You could not tell where the icicles began or where the fine white tendrils of overcoat of the hide Coamhan had swaddled around him ended. Layers of fox, seal and the shaggy coat of their herds were tied tightly to the bodies of the two on horse back - Coamhan had sent their third to Hardhome while they went searching for giants and the truth in what the Beastmasters had revealed about the state of affairs in the freeland. The letter from the sothouners while they were at Eastwatch had intrigued Coamhan, there was the potential there to further his cause leagues by rubbing shoulders with men with such vast armies. But he did not trust them and no interest in any land by a river. There was only one place in his minds eye.
So it was west, trudging through the snow and cursing their mounts as they went, they were daintier, feebler and a good deal higher than their usual steeds. It had caused a few problems: they had driven the animals too hard without rest to begin with, they needed to carry far more provisions to feed them and, most comically, it was a mummers farce to mount them. Coamhan and his companion Aoife were like most Erskine, standing under five foot. After hoisting Aoife into her saddle Coamhan, an inch shorter than her, had to climb a tree. He had slept in his saddle more than once to avoid the ordeal.
The forest was never ending, how many Skanes have we been now? Coamhan asked himself on their eleventh night. It was a queer place. Despite the warnings of shadowcats, wights and southoners, it had been a very quiet ride. He could count the number of men they had spied so far and the beasts of the forest seemed hard to find out. More days and nights crept past, their pace growing everslower. This was a foreign land.
The Erskine hadn't heard them on their approach, lying ontop of their animals and each other, but Coamhan certainly felt the rough wood of the spear splintering against his neck. Eyes opened in a flash to meet a shaded pair glare through furs, and travelled down to see a tall man with Coamhan's sack in the other. "He's a crow, kill him and his bitch too!" A voice shouted from a little further back as Coamhan grabbed at Aoife. She was still behind him. "I'm nae crow scum. Am Erskine, I'm fae Skane, she's too an' all. I sweart we're no crow, by the gods. We're free, we're free folk I sweart"
"From Skane?" the tall man laughed, and then pondered. "We'll find out who you are and why you've a such a bag of trinkets. We'll take the gremlins to the Fist, if they are Free Folk they need to be there too."
And so they went, on leash behind the small group of wildlings they had been ambushed by, their direction more northwest than west now.