto grinned and bought one. The little boy and the warrior smiled at each other and impaled the straw man over and over.

"Just like Good Prince Samuel did with the Terrukan swine!" the child said with bright eyes. A woman suddenly whisked the boy away and closed the table.

The blonde warrior carefully made her way through the bustling village. People kept doing double takes. Callisto was used to inspiring fear but this was different. There was fear, yes, but people were bowing and curtseying to her. She knew she deserved it; but since when did anyone get what they deserved either in the world of the living or the dead?

Callisto was hungry so she found an inn and took a seat. When the potbellied innkeeper came over she asked for a meal with milk. He looked ready to faint and got on his knees. "Majesty, you honor me!"  He didn't look honored. He looked ready to die from fright, especially when he saw the toy.

"Then get my food," she snapped. He scrambled back to the kitchen. Something was going on. They were all mistaking her for someone: a queen apparently though Callisto didn't know of any queen she resembled. She didn't even know how long she had been in Tartarus. Time was fluid there just like she'd heard it was in the Elysian Fields.

When her food came she didn't bother paying. If they thought she was their queen that was fine with her. 

 "If you eat too much it will make you sick. It took me a while to learn that myself." 

Callisto froze and waited. The speaker took a seat opposite her. The fear in the room was almost a physical entity. This was the queen they had mistaken her for. She wore fighting leathers with jewels winking here and there, and a cape gave her something of a regal look. It had to be Jilly but she looked at least ten years older than Callisto herself. She'd been a little girl when Callisto had last seen her. Callisto heard a warrior was hunting her so she had left Jilly and gone to meet Kimberly. She'd never returned to the little girl.

"You've come up in the world, Jilly," Callisto said as she continued eating. She studied the woman. Callisto knew she would look just like this eventually if she lived that long, which wasn't very likely given her track record. Something was happening with Jilly. She looked like she wanted to cry!

"What did I always tell you?" Callisto said coldly.

"That crying was dangerous and weak," the queen answered. Her eyes were red.

Callisto nodded and took a drink of milk. "You still have my dagger, I see. Good weapon. Nice for in-fighting."

Jilly wiped her eyes and stood up. She took the Corinthian dagger out and looked at it. "Yeah, it is. Not much good for throwing though. Where'd you get that?"  She indicated the toy.

"Out on the street. It's cute," Callisto said.

"Oh yeah, it's cute all right," she said grimly. "You about done?" 

Callisto wiped up the last of the sauce with her bread and pushed it in her mouth. She stood up.

"Let's go to the palace," Jilly said.

"Why should I want to go there?" Callisto asked.

Jilly stared at her. "I just got you out of Tartarus."

"So?"

"So I'm the queen and you're coming with me.  I'll truss you up and have you carried like a dead boar if I have to."

Callisto smiled dangerously. "That's my girl. Do you think you can?"

"I know I can, Callisto. Don't make me. Kimberly beat you and I've been better than her since I was 16."

"How do you know that about Kimberly?" Callisto asked, in a totally different tone of voice, sounding simply curious.

Jilly was confused. What was going on here? None of this was going like she expected. Callisto's mind just jumped from idea to idea and mood to mood. Like she was crazy, Jilly realized. Callisto was acting like she always had. As a child Jilly hadn't known what it meant. Jilly herself had probably been a multiple personality among other things.  She had that first Jilly's memories but that's not who she was now.  Jilly always imagined her own wild moods were similar to Callisto's but they weren't. Callisto could lash out and kill with no warning whatsoever. What had she brought into her kingdom?

"I went to kill her when I was 12," Jilly said and stopped as Callisto giggled. Jilly continued, "I couldn't do it yet and joined her army instead."

"You rode with my killer?" Callisto's eyes were wide and she bared her teeth.

Jilly felt queasy. This wasn't going like it was supposed to. "Kimberly did that to save you from being tortured later.  Ares made me promise not to kill her."

"So you just accepted that," Callisto said acidly and Jilly prepared for an attack. But then she smiled brightly. "Well let's go see this palace of yours, Jilly!" She put an arm around Jilly's shoulder and gave her a squeeze, then sauntered out of the tavern.. Jilly looked around her. The people in the tavern looked dumbfounded. She knew the feeling.

Jilly brought a stallion for Callisto: a black one like she'd ridden before and like Jilly herself rode. Callisto studied the horse and swung up into the saddle as Jilly did the same. There were five soldiers. She wondered if they were to take her prisoner if need be.  But looking at these boys she realized they were just for show, just part of being queen. Jilly smiled wryly.

