Name: Rory Maximillian
Age: 20 (born February 17, 1999)
Titan Parent: Mnemosyne (Mother)
Mortal Parent: Cyprus Maximillian (Father)
Appearance: Tait Hughes Geijer
Personality: CHESSMASTER/ARTEMIS FOWL
Rory was raised in the lap of luxury, and his personality reflects it like a silver mirror. He loathes commonality and unsophistication—but, of course, a successful gentleman wears a cordial face and makes no unnecessary enemies, even amongst the vulgar or working class. His upbringing was by no means troubled or difficult, yet many of Rory’s relatives would swear that his presence unsettles them, that he exudes an aura of danger. Rory would respond with a practiced smile and (not-quite) joke that they could smell greatness.
Knowledge is power, and from a young age Rory had realized this as a fact of life. His ambition has always been as sharp as any scalpel, but unlike many of his “incompetent dullard classmates,” he has the common sense to temper it and the sheer intelligence to power it. For even without his mother’s gifts, Rory’s intellect is nothing but exceptional. He is keen to analyze, strategize, and then use his extensive resources efficiently to accomplish whatever he sees fit. With both his mother’s birthrights and his father’s standing, Rory can mould the world to his whims, and he knows it. A grandiose belief, indeed, but not a delusional one. Oh, no. As he would phrase it, overconfidence merely becomes regular confidence when it is backed by undeniable skill.
Years of dealing with the uppermost echelons of society have taught Rory how to shape his public demeanor. He does not voice his inner opinions or flaunt his abilities unless it benefits himself. During his years of boarding school, Rory viewed his classmates as advantageous connections rather than friends, and he has no regrets about doing so. Forming emotional attachment to the stupid, the weak, or the incompetent is a hindrance, in his eyes. Deep caring, too, is a disadvantage, albeit one that Rory is grateful to have received. He respects but pities his own father for having given him so much love. Rory’s father just hopes that one day Rory will realize that opening his heart won’t hold him back. After all, love is what brought his precious son into his life.
I tested into Mensa when I was six.
Not a particularly impressive accomplishment, to tell you the truth—children half that age have become full-fledged members. You only need to score in the top two percentiles, to be the best out of fifty. Hardly a significant feat, especially when standardized tests are so simple to manipulate: know a few mathematical gimmicks and an otherwise average person is suddenly certified extraordinary. What a load of horse manure. I’d have gone for something more selective if those groups weren’t also complete rubbish, created for egotists who preen over how highly they place on a bell curve.
My aunt advised me to record this… personal history, of sorts. The rationale she gave was that it’d facilitate writing an autobiography later in life, but you always need to read between the lines to figure out what she truly means. We demigods don’t have the best track record when it comes to reaching old age, after all. Getting involved in an uprising before reaching legal majority doesn’t help. No, what she implied was that this could be the last chance I get to record my story, albeit a heavily condensed version, from my point of view. Fair enough. Welcome to my life, reader. Let’s begin, shall we?
I have three significantly older half-siblings, all of them legitimate heirs to the oh-so-noble Maximillian lineage. Unlike me: the bastard lovechild, the black sheep, the blemish. They’re sharp enough to behave with wary respect around me, though; they’re brilliant enough to realize when their own brilliance has been bested. To no one’s surprise, children of divinity do tend to shine.
My father doesn’t talk much about their mother, his late first wife, but he expounds for hours about mine. They met right around the time he passed on the family business to my eldest half-brother, when he was uncertain about what to do with the rest of his early retirement. She had taken on the form of a summer-session classics professor at his alma mater. He visited the campus as part of an alumni luncheon, and from his words it was love at first meeting. They struck up conversation as easily as longtime friends, talking about literature, innovation, cuisine, politics, opera—anything and everything. My mother was brilliant, the old sap says with his eyes shining of a time long past, an angel who had waltzed through his life swiftly but had given him purpose to last the years. She was the first and last person to encourage him to pursue his childhood ambition of becoming a surgeon, a dream that had been crushed by his responsibility as the eldest son to continue the family business. The day he triumphantly returned to school in the fall, she left. Sometimes I pity the old man—after a marriage of convenience lasting two decades, he finally found love he could never keep. At least he’ll live on in Mnemosyne’s memories for as long as she does.
Mercifully, my father omitted the specific details of his rather… illicit affair, as no amount of cleansing could ever remove that crudity from my memory. The rather unfortunate curse of a rather fortunate blessing. As expected, the family was livid when a maid found infant me crying in the long-unused nursery, a cryptic note by my side. “Bulfinch appendix,” it read in a print-like scrawl, and only my father could decipher the clue. Where else would he search but Thomas Bulfinch’s eponymous book of mythologies? A message in the same script had been scribbled onto the extraneous end-pages of his personal library’s copy. Mnemosyne had revealed her world to my father before she had departed, but she had yet to reveal what my world was to be. “Monsters and magic, joy and the tragic, bridging the heavens and men. Fighting to live or living to fight, to never go gentle into that good night.” (My father tends to become poetic when reminiscing; the actual wording was significantly more upfront, so as not to imbue him with any false ideas.) He then explained to the family, with all sincerity, that my mother had left this world and was thus rather incapable of raising a child. Besides, he had already sired two heirs and one heiress with a woman long passed, and he was no longer the public face of the company. Their name would hardly be tarnished. For the most part hostility dwindled over the years, especially as I became a reckonable force in my own right, but pockets of resentment remained. “Demon son of a paramour” flew around in hushed whispers more than a few times. I would respond with a smile. What did they know?
