Well, here we are again.

This is the point where I apologise, and give an excuse. But the excuses I would give are private, and sharing them would do nothing to give me comfort or to undo the unexpected Hiatus of my stories on this site. Suffice it to say, I've had a less than stellar year, and this site was making everything a little worse back in 2015. Like all communities, this site has its fair share of unfriendly folk, and they had quite the affect on me (to my chagrin). I will consider giving an explanation on my Profile page some time soon, but don't hold your breath. (When this comes, you will also find an explanation of some of the other stories, and when- if ever- I am likely to continue them.)

I strongly recommend refreshing your memory on what happened last time before reading this chapter (I dislike catch-ups at the beginning of a chapter because it takes away from those who are reading the story through without the wait), even if it is only the last few paragraphs, as those lead directly to this point.

Also, as a quick note, there is slightly less humour from Purge in this chapter. I have not abandoned it, but the time that it may have been appropriate was description, not dialogue, and it would have felt out of place had I included a running commentary from him at that time. I am well aware, however, that it is a pivotal part of the story, and won't try to fix what ain't broke.

Lastly (sort of, but not really) I would like to thank those of you who have been patient for this chapter. Particularly those who expressed concern for my health and well-being. I'm touched that people cared, and that there are those that have taken such an interest in these stories I write.

Please enjoy the chapter. The next should come within a week (after that consistency will be something I strive for but likely fail to achieve) and I will state whether an explanation has been published or not.

You aren't my father,' Percy said. Obvious though it may be, the statement of fact was all he could say. The man- or, the Primordial being who appeared male- before Percy was definitely not Poseidon. He was just about the antithesis of the Sea god.

Tartarus chuckled in return, and Percy imagined the primordial would have been smiling had he had a mouth. The laugh was familiar, even after three centuries; it was not a sound Percy was likely to forget if he lived for a thousand more years. The sound, though, was slightly different to the sound that had made Percy Jackson and Annabeth Chase cower in the depths of the Pit all those lifetimes ago. This sound was… warmer. Closer to human than to the shadows of the home of monsters.

There was no mistaking that the being before him was Tartarus; the purple skin over thick muscles was unchanged, his face remained the whirling pool of darkness, and his voice was the same as it had been the first time Percy had made his acquaintance. But Percy was surprised at the differences in appearance.

Where Tartarus had been massive before, taller even than the hundred-handed ones, he now stood eye-to-eye with the younger immortal. Or would have done, had there been eyes in the primordial's face. And he had exchanged the armour Percy remembered for a close-fitting navy suit over a blue shirt and black neck-tie with the arms torn off to display powerful arms. Still, though, he wore to-scale stygian iron boots.

Percy tensed as the primordial raised a hand, the black talons adorning his fingers looked as deadly as any godly weapon the hybrid had seen, and Tartarus' movement slowed slightly. He adjusted the knot of his tie, but Percy did not relax. He felt as though he would never relax again, if a Primordial was about to enter the fray.

'Oh, but I am,' Tartarus' voice was deep, and Percy recognised the undertone. Likely, another would hear pleasantness, but Percy knew better. He had heard the anger lurking below his own for long enough, 'you are of my lineage far more than that of the sea god.'

Percy didn't answer. He didn't understand, and felt his throat constrict anyway. It took him a moment to identify the feeling. Fear. He was afraid. Afraid that he was going to die. That he was going to die here in the pit, alone and without those he loved.

'For were you not born inside my pit? You came to me cast out and dying, and I reforged you. Took you from your state of being,' Percy heard a sneer in Tartarus' voice, 'changed you from a mere god to something greater. Had you not come to me, son, you would still be a pawn of the Olympians- as pitiful as those Halflings you once called family.'

Percy couldn't speak. His breath was coming quicker now; he remembered that being a physical symptom of terror, from his time as a mortal. Inside his head, Purge's breath was just as rapid.

'You would still have their ichor in your veins. As corrupt as our filthy descendants themselves.' Percy's eyes were drawn to the figure's fist, clenched at his side. The claws pierced his skin, and Tartarus bled black blood. 'But I saved you from that, my son, and gifted you with real power.' He raised the fist, and the world around them shook. 'Power that the gods can only dream of. The power to bring about true change!' Again, it shook. And still Percy was unable to move, his mind frozen.

