To the lucky users who owned the Victors of my last Games, here is what happened to your tributes.
It's set four years in the future, not long before the Fifth Quarter Quell, so time has changed and the Victors themselves have aged.
Beemo Xra - District 3 Victor
“Ain’t often you get stuff like this,” Laurin says softly, unwrapping the elegant dress from its bag. She hangs it off the top of the door, stepping back to admire its beauty. Of course, I didn’t pick it. Cassia did. She’s my stylist, and her brother is our district escort. Cassius and Cassia are the twins of two supermodels. Their family is lovely – but I can’t help feeling a little jealous of Cassia. She’s so pretty. It makes me feel terribly ugly, especially when we’re both on camera.
“I don’t like it,” I sigh crossly. I’m supposed to be getting married in this. The dress has a sweetheart neckline, and a big ball gown skirt. The corset is adorned with an intricate lace pattern that curls up the back. Each curl of the lace is bejewelled with tiny but gorgeous diamonds. It’s pretty, but I doubt I’ll say that when it’s on me.
“You gotta try it on, Beemo,” Laurin continues, lifting up the heavy dress. Despite how beautiful it looks, it’s obviously going to have masses of fabric hidden underneath. “I’ll help you into it,” Laurin offers kindly.
Half an hour later, I finally stand in front of the mirror, fully clothed in the wedding dress. Cassia may have actually made a good choice. The sweetheart neckline and ball gown skirt perfectly match my body shape. The diamonds bring out the green in my eyes. But it’s not just that I love about it – it’s the expensive decorative lace. It looks so... beautiful. I know that when I walk down that aisle everyone will be astounded. Nobody has ever seen me in anything like this before. Maybe it won’t be so bad on my wedding day.
“It suits you,” Laurin comments, grinning happily. I can see a slight sadness in her eyes. Ever since I announced my engagement to Odin, Laurin has been sad. I was told by President Rome that if I wanted to marry a person from a different district, I’d have to move there. Laurin must be upset because she won’t have a job anymore. Whose housekeeper is she going to be now? In six months’ time, I’m going to be a District 1 citizen.
“Forget District 3, Miss Xra,” The president had said to me. “When you agreed to this marriage, you automatically became a District 1 citizen. You will mentor District 1 tributes. You are District 1 Victor. And if you ever speak of District 3 again – let’s just say I’ll take... certain ... measures to make sure that you don’t.”
I knew there’d be a catch to the President allowing the marriage to happen. The President wouldn’t let this happen easily. He wouldn’t allow the marriage unless he got something out of it. In this case, he made me agree to do anything the media asked. He said I had to do interviews, photo shoots, films, and documentaries – anything they requested of me. But the deal didn’t stop there. He wanted me to always side with him. Always agree with him, and never ever stir up rebellion. He said he would send Peacekeepers to check that I was keeping with our ‘agreement’ regularly.
I have no idea why he’d think I’d do such a thing. I don’t like the Capitol, and I don’t support the Hunger Games, but it’d be stupid to go against them. They’d crush us like ants. They’d exterminate us completely. The President would do whatever it takes to get rid of the rebellion.
That only means that there are already plans in other Districts to do things like that. I’m pretty sure he’s scared that even the richest Districts will go against him. He’s afraid that he’ll have no allies if war breaks out. There must be rebels gathering somewhere among the Districts. Who knows where? The President will keep it under wraps, and I’m sure the rebels don’t want their story public. It’d cause chaos and problems for both sides.
I’m trying not to worry about the risk of war. I’m trying to forget about the pact I made with the President. I’m focusing on the wedding. It’ll be public, of course. There’s a huge guest list, including Odin’s stylist team as well as mine. Only his District escort will be there – as the President doesn’t want anyone from District 3 there.
Soon, I’ll be living happily in District 1 with my husband-to-be: Odin. I first started liking him on the Victory Tour – when we were made to take it together, along with the other Victors. And the constant parties we went to together in the Capitol only drew us closer. Cassia saw it coming and soon the news of our ‘relationship’ spread like wildfire. Then Odin proposed to me last year, when we had to mentor tributes for the fourth year in a row. Of course, I said yes, though I knew the risk I’d be taking.
