Wednesday, 7 November 2012

City of Ashes - Epilogue

"Clary!" Simon's mother beamed all over her face at the sight of the girl standing on her
doorstep. "I haven't seen you for ages. I was starting to worry you and Simon had had a fight."
"Oh, no," Clary said. "I just wasn't feeling well, that's all." Even when you've got magic
healing runes, apparently you're not invulnerable. She hadn't been surprised to wake up the
morning after the battle to find she had a pounding headache and a fever; she'd thought she had a
cold—who wouldn't, after freezing in wet clothes on the open water for hours at night?—but
Magnus said she had most likely exhausted herself creating the rune that had destroyed
Valentine's ship.
Simon's mother clucked sympathetically. "The same bug Simon had the week before last, I
bet. He could barely get out of bed."
"He's better now, though, right?" Clary said. She knew it was true, but she didn't mind hearing
it again.
"He's fine. He's out in the back garden, I think. Just go on through the gate." She smiled.
"He'll be happy to see you."
The redbrick row houses on Simon's street were divided by pretty white wrought iron fences,
each of which had a gate that led to a tiny patch of garden in the back of the house. The sky was
bright blue and the air cool, despite the sunny skies. Clary could taste the tang of future snow on
the air.
She fastened the gate shut behind her and went looking for Simon. He was in the back garden,
as promised, lying on a plastic lounging chair with a comic open in his lap. He pushed it aside
when he saw Clary, sat up, and grinned. "Hey, baby."
"Baby?" She perched beside him on the chair. "You're kidding me, right?"
"I was trying it out. No?"
"No," she said firmly, and leaned over to kiss him on the mouth. When she drew back, his
fingers lingered in her hair, but his eyes were thoughtful.
"I'm glad you came over," he said.
"Me too. I would have come sooner, but—"
"You were sick. I know." She'd spent the week texting him from Luke's couch, where she'd
lain wrapped up in a blanket watching CSI reruns. It was comforting to spend time in a world
where every puzzle had a detectable, scientific answer.
"I'm better now." She glanced around and shivered, pulling her white cardigan closer around
her body. "What are you doing lying around outside in this weather, anyway? Aren't you
Simon shook his head. "I don't really feel cold or heat anymore. Besides"—his mouth curled
into a smile—"I want to spend as much time in the sunlight as I can. I still get sleepy during the
day, but I'm fighting it."
She touched the back of her hand to his cheek. His face was warm from the sun, but
underneath, the skin was cool. "But everything else is still… still the same?"
"You mean am I still a vampire? Yeah. It looks like it. Still want to drink blood, still no
heartbeat. I'll have to avoid the doctor, but since vampires don't get sick…" He shrugged.
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"And you talked to Raphael? He still has no idea why you can go out into the sun?"
"None. He seems pretty pissed about it too." Simon blinked at her sleepily, as if it were two in
the morning instead of the afternoon. "I think it upsets his ideas about the way things should be.
Plus he's going to have a harder job getting me to roam the night when I'm determined to roam the
day instead."
"You'd think he'd be thrilled."
"Vampires don't like change. They're very traditional." He smiled at her, and she thought, He'll
always look like this. When I'm fifty or sixty, he'll still look sixteen. It wasn't a happy thought.
"Anyway, this'll be good for my music career. If that Anne Rice stuff is anything to go by,
vampires make great rock stars."
"I'm not sure that information is reliable."
He leaned back against the chair. "What is? Besides you, of course."
"Reliable? Is that how you think of me?" she demanded in mock indignation. "That's not very
A shadow passed across his face. "Clary…"
"What? What is it?" She reached for his hand and held it. "You're using your bad news
He looked away from her. "I don't know if it's bad news or not."
"Everything's one or the other," Clary said. "Just tell me you're all right."
"I'm all right," he said. "But—I don't think we should see each other anymore."
Clary almost fell off the lounge chair. "You don't want to be friends anymore?"
"Is it because of the demons? Because I got you turned into a vampire?" Her voice was rising
higher and higher. "I know everything's been crazy, but I can keep you away from all that. I can—
Simon winced. "You're starting to sound like a dolphin, do you know that? Stop."
Clary stopped.
"I still want to be friends," he said. "It's the other stuff I'm not so sure about."
"Other stuff?"
He started to blush. She hadn't known vampires could blush. It looked startling against his
pale skin. "The girlfriend-boyfriend stuff."
She was silent for a long moment, searching for words. Finally, she said: "At least you didn't
say 'the kissing stuff.' I was afraid you were going to call it that."
He looked down at their hands, where they lay intertwined on the plastic of the lounge chair.
Her fingers looked small against his, but for the first time, her skin was a shade darker. He stroked
his thumb absently over her knuckles and said, "I wouldn't have called it that."
"I thought this was what you wanted," she said. "I thought you said that—"
He looked up at her through his dark lashes. "That I loved you? I do love you. But that's not
the whole story."
"Is this because of Maia?" Her teeth had started to chatter, only partly from the cold.
"Because you like her?"
Simon hesitated. "No. I mean, yes, I like her, but not the way you mean. It's just that when I'm
around her—I know what it's like to have someone like me that way. And it's not like it is with
"But you don't love her—"
"Maybe I could someday."
"Maybe I could love you someday."
"If you ever do," he said, "come and let me know. You know where to find me."
Her teeth were chattering harder. "I can't lose you, Simon. I can't."
"You never will. I'm not leaving you. But I'd rather have what we have, which is real and true
and important, than have you pretend anything else. When I'm with you, I want to know I'm with
the real you, the real Clary."
She leaned her head against his, closing her eyes. He still felt like Simon, despite everything;
still smelled like him, like his laundry soap. "Maybe I don't know who that is."
"But I do."
Luke's brand-new pickup was idling by the curb when Clary left Simon's house, fastening the
gate shut behind her.
"You dropped me off. You didn't have to pick me up too," she said, swinging herself up into
the cab beside him. Trust Luke to replace his old, destroyed truck with a new one that was
exactly like it.
"Forgive me my paternal panic," said Luke, handing her a waxed paper cup of coffee. She
took a sip—no milk and lots of sugar, the way she liked it. "I tend to get a little nervous when
you're not in my immediate line of sight these days."
"Oh, yeah?" Clary held the coffee tightly to keep it from spilling as they bumped down the
potholed road. "How long do you think that's going to go on for?"
Luke looked considering. "Not long. Five, maybe six years."
"I plan to let you start dating when you're thirty, if that helps."
"Actually, that doesn't sound so bad. I may not be ready until I'm thirty."
Luke looked at her sideways. "You and Simon…?"
She waved the hand that wasn't holding the coffee cup. "Don't ask."
"I see." He probably did. "Did you want me to drop you at home?"
"You're going to the hospital, right?" She could tell from the nervous tension underlying his
jokes. "I'll go with you."
They were on the bridge now, and Clary looked out over the river, nursing her coffee
thoughtfully. She never got tired of this view, the narrow river of water between the canyon walls
of Manhattan and Brooklyn. It glittered in the sun like aluminum foil. She wondered why she'd
never tried to draw it. She remembered asking her mother once why she'd never used her as a
model, never drawn her own daughter. "To draw something is to try to capture it forever,"
Jocelyn had said, sitting on the floor with a paintbrush dripping cadmium blue onto her jeans. "If
you really love something, you never try to keep it the way it is forever. You have to let it be free
to change."
But I hate change. She took a deep breath. "Luke," she said. "Valentine said something to me
when I was on the ship, something about—"
"Nothing good ever starts with the words 'Valentine said,' " muttered Luke.
"Maybe not. But it was about you and my mom. He said you were in love with her."
Silence. They were stopped in traffic on the bridge. She could hear the sound of the Q train
rumbling past. "Do you think that's true?" Luke said at last.
"Well." Clary could sense the tension in the air and tried to choose her words carefully. "I
don't know. I mean, he said it before and I just dismissed it as paranoia and hatred. But this time I
started thinking, and well—it is sort of weird that you've always been around, you've been like a
dad to me, we practically lived on the farm in the summer, and yet neither you nor my mom ever
dated anyone else. So I thought maybe…"
"You thought maybe what?"
"That maybe you've been together all this time and you just didn't want to tell me. Maybe you
thought I was too young to get it. Maybe you were afraid it would start me asking questions about
my dad. But I'm not too young to get it anymore. You can tell me. I guess that's what I'm saying.
You can tell me anything."
"Maybe not anything." There was another silence as the truck inched forward in the crawling
traffic. Luke squinted into the sun, his fingers tapping on the wheel. Finally, he said, "You're right.
I am in love with your mother."
"That's great," Clary said, trying to sound supportive despite how gross the idea happened to
be of people her mom's and Luke's age being in love.
"But," he said, finishing, "she doesn't know it."
"She doesn't know it?" Clary made a wide sweeping gesture with her arm. Fortunately, her
coffee cup was empty. "How could she not know? Haven't you told her?"
"As a matter of fact," said Luke, slamming his foot down on the gas so that the truck lurched
forward, "no."
"Why not?"
Luke sighed and rubbed his stubbled chin tiredly. "Because," he said. "It never seemed like
the right time."
"That is a lame excuse, and you know it."
Luke managed to make a noise halfway between a chuckle and a grunt of annoyance. "Maybe,
but it's the truth. When I first realized how I felt about Jocelyn, I was the same age you are.
Sixteen. And we'd all just met Valentine. I wasn't any competition for him. I was even a little glad
that if it wasn't going to be me she wanted, it was going to be someone who really deserved her."
His voice hardened. "When I realized how wrong I was about that, it was too late. When we ran
away together from Idris, and she was pregnant with you, I offered to marry her, to take care of
her. I said it didn't matter who the father of her baby was, I'd raise it like my own. She thought I
was being charitable. I couldn't convince her I was being as selfish as I knew how to be. She told
me she didn't want to be a burden on me, that it was too much to ask of anyone. After she left me
in Paris, I went back to Idris but I was always restless, never happy. There was always that part
of me missing, the part that was Jocelyn. I would dream that she was somewhere needing my
help, that she was calling out to me and I couldn't hear her. Finally I went looking for her."
"I remember she was happy," Clary said in a small voice. "When you found her."
"She was and she wasn't. She was glad to see me, but at the same time I symbolized for her
that whole world she'd run from, and she wanted no part of it. She agreed to let me stay when I
promised I'd give up all ties to the pack, to the Clave, to Idris, to all of it. I would have offered to
move in with both of you, but Jocelyn thought my transformations would be too hard to hide
from you, and I had to agree. I bought the bookstore, took a new name, and pretended Lucian
Graymark was dead. And for all intents and purposes, he has been."
"You really did a lot for my mom. You gave up a whole life."
"I would have done more," Luke said matter-of-factly. "But she was so adamant about
wanting nothing to do with the Clave or Downworld, and whatever I might pretend, I'm still a
lycanthrope. I'm a living reminder of all of that. And she was so sure she wanted you never to
know any of it. You know, I never agreed with the trips to Magnus, to altering your memories or
your Sight, but it was what she wanted and I let her do it because if I'd tried to stop her, she
would have sent me away. And there's no way—no way—she would have let me marry her, be
your father and not tell you the truth about myself. And that would have brought down everything,
all those fragile walls she'd tried so hard to build between herself and the Invisible World. I
couldn't do that to her. So I stayed silent."
"You mean you never told her how you felt?"
"Your mother isn't stupid, Clary," said Luke. He sounded calm, but there was a certain
tightness in his voice. "She must have known. I offered to marry her. However kind her denials
might have been, I do know one thing: She knows how I feel and she doesn't feel the same way."
Clary was silent.
"It's all right," Luke said, trying for lightness. "I accepted it a long time ago."
Clary's nerves were singing with a sudden tension that she didn't think was from the caffeine.
She pushed back thoughts about her own life. "You offered to marry her, but did you say it was
because you loved her? It doesn't sound like it."
Luke was silent.
"I think you should have told her the truth. I think you're wrong about how she feels."
"I'm not, Clary." Luke's voice was firm: That's enough now.
"I remember once I asked her why she didn't date," Clary said, ignoring his admonishing tone.
"She said it was because she'd already given her heart. I thought she meant to my dad, but now—
now I'm not so sure."
Luke looked actually astonished. "She said that?" He caught himself, and added, "Probably
she did mean Valentine, you know."
"I don't think so." She shot him a look out of the corner of her eye. "Besides, don't you hate
it? Not ever saying how you really feel?"
This time the silence lasted until they were off the bridge and rumbling down Orchard Street,
lined with shops and restaurants whose signs were in beautiful Chinese characters of curling gold
and red. "Yes, I hated it," Luke said. "At the time, I thought what I had with you and your mother
was better than nothing. But if you can't tell the truth to the people you care about the most,
eventually you stop being able to tell the truth to yourself."
There was a sound like rushing water in Clary's ears. Looking down, she saw that she'd
crushed the empty waxed-paper cup she was holding into an unrecognizable ball.
"Take me to the Institute," she said. "Please."
Luke looked over at her in surprise. "I thought you wanted to come to the hospital?"
"I'll meet you there when I'm finished," she said. "There's something I have to do first."
The lower level of the Institute was full of sunlight and pale dust motes. Clary ran down the
narrow aisle between the pews, threw herself at the elevator, and stabbed at the button. "Come
on, come on," she muttered. "Come—"
The golden doors creaked open. Jace was standing inside the elevator. His eyes widened when
he saw her.
"—on," Clary finished, and dropped her arm. "Oh. Hi."
He stared at her. "Clary?"
