hey people it's me Kitty! i'm so sad theres no section for rangers apprentice! anyway i thought this story up and my friends liked it (thanks ndoki) and so i'm putting it on here! yey! and of cause i have to say what everyone says!

"review people!" heh heh it does make me feel good inside and i do try and type faster so please do! a special thank you to any one who does!

It was a few hours after they had left from castle Araluen, and Will seemed to quiet

It was a few hours after they had left from castle Araluen, and Will seemed too quiet. He was not continually asking questions and the way he stared down at his hands, Halt knew there was something on the boys mind. He had a pretty fair idea about what it might be about. A few days ago the boy had been given the choice to become a lieutenant in the Kings Royal scouts, but Will had made the decision of staying as a Ranger's apprentice. Halt was proud that he had chosen to stay with him but it seemed the choice had laid heavily on his shoulders.

"You can always go back you know." Will looked up in surprise; Halt continued to study the road before them.

"Go back?" one quick glance saw that he was generally confused and Halt explained.

"I'm sure King Duncan would still like you as one of his Royal scouts."

"Oh…" it was all Will could say. He wasn't really thinking about that. In fact he was content on the chose he had made. Spending time with Halt was his day to day life now and he couldn't think of it being any other way. What he was really thinking about was Evanlyn. Would there friendship die over the time that they won't see each other? He already knew it wasn't as strong as it was when in Skandia, and part of that was his fault. He didn't seem to be able to talk to her when she was Princess Cassandra, he felt below her when he was in her presence. A thought would always pop into his head; why would she want to talk to an orphaned Apprentice Ranger like him? He always had the notion that she only spoke to him in Skandia because he was the only person she could talk to other than the big giants. But he always dismissed the idea; he knew it wasn't true although that little voice inside his head fought with what was.

Realising that he still hadn't answered Halt and turned to face his mentor; "I don't want to go back Halt, I know I made the right choice, it was…another matter I was thinking of." Halt looked at his apprentice, and then nodded once; it was noticeable that Will didn't feel like talking about that matter.

"Don't let it worry you, most things seem to sort things out by themselves, thinking about it won't fix the problem." Will nodded then went back to staring at his hands. He felt something warm touch his shoulder.

"You'll be right boy." Halt said gently. He removed his hand from the young mans shoulder and continued studying the road and the woods around him.

Will realised Halt was right. It was no use thinking about it now, it wouldn't help, and he was supposed to be helping Halt keep a look out in case some bandits or thieves decided that they would try to catch these to Rangers of there guard for a little fun.

It was quiet; no birds were singing, or rabbits running in the undergrowth. It was strange to Will, normally the woods were full of life. Something didn't seem right here. And just as he was about to mention it to Halt, a soft twang stopped him and as his head turned toward the sound he felt a searing pain in his right side. Crying out he lost his hold on Tugs reins and fell with a thump to the ground.

"Will!" Halt shouted reining in Abelard and turning him around, but almost thirty fully armed men were streaming out from the right side of the woods. Halt was distracted as they ran screaming toward him, Abelard reared in surprise and trotted away from the oncoming men, the horse had never been charged at before and he didn't like it one bit. They were coming between the space between him and Will now, trying to push him away. He couldn't let that happen…

In pain, Will looked down at his wound; he could see an arrow with a white shaft sticking out of his side. An arrow? Was this what it was like for every person he had shot down with his own? It was an agonising feeling, he wanted it to stop. He covered the wound with his hands, the arrow between the spaces of his fingers. He gasped as he felt his own blood seep through his hold on the wound. It was hurting like hell.

Halt was quick to react. He pulled his longbow down from his shoulder and nocked in an arrow, shotting down three men in quick succession. He looked back behind him. Will was still on the ground and Halt saw, by the look of him that he wasn't doing alright. He turned back to the advancing men, they weren't doing anything, just staying far enough away so that Abelard wouldn't kick them but swinging there swords so that the horse will be forced to move away from them, and away from Will. Halt realised this, but to late. He started to shot down more, he had to get back, Will was probably dying. Just as he was about to release another arrow a deep voice boomed across the space between them.

"Make one more move, Ranger and he dies." Halt paused and slowly turned to face the direction of the sound. A man dressed in black was standing in the middle of the road, a knife in his hand, which was positioned at Wills throat. The boy was having trouble standing and the captor had to hold most of his weight up.

"Let the boy go!" Halt shouted. He didn't want Will hurt any more than he already was. It was clear to everyone that the arrow wound was causing him pain.

"I think not Ranger!" the man shouted back, "I would leave without what I had come for if I did."