Shortly before I turned two, I experienced the first attempt on my life. Not from monsters or anything else from my mother’s inheritance, but from my own paternal grandmother. I recall it quite vividly: my father was in Geneva for a shareholders’ convention, and the manor was operating on a skeleton staff for the week. Two hooded men—part of the landscaping crew she’d recently hired, no doubt—absconded with me in the dead of a February night. Brought me to a forest and dumped me behind a rock and everything. Amateurs. They didn’t bother to break my legs or snap my neck—or even make sure I was actually asleep, for that matter. Of course I remembered the way back to the roads; my eyes had been open, what more would I need? The papers made quite a fuss when the local billionaire’s toddler son was found shivering on the Interstate at 3 A.M. No arrests were ever made, but my grandmother hasn’t tried anything since. She can see in my eyes I’ve always known who was behind it. Perhaps my evidence of her involvement in her ex-husband’s untimely demise stay her hand, too?
Most of my youngest days after that lovely incident were spent sequestered in my father’s library or accompanying him on conference trips. He shipped me off to boarding school once I turned seven. To say the least, the experience disgusted me. Those pampered sons of the richest families are to be the world elite, yet they fill themselves with ignorance, sloth, and blind arrogance. Taking their incredible fortune for granted, those complacent cattle graze their way only to slaughter. Some grow to be more sensible, more capable than the others, certainly, but they limit their potential with nearsightedness nonetheless. I formed connections with them as expected of me, but true friendship? A laughably naïve idea. I shifted schools often out of sheer boredom, up until around my twelfth birthday. My father, increasingly concerned about monster attacks the older I became, relented and allowed me to be tutored within the safety of our own manor until I learned to feasibly defend myself. Considering that I’d been aware of my mother’s true identity since I was quite young, he made the right choice. Mnemosyne had warned him that demigods’ knowledge of their powers tended to hasten the onset of attacks, and hastened the first strike was.
It was likely my aunt who both caused and ended that initial attack, amusingly enough. Our family seems to have started a tradition of clandestinely siring half-blood children these last few generations. First her, a daughter of Ananke, born out of wedlock, who was raised with both physical and emotional distance from her so-called “family”. Then yours truly, a son of memory, born of a widower, who was spared such an upbringing for the most part. My father welcomes his half-sister into our home—what would have been her home had her father raised her—whenever she visits America, though she seldom accepts. All the better for me, I suppose; two demigods draw more attention than one. Evidently—she and I were partnered together on an early-season snowshoe hare hunt when a giant scorpion decided to hunt us instead. I’m a spectacular shot with a rifle, if I do say so myself, but firing one accurately is rather difficult when your main priority is not getting stabbed to death by a mythological creature. The bullets I did shoot simply ricocheted off its exoskeleton, regardless. My aunt seemed unfazed, though, and without batting an eye proceeded to pull out a spear and attack it. Years of surviving without a safe haven, of being ostracized for her bloodline (yet again) by the wonderfully inclusive Camp Half-Blood, tempered her skills in the way only harsh, worldly experience can. The woman carries a veritable arsenal with her wherever she goes, weaponized bloodthirst and bottled hatred included. I’d be convinced she were a daughter of Enyo if she didn’t look younger than my half-siblings. With the combination of her divine abilities and her brutal training, the scorpion crumbled, its joints and belly riddled with puncture wounds.
After that my aunt took on the responsibility of training me, lest I perish anticlimactically in a fight against a magical crab or bird or something of that ilk. To my disdain, my propensity for rapid mastery of all my endeavors was considerably diminished in regards to physical education. Finesse and form, along with my mother’s inherited abilities, were hardly a challenge to learn, but sheer strength and stamina necessitated more than knowledge and fine motor control. We prioritized my existing strengths in developing a strategy, of course; filling in skill gaps would come later when the eminent concern was surviving with what I had now. My melee capabilities being unfortunately nascent, we came to the consensus that range and evasion would be a practical style. With my aptitude for shooting, I had intended to keep a gun as my primary weapon, but my aunt informed me that that was in poor taste amongst the mythological crowd. Being the old-fashioned sort, finding a weaponsmith willing to modify a gun to fire CB bullets would be an arduous task. A compound crossbow it was, then. Along with utilizing physical weaponry, I also honed my demigod powers, as per usual. I must say, my mother passed down a rather interesting set of birthrights. It explained why I’d picked up Farsi when I was three (a conversation between myself and a Persian toddler dragged to a conference), and why I’d always felt stronger after calling out the ventripotent, licentious, swindling proletariat for what they were (alas, from time to time disreputable business offers still come to my father’s desk). Time-travel and flight, too, were simply delightful to explore!