And that’s how I got here today. Trying on a dress that I love, but one I didn’t choose. About to face a fifth Hunger Games, not just as a mentor – but as a Gamemaker. I’ll be the second most important Gamemaker.... the assistant to Ajax Maximus, who created my Games.
Odin Amarth - District 1 Victor
“Odin, you’ve been assigned the job of mutt maker,” my escort says, scrolling down on her phone. She’s looking at suits for me – for the wedding. “So you’ll be responsible for designing animals in the Arena,” she continues tiredly, carelessly gazing at the white screen dotted with colorful photos of male models in suits. I sigh. I’m fed up of being lectured by Ruby. She’s a nice person to be with – in small doses – but her accent is thick and annoying, and her dress sense is blinding. She wears bling clothes, and sometimes neon lights that flash irritably in your eyes. Today is no exception.
“Am I going to be trained to do this?” I question, leaning forwards with my elbows resting on my knees. Ruby looks at me judgementally.
“Duh, how else are you going to do the job?” She mutters crossly, shoving her phone in my face. On the screen is a black suit jacket over the top of a peacock blue shirt. Tightly fastened around the collar is a black tie, with thin white lines running down the sides. “It’s very classy. Totally in fashion for grooms,” Ruby points out, gesturing to the five-star rated outfit. I nod, but I hate it. It’s too stiff and posh. I wish she’d chosen something more casual. But nothing is my choice now. I don’t want to work for the Capitol. I didn’t want to mentor tributes either.
In two weeks, I’m going to the Capitol for the 5th Quarter Quell – the 125th Hunger Games. I’m glad that I’m not a mentor this year. District 1 seems to be weakening. The last winners (after my Games) were from District 11, District 4, District 7 and finally, District 9. None of the Victors were Careers, either. I don’t mind District 1 not winning... but it’s the fact I mentored the tributes and they still died. I couldn’t do anything for them. And it’s hard to comprehend the fact you weren't good enough to save them.
I’ve got two weeks until I go to the Capitol for training. I’ll be trained at designing and producing mutts for a little over a fortnight. Then, the Games will begin. Who knows what I might create? I’m kind of scared of myself. I don’t know how my mutts are going to affect the tributes. They might just murder them all. Or they could be soft-hearted teddy bears that don’t attack anything, and run away when a leaf falls on them.
“Okay, Odin. Get packing. You’ve got a lot of stuff to take,” Ruby instructs, strutting out of the living room, waving a dismissive hand. She disappears behind the double doors and I sigh deeply. I miss Beemo so much. It’s been at least a month since I last saw her. That was at a party, too. We weren’t really talking to each other. We just walked around together looking ‘loved-up’ for the cameras and the citizens. The President let us stay at his mansion that night. But all the couple rooms were occupied – so we were more apart than ever. She stayed in the North Wing of the bedrooms, and I was on the complete other side – the South Wing.
And after that, Beemo had to leave early in the morning to get home to her District in time. I didn't even get to say goodbye to her. I haven’t spoken to or seen her since.
I make my way upstairs and examine my room. Ruby has laid out most of my clothes on my bed, while others are in the office next door. A couple of dressing gowns are in the bathroom. But I won’t need those. I don’t think I’m going to sleep much in the Capitol.
“Here’s one of your suitcases. Put the most important stuff in there, and the housekeeper will do the rest,” Ruby suddenly comments, squeezing past me in the doorway. She begins sorting out shirts from T-shirts, and organising odd pairs of socks. “Come on! Help me!” She groans. I’m sure she wants to get out of District 1 as soon as possible. Her parents are horrible people. I met them at the Capitol party and they looked at me with disgust, as they did to the rest of the Victors there. They are so racist to the District people.
Ruby and I do some heavy duty packing and as the clock turns five, we take a break. Ruby decides she wants to go home so she waves me goodbye and reminds me to finish packing with the housekeeper.
“Don’t forget your books, either. You’ll need them. Ohhh, it’s just like going to college!” Ruby exclaims gleefully as she trots down the porch steps. I’ve been to school, and I finished at eighteen. I’m twenty three now. My childhood seems so long ago.
I watch from the window as Ruby exits the Victor’s Village cautiously, her pepper spray concealed in her coat pocket. She’s nice enough to me, but the normal citizens are like criminals to her. She claims the spray is for protection. Though District 1 citizens would probably never attack her. We're the richest district, anyway.
