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



  • Hm, I don't know what's going on there. I've sent him a message a few days ago but haven't received an answer, which kind of baffles me. I honestly can't imagine him to just ignore us without any reason, so maybe he unfollowed and simply doesn't check his feed, for some reason. It's a very odd thing though and I still hope to hear from him.

    I think he hates us. Thinks we're not good enough for him. Right, @TWD_stan ?

  • I swear you get more creative with these insults all the time haha.

    What can I say, Penn inspires me :D

    You thought Saul would join the Hawk? Munrow had clearly taken the Hawk's side and Saul didn't care for him too much. Saul would probably look for any opportunity to oppose the Hawk.

    Yes of course, not as a willing agent, but as far as I'm concerned, few of the tributes actually know that there's more than one guy pulling the strings behind the scenes. So far, Saul only had contact to agents of the Hawk, through Munrow, so I expected him to reluctantly work for the Hawk because he had no knowledge of the alternatives, perhaps seeing it as the only chance to save Peara's life. I haven't considered the option of Theo contacting him, but I am very relieved by this.

    You know I actually planned to have that line from someone else's perspective, viewing Penn from a distance. I'm starting to think the name "Penn" is a trigger word for you now. Ever watched Penn and Teller?

    Did you just say... Penn?

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    Well I thought it would kind of be implied that Chapter 27 as the words "I Am Nothing" have been very important in all his chapters. Everyone has pretty much been saying it nonstop since chapter 4 of Book 1.

    Oh, of course! I totally should have seen that one. Now I remember it. Back when I wrote the comment, I haven't sen it, but now I totally remember that this has been said so very often in his storyline that it's sort of his catch phrase now.

    That's like blaming Penn's mother for not getting an abortion. I swear you get more creative with these insults all the time haha.

  • Yeah I do too. I've sent him several messages but really I think he just got behind and hasn't had time to catch up yet.

    Hm, I don't know what's going on there. I've sent him a message a few days ago but haven't received an answer, which kind of baffles me. I h

  • I'm here! I'm literally so damn sorry. My laptop broke time ago, and I had to resort to using my iPhone to go onto the forums. I didn't know you guys were sending me messages, and I never bothered checking my notifications ever - silly me. At first, I was quite confused with the mobile layout as they seem to removed the 'Forum Games' page on the site, so I immediately thought this just stopped along with it. I only really come on for TWD updates but now that I know that this is still ongoing(I hope) I'm going to catch up. Please forgive me :(

    Yeah I do too. I've sent him several messages but really I think he just got behind and hasn't had time to catch up yet.

  • The road to forgiveness will be long for you. You think you can just walk back here after all this time and we'll just welcome you back with open arms? I don't think so, sir!

    Jk, it's good to see you.

    TWD_stan posted: »

    I'm here! I'm literally so damn sorry. My laptop broke time ago, and I had to resort to using my iPhone to go onto the forums. I didn't know

  • I wouldn't blame you if you didn't haha. And it's great to be back! :)

    The road to forgiveness will be long for you. You think you can just walk back here after all this time and we'll just welcome you back with open arms? I don't think so, sir! Jk, it's good to see you.

  • edited January 2017

    So, I just finished reading Book One and holy shit.The twists presented so far have got me craving for more of your writing. Seriously. I never expected Theo to be Schrodinger. That literally shocked me. Also, the girl from ten? I'm so excited to see what she's all about and how she's a threat. Your writing is so well done and the plot so far has potential to be better than the first original in my opinion. And no, I'm not just saying that. Bring on book two! I've never been so intrigued to see how these characters are doing, and what the others have to offer. This year's games are going to be a good one.

  • edited January 2017

    This just made me more hyped!

    "This was the girl who indirectly caused the death of Dray, and the destruction of District Nine."

    Penn, darling, go to bed. Skeeter had nothing to do with the death of Dray and D9. It was all you boo. </3 And omg, I'm so excited to see my character dkdkdkd

    Aura wasn't sure what made her feel worse, hearing her sister's name spoken in vain, or how she felt for the other tribute. At least Aura had some reason to be brought to the Capitol. Sam reminded her of a helpless little boy who had lost his way.

    Man, I agree with Liquid here. Aura's personality could get her killed - easily. If she exposes herself to protect Sam - a child who's odds are certainly not in his favour - then it could very well likely result in her death. But, it could be argued that protecting Sam could aid her in the long run. The Capitol want something to root for. It's a television show. Who wouldn't want to root for a girl and a lil cutie? So, I mean, protecting and killing for Sam could very well make her earn sponsors - at least I think.

    But Saul wasn't here now to think; but to act. Every step he took had a purpose. Iron door after iron door flew by and with each one, Saul drew closer to his mission. In and out... In and out... Why had the Owl made it sound so simple? He was now so lost he couldn't even see which way was north. He tore past an office with the name Hillham, another by the name of Livvs. There were a hundred like it, and all completely different. How was he ever supposed to find the right one?

    Ooh, Saul's dipping right into the Owl's plans. I can't wait to see how this turns out.

    Aura knew she was capable, but not enough to block the full force of the blow with a single ax hand.

    AAAAAAA. Come on Aura, I'm rooting for you.

    "Our lives are no more important than theirs."

    Holy crap. As the ol' wise liquid said, this is very risky. Holy crap. Holy crap.

    @mr.quality @janitor @supersagig @UkilledKenny @AAA_Jane @xSensus @WildlingKing @LiquidChicagoTed @TheLier @TWD_stan How many people ha

  • I would pay for this. Maybe you can make it a web show on Youtube and finance it with Kickstarter, I think you dont need the rights for it then because they will be expensive.

    Thanks! I'm actually hoping to one day be able to turn it into a TV show. I just have to get the rights first and that's a pain. But yes, Ma

  • @TeamKennyW00T are you still alive? D:

  • Yeah, just super busy. Sorry.

    TWD_stan posted: »

    @TeamKennyW00T are you still alive?

  • No problem with that. We can surely wait. Good luck with IRL things.

    Yeah, just super busy. Sorry.

  • edited February 2017

    Thanks lol. IRL things suck :'( I'll see if I can get the first part out before the month

    TheLier posted: »

    No problem with that. We can surely wait. Good luck with IRL things.

  • They do indeed suck sometimes. Sometimes they are great tho.

    Such is life.

    Thanks lol. IRL things suck I'll see if I can get the first part out before the month

  • Same here! So much stuff that keeps me busy XD TheLier is right, we can wait. Best of luck with the stuff that keeps you busy.

    Yeah, just super busy. Sorry.

  • Same here! So much stuff that keeps me busy XD TheLier is right, we can wait. Best of luck with the stuff that keeps you busy.

    Yeah, just super busy. Sorry.

  • Thanks guys. I'll see if I can upload within the week

    janitor posted: »

    Same here! So much stuff that keeps me busy XD TheLier is right, we can wait. Best of luck with the stuff that keeps you busy.

  • edited March 2017

    Alright, ladies and gentlemen, I'm back. :D Sorry for the long wait, but I suppose if there was ever a wait, it should be in between books, right?

    @mr.quality @janitor @supersagig @UkilledKenny @AAA_Jane @xSensus @WildlingKing @LiquidChicagoTed @TheLier @TWD_stan

    Prologue: The Two from Eleven

    Saul Arrem

    "Dear Saul,

    "You never truly know what you have until it's gone. Though I may never have shown it, I always thought you and Peara were something special. I wish I got a chance to tell you in person, but it's funny how things work out sometimes, right? I know it's completely pointless, but I'm still hoping there's some way the Capitol will let you both win. Here's hoping...

    "We'll never forget you.

    "Sincerely, Benna"

    Saul tore the letter in halves and tossed them onto the floor. Somehow, Saul knew that Benna had probably already forgotten them and that it wasn't a coincidence at all that these sentiments she wrote down in the letter were never said in person. They were manufactured, and a small part of him wondered if Ethel hadn't written all of these herself. A lot of them seemed to be in similar handwriting...

