June is a quick thinker and swift footed, stealth is in her corner and she's pretty good at it, she has to be. June has a bit of a reputation in the 10th district as a rather skillful thief. She's almost been caught a few times, but always manages a quick getaway, usually by climbing to the roofs of buildings. The penalty in the 10th district for stealing is a high one, so most would admit it foolish to even try, but June has found that there is no other way of surviving. She's rather deceptive at times as well, capable of lying so well that it's near impossible to tell whether she's lying or telling the truth. She has a silver tongue and has grown into something of a rare beauty, giving the officers reason for leaving her be. She often pretends to be somebody else whenever she is forced to talk to somebody else, in this way she is capable of doing more than she herself would be capable.
Their district is one of the most poor with very little to eat and most dying of starvation, despite being the capitols main food suppliers. Thieving is often not enough to feed her starving family, which consists of her younger brother and sister, all three living in the same house as their parents had, left to fend for themselves when starvation took their mother, and depression mixed with overworking killed their father. She does everything she can to provide, taking extra rashes whenever she can manage, as a result her name has been put into the reaping bowl more often than some whose parents are still capable of providing a little more. The day her father died June made arrangements with another family to take in her young siblings should she ever be picked from the reaping.
Second Tribute: Marcus Shay - 18, strong and silent type.
June swept her long flowing blonde hair back out of her face, allowing a few small wavy tendrils to escape, framing her lovely features. She reached out towards the table without looking, searching for the black ribbon that matched the ribbons on the only dress that she owned. Pale pink that zipped up the back, stopping just short of the knees, a black ribbon tying around the waist and finishing in a pretty bow in the back. She continued to feel around for the matching hair ribbon, glancing over and noticing her younger sister Emily, she was six with big brown eyes and light brown hair, she took after their father, she too was likely to grow into such beautiful looks. Emily's eyes were wide and red around the brims, she had obviously been crying, she was holding the black hair ribbon out, her tiny hand shaking. June let her hand fall, dropping to her knees and placing her hands on either side of Emily's shoulder "come on now, you know better than this, I'm sure everything will be fine, it always is right?" she asked, her own copper color eyes matching her sisters, it was hard to say how she managed to pull blonde hair while the rest of her family wore different shades of brown. Emily gave a nod, her lip pouting out as she sniffed back more tears. June pulled the young girl close, pecking her cheek and giving her a hug, the two were both clean having just bathed for the upcoming reaping. Glancing up she recognized the older of her two sibling, her younger brother Isaac was seven and tried harder to prove himself than any other boy his age. He was watching awkwardly from the side, as if afraid to step any closer. She flashed him a soft smile "it's going to be okay... you'll take care of your sister, won't you?" she asked, and there was no falter in the positive nod he gave to her. "There now, see, you'll always be taken care of" she promised, stroking her sisters cheekbone before standing and facing herself once more in the mirror. She could tell that she was in danger of showing weakness, her eyes threatening to water up on her, but she refused to let her siblings see this side of her, she swallowed back those fears and accepted the ribbon her sister was holding out to her, pulling her hair back and wrapping the ribbon around it carefully. Make-up wasn't a luxury that her district could afford, but she did well enough without it, the color of her hair managed to highlight the flecks of gold in her copper colored eyes.
She turned, sliding her feet into a pair of worn black flats, she owned some more practical shoes, but she had gotten these out for the occasion, it was a requirement to look your best for the camera's after all, but she knew that unless she were picked as a tribute it was unlikely that anything worthwhile could ever come from it. The shoes had holes forming in the soles and at the heels, but they were barely noticeable and they pulled the look together nicely enough "you're pretty" came her brothers voice, she glanced towards him in the mirror and smiled her thanks, trying to hide the worry in her eyes, should anything happen to her, neither were truly old enough to fend for themselves and she could only hope that her neighbors would hold up to their promises. "It's almost time, listen you remember where to go right? Stay close to each other, find somebody you know to stand with and whatever you do, you must stay quiet, no matter what happens, do you understand?" she asked carefully turning to each, both gave a solemn nod, this was the first year that a parent wasn't present, the first year that there really would be something worth losing if her name was picked. She stood back waiting for the clock to toll one before stepping out into the street. Their village was surrounded by vast green fields with wildflowers and pastures of livestock. She took hold of her sister's hand, Isaac taking the other side as they made their way through the silent street. This was no celebration, another young boy and girl were being sent to their death today.
Personality: Cale's always been a naturally upbeat sort of person and is usually known for being the optimistic one. However, he uses his jokes and smiles to often hide what he really thinks or feels about something, he's really a pretty deep thinker under all that and good at analyzing circumstances and people. He enjoys working, or doing anything so long as his hands are kept busy, sitting idle for a long period of time tends to make him anxious. He is a fisherman by trade, like his father and brothers, but when he's not helping with the nets he enjoys swimming and spends most of his free time along the coast with his friends.
Background: Cale was born into a relatively wealthy family in District 4 and grew up learning the trade of his District, which was mainly fishing. The youngest of three brothers, Cale learned quite a bit from them in his early years. Suffice it to say he grew up quickly, and is quite mature for his age. Like most District 4 children, he had taken the mandatory training courses that were desiged to prepare for the annual Hunger Games, although he had not become particularly adept at any one weapon, he was very studious at learning the survival skills, because those were actually useful to him in his day-to-day life, or so he imagined.
Strengths: Swimming, survival, spotting, endurance, good insticts.
Weaknesses: Hesitant in decision-making, spontaneous, impulsive.
Second Tribute: Heather Druid - 13 with anger issues.
Cale Burdock stood with his peers in the designated area in the town square. It was a large and normally spacious courtyard, but today it was packed to the brim with every single person in the District. Banners and flags hung around, marking the gathering to be a festive one. There was the loud hum of conversation, the other boys jostled each other and talked excitedly amongst themselves, when one or two of his friends noticed him, Cale would grin back, a bright smile that masked his nervousness. A lot of them wanted to go, yearned for their name to be drawn. Cale didn't know whether or not he wanted to, though. He'd watch the games every year, just like everyone else, and he really quite enjoyed them for the most part. He had never really considered being a tribute though, except on days like today, on reaping days, where there was chance--albeit a small one, his name had never been put in more than the required amount of times--that he might be chosen.
