The Mortal Instruments: 6. City of Heavenly Fire, Book 6, Chapter 17
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The Mortal Instruments: City of Heavenly Fire - Chapter 17




Clary dreamed of fire, a pillar of fire sweeping through a desert landscape, scorching everything in front of it: trees, brush, shrieking people. Their bodies turned black as they crumbled away before the force of the flames, and over them all hung a rune, hovering like an angel, a shape like two wings joined by a single bar—

A scream cut through the smoke and shadow, snapping Clary out of her nightmares. Her eyes flew open and she saw fire in front of her, bright and hot, and scrambled up, reaching for Heosphoros.

With the blade in her hand, her heartbeat ebbed slowly. This fire wasn’t raging or out of control. It was contained, the smoke floating up toward the enormous roof of the cave. It illuminated the space around it. She could see Simon and Isabelle in the glow, Izzy lifting herself out of Simon’s lap and blinking around, confused. “What—”

Clary was already on her feet. “Someone screamed,” she said. “You two stay here—I’ll go see what happened.”

“No—no.” Isabelle scrambled to her feet just as Alec burst into the chamber, panting hard.

“Jace,” he said. “Something’s happened—Clary, get your stele and come on.” He turned around and darted back into the tunnel. Clary jammed Heosophoros through her belt and raced after him. She rocketed through the corridor, boots skimming over the uneven rocks, and exploded out into the night, her stele now in her hand.

The night was burning. The gray plateau of rocks tilted down toward the desert, and where the rocks met the sand there was fire—fire blasting up into the air, turning the sky gold, scorching the ground. She stared at Alec.

“Where’s Jace?” she shouted over the crackle of the flames.

He looked away from her, at the heart of the fire. “There,” he said. “Inside it. I saw it pour out of him and swallow him up.”

Clary felt her heart seize up; she staggered back, away from Alec as if he’d hit her, and then he was reaching for her, saying, “Clary. He’s not dead. If he were, I’d know it. I’d know—”

Isabelle and Simon burst out from the cave entrance behind them; Clary saw them both react to the heavenly fire, Isabelle with widened eyes, and Simon with a recoil of horror—fire and vampires didn’t mix, even if he was a Daylighter. Isabelle caught at his arm as if to protect him; Clary could hear her shouting, her words lost against the roar of flames. Clary’s arm burned and stung. She looked down to realize that she had begun drawing on her skin, the reflex taking over from her conscious mind. She watched as a pyr rune, for fireproofing, appeared on her wrist, bold and black against her skin. It was a strong rune: She could feel the force of it, radiating outward.

She started down the slope, turning when she sensed Alec behind her. “Stay back,” she shouted at him, and held up her wrist, showing him the rune. “I don’t know if it will work,” she called. “Stay here; protect Simon and Izzy—the heavenly fire should keep the demons back, but just in case.” And then she turned away, darting lightly among the rocks, closing the distance between herself and the blaze, as Alec stood on the path behind her, hands fisted at his sides.

Up close the fire was a wall of gold, moving and shifting, colors flickering in its heart: burning red, tongues of orange and green. Clary could see nothing but flames; the heat that poured off the blaze made her skin prickle and her eyes water. She took a breath that scorched her throat, and stepped into the fire.

It wrapped her like an embrace. The world turned red, gold, orange, and swam before her eyes. Her hair lifted and blew in the hot wind, and she couldn’t tell what was its fiery strands and what was fire itself. She stepped forward carefully, staggering as if she were walking against a massive headwind—she could feel the Fireproof rune throbbing on her arm with each step—as the flames swirled up, around, and over her.

She took another scorching breath and pushed forward, her shoulders bent as if she were lifting a heavy weight. There was nothing around her but fire. She would die in the fire, she thought, burning up like a feather, not even a footprint left on the dirt of this alien world to mark that she had ever been there.

Jace, she thought, and took a final step. The flames parted around her like a curtain drawing back, and she gasped, falling forward, her knees hitting the earth hard. The Fireproof rune on her arm was fading, turning white, draining her energy along with its power. She lifted her head and stared.

The fire rose all around her in a circle, flames reaching for the scorched demon sky. In the center of the circle of flame knelt Jace; he was untouched by fire himself, on his knees, his golden head back, his eyes half-closed. His hands were flat on the ground, and from his palms poured a river of what looked like molten gold. It had threaded through the earth like tiny streams of lava, illuminating the ground. No, she thought, it was doing more than illuminating it. It was crystallizing the earth, turning it to a hard, golden material that shone like—

Like adamas. She crawled forward toward Jace, the ground under her turning from bumpy earth to a slippery glassine substance, like adamas, but the color of gold instead of white. Jace didn’t move: Like the Angel Raziel rising from Lake Lyn streaming water, he remained still as fire poured from him, and all around the ground hardened and turned to gold.

