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The 89th Hunger Games

Panem

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a part of The 89th Hunger Games, by arrowinmahknee.

None

arrowinmahknee holds sovereignty over Panem, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

519 readers have been here.

Copyright: The creator of this roleplay has attributed some or all of its content to the following sources:

the hunger games by suzanne collins http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/the_hunger_games

Setting

Default Location for The 89th Hunger Games
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Panem

None

Minimap

Panem is a part of The 89th Hunger Games.

16 Characters Here

Vega Montego [2] "You can beat me, starve me, and kill me, but you can't break me!"
Com Exburna [2] "Hello! I'm, uh, Com Exburna, not anybody special. I'm, uh, from District 5, and I'm 16 male, almost 17. I have, a, a vast intellect, and, I'm pretty good and making things, and, breaking them..."
Eyebrin Ellis [2] "They've already taken the lives of two of the men I love. I dare them to take a third."
Esther Kitstone [1] Blind District 3 female, 13 years old.
Carter Winters [1] District 7 Female
Mykeisha Bruma [1] A woman of eighteen years, as cold yet graceful as the wintertime for which she is named, from the district of grain, she brings the winter in her throw of a piercing blade. She is determined to live against any odds, even the lack of communication.
Lotus Newman [1] I'm one of those people incapable of making a difference...
Ava Heavensbee [1] "C'mon, get a muttation in there or something."
Foxglove Ellery 'Fox.' [1] "I do everything for my sisters but no one can do anything for me."
Zach Corrie [0] District 10 Male Tribute

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Setting

1 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ava Heavensbee
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Ava sat in her office, bored. The reaping day was about to start but for some reason, she wasn't excited. She knew her job would start soon but she just couldn't think straight. She took another sip of wine and scanned the room. Most of the other Game Makers cheerfully glugged down alcohol and joked around but she noticed a few newbies felt the same way she did. Personally, she enjoyed the job, happy to be head Game Maker, (finally) but something wan't right. Oh well. She chugged down the wine and asked for some beer. After she was thoroughly drunk, she let the jokes wash over and around her and eventually joined in the fun. She was still chill and business-like while she was drunk and it gave off a kind of eerie feeling to know that she was still not completely relaxed. Like she ever had been, anyway.

Setting

1 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Foxglove Ellery 'Fox.'
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Foxglove Ellery
The reaping. The young blonde lingered in the kitchen hair braided and eyes sharp. She wasn't scared not for herself but for her family and.friends. It could be anyone and the chances for Foxglove were awfully high. She had her name in the bowl 68 times. Just the thought made her cringe. Her sister was watching her with sad eyes. She was too young to go herself but not too young to understand.

"It won't be you Fox. Not you." she announced strongly. Fox sighed to her sister because in her heart she felt otherwise . She wasn't confident she'd be sat around the table again any time soon.

Her father came downstairs and Fox jumped up to go somewhere else but a hand on her shoulder forced her back down.

"Good luck Fox.

Startled she looked at him in shock and walked away upstairs. She needed to get dressed anyway. She found her last reaping dress and pulled it on carefully. It was white cotton with lace decorations on it. Very pretty but very simple. Fox looked in the mirror at her bare pale face and sighed for the second time that day.

"Happy hunger games." She mumbled sarcastically. Seconds before a youthful interruption.

"Foxy....." It was Luna's voice and I welcomed it. I turned and saw her little fresh blue eyes and golden corn coloured hair drawing a wobbly smile to my lips.

"We will be ok." She promised...or was it a question?

"Of course sweetie...just fine we will be just fine."

Setting

1 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Carter Winters
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#, as written by DyLAn:D
Carter Winters

'I promise'
That one phrase that Carter had promised her brothers echoed in her head, the depth of her words seeping in now that her head was clear from a goodnights sleep.
'What have i done'
She thought, worried. If she was choosen today there was no guarantee she would survive it like she had promised them she would. Thoughts of leaving her brothers and her best friend scared her and her mind clouded in worry. She glanced at the sun dial beside her small wooden cot, it read seven in the morning and Carter sighed. She had to go get ready. Groaning she slowly got out of bed and moved around her wooden shack going over to the wooden chest in the far corner. She unlocked it and started searching for her reaping dress. She found it at the very bottom of the chest, the dress was a faded ivory which went down to Carters knee's, it was sleeveless and had a heart shaped top. It was plain and simple to only color on it was the faded light blue stitched flower design at the bottom of the dress. Carter stripped off her over-sized t-shirt that she had jacked from her best friend Aaron and slipped on the soft material of her reaping dress. Like always Carter went bare foot, not caring what anyone said about it she left her shack and made her way to town.

Setting

2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Eyebrin Ellis Character Portrait: Vega Montego
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Vega Montego
District 8; Atlantia (Sub-sector 6)

The mid-morning sun peered through the wide blades of the ventilation duct, the natural light mixing with the sterile white of the phosphor bulbs in the ceiling. The nuclear heat slowly warming the concrete walls of the public kitchen amplifying the amalgamated stench of grease and cleaning agents that permeated the room. Empty but for Vega and another citizen at the table in the alcove; Vega standing in solemn silence over a plastic cutting board. He chopped potatoes and browning green onions with the dull kitchen knife tethered to the stained metal counter.

