Monday, 18 February 2013

City of Lost Souls - Chapter 8

Maia had never been to Long Island, but when she thought of it at all, she’d always
thought of it as being a lot like New Jersey—mostly suburban, a place where people who
worked in New York or Philly actually lived.
She had dropped her bag into the back of Jordan’s truck—startlingly unfamiliar. He’d
driven a beaten-up red Toyota when they’d been dating, and it had always been littered
with old, crumpled coffee cups and fast-food bags, the ashtray full of cigarettes smoked
down to the filter. The cab of this truck was comparatively clean, the only detritus a stack
of papers on the passenger seat. He moved them aside with no comment as she climbed
They hadn’t spoken through Manhattan and onto the Long Island Expressway, and
eventually Maia had dozed, her cheek against the cool glass of the window. She’d finally
woken when they’d gone over a bump in the road, jolting her forward. She’d blinked,
rubbing at her eyes.
“Sorry,” Jordan had said ruefully. “I was going to let you sleep until we got there.”
She’d sat up, looking around. They’d been driving down a two-lane blacktop road, the
sky around them just beginning to lighten. There were fields on either side of the road,
the occasional farmhouse or silo, clapboard houses set far back with picket fences around
“It’s pretty,” she’d said in surprise.
“Yeah.” Jordan had changed gears, clearing his throat. “Since you’re up anyway…
Before we get to the Praetor House, can I show you something?”
She’d hesitated only a moment before nodding. And now here they were, bumping
down a one-lane dirt road, trees on either side. Most were leafless; the road was muddy,
and Maia cranked the window down to smell the air. Trees, salt water, softly decaying
leaves, small animals running through the high grass. She took another deep breath just
as they bumped off the road and onto a small circular turnaround space. In front of them
was the beach, stretching down to dark steel-blue water. The sky was almost lilac.
She looked over at Jordan. He was staring straight ahead. “I used to come here while I
was training at the Praetor House,” he said. “Sometimes just to look at the water and
clear my head. The sunrises here… Every one is different, but they’re all beautiful.”
He didn’t look at her. “Yeah?”
“I’m sorry about before. About running off, you know, in the navy yard.”
“It’s fine.” He let his breath out slowly, but she could tell by the tension in his
shoulders, his hand gripping the gearshift, that it wasn’t, not really. She tried not to look
at the way the tension shaped the muscles in his arm, accenting the indentation of his
bicep. “It was a lot for you to take in; I get that. I just…”
“I think we should take it slow. Work toward being friends.”
“I don’t want to be friends,” he said.
She couldn’t hide her surprise. “You don’t?”
He moved his hands from the gearshift to the steering wheel. Warm air poured from
the heater inside the car, mixing with the cooler air outside Maia’s open window. “We
shouldn’t talk about this now.”
“I want to,” she said. “I want to talk about it now. I don’t want to be stressing about us
when we’re in the Praetor House.”
He slid down in his seat, chewing his lip. His tangled brown hair fell forward over his
forehead. “Maia…”
“If you don’t want to be friends, then what are we? Enemies again?”
He turned his head, his cheek against the back of the car seat. Those eyes, they were
just as she remembered, hazel with flecks of green and blue and gold. “I don’t want to be
friends,” he said, “because I still love you. Maia, you know I haven’t even so much as
kissed anyone since we broke up?”
“Wanted to get drunk and talk about Simon.” He took his hands off the steering wheel,
reached for her, then dropped them back into his lap, a defeated look on his face. “I’ve
only ever loved you. Thinking about you got me through my training. The idea that I
might be able to make it up to you someday. And I will, in any way that I can except for
“You won’t be my friend.”
“I won’t be just your friend. I love you, Maia. I’m in love with you. I always have been. I
always will be. Just being your friend would kill me.”
She looked out toward the ocean. The rim of the sun was just showing above the
water, its rays lighting the sea in shades of purple and gold and blue. “It’s so beautiful
“That’s why I used to come here. I couldn’t sleep, and I’d watch the sun come up.” His
voice was soft.
“Can you sleep now?” She turned back to him.
He closed his eyes. “Maia… if you’re going to say no, you don’t want to be anything but
friends with me,… just say it. Rip the Band-Aid off, okay?”
