Yes! I finally got my first fanfic up! Yeah I'm pretty proud ^_^. 'Kay, so this is my response to the 100 themes challenge on spookisapuppy's profile. Five to a chapter, no particular order; whichever one strikes the muse, eh? Read and Review!


1. Drive

"You let your guard down too fast. Make sure your opponent can't attack before you charge in."

Will sighed heavily, pushing sweat-matted hair out of his eyes. He knew Halt's criticism was meant to help him improve, but he couldn't help but feel frustrated. He didn't seem to have gotten any better than from when they had started.

Halt noticed Will's dwindling spirit and decided to try something different. "However, your speed when jumping away was surprising." It wasn't much, but a grin formed on Will's face at the simple praise. Halt almost rolled his eyes, instead raising his two knives and indicating for his apprentice to do the same.

Will concentrated hard on his strokes and parries, his mind spurred by the underlying meaning in Halt's words. However dispirited he was feeling, the need for his mentor's praise was enough to drive him to do better.


2. Two Roads

Will's mind raced as the Baron told him he was to be the Ranger Halt's apprentice. It was either that or be a farmer, wasn't it? He was never getting into Battleschool now. A Ranger it was, then.

Through his talk with the Baron and as he lay awake in bed, Will thought hard about the path he had chosen. Whatever happened, he decided, he could always compare it to the surely worse life toiling in the fields.

Looking back now, Will realized that night had been very significant in his life. He would always have a decision to make, but over everything, he was glad that he had chosen the road to be a Ranger.


3. Advertisement

"Halt, what are those?" Will asked. He was referring to a particularly eye-catching sign decorated with carved instruments and persuasive comments.

Halt wasn't impressed. "They're just trying to get you to waste your money." But Will's eye had already been drawn to a single instrument. A lute, Halt thought.

"Oh Halt, can I have it?" Will enthusiastic plea prompted his master into raising an eyebrow.

"Will, do you even know how to a play a lute?" Halt asked, his tone discouraging Will's chances of buying it.

"It's a mandola," Will corrected. "No, but I can learn! You're always telling me to try new things!"

Halt did not recall saying that exactly, but nevertheless replied with a firm, "No."

Will immediately set about pestering Halt to the verge of insanity. "Please?"

"No."

"Please?"

"No."

"I won't complain about anything, I promise!"

Halt paused, contemplating the idea, but then repeated, "No."

"Halt..." Will pleaded.

His mentor scowled, glancing again at the lute-mandola-displayed in the shop window. He sighed inaudibly and rolled his eyes to heavens, Will waiting anxiously with his big brown eyes.

Finally, Halt locked his gaze with Will's. "You'd better take care of it and practice," he warned. "I don't want you to abandon it as soon as you get bored." Already Will was nodding earnestly.

"Yes, I promise!"

Halt sighed quietly again as Will ran inside to get whatever the thing was called. Advertisements were pesky things, he thought, glaring at the sign. But maybe Will would be good at it.

Halt would eat his words when the SCREECH of strings being plucked out of tune broke into his hearing that sleepless night.

(A/N Wow that one turned out long. Oops :))


4. Eyes

It was his eyes, Halt thought absently. The boy had been turned away from both Battleschool and Horseschool, his lifelong dream crushed. Yet, he didn't let his tears fall.

A plain, chocolate brown color at first glance. But looking past that the old Ranger saw mounds of determination and hope, keeping the boy's young spirit alive and dignity preserved.

Yes, Halt thought to himself. He had made a good choice with this one.

(A/N And then an extremely short one right after...fickle much?)


5. Stars

"Grandad, how come there are so many?" The young boy looked in awe at the clear night sky, each star visible and dazzlingly bright.

The man smiled down at his grandson, ruffling his hair. "Well there are and were a lot of good people in this world, lad."

The boy frowned. "So all the good guys become one of the twinkly lights?" he asked, then continued without an answer, "Are the Rangers you always tell me about up there?"

"Of course. They did many a great service to this country. With help," he added, remembering the stories.

"Am I gonna be up there?" The anxious question caused the man to pretend to look stern.

"Do you do what your mother and father tell you to?"

The boy nodded vigorously. "Yes!"

His grandfather smiled, gently pulling the boy back towards the house. "Of course you'll be a star someday. We all have good in us. You just have to find it."


Err the last one was random...*looks nervous* So what did you people think? Please review and lemme know! Wow, now I know how other people feel when they reallyyy want some opinions. So come on people, I don't bite! Unless you bother me...speaking of which no flames (cuz I've read 'em and they're MEAN) but constructive criticism is appreciated, praise maybe even more so :)

-Dodo