Prologue 1


Coriolanus Snow, age 76
President of Panem

It feels good to be in power, to have an entire nation of hopeful fools fear me, to have a group of servants wrapped around my little finger because they fear that I will execute all their loved ones should they step out of line. It feels good to wake up in the morning knowing that I am the most feared man in the entire world, and that anyone who dares to defy me will be executed in a quick, brutal manner. It feels good to get dressed knowing that at least one person is cowering in terror of his impending meeting with me.

That person is Seneca Crane, Head Gamemaker for the annual Hunger Games. The man is a creative genius, I must admit, but has a very unfortunate sentimental streak, as evidenced by the way he blew up the District 2 female last year just as she was torturing the District 12 male. I warned him to not do such a thing again, because the point of the Hunger Games is to instill terror in the Districts by any means possible, and cutting such a cold-blooded torture scene short shows that the Capitol, and by proxy myself, is merciful. The truth is that I am anything but merciful.

The Presidential Mansion of Panem has everything a man like me needs, from its luxurious bedrooms to its rose-filled gardens. There are other rooms, such as ballrooms, kitchens, and even an indoor pool. Of course, those are just decorations, left over by my frivolous predecessors. I know that all I really need are my roses, their perfectly alien appearance serving as my symbol and their sickeningly sweet scent masking the smell of the blood of both myself and my enemies. I am also thankful for the Presidential Mansion itself. The place has a toxic aura that will intimidate and unnerve anyone who sets foot in it, as if my presence was not enough for my untrustworthy visitors to quake in terror.

Several highly trained members of the Agency surround me as I walk towards the Control Room, where I know that Seneca Crane is waiting for me. I adjust my rose, ensuring that its scent will mask the smell of blood in my mouth, as I survey my army of personal bodyguards with satisfaction. I know that I can trust them, for they are paid a hefty amount for protecting the President, whoever he is. Besides, I know I can easily kill any of them once I find out that they have rebellious tendencies. Thankfully, the Agency is loyal. I have never dealt with any incident where an Agency member has consorted with dirty rebels. Speaking of dirty rebels, I am confident that, thanks in part to the hard work of the Agency, no one will dare to lay a finger on me. I am invincible, after all. I am the President of Panem.

"Grandpa!"

My granddaughter, Celestia, is calling. I hold up a hand, indicating for the Agency members to halt, as I scan the hallway for her. The little girl of eight is running around a corner towards me, her lovely brown hair streaming out behind her. I smile, bend down, and give her a hug as she runs into me.

"Grandpa, Frosty wouldn't eat her oats this morning," Celestia complains. "I even threw away the food the maid made and made the oat mix by myself. But Frosty just stood there and didn't eat her food." She pouts, seeming to be genuinely worried about her brand-new snow-white pony.

"That's odd, my dear," I say, showing Celestia the look of concern that I never show anyone else. "What did you feed her yesterday?"

"The normal stuff," Celestia declares, "but she did take a bite out of some grass that was growing by the rose garden." She cocks her head. "I usually don't ride her to the rose garden. Do roses make ponies not want to eat?"

"Yes," I say. "I am sorry, Celestia. I should have told you before you went riding. Don't worry about it - I'll send for the veterinarian, who'll fix up Frosty just right."

Celestia cocks her head again. "What's a veterinarian?"

"Someone who takes care of the animals, dear," I answer. "We have only the country's finest veterinarian in the Presidential Mansion, which means that the ponies and birds that you love so much will never fall sick."

Celestia smiles. "Thanks, grandpa!" she exclaims happily.

"No problem," I say warmly to the girl who never fails to put a smile on my face. "I don't like to see you upset. But remember, don't go riding near the rose garden from now on, okay?"

"Okay, thanks grandpa!" Celestia exclaims. With that, she gives me one last hug before running back the way she came.

I allow myself one last smile before straightening up, putting on a poker face, and motioning for the Agency members to continue walking with me. It is time for my nice side to fade away, because only Celestia has earned my compassion. The truth is that only my roses are poisonous to horses and ponies. But I didn't tell Celestia that. She is too young, and I care for her too much to tell her.


A/N: Welcome everyone to The Same, But Different, my first SYOT! This SYOT is the 74th Annual Hunger Games, hence the title. :) Since this is my first SYOT, it's a partial one, which means that I will create twelve tributes while readers will submit the remaining twelve. However, only the twelve reader-submitted tributes will get POVs. Check my profile for open slots. Additional rules, guidelines, and information are on my profile, so please read them and submit!

Chapter question: What do you think of the prologue? I know it was on the short side, but I want to focus this story on the tributes, so I only gave Snow a short prologue. Do you think I portrayed President Snow well?

The next chapter will either be the first three tribute Reapings or another prologue, depending on how many submissions I get. But I hope I can get straight into the tribute introductions. Hopefully this story will be a success.

Either way, see you next time, and have a nice day!