The Capitol: Part III
She is already there waiting for us when we get to the roof. She shouts something, but I can't make it out over the wind. She makes a gesture for us to come over, at least I think thats whats she is doing, the only reason I can see her is the brightness of all the city lights.
"Nice place for a chat, eh Proxy?" Dale almost yells so we can hear him.
"Best place to talk, provided you don't want to be overheard." Proxy yells back.
"So what is it you don't want anyone overhearing?" I ask.
Proxy looks as if she isn't sure how to begin. "Dale, if I understand your plan, its to get Azikia out of the games in one piece, right?"
Dale shoots me a glace that only lasts a millisecond before answering her. "Thats the plan."
"Azikia, I know you hate the Capitol right?"
"I..." How can she be sure we aren't monitored. I've always thought of myself as a bit rebellious, but Proxy, well its dangerous how obvious she makes her rebellious feelings. "I do." I quickly answer her.
"Good, I thought so." Proxy continues. "I have a plan for the three of us." I look at Dale skeptically, I don't think this is what either of us had in mind, teaming up with another tribute, but if I had to choose one, it would be Proxy. "I think I know a way for us to defy the Capitol, and you can keep each other safe." She looks at us trying to gauge our reactions, and she probably sees that my curiosity has overpowered my skepticism.
"Dale, you gave me an idea when I found out the reason you volunteered, because you aren't playing by the Capitol's rules. We are supposed to go in and survive, but your goal isn't to survive, if your plan works, you will die." I look at Dale after she says this, I know he never thought that what he was doing was defying the Capitol, but what Proxy says is true.
"So whats the idea?" Dale asks.
"We go in, protect each other, and then once there is no one left to kill us, we just survive."
Proxy puts it as if its so simple.
"Then what?" Dale says.
"Then nothing, we've won." Proxy answers.
"What do you mean, we've won?" I ask.
"We don't play by the Capitol's rules, we don't kill each other, we just stay alive. You two will have protected each other, and the Capitol will have lost their own game."
"What about the Game Makers, you think they will let us survive?" I ask.
"The audience doesn't want to see Gamemakers picking us off, they want to see the tributes fight, especially in the end. What's more, finding a way to kill two but spare the other would be difficult, as long as we stayed close together. Besides the people placing bets, wouldn't be happy with the Gamemakers directly choosing a victor."
"So what would happen?" I ask, genuinely curious.
"They would have to improvise, figure something else out, change the game. It would tip the scale in our favor," Proxy says confidently. I'm not sure about this plan, too many things could go wrong, but what choice do I have? I'm not sure what it is I feel for Dale, but I know one thing for sure I will do anything to protect him.
"You sure they can't hear us up here?" I ask nervously.
"No," Proxy answers bluntly.
I sigh, "Alright, I'm in," I pause for a moment, "That is if Dale is."
I look over at him, waiting for a response. He looks at the ground for a moment, then finally looks up and simply says. "Okay"
We all get in the elevator, and Proxy wishes us good luck when we reach the fifth floor. Neither of us speaks after that until I have my hand on the doorknob, and I hear Dale behind me say "Happy Birthday, Zee."
I'm surprised when the elevator opens, wondering who would be using it at this hour. I receive my answer seconds later as my district partner, Proxy, emerges. She seems as shocked to see me as I am to see her.
"What are you doing up so late?" she asks stepping out of the elevator.
"Just couldn't sleep, are you coming from the roof?" I ask. Proxy eyes me suspiciously for a moment, but then nods. I don't press the issue. Knowing Proxy she was likely attempting to formulate one last anti-Capitol plan on the roof. "You ready for tomorrow?" I ask, I wonder what she is planning on showing the Game Makers.
Proxy laughs and says "I know what I'm going to do."
"May I ask what you are planning?"
"I'd tell you but I don't want anyone overhearing, I'll let you know what happened after," she says with a devious smile. "What about you Lex?"
I get a bit excited to tell her my plans. While we never really entertained the idea of being allies, we haven't hidden anything form each other either. I suppose one might say we are friends. "I discovered that the training center actually has a number of magnets, if my calculations are correct I should be able to use them to construct a weapon which will return to me, if thrown a certain distance, like a boomerang."
"Sounds cool, I hope you get a good score." She genuinely means it. "Well, I'd better try and get some sleep, you should too."