He glanced to his left, a few paces away stood his elder brother, Mauve. He was eighteen, tall and broad-shouldered with the same black hair bleached brown by the sun. His skin was darkly tanned from long hours standing out in the boats, or on the docks. Mauve wanted to go, he always trained hard, he always entered his name more than once to improve his odds of being drawn. The two brothers' eyes met for a moment, and they shared a look between them, a silent acknowledgement of the other's presence and state of mind. Each knew what the other was thinking, no words were necessary. Cale strained his neck, trying to see through the crowd and spot the rest of his family; his parents and Asher, who was too old to be a tribute.
He faced round front again and nervously plucked at his shirt. It was bright blue with silver buttons, blue as the sky, and offset by his black trousers. The clothes were stiff and new, and uncomfortable. But the shoes were by far the worst: hard and unyeilding, he could barely wiggle his toes. He would have much rather been wearing open sandals, or just have gone barefooted like he would on a normal day. His mother always frowned on that.
"Hey!" a hand on his shoulder. Cale turned to find himself face-to-face with Sorrel, a freckle-faced boy with bright red hair, also his best friend. The two clasped arms and embraced, and when they stood back Cale's smile was genuine.
"Late, as usual," he chided the red-haired boy. Sorrel just shrugged and countered by saying he hadn't missed anything important. In truth, he was just in time, because the Capitol's representative had just stepped up to the podium. A hush fell over the crowd as he tapped the microphone, then began to speak. He had a pleasant voice, sort of sing-song and charismatic. His streaked green and white hair was only a little distracting. He started off with a warm welcome to everyone who had come to the reaping, but Cale noticed that he tended to address the cameras just as much as the people in the square. Then he went off about a short history of the Hunger Games, and why they were so important, and how honored he was to be there. His name was Byron, Cale recalled. At this point the boy was zoning out a little bit, he'd heard all this before. Unbeknowest to him, his foot began tapping out a rhythm on the cobblestone pavement.
"Just pick the names already," he muttered impatiently, eyes locked on the two enormous globes that held who-knew-how-many slips of paper, each with a name on it, the name of one of the kids gathered here in the square. Two of them would be picked.
"...Let's see now," Byron was saying. He stood in front of the boys' globe and reached one manicured hand with long painted fingernails inside. He dug around for a bit, then stood back, holding one small scrap of white paper. "And District 4's male tribute for this year's Hunger Games is..." he paused for dramatic effect, then read the name.
Cale's jaw dropped. His name had been called. Those who knew him turned to look, Sorrel was pounding on his back in congratulations, but Cale still didn't believe it.
"Cale Burdock," Byron repeated, "Come on forward, son."
A shove from someone got his feet moving, and he walked up the steps to the podium in a daze. Byron shook his hand and congratulated him. A group of his friends were cheering his name. He just blinked and forced a smile, then raised a hand to wave. He spotted his family, his father and eldest brother stood tall, but beside them his mother was weeping silently, her face buried in a handkerchief.
The girl's name was called next, Heather Druid. Cale didn't know her. As she climbed up to join them on the platform, she had a haughty look on her face. She was only thirteen, but acted much older, and her manner suggested that she felt completely entitled to be District 4's female tribute. She shot Cale a cold look and then smiled for the crowd, and Cale could only wonder what would happen next.
Originally Posted by Antarctic Termite
You are both wonderful people that's why. :3
Well, you're wonderful, Jorick's just cool and stuff.
There wasn't a lot of talking as June lead her brother and sister towards the town's square, the only location large enough for a gathering such as this. The Capitol even went as far as to remove a few buildings to guarantee enough room for the cameras to get as many angles as they might need. The outlines of the square were beginning to fill with spectators, parents were hugging their children, others were refusing to look at theirs. A few were whispering hurriedly to each other, no doubt finishing their last minute betting. June couldn't feel disgusted at this, it was truly the only form of entertainment that her district could derive from the entire process. She stayed along side her siblings for as long as she was able, before a Peacekeeper stepped before her, blocking her way. She glanced up, not recognizing him, and knowing better than to try and argue, slipping down she pulled them both close into a hug, kissing each cheek "find someone you know and stay quiet, okay?" she whispered in each before standing, waiting until they disappeared into the crowd before turning back and joining the group of teenagers her age. It seemed like no time at all before every child was lined up according to age, several were pale or shaking from nerves, June kept her head high, refusing to allow her nerves to show. Glancing to her left and noticing the camera as it scanned across the silent crowd. She managed a vague smile as the camera scanned over her head, why show the capital any fear? Why allow them that satisfaction.
She had considered the idea of volunteering in the past, it was something that had never happened in District 10, she'd probably get a decently popular response from the Capitol if she had decided to volunteer. The thrill of traveling to the capitol, of competing for your life and the idea of winning those riches for her family had been almost worth the likeliness of dying, at least then there'd be one less mouth to feed for her parents and she could feel herself accepting that fate, welcoming it even. Those thoughts had to stop the moment her father died and it became so much more important that she be there for her brother and sister while they were still too young to fend for themselves. Her fear of being selected didn't stem from the possibility of dying, but the idea of leaving her family with nobody to care for them and therefor condemning them to death as well.
The very little murmuring that could be heard began to die away as a heavy set woman began to climb the steps, her stomach was round and she had double chins, her face done up in the most peculiar make-up. Her hair had all been swept to one side, the majority of it covered by a crazy colored hat. Surely this was the latest of fashions in the capitol and quite ridiculous, it was all June could do to keep from laughing. Beside the large woman strode a rather short scrawny looking male, the two couldn't have been more opposite of each other. His hair had been spiked in an attempt to add to his height, the base dyed a harsh orange color while the tips were florescent green. They both wore clothes of fine silk and pale green in color. At the podium it was the woman who spoke in a clear voice with obvious forced enthusiasm "Well here we are again! Another great year, we at the capitol thank you for participating in the annual Hunger Games!" as if any of them had any choice, there was no smile, or show of enthusiasm from the crowd, if anything her comment only seemed to make them more inactive. She cleared her throat and announced the introduction brought to them by the Capital. June remembered the first time she had actually paid attention, she had been curious about the war, even attempted to find a book about it in the library, but there had been nothing that didn't state the same as this video did. She didn't bother paying attention now, just more propoganda, it didn't matter they were going to continue on with their games whether she paid attention or not. It took several seconds after the video had gone silent before the larger woman continued, talking about how moving that video was and how we should all be honored to be such a significant part of history. "And now, the moment we've all been waiting for..." she indicated the scrawny man beside her and moved towards the bowls reaching his hand out as if showing them for demonstration "the drawing... ladies, hold you breath" she stated with a faked giggle of excitement. The short man had to stand on his tip toes to reach far enough into the bowl, he didn't bother to mix them around, merely plucking the first one he touched off of the top and handing the short piece of paper out for the woman "and our female tribute for District 10..."
