The Mortal Instruments: 6. City of Heavenly Fire, Book 6, Chapter 24
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The Mortal Instruments: City of Heavenly Fire - Chapter 24


       


24

CALL IT PEACE

“Who stands, then, to represent the Faerie Courts?” said Jia Penhallow.

The Hall of Accords was draped with the blue banners of victory. They looked like pieces cut out of the sky. Each was stamped with a golden rune of triumph. It was a clear winter day outside, and the light that poured through the windows shimmered across the long lines of chairs that had been set up facing the raised dais at the center of the room, where the Consul and the Inquisitor sat at a long table. The table itself was decorated with more gold and blue: massive golden candlesticks that nearly obscured Emma’s view of the Downworlders who also shared the table: Luke, representing the werewolves; a young woman named Lily, representing the vampires; and the very famous Magnus Bane, the representative for the warlocks.

No seat had been placed at the table for a representative of Faerie. Slowly, from among the seated crowd, a young woman rose to her feet. Her eyes were entirely blue with no white, her ears pointed like Helen’s. “I am Kaelie Whitewillow,” she said. “I will stand for the Seelie Court.”

“But not for the Unseelie?” said Jia, her pen hovering above a scroll of paper.

Kaelie shook her head, her lips pressed together. A murmur ran through the room. For all the brightness of the banners, the mood in the room was tense, not joyful. In the row of seats in front of the Blackthorns sat the Lightwoods: Maryse with her back ramrod-straight, and beside her, Isabelle and Alec, their dark heads bent together as they whispered.

Jocelyn Fairchild sat beside Maryse, but there was no sign anywhere of Clary Fray or Jace Lightwood.

“The Unseelie Court declines a representative,” said Jia, noting it down with her pen. She looked at Kaelie over the rims of her glasses. “What word do you bring us from the Seelie Court? Do they agree to our terms?”

Emma heard Helen, at the end of her row of seats, take a deep breath. Dru and Tavvy and the twins had been considered too young to come to the meeting; technically no one under eighteen was allowed, but special considerations had been made for those, like her and Julian, who had been directly affected by what was coming to be called the Dark War.

Kaelie moved to the aisle between the rows of seats and began to walk toward the dais; Robert Lightwood rose to his feet. “You must ask permission to approach the Consul,” he said in his gravelly voice.

“Permission is not given,” said Jia tightly. “Stay where you are, Kaelie Whitewillow. I can hear you perfectly well.”

Emma felt a sudden brief burst of pity for the faerie girl—everyone was staring at her with eyes like knives. Everyone except Aline and Helen, who sat pressed close together; they were holding each other’s hands, and their knuckles were white.

“The Faerie Court asks for your mercy,” Kaelie said, clasping her slim hands in front of her. “The terms you have set down are too harsh. The faeries have always had their own sovereignty, our own kings and queens. We have always had warriors. We are an ancient people. What you ask for will crush us completely.”

A low murmur ran around the room. It was not a friendly noise. Jia picked up the paper lying on the table in front of her. “Shall we review?” she said. “We ask that the Faerie Courts accept all responsibility for the loss of life and damage sustained by Shadowhunters and Downworlders in the Dark War. The Fair Folk shall be responsible for the costs of rebuilding broken wards, for the reestablishment of the Praetor Lupus on Long Island, and the rebuilding of what in Alicante has been destroyed. You will spend your own riches upon it. As for the Shadowhunters taken from us—”

“If you mean Mark Blackthorn, he was taken by the Wild Hunt,” Kaelie said. “We have no jurisdiction over them. You will have to negotiate with them yourselves, though we will not prevent it.”

“He was not all that was taken from us,” said Jia. “There is that for which there can be no reparation—the loss of life sustained by Shadowhunters and lycanthropes in battle, those who were torn from us by the Infernal Cup—”

“That was Sebastian Morgenstern, not the Courts,” Kaelie protested. “He was a Shadowhunter.”

“And that’s why we are not punishing you with a war that you would inevitably lose,” said Jia coldly. “Instead we insist merely that you disband your armies, that there be no more Fair Folk warriors. You may no longer bear arms. Any faerie found carrying a weapon without a dispensation from the Clave will be killed on sight.”

“The terms are too severe,” Kaelie protested. “The Fair Folk cannot abide under them! If we are weaponless, we cannot defend ourselves!”

“We will put it to a vote, then,” said Jia, setting her paper down. “Any not in favor of the terms set down for the Fair Folk, please speak now.”

There was a long silence. Emma could see Helen’s eyes roving the room, her mouth pinched at the sides; Aline was holding her wrist tightly. Finally there was the sound of a chair scraping back, echoing in the silence, and one lone figure rose to his feet.

Magnus Bane. He was still pale from his ordeal in Edom, but his gold-green eyes burned with an intensity that Emma could see from across the room. “I know that mundane history is not of enormous interest to most Shadowhunters,” he said. “But there was a time before the Nephilim. A time when Rome battled the city of Carthage, and over the course of many wars was victorious. After one of the wars, Rome demanded that Carthage pay them tribute, that Carthage abandon their army, and that the land of Carthage be sowed with salt. The historian Tacitus said of the Romans that ‘they make a desert and call it peace.’ ” He turned to Jia. “The Carthaginians never forgot. Their hatred of Rome sparked another war in the end, and that war ended in death and slavery. That was not peace. This is not peace.”

At that, there were catcalls from the assembly.

“Perhaps we don’t want peace, warlock!” someone shouted.

“What’s your solution, then?” shouted someone else.

“Leniency,” said Magnus. “The Fair Folk have long hated the Nephilim for their harshness. Show them something other than harshness, and you will receive something other than hate in return!”

Noise burst out again, louder than ever this time; Jia raised a hand, and the crowd quieted. “Does anyone else speak for the Fair Folk?” she asked.

Magnus, taking his seat again, glanced sideways at his fellow Downworlders, but Lily was smirking and Luke was staring down at the table with a fixed look on his face. It was common knowledge that his sister had been the first taken and Endarkened by Sebastian Morgenstern, that many of the wolves in the Praetor had been his friends, including Jordan Kyle—and yet there was doubt on his face—

“Luke,” Magnus said in a soft voice that somehow managed to echo through the room. “Please.”

The doubt vanished. Luke shook his head grimly. “Don’t ask for what I can’t give,” he said. “The whole Praetor was slaughtered, Magnus. As the representative of the werewolves, I cannot speak against what they all want. If I did, they would turn against the Clave, and nothing would be accomplished by that.”

“There it is, then,” Jia said. “Speak, Kaelie Whitewillow. Will you agree to the terms, or will there be war between us?”

The faerie girl bowed her head. “We agree to the terms.”

The assembly burst into applause. Only a few did not clap: Magnus, the row of Blackthorns, the Lightwoods, and Emma herself. She was too busy watching Kaelie as the faerie sat down. Her head might have been bowed submissively, but her face was full of a white-hot rage.

“So it is done,” said Jia, clearly pleased. “Now we move to the subject of—”

“Wait.” A thin Shadowhunter with dark hair had risen to his feet. Emma didn’t recognize him. He could have been anyone. A Cartwright? A Pontmercy? “There remains the question of Mark and Helen Blackthorn.”

Helen’s eyes closed. She looked like someone who had been half-expecting a guilty sentence in a trial and half-hoping for a reprieve, and this was the moment after the guilty sentence had fallen.

Jia paused, her pen in her hand. “What do you mean, Balogh?”

