Ariadne awoke to the sound of a conch. When she sat up, nearly everyone in her cabin was already awake, quietly entertaining themselves with cards, books, or magazines. At the sound of the wake-up call, everyone in the Hermes Cabin immediately scrambled to get dressed; something Ariadne didn't need to worry about because she had slept in her clothes. The bathrooms had been crowded, and and she'd been too tired to wait.

"We need to try to be there before the breakfast horn blows," a girl said as she struggled to pull up her fly. "For breakfast, we all line up for a buffet by cabin, first come first serve, and by the time the last people are up, all the good food is gone." Pants on, she stuffed a few all items in a leather pouch. "We're always last."

Ariadne nodded and went outside to sit on the porch until everyone else was ready. As she sat on the plain, chipped bench, the Athena, Demeter, Aphrodite cabins exited their cabins and headed towards the dining pavilion, a few of the Aphrodite girls fussing with their make up as they walked. Some of the Hephaestus kids were sitting on their porch. A few minutes later, the rest of the Hephaestus Cabin joined them. Some of the older kids had gotten up early to work in the forge. What was taking the rest of Hermes so long?

A bunch of campers so large they looked scary in their pajamas sulked out of the Ares Cabin, and as the conch horn sounded – the breakfast horn, the Apollo Cabin, the second largest, came out of Cabin 7 arguing as they made their way to the dining pavilion. Connor, the boy Ariadne had met the day before on the van, waved, and Ariadne waved back.

Finally, person by person, the entire Hermes Cabin made its way onto the porch.

"Save the best for last," one girl remarked.

"What took you all so long?" Ariadne asked, careful not to sound accusatory; she didn't want to be that person on her first day.

"There are a lot of us. Believe me, after a couple weeks you'll understand."

The cabins formed separate lines in front of the pavilion from left to right so the Hermes Cabin, being last, was furthest right and since they lined up by seniority, Ariadne was dead last; the last person in the entire camp to receive breakfast.

The Athena, Demeter, and Aphrodite cabins were generally courteous, but as the lines grew shorter, the quantity of food became smaller and smaller. Ariadne almost cringed when she saw the Ares Cabin pile several meals of food on their plates. As her own cabin took their food, she held back the urge to mutter, "Please leave a few pieces of bacon for the people behind you," or "Do you really need that much food?" Ariadne ended up with a few crumbs of scrambled eggs, a tiny orange slice, and grape nuts because the granola was gone. She picked up the last goblet from the end of the table, and sat down with the rest of her cabin.

"Milk, please," she said. Her goblet immediately filled up with 2% milk which she poured into her bowl of grape nuts.

"You don't need to say 'please' to the cup, Ariadne," Wilson said. She chuckled in spite of herself.

"Right, right," she said.

Then she cleaned the remaining milk out her cup and said, "Orange juice," and the goblet filled with orange juice. Why couldn't the plates be like the cups? Then she could say, "Toast with butter," and it would appear.

After breakfast was chores. All campers were assigned some sort of chore to do around the camp and they had about a half an hour to do it, more if they ate breakfast quickly. Cabin clean-up was supposed to be done in the time between the wake-up conch horn and the breakfast conch horn, but since the Hermes Cabin took the longest getting dressed, they simply didn't have time to clean up like the other cabins did. Fortunately, as Cabin 11, the Hermes Cabin would be one of the last cabins to be checked for cabin inspection, but the inspectors were senior campers from the Aphrodite Cabin who were known for being especially picky. Also, since Cabins 1, 2, 3, and 8 didn't have any campers residing in them, they wouldn't be checked, leaving the Hermes Cabin less time to do their usual stuff-everything-under-bunks-as-fast-as-possible clean up before their cabin was checked. And, after that, they still needed to do whichever chores they were assigned that day with the remaining time before first period.

Some older campers said that the system changed every year, but that year, each camper was given a list of activities and how many times they had to do them by the end of that week. For instance, everyone had to take sword fighting at the arena at least three times, but some people had it more depending on their godly parent. Chiron wouldn't send a daughter of Aphrodite to work in the forges with the Hephaestus kids just as he wouldn't send a son or daughter of Ares to Craft Making with the Aphrodite Cabin. However, there were basic survival classes such as sword fighting, archery, monster maiming, and a few other classes that everyone had to take no matter who their godly parent was.

