I didn't want to wake up, but my headache insisted. I wasn't entirely sure why my head felt as if someone was attempting to smash it open with a chizzle when my injury was in my stomach. It took me a while to open my eyes successfully and adjust to the light.
I was laying in bed, in a room lined with beds, it looked like the school infirmary. At first I tought maybe it had all been a mere dream, and something more plausible had happened to me. Maybe I'd blacked out, fallen down the stairs? That would certainly explain the headache. But something told me that wasn't the case, and I confirmed it when I attempted to move. A sharp stab of pain went through my body. Suddenly I could feel the stab wound that went from my back all the way through. My whole upper body felt like it was melting in acid from the inside and I could barely feel my legs. I lay back down and the pain subsided, if only slightly. In an attempt to distract myself from the pain I scanned the room. It was an infirmary, but it wasn't the school infirmary, I was sure of that. The walls weren't white, they were made of wood, and the whole place looked a lot more, comfortable and friendlier than the creepy sanitised ones I was familiar with. There were only six beds and only mine was occupied, for the time being I was alone. I looked out the window across the room but I couldn't make out anything but the fact it was daylight. How long was I unconscious? I looked to my right. On the bedside table was a small metal canteen and propped on the table was my spear, the same one with which I'd killed my first smoke man. It was then that I realised just how thirsty I was, my mouth felt like I'd been gargling hot coals.
I slowly propped myself on my elbows, trying to ignore the drumming in my head. I pulled off my covers to look at my wound. My whole abdomen was tightly wrapped in white bandages like a fresh mummy, as if whoever had wrapped them was afraid my intestines would spill out if it was any looser. I saw no blood, so I assumed they had been changed multiple times. No blood? Fine by me. I reached out and took the canteen, opened the top and sniffed the liquid, wait, was that vanilla ice cream? It smelled like it. Curious, I took a small sip. It was so good, a mix of baking chocolate and vanilla, with just a sprincle of cinnamon thrown in for show. I was so amazed by the taste it took me a moment to realise some of the pain in my head had receeded all of a sudden. I was about to take a bigger sip when the door to the left of the room opened, and an old guy in a wheelchair came in, followed closely by a tall blonde kid in an orange t-shirt.
"I wouldn't drink too much of that if I were you." The old man smiled as he wheeled his way to my bed. "Wouldn't want you to burst into cinders now."
"Um." I glanced from the canteen to the two newcomers. "I didn't know vanilla was flammable."
The boy smirked and handed me another canteen. "Here, some water will do just fine."
I exchanged canteens and drank gratefully. Wiping my mouth I asked. "Who, who are you?" I directed the question to the older man, he seemed to be the one in charge. He sort of reminded me of Charles Xavier from X-Men, the whole wheelchair thing.
"My name is Chiron." The old man said. "I am director of Camp Half-Blood." He extended a hand and I shook it. "And this is William." He nodded to the blonde guy who gave me a small smile, then looked at my bandages critically.
"Call me Will." He said.
"Will here has been taking care of your wound." Chiron explained. "Celestial bronze injuries are more difficult to heal, not even nectar can repair the wound quickly."
"Nectar?" He asked. "Is that the vanilla thing?"
"Nectar is the drink of the gods." Will explained as he leaned down to examine the bandages. "In small quantities it can heal most wounds relly fast, drink too much and you'll burn up, literally."
I wasn't quite sure if he was joking or not. "Gods drink vanilla?" I lifted an eyebrow.
Chiron leaned back in his chair. "Nectar tastes differently to every individual, depending on what their favourite taste is."
Ok, I thought, sure. "Wait, time out, gods?" I asked, only just realising what Will had said. "What do you mean gods? I'm atheist so-"
Chiron chuckled. "Let's take this slowly alright? First, we've introduced ourselves, but what is your name boy?"
I thought for a moment, then said. "Faraday, Davy Faraday."
"Well Davy Faraday." Chiron said. "Would you mind telling me how you got here? Then you can ask any questions, and I might even answer some."
I didn't feel very reassured, but I told him my story. How I failed to finish my exam, how I was chased by creepy business men who turned into armored killers, how I was saved by a centauride and how she'd transported me to New York. I ended the story on getting impaled by a six foot spear and falling unconscious.
"And that's it." I said. I examined the old man for a moment as he frowned in thought, Will was standing off to the side, listening curiuosly. "You said your name was Chiron, you're the husband Chiraclo mentioned." I said.