Balogh drew himself up. “There’s already been discussion of the fact that Morgenstern’s forces penetrated the Los Angeles Institute so easily. Both Mark and Helen Blackthorn have the blood of faeries in them. We know the boy’s already joined up with the Wild Hunt, so he’s beyond us, but the girl shouldn’t be among Shadowhunters. It isn’t decent.”

Aline shot to her feet. “That’s ridiculous!” she spat. “Helen’s a Shadowhunter; she’s always been one! She’s got the blood of the Angel in her—you can’t turn your back on that!”

“And the blood of faeries,” said Balogh. “She can lie. We’ve already been tricked by one of her sort, to our sorrow. I say we strip her Marks—”

Luke brought his hand down on the table with a loud slam; Magnus was hunched forward, his long-fingered hands covering his face, his shoulders slumped. “The girl’s done nothing,” Luke said. “You can’t punish her for an accident of birth.”

“Accidents of birth make us all what we are,” said Balogh stubbornly. “You can’t deny the faerie blood in her. You can’t deny she can lie. If it comes down to a war again, where will her loyalties stand?”

Helen got to her feet. “Where they stood this time,” she said. “I fought at the Burren, and at the Citadel, and in Alicante, to protect my family and protect Nephilim. I’ve never given anyone reason to question my loyalty.”

“This is what happens,” Magnus said, raising his face. “Can’t you see, this is how it begins again?”

“Helen is right,” said Jia. “She’s done nothing wrong.”

Another Shadowhunter rose to her feet, a woman with dark hair piled on her head. “Begging your pardon, Consul, but you are not objective,” she said. “We all know of your daughter’s relationship with the faerie girl. You should recuse yourself from this discussion.”

“Helen Blackthorn is needed, Mrs. Sedgewick,” said Diana Wrayburn, standing. She looked outraged; Emma remembered her in the Accords Hall, the way she had tried to get to Emma, to help her. “Her parents have been murdered; she has five younger brothers and sisters to care for—”

“She is not needed,” snapped Sedgewick. “We are reopening the Academy—the children can go there, or they can be split up among various Institutes—”

“No,” Julian whispered. His hands were in fists on his knees.

“Absolutely not,” Helen shouted. “Jia, you must—”

Jia met her eyes and nodded, a slow, reluctant nod. “Arthur Blackthorn,” she said. “Please rise.”

Emma felt Julian, beside her, freeze in shock as a man on the other side of the room, hidden among the crowd, rose to his feet. He was slight, a paler, smaller version of Julian’s father, with thinning brown hair and the Blackthorn eyes, half-hidden behind spectacles. He leaned heavily on a wooden cane, with a discomfort that made her think the injury that required the cane was recent.

“I wished to wait until after this meeting, that the children might meet their uncle properly,” Jia said. “I summoned him immediately on news of the attack on the Los Angeles Institute, of course, but he had been injured in London. He arrived in Idris only this morning.” She sighed. “Mr. Blackthorn, you may introduce yourself.”

The man had a round, pleasant face, and looked extremely uncomfortable being stared at by so many people. “I am Arthur Blackthorn, Andrew Blackthorn’s brother,” he said. His accent was British; Emma always forgot that Julian’s father had originally come from London. He had lost his accent years before. “I will be moving into the Los Angeles Institute as soon as possible and bringing my nieces and nephews with me. The children will be under my protection.”

“Is that really your uncle?” Emma whispered, staring.

“Yes, that’s him,” Julian whispered back, clearly agitated. “It’s just—I was hoping—I mean, I was really starting to think he wouldn’t come. I’d—I’d rather have Helen look after us.”

“While I’m sure we’re all immeasurably relieved that you’ll be looking after the Blackthorn children,” said Luke, “Helen is one of them. Are you saying, by claiming responsibility for the younger siblings, that you agree that her Marks should be stripped?”

Arthur Blackthorn looked horrified. “Not at all,” he said. “My brother may not have been wise in his . . . dalliances . . . but all records show that the children of Shadowhunters are Shadowhunters. As they say, ut incepit fidelis sic permanet.”

Julian slid down in his seat. “More Latin,” he muttered. “Just like Dad.”

“What does it mean?” Emma asked.

“ ‘She begins loyal and ends loyal’—something like that.” Julian’s eyes flicked around the room; everyone was muttering and glaring. Jia was in muted conference with Robert and the Downworld representatives. Helen was still standing, but it looked as if Aline was all that was holding her up.

The group at the dais broke apart, and Robert Lightwood stepped forward. His face was thunderous. “So that there is no discussion that Jia’s personal friendship with Helen Blackthorn will have influenced her decision, she has recused herself,” he said. “The rest of us have decided that, as Helen is eighteen, at the age where many young Shadowhunters are posted to other Institutes to learn their ways, she will be posted to Wrangel Island to study the wards.”

“For how long?” said Balogh immediately.

“Indefinitely,” said Robert, and Helen sank down into her chair, Aline at her side, her face a mask of grief and shock. Wrangel Island might have been the seat of all the wards that protected the world, a prestigious posting in many ways, but it was also a tiny island in the frozen Arctic sea north of Russia, thousands of miles from Los Angeles.

“Is that good enough for you?” Jia said in a cold voice. “Mr. Balogh? Mrs. Sedgewick? Shall we vote on it? All in favor of assigning Helen Blackthorn to a posting on Wrangel Island until her loyalty is determined, say ‘aye.’ ”

A chorus of “aye,” and a quieter chorus of “nay,” ran around the room. Emma said nothing, and neither did Jules; both of them were too young to vote. Emma reached her hand over and took Julian’s, squeezed it tightly; his fingers were like ice. He had the look of someone who had been hit so many times that they no longer even wanted to get up. Helen was sobbing softly in Aline’s arms.

“There remains the question of Mark Blackthorn,” said Balogh.

“What question?” demanded Robert Lightwood, sounding exasperated. “The boy has been taken by the Wild Hunt! In the unlikely event that we are able to negotiate his release, shouldn’t this be a problem to worry about then?”

“That’s just it,” said Balogh. “As long as we don’t negotiate his release, the problem takes care of itself. The boy is likely better off with his own kind anyway.”

Arthur Blackthorn’s round face paled. “No,” he said. “My brother wouldn’t have wanted that. He’d have wanted the boy at home with his family.” He gestured toward where Emma and Julian and the rest were sitting. “They’ve had so much taken away from them. How can we take more?”

“We’re protecting them,” snapped Sedgewick. “From a brother and sister who will only betray them as time passes and they realize their true loyalty to the Courts. All in favor of permanently abandoning the search for Mark Blackthorn, say ‘aye.’ ”

Emma reached to hold Julian as he hunched forward in his chair. She clung awkwardly to his side. All his muscles were rigid, as hard as iron, as if he were readying himself for a fall or a blow. Helen leaned toward him, whispering and murmuring, her own face streaked with tears. As Aline reached past Helen to stroke Jules’s hair, Emma caught sight of the Blackthorn ring sparkling on Aline’s finger. As the chorus of “aye” went around the room in a terrible symphony, the gleam made Emma think of the shine of a distress signal far out at sea, where no one could see it, where there was no one to care.

If this was peace and victory, Emma thought, maybe war and fighting was better after all.

 

Jace slid from the back of the horse and reached up a hand to help Clary down after him. “Here we are,” he said, turning to face the lake.

