Monday, 3 December 2012

City of Glass - Chapter 4

Night had fallen over Alicante when Simon and Alec left the Penhallows’ house and headed uphill toward the Gard. The
streets of the city were narrow and twisting, wending upward like pale stone ribbons in the moonlight. The air was cold, though
Simon felt it only distantly.
Alec walked along in silence, striding ahead of Simon as if pretending that he were alone. In his previous life Simon would have had
to hurry, panting, to keep up; now he discovered he could pace Alec just by speeding up his stride. “Must suck,” Simon said
finally, as Alec stared morosely ahead. “Getting stuck with escorting me, I mean.”
Alec shrugged. “I’m eighteen. I’m an adult, so I have to be the responsible one. I’m the only one who can go in and out of the
Gard when the Clave’s in session, and besides, the Consul knows me.”
“What’s a Consul?”
“He’s like a very high officer of the Clave. He counts the votes of the Council, interprets the Law for the Clave, and advises them
and the Inquisitor. If you head up an Institute and you run into a problem you don’t know how to deal with, you call the Consul.”
“He advises the Inquisitor? I thought—isn’t the Inquisitor dead?”
Alec snorted. “That’s like saying, ‘Isn’t the president dead?’ Yeah, the Inquisitor died; now there’s a new one. Inquisitor
Simon glanced down the hill toward the dark water of the canals far below. They’d left the city behind them and were treading a
narrow road between shadowy trees. “I’ll tell you, inquisitions haven’t worked out well for my people in the past.” Alec looked
blank. “Never mind. Just a mundane history joke. You wouldn’t be interested.”
“You’re not a mundane,” Alec pointed out. “That’s why Aline and Sebastian were so excited to get a look at you. Not that you
can tell with Sebastian; he always acts like he’s seen everything already.”
Simon spoke without thinking. “Are he and Isabelle…Is there something going on there?”
That startled a laugh out of Alec. “Isabelle and Sebastian? Hardly. Sebastian’s a nice guy—Isabelle only likes dating thoroughly
inappropriate boys our parents will hate. Mundanes, Downworlders, petty crooks…”
“Thanks,” Simon said. “I’m glad to be classed with the criminal element.”
“I think she does it for attention,” Alec said. “She’s the only girl in the family too, so she has to keep proving how tough she is. Or
at least, that’s what she thinks.”
“Or maybe she’s trying to take the attention off you,” Simon said, almost absently. “You know, since your parents don’t know
you’re gay and all.”
Alec stopped in the middle of the road so suddenly that Simon almost crashed into him. “No,” he said, “but apparently everyone
else does.”
“Except Jace,” Simon said. “He doesn’t know, does he?”
Alec took a deep breath. He was pale, Simon thought, or it could have just been the moonlight, washing the color out of
everything. His eyes looked black in the darkness. “I really don’t see what business it is of yours. Unless you’re trying to threaten
“Trying to threaten you?” Simon was taken aback. “I’m not—”
“Then why?” said Alec, and there was a sudden, sharp vulnerability in his voice that took Simon aback. “Why bring it up?”
“Because,” Simon said. “You seem to hate me most of the time. I don’t take it that personally, even if I did save your life. You
seem to kind of hate the whole world. And besides, we have practically nothing in common. But I see you looking at Jace, and I
see myself looking at Clary, and I figure—maybe we have that one thing in common. And maybe it might make you dislike me a
little less.”
“So you’re not going to tell Jace?” Alec said. “I mean—you told Clary how you felt, and…”
“And it wasn’t the best idea,” said Simon. “Now I wonder all the time how you go back after something like that. Whether we can
ever be friends again, or if what we had is broken into pieces. Not because of her, but because of me. Maybe if I found someone
“Someone else,” Alec repeated. He had started walking again, very quickly, staring at the road ahead of him.
Simon hurried to keep up. “You know what I mean. For instance, I think Magnus Bane really likes you. And he’s pretty cool. He
throws great parties, anyway. Even if I did get turned into a rat that time.”