"You cut your hair," she said without thinking. It was true—the long metallic strands were no
longer falling in his face, but were neatly and evenly cut. It made him look more civilized, even a
little older. He was dressed neatly too, in a dark blue sweater and jeans. Something silver glinted
at his throat, just under the collar of the sweater.
He raised a hand. "Oh. Right. Maryse cut it." The door of the elevator began to slide closed;
he held it back. "Did you need to come up to the Institute?"
She shook her head. "I just wanted to talk to you."
"Oh." He looked a little surprised at that, but stepped out of the elevator, letting the door clang
shut behind him. "I was just running over to Taki's to pick up some food. No one really feels like
"I understand," Clary said, then wished she hadn't. It wasn't as if the Lightwoods' desire to
cook or not cook had anything to do with her.
"We can talk there," Jace said. He started toward the door, then paused and looked back at
her. Standing between two of the burning candelabras, their light casting a pale gold overlay onto
his hair and skin, he looked like a painting of an angel. Her heart constricted. "Are you coming, or
not?" he snapped, not sounding angelic in the least.
"Oh. Right. I'm coming." She hurried to catch up with him.
As they walked to Taki's, Clary tried to keep the conversation away from topics related to her,
Jace, or her and Jace. Instead, she asked him how Isabelle, Max, and Alec were doing.
Jace hesitated. They were crossing First and a cool breeze was blowing up the avenue. The
sky was a cloudless blue, a perfect New York autumn day.
"I'm sorry." Clary winced at her own stupidity. "They must be pretty miserable. All these
people they knew are dead."
"It's different for Shadowhunters," Jace said. "We're warriors. We expect death in a way
Clary couldn't help a sigh. " 'You mundanes don't.' That's what you were going to say, isn't
"I was," he admitted. "Sometimes it's hard even for me to know what you really are."
They had stopped in front of Taki's, with its sagging roof and blacked-out windows. The ifrit
who guarded the front door gazed down at them with suspicious red eyes.
"I'm Clary," she said.
Jace looked down at her. The wind was blowing her hair across her face. He reached out and
pushed it back, almost absently. "I know."
Inside, they found a corner booth and slid into it. The diner was nearly empty: Kaelie, the pixie
waitress, lounged against the counter, lazily fluttering her blue-white wings. She and Jace had
dated once. A pair of werewolves occupied another booth. They were eating raw shanks of lamb
and arguing about who would win in a fight: Dumbledore from the Harry Potter books or Magnus
"Dumbledore would totally win," said the first one. "He has the badass Killing Curse."
The second lycanthrope made a trenchant point. "But Dumbledore isn't real."
"I don't think Magnus Bane is real either," scoffed the first. "Have you ever met him?"
"This is so weird," said Clary, slinking down in her seat. "Are you listening to them?"
"No. It's rude to eavesdrop." Jace was studying the menu, which gave Clary the opportunity
to covertly study him. I never look at you, she'd told him. It was true too, or at least she never
looked at him the way she wanted to, with an artist's eye. She would always get lost, distracted by
a detail: the curve of his cheekbone, the angle of his eyelashes, the shape of his mouth.
"You're staring at me," he said, without looking up from the menu. "Why are you staring at
me? Is something wrong?"
Kaelie's arrival at their table saved Clary from having to answer. Her pen, Clary noticed, was a
silvery birch twig. She regarded Clary curiously out of all-blue eyes. "Do you know what you
Unprepared, Clary ordered a few random items off the menu. Jace asked for a plate of sweet
potato fries and a number of dishes to be boxed up and brought home to the Lightwoods. Kaelie
departed, leaving behind the faint smell of flowers.
"Tell Alec and Isabelle I'm sorry about everything that happened," Clary said when Kaelie was
out of earshot. "And tell Max that I'll take him to Forbidden Planet anytime."
"Only mundanes say they're sorry when what they mean is 'I share your grief,' " Jace
observed. "None of it was your fault, Clary." His eyes were suddenly bright with hate. "It was
"I take it there's been no…"
"No sign of him? No. I'd guess he's holed up somewhere until he can finish what he started
with the Sword. After that…" Jace shrugged.
"After that, what?"
"I don't know. He's a lunatic. It's hard to guess what a lunatic will do next." But he avoided
her eyes, and Clary knew what he was thinking: War. That was what Valentine wanted. War with
the Shadowhunters. And he would get it too. It was only a matter of where he would strike first.
"Anyway, I doubt that's what you came to talk to me about, is it?"
"No." Now that the moment had come, Clary was having a hard time finding words. She
caught a glimpse of her reflection in the silvery side of the napkin holder. White cardigan, white
face, hectic flush in her cheeks. She looked like she had a fever. She felt a little like it too. "I've
been wanting to talk to you for the past few days—"
"You could have fooled me." His voice was unnaturally sharp. "Every time I called you, Luke
said you were sick. I figured you were avoiding me. Again."
"I wasn't." It seemed to her that there were vast amounts of empty space between them,
though the booth wasn't that big and they weren't sitting that far apart. "I did want to talk to you.
I've been thinking about you all the time."
He made a noise of surprise and held his hand out across the table. She took it, a wave of
relief breaking over her. "I've been thinking about you, too."
His grip was warm on hers, comforting, and she remembered how she'd held him at
Renwick's as he'd rocked back and forth, holding the bloody shard of the Portal in his hands that
was all that was left of his old life. "I really was sick," she said. "I swear. I almost died back there
on the ship, you know."
He let her hand go, but he was staring at her, almost as if he meant to memorize her face. "I
know," he said. "Every time you almost die, I almost die myself."
His words made her heart rattle in her chest as if she'd swallowed a mouthful of caffeine.
"Jace. I came to tell you that—"
"Wait. Let me talk first." He held his hands up as if to ward off her next words. "Before you
say anything, I wanted to apologize to you."
"Apologize? For what?"
"For not listening to you." He raked his hair back with both hands and she noticed a little scar,
a tiny silver line, on the side of his throat. It hadn't been there before. "You kept telling me that I
couldn't have what I wanted from you, and I kept pushing at you and pushing at you and not
listening to you at all. I just wanted you and I didn't care what anybody else had to say about it.
Not even you."
Her mouth went suddenly dry, but before she could say anything, Kaelie was back, with Jace's
fries and a number of plates for Clary. Clary stared down at what she'd ordered. A green milk
shake, what looked like raw hamburger steak, and a plate of chocolate-dipped crickets. Not that it
mattered; her stomach was knotted up too much to even consider eating. "Jace," she said, as
soon as the waitress was gone. "You didn't do anything wrong. You—"
"No. Let me finish." He was staring down at his fries as if they held the secrets of the universe.
"Clary, I have to say it now or—or I won't say it." His words tumbled out in a rush: "I thought I'd
lost my family. And I don't mean Valentine. I mean the Lightwoods. I thought they'd finished with
me. I thought there was nothing left in my world but you. I—I was crazy with loss and I took it
out on you and I'm sorry. You were right."
"No. I was stupid. I was cruel to you—"
"You had every right to be." He raised his eyes to look at her and she was suddenly and
strangely reminded of being four years old at the beach, crying when the wind came up and blew
away the castle she had made. Her mother had told her she could make another one if she liked,
but it hadn't stopped her crying because what she had thought was permanent was not permanent
after all, but only made out of sand that vanished at the touch of wind or water. "What you said
was true. We don't live or love in a vacuum. There are people around us who care about us who
would be hurt, maybe destroyed, if we let ourselves feel what we might want to feel. To be that
selfish, it would mean—it would mean being like Valentine."
He spoke his father's name with such finality that Clary felt it like a door slamming in her face.
"I'll just be your brother from now on," he said, looking at her with a hopeful expectation that
she would be pleased, which made her want to scream that he was smashing her heart into pieces
and he had to stop. "That's what you wanted, isn't it?"
It took her a long time to answer, and when she did, her own voice sounded like an echo,
coming from very far away. "Yes," she said, and she heard the rush of waves in her ears, and her
eyes stung as if from sand or salt spray. "That's what I wanted."
Clary walked numbly up the wide steps that led up to Beth Israel's big glass front doors. In a
way, she was glad she was here rather than anywhere else. What she wanted more than anything
was to throw herself into her mother's arms and cry, even if she could never explain to her mother
what she was crying about. Since she couldn't do that, sitting next to her mother's bed and crying
seemed like the next best option.
She'd held it together pretty well at Taki's, even hugging Jace good-bye when she left. She
hadn't started bawling till she'd gotten on the subway, and then she'd found herself crying about
everything she hadn't cried about yet, Jace and Simon and Luke and her mother and even
Valentine. She'd cried loudly enough that the man sitting across from her had offered her a tissue,
and she'd screamed, What do you think you're looking at, jerk? at him, because that was what
you did in New York. After that she felt a little better.
As she neared the top of the stairs, she realized there was a woman standing there. She was
wearing a long dark cloak over a dress, not the sort of thing you usually saw on a Manhattan
street. The cloak was made of a dark velvety material and had a wide hood, which was up, hiding
her face. Glancing around, Clary saw that no one else on the hospital steps or standing by its
doors seemed to notice the apparition. A glamour, then.
She reached the top step and paused, looking up at the woman. She still couldn't see her face.
She said, "Look, if you're here to see me, just tell me what you want. I'm not really in the mood
for all this glamour and secrecy stuff right now."
She noticed people around her stopping to stare at the crazy girl who was talking to no one.
She fought the urge to stick out her tongue at them.
"All right." The voice was gentle, oddly familiar. The woman reached up and pushed back her
hood. Silver hair spilled out over her shoulders in a flood. It was the woman Clary had seen
staring at her in the courtyard of the Marble Cemetery, the same woman who'd saved them from
Malik's knife at the Institute. Up close, Clary could see that she had the sort of face that was all
angles, too sharp to be pretty, though her eyes were an intense and lovely hazel. "My name is
Madeleine. Madeleine Bellefleur."
"And…?" Clary said. "What do you want from me?"
The woman—Madeleine—hesitated. "I knew your mother, Jocelyn," she said. "We were
friends in Idris."
"You can't see her," Clary said. "No visitors but family until she gets better."
"But she won't get better."
Clary felt as if she'd been slapped in the face. "What?"
"I'm sorry," Madeleine said. "I didn't mean to upset you. It's just that I know what's wrong
with Jocelyn, and there's nothing a mundane hospital can do for her now. What happened to
her—she did it to herself, Clarissa."
"No. You don't understand. Valentine—"
"She did it before Valentine got to her. So he couldn't get any information out of her. She
planned it that way. It was a secret, a secret she shared with only one other person, and she told
only one other person how the spell could be reversed. That person was me."
"You mean—"
"Yes," Madeleine said. "I mean I can show you how to wake your mother up."

City of Ashes - Chapter 19

"You're wrong," Clary said, but her voice held no conviction. "You don't know anything
about me or Jace. You're just trying to—"
"To what? I'm trying to reach you, Clarissa. To make you understand." There was no feeling
in Valentine's voice that Clary could detect beyond a faint amusement.
"You're laughing at us. You think you can use me to hurt Jace, so you're laughing at us.
You're not even angry anymore," she added. "A real father would be angry."
"I am a real father. The same blood that runs in my veins runs in yours."
"You're not my father. Luke is," said Clary, almost wearily. "We've been over this."
"You only look to Luke as your father because of his relationship with your mother—"
"Their relationship?" Clary laughed out loud. "Luke and my mother are friends."
For a moment she was sure she saw a look of surprise pass over his face. But "Is that so,"
was all he said. And then, "You really think he endured all this—Lucian, I mean—this life of
silence and hiding and running, this devotion to the protection of a secret even he didn't fully
understand, just for friendship? You know very little about people, Clary, at your age, and less
about men."
"You can make all the innuendoes about Luke you want. It won't make any difference. You're
wrong about him, just like you're wrong about Jace. You have to give everyone ugly motives for
everything they do, because ugly motives are all you understand."
"Is that what it would be if he loved your mother? Ugly?" said Valentine. "What's so ugly
about love, Clarissa? Or is it that you sense, deep down, that your precious Lucian is neither truly
human nor truly capable of feelings as we would understand them—"
"Luke's as human as I am," Clary flung at him. "You're just a bigot."
"Oh, no," Valentine said. "I'm anything but that." He moved a little closer to her, and she
stepped in front of the Sword, blocking it from his view. "You think of me that way because you
look at me and at what I do through the lens of your mundane understanding of the world.
Mundane humans create distinctions between themselves, distinctions that seem ridiculous to any
Shadowhunter. Their distinctions are based on race, religion, national identity, any of a dozen
minor and irrelevant markers. To mundanes these seem logical, for though mundanes cannot see,
understand, or acknowledge the demon worlds, still somewhere buried in their ancient memories,
they know that there are those that walk this earth that are other. That do not belong, that mean
only harm and destruction. Since the demon threat is invisible to mundanes, they must assign the
threat to others of their own kind. They place the face of their enemy onto the face of their
neighbor, and thus are generations of misery assured." He took another step toward her, and
Clary instinctively moved backward; she was pressed up against the footlocker now. "I'm not like
that," he went on. "I can see the truth of it. Mundanes see as through a glass, darkly, but
Shadowhunters—we see face-to-face. We know the truth of evil, and know that while it walks
among us, it is not of us. What does not belong to our world must not be allowed to take root
here, to grow like a poisonous flower and extinguish all life."
Clary had meant to go for the Sword and then for Valentine, but his words shook her. His
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voice was so soft, so persuasive, and it wasn't as if she thought demons should be allowed to
stay on earth, to drain it away to ashes as they'd drained away so many other worlds… It almost
made sense, what he said, but—
"Luke isn't a demon," she said.
