The Hunger Games [Character Submission Open]



  • It's probably worth noting that I also like her. because of her faults. Her type of character is what I always feel attracted to. Not a bad guy but not 100% good either. Feels more human. Hopefully that makes sense.

    Huh, tell me wha... I'm pretty sure that Penn is my favorite character. I just find her so interesting! Just kidding, jus

  • @LiquidChicagoTed @TWD_stan @Javier Raviolli @Mathea @Tales-from-Telltale @AgentZ46 @imighthavebrokenit

    57% of readers chose to [B. Convince them of your skills.]

    Penn reached to her belt and felt the rough texture of the strap where her knife had used to be. She knew she had the ability to show them what she was made of, but a festering, burning desire for respect wasn't enough to make a weapon appear out of thin air. She held her hands out to the people of District Nine, baring her wrists.

    All except the mayor were confused. "What are you doing?" Ulysses asked nervously.

    The boy, Willem, mouthed those same words soundlessly. He looked confused—the only emotion he had shown since she'd interrupted the meeting.

    The dust settled around the hall, and Penn smiled. "I volunteer as tribute, take me in."

    The green-haired escort named Fivel spoke up. "Boz, what do we do with this crazy girl? We can't send this girl into the Games. She's a criminal. She hopped Districts, for pete's sake!"

    "Let her speak," the mayor said softly, steepling his fingers before him. "Girl, you would wish to take the place of Emmy here?"

    "Yes, sir," Penn replied.

    "And you expect to bend my whims to that of a girl I've never met who looks like she just walked out of the business end of a chicken coop?" He frowned. "As you can see, our District is by no means a clean estate, but how would it look if we offered you up to the Capitol? We would be made the laughing stock."

    "I can clean up and change clothes." Penn didn't know why his eyes were only surface level. This man was the mayor of an entire District. He was supposed to be intelligent.

    The girl named Emmy stood from her chair, looking from her father to the mayor, and then to Penn. She was nervous, and shaking, as though she couldn't tell what was going on around her. "You want to take my place? You want to rescue me?" she asked, ecstatically.

    "Sit down," Mayor Boz directed her, a stern tone permeating the high hall. "If you are not a tribute, Ms. Brahnum, you will simply live out the rest of your days in a prison cell." Emmy, defeated, sank back into her seat.

    "That's my daughter you're talking to!" Ulysses spat at the mayor. He pointed at Penn. "Can't you see this girl is your best option?"

    "And I would advise you to be careful as well, sir," Mayor Boz responded. "You and your family have been treading on thin ice for the past month. All it would take is one strike from my Peacekeepers to crack it and submerge you." He turned to Fivel, who remained positively aloof, looking Penn over and over with judgmental eyes. "Frankly, I am not one for the technicalities of your Capitol, Mr. Fivel. Is there any chance that admitting Miss Cassidy would be a legal battle?"

    The green-haired man seemed to calm upon being asked the question. "I suppose it could be tiptoed around. So long as the answer is never revealed, I could see it going smoothly with little consequence... Although, I do question the ethics of the choice. The girl is a runner, no doubt about it. Do you know what the Capitol does to runners? They make them into avoxes. Are you really considering her as our tribute?"

    Mayor Boz didn't answer, but with a nod. "Emmy Brahnum is a thief. Willem Thomsen has already served time in our detention facility. I see no difference between the two of them and a runner."

    Fivel shook his head. "In the rules, it clearly states, 'A male and female tribute will be chosen from each District.'" He stabbed a harsh finger in Penn's direction. "Sheis not from the District!"

    The mayor shook his head in response. "Was there not an announcement of the amendment of the rules? We choose our own tributes this year, Mr. Fivel. The girl seems more than happy to take the part. I've spent the last week running from town to town in pursuit of our tributes, and I haven't had one single volunteer... That is until her."

    Fivel and Mayor Boz shared a moment of debate, and took one another by the arm, leading them away from the table to talk in private. The boy, Willem, tapped Penn on the shoulder and she turned to find a confused, stunning face. "So you're really a runner? What's the outside like?" he asked.

    Penn ran another finger over the leather of her empty scabbard. "What?" she laughed. "You looking to get out? I can hook you up."

    Willem smiled back, maintaining eye contact. "You're gonna be trouble, aren't you?"

    Penn bit her lip and wiped a strand of black hair from her eyes.

    "Penn Cassidy!" The mayor shouted from across the room, jumping her from her trance. He removed his top hat and used it to wave her. "We have decided that you shall take the place of District Nine's tribute." Strangely enough, Emmy was the one to jump up in excitement of the announcement. "But you must convince us."

    Penn smiled. "I can hit a target from thirty feet away with my knife."

    "Perfect!" Fivel exclaimed, clapping his hands together. Somehow, he seemed back on board the idea. Mayor Boz must have convinced him of the plan.

    "I'm a fighter," Penn continued. Adrenaline was pumping through her veins, and she found she couldn't stop talking. "Back in One, I was a Career, and I feel confident in saying, District Nine has never seen the likes of me before. I'm strong, I'm fast, I'm smart, I'm not afraid of death, and I can chew up guys twice my size." She flashed a smile at Willem, who winked back. "You put me in that arena, you have a guaranteed win."

    "Wow, a Career!" exclaimed Fivel, with big green eyes full of wonder. "Herman, think what kind of respect Nine could earn with a Career."

    "Shut it, Green," said Boz with a wave of the finger. He looked Penn over once, and then twice. Penn didn't like the way he was scanning her with his eyes... "I think..." he said. "I think we might have our tribute."

    Upon those words, Penn was lifted off her feet by an instant feeling of weightlessness. The last two weeks, since she had woken up had all been leading up to this moment. She felt a tear coming to her eye, and then two, and then three. All of a sudden, she was crying right there in the hall. She wished her father were here to see this, or Dray...

    Mayor Boz smiled and placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. "Pick yourself up, girl. You have to smile for the cameras." Then he turned to the escort. "Mr. Fivel, please secure a room for Ms. Cassidy in the Justice Building. I'd say she's earned a night of rest and a place to kick her feet up, wouldn't you say?"

    "Oh, yes!" Fivel clapped his hands together, and took Penn by the shoulder. His sleeve felt light and velvety at once when Penn's arm touched it. "The Capitol is going to love you!" he said. "Sponsors from all over Panem, I tell you!"

    When Penn looked over, Willem was leaning against the table, resting his head on his defined jaw. He nodded upwards at her, and smiled, and Penn blushed. Then she felt bad for blushing, as she remembered Dray back home, and how faithful he was to her. Then she bit her lip again.

    Across the room, Emmy was leaping with joy, crying all over, wrapping her arms around her father and kissing him on his bearded cheek. Ulysses was crying too, and returned her a kiss on the forehead. Penn felt butterflies in her heart, and they made her blush again. She had given them that... just by taking Emmy's part in the Games. Then she was imagining all the applause she would receive upon her return to District Nine. They would all love her... She had seen how dirty their streets and their people were... She would be their savior.

    "Wait!" called Ulysses, rushing up to Penn and her green escort before they managed to leave the hall. "Wait! Can I have a word with her?" he asked.

    "But, of course," Fivel smiled and released Penn's arm.

    Ulysses took a moment, and then grasped her hand very tightly. He was closing his eyes, but the waterworks were still flowing. "I... I can't thank you enough," he said. "If you... If you come back, you can always expect to have a friend in Ulysses Brahnum. You... you saved my daughter. Thank you. Thank you!"

    "You're welcome," Penn said, and she shook his hand back. She was crying now too.

    "Come now," said Fivel, swiveling her around toward the door of the hall. "You've had a long, weary journey, and the one before you will be even harder. You'd best get some sleep."

    And he pushed open the door, onto a twilit District Nine. The Justice Building shimmered orange, perfectly in line with the setting sun behind it. The butterflies in Penn's chest were still fluttering. She went to sleep that night with a smile on her face, the butterflies still fluttering.