    The monorail was set in four separate cars. The first was the engine room, the second was the primary passenger car, the third was the banquet car, and following up the rear was the cargo hold. It was all so posh and unnecessary Saul couldn't help but turn up his nose. The banquet car was full of more food than anyone could get around to eating. The engine room was more for show than anything; everyone knew the real power came from the track itself. The cargo hold was almost empty. Saul knew the reason the train was so elegantly made: the Capitol wanted the District to see it. They wanted to remind them that if they ever had the whim, they could crush each and every district under an iron hand. It took every fiber of Saul's being to keep from tossing food from the banquet car from the windows to hungry passersby...

    His mentor, Mimses, had stolen Peara away from him, and forced him to sit in the cargo hold for the first half of the journey. When the glossy-eyed Capitol escort named Sybil came to remind Saul that he was "off time-out" and he could join the passenger car with the rest of them, he shook his head in anger and remained adamantly fixed to the spot. He wasn't going to give Mimses the satisfaction of knowing he loathed every minute away from his sister. But deep down, he did. When Sybil closed the door with a shrug, Saul let the tears continue to fall.

    He had grown tired of reading these irksome letters. They all bore the same message, and after a long time it became abundantly clear that Ethel had written most of them. There were only two that seemed to be genuine: one from the little four-year-old named Vari, and another from the bully at the orphanage, Quint. Perhaps he had slipped it into the pile without Ethel's notice, because it contained none but sour messages and hate. He had ripped that one in half too.

    Saul had known that none at the orphanage had taken a liking to him, neither his sister. She was the Albar and he was the Albar-lover. Ethel had tried to change their attitudes towards the pair, being a sympathizer herself, but they had never listened. Quint and his gang often played the respectful part when Ethel was around, shaking Saul's hand when necessary, and patting Peara soft on the head. That didn't make their fists hurt any less after she had left. It was part of the reason he spent so much of his time in the forest behind Mr. Munrow's orchard. Now he looked back on it, he so wished he had brought his sister with him. She might have had a place to escape too...

    No. Munrow hated her. And the whole time, he had hated Saul too, he'd just been good enough a liar not to let it show through his actions. He hadn't taken Saul on as his apprentice out of generosity, but because he was hired to. By this Hawk he seemed to worship... The paranoid part of Saul couldn't help but wonder that if Saul's relationship with his master had been manufactured by the mind of another, perhaps his whole life had been manufactured too... maybe even Peara's.

    Saul felt a burst of rage and beat a sack of potatoes on a shelf until they squished under his fist. It was all he could do not to scream; Sybil and Mimses would hear him and send for him, but he couldn't face them right now. He couldn't look his sister in the eyes right now and feel proud of himself. Saul had already killed before, and nothing could pull from him the burning desire to kill again. Every fiber of his being yearned for Munrow's death on his sword. He hadn't even had the honor to be there in Saul's final hours, to truly see what pain he had shed on another person.

    No, he thought. I have to stay strong for Peara. I can't give in. Saul cleansed his mind of all thoughts about Munrow. He wouldn't let himself sleep, because he knew the moment he shut his eyes, he would dream of a thousand different ways to kill the man. Saul was beginning to have a lust for the thought, but he knew he couldn't dwell on it, for if Peara knew, she wouldn't understand. She would think he was crazy. Her opinion was the only one left that mattered.

    Saul found the slice of vanilla cake that Ethel had wrapped in plastic wrap and eyed it hungrily. He hadn't eaten in so long, it felt like his stomach would implode, but he held his will. Ethel had expressly told him not to eat it on the train, and Saul wouldn't disobey the last wish of the one adult who had ever truly been kind to him. Still though... Peara got a necklace. Something more than a slice of cake would have been nice.

    Damn it. He couldn't sit here and brood for any longer. The train ride would take a few hours more, and Saul had already had as much as he could take of the cargo hold. It was dark, damp, and smelled of rotten fruit. But he wouldn't join the others - he couldn't. That would be giving in. He wondered if his mentor and the escort knew of the door at the back of the train.

    He pulled himself onto his feet and climbed past barrels of vegetables and other harvests and stroked his hand across the slick white wall. He opened the door with a bit of force (it had rusted over after years of no use) and stepped outside onto the balcony.

    The wind hit him like a bullet, and Saul knew he was moving faster than he had ever gone in his life. For a time, he let the air flow through his hair and touch his scalp. The mountains lined the eastern side of the horizon, and endless plains took the west. He didn't know if this was part of the Districts or if they were in the land between. He found he couldn't care less. For an hour, he simply watched the waves in the river that was following them. The water crashed into the shore and poured over rocks the size of the train itself. It was mesmerizing, and for a moment, it was as if Saul wasn't a tribute doomed to die, but a free man...

    But he was still chained, and so he climbed the ladder to the top of the train where it grew even windier and Saul's cloth tunic stuck to him like it was glued. He found it an effort to place one foot in front of the other when fighting the wind, but adrenaline surged in his veins and he didn't care anymore.

    He reached the middle of the car and sat. He watched hills roll by, bovine grazing in a massive herd on the far side of the stream. Gulls swirled overhead, and their caws were almost drowned out by the racing of the wind in Saul's ears. He saw a type of tree he had never seen before in a forest on the west: great mongrels with almost black bark and branches all the way down the trunk. The leaves had begun to turn the colors of early autumn and were lying like a carpet across the forest floor.

    And then saw behind him, a camera had sprouted on the end of an antenna from the side of the train. It was watching him with an eye that probably had all of Panem behind it. With a sudden surge of annoyance, he swiped his hand around at it and took the head completely off the wired neck, and threw it as far as he could into the river below. It landed with a satisfying splash.

    An hour later, he heard a voice from behind him. "Boy, what are you doing on the roof of this train?" He turned. It was Mimses, peeking his head from the car below. "You ain't gonna kill yourself, are you? It's not your time yet."

    "No." Saul felt the perverse need to laugh. But this wasn't funny. "I've just had a revelation... For a long time I thought I was doomed, and that I wanted my old life back."

    He turned around to face the massive man that was his mentor, who had taken a seat on the roof beside him. A lot of the intense anger that Mimses had felt that morning in the Justice Building seemed to have drained away. Perhaps he felt Saul had served his punishment. "And what do you want?"

    "I don't know..." Saul answered, finding it surprisingly truthful. "I suppose I want Peara back by my side, and I want our lives to be peace... Yeah, I want to be at peace... But for a long time, I thought I wanted freedom. When I worked for Mr. Munrow, I would climb to the top of the orchard every day and look out at the lands beyond District Eleven and I would want to be there. And then... And then everything changed. And I was made into a tribute, and my sister was too, and I... Then I wanted the freedom of my old life, being Munrow's apprentice, and the orphanage. But I just realized, I've been given the freedom I wanted. My old life wasn't freedom, my old life was slavery... Munrow never cared about me and neither did the orphanage... Maybe freedom isn't what I wanted after all... I just wanted peace."

    "Wise words for a man of your age," Mimses said. He wasn't judging Saul for anything he said, but simply listening. "What are you, seventeen?"

    "Eighteen," Saul corrected him. "I don't feel grown up yet..."

    "You wouldn't. That's why they take children into the arena," Mimses barked over the wind. "I was only fourteen when I was reaped. Here's my advice... Don't expect to know everything. You're still young, and weak. Peara's told me a lot about you. I don't think you are a bad older brother, but you doin' a shit job of showing it."

    "I want to say sorry... for shouting at her."

    "She knows," Mimses replied. "But you have to show her. You have maybe a week left until the Games and at most a week after that if you two go far, but you can't spend that time making her the enemy. You need someone to trust in the arena or you won't make it past the first day."

    "Yes," Saul agreed. Maybe Mimses was mentor for a reason. Saul wanted to ask him questions about his own Games, but now wasn't the time. "I want to stay here on the roof until we arrive..."

    "No," Mimses said. "You owe it to your sister to apologize and spend this time with her. The inside of the trains is one of the only places that isn't monitored by the Capitol. It will be the only time you have to speak truly to your sister before you have to play your role to Snow and the Gamemakers and Panem. This will be the last time ever you have the chance."

    "Okay fine," Saul sighed, glancing out upon the river once more. He stood up, steadying himself against the wind, but before he could retreat to the ladder, Mimses placed a hand on his shoulder and leaned in closer to whisper to him.

