Suddenly I found us heading into a dense fog. It had been bright and sunny not thirty seconds before, but now it was grey and damp. It was hard to see anything all I had to give me any sense of surroundings was the sound of the water below. Then just as abruptly as we had come into it we came out of the fog. Peering around Ares I saw a small emerald island with rocky coasts. It was really bizarre having this quaint island in the middle of a dense fog surrounding like the eye within a storm. Ares landed the chariot in front of a small hut. Jeff and I climbed got out, and while I was sorry for the ride to be over Jeff kissed the ground. I smirked and shook my head at him as I went to explore the hut. The wooden door squeaked open letting me into the one room that comprised it. To the back right were a set of old looking bunk beds next to the only other window aside from the one next to the door. On the left under the front window was a table which matched the bunk beds with four chairs. The left wall housed a brick fireplace with an iron hook extending into it with a large cast iron pot hanging from it. Well this was a cute stereotypical ancient home set up I sighed as I took it all in.
“Take the evening to finish getting your bearings. Tomorrow your training begins,” Ares boomed over my shoulder.
“Yeah,” I nodded half heartedly.
“Oh, and there is one condition of your first night here,” he smirked evilly.
“Do I want to know what this ‘condition’ is?” I turned to him afraid of the answer.
“You must sleep there,” he pointed to the top of a hill to his left.
Following his arm with my gaze I saw that it wasn’t so much the hill he was pointing at, but a large stone table on the crown. I decided that I needed a closer look at this table to try and see its importance. As I walked I could hear Ares’ and Jeff’s footsteps behind me. The hill wasn’t far, but it was steep. Upon reaching the top where I could really get a good look I wished that I hadn’t. There were still blood stains on it. This table had been some kind of sacrificial alter! Who even knows how old the blood on here is?! I turned back to Ares who was still grinning at me.
“If you were just going to kill me to try and appease the beast all any of you had to do was simply say so,” I said.
“You will not be sacrificed. The table’s use for such rites has passed. There is a certain cosmic energy that resides within this stone because of its significance that I want you to experience,” Ares said running a hand along one of the edges.
“Is the blood a necessity or can I wash that off?” I asked looking at one of the blood stains.
“To erase the blood would be to erase the table’s history,” he said matter of factly.
“Figures,” I muttered.
Jeff and I walked back down the hill behind Ares. It was made quite clear that my training would begin at sunrise. After barking that order Ares left. I watched him disappear into the fog before going into the hut. Jeff was in there examining his quarters. He seemed to be disappointed by the primitiveness of it, and yet something about that aspect appealed to him. I walked over to the giant pot trying to clean the dust and cobwebs off from it.
“Well we’ve got the means, but the real question is what we’re going to cook,” I said to Jeff without stopping what I was doing.
“Don’t worry I came prepared,” he said taking out a silver pouch.
“Freeze dried food?” I asked looking at it.
“Sort of, this is one of my inventions, a prototype really. I took the idea of freeze dried food and improved on it,”
“I’m listening,” I stood up and leaned against the edge of the fireplace looking at him.
“It’s really complicated as to how it all works, but let’s just say after a little water and a little heat this will be the freshest tasting meal you’ve ever had come out of a bag,” he grinned proud of himself.
“Ok genius boy I’m willing to give it a shot,” I smiled.
“Well your options are to either try it or starve,” he teased.
“Considering I’m going to be sleeping on a bloody sacrificial table I think my real options are starving or throwing up dinner,” I sighed.
“Karen if there were anything I could do to help you know I would,” he said coming to stand beside me.
“I know and it is appreciated. This is just yet another hurdle in my less than easy life,”
“Life isn’t easy, trust me I know that just as well as you do,”
“I know, and I’m sorry if I’m not sympathetic to that fact. It’s just that things were bad enough before all of this and it doesn’t seem to have gotten any easier,” I stared at the wooden floor.
“You know, maybe you’re looking at this the wrong way,” Jeff said trying to be upbeat.
“How so?” I looked at him quizzically.
“You were unhappy in your life, but you’ve been given a chance at a new one. Maybe once you learn the ropes this one will be better. Think of it more as a clean slate rather than a new form of punishment,”
“While I do appreciate your optimism I’ve had too much thrown at me to try and digest. No offense, but I can’t really grasp your positive spin. On that note I’m going to go looking for fire wood,” I turned from Jeff to the door.
“See if you can find a water source too,” he called after me.