Coriolanus Snow - Head Gamemaker
Coriolanus sits at the head of the Gamemakers table with a silver mirror in his left hand, examining his stubbly beard that grew as a result of the 24th annual Hunger Games. While his appearance and perception to the public is usually a large concern, during the games he always gets home late at night, if at all, and seldom has time to shave before going to bed and he always has to be up at the crack of dawn, so there is no time to shave then either. He holds a set of tweezers in his right hand, plucking at random strands of facial hair until his skin bleeds and he is forced to wipe his face with his handkerchief. Coriolanus often takes a few minutes after each Games to decompress alone before he goes to speak to the country of Panem about the murderous events they just witnessed.
The 24th Hunger Games were unexciting in comparison to the previous thirteen games managed by Coriolanus, at least to him, but the people seemed to like it, which is what matters most. It's just that he had tried to be creative with the arena, and create a winter wonderland that would juxtapose the burning heat outdoors, as the games always took place in the summer, but there was hardly any time for the mutant snowman and reindeer he had created to be enjoyed in their full glory since Micah Fairforge, the boy from District 2 was able to overpower nearly everybody with a combination of hand to hand combat and the ability to throw knives, resulting in the games only lasting eight days, the shortest Coriolanus had managed. It also didn't help that the people loved Micah's charisma, though Coriolanus never understood it, which led to dozens of gifts for him every day, making his win inevitable. On paper it was a success, but Coriolanus was unsatisfied. He knew weeks from now nobody would be talking about these games, unlike his previous spectacles. Next year just had to be better if he wanted to be president someday, he thought as he ripped out a blonde hair from his chin before hearing a jarring squeak.
"Coryo! Coryo." He heard a voice that was the equivalent of his former teacher's nails on the chalkboard. "Almost time! Almost time."
The voice got closer until he saw his colleague, Lucretius "Lucky" Flickerman in the doorway with his pet parrot Jubilee atop his shoulder. "You're still in here?"
"I do this every time," Corolanius said. "You should know this by now."
"Ah, yes, I forgot you need your meditation time," Lucky admitted. "But hurry up! The people want to celebrate your success!"
"It was no success Lucky, I personally was bored the entire time." Corolanius grunted. "I have to do something better."
"Well you do know next year is the Quarter Quell," Lucky said
"Every 25 years there's a special twist to the Games. To keep things interesting."
"Do I get to decide?"
"Heavens no! Our ancestors wrote down twists for dozens of quarter quells in envelopes. You'll simply select the envelope that says 25, hand it to President Ravinstill who will give a big spiel, and then read the envelope. Everybody will be so excited!"
"That's perfect!" Coriolanus exclaimed. "When do the people find out about the twist?"
"Not until next spring," Lucky said as Coriolanus grunted. "Now come on, you have to go greet the people."
Coriolanus finally arose from his chair. "Fine."
"And for Panem's sake please shave your beard, you look like a mutt!"
"Coryo! Stop fidgeting with your buttons." Tigris slapped her cousin's hand, which was picking at the thread around the white button she had recently sewn onto his green waistcoat, "Why are you nervous?"
"I'm not nervous!" He grunted, slapping her back in the hand. "Sorry for that."
"You're fine." She laughed. "Think of it as any other Games."
"But it's not!"
"Well then if anything that just makes it easier for you! The twist makes the games interesting enough."
"I guess. I just hope it's something good."
"It will be. Now go get them!"
Coriolanus ran out of the dressing room, about to go onstage in front of the Capitol people and the rest of Panem on broadcast, when he realized he forgot something. He went back into the dressing room, grabbed a golden envelope with the number 25 embossed into it, waved at Tigris one more time, and patiently waited for Lucky to introduce him. After a few minutes he heard "Let's give a warm welcome to Head Gamemaker Coriolanus Snow," and walked onstage to thunderous applause as he waved to the audience and stood in between Lucky and President Ravenstill.
"Now Mr. Snow," Lucky started, his hair had recently been dyed a vibrant shade of blue in honor of his parrot who recently passed. "Would you like to explain what a Quarter Quell is to everybody at home? I tried to myself but I know you can do much better."
"Of course. As this year is the 25th anniversary of our valent defeat of the districts, this year's hunger games, as well as every games that is a multiple of 25, will have a special twist that will make them exceptionally disastrous and more difficult. I've no idea what this year's twist will be, as it was decided right at the beginning of the Hunger Games, and is written in this unwritten envelope." Coriolanus held out the envelope towards the cameras. "President Ravenstill, I give you the honor of reading it."
The president took the envelope from Coriolanus's hands. "Thank you Mr. Snow." He felt a twinge of anxiety as he opened the envelope and began reading it to himself. He pictured himself doing the same 25 years later and couldn't help but smile at the thought.
"Ah yes." President Ravenstill smiled "On the 25th anniversary, as a reminder to the rebels that their children were dying because of their choice to initiate violence, every district will hold an election and vote on the tributes that will represent it."
The audience was silent before bursting into applause.
"Wow! That is going to be quite the spectacle!" Lucky exclaimed "Are you excited Mr. President?"
"Certainly. It will be a celebration that will be remembered."
"And you Mr. Snow?"
Coriolanus paused for a moment. Elections? It sounded brutal, not that the Games are not already, this just seemed unusually cruel, in the best way possible.