“Thanks for the advice.” Alec’s voice was dry. “But I don’t think he likes me all that much. He barely spoke to me when he came
to open the Portal at the Institute.”
“Maybe you should call him,” Simon suggested, trying not to think too hard about how weird it was to be giving a demon hunter
advice about possibly dating a warlock.
“Can’t,” Alec said. “No phones in Idris. It doesn’t matter, anyway.” His tone was abrupt. “We’re here. This is the Gard.”
A high wall rose in front of them, set with a pair of enormous gates. The gates were carved with the swirling, angular patterns of
runes, and though Simon couldn’t read them as Clary could, there was something dazzling in their complexity and the sense of
power that emanated from them. The gates were guarded by stone angel statues on either side, their faces fierce and beautiful.
Each held a carved sword in its hand, and a writhing creature—a mixture of rat, bat, and lizard, with nasty pointed teeth—lay dying
at its feet. Simon stood looking at them for a long moment. Demons, he figured—but they could just as easily be vampires.
Alec pushed the gate open and gestured for Simon to pass through. Once inside, he blinked around in confusion. Since he’d
become a vampire, his night vision had sharpened to a laserlike clarity, but the dozens of torches lining the path to the doors of the
Gard were made of witchlight, and the harsh white glow seemed to bleach the detail out of everything. He was vaguely aware of
Alec guiding him forward down a narrow stone pathway that shone with reflected illumination, and then there was someone
standing on the path in front of him, blocking his way with an upraised arm.
“So this is the vampire?” The voice that spoke was deep enough to nearly be a growl. Simon looked up, the light stinging his eyes
to burning—they would have teared up if he’d still been able to shed tears. Witchlight, he thought, angel light, burns me. I
suppose it’s no surprise.
The man standing in front of them was very tall, with sallow skin stretched over prominent cheekbones. Under a close-cropped
dome of black hair, his forehead was high, his nose beaked and Roman. His expression as he looked down at Simon was the look
of a subway commuter watching a large rat run back and forth on the rails, half-hoping a train will come along and squish it.
“This is Simon,” said Alec, a little uncertainly. “Simon, this is Consul Malachi DieudonnĂ©. Is the Portal ready, sir?”
“Yes,” Malachi said. His voice was harsh and carried a faint accent. “Everything is in readiness. Come, Downworlder.” He
beckoned to Simon. “The sooner this is all over, the better.”
Simon moved to go to the chief officer, but Alec stopped him with a hand on his arm. “Just a moment,” he said, addressing the
Consul. “He’ll be sent directly back to Manhattan? And there will be someone waiting there on the other side for him?”
“Indeed,” said Malachi. “The warlock Magnus Bane. Since he unwisely allowed the vampire into Idris in the first place, he’s taken
responsibility for his return.”
“If Magnus hadn’t let Simon through the Portal, he would have died,” Alec said, a little sharply.
“Perhaps,” said Malachi. “That’s what your parents say, and the Clave has chosen to believe them. Against my advice, in fact. Still,
one does not lightly bring Downworlders into the City of Glass.”
“There was nothing light about it.” Anger surged in Simon’s chest. “We were under attack—”
Malachi turned his gaze on Simon. “You will speak when you are spoken to, Downworlder, not before.”
Alec’s hand tightened on Simon’s arm. There was a look on his face—half hesitation, half suspicion, as if he were doubting his
wisdom in bringing Simon here after all.
“Now, Consul, really!” The voice carrying through the courtyard was high, a little breathless, and Simon saw with some surprise
that it belonged to a man—a small, round man hurrying along the path toward them. He was wearing a loose gray cloak over his
Shadowhunter gear, and his bald head glistened in the witchlight. “There’s no need to alarm our guest.”
“Guest?” Malachi looked outraged.
The small man came to a halt before Alec and Simon and beamed at them both. “We’re so glad—pleased, really—that you
decided to cooperate with our request that you return to New York. It does make everything so much easier.” He twinkled at
Simon, who stared back at him in confusion. He didn’t think he’d ever met a Shadowhunter who seemed pleased to see him—not
when he was a mundane, and definitely not now that he was a vampire. “Oh, I almost forgot!” The little man slapped himself on the
forehead in remorse. “I should have introduced myself. I’m the Inquisitor—the new Inquisitor. Inquisitor Aldertree is my name.”
