Monday, 21 January 2013

City of Fallen Angels - Chapter 19

The unimaginable brilliance printed on the back of Clary’s eyelids faded into darkness. A
surprisingly long darkness that gave way slowly to an intermittent grayish light, blotched
with shadows. There was something hard and cold pressing into her back, and her whole
body hurt. She heard murmured voices above her, which sent a stab of pain through her
head. Someone touched her gently on the throat, and the hand was withdrawn. She took a
deep breath.
Her whole body was throbbing. She opened her eyes to slits, and looked around her,
trying not to move very much. She was lying on the hard tiles of the rooftop garden, one
of the paving stones digging into her back. She had fallen to the ground when Lilith
vanished, and was covered in cuts and bruises, her shoes were gone, her knees were
bleeding, and her dress was slashed where Lilith had cut her with the magical whip,
blood welling through the rents in her silk dress.
Simon was kneeling over her, his face anxious. The Mark of Cain still gleamed whitely
on his forehead. “Her pulse is steady,” he was saying, “but come on. You’re supposed to
have all those healing runes. There must be something you can do for her—”
“Not without a stele. Lilith made me throw Clary’s away so she couldn’t grab it from me
when she woke up.” The voice was Jace’s, low and tense with suppressed anguish. He
knelt across from Simon, on her other side, his face in shadow. “Can you carry her
downstairs? If we can get her to the Institute—”
“You want me to carry her?” Simon sounded surprised; Clary didn’t blame him.
“I doubt she’d want me touching her.” Jace stood up, as if he couldn’t bear to remain in
one place. “If you could—”
His voice cracked, and he turned away, staring at the place where Lilith had stood until a
moment ago, a bare patch of stone now silvered with scattered molecules of salt. Clary
heard Simon sigh—a deliberate sound—and he bent over her, his hands on her arms.
She opened her eyes the rest of the way, and their gazes met. Though she knew he
realized she was conscious, neither of them said anything. It was hard for her to look at
him, at that familiar face with the mark she had given him blazing like a white star above
his eyes.
She had known, giving him the Mark of Cain, that she was doing something enormous,
something terrifying and colossal whose outcome was almost totally unpredictable. She
would have done it again, to save his life. But still, while he’d been standing there, the
Mark burning like white lightning as Lilith—a Greater Demon as old as mankind itself—
charred away to salt, she had thought, What have I done?
“I’m all right,” she said. She lifted herself up onto her elbows; they hurt horribly. At
some point she’d landed on them and scraped off all the skin. “I can walk just fine.”
At the sound of her voice, Jace turned. The sight of him tore at her. He was shockingly
bruised and bloody, a long scratch running the length of his cheek, his lower lip swollen,
and a dozen bleeding rents in his clothes. She wasn’t used to seeing him so damaged—
but of course, if he didn’t have a stele to heal her, he didn’t have one to heal himself,
His expression was absolutely blank. Even Clary, used to reading his face as if she were
reading the pages of a book, could read nothing in it. His gaze dropped to her throat,
where she could still feel the stinging pain, the blood crusting there where his knife had
cut her. The nothingness of his expression cracked, and he looked away before she could
see his face change.
Waving away Simon’s offer of a helping hand, she tried to rise to her feet. A searing pain
shot through her ankle, and she cried out, then bit her lip. Shadowhunters didn’t scream
in pain. They bore it stoically, she reminded herself. No whimpering.
“It’s my ankle,” she said. “I think it might be sprained, or broken.”
Jace looked at Simon. “Carry her,” he said. “Like I told you.”
This time Simon didn’t wait for Clary’s response; he slid one arm under her knees and
the other under her shoulders and lifted her; she looped her arms around his neck and
held on tight. Jace headed toward the cupola and the doors that led inside. Simon
followed, carrying Clary as carefully as if she were breakable porcelain. Clary had almost
forgotten how strong he was, now that he was a vampire. He no longer smelled like
himself, she thought, a little wistfully—that Simon-smell of soap and cheap aftershave
(that he really didn’t need) and his favorite cinnamon gum. His hair still smelled like his
shampoo, but otherwise he seemed to have no smell at all, and his skin where she touched
it was cold. She tightened her arms around his neck, wishing he had some body heat. The
tips of her fingers looked bluish, and her body felt numb.
Jace, ahead of them, shouldered the glass double doors open. Then they were inside,
where it was mercifully slightly warmer. It was strange, Clary thought, being held by
someone whose chest didn’t rise and fall as they breathed. A strange electricity still
seemed to cling to Simon, a remnant of the brutally shining light that had enveloped the
roof when Lilith was destroyed. She wanted to ask him how he was feeling, but Jace’s
silence was so devastatingly total that she felt afraid to break it.
He reached for the elevator call button, but before his finger touched it, the doors slid
open of their own accord, and Isabelle seemed to almost explode through them, her
silvery-gold whip trailing behind her like the tail of a comet. Alec followed, hard on her
heels; seeing Jace, Clary, and Simon there, Isabelle skidded to a stop, Alec nearly
crashing into her from behind. Under other circumstances it would almost have been
“But—,” Isabelle gasped. She was cut and bloodied, her beautiful red dress torn raggedly
around the knees, her black hair having come down out of its updo, strands of it matted
with blood. Alec looked as if he had fared only a little better; one sleeve of his jacket was
sliced open down the side, though it didn’t look as if the skin beneath had been injured.
“What are you doing here?”
Jace, Clary, and Simon all stared at her blankly, too shell-shocked to respond. Finally
Jace said dryly, “We could ask you the same question.”
“I didn’t—We thought you and Clary were at the party,” Isabelle said. Clary had rarely
seen Isabelle so not selfpossessed. “We were looking for Simon.”
Clary felt Simon’s chest lift, a sort of reflexive human gasp of surprise. “You were?”
Isabelle flushed. “I . . .”
“Jace?” It was Alec, his tone commanding. He had given Clary and Simon an astonished
look, but then his attention went, as it always did, to Jace. He might not be in love with
Jace anymore, if he ever really had been, but they were still parabatai, and Jace was
always first on his mind in any battle. “What are you doing here? And for the Angel’s
sake, what happened to you?”
Jace stared at Alec, almost as if he didn’t know him. He looked like someone in a
nightmare, examining a new landscape not because it was surprising or dramatic but to
prepare himself for whatever horrors it might reveal.
“Stele,” he said finally, in a cracking voice. “Do you have your stele?”
Alec reached for his belt, looking baffled. “Of course.” He held the stele out to Jace. “If
you need an iratze—”
“Not for me,” Jace said, still in the same odd, cracked voice. “Her.” He pointed at Clary.
“She needs it more than I do.”His eyes metAlec’s, gold and blue.“Please,Alec,” he said,
the harshness gone from his voice as suddenly as it had come. “Help her for me.”
He turned and walked away, toward the far side of the room, where the glass doors were.
He stood, staring through them—at the garden outside or his own reflection, Clary
couldn’t tell.
Alec looked after Jace for a moment, then came toward Clary and Simon, stele in hand.
He indicated that Simon should lower Clary to the floor, which he did gently, letting her
brace her back against the wall. He stepped back asAlec kneltdownover her. She could
see the confusioninAlec’s face, and his look of surprise as he sawhow bad the cuts across
her arm and abdomen were. “Who did this to you?”
“I—” Clary looked helplessly toward Jace, who still had his back to them. She could see
his reflection in the glass doors, his face a white smudge, darkened here and there with
bruises. The front of his shirt was dark with blood.
“It’s hard to explain.”
“Why didn’t you summon us?” Isabelle demanded, her voice thin with betrayal. “Why
didn’t you tell us you were coming here? Why didn’t you send a fire-message, or
anything? You know we would have come if you needed us.”
“There wasn’t time,” Simon said. “And I didn’t know Clary and Jace were going to be
here. I thought I was the only one. It didn’t seem right to drag you into my problems.”
“D-drag me into your problems?” Isabelle sputtered. “You—,” she began—and then to
everyone’s surprise, clearly including her own, she flung herself at Simon, wrapping her
arms around his neck. He staggered backward, unprepared for the assault, but he
recovered quickly enough. His arms went around her, nearly snagging on the dangling
whip, and he held her tightly, her dark head just under his chin. Clary couldn’t quite
tell—Isabelle was speaking too softly—but it sounded like she was swearing at Simon
under her breath.
Alec’s eyebrows went up, but he made no comment as he bent over Clary, blocking her
view of Isabelle and Simon. He touched the stele to her skin, and she jumped atthe
stinging pain.“Iknow it hurts,” he said ina low voice.“Ithink youhit your head. Magnus
oughtto look atyou. Whatabout Jace? Howbadlyis he hurt?”
“I don’t know.” Clary shook her head. “He won’t let me near him.”
Alec put his hand under her chin, turning her face from side to side, and sketched a
second light iratze on the side of her throat, just under her jawline. “What did he do that
he thinks was so terrible?”
She flicked her eyes up toward him. “What makes you think he did anything?”
Alec let go of her chin. “Because I know him. And the way he punishes himself. Not
letting you near him is punishing himself, not punishing you.”
“He doesn’t want me near him,” Clary said, hearing the rebelliousness in her own voice
and hating herself for being petty.
“You’re all he ever wants,” said Alec in a surprisingly gentle tone, and he sat back on his
heels, pushing his long dark hair out of his eyes. There was something different about
him these days, Clary thought, a surety about himself he hadn’t had when she had first
met him, something that allowed him to be generous with others as he had never been
generous with himself before. “How did you two wind up here, anyway? We didn’t even
notice you leave the party with Simon—”
“They didn’t,” said Simon. He and Isabelle had detached themselves, but still stood close
to each other, side by side. “I came here alone. Well, not exactly alone. I was—
Clary nodded. “It’s true. We didn’t leave the party with him. When Jace brought me here,
I had no idea Simon was going to be here too.”
“Jace brought you here?” Isabelle said, amazed. “Jace, if you knew about Lilith and the
Church of Talto, you should have said something.”
Jace was still staring through the doors. “I guess it slipped my mind,” he said tonelessly.
Clary shook her head as Alec and Isabelle looked from their adoptive brother to her, as if
for an explanation of his behavior. “It wasn’t really Jace,” she said finally. “He was . . .
being controlled. By Lilith.”
“Possession?” Isabelle’s eyes rounded into surprised Os. Her hand tightened on her whip
handle reflexively.
Jace turned away from the doors. Slowly he reached up and drew open his mangled shirt
so that they could see the ugly possession rune, and the bloody slash that ran through it.
“That,” he said, still in the same toneless voice, “is Lilith’s mark. It’s how she controlled
Alec shook his head; he looked deeply disturbed. “Jace, usually the only way to sever a
demonic connection like that is to kill the demon who’s doing the controlling. Lilith is
one of the most powerful demons who ever—”
“She’s dead,” said Clary abruptly. “Simon killed her. Or I guess you could say the Mark
of Cain killed her.”
They all stared at Simon. “And what about you two? How did you end up here?” he
asked, his tone defensive.
“Looking for you,” Isabelle said. “We found that card Lilith must have given you. In your
apartment. Jordan let us in.
He’s with Maia, downstairs.” She shuddered. “The things Lilith’s been doing—you
wouldn’t believe—so horrible —”
Alec held his hands up. “Slow down, everyone. We’ll explain what happened with us,
and then Simon, Clary, you explain what happened on your end.”
The explanation took less time than Clary thought it would, with Isabelle doing much of
the talking with wide, sweeping hand gestures that threatened, on occasion, to sever one
of her friends’ unprotected limbs with her whip. Alec took the opportunity to go out onto
the roof deck to send a fire-message to the Clave telling them where they were and asking
for backup. Jace stepped aside wordlessly to let him by as he left, and again when he
came back in. He didn’t speak during Simon and Clary’s explanation of what had
happened on the rooftop either, even when they got to the part about Raziel having raised
Jace from the dead back in Idris. It was Izzy who finally interrupted, when Clary began to
explain about Lilith being Sebastian’s “mother” and keeping his body encased in glass.
