Authors Note: I do apologize for the month and a half absence. I needed a good break from the story, as you know, I spent two months cranking out a chapter almost on a daily basis. So, I took the time, rewatching Star Wars in preperation for The Last Jedi. And then I took the next few weeks just relaxing and working on some other stories I have been meaning to work on. Such as an alternate version of the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy and an original superhero story called Defenders of the Worlds Nations: The Rise of Eagle.
But I am now back to this story and it must go on!
Episode 11: Home
*Jimmy the Fat*
The sorry nag of a horse snorted in the freezing cold. Even with the trees and overhead branches, bare through they be, it did little to protect the men or their horses. Hot jets of steam rose from the beasts nostrils, adding to the other three shit-sorry nags that were tied together.
One of their riders, a man of short stature, head like a lumpy rock and wearing a dumpy hat that was more rag than actual cloth, struggled through the deep snow that came up to the knees of the horses, and roughly his mid-section. He uttered profanities that would have made his mother, may the Seven Bless her soul, give him the switch. The man was filling up the feed bags for the sorry beasts, with enough to get them through the night, but not enough to dip into their next day's allotment.
"Fuck dis!" the man growled. "Fuck ya, ya sorry shits! Fuck da King of da North! What right do he think he have? Banished us to da Wall? Fuck da Lord Commander of da Sentinel Stand foor sending us on this fucking ranging! Fuck Yohn Chast, for not running da fire-kissed bitch Lady Bolton when he had da chance!"
"Oh shut up, you fat cunt!" one of his compatriots barked at him from the small fire they had built. It crackled merrily in the freezing cold, and the small clearing they had cleared for it was just wide enough that all four men would be able to sit and sleep comfortably without rising rolling into the fire. "Just finish feeding the horses and keep your Gods-damned complaining to yourself!"
"You shut up, ya pimple faced rat!" he snapped, but he fell into muttering to himself.
He wasn't a very fat man, but anyone that looked at him realized immediately that he enjoyed his food a little too much. That was why he had married Greta, the bakers daughter of a small village just south of the Dreadfort nigh on twelve years ago. What she lacked in looks….she was as flat as a wet stone and she had two front teeth that belonged on a bleeding hare! She certainly made up in culinary skills.
Now, all because he had fought under Lord Bolton at the Battle of the Bastards, he was stuck serving with two hundred ass-ugly men at Sentinel Stand. One of the most run-down pieces of shit he had ever seen. Why the fuck were they even manning it? There was no unwashed stinking wildlings north of the Wall. The Bastard of Winterfell had seen to that.
He didn't believe in no grumpkins and snarks either, dammit! There were no damn white walkers, no fucking spiders as large as hounds.
No, he thought bitterly as he tied the last feed bag to the last horse. Instead, I have to make da one-eyed man cry myself!
Before coming to the Wall, he had never had to masturbate. No, because he and his wife had perhaps missed a gran-total of three days of sex their entire marriage. That's right! He had got so raw on his manhood that they had to stop for a few days so he could recover. His Greta had been sex starved. What was she doing now that he wasn't around to satisfy her insatiable lust? He had three fine boys but he had heard stories of what lonely mothers and sons did. He shivered at the thought. The Father and Mother take them if they do those sort of things!
He patted the horse on the muzzle after finally tying the last feedbag to it. This was his horse the Sentinel Stand Lord Commander had been so gracious to offer him for this ranging. Minzy was her name, and she actually resembled his oldest boy, Killian in a way. Which was very odd indeed.
He turned away from the horse and with a grunt dragged himself through the thick now to the clearing. Snow fell away from him, nearly reaching the fire as he exited the wall of powder snow and entered the small clearing. Almost immediately the snow began to melt as with a grunt, he lowered himself to his haunches, feeling relief as he sat with crossed legs, the blazing fire washing him with warmth.
"About fucking time Jimmy!" the leader of their company, a Ranger named Garth who had been Nights Watch for seven years barked. "Had you been any slower, The Long Night would have passed us completely by and we'd all be sun-bleached skeletons!"
