LUCY GRAY BAIRD
"The show's not over until the mockingjay sings."
"The show's not over until the mockingjay sings."
Played by Lilah
Fandom: Hunger Games: A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
Canon Point: Her last appearance in the book
NPC Companions: N/a
SKILLS & ABILITIES
Lucy Gray is an ordinary human being with no special abilities to speak of. That said, she is, perhaps, a better survivalist than most, able to live off the land thanks to her knowledge of plants and wildlife. She was raised in poverty and knows how to endure hardship.
On top of that, Lucy Gray is a survivor of the Hunger Games. She did not win through brute force, but she did manage to survive against the odds through use of cunning and winning the audience's support. She has a determined streak, and while she had no wish to harm any of the other tributes, she was willing to do the unthinkable to come out on top.
Lucy Gray has an interesting affinity for snakes. She's known for befriending them back home and has even been able to calm agitated snakes through the use of music. She weaponizes them when necessary, too, a habit that has had some negative effects on her reputation.
On a lighter note, Lucy is known for her musical ability and was the lead singer in a small band back home. She's a songwriter and can play the guitar, and would probably easily take to other musical instruments if she was able to get her hands on on one.
Lucy Gray is human. She's just as vulnerable as would be expected of the average person, perhaps more so when considering her habit of making enemies and challenging authority.
Lucy Gray is a natural born performer, blessed with an excellent singing voice and a knack for charming a crowd. This "performer" trait has gotten her through the trials of life in more ways than one - as she'll readily admit to, many times she's had to sing for her dinner. More than that, though, Lucy Gray has learned to play on the expectations of other people. She can read a crowd - or just another person - and put on a performance of whatever they want to see. She'll flirt with or befriend another person to suit her needs, if it comes to that. In short, she can be quite manipulative, but to her credit she doesn't do it needlessly. It's always to help support her family or, in the case of the Hunger Games, to save her own life.
Despite the manipulative streak, Lucy Gray is a good person at heart. She has a deep sense of compassion and empathy for other people and would do anything for those she truly loves. Participating in the Hunger Games was a brutal experience for her, not just in facing death but in being forced to take several lives. The experience left her with deep psychological scars and cemented her feelings against the Capitol. She always valued freedom and hated that she and the Covey had been forced to give up so much of it when the were trapped in District 12, but the Hunger Games opened her eyes even further to the injustices of her world.
SPOILERS FOR A BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES
Lucy Gray wasn't born in District 12. First she belonged to the Covey, a group of nomads who traveled around Panem putting on musical performances wherever they went. They were neutral toward the Districts and the Capitol - at least until the Capitol trapped them in District 12. They were forced to settle down there, and in the process, Lucy Gray lost both of her parents. Her father, for speaking his mind. Her mother, for trying to keep her family together. Lucy Gray was made an orphan, but at least she had the Covey, the only family still left to her.
The Covey's music brought life to the otherwise bleak world that was District 12. They were famous for their performances, often asked to entertain at gatherings. Lucy Gray, as lead singer, was well known among the community. She was generally well-liked, with one notable exception being the mayor's daughter, Mayfair Lipp.
Mayfair developed feelings for Lucy Gray's ex-lover, Billy Taupe. It's unclear what exactly she said to convince her father to get rid of Lucy Gray, for she surely did not own up to being in love with a lowlife from the Covey. What is known is that on the day of the reaping for the 10th Hunger Games, it was Lucy Gray's name that was called for tribute. Thus, Lucy Gray was shipped off to the Capitol to what should have been certain death.
Instead, Lucy Gray arrived in the Capitol only to be greeted by a handsome young man by the name of Coriolanus Snow. He was to be her mentor in the Games and said he would aid her in staying alive. Skeptical at first, Lucy Gray was nevertheless given renewed hope for her situation, and with every surprising effort put forth by Coriolanus to ensure her life, she began to think she might just survive after all.
The Games were a brutal affair, but through luck, nerve, and no small amount of cunning, Lucy Gray managed to be the sole survivor. Unfortunately for her and Coriolanus, both were found to be guilty of cheating the Games. There was to be no punishment for her - the information would be buried and she would be sent back to District 12, and that would be the end of it. She wasn't able to find out about Coriolanus' fate, however...until he, too, turned up in District 12 a few days later.
Coriolanus had been made to join the Peacekeepers as punishment for his cheating. Lucy Gray was sorry for his situation, but she wasn't sorry to see him. She'd grown fond of the strange Capitol boy during their time together and was grateful for the chance to get to know him on even footing. She believed she could love him, and he said he loved her, too.
But through disastrous circumstance, their time together would be cut short, and Lucy Gray would at last live up to her namesake. She disappeared in a storm, her fate thereafter unknown.
“They say he murdered three.”
The mockingjay’s musical echoes filled her ears as she ran near-blindly through the forest, rain mixing with in with the tears streaming down her face. The sound of gunfire made her flinch and duck behind the cover of a tree, but she wouldn’t stop for long. She had to put as much distance between herself and that cabin as possible. She had to –
Lucy Gray stumbled, something catching her at the ankle. Her arms went out in front of her to hopefully catch her fall, her eyes squeezing shut as she braced for impact with the ground. She hoped she would miss the brambles that seemed to be everywhere out here. The cuts alone would be terrible, but if her dress got caught, she would lose time in her escape.
There were no brambles there to catch her, though. Lucy Gray landed on her hands and knees in a surprisingly soft – and surprisingly dry – patch of grass. She opened her eyes at once and found herself staring uncomprehendingly at a forest she didn’t know.
The light was different, for one thing. She noticed that at once. It was the soft orange of evening, approaching dusk. There was no sign of the storm that had plagued her only seconds before – the forest was dry, as if it hadn’t seen rain at all that day. The trees around her were unfamiliar, and the sound…the noises were all wrong. Where were the mockingjays? They’d been singing just a moment ago, the sound filling the area, and now…nothing. It was all quiet, completely serene. There was no sign of danger here, and for that reason she probably should have felt safe, but Lucy Gray wasn’t sure she’d ever felt more scared.
Was she still being pursued? She couldn’t hear a thing, not the stomping footsteps nor the shouting voice calling after her. But the sound of those gunshots still haunted her, and she didn’t dare draw attention her way. Her mouth dry, her limbs stiff with fear, Lucy Gray cautiously climbed to her feet, her head turning every which way to watch for danger. Then she ran again.