Ezekiel Kel & Nancy ParkerLocation:
Archery Range -- CHB
Ezekiel stood in the archery range, blessedly grateful that it was winter and he didn't have to deal with the noxious smell of strawberries. He wasn't sure what it was with strawberries but after moving into camp, he absolutely detested them. The smell, the colour, the taste. It was probably due to his work in the infirmary. The smell of strawberries mixed with the smell of blood daily and lives lost that he couldn't stand the smell.
As Ezekiel counted his blessings, he fired arrows into the targets, waiting for his half-sister from New Rome to show up for her archery lesson. He was still getting to know Nancy and what to make of her but so far she seemed kind enough. Ezekiel got along with most of his cabin mates it was just the other students, his cousins, that he had a hard time with. Ezekiel walked over to the targets and pulled arrows out, whistling a tune that had been stuck in his head.
Nancy walked into the entrance of the archery range, clad in denim overalls and a Rocky Horror t-shirt. Her hair was done into two braids as to keep it out of the way, and if it hadn't been for the expression on her face, she could have passed for a Greek demigod. She had a tendency to look a little bit angry at all times - she had a strong case of resting bitch face in other words. Slung over her shoulder was a magnificent glowing bow
. Despite being half siblings, Nancy and Zeke didn't really look anything alike. "Earworm?"
Ezekiel glanced back when he heard a female voice but it didn't match the persons expression. Ezekiel always wondered if it was a Roman thing to be angry looking all the time or maybe it was just Nancy. He smirked at the comment and turned back to pull the last arrow out. "Something like that. Whoa! Is that thing glowing?"
Ezekiel dropped the arrows back at the line and went around to examine Nancy's bow with a child-like fascination. It was absolutely stunning and Ezekiel was completely jealous. "Oh, yeah,"
Nancy smiled a little bit pridefully. She didn't know how to use it yet, but she was determined to become great at it - it was one of the reasons she had reached out to her half sibling for archery lessons. She wanted to prove herself worthy of the bow and Diana's interest. "It was a gift from Diana. It was Kallisto's bow." "Wow, they must really like you. I meet Auntie Artemis on the last quest. She doesn't joke a lot,"
he noted and turned to face the targets. He led Nancy over to the line and had her line up sideways with it. "Alright, do you know how to hold it?"
He wasn't sure how basic the lessons needed to start but Ezekiel planned on go over everything with her. If this really was a gift from Artemis, then she needed to know how to wield it properly. Ezekiel knew all too well about that desire to prove ones ability.
Nancy shrugged her shoulders a bit awkwardly. She liked the idea that Diana really liked her - especially since Nancy wanted to join the Hunt once she had fulfilled her duties to the Legion. "I think so - which would be super very of her,"
Nancy admitted. "Although I think if I said that myself, it'd sound just a touch grody."
She then walked with her half-brother over to the line and she lined up sideways, raising a bit of an eyebrow as he asked her if she knew how to hold a bow. She knew what he meant, but it still sounded a bit silly. "I've never shot a bow before, so no."
Nancy had an interesting way of talking. It amused Ezekiel and he smirked at her slang terms. He grinned at her when she said she didn't. Starting from scratch wasn't a terrible thing, just meant they would have to have more lessons. Then again, she was a child of Apollo and a demi-god. Her speed of learning and understanding was vastly different. "Just wanted to check. All right so you will be shooting your arrow with your dominant hand so you need to hold the shaft of your bow with the other,"
Ezekiel said, pointing to the shaft of her bow as well as his before he demonstrated how to hold a bow. "Oh, and here. This is a leather guard. It'll help protect your fingers and wrist from the arrows and give more support as well."
Ezekiel handed her an old, worn leather glove
to put on to her dominate hand. "Once you get comfortable with shooting, you can have one custom glove made for yourself. We also have braces for the bow hand if you want but the glove is usually the standard."
Nancy was used to seeing people make faces when they heard her talk. She narrowed her eyes slightly, debating whether or not to let out a little bit of her anger and rage, or let it go. She doubted that he knew what had happened to her, so she decided to let it go - this time. Besides, he was helping her to learn this skill and she didn't want to be taking archery classes for beginners with Chiron. That would have been embarrassing. "Right, got it,"
Nancy said, changing the hand she was using to hold the bow as she slid on the wrist guard. In the process, Zeke would be able to catch a glimpse at her tattoo - the words SPQR below the symbol of Apollo, with five thick black lines. "What next?"
she then asked. An arrow had appeared already notched on the bow - another feature of the magic item.