Vega took a moment after chopping the vegetables to crack his knuckles and glanced at the telescreen in the corner near the duct. They had been showing re-runs of Reaping Days from other years for the past three weeks. Didn't the Capitol have anything better to do than remind all of them of their powerlessness? On second thought, no they don't have anything better to do. Vega watched the shocked eyes and slack jawed faces of the tributes. The watering eyes of those who were their parents. The devastation on the face of their siblings, friends, extended family. Endless theater of misery, that kama mantra of carnage, the spectral procession of the slain.

And it was a procession he may soon be a part of, playing the part of the corpse.

Returning to his work, Vega dumped the mixture into an oil-spattered skillet that sizzled satisfyingly. Tossing in a pinch of salt and what passed for pepper into the pan and stirred. It was the last and pepper he had. He was saving it for a special occasion, and well...this may be the last one he had. The telescreen crackled, the baritone voice of Ceasar Flickerman vocalized the play-by-play of another district's reaping, District 3 according to Caesar. Massed ranks of children beyond the smog that was so familiar in District 8. A boy, couldn't have been older than 15, face panicking, recoiling in terror, his eyes - Vega couldn't watch. He vigorously stirred the potatoes until he had pulverized them to mush and let go of the metal spatula.

Vega's paused as his chest tightened. He placed his palms face down on the counter and leaned forward as his body tensed, straining to breathe, heart racing, struggling to maintain his composure. His scars itched and burned and he scratched the rough and roiled surface of his left shoulder vigorously as his teeth rattled.

Please stop. Please stop! PLEASE STOP! Vega begged silently as the anxiety shook his body like an earthquake. Slowly, and with bated breath, Vega's body began to calm. His heart still pounding vigorously in his ears, burning like the stovetop before him. Vega's shoulder stung; he withdrew his right hand from his left shoulder and saw blood and skin beneath and lining his fingernails. He rolled the coagulating compound between his thumb and forefinger for a second, grimly wondering it was like to have blood on his hands. Then he cursed under his breath as the smell of burning potatoes reached his nostrils. Vega scraped the burning food off the bottom of the skillet, black carcinogenic flakes mixing with the milky white potatoes and brown onions. Well, not much that can be done about it now.

Vega slopped the potato mash onto a chipped plastic plate, cut the heat to the burner, and proceeded to wash the cookware. The pans, cutting board, spatula, all of them were public goods, belonging to the block. Once he was done, Vega hefted the plate in his left hand and turned to exit the kitchen. Just before he reached the door -

"Vega." Someone said from behind. Vega looked over his shoulder and saw the compassionate green eyes of Doctor Hefler looking at him through his cracked glasses with a sad half-smile. Vega turned to face the doctor and said, "Yes doctor?"

"Good luck, child." the doctor said as his smile widened. Dr. Jameson Hefler was one of the block's community appointed medical professionals for everything from cuts to colds, to mending bones broken by Peacekeepers. He had been providing medical care for next-to-nothing to the block since as far back as Vega could remember.

"Thank you, doctor." Vega replied as he began to turn back to the door.

"Vega." the doctor said again and Vega hard him get up from his chair and heard his cane tap the floor. Vega turned to see the doctor's aged frame rise, his warm smile spread across his wrinkled, black skin as he limped on his three legs. Doctor Helfer approached to within arms length of Vega eye-to-eye for a moment. Then the doctor's smile widened as he put his arms around Vega's shoulders and embraced the young man. Vega was so unprepared for the hug that he nearly dropped the potatoes.

Dr.Hefler withdrew the embrace, but kept his hands on Vega's shoulders and Vega noticed a tear run down the doctor's right cheek and catch in his grey, bushy beard. Vega couldn't decide if he felt loved, or abandoned. On one hand he deeply appreciated the doctor's empathy, on the other hand, Vega didn't even know if he was going to be a tribute yet but the look in the doctor's eyes conveyed the feelings of a man who was seeing a family member for the last time. As if Vega was already dead.

"I'm not dead yet, doctor." Vega said both stoically and jocularly.

The doctor squeezed a chuckle out of his tortured voice. Maybe it was like he was seeing Vega for the last time. "And as long as I'm 'round, I'll keep it that way." The doctor replied in jest.

Vega didn't reply, but did allow himself a smile and nodded. Dr.Hefler patted Vega on the shoulder. "Stay safe." he said as he stepped away. Vega thought for a moment and decided again to keep his silence. What was he going to say anyway? He turned and left the kitchen, entering the yellow-grey corridor and headed to his hab cell.

Hab cell, Vega thought. Yeah. And as he passed another black bulb of a camera on the ceiling, Vega mumbled "No one is safe."

----------------------------------------------

Back in their cell Vega and Helio sat across from one another over a three-legged table propped up on an exposed bolt in the wall. The plate of potatoes lay in the middle of the table between them. Each of them held a fork. Glass jars of bitter water sat next to their hands. They each took turns taking bites out of the pile of potatoes. Ordinarily the forkfuls would be equal, but Helio told Vega to take bigger bites, "to keep him strong". Vega didn't agree because if he wasn't around his father would be the one going hungry but he didn't argue either because Helio would resist and Vega realized that if he was somehow chosen (which was a possibility considering he'd applied for tessarae four times) that he would need the strength if he had any chance of surviving the games. So he complied.