    End of Chapter 16

  • edited July 2018

    @LiquidChicagoTed @TWD_stan @Javier Raviolli @Mathea @Tales-from-Telltale @AgentZ46 @imighthavebrokenit

    Chapter 17: Less Travelled By

    Penn Cassidy

    District Nine was plain, yellow and flat. But from up here, where the Justice Building almost pierced the clouds, Penn looked out the window, and found something beautiful in it. The sun was shining, and the clouds were rolling along the horizon, fluffy and whiter than snow. They casted fantastic shadows over the grassland beyond the town, and from way up here, Penn could see the massive portrait they painted on the landscape.

    But Penn was leaving District Nine today, and she was eager. The train was leaving for the Capitol in several hours, and Penn was determined to be aboard, and looking presentable. So she woke up at the break of day that morning and prepared.

    She had washed all the dirt and grime from her face and body last night, but still she felt unclean, so she took both a shower and a bath. Hot, steaming water was not something she had known back home, and it felt excellent, soaking all her worries away. But... "I love you," Penn had said to Dray when she left for District Nine, and he'd responded with silence. Standing there under the rain, she reflected that not all her worries had been washed...

    The green-haired man, Fivel, while he was certainly strange, Penn had found was truly a nice man. He had personally seen to it that she had the finest garments in the District, and although they were plain white and boring (which Fivel apologized relentlessly for), Penn was so happy to have them she leapt up and kissed him on the cheek.

    "You're hurt," Fivel reflected, looking at where she'd taken her bandage off in the shower. The armadillo bite still hurt, but she could move her fingers normally again, and the wounds had thoroughly closed. It was safe enough she felt it could wait until she reached the Capitol to find a doctor.

    She put on the white, lacy blouse and the gray skirt, making sure to strap on the empty scabbard from where she'd thrown away her knife. For the rest of the morning, she just sat on her bed and stared up at the ceiling, contemplating whether she should have thrown it away. It had been her father's... Daddy would surely be angry when he heard what she'd done with it, but at the moment, she didn't care. If she had kept the knife, she may very well have gotten caught up in adrenaline again, the same way she had that day in the creek...

    There came a knock at the door, and without warning, in walked Willem, the other tribute. He was wearing white and grey just like her, but had undone the top three buttons on his button down so she could see just the hint of chestnut hair peeking from behind it. A part of her wanted to throw herself into his arms right there.

    "Willem!" Penn exclaimed, sitting up on the bed that she hadn't bothered to make. "What are you doing here?"

    His face was much less playful than before, and more rushed. He was watching at the window, through the eyeglass on the door. "Penn... What were you thinking?"

    "What do you mean?" she asked.

    He didn't answer her question. He didn't even look at her, but went to the windows and closed the linen drapes with a hasty swipe. "Are we alone?" he asked.


    And then he stopped dead when he saw, in the corner, a rolling white ball with a black dot in the center: a camera, fixated on the two of them. With narrow eyes, he picked up a glass that had been set at the end of her bedside and chucked it full force at the camera. With an electrical shock and a crash, the camera came loose and tumbled to the floor.

    "What the hell?" Penn asked, rushing over to the camera to make sure it was alright. "Why did you do that? What will they say? What will they—?"

    "What will they do?" Willem turned to her. He stole the camera out of her hands and dropped it on the ground, stomped on it with his boot and pulverized it into zapping pieces of machinery. "It doesn't matter what they do. We're their tributes."

    "They can't hurt you," added Penn, standing up and meeting the boy at eye level.

    Willem was pacing about the room, in a panic. "I'm not talking about me, Penn. All I did was sell morphling on the town's edge. You... I don't know what they'll do to you."

    "They won't do anything to me," Penn said. "They just said so. I'm their tribute."

    Willem turned to her and stopped in his panic for a second to sigh. "You haven't been here long, huh? You don't know the mayor like I do... He was smiling, girl."

    "Don't call me girl," Penn retorted. "Isn't it good that he was smiling?"

    "No." He shook his head like this was the most obvious thing in the world.

    Penn flushed bright red. "Stop talking in code and tell me what the problem is."

    He took a step closer. "If I tell you, you have to promise you won't rat me out," he said. "This is important."

    "Okay, I promise," Penn said, stepping towards him. She didn't shrink away from him.

    "Mayor Boz is dangerous," Willem said. "Watch yourself around him. And trust me when I say I don't usually put my neck on the line like this. The Capitol elected that bastard for a reason. When that escort comes and opens the door for you, don't go with him. Run."

    A part of Penn wanted to ask Willem endless questions about what he was prattling on about, and another part of her wanted to throw her arms around him. That was silly, though. She had a boyfriend, and he was a tribute. Off-limits. She steeled herself from her emotions. "Why would I run?" she asked him. "Is this some silly ploy for trying to escape the Games? If so, I don't want any part of it. I meant it when volunteered. I travelled four days through the muck to get here. I'm not screwing up that chance."

    Willem sighed and shook his head, and instantly Penn sneered. That condescending glare... It was like he thought he was better than her. "Well, that's a topic for another day," Willem replied, and made to leave.

    In one sentence, Penn's entire perception of the boy from Nine had shifted completely. He wasn't rugged, he was just a dirty farmhand. Dray was ten times the man he was. "Hey, you can't leave me here," Penn shouted at him. "Stop right there!"

    Willem turned back. Then he pulled from his pocket a tiny golden object. He shook it in the air, and it glinted against the setting sun. A key... "I was trying to help you, Penn," he said. "I was going to leave you the key ring, but seeing as you don't really want to leave..."

    He stepped out of the room and closed the door with a slam behind him. Penn threw herself against the door and jiggled the handle, but it was already locked. He locked me in! Penn thought with disgust. That absolute bastard! Willem gave her a smile from the other side of the window (was that supposed to be cute?) and set off down the hallway. "Stop!" Penn shouted, slamming her fists on the doorway, but he was already gone.

    The nerve of him! He had invaded her privacy, filled her head with lies, and locked her in a dark room littered with the remains of the broken camera! Penn stormed around the room, rage coursing through her veins. Mayor Boz was dangerous, ha! That man was only taller than her because he wore a top hat! What could he do to her that she couldn't do back tenfold?

    The people of District Nine had been kind to her. Mayor Boz had been remarkably reasonable when he'd heard that she'd hopped the fence. Hell, he'd admitted her as Nine's tribute! And Fivel was eccentric, for sure, but he was from the Capitol, so that had to be expected. He was harmless! What delusion was Willem under, thinking that they meant her any harm. She was their best chance at a victory!

    No, Penn decided. Willem was just angry they had scooped him up out of his comfortable jail cell into the Hunger Games. After all, he was a criminal wasn't he? What reason did she have to trust him? Even if he did have gorgeous eyes?

    An hour later, Penn still hadn't opened the blinds on her windows, seething in anger at her entrapment. She didn't try to fix the camera—it was so obviously broken. She may have been good at throwing knives, but she didn't know how to do much else. That was part of the reason the Hunger Games were so important to her... She wanted to prove that she still had worth... She needed to prove it, so bad—to her father, to Dray, to District One, to Panem.

    A knock came at the door, a kind of light, rhythmic rapping, and without even getting up, Penn knew who it was. "Come in," she proclaimed, and the door clicked open. "And let me out of this godforsaken room..."

    Fivel gracefully pushed the door open, pulling back a lock of thick, green hair. "My, you've certainly made a place for yourself in here. Why are the lights off?" He jumped with fright when he stepped on the remains of the camera and they gave him a light shock. "What have you done to the camera?" he asked angrily. "Have we not been good to you?"

    "You've been great to me," replied Penn. "It wasn't me, it was my 'partner.' Willem did it."

    "Well, I'll have to have a word with him," said Fivel. "If you'll come with me, Ms. Cassidy, it's time to leave." He presented an elbow, and Penn rose from the bed to link arms with him, wiping away a rogue tear.

    They stepped into the hallway, all white and grey corridors, and proceeded to the elevators. Penn noticed as they passed, that the room where Willem had been staying was ajar, and empty. She caught a peek inside as they went past, and saw that the coverlet had been strewn about the room, and a broken candlestick laid on the bed. The drapes on the wall were black where Willem had tried to burn them... "What happened to Willem?" Penn asked. "Where is he?"

