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Ace Iverson and the Fabric of Fate

By ACI100

Season I: The Veil of Reality

Chapter XVIII: The Long Forsworn Path

December 17, 2004

Camp Halfblood

8:48 PM

"Huh," murmured Cato as the crowd broke out into tumultuous muttering following the shocking revelation that had been Andy's parentage. "I did not expect that."

"You and everyone else," Ace agreed in a low whisper, though, to Cato, he sounded a touch distracted.

It was an accurate assessment, for his eyes had drifted and found Andy quickly. She was looking dazed by the whole thing but altogether did not appear to be in too rough a state. Ace resolved to watch over her, since he had no doubt this would cause rumblings. Not nearly as many as there would have been had she been claimed by Poseidon, but this was different in various ways.

For one, the camp didn't formally recognize the minor gods. Not in the same way as the Olympians, at least. They weren't discussed nearly as often as their Olympian counterparts and, as far as Ace knew, no one at Camp Halfblood had ever been formally claimed by any god who wasn't one of the major twelve that made up the pantheon.

Until now, at least.

There was also the interesting fact that this meant Amphitrite had cheated on Poseidon. Ace found it odd how the thought seemed abnormal, but it did. Poseidon had cheated on her countless times if the myths were to be believed. Why the thought she might return the favour seemed so odd, Ace didn't know. Perhaps it was just the amount of power Poseidon wielded. Or perhaps it was the fact that neither Hera nor Persephone — the wives of Poseidon's brothers, Zeus and Hades, respectively — had never cheated on them.

"This is gonna be fun," said Cato, rubbing his hands together with glee evident in his posture and expression.

"Oh?" asked Ace.

"All everyone talks about is Poseidon. I dunno what the hell the difference is in the powers between children of Poseidon and children of Amphitrite, but I damn sure ain't gonna rest until I find out." The light in his eyes seemed to intensify. "If nobody's seen a child of Amphitrite before and they don't know what she can do either, I can use this."

Ace would have shuddered had he not been the man's best friend.

December 18, 2004

The Dining Pavilion

7:48 PM

Dinner had thus far passed as usual the night after Andreia had been claimed, even if everything else hadn't passed in the same mundane, uniform matter.

There had been logistical issues when Andreia had been claimed by Amphitrite. Not least of which being that Camp Halfblood didn't actually have an Amphitrite cabin, as was the case for all of the minor gods. This raised an interesting dilemma of where Andy would sleep, even if the eventual decision wasn't all that difficult.

The Hermes cabin, as always, offered their hospitality and generously agreed to house Andreia full-time. Ace had winced at the revelation, knowing that Andy was now doomed to an eternity in the cramped confines of the clustered cabin. She seemed unbothered and was actually far more annoyed by the fact Triton had been her actual brother and she had never once realized it.

Stares followed her the next day and Ace had to crush the selfish impulse to enjoy that fact. Not at Andy's expense, but it was nice to not be the centre of attention for a day. Not only had Andy become the first camper in recent history to be claimed by a god not part of the Olympian council, but she had also demonstrated power that — except for the tornado that Ace himself hadn't even conjured — the camp hadn't seen since the days of the Second World War.

Andy seemed to be taking it in stride thus far, though she seemed blissfully ignorant as to the magnitude of what she had done. She acted as if controlling water on such a scale was trivial, which only added credence to her newly-found reputation — something Ace remained conflicted about. So long as it didn't visibly bother her, he supposed he would revel in the semblance of a break he was presently receiving.

The normality of the night's affairs was shattered, pulling Ace promptly from his thoughts as Chiron — in full, centaur form — took to his feet, banging his hoof loudly against the pavilion's stone floor to gain the attention of all gathered.

"I have news," he told the crowd, waiting for the muttering to die down before he proceeded any further. "On the afternoon of Tuesday, the 20th of December, we will all be embarking on a trip into New York City." More muttering. "A trip that will see us to the Empire State Building, up to the hidden six-hundredth floor, and onto Mount Olympus itself, where we will observe the winter solstice meeting that will begin at midnight on the 21st and spend the night."

