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The Last Tribute: Chapter Fifteen - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
The Last Tribute: Chapter Fifteen
The stream does go to the lake. Katniss plans to follow it to the Careers' camp.

Okay, yes, random details.

Anyway, Katniss is unconscious from the stings and Peeta is packed under his rock. Haymitch is meeting with sponsors to try and get some money and support, and has asked Aquila Grant to get the audience to rebel.

Chapter Fifteen
By the second evening, the Gamemakers have started feeding out medical information from Katniss and Peeta's trackers. They always have access, but they rarely give it to the rest of us, let alone the audience, but interest in them is high, and, with both of them unconscious, there's not much else for them to report on.

Katniss is sleeping off the tracker jacker venom. She's in a relatively stable stage five sleep, which they explain as the final stage of sleep, when dreams are most likely to occur. Apparently, it's a point where the brain is as active as in waking life, but the body is essentially paralyzed. She's been through a few full sleep cycles, and they expect her to wake up at any moment. She has no lasting damage from the stings, though they're still a bit inflamed. (Rue has stopped applying the leaves, since Katniss has shown a few signs of being ready to come around, and Rue may be star-struck, but she's not stupid.) There is much speculation on the subject of what she's dreaming about. ("I know what I'd be dreaming about," a pretty girl on the street sighs. She is wearing a shirt with Peeta's picture on it.)

In other words, with Katniss, all we need is time and luck. As long as the Careers don't find her, she should wake up rested and more or less well. Since the Careers are still pretty off-kilter, and have been hunting the empty woods far north of Katniss's location, it's not too much to ask.

Peeta is a different story. They're careful with this information, not leaking nearly as much, as his fans are devoted to him and would be upset with much of what they could say, so most doesn't make the broadcast, but because they've chosen to work the angle at all, I have the statistics on my dedicated screen.

His wound has stopped bleeding, but much of that damage was done within fifteen minutes of the injury. He's anemic and in hypovolemic shock. His heart rate is up and his blood pressure is down. He's sometimes breathing normally, but other times seems to pant.

That would eventually resolve itself -- the human body is remarkably resilient, and he's already replacing the blood -- but the wound has become badly infected, given that all he had to pack it with was mud and rotting leaves. There's a list of bacteria that have been detected, and other protozoa that lived in the leaves. There's also a very nasty yeast colony. I'm glad the Gamemakers are too ignorant about baking to start making jokes about this. Nothing viral so far, but the infection is running rampant, and will soon turn to blood poisoning.

If the wound isn't treated soon, it will kill him.

Most of the information released to the public is shown late the second night, with little more than a quick scroll of scientific names of the infecting agents and a comment that Peeta's certainly a tough boy to still be fighting. Then they go back to Katniss and the potential content of her dreams.

The telephone rings about five minutes before midnight. Effie picks it up.

"Hi! So glad you called the sponsor line for…" She stops. "Mr. Mellark. Hello. I… Of course, yes." She looks up at me.

"Danny?" I ask, unnecessarily.

She nods.

I take the phone and switch on the viewscreen. Danny will not care that I look like hell. He doesn't look any better. I look at the scenery behind him, expecting to see the mayor's house, but it looks like the inn. His oldest boy just married the innkeeper's daughter, I think. Maybe they're all watching there. They have to have a phone for reservations.

"How are you holding up?" I ask him.

"Threvogar-Fytronomylin," he says staring at a piece of paper in his hand.

"What?"

"It's medicine," he tells me. "Primrose has been reading the Capitol medical journals. I know they're all about pretending the Capitol can do anything medically -- bragging that they can fix things that kill us -- but she found an article about infected wounds. Threvogar-Fytronomylin, she said. She said it's given to people who get injured while they're hiking or something, and they have bad infections. It kills any" -- he looks at the paper again -- "invasive micro-fauna and accelerates regrowth of tissue." He looks at me, empty-eyed. "Haymitch, that's what he needs. I will do anything to get it to him."

I look at the ointment Katniss used. The name of it on the list is Fytro, but the fine print calls it Siktikonis-Fytronomylin. I'm guessing Fytro is the ingredient for rapid cell growth.

"It's not on my list," I say. "I can look into it, but Danny, things that aren't on the list… they're exorbitant."

"I'll sell the bakery."

"Don't do that."

"Why not? He's my son."

I look down. "Because what you could get for that bakery wouldn't make a dent in some of the things that are on the list, Danny. I'm sorry, but it's true. Don't throw your livelihood away for nothing."

