When the booming thuds that were reverberating around the passageways of Casterley Rock ceased he did not merely speed up, he ran. He did not care what the men thought, he just knew that something must have happened at the Lion's Mouth. He had no idea what, he just knew it.

He was right. As he approached the second gate a flood of bloodied and visibly terrified men ran past him. "Hold!" he cried in s loud a voice as he could still muster after so many days of shouting. "Where is Ser Addam? I mean Lord Marbrand?"

"Here, Ser Jaime!" Addam looked every bit as bad as the rest of the men, bloodied and limping. His sword was broken and there was what looked like the remains of fingernails stuck in his shield, as if that was even possible. "The Lion's Mouth is lost. The gates have gone. We must close the second gates at once."

Jaime paled, but roared out the orders and watched as the gates closed. In the darkness beyond them, in the great cavern that was the Lion's Mouth, he could see shaped moving in the near distance, with other, fat taller, shapes coming closer. As the gates slammed shut men ran to get timbers to brace them.

"Addam, what happened?" Jaime hissed at his old friend. He could not believe that the gates of the Lion's Mouth were gone. They had been old but well-maintained, a visible sign of the pride and wealth of House Lannister.

"Wighted giants holding tree trunks happened to them," Addam said as he threw his broken sword away and then gestured at his pale-faced squire, some cousin of his, to get him his other sword. "The gates didn't last long."

He thought about the booming that he had heard and then sighed. So that had been it. "What about Tyrion's dragonglass arrows and the oil?"

"They worked damned well. Right up until the moment that we ran out of them both. There had been ten of the giants. We destroyed eight of them, but the last two..." he shook his head. "The gates never stood a chance."

Jaime sighed and then looked about. "How many men did you lose?"

"Too many," Addam replied grimly. "And those that killed them must have been on the Field of Ice."

This time he winced. Well, at least Addam hadn't called it what others were whispering – Tywin's Folly. That said, the latter was the more apt one. Father's decision to fight the forces of the undead had been more than folly, it had been a disaster. Fifty thousand Westerlanders had faced a horde of who knew how many wights, led by those terrible creatures from legend, the Others. An hour later less than two thousand living men were running or riding for their lives. All because Father had not listened. All because Father had made the army act as if it had been facing living foes, not the undead. He had all but sneered at the tales told by the fleeing Riverlanders.

If only he – no, they, Uncle Kevan and himself as well had been doubtful of the messages from the Wall and Winterfell – had listened to TYrion. But now it was too late.

"The Second Gate is still partly in the cave," he told Addam grimly. "So what they did to the Lion's Mouth they'll be able to do to that as well with their wighted giants. Fall back to the Third Gate. Barricade that as much as you can."

Addam looked at him and then nodded. After a moment he straightened slightly. "Honour to serve, Ser Jaime."

He placed his hand on the shoulder of his friend."No, the honour has been mine, Lord Marbrand."

Addam's face twisted just a bit at the reminder that his father was dead and then he turned and snapped out orders to the men. And then just as they started to move away from the gates, they shuddered as from a mighty impact. "Back!" Jaime roared. "Back to the Third Gate!"

They ran and, wonder of wonders, made it back to the Gate before the Second Gate failed before the assault. Jaime left Addam as he had the men brace the Third Gate with everything they could get their hands on. That should hold. The passageway between the gates was about ten feet tall, too small for a giant, or so he hoped. Wights... he was no expert on wights.

As he pattered – and then trudged as the exhaustion started to take its toll – up the Long Spiral that headed upwards his cudgelled his tired mind into action. They had few options now. They had to flee South. But the tunnels that led their way Southeast were few and narrow and the full garrison would be too many for them. Heh. Not that the full garrison was left, after the Field of Ice. What a name. The same result as on the Field of Fire. He set his jaw. Well, if Father still thought that he knew better than everyone else, he had another think coming. The wound he'd taken had shown him that, a blow from a panicking soldier who hadn't cared who he was trying to run over.

As he reached the corridor where he had been aiming for he saw Tyrion trotting towards him. His brother was holding a crossbow in one hand and was grim-faced. "I can see from the balcony of Father's quarters that the wights are streaming into the Rock. The Lion's Mouth is taken then?"

"It is. Wighted giants with tree trunks. Addam said that they killed most of them, but the two that remained were enough to do the job."

"Then we have to flee."

