Wisdom's daughter walks alone
The Mark of Athena burns through Rome
Wait for the second of October to see
The last lines of this prophecy
~ ~ ~ ~ A story by DarkCyberWolf for the Percy Jackson Fanfiction Wiki Contest: September 2012 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I can't believe how impatient I was.
Several months ago, the cow known as Hera had kidnapped two heroes. Jason Grace was a Roman son of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, and part of the Twelfth Legion of Rome, or rather, New Rome in California. Percy Jackson was a Greek son of Poseidon, and a hero of Camp Half-Blood, summer camp for Greek heroes, in Manhattan.
Last summer, the two of them were huge parts of a war. The Second Titan War. Jason and the Roman legion attacked the Titans at their base in Mount Othrys, while Percy and I, and the rest of the Greek heroes, fought in Manhattan to defend Mount Olympus. Neither camp knew about the other, but we were helping each other out - Jason singlehandedly defeated the Titan Krios while Percy defeated Titan Lord Kronos.
But when history repeats itself, it doesn't just stop with the Titans.
Gaea, mother of Kronos, started rising. She was working on gathering the Twelve Giants; Alcyoneus, Porphyrion, Enceladus, Ephialtes, Hippolytos, Aigaion, Agrios, and Polybotes. At least, I think. My sources don't exactly agree on the ancient legends.
In order to fight Gaea, Hera-the-cow, queen of the gods, had decided to switch Jason and Percy. She erased their memories and sent Percy to New Rome, leaving us with Jason. A prophecy by our Oracle, Rachel, had predicted seven demigods stopping Gaea. Jason and Percy are two of the seven, I'm sure of it. Two of the others, Piper McLean and Leo Valdez, had come to camp at the same time as Jason.
The three of them - Jason, Piper, and Leo - had saved Hera from the giant Porphyrion before Jason told us about New Rome. Leo, a gifted mechanic, decided to build the Argo II, a massive warship, to get to the Roman camp so we can all work together to stop Gaea and the Gigantes.
My name is Annabeth Chase, daughter of the goddess Athena. I am owner of the plans of Daedalus, architect of Olympus, and girlfriend of the lost son of Poseidon, Perseus Jackson.
"It’s Sammy Valdez," Hazel Levesque said. "But how …how –"
"It can’t be," I said. "That guy’s name is Leo. And it’s been seventy-something years. It has to be a …"
I wanted to say a coincidence, but I couldn’t make himself believe that. Over the past few years I’d seen a lot of things: destiny, prophecy, magic, monsters, fate. But I’d never yet run across a coincidence.
We were interrupted by horns blowing in the distance. The senators came marching into the forum with Reyna at the lead. Heads up: Reyna was a daughter of Bellona. She and I were the praetors here, along with Jason, who'd been missing. Hazel was a daughter of Pluto, and another guy we were with, Frank, was a son of Mars. Hazel, Frank, and I were all part of the Seven.
"It’s meeting time," I said. "Come on. We’ve got to warn them about the warship."
"Why should we trust these Greeks?" Octavian, the camp augur was saying.
He’d been pacing the senate floor for five minutes, going on and on, trying to counter what I'd told them about Juno’s plan and the Prophecy of Seven.
The senate shifted restlessly, but most of them were too afraid to interrupt Octavian while he was on a roll. Meanwhile the sun climbed in the sky, shining through the broken senate roof and giving Octavian a natural spotlight.
The Senate House was packed. Queen Hylla of the Amazons, Frank and Hazel sat in the front row with the senators. Veterans and ghosts filled the back rows. Even Tyson, my cyclops half-brother, and Ella, a powerful harpy, had been allowed to sit in the back. Tyson kept waving and grinning at me.
Reyna and I occupied matching praetors’ chairs on the dais, which made me kinda self-conscious. It wasn’t easy looking dignified wearing a bedsheet and a purple cape.
"The camp is safe," Octavian continued. "I’ll be the first to congratulate our heroes for bringing back the legion’s eagle and so much Imperial gold! Truly we have been blessed with good fortune. But why do more? Why tempt fate?"
