Hey all! This is my first fanfic so please be nice but review and be critical, its helpful. This intro is boring and I apologize but it'll ramp up and get better. Enjoy!

Redmont was experiencing a snowy, wet winter and a new layer was falling. The Ward's choosing day was in a week and the Ward was abuzz with the upcoming apprenticing. Steve, Herbert, Kyle, Mary and Ella were the 15 year olds who were being apprenticed. Steve was evidently going to be a scribe, Herbert a battle school apprentice, Kyle would be a horse master, Mary would be a lawyer and deal with foreign affairs. Ella had no clue what she was going to do. She wanted to be a horse master's apprentice because she knew Ulf so well, she could cook well enough, write well enough, fight well enough, and could debate well; but that was mostly with her fists. Ella didn't even dare think about being a Ranger's apprentice; but with her quick movements, quietness about her, and her explosive temper made it sort of clear that that was the road she was heading down.

Herbert, for the last couple weeks, had been teasing Ella about her anger and size. Finally, at lunch one day, Ella threw the first punch at Herbert's face. They tumbled out of the Ward and outside to continue the fight.

Around the corner of Castle Redmont in the courtyard, the fight was in progress. Ella, a petit girl for being 15, was battling it out with Herbert, a bigger one of her Ward mates. All the other ward kids were surrounding the scuffle, cheering it on.

Ella threw a punch at Herbert's neck, which he blocked with his meaty arm. Ella blocked her stomach when Herbert tried to get her in the stomach. He kicked at Ella's knees, who jumped over it and, in the process, kicking Herbert in the face. He fell back as Ella landed on the ground again.

"Don't judge me by my size and don't doubt me ever again," Ella spat at Herbert, who was holding his nose that was bleeding. She walked out of the circle that surrounded the fight and headed for the barn. When she passed, the people stepped back from her and patted her on the shoulder and back in congratulations.

Upon arriving at the barn, Ulf greeted her and looked Ella up and down. "Gotten in another fight have you?" he asked, knowing full well what the answer would be.

"Yes, but I didn't inflict too much injury this time," Ella explained, pulling her shorter auburn hair into a low ponytail.

"When will you ever learn," Ulf replied, under his breath as Ella went down to a stall.

"Not sure, but soon hopefully, I'm exhausted," Ella replied over her shoulder.

Ulf looked down at Ella, wondering how she heard his remark. He shrugged the thought off and went back to polishing the leather tack.

Ella was assigned to ride a smaller battle horse named Ace. He was a chestnut and had a small diamond on his forehead, but no other markings. Ella came to the door to Ace's stall and pulled the halter off of its hook and unlatched the stall. Ace came over and sniffed at Ella's pockets, but finding that she didn't have any, he turned back to his hay.

"Hey boy, how are you today?" Ella always talked to her horses before she rode them. Ace didn't seem like he could be a battle horse because he was small and didn't have that craziness that most of the other battle horses possessed. This wasn't the first time Ella had ridden Ace, so she knew what to do and how to do it. Ella didn't talk much nor did she have many friends in the Ward, but at the barn she came alive and let her true self come out in her riding.

She groomed and tacked Ace up and led him out to the arena. Kyle was out working one of the bigger battle horses at the other end of the arena. Ella worked Ace at the walk, trot and canter to develop his frame so that he could be better controlled when on a loose rein from the knights. At the end of her ride, when she was cooling Ace out, Kyle rode up next to her, "Do you think you'll be apprenticed to Ulf?"

Ella glanced down at Ace's shoulder and replied, "I hope so. But if you get in, why would he need another?"

"Well, you are good with them, " Kyle replied, motioning to Ace and his horse, "and they are well tempered when you ride them."

"But, I don't think I'm strong enough. Ulf hasn't ever asked me to ride the big boys and even if he does, it's to get them cooled down," Ella commented.

"You still have just as good a chance as I do. You won't be on a farm, I swear," Kyle joked.

"Well, that's a relief," Ella joined in.

Kyle chuckled and walked off with his horse to the gate. Kyle was one of the few who liked Ella enough to claim to be a friend of hers. He was tall, but not lanky, with short, spiky brown hair. He was very nice and funny and tried to calm Ella down when she got mad. Too bad he missed the fight today, Ella thought as she dismounted Ace.

As Ella was leading Ace up the path back to the barn, she sensed that someone was watching her. It wasn't Ulf, because he usually made himself known by giving pointers now and then; this watching sense felt secret and almost dangerous. Ella quickened her step and glanced over her shoulder quickly. Ace's ears weren't pointed forward or swiveling, so Ella guessed that the feeling was nothing, but she didn't let her guard down.

Returning to the barn, she was greeted by Baron Arald, Herbert and the Baron's secretary. Ella met each one's gaze and gave Herbert her evil eye that made the toughest men squirm in her gaze. Herbert broke the stare first and Ella smiled slightly to herself as she led Ace into his stall. Quickly, she untacked Ace and threw his sheet on him so he wouldn't get a chill.

"Hello boys," Ella greeted them all as she carried the big saddle on one arm and the breast collar, bridle and girth on her other arm.

"So you got in another fight," Baron Arald said after he made it clear with his facial expression that Ella's greeting was unacceptable.

Ella shrugged at both suggestions, not in a snobby way but in a "what am I gonna do about it now?" sort of way.

"Why?" Arald pursued.

"Herbert's been making fun of me for the past couple of weeks, and I know I can't use words to get through his thick skull, so I just embedded my point in his head with my own hands," Ella explained, walking to the tack room, with the three men following her. Despite her sweet name, Ella was all about sarcasm, violence, and anger. Sometimes she was nice but that was rare for her. People just got on her nerves and if they just gave her some space, she'd be a lot more tolerant.

"That was rude and you should never do it again. Apologize to Herbert so we can get on with our day," Arald went through the same lecture Ella got every time she was in a fight.

Ella sighed and turned to Herbert, "I'm sorry Herbert, for rearranging your face, and embarrassing you in front of everyone."

Herbert sighed as well, "I accept your apology," and he walked out of the barn with an unbelievable amount of arrogance.

"Ella, Ella, Ella," Arald shook his head, "Why do you do this so often?"

"I- its- well-," Ella tried to explain but couldn't find the right words. She groaned slightly at her not being able to explain.

"This had better shape up before the Choosing this weekend," Arald scolded before he left the barn as well. His secretary followed him like a dog at his heels.

Did you like it? i need feedback people to know if my story is good. R&R plz