Ace's mind blanked, which didn't seem to be a problem for most gathered at their respective tables. Muttering didn't describe any of what was going on. There were now full-blown, energetic conversations erupting all around the pavilion, spreading and increasing in volume like a wildfire might in heat.

Chiron stamped his hoof once more, pulling everyone out of their respective conversations.

"It should go without saying that this is a massive honour. It is one the camp hasn't been granted since before the outbreak of the First World War. Naturally, you are all expected to be on the very best of behaviour. For those of you not yet claimed, this will be an opportunity to make an impression. You won't do so by speaking up or being brash, but by showing the manners and dignity one would expect from you. For those of you already claimed, it is doubtless your respective parents will be watching you." Ace noticed the way Chiron's eyes fixed exclusively upon him with the speaking of that last sentence, but he tried to ignore the centaur's stare. "Be on your best behaviour and enjoy what can best be described as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

Chiron's speech then came to a close, which prompted noise to rapidly spread through the dining area once more.

For his part, Ace was lost in thought. After Hades had seemingly tried so hard to kill him for merely existing, it raised the very serious question of how the gods of Olympus would react to him, the physical manifestation of a broken pact. Hades did sit on his throne on the winter solstice, after all, which was going to make the occasion all the more uncomfortable.

Ace tried to take comfort in the fact that his father — the same one who had given him his blessing during the Battle of Halfblood Hill — was the King of the Gods. Hopefully, his influence would be enough to keep any of the other gods from intervening.

Not that Ace thought any of them were going to strike him down.

That was far too extreme and it would probably cause them just as many problems as it would solve. More likely, they would be tempted to act in less direct ways, which was what he was hoping wouldn't happen.

He supposed the only way to find out was to wait for this once-in-a-lifetime' opportunity to come to fruition.

He glanced over towards Cato, who was watching him from his place at the Athena table. They nodded at each other and Ace took no small bit of amusement in the fact that, even in the presence of gods, Cato would likely have a plan. Not that it would necessarily work, but he would most certainly have one.

December 20, 2004

The Sword Fighting Arena

11:00 AM

Ace winced as he stepped out of the amphitheatre after nearly three hours inside, reacting both to the stabs of pain his sore muscles were subjecting him to, as well as the bright streams of sunlight dazzlingly reflecting off of the light coating of snow which blanketed the camp.

He had just finished his first specialized lesson in sword fighting from Annabeth and it had been a surprisingly humbling experience.

There were things he did which she said nobody at the camp could match. His movement and footwork were such that she had never seen anything like it. His understanding and anticipation of range and distance were also extraordinary, as was his capacity to recognize holes in his opponent's defence. His offensive repertoire, however, was very limited; as was the case with his arsenal of defensive tricks.

Annabeth had spent most of the session running him through drills to aid him in the building of muscle memory for several fundamental movement patterns which would be necessary for a vast number of the standardized techniques. This was probably the most at home he had felt thus far at camp. This was basic for him; something he had been doing for most of his life, if admittedly not in the context of mastering archaic forms of weaponized combat.

Annabeth herself was surprisingly helpful. She answered any questions he had and was a fairly strict taskmaster, but she wasn't unreasonable or unnecessarily harsh. In the same vein, she didn't praise him for picking up on a technique, she just nodded in satisfaction before moving onto the next.

It was a nice balance in the given context, though Ace still watched her closely. She seemed genuine in everything she did and he couldn't help but wonder if he had misjudged her. He wasn't going to bank on that assumption though, and he would continue being cautious, but he couldn't see a motive for her taking the time out of her day to aid him in the endeavour. Not unless she thought it would gain her his allegiance, or something, but he thought her smart enough to realize that would be an exercise in futility.

The fact he couldn't find a motive made him trust her both more and less, but he would be watching her closely. So long as no motive continued to present itself as a viable explanation, Ace supposed he may one day have to admit his initial suspicion had been for nothing.

It was a preferable alternative, one he hoped would become reality in time. The same hope extended to Luke, who Ace had spent far less time interacting with at camp, but who Andy liked more than all but the three campers she had arrived with.

