Lauren liked Emily, she really did. In truth, Lauren got along well with almost everyone as the head counselor in the Aphrodite cabin. After Andrew and Alex left, Lauren and Emily had started talking. Between the loss of blood, dehydration, malnourishment and overexertion, Lauren knew Emily was extremely worn and weakened, but she seemed to be coping with it quite well. At first, her voice had been nearly inaudible and raspy, and her movements small and insignificant. Courtesy of some nectar and ambrosia, Emily seemed to be doing much better.
As the two of them began to chat about mundane things, their favorite seasons, places, colors, historic personages, Lauren was able to learn more and more about this remarkable girl. She was nearing her sixteenth birthday, which meant she wasn’t much younger than Lauren herself, who was not yet quite a year older. As Emily ate some of the food Lauren had brought from the Mess hall, Lauren told Emily about Camp Half-Blood- what she would learn, why she was here (seeing she was a demigod since she hadn’t burned up due to the nectar and ambrosia), who else she was likely to meet, where most of the major activities were held, when certain activities took place, useful information like that. Emily listened intently the whole, time, asking a few questions here and there. Somehow, Emily looked about ten times better already. No doubt the nectar and ambrosia were doing wonders, aided by the nourishment from the food and drink Lauren had got from the Mess Hall. At some point, Andrew walked into the room and sat on the other side of Emily’s bed, gradually joining into their conversation.
A thought nagged at the back of Lauren’s head. There was something very familiar about her, although Lauren was sure she’d never seen this girl before in her life. Lauren had been practically raised in Camp Half-Blood since the age of four, and Emily had only just come to camp Half-Blood last night. Lauren pushed this thought to the back of her mind, and focused on getting to know Emily better.
Andrew checked his watch and glanced up at Lauren. His grey eyes were as dazzling as ever as he made eye contact with her.
“You’d better get going. The rest will be wondering where their favorite head counselor is.” He prompted. Lauren smiled at the compliment, bade Emily good bye, and set off to her fellow Aphrodite cabin mates. She wondered whether or not they would ask questions, and if so, how much she should answer. Before she had passed the door, however, Andrew called after her,
“Hey Lauren? If the ask questions-”he paused for a moment, “could you just tell them, um, to wait until the campfire tonight?”
Lauren gave him a reassuring smile. “Of course.”
She strolled briskly down the hallway towards her awaiting cabin mates, leaving Emily with Andrew for company.
She hadn’t gone very far before she passed by Alex. He smiled at her in greeting, and continued down the hallway in his business-like manner.
It was like riding some insane rollercoaster. For ages, Emily had been scraping by, as she had been forced to run away from one place to another, working in some sleeping and eating times when she wasn’t fighting for her life. As soon as it had seemed to have become a bit like a routine: sleeping, collecting any weapons available, scrounging for food anywhere in the area, and killing any following monster as she continued searching on for a safe place, something would disrupt the whole thing. The attacks got worse and worse, draining her nearly completely of any energy she had. The climax had occurred only yesterday, as the horrendous whatever-it-was had nearly killed her once and for all, slicing through her shoulder with its terrible claws like warm butter. She shuddered as she remembered the throbbing pain penetrating all through her body.
What happened after that had been a blur, partly because she had been losing consciousness due to her struggle with the monster. When she had woken up again, it was to find that she had been rescued by the boy, Andrew, who sat across from her now, and was currently under the care of him, Lauren (of whom Emily admired very much), Alexander (who was apparently, the medical expert here) and Chiron, someone she had not met yet, but who apparently ran Camp Half-Blood.
According to Lauren, this place was a safe-haven for the half-mortal offspring of the gods, the same who were in the myths from Ancient Greeks. Here, these children strengthened their unique talents to become future heroes in the modern world. Those born from the war god Ares focused on hand-to-hand combat, while those born of Hephaestus centered most of their time on innovating various devices. When Emily had asked Lauren (who was a child of Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty) which deity’s group she belonged in, Lauren had told her that that would be figured out in due time.
Despite how exhausted Emily was, the recently acquired information buzzed around Emily’s head, preventing her from some well-needed sleep. Now, Lauren had left, and she was left in the company of Lauren’s two best friends: Andrew the observer and Alex the doctor.
