Nicholas Lauder was a kind man. He had a positive outlook, he went to work in the family business everyday with a smile. He donated to charity and took care of his elderly parents. Something was missing though, and no matter how many women he courted and how many kisses he stole after expensive dinners, it all just wasn’t right. That all changed when he met Veronique, a French tourist visiting Amsterdam, with her long dark hair, thick curls stopping just shy of her waist, her pale skin and amethyst eyes, her sharp comments, and her low voice.
Nicholas knew from the beginning that she was the woman. He fell in love with the beauty by simply talking to her while she sat across from him drinking coffee. Carmen, too, was quite taken by the simple, honest Dutch man. He would do nicely for a break from the tedious politics of Olympus, the Underworld, that nonsense rebel group… Yes, Apate mused, Nicholas would do nicely for a distraction. In return, she would give him a child that would remind him of her.
She left two weeks after their first date, just a few days after she allowed him into her bed. Nicholas was heart broken, miserable, really, but threw himself back into work. But when, a few months later, he found a basket in his doorstep, he didn’t have to look at the little child inside twice to understand that this was her son. Their son. The only trait the boy took from his father were his eyes, dark and equally sad, even then. A note in the babe’s hand told him that his mother had named him Tristan.
Nicholas couldn’t bear facing his parents’ questioning looks. He took what money he earned while running his father’s firm and moved to the States. Starting off as an accountant, he used his family name to rise easily and quickly. Soon enough he was CEO in a bank. Tristan spent his first years around nannies, French and Dutch tutors, as his father was always too busy,
Nicholas met Neria — Neri Hathaway on a rare trip to Coney Island with Tristan, who was eight at the time. She was working at a local coffee shop as a barista, and the first thing that made Nick like her was how nice she was to his son. He asked for her number. A few months later, they were engaged. By the time Tristan turned nine they were married, and the boy called Neri mum.
Sometimes, Neri spent the summer away from her family of two, volunteering somewhere in Long Island. She'd always come back with a dozen stories, and Tristan was always a little jealous. The boy was closer to his mother, because his father seldom had time to even talk to him. It was a few more years until he spoke to her about it. It was a couple of weeks after his twelfth birthday, and Neri took him to shop for clothes. Tristan was in the middle of asking her about where she went to in the summer, when three extremely ugly creatures — they had the face of a dog — attacked them. Now, Tristan had seen weird things before, in nightmares, movies, video games, but what transpired next surpassed them all.
Neri, looking slightly panicked, pushed her step son behind her and pulled out a throwing knife from an inside pocket. She aimed it at one of the creatures, hitting it between the eyes, which gave her time to pull out her sword. Only a few minutes passed before all the monsters were nothing more than dust on the tile floor of the mall. Neri turned her attention to Tristan, who was seemingly shocked into stupor. She took him by the hand and led him back to the car, explaining everything as calmly as possible on the ride home.
And thus begun Tristan's traning. After revealing what she and him had in common, Neri — who turned out to be a daughter of the Greek goddess Athena — gifted Tristan with a celestial bronze sword that could transform into a small crystal he could wear around his neck. She told him where she spent her summers, a place called Camp Half Blood, training other children his age and even a little younger. She arranged to work less hours at her job so that she could train him as best as she could, not wanting to send him out to Camp in the middle of the school year. Tristan proved to be a quick learner, and soon he mastered sword fighting, knife throwing, archery, and even some hand-to-hand combat.
In the mean time, his father finally managed to be able to spend more time with his family, and while Neri and Tristan planned their trip to Camp in June, Nicholas arranged for an escapade to Europe for three. Neri didn't have the heart to refuse father and son their much needed bonding time, so Tristan's enrollment to Camp was called off for a year.
The boy had the means to protect himself now, and so he did, defeating harpies and hellhounds on the way to school and back. Then came another busy summer spent in New York starring in his neighbourhood's theater's production Midsummer Dream as Puck, then helping Neri with a self defence seminar she wanted to teach for years... Due to various circumstances, Tristan and Neri put off the trip to Camp for several years, until finally the boy turned fifteen. They both knew it had to be done, so that he could be claimed, and learn to use his powers properly, and make friends without fear of them thinking he was weird after seeing him pulling out a plastic sword and charging at stray dogs. They just had to wait for school to end.
