Monday, 21 January 2013

City of Fallen Angels - Chapter 11

The demon lunged for Clary, and she stopped screaming abruptly and flung herself
backward, over the altar —a perfect flip, and for one bizarre moment she wished Jace had
been there to see it. She hit the ground in a crouch, just as something struck the altar hard,
making the stone vibrate.
A howl sounded through the church. Clary scrambled to her knees and peered over the
edge of the altar. The demon wasn’t as big as she’d first thought, but it wasn’t small,
either—about the size of a refrigerator, with three heads on swaying stalks. The heads
were blind, with enormous gaping jaws from which ropes of greenish drool hung. The
demon seemed to have smacked its leftmost head on the altar when it grabbed for her,
because it was shaking the head back and forth as if trying to clear it.
Clary glanced up wildly, but the tracksuited figures were still where they had been
before. None of them had moved. They seemed to be watching what was going on with a
detached interest. She spun and looked behind her, but there appeared to be no exits from
the church besides the door she’d come through, and the demon was currently blocking
her path back to it. Realizing she was wasting precious seconds, she scrambled to her feet
and grabbed for the athame. She yanked it off the altar and ducked back down just as the
demon came for her again.
She rolled to the side as a head, swaying on a thick stalk of neck, darted over the altar, its
thick black tongue flicking out, searching for her. With a scream she jammed the athame
into the creature’s neck once, then jerked it free, scrambling backward and out of the
The thing screamed, its head rearing back, black blood spraying from the wound she’d
made. But it wasn’t a killing blow. Even as Clary watched, the wound began to heal
slowly, the demon’s blackish green flesh knitting together like fabric being sewed up.
Her heart sank. Of course. The whole reason Shadowhunters used runed weapons was
that the runes prevented demons from healing.
She reached for the stele in her belt with her left hand, and yanked it free just as the
demon came for her again.
She leaped to the side and threw herself painfully down the stairs, rolling until she
fetched up against the first row of pews. The demon turned, lumbering a bit as it moved,
and made for her again. Realizing she was still clutching both the stele and the dagger—
in fact, the dagger had cut her as she had rolled, and blood was quickly staining the front
of her jacket—she transferred the dagger to her left hand, the stele to her right, and with a
desperate swiftness, cut an enkeli rune into the athame’s hilt.
The other symbols on the hilt began to melt and run as the rune of angelic power took
hold. Clary looked up; the demon was almost on her, its three heads reaching, their
mouths gaping. Propelling herself to her feet, she drew her arm back and flung the dagger
as hard as she could. To her great surprise, it struck the middle head right in the center of
the skull, sinking in up to the hilt. The head thrashed as the demon screamed—Clary’s
heart lifted— and then the head simply dropped, hitting the ground with a sickening thud.
The demon kept coming anyway, dragging the now-dead head on its limp neck after it as
it moved toward Clary.
The sound of many footsteps came from above. Clary looked up. The tracksuited figures
were gone, the gallery empty. The sight was not reassuring. Her heart doing a wild tango
in her chest, Clary turned and ran for the front door, but the demon was faster than she
was. With a grunt of effort it launched itself over her and landed in front of the doors,
blocking her way out. Making a hissing noise, it moved toward her, its two living heads
swaying, then rising, stretching to their full length in order to strike at her—
Something flashed through the air, a darting flame of silvery gold. The demon’s heads
whipped around, the hissing rising to a scream, but it was too late—the silvery thing that
encircled them pulled tight, and with a spray of blackish blood, its remaining two heads
sheared away. Clary rolled out of the way as flying blood splattered her, searing her skin.
Then she ducked her head as the headless body swayed, fell toward her—
And was gone. As it was collapsing, the demon vanished, sucked back to its home
dimension. Clary raised her head cautiously. The front doors of the church were open,
and in the entranceway stood Isabelle, in boots and a black dress, her electrum whip in
hand. She was winding it back slowly around her wrist, glancing around the church as
she did so, her dark eyebrows drawn together in a curious frown. As her gaze fell on
Clary, she grinned.
“Damn, girl,” she said. “What have you gotten yourself into now?”