"Agreed," Jaime said tersely as they walked up the corridor. "We need supplies though."

To his surprise Tyrion smiled. "Already done. I sent a party of guards with donkeys, laden with supplies, out of the Southeastern tunnels this morning. Just in case."

He smiled at his ugly little brother. "Good. You will lead them Tyrion. I will stay back to buy you time."

Tyrion's smile vanished. "Jaime-"

"No arguments on this little brother. If we had listened to you earlier... well, it's all too late now. Go to the tunnels. I'll send the others on."

"Father won't go. And Cersei..."

"How is she?"

"Worse than she was. Be careful."

He nodded and then strode off towards Father's quarters, which was being guarded by an exhausted-looking Hound. As he approached he could hear the voice of his twin. She seemed to be issuing orders. He slipped into the room and discovered that Cersei was indeed ranting at a young Maester who he did not recognise. To one side stood Father, leaning on a chair and looking out of the window panes that looked out onto the balcony. He was white-faced and breathing heavily, doubtless from his cracked ribs. As for Joffrey... well, the boy was a mute witness from the table he was sitting at. He too was pale. His first battle had been an utter rout and his reaction to that rout had been to withdraw to as place within himself.

"Jaime," Cersei said after she finally noticed him. "Where the Seven Hells have you been?"

The Maester slipped past him, his eyes mournful and as he did he slipped Jaime a piece of paper. He looked down at it. Ah. A raven had come from Winterfell. Apparently Winterfell still stood and... Lord Stark bore the Fist again? He shrugged internally. Madness. Not that any of that mattered.

"At the gates. The Lion's Mouth has fallen. The Second Gate too. I left Lord Marbrand working to brace the Third Gate."

Cersei stared at him and he could tell from her eyes that she did not believe a word he was saying. "Impossible," she finally said. "Marbrand is lying. Strip him of his lands and title Father."

"NOT impossible, I was there," he pointed out through gritted teeth. Cersei's reaction to recent events had been to deny everything. He had to admit that Tyrion's conclusion was the right one: she was mad. "The men have fallen back to the Third Gate. The Others and their wights are in the Rock."

This seemed to enrage Cersei. "Then lead a charge and throw them out!"

"What with? Only dragonglass, fire and Valyrian steel affect them. Tyrion was right about the dragonglass. It kills them!"

"How can that disgusting little monster be right about anything? How can rock be better than steel?"

"I don't know, but it works!"

"Then find some and use it!"

"Do I look like a miner?"

"Enough." It was Father who spoke. He looked as if he was clinging on to his temper by the merest hair. "Cersei, you are overwrought." He swallowed and then closed his eyes. "We have lost. The Rock is falling. We must leave."

This only enraged Cersei even more. "The Rock has NEVER fallen to an enemy! It is not falling! Am I the only one of you with any balls?"

"Cersei, you are the only one of us with no brains," Father snapped, his eyes flickering to Joffrey as if he was about to add a qualification. "The Lion's Mouth is lost. The Gates are falling one by one. Soon there will be only one way to fall back to – upwards. And once we reach the top, where will we go to then? Fly?" He seemed to slump a little. "Tyrion was right about many things. I take it he's headed for the Southeastern tunnels?"

"He is," Jaime sighed. "You must join him at once."

"I will not," Father said quietly. "I would be a hindrance to you. Jaime, you will lead them."

"I am staying to lead the rearguard," Jaime argued. "Someone will have to and..." He paused. There was a strange noise. Faint but then louder. Like a... scratching.

And then something from the darkest nightmares of a madman appeared at the balcony. It was a spider. A giant white-blue spider. It heaved its way up and then paused as far too many eyes that should ever be on a face seemed to notice them. It chittered, a horrible noise that made the hair on the back of his neck stand on end. He drew his sword.

Several things happened next. The first was that Joffrey saw the spider and screamed. It was a high-pitched jagged noise of pure terror and he winced. The second thing was that the spiders forelegs flexed and smashed the door to the balcony with ease. And the third thing was that he could see that the spider had a rider. An Other.

"CLEGANE!" He bellowed the word as he sprang back, clutching at Cersei. The Hound sprang into the room, swore violently and then grabbed Joffrey and pulled him bodily out of the room. "Father, get back!"