'You have already shown them as much, and as you grow they would see for themselves how far above them you stand. If only they had time to witness as much. Soon enough even Khaos will see what we have achieved through you. My siblings have already seen as much, and they are impressed!' Tartarus stepped forwards, coming close enough to Percy to be touched. His hands came to the sides of Percy's face, and hovered an inch from the skin. 'Barely out of infancy, and you will win this war for us single-handed!'

'No!' Percy stumbled back, tripping over his own feet. They were on a smooth surface that Percy remembered being rough.

'Yes!' Tartarus followed, stepping forwards. 'How else can you fulfil your destiny?! It is time for this world to grow, my son, and they are the cancer that is dragging it down! You know this! You have been a victim of their sickness!' Tartarus let his hands lower, and Percy to get some room from him. 'Our family can remake it. Better. We have learned from the mistakes of the past, and will not make them again. We will rule over the humans ourselves. The Titans will not be allowed to hinder their progress, and the gods will not use them as playthings. They will thrive under us, and so will everything.'

'They… I…'

'You care for them, I know.' Tartarus nodded, and Percy imagined a sympathetic smile. 'And we can make an exception for her. You and Artemis can live forever with us, her hunt can be a thousand times stronger than it has ever been before. She will be happy; we will give her plains as far as the eye can see to hunt. The humans will be taught the value of the world around them. We will restore the animals they have allowed to die, knowing no better. She will thank you for it, son. The world will thank you. You will be heralded as a hero once more. By all those who walk upon our lands. The gods will not poison your name.'

'I'm not… I'm not a hero. Artemis wouldn't-'

'She would.' Tartarus placed a hand on Percy's shoulder. 'She will. Just come with me, son, and we can fix their mistakes. As a family should be, instead of the ridiculous example the Olympians have set. You would be happier with a true family, wouldn't you, Perseus?'

Percy raised a hand to move Tartarus' hand.

'You could have your own.' Percy hesitated. 'You could have loved ones, instead of hating your father and uncles and cousins,' his fingers touched Tartarus' wrist, and wrapped around it. He summoned his strength, 'you could have your mother back,' Percy's strength faltered for a moment, until he reminded himself of who Sally Jackson was. She would be telling him to get out of there. To warn the council. Sally Jackson had believed in the gods, as folly as that may seem, 'You could have children.'

Percy didn't exert his strength, and he stared into the spot that would contain the other man's eyes.

'All I want for you, Perseus, is happiness.' Tartarus' voice was kind. Fatherly. 'And I know you. You cannot be happy without a family, and Artemis is the goddess of childbirth. How can you ever feel true happiness if you are not allowed to have children of your own? How can your love survive, how can you yourself live, if you are not free? The gods restrict you. We will not.'

Percy's hand fell away and, slowly, he nodded. A single nod, born of ill will towards the gods three hundred years prior.

Tartarus led him deeper into the cave, and Percy met the rest of his family.


'So this is what family looks like, eh boss?' Purgatory asked, as Percy's eyes scanned the long table at which he was sitting.

'Guess so,' Percy confirmed, halfheartedly. He was rather… shocked. Taken aback. Confused. This had not been what he expected from the Primordials.

Excluding Percy himself, ten figures sat around the table. He could see something of their personalities from the way they interacted, but one constant was that they each seemed glad to be with the others. And to have him at the table with them.

Percy sat next to Tartarus, still dressed in the same attire and engaged in a debate with a mountain of a man sat next to a familiar figure.

It was fitting that Ourae was, even at human height, monstrously tall and wide. The protogenoi of mountains should be. He looked young; in his mid twenties, roughly, and had laughter lines around blue eyes hidden behind shaggy blonde hair that fell to cover most of the upper-half of his face. His appearance was generally unkempt, with the unshaven stubble and gray tracksuit, but his demeanor was friendly as he argued with Tartarus over the pros and cons of underground and the world above. Percy got the feeling this was not the first time they'd had the debate, by the exasperated sigh Gaea gave as the out-of-place immortal contemplated.

