For Percy Jackson. Hero and brother.
Graveyard Of Heroes
or, The Jackson Legacy
Part One: Nameless Finder
- One -
From: Annabeth Chase (chaseannabeth95 gmaildotcom)
Subject: re: dream about percy
Camp Half-Blood, Half-Blood Hill, Farm Road 3.141
Long Island, New York 11954
Above is the address to Camp Half-Blood. Give it to the taxi driver. Come in the weekends, but tell your parents where you are going. We'll talk there, with Mr. D and Chiron. I'll be waiting for you.
Sorry for the trouble, Peter. But this has to be discussed personally.
Monday. 5:36 am. Peter woke up and was greeted by the darkness of his room.
Everyone hated Mondays, even his father, but Peter was nervous and excited. Mostly scared, though. He checked the contents of his bag three or four times before leaving his bedroom. It contained his books, clothes enough for a week, and the money he saved in the last few years.
When he went to school, he placed all his books and notebooks in his locker. His hands shook as he drafted a text for his father during history class. He was going to come home late, and he was going to miss dinner. Peter wasn't going to send it right now, no. Classes were still going on, and his father was in the building.
During the last period of class—and holding onto his hall pass—he sneaked out of the school building, and whistled for a taxi. It was snowing outside. His jacket was in his bag, and he wanted so much to take it out. Before he could, a taxi parked in front of him, and he hopped in. He gave the address to the driver, and sent a text message to Annabeth Chase. It was the first time got out of Manhattan alone, with just the money he saved and the clothes he carried on his back.
When he knew the classes were over, he sent his father's text, leaned back on his seat, and closed his eyes.
It was a long smooth drive with barely any traffic, and Peter fell asleep and started to dream. All that time, the driver threw questionable glances at Peter through the mirror as they want farther and farther away from the city, but he didn't say a word. The sun was going down when they arrived. When the car stopped, Peter woke up with tears in his eyes.
"Well, here we are," the taxi driver announced. He glanced around and scratched his stubble. "Are you sure this is the place in the address?"
Peter blinked and stifled a yawn. He shifted on his seat and looked out of the window. There was a large pine tree on top of a hill. If he remembered correctly, it would be the same one from the stories.
"Yeah." He grabbed his bag and fixed the tie of his school uniform. He paid the taxi driver—fare fee and tip for all the trouble driving out there—and got out. He stood there for a while watching the taxi return to the city, before turning around to face the hill. It didn't snow here, but the air was really cold. Peter set the bag down and took out his favorite maroon jacket.
Last night, he had read and re-read Annabeth Chase's email message over and over again, and gone to bed with a thumping heart. Camp Half-Blood. That one, safe haven his brother fondly told of in his stories to Peter. His brother's fictional stories. Percy Jackson said they were not real. Camp Half-Blood was not real. It was a form of escape that he created all by himself. He loved mythology, and he imagined a world where the gods existed. Percy's stories were all in his head.
But here Peter was, stepping at the very same hill Percy and his friend Grover had climbed when they were chased by the Minotaur.
Peter wasn't the athletic type. When he was halfway up the hill, he was already out of breath. Up ahead, someone was waiting for him. When he reached the top, he was greeted by a sight of a sleeping dragon. It curled around the base of the large pine tree, snoring soundly, little puffs of smoke coming out of its nostrils. Hanging on a lower branch of a tree was a glowing fluffy fleece. The Golden Fleece, he thought, and he felt a lump in his throat. Percy got that. He and his friends got that from Polyphemus's island.
There was a woman waiting for him, around her early thirties. She was tall, with long blonde hair tied into a bun, but a few strips of her hair were loose at the back of her neck and forehead. She wore an orange T-shirt under a traveling coat. Her gray eyes were so bright Peter thought they were glowing.
"Um, hi," Peter greeted, albeit a bit timidly.
"You skipped school," she said, and crossed her arms. She didn't look pleased to see him, much to Peter's expectations. "I told you to come in the weekend."
"Sorry." He grinned sheepishly. His neck and shoulders were starting to ache from the heavy bag.
Annabeth sighed, and smiled at him. "You've grown, Peter. I'm surprised you still remember me after all these years. You used to call me Anna, when you were little." And he knew that she hated being called that, so he stopped, eventually. "How's your mother? Is she getting better?"
Peter rubbed the back of his hand with his thumb. He tried hard not to look down. "Great," he lied. "The doctors let her walk around. It's good for her legs." He looked over her shoulder, trying to see this Camp Half-Blood. But all he could see were the strawberry fields, a big farm house, and a beach at the distance.
"The pine tree maintains an invisible border," Annabeth said. "You're technically mortal, Peter, even if you are clear-sighted, and even if you are related to Percy. So you can't see the camp unless I let you see it."
"Oh." Peter sounded a bit disappointed. "So, like, can I see it?" He asked meekly.
"In a minute." Annabeth smiled again. "By the way, welcome to Camp Half-Blood."
Peter didn't see the volleyball coming at him. He was too busy staring at his surroundings while following Annabeth. He saw the forest where they played capture the flag, the armory where they made, well, armor and weapons, and the stables where they kept the pegasi, which were empty for a the moment. But he definitely didn't see the volleyball court near him, and the ball came right down on his face. Peter stumbled and fell down to the ground, groaning.
