Topaz Doublet (Female Tribute, 18)
Topaz sat in the corner of her room, the morning sun attempting to shine in through her window, but the pitch black curtain denied the light reaching her. It helped to remind her how there was never any light in life; it was all a lie. She realised this fact just under a year ago, when she watched the person closest to her leave her. And after he had told her that he would return home. When Ebony Amaranth died in the arena, part of Topaz died with him.
Even now, she couldn't believe it. They were outliers; freaking outliers! A girl from District 12, and a boy from District 10, of all places. They were supposed to be bloodbath-fodder, but the Gamemakers had to go and rig the Cornucopia with mines, blowing the girl from 4 to pieces, allowing several tributes to escape in the chaos.
But that was all in the past, and Topaz needed to focus on the present. Ebony was dead, and the girl from District 5 won the Games. There was no changing that fact, and she had to move on. Especially since today was reaping day, and she had been selected to be tribute. Although, after what happened in the final match of the tribute tournament, Topaz was still surprised that she wasn't imprisoned.
"Now, let the match between Sapphire Luxe and Topaz Doublet to decide the female tribute for this year's Hunger Games begin!" The referee boomed out through the microphone, and the two girls stepped into the ring.
Topaz took slow and deliberate breaths. She had to keep her cool for this, since Sapphire was highly dangerous. The only time that she lost a match was last year, to the late Emerald Glitters, who was the predicted tribute.
Suddenly, Sapphire ran forward, armed with her throwing knife. Topaz leapt out of the way as the younger girl launched the silver bladed weapon at her, and prepared her sword. It wasn't as swift to use as the knives, but it packed more of a punch.
Sapphire lunged again, this time managing to punch Topaz in the face. She reeled in pain, and felt the blood pouring down her face from her nose. Oh, it was on. Focusing only on Sapphire, Topaz gripped onto the silver handle of her sword, and steadied herself as Sapphire came closer.
Then, without any sign of warning, Topaz leapt up, and brought her sword down. She caught Sapphire's arm, and heard the younger girl scream in pain. Topaz noticed the blade of her sword was now a deep red, and that Sapphire was grunting in pain.
"Hey, do you really want to go on?" Topaz questioned sincerely, "Since if we're not careful, this injury could mess up your potential chances in the Games, should you qualify."
"Shut it!" Sapphire replied in response. This reaction had completely caught Topaz off guard. "I don't care how injured I get; I will beat you!" Well, that answered the question.
Sapphire clenched her teeth, and brought out her dagger, circling Topaz viciously. It was now apparent that Sapphire was going to fight until the bitter end, even at the risk of permanent damage. No wonder she had managed to make it to the finals this year. But Topaz still felt uncomfortable about causing severe damage to the young girl; it just wasn't right. They weren't in the Games, so there was no need to go all out in the battle, but Sapphire quite clearly didn't get the message.
Topaz leapt to the side as Sapphire ran at her with the dagger, the blow not landing. She looked as the blonde girl struggled to regain her balance, glaring at her. This was going to end in extreme agony if she wasn't careful. Sapphire ran at Topaz again, only this time, she wasn't able to dodge.
Topaz fell to the ground with a grunt of pain, the hard floor causing a sharp pain to bound throughout her skull. Sapphire was sat on top of her, smiling sadistically at her.
"Oh, look," She said with a giggle, "Looks like you won't be as successful as your pathetic dead boyfriend, Ebony or something." She laughed viciously, before bringing the knife closer down. In the tribute tournament matches, it ended when one side forfeited, or was knocked unconscious, and since neither was going to back down, it continued to happen, even with Sapphire being dangerously close to causing serious harm to Topaz. But that didn't matter to her. What did matter was that Sapphire had just insulted Ebony, and Topaz wasn't about to let her get away with that.
With a burst of sudden strength, Topaz leapt up from the ground, catching Sapphire by surprise, and managed to knock the younger girl to the floor. Topaz reached for her sword, and swung at Sapphire. Sapphire blocked the blow, though, with her knife, and the two remained in a stand-off, neither girl backing down.
"You'd better apologise for talking about Ebony like that." Topaz hissed dangerously to Sapphire, who remained with a determined expression.
"Hell no," She replied, pushing harder, "He deserved to die in the arena. In fact, I'm only sad that I wasn't the one who did it." This was too far. Nobody spoke about Ebony like that in front of Topaz.
"How dare you!" She screamed, and lifted her sword up, causing Sapphire to lose her balance, before swinging it forwards with every ounce of her strength.
She had only aimed to slam the flat end into her chest, knocking her to the ground, but instead, Topaz's sword drove right into Sapphire's throat, neatly slicing her head off like a lump of butter. Blood instantly gushed from the stump where Sapphire's head once was, and the body fell to the ground, dead.