She felt her heart stop as it had every year at his moment, the one moment where she simply couldn't hide that small amount of fear, where her heart raced and her nails dug into her palms out of nerves. She knew deep down that it couldn't have been her and yet... "Juniper Ampathee!" she called out. It was as if the sound had been shut off, as if she were under water and could hear nothing but the rushing waves in her ears. She heard that fake enthusiastic voice repeat her name, echoing inside her head as if her motor skills had simply stopped working. Finally it seemed her legs could work as she made her way towards the stage, the crowd parting to make way for her, she could see the pity in a few faces, the waste of something so beautiful. She could see the woman's eyes light up as she made her way upstage "oh, such a lovely thing, come now... introduce yourself" the last bit went by in a blur as she spoke in somewhat of a daze while the second tribute was selected, he too seemed equally as shocked. The last thing that ran through her mind as she was being lead away was of her young brother and sister... who would take care of them now?
It reminded Cale of the time he'd been shipwrecked nearly ten miles down the coast. He'd gone out in the skiff and ignored the ill-weather signs, and as a result ended up being run aground on a rocky spit. The boat had been completely destroyed, he'd lost the day's catch, and within a few hours the sun was going to go down. That feeling of fright and of being totally lost without the first idea of what to do was what he was feeling right now as he stood up there in front of everyone, about to be sent off to the Capitol for the biggest event of the year.
After that, time seemed to pass very quickly. He was allowed a window of time to farewell his family and friends. His mother did a great deal of crying, it didn't help that he was so overwhelmed by the moment, and fought back his own tears. He suddenly felt very young, in the presence of his parents and older brothers. He was the youngest, the baby of the family, he'd always looked up to these people for guidance and support, the thought of leaving them was almost unbearable. On the other hand, he was about to set off on a grand adventure. To see the Capitol! It was an amazing thought in and of itself, and he knew it was a great honor to be a Tribute. Still, he the feeling of homesickness set in long before he even left it behind.
When the family had gone, his friends gathered around him to wish him well, or express their jealously, or otherwise tease him. It lifted his spirits some, but none of them would be going with him, and that was like a dark cloud hanging over the room. Everyone knew it, but nobody said anything: there was a significant chance that they'd never see each other again.
Sorrel he would miss the most, the boys were brothers in all but blood, and the bond of friendship formed between them over the years was unbreakable. They'd been through thick and thin, had always stuck together. Cale had always considered Sorrel to be the more intelligent one, he did better in school and cared a lot more about book than Cale ever would, yet Sorrel always insisted that Cale was the wittier one, and sensible to have around. The two friends grasped each other in a hug, and the wall Cale had built up around his emotions was almost overrun.
"You'll win, I know it," said Sorrel, and there was no lie in his voice. He truly believed that. "Just think, you'll come back and be a hero, you'll be famous! Just don't forget about me."
"Never!" Cale choked out a laugh and stood back, holding the ginger boy at arms' length. "You just stay out of trouble while I'm gone, you hear?" Sorrel nodded.
A tap on his arm caused Cale to turn, and he found himself face-to-face with petite girl about his own age. She looked shyly up at him, he remembered her name was Aster, she lived not far from his own dwelling. He'd spoken to her a few times, but they weren't terribly close.
Pushing her curly black hair back behind her ear, she said, "I made this for you." She held out her hand, from her fingers dangled a fine braided cord on which hung several colored beads, each a different kind of stone found near or in the ocean, and each brightly polished. She beckoned and he bent down, and allowed her slender fingers to fasten it around his neck. "It's for luck," she explained, blushing slightly, "I didn't know if you already had a token, but, at least wear it in the Capitol.
A token? He hadn't even thought about that. He supposed the silver ring on his right hand would have been that, he almost never wore it, but it was finely crafted and beautiful, given to him by his grandfather. He slipped his hand into his pocket so she wouldn't see it. "I will. Thank you." Aster's blush deepened.
"Come back, won't you?" she said in a small voice.
"I'll do my best." He smiled as best he could, and she started to turn away, then hesitated. Glancing shyly up into his face, she stood on tip-toe to place a soft, brief kiss on the corner of his mouth. He was too shocked to react before she turned on her heel and hurried away. Sorrel was grinning, and he winked at Cale as a Peacekeeper shooed him away. It was time. Byron found him and shook his hand again. Up close, and now that the initial excitement was over, his oddly colored hair was even more distracting. But he seemed very friendly, which is more than Cale could say for his mentors. He didn't know them, but he'd seen them up on the stage, and a few times around town in the past. He'd always avoided them whenever possible, they seemed like unpleasant company, the two of them.
He decided to stick close to Byron for as long as possible, he might be weird, but at least he was nice, and didn't glower. "Are you ready?" Cale nodded. "Good. Come on then." The boy from District 4 complied without argument and followed Byron aboard the train that would take them to the Capitol, turning his back on his home, he forced himself not to look back.
Originally Posted by Antarctic Termite
You are both wonderful people that's why. :3
Well, you're wonderful, Jorick's just cool and stuff.