Since Ariadne didn't know who her godly parent was, she was given the schedule for an undetermined camper. She needed to take all the basic classes a few times a week - three or four times depending on the class - and some other not-so-important survival classes once or twice. That left her with extra free periods, half of which were electives. If she ever strongly disliked a class, she could go to the Big House and work it out with Chiron, but she was assured that she would never be permitted to change a basic class, and if she wanted to change a class that was only a little bit useful like canoeing, she would need to excel in it first.

There were six activity periods every day, so some campers would get all of their least favorite activities done early in the week. Terri Williams from the Demeter Cabin hated archery, so she went to archery four times on the first day of classes, Monday, and had all of her archery classes done for that week.

For her first activity, Ariadne chose the arena. According to all of the campers in her cabin, sword fighting was one of the most important skills for a half-blood to know.

When she arrived, there were only a few kids sitting on the benches on the side of the arena, none of whom she recognized.

An older boy ran in from the side. He had a rawhide basket thrown over his shoulder that seemed to be filled with swords.

"Sorry I'm late," he said. "Completely forgot I was teaching today."

"Hey, Jerry," some of the other kids said.

"Hey," he said. "Alright, first let's see all your papers."

He went around, stamping everyone's schedules with a special stamp next to the word, "Sword Fighting" to prove that they had been done one sword fighting class. When he got to Ariadne, he looked up at her and smiled.

"You're new," he said. She nodded.

"I just got here yesterday."

"Daughter of-"

"I don't know yet," she said pointing to the heading of her paper which said, "Undetermined Camper Schedule."

"I'm Jerry," he said holding out his hand. "Son of Athena."

Ariadne shook his hand, only then noticing his stormy, grey, eyes.

"Alright, come on, let's get started," Jerry said as he pulled out the swords and started handing them out.

"I've got my own," the boy next to Ariadne said when Jerry held one out to him.

After handing out swords, Jerry pulled out his own sword, a long, golden colored, beauty.

"Celestial bronze," he said when he saw Ariadne admiring it. "Forged by the Cyclopes, tempered in the heart of Mount Etna, and cooled in the river Lethe."

"Awesome," she said. Although she had never been a big fan of weapons, now that she was going to need one, she realized she'd prefer a nice one.

"Thanks. Gift from my mom."

"The goddess, Athena?"

"Yeah," Jerry said. "Okay, let's get started. You're first, Ariadne."

She looked at his celestial bronze knife, both more precious and beautiful than gold, and then at the camp's bulky, steel sword that was starting to rust. Oh well.

"So what do I do?" she asked.

Ariadne mimicked his stance, and the way he held his sword out at her although frightened even though she knew he would never actually hurt her.

"Okay," Jerry told her. "I'm going to move my sword at you in slow motion since it's your first time, trying to stab you, and you block my sword with yours, got it?"

"Yeah," she said.

Jerry put his sword forward to stab her in slow motion. Ariadne took her sword and blocked it from the right side. Then, he aimed his sword at her shoulder, and she hit it out of the way with hers.

"Nice," he said. "Now, I'm going to go a tad bit faster, okay?"

Ariadne nodded.

Jerry bulldozed his sword towards her chest. Just in time, she hit it as hard as she could with her sword, but he then aimed it at her left arm. She blocked that attack too, only to find another part of her body in peril. Soon, she found herself defending furiously, basically flailing her sword in the air trying to knock Jerry's out of the way. It was clear to her that in battle, this wouldn't work. She would need to learn real strokes. This way tired her out too easily for it to help her survive. Finally, Jerry put his sword down.

"Pretty good for your first time, Ariadne," Jerry said. "Next time, I'll show you some strategies so you won't just be flailing your sword around. Really, it may seem like the flailing works better at first, but once you know what you're doing, you'll find the strategies do work, and that way, you have more control over your weapon. Okay, Thomas, you're turn."

Ariadne walked to the side of the arena to sit with the others.

After sword fighting, Ariadne went to archery, another basic class. Each camper had only two turns to fight since Jerry went off for a while on a long lecture about why Athena was better than Ares. It was mostly on how Ares has no sense of the strategic art of war. He eventually stopped his lecture because of some thunder from up above when the lecture started to highlight more sensitive faults of particular gods.