The touch of the vampire servants’ hands on Simon’s skin was cold and light, like the
touch of icy wings. He shuddered a little as they unwound the blindfold from around his
head, their withered skin rough on his, before they stepped back, bowing as they
He looked around, blinking. Moments ago, he had been standing in the sunlight on the
corner of Seventy-Eighth Street and Second Avenue—enough of a distance from the
Institute that he had judged it safe to use the grave-dirt to contact Camille without
arousing her suspicions. Now he was in a dimly lit room, quite large, with a smooth
marble floor and elegant marble pillars holding up a high ceiling. Along the left wall ran
a row of glass-fronted cubicles, each with a brass-lettered plaque hanging over it that read
TELLER. Another brass plaque on the wall proclaimed this to be the DOUGLAS
NATIONAL BANK. Thick layers ofdustpadded the floor and the counters where people
had once stood to write out checks or withdrawal slips, and the brass-bound lamps that
hung from the ceiling were coated with verdigris.
In the center of the room was a high armchair, and in the chair sat Camille. Her silveryblond
hair was undone, and rained down over her shoulders like tinsel. Her beautiful face
had been wiped clean of makeup, but her lips were still very red. In the dimness of the
bank, they were almost the only color Simon could see.
“I would not normally agree to meet during sunlight hours, Daylighter,” she said. “But
since it is you, I have made an exception.”
“Thank you.” He noticed no chair had been provided for him, so he continued awkwardly
standing. If his heart still beat, he thought, it would have been pounding. When he had
agreed to do this for the Conclave, he had forgotten how much Camille scared him.
Maybe it was illogical—what could she really do to him?—but there it was.
“I suppose this means that you have considered my offer,” said Camille. “And that you
agree to it.”
“What makes you think I agree?” Simon said, very much hoping that she wouldn’t put
down the fatuousness of the question to the fact that he was stalling for time.
She looked mildly impatient. “You would hardly deliver in person the news that you had
decided to refuse me. You would be afraid of my temper.”
“Should I be afraid of your temper?”
Camille sat back in the wing-back chair, smiling. The chair was modern-looking and
luxurious, unlike anything else in the abandoned bank. It must have been hauled here
from somewhere else, probably by Camille’s servants, who were currently standing off to
each side like silent statues. “Many are,” she said. “But you have no reason to be. I am
very pleased with you. Though you waited until the last moment to contact me, I sense
you have made the right decision.”
Simon’s phone chose that minute to begin buzzing insistently. He jumped, feeling a
trickle of cold sweat going down his back, then fished it hastily out of the pocket of his
jacket. “Sorry,” he said, flipping it open. “Phone.”
Camille looked horrified. “Do not answer that.”
Simon began lifting the phone to his ear. As he did, he managed to hit the camera button
several times with his finger. “It’ll just take a second.”
He hit the send button and then quickly flipped the phone closed. “Sorry. I didn’t think.”
Camille’s chest was rising and falling with rage, despite the fact that she didn’t actually
breathe. “I demand more respect than that from my servants,” she hissed. “You will never
do that again, or—”
“Or what?” Simon said. “You can’t hurt me, any more than anyone else can. And you
told me I wouldn’t be a servant. You told me I’d be your partner.” He paused, letting just
the right note of arrogance into his voice. “Maybe I ought to reconsider my acceptance of
your offer.”
Camille’s eyes darkened. “Oh, for God’s sake. Don’t be a little fool.”
“How can you say that word?” Simon demanded.
Camille raised delicate eyebrows. “Which word? Are you annoyed that I called you a
“No. Well, yes, but that’s not what I meant. You said ‘Oh, for—’” He broke off, his voice
cracking. He still couldn’t say it. God.
“Because I do not believe in him, silly boy,” said Camille. “And you still do.” She tilted
her head to the side, regarding him the way a bird might regard a worm on the sidewalk
that it was considering eating. “I think perhaps it is time for a blood oath.”
“A . . . blood oath?” Simon wondered if he’d heard right.