He looked braced, as if for a blow. His eyelashes cast shadows on his cheekbones.
There were pale white scars on the olive skin of his throat, scars she had made. She
unclipped her seat belt and scooted across the bench seat toward him. She heard his
gasp of breath, but he didn’t move as she leaned in and kissed his cheek. She inhaled the
scent of him. Same soap, same shampoo, but no lingering scent of cigarettes. Same boy.
She kissed across his cheek, to the corner of his mouth, and finally, edging even closer,
set her mouth over his.
His lips opened under hers and he growled, low in his throat. Werewolves weren’t
gentle with each other, but his hands were light on her as he lifted her and set her on his
lap, wrapping his arms around her as their kiss deepened. The feel of him, the warmth of
his corduroy-covered arms around her, the beat of his heart, the taste of his mouth, the
clash of lips, teeth, and tongue, stole her breath. Her hands slipped around the back of
his neck, and she melted against him as she felt the soft thick curls of his hair, exactly the
same as it had always been.
When they finally drew apart, his eyes were glassy. “I’ve been waiting for that for
She traced the line of his collarbone with a finger. She could feel her own heart
beating. For a few moments they hadn’t been two werewolves on a mission to a deadly
secret organization—they’d been two teenagers, making out in a car on the beach. “Did it
live up to your expectations?”
“It was much better.” His mouth crooked up at the corner. “Does this mean…”
“Well,” she said. “That’s not the sort of thing you do with your friends, right?”
“Isn’t it? I’ll have to tell Simon. He’s going to be seriously disappointed.”
“Jordan.” She hit him lightly in the shoulder, but she was smiling, and so was he, an
uncharacteristically big, goofy grin spreading over his face. She bent close and put her
face against the crook of his neck, breathing him in along with the morning.
They were battling across the frozen lake, the icy city glowing like a lamp in the distance.
The angel with the golden wings and the angel with the wings like black fire. Clary stood
on the ice as blood and feathers fell around her. The golden feathers burned like fire
where they touched her skin, but the black feathers were as cold as ice.
Clary awoke with her heart pounding, tangled in a knot of blankets. She sat up, pushing
the blankets to her waist. She was in an unfamiliar room. The walls were white plaster,
and she was lying in a bed made of black wood, still wearing the clothes she’d worn the
night before. She slid out of the bed, her bare feet hitting the cold stone floor, and looked
around for her backpack.
She found it easily, propped on a black leather chair. There were no windows in the
room; the only light came from a pendant glass light fixture overhead made of cut black
glass. She swept her hand through the pack and realized to her annoyance, although
without surprise, that someone had already gone through the contents. Her art box was
gone, including her stele. All that remained was her hairbrush and a change of jeans and
underwear. At least the gold ring was still on her finger.
She touched it lightly and thought at Simon. I’m in.
There was no response. She swallowed back her uneasiness. She had no idea where
she was, what time it was, or how long she’d been out cold. Simon could be asleep. She
couldn’t panic and assume the rings didn’t work. She had to go on autopilot. Check out
where she was, learn what she could. She’d try Simon again later.
She took a deep breath and tried to focus on her immediate surroundings. Two doors
led off the bedroom. She tried the first, and found that it opened onto a small glass-andchrome
bathroom with a copper claw-footed bathtub. There were no windows in here
either. She showered quickly and dried herself with a fluffy white towel, then changed
into clean jeans and a sweater before padding back into the bedroom, picking up her
shoes, and trying the second door.
Bingo. Here was the rest of the—house? Apartment? She was in a large room, half of
which was devoted to a long glass table. More of the black pendant cut-glass lights hung
from the ceiling, sending dancing shadows against the walls. Everything was very
modern, from the black leather chairs to the large fireplace, framed in washed chrome.
There was a fire blazing in it. So someone else must be home, or must have been very
The other half of the room was taken up with a large television screen, a glossy black
coffee table on which were scattered games and controllers, and low leather couches. A
set of glass stairs led upward in a spiral. After a glance around Clary began to climb them.
The glass was perfectly clear, and lent the impression that she was climbing an invisible
staircase into the sky.