Aldertree held his hand out to Simon, and in a welter of confusion Simon took it. “And you. Your name is Simon?”
“Yes,” Simon said, drawing his hand back as soon as he could. Aldertree’s grip was unpleasantly moist and clammy. “There’s no
need to thank me for cooperating. All I want is to go home.”
“I’m sure you do, I’m sure you do!” Though Aldertree’s tone was jovial, something flashed across his face as he spoke—an
expression Simon couldn’t pin down. It was gone in a moment, as Aldertree smiled and gestured toward a narrow path that wound
alongside the Gard. “This way, Simon, if you please.”
Simon moved forward, and Alec made as if to follow him. The Inquisitor held up a hand. “That’s all we’ll be needing from you,
Alexander. Thank you for your help.”
“But Simon—,” Alec began.
“Will be just fine,” the Inquisitor assured him. “Malachi, please show Alexander out. And give him a witchlight rune-stone to get
him back home if he hasn’t brought one. The path can be tricky at night.”
And with another beatific smile, he whisked Simon away, leaving Alec staring after them both.
The world flared up around Clary in an almost tangible blur as Luke carried her over the threshold of the house and down a long
hallway, Amatis hurrying ahead of them with her witch- light. More than half-delirious, she stared as the corridor unfolded before
her, growing longer and longer like a corridor in a nightmare.
The world turned on its side. Suddenly she was lying on a cold surface, and hands were smoothing a blanket over her. Blue eyes
gazed down at her. “She seems so ill, Lucian,” Amatis said, in a voice that was warped and distorted like an old recording. “What
happened to her?”
“She drank about half of Lake Lyn.” The sound of Luke’s voice faded, and for a moment Clary’s vision cleared: She was lying on
the cold tiled floor of a kitchen, and somewhere above her head Luke was rummaging in a cabinet. The kitchen had peeling yellow
walls and an old-fashioned black cast-iron stove against one wall; flames leaped behind the stove grating, making her eyes hurt.
“Anise, belladonna, hellbore…” Luke turned away from the cabinet with an armful of glass canisters. “Can you boil these together,
Amatis? I’m going to move her closer to the stove. She’s shivering.”
Clary tried to speak, to say that she didn’t need to be warmed, that she was burning up, but the sounds that came out of her mouth
weren’t the ones she’d intended. She heard herself whimper as Luke lifted her, and then there was heat, thawing her left side—she
hadn’t even realized she was cold. Her teeth clicked together hard, and she tasted blood in her mouth. The world began to tremble
around her like water shaken in a glass.
“The Lake of Dreams?” Amatis’s voice was full of disbelief. Clary couldn’t see her clearly, but she seemed to be standing near the
stove, a long-handled wooden spoon in her hand. “What were you doing there? Does Jocelyn know where—”
And the world was gone, or at least the real world, the kitchen with the yellow walls and the comforting fire behind the grate.
Instead she saw the waters of Lake Lyn, with fire reflected in them as if in the surface of a piece of polished glass. Angels were
walking on the glass—angels with white wings that hung bloodied and broken from their backs, and each of them had Jace’s face.
And then there were other angels, with wings of black shadow, and they touched their hands to the fire and laughed….
“She keeps calling out for her brother.” Amatis’s voice sounded hollow, as if filtering down from impossibly high overhead. “He’s
with the Lightwoods, isn’t he? They’re staying with the Penhallows on Princewater Street. I could—”
“No,” Luke said sharply. “No. It’s better Jace doesn’t know about this.”
Was I calling out for Jace? Why would I do that? Clary wondered, but the thought was short-lived; the darkness came back,
and the hallucinations claimed her again. This time she dreamed of Alec and of Isabelle; both looked as if they’d been through a
fierce battle, their faces streaked with grime and tears. Then they were gone, and she dreamed of a faceless man with black wings
sprouting from his back like a bat’s. Blood ran from his mouth when he smiled. Praying that the visions would vanish, Clary
squeezed her eyes shut….