“I forget that your knowledge of the customs of our kind is so limited.” Camille shook
her silvery head. “I will have you sign an oath, in blood, that you are loyal to me. It will
prevent you from disobeying me in the future. Consider it a sort of . . . prenuptial
agreement.” She smiled, and he saw the glint of her fangs. “Come.” She snapped her
fingers imperiously, and her minions scurried toward her, their gray heads bent. The first
to reach her handed her something that looked like an old-fashioned glass pen, the kind
with a whorled tip meant to catch and hold ink.
“You will have to cut yourself and draw your own blood,” said Camille. “Normally I
would do it myself, but the Mark prevents me. Therefore we must improvise.”
Simon hesitated. This was bad. Very bad. He knew enough about the supernatural world
to know what oaths meant to Downworlders. They were not just empty promises that
could be broken. They truly bound the promiser, like virtual manacles. If he signed the
oath, he really would be loyal to Camille. Possibly forever.
“Come along,” Camille said, a touch of impatience creeping into her voice. “There is no
need to dawdle.”
Swallowing, Simon took a reluctant step forward, and then another. A servant stepped in
front of him, blocking his way. He was holding out a knife to Simon, a wicked-looking
thing with a needle blade. Simon took it, and raised it above his wrist. Then he lowered it.
“You know,” he said, “I really don’t like pain very much. Or knives—”
“Do it,” Camille growled.
“There has to be some other way.”
Camille rose from her chair, and Simon saw that her fangs were fully extended. She was
truly enraged. “If you do not stop wasting my time—”
There was a soft implosion, a sound like something enormous tearing down the middle. A
great shimmering panel appeared against the opposite wall. Camille turned toward it, her
lips parting in shock as she saw what it was.
Simon knew she recognized it, just as he did. There was only one thing it could be.
A Portal. And through it were pouring at least a dozen Shadowhunters.
“Okay,” said Isabelle, putting away the first aid kit with a brisk gesture. They were in one
of the Institute’s many spare rooms, meant to house visiting Clave members. Each was
plainly furnished with a bed, a dresser and a wardrobe, and a small bathroom. And, of
course, each one had a first aid kit, with bandages, poultices, and even spare steles
included. “You’re pretty well iratze’d up, but it’s going to take a little while for some of
those bruises to fade. And these”—she ran her hand over the burn marks on Clary’s
forearm where the demon blood had splashed her—“probably won’t go away totally till
tomorrow. If you rest, they’ll heal faster, though.”
“That’s fine. Thanks, Isabelle.” Clary looked down at her hands; there were bandages
around the right one, and her shirt was still torn and bloodstained, though Izzy’s runes
had healed the cuts beneath. She supposed she could have done the iratzes herself, but it
was nice to have someone take care of her, and Izzy, while not the warmest person Clary
knew, could be capable and kind when she felt like it. “And thanks for showing up and,
you know, saving my life from whatever that was—”
“A Hydra demon. I told you. They have a lot of heads, but they’re pretty dumb. And you
weren’t doing such a bad job with it before I showed up. I like what you did with the
athame. Good thinking under pressure. That’s as much a part of being a Shadowhunter as
learning how to punch holes in things.” Isabelle flopped down onto the bed next to Clary
and sighed. “I should probably go look up what I can find out about the Church of Talto
before the Conclave gets back. Maybe it’ll help us figure out what’s going on. The
hospital stuff, the babies—” She shuddered. “I don’t like it.”
Clary had told Isabelle as much as she could about why she’d been at the church, even
about the demon baby at the hospital, though she’d pretended she was the one who’d
been suspicious, and had kept her mother out of the story. Isabelle had looked sick when
Clary had described the way the baby had looked exactly like a normal baby except for
its open black eyes and the little claws it had instead of hands. “I think they were trying
to make another baby like—like my brother. I think they experimented on some poor
mundane woman,” Clary said. “But she couldn’t take it when the baby was born, and she
lost her mind. It’s just—who would do something like that? One of Valentine’s
followers? The ones who never got caught, maybe trying to carry on what he was doing?”
“Maybe. Or just some demon-worshipping cult. There are plenty of them. Although I
can’t imagine why anyone would want to make more creatures like Sebastian.” Her voice
gave a little jump of hatred when she said his name.
