I sat in the tree still and silent. Crowley was the first to arrive at the Gathering then other Rangers came sometimes as small groups sometimes alone. I saw Will arrive, and then a few more minutes before Halt arrived. I watched the old Ranger with my blue eyes hidden under my cowl of my cloak. No one knew I was there not even the Rangers except for my friends but I was the only one who was brave enough to venture this close to the Gathering. I was the best at hiding in the tree tops where most Rangers never looked if they saw me when I moved which was close to never unless my luck was not in my favor. Right now my legs were screaming for a change of position. I slowly moved my body, to change position when someone saw my movement. It was Will. I stopped. He stared at the branches for a few more minutes then turned away. I let my breath out in relief. I settled in another position still hidden and watched the Rangers. The Apprentices were practicing. Some were pretty good. Others needed work but they were doing as good as someone could be expected since they and their mentors had been busy on missions. I smiled thinking about how many times the Rangers saw us when we weren't trying to hide but be seen and not once realized we were following them. I had been following my father for years. That's right my father was a Ranger but he didn't know about me. My mother didn't know how he could have sired a child with him unless it was accidental which I was, an accident as were most of us. We called ourselves the Secret Rangers. We were all the children or former Apprentices of Rangers that had been dismissed but kept practicing their skills. My clothes and cloak looked exactly like the rangers and most of our horses were like theirs too. But mine was the biggest and hardest to conceal thank you to my friend Alice who found a way. It was annoying to my horse but she dealt with it. I was grateful not having to change horses every time I went somewhere.
The Gathering began the first test of the first year Rangers and they were doing the archery test. I watched as most of them hit the bull's-eye but a few missed it by centimeters. That was okay they were all kept for the time being. The hardest test was the knife fighting.
I heard a sparrow sound, but it wasn't a bird since I could tell the difference, nearby but I know it was signal that someone needed to talk to me. I ignored it then I heard it again. It was urgent now. I cautiously moved out of sight of the camp then moved through the tree tops until I landed on a branch near Joshua my friend.
"This had better be good." I said to him. "They just started the testing."
"There's something you need to see Serina." He eyes told me it was important.
"Like what?" I asked.
"I don't know what it is but it's something you need to see and I can't really describe it." He said "Besides you won't believe me."
"What like an army or something?" I said sarcastically trying to lighten the heavy mood.
His eyes widened, "You already know!"
"Know what?" Then it clicked. "There is an army nearby?"
"That's what it looks like." He said. "Do we warn the Rangers?"
"Let me look at the army then I'll decide." Joshua led me to see the army.
They wore uniforms I didn't recognize, not a good sign. I watched them carefully but no indicators they were going after the Rangers. Though any invader would know about Arlaun's Rangers were not forces to be reckoned with but right now the rangers were unable to protect themselves at the gathering. Half of them didn't carry their bows or knifes with them at the Gathering.
"Do we warn them or not?" Joshua whispered after we left the army.
"Maybe we should get ready to reveal ourselves if they attack." I said knowing if we tried to tell them we'd be trying to for hours. "Then we won't have to waste time trying to explain who were are and how we knew about the gathering and all kinds of other useless information."
We knew that revealing ourselves was not going to be easy but this could be a chance. I wanted to meet my father face to face and not at a distance.
I returned to the tree in time to see the knife fighting test start up. Two apprentices didn't pass. I felt bad for them sense they had worked so hard but didn't pass at the expected rate they should be. Two more Secret Rangers I hoped.