The Hunger Games: The First Quarter Quell [BEING STARTED OVER]



  • edited March 2016

    That was an amazing chapter, so far my favourite from Saul's storyline and one of my favourites in the entire story. I still hate Munrow with a passion and I'm not buying any of his crap. I'm also a bit bummed that he essentially cheated death. Hopefully he'll get what he deserves one of these days. However, I must say that his words sparked my interest. Not this crap about how he's just a misunderstood good guy, but the stuff about the hawk. Naturally, I remembered the contents of Schrödinger's ominous message to Aura, about the owl that sees where the hawk does not. That one's obviously related. The question now is, are Munrow and his people in league with Schrodinger? More importantly, who is the Hawk? Which in turn, opens up the question, who is the Owl? What are their goals? And what's the meaning behind this bird theme? So many questions and I'm loving it.

    There is however at least one thing which seems likely now: Saul was set up to become the D11 tribute and the people behind the Hawk had a hand in this, so it seems likely that Aura becoming the D7 tribute has also been orchestrated, possibly by the same people, most likely with some larger goal in mind. I've already speculated earlier that Aura's father might be related to Schrödinger, or perhaps even Schrödinger himself. With the new connection between Aura and Saul (who was set up to become the tribute), a connection between Aura's father and Schrödinger becomes even more likely, since he undoubtedly had a hand in her becoming the D7 tribute.

    83% of readers chose to [A. Go for the kill.] Saul felt a tingling sensation in his sternum. He knew what it was like to kill a man. Th

  • So many theories... Lol I love it

    That was an amazing chapter, so far my favourite from Saul's storyline and one of my favourites in the entire story. I still hate Munrow wit

  • Woah, so Aura becoming the D7 tribute could also be rigged? That's fucked. But I love it.

    That was an amazing chapter, so far my favourite from Saul's storyline and one of my favourites in the entire story. I still hate Munrow wit

  • Add this: The Lord of this fanfic said, that the D12 tributes are not screwed, even though they should be as per canon.

    The whole thing could be rigged.

    That was an amazing chapter, so far my favourite from Saul's storyline and one of my favourites in the entire story. I still hate Munrow wit

  • Well not exactly. I said you shouldn't count the 12 tributes out, not that they aren't screwed

    TheLier posted: »

    Add this: The Lord of this fanfic said, that the D12 tributes are not screwed, even though they should be as per canon. The whole thing could be rigged.

  • Chapter 19: Town Hall

    Aura Cantarella

    "Today is a good day, Aura." Crispin said, with a smile wide across his face. "The sun is rising, and there's not a cloud in the sky to stop it!"

    Aura had a different attitude toward today. She had been dreading it ever since she went to sleep last night. She didn't and would never understand how Crispin got such a perverse sense of satisfaction from seeing others around him suffer and die. As she was steered through town square towards the Justice Building, she knew the man was feeling that same feeling. Sometimes Aura wondered whether Crispin cared about anyone at all... Or maybe his idea of caring meant something different.

    Through everything that was happening, she had to admit it really was a nice day. The sunlight felt warm on the edge of her arms. She could even hear a few birds chirping in the distance: a sound which she thought had altogether vanished from District 7. She passed the run down restaurants and bars of the Central, as they called it. People were scuttling from one place to the next, eager to get to their next task for the day. It was almost like they forgot they lived here...

    "Today's the day I die..." Aura spoke softly, walking through the town square spreading her... well... her negative aura.

    Crispin punched her hard in the shoulder, causing her to wince in pain. Some of the townfolk around them glanced over to her in shock. "What did I tell you about talking like that, girl?" He asked in an angry hushed tone. "You don't die today. You start living today."

    "Uncle Crispin, have you ever given a shit about anyone other than yourself?" She asked him irritatedly. "Because I'm starting to wonder..."

    "What? Aura! I'm wounded!" He laughed. "I give a shit about you... about your brothers... I even give a shit about your fucking father, curse his name... I give a shit about this whole district!" He raised his voice, gesturing to the world around them. His act drew a lot of unwanted attention, but he didn't seem to care. "Yeah, you!" He smiled and laughed. "You're all my best fucking friends!"

    A mother with two children beside her turned them both away from the man. Aura knew if she had children, she would do the same. She wouldn't even want to share the same street with Crispin. But it's fairly difficult expressing such an opinion when he's your uncle.

    "Funny thing is, I did just about the same thing you did, Aura." Crispin told her. "I know it's not hard when your Games was in the first few, but I was the first volunteer in District 7. It warms my heart to know that I'm not the last."

    "You volunteered. Good for you." Aura shot back, trying to put as much distance as she could between herself and her uncle.

    "Why are you being so cold?" He asked, with that look on his face that told he felt sorry but didn't mean it. "I told you, today's a great day!"

    "And I told you-"

    "No! Ah ah ah!" He pressed an oily finger to Aura's lips, effectively silencing her. He leaned in closer so she could detect the true malevolence behind his intentions. "Today is... a good day... You wouldn't want to do something to fuck that up."

    In the walk to the Justice Building at the end of the street, Crispin was clearly more engaged than Aura was. He was constantly five feet further and nagging her to speed up. "We haven't got all day!" He would tell her over and over and over... She passed Feeli, the butcher, on the way there. She passed him a gentle smile and he waved back. And then Vixen, the librarian... And Sammy, the boy from a few blocks down... Bent, Lonnia and Wenneka... District 7 was a small district, and this town was tightly wound, despite being the capital city. She didn't think there was any one person in this town who she didn't know her name. And by now... everyone else knew hers... This was most likely the last time she would ever see any of them.

    "Now, when you get in there," Crispin took her hard by the shoulder, "I want you to stay bloody quiet. I do the talking here. Understand?"

    Aura raised her eyebrows in concern. It was enough she was getting sent to the Capitol against her will, but now Crispin was suggesting she be tossed around like a rag doll to add insult to injury. She'd dealt with Ludwig Orretter and the mayor before. She was confident she could handle yourself. "And what makes you think you can speak on my behalf?"

    Crispin chuckled, coming to a halt in front of the marble steps of the Justice Building. I know the guys you'll meet in there. Ludwig is a very friendly fellow... and Mayor Krent, we may not see eye to eye, but he respects me."

    "So? What's this got to do with me?"

    "It's got everything to do with you, girl..." He snarled. "You wanna survive in the arena, you're going to have to have sponsors. Now the majority of those come from the district you call home. And if there's anyone you want on your side, it's the mayor. He'll broadcast about you all over the fucking place. He's exactly the guy you wanna kiss ass to."

    "I don't kiss ass..." Aura shot back, breaking away from his hold on her.

    "Yes you do. You do if you want to live." He shook his head. "Look, you'd be surprised how much your mouth is going to froth every time the metal package delivers you a can of beans from heaven. Something even as simple as a single throwing knife could save your life. You remember Paulie O'Neal from my Games?"

    "No..." Aura shook her head, trying to end the conversation abruptly.

    "I always remember my kills..."

    No matter how hard she tried, she couldn't get him to stop hassling her about this. So she decided she might as well listen to what he had to say. "I don't watch the Games."

    "Well, that's a mistake, dear. You gotta at least know the style of the arena. The new head Gamemaker Roman Walsh has had some pretty interesting ones since he was appointed three years ago. You have to study him... know how he thinks... Gamemakers are like animals... They've usually got the upper hand, but if you take the time to really watch them run around, you know exactly where they're going to scamper to next."

    "I don't like watching the Games." Aura responded, leaning against one of the great pillars among the steps. "I stopped watching years ago. Everyone gets their hopes up... just to watch their kid get gored by some Career dick. It's fucking depressing."

    "Well, anyway..." Crispin continued. "Paulie O'Neal. She was the ninth girl I killed in the arena. She was a little elf from District 5. Thought she could get through the Games by hiding out under a log the whole time. She pleaded with me. There were enough tears on her face to fill a swimming pool. She was talking about how no one from her District liked her. She hadn't got any sponsors yet. She asked me to bloody wait... She asked me for a fighting chance..."

    "What did you do?"

    "Oh, I slit her throat." He nodded, motioning the action with his arm. "And the knife, you know where I got it?"

    "A sponsor."

    "You got it." He reached into his back pocket and pulled out the pocketknife he'd shown me last night. "Just goes to show. You might be the best bitch in the world at running and hiding, but if you don't have something to protect yourself when shit gets sloppy, it won't mean a goddamn thing. And that, Aura, is why you need me to speak for you to the Mayor and the escort. I don't know any better way of attracting sponsors."

    Aura wasn't sure what to do. She always hated it when people robbed her of her voice, but Crispin had made a few good points. She didn't want to kiss anybody's ass... She wanted to stand on her own two feet like she did at the Reaping. In a way, she'd already given up, but she knew she wouldn't be thinking that the moment she set foot in the arena. She reached to her neck and caressed the string that held the owl pendant to her neck, deep in thought.

