Thursday, 21 February 2013

City of Lost Souls - Epilogue

At first, Jace was conscious of nothing. Then there was darkness, and within the
darkness, a burning pain. It was as if he’d swallowed fire, and it choked him and burned
his throat. He gasped desperately for air, for a breath that would cool the fire, and his
eyes flew open.
He saw darkness and shadows—a dimly lit room, known and unknown, with rows of
beds and a window letting in hollow blue light, and he was in one of the beds, blankets
and sheets pulled down and tangled around his body like ropes. His chest hurt as if a
dead weight lay on it, and his hand scrabbled to find what it was, encountering only a
thick bandage wrapped around his bare skin. He gasped again, another cooling breath.
“Jace.” The voice was familiar to him as his own, and then there was a hand gripping
his, fingers interlacing with his own. With a reflex born out of years of love and familiarity,
he gripped back.
“Alec,” he said, and he was almost shocked at the sound of his own voice in his ears. It
hadn’t changed. He felt as if he had been scorched, melted, and recreated like gold in a
crucible—but as what? Could he really be himself again? He looked up at Alec’s anxious
blue eyes, and knew where he was. The infirmary at the Institute. Home. “I’m sorry…”
A slim, callused hand stroked his cheek, and a second familiar voice said, “Don’t
apologize. You have nothing to apologize for.”
He half-closed his eyes. The weight on his chest was still there: half a wound and half
guilt. “Izzy.”
Her breath caught. “It really is you, right?”
“Isabelle,” Alec began, as if to warn her not to upset Jace, but Jace touched her hand.
He could see Izzy’s dark eyes shining in the dawn light, her face full of hopeful
expectancy. This was the Izzy only her family knew, loving and worried.
“It’s me,” he said, and cleared his throat. “I could understand if you didn’t believe me,
but I swear on the Angel, Iz, it’s me.”
Alec said nothing, but his grip on Jace’s hand tightened. “You don’t need to swear,” he
said, and with his free hand touched the parabatai rune near his collarbone. “I know. I
can feel it. I don’t feel like I’m missing a part of me anymore.”
“I felt it too.” Jace took a ragged breath. “Something missing. I felt it, even with
Sebastian, but I didn’t know what it was I was missing. But it was you. My parabatai.” He
looked at Izzy. “And you. My sister. And…” His eyelids burned suddenly with a scorching
light: the wound on his chest throbbed, and he saw her face, lit by the blaze of the sword.
A strange burning spread through his veins, like white fire. “Clary. Please tell me—”
“She’s completely all right,” Isabelle said hastily. There was something else in her voice
—surprise, unease.
“You swear. You’re not just telling me that because you don’t want to upset me.”
“She stabbed you,” Isabelle pointed out.
Jace gave a strangled laugh; it hurt. “She saved me.”
“She did,” Alec agreed.
“When can I see her?” Jace tried not to sound too eager.
“It really is you,” Isabelle said, her voice amused.
“The Silent Brothers have been in and out, checking on you,” said Alec. “On this”—he
touched the bandage on Jace’s chest—“and to see if you were awake yet. When they find
out you are, they’ll probably want to talk to you before they let you see Clary.”
“How long have I been out cold?”
“About two days,” said Alec. “Since we got you back from the Burren and were pretty
sure you weren’t going to die. Turns out it’s not that easy to completely heal a wound
made by an archangel’s blade.”
“So what you’re saying is that I’m going to have a scar.”
“A big ugly one,” said Isabelle. “Right across your chest.”
“Well, damn,” said Jace. “And I was relying on that money from the topless underwear
modeling gig I had lined up, too.” He spoke wryly, but he was thinking that it was right,
somehow, that he have a scar: that he should be marked by what had happened to him,
physically as well as mentally. He had almost lost his soul, and the scar would serve to
remind him of the fragility of will, and the difficulty of goodness.
And of darker things. Of what lay ahead, and what he could not allow to happen. He
strength was returning; he could feel it, and he would bend all of it against Sebastian.
Knowing that, he felt suddenly lighter, a little of the weight gone from his chest. He
turned his head, enough to look into Alec’s eyes.
“I never thought I’d fight on the opposite side of a battle from you,” he said hoarsely.
“And you never will again,” Alec said, his jaw set.
“Jace,” Isabelle said. “Try to stay calm, all right? It’s just…”
Now what? “Is something else wrong?”
“Well, you’re glowing a bit,” Isabelle said. “I mean, just a smidge. Of the glowing.”
Alec raised the hand that held Jace’s. Jace could see, in the darkness, a faint shimmer
across his forearm that seemed to trace the lines of his veins like a map. “We think it’s a
leftover effect from the archangel’s sword,” he said. “It’ll probably fade soon, but the
Silent Brothers are curious. Of course.”
Jace sighed and let his head fall back against the pillow. He was too exhausted to
muster up much interest in his new, illuminated state. “Does that mean you have to go?”
he asked. “Do you have to get the Brothers?”
“They instructed us to get them when you woke,” said Alec, but he was shaking his
head, even as he spoke. “But not if you don’t want us to.”
“I feel tired,” Jace confessed. “If I could sleep a few more hours…”
“Of course. Of course you can.” Isabelle’s fingers pushed his hair back, out of his eyes.
Her tone was firm, absolute: fierce as a mother bear protecting her cub.
Jace’s eyes began to close. “And you won’t leave me?”
“No,” Alec said. “No, we won’t ever leave you. You know that.”
