"Lettuce? I hate lettuce!"
- Relk Stein
|Appearance||Tears of Blood|
|Fate||Impaled by own spear|
Relk Stein is undoubtedly the most hated boy in District Six. He is short, pudgy, and extremely talented at eating anything in the near vicinity. He has a grand total of zero friends, although he thinks himself extremely popular.
Relk grew up with his mother and father in a relatively nice home in District Six. He started gaining weight around age three, and by the time he was five it was known to all that he was not going to be a thin boy. His birthday is November 16th, although that fact is not mentioned in Tears of Blood. Even at a young age, Relk showed an astonishing ability-- he was able to eat everything presented to him. Everything actually edible, of course. No matter how much food he'd eaten prior to that point, he would always be able to down another bite, always.
It is also interesting to note that Relk displayed a startling lack of compassion at a young age. He would constantly heckle and annoy other children who were thinner than him, calling them "poor" and "gross."
The largest event in Relk's life was undoubtedly the death of his father, James Stein. Relk's father died of heart disease when Relk was eleven, and was morbidly obese. Relk was horrified-- he thought he and his mother were now going to become poor. They were struggling for money for a couple of months, until Relk's mother began an intimate relationship with the Mayor of District Six. Relk had no idea that this was going on, and he never found out. The Mayor provided Nora Stein with a mansion and a ton of money, and the relationship continued. At the start of Tears of Blood, Nora Stein was still having relations with the Mayor. Relk still didn't know.
Tears of Blood
Relk's first appearance is during chapter six, which is the District Six reapings. Relk eats breakfast and gets ready to go to the reapings, by putting on a "nice" suit and getting a bag of food for his "friends." At the reapings, Relk has his "friends" beg him for food. It seems as though these are poor children from District Six that only hang around near Relk in the hopes of getting some food. One girl, named McKayla, does not beg enough, and Relk sends her away foodless.
When Relk is reaped, he is angry that no one volunteers. He is still angry when his mother comes to say goodbye to him, and is petulant and bratty. Relk's mother gives him a lettuce leaf as a token, which upsets him because he hates lettuce. Relk's mother then gives him candy, which makes him less angry. She ends up being forcibly removed by Peacekeepers, roaring about how much she loves him. Relk couldn't care less.
In chapter 18, Relk narrates the chariot rides. Relk starts by trying to eat the dress of his district partner, Rena Sage. Rena refuses him and sends him off to look for something edible. Relk goes on his quest and tries to eat the sponge hat of Maia Spring, District Eight. Maia won't give him the hat, so he heads over to the District Eleven chariot. Lilly Cross is there, and her dress is made of edible corn husks. She refuses to let him have some, so when she turns around he steals some off the back of her dress and runs, eating them as he goes.
As Relk is running, he startles the District Seven horse. It rears and he falls, and as he is going down it kicks him in the head. Rena and Relk's stylist come running over, and Rena is the first thing Relk sees when he awakens. Something was rattled loose in his head, because looking at Rena he decides she is a perfect angel and she is madly in love with him. He tells her this and she rejects him, but he concludes that she is only playing hard to get.
Relk observes the other costumes, and says something nasty about every single one, except for his and Rena's.
In chapter 37, Relk is put into the arena. He decides that he will risk the Bloodbath in order to get supplies for Rena, who he assumes he is allied with. He goes to the Cornucopia and trips over Sapphire Tree, District Nine. He gets mad, and Sapphire gets mad, and she seems as though she will try to kill him. Unfortunately for her, Hyre Fletching, District Two, arrives. Hyre kills Sapphire and leaves Relk alone. Relk takes the now-dead Sapphire's supplies and leaves.
He notices a spear on the ground and picks it up, sneaking over to Lily. He pulls back the spear to throw it, but realizes too late that he was holding it backwards. The spear is impaled in his stomach. Lily sees him and shakes her head at his stupidity before jogging away. Relk's dying thoughts are of Rena, who didn't come to save him. The last thing he sees is a vision of cake in heaven.
Relk appears briefly in chapter 46, as a mutt. It attacks Boston Williams, District Ten, multiple times, before being felled by Boston's hammer and the Clude mutt's spear. Clude mutt begins to devour Relk mutt's dead body, but is killed by the mutt of its district partner.