"It seems to me, Clarissa," said Valentine, "that you've had very little experience of what a
demon is and what it is not. You have met a few Downworlders who seemed to you to be kind
enough, and it is through the lens of their kindness that you view the world. Demons, to you, are
hideous creatures that leap out from the shadows to rend and attack. And there are such
creatures. But there are also demons of deep subtlety and secrecy, demons who walk among
humans unrecognized and unhindered. Yet I have seen them do such dreadful things that their
more bestial colleagues seem gentle in comparison. There was a demon in London that I once
knew, who posed as a very powerful financier. He was never alone, so it was difficult for me to
get close enough to kill him, though I knew what he was. He would have his servants bring him
animals and young children—anything that was small and helpless—"
"Stop." Clary put her hands up to her ears. "I don't want to hear this."
But Valentine's voice droned on, inexorable, muffled but not inaudible. "He would eat them
slowly, over the course of many days. He had his tricks, his ways of keeping them alive through
the worst imaginable tortures. If you can imagine a child trying to crawl to you with half its body
torn away—"
"Stop!" Clary tore her hands away from her ears. "That's enough, enough!"
"Demons feed on death and pain and madness," Valentine said. "When I kill, it is because I
must. You grew up in a falsely beautiful paradise surrounded by fragile glass walls, my daughter.
Your mother created the world she wanted to live in and she brought you up in it, but she never
told you it was an illusion. And all the time the demons waited with their weapons of blood and
terror to smash the glass and pull you free of the lie."
"You smashed the walls," Clary whispered. "You dragged me into all this. No one but you."
"And the glass that cut you, the pain you felt, the blood? Do you blame me for that as well? I
was not the one who put you into the prison."
"Stop it. Just stop talking." Clary's head was ringing. She wanted to scream at him, You
kidnapped my mother, you did this, it's your fault! But she had begun to see what Luke had
meant when he'd said you couldn't argue with Valentine. Somehow he'd made it impossible for
her to disagree with him without feeling as if she were standing up for demons who bit children in
half. She wondered how Jace had stood it all those years, living in the shadow of that demanding,
overwhelming personality. She began to see where Jace's arrogance came from, his arrogance and
his carefully controlled emotions.
The edge of the locker behind her was biting into the back of her legs. She could feel the cold
coming off the Sword, making the hair on the back of her neck prickle. "What is it you want from
me?" she asked Valentine.
"What makes you think I want anything from you?"
"You wouldn't be talking to me otherwise. You'd have whacked me on the head and be
waiting around for—for whatever the next step is after this."
"The next step," said Valentine, "is for your Shadowhunter friends to track you down and for
me to tell them that if they want to retrieve you alive, they'll trade the werewolf girl for you. I still
need her blood."
"They'll never trade Maia for me!"
"That's where you're wrong," said Valentine. "They know the value of a Downworlder as
compared to that of a Shadowhunter child. They'll make the trade. The Clave requires it."
"The Clave? You mean—that's part of the Law?"
"Codified into its very being," said Valentine. "Now do you see? We are not so very different,
the Clave and I, or Jonathan and I, or even you and I, Clarissa. We merely have a small
disagreement as to method." He smiled, and stepped forward to close the space between them.
Moving more quickly that she would have thought she could, Clary reached behind her and
snatched up the Soul-Sword. It was as heavy as she'd thought it would be, so heavy she nearly
overbalanced. Putting out a hand to steady herself, she lifted it, pointing the blade directly at
Jace's fall ended abruptly when he struck a hard metal surface with enough force to rattle his
teeth. He coughed, tasting blood in his mouth, and staggered painfully to his feet.
He was standing on a bare metal catwalk painted a dull green. The inside of the ship was
hollow, a great echoing chamber of metal with dark outward-curving walls. Looking up, Jace
could see a tiny patch of starry sky through the smoking hole in the hull far above.
The belly of the ship was a maze of catwalks and ladders that seemed to lead nowhere,
twisting in on each other like the guts of a giant snake. It was freezing cold. Jace could see his
breath puffing out in white clouds when he exhaled. There was very little light. He squinted into
the shadows, then reached into his pocket to retrieve his witchlight rune-stone.
Its white glow lit the dimness. The catwalk was long, with a ladder at the far end leading down
to a lower level. As Jace moved toward it, something glinted at his feet.
He bent down. It was a stele. He couldn't help but stare around him, as if half-expecting
someone to materialize out of the shadows; how the hell had a Shadowhunter stele gotten down
here? He picked it up carefully. All steles had a sort of aura to them, a ghostly imprint of their
owner's personality. This one sent a shot of painful recognition through him. Clary.
A sudden, soft laugh broke the silence. Jace spun around, shoving the stele through his belt. In
the glare of the witchlight, Jace could see a dark figure standing at the end of the catwalk. The
face was hidden in shadow.
"Who's there?" he called.
There was no answer, only a sense that someone was laughing at him. Jace's hand went
automatically to his belt, but he had dropped the seraph blade when he fell. He was out of
But what had his father always taught him? Used correctly, almost anything could be a
weapon. He moved slowly toward the figure, his eyes taking in the various details around him—a
strut he could catch hold of and swing from, kicking out with his feet; an exposed bit of broken
metal he could throw an opponent against, puncturing their spine. All these thoughts went through
his head in a split second, the single split second before the figure at the end of the catwalk
turned, his white hair shining in the witchlight, and Jace recognized him.
Jace stopped dead in his tracks. "Father? Is that you?"
The first thing Alec was aware of was freezing cold. The second was that he couldn't breathe.
He tried to suck in air and his body spasmed. He sat upright, expelling dirty river water from his
lungs in a bitter flood that made him gag and choke.
Finally he could breathe, though his lungs felt like they were on fire. Gasping, he looked
around. He was sitting on a corrugated metal platform—no, it was the back of a truck. A pickup
truck, floating in the middle of the river. His hair and clothes were streaming cold water. And
Magnus Bane was sitting opposite him, regarding him with amber cat's eyes that glowed in the
His teeth began to chatter. "What—what happened?"
"You tried to drink the East River," Magnus said, and Alec saw, as if for the first time, that
Magnus's clothes were soaking wet too, sticking to his body like a dark second skin. "I pulled
you out."
Alec's head was pounding. He felt at his belt for his stele, but it was gone. He tried to think
back—the ship, overrun with demons; Isabelle falling and Jace catching her; blood, everywhere
underfoot, the demon attacking—
"Isabelle! She was climbing down when I fell—"
"She's fine. She made it to a boat. I saw her." Magnus reached out to touch Alec's head.
"You, on the other hand, might have a concussion."
"I need to get back to the battle." Alec pushed his hand away. "You're a warlock. Can't you, I
don't know, fly me back to the boat or something? And fix my concussion while you're at it?"
Magnus, his hand still outstretched, sank back against the side of the truck bed. In the starlight
his eyes were chips of green and gold, hard and flat as jewels.
"Sorry," Alec said, realizing how he had sounded, though he still felt that Magnus ought to see
that getting to the ship was the most important thing. "I know you don't have to help us out—it's
a favor—"
"Stop. I don't do you favors, Alec. I do things for you because—well, why do you think I do
Something rose up in Alec's throat, cutting off his response. It was always like this when he
was with Magnus. It was as if there were a bubble of pain or regret that lived inside his heart, and
when he wanted to say something, anything, that seemed meaningful or true, it rose up and
choked off his words. "I need to get back to the ship," he said, finally.
Magnus sounded too tired to even be angry. "I would help you," he said. "But I can't.
Stripping the protection wards off the ship was bad enough—it's a strong, strong enchantment,
demon-based—but when you fell, I had to put a fast spell on the truck so it wouldn't sink when I
lost consciousness. And I will lose consciousness, Alec. It's just a matter of time." He passed a
hand across his eyes. "I didn't want you to drown," he said. "The enchantment should hold
enough for you to get the truck back to land."
"I—didn't realize." Alec looked at Magnus, who was three hundred years old but had always
looked timeless, as if he had stopped getting older around the age of nineteen. Now there were
sharp lines cut into the skin around his eyes and mouth. His hair hung lankly over his forehead,
and the slump in his shoulders was not his usual careless posture but true exhaustion.
Alec put his hands out. They were pale in the moonlight, wrinkled from water and dotted with
dozens of silver scars. Magnus looked down at them, and then back at Alec, confusion darkening
his gaze.
"Take my hands," Alec said. "And take my strength too. Whatever of it you can use to—to
keep yourself going."
Magnus didn't move. "I thought you had to get back to the ship."
"I have to fight," said Alec. "But that's what you're doing, isn't it? You're part of the fight just
as much as the Shadowhunters on the ship—and I know you can take some of my strength, I've
heard of warlocks doing that—so I'm offering. Take it. It's yours."
Valentine smiled. He was wearing his black armor, and gauntlet gloves that shone like the
carapaces of black insects. "My son."
"Don't call me that," Jace said, and then, feeling a tremor begin in his hands, "Where's Clary?"
Valentine was still smiling. "She defied me," he said. "I had to teach her a lesson."
"What have you done to her?"
"Nothing." Valentine came closer to Jace, close enough to touch him if he had chosen to
extend his hand. He didn't. "Nothing she won't recover from."
Jace closed his hand into a fist so his father wouldn't see it shaking. "I want to see her."
"Really? With all this going on?" Valentine glanced up, as if he could see through the hull of
the ship to the carnage on deck. "I would have thought you'd want to be fighting with the rest of
your Shadowhunter friends. Pity their efforts are for nothing."
"You don't know that."
"I do know it. For every one of them, I can summon a thousand demons. Even the best
Nephilim can't hold out against those odds. As in the case," Valentine added, "of poor Imogen."
"How do you—"
"I see everything that happens on my ship." Valentine's eyes narrowed. "You do know it's
your fault she died, don't you?"
Jace sucked in a breath. He could feel his heart pounding as if it wanted to tear its way out of
his chest.
"If it weren't for you, none of them would have come to the ship. They thought they were
rescuing you, you know. If it had just been about the two Downworlders, they wouldn't have
Jace had almost forgotten. "Simon and Maia—"
"Oh, they're dead. Both of them." Valentine's tone was casual, even soft. "How many have to
die, Jace, before you see the truth?"
Jace's head felt as if it were full of swirling smoke. His shoulder burned with pain. "We've had
this conversation. You're wrong, Father. You might be right about demons, you might even be
right about the Clave, but this is not the way—"
"I meant," said Valentine, "when will you see that you're just like me?"
Despite the cold, Jace had begun to sweat. "What?"
"You and I, we're alike," said Valentine. "As you said to me before, you are what I made you
to be, and I made you as a copy of myself. You have my arrogance. You have my courage. And
you have that quality that causes others to give their lives for you without question."
Something hammered at the back of Jace's mind. Something he ought to know, or had
forgotten—his shoulder burned—"I don't want people giving their lives for me," he cried.
"No. You do. You like knowing that Alec and Isabelle would die for you. That your sister
would. The Inquisitor did die for you, didn't she, Jonathan? And you stood by and let her—"
"You're just like me—it isn't surprising, is it? We're father and son, why shouldn't we be
"No!" Jace's hand shot out and seized the twisted metal strut. It came off in his hand with an
explosive snap, its broken edge jagged and wickedly sharp. "I am not like you!" he cried, and
drove the strut directly into his father's chest.
Valentine's mouth opened. He staggered back, the end of the strut protruding from his chest.
For a moment Jace could only stare, thinking, I was wrong—it's really him—and then Valentine
seemed to collapse in on himself, his body crumbling away like sand. The air was full of the smell
of burning as Valentine's body turned to ash that blew away on the cold air.
Jace put a hand to his shoulder. The skin where the Fearless rune had burned itself away felt
hot to the touch. A great sense of weakness overwhelmed him. "Agramon," he whispered, and
fell to his knees on the catwalk.
It was only a few moments that he knelt on the ground as his hammering pulse slowed, but to
Jace it felt like forever. When he finally stood up, his legs were stiff with cold. His fingertips were
blue. The air still stank of something burned, though there was no sign of Agramon.
Still gripping the piece of metal strut, Jace made for the ladder at the end of the catwalk. The
effort of clambering down one-handed cleared his head. He dropped from the last rung to find
himself on a second narrow catwalk that ran along the side of a vast metal chamber. There were
dozens of other catwalks laddering the walls and a variety of pipes and machinery. Banging
sounds came from inside the pipes, and every once in a while one of the pipes would give off a
blast of what looked like steam, though the air remained bitterly cold.
Quite a place you've got for yourself here, Father, Jace thought. The bare industrial interior of
the ship didn't fit with the Valentine he knew, who was particular about the type of cut crystal his
decanters were made out of. Jace glanced around. It was a labyrinth down here; there was no way
to know which direction he should go. He turned to climb down the next ladder and noticed a
dark red smear on the metal floor.
Blood. He scraped the toe of his boot through it. It was still damp, slightly tacky. Fresh
blood. His pulse quickened. Partway down the catwalk, he saw another spot of red, and then
another a farther distance away, like a trail of bread crumbs in a fairy tale.
Jace followed the blood, his boots echoing loudly on the metal catwalk. The pattern of the
blood splatters was peculiar, not as if there had been a fight, but more as if someone had been
carried, bleeding, along the catwalk—
He reached a door. It was made of black metal, silvered here and there with dents and chips.
There was a bloody handprint around the knob. Gripping the jagged strut more tightly, Jace
pushed the door open.