Every now and then that sound of rushing water against her ears would return, during those moments of panic. It was the only way her body seemed capable of reacting, tears weren't something that June allowed, and she had kept her emotions so strictly at bay for so long that now the emotional hurricane that was rocking her body seemed overwhelming. During these moments she found she couldn't hear much of anything else, and became quite dizzy and found it best to rest her hand against something. This is how it had been on stage, she couldn't even remember what it was she had said into that mic, or how she had sounded, she couldn't even hear her own voice. She remembered holding onto the mic stand for support while one of these rushing waves of emotion hit her, there had even been a moment when she thought she might pass out, but she had managed to control herself easily enough, even managed a deranged looking smile, the one she wore when she needed to mock confidence. It was usually much more convincing and she knew that, even so she made no attempt to fight as she was lead through the District's Capital building and into a small silent room, she was told nothing as the door shut behind her and she was left to herself. For a brief moment she began feeling something like a caged animal, pacing while thoughts of escape made their way through her head, if anyone were capable it would have been her, after all. Sense seemed all but lost by this point as she determined the amount of time it would take for her to get out the door and down the hall without being caught. She poised herself, ready to pounce on whoever it was who stepped through the door and then run for it. She watched as the knob was twisted, it was lucky that she was able to catch herself before acting. Her brother had been the first to step through the door, and any ill conceived plans for escape were forgotten at once. How could she have forgotten about her family, the ones she'd be leaving behind and what would have happened to them had she managed to succeed in her attempt? The thought made her shiver and she felt disgusted with herself for a moment.
Despite how she felt towards herself she couldn't allow her siblings to see just how out of control she really was, she managed to reel back her emotions, just as she always had. She smiled, kneeling down as the two of them stepped into the room and the door was closed behind them. Both of them threw their arms around her and broke into sobs, she could feel their tears running down her bare shoulders "shh, it's going to be alright" she promised them in a hushed voice. "We only have a few minutes and I need you to listen to me, alright?" she gently slid the two of them away so that she could see their face, she needed them to pick up on her calm. She seemed more capable of channeling her emotional confusion as long as they were there to remind her of the things most important. "I know that you're scared and that's okay, but you can't let your emotions get the best of you. I know it's going to be hard, look to our neighbors, they'll help when they can, just remind them of their promises. They'll teach you how to work around the District and earn extra rations, plus what I've taught you, don't get caught, if they catch you they'll punish you..." her voice faltered, she was beginning to lose control again.
"You could win..." her brother's voice was soft, but there was determination in his eyes as if there were nothing he had ever believed in more. June could feel the pity behind her own at his words "I can try..." she allowed, it was the best she could do under the circumstances. "You take care of your sister, if your there for each other you should be just fine..." she turned her attention to Emily, there were tears rolling down her face, staining her cheeks. "I'll do everything I can to come home to you..." she told her, again it was the best she could do. Too soon the door was open and the Peacekeepers came in to collect her siblings, her sister burst into tears, fighting against the man as he pulled her away, reaching out to her sister. June managed to catch her hand "it'll be okay, it's always okay" she told her as their hands were pulled apart and the door was closed behind them.
June could feel the toll of the days emotions beginning to weigh down on her, she leaned back against the wall, sliding down until she rested on the floor, pulling her knees to her chest, she wrapped her arms around them and leaned her head against them. She couldn't allow herself to believe that this was the last time she was going to see either of them, that seemed enough to snap her emotionally and she couldn't allow that, not yet... she knew what the Hunger Games required, she needed to be at the front of the pack, he needed people to believe she was something, she needed sponsors... she knew this. A gentle knock on the door pulled her from her daze as she glanced towards the door, she ran her hands along her cheek just in case, she found that they were dry and was thankful that tears hadn't betrayed her just yet. The door was opened and a dark haired younger man had stepped into the room. He had green eyes and handsome features, right now they looked grim. "Sam..." she wanted to compose herself, but she simply couldn't as she rushed forward and threw her arms around his neck, he was quick to react, catching her in his arm and returning the embrace. "June. I'll do everything I can to take care of them" he promised, whispering it into her ear before burying his face into her neck. Sam had always been able to see beneath her mask, the only one who ever could. Her best friend, the one that she could always count on for the truth, the one that she could tell anything, but never had to because he always seemed to know.
After a short moment he pulled back, his eyes finding hers and holding them like no other could, there had been a few moments like this recently, where that line of friendship became blurry, where those unspoken feelings for each other seemed the most potent. The two had never discussed it, feeling it was easier to pretend as if those feelings weren't there, as if they didn't need each other. June seemed more in denial than Sam, reassuring herself that those feelings were very securely kept at bay. She couldn't help herself, she didn't want to rely on those type of feelings, this was the reason behind having so many masks, she was never any good at this kind of thing. "June, they'll only give me another minute and... I need to tell you something" Sam started, but June was already shaking her head, she could feel her nose burning, those betraying tears couldn't be held for much longer. "Don't Sam... what good will it do?" she asked, seeing the pain so clearly marked.
She watched his face grow pale as he realized the meaning behind her words "June, you can't have given up already... you're strong, and smart, you need to keep those thoughts in your head, tell yourself that you're coming home. Believe it, I believe in you..." he finished, his hand resting against her cheek. "June I... I love you, and I'll never give up on you. I want you to promise me something..." he began to reach into his pocket, June could feel her stomach dropping. "Sam... no, what are you doing? I..." she was cut short as he pulled the chain out of his pocket "you're allowed a token, I was saving this... but I need you to have it now, to take it with you..." he held the chain out, on the end of it dangled a ring, white gold, a diamond glittering on one end, June's eyes widened "Sam, are you crazy? I can't take his with me, where'd you even get this?" he didn't answer, unclasping it and wrapping it around her neck "promise me you'll wear it, I know you'll come back to me... and when you do I'll put this ring on your finger and I will marry you" he vowed once the ring was in place around her neck, he pulled back, placing his hand against her cheek once again.
She couldn't fight it any longer, great tears were running down her face, she could feel the weight of the rock around her neck, it seemed the water was back rushing into her ears. She couldn't take all of these emotions, she couldn't stand any more of it, she needed to gain control, now. She managed to take a breath, steadying herself before leaning in and placing a small kiss on his cheek "I'll try" she promised, once again, just as she had with her siblings. She knew that it was highly likely she'd never see him again, and deep down, he knew this too... she couldn't let herself get caught up on his words, on his promise to marry her, or how she simply wasn't ready to make a promise like that.