In time, perhaps he would prove his suspicions unfounded as well.

Hours later, on Mount Olympus…

The campers had left for New York later that day. The idea was that they would arrive and see the gods' council meeting that would take place at the stroke of midnight, right as the calendar switched over to the winter solstice.

They had all piled into a large number of vans, branded with the marketing associated with the camp's strawberry business. Ace had ended up in one with his three best friends and Argus as the driver. He thought that was no coincidence, and he couldn't really blame whoever had come up with the idea. He and Cato really did just have an innate talent for attracting trouble of all varieties.

He had never spent any meaningful period of time in New York City before, so he was quite intrigued by the sights as they drove ever closer to the Empire State Building. It was a fun place to visit, but Ace knew at once he could never live there. The bustle in a city like Ottawa bothered him often, so he could only imagine what levels of insanity he would achieve if he were constantly exposed to the mad hustle of a city like New York.

Entering the Empire State Building was a fairly normal experience, right until Chiron had asked for admission to the six-hundredth floor. The guard behind the desk had eyed the seemingly wheelchair-bound man with great confusion, but that had all changed when Argus — whose hands had been up his sleeves — held one of them out to reveal the eyes all over him. The ones on his face had been mostly obscured by what Chiron had called a "manipulation of the Mist" and the rest of him was covered. Upon showcasing his rather… unique anatomy, Argus quickly gained them the access they had desired.

Ace was among the first to ride the elevator up further than any elevator should ever be able to travel. The music was incredibly dull, but it hardly mattered as his heart threatened to beat straight out of his chest.

All impressions of dull, mundane things vanished as soon as the elevator dinged and opened its doors, at which point Ace's eyes seemed to break their connection with his brain.

The latter was insisting, in no uncertain terms, that the former was having a laugh. His eyes seemed to argue back, reaffirming that the reality of the situation was indeed what they were indicating. After nearly a full minute of rapidly blinking, pinching himself, and doing several other innocuous things to test his coherence and consciousness, Ace's brain reluctantly had to concede that his eyes had won this round.

The peak of a mountain hovered there, suspended hundreds of feet above the tallest of Manhattan's many skyscrapers. It looked as though it had been cut straight off of the real Mount Olympus in Greece whenever the Olympians had first relocated and had just travelled with them all this time, even though Ace knew such things to be impossible.

But that wasn't even the thing that most effectively stole his breath away.

An ancient, stone-flagged bridge traversed the space between where the few campers who had taken the first elevator up to Olympus stood and the mountain peak. It just floated there without the need of any architectural support, leading to what appeared to be a utopia far too perfect to exist in the real world.

Yet there it was.

On the other side of the floating bridge, a path twisted and wove through the breathtaking buildings that were tastefully dotted all over the mountain peak. The path was not made of stone, but of real gold; which seemed to impossibly reflect the light as it danced across the gold's surface in odd, enchanting ways that defied the laws of optics altogether.

Temples of gold, silver, marble and other materials Ace didn't even know were everywhere. Some were small and built so elaborately that mortal architects and engineers alike would have fainted. Others were simple, yet so large and ostentatious they put anything Ace had ever seen to shame.

And there, off in the distance, was their final destination.

A massive, sparkling palace that seemed to be bathed in an odd, golden light. The pure gold which made up the palace was all around it, encompassing the entire courtyard. In the centre of the garden sat trees that Ace thought must have bore the fruit of eternal life; the gleaming fruit adorning their branches looked too majestic to be anything less. Music was emanating from the courtyard as well, and Ace and the others would only realize when they drew closer that the twelve muses were playing a concert right outside the palace's main entrance.

Ace's trance was broken by a firm hand on his shoulder. "Come," said Chiron, smiling softly at the dumbstruck expressions worn by everyone around him. "The next group will be getting off the elevator shortly and we must be on our way. The last thing we would want is to be late to an event orchestrated by the gods themselves."

At midnight, in the throne room…

The throne room was as immaculate as one could imagine, as were the thrones the twenty-foot gods sat upon as they discussed the business of the month.

