Once again, I have attempted to rewrite this story with some cohesiveness. I still love the whole world and its various potentials. I changed up more than a few plot threads to keep things unexpected. I missed getting your reactions to everything in this thing, so feel free to leave reviews. Constructive criticism and theories are welcome. I'll ignore any unhelpfully harsh reviews; I wouldn't bother if I were you.
Former fans (if any of you are still there), I hope this sates you.
As a note someone mentioned, it isn't immediately apparent when this takes place. Suffice to say, The Giant War has not happened. Everything leading to this story happened immediately after The Titan War. For now, you don't have to read The Heroes of Olympus to understand the contents of this story, although it will spoil things from the series if you don't. Huge chunks of story will be changed, though. It's up to you what you want to do, but reading the companion stories to this or its sequels without reading Riordan's books is literary suicide. I hope I write it in such a way you wouldn't be totally lost.
Presenting, without further ado, the first installment of The Scarred Hero Trilogy.
Six years ago, PERCY JACKSON lost everything he ever knew or vaguely understood. Now, the only thing of true value in his hollow existence is a little girl he stumbled across by accident, but once again, the gods shred what meager hope he has left and force him into a terrifyingly dangerous game: prove to them he can deny his fatal flaw and deceive those he held most dear, and he can abandon the life of a hero altogether and live out his days peacefully alongside his charge. Fail, and the world will end more spectacularly than anyone dreamed possible.
However, as Percy struggles with his own secrets, ancient forces the Olympians dare not speak of begin to stir, and once again, it seems only he can save the world from a fate as terrible as his own...
All rights go to Rick Riordan, Hyperion Books Inc., and other referenced copyright owners.
Chapter One: The God of War House-Crashes
IT STARTED ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF MY DEATH.
Dramatic, I know, but Zeus is my uncle, and he rubbed off on me after the fifteenth time deigning to respond to his summons. Besides, it isn't a false statement. August 13th marked the day I lost my life just before my eighteenth birthday, and after the excitement that proceeded it, I let it fade from memory. Contrary to what you would expect, it didn't connect to the date I needed to worry about every month, and it was such a generally unpleasant memory, I opted to forget it ever happened whenever possible.
Leave it to the first god I learned to hate to remind me of it.
The day started off well. I nudged my small charge—all right, I will grant you; age-wise, Sam wasn't small, but she was eleven and four-foot-three, poor little dwarf—with my foot, and she stirred in her sleeping bag to favor me with a large, annoyed brown eye hidden under shaggy, matted bangs.
I grinned at her. "Good morning," I said cheerfully. "Up n' at-um, kiddo; we've got another day of not getting eaten to get started on."
"I hope they have barbecue," she grumbled, "because I will taste very bad without." She rolled over to get some more rest.
I rolled my eyes, shot forward, and yanked her sleeping bag away. She dropped onto the ground from a grand total of a millimeter in the air but grunted like I'd kicked her off a five-story roof. She pushed upright to gape at me disbelievingly, and I merrily started rolling up her cot to tie it to our rucksack, whistling something upbeat and nameless. "You fu—"
I held up a finger with a stern look. "Uh-uh. No strong language until you're sixteen."
"I kill monsters on a regular basis!" she protested. "I'm pretty sure the f-word is the least of your worries, and who died and made you my father?"
I smirked. "Nobody," I said. "Your father technically can't die, unless the gods lose all favor and thrall over Western Civilization. He also isn't showing up to parent you any time soon, so I suppose that makes me your guardian." I ducked down and fastened her sleeping bag—the only one we had—to our large, heavy rucksack. I'd used it as a cushion for my sore back the night before, not that it offered any real comfort. My muscles creaked and whined like I abused them, which I did.
Sam muttered a few choice Creole words I knew put the worst sailors to shame, but unlike English profanities, I couldn't call her on them. She knew and savored that singular advantage over me, considering I not only dwarfed her in size but also abilities. I trained her in peacetime as best I could, but two powerful half-bloods on the streets attracted a lot of monstrous attention; our best survival tactic was constant motion.
Sam pushed up and pressed down her frizzy black hair, cut so short it looked like an afro. She hated the style, but it was hard enough to maintain without letting it get too long to tolerate. I thought it was cute.