“Sebastian?” Isabelle slammed her whip against the ground with enough force to open up
a crack in the marble.
“Sebastian is out there? And he’s not dead?” She turned to look at Jace, who was leaning
against the glass doors, arms crossed, expressionless. “I saw him die. I saw Jace cut his
spine in half, and I saw him fall into the river. And now you’re telling me he’s alive out
“No,” Simon hastened to reassure her. “His body’s there, but he’s not alive. Lilith didn’t
get to complete the ceremony.” Simon put a hand on her shoulder, but she shook it off.
She had gone a deadly white color.
“‘Not really alive’ isn’t dead enough for me,” she said. “I’m going out there and I’m
going to cut him into a thousand pieces.” She turned toward the doors.
“Iz!” Simon put his hand on her shoulder. “Izzy. No.”
“No?” She looked at him incredulously. “Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t chop
him into worthlessbastardthemed confetti.”
Simon’s eyes darted around the room, resting for a moment on Jace, as if he expected
him to chime in or add a comment. He didn’t; he didn’t even move. Finally Simon said,
“Look, you understand about the ritual, right?
Because Jace was brought back from the dead, that gave Lilith the power to raise
Sebastian. And to do that, she needed Jace there and alive, as—what did she call it—”
“A counterweight,” put in Clary.
“That mark that Jace has on his chest. Lilith’s mark.” In a seemingly unconscious
gesture, Simon touched his own chest, just over the heart. “Sebastian has it too. I saw
them both flash at the same time when Jace stepped into the circle.”
Isabelle, her whip twitching at her side, her teeth biting into her red bottom lip, said
impatiently, “And?”
“I think she was making a tie between them,” said Simon. “If Jace died, Sebastian
couldn’t live. So if you cut Sebastian into pieces—”
“It could hurt Jace,” Clary said, the words spilling out of her as she realized. “Oh, my
God. Oh, Izzy, you can’t.”
“So we’re just going to let him live?” Isabelle sounded incredulous.
“Cut him to pieces if you like,” Jace said. “You have my permission.”
“Shut up,” said Alec. “Stop acting like your life doesn’t matter. Iz, weren’t you listening?
Sebastian’s not alive.”
“He’s not dead, either. Not dead enough.”
“We need the Clave,” said Alec. “We need to give him over to the Silent Brothers. They
can sever his connection to Jace, and then you’ll get all the blood you want, Iz. He’s
Valentine’s son. And he’s a murderer. Everyone lost someone in the battle inAlicante,
orknows someone who did. Youthink they’ll be kind to him? They’ll take him apart
slowly while he’s still living.”
Isabelle stared up at her brother. Very slowly tears welled in her eyes, spilling down her
cheeks, streaking the dirt and blood on her skin. “I hate it,” she said. “I hate it when
you’re right.”
Alec pulled his sister closer and kissed the top of her head. “I know you do.”
She squeezed her brother’s hand briefly, then drew back. “Fine,” she said. “I won’t touch
Sebastian. But I can’t stand to be this close to him.” She glanced toward the glass doors,
where Jace still stood. “Let’s go downstairs.
We can wait for the Clave in the lobby. And we need to get Maia and Jordan; they’re
probably wondering where we went.”
Simon cleared his throat. “Someone should stay up here just to keep an eye on—on
things. I’ll do it.”
“No.” It was Jace. “You go downstairs. I’ll stay. All of this is my fault. I should have
made sure Sebastian was dead when I had the chance. And as for the rest of it . . .”
His voice trailed off. But Clary remembered him touching her face in a dark hallway in
the Institute, remembered him whispering, Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.
My fault, my fault, my own most grievous fault.
She turned to look at the others; Isabelle had pushed the call button, which was lit. Clary
could hear the distant hum of the rising elevator. Isabelle’s brow creased. “Alec, maybe
you should stay up here with Jace.”
“I don’t need help,” Jace said. “There’s nothing to handle. I’ll be fine.”
Isabelle threw her hands up as the elevator arrived with a ping. “Fine. You win. Sulk up
here alone if you want.” She stalked into the elevator, Simon and Alec crowding in after
her. Clary was the last to follow, turning back to look at Jace as she went. He had gone
back to staring at the doors, but she could see his reflection in them. His mouth was
compressed into a bloodless line, his eyes dark.
Jace, she thought as the elevator doors began to close. She willed him to turn, to look at
her. He didn’t, but she felt strong hands suddenly on her shoulders, shoving her forward.
She heard Isabelle say, “Alec, what on earth are you —” as she stumbled through the
elevator doors and righted herself, turning to stare. The doors were closing behind her,
but through them she could see Alec. He gave her a rueful little half smile and a shrug, as
if to say, What else was I supposed to do? Clary stepped forward, but it was too late; the
elevator doors had clanged shut.
She was alone in the room with Jace.
The room was littered with dead bodies—crumpled figures all in gray hooded tracksuits,
flung or crumpled or slumped against the wall. Maia stood by the window, breathing
hard, looking out across the scene in front of her with disbelief. She had taken part in the
battle at Brocelind in Idris, and had thought that was the worst thing she would ever see.
But somehow this was worse. The blood that ran from dead cult members wasn’t demon
ichor; it was human blood. And the babies—silent and dead in their cribs, their small
taloned hands folded one over the other, like dolls . . .
She looked down at her own hands. Her claws were still out, stained with blood from tip
to root; she retracted them, and the blood ran down her palms, staining her wrists. Her
feet were bare and bloodstained, and there was a long scratch along one bare shoulder
still oozing red, though it had already begun to heal. Despite the swift healing
lycanthropy provided, she knew she’d wake up tomorrow covered in bruises. When you
were a werewolf, bruises rarely lasted more than a day. She remembered when she had
been human, and her brother, Daniel, had made himself an expert in pinching her hard in
places where the bruises wouldn’t show.
“Maia.” Jordan came in through one of the unfinished doors, ducking a bundle of
dangling wires. He straightened up and moved toward her, picking his way among the
bodies. “Are you all right?”
The look of concern on his face knotted her stomach.
“Where are Isabelle and Alec?”
He shook his head. He had sustained much less visible damage than she had. His thick
leather jacket had protected him, as had his jeans and boots. There was a long scrape
along his cheek, dried blood in his light brown hair and staining the blade of the knife he
held. “I’ve searched the whole floor. Haven’t seen them. Couple more bodies in the other
rooms. They might have—”
The night lit up like a seraph blade. The windows went white, and bright light seared
through the room. For a moment Maia thought the world had caught on fire, and Jordan,
moving toward her through the light, seemed almost to disappear, white on white, into a
shimmering field of silver. She heard herself scream, and she moved blindly backward,
banging her head on the plate glass window. She put her hands up to cover her eyes—
And the light was gone. Maia lowered her hands, the world swinging around her. She
reached out blindly, and Jordan was there. She put her arms around him—threw them
around him, the way she used to when he came to pick her up from her house, and he
would swing her into his arms, winding the curls of her hair through his fingers.
He had been slighter then, narrow-shouldered. Now muscle corded his bones, and
holding him was like holding on to something absolutely solid, a pillar of granite in the
midst of a blowing desert sandstorm. She clung on to him, and heard the beat of his heart
under her ear as his hands smoothed her hair, one rough, soothing stroke at a time,
comforting and . . . familiar. “Maia . . . it’s all right . . .”
She raised her head and pressed her mouth to his. He had changed in so many ways, but
the feel of kissing him was the same, his mouth as soft as ever. He went rigid for a
second with surprise, and then gathered her up against him, his hands stroking slow
circles on her bare back. She remembered the first time they had ever kissed. She had
handed him her earrings to put in the glove compartment of his car, and his hand had
shaken so badly he’d dropped them and then apologized and apologized until she kissed
him to shut him up. She’d thought he was the sweetest boy she’d ever known.
And then he was bitten, and everything changed.
She drew away, dizzy and breathing hard. He let her go instantly; he was staring at her,
his mouth open, his eyes dazed. Behind him, through the window, she could see the
city—she had half expected it to be flattened, a blasted white desert outside the
window—but everything was exactly the same. Nothing had changed. Lights blinked on
and off in the buildings across the street; she could hear the faint rush of traffic below.
“We should go,” she said.
“We should look for the others.”
“Maia,” he said. “Why did you just kiss me?”
“I don’t know,” she said. “Do you think we should try the elevators?”
“Idon’tknow,Jordan,” she said. “Idon’tknow whyIkissed you, and Idon’tknowif I’m
going to do it again, but Ido know I’m freaked out and worried about my friends and I
want to get out of here. Okay?”
He nodded. He looked like there were a million things he wanted to say but had
determined not to say them, for which she was grateful. He ran a hand through his tousled
hair, rimed white with plaster dust, and nodded. “Okay.”
Silence. Jace was still leaning against the door, only now he had his forehead pressed
against it, his eyes closed.
Clary wondered if he even knew she was in the room with him. She took a step forward,
but before she could say anything, he pushed the doors open and walked back out into the
She stood still for a moment, staring after him. She could call for the elevator, of course,
ride it down, wait for the Clave in the lobby with everyone else. If Jace didn’t want to
talk, he didn’t want to talk. She couldn’t force him to. If Alec was right, and he was
punishing himself, she’d just have to wait until he got over it.
She turned toward the elevator—and stopped. A little flame of anger licked its way
through her, making her eyes burn. No, she thought. She didn’t have to let him behave
like this. Maybe he could be this way to everyone else, but not to her. He owed her better
than that. They owed each other better than that.
She whirled and made her way to the doors. Her ankle still ached, but the iratzes Alec
had put on her were working. Most of the pain in her body had subsided to a dull,
throbbing ache. She reached the doors and pushed them open, stepping onto the roof
terrace with a wince as her bare feet came into contact with the freezing tiles.
She saw Jace immediately; he was kneeling near the steps, on tiles stained with blood and
ichor and glittering with salt. He rose as she approached, and he turned, something shiny
dangling from his hand.
The Morgenstern ring, on its chain.
The wind had come up; it blew his dark gold hair across his face. He pushed it away
impatiently and said, “I just remembered that we left this here.”
His voice sounded surprisingly normal.
“Is that why you wanted to stay up here?” said Clary. “To get it back?”
He turned his hand, so the chain swung upward, his fingers closing over the ring. “I’m
attached to it. It’s stupid, I know.”
“You could have said, or Alec could have stayed—”
“I don’t belong with the rest of you,” he said abruptly. “After what I did, I don’t deserve
iratzes and healing and hugs and being consoled and whatever else it is my friends are
going to think I need. I’d rather stay up here with him.”
He jerked his chin toward the place where Sebastian’s motionless body lay in the open
coffin, on its stone pedestal. “And I sure as hell don’t deserve you.”
Clary crossed her arms over her chest. “Have you ever thought about what I deserve?
That maybe I deserve to get a chance to talk to you about what happened?”
He stared at her. They were only a few feet apart, but it felt as if an inexpressible gulf lay
between them. “I don’t know why you would even want to look at me, much less talk to
“Jace,” she said. “Those things you did—that wasn’t you.”
He hesitated. The sky was so black, the lit windows of the nearby skyscrapers so bright, it
was as if they stood in the center of a net of shining jewels. “If it wasn’t me,” he said,
“then why can I remember everything I did? When people are possessed, and they come
back from it, they don’t remember what they did when the demon inhabited them. But I
remember everything.” He turned abruptly and walked away, toward the roof garden
wall. She followed him, glad for the distance it put between them and Sebastian’s body,
now hidden from view by a row of hedges.
“Jace!” she called out, and he turned, his back to the wall, slumping against it. Behind
him a city’s worth of electricity lit up the night like the demon towers of Alicante. “You
remember because she wanted you to remember,” Clary said, catching up with him, a
little breathless. “She did this to torture you as much as she did it to get Simon to do what
she wanted. She wanted you to have to watch yourself hurt the people you love.”