    Fivel didn't meet her eyes, but sighed. "He... He is being dealt with." Then, he realized the ominous tones behind the statement, and smiled down at her. "I... We are sorry for your confinement, Ms. Cassidy, but it was a necessary maneuver."

    "My confinement?" Penn asked.

    "Yes, you were locked in your room," Fivel explained. "You understand, you are not our prisoner, we simply must ensure that your place in the Hunger Games is not put in jeopardy."

    "I... I was locked? By you?"


    So Willem hadn't locked her door... He had unlocked it... This made everything he had said—about leaving her the key, and about trying to help her—make much more sense. And if he truly had been trying to help her... Maybe he hadn't been lying after all...

    "Penn?" Fivel asked. "Ms. Cassidy, you didn't answer my question."


    He scoffed. "How was it that Mr. Thomsen got into your room this morning?"

    Penn's heart was pumping. She broke free of Fivel's grasp, and took off down the hallway to shouts of "Stop!" and "Come back here, Miss!"

    The Justice Building was round, so the hallways never met their ends, but instead ran in a circle. The elevator was on the north side of the building, so she ran south. She had to dodge past a sad avox woman who was cleaning one of the rooms and leap over her cart, but she was much faster than the escort from the Capitol. She managed to get all the way to the other side of the building before she realized the only way down was through the elevator...

    So Penn fled all the way around the circular hallway and ended up right at the elevator doors. Luckily, Fivel was nowhere to be seen. She pressed the call button over and over but nothing would happen. It wouldn't even light up. Then she noticed the keyhole. There was a key... That's when it truly set in for Penn, the anxiety, the claustrophobia. Why were there no exits on this floor except the elevator? And what kind of elevator had a key? She really was a prisoner. What had they done to her?! Willem had been right. She regretted every bad thing she thought about him. All she wanted now was to get down to the ground.

    A moment later, a breathless Fivel arrived at the elevator door. She had come to the conclusion that the only way down was with his key. "Are you done?" Fivel panted, hands on his knees. "Are you ready to cooperate, Ms. Cassidy? I can assure you that this will only be harder if you struggle."

    Should Penn go quietly?

  • "The drapes on the wall were black where Dray had tried to burn them... "

    I'm confused, when did that happen?

    @LiquidChicagoTed @TWD_stan @Javier Raviolli @Mathea @Tales-from-Telltale @AgentZ46 @imighthavebrokenit Chapter 17: Less Travelled By

  • Oops that’s a typo. It means to say Willem.

    "The drapes on the wall were black where Dray had tried to burn them... " I'm confused, when did that happen?

  • I thought that might have been it.

    Oops that’s a typo. It means to say Willem.

  • Hey guys the next part will go up tomorrow!

  • Ah, there we go! Now we're talking. While I mean what I said before, about not outright saying what it was that made me hate the original Penn so much, I think I can go into a bit more detail now. See, it was the original events of the last part in Chapter 16. We chose to demonstrate Penn's skills and it ended with several people dead, pretty much a huge clusterfuck that can be traced back to Penn being careless and frankly not even bothering to think about people beyond herself. That was a tendency painfully obvious in that part and the ones to come, though that itself wasn't even enough to make me loathe her so much. No, it was her way of dealing with these events. Her actions left several people dead, innocents who meant her no harm, yet instead of owning up to it and trying to redeem herself, she ended up blaming literally anyone but herself, even going as far as to blame Skeeter, the District 1 girl who dared to be reaped instead of her. That is the level of delusion shown by the original Penn and the main reason why I wanted her to pay for recklessly causing the death of quite a number of people. She had been the one at fault back then, yet instead of mourning the dead, she never showed anything beyond pitying herself and well, that cemented her as a truly vile bitch from my point of view and I don't think my own opinion on her could have ever improved at all in the original, not after seeing how utterly selfish she was back then.

    In the reboot though, we made good choices. I can rightfully say, her storyline is vastly different at this point and I have legitimately no idea what is going to happen in the next parts for her. And in turn, I must admit that she is a lot more sympathetic this time around. There is still some part of me refusing to like her, mostly because I fear she still has potential to be this bloodthirsty, selfish bitch, that she could slip into her old habits at any time. After all, there must be some ground on which she has been that inexcusably terrible in the original. If it can be held in check, no doubt thanks to our choices, maybe we will be able to open her eyes for what the games truly are, to make her a better person even before she ever gets into danger of becoming the character I used to hate with a passion. At the moment, she is far away from ever being that bad, but I suppose we gotta wait and see. She still remains my least favourite PoV, simply because her reason for wanting to win the games is still inherently off-putting, as opposed to Saul and Aura wanting to protect their siblings and Marten being pretty much screwed over by the world in order to be forced into the games. But I have to admit, she is a lot closer to them in terms of my liking this time around. I might actually not hate her anymore, which, I suppose, is something.

    @LiquidChicagoTed @TWD_stan @Javier Raviolli @Mathea @Tales-from-Telltale @AgentZ46 @imighthavebrokenit Chapter 17: Less Travelled By

  • But you at least dislike her right? Haha. What did you choose in that last part? It was a choice which wasn't even in the original.

    Ah, there we go! Now we're talking. While I mean what I said before, about not outright saying what it was that made me hate the original Pe

  • edited July 2018

    @LiquidChicagoTed @TWD_stan @Javier Raviolli @Mathea @Tales-from-Telltale @AgentZ46 @imighthavebrokenit

    60% of readers chose to [A. Go quietly.]

    "Okay," said Penn. She had lost. It was over.

    "Ms. Cassidy, if you'll come with me." He stood up straight and presented his green-clad elbow again. This time, Penn took it with great reluctance. Even his velvety sleeve couldn't make it feel any less uncomfortable.

    Once in the elevator, Fivel looked down at her with judging eyes. She was a pawn now. She had volunteered for the Hunger Games to earn her freedom. She had escaped from District One to earn her freedom. She thought that once she got here, she would be free... She laughed at the thought. She had just hopped from one prison to another.

    "Ms. Cassidy, I—" started Mr. Fivel.

    “Don't talk to me," she spat at him.

    He huffed indignantly. "I am sorry, Ms. Cassidy, but that is not how this goes. You are not in control, and it's very important that you know that. You are a tribute, that is all."

    “I'm not just a tribute," said Penn, throwing her black hair violently to one side. "I'm your damn victor, you ungrateful wretch! When we get down to the ground, you are going to let me go."

    “You are in no position to give demands," Fivel sneered. "You were our guest before. Then you tried to run. Your hands may be free, but don't think for a moment that there aren't shackles there. Your life belongs to the Capitol now. You belong to District Nine."

    Penn began to cry. Why was this happening to her? She had thought she was helping by volunteering. Tributes were supposed to be respected and revered! That was always how it was back in District One. The black clouds covered up her memories, but one thing she could remember was the Hall of Careers, brimming full of people, all chanting one name... And it wasn't hers...

    “Stop crying," said Fivel, and he stood up straight. He pulled on his tie. "It's unbecoming for a young lady. You represent District Nine now, not your momma's boy, District One. Here, we work for our way." It almost made Penn laugh, coming from Fivel. The man was the very picture of privilege.

    The rest of the elevator ride passed by in silence.

    At the ground, Fivel released Penn's arm and shoved her into the common area. Where there had been officials and commoners milling about there was no one. In their stead were two chairs, one of them empty. The lights were dim, so she couldn't see his face, but she knew it was Willem from his figure. His head was slumped to one side, unconscious.

    "What did you do to him?" Penn asked, slapping Fivel in the chest.

    "Me?" He had a concerned expression on his face, and pursed his green lips. "Why I wouldn't hurt a fly. I positively detest the sight of blood." Then he looked at Penn, waiting expectantly, and said, "Take a seat, Ms. Cassidy."