"I have to do something."

"I know. But not that. It won't help."

"Then what?"

"I don't know. I'm doing everything I can to get sponsors here. You need to go home and get some sleep --"

"I'm not going back there. I'm not living there. I just go in to work in the morning. I'm staying with Jonadab."

I sigh. "Any other time, I'd be doing cartwheels. But they're enjoying the love story right now. If Peeta makes it to the final eight -- and he has a good chance -- then people aren't going to want to see his parents fighting." I can't quite look him in the eye. "I'm sorry, Danny. I know it's a terrible thing to ask --"

"No. I said I'd do anything. I'll do this. So will Mir."

"Okay. Good." I think about it, then something he said tosses up a flare. "Did you say Primrose found it?"

"Yeah. She's been a rock."

"Then you and Ruth and Primrose have been spending time together?"

"It's mostly Prim. She's researching everything. She comes to see me every day to tell me what she's learning. She's a good kid. I wish she were…" He stops, apparently realizing that this is hardly a secure line. "I'm glad she's here. I'm glad she's who she is."

"I need a united front back home."

"What?"

"If the reporters come back, you and Ruth and Mir are all old school friends. Glen, too, if you can work him into the conversation."

"Ruth and Mir. Friends."

"Okay, you and Ruth are friends. Mir can be as jealous as she wants, but in a friendly way. I need her to act. Ruth might be a hopeless case there, but you can carry it."

"But they can't be united…"

"Danny. Please."

He frowns, then seems to read something in my face. "Okay. And you know… Ruth and I were friends. Maybe it's time to remember that."

There's nothing more to say. We hang up.

Effie puts the phone back. "How are you holding up?" she asks me.

I shrug. "You?"

"My therapist doesn't approve of the hours I've been here this year."

"Yeah? He doesn't know that you're the best escort in the business for a reason."

"All the things that you think of as me being a good escort, they're… symptoms." She smiles. "Then again, the things that make you a good mentor make you crazy, too."

"Has it occurred to you that we might both be perfectly all right?"

"Have you seen yourself when you're really in your cups? You're not all right."

Given the multiple ways and times I've thought about killing myself, I guess I don't have an argument, at least not one that she'd accept. I tell her to go get some sleep. She gets about four hours, then sends me off. I manage almost five. It's just past nine when a runner comes to tell me that Katniss has woken up.

"Is she all right?" I ask.

The runner, a boy of about fourteen, says, "She's hunting, so I guess so. Miss Trinket wants you to wash up, in case there are cameras now that Katniss is awake."

"Thanks." I hand him some money and turn to go to the showers.

The boy stays there, shuffling his feet.

"Did you need something else?"

He bites his lip. "My girlfriend says she hopes that Katniss wins. She says she's the very best, and…" He looks up earnestly. "We want her to have the best."

"Thank you," I tell him.

He goes away.

I go to the showers that are off to the side in the lounge and blast myself with the harshest setting I can get. I have a few days of long sweats to get rid of. I wash my hair and shave. When I finish, I put on a robe and go out to the general grooming area. Effie has sent in a clean, decent suit. I put it on and go outside.

It seems I'm not the only one who's getting cleaned up. Katniss has picked up and moved, and is down at the stream. She's stripped down to her underthings, and rinsed out her clothes. They're hanging on the bushes to dry. A small, dead rabbit sits beside her. As I sit down, she starts combing her hair with her fingers.

I look at Seeder's screen, where Rue is frowning at the leafy hollow where she's been hiding Katniss. "They got separated?"

"Rue was off foraging when Katniss woke up," she explains. "I doubt Katniss has any idea that someone's been looking out for her."

"She's not in the same place."

"She was hallucinating when she passed out. She probably didn't know where she was."

"How's Peeta?" I ask Effie.

"No change," she says. "He reached out and got some water."

"No change is good for now. Any change is likely to be for the worse. I need to check on a medication."

"The one Dannel Mellark mentioned? I already did. The price the Gamemakers gave me…" She sighs. "It's five times what the ointment cost, and that's today. The money's coming in, but nothing even close to that. On the plus side, there's a pretty steady stream coming from the sponsor booth in Twelve. I've never seen so many people trying to help."

I look at the number. It hasn't amounted to a slice of bread yet, but it's everything people can afford. I have to get them through. These people are going to need Parcel Day next year.

