A Greek demigod, Leonidas “Leo” Valdez is the offspring of Hephaestus and Esperanza Valdez. The Prophecy of Seven names him as one of its seven heroes. He freed Calypso from Ogygia after sacrificing himself and then being reborn with the physician’s cure. Currently he resides with Josephine and Hemithea, and he attends high school with Calypso.
Leonidas “Leo” Valdez’s parents, mechanic Esperanza Valdez and the Greek god Hephaestus, had him born in Houston, Texas. In contrast to the rest of his half-siblings, Leo has mastery of flames. He was the first fire-wielding child born to Hephaestus in millennia.
Leo’s mother led him to meet his great grandfather, Sammy Valdez, when he was a young child. Sammy was so happy to see him that he picked him up and held him as he laughed and tickled his chin. Sammy had informed him of Hazel, and he had warned him that he would never see her again.
Doa Callida, he said his great-grandson, had said that the danger Hazel was in would not happen in his lifetime, but that he would be there for her nonetheless. He then instructed Leo to apologise to Hazel and assist her. He warned him that the diamond was cursed and he should apologise for selling it. He approved of Leo, telling him that he was unique like Hazel.
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Ta Callida said she wanted to test if Leo was her courageous little hero by putting him down for a sleep. She bundled him up and lay him down on what appeared to be red and yellow pillows to Leo, but were actually mantlepieces of a fireplace. He recalled dozing off peacefully and grasping a few sparks.
Ta sung him Greek lullabies as he drifted off to sleep, and he dreamed of sailing on a boat made of fire. At the moment, he was unable to identify the language. Esperanza arrived home, saw Leo in the flames, and cried at Ta, “How could you?,” but Ta was nowhere to be found.
Ta kept visiting, and at the age of three, she gave him a set of knives, telling him he would need to know how to wield them if he was ever going to become her hero. She retrieved a rattlesnake from a cow pasture when he was four years old, gave him a stick, and instructed him to poke it to prove that he was courageous and that the Fates had made the right choice in selecting him. He refrained from poking the snake, and it quickly slithered off into the nearby grass.
When Leo was five years old, she was babysitting him and she got him paper and crayons and they sat on a picnic table in the shade of a pecan tree and he coloured. Leo sketched the Argo II while she sung. His pen took flight just as he was about to sign his name. Ta informed him it wasn’t time to be a hero just yet, and that he will find his destiny after going through many trials.
She then requested that he build her a fire to ease the pain in her ageing body. Esperanza walked out a few minutes later and screamed when she discovered him sitting in the centre of a fire, his hands burning the picnic table and the crayons melting into goo. The people in his flat would spend years puzzling about how he started the fire because his handprints were still visible in the table.
He wasn’t ready to be a hero, and Esperanza had a conversation with him after the visit to explain why she couldn’t come back. She warned him to put away the fire forever, saying that his father would explain everything to him in person.
He had a strong bond with his mother. They would tap out messages on the walls in Morse code, which she had taught him. Esperanza made him bilingual by conversing with him in both English and Spanish. It took him a long time to figure out that most people do not speak like that. Since no one would hire his mother, she ran a machine business to support him and himself.
Yall remember godly parents swaps? #pjofanart #PercyJackson #jasongrace #art #pipermclean #leovaldez pic.twitter.com/JvgUsxzxAM
— Pip (o7) (@piedpip3rrr) September 26, 2022
By the time he was eight years old, Leo had spent every waking moment in the shop and was solving mechanical problems in his head with an ease that would have surprised even the most seasoned mathematicians. Friday nights would be reserved for a special dinner at a Houston seafood restaurant, where they would feast on shrimp and catfish.
When Leo was in third grade, he had a cruel teacher named Mr. Borquin and a relative named Raphael who both picked on him. His Aunt Rosa was very passionate about celebrating Dia de los Muertos, so every year she dragged him to the Houston cemetery to clean the graves of their ancestors and leave them gifts of lemonade, cookies, and marigolds. Rosa would make him attend the picnic nevertheless, as if breaking bread with the departed would cure his hunger pangs.
Leo reflected on his childhood habit of examining and rearranging plastic organ models in The Blood of Olympus. Once, when the school nurse was there, he created a kidney monster out of a cross-sectioned kidney and some skeleton legs and got in trouble for it. He learned to write his name in cursive in kindergarten.
Death of Mother
Both Esperanza and Leo were up late one night when he was eight years old. Esperanza was working on a prototype, thinking that if it worked, she’d be able to take a break. Esperanza told hokey jokes and assured his coworkers that his dad was proud of him as they worked.
As they left the break room, Esperanza remembered that she had left her keys in the warehouse despite having assumed she had them. She smiled at Leo for the last time. The door shut and closed a few seconds later. Leo went to the door and called her name, tried to open it, and tapped in Morse code, “You okay?” Suddenly, however, a voice spoke out to say that she wasn’t able to pick up his voice. At this point, a woman entered, and she introduced herself as Gaea (though Leo was unaware at the time). She wore a black robe and veil to bed and was dressed in clothing fashioned from the dirt.
Though Leo mistook her for Ta Callida, she assured him that their similarities were merely genetic. When he wondered where his mom was, Gaea warned him that he would one day fight her children for the right to keep her asleep. Despite Leo’s declaration that he has no interest in fighting, Gaea insists that she cannot yet destroy him since the Fates will not permit it.
Gaea, however, claims they failed to shield Esperanza and that she will succeed in shattering his will to live. She urged him to think back to this evening whenever he is called upon to stand in her opposition. When Leo’s mom was asked how he planned to stop her, he got angry and urged her to back off. When the flames spread to his hands, she smiled triumphantly. When Leo’s mother was killed in the fire while he was trying to save her and himself, he became enraged and sought to kill Gaea.
The ambulance driver felt sympathetic to Leo’s plight once he regained consciousness and learned that the warehouse had burned down and his mother had been trapped inside. Leo was depressed because, as his mother had warned, he had lost control of his emotions.
He blamed himself for her passing. The police were not very friendly to Leo and told him that the fire had started right where he was standing. The authorities were baffled as to what kind of kid would set a fire. His apartment building neighbours were constantly whispering about him, saying that everyone in the building could see that something was off with him.
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