Second Camp Half-Blood
"I sound nothing like that!" exclaimed Aja once the journal had ended.
"Well I didn't exactly think you'd be watching my journals!" countered Silena.
"Okay so how did you guys get from saving Veelox to Aja getting shot and having to come here?" asked Clarisse.
"One day we were all getting another award and Aja was giving a speech, but then there were three shot fired in rapid succession and she slumped forward and blood started trickling from her mouth. We did see who shot her so whoever they are they got away, but Aja was hurt and I knew that we had to get her help, but the medical situation on Veelox is much to be desired since most people with medical knowledge had been in Lifelight for so long," said Silena.
"And even though I was just barley holding onto consciousness I managed to hold it together long enough that when Silena rushed over to me I told her "Silena… something I never told you… I did know my mom because she's… Athena." After that it kind of got blurry, but I remember when that sweet nectar touched my tongue and it revitalized me. Speaking of which, I could use a refill," said Aja.
"Chiron's probably gonna cut you off, eat too much ambrosia or drink too much nectar and you'll burn up," said Beckendorf.
"Then send her refill to me, I bet it taste like sniggers!" said Spader.
"No! You're mortal, one drop and you'll burn up instantly."
"Well that might not be entirely true," said Gunny from the door way.
"What do mean?" asked Silena.
"Well Shorti I bean thinkin' that us Travelers aren't exactly normal are we? Think about it, have you ever been sick a day in your life?"
Silena frowned at this, "Well know that I think about it no. What about you guys?"
"Not that I can recall," said Aja.
"That's a no spinney-do… thought I'd give you a nickname spinney-fish!" said Spader.
"And neither have I. And think of how fast we heal, how we can heal one another, and if you've been reading his journals you must have read about how Bobby brought Loor back to life. Now I wouldn't go tastin' any of the food of the gods, even though it does look mighty tasty, but the point is us Travelers aren't like the other people of our territories and sub-territories," said Gunny.
Silena, Aja, and Spader looked at their hands as if expecting them to have changed, but they were the same as always.
"Gunny you're seriously freaking me out here," said Silena.
"Well I didn't mean to do that Shorti, but I tell you what I think, I truly believe that we were chosen for a reason to do this Traveler stuff. Each of us is just and average Joe or Jane from our native territory or sub-territory, but for whatever reason we have been chosen, and I think that whoever chose us did so for just that reason, and if we've been chosen by some great cosmic chess master then maybe that means there's an anti-Saint Dane workin' on our side."
"Oh Gunny you know just how to… I feel dizzy," said Silena, she then staggered to her feet and took a few steps before collapsing on the floor and blacking out.
When Silena regained consciousness she found herself standing… she wasn't exactly sure where. It kind of looked like a cross between a tropical beach resort and an ancient Greek city, but what puzzled her most was the sky; the sky was thick with rich multi-colored rainbow clouds that swirled about, never seeming to dissipate.
"Beautiful aren't they?"
Silena jumped at the voice, when she turned in its direction she found a man who was wearing a long brown coat, had longish shoulder-length hair, and looked like he hadn't had a shave in a while.
"And you would be…"
"Tilton, Press Tilton."
"Oh my gods, you're Bobby's uncle! Wait, aren't you supposed to be dead?" asked Silena.
"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio. Than are dreamt of in your philosophy," replied Press.
"Well I can't exactly explain that to you now, you're just not ready, but I told Bobby that one day I'd see him and all the Travelers again, and that'll be the day it'll all make sense."
"So I'm guessing that rules out explain where we are?"
"Now that I can tell you, somewhat. What you see around you is Solara; it's the essence of mankind, all of our achievements, everything we are, all manifested here," explained Press.
"Okay I've known you for like five seconds and you've already lost me," said Silena.
Press smiled, "Well I'd be surprised if you grasped it at all. Like I said before this is a lot to take in and you're just not ready for some of the revelations I could throw at you, but there is some things you can grasp."
"Well for example the way you see Solara as you see it is because this is a form you find pleasing, and Solara presents itself to everyone in the form they find most appealing."
"Kind of like a Lifelight jump?"
"Well sort of, but Solara was a major inspiration for Dr. Zetlin."
"So why have you brought me to Solara, and more importantly where is Solara, and…"
"Slow down Silena, you're gonna kill me with the questions!" laughed Press. "Well as far as where we are let's just say we're on the edges of Halla, the edges of reality if you will."
"You're losing me," said Silena in a sing-son voice.
