all ideas and characters [other than ocs] in this story belong to rick riordan
i do not claim to rights to any characters appearing in the camp half-blood chronicles
[important trigger warning]
this story discusses topics such as r*pe, self-harm, eating disorders, and anxiety disorders. at the beginning of every chapter, if these topics are prevalent i will include a trigger warning. i'm hoping to include these difficult topics so that i can bring awareness through characters that we all love so much. thank you.
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her lady, our queen asteria
"she's unlike any enemy we've faced before"
"she uses your greatest fears"
"she takes over your mind, infiltrates your brain"
"the gods have gone silent again"
"she's- she's scared them!"
she will destroy you, piece by piece till there is nothing left
she and her husband, together, will break you
she is too smart
and now she is ready
the queen, asteria
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Chapter 2: [one; it's just dreams]
The queen of the stars, titaness that falls.
Percy couldn't breathe. His lungs burned, everything ached. His whole body was about to combust, but it was all a dream. All a painful dream. It couldn't possibly be real...
"Percy," a whisper from her highness.
His eyes began to water, making the scene even more horrible. Stars, thousands upon thousands of stars. Supernovas right before his very eyes. The queen stood above him, her eyes seemed to glow a bright blue. Young, beautiful, yet she held so much power in just those eyes. The rest of her seemed unreal. She stroked his cheek, wiping away a stray tear. Every molecule screaming out, begging him to wake up.
The stars glowed so intensely, he tried to shield his eyes. Colors became more vibrant, the blues and purples and yellows shifting constantly. They kept gleaming until soon there was no more sky. Just stars, bright blinding stars. But his arms refused to move an inch. Just when Percy thought they would catch fire, they began to fall. One by one, each ball of light crashed down. He yelped while Asteria laughed solemnly.
"Never underestimate my powers, son of Poseidon. Asteria is no god, she is a titan. Ancient, proud, powerful. Pass the test- then I will leave."
The feeling came back. There was no air for him to breath, all of it sucked out from his chest. The oxygen was falling with the suns. He was drowning, but he was drowning in space.
"Wake up, Percy."
Her voice pulled him from the nightmarish scene. There weren't stars falling in pitch black, but sun streaming from his dorm room window in New Rome. Beside him, Annabeth lay clutching his hand tightly.
"You were crying," her voice was soft and concerned, hands making their way to his cheek.
"Nightmare," Percy answered hoarsely, furiously wiping away tears.
The bed was warm and his skin felt feverish. Even his arms looked pinker than usual. He prayed to every god up in Olympus that he didn't sweat all over the place, especially with Annabeth in there too.
He didn't want to say the name. A simple dream compared to others, yet so vibrant, so real. What did this lady, Asteria, want from him. Percy hoped it wouldn't be a major issue. He hadn't been on a quest in a year and was enjoying his time as a college student. Things had finally calmed down.
Percy had only led one quest his entire demigod career and he had been 12. In the seven billion others, he had just been a member. It was a horrible experience knowing that he was responsible for the deaths of his friends. He couldn't possibly go through it again.
"A titaness. Scary-ass titaness."
She frowned, unsatisfied, but let it go anyway. Annabeth knew not to pry, and he loved her for that. Instead, she grabbed his hand, changing the subject.
"What class do you have first?" she asked gently, frowning.
Percy didn't realize it, but he was crying again. He couldn't help it. He was so shaken up over the dream despite trying to tell himself it wasn't a big deal. Deep down he knew something major was about to happen, but he didn't want to admit it.
"You have to tell me what happened, Percy. I wasn't going to push, but-"
"Her name," he took a shaky breath. "Asteria, she was making stars fall and- and suffocating me. She said I had to pass a test, oh gods, Annabeth."
Percy shook his head, trying to hide his face. Why was he crying? It was just a dream. Shoving his head into the white linen pillow, he tried to suppress his hiccups. Weak, he practically heard the titaness hissing in his head.
She pulled him close, whispering in his ear, "It's fine, Seaweed Brain. Everything is fine."
