We Need A Leader
The camp was in an uproar for hours after the monsters left. It took Chiron and Annabeth half the night to get everyone calmed down and convince them to return to their cabins. I imagined that no one got to sleep early that night. The way Justin looked on his way back, I was sure that he was hysterical all night. He probably kept his whole cabin up. Sarah didn’t look like she was doing any better.
After the camp was calmed down and everyone was safely back in their cabins, Chiron took me to the Big House. He sent Annabeth back to her cabin, despite all the complaints she had against going back. In the Big House, Chiron and I were greeted by Dionysus and another person that I didn’t recognize. He was a strange sight, especially since he had eyes covering his entire body. I had never met or seen him before, but I had heard enough to know that he was Argus, the camp’s head of security.
“So this is our new guest,” Dionysus said, “I never expected to see a son of Hades at this camp. I assumed Zeus would incinerate any that got anywhere near New York.”
“I’m as surprised as you are,” Chiron said, “But the fact that he’s alive could mean that he’s the prophecy child.” Dionysus grunted in response.
“Hold on,” I said, “I’ve heard about this prophecy a million times. Obviously it has something to do with me, but I have no idea what it says and I think that its time I hear it. I think I at least deserve to know that much.”
Chiron and Dionysus looked at each other. It was clear that neither one of them wanted me to read the prophecy, but I wasn’t going to give them a choice. I had been through way too much and I knew that it all had to have something to do with this prophecy. They were going to tell me what it said, or they would have to kill me if they wouldn’t. I guessed that they wouldn’t have too much trouble with the latter, but I hoped that they would just give in.
“I had hoped to keep this a secret until the prophecy was closer to being fulfilled,” Chiron said.
“I turn sixteen in three months,” I said, “I think its close enough.”
Chiron gave me a hard look, but he softened after a moment. “Very well,” he said, “I will return soon.” Chiron moved to leave the room, but before he did he looked back and said, “Dionysus, try not to kill him please.”
“No promises,” the god said.
Chiron left the room after that and I heard him climbing a set of stairs somewhere in the house. Dionysus stared at me from the opposite side of the room as he sat back in his chair. Argus stood leaning against the wall in the corner near the god. It was hard to tell if he was watching me or not, since he seemed to be watching everything, but I was sure that he was. I never thought of Dionysus as being a serious god, he always appeared to be more laid back than the other Olympians, but that didn’t change the fact that he was one of them. And that meant that he probably hated me just as much as they did.
“A child of Hades,” Dionysus said like he was trying to convince himself it were true, “I never thought that one of you would control the fate of the gods, but I guess I should have expected it.”
“You don’t trust me either,” I said, “Just like the other gods.”
“Are you surprised,” he asked, “Your father is one of the most evil and cunning of us. He would do anything to exact his revenge on his brothers.”
“So why haven’t I been dealt with yet,” I asked, “Wouldn’t it be easier to just kill me and be done with it?”
“It would,” Dionysus answered, “But Zeus has his reasons, some he will not tell. The main ones are Apollo and Aphrodite.” I was silent as Dionysus stared at me. “I guess you know they are helping you,” the god continued, “They have convinced Zeus that you will not destroy Olympus, though I am unsure of their motives. Zeus is skeptical of them, but I imagine he has other reasons for not killing you as of yet. If I were him, I would have dealt with you the moment Athena spoke of your existence.”
“Guess I should consider myself lucky then,” I said.
“You should,” the wine god answered spitefully.
I didn’t consider myself to be. Honestly, sometimes I wondered if things would have ended better for everyone if I had let myself die in that alleyway years ago. That would have put a damper on whatever Hades was planning, that would have prevented me from ever meeting Kronos and possibly becoming a host for his power, I had a feeling that he would try and force me even if I refused him. That also would have stopped my friends from getting involved in this mess. It just seemed like things would have been better if I hadn’t been allowed to live.
Before I could voice my opinion, Chiron entered the room again. He was holding something in his hand that looked like some type of tube-like container that had a string tied onto it so someone could wear it around their neck. It was small, only about the length of my hand and barely thicker than any one of my fingers. Chiron held the container toward me like he was showing me what he was holding.
“The prophecy was first spoken years ago,” Chiron said, “Right after World War II. It is the real reason for the god’s oath to never father any more children, for even they fear these words.”
I stared at the container, wondering at what could be so ominous that even the gods would be afraid of it. “So what’s with the necklace,” I asked.
