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ARYA
The feast tents were behind them now. They squished over wet clay and torn grass, out of the light and back into the gloom. Ahead loomed the castle gatehouse. She could see torches moving on the walls, their flames dancing and blowing in the wind. The light shone dully against the wet mail and helms. More torches were moving on the dark stone bridge that joined the Twins, a column of them streaming from the west bank to the east.  “The castle’s not closed,” Arya said suddenly. The sergeant had said it would be, but he was wrong. The portcullis was being drawn upward even as she watched, and the drawbridge had already been lowered to span the swollen moat. She had been afraid that Lord Frey’s guardsmen would refuse to let them in. For half a heartbeat she chewed her lip, too anxious to smile.  The Hound reined up so suddenly that she almost fell off the wayn. “Seven bloody buggering hells,” Arya heard him curse, as their left wheel began to sink in soft mud. The wayn tilted slowly. “Get dowm,” Clegane roared at her, slamming the heel of his hand into her shoulder to knock her sideways. She landed light, the way Syrio had taught her, and bounced up at once with a face full of mud. “Why did you do that?” she screamed. The Hound had leapt down as well. He tore the seat off the front of the wayn and reached in for the swordbelt he’d hidden beneath it. It was only then that she heard the riders pouring out the castle gate in a river of steel and fire, the thunder of their destriers crossing the drawbridge almost lost beneath the drumming from the castles. Men and mounts wore plate armor, and one in every ten carried a torch. The rest had axes, longaxes with spiked heads and heavy bone-crushing armor-smashing blades.  Somewhere far off she heard a wolf howling. It wasn’t very loud compared to the camp noise and the music and the low ominous growl of the river running wild, but she heard it all the same. Only maybe it wasn’t her ears that heard it. The sound shivered through Arya like a knife, sharp with rage and grief. More and more riders were emerging from the castle, a column four wide with no end to it, knights and squires and freeriders, torches and longaxes. And there was noise coming from behind as well.  When Arya looked around, she saw that there were only two of the huge feast tents where once there had been three. The one in the middle had collapsed. For a moment she did not understand what she was seeing. Then the flames went licking up from the fallen tent, and now the other two were collapsing, heavy oiled cloth settling down on the men beneath. A flight of fire arrows streaked through the air. The second tent took fire, and then the third. The screams grew so loud she could hear words through the music. Dark shapes moved in front of the flames, the steel of their armor shining orange from afar.  A battle, Arya knew. It’s a battle. And the riders...  She had no more time to watch the tents then. With the river overflowing its banks, the dark swirling waters at the end of the drawbridge reached as high as a horse’s belly, but the riders splashed through them all the same, spurred on by the music. For once the same song was coming from both castles. I know this song, Arya realized suddenly. Tom o’ Sevens had sung it for them, that rainy night the outlaws had sheltered in the brewhouse with the brothers. And who are you, the proud lord said, that I must bow so low?  The Frey riders were struggling through the mud and reeds, but some of them had seen the wayn. She watched as three riders left the main column, pounding through the shallows. Only a cat of a different coat, that’s all the truth I know.  Clegane cut Stranger loose with a single slash of his sword and leapt onto his back. The courser knew what was wanted of him. He pricked up his ears and wheeled toward the charging destriers. In a coat of gold or a coat of red, a lion still has claws. And mine are long and sharp, my lord, as long and sharp as yours. Arya had prayed a hundred hundred times for the Hound to die, but now... there was a rock in her hand, slimy with mud, and she didn’t even remember picking it up. Who do I throw it at?  She jumped at the clash of metal as Clegane turned aside the first longaxe. While he was engaged with the first man, the second circled behind him and aimed a blow for the small of his back. Stranger was wheeling, so the Hound took only a glancing blow, enough to rip a great gash in his baggy peasant’s blouse and expose the mail below. He is one against three. Arya still clutched her rock. They’re sure to kill him. She thought of Mycah, the butcher’s boy who had been her friend so briefly.  Then she............
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