But deep down they both knew nothing was fine about it.
The rest of the day was a long daze. He couldn't stop thinking about the titan in his dream. Percy never even heard about Asteria. How could he underestimate her then? He quickened his pace, speed walking through the beautiful campus to his next class.
His watch read 2:32 pm.
"Shit!" Percy hissed, breaking into a run.
Five minutes later, he burst into his marine ecology class, cutting off the Professor. The whole class turned to Percy, some giggling, some frowning disappointedly. He lowered his head, quietly finding a seat.
"Mr. Jackson." Professor Daley snapped, "Just because you saved the world does not mean you can come late to my class. If you want to spend the day lollygagging and all that other bullshit, go somewhere else."
"Sorry, sir," he mumbled, though was still not focused.
"Now," he growled. "that the interruptions are complete. Mythology. I'm certain you all know quite a bit about it, am I correct?"
A chorus of grumbles and agreements filled the vast room. Of course they did, they went to school in New Rome. Their parents and grandparents were Mythology. Sometimes he can be so thick, Percy thought.
"Of course you do!" Professor Daley shouted as if reading his mind. "I'd be concerned if you didn't. But a group of marine biology majors trying to get a degree listening to more talk about the fiction of mortals? You hate me even more, surely."
More agreements. Percy snorted, "Impossible."
"Thank you for that, Mr. Jackson. Anyhow, has anyone heard of the titaness Asteria?"
Fucking hell, the fucking coincidences in my life.
A few hands raised while Percy had a panic attack. Just his fucking luck, the one nightmare he can't stop thinking about becomes the topic in his marine ecology course. But why? It couldn't possibly be by chance. Even his luck wasn't that bad.
"Mr. Howe?" Kurt frowned, "Isn't she that one chick who makes stars fall?"
"Those wouldn't be my exact words, but yes, I suppose so."
Percy raised his own hand.
"Jackson, no jokes." Professor Dickhead snapped.
"It isn't a joke," his voice trembled slightly, but he kept it in check. "Asteria isn't just a 'chick' who makes stars fall, she's a pretty fucking--"
"Not in my class!"
"--powerful titan who has the ability to destroy all of us. She married the titan of destruction, and I bet she'd destroy you dumbasses who think lightly of her."
"Annabeth should be worried," someone snickered.
The whole class erupted into fits of giggles. Percy glared at them all, making the students chuckle louder. Even Mr. Daley had a smile.
"Fine," he murmured in a voice unlike his normal one. "Just wait."
On his way out, all the water bottles in the classroom exploded. The sound of screams and plastic shards made his day a little better.
Annabeth tried to go on with the rest of her day, but Percy’s reaction to his dream that morning had really shaken her up to the point where she could barely focus. One thing about her boyfriend was that he rarely cried in front of others, even her. That was only the fifth or sixth time she’d ever seen him cry in the time she knew him.
Gods, it was horrible. He’d never broken down like that, even after some of their worst post-tartarus dreams. There was only one time… Annabeth didn’t even want to think about it. She hoped and prayed to every goddess and god, Roman and Greek, that there would not be another prophecy or quest. They had finally settled down and she was enjoying life as a college student.
But of course, she couldn’t just take a break from slaying monsters and saving the world, naturally. No, instead of trying to bullshit her way through classes she’d missed while on a quest, she was going to go on another fucking quest!
Calm down , Annabeth told herself. You’re getting ahead of yourself, all he had was a dream . But she knew better than that: they were never just dreams. Especially when it came to Percy’s dreams specifically. They always predicted some form of conflict, whether it be fighting an evil ghost king with an ax to grind or saving their best friend from a satyr-eating cyclops. According to Piper, Jason had been having worrisome dreams of his own that he confided to her. Despite the conversation mostly being about Jason hiding a portion of his dream (allegedly), Annabeth found it weird that both boys at the same time had disturbing dreams.