    Freedom. It was a word Penn thought she knew. Before that moment, she thought she understood what she wanted. She would tell herself she was destined for the Hunger Games. But, now, she stood in a dark room, with a man who was telling her to sit down. He wasn't threatening restraints, but she knew imprisonment when she saw it. She was bound by time... By fear...

    No, Penn thought. She wouldn't be subjected to this. She charged Fivel as fast as she could. He didn't have any time to react before Penn was on top of him, pinning him to the ground with his wrists trapped down. She nailed his neck with her arm. "Tell me what's going on!" she shouted at him.

    "Get off me!" Fivel squirmed from beneath her. "Get off!"

    "Ms. Cassidy. Remove yourself from him." From behind her, the mayor stood, emerging from the shadows. He spoke with an edge to his voice.

    Penn looked right up at him. "You are holding me hostage!" she cried. "I was a prisoner in my room, and I have a right to be angry!"

    A crowd had amassed from the street, wide-eyed and concerned. Peacekeepers were bursting from the walls to join them, drawn to the sound of the commotion. Within a moment, she was staring down the barrels of a dozen gunswith death hiding behind their triggers. She had no choice. She released herself from the escort and fell back to the ground. He breathed and sputtered when she released her arm from his windpipe. Exhausted, she pulled herself into the chair beside Willem, thinking that was where she posed the least threat.

    “And you are a criminal," Mayor Boz replied.

    "I volunteered for you!" she pleaded.

    “Yes, but you still broke the law. You are here in the base of the Justice Building. How dare you defile it with your crimes?"

    "Hey! You wanna pick on someone your own size?" It was Willem's voice, but heavy and drowned-sounding. The mayor shined a light on him to reveal his cheeks were covered in blood and one of his eyes was swollen shut. "I told her to run! I was the one who made all this worse! If you want to punish someone, punish me."

    "You are being punished too, son," The mayor replied. "Both of you will serve your time in the Games."

    "What happened here, sir?" one of the Peacekeepers asked, his confusion showing through his black visor. "Who should we take in?"

    “This matter will be dealt with internally," he told the Peacekeeper. "The girl, Emmy Brahnum, was an intruder from another District, along with her father, Ulysses. They are dangerous, and they must be scourged. Find them and bring them to me, but leave me several men to make sure our tributes remain safe."

    “What?" Penn cried from the ground. "What are you saying?!"

    “Aye, sir," said the Peacekeeper with a nod. "Alright, boys, you heard him, let's move out! Find them! No one leaves town!"

    All the Peacekeepers in their white armor left the Justice Building as quickly as they had come, off in search of Emmy and her father. The mayor had a pained look on his face. What a hypocrite! He talks about Justice and then condemns that girl for a crime she didn't commit. Penn committed that crime! And as she thought that, understanding washed over her...

    One by one, some of the dirty villagers started to seep through the blockade and into the dark room of the Justice Building, and Penn could hear from behind her the volatile sounds of a fight breaking out. "Keep them out of here," Boz commanded, and the Peacekeepers did their best to carry it out. "Get back, you animals!" cried one of them, beating a man over the head with his baton.

    Fivel stood at the mayor's side, and looked down at where Penn sat in her chair. "Happy Hunger Games..." he said.

    “You... you lied to them," Willem spoke softly through puffy lips. "Why?"

    Mayor Boz turned away from them and slipped his hands into his pockets. "Stealing... is an offense punishable by life sentence," he told them. "However, leaving your District... That is a federal offense. It's punishable by the total eradication of one's family line. Penn Cassidy, I just saved the lives of whatever family you still have out there."

    The man had done Penn a favor, so why did it feel so wrong? Somehow, it felt as though he had dug a knife deep in her chest and was refusing to pull it out. She found herself wondering how things had gone so downhill so quickly. One minute everything was going well, and the next...

    "You sent those Peacekeepers after Emmy and her father..." Willem said. "They were innocent!"

    “No, boy," he replied. "They may have been innocent of crossing Districts, but they were not innocent. You forget why Emmy was our tribute in the first place. It may not seem like it, but I am still looking out for everyone's best interest."

    "You mean to kill them?" Fivel asked the mayor, an unbelieving expression on his face. "Ulysses and his daughter don't deserve to die. What are you going to do, just shoot them and let them rot in unmarked graves?"

    "I don't know how you people behave in the Capitol, Mr. Fivel," Boz said, "but here, we honor justice. We honor tradition. Every crime has an equal punishment."

    “In the Capitol, we have trials for the convicted! In the Capitol, we are at peace with each other! What you speak of is frontier justice! I will not allow it. They must be given trials."

    “And what exactly qualifies you to make executive decisions about justice in District Nine?" Mayor Boz spat back.

    Fivel huffed. "The same thing that gives the Capitol the power to govern the Districts..." He frowned at all of them, and was met with scorn. "So, if you would, Mr. Boz, please call your men back here and tell them the truth."

    "This is why you elected me, Mr. Fivel. So stand aside and let me do this my way."

    "No, this is—"

    “Cedrick!" The mayor bellowed. "Leave us!"

    Fivel was struck down for a moment, but then puffed himself up taller and attempted to stand up for himself. "I have served this District far too long to have to listen to this! You know I don't care to come to this yellow abomination of a District. And I won't lie to the Capitol for you! It would betray my honor as a man! I demand respect."

    "Then you will get none," the mayor shot back.

    The two men began to shout at one another violently, almost forgetting Penn's and Willem's presence in the room. They were locked into their argument and would not let up for anyone. Penn felt a tug on her shoulder and turned to see Willem's one deep blue eye (the other was swollen shut) looking back at her with concern. "We need to make a run for it," he whispered. "They won't notice. If we run, we could escape the District. You had a way in, what if—"

    "What are you saying?" Penn pulled her arm away. "You're suggesting I give up and run away? I paid everything for this. There's no way I'm backing down now."

    The boy took a moment to look bewildered in front of her. She really did not understand why it was so hard for people to understand her intentions. "Wait..." he said. "I forgot... You actually want to be in the Games!"

    "I wasn't chosen in my District!" Penn whispered back. "That's why I ran. This year is my last chance to make it big... Get the respect of my District... And the Capitol."

    “Do you even know what the Hunger Games are?" he asked, almost spitting bloody saliva at her. "You clearly don't if you think it's this easy. You bloody Careers..."

    "I know what they are, asshole." She scowled at him. She felt tears start to well up in her eyes. It felt like everyone was against her. She just wanted it all to stop.

    "Tell me then. What are they?"

    “Twenty-four tributes go into the arena and fight to the death..." she answered, crossing her arms and scooting her chair away from him.

    "No." Willem shook his bloody head. "The Hunger Games. Twenty-three families have to live the rest of their lives wondering if there was a way they could have stopped it. And the twenty-fourth tribute, though she may be alive, she has the blood of all the others on her hands. Sure, you may have the respect of the Capitol... less than ten thousand people who don't give a damn about anything other than their fancy-colored hair and exquisite dining... But you have the scorn of the Districts. You don't go back a hero! If you go back at all, you go back a traitor!"

    “How the hell can you sit there and say all that?" The more she thought about it though, the more what he said started to make sense, so she shut it from her mind. "The Hunger Games are my last hope of having a purpose in life!"

    “How can you say that?" he screamed, still not as loudly as Boz and Fivel. "What has happened in your life that you feel so highly about cold-blooded murder?"

    "I lost my memory! Okay?!" Tears began to pour from Penn's eyes. "I can't remember anything past two weeks ago!"

    “Five hundred fifty-two people can't remember anything at all now because they're dead, Penn!" he bellowed. "And you're about to join their ranks! How can you not understand that?!"

    Penn fell back into her seat, tears leaking through her fingers. She couldn't handle this. She just wanted all of it to stop. She wanted to be back home again, in Daddy's arms, Dray by her side. And for the first time she felt regret—true regret. She didn't want to be in the Hunger Games... Why had she ever thought that? Willem was right... How could she have been so blind?

    “Enough!" Mayor Boz called, pulling silence through the loud arguments. He let out a long sigh and looked in Penn's and Willem's direction, still bound by threat in their seats. "I suppose we should say hello to our new tributes."

