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These Are The Names, Chapter 12 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
These Are The Names, Chapter 12
Effie and Haymitch are waiting for the 65th Games to start.


Chapter Twelve
I hear all of the mentors swear when the cameras reveal the arena for the first time.

The tribute circle around the Cornucopia is on a bowl-shaped beach. To one side is choppy sea water. The other sides seem to be covered with a forest of knife-like standing rocks, arid and unforgiving. The whole arena seems to be shades of red and beige and brown, desert colors. There is no green to hint at drinking water or edible vegetation. The uniforms are brown, tight-fitting tank tops, beige hiking pants, and heavy-soled brown boots.

I glance at Haymitch's purchase list. I have no idea what he saw in the catalog, but he's already prioritized a gallon water bottle for each of them -- usually the last thing he'll buy, since he'd rather not have them leave a trail of water bottles. He must have analyzed things while I was at the escort meeting.

The gong sounds.

Treeza and her friends try for the Cornucopia. Haymitch tightens his fists until his knuckles turn white, and clenches his jaw. There's nothing he can do. It's too late to mentor her in training, and too early to try and nudge her with sponsor gifts.

I'm not sure who it is who cuts her down, but at least it isn't Finnick Odair, who's with the inner district kids, and is using his smaller size to dodge the fights on the way to the Cornucopia. When he gets there, he starts tossing them weapons. He does kill Albert Ingersoll from Seven, but it seems to be self-defense. Albert's not much of a threat, but he does attack first, and Finnick picks up two of the knives that are lying there and defends himself quite efficiently.

More kids than usual avoid the Cornucopia this year. They must be looking at the arid arena and thinking of getting to safety. Chicory is one of these, apparently deciding at the last minute to actually listen to Haymitch. He meets up with Batten Stone and Eloise Tate and they run through a canyon of standing rocks, putting as much distance as they can between themselves and the battle on the beach, making for the high ground.

At the Cornucopia, only five die. Treeza and Albert are the first. The rest of the younger group -- both of the kids from Six and the boy from Three -- go down in the fighting. The six inner district kids take control of the Cornucopia and all of its supplies.

Haymitch goes to call Treeza's parents.

"We should get off the beach," Finnick says. He grabs Dempsey and points at the rocks behind him. His district token, a circle of leaping fish that he wears around his neck on a leather string -- flashes in the sun. "High tide is way above here. We should make for high ground."

"They won't douse the Cornucopia every day," she says. "Don't be dumb."

"They buried the Cornucopia in volcanic ash once," Finnick corrects her.

"So, what… now you can't swim?"

Finnick looks at her like she's crazy. "That's the boundary of the arena. Do you really think it's not stocked with shark mutts?"

"Fine." Opal Delong, the girl from One, gathers up an armful of swords and binds them with a rope. "We'll make for the hills."

"Well, we will, anyway," her district partner, Blaze, says, giving a snort.

Finnick doesn't bother not understanding. He moves sideways and goes to Dempsey's side. "We need to go," he says.

"I'm not going anywhere." Dempsey pulls a knife.

Finnick jumps back, avoiding the stab to his side. He grabs her arm and twists her around, then shoves her at the others. Manlius Norton from Two manages to throw a spear before she hurtles into him, but it's very wide of the mark. Finnick grabs the spear but no supplies, and runs for the interior of the rock forest.

"Do we bother chasing?" Paulina Seldon asks.

Dempsey shrugs with practiced indifference. "He won't make it to nightfall without us looking out for him. His parents take care of everything for him. He just fishes for his own money. They have more than enough, but somehow, they always manage to bring in the biggest catch. Crooks." She looks at the rocks. "He's not wrong about the tide line, though. I still doubt they'd drown the Cornucopia every day -- if the tide was going in and out all the time, those rocks would have broken down a long time ago -- but something got them wet, and there's a little seaweed on them. There are at least going to be some big waves." She looks around. "Let's find a tide pool and see if there's anything to eat."

Haymitch is just coming back from the booths when Mags Donovan attacks her mentoring partner, Harris Greaves.

It happens so fast that I don't even realize what's going on. There's a crash, and by the time I look up, Harris's chair is on the ground, and Mags is holding a knife over him. "We had a deal!"

"I'm sorry!" Harris shouts. "I made the deal in good faith!" He scoots backward, but he's trapped in the architecture of the chair. "I told Dempsey not to go along with it!"

"But you knew there was something to go along with?"