During her classical studies class, she looked up Asteria on Daedalus’ laptop. Apparently, the genius inventor had been trying to study how the titaness made the stars fall and what effects it had on the environment. That wasn’t what caught her eye, though. Annabeth nearly gasped out loud when she read the name of Asteria’s husband. The titan Perses, the same Perses, Titan of Destruction, Jason had dreamed about the same night Percy dreamed about Asteria.
She raised her hand, feeling the bile rise up from her stomach. Don’t fucking do it, Annabeth, don’t you fucking dare . The Professor wouldn’t look up from her phone, but Annabeth was not about to puke all over that gorgeous classroom.
“Professor Violette,” she squeaked, “may I be excused early.”
She waved her hand, making a noise that Annabeth took as yes. She got up from her seat and quickly sprinted to the nearest bathroom, collapsing in a stall. But instead of spilling her guts, little white stars danced before her eyes and her vision blurred. The only thing she could see was the figure of a young woman with bluish-green eyes brighter than a supernova. Stars, Annabeth! Di immortals you are an idiot! Supernovas!
“Annabeth?” a deep voice asked awkwardly. “Um- wake up. Uh- please wake up?”
She groaned, eyes fluttering open. Immediately she closed them, blocking the light in the… room, was it? Blocking the bright light with her hand. Her head pounded and her mouth was dry. Annabeth felt like complete and utter shit.
“Percy?” she asked, somewhat hopefully.
She knew it wasn’t him. The deep voice couldn’t possibly be his. She smiled from realization, eyes opening again and adjusting to the light.
“Oh thank gods!” he sighed. “If you died on Roman soil, that would have been so much paperwork and war.”
Beside him, Hazel stood grinning. She had her hair in beautiful, elegant braids that could have only been done by…
“We could’ve hidden her body in a ditch,” Reyna shrugged. “Said she went missing, possibly blame Juno.”
“Reyna!” Hazel scolded, her voice quivering slightly. “She’s the queen of the gods!”
Annabeth chuckled, sitting up slowly. She was obviously in some building in the forum. Outside she could hear the shouting of the bustling marketplace. She lay on a hastily made cot made from leftover fruit boxes and a wooden slab. She raised an eyebrow.
“It was the best we could do,” Hazel told her sheepishly, sitting down beside her.
“We tried looking for Percy, but he was with his therapist,” Frank let her know.
She nodded. Annabeth knew Percy needed to meet with a therapist after everything he went through with. Unsurprisingly, he’d been diagnosed with PTSD. She wouldn’t want to worry him, as it was already stressful enough for him to go.
“It’s not necessary!” he whined. “Therapy is stupid.”
“What a valid argument,” Annabeth replied sarcastically. “I’m not going to push you, but I think you should go. Jason goes! Will even got Nico to go! It’s nice!”
Thankfully, he listened. While he liked to tell her it was a complete waste of a good hour that could be used for “homework,” she knew that he was doing well and enjoyed it enough to keep going back. Sometimes all demigods needed was someone to talk to.
“Any ideas on what happened?” Reyna asked her.
Annabeth hesitated. After Percy told her about the titaness, she’d blacked out. What if she told Reyna, Frank, and Hazel and the same thing happened to them? Or worse?
“No clue. Stress maybe?”
Hazel pat her gently on the shoulder, but Annabeth knew she didn’t fool Reyna. The praetor narrowed her eyes, glancing at her suspiciously. Annabeth averted her eyes to Hazel, then to Frank as if sending Reyna a silent message. She nodded, fortunately for Annabeth, getting the idea. Not now .
Sighing, she stood, “I’d better get back to class. Reyna, care to take me back?”
“Yeah, let’s go.”
Once they’d left Frank and Hazel out of earshot, Reyna demanded to hear the story. Annabeth explained what happened just that morning with Percy and Jason’s dreams and how she’d seen the titaness Asteria before passing out. She also, stupidly, mentioned that she only passed out after Percy told her about Asteria. Reyna’s expression was grim, letting Annabeth know that she too was worried. It wasn’t like two of the most powerful demigods of their age having related dreams, on the same night, was common.
