Wednesday, 7 November 2012

City of Ashes - Chapter 14

When Clary awoke, light was streaming in through the windows and there was a sharp
pain in her left cheek. Rolling over, she saw that she'd fallen asleep on her sketchpad and the
corner of it had been digging into her face. She'd also dropped her pen onto the duvet, and there
was a black stain spreading across the cloth. With a groan she sat up, rubbed her cheek ruefully,
and went in search of a shower.
The bathroom showed telltale signs of the activities of the night before; there were bloody
cloths shoved into the trash and a smear of dried blood across the sink. With a shudder Clary
ducked into the shower with a bottle of grapefruit body wash, determined to scrub away her
lingering feelings of unease.
Afterward, wrapped in one of Luke's robes and with a towel around her damp hair, she
pushed the bathroom door open to discover Magnus lurking on the other side, clutching a towel
in one hand and his glittery hair in the other. He must have slept on it, she thought, because one
side of the glittered spikes looked dented in. "Why does it take girls so long to shower?" he
demanded. "Mortal girls, Shadowhunters, female warlocks, you're all the same. I'm not getting
any younger waiting out here."
Clary stepped aside to let him pass. "How old are you, anyway?" she asked curiously.
Magnus winked at her. "I was alive when the Dead Sea was just a lake that was feeling a little
Clary rolled her eyes.
Magnus made a shooing motion. "Now move your petite behind. I need to get in there; my
hair is a wreck."
"Don't use up all my body wash, it's expensive," Clary told him, and headed into the kitchen,
where she rooted around for some filters and plugged in the Mr. Coffee machine. The familiar
burble of the percolator and the smell of coffee damped down her feeling of unease. As long as
there was coffee in the world, how bad could things be?
She headed back to the bedroom to get dressed. Ten minutes later, in jeans and a blue-andgreen
striped sweater, she was in the living room shaking Luke awake. He sat up with a groan, his
hair rumpled and his face creased with sleep.
Previous Top Next
"How are you feeling?" Clary asked, handing him a chipped mug full of steaming coffee.
"Better now." Luke glanced down at the torn fabric of his shirt; the edges of the tear were
stained with blood. "Where's Maia?"
"She's asleep in your room, remember? You said she could have it." Clary perched on the arm
of the sofa.
Luke rubbed at his shadowed eyes. "I don't remember last night all that well," he admitted. "I
remember going out to the truck and not much after that."
"There were more demons hiding outside. They attacked you. Jace and I took care of them."
"More Drevak demons?"
"No." Clary spoke with reluctance. "Jace called them Raum demons."
"Raum demons?" Luke sat up straight. "That's serious stuff. Drevak demons are dangerous
pests, but the Raum—"
"It's all right," Clary told him. "We got rid of them."
"You got rid of them? Or Jace did? Clary, I don't want you—"
"It wasn't like that." She shook her head. "It was like…"
"Wasn't Magnus around? Why didn't he go with you?" Luke interrupted, clearly upset.
"I was healing you, that's why," Magnus said, coming into the living room smelling strongly of
grapefruit. His hair was wrapped in a towel and he was dressed in a blue satin tracksuit with silver
stripes down the side. "Where is the gratitude?"
"I am grateful." Luke looked as if he were both angry and trying not to laugh at the same time.
"It's just that if anything had happened to Clary—"
"You would have died if I'd gone out there with them," Magnus said, flopping down into a
chair. "And then Clary would have been a lot worse off. She and Jace handled the demons just
fine on their own, didn't you?" He turned to Clary.
She squirmed. "You see, that's just it—"
"What's just it?" It was Maia, still in the clothes she'd worn the night before, with one of
Luke's big flannel shirts thrown over her T-shirt. She moved stiffly across the room and sat down
gingerly in a chair. "Is that coffee I smell?" she asked hopefully, wrinkling her nose.
Honestly, Clary thought, it was hardly fair for a werewolf to be curvy and pretty; she ought to
be big and hirsute, possibly with hair coming out of her ears. And this, Clary added silently, is
exactly why I don't have any female friends and spend all my time with Simon. I've got to get a
grip. She rose to her feet. "You want me to get you some?"