I shouldered our rucksack and headed out into the street, keeping Sam and earning concerned looks from passersby. Unlike many cities I frequented—especially in New York—Staten Island mainly homed the sweeter, less belligerent folk. Sometimes, I had to look at them funny, because I came from Manhattan, where everyone was a raging a—sorry, jerk. I'd cleaned up my verbal language, but I still had to pull up short mentally. Sam thought I was ridiculous for being so adamant about not swearing in front of her, but my mother schooled me hard that—no matter how quickly I picked up profanity from my disgusting first stepfather—she didn't want me saying anything harsh around the younger crowd.
Even if I would never see her again, I wanted to do her proud.
A middle-aged woman watched her middle-schooler play football in the front yard from the porch and eyed Sam and me warily. I forgot myself a moment and smiled at her to assuage her worries. She blanched and ushered her son inside.
"People are such jerks," Sam said distastefully, rolling her eyes as another passerby glimpsed my distorted features and turned green.
I shrugged. "You weren't thrilled to see me at first, either, if I remember right."
She pouted, and I chuckled with a roll of my eyes, turning the corner and faltering a moment or two longer than I should have. Sam gave me a funny look, but I focused through the veil of illusion separating reality from perception. In my younger days, I sucked at spotting a well-disguised monster and frequently got my a—behind handed to me for lack of attentiveness. I'd since learned (thank you, Lady Hecate) how to turn a keen eye beyond the Mist and discern the normal from supernatural.
And she was definitely supernatural.
Her form flickered between a petite fashionista in a ruffled pink skirt to a heinous she-demon with flaming hair and mismatched legs—one solid bronze, the other matted with donkey fur. Ugh. At least most satyrs had the decency to maintain their hides. This just looked sad.
I tried to steer Sam across the street, but a reckless driver whipped around just before we could cross and almost ran us over. Sam cussed him out in Creole and stepped off the curb once the coast was clear, but it was too late.
The fashionista tapped me on the shoulder, and I buried my hand in my pocket, fingering my trusty weapon with a pleasant smile I hoped would unnerve her like it did the rest of the world. It didn't. "Hello," she said. "I'm sorry, but it looks like you two might be homeless. Would you like a warm place to rest, get some food? I live near here."
I swayed. Aphrodite tutored me as best she could on resisting something she called "charmspeak," a gift some of her children inherited from her. Servants and worshippers of Hecate could learn it with enough practice, as well, and empousai were faithful followers of their mistress, by and large. This one must have been old. None of my lessons wanted to help me here. I fought the compulsion as best I could, struggling not to give in to her power, but my resolve weakened the longer I looked at her sweet, kind face and angelic features. She might never be Annabeth, but Annabeth had always been a hopeless pipe-dream, anyway, hadn't she?
The empousa smiled at Sam, playing with her hair. "A darling little girl like you shouldn't wander around these streets. You need rest. Fresh clothes. A bath. Food."
The empousa offered her hand. "Come with me, darling. Everything will be okay if you trust me."
Sam reached for her hand, and my vision sharpened to show me black, bloodstained claws stretching toward her, my world, my angel—
—over my dead godsdamned body.
I shoved the she-demon back, acting as Sam's shield while I glared down the monster and waited for my companion to recover. "Nice voice," I sneered. "Why don't you use it on someone gullible?"
She hissed. "Damn heroes. You would have been a finer feast before the years spoiled you, son of the Sea God."
I glared. "More than just years spoiled me, demon. I'm in a magnanimous mood, so I'll let you walk away now. Challenge me, and I will destroy you."
"Would you?" she asked. "Would you damn a sweet young thing like myself to your terrible fate?" Her eyes flashed. "What if I ended up in chains, muttering that cursed rhyme for all eternity?"
I swallowed, ears filling with an old mockery of a child's rhyme. (One, two, three and four, watch them crumple to the floor.) "I imagine you've killed enough half-bloods to deserve it."
She smirked. "It is only my nature," she told me. "Should your kind be sentenced to eternal damnation for killing so many monsters?"
"Don't play with me," I snapped, clenching my fist and ignoring the doubt festering in the pit of my stomach as I withdrew my unfailing weapon from my pocket. A complicated glamour disguised it as a pen whenever I had no need of it, and the power of the Mist shrunk it to a fraction its natural size. In my hand, it felt like your normal, thirty-cent piece of stationary. There were a million just like it in every office building.
Then again, I had the only one that could grow into a deadly, tapered short-sword forged from Celestial bronze and cooled in the Lethe itself.