"The way they've been pushing him, like he's already crowned?" Harris manages to get himself out of the chair. He dusts himself off, and stays more than an arm's length from Mags. "I told you from the parade on, he's got a target on his back. I could have told you at the reaping, but you wouldn't listen. Just because you let him go clamming on your private beach -- "

"I pay him to dig them for me."

"Oh, right, and he doesn't walk out with the best ones to sell at market, just because you and Carolyn are thick as thieves."

Beetee, the District Three mentor, steps between them. "Both of you, stop it. The rest of us need to concentrate, and you're not helping."

"You don't exactly need to concentrate anymore, do you?" Harris asks. "Your boy rushed the Cornucopia with a bunch of twelve-year-olds."

"And I just got off the phone with his parents," Beetee says coldly. "But Wiress and I still have Sidiki to worry about, and I'm not going to let your temper tantrum -- "

"My temper tantrum -- "

"-- interfere. And yes, your tantrum. Your girl broke a signed alliance. Mags has every right to be angry."

Harris rights his chair and slams it back down at the table. Mags pulls her chair as far from his as she can get it, and does not let go of the knife. Their escort has been manning her phone the whole time, and a second and third line are ringing madly. Berenice Morrow, from Six, who already lost her tribute, sits down timidly at the District Four table and starts answering for her. Mags hands her a pen to take information.

"Victors," Haymitch mutters, sitting down beside me. At the next table, Chaff grins. Haymitch shakes his head. "Effie, Mrs. Murphy wanted to thank you for the stunt with the wig. She understands what you meant to do, and says she's sure it made Treeza happy to see such a famous lady copying her hair." He says all of this in a cool and detached way.

I nod. "She's more than welcome. Chicory hasn't gotten far. Everyone's settling in now."

"Except Mags and Harris?"

I gesture at the screen. "Did you hear it?"

"Saw it through the wall of the booth. Harris is lucky Mags didn't cut first and ask questions later. Did you spot any water?"

"Not yet."

"Get on the water bottle, then. I don't see anything either."

And that's that. I have enough for three gallons of water, but it's impractical to carry them, and Jack and Cecelia, who've moved to our table for the alliance, have enough for their own tributes. We call in the order as soon as the kids are out of sight of the next nearest group of tributes. If they need another, it will be more expensive.

With the tributes all wandering through stone canyons, Claudius decides to take the opportunity to introduce the arena. The stone features, he says, are called "hoodoos," and they are a native feature of the area not far from the Capitol, though of course, those in the arena are re-created to form their own island. The map comes up. The island -- which is most likely just a moated fortress -- is shaped like a lopsided whale with the Cornucopia in its open mouth and a narrow isthmus to the wide, broad tail. They don't show us what kind of terrain is there. There's a high, bare area at the far north end, but the rest is covered by the rock forest, and steep, sharp mountains.

"You ever hike in the mountains around here?" Haymitch asks me.

"Not really."

"Mimi used to. I remember she said she used to."

"Miss Meadowbrook?"

"With her friends. She'd know what kind of animals there are. I bet if it's local geography, they're using souped up versions of the local predators."

"Did you want me to call her in?"

He considers it, then shudders and turns back to the screen. "No. I just thought she might have taken you hiking on one of the Capitol Dreams outings."

I try to imagine Miss Meadowbrook hiking. I can't quite get a picture of it in my head. Haymitch must have her mixed up with another girlfriend. "Well, we didn't go. But I think there were some outings up into the foothills. There are probably safety brochures."

"Send a runner for one. Half the Gamemakers were in Capitol Dreams, I bet, and that's what they'll be thinking of."

I grab one of the little messengers running around and tell him to go look for a hiking brochure at the compound, in the activity center. He looks like he has a million questions, but he doesn't ask them. He just goes.

By the time he gets back, Chicory's alliance has found a little alcove of rocks that's either protected on three sides (according to them) or boxed in on three sides (according to Haymitch). They allow themselves a few swallows of water, then cap the bottles.

"Now what?" Eloise asks. "We just camp until someone comes looking for us, or a mutt attacks? Or do we start hunting?"

"Hunting with what?" Chicory shakes his head. "We're unarmed. We have to make some weapons."

Batten picks up a heavy rock. "There are plenty of these. We could take our shirts and make slingshots. I mean, obviously, we'd have to share them for Eloise…" He blushes.