Despite his foul-up Vega liked the potatoes, and according to Helio, so did he. In fact the charred bits lent a somewhat novel taste to the dish. Helio, hunched over the table, downed the last of his water, put his cup and fork down and said, no, ordered, "You eat the rest." Vega froze holding a forkful of potatoes aloft, speechless. Before Vega could muster a protest Helio was already on his feet and was shuffling/bounding between the walls using them as both supports and springboards as he disappeared around the corner. Vega was already impressed with how his crippled father managed to evolve to overcome his impairment and all with the spryness of a dancer. The machines may have shattered his body, but they could never break his spirit. Vega bowed to the inevitable and ate his potatoes. Not but a minute later Helio emerged from around the corner carrying a stack of neatly folded clothing. He hobbled over to Vega's bed and gingerly lay the clothing on it.

"I even managed to crease the pantaloons. Still wrinkled but best I could do." Helio confessed.

"Gracias, padre." Vega replied through a mouthful of potatoes. Helio sighed, dragged his chair over next to Vega and sat down just as Vega was finishing the potatoes. Now it was time for "the talk" they had every reaping day. Vega prepared himself by downing his water.

"You feeling alright, paco hombre?" Helio asked looking into the golden rays of light streaming through the vent.
"No better or worse than before any other reaping." Vega said with a bit of venom, scrapping the last traces of potato from the plate with his fork.
"Bueno, bueno. You know I'll always be with you out there."

Vega looked into his father's eyes that were now fixed on his own. Like any other reaping day his eyes were full of sympathy and compassion, but also sorrow. Sorrow and shame for bringing Vega into this cruel and ugly world. Helio had explained the sentiment one time and Vega became quite irate with him about it as despite the conditions he lived in, he was glad to be alive. Did he wish things were different? Certainly, but wishes don't change reality, action does. So Vega strived to improve the quality of life for himself, his father and the block as a whole. But despite that, every reaping day all anyone had to offer him was pity. Vega understood why, but it didn't make the reality of it bite any softer. Why couldn't they stop treating him as a victim and start treating him as a man?

Feeling warmth on his right arm, Vega saw Helio's hand lay on his own right forearm affectionately. "Paco hombre, is there anything I can do for you?"

Vega growled, tore his arm away from his father's grasp and barked back, "Yeah, you and everyone else can stop treating me like I'm already dead!" Vega shoved his chair back, stood up and walked to the clothes on his bed. He separated the articles, exact same as last year: frayed black slacks, red and blue checkered button-up shirt, corduroy belt with a metal buckle-

"Lo siento, padre. I'm...I'm just stressed." Vega apologized as he stared down at the clothing.

"It's okay, Vega. I know what you're going through. Remember I was sixteen once too and faced the same challenges, felt the same feelings. Just remember we only treat you this way because we love you." Helio said from behind, voice full of empathy.

A silence persisted for a few heart beats. "You should get ready, she'll be here soon. I'll get the dishes. Thank you for cooking." Helio instructed. By the time Helio came back from the kitchen with the clean dishes Vega was pressed and prim in his reaping day clothes, his hair combed back smoothly. "Muy bueno, armadillo." Helio complimented using Vega's favorite nickname. Vega looked at the scars on his wrists, a reminder of where that nickname came from. From a place of pain, but turned to a place of pride.

Three knocks on the door; Vega stepped to it and opened the visor and peered into the beautiful eyes of an all-too-familiar face. Vega opened the door for Eyebrin, standing in the doorway in a powder blue floral dress and sandals. It was rare for her to wear such garments.

"Hola senorita, good to see you." Vega said as he and Eyebrin embraced. She seemed to hold him tighter than normal. "Hello my little armadillo. Hello to you too, Helio."

"Buenos dias, Ms.Ellis." Vega heard from behind. Eyebrin released Vega and asked with her hands on his shoulders, "Are we ready?"
"Ready as ever." Vega replied with forced enthusiasm and a smile.
Eyebrin's pretty smile crept across her own face and she replied, "Good. Then we best be off, can't miss the trolley."
"Si." Vega said as Eyebrin took his left hand in her right. He turned to face his father and said, "Adios, padre."
"Hasta luego, paco hombre." Helio said with a wave as he leaned against a wall.

Then Eyebrin lead Vega into the corridor to the stairwell and Vega wondered if it was possible that he would miss this place. Miss these grim concrete walls, the stench, the heat and the cold. Maybe he would be sad if he never saw it all again.

Great, now he was treating himself like a dead man too.

Setting

1 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lotus Newman
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#, as written by Luxe
Image


I woke up in the morning with a start to find that the world around me was already alive, dark and solemn. Even the birdcalls of the late morning were long and low, sorrowful but a nice escape from the endless silence that would fill the air otherwise. Floorboards. Nothing ever felt so familiar as the wood under my feet. As the fresh glow of dawn lit my pale face, I felt the happiness that had often come when staring at the sunrise. The sky was a gleaming buttery yellow, streaked with burnt orange. However, the district did not emulate the beauty of the sky above it. Most buildings were dull colours. Dull, like life.

My finger touched the mirror- cold, hard, glass. For a moment- I am flawless. Everything they could ask for in a future Victor. With a name like Lotus, you would think of me as a pretty girl. But sadly I’m not. Eyes too far apart and nostrils too wide. The human body is the only thing perfection cannot lay a finger on. Despite this, I look nice enough. Scrubbed clean and dolled up like the pretty little toy my aunt wishes me to be, acting as if the dress I'm wearing were a proper trade for my soul. The mirror is a terrible little thing. Mankind would be much better without it.