I uncapped it. I required no adjustment as it lengthened, weighing down on my arm with its comfortable familiarity. The empousa recoiled, snarling at the legendary blade. A much more famous hero conned it off a friend of mine in days of old—Heracles, son of Zeus and history's biggest windbag.
"I buried this in the heel of the god of war when I was only twelve, demon," I warned her with a careful smile, sure to accentuate the cavern carved into my face. "It met Kronos' scythe blow-for-blow when I was fifteen. You know that. Leave now and save yourself for a less satisfying snack."
If I had been in a better mood, I might have matched wit with her. I used to be best known for my sometimes-ridiculous quips in the middle of battle. Some days, I still resorted to my favorite methods of talking the enemy's head around in circles. Her earlier taunts left me sore and displeased, however, so I decided to end the altercation sooner rather than later with a few useful reminders about who had the better track record in our little showdown.
She listened, walking away as her hooves transformed into petite stilettos and back again. I watched her go with a dark glare.
Sam gulped. "That's it?" she asked. "What about the next person she attacks? I don't think they get to claim, 'Ares is scared of me and I kicked a titan's ass,' Percy."
I blew the sprinklers in the next lawn at her. The water pressure smacked her into the middle of the street before a driver could react. The collision sent her bursting apart into a safe cloud of golden dust, and whatever alarm the mortal might have had disappeared when a sheet of Mist passed over them and made them forget the teenager ever landed in front of their vehicle.
"Let's keep moving," I said, capping Riptide and slipping back into my pocket. "Empousai rarely travel alone."
Sam hesitated, but she didn't dally once I started moving.
When I spotted the For Sale sign on a beautiful green lawn, trimmed and mowed regularly to attract buyers, I started straight toward it. Sam sometimes chided me my illicit behaviors, like Grand Theft Auto and home invasion, but she learned a while ago not to look a gift horse in the mouth (as it might have Greek insurgents inside prepared to shoot you in the face).
I fished a couple hairpins out of my pocket, inserting them into the lock and jiggling them around a few times until it clicked. I nudged it inside and tried the light-switch. Even homes on the market tended to have access to electricity, so the living room lit up without objection. Thankfully enough, it was one of the fully-furnished deals. Sam charged the love-seat in the middle of the room and spilled over the arm, landing face-first onto the cushions. I chuckled.
"Enjoying yourself?" I teased.
"Shuddup," she said, voice muffled by the pillows. "I can't remember the last time I laid on anything even resembling 'soft and comfy.'"
I smiled, reaching down to ruffle her dark mane on my way past. She sputtered with a few new Creole words I needed to learn.
I set our rucksack on the dining table, untying Sam's sleeping bag to recheck our inventory with less fuss.
Item #1: A ¾ empty canteen of nectar. I restocked on the stuff back in Wisconsin too long ago to remember, and with two potent half-bloods traveling the countryside on foot, our resources were going to run low faster than I would have liked. I sighed, hoping I could sweet-talk a god into helping me out. I didn't have another safe house I dared go near until Maine.
Item #2: Three first-aid kits with stitches, gauze, and anything else our travels might necessitate the use of. I sifted through each and made a mental note to hit a medical store to shoplift a few depleted supplies.
Item #3: A miniature calendar written, sadly, in English. I almost never forgot to rip off a month at its conclusion, though, and numbers didn't dance off the page like Latin letters liked to do. The only important part about it was the dates and the giant x's through each one. I pulled out Riptide, uncapped it, turned its lid to the hilt, and shrunk it into a real pen with luminescent molten ink. I crossed off August 13th without affording it any more consideration than most other days. A square behind it on the next line was marked with a massive gold circle: the 18th, my least favorite day of any month.
Item #4: Several changes of clothes, none of which resembled clean. If I could do more than rinse them off in convenient fountains, I would, but detergent or any kind of soap cost too much to splurge on. We made do.
Item #5: A variety of nonperishables, from disgusting, coagulated bits of canned muck to less unappetizing bags of beef jerky and the like.