“I was watching,” he said in a low voice. “It was as if some part of me was off at a
distance, watching and screaming at myself to stop. But the rest of me felt completely
peaceful and like what I was doing was right. Like it was the only thing I could do. I
wonder if that’s how Valentine felt about everything he did. Like it was so easy to be
right.” He looked away from her. “I can’t stand it,” he said. “You shouldn’t be here with
me. You should just go.” was the only thing I could do. I wonder if that’s how Valentine
felt about everything he did. Like it was so easy to be right.” He looked away from her. “I
can’t stand it,” he said. “You shouldn’t be here with me. You should just go.”
Instead of leaving, Clary moved to stand beside him against the wall. Her arms were
already wrapped around herself; she was shivering. Finally, reluctantly, he turned his
head to look at her again. “Clary . . .”
“You don’t get to decide,” she said, “where I go, or when.”
“I know.” His voice was ragged. “I’ve always known that about you. I don’t know why I
had to fall in love with someone who’s more stubborn than I am.”
Clary was silent a moment. Her heart had contracted at those two words—“in love.” “All
those things you said to me,” she said in a half whisper, “on the terrace at the
Ironworks—did you mean them?”
His golden eyes dulled. “Which things?”
That you loved me, she almost said, but thinking back—he hadn’t said that, had he? Not
the words themselves.
The implication had been there. And the truth of the fact, that they loved each other, was
something she knew as clearly as she knew her own name.
“You kept asking me if I would love you if you were like Sebastian, like Valentine.”
“And you said then I wouldn’t be me. Look how wrong that turned out to be,” he said,
bitterness coloring his voice.
“What I did tonight—”
Clary moved toward him; he tensed, but didn’t move away. She took hold of the front of
his shirt, leaned in closely, and said, enunciating each word clearly, “That wasn’t you.”
“Tell that to your mother,” he said. “Tell it to Luke, when they ask where this came
from.” He touched her collarbone gently; the wound was healed now, but her skin, and
the fabric of her dress, were still stained darkly with blood.
“I’ll tell them,” she said. “I’ll tell them it was my fault.”
He looked at her, gold eyes incredulous. “You can’t lie to them.”
“I’m not. I brought you back,” she said. “You were dead, and I brought you back. I upset
the balance, not you. I opened the door for Lilith and her stupid ritual. I could have asked
for anything, and I asked for you.” She tightened her grip on his shirt, her fingers white
with cold and pressure. “And I would do it again. I love you, Jace Wayland—
Herondale—Lightwood—whatever you want to call yourself. I don’t care. I love you and
I will always love you, and pretending it could be any other way is just a waste of time.”
A look of such pain crossed his face that Clary felt her heart tighten. Then he reached out
and took her face between his hands. His palms were warm against her cheeks.
“Remember when I told you,” he said, his voice as soft as she had ever heard it, “that I
didn’t know if there was a God or not, but either way, we were completely on our own? I
still don’t know the answer; I only knew that there was sucha thing as faith,and that
Ididn’t deserve to have it.And thenthere was you. You changed everything I believed in.
Youknow thatline from Dante that Iquoted to you inthe park? ‘L’amor che move ilsole e
l’altre stelle’?”
Her lips curled a little at the sides as she looked up at him. “I still don’t speak Italian.”
“It’s a bit of the very last verse from Paradiso—Dante’s Paradise. ‘My will and my desire
were turned by love, the love that moves the sun and the other stars.’ Dante was trying to
explain faith, I think, as an overpowering love, and maybe it’s blasphemous, but that’s
how I think of the way that I love you. You came into my life and suddenly I had one
truth to hold on to—that I loved you, and you loved me.”
Though he seemed to be looking at her, his gaze was distant, as if fixed on something far
“Then I started to have the dreams,” he went on. “And I thought maybe I’d been wrong.
That I didn’t deserve you.
That I didn’t deserve to be perfectly happy—I mean, God, who deserves that? And after
“Stop.” She had been clutching his shirt; she loosened her grip now, flattening her hands
against his chest. His heart was racing under her fingertips; his cheeks flushed, and not
just from the cold. “Jace. Through everything that happened tonight, I knew one thing.
That it wasn’t you hurting me. It wasn’t you doing these things. I have an absolute
incontrovertible belief that you are good. And that will never change.”
Jace took a deep, shuddering breath. “I don’t even know how to try to deserve that.”
“You don’t have to. I have enough faith in you,” she said, “for both of us.”
His hands slid into her hair. The mist of their exhaled breath rose between them, a white
cloud. “I missed you so much,” he said, and kissed her, his mouth gentle on hers, not
desperate and hungry the way it had been the last few times he had kissed her, but
familiar and tender and soft.
She closed her eyes as the world seemed to spin around her like a pinwheel. Sliding her
hands up his chest, she stretched upward as far as she could, wrapping her arms around
his neck, rising up on her toes to meet his mouth with hers. His fingers skimmed down
her body, over skin and satin, and she shivered, leaning into him, and she was sure they
both tasted like blood and ashes and salt, but it didn’t matter; the world, the city, and all
its lights and life seemed to have narrowed down to this, just her and Jace, the burning
heart of a frozen world.
He drew away first, reluctantly. She realized why a moment later. The sound of honking
cars and screeching tires from the street below was audible, even up here. “The Clave,”
he said resignedly—though he had to clear his throat to get the words out, Clary was
pleased to hear. His face was flushed, as she imagined hers was. “They’re here.”
With her hand in his Clary looked over the edge of the roof wall and saw that a number
of long black cars had drawn up in front of the scaffolding. People were piling out. It was
hard to recognize them from this height, but Clary thought she saw Maryse, and several
other people dressed in gear. A moment later Luke’s truck roared up to the curb and
Jocelyn leaped out. Clary would have known it was her, just from the way she moved, at
a greater distance than this one.
Clary turned to Jace. “My mom,” she said. “I’d better get downstairs. I don’t want her
coming up here and seeing— and seeing him.” She jerked her chin toward Sebastian’s
He stroked her hair back from her face. “I don’t want to let you out of my sight.”
“Then, come with me.”
“No. Someone should stay up here.” He took her hand, turned it over, and dropped the
Morgenstern ring into it, the chain pooling like liquid metal. The clasp had bent when
she’d torn it off, but he’d managed to push it back into shape. “Please take it.”
Her eyes flicked down, and then, uncertainly, back up to his face. “I wish I understood
what it meant to you.”
He shrugged slightly. “I wore it for a decade,” he said. “Some part of me is in it. It means
I trust you with my past and all the secrets that past carries. And besides”—lightly he
touched one of the stars engraved around the rim —“‘the love that moves the sun and all
the other stars.’ Pretend that that’s what the stars stand for, not Morgenstern.”
In answer she dropped the chain back over her head, feeling the ring settle in its
accustomed place, below her collarbone. It felt like a puzzle piece clicking back into
place. For a moment their eyes locked in wordless communication, more intense in some
ways than their physical contact had been; she held the image of him in her mind in that
moment as if she were memorizing it—the tangled golden hair, the shadows cast by his
lashes, the rings of darker gold inside the light amber of his eyes. “I’ll be right back,” she
said. She squeezed his hand. “Five minutes.”
“Go on,” he said roughly, releasing her hand, and she turned and went back down the
path. The moment she stepped away from him, she was cold again, and by the time she
reached the doors to the building, she was freezing. She paused as she opened the door,
and looked back at him, but he was only a shadow, backlit by the glow of the New York
skyline. The love that moves the sun and all the other stars, she thought, and then, as if in
answering echo, she heard Lilith’s words. The kind of love that can burn down the world
or raise it up in glory. A shiver ran through her, and not just from the cold. She looked for
Jace, but he had vanished into the shadows; she turned and headed back inside, the door
sliding shut behind her.
Alec had gone upstairs to look for Jordan and Maia, and Simon and Isabelle were alone
together, sitting side by side on the green chaise longue in the lobby. Isabelle held Alec’s
witchlight in her hand, illuminating the room with a nearly spectral glow, sparking
dancing motes of fire from the pendant chandelier.
She had said very little since her brother had left them together. Her head was bent, her
dark hair falling forward, her gaze on her hands. They were delicate hands, long-fingered,
but calloused as her brothers’ were. Simon had never noticed before, but she wore a
silver ring on her right hand, with a pattern of flames around the band of it, and a carved
L in the center. It reminded him of the ring Clary wore around her neck, with its design of
“It’s the Lightwood family ring,” she said, noticing where his gaze was fixed. “Every
family has an emblem. Ours is fire.”
It suits you, he thought. Izzy was like fire, in her flaming scarlet dress, with her moods as
changeable as sparks. On the roof he’d half-thought she’d strangle him, her arms around
his neck as she called him every name under the sun while clutching him like she’d never
let him go. Now she was staring off into the distance, as untouchable as a star. It was all
very disconcerting.
You love them so, Camille had said, your Shadowhunter friends. As the falcon loves the
master who binds and blinds it.
“What you told us,” he said, a little halting, watching Isabelle wind a strand of her hair
around her forefinger, “up there on the roof—that you hadn’t known that Clary and Jace
were missing, that you’d come here for me—was that true?”
Isabelle looked up, tucking the strand of hair behind her ear. “Of course it’s true,” she
said indignantly. “When we saw you were gone from the party—and you’ve been in
danger for days, Simon, and what with Camille escaping —” She caught herself up short.
“And Jordan’s responsible for you. He was freaking out.”
“So it was his idea to come looking for me?”
Isabelle turned to look at him for a long moment. Her eyes were fathomless and dark. “I
was the one who noticed you were gone,” she said. “I was the one who wanted to find
Simoncleared his throat. He felt oddlylight-headed.“But why? Ithought youhated me
It had been the wrong thing to say. Isabelle shook her head, her dark hair flying, and
moved a little away from him on the settee. “Oh, Simon. Don’t be dense.”
“Iz.” He reached out and touched her wrist, hesitantly. She didn’t move away, just
watched him. “Camille said something to me in the Sanctuary. She said that
Shadowhunters didn’t care about Downworlders, just used them.
She said the Nephilim would never do for me what I did for them. But you did. You came
for me. You came for me.”
“Of course I did,” she said, in a muffled little voice. “When I thought something had
happened to you—”
He leaned toward her. Their faces were inches from each other. He could see the
reflected sparks of the chandelier in her black eyes. Her lips were parted, and Simon
could feel the warmth of her breath. For the first time since he had become a vampire, he
could feel heat, like an electrical charge passing between them.
“Isabelle,” he said. Not Iz, not Izzy. Isabelle. “Can I—”
The elevator pinged; the doors opened, and Alec, Maia, and Jordan spilled out. Alec
looked suspiciously at Simon and Isabelle as they sprang apart, but before he could say
anything, the double doors of the lobby flew wide, and Shadowhunters poured into the
room. Simon recognized Kadir and Maryse, who immediately flew across the room to
Isabelle and caught her by the shoulders, demanding to know what had happened. across
the room to Isabelle and caught her by the shoulders, demanding to know what had
Simon got to his feet and edged away, feeling uncomfortable—and was nearly knocked
down by Magnus, racing across the room to get to Alec. He didn’t seem to see Simon at
all. After all, in a hundred, two hundred, years, it’ll be just you and me. We’ll be all that’s
left, Magnus had said to him in the Sanctuary. Feeling unutterably lonely among the
milling crowd of Shadowhunters, Simon pressed himself back against the wall in the vain
hope that he wouldn’t be noticed.
Alec looked up just as Magnus reached him, caught him, and pulled him close. His
fingers traced over Alec’s face as if checking for bruises or damage; under his breath, he
was muttering, “How could you—go off like this and not even tell me—I could have
helped you—”
“Stop it.” Alec pulled away, feeling mutinous.
Magnus checked himself, his voice sobering. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I shouldn’t have left
the party. I should have stayed with you. Camille’s gone anyway. No one’s got the
slightest idea where she went, and since you can’t track vampires . . .” He shrugged.