Suddenly, the phone rings. I dash over to the telephone on the wall, and nervously answer the call. Who could possibly be wanting to call me at this time of the day? It won’t be my stylists – they’ve got no reason to come. And Ruby has only just left, so that excludes her.
“Hello, Odin Amarth speaking,” I say firmly, expecting it to be a model agency or something.
“Oh my God, Odin,” a teary voice says at the end of the line. I recognise the distraught voice immediately. Beemo.
“Beemo? Beemo, what’s happened?” I ask worriedly. How did she even get my number? We aren’t allowed to call between Districts.
“They’ve... they’re taking me to the Capitol right now,” She answers, clearly distressed.
“What the hell? Why?”
“They’re taking all the Victors from District 3. I don’t know why... I have no idea what’s going on.” She’s completely hysterical. She laughs occasionally, but it’s like mad laughter. Like she has no clue what to do with herself.
“Just stay calm. Are Peacekeepers there?”
“Yeah – they’re coming through the street.” I can hear Beemo burst out crying. “Oh my God. Odin, I’ve got to go.”
“Beemo!” I shout down the phone.
The line goes dead.
Shyvana Feuer - District 13 Victor
“Right you two, off you go,” the escort says. I heave a sigh of relief. Crimson and I had just been stuck inside an office for the past hour. Our male escort couldn’t be a more boring person. He just lectured us on the jobs we’d have to do in the Capitol. Of course, it was important that I listened to the details, but that doesn't stop it being painfully boring. I’d been instructed by Lieutenant Murtagh to get as much information about the job so that he could prepare and plan a mission in great detail. Of course, the Peacekeepers and the citizens have no idea. I’m part of a secret army, and to most people, Lieutenant Murtagh is just an ordinary nuclear engineer.
As we walk down the endless hallways that take us back to the apartments, Crimson says to me:
“Corporal, isn’t it?”
“Yes. Corporal Feuer,” I reply firmly, revealing the badge pinned on the inside of my jumper sleeve. He nods in understanding. Crimson, as he wasn’t part of the rebellion to start with, wasn’t given a very big title. He’s only a soldier. He’s been put through initiation and training the same as everyone else. But he’s not good enough to be a higher rank than Lance Corporal. And he only has that title because he’s had three years of service. We can’t trust him just yet. He could easily go back on his decision.
Of course, it would cause great problems for us all, but it’d be better than if he was a Sergeant and left – leaving a whole troop of soldiers without a leader. “Why’d you ask?”
Crimson hesitates, but as one of my lower-ranking soldiers, he needs to reply to me. The motto of the rebellion is to always follow orders. No exceptions, or things just do not work.
“Surely you should be ranked on ability and skill, and experience... not on trustworthiness? I was just wondering how you got a good title, and I didn’t. Because I’ve had to fight my own battles all my life. I’ve had to serve and protect all my life. Not necessarily for our District, but a person. I think I’d make a good Corporal.”
“Yes, Crimson. I agree. But the way it works is: if you are trusted by many, and have years of experience, you’ll get a higher title. It’s not based on skill. It’s not based on ability. I am Corporal because I have served seven years in this army. You have only served four. That is why you are Lance Corporal.”
He looks at me, disappointed with my reply, and stalks off down a different hallway. I hate being so bossy to my friends. Especially Crimson, because we were in our Games together. We won together, along with Odin and Beemo, who I’ve come to value greatly. Despite the obvious risks, they’re willing to do whatever it takes for what they believe in. Their situation is quite different from ours, because they’re standing up for love, not for the abolishment of the Hunger Games, but still. There are some similarities there.
Suddenly, a flood of people rushes down the hallway. I frown as my Sergeant is even looking scared. He spots me in the crowd of people, and grabs my arm without a word. He pulls me into an empty apartment and catches his breath back. I stand there, deeply confused.
“What’s happening?” I ask. I hear more people torrent down the narrow hall. Followed by the marching feet of Peacekeepers.
“They’re taking all the Victors. All of them.”
“Taking them where?” I demand. Sergeant glares at me, as he knows I shouldn’t speak to him like that. But it’s not a time to be worried about military etiquette.
“To the Capitol. The Peacekeepers are here to ‘collect’ them. The President ordered it,” He explains, analyzing the room we are in.
