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  1. #11
    Bianca Ashby

    Bianca watched as the tiny girl tribute from Eight sat down across from her. Mouse was her name, Bianca remembered. A strange, sweet little name for such a strange, sweet little girl. Bianca caught Mouse's gaze for a moment and saw the shy smile pass over her lips. Bianca smiled back, even as Mouse cast her eyes back down to the knots. Bianca was unsure if she should make conversation or if she'd be yelled at, but Mouse looked so sweet and scared, she couldn't help herself. "Hi," she said quickly. "You're very good at that." Bianca watched Mouse's deft fingers tie and untie the various complicated knots. "I'm impressed. I thought I was good. But you're really good!!" She smiled warmly at Mouse, hoping to calm the girl's nerves a bit with her kindness.

    She wondered briefly if she could protect Mouse in the arena. She shook her head slightly. She couldn't let her emotions get in her way. She certainly didn't want to see Mouse die, but she also couldn't afford to sacrifice herself in order to safe Mouse. She would just try to make Mouse's time a little sweeter and less scary, and hope her death was swift and painless.
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  2. #12
    Gossamer Portmore

    Gossamer's only visible reaction was to blink more rapidly for an instant. Had it been any other tribute, she would have told him it was his funeral, punctuated it with a shrug, and walked away.

    Damn, but I needed one of the Fives!

    The plan wasn't going to work if she couldn't get either of them. If Shon had any idea what she intended to do, Gossamer was certain he'd waste no time accepting her offer. She couldn't tell him, though - because they weren't alone here. Not anywhere. Cameras and bugs were always watching. If she told her allies the plan, the Capitol would find out, and it would be doomed to failure.

    "Sure," Gossamer said with a nonchalant one-shoulder shrug. "Talk to your mentor. Personally, I just tell mine instead of asking. But play how you want to play."

    Gossamer didn't take any personal offense to his refusal. He was obviously seeing what she wanted them all to see. If he didn't want her for an ally, fine - she wasn't going to risk her life for him, then, but she bore him no ill will. She just worried about the plan. It was all going to fall apart if she couldn't find someone...

    Well, she'd deal with that later. Shon hadn't said no for certain, and there was still the girl from Five if the boy was out. In the meantime, she could go throw Allasayne a bone and take one piece of alliance advice seriously. Gossamer noticed Maia's skill, and cast a brief appreciative glance at her, but it was the other twin she sought out.

    "Hi," she said. "Dorian, right? It must be rough to have your sister in the arena. Tell me... if you had to, if there was no other choice, would you kill her?"

    Dorian's answer would determine whether Gossamer was even going to bother trying to ally with him.
    "Sleep to dream, and we dream to live..." -Great Big Sea
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  3. #13
    Mouse Minkimen

    Mouse beamed. It was a radiant smile, like sunlight piercing through clouds - but then in an instant, it was gone.

    "Thanks," she said. "I work in a thread factory back in my district. The lady who runs the children's home says I have to earn my keep. I change the spools. When one gets full of thread, I put another empty one into the machine. You have to move fast, or it'll catch your fingers."

    This was the most words Mouse had spoken at a stretch since the Reaping, and she suddenly went quiet and turned red. When she realized Bianca wasn't going to bite her head off, she added, "You're doing really well too, though. You're good at almost everything. I'm only good at this."
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  4. #14
    Dorian McCarroll

    The question hit Dorian like a ton of bricks. "Uh....." was all he could manage for a moment. Blinking, he shook it off. "No. I wouldn't. I'd rather she win. That's why I came here. To make sure she was safe." Dorian's heart raced. He felt stupid for having just admitted that to a girl from District One. Why couldn't he have lied? Just this once! Appeared strong and heartless. Surely she would see it as a weakness and try to kill him first so she could take Maia out. His only consolation was that he knew his sister could survive too, if she had to. She was clever. She was fast. But he still hoped he hadn't just doomed her with his own unfailing honesty.
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  5. #15
    Bianca Ashby

    Bianca was thrilled to see the smile shining on Mouse's face. She couldn't help but smile in return. She felt warm inside just seeing the happiness on this child's face.

    "That's brilliant. I bet you're very quick on you're feet, too. And I'm not good at everything. Just some things. Everyone has their talents." Bianca smiled. Mouse reminded her so much of her younger siblings. She missed them dearly in that moment, watching Mouse work and hearing her talk about her life back in District Eight. Suddenly, the plan to protect Mouse in the arena didn't seem so crazy after all.
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  6. #16
    Gossamer Portmore

    Gossamer studied Dorian for a moment, gauging his sincerity. Then, abruptly, she smiled. This wasn't like the way she'd smiled at Allasayne as an excuse to bare her teeth - this one was genuine.