Alec pushed away the image of Camille in his mind, chained to the pipe, looking at him
with those fierce green eyes. “Never mind,” he said. “She doesn’t matter. I know you
were just trying to help. I’m not angry with you for leaving the party, anyway.”
“But you were angry,” said Magnus. “I knew you were. That’s why I was so worried.
Running off and putting yourself in danger just because you’re angry with me—”
“I’m a Shadowhunter,” Alec said. “Magnus, this is what I do. It’s not about you. Next
time fall in love with an insurance adjuster or—”
“Alexander,” said Magnus. “There isn’t going to be a next time.” He leaned his forehead
against Alec’s, goldgreen eyes staring into blue.
Alec’s heartbeat sped up. “Why not?” he said. “You live forever. Not everyone does.”
“I know I said that,” said Magnus. “But, Alexander—”
“Stop calling me that,” said Alec. “Alexander is what my parents call me. And I suppose
it’s very advanced of you to have accepted my mortality so fatalistically—everything
dies, blah, blah—but how do you think that makes me feel? Ordinary couples can hope—
hope to grow old together, hope to live long lives and die at the same time, but we can’t
hope for that. I don’t even know what it is you want.”
Alec wasn’t sure what he’d expected in response—anger or defensiveness or even
humor—but Magnus’s voice onlydropped,cracking slightlywhenhe said, “Alex—Alec. If
Igave youthe impressionIhad accepted the idea of your death I can only apologize. I tried
to, I thought I had—and yet still I pictured having you for fifty, sixty more years. I
thought I might be ready then to let you go. But it’s you, and I realize now that I won’t be
any more ready to lose you then than I am right now.” He put his hands gently to either
side of Alec’s face. “Which is not at all.”
“So what do we do?” Alec whispered.
Magnus shrugged, and smiled suddenly; with his messy black hair and the gleam in his
gold-green eyes, he looked like a mischievous teenager. “What everyone does,” he
replied. “Like you said. Hope.”
Alec and Magnus had begun kissing in the corner of the room, and Simon wasn’t quite
sure where to look. He didn’t want them to think he was staring at them during what was
clearly a private moment, but wherever else he looked, he met the glaring eyes of
Shadowhunters. Despite the fact that he’d fought with them in the bank against Camille,
none of them looked at him with particular friendliness. It was one thing for Isabelle to
accept him and to care about him, but Shadowhunters en masse were another thing
entirely. He could tell what they were thinking.
“Vampire, Downworlder, enemy” was written all over their faces. It came as a relief
when the doors burst open again and Jocelyn came flying in, still wearing her blue dress
from the party. Luke was only a few steps behind her.
“Simon!” she cried as soon as she caught sight of him. She ran over to him, and to his
surprise she hugged him fiercely before letting him go. “Simon, where’s Clary? Is she—”
Simon opened his mouth, but no sound came out. How could he explain to Jocelyn, of all
people, what had happened that night? Jocelyn, who would be horrified to know that so
much of Lilith’s evil, the children she had murdered, the blood she had spilled, had all
been in the service of making more creatures like Jocelyn’s own dead son, whose body
even now lay entombed on the rooftop where Clary was with Jace?
I can’t tell her any of this, he thought. I can’t. He looked past her at Luke, whose blue
eyes rested on him expectantly. Behind Clary’s family he could see the Shadowhunters
crowding around Isabelle as she presumably recounted the events of the evening.
“I—,” he began helplessly, and then the elevator doors opened again, and Clary stepped
out. Her shoes were gone, her lovely satin dress in bloody rags, bruises already fading on
her bare arms and legs. But she was smiling —radiant even, happier than Simon had seen
her look in weeks.
“Mom!” she exclaimed, and then Jocelyn had flown at her and was hugging her. Clary
smiled at Simon over her mother’s shoulder. Simon glanced around the room. Alec and
Magnus were still wrapped up in each other, and Maia and Jordan had vanished. Isabelle
was still surrounded by Shadowhunters, and Simon could hear gasps of horror and
amazement rise from the group surrounding her as she recounted her story. He suspected
some part of her was enjoying it. Isabelle did love being the center of attention, no matter
what the cause.
He felt a hand come down on his shoulder. It was Luke. “Are you all right, Simon?”
Simon looked up at him. Luke looked as he always did: solid, professorial, utterly
reliable. Not even the least bit put out that his engagement party had been disrupted by a
sudden dramatic emergency.
Simon’s father had died so long ago that he barely remembered him. Rebecca recalled
bits about him—that he had a beard, and would help her build elaborate towers out of
blocks—but Simon didn’t. It was one of the things he’d thought he always had in
common with Clary, that had bonded them: both with dead fathers, both brought up by
strong single women.
Well, at least one of those things had turned out to be true, Simon thought. Though his
mother had dated, he’d never had a consistent fatherly presence in his life, other than
Luke. He supposed that in a way, he and Clary had shared Luke. And the wolf pack
looked up to Luke for guidance, as well. For a bachelor who’d never had children, Simon
thought, Luke had an awful lot of kids to look after.
“I don’t know,” Simon said, giving Luke the honest answer he’d like to think he’d have
given his own father. “I don’t think so.”
Luke turned Simon to face him. “You’re covered in blood,” he said. “And I’m guessing
it’s not yours, because . . .”
He gestured toward the Mark on Simon’s forehead. “But hey.” His voice was gentle.
“Even covered in blood and with the Mark of Cain on you, you’re still Simon. Can you
tell me what happened?”
“It’s not my blood, you’re right,” Simon said hoarsely. “But it’s also kind of a long
story.” He tilted his head back to look up at Luke; he’d always wondered if maybe he’d
have another growth spurt some day, grow a few more inches than the five-ten he was
now, be able to look Luke—not to mention Jace—straight in the eye. But that would
never happen now. “Luke,” he said. “Do you think it’s possible to do something so bad,
even if you didn’t mean to do it, that you can never come back from it? That no one can
forgive you?”
Luke looked at him for a long, silent moment. Then he said, “Think of someone you love,
Simon. Really love. Is there anything they could ever do that would mean you would stop
loving them?”
Images flashed through Simon’s mind, like the pages of a flip-book: Clary, turning to
smile at him over her shoulder; his sister, tickling him when he was just a little kid; his
mother, asleep on the sofa with the coverlet pulled up to her shoulders; Izzy—
He shut the thoughts off hastily. Clary hadn’t done anything so terrible that he needed to
dredge up forgiveness for her; none of the people he was picturing had. He thought of
Clary, forgiving her mother for having stolen her memories. He thought of Jace, what he
had done on the roof, how he had looked afterward. He had done what he had done
withoutvolitionof his own, but Simondoubted Jace would be able to forgive himself,
regardless.And then he thought of Jordan—not forgiving himself for what he had done to
Maia, but forging ahead anyway, joining the Praetor Lupus, making a life out of helping
“I bit someone,” he said. The words came out of his mouth, and he wished he could
swallow them back. He braced himself for Luke’s look of horror, but it didn’t come.
“Did they live?” Luke said. “This person that you bit. Did they survive?”
“I—” How to explain about Maureen? Lilith had ordered her away, but Simon was sure
they hadn’t seen the last of her. “I didn’t kill her.”
Luke nodded once. “You know how werewolves become pack leaders,” he said. “They
have to kill the old pack leader. I’ve done that twice. I have the scars to prove it.” He
drew the collar of his shirt aside slightly, and Simon saw the edge of a thick white scar
that looked ragged, as if his chest had been clawed. “The second time it was a calculated
move. Cold-blooded killing. I wanted to become the leader, and that was how I did it.”
He shrugged.
“You’re a vampire. It’s in your nature to want to drink blood. You’ve held out a long
time without doing it. I know you can walk in the sun, Simon, and so you pride yourself
on being a normal human boy, but you’re still what you are.
Just like I am. The more you try to crush your true nature, the more it will control you. Be
what you are. No one who really loves you will stop.”
Simon said hoarsely, “My mom—”
“Clary told me what happened with your mother, and that you’ve been crashing with
Jordan Kyle,” said Luke.
“Look, your mother will come around, Simon. Like Amatis did, with me. You’re still her
son. I’ll talk to her, if you want me to.”
Simon shook his head silently. His mother had always liked Luke. Dealing with the fact
that Luke was a werewolf would probably make things worse, not better.
Luke nodded as if he understood. “If you don’t want to go back to Jordan’s, you’re more
than welcome to stay on my sofa tonight. I’m sure Clary would be glad to have you
around, and we can talk about what to do about your mother tomorrow.”
Simon squared his shoulders. He looked at Isabelle across the room, the gleam of her
whip, the shine of the pendant at her throat, the flutter of her hands as she talked. Isabelle,
who wasn’t afraid of anything. He thought of his mother, the way she had backed away
from him, the fear in her eyes. He’d been hiding from the memory, running from it,ever
since.Butit was time to stop running. “No,” he said. “Thanks, but Ithink Idon’t need a
place to crash tonight. I think . . . that I’m going to go home.”
Jace stood alone on the roof, looking out over the city, the East River a silvery-black
snake twining between Brooklyn and Manhattan. His hands, his lips, still felt warm from
Clary’s touch, but the wind off the river was icy, and the warmth was fading fast.
Without a jacket the air cut through the thin material of his shirt like the blade of a knife.
He took a deep breath, sucking the cold air into his lungs, and let it out slowly. His whole
body felt tense. He was waiting for the sound of the elevator, the doors opening, the
Shadowhunters flooding out into the garden. They would be sympathetic at first, he
thought, worried about him. Then, as they understood what had happened—then would
come the shrinking away, the meaningful looks exchanged when they thought he wasn’t
watching. He had been possessed—not just by a demon, but by a Greater Demon—had
acted against the Clave, had threatened and hurt another Shadowhunter.
He thought about how Jocelyn would look at him when she heard what he’d done to
Clary. Luke might understand, forgive. But Jocelyn. He had never been able to bring
himself to speak to her honestly, to say the words he thought might reassure her. I love
your daughter, more than I ever thought it was possible to love anything. I would never
hurt her.
She would just look at him, he thought, with those green eyes that were so like Clary’s.
She would want more than that. She would want to hear him say what he wasn’t sure was
I am nothing like Valentine.
Aren’t you? The words seemed carried on the cold air, a whisper meant only for his ears.
You never knew your mother. You never knew your father. You gave your heart to
Valentine when you were a child, as children do, and made yourselfa
partofhim.Youcannot cut that awayfrom yourselfnow withone cleanslice of a blade.
His left hand was cold. He looked down and saw, to his shock, that somehow he had
picked up the dagger—his real father’s etched silver dagger—and was holding it in his
hand. The blade, though eaten away by Lilith’s blood, was whole again, and shining like
a promise. A cold that had nothing to do with the weather began to spread through his
chest. How many times had he woken up like this, gasping and sweating, the dagger in
his hand? And Clary, always Clary, dead at his feet.
But Lilith was dead. It was over. He tried to slide the dagger into his belt, but his hand
didn’t seem to want to obey the command his mind was giving it. He felt a sense of
stinging heat across his chest, a searing pain. Looking down, he saw that the bloody line
that had split Lilith’s mark in half, where Clary had slashed him with the dagger, had
healed. The mark gleamed redly against his chest.
Jace stopped trying to shove the dagger into his belt. His knuckles turned white as his
grip tightened on the hilt, his wrist twisting, desperately trying to turn the blade on
himself. His heart was pounding. He had accepted no iratzes. How had the mark healed
so fast? If he could gash it again, disfigure it, even temporarily—
But his hand wouldn’t obey him. His arm stayed stiffly at his side as his body turned,
against his own will, toward the pedestal where Sebastian’s body lay.
The coffin had begun to glow, with a cloudy greenish light—almost a witchlight glow,
but there was something painful about this light, something that seemed to pierce the eye.
