Chapter 1: Preface
As noted above, this story uses and references characters and events from Haley Riordan's Son of Magic.
I would definitely recommend SoM, because it's very good.
Some background information:
Alabaster Torrington is a son of Hecate, who led his siblings into battle during the war with Kronos. As punishment for continued aggression against the gods, he was forbidden from entering Camp Half-Blood. He fought against his half-sister Lamia, who is the monster that originally cast the spell allowing monsters to sense and hunt half-bloods. Alabaster can use magic, usually in the form of written spells, and can create Mistforms of various objects, including weapons and tools.
He holds some serious grudges against Camp Half-Blood, the gods (who he refers to as a Divine Mafia), and has stated that he'd kill Percy Jackson given the chance.
The prompt this work is based on:
"Shh, shh, don't cry." The villain stood over the bruised and battered hero. "You did wonderfully. You never stood a chance." Though the villain's words were cool, the villain was seething with rage just below the surface. Not at the hero, but at the gods, who insisted on sending heroes on suicide quests rather than facing him themselves.
Chapter 2: The Vengeance of Alabaster Torrington
Nico and Will trekked randomly through the New York countryside, searching for their target. What that target was, they weren't sure.
Many campers, especially from the Hypos, Hecate, and Apollo cabins, had sensed some threat to Olympus gathering in the area. Some Hypnos campers reported dreams of gods commanding the camp to react, and the Hecate guidance rites backed them up. Long story short, Will and Nico were sent to investigate, given not much else other than a map of the area and a hazy description of scenery from the Hypnos cabin.
Still, Nico appreciated the time alone with Will. They’d had hardly any time together, considering the near-apocalypses that had been occurring as of late. Now, Nico thought, they could have some quality togetherness. The trek had been easy – only three monster attacks in the two weeks they’d been out – and they spent most nights under the stars or in a small tent Will had brought. The excursion (it could hardly be called a quest) was focused mostly on finding what this threat was. Most of the campers were either in Camp Half-Blood, in New Rome, or out on other quests, so Will and Nico were on their own.
On the eighteenth day of travelling, the couple found a landscape that closely matched the description they’d been given. They searched around but found only a small town in the middle of acres of vineyard. None of the citizens were monstrous, but Will, just to be safe, staked their tent in a sheltered clearing about a mile away. They sat on a small hill and looked over the countryside. After a few minutes of scanning, an intense green glow flared up from behind a hill, only a few miles away. The light pulsed slightly, sometimes brighter and sometimes dimmer, but constantly shining into the surrounding countryside.
“Well, I’d say that’s our target,” Will said.
Nico nodded, picking up his sword from beside him and standing up. He helped Will up, and they headed toward the glow.
It was late afternoon when they reached the hill sheltering the glow. As they got closer, it got brighter and more steady – less like a fire flickering and more like a floodlight, spilling its light into the vineyard.
“Let’s scout this out, rather than charging right in,” muttered Nico to Will, who nodded his head in agreement.
“Let’s stay low, go around to the right, and see what’s going on here,” Will replied.
They went together around the hill, where they found a huge clearing with a barrier of dirt shielding the source of the light. It appeared to be in a ring around the light source and about ten feet tall, though not terribly steep. Suspicious, Will glanced at Nico. “Let’s scout the surroundings – I don’t particularly like the idea of charging over that mound with no idea on what’s around.”
But the surroundings were totally clear. The dirt mound was mostly even, but totally out-of-place. The green glow spilled over the barrier, illuminating the surrounding landscape, as the sun approached the horizon.
“Well, I guess we know what comes next,” said Nico, giving a kiss to Will.
Will smiled and blushed before heading a few yards around the ring and drawing his bow. Nico started to climb the ring, sword in hand, ready to react at a moment’s notice. Will waited until Nico was about halfway up before starting to climb.
