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Challenges: Past 1 - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Challenges: Past 1
Mags trying to figure out mentoring when there were so few mentors to learn from for upupa_epops

For the first time in the Games, every tribute will have a victor assigned as a mentor. They'll be sharing victors, but they'll have them.

There are six of us. From District One, Divine Carew, who won the fifth Games. From District Twelve, Duronda Carson -- third Games. District Two has two victors, Killas Satran (sixth) and Stonecutter D'Agostino (fourth). And of course, now District Four has two as well. Rogan Lally won the second Game, making him the most experienced victor after Edith Alleman died. And me. Mags Donovan, Victor of the Seventh Hunger Games. I'm still not sure if I'm supposed to wear the crown they gave me, but I don't see anyone else wearing it.

They've all mentored their own districts, but the head Gamemaker, Coriolanus Snow, decided that it was unfair for some districts to have mentors who'd been in arenas, while others had to depend on green Gamemaker apprentices. (Rogan thought it was the other way around: He had to figure things for me without inside information, while most of the districts had mentors who knew each other already, had existing alliances, and knew what to expect in the arena.)

With six of us, Snow decided, apparently, that we can each handle two districts. Districts who have winners will have the benefit of one of their own (though we've been strictly instructed not to show favoritism over the other district we'll be handling). Rogan will take Four, since he's the senior victor, and has been assigned Five as well. Stonecutter has Two and Three. Divine has District One, of course, and also District Six. Duronda has Twelve and Eleven. Killas and I, as our districts' junior victors, have been randomly assigned the other two sets. Killas will take Seven and Eight, I'll take Nine and Ten.

I have no idea how they'll divide it up next year, with seven victors. Maybe one of us will be allowed to stay home until there are an even twelve, presuming they keep this up that long. Most people are surprised the Games haven't died out yet. The Capitol was getting restless with them, and of course, the districts haven't exactly enjoyed them. Sure, it was a permanent treaty, but I don't think anyone believed they'd really keep it up. Coriolanus Snow made a lot of impassioned advertisements for the Games, though, and I guess they worked. He re-tooled the whole affair, and now the Capitol treats it as a sporting event instead of a ritual retribution. Rogan is not happy about it. He considers it in poor taste.

He's not wrong.

The taxi brings us to the gymnasium and dormitories. There's a good deal of construction on a tower that will supposedly hold all of this, and have full apartments instead of the little dormitory suites. All part of the packaging of the Games as an event. For now, though, we're where we've always been -- the sparse little cells that will keep us all from leaving.

Patrick Leary and Shannon Bates, classmates of mine who I'm glad I don't have to mentor to death this year, get out of the taxi first. They're swept off toward the gym, which is where they'll prepare for the parade, while Rogan and I are directed to the Games office to pick up our information packets, with everything we need to know about our tributes. I read it as I walk to the gym. Mine are Cathy Norton and Abner Willis from Nine, and Isanah Ward and Makepeace Farr from Ten. They range from twelve (Abner) to sixteen (Isanah… she's actually two months older than I am). They are reported to be healthy. There are photos attached. Cathy is extremely pretty, but that's all I can really tell.

Someone taps my shoulder, and I turn to find a tall, beautiful woman with jet black hair and big gray eyes. "Duronda Carson," she says. "I hear tell we're neighbors this year." Her voice is low and a little rough, and she has an accent I haven't heard much. She also has a black eye.

I shake her hand. "Mags Donovan. I thought I recognized you. What happened to your eye?"

"Disagreement with the escort from Twelve about how much time I need to spend with Eleven's escort."

"He hit you?" I wrinkle my nose. "Are they all like that? Do I need to get a new slingshot?"

"Don't even think about it. It's the Games, but you're not in the arena. I can handle Glass if I have to, and both of your girls are perfectly nice. In a Capitol kind of way."

We go into the gym, and I'm immediately struck by the smell. "What's that?"

Duronda raises her eyebrows. "Animals… horses. I saw some on television once. And are those goddamned chariots?"

"What's a chariot?"