They stood on a shallow beach of rocks facing the western edge of Lake Lyn. It was not the same beach where Valentine had stood when he had summoned the Angel Raziel, not the same beach where Jace had bled his life out and then regained it, but Clary had not been back to the lake since that time, and the sight of it still sent a shiver through her bones.

It was a lovely place, there was no doubt about that. The lake stretched into the distance, tinted with the color of the winter sky, limned in silver, the surface brushed and rippled so that it resembled a piece of metallic paper folding and unfolding under the wind’s touch. The clouds were white and high, and the hills around them were bare.

Clary moved forward, down to the edge of the water. She had thought her mother might come with her, but at the last moment Jocelyn had refused, saying that she had bidden good-bye to her son a long time ago and that this was Clary’s time. The Clave had burned his body—at Clary’s request. The burning of a body was an honor, and those who died in disgrace were buried at crossroads whole and unburned, as Jace’s mother had been. The burning had been more than a favor, Clary thought; it had been a sure way for the Clave to be absolutely certain that he was dead. But still Jonathan’s ashes were never to be taken to the abode of the Silent Brothers. They would never form a part of the City of Bones; he would never be a soul among other Nephilim souls.

He would not be buried among those he had caused to be murdered, and that, Clary thought, was only fair and just. The Endarkened had been burned, and their ashes buried at the crossroads near Brocelind. There would be a monument there, a necropolis to recall those who had once been Shadowhunters, but there would be no monument to recall Jonathan Morganstern, whom no one wanted to remember. Even Clary wished she could forget, but nothing was that easy.

The water of the lake was clear, with a slight rainbow sheen to it, like a slick of oil. It lapped against the edges of Clary’s boots as she opened the silver box she was holding. Inside it were ashes, powdery and gray, flecked with bits of charred bone. Among the ashes lay the Morgenstern ring, glimmering and silver. It had been on a chain around Jonathan’s throat when he had been burned, and it remained, untouched and unharmed by the fire.

“I never had a brother,” she said. “Not really.”

She felt Jace place his hand on her back, between her shoulder blades. “You did,” he said. “You had Simon. He was your brother in all the ways that matter. He watched you grow up, defended you, fought with and for you, cared about you all your life. He was the brother you chose. Even if he’s . . . gone now, no one and nothing can take that away from you.”

Clary took a deep breath and flung the box as far as she could. It flew far, over the rainbow water, black ashes arcing out behind it like the plume of a jet plane, and the ring fell along with it, turning over and over, sending out silver sparks as it fell and fell and disappeared beneath the water.

“Ave atque vale,” she said, speaking the full lines of the ancient poem. “Ave atque vale in perpetuum, frater. Hail and farewell forever, my brother.”

The wind off the lake was cold; she felt it against her face, icy on her cheeks, and only then did she realize that she had been crying, and that her face was cold because it was wet with tears. She had wondered since she had found out that Jonathan was alive why her mother had cried on the day of his birth every year. Why cry, if she had hated him? But Clary understood now. Her mother had been crying for the child she would never have, for all the dreams that had been wrapped up in her imagination of having a son, her imagination of what that boy would be like. And she’d been crying for the bitter chance that had destroyed that child before he had ever been born. And so, as Jocelyn had for so many years, Clary stood at the side of the Mortal Mirror and wept for the brother she would never have, for the boy who had never been given the chance to live. And she wept as well for the others lost in the Dark War, and she wept for her mother and the loss she had endured, and she wept for Emma and the Blackthorns, remembering how they had fought back tears when she had told them that she had seen Mark in the tunnels of Faerie, and how he belonged to the Hunt now, and she wept for Simon and the hole in her heart where he had been, and the way she would miss him every day until she died, and she wept for herself and the changes that had been wrought in her, because sometimes even change for the better felt like a little death.

Jace stood by her side as she cried, and held her hand silently, until Jonathan’s ashes had sunk under the water’s surface without a trace.

 

“Don’t eavesdrop,” said Julian.

Emma glared at him. All right, so she could hear the raised voices through the thick wood of the Consul’s office door, now shut but for a crack. And maybe she had been leaning toward the door, tantalized by the fact that she could hear the voices, could nearly make them out, but not quite. So? Wasn’t it better to know things than to not know them?

She mouthed “So what?” at Julian, who raised his eyebrows at her. Julian didn’t exactly like rules, but he obeyed them. Emma thought rules were for breaking, or bending at the very least.

Plus, she was bored. They had been led to the door and left there by one of the Council members, at the end of the long corridor that stretched nearly the length of the Gard. Tapestries hung all around the office entrance, threadbare from the passing of years. Most of them showed passages from Shadowhunter history: the Angel rising from the lake with the Mortal Instruments, the Angel passing the Gray Book to Jonathan Shadowhunter, the First Accords, the Battle of Shanghai, the Council of Buenos Aires. There was another tapestry as well, this one looking newer and freshly hung, which showed the Angel rising out of the lake, this time without the Mortal Instruments. A blond man stood at the edge of the lake, and near him, almost invisible, was the figure of a slight girl with red hair, holding a stele. . . .

“There’ll be a tapestry about you someday,” said Jules.

Emma flicked her eyes over to him. “You have to do something really big to get a tapestry about you. Like win a war.”

“You could win a war,” he said confidently. Emma felt a little tightening around her heart. When Julian looked at her like that, like she was brilliant and amazing, it made the missing-her-parents ache in her heart a little less. There was something about having someone care about you like that that made you feel like you could never be totally alone.

Unless they decided to take her away from Jules, of course. Move her to Idris, or to one of the Institutes where she had distant relatives—in England, or China or Iran. Suddenly panicked, she took out her stele and carved an audio rune into her arm before pressing her ear to the wood of the door, ignoring Julian’s glare.

The voices immediately came clear. She recognized Jia’s first, and then the second after a beat: The Consul was talking to Luke Garroway.

“. . . Zachariah? He is no longer an active Shadowhunter,” Jia was saying. “He left today before the meeting, saying he had some loose ends to tie up, and then an urgent appointment in London in early January, something he couldn’t miss.”

Luke murmured an answer Emma didn’t hear; she hadn’t known Zachariah was leaving, and wished she could have thanked him for the help he’d given them the night of the battle. And asked him how he’d known her middle name was Cordelia.

She leaned in more closely to the door, and heard Luke, halfway through a sentence. “. . . should tell you first,” he was saying. “I’m planning to step down as representative. Maia Roberts will take my place.”

Jia made a surprised noise. “Isn’t she a little young?”

“She’s very capable,” said Luke. “She hardly needs my endorsement—”

“No,” Jia agreed. “Without her warning before Sebastian’s attack, we would have lost many more Shadowhunters than we did.”

“And as she’ll be leading the New York pack from now on, it makes more sense for her to be your representative than for me.” He sighed. “Besides, Jia. I’ve lost my sister. Jocelyn lost her son—again. And Clary’s still devastated over what happened with Simon. I’d like to be there for my daughter.”

Jia made an unhappy noise. “Maybe I shouldn’t have let her try to call him.”

“She had to know,” said Luke. “It’s a loss. She has to come to terms with it. She has to grieve. I’d like to be there to help her through it. I’d like to get married. I’d like to be there for my family. I need to step away.”

“Well, you have my blessing, of course,” she said. “Though I could have used your help in reopening the Academy. We have lost so many. It has been a long time since death undid so many Nephilim. We must reach out into the mundane world, find those who might Ascend, teach and train them. There will be a great deal to do.”

“And many to help you do it.” Luke’s tone was inflexible.

