I'm having internet issues, so this is a last ditch effort to get this up tonight. I cannot answer any PM's till tomorrow likely, so any questions etc will have to wait till then. I'm having a very bipolar internet. Hoping to figure it out when hubs gets home.
In the meantime enjoy Maeve. Up next is a Armani doubleheader that will blow you away.
Maeve Morghal of District 3
Night after the Interviews Part 1 by Falconflight
Death is the tyrant of the imagination.
- Barry Cornwall
I sit on the roof of the Training Center, my legs dangling off the edge of the building as I stare down at the ground so very far below. Almost anyone else would be terrified to sit like this, especially since one push could send them hurtling to their death. I am not afraid, though. Death has been close to me my entire life, and according to him, it is not my time to die. Knowing this, I continue sitting on the roof, swinging my legs casually.
I have come up here as often as possible; I prefer it to my room, though I have spent quite a bit of time in there too watching recordings of the Reapings and the Interviews. I have a list of all of the tributes and as much information on them as I could find. I have also been watching them during the Training Days, copying down strengths and weaknesses, and recorded the Training Scores. I know the tributes here better than anyone else, and this will be my main weapon in the Arena.
The reason I come up here, though, is to clear my mind. I can never hear any messages in the stuffy heat of my room; up here, though, where it is quiet and dark and serene, Diode can almost always talk to me. I come up here to find out when and how tributes will die. I only have a few so far, but Diode says that more messages will come in the Arena.
While I wait for Diode, I divert my attention from the darkness that consumes the ground around the Training Center to the lights of the Capitol. It is difficult to distinguish one building from another thanks to the hazy glow of millions of light bulbs and neon signs. From space, the entire Capitol probably looks like one giant patch of light on a completely black canvas.
"I have more information for you," Diode states, breaking my train of thought.
"Excellent." I look at my sides for the notebook before realizing that I can't find it. "I must've left my notebook in my room," I mutter, scowling slightly. "What a stupid mistake… wait just a second while I go get it."
I pull my legs up and stand. I take one more moment to peer over the edge and stare into the darkness below; it almost feels like looking right at Death. The feeling is sort of exhilarating, I must admit. I pull away, though, and walk back to the elevator. I wait as the elevator shoots down to my floor and step of briskly, quickly walking to my room. I open the door and am about to walk right in, but I stop upon seeing two other women in my room. To say that they are familiar would be a vast understatement; everyone in Panem knows these sisters.
"Good evening, Gamemakers," I announce. "Is there something I can help you with?"
Head Gamemaker Phoenix turns, and I see that she has something in her hands. My notebook. She gives me a smile that is infamous for being deceitful. "We heard about your unique talents, and we wanted a chance to talk to you before you go off to the Arena." When she mentions the Arena, her smile grows.
I can't help but feel sort of excited; they want to know about me. About my job as Death's Messenger. This could change people's opinions of me. If I come out of the Arena with their support, no one will ever dare call my predictions bullshit again.
"What do you want to know?" I ask.
"How often are you right?" Phoenix asks.
That is a difficult question to answer. It is true that people have evaded death in the past; sometimes it seems more like a coincidence when my predictions are right. That's ridiculous, though. My predictions are always correct; sometimes, they're just mistimed, or have been interfered with.
"My predictions are almost always correct," I reply. "Sometimes people cheat death. They all die eventually, though. Everyone dies eventually."
"You have written down how some of the other tributes are going to die," Phoenix comments, gesturing to the notebook. "Have you memorized this notebook?" I nod; remembering lots of information is one of my specialties. "How will Alexis Spurling die?"
I briefly wonder why they are testing me on this, but I shake away the thought and focus on remembering what I had written down about the District 7 female. "She'll be the first to die in the Bloodbath. She'll panic when she sees the knives in the Cornucopia and step off of her plate early."
Phoenix has handed the notebook to her sister, Belles, who is reading and nodding. "That's what she has written," she confirms.
"What about Londyn Aureole?" Phoenix asks.
"She'll die on day two," I answer. "She will be attacked and killed by a dragon."
Belles frowns. "That's what you have written, but isn't that a bit extreme, even for a mutt?"
I shrug. "You tell me; it's your Arena."
Phoenix smirks. "I like you. What about her District partner?"
"Edrick Quillheart." I pause, straining to remember what Diode had told me about him. "He'll be the first death after the Bloodbath," I answer. "Killed by a rocket."
"What about Sean Armani?" Phoenix inquires.
I frown slightly. "I haven't been told anything about him yet."
"I know," Phoenix replies. "I want you to do a bit of fortune telling for me."
"Okay." I wait patiently to hear Diode's voice, knowing full well that providing an unsatisfying answer is not an option.
"Sean will die on the tenth day," Diode states. "He'll be chained to a rock and slowly torn to pieces by a giant, mutated bird."
