Chapter Nineteen: Beneath Sparkling Stars
Tyberos Guilliman the Second, Silas Alberec
Word Count: 1669
Tyberos smiled easily before the cameras of the dozens of reporters that surrounded him. It was common for the most popular competitors to get the most reporters during the individual interviews, reporters reported on those that the people wanted to know about. And everyone wanted to know about Tyberos.
'Mr Guilliman! Mr Guilliman!' they all shouted like a flock of seagulls fighting over the juiciest scrap of food. Some people do amuse me.
'Yes you.' he said pointing to a slick looking man with razor thin eyebrows.
'Are the rumours of the growing distance between you an your sister true?'
'Absolutely not. Sister-dearest supports me utterly and we have never been closer.' He lied, convincingly. 'You.'
'Is it true you have seen diagrams of the Arena?'
'Yes.' he said simply. 'You!'
'Who do you think your biggest competition is?'
'How do you feel about the team from District Three?'
'Not worried at all.' smiled Tyberos. His words hung in the air like a cloud.
'Let us just finish with this, if teams are now allowed...what’s stopping us? That'll be all.' Buttoning up his uniforms jacket Tyberos left the screaming gaggle of reporters to ponder over his words. With his interview the dinner was over leaving the competitors alone to have a few drinks before leaving, but all the while the cameras kept rolling. Aware of Father's eyes drank a huge gulp of whisky, savouring the honey like taste and the sharp burning sensation. I could get used to drinking this. He thought ordering another.
'What did you mean by that?' asked a soft female voice behind him. Glancing over his shoulder Tyberos fained ignorance even though he knew exactly who it was.
'And who are you?' he said picking up his drink.
'Answer her.' said her foolish brown haired partner threateningly.
'Be very careful how you talk to me boy,' he hissed over his shoulder at him. 'I am not a man that you want to make angry.'
'What did you mean? About teaming up?' said the girl again. Turning on her Tyberos towered over her in his little second hand dress and oiled hair. Her partner was slightly taller but still not enough for Tyberos.
'You really don't get it do you?' he laughed. 'You have no idea the impact you two have had on the Games.'
'What are you talking about?' Little Miss Savage asked, her ivory brow furrowing in confusion.
'Do you think after this games they will still allow participants to team up! You two have changed the rules, first by volunteering, that alone got your names in the history books. But actually pairing up! That's changed everything.' looming over the girl she tried to back away from Tyberos but he wouldn't let her. 'And I'm not letting an opportunity like this to pass me by. Do you and your little boyfriend really think you can survive a team of four career gamers?' he asked menacingly.
'Get away from her!' her boyfriend shouted rushing in clumsily. Tyberos was about to grab his arm and break it when a iron fist clamped around his wrist.
'Easy asshole!' the dreadlocked cannon fodder hissed stepping between Tyberos and his prey. 'I think someone's had one too many cosmopolitans.'
'Do you know who I am!' roared Tyberos ripping his hand from this lower beings grip, disgust tingling up his skin.
'Do you know who I am?' asked Dreadlocks.
'Of course not.'
'Brilliant! We're both on the same playing field.' the cannon fodder grinned easily. Tyberos stared at him hatefully. A stare that had seen dozens of other men crumble beneath it, but this fool held it. Smiling all the while.
'You think you're so funny don't you?' he hissed. Loathing seeping up within him.
'I have my moments.'
'I'm sure. I look forward to the day we enter the arena. I can't wait to kill you.'
Cannon Fodder smiled. 'You can try. And to be frank I don't think you're half the man your Father is, and I think you’re so tired of living beneath his shadow you'd do almost anything to get your name in the books.' clenching his fists hard enough to draw blood Tyberos loomed over Silas, wanting so desperately to rip the f*ckers head from its shoulders! 'But at the end of the day nobody cares about you, so why don't you go home cry to Mummy and send your sister in your place. She stands a better chance than you.' raising his fist Tyberos readied himself to punch this peasant's face to dust.
'TYBEROS!' Father roared.
'Oops.' Dreadlocks winked. 'Daddy's calling.'
