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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28. CHAPTER 28: THE MEETING

Whoever it was wore some kind of flaky ghostly armour. It had strange feathery mould-pale-green pieces of bird-like material under the shoulder pads. They were male- that was for sure. He had bony raised pieces of metal joining each part of the armour together. That too was pale, but of a silver colouring and it had a slight tinge of aurous gold in it. There were also bits of dirty brown-stained bandage-type pieces of cloth wrapped around his skin underneath the armour plates of the arms, middle and, as far as Athena could tell, his ankles too. His chest was broad, but not fat, he was in good shape. His white glowing hands were bony and clutched into them was a matching sword. The hilt was wrapped with the same tinged cloth as his arms and at the end of the hilt was what looked like a ball joint from a bone, which made her believe the whole thing may be made of bone as well. As for the blade, it glittered a haunting silvery-grey and protruded violently from the hilt like a poised snake. His head was of the palest complexion and he had icy-cold high cheek bones and a defined neck. He had no hair, but up the side of his face a shadowy black tattoo type mark spiralled up to his mid-forehead from his neck. It was curled and spiked and twisted like the unforeseen in the creeping darkness. In the emotionless sockets were pale frosty grey eyes full of nothing but bitterness and evil. His nose was bony like most of his other facial features. Draped over all of this was a dark navy-black cloak that was ever so slightly frayed at the edges and ripped in certain places. The cloak had a hood but the inhuman like man had already taken it down to reveal his eager face.

 

Suddenly Athena realised who it was: Diávolos, it had to be. There was no mistaking the deathly longing hunger in his voice that only Diávolos would have for her.

“You” breathed Athena. Slowly, he began to descend the steps.

“Me” he repeated

“How did you find me here?”

“I did not find you” Athena was confused for a moment “You found me” he finished

“The sword, Hades, it was him! You’re working with him!” declared Athena, he laughed crisply.

“No, but I know he wanted it and when the Soulless told me about what happened in the underworld, well I knew you’d go looking for the portal key and of course even fools know that, that takes you to the Secret Sword.”

“How did you know we’d find it, huh?”

“I got the Soulless to keep watch over you, make sure you found your way through the rooms, they made sure everything was in reach. Then when you came out and landed by the Sacred River you thought the sword would just magically appear beneath you. Ha fools! It’d never be that easy. During the thunderstorm when you were safely tucked out of the way I sent the Soulless to retrieve it, so when they found it they brought it to me. I then turned it into a portal to here, the Náo ruins, and got them to place it in view. So in good time, the sword would bring you to me. And here we are.”

“Why are you telling me this?” she demanded through the mist of the cloud and rain.

“Because now you can die. Now I can kill you.”

“Why do you want to? I haven’t hurt you; it’s you who hurt me! It’s you who hurt my dad!” she could feel her temper rising like a storm “It’s you who killed him!”

“Because you’re the supposed ‘hero’ fool girl; you threaten my power and my plans”

“What plans?”

“Well mortals, like you, are meaningless and purposeless. I need a world ruled by supreme Gods, a world in which the people cannot turn on their masters or rebel. For, as long as they can be united, they cannot fear. I need fear; it makes the world go round.”

“No it doesn’t; anyone can change, change makes the world go round, change, friendship and hope.”

“Foolish girl, all mortals are useless purposeless low-lives and every single one deserves to be punished!”

“See this is why ‘the people’ didn’t make you a god of anything!”

“I WAS BANISHED” he roared

“I wonder why”

“I can’t have a worthless child ruining my plans. I will destroy your world and whoever gets in my way or tries to stop me!”

“Then destroy us, go on, try it! We’ll win”

“Pathetic, just like your delusional father!” he sent an unseen force of something at her and she was knocked heavily to the floor.

“My dad had a right to be nervous that day!” she spat, still bound to the floor “you sent that minotaur to kill him because you’re too much of a coward to do it yourself!” her breathing was heavy “he was trying to help you”

“Lies!”

“He was trying to help you and you betrayed him! You lied to him!”

“WRONG! You’re father was a scheming dastardly mortal who got everything he deserved! Death, and punishment”

Athena hauled herself up and charged at him. No one insulted her dad that way. However, with another swift unseen force, she was thrown back.

“Stupid girl!” he roared “you think you can challenge me?”

“I can challenge you, and beat you”

“Then PROVE IT! Get up and fight, hero”

This time Athena ran, past Diávolos, so his force only knocked himself off balance. Luckily, she reached the sword and instead of charging at Diávolos, she sprinted up the rugged steps into the wounded columns, out of the rain where she could see more clearly. Thunder hammered now and lightning flashed across the sky like a terrible nightmare. Fear hadn’t just caught up with her now, fear was inside her. In many ways, she was fear; she represented the definition of being afraid, being thrown into a bad dream that wasn’t a dream at all. Everything about her cowered at what was supposed to be her arch nemesis.  

