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"In order to save you, I will kill the ones who've tainted this world."
-Canary Ash

Tribute

Canary Ash is a tribute who belonged to Kekai, but was claimed at auction by PoisonedPoetry. Please do not use her without permission.

Information

Name: Canary Ash

Canary Ash

District: 12

Canary RL

Gender: Female

Age: 15

Personality: How Canary treats a person, depends on how they react to her and others. She can be kind and compassionate to those who not only show respect towards her, but the people and environment around them. She doesn't appreciate it when someone acts violently towards another with no true reason, and gets especially furious when a person acts maliciously with her. She doesn't believe in fairness, believing that it doesn't exist, but values respect greatly. If you act with malice gestured towards her, she'll approach you with twice the amount of aggressiveness gestured towards her. If you treat her with any signs of disrespect or hatred, you'll automatically put yourself on the top of her sh*t list. Even if she's not the one being targeted, she'll still make you feel like crap if you act like you're on the top of the world, or if you insult someone else in front of her. Her sense of justice doesn't allow her to just stand and watch as you make someone tremble right before her sight. She's patriotic, a rebel at heart. She despises the Capitol greatly, holding them responsible for the death of her mother and sees them as the source for her brother's mysterious sickness. She doesn't believe in revenge, but she'll do whatever it takes to silence the ones who've sinned.

Height: 5'5

Appearance: Canary is a gorgeous young girl who's been told more than once to not keep her eyebrows at a constant arch. She has charcoal black hair, that glistens in the sun. It contrasts with her brilliant amber eyes, that sometimes appear to be a shade of red. Canary has olive skin, that hardly tans, even when she's out for the sun for multiple hours. The expression she mainly carries on her face is usually a mask emotionlessness or, to those who piss her off especially, a glare full of rage, as if she's saying, "I don't know who you are, or why you're acting like a child, but I recommend you stop before I slap that look of confidence right off your face you despicable piece of human trash." She stands with a clear, straight posture, like that of a District 13 solider. She carries a medallion connected to a piece of fine black thread on her neck. Indented on the medallion, is "TRUTH, PEACE, AND FREEDOM!"

Weapons: Unlike what you expect from your simple District 12 female tribute, Canary has knowledge of multiple weapons, most with the purpose of assassination. As Canary is a skilled ambush fighter, she is required to know how to utilize her weaponry, as well as the enviroment around her. In her opinion, she believes everything imaginable has the ability to kill, you just have to find the right, exact method in order to for it to be an effective tool of death. Her main weapon is a combination between ordinary throwing knives and poison. Throwing knives alone, are useful weapons capable of making it through a long range distance. With the added qualities of deadly toxins, the blades become even more powerful, producing a faster death to her opponent, so there will be no need for any sort of struggle. Canary, despite her feminine stature, is also able to defeat her enemies through use of hand-to-hand combat. She's memorized multiple ways to flip a grown man to the ground, and her well-placed kicks are a force to be reckoned with. She's able to evade or block attacks thrown at her, and in no means will she ever underestimate her opponent, knowing that they could have potential they're keeping concealed. 

Strengths: Canary has that touch of aggressiveness that makes her appear tough and strong. From this she could be considered threatening to the weaker tributes, but not as much as the careers would. To add to this she is a skilled fighter, both in long range and short range. It would be hard to prevail over her in a fight. She’s also quite logical, often thinking things through to check for any possible errors that could be made. It also helps her to decide on the right course of action.

Weaknesses: Unfortunately, Canary’s personality means that she can seem unlikeable to many people. Her hot-headed and rebellious side may lead to her allies not trusting her. She also relies heavily on respect, which means she will kick out an ally if she doesn’t trust them too much. Canary is also feeble when it comes to swimming. Like many a kind in her district, they have never had much contact with water other than rain and puddles. A large and deep body of water to her is almost like a trapdoor leading to an untimely demise.

Fears: Out of all the fears in the world, Canary has been cursed with the fear of failing to achieve her goals. Take her ambition to overthrow the Capitol and make Panem a better place, for example. If there was nobody to carry on her innovative ideas and plans, she would lock herself away and ponder whether or not her efforts will bear fruit.

Training Strategy: The very first thing Canary will do in training is pick out tributes to form an alliance with. It will almost be like the anti-careers, only the careers aren’t the problem – The problem is that they all want to survive and have the skills needed to survive. Canary wants it to be so that with the team’s forces combined, they will be extremely hard to beat. And she wants to prove that she’s the future Katniss – Seemingly weak because of her home district, and is yet a skilled fighter to never pick a bone with.

Private Training Strategy: Canary doesn’t give anything about her training score. After all, she knows they can be used to mask one’s strengths and strategies. At the start and for most of the session, Canary will just cuss out the Capitol and firmly state that she wants to be rid of the injustice from the so-called jewel of Panem. Then when the Gamemakers don’t suspect it, Canary will ferociously throw her knives at the targets and dummies, hoping to hit a lot of them. At the last moment, she will fling one final knife towards the Gamemakers. And then she will stomp off in a huff.