“Never.” Isabelle took his hand, the one Alec wasn’t holding, and pressed it fiercely.
“Lightwoods, all together,” she whispered. Jace’s hand was suddenly damp where she
was holding it, and he realized she was crying, her tears splashing down—crying for him,
because she loved him; even after everything that had happened, she still loved him.
They both did.
He fell asleep like that, with Isabelle on one side of him and Alec on the other, as the
sun came up with the dawn.
“What do you mean, I still can’t see him?” demanded Clary. She was sitting on the edge
of the couch in Luke’s living room, the cord of the phone wrapped so tightly around her
fingers that the tips had turned white.
“It’s been only three days, and he was unconscious for two of them,” said Isabelle.
There were voices behind her, and Clary strained her ears to hear who was talking. She
thought she could pick out Maryse’s voice, but was she talking to Jace? Alec? “The Silent
Brothers are still examining him. They still say no visitors.”
“Screw the Silent Brothers.”
“No thanks. There’s strong and silent, and then there’s just freaky.”
“Isabelle!” Clary sat back against the squashy pillows. It was a bright fall day, and
sunlight streamed in through the living room windows, though it did nothing to lighten her
mood. “I just want to know that he’s all right. That he isn’t injured permanently, and he
hasn’t swollen up like a melon—”
“Of course he hasn’t swollen up like a melon, don’t be ridiculous.”
“I wouldn’t know. I wouldn’t know because no one will tell me anything.”
“He’s all right,” Isabelle said, though there was something in her voice that told Clary
she was holding something back. “Alec’s been sleeping in the bed next to his, and Mom
and I have been taking turns staying with him all day. The Silent Brothers haven’t been
torturing him. They just need to know what he knows. About Sebastian, the apartment,
“But I can’t believe Jace wouldn’t call me if he could. Not unless this is because he
doesn’t want to see me.”
“Maybe he doesn’t,” Isabelle said. “It could have been that whole thing where you
stabbed him.”
“I was just kidding, believe it or not. Name of the Angel, Clary, can’t you show some
patience?” Isabelle sighed. “Never mind. I forgot who I was talking to. Look, Jace said—
not that I’m supposed to repeat this, mind you—that he needed to talk to you in person.
If you could just wait—”
“That’s all I have been doing,” Clary said. “Waiting.” It was true. She’d spent the past
two nights lying in her room at Luke’s house, waiting for news about Jace and reliving the
last week of her life over and over in excruciating detail. The Wild Hunt; the antiques
store in Prague; fountains full of blood; the tunnels of Sebastian’s eyes; Jace’s body
against hers; Sebastian jamming the Infernal Cup against her lips, trying to pry them
apart; the bitter stench of demon ichor. Glorious blazing up her arm, spearing through
Jace like a bolt of fire, the beat of his heart under her fingertips. He hadn’t even opened
his eyes, but Clary had screamed that he was alive, that his heart was beating, and his
family had descended on them, even Alec, half-holding up an exceptionally pale Magnus.
“All I do is go around and around inside my own head. It’s making me crazy.”
“And that’s where we’re in agreement. You know what, Clary?”
There was a pause. “You don’t need my permission to come here and see Jace,”
Isabelle said. “You don’t need anyone’s permission to do anything. You’re Clary Fray. You
go charging into every situation without knowing how the hell it’s going to turn out, and
then you get through it on sheer guts and craziness.”
“Not where my personal life is concerned, Iz.”
“Huh,” said Isabelle. “Well, maybe you should.” And she put the phone down.
Clary stared at her receiver, hearing the distant tinny buzz of the dial tone. Then, with
a sigh, she hung up and headed into her bedroom.
Simon was sprawled on the bed, his feet on her pillows, his chin propped on his hands.
His laptop was propped open at the foot of the bed, frozen on a scene from The Matrix.
He looked up as she came in. “Any luck?”
“Not exactly.” Clary went over to her closet. She’d already dressed for the possibility
that she might see Jace today, in jeans and a soft blue sweater she knew he liked. She
pulled a corduroy jacket on and sat down on the bed beside Simon, sliding her feet into
boots. “Isabelle won’t tell me anything. The Silent Brothers don’t want Jace to have
visitors, but whatever. I’m going over anyway.”
Simon closed the laptop and rolled over onto his back. “That’s my brave little stalker.”
“Shut up,” she said. “Do you want to come with me? See Isabelle?”
“I’m meeting Becky,” he said. “At the apartment.”
“Good. Give her my love.” She finished lacing her boots and reached forward to brush
Simon’s hair away from his forehead. “First I had to get used to you with that Mark on
you. Now I have to get used to you without it.”
His dark brown eyes traced her face. “With or without it, I’m still just me.”
“Simon, do you remember what was written on the blade of the sword? Of Glorious?”
“Quis ut Deus.”
“It’s Latin,” she said. “I looked it up. It means Who is like God? It’s a trick question. The
answer is no one—no one is like God. Don’t you see?”
He looked at her. “See what?”
“You said it. Deus. God.”
Simon opened his mouth, and then closed it again. “I…”
“I know Camille told you that she could say God’s name because she didn’t believe in
God, but I think it has to do with what you believe about yourself. If you believe you’re
damned, then you are. But if you don’t…”
She touched his hand; he squeezed her fingers briefly and released them, his face
troubled. “I need some time to think about this.”
“Whatever you need. But I’m here if you need to talk.”
