Aoyun Liao moved to the United States from China when she was just six years old. Despite having come to the US for a new start, her family was very poor. As Aoyun grew up, she had to take up many jobs to buy school supplies and help her parents pay rent and taxes.
Unable to raise enough money to pay for college, Aoyun ventured from the Illinois suburbs to Chicago to find a sustaining job. She quickly adapted to the city life, and practically survived off of pickpocketing and flipping burgers at McDonald's.
Once, Aoyun tried to steal a handsome man's wallet but was caught in the act. The man, who's name was Alexander, took pity on poor Aoyun and invited her to lunch at his hotel. Although somewhat wary of the stranger, Aoyun agreed and followed Alexander back to his hotel where he attempted to get Aoyun to open up.
After an hour or two, Aoyun broke down and told him everything. Alexander became more sympathetic after she finished, so he suggested paying for and sending her to college. Aoyun gladly accepted the offer and thanked Alexander profusely.
With no contact to Alexander, after four years, Aoyun graduated college with a degree in astrology. Later that month, Alexander visited Aoyun and invited her out to dinner. Grateful for all he had done for her, she accepted once again and they later returned to a different hotel to partake in some tipsy "fun".
Nine months after the incident, Alexander had disappeared from Aoyun's life but came back a day before she gave birth to explain everything. He revealed his real identity as Astraeus, the titan of dusk, stars, planets, and the art of Astrology. He told her that their child was a demigod, and when the time is right, she should take him to Camp Half-Blood.
Aoyun, who had grown up with fairy tales, had no trouble believing this, especially since it came from the person that had helped her jumpstart her adult life. The next day at 11:36 am, she gave birth to Elijah Kai "Jin" Liao. She took one look at Eli and smiled, feeling proud to be the mother of such a beautiful baby boy.
Although born with his mother's brown hair, Eli's eyes were a pale gray that reflected the light and made his eyes twinkle like stars. He was a somewhat small baby and a bit on the thin side, but Aoyun loved him nonetheless.
Aoyun raised Eli with as much love a mother could give a child, and that was a lot. She made sure Eli had everything she didn't have as a child and made sure he was properly fed and never starved like she had once been in her childhood.
Along with his American studies, Eli's mother taught him mandarin and told him old Chinese stories as well as Greek ones, particularly about his father that Eli had no idea about. As a single mother raising an infant to an eleven-year-old, Aoyun was doing a fairly good job.
As Eli grew, he found himself more comforted by the starry sky and began sneaking out in the middle of the night to find a spot that is free of noise and people to admire the beautiful night sky. One night, the eleven-year-old was attacked by a giant scorpion. Caught by surprise, the scorpion was able to curl its tail around him and throw him into a tree. Eli screeched just as the tail launched itself at him, and he threw his hands up in front of him in defense. A beam of plasma shot out of his hands, burning the scorpion, who let out a dying wail and turned into golden dust.
Afraid of getting attacked again, Eli hurried home with stinging cuts, scrapes, and bruises. The next morning, Eli left early for school so his mother would not discover his injuries, but his efforts were fruitless because his mother found out later that evening. When she questioned it, he made up a lie about falling from a tree, which technically was true.
Over a course of six years, Eli goes from a few monster attacks a year to about four attacks every week. In response, he either runs or counters with his powers which he slowly learned how to control. Coming home with injuries meant more lies to his mother, which he began to hate to do. As Eli and Aoyun walked to the park one day, a pack of hellhounds showed up. Eli was able to kill one before another delivered a slash to his thigh, knocking him into a telephone pole.
Aoyun jumped in front of the hellhounds when they tried to have another go at her son, ultimately resulting in her death. She slapped a hellhound in the face and kicked another, and in seconds they were mauling her alive. Eli watched in horror as his mother was ripped apart by the bloodthirsty savage dogs. His mother's screams filled his ears and the ones around him as Eli stood frozen in place. He fell to his knees, tears filling his eyes. Because no one seemed to be around, no one came to investigate.
When the hellhounds finished, one barreled itself into Eli's gut—cut him across the arm in the process—and knocked Eli into a building that caused him to fall unconscious upon impact. Before any serious damage could be dealt, a crew of demigods swooped in and killed off the hellhounds. They then carried Eli back to their hideout.
Eli awoke in a dark room on a bed he never recognized. There was one light bulb that hung from the ceiling, but it was dim and barely helped. Sitting in a chair across from the bed was a dark-skinned boy with blue-streaked black hair and calculating brown eyes. The stranger studied Eli with precision for a minute before he sat up straight and began to talk.
"What's ya name kid?" he questioned with a familiar city accent.
Still, in shock, Eli shifted around until he was sitting on the bed with his knees on his chest and his arms around his legs. His eyes flickered to the light bulb and then the floor before he chose to speak. "E-Eli," he stuttered.
The boy told him his name was Lance and explained what had happened so far and where he was. He told Eli that he was part of an organization called The Weird Society or TES. He explained what demigods are that Eli is one of them. Those hellhounds—as Lance called them—attacked him because of his scent. TES was a moderately sized ragtag group of demigods that carried out missions mainly for their own benefits and causes but would help the gods if they requested such. He also briefly mentions something about a Camp—Eli thinks it's named Camp Half-Blood?—but does not delve further into it besides the fact that it is also a safe hold for demigods. Being their own separate organization, TES doesn't really want anything to do with Camp Half-Blood but wouldn't fight against them. Their goals and morals are different which could cause conflicts, so they usually avoid Montauk.
Lance concludes with an offer to join TES. Eli who has just recently lost his mother sees no other option (besides camp, which Lance refuses to tell him anymore about) that will give him as good protection they are offering so he accepts.
Two years of training, going on missions, and recruiting demigods has damaged Eli mentally in a way that may take decades to recover from. After watching friends die in the most horrid ways, carrying out orders of assassinations of possible threats, and fighting monsters, he now suffers from severe PTSD. His close friends and team members worry if he can take any more of this, so on his birthday, they make the decision of taking him to Camp Half-Blood.
Although the leader of TES is somewhat hesitant to let one of their best fighters go, she agrees and assigns Lance to drive him to New York and drop him off at the Camp borders. Upon Eli's dismissal from TES the leader personally requests to speak with him. She informs him he's welcome back to TES anytime. Eli thanks her for her mentorship before heading back to the "launchpad" to head to New York.
The drive from Chicago, Illinois to Montauk, New York was long and tiring, and it was a miracle no monster had shown up yet. When they neared Camp, their luck quickly died. A cyclops came into view and Lance slammed his foot down on the breaks before yelling at Eli to get out of the truck. The eighteen-year-old obeyed the command and got his luggage—which consisted off a duffel bag and a backpack—out of the back of the pickup truck.
Lance and Eli scampered into the woods, running for their lives they had managed to knock the cyclops off its feet. Despite the fact, they could hear the thundering footsteps of the cyclops going after them. Lance instructed Eli to get to camp while he distracted the monster. Eli immediately shouted no, but Lance had already turned to head back. Eli called for Lance to come back but did not run after him, deciding it was better for him to get some help.
Once Eli crossed the camp borders, Astraeus claimed him, but Eli could care less. As soon as he saw a group of three demigods, he screamed at them to come help him save his friend.
Two lives were lost that day. A faithful friend and a kind camper.
It has only been a few hours since Eli arrived at camp and he is currently hiding in his cabin after getting checked up at the infirmary.