"It was all just a mistake."
"I shouldn't have that night."
"I was drunk and the man took advantage of me."
There were many things she could have said—trying to make up a half-believable lie or perhaps just coming out honestly—yet Natalia remained silent in front of her parents. Barely 19, she was already becoming a single mother, pregnant with a child whose father is unknown to even herself. She had nothing to say for herself except for an "I'm sorry, I let you down". To her parents' ear, this is nothing but her excuse to cover up for what she had done. Being a disciplined family who principle is against such provocative act, they reluctantly disowned her from the family.
After all that had happened, Natalia honestly did not know if she should be thankful that the man saved her life that day or angry over the fact that he took advantage of her afterward. As much as she wanted to hate him, there's one thing that she can't deny. Thinking back to whatever she remembers of the night, she did truly enjoy her time with the men. Perhaps it was the alcohol hitting her brain at the wrong time. She knows that it doesn't seem right, given the circumstances and the state she was in, but she had felt some sort of connection between them. It looks to be love at first sight, as people would call it.
"That night was mostly a blur. The man, he had... light brown hair? Or was it dirty blond? He was 5'11—no, 6'2." Her memories from that night conflict with one another. Under alcohol influence, it would be a miracle that she was able to even recount the man's name, yet the image of his face was crystal clear to Natalia. But, frankly, she would do anything to forget that dreaded look of the man's face.
She was desperate. Desperate enough that she would do anything in order to raise her child. "Nothing" would separate her from her child, nothing. Owen Reynolds. That name is known by everyone in the business industry—but for all the wrong reasons. Other than being filthy rich, there was no other reason that you would want something to do an alcoholic, a cocky, and arrogant man, a corrupted businessman. However, given the circumstances, Natalia would have done anything—she had even considered prostitution in the red-light district at one point (for once in her life she didn't need to worry about being a disgrace towards her family. In the past, she would no longer have a body anymore if she ever tried to sell it out to strangers). She was nothing more than a sexual object to Owen, he never treated any of her mistresses as proper human—let alone as a proper partner, so what would make her an exception?
As a child, we have all been asked the question of "In a few words, how would you describe your family?" in one way another. While the typical children would probably have answered: "My daddy is the best!" or "I love my mommy!"—seven-year-old Devon would have answered: "Broken; shattered".
However, his pursue (even as half-assed as it was) of education did not last long and soon came to a gradual halt as he struggled more and more to catch up with his work. In a matter of months, he dropped from a fairly decent student to one who is barely holding on to a passing grade. At one point he was convinced that things are never going to be better. And then, things went from bad to worse, Devon's mother was diagnosed with cancer during the summer prior to him going to high school. It was only a matter of time before he dropped out from school. His mother lacked the fund for proper treatment of her cancer, and of course, his worthless step-father couldn't care less; one less of his women alive meant one less woman he needs to keep their mouth shut.
So what does depression feel like? Things just never seem right. Everything is a struggle of its own. Even the slightest decision is burdensome. That's just naming a few—but the worst of all is that everything seems hopeless. Devon is truly one of a kind, but this time, the term isn't used as a blatant excuse for an insult. Despite what stereotypes have been placed upon those that reside in the Ares Cabin, never once had Devon felt what true adrenaline and courage feels like. However, these stereotypes aren't just all lies used to categorize the different demigods. While he always had the feeling that he has some sort of instinctive nature bottled within himself, he never gave it a second thought—more so, he "couldn't" give a second thought about it.
Thinking back to the day of his first monster encounter, it would bewilder other people to see what potential a seemingly depressed person can hold. He was thirteen and that was the first time Devon experienced what hope really is—but just like a surge of adrenaline, it was merely temporary and the aftertaste only left him deeper into his depression afterward. He was simply walking home in the middle of the night after a long day of work. He grasped onto this month's wage—at this point, every dollar counts. He walked with his head turned downwards when he bumped into a large, brawny figure. If he wasn't a child of Ares, he would certainly have fallen to intimidation. But frankly, with what happened next, this should be the least of his worries. A loud growl in the alleyway. If the idiom "don't judge a book by its cover" could apply to the mist, the "German Shepard" was much more than just that. A second later, a vicious beast clawed the man and tossed him aside like garbage. It wasn't the mugger's lucky day. While the mugger was clearly not the hellhound's target, he just so happened to have gotten in the hellhound's way. In its way of hunting of its prey. With monsters' bloodthirsty nature, they would do anything to get to the demigod. By the look of the wounds, the mugger was broken beyond repair.
The hellhound continues stalking towards its prey with its eyes glaring crimson red. Within a split second, the hellhound pounces towards Devon. However, that one and a half seconds were enough for a child of Ares' heightened speed (and speed). Devon grabbed onto whatever his hands could get a grasp on first—which happened to be a medium-sized metal plate that laid by his feet. As the hellhound pounces within range, he concussed the metal plate at the hellhound's head. While the attempt, although not futile, was nowhere near able to kill the hellhound, however, it was able to disorient the hellhound long enough for Devon to make his escape.
In the four years afterward, Devon found himself encountering various monsters, they were not simple feats nonetheless, but a combination of luck (he was at the right place at the right time—whether he had lost himself within a crowd), and innate adrenaline and heightened senses were all by his side.
