Annabeth felt something rough underneath her. Her bed was the most comfortable thing in the world and this, this was not that. She felt like she was lying on a bunch of rocks. She shuffled her body and grimaced when her elbow hit something very hard… This definitely wasn't her bed.
She opened her eyes and found blue skies above her.
What the… she wondered, trying to remember why she would be waking up outside. She remembered… Nothing.
Her name was Annabeth, she knew who she was but outside of that, everything was kind of a blur. She tried to remember how she had gotten to this place but came up blank. She tried to remember anything but it all came up too fuzzy to decipher. Whenever she tried to retrieve a memory, it was like she was reaching into a cupboard for an item but the cupboard was empty. She knew it should be there but she couldn't find it, like it was there but just out of her grasp.
She jumped to her feet, a sword morphing out of her bracelet and appearing in her hand. That was different, she thought to herself. Yet, it also felt normal. The blade felt right in her hand she had a feeling she knew how to handle it. She also felt on edge, like she was in a place she didn't belong. Something told her she needed to watch her back.
Her eyes darted around, looking for something familiar but only finding the ruins of what looked like it was once a large home. Many parts were charred black from a fire and it was overgrown with weeds, vines and other plants. Whatever this building had been, it had burned down and not recently.
She tried to look for someone else but she appeared to be completely alone. Something in the back of her mind told her that that was probably not the case and she kept her sword at the ready as she crept towards a broken down doorway to her left. Before she could reach it, a huge wolf appeared in the doorway.
Annabeth stumbled back. The sight before her wasn't even possible. The wolf had to be close to seven feet tall with a thick coat of chocolate red fur and eyes the color of mist. Her silvery eyes bore into her immediately and Annabeth noticed the intelligence in them, like she was studying Annabeth, sizing her up and perhaps considering how well she was going to taste.
She held her sword out in front of her, following the wolf as it walked on the outskirts of the room, never taking its eyes off her. Within seconds, a dozen more wolves poured in, these ones not as large as the first but not looking much less intimidating.
Annabeth quickly backed herself into the back corner of the room, allowing her to keep the wolves in front of her. To her own surprise, Annabeth barred her teeth and faked a lunge at one of the smaller wolfs that had gotten too close.
"Good," a voice said in her head. "Courage will serve you well child. You will need far more though."
Rather than wait or acknowledge the voice in her head, Annabeth kicked a large chunk of brick by her foot sending it flying at one wolf which had to drop to its stomach to avoid getting nailed.
"Let's go," Annabeth growled. "If you're hungry, I'm right here! Come and get it!"
The largest wolf got down low like it were about to pounce when the voice returned to her mind.
"That is enough," voice was firm and for some reason, it didn't seem to be talking to her. Immediately the pack of wolves, minus the largest one, backed away watching her closely. They retreated out the doorway until it was only Annabeth left with the giant wolf.
"Lower your weapon child." The voice said sternly. Annabeth felt the urge to comply but fought it off and backed herself out of the corner, carefully doing a slow circle around the beast. "Good," the voice mused. "You are well trained. Perhaps you will survive the journey."
Tired to this mysterious voice, Annabeth yelled out loud, "Whoever you are! Shut the Hades up!"
If it were possible for a wolf to smile, the giant wolf did just that.
"I am not going to attack you child. Lower your weapon before I am forced to take it from you. My methods are not gentle and you may lose more than your weapon in the process."
Realizing the voice had been coming from the wolf the whole time, Annabeth decided to comply. Something about the wolf was trustworthy; undeniably dangerous but trustworthy. She also felt a strange, almost taboo feeling at taking orders from the wolf, though she pushed those aside.
"Wise choice," the wolf mused. "Do you know who I am, child?"
Annabeth stared into the wolf's intelligent eyes and a name just popped into her mind.
"Lupa, the wolf goddess."
The wolf nodded and continued to watch her, still in the position to pounce at a moment's notice.
"And you, do you know who you are?"
