Hey, y'all! I'm reaping for these Games as my previous ones finish up! So, yeah! I'm excited! Are you?
These games are based upon the Iditarod, a 1,000 mile dogsled race across Alaska. I won't go into the history of it. In these games, tributes will be split up randomly into 6 teams of 4. Each will be guided by one tribute-aged person from District Zero (since it's in Alaska). Tributes will race from Anchorage to Nome following the North Route of the Iditarod Trail. The sleds will start containing some people food, dog food, clothing, etc. but tributes will have to pick up more at each stop. Not only will they be battling each other. They will be battling the elements. Frostbite. Starvation. Wild animals. The terrain. And yet, their task is simple. Finish first, or die.
These are no ordinary games.
These are the Iditarod Games.
TributesThere will be 24 tributes like normal. Each user can submit up to TWO tributes. I don't have a template for you, but please be as detailed as possible, as it will only improve the chances of your tribute doing well.
I really don't need 12 couples in these games, so...yeah. Try to refrain from this (as well as brother/sister pairs).
I won't be making a slideshow or anything, but if you have a lunaii or other tribute picture, feel free to post it in the comments or on my talk page.
Also, tributes do not have to be brand new, but please don't use them if they have been in any of my previous games.
So, that's pretty much it. Thanks, and may the odds be ever in your favor!
|Dist.||Male Tribute||User||Female Tribute||User|
|4||RZN2||Elisa Freighter, 16||Jsm13athome|
|8||Down Smith, 12||Angry birds12||RZN2|
|11||Angry birds12||Amazonia Fallow, 16||Fluffeh Kitteh|
Guides (District 0)
|Aquila Melina||16||Female||Angry birds12|
TEAMS (Randomly selected)
Harmonia Felton (1), Drake McLeaf (7), Kyla Chrome (10), Amazonia Fallow (11)
Jason Whitacre (1), Glitter Tyson (5), Isabelle Shellwood (7), Domino Opaque (11)
Guide: Aquila Melina (returns to District Zero)
Hitomi Usake (2), Nico Sirena (3), York Leabowl (9), Rockelle Silver (12)
Guide: Breeze Moon (returns to District Zero)
Klaver Fritz (4), Anderson Gasteryt (6), Killigan Isselli (6), Devin Levenhire (10)
Elisa Freighter (4), Down Smith (8),
Spring Howards (9), Hudson Rylie (12)
Woody Thatcher (2), Ebony Bronze (3), North Baron (5), Roxy Clover (8)
Guide: Comet Ash (returns to District Zero)
Guide Reapings (District 0)
Comet Ash's POV
"We are gathered here today to celebrate the 176th annual District 0 Salmon Festival! I don't know why this holiday exists, but it sure is fun! So enjoy yourselves! And be back here in two hours!"
Gosh, the mayor can be...interesting sometimes. I must say, the Salmon Festival isn't the best day to go off on a random tangent about how grizzly bears will soon replace polar bears...gosh, I don't even know what the mayor's up to most of the time. But I suppose I won't criticize.
Better not to anger him, I would think. After all, I am dating his daughter. "Hey, Comet!"
I turn around and Venus Blizzard is smiling at me. "Venus! Long time no see." I take her hand and we head down to the center of the square.
"Comet, we were at the game together. Like, yesterday."
I just laugh. "Twelve hours is longer than you think. Come on, let's get some food." Today is shaping up to be great.
Two hours later, the mayor is back on stage to present trophies to the victors of the Salmon Races. They put people in large salmon costumes- no arms or legs- and you have to swim. Upstream. Half a mile. I'm serious here, people freaking train for this. It's the dumbest race I've ever heard of. And today, watching with Venus at the finish line, I wouldn't trade it for anything.
"Before you leave, people, one more thing." The crowd becomes quiet and the mayor assumes his 'I'm actually going to say something so I better pretend I'm not drunk right now' pose.
"This year the Capitol wishes for us to provide them with six brave, able-bodied young men and women to lead others across the tundra in a pageant of honor and courage."
Some guy yells out, "So this is a reaping, then?" The mayor nods.
"AWW WHAT THE HECK, MAN!"
I turn around to face Venus, for the first time scared about our relationships. She feels the same way. "It'll be okay," I tell her. "Did you...did you know? About all of this?" She nods without meeting my eyes.
Some random Capitol person wheels out a ball filled with slips. No doubt, at least one of them has Comet Ash written on it. And Venus Blizzard, too. I hug her and barely hear what the escort is saying. Something about choosing people one at a time.
The escort plucks a single strip of paper from the reaping ball and approaches the microphone again.
A young boy I don't know slowly makes his way towards the stage. I had hoped no twelve-year-olds would get reaped, but that's already out the door. At least we could all make it back home. It's unlikely, but it could still happen.
Four down, two to go. I think I'll be safe. This day will just be an unfortunate day in the history books for District Zero...
Kinda jinxed that one.
Venus cries out and rushes up to hug me. I embrace her. Could it be for the final time? I'm not sure. "You'll make it back, Comet. You have to."
I nod. "I'll be back, Venus. For you." I give her a kiss on the cheek and run up on stage, ready to get this torture over with.
"Our final representative, Venus Blizzard!"
Silence. Stunned silence.
They wouldn't reap the mayor's daughter, would they? They couldn't do that! I must be dreaming. I must have heard the wrong name. But Venus, my lovely Venus, is walking up to hold my hand on stage. I can tell she is struggling to hold back tears as she reaches the bottom of the stairs.
Venus whips around and the whole district stares at the girl that might have just sacrificed herself to save my girlfriend. "Eclipse Icefall." I recognize her from school. And for her, well, this is part punishment. But her life isn't anywhere near what Venus's is. This is also an opportunity to make her life a whole lot better. And she's never been one to turn down a good adventure.
As the mayor finishes reading, I look into the deep brown eyes of Eclipse Icefall and whisper, "Thank you."
"Don't even," she says. "I know you're glad your girlfriend's safe. I am, too. But this isn't a sacrifice. We're coming home, you got that?"
I nod. One way or another, I do believe I've got quite an adventure on my hands.
Head Trainer's POV
"So, you know the situation you're facing is different," I instruct the tributes. "Therefore, training this year will be a little different. I'd recommend you'd all learn how to build a fire. You'll probably be hunting and will have to clean a kill. And you have to learn to blend in with your environment. Become one with it. And then, of course, there's everything that a normal game offers. So you guys have a lot of work to do here. Dismissed."
The entire group of tributes instantly rushes off to the fire-building station. Gosh, so eager. Most of the tributes in normal years aren't like this.
Then again, most of the tributes in normal years don't die due to hypothermia, frostbite, or caribou. These games could be quite...different. I'm not sure if that's good or bad yet, but different means the crowd will stay interested. The Head Gamemaker should be spared one more year. Never a problem with that.
"Guys, guys, you can't all do this at once! Anybody up for a compulsory agility assessment?"
York Leabowl (9)
Team Yellow has gathered around the station where you learn to take care of your dogs. This is actually quite a crucial station. Alaskan Malamutes are some of the strongest creatures you'll ever see, but they too get tired. And cold. And boy, do they ever eat. At least, that's what I've heard.
Anyways, a few minutes ago, we finally had the sense to split up as a team and get to know each other.
And guess what? They decided I should be the leader.
Gosh. No pressure or anything.
I think we're all quite surprised that I'm the oldest on the team at just fourteen. But it actually could make sense. Hitomi isn't your typical Career. She's shy and quiet. She seems to know how to survive and stuff, but her weapons knowledge is limited. I see a lot of potential, but she's not there yet. (Seriously, is she my student now or something?) Nico's kind of the same way. He's very quick, but he's also shy, and he's not a great fighter yet. And Rockelle, well...she can throw stuff at people. So apparently I'm the 'natural choice.' Because I'm the oldest and I can handle a bow without looking stupid.
We don't meet our guides until tomorrow, but I'm told that ours is only fourteen as well. We'll be at a significant disadvantage to the other teams.
At the same time, though, we'll be under the radar of the stronger Careers. I smile. I'm from Nine. I've been an underdog my whole life. This is just my chance to rise to the top.
Isabelle Shellwood (7)
I've always had kind of an issue with trusting people. It doesn't appear that these games will be a whole lot different.
Jason, we've decided, will be the leader of our team. It makes sense, really. He's strong, experienced, blah blah blah. To me, that seems to be the problem. He seems a little TOO perfect. I have yet to see the sort of arrogance that Careers often show, but something just doesn't quite feel right. I just hope it isn't a liability in the arena.
Glitter is just WAY too perky and upbeat for a tribute. I don't really know what to expect from her now, but I'm praying she isn't like this in the arena. She scares me, quite honestly. She seems almost like some of those ditzy Career girls you see every few years. I don't have a good feeling about her.
Domino...well, I don't know why, but he just freaks me out. And it's not just his weirdly pale skin. He claims the president rigged the reapings so he would be drawn. What could he have possibly done? His whole life seems shrouded in mystery. At least to me. And he's freaky good with weapons. Like, Career-grade, almost. And he knows every single poison that ever existed. Tell me that wouldn't make you a little paranoid. But he's told me himself, he doesn't want to kill. Interesting. What is going on in his head?
We've made our way to the moose-killing station, because an angry moose could be quite a problem, apparently. It makes sense. It doesn't matter how strong us tributes are: if a moose takes out our dogs, we're toast. I don't see what we could really learn here, and Domino is the only one who actually seems to be paying attention. Wonderful. Another possible liability.
Anyway, my team is...sketchy. The good news is, we meet our guide Aquila tomorrow. Hopefully, she can help us sort out all of this.
Ebony Bronze (3)
Woody has decided that we officially don't have a plan right now. Wonderful. I could do a better job then him.
He's unbelievable with an axe. I'll give him that. As far as leadership...well, he hasn't shown it yet. His thought behind not having a plant is that we have 'versatility' so we can make it up as we go. It's true. He's got the axe. I've got my deception. Roxy has her stealth. And I think we're all pretty good fighters. Woody and I were trained, and North and Roxy are picking up very quickly.
However, that really doesn't mean we can afford to not have a plan and still expect to go out into the middle of nowhere in a week's time and survive. So I've decided I'm going to present him with a plan before the games start. Right now, that depends on me watching us all very closely during training. Our team doesn't really have an identity yet. Once we figure that out, we can analyze our strengths and weaknesses and come up with a plan to exploit the strengths and minimize the weaknesses.
Since everybody else has gone to survival stations first, we figured we'd go to the weapons just to get some time alone. You know, to plan stuff out. Or not plan anything. Roxy's looking good with a slingshot. I don't really know how much good that'll do in a fight, but I'll let her keep up with it for now. Woody...oh, Woody.
"Woody, you want to learn to use something besides an axe? We get it. You're good."
"Hmmm...no. I won't use it in the games."
Can you say arrogant? Come on, dude. Come on. I can do better than you.
I can lead this team to victory.
Killigan Isselli (6)
I suppose I should just say it right away. Klaver creeps me out a little.
He seems like a typical Career at first, but he's kinda scary. Well, obviously there's the eyes. Kinda creepy. Red hair is just...mysterious. And he has this freakish scar thing right in the middle of his forehead. Tell me that isn't weird. He has the type of personality where it just seems like he could explode at any moment. I don't like being one to judge, but he's...well, not normal.
The (is it good or bad?) news is, Klaver will probably lead the team, since he's the most experienced. I guess I can't really say too much about his leadership because I've yet to see it in action. Hopefully it'll grow on me. He doesn't seem like the guy who'll turn out to be a great leader, but I'm okay with that. I'm the girl who's blind in one eye. I'm used to all sorts of stereotypes and assumptions against me, and I know how it feels. I'm not about to make one about him.
We've gotten along well so far, but we really haven't made any plans. Or talked at all, for that matter. Klaver is maintaining his focus. Anderson and Devin, so far, have seemed to go along with him. They've gotten pretty good with knives, so...actually, now that I think about it, we're all good with knives. Take them away, and we're pretty much screwed. Thank goodness Klaver's trained with a spear.
We met our guide Cotto today. He seems okay. I don't really have much to say here. So...yeah.
So anyway, things are looking good right now. I may be under the radar, but that's just where I'm comfortable. I've been doing that my whole life. Two weeks in the wild? Under those circumstances...well, I'll roll the dice.
I don't have a choice in this matter. But I do have a chance.
Down Smith (8)
I never thought I would say this, considering how much I hate the Capitol. But I've quite enjoyed it so far.
The food is one thing. There's actually enough, and it's good. But even in just two days with my team, we've become very close. I don't know how it happened, but we're looking good so far.
Hudson, as it turns out, has been illegally hunting with throwing knives for two years. The kid is incredible. I don't know how he'll react to hunting people, but it's clear he has the skill. Elisa is also a good hunter. Being from Four, she's good with a trident. No surprise there. She's kind of been the leader so far, since we're a younger team. She seems nice, and thoughful, but I get this feeling whenever I talk to her...it's like she's keeping something from us. It's weird. Ah, whatever. I'll figure it out later.
Eclipse Icefall is our guide. She seems nice and all, and she knows what she's doing with survival stuff, but I have never seen such a good natural leader. We lucked out on this front. If there's anyone who can lead us to victory, it's Eclipse.
And then there's Spring. Oh, boy. Spring is...an enigma, to say the least. I've seen just about every side of her you could imagine in two days. She's kind, sweet, brave, determined, intelligent, athletic, bubbly, and just about every other adjective you could think of. (Except for maybe chartreuse. Seriously, what kind of a color name is that?)
But anyway, Spring...she's a good person. Back home, I worked. A lot. I never really had many friends. I hope Spring could change that, because I'm quite glad to have her on my team, and I think we'd make good friends.
I just hope she thinks the same thing.
Kyla Chrome (10)
So, our team is...interesting. Basically, this is the story of training:
"Yo, Amazonia, do you want to shoot targets with me?"
"I'm building a fire, yeah, whatever, later."
"Harmonia, what's up?"
"I'M THROWING A FREAKING AXE, WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE I'M DOING?"
"Drake, the others are ignoring me. Can you help me build a fire?"
"I'M SEXY AND I KNOW IT!"
"Starry, a little help?"
"Well, um, I don't really know what I'm doing, so..."
The pieces? They're all there. We have a pretty strong team. But the puzzle is incomplete. We just haven't worked together very well yet. Harmonia might be the cause of some of this. She claims she's the leader, and I'm not about to question her (because she's destroyed at least fifteen dummies over the last couple days), but she's usually too busy pretending to kill stuff to communicate with the team. A normal year, this wouldn't be too big of a deal, but here, communication...it's essential, really. We won't be going anywhere without it.