She points at a two wheeled contraption with an open back, hooked up to a harness. "That is. What on earth…?"

"There she is!" a boy calls, running over. "Isanah, this is her!"

My district Ten tributes come over, and wave frantically to the ones from Nine.

"I'll let you get to know your tributes," Duronda says. "We'll have plenty of time to get to know each other."

Makepeace and Isanah are both thrilled with the horses, which they have in district Ten. They show me (along with Cathy and Abner) how to feed and pet them. I guess they're all right, but they do smell bad, and I don't know what possessed them to get rid of the decorated trucks they've always used. The chariots aren't very easy to decorate, and my stylists are all but weeping at having been reduced to nothing but costumes. The kids all get swept off for showers, then hair and make-up, and I sit down on the little vinyl couches that have been pushed out of the way.

I'm going to have to get them sponsors. Abner's got no chance at all, but Makepeace is a big fifteen year old, and Isanah says she's a good runner. The cameras are going to love Cathy, just like they loved my ally, Robin, last year.

The boys will want her, but this year, they can't do anything about it. I spent most of my Victory Tour last winter trying to make sure that no other tribute girl will have to go through what Robin did before she died. It probably wouldn't have worked if the Capitol hadn't been unable to stomach it as well, but it did. They're going to be feeding the boys something that will keep them from being able to act on anything they may think about when they see a girl like Cathy.

At least there's that.

The seat shifts, and Duronda sits down next to me. "Guess they're fixed all right with the prep teams. Did you ever reckon you'd need help taking a bath before you got to the Capitol?"

"Never did cross my mind," I say.

She's quiet for minute. "This mentor business is a mite bit harder than people say. Did Rogan warn you?"

"Maybe a little."

"He needs to warn you harder. You get drug into a studio, and they tell you to keep an eye on your tributes and get them money and send them what they need. But it's more than that. Your job's to make people take to them. Want to send them things. People like you, after what you did last year. You've got that going for you, for a little while at least. But you're selling them, which means you're going to spend the next four days figuring out all the things about them that are wonderful. Then you'll most likely lose them. Three of them, no matter what. It's as hard as it sounds."

"I know."

"No, you don't. You think you do, but you don’t. I know I didn't."

"So how do people do it?"

"Little bit of hardness helps," she says. "Just like in the Games."

I nod, and we don't talk much more before the kids come out, scrubbed up and in their silly district costumes. The costumes are disasters. They're not even so terrible that they'll get talked about for that (Duronda later yells at someone, very loudly, for dressing the girl from Eleven as "a hayseed whore"). I have no idea how I'm supposed to make them into a product to sell anyone. The kids from Nine have clothes made out of grain (Cathy's dress might actually be interesting, in its way, if it wasn't actually meant to "evoke" the grain district), and the kids from Ten are wearing bright blue shirts (like the sky), brown pants (like the ground), and the huge hats we call sombreys in Four. Makepeace says it's gotten shorter -- they're just brees in Ten.

I guess it doesn’t matter. I guess most of the costumes will be forgotten. I'm going to have to start fresh tomorrow -- feet to pavement out in the Capitol. If Duronda's right and they like me, maybe that'll be enough to be going on with. I'll figure out the rest as we go.

Something from a young Daughter please for torturedbabycow

"I suppose you really must," my father says, shaking his head at my new haircut, which is designed to look like a fan of cards, and has been colored to enhance the effect. "But really, Tryphaena, it's beneath you."

"Everyone's doing interesting things with their hair!"

"You should concern yourself with what's under it."


"Oh, I know. And you're most likely right. Best not to make waves. But really, your ancestors did not build this city to be a playground for flighty, overgrown adolescents."

I roll my eyes as soon as he turns away. Daddy is utterly obsessed with dusty old things, like our dour ancestor, Gillian Cross. Her only surviving child, a daughter, married a Buttery, and there are a good number of jokes about Gillian the Provider -- the one who set up the first permanent food farms in the Capitol -- having descendants named after a food product.

