Unclaimed

Being an orphan your whole life isn't easy. Especially not when you being chased by monsters every so often.
My life's not a picnic, trust me, but when you suddenly find out that you're a child of the Greek gods, it doesn't get much better.

But here's the thing, I don't have a clue who my godly parent is, and when I'm taken to this 'special' camp and supposed to be claimed my first day there, let's just say that it doesn't go as smoothly as hoped.

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3. CHAPTER THREE - I have a deer clock

When I woke up properly the second time, I stayed awake. I opened my eyes to find myself staring at the roof of a tent or something, not the night sky. And I wasn't lying on the forest floor, I was on a bed of some sort. My eyes scanned the area but since I was lying down, I couldn't see very well. I carefully began to hoist myself up onto my arms and expected to feel immense pain shoot through me but felt nothing. I felt... normal. Well, as normal as it would get for me. My ribs felt completely fine like they'd never been broken at all, my head wasn't dripping with blood and when I looked at my ankle, it wasn't facing an unnatural now.
I swung my legs over the side of the bed I was on and began to have a proper look at my surroundings. A golden brazier glowed brightly in the centre of the room, giving off warmth and lighting the place up. The fire seemed to burn without any fuel. A huge silver bow was ornamented on a polished oak stand at the end of the bed that seemed to resemble gazelle horns. As I looked more around the place, I noticed that the walls were hung with animals pelts - lion, bear, deer and several more that I had no clue to what they were.
Laying next to the head of the bed was what I thought was another animal pelt but... I have never seen a deer with glittering fur and silver horns before. I slowly reached out a hand to touch it when it suddenly opened its eyes and sprang to life. I yelped slightly and retracted my hand as the deer stared at me with its coffee coloured brown eyes. We had a small staring contest for a few moments until I calmed myself down and tried to touch the deer again. Slowly and carefully, I moved my hand closer to the deer. The deer just watched my hand for a moment before nuzzling with its snout. It's fur felt soft and slick.


"I see Argent has taken a liking towards you."


I jumped at the sudden voice that spoke and looked up from the deer to see a young girl about twelve years old with auburn hair pulled back into a tight ponytail and silver eyes standing at the door. She wore a silver tunic the went down just below her knees, flat heeled Greek sandals and a belt with two silver daggers sheathed on either side of her waist. She as beautiful no doubt but something about her seemed... off.


"Do no fret, my dear girl. I won't harm you," the girl said with a warm smile as she knelt down in front of the brazier on a cushion that just appeared out of nowhere. "Please, come sit."


The girl patted the spot on the floor beside her, but I was still sceptical about this chick.


"How do I know I can trust you?" I said, finding my throat actually pretty damn dry.


The girl just smiled. "Well if I had planned to kill you, wouldn't you already be dead?"


I thought about this for a moment before hesitantly getting up off of the bed and making my way next to the girl. I was surprised to find a silver cushion waiting there for me. I sat on it and gazed at the fire as it flickered and danced by some unknown fuel to keep it going. Like seriously, there was no wood or anything.


"Tea?" said the girl beside me.


I glanced over at her and saw that she had somehow brewed up a cup of steaming tea in just a matter of seconds. I raised my eyebrow in suspicion before cautiously taking the cup and holding it in both of my hands. I stared at it as a million thoughts ran through my head.


"You know, I've seen some pretty exciting things in my life, but I don't think that tea is really that excitable," the girl smirked as she took a sip of her own tea.


I said nothing as I continued staring at the cup of steaming tea. Steam gently rose from the liquid and I finally found my voice to speak.


"Where am I?" it was a simple question, not really needing that much of an answer.


The girl put down her cup of tea and looked at me. "You're in my tent."


"And who exactly are you?" I winced at my rudeness and looked up at the girl who had her eyebrows raised as if to say 'excuse me?!'. "Sorry," I apologised. "I didn't mean to be rude."


The girl's expression softened and she rested a hand on my shoulder. "That is alright. I am Artemis, Goddess of the Wild Hunt."


I looked up at the woman in confusion. "Who?"


The girl - Artemis - took her hand off my shoulder and cocked her head to the side. "Have you never heard of 'Artemis'? The Greek goddess?"


I shook my head. "No. Should I have to?"


Artemis just stared at me like I had grown three heads or something. Judging by the look on her face, I thought that she was gonna take out one of her daggers and kill me right there and then. She seemed like she would be able to. Then she smiled reassuringly and stroked my hair.


"Well, then we have much to discuss."


*****


"So hang on," I interrupted Artemis as she explained to me about giants and titans and whatnot. "You're saying, that the gods and goddesses of ancient Greek are real and that they've been existing for thousands of years and they have kids that are... what? Demi-bloods?"


"Demigods, or half-bloods," Artemis corrected. "They're the offspring of-"


"The gods and goddesses, yeah I get that," actually, I kinda didn't. How can something like this happen? I mean, it's just meant to be fiction... right? "And you're also saying that I'm a demi-whatsit or whatever? And my mum or dad is a Greek god or goddess?"