    "Saul, you aren't an idiot," he breathed loosely. "You know it has to be one of you in the end..."

    Saul knew, but he had been putting off the thought of it for as long as he could. Damn Mimses for bringing it up. "Yes... I know..."

    "You don't intend to make it out of this alive, do you?"

  • Yesyesyes, you're back =) So glad you finally have the time to write this wonderful story again!

    It was also a very nice start for this new book. Saul is such an interesting character and one of my favourites for very good reason. I find his situation to be one of the hardest, because well, it's clear that he is the one who has the most difficulties in the arena, having to look after his sister there. It's also clear, especially in this part, that he loves Peara. For this, I have made my choice, because I really don't think that he outright intends to make it out alive. By choosing the "Yes" option, he agrees with Mimses' question, right? Because I think he'd totally agree. Peara is his priority. I doubt Saul wants to die and if Peara dies in the arena, he'd probably try whatever he could to make it out alive, but I think it is and should be his priority to keep her alive in the arena.

    Alright, ladies and gentlemen, I'm back. Sorry for the long wait, but I suppose if there was ever a wait, it should be in between books, ri

  • edited March 2017

    Hey welcome back, Liquid! Just one thing, I actually meant the Yes option to mean he was answering he intends to survive and the No option means he intends not to survive. I'm a bit confused on which answer you were going for. The choice was meant as a direct response to what Mimses had said.

    Yesyesyes, you're back So glad you finally have the time to write this wonderful story again! It was also a very nice start for this new

  • I see then. It appears I have chosen the wrong option. I meant for Saul to say that he indeed does not intend to survive in the arena. The way I saw it, he'd answer something like "Yes, I don't intend to make it out of this alive" to Mimses' question. I think right now, as long as Peara is alive, he shouldn't have any ambitions to make it out alive, I think his priority should be to make sure that Peara manages to survive as long as possible.

    Hey welcome back, Liquid! Just one thing, I actually meant the Yes option to mean he was answering he intends to survive and the No option m

  • Ah okay that's what I thought ;). I'll mark it down in my mind

    I see then. It appears I have chosen the wrong option. I meant for Saul to say that he indeed does not intend to survive in the arena. The w

  • Welcome back. Good part, def a strong start.

    Alright, ladies and gentlemen, I'm back. Sorry for the long wait, but I suppose if there was ever a wait, it should be in between books, ri

  • And welcome back to you as well, good sir.

    TheLier posted: »

    Welcome back. Good part, def a strong start.

  • Awesome, you are back! It was a great way to start off the chapter. I like Sauls parts a lot and this was his best one so far. Hyped for the rest of this book!

    Alright, ladies and gentlemen, I'm back. Sorry for the long wait, but I suppose if there was ever a wait, it should be in between books, ri

  • Welcome back!

    janitor posted: »

    Awesome, you are back! It was a great way to start off the chapter. I like Sauls parts a lot and this was his best one so far. Hyped for the rest of this book!

  • edited April 2017

    Hello Shining City!

    @mr.quality @janitor @supersagig @UkilledKenny @AAA_Jane @xSensus @WildlingKing @LiquidChicagoTed @TheLier @TWD_stan

    75% of readers chose to say [B. No.]

    "No," Saul said. "No, she's the one who has to make it out of this. Not me."

    It was the answer he was supposed to give, and it felt good to say something so righteous and selfless. But if Saul was honest with himself, he didn't want to die. Of course, he knew that when everything came to a head he would make the decision, and he knew what he would choose from the moment he was tribute. But... for a small moment, he hesitated. That small moment of hesitation frightened him more than all the Hunger Games had to throw at him. It chilled him to his very core to know that very deep down, there was a part of him that might prefer his own life over Peara's.

    Saul was determined not to let that side of him out. He would imprison deep within his soul where light could never reach it. No one would ever know that Saul ever thought twice about it, and that was final.

    Peara was going to live, he told himself. Peara was going to live even if she was the last person on earth who did.

    "Good," Mimses replied, standing up shakily on the roof of the train and extending a hand past the wind to Saul. "Well, Saul, maybe I misjudged you. I am known to be quick to anger sometimes." Saul took the gesture and made his way onto his feet beside the hulking man. "I guess that's my way of saying I'm sorry."

    "I forgive you," Saul said. What else could he say? They were on the roof of a moving train and the wind was beating against his face like a million bricks.

    "Now someone else needs an apology from you, so I suggest you come down to the passenger car with us and give it."

    He nodded. Mimses took him by the shoulder and stumbled to the ladder between the cargo hold and the dining car and let Saul climb down first. The iron bars felt cold and rough against his hands, but he clung to them, knowing that if he let go his life would be snuffed out a week early. He took a last longing glance across the mountainside and the crashing waves of the river before ducking underneath the door and into the car. Mimses appeared behind him after a heavy few seconds and nodded toward the door to the coach ahead.

    He was halfway there when Mimses said, "Saul, catch!" He tossed something into the air and Saul instinctively caught it. It was a lightly frosted cookie. "You look famished. Have something to eat. I know the Capitol's portion sizes are ridiculous but you don't have to let all of it go to waste."

    Saul smiled and took a bite out of the cookie tentatively. It tasted like heaven, but he didn't want to admit it. "I don't want any Capitol food," he said, and then proceeded to scarf down the rest of the delicacy.

    Mimses gave a small chuckle and put his hands on his hips. "Sure you don't. Look, say what you want about the Capitol and all their shortcomings, but not their food. Not ever their food." Saul supposed there was a reason they were called "The Hunger Games."

    Upon entering the stagecoach, something instantly flashed before him and Peara flung herself into his arms. "Hey Pea," Saul said fondly.

    "She argued a nice case for you," said Sybil. She was seated with her legs neatly crossed in the red leather booth, pursing her lips like something she'd predicted had just been confirmed. Her shiny purple hair was curly and shot to one side with gel. She was wearing eyeglasses, but they were not connected with a bridge over the nose such as Saul was used to, rather worn with straps around her head. Her turquoise dress was frilly and flamboyant, cut in a way so that no two strands of fabric were woven in the same direction. In Saul's opinion, she was the most ridiculous person he had ever seen, yet she was the one person connecting him to the extravagant world of the Capitol, so he kept quiet.

    Saul ran a fond hand through his sister's hair and ruffled it out of place. "Hey, Pea," he laughed.

    "I told Miss Sybil and Mister Mimses that you would come back. That you would be good!" She sounded positively ecstatic; Saul couldn't help but smile. "Did the kids from the orphanage leave me any notes?"

    "They sure did," Saul lied. He would never get around to showing her any of those damned letters anyway. "Hey, I wanted to say I'm sorry, about earlier."

    "What for?" Peara asked, looking truly puzzled.

    "For shouting. I shouldn't shout at you." Saul lowered his head in shame.

    "But Saul..." Peara sounded almost surprised she was receiving an apology. "You don't have to apologize to me. And I'm used to people yelling at me. I'm not a baby."

    Mimses nodded his approval and backed up into the dining car behind him. After he shut the door Saul stared down at his little sister in wonder. "You're not even mad at me?"

    "No, of course not," she replied easily. "I just wish you would tell me the next time I get on your nerves so you don't have to bottle it up so much. Honestly, Saul, out of everything anyone's done to me, you shouting at me practically makes you a saint."

    "Saint Saul... I kind of like the sound of that." He couldn't help but laugh with relief. "Hey, you're not wearing your necklace."

    "Oh, this?" She broke away from him and reached into the pocket of her overalls and pulled away the long silver chain Ethel had gifted to her. On the end of it was the oval locket that Ethel had instructed should stay closed. "I like to just hold it, you know?"

    "Here," Saul leaned down and took the necklace from her fragile hands. He brushed her silver-blonde hair out of the way and swung the chain around her neck, fastening it behind her head. She glanced down at the medallion and beamed. "There you are. Now you look like a real princess."

    "Awh! You two are so adorable!" Sybil cried, bringing her hands to clap near her cheek. The first impression she was making on Saul was not helped by how she spoke with a sort of baby voice. "The Capitol is going to die for you two."