"Sure." Maia nodded. "Milk and sugar!" she called as Clary left the room, but by the time she
was back from the kitchen, steaming mug in hand, the werewolf girl was frowning. "I don't really
remember what happened last night," she said, "but there's something about Simon, something
that's bothering me…"
"Well, you did try to kill him," Clary said, settling back onto the arm of the sofa. "Maybe
that's it."
Maia paled, staring down into her coffee. "I'd forgotten. He's a vampire now." She looked up
at Clary. "I didn't mean to hurt him. I was just…"
"Yes?" Clary raised her eyebrows. "Just what?"
Maia's face went a slow, dark red. She set her coffee down on the table beside her.
"You might want to lie down," Magnus advised. "I find that helps when the crushing sense of
horrible realization sets in."
Maia's eyes filled suddenly with tears. Clary looked toward Magnus in horror—he looked
equally shocked, she noticed—and then to Luke. "Do something," she hissed at him under her
breath. Magnus might be a warlock who could heal fatal injuries with a flash of blue fire, but Luke
was hands down the top choice between the two for dealing with crying teenage girls.
Luke began to kick back his blanket in preparation for rising, but before he could get to his
feet, the front door banged open and Jace came in, followed by Alec, who was carrying a white
box. Magnus hastily pulled the towel off his head and dropped it behind the armchair. Without the
gel and glitter, his hair was dark and straight, halfway to his shoulders.
Clary's eyes went immediately to Jace, as they always did; she couldn't help it, but at least no
one else seemed to notice. Jace looked strung up, wired and tense, but also exhausted, his eyes
ringed with gray. His eyes slid over her without expression and landed on Maia, who was still
weeping soundlessly and didn't seem to have heard them come in. "Everyone in a good mood, I
see," he observed. "Keeping up morale?"
Maia rubbed at her eyes. "Crap," she muttered. "I hate crying in front of Shadowhunters."
"So go cry in another room," Jace said, his voice devoid of warmth. "We certainly don't need
you sniveling in here while we're talking, do we?"
"Jace," Luke began warningly, but Maia had already gotten to her feet and stalked out of the
room through the kitchen door.
Clary turned on Jace. "Talking? We weren't talking."
"But we will be," Jace said, flopping down onto the piano bench and stretching out his long
legs. "Magnus wants to shout at me, don't you, Magnus?"
"Yes," Magnus said, tearing his eyes away from Alec long enough to scowl. "Where the hell
were you? I thought I was clear with you that you were to stay in the house."
"I thought he didn't have a choice," Clary said. "I thought he had to stay where you are. You
know, because of magic."
"Normally, yes," Magnus said crossly, "but last night, after everything I did, my magic was—
"Yes." Magnus looked angrier than ever. "Even the High Warlock of Brooklyn doesn't have
inexhaustible resources. I'm only human. Well," he amended, "half-human, anyway."
"But you must have known your resources were depleted," Luke said, not unkindly, "didn't
"Yes, and I made the little bastard swear to stay in the house." Magnus glared at Jace. "Now I
know what your much-vaunted Shadowhunter vows are worth."
"You need to know how to make me swear properly," Jace said, unfazed. "Only an oath on
the Angel has any meaning."
"It's true," Alec said. It was the first thing he'd said since they'd come into the house.
"Of course it's true." Jace picked up Maia's untouched mug of coffee and took a sip. He
made a face. "Sugar."
"Where were you all night, anyway?" Magnus asked, his voice sour. "With Alec?"
"I couldn't sleep, so I went for a walk," Jace said. "When I got back, I bumped into this sad
bastard mooning around the porch." He pointed at Alec.
Magnus brightened. "Were you there all night?" he asked Alec.
"No," Alec said. "I went home and then came back. I'm wearing different clothes, aren't I?
Everyone looked. Alec was wearing a dark sweater and jeans, which was exactly what he'd
been wearing the day before. Clary decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. "What's in the
box?" she asked.
