One way or another, the three of them were all cursed.
He was the mysterious boy who had appeared out of nowhere and had turned the whole Roman camp upside-down. He was a war hero, someone who had seen far too much for a sixteen-year-old boy. He was a leader and a fighter; he was next to untouchable on the battlefield. He used to bear the Achilles’ curse; but despite its name, it wasn’t why he was cursed.
It turned out that his curse wasn’t his invulnerability (in fact, he had gotten rid of it early on), but his amnesia. His curse was that he was thrust back into the world with virtually no memories and only a cheap ballpoint pen in his pocket. He had the responsibility of completing a quest, of keeping his two companions safe, and of saving the Roman camp. Greatness was not expected, but demanded from him, even as he struggled to hold on to that single memory of blonde curls and a girl’s name.
And while all of this was happening to him, there were people on the other side of the continent – parents and friends and Annabeth; people who loved him – going out of their minds with worry and doing everything they could to find him, and he didn’t know about any of it.
She, on the other hand, wasn’t even supposed to be alive anymore. She had died decades before in a desperate attempt to right her mistakes. The only reason she was even at Camp Jupiter was because her step-brother had found her in the Underworld and had brought her there. She supposed that others would look at this as a second chance at life, a gift; but not her.
When she came back to life, she brought with her the ability that had doomed her in the first place. She could make precious stones and metals appear out of the ground like they were common crops. Beautiful things, really, but if someone apart from her were to touch them, that person would be killed. The most fearsome thing about her curse – the thing which made it far worse than being an amnesiac – was that it brought other people down with her. Her curse was one that cursed others, as well.
And finally, there was him, the part-Chinese, part-Canadian son of Mars/descendant of Neptune with a beefy body and the most unintimidating, most babyish face any fifteen-year-old could have. If only an identity crisis was the largest of his concerns, he wouldn’t feel as troubled. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case at all.
His destiny was to go down in flames, literally. His lifeline was a small, almost insignificant splinter of wood. Should it be burned completely, he’d be snuffed out along with it. No, his curse was not that he was destined to die (after all, everyone had to die at some point), but that he had the ability to prolong it. At least, so long as he kept that piece of firewood safe. This meant that if ever he did die young, it would either be because he allowed it to happen, or because he wasn’t able to protect his lifeline well enough. If he died, it wouldn’t be anyone else’s fault but his.
Percy Jackson, the boy with little-to-none memories; Hazel Levesque, the girl who brought doom to others through the most beautiful stones; and Frank Zhang, the boy whose life was tied to a piece of tinder. Thanks to a slight of hand from the Fates, the three of them had been brought together in a quest which was a hair’s width away from being suicidal. Needless to say, the odds had not been in their favor.
But as they went on their quest, as they journeyed alone to a land beyond anyone else’s help, they had turned the odds around. Cursed as they were, they had managed to not only complete their quest, but save the entire Roman camp as well. They had defeated massive giants and even larger personal monsters. And somewhere along the way, the three of them had changed.
Percy now had all his memories back. He knew Grover and Sally and Chiron and Annabeth. He was elected praetor, despite his Greek heritage. More than that, he also found a new family with Frank and Hazel, the two people who had stuck with him even as he fumbled through the quest. He wouldn’t be lying if he said he’d be dead by now if it hadn’t been for them. He owed them a lot, and he was willing to do anything to pay that debt. He was going to fight for the Romans as hard as he would for the Greeks. On his way to cure his amnesia, he’d made new, equally precious memories as well.
Hazel, on the other hand, had found a secret-keeper in Frank, and an older brother in Percy. She realized that, though she was an anomaly, there were people who genuinely cared for her. These two boys knew about her curse, and yet they didn’t treat her like a demon spawn. Instead, they helped her, looked out for her, treated her as their close friend. In fact, Frank even liked (as in, liked liked) her. So she was going to fight with them, for them, so that when Thanatos finally did decide to take her away again, she could honestly say that she had made full use of her second chance at life.
And finally, Frank found that it was easier to share the burden. He knew his lifeline would be safe with Hazel, that she would guard it with everything she had. Not only that, but he also found reassurance that he was actually worth something through Percy, the demigod whom he had only the deepest awe and respect for. At first, he had admired and even envied Hazel’s and Percy’s courage and skills, but thanks to the same two companions, he realized that he had talents that he could be admired for, as well. In the end, it was because of them that he had the courage to risk his lifeline to free Thanatos. Like he had said back then: if he had to burn, then by the gods he would burn bright. Burn as bright as he could, all for his two companions.
Curses were what had bonded them in the first place, but it’s friendship that was going to keep them together.