She smiled at him, and Percy tried to return the favour. By the grin he was then given, he doubted he had managed. The first time around, he had not quite realised the magnitude of her beauty. And, now, he was annoyed with himself for noticing. Her black hair caught the light of the chandelier above, and her eyes were kind as hers met Percy's. As though she had forgiven him for his part in her defeat hundreds of years previous. Maybe she had. Her good mood was almost certainly influenced by her family, and the fact that her son, Ourae, was so exuberant.

On Gaea's other side sat Hemera, the Primordial of day. She was a tanned, extremely blonde young woman with bright blue eyes, in physical appearance. She looked to be in her early twenties, by rough estimate, and had not stopped grinning since Percy entered the room. Most of the time, she was grinning at him, but at other times was laughing happily at the argument that dominated the senses in the room. Across from her sat the protogenoi Percy knew as her consort, though he didn't know how accurate his information on them was.

Aither had even lighter hair than his sister-wife. It was pure white, and Percy found that fact interesting. It was a rare colour, and he wondered if it was a choice on the primordial's part. But not for a particularly long time. The protogenoi of air was pleasant enough, and came across as the nicest person in the world in comparison to the man he was speaking to.

Even Erebus had done nothing to be rude to Percy. The youngest immortal present didn't take it personally, but he wasn't becoming fond of the other man, and didn't ever see that changing. Erebus was… unnerving. He was tall, pale and thin, with pitch black hair, as was to be expected, and his matching eyes. But it was what was in his eyes that Percy found unsettling. They were utterly devoid of emotion. Of life, as though he was long-since dead and only his physical form still functioned. Added to that the fact that he kept looking at Percy without any discernible intention, and Percy felt his discomfort was justified. Purge agreed, too, and was out of character in his reaction. He, as well as Percy, almost cowered at the idea of Erebus attacking. And, yet, at least one of the Primordials present frightened Percy more.

That he still felt fear told Percy of the danger he was in. He didn't know how strong he was in comparison to those in the room with him, but he doubted his ability to stand against a single one of them. If pressed, as he pressed himself, Percy would give himself an edge over only one of them. And that was the one he would be unwilling to fight. The girl sat next to him.

Across from Percy sat Erebus' supposed consort. She was about as worrying as her husband, and only stopped from surpassing him because Percy was able to, at least a little, read the emotion in her eyes. Nyx was interested in him. In his abilities, most likely. They had met before, but darkness had been clouding her. She, like all of the Primordial females, was spectacularly beautiful. Percy disliked himself for acknowledging it, but her pale skin was flawless and her dark eyes felt as though they were drawing him in. Her hair and eyes and lips were all as black as night, but what interested him was that she had dark bags around her eyes. As though she did not sleep. She was the night itself, so maybe that was to be expected.

Two spaces to her right sat Pontus. He gave a booming laugh every few minutes at something one of the debaters said, and that did nothing to dissuade Percy's first thought. He looked eerily like santa claus. A bushy white beard covered his mouth, chin and neck, and his nose poked out above it. The personification of the ocean had eyes as green as Percy's, framed by horn-rimmed spectacles, and Percy hoped that they were for the sake of adding to the similarity with St Nick. As, most likely, was the long, curly grey and white hair. The loud laughter contrasted to the last two protogenoi.

Between Nyx and Pontus sat Chronos, time itself, and Percy was growing to hate the man. Not once in the time they had been sat, through the delicious meal the eleven of them had eaten and the extensive conversation Percy had listened to, had Chronos taken his eyes off Percy. There was something in the Primordial's eyes, but that something was unrecognisable to Percy. Whether it was hostile or not, he had no idea. Whether it was typical, he could not tell. What he could tell was that, in the time they had been sat, Chronos had not blinked once. The male Protogenoi looked older than anyone Percy had ever met, but his eyes were sharper than the younger immortal had ever seen.

Percy looked away from the silver eyes that contained all of time, and at the final Primordial present.

