I Volunteer as Tribute

October 2015
Matilde Rayne

“My name is Vere Thornlyre, and I volunteer as tribute.”

It was a simple statement that the young District 3 native planned to give at next week’s reaping, but her words would surely make the moment poignant for those close to her. She repeated the words over and over as she jogged the perimeter of the District, trying to put some conviction into her voice.

Vere’s family and friends couldn’t understand why she wanted to take the odds of being chosen out of the equation. She had a future in District 3 that they believed she was all but throwing away.

But Vere could see nothing except the chance to bring glory and favor to the only home she had ever known, and she was confident that she could emerge from the Hunger Games victorious. Certainly a chance to live comfortably--and, more importantly, to ensure that the entire Snowy-White District lived comfortably for at least a year--was a chance worth taking, especially if her odds of winning were as good as she believed them to be!

District 3, with mountains and forests to the north and nothing but frozen wastes to the south, was a difficult place to live, and that alone gave their tributes a better-than-average shot at becoming victors. It was more or less assumed that if a cold climate was developed for the arena, a Snowy White tribute would win. No other District’s members knew how to handle the dangers of blizzards, frostbite, or avalanches, while those who grew up in District 3 had practiced gathering food, building shelters, and starting fires since childhood.

Vere excelled at these survival techniques, and she was an excellent archer, to boot. She knew her skills would give her an advantage in the arena, at least over the absent-minded Forget-Me-Not Blue tributes from District 4, or over the trinket-obsessed Shocking Pink tributes from District 5. She was most concerned about the tributes from District 2; their district was known as the Violent Purple District for a reason. The potential for the Molten Gold tributes or their families to have shared some of that gold in the Capitol in exchange for some favors was worrisome, as well. And Vere simply had no idea what to think about District Six, since they so rarely heard anything about them in District 3.

“I volunteer as tribute,” she repeated one final time, finishing her run just outside of her family’s igloo.

She paused to catch her breath, ignoring the questioning and concerned stares from her neighbors. Though she had been running for more than an hour, she hadn’t finished sounding any surer of her plan than when she had started.

Vere frowned at that thought. Maybe it was a sign that she shouldn’t volunteer. After all, word around the district was that Hazelle Jardine was also planning to volunteer, and Hazelle was just as good a survivalist as Vere was--maybe even a better one.

So what was the better plan? Leave the Snowy White District’s chances for the year to Hazelle and possibly a less capable partner? Or volunteer alongside Hazelle, so that District 3 was guaranteed two strong tributes, doubling their odds of success.

Vere had a lot to consider. At least she still had a week to decide…