"I know you think I'm stuffy," Daddy says, "but it's all supposed to mean something. They built the city to be the start of rebuilding civilization. Instead, you've dropped any sort of meaningful classes to learn about fashion and how to do your hair. Ladies' track, my left eye. It's a girls' track at best. A young girls' track. A lady -- at least of the grown up sort -- should have a well-rounded education. You've even dropped your mathematics, Tryphaena! You were good at that, and you liked it."

"And I'd still be taking it if it were in my track! But you have to make a real argument to be in the university track. You have to tell them what you mean to do with a college education, and I don't want to work in the government or be an inventor or a doctor. That's all they really want. So I had to pick another track, and the ladies' track could end up with jobs at stores, or even doing charitable work, like you want me to. Don't you always say we should be in the charity business?"

"Yes, but -- "

"So, the ladies' track is best for that. Everyone I know who wants to work in charity is in the ladies' track. Because you have to know how to impress donors socially."

"But it's the sort of thing you could learn on your own."

"But there are a lot of details. You have to know which columns to read, and how to know who's right in an argument -- "

"You have your own brain for that." Daddy lets out a frustrated sigh. "This isn't what I want for you!"

"Would you rather I went into a maintenance track? Or technician track? Or sports?"

"What about the arts?"

I laugh. "Daddy, I can't do any of the things that the arts kids can do. If there was art about doing equations, maybe, but there isn't. I mean, not the way they think of art."

"I still think you should be in college preparation. What kinds of government jobs would they want you to list?"

"Secretaries of different departments. Organizers. I could be a Gamemaker --"

"I'd rather see you in a maintenance tunnel with honest workers than involved in that farce."


"The Hunger Games are the pinnacle of what's wrong here. Ghastly displays in the lead-up, fame obsessed crowds following the poor winners around, and uneducated children held up as role models. And that's not even getting started on the moral question of whether or not we should treat death as entertainment…"

"Daddy, you have to stop saying that! I'm supposed to tell my teachers if I hear anyone talking like that."

"Hmph. I am somehow unsurprised."

"You know that the Games are an important part of making up for the war. And much more merciful than just purging the districts."

"There are two hundred and fifty three dead children -- so far -- who might not agree."

"Daddy, please! Don't say things I have to tell about."

"Have to." He sits down at his desk and reaches over to take my hand. "I know what they teach you, and I may not have any hope against it. But in the end, only you choose what you have to do."

"I don't, though. If I get caught, it will be all kinds of trouble for you and mom and me."

"How will they know, exactly, Tryphaena? If the whole problem is that you haven't told."

"They have ways. Everyone says so."

He shakes his head. "Yes. I suppose they do. It was an exercise. Meant to test you. Clearly, you passed with flying colors."

I smile. I'm not sure he's telling me the truth, but that's all right. "Good. I need to work on my review of the pre-fall shoes."

"Yes, you wouldn't want to be late on that."

"Are we going to dinner later?"

"Sure. Why not?"

I start upstairs.



He is still at the desk, looking down at the floor, his hands steepled in front of his face. "You know the difference between right and wrong. You're capable of judging that. It's your right, and more importantly, it's your responsibility."

"Oh, come on…"

"It's not about the Games, or politics, or tracks in school. It's about civilization itself. Civilization can't survive -- we can't begin to call ourselves civilized -- if we stand back from our responsibility to the truth."

"Whose truth?"

He looks up sharply, then looks away. "Do your homework, Tryphaena."

I go upstairs and write up a review of the latest footwear shows out of the fashion district. I get a good grade on it.

Three months later, my father writes an article condemning the celebrity culture around the Games. He is placed under surveillance. They catch him making more incendiary statements, and they send me away to live with my uncle, to make sure that I'm not being poisoned by a "reactionary." They determine that I'm perfectly fine, but I do need to see the counsellor at school every week to make sure that no damage has been done.

I'm perfectly healthy when I finish school.

And if sometimes, in my dreams, I hear my father whisper, "Civilization can't survive -- we can't begin to call ourselves civilized -- if we stand back from our responsibility to the truth," then I suppose it doesn't matter. We all remember odd things from our childhoods.

