Chapter Eighteen

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"So, you want to speak to me?" Jojen knew why Lyanna needed him, she was beginning to know the boy very well and he also knew her well. Sometimes she felt like he was reading her mind. She began chopping wood when they found good ones.

"I just don't understand" She sniffled, it was chilly out and of course, it was winter where she was. "I'm not so sure it was dream"

"How could it be real?" Jojen said, "You were sleeping the whole time, you weren't like Bran..."

"It was too vivid" she began to pant while chopping, "I was...inside Grey Wind's mind, Robb's wolf"

"Impossible" Jojen doubted.

Lyanna stopped chopping, "Look, I felt Robb, I sensed he was in danger, I sensed him dying before those men shot me with their crossbows... The pain was real... then I saw--" She thought of the last thing she saw in that dream, she saw Arya looking right at her with sadness.

"Saw what?"

"Arya..." She replied. "Visenya and Grey Wind have similar looks, similar fur colors, but opposite, like Grey Wind's fur color was smoke-grey, a bit dark and Visenya is lighter. Same eye colors too..."

Jojen looked as though he was thinking of any possibilities, "It maybe was just a dream, you can't think this way, not the right time. If you keep this up, you'll scare Bran, he's beginning to think that your King brother is dead, he will lose faith"

Lyanna continued to chop, she felt annoyed and angered that Jojen does not seem to believe her.
"Let this go for now, Lyanna" He said, "you don't want to scare Bran, do you?"

He knows something, she realized. Was he lying? She wanted to ask if he was lying, instead she said "I dreamt of my father dying, the day before I received the raven," she turned to him and approached him. She looked at him then he stared back at her, "you say it was only a dream, about Robb... similar as I dreamt of my father's death... Visenya has been crying, Summer too, like they know what's happening to their brother, Grey Wind... you heard them--" She felt a sharp pain in her throat, "you heard them crying and howling that night I dreamt of Grey Wind--" She paused for a second, she wanted to say it, she wanted to ask, "--He's dead, isn't he? My brother..."

Jojen had sadness in his eyes, and there was also guilt, he hesitated, "You shouldn't say things like that, not now. I don't know everything, Lyanna. I only have green sight, and I know you and Bran are Wargs. That's all I know"

Lyanna turn back around to the log she was chopping, "I'm sorry..." she said, "...I understand you don't know, I shouldn't have asked you..." she kicked the woods towards him, "you can take those back, and I'm going to continue"

"Lyanna," Jojen said sadly.

"I need to take my mind off, Jojen" she blurted, "I need...to clear my head, I'll come back with the rest" She continued to chop the rest of the wood into pieces while Jojen slowly walked back to Bran and Meera. This time, harder...she swung hard, then harder, then quicker. She was angry...and sad, she doesn't blame Jojen. She just kept asking herself, is my brother dead?


Hodor was already curled up and snoring lightly. From time to time he thrashed beneath his cloak, and whimpered something that might have been "Hodor." Lyanna wriggled closer to the fire. The warmth felt good, and the soft crackling of flames soothed her, but sleep would not come. Outside the wind was sending armies of dead leaves marching across the courtyards to scratch faintly at the doors and windows. The sounds made her think of Old Nan's stories. She could almost hear the ghostly sentinels calling to each other atop the Wall and winding their ghostly warhorns. Pale moonlight slanted down through the hole in the dome, painting the branches of the weirwood as they strained up toward the roof. It looked as if the tree was trying to catch the moon and drag it down into the well. Old gods, Lyanna prayed, if you hear me, don't send a dream tonight. Or if you do, make it a good dream. The gods made no answer.

Lyanna made herself close her eyes. Maybe she even slept some, or maybe she was just drowsing, floating the way you do when you are half awake and half asleep, trying not to think about Mad Axe or the Rat Cook or the thing that came in the night.
 
Then she heard the noise.
 