Elpis was familiar to him, though Percy had never met her. He remembered feeling her presence during the battle of New York, and the comfort she had given him even as he had tried to make an impossible choice. She was the personification of hope, and he had not doubted that she was sincerely kind in the time he had been with Tartarus' family. That was a relief, for he did not trust any of the others. He had no reason to, and they no doubt knew that. She was as beautiful as the others, but with rosy cheeks and brown eyes. She was short of stature and, with that, reminded him of Hestia.

And that was where Tartarus had made a mistake. Maybe he would spare Hestia, if Percy asked, but it wasn't only her that Percy cared for. Artemis was fast growing to be the most important person in his life; she had pulled him back from his hate, but she was not his world. Styx and Hestia and Thalia and Zoe and Bianca and Calypso and Jasmine and each and every one of the Hunters. Percy would fight for any of them. He would risk his life for any of them. He would die for them, if it came to that, so long as he could keep them safe in doing so. Even the others, or some of them, he would put his health on the line for. The gods had wronged him, but he was better than them. He would not forsake his family for a grudge.

Besides, he could hardly kidnap them and chain them in the Pit until this was all over. They cared for the gods. Artemis would never abandon her brother, her sisters, or even her father. She would not forsake Olympus, or leave innocent girls to die in her place. So there was no question what Percy would do. Had he been alone, there was no way he would turn down the offer from Tartarus. But that was not an option.

'I'm sorry, Purge.' Percy told his alter-ego, sadly. He would die with Percy, if it came to that. That was the way it worked.

'No need. You love 'em, Perce. That means we're both stuck with the emotions, whether I like it or not. So what if they could kill us?! We've got one thing they don't!'

'Oh?' Percy asked. 'What's that?'

'Shit. You weren't meant to ask a follow up question! That's just what morons who're rushin' into shitty situations say! Let me think!' Percy waited patiently. 'Got it! We have badass tattoos!'

'And how is that meant to help?'

'You didn't say it had to help!'

Nyx smiled, as she watched Percy Jackson think, and had Percy's mind been more present he may have wondered why.


'I hope you enjoyed the meal, Perseus,' Tartarus offered.

'It was delicious,' Percy nodded, 'and your family was far from what I expected. In a good way, I mean.' He added.

'We aren't our descendants,' the primordial nodded, 'and I hope that this has shown you as much.' Tartarus paused, Percy didn't know what he was thinking. 'We… don't want this, son. The gods, whatever their failings, are my family. Distant though they may be, I would rather give up my own life than harm one of those I love. But they have failed too spectacularly in their duty to human-kind. Time and again, they have seen the effect their interference has on the innocent lives of mortals, and yet they act with the belief that only their own lives are important. As though humans do not suffer.'

Percy opened his mouth to reply, but Tartarus stopped him by raising a hand.

'I know what you would say. The Titans will not be allowed control; their tyranny was far more troubling than the gods egotism. When we are done with this war, they will move on with the gods.'

'By move on, you mean…'

'They will go to my father, and live on in his domain. Eventually, he will be able to teach them the error of their ways and they will be all the better for it.' Tartarus' voice was sombre. 'I truly wish it had not come to this, but nothing else can be done. And our previous efforts have cost too much. Too much pain has come from our inaction stemming from reluctance to interfere.'

Percy was frowning. 'I don't understand. The gods are bastards. They care little for anything except the next thing to grant them pleasure. But that, in the world of immortals, is tiny. Even the sins of the Titans pale in comparison to the damage done by your children. The Gigantes… the monsters that live in the Pit… they have killed so many people. So many infants, innocents who had done nothing wrong since birth. They have caused so much pain. How can you believe that removing the gods could solve everything?'

'It will not. As long as the humans have free will, we won't be able to solve everything. But sending on the gods will be a start. And dealing with my children, and those of my siblings, will be the second step.' He placed a hand on Percy's shoulder again, as they walked towards their destination. 'The only true effect it will have will be on the humans; we immortals, upon death, will live on in another space and it will be the same as this world. But the humans are confined to the underworld. Do you have any idea how many of them are confined to Hell because the gods, or Titans, or monsters, have corrupted them?'

