Simon Michel was a professor at a university in Paris, who also worked as a part-time tour guide at the Louvre Museum. His profession gave him more than enough money to live his everyday life, and he saved the spare for future uses. After getting himself toured in a huge planetarium, he got interested in studying astronomy. Since his shelves at home weren't that full yet, he decided to buy some books that tackled about the outer space and the celestial bodies. As much as he is intelligent, his space of interest got wider and wider.
One day, the university he worked at planned to have its annual administration party, where professors from other schools are invited. There he met Veena, an English professor at Oxford. At first, Simon found it strange to talk to her, but as the event went on, they both began to get together and danced through the night. Veena then told Simon that she was to teach at the university he was at temporarily, to his surprise. In a few months, they had long walks, dates, and dinners together. Simon felt that she was really the one for him. But there was an end to everything. Veena told him that she had to go back to Oxford and continue facilitating there. He felt broken, but she promised she'd keep in touch.
Two months later, things went wrong. Simon's family all died when they got involved in a car accident. This caused him so much depression that he started skipping work, which eventually made him lose his job. The museum didn't need him anymore; they had a fresh batch of smart tour guides. Veena never showed up or gave a hint of her presence. It all hurt so much that he didn't know what to do anymore. He knew it was nonsense, but he still spent his saved money on unnecessary things, and soon, after much trouble, he ended up losing all he'd got and living in the country's worst slums.
A few more months passed, and he had barely adjusted to his new, worn home when he had two, beautiful babies lying on his doorstep, sound asleep. Simon thought he was in a daze, but a silvery mist passed by him, whispering, "You have to, for me. I'm sorry." He knew the voice, and it once again shattered him. He took the children in, but he needed help in taking care of them.
The slums are not a place where kids can grow easily with good merit. Simon had his neighbor, a widowed woman, to take care of his children while he was away. The aged woman was glad to have children to watch over, considering them her own little ones. But somehow, things went wrong. When they were just five years old, one huge company had convinced the French authorities to clean out the ghettos and establish there a new, huge branch building. Unfortunately, they chose the site where the twins were living. Most of the denizens protested and fought against the police and demolition teams. News then announced that death had come to knock on the door as the fight between the two groups continued.
The old woman tried to find the twins a place to hide. They had stayed away from the brawl and managed to avoid the blind bullets and stones flying in the air. But as soon as she had tucked them in a small space between two abandoned buildings, a mob came running in her direction, then separating her from the kids. They kept crying until the fight ended and the demolishing team started their job without hesitation. Their father never came back, and they didn't care. The kids would've run away and lived as beggars in the streets, but one man had passed by them and asked their names. They didn't reply, and so the man told them that he would help them. When they didn't answer, he took them by the hands and told them that he'd bring them somewhere far away from the mess.
The kids were so disoriented they just walked with the man. They rode in a sleek black car which took them to gods-know-where. They arrived in a huge, dark block of building hours away from their 'home'. Then the man announced that they'd be his proteges, no matter what happened. They didn't understand anything, but soon realized what he meant. Proteges. Assassin proteges. As they stepped inside, gingerly guarded by men and women with a dark intensity in their eyes, they knew with their smart minds that their lives were about to take a sharp turn.
Lillian and Haiden's childhoods weren't the normal and usual way the other kids took. Theirs included running for miles as a warm-up, throwing daggers as a basic exercise, and fighting arts for school. In their early ages, it was hard. The leader of the assassin guild, Razor, had barely accepted the children of it weren't for his keen sense of smell. Somehow, he was excellent in determining one thing from another, and this time, he found himself taking in two demigods, for he himself was one. They would be good allies and swore they'd be the best he'd ever trained. The man who took them, Georgi, was assigned as their overseer when Razor was away. Razor wanted them to hone their abilities if they had some, and took them as his apprentices. When they were seven, he took them to their main base in the bust streets of London.