"Perhaps soon," I say back.
"Okay, I'll see ya in the morning."
Proxy retires to her quarters leaving me alone once again. I try to recall what I was contemplating before she arrived on the elevator. Ah yes, I was attempting to discover the problem in my watch on reaping day. It is difficult, since I no longer have it, so I just have to try and visualize it. After a few more minutes of this I realize how futile the entire exercise is.
Now I'm wondering what Proxy could possibly have in store for her session. In my time with her I have noticed that on many occasions she can be quite impulsive. I think that this combined with her rebellious attitude may lead to some trouble tomorrow for the Gamemakers.
This thought process leads me to wonder what each of the tributes will bring to the proverbial table. I think of the careers and the most likely route seems to be a display of brute strength, which they all posses an abundance of. That is after all why invitations were extended to both Marius and Evander. I have overheard other tributes discussing their shock that Evander joined the careers, and while unexpected, makes sense to me.
The best chance that anyone has at survival is to find strong allies, and none are stronger than the careers. For me they are a bit too unintelligent to be appealing allies, but I understand the allure they would present to some. Perhaps his mentor even suggested that he accept an invitation if approached.
Of course this is all speculation. I head back to my room, deciding to try once more to get some rest. I lay in bed for a few hours attempting to come up with likely scores for each tribute. I save myself for last.
"Wake up, it's breakfast time!" I open my eyes, and its light outside. I don't even remember falling asleep.
"Next," I am called into the training center for my private session.
"Good luck," Evander tells me. He no longer thinks of me as some defenseless little kid. I remember what he said to me last night at dinner, "Don't go to the bloodbath, just run. The other careers will destroy you. Chase and Storm have some kind of sick sibling rivalry going on, each is trying to get more kills than the other. Fathom is worse, he is delusional, he keeps talking about the games like they are some kind of artwork. Marius is just...creepy. Acely is the only one who isn't insane, but she knows that she has to be vicious to stay alive."
"What about you Evander, do you know what it takes to stay alive, is that why you joined the careers?" When I say this, it seems to surprise Evander, we haven't really had much interaction, other than meals.
"I know what I have to do," He says in a whisper "But I don't know if I can." He raises his voice to a normal level now. "Kasha, don't go in for weapons or anything at the cornucopia, I don't want to meet you in the games."
"Thanks Evander, I don't want to meet you either, because I know what it takes to stay alive too." He gets it, and I when he gives me a look of pity, it isn't because he thinks I'm weak anymore.
I give him one last glance before heading into the training room. There is some strange mix of smells, I can tell they were trying to cover something up. Underneath the perfumes I detect the smell of something burnt. Its more than just the remains of a little camp fire that someone would have shown the Gamemakers, this was a large fire. I wonder if one of the other tributes tried to make a fire and lost control. Then another option hits me, maybe someone made a large fire on propose, but who would do that? Proxy? Could she really be so rebellious to try to burn down the training center?
I look around the room getting my bearings, the weapon I excelled with during training was a scythe, so thats what I'll use first. I hear one of the Gamemakers from up on their balcony tell me I may begin, and I head over, grabbing the scythe.
Some of the Gamemakers seem to be a bit bored, maybe they think someone from one of the poor districts wouldn't stand a chance. I'm about to show them otherwise. I run to one of the dummies and with one swipe it's head is on the floor. I do the same thing to two more dummies, and to show some variety I slash a fourth vertically down the torso.
This impresses at least one of the gamemakers who begins clapping, thought no one else joins in. "Thank you," The head Gamemaker says, "You may go." He waves his hand dismissively, which rubs me the wrong way. I almost say something, but think better of it, and leave. My performance will have to speak for itself.
Haymitch is more sober than he usually is, which is good. "Am I going to be happy with your scores." I wait for Kellen to answer, I don't want to tell Haymitch that all I did was try to show them that I know edible plants.
Kellen saves me when he says "I managed to set some traps, show them my skills with a knife, but they weren't really playing attention."
"What about you sweetheart?" Haymitch mumbles.
"Um," I don't know what to say, "I couldn't see that well." Haymitch sighs, he has known for a long time that my night blindness would be a big problem.
"Well, lets see what we're up against," he says as he turns on the T.V.
