Camp Thárros: A New Beginning

13 year old Athena Williams believes she is an ordinary kid with nothing special about her or her life. But one day she finds a book on Greek mythology in her basement and discovers secrets about herself and her past that she never thought possible. She embarks upon a summer trip to Camp Thárros, only to find that these hidden secrets are not quite what they were cracked up to be and that a darker and more mysterious force is at work. She must complete a wuest along with her friends and encounter things far more ferocious and dangerous than any book could begin to describe.

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13. CHAPTER 13: THE MYTH

They were divided up into their teams and were paraded into the dining hall, which was the right hand extension on from the main block.

The hall was reasonably large and could probably fit most of the campers, if not all. There were tables in six long rows, and each one was coated with a thick glaze upon its deep-honey coloured wooden surface. Everybody was seated on the table that matched their team, and Athena was ecstatic to find out that Tom was in team Griffin too. However, Timothy belonged in Hippogriff. Together, they sat down and a couple of tables away, Athena noticed the boy who had knocked her down; his glossy hair in perfect condition. Someone near him called ‘Seth’ so Athena gathered that that was his name and someone else referred to him as ‘Rogue’ which she thought must be his surname, either that or it was his dumb nickname. He was sat on the Minotaur table and that gave her no great shock at all.

Eventually, all the other years of campers entered the hall and Leon too was in Griffin, unlike Chloe who belonged to Phoenix. Leon came and sat next to Athena and on her other side was Tom, whose static blonde hair quivered in the afternoon light. Another girl wondered over to the Griffin table, she looked unsure of what to do, so Athena guessed that she was new too. The girl had shimmering ginger hair that was thick and long. Her eyes were of a light, intelligent brown. Athena remembered seeing her in the line, so she must be a second year. Awkwardly, the girl sat down opposite Athena.

“Hello” she timidly said

“Hi” smiled Athena “new?” she knew the answer, but she wanted the girl to feel at ease.

“Um yes, but I’m in second year, supposedly” she replied

“Me too!”

“You mean your new or in second year?”

“Both”

“Oh” the girl seemed to feel less awkward now “my name is Emma by the way, Emma Newton”

“Athena Williams” the two shook hands and grinned

“And I’m Leon Noble” Leon put out his own hand “I’m with Athena”

“You’re together? Like a couple” Emma excitedly grinned, slight tears in her eyes. Before Athena could intervene, Leon said:

“Well nothing’s official or anything” he winked and Athena felt her cheeks turning red as Leon put his arm around her.

“Oi!”Stressed Tom, slapping his hand away

“Just kidding, she’s all yours” laughed Leon

“We’re just friends” Athena added, before Emma said anything about her and Tom.

“So you say that about me” he mumbled “I’m Tom Noble, this douche-bag’s my brother” he pointed at Leon.

“Attention camper” called Ms Ranch “each team has a rotor of assigned chores, so today it is third years turn, Centaurs and Minotaur’s will be setting the tables, Hippogriffs and Phoenixes shall prepare the rooms and the Griffins shall wash up after the meal, thank you.”

Screeching chairs sounded all around the hall and the teams gradually dispersed and followed their leaders. Ms Kwin beckoned to the Griffins and they got up too and followed her out of the comfort of the main block. Emma seemed to have taken a liking to Athena and was now asking her a bunch of questions. Perhaps she wasn’t used to making friends either.

“So, where do you live?” she was saying

“Perrenporth in Cornwall, it’s a small town”

“That’s nice, do you surf?”

“You assume that because I’m Cornish I surf?”

“Well, don’t you?”

“Not regularly”

“Oh”

“What about you, where are you from?”

“Well, I live in Wales, but I’m from Northampton

 “Nice, so do you like sheep?”

“You assume that because I live in Wales that I like sheep?” she grinned

“Well, don’t you?” giggled Athena, Emma laughed in reply. They talked like this all the way through to the Griffin cabin ground. Meanwhile, Leon and Tom were laughing and arguing ahead.

Once there, Athena was surprised to see an array of twelve cabins all in a strange clumped formation of (on the right hand side) two long-ways and one behind, sideways, and on the left hand side, the same, but in reverse. Surprisingly, the left side were the second year Phoenixes and on the right were the second year Griffins. They were assigned cabins and Athena was happy to see that she was placed in the smallest four bed cabin with Emma. Their other roommates were Alexandra Deltos and Maria Boston. They were in cabin number 9 and that one was second from the back. Alexandra was tall and had long, shiny, mud-brown hair and her skin was pale as snow, her eyes were also muddy brown. Maria had sun-kissed skin and her hair was of a paler brown, her eyes were pale blue like the clear summers water.

Strolling into the cabin together, it was brought to their attention that there were two beds on each of the side walls and they each had a miniscule bedside cabinet next to them. Athena took the bed nearest the back on the left side and opposite her was Emma, next to her; Maria unpacked and opposite her was Alexandra, who had announced to them that she preferred to be called Alex.