A tall boy ran to his side quickly, cursing under his breath. "Cheese and crust, I'm sorry!" He helped Peter up to his feet and brushed away the dirt from his clothes. "Gods, I'm really sorry. You okay?"
"I...I guess so," Peter said, still a bit dazed.
"Are you sure, pal?" the boy said. Peter nodded. "You a newbie?"
Peter patted away the dirt from his butt and looked at his direction. The boy had brown messy hair, darker than Peter's, and he was older, around fifteen or sixteen. He wore the same orange t-shirt like Annabeth.
Annabeth placed a hand on Peter's shoulder. "He's a special guest here in Camp Half-Blood."
The boy nodded at Annabeth, and then grinned. "Cool. I'm Leon."
He offered a hand to shake, and Peter took it. "Peter."
"Nice. Make yourself at home, Peter. Since you're here, if you ever need a tour of Camp Half-Blood, you can always come to me."
"Yo, Leon!" someone in the volleyball court shouted. "We're going to continue the game without you if you're going to talk to them longer!"
"I'm coming!" he shouted back. "It's nice to meet you, Peter, and sorry for hitting you again." He looked at Annabeth. "I'm really sorry about that, Counselor." He smiled apologetically and ran back to the field, his friends shouting about how he was poor at controlling the ball.
He smiled back at Leon, and then something sank to him. He just spoke to a half-blood. To whose kid, he didn't know, but he spoke to a demigod. And Annabeth was a demigod. And his older brother, too. Heck, he was in a camp full of half human, half gods. They were real. They were very real, and he was seeing a large group of them right now.
He tripped for a second,but regained his foot quickly. Hehad gone deep into his thoughts that he wasn't watching his way.
"Are you okay?" Annabeth said. "Are you sure you don't feel dizzy or anything?"
"N-no, it's not that." Peter glanced around. "It's...it's nothing..."
Annabeth looked around too, and seemed to know what Peter was thinking. "Are you nervous, Pete?"
He didn't want to admit it, but he nodded timidly. "It's just that...I feel out of place. I'm not...one of you, you know. I feel...small."
Annabeth stared at him, then smiled sadly. "You're lucky, Peter. It's hard, for all of us. We may have some super powers, have access to magical things, know magical secrets, but...every one of us wishes for a normal, happy life." She looked wistful. "You know, a typical life where you have a normal, stable family, go to a normal school, have normal friends. Where you are someone who you wished to be, in a life where you don't have to fight monsters everyday…"
Peter shivered. Monsters. They existed, too. He could see them. He saw them, when he was little, but he thought it was all just his imagination. But they were real. Since he saw them, had they seen him, too? Could they see him now? Was that why Percy was always around him? To protect him?
"This is the Big House," Annabeth said. Peter looked up to the large farmhouse that was painted purple. They climbed to the porch. There was a small table in the middle, with four people gathered around it in an intense game of cards. Annabeth approached one of the players. "He's here, Chiron."
The man was in a wheelchair. He had a scruffy brown beard, thinning hair, and wore a camp tee under a coat. There was a blanket on his lap. He looked up from his cards and smiled at Peter. "Hello, Peter." He gestured to the bench near the table. "Please, take a sit. Would you like some hot chocolate?"
"Uhh..." He didn't know how to respond for a second. He was talking to Chiron. Chiron. He couldn't find thewords to speak, not even a yes or a no. So he nodded, sitting down on the bench. Chiron looked at Annabeth, who disappeared inside the house.
The silence was filled with cards shuffling, someone coughing. There was something...powerful about each of them. It was making Peter dizzy. He sat on his seat awkwardly and waited for his drink or for someone to speak. A man with a tiger-patterned sweater smiled down at his cards. He looked like he was in a pleasant mood.
"I guess you have already heard the basics from your brother. About...what you're seeing right now," Chiron started. "But you wouldn't mind if I could explain a few things?"
"No, sir," Peter said. "I don't mind."
Annabeth returned with a drink of hot chocolate for Peter. While he sipped it, Chiron filled in the details that Percy had left out of his stories – how the Camp Half-Blood was only one safe corner in their world of gods of the western civilization, how the myths were their reality. Peter felt like he was trespassing into a world he didn't belong in, but he couldn't help feeling special. Few mortals knew what they were living in. But he knew that this knowledge was dangerous – he could be in danger for just knowing all that. Demigods, with all their superpowers, were still in a constant run for life. Where did that put him, just a mortal with eyes that saw too much?
"So, Peter," Chiron said. He was staring at a distance. "You told us that you know where Percy Jackson is."
The tiger-shirted man, Mr. D, suddenly sneezed and a strong gust of wind blew the cards away from the table. The other players were too stunned to notice the cards swept away to the floor, or their hair pushed back from their faces, their clothes ruffled.
Mr. D regained himself and glared at Peter. He sure wasn't in his pleasant mood now. "What are you talking about?" He sneered. Peter cringed. "This boy...he knows it? A mortal? Him?"