Jia sighed. “I’ll welcome Maia, no fear. Poor Magnus, surrounded by women.”

“I doubt he’ll mind or notice,” said Luke. “Though, I should say that you know he was right, Jia. Abandoning the search for Mark Blackthorn, sending Helen Blackthorn to Wrangel Island—that was unconscionable cruelty.”

There was a pause, and then, “I know,” said Jia in a low voice. “You think I don’t know what I did to my own daughter? But letting Helen stay—I saw the hate in the eyes of my own Shadowhunters, and I was afraid for Helen. Afraid for Mark, should we be able to find him.”

“Well, I saw the devastation in the eyes of the Blackthorn children,” said Luke.

“Children are resilient.”

“They’ve lost their brother and their father, and now you’re leaving them to be raised by an uncle they’ve seen only a few times—”

“They will come to know him; he is a good man. Diana Wrayburn has requested the position of their tutor as well, and I am inclined to give it to her. She was impressed by their bravery—”

“But she isn’t their mother. My mother left when I was a child,” Luke said. “She became an Iron Sister. Cleophas. I never saw her again. Amatis raised me. I don’t know what I would have done without her. She was—all I had.”

Emma glanced quickly over at Julian to see if he’d heard. She didn’t think he had; he wasn’t looking at her but was staring off into nothing, blue-green eyes as distant as the ocean they resembled. She wondered if he was remembering the past or fearing for the future; she wished she could rewind the clock, get her parents back, give Jules back his father and Helen and Mark, unbreak what was broken.

“I’m sorry about Amatis,” said Jia. “And I am worried about the Blackthorn children, believe me. But we have always had orphans; we’re Nephilim. You know that as well as I do. As for the Carstairs girl, she will be brought to Idris; I’m worried she might be a little headstrong—”

Emma shoved the door of the office open; it gave much more easily than she had anticipated, and she half-fell inside. She heard Jules give a startled yelp and then follow her, grabbing at the back of the belt on her jeans to pull her upright. “No!” she said.

Both Jia and Luke looked at her in surprise: Jia’s mouth partly open, Luke beginning to crack a smile. “A little?” he said.

“Emma Carstairs,” Jia began, rising to her feet, “how dare you—”

“How dare you.” And Emma was utterly surprised that it was Julian who had spoken, his verdigris eyes blazing. In five seconds he had turned from worried boy to furious young man, his brown hair standing out wildly as if it were angry too. “How dare you shout at Emma when you’re the one who promised. You promised the Clave would never abandon Mark while he was living—you promised!”

Jia had the grace to look ashamed. “He is one of the Wild Hunt now,” she said. “They are neither the dead nor the living.”

“So you knew,” said Julian. “You knew when you promised that it didn’t mean anything.”

“It meant saving Idris,” said Jia. “I am sorry. We needed the two of you, and I . . .” She sounded as if she were choking out the words. “I would have fulfilled the promise if I could. If there were any way—if it could be done—I would see it done.”

“Then you owe us,” Emma said, planting her feet firmly in front of the Consul’s desk. “You owe us a broken promise. So you have to do this now.”

“Do what?” Jia looked bewildered.

“I won’t be moved to Idris. I won’t. I belong in Los Angeles.”

Emma felt Jules freeze up behind her. “Of course they’re not moving you to Idris,” he said. “What are you talking about?”

Emma pointed an accusing finger at Jia. “She said it.”

“Absolutely not,” Julian said. “Emma lives in L.A.; it’s her home. She can stay at the Institute. That’s what Shadowhunters do. The Institute is supposed to be a refuge.”

“Your uncle will be running the Institute,” said Jia. “It’s up to him.”

“What did he say?” Julian demanded, and behind those four words were a wealth of feeling. When Julian loved people, he loved them forever; when he hated them, he hated them forever. Emma had the feeling the question of whether he was going to hate his uncle forever hung in the balance at exactly this moment.

“He said he would take her in,” Jia said. “But really, I think there’s a place for Emma at the Shadowhunter Academy here in Idris. She’s exceptionally talented, she’d be surrounded by the best instructors, there are many other students there who’ve suffered losses and could help her with her grief—”

Her grief. Emma’s mind suddenly swam through images: the photos of her parents’ bodies on the beach, covered in markings. The Clave’s clear lack of interest in what had happened to them. Her father bending to kiss her before he walked off to the car where her mother waited. Their laughter on the wind.

“I’ve suffered losses,” Julian said through clenched teeth. “I can help her.”

“You’re twelve,” said Jia, as if that answered everything.

“I won’t be always!” Julian shouted. “Emma and I, we’ve known each other all our lives. She’s like—she’s like—”

“We’re going to be parabatai,” said Emma suddenly, before Julian could say that she was like his sister. For some reason she didn’t want to hear that.

Everyone’s eyes snapped wide open, including Julian’s.

“Julian asked me, and I said yes,” she said. “We’re twelve; we’re old enough to make the decision.”

Luke’s eyes sparked as he looked at her. “You can’t split up parabatai,” he said. “It’s against the Clave’s Law.”

“We need to be able to train together,” Emma said. “To take the examinations together, to do the ritual together—”

“Yes, yes, I understand,” said Jia. “Very well. Your uncle doesn’t mind, Julian, if Emma lives in the Institute, and the institution of parabatai trumps all other considerations.” She looked from Emma to Julian, whose eyes were shining. He looked happy, actually happy, for the first time in so long that Emma nearly couldn’t remember the last time she’d seen him smile like that. “You’re sure?” the Consul added. “Becoming parabatai is serious business, nothing to be undertaken lightly. It’s a commitment. You’ll have to look out for each other, protect each other, care for the other one more than you care for yourself.”

“We already do,” said Julian confidently. It took Emma a moment more to speak. She was still seeing her parents in her head. Los Angeles held the answers to what had happened to them. Answers she needed. If no one ever avenged their deaths, it would be as if they had never lived at all.

And it wasn’t as if she didn’t want to be Jules’s parabatai. The thought of a whole life spent without ever being separated from him, a promise that she would never be alone, trumped the voice in the back of her head that whispered: Wait . . .

She nodded firmly. “Absolutely,” she said. “We’re absolutely sure.”

 

Idris had been green and gold and russet in the autumn, when Clary had first been there. It had a stark grandeur in the late winter, so close to Christmas: The mountains rose in the distance, capped white with snow, and the trees along the side of the road that led back to Alicante from the lake were stripped bare, their leafless branches making lacelike patterns against the bright sky.

They rode without haste, Wayfarer treading lightly along the path, Clary behind Jace, her arms clasped around his torso. Sometimes he would slow the horse to point out the manor houses of the richer Shadowhunter families, hidden from the road when the trees were full but revealed now. She felt his shoulders tense as they passed one whose ivy-covered stones nearly melded with the forest around it. It had clearly been burned to the ground and rebuilt. “Blackthorn manor,” he said. “Which means that around this bend in the road is . . .” He paused as Wayfarer summited a small hill, and then Jace reined him in so they could look down to where the road split in two. One direction led back toward Alicante—Clary could see the demon towers in the distance—while the other curled down toward a large building of mellow golden stone, surrounded by a low wall. “Herondale manor,” Jace finished.

The wind picked up; icy, it ruffled Jace’s hair. Clary had her hood up, but he was bareheaded and bare-handed, having said he hated wearing gloves when horseback riding. He liked to feel the reins in his hands. “Did you want to go and look at it?” she asked.

