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Warning! This page contains spoilers for The Icebound Land.
Slaves at SeaEdit
This book continues on from The Burning Bridge, where Will and Evanlyn are bound for Skandia, as captives of the Skandian Jarl, Erak. On Erak's ship they are caught in a storm and just about make it to the island of Skorghijil, a small, barren and rocky island in the middle of the Stormwhite Sea, to weather out the storms that rage across the ocean and the sky.
On the island Will retrains himself to the physical standard required of a Ranger and is puzzled at Evanlyn's behavior as she is acting strangely; later, Evanlyn tells Will that she is really Princess Cassandra, daughter to King Duncan and tells him that it is pointless trying to escape as her father will ransom them out which explains why she has been so disinclined as to helping Will come up with an escape plan. She tells Will that her father will help to ransom them but Will knows that he won't be ransomed, only Evanlyn but he doesn't tell her this.
Cassandra's hopes for being ransomed are suddenly dashed when a Wolfship captain by the name of Slagor arrives on his ship at the island bearing news that Oberjarl Ragnak has made a Vallasvow against King Duncan and his family. This means that Ragnak will kill anyone related to Duncan if he comes near them. Evanlyn is therefore unable to reveal her identity or she will be killed. Will and Evanlyn decide to try to escape the island. After the failed escape attempt, using a boat, they are taken to Skandia to begin their lives as slaves.
Meanwhile in Araluen, Halt has sworn that he will rescue Will, but is forced to stay by the Ranger Commandant Crowley to search for an evil mercenary called Foldar who fought on Morgorath's side in the war and was his senior lieutenant. He is so desperate to leave that he publicly insults the king in a tavern who must either banish him or have him killed. Because Duncan owes Halt so much and thinks of him as a friend he finds a loophole in the law and has him banished but for a period of one year to relief of Baron Arald, Crowley and Halt's other friends. Because Halt is banished, he is no longer a Ranger, and Crowley removes his Silver Oakleaf which causes Halt a lot of anguish though he disguises it well. Gilan asks to come with Halt to find Will but Halt tells him to stay and search for Foldar. Gilan agrees and stays behind.
He then sets off to Skandia. First, he must go through Gallica but before that he meets Horace, who is also Will's close friend and determined to find him at any cost. Horace joins him, traveling as a freelance knight, known as the Oakleaf Knight. In Gallica he gains quite a reputation defeating many so-called "knights" skillfully and swiftly. Horace and Halt also encounter a group of girls with very short dresses. When Horace asks what they are Halt states that they're Couriers and the short dresses are for "running quickly". His reputation grows and because of this he is captured by the horrible Lord Deparnieux of Castle Montsombre who desires to fight him. They are taken to his castle which is near the border they must cross to continue their journey to Skandia, Halt chooses to stay at the castle for a while as the passes will still be blocked with winter snows. Later, Halt and Horace come up with a plan. Horace states the official words of a challenge in combat and Deparnieux accepts stating that if his opponent wins the duel he will turn over his castle and all his servants. Suddenly, Halt leaps up and slaps Deparnieux over the face with a gauntlet, the traditional challenge. Halt and Deparnieux must fight one another in mortal combat.
Fight to the DeathEdit
Later, Halt and Deparnieux fight, Halt is armed with his longbow and some special arrows that are heavier and built to pierce armor. Deparnieux is upon his horse wearing his customary black armor. Halt manages to defeat and kill Deparnieux using a special arrow, designed to pierce through armor then he hands the castle over to one of Deparnieux's knights who wasn't really loyal to the man due to his barbarity. Halt later sets the castle on fire so the man who has been put in charge of the castle won't be able to the same thing as Deparnieux which Horace is pleased about.
Meanwhile, Will has been sentenced to life as a yard-slave which involves back-breaking work of which many slaves die early on in life. Evanlyn however, being pretty and obviously not used to hard work is made a serving girl. After arguing with a so-called 'superior slave' called Egon Will is assigned the worst work, jamming a paddle into frozen water to keep the ice thawed. This is back-breaking, torturous, and freezing work and he suffers terribly. Later on, a so-called "friend" gives him a dangerous drug called warmweed, which has a blissful warming, soothing effect. It also makes the addict blank and lifeless, unable to think, talk, or remember, and always craving for another dose. After taking it, Will quickly becomes addicted.
Jarl Erak one day sees this after returning to Halllasholm as he was sent on a journey by Ragnak and Borsa to a local jarl who wasn't paying his full amount of taxes. He spots Will shoveling snow off a path and realizes that he has become a warmweed addict. This angers and sorrows him as he admires the boy for his bravery and skills as a Ranger. Erak hatches a plan with Evanlyn so that she and Will can escape to a deserted hunting house with some provisions and a small bundle of warmweed to relieve Will of his addiction. He sends Evanlyn and Will to a cabin along a twisting and winding trail of snow with a small dose of warmweed and a small pack pony, according to Erak, Evanlyn has to give Will a dose of warmweed steadily decreasing each time he silently begs for it, and that giving him too much will possibly make it impossible for him to be cured of his addiction. Evanlyn and Will make it to the cabin, and she slowly but surely begins to get him off his addiction.
Erak lays a false trail in such a way that the missing slaves are presumed dead. He does this by pushing off a small boat from the jetty with one oar in it and takes the bung out so it fills with water and thus makes it appears as though Will and Evanlyn tried to escape in the boat but were drowned.
The story finishes off with Will waking up in the cabin in the Skandian forest, all his memories of his time in Hallasholm gone and his warmweed addiction vanquished. As Evanlyn steps into the cabin he smiles at her in relief, not knowing what happened to her due to his memory loss. Evanlyn begins to cry, the relief of seeing her friend finally free from his addiction enormous.
In Gallica Horace along with Halt continue on their way to rescue Will from Skandia.
- Baron Arald
- Lord Deparnieux
- King Duncan