A wave of even colder air hit him and he sucked in a breath. The room was empty except for a
metal pipe that ran along one wall, and what looked like a heap of sacking in the corner. A little
light came in through a porthole high up in the wall. As Jace stepped gingerly forward, the light
from the porthole fell on the heap in the corner and he realized that it wasn't a pile of trash after
all, but a body.
Jace's heart started to bang like an unlocked door in a windstorm.
The metal floor was sticky with blood. His boots pulled away from it with an ugly suctioning
sound as he crossed the room and bent down beside the crumpled figure in the corner. A boy,
dark-haired and dressed in jeans and a blood-soaked blue T-shirt.
Jace took the body by the shoulder and heaved. It flipped over, limp and boneless, brown
eyes staring sightlessly upward. Jace's breath caught in his throat. It was Simon. He was white as
paper. There was an ugly gash at the base of his throat, and both wrists had been slashed, leaving
gaping, ragged-edged wounds.
Jace sank to his knees, still holding Simon's shoulder. He thought hopelessly of Clary, of her
pain when she found out, of the way she'd crushed his hands in hers, so much strength in those
small fingers. Find Simon. I know you will.
And he had. But it was too late.
When Jace was ten, his father had explained to him all the ways to kill vampires. Stake them.
Cut their heads off and set them to burning like eerie jack-o'-lanterns. Let the sun scorch them to
ashes. Or drain their blood. They needed blood to live, they ran on it, like cars ran on gasoline.
Looking at the ragged wound in Simon's throat, it wasn't hard to see what Valentine had done.
Jace reached out to close Simon's staring eyes. If Clary had to see him dead, better she not
see him like this. He moved his hand down to the collar of Simon's shirt, meaning to tug it up, to
cover the gash.
Simon moved. His eyelids twitched and opened, his eyes rolled back to the whites. He gurgled
then, a faint sound, lips curling back, showing the points of vampire fangs. The breath rattled in
his slashed throat.
Nausea rose in the back of Jace's throat, his hand tightening on Simon's collar. He wasn't
dead. But God, the pain, it must be incredible. He couldn't heal, couldn't regenerate, not
Not without blood. Jace let go of Simon's shirt and dragged his right sleeve up with his teeth.
Using the jagged tip of the broken strut, he slashed a deep cut lengthwise down his wrist. Blood
gushed to the surface of the skin. He dropped the strut; it hit the metal floor with a clang. He
could smell his own blood in the air, sharp and coppery.
He looked down at Simon, who hadn't moved. The blood was running down Jace's hand
now, his wrist stinging. He held it out over Simon's face, letting the blood drip down his fingers,
spill onto Simon's mouth. There was no reaction. Simon wasn't moving. Jace moved closer; he
was kneeling over Simon now, his breath making white puffs in the icy air. He leaned down,
pressed his bleeding wrist against Simon's mouth. "Drink my blood, idiot," he whispered. "Drink
For a moment nothing happened. Then Simon's eyes fluttered shut. Jace felt a sharp sting in
his wrist, a sort of pull, a hard pressure—and Simon's right hand flew up and clamped onto
Jace's arm, just above the elbow. Simon's back arched off the floor, the pressure on Jace's wrist
increasing as Simon's fangs sank deeper. Pain shot up Jace's arm. "Okay," Jace said. "Okay,
enough." Simon's eyes opened. The whites were gone, the dark brown irises focused on Jace.
There was color in his cheeks, a hectic flush like a fever. His lips were slightly parted, the white
fangs stained with blood. "Simon?" Jace said.
Simon rose up. He moved with incredible speed, knocking Jace sideways and rolling on top
of him. Jace's head hit the metal floor, his ears ringing as Simon's teeth sank into his neck. He
tried to twist away, but the other boy's arms were like iron bars, pinning him to the ground,
fingers digging into his shoulders.
But Simon wasn't hurting him—not really—the pain that had started out sharp faded to a sort
of dull burn, pleasant the way the burn of the stele was sometimes pleasant. A drowsy sense of
peace stole through Jace's veins and he felt his muscles relax; the hands that had been trying to
push Simon away a moment ago now pressed him closer. He could feel the beat of his own heart,
feel it slowing, its hammering fading to a softer echo. A shimmering darkness crept in at the
corners of his vision, beautiful and strange. Jace closed his eyes—
Pain lanced through his neck. He gasped and his eyes flew open; Simon was sitting up on him,
staring down with wide eyes, his hand across his own mouth. Simon's wounds were gone, though
fresh blood stained the front of his shirt.
Jace could feel the pain of his bruised shoulders again, the slash across his wrist, his
punctured throat. He could no longer hear his heart beating, but knew it was slamming away
inside his chest.
Simon took his hand away from his mouth. The fangs were gone. "I could have killed you," he
said. There was a sort of pleading in his voice.
"I would have let you," said Jace.
Simon stared down at him, then made a noise in the back of his throat. He rolled off Jace and
hit the floor on his knees, hugging his elbows. Jace could see the dark tracery of Simon's veins
through the pale skin of his throat, branching blue and purple lines. Veins full of blood.
My blood. Jace sat up. He fumbled for his stele. Dragging it across his arm felt like hauling a
lead pipe across a football field. His head throbbed. When he finished the iratze, he leaned his
head back against the wall behind him, breathing hard, the pain leaving him as the healing rune
took effect. My blood in his veins.
"I'm sorry," Simon said. "I'm so sorry."
The healing rune was having its effect. Jace's head started to clear and the banging in his chest
slowed. He got to his feet, carefully, expecting a wave of dizziness, but he felt only a little weak
and tired. Simon was still on his knees, staring down at his hands. Jace reached down and
grabbed the back of his shirt, hauling him to his feet. "Don't apologize," he said, letting Simon go.
"Just get moving. Valentine has Clary and we haven't got much time."
The second her fingers closed around the hilt of Maellartach, a searing blast of cold shot up
Clary's arm. Valentine watched with an expression of mild interest as she gasped with pain, her
fingers going numb. She clutched desperately at the Sword, but it slipped from her grasp and
clattered to the ground at her feet.
She barely saw Valentine move. A moment later he was standing in front of her with the
Sword in his grasp. Clary's hand was stinging. She glanced down and saw that a red, burning
weal was rising along her palm.
"Did you really think," Valentine said, a tinge of disgust coloring his voice, "that I'd let you
near a weapon I thought you could use?" He shook his head. "You didn't understand a word I
said, did you? It appears that of my two children, only one seems capable of understanding the
Clary closed her injured hand into a fist, almost welcoming the pain. "If you mean Jace, he
hates you too."
Valentine swung the Sword up, bringing the tip of it level with Clary's collarbone. "That is
enough," he said, "out of you."
The tip of the Sword was sharp; when she breathed, it pricked her throat, and a trickle of
blood threaded its way down her chest. The Sword's touch seemed to spill cold through her
veins, sending sizzling ice particles through her arms and legs, numbing her hands.
"Ruined by your upbringing," Valentine said. "Your mother was always a stubborn woman. It
was one of the things I loved about her in the beginning. I thought she would stand by her ideals."
It was strange, Clary thought with a detached sort of horror, that when she had seen her father
before at Renwick's, his considerable personal charisma had been on display for Jace's benefit.
Now he wasn't bothering, and without the surface patina of charm, he seemed—empty. Like a
hollow statue, eyes cut out to show only darkness inside.
"Tell me, Clarissa—did your mother ever talk about me?"
"She told me my father was dead." Don't say anything else, she warned herself, but she was
sure he could read the rest of the words in her eyes. And I wish she had been telling the truth.
"And she never told you you were different? Special?"
Clary swallowed, and the tip of the blade cut a little deeper. More blood trickled down her
chest. "She never told me I was a Shadowhunter."
"Do you know why," Valentine said, looking down the length of the Sword at her, "your
mother left me?"
Tears burned the back of Clary's throat. She made a choking noise. "You mean there was only
one reason?"
"She told me," he went on, as if Clary hadn't spoken, "that I had turned her first child into a
monster. She left me before I could do the same to her second. You. But she was too late."
The cold at her throat, in her limbs, was so intense that she was beyond shivering. It was as if
the Sword was turning her to ice. "She'd never say that," Clary whispered. "Jace isn't a monster.
Neither am I."
"I wasn't talking about—"
The trapdoor over their heads slammed open and two shadowy figures dropped from the
hole, landing just behind Valentine. The first, Clary saw with a bright shock of relief, was Jace,
falling through the air like an arrow shot from a bow, sure of its target. He hit the floor with an
assured lightness. He was clutching a bloodstained steel strut in one hand, its end broken off to a
wicked point.
The second figure landed beside Jace with the same lightness if not the same grace. Clary saw
the outline of a slender boy with dark hair and thought, Alec. It was only when he straightened
and she recognized the familiar face that she realized who it was.
She forgot the Sword, the cold, the pain in her throat, forgot everything. "Simon!"
Simon looked across the room at her. Their eyes met for just a moment and Clary hoped he
could read in her face her full and overwhelming relief. The tears that had been threatening came,
and spilled down her face. She didn't move to wipe them away.
Valentine turned his head to look behind him, and his mouth sagged in the first expression of
honest surprise Clary had ever seen on his face. He whirled to face Jace and Simon.
The moment the point of the Sword left Clary's throat, the ice drained from her, taking all her
strength with it. She sank to her knees, shivering uncontrollably. When she raised her hands to
wipe the tears away from her face, she saw that the tips of her fingers were white with the
beginnings of frostbite.
Jace stared at her in horror, then at his father. "What did you do to her?"
"Nothing," Valentine said, regaining control of himself. "Yet."
To Clary's surprise, Jace paled, as if his father's words had shocked him.
"I'm the one who should be asking you what you've done, Jonathan," Valentine said, and
though he spoke to Jace, his eyes were on Simon. "Why is it still alive? Revenants can regenerate,
but not with such little blood in them."
"You mean me?" Simon demanded. Clary stared. Simon sounded different. He didn't sound
like a kid smarting off to an adult; he sounded like someone who felt like he could face Valentine
Morgenstern on equal footing. Like someone who deserved to face him on equal footing. "Oh,
that's right, you left me for dead. Well, dead-er."
"Shut up." Jace shot a glare at Simon; his eyes were very dark. "Let me answer this." He
turned to his father. "I let Simon drink my blood," he said. "So he wouldn't die."
Valentine's already severe face settled into harder lines, as if the bones were pushing out
through the skin. "You willingly let a vampire drink your blood?"
Jace seemed to hesitate for a moment—he glanced over at Simon, who was staring fixedly at
Valentine with a look of intense hatred. Then he said, carefully, "Yes."
"You have no idea what you've done, Jonathan," said Valentine in a terrible voice. "No idea."
"I saved a life," said Jace. "One you tried to take. I know that much."
"Not a human life," said Valentine. "You resurrected a monster that will only kill to feed again.
His kind are always hungry—"
"I'm hungry right now," Simon said, and smiled to reveal that his fang teeth had slid from their
sheaths. They glittered white and pointed against his lower lip. "I wouldn't mind a little more
blood. Of course your blood would probably choke me, you poisonous piece of—"
Valentine laughed. "I'd like to see you try it, revenant," he said. "When the Soul-Sword cuts
you, you will burn as you die."
Clary saw Jace's eyes go to the Sword, and then to her. There was an unspoken question in
them. Quickly, she said, "The Sword isn't turned. Not quite. He didn't get Maia's blood, so he
didn't finish the ceremony—"
Valentine turned toward her, Sword in hand, and she saw him smile. The Sword seemed to
flick in his grasp, and then something hit her—it was like being knocked over by a wave, thrown
down and then lifted against your will and tossed through the air. She rolled across the floor,
helpless to stop herself, until she struck the bulkhead with bruising force. She crumpled at the
base of it, gasping with breathlessness and pain.
Simon started toward her at a run. Valentine swung the Soul-Sword and a sheet of sheer,
blazing fire rose up, sending him stumbling backward with its surging heat.
Clary struggled to raise herself onto her elbows. Her mouth was full of blood. The world
swayed around her and she wondered how hard she'd hit her head and if she was going to pass
out. She willed herself to stay conscious.
The fire had receded, but Simon was still crouched on the floor, looking dazed. Valentine
glanced briefly at him, and then at Jace. "If you kill the revenant now," he said, "you can still undo
what you've done."
"No," Jace whispered.
"Just take the weapon you hold in your hand and drive it through his heart." Valentine's voice
was soft. "One simple motion. Nothing you haven't done before."
Jace met his father's stare with a level gaze. "I saw Agramon," he said. "It had your face."
"You saw Agramon?" The Soul-Sword glittered as Valentine moved toward his son. "And
you lived?"
"I killed it."
"You killed the Demon of Fear, but you won't kill a single vampire, not even at my order?"
Jace stood watching Valentine without expression. "He's a vampire, that's true," he said. "But
his name is Simon."
Valentine stopped in front of Jace, the Soul-Sword in his hand, burning with a harsh black
light. Clary wondered for a terrified moment if Valentine meant to stab Jace where he stood, and if
Jace meant to let him. "I take it, then," Valentine said, "that you haven't changed your mind? What
you told me when you came to me before, that was your final word, or do you regret having
disobeyed me?"
Jace shook his head slowly. One hand still clutched the broken strut, but his other hand—his
right—was at his waist, drawing something from his belt. His eyes, though, never left Valentine's,
and Clary wasn't sure Valentine saw what he was doing. She hoped not.
"Yes," Jace said, "I regret having disobeyed you."
No! Clary thought, but her heart sank. Was he giving up, did he think it was the only way to
save her and Simon?