There had been a moment of real trepidation when Ace first entered the throne room; all the gods' collective attention had rested upon him for several seconds before Athena had engaged their father in conversation, drawing the gods' scrutiny away from him.

The campers had all gathered just before midnight, and at the stroke of the hour, the council meeting began. Nothing of major significance was brought forth, but just being there was truly an experience the likes of which were difficult to describe.

After the meeting had been adjourned, the night's real festivities began. Tables bearing all sorts of delicacies from all around the world — as well as nectar and ambrosia for the gods themselves — appeared around the room's perimeter. The muses entered the hall, taking to a golden stage that wasn't there a moment earlier, and began to play; just as all sorts of nymphs, minor gods, and minor goddesses filtered into the room, many of them pairing up to dance.

Neither Ace nor Cato were particularly interested in dancing, so they stuck mostly to the perimeter of the room; Ace occasionally filling a plate with some sort of delicacy while Cato made a valiant effort at systemically devouring everything in sight.

Andy and Blaze occasionally dropped in on the duo, though both of them actually did spend a considerable period of time dancing. Annabeth visited with them for a while before disappearing back into the crowd, though she reappeared later with a tall woman who looked stunningly similar to her.

Neither Ace nor Cato had any problem recognizing her, and both of their postures stiffened at once.

"Mother," said Annabeth, speaking more formally than either boy had heard her before. "This is your son, Cato, and his friend, Ace."

"A pleasure to meet you both." Her voice was perfectly modulated, putting forth the perfect amount of inflection in every syllable. "Cato, I shall return to speak with you soon, if you are agreeable?"

"Yes, ma'am," he answered automatically. Ace would have smirked had Athena not spoken up next, looking directly at Ace as she did so.

"Dance with me."

It wasn't a question so much as it was a polite order, one Ace could do nothing but comply with. He realized even before it became obvious it was simply a way of getting him relatively alone to speak privately. Perhaps she didn't want to remove him from the throne room for any number of reasons. Speaking in the centre of a bustling crowd was an effective form of cover, for the chatter of others would do an admirable job of obscuring the words spoken between acquaintances, close or otherwise.

Not that he doubted Athena could have simply willed their conversation to go unheard.

"You are quite close with two of my children," she started.

"One of them," Ace countered politely. "Cato is my closest friend, but I wouldn't say I know Annabeth all that well and I really don't spend much time with her."

"You are closer than you realize," Athena said lightly. "In time, the reasons for my observation will become obvious. For now, simply take my word for it."

There wasn't exactly much Ace could say to that, so he just nodded stoically.

"I cherish all of my children equally, but they are not all equal." Ace wondered whether or not she would speak in riddles for the entire conversation. "All of my children are gifted but, as is the case with human nature, some are gifted with the capacity to outpace their fellows.

She studied him carefully, obviously ensuring he was keeping up. "Among my many children, it is Cato and Annabeth who can go further than any other. This doesn't mean I cherish them more than the others, but it does mean — even outside of myself — the council should have a vested interest in the both of them."

"Why is it you're telling me this, if I may ask?"

"Of course you may. I am the Goddess of Wisdom and perhaps the single most unlikely being in the universe to deem curiosity as a sin. That doesn't mean it is without the potential for danger and destruction, but a sin it is not. I am telling you this because you are the son of Zeus. I know you tire of hearing it already, but it is something you must live with. It is something you will endure forever and there will scarcely be a time when the fact is anything but directly relevant."

"I don't exactly follow why it's relevant here."

"When discussing your lineage with Chiron, he told you that the children of Kronos's three Olympian sons were changing the course of history too directly." Ace nodded, suspicious, sky-blue eyes fixed closely on the goddess's stormy grey ones. "This is true for many reasons. Of course, the power these children wield is the most obvious, but it comes with consequences not often considered.

"The universe centres on many principles. How this works is not of importance and is not something I feel the need to elaborate on. The important thing is that this is true and that one of the key components is balance. You will doubtlessly have heard the expression that with great power comes great responsibility?" Ace gave an affirmative gesture and Athena continued.