In her second turn, Jerry showed her different moves. He also helped her go from banging her sword against his as hard as she could to doing soft, but firm, strong, strokes when she blocked, and he showed her how to slowly find ways to stab. He told her to come the next day second period which was the next time he would be teaching sword fighting. Although Jerry said that she had done unusually well for a first timer, Ariadne had half been expecting to be a master at it her first time. Since sword fighting was said to be one of the most important skills for a half-blood to have, she was disappointed that she didn't have the ability to fight off a monster by herself, meaning that if she left camp, she would most likely not survive unlike some of the campers who had been there longer.

Maybe archery would be the class that she would come into and ace. Ariadne wanted one thing that she could master without having to go though the time being not so good at the beginning.

In archery, however, at first, she could barely shoot an arrow, and when she did, no matter how hard she tried, it would go way left or way right. It was a bit frustrating at first, but finally hitting the black part of the target lifted her spirits. By the end of the class, she had hit not only the black, but the blue twice, the red once, and had her arrow bounce off the middle of the target, the yellow.

After second period, from 11:00 to 1:00, a cabin or a small group of campers were chosen to set up an optional, semi-tame activity. Campers would eat around that area, and if they chose to, they could go participate. Chiron would post what the activity was, who was doing it, and where to go, in the morning after breakfast on the door of the Big House, but since Ariadne didn't know that she was supposed to check, a girl from her archery class told her. That day, a few girls from the Demeter and Aphrodite Cabins were chosen to set up an activity. All girls were master pegasus riders, so they set up pegasus riding lessons by the stable which was a bit of a problem since no one was too happy about eating in the presence of a strong horse poop aroma.

Celeste and Daniel Marion, twins from Hermes, were having fun making a fortune selling clothespins to campers who couldn't stand the smell.

That day's lunch was peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, apparently made in a rush. Each camper was given two pieces of bread with a small ball of peanut butter and jelly placed in the middle. Couldn't anyone at least spread the stuff out?

Out of the corner of her eye, Ariadne saw the kids in the Aphrodite not in charge of lunch time activity running to the shower house.

"Oh," she said to Georgia, a determined girl in her cabin. "Is it shower time?"

"Well yeah," Georgia said. "But not our turn yet. It's in order of how clean our cabin was. We're last."

"Oh well."

"I hope we have enough time to shower."

"Shouldn't we?" Ariadne asked. "I mean, two hours."

"Some people take a long time, or sometimes Chiron forgets to call out what cabin can go and shower next. Either way, the hot water's always gone."

Ariadne, as a new camper, didn't have a blanket to set up her picnic, so she joined Georgia, who just happened to be good friends with Jerry, the sword fighting instructor. When he came over to them, at first, Ariadne thought it would be like meeting a school teacher at the mall, but it wasn't. After all, Jerry was a camper, just like her.

After shoving down her sandwich, Ariadne talked to Jerry and Georgia, who gave her a camp store credit to go and buy a few clothespins from Celeste and Daniel, watched the campers learning how to ride pegasi but didn't join in because the line was too long, and finally, had a minute and a half to take a freezing cold shower with only a dab of borrowed shampoo and body wash.

As lunch drew to a close, Ariadne agreed take a break from traditional hero training and go to a more relaxing class, Arts 'n' Crafts, with Georgia and Jerry for third period. But as she entered the nook in the forest where a nymph was showing the early campers how to make a Turk's head, everyone looked at her, froze in shock for a moment, and then smiled.

Jerry patted her on the back and said, "Congrats, Ariadne! You've been claimed."


"Dionysus has claimed you as his daughter," Georgia explained. "You aren't undetermined anymore."

Ariadne looked above her head and was disappointed to see that she had missed Dionysus's holographic image. Campers she had never met patted her on the back. Even a few undetermined campers from Cabin 11 seemed genuinely congratulatory despite their obvious jealousy.

As Ariadne made her way to the crafts table, she let the idea sit as if that would make it more real. "Mr. D is my father," she said to herself. She was unsure about how she felt, and whether she was offended by the rest of camp's nearly unanimous hatred of him, her father. All Ariadne was sure about was that she missed her dads. Once she moved into Cabin 12, she decided, she would write them a letter.