Sep 29, 2022 4:10 AM
bella, daughter of hecate
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"I guess that makes as much sense as the rest of it," Bella mutters. For the time being she will put her suitcase on a bed here.

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And Chiron will show them around the rest of the camp. Strawberry fields! The hippodrome! The arena!

"I don't suppose either of you brought a panoply - we'll have to set you up with a standard bronze hoplomachus set each," Chiron mumbles to himself.

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"What would that be, please?"

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"Oh - a short sword and round shield," Chiron says more clearly. "Appropriately blunted, of course. Plus helmet, chestpiece, and pteruge skirt."

"Sorry, a skirt?" Percy says with some alarm.

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"A sword? I have a balance disorder."

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"It is blunted," Chiron says. "Ah, your mother did warn us of that issue, but we do need to find some way for you to defend yourself. Monsters are not, by and large, ADA compliant. And if you do end up with a blade in your hands, we want you to know how to make it an advantage - however slight - rather than an impediment."

"I... really cannot imagine myself stabbing anyone," Percy says queasily.

"You stabbed the Minotaur through the heart less than 48 hours ago," Chiron points out.

"...I can't imagine myself stabbing anyone again?"

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"How about I just don't go monster-hunting?" suggests Bella. "- Archery, she said there's archery. And equ-" she looks at Chiron's legs. "-estrianism but probably that wasn't a crack about you?"

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Chiron snorts good-humoredly. "It wasn't. Archery and riding are good for a controlled environment, but staying away from hunts won't keep you from encountering monsters, and a bow won't always keep them from closing in. We keep them out of the camp, but now that you know the truth, the Mist has fallen from you; when you leave this place, you'll be easy prey if you can't fight or run. ...I suppose there's always magic, with your mother who she is? It's not generally very good for immediate combat, but it might be better than falling on your own sword."

"...what Mist? Monsters have been hunting me for... years," Percy says confusedly.

"You're a special case," Chiron says. "Most demigods are protected by their own ignorance, at least until they go through puberty or learn their true nature."

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Bella has so many simultaneous reactions to this paragraph that she splutters for a bit, ultimately deciding that it can go unsaid that that's a reasonably good excuse for Cate not to have told her anything and for even Charlie to be quiet on the subject, and that if "the Mist" is no longer affecting her she can wait ten minutes to find out what it is, though she does write it down; so what her confused sequence of noises ultimately resolves into is "YEAH I wanna learn MAGIC!"

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"Magic does sound pretty cool," Percy says vaguely.

Chiron chuckles. "I've picked up enough tricks that I should be able to show you some. As I said, it's light on the flashy immediate effects, but with the right herbs you can squirrel your way out of a lot of tight situations."

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"Cool.

So what's the Mist?"

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"It is a vast and ancient magical effect which protects the world of the gods from discovery, and the children of the gods from monsters. Mortals, with a few exceptions, will not see the supernatural things that happen around them - if they are in danger they will see something as dangerous, but within their own frame of reference. A sword becomes a rifle. The Minotaur, a hulking man brandishing a baseball bat. As a secondary effect, it also clouds the minds of monsters, making it harder for them to detect the vulnerable children of the gods."

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"...swords and rifles imply very different self-preservation strategies." Among other things.

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Chiron shrugs. "Monsters are generally disinclined to target mortals directly in any case - the main thing that the Mist preserves is the natural human instinct to get well clear of a developing situation."

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"I've never been attacked by a monster, was that the Mist?"

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"Well, that and the protective amulet on your keychain. It performs a sort of parallel, layered effect."

(Percy is looking a bit sour again.)

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She looks at her keychain. "Oh. I didn't know it was magic." She looks at Percy. "- you've been attacked by monsters though? Why do they want to attack demigods?"

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"The reasons vary, but monsters are, to an extent, influenced by human perceptions. An isolate monster, like the Minotaur, may be influenced directly; a race of them will have children bending towards the mean. Children hear stories of the viciousness of the Minotaur, the hatred of the harpies, the... proclivities of the centaurs, and so these traits echo, self-reinforcing. Satyrs were once almost as bad as my kin, but the story of Mr. Tumnus has done a great deal for their people."

"Hooray Mr. Tumnus," Percy murmurs.

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"That sounds uncomfortable for you guys."

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"I resigned myself to the state of my kin a long time ago," Chiron says, a bit woodenly.

Percy frowns. "But - couldn't you, I dunno, write a bunch of books about nice centaurs who - run through wheat fields and sing songs and want to fight global warming -"

"It is forbidden!" Chiron snaps. Then he inhales deeply and closes his eyes. "Percy. If it were as simple as that, I would have written a thousand books. The centaur race would be humanity's staunchest ally. But - I cannot."

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"Who's forbidding you to write centaur books? Fantasia got made and it has nice centaurs in it."

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Chiron sighs. "I loved that film. But - the Thunderer has reasons to forbid me the Muses' aid. Reasons that touch on secrets not mine to share."

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"The Muses are real too? Are they helping with stuff like Fantasia?"

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"Well, not in person. They can encourage or discourage certain people and certain projects, but Euterpe does not personally preside over Alan Menken's writing desk. You could say that, like many gods, they administer their domains, but said domains are largely self-sustaining."

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"Am I allowed to write centaur books if I want?"

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