Off I went, marching down to the parade of figures. Marching down to possible death. But I was not afraid of some horribly-dressed Capitolite pulling slips from a bowl. They were all standing there, watching, waiting, listening. Who’s off to the death parade? Who will bring pride to District One? The question remains. To be reaped, or to not be reaped? It would be much easier just to be reaped.
The brightly dressed escort of District ONne stepped out onto the stage, a smile plastered across his face as he stared into the cameras that surrounded the stage. It was time once again to choose two children to compete in the Hunger Games, and it was his job to do so.

"It is time," he said as he stood over the impatient people of the District, "To once again send two of our own children to the Capitol to compete in the Hunger Games. Let us begin the Reaping!"

He did not look to see the reaction of his district before reaching into the glass ball that held the names of the female children. "Ladies first," he announced, pulling out a slip of paper. He unfolded it and read out to the crowd, "Lotus Newman!"

Lotus Newman.

Now who the hell was that? The words didn't register. I had no idea who this year's female tribute was, which was unusual — typically, i'd at least heard of them, given that I'd made a point of acquainting herself with what seemed like half the district. But the four syllable name read off of the slip of paper was completely foreign. Nasharvey.

Oh. Lotus Newman.

Somehow, it didn't sound right. Didn't call to mind the image that meant 'Lotus Newman' There was no hollow-eyed girl with disorderly blonde hair trying to make an escape from a dull life, That was Lotus Newman . And she was a million miles away.

Lotus Newman.

But they were waiting for a Lotus, so there was no reason not to give them one. Aside from the end result, of course. Death. In a short month at the most, I knew my pulse would falter, weak for a moment and then — nothing. That wasn't the danger now, though, because my heart was still pumping strong. Harder than ever. I could feel my blood circulating all over, pressing violently against the walls of my arteries, trying to make an escape. It wouldn't; that would be too easy. No, merciful death was something I had to work for at this point. My legs seemed to have a life of their own as they carried by on to the stage. I sat down.

"And now for the boys," The escort paused, looking around with a slight hunger in his ridiculous voice. "Gem Becket!"
I didn't see Gem as the brawny career others would've- brown hair cut extremely short and black, inhuman eyes that screamed 'I'm going to rip off your head and not give a damn!' I saw him as a bloodthirsty and dumb opponent. I payed no attention to the boy as he sauntered up confidently on the stage. I could probably take him. If I had the element of surprise. Planning out the games in my head already? I'm stupid.

"Well that concludes our reaping for this year, watch out for more updates and may the odds be ever in your favor!"

Setting

1 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mykeisha Bruma
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I woke up, quite depressed. However, I realized she had elsewise to do. I've only recently turned 18. Okay, in reality, my chances were as high as could be, however, considering I'd never come close to being picked, I was pretty much almost home free by now, or so I thought. I got changed, fixed up my hair, got my pocketwatch and put it in my pocket, and began my day. I then realized it was the day of the reaping.

☆☆☆



All the teenage children were brought together to the center of the district. District 9 was not an outer district like 10, 11 and 12, so it wasn't an incredibly poor one, but let's just say it wasn't the richest. More like, less than mediocre. You know, houses that aren't too too nice, but not tornado-wrecked either, paved roads, that need some improvement, but not hard to ride or walk on, no cars but no pioneer stuff at all either. If people couldn't grow plants like flowers or trees, it'd look as depressing as an outer district. You could say that District 9 was a prospering version of an outer District. Well, at least people have good manners.

Many children looked depressed, and others, afraid, but I was bored out of my mind. I'd been through this exact same situation many times. I wondered why the heck people did this? The whole gathering and announcing thing, when all you have to do is do it on TV, and then have the Peacekeepers come take them. Then again, that did have flaws, like children fleeing. Still, I would have liked it better than having to walk half a mile, get a heart attack, and walk back. Well, some of the other children around my age did look depressed as well. My parents were there too. They had come to see for the first few times, but soon, I convinced them they had nothing to worry about, so they pretty much stayed back in other years. However, they were here this year, simply because it was my last year.

But yet, the same things happened as usual, but I was rather bored by it all. I was already eighteen, already in the home-free zone and into the adult years. I always thought about the future, what the future held for me. I could get married, but with my social status unknown, and likeliness of raising it up, it seemed pretty difficult. Also, what would the future hold for me anyway? Taking over my parent's bakery? As if there weren't a bunch of those. Well, maybe I could've become a brewery worker and just make beer for the Capitol. Heh, as if. I'd always wanted to work in the Capitol, as some kind of maid. I was always very good at housework. Well, that was a dream that would never happen to anybody, really. So, looking at it now, it didn't seem as if the future held much for me, if I wasn't drawn.

The girl's name was drawn first. Areillia Primsriver. The young girl, probably thirteen or fourteen, looked shocked. Well, I assumed it was her. She had cherrywood reddish-brown hair, and didn't look like she was strong at all. You could tell the tears were gathering on her face. Well, poor little girl. See, this was the problem. You'd always have to watch two children cry their hearts out knowing they are going to be sent to die, on television, where everybody was forced to see it. Just watching them fall apart. Ironically, the odds were with her too, and also, the odds were against me. Well, point was, it wasn't me, and I was kind of glad.

