Chapter 14: Nina 

Nina recalls when she first met Matthias, before his imprisonment. She and fifteen other Grisha had been captured by a group of Fjerdan drüskelle and were caged in the hold of a ship. Jarl Brum, the Fjerdan commander, cruelly tells the captives that the drüskelle are a holy order of soldiers dedicated to eradicating Grisha from the Earth. The ship is transporting the Grisha to trial in Fjerda, where they will undoubtedly be found guilty and executed. After Brum leaves, Nina begs Matthias for some water. He ignores her at first, but later brings her a cup of water.  

Back in the present, Matthias and Nina talk on the ship to the Ice Court. Matthias says he dreamed of Nina every night in Hellgate. Nina says she stayed in Ketterdam rather than returning to her homeland, Ravka, because she couldn’t leave him at Hellgate. She says she regrets accusing him of being a slaver and getting him arrested. 

Chapter 15: Matthias 

The voyage to Fjerda continues. Matthias reflects on Nina’s remorse. The gang discusses the plan to rescue Bo Yul-Bayur. The escape plan involves Inej—still badly injured from the ambush in Ketterdam—climbing out of the basement of the Ice Court through a six-story incinerator shaft. The crew worries that Pekka Rollins and his gang will kill them when they reach the Ice Court, but Kaz blows them off. Matthias senses that there’s a bad history between Pekka Rollins and Kaz.  

Chapter 16: Inej 

After three days, Inej wakes up on the ship in great pain to find Nina keeping watch over her. Nina is grateful that Inej is alive and immediately starts crying in relief. Nina tells Inej that it was Pekka Rollins who hired the rival gangs to attack them at the harbor. She says Kaz killed the Black Tips who harmed Inej.  

Nina asks Inej about a scar on her body, and Inej says it was a clumsily removed tattoo from the Menagerie. Nina also asks why Inej doesn’t have the cup and crow tattoo of The Dregs. Inej says Kaz told her she didn’t have to get it.  

Inej feels uneasy on the ship. She hasn’t been to sea since she was kidnapped by the slavers. She begs Nina to sing her a song, and Nina obliges even though she has a terrible singing voice. Inej’s memory takes her back to the day the slavers sold her to Tante Heleen.   She remembers Tante Heleen inspecting every inch of her body and buying her because of her flawless brown skin. At that moment, she had thought about drowning herself in the harbor rather than going with Tante Heleen.  

Chapter 17: Jesper 

Everyone is happy and relieved that Inej has recovered. Matthias thanks Inej for helping the crew survive the ambush, and Jesper rejoices that she is alive. Jesper tells Inej that Kaz was despondent when she was unconscious. Inej says it’s only because Kaz needs her for the plan to work. Kaz watches them but keeps his distance, and Jesper wonders what he’s thinking.  

Chapter 18: Kaz 

Two days after Inej wakes up, Kaz finally works up the nerve to talk to her. He shows her Wylan’s drawing of the prison and asks her if she thinks she can climb up the incinerator’s chimney. If she fails, the whole crew will end up stuck in the Ice Court’s prison. Inej imagines how she will die if she can’t manage the climb.  

Inej is aware that Kaz has a personal vendetta against Pekka Rollins. She asks Kaz why. Though Kaz has never told anyone, he confides to her that Rollins killed his brother long ago. Inej is surprised to learn that Kaz had a brother and says she’ll pray for him. Kaz thinks about his desire for Inej, but then he gets angry with himself for confiding in her. He takes his feelings out on Inej, rejecting her concern.  

Alone on deck, Kaz remembers when his brother Jordie was alive. Jordie and Kaz had come to Ketterdam after their father’s death. They met a businessman, Mister Hertzoon, who took them under his wing. After some time, Hertzoon told Jordie about a promising investment opportunity. After Jordie entrusted Hertzoon with their entire inheritance, Hertzoon disappeared.  


In these chapters, the main narrative of the voyage to Fjerda is frequently interrupted with flashbacks that shed light on the traumatic pasts of the main characters and hint at the means by which each character seeks healing and redemption. The story of Inej’s kidnapping and forced servitude continues to emerge as she recalls the day she was sold to Tante Heleen. Inej remembers how Heleen evaluated her like a piece of livestock, objectifying her body and forcing her into sexual slavery.  Yet she refuses to recognize anyone’s claims on her body. As soon as she gets free of the Menagerie, she has the Menagerie’s tattoo removed, and moreover, she refuses to get the crow and cup tattoo worn by every other member of the Dregs. Even so, the theft of her body traumatizes Inej, and she seeks healing through her unparalleled physical abilities. She uses her acrobatic skills to escape the Menagerie and become an invaluable member of the Dregs. Her value to the gang lies in her remarkable agility, stealth, and prowess in combat, and the success of the heist rests solely on her ability to overcome her injuries and conquer the impossible climb out of the incinerator shaft.  

Nina’s traumatic past also involves being captured, but her captors seek not to exploit her but to eradicate her. Jarl Brum’s diatribe encapsulates the Inquisition-like mission of the drüskelle, who consider it their solemn duty to rid the Earth of Grisha. The drüskelle regard all Grisha as sub-human and their powers as abominable witchcraft that poses a threat to humanity. This demonization of the Grisha allows the drüskelle to rationalize their genocidal mission. By dehumanizing the Grisha, the drüskelle can claim that they are undeserving of mercy and basic human decency. Nina combats this discriminatory treatment by continually working to humanize herself in the eyes of others. She frequently downplays her powers and learns multiple languages, including Fjerdan, so that she can blend in with regular people. Whereas Inej seeks to evade her captors, Nina makes allies of her enemies, seeking to win them over and convince them that she is not a threat. These efforts initially win over Matthias, who, despite his prejudices, acknowledges Nina’s humanity by giving her the cup of water that ends up saving her life. Nina deeply regrets her betrayal of Matthias not because her accusations are false—his crimes are even worse than a slaver’s—but because she has reinforced his Fjerdan prejudices against Grisha. Her willingness to serve prison time to secure Matthias’s pardon suggests that she is desperate to win back his approval.  

Kaz’s traumatic childhood, known only to himself, drives his monomaniacal obsession with rooting out his enemies and exacting vengeance. The story of Jordie’s death comes in fits and starts throughout the novel, almost as if it is too painful for Kaz to remember all at once. In these chapters, Kaz merely manages to admit to Inej, his most trusted confidant, that he once had a brother who died because of Pekka Rollins. Yet he immediately regrets even this small disclosure because it makes him look weak. Although he has romantic feelings for Inej, Kaz’s grief over Jordie makes him wary of close connections with anyone. Moreover, Jordie’s fleecing by Mr. Hertzoon has taught Kaz a valuable lesson about survival in the Barrel: trust no one. In order to avoid Jordie’s fate, Kaz rejects Jordie’s naïve optimism in favor of pragmatic cynicism. He learns to expect and anticipate betrayal, and he has no use for friendship or romantic entanglements. His desire for Inej suggests that he indeed longs for human contact, but he instinctively represses these feelings as dangerous distractions. Instead, he channels his loneliness and grief into his plan to get filthy rich while slowly destroying his enemies, chief among them the man he holds responsible for Jordie’s death. Yet Kaz seems to find little pleasure in crushing his enemies, nor does he seem interested in his own healing or redemption.