Still far from their homeland after escaping slavery in the icebound land of Skandia, the Ranger's apprentice and the princess's plan to return to. The icebound land. byFlanagan, John (John Anthony). Publication DAISY download. For print-disabled users. Borrow this book to access EPUB and PDF files. This content was uploaded by our users and we assume good faith they have the permission to share this book. If you own the copyright to this book and it is.
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The international bestselling series with over 5 million copies sold in the U.S. alone!Kidnapped after the fierce battle with Lord Morgarath, Will and Evanlyn are . 3mL8kH3aW - Read and download John Flanagan's book The Icebound Land (Ranger's Apprentice Book 3) in PDF, EPub, Mobi, Kindle. The Icebound Land. John Flanagan ruthenpress.info ISBN: , | 0 pages | 3 Mb Download The Icebound Land The Icebound.
But as wave followed wave andWolfwind survived, the blinding terror lessened and nervous exhaustion took its place and, eventually, he slept. For seven more days, the ship was driven far to the south, out of the Narrow Sea and into the fringes of the Endless Ocean. And Will and Evanlyn huddled by the mast: sodden, exhausted, freezing.
The numbing fear of disaster was always present in their minds but, gradually, they began to believe that they might survive. On the eighth day, the sun broke through. It was weak and watery, to be sure, but it was the sun. The violent plunging motion ceased, and once again the ship rode smoothly across the face of the rollers.
Erak, his beard and hair rimed with salt, hauled tiredly on the sweep, bringing the ship around in a smooth curve to face north once more. He was in full view but nobody saw him. In part this was due to the fact that the robbers were totally intent on their prey, a wealthy merchant and his wife.
For their part, they were equally distracted, staring with horror at the armed men who now surrounded their carriage in the clearing.
But in the main, it was due to the camouflage cloak that Halt wore, its cowl pulled up over his head to leave his face in shadow, and the fact that he stood absolutely stock-still.
Like all Rangers, Halt knew that the secret of merging into the background lay with the ability to remain unmoving, even when people seemed to be looking straight at him. Believe you are unseen, went the Ranger saying,and it will be so.
A burly figure, clad entirely in black, now emerged from the trees and approached the carriage. Another wild-goose chase, he thought. The figure bore a slight resemblance to Foldar, the man Halt had been pursuing since the end of the war with Morgarath.
He had managed to escape capture when his leader died and his army of subhuman Wargals faded away. But Foldar was no mindless beast. He was a thinking, planning human being—and a totally warped and evil one. The son of a noble Araluen family, he had murdered both his parents after an argument over a horse.
He was barely a teenager at the time and he had escaped by fleeing into the Mountains of Rain and Night, where Morgarath recognized a kindred spirit and enlisted him. The problem was, Foldar impersonators were springing up everywhere—usually in the form of everyday bandits like this one.
And as each one sprang up, Halt and his colleagues had to waste time tracking them down. He felt a slow burning of anger at the time he was wasting on these minor nuisances. Halt had other matters to attend to. He had a promise to keep and fools like this were preventing him from doing so. The fake Foldar had stopped by the carriage now. The black cloak with its high collar was somewhat similar to the one Foldar wore. But Foldar was a dandy and his cloak was immaculate black velvet and satin, whereas this was simple wool, badly dyed and patched in several places, with a collar of crudely tanned black leather.
It came out more as a thin cackle. She was middle-aged, overweight and plain in the extreme. But that was no reason why she should be subjected to this sort of terror, Halt thought grimly. She held back, whimpering with fear at the sight of the black figure before her. The woman cried out and cowered farther back into the carriage. Her husband, equally terrified and more than fond of his ears where they were, was trying to push her toward the carriage door.
Enough, Halt thought. Satisfied that no one was looking in his direction, he nocked an arrow, drew and sighted in one economical motion and released. Then there was an almighty jerk on the raised collar of his cloak and he found himself pinned against the carriage by a quivering black arrow that thudded into the wood. He gave a startled yelp, lost his balance and stumbled, saved from falling by his cloak, which now began to choke him where it fastened around his neck.