Effie has got me on talk shows during the morning and early afternoon. I have five minutes of the official broadcast time, and a full segment with the morning news. I also visit a children's show, where a dancing puppet asks me about the meaning of true love, and, of all things, a home improvement show, where the host is taking "inspiration" from the brave tributes of District Twelve to remodel his den. The only real influence I can see is that he's camouflaged an ottoman so that it seems to disappear beneath the pool table.

I go along with it. It's a call-in show, and there are a fair number of viewers who want to wish the kids well. I mention that Peeta needs expensive medicine.

When I get back, the small donations are starting to build up. Effie has been consistently busy. So has Katniss. She's re-braided her hair, cleaned her weapons, and lit a small fire. She seems to be careful about the smoke. She's cooking the rabbit and some kind of bird that she's shot. I've been back for about twenty minutes when Seeder nudges me. Rue has found her way here, and is watching Katniss from around a tree trunk.

"You know," Katniss says, "they're not the only ones who can form alliances."

Rue peeks around the trunk. "You want me for an ally?"

"Why not?" Katniss gives her a friendly, perfectly genuine smile. "You saved me with those tracker jackers. You're smart enough to still be alive. And I can't seem to shake you anyway. You hungry?"

And that's it.

There's no dramatic confrontation. Rue doesn't even mention that she's been taking care of Katniss. She just comes out and sits down, and they talk. Rue treats her stings again (as far as Katniss knows, it's the first time, and she's visibly grateful), and Katniss shares her ointment to treat a little burn on Rue's arm. ("You have good sponsors," Rue says wistfully.) They finally shake hands and agree to an alliance. I can see Brutus smirking across the room -- Katniss has allied with the only tribute left in the field who's smaller and weaker than she is.

Then again, she's allied with the one who will make sponsors think of her original act of bravery, the one they loved her for at first: her sacrifice for Prim. Katniss falls easily into the role of big sister now that she's awake, sharing out the meal and giving Rue generous portions of the bird, which Rue identifies as a "groosling."

"I've never had a whole leg to myself before," she confides.

"Take the other," Katniss says.

"Really?"

"Take whatever you want. Now that I've got a bow and arrows, I can get more. Plus, I've got snares. I can show you how to set them up." Katniss notices that Rue is still not eating the other groosling leg. "Oh, take it! It'll only keep a few days, anyway, and we've got the whole bird, plus the rabbit."

Rue grins and eats.

The main coverage cuts away from them when they start comparing notes about life in their districts. Rue knows what the night vision goggles are, since they use them in the orchard. Apparently, a boy was killed for stealing a pair. They're saying very little about anything controversial (even in the Capitol, they know that District life is harsh).

None of this is on the main broadcast, anyway. The Careers are hunting, Peeta is mumbling in his delirium, Finch and Thresh are foraging, and Spicer Daby is exploring his island. He's found a steep cliff, and is trying to find a way around it. There are Capitol gamblers to interview, and the ever-present Capitol party to cover. Finnick is in attendance at a party in the pleasure district, and takes the opportunity to talk up the great romance. His fan club is actively raising funds. They want to see the great reunion.

When mandatory viewing begins, Katniss and Rue have carefully sorted out several days' worth of food, and are looking for a place to sleep. The recaps of the day show them together, and the audience is wild for it. It proves that Katniss is the worthy object of their affection. Seeder doesn't mind a bit -- donations are coming in for Rue as well.

Since nothing of great import is going on, they move to features. There's a specialist about District Ten who talks about how well Spicer is doing, and a piece about a mutt Thresh killed. They show scenes of Katniss and Rue eating again, then, to my delight, go to the headquarters of the Daughters of the Founding. Aquila Grant has agreed to talk about why the Daughters are such staunch supporters of District Twelve, of all places.

She has positioned herself in front of the huge portrait of Mother Laelia. Over her shoulder, just out of focus enough to look like just about anyone -- Katniss, for instance -- there is a slight female figure carrying a bow in one hand, with a game bird tied to her belt, and the gleaming spires of the Capitol in the background.

Chaff leans over. "What, you forgot to give her a spare mockingjay pin?"

"I didn't give her anything," I say.

The announcer asks a few general questions about the history of the Daughters, then asks, "While the Daughters of the Founding as an organization largely remained silent during the first fifty years of the Games, since Haymitch Abernathy's victory, there's been a sustained and substantial connection with District Twelve. Why, of all districts, Twelve?"

