Name: Oleander Thales
God Parent: Persephone
Current Age: 18
Mortal Parent: Anton Thales
Current Guardian: Jessamine Thales (Aunt)
There is something fundamentally sad about Ollie. He's a good kid, kind to a fault and very concerned about the well-being of people he cares about, but he's a downer. He's very self-deprecating. He's shy. He's awkward. He's cripplingly unconfident. Years of being neglected by his father taught him how to make himself small to avoid attention, so most of the time people barely even notice he's there.
He hopes he can make friends, and he wants to use his time at camp to get stronger and maybe become less of a doormat but that’s very difficult when he has a tendency to gravitate towards people who will walk all over him. During the winter he wilts with the plants. Something about the cold weather and everything thing green going to ground makes something inside of him shrivel up.
Jessamine Thales had long given up on seeing her brother again the night he had turned up on her doorstep. It had been seven years since she’d seen Anton, and six since he’d stopped writing. Five since she had received the news that he was well and truly missing.
Two years, he had promised, two years to study rare mountain flora in the mountains of Hawai’i and then he would come home and he would finally, finally try to put down roots.
Jessamine had supposed that her brother had never been very good at putting down roots, at least not ones that connected to other people. He’d always preferred the company of plants. They weren’t complicated or messy, he said. They never needed things that you could not give them. He was a genius when it came to flowers, a leading botanist in his field, but Anton had never been able to understand other people, never wanted to. He could grow orchids in snow, coax life into even the most sickly plant but h’d always said he was not suited to care for another human being.
Which is why it was so surprising that with Anton on that day he’d appeared, wet and gaunt on her porch, he’d had with him an eight-year-old child that shared his nose and his pale, freckled skin.
Anton spoke little for the few days he crept around Jesse’s house, more like a ghost than a guest. What he did say was that there had been a woman, beautiful and striking, who left flowers in her wake wherever she walked.
They'd met on the slopes of Haleakala. Anton was clinging to the cliffside, struggling to pollinate a rare silversword flower indigenous to the region, when she'd appeared. There were flowers in her hair. She strode along the cliff above as if there wasn't a fifty-foot drop beside her. Behind her, silversword almost seemed to appear, just at the peak of their bloom. She crouched just above Anton, looked down at him with his gaunt wind-burned cheeks and calloused hands and pollen brush, and smiled.
"These are a beautiful species." She said, her voice warm and soft. "Thank you for pollinating them. It is so far for them to find one another when they grow so far apart."
Anton's mouth went dry and he was certain that without her hand resting petal-soft on his shoulder, he would have fallen from the cliff right then and there. Instead, he let her guide him up onto the ledge.
In the short life of Anton Thales, it was green but for a season. For six months there were warm rains and soft rays of golden light and a woman more beautiful than any flower. In their time together she took his research farther than anything he'd ever hoped to achieve. She filled his life with plumeria and puakenikeni and ginger blossoms.
And then, as quickly as she had come, she was gone.
He waited for her, for six cold, dark, wet months.
On the first day of spring, she appeared again, but only long enough to give him a baby with his thin, dark hair and her leaf green eyes, before she disappeared again. Anton's green season had ended, left him alone with a son he didn't want and a hole so deep in his chest it burned.
He looked for her everywhere; along the Ka'anapali coast, through the town of Kahalui, in the mountains and on the beaches he searched until there was no more island left to search. Then he kept going, kept looking. He lived out of cars and motel rooms. He burned through his savings and his grant money. When he was out of money he'd learned how to hustle at poker and pool in bars, how to deliver packages that the police shouldn't know about, how to wait in dark alleys and loom over idiots with heavy wallets and no common sense. He did what he had to to keep himself and the kid alive.
Jesse wasn’t sure how much of her brother’s story she believed, but she was sure that raising a child was the last thing he was capable of doing in his state. The boy, Anton called him Oleander, did not speak….he didn’t do much of anything really. He would sit, quiet and still as a statue while Anton skulked through her house like a shadow.
Anton stayed long enough to eat a few hot meals, shower, and fill his dented old car with gas. Then Anton was gone with two hundred dollars out of the coffee can Jessamine kept atop her fridge. He didn't take the boy with him.
Oleander had known immediately the morning he woke up and crept downstairs to see the car gone, that his father would not be returning. He was getting too big, too hungry. He kept outgrowing clothes which cost money, and kept getting sick which cost them time. Anton had spent eight years making keeping him fed and clothed and making sure there was a place for him to sleep, and his mother had never appeared. He was dead weight now, not appealing enough to bring her back, not strong enough to help Anton search. It only made sense to leave him behind.
