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.



“I’ll catch you up” she whispered to Tom “there’s something I’ve got to do” Tom glared at her suspiciously, but let her stroll off; his eye was still painfully bruised and the blood that had seeped out above his eye was now some sore-looking open flesh.

Athena had lied to Tom, she didn’t have anything to do at all, or so she thought. All she needed was some alone time. Today was her first proper day and Seth had already had a stab at making it hell. He had done something else too; he had teased her about her dad and the fact that he was dead. How did he even find out about that? Athena kept trying to dismiss the thought of it being Emma, as she and Tom were the only ones that knew and she was certain that Tom would never tell. However, how well did she really know Emma? Could she ever be sure?

There was one place Athena went to think: her garden, but as she was nowhere near home now. So she’d have to seek refuge in as close as a garden as she could get. The forest.

Running into its swivelling vines, Athena knew no one would’ve seen her. She found the hedge and snuck through to be met by the dazzling Poseidon Lake in all its shimmering glory. There she sat on the low, bench-like branch, ready to finally think.

Suddenly, hundreds of questions about her dad poured into her mind, and that got her thinking even more. How did Ericarni really know her dad? And what were these things that he had apparently done for Ericarni and his race? She needed answers. So Athena went back down the passageway and through to the Mainland. It looked empty of any signs of Ericarni and even the magnificent pines and oaks barely moved in the brisk chill breeze on such a hot summer’s afternoon. Athena called out:

“Ericarni!” she paused for a while, there was no response so she tried again “Ericarni!” but still, nothing. She needed help to find him. Suddenly, as if by magic, Jemeanii her beautiful pure white Caladrius bird appeared out of what seemed like nowhere. Jemeanii tilted his great feathered head and rose up, great wings spread wide, and then he flew slowly forwards. Athena knew enough about Jemeanii to know that she should follow him. So she did exactly that, he led her into a thicket of towering pines that stretched to heaven. Jemeanii was becoming faster and faster, and Athena had to run to keep up. His great snowy wings were gracefully allowing him to glide and fly through the turrets of trees. Jemeanii was now going so fast that Athena could only just make him out. However, now they were so deep into the eerily quiet forest, Athena could barely even see Jemeanii at all. His white speck in the far off distance was slowly vanishing and she could run no further; Jemeanii had gone. It was dark. Suddenly, a rustle came from some nearby shrubbery.

“Ericarni?” Athena spoke “Ericarni...?” still, silence.

If there were centaurs roaming in the forest, there sure as hell would be an array of other beasts. Slowly, she started backing away. Then a low thunderous, hungry growl came from the same place, followed by a ‘snap’ as Athena stepped on a twig. She froze, trying to disguise her heavy breathing. Something was moving out from the shadows; its silhouette grew larger as it came ever closer. What was it? In fact, Athena wasn’t sure she wanted to find out, but something told her that she was about to, regardless.

The creature moved out of the black. It had small pothole, demon-red eyes. Its body and mane were like that of a hideous, muscle-defined lion. Its claws were of an inked black and it had some strange shell-like casing up parts of its legs and toes. Its nose was wrinkled and of a pitch-black as it leered. Its ears were human shaped, but more pointed and covered in the same dirty, sandy-coloured fur as the rest of its body. Dark as night, its black-brown mane frizzed out from its face, with some strange shelled sideburns. Athena suddenly realised why the odd shell bits were there. Coming from a strange exoskeleton black spine on its back, a large scorpion tail protruded outwards, complete with harmful dagger-like sting.

The beast was circling the shrubbery where Athena was. Her heart was in her mouth, not that it made a difference; that thing would rip it out no matter where its location was. She needed to think like a Minotaur, she needed a strategy. Although, that was difficult when you had no idea what this beasts weaknesses were, and if it even had any.

Stupidly, Athena felt on the ground for a rock, and absent-mindedly threw it at the creature. It didn’t even flinch as it got hit in the side, but it did roar and bare its spiked teeth. The roar was uncanny and unlike anything she had ever heard or imagined before. It was fierce. ‘Quick, think’ she thought.