Adamas. The power of it shuddered up and through Clary, making her bones shiver. Images bloomed in her mind: runes, looming up and then vanishing like fireworks, and she mourned their loss, so many runes she would never know the meaning of, the use of, but then she was inches from Jace, and the first rune she had ever imagined, the rune she had spent the last days dreaming of, rose up in her mind. Wings, connected by a single bar—no, not wings—the hilt of a sword—it had always been the hilt of a sword—

“Jace!” she cried, and his eyes flew open. They were more golden than even the fire. He looked at her in utter disbelief, and she realized immediately what he had thought he was doing—kneeling and waiting to die, waiting to be consumed by the fire like a medieval saint.

She wanted to slap him.

“Clary, how—”

She reached to catch at his wrist, but he was faster than she was, and dodged her grip. “No! Don’t touch me. It isn’t safe—”

“Jace, stop.” She held up her arm, with the pyr rune on it, shimmering silver in the unearthly glow. “I walked through the fire to get to you,” she said over the cry of the flames. “We’re here. We’re both here now, understand?”

His eyes were manic, desperate. “Clary, get out—”

“No!” She clutched at his shoulders, and this time he didn’t move back. She fisted her hands in his gear. “I know how to fix this!” she cried, and leaned forward to press her lips to his.

His mouth was hot and dry, his skin burning as she ran her hands up his neck to cup the sides of his face. She tasted fire and char and blood on his mouth and wondered if he tasted the same thing on her. “Trust me,” she whispered against his lips, and though the words were swallowed up by the chaos around them, she felt him relax minutely and nod, leaning into her, letting the fire pass between them as they breathed each other’s breath, tasting the sparks on each other’s lips.

“Trust me,” she whispered again, and reached for her blade.


Isabelle had her arms around Simon, holding him back. She knew that if she let him go, he would tear down the slope to the fire, where Clary had disappeared, and throw himself into it.

And he would go up like tinder, like gasoline-soaked tinder. He was a vampire. Isabelle held him, her hands clasped over his chest, and felt as if she could sense the hollowness under his ribs, the place where his heart didn’t beat. Her own was racing. Her hair lifted and blew back in the hot wind from the immense fire burning at the foot of the plateau. Alec was halfway down the path, hovering; he was a black silhouette against the flames.

And the flames—they leaped toward the sky, blotting out the broken moon. Shifting and changing, a deadly beautiful wall of gold. As the flames trembled, Isabelle could make out shadows moving inside them—the shadow of someone kneeling, and then another, smaller shadow, bending and crawling. Clary, she thought, crawling toward Jace through the heart of the conflagration. She knew Clary had put a pyr rune on her arm, but Isabelle had never heard of a Fireproof rune that could withstand this kind of blaze.

“Iz,” Simon whispered. “I don’t—”

“Shh.” She held him tighter, held him as if holding him would keep her from shattering apart herself. Jace was in there, in the heart of the fire, and she couldn’t lose another brother, she couldn’t—“They’re all right,” she said. “If Jace were hurt, Alec would know. And if he’s all right, then Clary’s all right.”

“They’ll burn to death,” Simon said, sounding lost.

Isabelle cried out as the flames leaped suddenly higher. Alec took a halting step forward and then fell to his knees, put his hands in the dirt. The curve of his back was a bow of pain. The sky was whorls of fire, spinning and dizzying.

Isabelle released Simon and bolted down the path to her brother. She bent over him, knotting her hands into the back of his jacket, hauling him upright. “Alec, Alec—”

Alec staggered to his feet, his face dead white except where it was smeared black with soot. He spun, turning his back to Isabelle, shrugging down his gear jacket. “My parabatai rune—can you see it?”

Isabelle felt her stomach drop; she thought for a moment she might faint. She grabbed at Alec’s collar, pulled it down, and exhaled a hard breath of relief. “It’s still there.”

Alec shrugged his jacket back on. “I felt something change; it was like something in me twisted—” His voice rose. “I’m going down there.”