"Then we should move on to why you're here, but I think they'd be better to explain that than I would."
Silena turned to where Press was motioning and gasped with surprise, because standing in front of her were her parents.
"Mom! Dad! Oh my gods, it's really you!" exclaimed Silena as she rushed over and hugged her parents.
"Oh Silena you've made me so proud of you! Oh you were so brave!" said Aphrodite as she hugged Silena, but a nagging question crept into Silena's mind as she did.
"Wait a minute, this isn't a Lifelight jump is it?"
"No sugarplum, this is actually happening," said Mr. Beauregard as he hugged Silena.
"Okay, so what are you guys doing here?" asked Silena.
"Because we don't have much time and you won't be seeing me again for a while, but you will see your mother and she will guide you on the journey you have just now begun. And though you may not be able to see me I want you to know that I will be watching you, and you have made me prouder than you can ever imagine," said Mr. Beauregard.
"Dad you're saying this like… oh my gods, did something happen to you?"
"No, no, I'm fine. It's just… well this is really something your Traveler friends are better at explaining, but Silena, don't be mad at Clarisse and Beckendorf, they were only trying to protect you."
"Mom… what does he mean?"
"Oh Silena, if I only I could tell you, but you must find the answers for yourself, because this is the way it was meant to be," said the goddess of love.
"You have to go now don't you?" asked Silena.
"Not quite yet, not before they get a word with you."
Silena looked to where her mother was gesturing and saw two figures emerging from behind one of the ancient Greek buildings. The first looked like Spader, though a bit older, and the second was a klee that bore a resemblance to Kasha.
"Hobey Ho Silena! Me name's Benn Spader, you know me son Vo Spader," said the Spader-looking guy.
"And I am Seegen, Kasha is my daughter," said the klee.
"You were the Travelers from Cloral and Eelong before Spader and Kasha weren't you?"
"That is correct. I don't have much time Silena, but I want you to tell my Kasha that the answer is everyday, she'll know what I'm talking about. Tell her also that though it seems hopeless the flume on Eelong is repairing itself and she'll be home before she knows it," said Seegen.
"And I want you to tell me little spinney fish that I couldn't be more proud of him for all he's done. Oh, and tell him that he'll be buying the sniggers," winked Benn Spader.
"Anything else I should know?" asked Silena.
"Only that it's time for you to go," said Press.
"But I don't want to! I just got here, and I'm with my family for the first time in like… gods, I can't even remember how long!" sobbed Silena.
"But you're not alone sweetheart, you've been with your family all along," said Aphrodite as she slowly stroked Silena's hair.
"Oh mommy, it's nice having to watch over me and guide me, but it's not the same as having you and daddy here with me for real."
"You have your siblings in Aphrodite cabin, but you also have a family in the other Travelers. Family isn't just the blood in your veins, it's the people who love and care about you regardless of relation," said Press.
"And you know what; I think you were braver than those annoying Hunters of Artemis. I'd like to see them go thru what you did and come out alive!" said Aphrodite.
"When will I see you guys again?" asked Silena.
"You'll see us soon enough," replied Mr. Beauregard cryptically.
"Time to go Silena. Just close your eyes and you'll be back at Camp Half-Blood, and if you see Bobby tell him I say hi," said Press.
Silena wished so desperately that she could have just a little more time in the strange realm of Solara, just a bit more time to be with her parents, but she knew she had no choice but to accept what she had been told and close her eyes. When Silena woke up again she found herself in the bed next to Aja's in the infirmary with a crowd of people surrounding her.
"She's awake!" said Kasha.
"Give her some space!" said Clarisse.
"You gave us quite a scare there Silena," said Chiron.
"I saw him, Bobby's uncle Press, and my parents they were there, and so were Spader and Kasha's dads, and…"
"Breath Silena! Breath!" shouted Aja from the other end of the room.
After Silena calmed down she told everyone of the strange and wondrous realm of Solara, and of the people (and goddess and klee) that she had encountered. When she finished everyone's jaws were practically on the ground.
"Hey Kasha, what did your dad mean by every day?" asked Silena.
"I…it was something I'd been wondering if he died, I wondered… if I make him proud. I guess I know now," said Kasha as tears of joy rolled down her face.
"Next time I'm at Grolo's I'll raise I pint of sniggers in me dad's honor," smiled Spader with a fiery pride is his eyes.
"But what about Solara, what is it exactly?" asked Beckendorf.
"Yeah Chiron, you know more about this Traveler stuff than any of us," said Silena.