Interview Angle: Canary will try her best to be polite with the interviewer and the audience, even if she isn't too keen on them. However, if she thinks that they're mocking her or reacting in an uncivilized manner, she will grow harsher and more bitter. If it gets to the point where she can't hold in her anger, she will frequently swear and dishonour the Capitol by making a bold claim that what they offer is simply a cover-up to the haven that everybody in Panem deserves.

Bloodbath Strategy: In the bloodbath, Canary will aim to obtain a weapon and a backpack into her possession. The first thing she will search for is a backpack. She won’t hesitate to fight her way through to one, even if a career ten times stronger than her is there. Afterwards, she will scour the area for a weapon of some sort (But throwing knives are her priority). Once again, she will fight her way to some. But she will grab another weapon if any of her other allies can use whatever she finds. Then she will try to gather her allies together and attack anybody who dares go after her or a nearby ally.

Game Strategy: Canary will try to slaughter the other tributes as quickly as possible, so she can return to a life of rebelling against the Capitol. She will start off with the careers, as they are the pride of the Capitol for the entertainment that they bring into the games. Depending on the supplies they have, Canary will leave behind two or three of her allies to guard the supplies. The others will assist her in killing off the tributes that they’re going after. The plans to eliminate them will vary, based on the equipment that they all have. If there’s nothing to make sneaky yet lethal traps or another gateway to death, then the tributes will charge in or make sneaky attacks. If it seems like everything is failing, then Canary and her allies will retreat back to their camp.

If Canary makes it to the final day, she will stay awake to keep guard. However, she will mercifully kill off her allies as they sleep. She will start with the ones that seem the most likely to suffer from insomnia, followed by the biggest threats. If there’s anybody who seems too young to die or who she’s close with, then she will spare them. Afterwards, she will head towards the Cornucopia or wherever the showdown will be hosted. If she encounters any tributes along the way, she will battle them there. Canary will try to take opportunities to distract them so that she can use the environment to her advantage. Otherwise, she will just fight them until one tribute prevails as victor. But she will run if she sees any mutts around. She will follow this right up to the finale. If there’s three tributes left, Canary will hide and wait for them to battle it out. Then when one wins and the other is left exhausted, Canary will spring out, surprise them and hopefully finish them off.

Alliance: Canary will form her own alliance, made up of tributes with a variety of skills. That way, their weaknesses will be covered by another member of her team. They won’t be the anti-careers, but they’ll come to be accustomed to the name ‘The Ashes of Panem’.

Token: Canary will bring with her the medallion that she often carries around. She believes that it will bring her back to her spirits if she feels down, or if her allies feel down. She will use the medallion to explain that even if one's ambitions seem hard to reach, they can still complete it if they put enough effort into it.

Backstory

I'm Canary Ash, 15 years old, and a local from District 12. Now that we've got most of the basics out of the way, here's my story. I'm the youngest child of the deceased Crimson Ash and Scarlet Ash, and the younger sister to my sick, older brother Cardinal. My parents' deaths are a bit hazy in memory, but I remember them well enough to describe how it happened, and how my life turned into shambles.

I was only 10 when the accident occurred. You've heard of mine accidents that sometimes happens in District 12, right? Well, this is something like that. Mom and dad were in the mines together, while Cardinal, who was 14 at the time, was forced to keep watch over me. I didn't mind it really, playing with Cardinal was so fun before he was made to stay in bed, suffering from a sickness that could not be cured.

Cardinal was a bit annoyed with me during the time, as I kept beating him during our games of chess. It wasn't that I was "champion chess player of District 12," that I kept taking his king. It was because of the fact that Cardinal had no patience to think of a proper strategy, in order to defeat I. By the time I had reached 10 victories, and Cardinal with absolutely none, he had finally lost the willpower to keep his thoughts in. "You're cheating, aren't you?" He remarked. I had to giggle a bit at that question of his. He knew he was losing not because I was an excellent player, but because he generally sucked at chess as well any other board game. But him being the stubborn, obstinate person he was, I knew he wouldn't admit it upright. I responded, "To answer your question, dear brother of mines, I don't need to cheat to beat your sorry ass." He looked a bit embarrassed, knowing that that was the sincere truth, but he looked a bit perturbed by my words as well. He stands up, and makes his voice sound a little deeper as he spoke, "Getting cocky now, aren't we?" He pushes me to the ground, and I'm actually afraid he's going to strike me, but instead, he does the second worst. He deliberately begins tickling my sides, triggering me to enter a fit of laughter. "Stop it, Car! Stop!" I scream, still laughing. Cardinal smirks, and in a sarcastic tone, he says, "Oh, sorry. My hands slipped."

Unfortunately (For Cardinal), the tickling match had to be cut short after an alarm wailed in the distance. Whenever the klaxons sounded off, it only indicated one thing: There had been a mining accident. Since my parents were both on shift I felt paranoid that they had fallen prey to the incident. In my progressive concern, I left the house and sprinted to the mines where they worked at. Instead of being met with an ordinary shaft, I came across what was almost an exact replica of a building that had been bombed: Piles upon piles of planks of wood were stacked in an unruly mess over one another. Some of the water pipes had also been snapped, sprinkling all over the ground. Some of the poorer people rushed forwards to drink it thirstily. The smarter ones found a container to store it in. However I had to divert my attention from them, as one figure was helped out of the rubble: My father.

