AN- Sorry for not updating in a while! Hopefully, this long chapter will make up for it! Disclaimer and enjoy!

Last time:

A crunch of snow that felt out of place. That's the only warning I hear before it all happens.

Chapter 17:

Lachlan screams as he's knocked down by a mass. I hear a clank of metal and a grunt from Lucretius as a surprised gasp is cut off. Nelly winds up near me, fighting a small girl in hand to hand combat, yelling at me, "It's an ambush!" before ducking from her attacker.

"Wha-!" I'm knocked back as I grip my dagger tighter. I look at my attacker and find a boy about my age and height with a ten sewn onto his jacket. The 'cowboy' I made set to look out for. He's holding a sword, not as brilliant as Lucretius's, a shabby looking weapon, but looks like it can do some real damage. He charges at me and takes a swipe at my body, which I dodge. I feel tugs in my jacket and I see that the boy has put slashes in it with his sword. As I turn back around-


The sound disorients me and the boy I'm fighting manages to trip me up, making me land in the wet snow that's leaking blood towards me. He kneels over me, pinning my arms down and there's nothing I can do with a short dagger thrown to the side of me and throwing knives hidden deep in my bag.

"Looks like it all ends here, lover girl. No one to save you now," he jeers.

He takes a knife that I hadn't seen before, and slowly makes a move for my face. In my shock, he traces his knife and I feel pain and open air on my cheek. That brings me out and somehow, my foot finds it's way to his groin, and he staggers back, so I'm able to move my arms as red crosses my vision. As I reclaim my dagger and make swipes at him, my fist connects with his face several times. He drops the sword and I scramble to pick it up and I'm now standing over him pointing his own weapon at his chest. I look down at him and see my swipes found home in several points in his jacket, some of which are covered in blood.

His brown eyes meet mine, wild with fear. He knows he's going to die. His gaze never leaves mine as I quickly plunge the sword into his chest. I watch the life drain from his eyes and his breathing slow down, before stopping altogether. Another cannon goes off and I pull the sword out and gather my dagger and the newly obtained sword. My first kill and probably not my last. Two more cannons go off and I hear, "Careers, retreat!" as I wipe the blood that streams into my eye and mouth.

I see Bedros bounding ahead of me before he makes a sharp turn to his left. I'm pulled in afterwards and find myself in a small rock cave with Bedros, Lucretius, and Lachlan.

"Where are Pladia and Nelly?" Lachlan asks a bruise on his right cheek.

"Right here." Pladia comes in with Nelly in tow, both with several gashes in different parts of their clothing.

"It was an ambush?" Bedros asks, breathing hard with a split lip.

"Yeah. A poor one made by some lower districts." Pladia states. Lachlan comes over and touches the side of my face with three fingers and shows them to me. Their covered in scarlet. The pain fades rapidly due to the cold. The blood on my face will be frozen solid within a matter of time. I'm not very sure if this is good or bad since I've never been through a situation like this before.

I begin to wipe off the blood with my sleeve, as the others decide whether to make camp here-which we do.

"There were five of them. Three were killed, one should be dead momentarily and one is wounded-should die soon," Pladia tells us. As soon as she finishes, another cannon goes off in the distance.

"Wow. Good timing." I say, looking in my backpack for any medical supplies which I find a small box. Thank you, District Four!

Taking out a Band-Aid to cover my cut, I take note that I have one roll of gauze, a pack of band-aids, and disinfecting ointment to prevent any infections. I'm momentarily disappointed that they didn't include any morphling to numb the pain, but then I realize I'm lucky to get any of these supplies at all. The lower districts probably only received a few matches and dried jerky.

I wonder if Twelve got anything at all.

Lachlan finds his way to me and helps treat my wound. Once the final layer of gauze has been applied, we sit silently side by side until the Death Broadcast comes on. Hopefully the Bloodbath this year was violent; otherwise we'd have to worry about wiping out more people than we have to.