“I don’t want to make a big deal out of it but it might be a real issue. And you passing out was probably a coincidence. She’s probably targeting specific demigods and you happened to be one of them. Piper didn’t pass out, did she?”
“I don’t know,” Annabeth admitted. “I haven’t spoken to her since the morning.”
It was getting late. The sun was setting over New Rome casting gloomy shadows over the Forum. She did not want to be outside when the stars were visible. Unfortunately, it was a clear night. Usually, that wouldn’t be a problem, more like a privilege, but after finding out Asteria was the titaness of falling stars Annabeth didn’t want to be outside in case she decided to light up the place.
“There’s always fucking something,” Reyna muttered angrily. “Why don’t the gods get off their lazy asses and do something about her and Prometiddy or whatever.”
Above them, thunder boomed despite the cloudless sky. She’s never seen that part of Reyna, but gods did she like it. It made her seem almost like a normal teenager and not the leader of possibly one of the world’s most powerful armies.
“I want to say it will be fine, but I’d be lying,” Annabeth told her.
“It’s nice to see someone being honest about things,” Reyna grumbled. “I’ll try to get through to Jason. Maybe if I threaten him he’ll spill. I’d better call Piper.”
After dropping her off at her dorm, Reyna left leaving Annabeth alone. She hadn’t slept there in ages as she usually preferred to stay in Percy’s room on the top floor. Still, she was exhausted. Fully dressed, she climbed into her bed and crawled under the sheets. It was only six but she felt her eyelids growing heavy.
Immediately she fell into a dream. Annabeth found herself in an underground cavern with a little more than two dozen demigods. She was surprised that such a large amount hadn’t attracted a whole army of monsters, but her main concern was why there were so many.
She moved through the crown, catching some familiar faces like Katie Gardner who was lying over someone.
“Travis! This isn’t a joke! He isn’t moving!”
“Did I say it was a joke?” The older Stoll brother shouted frantically, pulling an ambrosia square from a small black pouch.
A boy Annabeth recognized as Austin Lake, a son of Apollo, grabbed the ambrosia, forcing into the fallen demigod’s mouth. He handed out strips of cloth to use as masks as if the victim had a disease.
“He must have transmitted some kind of virus,” he mumbled, hands shaking. “He wasn’t hit by anything!”
“Guys!” another girl, Kayla, called. “It’s Leo! He’s doing the same thing!”
Katie jumped up, revealing the unresponsive face of the demigod. His blue eyes were wide, but glazed over. His mouth hung open, his chest rising slowly. He had to have been breathing, but what was wrong.
Annabeth gasped, finally recognizing who he was. Under the dirt on his skin were barely visible freckles. His blond hair was filled with dust and bits of rock.
It was Will Solace.
She woke up suddenly, struggling to catch her breath. They had to go back to Camp Half-Blood. Something was happening, and none of them were prepared.
thank you if you read this lmao. also published on ff net and wattpad under the same username [snowsbazed]!
Chapter 4: [three; the disease]
"What's wrong with him?" Katie asked the son of Apollo.
Austin was no godly medic, but at least knew what he was doing. The only one in the entire cavern it seemed. A large group of demigods was sent into a large cave found below Camp Half-Blood to retrieve old weapons. Not an important quest, but it required a lot of people. Though she suspected it was part of the Labyrinth even if it was destroyed, Katie never voiced her concerns. Unfortunately, she was right. The second the thirty demigods descended into the cave, they were shut in.
Leo Valdez, a son of Hephaestus, suggested they go deeper and find the weapons before panicking about getting out. Easy for him to say , Katie thought angrily. He’s already died before . Still, him being a part of the dream team 7 demigods quest carried weight. He was the most qualified to make decisions, which made no sense to Katie. He voluntarily killed himself fully knowing the risk of using the Physician's Cure.
They ended up finding the weapons, but they were facing another problem. Of all things, a virus. And still, they were trapped below the camp with no contact with anyone above ground. Only fourteen of the thirty demigods hadn’t contracted the disease. Even the somehow-unkillable Travis Stoll was failing to stay alive.
