A Clash of Kings-Chapter 53
|A Clash of Kings chapter
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Jon tells Qhorin Halfhand what Ygritte said to him about Mance Rayder accepting him if he ran off. Qhorin confirms this. He knew Mance when he was a black brother, and the ranger tells Jon that Mance loved songs and wildling women, and that he was a wildling captured as a child by the Watch. He was the best ranger they had, but he returned to his roots, some say to gain a crown. Qhorin suspects that Jon let Ygritte go, and Jon confirms that he did, however Qhorin understands that the girl was not a threat, and if he had wanted her dead he would have had Ebben do it, or have done it himself. Qhorin tells Jon that he now knows him better than he did before, and that it is important for a commander to know his men.
They travel at night and rest during the day. That morning, Jon dreams of five direwolves, when there should have been six. Seeing through the eyes of Ghost, he finds himself in a forest and senses a voice calling his name from a nearby weirwood with a face resembling his brother's, except it has three eyes. His brother explains to him how to open his eyes, and the tree reaches down and touches him, and he finds himself back in the mountains. He is atop a cliff, and oversees thousands of men training for combat. He also sees mammoths with giants riding them. Suddenly, an eagle soars out of the sky coming straight for him. Jon awakens shouting Ghost’s name. The others hear his shout, and he tells them what he saw. Qhorin calls it a wolf dream, and Ebben calls Jon a skinchanger. Qhorin, however, does not balk at the thought of wargs and giants during a time when the dead walk and the trees have eyes again. They set out just before dusk, and spot an eagle watching them, well out of bowshot.
Soon after, they find Ghost wounded and dress the direwolf's wounds. Qhorin tells them they must head back to the Fist, for they have been seen by the eagle which they fear is a skinchanger as well. They begin the journey back through the Skirling Pass without lighting any fires despite the cold. But their lead on the enemy is shortening, and when they come upon the place where the wildlings were killed, Squire Dalbridge remains behind with all their arrows, sacrificing himself to give the others an advantage.