Monday, 21 January 2013

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.


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