Her eyes opened. What was that? She held her breath. Did I dream it? Was I having a stupid nightmare? She didn't want to wake Bran, Meera and Jojen for a bad dream, but . . . there . . . a soft scuffling sound, far off . . . Leaves, it's leaves rattling off the walls outside and rustling together . . . or the wind, it could be the wind . . . The sound wasn't coming from outside, though. The sound's inside, it's in here with us, and it's getting louder. She sat up slowly and quietly, listening. There was wind, and blowing leaves as well, but this was something else. Footsteps. Someone was coming this way. Something was coming this way.
 
It wasn't the sentinels, she knew. The sentinels never left the Wall. But there might be other ghosts in the Nightfort, ones even more terrible. She remembered what Old Nan had said of Mad Axe, how he took his boots off and prowled the castle halls barefoot in the dark, with never a sound to tell you where he was except for the drops of blood that fell from his axe and his elbows and the end of his wet red beard. Or maybe it wasn't Mad Axe at all, maybe it was the thing that came in the night. The 'prentice boys all saw it, Old Nan said, but afterward when they told their Lord Commander every description had been different. And three died within the year, and the fourth went mad, and a hundred years later when the thing had come again, the 'prentice boys were seen shambling along behind it, all in chains.
 
That was only a story, though. She was just scaring herself. There was no thing that comes in the night, Maester Luwin had said so. If there had ever been such a thing, it was gone from the world now, like giants and dragons. It's nothing, Lyanna thought.

But the sounds were louder now.

It's coming from the well, she realized. That made her even more afraid. Something was coming up from under the ground, coming up out of the dark. Hodor woke it up. He woke it up with that stupid piece of slate, and now it's coming. It was hard to hear over Hodor's snores and the thumping of his own heart. Was that the sound blood made dripping from an axe? Or was it the faint, far-off rattling of ghostly chains? Lyanna listened harder. Footsteps. It was definitely footsteps, each one a little louder than the one before. She couldn't tell how many, though. The well made the sounds echo. She didn't hear any dripping, or chains either, but there was something else . . . a high thin whimpering sound, like someone in pain, and heavy muffled breathing. But the footsteps were loudest. The footsteps were coming closer. Lyanna grabbed her sword.
 
She was too frightened to shout. The fire had burned down to a few faint embers and her friends and brother were all asleep. Lyanna slowly moved to Meera, she gave a slight kick on Meera's boot. She woke at once. She had never known anyone to wake as quick as Meera Reed, or to be so alert so fast. Lyanna pressed a finger to her mouth so she'd know not to speak. Meera heard the sound at once, Lyanna could see that on her face; the echoing footfalls, the faint whimpering, the heavy breathing.

Meera rose to her feet without a word and reclaimed her weapons. With her three-pronged frog spear in her right hand and the folds of her net dangling from her left, she slipped barefoot toward the well. Jojen dozed on, oblivious, while Hodor muttered and thrashed in restless sleep. She kept to the shadows as she moved, stepped around the shaft of moonlight as quiet as a cat. Lyanna slowly moved to the other side of the well.
 
From the well came a wail, a piercing creech that went through him like a knife. A huge black shape heaved itself up into the darkness and lurched toward the moonlight, and the fear rose up in Lyanna so thick that before she could even think of drawing her sword the way she'd meant to, Meera threw her net on the shape as Lyanna grabbed the net. But the thing that came in the night was screaming too, and thrashing wildly in the folds of Meera's net. Lyanna saw Meera's spear dart out of the darkness to snap at it, and the thing staggered and fell, struggling with the net. The wailing was still coming from the well, even louder now. On the floor the black thing flopped and fought, screeching as Lyanna raised her sword to stab it, "No, no, don't, please, DON'T . . . "

Lyanna stopped with her sword still rose, she stood over him, and so did Meera, the moonlight shining silver off the prongs of her frog spear. "Who are you?" Lyanna demanded.

"I'm SAM," the black thing sobbed. "Sam, Sam, I'm Sam, let me out, you stabbed me . . . " He rolled through the puddle of moonlight, flailing and flopping in the tangles of Meera's net.

Hodor was still shouting, "Hodor hodor hodor."

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