Something caught her eye.  Callisto reached over and yanked the queen's sword from her scabbard. Jilly allowed it though her young soldiers looked upset. Callisto's eyes went wide as she examined the weapon. "This is my sword! Where did you get it?"

Jilly cursed herself for not thinking of that. "Kimberly gave it to me."

Callisto said softly, "She took my sword as a souvenir. Then she just gave it to you."

"We kept it to honor you."

Callisto sent the sword spinning up in the air. Jilly caught it when it came down. "You two are such sentimental fools. What's happened to you, Jilly? Let's go, your majesty!" She galloped her horse in the direction of the palace, forcing Jilly and her soldiers to follow after her. Not exactly dignified, Jilly thought, seeing the looks on her men's faces.

At the palace gate Callisto waited for them and they rode in together. They dismounted and Jilly tossed her reins to a slave who ran up and Callisto followed suit. Jilly led her to a throne room. Callisto froze. "Who is that?" she hissed.

"That's my brother, Sam. Prince Samuel."

"He looks like Xena!" Callisto said. The longhaired young man smiled and stood up from one of the two thrones.  Callisto's hand moved toward her sword. Suddenly she was flat on her back with someone standing over her: a tall red-haired woman with freckles.

"What did you do that for?" Sam asked. The red head didn't take her eyes off of Callisto. Jilly hadn't said anything.

Now the queen spoke. "Sam doesn't look like Xena. He looks like Kimberly. He's her son. And I'm her daughter now. It's complicated, Callisto. This is Angela, Captain of the Royal Guard."

 Callisto smiled and got to her feet, then threw herself at the red head who sidestepped her, and used her own momentum to send her careening into a wall. Angela laughed and drew her sword as Callisto smiled gleefully and did the same.

"Stop it!" Sam ordered and Angela froze. 

Jilly walked over to Callisto and said in a low voice, "She's Ares' new favorite. You don't stand a chance."

Callisto's eyes stopped even looking human. Jilly cursed, pulled something from a pocket and sprayed it in Callisto's face who dropped like a stone. Angela looked down at the unconscious warrior.

"If she's a danger to Sam I'll kill her, Jilly. Keep your pet psycho on a leash."

"Maybe Bancher will be able to handle her. He had a real effect on me," Jilly said uncomfortably.


Callisto woke in a bed. She was naked, bathed and powdered and her leathers were neatly laid out along with other rich clothes. She didn't see her weapons. There was a knock on her door.

"Yeah, come on in," she called as she sat up in bed. A ruggedly handsome man entered but turned around immediately.

Callisto snapped, "Haven't you ever seen tits before? Who are you? And look at me when I'm talking to you."

He turned around, totally at ease she saw. Damn! She'd hoped she could just manipulate him with her body.

"I'm Bancher.  Jilly asked me to look in on you."

She studied him. Dressed like a courtier but seemed more like a farmer or villager. She could tell he wasn't a warrior.  There was also something in the way he looked at her.

"Do you know me somehow?"

"You butchered my family when I was a boy."

"Ooops," she said exaggeratedly, then in a little girl voice, "Don't you want to kill me?"

"I did then. I tried to find you but you were already dead. Kind of pointless now, I'd say." He spoke calmly looking in her eyes.

Callisto said with disgust, "You're her lover." She got out of bed and took her time examining the rich clothes. She selected a beautiful dress, smiled and put it on. "Button me up, Bancher, will you?" she said sweetly.

"I'll send a maid in."

"Are you afraid I'll bite?" she said seductively.

"Yes," Bancher said and left the room. Callisto frowned and buttoned her dress up quickly. A maid came and she dismissed her angrily. She left the rich room and looked around for guards. She shook her head. At least they'd taken her weapons.  Then she caught a movement and leapt grabbing around a corner. She came back with a young soldier.

"What are you doing?" she hissed.

"Just watching you!"

She nodded. "By order of the queen?"

"No...Captain Angela," he stammered. She took his sword and angrily began descending the stairs.  She heard him following her and whirled around. "Please...she'll have me impaled!"

Callisto stared at him, then tossed him back his weapon.  She didn't want to alert Angela.  Callisto found the empty throne room. She sensed something hidden and spotted first one, then another loose stone in the floor. She turned them over and  each had some of a crude painting on it.  She found more of the loose stones and after a moment assembled them. It was an impaled man. She replaced the stones and now that she knew what to look for found the simple image scratched into walls and worked into other places throughout the room. She realized the symbol had been everywhere in the village too. Callisto remembered Jilly's reaction when she saw the toy.

"Found 'em, huh?"