Percy shook his head. But he could imagine.

'It may not seem it, my son, but we are doing the right thing. It will be for the good of all, and I am willing to carry the burden after the act to better the world. I hope that you are too.'

As Tartarus patted him on the shoulder again, Percy noticed where he was standing. The entrance he had come through was immediately in front of him. The cavern around was dark, but light was creeping in ahead of him, and that told the immortal that the exit was open.

Percy walked up the incline, not for the first time, and it took only a few moments for him to catch a glimpse of the crack in the door, easily five times the width of a man.

He saw silhouettes, the sun strong behind them, and made an assumption that he thought was reasonable. Of course the others would be there waiting for him to emerge again, it had only been a few hours and they would be worried.

With that in mind, Percy quickened his pace. Thalia and Zoe would be especially concerned, and if he didn't arrive soon they might start to think the worst. Both were slightly pessimistic, after all.

Percy crossed the threshold at a quick walk, and realised something. It had been approaching evening when he entered the cave. How was the sun shining into the entrance?

He caught sight of a familiar dark-skinned, winged man and Percy's confusion grew.

'Thanatos,' he stopped dead, looking at the three people in front of him without relief, 'what are you doing here? Who are these?' He asked, not wanting to judge a book by its cover but not exactly liking the look of the two. The young woman had the same skin-tone as Thanatos, but brown eyes he had seen in Purge's face. The man wore a sombre expression, and stared at Percy as though he knew all the pain the world had ever known.

'I am sorry, Perseus. Please know I would not do this if it were not necessary.' Thanatos told him.

'Do what?'

Thanatos extended his hand, and the grim reaper's scythe appeared. His sister grinned as a pair of long, rusted daggers appeared in her hands. The morose man watched with pain in his gaze, and squared his shoulders.

The children of Nyx attacked.

Percy reacted quickly, but Keres was both eager and quick on her feet. The dagger in her right hand bit into the flesh of his left shoulder before Percy could summon one of his weapons, and Percy hissed as his right arm lit up in a platinum glow and the air around his left did the same.

A moment after Keres leapt away, Kyklonas cut through the air that had contained her moments before. The Dao melted and cut back through the air, as Percy turned to try and stop Thanatos' assault. He failed, and the scythe hooked over Percy's shoulder. Thanatos wrenched it upwards, and Percy yelled indistinctly as it sliced through his flesh.

He yelled again as he struck with the face of Enosei. The god of death was thrown backwards, and the blade of his scythe was pulled across Percy's back again. The cut was deep, and Percy was in pain.

His torso burned as Domi wrapped around him, and Percy heard Purge snarling in his soul. He twisted, and caught one dagger on Kyklonas' blade. The other cut across his cheek, and Percy slammed his forehead against Keres' nose. He had time to note that she was the taller of them before he heard the flap of wings and turned to find Thanatos attacking again.

Percy drew his left arm back and punched with the edge of Enosei. The edge of the spartan-esque shield broke Thanatos' ribs in mid flight, and the god lost all his breath. He lost control of his flight, and fell to the ground in a heap of wings and limbs.

Percy spun, struck, and his blade met its mark. Keres stared at the stump that was previously her hand for only a moment before swinging her right hand, still with weapon, at Percy's temple. Percy spun, went low, and the face of his shield collided with her knee. Her legs were moved from under her, and Keres gave a distressed yell.

Percy spun, shield raised, and found no attack incoming. The last being, the one he couldn't identify, was standing in the same spot. Percy thought.

Thanatos and Keres were two sides of the same coin. He could remember someone making a comment on how they looked the part, even if they were as different as night and day. That was how he could place a name to her face.

But this man, Percy didn't know. Pasty skin, a tall build and Dark eyes suggested a relation to Nyx. That made all three her children… but Nyx had many children. Siblings often stuck together.

Which of her children could this one be? He couldn't think of one with a shaven head.

Why wasn't he attacking? Percy's contemplation was cut short, as Keres struggled to her feet on his left, and Thanatos to his right. He let Enosei fall away, and Krikou wrapped around his arm in its stead. Riptide appeared in Percy's left hand, Kyklonas still in his right, and he went on the attack.

