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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15. CHAPTER 15: THE FIRST DAY OF THE REST OF A LIFE

It was Monday morning, usually the bane of Athena’s once boring life, but now she knew she was a Magikós blood, things were different. Things finally made sense. Sitting with Tom at the breakfast table, Athena wondered what today would bring.

“Anyone know what lessons we have today?” Tom queried

“You mean, you don’t carry your timetable with you?” Emma replied, a slight tone of shock in her voice.

“Why would I? You guys do so there’s no point”

“Next you’ll be telling me that you don’t carry your map! Honestly Tom, it’s a surprise you made it to the food hall”

“Are you gonna tell me our lessons or what?” Tom sighed, so did Emma

“Greek alphabet, double Greek beliefs and archaeology” Emma announced

“Oh joy, so first we’re learning an extinct language that we’ll never use, then we’re learning stuff that we’ve been lied to about for our whole lives, and then, to top it all off, we get to look at bones of dead dudes, how fun”

“I think it will be” Emma retorted

“Me too” added Athena

 

At 10:45 they made their way to cabin 1 for their alphabet class. The group were huddled outside in a buzz of excitement and chatter. Until, the door burst open and Athena recognised the man. He was the one with well groomed hair, who must’ve once been easy on the eye.

“Good morning campers! For those who may not remember, I’m Professor Stavros Noford and I am in team Pegasus. Now, step inside children and take a seat.” The bundle crashed into the room and in a whirl of scurried footsteps and bags, they each took a place.

The tables were enough for four people each, so Liam, Tom, Athena and Emma took one, whilst Robbie sat with Persy and two girls who seemed attached to him at the moment.

The cabin had fine walls that had a few posters to do with the Greek alphabet upon them and at the back; a shield with some Pegasus parts on it and some strange writing that Athena guessed was Greek. Other than that, the class room didn’t give much away about Professor Noford.

“Right, I believe there is a register to be taken, if those I don’t know could give me a wave when I call their name that’d be splendid! Ah, here we are, if shortened names are preferred, just give me a shout”

Athena liked Noford so far; he seemed friendly- like Pegasus’ were meant to be.

“Damon Alondras” each name was followed by a “here professor” or a ‘yes sir’

“Zakchaios Alfrien”  “Perseus Alphas” Persy waved “always good to see new faces “Sophia Blackdale” she too waved, also new presumably. “Thera Blunt” “Maria Boston” Maria waved shyly “Eris Carlisle” “Rhachel Carmichael” “Kosmos Collectos” “Erastos Commons” “Elektra Corse” “Alexandra Deltos” she waved

“Alex please, professor” she added

“Okay, Hanna Duddario” “Selene Emmis” “Timothy Greenfield” he waved and looked happily over to Athena, who returned the smile. “Pan Heard” “Theron Hogan” “Kassandra Impey”

“Kass please, sir” 

“Oh sorry Kass, short term memory, Liam Jackson” Liam waved, a tad awkwardly. “Robbie Leland” he too waved, a few girls giggled and blushed. “Melanie Monoghan” “Iris Neeson” “Emma Newton” she waved “Thomas Noble” so did Tom

“Tom professor”

“Thank you, Tom, Markos Oscar, oops, sorry Mark” “Loukas Osle”

“Louk”

“It has been a year, sorry children, Simon Parsons”“Nicolaos Prim” he waved

“Nico sir”

“Yes of course, Seth Rogue” the glossy haired boy answered his name proudly, some may say arrogantly, Athena certainly would. “Philos Send”

“Phil, Professor”

“Very well, Paris Spain” the boy was next to Seth, much like a follower. “Chara Venus” the blonde girl waved innocently “Zoisme Vians”

“Zosime, zoh-sih-may”

“Every time, sorry, Athena Williams” Athena waved and the man vaguely looked up, but he barely acknowledged her. “And last, but by no means least, Barbara Winkers”

“Right, that’s all thirty-five of you, goodness what a large class. Today, as a fun starter activity, you are going to use any of the text books you find to decipher your name meaning and then you will learn how to spell your names in Greek, so off you go”

A scraping of chairs echoed round the room as people got up. So little instruction with so much freedom; Athena couldn’t quite believe it. It certainly made a difference from the likes of Miss Goleson. Plucking a textbook out of a nearby shelf, Athena felt someone shove her arm, and the book fell to the floor.

