Chapter 21: Inej 

The crew arrives in Djerholm, the Fjerdan city closest to the Ice Court. They scout out the route of the prison wagons and set their plan in motion. They chop down a tree that falls across the road, forcing the wagon drivers to get out and use the horses to drag the tree out of the way. Meanwhile, Kaz sneaks up behind the wagon and picks the lock. When he opens the door, he momentarily freezes. Inej goes to him and notices the wagon is far more crowded than they anticipated. They will have to cram in very close together, hooded and wearing shackles on their hands, feet, and necks. Inej touches Kaz on the shoulder. He snaps out of his trance and begins picking the locks on the shackles of six prisoners. Inej notices that he keeps his gloves on, even though they hinder his progress. Nina uses her powers to put the six freed prisoners to sleep in a ditch, and the crew takes their places on the wagon. When the wagon begins moving again, Inej notices that Kaz, shackled next to her, has fainted.  

Chapter 22: Kaz 

Kaz dreams about what happened after Mister Hertzoon swindled Jordie and him. When their money ran out, they were forced to live on the streets of Ketterdam. Jordie remained optimistic that their luck would change, but when an epidemic of firepox swept through the city, Jordie and Kaz both fell deathly ill. Jordie died in the night, and he and a sleeping Kaz were put on a sick boat used to transport corpses out to a barge to be burned. Kaz awoke in a pile of putrid bodies, with no one around to hear his cries for help. Eventually, his sickness subsided and he used Jordie’s bloated body to help him swim back to shore. 

Kaz regains consciousness in the prison wagon and panics when he feels the bodies of the other prisoners pressing against him. Inej talks to calm him down. When they arrive at the Ice Court, Kaz notices the bodies of five men skewered on pikes. He recognizes them as members of Pekka Rollins’s gang. He reflects that they don’t have to worry about the rival gang beating them to Bo Yul-Bayur. Kaz assures himself that none of the bodies are Pekka Rollins. He wants to be the one to kill Rollins.  

The guards check all the prisoners. After a tense moment when their papers don’t match the original prisoners’, they are all taken inside. Kaz keeps his gloves on, even though he fears it will draw undue attention to him. One of the guards searches Kaz and confiscates lockpicking tools from between his teeth. Once in their cell, a large prisoner calls Kaz a cripple and picks a fight with him. Kaz easily bests him, cruelly dislocating his shoulder to send a message to the other prisoners. He reminds himself that he isn’t helpless.  

Chapter 23: Jesper 

Wylan and Jesper flirt and antagonize each other while they wait for the Elderclock to strike six. Jesper digs a pellet out of his leg where Nina stitched it in. He and Wylan cover their mouths and he throws the pellet in a waste bucket. It releases a gas that makes all the other prisoners pass out. Then Jesper reveals he’s a Fabrikator, a Grisha with the power to manipulate matter. He starts slowly extracting iron from the bars, using it to fabricate lock-picking tools for Kaz. Kaz frees them.  

Kaz and Nina decide to go looking for Bo Yul-Bayur in the upper cells, even though the plan was for Matthias and Nina to go. The others meet Inej in the basement. Inej says there’s a problem: the incinerator was lit earlier in the day and shaft is still too hot to climb. But then, Wylan finds Inej’s climbing shoes in the garbage, where the guards had disposed of the prisoners’ clothes. Inej decides she can make the climb.  

Chapter 24: Nina 

Nina discovers a series of cells that appear to be built for Grisha, by Grisha. She is disturbed and frightened and accidentally encounters some guards. Using her powers, she knocks them out, but not before one of guards fires his gun and sets off the alarm. 

Chapter 25: Inej 

Inej climbs the incinerator shaft, but her shoes begin to melt in the heat. She fears she will not make it. She remembers when Kaz freed her from the Menagerie and hired her to be part of the Dregs. He told her he valued her stealth, and she appreciated his honesty about her indenture. It was a step up from the Menagerie, but she still was not free.  

Fearing she will die in the incinerator shaft, Inej curses Kaz and herself for believing in him. She begins to despair, when suddenly, she has an epiphany. If she survives and pulls off the heist, she can use the money to buy her own ship and hunt down slavers like the ones who kidnapped her. With renewed purpose, she begins to climb. 

Chapter 26: Kaz 

Kaz is searching for Bo Yul-Bayur. He remembers when he first got a job for Per Haskell. He tried to seek out Mister Hertzoon, but no one had ever heard of him. One day he saw Hertzoon and followed him into a gin shop. The shop owner told him the man’s name was actually Pekka Rollins.  

Kaz notices Pekka Rollins in one of the cells. Rollins is badly beaten but recognizes Kaz. Though he’s late to meet Nina, Kaz breaks into the cell anyway. 


In this section, the crew finally reaches the Ice Court, where they must reckon with their fears and insecurities in order to pull off their daunting heist. Surprisingly, the seemingly unflappable Kaz is the first to falter when he freezes and later faints in the prison wagon. The flashback to Kaz’s harrowing experience on the sick boat reveals that many of the idiosyncrasies that others associate with his power, such as his signature aloofness and his habit of never removing his gloves, are actually phobias borne of his childhood trauma. Nicknamed “Dirty Hands” for his willingness to do whatever is necessary, Kaz ironically abhors the touch of human flesh and wears the gloves to suppress his debilitating memories of the corpses on the sick boat. The gloves thus symbolize Kaz’s remarkable ability to hide his traumatic past from others, projecting power instead of weakness. Other characters often wonder what Kaz is trying to hide with his gloves—perhaps some injury or deformity. But Kaz’s hands are physically fine. The gloves hid the emotional scars that he wishes to conceal from everyone, himself included. His reluctance to part with his gloves even when they may compromise the mission illustrates how badly he needs the emotional protection they provide.  

Inej must also face her fears and insecurities in order to scale the incinerator shaft, the ultimate test of her legendary climbing ability. In many ways, the incinerator shaft functions as a symbol of the hellish circumstances that Inej has been forced to conquer throughout her life. Although she is an adept climber, the searing heat of the incinerator shaft presents an unexpected challenge that threatens to kill her, much like her abduction and enslavement. As her shoes begin to melt and she loses her grip, Inej must face the inner demons that have haunted her past. Just as she has contemplated suicide at other perilous junctures of her life, she considers giving up and plummeting to her death. But instead, she rallies, finding the strength to persevere by reclaiming Kaz’s mission as her own. Newly inspired to live so she can bring slavers to justice, Inej regains her footing and her sense of purpose. When she emerges from the incinerator shaft, Inej is reborn, no longer captive to the control of others, but firmly rooted in her own purpose and dreams. 

Kaz, meanwhile, seems distracted from the mission by his obsession with Pekka Rollins. Rollins has nothing to do with the crew’s objective of extracting Bo Yul-Bayur from the Ice Court, but when Kaz discovers that Rollins is in the prison, he deviates from his own plan, putting the rest of the team at risk to find him. The revelation that Mister Hertzoon was actually Pekka Rollins sheds light on Kaz’s hatred for Rollins, which up until now has been somewhat of a mystery. Rollins certainly deserves the harshest of punishments for his despicable con game, which targets even orphans. Even though Rollins did not kill Jordie, as Kaz had previously implied, Kaz holds him responsible for Jordie’s death and makes it his life’s mission to punish Rollins. His quest for vengeance becomes the organizing force that drives his own success in the cutthroat streets of the Barrel. On the other hand, Kaz’s preoccupation with Rollins compromises his judgment and puts himself and his team in danger. Paradoxically, his thirst for vengeance sustains and drives him while also threatening to destroy him.