Azure Achilla Herodotus // Capitol Jan 22, 2014 19:43:28 GMT -5
Post by Rosetta on Jan 22, 2014 19:43:28 GMT -5
On her 21st birthday, Azure Herodotus unwrapped her mother's present to find a large, pink hair ribbon nestled among the tissue paper. For a long time, she stared at it while her mother chimed in behind her, "it's all the rage! Everyone wears them! It'll look beautiful in your hair!" Finally, Azure turned, smiling at her mother with white teeth.
"It's great, mom." She lifted in up in between her thumb and index finger. "If I were six."
On her 21st birthday, a year after the death of her father, Azure Herodotus burned her mother's present using the candles on her birthday cake and then left the charred bits of fabric in the icing. Her mother stood with a plastic smile frozen on her face the entire time.
Azure Achilla Herodotus always felt slightly different from her classmates growing up. Where they all had five Avoxes attending to their needs, she only had one and they had to send her away when Azure was seven. They boasted of their parents' connection to the president and this Gamemaker and that stylist while Azure could only name her mother and father because they rarely had visitors. Azure felt it when her clothing wasn't up to date and her mother put her dark hair into a silly style that was popular when she was a kid.
They were by no means poor; there are no poor citizens in the Capitol if you don't count the Avoxes, but as is the case in every economy, there was a lower class and that's where Azure found herself. Living comfortably, but not enough. At the time of her birth, her father, Archimedes, was on the verge of losing his job. Once a prominent Games stylist, he began to fall out of favor when his outfits didn't score high enough ratings and eventually, after one disastrous opening ceremony where his female tribute's outfit managed to catch on the chariot and rip as she was getting off, he was bumped out in favor of another. And since everyone knew him as that stylist-who-used-to-be, finding a new job was impossible.
Azure's mother, Tipper, on the other hand, was also in the business of clothing, but she was most interested in clothing that was popular when she was younger. Despite Azure's attempts to drag her out into the City Circle and her cries of, "Look! Look! Do you see what they wear?!" Her mother insisted that, "They just haven't tried my clothing yet."
Even at a young age, Azure was regularly displeased. She knew what she wanted and wanted it immediately. But, that was hard under the climate. Azure would've despaired if not for her father. If he had one weakness, it was his daughter. Tipper would say that he cried when he saw his daughter, swaddled in a silk cloth with her dark curls and beautiful brown eyes, reaching up with smooth, dark hands. He begged nothing to be done to her, altered except when she stormed angrily home and told her father that the girls at school made fun of her curls. Her father brought her to have her hair straightened and even had her eyebrows sculpted into thin, high-arched beauties over her eyes. Of course, the next day, when Azure saw one of the bullies’ straight hair curling as the rain came down, she hastened to tug it around the girl's head and into her eyes with a cool whisper of, "ugly." Her father knew no wrong in his daughter. She was his princess. She delighted in the gifts he came home with every day. He found a job working underground mostly amongst Avoxes, so pay wasn’t high. Yet, he often used his paycheck on his daughter. Something about her had mesmerized him. He showered her with gifts: clothing, toys, games. Tough times had called for only two television sets in the house, but Archimedes had given Azure her very own in dark red, her favorite color.
Azure felt an attachment grow to her father as the strings to her mother frayed. All Azure had to do was bat her long eyelashes, drawing her heavily-lidded eyes up into her father’s face and smile sweetly. Her father loved her perfect, white teeth (he’d brought Azure to get them surgically done that way) and her thick, full lips (she didn’t need any treatment for those) that tilted upward when she sang, “Daddy?” If he at all hesitated to fill her request (which he hardly did), her eyes would grow stormy and her nostrils set below the wide bridge of her nose would flare and then he was on his feet. Azure knew at a young age that her father was in the palm of her hand.
By the time Azure was twelve, she sensed the jealousy her mother harbored. When Archimedes brought home flowers, they were seldom for her, but rather for his daughter who would graciously accept them and retreat into her room, hiding her smirk from her mother. Tipper began to pick fights with both her daughter and her husband. Some nights, she’d lock herself in her room as Azure entertained her father with stories of her day. One night, though, while Archimedes was at work, Tipper stole into Azure’s room while she did homework and was shocked at what she saw.