"I'm afraid that in all the time I knew Press he never mentioned anything about such a place as Solara, but perhaps you would know Aja?"
"Okay, how did you know?"
"I've been training demigods for over 3,000 years, I know when they're hiding something," smiled Chiron with a certain twinkle in his eyes.
Aja took a deep breath before continuing, "The night before Pendragon brought Beckendorf to Veelox my mom came to me in a dream, she took me to Solara and gave the same cryptic explanation of it. After we just had a little time together it was time for me to leave, and when I woke up I found an olive-green envelope on my nightstand. It said you are not alone; I didn't understand it at the time, but the night before Silena showed up on Veelox I had a dream of my mom on Olympus and she said those same four words, you are not alone. I finally get it now; she was telling me that I'm not the only demigod Traveler."
"Okay so you and I are demigod Travelers, and Charlie nearly was one too, do you think there could be more? If not the known Travelers then maybe the new ones from the sub-territories then?" asked Silena.
"If this has taught us anything it's that Halla is a grander and stranger place than any of us could have possibly conceived; for just as a tree bears fruit only when it is time, perhaps we too shall find the answers in due time," said Chiron.
After spending the night in the infirmary Silena was discharged with a clean bill of health, and after a few days and some ambrosia and nectar rations, so was Aja. Since Kasha couldn't return to Eelong Chiron arranged for her to stay at Camp Half-Blood (or rather, Second Camp Half-Blood) for as long as she needed. Gunny turned down the other Travelers offer of returning to his native First Earth in favor of staying at the camp to help out (and keep an eye on Kasha). After dinner one night Silena was talking with Beckendorf, Clarisse, Aja, and Spader when she dropped the bomb they'd all been dreading.
"Soooooo I was thinking, now that all this Traveler stuff has calmed down, maybe tomorrow we could go see daddy and fill him in on this fabulous adventure thru time and space!" said Silena without a care in the world.
Beckendorf and Clarisse shared an uneasy look that they then exchanged with Aja and Spader.
"It's an awful lot to throw at him, you sure he can handle it?" asked Clarisse uneasily.
"Wellllllll he accepts all this stuff about Greek mythology and demigods being real, accepting Travelers and Halla shouldn't be too hard for him," said Silena.
"Would you like me and Spader to come with you guys?" asked Aja.
"Well I know I said that dad can handle a lot, but it might be just a bit soon for him to meet fellow Travelers."
"What about acolytes? Mark and Courtney might be helpful for explaining things… and moral support," said Beckendorf.
"I guess they could be helpful, let's call them with the ring!"
Using Clarisse's acolyte ring the trio were able to send a message to Mark, who then messaged them back that he and Courtney would be happy to accompany them to the city. After breakfast the next morning Silena, Beckendorf, and Clarisse loaded into one of the camp's vans and took off for New York City; Clarisse and Beckendorf tried to release some of the mounting tension within them by talking about the latest happenings around the camp with Silena, but it did little to calm their frayed nerves. When they got to New York the trio met Mark and Courtney at Grand Central.
"Hey! It's the big day!" beamed Silena excitedly.
"I say it is… ow!" said Mark as Courtney elbowed him.
"What he's trying to say is we're here for you Silena, no matter what," said Courtney with a worried look in her eyes.
"Well that good to know! Now come on, shouldn't keep daddy waiting!" said Silena, as chipperly as ever.
Nobody really said much as they walked along 5th avenue; that is except for Silena, but she stopped mid-sentence when they came to the empty patch of dirt that used to be.
"W-what happened!" exclaimed Silena, barely comprehending the sight before her.
"Oh wow! When did that happen? That most defiantly wasn't like that when me and Beckendorf were here last week!" said Clarisse, over defensively.
"She needs the truth Clarisse… and I'm gonna turn it over to Courtney," said Beckendorf, looking like he wanted to vomit.
Courtney shot him a look before putting her arm around Silena, "I remember when this happened to Bobby, he had that same expression on his face."
"What do you mean?"
"Silena… when a Traveler realizes his or her destiny as a Traveler all records of their existence disappear; that includes their home, their belonging, and… their family."
Silena looked like she had just been punched in the stomach, and she kind of felt like that too. At first Silena just stood there in stunned silence, but then she took off running down the street, with everyone else in hot pursuit.
"She's going to her dad's apartment, I just know it!" said Beckendorf.
"I don't believe you! You're lying!" yelled Silena over shoulder.
"But you're going in the precise direction of your dad's apartment!"
"No, not about that! About my dad being gone!"
