Disclaimer: I do not own any of the material from the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series so don't sue me. I'm just a humble scribe.
From Me: Hey everyone, after finishing this series earlier this week I decided to sit down and write for a while with what came to my mind as a possible future. Anyways, drop a review after you're done. Enjoy it! :)
Percy Jackson & the Olympians
The Burning Thread
Seven half-bloods shall answer the call.
To storm or fire, the world must fall.
An oath to keep with a final breath,
And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death.
I knew this place. I had been here time and time again in both my dreams and when I was awake. It was the hallowed Mount Olympus, the home of the Gods. But it was not Olympus as I knew it.
Each and every building on the great mountain – the marketplace where the minor gods, goddesses and demigods gathered all day long; the individual shrines, statues and temples devoted to the mountain's inhabitants, even the very mountain itself – lay in utter ruin. Every few feet there would be a smoking crater, some of them just empty pits of blasted land but some holding the body of whichever demigod or satyr had been unfortunate enough to run over that particular spot as the fire rained down. Even as I stood at the elevator connecting this sacred world to the mortal world I felt myself torn apart at the sight of pure destruction that lay spread out in front of me.
In the distance I could just barely see the gates of the Palace.
The gargantuan doors had been blasted through leaving a smoldering pile of stone and Celestial bronze at the entrance to the last precious place in all of existence. I could see the wreckage from here, could smell the burning stone and sulfur in the air, could hear the cries and screams from the forsaken souls that had taken to Olympus as a last refuge. It was enough to drive me insane, enough to make me turn back around and return to the first floor of the Empire State Building then take off running. I didn't want to have to go any further up the mount; I couldn't bear it… but I knew that I had to. I had to see for myself. I took off running toward the palace. My legs burned and ached as my heart pumped acid directly into each and every muscle in my body, sapping my strength with each and every step as I drew closer and closer to the throne room of the Gods. I did my best to shut my ears to the wailing all around me; there was nothing I could do for any of them… there was nothing I could do for anyone anymore. It was already too late. I was already too late.
By the time I reached the outer courtyard it felt like my body was burning from the inside out as each and every ounce of my energy continued to pour out of me as though someone had pulled out a cork hidden underneath my skin. With every heartbeat I prayed that I would not see what I thought I would, prayed that I would at least be allowed that tiny bit of peace but deep inside I knew it was nothing but worthless wishing. The blasted columns and melted piles of Celestial bronze all around me were all I had to see to prove that but still I pushed myself up the last few stairs.
That was when I saw him; the bearded man in the dark pinstripe suit that I had prayed to my father would not be there. He lay still next to the hearth, Hestia holding his head in her lap and watching over her motionless body with the same fixed hopeless gaze I could only imagine I was looking at him with myself. I could literally feel myself slip right then, could feel whatever little bit of life that had desperately been holding on inside me loosen its grip and give way to the pull of the Underworld. Hestia looked at me at that moment, her fire-like eyes conveying all the pain and sorrow that they could as I just watched the still face in her lap. The god of thunder was dead now, I had failed.
In the distance, I could hear the booming manic laughter of the destroyer as he proclaimed his victory.
"ZEUS HAS FALLEN! LONG LIVE ARES, LORD OF ALL!"
With those words, I let myself die.
* * *
Chapter 1: My Dad Makes a House Call
June 3rd, 2015
"Percy?" The voice was like a whisper on the edge of my hearing pulling me away from the sight of the burning Olympus as the world faded black. It sounded so familiar, so perfectly inviting that it drew me out of the wreckage and back toward it. "Percy!" Once more it called my name, this time a little bit louder. I knew that voice. I knew the person that spoke through it who now called me out of this desolate ruin and debris. I could almost picture the cool gray eyes, the knowing smile on her tan cheeks. "PERCY!"
My eyes opened slowly as I gradually took in the world around me in a simple effort to prove to myself that this was reality and what I had just witnessed was nothing more than a nightmare. Annabeth was leaning over me, looking down at me with that same worried look she had had night after night for the past three months when the dreams first started. Her face was partially hidden in terror-filled shadows in the deep darkness of the barely moonlit room we were in, leaving only her glimmering gray eyes watching me with that anxious stare while I could make out the faint outline of her lips and chin. I knew without her saying it: the dreams were getting worse again.
"What time is it?" I asked weakly as I tried to sit up. I felt clammy right then and my clothes were soaked in cold sweat like I had been running a fever.
"A little before three. I… woke up a few minutes ago." Annabeth murmured, refraining from saying that I had been thrashing about because of the dreams again. She leaned back off me so I could sit up fully; I didn't even bother trying to get comfortable again because I knew I wouldn't be going back to sleep tonight. I never did after I had one of the dreams. "… Who was it this time?"