  • Damn Crispin. Seriously, fuck him. I get some chillingly disturbing vibes from the way he acts around Aura and the only good thing that comes out of the games is that this creep won't get his filthy hands on her. If she dies, then that's at least going to be more merciful than whatever Crispin has undoubtedly planned for her. And if she wins, then she's equal to him in terms of social standing and definitely able to get the hell away from him.

    Now for the choice. I don't like it, but I chose for Aura to accept Crispin's aid. Yes, Crispin is absolutely creepy and a horrible, horrible person, but if there is one thing where I trust him to be good at, it's the games. He indeed makes a good point, as much as I hate to admit it. I still hate him, but Aura is not in a position to turn down the help. And this is probably the only case where he can help her indeed. There's also the thing that he's a violent and unstable psychopath. Aura might be away from him for at least two weeks, but her brothers are with him and if she angers him now, they could end up paying the price.

    Chapter 19: Town Hall Aura Cantarella "Today is a good day, Aura." Crispin said, with a smile wide across his face. "The sun is risi

  • Alright The Hunger Games: The First Quarter Quell is now officially longer than The Walking Dead: Blood

  • Nobody decent truly makes it out of the Games. Aura needs to change in order to survive - now isn't the time to do what you think is right - it's time to survive, and Crispin's advice could contribute to her survival. I say take Crispin's aid. There's twenty-four tributes, and only one makes it out. Taking advice of a victor who owns the title of having the highest amount of kills could possibly help - also, he knows how to play the Game.

    Chapter 19: Town Hall Aura Cantarella "Today is a good day, Aura." Crispin said, with a smile wide across his face. "The sun is risi

  • Is that your other fanfiction? I'm going to check how many chapters are in there if I can find it, just to give me an idea as to how long ;)

    Alright The Hunger Games: The First Quarter Quell is now officially longer than The Walking Dead: Blood

  • Yeah it'll probably be a long ways back

    TWD_stan posted: »

    Is that your other fanfiction? I'm going to check how many chapters are in there if I can find it, just to give me an idea as to how long

  • Great part! I voted for not accepting Crispins aid but I am not sure if this was a good choice. What made me suspicious was when he ordered her to stay silent. I also dont think that Crispin is a popular man in the district, so if he openly supports her, this could lead to the other district members to no longer support her. It is a hard choice though.

    Chapter 19: Town Hall Aura Cantarella "Today is a good day, Aura." Crispin said, with a smile wide across his face. "The sun is risi

  • 60% of readers chose to [A. Accept Crispin's aid.]

    "Just get on with it..." Aura sighed, crossing her arms.

    "Oh I didn't need your permission." Crispin replied. "I only asked to be polite. This... talking to the mayor... is grown up stuff. You wouldn't understand."

    The words infuriated her more than almost anything he'd ever said to her. He was so condescending, she couldn't help but bite at her lip in anger. After everything she'd been through, raising Corvin and Barker where her father failed, she was just as much an adult as the rest of them... if not more so. "I wouldn't understand?" She retorted. "Why don't you say that to my face?"

    "Okay." He spun around and looked her straight in the eyes, grabbing her arm and squeezing it hard. "You wouldn't understand..." He spoke.

    Aura forcefully broke free of Crispin's grip and stepped a few feet to the side. A couple of the townspeople around her had taken notice of the scene, but none of them seemed to be acting in any way. They only stared and watched... as if we were on a monitor... "Get off me, you creep..."

    "Now, now... Is that any way to talk to your father?"

    "You're not my father."

    "I'm a better one than Rowan."

    "Yeah, I fucking doubt it."

    Crispin raised his hand in the air and brought it down hard on Aura's face. It stung like hell, but she remained firmly rooted in the ground. If there was one thing that living in this district had taught her, it was to stand her ground. She regained her composure and shot the man back an angry glance before an officer in white rushed over, baton in hand, to the scene. He took the weapon and held it up to Crispin's neck in a threatening manner. "Did he hurt you, ma'am?" The Peacekeeper asked Aura over his shoulder.

    "No..." She spoke back grudgingly. "We were just having a disagreement..."

    The Peacekeeper reluctantly withdrew the baton from Crispin's neck slowly, but then pointed at him. "I've got my eye on you... Try anything funny and-"

    "Do you know who I am?" Crispin asked in such a way that the Peacekeeper squirmed in his boots.

    "Can't say I do..." He responded. "It's not like it matters. You can't just hit-"

    "Crispin Cantarella. Victor of the Third Annual Hunger Games. If you touch me again, I'll make sure the Capitol is on top of your ass faster than you can put on your pretty white suit." Crispin stepped towards the man, causing him to step back farther. "Have you ever felt pain, Officer? I can tell you've been shot before by the way your shoulder keeps twitching, holding that baton... Did it hurt? I know ways to make you think that was just a bee sting in comparison..."

    "Shit..." He backed away slightly in fear. "You're really-"


    "You can't speak to me like that." The Peacekeeper puffed his chest out, trying to seem more official than he felt. "I am an Officer of Justice. I am a soldier of President Snow's army. You will respect me, or I can have you arrested, right here and now."

    Crispin shook his head. "I don't think you could if you tried. Through all my years, there has only been one man who has beaten me in a fight, and that's my father. He's dead." Aura was disgusted at his mentioning of her grandfather. The man was the most caring person she'd ever known and it hurt her to watch her uncle brush off his name in conversation without a hint of remorse. "And what did you say about respect? You want me to respect a man who missed a few spots on his lower jaw shaving this morning? You want me to respect a man who's holding his baton the wrong way around? You want me to respect someone who doesn't care enough about his title to display his name tag proudly on the front of his chest plate? Just be thankful I don't know your name... No, Officer. Respect is for the weak-willed and the childish. This is the real world. You don't fight for respect here. You fight for survival."

    In an instant, the Peacekeeper raised his baton in front of his head and attempted to bring it down onto the shoulder of Crispin. Before it landed, he blocked the blow on his forearm and put a palm in his sternum, launching him the other direction. As the Peacekeeper flew backwards, Crispin grabbed the handle of his baton and twisted it, easily removing it from his grip. As the man laid on the ground, Crispin found a chink in the armor of his leg and bashed his kneecap in, issuing a shattering noise.

    In the midst of the man's screaming of pain, Crispin gazed over to Aura with a wide smile on his face. "What a lovely day!" He exclaimed.

    "You're insane..." Aura said, backing away slowly.

    "Oh, honey..." He laughed. "You don't know the half of it. Although... You're soon entering the arena... You'll learn soon enough."

    "You just assaulted a Peacekeeper!" She accused him, pointing a shaky finger in his direction. She always knew the man was violent, but she'd never actually seen him in action. "You can be sentenced for that!"

    "No, weren't you watching? He assaulted me! Perfectly different..." Crispin placed his hand on his hip, with his elbow out, waiting for Aura to link arms with him. "Shall we?" She wasn't sure what choice she had but to take it...

    The walk to the Justice Building was one Aura had taken many times, but this one seemed to be taking longer than ever. Every time she passed one of the buildings at her side, it seemed to go by slower. Aura's steps felt heavier the more she walked, and her pain didn't allow her any leeway to make fewer of them. However, eventually, the walk came to an end and the Justice Building laid at her feet. Colossal marble columns shot into the sky higher than anything else in the District. Aura knew this was the last she would see of her home.

    Crispin was the first to take a step onto the staircase leading to the front entrance, and Aura was dragged in tow. She figured there wasn't any stopping it now. She might as well not cause any commotion. Before the two of them reached the entrance, its iron doors flung open in front of them. The two who stepped from it were Ludwig, the escort from the Capitol, and our very own, Mayor Huck Quimby.

    Quimby was a shorter man with a distinguished air about him. He stood about as high as Corvin did, yet he gave off a persona of wisdom. His mustache was cleanly trimmed and his brown hair was brushed slightly to the right. Upon her encounters with this man, she'd known him to be an honorable one; far more so than the two men next to him.

    "I will not be made the enemy here!" Quimby shouted, raising his finger in the air.

    "Oh please, Mayor, give me one good reason why this isn't the answer and maybe we'd have a topic to discuss over brunch..." Ludwig turned his attention to Aura and a smiling Crispin on their doormat. "Ah hello there, old friend! Put on a little weight I see!"

    "Yes, it's good to see you too, Ludwig." Crispin laughed along with him. "You're one to be talking." This remark would have made any other person sneer, but oddly enough, they exchanged a chuckle.

    "I say, you are the most charismatic tribute that has ever come out of Seven, lad." He placed his hands on his beer belly. "And I see you have brought-"

    "My daughter, Aura Cantarella." Crispin interrupted.

    Ludwig raised an eyebrow. "Your daughter? I thought that Rowan was her father. You are her uncle, are you not?"

    "I was her uncle. Rowan...stepped out. I'm her guardian now." He looked down at the girl on her arm. "I feel like I'm giving her up to her husband on her wedding day... She's grown so fast."

    There were a million words she wanted to say to shut him up, but every time she had the urge to say any of them, she bit her tongue. Crispin is in charge here... Crispin is in charge here... It was so difficult to tell herself that.

