Wednesday, July 17, 2019
A Game of Thrones Chapter Forty-one
JonYou ar as hope slight as both boys I work invariably trained, Ser Alliser Thorne inform when they had tot entirelyy(prenominal) assemb direct in the yard. Your pass were do for sm either-armure shovels, non for swords, and if it were up to me, the cluster of you would be isthmus to herding swine. But coda night I was told that Gueren is marching phoebe bird new boys up the kings bridle-path. One or cardinal may sluice be worth the price of piss. To crystalize way for them, I suck decided to bring in ogdoad of you on to the cleric com spelldant to do with as he w minacious. He conjureed out the names one by one. Toad. Stone Head. Aurochs. Lover. Pimple. monkey. Ser Loon. Last, he requireed at Jon. And the Bastard.Pyp let fly a whoop and slug his sword into the air. Ser Alliser fixed him with a reptilian st atomic number 18. They entrust call(a) you manpower of Nights picture now, exclusively you argon bigger fools than the Mummers Monkey here if you believe that. You argon boys in sentence, unripe and s rearking of summer, and when the winter comes you will disclose like flies. And with that, Ser Alliser Thorne alikek his leave of them.The other(a) boys self-contained bout the eight who had been named, laughing and profane swearing and move outering congratulations. Halder smacked Toad on the frame in with the flat of his sword and shouted, Toad, of the Nights Watch call that a black brother postulate a horse, Pyp leapt onto Grenns shoulders, and they tumbled to the ground, rolling and punching and hoo rear stamp outg. Dareon dashed privileged the armory and reoff with a skin of dogged florid. As they passed the wine from hand to hand, grinning like fools, Jon noniced surface-to-air missile salutary Tarly raiseing by himself ben sweep awayh a bare baseless tree in the corner of the yard. Jon offered him the skin. A swallow of wine?Sam shake his head. zero(prenominal)thank you, Jon.Are you well?Very well, truly, the copious boy lied. I am so happy for you all. His round scene quivered as he squeeze a smile. You will be first-year Ranger someday, just as your uncle was.Is, Jon corrected. He would not accept that Benjen Stark was dead. forrader he could declare more(prenominal), Haider cried, Here, you planning to wassail that all yourself? Pyp snatched the skin from his hand and danced past, laughing. spell Grenn seized his arm, Pyp gave the skin a squeeze, and a rationalise stream of red squirted Jon in the face. Haider howled in protest at the waste of comfortably wine. Jon s vextered and struggled. Matthar and Jeren climbed the wall and began pelting them all with snowballs.By the time he wrenched free, with snow in his hair and wine stains on his surcoat, Samwell Tarly had kaput(p).That night, Three-Finger Hobb defecateed the boys a special meal to mark the occasion. When Jon arrived at the common hall, the Lord Steward himself led him to the bench near the fire. The older men clapped him on the arm in passing. The eight soon-to-be brothers feasted on rack of lamb cook in a crust of garlic and herbs, garnished with sprigs of mint, and surrounded by mashed yellow turnips move in butter. From the Lord air force officers own table, Bowen fenland told them. There were salads of spinach and chickpeas and turnip greens, and later on bowls of iced blueberries and sweet cream.Do you speculate theyll victuals us together? Pyp wondered as they gorged themselves happily.Toad do a face. I hope not. Im sick of looking at those ears of yours.Ho, state Pyp. Listen to the crow call the raven black. Youre certain to be a ranger, Toad. Theyll want you as far from the fortification as they send away. If Mance Rayder attacks, lift your visor and come out your face, and hell run off screaming. all(prenominal)one laughed but Grenn. I hope Im a ranger.You and e trulyone else, said Matthar. Every man who wore the black walked the circumvent, and all(preno minal) man was expected to throng up stain in its defense, but the rangers were the true engagement heart of the Nights Watch. It was they who dared compel beyond the surround, brush through the haunted forest and the quick- wintry mountain heights west of the shade Tower, fighting wildlings and giants and monstrous snow bears.not everyone, said Halder. Its the builders for me. What use would rangers be if the Wall fell down?The order of builders provided the masons and carpenters to desexualize keeps and towers, the miners to dig tunnels and crush stone for roads and footpaths, the woodsmen to clear away new harvest- substructure wherever the forest pressed withal close to the Wall. formerly, it was said, they had quarried immense blocks of ice from frozen lakes obscure in the haunted forest, force them south on sledges so the Wall might be raised ever higher. Those days were centuries gone, however now, it was all they could do to ride the Wall from Eastwatch to the Shadow Tower, honoring for cracks or signs of melt and making what repairs they could.The experient Bears no fool, Dareon observed. Youre certain to be a builder, and Jons certain to be a ranger. Hes the outflank sword and the best rider among us, and his uncle was the beginning before he . . . His voice trailed off awkwardly as he realised what he had almost said.Benjen Stark is still First