Aquila raises her eyebrow. "What an odd question. Why not Twelve? The people of Twelve are like us -- after the Catastrophes, they built their own world back up, creating something from nothing in the wilderness, just as we did here in the Capitol. They're strong, and they look after one another, as the Founders did. And their merchant class, the ancestors of that boy in the stream, they come from our very stock, wanderers who survived in the chaos until they found a home. Our soul and our blood… of course we support them."

"Then it isn't because Haymitch Abernathy has manipulated the emotions of your members?"

"Oh, good heavens, Haymitch couldn't emotionally manipulate a bee into making honey. Quite a few of us are fond of him, it's true -- but we aren't as gullible as you seem to think."

The reporter backpedals furiously on his question, insisting that he meant no insult (which best be true, as I don't have time to kill him at the moment), then asks, "Which of the District Twelve tributes are you pulling for?"

"Both of them," Aquila says calmly.

"But --"

"Oh, I know. The rules." She sighs. "It's a pity, really. They're both brave and good, and exactly what citizens of Panem should be. I'm quite fond of both of them. It's a shame we're such slaves to rules, don't you think?" She smiles, but doesn't push it any further. It's far enough. The notion of being slaves to something as mundane as rules will rankle a certain class of Capitolite, and she knows it.

They cut back to the arena, where Rue and Katniss have settled into a tree for the night. After the anthem, Katniss asks how long she's been out, and grabs everyone's attention (including mine) by asking about Peeta. She claims the whole thing is an act that the two of them worked out with me, but it's such an obvious lie (she sounds like a nervous schoolgirl when she says it… and blushes) that studio coverage only mentions in passing that they'll look into why she's making up a story like that later on.

They return to the subject of the night vision goggles, which the Careers apparently have two pairs of.

"But they've got everything down by the lake," Rue says. "And they're so strong."

"We're strong, too. Just in a different way." Katniss bites her lip, thinking.

Rue thinks that Katniss is strong, but doesn't think she herself is, even if she can feed herself, since the Careers hardly need to worry about that, having all the food in their pile of supplies.

"Say they didn't," Katniss muses. "Say the supplies were gone. How long would they last? I mean, it's the Hunger Games, right?"

"But Katniss, they're not hungry."

Katniss grins. "No, they're not. That's the problem. I think we're going to have to fix that, Rue."

Rue's eyes light up at the idea of a plan, though they don't talk about it any further.

Claudius's night show comes on right after mandatory viewing. There's a great deal of joking about Katniss's lie. A psychologist named Aurelius says she sounds like a twelve-year-old insisting that the little boy next door isn't her boyfriend and she doesn't like him at all. "I had a daughter myself," he says. "She drew hearts all over her yearbook around pictures of a particular boy, but if anyone asked, she said he was stupid and she only did that because someone dared her to."

"What became of it?"

"She married him. I think I became a grandfather last year."

The studio audience laughs.

Claudius joins them, then looks back at Aurelius. "And the notion that this was planned by Haymitch Abernathy?"

Aurelius sobers a little bit at this. "I don't think it's plausible."

"Why not?"

"I've worked with a number of victors over the years, Claudius. A solid number of them are mentors. And while I've never particularly worked with Abernathy, I've heard a good deal about him. This isn't his style. He's known for following his tributes' leads, not for dictating to them."

Claudius nods sagely, then smiles. "Well, I see you aren't entirely neutral in the Games this year!" He points at the lapel of Aurelius's jacket.

Aurelius turns it out. He's wearing a replica of Katniss's pin. "Yeah," he says. "How does it look…?"

As the late night coverage continues, I see more mockingjays, though none seem to be worn with knowledge of it as a rebel symbol.

More importantly, Aquila's hint seems to be worming its way into the mass consciousness. One of the Fannicks actually comes out and says that it would be "romantic" to change the rules for Katniss and Peeta. A fan of Thresh's says that if it's fair for a romance to work, why not another kind of district team? District Two fans rather angrily insist that if people can wish for Katniss and Peeta both to live, then they should be able to hope for a District Two sweep.

I sleep, and by the time I wake up for the early news, it's something of a burning question. It's not making it to the districts -- this is strictly on a Capitol broadcast -- but rather than asking whether or not it's possible to have a rule change, there's a heated debate about whether or not tributes who aren't in love should have just as much of a chance of getting out of the arena together, if there were such a change. This has devolved overnight into Katniss and Peeta's fans and Cato and Clove's fans throwing bottles at each other across the street. Thresh and Rue's fans are on both sides.