At least Jessamine's house was warm. None of the windows were broken and the lights worked. The floor beneath the bed was dry and nice to sleep on. The warm scent of sugar and vanilla seeped up from her bakery bellow. It was nice, and Oleander wanted desperately to stay. He knew that if Jessamine didn't want him, there would be nowhere else left to go. He had to make sure she'd want to keep him.
He waited in the daytime, making sure to stay quiet and out of the way. He only ate when she asked him to, only spoke when she spoke to him. At night he would quietly scrub and scour the house until his little hands were raw. It went on like that for three days until Jessamine caught him and begged him to stop.
“You can stay here as long as you want and you never have to clean or work or do anything okay, Oleander? You’re safe here.”
She looked like Anton, his father, same freckles and fine dark hair, same wide dark eyes. But Anton had never looked at Oleander like that, like he was something precious. Anton had never done a lot of the things that Jesse did for him. She made fat buckwheat pancakes in the morning and read him stories at night. She smiled when he finally started to speak in a trembling, halting voice. She loved and loved and loved him for all the years that he had not been and more.
Oleander’s time with Anton had been spent in dark, cold places, hungry and quiet and folded up small so he wasn’t in the way. His time with Jesse was spent in her warm, flour-scented bakery, learning to make delicate flowers from sugar and frosting.
Where Anton had taught Oleander how to survive, Jesse taught him how to live. In the evenings she’d help him stumble through sentence after sentence until speaking didn’t feel like forcing knives out of his throat. She packed him a lunch every morning when he started going to school, and on the days that he came back curled in on himself like a dying plant, she would make him hot chocolate and blow raspberries against his cheek till he smiled. He never did quite fit in at school, too fidgety, too quiet, too shy, too strange. At first he was bullied, but soon he was just ignored. He was good at being ignored, making himself small and quiet and unnoticeable. The only time he ever seemed to light up was when he was with Jesse, a slow smile creeping across his face like a flower in bloom.
Flowers in bloom tended to surround Oleander. From the first day of spring to the last day of summer, wherever he went they grew and grew. Ollie never noticed and Jesse never cared to question it.
For awhile, Ollie's life was good. As good as it could be, he thought For awhile, he was happy.
Then he turned thirteen.
The first monster to attack was a giant scorpion. It followed Ollie home from school a few days after his thirteenth birthday. At first, he had thought it was an angry dog, prowling slowly behind him. But the more he looked the more legs it seemed to have, the more its tail looked like it had a pointed barb at the end. By the time it had chased him into the woods there was no mistaking it for a dog, not with claws like that. One moment it had been stabbing at the dirt just behind Ollie, the next it was struggling against dozens of whip-like vines, being dragged slowly deeper and deeper into the earth.
Ollie watched it until it disappeared beneath the dirt. Then he passed out.
When he woke up, dozens of moonflowers had grown around him, fragile white blossoms open to the sky.
He didn’t tell Jesse about the first monster, or the second scorpion a year later, which was hit by a car trying to follow him across the road. The third time, two harpies swooped from the sky and left long bloody talon marks along his back and arms. They nearly killed him, carrying him into the air and shrieking about dropping him. If it weren’t for the arrows that ripped through their wings, they might have gotten high enough for the drop to prove fatal.
As it was, he ended up battered, dazed, and surrounded by scarred twenty-somethings holding bronze weapons.
Being told he was a demigod did not surprise Ollie as much as he thought it should. If anything, it made all strange, rough-edged pieces of his life fit together; his father’s hollow eyes and stories about a mother who could make flowers bloom even by looking at them, how the flowers seemed to follow Ollie, blooming in his footprints.
He’d had to read a book on greek myths for a class in seventh grade, and his favorite story of all had been that of Persephone.
A spring goddess for a mother explained why he hated winter, each day dragging on, cold and miserable. It explained the flowers, the monsters, the way he’d always felt like he was waiting for something more.
The other demigods stayed long enough to treat his wounds and scribble down directions to a camp near New York where he’d be safe. They were on a quest, they said, and couldn’t leave him much but a bronze knife that turned into a ring, and a bow with matching arrows that turned quickly into a necklace.
For years, Ollie struggled to keep his heritage a secret from Jesse, struggled to keep monsters as far away from him as possible. He didn’t want to leave. His life with Jessamine had been a long, warm stretch of light after the dead, gray-stained years with Anton. He couldn’t help but feel like leaving her garden and her kitchen and her cinnamon-warm bakery would mean going back. He didn’t want to go back to the hunger and constant twist of fear in his chest that were hallmarks of living with Anton.
