Very little is known about the Icemen except that they are a savage enemy of Alera, held at bay along the northern fringes of the empire by the Shieldwall. The expense of maintaining the northern defenses, as well as the slave trade, has caused a political rift between the cities of northern Alera and the cities of southern Alera. The Marat use the hair of female Icemen to make incredibly strong, lightweight ropes that will not freeze and break, even in the coldest of climates.
In the Marat language, they are called the Gadrim-ha. Icemen first appear in the prologue of "Princeps' Fury" where they are described as being apelike creatures, the tallest the size of a legionnare but with broader shoulders and chest. They hurl icicles as javelins. In "Princeps' Fury", some light is shed upon their method of communication; they make use of considerable mental powers to share emotions. The use of this ability is also available to watercrafters, as Isana demonstrates during negotiations with the Icemen. She also theorizes that this, in conjunction with some type of firecrafting, is the accidental cause of the conflict between Icemen and Alerans, igniting passions that escalated into war. It is also hinted that they wield some form of control over the weather; their military movements are almost always accompanied by snow storms.
In First Lord's Fury, Tavi announces that Alera will lease the Wall from the Icemen before eventually tearing it down. After the Vord War is concluded, the Icemen become a part of the new racially integrated society of Alera, receiving their own recognized state. An Iceman even attends Tavi and Kitai's wedding, with the aid of a coldstone amulet around its neck.