"Didn't you… read… Bobby's…journals?" huffed Mark, nearly out of breath.
"She's in shock Mark, denial only natural," said Courtney, not even breaking a sweat.
True to Beckendorf's speculation, Silena burst into her dad's apartment building and took the stairs two at a time (which was quite a feat considering she was wearing heels) until she was on the right floor… and staring at the blank space where her father's apartment should have been; not long after that everyone else caught up with her, Silena took one look at them before collapsing to her knees in defeat.
"Guys… I feel like I just found out there's not a Santa Claus," sobbed Silena.
"There's not a Santa Claus?" asked Mark; Courtney elbowed him to shut up.
"I've seen this happen so many times, it's never pretty."
Everyone turned in the direction of the voice to find… Bobby Pendragon standing in the middle of the hallway wearing colorful tropical looking cloths.
"So how long you been standing there?" asked Courtney.
"Not that long… I think, kind of hard to tell with the way time flows between territories," said Bobby.
"I'm a half-orphan, my dad's gone, but I still got my mom… not that she's around much," sobbed Silena.
Bobby put his hand on her shoulder and looked at her with sympathetic eyes, "When this happened to me I had no choice but to keep going, in retrospect that was the best thing for me because it taught me to keep enduring, because you don't know what the tide's gonna bring next. But you're different, take as long as you need to handle this, I've already sent Spader and Aja on an assignment, and when you're ready to rejoin the Travelers on our mission to save Halla we're ready for you."
Silena spent the next week or so in a deep depression that seemed endless. Chiron let her sleep in the big house, because once word got out that she was back after being missing for a week the camper flooded her with a thousand questions, and Chiron thought it best she be left alone. Silena spent those days steeped in sadness, lying in bed all day because she lacked the will to do anything else; Clarisse and Beckendorf brought her meals (which she barely touched) and sat with her so that she'd know that she still had people her cared about her even in all the confusion she was going thru. Chiron, Gunny, Kasha, and even Mark and Courtney visited her often, but Silena showed no signs of improvement no matter what they did; but all that change one day when Beckendorf was sitting with her.
"Charlie," whispered Silena softly.
"Yes Silena," said Beckendorf.
"I don't blame you for what you did, I probably would have done the same thing if you were the Traveler and I was the acolyte."
Then Silena actually sat up for the first time in day and petted a spot of the bed for Beckendorf to sit next to her.
"That means a lot to me," said Beckendorf.
Silena sighed, "I've accepted my destiny as a Traveler. I don't like, but I accept it as part of who I am."
"That's good," said Beckendorf, not wanting to overdo it.
Silena gave a small smile at this, the first smile she'd given in days, "Soooooo you wouldn't happen to have any food would you? Because I'm seriously starving!"
Beckendorf smiled as he pulled out a box that kind of looked like a Chinese takeout box, "I had Mark bring these just in case. Garden Poultry fires and a Mountain Dew, the greatest combo in Halla!"
"Oh Charlie I am so kissing after this!" said Silena between mouthfuls of fries and gulps of Mountain Dew.
After she finished the last of the precious fires Silena did just that; Beckendorf was so happy he had to pinch himself to make sure he hadn't died and gone to the Isle of the Blest.
Silena smiled happily at this, but then grew very interested in ice in her glass of Mountain Dew, "Saint Dane said that I wasn't going to live to see the turning point of Second Camp Half-Blood, well he called it just Camp Half-Blood but… what do you think he meant?"
"If your adventure on Veelox is anything to judge by I'd say he wrong, dead wrong," said Beckendorf as he held Silena close and stroked her hair.
For a while they just stayed like that, both of them savoring the moment, a moment they might not be able to share again for a while if Silena resumed her Traveler duties. After she finished hugging Beckendorf, Silena showered, picked out her outfit, and did her hair and makeup (which, being a daughter of Aphrodite, took her over an hour to complete); finally satisfied with her appearance Silena was ready to face the camp again. Silena and Beckendorf found Clarisse teaching Kasha how to play volleyball, or rather Clarisse and Kasha arguing at the volleyball court.
"For the last time this is volleyball, not foraging!" shouted Clarisse.
"I can't pounce it, bite it, slash it, how am I supposed to attack the ball!" snapped Kasha.
"You're not supposed to attack it you're supposed to hit it to the other side like this!" said Clarisse as she sent the volleyball sailing into the distance.
"I got it Clarisse!" called Silena as she chased after the volleyball.
Silena followed where the ball had sailed thru some bushes, and to her surprise the volleyball sailed out of the bushes and she caught it.