The dream comes more often as I get older, but I know better than to mention anything. It would never go over well with donors.

And if it happens to come to me the year of the Second Quarter Quell, when I see the boy and girl from Twelve protecting one another, talking about the things they love and believe in, then it's a coincidence.

It certainly has nothing to do with why I sponsor them.

how about something on the breakaway of District 13 -- maybe the negotiations/threats that got Snow to agree to it, or how the latter reacted for snorkackcatcher
(Well, Snow probably wasn't the president then -- at least he isn't in my stories, where he was the first Head Gamemaker as a teenager -- but I think he'd have something to say about it when he does become president.)

"You left them alive?" I ask.

Antonius Clemm shrugs extravagantly. "Did I forget to mention that in the heat of the war you were waging against me?"

"I would hardly call it a war. You chose to resign. You even named me your successor. It's on tape." I go to the small window of the cell. To the rest of the world, I call it an apartment, but Antonius and I know what it really is, and that its doors lock from the outside. "Now, get back on topic. Your official records state that District Thirteen was subjected to a week of nuclear bombings, and there were no survivors. The land is meant to be radioactive."

"And it is, it is… in a metaphorical sense. We certainly wouldn't want people wandering there. You never know what ideas they'd come back with."

"Did you even bomb them, or did you just seal the deal with a kiss and a cuddle?"

He makes a horrified face. "With that Harrison shrew? She'd have stabbed me in my sleep." He waves it off. "Of course I bombed them. The upper city is rubble. But they'd been building warrens down there for years, and most of the population wasn't touched."

"Was it nuclear?" I demand.


"Why wasn't it nuclear? Why didn't you use bunker blasters and wipe them out of existence?"

"Because, Coriolanus, they have long range missiles and radar. There is more than enough time for them to launch a counterattack against the Capitol. Don't imagine for a moment that their arsenal is depleted. I send a spy there every few years -- "


He puts his hand over his heart sarcastically. "Oh, now you need my advice?"

"To deal with the mess you made, or at least failed to clean up."

"Very well. I'm sure you've noticed that we lose a few every year to the out-districts. You should let them go. They're a good cover for sending spies. Thirteen is quite convinced that half of Panem wants to get there -- that they were the leaders of some glorious peoples' revolution that everyone wants to join -- so they never question new arrivals, at least not in any way that counts. It's very easy to send in spies. It's not as easy to get them back, of course."

"Why not?"

"Because no one is allowed out, and anyone who tries tends to be executed. Of course, I don't tell my spies that. I just give them a transmitter to get the information to me."

"They're not allowed out?"

"Oh, you are naïve, aren't you?" He sniffs disdainfully. "Have you ever been in Thirteen?"

"Of course not."

"I have. I conducted negotiations there during the war. It's a dreary landscape, and a sunless country even before they moved underground. And the leadership…" He sighs at some inner fantasy. "I assure you, they'll be deposed before you will."

"Were you contact with them?"

"Occasionally. Your hover crafts in the Fifth Games got over what they consider their airspace somehow. Harrison called me and screeched about acts of war. They tried to break into the airwaves in Twelve, and I called to tell her that I'd retaliate by killing her spies here."

"You know where her spies are."

"Not at all. But I knew she had them, which she as much as admitted by dropping her project."

I grind my teeth. "You still haven't told me why they're alive at all. Why would you let them go underground? Of all the districts, they should be paying the most. We should bring them out, and insist that a tribute from Thirteen has to be added to each other district delegation every year, since they were the ones who instigated it. Plus their own tributes, of course."

"They won't go along with it."

"They would if you actually got them under control."

"If they launch an attack on the Capitol, we lose over a million people. There aren't enough in the other districts to keep a viable population."

"There are more people now than after the Catastrophes."

"Let me be clearer: There would be nothing left of a desirable population. Unless you want a whole world full of inbred Appalachian hillbillies, I suggest you not invite a military strike."

I take a seat. "I see."

