The Titans have returned. After millennia spent locked in the depths of Tartarus, Kronos has finally gained the strength to begin regenerating. Across the western world monsters stir in their nests, hearing the siren call of the Titan King. His fell whispers invade the dreams of demigods and even the gods themselves, tempting them with promises of recognition, power and most of all, revenge. Day by day his forces grow while the Olympians remain stagnant, crippled by their king's stubbornness. But demigods and monsters are not his only allies.
Thirteen years ago, Kronos cast a spell that bound a portion of every Titans' essence into a mortal form and bestowed upon it a mortal soul. These 'demititans' were scattered into the world above to be raised until the Titans called them to battle. One of the Olympians, the goddess Artemis, discovered this scheme. In accordance with her role as protector of the young, she defied Zeus's orders to destroy them and secreted the children away to be raised and eventually presented as loyal weapons of the gods. Little did the maiden goddess know that these children would touch her very heart.
As the demititans grew she visited each under the guise of 'Aunt Luna' and slowly taught them how to survive in the hostile world. In time she became fond of them and continued to visit long after they had outgrown her domain. One among them, who was raised by her huntress Naomi, claimed such a place in her heart that she adopted him as her own and began to envision a future where her hunters would meet and accept her child. But the maiden goddess would soon learn that none could out-scheme the Crooked One.
Kronos broke away the seal that sheltered her adopted son, the one named Hector, and thus exposed his survival to the Olympian Athena. To hide him Artemis severed all contact with Hector, hoping her distance would protect him even as Athena sent monsters to expose his true nature. Kronos used her absence to sink his grasp into Hector, manipulating him into stealing Backbiter from its place of rest and using Zeus's resultant wrath to break the bond between Artemis and her son. While Artemis grieved for the apparent death of her son, for no remains were left, Kronos proudly accepted Hector's pledge to forsake the goddess that 'betrayed' him and stand by the Titans as the true Son of Kronos.
A year has passed since that day. The gods, heady with jubilation for the success of Percy Jackson in returning the stolen master bolt and the reports of Dionysus that Hector was confirmed dead, no longer concerned themselves with matters on Othrys. This gave Hector, along with his friends Diego, son of Hyperion, and Serenity, daughter of Theia, the opening they needed to slip out of the sight of Olympus. For a year they have lived and trained alongside Luke Castellan and the growing Titan army aboard the cruise ship called Princess Andromeda. Their number has since grown by two: Altair the son of Astraeus and Justinia daughter of Themis. As summer draws near once again Kronos prepares a scheme that will force the demigods to play a desperate gambit for their survival. But Fate is a tricky thing, even for the Lord of Time. As he works toward the result he envisions, he is provided with another, more dependable advantage.
Deep beneath the blue waves of the Pacific, where the oceanic shelf drops off into the darkness, a city rests where the light last flickers before the impenetrable night of the sea trench. The city sprawls impossibly up and down the shelf, bridges and walkways connecting laterally while open-water staircases wind their way up and down. The city is built of living coral glowing with a soft green inner light that brightens as the sunlight wanes. Merfolk and sea creatures swim along the paths and alongside the stairs while some ocean spirits take on physical form and walk with their feet on the path. The city extends for a mile in either direction, with buildings hanging from either side of the trench and a lattice of bridges connecting the two, with gaps for creatures to pass through; monsters whose size confounds imagination.
The center piece of this city is a palace built as large as Atlantis itself but in a style that the reflects the grandeur of Mt. Othrys: the palace of Oceanus and his queen Tethys. Minarets reach toward the surface while caverns dug into the shelf border the bottom of the palace, where the brisk trade needed to keep a palace supplied runs day and night. Gates ornamented with shining crystals are manned by severe merfolk armed with tridents and armored in green steel plate. A palace of beauty and wonder, wherein dwelled all gods of the sea at one time and the place that Hera, Queen of Heaven, once called home. A place that was now the center of a great panic and a terrible rage.
The ocean trembled with the fury of its master and the force of his command exploded in a shock wave across the Pacific, causing tsunamis to form on the surface. The citizens of the city paused in their tasks, frightened by the explosion and waiting with baited breath for what would come next. From the palace Oceanids, the daughters of Oceanus came pouring out, followed by patrols of mermen adorned with the traditional garb of the Royal Sentinels. They fanned out in all directions while the Oceanids passed quickly among the citizenry. The city snapped into action, with only the essential workers remaining at their tasks while every other citizen grabbed their weapons and took up the search.
Tremors passed up the trench walls as a massive form crawled up, the sight of which sent alarm into the citizens of the city. This was no ordinary disappearance; the Kraken being awoken could only mean she was in terrible danger. The searchers redoubled their efforts, radiating out from the palace in all directions while the Kraken searched the darkness near the city before following the trench south. On a palace balcony overlooking the flurry of activity stood the Titan himself.
Oceanus appeared as a merman that rested fifteen feet tall with his tail curled on the ground and his hands gripping the railing with such force it was a wonder that it didn't shatter in his grasp. His long, free floating hair and beard were an emerald green as was his tail. Coiled around his right arm a serpent wound its way back and forth hissing with its eagerness to draw blood. Oceanus's chest rose and fell with heavy breaths as he struggled to rein in his anger and focus his senses. He felt his ire crescendo again when it abruptly stopped and disappeared, banished by the smallest touch on his shoulder. "We'll find her, husband."
Tethys tried to give him a reassuring smile. She was stunningly beautiful, with midnight black hair and eyes a sapphire blue. Her blue tail lay comfortingly across his own and she moved her hand to cup his cheek. "She'll be fine," Tethys repeated.
