Welcome to my world
I never, in my entire life, thought that I would be saving myself, and four other teenagers, from a couple cyclops. Confused? Yeah, me too. Let me take you back a few years.
I’m Alex Solace, and the one thing I never thought would happen, did. Five years old, my mother died. Yes, it’s sad. I never knew my dad, heck, he never seemed to care all too much, except for a gift every year to me and my brother on our birthday. What makes our situation worse, was that after our mom had died, me and my twin brother, Will, were dragged away from each other. I don’t know where he went, but I got thrown into an orphanage. After that, I was in and out of foster homes, each one worse than the last. Finally, I had enough. On my tenth birthday, I ran away from my foster home. The first night on my own, I had a dream. Or a vision. Not sure what to call it. But, I remember my dad. He came to me in this dream.
“Hey sunshine,” he said to me “Happy Birthday.” Well this was interesting. He sat down next to me and smiled “You look more like your mother everyday.”
I turn to him, confusion in my eyes. “Who are you?”
He laughs. “I’m Apollo, I’m your dad.” He ruffles my hair.
“Dad?” quickly my confusion turned to anger, and I shot up from where I sat. “Where were you? Where were you when me and Will needed you? Where were you when mom died?” Hot tears ran down my face. I was angry. He ignored us, he didn’t care, so why is he talking to me now?
Apollo stood up and wrapped his arms around me, stroking my hair and rocking us back and forth. “I’m sorry Amber, but there are rules, I’m afraid. I wish I could have come and saw you and your brother.”
After a few minutes I sat back down, eyes red from crying. Apollo sat down next to me with an arm around my shoulders. “Hey, I’ve got something for you.” He pulls out a bow and a full sheath of arrows. “The arrows will never run out. It’s your birthday gift.” He hands them to me and I take them. As soon as I touched the bow, it’s like I automatically knew how to use them.
“Thanks.” I smiled and fit an arrow on the bow and aimed it, like it was the most natural thing in the world. “This is awesome.” I drop them and wrap my arms around Apollo’s neck. “Thank you dad.” He smiled and hugged me back.
“Well, I’ve got to go, but i’m sure you can handle yourself.” He took a step back and started to fade.
“Wait! Don’t leave.” I reached out my hand towards him and watched him fade away. I opened my eyes and shot up from the ground. I looked around and realized it was just a dream. I look down at my hand and my eyes widen. In my hand was the same bow Apollo had given me. Maybe it wasn’t a dream. I brushed off the fact that he called me Amber, not Alex. It makes sense, he didn’t know that I identified as trans. I stood up, stretched, and started walking, not knowing where I was going, or what lay ahead.
That was how I began fighting monsters. After three years of being on my own, shooting down monsters with my bow and arrows, practicing healing magic, courtesy of Apollo, I met Cedar. We ran into each other as I was trying to kill a gorgon. And let me tell you, it was not a fun experience. I was running away from the monster-thing, and Cedar was running in my direction, running from a Hecatoncheires. Not a good combination of things. After almost giving each other a concussion, we paired up and started traveling together.
After killing both monsters, we laughed about how ironic it was that the two of us were running from monsters and ran into each other, quite literally.
“So what’s your story?” Cedar asked.
I shrugged “Dragged away from my brother when I was five after my mom died. In and out of foster homes. Ran away when I was ten, on my own since.”
“Wow, that sucks.” She said, turning her face towards the stars. “I was kicked out of my house about a year ago, never knew my dad, mom was an alcoholic. She hated me, said I reminded her too much of my father, that I would leave and never come back. Then she kicked me out, claiming that it’s better for her.” She shook her head and looked down. “Guess we all can’t come from rich and loving families.”
I nod and stare into the fire. “So do you know who your dad is?”
“Ares, god of war. Odd because when you look at me, you’d think I can’t hurt a fly.” She chuckles and gestures to herself. “What about you?”
“Apollo, music, poetry, healing, and the sun. I guess that explains my hair.” I say, holding up a strand of golden blonde hair. “He sent me and my brother gifts every year but, I never saw him until the night after I ran away, he gave me this.” I hold up my bow.
“And the healing magic stuff.” She adds.
“Yeah, the healing magic too.” I nod. I feel my eyes get heavy and I guess Cedar feels the same because then she says, “Well, i’m going to sleep, see you in the morning.” and lays down on her bag, quickly falling asleep. I follow suit and quickly fall asleep as well.