Callisto turned and smiled. "You're allowing them to expose themselves. Good girl, Jilly. I never had the patience for something like that. When you're ready to strike, let me have Angela. I'm sure you want Sam for yourself." She giggled in that way that used to make warriors weep with fear. "I see now why you got me out of Tartarus. You're surrounded by traitors. Don't worry, you've got them fooled, though Angela may suspect something. You even had me thinking you were soft. Bancher is a great touch. He doesn't have a clue does he? That's worthy of the old Xena!"

The queen looked at the manic blonde warrior. Jilly wished it was true, wished she and Callisto could just kill anyone who got in their way.  It would mean killing her entire kingdom. Bancher was probably one of two persons in it who preferred her to Sam. Her brother didn't need to plot against her. If he wanted her kingdom all he had to do was say the word.  Her entire army would turn on her and farmers would come after her with their tools. But he would never do that. Sam was her other loyal subject.

Callisto saw Jilly was upset. Had the conspiracy gotten that far? Didn't Jilly know they could kill however many it took?  She would skin anyone alive who threatened her Jilly; did it plenty of times. 

"It's all right, Callisto. There aren't any traitors. This is Sam's symbol but there's no plot. You see it everywhere because he's loved everywhere. I...I'm glad to know you would have backed me up like that." Her voice broke and she felt her eyes tearing up again. She turned away because she knew Callisto hated that. "Dinner is in an hour." She walked out, not wanting to see the disappointment in her friend's eyes.

Callisto returned to her room and in an hour a girl came for her. She followed the servant into a small elegant dining room. 

"I'm glad you chose the dress to wear," Sam said with a smile.  He was resplendent in fur-trimmed black silk. Jilly wore a rich dress studded with jewels. Callisto saw that Angela wore fighting leathers, simple earrings her only concession. They caught each other's eye.

 "Where are my weapons?" Callisto asked abruptly. Jilly  looked at Angela with surprise. 

"I'm having them sharpened," Angela said easily. "You'll get them back when I think they're sharp enough." 

Callisto grinned and took a seat. Jilly realized she was jealous. Callisto and Angela understood each other. Jilly's hard-won humanity made her unsatisfactory company for the woman who had saved her from a short life of living hell. 

Callisto looked at Sam. Long curling mustache, long dark hair, blue eyes: gorgeous. A male version of Xena but instead of a warrior aura he had a regal charisma like she imagined Apollo or Zeus probably had. He wouldn't have to be a warrior. Sam sat next to Angela like Bancher and Jilly. THAT was it!  That was why Angela wouldn't take Jilly's kingdom. She didn't need to. 

"So, Sam, I understand you're Kimberly's son?" Callisto said lightly. 

"Uh huh," he said and took a drink from a goblet leaving his lips red before he licked it off. She saw a pained look on Jilly's face. "She died when I was real young though. My sister pretty much raised me along with my dad. You don't know about my father, I take it?" 

"No," Callisto said. Something was definitely going on. There was something she didn't know. "Tell me about him." 

"Sam..." Jilly started to say but her brother ignored her. 

"Well, his name was Cal and he was a reincarnation of you. Jilly only let me in on all of this recently." 

Callisto was stunned. She looked at Jilly who nodded then said, "Cal was my father too. I got killed and was reborn as the daughter of Cal and Kimberly, thanks to Ares." 

"But I've been in Tartarus," Callisto finally said. 

Jilly answered, "Yeah, I'm going to have to ask Hades about that. It must be more complicated than I realized. Anyway, you don't want to hurt Sam. He's your son." 

Callisto stood up, outraged. "No he's not! I'm ME! I swore to never reproduce. Whatever Cal did, he wasn't me!" She looked around threateningly. Angela's right hand wasn't visible and Callisto knew she had her chakram ready. Jilly's eyes were red. "Thanks for getting me out of Tartarus, Jilly. Keep Angela around; you'll never last otherwise. I'll be leaving now. What about my weapons?" 

The red head spoke though her hand remained out of sight. "I'll have them ready for you when you ride out." 

Callisto nodded, turned and strode out of the dining room, flattening a guard who didn't get out of her way fast enough. When Callisto was dressed again in her leathers she came outside and found Jilly, still in her  gown, with the horse she had provided her. 

"Angela's at the gate with your weapons. She says my judgment isn't sound about you." 

Callisto took the reins from the queen's hands. "She's right. How did you and Bancher ever get a kingdom?" 

Jilly looked away, "Me and Langland built it. Bancher is my new consort.  Langland's dead." 

"Athena's favorite?  Hades' new assistant?" At the look on Jilly's face Callisto smiled and said, "Oh, you didn't know about that last part. He helped spring me. Well, like I said, Jilly, keep Angela around. You were always too soft but not like you are now." 