Halt frowned. They wanted Will? No one knew much about the boy, and by the sound of the mans accent he wasn't Araluen. He thought his predicament through. He didn't have very many options, and all of them involved leaving Will to these men and then finding and killing them to get him back. He didn't like any of them.

"So why don't you put your bow down and the boy won't get any more hurt then he already is." Halt couldn't see his opponents face, it was nearly dark; the sun already half way down the horizon. He did as the man complied, Laying the bow across his knees. He saw the man shake his head.

"No, no you give it to one of my men, and the arrows." Halt didn't like passing over his long bow to the wimpy man now standing next to him. But the other man didn't seem to notice that Halt had a throwing and saxe knife on his belt. He passed the weapon down to the man. He gave Halt a sneer that said, I got your bow and you can't do anything about it.

Halt had to stop himself punching him in the face. The man holding Will nodded, "good, good," he said, manly to himself, but Halt could still hear him twenty meters away. It was almost fully dark now, the moon hiding behind think clouds. The men around Halt were only dark shadows and the trees seemed to be whispering as the wind blew through the branches. It would be the best time to attack right now Halt knew, but he needed to make sure that Will was out of the mans grasp before he could do anything.

Will couldn't so anything, the pain in his side made it hard to stand and he was sure from the loss of blood his vision was failing. He couldn't even see the features of the man holding him. Either it was that or it was getting to dark. He hoped it was the latter. The Man pushed the knife a little more against his neck. He couldn't stand straight and so didn't have enough energy to pull on the mans wrist to loosen the hold on his neck.

Then he heard it, the unmistaken sound of hoof beats. Instantly his heart rate picked up, maybe it was some of the guards from Castle Araluen. But then his stomach knotted and his heart almost leaped into his throat. The sound of horses was coming from behind him, meaning that they couldn't be from the Castle. He looked toward Halt and saw the faint outline of Castle Araluen behind him. He felt his eyes water, from the growing pressure on his throat and the loss of hope he felt inside. No one was coming to rescue them. He felt a soft laugh in his ear, and the man whispered to him.

"You might want to say goodbye to your mentor over there boy, 'cause you ain't never going to see him again." The man chuckled. Will hated him; never had he hated someone with so much passion. He had only known him for less then half an hour and already Will knew they were never going to be on the same side on an argument. He didn't even know his name! and here he was pressing a knife against his throat and saying he'll never see Halt again.

The sounds of horses were right behind him now. He was lead, being dragged and carried more then walking back away from his mentor, and thrown into the back of an old wooden carriage. He groaned and carefully rolled over on his back. The last he saw was the dark figure of Halt Struggling against the wave of men pushing him back. Without his bow he was only slashing any person who got close enough with his saxe knife.

"Will!" he shouted, "Will."

A small sound escaped from the lips of his apprentice, and if he was standing close enough he might have heard the boy whisper his name, until he fell into unconsciousness.

Halt rode as fast as Abelard could go back to Castle Araluen. His breathing was irregular as he tried to calm himself. Tears streamed down his cheeks of their own accord and all he could think of was that he had lost him again. The Castle rose fin front of him, the city stretched out around it. The gates opened immediately as they recognised the rider as one of the Kings Rangers.

Halt galloped straight through, people quickly moving out of his way as he barged through the crowd. They all looked confused at his sudden arrival and watched closely as he rode away from them. Abelard's hooves echoed on the cobble stones as they got closer and closer to the Castle. His tears dried on his cheeks as there was no more to fall and wet them again.

As soon as he reached the gates they opened for him and a stable hand came running out to grab the reins of the horse. Halt, without one word or signal to the boy, walked right up to the steps and straight to the throne room where the King would be at this time in the late afternoon. He was right, and without waiting to be announced he walked into the room, the doors banging loudly as they were thrown open.

"Halt?" the King and the princess were sitting at a small table in the centre of the room, it seemed that they were in deep conversation but they now looked at Halt, their eyes wide and expectant.

Halt could only manage one word as he tried to get back his breath.

"Will." The King and Cassandra both glanced at each other uncertainty.

"What about Will?" the Princess dared to ask.

"He's….hurt –"

"Well then bring him in! We'll look after him…." King Duncan slowly stopped as he saw the look on his friends face. "He's not here is he?"

Halt shook his head, tears blurring his vision again. "They attacked us after we left….they…." his voice broke and he took a deep breath and tried again, "they were….after him."

did you like it? yes? no? well tell me! it makes my fingers go faster! and i need that cos they're freezing it so cold!

xox Kitty