She shrugs. "Mine would probably be better. It's got a double holster" -- she makes a show of cupping her breasts, which the shirt has a built-in support for -- "and it's very tough."

The boys laugh, and they all agree to stay clothed against the sun at least until they figure out what they're doing.

"What's with your district?" Cecelia asks Jack. "You were half stripped down before you were in there an hour. I know you're not logging naked. That wouldn't be comfortable."

He laughs. "It's just not a big deal. There are swimming holes at a lot of the logging camps. You work, you get sweaty, then you shed your clothes and jump in the water. No one thinks twice about it -- well, unless you're alone with someone cute."

Haymitch rolls his eyes. "Why do I think you didn't lack for company?"

"What can I say? I was the Finnick Odair of my day, in the misty lost memories of two whole years ago."

On screen, the Finnick Odair of this day has worked his way up to the highest part of the rock forest, and is looking out across the northern plateau, which offers no shelter or water. There are a few scraggly bushes trying to grow in the rocks.

"Well," Finnick says. "Where there are bushes, there's water. So Mags, I'll find it!" He grins sunnily at the sky, as if he's not at all troubled by being exiled, friendless, hungry, and armed with only a spear.

He goes back into the hoodoos, taking a steep path down to the floor of the canyon-like formation. The plateau is at the top of what, on this side, looks like a solid cliff. Finnick starts following it.

Chaff leans over. "Well, this looks familiar."

"I was at the top of the cliff," Haymitch says. "Totally different. And I was looking for the end of the arena."

"What do you think he's looking for?"

"Water. Did you miss that?"

"But he thought the trees would have water."

"Right. So he's looking for a way under the trees. To wherever they're getting their water from. He's trying to find a cave system."

Chaff shakes his head. "If chess pieces thought like people, I'd never beat you, would I?"

"Only if they were thinking like they were in an arena."

Chaff has to break off the conversation, because his tribute, Swather, has managed to startle the Games' first mutt, a snake with a tail that makes a rattling sound. Swather managed to snag a backpack from around the Cornucopia, but he doesn’t have any weapons, and has to improvise. He ends up killing it with a large rock, but he's taken a bite, and Chaff puts his energy into buying some antivenom.

Like most years' first day coverage, the commentators don't seem to know what to do with themselves now that the tributes have finished the blood bath and split up. They're exploring their surroundings now, and the media long ago decided that no one is interested in watching this.

Except for Haymitch, of course.

While Chicory and Eloise set up a watch and Batten looks for food, Haymitch tunes in to each of the remaining groups and starts a rough map of where they all are and what's around them. Finnick has found a fissure in the rock wall and slipped into a dark cave under the north plateau. The inner district kids have made it all the way to the "tail" of the island, which turns out to have a small forested area, complete with fruit trees. Vannivar Simmons from District Five is attempting to climb the hoodoos, using the laces of his boots to make what looks like a really inadvisable rope. Swather has joined up with his district partner Poppy Hughes, and D'Arcy Hoff, from Five. They've found a second, tiny strip of beach. Chester Henry from Nine and Orabelle Erbe from Ten are still wandering the canyons, somewhere in the middle of the arena. Six more tributes are wandering around alone. The terrain all looks more or less the same to me, but Haymitch is absorbing all of it as quickly as he can.

The runner returns with our hiking brochure. The rattling snake seems to be, as Haymitch suspected, a local threat. There are also largish cats, coyotes (which I've never seen, but sometimes heard howling), and a good number of spiders. Haymitch studies them and starts going over the antivenoms on the purchase list.

In the late afternoon, Vannivar's makeshift rope breaks, sending him hurtling fifty feet to the rocky ground. The cannon sounds immediately. I don't look when they show the body.

Finnick's cave turns out to have some sunlight in it, from small holes in the ground above (Haymitch rolls his eyes at their attempt to paint this as a coincidence). Momentarily safe, he starts trying to concoct weapons from whatever he's got at hand.

"I wonder why Mags isn't sending him anything," Jack muses. "She must have enough money for a knife -- at least -- by now, since he lost the ones he had at the Cornucopia."

"I'm not sure," Cecelia says. "I've never come close to having enough to buy an actual weapon. First day? She really might have it, even with all the calls."

"Or she's just feeding him," Haymitch says, pointing at the main screen, where a parachute is dropped through one of the sunlight holes in Finnick's cave. It has an extensive picnic basket. He grins directly toward one of the supposedly hidden cameras and says, "Thanks! That'll help."

He digs in.