As the other bandits turned to see where the arrow had come from, Halt stepped away from the tree. Yet to the startled robbers, it seemed as if he had steppedout of the massive oak. Not a single one thought to disobey the order. Knives, swords and cudgels clattered to the ground. Even now, the strange cloak that he wore seemed to shimmer uncertainly against the background, making it difficult to focus on him.
All of you! He stopped as Halt gave him a further warning. He was aware of the effect that his unexplained appearance from the tree had on these uneducated country folk. It was a device he had used many times before. He turned his attention to Gubblestone, who was plucking feebly at the thong securing his cloak as it continued to choke him. He was already red in the face, his eyes bulging. They bulged farther as Halt unsheathed his heavy saxe knife.
He slashed quickly through the cord and Gubblestone, suddenly released, fell awkwardly to the ground. He seemed content to stay there, out of the reach of that gleaming knife. Halt glanced up at the occupants of the carriage. The relief on their faces was all too obvious.
Hanging, I say! They have terrified my poor wife and threatened my very person! Crowley hated what he had to do. But orders were orders, and as the Ranger Commandant, it was his job to enforce them. And Halt, like all Rangers, was bound to obey them. And he wants you.
He trusts you and depends on you. He also knew that his best reply would be silence—silence that would force Halt further into the sort of rationalization that Crowley knew he hated. We always have, Halt. For every Ranger, the rule is the same: kingdom first. You took it. I took it. And so did Will. Halt, Crowley realized, was possibly his closest friend in the world. Now here they were, trading bitter words and angry arguments.
He reached behind him and straightened the fallen chair, then made a gesture of peace to Halt. Two months, maybe three, then you can go after Will, with my blessing. Or sold on as a slave and lost forever. I need to go now while the trail is still warm. Hearing it, Halt squared his shoulders. Crowley looked down at his desk.
He refuses me? In their place was anger. Bitter anger. Will shrugged uncertainly. There were only a few small, ramshackle huts on the shore, with no sign of a town. And no people. Svengal, coiling a rope nearby, laughed at their ignorance. This is Skorghijl.
That storm in the Narrow Sea delayed us so long that the Summer Gales have set in. They looked grim and uncomfortable. Who knows? Skorghijl was a bleak and uninviting place of bare rock, steep granite cliffs and a small level beach where the sun and salt-whitened timber huts huddled.
There was no tree or blade of green anywhere in sight. The rims of the cliffs were scattered with the white of snow and ice. The rest was rock and shale, granite black and dull gray. It was as if whatever gods the Skandians worshipped had removed all vestige of color from this rocky little world. Unconsciously, without the need to battle the constant backward set of the waves, the rowers slackened their pace.
The ship glided across the bay to the shingle beach. Will and Evanlyn stood, their legs uncertain after days of constant movement. The ship rang with the dull thuds of timber on timber as the oars were drawn in board and stowed. Erak looped a leather thong over the tiller to secure it and prevent the rudder from banging back and forth with the movement of the tide.
He glanced briefly at the two prisoners. There was no need to restrain them or guard them in any way. Skorghijl was an island, barely two kilometers across at its widest point. Will and Evanlyn moved to the bow of the ship, passing the Skandians, who were unshipping barrels of water and ale and sacks of dried food from the sheltered spaces below the center deck.
Will climbed over the gunwale, hung full length for a few seconds, then dropped to the shale below. Here, with the prow canted up as it had slid up the beach, there was a considerable drop to the stones. He turned to help Evanlyn, but she was already dropping after him.
They stood uncertainly. She stumbled and fell to one knee. Will was in no better state. Now that the constant movement had ceased, the dry land beneath them seemed to heave and lurch.
He placed one hand against the timbers of the boat to stop himself from falling. He stared at the ground beneath his feet, expecting to see it forming and rolling into hummocks and hills.
But it was flat and motionless. He felt the first traces of nausea gathering in the pit of his stomach. He looked up, swaying uncertainly, into the grinning eyes of one of the crew. Evanlyn had managed to regain her feet. She took his arm. We might be better off sitting down. Will sank gratefully onto one, holding his head in his hands and resting his elbows on his knees for support.
