Arthur Helling, born and raised in London, had always been fascinated with the art of magic and illusions ever since he was a boy. Such interest came to be after his parents, Antoinette and Roland, brought him to a magic show when he was 9. He became enticed in the wonders of magic and began learning its ways. He practiced long and hard, perfecting simple tricks like making cards disappear. He moved on to the harder, more professional tricks at the age of 18. By the time he was 20, Arthur knew that his hobby would soon become his profession.
Years of practicing magic in his neighborhood made Arthur well known to the locals. He'd perform in parks, busy streets, and the occasional party. He grew confident in his skills, so much so that he often went to participate in fairs that occurred outside of his neighborhood. It just so happened that, on one of his performances, he caught the eye of a worker from a well known media company. It wasn't long before Arthur received a contract and was performing tricks not only at events, but sometimes on television as well. Two years after he was recruited by the company, Arthur began touring.
By the time he was 24, Arthur Helling was one of the many well-known performers. He toured the world, bringing joy to kids and adults alike with his magnificent magic, which has kept the crowds awestruck every time. It was on one of his tours that he met the love of his life who would, in the future, be the cause of his grief as well. The last performance of his tour was coming closer and closer and this time, it would be occur in New York.
Coincidentally, on the day of Arthur's performance, Hecate had been bored and decided to watch the show. Took on the name Rebecca Parker, the goddess joined the crowd to see how well a mere mortal could delve in her art. In the 2nd act, Arthur needed someone from the crowd to be his volunteer assistant and his choice just so happened to be the goddess. She did as she was requested to do without complaint.
Arthur stared for a while at his new volunteer but quickly turned to the crowd when she locked gazes with him. The trick was simple yet looked complicated. All that really happened was that Arthur had the chair underneath Rebecca “rise” and they (Rebecca and the chair) disappeared after levitating for a minute. Then Rebecca reappeared beside Arthur in a gust of smoke. This caused the crowd to jump to their feet and applaud the great magician and his temporary assistant.
That same night, Arthur met up with Rebecca to thank her properly for cooperating with his trick. He bought her some coffee from the nearest Starbucks as another “thank you” gift, to which she gladly accepted. As their hands momentarily brushed, Arthur suddenly asked her if she wanted to go on a date. Rebecca looked at him in amusement before accepting. Three nights later, the two had gone on their first date and officially became a couple. Rebecca then accompanied Arthur in all his remaining shows in New York but did not bother to tell him her true identity; that she was a Greek goddess.
Rebecca and Arthur saw each other nearly every day after Arthur’s last show in New York. Slowly, the two were falling for each other but only Rebecca saw what was truly happening. She tried not to get too attached; knowing what would soon happen if she continued to see Arthur. But deep inside, the goddess knew that the attraction was inevitable, for magic called to magic, no matter what form it took. So, one night, a few months into their relationship, the two had a bit of a fling after getting accidentally drunk.
When Arthur woke up the next morning, safely in his room at the hotel, Rebecca wasn't there with him. It didn't affect him that much, though. But he didn't see Rebecca for the rest of the day, and the next few days as well. Arthur became worried and very devastated. Days turned into weeks and weeks into months but no matter how much he pleaded with the heavens, he never saw nor heard of Rebecca again. He tried to forget about her; he truly did but it seemed as if his entire world had been shaking in the short time they were together.
It wasn't long before Arthur returned to London. He no longer did magic shows for it was too much to bear not seeing his beloved 's face in the crowd. Many were confused by this but he simply said that he had other priorities in life, so the media and all his fans were left to accept that. He lived as any man would. After months, he finally got over Rebecca and forgot about her, so one could only imagine the surprise and anguish he felt when he found two baby girls, twins, on his porch with a note from his first and only love.
The pain of his love for the goddess had left only to return when the twins came into his life. Therefore, Arthur resented the two girls yet loved them at the same time. Natalie and Ginevra Helling, the only two daughters of the great magician, lived complicated lives with Arthur. Though he had never taken much notice of them, he had cared enough to feed them, give them nice clothes and a home. The twins never had much interest in their father's talent and so, never bothered with magic.