Or was I? It seemed quite the disappointment, somehow. I'd always trained for the precaution as if I'd ever been drawn, and I had been doing it for years, for that one fear, the most common fear in today's society, among the young and old. Such a shame, for it all to go to waste. So, I was just going to continue a normal life, possibly a lonely life. Considering my little, disability, there was a good chance I was. All my class would have gone to waste as well. I was probably the most lady-like person in the District, and was probably going to just roam through life unnoticed.

Then, something, I don't know what, but something scary, took over me. I don't know what caused it, but it had simply changed my life forever. To me, it seemed there was only one way out. Continue life, or... I wondered exactly how I came into considering the option, however... I had been taught, even if I was to be lady-like, I should never be wasteful. If I continued life, there would be nothing for me. I couldn't feel my body at that point, and it felt as if all the energy in my body had left my control and did it's own thing. I raised my hand.

"Oh, do we have a volunteer?" Peoples eyes glanced toward the back to look at me. I stayed there, silently, but then I walked down my row, and into the center lane. I walked up to the nearest peacekeeper, everybody's eyes on me, even little Primsriver. I looked at the peacekeeper and pointed toward the stage. The peacekeeper had to register what I meant for a moment, but then understood and looked toward the stage and called, "We have a volunteer!"

I walked toward the stage. Passing little miss Primsriver, she silently thanked me, her face was almost in tears. I walked up onto the stage. "Alright, then what is your name?" I gestured a shake of the head, signalling I couldn't speak. I only slightly rose my fists and shook them, the gesture for 'Winter'.

"Bruma!" a person from my row called. "Her name's Mykeisha!" another did. A third person called, "Her name's Mykeisha Bruma!" "She's a mute!" a fourth called.

Setting

2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Esther Kitstone Character Portrait: Com Exburna
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(Done -kind of- just need to have Com's side of the story so I know his reaction to being drawn and whether or not he was drawn or volunteered or what)

Images Esther stepped forward in line she gripped Mark's hand reliably. He squeezed her hand and looked into her eyes. She trusted him, even though she might have taken care of the family better than her older brother had. Her family constisted of five children and no parents, yet they acted as though their father was still alive and so only the siblings knew the truth. This is the only way they prevented from being sent to the Capitol in the orphan-train and most likely being separated. Mark took the father's place and Esther had to hack into the Capitol's computers and changed it so Mark was dead and switched Mark and her father's DNA samplings, meaning Mark could not be drawn or volunteer for the reaping. I am the third eldest. My brother, Mark, is the oldest, then comes Lucy, Me, Lance and Sherry. We've come to an agreement that if any of us get picked that we do not volunteer. Otherwise, we'd probably have a chain of volunteers. It's just better this way. Anyway, as the peacekeeper grabs my hand and pricks it, I squeeze Mark's hand harder and then let go. The peacekeeper tells me to put my finger in a box on the paper with my name on it but I miss it by an inch and get a splinter from the table. The peace keeper asks for my other hand, pricks it, and guides it down to the paper. I think he has sympathy for me, but who knows?

"Mark?"
"Yes Esther?"
"Tell Lucy and Lance and Sherry to remember the rule."
"Esther, there's no possible way any of us could be pi-"
"Mark, do you KNOW how many times we've applied for tesserae?!?!? Of course there's a chance!"
"Look, Esther. Calm dow-"
"Like I can look." I roll my eyes and hug tighter to him. Though we often fight in words, all of our siblings have a strong bond. Sherry walks up to me. She's just turned twelve and this is her first reaping that she's actually legible for. She's dressed in Lucy's first reaping dress, that a few years ago was mine. All of our reaping clothes are passed down and the new ones are either bought in our version of the Hob or are taken down from the box in the closet of Mom and Dad's stuff. Most of it, anyway. Our little cluster of children is herded to the two areas, small kids and bigger kids. I go in with the smaller kids because I'm, well, smaller. The announcer for our district, Dandy Drake, steps up to the podium. He's known as the cruelest representative-guy there is.

"Happy Hunger Games!" says the announcer. "And may the odds be ever in your favor! My, what an honor it is to be here!" He walks to the glass ball full of names. "Let's change it up this year. Let's have men first, eh?" He reaches in and pulls out a small slip of paper. "This year's male tribute," He says, opening up the slip, "Com Exburna!" Com gets pushed forward by a classmate. He looks startled and glances around, like he wasn't just chosen to get killed by some other kids. As he starts to walk forward he chuckles a bit.... then he starts to laugh. He seems like a maniac, walking up there, his glasses about to fall off with the force of laughter. Then this guy, Morris, sticks his foot out. Com trips and falls flat on his face, and the whole crowd erupts with laughter. He walks by me and I try to seem strong, but then Lance points out that he's holding his nose like it's bleeding.
"Isn't he teased for being.... a moron or something?"
Lance seems tense, but he replies that he does. Then Sherry explains how he looks.
"Any volunteers?" says Dandy Drake. No one steps up. "Well, then." He reaches into the female ball and pulls out another small paper, identical to the last and creased in the middle. Drake opens it up. "This year's female tribute is... Esther Kitstone." He repeats it. "Esther Kitstone?" I let go of Sherry and Lance's sweaty hands and my little clump of siblings, separated in two according to age, unitedly step protectively forward but are bound by their word. I trip on my way up the stairs to the stage and Dandy steps forward. "Are you Esther?"
"Yes." I answer timidly, the tears already rolling down my cheeks. I let them. They make me seem weak, giving me a larger advantage. Dandy grabs me by the hand and helps me up. Why is everyone being so nice to me today? Was the drawing of my name... arranged? Did I do something wrong? Drake makes Com and I shake hands. Com is a tall fellow, not much older then I, yet about as scrawny. At school he's often teased for being nerdy, lie I. We shake hands and he squeezes it a bit to reassure me of something. I squeeze back. Drake turns to face the audience.
"Seems as if we have a blind contestant this year, as well as a half-blind one! Wonder how this will turn out? Anywho, Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favor!"