“And I’m here if you do. Whatever happens with you and Jace at the Institute… you
know you can always come over to my place if you want to talk.”
“How’s Jordan?”
“Pretty good,” said Simon. “He and Maia are definitely together now. They’re in that
ooky stage where I feel like I should be giving them space all the time.” He crinkled up
his nose. “When she’s not there, he frets about how he feels insecure because she’s dated
a bunch of dudes and he’s spent the past three years doing military-style training for the
Praetor and pretending he was asexual.”
“Oh, come on. I doubt she cares about that.”
“You know men. We have delicate egos.”
“I wouldn’t describe Jace’s ego as delicate.”
“No, Jace’s is sort of the antiaircraft artillery tank of male egos,” Simon admitted. He
was lying with his right hand splayed across his stomach, and the gold faerie ring
glittered on his finger. Since the other had been destroyed, it no longer seemed to have
any powers, but Simon wore it anyway. Impulsively Clary bent down and kissed his
“You’re the best friend anyone could ever have, you know that?” she said.
“I did know that, but it’s always nice to hear it again.”
Clary laughed and stood up. “Well, we might as well walk to the subway together.
Unless you want to hang around here with the ’rents instead of in your cool downtown
bachelor pad.”
“Right. With my lovelorn roommate and my sister.” He slid off the bed and followed her
as she walked out into the living room. “You’re not just going to Portal?”
She shrugged. “I don’t know. It seems… wasteful.” She crossed the hall and, after
knocking quickly, stuck her head into the master bedroom. “Luke?”
“Come on in.”
She went in, Simon beside her. Luke was sitting up in bed. The bulk of the bandage
that wrapped his chest was visible as an outline beneath his flannel shirt. There was a
stack of magazines on the bed in front of him. Simon picked one up. “Sparkle Like an Ice
Princess: The Winter Bride,” he read out loud. “I don’t know, man. I’m not sure a tiara of
snowflakes would be the best look for you.”
Luke glanced around the bed and sighed. “Jocelyn thought wedding planning might be
good for us. Return to normalcy and all that.” There were shadows under his blue eyes.
Jocelyn had been the one to break the news to him about Amatis, while he was still at
the police station. Though Clary had greeted him with hugs when he’d come home, he
hadn’t mentioned his sister once, and neither had she. “If it was up to me, I would elope
to Vegas and have a fifty-dollar pirate-themed wedding with Elvis presiding.”
“I could be the wench of honor,” Clary suggested. She looked at Simon expectantly.
“And you could be…”
“Oh, no,” he said. “I am a hipster. I am too cool for themed weddings.”
“You play D and D. You’re a geek,” she corrected him fondly.
“Geek is chic,” Simon declared. “Ladies love nerds.”
Luke cleared his throat. “I assume you came in here to tell me something?”
“I’m heading over to the Institute to see Jace,” Clary said. “Do you want me to bring
you anything back?”
He shook his head. “Your mother’s at the store, stocking up.” He leaned over to ruffle
her hair, and winced. He was healing, but slowly. “Have fun.”
Clary thought of what she was probably facing at the Institute—an angry Maryse, a
wearied Isabelle, an absent Alec, and a Jace who didn’t want to see her—and sighed.
“You bet.”
The subway tunnel smelled like the winter that had finally come to the city—cold metal,
dank, wet dirt, and a faint hint of smoke. Alec, walking along the tracks, saw his breath
puff out in front of his face in white clouds, and he jammed his free hand into the pocket
of his blue peacoat to keep it warm. The witchlight he held in his other hand illuminated
the tunnel—green and cream-colored tiles, discolored with age, and sprung wiring,
dangling like spiderwebs from the walls. It had been a long time since this tunnel had
seen a moving train.
Alec had gotten up before Magnus had woken, again. Magnus had been sleeping late;
he was resting from the battle at the Burren. He had used a great deal of energy to heal
himself, but he wasn’t entirely well yet. Warlocks were immortal but not invulnerable, and
“a few inches higher and that would have been it for me,” Magnus had said ruefully,
examining the knife wound. “It would have stopped my heart.”
There had been a few moments—minutes, even—when Alec had truly thought Magnus
was dead. And after so much time spent worrying that he would grow old and die before
Magnus did. What a bitter irony it would have been. The sort of thing he deserved, for
seriously contemplating the offer Camille had made him, even for a second.
He could see light up ahead—the City Hall station, lit by chandeliers and skylights. He
was about to douse his witchlight when he heard a familiar voice behind him.
“Alec,” it said. “Alexander Gideon Lightwood.”
Alec felt his heart lurch. He turned around slowly. “Magnus?”
Magnus moved forward, into the circle of illumination cast by Alec’s witchlight. He
looked uncharacteristically somber, his eyes shadowed. His spiky hair was rumpled. He
wore only a suit jacket over a T-shirt, and Alec couldn’t help wondering if he was cold.
“Magnus,” Alec said again. “I thought you were asleep.”
“Evidently,” Magnus said.
Alec swallowed hard. He had never seen Magnus angry, not really. Not like this.
Magnus’s cat eyes were remote, impossible to read. “Did you follow me?” Alec asked.
“You could say that. It helped that I knew where you were going.” Moving stiffly,
Magnus took a folded square of paper from his pocket. In the dim light, all Alec could see
was that it was covered with a careful, flourishing handwriting. “You know, when she told
me you’d been here—told me about the bargain she’d struck with you—I didn’t believe
her. I didn’t want to believe her. But here you are.”
