Cassidy Mouri was by no means special. She was average, plain and simple; a half-Japanese woman who found work in the Land of the Free, just like many before her. Cass wasn't the type of person you'd notice at all unless pointed out. So it wasn't easy to fathom how she managed to attract a certain underworld deity.
Cassidy had made many mistakes in all her 28 years of life, but none she regrets more than falling for the man who called himself Ospen. Three weeks after they met at Cass' workplace, they started dating. Everything was going well for Cass. She had a stable job, a roof over her head, and finally a chance at love. But it all came crashing down on her a month after; all it took was a single night of intoxication and wild desire. When Cassidy awoke the following morning, only silence and the absence of warmth greeted her.
For days, she mourned at the thought that she was nothing more than a one-night stand. Despite the concerns of her colleagues, Cass acted as though nothing were wrong. However, everyday, she
would glance longingly at the doors of her office, hoping Ospen would come waltzing in as he had weeks ago. But it was a hope that was never fulfilled.
Another week later, Cassidy learned she was to be a mother.
28 years old, a roof above her head, and a growing child in her stomach but no husband. She kept the secret as long as she could, but eventually, her family learned of her situation. The Mouri elders were undoubtedly ashamed; their only daughter bearing the child of a man whom she was not wed to. Still, despite this, they were not entirely cruel. They supported Cassidy financially, but when her son was born, the Mouri elders made no effort to meet their grandson. Only Cassidy's brother, Ren, truly reached out to her, opting to move in with his sister to help lighten her burden.
And so Lyle grew up knowing only his mother and his Uncle Ren. As a child, Lyle was different. He was quiet where others were loud, obedient when others were stubborn, and empathetic to the outcast. The neighbors called him the "perfect child", teachers referred to him as a "model student"... until his ADHD and Dyslexia started acting up. At the young age of 5, Lyle understood perfectly well how different he really was. Words on pages, walls, billboards - on anything really - moved and floated, making him dizzy every time he tried to read. He asked others if the same thing happened to them, but all he got in response were blank looks and whispers of weirdo in the small hallways.
Soon, teachers noticed that he no longer paid attention in class - opting instead to gaze out the window or incessantly tap his pencil on the surface of his desk or even talk to himself - and the sudden drop of his grades. Many times they called him out on it, some quickly losing what little patience they had when dealing with stubborn children, while others tried to figure out why their model student was suddenly acting the way he did. The school contacted Lyle's mother, inquiring about Lyle's sudden change in behavior. Worried about her son, Cassidy thought it best to sit him down and talk. However, talking only proved to make Cassidy more worried.
"It's not my fault the words float off the page and do cartwheels. The teachers are wrong too, mommy. I don't talk to myself. I hear dvoices and they talk to me," was what Lyle told her when asked what was wrong. No longer knowing what to do, Cassidy turned to her brother, Ren. Fortunately, Ren recognized the symptoms for dyslexia; knowledge he gained from one of his coworkers who formerly had severe dyslexia. That weekend, the Mouri siblings brought Lyle to the nearest hospital.
After running through a few tests, it was found that Lyle suffered not only from a severe case of dyslexia, but ADHD as well. Fearing that her son would be bullied for his conditions, Cassidy quickly sought for a way to help fix Lyle's dyslexia. She managed to find help in the person of Velvet, a young college graduate who works at a school for special children. When Velvet, who was herself a demigod, met Lyle, she immediately knew he was a half-blood like her.
Understanding the hardships of being a demigod, Velvet did as much as she could to help Lyle. She sensed that he would grow to be a powerful person and decided to look out for him, making sure to patrol their area every night for monsters. Every weekend for the next five months, Velvet came over to the Mouri household to help Lyle with his dyslexia. She used methods such as playing catch to help with his ADHD while at the same time training Lyle in certain aspects such as speed, reflex reaction, and agility. Over time, Lyle was able to cope better, but it wasn't enough to make him normal.
Lyle's school was informed of his situation, and teachers began to treat him with understanding, and sometimes with pity. Other students, however, were not as gracious. They picked on Lyle and blamed him for things he wasn't responsible for. The first few times, Lyle merely ignored the bullying, opting to don an apathetic attitude instead. However, ignoring them only proved to make things worse. Teasing turned into shoving and tripping, name-calling grew worse, and often, Lyle became victim to humiliation. Still, not a single word was uttered to people of authority. It was only when Ren, who had come to pick up the then 8-year old, saw his nephew getting ganged up on and almost beat up. Luckily, Ren was able to intervene and Lyle managed to get out with nothing more than a few sore limbs and scratches. When Cassidy found out, she could do nothing but hold her son close and apologize for not realizing sooner.