Artemis nodded. "You're a demigod, yes, but you're not the only one. Gods and goddesses have mated with mortals for many millennia and created children - like yourself - who have been given special abilities passed down from their immortal parent."


"So... all those voices I hear outside the tent, their your sons and daughters?"


Artemis laughed. "No, not at all, my dear. As well as being the goddess of the wild hunt, I'm also the goddess of the moon, chastity and virginity. Which means I cannot, shall not and will not have children."


I was growing more confused by the second. "But then, who are those people out there?"


"Those are my Hunters," Artemis said. "They are all maidens who have sworn an oath to me to become immortal, hunt by my side and reject men for the rest of their immortal lives. They have taken a pledge to never fall in love and stay young and healthy for as long live but only if they do not die in battle or break their vows of rejecting boys."


I took a moment to process everything this Greek goddess has told me the past forty-five minutes or so, and honestly, it's not going so well. I opened my mouth to ask another question to understand things clearer, if it weren't for the tent flap opening and walking in was a girl who looked about sixteen with short, spiky black hair and electric blue eyes with a silver circlet in her hair. She had freckles dotted across her nose and was wearing a silver parka and camouflage pants with a silver bow slung across her back along with a quiver of arrows as well as a dagger sheathed to her outer thigh.


"Lady Artemis, the Hunters have - oh, the maiden is awake," the girl switched subject halfway through the sentence when her eyes laid on me.


"Yes, Thalia, this is-" Artemis stopped and looked over at me in horror. "By the gods! I did not even ask for your name! How rude of me. Apologies."


"No, no, it's okay," I gave Lady Artemis a reassuring smile. " I'm Anna, daughter of the unknown."


Thalia raised her eyebrow and gave me a confused look. "What god is that?"


Artemis chuckled slightly. "She means that she has not yet been claimed by a member of my family, Thalia. But it is alright, she still shall be welcomed with open arms."


Thalia gave a single nod and focused her attention back to the goddess. "My lady, as I was saying before. The Hunters that were sent out earlier for
recon have come back with satisfying results."


"And what are these results, lieutenant?" Artemis asked, paying full attention to the subject at hand.


"That the monsters have increased immensely in the past six hours that we have camped here," Thalia said. "It's like they're attracted here somehow, but we aren't sure why."


Artemis nodded as if to understand.


"Very well. Send out some Hunters to decrease the amount of beasts we have to face, we leave at first light."


Thalia bowed her head to the goddess before venture out of the tent and went off to do what the lady ordered. Artemis sighed beside me and looked longingly into the fire. She was troubled, I could tell.


"Not to intrude, Lady Artemis, but you just seem...lost."


Artemis smiled slightly. "Us gods are never lost," she then looked over at me with her silver eyes as bright as the moon. "We just like to wander and forget where we are."


"That sounds a lot like getting lost."


The goddess grinned before tucking a loose strand of hair behind my ear. "Get some rest, Anna. I guarantee you'll need it for the day ahead."


I was about to protest about how I didn't want to go to sleep since I've been passed out for so long but a yawn escaped my lips and I thought that it was best not to argue with a Greek goddess who had lived for thousands of years. I rose myself off of the ground, my butt numb from sitting down for so long, before I made my way over to the bed I had used while I was K.O'd and got under the covers as sleep overcame me like an army of soldiers, attacking the life I had in me before it all went dark.


*****


Something wet and rough licked my face the next morning. I made an inhuman sound and pushed whatever it was away with my eyes still closed before rolling over and facing the other direction. I heard the clopping of hooves as something made its way over to where I was facing and it nudged me with something made of fur. I peeked open one eye to see a silver horned deer right up in my face. It startled me so much that when I backed up, I fell off the bed and onto my butt.


"Ow..." I groaned and rubbed my lower back.


Argent came back over towards me a started licking my face.


"Eww!" I exclaimed and pushed him away. "Do you mind?"


Argent snorted and stamped his hooves. What was with this deer?


"Yeah, okay, I hear you," I said to the animal as if he could hear me. "I'm up, okay?"


Argent made a satisfying grunt and came over and nuzzled his snout into my neck. I thought it was sweet at first... until he started to nibble at my hair.


"Hey!" I chided and pushed him away, chuckling a little. "You quite a cheeky deer, aren't ya?"


I stroked Argent's soft fur before I finally notice my clothes. I was wearing the same ones I've had on for the past... what? Week or so? I don't know, I've lost track. They were smelly, dirty and in dire need of some pro stitching. I scanned the goddess's tent for my belongings and found my duffel bag laying on the floor at the edge of the bed. I went and unzipped it and began scavenging through it in search of a decent change of clothes. Unfortunately, they only clothes I had were either too small, needed an urgent appointment with nurse needle and doctor thread, too dirty or to just... ugh. Being in the presence of a goddess. These would never do.


"Hey, Anna!"


I turned around to see the lieutenant standing in the tent flap with a camouflage printed backpack in her right hand.


"Figured you might need some of these," she tossed me the bag and I caught it (almost dropping it) and peered inside.


"How'd you know I needed some?" I stated, taking out a black leather jacket with golden spike studs studded on the shoulders.


