Tuesday, 6 November 2012

City of Ashes - Chapter 7

A muttering gasp went through the crowd. The ones who were hooded threw their hoods
back, and Clary could see from the looks on the faces of Jace, Alec, and Isabelle that many of the
Shadowhunters in the courtyard were familiar to them.
"By the Angel." Maryse's incredulous gaze swept from Alec to Jace, passed over Clary, and
returned to her daughter. Jace had moved away from Alec the moment Maryse spoke, and he
stood a little way away from the other three, his hands in his pockets as Isabelle nervously twisted
her golden-white whip in her hands. Alec, meanwhile, seemed to be fidgeting with his cell phone,
though Clary couldn't imagine who he might be calling. "What are you doing here, Alec? Isabelle?
There was a distress call from the Silent City—"
"We answered it," Alec said. His gaze moved anxiously over the gathered crowd. Clary could
hardly blame him for his nerves. This was the largest crowd of adult Shadowhunters—of
Shadowhunters in general—that she herself had ever seen. She kept looking from face to face,
marking the differences between them—they varied widely in age and race and overall
appearance, and yet they all gave the same impression of immense, contained power. She could
sense their subtle gazes on her, examining her, evaluating. One of them, a woman with rippling
silver hair, was staring at her so fiercely that there was nothing subtle about it. Clary blinked and
looked away as Alec continued, "You weren't at the Institute—and we couldn't raise anyone—so
we came ourselves."
"It doesn't matter, anyway," Alec said. "They're dead. The Silent Brothers. They're all dead.
They've been murdered."
This time there was no sound from the assembled crowd. Instead they seemed to go still, the
way a pride of lions might go still when it spotted a gazelle.
"Dead?" Maryse repeated. "What do you mean, they're dead?"
"I think it's quite clear what he means." A woman in a long gray coat had appeared suddenly at
Maryse's side. In the flickering light she looked to Clary like a sort of Edward Gorey caricature,
all sharp angles and pulled-back hair and eyes like black pits scraped out of her face. She held a
glimmering chunk of witchlight on a long silver chain, looped through the skinniest fingers Clary
had ever seen. "They are all dead?" she asked, addressing herself to Alec. "You found no one
alive in the City?"
Alec shook his head. "Not that we saw, Inquisitor."
So that was the Inquisitor, Clary realized. She certainly looked like someone capable of
tossing teenage boys into dungeon cells for no reason other than that she didn't like their attitude.
"That you saw," repeated the Inquisitor, her eyes like hard, glittering beads. She turned to
Maryse. "There may yet be survivors. I would send your people into the City for a thorough
Maryse's lips tightened. From what very little Clary had learned about Maryse, she knew that
Jace's adoptive mother didn't like being told what to do. "Very well."
She turned to the rest of the Shadowhunters—there were not as many, Clary was coming to
Previous Top Next
realize, as she had initially thought, closer to twenty than thirty, though the shock of their
appearance had made them seem like a teeming crowd.
Maryse spoke to Malik in a low voice. He nodded. Taking the arm of the silver-haired woman,
he led the Shadowhunters toward the entrance to the Bone City. As one after another descended
the stairs, taking their witchlight with them, the glow in the courtyard began to fade. The last one
in line was the woman with the silver hair. Halfway down the stairs she paused, turned, and
looked back—directly at Clary. Her eyes were full of a terrible yearning, as if she longed
desperately to tell Clary something. After a moment she drew her hood back up over her face and
vanished into the shadows.
Maryse broke the silence. "Why would anyone murder the Silent Brothers? They're not
warriors, they don't carry battle Marks—"
"Don't be naïve, Maryse," said the Inquisitor. "This was no random attack. The Silent
Brothers may not be warriors, but they are primarily guardians, and very good at their jobs. Not
to mention hard to kill. Someone wanted something from the Bone City and was willing to kill the
Silent Brothers to get it. This was premeditated."
"What makes you so sure?"
"That wild goose chase that called us all out to Central Park? The dead fey child?"
"I wouldn't call that a wild goose chase. The fey child was drained of blood, like the others.
These killings could cause serious trouble between the Night Children and other Downworlders—
"Distractions," said the Inquisitor dismissively. "He wanted us gone from the Institute so that
no one would respond to the Brothers when they called for aid. Ingenious, really. But then he
always was ingenious."
"He?" It was Isabelle who spoke, her face very pale between the black wings of her hair. "You
Jace's next words sent a shock through Clary, as if she'd touched a live current. "Valentine,"
he said. "Valentine took the Mortal Sword. That's why he killed the Silent Brothers."