"Ares…" I muttered half-heartedly. I had had this same dream at least twice a week for the last three months now and each and every time it always ended the same: Zeus was dead and one of the other gods was proclaiming their victory. I had seen the same scene at least twenty times now with a different voice announcing to the great Pantheon that 'Zeus has fallen'. So far Hades, Hera, Apollo and Artemis together, Athena, Hephaestus, Dionysus, Aphrodite and even my father Poseidon had all been responsible for the deed in my dreams. And of course now Ares had joined that list.
"Any other changes?" She asked fearfully even though she knew the answer before I spoke again.
"No. It was still Zeus in Hestia's lap, just like the other times. Everything else..." My words sounded as frail and feeble as I felt right then. You see, when a Half-Blood dreams, they are different than a normal mortal's dreams. Instead of just entering the realm of subconscious where a normal person's dreams react to whatever is going through their mind right then; when a Half-Blood dreams they see things. The past, present, and future get jumbled together like someone had thrown them into a blender and then dumped the contents directly into my sleeping mind. Sometimes I saw things that had happened ages ago; sometimes I would see situations my friends and family were going through. And sometimes I would see shadowed glimpses of things that might be coming. That was why these dreams were wrecking me inside each and every time one of them reared its ugly head in my unconscious brain. Even though I knew that none of the gods could ever truly die, even though the events that I had witnessed time and time again in this recurring nightmare of mine were simply ludicrous, they still scared me to death.
Annabeth didn't respond. There was no way she could try to reassure me that it was just some psycho-semantic problem that was all in my head; no demigod would doubt exactly how disturbing seeing something like this would be night after night. Dream therapy didn't really apply to people like Annabeth or I.
"I'm going to go take a shower… then I've got to contact my dad, see if I can't make sense of this." I whispered as I softly moved her off of me, my free hand moving to push back a strand of the shaggy raven hair that fell to my shoulders.
"Percy…" She responded almost inaudibly.
I stopped to meet her gaze for just a moment before lips met. It was pure ecstasy wrapped up in a tender ferocity that I still had yet to really figure out even now after six years together with her. Annabeth, she just understood me. She had a way about her that wise far beyond her years, something I could only guess she inherited from her mother Athena.
"Thanks, I needed that." I replied simply as I smiled. Though I didn't say it nearly as often as she deserved, I loved my fellow Half-Blood fiancée more than she could have imagined. It was something that had grown through years of her seeing and accepting me at my best and worst, years of standing beside me through some of the darkest times in human or Olympian history, years of fighting off monsters and the tears that came at the price of fallen friends. Kissing her once more on the forehead I just murmured to her, "Go back to sleep."
Annabeth nodded tiredly while her eyes had already begun to flutter heavily as she laid back down beside me. "Good night Percy…" She whispered as she once again drifted off.
Hanging my head I climbed out of the warm and comfortable bed and made my way as silently as possible to the master bathroom of our little house by the sea. Flickering on the light before starting the water, I was immediately greeted by my own reflection in the bathroom mirror, a pair of haggard and hazy sea green eyes lined with thick dark circles from too many restless nights. My black hair and goatee was all a disheveled mess from tossing and turning thanks to the dream. Even so though, I had slowly become almost a younger version of my dad's favorite form as a human. However, I didn't really have the energy to dwell on this so I just stripped and climbed in to the nearly scalding hot water.
My thoughts slowly began to clear as I stood there and let the water fill me with strength. Instead of focusing on the dream even more than I already had I thought back to how I had gotten to this particular point in my life.
It had been almost six years since the War of the Titans as the Olympian historians had begun calling it, six years since Luke had given his final breath to stop Kronos from plunging the world into a dark age that it had not seen in thousands of years. Life had become… almost peaceful for me in that time. I had completed four consecutive years at the Goode Academy and stunned myself by graduating like a normal mortal; dyslexia, ADHD and all. Annabeth had gone to a private school near mine while she helped design the rebuild for Mount Olympus following the war. Her designs were stunning, the kind of genius work that only came out of someone like a child of Athena.
But even beyond all that something more important to me had happened: we became close.
It had started out slow; a kiss now and then, a date whenever we had a moment to share. As we grew up though, we were faced with the fact that we had an opportunity that few Half-Bloods ever received: the gift of living into adulthood. That was when I proposed.