"This fact is more true than mortals could ever realize. I spoke earlier of equality and the same is true among demigods not of the same parentage. The world is not equal. You were born with the potential to become one of the great heroes to ever live. This is true of all Big Three children, even if not all of them see that potential through. Most of them don't, of course, for there can only be one called the greatest at a time.

"The point is that this potential exists and the universe, as well as the forces which govern over it, are well aware of this. Oftentimes, these heroes are born with other things too. Fates and destinies, above many other things."

"So because I'm more powerful than other demigods, my life is predestined?"

"That isn't how fate works, child. Fate is a set of circumstances that may or may not happen. And from those circumstances, more outcomes than the human mind can comprehend branch off in all possible directions. Fate does not mean your life or your choices are preordained. Fate means that those cursed with it are chosen to land themselves in situations set out before them long ago. What becomes of these situations is impossible to predict, but it often sets other events into motion, usually events that scale in significance to those who bring their existence forth.

"I say none of this to frighten you, but to inform you as to why I am interested. I do not threaten you, nor do I endorse you, I simply warn you. Your fate may be greater and more terrible than either of my children. I do not wish to see either of them swept into something terrible, though I understand you might not be responsible for whatever it is that befalls you in the future. Just know that I am watching you. If I see positive things, we shall speak again in a positive light."

"And if you don't?"

Her face remained impassive. "That bridge will be crossed if and when we arrive at it."

Her parting words left Ace feeling more than a little bit tense, standing in the centre of the dance floor and gazing around the room. He noticed that several nymphs were eyeing him with startling intensity and decided getting out of the hall's centre may be in his best interests.

Before he could, someone spoke from right behind him.

"What ails you?"

Ace recognized the voice from the recent council meeting and turned around very slowly.

Standing before him was the tallest of the gods, though he was in his more reasonable human form now. His physique resembled that of the statues that had depicted him in ancient times, though it was hidden beneath the gold-threaded robes of white he wore. His face was weathered and though he didn't look particularly old, he certainly had the visage of one who had seen a great many things. His eyes were the same sky blue as his son's, and his hair and beard were as dark grey as the angriest of storm clouds.



They studied each other intently, each taking in all they could of the other before the King of the Gods spoke once more. "Come."

He strode straight towards the throne room's exit, Ace following in his wake, not sparing a glance to either side. He had no doubt they were the centre of many's attention and he wanted to move accordingly — with as much confidence and composure as he could muster.

Zeus not only led him from the throne room, but from the palace and its grounds altogether. They walked off the golden path and right up to the side of the mountain peak, where the two of them finally stopped.

The view was breathtaking.

A sea of lights, so vast it was hard to imagine, stretched out many hundreds of feet below them. Ace could see everything; even the entire outline of Manhattan island.

"Beautiful, isn't it?"

Ace nodded. "Probably the most incredible thing I've ever seen."

"You will see many things in the coming years," said his father. "Some of them I think will put this view to shame, and some of them would seek to destroy such a beautiful place."

"Because of fate?"

"Perhaps, but perhaps not." Ace kept staring straight ahead. "The truth of the matter is that fate would likely lead you down that path eventually, but you might well walk it of your own accord. My children have a habit of finding themselves in situations of great importance — even without the guiding hand of fate."

"Was it fate that had me chased across America, or was that just because of my own actions?"

"It's impossible to say. It certainly could have been fate, but it is without a doubt because of you. If you hadn't pursued your dreams so fiercely, you would never have been in that situation. The truth about fate, Ace, is that it cannot make one's choices for them. It can influence events to change the way a person might think about their choices, but it cannot dictate how a person thinks or acts."

"What is it you're trying to tell me, Father?"

"That in the coming years, many will place their hopes and dreams upon you. It isn't fair and you will despise it, and for that, I am sorry."

He genuinely sounded it, and his tone of voice was the first thing during their conversation that made Ace take his attention off of the stunning view and focus upon his father.

"You should have never been born," said Zeus. Ace felt as though he had been physically struck, but Zeus continued speaking. "It isn't something that should have happened, but I do not regret it, nor will I apologize for it."