Chiron opened the container and pulled out a small scrap of paper that had been rolled up so that it might fit into its enclosure. “The prophecy was written down and placed in this,” he said indicating the necklace, “So it could be kept safely away from wondering eyes.” He was silent for a moment. “Hirius, this is for your ears only, none of the other campers must hear these words, not even your friends. Swear on the Styx that you will not speak of these to anyone other than those that already know them.”
I nodded. “I swear on the River Styx.”
Chiron unrolled the paper and handed it to me. I read the words out loud, slowly.
“A child of the eldest gods shall reach sixteen against all odds.”
My heart was racing as I read the words.
“And see the world in endless sleep. The hero’s soul cursed blade shall reap.”
I found breathing difficult as I went on.
“A final choice shall end his days, Olympus to preserve or raze.”
I could feel my stomach turning as I read the last lines of the prophecy. I thought that finally knowing what the prophecy said would make me feel better, but it only made me feel worse. I was no closer to finding the answers I wanted than I had been before. As best as I could interpret the prophecy, what it said was that a child of the three elder gods, me, would somehow reach sixteen and then would make some choice that would either save or destroy Olympus, no more than I had known about it before I read it. The good news was that the two middle lines served to give me some new information. The bad news was that they probably meant that me and the rest of the world were going to die.
“This,” I said holding up the piece of paper, “It doesn’t make any sense.”
“Prophecies rarely do,” Chiron retorted, “The lines could mean any number of things. The only clear one is the first.”
“Which is talking about me,” I said.
“Unless you die,” Dionysus reminded me.
I shot him an angry look, but he was ignoring me. “So assuming I don’t,” I said handing the paper back to Chiron who placed it back in its container, “According to what I just read, the world’s going to end, I’m going to die, and some choice that I make will either save or demolish Olympus.”
Chiron was silent for a long time, which wasn’t reassuring. “Like I said,” he explained, “Prophecies are not always clear, this could have any number of meanings.”
“Seems pretty clear to me.”
“Perhaps,” Chiron said, “But take the second line for example, where it says, the hero’s soul, it does not indicate the same hero from the first line, which could mean you, or another hero, and then it says, a final choice shall end his days, this clearly points to the hero from the previous line, but, again, it could be you, or any hero in camp, or perhaps one that is not within the camp.”
“This is all speculation,” I said after a moment of thought, “You’re talking about what it COULD mean.”
“I am,” Chiron said, “Because it may have a million different interpretations, but it only has a single meaning.”
“And we won’t know what that is until it passes.” Chiron nodded.
I thought about that for a moment. Despite what he said about multiple interpretations, I knew what I thought about it and what I thought about it didn’t sound good. I wished that I could have talked to Justin and Sarah about what they thought, but I made an oath to never speak of the words with anyone other than those that already knew them, which could have been anyone I guess.
“What about these monsters,” I said, “Them attacking here now, as organized as they are, that can’t be a coincidence.”
“True,” Chiron said, “Clearly someone is pulling strings here, but the question is who.”
“It’s obviously Hades,” Dionysus spoke up, “First he steals Zeus’ master bolt, then Poseidon’s trident, then he capture’s the child of the prophecy, and then he has everything he needs to bring down Olympus and exact his revenge.”
“Wait a minute,” I said, “Back up, what about Zeus’ bolt and Poseidon’s trident?”
“Zeus’ master bolt was stolen during the winter solstice when the god’s met on Olympus, it’s the only time Hades is allowed to be there.”
“And Hades stole it?”
“Perhaps,” Chiron said, “He is the most likely suspect, but there is no way to prove that he was the culprit.”
“Of course he was,” Dionysus said, “Who else would do it?”
“Many others,” Chiron said, “Zeus isn’t the friendliest god on Olympus. One of the other’s may have stolen it just to spite him.”
“And who would risk that?”
“You for one,” Chiron said. Dionysus gave him a questioning look. “Please,” Chiron continued like he knew what the wine god was thinking, “You can’t say that you wouldn’t like to get back at Zeus for making you the director of this camp for a hundred years can you? You’re not even allowed to drink wine.”
Dionysus raised an eyebrow. “I suppose that I couldn’t say that, not truthfully at least.”
“Exactly,” Chiron said, “And then there’s Hermes of course, still a bit of prankster when he has the time. Poseidon rarely sees eye to eye with his brother, Hera has always had a problem with her husband’s constant fraternizing with mortal women. Hmm, who else, oh yes, Ares might…”
“Okay,” I cut him off, “You made your point, but what does this have to do with the prophecy?”