“Camille told you—”
Magnus held up a hand to cut him off. “Just stop,” he said wearily. “Of course she told
me. I warned you she was a master at manipulation and politics, but you didn’t listen to
me. Who do you think she’d rather have on her side—me or you? You’re eighteen years
old, Alexander. You’re not exactly a powerful ally.”
“I already told her,” Alec said. “I wouldn’t kill Raphael. I came here and told her the
bargain was off, I wouldn’t do it—”
“You had to come all the way here, to this abandoned subway station, to deliver that
message?” Magnus raised his eyebrows. “You don’t think you could have delivered
essentially the same message by, perhaps, staying away?”
“It was—”
“And even if you did come here—unnecessarily—and tell her the deal was off,” Magnus
went on in a deadly calm voice, “why are you here now? Social call? Just visiting? Explain
it to me, Alexander, if there’s something I’m missing.”
Alec swallowed. Surely there must be a way to explain. That he had been coming down
here, visiting Camille, because she was the only person he could talk to about Magnus.
The only person who knew Magnus, as he did, not just as the High Warlock of Brooklyn
but as someone who could love and be loved back, who had human frailties and
peculiarities and odd, irregular currents of mood that Alec had no idea how to navigate
without advice. “Magnus—” Alec took a step toward his boyfriend, and for the first time
that he remembered, Magnus moved away from him. His posture was stiff and unfriendly.
He was looking at Alec the way he’d look at a stranger, a stranger he didn’t like very
“I’m so sorry,” Alec said. His voice sounded scratchy and uneven to his own ears. “I
never meant—”
“I was thinking about it, you know,” Magnus said. “That’s part of why I wanted the
Book of the White. Immortality can be a burden. You think of the days that stretch out
before you, when you have been everywhere, seen everything. The one thing I hadn’t
experienced was growing old with someone—someone I loved. I thought perhaps it would
be you. But that does not give you the right to make the length of my life your choice and
not mine.”
“I know.” Alec’s heart raced. “I know, and I wasn’t going to do it—”
“I’ll be out all day,” Magnus said. “Come and get your things out of the apartment.
Leave your key on the dining room table.” His eyes searched Alec’s face. “It’s over. I don’t
want to see you again, Alec. Or any of your friends. I’m tired of being their pet warlock.”
Alec’s hands had begun to shake, hard enough that he dropped his witchlight. The light
winked out, and he fell to his knees, scrabbling on the ground among the trash and the
dirt. At last something lit up before his eyes, and he rose to see Magnus standing before
him, the witchlight in his hand. It shone and flickered with a strangely colored light.
“It shouldn’t light up like that,” Alec said automatically. “For anyone but a
Magnus held it out. The heart of the witchlight was glowing a dark red, like the coal of
a fire.
“Is it because of your father?” Alec asked.
Magnus didn’t reply, only tipped the rune-stone into Alec’s palm. As their hands
touched, Magnus’s face changed. “You’re freezing cold.”
“I am?”
“Alexander…” Magnus pulled him close, and the witchlight flickered between them, its
color changing rapidly. Alec had never seen a witchlight rune-stone do that before. He put
his head against Magnus’s shoulder and let Magnus hold him. Magnus’s heart didn’t beat
like human hearts did. It was slower, but steady. Sometimes Alec thought it was the
steadiest thing in his life.
“Kiss me,” Alec said.
Magnus put his hand to the side of Alec’s face and gently, almost absently, ran his
thumb along Alec’s cheekbone. When he bent to kiss him, he smelled like sandalwood.
Alec clutched the sleeve of Magnus’s jacket, and the witchlight, held between their
bodies, flared up in colors of rose and blue and green.
It was a slow kiss, and a sad one. When Magnus drew away, Alec found that somehow
he was holding the witchlight alone; Magnus’s hand was gone. The light was a soft white.
Softly, Magnus said, “Aku cinta kamu.”
“What does that mean?”
Magnus disentangled himself from Alec’s grip. “It means I love you. Not that that
changes anything.”
“But if you love me—”
“Of course I do. More than I thought I would. But we’re still done,” Magnus said. “It
doesn’t change what you did.”
“But it was just a mistake,” Alec whispered. “One mistake—”
Magnus laughed sharply. “One mistake? That’s like calling the maiden voyage of the
Titanic a minor boating accident. Alec, you tried to shorten my life.”
“It was just—She offered, but I thought about it and I couldn’t go through with it—I
couldn’t do that to you.”
“But you had to think about it. And you never mentioned it to me.” Magnus shook his
head. “You didn’t trust me. You never have.”
“I do,” Alec said. “I will—I’ll try. Give me another chance—”
“No,” Magnus said. “And if I might give you a piece of advice: Avoid Camille. There is a
war coming, Alexander, and you don’t want your loyalties to be in question. Do you?”
And with that he turned and walked away, his hands in his pockets—walking slowly, as
if he were injured, and not just from the cut in his side. But he was walking away just the
same. Alec watched him until he moved beyond the glow of the witchlight and out of
The inside of the Institute had been cool in the summer, but now, with winter well and
truly here, Clary thought, it was warm. The nave was bright with rows of candelabras,
and the stained-glass windows glowed softly. She let the front door swing shut behind her
and headed for the elevator. She was halfway up the center aisle when she heard
someone laughing.