"Well judging by the state your current clothes are in, I figured you might need some extra clothing pieces to use while you stitch up and clean you other dirty rags," Thalia explained. "They're just some old things I used to wear back before I was a Hunter and I figure you might like to keep them."


I grinned broadly. "Thank you! But, how'd you know I needed new clothes and why I couldn't use the ones in my bag?" I raised an eyebrow at Thalia who went wide eyed.


"Oh, umm... I-I didn't mean - well I did mean to look in your bag, b-but it was only a precaution to find out whether or not you were a friend or foe. So-"


I cut off the Hunter with a laugh. "It's okay, Thalia. I have nothing of value anyways, except..." that's when the realization hit me like a ton of bricks and I began frantically searching through my bag.


Where is it? Where is it?! My mind raced as I scavenged through my stuff, on the look out for my most prized possession.


"What did you loose?" Thalia asked.


"My weapon," I replied. "I last had it with me as I fought the chimera but I don't know where it's gone!"


As I frantically searched for my screwdriver like a headless chicken trying to find it's way, Thalia came up behind me and I didn't notice she was there until I felt something sharp poke between my shoulder blades. I froze and slowly turned around to see the Hunter holding me at bay with my own sword. Thalia smirked and lowered my bronze weapon, turning it around and handing me the sword by the hilt.


"I take it this is yours?" Thalia said, raising and eyebrow as I took my trusty weapon I had relied on so much.


I grinned and nodded. "Yes, it is."


I stared at my reflection in the blade of the sword and saw a girl I didn't even recognise. Being on the run, I didn't have time to bask and admire my reflection all the time. The last time I looked in the mirror was months ago, and even then I couldn't recognise myself.
My hair had grown heaps longer than it has been in the orphanage (we had to have shoulder length hair, now it was about mid-lower back), my skin was slightly tanned with a few scars and dirt smudges here and there, I had a few freckles dotted on my cheeks and my eyes looked no longer bright and innocent, they looked dark and worldly. I looked... older and stronger than I once was a year and a half ago.


"What's its name?" I heard the lieutenant ask.


I looked up at her, confused. "What?"


"Your swords name, what have you called it?" she repeated.


Puzzled is the word I'd use right about now. "Why would I want to give my sword a name?"


"So it doesn't have a name?"


I shook my head. "I never really thought about it, let alone ever imagine naming an inanimate object."


Thalia just smirked. "Well a name means it has meaning, so giving your sword a name is kind of a way of claiming it to yourself."


I looked back at my weapon and went into deep thought. A name, huh? But what kind of name? Should I go for something simple like Mary or something? Or how about something warlike like Slasher or Bonecrusher? No, not my style. I sat there for a good thirty seconds or so until I can up with the perfect one.


"Vixen," I said.


"Vixen?" Thalia echoed.


I nodded. "Vixen."


And just like that, the blade glowed and words etched themselves onto the handle of my newly named bronze sword in a writing that I couldn't understand at first but soon automatically translated it easily to 'Vixen'.


"Whoa! How'd I do that?" I exclaimed.


"Do what?" Thalia questioned.


"Well, there was this weird... writing on the handle that looked like a bunch of scribbles but then it changed around and made perfect sense," I glanced up at Thalia for an answer who was just smiling fondly.


"I'm aware Lady Artemis has explained to you about the Greek gods mating with mortal and having offspring half-bloods?" I nodded. "Well since demigods are half mortal as well as half Greek god, they're brains are hot-wired to read ancient Greek, not ordinary English."


Okay, that made sense. That's probably why I failed so badly at school, I was born to read ancient Greek, not easy English.


"Anyways, why would you-" the Hunter was cut off by the sound of a horn being blown outside of the tent which caused Thalia to whip her head around and look outside to see a few of the other Hunters scurrying around and packing up. "First light is breaking, we'd better hurry," Thalia turned to me. "Quick, get changed and meet me outside with all you belongings. We leave very soon."


"Wh-where are we going?" I asked, startled by the sudden motives of a peaceful conversation to 'get up and go'.


Thalia gave me a look that said 'I'd-tell-you-but-it'll-just-more-fun-to-make-you-wait'.


"Someplace where you can finally be safe."


Safe? I don't think was such a word in my vocabulary, it didn't exist around me.


"I should leave you alone to change, just don't take too long," Thalia said as she headed back outside. "I hope my clothes fit you."


And then she was gone, out to help her fellow Hunters pack up their equipment. I sighed and went through the bag of new clothes I was given, finding that Thalia must've really liked the colour black and anything punk. I soon found some suitable items of clothing and stripped before changing into my choice of clothes. I kept my shirt off out of curiosity and fear of what I would see in the reflection of my sword of the scars I had on my back from a few months back.
With a shaky hand, I slowly lifted Vixen just over my shoulder so I could see my reflection in it and I almost dropped the sword on what I saw. It was horrifying. I quickly changed Vixen back into a screwdriver and threw on a shirt and the black leather jacket with golden spike studs as I pocketed Vixen and grabbed all my stuff and headed on outside. Wishing I had never seen what I just saw.

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