It was a long time before she surfaced again to the sound of voices above her. “Drink this,” Luke said. “Clary, you have to drink
this,” and then there were hands on her back and fluid was being dripped into her mouth from a soaked rag. It tasted bitter and
awful and she choked and gagged on it, but the hands on her back were firm. She swallowed, past the pain in her swollen throat.
“There,” said Luke. “There, that should be better.”
Clary opened her eyes slowly. Kneeling beside her were Luke and Amatis, their nearly identically blue eyes filled with matching
concern. She glanced behind them and saw nothing—no angels or devils with bat wings, only yellow walls and a pale pink teakettle
balanced precariously on a windowsill.
“Am I going to die?” she whispered.
Luke smiled haggardly. “No. It’ll be a little while before you’re back on form, but—you’ll survive.”
“Okay.” She was too exhausted to feel much of anything, even relief. It felt as if all her bones had been removed, leaving a limp suit
of skin behind. Looking up drowsily through her eyelashes, she said, almost without thinking, “Your eyes are the same.”
Luke blinked. “The same as what?”
“As hers,” Clary said, moving her sleepy gaze to Amatis, who looked perplexed. “The same blue.”
The ghost of a smile passed over Luke’s face. “Well, it’s not that surprising, considering,” he said. “I didn’t get a chance to
introduce you properly before. Clary, this is Amatis Herondale. My sister.”
The Inquisitor fell silent the moment Alec and the chief officer were out of earshot. Simon followed him up the narrow witch-lit
path, trying not to squint into the light. He was aware of the Gard rising up around him like the side of a ship rising up out of the
ocean; lights blazed from its windows, staining the sky with a silvery light. There were low windows too, set at ground level.
Several were barred, and there was only darkness within.
At length they reached a wooden door set into an archway at the side of the building. Aldertree moved to free the lock, and
Simon’s stomach tightened. People, he’d noticed since he’d become a vampire, had a scent around them that changed with their
moods. The Inquisitor stank of something bitter and strong as coffee, but much more unpleasant. Simon felt the prickling pain in his
jaw that meant that his fang teeth wanted to come out, and shrank back from the Inquisitor as he passed through the door.
The hallway beyond was long and white, almost tunnel-like, as if it had been carved out of white rock. The Inquisitor hurried along,
his witchlight bouncing brightly off the walls. For such a short-legged man he moved remarkably fast, turning his head from side to
side as he went, his nose wrinkling as if he were smelling the air. Simon had to hurry to keep pace as they passed a set of huge
double doors, thrown wide open like wings. In the room beyond, Simon could see an amphitheater with row upon row of chairs in
it, each one occupied by a black-clad Shadowhunter. Voices echoed off the walls, many raised in anger, and Simon caught
snatches of the conversation as he passed, the words blurring as the speakers overlapped each other.
“But we have no proof of what Valentine wants. He has communicated his wishes to no one—”
“What does it matter what he wants? He’s a renegade and a liar; do you really think any attempt to appease him would benefit us
in the end?”
“You know a patrol found the dead body of a werewolf child on the outskirts of Brocelind? Drained of blood. It looks like
Valentine’s completed the Ritual here in Idris.”
“With two of the Mortal Instruments in his possession, he’s more powerful than any one Nephilim has a right to be. We may have
no choice—”
“My cousin died on that ship in New York! There’s no way we’re letting Valentine get away with what he’s already done! There
must be retribution!”
Simon hesitated, curious to hear more, but the Inquisitor was buzzing around him like a fat, irritable bee. “Come along, come
along,” he said, swinging his witchlight in front of him. “We don’t have a lot of time to waste. I should get back to the meeting
before it ends.”
Reluctantly, Simon allowed the Inquisitor to push him along the corridor, the word “retribution” still ringing in his ears. The reminder
of that night on the ship was cold, unpleasant. When they reached a door carved with a single stark black rune, the Inquisitor
produced a key and unlocked it, ushering Simon inside with a broad gesture of welcome.