She turned. Isabelle was sitting in one of the old pews, her long legs slung over the
back of the seats in front of her. She wore boots that hit her midthigh, slim jeans, and a
red sweater that left one shoulder bare. Her skin was traced with black designs; Clary
remembered what Sebastian had said about not liking it when women disfigured their
skin with Marks, and shivered inside. “Didn’t you hear me saying your name?” Izzy
demanded. “You really can be astonishingly single-minded.”
Clary stopped and leaned against a pew. “I wasn’t ignoring you on purpose.”
Isabelle swung her legs down and stood up. The heels on her boots were high, making
her tower over Clary. “Oh, I know. That’s why I said ‘single-minded,’ not ‘rude.’”
“Are you here to tell me to go away?” Clary was pleased by the fact that her voice
didn’t shake. She wanted to see Jace. She wanted to see him more than anything else.
But after what she’d been through this past month, she knew that what mattered was
that he was alive, and that he was himself. Everything else was secondary.
“No,” Izzy said, and started moving toward the elevator. Clary fell into step beside her.
“I think the whole thing is ridiculous. You saved his life.”
Clary swallowed against the cold feeling in her throat. “You said there were things I
didn’t understand.”
“There are.” Isabelle punched the elevator button. “Jace can explain them to you. I
came down because I thought there were a few other things you should know.”
Clary listened for the familiar creak, rattle, and groan of the old cage elevator. “Like?”
“My dad’s back,” Isabelle said, not meeting Clary’s eyes.
“Back for a visit, or back for good?”
“For good.” Isabelle sounded calm, but Clary remembered how hurt she had been when
they’d found out Robert had been trying for the Inquisitor position. “Basically, Aline and
Helen saved us from getting in real trouble for what happened in Ireland. When we came
to help you, we did it without telling the Clave. My mom was sure that if we told them
they’d send fighters to kill Jace. She couldn’t do it. I mean, this is our family.”
The elevator arrived with a rattle and a crash before Clary could say anything. She
followed the other girl inside, fighting the strange urge to give Isabelle a hug. She
doubted Izzy would like it.
“So Aline told the Consul—who is, after all, her mother—that there hadn’t been any
time to notify the Clave, that she’d been left behind with strict orders to call Jia, but
there’d been some malfunction with the telephones and it hadn’t worked. Basically, she
lied her butt off. Anyway, that’s our story, and we’re sticking to it. I don’t think Jia
believed her, but it doesn’t matter; it’s not like Jia wants to punish Mom. She just had to
have some kind of story she could grab on to so she didn’t have to sanction us. After all,
it’s not like the operation was a disaster. We went in, got Jace out, killed most of the dark
Nephilim, and got Sebastian on the run.”
The elevator stopped rising and came to a crashing halt.
“Got Sebastian on the run,” Clary repeated. “So we have no idea where he is? I thought
maybe since I destroyed his apartment—the dimensional pocket—he could be tracked.”
“We’ve tried,” said Isabelle. “Wherever he is, he’s still beyond or outside tracking
capabilities. And according to the Silent Brothers, the magic that Lilith worked—Well, he’s
strong, Clary. Really strong. We have to assume he’s out there, with the Infernal Cup,
planning his next move.” She pulled the cage door of the elevator open and stepped out.
“Do you think he’ll come back for you—or Jace?”
Clary hesitated. “Not right away,” she said finally. “For him we’re the last parts of the
puzzle. He’ll want everything set up first. He’ll want an army. He’ll want to be ready.
We’re like… the prizes he gets for winning. And so he doesn’t have to be alone.”
“He must be really lonely,” Isabelle said. There was no sympathy in her voice; it was
only an observation.
Clary thought of him, of the face that she’d been trying to forget, that haunted her
nightmares and waking dreams. You asked me who I belonged to. “You have no idea.”
They reached the stairs that led to the infirmary. Isabelle paused, her hand at her
throat. Clary could see the square outline of her ruby necklace beneath the material of
her sweater. “Clary…”
Clary suddenly felt awkward. She straightened the hem of her sweater, not wanting to
look at Isabelle.
“What’s it like?” Isabelle said abruptly.
“What’s what like?”
“Being in love,” Isabelle said. “How do you know you are? And how do you know
someone else is in love with you?”
“Like Simon,” Isabelle said. “How could you tell he was in love with you?”
“Well,” said Clary. “He said so.”
“He said so.”
Clary shrugged.
“And before that, you had no idea?”
“No, I really didn’t,” said Clary, recalling the moment. “Izzy… if you have feelings for
Simon, or if you want to know if he has feelings for you… maybe you should just tell him.”
Isabelle fiddled with some nonexistent lint on her cuff. “Tell him what?”
“How you feel about him.”
Isabelle looked mutinous. “I shouldn’t have to.”
Clary shook her head. “God. You and Alec, you’re so alike—”
Isabelle’s eyes widened. “We are not! We are totally not alike. I date around; he’s
never dated before Magnus. He gets jealous; I don’t—”
“Everyone gets jealous.” Clary spoke with finality. “And you’re both so stoic. It’s love,
not the Battle of Thermopylae. You don’t have to treat everything like it’s a last stand.
You don’t have to keep everything inside.”
Isabelle threw her hands up. “Suddenly you’re an expert?”
“I’m not an expert,” Clary said. “But I do know Simon. If you don’t say something to
him, he’s going to assume it’s because you’re not interested, and he’ll give up. He needs
you, Iz, and you need him. He just also needs you to be the one to say it.”
Isabelle sighed and whirled to begin mounting the steps. Clary could hear her
muttering as she went. “This is your fault, you know. If you hadn’t broken his heart—”
“Well, you did.”