    Ludwig seemed quite doubtful, but passed it off as nothing and continued. "Well, she's our female volunteer this year, isn't she? You made quite the show at the Reaping last week, honey. How do you feel about your spot in the games?"

    Even though the question was directly aimed at her, Crispin answered before she could. "She's very excited about it, Ludd. On the way over here, she couldn't stop raving about how she was going to win. Right?"

    Aura nodded.

    "And yet, she doesn't share this same view now?" Mayor Quimby added, stepping into the conversation. "Good Lord, Crispin, look at the girl. She's scared to death. If that were true, she would be the one telling me so, not you."

    "All the way... here..." Crispin repeated, tightening his hold on Aura's arm. She took the hint and attempted to put on a facial expression representing a more positive attitude.

    "So we can proceed now, yes?" Ludwig asked, turning to the mayor. "We can proceed with the naming of the tributes."

    "I have already expressed my disinterest in choosing a tribute in this matter. I simply refuse."

    "You can't refuse." Ludwig responded, walking over and sitting on the railing of the staircase. They all did the same. Aura finally had a chance to break free of Crispin's grasp and sat down on the floor with her legs between her arms. "That's just not acceptable Mayor. You must act on the decree of the Capitol- we were the ones who elected you! When you have a direct order from the Head Gamemaker, you have to take action on it."

    "Or I can... not take action." He waved his hands in the air defiantly. "Every year, you are the one who takes the Reaping, Mr. Orretter, not me. Not anyone else in this District but you. Except this year. You didn't elect me to perform this job. I will not send one of my own to die for your entertainment."

    "I mean, if we're being honest, she's sending herself." Crispin remarked. "You didn't volunteer last week. She did."

    "Under the hand of-!"

    "Please! Gentlemen..." Ludwig interrupted. "I mean, I understand the heat behind your arguments, but can we not sit and have a civilized discussion on the footstep of our great nation? I would hate to bloody the halls..."

    "Is that a threat?" the Mayor shot back. "Are you threatening me?"

    "It doesn't have to be a threat. So long as you make the decision and leave it alone. For God's sake, you can even do the Reaping again, it just has to be your hand in the bowl this time." He stood up for a moment and sat down again after removing his pocket watch from its home. He read the time through his glasses. "You haven't got much time left, sir. It's not a difficult decision. For the most part it's already been made for you."

    "I don't have to comply with your shit demands, Ludwig." Quimby spat on the ground. This was the most hostile Aura had ever seen him. "Give me an hour and a block of wood and I can make something miles better than any citizen of the Capitol can make sitting in their bean bag chairs with their glasses of champagne. Here, we sweat for our living!" He pointed to Aura in his burst. "And they sweat for yours!"

    The last few words that had been spoken shut Ludwig up for a few moments. "... While that was a very passionate response, it was an entirely unnecessary one. The tributes from District 7 will be at the Capitol in one weeks time whether it's by your hand or not. The only thing that you have power over is whether or not be terminated."

    "I'd rather lose my job."

    "Termination by Snow's standards is more than your job."

    Quimby seemed more hesitant to this threat, but he remained adamant. "I'm not going to willingly forfeit my respect for my District. My District comes before my Nation."

    This was the side of Mayor Quimby that Aura loved. He was a very tough man. She was the only Mayor that she had ever known, but she had heard from reliable sources he was the best they'd ever had. She would often see him in town square tending the gardens and saying hello to all the passersby. If there were anyone that loved this District more than he did, she would be surprised.

    "I volunteer..." Aura whimpered, away from all of them. Her cry caught the attention of all three of them. Crispin shot a frown at her, Ludwig a grin, and Quimby simply looked confused.

    "You already volunteered..." Ludwig replied.

    Aura turned to Mayor Quimby. "It's very good of you to stick up for me, sir, but I have given into this. This... is my destiny. I know it."

    "This isn't your destiny, girl." He said. "You're too young. You have yet to get a job... get married... have kids. There are so many things in life that you have yet to do."

    "That's the same for every other girl. I have to take their place." She sighed. "I have to do this. Just give me your blessing and be done with it. You don't have to carry it like a burden."

    "I... I can't... It's wrong."

    "Mayor, look out there." Aura pointed into the courtyard in front of the Justice Building. There were people bustling about in their morning routines. "They need you as a Mayor more than I need you as a savior."

    "She makes a good point, Huck." Ludwig pitched in. Aura looked over to her uncle. The expression led her to believe the man was furious at him, yet the others wouldn't be able to tell. They hadn't known him as long... or as well.

    Quimby took a long sigh and eventually looked back at Aura. He nodded. "I wish it were that easy, Aura. You're just the female tribute... A completely separate issue from the male."

    As he spoke, there was a bit of commotion from across the town square. A mother holding her boy by the arm. He was kicking and screaming, but her mother managed to drag him all the way through the garden. As he grew closer, she saw he was crying as hard as he could, tears and snot covering his face. He couldn't have been more than twelve. "I don't want to go! Mommy!"

    "Shut the fuck up!" The woman was in her late fifties, and could no be described as the most attractive woman. More or less, she had the appearance of a hog.

    "Well this is interesting..." Crispin chuckled to himself.

    It only took a few moments before the woman threw the boy down in front of them. "Will you quit sobbing, you cunt?! You made that the worst hike of my life."

    "And you must be Mrs. Beckett." Ludwig smiled, approaching her to shake her hand.

    "Hi!" She waved her graying blonde hair out of her eyes and shook his hand. "Sorry about the mess. This boy would not quit fightin' me on the way over. Damn pussy..." She kicked him gently in the back while he sat there crying.

    "And your name is?"

    "Sam... Sam Beckett..." He coughed out through sobs.

    "Ah!" Ludwig smiled wide, revealing his yellowing teeth. None but Aura noticed the boy scooting back slightly from the man in fear. "You're going to have a lovely time, Sam. And I trust that will be all, ma'am."

    "Aye, it is." She replied, looking down on her son with disdain. "After his daddy died, he did nothing to help me with the house. He just sat around in the forest singing his damn songs all day." She took Sam by the jaw and jerked his head around to where their eyes stared straight into one another. "If you come back, you come back a man, got it?" As the boy nodded and she began to make her way back though the courtyard, Aura frowned. She couldn't believe this mother. The boy was only twelve...

    "Well, we have our tributes for the Twenty-fifth, wouldn't you say, Huck?" Ludwig asked, taking Aura and Sam's hands and raising them up beside him. The man stunk horribly and Aura tried to pull away, but his grip was too tight. "Look, I've done all the work for you. Here are your fucking tributes. Just say you've chosen and this will all go over hunky dory."

    Quimby looked back and forth from the tributes to the escort. "Just do it, Mayor. Get it over with." Crispin suggested.

    "...Fine." The man finally sighed, standing up. "But I would like to express my deep disdain for this action. The Capitol should at least grant us that."

    "Oh don't worry, sir." Ludwig smiled. "They will."

    "Now, if that's all," Crispin started. "I'd like to run on home now. I have two sweet little boys to take care of."

    "Of course you can, you." He laughed. "You've done your part. Don't be a stranger now! You and your family are one of my favorite parts of this District."

    "Thank you, Ludd." Crispin replied, tipping his invisible hat. "Can I speak to Aura for just a moment before you jet her off?"

    "I don't see why not!" Ludwig let go of Aura's arm and pushed her toward her uncle. "Just make it quick. We don't got all day."

    Aura walked down the steps in the direction Crispin led her. She knew she had disobeyed him, but she wasn't sure why he was so angry. Everything worked out in the end. "What the fuck was that, you bitch?" Crispin whispered to her, gripping her hard on the shoulder.

    She took her right hand and pushed his arm off of herself. "You don't own me, Crispin. You may think you do, but you don't."

    "Of course I don't own you. But I own your name." He pointed to himself. "Anything you do in the arena gets linked back to your family. You just downright fucked your chance of getting a good sponsor."

    "What?" She was confused. "How so? I'm still going into the Games whether I talked or not!"

    "The Mayor, Aura... The Mayor..."

    "What about the Mayor?"

    "He was the one who was going to give you sponsors from our people. Now you got nothing."

    She flailed her arms angrily. In what world was he living in that this was her fault? "I saved his life, Uncle Crispin. How does that not count for something?"

    "Did you?" He chuckled. "Did you?"


    "The way I see it, Quimby just expressed a refusal to a direct order from the Capitol. Whether or not it turned out alright doesn't matter. They know his true feelings now." Crispin began to put heat behind his words; more so than before. "You didn't save shit. And now, Ludwig saw you standing up for him: the traitor. That makes you a traitor too. And when the Mayor is gone, who is the one who has the most control over the District? Ludwig himself. You just fucked yourself over, Aura. Think before you talk."

    She wanted to yell back at him, but the more she thought about it, the more it made sense. She'd tried to save the Mayor's life and it had cost her her own... "Well... What do I do about it?"

    Crispin turned around and began to walk through the courtyard. "You better put on one hell of a show..."