"Ya want to feed them?" Jimmy snapped. "Then be my fucking guest! Why I have to feed them every fucking day and night is beyond me!"
"It's because you are the fattest of us," Garth pointed a stick at him as if it were a sword. "The extra work will do you a fucking world of good!"
"Fuck ya!" Jimmy snapped.
The other two Brothers, both men who had served with Jimmy under Lord Bolton, said nothing, but they looked sullenly into the fire. One of them ate a small strip of meet from the rabbit they had found and killed earlier that day. The other stared into the fire, a scowl on his face. Not that any man could blame them for their sullen moods.
One, a rich boy named Robert, had just received a raven from his father. His wife had just had a baby girl, and Robert would have to wait until the returned from this ranging. His wife, a rather pretty lass, if Jimmy the Fat said so himself, was going to be waiting for him back at Sentinel Stand to present his daughter to him. Sure, he couldn't fuck his wife, but the Lord Commander wasn't a completely heartless bastard!
The other man, a stick-bug of a man named Charles, was only here because his brother had been unable to fight the day of the battle. He had been sick and so he had gone in his place. The fucker had been a blacksmith! Why the fuck had he decided to go out to do battle?
"Tomorrow we will reach Dillars Keep," Garth informed the men. "If he and his three wives haven't left yet, they'll house us. If not, well, I know where they keep their food for fuckers like us. We'll stay there for the night tomorrow, then we'll spend another two days Ranging."
"Why are we even doing this anyways?" Charles demanded. "For three days now we've been doing this. It makes no sense! What if we get caught in a blizzard? We could perish out here!"
"Because the Lord Commander told us to, that's why!" Garth snapped. "That's good enough for me. I have served with Ser Nezzel since I first arrived at the Watch. He's a good man, and he's got a good nose for trouble. If we can find whatever has got up his fucking craw, then we will do everyone a big fucking favor."
Jimmy wasn't really sure if Ser Nezzel…..who had a fucking idiotic name like that?...was nearly as good or intuitive as Garth claimed. Yet Jimmy would be a good Ranger. If that was the only way to keep in the good graces of the Nights Watch and keep from getting more than a finger in the bum by some horny Bolton men, he'd be all for it.
"Charles, you will have the first watch," Garth said. "I'll take the second. Robert, you will take the third. And for Gods sakes! Will you all stop looking so fucking sulky? You look like a bunch of fucking children!"
The man laid back, grabbing the blanket from his side and pulling it over him. He didn't even care that he had no blanket under him to keep him warm. Jimmy was simply fuckling tired, all of a sudden. Which was strange and odd to say the least. Musta been all the fucking work he had done that day. Too be honest, being a Ranger had actually done him a world of good. He pulled the satchel with his spare clothing under his head and looking up at the sky above, and all the stars above, he drifted off asleep.
A few hours later, as the fire burned down low, and the Ranger Garth was pissing in the snow bank, grimacing in relief, a dark figure stood in the distance, the darkness swallowing him whole. Perhaps the Ranger felt the prickling in the back of the neck that all men have had since the beginning of time. Back when humanity was but little more than prey to the beasts of the world.
The figure blinked once, clutching the long cold sword at his side. What had once been his name? Had he had a family? What had been his people? It had been so long ago, that the very concept of Gods was lost on him. Love, humility, charity, hope….these were all things of the past.
The figure hissed, hatred as cold as a blizzard issuing forth from his mouth, moving the straggly beard. He lifted the sword and moved forward, the snow parting before him as water parts before a ship, with ease and grace. Within a few short moments, with long strides, he was entering the range of the fire. The Ranger was strapping up his breeches when he looked up. He cried out in alarm and dropping his breeches which he hadn't finished lacing, shouted to his compatriots.
The other Rangers awoke with a start and a smile crossed his lips as he saw the fear in their eyes. Hands went to swords. He said nothing, made no sound but raised his hand. The fire died with a small pop, and all that shone in the pitch black was twin stars of icy blue.