They had free folk drifting in most every night,

They had free folk drifting in most every night, starved half-frozen creatures who had run from the battle beneath the Wall only to crawl back when they realized there was no safe place to run to. “Was the mother questioned?” Jon

asked. Stannis Baratheon had smashed Mance Rayder’s host and made the King-Beyond-the-Wall his captive … but the wildlings were still out there, the Weeper and Tormund Giantsbane and thousands more.

“Aye, m’lord,” said Edd, “but all she knows is that she ran off during the battle and hid in the woods after. We filled her full of porridge, sent her to the pens, and burned the babe.”

Burning dead children had ceased to trouble Jon Snow; live ones were another matter. Two kings to wake the dragon. The father first and then the

son, so both die kings. The words had been murmured by one of the queen’s men as Maester Aemon had cleaned his wounds. Jon had tried to dismiss

them as his fever talking. Aemon had demurred. “There is power in a king’s blood,” the old maester had warned, “and better men than Stannis have done

worse things than this.” The king can be harsh and unforgiving, aye, but a babe still on the breast? Only a monster would give a living child to the flames.

He spoke again. “Some people say God died during thePartition in 1947. He may have died in 1971 during the war.

Or he may have died yesterday here in Pondicherry in anorphanage. That’s what some people say, Pi. When I was yourage, I lived in bed, racked with

polio. I asked myself every day,‘Where is God? Where is God? Where is God?’ God nevercame. It wasn’t God who saved me – it was medicine. Reasonis my

prophet and it tells me that as a watch stops, so wedie. It’s the end. If the watch doesn’t work properly, it must befixed here and now by us. One day we will take hold of themeans of production and there will be justice on

earth.”This was all a bit much for me. The tone was right – lovingand brave – but the details seemed bleak.

 

I said nothing.

Itwasn’t for

fear of angering

Mr. Kumar.

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