    "If I'm a princess, you need a crown so you can be the king!" She laughed and they sat down.

    "Oh, silly girl!" Sybil chortled in her posh accent. "Knows nothing about royal lineages. If you are the princess that would make your brother-"

    "I'm back." Mimses interrupted her. He had just returned from the previous car carrying a small glass of pale yellow liquid. "What'd I miss?"

    "You old dog!" Sybil eyed his drinks and gasped. "Surely you don't plan to drink that! You'll drop dead from alcohol poisoning before they even have a chance to ride the chariots."

    "What does it matter to you if I die? Or them, for that matter?" He spoke gruffly. "I'm tired and I'll drink if I damn well please."

    "White wine? Around children?" She sounded clearly affronted, like the man had just defecated on her lawn and expected her to clean it up. "Get a hold of yourself, you sour man."

    The mentor shrugged and gazed down into his glass to make sure there was enough to get him drunk. "Piss off, Sybil. They ain't children any more. They're tributes."

    Her cheeks flushed red, and she couldn't seem to think of a valid response, so she gave in and turned to the window for cover. "Of all the frivolous things..."

    Mimses raised the glass into the air to toast no one. He made eye contact with Saul as he took the first sip. "To peace..." He said.

    "What does it taste like?" Peara asked thoughtfully, more curious than Saul would have liked. He would have been around her age when he first had moonshine in the forest behind the orchard, but this was different. This was Peara.

    "It tastes like shit, you don't want any." Saul told her and Sybil nodded in affirmation. He raised an invisible glass into the air nonetheless to match the mentor's toast. "To peace."

    Mimses grunted a laugh. "It tastes like shit, but it sure takes the edge off. I'd give you two a sip, but the Capitol has ways of finding out. I'm already on probation."

    Sybil gazed down into Mimses's glass thoughtfully. "You know, there's an old urban legend that when you toast to no one, you're brought misfortune for the following year? I wouldn't toast when you're the only one drinking if you knew what was good for you."

    Mimses laughed, and he laughed for what felt like longer than he should have. "Well, that fits, don't it? Because they're not gonna have peace no more."

    Sybil shot an awkward half-glance at the siblings as if acknowledging her lack of awareness for others. "I suppose you're right." She swung her hips around and her eyes darted between the two of them. "I can just see it now... The press, the excitement... It almost makes me feel like a kid opening Christmas presents. The two from Eleven!" She waved her fingers in the air dramatically. "Oh, honey, they are going to eat you up."

    And the four of them laughed together for hours. Saul found himself grateful after all that he still had time to relax and take things easy. For at least one day, he could just be Saul. Peara could just be Peara. As became evident, when they arrived at the Capitol, they would have to put on their best show faces and show the people they could dance. But now... now wasn't the time for that. Now wasn't the time to sit alone on the windy roof. For those few joyous hours, it almost felt like he had a friend again...

    And then, over the sparkling water, they saw it. Looming over the horizon was the Golden City in all its splendor. Buildings ten times as tall as the Justice Building and houses that towered over their pitiable shacks. Even from miles away, he could almost make out dozens of children playing on the beach shores of the lake, and the waves rippled with life. The sun sat just behind the tallest building, radiating it like a thousand glittering fireflies.

    Peara's face was already pressed up against the glass, and why shouldn't it have been? This was the most marvelous place either of them had ever seen. Sybil smiled knowingly, taking in Peara's astonishment, but Mimses seemed the wiser. He noticed that Saul didn't share in this moment. Saul was huddled near the back of the train car. He wasn't watching the Capitol roll by. He was watching Peara's face. He was taking in every little detail, because he wasn't sure how much longer he would be able to.


  • Yeah actually I think the minute I start making money from this is the moment it becomes punishable by law. I don't want to risk it. I might just wait until I have a little bit more footing and ask for the rights.

    janitor posted: »

    I would pay for this. Maybe you can make it a web show on Youtube and finance it with Kickstarter, I think you dont need the rights for it then because they will be expensive.

  • A great end to the prologue :) In general, this was a sweet way of kicking off the new Book. I am so hyped for the things to come for our heroes. With Saul, I must say that for some strange reason, Mimses is growing on me. He's giving me Haymitch vibes, in a certain way. At the same time, he's feeling a lot rougher, so it's probably just some weird connection I drew there. Anyways, great part, great prologue, I can't wait for the next one =)

    Hello Shining City! @mr.quality @janitor @supersagig @UkilledKenny @AAA_Jane @xSensus @WildlingKing @LiquidChicagoTed @TheLier @TWD_stan

  • Hm. I didn't even notices similarities to Haymitch when I was writing him, but I suppose you're right. Maybe I'm just subconsciously writing him again lol. Or maybe he's Haymitch's long lost uncle.

    A great end to the prologue In general, this was a sweet way of kicking off the new Book. I am so hyped for the things to come for our hero

  • I'm going to try to get these out at more regular intervals now, guys. I don't want this series to last ten years lol.

    @mr.quality @janitor @supersagig @UkilledKenny @AAA_Jane @xSensus @WildlingKing @LiquidChicagoTed @TheLier @TWD_stan

    Chapter 1: The Shining City

    Penn Cassidy

    The helicopter touched down on the roof of the fourth-tallest building in the Capitol. After a flight that lumbered on for what felt like days, Penn had just become used to the routine hum and purr of the engine. After listening to a sound so constant and unchanging, it started to fade into silence around her. Penn had a lot of time to think on that long ride to the Capitol. She thought about herself and what she had done. Penn didn't like what she had found.

    As Penn stood abruptly to her feet and onto the cement roof, her hair flying askew in every direction from the uproar of the propellor blades, she looked upon the Shining City. It was white and gray as far as she could see, outlined by a magnificent blue lake with doves flying by the morning light. She saw twelve identical railways, built through the waves, positioned like hands on a clock. Each held a glorious monorail, and they all sped down the tracks towards the nexus of the Capitol. She watched as each of the trains pulled into their docks simultaneously, knowing that each of them--one from each district--held a boy and a girl who would take the name tribute. Looking out at it all, it was so beautiful, yet Penn couldn't find it within herself to take it in.

    She thought if anyone looked at her right now, they would see something pitiful. A girl in hideously torn clothes, hugging herself tight and shivering like there was a blizzard. She didn't blame them. Today she felt small, and lonely, like there was no one else in the whole world that would agree with her, and agree with what she had done. Since her memories had gone, the only thing that was left was the Games, and now even that was gone... The only memory that mattered right now were the ones that kept replaying in her head... Emmy taking the knife, Dray taking the bullet, Ulysses being stoned, Boz with an arrow through his head... The Justice Building of District Nine toppling to the ground like a tower of blocks...

    The rumbling of the engine ceased to a halt and the bald pilot named Edric stepped out in his combat boots, chewing loudly on a stick of bubble gum. He took a deep breath and lowered his sunglasses a bit. "It's a sight, ain't it?" He smiled, bumping his passenger on the arm. She didn't respond. She hadn't talked to him once for the whole trip. "I tell you, after spending eighteen long damn years cooped up in that hellhole of District Nine, it's good to get a breath of fresh air."

    Just because Penn hadn't responded hadn't deterred Edric from prattling on about his whole life story. He had been a citizen of the Capitol long ago, and was offered a hefty sum to spend eighteen years of his life grooming someone for the Games. The man who paid him was named The Hawk, but Jomal had told her expressly not to mention it. He had apprenticed the boy named Willem since he was a toddler and had basically become a father figure to him.

    She wondered if her father had the same story... She wondered if he had been paid by this Hawk to travel to District One with his newborn daughter. Was her whole life a lie? Had all she'd been through been manufactured by the Hawk? Then again... She couldn't even remember what it was that would have been manufactured. For all she knew, she could have been grown in a lab. When she opened her eyes that fateful day and met Dr. Prince, it could have been the very first time she opened her eyes. And all of it was for her to become a tribute.

    The Hunger Games seemed much less appealing with the idea that she had been bred for it.

    They were now within the Heart of the Capitol. Edric had found her a new outfit: one that would coincide much more decently with that of the Capitol and not draw attention toward her. After all, her arrival by helicopter rather than train was supposed to be kept secret. He had told her that the Hawk would cover the whole thing up so that President Snow would never know.