Haiden's first kill: he was just barely ten years old. Not surprising, for he had seen lots of executions around him. The group had captured a traitor, who sold information about them to other people. Those other people were taken care of, but Razor gave the man - who was once their comrade - to Haiden. The boy felt bad since the guy had been with him for some years. But he had to, to prove his loyalty to Razor and their keep. He knew he was going to lose his humanity for it, but Razor just whispered in his ear, "This world is a game. Do not hesitate for your own survival." And so, with a mortal double-edged sword that had a blade of pure, sharp jade - a gift to him by Razor - Haiden cut through the man's neck in a swift strike. He would always remember what it felt like with his sword cleaving through hard flesh.
Lillian had her first when she turned eleven. A bit later than her younger brother, but she'd grown to be harsher. She had it not with a sword like Haiden had, but bullet through her target's head as he kept spurting blood. Nothing more, nothing less, she didn't want to kill the poor guy, but she loved her dress so much that when his blood sprayed on the velvet cloth, she got so mad she didn't hesitate to pull the trigger. More blood and she somehow felt something in her click. As if her brain found this thing a wonderful thing to do.
After those, they never felt any hesitation. There was sometimes, but it slowly faded into the background as Razor seemed to know what the future holds for them. They even changed their names to Grace, from spite of their father's. This time, it was their abilities to work on. The master had been observing them for years, and he'd caught glimpses of them doing strange things such as bending moonlight in their hands. Sometimes, he'd see Lillian fighting against a dummy with a sword made of pure light. The first he'd seen them, they passed out entirely. Then, hiding from him, they started to get conscious of what they could do. Haiden discovered he could somehow move water, and Lillian, too, could create a solid dome of light - moonlight - around her.
Moonlight, water, gravity - it all intersected to one goddess: Pandia. Razor told them not to fear, and he would help them take better control and endurance. He explained everything to them until they understood. He didn't mention a bit about the safe haven for demigods in New York. Razor had a friend once who was a child of Hephaestus, and every month, if not week, he would bring a weapon made of Celestial bronze to him as a gift. Now he had tons of them and didn't hesitate to give some to the twins. When they turned twelve, they had fought their first monster. A full-grown Cyclops. They led him to a place full of trees, then began their ambush. Although small, their stealth yet swift moves - jumping from tree to tree and slashing at blind spots with ease - immediately had the monster's body disintegrating into golden dust. Earned another star from Razor.
Next lesson: freeing themselves. Razor had them tied up with ropes and gagged, no help is given until they found a way out. It was horrible, with pangs of hunger and thirst clawing through them slowly as they stay stuck in ropes. For some reason, they finally got out of them after hours. Then rest. Next were the chains, more difficult than ropes. Clinking and clanking through the day, wriggling and kicking, they found themselves free, but with bruises all over their bodies. More trials came until they got used to the pain and tricks.
An often assignment was those freak monsters that seemed to just appear out of the blue. Four different kinds of monsters between their thirteenth and fourteenth birthdays - empousai, Stymphalian birds, those ugly ogres, and huge hellhounds. They wanted to torture them before they died, but the monsters just burst whenever they had the final strike, sadly. And together with those, tasks given to them to finish enemies and potential enemies, with one precise and accurate aim for each of them. Though the twins preferred swords and arrows, they used guns to make things easier. Through these, they earned so much money that they could just buy what they wanted and never cared about the price. They hopped from country to country, analyzing their preys before making in for the kill. It was wonderful.
All these practices, assignments, fighting and training went on forever. They became more adapt to their powers and found joy in watching the news that involved them but never knew them. Like Razor had always believed, they became his proteges and were respected by all the assassins in their organization. Then the time came, when they turned sixteen, that Razor gave them a wonderful surprise. First, his men found their father's body rotting in a sewer, probably some inside problem. No reaction came from the twins, their faces blank. Inside, they were glad to have him gone, yet part of them somehow wanted to see their father, alive, even for just the last time.
