or the big man with the scarred face, or the youth

14 Dec

or the big man with the scarred face, or the youth

or the big man with the scarred face, or the youth with the red hair. He had been afraid, though. One of the others might have realized what was happening. Then they would have

 

turned on him and killed him. And Haggon’s words had haunted him, and so the chance had passed.

After the battle there had been thousands of them struggling through the forest, hungry, frightened, fleeing the carnage that had descended on them at the Wall. Some had talked of

 

returning to the homes that they’d abandoned, others of mounting a second assault upon the gate, but most were lost, with no notion of where to go or what to do. They had escaped the

black-cloaked crows and the knights in their grey steel, but more relentless enemies stalked them now. Every day left more corpses by the trails. Some died of hunger, some of cold, some

of sickness. Others were slain by those who had been their brothers-in-arms when they marched south with Mance Rayder, the King-Beyond-the-Wall.

Mance is fallen, the survivors told each other in despairing voices, Mance is taken, Mance is dead. “Harma’s dead and Mance is captured, the rest run off and left us,” Thistle had claimed,

as she was sewing up his wound. “Tormund, the Weeper, Sixskins, all them brave raiders. Where are they now?”

She does not know me, Varamyr realized then, and why should she? Without his beasts he did not look like a great man. I was Varamyr Sixskins, who broke bread with Mance Rayder. He had

named himself Varamyr when he was ten. A name fit for a lord, a name for songs, a mighty name, and fearsome. Yet he had run from the crows like a frightened rabbit. The terrible Lord

Varamyr had gone craven, but he could not bear that she should know that, so he told the spearwife that his name was Haggon. Afterward he wondered why that name had come to his

lips, of all those he might have chosen.

 

I ate his heart

and drank his

blood, and still

he haunts me.

shlfac.com