Chiron was silent for a moment. "I haven't seen her in a long time, but yes, Chiraclo is my wife." He said, his expression inscrutiable.
"Wait." Will said. "You're married?" He grinned. "That's news to me, she one of the Party Ponies?"
"Centaur marriage is different than with humans." Chiron said. "And no she is not, she preffers to do her own thing, what she was doing in Washington, I have no idea, though I am grateful that she happened to run into you like she did."
Something sparked at the back of my head. "Centaur marriage?" I said. "You're a centaur? You're Chiron, like, the Chiron?"
Chiron looked up. "You're familiar with Greek mythology?"
"A bit yeah." I said. "You don't look like a centaur to me, the lack of a horse body and all."
Chiron smiled slightly. "I prefer to appear as human as possible when meeting new demigods." He said. "Well I suppose this should make things easier. I assume you know who the Greek gods are?" He asked.
I nodded. "Of course, the twelve Olympians and all that." I said. "Oh wait, you're not about to tell me they're real?"
Chiron smiled. "Very well, I won't tell you, you seem to already know that."
"And it's thirteen actually." Said Will. I looked at him. "As of a couple of months ago Hades is now an Olympian as well, finally got himself a seat on the Council."
"Hades?" I stared. "Like, god of the dead Hades?" Both of them nodded.
"The gods of Olympus are very real Davy." Chiron explained. "And so is everything else that comes along with Greek mythology, it isn't myth, it's fact."
Surprisingly, I didn't have a hard time believeing him, and not just because of what had already happened to me by then, I just felt like I'd known it all this time.
"But, wouldn't people notice if the world was filled with monsters and super powerful gods and whatnot?" I asked.
"A fair question." Chiron said. "But no, they wouln't, at least, they wouldn't see the real thing. The vision of mortals, that is, ordinary humans is clouded by a magical mist that separates the mortal world from the world of gods and demigods. You are one such demigod. On one side you have a mortal parent and on the other, an immortal god."
Again, I knew he was telling the truth. I'd never known my father, and my mom only gave vague descriptions of him, she didn't have any pictures. "Demigod, just like Hercules and those ancient heroes?"
Chiron nodded. "Exactly like that. Gods often have children with mortals and it is the purpose of Camp Half-Blood to find demigods like you and Will and bring them here to safety, where we train you to survive in the mortal world, where you are in constant danger of monster attacks."
"So, who's my godly parent?" I asked.
Chiron shrugged. "That remains to be seen, if you haven't been claimed by your parent already, you should be by the end of the day, this has recently become a common occurence."
"Okay." I said. "And what were those, things that attacked me, and almost killed me?"
Chiron frowned at that. "I am not entirely sure, angry spirits who had somehow escaped the Underworld and taken temporary physical form, can you describe them for me in more detail?" He asked.
I oblidged. "Well, they were pretty buff guys, bearded, they all wore the same black armor, some had shields."
Chiron nodded. "And they all had black bands tied around their heads, correct?"
I nodded. "Yeah, how did you know?"
He didn't answer. He fell into deep thinking mode. After half a minute Will cleared his throat loudly and Chiron blinked. "I'm sorry." He appologied. "I'm not quite sure what this means, I'll have to talk to you about this later, but for now, do you think you can stand?" Chiron glanced at Will, who nodded.
"The wound is healing well now that he drank some nectar." He said.
I did feel much better, the vanilla nectar was doing a good job of kicking the pain out. "Sure, I could use a walk."
"Alright." Chiron nodded. "Will, you can help him walk for now, show him around camp and fill him in on all he needs to know. "And give him some ambrosia to speed the healing further." He said as he turned his wheelchair around. "Oh and that spear of yours, it's an impressive weapon." And with that he rolled out of the infirmary.
"You got it." Will called. "You sure you wanna get up?" He asked, looking back at me. Looking into his eyes I realised for the first time, they guy could have passed for my brother on first glance. I was slightly taller than him, but unlike him I could definitely use some workout. Our hair was the same colour, and his eyes were just a slightly lighter shade of blue.
"Yeah." I said. "Yeah I want to get up, how long was I out anyways?"
As he helped me up he said. "Oh, you've been out of it for five days now." He handed me a clean orange t-shirt just like his, with the words Camp Half-Blood and a logo of a flying pegassus in the middle.
"Five days?" My eyes widened.
Will cracked a smile. "Don't worry, the record for unconscious newcomer is twenty two days, so you're fine."