As of the present moment, Alex was giving her a medical test of his own invention, of which Emily found both impressive and a bit amusing. It wasn’t everyday you got a professional medical analysis from a teenager.
“Can you hear me clearly?” he questioned.
“You bet.” She replied.
Alex nodded and continued, “Can you tell me the last thing you remember before coming here?”
Emily thought for a moment, then replied, “I was running through the woods somewhere. There was a stream, and I remember everything seemed to be in slow motion. I remember seeing the shadow of my pursuer for a second, when there was a stroke of lightening, I think. I kept running, but my shoulder hurt so bad. I think I tripped on something before I completely blacked out.”
Andrew came over, crouching down next to Emily so that they were face to face. His grey eyes were full of concern, as he whispered, very gently, “Emily? I know the memory is painful, and I know this place is probably strange and possibly frightening to you, but you need to understand that we want to help you. And to do that, we need to know the full story. How have you survived this long? How did you get here? What did this to you?”
Alex glanced over at his best friend, a slightly alarmed look on his face. “Andrew? Can’t that wait? We don’t want to overwhelm her.”
Emily felt her face go red. She appreciated their concern, and knew she was forever in debt to them for saving her life, but the thing was that they were treating her like a little kid : incapable of most normal things, too small to do anything of importance or significance. This would be her only chance to make a decent first impression, and coming off as a weakling would not be an option, especially not in a camp full of heroes-in-training.
“Sure. Let’s see, first question: How have I survived this long?” This part seemed fairly obvious to Emily, but she decided to answer it anyway, “I’ve either escaped or killed every monster that’s attacked me. If not, I’d be dead.” Despite the taken aback looks from the two boys, Emily continued, mustering any confidence she could manage into her words. “Next question: How did I get here? I’ve been running away from monsters for a long time. Each day, I travel away from the monsters, gaining as much distance as possible. Sometimes, I’m able to loose them for a while, and I’ve been able to be in foster care homes numerous times, but none of them ever lasted that long, but that’s besides the point. I got here by running away from monsters, they chase me from the north, and I either run away due south or stand my ground if I think I have a chance. The monster that did this to me was a Griffin. I had already used most of my greatest assets to defeat the other monsters: the Cyclops, the dracaena, you know, those guys. I decided to go near the sea, so I went here to Long Island. I figured the griffin would be more nervous around water, and I’d be able to see where it was coming from- probably. It didn’t work out so well. I tried to stand up and fight, but it got me in the shoulder, and grabbed me once or twice, but I escaped from its claws, and fell a little farther than I would have liked. I ran towards the nearest forest, where I figured the griffin would have to come on foot to get me, so I couldn’t be taken by surprise, right?” She checked to make sure the two boys were still with her. She prayed her tone gave no insight to how painful the memory was. She had to force herself to relay just the facts, and not remember the pain, the hunger, the exhaustion….
“Anyway,” Emily continued, “I didn’t make it too far until the griffin caught up with me. I would stall it for a while, try to gain a little more distance, then it would catch up again, until I reached the forest. I got a good head start, and ran into the forest, trying to find a cave or rock formation to hide out, but everything seemed to be going in slow motion. I tripped on a rock and then everything went black. When I woke up again, it was to find myself here, with you guys.” She smiled. “Campers of Camp Half-Blood, a safe place for heroes like Lauren and you two, run by the well-known trainer of heroes, Chiron the centaur. And, if I have it right, I’ll be trained here too, because, like you all, I’ve been the target of ancient Greek monsters, which means I am a demigod: half mortal, half immortal god.”
“What you guys want to know is what Greek god or goddess’s group I belong to,” Emily guessed, “but I never had any parents, so you’ll have to try my strengths and determine it that way, or my immortal parent will send some sign, to,” Emily thought for a moment, trying to remember what Lauren had told her, “to claim me as their child.”
A wave of emotion washed over Emily. She had never known her parents, and had assumed them to either be dead, or in her deepest darkest nightmares, that they had disowned her, that she hadn’t met their expectations for a child, or never even wanted a child in the first place. Each option was painful: dead, or alive wanting nothing to do with her. To think that she might have a godly parent, one that would never die and able to see all she did, one that could be proud of her if she worked hard enough.
