|A Game of Thrones||Chapter 1|
POV Character: Will
Gared, Will and Ser Waymar Royce are several days out from the Wall. Gared is uneasy, but Royce makes light of his fears. They have been riding for nine days, on the track of a band of wildling raiders. Gared says that they should turn back, because according to Will the wildlings are dead. Royce asks Will again for the details of what he saw.
Will says he saw their encampment, with eight wildlings, men and women, their lean-to covered by snow, no fire, nobody moving after he watched for a long time. They were lying on the ground, no blood but some weapons visible. There was one woman up in a tree, but she didn't move either. Gared says they must have been killed by the cold. Royce points out that the weather has not been cold enough to freeze men like that. He asks Will to lead them to the dead men.
They ride close to the camp, and then Will dismounts. Both he and Gared say that there is something wrong, but Royce mocks them again before he too dismounts. He tells Gared to stay behind and guard the horses; Gared says he will start a fire, but Royce says no fire. Gared comes close to drawing his sword, but acquiesces.
Will and Royce climb up the ridge, Royce much noisier than Will. When Will resumes his earlier vantage, he sees that the bodies are gone. Royce reaches the top of the ridge and stands in plain sight, despite Will's warning, commenting that the bodies are gone. A battle-axe still lies on the ground. Royce says that he will find the wildlings before returning to the Wall.
Will begins to a climb a tree. Down below him, Royce challenges an unseen foe. Will thinks he sees a white shadow down below, but is not sure. Royce comments on the sudden cold, which Will also feels. One of the Others steps out of the trees in front of Royce, who makes ready to fight it, fear evident in his voice. The Other's sword is made of inhumanly sharp translucent crystal.
As Royce and the Other begin to fight, more Others step out of the woods, but only watch the fight. Royce fights bravely, but is wounded, and then his blade is shattered. Shards of steel spray everywhere, into Royce's eyes, and he falls to his knees, blinded. The Others move in and cut him mercilessly.
Will climbs down, examines Royce's body, then picks up the hilt of his sword. He decides to bring it back to show to their commanders, hoping Gared is still with the horses. Then Royce stands up, one of his eyes burning blue, and his hands go around Will's throat.