Valentine's face softened. "Jonathan—"
"Especially," Jace said, "since I plan to do it again. Right now." His hand moved, quick as a
flash of light, and something hurtled through the air toward Clary. It fell a few inches from her,
hitting the metal with a clang and rolling. Her eyes widened.
It was her mother's stele.
Valentine began to laugh. "A stele? Jace, is this some sort of joke? Or have you finally—"
Clary didn't hear the rest of what he said; she heaved herself up, gasping as pain lanced
through her head. Her eyes watered, her vision blurred; she reached out a shaking hand for the
stele—and as her fingers touched it, she heard a voice, as clear inside her head as if her mother
stood beside her. Take the stele, Clary. Use it. You know what to do.
Her fingers closed spasmodically around it. She sat up, ignoring the wave of pain that went
through her head and down her spine. She was a Shadowhunter, and pain was something you
lived with. Dimly, she could hear Valentine call her name, hear his footsteps, coming nearer—and
she flung herself at the bulkhead, thrusting the stele forward with such force that when its tip
touched the metal, she thought she heard the sizzle of something burning.
She began to draw. As always happened when she drew, the world fell away and there was
only herself and the stele and the metal she drew on. She remembered standing outside Jace's cell
whispering to herself, Open, open, open, and knew that she had drawn on all her strength to
create the rune that had broken Jace's bonds. And she knew that the strength she had put into that
rune was not a tenth, not a hundredth, of the strength she was putting into this. Her hands burned
and she cried out as she dragged the stele down the metal wall, leaving a thick black line like char
behind it. Open.
All her frustration, all her disappointment, all her rage went through her fingers and into the
stele and into the rune. Open. All her love, all her relief at seeing Simon alive, all her hope that they
still might survive. Open!
Her hand, still holding the stele, dropped to her lap. For a moment there was utter silence as all
of them—Jace, Valentine, even Simon—stared along with her at the rune that burned on the ship's
It was Simon who spoke, turning to Jace. "What does it say?"
But it was Valentine who answered, not taking his eyes from the wall. There was a look on his
face—not at all the look Clary had expected, a look that mixed triumph and horror, despair and
delight. "It says," he said, " 'Mene mene tekel upharsin.' "
Clary staggered to her feet. "That's not what it says," she whispered. "It says open."
Valentine met her eyes with his own. "Clary—"
The scream of metal drowned out his words. The wall Clary had drawn on, a wall made of
sheets of solid steel, warped and shuddered. Rivets tore free of their housings and jets of water
sprayed into the room.
She could hear Valentine calling, but his voice was drowned out by the deafening sounds of
metal being wrenched from metal as every nail, every screw, and every rivet that held together the
enormous ship began tearing free from its moorings.
She tried to run toward Jace and Simon, but fell to her knees as another surge of water came
through the widening hole in the wall. This time the wave knocked her down, icy water drawing
her under. Somewhere Jace was calling her name, his voice loud and desperate over the
screaming of the ship. She shouted his name only once before she was sucked out the jagged
hole in the bulkhead and into the river.
She spun and kicked in the black water. Terror gripped her, terror of the blind darkness and of
the depths of the river, the millions of tons of water all around her, pressing in on her, choking out
the air in her lungs. She couldn't tell which way was up or which direction to swim. She could no
longer hold her breath. She sucked in a lungful of filthy water, her chest bursting with the pain,
stars exploding behind her eyes. In her ears the sound of rushing water was replaced by a high,
sweet, impossible singing. I'm dying, she thought in wonder. A pair of pale hands reached out of
the black water and drew her close. Long hair drifted around her. Mom, Clary thought, but before
she could clearly see her mother's face, the darkness closed her eyes.
Clary came back to consciousness with voices all around her and lights shining in her eyes.
She was flat on her back on the corrugated steel of Luke's truck bed. The gray-black sky swam
overhead. She could smell river water all around her, mixed with the smell of smoke and blood.
White faces hovered over her like balloons on strings. They swam into focus as she blinked her
Luke. And Simon. They were both looking down at her with expressions of anxious concern.
For a moment she thought Luke's hair had gone white; then, blinking, she realized it was full of
ashes. In fact, so was the air—it tasted of ashes—and their clothes and skin were streaked with
blackish grime.
She coughed, tasting ash in her mouth. "Where's Jace?"
"He's…" Simon's eyes went to Luke, and Clary felt her heart contract.
"He's all right, isn't he?" she demanded. She struggled to sit up and a hard pain shot through
her head. "Where is he? Where is he?"
"I'm here." Jace appeared at the edge of her vision, his face in shadow. He knelt down next to
her. "I'm sorry. I should have been here when you woke up. It's just…"
His voice cracked.
"It's just what?" She stared at him; backlit by starlight, his hair was more silver than gold, his
eyes bleached of color. His skin was streaked with black and gray.
"He thought you were dead too," Luke said, and stood up abruptly. He was staring out at the
river, at something Clary couldn't see. The sky was full of swirls of black and scarlet smoke, as if
it were on fire.
"Dead too? Who else—?" She broke off as a nauseating pain gripped her. Jace saw her
expression and reached into his jacket, bringing out his stele.
"Hold still, Clary." There was a burning pain in her forearm, and then her head began to clear.
She sat up and saw that she was sitting on a wet plank shoved up against the back of the truck
cab. The bed was full of several inches of sloshing water, mixed with swirls of the ash that was
sifting down from the sky in a fine black rain.
She glanced at the place where Jace had drawn a healing Mark on the inside of her arm. Her
weakness was already receding, as if he'd shot a jolt of strength into her veins.
He traced the line of the iratze he'd drawn on her arm with his fingers before he drew back.
His hand felt as cold and wet as her skin did. The rest of him was wet too; his hair damp and his
soaked clothes sticking to his body.
There was an acrid taste in her mouth, as if she'd licked the bottom of an ashtray. "What
happened? Was there a fire?"
Jace glanced toward Luke, who was staring out at the heaving black-gray river. The water was
dotted here and there with small boats, but there was no sign of Valentine's ship. "Yes," he said.
"Valentine's ship burned down to the waterline. There's nothing left."
"Where is everyone?" Clary moved her gaze to Simon, who was the only one of them who
was dry. There was a faint greenish cast to his already pale skin, as if he were sick or feverish.
"Where are Isabelle and Alec?"
"They're on one of the other Shadowhunter boats. They're fine."
"And Magnus?" She twisted around to look into the truck cab, but it was empty.
"He was needed to tend to some of the more badly wounded Shadowhunters," said Luke.
"But everyone's all right? Alec, Isabelle, Maia—they are all right, aren't they?" Clary's voice
sounded small and thin in her own ears.
"Isabelle was injured," said Luke. "So was Robert Lightwood. He'll be needing a good
amount of time to heal. Many of the other Shadowhunters, including Malik and Imogen, are dead.
This was a very hard battle, Clary, and it didn't go well for us. Valentine is gone. So is the Sword.
The Conclave is in tatters. I don't know—"
He broke off. Clary stared at him. There was something in his voice that frightened her. "I'm
sorry," she said. "This was my fault. If I hadn't—"
"If you hadn't done what you did, Valentine would have killed everyone on the ship," said Jace
fiercely. "You're the only thing that kept this from being a massacre."
Clary stared at him. "You mean what I did with the rune?"
"You tore that ship to fragments," Luke said. "Every bolt, every rivet, anything that might have
held it together, just snapped apart. The whole thing shuddered into pieces. The oil tanks came
apart too. Most of us barely had time to jump into the water before it all started to burn. What
you did—no one's ever seen anything like it."
"Oh," Clary said in a small voice. "Was anyone—did I hurt anyone?"
"Quite a few of the demons drowned when the ship sank," said Jace. "But none of the
Shadowhunters were hurt, no."
"Because they can swim?"
"Because they were rescued. Nixies pulled us all out of the water."
Clary thought of the hands in the water, the impossible sweet singing that had surrounded her.
So it hadn't been her mother after all. "You mean water faeries?"
"The Queen of the Seelie Court came through, in her way," said Jace. "She did promise us
what aid was in her power."
"But how did she…" How did she know? Clary was going to say, but she thought of the
Queen's wise and cunning eyes, and of Jace throwing that bit of white paper into the water by the
beach in Red Hook, and decided not to ask.
"The Shadowhunter boats are starting to move," said Simon, looking out at the river. "I guess
they've picked up everyone they could."
"Right." Luke squared his shoulders. "Time to get going." He moved slowly toward the truck
cab—he was limping, though he seemed otherwise mostly uninjured.
Luke swung himself into the driver's seat, and in a moment the truck's engine was roiling again.
They took off, skimming the water, the drops splashed up by the wheels catching the gray-silver
of the lightening sky.
"This is so weird," said Simon. "I keep expecting the truck to start sinking."
"I can't believe you just went through what we went through and you think this is weird," said
Jace, but there was no malice in his tone and no annoyance. He sounded only very, very tired.
"What will happen to the Lightwoods?" Clary asked. "After everything that's happened—the
Jace shrugged. "The Clave works in mysterious ways. I don't know what they'll do. They'll be
very interested in you, though. And in what you can do."
Simon made a noise. Clary thought at first that it was a noise of protest, but when she looked
closely at him, she saw he was greener than ever. "What's wrong, Simon?"
"It's the river," he said. "Running water isn't good for vampires. It's pure, and—we're not."
"The East River's hardly pure," said Clary, but she reached out and touched his arm gently
anyway. He smiled at her. "Didn't you fall into the water when the ship came apart?"
"No. There was a piece of metal floating in the water and Jace tossed me onto it. I stayed out
of the river."
Clary looked over her shoulder at Jace. She could see him a little more clearly now; the
darkness was fading. "Thank you," she said. "Do you think…"
He raised his eyebrows. "Do I think what?"
"That Valentine might have drowned?"
"Never believe the bad guy is dead until you see a body," said Simon. "That just leads to
unhappiness and surprise ambushes."
"You're not wrong," said Jace. "My guess is he isn't dead. Otherwise we would have found
the Mortal Instruments."
"Can the Clave go on without them? Whether Valentine's alive or not?" Clary wondered.
"The Clave always goes on," said Jace. "That's all it knows how to do." He turned his face
toward the eastern horizon. "The sun's coming up."
Simon went rigid. Clary stared at him in surprise for a moment, and then in shocked horror.
She whirled to follow Jace's gaze. He was right—the eastern horizon was a blood-red stain
spreading out from a golden disc. Clary could see the first edge of the sun staining the water
around them unearthly hues of green and scarlet and gold.
"No!" she whispered.
Jace looked at her in surprise, and then at Simon, who sat motionless, staring at the rising sun
like a trapped mouse staring at a cat. Jace got quickly to his feet and walked over to the truck cab.
He spoke in a low voice. Clary saw Luke turn to look at her and Simon, and then back at Jace. He
shook his head.
The truck lurched forward. Luke must have pressed his foot to the gas. Clary grabbed for the
side of the truck bed to steady herself. Up front, Jace was shouting at Luke that there had to be
some way to make the damn thing go faster, but Clary knew they'd never outrun the dawn.
"There must be something," she said to Simon. She couldn't believe that in less than five
minutes she'd gone from incredulous relief to incredulous horror. "We could cover you, maybe,
with our clothes—"
Simon was still staring at the sun, white-faced. "A pile of rags won't work," he said. "Raphael
explained—it takes walls to protect us from sunlight. It'll burn through cloth."
"But there must be something—"
"Clary." She could see him clearly now, in the gray predawn light, his eyes huge and dark in
his white face. He held out his hands to her. "Come here."
She fell against him, trying to cover as much of his body as she could with her own. She knew
it was useless. When the sun touched him, he'd fall away to ashes.
They sat for a moment in perfect stillness, arms wrapped around each other. Clary could feel
the rise and fall of his chest—habit, she reminded herself, not necessity. He might not breathe, but
he could still die.
"I won't let you die," she said.
"I don't think you get a choice." She felt him smile. "I didn't think I'd get to see the sun again,"
he said. "I guess I was wrong."
Jace shouted something. Clary looked up. The sky was flooded with rose-colored light, like
dye poured into clear water. Simon tensed under her. "I love you," he said. "I have never loved
anyone else but you."
Gold threads shot through the rosy sky like the gold veining in expensive marble. The water
around them blazed with light and Simon went rigid, his head falling back, his open eyes filling
with gold as if molten liquid were rising inside of him. Black lines appeared on his skin like cracks
in a shattered statue.
"Simon!" Clary screamed. She reached for him but felt herself hauled suddenly backward; it
was Jace, his hands gripping her shoulders. She tried to pull away but he held her tightly; he was
saying something in her ear, over and over, and only after a few moments did she even begin to
understand him:
"Clary, look. Look."
"No!" Her hands flew to her face. She could taste the brackish water from the bottom of the
truck bed on her palms. It was salty, like tears. "I don't want to look. I don't want to—"
"Clary." Jace's hands were at her wrists, pulling her hands away from her face. The dawn light
stung her eyes. "Look."
She looked. And heard her own breath whistle harshly in her lungs as she gasped. Simon was
sitting up at the back of the truck, in a patch of sunlight, openmouthed and staring down at
himself. The sun danced on the water behind him and the edges of his hair glinted like gold. He
had not burned away to ash, but sat unscorched in the sunlight, and the pale skin of his face and
arms and hands was entirely unmarked.
Outside the Institute, night was falling. The faint red of sunset glowed in through the windows
of Jace's bedroom as he stared at the pile of his belongings on the bed. The pile was much
smaller than he thought it would be. Seven whole years of life in this place, and this was all he had
to show for it: half a duffel bag's worth of clothes, a small stack of books, and a few weapons.