Athena ran behind a column, what could she do? If anything. Diávolos ascended the steps and his light feet padded along the floor like a vicious predator. And if that was so, she was the prey.

“Come out and face me Athena! Come out and prove that you’re Andreas’ noble and foolish daughter! Show me that you can end up the way he did: sorry and begging for mercy.”

Right, that did it! She slowly crept out from behind the wrecked pillar with her sword in her hand.

“My dad didn’t beg for mercy. He was ready to die: he died for everything brave and true.”

Diávolos shrieked with an empty, hollow laugh.

“Coward” he whispered softly. Enough was enough, stampeding, Athena held the sword ready, and she smacked it down on him. However, Diávolos predicted it and the two swords clashed. Athena wasn’t sure what to do or how to do it, but her hands somehow found the right positions and she was sword fighting! The two swords rang out in unison with the cry of clashing metal. It was an ear-splitting noise as the sharp blades were powerfully ricocheting off each other.

“Give up” Diávolos called “You’ll never win against me”

“I can and I will” Athena claimed. Suddenly he smiled maliciously and dispersed into thin air and reappeared on the other side of the ruins.

“No you can’t, and do you know why?” he did it again “Because you don’t hold the element of surprise.” He went again but didn’t reappear.

“Maybe not, but I do have something else: friends, love, hope and most important of all unity.” He reappeared

“You are alone, child” he knocked her sword from her hand and pinned her to the wall with his forearm on her neck, limiting her already heavy breathing.

“No, you’re alone” she wheezed

“That may be true, but I can deal with it.”

“Maybe now, but the whole reason we’re here is because you couldn’t. You hated the people for forgetting and hating you”

“No!”

“Oh yes, you hated that they preferred your brothers. You hated that no one could ever love you. You hated that they laughed at your ideas, notice anything?”

“You’re wrong!”

“No, I’m right. All this is is hate! Cold and pure hatred! Just because of loneliness and you know what? I still don’t think you can get over that”

He yelled at her in a low and loud groan of annoyance.

“You will die tonight, hero”

“No, I’ll live just like the prophecy foretold!”

“The prophecy? That said that only one of us will live Athena, and it’ll be me!”

Disheartened, she stole Diávolos’ moment and kneed him in the crotch. He hunched over in slight pain and took the chance to move from his grip as she snatched her sword back up. Then back in the open, they began duelling in the ruins once more. Athena had the edge; she was backing him into a corner, despite his efforts. Diávolos could fight, but only Athena had something truly worth fighting for.

“You won’t kill me” he panted hoarsely as she backed him into a wall, both swords in her possession.

“But I will destroy you” with his own sword, she plunged through some of the mangled feathers in his side. Withdrawing the sword, no blood clasped the blade; instead just a gas-like grey fluid wrapped itself around it like tight air.

“You’re a fool Athena” he croaked “as was the man before you” with that Diávolos vanished in a whir of dusty particles. But something told her that he’d be back; Diávolos was not finished yet. Then all of a sudden she heard slow, patronising claps that sounded three times. And then a figure stepped out of the shadows. It was Hades.

“Bravo” he mocked “how very brave”

“You can have the sword” she half threw, half handed it to him. He caressed it and eyed it gloriously and with passion. “Now go”

“Oh charming, I guess you don’t want to know where your friend is then” Athena had a surge of guilt course through her as she had almost completely forgotten about that.

“Timmy!” she cried “Where is he? What’ve you done with him?”

“Calm down, hero, he’s out there” Hades gestured to a ruined hole in the wrecked walls. Athena ran with all the energy she had left. Looking left and then right and then up she noticed a claustrophobic cage above her head. Timothy Greenfield sat shivering and curled up in a tight ball, with his hands hugging his knees.

“Help me get him down”

“Okay...for a price”

“I don’t have anything, and don’t threaten me with the Soulless, they only obey Diávolos. They never obeyed you.”

“I realise that now

“Timmy!” Athena called up. Wearily, he rubbed his eyes and glared down at her, suddenly his blood-spattered face lit up.