Now I know what you’re thinking, Alex, what’s the point in telling me all this? Well just wait a little longer, i’m not finished. It gets a little more complicated? Terrifying? You read and choose.
The next two years were eventful. A big war between gods and Titans. Then Gaea tried to take over the world. Yup. Eventful.
Now two 15 year olds walking through the forest holding weapons, who knows what the mist made mortals see, wasn’t easy to explain. Cedar was busy studying a map, trying to figure out where we were, and I was shoving popcorn in my mouth, enjoying the buttery flavor. “Gods, this is more difficult than trying to convince those police officers back in Nebraska we weren’t juveniles.” Cedar says, shaking her head. I laugh and poke her cheek.
“Yeah, at least then we didn’t have to read anything.” she laughs with me and folds up the map, tucking it into her pocket. “Or the time when you were trying to read the mile marker sign back in Texas and we got attacked by harpies.” She said, bumping my arm. I shivered and nodded. “Remind me to never stop to ask for directions from a lady with feathers on her face.”
“Will do sun boy” Cedar says laughing. We walk for a few more hours before stopping again, talking about previous adventures and tossing popcorn into each other’s mouths, laughing whenever we missed. I start setting up a fire to keep warm, kaing off my jacket and wrapping it around Cedar’s form. I might be 5’1”, but Cedar is 4’8”, making her tiny in my jacket. A few hours after the sun had gone down, Cedar stands and stretches. “I’ll take the first watch.” I get to my feet.
“Oh no tree girl, I’m taking the first watch, you get some sleep.” she opens her mouth to protest, but I quickly silence her with a kiss, leaving me with a glare from her, but no argument. It wasn’t a surprise she glared at me, we kissed each other often to get the other to shut up, but we weren’t dating or anything. She layed down and I walked over to a tree, sitting at its base. Hours passed before Cedar came up to me and touched my shoulder.
“Hey Alex, you should sleep.” I looked up at her and nodded, before getting up and laying down next to the fire. “I’ll wake you if there’s trouble” she called to me before I drifted off to sleep.
Now, having the god of prophecy, it is not fun when you get visions while you sleep. This time, however, It felt different. I open my eyes and look around, automatically recognizing it’s a vision, because I had no idea where I was. All around me were kids, as young as 6, and as old as 18, running around wearing bright orange t-shirts, carrying swords and other weapons. A demi-god camp, I realized. The shirts said Camp Half-Blood, which was a clue. I looked around and my eyes fell on a boy about 6’ with the same features as me. Will, I automatically thought. It has to be him, he looks like the taller version of me, so it had to be. I started to move towards him but something stopped me, like, something was pulling me back. I opened my eyes and shot up into a sitting position.
“Woah, slow down there sun boy, you ok?” Cedar is kneeling next to me, hand on my shoulder. I nod and squint my eyes as I try to remember the vision I saw. Unfortunately for me, my visions never stay long. “Ok well, we might want to get going, I heard some noises coming from the forest and they don’t sound friendly.” I stand and start gathering my things, and eventually, we’re walking again, weapons at the ready in case we get attacked.
What seemed like hours had passed before we stopped to get some water. “So you know where we are?” I asked in between drinks of water.
“I think we’re near New Jersey?” Cedar says after a long drink of water.
“Ok near the ocean, not bad I guess.” I say standing up and start walking again, Cedar at my side. “Now we need to figure out wha- GET DOWN!” I whisper yelled to Cedar, pulling her down behind some bushes.
“Come on Leo, we’ve been walking around for hours, and STILL havent found camp yet. Admit it, were lost.” Said one voice. He sounded a few years older than me.
“No, no! I know where we’re going, I just need-” the second voice, Leo i’m guessing, said.
“Come on Leo, Percy’s right, were lost.” a third voice chimed in. Cedar and I looked at each other before grabbing onto each other for balance. The ground was shaking, and whatever was causing it to shake, didn’t like the three boys talking. I look up and see a giant with one eye, a cyclops. Two of the boys, Percy and the other one, got out weapons, but the cyclops just knocked them into trees, leaving Leo and his, flaming hands? I looked at Cedar and she had the same look in her eyes that Leo had, fear. Then, without hesitation, I get out my bow and do something extremely stupid. I ran out from behind the bushes and right in between the cyclops and Leo.