First ever Ranger's Apprentice fic. I know it's not that good but then again it is the preface. Let the story start.

Wait no ... I forgot something ...

Disclaimer: I do not own anything in Ranger's Apprentice. If I did I would have the whole tenth book up here.

(Is it true America only has the seventh book? I would've thought they'd get the eighth at least. Please tell me. I want to know)

The night was dark aboard the wolfship. Isolda, sister of King Henri of Gallica, crossed her arms over her chest, tears staining her perfectly pale face. She was crying in despair.

She thought of all she had lost at the docks in La Rivage, where she had boarded the Wolfdare. She thought of the men at arms who had died defending her, of the ladies in waiting who had died as decoys.

But mostly, she thought of her husband, Ximenes Orville.

When Gallica, a ravaged country famous for the fights and squabbles of differing knights, had found out about her marriage to the sailor, the people were not well pleased, to say the least. Her beauty was renown throughout the world and many a man wanted her as their bride. However, no man had held her interest.

Until she met Ximenes.

He was a sailor, a messenger of sorts to the island countries to the East. Not content to the job he was given, Ximenes had taken it upon himself to learn the art of sword fighting. When the two lovers had met, Ximenes had arrived home from a tip to Picta, in askance of food in behalf of King Henri. The supplies in the Kingdom had run low and though the King did nothing to help the fights of the squabbling men who destroyed the crops, he had always tried to help his people as much as he could.

Isolda remembered the fateful day as if it were yesterday.

A deflated-looking sailor, a youth of about twenty, strolled into the filled dining hall. His right hand was clenched around a yellowed envelope. The other hand was resting on the hilt of his sword. He glanced around the room searching for a certain person. Isolda was watching, her brown eyes wide.

"My lord," he gasped. "Picta has written back to your plea."

Henri, who had been chatting to Isolda, looked up. He leapt to his feet and practically ran to the sailor, taking the letter for the man's hand. Isolda was right behind him, her rich silk gown rustling slightly.

Henri eagerly ripped open the seal and started reading the letter. The more he read, the more his face fell. He gave the letter to his sister, sighing in unhappiness.

To King Henri,

We Pictans hear your cry for help. However we cannot spare the supplies you need. We are extremely sorry.

Hoping that you can forgive us,

King Cian of Picta.

"Picta has refused help," Henri announced to the room at large. Then he turned to the messenger. "Send envoys to the Celts. You might as well ask the Araluans," he ordered.

The messenger sighed. "My lord, they have all turned their backs on us. The Pictans have enough supplies for the whole of Skandia, they just don't want to share."

"What!" Henri yelled. "They refuse to help us? Why?"

"My lord," the sailor cautioned. "They disagree to the way Gallica is run. The want nothing to do with a country that is eternally in turmoil."

Isolda watched the exchange with solemn eyes. She knew that it was vital Araluen and Celtica helped Gallica. The country would be lost without the supplies the others provided and it was essential that they agreed to help Gallica.

"Henri,' she began, "send me to Araluen. I can persuade Duncan to help us. If I cannot, I'll head south to Celtica and talk the King Swyddned."

Henri considered the idea. "Very well, sister. Go and pack for the voyage. Orville, you go and help her."

"Yes, my lord," the sailor said, bowing.

As Isolda and the sailor made their way out of the hall, Isolda caught her first glimpse of the man and gasped. His hair was dark and messy, his eyes were glittering like emeralds (a much prettier colour than Henri's pale green, she thought) and his face was that of an angel.

Isolda of Gallica was in love with the commoner, Ximenes Orville and there was nothing she could do about it.

Isolda pushed the memory aside. It does no good to dwell on the past, she thought to herself. The past only brings back memories of how life had been. But how life is now is more important to how life was then.

She sighed. She knew her logic was correct. Then, feeling she should move inside to direct the Skandians to her new life.

There was no going back, she knew. Once she stepped inside that door that led to the sleeping quarters her life in Gallica was finished. She took a deep breath. Then, without looking back, Isolda of Gallica became a normal woman as she stepped inside. Isolda was no more.

It was time that Aylwen, the Princess's new identity, took her first breath.

Okay. Did you like it? Did you hate it? I don't know if you don't tell me. Please review!