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  1. #21
    Mouse Minkimen

    "Maybe," Mouse agreed, sounding a little more optimistic. Having a possible reason she might be useful to Gossamer reassured her a little. She would be safer if she served a purpose.

    Of course... in the end there could be only one winner. There was a good chance it would be Gossamer, and there was no chance it would be Mouse. It was impossible to get past that, when she really thought ahead.

    "You could be our ally too," she suggested suddenly. In the end, they were all going to be against each other, but Bianca was less frightening than Gossamer.
    "Sleep to dream, and we dream to live..." -Great Big Sea
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  2. #22
    Dorian and Maia McCarroll

    "Sounds good," Dorian replied. "I'll go get her." He strode off to the archery station where Maia was still busy trying different types of arrows in the longbow she'd quickly become fond of. She turned when she heard footsteps and smiled to see her brother.

    "Maia, come with me," was all he said. She quickly threw the bow over her shoulder without a second thought and followed her brother to where Gossamer stood. She cast a quizzical look in her brother's direction, but she trusted him implicitly, so she didn't question him aloud.

    "This is Gossamer," he said to Maia, with a smile. "Gossamer, meet my sister, Maia."

    Maia, sensing her brother's ease with Gossamer, relaxed. Clearly he had some plan in mind and she would know about it soon enough. She extended her hand out toward Gossamer. "Pleasure to meet you."
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  3. #23
    Bianca Ashby

    Bianca smiled. "Of course I will, if Gossamer will have me. Hopefully she'll think I'm as useful as you are. That way we can help each other once we're in the arena!" Bianca heard a hollowness in her own words. She had seen the same hollowness in Mouse's sad eyes. In the end, there could be only one winner. And she was fairly sure it wouldn't be either of them.

    But she knew if she could get Gossamer to take her on as an ally she could help protect Mouse, and maybe figure out a plan for when Gossamer turned on them. That way she and Mouse would be the only two left. And then...... Bianca shut her eyes tight. She couldn't imagine killing another human being, but especially not killing Mouse. She would just have to figure out another way, even though she knew that in the Games, there is no other way.
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  4. #24
    Gossamer Portmore

    "Nice to meet you, Maia," Gossamer said, and shook the girl's hand. "Dorian and I were just discussing the mutual benefits of an alliance. For now, it's the three of us and Mouse - assuming you're interested too."

    Her tone became serious, although not unfriendly, as she added, "I know I'm asking a lot, but I need you to trust me. I have a plan. I can't tell you what it is, because I'd hate to ruin it for our viewing audience... but it's going to be spectacular, and our whole alliance will benefit. You just have to do your part when the time comes. Oh, and one other thing. This isn't going to be like other Games, where allies are looking for a chance to stab each other in the back. The alliance doesn't break until I say we're done. Anyone who hurts the girl from Eight is dead, though, ally or not. We need her, even if you can't see why yet. Can you live with that?"
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  5. #25
    Mouse Minkimen

    "She will," Mouse said, smiling at her success at making an ally too. "At least... I hope she will. I don't really know anything about her, except... last year someone from my district was part of the alliance that killed her brother."

    Mouse couldn't help worrying about that. Gossamer had said on the broadcast of her arrival in the Capitol that she wanted revenge. Her actions now seemed to contradict that, though, since she'd made alliance overtures to both Five and Eight. Mouse had no idea what to think about her ally.

    "Do you want to meet her? I... I've never really talked to her either. Maybe I should."
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  6. #26
    Dorian and Maia McCarroll

    Maia turned to look at Dorian, her deep brown eyes searching for any sign that he was comfortable with this. Gossamer's words rang true, and Maia thought she seemed trustworthy, but she wouldn't go ahead with anything her brother wasn't completely comfortable with. Maia had always been more trusting and ready to put her faith in people, while Dorian often hung back and acted cautiously. If he was ready to accept Gossamer's offer, then surely it was the right choice.

    He nodded to her, taking her hand. He squeezed it gently and smiled. Maia closed her eyes and tightened her grip of his hand. Dorian turned back to Gossamer with a self-assured smile on his face. "Okay. We'll do as you say. Although hopefully you'll be able to tell us more about how we figure into your plan at some point?" He raised his eyebrows at her thoughtfully.
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  7. #27
    Bianca Ashby

    Bianca frowned. Surely it wasn't Gossamer's plan to ally with Mouse only to eventually kill her. It would be easy enough just to kill Mouse first if that was what it was about. Gossamer must have a smarter plan than that. Perhaps she intended to employ the same strategy that had been carried out on her brother: gather the weaker tributes with specialized skills and use them to take out the other careers. But it couldn't just be that either. Gossamer was very skilled, Bianca had watched her. She could defeat the other careers single-handedly if it came down to it. What could she possibly be up to?