    “Hello..." Fivel muttered through his sparkly teeth. "And I will escort you to the train..."

    "We're leaving now?" Willem asked, his one good eye going wide. "The train doesn't leave for another couple hours!"

    “The train may not leave, but you will have to stay there in the comfort of your cabin," he continued. "We can't risk you trying to fight your way out again."

    “I can't take this lying down!" Willem cried. "I demand to spend the next few hours with my family!"

    Mayor Boz shook his head, brushing his whiskers with his fingers. "I wish I could believe that, Mr. Thomsen. You do not have a family."

    “I have friends I can go to! I'm not alone!"

    "I don't know if you remember this, but you are a prisoner." Boz shot him a stern look. "Prisoners belong in their cells."

    Willem and Penn looked towards one another, and then to the Peacekeepers still guarding the doors. Penn knew that they were defeated. She knew she would be spending the next few hours entrapped in the cabin along with Willem. Mr. Fivel clapped his hands and stepped towards the two of them. "Well, if that's all done and settled, we will take our walk."

    He stepped over to their chairs and grabbed each by the shoulder, spinning them around towards the door. As he started to step forward, Boz began to follow along with him. "Where is the train?" Penn asked, wiping a tear from her eye. She began to try to rebuild her previous frame of mind.

    "Not too far." Fivel smiled. "The placement of the train is the same in every District. You should know that.

    But Penn didn't know that, because she knew nothing.

    When they approached the door, Penn took one last look back at the Justice Building. She didn't want to go anymore... She didn't want to go anymore... But Fivel's hand on her shoulder was concrete, unlike his usual liquid movement. He wouldn't let her go. And even if she tried to fight back, a dozen Peacekeepers would fill her full of lead the moment she laid a hand on him. Defeat flowed over Penn's consciousness like a stone in a flowing river.

    When the doors slammed behind them, she gazed around District Nine. Something was different now that she hadn't noticed before. There were men and women in raggedy clothing lining both sides of the street. Every single one of them stared at Penn with the intense hatred that was held in the eyes of Ulysses. As she began to walk through the aisle that the citizens had built, she looked around at them. Some of them shouted foul words at her, and some simply shot her glares of rage. "What's going on?" Penn asked, swinging her head around to Boz behind them. She tried to break free of Fivel's grip on her shoulder, but it only tightened. Willem was doing the same, though he was admittedly weaker.

    “Both of you will face justice," Boz glared directly into her eyes. "Willem, you are charged with peddling hard drugs, and Penn, I have exchanged your federal charge with Emmy's far less serious one. You should be thanking me. The ground we tread is thin, and anyone with too heavy a footstep will sink."

    Penn looked back out toward the parted crowd. A particularly ugly lady in the front row sucked back her gut and spat on the ground near her feet. When Penn's eyes found their way down the aisle away from the Justice Building, there was a large wooden pole with leather wrist straps on top, standing straight up from the ground. "You can't do this!" Penn shouted. "We're tributes!"

    "We're under the protection of the Capitol!" Willem added.

    Boz looked up towards the sky and took his top hat from his head. He held it in front of him and said, "Penn Cassidy... Willem Thomsen... You have persuaded me to lie to my people. I will not lie to Justice."

    End of Chapter 17

  • edited July 2018

    @LiquidChicagoTed @TWD_stan @Javier Raviolli @Mathea @Tales-from-Telltale @AgentZ46 @imighthavebrokenit

    Chapter 18: Twisted

    Aura Cantarella

    The Owl is a friend... The Owl is a friend... No matter how many times Aura turned the phrase over in her head, she could not pull any meaning from it. And who was Schrodinger? Throughout all her life she had never heard such a name. As she gazed down upon the small owl pendant in her palm, so many questions flooded her mind.

    The path behind her was empty. She wondered if Cass and Garth would miss her quite as much as she would miss them. The Haven was a couple miles in that direction, but it felt like she could walk forever and still be farther away.

    When Aura turned back around, she was met with the serene glow of the Victor's Village: a large row of identical houses, each and every one of them more spectacular than any other house you could find in all of District Seven. Hers was the one on the corner, with a sign in front labeled "the Cantarellas." She sucked in her gut and prepared herself for the lecture she would inevitably receive from her father upon arriving.

    Yet, as she stepped closer, Aura noticed something very strange. The door hung ajar, by one hinge. The top one had finally rusted away enough to give... But Dad would never leave the door open like that. He was always scolding each of them about the draft... She clutched the small owl pendant tight and deposited it in her pocket, picking up speed towards the door.

    When she reached it, she wasn't greeted with harsh words, but instead with nothingness. The room inside was completely empty—not trashed like the open door would suggest. In fact, it was almost cleaner than when she had left... It was baffling, as her father had been blackout drunk when she left.

    She closed the door behind her, making sure it didn't fall over completely as it shut. On the kitchen table was a small note. She picked it up and couldn't help but cover her mouth in shock as she read.

    “Dear Aura,

    “I am sorry that I haven't been as good a father to you as I should have. After all these years I'm still just one drink away from throwing something at the wall. I'm not afraid to admit that I could have tried harder over the years. All that mattered to me were the Games and my booze... Aura... I'm proud of you after today for what courage you showed at the Reaping, even if it didn't turn out well. Thank you for hearing my words last night. You have earned that Cantarella name despite me.

    “But now, by the time you get home, I'll already be gone. You have convinced me that I am not the one you need for a father. I am reckless. I am stupid. You deserve more. Your Uncle Crispin will be there to take care of the boys while you're away. I'm sorry that we didn't leave each other on the right foot, but I still love you, no matter how hard it is for me to show it.

    “Sorry... Daddy."

    A wave of emotions flooded Aura's mind—many different ones. One of them was regret. The last thing she had told her father was that she hated him... Even upon her worst enemy she wouldn't wish that fate... Another of them, though, was anger. Her father was just going to leave the three of them alone with Crispin. Aura wasn't sure what the man was like when they were growing up together, but he was completely different now.

    In a rush of fury, she clutched the note and tore it into a dozen tiny pieces. She felt betrayed and abandoned... She felt like the walls of her life were collapsing in on her... Drowning her... It was a terribly overwhelming sensation. She felt more alone now than she ever had before. She threw the scraps of paper and screamed in agony. When she collapsed onto the table, she felt as though the next straw would break her.

    "I see you got your note," came a voice from behind her. She opened her teary eyes and glanced over to spot her uncle leaning against the doorway. Crispin's thick eyebrows wrapped tightly to his eyes, giving him an even more sinister appearance.

    "Crispin!" Aura shouted back, strategically leaving out the "uncle." "What the hell are you doing here? Where are my brothers?"

    "Whoa!" he laughed, bringing his hands to motion for calm. "No 'Hey Uncle Crispin. It's good to see you?' What's gotten into you, Aura?"

    "Corvin and Barker. Where are they?"

    "Oh, they're fine. They're in bed, honey." He came forward and sat on the table next to his niece. "We need to work on your manners. You aren't going anywhere with your attitude."

    Crispin was a relatively tall man in his late thirties with short brown hair wrapping around his scalp. He won the Third Games, at a very young age, and although Rowan had been older, it was Crispin's play in the arena that inspired him to volunteer. His eyes were very spread from his nose, like a vulture. It matched perfectly his personality. Crispin was not a man Aura enjoyed being around, for great reason...

    But Aura got out of her loathing for a moment to ask a needed question. "Did you see my father before he left? Why did he go?"

    "No," Crispin answered. "When I got here, he was already gone. Vanished into thin air. Probably sitting at some bar... pity. He isn't good to raise a family... Not like me."

    “I know my dad can be a piece of work sometimes—"

    He cut her short. "Oh, you got that right."

    “But this doesn't seem like something he would do." Aura looked down at the shredded pieces of the note, trying to place them back together in her mind. "He was a stubborn guy... It's one of the reasons he's so hard, but he was stubborn about us too. It doesn't make any sense to me..."