The four had spoke a bit and Athena had already made a reasonable friendship with Emma, whilst Alex and Maria also had some sort of connection.

On the way over to the food hall to eat their dinner, Athena noticed a handsome, long-ish haired boy who had dazzling blue eyes. However, all the girls were hanging around him like a bad smell. He seemed vain and Athena felt a small dislike for him, without having met him yet. She also noticed Tom walking with a cute, pale-brown haired boy who had plain pale grey eyes. Presumably, they shared a cabin, along with another good-looking boy, who also circled round them. His eyes were of a sharp blue and he had near-black hair. He looked almost worthy of being a hero.

They arrived at the hall and Athena sat next to Emma and Tom, opposite them sat the two boys Tom had been walking with. Alex and Maria, being new too, had gathered in there group. The popular boy was surrounded by girls.

“Look at that mug” mumbled Tom

“Jealous are you?” laughed Athena

“No!”

“Defensive”

“I don’t get it; he’s a first timer too”

“How do you know that?”

“He’s in my cabin” Athena couldn’t help but laugh “along with these guys, meet Liam and Perseus” Liam was the Grey eyed one and Perseus was the heroic other.

“Athena right?” Perseus asked

“Yeah and this is Emma”

“Hi” squeaked Emma

“Well I’m Perseus, but you guys can call me Persy” he winked, Maria and Alex laughed. Liam looked a tad awkward. However, dinner was served and they all laughed and joked through it. Although, once the meal was over, Mrs Kwin came over and handed them each a golden band with the words ‘Thárros, Griffin’ on them. After that, they all cleared off, but Mrs Kwin requested them all, plus Robbie, whoever that was, being the new second year Griffins, to come to cabin 4 in the main sector for a brief introduction. Together, they strolled off along the murky track to the fourth cabin.

“Take a seat” she mused, everyone sat down and she stood majestically in front of them all “so, as you are aware, you will be taking part in lessons and activities to do with ancient Greece. I suggest you take care in looking around, as these are your fellow Griffins with whom you will have your classes, and you are each also new to the second year.”

Athena glanced around. Amongst the others, she realised that Robbie was the one who had the swarm of girls around him ‘oh great’ she thought.

“Here are your timetables, the days with ‘pending’ on them means we shall decide on the day, due to preference or weather conditions. Also, you shall refer to us as professor, as we are all professors in our subjects here at camp.” Athena didn’t really care what they made her call them as long as they knew what they were talking about, and by the sound of things, they did. “Anyway, I gathered you here to talk about something very different, something all first timers must hear about: the legend of the Mainland, commonly referred to as ‘the myth’.” Athena couldn’t quite believe her ears.

“You’re telling us about The Mainland!” she repeated

“The legend of The Mainland, yes” Kwin emphasised

“What is The Mainland?” asked Emma

“That is precisely what I am going to talk to you about” huffed an annoyed professor Kwin. “As I was saying, legend has it that thousands of years ago, when the ancient Greeks were around, magical ‘creatures’ were alive and living and had been for some time. However, only Magikós bloods, demi-gods and gods understood these creatures, unlike the local citizens. They were hunted, feared and dreaded by them. They considered them unnatural. These creatures were such things as Phoenixes, Centaurs, Minotaurs, Pegasus’ and Griffins.”

“What about Hippogriffs?” quizzed Persy

“And you are?” Kwin sounded a tad frustrated

“Persy Alphas”

“Well, Persy, if you paid attention to professor Tharrein’s speech earlier about the teams, you may have noticed what he said about Hippogriffs, who can remind him?”

Emma’s hand shot up.

“Yes” she said enquiringly

“I’m Emma, and he said that strictly speaking the Hippogriff is not a Greek myth, but Thárros needed an extra team that would have aspects of each team in them, creating an entirely new team”

“Well don, I’d give you points, but the point’s scheme doesn’t start until tomorrow. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes. The citizens considered these creatures beasts. So, all of the special blood groups worked together to save these animals and in the end, Zeus, the mighty king, fashioned a new, alternate world with the help of the other gods, not just for these creatures, but where special bloods could also meet and live in safety. However, there are some creatures such as Sirens that caused trouble which they did not want, so they banished them to stray islands. Only special bloods can pass through its gates. Legend also states that Camp Thárros was purposely built where the Mainland’s gate lies, in the hope that any existing Magikós bloods would upon it, and have their fate revealed.”

