a/n: There will be some spoilers for the RANGER'S APPRENTICE series. This one-shot is based on the boar hunting scene from The RUINS of GORLAN.


Will's Peril

Will had never really given any thought to how he'd die. Okay, so maybe he had given it a little thought. After he had retired from being a full fledged Ranger for many years, he'd retire and marry Alyss. He lived in a cabin in the woods or possibly in the castle like all retired Ranger's did. He'd have Two Son's and one Daughter, Tug and maybe even a Sheppard dog for the kids. Who, when they were grown up, maybe continue in their parent's foot step and have children of their own; making Will and Alyss grandparents. He would die of natural causes; old age if you will. So he hadn't given a little thought; he had his whole life mapped out.

And this wasn't part of it.

All Will could do was brace himself as he held the long knife out towards the charging boar. He knew there was no point trying to dive out of the way, or, for that matter, any time. He heard the hoof beats of the other hunters, but knew that they wouldn't be at his aid in time. His only hope was that this would work, or at least stun the furious beast so that the others could kill it. But deep down Will knew that this could never kill such an animal; just like his arrows they wouldn't pierce deep enough into its hide.

With his heart in his throat, Will forced himself to keep his eyes open; if he was going to go through with this, he would do it like a man. The boar was a few feet from him now and Will gripped the knife hilt tightly with both hands. He held the end of the hilt against his chest, the sharp point of the knife towards the charging boar. When it was about to feet away, he thrust the knife out with as much force as possible. He knew that it would pierce a little deeper with the force of the charging boar and his thrust, but he didn't expect it to go as far as the heart.

The force was to much for Will's small figure; as the knife met flesh, the boar let out a red-hot screech. Will's arms were forced back towards his chest and he was flung back. His back hit the tree behind him with a painful thud; the wind knocked out of him, he tired to brace himself for the impact of tusks.

Just before the tusks could rip through Will's clothing and bore into his flesh, there was a deep, whistling hiss cut across the sound of the boar's hooves, followed by a solid, meaty SMACK! The boar's step faltered, twisting in sudden agony, and crashed into Will. One tusk missed him and buried into the bark of the tree behind him, while its tusk tore through his clothes and it sharp ash tusks pierced through his skin.

Will didn't even notice the scream that was yanked from his throat as the tusk bored into his flesh. Just a few inches under the heart, its tusk tore it's way through a few of his ribs - braking them in the process, and burying its-self into his lung and puncturing it in the process. Feeling light head and suddenly numb, Will didn't understand why it was hard to breathe all of a sudden.

With the weight of the now dead boar laying on top of him; he was at a very awkward position. With the upper part of his back and head against the tree and the rest flat on the ground; Will vaguely saw the long-shafted black arrow protruding from the boars back, just beside its left shoulder blade and through it heart.

He heard his name being called, though it sound as if he was under water. Suddenly, it was as if he resurfaced as Halt's panicked face came into his line of vision, then Horace's, Baron Arald's and even Sir Rodney's. Will drew in a shallow breath as he looked at each face in turn with slightly glazed eyes. He felt something warm and wet run down the corner of his mouth; and even as fuzzy as his brain was at the moment, Will knew that it wasn't saliva.

Halt, Horace, Arald and Rodney slowly lifted the dead boar from Will; unbeknownst of the damage that it had caused. They had helped, but they had also made his injury worse. But taking the weight of the boar off of Will, they had allowed more breath to enter his lungs. But in doing so, they removed the tusk from the hole in his lung - it had acted like a quark plugging a hole and by removing it, they had allowed the air to escape and the liquid to enter. If not repaired soon, he would drowned in his own blood.

Halt shifted him so he lay flat on the ground and tore his clothes to get a better look at the wound. Though he could tell that it was bad just by the amount of blood covering his mid section. There was a deep, gaping hole in his left side, and going by the irregular bumps around it, Halt guessed as that Will must have a few broken ribs.

"Get a surgeon, now!" Halt order the nearest person; who happened to be a nervous looking dog handler, who turned even more nervous by Halt's hard tone.

Before anyone could make a move; Will drew in a very shallow breath, though it just caused him to cough painfully - flecks of wet blood appeared around his mouth. Halt combed his fingers through Will's shock of hair as he laid the boy head on his lap. Arald put pressure on the wound; a surgeon wouldn't make it in time.

Will took in quick shallow breaths as he squeezed his eyes before opening them to clear his vision. He looked up to find Halt's brown eyes looking down on him. Neither said a word as they just looked into each other brown eyes, everything around them become just a blur; it was only Mentor and Apprentice. With out really knowing it; they accepted the fact that Will wasn't going to make it.

Halt couldn't really begun to understand how this could have happened, but he knew that it had to have been his fault. He should have kept his guard up even if the first boar was dead; expect the unexpected, he had always told Will. And because he let his guard down, this happened. Halt had only ever had two apprentices; Gilan and Will. And what he had with Will was more than Mentor and Apprentice; it was more like father and son. Halt tried and failed to push back the tears that blurred his vision as Will's eyes glazed over even more as he gave a painful, hacking cough. Blood splattered every where.

Will tried to give Halt a reassuring smile, but it ended up as a grimace instead. He was just glad that thing was dead and his friend were safe. Will didn't know what he would have done if that boar had killed Horace instead. He knew that the apprentice warrior was going to be the best, possibly even better then Sir Rodney. But Will wasn't so sure about himself, though he wasn't sure he would live up to his name as Halt's apprentice.

The woods were silent and soon, Will's eyes slowly slipped closed - never to open again.


note: Just got the RANGER'S APPRENTICE series for Christmas and that's what inspired me to write this. Okay, so I just open the 1st book to a random page and it happened to be on the boar hunt. I hoped you liked this one-shot, please review?f