    "So," she said. "I'm making alliances. You and your sister are people my mentor would actually approve of, and I'd just as soon not see you teamed up with that clown from Two. Would you two be interested in teaming up with me and Mouse instead?"

    The tributes from District Four were typically, it seemed, in a sort of strange semi-Career limbo. They did better than most districts, but they weren't always in the same league as One and Two. Whether Maia and Dorian were in that league remained to be seen, but Gossamer wasn't too worried. She could defend her alliance by herself if she had to - as long as she didn't have to contend with all the other Careers in a pack. Even her confidence didn't extend that far. If she could keep the Fours away from the boy from Two, that in itself would be a win.

    Of course, if she could have been honest, Gossamer could have explained why she was the better choice by far for what the twins needed... but listening ears prevented it.

    By way of explanation she could provide, she added, "My brother died in the arena. Last year. Slate Portmore. You'd be useless to me as an ally if you'd stab your own sister in the back. How could I trust someone like that at all?"
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  7. #17
    Mouse Minkimen

    Mouse nodded eagerly that she was quick on her feet. The only real advantages she brought to the arena were that she was quick and nimble, and that because she was small she didn't present a very large target.

    And there was one other thing...

    "I have an ally," Mouse said, and gestured toward Gossamer.

    It was obvious from Mouse's tone that she was still rather confused about this. She didn't understand why the girl from One wanted to ally with her, and she wasn't sure if that made things better or worse. Was it just an excuse for Gossamer to get close enough kill her? But why would Gossamer need an excuse for that? It wasn't like Mouse could stop her...

    Mouse had a vague hope that Bianca might be able to shed some light on the subject, although exactly how Mouse didn't know.
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 03-20-2013 at 08:59 PM.
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  8. #18
    Dorian McCarroll

    Dorian drew in a breath. That was certainly not the response he had expected. But he was glad for it. Something in her voice, in her eyes, told Dorian that Gossamer was not trying to trick him into offering himself and Maia up as sacrifice. The only piece that didn't entirely make sense to him was that Gossamer had taken on Mouse as an ally. Dorian couldn't see the immediate advantage of having a scrawny child as an ally, but certainly there was something in it for her or Gossamer wouldn't have done it.

    "Yes. We will join you," he said finally, having wrapped his head around the offer. "And, truly, you couldn't trust someone like that. He would be...a really terrible person."

    Dorian shuddered inwardly at the thought of having to kill his sister. She was his other half. It would be easier to kill himself than to even imagine killing her. Relief flooded through him knowing that he would have someone like Gossamer on his side to help protect her.

    "Would you like to talk to Maia, or do you want me to let her know?"
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  9. #19
    Bianca Ashby

    Bianca knit her brows. What reason could Gossamer possibly have for wanting to be allies with Mouse? Perhaps it was the same reason Bianca herself felt drawn to Mouse: to protect her. "That's.....interesting," Bianca stammered, looking away from Mouse's expectant gaze to Gossamer, who was talking to the boy from District Four.

    She turned back, meeting Mouse's eyes again. She knew the little girl wanted her to help shed light on the matter, so she was determined to try. "Maybe...she wants someone who can handle more delicate tasks. A strong girl like her is good for fighting, but she's probably not as well suited to things like this." Bianca held of the intricate knot she'd be working on.

    Bianca smiled at Mouse again, but her smile faded quickly. She was suddenly, desperately aware of the fact that if Gossamer had no reason for choosing her then she would be pitted against Mouse. She wasn't sure if she could bring herself to harm the sweet little girl, and that would likely be her undoing.
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  10. #20
    Gossamer Portmore

    "Glad to hear it," Gossamer said.

    At least someone in this place is interested in allying with me, she thought wryly. Shon had brushed her off, and Mouse was clearly terrified of her. Only Dorian seemed reasonably pleased with the prospect.

    "I'd like to talk to Maia myself. You can come too, but there are some things the three of us need to discuss. How about you introduce me to her?"

    This alliance would need to have some ground rules. Gossamer just hoped she could find some way of convincing them the plan would be worth it... even though she couldn't actually tell them what the plan was.
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 03-21-2013 at 05:39 PM.
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