The dead swirl around me like a flock of startled birds scattered into the cold air by our passing and by the sound of boots hammering out a disjointed rhythm against the frozen ground. One by one, their features seem to blacken and distort, faces eaten from within by unseen flames, until they drift away as clouds of ash and bright dancing sparks.
The wall is burning. Tall columns of flame engulf entire sections of the tall wooden structure and thick black clouds of smoke slither into the sky like enormous mutated snakes that twist and undulate in rapturous excitement as they devour the protective barrier around the settlement.
Dex jumps from the platform and onto the ground in a single, athletic motion. “Stay Here.” He calls over his shoulder, shouting in my direction. He dashes after Snow’s small platoon before I can say a word, charging into the deepening gloom of the forest beyond the wall as fast as his thick legs will carry him.