"Oh. Ah." Alec looked at the box as if he'd forgotten it. "Doughnuts, actually." He opened the
box and set it down on the coffee table. "Does anyone want one?"
Everyone, as it turned out, wanted a doughnut. Jace wanted two. After downing the Boston
cream that Clary brought him, Luke seemed moderately revitalized; he kicked the blanket the rest
of the way off and sat up against the back of the couch. "There's one thing I don't get," he said.
"Just one thing? You're way ahead of the rest of us," said Jace.
"The two of you went out after me when I didn't come back to the house," Luke said, looking
from Clary to Jace.
"Three of us," Clary said. "Simon came with."
Luke looked pained. "Fine. The three of you. There were two demons, but Clary says you
killed neither of them. So what happened?"
"I would have killed mine, but it ran off," Jace said. "Otherwise—"
"But why would it do that?" Alec inquired. "Two of them, three of you—maybe it felt
"No offense to anyone involved, but the only one among you who seems formidable is Jace,"
Magnus said. "An untrained Shadowhunter and a scared vampire…"
"I think it might have been me," Clary said. "I think maybe I scared it off."
Magnus blinked. "Didn't I just say—"
"I don't mean I scared it off because I'm so terrifying," Clary said. "I think it was this." She
raised her hand, turning it so that they could see the Mark on her inner arm.
There was a sudden quiet. Jace looked at her steadily, then away; Alec blinked, and Luke
looked astounded. "I've never seen that Mark before," he said finally. "Has anyone else?"
"No," Magnus said. "But I don't like it."
"I'm not sure what it is, or what it means," Clary said, lowering her arm. "But it doesn't come
from the Gray Book."
"All runes come from the Gray Book." Jace's voice was firm.
"Not this one," Clary said. "I saw it in a dream."
"In a dream?" Jace looked as furious as if she were personally insulting him. "What are you
playing at, Clary?"
"I'm not playing at anything. Don't you remember when we were in the Seelie Court—"
Jace looked as if she had hit him. Clary went on, quickly, before he could say anything:
"—and the Seelie Queen told us we were experiments? That Valentine had done—had done
things to us, to make us different, special? She told me that mine was the gift of words that
cannot be spoken, and yours was the Angel's own gift?"
"That was faerie nonsense."
"Faeries don't lie, Jace. Words that cannot be spoken—she meant runes. Each has a different
meaning, but they're meant to be drawn, not said aloud." She went on, ignoring his doubtful look.
"Remember when you asked me how I'd gotten into your cell in the Silent City? I told you I just
used a regular Opening rune—"
"Was that all you did?" Alec looked surprised. "I got there just after you did and it looked like
someone had ripped that door off its hinges."
"And my rune didn't just unlock the door," Clary said. "It unlocked everything inside the cell,
too. It broke Jace's manacles open." She took a breath. "I think the Queen meant I can draw
runes that are more powerful than ordinary runes. And maybe even create new ones."
Jace shook his head. "No one can create new runes—"
"Maybe she can, Jace." Alec sounded thoughtful. "It's true, none of us have ever seen that
Mark on her arm before."
"Alec's right," Luke said. "Clary, why don't you go and get your sketchbook?"
She looked at him in some surprise. His gray-blue eyes were tired, a little sunken, but held the
same steadiness they'd held when she was six years old and he'd promised her that if she climbed
the jungle gym in the Prospect Park playground, he'd always be standing underneath it to catch
her if she fell. And he always had been.
"Okay," she said. "I'll be right back."
To get to the spare bedroom, Clary had to cross through the kitchen, where she found Maia
seated on a stool pulled up to the counter, looking miserable. "Clary," she said, jumping down
from the stool. "Can I talk to you for a second?"
"I'm just going to my room to get something—"
"Look, I'm sorry about what happened with Simon. I was delirious."
"Oh, yeah? What happened to all that werewolves are destined to hate vampires business?"
Maia blew out an exasperated breath. "We are, but—I guess I don't have to hurry the process
"Don't explain it to me; explain it to Simon."