The second floor was much like the first—pale walls, black floor, a long corridor with
doors opening off it. The first door led into what was clearly a master bedroom. A huge
rosewood bed, hung with gauzy white curtains, took up most of the space. There were
windows in here, tinted a dark blue. Clary went across the room to look out.
She wondered for a moment if she was back in Alicante. She was looking across a canal
at another building, its windows covered in closed green shutters. The sky above was
gray, the canal a dark greenish-blue, and there was a bridge visible just at her right,
crossing the canal. Two people were standing on the bridge. One of them held a camera
to his face and was industriously taking photos. Not Alicante, then. Amsterdam? Venice?
She looked everywhere for a way to open the window, but there didn’t appear to be one;
she banged on the glass and shouted, but the bridge-crossers took no notice. After a few
moments they moved on.
Clary turned back into the bedroom and went to one of the wardrobes, and threw it
open. Her heart skipped a beat. The wardrobe was full of clothes—women’s clothes.
Gorgeous dresses—lace and satin and beads and flowers. The drawers held camisoles
and underwear, tops in cotton and silk, skirts but no jeans or pants. There were even
shoes lined up, sandals and heels, and folded pairs of stockings. For a moment she just
stared, wondering if there were another girl staying here, or if Sebastian had taken to
cross-dressing. But the clothes all had the tags on them, and all of them were near her
size. Not only that, she realized slowly, staring. They were exactly the shapes and colors
that would suit her—blues and greens and yellows, cut for a petite frame. Eventually she
drew out one of the simpler tops, a dark green cap-sleeved blouse with silk lacing up the
front. After discarding her worn top on the floor, she shrugged the blouse on and glanced
at the mirror hanging inside the wardrobe.
It fit perfectly. Made the most of her small figure, clinging to her waist, darkening the
green of her eyes. She yanked the tag off, not wanting to see how much it had cost, and
hurried out of the room, feeling a shiver run down her spine.
The next room was clearly Jace’s. She knew it the minute she walked in. It smelled like
him, like his cologne and soap and the scent of his skin. The bed was ebonized wood with
white sheets and blankets, perfectly made. It was as neat as his room at the Institute.
Books were stacked by his bed, the titles in Italian and French and Latin. The silver
Herondale dagger with its pattern of birds was jammed into the plaster wall. When she
looked closer, she could see that it was pinning a photograph in place. A photograph of
herself and Jace, taken by Izzy. She remembered it, a clear day in early October, Jace
sitting on the front steps of the Institute, a book on his lap. She was sitting a step above
him, her hand on his shoulder, leaning forward to see what he was reading. His hand
covered hers, almost absently, and he was smiling. She hadn’t been able to see his face
that day, hadn’t known he was smiling like that, not until now. Her throat contracted, and
she went out of the room, catching her breath.
She couldn’t act like this, she told herself sternly. As if each sight of Jace the way he
was now was a sucker punch to the gut. She had to pretend that it didn’t matter, as if she
noticed no difference. She went into the next room, another bedroom, much like the one
before it, but this one was a mess—the bed a tangle of black silk sheets and comforter, a
glass and steel desk covered with books and papers, boy clothes scattered everywhere.
Jeans and jackets and T-shirts and gear. Her eye fell on something that gleamed silver,
propped on the nightstand near the bed. She moved forward, staring, unable to believe
her eyes.
It was the small box of her mother’s, the one with the initials J.C. on it. The one her
mother used to take out every year, once a year, and weep over silently, the tears
running down her face to splash onto her hands. Clary knew what was in the box—a lock
of hair, as fine and white as dandelion fluff; scraps from a child’s shirt; a baby shoe, small
enough to fit inside the palm of her hand. Bits and pieces of her brother, a sort of collage
of the child her mother had wanted to have, had dreamed of having, before Valentine had
done what he had and turned his own son into a monster.
Jonathan Christopher.
Her stomach twisted, and she backed up quickly out of the room—directly into a wall of
living flesh. Arms came around her, wrapping her tight, and she saw that they were slim
and muscular, downed with fine pale hair, and for a moment she thought it was Jace
holding her. She began to relax.
“What were you doing in my room?” Sebastian said into her ear.