No one else is sending food. I check the price list -- it's no wonder. Even today, before the prices have started to go up too much, it's exorbitant, and I'm guessing Twelve isn't the only district to lose sponsors to Finnick Odair.

Since even Finnick can't make the act of eating a sandwich particularly interesting to an audience, they finally switch away from him, and go to the main body of the inner district group. Dempsey is crouched at the shore of the sea, digging in the sand. Manlius is testing fruits for toxicity. The others are counting up their haul from the Cornucopia.

"Do you want to go for the loners first?" Paulina asks. "Easy prey."

"Once you find them," Opal points out. "It's easier to look for the groups, and it might be smarter to take them on while we still have all of us. Well, minus Finnick."

Blaze snorts. "Yeah, whatever will we do without him to grin everybody to death?"

They all laugh.

In the end, they don't go hunting that first night. The arena is inhospitable, and all of the tributes spend their time arranging food and water. To my surprise, the little money Haymitch and I scraped together is apparently one of the bigger amounts -- we could afford to send more water (at least at the moment) if it's necessary. The inner district group has the stash from the Cornucopia, but otherwise, the mentors are scrambling. They'd been counting on the alliance with Finnick, and they're pretty much flat broke. Their phones aren't ringing. Neither is ours. Even with only Eloise to work with Jack is tapped out. Cecelia is still trying to spread money between Batten and her girl, Audrey Lewin. (Technically, Woof is looking after Audrey, but his memory is spotty. Cecelia says that he fell on the ice in the river trying to stop a girl from running at the fence. He hit his head, and the girl ended up bringing him back into town. He was unconscious for two days, and woke up not quite right.) They each got water, but she can't even begin to touch food. Orabelle and Chester have nothing at all.

With three districts in the alliance -- three mentors and three escorts -- we're able to give each other decent breaks. I don't envy the production crew, which is struggling to fill the mandatory viewing hours. Because Finnick made an oblique reference to Haymitch's Games, they actually call him in for commentary, something they rarely do. We all watch. He tries to take the opportunity to talk up Chicory, but the analyst, Herodion Lake, insists on bringing it back around to Finnick, even bringing up the same comparison Chaff did, about walking along the cliff. Haymitch is decidedly less amused by it this time.

"You spent your first several days in the arena alone," Lake says. "No allies, no company. How do you think Finnick -- and the other singletons, of course -- are feeling right now?"

"Same as the ones in alliances," Haymitch says. "Scared. Being alone won't set in for a while. It starts to feel strange."

"Do you think your tribute, Chicory King, would team up with Finnick if the opportunity arose, like you teamed up with your district partner?"

"It's hard to know what someone will do in the arena…"

"But with the inner district alliance rejecting Finnick Odair, he would seem to be a good ally to make."

Haymitch looks about ready to hit something or someone, but he manages to control himself and remind Lake that he has no way to communicate to Chicory that Finnick wouldn't be a plant from the other alliance. He doesn't mention that Chicory despises Finnick… and probably would have despised Maysilee Donner for being a "merchant girl." It wouldn't make any more sense to the broader audience than it does to me.

He's in a bad temper when he gets back and resists when I tell him to take a break, so I make up a question in dire need of discussion (whether or not to send Chicory purifier pills, given that as far as we can tell, he'll be dependent on bottled water), get the District Eight escort to watch our phone, and take him to a dark corner of the mentor's lounge for dinner.

He stabs moodily at a pasta dish, stirring it around his plate, but not eating. I give him water, which he wrinkles his nose at.

I wait for him to settle down a little. "Do you need anything?" I ask him.

"I need them not asking me questions about someone else's tribute," he mutters. "Think you can swing that?"

"And not asking questions about when you were there?"

"I don't care."

"I don't remember you ever talking about it. Not really."

"You're going to make me talk about things like that?"

"Not unless you want to. But you've been… hinting at it. Talking about Maysilee. Joking with Chaff. You even mentioned Miss Meadowbrook. You've never really talked about her. She talks about you a lot."

"She does? Still?" I nod. He rubs his head. "I'm sorry about what happened to her. I shouldn't have… Or should have… I don't know. I don't know what I was supposed to do. I probably should have kept up with her. But after Capitol Dreams, she just seemed so… I don't know. Out of order. I'd have ended up doing something worse if I'd tried to stick around."

"You thought something was wrong with her, so you left her?"