“No!” Isabelle caught at his arm, and then Simon said sharply, from beside her:


He was pointing toward the fire. Isabelle gazed at it uncomprehendingly for a moment before realizing what he was indicating. The flames had begun to die down. She shook her head as if to clear it, her hand still on Alec’s arm, but it wasn’t an illusion. The fire was fading. The flames shrank down from towering orange pillars, fading to yellow, curling inward like fingers. She let go of Alec, and the three of them stood in a line, shoulder to shoulder, as the fire dwindled, revealing a circle of slightly darkened earth where the flames had burned, and inside it, two figures. Clary and Jace.

Both were hard to see through the smoke and the red glow of the still-burning embers, but it was clear they were alive and unharmed. Clary was standing, Jace kneeling in front of her, his hands in hers, almost as if he were being knighted. There was something ritualistic about the position, something that spoke of a strange, old magic. As the smoke cleared, Isabelle could see the bright glint of Jace’s hair as he rose to his feet. They both began walking up the path.

Isabelle, Simon, and Alec broke formation and hurtled down toward them. Isabelle threw herself at Jace, who caught her and hugged her, reaching past her to clasp Alec’s hand even as he held Isabelle tightly. His skin was cool against hers, almost cold. His gear was without a single scorch or burn mark, just as the desert earth behind them showed no trace that moments ago, a massive conflagration had burned there.

Isabelle turned her head against Jace’s chest and saw Simon hugging Clary. He was holding her tightly, shaking his head, and as Clary turned a radiant smile up to him, Isabelle realized she didn’t feel a single spark of jealousy. There was nothing different about the way Simon was hugging Clary from the way she was hugging Jace. There was love there, plain and clear, but it was a sisterly love.

She broke apart from Jace and flashed a smile at Clary, who smiled shyly back. Alec moved to hug Clary, and Simon and Jace eyed each other warily. Suddenly Simon grinned—that sudden, unexpected grin that flashed out even in the worst of circumstances, and which Isabelle loved—and held his arms out toward Jace.

Jace shook his head. “I don’t care if I did just set myself on fire,” he said. “I’m not hugging you.”

Simon sighed and dropped his arms. “Your loss,” he said. “If you’d gone in, I would’ve let you, but honestly it would’ve been a pity hug.”

Jace turned to Clary, who was no longer embracing Alec but standing looking amused, with her hand on the hilt of Heosphoros. It seemed to shimmer, as if it had caught some of the light of the fire. “Did you hear that?” Jace demanded. “A pity hug?”

Alec held a hand up. Rather surprisingly, Jace fell silent.

“I recognize that we’re all filled with the giddy joy of survival, thus explaining your current stupid behavior,” Alec said. “But first”—he raised a finger—“I think the three of us are entitled to an explanation. What happened? How did you lose control of the fire? Were you attacked?”

“It was a demon,” Jace said after a pause. “It took the form of a woman I—of someone I hurt, when Sebastian possessed me. It goaded me until I lost command over the heavenly fire. Clary helped me get it back under control.”

“And that’s it? You’re both okay?” Isabelle said, half-disbelieving. “I thought—when I saw what was going on—I thought it was Sebastian. That he’d come for us somehow. That you’d tried to burn him and that you’d burned yourself up . . .”

“That won’t happen.” Jace touched Izzy’s face gently. “I have the fire under control now. I know how to use it, and how not to use it. How to direct it.”

“How?” Alec said, amazed.

Jace hesitated. His eyes flicked toward Clary, and seemed to grow darker, as if a shutter had come down over them. “You’re just going to have to trust me.”

“That’s it?” Simon said in disbelief. “Just trust you?”

“Don’t you?” Jace asked.

“I . . .” Simon looked at Isabelle, who glanced at her brother.

After a moment Alec nodded. “We trusted you enough to come here,” he said. “We’ll trust you to the end.”

“Although it would be really awesome if you told us the plan, you know, a little before it,” said Isabelle. “Before the end, I mean.”

Alec raised an eyebrow at her. She shrugged innocently.

“Just a little before,” she said. “I like to have some preparation.”

Her brother’s eyes met hers and then, a little hoarsely—as if he’d almost forgotten how to do it—he started to laugh.

To the Consul:

The Fair Folk are not your allies. They are your enemies. They hate the Nephilim and plan to betray them and bring them down. They have cooperated with Sebastian Morgenstern in attacking and destroying Institutes. Do not trust Meliorn or any other advisers from any Court. The Seelie Queen is your enemy. Do not try to respond to this message. I ride with the Wild Hunt now, and they will kill me if they think I have told you anything.

Mark Blackthorn

Jia Penhallow looked over her reading glasses at Emma and Julian, who stood nervously in front of the desk in the library of her house. A large picture window opened behind the Consul, and Emma could see the view of Alicante spread out: houses spilling down the hills, canals running toward the Accords Hall, Gard Hill rising against the sky.