So he hid. He wasn’t good at fighting, but he was good at disappearing. Humans with exceptionally strong smells, one of the demigods had said, they could help mask him.
He knew plenty of boys who used plenty of body spray and very much liked having someone like Oleander around to serve as a punching bag. He hung around, kept his head down, carried bags and took punches and let awful boys think they were dating their own personal slave.
For awhile it worked. Monsters didn’t bother him as much, only one every year. He was lucky enough to survive each attack. At 15 a flaming horse chased him during a school camping trip and fell off a cliff. At 16 an ant chased him away from his house and into the forest, spitting acid that burned through his shirt and seared his skin. Ollie was certain he was going to die until the vines appeared again, coiling like snakes around the ant tighter and tighter until it disappeared in a cloud of golden dust. When he was 17, his luck ran out.
The hell hounds didn’t just attack him, but Jesse as well. The bite on her arm had been deep and painful and brushed just past the nerve. It bled enough to send her to the hospital. When it healed it left behind an ugly red scar.
There was no staying after that. Not if it meant Jesse could get hurt. Before the monsters had only ever gone after him, only attacked while he was alone.
Anton had taught him how to pack up and disappear during the night. They’d had to do it a lot on the road together. Anton, with his gaunt face and hollow stare, had not looked like someone who had any business taking care of a child, especially one as thin and frail looking as Ollie. He remembered many nights of rolling out of bed and scrambling out of back windows and backdoors, chased by blue and red police lights.
There were no lights the night he left Jessamine, just a steel colored moon hanging heavy in the sky. He packed what he could, left an apology note on the honey-colored table where Jessamine had taught him to shape fondant into flowers, and disappeared.
He turned 18 on the road. He spent the day jammed as far back as he could be into a cave, listening to harpies screech as they circled overhead, searching for him.
A few weeks later he arrived at camp, dirty and exhausted. For five days he has been making himself scarce in the Persephone cabin.
Ollie knows how to pack for life on the road. Along with extra clothes and cash he keeps a minor first aid kit (band aids, neosporin and disinfectant), a canteen, some bar soap, a towel and a toothbrush stuffed into his rucksack along with a dog-eared copy of Ella enchanted. His wallet has what’s left of his cash and a picture of him and Jessamine hidden in an inner pocket.
His weapons consist a bronze knife that turns into a ring, and a silver bow and arrow set that turn into a necklace Practicing on the road has made him slightly more skilled with the bow, but he has only ever used the knife to cut open particularly difficult bags of chips.
Seasonal depression during the winter months-This usually manifests in lowered mood, energy, interest, and heightened sensitivity to religion.
Social Anxiety-Doesn’t like crowds. Doesn’t like being the center of attention. Very wary of people in general. Ollie has never had a friend his age. When he talks to people that make him nervous he tends to stutter and make himself more nervous by stuttering in what becomes a vicious, awkward cycle.
Not a Fighter-Ollie’s first choice is never to fight. He wants to get stronger but as he is his first choice is to run and hide. He’s not assertive and not good at standing up for himself.
Low Reading Level- Starting school very late, spending his formative years being neglected by Anton, and having ADHD don’t add up to academic success. Special education has taken him far but he still feels miles behind other kids his age. Though it hasn’t proven much of a practical issue it’s a point of shame for Ollie
Skills/Hobbies: gardening, dancing, singing, reading, sketching
Likes: fairy tales, reading, ballet, baking, singing, hot chocolate, sunlight, flowers
Dislikes: bullies, the cold, people who walk through flower beds, pruning, dirty dishes, littering, food thieves
Hi~ I'm Frosty, a camp helper and I'll be looking through your claim today!
- First of all, please add in some more detail on how Persephone and Anton met and conceived Oleander. You can keep the first few paragraphs, but add a few more on how Persephone and Anton encountered each other.
- Goddesses are usually only pregnant for three to four months. They don't have to wait for the full nine months like human women.
- How old was he when he was first attacked? Usually, first attacks happen between the ages of 11 to 13.
- Shouldn't he be exhausted by his use of powers to take care of the scorpion?
- Usually, demigods have at least one attack every year until they finally head to camp after their first attack. Please add in a few more attacks to cover the missing years.
- How long has he been at Camp? For meta-gaming policies, it has to be a shorter time period than two weeks.
And that's all I saw so far! If you have any questions, feel free to let me or anyone else on the claiming department know! ~ Frost