It was too late. As Father tried to stand the Other jumped down off the spider and drew its sword – before slashing out almost negligently. Father fell, his throat a bloody ruin. His face bore an expression of surprise. Cersei was screaming something incoherent and he couldn't keep hold of her. She squirmed away, grabbed a sword from the table and aimed a blow at the Other.

She didn't stand a chance. Her blade met that which the Other bore and shattered like glass. The Other then thrust its sword deep into her chest. She fell without a word.

Jaime looked at the body of his father and then at that of his sister and lover. His sword was useless. So he threw it at the face of the Other and then turned to run. Something shattered behind him and then... PAIN...

Something was in his back, something cold and sharp and more terrible than he had ever thought anything could ever be and as for the pain... He tried to scream as he fell to the floor, tried to say something, but the pain was everything and crowded everything out. He could hear other people screaming about the Others being here and about wights climbing the Rock as well, but the pain was everywhere. Something sliced into his neck as well and he felt his lifeblood start to gush over the floor.

Everything started to darken and as it did his thoughts slowed to the speed of treacle. He was dying, he knew that now and he hoped that Tyrion got out and that the Hound had been able to join him with Joffrey. But as the darkness took him he realised, to his horror, that Father and Cersei had jerked themselves upright and were walking towards him.

But that was as nothing to what he felt just as the life left him. There was a voice. "Get up meat-creature," it seemed to hiss into every fibre of his body. "Get up meat-thing. You serve us now. Now and forever. Get up!"

Jaime woke with a start, his head coming off the cloak that he'd wadded under his head to protect it from the tree root beneath. He sat up, brushing his hair back with shaking hands, before calming down and making his breathing return to normal. It was a dream. Just a dream. Nothing more than that.

A few of the other men in his party were awake and a few gazed at him levelly as he stood and placed his blanket to one side. They had camped in a grove of trees the previous evening, not too far from the road. From the colour of the sky dawn was just minutes away and as he looked about the rest of the party started to bestir themselves.

As for him, well he needed a piss and he walked to the back of the weirwood tree that he had been sleeping next to. But as he passed around the trunk he saw that it was not just any tree. A face had been carved into it, untold years ago from the state of it. It looked almost as if it was laughing at him. He stared at it, unsettled and then he walked to one side and found a different tree to piss against. There was even a pool to one side where he could dip his hands into and use the water to wash his face and smooth his hair back.

As he strode back to the others he noticed that one or two of them watched him and then seemed to shrug a little. No-one was guarding him, not really. He'd wondered about that at first, until Will, the grizzled man of the Night's Watch who had taken his orders from the Old Bear himself, had told him on the second day of travelling North that they did not need to guard him.

"You swore an oath on the Fist of Winter, boy, in the presence of the Old Gods. If you break that oath then you die. It's as simple as that. We've all heard what happened to Bootle, him that murdered Lord Surestone. As to the matter of when or if you break it..." The man had grinned a rather unpleasant grin. "Well. There's them that are placing wagers on that."

As he saddled his horse he thought about what the others thought about him again. He was the object of both fascination and scorn. An oathbreaking sisterfucker seemed to be the general conclusion about him, even if they all understood why he had broken his oath to Aerys. The word was spreading on that. As for his oath to Robert Baratheon... well he still had nightmares about the revenge that the man had taken on him. That trial by combat, with him being utterly unable to lay a blade on the man... well, the nightmares kept coming.

At a gesture from Will they all mounted. They were an odd lot, the odds and sods of Westeros. But one thing united them. The Wall. And they weren't the only ones. As they trotted out of the grove and back towards the road he could see the travellers who must have started off at least an hour or so ago. Most were headed North, but he could see the odd horse and cart headed South. All had answered the Call and he winced a little as he remembered the first time that he had heard of it – along with Cersei's sneer and then automatic dismissal of it, followed by a vague word about how perhaps it was some kind of strange plot by that fool Ned Stark?

No, this was no plot. They swerved onto a path that ran parallel to the road to avoid a large group and then cantered past them. Will had told them the other day that they were not going to 'do a Stark' with them and based on Tyrion's tale of that painful ride he was grateful of that.

No, he was headed North to his new life there, where he would be sneered, denigrated and perhaps eventually tolerated. If he lived that long that is. He looked to one side at the men and women who were felling trees and brushwood for either log piles or new building work. He'd seen at least one old keep being rebuilt, the work of a house he'd never heard of before.