“Dad!” I sprinted towards him. As he spotted me his face became grimmer, as if I was a mosquito giving him malaria. Noticing this I forced myself to stop moving and instead let him approach me.

“Canary, darling. Your mother couldn’t make it. She was the first one to die.” Dad’s words hit me like a gale force hurricane. As a young child, I had always pictured our family to remain intact forever. I may have been grown up for my age, but the notions of fantasy were still integral. And though I wanted to believe that it was all a nightmare, deep inside it was all too clear that my mother would never get to see me ever again.

“I understand. I guess I’ll have to inform Cardinal of the news.” I turned to return home, but I felt dad’s hand grab my shoulder.

“No, Canary. He already has too much on his plate. I’ll tell him when he isn’t feeling so-“Unexpectedly he begun to cough and hack. For the first time I detected the presence of smoke and ash, casually staining the air. I began to choke on the atmosphere and not even two seconds after so did everybody else. Wanting fresh air I started to dash back home, leaving behind everybody else. I held my breath for as long as I could in order to evade inhaling any more of the thick fumes. Behind me I heard the thump of what sounded like people falling onto the ground. One of those could well have been my father. One of them might’ve been me, had I not fled the area.

Cardinal almost had a heart attack when I burst in through the doors. I was panting heavily, as if I had just outran a pack of wolves. The sight of him made me gasp in relief. After witnessing what I had just seen, I needed a source of comfort. Since he was the only one left I ended up squeezing myself next to him. Still in fear I embraced my arms around him. He didn’t protest. Though he never got a chance to see the action unfold I could still see his cogs tinkering in his mind. After the chess match, I doubt he wanted to be told something in place of deducing what just happened. Ignoring my idea I just flatly said it out loud: ‘Our parents are dead’

Cardinal fell into silence much greater than the one I abandoned him with. Of course the worst things had to befall to us poorer folk who already had nothing to lose. I wanted to belittle myself for ditching my father when we both could’ve been saved… however deep inside of me I knew that there was nothing I could’ve done that would’ve changed the course of the events. The ending result of my feelings could be summarised in one word: Guilt. Feels like I’m waking from the dead, and everyone’s been waiting on me…

The next day, a gathering was announced at the district square. Attendance was not obligatory, but it was mandatory that everybody would pay their respects to those who died in the mine explosion. Even though he wasn’t in good health, Cardinal attended the gathering with me under his protection. Alongside us was the relatively large amount of families who had lost their members in the ruckus. The service, though depressing, never managed to make me show any signs of sadness. My face remained constantly emotionless throughout. Why that wasn’t the case, I didn’t know, but I continued to sit through it in boredom. Nothing really caught my interest, until I heard the eulogy declaring it as sabotage on the workers’ behalf. It was as dodgy-sounding as a man inviting somebody into the back of their van for sweets. My mind couldn’t process the fault of the explosion down to the workers, especially since their only way to survive was to work down there.

Neither me nor Cardinal said much for the rest of the day. All we said to each other was about what we wanted to eat. His reason for the awkward silence was unknown to me, but I didn’t exactly want to find out. He was always the type of person who, if they had a secret, would keep it to themselves. In the end I wanted to respect his confidentiality over his thoughts.

Because we were so young, the government sent us to a new home with one of our aunts. She was widowed and had a set of twins called Krism and Aether. Although she now had the burden of taking care of an additional two children nothing came in the way of her determination to keep us all secure. As a result less food was distributed between us all, but it was sustainable enough for us to last a day or two without any grub. Sometimes, however, the twins would go off on their own in secret to do some additional jobs for items of trade. I was inquisitive about what they were doing so I often enquired on their business. More often than not, they claimed it was nothing that would be of interest to me. Although they kept trying to put me off of it I wasn’t prepared to take that kind of answer and accept it, mainly since I had a fascination for the unknown. I constantly bugged them about it, for about two years, until, at last, they agreed to reveal all, but if I wanted to know that I must never let another soul catch even an earful of information.

Later that night they lead me down to the basement. Carrying only a candle on our person, we dimly lit the room so as not to draw attention towards it. After bolting the door shut, they took me to a circular table in one of the corners of the room. Carefully placing the candle in the middle, we all sat around it.

“So, what is this about then?” I asked in as quiet a voice as I could muster.

“One word: Rebelling.” Aether paused, awaiting a reaction out of me. Though I didn’t let anything slip physically or verbally, I could feel my mind develop some. One of those was of excitement: I had a brief idea of what the word meant and how it meant bad things came to rebels on swift wings. However I commended them for boasting their views and acting upon it.

“Please, continue,” I said. “For all I know, you could just be rebelling against your parents.”

“Canary, are you really sure you want to know? The instant we confide this to you, you have to try and become one of us. And you could even be executed for it, all because you overheard something and didn’t act upon it.” I gulped slightly as I found the once promising idea now daunting. Krism’s gloomy tone further made me doubt it, but my will could not be broken even by the blade of a sword. Nonetheless I nodded my head.

“I’m sure. Now spill the beans.”

