Sep 29, 2022 4:42 AM
bella, daughter of hecate
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The next day dawns, as they are given to do. A schedule has been slipped under the cabin door, telling her that breakfast is served from dawn until the sky turns blue, followed by magic lessons with Chiron, then assorted athletics (no running or swordplay for her, but swimming and archery and equestrianism are all represented) and academics (Greek, metalwork, horticulture).

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Ooh, she gets to start with magic. She gets dressed and meanders at a safe pace to the food zone to see what's on offer for breakfast.

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Various stuff! Fruits are well represented, but there's a substantial amount of breakfast pastry and meatstuff on offer as well.

Also there's a Percy! He waves at her.

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Grapes and a muffin and a pile of sausages. Mom gets a sausage and she goes and sits next to Percy. "Morning! I hope none of those thirty other people snore!"

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"Boy do I wish you were right!" Percy laughs. (He has a Belgian waffle with some kind of blue syrup on it.)

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"I am probably not allowed to have sleepovers but at least I am not contributing to the crowding problem I guess." Nomf nomf. "What's your schedule like?"

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Percy pulls out a folded bit of paper. "Uh, lots of stuff - they want me in 'general weapons training', I guess to figure out what I'm good at, and they're apparently going to cycle me through electives to see if they can ferret out my divine parentage that way? And then after I've seen them they'll place me based on my skills? So I'm gonna be doing, like, rock climbing and equestrianism and metalwork and just generally seeing everything they've got to offer, I guess. And Ancient Greek."

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"Ah, Newbie Week," says a mysterious teenager who sets down her tray next to Bella's. "Fun times, fun times. Pray they figure you out quick, being a jack-of-all-trades only gets more exhausting."

She turns to Bella. "Hi! Zanna Rin. Daughter of Eris. I'm sniffing you inquisitively because you're the first other miscellaneous bastard to escape Hermes Hell, and you got yourself a single, which is hilarious."

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"Hi, I'm Bella. Did you arrange to live somewhere else too? How?"

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"Wellllll, Mom is - depending on your source she's Ares' sister or his daughter or the mother of several of his kids? So after they clocked me for her kid and after I got extremely sick of sleeping in Hermes, I sacrificed and said hey Ares, are we cool if I move to your cabin, and I just heard a woman cackling and the brazier flared so hard I lost an eyebrow, but I declared it weal because that's kind of just how Mom is. And I've been sleeping in the barracks ever since. And the guy hasn't come down and stabbed me yet so I figure we're cool. And my roommates suck but in different ways than Hermes cabin sucks and I can kick their asses about it, so we're basically cool."

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"I guess the sister/daughter/consort confusion is, uh, par for the course. I'm glad your eyebrow has recovered from the experience."

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"Yeah, they grow back great. This was half a decade ago, for the record, I'm an oldby." She snags her finger under a leather strand around her neck, bearing five painted clay beads. "Hardly anybody here remembers when I was unclaimed. Except Luke but Luke's ancient." She leans precariously around Bella and another girl to poke Luke in the arm.

"Eat your breakfast, Zanna," he says without looking at her.

She rolls her eyes and inhales a softboiled egg. "Mad because I abandoned you five years ago, aren't you, Squidward."

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"...isn't that a Spongebob character?"

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"Yeah, I'm saying he's a grump. Like the venerable Squidward."

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"Oh, okay. I don't actually watch much Spongebob. So you've been coming to camp for five years now?"

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"Yep. Every year at the end of summer you get a new bead on your necklace. Or bracelet, or whatever, some people do a bracelet."

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"Also, uh, less coming to camp, more living here full-time. My mortal folks aren't exactly interested in having me around and I'm even less interested in cohabiting with them."

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"That sucks. People shouldn't have kids if they're gonna treat them like that."

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Jazz hands. "They don't have one anymore!"

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"I imagine not everyone with a demigod kid knew what they were getting into but that is rough, yeah. How many people live here year-round?"

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"Mmm... summer you get about a hundred fifty to two hundred kids, year-round... maybe a fifth of that, plus staff. Not all of them have a charming family situation, some are just particularly severe monster bait and wouldn't be safe in the wider world. Not that anybody's safe in the wider world, but. You know."

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"What make somebody particularly severe monster bait?"

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"Somebody in a wheelchair, unless they're a Hephaestus kid and it turns into a powered exoskeleton. Somebody who can't figure out their sire or a talent of their own, and doesn't have the drive to make something of themselves anyway. An honest-to-God Quaker, once - she said something about how monsters could kill her but they couldn't make her take up a sword. She was right, for what it's worth. And - sometimes you get a kid who, for whatever reason, the Mists just don't like. Somebody who could call the Minotaur out of whatever hole he's in, just by taking a road trip."

She's carefully not looking at Percy.

"Those don't tend to last long. Even if they make an impressive showing at first."

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"How long do we usually live?"

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