Photo courtesy Athena-chan
Very powerful wizard
Creative and discerning
Thinks he is a coward
Too kind for his own good
He actually likes spiders
Photo courtesy John Rocco
Son of Poseidon
Can control and breathe in water
Is healed by water
Owner of the celestial bronze sword Riptide
Can speak to horses and has a friend Pegasus
Helped defeated Kronos, father of the gods
Protecting people is his mortal weakness
Has an Achilles's heel (not on his heel)
How we think the fight might go...
Percy Jackson couldn’t believe that Grover had wanted to return to Pan’s cave in the Labyrinth, but the satyr had insisted, and Percy wouldn’t let him face the winding paths alone.
Once they reached the cavern, Grover disappeared inside to pay his respects to his lost god. Percy stood guard at the entrance listening to the receding hoofsteps. He leaned back against a crystal column and shined his flashlight around the large cave antechamber.
Who knew what kind of crazies roamed the Labyrinth these days?
Right on cue, something sparkled on the ceiling to Percy’s left as a tall man sauntered out from behind a stalactite. Percy would never have noticed him, if it hadn’t been for his flamboyant coat shimmering in the beam of his flashlight.
Percy straightened up and uncapped Riptide. “Hey, who are you?”
“What? You don’t recognize me?” The man’s voice had an odd, foreign lilt to it.
The man floated down from the ceiling. “I am the Wizard Howl.” He stood there, his arms folded as if waiting for Percy to bow or curtsey or something.
Percy shrugged and shook his head. “Never heard of you.”
Howl sighed and a quizzical expression creased his brow. “How odd. I shall have to have a word with Calcifer about that.” He turned and examined the walls as though committing each and every crevice to memory.
Percy fidgeted. He wasn’t used to being ignored like this. “Why were you on the ceiling?”
“I was rather hoping that I could get through to the inner cave unhindered. People aren’t generally in the habit of looking up,” Howl said, walking closer.
Percy tightened his grip on Riptide. “I’m not your average person.”
Howl recoiled a step. “Careful where you’re pointing that. You could hurt someone.”
Percy’s eyes narrowed. “I haven’t lived this long by making nice with all the monsters down here. Speaking of which…”
“Monster?” Howl smirked. “Is that really what you think I am?” He gestured to the fine cut of his tunic, his long sleeves flowing with his movement.
Percy paused. Howl didn’t look or smell like a monster, but he couldn’t be a normal human either. A normal human outside of a Renaissance fair, Percy amended. “Well then, what are you?”
“I’m not a what. I am a who and a rather important who at that. If you must know, I am a Wizard—as I said before. And it is my extremely bad luck to be The Royal Wizard of the King of Ingary.” Howl eyed the celestial bronze of Percy’s sword with a speculative look on his face. “You don’t by chance work magic do you?”
“Yes. If you do, there’s a king I would like to introduce you to.”
Percy took a deep breath and steered the conversation back to territory that made sense. “Yeah, well, whatever. Why are you here?”
Howl gave him a smile that would have dazzled the dryads back at camp within an inch of their lives. “I wish to retrieve something and you’re standing in my way.”
Percy frowned. “You’re after the cave?”
Howl blinked. “What use would I have with a cave? I recently felt a great power pass from the world. I traced it to this place.”
“You’re here to honor Pan then?” Percy loosened his grip on Riptide. Maybe life could be simple and straightforward after all.
“Sorry, but I wasn’t invited to the funeral.” Howl waved him off. “I’m here to collect the mystic energy that he left behind. A god died here for pity’s sake. There must be an incredible amount of power just lying around in there.”
Percy straightened. No. Of course life wouldn’t be that easy. “You’re here to steal his power?”
“‘Steal’ is such a crude word. I prefer to think of it as keeping power like that out of the wrong hands.”
“And what makes you think your hands are the right hands?” Percy focused his energy, his mind buzzing with all the tiny details his demigod side took in from the sardonic expression on Howl’s face to the grit he ground under his feet while he waited for Howl to attack.