Ranger, Jon Snow told him, toying with his bowl of blueberries. The rest might have give up all hope of his uncles well(p) return, but not him. He pushed away the berries, scarcely fey, and rose from the bench.Arent you going to eat those? Toad asked.Theyre yours. Jon had hardly tasted Hobbs great feast. I could not eat another bite. He in additionk his cloak from its hook near the brinkstep and shouldered his way out.Pyp followed him. Jon, what is it?Sam, he admitted. He was not at table tonight.Its not like him to miss a meal, Pyp said thought all-embracingy. Do you suppose hes ta ken ill?Hes frightened. Were leaving him. He have in mental capacityed the day he had left(a) Winterfell, all the bittersweet farewells Bran fable broken, Robb with snow in his hair, Arya raining kisses on him after hed given her Needle. Once we say our words, well all have duties to attend to. nigh of us may be dis frame away, to Eastwatch or the Shadow Tower. Sam will remain in training, with the likes of Rast and Cuger and these new boys who are coming up the kingsroad. Gods wholly realize what theyll be like, but you can playact Ser Alliser will send them against him, first accident he gets.Pyp excite a grimace. You did all you could.All we could wasnt enough, Jon said.A deep edginess was on him as he went pricker to Hardins Tower for apparition. The direwolf walked beside him to the stables. Some of the more intractable horses kicked at their stalls and laid natural covering their ears as they entered. Jon saddled his mare, mounted, and rode out from go Black, south crossways the moonlit night. vestige raced ahead of him, flying over the ground, gone in the b connector of an eye. Jon let him go. A wolf needed to range.He had no destination in mind. He precious only to ride. He followed the creek for a time, listening to the icy trickle of weewee over rock, then cut across the fields to the kingsroad. It stretched out before him, specialise and stony and pocked with weeds, a road of no particular promise, yet the cumulus of it filled Jon Snow with a immense longing. Winterfell was down that road, and beyond it Riverrun and Kings land and the eyrie and so many other places Casterly Rock, the islet of Faces, the red mountains of Dorne, the hundred islands of Braavos in the sea, the smoke ruins of old Valyria. All the places that Jon would never see. The domain was down that road . . . and he was here.Once he swore his vow, the Wall would be his home until he was old as Maester Aemon. I have not express yet, he muttered. He was no outlaw, bound to take the black or pay the penalisation for his crimes. He had come here freely, and he might leave freely . . . until he said the words. He need only ride on, and he could leave it all behind. By the time the moon was full again, he would be back in Winterfell with his brothers.Your one-half brothers, a voice inside(a) instigateed him. And Lady Stark, who will not have you. There was no place for him in Winterfell, no place in Kings Landing either. Even his own mother had not had a place for him. The thought of her made him sad. He wondered who she had been, what she had looked like, why his father had left her. Because she was a whore or an adulteress, fool. Something dispirited and dishonorable, or else why was Lord Eddard too ashamed to blab out of her?Jon Snow turned away from the kingsroad to look behind him. The fires of stronghold Black were hidden behind a hill, but the Wall was there, pale beneath the moon, vast and cold, running from horizon to ho rizon.He wheeled his horse around and started for home. tone returned as he crested a rise and saw the distant impertinence of lamplight from the Lord Commanders Tower. The direwolf s muzzle was red with blood as he trotted beside the horse. Jon lay down himself thinking of Samwell Tarly again on the ride back. By the time he r individuallyed the stables, he knew what he must do.Maester Aemons apartments were in a stout wooden keep below the rookery. Aged and frail, the maester shared his chambers with ii of the spring chickener custodians, who tended to his needs and armed serviceed him in his duties. The brothers joked that he had been given the two ugliest men in the Nights Watch being blind, he was spared having to look at them. Clydas was short, bald, and chinless, with small pink look like a mole. Chett had a wen on his neck the size of a pigeons egg, and a face red with boils and pimples. by chance that was why he always seemed so angry. It was Chett who answered Jon s knock. I need to speak to Maester Aemon, Jon told him.The maester is abed, as you should be. Come back on the morrow and perchance hell see you. He began to shut the door.Jon pile it open with his boot. I need to speak to him now. The morning will be too late.Chett scowled. The maester is not accustomed to being woken in the night. Do you know how old he is?Old enough to treat visitors with more courtesy than you, Jon said. Give him my pardons. I would not disturb his rest if it were not important.And if I refuse?Jon had his boot wedged solidly in the door. I can stand here all night if I must.The black brother made a disgusted noise and opened the door to admit him. Wait in the library. Theres wood. appear a fire. I wont have the maester transmittable a chill on storey of you.Jon had the logs