Sep 29, 2022 4:32 AM
bella, daughter of hecate
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"...okay. What are magic lessons going to look like? Also apparently I have to learn Ancient Greek?"

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Chiron hums thoughtfully. "Magic lessons are likely to consist of a mixture of botany and poetry lessons, those being two of the main components of practical magic. I will try to keep the lessons directly relevant to the subject, though, and not teach you too much of the fundamentals unless you are specifically interested. And most demigods find ancient Greek to be much less intimidating once they've started their lessons. It bypasses the dyslexia, you see."

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"Why does Ancient Greek bypass the dyslexia?!"

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"Well - it's not really what humans call dyslexia, you understand, it's just that your brain is wired as if Ancient Greek was your first language, and it makes it harder for you to grasp other scripts. It was more practical back when it was just... Greek, the lingua franca of the Mediterranean."

Percy rubs his temples. "Why was this necessary. Who said and we'll make it slightly easier for the demigods to learn to speak a language they're already going to speak. Can I fight them."

"It was a hack to help demigods learn to read without reliable childhood instruction, actually," Chiron explains. "In times when only a single-digit percentage of the population could read, that was a marked advantage. No one could have predicted an almost 90% literacy rate."

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"I think people who have a first language in the normal way do not have dyslexia in other languages. Though I guess it might have been in some ways more inconvenient if we also all had accents and made grammatical errors in English instead of just needing to shell out for audio books. If this was deliberately implemented why hasn't it been updated in thousands of years?"

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"If the gods had the resources to go around fixing mistakes they made three thousand years ago, that is not where they would start. We are none of us what we once were."

They've circled back around to the Hermes cabin. "This has been an engaging conversation," Chiron says, "and I hope we will have many more, but paperwork waits for neither gods nor men. Luke can hopefully help you with any further confusion."

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"Thanks."

In she goes to learn names and partly but not fully unpack in case Artemis says she can have the COMPLETELY EMPTY CABIN GOING UNUSED WHILE THIS ONE OVERFLOWS.

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Luke can help with parts of this! "I do think you've got a decent shot at the transfer," he says. "Artemis likes boldness - unlike some gods."

Percy continues to have as far as Bella can tell no possessions, making his unpacking process nonexistent. "It's kind of weird to think about," he says cautiously. "I mean - us being on their, you know, family tree. The gods'."

Luke smiles, razor-thin. "One big happy Olympian family, that's us."

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"Is that how this works? Will all our older cousins and step-parents and uncles and suchlike be swinging by for a family reunion any day now?"

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Luke snorts explosively. "Wouldn't that be hilarious. No, I'm afraid most of our extended relations don't even care enough to claim us on their taxes, let alone come to the barbecues. Some of us go to the grave with as much information about their sire as Percy has about his right now."

Percy looks unthrilled by this.

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"I will be sure to consider the state of the competition when choosing Mother's Day gifts."

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Luke nods. "All I'm saying."

"Is that -" Percy starts, then pauses and says a little quieter, "Is that what your - deal - is? You're unclaimed?"

"Nope!" Luke says with a brittle grin. "Full 50% Hermes Juice in these veins, not from concentrate."

"...oh. Then -"

"And I don't particularly want to talk about it!" Luke claps his hands together abruptly. "Right, everybody, it's beginning to look a lot like dinner, asses in gear, come on -"

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Dinner does sound good. Maybe they get to eat ambrosia.

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Luke shepherds Hermes Cabin over to the dining pavilion. It's pretty grand, like much of the rest of the camp, and there's a feast laid out. No ambrosia in evidence, or nectar for that matter, but there's barbecue and fried stuff and, perhaps surprisingly, plenty of clearly marked vegetarian fare.

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Huh. Bella doesn't like vegetables more than the typical twelve year old but she will get a corn on the cob in addition to her ribs and potatoes. "How do I make a sacrifice to Artemis about the sleeping arrangements?" she asks Luke.

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Luke points to a brazier at the end of the buffet line, where a handful of kids are lined up. "Just take a bit of whatever seems most appropriate - probably a rib but you might actually want to take some venison - and drop it in the fire and ask your question. You'll probably get a clear weal or woe, Artemis is pretty chill about omens since nobody's bugging her about parentage. If it just smells unexpectedly nice that's not weal, though, that's just how the brazier works. And, uh, don't let me tell you what to do but if you want to stay on your mom's good side you might want to sacrifice to her too, just to keep up."

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"That's really not consonant with how she presents herself otherwise but I guess I don't know her that well," mutters Bella. She grabs some venison and lines up.

When she comes to the brazier she drops in the venison and says, "Artemis, can I sleep in your cabin? My mother is Hecate and sometimes conflated with you in mythology."

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Things don't go quiet exactly, but there's a sense of stillness. There's also a sense like someone's looking at her, evaluating.

Then, behind her, someone laughs a bit too loud, and the stillness breaks. The smoke billowing from the brazier shines silver for a moment, smelling of petrichor, and Bella feels the possibly unprecedented bodily urge to go jogging before that, too, fades.

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Is that supposed to be "pretty clear". She supposes she can ask Luke. She gives the fire a couple potato wedges and a rib. "Hi Mom, you are winning all the god parent contests, thanks for the ride to camp."

The fire throws red-yellow-blue sparks and then goes back to normal; Bella's keychain feels a bit warmer than usual. She gets out of line and goes to ask Luke if silver is weal or woe.

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"Weal," Luke says immediately. "I guess - it's clearer when it's woe? If Artemis wants to say woe you're gonna feel hunted."

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"I guess they haven't caught up to newfangled technology like Morse code or anything." She sits at the Hermes table - she doesn't want to eat alone - and starts in on the food.

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Once everyone's meal seems to be winding down, Dionysus stands reluctantly. "Hello, children. Today's announcements are that Capture the Flag will be held on Friday; Ares' cabin, predictably enough, holds the laurels." A table of obvious jocks roars their approval. "Congratulations on your... achievement. And we have two new campers today - Isabella Swan, daughter of Hecate, and Peter Johnson, undeclared."

Chiron leans over and mutters something in his ear. Dionysus shakes his head irritably. "Percy Jackson. Still undeclared. Huzzah for new campers. No more announcements, go on back to your cabins."

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Hopefully capturing flags is optional because she incredibly doesn't care about who has a flag.

She goes with the crowd to collect her suitcase from Hermes cabin and tote it over to Artemis's.

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Artemis' cabin is - not necessarily nicer than Hermes', as that would defeat the point. But it's empty, and quiet, and the silvery wood-paneled walls are covered with moonlit landscape paintings instead of abstract graffiti. There's an array of bunks or, if she'd rather, a few silk hammocks.

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Ooh, she will at least give a hammock a try. She lies in it to do her end-of-day notetaking (does her personal alphabet look like Greek?? she has no idea! maybe!) and eventually decides that she would prefer to sleep in a bed but the hammocks are nice to have.

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