For the remainder of the spring and summer semesters during my twelfth year, my aunt and I remained at our manor, monitoring my progress. Tutors came and went—when your pupil can recall everything ever recorded in the written word, you tend to have a very brief period of usefulness—but for the first time in ages, I had a constant in my life. It was a strange and fleeting feeling. Like déjà vu, albeit lasting for months rather than seconds. I returned to boarding school in the fall, as my father felt that learning to interact with my “peers” was more important than remaining relatively sheltered at home. “You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself one,” wrote James Anthony Froude. Exposure to fire and danger strengthens oneself in ways sheltered hopes cannot, it seems. Indeed, monsters paid me a visit every eight months or so, sometimes coinciding with summers under my aunt’s supervision, sometimes not. My personal favorites were the two that occurred just days apart when I was on a school trip in the gardens of Milan. Both times were hellhounds, and both times I was free to incapacitate them as I wished. At home and on campus, the presence of others and the looming threat of property damage constrained my methods, but outdoors in the early morning I had creative liberty. The first I dispatched with a heavy felled portico; the second with three bolt shots through its skull. They were the most entertaining game I’d encountered for quite a while.
Camp was never an option for me. Not because of my birthright: children of Mnemosyne were welcome there, unlike my Ananke-born aunt. No, it was because there was genuinely nothing I could gain from going there. Camp Half-Blood is a static institution that provides shelter and community, not development and innovation. They strive to maintain their same customs year after year, century after century. Thousands of years and no progress made? No improvements to our life expectancies, no improvements to the ways we use our powers? I’ve perused 15-century-old texts about ancient demigod abilities, and there are virtually no differences to this day. 15 centuries is enough for an empire to rise and fall, let alone for a camp full of young demigods to develop a simple martial art that maximizes their innate skills!
Ah, pardon me. I digress. Camp Half-Blood’s lack of appeal does not rest solely upon its traditions. Its inhabitants tend to have such short-sighted visions for their futures. Demigods of old ruled empires, led armies, and wrote history itself. Now it seems that surviving another day in their safe haven is the extent of many a camper’s plans. Even dealing with my boarding school classmates would be preferable to living at Camp. Those boys may have been fools, but at least they were ambitious fools.
At the time my powers began to attract monsters, there was only one alternative to Camp Half-Blood: the Broken Covenant. A group of rebellious teenage anarchists led by a melodramatic demigod demagogue? Life isn’t a dystopian novel. Ideologically, I neither support nor respect their beliefs. I bear no personal vendetta against the deities. In fact, I’m quite fond of my mother--as much as is reasonable for never having met her, that is. The BC argues, oftentimes in the same breath, that the gods both oppress them and completely ignore them. Perhaps more people would take them seriously if they just chose one.
With neither Camp nor the BC appealing to me, I had prepared myself for a life of self-sufficiency. I could very well develop my demigod abilities on my own, using them to assist me in a career in business, politics, or something else suitably groundbreaking. It would have been intriguing to meet any half-siblings of mine, but such an opportunity was a luxury, not a requisite. However, by fate or by chance, that opportunity presented itself to me one day through the words of the wind. Rumors were swirling that a new organization was rising, one recruiting the children of Titans, and I happened to be eligible.
Never before had I made a distinction between demigods and demititans, but this fledgling organization, the self-proclaimed Champions of Othrys, certainly embraced the separation. Like the BC, they sought to disrupt the established order and remove the gods from power. Unlike the BC, they sought to reinstate their parents, the Titans, as the rulers of the cosmos. An interesting motive, albeit one I held no particular regard for, once again. I spent some time considering my choices. On one hand, I could ignore this nascent insurrection but forsake the opportunity to join a community of demigods--er, demititans. On the other, I could join this callow cabal and shape its future, even though I did not support their doctrines. In the end the decision was obvious. A new organization would require funding and have plenty of positions of power. The founding members of any institution have the greatest influence over its future, after all. This was the perfect launchpad for me to make a name for myself within half-blood society. Though I did not support the Champions’ goals, I did not oppose them, either, and in the world of business one must often prioritize opportunities over personal beliefs.
It was settled, then. I would join the Champions of Othrys, offering my funds and my personal talents towards the furtherance of their faction. From there I would gain connections to my mother’s birthrights while developing the skills needed to carry on my father’s legacy. As I write this now, my chauffeur is readying the car for my journey. For the time being, this is where I must put down my pen, but it is not where my story ends. The next chapter of my life is beckoning. I aspire to fill the pages with greatness.
Weapons and possessions: a compound crossbow, plenty of suits, and a copy of Neal Stephenson’s Anathem for light reading