Not even for a second do I question how ludicrous the idea sounds, and I relay the information to the sisters. Belles rolls her eyes and mutters something about how she's not even surprised anymore. Phoenix, on the other hand, seems to be thinking over this information. Eventually, the cocky smirk is back.
"Does anyone else know about your predictions?" Phoenix asks. "Or, more specifically, have you told anyone how they're going to die?"
I shake my head. Diode told me early on to lie low and try not to stir up any trouble with anyone by telling them that they're going to die. I'm not sure what difference it will make, seeing as nothing can delay the inevitable, but Diode speaks for Death, so I have tried to follow his command to the best of my ability. Still, I'm pretty sure some people have occasionally overheard me talking to him. They probably all think I'm crazy now that I've done my interview. I'm not crazy, though.
"I think that's all, right, sister?" Phoenix turns to Belles, who nods and hands me the notepad back. "We will be watching your progress in the Arena very carefully. May the odds be ever in your favor, Miss Maeve Morghal."
"Thank you." I almost feel like smiling; they seem to like me. Being in the good books of the Gamemakers seems like a huge advantage in the Arena.
Belles leaves, but Phoenix lingers behind. "I do have one last favor to ask you, actually. Do you know when and how my son will die?"
For a moment, I do not seen the harsh and cruel Gamemaker that poisoned every tribute's mind last year. I see a mother, scared for her child. "That's too far in the future for me to see," I confess as Diode whispers information in my ear. "Beware of arrows, though."
Phoenix nods. "I hope we will be able to work together again should you win the Hunger Games," she announces. "Your talents would be wasted in the typical Victor line of business." With that, she turns and marches briskly towards the door. The last thing I see of Phoenix Snow is a cascade of orange hair before she closes the door behind her.
"Well, that was interesting," I mutter to Diode.
"Indeed, though it might be helpful in the Arena," he suggests.
"Exactly what I was thinking," I agree. "Do you want me to go back to the rooftop?"
"Sure. It's always easier to get messages through when you're up there," Diode explains.
I grab my notepad and a pen before leaving my room and walking towards the elevator. Perhaps I should go to bed soon; getting some sleep is probably a good idea before going into the Arena. I should savor my last night in a real bed. I will wait, though; this comes first. The elevator doors open, and I walk in. I press a button and go zipping to the top. The doors open again, and I exit briskly. There is still no one up here; it is still as quiet and serene and almost surreal. I am glad that conditions up here haven't changed. I walk to where I was sitting earlier and plop down again, dangling my legs over the edge and into the abyss of darkness.
"So, what information did you want to tell me?" I prompt, uncapping my pen.
"Sean's death, for starters," Diode replies. I flip to Sean's part and quickly scribble down how he will die. "Damian Blackwater's death as well."
I quickly flip to where I have documented Damian's information. "Yes?"
"He'll be torn to pieces by mutated ferrets," Diode tells me.
"Doesn't he have a pet ferret?" I ask while writing it down, though it's a stupid question. I have the information right in front of me.
"Yes. There is something strangely ironic about death, isn't there?" I hear Diode chuckle darkly. "That's all for now. Good luck in the Arena."
"I have Death on my side; I don't need luck," I answer, not doubting my words for even a second.
Diode laughs again. "You sure as hell don't." He is silent after that.
I put my notepad aside and once again resume staring at the darkness below me. I can't even make out the pavement from up here; it's like looking into the bottomless pit where Aleah and Jules faced off. It's different in the sense that I know for sure that I won't die; neither of them ever had that certainty.
Neither of them ever had Death on their side, I add to myself.
There is something absolutely fascinating about being so close to death and yet so far. I am practically looking Death in the face, and yet I know I won't die. It is exhilarating to think about; I almost want to fall just to prove that I will survive. It would be simple, wouldn't it? I would never be in any real danger. After all, according to Death, I'm going to win these Games; I can't win if I'm dead.
It's just a little jump, a voice whispers in my ear. A chance to have the thrill of the lifetime; a chance to brush the fabric of death. A chance to meet your master.
A part of me really wants to do it; I'm not even going to try to deny it. A part of me really wants to know what it's like to touch the border between life and death. My sensible side eventually gets the best of me, though, and I turn away. I stand up and stretch, yawning loudly as I do so. Sleep would be good; sleep would be nice. I will be grateful for it once I enter the Arena. I collect my notepad and pen and walk back towards the elevator.
For the fourth time this evening, I walk into the large metal chute and press the number for District 3's floor. I go shooting downwards again and once again arrive within a minute. I briskly stride out of the elevator and walk quickly back to my room. Thankfully, there are no Gamemakers waiting to interrogate me this time. I am greeted by silence and a strange sense of familiarity. I am going to miss the beds and the food in the Capitol, but, if all goes according to Death's plan, I will come back to all of this in just a few weeks.