Oceanus felt his body loosen and he released his pent-up anger, leaving only worry and fear as he melted into his wife's touch. "It's my worst nightmare. She's run off before but…if he catches her like he caught Achilles."
Tethys's voice carried all the authority of a queen while her eyes blinked away a mother's pain. "Don't you dare think like that. We'll bring her home safe, even if we have to bring our brother into it."
Oceanus shook his head. "Involving him made her run to begin with. Asking him for help would be…"
"Safer than allowing our daughter to be chased by Triton from one ocean to another. Come, you need to address the court. I'll lead the search."
Oceanus began to protest but was assured, "You can join me when you've settled things here. Besides, she's none too happy with you. You did break your promise."
Oceanus nodded. "I did, and perhaps someday she'll see that was the better option."
Somewhere off the coast of Maine
The setting sun painted the sky in hues of red and orange as the lights aboard the Andromeda came on one by one. The rolling waves of the Atlantic broke upon its bow as it followed the coastline. This was home base for the Titan army though for many of the demigods and demititans, it was simply home. On the bow of the ship three figures stood in a triangle: two with weapons drawn and the third with his arms crossed.
Luke Castellan had gone with a casual look as he examined the stances of the other two. "Diego widen your stance and move your hands apart. You need to loosen up your form. Same with you Hector."
Diego nodded as he adjusted his position, fiery eyes narrowed as he braced himself. Hector's blade came whistling towards his head and Diego quickly spun his spear to deflect the strike before stabbing at Hector. Hector sidestepped the strike and quickly closed the distance. "Good Hector!"
Diego gave Hector a sharp kick to the gut that sent him on his back and tried jabbing again. Luke cautioned him, "Don't overextend or he'll get in close again. Quick, controlled thrusts."
Hector and Diego circled each other, looking for an opening to exploit. Since joining the Titan army the two had grown in strength with both their combat skills and mastery of their powers. They still had a long way to go before they would be ready for war. Luke examined both of them before checking the time. "Alright let's wrap this up. Weapons free, no powers."
Diego and Hector shot toward each other, the air whistling as their weapons flew back and forth. They were in a constant dance, giving ground and stepping around each other. The clang of weapons became a constant thrum as their weapons collided. A minute passed, then two, then three. Luke idly wondered if he should call a tie when the clatter of a sword hitting the ground and a curse from Hector told him the battle was done. Diego held his spear point to Hector's throat before lowering it with a grin. "That's five to three, my favor."
Hector growled, "Don't get cocky," though the smile on his face removed any bite from his words.
Luke shook his head in disbelief at the two before ordering, "Alright, grab some food then get some rest. Tomorrow we'll focus on your powers, and day after that we'll have missions to give out. Don't wear yourselves out."
Luke left the two on the deck while Hector and Diego walked over to the bow to take a slight breather. Anyone who saw them now would still recognize the boys that left home but something was undeniably different. Diego had grown in size and strength and his hair had been cut back to a more military style. In his hands he toyed with the golden spear his father gave him and it collapsed back into a cylinder that he slipped into his pocket. Hector had grown as well, but had a leaner appearance and his hair had become wild. Golden eyes reflected calm as they searched the horizon, his adamantine and imperial gold sword collapsing back into a bracelet on his wrist.
Diego turned to him with a grin. "You're getting faster, a few times there I thought you were about to take my head off."
Hector huffed, "I do have self-control you know. Just saw a hair longer than the rest and thought I'd take a little off the top."
Diego's hand reached up to rub his head and a playful scowl covered his face as he realized Hector was joking. "Very funny."
The two stood in silence for a while as the sun began to dip below the horizon. Hector checked to make sure the deck was clear before asking Diego, "You know, Serenity will be joining us again at the next port."
Satisfied to see a blush creeping up Diego's cheeks Hector pushed on, "She's been really busy lately. I'm sure she'd like to have some fun. Perhaps you can take her somewhere?"
"Oh no you don't. She and I are just friends, don't you be starting that rumor."
Diego glared at him. "I'll tell Naomi you're trying to be a matchmaker."
"Who do you think gave me the idea?"
Hector laughed before a more serious expression crossed his face. "I've been hearing some strange things coming from our forces near Mt. Tam, and I think it may be the reason they're sending you."
Diego glanced back at the door Luke had gone through and asked, "What have you heard?"
Hector folded his arms across his chest. "Little reliable intel. Demigod patrols have been sighted with greater frequency in the San Francisco area. The only unifying features are that they wear purple shirts, use imperial gold, and they speak Latin. None of the monsters will give me additional details, though I can't figure out why."
Diego frowned, "I don't recall seeing any purple shirts at the Camp store, and your sword is the only one I know has Imperial Gold. Anything else?"
"Only that these are much better trained than the camp demigods on average, and…" Hector made sure the coast was still clear before telling Diego, "One of them has been reported to summon lightning in battle."
Diego's eyes widened, "You mean they have a son of Zeus?"
Hector nodded grimly. "Possibly. If my next mission takes me to the west coast I'll see if I can do some reconnaissance, get some reliable intel. If they send you there before me, be careful."
"You do the same Hector. I know you like to run solo, but you should probably bring someone with you."
Their discussion was interrupted by a door opening and one of the demi-titans poked their head out. Same age as Hector and Diego, the boy wore dark clothing and kept his hair short. Black eyes looked curiously at Hector and Diego. The son of Astraeus had been found in Harlem, and still carried an accent. "You guys still out here? Come on let's go!"
Hector couldn't help but laugh. "Alright Altair, we're coming."
Exchanging a last glance with Diego, the three boys ventured back inside for dinner and a good night's rest.