"Annabeth Chase…" She paused for a moment, "Daughter of Athena." Her eyes went wide at her own words. Then the pieces slowly came together… She was a demigod; a daughter of Athena. And she came from… The pieces stopped coming together. It was like that piece was being withheld from her. She knew she should know it and knew it was there, she just couldn't get it.
"You are a child of Minerva," Lupa corrected and Annabeth immediately frowned, knowing that wasn't right. Her mother was Athena, her Roman form Minerva was not her mother.
"No," she said firmly. "My mom is Athena and my dad," she frowned again. She could picture her Dad's face in her head but his name, she couldn't remember his name.
"Do not force it, child." The wolf goddess said in her mind. "When the time is right, the answers will come."
Annabeth looked at her strangely. She didn't like that answer at all. She wanted to know right now… It was her identity and she was entitled to it.
"But…" she started only to be cut off harshly.
"No," Lupa snarled. "If you want answers, you must first make it to camp. There you will find the answers you seek."
"Okay," she narrowed her eyes, disliking this goddess more and more by the second. "Where is camp?"
"Go west. It will call to you. If you survive the journey there and make it to camp, you will find yourself again." On that cheery note, the wolf goddess turned and bounded out of the ruins of the old home.
Annabeth watched her retreating form with a glare. Find camp? A simply set of directions is too much to ask? She shook her head of those thoughts and exited the ruins as well, wondering why the wolf thought making it to camp was going to be a big deal.
Eight long hours without a break they had been flying via Pegasus since leaving Camp Half Blood. Luke was starting to feel like his groin was detaching from his body. He hadn't even been able to move for the past three. Thalia was leaned back into his chest snoring softly. After five hours of tense fear, her body seemed to have succumbed to the weariness of both Perseus' training the past two weeks, little sleep and being on edge as they flew through the sky atop a flying horse.
Though, Luke thought to himself, he could think of worse ways he could spend his day than with Thalia basically using him as a body pillow.
He would never say it to her but she did look awfully cute sleeping in his arms. He hadn't been exactly disappointed that the camp only gave them three Pegasi for their quest. With Perseus and Achilles a little ways ahead flying in silence for the past hour, it was kind of nice to just sit back and enjoy the scene in his arms.
He found himself starting to doze off when he felt something hard hit him in the chest. From his dazed state, it took him a second to comprehend what was happening. The earth was coming at him, and fast.
"Crapppppppppppppppp!" He yelled as he free fell through the sky. He had very little time to think about his impending death but he tried to get a quick prayer to every god he could think of that Thalia was still on the Pegasus.
Suddenly, his wrist was grabbed so hard, he thought it was broken. His eyes shot open and found Achilles holding onto him for dear life as he tried to stay atop his own Pegasus. His white Pegasus, Guido brought them down to the ground as gently as he could which unfortunately for Luke, wasn't all that gently. Achilles dropped him a few feet from the ground, trying to smooth the landing for Guido.
As soon as he jumped off, Guido shot into the sky and managed to catch a blur plummeting to the earth faster than any Pegasus should. Porkpie and Guido both crashed hard into the ground a few yards away, both Pegasi on their sides, injured from the collision and crash.
"Get up!" Achilles warned Luke. A black form descended from the sky above them before a flailing form was dropped into the waiting arms of Achilles.
He caught Thalia and set her down before drawing his blade. Perseus landed beside then and patted Blackjack on the backside.
"Go check on your friends buddy; find a shady spot for a few."
Before Luke could ask what happened, a black steed that looked like it was made of clouds dropped from the sky. Electricity sparked from its eyes as it charged at the group.
Achilles kicked Luke in the chest, sending him tumbling into Thalia and both of them crashing to the ground a few feet away. He and Perseus rolled aside as it tried to bull rush them and it shot past and back into the sky.
"Anemoi Thuellai," Achilles growled. "I hate these things."
Luke climbed back to his feet and tried to get his bearings. They were in a small field with the woods a little ways off. A small pond was at the edge of the field but there was nothing else to tell him where they might be.
