The Senior Ranger had just gotten to his small office, when his assistant caught up with him.
“There’s a woman here to see you. She’s asking for you by name and she was very insistent.” The man traced a voluptuous figure with his fingertips and winked. The Senior Ranger raised an eyebrow. This could be something interesting to start his day. Better than some dry report he had to read before training.
“Where is she?”
“Right this way. Her name is Anna.” the Ranger said, with a grin. His boss thought she had to be something, the way he was acting.
When he turned the corner and saw her sitting primly in his small wooden chair, he couldn’t blame the man one bit. She was a looker, but the way she was fretting indicated that there was something big on her mind. There was a package on her lap with suspiciously familiar handwriting.
“Hello, my name is Sir Will. I’m the Senior Ranger in charge. You must be Anna.”
She looked up and gave him a big smile.
“Yes, I am.”
“What can I do for you?”
The young woman held up the package in her lap. “I have this to give to you, from Sir Cuileán.”
His interest sharpened at the name. The Senior Ranger gestured for it and she gave it to him.
“What is it, Anna?”
“I don’t know. He didn’t tell me.” She worried some more, wringing her hands. He broke the seal, but didn’t open it yet. He looked up at her.
“Excuse me, but are you all right?”
“I’m worried about him, and I know I’m not the only one. I know that he’s doing something dangerous.”
That’s probably true enough, he thought. On the heels of that thought was, the boy doesn’t let any grass grow under his feet, does he? Out loud, he said, “I won’t lie. He’s a King’s Ranger. We do have to do things that can be dangerous, but Sir Cuileán is a very careful man.”
“He said that.”
Wondering what else he’d said to this girl, Sir Will continued. “Then you can take that as a truth. He will be. Sir Cuileán isn’t the kind of man to say anything idly. If he gives his word, then you can believe it, beyond reproach.”
As he spoke, he opened the package and pulled out a letter, two books, and what looked like maps. He read the letter quickly, and had to quickly control his expression. Looking up, he realized he hadn’t done it quickly enough.
“He’s in danger, isn’t he?” Her eyes filled with tears. “Tell me, and don’t lie.”
Trapped by his own word, he simply nodded and she sobbed. Sir Will spoke quickly.
“Anna. Look at me.” She looked up, into his face. The imploring look in her eyes steeled his resolve. “Anna, I promise you. We will help him. He’s one of ours, and we don’t leave one of ours behind.” He stood up. As he did, so did she. Sir Will watched a weak smile appear on her face.
“I believe you. Cuileán is a man of his word and so are you.”
He put the package’s contents on the table, and she came closer to hug him.
“Go get him, and bring him back.”
He nodded. Anna broke the embrace and quickly left, wiping her eyes. The Senior Ranger watched her go, and thought to himself that the young Ranger was a lucky man. He stepped out to see his assistant approaching the door with an appreciative grin for Anna. It didn’t last long.
“Get a group together for Drokan’s Beard. As many as you can, back here.”
The snap of command quickly sent the man on his way with no questions asked. Senior Ranger Thomas sat down to await the group and to quickly look over what Ranger Abel had sent him. Halfway through, he realized that he’d been right. It was an interesting start to his day.