A Game of Chance [A Hunger Games Fanfiction]
Author: Phoenix Summers

Chapter 11
Training Day One

The next morning, I waken with a pounding headache. I sit up, groaning as I do so. Putting my head between my legs I count to thirty; when I remove it the throbbing has lessened to a dull ache. I stand and yawn, then begin to prepare myself for the first day of training, picking out a casual but ideal outfit.

 

When I am ready, a servant appears in the doorway, gesturing out. Making my way downstairs, I am surprised to see Joe standing in the doorway. Surely he is not here for what I think he is here for? But as motions at me to follow him out the door, I am forced to accept that I will be eating breakfast with my fellow district tributes. I do not mind Damon... on the contary, I relish the thought of being given a chance to win him over as an ally. But, I do mind Hunter. She annoys me with her indifference. If we are to eat breakfast together, I am going to have to attempt not to kill her... now, at least. I grimance, and my amusement at the thought of us all eating together deepens as Joe leads me, and Damon, when he joins us, to Hunter's tribute house. It appears that I am the only one who needs overseeing.

 

Hunter opens the door with a scowl, and shoves me inside. I react by twisting her ear. Just before I can do any permanent damage, I stop. I chuckle softly, knowing that I can say I acted in self-defence if I am questioned about my actions. Even Hunter's tears do not affect my conscience. I am the only one who will realise that they are tears of anger; everybody else will think her a blubbering coward.

 

Breakfast is a quiet affair,as Hunter is sulking and Damon is wolfing down food. Joe, the stylists,and the prep teams are also eating but from time to time I catch them watching us. If they see us looking, they hurriedly turn their heads. After a few minutes of this, I become annoyed and snap at them. "Why are you watching us?" Joe starts in surprise, knocking over his coffee in the process. Mute avoxs stationed around the room hurry to clear it up. He regards me with no warmth in his eyes, and replies "to make sure you don't kill each other." I have no smart response to that, so I keep my mouth shut. He abruptly stands and tells us to follow him to the training centre.

 

When we reach it, I gaze in awe. It is a solid marble white, and one of the tallest buildings in Panem. I had heard that there was a new training centre each Quarter Quell, but I had never realised the significance of being the first ones to use it. All of this years tributes will have a bigger advantage than usual, as we can use the latest weaponry. I am not sure if this is a good or a bad thing. I frown, biting the inside of my cheek, then smooth out my expression.

 

The interior is just as stunning as the exterior. But, what actually draws my eyes, is the glass weapons cabinet on the far side of the room. Rows and rows of sharp weapons lie there, just waiting to be picked up. My fingers itch to get at them already. I tear my gaze away from the instruments of death, and scan the room.

 

Shockingly, we are the second to last district to arrive. District 8 arrives only a minute after us. I sneer at them, and am rewarded by one of them looking scared as she huddles closer to the others. I laugh, unable to control myself. She must be Mia, the 12 year old girl that I have down as a weakling from my list on the train.

 

I see Damon-Lee and Neleesha, District 2, leaning against a wall on the other side of the room on the other side of the room, watching me. I nudge Damon, and point, telling him to follow me over. To my unapparent surprise, he nods, and we saunter over.

 

When we come within a short distance of each other, both our districts stop to size each other up. I am the first to step forward and introduce myself and Damon. Soon we are chatting comfortably, even sharing jokes. I can see that the other districts are worried by our ease.

 

Thankfully, I am not the first of the four to bring up the subject of alliences. Neleesha asks, "Allience?" I keep my face neutral, but inside I feel triumphant. Never the less, I reply, "let's wait until we can assess each others skills.". I walk away, gratified to fine Damon following me. I know his skills already, and he is very good with weapons. I frown slightly. it will be confusing having a Damon and Damon-Lee in our alliance, but I just need to remember that Damon is District One, same as me, and Damon-Lee is District Two.

 

Waiting until we are out of the earshot of Damon-Lee and Neleesha, I ask to be allies. Scowling slightly, he agrees. I look at my potential allies list and make a slight adjustment.

 

Damon Brooks District 1, In allience.

 

One potential ally down, five left to prove themselves.

 

A few minutes later, the head trainer arrives. I look at the clear glass box on opposite wall, and see the Gamemakers filing in to sit down. I suppose that they are here to watch us train. As the trainer starts speaking, I return my gaze to her.

 

"Tributes," She begins. "Welcome to the training centre erected in honour of this Quarter Quell. I am sure that all your escorts have told you the training plans...". Looking at some of the tribute's faces, I smirk. Obviously some district escorts couldn't be bothered... like the District 12 girl's escort. She looks completely baffled. "But there have been a few slight... adjustments." This gets my attention, and I lean in slightly to listen more closely. "This year, there are two halves to the training centre. This is just the front half. Six districts shall be in this front area... that will be districts one to six to begin with. Districts seven to twelve, you will be in the back arean. We wish you the best of luck... may the odds be ever in your favour. The back area districts follow her out, and those of us left just stare at each other in shock.

