I've talked about snippets and pieces, but here, I'll summarize the entire storyline for week one. The basic flow was already written by Topher, the camp director, with most of the connections, backstory, reasons and details added by me.
In the future, the kids will be helping inform some of the twists and turns as they suggest what may be happening. We keep a lot of things a mystery until the kids figure it out.
I play the main, and only new, character in the story at camp this year. I won't be able to cover everything that's happening, as every person on staff has their own storyline as well as the actors and bad guys and people who don't even exist at camp, but I'll cover the characters I am playing and how they relate to the main story. After this week, we focus more on monsters and the alternate characters I'm playing, but this week was mostly about establishing Homer.
Saturday: A stranger arrives at the CHB claiming ceremony, bringing with her the diary of H.G. Wells, one of the books that has been stolen from camp. As she enters the stage, Topher (Camp director, son of Apollo and Aphrodite, occasional Satyr [the finders of demigods to come to CHB], minor god who gave up his powers to stay at camp, etc.) is explaining to the kids who will be attending camp this year some of the strange things that are happening lately, including large footprints, missing books, and issues with the League of Monsters and Machines, including the Minotaur they slayed last summer, and an agent named Ringo who had been dead for two years, returning.
This stranger is blind, loudly stomping her cane to map her way. It's not understood how she can read anything, but she claims to have read the diary, which is written in code. Twice.
Topher asks her how she could possibly have done that, to which she replies "There are many ways with which to absorb literature". The children are dubious. When asked her name, she fishes a drivers license out of her pocket, rubs at it with her fingers, and claims her name is... Courtnee.
Topher fans through the Diary, which magically protects the camp in Austin similarly to how Thalias tree protects the Long Island camp where Percy goes. The diary chronicles all their adventures and battles. Topher notices that the pages from last summer are now blank -- including the story of the Minotaur.
The children continue to be dubious, and this time, Topher agrees. He asks Courtnee to leave, but Courtnee replies by invoking the Rule of Hospitality, which she shouldn't have even known existed. The children gasp. Topher is reluctant, but must adhere to the request.
He places the caveat that Courtnee must find a place to stay, which is not a cabin at CHB, if she remains there. She quickly agrees, Topher visibly deflated, having expected the detail to be the wrench that forces Courtnee to go. Her strange smile, occasionally bordering on freakish grin, unnerves him. Alas, the deal struck, Courtnee leaves the stage, and the ceremony continues.
Later in the ceremony, the children spot Courtnee on the upper level balcony, watching. How did she get up there?
Monday: Courtnee's swift agreement makes sense to Topher once he sees that she has her own tiny house; a green and gold vardo on a trailer. It's filled with strange artifacts and books. A baby harpy skeleton, strange fetuses in bottles, potions from the Harry Potter books, a light saber, musical instruments. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the things inside, but what confuses Topher the most is why he is so repulsed by the thing. It smells utterly horrible.
He and a few cabins of curious campers talk with Courtnee to ask her about her home, and the smell. Courtnee is vague and often poetic in her answers, it seems obvious she does not trust the campers any more than they trust her. She does explain that the smell is because she mixed Satyr urine in with the paint, and decorated her vardo in Satyr artwork, in order to avoid being found my finders looking for halfbloods. It has worked for over a century to keep from being discovered.
Dionysus, the God of Wine and some other stuff, known at camp as Mr. D, who is at camp due to being cursed by Zeus for fornicating with an off-limits woodnymph, calls the kids twerps, and hates every moment of it, creates a drawing of Courtnee as an old man in her outfit and circulates it, insisting that's what she actually looks like in his seeing eyes.
In the evenings wrapup before the campers return home for the night, Topher lets slip that he noticed an arrow, something that appears to be a trap, near the vardo's front door (later in the coming weeks, it will be revealed that this is a spell I use to protect myself -- the vardo is a bit like a tardis, in that it is actually quite large inside, and if anything but a demigod enters, they will be trapped, seeing no windows or doors or way out. We're gonna trap one of our bad guys in it and let him freak out. The kids just LOVE seeing us scream about shit.).