“His name’s really Jonathan—”
“Jonathan is Jace’s name,” said Isabelle tightly. “I won’t call that monster by the same
name my brother has. He’s always going to be Sebastian to me.”
Clary had to admit Isabelle had a point. She had a hard time thinking of him as Jonathan
too. She supposed it wasn’t fair to the true Sebastian, but none of them had really known
him. It was easier to slap a stranger’s name onto Valentine’s vicious son than call him
something that made him feel closer to her family, closer to her life.
Isabelle spoke lightly, but Clary could tell that her mind was working, ticking over
various possibilities: “Anyway, I’m glad you texted me when you did. I could tell from
your message that something weird was going on, and frankly I was bored. Everyone’s
off doing some secret thing with the Conclave, and I didn’t want to go, because Simon
was going to be there, and I hate him now.”
“Simon is with the Conclave?” Clary was astonished. She had noticed that the Institute
had seemed even more empty than usual when they’d arrived. Jace, of course, wasn’t
there, but she hadn’t expected him to be—though she hadn’t known why. “I talked to him
this morning and he didn’t say anything about doing something for them,”
Clary added.
Isabelle shrugged. “It has something to do with vampire politics. That’s all I know.”
“Do you think he’s all right?”
Isabelle sounded exasperated. “He doesn’t need you to protect him anymore, Clary. He
has the Mark of Cain. He could get blown up, shot at, drowned, and stabbed and he’d be
just fine.” She looked at Clary hard. “I notice you didn’t ask me why I hate Simon,” she
said. “I assume you knew about the two-timing thing?”
“I knew,” Clary admitted. “I’m sorry.”
Isabelle waved her confession away. “You’re his best friend. It would have been weird if
you didn’t know.”
“I should have told you,” Clary said. “It’s just—I never got the sense you were that
serious about Simon, you know?”
Isabelle scowled. “I wasn’t. It’s just—I thought he would take it seriously, at least. Since
I was so out of his league and everything. I guess I expected better from him than I do
from other guys.”
“Maybe,” Clary said quietly, “Simon shouldn’t be dating someone who thinks they’re out
of his league.” Isabelle looked at her, and Clary felt herself flush. “Sorry. Your
relationship is really none of my business.”
Isabelle was twisting her dark hair up into a knot, something she did when she felt tense.
“No, it isn’t. I mean, I could ask you why you texted me to come to the church and meet
you, and not Jace, but I haven’t. I’m not stupid. I know something’s wrong between you
two, passionate alley make-out sessions notwithstanding.” She looked keenly at Clary.
“Have the two of you slept together yet?”
Clary felt the blood rush into her face. “What—I mean, no, we haven’t, but I don’t see
what that has to do with anything.”
“It doesn’t,” said Isabelle, patting her knotted hair into place. “That was just prurient
curiosity. What’s holding you back?”
“Isabelle—” Clary pulled up her legs, wrapped her arms around her knees, and sighed.
“Nothing. We were just taking our time. I’ve never—you know.”
“Jace has,” said Isabelle. “I mean, I assume he has. I don’t know for sure. But if you ever
need anything . . .” She let the sentence hang in the air.
“Need anything?”
“Protection. You know. So you can be careful,” Isabelle said. She sounded as practical as
if she were talking about extra buttons. “You’d think the Angel would have been
foresighted enough to give us a birth-control rune, but no dice.”
“Of course I’d be careful,” Clary spluttered, feeling her cheeks turn red. “Enough. This is
“This is girl talk,” said Isabelle. “You just think it’s awkward because you’ve spent your
whole life with Simon as your only friend. And you can’t talk to him about Jace. That
would be awkward.”
“And Jace really hasn’t said anything to you? About what’s bothering him?” Clary said,
in a small voice. “You promise?”
“He didn’t have to,” Isabelle said. “The way you’ve been acting, and with Jace going
around looking like someone just died, it’s not like I wouldn’t notice something was
wrong. You should have come to talk to me sooner.”
“Is he at least all right?” Clary asked very quietly.