“Watch it, Athena” sniggered Seth “I don’t even know why you’re looking for your name. If you knew the first thing about ancient Greece, you’d know Athena was the goddess of wisdom and battle strategy. From what I’ve seen, you haven’t lived up to any of that. Eighty points, pathetic, my brother could’ve done better than that”

“Get lost Seth, we all know what happened to you last year in the forest, orienteering” the girl who spoke had flowing, straight black hair and beautiful shimmering green eyes. Seth’s eyes went wide and he stalked away. “Just ignore Seth, we all do, I’m Zosime”

“Athena” they shook hands “thanks for that by the way”

“Oh no worries, Seth always picks on the people who are stronger than him, he made the same mistake with Elektra last summer”

“What happened in the forest?”

“Oh, with Seth? Well, he and his cronies, Simon and Paris, got stuck in a bog up to their knees, he was shrieking his head off, and of course, we all found it hysterical”

“Haha I’ll remember that”

“We all do, anyway, just ignore him, it’ll be fine” she handed Athena her book back and joined Elektra at a table; Athena wandered back to her own.

“All these names are very Greek” Emma was saying

“Well, what do you expect, it is a Greek alphabet room” Tom remarked

“She’s right though Tom” Liam agreed “mine are mostly titan and god names, hey look! There’s yours Athena” Liam handed her the book, and he took hers. “Common names of the twentieth century” he read the cover “were you expecting to find your name in here Athena?”

Athena blushed; it did seem highly unlikely now that she thought of it

“I might find my name though” Tom said, snatching the book from him.

Athena began to fill out the sheet and Persy came along handing out a large Golden book to all the Griffins.

“The books that are being handed out are your workbooks; you shall take study notes in them. There are certain areas in which to complete your tasks, depending on the activity. Once you have completed the sheets, stick them into the Greek alphabet section of them, thank you”

The book was bulky and, despite its new-smelling pages, it seemed old and withered. The edges were frayed with cotton, but it only added to the unique, ancient experience of the entire camp.

After they had filled in their sheets, and the hour was up, everyone packed away with books underarm.

“We’ll feed back tomorrow and conclude on this topic, have a good day” Noford called

The group departed, it was 11:45 and they had a double beliefs lesson with Griffin team leader Professor Kwin. They made their way to cabin 4 by the griffin fountain that looked humble as ever and took a seat amongst the tables. Athena, Emma and Tom managed to get seated on a six space table near the back. Liam, Robbie and Persy joined them. Much like Noford’s cabin, this one had the same tables, arranged similarly and the musty walls had a few posters, but once again it revealed hardly any of Kwin’s personality.

“Right campers, settle down, settle down” Professor Kwin called

The group was silent, so Athena guessed she must be stricter on noise levels. “Today is our only scheduled two hour period of beliefs for this week, so we shall do a larger study. We shall be doing about the big three. For those of you who know me you will remember that I shall not tolerate a lack of respect for teachers or any fellow campers” Athena could’ve sworn she’d glanced at Seth. “A time will come for discussion and chatter, but until that time, I expect a presentable low-level of noise.”

Professor Kwin seemed strict; firm but fair, but she certainly seemed to know what she was talking about. After all, Athena was here to learn, and now she knew what she’d hear would be near enough the truth, she couldn’t wait.

“Now, for those who don’t know, can somebody tell me who the big three are” Emma’s hand shot in the air, barely before the question had finished being asked. “Yes, Miss Newton”

“The big three are the most renowned gods and are all brothers. They consist of Zeus, king of the gods, Poseidon, master of the oceans amongst other things and Hades, ruler of the underworld.”

“Very well done, five points to Griffin”

By the end of the hour, everybody was starving and lunch was next, before another hour of beliefs. At 12:45 everyone departed, leaving their books, but taking their pre-packed lunches out to various different locations. Together, the five trooped off under the shady patches of a vast oak. There they spoke about Magikós bloods in whispering secret.  After a while, Seth and his cronies, Simon and Paris, paraded by with two Minotaur girls from their class. One of the girls had dirty coloured, mousey blonde hair that hung straight down like straw, and the other had a thicket of tight curls, making her resemble an ugly kind of poodle. Seth strutted over.

“Oh look, she has got some friends. It seems like you were right Barbara” he sniggered

“I knew she had that boy, but I didn’t think Robbie would stoop so low” the curly haired one spoke (presumably Barbara).

“He’s a Griffin, they’re all the same” Simon grinned, his snub-nose flickered.

“You’re right Simon, too loyal for their own good” Seth spat

“Just back off will you?” Liam voiced

“Oh look, he does talk” the other girl said

“Well he would Melanie; Griffins all have overly large mouths”

“What’ve we done to you?” Emma muttered in an annoyed tone

“You’re Griffins, we’re Minotaurs, I thought you were the clever one. It seems I’ve already overestimated you, I assumed you of all people would’ve done your research.”

