A pre-chapter Brother-line:
You won’t see Brother Grumlow try to knife you, only the sorrow in his eyes as you fall.
& a one of the deleted pre-chapter battle vignettes:
Nial Ravener, thirty-four, spear wound. Blue Moon Pass.
Son of Graem and Nalla, raised in the Haunt. Husband to Erin. Father to Kai, Kelin, and Keris.
The spear hurt less than the climbing. Nial pitched into the deep snow, almost grateful for the excuse to stop. He lay cradled in softness.
Time was I could run all day. From valley to peak. Then time caught me up.
A blessing to die in the snow. Clean, serene, where all sins are covered, in the purity of high places.
No pain but the ache in his lungs and the memory of agony in his thighs. It felt good to be still, in a cool embrace, cold kisses on his forehead. Even the hot wet wound in his back seemed like release.
Images of Erin at the cottage door. The children in the hay. Bright days of summer. Too bright. Nial turned to older days, dim yesterdays lit now by the last beats of his heart. He remembered his mother, framed in golden curls. How fiercely he had loved her.