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.



Athena stood up bravely; she had fought manticores, harpies, Stymphalian birds, Cerberus and stood in a pit full of beetles- surely she could fight this monstrosity. Although, having said that, this beast looked far more dangerous and she had nowhere to run or hide at all; they were trapped. Plus they needed the key that it had around its neck that was almost definitely the Portal Key. It’d be a tough match and all she could fight with was a single dagger.

“It’s asleep” Tom pointed out “if you get it now, it could be easier, quick, before it wakes up.” He pushed her forwards. It would not be that easy, surely. It had clearly eaten people before and something told her that, hero or not, it wouldn’t spare her. Cautiously, Athena approached the menacing, dark-furred, defined being. The beast sniffed and slowly, the two amber sockets burst into life. It flung her away with a swift motion of its talon hands, roaring all the while.

“Athena!” gasped Tom, who was about to go and help her

“Quick! Go and read the clue!” she yelled, brushing herself off. Tom scooted off round the back of the creature to the door, but the glorious unforgiving figure was oblivious to him; it only had eyes for Athena. Once Tom was there she shouted “read it”

The beast clasped for her and she only just missed its sharp claw.

Where you stare may look death in the face” he paused as the beast took aim at Athena “you need the key for the human race.”  It hit her again, this time into a wall. She slumped down, eyes bright with fury.

“Keep going!” she yelled

If you’ve found it here, hope to not disappear

Athena stabbed the beast as it pinned her down and her quick move allowed her to break free.

“Don’t stop!”

“Sorry, urr, you’ll have less than an hour, or risk being devoured

“You don’t say”

But to fight this beast you’ll need patience and bravery, what shall not benefit is easily weaponry.”

“So I’m not meant to fight it, what?” she was madly waving her dagger around at it and getting it to chase her all around the room. “Keep reading!”

Stay calm and faith, that way you’ll be safe

Calm?!” the beast wrestled her again

It will not welcome cowards or those who are phobic, and it won’t favour those who are looking for conflict.”

“No. Kidding” she breathed, pushing herself out from under the beast.

Do not be disheartened by thee, that courage shall win you the key.”

“Is that it?” she questioned, stabbing at its legs.

“Then it just says ‘It’s all in the mind’

“What’s all in the mind?” she struggled against its strength.

“I don’t know”

“Wait... I think I do” with a great effort, she shoved the beast back with a brisk stab in its side and it cowered in brief pain in the corner. It’s not like it had time to lose after all. “It means that if I’m unafraid of it, I’ll be worthy and get the key.”

“And you got that from the clue?”

“It doesn’t require a genius”

“How can you not be scared? Look at it!”

“Not helping”

Athena tried to steady herself, clutching the dagger for moral support. The beast in front of her was ferocious, it was dangerous and it would kill her if she got to close to let it.  In fact it had already tried. Suddenly a thought plunged into her mind and it whizzed round her brain like a merry-go-round. ‘Alone, fear is all we do, but united, it’s the only thing we don’t have’ and it buzzed in her mentality like a signal flare. Glaring at it she imagined everyone she cared for stood behind her and relying on her. Slowly, the crimson fear started to fade a little. The beast began to get up and faced her head-on. Fear was all in the mind, and unity could beat it.

“Athena what’re you doing?!” Tom yelled. The beastly monster waddled right over to her and growled hollowly. She narrowed her eyes to try and wash out all traces of fear from her face.

“I’m not scared of you” she whispered. The creature flinched and reached out a club-hand. It pulled her off the ground and held her before its face. Its flared frustrated nostrils sighed heavily in anger and its glistening orange eyes sparked like fire.

“Athena!” Tom screamed

“It’s okay Tom, I’m not afraid of it” the creature smelt her face as if it were checking for the unmistakable smell of fear in her eyes and voice. “I know what it’s like to be afraid” she spoke to the creature “I know what it’s like because I’ve been afraid so, so many times throughout my life” its eyes burnt less passionately, but Athena’s were on fire. “In fact all my life has ever been is a road of fear and frustration. Every single day I’ve waited for another bad thing to happen to me because that’s all life has ever done for me. Sure I have good times, and good beats bad, right? But it doesn’t prevent it.” The beasts eyes had stopped glowing almost completely now. “See bad will always happen.” Now its eyes had faded and she saw two large brown eyes staring at her in intrigue. “But fear won’t fear can be beaten, and that’s why I learnt to not be afraid anymore. I learnt to live each day as it comes and that fear will fade.” It looked sad. “That’s why I’m not scared” its patience stunned her “because alone, fear is all we do, but united, it’s the only thing we don’t have.” The creature stopped smelling and the room fell deadly silent, even Tom’s breath had calmed down. “I’m not alone.” She said softly. Carefully, the creature lowered her to the floor. Tom daren’t move. Athena saw the creatures hands twitch and it broke the chain that the key was tied to, as if the barrier of fear itself had been broken, after all this time. Remarkably, it handed her the key, and then, defeated, went back to its blood-stained corner. Only then did Tom dare to dart over and hug her.

 “I thought it’d- and you’d- Thee you were amazing” he grinned

“You too” they smiled

“And that’s the key?”

“I assume so”

“Wow, let’s go find the others.” They went to unlock the door, but it was already open. Once again, the Puzzle Room’s riddle had changed. Now engraved were the words:

‘Where fear is broken and what is gone

This, your journey, shall lead you on.’

They smiled once more before strolling out and closing the door, leaving fear behind them.

“Hey, we’re back in the first corridor” Athena was stunned; an unlocking sound distracted Tom from his reply. Robbie Liam and Emma burst out of a door.

“Emma!” Tom exclaimed

“Tom! I thought I’d lost you” she replied in equal surprise “what happened to you two?” their clothes were somehow mucky from the beetles and the beast and Athena had a few cuts on her arm and her cheek.

“Fought some creature for the key” Tom told them as Athena held it up.

“Is that really the Portal Key?”

“Yep” replied Athena

“She was brilliant” Tom grinned

“I genuinely couldn’t have done it without Tom”

Emma thrust them both into a hug.

“Let’s activate this thing” Liam sighed. Athena handed it to Emma, who closed her eyes and felt the keys vibration.

“What’s that noise?” Tom asked

“The vibrations” Emma retorted

“No, it’s not the key; I hear it too” Athena confirmed. Above them some cracking noises sounded. It seemed like the ceiling was about to fall down, inevitably.

“Not beetles” cried Tom

“Nope” Athena said. The ceiling behind them began to cave in “RUN!” she yelled.

They ran down the obliterating corridor and piled in through the door at the end. It was dark in the room.

“Why’s it black?” asked Robbie

“It’s not a room” told Emma “it’s a cave”

“What?” they chorused

“No time!” the cave too, started to collapse and rocks crumbled insensitively to the floor. Sprinting, they ran into the unknown. It was so dark, darker than the entrance to the Puzzle Room. Suddenly, Athena could feel the ground no more and in that one split second, all five of them screamed as they fell through the pits of oblivion. It was like falling through an eternal black hole that was sucking them in unwillingly and inescapably. Falling seemed to last forever, like a slow-motioned video clip, like it wasn’t going to stop, not ever, and not for anyone. Then all of a sudden, the frightened feelings she thought she’d left in the room with the monster came back. Unity had been betrayed. Fear had caught up. 

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