Before she could swing up on the horse, Jilly hugged her tightly. Callisto didn't respond at first, then relented and patted the heaving body. It reminded her of when Ares gave Jilly back her tongue. That was nice. She finally disengaged herself and got on her horse and headed for the gate.   Her chakram came sailing at her, followed by her other weapons.  She nearly couldn't catch them all and saw amusement on the freckled face. 

As she sheathed her dagger, Angela approached and looking up said, "A couple of things, Callisto. First, screw with Sam and I'll personally spread your guts from here to Thrace. Second: sometimes we need a personal touch for a little attitude adjustment.  Me and Sam have big plans. Jilly doesn't have the heart for it anymore and I don't like to leave Sam for very long. Interested?" 

"Sure, Angela. If I  have nothing better to do," Callisto said matter of factly. Then she started her horse forward and Angela watched her ride away.


 

Two

 

The knocking continued despite the hour.  Gabrielle went to answer it, irritably pulling her robe around herself and holding a lamp. She opened the door. "Jilly?...GODS!" She tried to grab her staff leaning up against a wall but couldn't hope to be as fast. Callisto stood there with it: same crazy eyes and demented smile. She looked exactly like she always had. Not like her. 

"How OLD are you?" Callisto said. 

"Old enough to know better than to answer that," Gabrielle snapped. 

"And I bet Xena's old too. I don't want to kill some slow old woman!" Her voice was petulant and aggrieved sounding. 

Gabrielle said, "Sorry about that. Not all of us can spend time in Tartarus to keep us young. How'd you get out THIS time, Callisto?" 

"Just being my own sweet self. " She paused then said angrily, "Well, pooh! Now I dunno what to do. Here, take your dumb old stick back. It has termites anyway." 

"Does not!" 

"Does so. When was the last time you had to use it?" 

Gabrielle frowned at Callisto and looked at her staff. Callisto was just trying to psych her out like always. It DID feel kind of light now that she thought of it though. She hit it against the doorframe and saw a crack appear. She expected Callisto to gloat but instead she just said pathetically, "Can I have some tea?" 

"Sure." 

Callisto had once tried to simply talk to her but Xena had stopped them.  Maybe she was in the same kind of mood now. Something told her Callisto was near the end of her rope.  It might not be safe for the next person who crossed her path if she didn't talk.  Gabrielle started a fire and put some water on as Callisto sat down and looked morose. 

"Jilly got you out, right?" she said, as she gave the woman a cup of tea.

 Callisto nodded. "Her and Kimberly, I guess." 

"Honey..." a man's voice said. Callisto looked up and a sensitive intelligent face was peering at her. 

"Go back to bed, Euripides. An old fri...uh...somebody I know showed up and I wanna talk to her." 

"Okay," he stumbled away. 

Callisto looked at her. "I always thought you and Xena were sorta, you know."

 The bard sighed, scratching her white hair. "Yeah, everybody seemed to think that. I didn't even realize it but Xena did, of course. All the jokes went right over my head for a long time. Which made 'em even funnier. We were sorta, I guess, but it never really...I don't know. Then me and Euripides clicked and that was that."

"Not like Perdicus." 

"Definitely not like Perdicus. He couldn't spell Euripides, probably. Gods! I shouldn't say that. He was a good man." 

"He was a boring dweeb." 

"Well, that too. But he didn't deserve being murdered." 

"Nothing I did ever worked out," Callisto said despondently. 

Gabrielle looked at her knowingly. "Been to see Jilly, huh?" 

The blonde warrior nodded. "She's so soft now you could make diapers out of her. You and Xena love that, I'm sure." Callisto frowned at her tea. 

"Yeah, me and Xena do like how Jilly is these days. But, Callisto, for years and years she was everything you could've wished! Kings shuddered at the mention of her name." 

"Really?" Callisto said hopefully. 

"Yes, really!" Gabrielle said vehemently. "Know what she's called? Jilly the Butcher. Now if that's not a name for somebody trained by you, I don't know what is." 

"You're not just saying that?" 

"Nope. She scared the crap out of EVERYBODY! Me included! And when she joined up with Langland--WHEW! She's just into a new phase now, Callisto. Can't you be happy for her?" 

"I suppose." 

"Besides, you met Sam and Angela?" 

"Uh huh," Callisto said guardedly, which Gabrielle understood. She knew about Cal and how Callisto felt about reproducing. 

"Sam has impaled THOUSANDS of people, Callisto. Now can you honestly say that might not be you coming out in him?" 