At last there was a knock on the door and Sam too left her, there was nothing left but to wait. She didn't have to wait long, only another fifteen minutes before the door was opened. The short and meek looking man was standing there, a friendly smile upon his face. "Are you ready?" he asked, once again she was reminded that she really didn't have a choice but to nod. She turned away from him, facing the wall, taking a deep breath, she needed to compose herself before the cameras caught a hold of her. The man, Adelis was his name waited for her to compose herself before escorting her along the hall and back out into the daylight. The walk to the train station was a short one, the round woman it seemed had already boarded and would be waiting for them in the dining car. Adelis seemed eager to please and genuinely nice enough to the two tributes, he confided that this was his first reaping and that he would be taking over Melonis' place next year. June had enough time to marvel at the odd names those in the capital seemed to have before she was introduced to her mentors. There were two of them, a male and female and neither of them seemed all too thrilled about their job, still they were cordial, smiling politely but talking very little before they boarded the train at last. The male tribute, Marcus said nothing at all, merely shaking hands with everybody as he was introduced and refusing to look at June at all. She was lead to her compartment and informed that she had fifteen minutes to freshen herself up before meeting in the dining car. She nodded glancing around the spacious room as the door was closed, and things were just beginning to move outside the window. She stepped over to it, glancing once towards the plush green land that was so common for her district, it was likely the last time she'd ever see it, even so it seemed she had finally managed to get her emotions under control as she accepted what was likely to come and also agreed that she would do the best she could to make it home again.
Even though he'd grown up in a rather wealthy District, Cale was not prepared for the sheer size of the Capitol. He could not even begin to guess how much area it covered, it was vast beyond comprehension. Everything looked new and clean, the buildings were all very modern and very large. And the people! Not all of them dressed as strangely as Byron, most were a lot more... well, more. He saw people who had painted themselves completely blue, or orange, or silver. Hairstyles and fashion were equally extravagant and ridiculous, in his opinion. He would not have believed people could actually look like this unless he'd seen it for themselves. He concluded that they all simply had too much time on their hands.
Overwhelmed and awed, Cale spent the rest of the day lost in thought, trying to puzzle out everything he'd seen and put it in some kind of order within his own mind. The task was a difficult one, and as such he didn't really pay much attention to the instructions of Byron nor the two mentors, both of whom were women, he'd forgotten their names once again. Though they scolded him, he didn't really care, they seemed to favor Heather, the girl tribute, over him. Byron tried to be understanding though, he seemed pretty intelligent, although oblivious to much of anything that happened outside of the Capitol. Still, he made an effort at dinner to promote conversation, and asked Cale and Heather about their homes and District 4, and listened politely to what they told him. The mentors were constantly trying to steer the discussion back to the Hunger Games, however, and since there were two of them and only one Byron, that's where it always ended up.
That night, Cale barely slept, and what little sleep he did get was restless and full of ill-boding dreams. He tossed and turned and rolled over and over. Twice he tried to leave his room, maybe go for a walk or find something to eat, but the door was locked and he could find no way of opening it. In fact, when dawn came, he was awake to hear the click of the bolt sliding back. With red eyes and rumpled hair, he rolled out of bed and dressed hastily. Breakfast wouldn't be served for a while in coming, everyone else was still fast asleep so he wandered around the apartment that had been made into their temporary residence.
Several hours later, he and Heather were taken to meet their stylists. The experience was undoubtedly the most unpleasant thing he'd ever had to endure in his entire life.
The opening ceremony was that night, millions would be watching the event live and on television, and Cale could not believe what he was wearing. It gave him the appearance of having scales, as if he were a fish. He knew that Tribute wardrobes were inspired by the District they were from, but this was just a little bit ridiculous. It was colored different hues of silver, blue, green, and black and shimmered and cast light around the room whenever he moved. Worst of all were the "fins"; his dark hair had been slicked back and up into some kind of mohawk, but off of that they stylist had attached a light ribbing and webbed material that imitated a dorsal fin. Similar devices were attached to his forearms. Partially draped over one shoulder was a net, made to look like a fishing net, it was no where near as heavy or durable as a real one. It was black and sort of looked like a cape.
When he was finally allowed to look in the mirror, he didn't even recognize himself. His skin had been turned a silvery color, with more scales painted on his neck and around his eyes. If he'd gone out in public back home looking like that, he'd have been laughed out of District 4. He tried to look at it from an outsider's perspective, pretended for a moment that it wasn't himself he was scrutinizing. Now he saw a young man, fairly tall but made to look taller due to a lean frame. Actually, if he stood straight and tall, the costume almost resembled a uniform, especially with the addition of the net-cape, he might have been someone in a position of authority.
Someone who lives leagues beneath the water with the nymphs and mermaids...
The ceremony commenced. Cale and Heather, who looked absolutely stunning in a costume that complimented his own, were set up in a chariot drawn by a team of two roan horses and paraded before all to see along with the other twenty-two tributes. It was quite a spectacle. The interviews that followed were somewhat interesting, Cale liked the host, he was charismatic and friendly and asked questions in a way that made them easy to answer. That was good, because the boy's nerves were all jumping around inside of him, and the fact that everything was live on TV and his family and friends and everyone he ever knew would be watching didn't help matters much. Cale liked being by himself, he liked solitude and peace, this was everything but that, and when the host questioned him he was all too aware that he was the center of attention across all of Panem. Somehow, the things he said garnered a good deal of laughter, and he could only hope they were laughing at his wit, not his foolishness.
Once his turn was over, he sat back in relief and all but tuned out the rest of the interviews. For the first time he could really see his competition. He was bigger than most of the other boys, with a couple of exceptions. That served to reassure him, even though he knew firsthand that size wasn't everything. The idea that within the week he would be pitted against these others suddenly hit him full force and he felt sick. He would have to kill them, with his own hands, or else they'd kill him.
As soon as the interviews were finished and they were allowed to leave, Cale steered himself to the nearest garbage-disposal and retched until his stomach was empty. He spit what he could, but was unable to wipe his mouth on his sleeve, the smooth hard texture would not have done much to aid him. He ate little else that night, and exhaustion forced him to bed early so at least he got a good night's sleep.
The next day he met the other tributes once again in the training area. He was almost surprised when the Tributes from District 1 and 2 sidled up to him right away, then he remembered that's what normally happened. He, being from a very priviledged District, held a certain status among these. He did his best to be friendly and they seemed to like him, if only because he knew his odds of surviving would improve if he counted himself with the Career Tributes. They all had the advantage of training.