He groaned in misery as another wave of nausea swept over him. Evanlyn was in slightly better shape. She patted his shoulder. He had a sack of provisions slung over one shoulder and he swung it down to the ground outside the door of one of the huts, grunting slightly with the effort. Nobody knows why. He jerked a thumb toward a blackened circle of stones a few meters from the nearest hut. Nevertheless, he rose unsteadily from the bench and took the flint and steel that Erak held out to him.
Then he and Evanlyn moved to the fireplace. Stacked beside it was a pile of sun-and salt-dried driftwood. Some of the planks were brittle enough to break with bare hands and Will began to stack the slivers into a pyramid in the middle of the circle of stones. Evanlyn, for her part, gathered together bunches of dried moss to act as kindling, and within five minutes they had a small fire crackling, the flames licking eagerly at the heavier pieces of firewood they added now to the blaze.
Will turned quickly to her, smiling in return. He sighed deeply. Given the chance to do it over, he still would have acted as he had.
Then, even as he wished it, he realized that she was the one bright spark in his life of misery now and that by wishing her away, he was wishing away the only small glow of happiness and normality in his days. He felt a sense of confusion.
In a moment of extreme surprise, he realized that, if she were not here with him, life would be barely worth living. He reached out and touched her hand lightly. She looked at him again, and this time, he was the first to smile. Then he sighed again, thinking of all that they had left behind.
Unnoticed by the two young people, Erak had seen the little exchange. He nodded to himself. It was good for each of them to have a friend, he thought. One grindingly hard day after another, month in, month out, year after year.
A person living that life would need a friend. It would be going too far to say that Erak was fond of the two youngsters. But they had won his respect. The boy, he thought, was quite a scrapper. Erak had rarely seen faster, more accurate shooting. He guessed that was a result of the Ranger training.
It was difficult not to feel sympathy for them. They were both so young, with so much that should have been ahead of them. Then he shook himself angrily, breaking the introspective mood that had fallen over him. He noticed that one of the rowers was trying to sneak a prime piece of pork from a provision sack nearby.
He moved quietly behind the man and planted his foot violently in his backside, lifting him clean off the ground with the force of the kick. Then, ducking his head under the doorway lintel, he went into the dark, smoke-smelling hut to claim the best bunk for himself.
But it was close to the river where the big ships docked as they brought goods for trade into the capital, and so it usually enjoyed good business.
Right now, though, business had dropped off, and the reason for the decline was sitting at one of the spill-stained bare tables, close to the fireplace. He glared up at the tavern keeper now, his eyes burning under the knotted brows, and banged the empty tankard on the rough pine planks of the table.
His usual customers, with their uncanny instinct for trouble brewing, had mostly cleared out when the small man had arrived and begun drinking with such unswerving purpose. Only half a dozen had remained. One of them, a hulking stevedore, had looked over the smaller man and decided he was easy pickings. Small and drunken the customer might be, but the gray-green cloak and the double knife scabbard at his left hip marked him as a Ranger.
And Rangers, as any sensible person could tell you, were not people to trifle with. The stevedore learned that the hard way. The fight barely lasted a few seconds, leaving him stretched unconscious on the floor. His companions hastily departed for a friendlier, and safer, atmosphere. The Ranger watched them go and signaled for a refill. Then the real trouble started. The eyes of the few remaining customers were locked on the small figure at the table. He gazed around, a grim little smile playing on his lips, just visible between the grizzled beard and the mustache.
A coward. Nobody moved. This was dangerous talk. For a normal citizen to abuse or insult the King in public like this would be a serious crime. Anxious glances were exchanged.
The few remaining customers wished they could leave quietly. They noticed now that the longbow he had leaned against the wall behind him was already strung. And the quiver beside it was full of arrows.
They all knew that the first person to try to go through the front door would be followed in rapid time by an arrow. And they all knew that Rangers, even drunk Rangers, rarely missed what they aimed at.