Tuesday: This was a big day for my story. The kids were brought over again by Topher, probably at their insistence (we really encourage the kids to imagine and consider their own observations rather than feeding them stuff), to ask me about my demigodness, more about the specific books I've read, why it is I feel 'compelled' to read and what my 'condition' is that makes me want to. I tell them very little (I don't remember -- I folded memory into my curse for a reason), but they learned that Apollo is my father and yes, I really like the Star Wars books.
I spent a lot of the day dropping hints about Homer. I often say that he is the greatest author of all time, and am visibly annoyed and upset that no one seems to know very much about him.
About halfway through the day, Topher took me aside to ask me to play a scene with a kid who was really pushing for Topher to allow him and his brother and a friend to quest into my vardo and snoop around behind my back. He wanted me to shift into what became Batshit Homer (I seem to really be playing 3 characters right now, Batshit Homer, Amused/Pleased Homer, and Courtnee) to let the kid know I could sense his intentions and to stay out of my house. I thought this would be a pretty good time to break out the weird white contacts we'd talked about me wearing as 'Homer' vs. Courtnee. It kinda got out of hand a little. I vlogged about it.
That evening wrapup talked a lot about Courtnee, with Topher asking me questions which lead to the kids confirming that I am not just compelled to read, that I am cursed to do it. They also learned that I didn't actually steal the camp dairy, that it came to me like most books do, just appearing when I am in the vicinity, and that not only is Apollo me (Courtnee's) father, he is also the person who cursed me (Homer). The delivery of the curse information was dramatic, with Topher asking me who did it, and once I answered (to great murmering from the kids) then wondering aloud why Apollo (who is also his dad) would do such a thing to his own kid, to which I responded, crying for the first time, that I (Courtnee) didn't know.
I heard a kid within earshot of me saying 'It's not your fault Courtnee. We're going to help you' as I cried, curled up sadly, not understanding why my GodDad had cursed me. The older brother of the kid I hissed at, though, was still unimpressed.
Wednesday: We decided Wednesday would be a chill day for me, since Tuesday had given the kids a lot of information.
But we needed to confirm that I am in fact reading monsters and characters and artifacts from books and diaries and such into the physical world (even though they don't know how or why, yet, which is a fucking GREAT piece of backstory work if I do say so myself). Another thing we needed to relay, was that the League, which the kids have been training for and fighting in quests daily, and which we have been discovering spybots for and such, has plans to attempt to persuade me to join them, and read weapons into our world for them. They don't know that I can't actually control what I read into physicality -- but they do, apparently, know how to lift my curse.
That afternoon the older brother of the kid I hissed at asked me point blank while I hissed at his brother. I had a lot of fun phasing into Homer and saying things like "She didn't hiss at your brother" and just sitting there, swaying, laughing like a freak. Whenever the kids talk about literature, poetry, writing, Apollo, or Homer, I turn into either Batshit Homer or Amused Homer depending on the context. They still haven't quite figured out the Homer part, but it's a blast watching them figure it out, especially since a lot of this stuff only a few out of 100 kids actually see. The way information moves around the camp is it's own performance in and of itself.
The day ended with Topher telling everyone about the Leagues plans, Courtnee looking dejected and concerned, and us leaving my decision to go with the League or not in the balance. (As I sat there, a group of kids was asking me empathetic questions about my memory loss, how long I'd been cursed, how far back I remember anything at all, if I've always been blind.
In terms of my motivation, losing control of Homer on Tuesday had effected Courtnee. She has become concerned for the camp and what dangers she is reading into the world while being here, whereas before, though she subconsciously brought herself here to unfurl and gain strength, she was imbibed with Homers indifference for the camp.
What had been a fairly stable balance between the host and the possessor is now totally off keel after the kids threatened Homers house, and it shows in her eyes -- now one of them is always white (the kids rarely see it behind the glasses, but I take opportunities sometimes). From the outside, Courtnee swings moods violently and says and does strange stuff. Motivation wise, though, it all makes sense -- have I been blind my whole life? (Homer is blind, Courtnee is not). I don't remember ever being able to see (it's locked up in the curse), but I know what sight looks like, somehow, and I remember bits and pieces of things from centuries ago, so I don't know.