“Yeah, and I seem to remember that when he got turned into a rat, you were the one
who suggested we leave him in rat form. Permanently.”
“I did not.”
“You did—” Clary broke off. They had reached the next floor, where a long corridor
stretched in both directions. Before the double doors of the infirmary stood the
parchment-robed figure of a Silent Brother, hands folded, face cast down in a meditative
Isabelle indicated him with an exaggerated wave. “There you go,” she said. “Good luck
getting past him to see Jace.” And she walked off down the corridor, her boots clicking on
the wooden floor.
Clary sighed inwardly and reached for the stele in her belt. She doubted there was a
glamour rune that could fool a Silent Brother, but perhaps, if she could get close enough
to use a sleep rune on his skin…
Clary Fray. The voice in her head was amused, and also familiar. It had no sound, but
she recognized the shape of the thoughts, the way you might recognize the way someone
laughed or breathed.
“Brother Zachariah.” Resignedly she slid the stele back in place and moved closer to
him, wishing Isabelle had stayed with her.
I presume you are here to see Jonathan, he said, lifting his head from the meditative
stance. His face was still in shadow beneath the hood, though she could see the shape of
an angular cheekbone. Despite the orders of the Brotherhood.
“Please call him Jace. It’s too confusing otherwise.”
‘Jonathan’ is a fine old Shadowhunter name, the first of names. The Herondales have
always kept names in the family—
“He wasn’t named by a Herondale,” Clary pointed out. “Though he has a dagger of his
father’s. It says S.W.H. on the blade.”
Stephen William Herondale.
Clary took another step toward the doors, and toward Zachariah. “You know a lot about
the Herondales,” she said. “And of all the Silent Brothers, you seem the most human.
Most of them never show any emotion. They’re like statues. But you seem to feel things.
You remember your life.”
Being a Silent Brother is life, Clary Fray. But if you mean I remember my life before the
Brotherhood, I do.
Clary took a deep breath. “Were you ever in love? Before the Brotherhood? Was there
ever anyone you would have died for?”
There was a long silence. Then:
Two people, said Brother Zachariah. There are memories that time does not erase,
Clarissa. Ask your friend Magnus Bane, if you do not believe me. Forever does not make
loss forgettable, only bearable.
“Well, I don’t have forever,” said Clary in a small voice. “Please let me in to see Jace.”
Brother Zachariah did not move. She still could not see his face, only a suggestion of
shadows and planes beneath the hood of his robe. Only his hands, clasped in front of him.
“Please,” Clary said.
Alec swung himself up onto the platform at the City Hall subway station and stalked
toward the stairs. He had blocked out the image of Magnus walking away from him with
one thought, and one only:
He was going to kill Camille Belcourt.
He strode up the stairs, drawing a seraph blade from his belt as he went. The light here
was wavering and dim—he emerged onto the mezzanine below City Hall Park, where
tinted glass skylights let in the wintery light. He tucked the witchlight into his pocket and
raised the seraph blade.
“Amriel,” he whispered, and the sword blazed up, a bolt of lightning from his hand. He
lifted his chin, his gaze sweeping the lobby. The high-backed sofa was there, but Camille
was not on it. He’d sent her a message saying he was coming, but after the way she’d
betrayed him, he supposed he shouldn’t be surprised that she hadn’t remained to see
him. In a fury he stalked across the room and kicked the sofa, hard; it went over with a
crash of wood and a puff of dust, one of the legs snapped off.
From the corner of the room came a tinkling silver laugh.
Alec whirled, the seraph blade blazing in his hand. The shadows in the corners were
thick and deep; even Amriel’s light could not penetrate them. “Camille?” he said, his voice
dangerously calm. “Camille Belcourt. Come out here now.”
There was another giggle, and a figure stepped forth from the darkness. But it was not
It was a girl—probably no older than twelve or thirteen—very thin, wearing a pair of
ragged jeans and a pink, short-sleeved T-shirt with a glittery unicorn on it. She wore a
long pink scarf as well, its ends dabbled in blood. Blood masked the lower half of her
face, and stained the hem of her shirt. She looked at Alec with wide, happy eyes.
“I know you,” she breathed, and as she spoke, he saw her needle incisors flash.
Vampire. “Alec Lightwood. You’re a friend of Simon’s. I’ve seen you at the concerts.”
He stared at her. Had he seen her before? Perhaps—the flicker of a face among the
shadows at a bar, one of those performances Isabelle had dragged him to. He couldn’t be
sure. But that didn’t mean he didn’t know who she was.
“Maureen,” he said. “You’re Simon’s Maureen.”
She looked pleased. “I am,” she said. “I’m Simon’s Maureen.” She looked down at her
hands, which were gloved in blood, as if she’d plunged them into a pool of the stuff. And
not human blood, either, Alec thought. The dark, ruby-red blood of vampires. “You’re
looking for Camille,” she said in a singsong voice. “But she isn’t here anymore. Oh, no.
She’s gone.”
“She’s gone?” Alec demanded. “What do you mean she’s gone?”
Maureen giggled. “You know how vampire law works, don’t you? Whoever kills the head
of a vampire clan becomes its leader. And Camille was the head of the New York clan.
Oh, yes, she was.”
“So—someone killed her?”