This story has started now. Unsurprisingly, Relk is not in it, considering he's dead. There was a reference to him in chapter seven, in which Londyn Aureole pointed out how dumb he was for stabbing himself with his own spear, as well as chapter eleven, where Aleah Armani complained that Phoenix Snow had not "managed to fall on something sharp, pulling a Relk Stein and impaling herself."
Technically, Relk kills himself with his own spear. He was the second person to die in the 24th Games, giving him 23rd place. He was probably the only person in the entire Games to die such a ridiculous and pointless death.
Relk is described as being quite short, with greasy blonde hair that he slicks back. He is very pudgy, and breaks into a sweat a lot. He has blue eyes. Comically, most of his clothing is much too small for him, except for his father's dress shoes, which are too large.
Relk has basically no compassion for other people. He enjoys watching others kow-tow to him, and seems to think that everyone adores him. His need to be "loved" by others is fulfilled when he has other District Six children hang around near him in the hopes of getting food. Relk cares little about them as people, but he cares deeply for their support of him as lackeys. Whenever hearing or realizing that these other children don't actually like him, Relk will deny it fervently, even if he knows it's true, deep (very deep, he's fat) inside of him.
In Tears of Blood, we only find out the name of one of Relk's "friends." This is McKayla, a small girl with huge brown eyes. McKayla doesn't beg Relk for food enough, and so he reprimands her in front of the others and sends her away foodless and sobbing. McKayla's fate is unknown, as she is not mentioned again in the story.
Relk's only known family member who is still alive is his mother, Nora Stein. Relk and Nora live in a fancy house in District Six, and are better off than a lot of the District's residents. This is mainly because the Mayor and Relk's mom do the nasty when the Mayor's wife isn't around. Relk doesn't know about this relationship, although he does know that his mom and the Mayor are very good friends. Relk's father died two years ago of heart disease.
"Do you have any food? I'm starving."
-Relk interrupts his mother's tearful goodbye.
Relk doesn't appear to care very much for his mother. Relk obviously relies on his mother for food, which means that there is some sort of bond between them. After all, Relk is obsessed with food. The fact that his mother was the one that provided it for him (and the fact that she was such a good cook) forced Relk to love her a tiny bit. However, it is also clear that beyond food, their bond doesn't last. During the goodbyes, it is clear that Relk is embaressed of his mother. When she is dragged out by Peacekeepers and is screaming about how much she loves him, Relk is rolling his eyes. Even during the goodbyes, he pesters his mother for food and is sarcastic and annoying when he sees her. He never mentions her again after his reapings, so he obviously doesn't really miss her, or home.
Relk has an interesting relationship with his district partner. In the beginning, Relk really couldn't care less about her. He starts to open up towards Rena during the chariot rides, when she provides a possible food source. It is only after he is kicked in the head by the District Seven horse that Relk really starts to like her. Relk's brains have been rattled, and he is sure that he is madly in love with Rena, and that she loves him. Rena makes it clear that she does not return his affections, but Relk assumes that she is just playing hard to get. He daydreams about their future together, which he has deluded himself into thinking can and will happen. It is also interesting to note that Relk's dying thoughts are not of his mother, but of Rena. He wonders why she didn't come to save him, and then begins to hallucinate cake. In a roundabout way, Rena is the cause of Relk's death, as he would not have ventured into the Bloodbath if not to get supplies for her.
- Relk's author, Jayfish, named him after Franken Stein from Soul Eater. She made his first name off the top of her head. It is ironic that she named Relk after Franken Stein, because Franken is quite thin-- almost to the point of being skeletal. Franken is insane, though, and Relk clearly is as well, which provides a clearer connection between them.
- Relk is the only tribute in the 24th Games to be described as fat.
- Relk is also the only tribute to have a type of food as a token, although his lettuce leaf did not clear the token review board. It was thought to be unfair that Relk would have a source of food in the arena that other's wouldn't.
- Relk falls in love with a motherly tribute, which makes his obsession with her kind of creepy.
- Relk's full weight is 140 pounds, which is pretty bad because he's short.