“If Hades has stolen Zeus’ weapon,” Dionysus said, “It would be the perfect distraction for Zeus while Hades plots a way to destroy Olympus. Especially if he could cast blame to another god like, oh, let’s say Poseidon. Then Hades steals Poseidon’s trident, the two gods go to war, completely ignorant of you and your father, the god of death kidnaps you, turns you to his side, you fulfill the prophecy, and boom, Olympus is destroyed.”
I thought on the god’s words for a moment. Hades was dreaming if he thought that would work. Even if I wasn’t fond of the other Olympians, I wasn’t going to destroy Olympus for Hades. If I did that, then he would be the only one left to rule, and Zeus had to be better than Hades was, I mean, at least he hadn’t incinerated me yet, though I was sure that he had tried on more than on occasion. And there was no telling what Hades might do to me once he got what he wanted.
“So what happens now,” I asked.
“Now,’ Chiron said, “We get to sleep.”
“But,” I said confused, “What about the monsters?”
“We will worry about that in the morning,” he answered, “We cannot defend the camp if we are all too tired to fight.”
I grumbled my complaints, but I had to agree with him in the end. I was already starting to feel sore from all the fighting I had done recently. Ambrosia and nectar helped, but they were no substitute for a good night’s sleep. I was looking forward to being able to sleep in a bed again too. I was just glad that Chiron and Dionysus allowed me to use the bed in the Big House for the time.
With all of us in agreement, Dionysus, Chiron, and Argus left the room. I lay down and looked toward the window at the night sky outside. I could see Thalia’s pine tree from my window. I thought about how I had met her in New York three years ago and about what Annabeth said. Something bothered me about the whole thing. I rolled away from the window and tried to get to sleep.
I was only laying there for a few minutes when I heard someone tapping at the window. I rolled over again and looked at it. Outside, I saw a blond haired girl looking in at me and waving like she wanted me to come over and let her in. I got up and unlatched the window, opening it so I could talk to the girl. I must have been really tired because it took me until then to realize it was Sarena.
Sarena crawled through the window, with a bit of help from me, and the two of us stood there looking at each other like idiots. She avoided looking directly at me, afraid of what she might see this time. I guess I should have told her that I had learned how to control that power.
“Is that really you,” she asked after a time. It was the first time I had heard her voice since we separated. It was the sweetest sound I had ever heard.
“Yeah,” I said finding my voice weak.
Sarena threw her arms around me. I felt tears running down her cheeks as she squeezed me as tight as humanly possible. “I can’t believe it,” she said, “I thought I’d never see you again.”
We stood in our embrace for a long time. I hoped that it would never have to end. I wished that we could just stay like that forever. But I knew that we couldn’t, so I had to push her away.
“It’s good to see you again,” I said.
Sarena nodded and wiped the tears away from her eyes. “Why didn’t you come to talk to me yet,” she asked.
“Oh, ah,” I said, ‘I, ummm, I was busy.”
I looked away from her, hoping that she would believe me. It was clear that she wasn’t buying it, but I didn’t want to tell her the real reason that I had avoided her so far. I didn’t want to tell her that I wasn’t sure what to say to her after being apart for so long, or that I didn’t want to face the fact that she had moved on and found someone else, or that if I spoke to her again, then we would have to say goodbye for the final time. I just couldn’t face any of that.
“Sarena,” I said, “I…”
“His name is Chris,” she said cutting me off. I gave her a confused look. “That’s the boy that you’ve probably seen me with around camp, Christopher Langston.”
I was struck speechless for a moment as my mind began racing. “Oh,” I said suddenly realizing what she was talking about, “Yeah, that’s…I mean I…”
I had no idea what to say. There was a lot that I could have said, that’s great, or, I’m happy for you, or, he seems nice, along with a million other hollow words that I couldn’t have possibly meant. Or I could have told Sarena how I felt about her and that me being there meant something for us and that we could start over, or from where we left off, or whatever. But that wouldn’t have been fair to her. All that would have done was confused her and stripped whatever happiness she had found here away from her. I didn’t want to do that, but then I thought she might be here for a reason.
“That’s good,” I said choosing to speak meaningless words, “That you found someone I mean. I hope you’re happy.”
Sarena smiled. “I am,” she said.
We fell silent for a long time. Sarena never stopped smiling while she looked at me. What I said to her repeated in my head over and over again. Maybe I should have spoken up. Maybe I could change this if I told her that I was still crazy about her and that I wanted us to be together. But the way that she was looking at me, the way she was smiling, she looked so happy. Would I have been able to make her as happy as she was now if she were with me instead? I didn’t think so.
