A/N And welcome to my second ever SYOT! Now, read carefully. These things do take a lot of work and a lot of time. I can not ensure that updates will occur as regularly or as speedily as my last SYOT, as I have been noticing my writing has taken a lot more time than it used to. But I assure you, I will try my absolute best.
If you are reading this and have not read my previous SYOT, this chapter may be a little difficult to understand. I recommend starting with my first. However, if you do not have time to do this, just enjoy what you can understand.
Now, onto the fun stuff.
It was the year of the seventy fifth annual Games.
Around the nation, people were in preparation for this year's Quell. Those in the Capital bustled around deciding on new outfits to wear to the extravagant parties that were known to occur this time of year. They whispered amongst themselves, each trying to determine what this year's could be. After last year's eventful Games, it would have to be a good one. Those in the districts were spending more and more time lying awake at night. Wondering who it would be. A neighbor? Friend? Daughter or son? If this was anything like the last Quell, when twice as many children lost their lives, they had just reason to be afraid.
Casper Monroe was one of them.
A man of all sixty eight of his years, the Games still came back to haunt him. No, they never did leave him. It was just as his mentor had warned. Although some nights he could sleep well, in the comfort of his warm bed in his large house next to his wife, there were others this time of year when he tossed and turned for weeks on end.
Yes, he was a victor. And so he knew all the consequences of becoming one. His mentor had warned him that the eyes of both the government and the nation would be fixated on him for many years to come. He had been an underdog for sure, and so had caught the nation's attention. Throw in his tragic love story, and people couldn't get enough of him. It was a shock at first, but yet, he got used to that. He knew long beforehand that even if he did somehow survive the Games, dark thoughts at night would plague his every night. Faces would never leave his head, not after fifty years.
He'd been warned of this. None of it bothered him much anymore. This was his life. At least he had one at all.
There was but one thing that still frightened him.
In the fifty years since he had won the first Quarter Quell, it was as though time had not passed.
The Games were exactly the same. Year after year. Oh, yes. There were different tributes in slightly different arenas. But there were always Careers, who almost always won. The same style of interviews and even the same chariot costumes repeated themselves. The children were just as scared, even though the idea of the Games was not new to them or anyone in their immediate family by now.
Certainly they were a familiar presence in Casper's own family.
It seemed like an ordinary evening in the Monroe house. Elorica was fixing dinner, her chicken stew. Sometimes the two sat and thought about the times before they could ever eat chicken or really any meat at all besides tough, cheap beef. (Or dog, possibly.) Now, though, it was a staple. The children and grandchildren were all here. They came here every year by some unspoken rule and all watched the introduction to the year's Games. The unspoken binding was drawn even closer because of this year's Quell.
"Is suspect it'll be something to do with age. You know, tributes of any age can be reaped." Kaja, easily the most outspoken of any of his children, said to all of them. She lived up to her namesake. As a child, she had said whatever had come to her mind. Her siblings joked that this was the reason she'd never married. She was thirty nine now.
"Never mind that," Aya answered quickly. She swooped down to steer her youngest, India, away from the conversation. Aya was the eldest of the Monroe children and the age gap between her and her siblings was significant, as Elorica and Casper had decided on waiting for things to settle after her birth. Originally, they'd thought of her name as "Star." But when she was born, both looked at each other and decided on naming her Aya instantly, after Casper's fiercely loyal and brave ally during his Games.
Every single child in the Monroe family, grandsons and daughters as well, had been named after a tribute in Casper's Games.
Seventeen year old India rolled her eyes at her mother. "Mom, I'm seventeen. It's not like I've never been to a reaping before."
Markus, Casper's twelve year old grandson and his son Gav's child, coughed quietly. He shuffled his feet as he set the table. Markus, like Casper's own son Gav, was a well-mannered sort of boy, but he had the sort of mischievous grin that sent pangs of grief into Casper upon remembering his son's namesake's face. But mostly he felt happy. Little Gav had lived on, in a way.
All-in-all, Elorica and Casper had a total of four children. Aya was their eldest and took it as her responsibility to raise the younger children when Elorica and Casper were called to the Capital for interviews. Aya and her husband lived in a nice apartment, far bigger than most in Eight because of her father's status. They had three children: Twenty-two year old Raen, nineteen year old Oak and seventeen year old India. Then there was Kaja, who had decided not to marry, but stayed right with Casper and Elorica to look after the house when they were gone. There were too many rooms for just the two of them, anyway. After Kaja came Gav, who had three children. Markus was his youngest. His siblings were fifteen year old Jezebelle and eighteen year old Cadence. Casper's youngest child was Violet. Violet was fiercely intelligent and utterly fearless. Her thirteen year old daughter, Katerina, took after her.
Although Casper would never admit it, Katerina was (sometimes) his favorite grandchild. She had dark hair just like her namesake and that same gaze.
Right now, she stood staring the television screen intently. "I think maybe this year they'll do something like reaping adults."
Jezebelle leaned back in the couch in thought. "Or maybe they will let multiple tributes win." She said thoughtfully, almost dreamily.
"Hah!" Katerina laughed harshly. "In your dreams, Jezi! You're always way too optimistic about everything. It'll be something horrible, just watch. It always is." Her voice dropped to a decidedly cynical tone.
"Shut up, " Jezebelle muttered.