On the 29th of May, 2012, there was a terrible car accident at an intersection. Neri was driving home from work, when a truck ran into her Toyota Prius. She died on the spot. Nicholas and Tristan had very different reactions. While Nicholas succumbed to drinking until he'd black out, then leave for work and repeat day after day, Tristan only trained. He hit the punching bag in his room until his knuckles would bleed, he slashed at the training dummies Neri made for him until he could no longer hold his sword. Everything in their large penthouse appartment reminded him of the woman he considered and called his mother. At some point, he decided he couldn't do it anymore. He took what he money he could from his father, packed some clothes, his weapons, and his guitar and ran away from home.
He found himself in a shady hotel in a shadier part of Brooklyn, the owner of which, Eva, didn't ask for an ID if her costumers paid enough. Tristan would soon find out that she too was a demigod, a daughter of Psyche, when she caught him polishing a celestial bronze dagger and confronted him. She relaxed when he told her that he was unclaimed and had never stepped foot into Camp. Her hotel was guarded from monsters by a few aggressive looking members of the Broken Covenant, and while she was the one who hired them, she feared them a little and didn't want trouble. She herself was a daughter of Psyche, claimed after she supposedly refused a drink from none other than Eros.
Eva soon started caring for the boy, albeit in her own way. When he ran out of money to pay her a few months later, instead of kicking him out, she made him a deal. He could stay in her hotel for free, maybe even make some money of his own. He would only have to get rid of various illegal substances, namely marijuana and ecstasy. She didn't care who he sold it to, he only had to give her her seventy five percent of the profits. Tristan agreed, reluctantly at first, but after selling the first batch, he realised that it was neither difficult, nor extremely risky in the part of the city he lived in now.
Thus, life moved on. His father never really looked for him. Tristan sold drugs and killed a few monsters along the way.
Years passed in the same monotony, nothing crucial happening, until one late night in July. Tristan was returning 'home', when he heard someone shouting for help. He found the homeless girl that — between "what the f**k are you looking at"'s and the rare "I saw a cop walk out the coffee shop, watch out" — he was somewhat friendly with being attacked by a group of guys around twenty. He jumped to her defence, but they overpowered him. The girl then something he would never expect. She exclaimed that they would probably find drugs where Tristan lived, then proceeded to quickly abandon him once her attackers gave him their full attention. He had nothing else to do other than lead him to his room.
They didn't leave anything, not even a couple grand Tristan had hid under his bed just in case. Eva was furious; he now owed her more than a little money, and he had nothing to sell in order to repay her. However, the solution came easy to her head. She needed a particular item from a jewelry store, and set Tristan on the job. However, he found himself chased out of the store by the owner's grandchild, who just so happened to be a policeman. A few minutes later, he was strapped to the back of a police car, the young officer driving him to the station. A girl running out of a corner shop, pursuided by an elderly and quite angry looking woman, made him stop, however.
He left Tristan locked inside the car and chased after the girl. Tristan didn't see much of what happened after that, but soon the cop returned with the girl, making her sit next to Tristan. And she was the most obnoxious thief he'd ever met. Her name was India, or something that sounded like it. Everything happened very quickly after that. By some crazy stunt of luck, or maybe karma, he wasn't sure, the cop was a demigod, and so was the brat sitting next to him. Apparently, hellhounds had attacked the girl as she tried to escape, and the policeman helped defeat them. A satyr was quickly reqruited by the older demigod, who intended to ship the two teens to Camp. Tristan, gotten used to providing and protecting himself, had issues with a guardian. He convinced Indiana that they would be better off alone — it wasn't hard, but it was definitely the only thing the two agreed on.
They stole the satyr's map to Camp, and while he left his car to buy food and drinks for their trip, foolishly leaving the key inside, Tristan and Indiana speeded away. They fought during the whole ride, over Indiana's ability to read a map, over Tristan's driving, anything, really. They were very close to Camp's borders when he made a joke, admitedly a stupid one, to really get a rise out of his travelling companion. He didn't expect her to punch him in the face, though. He momentarily lost control of the vehicle, and it swerved right into a tree. The crash knocked both unconscious.
Tristan woke up almost two weeks later in the infirmary. The demigod in charge explained where he was, and also informed him that he was claimed by Apate while he was sleeping.