Isabelle had been trained to wake early every morning, rain or shine, and a slight
hangover did nothing to prevent it from happening again. She sat up slowly and blinked
down at Simon.
She’d never spent an entire night in a bed with anyone else, unless you counted
crawling into her parents’ bed when she was four and afraid of thunderstorms. She
couldn’t help staring at Simon as if he were some exotic species of animal. He lay on his
back, his mouth slightly open, his hair in his eyes. Ordinary brown hair, ordinary brown
eyes. His T-shirt was pulled up slightly. He wasn’t muscular like a Shadowhunter. He had
a smooth flat stomach but no six-pack, and there was still a hint of softness to his face.
What was it about him that fascinated her? He was plenty cute, but she had dated
gorgeous faerie knights, sexy Shadowhunters.…
“Isabelle,” Simon said without opening his eyes. “Quit staring at me.”
Isabelle sighed irritably and swung herself out of bed. She rummaged in her bag for her
gear, retrieved it, and headed out to find the bathroom.
It was halfway down the hall, and the door was just opening, Alec emerging in a cloud
of steam. He had a towel around his waist and another around his shoulders and was
rubbing energetically at his wet black hair. Isabelle supposed she shouldn’t be surprised
to see him; he’d been trained to wake up early in the morning just like she had.
“You smell like sandalwood,” she said by way of greeting. She hated the smell of
sandalwood. She liked sweet scents—vanilla, cinnamon, gardenia.
Alec looked at her. “We like sandalwood.”
Isabelle made a face. “Either that’s the royal ‘we’ or you and Magnus are turning into
one of those couples that think they’re one person. ‘We like sandalwood.’ ‘We adore the
symphony.’ ‘ We hope you enjoy our Christmas present’—which, if you ask me, is just a
cheap way of avoiding having to buy two gifts.”
Alec blinked wet lashes at her. “You’ll understand—”
“If you tell me I’ll understand when I’m in love, I’ll smother you with that towel.”
“And if you keep preventing me from going back to my room and getting dressed, I’ll
get Magnus to summon up pixies to tie your hair in knots.”
“Oh, get out of my way.” Isabelle kicked at Alec’s ankle until he moved, unhurriedly,
down the hall. She had the feeling if she turned around and looked at him he’d be sticking
his tongue out at her, so she didn’t look. Instead she locked herself in the bathroom and
turned on the shower, full steam. Then she looked at the rack of shower products and
said an unladylike word.
Sandalwood shampoo, conditioner, and soap. Ugh.
When she finally emerged, dressed in her gear and with her hair up, she found Alec,
Magnus, and Jocelyn waiting for her in the living room. There were doughnuts, which she
didn’t want, and coffee, which she did. She poured a liberal amount of milk into it and sat
back, looking at Jocelyn, who was also dressed—to Isabelle’s surprise—in Shadowhunter
It was odd, she mused. People often told her she looked like her mother, though she
didn’t see it herself, and she wondered now if it was in the same way that Clary looked
like Jocelyn. The same color hair, yes, but also the same cast of features, the same tilt of
the head, the same stubborn set to the jaw. The same sense that this person might look
like a porcelain doll but was steel underneath. Although, Isabelle wished that, in the
same way that Clary had gotten her mother’s green eyes, she’d gotten Maryse and
Robert’s blue ones. Blue was so much more interesting than black.
“As with the Silent City, there is only one Adamant Citadel, but there are many doors
through which one may find it,” said Magnus. “The closest to us is the old Augustinian
Monastery on Grymes Hill, in Staten Island. Alec and I will Portal with you there and wait
for you to return, but we can’t go with you all the way.”
“I know,” said Isabelle. “Because you’re boys. Cooties.”
Alec pointed a finger at her. “Take this seriously, Isabelle. The Iron Sisters aren’t like
the Silent Brothers. They’re way less friendly and they don’t like being bothered.”
“I promise I’ll be on my best behavior,” Isabelle said, and set her empty coffee mug
down on the table. “Let’s go.”