Next news was their next task: bring to end Harvey Colsey, the man who had ordered the destruction of the slums years ago. Now that caught their attention so much that they accepted it without minding to hear the explanations. Everything else had been arranged for them: identity, position, connections. Haiden as someone named Victor Lyncroft, a successful and powerful businessman, and Lillian as his trusted secretary, Olivia Miller. With their professional pretending and airs, they immediately took the liking of the people in their target's company in Paris. In a flash, they're in the office with Mr. Colsey, and offered him a deal that would even make his company domain larger. The target greedily accepted.
Mr. Colsey brought them with him to Edmonton, Alberta, where another branch of his company stood. Then he told Mr. Lyncroft and Ms. Miller that he would bring them to Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories for a further look in the mining site they had there. With a convincing fake smile, Haiden agreed and set forth in a personal chopper to the small town. Unfortunately, it wasn't them who had killed him.
The chopper they were on with Mr. Colsey had its gears turned wrong, wasn't checked thoroughly. The blades went wrong, the engine wired mistakenly. Then Lillian remembered that the Colsey company had a huge rival, and would do anything to bring them down. This might be their doing. She told her brother, and together, they found a way out the chopper before it crashed into the forest, halfway from their destination. They teleported through a moonbeam they created as the chopped hit the ground, cutting off trees, and exploded. Haiden appeared nearer to the explosion and had to shield himself with his self-created moonlight from the debris. Everything was burned, and no one from the chopper, save for them, survived.
Meanwhile, Lillian found herself hearing the explosion, but it was fuzzy that it seemed like she landed too far away.
Haiden searched for his sister, screaming her name until he lost breath, Lillian ran and yelled his name, but she couldn't receive a response from the trees. Before their day in the forests even started, they were attacked by horrible, flying hags that had fire whips in their hands. Attacked and chased simultaneously, one for each sibling. Furies, Haiden thought. With his Celestial bronze weapons that appeared and disappeared by will, he called for his battle ax, huge and sharp in every part of its shining blade. Making sure it was within the right distance, he abruptly turned, jumping and slashing at the low-flying hag behind him. His blade connected with the Fury's wing. He turned around one more time, his ax disappearing and replaced with a wicked-looking sword, then slashed at the monster's neck, barely avoiding its waving whip.
Meanwhile, Lillian, too, was chased by one of the Furies. It called her various vulgar names, which made Lillian more irritated than she already was. Climbing nimbly up trees and hopping from each branch, she found a good vantage point for the Fury. Before it even spotted her in the trees, she jumped with her Celestial bronze sword on position to halve the monster. And it found its home between the monster's spine. She rolled after hitting the ground on her feet, and golden dust showered on her.
The forests weren't so bad themselves, but both siblings found it terrifying for their fear of completely losing each other. For some days they wandered, trying to track each other. When they weren't, they'd find some food from the trees around them. Fortunately for them, it was summer, saving them from normally harsh cold of the forest. They'd also occasionally find some burrows that fit them and spend the night there, avoiding fires as much as possible to keep whatever monstrosity lived in the forests away. And of course, the usual monster fighting.
For a week and two days, they wandered, hoping to find a small town or even just a simple cabin with a warm hearth in the middle of the woods. One afternoon, while picking some berries, Haiden could've sworn he saw eyes lingering behind him, watching him in silent whispers. He pretended not to notice, but a girl of golden beauty appeared from a tree - she literally peeled off from the tree. Haiden stood still, watching her every move as if a predator examining its prey, except that he was out in the opening. The girl pointed north, straight ahead, her golden hair blowing in the wind. In a sweet yet eerie voice, she told him to go straight and he would find shelter. The girl went back to the tree and disappeared.
