Carly struggled to put on her armor that was clearly two sizes too big. She looked around and saw everyone else was ready to go. She kept thinking to herself, these people are insane. Who plays capture the flag with swords and armor? Giving up on her pesky shoulder buckle, she ran to join her team in the woods. Their captain was Malcolm, he stood on top of a boulder as he barked orders that meant nothing to Carly. For a moment she just wandered around.
"Hey, new girl" a boy called to her.
Carly turned in his direction. He had black hair that he wore messy. He had a toothy grin and looked a little older than her. He grabbed her and put her in the back of the group. "This is your first time so I figured you would like to watch". Carly had no problem with that. "Just try not to get killed", he laughed and went to join the front. This is just fantastic, Carly thought, this was the "safe" place, I can't wait to see the real world. There was a loud horn and everyone gave a war cry. These people take capture the flag too seriously. Carly stayed behind with a few kids from the Hypnos and Aeolus cabins. There was one from the Athena cabin who was put in charge of the defense operation, but really he was there to keep the kids from Hypnos awake. Carly waited for a while until she got bored. She decided to leave her post and go to the creek for a little bit. When no one was watching she slipped away. She trekked through the forest every once in a while ducking if she heard a voice nearby. There was shouting and the sound of metal clashing metal in the distance. Carly had finally reached the small creek, the rules of the game was to cross the creek with the opponents flag. She was about to step out into the clearing when she heard a group of voices. She backed up and hid. She drew her large sword that she could barely lift and waited. They group didn't see her and they seemed to be heading in the direction of their flag. Must be from the enemy team, Carly thought so she followed them. Sure enough three full armored kids with red plumes on their helmets. Where is my helmet, Carly thought. She shook off the sidetrack thought and continued to follow the group. She was close enough now to hear them.
"Sherman, are you sure this isn't a trap?", the skinniest of the three said.
"Quiet!", the burliest said, probably Sherman. "I didn't see the anyone from Hypnos out on the field, which means those same sluggish kids will be guarding the flag. Easy snatch. We have another team coming up on the other side who will distract them and then we make our move".
"That's great but what about the new girl?", the third one asked. He seemed to be the only one not into the game.
"She's new, we should be able to take her easily", Sherman said confidently. Take me easily, Carly thought. If there was something she hated most it was when people underestimated her. "We need to focus on Malcolm's traps", Sherman added and continued. Carly followed angrily behind. She needed to get in front of them somehow to warn her team. She sheathed her sword and picked up a nearby stone. With all her might she threw it to one side. As she figured the group stopped. "Kyle, go check that out", Sherman said.
"What!", the skinny one protested. "Why do I have to go by myself?"
"Fine, I'll go with you", the third one said. They both went leaving Sherman by himself. Carly moved quickly, she went around them and ran back to her flag. She was a few feet away when she heard a shout from the Athena boy.
"They took our flag", he said. "Where's the new girl?"
Carly emerged from the woods, "What happened?"
"Where were you?", the kid from Athena asked.
"I was scouting the west woods", she said. She wasn't going to say that she left her post out of boredom.
"While you were scouting, Mark, Kayla, and Austin raided our camp and took our flag", he looked around but everyone was still on the ground. Carly remembered what Sherman had said about another team. "Come on", he said. "We can probably reach them before the cross the creek".
Carly followed behind. They ran past someone from the opposite team who the Athena kid knocked out with the helm of his sword. Carly looked at the other kid and noticed it was the skinny kid with Sherman. A chill ran down her back and she rolled to the right. Just as she had, Sherman had swung his spear at her but missed. Carly looked for the Athena kid but he was already busy fighting someone else.
"You must be the new girl", Sherman smiled wryly at her. "Allow me to teach you how a child of Ares handles things here". He motioned to her to get up. Carly obliged and drew her sword, she didn't event know how to use it. If this is how it ends for me then might as well go down with a fight, she thought. She charged on the son of the god of war. Sherman stepped aside dodging her attack. Carly circled around and did the same thing but this time made Sherman jump completely to one side.
"Enough games!" Sherman shouted.
Carly looked up at him and smiled, "Fine". She charged at him directly this time. Carly noticed that Sherman was standing on a rock and that just a few feet from where he was, a trap set up by Malcolm waited. Sherman brought his spear down hard but Carly was able to block it. In a split second she had, she kicked Sherman's legs out from under him. He fell hard and into the trap.
"ARG! You'll pay for this new girl!" He shouted.
Carly walked over to the hole. "My name is Carly", she said with a smile and ran off to catch up with the Athena kid.
She made it to a clearing where everything seemed to be moving in slow motion. On our side the blue team was chasing after Mark who had our flag, on the other side Malcolm had the enemy's flag. Both were running at each other while arrows and spears flew by. Some were cheering their champion on while other ran after the person with their flag. Carly looked at Mark and could tell he was closer to the creek than Malcolm was. They were going to lose. Now this was her first time playing this type of capture the flag, but she was also very competitive. She looked at Mark and thought to herself if only he slipped or was held back a few seconds. Carly could feel her body heating up and her mind focusing on Mark. She closed her eyes and imagined Mark freezing. Her concentration was broken with loud cheers of victory. She somehow ended up on the ground and everyone was around her.