Percy moved quickly, stepping around Thanatos and raising both blades overhead. Thanatos didn't react, and Percy brought them down. The god of death screamed, as the blades cleaved through the flesh, muscle and bone of his back. His wings fell to the floor, and Percy changed the fight with a thought. A simple bronze spear appeared, and flew forwards with speed and precision.

Keres moved left, and it did not kill her. Instead, it impaled her right shoulder and took her right arm out of commission too. The knife fell to the floor, and Percy saw hate in her eyes. He did not know why they'd attacked, and would later wonder why, but he was not in the habit of allowing those who tried to cause him harm the opportunity to do so again.

'...give me, Perseus.' Thanatos' voice was faint, and stilled Percy's hand for no more than a heartbeat.

He placed the blades of his weapons under Thanatos' chin, swept them away from each other, and the god fell face first onto the ground. Ichor pooled and Percy stepped over Thanatos as the god turned to dust.

Keres smirked at Percy, and puckered her lips in a kissing motion. Percy raised Kyklonas, poised to remove her head, and she gave her final words. Or final until she reformed. Keres' voice was raspy, as though from screaming over the sounds of battle.

'Save us all, oh great hero.'

Her head hit the ground with a soft thud, and Percy turned to the only being left.

Even still, the male had not reacted. As though he had expected this outcome. Percy frowned, and opened his mouth to speak.

'You must kill me now, Perseus.' He said, without inflection.

'I… what?' Percy's voice reflected his confusion. 'You're involved, but you've not attacked me. I won't kill you when you've done me no harm. When you've done nothing to deserve it.'

'I am not giving you a choice, Perseus.' The strange god said. 'Not in this matter. Whatever happens next, you require my essence to proceed. If you do not take my domain, the outcome is certain. It is one we must avoid, or the world cannot be repaired.'

'What are you talking about? Whatever happens, the world'll survive. It might be set back by a couple of centuries, but humans are fucking resilient.' Percy didn't have a clue about the situation, but found himself arguing anyway.

'Like cockroaches.' Purge pitched in.

'You are wrong. If this continues, I will be made to intervene. We will have to fight, and neither of us will be victorious. The world will die, and Chaos will rule.' His tone was even more sombre.

Percy frowned. That sounded… apocalyptically bad. But…

'Then move aside. If the consequences would be so serious, stand aside and we can avoid whatever it is you fear.'

'It is not possible,' he said, 'I am a constant. I have to be, or the world will fall to the whims of immortal madmen. If I fail my duty, the world will die. It will be a longer death, but one more troubling to the mortals.'

'Well, then, tell me what I need to avoid doing. That way, I can change my plans and won't go against you.' Percy offered.

'Whatever path you choose, you cannot be allowed to go forth. Whatever happens from this point forwards, you will become powerful. More so than you were ever meant to. It is inevitable, and unavoidable.'

'How is that cataclysmic?!' Percy asked, growing more and more confused. 'This is a war, but when it's done I don't want anything! I ain't looking to rule, or anything, so why does it matter how strong I get?'

'Because your growth will not stop. You will be going against the order established long ago, and that cannot be allowed. Not unless you become a part of it.'

'A part of what?' Percy asked.

'Of the order itself. That is the only way your strength will not be faced with resistance by the essence of reality itself.'

'Fine. How do I do that?'

'You must kill me.'

'No! I've already fucking told you I'm not going to kill an unarmed man! Why didn't you come at me like they did?! And if this is the whole reason for this, why did you throw your siblings at me to get killed?! What was the point?!' Percy's voice was angered now, as he yelled at the unnamed man. It had the note he was familiar with; the darkness that came from his time alone in Hell.

'They understood the need. We had thought they would anger you enough for your other to be allowed control, and that he would drive his blade into my heart without hesitating. Apparently that calculation was wrong, and I am deeply sorry for their sacrifice. But it does not change the situation. You must kill me, and it is likely better for it to be the dominant aspect.'