Yet to remain here while the Ranger berated and insulted the King was equally dangerous. Their silence might well be taken as acquiescence should anyone ever find out what was going on. Take your pick. Either way, it is hardly the correct lineage for a king, is it?
This was becoming more and more dangerous by the moment. The tavern keeper shifted nervously behind the bar, saw a movement in the back room and moved to get a clearer view through the doorway.
The wagoner mumbled and shifted in his seat, unwilling to make eye contact. The tavern keeper jerked his head almost imperceptibly toward the back entrance of the building. His wife looked away to it, then back to him, her eyebrows raised in a query. For all her care, the latch made a slight click as it fell into place behind her. He knew his throat was far too dry to form words. The landlord swallowed nervously. His wife had been gone ten minutes now. Surely she must have found a detachment of the Watch?
Surely they should be arriving here any minute, to remove this dangerous man and stop this treasonous talk? And, even as he framed the thought, the front door banged back on its hinges and a squad of five men, led by a corporal, forced their way into the dimly lit room. Each of them was armed with a long sword and a short, heavy-headed club hanging at his belt, and each wore a round buckler slung across his back. The corporal appraised the room as his men fanned out behind him.
His eyes narrowed as they made out the figure hunched at the table. It was a smile that never reached his eyes, the tavern keeper noticed. Is someone here a tell-tale tit, whose tongue should be…split! As the Ranger spat out the last word, he had somehow scooped up the longbow from behind him and nocked and fired an arrow.
It slammed into the wall behind the spot where the tavern keeper had been standing a second before, and buried itself deep into the wood panel, quivering still with the force of its impact. He started to move forward, but incredibly, the Ranger had another arrow nocked already.
The corporal stopped, staring death in the face. But his voice lacked authority and he knew it. It was one thing to keep dockside drunks and rowdies in line, another entirely to face a Ranger, a skilled fighter and a trained killer.
Even a knight would think twice about such a confrontation. It was way beyond the capabilities of a simple corporal of the Watch. Yet the corporal was no coward and he knew he had a duty to perform.
He swallowed several times, then slowly, slowly, raised his hand to the Ranger. There was no answer. The arrow remained centered on his forehead, at eye level. Hesitantly, he took a pace forward. The corporal was sure he could hear his own heart beating, rattling like a kettledrum.
He wondered if others in the room could hear it too. He took a deep breath. But his word meant as much to him as it did to any highborn officer.
Now the stakes were higher, much higher. Now was the time to return payment for those years of authority and respect. He took another step. The twang of the bow releasing was almost deafening in the tension-charged room. Instinctively, violently, the corporal flinched and staggered back a pace, expecting the burning agony of the arrow, then the blackness of certain death.
And realized what had happened: the bowstring had snapped. The Ranger stared incredulously at the useless weapon in his hands. The tableau remained frozen for a full five seconds. Then the corporal and his men leaped forward, swinging the short, heavy clubs that they carried, swarming over the small gray-and-green-clad figure. As the Ranger went down under the rain of blows, no one noticed him drop the small blade he had used to sever the bowstring.
But the tavern keeper did wonder how a man who had moved so quickly to defeat a stevedore twice his size now seemed to be so slow and vulnerable.
He had done five laps of the shingle beach. Now he turned toward the steep cliffs that reared above the tiny harbor. His legs burned with the effort as he forced himself to climb, the muscles in his thighs and calves protesting. The weeks of inactivity on the wolfship had taken their toll on his fitness and now he was determined to regain it, to harden his muscles and bring his body back to the fine-tuned edge that Halt had demanded of him.
He might not be able to practice his archery or knifework, but he could at least make sure his body was ready if the chance came to escape. And Will was determined that such a chance would come. He drove himself up the steep slope, the small stones and shale slipping and giving way under his feet. Why not share! An annual anal Embed Size px. Start on. Show related SlideShares at end. WordPress Shortcode. VaughnMintera Follow. Published in: Full Name Comment goes here. Are you sure you want to Yes No.
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