Jia glanced down again at the paper they had brought her. It had been folded up with almost diabolical cleverness inside the acorn, and it had taken ages, and Ty’s skilled fingers, to get it extricated. “Did your brother write anything else besides this? A private message to you?”

“No,” Julian said, and there must have been something in the wounded tightness of his voice that made Jia believe him, because she didn’t pursue it.

“You realize what this means,” she said. “The Council will not want to believe it. They will say it’s a trick.”

“It’s Mark’s handwriting,” said Julian. “And the way he signed it—” He pointed to the mark at the bottom of the page: a clear print of thorns, made in what looked like red-brown ink. “He rolled his family ring in blood and used it to make that,” Julian said, his face flushed. “He showed me how to do it once. No one else would have the Blackthorn family ring, or know to do that with it.”

Jia looked from Julian’s clenched fists to Emma’s set face, and nodded. “Are you all right?” she said more gently. “Do you know what the Wild Hunt is?”

Ty had lectured them rather extensively on it, but Emma found that now, with the Consul’s compassionate dark gaze on her, she couldn’t find words. It was Julian who spoke. “Faeries that are huntsmen,” he said. “They ride across the sky. People think that if you follow them, they can lead you to the land of the dead, or to Faerie.”

“Gwyn ap Nudd leads them,” said Jia. “He has no allegiance; he is part of a wilder magic. He is called the Gatherer of the Dead. Though he is a faerie, he and his huntsmen are not involved with the Accords. They have no agreement with Shadowhunters and do not recognize our jurisdiction, and they will not abide by laws, any laws. Do you understand?”

They looked at her blankly. She sighed. “If Gwyn has taken your brother to be one of his Hunters, it might be impossible—”

“You’re saying you won’t be able to get him back,” Emma said, and saw something in Julian’s eyes shatter. The sight made her want to leap over the desk and clobber the Consul with her stack of neatly labeled files, each with a different name on it.

One leaped out at Emma like a sign lit up in neon. CARSTAIRS: DECEASED. She tried not to let the recognition of her family name show on her face.

“I’m saying I don’t know.” The Consul spread her hands flat over the surface of the desk. “There’s so much we don’t know right now,” she said, and her voice sounded quiet and nearly broken. “To lose the Fair Folk as allies is a severe blow. Of all Downworlders, they are the subtlest enemies, and the most dangerous.” She rose to her feet. “Wait here for a moment.”

She left the room through a door in the paneling, and after a few moments of silence, Emma heard the sound of feet and the murmur of Patrick’s voice. She caught individual words—“trial” and “mortal” and “betrayal.”

She could sense Julian beside her, wound as tightly as a spring-loaded crossbow. She reached out to touch her hand lightly to his back, and drew between his shoulder blades with her finger: A-R-E Y-O-U A-L-L R-I-G-H-T?

He shook his head, without looking at her. Emma glanced toward the stack of files on the desk, then toward the door, then at Julian, silent and expressionless, and decided. She launched herself at the desk, plunging her hand into the stack of files, and pulled out the one labeled CARSTAIRS.

It was a bound file, not heavy, and Emma reached out to yank up Julian’s shirt. She muffled his cry of surprise with a hand over his mouth, and used the other hand to stuff the file into the back of his jeans. She pulled his shirt down over it just as the door opened and Jia walked back in.

“Would you two be willing to testify before the Council one last time?” she asked, gazing from Emma, who guessed she was probably flushed, to Julian, who looked as if he had been electrified. His gaze hardened, and Emma marveled. Julian was so gentle, she sometimes forgot that those sea-colored eyes could turn as cold as the waves off the coast in winter. “No Mortal Sword,” the Consul said. “I just want you to tell them what you know.”

“If you promise you’ll try to get Mark back,” said Julian. “And you won’t just say it, you’ll actually do it.”

Jia looked at him solemnly. “I promise that the Nephilim will not abandon Mark Blackthorn, not as long as he lives.”

Julian’s shoulders relaxed just a fraction. “Okay, then.”


It bloomed like a flower against the clouded black sky: a sudden, silent explosion of flame. Luke, standing by the window, flinched back in surprise before pressing himself against the narrow opening, trying to identify the source of the radiance.

“What is it?” Raphael looked up from where he was kneeling by Magnus. Magnus appeared to be asleep, his eyes shadowed dark crescents against his skin. He had curled himself uncomfortably around the chains that held him, and looked ill, or at least exhausted.