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Character Portrait: Com Exburna
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You're joking, you are joking. Did I just hear what I though I heard?

It can't be, it's just a nightmare. The next thing that happens is the stage turns into a portal and everybody turns into a corrupted worm-zombie, and then I go into the portal and my eyes are burned off, then I wakes up and hit my head against his mother's and get yelled at, not before passing out again and having a nightmare about being naked all day.

Okay, first, I better not get ahead of myself. Alright, um, where to start. Um, how about like, as we were getting there. Alright, so, me and my mate Rick were walking to the, um, Reaping, right? Yeah, I was sleeping over at his house again. Anyway, so as we were walking there, my mate Rick's talking about some girl he met the other day. Turns out she's into cake or something. I wasn't really listening to him, or I was, I just wasn't really into girls. I-I mean of course I was into girls, but as in, I'm not really that good at talking with girls, because, they say I'm either a geek or a, well, a moron.

So, anyway. Then, my mate Rick asks me this, "Hey, man, you think one of us will get chosen today?" He asked. "Well," I told him, "I guess, it's actually, quite possible. However, however, um, We have about as much of a chance as anyone, at about our age, in some cases even better-" "Actually, I kinda got my name entered in a couple more times," "You're joking aren't you? W-w-why would you do that mate, that's just, it's just mad! Suicide!" "Calm down X-Burner," his, um, nickname for me, based off my last name, "I aint gunna get chosen in a million years, and if I did, that'd be sweet. I could be, like, right in the battlefield, duking it out with some tribute in like, a sword fight or something, and then I'd pull out my whip and trip 'em, and then I'd get my grenade, run, and like, throw it at him, and then I'd like jump off the side of a canyon with the explosion propellin' me to the other side, and it'd be aaawe-some. Chicks would totally dig that, and speakin' of chicks in the battlefield, makes me wonder if it's possible to get laid." "Mate, there's cameras everywhere. That'd be kind of, um, disgraceful possibly. I mean, everybody's gotta, um, watch that. Even if they switched the cameras off you, you could like, I don't know."

"So, what kind of weapon would 'ya get? I'd just get everythin', except for maybe like arrows or somethin', arrows are for girls who can't fight like a man." "Well, to be honest, mate, I don't know. I'd probably just come up with somethin', like, invent my own kind of weapon. Actually, that'd actually be a good idea. Though, I think an Invisibility Cloak of some kind, would be, well, um, terrific, really," "Dude, I don't care what everybody else thinks of you, I mean, even with me bein' 'round you, your like, a genius, in a way." "Yeah, guess so, wish your mates would understand that," "Ah, those guys, they're a buncha pansies. They say the Games don't scare 'em, but all of 'em are too scared to work at some D5 Nucular Power Plant. " "Mate, it's pronounced Nuclear," "Whatevah, either way, even though they're all about as good as me at basketball, they aint got the brains you got. Man, I'd enter the Games just to get a better report card mark." "Can we, um, not talk about the Games. They always make me, like, nervous. I mean, either of us could get picked easily."

"Man," he said, "If you were to get chosen, I'll volunteer for 'ya, that's a promise." I knew his parents would never allow it, but, really, I thought he was serious. Well, um, that's sort of spoilers to what's coming up.

Anyway, I don't really think, I, um, should give any more details. I mean, I had sort of a weird, um, morning earlier, but, that's got nothing to do with, the, um, the main story. Well, anyway, so the usual events happened and, well. Anyway, about earlier. I heard, like, my name being called, first. I mean, aren't like, the girls supposed to go first or something? Maybe the whole 'ladies first' is like, overrated, like, is a very old little, um, tradition. Being used for hundreds of years and all. But, but, point was, and listen to this, 'cause this is like the worst part. You would have never seen it coming, I mean, could you even believe what was coming next? Could you believe, that it was my name that was drawn. Serious, honestly. Well, really, if um, if I wasn't chosen, I suppose I wouldn't be telling this little story about my point of view in this whole, um, my story. Though, if you didn't know that, then, this is a story about, okay, you know what, you already should know this. And, um, if you don't, then, you're probably going to have to miss some of the story, to um, go ask somebody else about what this story is about, and what you missed, well, what's gone is gone, so, too bad, because, I'm not stopping or going back, nope, just going to keep on telling, for, I don't really have much else to do.

Anyway, so there I was, in a living bloody nightmare, and I don't man literally. No, it was true. "Com Exburna" was called. Though it sounded more like "Come on burnable!" It was said so quickly and casually, it was just, awful, like, horrible! Hey, maybe I could have, well, passed it off on somebody else, but then, some jerk from my school pushed me into the view. This was horrible, the cruelest joke ever, like, like pushing a person off a clift that fell into a toxic waste plant, and you have to live off moldy bread and kill things if you want to swim right out. Okay, something like that, I got a little carried away.

