Jon had his lie all ready. “The Lord Commander sent me to the Halfhand for seasoning, so he took me on his ranging.”  Styr the Magnar frowned at that. “Ranging, you call it LAN Centre Setup... why would crows come ranging up the Skirling Pass?”  “The villages were deserted,” Jon said, truthfully. “It was as if all the free folk had vanished.”  “Vanished, aye,” said Mance Rayder. “And not just the free folk. Who told you where we were, Jon Snow?”  Tormund snorted. “It were Craster, or I’m a blushing maid. I told you, Mance, that creature needs to be shorter by a head.”  The king gave the older man an irritated look. “Tormund, someday try thinking before you speak. I know it was Craster. I asked Jon to see if he would tell it true.”  “Har.” Tormund spat. “Well, I stepped in that!” He grinned at Jon. “See, lad, that’s why he’s king and I’m not. I can outdrink, outfight, and outsing him, and my member’s thrice the size o’ his, but Mance has cunning. He was raised a crow, you know, and the crow’s a tricksy bird.”  “I would speak with the lad alone, my Lord of Bones,” Mance Rayder said to Rattleshirt. “Leave us, all of you.”  “What, me as well?” said Tormund.  “No, you especially,” said Mance.  “I eat in no hall where I’m not welcome.” Tormund got to his feet. “Me and the hens are leaving dermes.” He snatched another chicken off the brazier, shoved it into a pocket sewn in the lining of his cloak, said “Har,” and left licking his fingers. The others followed him out, all but the woman Dalla.  “Sit, if you like,” Rayder said when they were gone. “Are you hungry? Tormund left us two birds at least.”  “I would be pleased to eat, Your Grace. And thank you.”  “Your Grace?” The king smiled. “That’s not a style one often hears from the lips of free folk. I’m Mance to most, The Mance to some. Will you take a horn of mead?”  “Gladly,” said Jon.  The king poured himself as Dalla cut the well-crisped hens apart and brought them each a half. Jon peeled off his gloves and ate with his fingers, sucking every morsel of meat off the bones.  “Tormund spoke truly,” said Mance Rayder as . “The black crow is a tricksy bird, that’s so... but I was a crow when you were no bigger than the babe in Dalla’s belly, Jon Snow. So take care not to play tricksy with me.”  “As you say, Your - Mance.”  The king laughed. “Your Mance! Why not? I promised you a tale before, of how I knew you. Have you puzzled it out yet?”  Jon shook his head. “Did Rattleshirt send word ahead?”  “By wing? We have no trained ravens. No, I knew your face. I’ve seen it before. Twice.”  It made no sense at first, but as Jon turned it over in his mind, dawn broke. “When you were a brother of the Watch...”  “Very good! Yes, that was the first time. You were just a boy, and I was all in black, one of a dozen riding escort to old Lord Commander Qorgyle when he came down to see your father at Winterfell. I was walking the wall around the yard when I came on you and your brother Robb. It had snowed the night before, and the two of you had built a great mountain above the gate and were waiting for someone likely to pass underneath.”  “I remember,” said Jon with a startled laugh. A young black brother on the wallwalk, yes... “You swore not to Datingtell.”