Maia flushed again, her cheeks turning dark red. "I doubt he'll want to talk to me."
"He might. He's pretty forgiving."
Maia looked at her more closely. "Not that I want to pry, but are you two going out?"
Clary felt herself start to flush and thanked her freckles for providing at least some cover-up.
"Why do you want to know?"
Maia shrugged. "The first time I met him he referred to you as his best friend, but the second
time he called you his girlfriend. I wondered if it was an on-off thing."
"Sort of. We were friends first. It's a long story."
"I see." Maia's blush had vanished and her tough-girl smirk was back on her face. "Well,
you're lucky, that's all. Even if he is a vampire now. You must be pretty used to all sorts of weird
stuff, being a Shadowhunter, so I bet it doesn't faze you."
"It fazes me," Clary said, more sharply than she'd intended. "I'm not Jace."
The smirk widened. "No one is. And I get the feeling he knows it."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Oh, you know. Jace reminds me of an old boyfriend. Some guys look at you like they want
sex. Jace looks at you like you've already had sex, it was great, and now you're just friends—
even though you want more. Drives girls crazy. You know what I mean?"
Yes, Clary thought. "No," she said.
"I guess you wouldn't, being his sister. You'll have to take my word on it."
"I have to go." Clary was almost out the kitchen door when something occurred to her and
she turned around. "What happened to him?"
Maia blinked. "What happened to who?"
"The old boyfriend. The one Jace reminds you of."
"Oh," Maia said. "He's the one who turned me into a werewolf."
"All right, I got it," Clary said, coming back into the living room with her sketchpad in one
hand and a box of Prismacolor pencils in the other. She pulled a chair out from the little-used
dining room table—Luke always ate in the kitchen or in his office, and the table was covered in
paper and old bills—and sat down, sketchpad in front of her. She felt as if she were taking a test
at art school. Draw this apple. "What do you want me to do?"
"What do you think?" Jace was still sitting on the piano bench, his shoulders slumped
forward; he looked as if he hadn't slept all night. Alec was leaning against the piano behind him,
probably because it was as far away from Magnus as he could get.
"Jace, that's enough." Luke was sitting up straight but looked as if it were something of an
effort. "You said you could draw new runes, Clary?"
"I said I thought so."
"Well, I'd like you to try."
Luke smiled faintly. "Unless you've got something else in mind?"
Clary flipped the sketchpad to a blank page and stared down at it. Never had a sheet of paper
looked quite so empty to her before. She could sense the stillness in the room, everyone watching
her: Magnus with his ancient, tempered curiosity; Alec too preoccupied with his own problems to
care much for hers; Luke hopefully; and Jace with a cold, frightening blankness. She remembered
him saying that he wished he could hate her and wondered if someday he might succeed.
She threw her pencil down. "I can't just do it on command like that. Not without an idea."
"What kind of idea?" said Luke.
"I mean, I don't even know what runes already exist. I need to know a meaning, a word,
before I can draw a rune for it."
"It's hard enough for us to remember every rune—," Alec began, but Jace, to Clary's surprise,
cut him off.
"How about," he said quietly, "Fearless?"
"Fearless?" she echoed.
"There are runes for bravery," said Jace. "But never anything to take away fear. But if you, as
you say, can create new runes…" He glanced around, and saw Alec's and Luke's surprised
expressions. "Look, I just remembered that there isn't one, that's all. And it seems harmless
Clary looked over at Luke, who shrugged. "Fine," he said.
Clary took a dark gray pencil from the box and set the tip of it to the paper. She thought of
shapes, lines, curlicues; she thought of the signs in the Gray Book, ancient and perfect,
embodiments of a language too faultless for speech. A soft voice spoke inside her head: Who are
you, to think you can speak the language of heaven?