Considering that getting into a new school would be useless as there were only a few months left, Lyle managed to convince his mother to let him finish the school year, on the promise that he would avoid the bullies as best as he can. And avoid them, he did. Lyle quickly found that if he hid in the shadows, he was virtually invisible. He didn't understand how someone who has was a mere five feet away couldn't spot him but he chose not to question it. So, for the next 3 months, he mapped out places in his school which he could use as a get-away hiding spot. Bullying incidents lessened. After all, how can you bully a victim you could neither find nor catch? And so, Lyle finished the rest of his third grade life with no further problems, aside from academics.
When the next academic year drew closer, Cassidy did not hesitate to enroll Lyle in a different school, despite it being more expensive than his previous one. Little did the mother-son duo know that the simple act of moving to a new school would make their lives more chaotic.
When Lyle transferred to Kiara's school, the first thing that greeted him upon entering his first class was a bucket of water dumped over his head. Lyle stood there blinking as a horrified Kiara kept apologizing profusely and the whole class broke into hysterics. This prank wasn't meant for him at all, instead it was for their Math teacher whom Kiara didn't hold many fond feelings for. When the Math teacher did show up, Kiara owned herself up as guilty of the incident. This led to her umpteenth detention in the school.
The school day carried on like usual, only Kiara trudged into the detention room instead of running to the front entrance like the other students did after school. Lyle, who was actually on his way home, noticed the sullen looking brunette as he passed by the open door of the detention room. He stopped walking, a strange feeling resonating within him. He felt bad, but didn't know why. It wasn't a guilty conscience; after all, he was the victim. Yet, when he saw how dejected his accidental pranker was, he sighed and, for reasons unbeknownst to him, and walked into the room. The teacher inside and Kiara gave him odd looks as he took a seat opposite Kiara, knowing full well that the young boy didn't have detention.
"I was told to wait here rather than outside," Lyle explained upon noticing the inquiring looks. "It's about to rain." Sure enough, a mild downpour erupted minutes after he explained, so the teacher let him be. Kiara still eyed him curiously. She unusually kept quiet throughout detention, taking turns from staring out the window, her desk, then at Lyle again. Two boring hours later, Kiara was released with heavy reprimands from the teacher. The skies had cleared, after the rain, Kiara noticed. It was so bright and she wondered why. Lyle however, just walked out without a word.
The next day Kiara noticed him down the school hallway, she called out to him. "Aren't you that guy who went for detention even if you didn't need to?" she asked in her oblivious tone. Lyle, who was more awkward, answered, "Yeah, what about it?"
"Oh, I'm not sure," Kiara shrugged. "See ya!" she waved at him with a cheerful smile before bounding down the hallway. She was probably going to pull another prank or two or something, who knew. Kiara Reiss never did learn from her mistakes. Lyle stood there dumbfounded as he stared at her. "Whatever," he mumbled, and turned the opposite direction for his next class. Fate worked in mysterious ways, because those two encounters were far from his lasts with the strange girl.
Unfortunately for Lyle, it seems the strange girl he met had quite a vicious fan-base. On his way to the cafeteria, his path was blocked by three boys the same age as him, all of whom had a sneer on their faces. Lyle rolled his eyes, immediately knowing that the three before him were bullies, even before they spoke a single word.
"Alright newbie. You obviously don't know how things work around here, but rule numero uno would be to stay away from Kiara Reiss... or else," the tallest of the three said. His obvious threat was met with a blank look. Not having any idea who Kiara Reiss is, all Lyle could answer was: "Who?". Unfortunately, what he said seemed to be the wrong answer, because the next thing he knew, Lyle was backed against the wall, with the leader's hand fisting his shirt and a scowl on his face. "Kiara Reiss, you numbskull! The brunette who talked to you in the hallway earlier." Lyle, quite used to the situation, merely stared blankly at the leader before sighing. Just as he was about to retort, a loud voice cut through the hallway.
"Hey, you three idiots! What the hell do you think you're doing?" The four males turned to the source of the voice, only find the subject of their conversation mere meters away; the distance growing smaller as she marched her way to them.