He broke off from them after a while to practice climbing. It was a skill he was relatively good at but one that he didn't practice regularly so he might as well do it while he could. It wasn't difficult for him, so once he reached the top of the climbing wall he perched up there and watched the others training. Heather was most recognizable to him, and he watched her hack away at a dummy with twin practice swords. Though she was young, she would undoubtedly also be counted as a Career for her ferocity. The boys from District 1 and 2 were trying to out-do each other with weights. The girl from District 7 was throwing knives with some accuracy.
Bored, he climbed back down and started to head for the weights when another Tribute caught his eye. She was from District 10 and very pretty, he remembered her from last night, she had definitely out-shined all the other female tributes with her beauty. He stopped for a moment and watched her to see what skills she had, at least that's what he told himself was the reason. Still he was curious to see what she could do.
Originally Posted by Antarctic Termite
You are both wonderful people that's why. :3
Well, you're wonderful, Jorick's just cool and stuff.
The train ride was something of a blur in June's mind, she couldn't remember much of the conversation in the dining car, it was too easy to become distracting by Melonis' constant eating, it was easy to see that the pampering was her favorite part of the Hunger Games. Adelis seemed much more interested in the well being of his tributes, trying to keep conversation going and reminding them to take every bit of advice from their coaches. June had made more of an effort to listen when the mentors spoke, they had relatively useful things to say. She was reminded that each arena changes and that it was impossible to guess what kind of surrounding they'd be in "I don't really think it'll matter where they put you in. You're best chance at survival here is your cunning, I've seen you escape in times when you probably shouldn't have... use that to your advantage." Maybelle, her female mentor had given her a few other pointers, but it was these words that seemed the most important. Finding water was at the top of her list but in reality there was so much more to this game.
She was reminded as the train pulled up to the platform that the one thing she needed to rely on were her sponsors and that her beauty was a key factor in doing this. They were likely to play up her features but she needed to come across as likable. She tried on her most confident smile, but Maybelle shot it down almost at once "no, too confident... try to pull a look of sweet innocence." June wasn't entirely sure how she was supposed to do that, she thought for a moment before figuring out a soft grin, placing her hands behind her back, trying to keep her eyes soft. She didn't have to try very hard, her features worked the magic for her and she was welcomed with warm applause as the doors opened revealing the tributes from District 10. Of the two it was clear that June was gathering more attention, Marcus made no attempt to smile or to convey any kind of emotion really, he merely followed the group, even so his sheer size was likely to catch a bit of attention, he was likely the biggest in this years games and that always seemed to influence sponsors in some way.
The two were lead through the crowd, several were standing on their tip toes to get their last glances at the two, several eyes landing on June before at last the doors were shut and they were engulfed by silence. "You'll have a night to rest and put something on your stomachs. The opening ceremonies are tomorrow night so you'll be spending the day with your stylists, you'll also be spending an hour with either Melonis or myself to go over interview strategies. Your first interview is tomorrow, it's only to introduce you to the world..." Adelis continued on as they made their way to the elevators and up to the tenth floor, June was only somewhat listening, managing an occasional nod or smile to show that she had heard or understood. In reality her mind was someplace else entirely, it was as if this barrier had been built in her mind, one that she kept all of her errational emotions hidden behind. It was this barrier that made it so easy to pretend to be somebody she isn't and now that barrier was cracked, the emotions behind it were threatening to break down that door. A few had already managed to escape and she was having a hard time keeping them in check. Fear, worry, sorrow... she could only hope that the days leading up to the games would be enough to occupy her mind and keep those emotions from overflowing.
She found it difficult to eat anything, telling herself that she should really eat as much as possible before the games, she wasn't a hunter. She was a thief, she'd be able to steal from others easily enough. Still she simply couldn't force herself, not without risking losing what little bit of food she had managed to get down on the train. She seemed in a bit of a fog all throughout dinner, losing focus until somebody said her name, she shook her head, snapping out of it, apparently it had been said a few times and she had only just realized that they were talking to her, something about being up by 8 am. She gave a nod to show she heard before excusing herself from the table. She could feel eyes on her as she headed into the hall and finally into what was to be her room until the start of the games. She really wish she could have enjoyed it more, the curiosity inside wanted to explore, to see what each button did, but it didn't seem to be the winning emotion. The days activities had wiped her energy away, she was amazed that she had even made it to her room before collapsing onto her bed. She had just enough time to register how comfortable it was compared to the one at home, I suppose comfort is a luxury awarded to those about to die for the cause of the Capital.
What seemed like little more than five minutes had passed before bolting upright, sweat was pouring down her face, her heart was racing and she was panting, it felt as if she had just run a mile. She glanced around, feeling panicked before her memory began to filter back in. She took a few deep breaths before climbing out of bed and heading to the door, turning the knob, she sighed realizing that the door had been locked. It must have still been night, she picked up a remote laying on the bedside table and pressed a few buttons until she found one the worked the window. It was dark outside, she thought momentarily about heading back to bed, but decided that she'd rather wash all the sweat away first.
The shower was something that she could actually appreciate, enjoying the warm water rushing over her body, it seemed to soak all of those fears and knots away. After what had to have been half an hour she got out, wrapping herself in a towel and heading back out into the room. She no longer felt sleepy, and fear it seemed had run out for now, she began thinking about everything she was supposed to do the next day. The opening ceremony was always a big deal, she couldn't help but wonder how she was going to look dressed as a cow. That had been the costume choice the year before and her district's stylists had never seemed to be very creative. A couple hours later a clicking sound announced that she was no longer locked in. She was dry by now and started looking through her wardrobe for something to wear, he chose something disposable, knowing that she wouldn't be permitted to wear it all day anyway. A pair of blue jeans and a pale pink shirt with silver streaks that glimmered dimly in the light. Running a brush through her hair, there was no point in doing anything amazingly special with it, the stylists were sure to change that as well. Once she seemed satisfied enough with her appearance she exited her room.
She had been right to choose something disposable, the stylists had wasted no time getting a hold of the blonde beauty, the group buzzed with excitement at the realization of what they were given to work with. They didn't speak a lot to June, mostly to each other about which color accented what better and about a few imperfections that they were planning on buffing out. June hated the idea of relying so heavily on her looks, but she had always known that it was a useful resource to have, it was part of the reason that the Peacekeepers back in her District were so willing to let her get away with her thievery, despite the rumors of her abilities.