Magnus looked at her suspiciously for a moment, then shrugged. His hair was gelled up
today into a million sharp points, and his eyes were smudged with black, making them
look more catlike than ever. He moved past her to the wall, already murmuring in Latin;
the familiar outline of a Portal, its arcane door shape outlined with glittering symbols,
began to take form. Wind rose, cool and sharp, blowing back the tendrils of Isabelle’s
Jocelyn stepped forward first, and walked through the Portal. It was a little like
watching someone disappear into the side of a wave of water: A silvery haze seemed to
swallow her in, dulling the color of her red hair as she vanished into it with a faint
Isabelle went next. She was used to the stomach-dropping feeling of transportation by
Portal. There was a soundless roar in her ears and no air in her lungs. She closed her
eyes, then opened them again as the whirlwind released her and she fell into dry brush.
She rose to her feet, brushing dead grass from her knees, and saw Jocelyn looking at her.
Clary’s mother opened her mouth—and closed it again as Alec appeared, dropping into
the vegetation beside Isabelle, and then Magnus, the shimmering half-seen Portal closing
behind him.
Even the trip through the Portal had not disarranged Magnus’s hair spikes. He tugged
on one proudly. “Check it out,” he said to Isabelle.
“Hair gel. $3.99 at Ricky’s.”
Isabelle rolled her eyes at him and turned to take in her new surroundings. They stood
atop a hill, its peak covered in dry brush and withered grass. Lower down were autumnblackened
trees, and in the far distance Isabelle saw cloudless sky and the top of the
Verrazano-Narrows Bridge connecting Staten Island to Brooklyn. As she turned, Isabelle
saw the monastery behind her, rising out of the dull foliage. It was a large building of red
brick, most of its windows smashed out or boarded over. It was tagged here and there
with graffiti. Turkey vultures, disturbed by the travelers’ arrival, circled the dilapidated
bell tower.
Isabelle squinted at it, wondering if there was a glamour to be peeled off. If so, it was
a strong one. Try as she might, she couldn’t see anything but the ruinous building before
“There’s no glamour,” said Jocelyn, startling Isabelle. “What you see is what you get.”
Jocelyn trudged toward it, her boots crushing down the dry vegetation in front of her.
After a moment Magnus shrugged and followed her, and Isabelle and Alec came after.
There was no path; branches grew in tangles, dark against the clear air, and the foliage
underfoot crackled with dryness. As they neared the building, Isabelle saw that patches of
the dry grass were burned away where pentagrams and runic circles had been spraypainted
into the grass.
“Mundanes,” said Magnus, lifting a branch out of Isabelle’s way. “Playing their little
games with magic, not really understanding it. They’re often drawn to places like this—
centers of power—without really knowing why. They drink and hang out and spray-paint
the walls, like you could leave a human mark on magic. You can’t.” They had reached a
boarded-up door in the brick wall. “We’re here.”
Isabelle looked hard at the door. Again there was no sense that a glamour covered it,
although if she concentrated hard, a faint shimmer grew visible, like sunshine glancing off
water. A look passed between Jocelyn and Magnus. Jocelyn turned to Isabelle. “You’re
Isabelle nodded, and without further ado Jocelyn stepped forward and vanished
through the boards of the door. Magnus looked expectantly at Isabelle.
Alec leaned closer to her, and she felt the brush of his hand on her shoulder. “Don’t
worry,” he said. “You’ll be fine, Iz.”
She raised her chin. “I know,” she said, and followed Jocelyn through the door.
Clary sucked in her breath, but before she could reply, there was a step on the stairs, and
Jace appeared at the end of the hallway. Sebastian immediately let her go and spun her
around. With a smile like a wolf’s, he ruffled her hair. “Good to see you, little sister.”
Clary was speechless. Jace, though, wasn’t; he moved toward them soundlessly. He
was wearing a black leather jacket, a white T-shirt and jeans, and was barefoot. “Were
you hugging Clary?” He looked at Sebastian in amazement.
Sebastian shrugged. “She’s my sister. I’m pleased to see her.”
“You don’t hug people,” Jace said.
“I ran out of time to bake a casserole.”
“It was nothing,” Clary said, waving a dismissive hand at her brother. “I tripped. He
was just keeping me from falling over.”
If Sebastian was surprised to hear her defend him, he didn’t show it. He was
expressionless as she moved across the corridor, toward Jace, who kissed her on the
cheek, his fingers cool against her skin. “What were you doing up here?” Jace asked.