Isabelle stood up from the bed and looked down at her. “No,” she said. “He is very much
not all right. Are you?”
Clary shook her head.
“I didn’t think so,” Isabelle said.
To Simon’s surprise, Camille, upon seeing the Shadowhunters, didn’t even try to stand
her ground. She screamed and ran for the door, only to freeze when she realized that it
was daylight outside, and that exiting the bank would quickly incinerate her. She gasped
and cowered back against a wall, her fangs bared, a low hiss coming from her throat.
Simon stepped back as the Shadowhunters of the Conclave swarmed around him, all in
black like a murder of crows; he saw Jace, his face pale and set like white marble, slide a
broadsword blade through one of the human servants as he passed him, as casually as a
pedestrian might swat a fly. Maryse stalked ahead, her flying black hair reminding Simon
of Isabelle. She dispatched the second cowering minion with a whipsaw movement of her
seraph blade, and advanced on Camille, her shining blade outstretched. Jace was beside
her, and another Shadowhunter—a tall man with black runes twining his forearms like
vines—was on her other side.
The rest of the Shadowhunters had spread out and were canvassing the bank, sweeping it
with those odd things they used—Sensors—checking every corner for demon activity.
They ignored the bodies of Camille’s human servants, lying motionless in their pools of
drying blood. They ignored Simon as well. He might as well have been another pillar, for
all the attention they paid him.
“Camille Belcourt,” said Maryse, her voice echoing off the marble walls. “You have
broken the Law and are subject to the Law’s punishments. Will you surrender and come
with us, or will you fight?”
Camille was crying, making no attempt to cover her tears, which were tinged with blood.
They streaked her white face with red lines as she choked, “Walker—and my Archer—”
Maryse looked baffled. She turned to the man on her left. “What is she saying, Kadir?”
“Her human servants,” he replied. “I believe she is mourning their deaths.”
Maryse flipped her hand dismissively. “It is against the Law to make servants of human
“I made them before Downworlders were subject to your accursed laws, you bitch. They
have been with me two hundred years. They were like children to me.”
Maryse’s hand tightened on the hilt of her blade. “What would you know of children?”
she whispered. “What does your kind know of anything but destroying?”
Camille’s tear-streaked face flashed for a moment with triumph. “I knew it,” she said.
“Whatever else you might say, whatever lies you tell, you hate our kind. Don’t you?”
Maryse’s face tightened. “Take her,” she said. “Bring her to the Sanctuary.”
Jace moved swiftly to one side of Camille and took hold of her; Kadir seized her other
arm. Together, they pinioned her between them.
“Camille Belcourt, you stand accused of the murder of humans,” Maryse intoned. “And
of the murder of Shadowhunters. You will be taken to the Sanctuary, where you will be
questioned. The sentence for the murder of Shadowhunters is death, but it is possible that
if you cooperate with us, your life will be spared. Do you understand?” asked Maryse.
Camille tossed her head defiantly. “There is only one man I will answer to,” she said. “If
you do not bring him to me, I will tell you nothing. You can kill me, but I will tell you
“Very well,” said Maryse. “What man is that?”
Camille bared her teeth. “Magnus Bane.”
“Magnus Bane?” Maryse looked flabbergasted. “The High Warlock of Brooklyn? Why
do you want to talk to him?”
“I will answer to him,” Camille said again. “Or I will answer to no one.”
And that was that. She said not another word. As she was dragged away by
Shadowhunters, Simon watched her go. He did not feel, as he had thought he would,
triumphant. He felt hollow, and strangely sick to his stomach. He looked down at the
bodies of the slain servants; he hadn’t liked them much either, but they hadn’t asked to be
what they were, not really. In a way, maybe neither had Camille. But she was a monster
to Nephilim anyway. And maybe not just because she had killed Shadowhunters; maybe
there was no way, really, for them to think of her as anything else.
Camille had been pushed through the Portal; Jace stood on the other side of it, gesturing
impatiently for Simon to follow. “Are you coming or not?” he called.
Whatever else you might say, whatever lies you tell, you hate our kind.
“Coming,” Simon said, and moved reluctantly forward.


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