"All right, you two." Violet set dishes on the table and beckoned for them to come away from the screen. "We'll find out what the Quell is sooner or later. There's no use speculating." She sighed. "I'm sure it will take us all by surprise, anyway. I remember the last Quell announcement vividly."
"We all do," Aya said quietly.
The sound of talking melted into the sound of clinking forks and knives. Their kitchen was normally airy, but when the entire family was over, it did begin to feel crowded. But it was a good, happy kind of crowded. Even on a day like today. They were still together. No matter what the Quell would end up to be, the world would keep on turning. And Casper began to think that perhaps the reason they all gathered today on the day of the big announcement was so that all could draw strength from the crowd of family around them. It was a nice thought.
"President Snow will probably want you back in the Capital," Kaja said. "It'll likely be an interview about what you think about this year's Quell or something. I imagine you'll come right back, though. Remember Dad? You're mentoring this year, too."
"Ah," Casper said quietly. He twirled a noodle on his fork. At the last Quell, Woof had been assigned to mentor. Woof was ten years younger than Casper, but by now both had ample experience mentoring. And Casper knew for a fact that the last Quell had taken a heavy toll on Woof. Forced to watch twice as many children die. It couldn't have been easy.
Suddenly, the familiar notes rose up from the screen next door. The anthem was starting to play.
"It's starting!" Oak shouted. He practically kept out of his seat, a line of nerves etched onto his face. It figured. He hadn't been able to sit still the entire meal. Yes, he was relieved that he was now nineteen and too old for the Games. But his younger sister India was still eligible. And being in the family of a victor meant the chances of being reaped were increased tenfold.
Besides, no one knew just who the Quell might affect.
Forks were left still clattering from where the family had thrown them down. Bowls were half full of soup that would now surely grow cold.
The entire enormous family all gathered in front of the screen. And Casper drew his strength from all of them together. Especially Elorica, whose age-worn hand was wrapped in his. Here was a crowd of his children and grandchildren, all named after the tributes of his Games, down to his children's middle names.
Violet had the middle name "Keira." It would be wrong to separate these two names.
Elorica squeezed his hand tightly. "Whatever it is, Casper, we'll get through it. We got through the worst of it when we were still kids. You remember what I always tell you, don't you? You won the Hunger Games. To say the odds were against you is a terrific understatement. If you survived that, you can survive anything."
"You're always right, Ellie."
On the screen, President Snow took to his podium. His face was lined with age. Sometimes Casper found it hard to believe that this man was even older than him. But despite his age, the man gave off a distinct aura of power. He was dressed in a deep red, nearly maroon suit with a rose pinned to his jacket. He set his hands on the podium and surveyed the crowd.
But perhaps he was older in ways other than physique. Last year's Games must have taken a toll on him. As well as his power.
"Welcome," He said in a booming voice. "Welcome to the start of this year's Games. It will be even more exciting than most, as this is the year of the third Quarter Quell."
A cheer rose up from the brightly-clad crowd.
The Monroe family moved closer together.
Snow cleared his throat. "The past Quell's have been riveting to behold. The first Quarter Quell, held fifty years ago, was designed to remind the districts that it was their responsibility the War began and the Games began in the first place. So they would be responsible for which children perished. Every child was voted into the Games."
Some in the family began whispering. The children exchanged looks, well aware of the story their names held.
"The second Quarter Quell was held twenty five years ago. To remind the districts of the amount of lives they lost because of their foolish actions, twice as many children were reaped and so twice as many perished." He straightened himself and looked out into the crowd of Capital citizens. His eye met the camera and he gazed at his fiercely. Casper noted that the man's eyes were the same ice blue they were fifty years ago when he had first been called to meet the man behind the Games.
"Now, we will have the announcement of the third Quarter Quell."
A young girl dressed in a floaty pink dress breezed onto the stage. A sweet-looking little thing. Casper almost felt pity at the world this little girl was growing up in. An adorable dimpled smile graced the girl's cheeks. This was a show to her. A game all on its own. She held a mahogany box that was filled with notecards, all yellowing from age. Each one held an idea for the year's Quell. It would be picked at random. Snow extended his hand into the box.
Slowly, he withdrew one of the yellowing cards, curled slightly at the edges. He stared at the card for a moment, mentally assessing the words on it. The faintest sliver of a smile appeared on his lips. He walked smoothly back to his place at the podium. Back to his position of power, far above the crowd that watched him with widened eyes, fixated on his every move.
The entire Monroe house seemed to be holding its breath. Not a sound could be heard.
Snow began to speak with a clear and powerful voice. "To remind the districts that the War tore apart their connection with the Capital, this year's Quarter Quell will sever connections of their own. For the seventy fifth annual Hunger Games, only one tribute will be reaped from each district."
Everyone in the room gasped.
"But this tribute must take his or her entire family along with them. Multiple people can win, provided they are from the same family."
The screen went black.
A/N The tribute form is below. This is not a first-come first-serve basis. Forms must be detailed with enough mentioned about the tribute's family as well. Thank you for submitting and I wish you luck! I can't wait to read what you've come up with.
District (top three choices):
Family Members ( a detailed description of each):
Relationship to family:
Intelligence from 1 to 10:
Weapon of choice:
Family members' weapon skills (if possible):
Reaped/Volunteered (there will likely be no volunteering outside, maybe, Districts Two and One.):
Interview Outfit (optional):
Chariot Parade costume ideas:
Alliances or none:
A. A typical day
B. Your tribute's death (no, this does not mean he or she will die)