The woods didn’t change, neither did the weather. Osha took lead because Davos would have been lost. There was no way telling which direction they were going. The never saw the sun, the days grew darker and darker.
Rickon rode Shaggydog whenever he felt tired, and oft fell asleep on his back. Davos envied him. The pain in his back didn’t let him rest, and when he drifted off, he could not be sure he would wake up again. He was so weak he could barely walk, it was just his stubbornness that stopped him from lying down and giving in to winter. He had a duty towards Rickon, towards Lord Manderly and his King, and he would not fail. He had to get to Winterfell.
In the whirling snowfall his companions faded and his feverish mind played tricks on him.
He saw a maiden feeding purple seeds to a mockingbird who ate them eagerly and dropped dead, and the maiden was smiling.
A lone black brother was climbing the Wall, hundreds of blue eyes watching him from the dark.
A giant in white fought a big black dog who was bleeding from a dozen wounds but attacked again and again while a bald woman in red watched and laughed, and there was madness in her eyes.
A dead wolf lay in the snow, frozen blood around him, and a flock of crows feasted upon him, their beaks dripping red. Suddenly, the wolf opened his eyes and Davos heard three hornblasts.
A kraken was rising from the black depths, killing thousands of scorpions in one swipe, but unseen to him, there was a giant crow, dripping from seawater, following him in his way.
A snake was writhing through long, dark corridors, and as Davos followed it, it led him to an enormous library, but the books turned to dust when he touched them, and then the building crashed, but before it would have buried him, he found himself walking in the winter woods again, alone.
He saw a boy who was a tree, talking to him. He knew it was all a vision, but it seemed real, and when he touched the tree, it didn’t vanish. It was a weirwood, with one of those carved red faces, crying blood tears. And he understood the words. „Winterfell… Rickon…” He suddenly knew who this tree-boy was, with the certainty brought by walking the line between life and death. „I will bring him home” he promised to Bran Stark. The tree dropped a few crimson leaves and he heard a whisper „See”.
And he opened his eyes and saw. Thick snow covered the ruins, but he saw his King’s banners on the walls and his heart beat faster. He walked through the broken walls, climbed some of them with a newly found strength, and finally he came to a great hall and saw his King, alone and more thin than ever, he was all but a skeleton walking, but he still had that steely look, that grim determination.
He was surrounded by shadows, shadows that creeped nearer and nearer, with shining, eerie blue eyes, and he felt a terrible cold, much worse than the winter his body was fighting, this cold was unnatural and it carried fear and death. He wanted to cry out for his King, to warn him, to rush there and protect him from the things, but he had no voice, he could not move, and he saw ice blades flashing around Stannis, and the King’s sword shattered. Then silence fell.
Davos was kneeling in the snow and Osha tried to support him. She had been calling out to him for a while but he couldn’t hear her.
„We must hurry” he gasped. „Gods, we must hurry, he is in danger.”
„Shhh. You had visions and we almost lost you in the snowstorm. You just wandered off. You need some rest, we can’t continue like this.”
„No” he said. „We can’t lose time. What I saw was real or will be real. And army of ice, and three hornblasts. They are coming, and I must be at my King’s side when they arrive.”
She nodded. „So you saw them too. The time is here.” She helped him up.
„Osha” he whispered „how far can we be?”
„Mayhaps a week, if the gods are good.”
„A heart tree spoke to me. I was raised in the Faith, but the Seven have no power here. Pray, Osha. You know how to pray to them.”
„They are watching over us, Davos. But who is strong enough to stop the White Walkers?”
Davos didn’t know. Eight thousand years ago the Last Hero and the Children of the Forest defeated them, but they were long gone, if they were ever more than a legend. He heard there were dragons in the East, but even if that was true, they were too far away.
He had seen so much, yet the visions didn’t show anything that could be helpful right now. He was lost in a place he didn’t belong to, and he would never see the sea or his family again. He knew only one thing: he could not die before he met his King again.