I stare down at the ground. It must be about thirty feet from the branch on which I am balanced. My bow is strung across my back and my grey eyes are trained on my target. A rich looking carriage approaches from the North. I can hear every move it makes. Four horses are pulling a rather extravagant carriage judging by the way the carriage moves across the bumps in the road there are three people within the carriage. That is why the left back wheel moves slightly off the ground over bumps. Five soldiers on horses surround the carriage, their armor clanks quietly, but not quietly enough to escape my trained ear. Two on each side and one making up the rear, if I take out the horses my men can do the rest. I peer around to make sure everyone is in place. I can hear the carriage approaching so I turn my eyes to Gale and give him the signal. I slip my bow off my back and grab two arrows and position them. The carriage comes into sight, just a few more feet. When it finally approaches the target I loose my arrows and quickly replace them. Within seconds all but one horse is down, and one soldier too, a horse landed on him. The shouts of the soldiers increase in volume as they try to maintain any form of order. A smirk plays upon my lips and I slip down the tree in silence. At the bottom I pull the hood of my cloak up to hide my face. After all I can't have them knowing who I am.
I arrive upon the scene to see my band of men tying up the last of the soldiers. The travelers are tied together and blindfolded. I give an approving nod to Gale, my right hand man. The others stand guard while Gale and I gather the loot. A few chests of fine clothes and a load of gold, this has been a good mission. Easy but still rewarding. All this would go far among the poor, starving and dying people of this land. I look over to the nobles and spit in their direction. How could thy not even care? How could they justify letting their people die just so that they could have the most expensive things, the biggest houses, and so much more. Things that shouldn't even matter. I've watched them. Perched outside of windows when they were having grand parties. Their security was nothing to me. I could slip past with ease and take things they wouldn't even miss, but things that would mean the difference between dying and living a few more days to hundreds of other people. They would hold grand feasts and throw out enough food to feed a small village and they wouldn't even think twice. Their outfits cost enough to feed a family for a year, and they wore a new one for every event. The thought enrages me. How they spend so much on themselves and don't even think twice about those who are dying not twenty miles from them. It's repulsive. They all are.
That is why I do what I do. They don't deserve to have the power to decide who lives and dies. So I took that power from them and I have taken it upon myself to do what they care not to do. I will feed their people. And for that I have become the most wanted criminal in the Kingdom of Panem. This cruel kingdom ruled by a cruel witch of a Queen. The world wasn't so bad when the old king was ruling. But he died years ago, I'm still betting that she killed him. But even when he was King the world was not a happy or just place. It was just a little bit better. No doubt it wouldn't get any better when the witch Queen's son became King. I'll bet he is every bit as horrible as his mother. She did raise him after all. I'll bet she has prepped him for years, making him into the perfect tool. To continue the world of misery she created.
Thankfully I am stealthy and evasive. They could never catch me, even if they wanted too. I may be the most wanted criminal in Panem, but my identity is completely unknown, and my favorite part… they think I'm a man. Ha! I chuckle silently to myself and see Gale look over at me knowingly. He knows what I am thinking, how entertaining I find it all. They think I am a man because of my father, the original Everdeen. No one has bother to check otherwise, no one has looked close enough. If they did they would notice I stand only about 5'9, and have a thin rather curvy frame. Even with my large cloak that much would be obvious, my shoulders are definitely the shoulders of a woman that much they could see.
Our haul is great and we trade what isn't gold at the black market, and whatever is left we trade at the borders of Panem. Panem borders the small kingdom of Silex. It is a wealthier nation, and since they are a different kingdom they won't get caught by the owners of the stuff they purchase from us. Silex is a few days travel from our hide out. But it is worth the trip. And from there we disperse the money to the corners of the land. To the people who need it… desperately. I used to go with them to deliver the gold to the villagers and the poor. But soon enough I realized it was too dangerous, my face could not be seen. My name could not be known. Simply I am known as Everdeen. I go by my last name, as it gives nothing away. My name is Katniss. But Gale and my band of men are the only people who know that. Because I trust them all with my life, as they trust me with theirs. They are also the only ones who know what I look like, besides my mother and my sister, who think I am simply a huntress who goes on far journeys to catch her prey and sell it all over the kingdom. Only these people know of my olive skin, striking silver grey eyes, and chocolate brown hair that hung always in a long braid down my back.
Gale is my right hand man and closest confidant. He was the first to join me in my mission. Other than him my main team was made up of Finnick Odair, Beetee McCallum, Chaff Anderson, Haymitch Abernathy (who has become almost a make shift father to me, a mentor, who affectionately and annoyingly calls me sweetheart), Cato Carter, Marvel Hall, Thresh Stoker, and the only other females in our group Rue Lewis and Madge Undersee who is very deadly with a knife. The men are all muscle but are all excellent fighters. Even as talented as they are, I am better. My father taught me to be the very best fighter and huntress that had ever lived; at least he said I was. He started me on this path, he tried to help others to the best of his ability, but nowhere near on the scale that I did, I took it to a whole new level. None of them had managed to best me in a fight; I was more cunning and tactic then brute force. However Rue had taught me how to fly silently and swiftly through the treetops, a skill that had saved me on more than one occasion.
As we are selling the last of the garments a thought pops into my head. I grab two different gowns; and trade them for new gowns of equal grandeur and shove them into my pack. A mischievous grin plays upon my lips and no one questions my actions. I know the look upon my face suggests that I have a plan and they will not question that. We begin our journey back to the hide out. We built it in the trees, about fifty feet in the air, in the thickest park of the forest. There are a total of six huts on platforms with rope bridges connecting them. Four of the huts are for sleeping, one is for storage and the other is just a general area. As the only women in the group Rue, Madge and I get the smallest hut to ourselves.
We meet in the main hut to discuss our next mission. The one I will need the dresses for. Their ears perk as I divulge my plan. Their eyes gleam with appreciation.
Haymitch speaks first, "Well done sweetheart!" This plan will not go into action for a few more months, until then everyone is free to return to their families. We will meet again in exactly three months time.
I see Prim's smiling face as I come into view. A few miles back in a small clearing I shed my hunter's clothes and my hooded cloak and stored them with my bow and arrows in a hollow log. I then don my peasants dress and let my hair fall into long waves down my back. Just like all peasant women wear it. I have to blend in after all.
"Katniss!" She shrieks as she runs towards me.
"I missed you little duck!" My she has grown; whenever I am gone I forget that my little sister is not so little anymore. She is nearly a woman, not the young girl I always see in my mind. She tells me of all that has happened since I last departed. When she tells of the gold that Darius brought from the mysterious Everdeen I smile and remember just how grateful I am that I can in someway provide for my family. Thankfully my father never divulged our true last name to them or else they would know who the mysterious Everdeen really was. To everyone else we were the Smithson's a common enough name that no one would question it. Four months with my sister and my mother passes far to quickly and soon I am back in the woods, once again donning my hunter's clothes and cloak and making the familiar trek to the hide out.