A thin, sudden smile curved on the Inquisitor's face, as if Jace had said something that pleased
her very much.
Alec started and turned to stare at Jace. "Valentine? But you didn't say he was here."
"Nobody asked."
"He couldn't have killed the Brothers. They were torn apart. No one person could have done
all that."
"He probably had demonic help," said the Inquisitor. "He's used demons to aid him before.
And with the protection of the Cup on him, he could summon some very dangerous creatures.
More dangerous than Raveners," she added with a curl of her lip, and though she didn't look at
Clary when she said it, the words felt somehow like a verbal slap. Clary's faint hope that the
Inquisitor hadn't noticed or recognized her vanished. "Or the pathetic Forsaken."
"I don't know about that." Jace was very pale, with hectic spots like fever on his cheekbones.
"But it was Valentine. I saw him. In fact, he had the Sword with him when he came down to the
cells and taunted me through the bars. It was like a bad movie, except he didn't actually twirl his
Clary looked at him worriedly. He was talking too fast, she thought, and looked unsteady on
his feet.
The Inquisitor didn't seem to notice. "So you're saying that Valentine told you all this? He told
you he killed the Silent Brothers because he wanted the Angel's Sword?"
"What else did he tell you? Did he tell you where he was going? What he plans to do with the
two Mortal Instruments?" Maryse asked quickly.
Jace shook his head.
The Inquisitor moved toward him, her coat swirling around her like drifting smoke. Her gray
eyes and gray mouth were drawn into tight horizontal lines. "I don't believe you."
Jace just looked at her. "I didn't think you would."
"I doubt the Clave will believe you either."
Alec said hotly, "Jace isn't a liar—"
"Use your brain, Alexander," said the Inquisitor, not taking her eyes off Jace. "Leave aside
your loyalty to your friend for a moment. What's the likelihood that Valentine stopped by his
son's cell for a paternal chat about the Soul-Sword, and didn't mention what he planned to do
with it, or even where he was going?"
"S'io credesse che mia risposta fosse," Jace said in a language Clary didn't know, "a persona
che mai tornasse al mondo…"
"Dante." The Inquisitor looked dryly amused. "The Inferno. You're not in hell yet, Jonathan
Morgenstern, though if you insist on lying to the Clave, you'll wish you were." She turned back to
the others. "And doesn't it seem odd to anyone that the Soul-Sword should disappear the night
before Jonathan Morgenstern is supposed to stand trial by its blade—and that his father is the one
who took it?"
Jace looked shocked at that, his lips parting slightly in surprise, as if this had never occurred
to him. "My father didn't take the Sword for me. He took it for him. I doubt he even knew about
the trial."
"How awfully convenient for you, regardless. And for him. He won't have to worry about you
spilling his secrets."
"Yeah," Jace said, "he's terrified I'll tell everyone that he's always really wanted to be a
ballerina." The Inquisitor simply stared at him. "I don't know any of my father's secrets," he said,
less sharply. "He never told me anything."
The Inquisitor regarded him with something close to boredom. "If your father didn't take the
Sword to protect you, then why did he take it?"
"It's a Mortal Instrument," said Clary. "It's powerful. Like the Cup. Valentine likes power."
"The Cup has an immediate use," said the Inquisitor. "He can use it to make an army. The
Sword is used in trials. I can't see how that would interest him."
"He might have done it to destabilize the Clave," suggested Maryse. "To sap our morale. To
say that there is nothing we can protect from him if he wants it badly enough." It was a
surprisingly good argument, Clary thought, but Maryse didn't sound very convinced. "The fact
But they never got to hear what the fact was, because at that moment Jace raised his hand as if
he meant to ask a question, looked startled, and sat down on the grass suddenly, as if his legs had
given out. Alec knelt down next to him, but Jace waved away his concern. "Leave me alone. I'm
"You're not fine." Clary joined Alec on the grass, Jace watching her with eyes whose pupils
were huge and dark, despite the witchlight illuminating the night. She glanced down at his wrist,
where Alec had drawn the iratze. The Mark was gone, not even a faint white scar left behind to
show that it had worked. Her eyes met Alec's and she saw her own anxiety reflected there.
"Something's wrong with him," she said. "Something serious."
"He probably needs a healing rune." The Inquisitor looked as if she were exquisitely annoyed
at Jace for being injured during events of such importance. "An iratze, or—"
"We tried that," said Alec. "It isn't working. I think there's something of demonic origin going
on here."
"Like demon poison?" Maryse moved as if she meant to go to Jace, but the Inquisitor held her
"He's shamming," she said. "He ought to be in the Silent City's cells right now."