With every mile North he rode the more uneasy he felt. He just hoped that Tyrion was coping with Father. He felt like a coward for leaving his brother like that, but he had had enough by that point. And as for Cersei... he hardened his heart and put her out of his mind. Enough. No more madness, because to love her in that way had been pure madness and had destroyed both of their lives.

North they rode. North to war. He could feel it.


Lord Flinters was pale with rage by the time that he left the room in which Lysa Arryn was being held. It was more than rage – it was contempt as well. Bronn observed him with a careful eye and then ushered him into his solar and poured him an ale from the jug that he'd ordered drawn for them both. "There are times when you need to quaff. Now seems like an appropriate time, and ale is better to quaff than wine."

The older man grunted in agreement and then quaffed mightily, before lowering his mug and wiping his mouth. "By all the bloody gods," he said after a long moment, "I knew that the woman was mad, but meeting her…" He shook his head. "The one and only time my wife met the woman she told me afterwards that Lysa Arryn was an unstable, flighty, bitch. And my Ella is not someone who usually talks like that."

"You met her on a good day," Bronn said drily. "On a bad day she gives insistent orders that ravens be sent at once to Winterfell to order that her son be sent South to meet her at the Eyrie in a week's time. That alone is impossible." He shook his head. "Oh, she's mad."

Lord Flinters quaffed a bit more and then sighed. "I honour Jon Arryn as a good and decent man, who has done nothing but good for the Vale. But that said – his luck when it comes to women has been abominable. And Lysa Arryn's attempt to kill him was beyond abominable." He shook his head. "I'm almost tempted to say that she should see the Eyrie again, or rather just the Moon Door. And that's something I never thought I'd say about a wife of Jon Arryn. So – when does she leave for king's Landing and his judgement?"

"A week, or so the Maester estimates. Losing her arm like that has taxed her body severely. As for what Lord Arryn plans for her, well, I have no idea."

"Send a raven if you need more men for the escort." The old man peered at him shrewdly. "Will you take a large escort or will a smart young fellow like you take a small, fast, easily concealed group just in case?"

He suppressed a smile. Oh, Flinters had his measure alright. "As small and fast as possible. I was thinking about a small enclosed carriage, if need be with her asleep from juice of the poppy. I can't imagine anyone trying to rescue her. She's hated in the Vale and as for the Riverlands, well, I did hear that Lord Tully has disowned her."

"Aye, and if Hoster 'Family, Duty, Honour' Tully disowns his own daughter then no-one in their right mind will want to 'rescue' her. The only one who might have was Baelish, and he's dead, the slimy little bastard."

"Meet him did you?"

"At Gulltown once. Never trusted him, there was something about his face that made me want to punch him for no reason. His voice too." He peered at him. "You met him of course."

"Aye. He tried to bribe me with money that he didn't have. Bloody fool. But then he'd gotten away with things for so long that he probably thought that he could get away with anything. I guarded him the night before his trial, to make sure that no-one from the Iron Bank had a little word with him. Longest night of my life."

Flinters grunted in response before quaffing the last of his ale, so Bronn refilled his mug. The old man was brooding about something. He raised an eyebrow at him and Flinters started slightly and then shook his head a little.

"Sorry, just thinking about a few things. My eldest son is leading a party to the Wall in a few days." He sighed. "There's a lot of people talking about sending help to the Wall. Never thought I'd see the day when the Night's Watch was getting the kind of help it had in the old days. This Call… well I heard it, weakly at least. My sons heard it louder than I did. Their mother's family, you know. Her grandfather was of House Royce and Bronze Yohn himself is in the North now. Gods, I'm rambling."

Rambling he may have been, but all of a sudden a very shrewd pair of eyes were looking at him. "The Call has woken a lot of things up, Bronn. Old things. People are looking for more of such old things. You heard about some of the things that the King and Lord Stark have found?"

"I have," Bronn sighed. "Stormbreaker and the Fist of Winter. Names out of old legends. I heard that the Tyrells have found the spear of the Gardener Kings, Otherbane, as well. I suppose that Tywin Lannister's ordered the Rock upended in search of old things. The Gods only know what's in Dorne – so does that mean that there's things in the Riverlands and the Vale?"

"Runestone would have it, if the Mountain Clans don't," Flinters said. "And the word is that the Tullies are searching Oldstones and other places for a shield of some kind."