    "How many people's lives have been ruined because of me?" Penn asked, speaking for the first time since she said goodbye to her father yesterday.

    "Huh?" Edric asked, struck dumbfounded. He had clearly believed her mute. "Girl, don't go worrying your head about what's in the past. You're here now. That's all that matters."

    "But..." Penn started. "The people from District Nine, that little girl who was going to be tribute, my boyfriend... They're all-"

    "Shh!" Edric put a quick hand over her lips and hugged her close to shield the whole thing from the onlookers from the Capitol. "Don't go blabbing about this for all the world to hear. If you're upset, be upset in private. I suppose this makes me your temporary mentor for a moment, but hear me: You gotta put on a face for the Capitol if you wanna make it far in the Games. You have to show them that you're nothing more than a mascot, and a happy face. That's what they want, you hear?"

    "I hear." So Penn sucked in her gut and put on a face.

    They passed so many people in the streets, and they were all so wild and colorful that Penn wasn't sure who to look at. It was almost like a contest of who could dress the strangest and look the most like a complete moron, but she didn't make her opinion known. Back in District One, she knew that a person dressed like any one of these people would be shunned and classified as the village idiot, yet here everything was different. Here, if you weren't wearing something that caught someone's eye, you caught everyone else's eye.

    After a long time of walking through endless hordes of market shoppers, Penn and Edric finally pulled themselves into a clearing and a more narrow alleyway. They followed its path through many narrow passageways. One was so narrow that the two had to climb over a dumpster that had been placed there to continue. Rats scurried along the sides of buildings, their fur drinking in the sludge. When they finally reached their destination, Edric found a giant brass door and rapped on it three times, waited three or four seconds and knocked on it again.

    The man who opened the door looked gruff and weathered. His mutton chops were thicker than Penn's hair in some places and there was a scar over his left nostril that left his nose crooked and scarred. She knew that Capitol had body modifications for these types of things. She wondered if he kept the scar on purpose. Penn thought herself rather capable in a fight, but she didn't wish it to come to that with such a man. "Where you come from?" he barked at Edric.

    "The Hawk keeps an open mind." Edric said with ease and fluency, as if repeating the phrase for the hundredth time. "I know I'm wearing my sunglasses, but Raker, come on."

    "Oh, sorry, Edric. It's been a while you know." Raker stepped aside and let the two of them through. "And this must be Ms. Cassidy. You caused quite a bit of trouble with the Hawk. He ain't fond of you."

    "No shit," Penn spat, trying to keep up the face Edric had warned her about. She didn't know where she was, and she was tired and just wanted to get out of this dank alleyway. "Who is this Hawk anyway?"

    Raker shut the door behind them and the world went black for a second. When the lights came on, they showered a small hallway with light tinged green. The corridor was cold, but she had the feeling that it led somewhere.

    "The Hawk ain't someone you can just ask his name." Raker said. Before she had a chance to make a retort, Edric took her by the arm.

    He led her through corridor after corridor. They all looked the same, with great iron doors every ten feet. None had windows, so Penn was at a loss to where the man was actually taking her. Perhaps the exposed wires and pipes in the ceiling would lead the way.

    When they reached the end of a corridor, they stopped and Edric took off his sunglasses and put them on the collar of his jacket. His eyes were devastatingly green, or maybe that was just the lighting. "They should be just arriving," he told her. "Go in, and make yourself at home. They should be so disoriented from getting off the train that they won't have the time to notice another tribute walking from the door on the wall."

    "Wait, you're not coming with me?" Penn asked, her mask of a hardy personality crumbling instantly. "How will I know where to go? How will I know who to talk to?"

    "You'll find your way," he smiled, walking back off down the corridor. "Jomal's told me a lot about you. You got spunk, kid. Show them that and you won't have any trouble."

    He disappeared behind a wall and left Penn quite alone. She was left with just her thoughts and the weird green lights. All of this seemed so much easier in her head. Everyone would show her where to go and what to do. Now she had no one. She steeled herself and put her hand on the handle of the door. When she opened it, she couldn't find a single familiar face.

    Edric was right. She slipped into the massive group of people and not a single one of them even took notice that another had joined the party. She was bumped into by a skinny brown-haired girl with freckles, and a prissy-looking girl with long, shining black hair and a little boy who looked like he was too young to be here. The mindless chattering was insufferable. If she was back home right now, she would have done anything to get out of the way before she was trampled to death.

    And then she spotted Willem. For a moment, Penn was just relieved to see a face she recognized, and he looked the same. He made his way toward her, but the closer he got, the more apparent it became that it was not a look of excitement. He grasped her arm very hard. "You shouldn't be here," he exclaimed, spit flying over Penn's face.

    "Well, I'm here now," She replied, matching his blue-eyed glare with one of her own. She ripped her arm away. She found it lucky her words drowned in the chatter of the rest of the crowd. "Nothing you can do about it."

    "You little bitch..." Willem whispered malevolently, and turned his gaze to the rest of the crowd, yet when he spoke, it was still to her. "You destroyed my home!"

    "ALRIGHT! ATTENTION TRIBUTES!" There came the monstrous voice of a hard woman at the front of the room. The chatter died down and they all saw a rather pretty brunette woman standing at the front of the room. She couldn't have been less than forty, and she definitely looked milder than she sounded. Once the room quieted, she resumed, "My name is Everra. I am going to recite each of your names, and you are going to stand in a neat line where I tell you. We have rules here in the Capitol, and the lawless riff raff of the Districts simply won't do here."

    There were a few mumbles from the crowd, particularly from a tall, arrogant-looking man with a buzz cut and the prissy-looking girl she'd seen earlier. Couldn't he keep his idiotic grin to himself? He was going to get them all in trouble. The eyes of some of the other tributes told her they all agreed.

    "Alright," Everra pointed at a fixed point on the floor and Penn realized there were painted numbers corresponding with each district. "Micah Grimshott! Skeeter Lascius!"

    And there she was. She strolled up to where Everra had pointed and put on the same surprised "I didn't know it was me" look. Her blonde hair was just as conditioned and pristine-looking as it had looked those few days ago at the Reaping. Penn knew she didn't truly didn't anything wrong, but Penn couldn't help but tell herself that if she hadn't been picked at the Reaping, none of what happened in District Nine would have happened. A terrible feeling sat down in her bowels as she watched the next parade of people go up front.

    "Stygian Pluto! Erron Moore!" There were the arrogant man and the prissy girl. They were classic Careers, and people that Penn knew she had to make friends with if she was ever going to have a shot in the games. They were the classic pair, and the girl called Erron clung to Stygian's arm as if she was glued. Penn wondered if that was for the cameras or for the rest of them.

    And the tributes from District Three took the stage, a beautiful boy and a practical-looking girl that Penn thought were both wearing too much makeup. And then the ones from Four, a giant hulking beast of a man and a laughing woman that may have been drunk. After that came the rest of the tributes from Five, Six, Seven and Eight. When it was their turn, Everra called Willem first and he didn't leave before telling her that she was a bitch.

    "Penn Cassidy!" As her name was called, she took her place beside Willem behind a rather slender blonde boy named Gustaph and the skinny girl from earlier with the freckles. Her name was Holly She had a strange necklace of bottle caps around her neck. Penn didn't have too long to question it before Everra called up the next two people to stand behind her and Willem.

    "Neo Reed! Hex Wilder!"

    Penn knew she wasn't being discreet, but she was watching behind her now. A young boy with slicked-back oily hair stepped into his places, a wiry little girl following suit: the tributes from Ten. The girl named Hex was thin, short, and there was a grin on her face that was open and inviting. Penn smiled back, Hex returned it and she wondered if she had made a new friend. She looked a tad younger than eighteen. Penn thought it strange, since she felt the Districts would want to send their strongest for this year's Games.

    "Hey," the little girl whispered, initiating conversation easily, even though she knew they weren't supposed to. "We're in for a good run for our money, aren't we?"

    "Yeah, I suppose we are." Penn laughed in response.

    "Shut up," Neo said calmly, his eyes facing straight forward like he was in military form. "They can't catch us talking, or we'll be punished."

