but most of those were builders or stewards, not rangers.  The Therms were hardened warriors, and more disciplined than the common run of wildling; no doubt that was why Mance had chosen them. The defenders of Castle Black would include blind Maester Aemon and his half-blind steward Clydas, one-armed Donal Noye, drunken Septon Cellador, Deaf Dick Follard, Three-Finger Hobb the cook, old Ser Wynton Stout, as well as Halder and Toad and Pyp and Albett and the rest of the boys who’d trained with Jon. And commanding them  Marsh, the plump Lord Steward who had been made castellan in Lord Mormont’s absence. Dolorous Edd sometimes called Marsh “the Old Pomegranate,” which fit him just as well as “the Old Bear” fit Mormont. “He’s the man you want in front when the foes are in the field,” Edd would say in his usual dour voice. “He’ll count them right up for you. A regular demon for counting, that one.”  If the Magnar takes Castle Black unawares, it will be red slaughter, boys butchered in their beds before they know they are under attack. Jon had to warn them, but how? He was never sent out to forage or hunt, nor allowed to stand a watch alone. And he feared for Ygritte as well. He could not take her, but if he left her, would the Magnar make her answer for his treachery? Two hearts that beat as one...  They shared the same sleeping skins every night, and he went to sleep with her head against his chest and her red hair tickling his chin. The smell of her had become a part of him. Her crooked teeth, the feel of her breast when he cupped it in his hand, the taste of her mouth... they were his joy and his despair. Many a night he lay with Ygritte warm beside him, wondering if his lord father had felt this confused about his mother, whoever she had been. Ygritte set the trap and Mance Rayder pushed me into it water sports

Every day he spent among the wildlings made what he had to do that much harder. He was going to have to find some way to betray these men, and when he did they would die. He did not want their friendship, any more than he wanted Ygritte’s love. And yet... the Therms spoke the Old Tongue and seldom talked to Jon at all, but it was different with Jarl’s raiders, the men who’d climbed the Wall. Jon was coming to know them despite himself: gaunt, quiet Errok and gregarious Grigg the Goat, the boys Quort and Bodger, Hempen Dan the ropernaker. The worst of the lot was Del, a horsefaced youth near Jon’s own age, who would talk dreamily of this wildling girl he meant to steal dr bk laser.

“She’s lucky, like your Ygritte. She’s kissed by fire.”  Jon had to bite his tongue. He didn’t want to know about Del’s girl or Bodger’s mother, the place by the sea that Henk the Helm came from, how Grigg yearned to visit the green men on the isle of Faces, or the time a moose had chased Toefinger up a tree. He didn’t want to hear about the boil on Big Boil’s arse, how much ale Stone Thumbs could drink, or how Quort’s little brother had begged him not to go with Jarl. Quort could not have been older than fourteen, though he’d already stolen himself a wife and had a child on the way. “Might be he’ll be born in some castle,” the boy boasted reenex facial.