Ace, whose gaze had fallen after his father's previous confession, looked back up to meet his stare once more.

"What I will apologize for, is what your existence will bring down upon you simply because you are my son. It isn't fair and I wish I could prevent it, but I cannot."

"That's nothing new." Ace's voice came out more bitter than he had meant it, but both of them knew his statement held true.

"It isn't," admitted Zeus. "I am sorry for all that has accosted you already in your life, but if you will forgive me, I am happy it has happened." Ace's eyes widened. "Not because of how it has affected you, but because of what it has made you.

"It has made you a leader. I know you don't agree and that you hate the mere idea. You think you are not suited for it, but you are. Your life has equipped you with every tool needed to lead, and the struggles your reputation has brought down upon you have strengthened your mind in a way most could not understand. They have led you to understand people and the human condition in a way most cannot claim to match, which has made you strong in a way most are not. You're a good person who is strong of mind and has all the tools he needs going forward, regardless of what the future holds. Those tools will need to be sharpened, and even in some cases discovered, but they are there.

"I do apologize for all that is to come, whether it is the doing of fate or just the byproduct of you being my son and the person that you are. I can do nothing to stop it, but I can give you what I only hope will be advice that may aid you in the future.

"You have been told of fate tonight by my daughter, and now we speak of it once more. Whether through fate or your own actions entirely unrelated, you will find yourself in dark and difficult times. This is true of all demigods, but especially of my children. You will be asked to see those less equipped to handle said situations through to the other side and it will be difficult. Choices will need to be made; choices that may shape the future of our world, and choices that no mortal should ever be tasked with making.

"Remember what it is I have told you. You have everything a person needs to make the right choices and no force in the universe can make those choices for you. When the time comes to make difficult decisions, think of what it is that makes you yourself. Think about what it is you hold dear and what it is that choice would mean. Think of yourself, your life and your future, and think of this conversation. Stay true to all of that, and I have no doubt you will find the light at the end of whatever tunnel you find yourself in."

Zeus rested his hands on Ace's shoulders and looked him in the eyes. "Stay true to yourself and all will be well."

Ace didn't know what all of that meant but he nodded and allowed himself to be led back into the throne room as he deeply contemplated all that had transpired that night.

Some time later…

"It will happen tonight."

The same inhuman voice that had dominated Ace's dream the last time he had awoken in this cave-like place rang through his thoughts as soon as he became entrenched in yet another nightmare.

Though this time, he could speak.

"What's going to happen? Who are you? What is it you want with me and where are we?"

"So many insightful questions from one so young."

The voice sounded amused, which was an odd dichotomy for a voice that sounded like metal grinding on metal.

"What is going to happen soon can best be described as a revolution. Those who join it will rise to unimagined heights and bury the old, broken world underneath the rubble which they used to build themselves up." Ace could practically see the sneer forming on the face of whatever was speaking as he spoke his next words. "Those who are foolish enough to oppose such a revolution will soon find themselves standing at what might best be explained as the precipice of peril."

"Whatever you're doing, you plan to do it by force."

"There is no other way. Not when dealing with systemic problems that have been so deeply ingrained in your society for millennia. Change must be made from the top down, which will indeed require a shocking amount of force."

"You haven't answered any of my other questions," Ace pointed out.

"I suppose I haven't. What I want with you should be clear. You are an intelligent child who has no doubt put together exactly what it is I want." The voice again sounded amused. "Intentionally misinterpreting information to probe is a tactic which will not work on me, child. No form of manipulation you could ever devise would, so I advise you cease your efforts."

"And the very blunt questions I asked you?"

"I want you to join this revolution, as you very well know. I have a prominent member already, but nothing would quite eclipse the son of Zeus turning traitor."

"And if I refuse?"

There was a slight pause. "You will be overcome, just as all other obstacles will be."

"And my other questions?"

"You stand at the mouth of something so intrinsically horrible that you might fail to comprehend it unless you experience it yourself. A place so dark that the gods themselves fear it. A place so malevolent that the Olympians themselves wonder if, upon entering it, they would ever come out again."

