Bitten by Fate

Chapter one

Disclaimer: I do not own Rangers Apprentice

AN: This will be extremely AU and probably contain some OOCness though I will try my best. Uh, it will also be weird? I just wanted to write something like this for fun. It's for my own entertainment, rather than anyone elses.

Anyway, this is the prologue of the first in what will be a trilogy. Uuuuum, I just thought I would upload it.

Maria Darling, the woman who ran Redmont's ward, was humming softly as she pushed open the door to the ward, her arms full of grocery bags. She unpacked everything in the kitchen, arranging it carefully in the right spots. One of her assistants always put things in the wrong shelves and she clicked her tongue at the unorganised mess. When it was all back in it's proper place, she decided to go check on the wards in year seven.

These particular wards were often a troublespot for her. The girls were fine, they often helped her around the ward. It was the boys, two of them, Will and Horace, that were constantly fighting and she always worried they would hurt each other.

There was a nine o clock curfew in the ward that meant everyone had to be in their dormitories at that time. Maria made her way to the boys dormitary, pushing her way past some of the older boys, mentally ticking them off in her head. She spotted the other year seven boy, George Carter, sitting upright on a chair by the window.

"Where are Will and Horace?" she asked him. George started at her voice. He gaped up at her for a moment before answering.

"Horace is in his room," he said.

"And Will?" Maria asked, pushing aside her nagging worries, telling herself it was nothing.

"He's..." George's voice trailed of.

"Where is he?" Maria asked with steel in her voice.

"In the forest," George whispered.

Maria's eyes widened in horror. "The forest?" she repeated, her voice hoarse. The other boys had queited down, attracted to a possible dramatic scene.

"Horace dared him to," George said. "We all tried to stop him,"

"But how did he get out?" Maria asked. She had locked the front door when she left. There was no way for him to leave the ward. "Is this some kind of joke?" she asked suspisciously.

"No," George wouldn't meet her eye. "He climbed through the window."

She remembered about Will's climbing skills. It wouldn't be the first time he had used those skills to break her rules.

"And where is Horace?" she asked urgently.

"In his room," George told her.

"Make sure he stays there," Maria said, turning on her heel and running down the stairs. She threw on a pair of practical looking boots- they belonged to one of the older boys but she couldn't go to the forest in her heels; donned her jacket and left the dorm.

The full moon hung like an orb in the sky. Maria shivered, certain the silvery light held Dark horrors. It tingled on her skin, reminding her that the Dark held power over Araluen on nights like these. Too late, she remembered she had forgotten to bring a torch. Maria didn't turn back. Her parental instincts were too strong, though Will was not her own son.

It had been the reason she was chosen to run the ward in the first place. Maria was unable to have her own children and as such, felt attatched to every child she met. Besides that, what decent human being could allow an innocent child to be alone in the forest at this time of night.

She burst through the trees, ignoring the rapid beating of her own heart. "Will?" Maria called. "Will, come here right now!"

Then she saw him. Not straight away. At first, her eyes were attracted to the massive, shadowy shape looming over the pale child. She couldn't see clearly what it was. Only that it rippled with powerful muscles, turning to her, brilliant green eyes fixing on her face.

Maria sank to the ground, moaning with fear. Will was unconscious, his skin luminous white except for the red wound on his arm.

The Dark creature, which could only be a werewolf, took a step towards her. Maria found herself unable to look away from the captivating eyes. Flecks of green in the dark. Glowing. Threatening. Blazing death.

Then an arrow hissed through the air, slamming into the werewolf's side with a meaty smack. It grunted, ignoring Maria to face the new challenger. Another arrow. Another hit. But the werewolf's thick fur prevented a killing wound. Even so, somewhere in the haze of it's killing rage, it knew it was in trouble. With a furious roar, it took off into the night. Several more arrows hissed after it, glancing off trees.

A man appeared, riding on a shaggy horse, a massive longbow in his hands.

"Damn," he said quietly. He put the arrow, already nocked on the string, back into his quiver and slung the bow over his shoulders. Dismounting, he helped Maria up before moving over to Will.

"Sir Ranger," Maria gasped. She knew the man of course, everyone did. Halt the ranger of Redmont, said to be a magical being. She rubbed the arm he had touched to help her up. Maria had always been afraid of Halt. Most people were. The ranger corps was said to be made up of magical creatures, leaving their homes in the obscure forests to live in civilisation.

People were afraid of those that were magical. Even the ones that everyone knew belonged to the Light stayed hidden from the Araluen people. The Ranger Corps were said to break those rules.

Yet Halt had just saved her life, as well as Wills. And he stood with her now, slightly shorter than she, appearing to be a completely normal man with a bad haircut. Perhaps the rumours were not true?

"If you've finished staring, you might want to help," Halt said, crouching down beside Will.

"Oh! Oh, of course!" Maria hurried over. "We must get him back to the Ward at once!"

Halt laid a calming hand on hers. "Ma'am, that was no ordinary wolf," he said carefully. Maria stared at him through moistening eyes.

"I know that," she said, looking down at the blood on Will's arm. "Oh, I know."

Halt lifted the young boy easily onto his horse. "I'll give you a ride home," he said. "There are some things we need to talk about."

And that's the end of the prologue. I have so many ideas for this story, I will definitely finish it. But if you lot think it's too weird or just plain don't like it I'll finish it slower.

Like I said, it's for my own entertainment. I had this idea for many years, slowly developing, but always hesitated to write it. Oh well, if you like: I'm happy! If you don't: don't read.

So review for good or bad.