A Clash of Kings-Chapter 50
|A Clash of Kings chapter|
|Page||525 UK HC (Other versions)|
|Chapter chronology (All)|
Theon, who has been having nightmares of late, awakes in the dead of night and notices the absence of the direwolves' howls. He sends Urzen to investigate and wakes Wex to make sure Bran and Rickon are in their beds. Wex returns to inform Theon that the wolves are gone, along with both boys, and that a couple of his ironmen have been killed outside the Hunter's Gate. He orders them to roust the castle and have Black Lorren check the gates.
Theon has already sent Stygg to fetch help from his sister Asha at Deepwood Motte, but help is far off. He learns that both Reeds, Hodor, and Osha are missing as well, and Theon curses himself for trusting the wildling woman. He has the people of Winterfell gather and demands to know the whereabouts of Bran and Rickon. When no one responds, Reek tells Theon to strip off their skins, as Lord Bolton used to say, "A naked man has few secrets, but a flayed man’s got none." Theon considers what he knows of the Boltons, that their lords used to wear cloaks made from the skins of their enemies, and several Starks ‘ended thus’. Supposedly, that stopped a thousand years ago when the Boltons bent the knee to Winterfell.
Theon then sets out with several of his men, bringing along a couple of huntsmen from Winterfell, as well as Maester Luwin since he cannot be trusted if left alone. Little Walder comes too, saying he wants a wolfskin cloak. They track the boys into the Wolfswood, but lose the trail by a stream. No matter how hard they search, the hounds cannot regain the trail, and they begin to head back to Winterfell, with Theon despairing of how he can reverse the indignity of losing the boys, especially with Asha soon to arrive.
Theon does not want to appear weak before his sister, but Reek comes to the rescue by showing him the contents of a bag he is carrying. He suggests the boys are hiding at the old mill on the Acorn Water. Theon is somehow sure they’re there, and sends the others back to Winterfell, telling Maester Luwin he will show no mercy to the boys since his patience has worn out.