Callisto covered her mouth so Gabrielle couldn't see her smile. "Thousands! Really? I heard something about the Terrukans." She reached into her bag for the toy and impaled the little man making Gabrielle grimace.

The old bard smiled at the way Callisto was cheering up. "Terruk invaded the kingdom when Jilly was gone and Angela was away with the army. Sam rallied the people and started impaling Terrukans and drinking blood. He hasn't stopped since." 

"I saw him drink blood! Looked like Jilly was upset by it," Callisto said with a giggle. 

"And that Angela," Gabrielle continued, "She's worse! It's just policy for Sam but Angela likes it. Imagine what kinda kids they could have." 

"Pretty nasty, I guess," Callisto said, her eyes gleaming. 

"You can say that again!" 

Callisto stood up. "I'm glad I talked to you, Gabrielle. I'll let you get back to sleep." 

"I'm glad you dropped by, too, Callisto." Gabrielle waved to her as she disappeared into the night. Then Gabrielle picked her staff up, frowning as she examined the crack. 


Three

 

 The innkeeper brought the warrior a flagon of wine.  After a simple meal she planted herself and told him to keep the wine coming.  She listened to the bard. He was a young one; talented but not really seasoned yet. He'd told a simple tale of Zeus and a mortal woman to polite applause. Then the warrior asked if he knew any stories about Callisto. He'd said certainly, that his grandfather had told him many. He'd actually seen her. So he started telling stories about that great warrior and bloodthirsty lunatic and the woman listened with this sad faraway smile and gave him coins after each tale. 

It was late now and there was only one patron left. The bard told her this was the last Callisto story he knew, and she nodded her understanding and signaled for another flagon of wine. The door opened.  Another female warrior joined the first, who was staring at her. The innkeeper approached. 

"Nothing for me."

 The innkeeper started to say she had to buy something but then changed his mind. The young warrior looked across the table at the drunken old woman. "Xena, Xena, Xena. How can you put poison like that in your system? Look at me. You look 40 years older if you look a day." 

The gray-haired warrior princess asked, "Is that really you?"  The bard stopped talking, seeing that he no longer had an audience.  Xena said to him, "Boy, boy, hold on." She handed him another coin. "Take a good look at her, boy. Remember it for your stories. This is Callisto."

 The young man smiled at her. "Whatever you say," he said and walked away. Xena frowned after him about to say something but Callisto held her back.

"It's all right, Xena." 

"Are you here to kill me?" the gray-haired old woman asked the lithe young warrior.

 Callisto looked at her. "No, Xena. I just came to say hello." 

"Finally learned your lesson, huh?" Xena said, slurring her words. 

"Yeah, that must be it, Xena." The blonde glanced at the young bard who was counting his take. "You spend a lot of time here?" The old woman didn't seem to hear the question.

 Xena knew she was drunk and  terribly vulnerable now to her worst enemy. What if she had to save Gabrielle? Or Hercules needed her? She gathered her thoughts together. "They released you from Tartarus AGAIN? What is it with you?" 

"Just a bad dinar, I guess." 

"So what are you going to do, Callisto?" Xena asked to draw her out. She'd lie of course but Xena was too smart for her.

Callisto stood up. "I dunno, Xena." She glanced around and saw the young bard and tavern keeper snickering to each other and looking over at them. Xena was too drunk to notice. She got up herself now. 

"I know you're up to something. This time won't end any different than the others." The old warrior unsteadily left the inn. Callisto looked over at the innkeeper and bard now and approached them. 

"Do you know who that is?" 

The bard said, "She claims to be Xena the warrior princess. Another place I work has a Zeus and a Perseus. She thinks you're Callisto; what does that tell you?" The innkeeper laughed. 

Callisto was debating how to kill them. Then she thought, where would Xena go then? She said seriously, "She is Xena and I'm Callisto. I was just released from Tartarus." 

The two men weren't laughing anymore. She was obviously a warrior in her prime. Either she was screwing with them or she was crazy. Neither scenario was much fun. 

"Sure. I understand that. You just needed to explain it to me," the bard said. The innkeeper nodded energetically. Crazy warriors were an occupational hazard. 

Callisto coldly said, "Even if you don't believe she's Xena you can see she's a warrior. Show her respect, got that? GOT THAT?" 

They both nodded, relieved that she seemed rational at least. They could even see her point. 

"She's a valued customer. Comes in most every night. I didn't mean nothing," the innkeeper said sincerely.

 The young bard looked shamefaced. "I should know better." 

Callisto smiled sweetly.  "Had you boys going there for a minute, didn't I?"  She left the inn and found her horse but instead of mounting simply looked out into the black night. She had nowhere to go. 

 

The End