He had debated whether he should bring the few things he'd saved from the manor house in
Idris with him when he left tonight. Magnus had given him back his father's silver ring, which he
no longer felt comfortable wearing. He had hung it on a loop of chain around his throat. In the
end, he had decided to take everything: There was no point leaving anything of himself behind in
this place.
He was packing the duffel with clothes when a knock sounded at the door. He went to it,
expecting Alec or Isabelle.
It was Maryse. She wore a severe black dress and her hair was pulled back sharply from her
face. She looked older than he remembered her. Two deep lines ran from the corners of her
mouth to her jaw. Only her eyes had any color. "Jace," she said. "Can I come in?"
"You can do what you like," he said, returning to the bed. "It's your house." He grabbed up a
handful of shirts and stuffed them into the duffel bag with possibly unnecessary force.
"Actually, it's the Clave's house," said Maryse. "We're only its guardians."
Jace shoved books into the bag. "Whatever."
"What are you doing?" If Jace hadn't known better, he would have thought her voice wavered
"I'm packing," he said. "It's what people generally do when they're moving out."
She blanched. "Don't leave," she said. "If you want to stay—"
"I don't want to stay. I don't belong here."
"Where will you go?"
"Luke's," he said, and saw her flinch. "For a while. After that, I don't know. Maybe to Idris."
"Is that where you think you belong?" There was an aching sadness in her voice.
Jace stopped packing for a moment and stared down at his bag. "I don't know where I
"With your family." Maryse took a tentative step forward. "With us."
"You threw me out." Jace heard the harshness in his own voice, and tried to soften it. "I'm
sorry," he said, turning to look at her. "About everything that's happened. But you didn't want me
before, and I can't imagine you want me now. Robert's going to be sick awhile; you'll be needing
to take care of him. I'll just be in the way."
"In the way?" She sounded incredulous. "Robert wants to see you, Jace—"
"I doubt that."
"What about Alec? Isabelle, Max—they need you. If you don't believe me that I want you
here—and I couldn't blame you if you didn't—you must know that they do. We've been through
a bad time, Jace. Don't hurt them more than they're already hurt."
"That's not fair."
"I don't blame you if you hate me." Her voice was wavering. Jace swung around to stare at her
in surprise. "But what I did—even throwing you out—treating you as I did, it was to protect you.
And because I was afraid."
"Afraid of me?"
She nodded.
"Well, that makes me feel much better."
Maryse took a deep breath. "I thought you would break my heart like Valentine did," she said.
"You were the first thing I loved, you see, after him, that wasn't my own blood. The first living
creature. And you were just a child—"
"You thought I was someone else."
"No. I've always known just who you are. Ever since the first time I saw you getting off the
ship from Idris, when you were ten years old—you walked into my heart, just as my own children
did when they were born." She shook her head. "You can't understand. You've never been a
parent. You never love anything like you love your children. And nothing can make you angrier."
"I did notice the angry part," Jace said, after a pause.
"I don't expect you to forgive me," Maryse said. "But if you'd stay for Isabelle and Alec and
Max, I'd be so grateful—"
It was the wrong thing to say. "I don't want your gratitude," Jace said, and turned back to the
duffel bag. There was nothing left to put in it. He tugged at the zipper.
"A la claire fontaine," Maryse said, "m'en allent promener."
He turned to look at her. "What?"
"Il y a longtemps que je t'aime. Jamais je ne t'oublierai—it's the old French ballad I used to
sing to Alec and Isabelle. The one you asked me about."
There was very little light in the room now, and in the dimness Maryse looked to him almost as
she had when he was ten years old, as if she had not changed at all in the past seven years. She
looked severe and worried, anxious—and hopeful. She looked like the only mother he'd ever
"You were wrong that I never sang it to you," she said. "It's just that you never heard me."
Jace said nothing, but he reached out and yanked the zipper open on the duffel bag, letting his
belongings spill out onto the bed.

City of Ashes - Chapter 17

"How did you do that?" Clary demanded as the truck sped uptown, Luke hunched over
the wheel.
"You mean how did I get onto the roof?" Jace was leaning back against the seat, his eyes halfclosed.
There were white bandages tied around his wrists and flecks of dried blood at his hairline.
"First I climbed out Isabelle's window and up the wall. There are a number of ornamental
gargoyles that make good handholds. Also, I'd like to note for the record that my motorcycle is
no longer where I left it. I bet the Inquisitor took it on a joyride around Hoboken."
"I meant," Clary said, "how did you jump off the cathedral roof and not die?"
"I don't know." His arm brushed hers as he raised his hands to rub at his eyes. "How did you
create that rune?"
"I don't know either," she whispered. "The Seelie Queen was right, wasn't she? Valentine,
he—he did things to us." She glanced over at Luke, who was pretending to be absorbed in
turning left. "Didn't he?"
"This isn't the time to talk about that," Luke said. "Jace, did you have a particular destination
in mind or did you just want to get away from the Institute?"
"Valentine's taken Maia and Simon to the boat to perform the Ritual. He'll want to do it as
soon as possible." Jace tugged at one of the bandages on his wrist. "I've got to get there and stop
"No," Luke said sharply.
"Okay, we have to get there and stop him."
"Jace, I'm not having you go back to that ship. It's too dangerous."
"You saw what I just did," Jace said, incredulity rising in his voice, "and you're worried about
"I'm worried about you."
"There's no time for that. After my father kills your friends, he'll call on an army of demons
you can't even imagine. After that, he'll be unstoppable."
"Then the Clave—"
"The Inquisitor won't do anything," Jace said. "She's blocked the Lightwoods' access to the
Clave. She wouldn't call for reinforcements, even when I told her what Valentine has planned.
She's obsessed with this insane plan she has."
"What plan?" Clary said.
Jace's voice was bitter. "She wanted to trade me to my father for the Mortal Instruments. I
told her Valentine would never go for it, but she didn't believe me." He laughed, a sharp staccato
laugh. "Isabelle and Alec are going to tell her what happened with Simon and Maia. I'm not too
optimistic, though. She doesn't believe me about Valentine and she's not going to upset her
precious plan just to save a couple of Downworlders."
"We can't just wait to hear from them, anyway," Clary said. "We have to get to the boat now.
If you can take us to it—"
Previous Top Next
"I hate to break it to you, but we need a boat to get to another boat," said Luke. "I'm not sure
even Jace can walk on water."
At that moment Clary's phone buzzed. It was a text message from Isabelle. Clary frowned.
"It's an address. Down by the waterfront."
Jace looked over her shoulder. "That's where we have to go to meet Magnus." He read the
address off to Luke, who executed an irritable U-turn and headed south. "Magnus will get us
across the water," Jace explained. "The ship is surrounded by protection wards. I got onto it
before because my father wanted me to get onto it. This time he won't. We'll need Magnus to deal
with the wardings."
"I don't like this." Luke tapped his fingers on the steering wheel. "I think I should go and you
two should stay with Magnus."
Jace's eyes flashed. "No. It has to be me who goes."
"Why?" Clary asked.
"Because Valentine's using a fear demon," Jace explained. "That's how he was able to kill the
Silent Brothers. It's what slaughtered that warlock, the werewolf in the alley outside the Hunter's
Moon, and probably what killed that fey child in the park. And it's why the Brothers had those
looks on their faces. Those terrified looks. They were literally scared to death."
"But the blood—"
"He drained the blood later. And in the alley he was interrupted by one of the lycanthropes.
That's why he didn't have enough time to get the blood he needed. And that's why he still needs
Maia." Jace raked a hand through his hair. "No one can stand up against the fear demon. It gets in
your head and destroys your mind."
"Agramon," said Luke. He'd been silent, staring through the windshield. His face looked gray
and pinched.
"Yeah, that's what Valentine called it."
"He's not a fear demon. He's the fear demon. The Demon of Fear. How did Valentine get
Agramon to do his bidding? Even a warlock would have trouble binding a Greater Demon, and
outside the pentagram—" Luke sucked his breath in. "That's how the warlock child died, isn't it?
Summoning Agramon?"
Jace nodded assent, and explained quickly the trick that Valentine had played on Elias. "The
Mortal Cup," he finished, "lets him control Agramon. Apparently it gives you some power over
demons. Not like the Sword does, though."
"Now I'm even less inclined to let you go," Luke said. "It's a Greater Demon, Jace. It would
take this city's worth of Shadowhunters to deal with it."
"I know it's a Greater Demon. But its weapon is fear. If Clary can put the Fearless rune on me,
I can take it down. Or at least try."
"No!" Clary protested. "I don't want your safety dependent on my stupid rune. What if it
doesn't work?"
"It worked before," Jace said as they turned off the bridge and headed back into Brooklyn.
They were rolling down narrow Van Brunt Street, between high brick factories whose boarded-up
windows and padlocked doors betrayed no hint of what lay inside. In the distance, the waterfront
glimmered between buildings.
"What if I mess it up this time?"
Jace turned his head toward her, and for a moment their eyes met. His were the gold of distant
sunlight. "You won't," he said.
"Are you sure this is the address?" asked Luke, bringing the truck to a slow stop. "Magnus
isn't here."
Clary glanced around. They had drawn up in front of a large factory, which looked as if it had
been destroyed by a terrible fire. The hollow brick and plaster walls still stood, but metal struts
poked through them, bent and pitted with burns. In the distance Clary could see the financial
district of lower Manhattan and the black hump of Governors Island, farther out to sea. "He'll
come," she said. "If he told Alec he was coming, he'll do it."
They got out of the truck. Though the factory stood on a street lined with similar buildings, it
was quiet, even for a Sunday. There was no one else around and none of the sounds of
commerce—trucks backing up, men shouting—that Clary associated with warehouse districts.
Instead there was silence, a cool breeze off the river, and the cries of seabirds. Clary drew her
hood up, zipped her jacket, and shivered.
Luke slammed the truck door shut and zipped his flannel jacket closed. Silently, he offered
Clary a pair of his thick woolly gloves. She slid them on and wiggled her fingers. They were so
big for her that it was like wearing paws. She glanced around. "Wait—where's Jace?"
Luke pointed. Jace was kneeling down by the waterline, a dark figure whose bright hair was
the only spot of color against the blue-gray sky and brown river.
"You think he wants privacy?" she asked.
"In this situation, privacy is a luxury none of us can afford. Come on." Luke strode off down
the driveway, and Clary followed him. The factory itself backed up right onto the water-line, but
there was a wide gravelly beach next to it. Shallow waves lapped at the weed-choked rocks. Logs
had been placed in a rough square around a black pit where a fire had once burned. There were
rusty cans and bottles strewn everywhere. Jace was standing by the edge of the water, his jacket
off. As Clary watched, he threw something small and white toward the water; it hit with a splash
and vanished.
"What are you doing?" she said.
Jace turned to face them, the wind whipping his fair hair across his face. "Sending a message."
Over his shoulder Clary thought she saw a shimmering tendril—like a living piece of
seaweed—emerge from the gray river water, a bit of white caught in its grip. A moment later it
vanished and she was left blinking.
"A message to who?"
Jace scowled. "No one." He turned away from the water and stalked across the pebbled beach
to where he'd spread his jacket out. There were three long blades laid out on it. As he turned,
Clary saw the sharpened metal disks threaded through his belt.
Jace stroked his fingers along the blades—they were flat and gray-white, waiting to be named.
"I didn't have a chance to get to the armory, so these are the weapons we have. I thought we
might as well get as ready as we can before Magnus gets here." He lifted the first blade.
"Abrariel." The seraph knife shimmered and changed color as he named it. He held it out to
"I'm all right," Luke said, and drew his jacket aside to show the kindjal thrust through his belt.
Jace handed Abrariel to Clary, who took the weapon silently. It was warm in her hand, as if a
secret life vibrated inside it.
"Camael," Jace said to the next blade, making it shudder and glow. "Telantes," he said to the
"Do you ever use Raziel's name?" Clary asked as Jace slid the blades into his belt and
shrugged his jacket back on, getting to his feet.
"Never," Luke said. "That's not done." His gaze scanned the road behind Clary, looking for
Magnus. She could sense his anxiety, but before she could say anything else, her phone buzzed.
She flipped it open and handed it wordlessly to Jace. He read the text message, his eyebrows
"It looks like the Inquisitor gave Valentine until sunset to decide whether he wants me or the
Mortal Instruments more," he said. "She and Maryse have been fighting for hours, so she hasn't
noticed I'm gone yet."
He handed Clary back her phone. Their fingers brushed and Clary jerked her hand back,
despite the thick woolly glove that covered her skin. She saw a shadow pass over his features,
but he said nothing to her. Instead, he turned to Luke and demanded, with surprising abruptness,
"Did the Inquisitor's son die? Is that why she's like this?"
Luke sighed and thrust his hands into the pockets of his coat. "How did you figure that out?"
"The way she reacts when someone says his name. It's the only time I've ever seen her show
any human feelings."
Luke expelled a breath. He had pushed his glasses up and his eyes were squinted against the
harsh wind off the river. "The Inquisitor is the way she is for many reasons. Stephen is only one
of them."
"It's weird," Jace said. "She doesn't seem like someone who even likes kids."
"Not other people's," said Luke. "It was different with her own. Stephen was her golden boy.
In fact, he was everyone's… everyone who knew him. He was one of those people who was
good at everything, unfailingly nice without being boring, handsome without everyone hating him.
Well, maybe we hated him a little."