    "Rowan is gone," Crispin stated plainly, bringing his eyes to narrow slits. "It cuts deep, but you have to forget about him. I'm all the family you need." He stood up from his seat and placed his hand on the counter. "In a way... I could even be your father. Would you like that? I could be your daddy!"

    Crispin began to come forward towards her, but she spat hard on the table before he managed to invade her space. "You're lucky we're even related, Crispin." She stormed toward her bedroom, but one question was left in her mind before she reached it. "Crispin... Do you know someone by the name Schrodinger?"

    “Can't say I do," he smiled. "Who is that? Is it a boy?"

    Aura reached into her pocket and clutched the owl pendant inside. "No. Just someone I heard about..." She turned into her room and as the light from her lamp washed over her face, she shut the door behind her. She let go of the pendant and whispered to herself, "The Owl is a friend..."

    She sat on her bed for a few minutes, but then laid down. Her pillow was very soft—almost velvety. There were a few perks to living in the richest neighborhood in Seven. She doubted any other people in this District could claim to have such luxury. It sickened her. She wanted to take everything she had and go give it to those who really needed it. There were some in this District that had never even felt a pillow. Unfortunately, she only had the one. It was just one more thing she would have to say goodbye to...

    As the thought ran through Aura's head, her door creaked open. She braced herself for her uncle, but it was only her brother, peeking his head through the crack. Corvin quietly entered the room, closing the door behind him. "Aura, you're home!" he whispered. "What took you so long? You've been gone forever."

    "Sorry, bud. I had to make a stop by the Haven before I came home." She tilted her head in an apologetic manner. "Where's Barker?"

    “Asleep. I couldn't go to bed with his snoring in there. You spent a really long time out there," Corvin said. "We ate the entire banana bread you bought us."

    Aura frowned slightly, but then sat up on her bed and ruffled the boy's hair. "I was hoping you'd save some for me."

    Corvin sat down on the bed next to his sister. "You took too long. We figured we had to punish you some way."

    She shook her head, chuckling. "I plead guilty."

    “So are you really going to volunteer? For the Hunger Games?" he questioned her, with worry in his eye. "Dad said you were going to give us another house to live in."

    "Wait, you saw Dad?" Aura perked up. "Did he say why he left?"

    "No," Corvin replied, shivering. "He just told us to go out and play... And when we came back inside, Uncle Crispin was here. When's he coming back?"

    Aura covered her mouth with her hand. Not only had her father left without the intention of ever returning, but he also left without saying goodbye to his sons. She couldn't bring herself to tell Corvin the truth, so she fabricated a lie in its place. "He's... He's coming back soon. Probably not for a week or so."

    “Where did he go?"

    "He didn't tell me."

    "Why didn't he tell you?"

    "I don't know."

    Corvin was staring at the door, and Aura knew he was thinking about who was on the other side. "We have to stay with him?" he whispered with pleading eyes. Aura could never say no to them. "I don't want to. The last time we stayed with him—"

    "Don't," she interrupted. "Don't think about that. Look, I know that Crispin is dangerous, but you need to stay with him for a while."

    “Can I just run away?" He began to grow frantic. "I swear I'll come back once you get back from your trip."

    The words hit her hard in the chest. When her brother had entered the room, she had hoped this would be a chance to say goodbye to him, but as the conversation had progressed, that hope had slimmed to nothing. Now, she would only tell him what he needed to hear. "It's not a good idea to run away. If Crispin comes after you... I don't even want to think about what would happen."

    "But he wouldn't find me!"

    “But he'll be looking..." Aura replied. "He may be an asshole, but—"


    “Sorry. He may be a piece of poop, but he will do anything to keep a promise." She looked back to the door and made an effort to keep her voice down. "He has to watch you until I get back. He'll look for you. It's dangerous to run."

    "It's dangerous to stay too, though!" Corvin cried, mirroring the volume of her last statement. "I mean, Aura, he's Uncle Crispin. Do you really think Barker and I would be safe spending a week here alone with him?"

    Who should Aura tell Corvin to stay with?

  • hahah, i pass to chapter 1 BOOK 1: THE PAWNS Rang Paris easssyyyyyy. Waiting for many chapter :relaxed:

  • Um welcome to the story, I guess

    saint258 posted: »

    hahah, i pass to chapter 1 BOOK 1: THE PAWNS Rang Paris easssyyyyyy. Waiting for many chapter

  • Priceless reaction, lol

    Um welcome to the story, I guess

  • I would put up the next chapter tomorrow, but not very many have seen it yet, so I'll leave it up a bit longer.

  • Ah, first of all it does seem that it is as expected, the worst of Penn's actions from the original are done by Boz now. Sure, Penn is still stuck-up, arrogantand at times downright delusional, but she slowly seems to realize the truth. And unlike the original, she is not irredeemably terrible. Yeah, I still can't really believe it. Have to stop myself from throwing up anytime I write it, but let it be known, Penn is not the worst. Far, and I mean far from my favourite, but definitely in no means the worst in any way, shape or form, at least for the time being. However, the climax to her storyline seems to be heading to a similar conclusion, just that this time, it is definitely all on Boz. Last time, he was already a horrible son of a bitch and I remembered the only thing I was able to sympathize with was the fact that his actions towards Penn were more than understandable and outright justified. This time however, Penn really hasn't done anything wrong. While I hope he won't take things as far as he did last time, my sympathies have switched. Last time, it was a bad guy I was rooting for on account of him being against the infinitely worse Penn. This time, I majorly root for Penn for once, simply because she somehow managed to become somewhat sympathetic, while Boz remained exactly the same absolute asshole. Arguably, he is even worse this time. I remember he did the same stunt last year, painting Emmy and Ulysses as people from another district, but well, they have kinda both been dead at that time, so it was more something that struck me as working with the hand he got and protecting the only potential tribute he had left. This time, it's different and he is revealed to be well and truly nasty. What seemed pragmatically villainous last time is now revealed to be clearly only an excuse. This time, he has no excuse, yet he acts the same and it makes him so much worse, worse even than Penn at her lowest in the original story. Yeah, pitting Penn against people who are unarguably worse than she could ever be, that is the way to keep her sympathetic, I suppose. I'll root for her this time, but let it be known, things will change once the games begin, most likely because I don't trust Penn with staying as she is right now.

    Aura though, she's the one I root for, now and always. I think her storyline has not changed one bit this time, at least not to the same dramatic degree as Penn and it actually makes me wonder how things could have been. But I was fairly happy with her development from last year, same with Marten, Theo and Saul. This however, I remember it being her hardest choice to date. And even with knowing where the story will head in the first part of Book 2, I have absolutely no idea, not the slightest hint of it, which of the two options is better. As such, I remember I thought long and hard about this last time and after putting considerable thought into it again, I will stick with my logic from last time. Corvin and Barker shall stay with Crispin. I want them to be safe, I want them to be away from Crispin, but I think a guy as skilled as him would find them and well, he would be anything but happy about this. Pleasing him is their only chance for survival, at least if Aura actually manages to win the games. If she does not, then their chances of survival are slim either way, either because they will stay with Crispin, or because he will track them down. No, this choice and Aura's responsibility towards her younger brothers is one of the huge reasons why I root for her the most. She has a reason to come back, a reason to win this beyond personal desires.

    @LiquidChicagoTed @TWD_stan @Javier Raviolli @Mathea @Tales-from-Telltale @AgentZ46 @imighthavebrokenit Chapter 18: Twisted Aura Can

  • Hey Liquid! Yeah I remember you saying it took a long time to make this choice the first time. Didnt you say you like took a day to think about it?

    And yeah Penn's going in a much different direction this time. The next chapter will be fairly similar, but for vastly different reasons. I'll be interested to write all the changes in this book into her character in the remaining books.

    Ah, first of all it does seem that it is as expected, the worst of Penn's actions from the original are done by Boz now. Sure, Penn is still

  • edited July 2018

    @LiquidChicagoTed @TWD_stan @Javier Raviolli @Mathea @Tales-from-Telltale @AgentZ46 @imighthavebrokenit

    60% of readers chose to [A. Tell Corvin to stay with Crispin.]

