As I said, I was born in 1998. Back then, my last name was Lucas, just like my mom’s. My mom met Poseidon at Cannon Beach, near Haystack Rock, and they fell in love quickly. I was born soon after. You guys have heard the stories of gods leaving right after and not claiming the kid until later, and you’ve heard of gods coming around occasionally to check in. Well, in my early life, Poseidon was neither of those. He stuck around. Mom said that he, or some part of him, was there all the time until I was almost 2 years old. Not that I remember it.
A couple months before I turned 2, Poseidon had to leave. A lot of huge stuff was happening, like Zeus being very angry with him for spending so much time with mortals, (and a lot of other stuff you’ve read about in Percy’s stories) so he couldn’t stay any longer.
Nearly right after Poseidon left my mom, she met Dionysus. It is extremely rare for any mortal to attract the affections of more than one god, but my mom changed a lot in all of her emotions after Poseidon left her. So she attracted Dionysus and had my brother, Jacob, who was born on April 15th, 2001.
When I was almost 3 years old, in the December after Jacob was born, our house was attacked. My aura was attracting monsters. Poseidon sensed a problem and came to defend my mom, brother, and I, but after that, he had to convince my mom to send me away for a bit. He knew what was happening in the Greek world, especially in Percy’s life, and he knew that to keep me safe, I needed to be at camp.
So he sent me. I arrived on a wave in Long Island Sound with a trident over my head. That’s what they tell me, anyway. I don’t claim to remember.
Oh, another thing that Rick Riordan wrote differently? Nico DiAngelo was not younger than Percy. By the time I got to camp, Nico had a son, Nico DiAngelo, Junior, with his girlfriend, Cecelia, a daughter of Ares. Nico Jr. and I were the same age. The exact same age, actually. We were born on the same day in 1998 at nearly the exact same time.
One thing that Rick Riordan never really explained in his books is that, when half-bloods have children with another half-blood, or even a mortal, they can be claimed by gods. Sometimes they get claimed because their powers are as strong as a normal half-bloods, as in Nico Jr.’s case. Sometimes they just get claimed because their parents pray and the kid has some powers that the gods deem “good enough.”
For example, my grandfather is a son of Zeus (he was born during World War 2 before the pact was made and barely survived his childhood). He married a woman, my grandmother, who had godly blood from Apollo and Aphrodite, and Ares, but my mom and her sister didn’t get claimed by any of the gods. My mom’s sister, Nicki, can’t even see through the Mist. My mom can though, which is one reason Poseidon (and, eventually Dionysus) told her who he really was. All of that is to say that Nico Jr., though Nico and Cecelia were his parents, Hades claimed him because he had powers as strong as his father’s.
When Nico and I met, not long before our third birthday, we bonded quickly. Sadly, I do not remember our first meeting, but I remember that he made me very happy. We were the only kids our age at Camp Half-Blood at the time, so we stuck together. I loved him so much, not necessarily in a romantic way at the time, and he loved me back. On our birthday, he held my hand as our extended, convoluted, dysfunctional half-blood family sang to us. That, I remember.
Nico and I were pretty sheltered at camp until Chiron received a prophecy. He never told me the exact wording, but he told me that, on a quest, it had been rediscovered that there was a camp of Roman half-bloods. Or, as he said it, unfriendly Roman half-bloods.
On the discovery that Camp Half-Blood hadn’t crumbled, the Romans declared war on any of us that came into their territory, which essentially was California and a bunch of the area around it. That posed a giant problem, which is obvious to anyone who read Rick Riordan’s stories about Percy.
The prophecy Chiron had received pointed to me as the solution. Unbeknownst to anyone but the gods, when I was born, all of them had claimed me and instilled some of the powers that their children would get. Somehow, I, a barely three year-old, (but a muscular, intelligent one at that) was supposed to bring peace between the two camps.
In 2002, Chiron began training Nico and I. There isn’t a whole lot of real training you can do with three year-olds that isn’t fun in some way, but Chiron managed to get Nico and I exploring our powers, learning to sword fight, (mostly with wooden swords) and taking runs and hikes in armor so that our bodies would get used to the extra weight. This training, which was intense for kids, even kids like us, brought Nico Jr. and I much closer, since we didn’t have much of a choice except to lean on each other. We spent every waking moment together. We cried together, laughed together, and got in trouble for sitting at each other’s tables at meals. We even began playing as prison guards in capture the flag, which sometimes made people laugh so hard that they couldn’t run fast enough to escape.
By April, Nico and I were faster, stronger, smarter, more agile, and more powerful than we had been. We were starting to try new things with our powers outside of Chiron’s training sessions, which is one thing that got us into trouble.
Imagine a pretty chill day at Camp Half-Blood. People are training, playing volleyball and basketball, and joking with their friends and siblings.
Nico and I decided to go down to the beach, so we held hands and walked down to the water.
“I want to learn to control big waves,” I told Nico. “Like Percy can. I want to be like him.”
“You can do big waves,” Nico said. “I can do big things too. Wanna try?”
“Okay,” I said, letting go of his hand.
We both concentrated. I felt the tugging sensation in my gut as Nico let out a scream. The ground opened next to us as a giant wave splashed down. I didn’t get soaked, of course, but Nico did. I panicked, feeling like I couldn’t stop the water, so I screamed and finally, it stopped. Nico lay on the ground next to me, sputtering, and the crack in the ground closed slightly. I knelt down. “Nico? Are you okay? Nico?” I said, shaking him.
“I’m okay,” He coughed, sitting up.
Then the ground shook and Hades appeared from the shadow under a tree on the edge of the beach. He spotted us and stormed over. “Why are the Fields of Punishment soaking wet?” he yelled.
“Oops,” I said, shying away.
“Sorry grandad,” Nico said, also shrinking back.
Hades raised his arm, his face contorted in anger. Nico and I cowered against the sand, holding each other, and Chiron yelled, “Wait!”
He galloped up, his face flushed. “Hades, please. They’re still learning. I’ll keep them under control.”
“You can’t control any son of mine,” Hades said, his voice booming.
“You’re right,” Chiron said, “but I can keep them from causing you any more trouble.”
“You better.” Hades said, looking back at Nico. Then he reached out.
Nico flinched, and Hades frowned. “Keep working. You’ll get it.” Then he slipped his Helm over his head and he was gone.