Then finally, my most precious belonging, a final vestige of my past: a hardcover novel with a picture of a young girl reaching out to touch the globe as it spun, eyes their own miniature Earths. Simple but elegant script wrote out Daughter of the World below and above the art, a smaller, equally unremarkable Sally Jackson underneath that. My mother left it for me in my childhood vacation spot on Montauk Beach, to which I had not returned since fetching it before Poseidon could wreak untoward vengeance upon the bittersweet memories. I learned of it only a few months after my life came to its sticky and miserable conclusion, when I heard my stepfather's voice seconds before the whole scheme crashed down around my ears. I eavesdropped on them until I heard Mom leave me her last present, then the quiet car driving away from everywhere we might have known in a kinder world.
I suffered through its pages for a year and a half. Mom knew the best fonts to use for dyslexia from years helping me with my homework and insisted the printers take the learning disabled into consideration, but an English copy was still an English copy. I missed her too much not to read it, though, and I loved every word as much as I loved the woman who wrote them.
My right eye watered, but I blinked it away and started putting everything back into the backpack with a shake of my head.
I heard a frustrated yell behind me, whirling with Riptide expanded to its deadliest mode again, only to find Sam smacking the widescreen television set angrily. "C'mon," she whined at it. "I don't even know what shows are good nowadays. Entertain me, you dumb, useless—"
"Sam, it's not going to work until someone moves in and pays the first utility bill," I pointed out to her with a smile. "The lights only work because the realtor needs to be able to show potential buyers the space. Yelling at that thing will not yield the desirable results and you fumble with every piece of technology I've ever seen you touch. I have no doubt in my mind you are not a daughter of Hephaestus."
She huffed and crossed her arms. "I am so bored," she complained.
I rolled my eyes. "How's this? You settle down and get comfy while I wash off a few clothes and clean up. Then you get a bath, and when you're done, I'll tell you whatever story you want to hear."
Sam beamed. "Really? You never wanna talk about your past."
I smiled bittersweetly. "It's a good past," I told her. "Settle in."
The whole bathroom alternated between uninteresting shades of white. From the cream-colored walls and ceiling to the marble sink. Some interior decorator got carried away and put in a bath and a shower with a glass partition.
I tried turning on the facet, but no water greeted me. After a moment's hesitation and a paranoid glance around the bathroom, like anyone of note might be watching, I relented to the tug on my gut and summoned a stream from the tap. Using the bar of soap I carried around with me everywhere, I washed up as best I could. Shirking off my shirt, I tried to ignore the wretched scars curling up my stomach and back, the discoloration clustered over my body in all the worst places to remind me of times I would have gladly forgotten ever happened. I scrubbed off dirt, grime, and sweat, rinsing the washcloth under the water more times than might have been efficient; so much gunk had built up since the last quality bath I'd taken, though, that I had to make do. I avoided gazing into the mirror as much as I could, but I glimpsed my reflection out of the corner of my good eye. In a daze, I looked up and stared at it.
The dark, jagged lines curving up toward my ears from the corners of my mouth left a haunting visual of trauma long over. My nose sat crooked against my face, bent a few directions from its share of strong hits from everything ranging from meaty fists to two-by-fours. No other scars left the same mark as the one I had redefined myself with, conjuring a new identity from its recesses, a new life without the ghosts plaguing my old one. I traced it along my face, raised edges rough against my finger-pad.
It faded through a series of terrible colors. Stained bone could be seen peeking under bits of angry red and miserable purple, the sides shriveled to a soulless black without room for life, hope, or anything else worthwhile in an otherwise meaningless world. It gouged a path diagonally from the far left of my hairline down past my chin, flirting with my carotid artery. My eye suffered the worst damage from it, iris and pupil sliced down the middle and lacking the vibrancy and mirth it once sported.
Even the unhurt one had dulled and darkened until it better resembled the waters of the Black Sea than the Pacific. The rich tan I prided myself on in my youth—one of my few attractive qualities from days past—paled and turned sallow from the acid now flowing through my veins, simmering until that fateful day arrived and courted me with the oblivion of deceptive death. A death I would never know.
I closed my eyes and imagined, for a fragile moment, what I might have looked like in another life, a better life, where I had never known the emptiness of homelessness, the agony of such a terrible demise, the brokenness of unprecedented grief. I opened them on bright, glittering irises, shining with the energy of the sea and its deep, layered colors, frothy white interspersed with shades of green and shocks of blue. A few old abrasions littered a deeper complexion. My body better fit my broad shoulders, lean and defined with your classic swimmer's build, strong arms fortified by years training with the sword. I would have looked that way in reality if I knew how to get enough food to support that musculature. When the illusion dropped, it left me with the confused muscle that came from staying in excellent shape without the nourishment to back it up, somewhere between wiry and toned.