    "I'm sure she doesn't mean to exact revenge on you. If she did, there are easier ways to do it than taking you on as an ally." Bianca was thinking aloud, but she also wanted to reassure Mouse. "Yes, I'd like to meet her, if you're up for introducing me." Bianca smiled and set the rope she'd been working with down on the table.
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  8. #28
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Jun 2004
    The Great White North
    Shon Dietrich

    As Gossamer turned to talk with the Tributes from Four, Shon realized that this offer of hers might be finite. While he was still on the fence about making alliances, he should at least try to set up the girl from his district with allies. Putting away the spear, he ambled toward his mentor to explain the situation. His mentor smacked him on the back of the head.

    “You are an idiot. Get over there and tell her you will be allies now – if it’s not to late already.”

    The rest of his tirade was lost in a garbled mess of snarls and complaints about his Tributes this year. The point was clear, though. Shon was nothing but a mistake – and a maker of them. The boy wished he could reconcile his head with his heart on this matter. It’s not that the Games should be easy, but he wished he could just...win? He was getting nowhere.

    Looking around the room, he came to the sudden realization that his District-mate wasn’t there. Anywhere. He abruptly froze, drawing some attention from the Peacekeepers, who started doing a head-count as well. One short. The whole atmosphere changed, almost as if the air being pumped into the room was suddenly thicker.

    “There!” A Peacekeeper shouted, pointing up.

    Dangling from an iron girder above the training area was the female Tribute from Five, tying a handy knot into a long rope. The other end was around her neck. Shon stood there in disbelief before breaking into a run. Climbing the girders was nothing – in seconds he was up with her.

    “Please wait. Don’t do this. There’s still a chance. Think of our District.”

    The words fell from his mouth before he even knew that he thought they were true. She just shook her head – and fell. He dashed forward, grabbing at the rope, but he was too late. There was a sickening snap – and then all he could hear was the sound of the hemp cord rubbing against steel.
    Winner of the dubious Vaarsuvius Award for Verbousness!

    I support altruism.
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  9. #29
    Gossamer Portmore

    "When the time comes, you'll know," Gossamer said. "But you have to understand how this game works. Most people think it's tributes against each other, but that's not it. That's window dressing. The way it really works is the arena against all of us. The arena isn't just a place, it's controlled by people. People who are listening, all the time. If you want to win, you can't tell the opponent your strategy. If I told you the plan right now, it would ruin the surprise for our dear viewers too, and I would hate to take away the..."

    The commotion stopped her short. Gossamer had been paying no attention to the girl from Five, and was all the way across the wide gym from her, so there was absolutely nothing she could do to intervene.

    Her first thought was, You idiot, I could have saved you!

    Her second thought was more sympathetic. If you thought you were going to die, a quick death now might seem more appealing than a slower one later.

    Her third thought was that Nicolai was going to be horrified. He had known he was going to watch tributes die, but Gossamer wasn't sure he was fully prepared for it. Was it even possible to be fully prepared for something like that, if you had any heart at all? She glanced over, and saw Nicolai bent over the girl, trying to perform mouth to mouth. Gossamer knew it was too late. With the neck at that angle, Nicolai was working on a corpse. She was well aware that Nicolai knew that too, and she understood why he had tried anyway when the girl was cut down.

    Gossamer's fourth thought was concern that her allies would see this as a good way out.

    "Don't even think about doing that," she warned Dorian and Maia.

    If there was only going to be one tribute from Five, it was even more crucial that she get Shon on board with the plan.
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  10. #30
    Mouse Minkimen

    Mouse nodded. That was what she thought too. Gossamer had claimed on camera to hate the tributes from the districts that had been responsible for her brother's death, but there had been no actual indication of that in her conduct in the training gym...

    "She's trying to confuse the viewers," Mouse said, speaking it even as she realized it. "She doesn't want the people watching to know what she's really doing. She knows they'll like her better if she's the wild card they can't predict. Liking her means more sponsors, more she can get away with without getting blown up in the arena. Maybe all this is to keep them guessing. I just wonder which face is the real one..."

    Mouse stopped short, and glanced at the girl up in the rafters. As the girl tumbled, Mouse gasped, cried out, and covered her eyes. Her shoulders shook with tears. It was horrible, watching someone kill herself. But that wasn't all she was crying about.

    "Maybe she has the right idea," Mouse whispered.
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