    She watched her Uncle drift farther and farther away from her. She knew this was probably the last she would ever see him. While she was happy about that fact, she couldn't help but want to ask him one more thing. This would be her last chance. "Crispin!" She shouted, gathering his attention.

    "Yeah?" He asked, coming back.

    "Tell me the truth..." She couldn't find the strength to meet his gaze as she asked. She clutched the owl pendant close as she asked. "Did you... Kill my father?"

    "What?" He responded with shock. "Why would you think I would do that? I may have killed a lot of people in the past, but my own brother? Aura, you know me better..."

    "You didn't?" She continued. "Because for the last few days, you've almost seemed to physically get off on the idea of replacing him. It's..."

    "You really think I killed Rowan, don't you?" The look on his face was genuine for once. "I didn't fucking murder my own brother, Aura. And I'm offended you would even ask me that."

    "Well... That's good to hear." She sighed. "Now I'm back in the dark..."

    He turned around and walked slowly away from her, not taking a moment to look back. "Don't expect my fucking sponsor this year. May the odds be ever in your favor..."

    End of Chapter 19

  • Crispin is an asshole, but he sure knows his craft.

    60% of readers chose to [A. Accept Crispin's aid.] "Just get on with it..." Aura sighed, crossing her arms. "Oh I didn't need your p

  • God damn it... Aura was downright amazing in this part, the best she's ever been, but at the same time she definitely made her chances a lot worse. If Ludwig indeed refuses to sponsor her, then she's going to have a much harder time in the games. Hopefully Crispin is going to be wrong on that one. I mean, Ludwig is an asshole, but perhaps he is smart enough to realize that a victor for the district he is taking control of will be good for his own career as well. It is in his best interest if Aura wins.

    And Crispin... man, what a creepy fucker he is. I once more got some very bad vibes from him. He seemed to have some perverse joy of toying with Aura and I fear for the worst, not only for her, but for the boys as well. However, at the same time I fully believe him when he claims that he has nothing to do with Rowan's disappearance. For all his psychopathy, I don't think he is a liar. At times he may twist the truth a little bit, but this time he outright told her that he never murdered Rowan. In fact, if he was behind it, I would see it more likely for him to rub it in Aura's face, to further torment her. There's something else to Rowan's disappearance and I think Crispin is uninvolved with this.

    60% of readers chose to [A. Accept Crispin's aid.] "Just get on with it..." Aura sighed, crossing her arms. "Oh I didn't need your p

  • Yeah it's his one redeeming quality. If you count that as redeeming haha.

    TheLier posted: »

    Crispin is an asshole, but he sure knows his craft.

  • edited April 2016

    Yeah. It's tough to see what would come of that. There are a few flaws in Crispin's logic though, even if he presents them as foolproof. He wasn't taking her performance at the reaping into account. She impressed Ludwig with that one. Yet at the same time, she might have taken that away with what she did with Quimby. And as for Ludwig, yes it would be good for his job if he had a victor from his district, but not if he publicly endorsed an enemy of the Capitol. Aura isn't nearly that level, but you would see how Ludwig would start to be hesitant.

    God damn it... Aura was downright amazing in this part, the best she's ever been, but at the same time she definitely made her chances a lot

  • Oh I would like to add, technically all of this is just an alternate ending. The story actually ended with Chapter 17: Shit Gets Real.

    God damn it... Aura was downright amazing in this part, the best she's ever been, but at the same time she definitely made her chances a lot

  • edited April 2016

    "Don't expect my fucking sponsor this year. May the odds be ever in your favour..."

    Wow, what a complete asshole. I don't think he's lying about not killing Rowan though. As Liquid said, if he actually did kill him - I'd expect him to rub it in her face to further torment her. Hopefully she plays an angle during the interviews which could possibly win her a few sponsors. Argh, I just hope that if she dies, she goes quickly ;-; I love Aura's character and I'd hate to see her suffer D: I'm a crybaby when it comes to deaths of characters I'm so attached to ffs.

    Also, what the fuck is in that mothers head? The boys only twelve and she's forcefully sending him to an arena where death is almost promised. Bitch. I hope she suffers.

    60% of readers chose to [A. Accept Crispin's aid.] "Just get on with it..." Aura sighed, crossing her arms. "Oh I didn't need your p

  • Gosh, Crispin is such a dick. Now I hope that Aura wins, so that she can wipe the smugness off his face. Also because she is the only one that has a reason to beat him up. And he really needs a good beating. The things he says... I like the mayor though, its good to see that not every politician in Panem is corrupt. Hope he survives. Btw, one question about Ludwig: Is he a citizen of the capitol or a citizen of the District?

    60% of readers chose to [A. Accept Crispin's aid.] "Just get on with it..." Aura sighed, crossing her arms. "Oh I didn't need your p

  • Ludwig is a citizen of the Capitol. He's an escort like Effie.

    janitor posted: »

    Gosh, Crispin is such a dick. Now I hope that Aura wins, so that she can wipe the smugness off his face. Also because she is the only one th

  • Alright I got a long one for you guys this time... I couldn't find a time to stop writing lol.

    Chapter 20: The Scorch

    Saul Arrem

    The flame was low, yet it gave off a warm glow. Saul held it close to his chest. It was the only thing he felt like he knew in this District anymore. Fire was predictable. You fan it, and it grows taller. Leave it out for too long and it will slowly fade away until there is nothing left to burn. He wondered if these thoughts ran through Munrow's head when he burnt down the forest. Did he really know how to control it, or was he simply letting it spiral away from him like an animal? He wasn't sure whatever came of that fire in the valley. Like every other, it was probably smothered eventually in its own wake. He had to put these thoughts behind him now. There was little time.

    Saul flung through the town that he had grown up in like a whisper. In the dead of night, no one would spot him. Everyone had gone to sleep. In his absence last night, Mr. Munrow had accidentally left the hatch unlocked. It seemed very careless of his old master, but he didn't have much time to think about it. Every second that slipped by was one he was closer to his freedom.

    By the time Saul woke up from his forced slumber, night had already fallen, leaving an unfinished day of training behind. Yet Saul decided this was his last day of training. After what happened that morning, he decided he was done. The wound in his arm still hurt like fucking hell, but it was sealed up for the most part. He finished it off by ripping his shirt into bits of bandages. He's lost a lot of blood, but it was shut now, and he was still breathing. He hadn't had time to clean it.

    In the hand opposite the one holding his candle, Saul gripped his sword tightly. It hurt his arm to do so, but right now, he didn't care. It was his one protection against anything that may see him. Luckily, the lights around town were all off, but he didn't like being outside after curfew. That's when the bad people came out... At least that's how Ethel always put it.

    Peacekeepers began to stroll down the side of the street and Saul quickly pressed himself against the wall. He held his breath to not let any sound escape his lips. He knew where he was going. Just around the corner here and all the way down to Harbor Way... Then there was a long dirt path leading back to the apple orchard in which Munrow was keeping Peara. Tonight was the night. Tonight they would escape...

    Saul snuck out from behind the wall of the apothecary. The windows were all grated shut so that the "bad people" couldn't get in. Hopefully no one inside could hear him scuttling around out here just beyond their walls. He made his way around the northern side of the building and found another dark corner to hide from the patrolling officers as they passed by.

    Two Peacekeepers wandered dangerously close to where he was camping out. Both had their black visors over their faces so Saul couldn't make out who they were, but they both had their fingers gripping the batons at their side. While they appeared to be very cautious, their conversation suggested otherwise.

    "And there was this guy last night wandering around drunk-" Began the fat one with his belly protruding from his armor.

    The short one chuckled in response. "Oh no. Was it on Miracle Avenue?"

    "Miracle Avenue. You're exactly right." He sat on the steps of a building exactly opposite the one Saul was hiding behind. If he wasn't so heavily concealed by shadows, he would have been in plain daylight. He pressed himself as far into the corner as he could. "So this guy, long scraggly beard, came just waltzing down the side of the street. He had a bottle of liquor in his hand, not concealed or anything..."

    "No way... I would have killed to get something like that..."

    "Hey... Jerrem... Don't say stuff like that. You know our conversations are recorded."

    "Ah, I was only joking." Jerrem waved his arm away. "So what did you do about this son of a bitch?"

    "Actually, it was more like what he did..." He paused for a moment to take his baton out to gaze on it. "Before I even managed to pull this thing out he just started wailin'"

    "Bout what?"

    "The end..." He sighed emotionally. "I don't know what it was the end of, for god's sake, but he wouldn't stop yelling about how it's coming."

    "Get a hold of yourself, Gally." The short Peacekeeper took him by the shoulder, sitting down beside him. "Just a damn doomsayer. They're annoying but harmless."

    "I know, but I just started to think... What if he was right?"

    "Man he was drunk... Spouting out any sort of random shit he can just to get out of getting beat to hell." He made an active motion with a jerk of his arm. "It's like a bribe... Except he's got no money."