“Looking for you.” She shrugged. “I woke up and couldn’t find you. I thought maybe you
were asleep.”
“I see you discovered the clothes stash.” Sebastian indicated her shirt with a gesture.
“Do you like them?”
Jace shot him a look. “We were out getting food,” he said to Clary. “Nothing fancy.
Bread and cheese. You want lunch?”
Which was how, several minutes later, Clary found herself installed at the big glass and
steel table. From the comestibles spread out over the table, she figured that her second
guess had been right. They were in Venice. There was bread, Italian cheeses, salami and
prosciutto, grapes and fig jam, and bottles of Italian wine. Jace sat across from her,
Sebastian at the head of the table. She was eerily reminded of the night she had met
Valentine, at Renwick’s in New York, how he had put himself between Jace and Clary at
the head of a table, how he had offered them wine and told them they were brother and
She sneaked a glance at her real brother now. She thought of how her mother had
looked when she’d seen him. Valentine. But Sebastian wasn’t a carbon copy of their
father. She had seen pictures of Valentine when he was their age. Sebastian’s face
tempered her father’s hard features with her mother’s prettiness; he was tall but less
broad-shouldered, more lithe and catlike. He had Jocelyn’s cheekbones and fine soft
mouth, Valentine’s dark eyes and white-blond hair.
He looked up then, as if he had caught her staring at him. “Wine?” He offered the
She nodded, though she had never much liked the taste of wine, and since Renwick’s
she had hated it. She cleared her throat as Sebastian filled the glass. “So,” she said. “This
place—is it yours?”
“It was our father’s,” said Sebastian, setting the bottle down. “Valentine’s. It moves, in
and out of worlds—ours and others. He used to use it as a retreat as well as a mode of
travel. He brought me here a few times, showed me how to get in and out and how to
make it travel.”
“There’s no front door.”
“There is if you know how to find it,” said Sebastian. “Dad was very clever about this
Clary looked at Jace, who shook his head. “He never showed it to me. I wouldn’t have
guessed it existed either.”
“It’s very… bachelor pad,” Clary said. “I wouldn’t have thought of Valentine as…”
“Owning a flat-screen TV?” Jace grinned at her. “Not that it gets channels, but you can
watch DVDs on it. Back at the manor we had an old icebox powered by witchlight. Here
he’s got a Sub-Zero fridge.”
“That was for Jocelyn,” said Sebastian.
Clary looked up. “What?”
“All the modern stuff. The appliances. And the clothes. Like that shirt you’re wearing.
They were for our mother. In case she decided to come back.” Sebastian’s dark eyes met
hers. She felt a little sick. This is my brother, and we’re talking about our parents. She felt
dizzy—too much happening too fast to take in, to process. She had never had time to
think about Sebastian as her living, breathing brother. By the time she’d found out who
he really was, he’d been dead.
“Sorry if it’s weird,” Jace said apologetically, indicating her shirt. “We can buy you some
other clothes.”
Clary touched the sleeve lightly. The fabric was silky, fine, expensive. Well, that
explained that—everything close to her size, everything in colors that suited her. Because
she looked just like her mother.
She took a deep breath. “It’s fine,” she said. “It’s just—What do you do exactly? Just
travel around inside this apartment and…”
“See the world?” Jace said lightly. “There’s worse things.”
“But you can’t do that forever.”
Sebastian hadn’t eaten much, but he’d drunk two glasses of wine. He was on his third,
and his eyes were glittering. “Why not?”
“Well, because—because the Clave is looking for both of you, and you can’t spend
forever running and hiding…” Clary’s voice trailed off as she looked from one of them to
the other. They were sharing a look—the look of two people who knew something,
together, that no one else did. It was not a look Jace had shared with someone else in
front of her in a very long time.
Sebastian spoke softly and slowly. “Are you asking a question or making an
“She has a right to know our plans,” Jace said. “She came here knowing she couldn’t go
“A leap of faith,” said Sebastian, running his finger around the rim of his glass. It was
something Clary had seen Valentine do. “In you. She loves you. That’s why she’s here.
Isn’t it?”