"I’m glad you asked." I stood, taking the question as an opening.
Octavian stammered, "I wasn’t –"
"– part of the quest," I said. "Yes, I know. And you’re wise to let me explain, since I was."
Some of the senators snickered. Octavian had no choice but to sit down and try not to look embarrassed.
"Gaia is waking," I said. "We’ve defeated two of her giants, but that’s only the beginning. The real war will take place in the old land of the gods. The quest will take us to Rome, and eventually to Greece."
An uneasy ripple spread through the senate.
"I know, I know," I said. "You’ve always thought of the Greeks as your enemies. And there’s a good reason for that. I think the gods have kept our two camps apart because whenever we meet we fight. But that can change. It has to change if we’re to defeat Gaia. That’s what the Prophecy of Seven means. Seven demigods, Greek and Roman, will have to close the Doors of Death together."
"Ha!" shouted a Lar from the back row. "The last time a praetor tried to interpret the Prophecy of Seven, it was Michael Varus, who lost our eagle in Alaska! Why should we believe you now?"
Octavian smiled smugly. Some of his allies in the senate began nodding and grumbling. Even some of the veterans looked uncertain.
"I carried Juno across the Tiber," I reminded them, speaking as firmly as I could. "She told me that the Prophecy of Seven is coming to pass. Mars also appeared to you in person. Do you think two of your most important gods would appear at camp if the situation wasn’t serious?"
"He’s right," a girl named Gwen said from the second row. "I, for one, trust Percy’s word. Greek or not, he restored the honour of the legion. You saw him on the battlefield last night. Would anyone here say he is not a true hero of Rome?"
Nobody argued. A few nodded in agreement.
Reyna stood. I watched her anxiously. Her opinion could change everything – for better or worse.
"You claim this is a combined quest," she said. "You claim Juno intends for us to work with this – this other group, Camp Half-Blood. Yet the Greeks have been our enemies for aeons. They are known for their deceptions."
"Maybe so," Percy said. "But enemies can become friends. A week ago, would you have thought Romans and Amazons would be fighting side by side?"
Queen Hylla laughed. "He’s got a point."
"The demigods of Camp Half-Blood have already been working with Camp Jupiter," I said. "We just didn’t realize it. During the Titan War last summer, while you were attacking Mount Othrys, we were defending Mount Olympus in Manhattan. I fought Kronos myself."
Reyna backed up, almost tripping over her toga. "You …what?"
"I know it’s hard to believe," I said. "But I think I’ve earned your trust. I’m on your side. Hazel and Frank – I’m sure they’re meant to go with me on this quest. The other four are on their way from Camp Half-Blood right now. One of them is Jason Grace, your old praetor."
"Oh, come on!" Octavian shouted. "He’s making things up, now."
Reyna frowned. "It is a lot to believe. Jason is coming back with a bunch of Greek demigods? You say they’re going to appear in the sky in a heavily armed warship, but we shouldn’t be worried."
"Yes." I looked over the rows of nervous, doubtful spectators. "Just let them land. Hear them out. Jason will back up everything I’m telling you. I swear it on my life."
"On your life?" Octavian looked meaningfully at the senate. "We will remember that, if this turns out to be a trick."
Right on cue, a messenger rushed into the Senate House, gasping as if he’d run all the way from camp. "Praetors! I’m sorry to interrupt, but our scouts report –"
"Ship!" Tyson said happily, pointing at the hole in the ceiling. "Yay!"
Sure enough, a Greek warship appeared out of the clouds, about a half a mile away, descending towards the Senate House. As it got closer, I could see bronze shields glinting along the sides, billowing sails and a familiar-looking figurehead shaped like a metal dragon. On the tallest mast, a big white flag of truce snapped in the wind.
The Argo II. It was the most incredible ship I’d ever seen.
"Praetors!" the messenger cried. "What are your orders?"