“Athena” he croaked “help”

Hades checked out his nails and looked disinterested as Athena turned to him

“I can with a price”

“I’m not doing anything you say, that got me and the others nearly killed

“Suit yourself”

Athena stared up at the rusted, fickle cage. Then something struck her

“Jemeanii!” she called. The brilliant white bird flew in in a glow of pale light that shone delicately over the hill, the rain had almost slowed up completely now. The clouds gave way for him. Gracefully her perched on one of the columns that remained upright “free Timmy” she muttered to him. Bowing his head, Jemeanii rose up to the cage. He pecked at it impatiently whilst Timmy watched in awe. Then, Jemeanii held still and in a burst of white, the cage flew open and Timmy pushed himself out. He fell to the ground with a light splat.

“Thank you Jemeanii, are you okay Timmy?”

“I think so” his voice was hoarse “I can’t believe that I’m a Magikós blood” he smiled

“I know, crazy right”

“It’s surreal, I’m a loser, losers aren’t special”

“Well it turns out they can be, both of them” she grinned, he returned the smile. Behind them Hades coughed sarcastically in the wrecked ruin wall-hole “are you still here?”

“Well I love a happy ending” he mocked

“We both know he’ll be back, so don’t pretend with me”

“Oh I won’t, shame about the Soulless though, I can’t have them drag you to hell”

Athena glared at him in a bitter dislike. “No the real reason I’m still here is to give you these” he handed them the two coins that the five-some had used to escape hell. “They still have some power left, enough for one portal between them; you can get back to that camp of yours with it.”

“What’s the catch?” Timmy bravely said.

“No catch, the wife made me do it, besides a reward for bravery is never out of the question” he smirked

“This isn’t going to turn into some kind of demonic depraved ghoul ghost thing I have to fight, is it?” Athena asked

“Ha ha” Hades muttered under his breath the creature she had just described “you mortals do make me laugh, sadly no.”

“Thank you” Timmy croaked

“Yes well, I’ll be off now, hell needs me, oh and Athena, don’t keep safe” with that he vanished back to hell.

“What does he mean?”

“Honestly, I’m not sure, that man’s a riot; let’s just hope it was something positive.”

“Fat chance”

“Come on, let’s get out of here”

Athena threw the wretched coins at a pillar and they reverberated together into a glittering portal.

“What do we do?” asked Timothy

“Think Thárros” Then, hand in hand, eyes-shut, they jumped through with Jemeanii dispersing behind them.

The familiar portal-like feeling and whir whisked them off into the safe grounds of Camp Thárros. They arrived in the middle of the main sector on the crunchy gravelled ground. Their noise sent a few heads turning from the food hall inside. Her eyesight was blurred and misty, the adrenaline had gone and the pain had only just kicked in. Noticing the various cuts on her body and feeling a tingly pain on her face, she lost sight completely and blacked out, with a crowd of fellows surrounding her.

 

                                                                          ***

 

Her eyes burnt with the fresh task of opening them in the light. Athena was in the first-aid room, along with Timmy, Tom, Emma, Liam and Robbie. Trying to sit up again, a pain

seared through her body and forced her back down.

“Athena, you’re okay!” Emma jumped off one of the beds and hugged her loyally.

“Thee, we were so worried” said Tom joining them “what was he like, Diávolos I mean?”

“Thomas! Look at her and think what she’s just been through, leave her be”

“It’s okay Em” Athena spoke hoarsely “there are things you need to know”

“Like what?” Robbie asked

“The prophecy isn’t what Ericarni thought”

“What do you mean?” Emma questioned

“I could be destined to kill him... or...he could be destined to kill me

“No”

“Yes, he told me”

“That was fighting talk”

“No it wasn’t! If it was he wouldn’t go through the trouble of trying to kill me, not if it was destiny, not if it was written in the stars Em, he just wouldn’t. I know what I heard. Also, the Soulless were never in Hades’ power, it’s always been Diávolos spying on his brother, seeking new plans to murder me and hear about the gods.”

“Athena...I...”

“There’s another thing too, he wants us all dead, and he’ll be back soon to make sure that happens.”

“Bloody hell” muttered Robbie

“He didn’t bleed” she added

“What?” quizzed Emma

“I stabbed him, it wasn’t blood, it was like some kind of grey gassy fluid.”

“You need to rest”

“But Emma...”

“I know”

“How can I rest when someone is trying to kill me?”

“He needs time to regenerate, if you stabbed him with his own sword...”

“Which I did”

“Then it’ll wound him, he’ll need months to recover fully and get enough power to complete his divine form, which he wasn’t in when he fought you and he’ll need months to make plans; he can’t kill you any time soon.”

“And you’re sure”

“I’m positive”

“Okay” she said closing her eyes, but it wasn’t. Even if she believed that Diávolos wouldn’t try anything too soon, it would still not be OK. 

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