    "He said some real weird shit though, man. He kept saying we've reached a reckoning. This year will be the last, and he really wouldn't shut up about whatever some owl knows and doesn't know. I know it's probably just dog shit, but, I don't know... Something kind of got to me."

    From what he was describing, Saul knew of the man in the Peacekeeper's story. There was an old man named Len who hung around the road to the orchard all the time, begging for change. Saul had never seen him with any alcohol, but he guessed it was just because he was saving it for his midnight strolls into police custody. Saul never talked to him but for a few times. Most times he was a sensible and reasonable sort, but he did mention of the end more than once. All in all, he was a rather sweet old man. Saul hoped no harm had come to him.

    "Just forget it, man. Don't pay attention to any of that stuff. It's all a load of bullshit." Jerrem continued. "You ask me, it's just one more thing to take people's minds off the real world. Don't believe in doomsday. Believe in this." He held up the baton in front of his friend.

    They continued conversing for a while, and Saul had no choice but to remain in the corner. It didn't take long before there was a small streak of orange falling from the sky and a small tabby cat emerged in front of him. It began to walk around in circles before pausing to peer upon Saul's hiding place, as if it was doubtful of something.

    It stepped up to Saul and began to poke him in the foot gently with its paw. It let out a soft meow and quickly caught the attention of the guards. Saul closed his eyes, just hoping somehow they wouldn't notice him. The longer he sat there and the more jabs he was given by the cat, the closer he felt he was to being caught.

    A few more jabs passed by and the cat jumped up onto Saul's arm. Unfortunately, it was the one he'd hastily wrapped in scraps of his own shirt. Whoever's cat this was really needed to get their claws trimmed. Saul fought back the pain as hard as he could. Tears welled in his eyes, yet he knew he couldn't make a sound.

    "You ever seen something like that?" Jerrem asked in amusement. "Cats do some of the strangest things..."

    "Probably just a dead bird or something." Gally responded. "As I've learned, it's best not to try and understand animals. You're never going to go anywhere but backwards."

    Saul lifted his foot up as carefully as he could and nudged the cat slightly, knocking it off his arm. It jumped away with shock and stared him down relentlessly with its giant green eyes. It's gaze was felt hot on him, and he knew the pair of Peacekeepers were doing the same. Saul opened one eye and saw the skinny one removing his visor to get a better view into the darkness.

    The cat meowed at him and he held his breath, making sure to make as little sound as possible. But eventually, the larger Peacekeeper grew tired of watching the scene. "Ah fuck this." He took out the baton at his side and heaved it toward the cat's general direction. It didn't hit the cat, yet frightened it enough to scare it off. The baton passed by and struck Saul in the arm next to his wound, causing him a great deal of pain. It was very difficult to remain silent when every fiber of him wanted to scream in pain.

    "Dude, don't hurt the cat." Jerrem smacked his friend on the shoulder. "It didn't do nothing to you."

    "It was acting bloody weird." Gally responded. He stood up and gradually began to walk towards Saul. Every step the man took was another knot he felt in his stomach. While he was thoroughly covered by the shadow of the corner of the wall, there was no way Gally wouldn't see him as he picked up his baton. It was resting only a few feet in front of him...

    And finally the moment came where the Peacekeeper bent down to pick up his baton and noticed Saul's foot protruding slightly from the shadow. "What the hell?" Gally reached over and grabbed Saul by the shoulder and pulled him out into what little light there was left in the night. "Who the fuck are you? You know it's after curfew right?"

    "Yes..." Saul choked through the dust. "I was just making my way home."

    "That's illegal, boy." Jerrem suggested. "I could beat your ass right here if I wanted to."

    Gally shook his head. "I'm going to have to write you up. What's your name?"

    Saul used his better arm to prop himself up into a sitting position. "Saul Arrem..." He uttered. "I wasn't trying to do anything wrong. I was just making my way to my sister..."

    "Arrem?" Jerrem scoffed. "That the name of that orphan girl who can't decide what color she is?"

    "...Yeah..." Saul sighed, holding back his resentment towards the comment. "She's my sister."

    "Well then, We're two lucky sons of bitches, ain't we Gally!" The skinny Peacekeeper laughed, turning back to Saul. "You know how much ruckus your sister causes down at the station? I've been to the scene of at least three fights that started 'cause of her. She's practically famous here... They call her the gray devil." Saul winced at hearing his sister called that name. He'd never heard it before, but he know he never wanted to hear it again.

    "Yeah...lucky." Gally turned on a small flashlight mounted on his helmet, and placed a pad of paper on his knee to write with. "Going to your sister, you say? You live in town?"

    "No... We live just outside of the town limits, near the apple orchard." Saul said. "You know it?"

    "Oh yeah." He responded. "I pick up apples from his shop every day. Good guy, that Munrow. You know him?"

    "More than I'd like..."

    He shined his light onto Saul and looked him up and down. His eyes settled upon the bloodied bandage on Saul's shoulder. "You're hurt, boy." He told him. "That doesn't look like any form of treatment you'll get down at the sick bay. What happened to you?"

    "I did something stupid... Got a nasty scar for it." Saul didn't want to tell the Peacekeeper any more. He just wanted to be done with this and get home.

    "Well, I'll just have to escort you on down to the jail where you'll spend-" Gally looked back at him, shining the flashlight in his direction. This time, Saul's katana caught a glimmer in the light and he jumped back, wielding his baton. "He's got a weapon!" Saul figured there wasn't any way around this now except through them. He gripped his sword in his hand and stood up swiftly. "Drop it!"

    He found it strange neither of them had drawn a gun. Perhaps they weren't high enough on the chain yet to get access to a gun. There were few things in Panem that were rarer than food. Guns were some of those things. Even the Peacekeeping force didn't have complete access. Jerrem drew his baton as well and came forward toward Saul.

    Even though he'd only trained for a few days, Saul was used to the agility and complexity of Munrow's strikes that the Peacekeeper's lunge at him seemed very clumsy. He was easily able to block the blow in one strike, even with one arm gone. The force from his parry offset Gally's footing for a moment and Saul used it to swing his sword toward one of the chinks in his armor near his gut. It pierced through the fabric easily and blood spilled out, knocking the man to the ground.

    Saul didn't have any time to reflect on the pain he'd just inflicted. He only had one thought in mind: Peara. So it was not very long that he shot glances between the man bleeding on the ground and the other Peacekeeper looking on him in shock before he took off in silence running through the city square. He was no longer concerned with stealth. He knew the way home...

    He sprinted through the town as quickly as possible and eventually came onto the dirt path that led down to the apple orchard where Munrow was holding Peara. He didn't know whether anyone had seen him or not, but he was sure Jerrem had called backup on him. The thought only made his run swifter.

    He held his sword at his side, carefully making sure it didn't slip and hit him accidentally. His wounded arm hung at his side, swinging in the air. It hurt much less when he wasn't putting any weight on it, so he let it hang there. He needed to focus all his effort into getting Peara back.

    But at last he managed upon Munrow's store and slowed down. He was sure people were out looking for him, and he was sure that Munrow was one of them. He'd put too much time and effort into making them into the District's tributes. Saul almost felt bad for him, knowing tonight was the night they would escape.

    Saul pushed open the wooden door slowly and steadily making sure it didn't make any noises. However, it fought very hard with him and creaked very loudly once. Saul cringed and held it still for a moment, just waiting for Munrow to appear to him and call the whole thing off. Fortunately, nothing of the sort came to pass. He was still in the clear.

    The shop was very dimly lit, but he'd been here so often that he knew where everything was: the board that creaked every time you stepped on it... The correct way to turn the handle of the gate so it wouldn't make any noise... He even knew to use the left door to the back room instead of the right, since the latter led through an old restroom.

    When he finally made his way into the back room, it wasn't how he remembered it. Nothing was where it used it be. The table and chairs were removed. The light fixture had been ripped from the ceiling. The room was now a shell with nothing more than four walls. That didn't matter though, because sitting in the corner, was his sister sleeping silently.

    Peara was hunched against the wall, holding her legs between her arms. The clothes she had been wearing the last time they'd spoken had been replaced with a large sack he used to hold the apples. It barely covered enough to be considered clothing. Saul stepped closer to her, and saw a white bandage with stains of red between her neck and her shoulder... in the same place he'd slashed Munrow... That bastard... Even with as little light as there was in the room, Saul could see the streaks down her cheek where she had been crying. He'd seen her like this once too many times... He missed the days when they could just be themselves at the orphanage. No one made fun of Peara for the color of her skin. No one beat up Saul for defending her. It was a much nicer time to be around back then.

    Saul knelt down to his sister and wiggled her knee lightly to wake her up. "Peara..." He whispered. "We gotta go. Come on." After a few more attempts at ending her slumber, she finally came to. She jumped immediately, startled by Saul's touch. She twisted her head to the side and saw her brother. She opened her mouth and started to scream before she had a chance to see who it was. Saul quickly placed his hand over her mouth and muffled the scream. "Peara... It's me. We need to get out of here now."