Jace tried to take a step back, but his legs wouldn’t move. Icy sweat trickled down his
back. A voice whispered at the back of his mind.
Come here.
It was Sebastian’s voice.
Did you think you were free because Lilith is gone? The vampire’s bite woke me; now
her blood in my veins compels you.
Come here.
Jace tried to dig in his heels, but his body betrayed him, carrying him forward, though his
conscious mind strained against it. Even as he tried to hang back, his feet moved him
down the path, toward the coffin. The painted circle flashed green as he moved across it,
and the coffin seemed to answer with a second flash of emerald light. And then he was
standing over it, looking down.
Jace bit down hard on his lip, hoping the pain might shock him out of the dream state he
was in. It didn’t work. He tasted his own blood as he stared down at Sebastian, who
floated like a drowned corpse in the water. Those are pearls that were his eyes. His hair
was colorless seaweed, his closed eyelids blue. His mouth had the cold, hard set of his
father’s mouth. It was like looking at a young Valentine.
Without his volition, absolutely against his will, Jace’s hands began to rise. His left hand
laid the edge of the dagger against the inside of his right palm, where life and love lines
crisscrossed each other.
Words spilled from his own lips. He heard them as if from an immense distance. They
were in no language he knew or understood, but he knew what they were—ritual
chanting. His mind was screaming at his body to stop, but it appeared to make no
difference. He left hand came down, the knife clenched in it. The blade sliced a clean,
sure, shallow cut across his right palm. Almost instantly it began to bleed. He tried to
draw back, tried to pull his arm away, but it was as if he were encased in cement. As he
watched in horror, the first blood drops splashed onto Sebastian’s face.
Sebastian’s eyes flew open. They were black, blacker than Valentine’s, as black as the
demon’s who had called herself his mother. They fixed on Jace, like great dark mirrors,
giving him back his own face, twisted and unrecognizable, his mouth shaping the words
of the ritual, spilling forth in a meaningless babble like a river of black water.
The blood was flowing more freely now, turning the cloudy liquid inside the coffin a
darker red. Sebastian moved.
The bloody water shifted and spilled as he sat up, his black eyes fixed on Jace.
The second part of the ritual. His voice spoke inside Jace’s head. It is almost complete.
Water ran off him like tears. His pale hair, pasted to his forehead, seemed to have no
color at all. He raised one hand and held it out, and Jace, against the cry inside his own
mind, held out the dagger, blade forward. Sebastian slid his hand along the length of the
cold, sharp blade. Blood sprang up in a line across his palm. He knocked the dagger aside
and took Jace’s hand, gripping it with his own.
It was the last thing Jace had expected. He couldn’t move to pull away. He felt each of
Sebastian’s cold fingers as they wrapped his hand, pressing their bleeding cuts together.
It was like being gripped by cold metal. Ice began to spread up his veins from his hand. A
shudder passed over him, and then another, powerful physical tremors so painful it felt as
if his body were being turned inside out. He tried to scream—
And the cry died in his throat. He looked down at his and Sebastian’s hands, clenched
together. Blood ran through their fingers and down their wrists, as elegant as red
lacework. It glittered in the cold electric light of the city. It moved not like liquid, but like
moving red wires. It wrapped their hands together in a scarlet binding.
A peculiar sense of peace stole over Jace. The world seemed to fall away, and he was
standing on the peak of a mountain, the world spread out before him, everything in it his
for the taking. The lights of the city around him were no longer electric, but were the
light of a thousand diamond-like stars. They seemed to shine down on him with a
benevolent glow that said, This is good. This is right. This is what your father would have
He saw Clary in his mind’s eye, her pale face, the fall of her red hair, her mouth as it
moved, shaping the words I’ll be right back. Five minutes.
And then her voice faded as another spoke over it, drowning it out. The image of her in
his mind receded, vanishing imploringly into the darkness, as Eurydice had vanished
when Orpheus had turned to look at her one last time. Her saw her, her white arms held
out to him, and then the shadows closed over her and she was gone.
A new voice spoke in Jace’s head now, a familiar voice, once hated, now oddly welcome.
Sebastian’s voice. It seemed to run through his blood, through the blood that passed
through Sebastian’s hand into his, like a fiery chain.
We are one now, little brother, you and I, Sebastian said.
We are one.

City of Fallen Angels - Chapter 18

Clouds had rolled in over the river, the way they sometimes did at night, bringing a thick
mist with them. It didn’t hide what was happening on the roof, just laid a sort of dimming
fog over everything else. The buildings rising all around them were murky pillars of light,
and the moon glowed barely, a muffled lamp, through the low scudding clouds. The
broken bits of the glass coffin, scattered across the tiled ground, shone like shards of ice,
and Lilith, too, shone, pale under the moon, watching Simon as he bent over Sebastian’s
still body, drinking his blood.
Clary could hardly bear to watch. She knew Simon hated what he was doing; she knew
he was doing it for her. For her, and even, a little bit, for Jace. And she knew what the
next step in the ritual would be. Simon would give up his blood, willingly, to Sebastian,
and Simon would die. Vampires could die when their blood was drained. He would die,
and she would lose him forever, and it would—all of it—be her own fault.
She could feel Jace behind her, his arms still tight around her, the soft, regular beat of his
heart against her shoulder blades. She remembered the way he had held her on the steps
of the Accords Hall in Idris. The sound of the wind in the leaves as he’d kissed her, his
hands warm on either side of her face. The way she had felt his heart beating and thought
that no one else’s heart beat like his, like every pulse of his blood matched her own.
He had to be in there somewhere. Like Sebastian inside his glass prison. There had to be
some way to reach him.
Lilith was watching Simon as he bent over Sebastian, her dark eyes wide and fixed. Clary
and Jace might as well not have been there at all.
“Jace,” Clary whispered. “Jace, I don’t want to watch this.”
She pressed back against him, as if she were trying to snuggle into his arms, then
pretended a wince as the knife brushed the side of her throat.
“Please, Jace,” she whispered. “You don’t need the knife. You know I can’t hurt you.”
“But why—”
“I just want to look at you. I want to see your face.”
She felt his chest rise and fall once, fast. A shudder went through him, as if he were
fighting something, pushing against it. Then he moved, the way only he could move, so
swiftly it was like a flash of light. He kept his right arm tight around her; his left hand slid
the knife into his belt.
Her heart leaped wildly. I could run, she thought, but he would only catch her, and it was
only a moment. Seconds later both arms were around her again, his hands on her arms,
turning her. She felt his fingers trail over her back, her bare, shivering arms, as he spun
her to face him.
She was looking away from Simon now, away from the demon woman, though she could
still feel their presence at her back, shivering up her spine. She looked up at Jace. His
face was so familiar. The lines of it, the way his hair fell across his forehead, the faint
scar over his cheekbone, another at his temple. His eyelashes a shade darker than his hair.
His eyes were the color of pale yellow glass. That was where he was different, she
thought. He still looked like Jace, but his eyes were clear and blank, as if she were
looking through a window into an empty room.
“I’m afraid,” she said.
He stroked her shoulder, sending sparks winging through her nerves; with a feeling of
sickness she realized her body still responded to his touch. “I won’t let anything happen
to you.”
She stared at him. You really think that, don’t you? Somehow you can’t see the
disconnect between your actions and your intentions. Somehow she’s taken that away
from you.
“You won’t be able to stop her,” she said. “She’s going to kill me, Jace.”
He shook his head. “No. She wouldn’t do that.”
Clary wanted to scream, but she kept her voice deliberate, careful, calm. “I know you’re
in there, Jace. The real you.” She pressed closer to him. The buckle on his belt dug into
her waist. “You could fight her. . . .”
It had been the wrong thing to say. He tensed all over, and she saw a flash of anguish in
his eyes, the look of an animal in a trap. In another instant it had turned to hardness. “I
She shivered. The look on his face was awful, so awful. At her shudder his eyes softened.
“Are you cold?” he said, and for a moment he sounded like Jace again, concerned about
her well-being. It made her throat hurt.
She nodded, though physical cold was the furthest thing from her mind. “Can I put my
hands inside your jacket?”
He nodded. His jacket was unbuttoned; she slid her arms inside, her hands touching his
back lightly. Everything was eerily silent. The city seemed frozen inside an icy prism.
Even the light radiating off the buildings around them was still and cold.
He breathed slowly, steadily. She could see the rune on his chest through the torn fabric
of his shirt. It seemed to pulse when he breathed. It was sickening, she thought, attached
to him like that, like a leech, sucking out what was good, what was Jace.
She remembered what Luke had said to her about destroying a rune. If you disfigure it
enough, you can minimize or destroy its power. Sometimes in battle the enemy will try to
burn or slice off a Shadowhunter’s skin, just to deprive them of the power of their runes.
She kept her eyes fixed on Jace’s face. Forget about what’s happening, she thought.
Forget about Simon, about the knife at your throat. What you say now matters more than
anything you’ve ever said before.
“Remember what you said to me in the park?” she whispered.
He looked down at her, startled. “What?”
“When I told you I didn’t speak Italian. I remember what you told me, what that quote
meant. You said it meant love is the most powerful force on earth. More powerful than
anything else.”
A tiny line appeared between his eyebrows. “I don’t . . .”
“Yes, you do.” Tread carefully, she told herself, but she couldn’t help it, couldn’t help the
strain that surfaced in her voice. “You remember. The most powerful force there is, you
said. Stronger than Heaven or Hell. It has to be more powerful than Lilith, too.”
Nothing. He stared at her as if he couldn’t hear her. It was like shouting down into a
black, empty tunnel. Jace, Jace, Jace. I know you’re in there.
“There’s a way you could protect me and still do what she wants,” she said. “Wouldn’t
that be the best thing?” She pressed her body closer against his, feeling her stomach twist.
It was like holding Jace and not like it, all at the same time, joy and horror mixed
together. And she could feel his body react to her, the drumbeat of his heart in her ears,
her veins; he had not stopped wanting her, whatever layers of control Lilith exerted over
his mind.
“I’ll whisper it to you,” she said, brushing her lips against his neck. She breathed in the
scent of him, as familiar as the scent of her own skin. “Listen.”
She tilted her face up, and he leaned down to hear her—and her hand moved from his
waist to clamp down on the hilt of the knife in his belt. She whipped it upward, just as he
had shown her when they had trained, balancing its weight in her palm, and she slashed
the blade across the left side of his chest in a wide, shallow arc. Jace cried out—more in
surprise than pain, she guessed—and blood burst from the cut, spilling down his skin,
obscuring the rune. He put his hand to his chest; when it came away red, he stared at her,
his eyes wide, as if somehow he was genuinely hurt, genuinely unable to believe in her
Clary spun away from him as Lilith cried out. Simon was no longer bending over
Sebastian; he had straightened up and was staring down at Clary, the back of his hand
jammed against his mouth. Black demon blood dripped from his chin onto his white shirt.
His eyes were wide.
“Jace,” Lilith’s voice soared upward in astonishment. “Jace, get hold of her—I order it—

Jace didn’t move. He was staring from Clary, to Lilith, at his bloody hand, and then back
again. Simon had begun to back away from Lilith; suddenly he stopped with a jerk and
bent double, falling to his knees. Lilith whirled away from Jace and advanced on Simon,
her hard face contorted. “Get up!” she shrieked. “Get on your feet! You drank his blood.
Now he needs yours!”
Simon struggled to a sitting position, then slid limply to the ground. He retched, coughing
up black blood. Clary remembered him in Idris, saying that Sebastian’s blood was like
poison. Lilith drew back her foot to kick him— then staggered back as if an invisible
hand had pushed her, hard. Lilith screeched—not words, just a scream like the cry of an
owl. It was a sound of unadulterated hatred and rage.
It was not a sound a human being could have made; it felt like jagged shards of glass
being driven into Clary’s ears. She cried out, “Leave Simon alone! He’s sick. Can’t you
see he’s sick?”