I looked around at everybody. District Three was such a beautiful district to me, and I couldn't believe I didn't notice it 'till then. Perhaps situations like this caused one to try and find ways to, um, distract themselves. I chuckled nervously as the hundreds of eyes looked at me. I laughed nervously, and started to move down the lane. I couldn't take in the whole shock all at once, so really, I didn't. I was just, kinda, barely phased by it, because, I couldn't register that the whole thing was happening at once. I couldn't take all the shock at once, so, I really didn't. Though, um, later on, that shock did start to register, but I really need to, um, stay in one spot for the story. However, for some reason, I was so nervous, it being, well, the very first time I've gotten that kind of attention, that the chuckle turned into an actual laugh. I continued to laugh, even harder. I was as nervous as, well, something that is very, well, nervous, like, like me, but I was laughing as if I saw that a Capitol person couldn't spell Assassination. I had no idea though, I probably looked mentally insane. But then, as I was, laughing, I couldn't really pay attention when some moron decided to stick his leg out for fun.

I could hear the chuckles and laughs of pretty much the majority of everybody in the whole bloody crowd, even the adults. I mean come on, what is bloody wrong with them!? My face just hit pavement and they are laughing at my pain, just, just, just when I had become chosen to become, to become a tribute, for the whole bloody district?! Where I'm being sent to represent our district, and I'm going to bloody die, they, they laugh at me like this?! I could hear the guy who tripped me mumble, "Moron," Okay, now that really ticked me off. I wanted to, to, I couldn't even possibly describe. But, however, I couldn't. One was that, well, I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do to him, I couldn't think of anything, well, horrible enough, but the other being I would be arrested for that, and that, that is not what I want to do, like, being arrested.

So there I was, on the ground. I reached for my glasses, which they were, because they were, um, shatterproof. Standing up, putting them on my face, adjusting them, I walked to the center lane, holding my nose hoping it wasn't bleeding. I decided that if I looked brave, the blood, whether it existed or not, would make me look cool, somehow.. It works in the movies. That'd be awful, seriously. As I walked passed my mate Rick, I glanced at him. Why wasn't he volunteering as he promised. He looked at me, but then, for some weird reason, kept making nervous glances at his parents. So much for a bloody promise!

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2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Eyebrin Ellis Character Portrait: Vega Montego
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Eyebrin Ellis
District 8; Atlantia (sub-sector 6)

A gust of hot, moist air whipped Eyebrin's hair and dress about her as she and Vega stepped onto the cracked concrete street. The sun blazed overhead and Eyebrin admitted as she basked in its radiance, that it was quite beautiful.

But this is an ugly day in an ugly place. Eyebrin reminded herself as they approached the trolley stop down the road. The hab blocks stood dominant above them, a tight ring of ten grey buildings. The street formed a torus just inside the ring of buidings, metal beams lined the street, the rails for the trollies. The circle left within that torus was a patch of elevated dirt studded by prickly black and brown bushes that bore poisonous red berries. Eyebrin knew people had tried to grow other plants there but nothing took root. She heard one time long ago that a dedicated group had managed to successfully start a sustainable garden. Then the Peacekeepers came with flamethrowers and burned it all to the ground. After that is when those black scrubs started sprouting up and ever since not a blade of grass had taken root in the cursed earth. Some people said the bushes were actually Capitol mutts, genetically engineered plants that poisoned the ground so nothing else could grow. So no one could grow any food. So they would starve all the more painfully. Given what other sinister secrets of Panem Eyebrin was privy to, she was inclined to believe the conspiracy theory. It certainly wouldn't be the first time the Capitol had used the people of District 8 for experimentation.

The rusty trolley awning stood vacant; Eyebrin and Vega seated themselves on the chipped blue bench and waited for the next trolley to the tram station. Eyebrin flicked a loose strand of hair behind her ear as she turned her head towards Vega. He was scratching his shoulder mindlessly as he stared off into the distance.

Eyebrin slapped Vega's wrist and chastised him, "Hey! Cut that out."
"Oh, uh, sorry." Vega replied guiltily.
"Don't be sorry, just don't do it, goof."
"Didn't mean to, didn't even know. This is the furthest I've...got."

Eyebrin knew what Vega was referring to. District 8's pre-reaping system. District 8 is the most heavily populated district in Panem, numbering nearly three million subjects and roughly 300,000 Capitol officials and Peacekeepers. Rounding up all eligible children for the Reaping is both impractical and logistically straining in such a large and concentrated population so instead District 8 developed a trilogy of Reaping 'tiers'. Eligible children within each zone would be reaped within their own population, producing one boy and one girl nominee for each community in the first tier of pre-reaping. Then all tier 1 nominees within each sub-sector would be reaped again for the second tier. Finally the tier 2 candidates would be sent to the District capitol, Louis, for the final Reaping. It just so happened that Vega's number was up in both the first and second tiers of pre-reaping whereas before he had never "got" beyond the first so he was justifiably nervous.

"Sera fino, armadillo." Eyebrin said re-reassuringly as she placed the palm of her right hand upon the back of Vega's left.
Vega sniffed; "You can't be sure I'll be okay."
It was true, she couldn't guarantee Vega's safety while he was in the hands of the Capitol. Only Vega could ensure his own safety if he was to be a tribute. In spite of that however...
"You're right, I can't, but you know who can? You, Vega. You, and only you Vega, can secure your future. And I believe in you." Eyebrin said soothingly as she stared into Vega's eyes and gripped his hand. Vega returned the gesture with his characteristic silence accompanied by one of his half-smiles.
Eyebrin frowned and teased the boy, "Oh come now, show off those dimples and pearly whites."
Vega's smile cracked a little wider, rows of unusually well arranged teeth were bared. Not quite "pearly white" but what could you do when some ash and a rag were all you had for a toothbrush?

