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The Ranger's Daughter
Kate Treaty's heart was pumping, her adrenaline running high. This time she was sure she would get it. She had been tracking down the same stag for hours now. Its head rose, its ears twitching. Something had startled it, but thankfully it soon lost interest and went back to grazing in the dry grass. Kate, whom had frozen at the first sight of movement, let out the breath she had been holding.
"I won't lose you this time." She thought to herself, pulling her bow string back and training it on her target "Oh no, you’re mine."
"Is that so?" A voice chuckled behind her. Startled she jumped, her carefully steadied arrow flying wide, scaring the beast she was after. Disappointed, she slowly stood up but did not turn around. She knew she was in trouble and that there was no way, out of it. "Come now, I thought I taught you better. Why did your arrow miss that stag there? Looked like a clean shot" The laughing voice continued. Kate sighed and turned to face her father, who was standing, arms across his chest and a smirk upon his lips. "Well, are you going to answer me?" Kate sighed again.
"I was going to bag that stag before you came along and messed up my shot" she murmured.
"Oh, so I messed up that shot did I?" He said, the smirk on his lips growing larger.
"Yes," she snapped back, "and it would have been dead on." Her father raised an eye brow at this.
"Ahhh, just take me back already and stop looking at me like that!" Her father held out his hand and she stared at it, she knew what he wanted but she hated to give it up.
"The cloak, Kate. And the bow." Finally she relented and handed over the green and gray modeled rangers cloak she had stolen from her father and the recurve bow he had given her so long ago.
"Now come on, your mother’s waiting." Kate pouted and jogged over to the shaggy gray pony her father always rode.
"Hullo, Tug." she said to him, pulling an apple out of her jacket and slipping it to him when her father wasn't looking. Sighing, she swung on to the saddle her father following behind. The two sat there for awhile not saying a word. Tug, unlike other horses, was silent, making the journey back towards the cabin that they lived in even grimmer. "Dad," Kate whispered, finally venturing to speak, "I'm sorry, I just wanted..."
"What you wanted was a whole lot of trouble. I need that cloak, Kate, I can't do my job without it besides I'm going to the core meeting tomorrow I can't go without It." her father cut in. No more was said after that. When they finally reached the cabin, Kate flew off Tug’s back and pushed past her mother who had come out to greet them. Once inside the snug cabin, she zipped into her room, slamming the door shut determined to keep out anyone who dared try get in.
Will watched his daughter run into their home and push past her mother. He didn't understand what had gotten into her.
"Will, what happened?" Alyss asked striding over to meet him. The famous ranger smiled softly up at his lovely wife. Alyss was tall for a woman.
"Well, that all depends on what you’re asking about,” he replied teasingly. She didn't respond. She just raised her eyebrow just the way he always did. He chuckled "Ok, she stole my cloak, again, took the bow and went for that stag she's been talking about."
"Oh, Will, you know she just wants to get your attention. I mean your rarely home." This was true, he had to admit, the life of a ranger was not an easy one. He sighed.
"It's not my fault that I'm needed so often. You know how that feels." Alyss nodded as a currier she was equally as busy as Will
"Yes, but I make time for her."
"I suppose you’re right. I'll take her to my core meeting if Crowley will allow it." "Of course he will," Alyss replied, smiling, "He adores her." This, too, was true Crowley has seemed to have taken Kate under his wing.
"The core could use a girl like her to straighten out our wild men." He had joking told Will when had first brought Kate to a core meeting.
"Yes, I think that would be a good idea." He nodded, confirming his words with a smile.
"What?" Alyss asked seeing the expression.
"Oh I was just thinking." he said smile growing
"Always a dangerous pastime." A familiar voice spoke behind him. Will spun around to face his old mentor.
"Halt! What brings you here?" he asked
"Oh, I just thought I'd stop by," Halt answered smiling slightly at his friend’s reaction "I heard that there is a thief on the loose." Halt, stubborn as ever had decided that he was not going into retirement so soon, so he tended to keep Will up to date.
" Is there really?" Will asked, shocked at this new piece of information, he had been searching for Kate all day.
"Yes, I've been told that she’s tall, graceful, and strong. She also has dark hair and eyes like her father and like her father, spouts a question every five minutes. So far she's stolen a cloak of a ranger and an apple from a currier." Halt chucked
"Ah, yes, I believe I know this thief." Alyss said, coming from behind him.
"As do I," Will said looking toward the cabin frowning "Do you think I could take this thief with me to the core meeting?" He asked, although he already knew the answer.
"I should think so," Halt said also looking toward the cabin. "Alyss, would you mind giving Will and me some time alone?"
"Of course, I'll go make some coffee." Alyss volunteered, before turning to Will and giving him a questioning look. Will just shrugged, so his wife turned and strode back to their home.
"What is it Halt?" Will asked, turning to his former mentor. Halt looked around casually and whispered
"We can't go to the core meeting." Will startled, stared at him they always went to the meetings. Halt chuckled "You, Horus, Gillian, and I have been assigned a mission. There is a group of people who want the northern fiefs and you very well know what could happen if their demand was meet. I also think you might know them." Will looked at him curiously.
"Who?" Halt sighed.
"I don't know yet. I just think that we've dealt with them before. It's more of a feeling, really." Will nodded and turned back towards the little cabin.
"What about Kate?" Halt placed a hand on the other man’s shoulder.
"You know I had the same problem with you. Terrible trouble maker you were, yet I loved you anyway, as if you were my own," he told him softly. Will couldn't understand. What did his old mentor mean? Halt chuckled quietly at the confused look the younger man had given him. "Kate's getting older and wiser every day. Embrace what you have been given take her as your apprentice, take her with us." Will stared at him, slack jawed
"But Halt," he protested " she could be hurt or kidnapped or, or..." He trailed off when he realized Halt really had faced the exact same problem with Gillian and himself but he still didn't want to put her in danger. What if something happens?
"Halt" Will said softly looking the ground and turning away from the other man “I'm not ready to let go." Halt nodded. So there Will stood facing the older man whom he’d always thought of as his mentor and father. After a minute of silence Halt scowled, deciding that the quiet had gone on long enough.
"Will, you may not be ready but she is." He started slowly as if to make the words more appealing. Halt usually didn't do this but this wasn't the time to put things bluntly. Will in his part was mulling over the words. Yes, Halt was right he knew. She was ready and if she agreed she would become his apprentice. He felt a sense of fatigue; his little girl had gone and grown up too fast. Will straightened and faced Halt.
"Your right, Halt, it's time Kate started to pull her weight around here." Will smiled after all he had been doing much more when he was her age. Halt clapped him on the shoulder
"Good now let's get down to business"