So six months later here we were, living in Montauk near my mom's old vacation home in what appeared to be a normal cozy little house nestled next to the Atlantic Ocean. To any mortal it would look plain enough, a single-level cottage with white washed wood paneling outside that was slowly eaten away thanks to years of exposure to the salty ocean air and a small wood pathway that led down from the backyard to the a dock on the ocean front. However; the house had actually been an early wedding present from my dad so only those who could see through the Mist could see it for what it really was: a small palace made of blue and white stone and Celestial bronze. The front was lined with beautifully crafted columns engraved with pictures of the sea and the back was a giant deck that opened down to the sandy beach and surveyed the open ocean to the horizon. The inside of course had been designed with a more human resident in mind than it would have had it been for my dad but it still had that same air of grandeur that Dad's palace had.
Coming back to the present though I was still left with my current problem and no Olympic dream house was going to take care of that for now. With a deep grumbling sigh I let my head hang under the heavy flow of the burning water as I gathered my thoughts until I had at least an idea of what I was going to say to my dad about this. Annabeth was the only person who I had dared to tell about the dream so far. She was the only person who I knew I could count on to put any kind of stock in the possible dangers of this little delusion of mine. Everyone else, they would take it however they saw fit and then they might pass it along to someone else. And this was not something I wanted circling around the rumor mill.
I climbed out of the shower a moment later and put on a pair of old blue jeans and a spare T-shirt before putting a single golden Drachma in my pockets. Doing my best to remain quiet for Annabeth, I carefully snuck out the back door of our house and made my way quickly down to the water's edge.
The waves were pacifying tonight as the lapped lazily against the shore of our home but I needed a bit of spray to be able to reach my dad. Concentrating, I reached out and pulled the water up and left it swirling in front of the full moon. It was enough to give it just the tiniest shimmer so without waiting I tossed the coin and watched it disappear in the misty spray before saying "Poseidon's Palace."
A moment later the image became clear. I was looking in to the throne room of my dad's gigantic palace of the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. It had been rebuilt since his last battle with Oceanus and looked pretty similar to his last one which meant giant columns that stretched the length of some skyscrapers and twisting spires seemingly pulled from the coral themselves. It was cool to say the least.
"…Dad?" I asked as he stepped in front of whatever Iris used to send the image.
He turned at the sound of my voice, surprised to hear me calling him I assumed. He was once again in his favorite human form, dressed in a green and red Tommy Bahama shirt emblazoned with numerous little golden tridents along with a pair of khaki Bermuda shorts and worn leather sandals. His black hair was combed back and gave me a good view of his deeply tanned face.
"Perseus! What brings this call my boy? The house treating you nicely?" He asked in that booming tenor he had in common with Zeus. It was a tone of command, probably having come from thousands of years ruling over the seas.
"Yes sir. The house is doing fine, thank you again for it." I replied casually as I stretched my neck and averted my gaze. I didn't really want to draw this out.
"Good to hear. How is your bride to be?" Okay this already wasn't working. I needed to get away from the small talk and bring up the issue that brought me out here in the first place. But… I was kind of leery of mentioning it and understandably so. I mean; how was I supposed to tell Poseidon, one of the thirteen great gods, that I was having possibly prophetic dreams that he or one of his fellow deities was going to overthrow Zeus, the king of the gods. And not just overthrow but kill. What a great way to start the day.
"Annabeth is great, Dad… But listen, there was actually a reason I contacted you tonight;" I muttered. "Are you alone right now?"
"No. Why would I need to be?" He asked with a puzzled expression.
"Who is around you at the moment?" By the gods could he please just take the stupid hint?
"I am attended by my generals and various members of my court." He spoke in a tone that almost sounded boastful. He was at heart a good man… well a good deity I mean; but like the rest of the Olympians he sometimes had too good of an understanding that his lifestyle was far superior to that of a mere mortal. "Amphitrite is at my side tonight; as well as your half-brother Triton."
I grimaced when I heard those two names as I could only guess that they were grimacing at hearing mine. Amphitrite was my father's immortal queen and Triton was his rightful son and the heir to his kingdom… although with Dad being immortal too I don't think he'd ever inherit it. However, every time he mentioned them it just brought me back to the realization that, despite how much he loved me, I was still an illegitimate child and I could only assume that Amphitrite probably disliked me for that. "Is there any way I could convince you to come see me for a moment or two? I promise it won't take long." I regretted asking that instantly but there was no way around it. I didn't want to tell him about the dream with others around.
Luckily for me though I guess my expression sold my need to have him around because after a second he just closed his eyes and nodded. "… Very well. I will be there shortly." With those words the iris window began to shimmer for just a moment before it disappeared.
It was five minutes later that he rose up from the water. His approach was silent as he slowly broke through the water's surface. There was no fanfare this time, no roar of an honor-guard; he had come alone. As he rose to eye level with me I could not help but notice that his face had that same stern strength about it, that air of command that came with being him. It was kind of unnerving to say the least.
"What can I do for you, Percy?" His words echoed and rumbled as he spoke them, causing the tiniest little vibrations in the ground beneath my bare feet.