    "How can they punish us?" Hex replied, stifling a giggle. "They're already doing all they can to us. What does a little more hurt?"

    Penn turned back forwards as the tributes from Districts Eleven and Twelve were called. As the woman at the front finished off getting the group in form, she felt a poke on the shoulder. Hex whispered to her as they started walking, "Friends?"

    "Maybe." Penn replied.

    The woman marched them through a long set of corridors, set up much more elaborately than the ones Penn had taken to arrive. These ones had framed pictures of former victors on the wall. She had heard of this place. The Hall of Victors it was called. Inspirational quotes were painted all over the walls from long dead men and women Penn had never heard of. They all encouraged each and every tribute that they had what it took to succeed. Of course, only one of them truly did...

    They were led up a set of stairs and ramps until they arrived at what seemed like the top of the building. When they emerged at the last stair, what Penn saw amazed her. They were in a giant glass dome overlooking the city. The carpet was red and the furniture was made of gold, and Everra stepped close to the window. "This is the Capitol," she exclaimed. "This is where you'll be staying for the following week."

    There were many gasps as people broke formation and leaned up against the glass to get a glimpse of the view. Penn knew that unless they had lived in a district with mountains, many of these kids probably never even had a chance to see such a view. All of the tributes made their ways to the glass and peered out over the city, and Penn took a step back and saw something. People had already started forming into clumps. There was Stygian and Erron and Micah and Skeeter and the laughing drunk Delmara that Penn knew were the Careers. Then there were some people who seemed to take to elegant society of the Capitol rather proficiently, such as the boy from Three, James, and the boy from Eight, Gustaph, and the girl from Six, Jenessa. Then there were those more timid souls who Penn knew would most likely never survive the first night, like the little boy she bumped into, Samwell, and both tributes from Twelve. The giant man named Marten from District Four was by himself, as were the two from Eleven, and it was becoming abundantly clear that she was the odd one out, still standing by the stairwell.

    "Well?" Everra asked, coming over to her. "Have you seen a view such as this on regular occasion?"

    "Oh yeah," Penn nodded, trying to crack a joke. "Just love the cool mountain air at my cabin in the hills. No, not really. I live in a fuck ton of wheat fields."

    Everra laughed a warm laugh, and Penn knew she was doing nicely. "Why don't you join the others? You want to make a good impression on your first day. Penn, is it?"

    "Yeah, that's me."

    "Welcome to the Capitol, Penn."

  • When it was their turn, Everra called Willem first and he didn't leave before telling her that she was a bitch.

    Hell yeah, Willem :D He's been the best in this part, wasting absolutely zero opportunities to tell Penn the truth. I kind of liked him before, but with this part, he's become one of my clear favourites. That right there is a good one, I can feel it. And well, he has been absolutely right. She is a bitch and after what she did, she can be lucky that she's getting to live for a couple more days instead of dying right away. It's better than she deserves.

    But ah, have I ever mentioned that I really don't like Penn? Because I really don't like her. It's telling that I start to like a tribute solely on the basis that he hates Penn. She's been a massive bitch in this part, just as always and I doubt I'll ever get tired with ranting about her. Sure, she might think she feels guilty, but if she truly feels all that guilty, she'd just refuse to participate in the games, get herself executed by the Capitol and stop being a waste of space that's going to ruin even more lives. Because she is going to ruin even more lives. I at least stopped feeling sorry for her father whose going to lose his only daughter, because that bag of dicks deserves this sort of pain, but there's 23 other lives she can end and god knows how many lives she can ruin. I am pretty sure that with her skills, she is going to be a complete beast in the arena and I'm saying this with utmost negativity. My choice naturally has been influenced by my hatred towards her. I chose the timid group for her, because they are the least likely to be good allies for her. I don't want her to make friends with the careers (even if the opposite could happen and she could become a target if she speaks to them now. I'd like that a lot), I don't want her to make friends with Marten, or the elusive tributes from eleven and while I bet this elegant group isn't all that useful either, the timid group is what will give Penn not even the slightest bit of an advantage. Ah, I'm already in full Kill-Penn mode and I'm loving it =)

    I'm going to try to get these out at more regular intervals now, guys. I don't want this series to last ten years lol. @mr.quality @janit

  • Lol there you are. Always nice to hear from you after Penn's parts Liquid. Just one thing, why do you think Jomal is a bag of dicks? What has he done? Other than love Penn I guess, but he's her father. Can you really blame him for that? It's kind of the same deal with Cersei loving Joffrey.

    Also, what do you think of all the new tributes? This was the first time I've opened that spreadsheet of all the different submissions in over a year lol. Trying to get them all just right.

    When it was their turn, Everra called Willem first and he didn't leave before telling her that she was a bitch. Hell yeah, Willem H

  • Lol there you are. Always nice to hear from you after Penn's parts Liquid. Just one thing, why do you think Jomal is a bag of dicks? What has he done? Other than love Penn I guess, but he's her father. Can you really blame him for that? It's kind of the same deal with Cersei loving Joffrey.

    Ah, it's not him loving Penn that gives me such a negative opinion on him, but it's him probably manipulating her that is the cause of my dislike. He seems to have manipulated Penn into becoming this monster-bitch she is right now and while I don't feel bad for Penn there, I can't help but wonder if nothing of this would have happened if Jomal would have just allowed her to live her life. I doubt she was this irredeemable from the moment she was born, so I am pretty sure that his manipulations of her had a great deal in turning her into this murderer.

    Also, what do you think of all the new tributes? This was the first time I've opened that spreadsheet of all the different submissions in over a year lol. Trying to get them all just right.

    Well, so far we haven't really learned all that much about them. It was seriously awesome to see so many of them introduced and I can't wait to learn more about them. So far, they all seem interesting and I look forward for what you are going to do with them. I can also say that Stygian Pluto has to be the coolest name in the games so far :D A shame that he's a career and therefore most likely an asshole. But well, a nice way to introduce so many of them, I am excited to see more of these in the future.

    Lol there you are. Always nice to hear from you after Penn's parts Liquid. Just one thing, why do you think Jomal is a bag of dicks? What ha

  • Haha yeah, Stygian's a pretty cool name. If I'm not mistaken, he's janitor's character. I'm trying to give more major roles to the characters of people who stuck with the story. Don't know if you've noticed since your character is probably one of the least important thus far amiright.

    Did you also noticed that I introduced the girl from Ten that Roman was talking about in the last chapter of book 1? It's the girl Hex Wilder that was standing behind Penn in line.

    Lol there you are. Always nice to hear from you after Penn's parts Liquid. Just one thing, why do you think Jomal is a bag of dicks? What ha

  • edited April 2017

    @mr.quality @janitor @supersagig @UkilledKenny @AAA_Jane @xSensus @WildlingKing @LiquidChicagoTed @TheLier @TWD_stan

    67% of readers chose to [D. Speak to the Careers.]

    Penn thanked the Gamemaker and went over to speak to the Careers over by the window. They were loud, filling the whole dome of the observatory with their soaring and laughter. At least four of them were. Stygian, Erron, Micah and Delmara all seemed to think what was going on was the funniest ordeal that had ever happened. Skeeter Lascius seemed to think different.

    As Penn approached the group, she saw Skeeter had a grin across her face, but that was where her part in the conversation ended. If the observatory had been packed with people, Penn wouldn't have even figured she was part of the same group, but she had been up on that platform in District One when her name had been called.

    Penn's eyes scanned the rest of the room and found Willem in the group she had thought timid. It was by far the largest clump in the room. He was glaring at her with such a look of profound hatred that his eyes burned. He let their eye contact linger just long enough to deliver a message. The old Penn might have shifted the blame elsewhere. The new Penn let it burn.

    The boy named Micah found a handle on the window and rolled it around to open a hole in the glass, letting in fresh air. Everra eyed them curiously, but let them proceed. Micah stepped onto the railing and shouted at the top of his lungs. "WOO! MAY THE ODDS BE EVER IN YOUR FAVOR, BITCHES!"

    That brought laughter from the rest of them.