She was immediately sorry she’d spoken. Lilith turned slowly, her gaze sliding over Jace,
cold and imperious. “I told you, Jace Herondale.” Her voice rang out. “Don’t let the girl
leave the circle. Take her weapon.”
Clary had barely realized she was still holding the knife. She felt so cold she was nearly
numb, but beneath that a wash of unbearable rage at Lilith—at everything—freed the
movement of her arm. She flung the knife at the ground. It skidded across the tiles,
fetching up at Jace’s feet. He stared down at it blindly, as if he’d never seen a weapon
Lilith’s mouth was a thin red slash. The whites of her eyes had vanished; they were all
black. She did not look human. “Jace,” she hissed. “Jace Herondale, you heard me. And
you will obey me.”
“Take it,” Clary said, looking at Jace. “Take it and kill either her or me. It’s your choice.”
Slowly Jace bent down and picked up the knife.
Alec had Sandalphon in one hand, a hachiwara—good for parrying multiple attackers—in
the other. At least six cultists lay at his feet, dead or unconscious.
Alec had fought quite a few demons in his time, but there was something especially eerie
about fighting the cultists of the Church of Talto. They moved all together, less like
people than like an eerie dark tide—eerie because they were so silent and so bizarrely
strong and fast. They also seemed totally unafraid of death. Though Alec and Isabelle
shouted at them to keep back, they kept moving forward in a wordless, clustering horde,
flinging themselves at the Shadowhunters with the self-destructive mindlessness of
lemmings hurling themselves over a cliff. They had backed Alec and Isabelle down the
hallway and into the big, open room full of stone pedestals, when the noise of the fight
brought Jordan and Maia running: Jordan in wolf form, Maia still human, but with her
claws fully out.
The cultists seemed barely to register their presence. They fought on, falling one after the
other as Alec, Maia, and Jordan laid about themselves with knives, claws, and blades.
Isabelle’s whip traced shimmering patterns in the air as it sliced through bodies, sending
fine sprays of blood into the air. Maia especially was acquitting herself well.
At least a dozen cultists lay crumpled around her, and she was laying into another one
with a blazing fury, her clawed hands red to the wrists.
A cultist streaked across Alec’s path and lunged at him, hands outstretched. Its hood was
up; he couldn’t see its face, or guess at sex or age. He sank the blade of Sandalphon into
the left side of its chest. It screamed—a male scream, loud and hoarse. The man
collapsed, clawing at his chest, where flames were licking at the edge of the torn hole in
his jacket. Alec turned away, sickened. He hated watching what happened to humans
when a seraph blade pierced their skin.
Suddenly he felt a searing burn across his back, and turned to see a second cultist
wielding a jagged piece of rebar. This one was hoodless—a man, his face so thin that his
cheekbones seemed to be digging through his skin. He hissed and lunged againatAlec,
who leaped aside, the weaponwhistling harmlesslypast him.He spun and kicked it out of
the cultist’s hand; it rattled to the floor, and the cultist backed up, nearly tripped over a
body— and ran.
Alec hesitated for a moment. The cultist who had just attacked him had nearly made it to
the door. Alec knew he ought to follow—for all he knew, the man might be running to
warn someone or to get reinforcements—but he felt bone-weary, disgusted, and a little
sick. These people might be possessed; they might barely be people anymore, but it still
felt too much like killing human beings.
He wondered what Magnus would say, but to tell the truth, he already knew. Alec had
fought creatures like this before, the cult servants of demons. Almost all that was human
about them had been consumed by the demon for energy, leaving nothing but a
murderous yearning to kill and a human body dying slowly in agony. They were beyond
help: incurable, unfixable. He heard Magnus’s voice as if the warlock stood beside him.
Killing them is the most merciful thing you can do.
Jamming the hachiwara back into his belt, Alec gave chase, pounding out the door and
into the hall after the fleeing cultist. The hallway was empty, the farthest of the elevator
doors jammed open, a weird high-pitched alarm noise sounding through the corridor.
Several doorways branched off from the foyer. Shrugging inwardly, Alec picked one at
random and dashed through it.
He found himself in a maze of small rooms that were barely finished—drywall had been
hastily thrown up, and bouquets of multicolored wire sprouted from holes in the walls.
The seraph blade threw a patchwork quilt of light across the walls as he moved cautiously
through the rooms, his nerves prickling. At one point the light caught movement, and he
jumped. Lowering the blade, he saw a pair of red eyes and a small gray body skittering
into a hole in the wall. Alec’s mouth twitched. That was New York for you. Even in a
building as new as this one, there were rats.
Eventually the rooms opened out into a larger space—not as large as the room with the
pedestals, but more sizeable than the others. There was a wall of glass here, too, with
cardboard taped across sections of it.
A dark shape was huddled in one corner of the room, near an exposed section of piping.
Alec approached cautiously. Was it a trick of the light? No, the shape was recognizably
human, a bent, huddled figure in dark clothes. Alec’s night vision rune twinged as he
narrowed his eyes, moving forward. The shape resolved itself into a slim woman,
barefoot, her hands chained in front of her to a length of pipe. She raised her head as Alec
approached, and the dim light that poured through the windows illuminated her pale
white-blond hair.
“Alexander?” she said, her voice rich with disbelief. “Alexander Lightwood?”
It was Camille.
“Jace.” Lilith’s voice came down like a whip across bare flesh; even Clary flinched at the
sound of it. “I command you to—”
Jace’s arm drew back—Clary tensed, bracing herself—and he flung the knife at Lilith. It
whipped through the air, end over end, and sank into her chest; she staggered back,
caught off balance. Lilith’s heels skidded on the smooth stone; the demoness righted
herself with a snarl, reaching down to pluck the knife from her ribs. Spitting something in
a language Clary couldn’t understand, she let it drop. It fell hissing to the ground, its
blade half-eaten away, as if by a powerful acid.
She whirled on Clary. “What did you do to him? What did you do?” Her eyes had been
all black a moment ago.
Now they seemed to bulge and protrude. Small black serpents slithered from her eye
sockets; Clary cried out and stepped back, almost tripping over a low hedge. This was the
Lilith she had seen in Ithuriel’s vision, with her slithering eyes and harsh, echoing voice.
She advanced on Clary—
And suddenly Jace was between them, blocking Lilith’s path. Clary stared. He was
himself again. He seemed to burn with a righteous fire, as Raziel had by Lake Lyn that
horrible night. He had drawn a seraph blade from his belt; the white-silver of it reflected
in his eyes; blood dripped from the rent in his shirt and slicked his bare skin.
The way he looked at her, at Lilith—if angels could rise up out of Hell, Clary thought,
they would look like that.
“Michael,” he said, and Clary wasn’t sure whether it was the strength of the name, or the
rage in his voice, but the blade he held blazed up brighter than any seraph blade she’d
ever seen. She looked aside for a moment, blinded, and saw Simon lying in a crumpled
dark heap beside Sebastian’s glass coffin.
Her heart twisted inside her chest. What if Sebastian’s demon blood had poisoned him?
The Mark of Cain wouldn’t help him. It was something he had done willingly, to himself.
For her. Simon.
“Ah, Michael.” Lilith’s voice was rich with laughter as she moved toward Jace. “The
captain of the hosts of the Lord. I knew him.”
Jace raised the seraph blade; it blazed like a star, so bright that Clary wondered if all the
city could see it, like a searchlight piercing the sky. “Don’t come any closer.”
Lilith, to Clary’s surprise, paused. “Michael slew the demon Sammael, whom I loved,”
she said. “Why is it, little Shadowhunter, that your angels are so cold and without mercy?
Why do they break that which will not obey them?”
“I had no idea you were such a proponent of free will,” said Jace, and the way he said it,
his voice heavy with sarcasm, did more to reassure Clary that he was himself again than
anything else would have. “How about letting us all walk off this roof now, then? Me,
Simon, Clary? What do you say, demoness? It’s over. You don’t control me anymore. I
won’t hurt Clary, and Simon won’t obey you. And that piece of filth you’re trying to
resuscitate—I suggest you get rid of him before he starts to rot. Because he isn’t coming
back, and he’s way past his sell-by date.”
Lilith’s face twisted. She spat at Jace, and her spit was a black flame that hit the ground
and became a snake that wiggled toward him, its jaws agape. He smashed it with a booted
foot and lunged for the demoness, blade outstretched; but Lilith was gone like a shadow
when light shone on it, vanishing and reforming just behind him. As he spun, she reached
out almost lazily and slammed her open palm against his chest.
Jace went flying, Michael knocked from his hand, skittering across the stone tiles. Jace
sailed through the air and struck the low roof wall with such force that splintering lines
appeared in the stone. He hit the ground hard, visibly stunned.
Gasping, Clary ran for the fallen seraph blade, but never reached it. Lilith caught Clary
up in two thin, icy hands and threw her with incredible force. Clary hurtled into a low
hedge, the branches slashing viciously at her skin, opening up long cuts. She struggled to
free herself, her dress tangled in the foliage. She heard the silk rip as she tore free and
turned to see Lilith drag Jace to his feet, her hand fastened in the bloody front of his shirt.
She grinned at him, and her teeth were black too, and gleamed like metal. “I am glad
you’re on your feet, little Nephilim. I want to see your face when I kill you, not stab you
in the back the way you did my son.”
Jace wiped his sleeve across his face; he was bleeding from a long cut along his cheek,
and the fabric came away red. “He’s not your son. You donated some blood to him. That
doesn’t make him yours. Mother of warlocks —” He turned his head and spat, blood.
“You’re not anyone’s mother.”
Lilith’s snake eyes darted back and forth furiously. Clary, disentangling herself painfully
from the hedge, saw that each of the snake heads had two eyes of its own, glittering and
red. Clary’s stomach turned as the snakes moved, their gazes seeming to slither up and
down Jace’s body. “Cutting my rune apart. How crude,” she spat.
“But effective,” said Jace.
“You cannot win against me, Jace Herondale,” she said. “You may be the greatest
Shadowhunter this world has known, but I am more than a Greater Demon.”
“Then, fight me,” said Jace. “I’ll give you a weapon. I’ll have my seraph blade. Fight me
one on one, and we’ll see who wins.”
Lilith looked at him, shaking her head slowly, her dark hair swirling around her like
smoke. “I am the oldest of demons,” she said. “Iam not a man. Ihave no male pride for
youto trick me with, and Iam not interested insingle combat. That is entirely a weakness
of your sex, not mine. I am a woman. I will use any weapon and all weapons to get what I
want.” She let go of him them, with a half-contemptuous shove; Jace stumbled for a
moment, righting himself quickly and reaching to the ground for the glittering blade of
He seized it just as Lilith laughed and raised her hands. Half-opaque shadows exploded
from her open palms.
Even Jace looked shocked as the shadows solidified into the forms of twin black shadowy
demons with shimmering red eyes. They hit the ground, pawing and growling. They were
dogs, Clary thought in amazement, two gaunt, vicious-looking black dogs that vaguely
resembled Doberman pinschers.
“Hellhounds,” breathed Jace. “Clary—”
He broke off as one of the dogs sprang toward him, its mouth opened as wide as a
shark’s, a loud, baying howl erupting from its throat. A moment later the second one
leaped into the air, launching itself directly at Clary.
“Camille.” Alec’s head was spinning. “What are you doing here?”
He immediately realized that he sounded like an idiot. He fought down the urge to smack
himself in the forehead.
The last thing he wanted was to look like a fool in front of Magnus’s ex-girlfriend.
“It was Lilith,” said the vampire woman in a small, trembling voice. “She had her cult
members break into the Sanctuary. It isn’t warded against humans, and they’re human—
barely. They cut my chains and brought me here, to her.” She raised her hands; the chains
binding her wrists to the pipe rattled. “They brutalized me.”
Alec crouched down, bringing his eyes on a level with Camille’s. Vampires didn’t
bruise—they healed too quickly for that—but her hair was matted with blood on the left
side, which made him think she was telling the truth. “Let’s say I believe you,” he said.