"I'm sure you'll do do just fine," our escort says patting me on the shoulder. I feel a little better, but I know she is wrong.
"Its on," Haymitch says as the screen shows the Boy from District 1, he always scared me most. He gets an eight and the girl gets a nine.
Both of the tributes from District 2 get elevens, so they must have been really good.
I'm surprised at the score from the girl from 3 who gets a one. I don't know what she did to get such a bad score, but it musta been really bad. The boy is the opposite, he gets a ten. He isn't strong so I think he did something cool and smart for the Gamemakers.
The girl from 4 gets a nine and the boy, Mattiniah, gets a four. I actually feel a little bad for him. I know that a lot of the other kids don't like him, they think he is mean, but he was always nice to me.
The boy from 5 gets a six and the girl gets a seven.
The girl from 6 gets a three. The boy, who is almost as scary as the boy from 1, gets a nine.
They show the tributes from 7 now, I like them a lot. They both get threes.
The sneaky boy from 8 gets a five, and the girl gets a six.
The big boy from 9 gets a ten, and the girl gets an 8. Good for her, I didn't think she would get that good of a score.
The tributes from 10 get sevens.
The ones from 11 don't do very good. The guy gets a two and the girl gets a four.
Last is me and Kellen, when he gets a seven Haymitch says its good enough, and when I get a two nobody says anything.
My siblings all crowd around the T.V. And everybody is fighting for the best seat, well for the second best seat. There seems to be an unspoken agreement to let me have the best seat, they know I have an actual investment in the games this year.
My Mom is pacing back and forth saying how it could have been me. She has been like this for the past week or so, she alternates between crying that she almost lost me and kissing me yelling about how happy she is I'm safe. Aly is leaned against the wall, I think he is almost as excited to see Dale's interview as I am. I've told him a bunch of times how much Dale remind me of him.
Soon enough Caesar Fickman is on screen and his hair is dyed yellow, but not blonde, almost florescent yellow, and done straight up like a crown. The camera pans to the tributes and I rush to the T.V. pointing at the screen. "There! There he is!"
My mother gasps, "Oh, my savior!" She crosses ready to plant a large kiss on my cheek, but Aly grabs her.
"Mom, he is trying to watch."
"Of course, of course" She says, sitting back on the couch. Aly give me a wink and I smile back.
"Welcome back everyone!" Caesar says appealing to the crowd as he always does. "How do I look, am I getting to old for this?"
The crowd yells back in support of Caesar, and I think I hear someone shout "I love you Caesar"
"Well, you've convinced me, shall we begin?"
The girl from one, Acely is up first. Caesar asks her how she feels about being reaped in a district where there are usually plenty of volunteers Acely plays it off like it doesn't bother her, and she is proud to have an opportunity to bring honor back to her family, but she keeps twirling her hair like she is nervous. At least thats how it seems to me all the rest of my siblings tell me I'm over thinking it.
Fathom gets up now and doesn't even wait for Caesar to ask him any questions. Instead he just goes into this huge monologue about how no one will ever be able to watch the games in the same way after he wins. He says a bunch of stuff about following his true calling.
After he sits down Storm comes up and Caesar congratulates her on the eleven she got in training Storm just says that they should have given her a twelve. He asks about her family and what it feels like to try and live up to their reputation. She says it isn't a problem, as she knows that she will win the Games, as she is stronger than both of her sisters who are victors and mentions her other sister who never went to the games being the real disgrace in the family.
When Chace gets up, Caesar asks how long he has know Storm. Chace tells stories about how the two have been rivals their entire lives, and that if someone were to win besides him it would be her. Caesar tell Chace he remembers interviewing his mother long ago, and Chace just nods.
Proxy decides that she doesn't want to answer Caesar's questions and begins to ask him questions of her own, and he plays along for a bit, until she starts talking about how blood is on his hands, and is on the hands of everyone in the audience. She is unsurprisingly taken off the stage early. I wonder what that was all about.
The boy from three, Lexeon, is a bit awkward and talks about a lot of technical stuff that I don't understand. Apparently neither does Caesar who jokes that he needs to go to a seminar to figure out what Lexeon just said. Caesar asks how he managed a ten, and Lexeon says he treated it like he would any other problem, using his intellect.
