Svengal is a cheerful and talkative Skandian sailor who first appears in The Burning Bridge. Originally Erak's second in command, he later becomes the skirl of the ship the Wolfwind. It originally belonged to Erak, but he gifted it to Svengal after he became Oberjarl.
Like most Skandians, Svengal is a burly warrior and sailor. He wears the same distinctive attire that many Skandians favor: a sheepskin vest, a short fur cloak, woolen breeches, sealskin boots, and a horned iron helmets.
Svengal was first mate on the Wolfwind, when Erak was skirl on it in the days before he became Oberjarl. Both knew, and were good friends with, Mikkel and Thorn, as they served on it alongside them, and both felt the loss of them as crew members keenly.
The Burning Bridge Edit
Svengal first appears as a part of Erak's crew after they captured Will and Cassandra. Although originally skeptical of the idea of taking hostages, Erak convinces him, as well as the rest of the group, of their usefulness. After Morgarath confronts the Skandians about the whereabouts of their prisoners, Svengal comments that he looks as though he'd "already died and gone to hell." When the four Skandians reach Three Step Pass, him and the other sailors unsuccessfully attempt to conceal Will and Cassandra.
Led by Erak, they attack some Wargals when Morgarath orders a retreat. One crew member, Nordal, is mortally wounded. The five travel to the beach, only to realize Halt had followed them. When Will tries to call out to him, Svengal backhands him and sends him sprawling. Despite Halt's efforts, the Skandians successfully escape and sail towards Skandia.
The Icebound Land Edit
After assessing the distance and speed, Erak and Svengal agree that they won’t be able to reach Cape Shelter before the storm hits. In preparation, Svengal orders Will and Cassandra to tie themselves to the mast. He does the same to himself and Erak, but ties them to either side of the storm sweep. Together, they manage the steering oar to assist the rowers in dragging the head of the ship around. Svengal comments that the ship was taking it well, and Erak agrees, saying that they’ll need to turn and run before the storm. After seven days of sailing south, they are finally able to head for Cape Shelter.
Listening to Will’s and Cassandra’s conversion, Svengal laughs when they ask if Skorghijl is Skandia. He explains that they can’t make a full crossing to Skandia now that the Summer Gales have set in. While at Skorghijl, Will attempts to get on the good side of the crew, including Svengal. Will asks him about his fishing attempt, and offers to clean the fish for him. Svengal readily agrees, and, when asked, tells Will about the tide and the Great Blue Whale.
When Slagor attempts to have Cassandra whipped, Svengal gives Erak his cask. Erak then carves a simple face on it, and cues Will to throw a knife at the cask. When Erak knocks him out, Svengal carries him back to his and Cassandra’s hut.
As the Wolfwind approaches Skandia, Svengal tries to comfort the two Araluens. He tells them that they’re only a few hours from shore, unknowingly confirming their fears.
Oakleaf Bearers (The Battle For Skandia) Edit
While Will is practicing his archery, it is revealed that Svengal has a niece, Tyrelle. Later, when Cassandra discovers Slagor’s plans for betrayal, Svengal brings in his two ships from Fallkork Island. Although he isn’t mentioned, it can be assumed that, as a part of Erak’s crew, he accompanied them when they sailed to Sand Creek Bay.
Once Erak becomes Oberjarl, he announces that he’ll be handing the ship over to Svengal, after one last voyage. Svengal accompanies them, and is the one to unlatch the entry port in the ship’s rail, allowing Cassandra to reunite with her father.
Erak’s Ransom Edit
Svengal is featured much more prominently in Erak’s Ransom than in other books. After a botched raiding attempt, Svengal interrupts Halt and Pauline’s wedding. He explains that Erak was captured by the Arridi, and is currently being held for ransom. Unwilling to leave Erak in Arrida for so long, Svengal decides to ask Araluen for help. Additionally, he suspects that a fellow Skandian is behind the capture.
When they agree, on the condition that all money be repaid by Skandia, Svengal takes them to the Wolfwind. He is carried there by Plod, an old horse. As revenge for his unpleasant riding experience, Svengal teases Halt about his seasickness. When the ship reaches Arrida, he is the only Skandian not to remain with the ship. He accompanies the small group--consisting of Cassandra, Will, Halt, Horace, Gilan, and himself--to meet Selethen, the Wakir.
When the group goes to fetch Erak, who is in the process of being moved, Svengal is one of the first to notice the approaching sandstorm. Along with the others, he wishes Will luck when he goes to search for Tug. Once they find the dead Arridi escort, Svengal names Toshak as the person behind everything.
When the Tualaghi attack, Svengal is captured along with the others. Although pleased to be reunited with Erak, the seawolf suffers at the hands of the Tualaghi. However, he and Erak are left alone more than the others. Svengal’s suspicions are proved correct when Toshak arrives with Yusal. Toshak recognizes Halt, and incorrectly assumed that Gilan is Will. Svengal tries to tempt Toshak to fight him, but Toshak declines.
Unbeknownst to the prisoners, Toshak offers Yusal all of his share of Erak’s ransom money, so long as Yusal has all of the prisoners executed. Yusal agrees, and begins to plan a public execution. When Will frees them before they’re executed, Svengal joins in to fight back against the Tualaghi. Amidst the confusion, Svengal is the one to spot Toshak attempting a getaway. He supports Erak from the sidelines as he battles Toshak. When Erak kills him, Svengal comments that he shouldn’t have given him his weapon, and instead left him to wander. When Erak asks if he would’ve done that, Svengal admits he wouldn’t.