Just after sunrise, Spicer Daby is trying to catch a small rabbit for breakfast. He loses his balance on his bad leg near the top of the cliff he found, and crashes down the steep slope.

He's lucky enough to die instantly, rather than lying there for the mutts. Earl goes to the booths to place the call.

The cannon wakes Katniss.

Rue has been up for a little while, scavenging for eggs. She has a pair of them in her hands while they try to figure out who's left in the pack for it to have been. They forget about Finch, which could be a costly mistake (she's been very clever so far, scavenging from the other tributes, and she could well be a contender), and speculate on how the most recent tribute died. Of course, there's no way for them to know the latter, and probably never will be. The main camera is on a delay after their conversation yesterday, and cuts away before Katniss makes a snide comment about a death "holding the crowd" and the Gamemakers trying to stir things up.

It's true, of course, but she has to stop saying things like that. It won't help her.

The conversation comes around again to the Careers' stockpile of supplies. Katniss wants to attack it and force them to live off the arena like everyone else. This makes the coverage. There's plenty of discontent with viewers every year about the unfairness of the Career strategy. People will like to see the odds evened up. I'm not sure, myself. I wish they'd go find Peeta, or at least discuss the subject.

They spend the morning hunting and foraging, while Rue reports on things she's seen in her various spying trips to the Career camp. She's pretty observant. Finally, Katniss seems to decide she has enough information, and while they dig for roots, she asks, casually, what the most important thing in the world is to Rue.

"Music," Rue answers.

Katniss looks vaguely surprised. "Music? You have a lot of time for that?"

"We sing at home. At work, too. That's why I love your pin."

A camera comes in at an odd angle on Katniss's pin, and they talk about mockingjays -- about how Rue uses their ability to mimic her song to tell everyone to knock off for the night in District Eleven. Katniss offers to let her wear the pin (I can almost hear the Capitol sighing in ecstasy at the cuteness of it), but Rue prefers to see it on Katniss.

"That's how I decided I could trust you," she explains, and pulls out a flimsy looking district token. "Besides, I have this. It's a good luck charm."

"Her little sisters made it for her," Seeder explains. "The charm… it's a clip her mother uses it to hold her scarf closed in the fields."

I nod, and decide it's a good token.

The girls work out something like a plan to first distract the Careers from their camp, then attack the food. It involves setting campfires at various points in the woods. They set two of them together. Rue will set the third on her own.

Rue teaches Katniss how to signal the mockingjays, so they can tell each other that they're all right. Katniss seems hesitant to try it. I doubt she admits why to herself. Glen Everdeen used to sing to the mockingjays. They always answered him. I wonder if she's worried that they'll reject her.

"Okay, then," Katniss says. "If all goes according to plan, I'll see you for dinner."

She starts to leave, but Rue grabs onto her and hugs her tightly. Katniss seems surprised and pleased by it.

"You be careful," Rue says.

"You, too."

They let go of each other and smile faintly, then Katniss takes a deep breath and heads for the stream.
26 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 29th, 2014 08:16 am (UTC) (Link)
"I think I became a grandfather last year". This line is so heartbreaking in its cheeriness!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 29th, 2014 08:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah... it ought to be a fairly important piece of information to him!
vesta_aurelia From: vesta_aurelia Date: September 29th, 2014 12:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I'm dreading the Final Eight from Haymitch's point of view....
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 29th, 2014 08:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm dreading keeping two documents open while I write... I just know I'm going to goof it someplace!
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 29th, 2014 11:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
If you're worried about writing one in the wrong place, publish Final Eight as a pdf?? Then you can't write on it.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 29th, 2014 11:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I'm just worried about getting something wrong.
redrikki From: redrikki Date: September 29th, 2014 01:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Man, the bit with the Daughters and their obvious use of symbolism and taunting. Very nice.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 29th, 2014 08:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't imagine that people who love the Capitol love Snow much more than District people do.
sonetka From: sonetka Date: September 29th, 2014 07:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Aurelius the psychologist was such perfect essence of Capitol. It's a happy story! Why are you wincing, reader? :) I liked seeing the Fannicks as well -- older and a little bit wiser. And Aquila was perfect.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 29th, 2014 08:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
At least Aurelius is a rebel.
sonetka From: sonetka Date: September 29th, 2014 08:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's part of why it's depressing. He's like the good side of the Capitol, but they're still missing so much and don't even know it.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 29th, 2014 09:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love the Daughters of the Founding. I hope we will get to see some more of them throughout the rest of this story. I hope they managed to make it through the end of the rebellion relatively unscathed. I can't imagine Coin would have been much of a fan.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 29th, 2014 11:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Definitely not. When I go back and edit, I'll have to figure it out. The only one mentioned by name is Tryphaena Buttery.
From: queen_bellatrix Date: September 30th, 2014 03:51 am (UTC) (Link)

Some Catches

Feedback to come in the next comment later tonight; wanted to get these there before you archived.:)

There's also very nasty Think you need an a before very.

phone for reservation Think reservation should be reservations.

