Jon pissed in darkness, filling his chamber pot as the Old Bear’s raven muttered complaints. The wolf dreams had been growing stronger, and he found
himself remembering them even when awake. Ghost knows that Grey Wind is dead. Robb had died at the Twins,
and his wolf had perished with him. Bran and Rickon had been murdered too,
beheaded at the behest of Theon Greyjoy, who had once been their lord father’s ward … but if dreams did not lie, their
direwolves had escaped. At Queenscrown, one had come out of the darkness to save Jon’s life. Summer, it had to be. His fur was grey, and Shaggydog is black. He
wondered if some part of his dead brothers lived on inside their wolves.
He filled his basin from the flagon of water beside his bed, washed his face and hands, donned a clean set of black
woolens, laced up a black leather jerkin, and pulled on a pair of well-worn boots. Mormont’s raven watched with shrewd
black eyes, then fluttered to the window. “Do you take me for your thrall?” When Jon folded back the window with its thick
diamond-shaped panes of yellow glass, the chill of the morning hit him in the face. He took a breath to clear away the cobwebs of the night as the raven flapped
away. That bird is too clever by half. It had been the Old Bear’s companion for long years, but that had not stopped it from eating Mormont’s face once he died.
I was more afraid thatin a few words thrown out he might destroy something that Iloved. What if his words had the
effect of polio on me? Whata terrible disease that must be if it could kill God in a man.
He walked off, pitching and rolling in the wild sea that wasthe steady ground. “Don’t forget the test on Tuesday.
Studyhard, 3.14!””Yes, Mr. Kumar.”He became my favourite teacher at Petit Seminaire and thereason I studied
zoology at the University of Toronto. I felt akinship with him. It was my first clue
that atheists are mybrothers and sisters of a different faith, and every word theyspeak speaks of faith. Like me,
they go as far as
the legs ofreason
will carry them –
and then they leap.
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.
fear of angering