Thistle, he thought.

“Ever get tired of me, Mummy?”

“Of all the idiotic questions ever asked, that takes the grand prize!” Mrs. Langwell answered. “Can I help you?”

“Of course you can.”

The getting ready did not take long, and exactly half an hour later, Nike lighted about a mile from the Flying Field where the girl Sky-Pilot found her passenger had just arrived. The woman came in a taxicab, nodded a greeting,

 

paid the driver, then came briskly to the waiting plane. Her throat was wrapped in a scarf.

Haggon would call it an abomination, the blackest sin of all, but Haggon was dead, devoured, and burned. Mance would have cursed him as well, but Mance was slain or captured. No one

 

will ever know. I will be Thistle the spearwife, and Varamyr Sixskins will be dead. His gift would perish with his body, he expected. He would lose his wolves, and live out the rest of his days as

some scrawny, warty woman … but he would live. If she comes back. If I am still strong enough to take her.

 

A wave of dizziness washed over Varamyr. He found himself upon his knees, his hands buried in a snowdrift. He scooped up a fistful of snow and filled his mouth with it, rubbing it through

 

his beard and against his cracked lips, sucking down the moisture. The water was so cold that he could barely bring himself to swallow, and he realized once again how hot he was.

“Ever get tired of me, Mummy?”

“Of all the idiotic questions ever asked, that takes the grand prize!” Mrs. Langwell answered. “Can I help you?”

“Of course you can.”

The getting ready did not take long, and exactly half an hour later, Nike lighted about a mile from the Flying Field where the girl Sky-Pilot found her passenger had just arrived. The woman

 

came in a taxicab, nodded a greeting, paid the driver, then came briskly

 

to the waiting

plane. Her throat

was wrapped

in a scarf.

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