The pencil moved. She was almost sure she hadn't moved it, but it slid across the paper,
describing a single line. She felt her heart skip. She thought of her mother, sitting dreamily before
her canvas, creating her own vision of the world in ink and oil paint. She thought, Who am I? I
am Jocelyn Fray's daughter. The pencil moved again, and this time her breath caught; she found
she was whispering the word, under her breath: "Fearless. Fearless." The pencil looped back up,
and now she was guiding it rather than being guided by it. When she was done, she set the pencil
down and gazed for a moment, wonderingly, at the result.
The completed Fearless rune was a matrix of strongly swirling lines: a rune as bold and
aerodynamic as an eagle. She tore the page free and held it up so the others could see it. "There,"
she said, and was rewarded by the startled look on Luke's face—so he hadn't believed her—and
the fractional widening of Jace's eyes.
"Cool," Alec said.
Jace got to his feet and crossed the room, taking the sheet of paper out of her hand. "But does
it work?"
Clary wondered if he meant the question or if he was just being nasty. "What do you mean?"
"I mean, how do we know it works? Right now it's just a drawing—you can't take fear away
from a piece of paper, it doesn't have any to begin with. We have to try it out on one of us before
we can be sure it's a real rune."
"I'm not sure that's such a great idea," Luke said.
"It's a fabulous idea." Jace dropped the paper back onto the table, and began to slide off his
jacket. "I've got a stele we can use. Who wants to do me?"
"A regrettable choice of words," muttered Magnus.
Luke stood up. "No," he said. "Jace, you already behave as if you've never heard the word
'fear.' I fail to see how we're going to be able to tell the difference if it does work on you."
Alec stifled what sounded like a laugh. Jace simply smiled a tight, unfriendly smile. "I've heard
the word 'fear,' " he said. "I simply choose to believe it doesn't apply to me."
"Exactly the problem," said Luke.
"Well, why don't I try it on you, then?" Clary said, but Luke shook his head.
"You can't Mark Downworlders, Clary, not with any real effect. The demon disease that
causes lycanthropy prevents the Marks from taking effect."
"Try it on me," Alec said unexpectedly. "I could do with some fearlessness." He slid his
jacket off, tossed it over the piano stool, and crossed the room to stand in front of Jace. "Here.
Mark my arm."
Jace glanced over at Clary. "Unless you think you should do it?"
She shook her head. "No. You're probably better at actually applying Marks than I am."
Jace shrugged. "Roll up your sleeve, Alec."
Obediently, Alec rolled his sleeve up. There was already a permanent Mark on his upper arm,
an elegant scroll of lines meant to give him perfect balance. They all leaned forward, even
Magnus, as Jace carefully traced the outlines of the Fearless rune on Alec's arm, just below the
existing Mark. Alec winced as the stele traced its burning path across his skin. When Jace was
done, he slid his stele back into his pocket and stood a moment admiring his handiwork. "Well, it
looks nice at least," he announced. "Whether it works or not…"
Alec touched the new Mark with his fingertips, then glanced up to find everyone else in the
room staring at him.
"So?" Clary said.
"So what?" Alec rolled his sleeve down, covering the Mark.
"So, how do you feel? Any different?"
Alec looked considering. "Not really."
Jace threw his hands up. "So it doesn't work."
"Not necessarily," Luke said. "There might simply be nothing going on that might activate it.
Perhaps there isn't anything here that Alec is afraid of."
Magnus glanced at Alec and raised his eyebrows. "Boo," he said.
Jace was grinning. "Come on, surely you've got a phobia or two. What scares you?"
Alec thought for a moment. "Spiders," he said.
Clary turned to Luke. "Have you got a spider anywhere?"
Luke looked exasperated. "Why would I have a spider? Do I look like someone who would
collect them?"
"No offense," Jace said, "but you kind of do."
"You know"—Alec's tone was sour—"maybe this was a stupid experiment."
"What about the dark?" Clary suggested. "We could lock you in the basement."
"I'm a demon hunter," Alec said, with exaggerated patience. "Clearly, I am not afraid of the
"Well, you might be."
"But I'm not."
Clary was spared replying by the buzz of the doorbell. She looked over at Luke, raising her
eyebrows. "Simon?"
"Couldn't be. It's daylight."
