Love & War

"All is fair in love and war" | The beautiful daughter of Aphrodite is a regular camper at Camp Half-Blood in the summer. She has returned, once again, to face old friends and love-interests, as well as new ones, for a summer filled with choices and dilemmas.

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2. chapter one

Right on the top of a hill on the Long Island Sound, there is a pine tree. The people who know the story behind this tree call it Thalia’s pine. The hill this pine tree is atop of is called Half-Blood Hill by the same people who are a part of that world. That world, which is full of danger, magic and myth. That world, which you see, when you cross beyond Talia’s pine on Half-Blood Hill. Because, when you cross the magical veil that intersects at Talia’s pine, you discover a beautiful, enormous camp-site with magic everywhere. There are magical and mythical creatures, such as forest nymphs, centaurs etc. The camp director is even a genuine Greek god. Dionysus, god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness, fertility, theatre and religious ecstasy. The campers are made entirely out of demigods - children of the Greek gods and the humans they have found interesting enough to procreate with. Demigods are also known as half-bloods, hence the name Half-Blood Hill and the name of the camp, Camp Half-Blood. The territory that makes Camp Half-Blood consists of all sorts of amazing places.

One of the first things you see, when you enter the camp site from Talia’s pine, is The Big House. This is where the camp director, Mr. D - also known as the previously mentioned Greek god, Dionysus - resides along with the camp’s teachers, the activities director - the famous centaur, Chiron, trainer of heroes from Greek mythology, including Hercules, Jason and Achilles - and, in an attic filled with mementos from the journeys and conquests of various demigods, sits the famous Oracle of Delphi, which is now a young girl named Rachel Elizabeth Dare. Close to The Big House is the volleyball courts, because, well, it is camp after all. Then there’s arts and crafts, the amphitheater, a climbing wall (with real lava rising from beneath, for training purposes), an archery field, a fighting arena, an armory, a dining pavilion, stables for pegasi/pegasuses, a giant forest with unpredictable dangers, strawberry fields (which provides the camp with a cover for funding, as the Delphi Strawberry Service) and of course a bunch of cabins for each Olympian god/goddess, and several minor gods and goddesses. When you learn who your immortal parent is, you get assigned into the cabin of said god or goddess. If you don’t know your immortal parent is, you stay in the Hermes cabin, Cabin Eleven, along with the children of Hermes and other demigods with unknown immortal parents. This is because Hermes is the god of travelers, amongst many other things.

The cabins are sorted in numbers after the order from where the gods and goddesses sit on the Olympian council. The cabins are decorated in the style of the god or goddess whose children it houses. Take Cabin Ten, for example. This is the Cabin of Aphrodite and is a wooden cabin with a painted blue roof, pillars, a checkerboard deck with steps and gray walls. Oh, and furthermore, it smells heavily of designer perfume, because of the residents of said cabin. The inside has pink walls and white window trim. The lace curtains are pastel blue and green which matches the sheets and feather comforters on all the beds. The sons of Aphrodite has one row of bunks separated by a curtain, but their section of the cabin is actually just as neat and orderly as the daughters of Aphrodite. The cabin is always clean (except for under the beds, which hides chocolate wrappers, love notes etc.). Every camper has a wooden camp chest at the foot of their bunk with their name painted on it. The only other bit of individualism is how the campers choose to decorate their private bunk spaces. Many campers put up pictures, and many of Aphrodite’s children put up pictures of various celebrities they find attractive. After all, Aphrodite is the goddess of beauty, love, lust, desire, sexuality and pleasure.

This is not to say that all her children are complete dimwits with nothing to them but shallowness. Though, it cannot be denied that many of them are rather superficial. Even I have my moments, although I am not proud of them. And this is probably where I introduce myself. My name is Rosalind Amanda Lebeau, daughter of Aphrodite - if that wasn’t made completely obvious already. I’m now 21 years old and born on the 6th of September, in the year of 1995. My mother had taken a liking to a French model and struggling actor, because he was, clearly, very good-looking. We don’t get our shallowness from just anyone. Anyway, my mom left my dad, Henri Lebeau, with me and some riches to help him raise me. He named be after her instructions - after love and beauty. Rosalind means ‘beautiful rose’, derived from ‘rosa linda’ in Spanish. Amanda means ‘lovable’ or ‘worthy of love’ in Latin. Ironically, even my last name has a meaning, in French - the language of love. I’m guessing this fact didn’t go unnoticed by my mother. Le means ‘the’ and beau means ‘beautiful’ or ‘handsome’ in my language. Therefore, my family name is ‘the beautiful one’. Quite something to live up to, if I am to say so myself.