“We’ve barely spoken to you, what’s your problem anyway?”

“It’s more than what you’ve done” Seth whispered so his friends could barely hear “you’ll see”

“Leave us alone, alright?” Athena breathed

“Or what? It’s not like you can get your daddy on us, oh yeah, we all know about that, the walls have ears in this place” Athena heard Robbie utter

Something that sounded like:

“Athena what does he mean?” but she couldn’t be too sure, her ears throbbed.

“He can’t save you now” sneered Seth

“Don’t talk to her like that!” yelled Tom, Athena had rarely seen him this angry. He stood up to match Seth’s height, and Athena stood with him.

“What are you going to do about it?” Seth remarked

“This” Tom made to punch him, but Seth was too quick and his fist collided with Tom’s eye, creating a terrible thudding sound. Tom was knocked swiftly off his feet.

“That’s the last time you’ll mess with a Minotaur, and stick up for your pathetic little friends” laughed Seth, before stalking off with his group.

Athena crouched beside her best friend.

“Are you okay?” she stressed

“I’ll be fine” but Tom did not look fine; his eye was swelling and had already turned a nasty shade of purple, there was also a few blood beads forming near his eyebrow.

“I’ll take you to first aid” Athena suggested; it was 13:45 and time for beliefs, but she had to go with him. As soon as the others were out of sight Athena flung her arms round him.

“Tom I’m so sorry” she remarked

“For what?”

“This, this is all my fault! If I hadn’t persuaded you to come, none of this would have happened”

“But I wouldn’t have found out I was a Magikós blood either, plus, it’s only a black eye Thee, it’s nothing”

“We need to tell someone”

“No way; I’ve met types like Seth before, telling will only prove to be a weakness, and he’ll win”

“And what will we tell first aid?”

“That I ran into a tree?”

“And you think they’ll buy it?”

“Is there any other choice Thee?” she knew there wasn’t.

“Come on”

 

They galloped off to first aid and it was Professor Deciber, head of Pegasus house that greeted them.

“What is wrong dears?” she mused “why are you not in your activity?”

“It’s Tom” Athena replied, she took one look at Tom and led them through to a sick bay where a few beds were placed. They were nothing special, just a place to rest if illness or injury struck.

“What happened?” she quizzed, shining a torch in Tom’s eye

“Ran into a tree Professor” Tom flinched as she touched his pain-filled eye. Gazing at him in disbelief, she spoke again.

“Really?”

“Yep, it was a big tree...” if she didn’t believe him, she gave no sign of showing it

“Okay, well rest here for a bit, I’ll go and get an ice pack” she dashed out of the room

“It was a big tree! What were you thinking?” whispered Athena

“It was all I could think of”

“Wow, wise choice, smart move, she’ll never be suspicious now”

“It’s better than her finding out”

“And what makes you think she won’t?”

But Athena never got to hear the answer as Professor Deciber had arrived back with the ice pack and was now checking for signs of concussion.

 

They ended up missing beliefs and instead made their way to cabin 6 for archaeology, with Professor Priam Julie- a cheerful, friendly, bald-man.

Once there, he took them all outside for an archaeological exercise in which they (as a team) tried to uncover all the treasures in the 5 metre long sandbox within a set time limit. It was amusing, especially for Seth who took great pride in laughing at Tom’s attempt of digging whilst keeping the ice pack to his eye. Athena was pleasantly surprised and pleased to see that Tom didn’t crack and took the new eye in his stride.

After the hour was up, it was 15:45 and they now had a break until 18:00 when dinner would be served.

“Nice eye Noble” Paris called on the way out of the main sector

“Thanks” cried back Tom “I suppose we can’t all have good looks” Paris knew he was defeated so he skulked away, but that didn’t stop Seth.

“That was some quality digging back there Tom, we need a new groundskeeper, if you’re lucky my father might employ your pitiful backside”

“Not!” giggled Barbara

“Wow Barbara, if I didn’t know that was sarcasm, I sure do now, thanks your IQ must be really high”

“Leave us alone” Athena sighed

“I’ve told you Williams, your dad can’t hurt me, your threats mean nothing, he’s dead and he isn’t coming back” with that remark, Seth and Barbara stalked away.

“Don’t listen to him Thee” Tom put his arm round her, but she couldn’t help her thoughts. Seth had been right; her dad was dead, and there was no way that he could come back. That though toyed with her a while. 

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