My father, Gabriel, was at the time going to university in Athens, Greece. He was studying to become a herbologist, one of his many passions. To him, the mysterious of the laboratory were about as mystical as you could get. Those childish dreams of becoming a magician were squashed by his loving family at the tender age of seven.
Speaking of those oh-so angelic beings he would call family, they were all too happy that their only son would go into such a profitable field. Who needs lawyer money when you could be an expert in herbs? But before I get too sidetracked, let me introduce my ‘loving family’: There are my antiquated, strongly opinioned grandparents—Sophia and Gabriel senior. Sophia was not the ideal woman that Gabriel senior’s parents had in mind. No, she was a gentile. Though, she would eventually convert when they married, so the household would remain Jewish and affluent. Happily, they had put aside their childish notions of everything childish—love, dreams, and adventure. Doesn’t everyone know it is better to stick to the Styx that you’re used to? At any rate, they had three delightful children—Martha, Ruth, and Gabriel. They were born in that order; Gabriel being the youngest and only son. Before him, their daughters were lavished with things they would never possibly need—attention, affection, and ample education. But those things were done away with when the heir was born. Gabriel would then become the new center of attention, while the women were then taught the practical things a woman should know; how to be a wife, mother, and maid to her household. Gabriel, on the other hand, was allowed to pursue an education.
Imagine their surprise when they found out that he had had a bastard child while he was away! No, no, no, that simply will not do. A twenty-six year old boy like you could never care for a child like that; and he could not be allowed to live in the house of your mother! Think of what the neighbors would say! And what of his mother? What manner of a harlot was she?
Gabriel had admitted that he did not know her as well as he thought he did. She came to him as a young woman, dressed in a gown that sparkled like the stars. Her skin a ghostly pale, her eyes a beautiful shade of green to compliment Gabriel’s sky blues, and her hair consisting of brown locks in an elaborate ponytail. Her presence intoxicated him unlike ever before, and he had fallen in love with her at the very first sight. She said her name was Luna, but he did not believe her for some reason. It mattered little, as they would get to know each other for an extended period of three months. Then they made love, and a child. That child, when born a few months later, was left with Gabriel as well as a note explaining the truth behind Luna’s identity;
I must leave you now, but not before leaving our child, Uriel, in your care. I must also reveal unto you my true identity: I am Hecate—goddess of Magic. Our son will have a tough future ahead, but you must know where to take him in time—Camp Half-Blood. I have also left him a weapon and a blessing so that he knows he is mine—his sky blue eyes, when he turns the age of ten, will become violet like a ripe grape. This is all I can do.
Gabriel knew not what to make of this, but he knew he had to return home. Of course, he would not tell them everything. They need not think he was a lunatic. But it seems it would not matter, as they would disown their only son for such trifling affairs, and for still insisting on keeping the poor bastard.
And that was that. Gabriel was forced out of the house onto the streets with a newborn child. He scavenged for a job, and would eventually find one on a farm a few miles from the city. The advertisement said that they would provide room and board for the work on the farm. It was not long before Gabriel found his home here with his son.
The owners of the farm—Cyril and Ceres Gelastopoulos—would welcome Gabriel like their own son. They had never had any children due to complications, but would sooner have Gabriel change his surname to Gelastopoulos than have their own child. He would, of course, refuse, but only because he had had his name all his life and was not about to change it, regardless of whether or not his family disowned him. As far as he was concerned though, he was a Gelastopoulos anyway.
As for I, Grandma Ceres (as she would have me call her) would nurture me like a grandmother would—caring for me until I was old enough to help work on the farm. I didn’t mind though—I liked to go out and work with my father. My days would consist of socializing with Grandma (and that would also teach me how to behave properly), studies with my father, and working the fields. It is a wonder to me how much more comfortable I am with English over my mother tongue. The fruits of my father’s strict education plan, I guess.
The days passed slowly, as if stuck in honey. They were sweet and innocent until the day I turned ten. I awoke in the morning, giddy for whatever gift I would receive that year. I followed my normal routine, cleaning myself in the restroom when I noticed my eyes. My eyes, which had been sky blue the night before, were slowly turning violet. I screamed as if I had seen Mary in the mirror, and the adults came running. By the time they reached me, my eyes had completely turned violet, and Grandma Ceres was ghost white at the sight of them. My father was perhaps even paler, as if he had seen death coming for him. I was rushed to the nearest hospital—forget the fact we didn’t have the money or the insurance for it—to only find baffled doctors. The best guess they had was a case of pigmentary glaucoma, but that was quickly squashed when no adverse effects had presented themselves.