"Tartarus," breathed Ace, finally putting all of the pieces together.

The gaping chasm in the centre of the cave could be nothing but the entrance to Tartarus.

But that left one important question unanswered.

"Who are you?"

"A visionary," said the voice. "One who has changed the world before and one who will see the universe's principle force come full circle when I revolutionize the world again. I am the bringer of many things and the soon to be harbinger of a new reality. Now, it is time for you to answer my question. Will you join me in this pursuit?"

Ace hesitated for a number of seconds before the gentle sound of footsteps made itself known from not far away.

"Your time is running thin, boy."

Ace's face hardened. "History is filled with delusional men screaming of revolutions and of rebuilding the world. Those men usually cause the most destruction. Usually, because they're experts with propaganda, and usually because 'revolution' is just another word for mass, violent takeover by any means necessary."

"So your answer is no?"

"It is. I won't be joining any worldwide revolutions without very specific information that I can already tell you won't give me."

The footsteps drew nearer as the silence in the cave stretched on.

"Very well," said the voice. "I see you have made your choice. I will need to build the world anew without your aid, it seems. Prepare yourself, Ace Iverson. The revolution is coming… whether you like it or not."

Just before whomever the footsteps belonged to entered the cave, Ace snapped back to consciousness; sitting upright with a jolt as he glanced rapidly around the room he and his companions slept in, his breathing fast and laboured.

He was now sure of one thing; one thing Annabeth had hinted at back in the tent on the outskirts of Boston.

Whatever these visions were, they were no simple dreams.

Such a shame that those visions didn't show him the other person who laid awake not far away from him.

Minutes later…

The figure's heart was racing as he very slowly crept into the throne room.

Mercifully, it was empty, just as the voice in his dream had told him it would be.

He soon stood before a throne of pure obsidian, on which rested a war helmet more powerful than any other garment in the world.

Hades's Helm of Darkness.

Hesitantly, he reached out and took hold of it, causing it to shrink down to a more normal size as he carefully tucked it under his arm, creeping his way towards the largest and most ostentatious of the gathered thrones.

It was composed of black Egyptian marble, though lines of vivid lightning seemed to dance on the throne's surface, standing out starkly against its otherwise dark composition.

Holstered on one of the throne's arms was a long, metallic-looking object that hummed with power. Just being near it made his spine tingle and his very nerves tense in anticipation.

Standing before the throne of Zeus, the figure saw his entire life flash before his eyes. He saw what he could be under the gods' rule, and he didn't hate the things he saw.

The other path… was less clear, though it was neither of his futures which sold him.

It was his past.

A past full of neglect and bitterness, emotions that drove people to do great things.

Terrible things, but great.

He didn't love being called 'the Fated Pawn', but he certainly liked the idea of consciously stepping onto his own path.

And with that, the figure reached out and took hold of the Master Bolt.

As he removed it from its holster, it sparked, sending dancing bolts of light all around the otherwise dark room, illuminating the gleam of malicious triumph in Luke Castellan's eyes.

He had indeed chosen the long forsworn path.




Coming Some Time in the Second Half of 2021!

Author's Endnote:

And with Luke's prophecy now entirely fulfilled and the groundwork set for FoF's next major arc, that is season 1 in the books!

It should be noted that ALL SEASONS WILL BE POSTED UNDER THIS SAME STORY! There will not be a seperate book posted, so make sure you stay tuned to this story to see when the next chapters come out. Also, they can be read much, much sooner by joining either my Discord server, or my P*T*E*N page. Either link can be found on my profile.

If you can't tell already, season 2 will follow the general arc of Lightning Thief, though some things will go… differently.

Before that season begins, there will be some interlude chapters — I think the number will be around 5 — covering the time between December and June. They will focus on things not entirely exclusive to the current main arc, so I hope you guys are excited for some more diverse chapters coming soon.

Once those are all written and posted, season 2 will be officially underway!

Please read and review.

Thank you as always to my lovely Discord Editors Asmodeus Stahl, Mr. 3CP, and Regress for their corrections/contributions on this chapter.