Ranger's Apprentice: The Final Call

Maddie, son of king and queen, Horace and Cassandra, has become a full fledged ranger. First girl apprentice, and women ranger would only make it fitting that she be the mentor to the second girl ranger. Now trusted to find another girl who is fit to serve the corps again, she goes from the Ranger's Apprentice to the Ranger to the Master.

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     Madelyn, daughter of King Horace and Queen Cassandra sat in the undergrowth of a bush.  Since becoming a member of the Ranger Corps, she had learned quite a lot from apprenticeship under Will Treaty.  A longbow lay across her lap, and two knives sheathed side by side on a belt made of thick leather.  In the last two years of being apprenticed, she had used a full longbow instead of the recurve she had first come to learn with.  

     One of the many lessons Will had taught her was that patience was key to being a ranger, though when she began, she had little of any of the qualities it took to be a ranger, including that of being a snobby, uptight princess who was used to getting everything she wanted when she wanted.  

     You being snobby?  Unlikely. Absent-mindedly, she pat her horse, Bumper on the neck.

     "You'd be surprised, I was a chore for Will when I first came to him." She said in an undertone to him.  They had been waiting for hours off road for a band of criminals that were supposed to make their way though there that day.  Of course, it would be well after midday before they did, Maddie liked to be prepared incase their plans had changed.  She had been assigned to the Trelleth Fief, after requesting it in honor of Liam.  When she was apprenticed, she and Will had done some work in the fief regarding Liam's death, and since then, she had developed a heart for it.  

     A soft whinny came from Bumper signaling that other horses were approaching.  In an instant, she had an arrow resting on her bow, and was up in the saddle to get better visibility.

     "Steady." She said to Bumper, though she knew he would stand as still as a rock until needed.  Around the corner, a group of men dressed in all black were riding down the road.  Though they seemed relaxed, Maddie knew better then to assume they were innocent.  Her eyes traveled quickly over the group.  

     All carried some sort of weapon, each one was for hand to hand combat, Maddie noted.  Each carried a purse that was heavy with coins and riches no doubt.  The leader of the group rode a chestnut mare with long, fine legs, and would have a good turn of speed would they need a quick get away.  All the other's in the group were riding smaller, shaggier horses...one of them reminded her of Bumper.  

     Excuse me, I look nothing like that unintelligent horse.  Bumper protested silently.  Squeezing her legs slightly to let him know she heard, she stood up in her stirrups, and in an instant had released 3 arrows to the group of robbers.  Two of the three hit home, while the other one landed not an inch away from the leader's horse's next step.  The group stopped abruptly as the two men in the middle fell from their saddle.  It took two seconds for the group to realize they were being shot at before clapping their heels to their horses flanks.

     As they passed by her hiding place, she shot off two more arrows in quick succession of each other, and two more men fell victim to her deadly volley.  Now only two were left; the leader, and, from the looks of him, his right hand man.  Not even needing to touch her heels to Bumper, he leapt off with a amazing burst of speed and kept up with the other horses easily.  Keep at least two alive, we may have need for them in the future.  Will's monotone words rang in her head as she pursued the last two men.  One arrow brought the ring leader off his horse and into the dust, and the other decided it would be better to keep running.  

     Maddie was close enough that she threw her small but deadly knife into the meaty part of his arm, and with that, the chase was over.  

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