Anyways, I think it's fairly safe to say that Team Red has potential. We have, quite simply, a little bit of everything. But as a group, we've yet to show it. The good news is that the sponsors aren't given a 'teamwork' score. They'll get our individual scores, which should look pretty good. We can get sponsors. Our first day out in the wild, we could be a little messy. But that's nothing, because I've managed to get myself into a pretty big mess just by showing up. And I'm determined to get out of it.
Final Checks (Anchorage, Day 1, 11:30 AM)
Jason Whitacre (1)
Our team is finally in place, ready to start this race in about half an hour. And when I say 'our team', I mean us tributes, Aquila, and sixteen Alaskan Malamutes. Our full team.
If sixteen dogs seems like a lot, that's because it is. The sleds weigh about fifty pounds, but have to carry another fifty or so of food, supplies and weapons. Most of that gets restocked at each stop (at least, you're supposed to.) Add in the people, and the dogs are pulling probably eight hundred pounds. Despite how freakishly strong these dogs are, that's not an easy task. They actually wanted to go up to twenty, they say, but they couldn't find anybody to make the tow line (the one all the dogs are connected to) long enough. Wow. This is actually really complicated.
"So, that's pretty much it! Any questions? If not, you should get to know the dogs."
"Do they have names?" asks Glitter.
"Yes. I don't want to waste your time, here's a chart."
A weird thought comes to my mind. "Why do we have a minute head start? Not that I'm complaining, but is there a reason?"
The guy in charge of our dogs just laughs. "If we lined up six teams at once, there would be a large amount of yelping, growling, and trying to kill the other dogs."
"Yeah. So, good luck, guys! And remember, Marty's lactose intolerant!"
Um...okay. The random guy gives us a thumbs-up and heads out.
"So, Miss Guide, what do we do now?"
"Why do you assume I know what I'm doing? I just sit there telling the dogs where to go."
"You have to do something," I tell her. "For you are the eagle that soars, high into the sky, a magnificent, valiant, wild beast above the sugar-coated-"
"The guy told me that 'Aquila' is Latin for 'eagle'. You have to admit it sounds pretty sweet."
"No idea. We ready, guys?"
"Haha. Very funny." Aquila and I start to run through our final checks.
Everything appears to be in working order. The lines are all good, and we have plenty of warm clothing. We should be able to make it to the stockpile.
So, with five minutes left, we're being led out into what used to be a town called 'Anchorage'. From here, we'll race over a thousand miles to District Zero, which many signs, apparently, refer to as 'Nome'. I glance off to my side and see about fifteen cameras supported by propellers. Is this how they're going to broadcast the race? Well, this could get interesting.
"Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Iditarod Hunger Games! I present to you, Team Orange!" Mike, the annoucer, introduces each of us by name. I take note of the additional buildings behind me, and I can see Ebony Bronze peeking her head out, anxious to get out on the course.
Slowly, Aquila leads our team up to the starting line. It's a fairly short sprint to Eagle River, about twenty miles. Apparently there are Capitol people there with a bunch of supplies for a semi-bloodbath. Actually, there are Capitol people everywhere, since most of these towns are uninhabited now. But this stockpile is by far the largest. I'd like to grab a bunch of stuff and be prepared.
However, we have a bit of a problem. That would be the fact that the Purple Team is only going to be about a minute behind us.
Isabelle and I have decided that our plan should be first to get food (for us and the dogs) followed by any survival stuff. Then, as soon as Purple is closing in, we grab weapons and fight if they attack us. We don't have any weapons right now, but neither will they. It would be nice if we could just run a clean race. But this is the Hunger Games. Obviously, that isn't going to happen.
A bell sounds. Thirty seconds.
Aquila glances back at all of us. "You guys ready?"
She just smiles. "We can do this, guys. Get ready, world, because here comes Team Orange!"
The clock strikes noon, and the bell sounds again. Aquila yells "Hike!", and we dash off into the distance. By the time Purple gets set up and introduced, we're already gone.
Let the Iditarod Hunger Games begin.
DE GAMES! DE GAMES! (Day One)
North Baron (5, Purple)
You want to know why I haven't moved to District Zero yet?
Because it is REALLY FREAKING COLD OUTSIDE.
Thankfully, we have plenty of insulative gear. Hopefully, we can grab some more. We just passed mile eighteen, so we're just outside of Eagle River. We're not overdoing anything yet with our dogs, so we haven't really gained any ground on Orange yet. Comet says we've probably fallen back about twenty seconds. Over the course of eighteen miles, that isn't too bad.
"Comet," asks Ebony, "should we have priorities here?"
I raise my hand. "Yes! Hot chocolate, then everything else!"
Comet just rolls his eyes. "Very funny. Well...food, I guess. For us and the dogs. Then grab a few weapons and a few survival things. We'll only have a minute or so before the next team shows up."
"Yeah, Red, right? Do we want to fight?"
"Well...if we can incapacitate Harmonia before the fight begins, then sure. Anybody else creeped out by her?" We all raise our hands. "Good."
All of a sudden, we are seemingly blinded. Well...we were already. The sun glinting off the snow is strong, but add in a metal Cornucopia and it's too much to bear. I'll be sure to see if they have sunglasses here.
Team Orange sees us and scrambles to get stuff back into their sled. They pull off just as our team comes into the square. I rush off to grab a pack of dog food. Hopefully, we can avoid a fight today.
Comet runs the show as we try to get supplies. “Firewood!” Ebony goes off to get firewood. “Dog food!” Roxy grabs some. “People food!” Woody comes back dragging two huge bags. We load the stuff into the sled. I figure we added…fifty, sixty pounds? Maybe a little more? Nothing the dogs can’t handle. Comet yells “Hike and the dogs race off.
But the weight…we’re moving at least as fast now. It feels like we haven’t gained any weight, or maybe even have lost some. I turn around to see if we’ve lost anything. And what I see gives me chills.
Roxy Clover lies in the snow, blood pooling around a wound in her neck where an axe is lodged.
Nobody else could have possibly done this. But how?
The dogs keep on going as we leave Eagle River behind. I guess I may never know.
“Will someone please tell me HOW THE HELL HARMONIA ALREADY HAS AN AXE?”
Harmonia Felton (1, Red)
These people are seriously idiots. Making an axe out of a sled? That’s child’s play compared to running this race. The sleds are made of wood, so I just skillfully chopped off a little bit of the thing everybody stands on to make it. Drake could be standing on one foot for a while, but that’s okay. After that…well, having ridiculously sharp fingernails can come in handy…
So Roxy’s dead. Now here we are, grabbing supplies and trying to make sure none of us are next. I grab a bag of dog food and a wooden plank. It’s probably supposed to be firewood, but we could probably cut it into whatever shape we need to fix the sled. Not that it really needs fixing, but I think Drake would appreciate it.
“Harmonia! I need an axe!”
“You think I don’t?” I scoop up half a dozen axes and head back to the sled. Team Blue is coming up fast. Starry urges the dogs onward, and we pull out of the square, ready to cross Cook Inlet and head into the sunset.
That is, if there is one. After all, this is the land of the midnight sun.
Spring Howards (9, Blue)
A cannon sounds as we pull into the square. Far off, I see the body of Roxy from 8. That didn’t take long.
Hudson is the first out of the sled, running quickly to grab his knives, which could very well be the difference between life and death for all of us. Elisa and Eclipse go to get the food, and Down and I grab some wood. We do a few rounds of this, with Hudson grabbing weapons for the rest of us. There is no sign of any other team on the horizon.
None. Wasn’t Green supposed to be just a minute behind?
“What is it, Down?” asks Eclipse.
“We have more than enough stuff. We should head out, we’ve been here, like, three minutes.”
“Where’s Green, then?”
A second cannon sounds and Team Yellow- the last-place team in training- appears on the city’s outskirts. Four faces look around in surprise. What could have happened to Green?
“Let’s go,” I tell them. “It doesn’t matter now. Whoever it was, they’ll be in the sky tonight.”
Nico Sirena (3, Yellow)
We passed Team Green a couple of miles back. The red-haired guy was arguing with somebody else pretty loudly. The dogs just stopped. Like, seriously, guys. Act like a team. (Or don’t. I really don’t care if you self-destruct.)
We should have plenty of time here at the stockpile before Green comes, but I’d rather just grab a few things and get moving. We’ve been out here a few hours, and we are at least five minutes back. I’d like to get to Wasilla as soon as possible. And then…well, keep going. How is sleep going to work here? I can’t imagine anybody winning this race without severe sleep deprivation. Hopefully we can just keep it to a relatively mild level. I don’t think hallucinations would help us very much.
“Earth to Nico! Dog food!”
“Oh, ok.” I grab some dog food and am thankful that Breeze knows how to work with these dogs. Without her, we’d be lost. These dogs don’t listen to us. Then again, why should they? We sure as heck don’t know what’s best for them.
I shove the dog food into the sled and we prepare to take off. Better to leave before Green shows up again. I examine the blowgun and darts I grabbed. They seem to be in great condition. No poison to work with yet, but hit the right points and you don’t need it. Breeze commands the dogs, and our team heads north.
Devin Levenhire (10, Green)
I am freaking scared out of my mind right now.
Seventeen miles. That’s how far we made it before Klaver decided to snap Anderson’s neck. He was being a little annoying, sure, but really? With a thousand miles to go, Killigan and I have to be careful. We could very easily be next.
At this rate, we’ll be awfully lucky to make it to Knik by sundown (if, of course, there is a sundown.) We’re three hours into the race, and I bet we’re already back…twenty minutes? Possibly more? We certainly aren’t where we want to be.
Perhaps the biggest problem, though, is that Klaver has completely taken over the team. None of us are going to stand up to him because we’re afraid of what could happen. As much as I don’t want him to be in charge, Cotto’s twelve, Killigan’s blind in one eye, and me…I’d rather stay alive, thank you very much.
We end up cruising through Eagle River, barely picking up any supplies. Only what we need to make it to Wasilla, really. We need to make up time now. We’re behind. We have absolutely zero sense of team unity. And we’re already down one member.
Suffice it to say, we have a lot of problems.
It’s time to fix them.
10:30 PM- Amazonia Fallow (11, Red)
The crossing over Cook Inlet went smoothly. Right now, we’re camped out maybe a hundred yards off the trail, about three miles past Knik. Ideally, we’d be a lot closer to the path, but the most important thing is staying unnoticed. We kind of have sixteen dogs that we need to be quiet.
We never quite caught up to Orange. We were within about fifteen seconds of Purple, so we could see them. Unfortunately, this meant that they could see us as well. Rather than staying up all night and risking an attack by us (well, Harmonia, really) they elected to pull into what’s left of Knik as soon as we got there. They already know what she can do. We elected not to follow them, so here we are. We figured it would be a good idea to get some rest, even if it’s just four hours or so. It’s not like any of us slept last night.
Yellow, apparently, elected to go on through the night. They passed us a few minutes back. No sign of Blue or Green so far.
Two faces appear in the sky today, Anderson from 6 (Green Team) and Roxy from 8 (Purple Team). Roxy was the one Harmonia killed. I wonder how Anderson died. Blue was in front of them, and while Elisa and Hudson both got good scores, they don’t seem like the type to wait back just for a kill. I don’t know that Yellow is capable of taking down anyone on Green, because they have Klaver. What could have happened?
Oh, yeah. I don’t really care.
“Get some sleep, guys. I’ll take first watch.” I get out some food for our dogs. If anyone comes by, this’ll keep them quiet. Very helpful. We grabbed a little more at Wasilla. We should be good for a couple of days.
As I stare off to the west, the sun is finally setting. Starry says that if we can get to Zero, we’ll have a full twenty-four hour day. How cool would that be, huh? Certainly good for the crops. Of course, not when the environment is freaking cold. And the Capitol is making it even colder. (Although, we kinda need snow, I guess. But really? The race just started, and twenty below?)
I climb up in a nearby tree and watch out for nearby teams. It’s my job now. I’ll worry about tomorrow when tomorrow comes.
Stats- End of Day 1
Yellow- Still on the trail, 15 miles west of Knik.
Orange- Camping 5 miles west of Knik. Estimated departure 6:00 AM.
Red- Camping 3 miles west of Knik. Estimated departure 4:30 AM.
Purple- In Knik. Estimated departure 5:00 AM.
Blue- 2 miles east of Knik. Estimated departure 5:00 AM.
Green- In Wasilla. Estimated departure 5:00 AM.
York Leabowl (9, Yellow)
At about four in the morning, we finally pull in for a rest five miles short of Yentna Station. It’s nice that we have been able to (I believe) build up a lead, but we need to take a rest now. Not even just the dogs; my team does, too. Why, you ask? Why do we need such a rest?
We lost two dogs already this morning. One more is injured, being carried by the others. Every single one of us is absolutely exhausted. I’m out of arrows. Rockelle’s out of projectiles. We think Hitomi may have a broken collarbone. Our sled is cracked in two places. Oh, yeah. And we’re out of food.
Oh, how I curse the day the first moose laid a hoof on this trail.
We were just cruising along on the trail, headed for Yentna. It was probably…one-thirty? Two in the morning? Somewhere around there. And all of a sudden, a young moose pops out of the forest right in front of our sled. The dogs manage to skid to a stop and we wait for the moose to run off the trail.
It doesn’t. The mother gets there first.
We all instantly freeze. The mother whips her head around to stare at us. It’s as if she’s sizing us up for a fight.
Our lead dog barks at her, and she charges.
I pull out my bow and fire an arrow into the side of her mouth before she reaches our team. It won’t do much good. It takes an awful lot of arrows to kill a moose, if you even can. We need a distraction, and we need it now. Nico grabs a bag of food and tosses it out to the moose.
Too late. It plows right into our lead dogs Alexander and Constantine. (Why they can’t be Mike and Bob, I don’t know.) The front part of the line snaps. Alexander goes down immediately. He doesn’t make it. Constantine’s alive but has a broken leg. No use running him. After Napoleon goes down fighting (he’s always been a bit rowdy) Cyrus becomes our new lead dog. If he’s up for the task, well, I’m not sure. But he’ll have to do.
Anyways. The moose finally picks up on the scent of the food and leaves the dogs alone for a while. Long enough for me to fire arrows at it. Rockelle and Nico start firing rocks.
And Hitomi, of course, has the wonderful idea to go try and stab the thing with her knife. It knocks her out of the way easily, and she goes down. She’s doing fine now, but it could be a while before she fights again.
Finally, I get enough arrows in the thing to get it to go down. The baby has scampered off by this point. The moose is still on the ground, going through our food. I’m sure it’s still alive now, two hours later. But it isn’t going to be hurting us any longer. Which is good. I don’t think we can afford another injury at this point.