    "Mr. Grimshott, please," Everra called from the center. Micah stepped down, but not before he let loose a spitball towards the city a mile below. He exchanged a high five with the taller boy, Stygian.

    "Well, look who it is!" cried the voice of the prissy girl from Two, Erron. "If it isn't the Line Jumper!"

    "You got balls, Penn," Stygian smiled, showing off his gleaming white teeth. "Get over here."

    Penn didn't know how they figured out she was a "line jumper" but it was definitely not good, and she needed them to stop or her father's and the Hawk's operation would be uncovered. She just wished they wouldn't shout at the top of their lungs. Then, she saw Skeeter's guilty face. She had recognized Penn...

    "Alright, hey guys," Penn said, scanning all their faces. "Don't call me Line Jumper, okay? My name's Penn."

    "No problem, honey," laughed Delmara. At closer range, it was obscenely clear that she was piss drunk. "You stick with-" she hiccuped. "You stick with us."

    Micah looked down at Penn with an apprehensive look, but that didn't stop him from extending his hand out in greeting. "The name's Micah. You're Penn, right? This is Erron, Delmara, Stygian and the shy one over there is Skeeter." He lowered his voice. "But you probably already know me and Skeeter, huh?"

    "Wow, she's interesting!" Erron smiled in a fake and almost demeaning way. The rest of them started to circle around her, like they were judging her. She poked at Penn's forearm, feeling her muscle underneath. "And she's strong, too! What do you say, Line Jumper? You wanna join our pack?"

    "Of course I want to," Penn exclaimed, but not without some part of her hesitating for a moment. This was what she had come all this way for, wasn't it? So what was it in the back of her mind that shrank away when she looked at this group of Careers. It couldn't be cowardice, because Penn knew she wasn't a coward.

    "Alright, here we go!" Stygian pumped his fist. "This is gonna be so tight! I can't believe I was chosen to do this! Me, out of all of my District, they thought I was the strongest."

    "Oh, don't toot your own horn too much, baby! You'll blow it out." Erron wrapped herself around Stygian once more and shot a look around to all of the girls in the group saying "If you want him you can't have him." That was okay. The man was much too butch for Penn anyway.

    District Two was known, along with One for being heavy on turning children into Careers. Almost every kid there knew what it was like to be in the Games, and most of them strived for the opportunity. The fact that Two had deemed Stygian the strongest out of everyone there was promising, and a little frightening. This man very well may have been the strongest of any of them. Except for maybe the giant in the corner.

    "We've been thinking of going for Mr. Broody over there." Micah pointed at the boy from Four across the room, and for once, whispering so only the Career group could hear him. "I mean, look at the size of that dude. He's built like a colossus."

    Erron nodded her head and leaned in closer, eager to share. "The rumor says he killed a man... Already! Before the Games!" They all seemed to find that highly disconcerting. "We want him on our side before he strangles every one of us with his bare hands. The guy's a cold-blooded killer."

    "His name is Marten," Delmara choked out, only now barely paying attention to the conversation. "The rumors are true. He killed a boy in the river."

    "Hey, guys..." Skeeter said, and the other four were so shocked at her assertion that they all quieted down to see what she had to say. "Maybe we shouldn't talk behind his back? If you think he can strangle us... Well, we don't want to give him reason to, right?"

    Erron crossed the circle and placed a finger on Skeeter's delicate cheek. "Skeeter... Skeeter, baby. You're cute, but you're new to this, so we'll take over from here."

    As Erron went back into the group, chattering away aimlessly, Skeeter shrank back to the side, embarrassed and pressed her face to the glass. For a moment, her eyes caught Penn's and then she darted away, her cheeks turning deep scarlet. Penn noticed from that point on, Skeeter didn't seem to be part of the circle. And Penn decided maybe she had misjudged the girl. She didn't seem like the kind of person who would take pride in stealing the Games from a more able tribute. Maybe she had been thrown into this...

    "So, you're actually from One, right?" Stygian asked, not retracting his gaze from Penn. His eyes didn't seem to stay above her neck and Erron took notice. "How is Nine? Is it all flat and yellow like the books say it is? Is it full of a bunch of inbreds and sheepfuckers?"

    "Yes, but please shut up about it or I'll get in trouble," Penn said, gesturing with her hands to try to keep them quiet. "And no about the inbreds and sheepfuckers. Although at least one of them was..."

    They all let out a chorus of laughter, and Penn couldn't help but join in. She had come into this room feeling very heavy, but this group made her feel like she could really let loose and enjoy herself. Maybe she might even call some of them friends before the end of all this. Erron seemed rather bitchy, but Delmara seemed like a riot. Stygian was too clearly bullheaded for Penn to easily talk to, but Micah had been in the same district Penn had. Maybe they could share funny stories about their lives there. And then Penn remembered she had lost all her stories to tell...

    The clouds were rolling slowly over the Capitol and the buildings below glittered in reflected sunlight. She looked out and saw a building much wider than the rest, and quite a bit taller than her own. On the front, in between windows and crossing over floors, the eagle crest of the Capitol was painted into the stone in black and white. She looked at it and saw luxury. She looked at it and saw the pinnacle of modern humanity. No one knew what was beyond the Great Sea, but likely nothing could match what President Snow had done to the Capitol.

    Many people didn't like the Capitol and their fickle ways. They hated Snow and his cruelty. But they had to admit, the man had resolve...

    After a period of ten minutes, Everra led the tributes down the stairs again and over, through the Tribute's Pavilion to the Grand Inn. She told the tributes that this was where they would be staying, a giant, complex hotel with balconies stretching all the way around the building. There were thirteen floors, one for each District and one for the entrance. All the way to the building, the Careers around her were laughing and shouting, but luckily, they had heeded her warning. They never called her Line Jumper again and they never mentioned that she was not from District Nine.

    As they walked from the nexus to the inn, they crossed a wonderful marble painting covering the ground. Penn was sure that if you looked upon it from above, it would create something amazing, but walking over it, Penn could see that it was made of many little tiny paintings. They were images of struggles through the Dark Days-men and women giving all they could to battle the forces of oppression-all painted with only black, white and gray colors. Time and effort had been spent on each individual brick of this wonderful masterpiece, and upon any one of them, she could have spent hours trapped in its world. The Capitol surely was a wonderful place.

    Inside the inn, they were told to find their district partner, and so, unwillingly, Penn went and crossed the room to find Willem. He didn't take his angry eyes off of her the entire time Everra was instructing them on the dos and don'ts inside the hotel. They were not to run, they were not to eat more than was necessary. They were not to shout and they were not to visit one another's rooms. And above all, they were not to speak ill of President Snow and the Capitol. Penn was sure all of these rules would be broken within the night.

    Penn spotted a familiar shock of green hair and waded through the crowd to find Fivel, the man who was supposed to escort her to the Capitol. He looked rather surprised that she turn up at the arm of Willem, but pleased enough not to say anything about it. By his side was a woman who had cut off all of her hair and whose skin was sunken in. Her stare was leaden.

    "Ah, Ms. Cassidy. We've found you at last," Fivel announced. "I hope you've been keeping her warm for us, Willem. Penn, this is your mentor, Cysha. She won one of the very first Hunger Games!"

    "Pleasure," she said gruffly, and when Penn offered up a handshake in greeting this woman didn't take it.

    "Where's the room?" Willem asked, clenching his teeth tightly together. "I want to sit down..."

    "Why on the ninth floor, of course!" Fivel said, as if this was the most obvious thing in the world. "I did think you had a bit of a noggin on you, young man. Perhaps I was mistaken." He lowered his sunglasses to Penn, and his eyes looked her up and down. He clicked his teeth. "We'll have to get you cleaned up, miss. It won't do to have the Capitol see you in such trash."

    Penn looked down at her blouse, a colorful array of red, blue and white. She had hoped that it would be impressive enough to pass as Capitol attire, but evidently it did not. Was she going to be stuck in the changing room the entire week?

    Each pair of tributes, along with their mentor and their escort, went up the elevator in order of their district. Penn waited patiently, as all her new friends from the Career group went up the elevator first. After they were gone, she spotted a friendly face bouncing toward her. It was Hex Wilder, the girl from Ten who had stood behind her in line.