“I’m not sure,” Luke said, and held himself still as the vampire boy came to join him at the window. He had never felt entirely comfortable around Raphael. Raphael seemed to him like Loki or some other trickster god, sometimes working for good and sometimes for evil, but always in his own interests.

Raphael muttered something in Spanish and pushed past Luke. The flames reflected in the pupils of his dark eyes, red-gold.

“Sebastian’s work, do you think?” Luke asked.

“No.” Raphael’s gaze was distant, and Luke was reminded that the boy in front of him, though he looked an ageless, angelic fourteen, was in fact older than he was, older than Luke’s parents would have been, if they had lived—or in his mother’s case, if she had remained mortal. “There is something holy about this fire. Sebastian’s work is demon’s work. This is like the way God appeared to the wanderers in the desert. ‘By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.’”

Luke raised an eyebrow at him.

Raphael shrugged. “I was brought up a good Catholic boy.” He cocked his head to the side. “I think our friend Sebastian will not like this very much, whatever it is.”

“Can you see anything else?” Luke demanded; vampire vision was more powerful even than a werewolf’s enhanced sight.

“Something—ruins, perhaps, like a dead city—” Raphael shook his head in frustration. “Look where the fire fades. It is dying away.”

There was a soft murmur from the floor, and Luke glanced down. Magnus had rolled onto his back. His chains were long, giving him at least enough freedom of movement to curl his hands over his stomach, as if in pain. His eyes were open. “Speaking of fading . . .”

Raphael returned to his place by Magnus’s side. “You must tell us, warlock,” he said, “if there is something that we can do for you. I have not seen you so sick.”

“Raphael . . .” Magnus pushed a hand through his sweaty black hair. His chain rattled. “It’s my father,” he said abruptly. “This is his realm. Well, one of them.”

“Your father?”

“He’s a demon,” Magnus said shortly. “Which shouldn’t be a huge surprise. Don’t expect any more information than that.”

“Fine, but why would being in your father’s realm make you sick?”

“He’s trying to get me to call on him,” said Magnus, propping himself on his elbows. “He can reach me here easily. I can’t do magic in this realm, so I can’t protect myself. He can make me sick or make me well. He’s making me sick because he thinks if I get desperate enough, I’ll call on him for help.”

“Will you?” asked Luke.

Magnus shook his head, and winced. “No. It wouldn’t be worth the price. There’s always a price, with my father.”

Luke felt himself tense. He and Magnus weren’t close, but he had always liked the warlock, respected him. Respected Magnus and warlocks such as Catarina Loss and Ragnor Fell and the others, those who had worked with Shadowhunters for generations. He didn’t like the sound of despair in Magnus’s voice now, or the echoing look in his eyes. “Wouldn’t you pay it? If the choice were your life?”

Magnus looked at Luke wearily, and flopped back against the stone floor. “I might not be the one who pays it,” he said, and shut his eyes.

“I—” Luke began, but Raphael shook his head at him, a scolding gesture. He had hunched up by Magnus’s shoulder, his hands looped around his knees. Dark veins were visible at his temples and throat, signs that it had been too long since he had fed. Luke could only imagine the odd picture they made: the starving vampire, the dying warlock, and the werewolf keeping watch at the window.

“You know nothing of his father,” said Raphael in a low voice. Magnus was still, clearly asleep again, his breathing labored.

“And I suppose you know who Magnus’s father is?” Luke said.

“I paid a lot of money once to find it out.”

“Why? What good would the knowledge do you?”

“I like to know things,” Raphael said. “It can be useful. He knew my mother; it only seemed fair I know his father. Magnus saved my life once,” added Raphael in an emotionless voice. “When I first became a vampire, I wanted to die. I thought I was a damned thing. He stopped me from throwing myself into the sunlight—Magnus showed me how to walk on holy ground, how to say the name of God, how to wear a cross. It wasn’t magic he gave me, just patience, but it saved my life all the same.”

“So you owe him,” said Luke.

Raphael shrugged off his jacket and, in a single swift move, pushed it beneath Magnus’s head. Magnus stirred but didn’t wake. “You think about it however you would like to,” he said. “I will not give up his secrets.”

“Answer me one thing,” Luke said, the stone wall cold against his back. “Is Magnus’s father someone who could help us?”

Raphael laughed: a short, sharp bark without any real amusement in it. “You are very funny, werewolf,” he said. “Go back to your watching at the window, and if you are the sort who prays, then perhaps you should pray that Magnus’s father does not decide he wants to help us. If you trust me as regards nothing else, trust me about that, at least.”