"Oh, right." She'd forgotten again. "Do you want me to get it?"
"No." He stood up with only a short grunt of pain. "I'm fine. It's probably someone
wondering why the bookstore's shut."
He crossed the room and threw the door open. His shoulders went stiff with surprise; Clary
heard the bark of a familiar, stridently angry female voice, and a moment later Isabelle and Maryse
Lightwood pushed past Luke and strode into the room, followed by the gray, menacing figure of
the Inquisitor. Behind them was a tall and burly man, dark-haired and olive-skinned, with a thick
black beard. Though it had been taken many years ago, Clary recognized him from the old photo
Hodge had showed her: This was Robert Lightwood, Alec and Isabelle's father.
Magnus's head went up with a snap. Jace paled markedly, but showed no other emotion. And
Alec—Alec stared from his sister, to his mother, to his father, and then looked at Magnus, his
clear, light blue eyes darkened with a hard resolution. He took a step forward, placing himself
between his parents and everyone else in the room.
Maryse, on seeing her eldest son in the middle of Luke's living room, did a double take. "Alec,
what on earth are you doing here? I thought I made it clear that—"
"Mother." Alec's voice as he interrupted his mother was firm, implacable, and not unkind.
"Father. There's something I have to tell you." He smiled at them. "I'm seeing someone."
Robert Lightwood looked at his son with some exasperation. "Alec," he said. "This is hardly
the time."
"Yes, it is. This is important. You see, I'm not just seeing anyone." Words seemed to be
pouring out of Alec in a torrent, while his parents looked on in confusion. Isabelle and Magnus
were staring at him with expressions of nearly identical astonishment. "I'm seeing a Downworlder.
In fact, I'm seeing a war—"
Magnus's fingers moved, quick as a flash of light, in Alec's direction. There was a faint
shimmer in the air around Alec—his eyes rolled up—and he dropped to the floor, felled like a
"Alec!" Maryse clapped her hand to her mouth. Isabelle, who had been standing closest to her
brother, dropped down beside him. But Alec had already begun to stir, his eyelids fluttering open.
"Wha—what—why am I on the floor?"
"That's a good question." Isabelle glowered down at her brother. "What was that?"
"What was what?" Alec sat up, holding his head. A look of alarm crossed his face. "Wait—
did I say anything? Before I passed out, I mean."
Jace snorted. "You know how we were wondering if that thing Clary did would work or not?"
he asked. "It works all right."
Alec looked supremely horrified. "What did I say?"
"You said you were seeing someone," his father told him. "Though you weren't clear as to
why that was important."
"It's not," Alec said. "I mean, I'm not seeing anyone. And it's not important. Or it wouldn't be
if I was seeing someone, which I'm not."
Magnus looked at him as if he were an idiot. "Alec's been delirious," he said. "Side effect of
some demon toxins. Most unfortunate, but he'll be fine soon."
"Demon toxins?" Maryse's voice had become shrill. "No one reported a demon attack to the
Institute. What is going on here, Lucian? This is your house, isn't it? You know perfectly well if
there's been a demon attack you're supposed to report it—"
"Luke was attacked too," Clary said. "He's been unconscious."
"How convenient. Everyone's either unconscious or apparently delirious," said the Inquisitor.
Her knifelike voice cut through the room, silencing everyone. "Downworlder, you know perfectly
well that Jonathan Morgenstern should not be in your house. He should have been locked up in
the warlock's care."
"I have a name, you know," Magnus said. "Not," he added, seeming to think twice about
interrupting the Inquisitor, "that that matters, really. In fact, forget all about it."
"I know your name, Magnus Bane," said the Inquisitor. "You've failed in your duty once; you
won't get another chance."
"Failed in my duty?" Magnus frowned. "Just by bringing the boy here? There was nothing in
the contract I signed that said I couldn't bring him with me at my own discretion."
"That wasn't your failure," the Inquisitor said. "Letting him see his father last night, that was
your failure."
There was a stunned silence. Alec scrambled up off the floor, his eyes seeking out Jace's—but
Jace wouldn't look at him. His face was a mask.