“So what if it is?” Clary said. She supposed she could pretend there was another
reason, but Sebastian’s eyes were dark and sharp, and she doubted he’d believe her. “I
trust Jace.”
“But not me,” Sebastian said.
Clary chose her next words with extreme care. “If Jace trusts you, then I want to trust
you,” she said. “And you’re my brother. That counts for something.” The lie tasted bitter
in her mouth. “But I don’t really know you.”
“Then, maybe you should spend a little time getting to know me,” Sebastian said. “And
then we’ll tell you our plans.”
We’ll tell you. Our plans. In his mind there was a him and Jace; there was no Jace and
“I don’t like keeping her in the dark,” Jace said.
“We’ll tell her in a week. What difference does a week make?”
Jace gave him a look. “Two weeks ago you were dead.”
“Well, I wasn’t suggesting two weeks,” said Sebastian. “That would be insane.”
Jace’s mouth quirked up at the corner. He looked at Clary.
“I’m willing to wait for you to trust me,” she said, knowing it was the right, smart thing
to say. Hating to say it. “However long it takes.”
“A week,” Jace said.
“A week,” agreed Sebastian. “And that means she stays here in the apartment. No
communication with anyone. No unlocking the door for her, no going in and out.”
Jace leaned back. “What if I’m with her?”
Sebastian gave him a long look from under lowered eyelashes. His look was
calculating. He was deciding what he was going to allow Jace to do, Clary realized. He
was deciding how much leash to give his “brother.” “Fine,” he said at last, his voice rich
with condescension. “If you’re with her.”
Clary looked down at her wineglass. She heard Jace reply in a mumur but couldn’t look
at him. The idea of a Jace who was allowed to do things—Jace, who always did whatever
he wanted—made her sick to her stomach. She wanted to get up and smash the wine
bottle over Sebastian’s head, but she knew it was impossible. Cut one, and the other
“How’s the wine?” It was Sebastian’s voice, an undercurrent of amusement plain in his
She drained the glass, choking on the bitter flavor. “Delicious.”
Isabelle emerged in an alien landscape. A deep green plain swept out before her under a
lowering gray-black sky. Isabelle pulled up the hood of her gear and peered out,
fascinated. She had never seen such a great, overarching expanse of sky, or such a vast
plain—it was shimmering, jewel-toned, the shade of moss. As Isabelle took a step
forward, she realized it was moss, growing on and around the black rocks scattered
across the coal-colored earth.
“It’s a volcanic plain,” Jocelyn said. She was standing beside Isabelle, and the wind was
pulling red-gold strands of her hair out of its tightly pinned bun. She looked so much like
Clary that it was eerie. “These were lava beds once. The whole area is probably volcanic
to some degree. Working with adamas, the Sisters need incredible heat for their forges.”
“You’d think it would be a little warmer, then,” Isabelle muttered.
Jocelyn cast her a dry look, and started walking, in what seemed to Isabelle a randomly
chosen direction. She scrambled to follow. “Sometimes you’re so much like your mother
you astound me a little, Isabelle.”
“I take that as a compliment.” Isabelle narrowed her eyes. No one insulted her family.
“It wasn’t meant as an insult.”
Isabelle kept her eyes on the horizon, where the dark sky met the jewel-green ground.
“How well did you know my parents?”
Jocelyn gave her a quick sideways look. “Well enough, when we were all in Idris
together. I hadn’t seen them for years until recently.”
“Did you know them when they got married?”
The path Jocelyn was taking had begun to slant uphill, so her reply was slightly
breathless. “Yes.”
“Were they… in love?”
Jocelyn stopped short and turned to look at Isabelle. “Isabelle, what is this about?”
“Love?” Isabelle suggested, after a moment’s pause.
“I don’t know why you’d think I’d be an expert on that.”
“Well, you managed to keep Luke hanging around for his whole life, basically, before
you agreed to marry him. That’s impressive. I wish I had that kind of power over a guy.”