“Awesome” uttered a few voices

“Mhm, however” continued Ms Kwin “a few dark years ago, the unspeakable Diávolos, relative of the gods, blood species unknown, did some terrible things. He sought revenge on the gods and mortals alike. It was his belief that mortals were useless and dangerous towards the gods; mortals included Demi-gods and Magikós bloods. Once the gods turned his ideas down, he sought vengeance for them laughing at his plans. He also desired revenge for being the forgotten god whom everyone brushed aside and dismissed. But he was much more powerful than any of the gods could ever have guessed. So he brought down the Mainland. However, a prophecy was made by a centaur, which to this day remains unknown. The prophecy foretold that a hero or heroine would one day save the Mainland, bring down Diávolos and return life to its former, ultimate glory. People grew desperate, and in an attempt to bring the hero to the Mainland, they set up Camp Thárros in the hope that the hero would save them. However, after many long sorrowful years, Diávolos stepped down and disappeared for reasons unknown. The hero has still not been found, but in fear of a day when Diávolos may return to power, the special bloods still seek their saviour and, until the day that they find them, they shall live in dark-hearted fear.”

It was silent.

Athena glanced at Tom; she saw the look in his eye, and she knew. She knew that Tom was starting to believe it too. Professor Kwin handed round maps of the Camp and also a notebook.

“What’s this for?” Persy enquired, holding up the notepad.

“These are your planners or diaries, if you wish. They are for if you decide to make diary entries or take notes or for extracurricular work.” The way Kwin spoke was as if she had had to repeat the exact same thing a million times. As if she knew it off by heart.

“We’re getting homework?” spoke a disgusted Tom

“Perhaps” smiled Kwin

“Brilliant” he replied in a mutter “next you’ll be telling me there’s a uniform”

“Well, urm...”

“Tom”

“Well, Tom, there isn’t as such, although all campers are required to wear their wrist bands” Tom picked his up off the graffitied desk top and sarcastically put it on. “It’s called team pride” Kwin scolded before marching off

“It’s called ridiculous” Tom muttered so that only he could hear it.

Athena was about to walk out with the others, but as she did so, she knocked a teetering pile of textbooks to the floor with a loud clap like thunder. She stared at them for a split second then crouched down, slid to her knees, and began to pick them up. Tom sighed exasperatedly and walked on with Liam, Emma and Perseus.

“Here I’ll help” spoke a kind voice, it was Robbie “hi I’m Robbie Leland”

“Athena Williams” she smiled

“Nice to meet you Athena Williams”

“You too” she could feel herself turning red “do you know what we’re doing tomorrow?”

“Well, apparently Sunday is usually free time, but someone told me that we’re going orienteering in groups to build a bond or something.”

“I’m sure it’ll be a lot of fun” said Athena sarcastically, although she wasn’t sure if she meant to say it like that or not, Robbie laughed.

“I hope so” he smiled whilst getting up. Stretching out his hand, Athena could do nothing else except take it. “There are so many annoying girls here” he grinned

“Me being one of them?”

“Well, you’re one of the sane ones, I think, and at least you don’t follow me around”

“You looked pretty happy with yourself earlier” they had begun to walk back to their cabin ground.

“Acting is a great thing, not that I can blame the girls”

“You’re quite vain, aren’t you?”

“You’ve only just met me Athena Williams”

“So? You should be more careful how you come across, Robbie Leland” Athena grinned and then departed him and set off for her own cabin.

“See you!” he called, Athena just turned her head and briefly smiled. Robbie wasn’t so bad.

 

Eventually, the girls Alex and Maria had gone to sleep and it was just her and Emma lying in their beds, facing the mottled ceiling.

“So do you have any brothers and sisters?” Emma quizzed

“Yes, well I did” Athena replied, there was no point hiding it.

“What do you mean?”

“Well she, urm” her throat was dry “she died. She got hit by a car. She was ten, I was seven”

“Oh, I didn’t know, I’m sorry”

“It’s okay, what about you?”

“No, I’m an only child; my parents only ever wanted one”

“I think my parents wanted three, they said it was a nice round number”

“Why did they never have anymore?”

“Well, if Anna dying didn’t put them off, dad dying would’ve” she gulped

“I’m so sorry” said Emma sitting up, Athena sat up too

“It’s really not your fault”

“Did your mum re-marry?”

“No, she doesn’t want to betray him, it’s just me and her... and Jemeanii”

“Who’s Jemeanii?”

“My Dhalion bird, Caladrius bird, whatever you want to call it. He only comes when I call him, or need him”

“Dhalion birds aren’t real”

“What?”

“They supposedly sucked out infections and zapped them at the sky, and if they didn’t think that you deserved to be healed they wouldn’t even look at you, not a glance”

“But he’s real! I’ll show you” they got up and tiptoed to the crackled window. Athena heaved it open; the summer air was toasty warm. “Jemeanii” she whispered “I need you” he appeared as if from nowhere and Emma stifled a slight scream.

“Impossible” she breathed

“No, just rare” Athena stroked his feathered head

“She’s beautiful”

“She’s a he”

“Oh, sorry” Emma touched him and he nipped at her fingers “ow”

“Oh yeah, he doesn’t trust strangers”

“Humph” she sighed “why tell me so much, we only met a couple hours ago?”

“I don’t know, it just feels right”

“I know what you mean, I feel it too”

Little did they know just how important that feeling was.

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