"Snazzy-do! Looks like someone's feeling better!" called a familiar voice from the bushes.
A huge smile broke out on Silena's face when Spader, Aja, and an African-American looking guy who was about their age, walked out of the bushes.
"Spader! Aja! Who's your friend?"
"Siry Remudi, Traveler from Ibara, and you must be the Silena I've been hearing so much about," said the African-American looking guy.
"Aw, were you guys coming to check up on me?" asked Silena as she batted her eyelashes.
"Well… maybe just a little," smiled Aja. "So we were kind of wondering if you were up for another mission, you might want to take a look at this."
Aja was holding yellow box with a purple bow tied to it, also on the books was a card that said: To Silena, love S.D.
"There's more, take a look at the card," said Siry.
Riggity, Riggity, white. Come and spend the night, well play some games, some mild, some tame, and if you will you might.
Signed, your host on Quillan, Veego and LaBerge.
"Isn't Quillan one of the territories Saint Dane won?" asked Silena.
"As of our adventure on Veelox it's the only territory Saint Dane's won, but Veego and LaBerge aren't from Quillan, they're from Veelox!" said Aja.
"They were originally phaders that Saint Dane brought to Quillan to run those barbaric Quillan games, but they were on Veelox recently, because Veego's the one who shot me, and LaBerge was with her!"
"Well then what are we waiting for, let's go!" said Silena.
"If Pendragon could see you now," said Spader as he smiled and shook his head.
Silena gathered Clarisse, Beckendorf, Gunny, Kasha, and Chiron together in the Big House for an impromptu Traveler meeting.
"But you can't go, you just got back!" objected Clarisse.
"I so wish I could stay Clarisse, but there are people out there on the other territories of Halla that need my help… and of course the help of my fellow Travelers as well," said Silena, adding the last bit after Aja and Siry shot her a look.
"I'm afraid she's right Clarisse, this is the way things were meant to be," said Chiron.
"When will guys be back?" asked Beckendorf.
"That's hard to say; this isn't getting people to kick a bad habit like on Veelox, this is toppling an oppressive corporation that's taken over an entire world. To say the least we won't accomplish it overnight," said Aja.
"How soon will we leave?" asked Silena.
"The sooner the better, we can't bring anything with us so not like we need to pack. And no offense Kasha, but considering how much the people we pulled out of Lifelight freaked out when they saw you, maybe you better sit this one out," said Aja.
"No taken, I was probably gonna ask to anyway. You know, get my head back on and figure out where I stand?" said Kasha.
"You might want to stay here too Gunny, Quillan's no territory for old men," said Spader.
"Old, who said I was old?" laughed Gunny. "But I see your point Spader. Besides, somebody's gotta keep an eye on Kasha."
Silena desperately wanted to spend more time at the camp with Beckendorf and Clarisse, but she knew two things: 1) Travelers were named so for a reason, and 2) what she and her fellow Travelers were doing was the way things were meant to be.
"You know, I think I've finally figured out why Bobby says 'and so we go'," said Silena as everyone stood in front of the flume.
"And why is that?" asked Chiron in his kind and gentle way.
"It's his way of saying that no matter what the world throws at him he's ready for it, when things seem lost he keeps going, because you'll never know what's gonna be around that next corner. I think he might be onto something there."
"So we're all clear on the plan then? We go to Cloral to get in a little training time, and then it's off to Quillan to compete in the Quillan Games," said Aja.
"Hey would it be alright if we swung by Third Earth first, there's… something I need Patrick's help with," said Silena.
"Sure thing, if it weren't for you Veelox would still be doomed," said Aja.
"I'll be writing," said Silena to Beckendorf and Clarisse.
"We'll be reading," they said in unison.
"And so we go," whispered Silena to herself. Then in I triumphant and confident voice she called out "Third Earth!" and at her command the gray stone walls of the flume turned to see-thru crystal, and the invisible energy pull her, Spader, Aja, and Siry into the flume and off to their next adventure.
And so fic has come full circle, but the story is not yet done. Well first of all I'd like to thank everyone who's reviewed this story, you guys are the best! And I know there's still a lot of loose ends to tie-up, but rest assured I am worked on a sequel under the working title of PenJackson 2: Silena the Great. And I've got ideas for at least two more sequels after that (haven't figured out titles for them yet), though I'm working on some other writing endeavors as well, but I will see this thru to the end, so in the words of Bobby Pendragon (and as of this fic, Silena Beauregard), and so we go :)