The room beyond was bare, decorated with a single tapestry that showed an angel rising out of a lake, clutching a sword in one
hand and a cup in the other. The fact that he’d seen both the Cup and the Sword before momentarily distracted Simon. It wasn’t
until he heard the click of a lock sliding home that he realized the Inquisitor had bolted the door behind him, locking them both in.
Simon glanced around. There was no furniture in the room besides a bench with a low table beside it. A decorative silver bell
rested on the table. “The Portal…It’s in here?” he asked uncertainly.
“Simon, Simon.” Aldertree rubbed his hands together as if anticipating a birthday party or some other delightful event. “Are you
really in such a hurry to leave? There are a few questions I had so hoped to ask you first….”
“Okay.” Simon shrugged uncomfortably. “Ask me whatever you want, I guess.”
“How very cooperative of you! How delightful!” Aldertree beamed. “So, how long is it exactly that you’ve been a vampire?”
“About two weeks.”
“And how did it happen? Were you attacked on the street, or perhaps in your bed at night? Do you know who it was who Turned
“Well—not exactly.”
“But, my boy!” Aldertree cried. “How could you not know something like that?” The look he bent on Simon was open and
curious. He seemed so harmless, Simon thought. Like someone’s grandfather or funny old uncle. Simon must have imagined the
bitter smell.
“It really wasn’t that simple,” said Simon, and went on to explain about his two trips to the Dumort, one as a rat and the second
under a compulsion so strong it had felt like a giant set of pincers holding him in their grasp and marching him exactly where they
wanted him to go. “And so you see,” he finished, “the moment I walked in the door of the hotel, I was attacked—I don’t know
which of them it was who Turned me, or if it was all of them somehow.”
The Inquisitor clucked. “Oh dear, oh dear. That’s not good at all. That’s very upsetting.”
“I certainly thought so,” Simon agreed.
“The Clave won’t be pleased.”
“What?” Simon was baffled. “What does the Clave care how I became a vampire?”
“Well, it would be one thing if you were attacked,” Aldertree said apologetically. “But you just walked out there and, well, gave
yourself up to the vampires, you see? It looks a bit as if you wanted to be one.”
“I didn’t want to be one! That’s not why I went to the hotel!”
“Of course, of course.” Aldertree’s voice was soothing. “Let’s move to another topic, shall we?” Without waiting for a response,
he went on. “How is it that the vampires let you survive to rise again, young Simon? Considering that you trespassed on their
territory, their normal procedure would have been to feed until you died, and then burn your body to prevent you from rising.”
Simon opened his mouth to reply, to tell the Inquisitor how Raphael had taken him to the Institute, and how Clary and Jace and
Isabelle had brought him to the cemetery and watched over him as he’d dug his way out of his own grave. Then he hesitated. He
had only the vaguest idea how the Law worked, but he doubted somehow that it was standard Shadowhunter procedure to watch
over vampires as they rose, or to provide them with blood for their first feeding. “I don’t know,” he said. “I have no idea why they
Turned me instead of killing me.”
“But one of them must have let you drink his blood, or you wouldn’t be…well, what you are today. Are you saying you don’t
know who your vampire sire was?”
My vampire sire? Simon had never thought of it that way—he’d gotten Raphael’s blood in his mouth almost by accident. And it
was hard to think of the vampire boy as a sire of any sort. Raphael looked younger than Simon did. “I’m afraid not.”
“Oh, dear.” The Inquisitor sighed. “Most unfortunate.”
“What’s unfortunate?”
“Well, that you’re lying to me, my boy.” Aldertree shook his head. “And I had so hoped you’d cooperate. This is terrible, just
terrible. You wouldn’t consider telling me the truth? Just as a favor?”
“I am telling you the truth!”
The Inquisitor drooped like an unwatered flower. “Such a shame.” He sighed again. “Such a shame.” He crossed the room then
and rapped sharply on the door, still shaking his head.
“What’s going on?” Alarm and confusion tinged Simon’s voice. “What about the Portal?”
“The Portal?” Aldertree giggled. “You didn’t really think I was just going to let you go, did you?”