"Bullying an innocent kid for no reason," she snorted, "How low can you low-lives get?" she asked them, crossing her arms over her chest and staring them down with a glare. "Idiot 1, hands off the guy," she ordered, and said idiot immediately released Lyle immediately, taking a step back. "Other two idiots!" she called sharply, and they both turned to her with hearts in their eyes, metaphorically. "Back off this guy, you hear me?" she threatened sharply, "But- Kiara-"
"Good, now shove it assholes," she said, not waiting for an answer as she pulled Lyle by the arm and stalked off. Said boy could only stare at the brunette before sighing and shaking his head. "Totally unlady-like," he muttered under his breath. Unfortunately for him, his savior heard it and shot him a look over her shoulder. "Gee, you're welcome," she uttered sarcastically. Lyle, not really intending his words to have been heard, awkwardly cleared his throat and just let himself be dragged.
Kiara, not really into awkward silences, strung up a conversation. "So, new kid who shows up to detention for no reason, whats your name?" she asked. Before Lyle could answer though, she cuts him off again. "We're going to the rooftop, by the way. Didn't really want to deal with other people's stupidity and the noise in the cafeteria just plain sucks. You can share some of my food. I have loads of snacks anyway." Lyle nodded slowly, staring at the ground as the spunky girl pulled him to the roof. "Okay," he said quietly, looking up to the back of her head. Lyle wondered if his life would be like this from now on.
That was a very fateful day, to say. They became closer than expected for two polar opposites.
When the two were ten, Velvet, Lyle's dyslexia teacher, began teaching them taekwondo, as for self-defense. It was mainly for Lyle, but at that point wherever Lyle was, Kiara was too. It helped with the fact Kiara was a demigod too, but Velvet didn't quite notice, as the signs were much more obvious in Lyle.
Lyle began taking up fencing when he turned eleven, having been influenced by a show he stumbled upon one summer day. Kiara, on the other hand, was actually pretty good at fist fighting so she held her own pretty well. They both still practiced taekwondo but only Kiara really pursued it, easily going through the ranks.
Life wasn't all smiles for the two though. On one particular session of taekwondo at the park with Velvet, the trio were approached by two women, both of whom appeared to be walking weirdly. Kiara, being who she is, bluntly told them that "cement isn't the best place to practice your skating. Why don't you go to the mall instead?", earning herself an amused glance from Velvet and a sigh from Lyle. The two women though were unfazed. "Very funny little missssy," one of them said. At that, Velvet stiffened, eyeing the two women before ushering Lyle and Kiara away, despite their protests. The two friends returned to Lyle's house, where they were joined by Velvet ten minutes later. The two eleven-year old kids noticed Velvet was bleeding but their questions were skillfully evaded.
They weren't as lucky the next couple of times. Six months after, Lyle encountered a harpy on his way home from fencing classes. At first, he could only stare in confusion, but when the harpy dived at him, his fencing training kicked in. In twenty minutes, Lyle was completely exhausted and surrounded by feathers and golden dust. He told Kiara of his encounter the following day at school, to which she responded with "How could you go on a crazy bird lady hunt without me?".
A week after Kiara turned twelve, she faced a hellhound which easily towered over her when it stood on its hind legs. Kiara, who then thought she was hallucinating, knew this was one fight she couldn't win alone. Outrunning the beast proved futile as it easily caught up with her. Desperate for a miracle, Kiara thrust her hand out in an attempt at defense. To her utter surprise, a beam of energy shot from her hand and hit the hellhound, turning it into dust. She stared transfixed at her hand, before running off to tell Lyle about how she became superwoman overnight. Of course, Lyle just stared blankly at her before nodding.
Over the next few years, similar encounters grew frequent. When the two were thirteen, Lyle managed to escape from a fire-breathing horse when he stepped on a shadow while desperately thinking of being somewhere safe. This led to his first shadow travel. Kiara, on the other hand learned she could heal at an unnatural rate after getting a slight burn from when Lyle tried to teach her how to cook. It was also in this time when a somewhat holographic torch appeared above Kiara's head. Neither Kiara nor Lyle could understand what it was though and just owed it to the weird things happening to the both of them. The night after Lyle's birthday, a holographic helm appeared above his head, similar to Kiara's experience.
