Velvette Rivendell is a Capitol citizen, aged sixteen. All her life she has watched the games, favourited tributes and followed their every step on screen. But as she is forced to come to terms with what is really going on, will this year be any different?


1. Prologue

It's the big day.

The day I get to choose my 'destiny' as my brother likes to call it. Every year the Capitol has a titlement day, which enforces every sixteen year old Capitol citizen to choose their future career.

My mother is a stylist in the games. So was my grandmother, and her mother before her, and her mother before her and ... well, you get the picture. So it was always guaranteed that I would 'inherit' the gene. The stylist gene.

It was a great surprise when two years ago my brother decided he wanted in on the family tradition. So, ever since then he's been working with my mother and her team on coming up with designs for District 11.

Every year I've begged Mum to let me go with them; let me help design and pick out the outfits for District 11's tributes. Every year my mother has told me I'm "not old enough", that I'm "not ready".

So, due to my situation, I'm going to have to choose the title of stylist - it's what's expected of me. But I can't help and wonder about what everyone else will choose...and the thing that fascinates me most of the thing that I least understand - what goes on in the districts?

I've always been mesmerized by District 11, but we're not allowed into the districts, unless it's for titlement - like today. I'll get to go with my mother, brother and the team to District 11 - like a sort of taster, I guess. The closest thing I've ever had to a career are the simulacrum courses in school that show us what some jobs can be like, to prepare us for what's out there.

Most girls in my year at school follow the crowd - they all want to be body-dyers and tattoo artists, with the exception of my best friends Clio and Lilith. They both want to be 'Escorts' for the tributes. 

I've always found escorts fascinating. I've always wondered how they feel knowing that they'll be in contact with actual tributes. Do they find it exciting? I'd love to make a difference to a tributes life. Make them happy before they go off and do the honour of fighting for their district. I don't want to be looked upon as dumb... 

It's not in my bloodline to be moronic.

My uncle was the one who invented the jabberjays - the horrific creatures with the ability to repeat conversations. They led to more deaths than I care to count; my uncle's own included. They never told us until later why he was killed. They told us the games would make it easier. That it was the districts' fault... I always find myself wondering; Was it really? Clio jokes that the districts were full of mass murders, plotting their revenge on the Capitol's kindness. While Lilith always brushes it off and tells her to stop being so superstitious and 'unladylike'... I laugh because there's usually nothing more to be said about it.

What would happen if I were to be an Escort like them? Or... what would it be like to be a game maker? And, oh, what about being a tribute?!

But I have to stop thinking about this.

I'm going to be a stylist.

And I'm....excited?

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