She didn’t blame her godly parent for ignoring her up to now. She hadn’t exactly been the perfect daughter so far, and probably the least of all the heroes here. The shouts of the campers reached her through the walls and windows- Emily figured there were probably loads of campers here. Even for an almighty Greek god or goddess, they probably had their hands full dealing with their realm of power and all those kids to pay attention to some insignificant daughter. That would change though. Emily was determined to do all she could to become as good as the other campers.
Her mind swirled with all these thought and emotions: hope that she had a parent, dejection thinking of the possibility that a parent might have disowned her, determination to make her godly parent proud, and understanding about the situation she was in. The two boys looked like she felt, a little overwhelmed, but thinking over the situation and what to do next. It was silent for a minute as the three of them sifted through the information about the situation they were in.
“Wow.” Alex muttered, “Well, that explains a lot. In this case, we just have to wait for the gashes to heal themselves, keep the bandages on, all that good stuff. In the meantime, you definitely need plenty of liquids to restore blood loss and food to restore body mass. How long did you say you’ve been doing this?” He didn’t wait for an answer, but instead continued, “You look like you haven’t had any food for months. Hopefully the nectar and ambrosia will help speed up the process, and you’ll be able to train regularly.” He stopped and studied the bandaged gash on her shoulder.
Andrew looked at his friend, “I know that expression. What’s going on?”
Alex sighed, ignoring Andrew’s comment, not taking his eyes off of the shoulder womb.
“Can you lift your arm?”
Emily began lifting her arm, but a sharp pain in her shoulder nearly made her cry out in pain. She fought back a scream, but her eyes watered in pain, and an involuntary tear streaked across her face. Emily forced her voice to remain as calm.
“I-I don’t think that’s a good idea.” she pleaded, her voice just above a whisper.
Alex nodded, his suspicions confirmed. “The clavicle is fractured, I think. Otherwise, the shoulder wouldn’t be swelling like that. I’ll do something to get the shoulder to stay in the right position so it can heal properly. I should talk to Chiron.”
With that, Alex exited the room, and began to walk down the hall towards where Chiron was located.
Andrew didn’t say much, but just studied her, which just made Emily uncomfortable.
“So, whose your godly parent?” she asked, trying to get him not to study her like some complicated puzzle.
He looked up, and answered in a level voice, “Parents, actually. Athena and Poseidon.”
Emily thought about it for a moment, confused. “But then you’d be a minor god yourself, and unless I have my mythology wrong, I’m pretty sure Athena and Poseidon are close to enemies, not lovers.”
Andrew smiled. The girl reminded him of his self, quick to put the pieces together and determined to get an answer.
“No, I’m not immortal. My mom was a daughter of Athena, and my dad a son of Poseidon. They were a special case, surviving long enough to raise a family. My dad’s in the navy and my mom is an architect. We have a house near the lake, a little ways east of the cabins, designed to look a bit like the Athena and Poseidon cabins, but with a few alterations for family life. I’m homeschooled so I can just stay in Camp Half-Blood.”
Emily studied him carefully. His tone made it clear, at least to her, that even if he wasn’t a minor god, the expectations were almost that high. No one else, or at least not many people, had this kind of godly heritage here.
This poor kid, Emily thought. Unlike her, he had many people to please, set expectation to meet, and no one else, as far as Emily knew, to share this burden with.
She tried to give him a reassuring smile, “That sounds cool. You get to know what it’s like to have two awesome powers instead of just one, like everyone else. You get to do your own thing, something never tried before, right? It’s like an adventure all your own, and only you know how much your capable of. So really, you get to set your own expectations: independent and one of a kind.”
Andrew smiled at her gratefully. “Thanks. You want me to grab you some water? Alex said you’re supposed to drink lots of liquids.” He winked, and walked away, assuming the answer to be yes, without Emily saying a word.
A minute later, he was back, holding a cup full of water, which he handed to her. She lifted her arm, but that was a big mistake. Pain shot through her body, sharp and excruciating, like she had been stabbed by a thousand needles. She tried to suppress a shriek of pain, but her body shuddered violently for a second, lifting her off the bed for a split second. A startled Andrew accidently spilled almost half water on her shoulder as it seemed to jump from the cup and onto the bandage where it began seeping within the bandage to the wound left by the griffin.