 

I am the first to go over and pick up a couple of spears, with Damon following close behind. He picks up an axe. The rest of the would-be careers are doing the same- picking out their weapons. Damon-Lee and Neleesha grab spears, which pleases me. I will be able to see if they are good enough to be in our aliience. Out of the corner of my eye, I see Blaze, District 4, picking up a sword. She is on my list of potential allies. I sidle up to Damon and tell him who we need in our allience. His jaw clenches, but he nods. Satisfied, I tell him not to ask anyone else... for now.

 

I head over to the spears section, throwing a spear as I walk. Unsurprisingly, it punctures the black dot in the middle of the dummy's heart that I was aiming for. Two spears soar past me, hitting the same dummy. One strikes to the left side of where the brain would be, the other in the lower section of the right leg. I swivel round to see Neleesha and Damon-Lee standing behind me. I give them the confirmation that they want. "Allies" I say, and they both look relieved. "But... there are only certain people allowed to be in our career pack.". They nod as I give them the names of the people I will accept.

 

Three down, three to go, I think silently.

 

Soon after, Damon saunters over with Blaze Summers, District 4, in tow. I look at her with raised eyebrows, and a stony expression. This is my test to see how she will react. To her credit, she does not flinch. She only raised her chin and queries, 'You wanted me as an ally?". My face relaxes to a degree and I confirm, "You're in". I fish out my list again and update it.

 

Dia Taras - potential allies:

Damon Brooks District 1 - In Allience

Damon Lee Knight District 2 - In Allience

Neleesha Westwood District 2 - In Allience

Blaze Summers District 4 - In Allience

Rosabelle Greene District 5

Troy Thorstone District 10

 

I look around and say, "the only person that we can get to be our ally at the moment is Rosabelle." I can see the others' obvious surprise at my choice of a district 5 tribute, but I have my motives. This career pack will be a career pack to remember.

 

Lunch, to my surprise, comes round quickly. I bag the biggest table, and Damon, Damon-Lee, Neleesha and Blaze join me. Lunch is brought to our table. The others quickly begin wolfing it down. I, on the other hand, take care to sniff at the food before I eat. It is just as well that I have; the food is poisoned. This particular poison will only activate when whoever has administered it in the first place activates it. Feeling queezy, I push my plate away. I do not care what the others think. Casting a glance around the room, I see that Rosabelle hasn't touched her food over. I catch her eye and she looks at me questioningly. Getting up, I stroll over, and ask her "Would you like to be in the career pack this year?". Her eyes brighten as she accepts. I lead her to our table while the other tributes look on in jealousy.

 

When we reach the table, I introduce her to the rest of my allies. Damon and Damon-Lee are welcoming, but I can see Neleesha and Blaze sizing her up, in the suspicious ways that female careers do. Finally they accept her, and as we sit down, friendly conversation resumes.

 

After lunch, we resume training. I grab a pack of knives. Rosabelle opts to do the same. Throwing Knives is one of my main talents, although I am saving my biggest skill for the arena, as it cannot really be used in training. I throw three in quick succession, striking the center of the target each time. I realise that Rosabelle is struggling to get the knives near the centre. Sighing, I go over to help. Within minutes, she has improved enough to get by in the arena. I see no point in letting her get any better, though.

 

The rest of the afternoon passes in a blur. I use various weapons, and approach the survival skills once. Soon after, I leave, digusted in realising that the trainer has no idea about what she is teaching. I return to weapons. With any luck, our allience will secure the Cornacopia in the games, meaning that we shall have enough food and water to last us the duration of the games. 

 

In the last hour of the day, I concentrate on the logic skills. When I am finished, I move over to the doors. Saying farewell to my allience. I leave without being formally dismissed by the head trainer. I am the head of the career pack; I do what I want. Joe is waiting outside. He raises an eyebrow, but allows me to pass by him, shaking his head. I make my way to my quarters in triumph.

 

When I reach my quarters, I decide to get a small snack, then some sleep. I eat some (thankfully) unpoisoned grapes, then make my way upstairs. I lay in bed staring up at the ceiling for an hour or so, unable to fall asleep. Tomorrow I will have to persuade Troy to be in our alliance. When I finally do, my dream is filled with humilliation, and I wake barely half an hour later. After this, I slip into a fitful doze, accompanied only by the fierce beating of my heart.

 

 Dia Taras - potential allies:

Damon Brooks District 1 - In Alliance

Damon Lee Knight District 2 - In Alliance

Neleesha Westwood District 2 - In Alliance

Blaze Summers District 4 - In Alliance

Rosabelle Greene District 5 - In Alliance

Troy Thorstone District 10 -

 

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