Blindly, she threw another rock. It hit the animal square between the blood red eyes; it shook its great beastly head and its pupils grew darker as they dilated. The scorpion tail rose up and the creature swung it down, Athena somehow managed to dodge it. Instead, the stinger slashed a nearby tree, scraping off a load of bark. The beast tried a different approach; it tried swiping one of its enormous paws across her face. She put her arm up to protect herself. The claws sunk into her skin and she felt a sharp stinging sensation as she felt the warm blood dribble out of the cut. As her other arm tried to cover up the one that was hit, she sucked her lip to stop herself from screaming in agony and possibly making the entire situation worse. Trying to stand up and get away, she was knocked heavily back to the floor; the creature had pinned her down by her shoulders, its grip tightened as its face came closer to hers. Athena could smell its bitter breath, the smell of death. The wrinkled nose, the bared teeth, the panting, Athena took it all in. Glaring into its eyes, she wondered if this was what it was like staring death in the face. As she bored into it even deeper, its red eyes slowly faded back to black and its grip loosened. It couldn’t be afraid of her, no way, that was out of the question. It roared again.

“I don’t understand” she whispered, its ears flickered and its nose un-wrinkled as it closed its mouth. Athena had just noticed something. It had large scars across its entire face, thick white scars from years ago. What pain had it been through? Athena wondered what its story was. It released its paws from her shoulders and backed steadily off her, but she still daren’t move. It gave one last roar before a rustle coming from the right caused it to leap and sprint away. It was Ericarni who appeared out of the midst of trees now.

“Athena” he galloped over to where she was on the floor “are you okay?”

“I think so” she glanced down at her cut

“Goodness” Ericarni bent down and hauled her up

“What was that thing?” she managed

“That was a manticore, some hybrid of lion, man and scorpion. I believe that particular one is called Si̱mademénos”

“There are more than one?”

“Yes, but don’t expect all of them to be so forgiving” he paused “follow me”

“Where are we going?”

“To meet my herd, but along the way I have some things I must tell you, I believe you came here looking for answers, so I shall let you know”

“What did you mean when you said that my dad did many things for you and your race? And how did you really know him?”

“Well, much like you, your dad was a Magikós blood, but he had known since he was born so he was very keen to enter the Mainland”

“Surely you’re not that old”

“No, I am twenty-five, but it was my father who welcomed him”

“Who was your father?”

“Patéras, he was high up in the herd, way up there with Chiron. He is... no more”

“Oh, I’m sorry” it seemed despite their many differences, they did have something in common after all: they both had no dads.

“It is okay. Anyway, when my father passed on a few years back, I had been friendly with your father for a while, and we had many things in common, including our beliefs.”

“Which beliefs?”

“Well, this was at a time of recent destruction, after Diávolos stepped down and we both wanted peace. However, he wanted peace with Diávolos. Your father saw good in even the most hopeless cases, like Diávolos” Athena smiled to herself.

“What did he do for your race?” she quizzed

“Many things, but he gained much respect for the centaurs. Not being fully human, not all Magikós bloods approved of us, but somehow your father changed their minds.”

“What about you, what did he do for you?”

“He saved me. I wasn’t always tolerable or kind, your father taught me friendship and belonging” he had taught those things to Athena too, those and so much more.

“What did he do?”

“Well, I never really liked humans or the special bloods; I suppose I envied them sometimes. We had to work for every little thing we got, but they had it so easy. Whilst we worried about Diávolos coming back and death every day, they could live in peace, oblivious to it. I envied their ignorance because back in those dark days ignorance was indeed bliss. Your father, Andreas, did something I never believed anybody could do. He changed me. He changed my opinions on special bloods and humans; he showed me how to see the light in everybody because he could. That therefore allowed me to not only see the good in others, but to also see the good in myself. He had talents that were almost extinct after Diávolos left. He was a remarkable man Athena”

“I know” she smiled

“Without him, who knows what I’d be now?”



“Earlier, you said don’t expect all the manticores to be forgiving”

“Indeed I did”

“What did you mean?”

“Most manticores are vicious and blood thirsty, that one had a different characteristic”

“I gathered that much, but why didn’t it kill me, what made me different from any of its other prey?”

“That manticore, Si̱mademénos, was the victim of some terrible things back when Diávolos ruled”

“What kind of things?”