“Sorry! Here…” the rest of his sentence trailed away as his eyes widened in astonishment. “Whoa.”
Emily sighed with relief. The water was cool and soothing against her swollen gash and the pain was easing down, maybe even less so than before. She tried to reposition her head to look at whatever Andrew was staring at. She didn’t see anything significant at first, but then realized that the bandage was looser, as the puffy swollen shoulder had seemed to deflate.
Andrew looked at her in surprise.
“I know of only one other person who can do that…” his eyes flitted between Emily, her shoulder injury, and the cup of water.
Emily was utterly confused and a little frustrated. Why had she never found out about this before? It would have been very useful information to have when being a constant target of some monster. How had she never figured this out?! After outwitting the Cyclopes a year or so ago, and outwitting various other monsters, Emily had thought she was smart. Yet if she hadn’t ever, in all her life, figured out that freaky little detail that water could heal her- she probably was just about the most ignorant demigod ever. Just great.
Andrew’s expression had changed now to a look a curiosity, as he tore his eyes away from the bandaged shoulder to Emily’s frustrated expression and seemed to be able to understand the situation immediately.
“You never knew, did you?” he asked, but her expression seemed to be answer enough. The two of them fell back into silence.
Emily silently chided herself. There was no reason being frustrated at something she couldn’t change. She had survived the past, and that was that. Now, she had learned of a unique ability that had reduced the swelling of her shoulder almost back to normal. It could even be a clue as to who her godly parent was. This was a great thing, and there was no reason to be upset. Emily composed herself, and decided to make the best of this unique situation.
“You said you only knew one other person who has this ability. Who?” Emily questioned.
Andrew hesitated for a moment, and then reluctantly answered, “Perseus Jackson, son of Poseidon.” He looked up at her, waiting for a response.
“Lord of the seas. The same as your dad, right? That’s so weird. So, then I’d probably be his daughter right? Then your dad would be like, my half-brother, right? And so you’d be my half-nephew or something. Gee whiz, this family is pretty messed up.”
She smiled at Andrew, but it faded when she saw his expression. He didn’t seem quite- satisfied perhaps- with the information. He stared intently at the floor, and Emily could almost hear the gears in his head turning, thinking hard. His face seemed set in stone for the moment, frowning in concentration as his mind raced a thousand miles a minute.
“Hey, um, you okay there? I’m sorry- did I say something wrong?”
Stupid me! Emily thought, ‘this family is pretty messed up’?!, Wow, that was sure being considerate. I probably just made everything worse. She wished she could take back her monologue about the whole mythological family tree.
Andrew broke away from his thoughts, and looked up at Emily with a determined expression.
“I don’t think we have the whole thing, Emily.” The way he said her name, with such deliberate weight and emphasis, made Emily worry and utterly bewildered. What had Andrew figured out, or thought he had?
“There are a few things I’d like to figure out first, before we jump to conclusions.”
Andrew caught the confused expression on Emily’s face, and continued to give a hasty explanation,
“That is definitely a power of Poseidon, I know, but that power could have been passed down to you directly from Poseidon himself, or by one of his offspring. My dad told me once of a great warrior, Frank Zang. He could change into any animal because he was descended from Poseidon, from hundreds of years back. His descendents would have it too, probably if he survived long enough to have kids.”
Emily considered this. It was definitely possible. She hadn’t known her parents, so why couldn’t one be a descendent of Poseidon, but how distantly? Maybe as the generations passed on, certain traits or abilities were carried on, and others weren’t. If that were true, then the more power over water she had, the smaller the gap of generations between her and Poseidon were.
“So how are we going to figure these few things out, like you said?”
“Well, we could see what other abilities you have, what control you have over water or other domains. Frank was a child of Mars as well as a descendent of Poseidon. There could be something similar going on with you. You don’t happen to have an important stick with you- do you?”
Emily laughed. “Unfortunately, I don’t. I’m not a wizard, just a half-blood.”
Andrew grinned. “Just checking.” He checked his watch and stood up.“I should probably get back to training. I’m supposed to be in the Arena teaching sword fighting techniques. See you later.”
Tell me how I could improve this- besides the spelling.... :)