Everyone remained silent as a pool of blood grew from Sapphire's corpse, and Topaz found herself unable to breathe. In a fit of rage, she had easily killed someone. She felt faint and sick at the same time as the scent of Sapphire's blood reached her nostrils. She had done that. It wasn't supposed to happen, but it did. Topaz Doublet had become a murderer. In desperation, she glanced around at the crowd of trainers, and the referee. One had fainted in horror, and the others' faces had turned white. Finally, after what felt like forever, the referee walked forward, towards the carnage, and spoke up, shakily.
"The female tribute for this year's Hunger Games is none other than Topaz Doublet!"
Topaz found herself on the verge of crying as the memory haunted her. She hadn't meant to kill Sapphire, and was extremely lucky that they hadn't reported her to the authorities. Instead, Sapphire had fallen from the roof of the tall building. Despite how unbelievable it sounded, the Peacekeepers bought it. She was lucky.
Suddenly, Topaz caught the scent of something. For a moment, she thought it was Sapphire's blood, but instead, it was just the scent of bacon cooking. Relief washed over her, and she stood up shakily, walking towards the door of her bedroom. It opened with a creak, and the bright morning light reached her wide blue eyes. She blinked several times, adjusting to the brightness, before walking along the landing, her bare feet dragging across the soft, but worn, carpet.
She reached the end of the landing, and faced the staircase, before taking a deep breath. Today would be her last day in District 1, and she might as well enjoy it to the fullest. With this in mind, Topaz began to descend the stair case, each step creaking under her footsteps as she drew closer to the bottom. Once she was at the bottom of the stairs, Topaz looked along the hallway. The kitchen door was half open, and the delicious aroma seemed to be stronger. The thought of food succeeded in calming Topaz, and, as if being pulled, she drifted over to the door.
Topaz pushed the door open, the hinges creaking ever so slightly, and stepped inside the kitchen. The food smelled absolutely divine, but that was just District 1 food. She could only begin to imagine how truly delicious the food in the Capitol would be; each piece of food looked more luxurious than the last, or so it seemed on camera.
Looking around the room, Topaz saw her mother at the stove, cooking the bacon, whilst her father sat at the table, idly twirling a fork in his hands. Even though they didn't look it, Topaz could feel the anticipation in the air. The reaping was in a matter of hours, and she could tell that it was on everyone's minds.
"Good morning," She said as she walked across the kitchen, the floor cold to her bare feet.
"Good morning," Her father replied, placing the fork back down, looking at her with a warm smile, "Are you ready for the reaping?"
"Indeed I am," Topaz said, smiling warmly to him, suddenly aware of a feeling of excitement rising from the depths of her being, threatening to spill out, "To be honest, I really can't wait."
"That's the spirit," Topaz's mother added kindly, with a confident grin on her face, "We will definitely get a victor from District One this year."
"Thanks," Topaz replied bashfully, "I'll be trying my best." She stopped talking for a moment, sitting down at the table, opposite her father, before adding, "Also, do you know who'll be mentoring this year, by any chance?"
"Actually, I do," Her father responded, "It's Allure Lavish."
"And for the boys?" Topaz questioned. She needed to know this; after all, each mentor handled the games slightly differently.
Straight away, Topaz's heart sank. Cris Amaranth was Ebony's older brother, and the final victor in the Amaranth family's victory streak. A crushing feeling was welling up in her chest, but she tried her hardest to ignore it.
"Really?" Topaz's voice was high and faint, and her throat hurt from saying the words. Tears were threatening to spill out, and she felt herself going red. This wasn't good at all; if she was caught crying at the reaping, then the other girls would certainly attempt to take her space, even after all her training. She couldn't let it happen!
"Really," Topaz's father replied, before looking at her quizzically, "Hey, are you alright?"
"Fine," Topaz snapped back, trying to ignore the urge to break down into tears, "I'm sorry; the stress of the reaping has finally caught up to me, is all." She offered a meek smile to her father, who seemed to buy it. Either that, or he was trying to not be interested in whatever was bothering her. Topaz took several deep breaths, before finally calming herself. Good. That was one less worry to focus on; she wouldn't appear to be weak at the reaping.
As Topaz focused on remaining calm, her mother walked over to Topaz, carrying a plate full of the delicious meal, the aroma delightfully floating up to her nose. She greedily drank it in, before taking her fork, slowly devouring the food in front of her. The bacon exploded with flavour as it danced across her mouth, sliding down her throat. The first delightful piece was soon followed by another, and another, until all that remained was an empty plate sitting in front of her.
"Did you enjoy your breakfast, dear?" Her mother said warmly, taking the plate from the table.