"The virus was somehow transmitted to him. All the infected were quarantined so I don't understand!" he looked at Will Solace, who was awake but non-responsive in the corner.
Will Solace. The first to be infected by the disease.
It spread quicker than fire in a forest of dry wood. Any contact led to transmission. But Leo, the second to get the disease, hadn't been near anyone with the disease.
"Why is acting like this, though?"
Travis's reaction was different. He couldn't move, couldn't talk, he could do anything. His eyes weren’t moving and ambrosia did little to keep his lungs from quitting every few hours. They were underground, had no medical equipment, and their friends were all sick. Except for Travis; he was dying.
Katie glanced worriedly at Connor, who was pacing the length of the cavern, careful to keep space between himself and the victims. His eyes were constantly filling up with tears, which he didn’ even bother to wipe away. Chris Rodriguez, his half brother, repeatedly tried to comfort him and engage him in conversation, but Connor wouldn’t answer.
Katie couldn't imagine losing one of her siblings, but with Travis and Connor, it was different. They were each other’s best friend, never leaving the other’s side. Travis dying would kill Connor, too. Katie held a cloth up to her mouth and moved toward Travis. He lay on the floor, eyes closed. Without a smile on his face, he looked like a different person. The expression he had wasn’t at peace like he was sleeping. He looked like he was in pain, features tight and scrunched. Fortunately, he was breathing. Someone needed to be by him at all times in case his lungs began to fail again.
“Do you think he will be ok?”
She turned to Connor who was physically shaking. He was trying to hold it together. Katie never had the best relationship with the Stoll brothers. They regularly made her life hell with stupid pranks on her and her cabin. But gods, a life at Camp Half-Blood without them would be even worse. She put up with them seven years and, though she would never admit it, they were the best years of her life. Katie liked having someone to yell at and she got two someones.
She pulled him into a hug, which was the last straw for him. He broke down in her arms, letting out heartbroken sobs. Everyone turned to them, giving the son of Hermes pitiful looks.
“He can’t die! I can’t…”
“Shh, I know,” she said soothingly.
In reality, she was completely freaking out on the inside. Katie had no idea what to do other than mutter encouraging things like he’ll be fine and everything will be ok . Unfortunately, she didn’t really know and Connor picked up on that. Realizing that in their position Connor was staring straight at Travis, she turned him around.
“I know, gods I fucking know, Connor. But we have to get out of here so he can get the right treatment, okay?” she said looking him straight in the eyes. “And for that to happen, we need everyone to help try and find some kind of exit, alright? Travis… Travis will be okay.”
He took in a shaky breath, nodding. Taking one last look at his brother, the younger Stoll joined his cabinmates Cecil and Chris along with Clarisse and Jake Mason to discuss escape ideas.
“You did good, Kate,” her sister Billie said softly, patting her on the shoulder.
“You calmed him down with just a few words,” Valentina Diaz added. “Not even Drew’s charmspeak can do that.”
It was true. Connor was the more moody and angry one of the two brothers. He wasn’t easy to relax, especially when it came to his brother being in some kind of danger. He would either punch everything in sight or have a complete emotional breakdown. In that moment where she was left to console him, Katie would’ve preferred the punching any day. The cavern groaned abruptly, sprinkling pebbles and grit onto their heads.
“It isn’t stable,” Jake warned, patting Harley’s back soothingly.
The young demigod insisted on coming on the quest with the reasoning that “you could never have too many ‘Festus kids!” Unfortunately, seeing that they were hopelessly trapped and his idol, Leo, was dying for the second time, the poor kid was left distraught.
“We have to get out of here,” Clarisse muttered. “Before not just the sick ones but all of us die.”
“Well, you guys are the ones in charge of getting us out. Have you done anything productive?” someone asked angrily.