I was sent home, and from then on my eyes were purple. My father never spoke to me about it again. At least, not until the next incident. While working the fields mid-August two years later, a watched as—what I thought was a puppy— charged straight for me. I held out my hand for it, thinking it just a playful little guy. But as it grew closer, I noticed something strange… IT HAD TWO BLEEDING HEADS. The beast latched onto my arm with one head, and the other attempted to bite my face off. Luckily, my quick reflexes that I didn’t knew existed until this moment kicked in, allowing me to kick the beast away from me. I scrambled away, and a loud yelp alerted my father to the situation. He ran to see what was wrong, and saw the dog attacking me. What happened next was a blur—probably because I was losing consciousness quickly as blood flowed out of my arm. I only remember my father stabbing the beast with a dagger I had never seen before. The beast disintegrated in a puff of yellow dust, and I lost consciousness. I awoke next in a hospital, and this time the doctors were interrogating my father as to what happened. I had heard threats of calling Child Protective Services before they noticed I had risen to my feet. My arm was bandaged, and I could barely move it. Yet I insisted I was fine, and that it was just a wild dog that attacked me. They backed off, but my father had already made up his mind about what we were to do next.
We went home, to my crying grandparents. Apparently they only knew that I was going away to a camp—a place to keep me safe. They had mustered up enough money to purchase one ticket, but we needed two to get there, and one for my father to come back. My father said he could get the money, and that they needn’t worry. That was the last I saw of them, as we left for Athens. We arrived outside a grand white manor of sorts. Obviously this was a really affluent family, but I wasn’t exactly sure what we were doing here. We went to the front door, and were let in as a woman cried tears of what I assumed was joy. She said she was Ruth, and that someone had passed away. I didn’t quite catch who it was though. My father explained the situation, and Ruth was overcome with grief. She obliged, and easily coughed up more than enough money. She hugged me tight, and told me that I better come back some time. I said I would, but I still wasn’t quite sure who the woman was. I never bothered asking either, though looking back I know I should have.
My father explained his background to me on the flight to America. I had never heard any of it before, as he was always very reserved when it came to his family. He then explained to me what he knew of my mother, which wasn’t a lot. He only told me that she went by the name Hecate, and that I would be safe where we were going.
I would be safe, but he would not be allowed the same mercy. When we grew near the camp, the taxi insisted it could take us no further. It was only a small work from there. Fair enough. Even if it was after 12:00 PM, we could find our way. I wasn’t too keen of the dark, since I had a bad experience when I was younger, so my father kept me close to him. If only we had brought a flashlight. We didn’t notice the beast encroach on us at first, but when it let out an air-shattering howl, we were alerted to his presence. It looked like something about of The Three Little Pigs, but only more menacing and evil. It leaped at us (though it was really going for me), and my father and I were separated. He told me to run as fast as I could, and that he would handle the monster. He drew the dagger, and rushed the beast.
What happened next, I will never forget. The beast turned around, and stabbed my father with its claws like he was nothing but a small bother. He fell to the ground, and I screamed. My father was still alive at this point, but I didn’t know that. The beast turned its undivided attention on me, and was ready to feast. It charged, and leaped at me like before. All I remember happening was trying to protect myself with my hands, but instead feeling heat come from that all of the sudden. Fire. Streams of fire shot from my hands, and torched the wolf-man. While that bought me some time as he tried to put himself out, and I rushed to my father to make sure he was okay.
He told me to leave him under a tree on the side of the road.
"I'll be fine, Uriel." He coughed. "I can't leave you here!" I cried. He said, in the most sobering voice, "Don't worry about me, you need to get to that Camp." "Listen, I'll go get help. Promise me you'll be alright!" I was sobbing now. "I promise, now go." Those were the last words I heard him say.
I picked up his dagger, and left him there next to a tree. I ran, the beast starting to regain its momentum. It charged again, and it was much faster than me. Luckily, it was just a moment shy of catching me, as I entered the camp’s barrier right before its claws could rake my back. I was safe. And I was unharmed from the encounter—or so I thought. I saw people patrolling the area rush up to me, and the next thing I know I pass out. I awake in the medical tents, and was told I passed out from blood loss. The monster from the night before managed to open a pretty big gash in my left leg. I wasn’t to walk, but I didn’t listen. I practically ran out of the tents, the doctors chasing me down. I left the camp grounds, and found my father. He was gone. All I could muster was, “You promised.”
I returned to the camp grounds, and the medics were there freaking out. I entered the protective barrier, and a symbol of my mother, Hecate, appeared above my head. I did not know what it was, but all the other kids seemed to rave on about it. They told me I had been ‘claimed’, and welcomed me to camp. I was hurried away to my new cabin, but not before the medics had done a proper check up to make sure I was okay.
I asked if I could bury my father, but they deemed it too dangerous to go out alone. Instead, they had a group of kids go find him, carry his body near the entrance of camp, and set it ablaze as was tradition. There was nothing for me to say or do, and I decided to retreat to my new room for a few days. Welcome to Camp Half-Blood.