“You do,” said Jocelyn. “Have it, I mean. And it isn’t something to wish for.” She pushed
her hands up through her hair, and Isabelle felt a little jolt. For all that Jocelyn looked like
her daughter, her thin long hands, flexible and delicate, were Sebastian’s. Isabelle
remembered slicing one of those hands off, in a valley in Idris, her whip cutting through
skin and bone. “Your parents aren’t perfect, Isabelle, because no one’s perfect. They’re
complicated people. And they just lost a child. So if this is about your father staying in
“My father cheated on my mother,” Isabelle blurted out, and nearly covered her own
mouth with her hand. She had kept this secret, kept it for years, and to say it out loud to
Jocelyn seemed like a betrayal, despite everything.
Jocelyn’s face changed. It held sympathy now. “I know.”
Isabelle took a sharp breath. “Does everyone know?”
Jocelyn shook her head. “No. A few people. I was… in a privileged position to know. I
can’t say more than that.”
“Who was it?” Isabelle demanded. “Who did he cheat on her with?”
“It was no one you know, Isabelle—”
“You don’t know who I know!” Isabelle’s voice rose. “And stop saying my name that
way, as if I’m a little kid.”
“It’s not my place to tell you,” Jocelyn said flatly, and began to walk again.
Isabelle scrambled after her, even as the path took a steeper turn upward, a wall of
green rising to meet the thunderous sky. “I have every right to know. They’re my parents.
And if you don’t tell me, I—”
She stopped, inhaling sharply. They had reached the top of the ridge, and somehow, in
front of them, a fortress had sprung like a fast-blooming flower out of the ground. It was
carved of white-silver adamas, reflecting the cloud-streaked sky. Towers topped with
electrum reached toward the sky, and the fortress was surrounded by a high wall, also of
adamas, in which was set a single gate, formed of two great blades plunged into the
ground at angles, so that they resembled a monstrous pair of scissors.
“The Adamant Citadel,” said Jocelyn.
“Thanks,” Isabelle snapped. “I figured that out.”
Jocelyn made the noise that Isabelle was familiar with from her own parents. Isabelle
was pretty sure it was parent-speak for “Teenagers.” Then Jocelyn started down the hill
to the fortress. Isabelle, tired of scrambling, stalked ahead of her. She was taller than
Clary’s mother and had longer legs, and saw no reason why she should wait for Jocelyn if
the other woman was going to persist in treating her like a child. She stomped down the
hill, crushing moss under her boots, ducked through the scissorlike gates—
And froze. She was standing on a small outcropping of rock. In front of her the earth
dropped away into a vast chasm, at the bottom of which boiled a river of red-gold lava,
encircling the fortress. Across the chasm, much too far to jump—even for a Shadowhunter
—was the only visible entrance to the fortress, a closed drawbridge.
“Some things,” said Jocelyn at her elbow, “are not as simple as they first appear.”
Isabelle jumped, then glared. “So not the place to sneak up on someone.”
Jocelyn simply crossed her arms over her chest and raised her eyebrows. “Surely Hodge
taught you the proper method of approaching the Adamant Citadel,” she said. “After all, it
is open to all female Shadowhunters in good standing with the Clave.”
“Of course he did,” said Isabelle haughtily, scrambling mentally to remember. Only
those with Nephilim blood… She reached up and took one of the metal chopsticks from
her hair. When she twisted its base, it popped and clicked and unfolded into a dagger
with a Rune of Courage on the blade.
Isabelle raised her hands over the chasm. “Ignis aurum probat,” she said, and used the
dagger to cut open her left palm; it was a swift searing pain, and blood ran from the cut,
a ruby stream that splattered into the chasm below. There was a flash of blue light, and a
creaking noise. The drawbridge was slowly lowering.
Isabelle smiled and wiped the blade of her knife on her gear. After another twist, it had
become a slim metal chopstick again. She slid it back into her hair.
“Do you know what that means?” asked Jocelyn, her eyes on the lowering bridge.
“What you just said. The motto of the Iron Sisters.”
The drawbridge was almost flat. “It means ‘Fire tests gold.’”
“Right,” said Jocelyn. “They don’t just mean forges and metalwork. They mean that
adversity tests one’s strength of character. In difficult times, in dark times, some people
“Oh, yeah?” said Izzy. “Well, I’m sick of dark and difficult times. Maybe I don’t want to
The drawbridge crashed at their feet. “If you’re anything like your mother,” said
Jocelyn, “you won’t be able to help it.”


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