Smoke on the Horizon

VII. Jason

VII. JASON

Jason couldn’t sleep. He lay awake for hours, feeling the hollow stare of the statue of Zeus in the center of the cabin.

The talk with Chiron and Rachel about the new prophecy had rattled him more than he could explain. He had almost been hopeful that with the gift of Prophecy on hold, they would be safe. He had convinced himself that there’d be no more quests for the moment.

Although Percy had been joking, Jason had agreed with him when he mentioned graduating high school. He wanted a normal life for one simple moment. He didn’t think that was too much to ask, but when it came to the gods and the ancient evil forces, that seemed to always be the running joke.

Oh, you want to have a calm weekend with your girlfriend? Go to a movie maybe? Yeah, sorry. The fate of humanity needs saving. Maybe next weekend though!

A guilty part of him hoped he wouldn’t be determined one of the three to go on this quest, and he felt sorry for Percy that it didn’t appear he had a choice. Everyone seemed to agree that he was it.

The whole thing reminded Jason of how he used to feel back at Camp Jupiter, back before he knew about the existence of the Greek camp, back when his greatest worries were how to deal with his responsibilities as Praetor.

He was expected to be the best, and to do the best, no matter the cost, not just because of his status in the Legion but because of his godly parent, Jupiter, the king of Olympus.

Jason understood how Percy must feel, being singled out as the probable leader of a quest.

And Percy didn’t seem too thrilled with the idea either. Jason had noticed the way his friend had tensed up at Rachel’s description of an underwater palace in ruins and an enemy that seemed to originate from the sea.

Jason also wondered if Percy knew something about the prophecy. The way he’d been acting, like he had something important on his mind, at dinner gave Jason the impression that the son of the sea god had had more on his plate than the blue pizza.

Soon, early morning began to lighten the room and Jason decided he wouldn’t lose anything by getting up.

He didn’t bother with lights and fumbled for clothes, picking up his old purple teeshirt and pulling it over his head.

Jason ran his hand through his crumpled hair, figuring he wouldn’t see anyone anyway so it didn’t really matter if he looked like he’d just gotten out of bed, and he headed toward the arena.

He thought he’d be alone.

Instead, he found Percy, doing his best to destroy a dummy in rusted bronze armor.

“Woah, what did he do?” Jason said with a smirk as Percy bashed and grunted at the partially dismembered decoy. Percy jumped in surprise and nearly dropped his sword. Jason held up his hands in surrender. “Yikes, sorry, man. Didn’t mean to scare you.”

Percy was dripping with sweat like he’d been here a while despite the early hour. He capped Riptide and ran his hand over his face. He looked tired, like he hadn’t gotten much sleep either.

“What’re you doing down here?” he asked.

“I could ask you the same thing.”

Percy shrugged. “Couldn’t sleep I guess.”

“Me neither.”

“Gods, I can’t stop thinking about that stupid prophecy.” He kicked at a shield that lay in the dirt by his feet, sending it skittering across the arena floor and clanging into the wall.

“I know. I had started to think we might actually be done with them until Rachel showed up,” Jason sighed.

Percy laughed. “Yeah, like that’ll happen. Ever.”

“Oh, there you are.” Annabeth walked casually onto the floor behind them. “Chiron, I found them!” she called. “Come on. Meeting. Now.”

Everyone was already waiting inside the Big House when Jason, Percy, and Annabeth arrived.

Chiron’s horse half was out of his wheelchair as he stood in the center of the room. Everyone else was standing too, apparently too intimidated sitting down eye level with a horse’s chest.

He nodded as they walked through the door and clasped his hands before him.

“Alright, now that we’re all rested, shall we continue our little chat from last night?”

No one moved to speak. No one showed any desire to talk about the prophecy.

Chiron sighed and said, “Rachel, any more dreams?”

She shook her head almost sadly. Jason felt sorry for her. He wondered if she did dream anymore, ever since she took on the oracle - normal dreams that is, not prophetic ones.

Beside him, Percy shifted his feet and put his hand in his pocket where he kept Riptide. Annabeth seemed to notice his apparent discomfort and reached for his hand, worry briefly crossing her face.

“I…I had a dream last night.” He said the words like he didn’t really know what he was saying, like someone else was feeding them to him and he was doing his best to pronounce each one carefully.

Chiron leaned forward. “Yes, Percy?”

“It was like what Rachel described,” he began. “The palace, Poseidon’s palace in the Atlantic, and the…the voice and the lights.” Percy described the two titan gods, Oceanus and Koios, and their apparent plan to overthrow Olympus and wipe out humanity with the sea. When he was finished there was silence. No one knew what to say. Percy had just singlehandedly translated at least half of the prophecy.

They now knew who was going to rise and where they were hiding. Although, as Jason thought about it, realistically that wasn’t a whole lot. They would still need a plan, know who was going, and figure out a million other things that the ancient verse talked about like a forgotten goddess and the veil of light the world was supposed to shed.

All Percy’s insight really meant was that they were one step closer to danger.

“Percy, you are sure it was Koios you saw? It could’ve been no one else? Perhaps it just looked like the titan you met before?” Chiron asked Percy like his answers would determine whether or not they would all survive. Which of course they did, but no one would say that out loud.

“Yes,” Percy said stiffly. “Oceanus said his name.”

Chiron and Annabeth looked at each other and shared a private conversation.

Jason imagined it went a little like this :

Annabeth - Really? Could that be right?

Chiron - Yes, I’m afraid it probably is.

Annabeth - But didn’t we think before that it was…

Chiron - Yes, yes I know. Now let’s just be thankful we were wrong and continue this conversation aloud.

“Percy, they didn’t say anything else? Maybe about anyone else who’s involved?” Annabeth said.

Percy shook his head. “No, that was it. What I don’t get though is how Koios knew I was there.”

“Koios can predict the future,” Nico said from beside Jason, making him jump. He would never get over how that kid could creep up behind you so quietly. “He’s the only one of the Elder Titans who can do it.”

Chiron nodded in agreement. “Yes, Koios’s clairvoyance probably allowed him to sense your presence, a power which makes him extremely dangerous.”

“And if he’s convinced this Oceanus to join him, I’m assuming that’s not a good thing,” Piper jumped in.

“No,” Annabeth said. “It’s not. Oceanus is the titan of the sea. He ruled all bodies of water before Poseidon. He’s usually neutral, but he’s been convinced before to join in a fight.”

“Yeah, like when he fought my dad the last time. Kronos convinced him to go against the Olympians and he got a whole army of monsters to help him at Poseidon’s palace. But he retreated again when Kronos lost.”

“So Oceanus likes to choose the winning team,” Frank said. “Koios must’ve made a good offer then.”

“He said something about how the oceans would rule the world again, maybe Koios told him he’d be given a lot of new territory or something?”

“Maybe, but this is all very important to think about,” Chiron said. “And as I have thought about it, the prophecy that is, I believe we may know who at least one other on the quest should be.”

“Annabeth,” Percy said confidently.

Annabeth squeezed his hand.

“Percy, I know we…”

“Yes. Annabeth. The line is clear : The ocean’s wisdom shall be forged. I believe this is more than just a statement of fact. It is a reference to Athena and Poseidon working together.”

“Okay, so if ‘the ocean’ is Poseidon and ‘wisdom’ is Athena, then maybe the last part of the line is telling us who the third person is supposed to be,” Rachel said hopefully.

Piper and Jason looked at each other. They were both thinking the same thing, but it was either impossible or a sign that the quest was doomed before they’d even left camp.

“Leo.”

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