"I'm not Prince Charming, Effie. You know that better than anyone." He looks at the light coming through the door to the main room. "First time I met her was my Victory Tour. She paid for the privilege. If the Odair kid wins, how many people are going to pay for that privilege?"

"It's just a donation for the party…"

"No, Effie, it's not." He's quiet for a long time, then says, "Okay, yeah. My head's been back in the arena. I don't know what it is about the kid, but he's got me thinking about it all the time. Maysilee. Beech. Gilla. My old escort, Gia. Mostly me." He shifts around uncomfortably. "He's a rich Career district kid with more sponsors than I ever dreamed about having, but there's something. Every time I close my eyes, I'm back there in the woods. Looking for something." He rolls his eyes. "And the pretentious poet comes back for an encore. Sorry."

I shrug. "It's all right. I figured it was something like that. Do you want to talk about it?"

"Is this the new escort duty? Therapist to your victor?"

I look down. "Actually, I thought we were getting to be friends."

He laughs, but it's not his cruel laugh. More rueful. "Getting to be friends? Effie, we've been together six years now. These are the seventh Games for us, aren't they?"

"I thought it was the sixth." I frown. "I lost count. I guess it is the seventh."

"At any rate, the only friends I've known longer than you are Beetee and Chaff and Seeder, and we spend half our time plotting against each other when we're together."

"What about at home?"

"Shockingly, I'm not a popular party guest in District Twelve. I talk business with people who used to be my friends, but that's about it." He raises an eyebrow. "And don't act like I'm the only one. You spend the year with sponsors."

I smile. "Guilty."

"You don't actually need to ask about water purifying pills do you?"

"No."

He nods. "Thanks, Effie."

We don't talk much over the rest of the meal, but he seems a little calmer. Not any more cheerful, but calmer. He sends me off to sleep and goes back out to the table, and wakes me at about three in the morning so that he can catch a few hours.

The Gamemakers make it rain at eight o'clock, and the thirsty tributes run out and drink. Finnick finds a freshwater spring under a rock in his cave.

On the second day, the inner district kids go hunting. They catch Audrey Lewin, weak from lack of water, crawling out from the cover of the rocks to get to one of the fresh rain pools. They taunt her before they kill her. When they're finished with her, they start searching the interior of the island. They come across Dorothy Merriott, from District Nine. Apparently, they're bored, because they make a sport of tossing her around like a ragdoll before they dash her head on the rocks and drag her to the sea. Paulina crows about how she wants to prove that it's not just about getting the supplies, but about being better than the rest of the field. This gets their phones ringing, albeit somewhat feebly.

There is rain again on the third day, and the remaining tributes spend the day hunting animals for food, and trying their hands at eating the scrubby vegetation they've found. Dempsey harvests some seaweed, but barely escapes an attack from a shark. She spends the day trying to convince the others in her alliance to grab spears and hunt the sharks for dinner, but she has no luck. Chicory and his allies manage to find a veritable feast -- three lizards caught in clever little traps, followed by a soup Chicory brews from the leaves of the scrawny trees.

Swather, Poppy, and D'Arcy are exploring the barren hilltop on the fourth day of the Games when they spot one of the air holes leading down to the cave where Finnick has been hiding. Poppy suggests an alliance. Swather and D'Arcy are less than enthusiastic, but she manages to convince them to try.

Finnick is out of the cave hunting -- he comes back with a dead snake over his shoulders -- and he misinterprets their presence. He raises his spear.

There's a brief fight. None of the alliance kids has a weapon, other than Swather's sheer strength. Finnick manages to spear Poppy… the first tribute who's sought him out for an alliance. Swather grabs him and throws him down, screaming about ingratitude while Finnick tries to explain himself, but it's to no avail. They fight to a standstill, and Finnick ends up abandoning his cave. He tries to approach Chicory's group, but they fight him off. (Haymitch is tearing at his hair through this.) He has no better luck with Rollin Yazzie from Ten, who's been wandering alone for days and has gone strange. He attacks Finnick, and the two of them fight viciously, wounding each other and finally driving each other back. Finnick retreats into the canyons, looking for another hiding place. He is very close to Sidiki Lattimer from Three, but she doesn't come out of hiding.

There's coverage for three days about why such a personable child is having such a hard time with the other tributes. They dig up Chicory's school records and report on his altercations with several boys in District Twelve ("All town names," Haymitch mutters), and try an exposé down in District Four… on Dempsey's bad attitude.