“Did you just eat three pizzas?” Lily was staring at Bat with a mixture of distaste and amazement.

“Four,” said Bat, placing a now empty Joe’s Pizza box on top of a stack of other boxes, and smiling serenely. Maia felt a rush of affection for him. She hadn’t let him in on her plan for the meeting with Maureen, and he hadn’t complained once, just complimented her on her poker face. He’d agreed to sit down with her and Lily to discuss the alliance, even though she knew he didn’t much like vampires.

And he’d saved for her the pizza that had only cheese on it, since he knew she didn’t like toppings. She was on her fourth slice. Lily, perched daintily on the edge of the desk in the police station lobby, was smoking a long cigarette (Maia guessed lung cancer wasn’t that big a worry when you were dead already) and eyeing the pizza suspiciously. Maia didn’t care how much Bat ate—something had to fuel all those muscles—as long as he seemed happy to keep her company during the meeting. Lily had stuck to their agreement about Maureen, but she still gave Maia the shivers.

“You know,” Lily said, swinging her booted feet, “I must say I was expecting something a bit more—exciting. Less of a phone bank.” She wrinkled her nose.

Maia sighed and looked around. The lobby of the police station was full of werewolves and vampires, probably for the first time since it had been built. There were stacks of papers listing what contact information for important Downworlders they’d managed to beg, borrow, steal, and dig up—it had turned out the vampires had pretty impressive records of who was in charge where—and everyone was on cell phones or computers, calling and texting and emailing the heads of clans and packs and every warlock they could track down.

“Thank goodness the faeries are centralized,” said Bat. “One Seelie Court, one Unseelie Court.”

Lily smirked. “The land under the hill stretches far and wide,” she said. “The Courts are all we can reach in this world, that’s all.”

“Well, this world is what we’re concerned with at the moment,” said Maia, stretching and rubbing the back of her neck. She’d been calling and emailing and writing messages all day herself, and she was exhausted. The vampires had joined them only at nightfall, and were expected to work through till morning while the werewolves slept.

“You realize what Sebastian Morgenstern will do to us if his side wins,” said Lily, looking thoughtfully around the crowded room. “I doubt he has much forgiveness for anyone who works against him.”

“Maybe he’ll kill us first,” said Maia. “But he would kill us anyway. I know you vampires love the idea of reason and logic and clever, careful alliances, but that’s not how he works. He wants to burn the world down. That’s all he wants.”

Lily exhaled smoke. “Well,” she said. “That would be inconvenient, considering how we feel about fire.”

“You’re not having second thoughts, are you?” Maia said, trying hard to keep the worry from her voice. “You seemed very sure we should stand against Sebastian when we talked before.”

“We walk a very dangerous line, that is all,” said Lily. “Have you ever heard the expression ‘When the cat is away, the mice will play’?”

“Of course,” said Maia, glancing over at Bat, who muttered something darkly in Spanish.

“For hundreds of years the Nephilim have kept their rules, and made sure that we kept to them as well,” Lily said. “For that, they are much resented. Now they have gone to hide themselves away in Idris, and we cannot pretend that Downworlders will not enjoy certain . . . advantages while they are gone.”

“Being able to eat people?” Bat inquired, folding a piece of pizza in half.

“It is not just vampires,” Lily said coldly. “The faeries love to tease and torment humans; only Shadowhunters prevent them. They will begin taking human babies again. The warlocks will sell their magic to the highest bidder, like—”

“Magical prostitutes?” They all looked up in surprise; Malcolm Fade had appeared in the doorway, brushing white flakes of snow from his already white hair. “It’s what you were going to say, wasn’t it?”

“I wasn’t,” said Lily, clearly caught off guard.

“Oh, say what you like. I don’t mind,” Malcolm said brightly. “Nothing against prostitution. It keeps civilization running.” He shook snow off his coat. He was wearing a plain black suit and worn trench coat; there was nothing of Magnus’s glittering eclecticism about him. “How do you people stand snow?” he demanded.

“ ‘You people’?” Bat bristled. “Do you mean werewolves?”

“I mean East Coasters,” said Malcolm. “Who would have weather if they could avoid it? Snow, hail, rain. I’d move to Los Angeles in a jiffy. Did you know that a jiffy is an actual measurement of time? It’s a sixtieth of a second. You can’t do anything in a jiffy, not really.”

“You know,” Maia said, “Catarina said you were pretty harmless—”

Malcolm looked pleased. “Catarina said I was pretty?”