“Pan is hardly in the position to use it anymore.” Howl glanced around the cave.
“You’re lucky Grover isn’t here,” Percy snapped, calling to the underground river as he spoke. “He’d kick your butt for saying that.”
Howl cocked his ear as though listening to something, and then he smiled. “Now, now. There’s no need for violence. No amount of respect will bring Pan back. He’s dead and has no use for what remains of his power.”
“Why you… How dare you suggest…” Percy lunged forward, raising Riptide in an upward slash.
Howl sidestepped with a nervous chuckle. “I don’t think you want to do that. You see, Sophie would be most put out if you--”
At that, Percy saw red. “Are you threatening me?”
Howl blinked. “I wouldn’t call it threatening, exactly. More like a friendly warning. Believe me, you do not want to see Sophie when she’s upset.”
Percy let out a mighty cry and summoned the river. The waters leaped to his aid and surged toward Howl, who raised a nonchalant hand. The water flowed through and past him, falling harmlessly to either side and pooling on the floor.
Howl sighed. “I really would prefer that we didn’t fight.”
The puddles swirled together and rose to form another giant wave. Howl did whatever it was he’d done the first time again with a careless wave and a yawn.
Percy stopped short, trying to puzzle out what was happening. Howl wasn’t messing with the water, Percy would have felt it if he had and stopped him, and Howl wasn’t fighting back. Percy balanced on the balls of his feet, uncertain.
Howl turned on the charm again, giving him a brilliant smile meant to make girls swoon into useless puddles at his feet. “Is that all? You’re beginning to bore me, and I hate to be bored. I really have much more important matters to attend to.”
Deciding to take a more direct approach, Percy charged, thrusting Riptide at Howl’s face. “Shut up!” The celestial bronze slid through Howl, and Percy realized that his sword was useless. The blade drew no blood.
Howl’s expression lost its vapid air. “Really, I’ve warned you about Sophie already.” He made a twisting movement with his hands and a bright, gold ring appeared. “Keep in mind I’m doing this for your own good at a great personal sacrifice. Djinns look like kittens compared to Sophie when she’s angry. She’s a hatter.” His hair shifted in a breeze that only touched him. “Catch.”
Startled, Percy caught the ring more out of reflex than anything else. He gazed at the ring of gold he held that could have easily fit around his waist.
“What--” His voice died in his throat as he found himself staring not at the impossible wizard named Howl, but at a very large, very vengeful looking giant who had a handkerchief to his nose and large wings on his back that screamed demonic angel.
“I ab du great djinn Hasruel. You hab sometink dat beloks to be,” Hasruel said, looking like he was about to start smiting at any second.
Percy took a step back. It didn’t take a genius to know that he was completely out of his element. Up until now, he hadn’t known that angels or djinns or whatever the monster in front of him was really did exist, and it figured that he’d find out this way. His stomach churned as he tried to consider his options. Angels lived in the sky, and the sky was Zeus’s territory. And Zeus had a god-sized grudge against him. And if Hasruel wasn’t an angel, but a demon, that meant he came from the underworld. Either way, Percy was going to tick off one of the big three. For some reason, the fact that he’d taken a dip in the River Styx didn’t make him feel any better.
He took a deep breath and raised his sword, prepared to be zapped into a billion bits of hero. Percy couldn’t face Grover if he let someone walk in and desecrate Pan’s final resting place like that.
“Really, it’s not that complicated.” Howl said, stepping out from behind the angel’s left heel. He raised his arm in a sharp arc, and the young demigod crumpled to the floor. Howl stared at the unconscious form of the boy for a moment before stepping over it.
“You might want to clean that first,” he said, looking over his shoulder at the frowning djinn. “You don’t want to know where that’s been. Now, to collect that power.”
Predicted winner: Howl
Howl is from Diana Wynne Jones' Howl's Moving Castle and Percy Jackson is from Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series