I do not own Ranger's Apprentice, only my own characters.

I started this because I was bored, and couldn't get anywhere with my book. The likelihood of my going to far with the story is slim because I have other writing priorities. I will however continue if enough people are into it and wanting more. ;P

The sun was setting on a peaceful evening, turning the sky and castle red. It wasn't imposing as castles went, Alex thought, as she looked at it. It had three outer walls with a tower at each corner and another keep in the center. It was made with stone full of iron giving it its color and name.

She sighed, content. Life in Redmont was peaceful…until a scream came from behind her, just at the edge of the village. Another sigh escaped her lips, as she rolled her eyes. It was a familiar scream. It was Alex's much younger brother Liam. Her best friend Daemon was probably chasing him again. They were most likely playing that Deamon was Morgarath and Liam was their father Will or Uncle Horace during that last battle.

Liam liked acting out that story, and Deamon did nothing but encourage him. When she asked him why, he would always tell her 'I live to entertain. If that's what entertains him, well…' then he would shrug.

Her thoughts were broken when Liam yelled 'Die Morgarath', and then Daemon made choking noises like he was dying. Alex supposed he was on the ground as well. She let out a snort of laughter and shook her head.

It was only moments after Daemon stopped choking that she heard Liam run toward her. He ran around her holding his hands out as though he was riding a horse. "Giddy up, Tug," he yelled galloping off back to the castle. She watched him, and heard a soft thud in the grass beside her.

"You really shouldn't encourage him," she said.

"Why not? It's all in good fun." She could hear the shrug in his voice.

"Maybe, but he is seven now, and Dad didn't kill Morgarath. Uncle Horace did."

She looked at him, and saw that he was staring at her. "What?" she asked in surprise.

"I think I am going to see if I can get apprenticed into that Player's troupe that's in town. They will be leaving in a week, and I turn fifteen in three days. I will be old enough. They already said that they would take me." He sounded…sad to Alex.

"Daemon, that's wonderful! It's perfect for you," she exclaimed. "Why aren't you happy? You have every right to be. Those guys are some of the best."

"I will miss you," he said finally.

"We can write to one another, and you will be back to perform at Redmont every year. Plus, I am sure we will run into each other after I become apprenticed next month."

He frowned, and started plucking grass. "Maybe, but what will you do until you are apprenticed with your mom. I mean, I am your only friend."

Now she frowned, but not about the friend comment. It was true. All the other kids their age were weary of her, being the daughter of a Ranger and all. The fact that he was the most well-known Ranger changed nothing. A Ranger was still a Ranger, capable of sorcery, or so the rumors went.


"Yeah, you are going to apply for the Diplomatic Service, aren't you? I mean you have her talent for it. Everyone knows it."

"Umm… yeah, I guess."

"Okay, my turn to ask what. What's wrong?"

"I mean, I never thought about it, being apprenticed. I knew I would be, but I…I never thought about it. If I had, do you think I would have gone into the Diplomatic Service?"

He laughed and she glared at him.

"You aren't apprenticed yet. It's not too late to think about it, but what would you do. I doubt you could handle a battle horse. Who would want to? You could apprentice under Jenny maybe. I'm sure she would love to have you, but you can't really cook. You could be a scribe, but I know you to well. You would never be able to sit in a stuffy room all day transcribing documents. It's not like you could be a knight, or a Ranger. They don't allow girls in. You aren't the type to be a jongleur or player…

"Mom wants you come home," Liam yelled, running back toward them. "It's getting dark. She says it's time to come in."

She stood up. "See you tomorrow," she said.

"Mom says it's time to come in," Liam said again, breathlessly, when he reached them.

"Go tell her I'm coming," she replied, rather annoyed.

"Okay," he said, running back for the castle, his arms out, like he was a bird. She stared to follow him, more slowly.

"See you on the morrow," Daemon waved behind her. By then the sun had nearly finished setting, and he headed for his home in the village.

Liam was already in the gate, when her stomach told her that it was nearly dinner time. Street lamps were being lit behind her in the village, and torches had already been lit in the castle in front of her.

She walked under the portcullis, and crossed the cobblestone to where her family's apartment was housed in the Diplomatic Service wing. She started up the stairs. Their apartment was on the topmost floor. She entered the five room apartment, to see her mother setting the dishes on the table, and her father's clock resting on one of the chairs in the sitting room.

"Go wash up," her mother said, her long, blond hair bouncing as she set the table. She met her father at the door of the washroom. He wore the usual mottled green and grays of the Ranger's. He took the back of her head in one hand, and pulled her down to kiss the top of her head, his brown eyes dancing. It was strange being taller than him at such a young age.

She ducked under his arm, and entered the washroom. Inside, a large bowl of water waited for her on a table. A mirror hung against the wall above it, and the chamber pot sat on the other side of the room.

She put her hands in the water, and took the soap to scrub her hands clean. She splashed a little water on her face and looked in the mirror. She saw a confused girl of fourteen years old with wavy, brown hair, and grey eyes. She gave another sigh and went to dinner, putting thoughts of apprenticeship aside for later.

Alex's father had just left to go down to the cabin, and her mother was tucking Liam into his bed, which was across the room from hers. She heard her mother kiss him after they went through their goodnight ritual. She had already told her mother that she loved her, so when they were done, Alyss just blew out the candle and left the room, closing the door softly behind her.

Alone, or at least as alone as she could be with Liam sleeping twenty feet away, she thought about what Daemon had said. He expected her to go into the Diplomatic Service like her mother. Who else expected that of her? Her mother? Her father? She thought back, memories of when they would talk about their work, and apprentices. They seemed to expect her to join the Service as well. She thought of all the comments of 'when you become a diplomat' and 'when you join the service". She knew she could make a decent diplomat, and it had the adventure she craved, but she just wasn't sure. Something just felt off about it.

Unsure what it could be, she turned her thoughts to the other things that Daemon brought up. He was right about her being a jongleur. She was a terrible singer, and musician. She had tried all sorts of instruments before but could never get the hang of any of them. Plus she couldn't deliver a good punch line if her life depended on it.

She loved horses, or she loved Tug, but he was a small horse, and those battle horses were just too large and strong for her. She could probably talk Aunt Jenny into accepting her as an apprentice, but then she would probably be washing dishes all of her life. That wouldn't do. She just couldn't cook. She could be a scribe. Her letters were superb according to Uncle George, but that was just to dull.

Being a Ranger or knight. Now that was a thought, but those were strictly men's worlds. Being a knight didn't really appeal to her the way being a Ranger did. Uncle Horace was wonderful, and an excellent knight. Being a knight however, just didn't hold the same appeal. Her father told her all the stories, all of the wonderful adventures.

If she had her way, she would be a Ranger. She would be the best, like her father, but again, it was a man's world. Women weren't allowed. It just wasn't done.

Choices, choices, she thought, and with that, fell asleep.

Hope you like it so far. I can do better, if I started it different, but I was to lazy to start over.