At fourteen, Kiara managed to transport both herself and Lyle to their school when a flock of Stymphalian birds attacked them. In that same year, Lyle learned he could command the ghosts he see; to which Kiara excitedly pointed out as being "Awesome!!!". Fifteen year old Kiara and Lyle were cornered by Laistrygonian giants. Fortunately Velvet was there to save the day and you know, it is sometimes a good thing Laistrygonians are really dumb. They were easily defeated. In the haze of the aftermath, Velvet briefed them on what they really were: demigods. "We're half gods?!" Kiara exclaimed loudly with wide eyes, and Lyle had to clamp a hand over her mouth to keep anyone nearby from overhearing, although that wasn't really necessary.
They didn't go to Camp then, instead they trained constantly with Velvet; any sort of means, from sparring to target practice or in Kiara's case, hardcore parkouring that involved running away from lesser monsters until she reached Lyle and they defeated them together. The latter was honestly just for kicks, much to Lyle's mild irritation.
After Velvet taught them all she could involving weapons, Kiara and Lyle moved on to honing their powers. It was no easy feat, especially when it came to powers connected with travelling. Lyle learned he could summon skeletons and weapons made of diamond, but quickly realized the said actions were quite energy draining. Kiara began experimenting with potions and spells, jotting down notes on which ones were effective and which weren't. Under the strict command of Velvet, the two did not attempt any transportation-related actions. Despite having been a working woman, Velvet made sure to have time every day in case either Kiara or Lyle wanted to practice. She introduced the two to ambrosia and nectar, making sure that the two had a vial of nectar each for emergency cases.
Two years passed quickly. Monster attacks were frequent, but thankfully nothing Lyle nor Kiara couldn't handle, sometimes with the help of Velvet. But training with Velvet could only go so far. She advised the two 17-year olds -- who were then quite comfortable with using their powers, as there was a lack of weaponry -- to head off to Camp. That way, they would easily acquire weapons of their own. Convincing their parents, however, was no easy task.
Leonard Reiss, although knew his daughter was special, wasn't too keen on letting his only child attend a Camp for an indefinite period of time. He was even less enthusiastic when he found out that the journey could be dangerous, but after talking with Kiara, he finally agreed. Cassidy and Ren Mouri on the other hand, were not as easy to convince. The two knew nothing about Lyle's true background, and Lyle wanted it to stay that way, not wanting to endanger the only family he knew. So, with the help of Velvet - who managed to control the Mist, Lyle covered Camp up as a college in New York which handpicked students. Cassidy was troubled, having never heard of the said "college" before, but Velvet managed to dissolve her fears. Lyle's Uncle Ren gave the go signal, telling his sister to let her son do as he wishes, considering how Lyle was almost of legal age anyway. With a heavy heart, Cassidy accepted the idea too and helped Lyle pack his belongings.
Two weeks after the end of school, Lyle, Kiara and Velvet were ready to head off to Camp Half-Blood. It wasn't really a long journey, from Michigan to New York. On the way to Camp, the trio encountered a group of empousai, all of which were easily reduced to ashes. Upon reaching Pennsylvania, they were then attacked by two cyclops and three harpies. It wasn't as easy as the empousai but nothing the trio couldn't handle. It wasn't long then until Lyle and Kiara were standing at the foot of half-blood hill, biding goodbye to Velvet.
"Remember, I'm just an Iris message away. If you guys need me, I'll be here in a flash," Velvet reminded them. At the word 'flash' Kiara looked questioningly at Velvet. "You know, in the years I've known you, you never told us who your godparent was, nor what powers you have." With a smile of mischief, Velvet circled the two teenagers once before lifting up two items which seemingly appeared out of nowhere: a charm bracelet and a notebook. Kiara checked her wrist where the bracelet previously sat an amazed look on her face, while Lyle looked increasingly alarmed at the sight of the familiar notebook. Velvet grinned before doing an elaborate bow. "Velvet Conners, child of Hermes, at your service," she said before tossing the bracelet back at Kiara. The notebook, however, she smirked at, immediately flipping through some pages. Lyle lunged for the notebook, face red and eyes portraying panic. Velvet laughed, surrendering the stationery to her proclaimed younger brother, before giving Kiara a pat on the shoulder. "Good luck you two."
Nodding at their mentor and friend, Kiara and Lyle picked up their bags and jogged up the hill, pausing only once they passed the tree with the golden fleece in its branches. Kiara's smile grew every second and soon she had Lyle's arm looped with hers, said boy getting dragged along like the time back when they were 9. Lyle could only smile and roll his eyes at the memory and the similarity. Kiara looked back at her friend, excitement clear as day on her face. "Let's go".
And so begins their adventures at Camp Half-Blood.