Maureen burst into a happy peal of laughter. “Not just someone, silly,” she said. “It was
The arched ceiling of the infirmary was blue, painted with a rococo pattern of cherubs
trailing gold ribbons, and white drifting clouds. Rows of metal beds lined the walls to the
left and right, leaving a wide aisle down the middle. Two high skylights let in the clear
wintery sunlight, though it did little to warm the chilly room.
Jace was seated on one of the beds, leaning back against a pile of pillows he had
swiped from the other beds. He wore jeans, frayed at the hems, and a gray T-shirt. He
had a book balanced on his knees. He looked up as Clary came into the room, but said
nothing as she approached his bed.
Clary’s heart had begun to pound. The silence felt still, almost oppressive; Jace’s eyes
followed her as she reached the foot of his bed and stopped there, her hands on the
metal footboard. She studied his face. So many times she’d tried to draw him, she
thought, tried to capture that ineffable quality that made Jace himself, but her fingers had
never been able to get what she saw down on paper. It was there now, where it had not
been when he was controlled by Sebastian—whatever you wanted to call it, soul or spirit,
looking out of his eyes.
She tightened her hands on the footboard. “Jace…”
He tucked a lock of pale gold hair behind his ear. “It’s—did the Silent Brothers tell you
it was okay to be in here?”
“Not exactly.”
The corner of his mouth twitched. “So did you knock them out with a two-by-four and
break in? The Clave looks darkly on that sort of thing, you know.”
“Wow. You really don’t put anything past me, do you?” She moved to sit down on the
bed next to him, partly so that they would be on the same level and partly to disguise the
fact that her knees were shaking.
“I’ve learned not to,” he said, and set his book aside.
She felt the words like a slap. “I didn’t want to hurt you,” she said, and her voice came
out as almost a whisper. “I’m sorry.”
He sat up straight, swinging his legs over the edge of the bed. They were not far from
each other, sharing the same bed, but he was holding himself back; she could tell. She
could tell that there were secrets at the back of his light eyes, could feel his hesitation.
She wanted to reach her hand out, but she kept herself still, kept her voice steady. “I
never meant to hurt you. And I don’t just mean at the Burren. I mean from the moment
you—the real you—told me what you wanted. I should have listened, but all I thought
about was saving you, getting you away. I didn’t listen to you when you said you wanted
to turn yourself over to the Clave, and because of it, we both almost wound up like
Sebastian. And when I did what I did with Glorious—Alec and Isabelle, they must have
told you the blade was meant for Sebastian. But I couldn’t get to him through the crowd.
I just couldn’t. And I thought of what you told me, that you’d rather die than live under
Sebastian’s influence.” Her voice caught. “The real you, I mean. I couldn’t ask you. I had
to guess. You have to know it was awful to hurt you like that. To know that you could
have died and it would have been my hand that held the sword that killed you. I would
have wanted to die, but I risked your life because I thought it was what you would have
asked for, and after I’d betrayed you once, I thought I owed it to you. But if I was
wrong…” She paused, but he was silent. Her stomach turned over, a sick, wrenching flip.
“Then, I’m sorry. There’s nothing I can do to make it up to you. But I wanted you to
know. That I’m sorry.”
She halted again, and this time the silence stretched out between them, longer and
longer, a thread pulled impossibly tight.
“You can talk now,” she blurted finally. “In fact, it would be really great if you did.”
Jace was looking at her incredulously. “Let me get this straight,” he said. “You came
here to apologize to me?”
She was taken aback. “Of course I did.”
“Clary,” he said. “You saved my life.”
“I stabbed you. With a massive sword. You caught on fire.”
His lips twitched, almost imperceptibly. “Okay,” he said. “So maybe our problems aren’t
like other couples’.” He lifted a hand as if he meant to touch her face, then put it down
hastily. “I heard you, you know,” he said more softly. “Telling me I wasn’t dead. Asking
me to open my eyes.”
They looked at each other in silence for what was probably moments but felt like hours
to Clary. It was so good to see him like this, completely himself, that it almost erased the
fear that this was all going to go horribly wrong in the next few minutes. Finally Jace
“Why do you think I fell in love with you?”
It was the last thing she would have expected him to say. “I don’t—That’s not a fair
thing to ask.”
“Seems fair to me,” he said. “Do you think I don’t know you, Clary? The girl who walked
into a hotel full of vampires because her best friend was there and needed saving? Who
made a Portal and transported herself to Idris because she hated the idea of being left
out of the action?”
“You yelled at me for that—”
“I was yelling at myself,” he said. “There are ways in which we’re so alike. We’re
reckless. We don’t think before we act. We’ll do anything for the people we love. And I
never thought how scary that was for the people who loved me until I saw it in you and it
terrified me. How could I protect you if you wouldn’t let me?” He leaned forward. “That,
by the way, is a rhetorical question.”
“Good. Because I don’t need protecting.”
“I knew you’d say that. But the thing is, sometimes you do. And sometimes I do. We’re
meant to protect each other, but not from everything. Not from the truth. That’s what it
means to love someone but let them be themselves.”
Clary looked down at her hands. She wanted to reach out and touch him so badly. It
was like visiting someone in jail, where you could see them so clearly and so close, but
there was unbreakable glass separating you.
“I fell in love with you,” he said, “because you were one of the bravest people I’d ever
known. So how could I ask you to stop being brave just because I loved you?” He ran his
hands through his hair, making it stick up in loops and curls that Clary ached to smooth
down. “You came for me,” he said. “You saved me when almost everyone else had given
up, and even the people who hadn’t given up didn’t know what to do. You think I don’t
know what you went through?” His eyes darkened. “How do you imagine I could possibly
be angry with you?”
