name :: wolfgang ironsquall age :: 47 location :: capitol occupation :: commander of the armed forces, hunger games council member, gamemaker spouse :: president imperiosa ironsquall face :: kim seo-hyung
Wolfgang wakes up alone and naked, sprawled on top of a pile of battered divorce papers, still unsigned. The nearby television echoes her wife's voice on a delay from the press conference apparently taking place in the next room. Accidents only seem to happen between them when there's late night whiskey and insults-turned-invitations exchanged during the heated meetings that intend to separate them but keep bringing them back together in the most shameless of ways. So the television being on...
Picking up a wayward lighter that must have tumbled from her pocket last night, Wolfgang finds her rumpled suit jacket tossed across the back of an overstuffed leather office chair and fishes around for a cigarette. She has already quit smoking at least half a dozen times this year and clearly this most recent effort is working out just as well at the last, flame licking the air and smoke curling out of her nostrils as she exhales and levels her gaze at the television. On screen, President Imperiosa Ironsquall smirks into her microphone as she answers questions from various reporters, her cheekbones conquering the known world as she over-enunciates each and every syllable to ensure that no one makes the fatal mistake of misunderstanding even her most offhand of statements. What a magnificent terror of a woman she is.
War brought them together, but peace caused a kind of restless boredom that tore them apart. With no enduring outlet for their unbearable shared instinct to scheme and destroy and ravage and take take take they inevitably turned on each other. Of course they were doomed to implode like this. But gods, as obvious at it should have been that fighting to get away from one another would renew the old attractions that crowned them glorious warlords in the good old days, these battles over trying to con each other into signing a damned piece of paper are just ridiculous. Petty. Frustrating. Hateful. Conniving. Savage. It's the most fun either of them has had in years.
Wolfgang takes another drag of her cigarette, eyes narrowing as more and more snippets of the interview turn uneasy in her gut. The announcement was clearly about the upcoming Hunger Games and so there is question after question about the previous years with the ships and sharks and train cars, with the sold out audiences and the dramatic shift in approval ratings throughout the citizens of the Capitol. Widely considered back-to-back successes, it's two years later and more than one reporter is still digging around to ask why no one notable stepped forward to claim the applause for the Quell or why the promotional faces for the Sixth were an announcer and an analyst. Delightfully showy distractions, to be sure, but at the end of it all there have only been vague mentions of a "Games team" to satisfying follow-up media questions about who else might have been involved behind the scenes. Obviously, it's suspicious. Obviously, something is being hidden. The reporters don't have to be particularly intelligent to divine that much. What's less obvious is the who, the what, and most of all the why.
It wasn't easy taking the boats apart and reassembling them within the Fifth arena. It was ridiculously time consuming and that — more than spectacle, more than drama, more than creativity — that was what actually drove Wolfgang to such a daunting project. Whether it was a confounding attempt to save her marriage or an obscene amount of effort to escape it, well, that she's still not sure. The sweat felt good on her back. There was revelry in using her own hands instead of just commanding someone else's. It somehow compensated for the ever-dwindling opportunities to flex her mind and the clever strategies that earned her promotion to Commander and —
"Gamemaker Wolfgang Ironsquall." Imperiosa's voice is casual, as if she were speaking common knowledge and not her own wife's most ferocious secret.
"CAUSTIC BITCH!" Wolfgang spits at the door separating her wife's office from the conference room on the other side. It's almost satisfying to hear the faint echo of her own voice from the television, Imperiosa doubtlessly irked by the crass outburst no matter how impeccable her composure. Except almost isn't satisfying at all, not when Wolfgang has just been crowned a devil for the public. All these years it has been so easy to distance herself from the yearly mass execution of children, a task she only took on as a favor to her wife because it was declared that someone had to do it. Someone trustworthy. Someone who could be counted on to carry all of President Ironsquall's secrets to the grave. There are so many heads of military who lost daughters and sons in the war, who possess reason upon reason to seek barbaric revenge that no one would ever look Wolfgang's way and it so elegantly saved everyone from having to put a face on all this nastiness.
Wolfgang wasn't even one of the masterminds behind the Sixth; she was a mere footnote, too distracted with a particularly frenzied battle of wits with her own wife. Not that it matters to Imperiosa or, for that matter, any of the happily unnamed Council members still reveling in their anonymity. At least she has connections enough to prevent replays of this conference footage. A single mention of her name will be easily forgotten if she can cut out the lone, forked tongue that dared to speak this blasphemy in the first place.
Gamemaker. What a horrid title. She'd forgotten it, this old sick joke Imperiosa teased her with one drunken evening, declaring her Commander Wolfgang Ironsquall! Mother of corpses! Reaper of the weak! Maker of Games! They'd had too much wine and too much to smoke, but having not yet found other ways to occupy their mouths they cackled at the stars and devolved into twisted laughter over the slaughter of children. It wasn't actually funny. They were delirious. That's it. Yes, that's what it must have been.
Part of her wants to burst through the door in a naked rage and stamp her cigarette out on the President's gorgeous face. She resists. Just barely. By the time she stops herself she's already pulled her boots on to help with the kicking-the-door-down part and so she stands there with the full weight of her choices rooting her to the floor, heaviness turning her ankles and toes into some kind of improbable anchor as she tries to contemplate: regret? She has never understood the concept. Not even now.
Grinding the stub of her cigarette into the door, the scent of singed mahogany finally calms her enough to swallow her most brash impulses and settle for running a frustrated hand through her hair. The stubble of the fresh undercut against her palm brings back memories of her wife's hands not all too many hours ago and Wolfgang knows the whiskey she was plied with wasn't any more of an accident than the television being left on to ensure she heard the moment she was renamed in ruin. Such an eloquent plan. She can't help respecting her wife for that, even if she's shaking from the desire to disrespect her in every other way.
It's not the children that bother her or she would have never agreed to be an architect of all this Hunger Games madness in the first place. Their tragic little faces don't feel any different than the ones Wolfgang has left to rot on other battlefields. She executed plenty of children before this, by her own hand and by those of the army she led. It's the publicity she holds in contempt and how it will bring out every soft, simpering idiot in the Capitol until she is standing alone against a legion of bleeding hearts. They will inevitably tug at her shirtsleeve as she walks down the street or accost her in the supermarket with their tearful pleas, asking if perhaps there might be another way? There is always another way. There are infinite ways for those with time and tactics on their side. But a choice was made, as it always must be. And so this is it. This is the way of things. This was the declaration of the President herself, a god above titans of war.
It will be defeat to sign the divorce papers. It will be defeat of another kind not to. With her head spinning Wolfgang cannot differentiate which is the battle and which is the war — if a mere piece of paper might vanquish her or if defiantly drawing out the tether between the two of them would be her true downfall. Surely Imperiosa has miscalculated some incredibly basic math; Wolfgang had one secret and her wife's are innumerable. Whatever rules of civility existed between them before are gone. Everything is ammunition now.