"At any rate, I met with Harrison toward the end of the war. She was capable of defending Thirteen, but I had forces in all of the other districts. She knew she'd lost. Half of them didn't want Thirteen anymore. Why would they, after so much trouble? Districts One and Two actually turned on her --"

"I know that."

"What you don't know is that most of the other districts had become disillusioned as well, when they'd been under the tender mercies of Thirteen's regime. They were ready to throw in the towel, and they did. Which is why Thirteen let us keep them. Apparently, Harrison considered them traitorous. That's no longer the common sentiment, according to my spies, but it was certainly her belief."

"And now?"

"The new president, a man called Keyes, is more focused on building their infrastructure. There's very little talk about the other districts at all, though, as I understand it, there's general pabulum in the schools about how, eventually, they need to 'liberate' their sister districts. By which they mean take over."

I tap my fingers on his desk. "The terms of surrender in your files say that they are never to reveal themselves to Panem. Why would you think they'd stand by that?"

"No one wants to die." He shrugs. "They should move out of where they are. I'd leave them unmolested if they decided to start a colony in some distant place. East Asia, perhaps. Lots of land, quite empty, and outside of their missiles' range or ours."

"Oh, good, so we can have global war in three hundred years. Nice planning."

"And how do you plan to do better? You've thrived in the status quo, Coriolanus. A war against Thirteen could easily cost you the Capitol, not to mention your precious Games."

I think about it for a long time. "I don't know," I admit. "But if this backfires on me, I will spend my last breath laughing at your idiocy."

21 comments or Leave a comment
sonetka From: sonetka Date: December 18th, 2014 09:11 am (UTC) (Link)
Snow fic! I love seeing more about the relationship between D13 and the Capitol. And yes, the refugees are perfect cover for spies ... though I wonder if that policy held up, since by Katniss's time the Capitol was going all-out to "prove" that 13 was still an uninhabitable husk.

The young Tryphaena was very affecting. She can't even say what happened to her father in the end, just dodges the subject altogether. I kind of hope he was sent to Capitol Dreams instead of just getting a shorter and less pleasant end, but somehow I doubt it. The young Mags was pretty impressive considering her age and what she'd been through. Which tribute won that year? I assume it was one of the ones she named but can't remember if you've said before or not.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 19th, 2014 04:02 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm pretty sure that even here, they try to sell it, but there are always people who question, and Clemm's thought is that it works for him. Snow probably ultimately decided the same thing, though eventually 13 would get more careful and start sending anyone who disagreed with them to long term psychiatric "care."

I'm not sure what happened to Tryphaena's father. Maybe he wasn't executed, given that she was allowed to roam freely and namecheck her ancestry.

I have a whole list I made up in case I needed it; the plan the year after Mags was a D1 boy named Prodigy.

This was my list of victors before K/P, most of which I never ended up even mentioning.
Edith Alleman (7)
Rogan Lally (4)
Duronda Carson (12)
Stonecutter D'Agostino (2)
Divine (1)
Killas Satran (2)
Mags Donovan (4)
Prodigy (1)
Saffron Abatty (2)
Tesla Corvin (5)
Benit Preeto (4)
Cinnamon Calabray (2)
Mica Finni (2)
Robin Keith (5)
Vergilius Gatty (2)
Majesty Gallivray (1)
Rivie Jasso (4)
Woof (8)
Nerva Draygo (2)
Emerald (1)
Tatius Lagary (2)
Toffilis Taggert (10)
Willard Norton (9)
Hermia Conde (2)
Charlie Flynn/Caesar Flickerman (5)
Desandi Matta (4)
Amethyst Idonny (2)
Brilliant Gray (1)
Hennesy Doolin (4)
Hector Whiting (9)
Earl Bates (10)
Titania Vacka (2)
Mari Lynch (4)
Thalis Dorgin (5)
Jewel (1)
Darla Grimes (9)
Thelma Cotton (9)
Seeder (11)
Lyme (2)
Beetee Latier (3)
Chaff Leary (11)
Oliver "Blight" Hedge (7)
Miracle Brea (1)
Albinus Drake (2)
Faraday Sykes (5)
Lucanus Bazzett (2)
Wealthy Gibson (1)
Etta Bossard (9)
Brutus Emmett (2)
Haymitch Abernathy (12)
Wiress (3)
Berenice Morrow (6)
Kate Markez (10)
Satin (1)
Paulin Gibbs (6)
Velvet (1)
Mindwell Larue (10)
Tanager Lowe (5)
Harris Greaves (4)
Cecilia (8)
Dazzle (1)
Enobaria Fells (2)
Jack Anderson (7)
Diamond (1)
Finnick Odair (4)
Philo (2)
Gloss (1)
Cashmere (1)
Johanna Mason (7)
Annie Cresta (4)
Otho Magro (2)
Ravish (1)
Livius Frango (2)
redrikki From: redrikki Date: December 18th, 2014 06:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
I am continuously impressed by your world building. Seriously, between the details of the early games and the Capital politics, this certainly makes for an excellent set.
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 18th, 2014 09:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
Seconded. That last line of Snow's in particular gave me shivers.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 19th, 2014 04:43 am (UTC) (Link)
I enjoy writing on its own and I enjoy world-building on its own. Must merge hobbies! :D
torturedbabycow From: torturedbabycow Date: December 19th, 2014 01:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Man, that transition toward total Capitol brainwashing of all the new generations. Her poor dad! :(