“Fine… we campaign passively against the Capitol. Well, mostly passively. If the going gets tough then so do we. What our aim is is to get the Capitol to see that all the poorer districts are going to be wiped out if they do nothing about it. This is typically through letters and video and audio clips we send to them through the mail. Whether they actually read it or not, we don’t know. However we always do some back up propaganda just in case. Sometimes, though, we get captured for no reason whilst we’re filming footage which is why we may end up having to defend ourselves…”

“That sounds cool,” I said with a shrug. “So if I join this, what kind of role would I be expected to get?”

“Since you’re twelve or something, I’d say that you’d be a model for propaganda design. However since there’s already a few of those there’s something else you would most likely become.”

“What?”

“A lookout. You would alert us whenever the peacekeepers arrived. That way we can quickly shift into a mode where nothing is going on.”

“Ok then… count me in.”

“Wait! Before you actually join you need to go through a rigorous training exercise. This mainly includes weaponry usage, agility and all kinds of things you would expect the careers to do. Depending on how good you are you may or may not be able to join. If you succeed, you are a permanent member. If you fail… well, how do I put this?”

“Are they executed?” The sudden silence confirmed my answer. Still yet to be swayed off completely, I decided to go logical with this.

“On average, how many recruits make it to the team?”

“There’s a split of 35% to 65%... the former is the one that answers your question.” An uneasy pit swelled inside my stomach. A 30% difference was quite high, but the odds of making it to the team were slightly higher than the gap in the two percentages. However I remembered how my twins said that if I heard even a smidge of information that I had to try it out. I was either going to die for being a failure… or I was going to assist in the downfall of the Capitol.

“Looks like I have no choice but to agree to enlist as one of you… not that my answer would’ve differed.” I said with a grin. “When do I begin?”

The next week Krism and Aether led me into the town square. We were having a casual chat, when they came to a halt next to a pump. I was handed a parchment wrapped in a roll.

“Is this the initiation I have to go through?” I asked. Neither of them responded. They merely squinted at me as if they expected me to open it. Not doubting what they wanted me to do I untied the ribbon and begun to read through the note. Inside of it was a strange poem of sorts, not a mission briefing of some kind. I expected this considering it was a ‘secret society’ of sorts.

“Are you sure you haven’t-“My cousins were nowhere to be seen. Almost as if they were a gust of air which had other destinations to get to. I was left alone with a puzzle that I had no idea of. That was when I had a Eureka moment. I read the first letter of each of the lines, realising that it was spelling out where I should go: The ‘Black Market’ Tent. And since there was only one tent around, I approached that one. I was searching for a way to move onto the next test, when I felt a hand fly on my shoulder. As I spun my head around I found Aether grinning at me.

“Congrats, cousin. You passed the first test. Now it’s time for the second one.” Before I could even say ‘I volunteer’ I was dragged off by the arm and brought inside of it. There wasn’t a lot of room or items, however I found a hole protruding from underneath one of the sacks.

“Next test: Find the entrance.” I faked a yawn as I headed straight towards the sack with the hole and lifted it up. Aether could barely process my swift advancement on it.

“Well that was easy. Next.” I peered down the pit and found a ladder. I casually climbed down it and waited near the bottom for him. Once he finally got down, he announced that he would lead me to the lair. Every time we came across a ‘dead end’ there were three gaps in the wall. Each one had a small lane that you would follow. I memorised the patterns of the lanes until we eventually came across a large cavern full of people. Most of them were in groups, happily chatting and bantering away. Some of them did, however, spot me and backed away. I wasn’t entirely certain on whether it was fear, distrust or respect but it unnerved me all the same. It was almost like they operated based upon a hive mind.

“Cousin! Glad you could make it!” Krism waved her hand in the crowd, which took me a couple of seconds to find. Once I did I squeezed through the people to reach her. And once I did, I gave her a hug. She returned it, but then stopped when a shadow loomed over us. I glanced upwards to see a strict-looking adult glaring at me. His jet black hair flew behind his back in a ponytail, and when combined with his glowing topaz eyes he appeared intimidating.

“So, this is the recruit you mentioned?” He sneered as he poked me with a stick. “How the hell did she get down here? You must’ve helped out some way; she looks as dumb as a turkey.” As anybody would’ve been, I felt offended by the comment. The way he used predisposition to cloud his mind was appalling. As much as I wanted to give him a piece of what he deserved, I figured out that he was the leader of the gang. It was like yet another test. If I behaved the wrong way there was no doubt I was going to be eliminated for fear of revealing anything.

“I presume you’re the leader, then.” I said, crossing my arms. “It’s an honour to make you acquaintance, at least. However I think you underestimate me.” When I had finished, I lowered both of my arms so as not to give an impression of hostility. “After all, you’re never going to know my true colours unless you hit me with more of these ‘exams’.” He muttered under his breath, but I could still catch him mouthing ‘clever girl’.

“Alright then. Fine. You have utilised observation skills and brains quite well, so you can remain with us… for now. However you will be undergoing a month or so of rigorous physical training. Not long after you will be tested on your knowledge of what you’ve done. Ok?” As the leader handed me a piece of paper, I briefly glanced over it. On it was a timetable. There were things like long distance weaponry training and close combat training, but there were also odd things like climbing and observation skills.