Everything was suspicious to Katie. Why would thirty demigods be needed on one quest, and why had Chiron been so sure about the exact number. In all the years she knew him, the old centaur was never so absolutely set on one idea. He always told them “Nothing is for certain, you should never go through life thinking so. There is always something that can go wrong.” It was as if he was listening to conscience not his own…
Her immediate thought was Gaea. They lulled her back to sleep but what if that wasn’t enough? But Chiron had resisted her mind charms in the past, it wasn’t easy to control him or his thoughts. No, there was something else at play, Katie just hoped it didn’t end in their demise.
“Piss off, Sherman,” Clarisse growled. “You’ve done nothing but mope this entire time. Talk about productivity, you haven’t done anything remotely helpful the entire time we’ve been down here!”
“Well, at least I’m not pretending to know what I’m doing!”
“Guys!” Chris shouted, slightly irritated. “Fighting won’t get us anywhere and Sherman I know you’re about to say something so shut it! We have the weapons but if we waste time arguing we’ll all end up dead! Every second wasted is more of the virus entering the air, it’ll become poison!”
At that statement, Harley’s big eyes widened and began to well up with tears. Jake shot a look at Chris, who’s expression softened.
“What I mean is: we have to use our time wisely. Hopefully, if everyone follows Austin’s procedures, no one else should get infected. Let’s go.”
So again, the demigods went back to their assigned jobs. While some cared for the sick and discussed ideas of escape, others bundled and sorted through the weapons, preferring only those which were celestial bronze. Of course, they didn’t know what time it was but Katie’s eyelids began to droop. She was physically and emotionally exhausted. Still, she was in charge of making sure Travis didn’t die for the next few hours. From across the cavern, Connor regarded her with a scowl on his face. He marched over to her and sighed,
“Get some sleep, Veggie Tales. I- I’ll keep watch of him.”
She frowned at the nickname but nodded. She passed Connor her cloth, reminded him about thirty times to keep it on his mouth and nose, then got as far from the sick as she could before curling up on the hard floor. Katie fell asleep almost immediately but unfortunately, that meant dreams.
In her dream, she was underground again. But it wasn’t like their cavern, it was more narrow, like a tunnel. The first thing that hit her was the stench. It was revolting, causing Katie to gag. Beside her was Percy Jackson. He was panting, trying to breathe from his mouth.
“Jason!” he called out, breaking into a run
“Percy, wait!” she shouted, trying to keep up.
He made about a million turns before bumping back into his friends from the Seven, all except Jason. She was surprised to see Leo, so maybe it was a scene from when the demigods were in the Ancient Lands. They were all still underground but in a bigger space. Katie would’ve thought he’d be excited to see them but he let out a frustrating groan, punching the dirt wall.
“No matter how many turns I make I always end up back here!” he yelled wildly. “Where is he?”
The Roman, Hazel, sighed heavily, “I can’t sense his presence anywhere. It’s like the tunnels are fighting against me. They don’t want me to see where he is.”
Katie was confused. Usually, her dreams had hints or clues as to help a current situation. Since she wasn’t typically sent on quests, her dreams were like that one. Just clips from old quests her friends had gone on. All she wanted was help but of course she was screwed over. The important, informing dreams were only sent to powerful demigods.
Piper shook her head miserably, “He can’t be gone. We’ll keep looking, Annabeth can you do the weird thing with the dreams again.”
What weird thing?
Annabeth nodded, patting Percy and Piper on the back gently. Suddenly, an ear-piercing scream exploded from somewhere in the cavern. It sounded vaguely masculine and familiar…
“Jason!” all six of them yelled, sprinting toward the source of his yell.
Katie woke abruptly to someone shaking her awake. It was Cecil. He had tears in his eyes,
“You gotta see this, Kate.”
She got up quickly, preparing for the worst. Had Travis died on Connor’s watch? Did someone else die? Different scenarios played in her mind, each one more horrible than the one before. What she saw, no preparing would’ve helped.
It was Connor, on the floor beside his brother. Infected. Eyes closed. Unmoving. Face tight. He’d caught it from Travis, and it looked like he was having the same reaction.