    "You may not be safe, but you'll be keeping him happy," Aura replied. It hurt her to say those words, but she didn't have much of a choice. "Just stay here. Keep your head down. When I get back, we'll get out of here immediately, but I won't be here to protect you or Barker for the next few weeks."

    "I don't want you to leave," he cried.

    Aura wrapped an arm around her brother, and pulled him into the tightest hug she could give him without hurting him. "I know you're afraid. I'm afraid too. But, something tells me you'll turn out alright, kid."

    "Thanks," he sighed. "Now if I can only convince Barker. He was crying for half an hour when you didn't come home. He thought you'd left without saying goodbye."

    "No," Aura told him. "I wouldn't do that. You guys are my brothers! You and Barker are the most important people in my life right now. If you think I'm going to leave without hugging you for two or three hours, you need to get your head on straight."

    "Ok," he said, getting up from his bed. He started to sulk towards the door, but before he opened it, he turned back with nothing in his eyes but a dead stare. "You're going to die, aren't you?"

    The words hit Aura harder than she expected them to. She had been trying so hard to keep the truth away from them, but her chances weren't that great. "What makes you say that?" she asked after a long pause. The tears that she thought had all flowed away began to stream back again. "I'm going to come home, Corvin. I would never leave you."

    "Ava died," he replied. She couldn't see his eyes. "And now you're going to die too. And Dad left us here with Crispin. He's not coming back."

    "I won't... I can't..."

    "I don't believe you," he told her. He opened the door and stepped out. "Good night."

    Aura was shunned silent as he closed the door, unable to tell him goodnight. She laid back on her bed and closed her eyes, but that didn't stop the tears from coming. "That was very touching," came a liquid voice from the hallway. When she looked up to see Crispin standing there, he was smiling. "I'll make sure he doesn't forget you when you are gone."

    "How long were you standing there?" Aura asked, trying to distance herself.

    "Not very long. Enough to realize that boy is not as stupid as I thought before." He laughed.

    "Shut up," Aura barked.

    "That's not a very nice thing to say to your father." When Aura turned away, she could see his false expression of hurt turn to a sadistic grin. "So how do you feel?"

    "Pretty bad!" she frowned at him. "I'm going to die in the Games, for crying out loud."

    "Aura!" he said, coming over to sit beside her on the bed. "The Hunger Games are a great honor! Don't you see? You get to take a moment and be part of something bigger than yourself. You bring honor to your District—honor to your family! The Cantarella name suits you well."

    "It's not an honor," Aura said. "How could you even say that? How can you praise a government that sends twenty-four of its children to die every year? It's wrong."

    "Well, that's just not true, Aura." Crispin shook his head, with a malevolent grin. "Twenty-four tributes go into that arena to live." He reached into his pocket and before Aura had a chance to object, the man had pulled out his switchblade and extended it. The knife was shiny and clean just like he always kept it. He began to stab the air with it. "On the first day, I was... stabbing this little orphan girl in the woods. It was right in the sternum. She bled for a few seconds... coughing... screaming in agony. As the life left her little fingers, I could feel it enter mine. The adrenaline rush was so real... so magnificent! It was the first time I ever killed."

    Aura pushed herself farther away from her insane uncle with her feet. "You're sick in the head..."

    "No," he sighed, holding his knife in his hands longingly. "I think everyone else are the ones who are missing out. It's like a drug, you know. That girl wasn't the last either. I know you know my record. Go ahead and say it."

    "...most direct kills in history."

    "And how many was that?"


    "Fourteen kills, Aura." Crispin's eyes lit up with excitement. "I went down in history as the most bloodthirsty tribute ever to enter the arena. Those people didn't go down by natural causes or anything like that. They went down by my blade, by my rope... By my hand. And when I crushed the last tribute's face in, and I was staring down at this sort of bloody husk, I knew that I was alive. I could feel my heart pumping in my chest, the blood flowing through my veins... I felt... Alive. Aura, the Hunger Games are an honor."

    "The Hunger Games are an abomination," she objected. As soon as the words left her lips, there was a squeaking noise from the corner of the room. At first she thought it was an old floorboard, but it was a tiny mouse with light gray fur. Crispin noticed it as well. He got up from the bed and walked over to it, and Aura immediately knew his intent. "Uncle Crispin, no!"

    He fumbled around with the animal for a moment, but eventually took firm hold of it. It looked so sad as he held it up to her. Its legs flailed around more rapidly and it screeched the longer he held it there. "I'm going to teach you a lesson, Aura." He took his knife and tossed it at her feet. "Pick it up."

    "No," she said, defiantly.

    "Aura, so help me, you will pick it up."


    "You will listen to your father!" he shouted, leaning in in his rage.

    Aura looked the man straight in the narrow eye. "You're not my father."

    Crispin went white with rage, but then collapsed back into calm at a moment's notice. "Very well," he said. Then he began to squeeze the tiny mouse in his hand. Its squeaks became more and more panicked, but died down every minute. Not five seconds had passed before the mouse's head went limp and fell to its shoulders, dead. Its solid black eyes gazed longingly into her own. Its lifeless feet hung just below Crispin's palm. A single tear let loose and rolled down her cheek. Crispin reached out and wiped it away. "There, there. Don't cry. You won't have a chance if you stop to dwell on the loss of life."

    "You're a monster," Aura cried.

    Crispin stepped away from the bed and tossed the dead mouse into the trash can at the foot of Aura's door. He looked back at her. "In case you were wondering, don't worry. I'll take good care of the boys while you're away. Good night, my little angel."

    When he shut the door, Aura laid her head back on her pillow. She knew she wouldn't be able to sleep having that image on replay in her head. She closed her eyes anyway. But, before she was able to get comfortable, she felt a lump on her back. She reached underneath her to find what it was and pulled out the wooden owl pendant. Its large yellow eyes stared back at her with a sense of empathy. Then Aura realized something.

    The owl was the only hope Aura had left. She was leaving for the Games within the week. Her brothers were being left at home with a psychopath. Her father vanished without a trace and the last words she ever said to him were to tell him that she hated him. But the Owl was a friend... She realized this was her last hope for a better life. The Owl was a friend in a world with none left. The Owl sees where the Hawk does not. The Owl is a friend...

    End of Chapter 18

  • @LiquidChicagoTed @TWD_stan @Javier Raviolli @Mathea @Tales-from-Telltale @AgentZ46 @imighthavebrokenit

    Chapter 19: The Recruit

    Saul Arrem

    The blade felt powerful in Saul's hand, yet it was coarse. From the moment that Munrow placed it in his hand, he wasn't sure whether he was holding the hilt or the blade itself. On one hand, this weapon was the way he would ultimately protect himself in the arena. It was the way he would keep his sister alive... On the other hand, it was a constant reminder of how much his life could have been different. The sword was a constant reminder of Munrow.

    "Is it too heavy?" the man asked Saul, watching him stared down at the katana. After a moment, Saul didn't validate him with a response. Munrow spat again, "Boy, is it too heavy?"

    "No," he replied, taking his hand and sliding it along the steel edge. At one point, it caught on his skin wrong and a bit of blood was drawn. It hurt, yet in a strange way, made him feel a rush of energy. "It's fine."

    "You say it's fine, but you really gotta know," he continued. "Does it feel like an extra length of your arm? Does it feel like if you swung, you aren't gonna have to put in your weight just to make sure it doesn't catch you at the other end? Or maybe it's too light. Ain't gonna do anything but a scratch if it's too light."

    Saul gazed up and down the blade. It had a red band wrapped around the hilt. Its silky texture felt good in his left hand. On the tip was a bit of serration. He wondered why Munrow had given him a real blade to practice with, especially one so fine... "It ain't too light," Saul replied. "I've never held a sword before."

    "So you don't damn well know." Munrow stepped forward aggressively and ripped the sword away from Saul again, holding it behind his back. "Let's see..." He began to inspect it while muttering various numbers.