“What did she want with you? Nothing in what I know about Lilith says she has a
particular interest in vampires.”
“You know why the Clave was holding me,” she said. “You would have heard.”
“You killed three Shadowhunters. Magnus said you claimed you were doing it because
someone had ordered you to—” He broke off. “Lilith?”
“If I tell you, will you help me?” Camille’s lower lip trembled. Her eyes were huge,
green, pleading. She was very beautiful. Alec wondered if she had once looked at
Magnus like this. It made him want to shake her.
“I might,” he said, astonished at the coldness in his own voice. “You don’t have a lot of
bargaining power here. I could go off and leave you for Lilith to have, and it wouldn’t
make much difference to me.”
“Yes, it would,” she said. Her voice was low. “Magnus loves you. He wouldn’t love you
if you were the sort of person who could abandon someone helpless.”
“He loved you,” Alec said.
She gave a wistful smile. “He appears to have learned better since then.”
Alec rocked back on his heels slightly. “Look,” he said. “Tell me the truth. If you do, I’ll
cut you free and bring you to the Clave. They’ll treat you better than Lilith would.”
She looked down at her wrists, chained to the pipe. “The Clave chained me,” she said.
“Lilith chained me. I see little difference in my treatment between the two.”
“I guess it’s your choice, then. Trust me, or trust her,” Alec said. It was a gamble, he
He waited for several tense moments before she said, “Very well. If Magnus trusts you, I
will trust you.” She raised her head, doing her best to look dignified despite torn clothing
and bloody hair. “Lilith came to me, not I to her.
She had heard I was looking to recover my position as head of the Manhattan clan from
Raphael Santiago. She said she would help me, if I would help her.”
“Help her by murdering Shadowhunters?”
“She wanted their blood,” said Camille. “It was for those babies. She was injecting
Shadowhunter blood and demon blood into the mothers, trying to replicate what
Valentine did to his son. It didn’t work, though. The babies became twisted things—and
then they died.” Catching his revolted look, she said, “I didn’t know at first what she
wanted the blood for. You may not think much of me, but I have no taste for murdering
innocents.” wanted the blood for. You may not think much of me, but I have no taste for
murdering innocents.”
“You didn’t have to do it,” said Alec. “Just because she offered.”
Camille smiled tiredly. “When you are as old as I am,” she said, “it is because you have
learned to play the game correctly—to make the right alliances at the right times. To ally
yourself not just with the powerful, but with those who you believe will make you
powerful. I knew that if I did not agree to assist Lilith, she would kill me. Demons are not
by nature trusting, and she would think that I would go to the Clave with what I knew
about her plans to kill Shadowhunters, even if I promised her I would stay silent. I took a
chance that Lilith was a greater danger to me than your kind were.”
“And you didn’t mind killing Shadowhunters.”
“They were Circle members,” said Camille. “They had killed my kind. And yours.”
“And Simon Lewis? What was your interest in him?”
“Everyone wants the Daylighter on their side.” Camille shrugged. “And I knew he had
the Mark of Cain. One of Raphael’s vampire underlings is still loyal to me. He passed on
the information. Few other Downworlders know of it. It makes him an incalculably
valuable ally.”
“Is that what Lilith wants with him?”
Camille’s eyes widened. Her skinwas verypale, and beneathitAlec could see that her
veins had darkened,the pattern of them beginning to spread across the whiteness of her
face like widening cracks in china. Eventually, starving vampires became savage, then
lost consciousness, once they had been without blood for too long. The older they were,
the longer they could stave it off, but Alec couldn’t help but wonder how long it had been
since she had fed. “What do you mean?”
“Apparently she’s summoned Simon to meet with her,” said Alec. “They’re somewhere
in the building.”
Camille stared a moment longer, then laughed. “A true irony,” she said. “She never
mentioned him to me, and I never mentioned him to her, and yet both of us were pursuing
him for our own ends. If she wants him, it’s for his blood,” she added. “The ritual she’s
performing is most assuredly one of blood magic. His blood—mixed Downworlder and
Shadowhunter blood—would be of great use to her.”
Alec felt a flicker of unease. “But she can’t hurt him. The Mark of Cain—”
“She’ll find a way around that,” said Camille. “She is Lilith, mother of warlocks. She’s
been alive a long time, Alexander.”
Alec got to his feet. “Then I’d better find out what she’s doing.”
Camille’s chains rattled as she tried to rise to her knees. “Wait—but you said you would
free me.”
Alec turned and looked down at her. “I didn’t. I said I would let the Clave have you.”
“But if you leave me here, nothing prevents Lilith from finding me first.” She tossed her
matted hair back; lines of strain showed in her face. “Alexander, please. I beg you—”
“Who’s Will?” Alec said. The words came out abruptly, unexpectedly, and much to his
“Will?” For a moment her face was blank; then it creased into a look of realization, and
near amusement. “You heard my conversation with Magnus.”
“Some of it.” Alec exhaled carefully. “Will is dead, isn’t he? I mean, Magnus said it was
a long time ago that he knew him. . . .”
“I know what’s bothering you, little Shadowhunter.” Camille’s voice had gone musical
and soft. Behind her, through the windows, Alec could see the distant flickering lights of
a plane as it flew over the city. “At first you were happy.
You thought of the moment, not of the future. Now you have realized. You will grow old,
and will someday die. And Magnus will not. He will continue. You will not grow old
together. You will grow apart instead.”
Alec thought of the people on the airplane, high up in the cold and icy air, looking down
on the city like a field of glittering diamonds, far below. Of course, he had never been in
an airplane himself. He was only guessing at how it would feel: lonely, distant,
disconnected from the world. “You can’t know that,” he said. “That we’ll grow apart.”
She smiled pityingly. “You’re beautiful now,” she said. “But will you be in twenty years?
In forty? Fifty? Will he love your blue eyes when they fade, your soft skin when age cuts
deep furrows in it? Your hands when they wrinkle and grow weak, your hair when it
grows white—”
“Shut up.” Alec heard the crack in his own voice, and was ashamed. “Just shut up. I don’t
want to hear it.”
“It doesn’t have to be that way.” Camille leaned toward him, her green eyes luminous.
“What if I told you that you didn’t have to grow old? Didn’t have to die?”
Alec felt a wave of rage. “I’m not interested in becoming a vampire. Don’t even bother
making the offer. Not if the only other alternative was death.”
For the briefest of moments her face twisted. It was gone in a flash as her control
reasserted itself; she smiled a thin smile and said, “That wasn’t my suggestion. What if I
told you there was another way? Another way for the two of you to be together forever?”
Alec swallowed. His mouth was as dry as paper. “Tell me,” he said.
Camille raised her hands. Her chains rattled. “Cut these free.”
“No. Tell me first.”
She shook her head. “I won’t do that.” Her expression was as hard as marble, as was her
voice. “You said I had nothing to bargainwith. But Ido.And Iwill notgive it away.”
Alec hesitated. In his head he heard Magnus’s soft voice. She is a master of implication
and manipulation. She always has been.
But Magnus, he thought. You never told me. Never warned me it would be like this, that
I would wake up one day and realize that I was going somewhere you couldn’t follow.
That we are essentially not the same. There’s no “till death do us part” for those who
never die.
He took a step toward Camille, and then another. Raising his right arm, he brought the
seraph blade down, as hard as he could. It sheared through the metal of her chains; her
wrists sprang apart, still in their manacles but free. She brought her hands up, her
expression gloating, triumphant.
“Alec.” Isabelle spoke from the doorway; Alec turned and saw her standing there, her
whip at her side. It was stained with blood, as were her hands and her silk dress. “What
are you doing in here?”
“Nothing. I—” Alec felt a wave of shame and horror; almost without thinking, he moved
to step in front of Camille, as if he could obscure her from his sister’s view.
“They’re all dead.” Isabelle sounded grim. “The cultists. We killed every one of them.
Now come on. We have to start looking for Simon.” She squinted at Alec. “Are you
okay? You look really pale.”
“I cut her free,” Alec blurted. “I shouldn’t have. It’s just—”
“Cut who free?” Isabelle took a step into the room. The ambient city light sparked off her
dress, making her shine like a ghost. “Alec, what are you blathering about?”
Her expression was blank, confused. Alec turned, following her gaze, and saw—nothing.
The pipe was still there, a length of chain lying beside it, the dust on the floor only very
slightly disturbed. But Camille was gone.
Clary barely had time to put her arms up before the hellhound collided with her, a
cannonball of muscle and bone and hot, stinking breath. Her feet went out from under
her; she remembered Jace telling her the best way to fall, how to protect yourself, but the
advice flew from her mind and she hit the ground with her elbows, agony shooting
through her as the skin tore. A moment later the hound was on top of her, its paws
crushing her chest, its gnarled tail swishing from side to side in a grotesque imitation of a
wag. The tip of its tail was spiked with nail-like protrusions like a medieval mace, and a
thick growl came from its barrel-chested body, so loud and strong that she could feel her
bones vibrate.
“Hold her there! Tear her throat out if she tries to get away!” Lilith snapped instructions
as the second hellhound sprang at Jace; he was struggling with it, rolling over and over, a
whirlwind of teeth and arms and legs and the vicious whipping tail. Painfully Clary
turned her head to the other side, and saw Lilith striding toward the glass coffin and
Simon, still lying in a heap beside it. Inside the coffin Sebastian floated, as motionless as
a drowned body; the milky color of the water had turned dark, probably with his blood.
The hound pinning her to the ground snarled close to her ear. The sound sent a jolt of fear
through her—and along with the fear, anger. Anger at Lilith, and at herself. She was a
Shadowhunter. It was one thing to be taken down by a Ravener demon when she’d never
heard of the Nephilim. She had some training now. She ought to be able to do better.
Anything can be a weapon. Jace had said that to her in the park. The weight of the
hellhound was crushing; she made a gagging noise and reached for her throat, as if
fighting for air. It barked and snarled, baring its teeth; her fingers closed on the chain
holding the Morgenstern ring around her neck. She yanked it, hard, and the chain
snapped; she whipped it toward the dog’s face, slashing the hound brutally across the
eyes. The hound reared back, howling in pain, and Clary rolled to the side, scrambling to
her knees. Bloody-eyed, the dog crouched, ready to spring. The necklace had fallen out of
Clary’s hand, the ring rolling away; she scrabbled for the chain as the dog leaped—
A shining blade split the night, slashing down inches from Clary’s face, severing the
dog’s head from its body. It gave a single howl and vanished, leaving behind a scorched
black mark on the stone, and the stench of demon in the air.
Hands came down, lifted Clary gently to her feet. It was Jace. He had shoved the burning
seraph blade through his belt, and he held her by both hands, gazing at her with a peculiar
look. She couldn’t have described it, or even drawn it—hope, shock, love, yearning, and
anger all mixed together in his expression. His shirt was torn in several places, soaked
with blood; his jacket was gone, his fair hair matted with sweat and blood. For a moment
they simply stared at each other, his grip on her hands painfully tight. Then they both
spoke at once:
“Are you—,” she began.
“Clary.” Still gripping her hands, he pushed her away from him, away from the circle,
toward the walkway that led to the elevators. “Go,” he said raggedly. “Get out of here,
He took a shaking breath. “Please,” he said, and then he let her go, drawing the seraph
blade from his belt as he turned back toward the circle.
“Get up,” Lilith growled. “Get up.”
A hand shook Simon’s shoulder, sending a wave of agony through his head. He had been
floating in darkness; he opened his eyes now and saw night sky, stars, and Lilith’s white
face looming over him. Her eyes were gone, replaced by slithering black snakes. The
shock of the sight was enough to propel Simon to his feet.
The moment he was upright, he retched and nearly fell to his knees again. Shutting his
eyes against the nausea, he heard Lilith snarl his name, and then her hand was on his arm,
guiding him forward. He let her do it. His mouth was full of the nauseating, bitter taste of
Sebastian’s blood; it was spreading through his veins, too, making him sick, weak, and
shivery down to his bones. His head felt like it weighed a thousand pounds, and dizziness
was advancing and receding in waves.