Time passed by quickly for the twins.
It seemed as if the years were molded into mere minutes. Both were diagnosed with Dyslexia when they were only six then ADHD the following year. The twins began having trouble in school due to this but this was not out of the ordinary. The lives of the Helling twins really started to turn when they were 9. When they were on their way home from the park, they saw a young man holding what seemed to be a sword rush into an alleyway, followed shortly after by what seemed like a woman with flaming hair and a bronze leg. When they were 10, the twins and their father went on a short fishing trip. The twins swore that, while they were waiting for the bait to lure in some fish, a woman in the water waved at them before disappearing.
When the twins turned 11, they began experimenting with magic. They would practice simple, harmless tricks, just like their father before them. Because the two began practicing simple street magic, they slowly became more popular at school. When they were 12, they found a book on witchcraft in the local library. Thinking it was nothing but a harmless book with harmless contents, Natalie and Ginny tried the first spell they found: a protective spell. Agreeing that since there was no harm in trying it out, the two came up with their own protective incantation. Expecting something flashy to occur, the twins were disappointed when everything seemed the same despite casting the spell and both declared that spells an incantations were nothing but a waste of time. Unbeknownst to the twins, their incantation not only worked but was twice as powerful, since they were both children gifted with magic. This contributed to why their 13th year seemed more 'normal' than their previous years.
It was also in this year that the twins found themselves hobbies. For Natalie, it was writing and reading whereas Ginny found solace in drawings and art. However, due to their popularity at school, a popularity gained from their magic tricks, the two were exposed to more hobbies, hobbies which the two keep secret, telling absolutely no one. For Ginny, her 'secret' hobby became reading. She never read outside of her room unless told to do so in school, whereas Natalie learned the art of gambling; making bets on even the silliest of things.
The incantation the twins cast lost effect by the time they were 14. Two months after their birthdays, the twins were chanced upon by an injured harpy while they were on their way home from school. Hungry and weary due to her wounds, the harpy attacked the twins. Despite her state, the monster managed to wound Natalie on the arm with one of her claws. Albeit a shallow wound, it was enough to cause the twins to panic and run. The harpy gave chase but they were able to lose it after running into numerous alleys found in their neighborhood. It helped that the harpy was very much injured and was in no state to keep up with two healthy teenagers.
Upon reaching their humble abode, the twins agreed that this was all some silly prank and they would not speak of it again. They tried to forget about the incident for the next few weeks, but the bandage on Natalie's arm made it hard to do so. When Arthur asked the girls how the elder of the two managed to receive such a wound, they simply lied and said it was a small mishap which occurred while they tried practicing a trick that used knives. The ex-magician, although worried for his daughters, only laughed and told them not to attempt dangerous tricks again without supervision.
Life went on easily for the twins. After the attack, they went about their days as though nothing happened and the incident was all but forgotten. But the thing that really changed their lives happened when they were 15.
The twins were having lunch at their usual place in the school, the gymnasium, one of the few places where nobody went to during break. Over the school years, the twins had received quite a number of admirers so, as they were talking, one Natalie's admirers, Josh Michaels, entered the gym and headed towards Natalie. Ginevra (who prefers to go by the name Ginny), being the overprotective younger twin, glared at him. Natalie looked behind her and quickly stood to leave, not wanting to be asked yet again if she would like to go on a date. Ginny kept on glaring at Josh before taking Natalie's hand and headed for the door. Unluckily for them, Josh took hold of Natalie's other hand.
"Not so fast, you two. You aren't leaving until I get what I want," he said, letting go of Natalie's hand when he was sure he got the attention of the twins.
Ginny shot him a look. "Look, buddy, I've told you time and time again that you are never gonna date my sister, so back off already." Josh looked taken aback before his expression turned sinister and he sneered at Ginny.
"Whoever said I wanted to date your sister?"
"What do you me--?"
Before their eyes, Josh seemed to get taller, much more muscular and his expression looked rather famished; like he hadn’t eaten in a week. The Helling twins could do nothing but watch as the monster before them grew. 'Josh' smiled fiendishly at them. "You two have no idea how hungry I am after two weeks of being stuck in that tiny form."
