The New Mockingjay

The revolution is over. Panem has been changed. Now, each year, a young girl is chosen to be the Mockingjay. There are only two requirements- she has to be pretty, and she has to be able to sing like no other.
When Electra becomes the Mockingjay, she thinks she's in for a life of public performances, and putting forward a pretty face. The reality is much, much worse than that.


5. 4- Order of the Jay

    They started forwards in silence again. Gwen guided Electra around quicksand with ease. Whenever a snake slithered across their path, they would freeze. A couple times, Gwen had to stare down large ones. But otherwise, the obstacle was relatively easy. That bothered Electra. This was supposed to be dangerous. Super risky. Everything here was trying to kill her, after all. So why was this obstacle going so smoothly? Any second, she expected something to leap out at her. A tidal wave, that would knock them into the quicksand. A twelve foot long snake that would attack them. Something. Not this simple, monotonous waking. Anticipating the danger was even worse than actually experiencing it, in her opinion.
    Finally, the nagging sense of worry began to grow overpowering. She finally spoke. “Gwen?”
    “Yes, Mockingjay?”
    Electra hesitated, trying to figure out if there was any bitterness in Gwen’s voice. When she decided there was none, she kept going. “Is it just me, or does this seem a bit too...” she paused, trying to figure out how to word it. The quicksand had seemed to frighten Gwen. Would calling this easy offend her? After all, she had been trapped. Who knew how she would respond if Electra suggested they were having an easy time of things?
    “Too easy?” Gwen finished.
    Electra blushed, nodding shyly. So maybe it hadn’t been such a stupid question after all.
    Gwen considered that, cocking her head to the side. “Yeah, you’re right. It does seem a little odd. I suppose they’re trying to drag out the interest. They didn’t expect you to have someone who recognized quicksand with you. That makes the going a little easier. The snakes are mainly to get you if you get trapped in quicksand. Wild animals more often than not unpredictable. These snakes seem content to just avoid us. I guess we should be happy about that, right?”
    Electra shrugged. “I don’t know. I have the weirdest feeling that any second something is going to go wrong, and something big and bad is going to happen. Does that make any sense?”
    Gwen nodded approvingly. “Caution is good. It’ll keep you alive. I hate to make you nervous, but in a case like this it’s best to be wary of everything around you. This is a dangerus situation, and if you’re cautious, you might be able to avoid traps that are set up. And besides, the more cautious you are, the less hard work I have to do. It’s good when I’m protecting someone who is also set on protecting themselves.”
    Electra nodded, then spoke again, lowering her voice a little. “So... what does this order of yours do anyways?”
    Gwen paused, then sighed. “We... we protect. We focus on the original goal of the revolution- equality. Prosperity for everyone. We don’t hate the capitol, we don’t hate the sectors. We want everyone to have the same. The capitol has plenty of resources. We want to see that shared to everyone, I guess. We don’t want any more deaths. We especially don’t want the games to come back. That’s why President Rickerson’s speech was so worrying to us. Saying the people have too much freedom?! That’s back to the old days, where the capitol sent children to kill each other in an arena! We can’t let that happen again. That reign of terror nearly led to all-out war. We can’t let that happen again. We can’t go back to our old ways. So we watch. We rebel. And most of all, we keep you, the figurehead of peace, alive. Without you, our cause is nothing. We’ve kept an eye on every Mockingay, but we really started this year, when the president started acting so... odd. Talking about the games with more eager tones, cursing the people’s freedom, things like that. He’s preparing to set up another dictatorship, a system built on lies and death. So we fight to prevent that.”
    “So how are you different from the Second Wave?” Electra asked.
    Gwen glanced back, and Electra saw she’d offended the smaller girl. Gwen’s eyebrows knit together in a frown. “The Second Wave? They’re nothing like us. They’re barely better than terrorists. Sure, they attack, they rebel, they try to model the original revolution. But look where the original revolution led us! Straight back to where we started! Clearly that didn’t work. We need to set up a true system of equality. The Second Wave, they just want to put themselves in power, so they can rule. They probably support the games as well. They just want to flip the order around, and  make the people in the capitol suffer. But that won’t work! We don’t need a switch, we need a total remake of our system. They’re troublemakers, and besides, they have no real organization. We, the Order of the Jay, we have a much more organized system. We have people everywhere. We’re nothing like the Second Wave. They might think they’re important- speaking for the people, and all that nonsense- but really they’re just a bunch of useless troublemakers. Our system is much better than theirs, and much more organized. We don’t get innocent people executed. We don’t want to continue the vicious cycle of rebellions.” Gwen let out a frustrated little huff, crossing her arms.
    “I’m sorry, I’m sorry!” Electra said quickly. “It’s just... I’ve never heard of your group before.”
    “And we like it like that,” Gwen replied, tone still miffed. “The less people that know about us, the better. That’s why we have people up in the film crew, distorting our conversations. They do that with all of us, to make sure none of us reveal any sensitive information. Besides, if the capitol and the president don’t know about us, then they can’t counter us. They can’t do anything against us, because they don’t know where to find us. It’s safer that way.”
    Electra nodded, unsure what else to say. She didn’t want to risk offending Gwen again. The smaller girl was the only one here who seemed to be on her side. Electra didn’t dare risk angering her. The last thing she needed was someone else who hated her. The whole world already seemed totally against her. She needed at least one person who didn’t totally hate her.
    “So how did you get assigned to protect me anyways?” Electra asked.
    Gwen paused, and glanced back at Electra. There was hurt in her eyes, and Electra realized that once again she had strayed directly into a sensitive area. Was there anything she could say to this girl without making her angry?
    “I’m sorry, I’m sorry!” Electra said quickly, trying to pull herself out of this mess that she kept getting her self into. “It was a mistake, I’m sorry, I was being dumb. I should have known better. I won’t ask you anything else, I promise.”
    That, of all things, made Gwen crack a smile. She started to laugh.
    “What?” Electra demanded, feeling flustered. There was no telling what would or wouldn’t set this girl off! She was incredibly strange.
    “You’re so polite,” Gwen smiled. “I appreciate that. I rarely get to interact with someone as nice as you. Everyone else who is above me.... well, they’re above me. They’re more important than me, and they like me to know it. It’s... frustrating, sometimes. But I guess it’s my life, so it’s what I have to deal with. It’s not something you have to worry about. Besides...” She paused, and her voice took on what might have been a bitter tone. “It’s not my place to tell you how to act. You outrank me. You can speak to me however you like.”
    Electra let out a frustrated sigh. “You’re here with me. I don’t see anyone ordering you around. So why would it be so bad if you just spoke to me as a friend- not as a superior, or a responsibility, or whatever?”
    Gwen shrugged. “They keep tabs on me. It would be best if you’d let me just do my job, Mockingjay. I wouldn’t want to risk any particular familiarity. I don’t want to cause any issues.”
    Electra sighed, looking away and giving up. What was the point? Gwen was determined to not speak to her, so Electra let her have what she wanted. She needed Gwen, and didn’t want to act like a superior. Maybe if they spent long enough together, Gwen would stop being so formal. But seeing how worried she was about getting in trouble, Electra doubted it.

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