"Aw yes, there you go. Take it from a lady, girls love the dimples." Eyebrin continued to tease as she pinched Vega's cheek. He blushed and they both laughed a little. After that Eyebrin reassured herself with the knowledge that no matter what else happens today, she had taken some of the fear out of Vega. Even a little hope in a dark place is infinitely better than none at all.

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The hover tram rocked back and forth on its sub-par suspensor a fraction of an inch above the conductive rails. Like on a ship in choppy seas the passengers both standing and seated swayed side to side with the turbulence of the tram. Eyebrin and Vega were seated near the rear of the compartment, side-by-side in solemn silence. Eyebrin wanted to keep talking to Vega, keep his mind off the cruel possibilities before him. She knew better though. A Peacekeeper rode up front next to the door, clad fingers drumming the barrel of the shotgun that lay across his lap. Even if the keeper wasn't there all the trams were bugged. Anything and everything anyone says or does on the tram is heard and seen by the Peacekeepers. And to remind everyone of this reality the Capitol seal was invariably embroidered on the ceiling of every tram.

The vehicle passed from Atlantia to neighboring Marl (sub-sector 2), so very similar to Eyebrin's own "home". Same hab blocks, same roads, same factory, same poverty. Same oppressors. That was quite obvious as the tram passed the scene of a mass arrest in progress beyond the chain-linked fence. Nearly a dozen men, women and even some children lay face down, naked on the ground, hands bound behind their backs. Swollen welts and blood covered their bodies, staining the concrete. Six peacekeepers stood nearby, two of them conversing amongst themselves, the others with their side arms trained on the prisoners.

Just another day in District 8. Eyebrin reflected morbidly as the tram screamed by. The tram continued the tour of misery as it wound through Marl. Starving children huddled in groups, digging through rubbish for scraps of food. Scantly clad, emaciated girls standing on corners, selling themselves just to stay alive. An old man in rags meandering lazily, quaking and covered in pustules, hacking violently, begging a trio of Peacekeepers for something. A blanket, some water maybe. Instead one of the keepers cracked the old man on the head with a baton, knocking him to the ground. Then the three keepers proceeded to beat the stricken man violently. Eyebrin swore she could hear the man begging for them to stop as the tram passed by.

Just another day in hell.

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Vega Montego
District 8; Louis (sub-sector 1)

Vega stood amongst the ranks of boys his age group on the chipped marble terrace of Louis Square where all reaping eligible children were herded. Despite the two previous pre-reaping tiers, there were still nearly a thousand children assembled here, waiting to see which one of them was to be conscripted. Waiting to see who was going to die. Lazarus Ophiuchus--District 8's Capitol envoy--stood on the marble rostrum behind a crystal podium, his extravagant blue suit clashed with his green-dyed skin and fire red hair. His tenor voice droned on as he recited the Treaty of Treason, reverberating from the speakers mounted on the pillars and walls the thousands arrayed before him.

Lazarus cleared his throat as he concluded the recital then said, "Such a lovely opportunity for you all here. Such potential to bring honor to your District 8, isn't it? Well, now it is time to select our brave young man and woman to represent District 8 in the 85th annual Hunger Games."

Lazarus reached his hand into a metal bucket, paused and said in attempted comedy, "Ladies first, gents." No one laughed. He plucked a sealed piece of paper and returned to the podium while holding the death card above his head. Then he broke the seal, stared at the name for a second and announced, "Li Sichou!"

Li, or who Vega supposed was Li, slowly, timidly cleared the crowd and began walking to the rostrum. Lazarus offered his hand to help her up, and she took it as she stumbled on the last step and Lazarus caught her fall. "Whoa, careful there sweetheart." Lazarus jested as he assisted Li onto the deck.

"And now for our young gentleman." Lazarus announced as he and Li reached the podium. His hand reached into the bucket opposite the side where Li stood.

"Vega Montego!"

A bolt of fear shot through Vega's body as his name echoed through the courtyard. This was it. The end. Was it really? Or is it just the beginning? Yeah, the beginning of the end. Vega slapped himself out of the rumination before he realized everyone was staring at him. He swallowed hard, his senses numbed by shock, body moving automatically as he walked out of the pack and into the walkway flanked by keepers. Vega tried to focus on simply counting his steps as he shuffled to the rostrum. Vega ascended the steps to Lazarus's outstretched hand and smiling face.

"There we are young lad, come on up." the green-faced man instructed as Vega took the offered hand. Vega was paraded to the podium. He and Li examined one another as they stood a couple feet apart. Li looked older than Vega, 17 or 18 maybe, a little taller, just as skinny far as Vega could tell. Just two ordinary kids caught up in an extraordinary situation.

"Show some camaraderie and shake hands you two." Lazarus again instructed. Vega offered his hand first, and Li reached for it cautiously and shook more his finger tips than his hand before retreating swiftly. Maybe she wasn't used to touching a four-fingered hand.

"Laaaadies and gentlemen! Let's have a round of applause for our courageous tributes from District 8! May the odds be ever in your favor!" Lazarus boomed to the crowd.

Nothing but harrowed silence answered him.