    "Why does it even matter what the weight is, sir?" Saul asked. "All that really matters is that I hit my mark."

    "Yup. And you ain't gonna hit your mark if your balance is off." Munrow shook his head. He finished muttering to himself and tossed the sword into Saul's hands. "Here. Looks to be about right."

    Almost the moment the katana landed in Saul's hand, Munrow's own was brought down with great force. Saul only barely managed to parry the strike in time. "What the hell?" Saul shouted. "You didn't even say go!"

    "The tributes ain't gonna fight nice, boy!" Munrow spat a couple of inches from Saul's nose. A drop of saliva came close to his eye, and he wiped it off with his thumb. "They're gonna be hard. You're going to see things in the arena that you didn't think humans were capable of. And they're gonna do it... Not just because they're Albar scum, but because they're expecting you'll do the same." He paused for a few seconds, and then raised his hands in disbelief. "Well? What are you waiting for?"

    "Waiting for... what?"

    "I just left a huge gap open in my right side." He pointed to a section of his torso. "In the time it took me to finish speaking, you could have sliced me open in three different areas."

    "I was waiting for you to finish talking."

    "Please," Munrow snarled. "Don't give me this polite crap. The other tributes aren't going to care. If you want to survive... if you want to serve your District like a hero, you're going to have to man up, son."

    "Don't call me son," he said. He bit the bullet and lifted the blade high above his head. But, just as he was about to bring it down onto Munrow's cranium, he felt a pain in his side. Munrow had slid a gash into his side with his own blade. "AAGH!" Saul cried. The pain seared through his body, and he could feel the warm trickle of blood flowing down his side.

    "You left yourself uncovered," Munrow advised. "Don't ever leave a side of yourself uncovered. If I were you, I would play on the defensive side. Only go for a blow after you've parried. That way, your opponent won't have any time to—" Before Saul was given a chance, the blade was swung at him once again, this time beside his right shoulder. He blocked the blow and, in an instant, swung the blade back around into his side. When it impacted, the blade was facing parallel to his body so the face lay flat on his side. "Good," he smiled. "Yet, you'll want to use this side," he said, taking the blade and turning it so the edge met with his skin. He slid it backwards slightly to draw blood. Taking the opportunity, Saul drew back as hard as he could, causing a larger wound. He grunted, yet stood up straight, bearing the pain. "This may be only practice, and I have no intention to kill, but you can be sure I'm going to make this as... well, educational as possible."

    After three days had passed, the only time Saul and Munrow had taken to pause the training were brief stops for lunch, and for breathers. Munrow didn't allow Saul to flee to St. Rhodes' during the night. His reasoning was that he would take his sleep for granted. Every word that Munrow uttered made Saul hate him a bit more. So he had spent the last three days in this room. It was a cold, dusty, plain room with no windows. Munrow had called it his basement, but he was blindfolded when they entered, so he couldn't be sure. It was times like these, pitch black in the dead of night, when Munrow had given only himself time to sleep, that he thought of home. He missed Peara. He missed Ethel. Hell, he even missed the man he used to call Mr. Munrow.

    Saul sat on the ground, slumped against the concrete wall. The only thing he could see was the light from the locked trap door above his head. The only thing he could hear was the gentle drip of water leaking through floorboards. The only thing he could feel was the cold of the sword on the touch and a feeling of regret. He could barely even breathe. He made sure, since the room was so filthy and dusty, to take long, calculated breaths, so that he wouldn't have an asthma attack. Down here, an asthma attack might mean death.

    What if he had not told anyone about the fire? Would the Peacekeepers have even discovered it? It certainly wouldn't have been pinned on him and his sister... If he had stayed quiet, he wouldn't be starving on the floor of a dusty basement right now. Peara wouldn't be sleeping by herself in a locked bedroom. Saul stabbed the blade into the dirty ground and clenched it hard in his palm.

    Maybe... There was a way to stop all this... Saul slid his finger over the edge of the blade and put his blood to his tongue. It tasted of iron. It tasted of his longing for another way. Munrow had given him a sword. It wasn't a practice one, it was real... One look at it would tell anyone that. Why had he done that? Perhaps, this was more than a practice.

    Saul gazed up toward the lit hole in the ceiling. He read the clock from the other side of the window, and saw it read six in the morning. It was morning. He knew he should have slept, yet he was consumed by such an intense hatred that it kept him going. There was something about spending nights alone in a dark room with his thoughts and a deadly weapon that seemed... soothing to him. He knew that with one final act, he could always end it. He wouldn't have to take part in the awful tournament that the world had conspired him to. There is always a choice... However, he knew if he died in his cell, Peara would never last more than a day. He knew that if he died, what Munrow said would be true. Saul couldn't let that happen.

    He found it ironic how Munrow had mentioned playing on the defense when he screwed up countless times the past few days. All he ever played, in any facet of life, was defense. Yet, with a weapon in his palm, he felt strangely offensive. He felt as though he had a power he never had before. He would be lying to say he didn't enjoy it somewhat. And throughout the course of the last few days, he had grown quite good... At one point yesterday, he landed a blow on the arm that caused the man to jump in pain and have to attend to the wound. He even came to appreciate swordplay as an art like Munrow did... Even with all the hatred, there was still something admirable about how much effort the man poured into training him.

    Munrow would arrive soon, and with him, he would bring his vast collection of weapons with which to dismember Saul. But, the long night had given him a long time to think. There were other ways of ending things. When the man opened the door, it would remain unlocked until lunch. That would give him a few short hours to land a blow on him deep enough to escape. Yet... If he managed to do that, there were other ways to solve the problem...

    What should Saul do when Munrow comes back?

  • @LiquidChicagoTed @TWD_stan @Javier Raviolli @Mathea @Tales-from-Telltale @AgentZ46 @imighthavebrokenit

    Hey guys I've had the next chapter ready for a while now, I'm just waiting until more people read it.

  • Ah, apologies for the late reply, I thought I already had, though I haven't been at home much these past couple days. I think it is clear how much I enjoy Aura's storyline, even knowing some of the future twists already. Actually knowing about a handful of later turns made me really appreciate some pieces of irony in her latest part. Obviously, I won't go into detail here, but I think you know exactly what I mean. I do like this, rereading the story has its benefits even for the storylines I do not wish to change (read: all except Penn's).

    Saul's storyline is one I am actually quite happy with so far. He's always a pleasure to read and easily a character I can get greatly invested in. I am not entirely sure what I chose for him last time, though I think I picked the same option as I did this time, namely that he should go for the kill. I do not think he will manage to kill Munrow, but he can at least send a message. And honestly, even just seriously wounding the man would be wonderful.

    @LiquidChicagoTed @TWD_stan @Javier Raviolli @Mathea @Tales-from-Telltale @AgentZ46 @imighthavebrokenit Chapter 19: The Recruit Saul

  • Jolly holy shiet. I even forgot this community existed.

    But this is probably dead now, I wager?

  • Holy fuck man it's been such a long time. It's not dead. I'm gonna come back to it pretty soon.

    TheLier posted: »

    Jolly holy shiet. I even forgot this community existed. But this is probably dead now, I wager?

  • edited September 2018

    @LiquidChicagoTed @TWD_stan @Javier Raviolli @Mathea @Tales-from-Telltale @AgentZ46 @imighthavebrokenit @TheLier

    Okay guys holy shit in light of recent events, with Telltale shutting down and all, I just want to get you all updated on what's happening here. Telltale shutting down will in no way affect the progress of this story.

    I want to be sure that everyone sticks around just in case things with the site fall through really fast. There's a discord getting set up, I'll give you guys a link to it. I set up my username as CountLivin over there since I figure now is a good time to change its

    So yeah, fuck, abandon ship I guess.

  • edited April 2019


  • I don't know if anyone still looks at the Forum Games threads on the Telltale Forums anymore now that Creator's Haven is a thing, but if anyone is a straggler and would like to join up, I've posted this story once again, and I'm once again going to be active with it.

    So if anyone would like to continue the story with us, just follow this link!

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