Lillian had somehow kept her sanity during the week that had passed. A voice, feminine and haunting, had kept her company, telling her to stay where she was. Lillian doubted she was getting crazy, but she heeded the voice's instruction. Fighting monsters were not so bad. From little harpies to an almost-adult manticore, she survived. And wondered if her little twin brother was in a better situation. Then she grew tired of being stuck in one place. She was about to leave when a voice very familiar like it was her own called her name. Lillian spotted Haiden running through the trees, and for the first time, thanked the gods she found him, or rather, he found her.
For two days they talked and wandered and shared until they finally reached a town with buildings and a fishing port heading to a huge lake. Yellowknife. Lillian wondered if Razor ever bothered to know where they were or what happened to them. But Haiden put the topic down and found some things to do in the town to get through the night. Some stolen money and food, and their usual weapons. At least, a night in a warm, hidden alley wasn't so bad.
The next day they found themselves gawking at some of Razor's men. They were assigned to bring them back home and serve Razor once more. The twins decided it was better than staying here, and mumbled something about tardiness. With a private plane waiting for them, they flew off to their artfully secret keep in London.
Pirates and Camp
The twins continued their creative assassinations on Razor's orders for another year. Haiden didn't mind the killings; they were bad guys anyway. Lillian, somehow, became harsher and more merciless. This time, they were sent to Ireland to deal with a group of rich jerks that had something against the assassin keep, specifically Razor. Before they could even see them, they knew who they were - some idiot pirates sailing around the shores of the west part of Northern Ireland to capture passing boats. And before they even knew it, they were caught - smoothly as they had planned.
Yet things didn't go exactly the way they planned it to. The pirates had captured another ship, but those aboard had huge guns with them, pointing at the pirates who tried to steal their awful goods. A fight broke out, and gunfire shook the silence of the waves. Someone threw a grenade to the pirates' ship, but a spurt of water from the sea jettisoned and took the grenade with it back to the rolling waves. Haiden's eyes widened and tried to spot whoever had done that. Then a large wave loomed over them, threatening to spill itself on the victim enemy's boat. Haiden found the wielder - a young man a bit older than him with rage in his eyes. The enemy boat suddenly dashed off, leaving some of its men with the pirates. One man struck the water wielder with the butt of his gun, and the wave broke apart.
Haiden, with all his training, held the wall of dangerous waters from crashing onto them. Lillian helped, and pushed it back to the sea. The pirates' eyes widened, and their captain smiled at them - another man in his late twenties. He told them about a certain camp in New York that takes in people like them to protect and train. Lillian denied going there, but the captain convinced them to. He told them all the horrors they'd be up to if they stayed away. Haiden snorted and rolled his eyes.
Then the captain revealed he was a son of Poseidon himself, while the knocked-out young man was a child of Aigaios, a sea deity. He told them all the other stuff about demigods that weren't covered for them by Razor, and Haiden thought it might be good to sneak out of the Keep for a while and go play with people like him. Lillian glared daggers at him, to which he just shrugged off. With a little convincing from Haiden, and Lillian sometimes cannot disagree with his wishes, like this time, unfortunately, she went to write a letter to Razor about their little 'escapade.' The kind captain offered them a sail to New York when they were ready.
The twins sneaked into the Keep one night after they faked their killing job and took everything they needed - clothes, weapons, food. Lillian left the letter on her nightstand, and they disappeared into the night. They visited the captain and sailed to the USA. When they arrived, the captain gave them directions to Camp Half-Blood. Haiden asked why he wasn't there in Camp, the captain's lazy grin his only reply. With a 'little' hindrance in getting there, they walked directly inside the Camp, and found out everybody was asleep, save for the border patrols. They asked, kind of, about the Camp, and one patrol kindly showed them the way.
Before the morning even came, a letter was sent to them. Haiden read it for his sister, and frowned at Razor's message to 'stay blended.' Lillian frowned more when she realized Razor knew the Camp's address. Haiden then concluded he knew where they were, and the twins shrugged it off to start a new day in the crazy thing people call Camp Half-Blood.