The Ice Court is a military stronghold and seat of the nobility of Fjerda, located in the Fjerdan capital, Djerholm. It contains a high-security prison, the facilities of the drüskelle, the embassy, and the Fjerdan Royal Palace and treasury.
"The Ice Court is on a bluff overlooking the harbor at Djerholm. It's built in concentric circles, like the rings of a tree. First, the ringwall, then the outer circle. It's divided into three sectors. Beyond that is the ice moat, then at the center of everything, the White Island. [...] The cliffs are unscalable, and the northern road is the only way in or out. [...] The outer circle is split into three sectors: the prison, the drüskelle facilities, and the embassy, each with its own gate in the ringwall. [...] The buildings of the outer circle surround the ice moat, and at the moat's center is the White Island, where the treasury and Royal Palace are."
The Ice Court was built from "marble so white it almost glowed blue... It was impossible to tell what might be glass or ice or stone." The flawless, icy glass of the Ice Court was likely made by Fabrikators some time in Fjerda's distant past, though Fjerdans claimed it was constructed by a god or the Fjerdan Saint Sënj Egmond.
The northern road from the harbor to the Ice Court is approximately seven miles long.
The prison sector is split into women's and men's cellblocks and consists of five floors: the processing area and four levels of cells. In the basement is laundry facilities and an incinerator. High-security cells are on the topmost floor and houses the most dangerous criminals, who include assassins, terrorists, and Grisha. The cells for Grisha are bright white and devoid of any furniture, with a drain in the center of the floor. The prison sector is isolated from the rest of the Ice Court, with no connecting points.
The main entrance to the prison sector is a wolf's head gate. From there, there is a vast enclosure, "nearly a quarter mile long and tall enough to comfortably fit a trading ship," made from thick, bulletproof glass. The enclosure is lit by a huge iron lantern hanging from the ceiling. "On the walls behind the glass, older weapons had been arranged in an elaborate display - axes, spears, longbows. Above it all hung a banner in silver and white: STRYMAKT FJERDAN." The enclosure also contains other weapons and munitions. Below the walkway, beneath the display of old weapons, are rows of armored tanks. On the sides of the enclosure there are two dark staircases leading to a metal walkway overlooking the enclosure. Each staircase leads to the separate men's and women's cellblocks.
Next to the prison sector gatehouse are stables.
The roof of the embassy sector is curved to prevent heavy snow from accumulating. The entrance to the embassy sector passes first through the gatehouse courtyard, which features a beautiful fountain and ice willow trees. Inside is a wide, shallow dome with a silver filigreed skylight. On the floor of the rotunda is a mosaic depicting two wolves chasing each other in circles.
The embassy sector also contains many meeting rooms.
The drüskelle sector contains training rooms and a dining hall. The dining hall features a long table, a massive hearth with a wolf's head carved into the stone above it, and a giant patchwork banner made from strips of Grisha kefta. The roof of the drüskelle sector has massive pyramid-shaped skylights that look down into each room. Near the gatehouse is the kennel for the drüskelle wolf companions.
Unlike the courtyards of the embassy and prison sectors, the gatehouse in the drüskelle sector is made from black stone engraved with a silver wolf's head and lit with eerie blue flame. The ringwall gate in the drüskelle sector is also black, unlike the gates of the other sectors.
The shore to the ice moat is a slender, slipper rind of white stone. Somewhere along the wall of the drüskelle sector is an etching of a wolf that marks the location of a second glass bridge used to access the White Island by drüskelle initiates.
The White Island
The White Island is the center of the Ice Palace, separated from the outer sectors by the ice moat. "The moat's waters were ever shifting, concealed only by a wafer-thin skin of frost." There are two points of entry onto the White Island: the glass bridge and the drüskelle path. The glass bridge is a grand, arching structure spanning the moat from the embassy sector. On its spires are blue flame lanterns. The drüskelle bridge is an invisible, small, flat piece of glass just under the frozen skin of the moat and is accessible from the drüskelle sector. The drüskelle path also serves as an emergency way out of the Royal Palace. Both bridges are such perfect glass that anyone on them appears to be walking in midair.
The White Island is ringed by a wall in the shape of a giant ice dragon circling the island and swallowing its own tail. On the White Island are the Royal Palace, a garden, the barracks of the royal guard, the treasury, several guard towers, and the Elderclock, which chimes every quarter hour and for alarm protocols. The Royal Palace is accessed from the glass bridge, which leads to a marble staircase through the gap between the dragon wall's tail and mouth. The palace contains a vaulted entry and a circular ballroom with a second-floor balcony.
The treasury is a circular structure made from white stone, but it lacks the decorations of the other white buildings in the Ice Court. In fact, the treasury is no longer used as a vault; it was converted into a laboratory and holding cells for experiments on Grisha. It is considered the most secure place on the island.
In the middle of the White Island is a courtyard surrounded by arched colonnades. The courtyard stands between the Royal Palace and the treasury. In the center of the the courtyard is an ancient, giant silver ash tree, the most sacred place in all of Fjerda. Fjerdans believe the ash is sustained by the spirit of Djel and that the god's voice can be heard at the tree. Kaz Brekker uprooted the ash and discovered that beneath the ash is a hollow gap that leads to into a giant spring, which feeds the ice moat and the river.
Cannons line the cliff facing the harbor, designed to stop invading armadas.
Before entering the ringwall, there are two guarded checkpoints. Of the three sector gates, the prison gate is always functional, but only the embassy gate or the drüskelle gate can be opened at a time. Each sector has a gatehouse built around a courtyard.
The White Island is considered the most secure place at the Ice Court. Several guard towers on the White Island watch over the moat and prevent unauthorized passage across the glass bridge.
The Ice Court has several protocols used to signal emergencies. The Elderclock rings different patterns to indicate which protocol has been triggered.
- Yellow Protocol indicates a sector disturbance. It may indicate that someone is attempting a prison break, and results in a search of the sector.
- Red Protocol indicates a sector breach.
- Black Protocol is the ultimate alarm, and can be triggered by opening one of the gates in the ringwall that isn't scheduled for use. The entire Ice Court goes on lockdown and the glass bridge is shut down if Black Protocol is triggered.
- Six of Crows, Chapter 22
- Six of Crows, Chapter 29
- Six of Crows, Chapter 28