    "Hey!" she exclaimed. "So I saw you made some new friends! How were they?"

    As soon as it became apparent that Penn would be in conversation, Willem made a disgusted sound and moved across the room so he wouldn't even have to look her way. This was getting rather bothersome. She understood that he hated her, and could even see why, but couldn't he put any of it aside for a moment? They were in the Capitol! It was the last place he was ever going to see: a magnificent city where everything came easy and the rivers flowed with wealth! And Willem was missing all of it because he wouldn't take his eyes off of her. Penn decided she would try and make up for it somehow. Willem would be sleeping on the same floor as her for the rest of the week, and the rest of his life, and she would show him that they could be friends after all... Even if she had, admittedly, screwed up royally.

    "Penn? Hello?"

    Penn had been so distracted by Willem's absence that she had almost forgotten the girl right in front of her. She snapped herself back to the present. "Hey, sorry... Yeah, I met them. They're alright, but Erron's kind of a bitch..."

    Hex laughed jovially and tossed her hair around her head. "I know that feeling! So I just wanted to say I heard about you. I think we could be really great friends, and really great partners in the arena."

    "Sorry, but I've already got some partners," she said. Penn waved her hand through the air and sighed. "If everyone's just gonna be friends with everyone, it would defeat the purpose, wouldn't it?"

    Hex looked hurt momentarily, but put it aside. She leaned in and whispered. "I know about the Hawk," she said, her breath hot on Penn's ear. "And I know you know too. Talk to me at dinner if you want to know more."

    "Wait, what?" Penn's heart stopped when she heard the name the Hawk. Her mind was crawling around, looking for answers to all her questions, and all of a sudden, at the mention of the name, it all came rushing back. "Who is it? Can you tell me?" Hex laughed infuriatingly and walked off back to join Neo and the rest of her district. That settled it. Penn had to know more.

    Districts Seven and Eight were called up to the front, and Penn found it a bit strange that two little boys were being dragged along by the girl from District Seven. Was that even allowed here? But she supposed it was, since they were there. Maybe she would have been allowed to bring Dray... No, she would have enough time to feel sorry tonight as she slept. She remembered what Edric said... She had to put on a face.

    When Districts Nine and Ten were called onto the lift, Penn stepped forward, along with Willem, Fivel, Cysha and all the people from District Ten. But as she made her way toward the lift at the front of the room, another man drew her attention. Towards the edge of the doorway, standing next to Everra was an old man who looked like he was also from the Capitol. He was carrying a wooden cane and had a monocle over his eye, and the eye behind it was looking directly at her.

    It was an intense look the old man was giving her. She looked back several more times to make sure he wasn't just looking at all the different tributes, but every time, he was watching her. What did that old man want with her? What was his deal? Everra seemed to notice this as well and whispered something to the man, and when he replied, she seemed not to take the matter lightly. Her eyes met with the old Gamemaker's for just a fraction of a second, and then the lift doors closed and they were being shot upwards.

    When Penn looked around, nobody seemed to have noticed the old Gamemaker's fascination with her. She wondered if they even noticed him. She had seen him and automatically thought something was wrong, because the man had weak legs, and everyone was healthy and thriving in the Capitol. Penn thought he stuck out like a sore thumb, but the others didn't share this opinion.

    When the doors opened, on floor nine, Hex bumped her lightly in the shoulder and beamed. "See you at dinner time!" She exclaimed happily, and Penn didn't have time to respond before the doors slammed shut again and they were gone.

    "Wow..." said Willem, looking throughout the room. It was the first time since they'd arrived at the Capitol that he didn't look ready to throttle Penn at a moment's notice. He was too busy taking in the room. And when Penn joined him, she saw why.

    The room shone like diamonds. Everything radiated luxury, from the leather sofas to the television monitors on all sides of the room to the tables with faces made of clear crystal. The carpet was so soft she could have slept on it, and so the first thing she did was kick off her shoes and lay down on the carpet. It smelled so nice and new, better than anything she had ever felt before. The shelves were stocked with food. There was meats, cheeses, all sorts of flavored liquids, and fresh vegetables for decoration. And everywhere else, there was alcohol of all different sorts: wine, whiskey, so many beers she couldn't even name them all. There was no way she and the rest could eat all this in their lives, let alone within the span of the week. And the wall... at the back wall was the most wonderful view. The entire wall was made of glass, looking out on the city line below. For a moment, she was glad she had been rash and skipped districts; the view from floor one must not have been near as nice. She went over to the wall and pressed her face against the glass. She could have stayed at this wall forever, gazing out at the majesty beyond.

    "Oh, I never get tired of seeing the tributes reactions to the room," Fivel said, clapping his hands together gladly. Cysha grunted. "This truly is a wonderful occasion. It's like a holiday."

    "I don't even want to see the rooms!" Willem said sarcastically, bursting with excitement. "The Capitol may be sending us to die, but they sure know how to send us out in style!"

    Penn looked down from her window onto the ground below. Where the painted bricks were woven together intricately in the Tribute's Pavilion, from so far away, Penn saw what was meant to be seen. It was a massive portrait of a striking young face with cleanly slicked back hair. The Eagle of the Capitol flew free in the background. She knew that if she remembered anything, she would have recognized his face immediately, but nothing came to mind. Without warning, Fivel appeared next to her and put his hand on her shoulder, his many golden rings cutting into her skin. "President Snow... The portrait is quite magnificent isn't it? What a wonderful man..."

    Penn looked down again at the giant testament to the man who had built the world from the ashes of the Dark Days. President Snow, in that picture, was only moderately older than Penn herself. She couldn't imagine having an entire nation thrust upon her at such a young age, much less being able to actually lead it effectively. Perhaps that was why Snow truly started the Hunger Games... because his hand was too weak on its own.

    And there, nine floors below, Penn saw the handicapped man limping off across President Snow's massive face, Everra strolling beside him. Perhaps she would learn what he wanted with her at some point in the next week, but for right now she pushed the strange man from her mind. This-this room, this city, these games-was what she came for. So many people had died to bring her here, and though her heart did pain for them, nothing would come of their deaths if she spent the whole week brooding in the corner like the boy from Four. So she told herself, maybe everything would be okay after all... She was going into the Hunger Games... and after roughly two weeks she would be embarking on her victory tour.

    But the Hunger Games were not her destiny nor anyone else's. After all this time, she had grown enough to know better.

    End of Chapter 1

  • Wait, wait, wait, who actually chose the careers for Penn? Come on, guys, you don't want that bitch to get any chances during the games, do you? She already has far too good odds and to make things worse, it seems she actually got along well with those jerks. Damn it, it seems she just gained some allies for a while, putting her into an even better position. Agh, fuck that bitch. One thing is for sure, I'll try my utmost to prevent that she gets her victory tour. Doesn't matter how many tributes she manages to kill, and now that she has her similarly-minded allies I am afraid she will absolutely murder like half of the kids there, but that utter lunatic is going down. Penn is not going to win this.

    That said, I found it amusing that she had the nerve to call Erron a bitch. Sure thing, Erron most likely is a bitch, that's correct, but man, Penn, of all people, has no right to judge her :D That was delusional, even for her standards. Man, she's just the worst and the sooner she can accept that, lay down and die miserably, the better.

    @mr.quality @janitor @supersagig @UkilledKenny @AAA_Jane @xSensus @WildlingKing @LiquidChicagoTed @TheLier @TWD_stan 67% of readers chose

  • Haha, well one of the people who chose the Careers was a friend of mine who's reading it off the site, but I don't know who the other vote is. Maybe it's one of the others and they just didn't leave a comment? Confusing... But haha yeah, Penn's also a bitch, but a different style than Erron. She's more classically bitchy.

    Wait, wait, wait, who actually chose the careers for Penn? Come on, guys, you don't want that bitch to get any chances during the games, do

  • Oh damn, took some time to catch up, I'm not used to episodes coming out this fast, not that I will complain!

    Things are about to get more intense, can't wait to seee what will happen.

    @mr.quality @janitor @supersagig @UkilledKenny @AAA_Jane @xSensus @WildlingKing @LiquidChicagoTed @TheLier @TWD_stan 67% of readers chose

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