Lady Melisandre stirred. “Tell me, Lord Snow … where were these other kings when the wild people stormed your Wall?”
“A thousand leagues away and deaf to our need,” Jon replied. “I have not forgotten that, my lady. Nor will I. But my father’s bannermen have wives and children to
protect, and smallfolk who will die should they choose wrongly. His Grace asks much of them. Give them time, and you will have your answers.”
“Answers such as this?” Stannis crushed Lyanna’s letter in his fist.
“Even in the north men fear the wroth of Tywin Lannister. Boltons make bad enemies as well. It is not happenstance that put a flayed man on their banners.
They north rode with Robb, bled with him, died for him. They have supped on grief and death, and now you come to
offer them another serving. Do you blame them if they hang back? Forgive me, Your Grace, but some will look at you and see only another doomed pretender.”
“If His Grace is doomed, your realm is doomed as well,” said Lady Melisandre. “Remember that, Lord Snow. It is the one true king of Westeros who stands before you.”
Jon kept his face a mask. “As you say, my lady.”
I could feel Mother’s hand pressed against my poundingheart.
The trapdoor resisted with sharp cries. Mahisha was besidehimself – he looked as if he were about to burst through thebars.
He seemed to hesitate between staying where he was, atthe place where his prey was closest but most certainly out
ofreach, and moving to the ground level, further away but wherethe trapdoor was located. He raised himself and started snarlingagain.
The goat started to jump. It jumped to amazing heights. Ihad no idea a goat could jump so high. But the back