“And what about you,” she said breaking the silence, “You were with a girl when you arrived. What’s she like?”
I went speechless again as my mind was having trouble keeping up with everything. “Oh, Sarah,” I said, “Yeah, she’s great, pretty, funny. We always have fun together and…” My voice trailed off and I felt my face turning red as I saw where Sarena was going with this. “I mean, we’re not together or anything,” I said quickly, “We’re just friends, you know. I mean, sure, she’s great and all, but I…” I heard something hit the ground outside of the room, like something was knocked over, and my voice trailed off. I went to the door and looked out into the hallway, but there was nothing there. “So, anyway,” I said as I closed the door and turned back to Sarena, “Yeah, Sarah’s a good friend and everything, but we’re not like…”
For what felt like the millionth time, I had a hard time figuring out what I wanted to say. To be honest, with everything that happened since I met Sarah, I never had any time to think about me and her being together. I did like her, as a friend at least, but to say that the feeling went any farther than that was difficult. I had still been trying to get over Sarena when I first met Sarah.
“Besides,” I said attempting to change the subject, “You forgot that Justin was with us too.” I took a deep breath and calmed myself down. My face finally returned to its normal temperature. “Now there’s a character,” I said, “He has a few, ah, issues, but he’s a pretty cool guy once you get to know him. I’ll have to introduce…” I stopped as I realized what a bad idea it would be if I tried introducing Justin to Sarena. After seeing the guy Sarena was with, and knowing how Justin was he would probably end up in a body cast after meeting Sarena.
Sarena looked at me awkwardly for a moment before she started giggling. “They sound nice,” she said. She looked around the room and her smile faded suddenly. “Where’s Elice,” she asked, “I was looking forward to seeing her again.”
“Oh,” I said the mood changing almost instantly, “About her, she, ummm, I…” My vision went blurry and I realized that I was starting to cry. I had nearly forgotten about Elice after everything that had happened in the last few months. I never even told Sarah about her when we met. I silently cursed myself for forgetting her and promised myself that I wouldn’t let it happen again.
“I’m sorry,” Sarena said as she realized what was wrong with me, “I didn’t know. That must have been hard.”
I nodded, wiping tears from my eyes. “It was,” I said, “But I had Justin to help me through it, and Sarah latter, even though I never told her about it.”
Sarena walked over and sat at the edge of the bed and looked up at me. A million different things were going through my head as I looked at her, but I knew that I couldn’t’ act on any of my thoughts. Instead, I just stood there and stared at her. Looking back, I should have said something. Actually, I knew then that I should have said something, that I should have told her everything that I wanted to tell her. Even if she rejected me, at least I wouldn’t have had to carry that regret around with me for the rest of my life.
I heard something land on the window seal. I turned around and found myself staring into the eyes of an owl. It was the same one that had guided Sarena to camp, it was bigger now, but it was easy to tell that it was the same one. It was staring past me and at Sarena.
“Paragin,” Sarena said, “I told you to stop sneaking out at night.” The owl, Paragin ‘Whoed’ at her in response as if to say, ‘you did it first.’ Sarena giggled and said, “Your complaint is noted.” The owl flared its wings out for a moment before tucking them back into place. Sarena looked at me. “Well,” she said, “I should go. It’s getting late.”
“Yeah,” I said, “It was ummm…you know, thanks for stopping by.”
“Anytime,” she said. She stood up and walked toward the window, but she stopped when she was only a few feet from it. “Hirius,” she said turning to me, “Can you do something for me before I go?”
It took me a minute to answer. “What,” I asked.
Sarena walked up to me and stood so we were only inches apart. “I want to pretend, just for a moment, that we’re twelve again,” she said. I could feel my face turning red as she moved closer. “Right before we were interrupted,” she went on, “I was looking into your eyes, you were looking into mine, we moved closer, and then.”
She kissed me. And it was the most magical moment of my life. It was also the most depressing. That was when I realized that I should have told Sarena everything. I should have spilled my emotions to her. I should have told her how I felt and everything else that I wanted to say. It was almost like she knew that I had held it all back from her and this was her way showing me what I had just missed out on. But it was also her way of saying goodbye. I was struck speechless even as she pulled away from me and climbed out of the window without a word.
I stood silently and stared at the open window, almost hoping that Sarena would reappear, but she never did. All that was left was her owl, Paragin, who stood as still as ever and watched me with his devilish eyes. I half expected the animal to jump onto the floor and morph into the goddess Athena. I was actually more surprised when that didn’t happen. Instead, he flared his wings and flew off into the night air.