“It was used as a slave; it was beaten to be made tame, and because it didn’t want to be tame Diávolos used it as bate for other manticores and beasts to practice attack on. I’m not sure whether it was freed or it somehow escaped. Diávolos only ever really wanted one person dead so drastically anyway, so the escape wouldn’t have meant to much to him”

“The hero”

“Exactly, and this manticore, despite not being able to speak, it’s very much in touch with its senses. It knows that Diávolos wants the hero dead and it’s not going to kill the hero, because that would give him what he wants”

“I don’t understand”

“Diávolos wants you dead”

“But he only ever desired one person’s death so much”

“And we both know who that was”

“You mean I’m the hero” Athena was shocked, Ericarni nodded “no, I can’t be, you’ve got it wrong, Si̱mademénos got it wrong”

“Athena. Manticores do not forgive, unless it was certain, it would not have spared your life”

“Then it made a mistake”

“That manticore knew, so did I, that just proved it”

Why would it spare my life?”

“Because it knows what the hero will achieve, or try to, and it wants the hero to achieve that, Athena, Deménos wants you to achieve that”

Athena went silent.

“No” she whispered “what does this mean?”

“It means, Athena, that you have a long journey ahead of you, you and Tom”

“How can you be sure I’m the hero?”

“Athena, we’ve always been sure, since the day you were born, the prophecy foretold exactly you

“What do I do?”

“Now, you take a detour, before the herd comes someone whose been waiting to meet you for a long time”


“Take this” Ericarni handed her a strange lightning bolt charm “walk over to that tree, then recite your name and your team in your head, it’ll take you to the Ivory Room. He’ll be waiting”


Ericarni pushed her into the space and Athena recited ‘Athena Williams, team Griffin’ in her head. All of a sudden she felt a strange uplifting sensation and everything blurred around her as she delicately landed in a place, a room, whatever it was. It was completely white, and the floor was covered with a dense fog of mist.

“Athena?” a deep hollow voice called out “I’ve been expecting you”

She turned round, golden eyes alight. A tall, white haired, bearded man, dressed in a long white robe and brown sandals was stood before her “I am Zeus”

“You mean... you’re really... you”

“Yes of course, I have long anticipated our meeting”

“Really sir, it’s an honour”

“Yes, I expect it is” he confirmed, seating himself on a dusty concrete bench Athena was sure wasn’t there a second ago. Zeus gestured to her to sit next to him. “I know you do not believe you are the hero, even we gods have had our doubts, but of course you are”

“How can I believe it Zeus sir?”

“I understand it is difficult and it may take some getting used to, but this is only the first step of a very long adventure”

“I’m confused”

“You know the hero is destined to defeat Diávolos, you must try to accomplish this task”

“But I can’t”

“Not yet”

“I can’t do it”

“Not alone, but you have Thomas, Emma, Liam, Robbie and all your little mortal friends to accompany you. I and the gods are here too, so is your bird Jemeanii and our good servant Ericarni.”

“What if I’m not the hero?”

“But you are”

“What if you’re all wrong?”

“I ask myself the same question sometimes” Zeus sighed at his and Athena’s dismay “But, you’re curious, determined brave and, dare I say it, strong... apparently”

“I’m not strong I’m weak, too weak for a hero”

“Athena, strength is not seen, nor is it an act; it lies within the very bottom of our hearts and only rises when those courageous and brave enough call upon it.” Athena glanced down, a slight tear in her eye “Athena, you are courageous enough, more than you can ever know”

“I don’t feel it” she muttered

“I don’t expect you do. However, some may say that you proved it, only a moment ago you stared death in the face and embraced it.” Athena wasn’t sure whether he really believed that, but she broke her gaze with the floor to look up at him.

“I didn’t choose this”

“Nobody did, would anyone if they knew what valour it took? People only want to become heroes for the honour. Those who don’t have a choice don’t only do it because they have to, or because it’s fate, they do it because of faith and reliability.” Even in that moment Athena felt like she wasn’t reliable enough. That she’d let everyone down.

“I don’t know what to do”

“You will” although he didn’t sound convinced

“Zeus, what if I’m not good enough”

“Athena, Ericarni is waiting” he said, avoiding the question. Probably because he himself didn’t think she could do it.

What if?”

“Ericarni has told me that from the day you were born, you have always been good enough” Athena felt the same sensation again and was transported back to Ericarni’s welcoming side. If Zeus was meant to make her feel better about being the hero then he’d failed. She only felt worse. 

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