Thursday: Originally, I was going to be staying at camp, via Tophers main story. But I felt that neither Courtnee nor Homer would have done so with the possibility of the curse being lifted raised, even if it was a pretty sure thing that the League was lying about it.
So instead of pushing more story, I was simply gone -- no note, no explanation, no nothing. The kids were left with an entire day of not knowing what happened to me. It was dramatic and emotional as fuck which is EXACTLY what I like to do in my work (presuming I have a chance to sew them back up again later). But I found this day to be my least favorite at camp -- I really missed the kids, being interactive, moving around, improvising. Being back stage was kinda sad for me.
I also played Mother Bones this day, another completely new character, delivering a set of liquid vials which we used for the finale on Friday. I did this by simply appearing at the edge of the forest and sitting, nearly motionless, while the kids freaked out and the adults claimed not to be able to see anything. There was a lot of yelling and holding of people back.
To give you an idea of how fucking neat and detailed this work is, Mr. D improvised in the confusion a demand that one of the Counselors stop referring to me as "It", and to have some respect. When asked why, Mr. D proclaimed that my as-yet unnamed character was older than all of us. Even older than him. Ancient, absolutely ancient. Topher, who was not able to see me at all, exclaimed that he could 'see the grass moving!!' as I slowly walked away. We are really good at this stuff.
Friday: I was reintroduced as Homer/Courtnee to camp in the afternoon, during quest, just before the finale. I was found by kids on quest moaning, severely beaten, in the forest, my mouth full of words, clutching the H. G. Wells diary. One piece of paper from my mouth (SO. MUCH. SLOBBER. I was laying in the bugs and dirt for 20 minutes for those kids to show up!), the only one with words in English, was a clue for their quest, which included finding the master bolt the Minotaur had.
The league had shackled me and insisted I read books of ancient, horrible magic in order to attempt to summon multiple master bolts (like Zeus' in the first book, but not the same bolt) and other terrifying, evil things. They didn't believe I couldn't control what I read, and wouldn't stop torturing me.
I did everything I could think of trying not to read out anything physical. What seemed to work was to, literally, eat the words. I of course could not remember, or imagine how, I got away from their prison (it will eventually be revealed that dad finally got off his ass and helped me, and also that Homer stalks children of Apollo when his body ages in order to hop into the new one as a form of revenge against the god who cursed him in the first place).
From then forth, I had multiple kids at my side, encouraging me, telling me how brave I was, thanking me for resisting the league, offering me their water, and it was enough to break my heart the fuck open.
Once we got back to camp, I was healed (which hurts, a lot, and I got to scream and bare down, a lot, and the kids like to stand around and stare at the process, a lot), and started feeling a little less wrecked, just in time for the finale.
The finale consisted of all our bad guys (and a couple I haven't mentioned) showing up just as we were about to send the master bolt back to Olympus, and things getting really crazy and dramatic, like finales do.
The camp-side was losing the fight. Courtnee began to try to focus and read in another monster to help sway the fight. She read furiously from the diary, speaking in tongues, talking fast (when until now everything has been very slow), and singing (which the kids knew she liked to do but hadn't heard yet). At a chokehold moment, Courtnee calling out a long high note, a figure barreled out of the woods, and Courtnee collapsed, exhausted, to the ground (busted my damn knee. Argh).
It was Thirteen, the impervious monster that had killed RIngo two years ago. The Minotaur, recognizing thirteens superiority, joined Thirteen in dragging their shared enemy, Ringo, kicking and screaming, away.
Courtnee came all the way to as the kids noticed what page of the diary she had been reading from -- the page about Thirteens fight that killed Ringo. 105 deimgod campers began whispering, encouraging, asking questions, repeating as the realization began to spread and Topher walked over to the book.
Courtnee looked up, bruised and battered and out of breath with a croaky throat, and asked Topher: "Is it over? Did it work?"
After many an appropriate beat, looking over the book with fascination, Topher says 'You did it!! Courtnee, you read Thirteen from the book!'
And the tears I cried were real.