I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night's Watch, for this night and all the nights to come."
The woods fell silent. "You knelt as boys," Bowen Marsh intoned solemnly. "Rise now as men of the Night's Watch."
Jon held out a hand to pull Sam back to his feet. The rangers gathered round to offer smiles and congratulations, all but the gnarled old forester Dywen. "Best we be starting back, m'lord," he said to Bowen Marsh. "Dark's falling, and there's something in the smell o' the night that I mislike."
And suddenly Ghost was back, stalking softly between two weirwoods. White fur and red eyes, Jon realized, disquieted. Like the trees ...
The wolf had something in his jaws. Something black. "What's he got there?" asked Bowen Marsh, frowning.
To me, Ghost. Jon knelt. "Bring it here."
The direwolf trotted to him. Jon heard Samwell Tarly's sharp intake of breath.
Gods be good, Dywen muttered. "That's a hand."