Alabaster Torrington, son of Hecate, exiled following the Battle of Manhattan, stood in the center of the clearing inside the ring, playing with a Mistform card – pulling a dagger out of an index card and letting it dissolve back into smoke. He looked up with dark, murky, green eyes as Nico crested the border to his enclave. Alabaster gripped the dagger tightly before letting it dissipate. He stored the card in one of his side pockets and watched as Nico warily walked down the slope. As Nico descended, he sized up Alabaster, who was dressed in a black coat over a white shirt and black jeans. Behind him, a ring of cut stones formed a raised platform. A green flame burned in the center of it, somehow equally illuminating everything in the ring, even Alabaster’s face. From his position, Nico could see that Alabaster’s shirt was covered in lines upon lines of runes, neatly drawn in green ink. Alabaster called out to Nico as he reached the base of the mound.
“Who are you, and what brings you here?”
Nico hesitated before responding. Behind him and to his right, Will crawled to the top of the crest, bow drawn, staying out of sight, sizing up the situation.
“I could ask the same of you,” he called back.
Alabaster smiled and spread his hands. “Well, if you must know. I am Alabaster Torrington. I’ve come to free you from the gods.”
“Oh? And why is it we need freeing?”
“The gods… are ultimately evil. Not in the same way that monsters are, but somehow even more terrible. Were you at the Battle of Manhattan? You look about the right age, but that lousy camp may not have dragged you into that mess.”
“Yeah, I was there.” Nico’s voice bristled at Alabaster’s remark about Camp Half-Blood.
“Hm.” Alabaster considered a moment. “After that battle, when Kronos’ army was defeated, I tried to convince my siblings and my mother, Hecate, to continue fighting. The gods threatened to slaughter me and all of my siblings unless she disowned us and rejoined them. They’re even worse than the monsters you fight. At least the monsters have the courage to fight you in person, rather than blowing you off the face of the planet from Olympus or sending some inexperienced kids to fight for them.” Alabaster looked at Nico. “Like how they’ve sent you to stop me. I don’t want to fight you. I’m offering you the same deal I will when I reach your camp. Leave, or die.”
Nico frowned at Alabaster. “I am Nico DiAngelo, son of Hades. I was sent to find you, and my allegiance is to the Camp and to my father. I will not retreat, and I will not be intimidated.” Nico raised his sword in one hand, and a skeletal shield burst from the ground and affixed itself to his other arm. “You say leave or die? I say I stay and live.”
“You want to fight? Fine.” Alabaster sighed and tapped a Mistform card. Green dust burst from the card and solidified into an Imperial Gold sword. Alabaster took it and swung it a few times experimentally. As he did, green runes lit up along the flat of the blade, and a faint green shimmer surrounded it. Alabaster stalked toward Nico, holding the sword in one hand.
When Alabaster had covered about half the distance, a set of runes flared on his shirt and he sped forward, slicing at Nico with inhuman speed. Nico barely moved out of the way and deflected the strike off his shield. Meanwhile, Will had crawled to the crest of the enclave and put an arrow to the string, waiting for a clear shot.
As Alabaster and Nico traded blows, it quickly became clear that Nico was outclassed. The enchantments on Alabaster’s sword allowed him to fight faster and more efficiently. Nico gave ground, backing up toward the center of the enclave, where the fire continued to burn. Alabaster jabbed at Nico, who deflected it off his shield and turned, delivering a vicious backhand cut that should’ve buried itself deep in Alabaster’s ribcage. Alabaster held up a fist, and a green shield of pure energy burned into existence, stopping Nico’s sword. Alabaster looked at Nico, almost sadly, before kicking him backward. The shield dissolved as Alabaster stood over Nico and kicked his sword away. Before Alabaster could do anything more, Will shot an arrow straight at his back.
A second skin of bright green energy flared around Alabaster, then exploded. Alabaster was knocked to the ground, and the arrow disintegrated. Green shards burst from Alabaster’s shirt as a rune was expended.