In fact, we’re lucky just to be here right now.
Devin Levenhire (10, Green)
If this has ever happened to you, you know this is not a very pleasant way to start your morning. “What is it, Klaver?”
“Well then. Okay.”
So that’s why I got up at 4:30 in the morning. Not exactly what I wanted, but we are in last. And I would rather stay alive. The good news is that we maybe can gain some ground here. We started the day in Wasilla, well behind many of the other teams, but we can push it a little harder today. The part of the trail from here on to Yentna Station and Skwentna is flat and pretty wide open. The only thing we could have a problem with would be a moose. That could, in fact, be a pretty serious problem.
Cotto urges the dogs to go faster, and they comply. Yesterday was…well, not a good day for us. That’s not going to change unless we make it change. So we will.
We soon pull into Knik. We’re still in last, but I figure we’ve gained some ground. It didn’t take us very long to get here. Klaver takes a look around, apparently eager for a kill, but there is no sign of a team anywhere in the area.
“Can we have breakfast now?” I ask. “I’m starving.”
Killigan tosses me a (very) frozen bagel. “Eat up.”
“How the heck am I supposed to eat this?”
“No idea. Breathe on it?”
And so we spend the next half an hour back on the trail, breathing on our food to try and thaw it. It doesn’t really work, but you can’t blame us for trying. This is the Hunger Games, and as much as I don’t want to, you need to be willing to do just about anything to win.
Hudson Rylie (12, Blue)
We woke up early today and got back on the trail. I know for certain we’re ahead of Green, but we could very well be behind everybody else. And we must take no chances. If you want to win, well, you have to finish first.
“Do you know what the typical concentration of muscle mass is for these dogs?”
“But how do they do it?”
“No idea. Why?”
“Just wondering. So, um, if we run into a moose, what’s our plan?”
“Kill it,” says Elisa.
“Well, yeah. How?”
“KILL IT WITH FIRE!”
I slowly turn around. “Was that necessary, Down?”
“Oh, come on, man. You kinda set me up for that one.”
“Fine. Let’s just make a good clean run today and gain some ground. We aren’t far behind. Eclipse?”
"Sounds like a plan." She pushes the dogs onward as we ride off into the barren wasteland.
Domino Opaque (11, Orange)
We're about halfway from Yentna to Skwentna, and we're making pretty good pace. Aquila knows what she's doing with these dogs, and we've given them plenty of food. Somebody could have passed us while we were sleeping. I know Yellow did, but we retook them. They were sleeping, but they had a guard, so we just waved and rode on.
All of a sudden, the dogs start slowing down. "What's going on?"
Aquila turns around to face us and shrugs. "You tell me." They have stopped now. Not only that, but they're dead silent. Something must be wrong. Let's go through our checklist:
1. Are the dogs exhausted? No.
2. Are they running on a good snowy surface? Yes, thanks to the Capitol.
3. Do they smell food? Well, they've been smelling our food the entire time, so, no.
4. Did a hugongous freaking MOOSE just jump out in front of the sled? Yes. Yes it did.
(4 1/2. Is hugongous a word? It should be.)
"Everybody quiet," I whisper.
Well, naturally, this screws up everything. Glitter yells "AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH" and the moose charges.
I dive out of the way as the moose makes its first move at us, luckily avoiding most of the sled. Aquila jumps on top of our food supply and Jason shoves Isabelle to the ground. Glitter tries to follow in Aquila's path, but is too slow. The moose lowers its head and just manages to catch her in the side. Nevertheless, she flies off the sled ten feet onto the hard-packed snow.
Jason recovers first and grabs his bow, launching arrows at the moose. I pull my blowgun out of my coat pocket and look for a poison. The moose, meanwhile, hits Glitter again, with much more force. This time, she falls to the ground unconscious.
Isabelle has now recovered to throw an axe and I have found my choice poison. I quickly dip a dart in the poison and shoot at the moose. It's a huge target. I hit it easily, and within five seconds, the moose collapses.
Right on top of Glitter.
"No, Glitter!" I rush to her aid. But at the same time, I fear it's already too late. I check for a pulse, and my fears are confirmed. I'd never be able to get her out anyway, not with a moose on top of her. Her cannon sounds and I slowly walk back to the sled.
"Let's get going again," I mumble. "We have a long night ahead of us."
Harmonia Felton (1, Red)
Today has been torture.
Teenagers killing each other? I can handle that. Moose attacks? No problem. Hypothermia? Bring it on.
A fifteen-year-old singing (and, may I mention, not very well) to cheer up his team?
Well, this is probably the time when I wouldn't really mind death all that much.
"You're as cold as ice!"
"Well, duh, Drake. I don't think you're very warm either."
"Of course not. I'm cool, you know?"
"Feelin' so fly like a-"
"Shut up already! I don't want you to keep-"
"We're not gonna take it! No, we ain't-"
"DRAKE!! Sweet moth-"
"Oh my god, Drake, I swear, I'm-"
"Sexy and I know it!"
"DRAKE, SHUT UP! WE ALL HATE YOU!"
Kyla chimes in. "I wouldn't go there, but it is kinda annoying."
"Fine." I wait about five seconds before I hear him quietly singing, "I can't get no...satisfaction..."
"JUST SHUT UP SO WE CAN CROSS THIS FROZEN TUNDRA OF DEATH AND DESPAIR AND GET BACK TO OUR NORMAL LIFE!"
"Harmonia, we'll do this. Don't cry."
I raise my eyebrows. "Who said I was crying?"
"And don't raise your eye."
"What exactly is your purpose for this?"
"It's only teenage wasteland!"
I instictively facepalm. "Never mind. I don't want to know. Just please, SHUT UP."
"Exactly what I said. You are cold as ice." I finally decide to ignore him and put on earmuffs as we head off into the distance with the sun setting on the horizon.
End of Day Two
Stats- End of Day Two
Red- Resting approx. 7 miles west of Skwentna.
Orange- Continuing through Skwentna, currently 2 miles past.
Blue- Continuing through Skwentna, currently there.
Yellow and Purple- Resting in Skwentna.
Green- Continuing, currently 12 miles east of Skwentna
North Baron (5, Purple)
We woke up super early today to get a bit of a head start. We’ll need it. The next stretch of the trail to Finger Lake isn’t too bad, but after that, it can get a little nasty. We shouldn’t have to worry about this now, but Rainy Pass is not an area you want to negotiate after dark.
Right now, it’s going smoothly. No moose, no blizzards (temperatures that are probably subzero, but what do you expect), no…”Wait a minute. Slow down, guys.”
Comet rides the brake and we begin to slow down. I point off into the forest, where I thought I saw something…well, unnatural. As I look, I believe I’m right. Either the Capitol invented a severely deformed moose with random paint blotches, or we’ve just run into Team Red. I’m gonna put my money on the second one.
We pull off to the side of the trail. I’d like to get back at Harmonia, obviously, but if she’s actually, you know, awake…well, I’m not an idiot. I’ve seen what she can do.
“Guys?” whispers Ebony. “I think this is a trap.”
“You bet it is. Oh, Harmonia! Wake up!”
I whip around and find that my team is face-to-face with Amazonia from 11. I see what we have. Only Woody and Ebony have weapons. Amazonia has a dagger. She’s strong, no doubt, but I’ve yet to see her perform at Harmonia’s level. Maybe she still remembers that she’s supposed to be killing people. Four on one? We can take her. I take a step toward Ebony to whisper in her ear.
That step saved my life.
An axe comes whizzing out of nowhere, missing my ear by about an inch. We all whip around to see Harmonia getting ready to throw another. Ebony, reacting quickly, smacks Amazonia with the hilt of her sword and bolts. The rest of us follow. We quickly head back to the sled. Harmonia throws one more axe, but she doesn’t aim at us. She finds her mark in the ribcage of our point dog. I wince as he goes down almost immediately. Comet tries to save him, but he realizes it won’t be possible. Team Red pulls out ahead of us on the trail without making another attack. We’re left in their dust, trying to find a new point dog and overcome another great challenge.
We can overcome it, though. We have to, because we are going home. Anything else…well, I won’t even think about it.
Klaver Fritz (4, Green)
That idiot Devin got a basket of fruit. Good. I was hungry.
Anyway, we’ve continued all night and we’re on our way to Finger Lake now. I have no idea where we are compared to other teams, but it doesn’t really matter at this point. I’ll just kill them all later and we won’t have to deal with it.
“This is boring, guys. We need to kill something now.”
For whatever reason, everybody looks at me weird. “Can’t we just, you know, win?”
“Yeah. I want to win. So we should kill something.”
“Kill what? We’re in the middle of freaking NOWHERE.”
“A polar bear?”
Cotto rolls his eyes at me. “There are no polar bears in the Interior, dude.”
“Whatever. Somebody toss me some more of those peaches.” We keep on going. Where are we going? No idea. But why? I may be a Career, but I’m not stupid. We all have just one reason:
To stay alive.
Spring Howards (9, Blue)
We’re back on the trail again. This is already starting to get old, and honestly, I don’t want it to. It was kinda interesting the first couple times, but now…well, I don’t want survival to become a force of habit. But this is the Hunger Games. It has to be.
Our team’s been doing fairly well so far. We haven’t had to kill anything, and we’ve been cooperating nicely. I know Orange is still ahead of us, but there’s a good chance we’re in second place.
We’ve just reached Finger Lake. Like many towns on the trail, it was abandoned long ago, but it appears as if even back then, it wasn’t a very big settlement. It’s just a small outpost, really, on the Talachulitna River between Skwentna and Rainy Pass.
“Okay, guys,” says Eclipse. “That was a good night of running. Who votes we take a break here?”
I think about it. We’re about thirty miles from Rainy Pass. Rainy Pass is the most dangerous checkpoint on the entire trail, from what I’ve heard. We’re on the side of a steep slope in Happy River Gorge most of the way into Rainy Pass, and the way out is a brutal trip through the mountains, which will no doubt be under blizzard conditions, thanks to the Capitol. I’m tired and hungry. The dogs are tired and hungry. We could use a little rest.
“Sounds good to me.” The rest of the team gives their approval and we settle down to find a place for a quick break: maybe six hours at most. We grab some dog food and look for shelter.
“This building looks good,” says Hudson. “Let’s check it out.”
Elisa agrees and we see if the building is locked. It isn’t. She pulls open the door, and we walk in.
“This is nice. I think we can make do for a few hours with-“
“Care to knock next time?”
I whip around, prepared for the worst. A figure stands above us on the stairs, and I gasp. I know that ghostly pale face.
Domino Opaque (11, Orange)
"Why, come in, come in. I have been expecting you."
The Blue Team stares at me. "Really?"
"No, you dimwits! When I say that, I really mean 'Convince me why I shouldn't kill you right now.'" I pull out my blowgun and show them the dart. "You will be dead if you try to make a move right now, you know."
Well, that sure got them awake.
Hudson tells me, "You need to avenge Glitter. Kill whoever killed her first."
"That would be a moose fifty miles or so back. Next person."
Spring steps up. "We need to take care of Harmonia right now. She's the threat. And...she's just evil."
"Fair enough. But that has nothing to do with you."
Elisa looks around nervously before saying, "We...um....I love your boots?"
"Seriously, guys? This is all you can come up with?" I slip the dart into the blowgun for intimidation. The team stands still, eyes locked on the weapon in my hand.
Eclipse, however, jumps in front of the team she's leading. "Wait! We'll give you food!"
Finally. There we go. "Hmm...Okay, fine. We won't kill you yet. And you can stay here with us...how long are you going to be here?"
"Six hours? I don't know," says Elisa. "We'll give you ten minutes on us."
"All right. Just don't startle Jason. He does sleep with a weapon in hand, you know. Oh, and Elisa?"
"Be more careful next time. All bets are off now, and if you run into somebody else on my team...well, they likely won't be as forgiving."
Drake McLeaf (7, Red)
We're on the Happy River Gorge, making our way from Finger Lake to Rainy Pass.
I am not very happy right now.
Steep hills, you can assume, are not very good for dogsledding. If you try to go down, you'll be riding the brake and could wipe out. You really can't go up. And if you try to cross them sideways, you're probably going to swerve a little downwards. Not ideal conditions.
The stretch along Happy River Gorge is not very dog-friendly. It's on the side of a steep hill, so we're trying to cross it sideways. For the most part the dogs can handle this. Swerving a little bit shouldn't be a problem.
Shouldn't. Almost the entire hillside is covered in trees.
Oh, yeah. We're also going uphill to Rainy Pass.
As I stated before, this is ridiculously painful and difficult, and we are not happy. Not one bit. Starry is yelling a bunch of complicated commands that only the dogs can understand. I'm still working on 'gee' and 'haw'. The rest of us are busy trying to not freeze our butts off. As the elevation and latitude increase, it's sure to get colder. The Capitol will play a part in this, for sure.
We could go around Rainy Pass. But according to Starry, it'd be an extra twenty miles, at least, and the pass we would have to go through is nicknamed Hell's Gate. Um, no thanks.
I've tried to cheer up our team; I've taken this matter into my own hands. I've already discovered Harmonia does not like any kind of holiday song. Some of them are weird, though. Why would you want to take the letter L out of alphabet?
Gah. We have fruit. I had this really good thing called 'shaved ice' in the Capitol. If I just had a machine or something, I could grind up fruit and ice, slap them together, and voila. Unfortunately, that machine, if it exists, is not on the approved list of sponsor items. No idea why. I ponder this, and a whole bunch of other questions that the rest of my team would probably pass off as stupid, as we race onward across the
Happy Where's-A-Traitorous-Teammate-When-You-Need-One (coughcoughharmoniacough) River Gorge.
Then again, we are in first.
And that's the only thing that really matters.
End of Day Three
Stats- End of Day Three
Red- Continuing, 24 miles past Finger Lake (Finger Lake to Rainy Pass = 30 miles)
Orange- Continuing, 21 miles past Finger Lake
Blue- Continuing, 17 miles past Finger Lake
Yellow- Resting, 15 miles past Finger Lake
Purple- Resting, 7 miles past Finger Lake
Green- Continuing, in Finger Lake
Hitomi Usake (2, Yellow)
Generally speaking, when you wake up to a guy screaming “DIE, PUNY LITTLE FREAKS!”, you know you probably won’t be having a very good day.
We decided late last night to camp out about halfway from Finger Lake to Rainy Pass. Apparently we weren’t far enough off the trail. The Green Team found our camp, and Klaver, being Klaver, well…I think you can probably guess.
If there’s good news, it’s that the rest of his team was sane enough not to assist him. Otherwise, we’d all be dead right now.