Before Simon could say a word in reply, the door burst open and Shadowhunters in black gear poured into the room, seizing hold
of him. He struggled as strong hands clamped themselves around each of his arms. A hood was tugged down over his head,
blinding him. He kicked out at the darkness; his foot connected, and he heard someone swear.
He was jerked backward viciously; a hot voice snarled in his ear. “Do that again, vampire, and I’ll pour holy water down your
throat and watch you die puking blood.”
“That’s enough!” The Inquisitor’s thin, worried voice rose like a balloon. “There will be no more threats! I’m just trying to teach
our guest a lesson.” He must have moved forward, because Simon smelled the strange, bitter smell again, muffled through the hood.
“Simon, Simon,” Aldertree said. “I did so enjoy meeting you. I hope a night in the cells of the Gard will have the desired effect and
in the morning you’ll be a bit more cooperative. I do still see such a bright future for us, once we get over this little hiccup.” His
hand came down on Simon’s shoulder. “Take him downstairs, Nephilim.”
Simon yelled aloud, but his cries were muffled by the hood. The Shadowhunters dragged him from the room and propelled him
down what felt like an endless series of mazelike corridors, twisting and turning. Eventually they reached a set of stairs and he was
shoved down it by main force, his feet slipping on the steps. He couldn’t tell anything about where they were—except that there
was a close, dark smell around them, like wet stone, and that the air was growing wetter and colder as they descended.
At last they paused. There was a scraping sound, like iron dragging over stone, and Simon was thrown forward to land on his
hands and knees on hard ground. There was a loud, metallic clang, as of a door being slammed shut, and the sound of retreating
footsteps, the echo of boots on stone growing fainter as Simon staggered to his feet. He dragged the hood from his head and threw
it to the ground. The close, hot, suffocating feeling around his face vanished, and he fought the urge to gasp for breath—breath he
didn’t need. He knew it was just a reflex, but his chest ached as if he’d really been deprived of air.
He was in a square barren stone room, with just a single barred window set into the wall above the small, hard-looking bed.
Through a low door Simon could see a tiny bathroom with a sink and toilet. The west wall of the room was also barred—thick,
iron-looking bars running from floor to ceiling, sunk deeply into the floor. A hinged iron door, made of bars itself, was set into the
wall; it was fitted with a brass knob, which was carved across its face with a dense black rune. In fact, all the bars were carved
with runes; even the window bars were wrapped with spidery lines of them.
Though he knew the cell door must be locked, Simon couldn’t help himself; he strode across the floor and seized the knob. A
searing pain shot through his hand. He yelled and jerked his arm back, staring. Thin wisps of smoke rose from his burned palm; an
intricate design had been charred into the skin. It looked a little like a Star of David inside a circle, with delicate runes drawn in
each of the hollow spaces between the lines.
The pain felt like white heat. Simon curled his hand in on itself as a gasp rose to his lips. “What is this?” he whispered, knowing no
one could hear him.
“It’s the Seal of Solomon,” said a voice. “It contains, they claim, one of the True Names of God. It repels demons—and your kind
as well, being an article of your faith.”
Simon jerked upright, half-forgetting the pain in his hand. “Who’s there? Who said that?”
There was a pause. Then, “I’m in the cell next to yours, Daylighter,” said the voice. It was male, adult, slightly hoarse. “The guards
were here half the day talking about how to keep you penned in. So I wouldn’t bother trying to get it open. You’re better off saving
your strength till you find out what the Clave wants from you.”
“They can’t hold me here,” Simon protested. “I don’t belong to this world. My family will notice I’m missing—my teachers—”
“They’ve taken care of that. There are simple enough spells—a beginning warlock could use them—that will supply your parents
with the illusion that there’s a perfectly legitimate reason for your absence. A school trip. A visit to family. It can be done.” There
was no threat in the voice, and no sorrow; it was matter-of-fact. “Do you really think they’ve never made a Downworlder
disappear before?”
“Who are you?” Simon’s voice cracked. “Are you a Downworlder too? Is this where they keep us?”