“Can we stick to the point?” Maia demanded. “Lily, if what you’re worried about is that the Shadowhunters will take it out on all Downworlders if some of us go rogue while they’re in Idris, well, that’s why we’re doing what we’re doing. Assuring Downworlders that the Accords hold, that the Shadowhunters are trying to get our representatives back, that Sebastian is the real enemy here, will minimize the chances of chaos outside Idris affecting what happens in the case of a battle, or when all this is over—”

“Catarina!” Malcolm announced suddenly, as if remembering something pleasant. “I nearly forgot why I stopped by here in the first place. Catarina asked me to contact you. She’s in the morgue at Beth Israel hospital, and she wants you to come as quickly as you can. Oh, and she said to bring a cage.”


One of the bricks in the wall by the window was loose. Jocelyn had been passing the time by using the metal clip of her barrette to try to pry it free. She wasn’t foolish enough to think that she could create a gap she could escape through, but she was hopeful that freeing a brick would give her a weapon. Something she could slam into Sebastian’s head.

If she could make herself do it. If she wouldn’t hesitate.

She had hesitated when he was a baby. She had held him in her arms and known there was something wrong with him, something irreparably damaged, but hadn’t been able to act on her knowledge. She had believed in some small corner of her heart that he could still be saved.

The door rattled, and she around about, sliding the barrette back into her hair. It was Clary’s barrette, something she had picked off her daughter’s desk when she’d needed to keep her hair out of the paint. She hadn’t returned it because it reminded her of her daughter, but it seemed wrong to even think of Clary here, in front of her other child, though she missed her, missed her so much that it hurt.

The door opened and Sebastian stepped through.

He wore a white knit shirt, and she was reminded again of his father. Valentine had liked to wear white. It had made him appear paler, his hair whiter, just that little bit more inhuman, and it did the same for Sebastian. His eyes looked like black paint dripped onto a white canvas. He smiled at her.

“Mother,” he said.

She crossed her arms over her chest. “What are you doing here, Jonathan?”

He shook his head, still with the same smile on his face, and drew a dagger from his belt. It was narrow, with a thin blade like an awl. “If you call me that again,” he said, “I will put your eyes out with this.”

She swallowed. Oh, my baby. She remembered holding him, cold and still in her arms, not like a normal child at all. He hadn’t cried. Not once. “Is that what you came to tell me?”

He shrugged. “I came to ask you a question.” He glanced around the room, his expression bored. “And to show you something. Come. Walk with me.”

She joined him as he left the room, with a mixture of reluctance and relief. She hated her cell, and surely it would be better to see more of the place where she was being kept? The size of it, the exits?

The corridor outside the room was stone, big blocks of limestone slotted together with concrete. The floor was smooth, worn down by footsteps. Yet there was a dusty feel to the place, as if no one had been in it for decades, even centuries.

There were doors set into the walls at random intervals. Jocelyn felt her heart begin to pound. Luke could be behind any of those doors. She wanted to dash at them, jerk them open, but the dagger was still in Sebastian’s hand, and she didn’t doubt for a moment that he knew that better than she did.

The corridor began to curve around, and Sebastian spoke. “What,” he said, “if I did tell you I loved you?”

Jocelyn clasped her hands loosely in front of her. “I suppose,” she said carefully, “that I would say that you could no more love me than I could love you.”

They had reached a set of double doors. They paused in front of them. “Aren’t you supposed to pretend, at least?”

Jocelyn said, “Could you? Part of you is me, you know. The demon’s blood changed you, but did you really think that everything in you otherwise comes from Valentine?”

Without answering, Sebastian shouldered the doors open and stepped inside. After a moment Jocelyn followed—and stopped in her tracks.

The room was huge and semicircular. A marble floor stretched out to a platform built of stone and wood rising against the western wall. In the center of the platform sat two thrones. There was no other word for them—massive ivory chairs overlaid with gold; each had a rounded back and six steps leading down from it. An enormous window, glass reflecting nothing but blackness, hung behind each throne. Something about the room was oddly familiar, but Jocelyn couldn’t have said exactly what.

Sebastian bounded up onto the platform and beckoned her to follow him. Jocelyn moved slowly up the few steps to join her son, who stood in front of the two thrones with a look of gloating triumph on his face. She had seen the same look on his father’s face, when he’d gazed down at the Mortal Cup. “ ‘He will be great,’ ” Sebastian intoned, “ ‘and he will be called the Son of the Highest, and the Devil will give him the throne of his father. And he will reign over Hell forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’ ”

“I don’t understand,” Jocelyn said, and her voice came out bleak and dead even to her own ears. “You want to rule this world? Some dead world of demons and destruction? You want to give orders to corpses?”