I just in to work Think you're missing a word here; maybe go before in?

approve of the hours I've been in Think maybe you're missing a putting before in?

reached out got some Think you're missing an and before got.

I've back for Think you're missing a been before back.

Katniss and Rue had carefully Think had should maybe be have?

sobers little bit Think there should be an a before little.

which best be Not sure if you're missing a had before best? (I've heard this particular expression with and without the had, so it's really a matter of personal preference as to whether to add or not.:)

slight female figure Not sure if this got lost in editing, or if it was so out of focus, not even Haymitch could tell: I realized this was a representation of one of the founders (I keep thinking Marilla Dod, but know that's wrong because she was the first peacekeeper), but I can't quite tell if it's someone playing her, or another picture, or maybe a statue?

few days of long sweats Can't quite tell if this is just a speech pattern thing, or an odd edit: I'm thinking it should maybe be a few long days of etc. etc.?

Of course, there's no way for them to know that I'm not sure here exactly what there's no way for them to know? Is it about Finch being a contender, or were you just trying to get at there being no way for them to do more than speculate about the tribute's death, because of what the Gamemakers were showing?

Not so much a catch as a clarification: So, Rue's little sisters made the charm so that Rue's mother could use it to keep Rue's scarf closed, right? (I got a bit confused with all the hers.:)

And just because you were mentioning Final Eight, I thought I'd mention something I found on a reread today you may want to keep in mind for the next chapter, because I can just imagine that keeping track of that much stuff is hellish. (Though, to be honest, I'm wondering if it may just be easier to go back and edit Eight.) While Kat is out after firing the arrow, you have Deli/Prim talking about Danny's offer to sell the bakery, and you have Prim say that Haymitch told Ruth about how exorbatant the medicine was and not to let Danny do it on a private response. But, since you have Danny talking to Haymitch from the inn, rather than the sponsor boards as originally suggested in Eight, and Haymitch can actually have an in-depth conversation explaining the price (which it doesn't seem like the boards are disigned to accommodate), I'm wondering if it might be easier in your edit to just go back and edit that chapter so that Prim finds out about it from Danny the morning after he talks to Haymitch (which would be the morning of the supply distruction), and be talking about it with Deli when Danny actually permanently nmoves back to the bakery? Just thoughts/suggestions I thought you might want some time to ponder.

And I'm sorry; I completely missed the stream going to the lake, even while looking for it in the books; I think you found it early enough that it shouldn't have contradicted anything you've written.












fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 30th, 2014 05:05 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Some Catches

I think I will fix that in "Final Eight" rather than here. I have a clearer idea now than I did then how everything is put together.

Rue's sisters made a necklace out of the clip their mother uses to keep her scarf on in the fields.

The painting is the one he noticed on his earlier visit, of Laelia Grant, the archer/mother of the Capitol.

Edited at 2014-09-30 05:08 am (UTC)
From: queen_bellatrix Date: September 30th, 2014 08:22 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Some Catches

*headdesk* Somehow, I had the idea that the painting she was standing in front of was visible, and there was another painting in the background of the shot; it makes far more sense now that she was standing in such a way that she obscured the details of the painting she was in front of, making it the background of the shot.

And okay; Rue's sisters did the same thing as Finn with his token; I'd imagine a lot of kids take parental possessions into the arena; I sure would, in their shoes.
From: queen_bellatrix Date: October 4th, 2014 04:48 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Feedback

Sorry it took me so long to get back and leave this!

I absolutely adore Aquila. Part of this comes from her sharing so many of the qualities that will always make your Andromeda Tonks my headcannon Andy. No-nonsense older women who're occasionally overly proud/haughty but who can take names with the best of them are the sort of characters I could read pages and pages about, especially in your hands. You have this way of giving everyone such depth and sympathy, often with just a few well-chosen descriptors or lines of dialogue.