His breath came out in a white cloud. “I’m not sure.”

She pressed closer to him, shivering. “Are you worried about missing the Council meeting?” She had been, though they were returning to New York tomorrow and there had been no other time she could think of to secretly lay her brother’s ashes to rest; it was Jace who had suggested taking the horse from the stables and riding to Lake Lyn when nearly everyone else in Alicante was sure to be in the Accords Hall. Jace understood what it meant to her to bury the idea of her brother, though it would have been hard to explain to almost anyone else.

He shook his head. “We’re too young to vote. Besides, I think they can manage without us.” He frowned. “We’d have to break in,” he said. “The Consul told me that as long as I want to call myself Jace Lightwood, I’ve got no legal right to the Herondale properties. I don’t even have a Herondale ring. One doesn’t exist. The Iron Sisters would have to craft a new one. In fact, when I turn eighteen, I’ll lose the right to the name entirely.”

Clary sat still, holding on to his waist lightly. There were times when he wanted to be prompted and asked questions, and times when he didn’t; this was one of the latter. He would get there on his own. She held him and breathed quietly until he suddenly tensed under her hold and dug his heels into Wayfarer’s sides.

The horse headed down the path toward the manor house at a trot. The low gates—decorated with an iron motif of flying birds—were open, and the path opened out into a circular gravel drive, in the center of which was a stone fountain, now dry. Jace drew up in front of the wide steps that led up to the front door, and stared up at the blank windows.

“This is where I was born,” he said. “This is where my mother died, and Valentine cut me out of her body. And Hodge took me and hid me, so no one would know. It was winter then, too.”

“Jace . . .” She splayed her hands over his chest, feeling his heart beat under her fingers.

“I think I want to be a Herondale,” he said abruptly.

“So be a Herondale.”

“I don’t want to betray the Lightwoods,” he said. “They’re my family. But I realized that if I don’t take the Herondale name, it’ll end with me.”

“It’s not your responsibility—”

“I know,” he said. “In the box, the one Amatis gave me, there was a letter from my father to me. He wrote it before I was born. I read it a few times. The first times I read it, I just hated him, even though he said he loved me. But there were a few sentences I couldn’t get rid of in my head. He said, ‘I want you to be a better man than I was. Let no one else tell you who you are or should be.’” He tipped his head back, as if he could read his future in the curl of the manor’s eaves. “Changing your name, it doesn’t change your nature. Look at Sebastian—Jonathan. Calling himself Sebastian didn’t make any difference in the end. I wanted to spurn the Herondale name because I thought I hated my father, but I don’t hate him. He might have been weak and have made the wrong decisions, but he knew it. There’s no reason for me to hate him. And there have been generations of Herondales before him—it’s a family that’s done a lot of good—and to let their whole house fall just to get back at my father would be a waste.”

“That’s the first time I’ve heard you call him your father and sound like that,” Clary said. “Usually you only say it about Valentine.”

She felt him sigh, and then his hand covered hers where it lay on his chest. His fingers were cool, long and slender, so familiar, she would have known them in the dark. “We might live here someday,” he said. “Together.”

She smiled, knowing he couldn’t see her, but unable to help it. “Think you can win me over with a fancy house?” she said. “Don’t get ahead of yourself, Jace. Jace Herondale,” she added, and wrapped her arms around him in the cold.

 

Alec sat at the edge of the roof, dangling his feet over the side. He supposed that if either of his parents came back to the house and looked up, they’d see him and he’d get shouted at, but he doubted Maryse or Robert would return soon. They’d been called to the Consul’s office after the meeting and were probably still there. The new treaty with the Fair Folk would be hammered out over the next week, during which they’d stay in Idris, while the rest of the Lightwoods went back to New York and celebrated the New Year without them. Alec would, technically, be running the Institute for that week. He was surprised to find that he was actually looking forward to it.

Responsibility was a good way to take your mind off other things. Things like the way Jocelyn had looked when her son had died, or the way Clary had stifled her silent sobs against the floor when she’d realized that they’d come back from Edom, but without Simon. The way Magnus’s face had looked, bleak with despair, as he’d said his father’s name.

Loss was part of being a Shadowhunter, you expected it, but that didn’t help the way Alec had felt when he’d seen Helen’s expression in the Council Hall as she’d been exiled to Wrangel Island.

“You couldn’t have done anything. Don’t punish yourself.” The voice behind him was familiar; Alec squeezed his eyes shut, trying to steady his breathing before he replied.

“How’d you get up here?” he asked. There was a rustle of fabric as Magnus settled himself down next to Alec at the edge of the roof. Alec chanced a sideways glance at him. He’d seen Magnus only twice, briefly, since they’d returned from Edom—once when the Silent Brothers had released them from quarantine, and once again today in the Council Hall. Neither time had they been able to talk. Alec looked him over with a yearning he suspected was poorly disguised. Magnus was back to his normal healthy color after the drained look he had had in Edom; his bruises were largely healed, and his eyes were bright again, glinting under the dimming sky.

Alec remembered throwing his arms around Magnus in the demon realm, when he’d found him chained up, and wondered why things like that were always so much easier to do when you thought you were about to die.

“I should have said something,” Alec said. “I voted against sending her away.”

“I know,” said Magnus. “You and about ten other people. It was overwhelmingly in favor.” He shook his head. “People get scared, and they take it out on anyone they think is different. It’s the same cycle I’ve seen a thousand times.”

“It makes me feel so useless.”

“You’re anything but useless.” Magnus tipped his head back, his eyes searching the sky as the stars began to make their appearances, one by one. “You saved my life.”

“In Edom?” Alec said. “I helped, but really—you saved your own life.”

“Not just in Edom,” Magnus said. “I was—I’m almost four hundred years old, Alexander. Warlocks, as they get older, they start to calcify. They stop being able to feel things. To care, to be excited or surprised. I always told myself that would never happen to me. That I’d try to be like Peter Pan, never grow up, always retain a sense of wonder. Always fall in love, be surprised, be open to being hurt as much as I was open to being happy. But over the last twenty years or so I’ve felt it creeping up on me anyway. There was nobody before you for a long time. Nobody I loved. No one who surprised me or took my breath away. Until you walked into that party, I was starting to think I’d never feel anything that strongly again.”

Alec caught his breath and looked down at his hands. “What are you saying?” His voice was uneven. “That you want to get back together?”

“If you want to,” Magnus said, and he actually sounded uncertain, enough that Alec looked at him in surprise. Magnus looked very young, his eyes wide and gold-green, his hair brushing his temples in wisps of black. “If you . . .”

Alec sat, frozen. For weeks he’d sat and daydreamed about Magnus saying these exact words, but now that Magnus was, it didn’t feel the way he’d thought it would. There were no fireworks in his chest; he felt empty and cold. “I don’t know,” he said.

The light died out of Magnus’s eyes. He said, “Well, I can understand that you—I wasn’t very kind to you.”

“No,” Alec said bluntly. “You weren’t, but I guess it’s hard to break up with someone kindly. The thing is, I am sorry about what I did. I was wrong. Incredibly wrong. But the reason I did it, that isn’t going to change. I can’t go through my life feeling like I don’t know you at all. You keep saying the past is the past, but the past made you who you are. I want to know about your life. And if you’re not willing to tell me about it, then I shouldn’t be with you. Because I know me, and I won’t ever be okay with it. So I shouldn’t put us both through that again.”