And I loooove how you ended Snow's section too.

Aaaagh so good!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 19th, 2014 04:44 am (UTC) (Link)
For all the brainwashing, she still manages to be Haymitch's ally, and take him in, along with Peeta, in the middle of a war zone.
From: queen_bellatrix Date: December 19th, 2014 05:05 am (UTC) (Link)
So, I got swamped in holiday prep and fic deadlines, and have so many of these to catch up on!:d

But, I just had to comment on these. First and foremost, I love your Duronda; she has so much character and vibrancy in her moments here (I was so hoping when I read that prompt on the challenges list that Duronda would make an appearance!) I especially love how, while she and Haymitch are both Seam, they're very different people. She seems to be able, for a long time, to mute her empathy somewhat during the Games and live a fairly good life outside of them.

I love her: "And are those goddamn chariots?" Somehow so earthy and sharp, and that line especially gave her a lot of character.

And Glass; seriously? I knew how bad he was with Haymitch, but I never considered that he'd actually be worse with a woman--at least Haymitch had the strength to physically duke it out with Glass, which seems to be the only way the creep understands dominance. It's somehow worse because, if these are the eighth Games, he was still in his early twenties, and being a total bastard even then. Are we seeing Duronda pre or post her assault, here? I ask because I hope that what happened to her didn't crush all her spark/confidence--I don't think it did, from Mags' reminiscence in that challenge with her watching Haymitch's Games, but I'm not sure. On a completely random front, do you happen to know (I know for me, I sometimes know things like this, and other times, I'm clueless) why she didn't abort Glass's kid? I'm...not sure I could have raised a kid and remembered what happened every time I looked at it.

I now really want a Duronda short, to get more in her head; it seems like it would be quite an interesting place to be (not necessarily a short about her pregnancy, btw, just...generally a Duronda short.)

I love how the Games were very slowly being cemented into Capitol culture at this point (the construction of the training center etc. etc. instead of the dormitories), and Mags herself was intriguing; so very young and green, even after the Games, but with interesting hints of the rebel she would eventually become in comments like: "He wasn't wrong."

The second one was...I really, really liked her Dad. He expressed the things I hope I would be expressing in a society like that, though perhaps more quietly. I love your implication that the people who later formed The Grove shared his sentiments, but had learned to put more of a lid on them, and just tried to stay isolated from the overall culture.

And damn, the way you can turn a bit of dialogue to show the brainwashing it's concealing is brilliant; I'm thinking of something like the bit where she's talking about impressing doners etc. etc., and then says: "To know who's right in an argument." Just a fabulous turn of phrase. Also brilliant is the way you let his views linger, and tied them back, not only to the quell, but, with its mention, to what she does later to Peeta, even if she herself can't articulate their effects.