The money keeps pouring in to Mags. She sends Finnick top-of-the-line medicine for his wounds from the fight with Rollin, which heal rapidly. She has more phone lines installed, and a small staff of runners answering them for her. No one knows how much she has, but she's obviously saving for something. Blight has stationed himself with her to help. I remember him saying that he knows Finnick's parents. Six days in, he's confronted by several other victors, accusing him of actually giving financial support to another district while one of his district's tributes is still alive.

"I bought a squid," he says through clenched teeth. "I cook. They're expensive. I thought I'd try one. I have seafood on the brain for some reason."

There's a great deal of grumbling, but no one can say for sure that he didn't, in fact, buy a fish. The fact that the fishmonger turned around and sent most of it to Mags could have been a coincidence.

Haymitch doesn't care.

That night, Finnick runs across Blaze while both of them are hunting… Finnick for food, Blaze for victims. The fight is long and brutal, but Finnick is more skilled with the spear than Blaze is with his hunting knife. He goes down. Finnick takes the knife. He uses it to scratch a "4" into the soft stone nearby. His face has become no less beautiful, but there's something cold in it now.

When the inner district kids realize that Blaze is dead and see Finnick's mark on the rock, they guess -- correctly, according to Haymitch -- that he's calling them out. They have a long conference. Dempsey still suggests leaving him alone to die, but they point out that he's been thriving, contrary to her predictions. Paulina suggests that Dempsey is really still trying to protect her district partner. Opal concurs. Manlius doesn't. The accusation is enough to make Dempsey indignant, and in the end, they decide to put their combined strength into hunting down Finnick the next morning.

Mags tallies her sponsorships and goes upstairs to the Gamemakers… an action generally taken when a mentor wants to buy something out of the ordinary, something off the list.

In the dead of night, a parachute lands beside Finnick, with a long, sturdy package attached to it.

A trident -- a fishing spear from District Four. Finnick takes it in his hands.

We won't know it for another day, but the Games are over.
12 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 6th, 2014 04:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
GOD I'm so frustrated with Chic and his alliance constantly turning Finnick away :((( How lonely must he have felt in the games, and even years after, only really having Mags and his family, at least until the other victors find out what's happened to him?

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 7th, 2014 12:34 am (UTC) (Link)
I can't even imagine how isolating it would be to be in his position.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 6th, 2014 06:21 pm (UTC) (Link)

I didn't see THAT coming!

Finnick killing a Career, not much of a surprise. But signing his work? Wow.

Um, "an action generally taken" should be "an."
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 6th, 2014 06:23 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: I didn't see THAT coming!

*blush* Correction:

Um, "and action generally taken" should be "an."
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 6th, 2014 08:09 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: I didn't see THAT coming!

Oh my god, you just made me realise Finnick signing his work is exactly like Gia signing hers when Glass is killed. Fern srslyyyy!!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 7th, 2014 12:34 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: I didn't see THAT coming!

I'll grab the typo.

And yeah, Finnick's a social person, and he's been alone and rejected for days. He's starting to go strange, though Effie doesn't really register it.
sonetka From: sonetka Date: June 6th, 2014 11:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh my $#^#@! God, Goblin Valley and southern Utah. Of all the places to be stranded without supplies, those rank just above the South Pole for me. Unless the inland tributes are good at eating tumbleweeds, they'd be done even if Finnick weren't there.

Finnick signing his work? Like mother, like son, I guess. What his parents must be thinking seeing this -- I'm sure Gia thinks it was no coincidence that he was picked. (Was it?)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 7th, 2014 12:33 am (UTC) (Link)
The picture in my head is more Bryce canyon surrounded by a huge shark-infested moat, but Goblin Valley works, too, and has less vegetation, so probably a better climate match. (Though I guess the Gamemakers can make any climate they want.)

I think it actually was a coincidence that he was reaped, though maybe not that no one volunteered for him (his dad does SEVERELY cheat the economy by going on his little jaunts up River Bay to catch outside the over-fished waters they're supposed to be in).
From: queen_bellatrix Date: June 7th, 2014 04:51 am (UTC) (Link)

Feedback and Catches

cornucopia is in its Think maybe the is here is an edit survivor.:)

other sides seem I think this should maybe be the other side seems to be etc. etc.?

crouched a the shore Think the a should be an at.

Finnick the opportunity arose Think you're missing an if before opportunity.