"What..what happened?" Carly asked weakly.
"We won!" The Athena kid helped her up. "That was amazing! How did you do that?"
Chiron galloped over to her and asked if she was okay. Carly nodded, "Just a little dizzy. Would someone mind telling what happened?"
"You froze Mark", someone in the crowd said and pointed toward the creek. Sure enough, Mark was frozen in place exactly the way he was when Carly had closed her eyes. There were some campers who were messing with him and drawing on his face.
"Okay", Chiron gathered the campers. "We all had our fun, Carly unfreeze him".
Carly looked at him surprised. "I can't do that", she protested. "I don't even know how I did it the first time".
"Try focusing", Chiron suggested. "I have never seen this power from a demigod before but focusing always helps".
Carly nodded and looked at Mark's motionless body and focused hard. She could feel her body heating up again but stopped shortly and she began to fade.
"Whoa", Chiron said and caught her on time. "I think you may need to rest and try that tomorrow. Mark will be fine for one night". With that he carried a limp Carly back to the Big House. He laid Carly in one of the empty rooms in the Big House. Carly woke up and was feeling a little better. When she did Chiron was waiting for her.
"Carly, are you feeling better", he asked. Carly nodded. "Good, then I have someone who you would like to meet".
He lead her down the hall into another room. It seemed to be Chiron's own room. All around were pictures of him and other campers. Some were so old they were paintings instead of photographs. What caught Carly's eye was the woman lying on the bed. Carly looked at her for a moment and something seemed familiar about her.
"Carly", the woman spoke. "It's so good to finally meet you".
Carly didn't know what to say. She had imagined many times what she would have said to her mom if she ever met her. Now she could only look and have mixed emotions.
"Are you...", Carly began to say.
"I am your mother", the woman said. "Athena, goddess of wisdom".
Carly was taken aback as she tried to contemplate the magnitude of it all. Athena asked Chiron if he would step out and give them privacy for a moment. Chiron agreed and left the room and shut the door behind him.
"I am sorry that I wasn't able to claim you right away", Athena began.
"It's okay", Carly said. "You didn't claim me all those other years. All this time you were alive. I actually made up a story of how you passed away. You couldn't have visited or at least sent a letter!" Carly said with more animosity. "Where were you when dad...when dad died!" Carly couldn't fight back the tears. "I needed a mom or at least know that someone was still out there for me".
"Carly", Athena said gently. "I'm truly sorry for everything you went through. Charles Rembrandt was a good man. Even if I wanted to be there for you I couldn't because of my father Zeus. He decreed that gods have no contact with their children unless it's a special occasion".
Carly started regaining her thoughts. She really didn't know what else to do but run to her mother's side and hug her. Athena received her and they embraced for a few minutes.
"I am so sorry, my child", Athena muttered. Carly pulled away and noticed that Athena was bleeding from her abdomen.
"What happened there?" Carly said motioning to the goddess' wound.
"Olympus was attacked, but most of us fled", Athena said.
Carly made a face, "Wait, but aren't you all powerful gods, what made you all run?"
"We don't know exactly". Athena struggled to sit up. "Whatever it was that attacked came at us with a weapon we have never faced before. It weakened us".
"What does that mean exactly".
"It means that something is trying to pick off the Olympians and we can't stop it", Athena said with a bit of concern in her voice.
Carly thought back in her mythology and wondered what sort of creature or deity could be that strong.
"I have come here first of all to claim you personally", Athena said, "and because I saw what you did back there on that field. I have seen some powerful children of mine at work but none compare to the power flowing through you".
Carly examined herself. "What exactly is that power?"
"I don't know for sure", Athena said. "I do know that whatever attacked us was drawn to us by our power, and Carly you have a lot of it".
Carly connected the dots and her eyes widened. "Wait, so this assassin is going to come after me?"
"It's hard to say, but in the meantime I have sent messages to the most powerful demigods alive. They will come to help you", Athena pointed to a shield that was lying on the floor, "take my shield, it will protect you from any weapon".
Carly took the shield and instantly it adjusted to her size. On the face was a face of a lady with snakes for hair. Medusa, Carly thought she was called.
"This is unofficial but we need you to find this assassin and kill him first before he kills everyone else", Athena ordered. "This is a quest. The Oracle has no vision of the future so there is no prophecy, you will be without the help of the gods on this quest. Worry, not, I have sent for your sister. She will arrive in the morning along with the others. You need to succeed otherwise everyone will die. This could possibly be the last quest issued by a god or goddess".
Carly nodded even though her entire body screamed to protest against all of this and return home. With that Athena fell asleep. Carly left the room quietly with her shield in hand. If Athena, who is an all powerful deity was hurt that badly by someone, they must be pretty scary. Now Athena wanted Carly to go after it. Carly made her way to the Athena cabin and presented the shield to Malcolm who acknowledged it right away. They welcomed her but Carly decided to go straight to bed, in the morning everything would change significantly.