“Deal. But first, tell me what I should call you. Well, if you do have a nickname you go under.”

“If you insist… just call me ‘Godfather’. I have no other alibis, after all. Anyway, that’s getting off the track. Now, look closely at today’s set of sessions. Feel free to join your first one when you want, but make sure you’re on time for the second one or else you will be kicked out.” With one last disgruntled glare at me he left the room. My cousins leaned over and examined the timetable.

“At this point in time, you would have close combat training. Follow us, we’ll take you there.” I did as they said. We had to return to the surface and wander to the edge of the market place before we got there. Waiting for us was a woman with an eyepatch.

“I guess you’re Canary Ash?” I nodded. “Cool. Welcome to your first training session. I’m Erinor. First of all, I must ask. Why did you choose to come this early? No first-time recruits have been this brave from what I know of.”

“It’s because I want to prove myself.” I replied. “And the reason I want to prove to myself is because the Capitol killed my parents and covered it up…”

“Was that at the mine explosion two years prior to today? I remember seeing somebody who looked like you with a weedy looking boy.”

“Probably… Now’s not the time to linger in the past, though. We just have to focus on today. What lesson do you have lined up for me first?” Erinor went over the lesson with me. It was mainly about putting your emotions into your fight without allowing them to take control. She was very friendly with any mistakes I made and gave helpful advice when I needed it. Nearer to the end she also gave me a small lesson on respect and how that alone can make up an army. All you needed was to get on with each other and be equal, and then you might end up becoming a force. It was all fascinating.

I wasn’t as keen on the other lessons as I was with Erinor’s. The other teachers constantly berated me whenever I got the tiniest of things wrong and they were much less forgiving. I could tell they were meant to break me down until I gave up, but I snubbed any pains of disappointment inside. I had an ambition which I needed to fulfil. Any signs of weakness, I felt, were just a ticket to my death. Eventually it was time for me to test what I had learnt and put them to the test. To my surprise, I passed all of the categories with flying colours. The Godfather was almost disgusted as they saw how I had done so well, but he welcomed me into the group nonetheless. My cousins congratulated me when I next saw them, saying that they had never seen a better recruit before. My next task was to decide what I was going to do. As they said, the option of the lookout was there as well as propaganda model. There were many others too, which I couldn’t decide between. In the end I decided to seek Erinor for help.

When I showed her the files she shook her head. Either she couldn’t decide or she felt I deserved better. I read her face and saw nothing that was a dead giveaway. In the end she sighed and handed them back to me.

“I have no idea what you’d be fit for. I’d honesty ask the Godfather what to do.”

“He’d probably just wave me away before I even reached ten yards of his office. I swear he has something against me. I guess it’s back to the drawing board.” I sighed and begun to pick up my files when Erinor grabbed my arm.

“He has nothing against you. It’s just that he’s jealous of what you can do. Believe it or not, you got better scores in two of those subjects than what he did.”

“Are you for real?” I asked as I scanned every single letter and number.

“Yes, I am. In long distance combat, he was about two subgrades below you. And in intelligence, you trumped over him by a whole grade. Everything else you got the same as him in. It’s a sign that you’re gifted.”

“Well, if you insist. It looks like I have a chance after all.” Once I thanked Erinor I returned to the headquarters and made my way to his office. Being polite I knocked it lightly. Inside a gruff voice told me to come in. The moment I stepped into the room, I felt something come at me with speed similar to a cheetah. Immediately I threw up my arms in a bid to defend myself and throw my would-be-attacker to the ground. However my face flushed as I realised it was the Godfather himself.

“No wonder you got high scores in those exams. You really are a formidable force.”

“Thanks, Godfather.” I pulled him back onto his feet, still clasping tightly to the files I had.

“What brings you here Canary?” It was the first time he had ever said my name. I was almost taken aback by it but I kept my composure.

“I just needed your advice on something,” I pulled out the documents and showed it to him. “Thing is, I don’t know which of these roles would be suitable for me. Since you have the most experience of anybody here and you understand a lot about this place, I thought that you would be of the biggest help.”

“Ok then.” He muttered to himself as he skimmed over all of the files. Bizarrely enough it only took about two minutes before the Godfather had made their mind up.

“What do you think, Godfather?” I asked.

“Well, Canary. The thing is I don’t think any of these roles suit you down to a T. If anything, I think you would get bored sick of them.”

“Oh.”

“However, there is one position I could offer you which isn’t on there. It’s one that very few people know about and it must be preserved that way.” The Godfather gently took off a painting from the wall, revealing a small safe. As he twisted the knob back and forth, I impatiently tapped my foot on the floor until at last he retrieved it. He passed it to me and I read it to myself. Unlike the others, I actually felt like I was capable of doing this job without the boredom that might’ve come with it. The only thing though, was that it contrasted with the peaceful idea Krism had imprinted into my mind.

“I can see why… alright, I guess this is the one for me.” I casually handed the piece of paper back to the Godfather, who gave me a wry smile.