"Yes I did," Topaz replied, smiling in satisfaction, "You know, I'm gonna miss your cooking when I'm in the Capitol." Of course, Topaz knew that the food from the Capitol would be infinitely better than this, but she wanted to make her last day in the district as positive as possible.
Topaz's father stood up, and glanced at the clock on the wall. Topaz knew from routine what this meant; it was time to get ready for the reaping.
"Topaz," He said, now looking at her, "It's time to get ready." Exactly as it had been for the past six years.
"Okay," Topaz nodded, and gave a warm smile, before standing from her seat, neatly pushing the chair under the table, before walking out of the kitchen. She could hear her parents talk about something as she entered the hallway, walking towards the staircase.
She reached the first stair, the familiar soft fabric of the carpet encompassing her feet. Topaz grabbed the wooden banister, and slowly ascended the stairs, each stair creaking as the top grew closer. She eventually reached the top of the staircase, and walked across the hallway to her room.
Topaz carefully opened the door to her room, the handle cold to touch. She stepped inside, and suddenly became aware of how dark her room was. It was almost depressing to see, and she couldn't handle any negativity today if she wanted the district to support her in the arena; being hostile would not bring sponsors. With that in mind, Topaz walked over to her bed, leaning across to the black curtain that denied the sunlight. She grabbed it, and pulled it open, the bright light blinding.
Blinking several times as she adjusted to the light, Topaz neatly put the curtain to one side, before standing upright. She then walked across her bedroom, to the rich wooden closet. Grabbing the smooth handle, the closet creaked open, revealing the entirety of Topaz's outfits. She looked at the far left hand side of the closet, and pulled out a dress. It was a beautiful dress, made of a sky blue fabric that was soft to the touch. In addition to this, Topaz also pulled out a pair of matching shoes, and set the outfit on her bed.
Topaz was quick to remove her sleepwear, folding it neatly into a pile at the foot of her bed. She then grabbed the dress, and carefully slipped it on, adjusting the outfit to look as perfect as possible, before grabbing the shoes, stepping daintily into them. She fastened her shoes up, before her hands flew to her hair, wasting no time in brushing it, giving it a beautiful shine as it cascaded down her back, the ends slightly curling outwards. She truly was the image of beauty.
After checking over herself in the mirror several times, Topaz walked carefully across her room, opening the door. But before she left her room, she closed her eyes, and blew it a kiss, in case she didn't return home. Once this was done, she took a deep breath, and strode out of her room with confidence.
Topaz walked down the stairs, her hand gliding on the banister as her parents stood at the bottom, their eyes brimming with pride.
"You look beautiful," Topaz's mother said, wiping a tear from her eye, "Truly stunning."
"Thanks," Topaz replied, smiling bashfully. She wasn't normally one to really care about her appearance, but when she had to, she put as much effort into it as possible.
"Now, be sure to get your rightful position as tribute," Her father instructed as she reached the bottom of the stairs, moving out of the way as her elegant shoes made contact with the floor.
"I will." Topaz confirmed with a confident grin, and let out a light giggle. She wasn't sure whether it was truly out of joy, or out of nerves due to the pressure of the reaping occurring in a short matter of time. Either way, it resonated with her parents, who grinned madly, and lightly kissed her head as she made her way along the hallway, towards the front door.
"Make us proud, dear." Topaz's mother called out as Topaz opened the front door, stepping outside.
As soon as the door opened, the summer sunshine met Topaz's eyes, causing her to blink several times. It was nice and warm outside, and the sounds of several excited conversations reached her ears; the atmosphere surrounding the reaping was truly magical. She closed the front door of the house, and walked down the steps leading up to the house, and onto the street.
Straight away, though, Topaz was nearly knocked to the ground as a figure rushed past her. It appeared to be a young man, wearing a smart outfit, with dirty blonde hair.
"Hey!" She yelled at him, but he had already vanished down the hill at the end of the street, gone from her sight. Whatever. At least she wouldn't have to deal with that sort of thing after today.
Ignoring her frustrations, Topaz walked down the street, smoothing her dress, and fanning her face with her hand as the summer heat began to get to her. But she couldn't waste any energy trying to cool herself, so Topaz tried her best to ignore it as she walked down the hill, almost tripping on the steep slope.
As she walked past a house, the sound of loud music caught her by surprise, and Topaz let out a startled yelp, before going red. How brilliant. She was getting spooked over music of all things. Sighing at her stupidity, Topaz reached the bottom of the hill, joining the girls' queue as she prepared to join the rest of her district for the reaping. She could hear other girls talking about the reaping in front of and behind her, but Topaz didn't join in; after her incident with Sapphire, she was somewhat of an outcast from the district. After all, who would want to get close to a murderer?