    "Saul?" She croaked lightly before bursting into tears and wrapping her arms tightly around her brother. "I missed you... Mr. Munrow is so mean."

    "I know." He replied. "You're hurt. What happened?"

    "He said that whatever happened to him would happen to me... He cut me, Saul."

    A jolt of anger shot through his system. He'd already been dealt a punishment for that: the wound on his arm, and now Mr. Munrow had the gall to further it on his sister? She didn't do anything wrong. "Well... Come on." He told her, using his free hand to lift her onto her feet. "We're getting away from him."

    "Where are we going?"

    Saul sighed. "A place I used to know... We'll be safe there. Come on."

    He led his sister through the empty room towards the kitchen, and then towards the back door. He was shocked to find no trace of Munrow anywhere, but he wasn't complaining. It was making their escape so much easier. He stepped out the back door and closed it softly behind them after Peara had stepped out into the night. Saul turned toward the orchard. Although the trees were lined up perfectly in rows and one could easily get lost in their ranks, he knew exactly the way to go. Just on the other side of them was their freedom...

    He noticed his shadow grow much taller and peered back toward the cottage behind them. There was the gleaming light of flashlights encompassing the building like an aura. There were angry shouts from the other side about tearing the whole place to the ground being issued from the other side of it and Saul knew they only had a matter of time. He took Peara's shoulder and spun her around. "Come on, and stay close to me."

    The girl didn't respond. She was scared but she wasn't stupid. They both knew that there was only one chance to get out of all this, and it was now. He sprinted through the trees of the orchard as fast as he could and Peara followed closely behind, her baggy clothing flopping around noisily. He darted around the tree with the large branch near its stump... east fourteen trees... north twenty-two... Here it was. There was a tree whose branches were essentially a staircase to the canopy. He'd been here so often that he only took a few seconds to scale them. Peara though, had never been here before. This was always the place where'd he spent time away from everyone, including his sister. But now... it seemed like a place where he would escape from even more.

    Peara climbed the first two branches fine, as they were closer to the ground. She had trouble leaping onto the third and fell back down to the ground. She screamed in pain and began crying. Saul instantly rushed down to help her. "Are you okay?" He spoke softly, kneeling to meet her on the ground. "...Be careful. You have to keep your voice down."

    "My leg hurts..." She cried. "I think I twisted my ankle."

    "Can you walk?" Saul felt the place on her leg with his fingers and saw a large bruise.

    "I can walk..." She said. "But I don't think I'll be able to climb."

    Saul bit his lip for a moment. They didn't have much time left. Mr. Munrow or a few of the Peacekeepers could spot them at any moment. "...Fuck it." He said. He took the sword at his waist and impaled it into the ground so it stood upright. He would miss it, but there was no way he could go on and take it with him. Peara was more important to him than anything at this point. He put his stronger hand behind her back and the wounded one below her knees and lifted her into the air. It caused him unimaginable strain, but he fought through it. If he was going to have a broken arm, he wanted to have one on the other side of the fence.

    He carried her to the tree he scaled to reach the branches and stepped onto the stairs one by one, being careful not to slip, nor to hold her in a way that would cause his arm to collapse. When he reached the third step, he bent down and vaulted his way up. He almost fell backwards with the weight of his sister, but caught himself with his back on one of the thinner branches. The force knocked a few apples from their home and onto the ground below. He looked back for a moment and saw his sword there. He wanted to take it with him, but there was nothing to be done.

    He eventually managed to make his way to the canopy

  • Damn, it's another one of those two parter chapters.

    He eventually managed to make his way to the canopy of the trees and started to walk freely through the sort of hallway he had fixed himself over the years. This was the only place in the entire orchard where he could easily walk around amongst the canopy, since the branches were so tightly woven. "Where are we going?" Peara asked him.

    "Don't worry about it right now." Saul grunted while he passed over the stump that he remembered from his childhood. Painful memories started to wash back, but he repressed them. Now was not the time to remember. Now was the time to move forward.

    "We're going to be killed aren't we?"

    "Not if I can help it." There was the oak with the bent trunk... He wished he had a place to sit now. The strain of carrying his sister was already making his arms grow weary.

    "Saul... Why don't we just go to the games? Is it really worth it to run away like this."

    "Why would you ever want to go to the Hunger Games?" He asked. As he stepped further, he noticed the conjoined trees below him, making a bit more of the pathway ahead. "They're a terrible thing. No one should ever have to feel that pain."

    Peara sighed in his arms. "I may die out here... I may die in the games... I don't want to, but I know it's going to happen. Everyone keeps telling me that."

    "You're not going to die."

    "But then you'll die instead!" She cried. "One of us has to die. It's what happens in the Games."

    "Neither of us are going to die. We're going to be safe. We're going to get out of here." Saul said with a certain determination in his head.

    "I want to go there because... if I'm going to die, I at least want to go in a way that people will remember. I can handle death. What I can't handle is being forgotten."

    What she told him made Saul stop for a moment. He looked his sister in the eyes. "I would never forget you. You are the only person I care about, you understand."

    "...Yes." She sighed, lying her head against her brother's shoulder.

    Saul passed the largest tree in the orchard again, the one that marked the boundary between the orchard and the forest behind it. It also marked a boundary in himself. He spent a few moments remembering the first time he'd become a murderer before continuing on his way.

    "You're hurt too..." Peara said, noticing the bandage around Saul's shoulder.

    "I'm dealing with it." He lied. The pain in his shoulder was excruciating right now. Whatever strength he wasn't using to navigate the branches ahead he was using to keep himself from crying in pain. Every time he felt the urge to give it up, he just cursed Munrow's name and carried on. This was all his fault. This was all his fault...

    "Saul..." Peara spoke softly. He didn't answer. "Saul... look at me..." Saul ignored her, instead looking down towards the last tree on the path. It was the one where she had taken herself from him. He missed her so much, and he wasn't about to let the same thing happen to his sister. "Saul!"

    The last call for his attention finally earned it. Peara was in tears. The sight finally broke him in and he felt the tears flowing to his eyes too. He set her down near the trunk of one tree and sat down himself near the trunk of another. He knew he wasn't the cause of any of this, yet seeing his sister in this kind of stress made him feel somewhat responsible. It was as if he had put that cut into her neck himself...

    "Where are we going?" She asked through the tears.

    "...The Scorch." He spoke. "It's where I used to spend all my time, before Munrow took that from me too. They burnt it to the ground, Peara."

    "Why would they do that?" She asked.

    "So they would name him a hero of the District... So that he would have a reason to name me a traitor."

    Peara looked down towards the tree where Beth hung herself and although she didn't have anything to do with the experience, Saul could tell that she felt something about it too. "We have to go back..." She said.

    "No." Saul replied. "We can't go back. We've come this far."

    The lights from the flashlights started to spill into the darkness beneath them. "That's his sword!" He heard Munrow bark to the Peacekeepers. "He's around here somewhere." It was only a matter of time now.

    "Yes... Saul, we have to go back." She said. "I know you think you know where you're going, but you don't. You just want to get away... I just want to go home."

    "We'll find a new home."

    "We won't!" She shouted through the tears. Saul knew at least a few of the guards would have heard that. He tried to quiet her down but it was too late. "It's over! We're done! It isn't worth it!"

    "It is worth it!" He shouted back at her. The tears were now flowing down his face as well. "It's the only chance we have and we have to take it!"

    Peara didn't respond. She just stared at her brother, knowing the decision was up to him. He knew it too. As hard as she wanted him to stop, Saul knew that getting out of the District was the best thing for her, but she just couldn't see it yet. Sure, maybe he didn't know where he was going after he got there, but any place had to be better than the Hunger Games, right?

    He peered to his right, and saw the light at the end of the tunnel. They were so close, he could even make out the sunrise gently lifting off the horizon. Beyond that tree laid the wastelands that was once his second home. The freedom was so close he could almost taste it, but now he wasn't sure whether the taste was sweet or more bitter... There was only one way to tell.

  • YESS! Finally, a new chapter! The wait kills me sometimes. I'll read and vote in a bit though - quite busy right now :D

    Damn, it's another one of those two parter chapters. He eventually managed to make his way to the canopy of the trees and started to wa

  • Lol sorry. I try to pump them out as fast as I can, but sometimes I don't have the time. This last one took a few sessions to write.

    TWD_stan posted: »

    YESS! Finally, a new chapter! The wait kills me sometimes. I'll read and vote in a bit though - quite busy right now

  • Another chapter sher gut!

    Damn, it's another one of those two parter chapters. He eventually managed to make his way to the canopy of the trees and started to wa

  • Omfg? Holy shit. This has to be one of the best chapters yet - the intensity levels were so high. I choose to turn back, there's no escaping the Games. It's better to turn back and just give in, maybe they wouldn't give as much of a harsh punishment. I hope. D:

    Also, Peara's cute af pls make it far ;-;

    Damn, it's another one of those two parter chapters. He eventually managed to make his way to the canopy of the trees and started to wa

  • Oh, Munrow is such a fucker. Like, with every part he gets lower and lower in my opinion and I'm surprised that this is even still possible. He reached a new low with this part. Usually, I'd say Saul should cut this bastard's balls off, but I'm afraid that's impossible, for he doesn't have any. Like, seriously, who targets a young girl like this? That's not pragmatism, like he previously claimed, that's plain sadism and I'm glad I wasn't buying the crap story he told Saul in his last chapter. With the revelation of this chapter, Munrow elevated himself to Snow levels of evilness. Hopefully he's going to have a really horrible death.

