I pulled up the zipper of my boots and stood up, my silky soft midnight blue tunic falling just over my knees. I strapped on my silver belt with the sheath that housed my blade. Grabbing my quiver, I slung it over my shoulder and looked at my reflection in the stream flowing through my temple. The team had been working hard for months to get everything organized for the events, and it was all about to come to fruition. A content smile played on my lips as I descended the steps of my temple and walked towards the camping grounds that had been cleared for the first of the Silver Bow Foundation’s (SBF) fundraiser events.

I had chosen camping at the Olympus National Park as the first of the events as a tribute to the wildlife preservation wing of SBF. It was my way of bringing the beauty of the wild to those who had forgotten what it meant to be raw in nature. Of course, the participants of this camping event, especially the mortals, would not be able to withstand the real test of camping in the raw during winter; thus, this event was more of what the mortals called glamping.

Glamping! I almost laughed when Kara mentioned the word a few months back. Apparently, glamping was how mortals enjoyed the joys of the wild without entirely giving up the comforts of the modern world. Well, whatever works for their fragile souls! 

The selected mortals get to experience glamping with the immortals, and their drachma would pay for the preservation of the rain forests of the world. If an “experience to remember” is what they seek, then that is what they would receive.

I reached the clearing and looked around as the sun rose over the mountains at the horizon, their snow-covered peaks pointing up into a cloudless dawn. The base around the hills was softened by a blanket of pine trees, followed by a line of winter trees that gave way to chestnut trees and the mighty oak trees more rooted in the woods. Their denuded forms stood starkly against the snow, almost like charcoal outlines sketched by a passing artist. Along limbs that not long ago were adorned with the vibrant colors of autumn, was an unblemished white layer of freshly fallen snow from the night before. I could never get enough of this view; this was my home, and I would do everything in my power to protect it from destruction.

It was time to get to the final stretch of the work needed before the guests started rolling into the grounds. The guest list was exclusive; mortals were selected based on their philanthropic profiles and the work they have done for the wildlife and nature preservation. We received tons of applications from mortals of varying statures, who wanted to be a part of this camping experience with the Gods of the Pantheon. It was a task making an unbiased selection, one that my nymphs, Britomartis, Hyale, and Iphigenia, had done very well. The final list of invitees included a few hundred mortals and the deities of the pantheon.

Aunt Hestia had very graciously agreed to have her team prepare the feasts for the campfire. Orion, Iain, and Jamie, along with the Satyr crew, hunted deep in the woods for a fresh catch for the feast. The guests would be treated to a spread of roasted wild boar, smoked venison, with a variety of roasted and grilled veggies. Dionysus had already sent two caskets of his special brew, one for the immortals and another for the mortals. It helped that the casks were bottomless and separated. There was no way that the mortals could withstand the hallucinogenic effects of the immortals’ brew. A scrumptious dessert spread from Thanatos’ sweet shop, including marshmallows and a chocolate fountain, was waiting in my temple to be brought over during the campfire.

It was now my turn to finish the setup of the glamping arena. I started with the campfire pit, positioning it in the center of the clearing. I molded the earth to lay down a fire bed surrounded by large rocks, followed by the wooden blocks and tinder I had gathered inside the ring of stones, ready to be kindled. Next on my list was the luxury glamping tents that needed to be inflated and decorated. I had the team build unique dome-shaped glamping tents for the occasion. The tents looked like a giant bubble from the outside, but inside it was fitted with comfortable seating, bedding, heating, and a see-through ceiling for stargazing. A few spells later, rows of tents and yurts stood up on the previously empty arena around the campfire pit. I knew my dad and Hera would want the best of the lot, so I added an additional yurt on a corner with extra space, comfort, and all other luxuries before I posted a “Reserved for the King and Queen of Gods” sign on their yurt.

I turned around when I heard Sayeh land to see Kara and my three nymphs descend from her. They marveled at the beauty of the location and everything that was set up for the event.

“This looks perfect!” Kara exclaimed, clapping her hands in joy.

“I can’t wait for our guests to arrive. What time are they expected?” Hyale asked.

“Well…the deities from the pantheon should be arriving before the campfire is kindled tonight. The mortals will begin arriving by mid-morning, which is,” I said as I looked at my watch, “in a couple of hours.”

“How are they going to be transported to the campsite?” Phi asked. “Do they get to ride on Sayeh as well?”

I shook my head and laughed. “Oh no, Sayeh will only be available for the deities who wish to use her instead of teleporting here. The mortals will be transported here by the Satyr crew – Jamie and Iain are in charge of bringing them here from the OA building.”

“I think we could add a few strings of lights to add to the charm and glamor of this place,” Bri commented.

“Good thought, Bri! I have it covered, though,” I answered, turning around to look at Britomartis, who was inspecting the campfire pit. “Both Orion and Urania have promised me a meteor shower show as well as stars from their constellations to light up the campsite.”

The nymphs went about checking to ensure everything was in order, and added a reserved sign for each tent and yurt as per the chart. I couldn’t help but wonder at the irony of the matter. I was throwing a camping event by clearing a section of the woods, to raise funds to save the wild.

I hope the mortals understand the necessity and the purpose of these events.  

I was pulled out of my reverie by something Kara said about the campfire stories. “What was that?” I asked, not having heard her comment.

“I was saying that I am looking forward to the storytelling tonight by the campfire. You did not tell me which of the deities in attendance will be telling us their stories,” Kara squealed with excitement.

I smiled. “It wouldn’t be much of a surprise if I tell you everything, now, would it?”

Kara made a disappointed face at me before mumbling something about suffering in silence and running in Hyale’s direction to help her place the signboards.

I stood there looking at everything, it was almost time. The mortals would begin arriving at any moment now. I was looking forward to the week-long celebrations for the Silver Bow Foundation and spending time with my family. After all, it had been a while since All in the Pantheon had gotten together in such a manner.

Artemis (Rashmi Menon)
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