Thankfully, Klaver was stupid enough to yell. He managed to wake us all up, and we were sent scrambling for our weapons as he readied his first spear. York looked to get his bow ready, while the rest of us were left with simply rocks. We were outmatched, and we knew it. Then I had an idea.
“York! Take this vial!”
We launched our first volley of rocks. One of them managed to hit Klaver in the leg, but it did no damage. He threw his first spear at Rockelle, hitting her just below the shoulder and advancing with the second. I glanced over, and I figured that it was likely too late for her. I had to act, or we’d all be gone. I tossed York the vial.
Thankfully, he understood. The vial I picked up a couple checkpoints ago isn’t a poison so much as a tranquilizer. It’s been used, supposedly, to knock out large animals. I just hoped it would work. York dipped the tip of his arrow in the poison and shot.
That arrow saved all of us.
It hit Klaver in the arm just as he launched his second spear. It was aimed at Nico, originally. The impact of York’s arrow as he threw put it a little off target, but before Klaver passed out, I could swear I saw a small smile on his lips. Even if it was just in the shin, he knew his spear had found its target.
BOOM! Rockelle’s cannon sounded as Nico crumpled to the ground. The rest of us quickly rushed to his aid. His injury wasn’t life-threatening, but the bone is broken in a couple of spots. He might not be walking again for another few weeks. Of course, at that point, we could all be dead.
I’m sure this isn’t the medically correct thing to do, but Nico was in a ton of pain, so we decided to give him a small dose of whatever knocked out Klaver. The problem was…well, just a little tiny bit from the tip of an arrow knocked out Klaver. We may have given him a little bit too much. He could easily be out a couple of days. Oops.
This left only the problem of what to do with Klaver. I’m sure after what happened, we all would have been perfectly fine with killing him, but the rest of the Green Team was sitting there watching the whole thing. They didn’t really support Klaver, I’m guessing, but they didn’t want to just go out and kill him. As much as I hate to admit it, he is a valuable asset.
Killigan eventually decided to let us go. We loaded Nico onto our sled and hit the trail again, leaving them to figure out what to do with Klaver.
This is what has already happened to me today.
Judging by my luck, though, I’m guessing it’s going to get a whole lot worse.
Killigan Isselli (6, Green)
Klaver is an idiot.
I don't care how good you are. I don't care if you're stronger than all your enemies. You just don't charge into a battle when it's five on one and you're the one. You won't win. Now he's passed out and we have to lug him back to the sled. He'll probably try to kill something when he wakes up, which could be a problem. And honestly, we have no idea what to do with him at this point.
Right now, though, we should probably keep him. We do need to focus on, you know, getting back out of last place. Although, come to think of it, he's the reason why we ended up in last in the first place. Maybe we could be better off without him.
We'll figure that out later, though. We have to make it through Rainy Pass today to have any chance. Normally, it's not a checkpoint you want to rush through, but we don't have much of a choice. Maybe we can gain a little ground going back downhill at Dalzell Gorge? Maybe we can become sleep-deprived? (We'll do this anyways, though. Just, you know, so sleep-deprived that we experience ridiculous hallucinations and whatnot.) It would stink to have to do any of this. But if it comes down to staying alive...I'm willing to do whatever it takes.
That is, except for listen to Klaver.
Kyla Chrome (10, Red)
HOLY FREAKING CRAP IT IS COLD UP HERE. AND WINDY.
I suppose I should explain what's going on. We made it up to Rainy Pass (or, as Harmonia calls it, through the Forested Incline of Hell) and we've decided to continue on. After this, we're soundly in the Interior and can take a break. The problem is, the trail doesn't just go straight down from Rainy Pass. It keeps on climbing, straight up past the timberline and into the lower reaches of the Alaska Range (apparently this whole land was once called Alaska. No idea why.) So the highest point of the pass is at an elevation of about 3200 feet. We're just below that now.
Blizzards, obviously, are more common in the winter. January and February are terrible, but they can extend into March (well, they almost always do, really) and often well into April. But it's June and we're stuck in the middle of a full out blizzard. The Capitol must have something to do with this. Let's see if I can fully describe this:
The howling wind is all you can hear. Beneath you, the world is white. Above you, you see no sun, no stars, no clouds: only pure white snow. You have no idea where you're going because you can't even see your own dogs. And your only defense against hypothermia is a coat (helpful, but not enough). You can't exactly kill it with a knife.
Oh, yeah. This is how cold it really is:
Temperature: -41 degrees Fahrenheit (yes, we have a thermometer.)
Wind speed: Approx. 55 miles per hour.
Wind chill: about NEGATIVE ONE HUNDRED AND FREAKING TWENTY.
I'm from District Ten. We don't get bad weather. Heck, before I came here I'd never even seen snow before. I'm not used to this. So just let it stand for five minutes and your homemade frostbite will be ready to eat!
Yum. Like, seriously. I hate this place.
But in two weeks, I'll be out of here, one way or another.
Down Smith (8, Blue)
So it's really cold today, apparently. I've never had much of a reason to like the Gamemakers.
We've kept climbing through Rainy Pass and up into the mountains. It's, like, a total whiteout. Thankfully there are a few trees lining the trail. I can't really see them anymore, but the dogs see them about six inches before they would hit them, so we can avoid them (usually.)
Eclipse looks at this like it's nothing. I'm kind of jealous, because the rest of us are wearing about seventy-three high-tech insulative coats each. It sucks, but I'm okay with it, because:
A. Well, they do work.
B. It's a lot better than freezing to death.
C. The coats are...well, honestly, I can't tell because they're all covered with this snow that's all over the place. So right now, they're white. I think Spring looks good in white; I'll find out when I can actually see three feet in front of me.
Ideally, we'd be able to spot some other teams' tracks in the snow. Last I checked, we were in third. But with all this new snow, there's nothing. The entire trail (well, what I can see of it, anyway) is sparkling white. It's almost blinding at times, but it actually looks really cool. I guess I never realized that before; Eight usually only gets about ten inches or so a year.
Eclipse's plan is pretty simple. We're going to push through whatever crap the Gamemakers decide to throw at us until we get to Rohn. The worst parts of the trail will (hopefully) be behind us, and we can take a quick rest and gain some ground on Red and Orange.
In order to survive this, Hudson made up a game called Lyrical Blizzard. Basically, because the winds are so loud, you sing a line of a song at the top of your lungs right into someone else's ear. Then they sing the next one. Whoever screws up loses. It's actually kind of fun. And hard. This blizzard is so bad that I sang the first line of the Panemian anthem and Elisa thought it was the chorus of 'Imagine'.
So...to put it shortly, this day has been torture so far, just like every one since the reaping. But it's the kind of torture that, in this moment, I wouldn't trade for anything.
And by the way, I lied earlier. I already know that Spring looks good in anything.
Woody Thatcher (2, Purple)
It's late in the evening now. I think we've finally gotten past the top of the trail. After that, it's a pretty dangerous path down into the Interior, but I don't think the dogs will mind. Less work for them. Actually, I bet the sled would go faster if we put them in it and just coasted down the gorge. Well, maybe not. I don't know. But you get my point.
It's actually warmed up quite a bit since we got over the mountains. The winds have died down a little. Snow is still falling, but not quite as heavily. It's really not all that bad. Then again, maybe I've gotten used to full-out blizzards.
Comet's actually been riding the brake almost this entire time. Otherwise the sled would spin out of control. It's fairly narrow here, and we really have to be careful about a lot of-CRACK.
Oh, no, Not here, not now.
Dalzell Creek. The ice is melting.
That must be why the Gamemakers turned up the heat over here. We're only in fourth place; we could see Blue in front of us for a while. But the other teams have surely worn down the ice by going over it three times. No doubt the Gamemakers made sure it's fragile.
So fragile that as soon as our dogs cross over a small crack it cracks wide open and the front of the sled plumments into the still ice-cold creek.
Yeah. Um, we were told that if water wasn't frozen over it would be running at about thirty-eight degrees. Cue the hypothermia.
The front of our sled is now a foot deep in the water as the ice continues to crack. The dogs have stopped trying to pull out the sled. We quickly rush to try to pull out the sled before the water gets too deep. If we don't have a sled, we don't have a chance. So I try to figure out a plan to get it out of the water.
Instead, Ebony just dives right into the creek.
I yell, "What the heck are you doing?"
"Saving your butt! Now help me with this thing!"
Ebony dives under (how deep is this thing?) and lifts up the sled. North and Comet come to help me pull it off to the side of the trail. It's heavy, though, Ebony is holding it above the water with her whole body under. I don't know how long she can hold out.
We finally set the sled off to the side, and Ebony comes up, gasping for air...and a new piece of ice breaks off. Crap. Ebony, not listening to us, goes back under. We once again lift the sled, supplies and all, off to the side, where it's surely safe. This time Ebony lifts the front up a little higher and the rest of us pull the sled backwards.
Comet quickly throws down the brake and tries to help save Ebony. But I can already see it: She's been under too long, and it was too cold. Her body is turning blue already. She's trying to pull herself out of the water, but can't.
Finally, she succeeds, and another chunk of ice breaks off and drags her a few feet downstream. She sighs. Shivering, she looks at me and says softly, "Ggggo, Wooodddy. I cccan't mmmakke ittt."
I start to protest, but as soon as the words come out of my mouth, she slips back under water.
And somehow, I know that this time, she won't be coming back up.
"Come on, guys. The finish line isn't going to wait for us."
End of Day Four
Stats- Day Four
All the teams are past Rainy Pass at this point and are currently continuing on to Rohn. Red is in first, followed by Orange, Blue, Purple, Yellow and Green.
Jason Whitacre (1, Orange)
Well. This race has been...pleasantly uneventful so far. At least, as far as violence goes.
The rigors of Rainy Pass appear to finally be over. No more negative-triple-digit windchills (for now). No more mountain climbs. No more crossing melting rivers. Rohn is the next checkpoint, and despite the fact that it's nothing more than one tiny hut, I'll be quite glad to arrive.
The problem is, as far as we know, Harmonia and the Red Team will already be there. And while normally you don't kill your district partner, something tells me Harmonia would have no such feelings.
They shouldn't get too much rest, I don't think. The race is still fairly close, as I expect it to be the whole way. By our carefully calculated estimates (yeah, right) we're behind by about twenty minutes. Nothing we can't make up considering how much time is still left in this race. But right now...we have to stay alive. After being worried about the wild moose, the hypothermia, the cliffs...for the first time in these games, really, we must fear the knife.
There were two faces in the sky yesterday, the 12 girl (Yellow) and the 3 girl (Purple). At this point, those teams are both a decent amount behind us. We can't forget about them, but we must stay focused on the task at hand. We're still ahead of Blue and Yellow, too, but Blue's still at full strength, so they can't be forgotten either. And I have some sort of weird feeling the kid from Yellow has some tricks up his sleeve.
With just a few more miles left to go before we hit Rohn, I make sure my bow is in working order. If my predictions are right, I'm going to need it.
Hitomi Usake (2, Yellow)
Nico's still asleep. He doesn't look much better.
Honestly, we're kind of too scared to try anything yet. It's a little extra work for the dogs just pulling him in the sled, but we really have no choice at this point. His leg is broken pretty badly. Now I'm mad at myself for not paying attention during those first aid classes in school. Maybe Breeze knows what she's doing.
Dang, I hope Breeze knows what she's doing.
We're still back in fifth place from York's calculations. This stinks not only because there are four teams ahead of us, but because Klaver Fritz is once again directly behind us. I really don't think we can afford another one of his attacks. If we are to win this race (and I still believe we can) it won't be by strength.
So, here's a list of all the stuff we could use right now:
1. Something to heal Nico
2. Pain meds for Nico
3. An anti-Klaverinator
4. Rocket boosters
5. Fried chicken
So basically, unless we get at least some of this stuff, we're screwed in a fight. Even more than we already were.
Then again, the odds have been agains us this entire race.
Who says we can't turn them upside down?
Amazonia Fallow (11, Red)
"Harmonia, wake up. I think Orange is coming."
Harmonia rolls over and yawns. "They better be, Eleven. I'm sick of waiting."
"Yeah. Um, so, like, what do we do? I think they know we're already here."
"Well, um, I don't know, KILL THEM?"
I shrug. "Okay." Harmonia gets up and prepares her assortment of axes for battle.
Pretty soon, Team Orange is pulling in. Kyla and I are hiding in the trees scouting them out, and it's pretty clear they're looking for us. I don't know what their plan is, but-
Two axes come whizzing over my head and land in the trees just inches from Isabelle's face.
This would be a good time to let Harmonia do the killing.
Jason nocks an arrow and shoots at Harmonia. Isabelle throws an axe at Harmonia. Domino shoots a dart at Harmonia. Aquila hesitates, then shoots at, you guessed it, Harmonia.
Harmonia rolls to avoid the first arrow and tosses an axe up into the air. It knocks down Isabelle's; now Harmonia has another weapon. Domino's dart manages to catch her in the side, but it's very small- too small to break through all the coats we're wearing. Aquila just flat-out misses with her arrow.
Harmonia advances, and Drake and I decide to follow. "Put down your weapons!" yells Harmonia. Kyla backs up towards the sled, getting it ready to go as soon as we need to. Jason makes the mistake of shooting at us again.
Harmonia jumps to the side and quickly delivers an axe to his neck. His cannon sounds instantly.
Did she seriously just kill her own district partner?
Wow. She be crazy.
She smiles evilly, and Orange bolts back to their sled. They try one more quick attack, with Aquila firing an arrow and Isabelle throwing an axe. The arrow is left and the axe is long. We're-BOOM!
I whip around, and I discover that Isabelle's axe wasn't high.
She was aiming for Starry.
And now they've pulled ahead of us, and we're left without a guide.
(Seriously? They aren't resting at all? Risky.)
Which means we really need to get a move on.
If we don't have a guide...well, I hope Harmonia's been paying attention, because she hasn't led anybody else do anything.
And if we can't run this sled as well as or better than Starry did, we don't have a chance.
North Baron (5, Purple)
I think Ebony's death has affected us quite a bit. Not all in the same way, but it has.
Woody never really saw Ebony as a better leader than him (personally, I think she did), but he is an excellent fighter. Ebony was our battle strategist and his second-in-command (well, after Comet.) Woody's going to miss her firepower and brains. I think Comet is just a little sick of this whole thing. He says he's just hungry and tired, but I'm pretty sure he just misses his girlfriend. And as for me...well, I don't like our chances nearly as much now.
We're not really in great shape right now; we need rest. We've stopped about three miles past Rohn. It's a really good place to do so after what's happened. And after this stop, we've got more hazards: ice problems on some river I can't pronounce and remnants of a past wildfire which can apparently injure the dogs' paws.