    That is one of the reasons why I chose to run. If they get away, maybe just for a few days before they get found, Munrow might be in serious trouble with the other bastards he conspired with, perhaps even with the capitol itself, considering that Saul and Peara escaping might result in the capitol looking bad for loosing two of its tributes. We all know how much Snow hates this kind of failure, so perhaps he's going to be pretty damn pissed. This in turn might result in the horrible fate I wish for Munrow. Also, and more importantly, running makes more sense for Saul as a character, I think. He doesn't want his sister to be in the games and I doubt he wants to be in the games either. Naturally, they will fail, this is a foregone conclusion. That does not mean he shouldn't try it. Just admitting defeat is no option for me.

    Damn, it's another one of those two parter chapters. He eventually managed to make his way to the canopy of the trees and started to wa

  • Yeah, I sent this to a couple of my friends and one of them said "this is the longest and most intense piece of exposition ever written."

    TWD_stan posted: »

    Omfg? Holy shit. This has to be one of the best chapters yet - the intensity levels were so high. I choose to turn back, there's no escaping

  • Yeah I meant for you guys to hate him but Snow levels of hatred? I'm honored XD

    Oh, Munrow is such a fucker. Like, with every part he gets lower and lower in my opinion and I'm surprised that this is even still possible.

  • 75% of readers chose to [A. Run.]

    Saul bit his lip and summoned the strength to stand. Their freedom was right there beyond his fingertips. It was theirs for the taking. If they didn't try for it now, they would be sent to the games, and even if one of them managed to win, they would be a slave to the Capitol and to Snow for the rest of their lives. This was their only shot.

    "I'm sorry, Peara, but we have to do this." He said, focusing on the end of the tunnel. "We're going."

    "We can't!" She cried, standing up beside him. "We don't have anywhere to go!"

    "Sh!" Saul replied, putting his finger up to his sister's lips. The lights were growing closer, and he could make out three Peacekeepers armed with rifles. The scouted around the area and one of them almost passed directly under the place where the two of them were hiding. The only reason why they hadn't been caught yet was their altitude.

    "What are they going to do when they catch us?" Peara whispered after the guards were all out of earshot.

    Saul shook his head promptly. "They're not going to find us." He pointed toward the area where Munrow had torched the ground. "We're here... We're so close."

    Saul once again strained to lift his sister into the air, despite his arm hurting like hell. He began to walk through the trees again. He leapt from branch to branch, being careful only to step on ones he knew were sturdy enough to support both their weights. The light at the end of the tunnel drew ever closer.

    "Where are we going to go?" Peara asked him. "Once we get away."

    "I haven't thought that far ahead. We'll find somewhere. Maybe we'll join another District." He sighed. "Anything is going to be better than staying in Eleven. The other Districts are full of people with skin like you. You'll be more accepted there. You're the same as they are."

    "But then they'll hate you instead..." She replied.

    Saul didn't respond, he only moved forward. "I can take it."

    They reached the edge of the forest. It hadn't been the edge until that day a week ago. The forest used to cover this valley like a blanket of green. In the autumn, he would often come out here with nothing else to keep himself busy than to watch the flow of the glistening red and brown leaves. Now, those trees have been replaced with stumps and logs and fallen branches. Everything was burnt to a crisp. "What happened here?" Peara asked.

    "Don't worry about it." Saul replied, gazing out upon the world that used to be his home once more before he set Peara down on her feet. "Do you think you can take the drop to the ground?"

    "I'll fall and hurt myself like before!"

    "No, you won't." He assured her. "Aim for that pile of dead leaves there, and tuck and roll when you hit the ground. It makes the ground take the fall for you."

    "...Okay." She replied. She turned and gazed down toward the scorched earth. In actuality, it wasn't that far to the ground; maybe one story. It was about the same as if Saul would have jumped from the roof of the cottage. It was a bit of a drop, but nothing he couldn't walk off. Peara, however, was having more trouble. She kept swinging her arms in preparation for the leap, but couldn't quite find the courage to make it. "I can't do it."

    "Yes, you can. You have to. Here I'll jump down first." Saul took a step back and leapt forward into the open. The fall didn't take long. He'd fallen from a lot higher than this before and walked away. Of course, he was a climber. When he hit the ground, he diverted the energy by somersaulting into the brush. It caused a small amount of pain in his torso, and more so in his wounded arm, but he stood up and peered back up to his sister at the top of the tree. "Now jump. I'll catch you."

    "But your arm!" She called down.

    "My arm will be fine!" He shouted back. "Just jump! We don't have much time!"

    "...Okay..." She sighed. She backed up just out of the range of Saul's vision. He lifted his arms up to catch her, but a few moments passed by, and she still hadn't jumped. Maybe she hadn't felt comfortable with it yet. Now was not the time to get cold feet.

    "Peara?!" Saul called back up, expecting a reply. One didn't come. He shot a look around at the rotten landscape behind him. Although everything in the valley was dead, navigating it would still be a better fate than ending up in the hands on the Capitol. He gazed upon the ground. Oddly enough, instead of burnt trunks protruding from the ground, there was nothing. There wasn't anything to show for the burnings in a certain patch of the forest. Saul was almost certain there was no clearing there, yet the tree trunks weren't burnt. They were gone.

    He only had a moment to ponder this before his attention was redirected to the treeline. He almost jumped backwards. Instead of Peara standing atop the tree, there was Mr. Munrow, staring angrily down at him. "Munrow! What the fuck?!" Saul shouted at him. There wasn't much room for a reply before a Peacekeeper appeared behind him, holding Peara hostage in his arms. She was kicking as hard as she could to get away, but it was no use. Another Peacekeeper stepped up behind Munrow and clicked a switch on his visor to make it retract into his helmet so Saul could see his face. He saw the face of Jerrem from the town glaring back down at him. This time he was armed with a rifle.

    "Let her go!" Saul shouted, yet he knew it was no use. He knew they had been caught, but he didn't want to give up his hope yet. He didn't want to give up his freedom. "Goddamnit, Munrow! I said let her go!"

    Mr. Munrow's lips curled into a slight smile before saying, "The Hawk will reap its prey."

    Jerrem the Peacekeeper lifted his rifle into the air and aimed it at Saul. He turned and started to flee, yet there wasn't enough time. The gun fired without warning, and he was struck in the abdomen with what felt like fire tearing through his flesh. He collided with the ground after he felt the full force of the pain and screamed in ferocious agony. He heard the thuds of the Peacekeepers landing on the ground behind him. The came to him and grabbed by the arms and started dragging him back towards the forest. He tried to gaze back to see the faces of his attackers. He wanted deeply to look them in the eye and show them what they had done to him, but he couldn't bring himself to. He felt his consciousness gradually start to slip away. He felt the freedom he had rightly earned roll away from him like sand through his fingertips. And finally he accepted the truth. They had lost. The Capitol had won.

    And then everything went black.

    End of Chapter 20

  • F- me. That is intense.

    75% of readers chose to [A. Run.] Saul bit his lip and summoned the strength to stand. Their freedom was right there beyond his fingert

  • :D

    TheLier posted: »

    F- me. That is intense.

  • edited April 2016


    Hey guys, I don't know if you noticed, but I have discontinued my other story, The Vigilant Sky, for reasons I have stated over there. So the story I will be replacing it with is called The Drift. It will have the format of a TV show, with scheduled episodes every 2 weeks, and each of those episodes will have five contained parts, scheduled for certain times during the weekend that it "airs." I think the problem with my last story not stirring up enough interest is that it didn't have a character submission, so this one will have one. I will be waiting a while before actually putting it up, because it seems kind of awkward starting a new one so close to starting my last one, but I wanted to tell you guys because I know you'd to know. I will probably be starting it after Book 1 of the Hunger Games concludes in several chapters.

  • Sounds cool! I'd like to read it.

    Also, sorry that I haven't been around recently. I must've unfollowed this on accident. :/

    UPDATE: Hey guys, I don't know if you noticed, but I have discontinued my other story, The Vigilant Sky, for reasons I have stated over t

  • Ah that's fine. It happens sometimes.

    mr.quality posted: »

    Sounds cool! I'd like to read it. Also, sorry that I haven't been around recently. I must've unfollowed this on accident.

  • Hey guys! Alright, here it is, the link to my next story, The Drift. I was going to wait until after Book 1 was over to put it out, but then I realized that we would have to wait longer after that, because I can't truly start planning the course of the Book until I have all the characters. So, if you'd like, here's the link. I strongly urge you all to go check it out.

