Prologue

Her whole life, Annabeth had been surrounded by change. She had observed as villages were pillaged, watched as armies tore each other apart, stood as men fell to the ground around her, stepping away as to not dirty her heels. She had beheld as political tides fluctuated and surveyed as nobles fell in and out of favor, their heads occasionally falling into baskets.

Despite it all, Annabeth's family remained constant. Her father strong. Her mother intelligent. Her sister kind. And she forever observant.

She likened them to the eye a hurricane—a perpetual storm encompassing the kingdom, yet an eerie, peaceful calm protecting her family, accompanying them at every turn. From her tall tower, seemingly immune to it all, Annabeth observed—examined the lands that belonged to them, her eyes tracing lazy lines, following the predetermined sequences of the common man.

It had occurred to Annabeth—one night as she stared out over the listless castle gardens, her eyes catching a spark on the horizon—what it would feel like to experience change for herself. But it was just a fleeting, lost in the moment, carried away on a gust of wind.

Perhaps it was this treacherous thought that prompted her to consider Percy Jackson's arrival a blessing rather than a curse, an opportunity to discover—to experience. If only she'd known the chaos that would accompany the young Duke; then she might have reacted with more hesitance, with more caution at the news that was announced on April 14th.

...

"Would you care to take a turn around grounds?" Annabeth asked her sister that fateful morning, the morning everything changed. It was half-past noon, and the sun was towering over the castle.

Rachel set down her pencil and glanced up from her drawing, noting that her sister had shut the book she had previously been in such rapture with. "I suppose—" she began but was roughly interrupted by the sound of the doors to the study swinging open.

The clatter of the mahogany doors startled the girls. Annabeth was the first to rise, her gray eyes darting concernedly from Rachel to the intruder: their most trusted guard. Rachel felt her words leave as she waited with bated breath, dreading the worst.

"Your Highnesses," he greeted amongst pants. Annabeth blinked, her gut curling as she took in his dark and anxious demeanor. "There has been an assassination—"

Annabeth felt her body still, ceasing even its most minuscule movements. Her blood ran cold and her heart halted its rhythm.

"William—" the guard revealed through strangled breaths, "—Dohlov was poisoned only a few hours ago. Your Royal Majesties require both your presences at once."

A warm sense of relief seeped into Annabeth's skin, her lungs surging back to life, allowing her to breathe again. She watched the guard's concerned gaze linger on her sister and felt a secondary blow at the realization that Rachel would be devasted by the news.

"Take us to them," Annabeth demanded, feeling her body lurch into action at her own words. She turned back to her sister, taking her by the hand. Her jade eyes glimmered with loss as her lips wrapped around cold meaningless murmurs. "At once," Annabeth maintained at the guard's seeming hesitance.

He did not waste a second longer, spinning on his heel and leading them out the doors, wordlessly summoning an armed escort.

"Rachel," Annabeth whispered as she practically dragged her sister behind her. "Rachel!"

"William—" she muttered hopelessly. "How—"

"I know," Annabeth swallowed thickly, then—"I know"—softer this time.

"He was—" Rachel continued, her feet nearly tripping over one another. "I—"

She seemed unable to finish a complete thought, and Annabeth found herself in a similar—though slightly more functional—position.

"He was almost family—" Annabeth spoke, perhaps more for her own benefit than her sister's. "Almost, though—not family—not yet—you're—you—I need you. We need to go—We need to—to get to safety. We have to protect—family."

Family.

It had always remained the motivating force in Annabeth's mind. Friends and lovers would betray you, but family—blood—would remain loyal. They may have quarreled, may have disagreed, but when stripped and bare, only blood endured.

Trust only each other, their mother had once uttered to the girls as they watched the stars, her voice low and solemn. Others will deceive youbut blood will forever remain true.

Annabeth had heard distant stories of a prince murdering his own brother before massacring his father. She could not comprehend it—or perhaps she chose not to. For, to Annabeth, nothing—not fame, nor fortune, nor felicity—would rival family in her eyes.

Your duty, their mother had articulated to Rachel that same night, will be to rule.

Rachel was scarcely eight years old when the responsibilities began to weigh on her, when the soft whispers of the crown became too much.

Yours, their mother had turned to address Annabeth, her eyes glossy, will be to protectprotect your family at all costs.

Annabeth was a month from seven, but the words deep sunk into her, the principle intertwining itself in her DNA until the two were indistinguishable.

Family. It was her driving force. It was her purpose. It was the reason that, at just 17 years of age—after dragging her older sister through the castle's twisting hallways behind her—the harsh slam of the doors of her father's study, the dismissive gander of her mother, the quiet thanks of Rachel as they pulled her through the crack in the door, left her hoping for change.

As Annabeth paced outside the room of Congress, where ideas and strategies she was not privy to were being explored, she wondered if the death of her sister's betrothed could not carry a silver lining—if it might bring her the change she secretly craved for years.


a/n: okay, so I know this is short, and I know I said I wouldn't post until I was done w my extreme writing project, but I'm like 20% done and feeling good. Also, I wanted to give y'all a little teaser of what was the come bc I'm really excited about this story. And also, this isn't even a real chapter. It's a prologue.

So, onto the nitty-gritty details. The story has changed a bit from what was described on the poll, but other than that it's the same. It's a royalty AU set in like the 1600's-ish, but expect a plethora of historical inaccuracies. Also, don't expect the characters to speak with 16-century language bc that's definitely not happening. The story will be pretty slow burny bc that kind of comes with the time period. Also, the characters are definitely slightly ooc, but what can I do.

The story will be told in 3rd person limited, from Annabeth's pov. But you know me, I fuck up and use other people's perspectives sometimes. Anyway, there will be diary entries at the beginning of some chapters that will be in Percy's pov. Also, if anyone knows Percy's middle name. That would be much-appreciated information.

Okay, so story stuff now. You should be able to figure out most of the background throughout the story, and some things are left purposefully vague bc, well, suspense. But here are the basics: Rachel and Annabeth are sisters (Annabeth is younger) and princesses of a Kingdom w no male heirs, so Rachel is in line for the throne. As was the norm at the time, they were both betrothed as children. I think that's all so if y'all get confused by something, lmk and I'll explain it better.

Ciao until my extreme writing mission is really over.

p.s. I'll try to average chapters around 3000 words, but we all know I'm unreliable as fuq.

p.p.s. Very much appreciated all the reviews on my last chapter of FB :))) Thank you all for forgiving my long absence and being so kind and supportive.

p.p.p.s. The prologue is dedicated to Fangirl Shrieks bc that review was soo nice gurl, sending many gracias ur way