I also loved the beginnings of the culling for Panam loyalists for the universities; or at least the chosing of those who clearly had the advancement of Panam in mind, and would be so busy either working in the government or wrapped up in their intellectual pursuits that they wouldn't make waves.

Also: brilliant use of the way paranoia begins to pervade everything in a totalitarian regime; even if they can't "catch" you at sedition, the belief that they can is enough to frighten you into turning yourself in or silencing those around you (I know they have things like the bugs; I just think the way members of the population silence themselves or other members, and thereby perpetuate the regime's control is one of the most plausible and frightening aspects of a government like this.

And with the third, I'm almost glad Snow took over. Antonius was an SOB, no doubt, but he was far cleverer than Snow, and could play the long game, rather than entirely being a despot. (Snow's line about Thirteen needing to surrender fourteen Tributes every year was insane! Though it does explain why he was such a banter for nutjobs like dear Glass.
From: queen_bellatrix Date: December 19th, 2014 05:23 am (UTC) (Link)

More Thoughts

First off, end of that last comment should have been: was such a banner for nutjobs like dear Glass; you can tell I've been writing a ton over the last few days.:d

I love how Antonius and Snow are like two dastardly, dangerous cats prowling around one another; even defanged, Antonius can get in some good clawswipes.

And the constant low-level chess game going on between Thirteen and the Capitol, each of them wary of the other's impact--Antonius naturally because of the population drop (and what a xenophobe about the Districts; not really a surprise, just another block in the this man is a complete douch category), and Thirteen because they really are in an awful corner and if they're bombed much more, they're going to be driven out of existence--being like the Cold War is just perfect, because it really brings the Soviet analog into play for Thirteen, and you're screaming even louder than you were at the rebels to get away from the lunatics!

Speaking of which, I found it profoundly intriguing that the things which led to Coin's death are ultimately what forced Thirteen to retreat the first time. And the poor Districts; thinking they'd get away from Thirteen, have some punative actions taken, and then the Capitol would forget about the treaty.

Also, by that list of victors, I now feel especially bad about Doolin; if Henessy won in the 29th, and Doolin was born in the 30th, he was only 36 when he died. And I find when Blight won very intriguing; I'd always assumed that he was older than Gia (he just sounded that way *shrugs*), but if he won in the 42nd, then they were about the same age, and she was his escort the first year he was a mentor. I just find that intriguing, for some reason.:) And wow, Doolin, if you started trading with Blight on his victory tour, you were a brave/enterprising 12 year old; unsurprising, considering what you did after the 50th and your kid, but cool nonetheless.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 19th, 2014 05:29 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: More Thoughts

I may not be right about Doolin being named after Hennesey's win. I think probably, looking at that, that they're relatives somewhere, and Doolin got a matrilineal surname as a name.

Antonius is definitely dangerous, and was probably a big part of why the rebels rebelled in the first place (I'm looking forward to getting to that prompt!). But what an idiot, thinking that the people who brought his empire to its knees were inbred hillbillies. Grrr.
vesta_aurelia From: vesta_aurelia Date: December 19th, 2014 03:09 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: More Thoughts

Antonius is definitely dangerous, and was probably a big part of why the rebels rebelled in the first place (I'm looking forward to getting to that prompt!).
Ooooooh! I'm really looking forward to it, too.
It's nice to offer a prompt *you* are excited about as much as I am!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 19th, 2014 05:26 am (UTC) (Link)
I like Duronda, too. This is before the sexual assault, but he's already using her as a punching bag, knowing that she isn't allowed to strike a Capitol citizen. As to not aborting? It could be a moral thing, or it could be that she was desperate for any companionship in Victors' Village, and thought she could just forget how she got pregnant, if she tried. I think it's even more likely that she sat up there alone in the Village, losing track of time between Games, and in denial about missed periods and other signs, until she was too far along to do much of anything. The denial may have finally stopped when the baby was far enough along to give her a solid kick. She and Sheba never do get along, and Sheba considers it perfectly plausible that she let her own grandson die. (It's not true; she loved both of them... but Sheba knows perfectly well where she came from, and isn't especially fond of herself, either.)