Okay, the math thing is starting to make me pull out my hair.:d Am I right that you deliberately meant Effie's reference in Chapter 9 to the sixty-fourth games being her fifth as an escort to be wrong, and Haymitch's numbers to be correct here? If so, I really, really like the way you're sticking very tightly to her pov by giving us wrong info and showing how the years are beginning to blurr for her and she's becoming more detached.

As an author, I'm admiring a lot of your decisions in this one, even if, as a reader, they're making me make frustrated sounds at the screen. When you said you were playing keep-away with Haymitch where Gia was concerned, I was confused, and even went looking through the other fics to see if it was a continuity thing because his not being able to know wasn't making sense. But, damn, I like where I hope you're going with his and Finn's relationship; this just inexplicable similarity/bond that Haymitch can't explain that makes him want to help the kid; I'm slowly beginning to see that having him know who Finn was would almost...make it too easy. I like how you've always steered away from taking the simplest avenue/explanation in your pieces, even if the reader in me desperately wants him to know that something he did led to something good with her being happy and Finn being born. Especially with your references to Mimi; multiple Mimi references in a chapter start making me frettful and uneasy, for fear they're foreshadowing something, particularly with your comments about strained Effie/Haymitch later on.

I loved Effie and Haymitch's interactions, especially the way her perceptiveness about him is growing, with her being able to diagnose where his head was and try to mitigate the worst of it.

And Mags is completely made of win; that entire sequence with Harris was just fabulous!! And she and Carolyn being thick as theives.:d:d;those two really would be. Also, letting young Finn clam on her beach made me rediculously happy; I love the way you're building their relationship so early and so strongly.

Everything you're doing with Finn here is perfect, from the way he's working the cameras after receiving the picnic basket to the way he's starting to go strange after being alone for so long. And what a brilliant way to hint at his downturn with Haymitch's commentary!

Damn, the careers are a sadistic bunch this year!

And Blight; I'm getting really worried about what the ramifications of this are going to be, especially with that building bugged, making it really likely the victors angry conversation was picked up; I've a feeling victors personal finances are going to start being frozen until the victor has emerged from the arena at the very least, with them allowed to shop in the lull before the Games conclude.

Also, I could read hundreds of pages of Haymitch's thought process as he mentors; you continue to make it wonderfully vibrant! And oh God, I was pulling my hair right along with him; Chicory, what is your problem?

And Treeza; the only thing I can say is at least it was quick, and it wasn't Finn.

P.S.: Meant to reply to your comment last chapter, and then time got away. I'm so glad he's still using the original meds; I really wasn't trying to push the angst forward faster! I think what tripped me up is that the detoxers he uses in GM are always referred to as pills, and the original was initially a powder; somehow, my brain didn't make the connection that the powder had been put in capsules for ease of use. *headdesk*





fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 7th, 2014 05:05 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Feedback and Catches

I noticed that Effie got her math wrong (because I skipped year 0), so I decided to lampshade it instead of changing it. Seemed like the right thing to do.

Keeping Gia out of Haymitch's circle is mostly because I never have him mention her later, but I think it does make a more interesting dynamic with Finnick, because it's actually Finnick that he's friends with, not "Gia's kid."

I'm starting to wonder if Mags knows exactly who Gia is -- they would have been at the Games together before, after all. Which makes me rethink Haymitch's belief that Mags was Capitol-loyal before she found out what was going on with Finnick.

It is a different medicine Haymitch is taking in GM; he'd never heard of it before (which is why I made this one have a different function -- kind of a cheat, since I wanted him to stay sober enough to narrate, but couldn't backtrack on him not knowing about the medicine he's given. That's the problem with filling in back story!)

Blight's actions might well tie up how victors can spend money in each other's districts, which will make things one step harder in communication. On the other hand, he's doing a lot of math in his head, and not liking how it's coming up in terms of Finnick's stated birthday.

Chicory's problem, I'm afraid, is plain old burning covetousness. Finnick has stuff and he wants it, and therefore he hates Finnick.
redrikki From: redrikki Date: June 9th, 2014 12:10 am (UTC) (Link)
You know, I sort of pictured Finnick's arena as having more stuff to make nets out of, but this craggy environment is interesting.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 9th, 2014 12:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, even arid environments have some fibrous stuff in them. Dempsey noticed dried seaweed, and there are probably random inedible vines and things like that. I don't know why, but I always pictured him with standing rocks.

I take it back. I totally know why. This is the Castle Rock end of the Lord of the Flies island. ;p
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