"That's ridiculous," Luke said. Clary had rarely seen him look so angry. "Jace doesn't even
know where Valentine is. Stop hounding him."
"Hounding is what I do, Downworlder," said the Inquisitor. "It's my job." She turned to Jace.
"Tell the truth, now, boy," she said, "and it will all be much easier."
Jace raised his chin. "I don't have to tell you anything."
"If you're innocent, why not exonerate yourself? Tell us where you really were last night. Tell
us about Valentine's little pleasure boat."
Clary stared at him. I went for a walk, he'd said. But that didn't mean anything. Maybe he
really had gone for a walk. But her heart, her stomach, felt sick. You know what the worst feeling
you can have is? Simon had said. Not trusting the person you love more than anything else in
the world.
When Jace didn't speak, Robert Lightwood said, in his deep bass voice: "Imogen? You're
saying Valentine is—was—"
"On a boat in the middle of the East River," said the Inquisitor. "That's correct."
"That's why I couldn't find him," Magnus said, half to himself. "All that water—it disrupted
my spell."
"What's Valentine doing in the middle of the river?" Luke said, bewildered.
"Ask Jonathan," said the Inquisitor. "He borrowed a motorcycle from the head of the city's
vampire clan and he flew it to the boat. Isn't that right, Jonathan?"
Jace said nothing. His face was unreadable. The Inquisitor, though, looked hungry, as if she
were feeding off the suspense in the room.
"Reach into the pocket of your jacket," she said. "Take out the object you've been carrying
with you since you last left the Institute."
Slowly, Jace did as she asked. As he drew his hand out of his pocket, Clary recognized the
shimmering blue-gray object he held. The piece of the Portal mirror.
"Give it to me." The Inquisitor snatched it out of his hand. He winced; the edge of the glass
had cut him, and blood welled up along his palm. Maryse made a soft noise, but didn't move. "I
knew you'd return to the Institute for this," said the Inquisitor, positively gloating now. "I knew
your sentimentality wouldn't allow you to leave it behind."
"What is it?" Robert Lightwood sounded bewildered.
"A bit of a Portal in mirror form," said the Inquisitor. "When the Portal was destroyed, the
image of its last destination was preserved." She turned the bit of glass over in her long, spidery
fingers. "In this case, the Wayland country house."
Jace's eyes followed the movement of the mirror. In the bit of it Clary could see, there seemed
to be a trapped piece of blue sky. She wondered if it ever rained in Idris.
With a sudden, violent motion at odds with her calm tone, the Inquisitor dashed the piece of
mirror to the ground. It shattered instantly into powdery shards. Clary heard Jace suck his breath
in, but he didn't move.
The Inquisitor drew on a pair of gray gloves and knelt among the bits of mirror, sifting them
through her fingers until she found what she was looking for—a single sheet of thin paper. She
stood, holding it up for everyone in the room to see the thick rune written on it in black ink. "I
marked this paper with a tracking rune and slipped it between the bit of mirror and its backing.
Then I replaced it in the boy's room. Don't feel bad for not noticing it," she said to Jace. "Older
heads and wiser than yours have been fooled by the Clave."
"You've been spying on me," Jace said, and now his voice was colored with anger. "Is that
what the Clave does, invade the privacy of its fellow Shadowhunters to—"
"Be careful what you say to me. You are not the only one who's broken the Law." The
Inquisitor's chilly gaze slid around the room. "In releasing you from the Silent City, in freeing you
from the warlock's control, your friends have done the same."
"Jace isn't our friend," said Isabelle. "He's our brother."
"I'd be careful what you say, Isabelle Lightwood," said the Inquisitor. "You could be
considered complicit."
"Complicit?" To everyone's surprise, it was Robert Lightwood who had spoken. "The girl
was just trying to keep you from shattering our family. For God's sake, Imogen, these are all just
"Children?" The Inquisitor turned her icicle gaze on Robert. "Just as you were children when
the Circle plotted the destruction of the Clave? Just as my son was a child when he—" She
caught herself with a sort of gasp, as if gaining control of herself by main force.