Ezekiel notched an arrow onto his bow as he waited for Nancy to put on the glove. He caught a glimpse of the tattoo and eyed it curiously. He bore his own tattoos as well, Apollo's sun on his right upper arm and the moon on his left. The moon represented his mother. "What does your tattoo mean,"
he asked curiously. "I have Apollo's sun on my right arm,"
he added and showed her. He grabbed an arrow for her but saw she didn't need it and grinned. That was a marvelous magical item "Does it never run out or arrows?" "Oh, this?"
Nancy said, pulling up her sleeve more so Zeke could get a better look. She didn't mind showing it. "Everyone in the Legion has one. It's like our version of dog tags. It means I'm a member of the Twelfth Legion, a daughter of Apollo, and that I've served for five years,"
she explained. She then rolled her sleeve back down and turned her attention back to the target. "I don't know. I haven't used it yet. It felt wrong to just... play with it. Like I'd rather gag myself with a spoon than disrespect this bow."
Ezekiel examined the tattoo closer when she showed it to him and smiled. It was a neat tattoo with a story, Ezekiel liked that but it found it interesting that New Rome required them to be marked. New Rome was a lot more disciplined than Camp Half-Blood was. He leaned away from her when she rolled her sleeve back down and Ezekiel had her raise her bow with the notched arrow. "I know what you mean,"
he said when Nancy spoke of disrespecting the bow by using it before she knew how. Ezekiel examined his own bow. It was wooden and older, well worn but well loved. Next to Ezekiel's guitar, this bow was his best friend and always reliable. "Alright so keep the bow up eye level, elbow straight and pull the string and arrow back with your pointer and middle finger. The arrow should be close to the side of your eye. Think of the arrow as an extension of your line of sight."
As Ezekiel spoke, he did all the moves so Nancy could hear as well as see what he was speaking of. "You want to line up with the red as straight as possible before you tilt the bow up a bit. I find with my bow if I have it straight, the arrows will angle down. You also have to account for wind but there isn't much today, so we won't worry about that right now. When you feel comfortable, release your fingers and the arrow will fly. Let's get you used to simply firing the bow and see how many arrows that thing has."
Ezekiel was also curious to see what happened to the arrows once they were fired. "Got it. Elbow straight, arrow by the eye, tilt up slightly once aligned,"
Nancy summarized. She extended her left arm, keeping the bow steady as she pulled back on the string with her index and middle fingers. She kept her elbow straight as Zeke had instructed, the arrow near the side of her eye as she aimed at the target. She instinctively closed her left eye, and then aimed up ever so slightly, before releasing. The glowing arrow flew from the bow, embedding itself into the yellow ring of the target - a near perfect shot. "Ah! Perfect Nancy. Auntie A would be proud,"
he encouraged her. "Load another and get comfortable with the idea of shooting. Watch the arrow as it leaves the bow and see how it shifts, then account for the movement so you can hit the center of the target. In a combat situation that likely would have been a kill shot still. In the red it would have been a serious wound but beyond that, just minor,"
he explained to Nancy. "When you're using a bow in combat, what distance to you usually have?"
Nancy asked, a rather practical question. Romans didn't usually use bows and arrows when it came to combat - only the children of Apollo at Camp Jupiter had been allowed to train with them and Nancy hadn't pursued that option when the opportunity had been available to her. Another arrow had magically appeared, already attached to her bow. She drew back, aimed, and fired - this time, the arrow ended up in the blue area and her left eye twitched ever so slightly in disappointment. "On average about 150 yards. You could go up to 180 but 150 is a guarantee you'll hit the target,"
he explained to her. "Right now I'd prefer you just get comfortable to shooting but we can try from 150 if you'd like."
Ezekiel knew better than to hold a woman back and if she wanted to try from further, he would let her try. Her arrow landed in the blue this time but Ezekiel didn't look at it as a bad thing.
She nodded, letting another arrow fly - they kept on magically appearing, seemingly not needing Nancy to do anything but want to shoot in order for one to appear. This arrow missed the target completely, instead hitting the tarp that served as a backdrop. Nancy narrowed her eyes and shot again, another miss. Her temper was starting to flare up slightly as she let another arrow go, this time hitting in the outer blue. "Goddamnit. What am I doing wrong?"
she asked Zeke, her nostrils flaring slightly.
Ezekiel started watching Nancy miss and could see her temper flaring. He found her temper amusing which probably wasn't the best thing to say but he did have to tell her that the temper was getting in the way. "Thinking too much, getting frustrated. As your temper flares, the bow will waver and therefore the arrow will miss fire. Try taking a deep breath, center yourself and your intention. You don't want to force the arrow to the target, you simply want to guide it. The bow is magical, I'm sure it wants to hit the target but your frustration is fighting it. Either that, or we can take a bit of a break."