'Let’s go boy!' Father commanded. Frozen in his spot with his fist trembling at the side of his head Tyberos realised every camera was pointing at them. Controlling himself he lowered his fist and straightened his uniform.
'You've just made yourself a very dangerous enemy boy! And when we meet in the arena.' leaning down to his ear Tyberos whispered the last part, so the cameras wouldn't hear. 'I'm going to kill her and make you watch.' Pushing past him Tyberos crossed the long length of the hall in what seemed like a heartbeat. Rage prickling against his skin like a thousand f*cking needles!
Silas sat on the roof of the building. He'd left Rory and Aeon after soon after Tyberos had left. He'd not said anything to either of them. He'd just left. He couldn't see either of them right now...he needed air. Which was why he found himself on the roof of the Training Centre. Lying on a large metal device he had no idea the purpose of and staring up at the night sky, the storm had finally broken and the deep gray clouds were parting. Revealing more and more of the starry sky with its full moon and gentle breeze. He was well aware that he'd probably written his own death warrant down there. If Tyberos was half the fighters as his father was then there was little hope of Silas surviving the arena...and he'd leave Eliza. All alone. No family. Left to grow up in the hellish wastes of District Thirteen, she'd die there. Tears rolling down the side of his cheeks he continued to look at the stars. They were different so far up north. The constellations he knew bounced across the urban horizon and the ones he didn't sparkled above his head. Mysterious unknowable enigmas.
'What are you doing?' a gentle voice asked over the wind. Looking up he saw Rory stood by his feet. Her hair undone. Left to ripple down her back in carefree streams of loose curls.
'Shoeing a horse. What does it look like I'm doing?' he said wittily, but again her wit was quicker.
'It looks like your lying on an air conditioning servitor staring at the sky.' Smiling despite his foul mood Silas rested his head back onto the cool metal saying nothing. The sound of high heels being kicked off filled his ears briefly before she sat on its edge, thrusting herself onto the servitor she slid to a stop beside him. He was determined not to look at her...he wasn't going to look! He looked. She stared up at the sky with a small smile across her lips. Azure eyes sparkling with the reflections of a thousand unknown stars. 'Nice view.'
'Yes it is...' he whispered still staring at her face. When her eyes shot towards him he twisted his neck so fast to look up at the sky he was sure he'd just given himself whiplash. She could feel his eyes scanning over him. He felt like he was being X-rayed.
'You didn't seem yourself after your interview.' she said softly. 'I...I was...I just wanted to know if you'd...maybe want to talk?' The last thing he wanted to do was talk, but he didn't want to send her away...
'Can you teach me these constellations? I don't know them.' the weakness in his voice made him feel like a child. But Rory ignored it,
'Sure. Well lets see...erm...that one there, that's The Red Scorpion...and oooo! That on there's Isis, an old god of Life and Love...she's my favourite. And that one...'
'They asked about my parents.' he blurted out without knowing. Rory stopped.
'They...they were killed by Government after the ran some political thing I don't really know.'
'They were activists? Brave people.'
'Yeah...it’s stupid,' he said abandoning the thought he was just about to tell her.
'Before they were killed. They were forced to watch me and Eliza being placed in District Thirteen. My Mother hugged me. She knew what was going to happen to them because he said to me, 'Did I ever tell you what happens after a person dies?' I said no and she just looked at me...like...like I was her anchor on life. And said. 'We become stars. Our souls float up to the heavens and they turn into a star, that way, no matter how far away you might be from Mommy and Daddy...all you have to do is look up. And we'll always be looking down on you.'' Silas stopped. Tears streaking down his eyes and bottom lip quivering. 'It's stupid that even now at nineteen I still come out and night and look up, hoping I might get to see them...' looking at Rory he found her smiling. Her own tears bubbling beneath her eyes.
'That doesn't sound stupid Silas...' she said softly. Staring into each other’s eyes once again Silas felt her fingers touch his, scared it was a mistake he didn't move...but neither did she. Interlocking his hand with hers felt like the best feeling in the world, her skin was so warm and soft, and her hand fit so perfectly in his palm, their fingers slipping together so naturally. He had no idea how long they lay there like that. Hands entwined beneath the stars.