Jon had the logs crackling merrily by the time Chett led in Maester Aemon.
The old man was clad in his bed robe, but around his throat was the chain collar of his order.
A maester did not remove it even to sleep.
The chair beside the fire would be pleasant, he said when he felt the warmth on his face.
When he was settled comfortably, Chett covered his legs with a fur and went to stand by the door.
I am sorry to have woken you, Maester, Jon Snow said.
You did not wake me, Maester Aemon replied.
I find I need less sleep as I grow older, and I am grown very old.
I often spend half the night with ghosts, remembering times fifty years past as if they were yesterday.
The mystery of a midnight visitor is a welcome diversion.
So tell me, Jon Snow, why have you come calling at this strange hour?
To ask that Samwell Tarly be taken from training and accepted as a brother of the Night's Watch.
This is no concern of Maester Aemon, Chett complained.
Our Lord Commander has given the training of recruits into the hands of Ser Alliser Thorne, the maester said gently.
Only he may say when a boy is ready to swear his vow, as you surely know.
Why then come to me?