Nancy's anger had always fueled her powers - the more the rage bubbled up inside of her, the more energy she could release in a scream. Being told to calm down and push away those feelings wasn't exactly something she had a lot of experience with - but she was willing to try. She took a breath, breathing in through her nose, as she let another arrow go. This one landed in the back. Her left eye twitched again, as Nancy then let two more fly, both of them missing. She could only deny her nature for so long. "Fututus et mori in igni!!"
Nancy shouted at the target, cursing in Latin.
Ezekiel flinched when Nancy yelled out in a language he didn't know. He blinked a couple of times before he walked to the targets and pulled arrows out. He decided giving her a bit of space may be the best thing for a moment. He walked back over to her, examining the arrows for another moment. "Let's take a break,"
he decided and set the arrows aside. Ezekiel didn't mind anger; it had served him well when he was younger and there were times at camp that it came out but overall, he had settled. "Anger works for a lot of things but not for archery. At least not in my experience. Maybe try praying to dad about it. He might be more helpful to you."
Nancy snorted. "You really think he'd answer my prayers?"
she scoffed, rolling her eyes. "He didn't even notice when I was trapped in a grody ass hellhole for over forty years. He cursed me. And his way of making up for it? Writing me a letter for the Legion, as if that changes anything. The only prayers he cares about are the ones stroking his ego. I guess it's different for you. Seems like he hasn't abandoned you yet." "Ah, on the contrary. I am younger than you so it may seem like he hasn't but he has. The only thing Apollo has ever done for me was send me on two missions to fulfill his glory. Trust me, I have no love for him."
Sure, he wished he was good enough to be loved by his father but all the gods were the same as far as Ezekiel was concerned. "What hell hole were you trapped in?"
He asked curiously. And for forty years? Nancy looked to be about his age. Just how old was she?
She couldn't help but be surprised, hearing Zeke explain that he didn't love their father. She had assumed that he did with the tattoo he had. From what she knew, Greeks didn't have to have the symbol of their godly parent burned into their skin. It was comforting to know that he had an experience similar to hers - it was validating, especially after Leandra's campaign to point out Nancy's 'privilege' from being a child of Apollo. "...It's called the Lotus Hotel and Casino,"
she said, opening up to him. "Bad things happened to me there. Things that I'm not ready to talk to you about. And if you mention the existence of these things to other people, I'll scream your brains out."
Ezekiel smirked at the threat but it didn't mean he didn't believe Nancy wouldn't hold back. She had fire in her that was rather obvious and hard to ignore. "I've heard of that place. It's in Vegas I think and like a day out here is a week in there. Forty years? Wow. Dad really is an ass."
Ezekiel shook his head and looked over the archery range. "The only thing I'll ever thank him for is this. I was a scrawny ass kid who was beat up daily before getting my powers. Being here and having my mom safe, is all that really matters to me."
It wasn't hard for Ezekiel when he made the decision to become a full-time camper. There was nothing out there for him and at least here he was something.
Nancy was a little bit surprised to hear Zeke talk about his mother. She hadn't thought about her own mother in a while. She imagined her mother was dead by now - Nancy herself was supposed to be in her fifties at this point, her mother would have been well into grandmother territory. Yet at the same time, she also couldn't help but feel slightly jealous of him. He sounded content, happy with his lot in life. Nancy was still searching for something to make her feel whole. She intentionally didn't continue the part of the conversation about Vegas. That was a place she never wanted to return to. "That's a healthy way to look at it,"
she said honestly. "But whatever strength you have, that's your own. It isn't our father's."
Ezekiel looked over at Nancy and smiled. He was starting to feel a kinship form between the two of them and he hoped that lasted. Ezekiel didn't exactly have any friends here, his own doing but it was nice to have someone who could relate a bit better. "Thanks Nancy. Same to you. It sounds like you got a lot done without him. I know you want help with archery but I play guitar and write poetry sometimes if you do any of that,"
Ezekiel added. He didn't talk about his poetry much outside the Apollo cabin. "That'd be rad, actually - I'm a singer,"
she added. She usually only sang to destroy monsters, finding that she could manipulate the sound waves to cause horrific explosions. She had blown up more than a few werewolves' brains that way. "If you know any songs from the 80's, that could be fun - I know some modern stuff, but those songs aren't as much my jam." "I know a few Billy Idol and Cory Heart. My mother is obsessed but if you have the chords to any songs you like, I could learn them,"
Ezekiel offered. "I tend to gravitate to more of the Indy sound of today's music but I'm all for any excuse to have a jam session." "Nah, that's alright. You don't need to learn the stuff from the 80's, although the fact that you didn't list Joan Jett there is actually a crime against humanity that must be answered in blood,"
she joked. She put her bow back over her shoulder, figuring they were more or less done with archery for the day. "How about you show me your favorite song and then I can ask you why it isn't Bad Reputation?"