I washed our clothes as quickly as I could, fighting the depression that wanted to swallow me whole and never let me go. The water turned black in no time.
I threw my shirt back on. "Sam!" I hollered. "Bath time!"
She squealed with glee, and I smiled faintly. I turned off the sink, turning my powers to the bathtub and stopping it up. She skipped inside and I handed her a change of semi-clean clothes, her radiant smile banishing my miserable thoughts. I reminded myself of the comforting reality: in my perfect life, I never would have found Sam. She would have been killed long before ever reaching Camp Half-Blood and meeting me.
The Fates didn't let you cherry-pick your life, and knowing that, I could appreciate this existence. It gave me Sam. It gave me a deeper purpose my old self never would have imagined finding. I could live with that. I could be happy with that.
Sam enjoyed baths as much as I used to, but she never knew a life with consistent opportunities to take care of herself. I left her alone to soak and enjoy herself while I pulled out some beef jerky. Vomit-inducing chunks of unnaturally preserved soup could wait for a less fortunate day; we ate like royalty tonight.
I glanced up when I heard the bathroom door open. The water subdued Sam's black curls a little more, but I knew the frizz would only get worse the drier it got. She wore a giant smile on her face as she skipped over in her favorite shirt: I'd Be Less Afraid of the Law and More Afraid of My Big Brother if I Were You. I shouldn't have caved to buy her that article of clothing when we hit out in that Walmart, but when she explained how she wanted something proclaiming to the world how scary I could be when I wanted to protect her warmed my heart too much.
I had another sister, less honorary than Sam. Years after my false death, my parents made the decision to take in a needing child. That lucky orphan had been Chelsie Seegers, now Chelsie Blofis. Only four when they took her in, they had no way of knowing she had been anything but mortal, but her obvious ADHD must have reminded Mom of me. Hades had been kind enough to tell me about her. I kept as close an eye on my family as I could afford, even risking too much once or twice to get a closer look.
Thank Tyche I did, because I saw a Lastrygonian giant chatting up a lonely Chelsie in front of her preschool on the rare day Paul didn't make it to pick her up in time. She had no idea the danger she was in. Needless to say, I cut the Canadian cannibal down. I explained to her she had to tell her parents a monster sought her out and attacked her. They only did that to half-bloods. Then I left her with a knife and vanished before anyone from my past stood a chance of recognizing me.
I shook off the memories and opened my arms for Sam. She curled up against my side with a pleased hum, head resting over my chest. "What do you want to hear about?" I asked, combing out a few more tangles from her hair.
She grinned at me, her missing front tooth making her twice as adorable. "Maybe one of the times you kicked some jerk's a—" I arched an eyebrow. "—butt?"
I laughed a little. "Ares?" I offered.
She nodded energetically.
"Well, it all started on this field trip in Sixth Grade…"
I hadn't even started explaining the Lotus Hotel and Casino when Sam started snoring against me. I tried to stay conscious and keep watch, but my eyes drooped with exhaustion and I leaned back for what I hoped to only be a couple minutes.
However long I did fall asleep, it was too long, because I woke up to a cool metal barrel pressed between my eyes.
They shot open and I met icy blue eyes. White-blond hair hung around his pale features while he clicked his tongue disapprovingly. "Really? This is Emily's cleverest mark? I didn't even have to sneak to get in here."
That name stopped me, and I shook Sam awake. She cried out and bolted forward, only to freeze when she saw the pistol poised to spray my brain matter over the nice cushions.
She whimpered. "Who are you?"
He grinned, pulling out a business card from his pocket and flipping it out to her. She took it tentatively. "It's in Ancient Greek," she said, surprised.
"Got a few Latin ones, too," he said, smirking, "but it's easier for you lot to interpret that language."
Sam glanced at me. "It says his name is Robin Whittaker, and he…" Her eyes widened. She choked. "You kill people?"
"What, you think the gun's a prop?" He snorted.
"Emily won't be very happy if you pull that trigger," I warned him. "She's got some special plans for me."
His eyes hardened like spires of ice. "Emily's courting disaster," he snapped. "Certain people want you very dead, but she's not one of them. You keep drawing breath…" He chuckled and shook his head. "Let's just say it'd cause more trouble than it's worth."