“Did Dad get you all these gifts?” she cried, staring about her daughter’s lavishly decorated room. Azure herself was lying on her stomach in her bed, dressed in a silk robe courtesy of her father while her mother stood in her more unfashionable, older silk robe. “A television?” Azure hastened to turn off her favorite program: The Games, but her mother was quicker. She grabbed the remote from her daughter. “No, no, you can’t have this. I’m taking this from your room.”
“Stop, Mom!” Azure leapt up from her bed and began wrestling with her mother for the remote. Anger was bubbling inside of her. Who was her mother to take these things from her? It wasn’t like her mother did much for her except make her look unfashionable, poor, silly. “Stop!”
On her last cry, Azure felt the sting of her mother’s slap across her face. Her mother had never hit her before. In retrospect, it wasn’t that hard of a hit and almost well-deserved on Azure’s part for her disobedience but she still pulled out her last weapon against her mother. She scrunched up her nose, hugged her arms across her thin, tall figure and began to cry. And cry. And cry. Howling shrieks too. And cries of, “You’re the worst mother ever!” And her mother stood there, frozen, with the remote still clasped in her hand.
When Archimedes got home later, he found his daughter in bed with a hot mug of chocolate in one hand, her remote in the other, enjoying the Games. In the kitchen, her mother was brewing up more hot chocolate for her daughter, humming in a pained sort of way. Thus began the battle of Azure’s mother against her father, as they both competed for her favor. Azure secretly knew her father would win, but she loved the added attention and let them both play the game.
Meanwhile, she soared in school, the top of her class. She was especially good at history. She’d watched every single Games and knew every tribute by heart, even harboring a few favorites. Topaz Ross was by far her favorite Victor. She had no need for weaker ones. She was opinionated as well. “Why would that tribute do that?” she sniffed once while they were watching a Games in class. “Look, he’s about to die…See!” She rolled her eyes towards the ceiling, nostrils flaring. “Had he done snuck up that tree and attacked from higher ground, he would’ve survived.” Her classmates feared her. Some teased her. “Why don’t you just volunteer as a tribute if you know so much?” One glance from Azure shut them up immediately. By her last year in school, at seventeen, one of her teacher’s cautiously suggested an internship at the Gamemaker’s Headquarters.
Finding a place working for Gamemakers was hard. She spent much of her time fetching coffee like an Avox which didn’t sit well with her. Other times, she was allowed to sit in on meetings with the Gamemakers, quietly jotting down notes for one of them. She liked to keep a copy herself that she scrutinized and altered in the privacy of her room, imagining being a Gamemaker one day herself.
It was just after her twentieth birthday that tragedy struck. Azure had just finished moving into her new apartment, using the money she was earning which allowed her live just a little better than her parents, when her mother called frantically. Her father had had a heart attack. Tipper didn’t notice that he wasn’t waking up and let him stay in bed hours later than usual, thinking he was just tired. By the time she went to wake him, he was ice-cold.
It would be an understatement that Azure blamed her mother for her father’s death. She more than blamed her. She sent her mother into a guilt trip. She hated her. And Tipper, alone, frantically tried to pick the pieces back up, back to a life of pampering her daughter, a life that her daughter now accepted with a nasty comment here and there.
Azure got her break as a Gamemaker when she was twenty seven. The past seven years had spent rising steadily through the ranks until she was allowed a small voice in the decision making. One day as she listened to one of the Gamemakers present a trap he’d devised, she audibly snorted and every eye turned to her. “Miss Herodotus,” one Gamemaker said slowly, narrowing his eyes at her, “do you have something to say?”
“Yeah. This trap sucks,” she gestured at his planning board dismissively. “It’s extraordinarily easy to avoid. All you have to do is climb a tree. Not that hard.” The Gamemaker insisted a tribute wouldn’t think of that, that she knew nothing, she wasn’t a Gamemaker, and to prove it, he ran his trap through a simulator with a simulated tribute who did just as Azure said he would: he climbed a tree. Embarrassed, the Gamemaker retreated back to Azure and mumbled, “So, what would you do to fix it, Miss. Herodotus?”
Azure was promoted to Gamemaker that year.
Since becoming a Gamemaker, Azure has lived comfortably. Seldom does she entertain male suitors (not interested anyway), but she sometimes invites her mother over. But only when she has to. And only to rub her riches in her mother’s thinning face. As long as her mother doesn’t spy the old, busted red television hidden the corner of her daughter’s room.
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