Something seemed to tug at the back of Bronn's mind for a long moment, but he shook it off. "Well, the Foxhold is old, I know that much. The lower courses of the walls are First Men work. Some of the stones even have runes on them."

The old lord grunted and nodded. "At least you're not one of those fools that deny the Call."

"Gods no. Seen too much to deny that. I heard that Lord Derkin denies it though, doesn't he?"

"He did. Denying it helped to kill the young fool."

"He's dead?"

"Died yesterday. He was always boasting about his pure Andal blood, not that that's possible given how cross-bred all the families are these days, but he heard it, or so his wife said. He woke up from a nap screaming the words. But then he denied hearing a thing and then when a man of the Night's Watch passed through his lands with a cage with a head in it he tried to prove to his wife that it was all a lie, a Myrish toy or something."

"I sense a bad end to this tale," Bronn quipped as he refilled the mugs again. "What happened?"

"The young fool stuck his finger into the cage and the wight's teeth latched onto it. Bit the end clean off. And because he was an idiot he didn't clean the wound."

"Didn't he have his Maester look at it?"

"He'd dismissed him the week before, for talking about the Call. Next thing I heard there was a red line going his up his arm and he was raving nonsense. Blood poisoning of course."

Bronn thought about the chinless wonder that had been the late and unlamented Lord Derkin. "What a shame."

"His widow is looking for a new husband."

"One with a chin I presume."

Lord Flinters guffawed in genuine amusement. "Oh yes." He peered at Bronn. "There's going to be some talk on if you might court her."

He shook his head. "Me? I'm too new here. Besides, I've never met the woman."


He pulled a face. "Something my father told me once. 'Meet the girl first, marry her once you know she's not a shrew.' Wise man my father." Besides, he had his mind on someone else for a wife. It would be a challenge.

Lord Flinters did not stay for much longer and eventually he left, complimenting Bronn on the ale as he departed. He seemed… not quite worried, but certainly a little preoccupied. Bronn returned to his solar afterwards and sat there, his mind working through things. Gods, but he hated King's Landing. Expensive, smelled like shit, full of liars. But Lysa Arryn would have to be delivered there, alive and ready to face judgement. And who knew what Lord Arryn would do to her?

And then there was the other thing that was nagging at the back of his mind, but which he couldn't put his finger on.

The sun had long since set by the time he went to bed, that niggling feeling still there. As he sat on the bed with the new mattress that he'd ordered – the old one had been far too soft, it had given him a bloody backache at times – he pondered on the changes to his life so far. And then he went to bed.

Afterwards he could never put his finger on what it was that woke him. A creak of the floor, the sound of a bare foot on a floorboard, it might have been anything. But suddenly he was awake. There was someone in the corridor outside his room. He got up, threw a robe over his nightshirt, picked up a knife just in case and then went to the door, where he opened it a crack.

Much to his shock Ursula Cawlish was walking down the corridor. Walking very slowly. And very nakedly. She was naked. He reeled mentally. What was she doing? What did she want? Was she there to seduce him? He'd known a high-class whore in Lannisport who'd once tried to sashay her way into his bed wearing nothing more than a flimsy piece of gauze covering her bellybutton, although why that needed to be covered he had no idea and – and was his mind reeling that much? Oh. Ursula Cawlish's eyes were open but all he could see was the whites of her eyes. How could she walk and not see?

He tossed the knife back onto the bed and then paused. She was walking past his doorway. He felt a vague sense of let-down, along with a fresh sense of bewilderment. She went on down the corridor, towards the end of it. But there was nothing there. Just a stone wall with an old entrance that had been bricked up, possibly centuries ago. On she went, slowly walking, right up until the moment that she walked into it. As collisions went it was a very gentle one, but it still stopped her dead with a slight thud. After a long moment she said "Ouch" very quietly – before looking about in a confused manner.

"I think you were sleepwalking," Bronn said very quietly, as he took off his robe and held it up as he knew what was about to happen.

Ursula Cawlish, the Steward of the Foxhold, froze for a long moment and then shrieked, spun partly around, panicked, plastered herself against the wall and put one hand on her arse and one on her breasts, not that that was an issue with the wall being there. Bronn quickly strode forwards, draped the robe on her and then retreated quickly.

There was the sound of frantic dressing. Only then did she say, in an iron voice: "What am I doing here? Where is here?"

"The corridor outside my room. You walked straight past my room and into that wall. I did wonder if I should stop you, but you were, erm, well, lacking clothes."