Furious, Alabaster turned, his eyes glowing bright green. He thrust out his hand, and a glowing chain flew to Will, wrapping around his wrist and dragging him into the enclave. Alabaster whipped the chain and Will flew into the air. Another rune burned as Alabaster punched him, and a burst of energy exploded against Will’s body. He hit the ground hard, groaning.
Nico got up just in time to see Alabaster’s sword go through Will’s body. Will reached weakly toward Nico, his eyes filled with pain, before his body went limp. Alabaster pulled out the sword.
Nico screamed. A wave of pure darkness burst from him and rolled over everything in the enclave. The green flame was briefly extinguished, and Alabaster, despite conjuring up a shield, was knocked to the ground by the sheer force of Nico’s pain.
When the darkness subsided, all the grass had died, and Alabaster was encircled by a wall of bones. Will’s body lay outside the wall, and Nico ran to it, dropping to his knees and sobbing. Alabaster, stunned, leaned against the wall for a while before refocusing. He immediately pulled out a small spellbook and started scanning the pages.
“I’m sorry, Nico Di Angelo, for what I have done, and for what I need to do.” Alabaster looked up from the spellbook and through the bones to the sobbing boy. He pulled out a Mistform card and conjured a black, green-etched dagger. He carved a set of runes on one of the bones. Nico didn’t move.
Alabaster touched the runes, and the wall crumbled to dust. Nico stood as Alabaster stepped over the pile of ash, darkness flowing off him. He said nothing, but his voice echoed in Alabaster’s head.
For that, you die. I swear on the River Styx, I will kill you.
Alabaster looked at him sadly. “If you try, then I fear this is your last day on earth,” he replied.
Nico melted into shadow, reappearing next to his sword and picking it up.
Alabaster dissolved the Mistform knife and stowed the card back in his pocket, then picked up his sword again.
Nico charged at Alabaster, fueled by grief and trailing shadows. Alabaster barely deflected the first strike with a rune of protection. They traded blows for a minute, neither being able to gain the upper hand. Slowly, Alabaster began to back up, giving ground until the two were fighting next to the fire. Nico jabbed again at Alabaster, and his sword glanced off Alabaster’s rune shield. Alabaster turned and thrust his sword into the fire, leaving himself open for the briefest second. Nico lunged just as he was turning back.
The Imperial Gold sword, wreathed in green fire, slammed into Nico. The Stygian Iron blade cut through Alabaster’s shirt and left a wide cut across his side, then fell to the ground as Nico was thrown aside. The fire burned across Nico, evaporating away the shadows until he was left, defenseless, on the ground. Alabaster, dripping blood, knelt next to Nico.
“I’m sorry; you couldn’t have won. Even this,” he gestured at the wound in his side. “will be gone in less than a day. I’ve been gathering magic and strength for years, now. I can defeat gods. But don’t worry, you’ll see your love soon enough.”
As he spoke, Alabaster’s rage grew – not toward Nico, but toward the gods, who insisted on sending their children to fight their battles for them. As he finished, he touched Nico’s forehead and reached into the Underworld.
“Styx, goddess of oaths and boundary of death, I call to you. Release this soul from your punishment.” As he spoke this prayer, he wrapped Nico’s soul in the Mist, guaranteeing it safe journey to Elysium, where Will already awaited. Alabaster closed his eyes and drove his sword through Nico’s chest.
Alabaster stood, then walked over to Will’s body and picked it up, calling on the Mist again. A simple, elegant shroud wove itself around the body. The shroud was the same color as Will’s hair and had a bow stylized across it. Alabaster lay it next to Nico’s body. Another shroud wove around Nico, black as midnight with silver woven into the border and a sword inscribed in the middle.
Alabaster took out his spellbook and wrote a set of runes on the bottom of each shroud.
Alabaster tapped each word, and the two shrouds vanished in flashes of green fire.
Many miles away, the two shrouds burst into existence at Camp Half-Blood while the campers ate dinner.