Octavian shot to his feet. "You need to ask?" His face was red with rage. He was strangling his teddy bear. "The omens are horrible! This is a trick, a deception. Beware Greeks bearing gifts!"
He jabbed a finger at me. "His friends are attacking in a warship. He has led them here. We must attack!"
"No," I said firmly. "You all raised me as praetor for a reason. I will fight to defend this camp with my life. But these aren’t enemies. I say we stand ready, but do not attack. Let them land. Let them speak. If it is a trick, then I will fight with you, as I did last night. But it is not a trick."
All eyes turned towards Reyna.
She studied the approaching warship. Her expression hardened. If she vetoed my orders …well, I didn’t know what would happen. Chaos and confusion, at the very least. Most likely, the Romans would follow her lead. She’d been their leader much longer than I had.
"Hold your fire," Reyna said. "But have the legion stand ready. Percy Jackson is your duly chosen praetor. We will trust his word – unless we are given clear reason not to. Senators, let us adjourn to the forum and meet our …new friends."
The senators stampeded out of the auditorium – whether from excitement or panic, I wasn’t sure. Tyson ran after them, yelling, "Yay! Yay!" with Ella fluttering around his head.
Octavian gave me a disgusted look, then threw down his teddy bear and followed the crowd.
Reyna stood at my shoulder.
"I support you, Percy," she said. "I trust your judgement. But, for all our sakes, I hope we can keep the peace between our campers and your Greek friends."
"We will," I promised. "You’ll see."
She glanced up at the warship. Her expression turned a little wistful. "You say Jason is aboard …I hope that’s true. I’ve missed him."
She marched outside, leaving me alone with Hazel and Frank.
"They’re coming down right in the forum," Frank said nervously. "Terminus is going to have a heart attack."
"Percy," Hazel said, "you swore on your life. Romans take that seriously. If anything goes wrong, even by accident, Octavian is going to kill you. You know that, right?"
I smiled. I knew the stakes were high. I knew this day could go horribly wrong. But I also knew that Annabeth was on that ship. If things went right, this would be the best day of my life.
I threw one arm round Hazel and one arm round Frank.
"Come on," I said. "Let me introduce you to my other family."
"Leo, the awesome, at your service," I told the people at Camp Jupiter. One of them was a blonde dude with a teddy bear in his hand. One of them was a big Asian dude. There was also two girls, a small dark chick and a taller girl in a purple robe. And then there was one more guy, who looked just like the dude who was with Annabeth, Thalia, and Grover in Annabeth's photos.
"PERCY!" Annabeth said as she exited the ship. She looked Percy over - the scratches on his body, the tattoo on his arm. Then the Wise Girl noticed something. "You have scratches on you."
Percy looked at the scrapes, scars and bruises he had. "Oh, yeah. Crossing the Tiber made me lose the Curse of Achilles."
"We're here?" a voice from inside the Argo II said. Jason and Piper stepped outside to see the Roman camp.
"So this is Jason Grace?" the Asian guy said. Yeah, if there was any doubt that this was the right place, that doubt was gone.
Jason looked at Percy, specifically the purple cape with an eagle medal on it. "Aww, I missed the Feast of Fortuna so you made Percy Praetor, right?"
"Yes," the tall girl said. "None of us were sure if you would return. Welcome back, Jason."
"It's good to be back, Reyna."
"So, Reyna, right?" I started. "You wouldn't happen to be an eternal maiden, would you?"
Piper and Jason sighed - they knew me that well. Reyna, however, just looked confused.
"No... why do you ask?"
"For the sake of cheesy pickup lines," Jason interrupted. "So far, he's also hit on a Greek goddess and my sister. And I doubt he's done."
Way to go, blowing my chances before we even know if they exist, I thought.
But, of course, I didn't say anything aloud. To Jason, at least.
"We come in peace, Fulminata," I said dramatically.
"Peace accepted," the black girl said. "What did you say your name was?"
"Leo Valdez, the awesome," I reminded.
Her eyes widened in shock. I generally have that effect on girls.