I'm Tejana. I haven't gotten to write as much as I'd like for a long time now, but I'm hoping to get back into the swing of it. Just some basic stuff:
1)I don't update unless there are reviews. I won't set a number, but it's good to get some feedback.
2)Negative reviews are still reviews. I accept them as long as they don't offend anyone other than me. But as a side note, it is still pretty rude to insult an author. Just saying.
3)Just to reinforce what was stated earlier, I am not picky about reviews. Obviously I'd like them to have some content, but really I just want some conformation that people are actually reading. You can critique my writing, comment the story, leave a really wicked picture made of symbols...I really don't care.
4)Obviously, I don't own the Ranger's Apprentice. All I own is a computer and Ethernet cable. And a Kindle.
Now, onto the story:
Will pulled Tug to a stop next to Gilan and Blaze. The horses threw their heads with excitement at seeing friends. "I see you're still alive," Gilan said with a smile.
"Just barely," Will laughed, "Who is your friend?"
"How'd you know I was there?" the boy demanded from behind the trees. The boy nudged his horse forward to meet theirs. "I was quiet."
"Yes but your horse wasn't," Gilan said.
"Tug let me know someone was hiding so all I had to do was look," Will offered.
"Will this is Jack. He's my apprentice."
"Apprentice? Well I wasn't aware you were getting so old."
Gilan shrugged. "Better sooner than later."
Their horses whined a greeting to yet another horse approaching and flicked their ears in the direction. The three looked up to see Halt on Abelard. Behind him they saw another horse and clearly not a Ranger's. It moved too gracefully for that even though the hoof beats were just as soft. The rider wore a soft green cloak that could pass as a more ceremonial version of the mottled ones they wore.
"Is that a woman?" Will asked with confusion. The rider's face, as she got closer, he could see was feminine. Gilan scratched his head.
"Maybe he was asked to escort a fifth-year apprentice's family?"
"Stop staring it is just a girl," Halt snorted when he stopped, "You two have your own."
"So do you," Gilan pointed out, "Does Lady Pauline know about her?"
"I think the real question is do we want to know about someone Lady Pauline doesn't," Will said. Halt looked to the very young woman with him.
"Do you see what I put up with?"
She just shrugged. "I'm sure you deserve it."
Gilan and Will shared a smile along with a glance. They agreed…she was alright in each of their books.
"This happens to be Nerilina, my niece."
"You have a niece?" Gilan asked.
"I didn't know myself until three months ago. Apparently Ferris had an estranged wife."
"Call me Lina," the girl said. They all studied her in hopes of finding a physical characteristic that linked her to Halt. There were none.
"Why did you bring her to the Gathering? Are you allowed to do that?" Will asked.
Halt narrowed his eyes. "I brought her because she wasn't just sent to find and harass me the past few months and no I'm not allowed. Now onto more important questions…you two seem to have come up with a stray."
"Ebony's not a stray, she's…" Will cut himself off and looked down to his dog. Even her eyes said, "The old man wasn't talking about me."
"This is my apprentice Jack," Gilan said after an awkward silence. "Jack, that's Halt."
Jack didn't really respond. He was too busy staring at Lina. Will had to admit. Halt's niece was extremely attractive but Alyss already had his heart.
"You can stop drooling any time you like," Lina snapped at him. Jack's face turned several shades of red. Lina nudged her horse ahead of them. "You Rangers are supposed to be subtle. You are also supposed to be excellent at hiding your tracks. I bet I could find the location of the Gathering from here you've been so careless."
Lina heeled her horse to a steady canter down the correct fork in the trail. Will and Gilan glanced to Halt. He shook his head. "Someday I should like to meet the woman that raised her. I know she didn't get that aggressiveness from her father."
They followed after her. She'd gotten far ahead of them. Halt held up his arm so the others would stay back away from her. "Why aren't we catching up?" Jack asked loudly. Halt smiled to Gilan.
"Now you know what I put up with all those years."
Gilan shook his head. "Halt wants to see if she really can track all the way there."
By the time they let their horses catch up Lina was sitting on her horse next to the men checking for oak leaves.
Halt, Gilan, Will, and Jack showed theirs. "The girl's with me. She's been requested to meet here with Crowley," he told them. They nodded and let her pass. Halt's word was almost just as good as Crowley's these days.
They friends picked a spot to set up camp. Will kept an eye on Lina as he pitched his tent and unpacked his supplies. She had her own camping gear and was arranging it faster than anyone else there. In Gilan's defense, however, he had an apprentice that still needed some serious work on his camping skills.
"No," Will said firmly to Ebony as she weaved between his feet in eager anticipation. She understood and went to do the same to Tug. Tug put his nose down and shoved her from time to time. It was a game the two had played since the dog was just a puppy. She'd spend her time playing with Tug during the Gathering. Blaze would tolerate her, too. Abelard, however, would snort and try to scare her away. He wasn't as fond as the energetic animal as the other horses.
By the time Will finished and looked back, Ebony had abandoned Tug. In fact, she'd abandon all the horses. She instead sat by Lina panting her tongue and wagging her tail. Lina scratched her ears gently while Ebony stole licks of her hand.
"I guess she likes you," Will told Lina.
"What's her name?"
"Good name for her. I wasn't sure if being unimaginative was a common characteristic with rangers or not. I half-expected you to say something like Blackie."
Will glanced to Halt. His mentor shook his head. Will just sighed. She'd poked fun at him without meaning to. "She was named when I got her," he admitted.
Lina looked up with understanding flooding her eyes. "I suppose that's a good thing then."
"Come on Lina. You need to check in with Crowley," Halt instructed. She stood up. "Now you will smell like a dog for him."
"No worse than smelling like you."
It was only after Halt's back was turned did Gilan and Will share a grin.