“I don’t know. District 3 has already been cleaned out. Now they’re taking you. And Crimson. And everyone else who won. People think it’s because they’re going to be killed in secret,” Sergeant Murtagh explains, checking for his pistol. He breathes quietly when the glint of a metal gun shines in his back pocket.
“The President wouldn’t do that. It’d cause chaos.”
“That’s what I thought. So, I think the jobs you four Victors were going to have – they’re not the only ones Victors are being drafted in for.”
“What do you mean?” I’m struggling to comprehend the situation. What would President Rome do with eighty-odd Victors?
“The President wants to create a whole workforce of Victors. You were only part of his plans,” Sergeant answers me quietly. White uniforms pass the translucent glass door.
“This is good, then? It means that I can persuade more people to get on our side?” I suggest happily. The Sergeant smiles.
“Sergeant, requesting permission for dismissal,” I stand to, as if I was preparing for war. Sergeant nods, and I salute. It’s not an army salute – it’s the respect salute. I kiss the three middle fingers of my hand and raise them skywards. Then I exit the apartment, immediately confronted by armour-clad Peacekeepers. One of them stands close opposite me.
“Ma’am, if you wouldn’t mind coming with us.”
==Crimson Typhoon - District 13 Victor ==
I board the train reluctantly. My stylist team follows, and a few Avoxes carry on my bags. Shyvana boards the carriage next to me, and gives me a wide grin like nothing important is happening. As she disappears into her train ‘apartment’, so do decades of other Victors. I recognise very few of them, having never really watched the Hunger Games. I’ve never had a television, either.
I take a careful step into the car and gasp at the sheer beauty of my carriage. My throng of attendants distribute themselves in the living area of the carriage. My stylist team begin to sit down on the couches and armchairs, while the Avoxes go into my room to begin unpacking.
This train is completely different. It’s a lot longer than the Victory Tour train, and is designed differently. There is a mini bar by the sofas. Stashed inside the cupboards of the mini bar are various choices of alcohol and soft drinks. A small fridge is placed on the worktop, probably to keep ice frozen. Beside the table is a single door that presumably leads to my bedroom. On the right wall is two double doors.
Through these doors comes the District escort: Augustus. On the other side of the doors is a second carriage, with the same layout but the opposite way round. This carriage doesn’t connect to any others except mine.
The carriage is probably Shyvana’s. I recognise the purple theme that she had during the Victory Tour, both in her clothes and in her room, back when we shared a carriage. He seats himself amongst my stylist team. The whoosh of the doors sliding shut is familiar. At least that noise is the same as on the Victory Tour.
“Hello, everyone,” Augustus says chirpily. For once, he seems actually quite cheery. The stylist team all shake hands with him. He clicks his fingers and a pale-faced Avox shuffles up behind him with a Scotch in hand. Augustus snatches it up and drinks thirstily. He chugs it down and my stylists cheer with laughter, and copy him with their own drinks. An Avox offers me a drink, but I refuse and go to my bedroom.
Already, my wardrobe is stacked full of clothes and my bed is neatly made. Everything is newly polished and the wooden floors are so clean I can see my reflection in it. I kick off my shoes and collapse tiredly onto the mattress of the bed. The colour scheme of the room matches my name. A window is on the left side, but the curtains are pulled so that not much light comes through. Instead, a golden glow hangs above my head, cased in an intricate, swirly lantern.
All of a sudden, out of nowhere, comes an announcement. The voice is unfamiliar and I have no clue who it is speaking.
“Victors.” The beginning of the announcement sounds like one that would be in the Hunger Games. “You are probably all wondering why you have been called onto this train to the Capitol.” A pause and a crackly noise drifts out of speakers that I now see are fixed into the wall by the wardrobe. “Well, four Victors have already been given temporary jobs in the Capitol. And so will you. All Victors from all Districts are being given temporary jobs as well. All of them will be to do with this year’s Quarter Quell. Some of you will be trainers, others will stay as mentors, but some other lucky people will be Gamemakers alongside Ajax Maximus, Crimson Typhoon, Beemo Xra, Shyvana Feuer and Odin Amarth. When you arrive in the Capitol, you will be given your jobs. Everything about the 125th Hunger Games will in one way, be down to you.” The announcement ends with a crackly fuzz of a hung-up phone line.