Ginny, who was able to process what happened faster, spoke up, slowly backing away from the monster. "What the heck are you?" Josh's smile widened at her question. "A laistrygonian who's gonna eat you, what else?"
Natalie tensed and whispered hurriedly to Ginny. "I know about this. Laistrygonians are Greek cannibals. They’re giants who ate people on Odysseus’ ships." The laistrygonian began advancing towards them. Instinct led the both of them to run toward the exit but a cart full of basketballs was launched into the air and landed directly in front of the door, blocking the twins’ nearest exit as well as scattering the balls, making running a difficult feat.
Ginny and Nat looked at each other in panic as the giant grinned and moved to grab them. Luckily for them, Jake Parker, the quiet new guy in Ginny’s class, burst in through the other exit with a bow in hand and an arrow notched in it. He let the arrow fly and it hit the monster in the back, making it step on a basketball and drop to the floor rather loudly. The laistrygonian stood back up again in no time, angrier than before.
“A friend of yours, I see,” he growled at Jake.
Jake glanced at the twins worriedly before notching another arrow and shooting it at the laistrygonian. The arrow pierced its thigh which was enough for the laistrygonian to fall again.
“Run!” Jake shouted.
The twins didn’t need any further encouragement. Ignoring the scattered balls, they sprinted towards the exit, passing by Jake.
“Go outside,” he said when they were close enough. Ginny hesitated a bit before following her twin outside. This was her classmate; she wasn’t simply going to leave him in the hands of a strange monster thing.
Jake shot her a look and she quickly headed to the door but stayed for a few more seconds. “Be careful.”
Jake nodded and faced the monster, replacing his bow with the axes slung across his back.
“Go outside. I’ll meet you there.”
Natalie and Ginny only had to wait ten or so minutes before Jake emerged from the school building. People were already starting to stare at the large amount of dust on Jake’s pants but he ignored them. He took their hands and led them out of the school and into the subdivision where the Hellings live. Jake explained what happened in the gym and what Natalie and Ginny really were: demigods. It took a bit of persuasion to get the twins to believe him and, by the time they reached the house, Natalie and Ginevra were convinced.
The demigod quickly explained to Arthur what was happening the minute the door was opened by the older man. Arthur had had enough with the nonsense spewing from the teenagers's mouth and was about to kick Jake out of the house when he saw the pleading expressions on his daughters’ faces. Jake noticed the expressions on the twins’ faces and excused himself, saying he’d message his friend.
“Just this once, dad, believe in what he’s saying,” Natalie pleaded with Arthur the second Jake was gone.
“Please?” Ginny added.
Arthur looked at them for a full minute. He sighed and relented, keeping his mind open to the possibility. Jake appeared in the doorway of the living room where the trio were and told the twins to pack whatever it was they needed. They did so, despite their father's protests, and were ready to leave in fifteen minutes. Arthur asked how they were going all the way to America on such a short notice.
“I have a friend who’s gonna help,” Jake said.
As if on cue, a boy stepped from the shadows. The Hellings were surprised but Jake reassured them that it was fine and not to worry. He explained briefly that they were going to shadow travel to Long Island through his friend, Cody Knight, who was a son of Hades.
The group of demigods were about to leave when Arthur suddenly stopped them and quickly went to his room. He came back holding to small rectangular boxes and gave them to Natalie and Ginny.
He said he found it in the mail earlier in the morning with a note that said it was for the twins. They both opened it and found silver necklaces inside. The three hugged for what could possibly be the last time before Jake said they had to leave.
Right before they left, Arthur whispered to Natalie and Ginny: “You two have made me proud. Be safe.” The twins could only grin at him before they were plunged into the shadows. A few seconds later, they were all on Half-Blood Hill, just in front of the barrier which kept Camp safe from clutches of monsters. Jake and Cody stepped into camp without hesitation. Ginny and Natalie shared a small hesitant smile, clasped the necklaces their father handed to them and entered camp.
On that night, Ginny and Natalie Helling were claimed as daughters of Hecate.