So yeah, I was raised by my father in the city of Avignon in France. Henri Lebeau has always been a good man, and an even better father. After being left alone with me, he struggled for a while, to maintain a good life on the riches left as a parting gift from my mother. When they began being insufficient, he took more jobs, leaving me with a sweet, young nanny named Danielle. She was a couple of years younger than my father, and very pretty in such a natural way. Of course, after having seen Aphrodite herself, she must not have compared at all, but I always loved her look. And eventually, my father saw this as well. He had always appreciated her personality, as had I, but he had never really thought of anyone in a romantic matter, since my mother. Finally, they fell in love with each other and got married on a whim after only being together for a couple of weeks - maybe a month or two. This was something young me had long envisioned, and I couldn’t be happier. We were truly a happy family, and I have no complaints about my childhood whatsoever.

When I was 12, my father brought me along on a modeling gig, and an agent approached us about me. That’s when I joined my father in the modeling business, and helped earn money for our little family. It was good, and we never needed anything. We weren’t lavishly rich, but we were comfortable. But that was also the year I encountered my first monster. Thanks to a satyr placed at my school, I got away with only a broken arm, but my father was very shaken. That’s when he decided it was time to tell me about my mother’s true occupation and background. I learned that she wasn’t dead, but a goddess, and my father never kept any secrets from me since that day. He had already told Danielle, and she was very understanding, amazingly enough. The satyr that had saved me told us about a camp located somewhere on the Long Island Sound, and my father decided that I should go there, at least for the summer. So, I went, on my thirteenth year. It was marvelous, of course, but it took some getting used to. Thankfully, my designated tour guide of the camp was a great help. Her name was Aileen, and she was a fellow daughter of Aphrodite, only two months older than me. That was a bit of a shocker, seeing as how human pregnancies take nine months. I guess the same rules doesn’t apply to goddesses. Anyway, Aileen was a tall redhead with a thick, Irish accent shining through every word out of her mouth. At first I thought she spoke kind of funny, but I soon learned to adore everything about her - including her accent.

Aileen quickly became my very best friend - both in camp and out of it. She was very open, straightforward, loving and unbelievably lovable. Even for a daughter of Aphrodite. She didn’t have to use any powers to get people to adore her. Unless that was actually her power. She was always joking and laughing, and you couldn’t help but laugh with her. Well, this still applies. And just then, my train of thought was interrupted by the very same sound of Aileen O’Reilly, entering the cabin and heading straight towards me. “Rosa, why are you just sitting on your bed? Get off that sweet arse of yours and take me to dinner!” She laughed as she finished, and I wanted to roll my eyes at her, but soon found myself laughing along instead. “Alright, alright. You know, I’ll do anything for you, dear sister,” I said with a voice as sweet as sugar, and stood up. “Thank you, a mhuirnín,” she said and made a kissing gesture. By now, I had learned quite a few of her Gaelic Irish endearments. This one, for example, pronounced ‘uh wur-neen’ was equivalent to the English ‘darling’.

We walked to the dining pavilion, where we sat down at the table dedicated to Cabin Ten. At the table, some of our siblings had already begun eating their dinner. Aileen and I got ourselves some food, threw the best in Hestia’s fire as an offering, whilst saying short dedications to our mother, then sat back down next to the twins. The twins were our half-siblings, and were raised in New York, not very far from the camp. Their names were Tara and Tyler Johnson - a girl and a boy. They were 18 years old, and had joined us about three years ago. They were both sweet enough, when you got to know them, but they were also a bit much at times. Tyler was a stereotypical American teenage boy - loud-mouthed, cheeky, full of jokes, never serious for a long period at a time and (possibly more Aphrodite than American teenage boy) rather self-absorbed. Don’t get me wrong, he wasn’t that bad all the time, but sometimes he really was. Tara was much different from her twin brother. She didn’t speak half as much, and she was always being sarcastic and snide. Also, she was a rather overbearing person in general, but especially towards Tyler. But we loved them, and we were closer to them than most of our other siblings.

“Earth to Rosalind - where you at, girl?” I snapped out of my train of thoughts, again, and looked towards the voice, which belonged to Tyler. Tara rolled her eyes, and slapped her brother across the head. “You’re not in a ghetto, Tyler. Stop acting like you are, you moron,” she said with her typical Tyler-reserved-voice. Aileen giggled and I shook my head, whilst also laughing softly. He frowned, and clutched his head. “Hey! That hurt, sis!” His voice was childish and accusing. Tara snorted, “Good, bro,” with the word ‘bro’ dripping with sarcasm. I rolled my eyes. Just another day in the company of the Aphrodite children. 

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