Disclaimer: I am not John Flanagan, therefore I do not own Ranger's Apprentice. I also don't own the poem— I believe that the rights for that go to Erin Hanson. (Please correct me if I'm wrong.)

The thing about pain,
Is it won't last forever,
And it kills you right now,
But with time it gets better,

People said that the pain would gradually fade away, but right now, Will was having doubts about the truthfulness of that statement. It had been half a year since he had returned from Skandia, but the memories were still as vivid as if Skandia had been yesterday.

Every cool breath of wind brought him back to the all-encompassing, never-ending icy cold of the slave yard. It brought him back to the seemingly endless nights when the cold was his constant companion, finding every gap in the tattered, threadbare rags that were his only comfort; not that they did much good anyways. It brought him back to the days filled with gruelling work— work that did nothing to dispel the desperate shivering of his weakened and depleted body.

Every snap of a twig recalled the crack of the whip and the searing, white hot agony that would race across his back, again, and again, and again. It recalled the helplessness of being able to do nothing but wait for the next blow to fall and the tormented relief he felt when they would finally drag his limp and bloodied body back to the ramshackle, broken-down slaves' quarters. It recalled the anguished pleas that he never spoke but always though: Please Halt, save me. I can't bear this anymore. Please.

Even the faintest scent of warmweed evoked memories of the time when the drug was the only thing of importance in his life. He could still feel the echoes of the cravings that had ravaged his body and mind. There were some days he could barely shoot straight— the shaking of his hands would throw every arrow he shot off course.

And yet, through the sometimes overwhelming flood of painful memories, Will would sometimes catch a glimpse of hope. Hope that his life wouldn't always be this way. Hope that he would one day step out from the shadows that Skandia had cast upon him. It wasn't often that he glimpsed this hope, but it was enough for him to know that it was there. So he kept on fighting the shadows of his past, clinging to the hope that one day things would be better.

A/N: I'm fairly new at writing (essays for English class don't count), so I would really value your input if you have the time to give it. I would love to know what you think I'm okay at and what I should work on improving. Thanks in advance!

I wrote this because inspiration struck as I was reading poetry and also because I feel that in the books Will bounces back from his time as a slave in Skandia really quickly. I think it's likely that he could have been a bit more affected because his time as a slave would have been traumatic to say the least.