"What was that?" Luke yelled at the two sons of Thetis.
"Anemoi Thuellai," Achilles repeated, "Storm spirits and this one's a nasty one."
"How do we kill it?"
Achilles shook his head, "We don't. You two stay there. We'll take care of it."
As if on cue, the whinnying of a horse could be heard as the dark cloud descended from the sky. This time though, there were three of them, all sparking with electricity.
The creatures charged towards them and Achilles and Perseus prepared to meet their charge head on. Before they could attack though, Thalia charged past Luke, Aegis in one hand and her spear in the other.
She raised her spear to the sky and a bolt of lightning arced out the sky, hitting her spear just as the first storm spirit reached her. She drove it right its chest, turning it to ash before she spun and slammed her spear into the ground. A small shockwave exploded outward and knocked the two other monsters off their feet, along with all three of her companions.
While they were stunned, Thalia impaled a second Anemoi Thuellai right through the head turning it to dust. She turned to the last one but it was already on its feet and right in front of her. It tried to barrel through her but she jumped aside at the last second. She managed to grab onto its smoky mane as it ran by and pulled herself on top. The monster tried to take off into the sky but something inside Thalia snapped.
The winds picked up and were whipping within seconds. Thunder boomed and lightning crackled in the sky. She managed to hold herself on top of the creature and in a booming voice yelled.
To her three companions' shock, the monster obeyed. It stopped moving and stopped struggling all together. Its body still sparked with electricity but it just stood there with Thalia atop it in the middle of the field.
Luke charged towards it, ready to kill it when Thalia stopped him.
"No!" She snapped. "It's tame."
Luke stopped in his tracks and was soon joined by the two sons of Thetis in looking at Thalia in awe.
"Damn girl," Perseus was smiling. "That was impressive."
She dismounted but kept a firm hold on the monster. She ignored the comment and looked right at the horse.
"You serve me now," her voice was low and authoritative. "Understand?"
The storm spirit neighed loudly and it was hard to tell if that was a yes or Go to Hades.
Thalia seemed to take it as a yes and actually stroked its smoky mane. "I will call on you again and you will answer my call, do you understand?"
It neighed again loudly and Thalia let it go. The Anemoi Thuellai shot forward and into the sky, disappearing into the clouds and out of sight within minutes. Thalia slowly turned towards her companions, sweat pouring from her head.
"It just needed a firm hand." She said tiredly.
"Thalia," Luke said in awe. "What… How di… Where did that come from?"
"She is a daughter of Zeus," Perseus answered for her. "The sky is her dominion. She just showed it who was boss."
She just nodded, looking like she was stunned herself. She cracked a smile when Perseus held up his hand and high fived her.
"I.. I don't really know how, I just knew I could tame it. I don't know where it came from but I just kind of knew."
"That was amazing," Achilles agreed. "Well done, girl."
Perseus turned and approached the Pegasi which were only a few feet away. He petted Blackjack's snout in silence before turning around with a frown.
"Porkie has a broken wing and Guido injured his back saving him. They won't be able to take us any further; they need time to heal."
"So," Luke muttered. "We're stuck."
"For the moment," Perseus rolled his eyes, "We go on foot. Blackjack says we're somewhere in West Virginia. We make camp here for the night. We'll figure out how we continue on in the morning."
Perseus began pulling his packs from Blackjack and Achilles soon joined, taking their few bags from their injured Pegasi. Luke stared at Thalia whose face turned a little pink.
He just grinned and looked away, his own cheeks burning a little.
"Nothing, I'm just thinking how cool it is you now have a pet storm spirit."
Thalia rolled her eyes but a smile crept onto her face, "Shut up Luke, help them unpack before they start training us again."
Luke's face went a little pale at that thought and he set to work.
A.N: What's it been? A week, two? LOL. You guys didn't give up on this yet, did you? Small little teaser so I can get back into this story. I needed a warmup after such a long layoff… Hope you enjoyed it. More to come too.