She was handed from person to person at some point, each of them doing something new, every now and then something would be erased and they'd re do something else. There were no mirrors she couldn't know what exactly was being done or how it would look afterwards. Eventually the lead stylist came in, taking June by the hand and having her turn this way and that, examining every inch of her it would seem. There had been a few embarrassing moments where she wished she had been alone, like when they first stripped her down. Even now she wore nothing but a robe and it was likely she'd have to take it off for this man as well. "It's nice to know your mentors weren't exaggerating, very pretty" the man introduced himself as Kadence before she was stripped down to nothing once more and examined from every angle to make sure nothing was missed.
June was pleasantly surprised to hear that the tributes from District ten weren't to be dressed as cows this year, but rather pick up on the elements of the terrain they lived on. Thick green meadows with beautiful flowers, alive with beautiful creatures. She marveled at the material of the green dress as it was zipped into place. There were no sleeves and the skirt flared out, stopping just at her knees. The material glimmered in the light as she moved creating an eye catching illusion, almost like grass blowing in the wind. It seemed that this was only the beginning layer as her stylists added bits to the dress and did this and that to her hair. In the end bits of her skin had a greenish glow just on the outside, subsiding to the beautiful flesh colored in the center of her legs arms and face. Real flowers of every color had been strung throughout the dress. A few strands of her golden hair had been pulled back and pinned with a few of the flowers. Her eyes had been lined with white black and gold causing the colors within to pop out desirably. A bit of golden thread had been used as the final accent, laced through the flowers and a few key spots on the dress before at last she was helped into a pair of heels with green vines that wrapped around her legs to complete the look.
At last her team was finished and she was lead to a new location, here there were plenty of people keeping busy, preparing for the televising. This was also her first time getting a look at any of the other tributes. It was easy enough to match each tribute with their district, already picking out the ones that were likely to align together and considering the idea of perhaps aligning with somebody herself. Naturally she knew that this idea could only take her so far, eventually allies had to turn against each other in the end, though a pair rarely make it to the end together. June spotted Marcus as he was lead towards her in a costume fairly similar to her own. He wasn't wearing a shirt and it seemed that his upper muscles had been accented and he had no flowers on him, it was obvious the flowers were meant to accent the beauty. She could feel butterflies fluttering in her stomach as she was lead to her chariot. She could feel eyes on her already, glancing around it seemed that she had caught the attention of a few other tributes, it was likely that dressed like this she looked quite weak and easy to kill, she tried to ignore that thought as she climbed up onto the chariot. "Don't forget the smile beautiful" came Kadence's voice in a whisper before the announcement was made and the group started out. It was amazing the reception they received. She couldn't really register the moment completely, managing to catch a glimpse of herself on one of the monitors and she actually gasped. She watched as her mouth opened in shock, she was more than beautiful, she was stunning, there was no such thing as a flaw and that was frightening. She had to take a deep breath and remind herself that she was under the make up, this was just another mask and she had better play the part. That seemed to be the right thing to tell herself because she could feel those emotional walls reinforcing themselves as the mask came out and a sweet smile crept it's way onto her features. She was careful to keep every move as gentle as possible to make herself seem airless as if it took little effort to be as likable as possible. It seemed to be working as both men and women were falling over themselves to catch her attention as she went by. It seemed the opening ceremonies were a hit and the new twist on their costume had been enough to capture the attention they needed.
The next few hours went by so quickly it was as if somebody had hit the fast forward button on life. There wasn't enough time to do a costume change before the preliminary interview was taking place. Only enough time for a quick touch up and a pep talk from Maybelle and Adelis. It had been he who prepared her for this interview, insisting that it was to be no more than a minute. Ceaser Flickerman was a friendly man, very easily likable and even easier to talk to, he always had a way of displaying the best side of whoever it was he was talking to. June couldn't remember much of her interview, only that Ceaser had placed a kiss on her hand and talked about how ravishing she was. There was a little laughter, and Ceaser's promise to find out more on the next interview which was to take place after the training was over and every tribute had received a score.
That night she found it a little more difficult to sleep, she couldn't help but think about all those other tributes, the fact that she would have to kill all of them, or else be killed by one of them. The thought made her queasy and nervous. She had finally managed to drift to sleep only to be woken an hour later by Maybelle, her mentor. "We need to go over your training schedule" she insisted over breakfast, of which June was picking with her fork but not actually eating. "We usually give our tributes the option of training together or alone, but I think it would be best if we did individual training for now. During your training sessions with the rest of the tributes I want you to focus on training abilities that you don't already have or that can help fight the elements, don't go showing off your true abilities, leave those for our one on ones you understand?" to June's nods.
Feeling too anxious to wait any longer the two were escorted down to the training center at 15 til, even so they weren't the first to arrive. After the tributes were left to their training she moved around a bit, examining each area with curiosity trying to pin down something that could be most useful. She was best at evasiveness, camoflauge would probably come in extremely useful. She managed to ignore the glances thrown in her direction for the most part as she headed towards the camoflauge center and began working there. She discovered she was actually quite artistic as she tried a few different things that she could use to blend in with her surroundings. She actually managed a true smile, a rare thing that few had ever seen. She stopped when she realize that eyes were on her, glancing up she spotted a girl, around her age. Her eyes ran over June's body as if appraising her and deciding that she wasn't worth much, it seems that in that one instant she had managed to create an enemy for herself. The girl from district 2 no less. In the hopes of avoiding any more conflict she left the camouflage station and moved on to another, stopping as once again she felt another set of eyes on her, glancing over her shoulder, she spotted the boy. She recognized him from the interview the night before. The look in his eyes didn't imitate that of the girl's, if anything he seemed curious about her, she eyed him another minute allowing a crooked smile of interest to touch her lips before turning to the nearest center. Throwing knives, this was something she was likely to be bad at, but this was what she had been instructed to do. She watched the man demonstrate the proper technique before standing back to give her some practicing space. She was dismal at this station, unable to get the blade into the wall and in some cases missing the target by several feet, she couldn't help but laugh at herself.
