The sense of dread in Will's chest felt utterly wrong. The feeling of disdain for the thought of his fast approaching mentor was a sin in his mind, and yet he couldn't shake it. Never before had he so detested the thought of Halt arriving. The thought was simply inconceivable in his mind, yet he was feeling those very emotions right now. At that moment, he hated Halt. Hated him with every fiber of his being.

He twisted his bound hands frantically as he heard the soft hoof-beats that were fast approaching. His mouth went dry as he felt that cold hand of fear clutch tightly at his heart, sending shivers up his spine and throughout his entire body, chilling him to the very bone. The hairs on the back of his neck stood up as he felt a rough and large calloused hand clamp down on his shoulder, dragging him up into a sitting position. He wanted him to watch. This god-awful sadist wanted him to watch!

"Looks like you were wrong, kid." The gravely voice Will had come to hate spoke, the amusement just slithering along his words like a poisonous snake, drawing in for the kill. Will shook his head frantically, refusing to believe it. Halt wouldn't come for him. Halt didn't care about Will at all! So much time was spent trying to convince the man behind him this, that Will had accepted it as truth in his own heart. And that's what made him feel so low, so dirty. So wrong.

Yet here he was, the sound of the soft drumming almost pounding against his eardrums. It wasn't true. It couldn't be. Halt didn't care about Will. He was nothing bit a liability to him. Nothing more, nothing less. So then why was this sense of fear boiling in him? Raging so hot, yet chilling him to his core? Will stiffened as he heard the familiar elastic sound of a bow being drawn, and looked up to see the sharp head of the weapon pointed right over his head. Right where the figure was about to appear.

"Oh I've been waiting a long time for this…" The young apprentice shivered at the pure animalistic pleasure in the man's voice. The bloodlust was all to obvious in his voice. Casting his worried brown eyes back towards the small part in the tree, he could here the horse drawing closer. The beats of the animals large hooves seemed to mingle and pound in time with his heart. The noise of the forest, even the man behind him seemed to grow quiet as the young apprentice focused solely on the sound.

Please…He begged silently in his head, his eyes shutting tightly. His body was tense, waiting for the sound he had become so accustomed to. Soon, even the sound of the horse grew silent, and Will's breath caught in his throat. Now he could faintly here soft footsteps, so silent yet in his mind he could hear them as clearly as his own pounding heart. A satisfied grunt disturbed the silence the apprentice was sinking into, and Will knew that the bandits target had come into view.

Thrum. Whirr.

With those sounds Will was sure his heart had stopped beating. His breath halted completely. But surely…Surely a master ranger like Halt wouldn't be caught of guard that easily? He reasoned with himself to try to calm the approaching panic.

Halt would see this coming. Halt would know. He's not even there I bet… The entire time, Will had made sure his eyes stayed firmly shut. But he knew that Halt wouldn't be caught of guard so easily. He couldn't be.


Will's eyes snapped open at that sound, horror and terror mixing in his eyes. His stomach churned at the sight that greeted him, and he was sure he was about to loose that meager breakfast he'd been allotted. For at the end of the clearing, standing at the opening of the split path, was a small and wiry figure…With an arrow lodged in their chest.

Will hated Halt.

Sorry it was so short, but I just needed to set up the mood for the story. Like it? Hate it? Do I really care? Review! :D Flames will be used to toast my mallows :'D