2

Many who try to climb it fail and never get to try again. The fall breaks them. And some are given a chance to climb; they refuse. They cling to the realm, or the gods, or love. Illusions. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is.

2

The realm. Do you know what the realm is? It’s the thousand blades of Aegon’s enemies, a story we agree to tell each other over and over, until we forget that it’s a lie. But what do we have left, once we abandon the lie? Chaos? A gaping pit waiting to swallow us all. Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder. Many who try to climb it fail and never get to try again. The fall breaks them. And some, are given a chance to climb. They refuse, they cling to the realm or the gods or love. Illusions. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is.

2

I used to dream of it, in those years after Cat went north with Eddard Stark. In my dreams it was ever a dark place, and cold.