Sebastian laughed. He had Valentine’s laugh: harsh and musical. “Oh, no,” he said. “You misunderstand me entirely.” He made a quick gesture with his fingers, something she had seen Valentine do when he had taught himself magic, and suddenly the two great windows behind the thrones were no longer blank.

One showed a blasted landscape: withered trees and scorched earth, vile winged creatures circling in front of a broken moon. A barren plateau of rocks spread out before the windows. It was populated by dark figures, each standing a little distance from the next, and Jocelyn realized that they were the Endarkened, keeping watch.

The other window showed Alicante, sleeping peacefully in the moonlight. A curve of moon, a sky full of stars, the shimmer of water in the canals. The view was one Jocelyn had seen before, and she realized with a jolt why the room she was in had seemed familiar.

It was the Council room in the Gard—transformed from an amphitheater to a throne room, but still the same arched roof, the same size, the same view of the City of Glass from what had been two great windows. Only, now one window looked out onto the world she knew, the Idris she had come from. And the other looked out onto the world she was in.

“This fortress of mine has doorways to both worlds,” said Sebastian, his tone smug. “This world is drained dry, yes. A bloodless corpse of a place. Oh, but your world is ripe for ruling. I dream about it during the days as well as the nights. Do I burn the world slowly, with plague and famine, or should the slaughter be quick and painless—all that life, extinguished so quickly, imagine how it would burn!” His eyes were feverish. “Imagine the heights I could rise to, borne aloft on the screams of billions of people, raised up by the smoke of millions of burning hearts!” He turned to her. “Now,” he said. “Tell me I got that from you. Tell me any of that is from you.”

Jocelyn’s head was ringing. “There are two thrones,” she said.

A small crease appeared between his brows. “What?”

“Two thrones,” she said. “And I’m not a fool; I know who you intend to have sit beside you. You need her there; you want her there. Your triumph means nothing if she isn’t there to watch it. And that—that need for someone to love you—that does come from me.”

He stared at her. He was biting his lip so hard, she was sure he would draw blood. “Weakness,” he said, half to himself. “It’s a weakness.”

“It’s human,” she said. “But do you really think Clary could sit next to you here and be happy or willing?”

For a moment she thought she saw something spark in his eyes, but a moment later they were black ice again. “I’d rather have her happy and willing and here, but I’ll take simply here,” he said. “I don’t care that much about willing.”

Something seemed to explode inside Jocelyn’s brain. She lunged forward, reaching for the dagger in his hand; he stepped back, evading her, and spun with a quick, graceful movement, knocking her legs out from under her. She hit the ground, rolled, and crouched. Before she could rise, she found a hand knotted in her jacket, yanking her to her feet.

“Stupid bitch,” Sebastian snarled, inches from her face, the fingers of his left hand digging into the skin below her clavicle. “You think you could hurt me? My true mother’s spell protects me.”

Jocelyn jerked back. “Let me go!”

The leftmost window exploded with light. Sebastian reeled back, surprise blooming across his face as he stared. The blasted landscape of the dead world had suddenly lit up with fire, blazing golden fire, rising in a pillar toward the broken sky. The Dark Shadowhunters were running to and fro over the ground like ants. The stars were coruscating, reflecting the fire back, red and gold and blue and orange. It was as beautiful and terrible as an angel.

Jocelyn felt the hint of a smile touch the corners of her mouth. Her heart was lifting with the first hope she had felt since she had woken up in this world.

“Heavenly fire,” she whispered.

“Indeed.” A smile played around Sebastian’s mouth. Jocelyn looked at him in dismay. She had expected him to be horrified, but instead he looked exalted. “As the Good Book says: ‘This is the law of the burnt offering: It is the burnt offering, because of the burning upon the altar all night unto the morning, and the fire of the altar shall be burning in it,’” he cried, and raised both arms, as if he meant to embrace the fire that burned so high and so bright beyond the window. “Waste your fire on the desert air, my brother!” he cried. “Let it pour into the sands like blood or water, and may you never stop coming—never stop coming until we are face-to-face.”

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Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6
Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12
Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16 Chapter 17 Chapter 18
Chapter 19 Chapter 20 Chapter 21 Chapter 22 Chapter 23 Chapter 24
Chapter 25 Chapter 26
1. City of Bones 2. City of Ashes 3. City of Glass 4. The City of Fallen Angels 5. City of Lost Souls 6. City of Heavenly Fire