Woody tosses Comet and I some fried chicken (I don't really know why, but we have good sponsors) and we eat in silence. Now isn't the time for strategies, or random small talk, or whatever stupid jokes Comet comes up with. (Come to think of it, teenage guys are stupid. I'm okay with it, though. If you ask me, the girls are even crazier.)
Anyway, now is the time for rest. Rest is good, and I have a feeling we won't be getting any more of it anytime soon.
Spring Howards (9, Blue)
It's just about ten o'clock now, so the sun is finally setting. The rest of the team is eating and discussing whatever they feel like discussing, but I'm not hungry. I've spent this time peacefully gazing off to the northeast. There stands, off in the distance, a majestic peak, illuminated by the sinking sun. I can't imagine how tall it must be; it's very far away. But...it's beautiful, really. I can't help but continue to gaze at it.
"Eclipse says it's called Denali."
I turn my head. "Oh hey, Down. Pretty, isn't it?"
"Sure is. Mind if I sit down?" I shrug and he takes a seat to my left. We sit, looking at the mountain in silence.
"What did you say it was called?"
"Denali," he says. "Eclipse says it means 'the high one'. Fitting enough."
I can't help but giggle. "Well, straight to the point. How tall is it?"
"A little over twenty thousand feet."
"Well, dang, that's tall. Why doesn't the Capitol just send us off to climb it instead of wasting time here? It'd be a lot simpler."
Down just laughs. "Since when has the Capitol cared about simple? Oh, almost forgot, I saved you some of this."
He tosses me a small package and I open it. "Down!" I hit him in the arm (playfully, of course) and show him the box. "Why'd you do that?"
"Thought you'd want it."
"It's chocolate, Down. You can eat it yourself if you want, jeez!" And with that, I take a huge bite out of the candy bar he's given me. He just chuckles and shakes his head, getting up to head back to camp.
"Down, you ever get the feeling you just want to stay out here all night? I know it's all cold and crappy out, but it's just so...natural, pure. I actually kind of like it. You get what I'm saying?"
He nods. "Yeah, I guess so. Well, you wouldn't know, but it's so much nicer than Eight. Problem is, if we stayed out here all night Elisa would kick our butts."
We walk back to our camp sharing a laugh.
And I really, really hope that isn't the last one we share.
Stats- End of Day Five
After the exhausting challenges of Rainy Pass and whatnot, all teams are resting somewhere between Rohn and Nikolai. After today's encounters, the new order is as follows:
Orange is in the lead, followed by Blue. Red has dropped to third, followed by Yellow, Purple, and Green. Again, all teams are currently resting.
York Leabowl (9, Yellow)
We finally got a sponsor gift last night. And boy, did we need it.
Nico had not gotten any better. He woke up, but he could barely move. We're pretty sure his leg is broken in multiple places. It isn't shattered or anything, but it's awfully bad. He needed help.
He needed the instant relief I got.
Technically, I wasn't supposed to give this to him. It was supposed to be mine. But his leg was just terrible. And the problem with that is because he couldn't move, he wasn't generating enough body heat. He can stay this way for a day, maybe, but too much longer like this and he's risking complications from hypothermia. With the shape he's in (well, the shape we're all in) at this point, already freezing and hungry, that could very well do him in.
So, of course, I gave him the instant relief. What else is a leader supposed to do?
The first thing he did as soon as he took it was pass out again. At least it's doing something. I tested it beforehand just to make sure that it was the real stuff and not just sleep syrup, so it should work. But with the Capitol, you can really never be sure.
So now, here we are, continuing on to Nikolai, and pretty much praying that this thing works. Because...well, as a leader, Rockelle's death hit me hard enough. I don't know if I can stand being responsible for another.
Klaver Fritz (4, Green)
Apparently my team didn't want me to attack the Yellow Team a couple of days ago. I think they're nuts.
"You know, Klaver, if you hadn't attacked them, your arm wouldn't be hurt."
"Shut up, Cotto! My arm is fine!"
"You can still barely move-"
"I SAID IT'S FINE!"
"Klaver, it's not fine! You're hurt, alright? Just let me help! That's why I'm here!"
"No, you're not! You aren't doing ANYTHING!"
"Well, if you would just LET me-"
"NO!" This kid is an idiot. He's not helping. He's a liability.
So I stab him with my spear. Problem solved.
Or not. Devin slows down the team. Killigan swats away my spear and tackles me to the ground. I flip around so that I'm on top, but I can't grab my knife. Killigan has my hands.
"Klaver, did you honestly think you could get away with this?" she asks.
"With killing two team members? Devin, give me a knife."
"Friends. They were friends and teammates." She picks up the knife. "I'm sorry, Klaver, but I have to do this. Having you around won't help the team. You've shown that."
"So you see my logic with Cotto, right?"
She shakes her head. "He could have. You just never gave him a chance." With that, her blade enters my chest.
Drake McLeaf (7, Red)
Hello, my friends. Today I introduce to you the latest form of government: the Harmonocracy.
To give you an idea of how it works, here are the three rules Harmonia has made so far:
1. Harmonia runs the team. I guess we all expected this. She's actually doing an okay job of it so far. We've run pretty strong today, I must say. I think even she still wishes we still had Starry (at least, I hope so), but she's stepped up to fill his spot.
2. Thou shalt not attempt to change Harmonia's battle plans. We haven't had any battles yet, but they're no doubt coming up. She's held her own so far. I wouldn't say I trust her necessarily, but I respect her strength.
3. Thou shalt not pretend to be John Bonham and use Kyla as thy drums. Needless to say, this rule is my least favorite (although, strangely enough, Kyla quite enjoys this one. Dunno why.)
Harmonia's taken a lot of power, sure. But because I'm a 'law-abiding citizen' in this society, I'll wait until after it totally collapses to criticize it. It wouldn't really surprise me if that happened. But right now it's running smoothly. We're running as well as we have all race. We have plenty of food and supplies. We're in third, but we've got time. We can certainly get back into first place by the end of the race, because, honestly, that's all that matters in the end.
"Drake! Beef jerky!"
"Thanks, Amazonia!" Wow. Now this is food. Well, it will be. Later. Because I'm pretty sure we don't have any rules against pretending to be other drummers. Maybe Harmonia will cut off my arm and I can be Rick Allen.
You know, honestly, we've been through so much at this point that that really wouldn't surprise me at all.
Isabelle Shellwood (7, Orange)
Jason is gone. And it stings.
I watched the teams carefully during training, and I must say, we looked awfully good. And not just our scores; our chemistry, too. I think Yellow, and probably Blue as well, are decent competition there, but they're too young to win in a battle. Ebony and Woody were struggling for power on Purple. Ebony's dead; I have no idea how that's working out. Probably not so well. And the Green Team is just flat-out messed up at this point.
Which, obviously, leaves Red as the major enemy. So it's a little ironic that I'm really starting to regret killing Starry.
From my point of view, this gives Harmonia full power. She'll be able to stage an attack whenever she feels like it if they can catch us. This would be bad, because they're pissed at me already, and we're weakened a little. We had the pieces. Domino, Aquila and I still make for a pretty strong team. But to some extent, Jason was the glue that held us together. And he was a darn good fighter, too.
But honestly, I'm worried for Red now. I don't have anything against the Red team, just Harmonia. But I've already taken one life, and I'm afraid I may have hurt the others. Kyla and Amazonia were actually some of my best friends during training. I fear I've hurt their chances. The guide's out of the picture, so Harmonia has all the control she ever wanted. She will do whatever she wants. Knowing her...I highly doubt that'll be what's best for the rest of the team. Harmonia is nothing if not selfish.
So to sum it all up: Harmonia is in control of the Red Team, and I'm scared out of my freaking mind.
Well, what can you expect? I call this another typical day in the Hunger Games.
Oh, well. We're in first, and that's what counts.
North Baron (5, Purple)
You want the good news or the bad news first?
Ah, whatever. The good news is that Nikolai is made up of more than three little huts. We were able to pick up some pretty valuable stuff there. Dog food, people food, random stuff that'll supposedly help. Plus I got an axe from my sponsors. Maybe my interview didn't totally fail after all.
The bad news: our dogs, on the other hand, are not doing so well.
I am obviously not experienced with treating paw injuries, but Comet apparently is, and he says that most of our dogs got a little hurt. Nothing that should keep them out of the race, but they should really rest. So as much as I hate to fall farther behind, we aren't going to push for McGrath tonight.
Anyway, Comet says there was a whole bunch of "stuff that causes paw injuries" under a very thin layer of new snow, which was certainly the Capitol's doing. That's the only thing that comforts me here: the other teams may have very well faced this, too. From what Comet's found, he thinks the Capitol set a wildfire in this spot before the race began. How thoughtful of them.
Two more people from Green died today: the guide and the crazy dude from 4. Considering they're already in last, I don't really think I want to know what happened. Weather? Mutts? Mutiny?
Whatever. I think we could all use a little more rest. Here in the Interior, you have to be prepared for anything that gets thrown at you, whether it be weather, starvation, or random Capitol wildfire remnants.
Seriously, though. Why wildfires? Smokey the Bear wouldn't be happy.
Heck, if I win this thing, I'm recruiting him to join my rebellion. Never understimate the power of a bear.
Stats- End of Day Six
The order remains Orange, Blue, Red, Yellow, Purple, Green. Green has just reached Nikolai. Orange is resting up in McGrath for the night, about fifty miles past Nikolai. Purple is about halfway between the two. Blue, Red and Yellow are still on the move.
Domino Opaque (11, Orange)
I hate guard duty.
It's boring. I guess that's not all bad, because it's kind of easy, but it still sucks. We're sitting around in the middle of McGrath, which actually has, like, more than five buildings. But everybody knows we're in first, and it's kind of obvious that we're here.
My friends, this is why you do not stick your orange-coated spies on top of a snow-covered house to scout out other teams. I suppose nobody has good reason to look up here, but it isn't snowing right now, it's just cold. And orange is supposedly the easiest color to see. If a team sees me, they have tons of weapons, three to five people, and a bunch of supplies.
I have two poison darts.
And as the Blue Team comes riding in, I wonder if I'll have to use them.
They appear to be headed around the village and back onto the trail, so I shouldn't. Eclipse turns the dogs at the street corner. They're going to go right-
Elisa draws her knife and looks straight at me. Well, never mind, then. Quickly, I load a dart in my blowgun. I don't really like to kill anymore, but Elisa is a career. I can do without her.
She throws. I roll of to the side and shoot. It looks like a perfect shot; straight to her neck.
Then, because everything I do gets screwed up, the dogs lunge forward and I watch as the dart hits Hudson in the neck.
He falls off the sled and I climb back down to my team's camp. Hudson will be dead in minutes; we need to get going.
Frustrated, I throw my second dart into the snow. Has anything in my life really changed?
I don't care who, when or where. I'm still a killer.
And I still don't like it. Not one bit.
Elisa Freighter (4, Blue)
Hudson pulls the dart out of his neck. Domino, it must have been. Did his team convince him to kill Hudson, or did he do it on his own?
Either way, it looks like our first blow could very well be our hardest.
I think we've all grown fond of Hudson. He's really just a good kid; not only kind, but also very generous. Not to mention he's a heck of a fighter. His knife will be missed as well.
For me, though...it's something more, I think.
My older brother died three years ago at the hands of my crazy, raving, lunatic mother. Since then, there's always been something missing. Never before had I met someone so much like my brother as Hudson was. He was always there for me. So I told myself that I would do my best to be there for Hudson; do whatever it takes.
And now that I've failed, I've lost that for the second time. And I really doubt I can even come close to replacing either of them this time around.
Second chances are rare enough, and I blew mine. You don't get a third.
I've lived through this before. Only now, after going through it again, do I truly realize just how cruel this insane world is. I wipe the tears out of my eyes before Eclipse can see them and we head off towards the tunrda in pursuit of Orange once more.
But then again, I don't really care that Eclipse can't see the tears.
The rest of Panem can.
And at this point, if even one person is left out there who actually cares, then that's good enough for me.
Killigan Isselli (6, Green)
So...we have two people on our team now. This presents many problems, but considering what we had to deal with earlier, I think this could be a blessing in disguise.
I think it's pretty safe to say that if any other team decides to jump us, we're screwed. We haven't been jumped yet, thankfully, but that's because we're in last. We have been all race. Ultimately, that's what really matters, and we need to fix that as soon as possible.
But Devin and I...well, we work well together. Things are running so much more smoothly. We made our checkpoints in Nikolai and McGrath very quickly, and we've made great time since then. Things appear to be working out well. I don't know if it just seems that way because of how absolutely awful our team chemistry was with Klaver in charge, but either way, I'll take it.
Speaking of Klaver...I am starting to feel a little bad about killing him. He was my teammate. He was a human being, with family and friends that probably hate me now. But at the same time, it was clear he could no longer lead the team. Somebody had to do it.
Which, now that I look at it, means that our team was screwed from the very beginning.
Then again, this is the Hunger Games. Everybody starts off in deep trouble, and most end up dead.
But somebody makes it out.
And that somebody just might be me.
Hitomi Usake (2, Yellow)
Apparently the towns for this portion are a little closer together. We made it through McGrath and Takotna fine and are resting up in Ophir for a short while. It's, like, two buildings, practically, but it's something.
Nico finally woke up again late this morning. He's feeling a lot better; he's not nearly as tired and a good chunk of the leg pain is gone. Thank the Capitol for their medicine. However, he still can't really walk. He may be able to walk with crutches, but the snow on the ground would make it a little difficult to use them. We haven't been spending a whole lot of time indoors.
Only one person died today: Hudson from Blue. I never did figure out how exactly he got a 10 in training. He must have used weapons before, I'm assuming, but when? I suppose, though, that it doesn't really matter. A training score is never enough to win. I know enough about this, being from Two. We've had so many tributes that did well in training and probably should have won that ended up dead.
Anyway, I should get some rest. I have a feeling I won't have the chance again for quite some time.
End of Day Seven
Woody Thatcher (2, Purple)
Here we are. Where the trail splits.
You know, I think this would be a lot more exciting for those Capitol folks if there wasn't a big flashing arrow that says THIS WAY on it and pointing off to the north.
We've already been told multiple times which way to go here. The northern section of the trail is probably in much better shape. Well, actually, the Capitol might have screwed it up, but that's out of my control.
Supposedly, we're a bit under halfway to the finish in Zero, but I guarantee that the pace is going to pick up in the next few days. This will probably mean two hours of sleep a day, but hey, we need to make up some ground. I don't care what it is at this point, I'm all for it if it keeps me alive.
I ask, "Comet, what place do you think we're in?"