  • Chapter 21: A Matter of Luck

    Theoram Warrik

    Renald Warrik. Theo's father was a hard man, yet he had a very honorable code. He knew he was lucky if he even came close to the man his father was. Before he gave his life during the Dark Days, every day he was a beacon of morality. If there was one thing Theo learned from the man, it was the difference between right and wrong.

    Theo sometimes doubted whether there was ever a time where people didn't kill each other for sport. And with so few of them left, he was bewildered at the Capitol's amazing disrespect for life. He understood that sometimes it was necessary to inflict punishment on the guilty, but this... The Hunger Games was punishment on the innocent.

    "Theo, it's like you're in another world." Everra smiled at him from across the table. Her flowing blue hair glistened in the early morning sunlight. "You've been staring into the distance for a couple minutes now. It's not like I don't love Dorian's input, but you haven't spoken since we exchanged pleasantries."

    "Hey!" Dorian shook his head, sitting back in his seat and pulling his dark red jacket over his suit of bronze. "The old-timer probably has enough to think about right now, eh?"

    "Just... Remembering someone." Theo replied, staring back off into the space between the two of them.

    "Isn't any use thinking about the past, man." He responded, staring down at the metropolis below their balcony. "There's nothing back there but failed memories and bullshit."

    "Leave him be." Everra smacked him on the arm, and he chuckled in response. "So, you're the new guy, huh? It's not often we get someone as experienced as yourself."

    "It's been a long road, getting where I am now." Theo replied.

    Everra and Dorian were two of the other Gamemakers on the panel, and before today, Theo had never met them. Roman had called him up earlier that day to tell him that the scouting team had concluded its mission and he would be throwing a party upon arrival. He invited three of his closest friends and one of them happened to be Theo. He found it strange, all of them showed up, yet Roman was late to his own invitation.

    "I know I'm not supposed to ask, but how's the arena looking?" Dorian asked the woman across the table from him. The man was young and inexperienced. He was only out of university and had shared certain classes with Lynona. She often told stories of his being an annoyance and his disruptions. Theo could tell from looking at him, he wasn't the most forward-thinking individual. He was wearing an extravagant lace bow tie and his ponytail was pulled around his forehead. It was the latest fashion trend according to Rhetora. It was almost laughable. Yet, even with how he appeared, he still looked at Theo with his monocle and his limp as if he was the strange one.

    "You're right. You're not supposed to ask." Everra told him, shaking her head. She was an older woman, around the age of Rhetora. She had died her hair bright blue to keep it from graying too far, yet it still shined through clear as day. Her sunglasses looked very expensive and wrapped around her entire head. Roman had told Theo she was the longest running Gamemaker there was. She had done work on the Eighth Annual Hunger Games, so if anyone had a question, they went to her. "You'll see the arena when it's time to get to work on it. We each have our part to play. This is not yours. Theo, what is your job?"

    "I am running the sponsor drones."

    "Ah." She smiled. "It's a small job, but an important one."

    "Too bad you don't have much time left to fill it." Dorian chuckled to himself. Perhaps he had hoped Theo's hearing had already started to go, since he lacked a certain perception of age. Theo was barely halfway through life expectancy.

    "Son, don't talk disrespect to me." Theo told him, placing his hands on his cane. "I had already shot and killed a man before you were even born."

    "I bet you don't even know when I was born." He replied in a snarky manor.

    "No, but I know when I was."

    "Oh my God..." Everra giggled. "You two are like a couple of schoolboys. Play nice." Dorian shot him an annoyed look, and it was returned. "Where is our host? How is the Head Gamemaker this unorganized?"

    "And I suppose you assume to take his place?" Dorian asked her.

    She looked embarrassed. She hadn't expected the question to come up in conversation and was taken by shock when it did. "Well..." She sighed. "I have been around a lot longer than he has..."

    "Your seniority isn't what makes you a good Gamemaker, Everra." Dorian told her. "Your ideas and creativity is what does that. What do you bring to the table except remarkable organizational skills?"

    She became visibly hurt after this statement. "I can come up with arenas too." She responded. "A handful of summers ago I wrote up a detailed report of my design for one that took place around an old warehouse in District Two. It didn't get used, but I received praise from Head Gamemaker Grimwald at the time. Sure maybe Roman is pretty good at his job... I don't think I'd be a bad replacement."

    "Ever think he could have just been lying?" Dorian shook his head menacingly. "I took a look your blueprints; it was sloppy. Stairwells gave the tributes too much height advantage. There were too many clearings. You ever tried to block a speeding arrow with just good will alone?"

    "It was better than the desert." She replied defensively.

    "There is one reason why Roman is Head Gamemaker." Theo spoke up, twiddling with his cane beside the table. "It's a quality which most lack... vision."

    "Funny coming from the guy with a monocle..." Dorian scoffed.

    Theo ignored his comment. "When you read a good novel, what is important? The setting, or the story?"

    Dorian chuckled, and Theo instantly knew he was not a man of literature. Everra responded for him. "The story..." She sounded hesitant, as if she knew where the argument was going.

    "Exactly." Theo continued. "You aren't going to focus so much on the place things happen, but instead on what is happening there. The Games are just like a novel. You have a beginning, a middle and an end. The characters-or in this case, the tributes-are going to make that setting come alive. A simple meadow is now a place of peace and serenity... A flowing creek is a reminder of home. You see, Roman doesn't care about whether or not the forest is tropical or deciduous. Roman cares about the tributes, and the audience follows suit. The arena is nothing more than a setting..."

    There was a moment of silence after Theo finished telling them this. He could tell that Dorian was looking desperately for a snarky comment to fling at it, but couldn't find one. The same could be said of Everra. They did not know their boss better than his best friend did.

    "Well... regardless... I still think the warehouse was a poor choice of scenery." Dorian said.

    "Piss off..." Everra mumbled in response.

    Fifteen minutes passed that afternoon, and Roman still hadn't shown up to his own gathering. Dorian had grown more annoyed, and even Everra was budging in her seat. They started to wonder whether or not he was coming, and Dorian started to ask them if he could leave. Both Theo and Everra responded no. Maybe he was having trouble on the rails...

    Theo hadn't seen Roman for three months. It was slightly longer than his previous trips out into the Districts to find his arena, but with how he described it the last time they met, this one would be bigger than any before. Theo hoped he didn't change the rules too far, even if the idea was given by President Snow himself. He knew the two of them were closer than most were to the president, but coming from the man who executed his father's general in cold blood, Roman definitely had stones to cross his path.

    "So I trust you received your honorary audience with President Snow?" Everra asked, turning her head in his direction. She lifted a finger and knocked a strand of blue hair from her eye. "Everyone gets one."

    "I did." Theo replied. "He cannot be called the friendliest of men."

    "Very few men are worthy of that title." She said. "Did he give you the speech about the city from his balcony? He asked you if you approved of his nation? What did you say?"

    "I said yes like any sane person." Theo answered plainly. He smiled inwardly when he continued. "You would have to be mad to stand up to the Capitol and its way of life, even if its policies are cruel and wrong..."

    Dorian sighed. "So you're mad then. You just admitted your guilt. The Capitol's rules are not to be spoken against, Theo. They aren't cruel, they are humane, and you should recognize that."

    Theo smiled and shot him a look of defiance. He knew this was a conversation he couldn't lose. "Well, I suppose it was a slip of the tongue then..."

    "You can't just-"

    Before Dorian could finish his sentence, there was a large crash from above, with the sound of glass shattering. In an instant, Everra looked up and screeched like a hawk. Theo didn't have a time to see what had happened before a body suited in black came tumbling down into view. It collapsed just behind Dorian's seat and Theo didn't have to examine it for long before recognizing to whom it belonged.

    It was Roman.

    Shards of glass were littered around the spot where he had fallen. Theo instantly stood up and observed the situation, trying too hard not to panic. "Oh my God!" Dorian began to shout. "Oh my God! What the fuck?!" He peered back towards the window that Roman had fallen from and saw it was only a story above the table.

    "Roman... Roman...!" Theo whispered at him. There was no answer...

    "What are we gonna do?!" Everra was panicking too, fanning her face with her hands. "Is he dead? Oh my God, is he dead?!"

    "Get him up, Theo!" Dorian shouted at him. "Do something!" Theo looked down at Roman's body, running over it for wounds, yet he couldn't find any. It didn't mean anything because they could be internal... He shot a gaze back to the window that his friend had fallen from. He must have been pushed. "What do I do?!" Dorian was repeating at him over and over. "Oh shit! This is like nothing I've ever seen before!"

    "Boy, shut the hell up!" Theo shouted back at him. Clearly, he was the only one of the three of them who knew how to take charge. There were more important things here than screaming and panic. If they had just witnessed an attempted murder, he couldn't be the only one with any sense.

  • Good as always. Plot is getting thicker, closer we get to the Games.

    Chapter 21: A Matter of Luck Theoram Warrik Renald Warrik. Theo's father was a hard man, yet he had a very honorable code. He knew he

Sign in to comment in this discussion.