'They… they didn't give me a chance to switch before we were fighting. When it's a tricky fight, swapping to Purge in the middle is a bad idea; it's more difficult to keep track of what's going on.' Percy explained, for some reason. 'But you didn't say why you didn't just attack me like they did.'

'You would die.'


'You would have died.'

'I… no, I wouldn't. Not easily, anyway, yet you say that like there's no question about the outcome. That's bullshit.'

'There is no doubt. I am not capable of doubt; I know what would have happened, as much as I know what will happen if I do not die here.'

'Let's say you're right. I don't think you are, since you don't feel like a primordial, but let's say. Why didn't you just throw the fight? If you'd been attacking me, no matter how bad you'd been I would have seen you as a threat. I'd have killed you then.'

'It would not have worked. I would have brought about your end in this case, as well. The only way that you can do this is to kill me now, when I am giving you my life.'

'Too bad then,' Percy shook his head, and smiled. 'I don't understand what's happening here, I don't know who you are, but I refuse to kill you. You've done nothing wrong, as far as I can see, and I still have some principles.

'Hopefully, you're wrong about this. If the fabric of reality starts tearing, though, I'll stop doing whatever I'm up to at the time. Unless you're Khaos, though, I doubt this is as serious as you're making it out to be. I'm strong, but reality is… reality. It's kind of unbreakable.'

Percy stepped around the man, heading down the alley, and heard him sigh.

'They will die if you don't do this, Perseus.' The being told him.

'You've said that already.'

'If you do not take this seriously, those you love will die.'

Percy stopped, and his weapons bar Riptide faded away again. He turned on the spot.

'What did you just say?'

'Artemis will be put into an eternal slumber. That is what happens when there is no potential for her domain to recover; she will cease to exist. The hunters will die, and wander forever because the underworld will shatter. The other gods will be sentenced to nothingness. Those who have faded will go the same way. Only Chaos will remain. Khaos… and you and I. I do not wish that; there are those I care for in this realm, and I won't allow you to sentence them to purgatory.

'And, so, I will give you an ultimatum.' Still, the stranger faced in the other direction. 'I know you well. I have known you would be the Hero since long before you were born- and believe me that no matter who wins this fight you will be heralded as such- and I know you as well as does your other self. I do not wish to bloody my hands; I have witnessed atrocities enough for a thousand thousand lifetimes, but I will choose that fate for myself before allowing you to destroy all the potential of this world. The mortals are to be treasured above all else. The children will not cry in fear because you have honour.

'If you do not kill me here and now, Perseus, I will take matters into my own hands. You are necessary for what comes next. But they are not.' He turned, and Percy found himself looking into the eyes of someone much older than himself. Someone who had seen all the pain in the world, and had been made to stand by. 'Kill me, or I will kill them. You will watch as I take away Artemis, and your hunters, and the gods and spirits you still hold dear; you will see the realisation in her eyes, but you will be too late to stop what comes for I am greater than you and you will be unable to even slow my path. You will cry and mourn and beg her to return and nothing will happen. She will not answer, for her life will be over.

'You will realise this fact. You will know that you have lost the love of your life, and were powerless to save her. That she died afraid, because of your failings. Because of your honour. You will toss your honour aside, realising all but the dregs had abandoned you long ago.

'And then you will kill me.' He stepped closer to Percy, and stood before the younger immortal with his hands hanging at his sides. The unnamed immortal did not blink at the rage in Percy's emerald orbs. He did not fear the destroyer, but awaited his death with calmness on his pale face and in his dark eyes.

'You will be consumed by rage, and you will drive your black blade through my heart. Or you will cut my head off. Or you will allow your other to torture me and make me beg for death and then allow the Ichor to flee my veins. We both know that your nature will drive you to do so. There is no reason to prolong it.' He stood before Percy, just out of reach of Riptide's bite, and the unnamed being did not flinch as Percy raised the sword and pressed the tip against his chest.

Percy exerted more control than he ever had before, and asked a question through his anger. 'Who are you? Why are you doing this?'

'My name is Moros. I am Doom. And I am doing this because the future needs its hero. And because, without my death, that hero will tear the world asunder.'

Moros stepped forwards, and Riptide pierced his heart.