Sam gave a tremulous nod, working up his courage with a visible effort. Slowly he swiveled his head. His eyes widened, but Jon held his arm so he could not turn away.
Sir Jaremy, the Old Bear asked gruffly, "Ben Stark had six men with him when he rode from the Wall. Where are the others?"
Sir Jaremy shook his head. "Would that I knew."
Plainly Mormont was not pleased with that answer. "Two of our brothers butchered almost within sight of the Wall, yet your rangers heard nothing, saw nothing. Is this what the Night's Watch has fallen to? Do we still sweep these woods?"
Yes, my lord, but...
Do we still mount watches?
We do, but...
This man wears a hunting horn. Mormont pointed at Othor. "Must I suppose that he died without sounding it? Or have your rangers all gone deaf as well as blind?"
Sir Jaremy bristled, his face taut with anger. "No horn was blown, my lord, or my rangers would have heard it. I do not have sufficient men to mount as many patrols as I should like... and since Benjen was lost, we have stayed closer to the Wall than we were wont to do before, by your own command."
The Old Bear grunted. "Yes. Well. Be that as it may." He made an impatient gesture. "Tell me how they died."