“Good, good. I thought that this would be the one for you.” He almost seemed to chuckle as he returned the parchment to where it was to be hidden. “You know, only a hundred or odd rebels have shown the skills needed to apply for this. Of those, only thirty eight chose this one. And of those, only twelve are currently alive. This makes you the thirteenth active defence sniper to be a part of The Withering Spades. You will get additional long-distance training to shape up your accuracy for the job. Any questions?”

“I have just the one. How should I cover this up to my friends and cousins here?”

“I’ll handle that. In the meantime just say that I told you to keep your mouth shut about it.”

“Fair enough then.” We departed with a handshake and I felt my heart racing. I had finally picked what I wanted to be! Finally, I was ready to add my input to the downfall of the corrupted government. The only thing I wasn’t prepared for was for my past to come back and haunt me.

The day before a scheduled propaganda shooting, I was insouciantly strolling past the main office when I heard somebody speak up about a mineshaft. I wasn’t that concerned about it until the name of it came out. At first I was creeped out: That was the same mineshaft my parents had worked in before it shattered. My inquisitiveness had been piqued, so I tucked myself behind a plant pot and listened in for the leaked information.

“We finally have sufficient evidence to prove that it wasn’t rebels who demolished it, but rather the President themselves. All because a minority of workers there openly never shared their thoughts and views. In the end almost all of the workers there were left to rot, most of them being innocents who were dragged into death.” Trying not to hyperventilate was not easy, mainly because I had finally found the culprit of my parents’ deaths. I wanted to claim vendetta for my own, although deep inside I knew that it wasn’t recommended to seek it out for myself. This was a case where team effort was undoubtedly required. It was going to be a slow and steady race against time to avenge the souls who had their lives forcefully cut short.

There were a few missions which I was a part of. Every time we had to gain footage, I hid on the rooftops or in the streets awaiting any surprise ambushes. Whilst the twelve other defence snipers favoured guns with silencers, I used a set of throwing knives with poison. I believed that they would be more efficient at providing death than one tiny bullet. After all it made bigger cuts and also allowed the toxins to seep into their wounds. Most of them disregarded or teased me, but if any of them flat out called me dumb I would unleash a bunch of savage word son them. From that point they would learn not to disrespect me. Erinor had taught me well on repayment and respect, as well as when to and when to not behave in a civil manner. I felt confident about my role but there were always going to be destined disasters. Of them all there was only one prominent enough to me. And it more than made up for the lack of true losses of the other ones.

We were all on duty with an additional recruit who had only recently entered, making our troupe a group of fourteen. It was their first time so they were a bit wobbly on their feet. Whilst the other recruits snickered at them for their cowardice, I called for them to hush and at least empathise with them. Most of them did, but one person refused to stop. Instead they repeatedly punched the person every time they let off a whimper. I tried pulling them away, only to get elbowed in the face. As one final act of treachery, they shot the rookie in the chest. All the other snipers stared on silently. I was facing difficulties controlling my anger. My eyes and hands were visibly twitchy. The impudent just scoffed at us all.

“How they got to this position, I’ll never know. They had to go, the stupid coward.”

“They had the skills!” I snapped. “Humane people feel fear all the time. This was their first day, of course they were going to be-“

“Shut your f*cking mouth, unless you want us to get caught.” He hissed as he pointed the gun at my throat.

“Maybe you shouldn’t have been such a douchebag.” I hissed through my teeth.

“Why should I listen to a little girl like you?”

“Why are you such a backstabbing, sexist prick?” That was the last straw for them. In a split second they had pulled the trigger. A predictable move. I dived out of the way and flung one of my knives towards them, making its mark in his kneecap. As he kneeled over in pain, I turned to face the others.

“Get back to your stations.” I began to clamber up a building, when all of a sudden a heavy amount of gunfire shot towards us. Swiftly I pulled myself up, joined by three other snipers. Below on the streets was a scene that I would never forget: People running everywhere as peacekeepers swarmed the streets shooting willy-nilly. Some of them even took aim at the rooftops for shifty figures. Beside me one of the snipers was shot dead. The impact could have been drastically reduced, had it not been for the arrogant scamp who happened to slaughter one of us. I hoped that they would get karma. But were we indestructible? I thought that we could brave it all…

I tried my best to cut down as many peacekeepers as possible with my throwing knives, but a few of my throws missed. In the end I had three knives left, which I saved for close combat. Another of the snipers who had climbed up the architecture with me had been sniped. I threw myself behind a chimney and requested the final one to shoot the rest of them down whilst I rescued the others. They nodded as I swung myself down. Through the crowd I caught a glimpse of some of the other snipers. From what I saw three had ended up sacrificing themselves. Including the newbie and the asshole, seven had been brought down. We had been halved in number.

Nearby, I could hear the sound of something crying. I sprinted towards the source of the sound: A barrel with an open top. Inside of it was a pair of twins, still vulnerable to the attack. As I reached in to lift them out, I saw a baton swing down next to my arm. I smoothly took out my attacker with a stab to the gut with one hand. Once I did I found myself in a predicament: I could only carry one of the twins with one hand and wield a weapon with the other. Nonetheless I lifted them both out and carried them to the entrance to the hideout. Above me two figures waved, and as I squinted I saw that it was Aether and Krism. Excitedly I sprinted faster and handed them the infants, telling them to get them to safety whilst I found others to protect. They nodded and begun the relay. I shed a small tear knowing that I had saved a life, until they slumped to the floor. I shrieked as their killer loomed over them, blankly staring at them. I found myself pulling out a knife and tossing it into their skull, thus avenging my cousins. I approached the body in order to retrieve my knife when I spotted the infants still crying. Pained by the suffering they must’ve been enduring, I regained custody of them and also got my knife back. Thus I restarted my trek to the hideout, when I felt something trip me over. As I spun over on my back, I was met with a peacekeeper pointing a gun at my head.

