This story takes place after Percy Jackson and the Olympians series but before The Heroes of Olympus

Based off the Children's revised edition of A Christmas Carol

Once Upon A Time...

     Upon a Christmas Eve Reyna sat busy taking inventory. Her brow scrunched in frusturation as she realized some of the imported Imperial Gold had been broken off.

"Lousy craftsmanship," she muttered angrily. Her eyes were dark and her tone quiet but powerful. "Well then, Cyclopsboys weaponery Inc, here's your Christmas present: New Rome will trade with you no more!" She threw a box of weapons across the room and walked slowly towards the hearth. Her fingers were cold and her cheeks were rosy. She took a sip of her hot cocoa, relaxing in the heat. Her troubles of praetorship melted away as she closed her eyes and sipped quietly. 

"Merry Christmas Reyna!" Jason burst through the door, holding a Christmas present. Reyna startled, dropping her mug onto the floor. 

"Jason what is the meaning of this?" She demanded angrily. Jason slowed down and shuffled his feet on the carpet.

"Sorry Reyna, it's just the Fifth cohort made you a present and we wanted to give it to you." Reyna's eyes glittered with anger and Jason took another step back.

"A... a present?" Her voice dangerously quiet. 

Jason stammered. "We know it's a bit informal, and that as a Praetor your not supposed to accept personal rewards for fear of corruption... but we wanted to thank you for all your hard work." 

Reyna turned towards the fire, her back to Jason.

"Do you know why I don't celebrate Christmas, Jason?" He didn't answer.

She continued. "I don't celebrate Christmas because it's a bunch of *BEEP*, and I don't give a *BEEP* for it. It causes nothing but chaos and anxiety. I will not take your gift to me because just as it says in the rule book, I will not be corrupted. You really think the fifth cohort can win me over with some ribbon?" She paused and turned back around to look at him.

Jason's face was frozen and his jaw was slightly dropped. 

"No, no, you misunderstand that's not at all what we meant-" Reyna flew at him in anger.

"OUT! GET OUT! I don't want to EVER see you barge in here ever again!" Jason dropped the gift as he fled from the room. 

Reyna's eyes teared up a little as she stared at the present, she hesitantly put it on the mantle of the hearth.

"I will not open it." She vowed to herself. 

The door cracked open again, and Reyna bit her lip.

"Jason," she said steadily, "I told you I don't want to speak to you at this time. Please leave."

Dakota coughed. "Uhh Reyna?"

She looked him up and down and sighed.

"What do you want now?" 

Dakota cleared his throat. "Well, er, the Fifth and the Second Cohort have put together a little fundraising for the demigod children in the families that have previously served us. We were wondering if you wanted to make a donation?" His voice squeaked.

Reyna glared at him. "Nothing! I will contribute NOTHING!"

Dakota gazed at her with wide eyes. "You wish to remain anonymous? We can do that, all you have to do is check the little box here-" 

"All I want is to be LEFT alone! I help support the weapons funds, so if anything the people of New Rome should be working to protect them. They don't need any money! If they do they need to come directly to ME. Now get out." She pointed at the door.

"But," Dakota started, "the money is to buy the children Christmas presents." 

Reyna walked toward him, "I don't care if you give them rocks for Christmas, I will not donate anything." She turned on her heel and walked back to the mantle. 

The clock struck 9 PM and Dakota left without a word, closing the door softly behind him. Reyna watched him through her window as he headed down the street. "That poor praetor, that poor poor praetor," he shook his head as he approached the lares

Reyna looked around the spotless room, pleased by the organized drawers and stacked papers that were neatly color coded, she felt something was missing.

The clock struck 12, and the fire slowly crept away,

And on that night the praetor felt something was wrong,

As if a her mind and her soul had been lead a different way,

She claimed for charity, to have no part,

But now it seemed she had a great hole in her heart.

She slowly walked over to bed, heaving a great sigh. She slipped on her slippers and sword by her side,

laid herself down to rest, and then heard a clatter- and a great cry.

"AAAGHHHHH!" The voice screamed out into the night.

Reyna jumped from her bed. She squinted her eyes.

"Who goes there?" She half-whispered, and peered down the hall.

A shadowy figure approached from the opposite side.

"Reyna, you once knew me as Michael Varus. Take heed in the warning I say unto you." His voice boomed and the a thousand imperial gold swords were impaled along his thigh,

but also his arm, legs, and eye.

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