"So this is about Stephen after all," said Luke, with a sort of pity in his voice. "Imogen—"
The Inquisitor's face contorted. "This is not about Stephen! This is about the Law!"
Maryse's thin fingers twisted as her hands worked at each other. "And Jace," she said.
"What's going to happen to him?"
"He will return to Idris with me tomorrow," said the Inquisitor. "You've forfeited your right to
know any more than that."
"How can you take him back to that place?" Clary demanded. "When will he come back?"
"Clary, don't," Jace said. The words were a plea, but she battled on.
"Jace isn't the problem here! Valentine is the problem!"
"Leave it alone, Clary!" Jace yelled. "For your own good, leave it alone!"
Clary couldn't help herself, she flinched away from him—he'd never shouted at her like that,
not even when she'd dragged him to their mother's hospital room. She saw the look on his face as
he registered her flinch and wished she could take it back somehow.
Before she could say anything else, Luke's hand descended onto her shoulder. He spoke,
sounding as grave as he had the night he'd told her the story of his life. "If the boy went to his
father," he said, "knowing the kind of father Valentine was, it is because we failed him, not
because he has failed us."
"Save your sophistry, Lucian," said the Inquisitor. "You've gone as soft as a mundane."
"She's right." Alec was sitting on the edge of the sofa, his arms crossed and his jaw set. "Jace
lied to us. There's no excuse for that."
Jace's jaw dropped. He'd been sure of Alec's loyalty, at least, and Clary didn't blame him.
Even Isabelle was staring at her brother in horror. "Alec, how can you say that?"
"The Law is the Law, Izzy," said Alec, not looking at his sister. "There's no way around that."
At that, Isabelle gave a little gasping cry of rage and astonishment and bolted out the front
door, letting it swing open behind her. Maryse made a move as if to follow her, but Robert drew
his wife back, saying something in a low voice.
Magnus got to his feet. "I do believe that's my cue to leave as well," he said. Clary noticed he
was avoiding looking at Alec. "I'd say it's been nice meeting you all, but, in fact, it hasn't. It's
been quite awkward, and frankly, the next time I see a single one of you will be far too soon."
Alec stared at the ground as Magnus stalked out of the living room and through the front door.
This time it shut behind him with a bang.
"Two down," said Jace, with ghastly amusement. "Who's next?"
"That's enough from you," said the Inquisitor. "Give me your hands."
Jace held his hands out as the Inquisitor produced a stele from some hidden pocket and
proceeded to trace a Mark around the circumference of his wrists. When she took her hands
away, Jace's wrists were crossed, one over the other, bound together with what looked like a
circlet of burning flames.
Clary cried out. "What are you doing? You'll hurt him—"
"I'm fine, little sister." Jace spoke calmly enough, but she noticed that he couldn't seem to
look at her. "The flames won't burn me unless I try to get my hands free."
"And as for you," the Inquisitor added, and turned on Clary, much to Clary's surprise. Up
until now the Inquisitor had barely seemed to notice she was alive. "You were lucky enough to be
raised by Jocelyn and escape your father's taint. Nevertheless, I'll be keeping an eye on you."
Luke's grip tightened on Clary's shoulder. "Is that a threat?"
"The Clave does not make threats, Lucian Graymark. The Clave makes promises and keeps
them." The Inquisitor sounded almost cheerful. She was the only one in the room who could be
described that way; everyone else looked shell-shocked, except for Jace. His teeth were bared in
a snarl Clary doubted he was even aware of. He looked like a lion in a trap.
"Come, Jonathan," the Inquisitor said. "Walk in front of me. If you make a single move to
flee, I'll put a blade between your shoulders."
Jace had to struggle to turn the front doorknob with his bound hands. Clary set her teeth to
keep from screaming, and then the door was open and Jace was gone and so was the Inquisitor.
The Lightwoods followed in a line, Alec still staring at the ground. The door shut behind them
and Clary and Luke were alone in the living room, silent in shared disbelief.


Post a Comment