But another part of it stems from much of what I've admired about other Capitol rebels from eOTW onward. The way they can subtly use their "Capitol privileges" to slip under the radar and undermine the system they're a part of always makes me, as someone for whom politics/intrigue are bulletproof pleasures, giddy. Guh, that "such a shame we're such slaves to rules"!:d

One of the things I'm very much currently enjoying about Haymitch's pov is the way he sees what buttons Katniss is instinctively pushing with the Capitol audience. Because reading HG from the pov of someone who's astute enough to realize how much the Capitol craves hope/selflessness, of course allying with Rue makes them go absolutely wild. And because we've been so steeped in his pov, when he says it, it's just inevitable, even though I'd never really considered how the Kat/Rue alliance was playing to the audience before.

Aurelius is a rebel, right; he was actually wearing that mockingjay pin with clear knowledge? (The fact that it's very carefully on the underside of his lapel, where without a fluke it would be out of sight makes me think he just has to be) And if I'm right, how much is he "pretending" to live normally; how much would he like to know his grandchild, and does he, do you think? I'd imagine you could be more like a District parent, as long as you didn't trumpet it all over the place.

You've mentioned a couple of times that you think there're more rebellions going on than Haymitch and Plutarch's; how many do you see going on? And how many of them are pinning their hopes on Prisca? I can't imagine Caesar just sitting by after Perry, and I have to wonder if some of the upper crust of the Capitol, like Caesar (and maybe Aquila?) are just biding their time and waiting to teach Prisca to be more like Dad than Granddad. (I was rereading Caesar's proposals in HOC today, and while I know they have flaws, looking at what Thirteen did in MJ, they look pretty reasonable. I love that you took the time to present so many rebel povs on the political situation, and make every one of them have valid points.)

And that conversation with Danny. It's one thing to trust Haymitch with his life, but to trust him with his kid's, even though he knows what Haymitch's doing by uniting them flouts the rules is really brave, and shows in what high esteem he holds Haymitch. And Prim; we always realized from Deli in Final Eight how much she thought Prim was a rock, but I love how much even the adults thought she was, too. There're so many things that Kat (being her sister and so close to her/feeling so protective) doesn't see about just how mature/strong she's capable of being, and you're bringing them to the fore wonderfully, here. It's even more impressive due to being through sidelong glances.

Damn, the next chapter is going to be hard.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 4th, 2014 05:27 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Feedback

Thanks. I like Aquila, too. I tend to like that type of person myself -- they take zero crap, but are so dignified and polite about it that it's hard to pin them down as rebels.

I think most despotic regimes have rebellions within rebellions going on most of the time. Some are noble. Some just want to take over as a new despot. Some are anarchists. Some are violent zealots. I expect the Daughters are sort of like the feudal barons who forced the Magna Carta on King John -- very much into the rule of law, which they believe binds the president and prevents the kinds of unilateral actions he's taking. It's an important step toward constitutional democracy, and doing something like it might have avoided such a bloody war, though it would have taken much longer to get to a full republic (which is why Plutarch isn't part of that group -- he wants something more like the American War of Independence, with a distinct break and renunciation of the de facto monarchy). I doubt Caesar wants his granddaughter in the position of benevolent despot, so I think he's probably more with the Daughters, wanting to rein in the power of the presidency itself. We know from canon that there are enough scalawags who just want to be Snow that he has to train his body to digest poison to do away with them. There are probably some street level violent movements (possibly in opposition to each other), plus the out-districts, and possibly individual district rebellions. I expect the Victors' Rebellion -- for lack of a better term -- originated in an effort to unite the district rebellions, since the victors had contact with each other. But were their goals the same? Probably not, beyond ending the Games. Then there was Thirteen, which just had its own very nasty agenda -- from bread and circuses to 1984.

Plutarch would have his work cut out for him, trying to get people to calm the hell down after the war.

Prim must have really stood out to the Capitol after the reaping, if Jo is so confident of her popularity that she'd shout to the sky that the Capitol would rebel if anything happened to Prim.

I think the next chapter will end before Rue dies. (It was going to go longer, but there's a lot of meat in it as it is.)

Edited at 2014-10-04 05:30 am (UTC)
From: queen_bellatrix Date: October 7th, 2014 09:44 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Feedback

Yay; I can go ahead and read the next chapter without getting weepy!:) And yeah, I can see why you'd cut it before her death; afterwords is the first conscious rebellious act inside the arena for Katniss, and that has to be such a watershed moment for Haymitch in terms of his plans for the revolution, as well as bringing up way too many memories.