I remember one year when only three were killed on the first day. That did not end well for the tributes that year.

The sky has cleared for the Broadcast, leaving small stars in a place where they wouldn't normally be present.

The anthem plays and shakes the whole mountain to the point where I become wary of an avalanche. However, after a few seconds, nothing happens. I am still cautious. The Capitol emblem is projected across the fake sky.

A moment later, the first dead Tribute's face is shown to everyone in the arena.

The District Three girl. Both tributes from Seven. The boy from Eight- the one I killed. The girl from Nine. The girl from Ten. Both from Eleven. And finally, the boy from Twelve.

Nine lives lost overall. Nine families in mourning. Nine less to worry about.

"...Who...who ambushed you?" I ask, still staring up at the sky.

"Guy from Seven. Put up a good"

"Boy from Eight. To tell you the truth... I almost thought I wasn't going to make it today," I say in a whisper, leaning in closer to him. There's no way I'm going to let Panem hear me doubting myself.

"Probably best to head inside; temperature's dropping," I say, kissing him on the lips. "Oh, and one more thing," I begin, brushing the snow off my pants, "You should put some snow on that bruise."

The backpack I got has a sleeping bag made out of some warm material. Turns out, everyone else has one too. "Some one needs to stay guard. We can all take shifts," Lucretius says. "Anyone up for the first watch?"

I offer to take the first watch. I'd rather be watching over fellow tributes than be sleeping under their watch.

The night starts off quiet-eerily quiet. The sounds of slight moving in sleeping bags and light wind through the snow are the only things that keep me stimulated through the freezing night. Halfway through my shift I hear rumbling. I immediately perk up- it's getting closer.

"Everyone, wake up! NOW!" I yell at them. Slowly, too slowly, they wake up. "There's an avalanche! Get up!"

That seems to bring them to their senses. The next thing I know, everyone's scrambling and throwing things into backpacks, yelling at one another. We all stumble out of the cave into the frigid darkness trying to go anywhere, anywhere that's not here.

As Pladia's the first to get a hold of us and we start moving faster and faster back on the sheer Cliffside, I think to myself, one false move and your done, just one false move.

We pick up our pace franticly as I can see the dark outline of the snow inching closer and closer. The darkened form of Pladia drops from view and so do Lucretius and Nelly. My feet suddenly drop from under me, and I'm sliding down the ice into a cavern that opens up.

Something rumbles from above and I don't see Lachlan or Bedros appearing from the hole. The four of us stand in bated breath waiting for the familiar faces to appear.

But they don't.

There's movement suddenly. And a snow covered Lachlan appears. And the next action I make is towards him.

I hug him and kiss him on his freezing lips. When we break apart, he says, "Bedros-he didn't make it."

My eyes widen as much as Nelly's. Her district partner and maybe even friend, is gone, killed in an avalanche designed by the damned people that sent us here.

A muffled 'boom' blasts from somewhere above us, confirming this.

After that, there's silence between the five of us. Only the second day in, and ten lives are already lost.

"Come on, we should get moving." Nelly's the speaker. I look at her. The emotion that was there is now gone.

Everyone obeys as she becomes the leader. The cave opens up, revealing giant, smooth ice formations along our path. We travel along the walls for what seems like hours. My hand goes up to move away a strand of hair and I feel that the cut I had earlier is starting to close up.

The line stops. "There's a bridge made of ice to cross! Wait till one person get halfway across before the next goes," Nelly instructs.

Hmm. That's an interesting decision.

She goes first before Pladia goes. It looks like it's holding up. Lucretius goes next before it's me and then Lachlan. I try and balance on the foot wide, long ice bridge. It seems to be holding us all up. That is, until I hear a distinct crack like ice being shattered.

AN- How'd you like it? A lot went on in this chapter! Any concerns/suggestions/comments can be made with a review or PM! Thank you for all your support!