Magnus pulled his knees up to his chest. In the darkening twilight he looked gangly against the shadows, all long legs and arms and thin fingers sparkling with rings. “I love you,” he said quietly.

“Don’t—” Alec said. “Don’t. It’s not fair. Besides—” He glanced away. “I doubt I’m the first one who ever broke your heart.”

“My heart’s been broken more times than the Clave’s Law about Shadowhunters not engaging in romances with Downworlders,” Magnus said, but his voice sounded brittle. “Alec . . . you’re right.”

Alec cut his eyes sideways. He didn’t think he’d ever seen the warlock look so vulnerable.

“It’s not fair to you,” Magnus said. “I’ve always told myself I was going to be open to new experiences, and so when I started to—to harden—I was shocked. I thought I’d done everything right, not closed my heart off. And then I thought about what you said, and I realized why I was starting to die inside. If you never tell anyone the truth about yourself, eventually you start to forget. The love, the heartbreak, the joy, the despair, the things I did that were good, the things I did that were shameful—if I kept them all inside, my memories of them would start to disappear. And then I would disappear.”

“I . . .” Alec wasn’t sure what to say.

“I had a lot of time to think, after we broke up,” Magnus said. “And I wrote this.” He pulled a notebook out of the inside pocket of his jacket: just a very ordinary spiral-bound notebook of lined paper, but when the wind flapped it open, Alec could see that the pages were covered with thin, looping handwriting. Magnus’s handwriting. “I wrote down my life.”

Alec’s eyes widened. “Your whole life?”

“Not all of it,” Magnus said carefully. “But some of the incidents that have shaped me. How I first met Raphael, when he was very young,” Magnus said, and sounded sad. “How I fell in love with Camille. The story of the Hotel Dumort, though Catarina had to help me with that. Some of my early loves, and some of my later ones. Names you might know—Herondale—”

“Will Herondale,” said Alec. “Camille mentioned him.” He took the notebook; the thin pages felt bumpy, as if Magnus had pressed the pen very hard into the paper while writing. “Were you . . . with him?”

Magnus laughed and shook his head. “No—though, there are a lot of Herondales in the pages. Will’s son, James Herondale, was remarkable, and so was James’s sister, Lucie, but I have to say Stephen Herondale rather put me off the family until Jace came along. That guy was a pill.” He noticed Alec staring at him, and added quickly, “No Herondales. No Shadowhunters at all, in fact.”

“No Shadowhunters?”

“None in my heart like you are,” Magnus said. He tapped the notebook lightly. “Consider this a first installment of everything I want to tell you. I wasn’t sure, but I hoped—if you wanted to be with me, as I want to be with you, you might take this as evidence. Evidence that I am willing to give you something I have never given anyone: my past, the truth of myself. I want to share my life with you, and that means today, and the future, and all of my past, if you want it. If you want me.”

Alec lowered the notebook. There was writing on the first page, a scrawled inscription: Dear Alec . . .

He could see the path in front of him very clearly: He could hand back the book, walk away from Magnus, find someone else, some Shadowhunter to love, be with him, share the kinship of predictable days and nights, the daily poetry of an ordinary life.

Or he could take the step out into nothingness and choose Magnus, the far stranger poetry of him, his brilliance and anger, his sulks and joys, the extraordinary abilities of his magic and the no less breathtaking magic of the extraordinary way he loved.

It was hardly a choice at all. Alec took a deep breath, and jumped.

“All right,” he said.

Magnus whipped toward him in the dark, all coiled energy now, all cheekbones and shimmering eyes. “Really?”

“Really,” Alec said. He reached out a hand, and interlinked his fingers with Magnus’s. There was a glow being woken in Alec’s chest, where all had been dark. Magnus cupped his long fingers under Alec’s jawline and kissed him, his touch light against Alec’s skin: a slow and gentle kiss, a kiss that promised more later, when they were no longer on a roof and could be seen by anyone walking by.

“So I’m your first ever Shadowhunter, huh?” Alec said when they separated at last.

“You’re my first so many things, Alec Lightwood,” Magnus said.

 

The sun was setting when Jace dropped Clary off at Amatis’s house, kissed her, and headed back down the canal toward the Inquisitor’s. Clary watched him walk away before turning back to the house with a sigh; she was glad they were leaving the next day.

There were things she loved about Idris. Alicante was still the loveliest city she had seen: Over the houses, now, she could see the sunset striking sparks off the clear tops of the demon towers. The rows of houses along the canal were softened by shadow, like velvet silhouettes. But it was heart-achingly sad being inside Amatis’s house, knowing now, with certainty, that she would never come back to it.

Inside, the house was warm and dimly lit. Luke was sitting on the sofa, reading a book. Jocelyn was asleep beside him, curled up with a throw rug over her. Luke smiled at Clary as she came in, and he pointed toward the kitchen, making a bizarre gesture that Clary translated as an indication that there was food in there if she wanted it.

She nodded and tiptoed up the stairs, careful not to wake her mother. She went into her room already pulling off her coat; it took her a moment to realize that there was someone else there.

The room was chilly, the cold air pouring in through the half-open window. On the windowsill sat Isabelle. She wore high boots zipped over jeans; her hair was loose, blowing slightly in the breeze. She looked over at Clary as she came into the room, and smiled tightly.

Clary went over to the window and pulled herself up beside Izzy. There was enough room for both of them, but barely; the toes of her shoes nudged up against Izzy’s leg. She folded her hands over her knees and waited.

“Sorry,” Isabelle said, finally. “I probably should have come in through the front door, but I didn’t want to deal with your parents.”

“Was everything okay at the Council meeting?” Clary asked. “Did something happen—”

Isabelle laughed shortly. “The faeries agreed to the Clave’s terms.”

“Well, that’s good, right?”

“Maybe. Magnus didn’t seem to think so.” Isabelle exhaled. “It just—There were nasty pointy angry bits sticking out everywhere. It didn’t seem like a victory. And they’re sending Helen Blackthorn to Wrangel Island to ‘study the wards.’ Get that. They want to get her away because she’s got faerie blood.”

“That’s horrible! What about Aline?”

“Aline’s going with her. She told Alec,” Isabelle said. “There’s some uncle that’s coming to take care of the Blackthorn kids and the girl—the one who likes you and Jace.”

“Her name’s Emma,” Clary said, poking Isabelle’s leg with her toe. “You could try to remember it. She did help us out.”

“Yeah, it’s a little hard for me to be grateful right now.” Isabelle ran her hands down her denim-clad legs and took a deep breath. “I know there was no other way it could have played out. I keep trying to imagine one, but I can’t think of anything. We had to go after Sebastian, and we had to get out of Edom or we all would have died anyway, but I just miss Simon. I miss him all the time, and I came here because you’re the only one who misses him as much as I do.”

Clary stilled. Isabelle was playing with the red stone at her throat, staring out the window with the sort of fixed stare Clary was familiar with. It was the kind of stare that said, I’m trying not to cry.

“I know,” Clary said. “I miss him all the time too, just in a different way. It feels like waking up missing an arm or a leg, like there’s something that’s always been there that I relied on, and now it’s gone.”

Isabelle was still staring out the window. “Tell me about the phone call,” she said.

“I don’t know.” Clary hesitated. “It was bad, Iz. I don’t think you really want to—”

“Tell me,” Isabelle said through her teeth, and Clary sighed and nodded.

It wasn’t as if she didn’t remember; every second of what had happened was burned into her brain.