crackling merrily by the time Chett led in Maester Aemon. The old man was clad in his bed robe, but around his throat was the reach stay of his order. A maester did not remove it even to sleep. The chair beside the fire would be pleasant, he said when he felt the estrus on his face. When he was settled comfortably, Chett cover his legs with a fur and went to stand by the door.I am sorry to have woken you, Maester, Jon Snow said.You did not wake me, Maester Aemon replied. I find I need less sleep as I kindle older, and I am grown very old. I often spend half the night with ghosts, remembering times cubic decimeter years past as if they were yesterday. The conundrum of a midnight visitor is a grateful persion. So tell me, Jon Snow, why have you come calling at this unlike hour?To ask that Samwell Tarly be taken from training and accepted as a brother of the Nights Watch.This is no concern of Maester Aemon, Chett complained.Our Lord Commander has given the training of recruits into the hands of Ser Alliser Thorne, the maester said gently. Only he may say when a boy is officious to swear his vow, as you surely know. wherefore then come to me?The Lord Comman der listens to you, Jon told him. And the wounded and the sick of the Nights Watch are in your charge.And is your friend Samwell wounded or sick?He will be, Jon promised, unless you help.He told them all of it, even the part where hed set Ghost at Rasts throat. Maester Aemon listened silently, blind eye fixed on the fire, but Chetts face darkened with each word. Without us to keep him safe, Sam will have no chance, Jon finished. Hes abject with a sword. My sister Arya could flick him apart, and shes not yet ten. If Ser Alliser makes him fight, its only a matter of time before hes violate or assassinateed.Chett could stand no more. Ive seen this fat boy in the common hall, he said. He is a pig, and a hopeless craven as well, if what you say is true. perchance it is so, Maester Aemon said. Tell me, Chett, what would you have us do with such a boy? forswear him where he is, Chett said. The Wall is no place for the weak. Let him train until he is pronouncey, no matter how many year s that takes. Ser Alliser shall make a man of him or kill him, as the gods will.Thats stupid, Jon said. He took a deep breath to gather his thoughts. I remember once I asked Maester Luwin why he wore a chain around his throat.Maester Aemon touched his own collar lightly, his bony, wrinkled leaf stroking the heavy metal links. Go on.He told me that a maesters collar is made of chain to remind him that he is sworn to serve, Jon said, remembering. I asked why each link was a different metal. A funds chain would look much finer with his grey robes, I said. Maester Luwin laughed. A maester forges his chain with study, he told me. The different metals are each a different kind of learning, prosperous for the study of money and accounts, silver for healing, fight for warcraft. And he said there were other opineings as well. The collar is supposed to remind a maester of the realm he serves, isnt that so? Lords are gold and knights steel, but two links cant make a chain. You likewise n eed silver and iron and lead, tin and copper and bronze and all the rest, and those are farmers and smiths and merchants and the like. A chain needs all sorts of metals, and a land needs all sorts of people.Maester Aemon smiled. And so?The Nights Watch needs all sorts too. wherefore else have rangers and stewards and builders? Lord Randyll couldnt make Sam a warrior, and Ser Alliser wont either. You cant hammer tin into iron, no matter how hard you squash it, but that doesnt mean tin is useless. Why shouldnt Sam be a steward?Chett gave an angry scowl. Im a steward. You think its well-situated work, fit for cowards? The order of stewards keeps the Watch alive. We hunt and farm, tend the horses, milk the cows, gather firewood, cook the meals. Who do you think makes your clothing? Who brings up supplies from the south? The stewards.Maester Aemon was gentler. Is your friend a huntsman?He hates hunting, Jon had to admit.Can he sell a field? the maester asked. Can he drive a wagon or sail a ship? Could he butcher a cow?No.Chett gave a nasty laugh. Ive seen what happens to soft lordlings when theyre put to work. Set them to churning butter and their hands blister and bleed. Give them an axe to get around logs, and they cut off their own foot.I know one thing Sam could do better than anyone.Yes? Maester Aemon prompted.Jon glanced warily at Chett, standing beside the door, his boils red and angry. He could help you, he said quickly. He can do sums, and he knows how to read and write. I know Chett cant read, and Clydas has weak eyes. Sam read every book in his fathers library. Hed be good with the ravens too. Animals seem to like him. Ghost took to him straight off. Theres a lot he could do, besides fighting. The Nights Watch needs every man. Why kill one, to no end? Make use of him instead.Maester Aemon closed his eyes, and for a brief moment Jon was afraid that he had gone to sleep. Finally he said, Maester Luwin taught you well, Jon Snow. Your mind is as deft as your blade, it would seem.Does that mean . . . It means I shall think on what you have said, the maester told him firmly. And now, I believe I am ready to sleep. Chett, show our young brother to the door.