He thinks for a minute. "Fourth if we're lucky. Probably fifth."
Well, crap. "Go on through the night?"
"That's what I'm thinking."
"Let's do this thing." We head off toward Cripple, no doubt with quite an adventure on our hands. Only the Gamemakers know what tomorrow brings for us now.
Harmonia Felton (1, Red)
"Remind me why we're doing this again?"
I scowl at Drake. "Less work for later. Just pick up a weapon and get ready. They aren't far behind."
Yellow, that is. I'm not really sure how they're still in it at this point, but they clearly are, and so we need to do something about that now that we can.
So when they come through, my axes will have their names on them.
Now we sit.
And they don't come. Where are they?
Then I hear a bark off in the distance. I look off to my right, where I think it came from. Other side of the trail, thirty yards down? What...
I turn around to get the others' attention and find myself staring straight into the fire we started an hour or so ago. Gosh, we're stupid. That was their dog! The fire gave off too much smoke; they knew where we were. They must have gone around, through the forest. How they did it, I have no idea, but if they make it back to the trail...
"Guys! Let's go!" I can just now see a speck of gold on the other side of the trail, and I rush off to the sled, my heart rate rising. Time for another battle.
York Leabowl (9, Yellow)
Well, crap. They've spotted us.
"They saw us! Back onto the trail!"
I pull Nico back onto the sled and we do our best to hurry back to the trail. Since we've been moving slowly through the forest, Nico thought it would be a good time to try out his crutches. He's...well, he's getting used to it.
The first dog finally bursts through back onto the trail and starts dashing off. We're jerked forward, and not a second too soon. Red pulls out about twenty yards back.
Harmonia makes the first move, to nobody's surprise. I hear her axe stick into the back of our sled. Hitomi, standing furthest back, snatches it up and glares at Harmonia. I glance back and see just a small bit of fear in her eyes. Of course, she doesn't know that none of us have any idea how to use an axe.
Then, all of a sudden, Hitomi throws it back.
And I'm about to yell at her for it until it hits their lead dog square in the throat.
Where the heck did that come from?
I don't really want to kill any dogs, but this could slow them down a while. We could gain ground. Nico slaps Hitomi on the back as we pull off, anxious to leave Red behind to tend to their injuries.
But Harmonia is on Red. She won't let us get away with this.
She throws another axe that hits Hitomi in the chest as she looks back at Red, and when she turns around, I see right away that she won't be able to survive.
She knows it, too. Hitomi's last act is to throw herself off the back of the sled and wave us on into the distance.
End of Day Eight
Down Smith (8, Blue)
Another ground blizzard is on the way today. Oh, joy.
There are bright spots here. We are, after all, in first. Our dogs are doing very well. Up until today, the weather has been...well, managable. But I can tell that Hudson's death has hit Elisa awful hard. I don't know what it is, because she hasn't really been talking to us, and I'm not about to ask, but I'm a little worried for her.
So the next time we pull over to give our dogs some food, Spring and I volunteer to do so. She's noticed, too; anyone paying attention would have. But when I ask her about it, I get nothing.
"The truth is, Down, nobody knows except for her. Does it really matter?"
"Right now, no. But you have to admit she's a better fighter than we are. I don't want her to be off her game."
"I'm sure it's something from her past that we wouldn't understand. Maybe she just didn't fully understand the scale of it yet, I don't know. Whatever it is...I'm afraid it's beyond our power to fix."
I think about this for a while. "So what do we do?"
"Well...we force her into a tent with us and bombard her with questions."
I chuckle. "Yeah, she'd love that."
"Exactly. She'd get right back up and leave; we'd be alone."
I raise my eyes and give her a quick smile. "No, seriously. What do we do?"
Spring sighs. "We stay in first, Down. We stay in first."
Isabelle Shellwood (7, Orange)
After staying up all night on the trail yesterday, we've reached the not-so-town of Ruby. From here, the trail will run along a long and wide river which we must eventually cross. The good news here as that we actually know where we're going for once.
The problem is that since we are on the river, the winds are ridiculous. Because this is a barren, snow-covered wasteland anyway, this means the windchills are likely on the verge of triple-digt negatives. I'm really, really starting to get sick of this cold.
Our plan right now would be to rest up for just an hour or so when we get to the next town where we'll cross the river. Just a quick break from the winds, really. If any of us actually tries to sleep, we'll be there for hours on end. We haven't seen anybody while we've been awake for a day and a half, so we can only assume that means they're going all out as well.
Aquila turns to us and says, "Isabelle, Domino, push on?"
(At least, I think that's what she said. I'm usually an okay lip-reader.)
"Um, roger that." We press on, simply because at this point, we don't have much of a choice.
Nico Sirena (3, Yellow)
Breeze puts her palm to her face. "You have got to be freaking kidding me."
York asks, "What?"
She shakes her head. "Five miles ago we were all huddled up tight. Now it's actually kind of...warm. Well, for me, anyway. But the Capitol is trying control the river. Not melt the ice, per say, they want us to get across."
"They are...making things interesting. You guys wanna help me take off the dog coats? If this weather keeps up they'll overheat."
The wind starts to pick up again as we prepare to make our crossing, but it hasn't really cooled down much. It's hovered right around freezing the whole time.
Breeze...well, she thinks we can make it.
Not like we have a choice, with Red on our heels. We start to cross the frozen river.
First thing I learn: it's kinda really really wide.
It's uniform, at the very least. My leg still feels like crap, so it's nice to not have to worry about doing anything with it. There's just enough snow cover for us to work with, so we do.
Then, all of a sudden, the temperature seems to rise twenty degrees, and I hear a crack.
Curse the Capitol.
Not thirty feet behind me, I see a crack in the ice. Breeze hurries the dogs along to the other side as the ice continues to crack and the temperature continues to increase.
The other shore of the river is in clear sight, less than a hundred feet away, but I'm now sweating. It must be sixty degrees, and I'm wearing three coats! Why...
You know, now that I think of it, this must be punishment for something terrible we all did in past lives or something. It would only make sense.
The ice cracks up by the dogs, and I'm thrown to the side. Since my mobility is still practically zero, I'm thrown off the sled and the ice cracks around me.
Breeze and York pull the dogs to a stop.
For those of you listening at home, don't do that.
While Breeze runs over to save me, the ice starts cracking everywhere. I watch as the chunk of ice I'm on slowly breaks away from the rest just as Breeze reaches me.
So, naturally, she jumps in to try and save me, even after I try to wave her back towards the dogs.
She's immediately hit by the water, which is still freezing cold. I'm surprised she actually knows to swim; I certainly never learned. York looks on in horror as she pulls me off the ice floe I'm on and tries to drag me back towards the sled. I clasp my crutches and hold on for dear life.
Remember when I said you shouldn't stop the sled?
Yeah. The sled breaks off on its own ice floe, and now York is stranded.
The dogs start yapping like crazy, trying to find away off the continuously cracking ice. Breeze, gasping for air, pulls me up to rest on the shore. I can imagine hypothermia may very well be in the near future for both of us.
Make that all three. Breeze cries out in horror as the sled and the dogs are split onto separate ice floes.
They start drifting apart.
And York, stuck with the sled, is unable to go across and help by untying the dogs. As a result, as the two separate, the dogs are slowly but surely pulled into the water.
Can they swim? Yeah.
Can they swim well? Absolutely not.
York dives off the ice and quickly scrambles to unhitch the chain. He pushes the sled, filled with all of our supplies, off to the side and swims over to the dogs struggling to survive in the freezing water. He's able to untie most of them from the sled.
The problem is, it's too far to the shore.
Two dogs, Caesar and Xerxes, are all that make it ashore alive. The rest sink beneath the cruel, cold waves of the river. So does, unfortunately, our sled.
So we're left in the cold (the Capitol must quick freeze the river before the next team comes), all wet and sure to have hypothermia, with two dogs, no sled, and no supplies. And Red is sure to come by and kill us all within the next hour or so. And I still have a broken leg.
If there was ever a time where I wished I was a single-celled bacterium with nothing to do in its twenty-minute lifespan, that time would be now.
Kyla Chrome (10, Red)
Our river crossing goes suprisingly smoothly. I would have thought the Capitol would have begun to melt the ice, but it remained solid enough for us to cross.
On the other side of the river, I see Team Yellow, huddled up in the cold with a couple of dogs and no sled.
Something tells me we got off easy this time around.
Harmonia, being Harmonia, notices that they're without weapons and casually strides up to them. "So...how's it going?"
York shakes his head. "Harmonia, if you're going to kill us, just do it."
Harmonia appears to consider this for a while before shrugging off his idea. She fiddles with her axe to keep her intimidating profile, but I think I have an idea of what she's really up to.
"No, see. I would, really. I'd be fine with that. But the thing is, I don't have to."
York starts to object, then sighs and looks down, as if he'd seen this coming.
"I'm not stupid. With your hypothermia and no sled, you've got twenty-four hours if you're lucky. It's not getting any warmer out here. I have no reason to kill you now."
York nods. "Fine. Be that way." He knows that it's over for him either way. He really doesn't care at this point.
"I will. Valiant try, Yellow, valiant try." Harmonia dismisses them and, climbing back onto the sled, urges on our dogs as we head off, leaving Yellow behind for the last time.
Remind me, why did we name our lead dog Forrest again?
North Baron (5, Purple)
I come into the river crossing, well, really nervous after losing Ebony back at Dalzell. This is much more serious. If we get into trouble this time around...
Fortunately, we don't, and the crossing is nice and smooth.
But I'm shocked by what I see when we get across.
Let's just say Yellow's crossing didn't go so smoothly.
Yellow, without a weapon or a sled, spots us and prepares for the worst, which seems pretty much inevitable at this point. I call out, "River melted?" They turn to me and somberly nod.
I end up convincing Comet to pull up alongside of them, just to talk. They describe to us what happened back at the river, and how they have just two dogs left.
They tell me how Harmonia, instead of finishing them off, left them for dead.
I can tell that Woody is anxious, and their guide Breeze seems a little unhappy about being the only girl amongst five guys, but other than that, the mood seems very calm. Depressed, but calm. It makes Yellow so much easier to understand. I know we're kind of wasting time, but in just five or ten minutes, I already feel kind of like they're part of my own team.
Wait a second...
Could that work?
I run some quick calculations through my head. We don't have spots for their dogs, but if they just run behind they wouldn't be pulling anything. The sleds are designed for five; they're small enough that we could probably fit six. We have extra fighters. Everybody benefits from strength in numbers. We could pick up supplies for them no problem. And....I'm sure they would really appreciate it.
But, best of all, it would give me a chance to spite not only the Capitol, but Harmonia as well.
This is the kind of snap decision that either pays off big-time or gets you killed. More commonly the latter.
Well, if I'm going to go down, I'm going to do it humanely.
"We're wasting time. Get on the sled."
Comet and Woody do so, but then I wave to Yellow. "You guys too."
Woody turns to me. "What? No."
Well then. "Comet? Majority rules?"
Comet gulps. "Um, well...oh, what the hell. Get on, your dogs can run behind us."
Woody doesn't look very happy about it, but Yellow, still astonished at my decision, climbs on. We've got a lot of ground to make up. But now...we have reason to do so.
End of Day Nine
Devin Levenhire (10, Green)
Let me guess. You've all completely forgotten about us.
Well, if you haven't, thanks. If you have, I don't really blame you. Honestly, Killigan and I haven't done anything interesting the last three days or so. Just keep on running.
We're making up ground. At least, we think. We're still in last, so I doubt anybody is taking us seriously considering this is where we've been literally the entire race. We haven't gotten a single sponsor gift, and we're not expecting one at this point. It's going to be another sleepless night, if I had to guess.
So...yeah. Carry on. I'll be right here, waiting until I start hallucinating due to a serious lack of actual stuff happening to me. This sucks, if I haven't already mentioned that.
Elisa Freighter (4, Blue)
For those of you wondering, I’m still really angry.
Hudson’s death? No, not now. It’s still hard, but I’ve pulled myself together just enough to get over it for now. At least, I think so. But that’s not the problem right now. Believe it or not, it’s Down and Spring.
And how it’s so blatantly obvious that they like each other.
And they’re both too scared to admit it.
Like it or not, they've been flirting the entire games without realizing it. Granted, they're twelve, but still. How oblivious can you get?
Because of this, I now have two goals.
Number one, obviously, is still to win.
And number two is to get them together.
They're so perfect for each other. Watching them talk is...well, it's really the only thing that's been calming enough to take my mind off of Hudson's death. So I'm determined to get them actually talking.
I know this is probably stupid at this point.
And I know it probably won't last.
But I'm sixteen, and I'm doing it anyway. I head off from my own resting place to go
interrogate have a good, long, quality girl talk with Spring. If there's anything that could help her along these lines, it's confidence, and I think I can give that to her.
York Leabowl (9, Yellow (allied with Purple))
This is it. We finally have all of the pieces in place.
Nico's a really smart kid. Woody provides the strength. Since we kind of gave him our own vote of confidence, North is the new leader. It only seems fitting. Comet and I kind of back them up, since we fit into the system well.
Breeze, though, probably wants this to be over with. Do I blame her? No, not really. Spending your day freezing your butt off and talking about random stuff with five members of the opposite sex sounds like a pretty bad idea to me as well.
We're waiting on the trail right now, because Red is still directly in front of us, taking a break. We're going to pass them if at all possible, but we aren't stupid enough to try when Harmonia is on guard.
And it looks like we might get our chance. Kyla from 10 comes out to take her place. I suppose even killing machines have to sleep.
We slowly make our way through some of the other side streets of what used to be Nulato, but I keep my eye on her just in case. Sure enough, she spots us. Both teams.
The wind is a little calmer today, so even from fifty yards, I see her eyes open, wider than I thought possible.
I tap Comet to urge him to go faster, but to my surprise, Kyla doesn't turn around to tell Harmonia.
She smirks at us and holds her index finger up to her mouth. She'll keep our secret?
Actually, she could. I'm sure she wants to win, but in all honesty, I doubt she wants Harmonia to win with her.
This would be a darn good way to spite her.
And even though I never really got to know her, I'm quite proud of her for it.
I turn around smiling as we get set for another (hopefully less painful) river crossing.
Amazonia Fallow (11, Red)
After a few hours, we're...well, not well-rested. But about as well-rested as you actually can be when you're running a thousand-mile race for your life.
We head out to the trail, prepared to make up as much ground as we can and hopefully propel ourselves into first.
Well, we were going to. We never seem to get anything done when Harmonia snaps.
"KYLA, DRAKE, WHY THE HELL ARE THERE TRACKS ON THE TRAIL IF IT'S SNOWING AS WE SPEAK?"