Peter wanted to move away from him. According to Percy, it was not cool to anger Dionysus, no matter how angry you were to him.
"Give him some space," said one of the players, a handsome man with an olive complexion. "He is, after all, Percy Jackson's half-brother."
"But a mortal, nonetheless," said the fourth player, a woman wearing a silver jacket.
"Boy," Mr. D stressed. "What do you mean you know where he is?"
"I-I..." Peter couldn't find the words to say. Everyone was staring at him, and itmade him uneasy. "I t-think I know where he is."
"I-I had a dream yesterday," Peter stuttered. His hands shook as he held his mug tightly. He wasn't nervous about talking to powerful beings, but rather, he was scared that they would zap at him any moment, if he said the wrong word. "I-It wasn't a normal dream. I swear it wasn't. I know it wasn't. He was really there. He was...talking to me." Why were they staring at him so hard? "He was telling me to find this place, telling me to find him, because…because he's in trouble... I don't know what he's talking about. He said he's in an unreachable place, that even the gods can't find, except for a chosen few, and… I'm one of them," he mumbled in the end.
The sun was going down, and the first star appeared. The people around him didn't speak for a moment, looking at each other.
The woman leaned back onher chair. "Is he talking about that place, Ganymede?"
"Impossible, Atlanta, that place doesn't exist. It's just a little story started by two demigods almost ten years ago. You know, those two."
At this, Mr. D groaned and placed his cards down the table. "Yes, those two."
"I bring drinks to the Olympians," Ganymede continued. "I hear what they discuss about, and they don't believe that either. Are you actually believing them, Atlanta?" Ganymede laughed, but it was a nervous one.
"Wait, wait," Annabeth said. "What place are you talking about?"
"The spiritual core of the world," Atlanta said. "Maybe even the universe. In it are creation's deepest, darkest secrets. But it is also the graveyard of heroes. They say those who seek it—mortal, demigod, even a god—never returned. Disappeared completely. Their souls—if they died—never went to the land of Hades. Only a permitted few have come and gone, and we don't know who they are, or who are the ones giving permission. It's pure fiction."
"It sounds like the Christians' perception of Heaven," Mr. D said. He waved his hand, and a cup of grape juice appeared, which he held and looked down at.
"The two demigods called it 'the sanctuary'," Ganymede said. "But it is now known as Nameless by the gods."
"Do you mean Percy went there?" Annabeth said. "He went looking for it? And that's why he's missing?"
"We're not exactly sure Percy is in there, not even sure why," Chiron said. "We cannot confirm it. We cannot confirm if Nameless is real in the first place. But this coming from his family..." He looked at Peter. There was something in his eyes that Peter couldn't place. "This is something we need to discuss first." Chiron turned his gaze at Annabeth, who nodded at him.
They must be agreeing on something secretly, but Annabeth said, "If the Council relents, this is going to be one of those quests, right? The one that happens only every one hundred years?"
"Yes." Chiron stroked his beard. "And our friend here, Peter, might lead it."
Peter's heart almost froze. "I...I'm sorry?" He came here to tell them what he knew about Percy, and he hoped that he would leave it to them to figure out. He wasn't ready for a quest.
"We're not sure of everything right now, Peter," Annabeth said. "What you told us is a dream. It's an unusual dream yes, but you're a mortal. It's credible because you're Percy's brother, but not credible enough."
"Not...credible enough?" Peter said.
"But if everything's laid out, you might go on a quest." She looked wary. "Unless everything is false alarm or you don't want to go."
"I...I don't know." He was dizzy. What was he going to say now? Normally he would turn it down, tell them that he didn't think he was going to survive in this quest, much less be fine after going through it. "Being a half-blood is dangerous," Percy said to him once. It was amazing how Peter still knew the words. "It's scary. Most of the time, it gets you killed in painful, nasty ways."
And yet, he wanted to go through it. Go on a quest. Go experience the thrill, the dangers. Try to get killed in painful, nasty ways. Being a half-blood sucked, yeah, Percy told him a lot of times. But despite that, Peter wanted to be one. It was crazy, he was insane, he was a dreamer. But what Percy said made it sound like being a half-blood was cool, not sucky or dangerous.
He loved Percy's stories. He remembered vividly the details Percy told him when he went on a quest to retrieve the master bolt, to find the Golden Fleece, to carry the world on his shoulders, when he explored the Labyrinth, and him defeating the titan lord Kronos.
Maybe Peter's mind would change when he went through it all. But that was okay. If everything turned out okay, he would see his older brother again.
He just had to say yes or no to this.
Ganymede rubbed his head. "So, are we all agreeing that Percy Jackson isn't dead? Just missing?"
A/N: So we're a few days early to this story's third anniversary. ;D Here it is, the revised first chapter, written from scratch. A huge thank you to Hazelle More who gave this story a light beatdown to make it a bit acceptable to editors and grammar nazis. :)
Next Chapter: People Before Me - Just what is this Hundred Year Quest? Why is there such a thing? Peter Blofis meets Rachel Elizabeth Dare, and she seems to know some answers.
Edit: Either I'm really blind or FFN's editor's wacko. Fixed a couple of close-knitted words and mistakes.