"I have a question I have to ask you… and I need an honest answer." I muttered as I nervously shifted the sand between my toes and struggled to keep his gaze fully. As soon as I began to speak again though was when the flood gates opened. "You see; the thing is I have been having some very… well very weird dreams lately. Well, actually no that's not quite right. It's really just one dream with a few of the details changed each time I have it. I really don't get why that would keep happening because usually a dream will be at least somewhat consistent and this thing keeps messing me up every time I have it. I mean, I guess I'd be messed up even if all the events in the dream were the same every time but at least then I could possibly make sense of it all but even then–"
"PERCY!" He roared. I shut up instantly, realizing that I had been rambling off. "Please. If you could sum it up?"
"Okay… Yeah, here goes. About three months ago I started having a dream." It took me nearly half an hour to tell the whole thing from start to finish. I told him about how vivid it all was, like each prophetic dream I had had so far as a half-blood, how it all seemed so real. Dad… he just remained quiet for the whole thing and let me speak my piece but I could see a look of worry growing on his face with each sentence that I spoke. It didn't sit well with me.
"... And that's everything." I finished sheepishly. "Tonight I had the latest dream. This time it was Ares who had laid waste to the Mount but everything else was exactly the same."
He fell silent for nearly five minutes before he finally opened his mouth and spoke once more. "… Are you absolutely sure that Zeus was dead every time you see him in this dream of yours?"
I stared at him straightforwardly, our nearly identical sea-green eyes meeting in the same grim gaze. "One-hundred percent. But I know that's impossible. I mean sure, sometimes a deity can fade away when their realm of power slowly fades from their control kind of like Pan did but there's no way someone could actually kill one of the gods. I mean, that's kind of what immortality means right?"
He didn't answer the question but rather once again he went silent. Inside I was worried but I followed suit and just shut up, watching the expression on Dad's face the same way a detective might study the scene of a murder. His darkly tanned became frozen in a poker face while he thought silently to himself; his eyes looked right through me as if I wasn't even standing there instead of looking at me and I could not make out any of the feelings or thoughts he was hiding underneath that piercing gaze so I decided to just ask the most clear-cut question these dreams had posed for me since the day I had started having them. "Is there a way? I mean… could one of you actually be…"
"Killed?" He spoke hollowly, finishing my sentence for me. "No, not that I'm aware of. We can be damaged, torn apart, ripped asunder and cast into Tartarus itself but we cannot be killed in battle. Kronos was proof enough of that. If we could have killed him or some of the other Titans once and for all then believe me when I say that we would have eons ago. My brother would have seen to that."
"Then what does it mean?" Great, I was right back to square one. I had no idea what to make of the dream and now I had just found out once of the biggest and most terrifying thoughts posed in it was completely impossible.
"I don't know, Percy; I don't know." His eyes betrayed a feeling of uselessness that I felt too regarding this dream. Like all the other dreams I had had since I discovered my heritage, it felt like someone had just unlocked some awe-inspiring piece of information to me but this time I had no way to make heads or tails of it. I felt stupid. "Listen thought; who else have you told about this so far?"
"Just you and Annabeth. I… didn't want to sound like a weirdo to anyone else."
"Good. For the time being I want you to keep it that unless I tell you otherwise." His voice was stern now, stern enough to let me know that this was not up for debate. Even though I was a young man myself now, he was still both a god and my dad so he kind of outranked me on the decision making scale. "I will have a talk with Zeus about this later and try to make some sense out of it. Perhaps Morpheus can explain what is going on regarding it. For now though I want you to just continue on with your life like everything is fine. And under absolutely no circumstances are you to mention this to any of the other gods or goddesses. Do you understand me?"
"Yes sir." I replied as strongly as I could. I felt like I should have saluted him right then.
"Then have yourself a good night Percy." With those final words he patted me on the shoulder then strode back into the water and a moment later was gone beneath the waves, leaving me standing there alone along the Montauk beach front. I felt relieved but dejected by the conversation. It left me just about where I was before Poseidon had come up from the deep; I knew the dreams meant something but I was now just as sure that what Dad had said about there not being a way to kill a good being sure. It didn't mean much but it did mean maybe I would be able to get back to sleep afterwards from here on out. So with a sigh and a weary smile I just turned away from the edge of the moonlit water and headed back toward the house. After all, I had to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in about five hours when Annabeth and I were due at Camp Half-Blood to start our yearly duties as part of the counselor team for the summer.
Me: Well there you guys go for now. Hope you liked it so far; I'll try to be back with another chapter here soon enough. Thanks and remember I want to hear what you think of it. Constructive criticism is always welcome. See you all next time :)