I don't think it broke her spirit -- it's Sheba who does that, when she accuses Duronda of letting her child die -- but it does complicate her life, and give the Gamemakers a point of leverage.

In a lot of ways, I'd rather live in a District -- poverty, Games, and all -- than in the Capitol. The districts have to deal with the reaping once a year, and individuals only seven discrete times. In the Capitol, you can be caught and "disappeared" at any minute.
upupa_epops From: upupa_epops Date: December 19th, 2014 08:26 am (UTC) (Link)
Would abortion even be possible for Duronda, given the lack of basic medical necessities in 12? There are ways, of course, but they are risky for the woman, and if I were a District 12 midwife/healer, I'd be scared out of my mind to help a Victor abort and risk killing her in the process.
sonetka From: sonetka Date: December 19th, 2014 07:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
There's an interesting chapter in "Far From The Tree" about children of rape and their mothers' feelings about them -- they were quite varied, but there were a reasonable number who said that in an odd way, they looked upon the baby as an ally -- someone who would help them keep going. Duronda is so isolated that I can see her thinking this -- once she had admitted to herself that she really was pregnant and it wasn't just a messed-up menstrual cycle (or even early menopause -- my mother thought my youngest brother was menopause for about four months :)).

Late abortion would probably have been very, very risky unless she was able to manage an invitation to the Capitol and one of their clinics. But if she really didn't want the baby, there's always the age-old method of infanticide or abandonment. In the isolation of Victors' Village, she'd likely be able to get away with it if she wanted to.
upupa_epops From: upupa_epops Date: December 19th, 2014 10:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm sorry I'm a pain, but I just went through two years of your lj looking for Duronda stories, and I can't find anything you wrote about Glass assaulting her. Is it in one of the long fics, and I just don't remember? Or is it simply a headcanon you've discussed previously?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 20th, 2014 02:51 am (UTC) (Link)
It's not stated outright, but it's implied in EotW and HT -- in EotW, there's "no theory" about who the father of Duronda's child is, and in chapter 8 of HT, Haymitch has this convo with Saffron Abatty:

She pulls something out of her coat pocket and puts it in her mouth. There's a little flame in the night. I realize that it's a cigarette. She takes a long drag. "I don't really care, personally, but I don't like giving anyone else a win. Shape you're in, as soon as you get on the train, that escort of yours is going to be all over you."

I scramble around in my brain. Something seems important about this. "He said he'd pum… put me in my place."

"And he will. He put Duronda in hers once, as I understand it." She digs around in her purse. "Duronda was my friend. I know she stayed armed. And I know you aren't." She pulls out something heavy and hands it to me.
upupa_epops From: upupa_epops Date: December 20th, 2014 09:50 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for explaining! I remember that conversation, but I interpreted it as Glass beating Duronda up, not sexually assaulting her.
upupa_epops From: upupa_epops Date: December 19th, 2014 08:11 am (UTC) (Link)
I love what you did here! It's great to get a glimpse at the characters' mindset, especially how they essentially don't believe that the Games would go on. Their reaction to the chariots was priceless, and seeing Duronda is a cherry on top :).

Decent Capitolites who sound like crazy people to their family and friends is a great idea. From our perspective, it's obvious that the Capitol is in the wrong, but we don't like to think that when you're inside something, the decent solution is often the bizarre solution as well. It's not easy or obvious, and people don't take it well.

It's nice to see Snow not have the upper hand at all. I mean, technically he has his predecessor in jail, but still XD.
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 19th, 2014 12:09 pm (UTC) (Link)


On all fronts, but particularly Snow. Anytime we get to see him not entirely in control of the situation or showing anything like inexperience or doubt is a moment to be enjoyed and treasured.
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 21st, 2014 09:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
So, what's with the Puritan-style names apparently common to District Ten? I don't recall that being touched on before.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 21st, 2014 10:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ahem. Just going for country-sounding and, erm, raiding a line on my family tree for names. ;p I think they're probably Catholic like Four.
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