“Anything to say for yourself?”

“Yeah… There’s a time and a place to die, but this ain’t it!” I rolled over, narrowly dodging a bullet. I had managed to make it through the crowd when I found a rebel waving their arms frantically. Swiftly I reached them and asked them to deliver the babies to a haven of some kind. They obliged and I sighed in relief, until I felt a thud in the back of my head which caused me to black out.

My vision was white at first, but I could still feel that I was in our lair. The distorted voices were all too familiar for me. I waited on the bed for my vision to clear up, and once it did I gradually sat up. Around me were two of the defence snipers, a few friends of mine and even the Godfather. Although it probably wasn’t the best thing for my mental health I decided to ask the most important question.

“How many of us were wiped out?” As I stretched my arms, I saw the grim faces of everybody there.

“Eleven defence snipers died. All of the lookouts were either butchered, kidnapped or have been declared missing. Most of the propaganda team escaped, but a few of them were taken hostage. Only two of them died. The public in the film are mostly alive; otherwise they’ve been eliminated. Overall we’ve lost more than three quarters of our group. It’s just me, our governing body, the models, the artists, the technology engineers and three defence snipers left, including you.

‘I’m bringing my sinking ship back to the shore…’ I thought to myself. “So we’ve lost the battle is there any chance that we’ll win the war?” Sadly, the Godfather shook his head.

“Not a single one, I’m afraid.”

“Ok… wait, are any of the coaches alive?”

“No. They all risked their lives to help others live. Erinor died protecting you, as a matter of fact.” I felt my heart sink into a pool of agony.

“Really?”

“Yes, really. A peacekeeper was going to bash your brains out, but she shot them and got you here before she met with death.”

“Oh.” I could only muster myself to say that word. Erinor had been like a second mother to me.

“We also discovered how Ghern was the one who distracted you from your job by betraying one of your members. His cadaver was recovered from the battlefield, full of poison. I assume that was you?”

“It was.”

“Turns out they were a spy working for the Capitol. So although we suffered a major loss, the Capitol have been weakened at least.”

“That’s good, I guess. But how will our group go on?” That was when the Godfather finally seemed beaten. He slumped down onto a chair and signed deeply. I already felt the words coming before they even left his mouth.

“I don’t think we can go on. We’ll have to disband it.”

“No way, surely not? We can go on with the people we have left, can’t we? Can’t we?!”

“Unfortunately not. Even if we could, we’d have to rebel the violent way… I’m not sure I could actually do that, but I still want to make Panem a better place ‘till the day I die.”

“Then just do it. It’s not like we can ask about other rebel groups without us getting caught and captured.”

“Well… I guess you’re right. It looks like we have no other choice from here on out. Starting over, we’ll head back in. Whilst I’m still a bit dubious about this, I feel like your advice will pay out in the end. Thanks, Canary. Feel free to return home and take a rest for a while. Meet us back here in the headquarters in two days’ time.”

Once I revisited my home I found my aunt, gazing silently over a photo she cradled close to her chest. A transparent liquid ran down her cheeks onto her clothing. Every now and then she’d let out a sniffle and say sorry to nobody in particular. Hesitantly I edged closer towards her. Her head whirled around, and once her eyes met mine she took a few steps towards me very quickly. I was enveloped in her arms as she begun to weep and wail even more. Once a few seconds passed she let go, noticing I had tensed up.

“Canary! I thought you had gone missing! A couple of hours ago I received news that you were gone and that my children-“She teared up again.

“Calm down. Tell me about what you heard.”

“I can’t. I just can’t. Every time I even see something that reminds me of it I fall further.”

“Just say it. I won’t know for certain what kind of drama you were notified off. I mean, I know what happened today but I don’t know if it was the same thing as you were told.”

“I can’t!”

“For heaven’s sake! Look, did it involve Krism and Aether getting murdered?”

“Yes!” She sounded off another wail as she squeezed me until I nearly passed out. “Oh, sorry love!”

“It’s fine.” I muttered. “What else did they give you?”

“They said that rebels had bombarded the place and randomly aimed fire on as many civilians as possible.” My heart stopped in my throat. Typical to their soiled name, the Capitol had been spurting random nonsense used to cover up their own heinous crimes. I wanted to blurt out that it was them, not us, but I knew better than to accidentally reveal what I truly was. I couldn’t risk letting any innocents going down with me.