"I don't sleepwalk," she said, sounding baffled. "Never have. Why would I walk here?"

He was tempted to say 'For me?' but suppressed it. She was staying at the blocked off doorway. "Why would I walk here?"

"What's on the other side of this?" Bronn asked as he joined her at the wall.

"Nothing. There was a door, back about a hundred years ago. It lead to a stairway headed down, a wooden one, but it was an increasingly rotten one from what I read. The stone spiral staircase to the South replaced it."

He frowned. "I'm amazed you could even see the corridor. Your eyes were rolled up so far in your head that you couldn't see a thing."

She wrapped the robe a little more tightly around her and sent a confused look in his direction. "I'm… confused."

"What did the old staircase lead to?"

"Courtyard below. Entrance to the crypts."

The crypts… that niggling feeling returned at the back oh his head. And then he nodded slightly. "Ursula, get dressed and meet me in the crypts as soon as you can." She turned to look at him, her eyes very wide at the tone of his voice – and then she nodded and turned on her heel.

As his Steward ran off he went back to his room and dressed quickly, his mind racing. This was unlike anything he had known and it was important, he could tell. Something had happened to her, some past wraith of her family was trying to tell her something, or something like that.

When he entered the crypts, lantern in hand, he looked about through narrowed eyes. There was something here, he could feel it in the fucking air. But what was it?

Boots scuffed on a flagstone and he looked up to see Ursula Cawlish enter the crypts. She was fully dressed, was also holding a lantern and was not looking at him at all. Although there were two spots of red on her cheeks. "Why did you want to meet me here?" Her voice was rough, as if she was suppressing some very strong emotions.

"You were trying to get here. Or something was trying to guide you here," he replied. "Something old, something that didn't know that the staircase was gone."

She went white. "You think that something possessed me?"

He shrugged. "Perhaps. Possession might be too strong a word. I don't know. Does anyone, in these odd times, as the echoes of the Call go out?"

She looked at him oddly. "That was eloquent."

This time he just smiled and then looked about the crypts again. "There's something here. Something we've missed. But what?"

And that sparked a hunt. They both walked through the crypts, from one end to the other and then back again, looking, peering, poking, wondering. But there was nothing there, nothing obvious that is. Frustrated and annoyed he looked down the serried ranks of tombs of past Cawlishs and thought furiously.

"There's nothing here," Ursula growled, "But there has to be something. What was driving me here?"

He tapped a finger on the nearest tomb – and then that nagging feeling at the back of his head finally slapped him around his chops. "Wait… come with me." And with that he strode off to the older tombs and the one with the dust and cobwebs – and the shield that was covered by those things. "This is it. It must be."

Obviously confused she stared at him and then at the shield. "It's an old shield. An archaic one."

"Look at the sword."

"What sword? This rusty smear?"

"Aye." He looked at her. "Don't you see it?"

"See what?"

"The sword has rusted to nothing. Why hasn't the shield done the same? Look how old it is. No-one's borne a shield like that since the days of the First Men! But it's somehow survived? How?"

And now she realised what he was talking about. She gave the shield a startled look. "What – you think that this is the shield that the Tullys are looking for?"

"It's on the tomb of a Cawlish who bore the blood of the Mudds. The Mudd kings! This has to be it."

Obviously uncertain she looked from him to the shield, to him and then back to the shield. "Are you sure?"

"I think I am." He waved a hand at it. "Pick it up. It's not mine – it's yours."

"Mine?" The look she sent his way was both baffled and made his blood boil.

"The blood of the Mudds is within you. Not me. Take it Ursula Cawlish."

There was a long moment of silence – and then, with trembling hands, she reached out and picked the shield up, brushing off the dust and cobwebs that slid off in a noiseless cascade from the curved surface. "I don't believe it," she said after a stunned moment. "The straps are as supple as the day it was made." And with that she slid her hand into those straps.

The surface of the shield seemed to brighten and then, just for a moment, brightened almost as to rival the Sun. He lifted his hands to block out the light, and then when he lowered his hands he paused. Red fire seemed to burn in the eyes of Ursula Cawlish, just for a moment. She looked at him. "What?"

"I think we need to send a raven to the Tullys."

She nodded choppily. And then she looked at him – before suddenly rushing towards him. Before he knew it she was in his arms and her lips were on his.

And all was suddenly very right with the world.