Cale wasn't sure if she'd been trying to intimidate him, or if she was merely being friendly. Normally, he would have assumed the latter, but considering the circumstances he doubted that anyone listed "making new friends" on their list of priorities. He wondered what the etiquette was in this situation, seeing as in a few days they'd all be trying to kill each other. He considered that for a few moments, watching as she turned away and headed for knife throwing, and wincing internally at her lack of ability. Unless she was only pretending to fail, for strategic reasons, but instinct told him she wasn't.
The smarter part of him told him to just leave it alone, it would be best, he figured it would be easier to kill someone you didn't really know, right? But frankly he was bored, and Heather barely even acknowledged his existence, the only person he'd really had to talk to was Byron, so far. Talking, talking never hurt anyone. Fed up with this internal conflict, he threw all thoughts of strategy and the Hunger Games aside and followed the girl from District 10.
There was a dull thud as one of the knives bounced harmlessly off the target, and a clatter as another missed it all together and skidded across the floor. As he arrived, the instructor began giving him directions, but Cale waved him off. He knew knives, not just because he'd trained with them in the past, but it was a common game among fishermen's sons, who used knives in their everyday activities. Target throwing was child's play. He picked up three, examining their design. They were balanced with a blade that widened slightly before coming to a point, and looked quite old and very used. Still, they were useable.
Taking stance beside the girl, he quickly sized up the target, judging the distance and angle at which it stood from him. Then, expertly, he drew back his arm and let the first knife fly. There was a solid thunk as it hit home, burying itself an inch into the wood. In quick succession he let the other two go, leaving a cluster of three knives in the center of the target. He stood back, then glanced at the girl. "It's not too hard once you get a feel for it," he remarked casually, "You just need to find the right balance between your arm and the blade."
Originally Posted by Antarctic Termite
You are both wonderful people that's why. :3
Well, you're wonderful, Jorick's just cool and stuff.
June could feel eyes on her, more than just one pair. She was easy prey, pathetic in her attempts to do something worth remembering with these throwing blades and failing miserably. To those surrounding her she now became nothing more than a pretty face, one that unfortunately they'd have to kill. Though there were a few that looked as if they'd be all too happy to scalp that pretty blonde hair right off of her head. She began to feel helpless, a rabbit being sent into a den of hungry wolves. Her instincts against their razor teeth, she was no fighter and that was becoming painfully obvious to everybody. She froze at the sound of somebody moving near, ignoring the impulse to glance over her shoulder, she instead put that anxiety into her throw... to a dismal conclusion. The blade zipped to the right past the target and clattered to the floor, she couldn't help the sigh of frustration that escaped her lips.
A whizzing sound followed by a sharp thud announced that whoever had taken a spot beside her knew what they were doing. Two more consecutive thuds, each blade buried deep into the center target. She knew before looking that it wasn't going to be the female from earlier, the energy was different, much more calm. She glanced over, the light managing to capture the flecks of gold in her eyes perfectly before they landed on his face. The tribute from District four. She remembered the costume choice for the opening ceremony, had been memorized by the glimmering scales even.
She couldn't decide the best response to his attempt in helping, she couldn't be sure if this was normal behavior, but a glance around the room would give her that answer. The Hunger Games was generally a fend for yourself thing, alliances rarely went beyond the first short while and usually those were the careers. Perhaps he was testing her, trying to find out whether she really was as bad as she seemed. Surely it couldn't be so crazy of an idea that a boy from 4 would want to align with a girl from 10. She couldn't decide whether it was a good idea to be friendly, still she could see something familiar deep in his eyes. Something that she recognized in her own, he too was wearing a mask, pretending to be something he wasn't. Hiding his fear, and anxieties. She supposed that everybody here had to do that to some degree. She decided that it was easier to return the friendliness, perhaps it would turn into something useful during the games. "Hmm, the right balance?" she asked, glancing down to the knife she had just picked up. She examined his stance and attempted to mimic it before lobbing the blade for the wall, the aim improved significantly, at least the knife hit the wall. Unfortunately she simply didn't have enough force to drive it any higher than about four inches from the ground.
"An improvement I suppose. Guess I shouldn't be relying on throwing knives" she said with a small laugh. She wasn't sure if it was possible to make light out of the situation, but she wasn't sure if she could stand much more of this awkward fear of everyone. The second tribute from her district seemed quite capable on his own, but she didn't like being alone. The idea of making a friend seemed a little naive, impossible even and yet... she felt like that's what she needed most right now.
"It takes practice. Anyway, if you're in a mess, it's smarter to keep the knife in your hand instead of throwing it away." He retrieved the knives, jerking them out of the soft wood and returning them to the trainer. "If you throw it away, there's no guarantee that you'll get it back." He stood there, considering her for a moment. He'd tried to push all thoughts of the game out of his head, at least for now, but how could he? Here he was in a training facility with the twenty-three other Tributes that he would eventually be forced into a fight to the death with. It wasn't exactly the kind of place you came to in order to make friends. But for some reason, he wanted someone he could talk to, and be friendly with for just a little while. Hopefully someone else would kill her before he had to, or else he would be killed first, and though that was one of the most morbid thoughts he'd ever had, he clung to it. Sure, someone else would kill her first, probably one of the other careers.
"I'm Cale. Cale Burdock." He said, offering his hand to shake. Whether or not she took it was up to her, but either way he figured it was a good way to introduce yourself. "So you're from District 10, huh?" Her District was substantially larger than his, but they needed the land for livestock and agriculture, he had the sea, which was far greater than all of Panem, it made him feel sort of important, in way.
It was almost as if he could feel the stares from the other Tributes. Everyone was watching each other, but nobody tried to show it. They were all sizing each other up, guaging the competition. Who would be the most dangerous, who wouldn't be much to worry about. Sure, the careers would laugh and joke and hang out together, but they weren't really friendly. In all honestly, Cale didn't like them. There was just something... wrong, he couldn't place his finger on it. All his life he'd been trained for this, but it had never seemed real. Like, it would never really happen to him. Yet here he was, standing in the midst of the Capitol with the rest of the Tributes, some who were excited, and some who were dreading the day they were set loose in the Arena.
Originally Posted by Antarctic Termite
You are both wonderful people that's why. :3
Well, you're wonderful, Jorick's just cool and stuff.