Awkward silence broke between us, which I saw as the cue for me to live. I ended up retiring to my room where Cardinal was. He didn’t even glance at me as I stepped through. Worn out by the events of the day I fell into a deep slumber in my bed. Soon enough, I reached the dream land where everything seemed like a mere nightmare. ‘Least I’ll never have to wonder what it’s like to sleep a year away…’ Not too long after though, the events returned to possess my mind. I twisted and turned, finding myself uncomfortable with the guilt and pain I had just been through. It made me feel useless, like the entire façade was my fault and my fault alone. I never thought that what could take me out was hiding down below… I was too justice-minded not to let myself get distracted with the bastard. Although that was my main belief, there was another one which told me that it was just one of life’s many lessons. I wanted tokens to remind me of my goal… instead I have some memories for the days I don’t feel anything. At the least they will remind me not to make the same mistakes again.

From that point, our group limited ourselves to taking out peacekeepers one by one. The all out tactic failed last time so we decided to go stealthily. It payed off since there were missing posters going up for them. Not that it did the Capitol any good: We removed the trackers so that their corpses’ destination couldn’t be traced. We also cremated the bodies to further destroy any evidence of us. We made a new name for ourselves: The Ashes of Panem. I found it odd seeing my surname in there, but the Godfather insisted it was there since I was the one who reunited the group and passed it off as another. One of them had a medallion with an interesting inscription, so I took it for myself and wore it around my neck. It had rarely left my side since then.

Life was going pretty good. Until that one day I was reaped. Because I had been found my aunt had no choice but to report back to the Peacekeepers. However I didn’t let that beat my spirit, instead deciding to stroll up there with no obvious emotions at first. After all, the Capitol weren’t going to expect it when I suddenly became as reckless as a wildfire.

(Total Words: 6,883)

Optional - Backstory Summary

Canary used to be in a family with her parents and her sickly brother, Cardinal. However her parents died in a mine shaft accident. When the gathering for it came it was declared as vandalism from one of the workers. This made Canary suspicious of a bigger ploy.

She and Cardinal were sent to their aunt's house, where their two cousins Krism and Aether also lived. Everything was peaceful and fine there, but Canary found an interest in what the siblings did to support the family. The result: They were secret rebels. Not like the violent ones though, they were more benign. Canary liked the idea and decided to try and join, succeeding after she passed the challenges. She went under training until it was time for another exam, which she passed with flying colours. Afterwards she had to pick a role. In the end none of them felt right to her so she asked the organisation leader to help decide. She was instead assigned with a role that was not on the list, which she liked the sound of.

Again the group were doing well until a traitor among them decided to shoot one of the weaker, newer recruits. Canary retaliated by throwing a poisoned knife into their kneecap and turned back, only to find the streets in chaos. She helped to save a few people's lives, but then she saw her cousins die. Moments later she blacked out after being struck in the head.

Once she came back to consciousness the leader revealed the amount of casualties they had sustained as well as his fears over the group not going on. It was Canary who persuaded him to go on, only with a more violent approach. The new group also did well for the few months that it was running, before Canary ended up reaped for the hunger games.

Song Inspiration

Now - Paramore

'Feels like I'm waking from the dead' – Canary in shock after her parents’ deaths

'And everyone's been waitin' on me' – Waiting for Canary’s verdict on the new rebel group

'Least now I'll never have to wonder what it's like to sleep a year away' – Canary when she missed the big news, even not that much time passed from what it happened.

'But were we indestructible? I thought that we could brave it all' - The group seeming to be indestructible and invulnerable.

'I never thought that what could take me out was hiding down below' - Canary feeling as if her justice-sided mind was the reason the sniper group failed to protect the rebels.

'Lost the battle, win the war' - The rebels hoping to snatch control of the Capitol.

'I'm bringing my sinking ship back to the shore' - The retreat of the rebels.

'Starting over, we'll head back in' - The rebels returning with their new tactic.

'There's a time and a place to die,but this ain't it' - Never giving up.

'If there's a future we want it now' - Trying to get the Capitol to make Panem a better place.

'At the least they'll remind me not to make the same mistakes again' - Canary learning from the terrors from what happened that day.

Victory

Oneder's The 475th Hunger Games: Dark, Darker, Yet Darker

Kills: District 11 Male, Lilah Jöllenbeck

Co-Victors: Brighton Honeycutt, Sabrina Clemency, Lindell Brocklehurst

Notes: Canary was entered into these games alongside Mercury Kwildor and Antoine Boudoir. She allied with Rodeo, Francis, Lilah, Finland, Hazel and Flicker. On the first day she took out the D11 Male, whilst Flicker and Finn died in the bloodbath, which left Canary to temporarily lead for Francis after his shock at his brother's death. Nothing really happened until night 3, when Lilah killed Rodeo and Francis before Canary took her out. Altogether this left her and Hazel as the remaining anti-careers.

On night 5, her and Hazel came across the remaining four careers. The latter was taken out by one of them whilst Canary was in hand-to-hand combat with another career. (Of course, this leads to #CanaryTheCrotchKicker)

The next day the remaining survivors band together and briefly battle, before the gamemaker announces their victory.

Trivia

  • The original group's idea of rebelling came as an idea from Amnesty.
  • Several references to roles from Town of Salem are made, with Godfather being the most noticeable one. Lookout is also briefly mentioned.
  • Erinor's name comes from the name of the character from the book 'The Last Battle Of The Icemark.'

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