It had been three days after they had come back, three days during which all of them had been quarantined. No Shadowhunter had survived a trip to a demon dimension before, and the Silent Brothers had wanted to be absolutely sure that they were carrying no dark magic with them. It had been three days of Clary screaming at the Silent Brothers that she wanted her stele, she wanted a Portal, she wanted to see Simon, she wanted someone to just check on him and make sure he was all right. She hadn’t seen Isabelle or any of the others during those days, not even her mother or Luke, but they must have done their own fair share of screaming, because the moment they had all been cleared by the Brothers, a guard had appeared and guided Clary to the Consul’s office.

Inside the office of the Consul, in the Gard on top of Gard Hill, was the only working telephone in Alicante.

It had been enchanted to work sometime around the turn of the century by the warlock Ragnor Fell, a little before the development of fire-messages. It had survived various attempts to remove it on the theory that it might disrupt the wards, as it had shown no sign of ever doing so.

The only other person in the room was Jia Penhallow, and she gestured for Clary to sit. “Magnus Bane has informed me about what happened with your friend Simon Lewis in the demon realms,” she said. “I wished to say that I am so sorry for your loss.”

“He isn’t dead,” Clary ground out through her teeth. “At least he isn’t supposed to be. Has anyone bothered to check? Has anyone looked to see if he’s all right?”

“Yes,” Jia said, rather unexpectedly. “He is fine, living at his home with his mother and sister. He seems entirely well: no longer a vampire, of course, but simply a mundane leading a very ordinary life. He appears from observation to have no recollection of the Shadow World.”

Clary flinched, then straightened up. “I want to talk to him.”

Jia thinned her lips. “You know the Law. You cannot tell a mundane about the Shadow World unless he is in danger. You cannot reveal the truth, Clary. Magnus said the demon who freed you told you as much.”

The demon who freed you. So Magnus hadn’t mentioned it was his father—not that Clary blamed him. She wouldn’t reveal his secret either. “I won’t tell Simon anything, all right? I just want to hear his voice. I need to know he’s okay.”

Jia sighed and pushed the phone toward her. Clary grabbed it, wondering how you dialed out of Idris—how did they pay their phone bills?—then decided screw it, she was just going to dial as if she were in Brooklyn already. If that didn’t work, she could ask for guidance.

To her surprise the phone rang, and was picked up almost immediately, the familiar voice of Simon’s mother echoing down the line. “Hello?”

“Hello.” The receiver almost slipped in Clary’s hand; her palm was damp with sweat. “Is Simon there?”

“What? Oh, yes, he’s in his room,” said Elaine. “Can I tell him who’s calling?”

Clary closed her eyes. “It’s Clary.”

There was a short silence, and then Elaine said, “I’m sorry, who?”

“Clary Fray.” She tasted bitter metal in the back of her throat. “I—I go to Saint Xavier’s. It’s about our English homework.”

“Oh! Well, all right, then,” said Elaine. “I’ll go get him.” She put the phone down, and Clary waited, waited for the woman who had thrown Simon out of her house and called him a monster, had left him to throw up blood on his knees in the gutter, to go and see if he would pick up a phone call like a normal teenager.

It wasn’t her fault. It was the Mark of Cain, acting on her without her knowledge, turning Simon into a Wanderer, cutting him away from his family, Clary told herself, but it didn’t stop the burn of anger and anxiety flooding her veins. She heard Elaine’s footsteps going away, the murmur of voices, more footsteps—

“Hello?” Simon’s voice, and Clary almost dropped the phone. Her heart was pounding itself into pieces. She could picture him so clearly, skinny and brown-haired, propping himself against the table in the narrow hallway just past the Lewises’ front door.

“Simon,” she said. “Simon, it’s me. It’s Clary.”

There was a pause. When he spoke again, he sounded bewildered. “I—Do we know each other?”

Each word felt like a nail being pounded into her skin. “We have English class together,” she said, which was true enough in a way—they had had most of their classes together when Clary had still gone to mundane high school. “Mr. Price.”

“Oh, right.” He sounded not unfriendly; cheerful enough, but baffled. “I’m really sorry. I have a total mental block for faces and names. What’s up? Mom said it was something about homework, but I don’t think we have any homework tonight.”

“Can I ask you something?” Clary said.

“About A Tale of Two Cities?” He sounded amused. “Look, I haven’t read it yet. I like the more modern stuff. Catch-22, The Catcher in the Rye—anything with ‘catch’ in the title, I guess.” He was flirting a little, Clary thought. He must have thought she’d called him up out of the blue because she thought he was cute. Some random girl at school whose name he didn’t even know.

“Who’s your best friend?” she asked. “Your best friend in the whole world?”

He was silent for a moment, then laughed. “I should have guessed this was about Eric,” he said. “You know, if you wanted his phone number, you could have just asked him—”

Clary hung the phone up and sat staring at it as if it were a poisonous snake. She was aware of Jia’s voice, asking her if she was all right, asking what had happened, but she didn’t answer, just set her jaw, absolutely determined not to cry in front of the Consul.

“You don’t think maybe he was just faking it?” Isabelle said now. “Pretending he didn’t know who you were, you know, because it would be dangerous?”

Clary hesitated. Simon’s voice had been so blithe, so banal, so completely ordinary. Nobody could fake that. “I’m totally sure,” she said. “He doesn’t remember us. He can’t.”

Izzy looked away from the window, and Clary could clearly see the tears standing in her eyes. “I want to tell you something,” Isabelle said. “And I don’t want you to hate me.”

“I couldn’t hate you,” Clary said. “Not possible.”

“It’s almost worse,” Isabelle said. “Than if he were dead. If he were dead, I could grieve, but I don’t know what to think—he’s safe, he’s alive, I should be grateful. He isn’t a vampire anymore, and he hated being a vampire. I should be happy. But I’m not happy. He told me he loved me. He told me he loved me, Clary, and now he doesn’t even know who I am. If I were standing in front of him, he wouldn’t recognize my face. It feels like I never mattered. None of it ever mattered or ever happened. He never loved me at all.” She swiped angrily at her face. “I hate it!” she broke out suddenly. “I hate this feeling, like there’s something sitting on my chest.”

“Missing someone?”

“Yes,” Isabelle said. “I never thought I’d feel it about some boy.”

“Not some boy,” Clary said. “Simon. And he did love you. And it did matter. Maybe he doesn’t remember, but you do. I do. The Simon who’s living in Brooklyn now, that’s Simon the way he used to be six months ago. And that’s not a terrible thing. He was wonderful. But he changed when you knew him: He got stronger, and he got hurt, and he was different. And that Simon was the one you fell in love with and who fell in love with you, so you are grieving, because he’s gone. But you can keep him alive a little by remembering him. We both can.”

Isabelle made a choking sound. “I hate losing people,” she said, and there was a savage edge to her voice: the desperation of someone who had lost too much, too young. “I hate it.”

Clary put her hand out and took Izzy’s—her thin right hand, the one with the Voyance rune stretched across her knuckles. “I know,” Clary said. “But remember the people you’ve gained, too. I’ve gained you. I’m grateful for that.” She pressed Izzy’s hand, hard, and for a moment there was no response. Then Isabelle’s fingers tightened on hers. They sat in silence on the windowsill, their hands locked across the distance between them.

 

Maia sat on the couch in the apartment—her apartment now. Being pack leader paid a small salary, and she had decided to use it for rent, to keep what once had been Jordan and Simon’s place, keep their things from being thrown into the street by an angry, evicting landlord. Eventually she would go through their belongings, pack up what she could, sort through the memories. Exorcise the ghosts.