All was silent except for the sound of crickets chirping somewhere in the distance. I closed the window again and locked it. I lay down for the second time and stared through the now closed glass. I looked up at Thalia’s pine, silhouetted by the moon, as a million different questions ran through my mind, all of them ranging from whether or not I would survive tomorrow all the way down to what I was going to eat for breakfast. I closed my eyes and tried to sleep. It was several hours before I was out.
I had no idea what time it was when I fell asleep, but I was sure that it was late. Because of that, I didn’t wake up until sometime around noon when the sun was shining into a window and right onto my face. I sat up and looked around the room, making sure I was actually awake and not just dreaming. I made a quick mental note as I left the room. Number of nights without weird dreams: 1.
I made my way to the foyer of the Big House where I found Chiron and Annabeth discussing what sounded like battle plans. They stopped when I came in the room.
“You’re awake,” Annabeth said, “Good.”
She looked like she was ready for another game of capture the flag. She was wearing the same Greek armor she had on the night before, which actually looked really good on her, and her hair was tied up in a ponytail so it wouldn’t get in her way. Her dagger was nowhere to be seen, but she had a sword sheathed at her side, which, according to most people, was rare because she hardly used a sword over her dagger.
“What I miss,” I asked.
“Oh, nothing much,” Annabeth answered, “Just the ENTIRE camp preparing for battle.”
“Indeed,” Chiron said, “In fact, we should get outside so we can speak with the rest of the campers.”
Chiron led Annabeth and I out of the door. Even the old centaur looked ready for war. His upper body was covered by a celestial bronze cuirass and he wore bronze gauntlets as well. He was carrying a bow and had a quiver full of arrows strapped onto his back. I had never fought a centaur before, but, the way that Chiron looked, I wasn’t sure that I ever wanted to.
Chiron took us to the amphitheater where we found the entire camp, campers, satyrs, no one was absent. I looked over the crowd and saw that the whole of the campers were all wearing armor, even the kids from Aphrodite cabin (including Sarah) were dressed for war. I would have thought it an incredible sight, seeing all of the sets of armor glowing in the sunlight like that, but it was just a grim reminder of what we were about to face.
Chiron stood at the front of the crowd and the campers fell silent. Annabeth and I were standing off to the side. “Heroes,” Chiron spoke to the crowd, “Today we must defend our home from the very spawn that our borders are meant to protect us from.”
He spoke on, but I was whispering to Annabeth. “Why won’t the barrier keep those monsters out,” I asked.
Annabeth shook her head. “I’m not sure really,” she said, “But the fact that those hellhounds got in last night means that the barrier isn’t working, or they found a way around it.”
“Couldn’t we just figure out where the chink in our armor is,” I asked.
“We could,” she answered, “But how many of them will get in before we do?” She went silent for a moment. “And what if it isn’t just a weak part of the barrier?”
“What do you mean?”
“Think about it,” she said, “That barrier is supposed to be impenetrable, there’s only one way for monsters to get past it.” She stopped like she was waiting for me to ask how that was. I didn’t think I needed to ask it. “Someone in the camp has to let them in, or summon them,” she said.
“What,” I said a little too loud causing Chiron to falter in his speech. Annabeth shushed me and I went back down to a whisper. “So, there might be someone on the inside letting these monsters in?”
Annabeth shrugged. “Anything’s possible.”
“Great,” I said, “So not only do we have an army of monsters to deal with, but we might also have a traitor in the camp.” Just my luck, I wanted to add, but I restrained myself.
“Exactly,” Annabeth said.
Chiron was finishing up his speech, something about demigods being the great heroes of myth, when I started listening to him again. He was about to have everyone march to the hill when someone in the crowd spoke up. “We need a leader,” they yelled. Chiron looked back in question, and for good reason since I thought that he was doing a pretty good job himself. “No offense Chiron,” the person called again, “But you’re not exactly suited for battle.”
As appropriately armed as Chiron was, I had to admit that the camper was right. Chiron may have looked intimidating wearing his armor and carrying his bow around, but he also looked flimsy. No one could blame him though, he was over three thousand years old after all, far older than he should have been according to the myths I had read. Even if he could still fight, it didn’t look like he could last very long.
“I suppose so,” Chiron admitted, “Very well, who shall be the one to lead?”