"He went to school with you?" Clary said. "And my mother—and Valentine? Is that how you
knew him?"
"The Herondales were in charge of running the London Institute, and Stephen went to school
there. I saw him more after we all graduated, when he moved back to Alicante. And there was a
time when I saw him very often indeed." Luke's eyes had gone distant, the same blue-gray as the
river. "After he was married."
"So he was in the Circle?" Clary asked.
"Not then," Luke said. "He joined the Circle after I—well, after what happened to me.
Valentine needed a new second in command and he wanted Stephen. Imogen, who was utterly
loyal to the Clave, was hysterical—she begged Stephen to reconsider—but he cut her off.
Wouldn't speak to her, or his father. He was absolutely in thrall to Valentine. Went everywhere
trailing after him like a shadow." Luke paused. "The thing is, Valentine didn't think Stephen's wife
was suitable for him. Not for someone who was going to be second in command of the Circle.
She had—undesirable family connections." The pain in Luke's voice surprised Clary. Had he
cared that much about these people? "Valentine forced Stephen to divorce Amatis and remarry—
his second wife was a very young girl, only eighteen years old, named Céline. She, too, was
utterly under Valentine's influence, did everything he told her to, no matter how bizarre. Then
Stephen was killed in a Circle raid on a vampire nest. Céline killed herself when she found out.
She was eight months pregnant at the time. And Stephen's father died, too, of heartbreak. So that
was Imogen's whole family, all gone. They couldn't even bury her daughter -in-law and
grandchild's ashes in the Bone City, because Céline was a suicide. She was buried at a
crossroads outside Alicante. Imogen survived, but—she turned to ice. When the Inquisitor was
killed in the Uprising, Imogen was offered his job. She returned from London to Idris—but never,
as far as I heard, spoke about Stephen again. But it does explain why she hates Valentine as much
as she does."
"Because my father poisons everything he touches?" Jace said bitterly.
"Because your father, for all his sins, still has a son, and she doesn't. And because she blames
him for Stephen's death."
"And she's right," said Jace. "It was his fault."
"Not entirely," said Luke. "He offered Stephen a choice, and Stephen chose. Whatever else
his faults were, Valentine never blackmailed or threatened anyone into joining the Circle. He
wanted only willing followers. The responsibility for Stephen's choices rests with him."
"Free will," said Clary.
"There's nothing free about it," said Jace. "Valentine—"
"Offered you a choice, didn't he?" Luke said. "When you went to see him. He wanted you to
stay, didn't he? Stay and join up with him?"
"Yes." Jace looked out across the water toward Governors Island. "He did." Clary could see
the river reflected in his eyes; they looked steely, as if the gray water had drowned all their gold.
"And you said no," said Luke.
Jace glared. "I wish people would stop guessing that. It's making me feel predictable."
Luke turned away as if to hide a smile, and paused. "Someone's coming."
Someone was indeed coming, someone very tall with black hair that blew in the wind.
"Magnus," Clary said. "But he looks … different."
As he drew closer, she saw that his hair, normally spiked up and glittered like a disco ball,
hung cleanly past his ears like a sheet of black silk. The rainbow leather pants had been replaced
by a neat, old-fashioned dark suit and a black frock coat with glimmering silver buttons. His cat's
eyes glowed amber and green. "You look surprised to see me," he said.
Jace glanced at his watch. "We did wonder if you were coming."
"I said I would come, so I came. I just needed time to prepare. This isn't some hat trick,
Shadowhunter. This is going to take some serious magic." He turned to Luke. "How's the arm?"
"Fine. Thank you." Luke was always polite.
"That's your truck parked up by the factory, isn't it?" Magnus pointed. "It's awfully butch for
a bookseller."
"Oh, I don't know," said Luke. "All that lugging around heavy book boxes, climbing stacks,
hard-core alphabetizing…"
Magnus laughed. "Can you unlock the truck for me? I mean, I could do it myself"—he
wiggled his fingers—"but that seems rude."
"Sure." Luke shrugged and they headed back toward the factory. When Clary made as if to
follow them, though, Jace caught her arm. "Wait. I want to talk to you for a second."
Clary watched as Magnus and Luke headed for the truck. They made an odd pair, the tall
warlock in a long black coat and the shorter, stockier man in jeans and flannel, but they were both
Downworlders, both trapped in the same space between the mundane and the supernatural
"Clary," Jace said. "Earth to Clary. Where are you?"
She looked back at him. The sun was setting off the water now, behind him, leaving his face in
shadow and turning his hair to a halo of gold. "Sorry."
"It's all right." He touched her face, gently, with the back of his hand. "You disappear so
completely into your head sometimes," he said. "I wish I could follow you."
You do, she wanted to say. You live in my head all the time. Instead, she said, "What did you
want to tell me?"
He dropped his hand. "I want you to put the Fearless rune on me. Before Luke gets back."
"Why before he gets back?"
"Because he's going to say it's a bad idea. But it's the only chance of defeating Agramon.
Luke hasn't—encountered it, he doesn't know what it's like. But I do."
She searched his face. "What was it like?"
His eyes were unreadable. "You see what you fear the most in the world."
"I don't even know what that is."
"Trust me. You don't want to." He glanced down. "Do you have your stele?"
"Yeah, I have it." She pulled the woolly glove off her right hand and fished for the stele. Her
hand was shaking a little as she drew it out. "Where do you want the Mark?"
"The closer it is to the heart, the more effective." He turned his back on her hand and drew off
his jacket, dropping it on the ground. He shrugged his T-shirt up, baring his back. "On the
shoulder blade would be good."
Clary placed a hand on his shoulder to steady herself. His skin there was a paler gold than the
skin of his hands and face, and smooth where it was not scarred. She traced the tip of the stele
along the blade of his shoulder and felt him wince, his muscles tightening. "Don't press so hard—
"Sorry." She eased up, letting the rune flow from her mind, down through her arm, into the
stele. The black line it left behind looked like charring, a line of ash. "There. You're finished."
He turned around, shrugging his shirt back on. "Thanks." The sun was burning down beyond
the horizon now, flooding the sky with blood and roses, turning the edge of the river to liquid
gold, softening the ugliness of the urban waste all around them. "What about you?"
"What about me what?"
He took a step closer. "Push your sleeves up. I'll Mark you."
"Oh. Right." She did as he asked, pushing up her sleeves, holding her bare arms out to him.
The sting of the stele on her skin was like the light touch of a needle's tip, scraping without
puncturing. She watched the black lines appear with a sort of fascination. The Mark she'd gotten
in her dream was still visible, faded only a little around the edges.
" 'And the Lord said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken
on him sevenfold. And the Lord set a Mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.' "
Clary turned around, pulling her sleeves down. Magnus stood watching them, his black coat
seeming to float around him in the wind off the river. A small smile played around his mouth.
"You can quote the Bible?" asked Jace, bending to retrieve his jacket.
"I was born in a deeply religious century, my boy," said Magnus. "I always thought Cain's
might have been the first recorded Mark. It certainly protected him."
"But he was hardly one of the angels," said Clary. "Didn't he kill his brother?"
"Aren't we planning to kill our father?" said Jace.
"That's different," said Clary, but didn't get a chance to elaborate on how it was different,
because at that moment, Luke's truck pulled up onto the beach, spraying gravel from its tires.
Luke leaned out the window.
"Okay," he said to Magnus. "Here we go. Get in."
"Are we going to drive to the boat?" Clary said, bewildered. "I thought…"
"What boat?" Magnus cackled, as he swung himself up into the cab next to Luke. He jerked a
thumb behind him. "You two, get into the back."
Jace climbed up into the back of the truck and leaned down to help Clary up after him. As she
settled herself against the spare tire, she saw that a black pentagram inside a circle had been
painted onto the metal floor of the truck bed. The arms of the pentagram were decorated with
wildly curlicuing symbols. They weren't quite the runes she was familiar with—there was
something about looking at them that was like trying to understand a person speaking a language
that was close to, but not quite, English.
Luke leaned out the window and looked back at them. "You know I don't like this," he said,
the wind muffling his voice. "Clary, you're going to stay in the truck with Magnus. Jace and I will
go up onto the ship. You understand?"
Clary nodded and huddled into a corner of the truck bed. Jace sat beside her, bracing his feet.
"This is going to be interesting."
"What—," Clary began, but the truck started up again, tires roaring against gravel, drowning
her words. It lurched forward into the shallow water at the edge of the river. Clary was flung
against the cab's back window as the truck moved forward into the river—was Luke planning to
drown them all? She twisted around and saw that the cab was full of dizzying blue columns of
light, snaking and twisting. The truck seemed to bump over something bulky, as if it had driven
over a log. Then they were moving smoothly forward, almost gliding.
Clary hauled herself to her knees and looked over the side of the truck, already fairly sure what
she would see.
They were moving—no, driving—atop the dark water, the bottom of the truck's tires just
brushing the river's surface, spreading tiny ripples outward along with the occasional shower of
Magnus-created blue sparks. Everything was suddenly very quiet, except for the faint roar of the
motor and the call of the seabirds overhead. Clary stared across the truck bed at Jace, who was
grinning. "Now this is really going to impress Valentine."
"I don't know," Clary said. "Other crack teams get bat boomerangs and wall-crawling powers;
we get the Aquatruck."
"If you don't like it, Nephilim," came Magnus's voice, faintly, from the truck cab, "you're
welcome to see if you can walk on the water."
"I think we should go in," said Isabelle, her ear pressed to the library door. She beckoned for
Alec to come closer. "Can you hear anything?"
Alec leaned in beside his sister, careful not to drop the phone he was holding. Magnus said
he'd call if he had news or if anything happened. So far, he hadn't. "No."
"Exactly. They've stopped yelling at each other." Isabelle's dark eyes gleamed. "They're
waiting for Valentine now."
Alec moved away from the door and strode partway down the hall to the nearest window. The
sky outside was the color of charcoal half-sunk into ruby ashes. "It's sunset."
Isabelle reached for the door handle. "Let's go."
"Isabelle, wait—"
"I don't want her to be able to lie to us about what Valentine says," Isabelle said. "Or what
happens. Besides, I want to see him. Jace's father. Don't you?"
Alec moved back to the library door. "Yes, but this isn't a good idea because—"
Isabelle pushed down on the handle of the library door. It swung wide open. With a halfamused
glance over her shoulder at him, she ducked inside; swearing under his breath, Alec
followed her.
His mother and the Inquisitor stood at opposite ends of the huge desk, like boxers facing each
other across a ring. Maryse's cheeks were bright red, her hair straggling around her face. Isabelle
shot Alec a look, as if to say, Maybe we shouldn't have come in here. Mom looks mad.
On the other hand, if Maryse looked angry, the Inquisitor looked positively demented. She
whirled around as the library door opened, her mouth twisted into an ugly shape. "What are you
two doing here?" she shouted.
"Imogen," said Maryse.
"Maryse!" The Inquisitor's voice rose. "I've had about enough of you and your delinquent
"Imogen," Maryse said again. There was something in her voice—an urgency—that made
even the Inquisitor turn and look.
The air just by the freestanding brass globe was shimmering like water. A shape began to
coalesce out of it, like black paint being stroked over white canvas, evolving into the figure of a
man with broad, plank-like shoulders. The image was wavering, too much for Alec to see more
than that the man was tall, with a shock of close-cropped salt-white hair.
"Valentine." The Inquisitor looked caught off guard, Alec thought, though surely she must
have been expecting him.
The air by the globe was shimmering more violently now. Isabelle gasped as a man stepped
out of the wavering air, as if he were coming up through layers of water. Jace's father was a
formidable man, over six feet tall with a wide chest and hard, thick arms corded with ropy
muscles. His face was almost triangular, sharpening to a hard, pointed chin. He might have been
considered handsome, Alec thought, but he was startlingly unlike Jace, lacking anything of his
son's pale-gold looks. The hilt of a sword was visible just over his left shoulder—the Mortal
Sword. It wasn't as if he needed to be armed, since he wasn't corporeally present, so he must
have worn it to annoy the Inquisitor. Not that she needed to be more annoyed than she was.
"Imogen," Valentine said, his dark eyes grazing the Inquisitor with a look of satisfied
amusement. That's Jace all over, that look, Alec thought. "And Maryse, my Maryse—it has been
a long time."
Maryse, swallowing hard, said with some difficulty, "I'm not your Maryse, Valentine."
"And these must be your children," Valentine went on as if she hadn't spoken. His eyes came
to rest on Isabelle and Alec. A faint shiver went through Alec, as if something had plucked at his
nerves. Jace's father's words were perfectly ordinary, even polite, but there was something in his
blank and predatory gaze that made Alec want to step in front of his sister and block her from
Valentine's view. "They look just like you."
"Leave my children out of this, Valentine," Maryse said, clearly struggling to keep her voice
"Well, that hardly seems fair," Valentine said, "considering you haven't left my child out of
this." He turned to the Inquisitor. "I got your message. Surely that's not the best you can do?"
She hadn't moved; now she blinked slowly, like a lizard. "I hope the terms of my offer were
perfectly clear."
"My son in return for the Mortal Instruments. That was it, correct? Otherwise you'll kill him."
"Kill him?" Isabelle echoed. "MOM!"
"Isabelle," Maryse said tightly. "Shut up."
The Inquisitor shot Isabelle and Alec a venomous glare between her slitted eyelids. "You have
the terms correct, Morgenstern."
"Then my answer is no."
"No?" The Inquisitor looked as if she'd taken a step forward on solid ground and it had
collapsed under her feet. "You can't bluff me, Valentine. I will do exactly as I threatened."