For today, though, she was content to sit and look at what had arrived for her from Idris in a small package from Jia Penhallow. The Consul hadn’t thanked her for the warning she’d been given, though she had welcomed her as the new and permanent leader of the New York pack. Her tone had been cool and distant. But wrapped in the letter was a bronze seal, the seal of the head of the Praetor Lupus, the seal with which the Scott family had always signed their letters. It had been retrieved from the ruins on Long Island. There was a small note attached, with two words written on it in Jia’s careful hand.

Begin again.

 

“You’re going to be all right. I promise.”

It was probably the six hundredth time Helen had said the same thing, Emma thought. It would probably have helped more if she didn’t sound like she was trying to convince herself.

Helen was nearly finished packing the belongings that she had brought with her to Idris. Uncle Arthur (he had told Emma to call him that too) had promised to send on the rest. He was waiting downstairs with Aline to escort Helen to the Gard, where she would take the Portal to Wrangel Island; Aline would follow her the next week, after the last of the treaties and votes in Alicante.

It all sounded boring and complicated and horrible to Emma. All she knew was that she was sorry for ever having thought that Helen and Aline were soppy. Helen didn’t seem soppy to her at all now, just sad, her eyes red-rimmed and her hands shaking as she zipped up her bag and turned to the bed.

It was an enormous bed, big enough for six people. Julian was sitting up against the headboard on one side, and Emma was on the other. You could have fit the rest of the family between them, Emma thought, but Dru, the twins, and Tavvy were asleep in their rooms. Dru and Livvy were cried out; Tiberius had accepted the news of Helen’s departure with wide-eyed confusion, as if he didn’t know what was happening or how he was expected to respond. At the last he’d shaken her hand and solemnly wished her good luck, as if she were a colleague leaving on a business trip. She’d burst into tears. “Oh, Ty,” she’d said, and he’d slunk away, looking horrified.

Helen knelt down now, bringing herself almost eye level with Jules where he sat on the bed. “Remember what I said, okay?”

“We’re going to be all right,” Julian parroted.

Helen squeezed his hand. “I hate leaving you,” she said. “I’d take care of you if I could. You know that, right? I’d take over the Institute. I love you all so much.”

Julian squirmed in the manner that only a twelve-year-old boy could squirm upon hearing the word “love.”

“I know,” he managed.

“The only reason I can leave is that I’m sure I’m leaving you all in good hands,” she said, her eyes boring into his.

“Uncle Arthur, you mean?”

“I mean you,” she said, and Jules’s eyes widened. “I know it’s a lot to ask,” she added. “But I also know I can depend on you. I know you can help Dru with her nightmares, and take care of Livia and Tavvy, and maybe even Uncle Arthur could do that too. He’s a nice enough man. Absentminded, but he seems to want to try. . . .” Her voice trailed off. “But Ty is—” She sighed. “Ty is special. He . . . translates the world differently from how the rest of us do. Not everyone can speak his language, but you can. Take care of him for me, all right? He’s going to be something amazing. We just have to keep the Clave from understanding how special he is. They don’t like people who are different,” she finished, and there was bitterness in her tone.

Julian was sitting up straight now, looking worried. “Ty hates me,” he said. “He fights me all the time.”

“Ty loves you,” said Helen. “He sleeps with that bee you gave him. He watches you all the time. He wants to be like you. He’s just—it’s hard,” she finished, not sure how to say what she wanted to: that Ty was jealous of the way Julian so easily navigated the world, so easily made people love him, that what Julian did every day without thinking seemed to Ty like a magic trick. “Sometimes it’s hard when you want to be like someone but you don’t know how.”

A sharp furrow of confusion appeared between Julian’s brows, but he looked up at Helen and nodded. “I’ll take care of Ty,” he said. “I promise.”

“Good.” Helen stood up and kissed Julian quickly on the top of his head. “Because he’s amazing and special. You all are.” She smiled over his head at Emma. “You, too, Emma,” she said, and her voice tightened on Emma’s name, as if she were going to cry. She closed her eyes, hugged Julian one more time, and fled out of the room, grabbing her suitcase and coat as she went. Emma could hear her running downstairs, and then the front door closing amid a murmur of voices.

Emma looked over at Julian. He was sitting rigidly upright, his chest rising and falling as if he’d been running. She reached over quickly and took his hand, traced onto the inside of his palm: W-H-A-T-S W-R-O-N-G?

“You heard Helen,” he said in a low voice. “She trusts me to take care of them. Dru, Tavvy, Livvy, Ty. My whole family, basically. I’m going to be—I’m twelve, Emma, and I’m going to have four kids!”

Anxiously she started to write: N-O Y-O-U W-O-N-T—

“You don’t have to do that,” he interrupted. “It’s not like there are any parents to overhear us.” It was an unusually bitter thing for Jules to say, and Emma swallowed hard.

“I know,” she said finally. “But I like having a secret language with you. I mean, who else can we talk about this stuff with, if we don’t talk to each other?”

He slumped down against the headboard, turning to face her. “The truth is, I don’t know Uncle Arthur at all. I’ve only seen him at holidays. I know Helen says she does and he’s great and fine and everything, but they’re my brothers and sisters. I know them. He doesn’t.” He curled his hands into fists. “I’ll take care of them. I’ll make sure they have everything they want and nothing ever gets taken away from them again.”

Emma reached for his arm, and this time he gave it to her, letting his eyes fall half-closed as she wrote on the inside of his wrist with her index finger.

I-L-L H-E-L-P Y-O-U.

He smiled at her, but she could see the tension behind his eyes. “I know you will,” he said. He reached his hand out and clasped it around hers. “You know the last thing Mark said to me before he was taken?” he asked, leaning against the headboard. He looked absolutely exhausted. “He said, ‘Stay with Emma.’ So we’ll stay with each other. Because that’s what parabatai do.”

Emma felt as if the breath had been pulled out of her lungs. Parabatai. It was a big word—for Shadowhunters, one of the biggest, encompassing one of the most intense emotions you could ever have, the most significant commitment you could ever make to another person that wasn’t about romantic love or marriage.

She had wanted to tell Jules when they got back to the house, had wanted to tell him somehow that when she had burst out with the words in the Consul’s office that they were going to be parabatai bonded, it had been about more than wanting to be his parabatai. Tell him, said a little voice in her head. Tell him you did it because you needed to stay in Los Angeles; tell him you did it because you need to be there to find out what happened to your parents. To get revenge.

“Julian,” she said softly, but he didn’t move. His eyes were closed, his dark lashes feathering against his cheeks. The moonlight coming in through the window outlined him in white and silver. The bones of his face were already beginning to sharpen, to lose the softness of childhood. She could suddenly imagine how he was going to look when he was older, broader and rangier, a grown-up Julian. He was going to be so handsome, she thought; girls would be all over him, and one of them would take him away from her forever, because Emma was his parabatai, and that meant she could never be one of those girls now. She could never love him like that.

Jules murmured and shifted in his fitful sleep. His arm was stretched out toward her, his fingers not quite touching her shoulder. His sleeve was rucked up to his elbow. She reached out her hand and carefully scrawled on the bare skin of his forearm, where the skin was pale and tender, unmarked yet by any scars.

I-M S-O S-O-R-R-Y J-U-L-E-S, she wrote, and then sat back, holding her breath, but he didn’t feel it, and he didn’t wake up.




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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