"Trust me," I said, "she wants me dead. And she wants to be the harbinger. Take her juicy revenge away from her, you'll be the next one on her list."
He shook his head. "Emily's the least of your problems, lover-boy," he told me. "I'm just nice enough to take you off the battlefield before shit gets ugly."
"Don't cuss around Sam," I said without thinking.
He let a frosty eyebrow climb into his hairline. "Of all last words," he said.
Which was the exact moment a Harley roared through the window with a spray of sharp glass and smacked into Robin's face, dropping him to the ground.
The biker laughed victoriously. I glared at him as he killed the engine and propped his motorbike on the ground. His leather duster looked bulky over his bulletproof vest. Sam growled next to me, clenching her fists, but I'd gotten used to his aura. He couldn't bait me into stupid comments or infuriated attacks anymore. I held Sam still with a hand pressing her shoulder into the couch.
"What do you want, Ares?" I demanded.
Sam sputtered in alarm and gaped at me.
Ares snorted. "Typical you, Jackson. I save your ass against an assassin; your first question is why. No gratitude. That attitude's gonna get you re-dead one o' these days."
"Watch your language around Sam," I said, containing my urge to attack him.
He arched an eyebrow. "Really? As if I'm afraid of you."
"Didn't he help you do an Achilles impersonation a few years back?" Sam taunted with a sneer.
I tried to shoot her a silencing look, but Ares snorted. "By cheating. Little shit went and used the water on me. It was dishonorable. If he beat me the right way, I never would have cursed his sword."
That almost tipped me over the edge. I took a deep breath. "You wouldn't be here unless you had business, Ares, and it wasn't to save our lives. What do you want?"
He rolled his eyes. "You got an Olympian summons, kid. Half the council's gonna be there to tell you whatever they want this time, but there's a juicy civil war over in Africa I gotta get a good seat on 'fore the other war gods take all the good spots, so I won't be there to see you get almost killed—again."
I clenched my fists. "I told Zeus a million times, I don't do quests any—"
"Your dad said you got special interest in this one," he told me. "'Sides, the date's kinda appropriate to remind you, considering."
I faltered, eyeing him distrustfully and pulling Sam against my side. "What are you talking about?"
Ares smirked. "Oh, you know. Albany, the safe house..."
(A massive, bloodshot eye stared down at me, giant foot kicking me over, a piercing agony shooting through my back and spreading through my body like acid, leaving me to die slowly, choking on tears, begging for help no one could offer as my enemies laughed and darkness claimed me, pulling me through a mindless procession, into an elevator with a suit, across a river, past the three-headed dog, to the front of the line before three ghostly judges, and then a sharp tug, a hopeless tumble through nothingness until my ears filled with screams and laughter, my skin blistered, and my hope shriveled and died in an inescapable prison.)
Sam shook me. "Percy?" I heard her calling. "Percy!"
I lurched back to the present with a gasp, looking around with my hand shooting toward Riptide. It took me a moment to recognize my surroundings: the suburban home Sam and I broke into for a decent night's rest, Sam's wide, fearful, concerned eyes, and even Ares' balls of fire, quelled somewhat while he studied me, holding his red-tinted sunglasses.
I covered up my embarrassment with a growl. "How long do I have?"
Ares seemed to think about it. "Well…it's got somethin' to do with that monthly dilemma you've gotta deal with, so not long."
My eyes widened. "I'll be there soon."
"And he shows some brains." Ares hopped back onto his bike. "See you 'round, 'savior.'" He laughed and gunned the bike forward, bursting into a spire of flames just before colliding with the front door and leaving a trail like the one in Back to the Future.
Sam relaxed and sighed. "What monthly dilemma?" she asked.
I shook my head. "A bad one." I looked at her. "Ready to see the home of the gods?"
Appropriately, she gulped.
(1) The phrase "don't look a gift horse" in the mouth confused me for many years, as I knew the Trojan Horse had been a ruse by the Greeks to ransack Troy and a cursory glance inside its maw might have saved many lives. It turns out the phrase actually originated from the practice of giving people real horses as presents, and the fact you can glean a horse's age by the shape and protrusion of their teeth. Still, I doubt Percy ever paused long enough to learn that piece of information, and he would be one of the most likely people to think the saying had something to do with the Trojan Horse. I found the aside amusing. That would be your dose of unnecessary information for the day, ladies and gentlemen.