Kyla quickly jumps to it. "Well, um, maybe they were smart and came through while we switched. There was about a two minute gap, since somebody does not do well when woken up with snow in the face."
"I seriously doubt that."
"Hey, it's possible!"
"Whatever," Harmonia sneers. "But I'm watching you."
"All of you."
End of Day Ten
Domino Opaque (11, Orange)
Purple and Yellow? Gosh, I never would have guessed.
We're taking a quick little break (well, as much of one as we can afford, anyways) here in Kaltag, and we saw them pass us. Was I surprised? Yes. Unhappy? Absolutely not.
Finally, a brilliant plan to spite the Capitol on the biggest stage. And I didn't even have to get involved. Even better.
The downside is that now Red is coming up right behind them. They outnumber us already, and honestly, we're awfully tired for a fight. Considering our, erm, previous encounters, this could get bad if they can see us. We have to hope they fly right by.
"ISABELLE, GET OUT HERE AND FIGHT ME LIKE A WOMAN SHOULD!"
Well, never mind that.
Harmonia charges us, and her team follows, clearly not interested in a fight. Isabelle, suddenly overcome with energy, returns the favor, and Harmonia and Isabelle are dueling in a majestic clash of blades. But I can see all of it. Harmonia is being much more aggressive with her strikes. It's only a matter of time until Isabelle lets her guard down, at which point it's over.
So, naturally, I pull out a dart and aim for Harmonia's neck. And naturally, she blocks it and gets in the final strike, throwing her axe right at Isabelle's skull. As soon as it starts gushing blood, I can tell that she's gone. Now it's up to me.
But I have a weapon. Harmonia doesn't.
Aquila tries to shoot arrows at Harmonia, but their trajectory is lost in the howling wind. She won't get it. I pull out a dagger and advance on Harmonia, as stupid as it may seem, and for a second, I see just a slight hint of fear in those cruel eyes of hers.
Harmonia grabs a sword and prepares to duel me when Aquila pushes me to the side. Wait, no...
I see a knife sticking out of my left side. I fall to the ground, but as I do, I look up. Amazonia is standing completely still, looking at the ground.
My own district partner...
The last thing I see before my eyes close is Amazonia mouthing "Sorry".
Drake McLeaf (7, Red)
In two weeks, I have never seen Harmonia more excited, nor Amazonia more dejected.
If you recall, Orange finished with the highest total training score. So as far as Harmonia is concernced, we've just unseated the top seed by delivering a knockout punch. Granted, Blue is still ahead of us (and, as far as Kyla knows, the Purple/Yellow alliance), but they both have to rest at some point. We're looking pretty good when you consider it all.
I think Amazonia, though, is regretting killing her district partner. Yeah, he was a little weird, and he was a threat, but I can see her point. I mean...well, Harmonia just killed my district partner. Honestly, I think I am ready to use her as a musical instrument. Or...possibly worse.
Come to think of it, this is getting ridiculous. I need to talk to Kyla and Amazonia. Hopefully, we can set things right together.
Down Smith (8, Blue)
After going for three days straight, we make a silent agreement to stop in Unalakleet and sleep for as long as possible. This place, unlike many others, looks like it was actually inhabited by more than one person at one point, so we should be safe from Harmonia's random killings and whatnot here. I instantly pass out on the floor.
"Down?" I whip around.
And I'm absolutely shocked by what I see.
"...Hudson? You're alive?"
"It's a dream, dude."
"Oh. Oh, I knew that. Duh."
"Of course you did. Now get on with it already!"
I take a step back. "Wait, with what?"
Hudson shakes his head again. "Dude, they all know you like her. Hell, I think Harmonia knows. Just hurry up and ask her out now! You may not get this chance again!"
With that, Hudson fades away.
And when I wake up, I know what I have to do.
End of Day Eleven
Harmonia Felton (1, Red)
Orange is out. Now, I've caught Blue resting. It's time to take them out as well.
Obviously, they locked the door to the house, but it is always possible to sneak in through the chimney. After that...I'm not sure if they're sleeping or not, but if they aren't, the rest of my team is outside waiting for them.
I think I'll start with Spring.
Slowly, without waking anybody up (I think), I creep around the house. Eventually I find where Spring is. I pull out my single, deadly, double-bladed axe and get ready to strike her in her sleep.
I step into the doorway...and Down is waking her up. Aww.
She opens her eyes and, seeing me, lets out a bloodcurdling scream that I will no doubt remember for the rest of my life.
Down whips around, and I hear shuffling in the back which can only be the other team members. He draws his knife and stands up, pacing towards me. "Don't. You. Even. Think. About. It."
I actually take a step back. Who does he think he is, challenging me?
I throw the axe, and Spring desperately pulls Down off to the side.
It doesn't make a difference. I hear a loud thud. That isn't an axe...
As Eclipse Icefall lies motionless on the floor, my axe in her temple, I turn and run.
Down Smith (8, Blue)
No. Oh, gosh, no, not now.
Eclipse collapses instantly, and we all know right then that she's gone. The cannon sounds the second she hits the floor; no time to even say goodbye.
Well, then I suppose this would probably be a bad time to tell Spring that I'm madly in love with her.
Then again...there never really is a good time. Not now, considering we could both be dead in a matter of minutes. As we start readying the dogs, Elisa at the helm, I begin to wonder, just as always, why.
Nico Sirena (3, Yellow (allied with Purple))
I don't believe it. We're actually back in first place.
I doubt this alliance is in any way legal as far as the Gamemakers are concerned, but it has truly saved our chances of winning. They're probably still slim, but back up into the 'existent' range is definitely something we'll take.
Making good time, we hit Shaktoolik around ten in the morning. It's not really any more of a town then any of the others we've passed through, but the dogs just need a quick five-minute rest before we keep on. We should have enough of a lead (at least, Comet thinks so) to do so here, and just get right back out on the trail. This is also a good time for snacks, because...well, we are teenagers.
Comet comes and sits down next to me. "How's the old leg holding up?"
I shrug. "Better than I thought it would. They don't really make crutches for snow, though."
He just chuckles. "No, they do not. Beef jerky?" I take some and try to sit down normally. I know we need to go, but this is really nice. I'd take this over racing anyday.
Looking back on it, though, I don't really know what to say.
The thing is, this was all before Comet was attacked by a very large snowball that calls the roof of the post office home.
And you wouldn't believe what happened after.
Comet Ash (0, Purple (allied with Yellow))
For those of you reading at home, I would not personally recommend getting tackled by a large ball of snow.
Nico makes his best attempt to jump back on his good leg. Breeze and Woody, who were getting the dogs ready to get back out on the trail, come rushing to my aid, both aghast at what they just saw. I’m about to wave them back when I realize something.
This is way too heavy to be snow.
And as I try to get back up, somebody, holding me down, plants a kiss on the back of my head.
As I finally manage to flip back around, Venus Blizzard stares down at me.
So, of course, I do the only thing that comes naturally in this situation.
I kiss her back.
“Venus, what are you doing here? This is great, but what…”
She just shrugs. “Got tired of waiting for you. Figured I’d try out the old trail.”
I just stare at her. “You realize your father is probably having a heart attack right now, you know that, right?”
“No, he was. Now I’m on camera and he knows exactly what happened and he’ll probably ground me for it.” She chuckles as she gets back up, shaking about thirty pounds of snow off her coat, which I can now see is purple.
I love her.
So, then, obviously, the whole rest of the team comes up wondering, “Who the heck is this girl?” I introduce her as my girlfriend Venus, and she seems to get along with them well. I think Breeze is finally happy that there’s another girl left on the team.
She pulls me over as we’re about to head out. “Hey, um, I got a sled that can fit three. You think it would be easier if you used it? Save the dogs’ energy, maybe pick up a little speed between the two teams.”
I think about it for a minute. “Is that even legal?”
“Well, is it legal for me to be here? Is it legal for you to be in this alliance?”
Okay, she has a point.
So with that, we share another kiss- a real one this time- and head off in pursuit of victory.
Killigan Isselli (6, Green)
We pull into Koyuk around...well, there really is no nightfall here...eleven PM? This is the land of the midnight sun, after all. The stars are out tonight, along with another beautiful sight that even the Gamemakers could never reproduce.
The northern lights are ablaze in the sky.
As we sit down to take our quick rest and feed the dogs, a parachute comes falling from the sky, with a note attached to it:
Dear Beloved Members of the Green Team,
Thank you for participating in this wonderful event! Unfortunately, rules developed within the Capitol have stipulated that only four teams shall remain at this point in the race. As you are in last place, you must unfortunately be...dealt with. So...yeah. In about five minutes, rocks will start falling from the sky as your trackers detonate. Until then, we give you bacon to enjoy your last minutes.
Head Gamemaker Phobos Darkthorne
"AW, WHAT THE HELL?"
So, naturally, I make a snap decision.
I pull out an axe and chop off my tracker arm.
Devin screams (like, a legit scream) and after a couple seconds I realize what I just did and start cursing like sailor. Eventually I can tell him "Do it. They can't detonate the trackers then. Maybe we can get far enough in four minutes to outrun their stupid rocks."
Just as he shakes his head, the first rock comes falling from the sky.
Curse them all.
With that, I scoot next to him, and we spent our last thirty seconds eating damned good bacon.
I hear his cannon sound just before my own.
End of Day Twelve
Spring Howards (9, Blue)
We decide to stop for quite literally two minutes, just to give the dogs a short rest. They might be strong, but they aren't invincible. Plus, this burns a whole lot of calories, and they need to eat. So Elisa breaks out the beef jerky and we do as well. I'm getting kind of sick of it, though. KFC or something would be nice.
I get up, munch down a few quick bites, and am about to go feed the dogs when Down pulls me aside.
"Hey, Down. What's on your mind?"
He takes a deep breath.
"Spring...I know you might not believe me if I tell you this but I've kind of been confused about my feelings this entire time but lately I think I know where they are because I've been talking to you more and you're a nice girl and the snow is nice because white suits your style and I know Eclipse is gone and she could probably help us through this but I think that-"
"Uh, yeah, Spring?"
And with that, I stand on my tiptoes and kiss him, right on the lips.
This, of course, was followed by Elisa screaming "I KNEW IT" at the top of her lungs and seemingly being genuinely happy for the first time the whole trip, and us awkwardly having to go back to the sled to finish feeding the dogs. But I wouldn't change a thing.
Sure, I'm twelve. I don't really know what love is, and I've only known Down a couple weeks.
But as far as I'm concerned, it may be right here, in this moment.
And because that's all I have to hold on to at this point, it's all right by me.
North Baron (5, Purple (allied with Yellow))
This alliance was going unbelievably well.
The pieces were all in place, we were in first place, and we had an incredible sense of team unity that you really need to win something like this.
Now...well, read for yourself.
Dear members of the Yellow and Purple teams,
We have done extensive research about the results of your alliance and the legality of it within the rules specified by the official Hunger Games Rules, Section II, Exceptions: The Iditarod Games, Subsection XIV, Stipulation 154. Basically, this is where alliance rules are found.
As a result of our findings within this official rulebook, we have decided that your alliance goes against what is specified in the rulebook as far as victors are concerned.
As a result, we will allow your alliance to continue on as you have been doing for now. However, we hereby notify you that your alliance is technically illegal, and if you cross the finish line in first place with this same illegal alliance, all trackers will detonate and the Games will have no victor. We highly recommend that you take this into consideration before proceeding.
Also, Comet Ash, please keep your girlfriend Venus Blizzard from interfering with our magnificent games. As Eclipse Icefall volunteered for her, she is no longer a part of the games.
Head Gamemaker Phobos Darkthorne
Kyla Chrome (10, Red)
As we stop to feed the dogs, Amazonia pulls Drake and I aside.
"Look, guys. I think we all want to win. But does Harmonia really deserve to? I think we need to, uh, do something about her..."
I think about this for a second. "Well...what can we really do? Our only hope is to catch her by surprise."
"Well...true...I mean, we could stab her from the sled or something."
"Problem is, we NEED her for now. Like it or not, she's our most effective fighter by far, and I'm not sure if we can win without her."
"We might be able to. But our chances go way down, I agree."
"So, I don't think we should do that...Gosh, I don't know..."
We had completely forgotten about Drake. Now he turns to us, a smile on his face and a glint in his eye.
"I've got a plan."
York Leabowl (9, Yellow (allied with Purple))
We pull into White Mountain around eight at night after a day of nonstop running. I can't speak for my team, but I'm about ready to pass out. I know I can't, though. There is no way I'm giving up so close to the finish line.
We don't even stop to feed the dogs. We know we aren't up by more than a mile or two. We must keep going.
Turning the corner, we find out that the Gamemakers had other ideas.
A giant wall of snow has been placed in the way of the trail. A quick glance shows that there is no way around it.
There is a note on the wall:
Congratulations! You are in first place!
That means we have to make things interesting. You see, the race must be close at the end to keep viewer interest, as I'm sure you're aware. So, for that reason, we're temporarily slowing you down.
Your task is simple: The wall will vanish when one of your team members gives their life so the rest can continue.
Why do they do this to us?
Then I realize something. This is a wall made of snow.
"Guys, I'm going to try to kick down the wall."
"WHAT? ARE YOU CRAZY?"
"Comet, hear me out on this. It's snow. Even if it's thick, we can eat away at it. We don't need anybody dead here, okay? At the very least, they still accomplish their goal of slowing us down. They'll be fine with it!"
"The wall is probably brick inside, you know."
"Probably, though. If I kick a brick wall, I kick a brick wall. There's no harm in trying!"
"York, it isn't the greatest-"
I get a running start, launch upwards with a strong jump and plant my foot into the wall.
I hear a slight buzzing noise as a shock is sent through my body and the world goes dark.
Woody Thatcher (2, Purple (allied with Yellow))
Our team quickly rushes to our ally's aid. I don't get how you put an electrical field inside a fence of snow, but they've done it, and it's worked well. Too well.
York's cannon sounds just as we reach him.
As the rest of us start feeding the dogs (honestly, we have nothing better to do), Nico kneels down by York and stays with him. I know he was really a hero to Nico, along with Hitomi. Now both of them are gone. Nico...well, he's in a bit of a sticky situation at this point. I don't blame him. I do notice, though, that no hovercraft comes to collect York's body. Are they waiting for Nico to move, or...
A parachute floats down from the sky in North's direction. He opens it, and, pulling out a letter, reads it to the team:
Members of the Yellow and Purple Teams,
I believe you have learned your lesson now. There is no way around the will of the Capitol. However, through some interesting way, you have actually managed to complete our challenge, as York has sacrificed himself for the rest of you. You will now be allowed to continue on your journey. Good luck to all of you!
