choosing

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The attic of the Oracle was a very anticlimactic place. It was just that: an attic. 

Books with millennia of dust settled on top of boxes - any of which could potentially be Pandora's. Pensives with engravings of tragedies etched into them. Greek warrior helmets lay scattered in wardrobes and on top of cages. the last time Ciarda came up, when she was six, she wondered if the one she picked up was Patroclus'. 

Percy made his way up the creaking stairs, his face an expression of disgust. Something dead was rotting. He stared at the forgotten artefacts: a table carved with precision, a pickled dragon tooth, a telescope. 

The house creaked when Percy faced the Oracle he'd been told about. It was a woman, her head lolled to the side exposing her stringy grey hair. "Hi, I'm Percy. Nice to meet you, Ciarda has told me great things." 

"I was told a quest isn't a quest until you've said so?" He tried again, blushing ferociously when the Oracle stayed silent once more. "Which is weird considering you're a Halloween decoration." 

The Oracle's bones cracked as she straightened and Percy stepped back, "Oh geez." It creaked and groaned as she tensed her shoulders. "You seem busy, I'll come back," Percy started walking away when the Oracle breathed raspingly. 

"Whoa," Percy observed as the Oracle's jaw slackened and green smoke billowed out. It swirled in the musty air before an image of Percy's stepfather appeared. "Oh come on, really?" The Son of Poseidon scoffed. 

"You shall go West and face the God who has turned. And you shall find what was stolen and see it safely returned. You shall be betrayed by the one who calls you friend, and fails to save what matters most in the end." 

...

"The Oracle has confirmed as expected. This quest will lead toward the Underworld, where you will confront the God who has rebelled against his brothers," Chiron spoke loudly into the circle of demigods presenting themselves to go on a quest. 

Percy scanned the faces, observing some familiar and some unknown. Clarisse, Annabeth and Luke all stood upright with their hands behind their backs. Chris stood next to Luke, seemingly nervous and slouched. 

"Hades. The entrance to Hades' domain lies under Los Angeles. This is where you will journey to. Time is short. I have selected our most compelling candidates, of which you must pick three to complete your quest with." 

"Annabeth," Percy eyed Athena's child, who had shown immense intelligence and technique. She glanced up in surprise. 

"Customarily, people wait to hear a name or two before they decide. Are you sure you don't want to hear more?" Chiron's salt-and-pepper eyebrows were raised. His grey hair was thinning on top of his head, predominantly due to his continuous wise scratching. 

"This thing, Zeus' masterbolt, we need to get it back, right?" Percy looked up to Chiron. "Yes," Chiron assured. "And, it's going to be hard to get, yes?" Percy stared at him earnestly. "Extraordinarily," Chiroin sighed, the years had aged him thoroughly. 

"And if the mission required someone to push me down a flight of stairs for it to succeed... you'd want someone who wouldn't hesitate when they do it."

"The first quest-mate shall be Annabeth Chase. Now onto the next candidate." Chiron announced.

...

Ciarda stood, three feet from her sister, thinking about everything she could've done or said for things to be different. Finally, she unclenched her fists when she felt moon-shaped cuts form in her palms. She prayed they wouldn't drip blood - the choosing circle was a sacred place.

"We have Luke Castellan, a fine swordsman and someone who will continuously have your back." 

"Wait- didn't you say someone had been picked for me by the Oracle, from a very young age?" Percy looked to Chiron. "Indeed, but only if you pick them first. Fate suggested this partnership but it must be sealed by you, Percy."

Percy looked around the circle of candidates. The sun shone in his eyes, blinding him from seeing their faces too clearly. Until he looked at her

Her head of curly waves blocked the sun. Her nose had been fixed, however a collection of jagged scars now covered the bridge. He'd watched her loyalty to the people she trusted; he'd fought alongside her and seen the battle skills she honed; she had fought her own flesh and blood to protect him. 

"Ciarda La Rue." 

Chiron looked down with a glimmer in his eyes. Ciarda stared at him, something dark in her eyes lifting when he said her name.

"She was the one Fate chose for me, wasn't she?" 

...

Pegasi sighed in the distance as Grover shovelled its manure into a rusted wheelbarrow. Sweat lined his upper lip and dribbled down his forehead. The Summer heat was wavering on the horizon, beating down on the young Satyr's back. Straw poked out of his hair near his horns.

"Dude, what have you been eating?" He complained, the pegaus only snorting in response. It started huffing and scraping its hooves along the floor. "Whoa, whoa. I'm not trying to antagonise you - I'm genuinely curious." 

Grover steered the wheelbarrow to the left, watching with a small smile when the other pegasi started flapping their wings about in the yellowing field opposite him. 

"Hey," Percy jogged down the hill. Grover looked happy to see him, and then something dawned on him and he looked down. "Hey, sorry I missed your selection ceremony. I've been, you know, shovelling." 

"Yeah, I'm sorry about that. I guess Mr D. wasn't too happy about you telling me about my mom?" Percy flinched when the spade Grover was using clanged angrily against the humble wheelbarrow. "No. No, he was not... So, who'd you choose to go with you?"

Percy stared at him for a moment. "You." 

Grover cracked a smile. "Funny, no seriously, who did you choose?"

"I chose you."

Grover's smile faltered. "Why?" Percy looked softly at his friend with goat legs, "I trust you. And right now, nothing is more important than that." Grover looked at him, ignoring the neighing in the distance.

"I'm going to pack the best snacks." 


𝐖𝐀𝐑 𝐎𝐅 𝐓𝐈𝐃𝐄𝐒  | percy jacksonWhere stories live. Discover now