I had some trouble putting my t-shirt on so Will helped, then he put an arm on my shoulder and helped my out of the infirmary. I used my spear for additional support. The house was big, the Big House, I realised, with multiple floors and many doors, but Will led me outside. Once we got to the front porch I leaned on the railing for time out. While there I took a moment to admire the view. Now I knew why it was called Camp Half-Blood. It looked just like most other summer camps would. There was a forest, a lake to one side, the sea on the other. In between there were various summer-campy things like cabins, except each cabin looked different, a few looked like ancien Greek temples while one reseblmed a steampunk factory. There was also a basketball court, a volleyball court and many other courts. I had to admit, this looked like a pretty cool place to spend a summer at. The only thing that looked slightly discouraging was a giant climbing wall from which an endless supply of blazing lava was pouring down.
Will noticed what I was looking at and smirked. "Oh you'll be climbing up that in no time." I stared at him. "Don't worry, only one person has died on it this year." Again, I wasn't entirely sure of he was joking or not.
"Place looks pretty empty." I said. Sure there were a few dozen people milling about but this place looked like it could accomodate a Metallica conzert.
"Oh we have a lot more people that come to camp." Will explained. "But most only come during summer, then go back to the mortal world to attend school and try to blend in and play mortal."
"But you're here." I pointed out.
"There are some year rounders yeah." Will nodded. "There's usually even less people at this time but the satyrs have been bringing in more demigods recently, and most come from orphanages so they stay here."
"Satyrs." I repeated. "Goat people, servants of Pan the Wild Man." I said.
Will chuckled. "It's a good thing you already know this stuff, you get used to it all being real much easier." He said. "The satyrs help us out alot with bringing in new demigods, they have an excellent sense of smell and can track down demigods and sense monsters. We send them to schools across the country for that reason."
Then I realised I'd missed one very important question. "Hold on, if this is all real and Greek gods and myths are an actual thing." I said. "Why America? I'm pretty sure all the old stuff happened in Greece."
Will nodded again. "It did, but you see there is this thing called the Flame of the West, it's a magical thing that moves just as the 'western civilisation' does, and Olympus follows it." He said. "All of it started in Greece thousands of years ago, then the gods moved to Rome once the Romans decided to worship the same gods, they just renamed them. Centuries later, when the Western Roman Empire fell the gods moved back to Greece or what was then the Eastern Roman Empire which stuck around for another millenia, but after the Romans adopted Christianity the gods moved west again. This time to England which became the most poweful, if not the biggest empire in the world, and much later they moved here to America once the United States were formed."
I listened to this intently. It sounded pretty reasonable. The Romans did worship the same gods, and the Easter Empire did adopt Christianity. "What do you mean, Olympus followed it? Isn't Olympus a mountain in Greece?" I asked.
"Sure." Will nodded. "There's Mt. Olympus and then there's Olympus, the palace of the gods." He said. "It's magical so it moves around like a big sky ship."
"And where is it now?" I asked.
"New York, Empire State Building." He said with a shrug, as if it we the most obvious answer.
"Okay, sure." I said. "Have you been there?"
"Yep." He nodded. "This summer, there was this pretty big war between the gods and the titans."
I stared. "Come again?"
"Ever heard the news of Mt. Saint Hellens exploding?" He asked.
"Of course." I said. "Hard to miss, it was all over the news."
"That was Precy blowing up a forge of Hephaestus and waking up the giant monster Typhon who then proceeded to cause havock across the states before the gods finally stopped him near New York." Will said. "You must have seen the hurricane reports too."
I was baffled. "That was all you people? The volcano, the hurricanes, all of it?"
Will nodded again. "You'll soon find out that most great disasters in the world are caused by gods and ancient all powerful monsters." He smirked at my expression.
"And who's Percy?" I asked, the name hadn't escaped my notice.
Will shrugged. "Oh, nobody in particular, he just happened to save the world last summer by defeating the Titan lord Chronos in the palace of the gods on Olympus." The more he talked the more amused the appeared, must have been my dumbstruck expression.
"Okay, okay enough." I said, lifting my palms in surrender. "Too much info to process at once."
Will chuckled. "That's how it usually goes with newcommers, but you'll get used to it eventually." He reassured me. "Now come on, I'm supposed to show you around. I'll introduce you to the other campers."
I was feeling slightly more stable on my feet now, so I decided to walk on my own, with the help of my spear. "Lead on." I followed him down the stairs and towards the cabins.