The line moved closer to the central plaza, and Topaz looked up, seeing that she was next to be signed in.
"Next," The Peacekeeper called out in a faint Capitol accent, and Topaz walked up to him, letting him take her hand. He pricked her index finger, causing her to wince in pain, but her expression reverted back to normal almost immediately afterwards. The machine on the desk then lit up, and Topaz's details flashed on the screen.
"You may go through now," The Peacekeeper said, and Topaz nodded, walking past him into the central plaza. The place was swarming with people, and Topaz walked over to the 18 year old females' section, sucking on her bleeding finger as other girls her age surrounded her.
Then, the entire plaza grew silent as the District 1 escort climbed onto the stage, dressed as a rainbow cow. She smiled at the audience, and grabbed the microphone from the podium, testing it before beginning to address the district.
"Welcome, welcome, welcome!" She trilled out, smiling wildly, "Welcome to the District One reaping for the sixty ninth annual Hunger Games, and may the odds be ever in your favour!" The crowd began to cheer at the fashion challenged woman, Topaz included. It was a festivity, so why shouldn't she celebrate?
"Now, before we can meet our courageous young man and woman, we have a little video to watch!" She clapped, oblivious to the groans that resonated from the crowd as the video began to play. Topaz paid no attention to it, having seen it practically her whole life, and focused on a small ladybug on the ground, weaving through the girls' feet, until the video ended. She looked up, and heard sighs of relief.
"Finally," She heard someone say, but her attention was on the escort, who had made her way to the first reaping bowl; this was it.
"Now, onto the main event!" She giggled, and the crowd burst into applause as she reached the first bowl, but grew quiet as the name was read out. But nobody stepped forward. After all, they were waiting for the Career to show up. Me, Topaz thought to herself as she cleared her throat.
"I volunteer as tribute!" She boldly exclaimed, and straight away, the girls surrounding her parted, letting her through to the clearing between the two gender groups. She walked along the path, and up to the stage, climbing the steps. Once she reached the top, the escort began to clap and cheer.
"Excellent!" She cried out, "And what's your name?"
"Topaz," Topaz responded with a grin, "Topaz Doublet." The crowd exploded into a mass of cheering, and Topaz sighed in relief. That went smoothly, and now all she had to do was see who her district partner would be.
Suddenly, Topaz heard a gunshot, and saw the crowd grow silent, a look of irritation on the escort's doctored face.
"Now that we've calmed down," She began, walking past Topaz to the second bowl, "It's time to find out who our lucky young man will be!" The crowd grew silent as the name was read out. Whoever it was didn't come forward, but Topaz saw a young boy from the front section stiffen up. But he calmed down as two older boys burst forward, rushing to the stage. The smaller of the two, a boy with dirty blonde hair, punched the larger boy's head, knocking him to the ground, before calmly climbing the stage, his green eyes brimming with confidence.
"How exciting!" The escort exclaimed, "And what's your name?"
"Osiris Garnet." He replied, without skipping a beat, smiling at the crowd. As he did so, Topaz recognised him as the boy who nearly knocked her flying, and suppressed a scowl. Of all the people to go into the arena in with, she had to have the guy whose throat she nearly tore out.
The crowd calmed down, and the escort walked in between the two tributes, and took the mic.
"Well, there you have it! Ladies and gentlemen, your tributes for the sixy ninth annual Hunger Games! Osiris Garnet and Topaz Doublet!" Another round of applause, before the escort made them both shake hands, and Peacekeepers surrounded them, taking them to the justice building.
Topaz paced around in the goodbye room in the justice building, brimming with excitement. She was in! She was this year's female tribute! Topaz could barely contain her glee, but kept a straight face. She had to make the right impression for the cameras.
The door to the room opened, and Topaz's parents walked in, hugging her.
"You did it!" Her mother exclaimed, radiating the same joy as her, "I'm so proud!"
"Same her, honey." Her father chimed in, before pulling out something from his pocket. "Here. It's your district token, to represent you in the arena." Topaz took the gift from him, and studied it. It was a wristband, adorned with blue topaz gems.
"It's perfect," Topaz said, beaming as she hugged him, "Thank you!"
They remained like this for another couple of minutes, before a Peacekeeper appeared at the door.
"Come on," He said gruffly, and Topaz's parents nodded.
"Good luck, sweetie!" Her mother called out as they walked out of the door, leaving her alone.
As Topaz traced the gems on her wristband, her mind began to race. This was what she had been training her whole life for, and there was no doubt in her mind that she would win. And one thought continued to resonate throughout her mind that fuelled this determination.
She would do this to continue the memory of Ebony Amaranth.