Alec rose to his feet at that. "You can't say that—look at him!" He gestured at Jace, who had
slumped back on the grass, his eyes closed. "He can't even stand up. He needs doctors, he
"The Silent Brothers are dead," said the Inquisitor. "Are you suggesting a mundane hospital?"
"No." Alec's voice was tight. "I thought he could go to Magnus."
Isabelle made a sound somewhere between a sneeze and a cough. She turned away as the
Inquisitor looked at Alec blankly. "Magnus?"
"He's a warlock," said Alec. "Actually, he's the High Warlock of Brooklyn."
"You mean Magnus Bane," said Maryse. "He has a reputation—"
"He healed me after I fought a Greater Demon," said Alec. "The Silent Brothers couldn't do
anything, but Magnus…"
"It's ridiculous," said the Inquisitor. "What you want is to help Jonathan escape."
"He's not well enough to escape," Isabelle said. "Can't you see that?"
"Magnus would never let that happen," Alec said, with a quelling glance at his sister. "He's not
interested in crossing the Clave."
"And how would he propose preventing it?" The Inquisitor's voice dripped acid sarcasm.
"Jonathan is a Shadowhunter; we're not so easy to keep under lock and key."
"Maybe you should ask him," Alec suggested.
The Inquisitor smiled her razor smile. "By all means. Where is he?"
Alec glanced down at the phone in his hand and then back at the thin gray figure in front of
him. "He's here," he said. He raised his voice. "Magnus! Magnus, come on out."
Even the Inquisitor's eyebrows shot up when Magnus strode through the gate. The High
Warlock was wearing black leather pants, a belt with a buckle in the shape of a jeweled M, and a
cobalt-blue Prussian military jacket open over a white lace shirt. He shimmered with layers of
glitter. His gaze rested for a moment on Alec's face with amusement and a hint of something else
before moving on to Jace, prone on the grass. "Is he dead?" he inquired. "He looks dead."
"No," snapped Maryse. "He's not dead."
"Have you checked? I could kick him if you want." Magnus moved toward Jace.
"Stop that!" the Inquisitor snapped, sounding like Clary's third-grade teacher demanding that
she stop doodling on her desk with a marker. "He's not dead, but he's injured," she added, almost
grudgingly. "Your medical skills are required. Jonathan needs to be well enough for the
"Fine, but it'll cost you."
"I'll pay it," said Maryse.
The Inquisitor didn't even blink. "Very well. But he can't remain at the Institute. Just because
the Sword is gone doesn't mean the interrogation won't proceed as planned. And in the meantime,
the boy must be held under observation. He's clearly a flight risk."
"A flight risk?" Isabelle demanded. "You act as if he tried to escape from the Silent City—"
"Well," the Inquisitor said. "He's no longer in his cell now, is he?"
"That's not fair! You couldn't have expected him to stay down there surrounded by dead
"Not fair? Not fair? Do you honestly expect me to believe that you and your brother were
motivated to come to the Bone City because of a distress call, and not because you wanted to
free Jonathan from what you clearly consider unnecessary confinement? And do you expect me
to believe you won't try to free him again if he's allowed to remain at the Institute? Do you think
you can fool me as easily as you fool your parents, Isabelle Lightwood?"
Isabelle turned scarlet. Magnus cut in before she could reply:
"Look, it's not a problem," he said. "I can keep Jace at my place easily enough."
The Inquisitor turned to Alec. "Your warlock does realize," she said, "that Jonathan is a
witness of utmost importance to the Clave?"
"He's not my warlock." The tops of Alec's angular cheekbones flared a dark red.
"I've held prisoners for the Clave before," Magnus said. The joking edge had left his voice. "I
think you'll find I have an excellent record in that department. My contract is one of the best."
Was it Clary's imagination, or did his eyes seem to linger on Maryse when he said that? She
didn't have time to wonder; the Inquisitor made a sharp noise that might have been amusement or
disgust, and said, "It's settled, then. Let me know when he's well enough to talk, warlock. I've still
got plenty of questions for him."
"Of course," Magnus said, but Clary got the sense that he wasn't really listening to her. He
crossed the lawn gracefully and came to stand over Jace; he was as tall as he was thin, and when
Clary glanced up to look at him, she was surprised how many stars he blotted out. "Can he talk?"
Magnus asked Clary, indicating Jace.
Before Clary could respond, Jace's eyes slid open. He looked up at the warlock, dazed and
dizzy. "What are you doing here?"
Magnus grinned down at Jace, and his teeth sparkled like sharpened diamonds.
"Hey, roommate," he said.


Post a Comment