This time there was no answer. Simon called out again, but his neighbor had evidently decided that he’d said all he wanted to say.
Nothing answered Simon’s cries but silence.
The pain in his hand had faded. Looking down, Simon saw that the skin no longer looked burned, but the mark of the Seal was
printed on his palm as if it had been drawn there in ink. He looked back at the cell bars. He realized now that not all the runes were
runes at all: Carved between them were Stars of David and lines from the Torah in Hebrew. The carvings looked new.
The guards were here half the day talking about how to keep you penned in, the voice had said.
But it hadn’t just been because he was a vampire, laughably; it had partly been because he was Jewish. They had spent half the day
carving the Seal of Solomon into that doorknob so it would burn him when he touched it. It had taken them this long to turn the
articles of his faith against him.
For some reason the realization stripped away the last of Simon’s self-possession. He sank down onto the bed and put his head in
his hands.
Princewater Street was dark when Alec returned from the Gard, the windows of the houses shuttered and shaded, only the
occasional witchlight streetlamp casting a pool of white illumination onto the cobblestones. The Penhallows’ house was the brightest
on the block—candles glowed in the windows, and the front door was slightly ajar, letting a slice of yellow light out to curve along
the walkway.
Jace was sitting on the low stone wall that bordered the Penhallows’ front garden, his hair very bright under the light of the nearest
streetlamp. He looked up as Alec approached, and shivered a little. He was wearing only a light jacket, Alec saw, and it had
grown cold since the sun had gone down. The smell of late roses hung in the chilly air like thin perfume.
Alec sank down onto the wall beside Jace. “Have you been out here waiting for me all this time?”
“Who says I’m waiting for you?”
“It went fine, if that’s what you were worried about. I left Simon with the Inquisitor.”
“You left him? You didn’t stay to make sure everything went all right?”
“It was fine,” Alec repeated. “The Inquisitor said he’d take him inside personally and send him back to—”
“The Inquisitor said, the Inquisitor said,” Jace interrupted. “The last Inquisitor we met completely exceeded her command—if she
hadn’t died, the Clave would have relieved her of her position, maybe even cursed her. What’s to say this Inquisitor isn’t a nut job
“He seemed all right,” said Alec. “Nice, even. He was perfectly polite to Simon. Look, Jace—this is how the Clave works. We
don’t get to control everything that happens. But you have to trust them, because otherwise everything turns into chaos.”
“But they’ve screwed up a lot recently—you have to admit that.”
“Maybe,” Alec said, “but if you start thinking you know better than the Clave and better than the Law, what makes you any better
than the Inquisitor? Or Valentine?”
Jace flinched. He looked as if Alec had hit him, or worse.
Alec’s stomach dropped. “I’m sorry.” He reached out a hand. “I didn’t mean that—”
A beam of bright yellow light cut across the garden suddenly. Alec looked up to see Isabelle framed in the open front door, light
pouring out around her. She was only a silhouette, but he could tell from the hands on her hips that she was annoyed. “What are
you two doing out here?” she called. “Everyone’s wondering where you are.”
Alec turned back to his friend. “Jace—”
But Jace, getting to his feet, ignored Alec’s outstretched hand. “You’d better be right about the Clave,” was all he said.
Alec watched as Jace stalked back to the house. Unbidden, Simon’s voice came into his mind. Now I wonder all the time how
you go back after something like that. Whether we can ever be friends again, or if what we had is broken into pieces. Not
because of her, but because of me.
The front door shut, leaving Alec sitting in the half-lit garden, alone. He closed his eyes for a moment, the image of a face hovering
behind his lids. Not Jace’s face, for a change. The eyes set in the face were green, slit-pupiled. Cat eyes.
Opening his eyes, he reached into his satchel and drew out a pen and a piece of paper, torn from the spiral-bound notebook he
used as a journal. He wrote a few words on it and then, with his stele, traced the rune for fire at the bottom of the page. It went up
faster than he’d thought it would; he let go of the paper as it burned, floating in midair like a firefly. Soon all that was left was a fine
drift of ash, sifting like white powder across the rosebushes.


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