He came back from school to see his stepfather's face again. For the past month, he had actually thought that he had seen the last of him. Devon often thinks to himself, "Why do we even come back to this home when we know that we will get hurt?" Judging by his step-father's face, Devon was almost certain that his step-father was not coming back to make up nor have plans to stay.
"That smug look on his face as he beats my mother as if it's nothing." That was the rationale that Devon had before he gave in to his impulse and did what he did—something he'll regret for the rest of his life. He stood behind his opened front door watching helplessly as his step-father slapped his mother when she resisted from giving him her hard-earned money. But then, a broken beer bottle caught Devon's eyes—perhaps he wasn't as helpless as he thought.
"You little bastard son of a b*tch!". "I will f*cking slit your throat you for this!" Everything was silent to Devon—everything except his step-father scoffing at him and when he coughs out blood after every few words. Devon's stepfather frantically tried to grab a hold onto something—anything that was at least semi-sharp. Devon then felt a sharp impalement into his chest. As he looked down, he saw a sharp kitchen knife in his chest. When his stepfather ripped the knife back out, it was just as painful as when his stepfather impaled him with it. He put his hand over the wound in his chest and he fell to the floor. He looks at his shaking hand to see it drenched in blood and even more draining from his chest. Instead of forcing himself to stay conscious, he simply left in as his vision blurs out. While the piece of glass did not impale deep enough nor in any areas that would puncture any vital organs otherwise, nonetheless, he is continuously losing blood every ticking second. "Devon. Devon, wake up. Devon, don't sleep...," the rest of her speech was inaudible both because it was mixed in between Devon's mother's tears, sniffle, and sobbing; and also because Devon is slowly falling into unconsciousness. She frantically got to her feet to dial 119 whilst wiping away the tears that drip down her face.
The following month had been an absolute living nightmare for Devon, to say the least.
Devon tosses and turns vigorously. His fists and jaw clenches as his hands clench onto whatever it could get a hold of. Sweat drenches his forehead. It's the same routine for the past week—for every single night. Every time he tries to close his eyes and get a glimpse of sleep, he encounters a vivid picture of his hands drenched in his step-father's blood, the look on his step-father's face as he fell to the ground, and his father slowly bleeding to his death with a cold, scornful stare. That is when he began to resort on Eszopiclone. When he first started taking it, he thought that he would have had one less problem—but of course, with a positive always comes a downside, that's just simply how life works. He became so dependent on it that it pretty well became second nature for him to take the pills daily, whether he actually needed it or not. Usually the latter.
Tisiphone, The Avenger, was furious from the fact that a mere nymph intercepted her act of avengement and protected Devon. Regardless of whether Devon was provoked by his stepfather or whether Devon committed the murder out of pure self-defense, he nonetheless still murdered another man in the fury's eyes and nothing was going to change that. It was so close to avenging the death of Devon's stepfather. It raised its whip to end Devon suffering and his life. Perhaps it was luck or destiny, but it just so happens to fall short of bringing retribution when the healing nymph paralyzed her. The very same healing nymph that saved Devon's life a month ago (unbeknownst to Devon, the nymph was in fact sent by his father Ares). But in Devon's suicidal state, could you really say that the nymph helped him or did him a favor there?
Healing Devon to the greatest extent within the given time, the healing nymph decided that she had no other choice. Fearing for Devon's safety, since he is being hunted by Tisiphone, the healing nymph decided that the best course of action would be to take him to camp. She made sure that Devon was caught up to date beforehand so that there would be no surprises. Their journey to camp was relatively straightforward, they took the New Jersey transit from New Jersey (boarding at Trenton Transit Center station) to New York Penn Station before getting on a taxi to get to Long Island. They would've guessed that they were safe in their journey, but things went wrong. As they were nearing Half-Blood Hill, things went downhill. It was Tisiphone yet again and this time, she doesn't look amused in the slightest.
In an attempt to subdue the Fury like she did the previous encounter, the healing nymph tries to paralyze Tisiphone. Being one step ahead, Tisiphone cast a curse brought upon Devon by his step-father which he killed. The curse would bring upon his already weak body excruciating pain. The pain is not physical. There is no wound—nothing, yet it felt like it could easily have been physical. The pain has no increment, no pattern, no specific timeframe that it would occur. It would hit him in the most unexpected of times, almost as if the pain comes out of nowhere whenever the Furies felt the urge to toy around with Devon.
Tisiphone was yet again paralyzed, as the healing nymph held Devon's left hand over her shoulder to support him. While Devon groaned in pain while grabbing onto his chest with his right hand, the healing nymph dragged him towards the entrance of Camp Half-Blood. With Devon's condition, they were not moving nearly as fast as they could. The Fury soon regained control and pursued the two. Devon and the healing nymph reached their final stretch as they can get a glimpse of the entrance, however, the Fury was catching up speed. They continued to move until they were a few meters away, but looking back, the Fury had caught up and things were going to get ugly. As Tisiphone raised her whip, the healing nymph pushed Devon aside, into camp's bastion. The whip instead hit the healing nymph.
The healing nymph was not Tisiphone's target, as such, Tisiphone's task was complete and she returned to the underworld. The pain was unbearable for the healing nymph, but she persevered and dragged herself into camp boundaries. Devon watched yet another person he trusts get hurt in front of his eyes all because of him. He then collapsed. He woke up a few hours later and found himself in a foreign environment. Explanations were due and thus Devon found himself within the barriers of Camp Half-Blood.