EXT. CLEARING - DAY
Snow drifts across the bodies of the fallen dead. Eight
corpses lie frozen on the ground-- men, women, and children,
wearing heavy furs. The wind whips through their long hair.
At the edge of the clearing, WILL (20), a young ranger
dressed all in black, surveys the grim scene from the back of
his gelding. He gathers his reins and guides his horse south.
EXT. FOREST - DUSK
Will rides hard between the towering pines, his horse’s
hooves kicking up fresh-fallen snow.
He comes to a halt and dismounts beside two tethered horses.
His comrades, GARED (50) and SER WAYMAR ROYCE (18), crouch
beside a stream, filling their skins with cold water. They
rise and look to the newcomer expectantly.
Ser Waymar is gray-eyed and graceful, with an aristocrat’s
air of command despite his youth. He wears a supple coat of
gleaming black ringmail and a lush sable cloak.
Will and Gared also wear the black of the Night’s Watch, but
their clothes are far less regal, their leather and fur
battered from hard usage. Gared wears a hood for warmth.
We should start back. They’re all
Gared offers Will his water skin and Will takes a drink.
Not that I saw.
How close did you get?
Close enough to see they was dead.
If Will says they’re dead, they’re
dead. We should head back to the
(with the hint of a smile)
Do the dead frighten you?
Mormont said we should track ‘em.
We tracked ‘em. They won’t trouble
us no more.
You don’t think Mormont will ask us
how they died?
He walks toward his horse. Gared and Will exchange a troubled
EXT. EMPTY CAMP - NIGHT
Moonlight shines down on the clearing, the ashes of the
firepit, the snow-covered lean-to. If there were corpses on
the ground before, they’re gone now.
The three riders enter the camp. Their horses seem spooked,
as if they smell a predator nearby.
Your dead men seem to have moved
Will looks around, confused. He knows what he saw.
They were here...
Spotting something shimmering on the ground near the firepit,
he walks his horse closer, dismounts and looks down.
Lying at his feet is the hilt of a steel longsword. The blade
has been shattered into a thousand shards.
Will stares at the shattered sword. He knows what this means;
the dread on his face is unmistakable.
From his horse, Gared looks at the ground. The indentations
where the bodies once lay are still visible-- as are the
faint but unmistakable footprints leading away from them.
We have to move. Now.
He is interrupted by a neigh. Will’s horse, riderless and
panicked, bolts from the camp site.
Ser Waymar’s horse rears back on its hind legs, throwing its
rider to the ground before galloping after the first horse.
Gared struggles to keep his own horse under control. Ser
Waymar stands unsteadily, brushing the snow from his cloak.
He’s staring into the darkness at the edge of the clearing.
Ser Waymar turns to see what the young tracker sees: a shadow
emerging from the forest.
A figure steps into the moonlight, tall and gaunt, with flesh
pale as milk. It slides toward the rangers on silent feet.
Its armor appears to be carved from ice. Its sword is
translucent, a shard of crystal so thin it almost seems to
vanish when seen edge-on.
Ser Waymar’s voice cracks like a boy’s:
Stay where you are!
The OTHER keeps coming. Ser Waymar draws his sword with
trembling hands. Will, standing near the fire pit, and Gared,
still on horseback, draw their own swords.