For the record, I wasn't clear when talking about Prisca/Caesar; definitely didn't think he wanted her as a benevolent despot.:) Just was thinking, to use your example, that he might want to give her the sort of mindset that would make her amenable to instituting something like the Magna Carta voluntarily, if he couldn't get the idea of elections up and running by the time of Snow's eventual demise. The problem with Martius was that, for all he later come to understand, he grew up surrounded by power, with the benefits inherent to being an aristocrat in that sort of regime. So, just thought Caesar might have had plans brewing to begin exposing Prisca to a different sort of philosophy, though that would have carried its own dangers with Snow being so paranoid. Though, going back and reading HOC, he never mentions Prisca, which makes me now think there may've been quite a powerful untapped groundswell of support for the rule of law in the Capitol Caesar thought he could utilize to good effect after Snow's passing.

Y'know, your work in this verse, especially your excellent grasp of the competing rebellions/agendas that come at the end of an empire/regime like this makes me think that if you haven't read them, you would very much enjoy the Bartimaeus trilogy by Jonathan Stroud. Though you wouldn't know it from the cover copy, one of the themes the later volumes are concerned with is the end of empire (especially the idea that decadent/corrupt empires breed their own revolutions.) It's explored deeply as one of the main characters' past conversion to one of the main rebellions is gradually revealed. And, while it doesn't focus on this as much as I personally would've enjoyed, the last couple of chapters deal primarily with the minutia of forming a government which will strive to actually learn from the mistakes that brought about the collapse of the old government/way of life. Imho, the icing on the cake is the arc of the protag, who begins the series an idealistic young man who's later seduced by the power of the government and slowly undertakes a redemption arc.
beceh From: beceh Date: September 30th, 2014 09:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Just popping in to say that I'm really, really enjoying this!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 1st, 2014 04:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Glad to hear it!
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 1st, 2014 08:26 pm (UTC) (Link)

Consistency issue?

In your Catching Fire parallel (GM? sorry, not good at keeping track of titles) a big deal is made of Finnick's resuscitation of Peeta. Why would a tribute prolong the life of a competitor etc.

But in other Games you've written, and specifically here, it seems to be fairly common. Rue saves Katniss and even the competition-focussed Careers save a team member. They might have been expected to leave him to die and have one less to deal with in the melee. Even though he's strong and offers an advantage as an ally, he might become a liability when he recovers if there are lingering effects from the venom. We don't see either of these being made a big deal of in the broadcast.

In this story, why did you decide to have Rue care for Katniss while unconscious when it wasn't indicated in the book at all?

And which is it? Is it unusual for tributes to save other tributes or not?

And by the way, I'm a lurker, so allow me to thank you here for your generosity in sharing your textured and evocative worlds with all of us. I enjoy reading!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 2nd, 2014 02:31 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Consistency issue?

I think I've gotten a better feel for it since GM, having plotted out several Games since. People are people. Some of them will help... though actually bringing someone back to life when his heart stopped might be a first.

I liked the idea from the movie of Rue watching out for Katniss when she was out of it, and nothing in the book prohibited it, so I went with it. (There are things in the movie that the book prohibits -- Haymitch can't be blond no matter how well Woody Harrelson plays the part -- but there's a lot that can just have been going on without Katniss noticing.)
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 6th, 2014 12:18 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Consistency issue?

Ah, that was the movie's take on it. Haven't seen the movie, but makes sense to go with it since SC was on the writing team.
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 6th, 2014 08:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Hello. Um, it's been seven days and a few hours since you posted Chapter Fifteen, and Chapter Sixteen is still not up. I'm hoping there isn't a problem.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 6th, 2014 08:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Heh, I'm asking myself the same question. I've just been easily distracted this week.

To be honest, I hate writing chapters with this much canon in them -- getting what's needed to tell the story without verbatim repetition is my least favorite part of doing these. Obviously, it's a very important scene that Haymitch is witnessing, and it has important implications for what he's going to do, so it has to be there, but I'd always rather be off doing my own thing. Haymitch just doesn't have that much original input on it. Getting through necessary canon scenes is kind of like pulling teeth. I can usually do a 4000 word chapter in a couple of days pretty easily, but I'm struggling paragraph by paragraph.

Edited at 2014-10-06 09:01 am (UTC)
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