Caesar asks Aaralyn why she decided not to join up with the careers, and she tells him how she can only rely on herself. She says that she will prove to everyone that she doesn't need anyone. I feel bad for her, after all, if I had not had someone watch out for me I would be on that stage instead of watching it from home.
Mattiniah seems pretty arrogant, because when Caesar asks him what he thinks of the other tributes he says they are are a bunch of morons, with the possible exception of Lexeon. Caesar suggests the two play a chess match.
Our district is up, Azikia is first and she brings up Proxy, saying that she may have had a point even if she didn't go about saying it in the right way. Caesar quickly changes the subject to Dale, asking what is between the two. Azikia tells him they are best friends, and will protect each other.
Finally the moment my family has been waiting for arrives. Dale is a bit awkward, but Caesar helps him out. Then Caesar actually asks a question about me! He asks why Dale took my place, and Dale gives him almost the same answer he gave me when I asked him in the Justice Building. He says he wanted to protect a little boy and help his friend. But the way he tells Caesar that Azika is a friend wasn't the same way he told me. When he told me it was different, I don't know how exactly but it seems like he is holding something back from the audience.
The girl Amata from 6 seems pretty nice, and her and Caesar talk about how beautiful her dress is. After how interested I was in Dale's interview, this one seems kinda boring.
Marius gets up and says a lot of things I don't get, but Aly seems really upset by all of it. I remember Marius being really frightening at the reapings, so maybe this has something to do with that.
Tawny doesn't seem to be all there when Caesar asks her questions, and her answers are really weird. Then she asks if she can sing a song she wrote for her sisters at home, and Caesar tell her he would be glad to hear it. This girl is super weird, but I like her a lot.
Every question that Caesar asks Kieren is met with another question. Eventually it ends up more like Kieren is interviewing Caesar, but unlike Proxy he seems to be motivated by genuine curiosity, and Caesar plays along.
Jade talks about how kind everyone in the Capitol, and how she was worried that she felt pressure pushing down on her, but her district's stylists were heroes.
Allan seems kind of agitated the whole time Caesar is questioning him. Allan mentions that he doesn't agree with what Mattinah said, and that his arrogance is misplaced.
Kasha seems nice but she plays up this entire aspect that people should watch out. She acts very mysterious and unreachable, but still humors Caesar and answers all of his questions.
Evander's conversation gets pretty deep fast, talking about his sister Della back home, and how much he loves and misses her. It reminds me of how I felt when I got reaped. This doesn't make any sense, Evander joined up with the careers, they are supposed to be mean aren't they? Evander doesn't seem like that at all.
Finch isn't rude to Caesar, but he hardly tells him what he wants to hear. All of his questions are answered with a couple words.
Aashlyn is more agreeable and the two have an interesting bit of banter and she tells a story about almost getting bit by a rattlesnake once. It sounds pretty scary.
The boy from 11, Malcolm reminds me a bit of myself. He seems a bit frightened, but tells Caesar he can escape in the trees if a bigger tribute is after him.
Lolita and Caesar get along famously, almost like the two have been friends for years. He says its a shame the mayor's daughter was reaped, but Lolita just says fair is fair.
Amber, like Malcolm seems overwhelmed, but Caesar manages to coax out her sweet side. Aly asks me if I think she is pretty and I blush.
Last is Kellen, who shows his recently mended arm, saying he is ready for the games. Caesar says that he believes all of Panem is ready.
The tributes all line up, the anthem plays, and the T.V. is off.
The rest of the family is discussing what they thought of all the tributes, especially Dale, but I just go to my room and bury my face in my pillow. I won't even talk to Aly when he comes in. Only one thought is on my mind.
The games are about to begin, and they start with a bloodbath.
On to the games! I keep watching the opening scene from "Gangs of New York" to prepare for writing the bloodbath. I had a ton of fun writing this chapter, so I hope that means you will have a ton of fun reading it!
Here is a recap of all the alliances and training scores:
Fathom Quill-8Acely Vadis-9Chace Castellan-11Storm Shields-11Marius El'Serdi-9Evander Ebrithil-10
Allan Fur English-5Jade Ehlers-6Amata Natea-3Lexeon Zinc-10Ashlyn Plains-7
Dale Blackthorne-6Azeika Brooke-7Proxy Snyder-1
Lolita Bracken-4Kellen Ross-7
Tawny Russet-3Kairen Sameer-3