"Are you ready?"
I hear a voice that is not familiar. A voice that I have never heard before, except for once a year ago. "Hyre?"
"That's me," Hyre replies somberly. "You remember my name better than my own family did."
"Are you here to tell me who dies?" I press.
"I'm here to help you," he corrects. "The Arena might do the same thing to you that it did to me, and that is not something that you want to happen."
"What happened to you?" I inquire curiously. I remember Hyre's story well enough, but it would be nice to hear it from him directly.
"Guilt drove me insane," he answers. "I was never prepared for the Arena; I couldn't deal with just a little bit of blood on my conscience. If that happens to you, you'll go mad trying to bring justice to yourself."
I nod as I take in his words. "So what do I do?"
"Obviously, you're going to have to get some blood on your hands, but as long as you don't care, you're fine," Hyre explains. "Distance yourself from the people you kill as well as the deaths, and you might make it out of there while still being yourself. If your guilt begins to make you crazy, though, remember who you are and why you're fighting. That's what my mentor told me to do. Unfortunately, it didn't help that much."
I dedicate all of his words to memory. "So, do you think I can win?"
"Death thinks you can, so I suppose so." I can almost picture the District 2 tribute shrugging his shoulders. "Although for me, death was winning, so I'm not sure what winning actually means for you."
"Winning means life," I respond immediately.
"Is there really a difference between the two? Life or death? At the end of the day, we all have to suffer. I mean, just look at Aleah." Hyre chuckles grimly. "I'll let you get your sleep now, but take it from someone who knows what you're about to go through: the only victor is the person who dies as themselves and not some abomination that the Capitol has turned them into."
"I'll remember that," I reply. "Thank you, Hyre.
"I think you're the first person to thank me." After that, all the voices go silent.
I set my notepad and pen down on the side table. This will be the last time I use my pen, as I can only carry one of the two into the Arena, and I would be an idiot for choosing the pen over my vast collection of information. I yawn again before flopping down on the bed, not even bothering to change out of my clothes. Tomorrow, I will be given new clothes; it doesn't matter what I'm wearing now. At this point, I feel like nothing matters. The only important thing now is rest. I clear my mind and slowly drift off to sleep.
My sleep is plagued by a vivid nightmare. I am walking through a plain and barren field. Everything is absolutely silent. I can't even here the faint whistle of the wind or the thump of my feet hitting the solid earth beneath me. The sun is bright and harsh; it bears down on me like a stern teacher glaring at a mischievous kid. I am sweltering underneath its heat, and I would do anything for some shade. That's when I see a cliff that rises abruptly out of the ground. It casts a long and inviting shadow, and I suppose a short break couldn't hurt.
I walk over to the shaded area and slump down to the ground, resting my back against the rock of the cliff. I allow myself to relax; with my back against the cliff, nothing could possibly sneak up on me. I sigh, but the noise is swallowed by nothingness. I frown slightly and try to speak, but nothing comes out. Or perhaps something does come out, but any noise is sucked away as soon as it leaves my mouth. I begin to panic slightly, but I force myself to relax and take a sip of my water.
That's when a hand grabs my arm. I scream, but no sound is heard. I feel more hands beginning to grab me; they come out of the shadows and wrap their skeletal fingers around my body. They tug and pull, and I begin to panic. I thrash around, but the hands restrain me. I kick wildly, but more gaunt fingers wrap themselves around my legs and hold me in place. I try to scream again, but still, no sound comes out. I cry over and over again as the hands pull, causing agony to shoot through my body. They are hurting me, and I feel tears beginning to streak down my face. I try one last desperate time to scream, and this time a noise does come out. It is high-pitched and pained; it is a frantic cry for help.
I see a figure coming towards me. He isn't walking; he's gliding across the field, and his feet never touch the ground. I'm not sure how I know it is a he because he is completely concealed in black robes. For some reason, though, I know who he is. He is my master; he is Death.
"You promised!" I cry. "You told me I would win!" One of the hands pulls sharply at my hair, and I let out a sob. "You said I wouldn't die!"
"I lied." As he says this, the hands begin to drag me back into the shadows. I scream and shout, hopelessly trying to break free. They are too strong, though, and they pull me further and further back into the darkness.
"No! NO! NO!"
I wake with a start and sit up immediately, panting heavily and trying to get air back into my lungs. My heart rate slowly returns to normal, and my breathing becomes much less heavy. I sigh as I recompose myself and allow myself to recline in my bed. I glance over at the clock. Two a.m. Technically, it is launch day, though I'll have to wait a couple more hours before entering the Arena.
The memory of the nightmare haunts me, and I know that I have to ask the question that is now nagging my mind. "Diode, am I going to die in the Games?"
There isn't a response.