"Oh, I have no doubt in you, Imogen. You have always been a woman of single-minded and
ruthless focus. I recognize these qualities in you because I possess them myself."
"I am nothing like you. I follow the Law—"
"Even when it instructs you to kill a boy still in his teens just to punish his father? This is not
about the Law, Imogen, it is that you hate and blame me for the death of your son and this is your
manner of recompensing me. It will make no difference. I will not give up the Mortal Instruments,
not even for Jonathan."
The Inquisitor simply stared at him. "But he's your son," she said. "Your child."
"Children make their own choices," said Valentine. "That's something you never understood. I
offered Jonathan safety if he stayed with me; he spurned it and returned to you, and you'll exact
your revenge on him as I told him you would. You are nothing, Imogen," he finished, "if not
The Inquisitor didn't seem to notice the insult. "The Clave will insist on his death, should you
not give me the Mortal Instruments," she said, like someone caught in a bad dream. "I won't be
able to stop them."
"I'm aware of that," said Valentine. "But there is nothing I can do. I offered him a chance. He
didn't take it."
"Bastard!" Isabelle shouted suddenly, and made as if to run forward; Alec grabbed her arm
and dragged her backward, holding her there. "He's a dickhead," she hissed, then raised her
voice, shouting at Valentine: "You're a—"
"Isabelle!" Alec covered his sister's mouth with his hand as Valentine spared them both a
single, amused glance.
"You…offered him…" The Inquisitor was starting to remind Alec of a robot whose circuits
were shorting out. "And he turned you down?" She shook her head. "But he's your spy—your
"Is that what you thought?" he said, with apparently genuine surprise. "I am hardly interested
in spying out the secrets of the Clave. I'm only interested in its destruction, and to achieve that
end I have far more powerful weapons in my arsenal than a boy."
"Believe what you like," Valentine said with a shrug. "You are nothing, Imogen Herondale. The
figurehead of a regime whose power is soon to be shattered, its rule ended. There is nothing you
have to offer me that I could possibly want."
"Valentine!" The Inquisitor threw herself forward, as if she could stop him, catch at him, but
her hands only went through him as if through water. With a look of supreme disgust, he stepped
back and vanished.
The sky was licked with the last tongues of a fading fire, the water had turned to iron. Clary
drew her jacket closer around her body and shivered.
"Are you cold?" Jace had been standing at the back of the truck bed, looking down at the
wake the car left behind it: two white lines of foam cutting the water. Now he came and slid down
beside her, his back against the rear window of the cab. The window itself was almost entirely
fogged up with bluish smoke.
"Aren't you?"
"No." He shook his head and slid his jacket off, handing it across to her. She put it on,
reveling in the softness of the leather. It was too big in that comforting way. "You're going to stay
in the truck like Luke told you to, right?"
"Do I have a choice?"
"Not in the literal sense, no."
She slid her glove off and reached out her hand to him. He took it, gripping it tightly. She
looked down at their interlaced fingers, hers so small, squared-off at the tips, his long and thin.
"You'll find Simon for me," she said. "I know you will."
"Clary." She could see the water all around them mirrored in his eyes. "He may be—I mean, it
may be—"
"No." Her tone left no room for doubt. "He'll be all right. He has to be."
Jace exhaled. His irises rippled with dark blue water—like tears, Clary thought, but they
weren't tears, only reflections. "There's something I want to ask you," he said. "I was afraid to
ask before. But now I'm not afraid of anything." His hand moved to cup her cheek, his palm
warm against her cold skin, and she found that her own fear was gone, as if he could pass the
power of the Fearless rune to her through his touch. Her chin went up, her lips parting in
expectation—his mouth brushed hers lightly, so lightly it felt like the brush of a feather, the
memory of a kiss—and then he pulled back, his eyes widening; she saw the black wall in them,
rising up to blot out the incredulous gold: the shadow of the ship.
Jace let go of her with an exclamation and scrambled to his feet. Clary got up awkwardly,
Jace's heavy jacket throwing her off balance. Blue sparks were flying from the windows of the
cab, and in their light she could see that the side of the ship was corrugated black metal, that there
was a thin ladder crawling down one side, and that an iron railing ran around the top. What looked
like big, awkwardly shaped birds were perched on the railing. Waves of cold seemed to roll off
the boat like freezing air off an iceberg. When Jace called out to her, his breath came out in white
puffs, his words lost in the sudden engine roar of the big ship.
She frowned at him. "What? What did you say?"
He grabbed for her, sliding a hand up under her jacket, his fingertips grazing her bare skin. She
yelped in surprise. He yanked the seraph blade he'd give her earlier from her belt and pressed it
into her hand. "I said"—and he let her go—"to get Abrariel out, because they're coming."
"Who are coming?"
"The demons." He pointed up. At first Clary saw nothing. Then she noticed the huge,
awkward birds she'd seen before. They were dropping off the railing one by one, falling like
stones down the side of the boat—then leveling out and heading straight for the truck where it
floated on top of the waves. As they got closer, she saw that they weren't birds at all, but ugly
flying things like pterodactyls, with wide, leathery wings and bony triangular heads. Their mouths
were full of serrated shark teeth, row on row of them, and their claws glinted like straight razors.
Jace scrambled up onto the roof of the cab, Telantes blazing in his hand. As the first of the
flying things reached them, he flung the blade. It struck the demon, slicing off the top of its skull
the way you might slice the top off an egg. With a high windy screech, the thing toppled
sideways, wings spasming. When it struck the ocean, the water boiled.
The second demon hit the hood of the truck, its claws raking long furrows in the metal. It
flung itself against the windshield, spiderwebbing the glass. Clary shouted for Luke, but another
one of them dive-bombed her, hurtling down from the steel sky like an arrow. She yanked the
sleeve of Jace's jacket up, flinging her arm out to show the defensive rune. The demon skreeked
as the other one had, wings flapping backward—but it had already come too close, within her
reach. She saw that it had no eyes, only indentations on each side of its skull, as she smashed
Abrariel into its chest. It burst apart, leaving a wisp of black smoke behind.
"Well done," said Jace. He had jumped down from the truck cab to dispatch another one of
the screeching flying things. He had a dagger out now, its hilt slicked with black blood.
"What are these things?" Clary panted, swinging Abrariel in a wide arc that slashed across the
chest of a flying demon. It cawed and swiped at her with a wing. This close, she could see that
the wings ended in blade-sharp ridges of bone. This one caught the sleeve of Jace's jacket and
tore it across.
"My jacket," said Jace in a rage, and stabbed down at the thing as it rose, piercing its back. It
shrieked and disappeared. "I loved that jacket."
Clary stared at him, then spun around as the rending screech of metal assailed her ears. Two
of the flying demons had their claws in the top of the truck cab, ripping it off the frame. The air
was filled with the screech of tearing metal. Luke was down on the hood of the truck, slashing at
the creatures with his kindjal. One toppled off the side of the truck, vanishing before it hit the
water. The other burst into the air, the cab roof clutched in its claws, skreeking triumphantly, and
winged back toward the boat.
For the moment the sky was clear. Clary raced up and peered down into the cab. Magnus was
slumped down in his seat, his face gray. It was too dark for her to see if he was wounded.
"Magnus!" she shouted. "Are you hurt?"
"No." He struggled to sit upright, then fell back against the seat. "I'm just—drained. The
protection spells on the ship are strong. Stripping them, keeping them off, is—difficult." His
voice faded. "But if I don't do it, anyone who sets foot on that ship, other than Valentine, will
"Maybe you should come with us," said Luke.
"I can't work on the wards if I'm on the ship itself. I have to do it from here. That's the way it
works." Magnus's grin looked painful. "Besides, I'm no good in a fight. My talents lie elsewhere."
Clary, still hanging down into the cab, began, "But what if we need—"
"Clary!" Luke shouted, but it was too late. None of them had seen the flying creature clinging
motionless to the side of the truck. It launched itself upward now, winging sideways, claws
sinking deep into the back of Clary's jacket, a blur of shadowy wings and reeking, jagged teeth.
With a howling screech of triumph, it took off into the air, Clary dangling helplessly from its
"Clary!" Luke shouted again, and raced to the edge of the truck's hood and stopped there,
staring hopelessly upward at the dwindling winged shape with its slackly hanging burden.
"It won't kill her," said Jace, joining him on the hood. "It's retrieving her for Valentine."
There was something about his tone that sent a chill through Luke's blood. He turned to stare
at the boy next to him. "But—"
He didn't finish. Jace had already dived from the truck, in a single smooth movement. He
splashed down in the filthy river water and struck out toward the boat, his strong kicks churning
the water to froth.
Luke turned back to Magnus, whose pale face was just visible through the cracked windshield,
a white smudge against the darkness. Luke held a hand up, thought he saw Magnus nod in
Sheathing his kindjal at his side, he dived into the river after Jace.
Alec released his hold on Isabelle, half-expecting her to start screaming the moment he took
his hand off her mouth. She didn't. She stood beside him and stared as the Inquisitor stood,
swaying slightly, her face a chalky gray-white.
"Imogen," Maryse said. There was no feeling in her voice, not even any anger.
The Inquisitor didn't seem to hear her. Her expression didn't change as she sank bonelessly
into Hodge's old chair. "My God," she said, staring down at the desk. "What have I done?"
Maryse glanced over at Isabelle. "Get your father."
Isabelle, looking as frightened as Alec had ever seen her, nodded and slipped out of the room.
Maryse crossed the room to the Inquisitor and looked down at her. "What have you done,
Imogen?" she said. "You've handed victory to Valentine. That's what you've done."
"No," the Inquisitor breathed.
"You knew exactly what Valentine was planning when you locked Jace up. You refused to
allow the Clave to become involved because it would have interfered with your plan. You wanted
to make Valentine suffer as he had made you suffer; to show him you had the power to kill his
son the way he killed yours. You wanted to humble him."
"But Valentine will not be humbled," said Maryse. "I could have told you that. You never had
a hold over him. He only pretended to consider your offer to make absolutely certain that we
would have no time to call for reinforcements from Idris. And now it's too late."
The Inquisitor looked up wildly. Her hair had come loose from its knot and hung in lank strips
around her face. It was the most human Alec had seen her look, but he got no pleasure out of it.
His mother's words chilled him: too late. "No, Maryse," she said. "We can still—"
"Still what?" Maryse's voice cracked. "Call on the Clave? We don't have the days, the hours,
it would take them to get here. If we're going to face Valentine—and God knows we have no
"We're going to have to do it now," interrupted a deep voice. Behind Alec, glowering darkly,
was Robert Lightwood.
Alec stared at his father. It had been years since he'd seen him in hunting gear; his time had
been taken up with administrative tasks, with running the Conclave and dealing with Downworlder
issues. Something about seeing his father in his heavy, dark armored clothes, his broadsword
strapped across his back, reminded Alec of being a child again, when his father had been the
biggest, strongest and most terrifying man he could imagine. And he was still terrifying. He hadn't
seen his father since he'd embarrassed himself at Luke's. He tried to catch his eye now, but
Robert was looking at Maryse. "The Conclave stands ready," Robert said. "The boats are waiting
at the dock."
The Inquisitor's hands fluttered around her face. "It's no good," she said. "There aren't
enough of us—we can't possibly—"
Robert ignored her. Instead, he looked at Maryse. "We should go very soon," he said, and in
his tone there was the respect that had been lacking when he had addressed the Inquisitor.
"But the Clave," the Inquisitor began. "They should be informed."
Maryse shoved the phone on the desk toward the Inquisitor, hard. "You tell them. Tell them
what you've done. It's your job, after all."
The Inquisitor said nothing, just stared at the phone, one hand over her mouth.
Before Alec could start to feel sorry for her, the door opened again and Isabelle came in, in
her Shadowhunter gear, with her long silver-gold whip in one hand and a wooden-bladed
naginata in the other. She frowned at her brother. "Go get ready," she said. "We're sailing for
Valentine's ship right away."
Alec couldn't help it; the corner of his mouth twitched upward. Isabelle was always so
determined. "Is that for me?" he asked, indicating the naginata.
Isabelle jerked it away from him. "Get your own!"
Some things never change. Alec headed toward the door, but was stopped by a hand on his
shoulder. He looked up in surprise.
It was his father. He was looking down at Alec, and though he wasn't smiling, there was a look
of pride on his lined and tired face. "If you're in need of a blade, Alexander, my guisarme is in
the entryway. If you'd like to use it."
Alec swallowed and nodded, but before he could thank his father, Isabelle spoke from behind
"Here you go, Mom," she said. Alec turned and saw his sister in the process of handing the
naginata to his mother, who took it and spun it expertly in her grasp.
"Thank you, Isabelle," Maryse said, and with a movement as swift as any of her daughter's,
she lowered the blade so that it pointed directly at the Inquisitor's heart.
Imogen Herondale looked up at Maryse with the blank, shattered eyes of a ruined statue. "Are
you going to kill me, Maryse?"
Maryse hissed through her teeth. "Not even close," she said. "We need every Shadowhunter in
the city, and right now, that includes you. Get up, Imogen, and get yourself ready for battle. From
now on, the orders around here are going to come from me." She smiled grimly. "And the first
thing you're going to do is free my son from that accursed Malachi Configuration."
She looked magnificent as she spoke, Alec thought with pride, a true Shadowhunter warrior,
every line of her blazing with righteous fury.
He hated to spoil the moment—but they were going to find out Jace was gone on their own
soon enough. Better that someone cushioned the shock.
He cleared his throat. "Actually," he said, "there's something you should probably know…"