"I'm thrilled. I suspect this will be the finest Games our fair country will bear witness to."
Micah Fairforge - Victor of the 24th Hunger Games
Capitol parties were not Micah's thing. Sure, this was only his second one, but he already hoped it would be his last. He already knew this was just the beginning of what was sure to be yearly, if not more frequent, gatherings of pretentious addicts who thought they were the shit because either they won a contest for killing people, or paid for someone to win a contest for killing people. Sure, Micah was the former, but he still didn't fit in with the aura in the ballroom. Everybody was lighting up whatever it was they were smoking, sipping whatever it was they were drinking, or having, err, relations in the corners of the room. Micah had been offered all three by Pascal Packard, a Victor from District 3 from a few years back, but he declined as again, he had no desire to be there any longer than he had to.
At least this party was better than the last he thought. While he loved the spotlight, he was burned out by the conclusion of his Victory Tour, and wasn't in the mood for all the attention, but regardless he faked a smile so he could thank the people who spent their money on gifts which allowed him to be alive and able to attend the party. Some of the people were nice to him, and genuinely wanted to get to know him, but the majority were people that were interested in his body for either themselves or their daughters. He took that kind of attention as a compliment, though he was completely aware it was everything but. He was just happy to be alive, not that he thought he wouldn't be. Micah's father was a war veteran who lost an arm, and as a result could not work in the masonry factories District 2 was assigned to work in. So, he spent all his time training Micah for the Hunger Games and teaching him how to throw a spear with only one hand, a skill that came in handy more often than anyone would have thought, and allowed Micah to win the games in record time, as he could attack and defend at the same time. Micah wasn't exactly fond of the Games, but when the time came, he felt he had no choice but to volunteer to participate, as he did not want to let down his father. While killing others was hard for him, he closed his eyes and imagined the people attacking his father on the battlefield until he worked up the courage to do it. Since winning almost nine months ago, Micah's father had created an academy to train others to win, just as he trained his son.
The purpose of the current party Micah was at was to celebrate the announcement of the First Quarter Quell, because, for some reason, creating a unique way to kill children was a cause for celebration. He gave up trying to understand the Capitol's purpose for doing things a long time ago. He tried to mix with the other victors, as he would be mentoring a tribute alongside them, just as Brock Aggregate had mentored him, albeit poorly, as he was mainly concerned with kissing up to those in the Capitol. Most of the victors were similar to Brock in the sense they cared more about making a good impression than they did helping others overcome the same life or death situation they survived so Micah was determined to be different. So far, the only other victor he didn't get annoyed by, and even enjoyed the company of, was Mags Flanagan from District 4. Maybe it's because she's 30 –though she looked much younger– and no longer cared about what the Capitol thought of her, or maybe it was because, much like him, she wanted her tributes to succeed. He felt pretty bad about killing the boy from District 4 in the finale of his games, as it was clear how fond Mags was of him, but he had to do what he had to do to survive.
He wandered the party looking for Mags, as she had said she was using the ladies room ten minutes ago and had not returned, and found her by a bowl of what he assumed was alcohol.
"Want some Micah?" She said, her eyes lighting up when she saw him
"Oh no," Micah replied, "I don't drink."
"Neither do I!" Mags exclaimed "This is fruit punch"
"Well then thank you!" he said, taking the glass.
"Should we toast to something?" Mags asked
"Sure. To being alive."
"To being alive."
The two clinked their glasses.
"So this year is going to be quite the matchup huh.," Mags said. "It seems I finally have a fellow mentor who actually gives a damn."
"Oh for sure," Micah agreed. "I'm sure with the whole voting on tributes thing, some people from my dad's school are going to campaign to be elected."
"Imagine wanting to go into the Hunger Games."
"Hey, I only volunteered because my dad would've been so mad otherwise."
"I know kiddo." Mags laughed. "I'm just teasing you."
"I know. I know. It's just crazy that people are going to actually go around begging people to vote for them in a competition where there's a high chance they'll get killed."
"I'm sure the same thing will happen in 4. Something about fighting to the death makes people feel a sense of pride. I'll never get it."
"Me neither." Micah sighed, "And when they win, they turn into those guys." He gestured to Victoria Mercedes from District 1 and his mentor Brock passionately kissing in the corner.
"Well you didn't." Mags said, "Though I did see you talking to Pascal."
"Yeah. He wanted to have sex with me but I polietly told him that I'm about 90 percent sure I don't swing that way, and wasn't willing to play into by 10 percent doubt."
"I'd say that's a safe move. He gets around a lot and who knows what diseases he could have."
"Well at least I'll have you to keep me sane."
"And at least I'll have you."
The two hugged and Micah sighed. He really did hate it at the Capitol, but at least Mags made him confident that there was some good in the world even though his tributes would totally be kicking hers in the ass.
Hi everybody! Thank you so much for reading this chapter. As you can probably guess right now, I'm writing a Submit Your Own Tribute (SYOT) story. As of May 25th, Submissions are officially open, so if you see this, feel free to submit a tribute. Actually, please submit a tribute. I'll keep submissions open until we have all 24 tributes. To submit, read the information on my profile, and then send in the application via PM. If you leave your tribute in the reviews of this story, I won't read it. Thank you again and may the odds be ever in your favor.