Head Gamemaker Phobos Darkthorne
I watch as the fence starts to sink beneath a cover of snow, and the trail opens up again.
"Come on, guys. We better get going again, we don't want to lose our edge."
Amazonia Fallow (11, Red)
Snow is beginning to fall as we pull into White Mountain, but there are still sled tracks on the trail. That's good. We aren't far behind.
We pull around to leave the town without stopping when a parachute comes down towards our sled, bearing something that could really help us.
Or not. I've heard tales of idiotic sponsor gifts. Hopefully this is the former.
Harmonia, bossy as ever, rips the package out of Kyla's hands and pulls out a bag of Double Stuf Oreos with a note attached.
"It's addressed 'For the sexiest'....well, sweet, I have Oreos! Thanks, uh, random sponsor guy."
"NOOOOOOO!" Drake tackles Harmonia to the ground and rips the Oreos out of her hands. "ONLY I CAN BE THE SEXIEST HERE, YA GOT THAT, WOMAN?"
"NO, DRAKE, THEY'RE MINE!"
I look over at Kyla and shake my head. "Why do they do this to us?"
"My gosh, Amazonia...Guys, we're wasting time!"
"We're fine, Kyla, okay? Just give me these-"
"HARMONIA, BLUE IS COMING UP BEHIND US!"
She scowls and tosses the Oreos off the trail and into the wilderness. "Fine."
"Fight or flight?"
"Well...Purple and Yellow are out there. We have to catch them. Trust me, we'll take care of Blue when the time comes." Harmonia gets back on the sled, and we're off again.
Down Smith (8, Blue)
Well, one way or another, within twenty-four hours we shall meet the end. It's unspoken, but here in last place, it hangs over our heads as a thick cloud of fog. We need to do something, and quickly, if we want to escape. We won't be getting any sleep for quite some time, I'm sure.
And honestly, I don't want to right now. We got a big favor from beyond even the influence of the Gamemakers.
The aurora borealis are out tonight.
And despite the fact that I'm fighting to be alive tomorrow, I can't help but marvel at them.
We go on through the night, as Spring and I watch the light show unfold above us (and, okay, occasionally sneak in a kiss when Elisa isn't looking).
And, honestly, if all I have left is Spring and a confusing phenomenon of light up in the sky, then I'm okay with it. Because right now, that's more then enough.
End of Day Thirteen
DAY FOURTEEN: THE END
2:24 AM- Nico Sirena (3, Yellow (allied with Purple))
We pull into Safety as the sun begins to climb once again, here in this land of seemingly endless day. Twenty-two more miles from victory. We can do this.
Of course, there was that note we got from the Gamemakers...
Ah, we'll figure something out, I'm sure. Well, okay, Comet will.
As we pass through the town, we see one last roadblock on the trail. But this is not a harmful one like yesterday's. It's a Cornucopia stocked with weapons, identical to the one we passed in Eagle River, which was somehow just two short weeks ago. It feels like it has been a lifetime and a half since then...
Well, heaven knows I'm going to need a sword. And I should probably grab a knife as well...
"NICO, GET OUT OF THERE, RED IS COMING!"
Oh, crap. There's no way Harmonia is short on weapons at this point...we better get going.
One way or another, this is going to be quite interesting.
3:47 AM- Elisa Freighter (4, Blue)
We're still in last for now. But Red is within a hundred yards, easy. And I don't think Purple and Yellow are too far off either. We're still in this. The weird part is that we aren't gaining or losing any ground at all. The Capitol must have done something to these dogs...
Well, either way, based on the letter we got, it's going to be close.
Remaining members of the Blue Team,
Because there are still a total of ten tributes alive, our audience has decided that we make this...interesting. As a result, you noticed the Cornucopia in Safety, a mere twenty-two miles from your final destination of District Zero.
Anyways, we have a plan to make it close.
We, of course, have control over everything in the arena. This includes all of your supplies (specifically, your sled). When you have half a mile remaining, you will find a post. This post contains a lantern with each team's color on it. YOU MUST PICK UP THIS LANTERN IN ORDER TO WIN. FUTHERMORE, YOU WILL BE KILLED IF YOU PICK UP OR ATTEMPT TO DESTROY THE LANTERN OF ANOTHER TEAM. Once you have picked up the lantern, your sled will disintegrate and your dogs will be picked up by hovercraft. You will have to fight out the last half-mile on foot.
Upon reaching your destination in District Zero, you will find an arch at the finish line. The first team to pass through the arch and place their lantern underneath it will be declared the winning team. I'm sure you know what will happen if you do not win, so hurry up!
This letter has been sent to all teams, by the way. Do not feel as if this is any sort of advantage.
Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor.
-Head Gamemaker Phobos Darkthorne
THE FINAL BATTLE HAS BEGUN!!! (third person)
Red reaches the post about twenty seconds ahead of Purple and Yellow. This gives them time to collect their belongings. Drake grabs the lantern and heads off toward the finish line with Amazonia. Harmonia and Kyla stay put, ready for a fight.
They don't miss the fear in the eyes of Nico Sirena when his team approaches the lanterns.
So Harmonia pulls out an axe and, with one shot, uses that fear to her advantage.
Nico's cannon sounds, and a hovercraft appears over the trail: not for Nico, but for Breeze. Breeze seems to realize this: her team is all dead now. She's all that's left. And, one way or another, she is going home.
She looks up to the hovercraft and gives a slight shake of her head.
"No. This is my team now. I won't let them go down without me."
Her entire team, as well as Harmonia and Kyla, stare at her in shock.
Woody uses this to his advantage, drawing a sword and catching Harmonia by surprise. She steps back and pulls a dagger out of her pocket. It's sharp and deadly, but it's no match for a sword.
Harmonia, though, defends herself quite well. She is, however, being backed up. Seemingly more than she has to. She backs up again and charges at Woody, who readies his sword for what he hopes will be a fatal blow.
Instead of charging, sidestepping or even sliding, Harmonia stops short at twenty feet and launches her dagger out of her hand. Woody's eyes are wild with fear, and he is ultimately too stunned to react. As the dagger impales him, blood begins to seep from his throat, and he falls to the ground.
Harmonia is about to throw Kyla a glare for not helping her out, but she doesn't have the time.
Blue has arrived on the scene. Harmonia pulls out another axe, anticipating a fight.
Then Yellow's lantern, no longer necessary, explodes, and all hell breaks loose.
Kyla, standing nearest to the post, falls to the ground, writhing in pain from hundreds of glass shards being thrown into the side of her chest. Breeze, of all people, runs to help her out, but Harmonia shoots her a glare and she takes a step back.
As Blue pulls up, Harmonia throws her axe at Elisa. Elisa responds quickly by tossing her trident. The two hit in midair and spin to the ground. Reluctantly, Harmonia draws her sword.
Blue, drawing their weapons as well, begin to advance on Harmonia, and she continues to slightly back up. Harmonia flirts with their blades for a while, not trying to go in for a deadly swipe just yet. Breeze uses this opportunity to attempt to tend to Kyla again. Once again, Harmonia catches her, and this time, she brings down her sword.
But not on Breeze.
Breeze rolls off to the side quickly, but Harmonia's sword finds, on accident, the heart of her teammate. Kyla's cannon sounds, and it's down to seven.
At this point, Harmonia, starting to get a little tired, has backed up about a hundred yards from the lantern post. Surely, she knows she doesn't have to do anything else. Drake and Amazonia are carrying the lantern. They'll finish the job for her. But Blue and Purple are not satisfied with this.
All this time, Spring and Down have been inching their way off to the side, holding Team Blue's lantern. As they start moving forward back onto the track again, Harmonia spots them without them realizing. She pulls out a knife-not her best weapon, but still a good one- and sticks it into Spring's calf. Spring falls to the ground as Harmonia turns to Down, raising her eyes with a smirk on her face.
As she turns around, North sneaks around the other side and starts to bolt, leaving Elisa to deal with Harmonia alone, something she surely knows she cannot handle for long.
A second cannon sounds.
A second cannon?
Drake McLeaf lies dead on the trail, North's axe in his side. Amazonia quickly puts a dagger in his leg to knock him to the ground and is about to finish him off, but she hesitates.
She could have won by now. She's not going to give up on her plan.
Elisa is tiring. Even with a sword, fighting Harmonia is hard work, and she knows she doesn't have much longer. Harmonia is pushing her back at an increasing rate.
Creeping forward a few steps, Amazonia draws her final knife. She only has one chance. If she misses, it will all be to no avail. Not only will her plan fail, but she will most likely die.
She takes a deep breath and throws the knife.
Harmonia lurches forward and is barely able to parry Elisa's strike. She turns around, confused as to what hit her. A tribute? A mutt?
She pulls a bloody knife out of her back, and it dawns on her.
Elisa uses this as a chance to attack again, and Harmonia runs back in horror. She is about to return the favor and throw the axe back at Amazonia when she notices Down and Spring, still creeping along the side of the trail. Down is helping Spring, who is limping on one foot. What weaklings, she thinks.
Surely that would wipe the smile off Elisa's face.
So she throws it, and this time, she's the one with the bullseye. Spring goes down, and Harmonia races forward as fast as she can, losing blood by the second.
Down collapses on top of Spring, whispers something to her so quietly that the cameras can't hear it, and gives her one final kiss. Her cannon sounds.
Harmonia, having finally lost enough blood, falls to the ground briefly. She tries to cut off the loss of blood with her jacket, but she doesn't get the chance. Venus Blizzard, now armed with a bow, delivers a strike to Harmonia's shoulder from behind, and she collapses, bleeding out a little more and convulsing on the ground before her cannon finally sounds.
Amazonia and Down, at this point, are off to the races. Amazonia has the size and speed advantage, being sixteen to Down's twelve. But she's thrown her final weapon. Down hasn't. And that one little knife is enough to give him the advantage he needs in this race.
As she catches up to him after about ten seconds, he shoves the knife in her side, and she goes down. "I'm sorry," he tells her. "But I need to do this for Spring."
Amazonia's cannon rings loud and clear, and the race continues. Elisa comes running after Down, along with Breeze, Comet and Eclipse, all trying to aid their teammate, North, who, although in first, is limping towards the finish line.
Down, growing tired, passes the lantern off to Elisa, who takes off running parallel to Comet. The two catch up with North Baron just one hundred feet shy of the arch. Comet draws his sword, prepared to fight off Elisa so North can place the lantern. Elisa draws hers as well.
North steps in between them.
"Comet, don't do it. I'm probably going to die anyways. Don't fight her. Go on, live. I won't be happy no matter what happens to me. But you will. You've got a great girlfriend and a full life ahead of you now. Don't you forget that."
"North...I see your point, but you can't just-"
"I have to. I'm sorry. And Comet?"
"You were a great friend."
North smiles, looks up at the sky, where the northern lights are finally beginning to fade, and takes his axe to his throat.
One final cannon sounds.
Elisa kneels down next to him for a second with the guides before Down shows up once again. He takes the blue lantern from Elisa's hands, silently walks over to the arch with Elisa following him, and sets it underneath the arch.
The trumpets sound. He's done it. Somehow, he has survived the Iditarod Hunger Games.
But instead of celebrating, he kneels down underneath his victory lantern and begins to weep for Spring.
And when Elisa finally finds the courage to walk up to the arch, there's nothing she can do but sit down and weep with him.
It is not alright. It never shall be, not like this.
But today, it does not matter, because they are truly champions of the world.
Two Years Later- Comet Ash (0)
I honestly don't know what to make of these games anymore.
Aquila and Breeze were both devastated that they let their teams down, but I think they've both moved on. Aquila is in my gradutating class this year. Trust me, those two are going somewhere.
Down and Elisa, though...oh boy.
Down has gone into a spiral of depression ever since Spring died. We've managed to keep it mostly under control, but there still are those days. He never really got over her. At just fourteen now, he'll have a chance to date later in life, but it would really suprise me at this point. He truly does only have eyes for Spring. He's broken inside, but somehow, in some way, he hides it. And I know it's not good for him when he's revisiting Spring's death in his dreams each night, but at this point, it's all he can do.
Elisa got the better end of the deal. Her mother has started talking to her again, from what I've heard. Apparently that's big news coming out of her house. Something about her brother dying? I'm not sure entirely, but she sounds a little happier. I'm sure she'll never get the games out of her mind either, but maybe that's just a small blessing that's come out of it.
Venus and I, I'm glad to say, are still going strong. Venus got in some HUGE trouble with her father after she snuck out to find me on the trail, but we've stuck through it, and I'm glad we did. And as stupid as this may sound at eighteen, I think I've found the one.
These games have changed us all. Some good, some bad, and some just plain old confusing.
And now, all we need to do is remember just what brought us here, because nothing as hurtful as these Games has any sort of reason to stand.
Can we forgive? Well...it'll be very difficult. It might happen, but it will be difficult.
But we will never forget. I won't forget Ebony, throwing herself into the river to save me. I won't forget North, graciously offering to help pick up the spirits of the Yellow Team. I won't forget the summer my life got turned upside down.
And I won't forget the summer I had a true adventure, just as I knew I would talking to Eclipse on stage that very first day.
Well, you know what they say. A moment lasts a second, but a memory...a memory lasts forever.
|24th||Roxy Clover||8||Purple||Harmonia Felton (1)|
|23rd||Anderson Gasteryt||6||Green||Klaver Fritz (4)|
|21st||Rockelle Silver||12||Yellow||Klaver Fritz (4)|
|19th||Jason Whitacre||1||Orange||Harmonia Felton (1)|
|GUIDE||Starry Knite||0||Red||Isabelle Shellwood (7)|
|GUIDE||Cotto Crest||0||Green||Klaver Fritz (4)|
|18th||Klaver Fritz||4||Green||Killigan Isselli (6)|
|17th||Hudson Rylie||12||Blue||Domino Opaque (11)|
|16th||Hitomi Usake||2||Yellow||Harmonia Felton (1)|
|15th||Isabelle Shellwood||7||Orange||Harmonia Felton (1)|
|14th||Domino Opaque||11||Orange||Amazonia Fallow (11)|
|GUIDE||Eclipse Icefall||0||Blue||Harmonia Felton (1)|
|11th||York Leabowl||9||Yellow||Electric shock|
|10th||Nico Sirena||3||Yellow||Harmonia Felton (1)|
|9th||Woody Thatcher||2||Purple||Harmonia Felton (1)|
|8th||Kyla Chrome||10||Red||Harmonia Felton (1)|
|7th||Drake McLeaf||7||Red||North Baron (5)|
|6th||Spring Howards||9||Blue||Harmonia Felton (1)|
|4th||Amazonia Fallow||11||Red||Down Smith (8)|