The amphitheater fell silent as the question lingered in the air. If it were up to me, I would have chosen Annabeth, she had gotten us good with her strategy during the capture the flag game, Clarisse might have been a good choice too though, she did have a thing for fighting after all. The rest of the campers seemed to have another idea though. I felt my stomach turning as they began whispering, some of them looking down and pointing at me every so often.
It was Clarisse that finally stood up and voiced her opinion. “I think the answer is obvious,” she said, “Hirius should be the one to lead.”
In my head, I was screaming at the top of my lungs at Clarisse about how that was the worst idea in the history of mankind. The other campers began nodding and agreeing with her, despite how obvious it was that I was a horrible choice for this position. Even Justin and Sarah were agreeing with Clarisse. I had to put a stop to this. I ran out in front of everyone, Chiron stepping aside so that all eyes were on me.
“Wait,” I yelled, “There’s no way! I mean, I don’t know how to be a leader!”
“You’re the one always calling the shots the way I remember it,” Justin spoke up, “And you were never wrong before.”
“But that’s…” I was going to say different, but that wasn’t the right word for it. “Look,” I said, “I just can’t do this.”
“Why not,” Silena shouted from somewhere in the crowd, “After what I saw in that fight last night, there’s no doubt you’re the right choice!”
“But,” I started to say.
Luke appeared next to me suddenly, having snuck out of the crowd somehow, and placed a hand on my shoulder. “Listen,” he said, “I’ve been through a lot in my time too. I know what it’s like, this kind of pressure being put on you, the lives of others in your hands, but I know you can do it. After our duel out in the forest, I can tell that you have what it takes to lead our charge.” He let go of me and stepped away. “So, what do you say,” he asked, “Your troops are waiting.”
I looked over and he smiled at me, a gesture that was somehow enough to reassure me. I looked back at the crowd sitting in the stands, everyone staring at me with apprehension. Sarah and Justin were watching me closely, urging me to speak up. I saw Clarisse, Silena, Annabeth, and Chiron, people that I barely knew a day or two ago that I would now call my friends. I saw all of the campers that wanted nothing to do with me when I came to this place, and now they were asking me to take charge of the defense for it. A smile came across my face as I spoke to them.
“I don’t know much about being a leader,” I said as a chuckle escaped my lips, “I barely know anything about being a demigod.” The theater was completely silent as I spoke. “But I think back on everything that I’ve been through, all of the hardship that I suffered because I was born a demigod, and I feel like I’m the last person that should be considered a leader.” My speech slowed. “But then I look at all of you, at this place, and it gives me hope.” I fell silent for just a moment. “When I was told that there was a place where demigods could be safe, where they could live without fear, I didn’t think it was true. I didn’t think that there was anywhere in the world where demigods could be safe.” I looked on at the other campers, all of them watching me with apprehension. “But now I’ve seen it for myself, now I’ve seen that it might be real, a place where demigods could live without fear, a place that they could call home.” Some of the campers began nodding to each other. “I never had a home, a real home I mean, I’ve never felt like I was safe, I’ve always thought that someone was stalking behind me, waiting for the right time to stab me in the back and leave me there to die.” My voice started to rise higher with each word until I was shouting. “And now, for the first time ever, I’ve felt like I can relax, I’ve felt like I can stop worrying about what’s behind me, I’ve felt like I have…A home.” Everyone in the crowd was on their feet now. “But now the safety of this camp, of your home, is being threatened!” I went silent one last time. “I might not know much about what it means to be a leader, but, if you would have me as yours, then I promise that I will help keep this camp safe, that I will defend your home no matter what the cost might be!”
The crowd went into a wild cheer. I heard someone shout from the stands, “It’s your home too,” and a smile crossed my face as they corrected me.
I never thought that I would ever belong anywhere. I never thought that I could have a real home. But, standing there in front of all of those demigods, many of whom had once thought that I could never be trusted, and hearing them say that I had as much right to call Camp Half-Blood my home as they did, it made me feel like maybe, just maybe, there was a place for me in the world. Maybe there was a place for me at camp.
Of course, I had to survive the rest of the day, and whatever the prophecy had in store for me, if I really wanted to find out if I could fit in here. But I would have to face those challenges one step at a time. For now, I was content with believing that my only problem would be getting everyone to follow my orders when the time came.
The crowd began chanting my name, but all of our reveling was cut short. In the distance came the sound of a massive roar that reminded me of the dragon I had fought so many times. I knew that it must have been the drakon as the army of monsters made their march toward the camp. The amphitheater went silent as we all stared into the distance towards Half Blood Hill. It was time for us to defend our home.