Growing up in the French Quarter of New Orleans wasn't easy for Nick. In addition to going to one of the most prestigious Catholic schools in the city, Nick's father, Avit, ran a large occult shoppe below their house. As if that wasn't enough to make the school's administrators and students dislike him, Nick and his father practiced what Avit called "The Old Ways."
Instead of praying to just one god, Avit sent his prayers towards several gods that exist within a pantheon of others, all devoted to different aspects of life as we know it.
Two years after Nick was born, Avit became very agitated, telling Nick that his mother had come back in the form of a dream, warning Avit that Nick was not going to have an easy life. From that day on, Avit starting putting herbs and philtres into Nick's food, saying that they would help "shield him."
When Nick was 13, it happened. The preist at his school melted. Well. Sort of. It turned into what he later found out was a Scythian Dracanae - half woman, half snake. It was during his graduation ceremony, which they did at De La Salle after graduating middle school. Through a long and dangerous battle, Nick managed to dodge blow after blow, finally taking one in the left shoulder, causing him to lose use of that arm.
When this happened, Nick thrust out his other arm, intending to tell the creature to stop. Instead, white-hot energy came from his palm, burning the creature alive until there was nothing left but dust. At this point Nick looked around, and knew there was no way he was going to get out of this one. In New Orleans, there is already a strong hate for the Cajun people, but after seeing that all of his classmates had fled, Nick just wanted to go home.
Though he was already almost exhausted, he started walking home through the hole in the wall that his explosion had caused, hearing the sirens in the distance. However, as soon as he stepped through the wall, he stepped into darkness. Being as exhausted as he was, he kept walking for a few steps. Panicking, Nick started looking around and immediately came out of the darkness, only to find himself a few houses away from where he lived, on Dumaine Street. As this was usually at least a 40 minute walk from De La Salle, Nick was more than a little freaked out. When he told Avit what had happened that day, Avit started packing, mumbling that he needed to get to the weapons cache.
Nick had no idea what was going on, so when his father starting pulling bronze looking swords, daggers, and arrows out of the supply closet, Nick decided it was time to panic. He refused to move until Avit told him what was going on. As it would turn out, the story got interrupted right after Avit told Nick about his heritage as the son of a goddess - a demi-god.
As Nick was taking it all in, the windows of the shop were blown out, and another Scythian Dracanae came through the window. Working together, Nick and his father fought off the Dracanae. Once it was finished, Avit explained to his son that there was a camp for special kids like him - children of the gods. This camp was located in New York City, on Long Island.
But first, before going to Long Island, Avit claimed that they needed to seek help from a friend of his, in Las Vegas. On the way there, a giant scorpion attacked the pair of them, and Avit took a sting to the leg. He then showed Nick how to use ambrosia and nectar, and explained why it was a bad idea to use too much. When Nick and Avit finally arrived in Las Vegas, they discovered that Avit's friend Sean had developed a gambling problem, and had not been seen in several years. The last anyone had seen of him, he had been going into a place called the Lotus Hotel and Casino.
Not knowing what the place would do to them, Nick and his father entered, where they were tricked into staying and playing the games, until they started talking to other people trapped there, and realized that's what they were - trapped. When they finally escaped, they realized they had been trapped for 35 years - all without finding Sean. The few people inside the Lotus had pointed them in the way of Phoenix, Arizona, where Sean had gone to work on a "little project of his."
For the next few years, Nick and his father traveled the country, going from place to place searching for Sean. Every time they got to a place where he had been, they missed him by a few months. This continued for the next few years, with monster attacks at nearly every place they stopped. In Phoenix, they were attacked by a hellhound, fought it off by using swords and channeling Nick's white energy, and were then forced to hunker down for a few weeks to let Nick recover.
While they were on the road, many nights they would stop alongside the road to rest, and more importantly, train. Avit had lost much of his skills while they were relatively safe in the Lotus, and Nick had never had any formal training.
In Minneapolis, they were attacked by a pair of fire-breathing horses, and received some quite nasty burns while trying to get in close with their swords. Nick was finally able to kill them with the celestial bronze arrows that he had been training with. After sustaining such severe burns, they had to rest for several weeks, only using ambrosia sparingly. For several months after that, Avit searched for any trace of Sean. During this time, Nick turned 14. They had decided to use his old birthday, and just assume he was the same age as when they went into the Lotus.
Just when Avit was ready to take Nick to Camp by himself, they caught wind that Sean had just been seen in Seattle. However, by the time Avit and Nick arrived in Seattle, Sean was gone, yet again. This time, Avit was determined not to lose him, but they were delayed by three Scythian Dracanae attacking them. At this point, Avit knew there was no fighting them off. He knew that he needed to get Nick to Camp, right then and there.
The only problem? Camp Half-blood was 2,900 miles away. Avit decided that the quickest way for them to get there was to board a plane, and fly the 5 hours that it would take. All went well during the flight and drive to camp, but just as they were about to climb the hill, three hellhounds attacked. As Nick charged back to help his father take them on, Avit waved him forward, and tossed Nick his sword, saying that he was fine, and that Nick should go on without him. Somehow, Nick got the feeling that that was going to be the last time he saw his father.