Abruptly Lilith’s cold grip on his arm was gone. Simon opened his eyes and found that
he was standing over the glass coffin, just as he had been before. Sebastian floated in the
dark, milky liquid, his face smooth, no pulse in his neck. Two dark holes were visible at
the side of his throat where Simon had bitten him.
Give him your blood. Lilith’s voice echoed, not aloud but inside his head. Do it now.
Simon looked up dizzily. His vision was fogging. He strained to see Clary and Jace
through the encroaching darkness.
Use your fangs,said Lilith. Tear your wrist open. Give Jonathanyour blood. Healhim.
Simon raised his wrist to his mouth. Heal him. Raising someone from the dead was a lot
more than healing them, he thought. Maybe Sebastian’s hand would grow back. Maybe
that’s what she meant. He waited for his fangs to come, but they didn’t. He was too sick
to be hungry, he thought, and fought back the insane urge to laugh.
“I can’t,” he said, half-gasping. “I can’t—”
“Lilith!” Jace’s voice cut through the night; Lilith turned with an incredulous hiss. Simon
lowered his wrist slowly, struggling to focus his eyes. He focused on the brightness in
front of him, and it became the leaping flame of a seraph blade, held in Jace’s left hand.
Simon could see him clearly now, a distinct image painted onto the darkness. His jacket
was gone, he was filthy, his shirt torn and black with blood, but his eyes were clear and
steady and focused. He no longer looked like a zombie or someone caught sleepwalking
in a terrible dream.
“Where is she?” Lilith said, her snake eyes slithering forward on their stalks. “Where is
the girl?”
Clary. Simon’s fogged gaze scanned the darkness around Jace, but she was nowhere to be
seen. His vision was beginning to clear. He could see blood smearing the tiled ground,
and bits of shredded, torn satin caught on the sharp branches of a hedge. What looked like
paw prints smeared the blood. Simon felt his chest tighten. He looked quickly back at
Jace. Jace looked angry—very angry indeed—but not shattered the way Simon would
have expected him to look if something had happened to Clary. So where was she?
“She has nothing to do with this,” Jace said. “You say I can’t kill you, demoness. I say I
can. Let’s see which of us is right.”
Lilith moved so fast, she was a blur. One moment she was beside Simon, the next she
was on the step above Jace. She slashed out at him with her hand; he ducked, spinning
behind her, whipping the seraph blade across her shoulder. She screamed, whirling on
him, blood arcing from her wound. It was a shimmering black color, like onyx. She
brought her hands together as if she meant to smash the blade between them. They struck
each other with a sound like a thunderclap, but Jace was already gone, several feet away,
the light of the seraph blade dancing in the air before him like the wink of a mocking eye.
If it had been any other Shadowhunter but Jace, Simon thought, he would have been dead
already. He thought of Camille saying, Man cannot contend with the divine.
Shadowhunters were human, despite their angel blood, and Lilith was more than a
Pain shot through Simon. With surprise he realized his fangs had, finally, come out, and
were cutting into his lower lip. The pain and the taste of blood roused him further. He
began to rise to his feet, slowly, his eyes on Lilith. She certainly didn’t appear to notice
him, or what he was doing. Her eyes were fixed on Jace. With another sudden snarl she
leaped for him. It was like watching moths flashing to and fro, watching the two of them
as they battled back and forth across the rooftop. Even Simon’s vampire vision had
trouble keeping up as they moved, leaping over hedges, darting among the walkways.
Lilith backed Jace up against the low wall that surrounded a sundial, the numbers on its
face picked out in shining gold. Jace was moving so fast he was nearly a blur, the light of
Michael whipping around Lilithas if she were being wrapped ina net of shining
filaments.Anyone else would have been cut to ribbons in seconds. But Lilith moved like
dark water, like smoke. She seemed to vanish and reappear at will, and though Jace was
clearly not tiring, Simon could sense his frustration.
Finally it happened. Jace swung the seraph blade violently toward Lilith—and she caught
it out of the air, her hand wrapping around the blade. Her hand was dripping black blood
as she yanked the blade toward her. The drops, as they struck the ground, became tiny
obsidian snakes that wiggled away into the underbrush. as they struck the ground,
became tiny obsidian snakes that wiggled away into the underbrush.
Taking the blade in both hands, she raised it. Blood was running down her pale wrists and
forearms like streaks of tar. With a snarling grin she snapped the blade in half; one half
crumbled to a shining powder in her hands, while the other—the hilt and a jagged shard
of blade—sputtered darkly, a flame half-smothered by ash.
Lilith smiled. “Poor little Michael,” she said. “He always was weak.”
Jace was panting, his hands clenched at his sides, his hair pasted to his forehead with
sweat. “You and your name-dropping,” he said. “‘I knew Michael.’ ‘I knew Sammael.’
‘The angel Gabriel did my hair.’ It’s like I’m with the Band with biblical figures.”
This was Jace being brave, Simon thought, brave and snarky because he thought Lilith
was going to kill him, and that was the way he wanted to go, unafraid and on his feet.
Like a warrior. The way Shadowhunters did. His death song would always be this—jokes
and snideness and pretend arrogance, and that look in his eyes that said, I’m better than
you. Simon just hadn’t realized it before.
“Lilith,” Jace went on, managing to make the word sound like a curse. “I studied you. In
school. Heaven cursed you with barrenness. A thousand babies, and they all died. Isn’t
that the case?”
Lilith held her darkly glowing blade, her face impassive. “Be careful, little
“Or what? Or you’ll kill me?” Blood was dripping down Jace’s face from the cut on his
cheek; he made no move to wipe it away. “Go ahead.”
No. Simon tried to take a step; his knees buckled, and he fell, slamming his hands into the
ground. He took a deep breath. He didn’t need the oxygen, but it helped somehow,
steadying him. He reached up and grabbed the edge of the stone pedestal, using it to pull
himself upright. The back of his head was pounding. There was no way there would be
enough time. All Lilith had to do was drive forward the jagged blade she held—
But she didn’t. Looking at Jace, she didn’t move, and suddenly his eyes flashed, his
mouth relaxing. “You can’t kill me,” he said, his voice rising. “What you said before—
I’m the counterweight. I’m the only thing tethering him”—he thrust out an arm,
indicating Sebastian’s glass coffin—“to this world. If I die, he dies. Isn’t that true?” He
took a step back. “I could jump off this roof right now,” he said. “Kill myself. End this.”
For the first time Lilith appeared truly agitated. Her head whipped from side to side, her
serpent eyes quivering, as if they were searching the wind. “Where is she? Where’s the
Jace wiped blood and sweat from his face and grinned at her; his lip was already split,
and blood ran down his chin. “Forget it. I sent her back downstairs while you weren’t
paying attention. She’s gone—safe from you.”
Lilith snarled. “You lie.”
Jace took another step back. A few more steps would bring him to the low wall, the edge
of the building. Jace could survive a lot, Simon knew, but a fall from a forty-story
building might be too much even for him.
“You forget,” said Lilith. “I was there, Shadowhunter. I watched you fall and die. I
watched Valentine weep over your body. And then I watched as the Angel asked Clarissa
what she desired of him, what she wanted in the world more than she wanted anything
else, and she said you. Thinking you could be the only people in the world who could
have their dead loved one back, and that there would be no consequences. That is what
you thought, isn’t it, both of you? Fools.” Lilith spat. “You love each other—anyone can
see that, looking at you—that kind of love that can burn down the world or raise it up in
glory. No, she would never leave your side. Not while she thought you were in danger.”
Her head jerked back, her hand shooting out, fingers curved into claws. “There.”
There was a scream, and one of the hedges seemed to tear apart, revealing Clary, who
had been crouched, hiding, in the middle of it. Kicking and clawing, she was dragged
forward, her fingernails scraping the ground, seizing in vain for a purchase on something
that she could grip. Her hands left bloody trails on the tiles.
“No!” Jace started forward, then froze as Clary was whipped up into the air, where she
hovered, dangling in front of Lilith. She was barefoot, her satin dress—now so torn and
filthy it looked red and black rather than gold— swirling around her, one of her shoulder
straps torn and dangling. Her hair had come completely out of its sparkling combs and
spilled down over her shoulders. Her green eyes fixed on Lilith with hatred.
“You bitch,” she said.
Jace’s face was a mask of horror. He really had believed it when he’d said Clary was
gone, Simon realized. He’d thought she was safe. But Lilith had been right. And she was
gloating now, her snake’s eyes dancing as she moved her hands like a puppeteer, and
Clary spun and gasped in the air. Lilith flicked her fingers, and what looked like the lash
of a silver whip came down across Clary’s body, slicing her dress open, and the skin
under it.
She screamed and clutched at the wound, and her blood pattered down on the tiles like
scarlet rain.
“Clary.” Jace whirled on Lilith. “All right,” he said. He was pale now, his bravado gone;
his hands, clenched into fists, were white at the knuckles. “All right. Let her go, and I’ll
do what you want—so will Simon. We’ll let you—”
“Let me?” Somehow the features of Lilith’s face had rearranged themselves. Snakes
wriggled in the sockets of her eyes, her white skin was too stretched and shining, her
mouth too wide. Her nose had nearly vanished. “You have no choice. And more to the
point, you have annoyed me. All of you. Perhaps if you had simply done as I’d ordered, I
would have let you go. You will never know now, will you?”
Simon let go of the stone pedestal, swayed, and steadied himself. Then he began to walk.
Putting his feet down, one after the other, felt like heaving enormous bags of packed wet
sand down the side of a cliff. Each time his foot hit the ground, it sent a stab of pain
through his body. He concentrated on moving forward, one step at a time.
“Maybe I can’t kill you,” Lilith said to Jace. “But I can torture her past the point of her
endurance—torture her to madness—and make you watch. There are worse things than
death, Shadowhunter.”
She flicked her fingers again, and the silver whip came down, slashing across Clary’s
shoulder this time, opening up a wide gash. Clary buckled but didn’t scream, jamming
her hands into her mouth, curling in on herself as if she could protect herself from Lilith.
Jace started forward to throw himself at Lilith—and saw Simon. Their gazes met. For a
moment the world seemed to hang in suspension, all of it, not just Clary. Simon saw
Lilith, all her attention focused on Clary, her hand drawn back, ready to deliver an even
more vicious blow. Jace’s face was white with anguish, his eyes darkening as they met
Simon’s—and he realized—and understood.
Jace stepped back.
The world blurred around Simon. As he leaped forward, he realized two things. One, that
it was impossible, he would never reach Lilith in time; her hand was already whipping
forward, the air in front of her alive with whirling silver. And two, that he had never
understood before quite how fast a vampire could move. He felt the muscles in his legs,
his back, tear, the bones in his feet and ankles crack—
And he was there, sliding between Lilith and Clary as the demoness’s hand came down.
The long, razored silver wire struck him across the face and chest—there was a moment
of shocking pain—and then the air seemed to burst apart around him like glittering
confetti, and Simon heard Clary scream, a clear sound of shock and amazement that cut
through the darkness. “Simon!”
Lilith froze. She stared from Simon, to Clary, still hanging in the air, and then down at
her own hand, now empty.
She drew in a long, ragged breath.
“Sevenfold,” she whispered—and was abruptly cut off as a blinding incandescence lit up
the night. Dazed, all Simon could think of was ants burning under the concentrated beam
from a magnifying glass as a great ray of fire plunged down from the sky, spearing
through Lilith. For a long moment she burned white against the darkness, trapped within
the blinding flame, her mouth open like a tunnel in a silent scream. Her hair lifted, a mass
of burning filaments against the darkness—and then she was white gold, beaten thin
against the air—and then she was salt, a thousand crystalline granules of salt that rained
down at Simon’s feet with a dreadful sort of beauty.
And then she was gone.