“Then, why haven’t you wanted to see me?”
“Because…” Jace exhaled. “Okay, fair point, but there’s something you don’t know. The
sword you used, the one Raziel gave to Simon…”
“Glorious,” said Clary. “The Archangel Michael’s sword. It was destroyed.”
“Not destroyed. It went back where it came from once the heavenly fire consumed it.”
Jace smiled faintly. “Otherwise our Angel would have had some serious explaining to do
once Michael found out his buddy Raziel had lent out his favorite sword to a bunch of
careless humans. But I digress. The sword… the way it burned… that was no ordinary
“I guessed that.” Clary wished Jace would hold out his arm and draw her against him.
But he seemed to want to keep space between them, so she stayed where she was. It
felt like an ache in her body, to be this close to him and not be able to touch him.
“I wish you hadn’t worn that sweater,” Jace muttered.
“What?” She glanced down. “I thought you liked this sweater.”
“I do,” he said, and shook his head. “Never mind. That fire—it was Heaven’s fire. The
burning bush, the fire and brimstone, the pillar of fire that went before the children of
Israel—that’s the fire we’re talking about. ‘For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall
burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire
the foundations of the mountains.’ That’s the fire that burned away what Lilith had done
to me.” He reached for the hem of his shirt and drew it up. Clary sucked in her breath, for
above his heart, on the smooth skin of his chest, there was no more Mark—and only a
healed white scar where the sword had gone in.
She reached her hand out, wanting to touch him, but he drew back, shaking his head.
She felt the hurt expression flash across her face before she could hide it as he rolled his
shirt back down. “Clary,” he said. “That fire—it’s still inside me.”
She stared at him. “What do you mean?”
He took a deep breath and held his hands out, palms down. She looked at them, slim
and familiar, the Voyance rune on his right hand faded with white scars layered over it. As
they both watched, his hands began to shake slightly—and then, under Clary’s
incredulous eyes, to turn transparent. Like the blade of Glorious when it had begun to
burn, his skin seemed to turn to glass, glass that trapped within it a gold that moved and
darkened and burned. She could see the outline of his skeleton through the transparency
of his skin, golden bones connected by tendons of fire.
She heard him inhale sharply. He looked up then, and met her eyes with his. His eyes
were gold. They had always been gold, but she could swear that now that gold lived and
burned as well. He was breathing hard, and there was sweat shining on his cheeks and
“You’re right,” Clary said. “Our problems really aren’t like other people’s problems.”
Jace stared at her incredulously. Slowly he closed his hands into fists, and the fire
vanished, leaving only his ordinary, familiar, unharmed hands behind. Half-choking on a
laugh, he said, “That’s what you have to say?”
“No. I have a lot more to say. What’s going on? Are your hands weapons now? Are you
the Human Torch? What on earth—”
“I don’t know what the human torch is, but—All right, look, the Silent Brothers have
told me that I carry the heavenly fire inside me now. Inside my veins. In my soul. When I
first woke up, I felt like I was breathing in fire. Alec and Isabelle thought it was just a
temporary effect of the sword, but when it didn’t go away and the Silent Brothers were
called in, Brother Zachariah said he didn’t know how temporary it would be. And I burned
him—he was touching my hand when he said it, and I felt a jolt of energy go through
“A bad burn?”
“No. Minor. But still—”
“That’s why you won’t touch me,” Clary realized aloud. “You’re afraid you’ll burn me.”
He nodded. “No one’s ever seen anything like this, Clary. Not before. Not ever. The
sword didn’t kill me. But it left this—this piece of something deadly inside me. Something
so powerful it would probably kill an ordinary human, maybe even an ordinary
Shadowhunter.” He took a deep breath. “The Silent Brothers are working on how I might
control it, or get rid of it. But as you might imagine, I’m not their first priority.”
“Because Sebastian is. You heard I destroyed that apartment. I know he has other
ways of getting around, but…”
“That’s my girl. But he has backups. Other hiding places. I don’t know what they are.
He never told me.” He leaned forward, close enough that she could see the changing
colors in his eyes. “Since I woke up, the Silent Brothers have been with me practically
every minute. They had to perform the ceremony on me again, the one that gets
performed on Shadowhunters when they’re born to keep them safe. And then they went
into my mind. Searching, trying to pull out any snippet of information about Sebastian,
anything I might know and not remember I knew. But—” Jace shook his head in
frustration. “There just isn’t anything. I knew his plans through the ceremony at the
Burren. Beyond that, I have no idea what he’s going to do next. Where he might strike.
They do know he’s been working with demons, so they’re shoring up the wards, especially
around Idris. But I feel like there’s one useful thing we might have gotten out of all this—
some secret knowledge on my part—and we don’t even have that.”
“But if you did know anything, Jace, he would just change his plans,” Clary objected.
“He knows he lost you. You two were tied together. I heard him scream when I stabbed
you.” She shivered. “It was this horrible lost sound. He really did care about you in some
strange way, I think. And even though the whole thing was awful, both of us got
something out of it that might turn out to be useful.”
“Which is… ?”
“We understand him. I mean, as much as anyone can ever understand him. And that’s
not something he can erase with a change of plans.”
Jace nodded slowly. “You know who else I feel like I understand now? My father.”
“Valen—no,” Clary said, watching his expression. “You mean Stephen.”
“I’ve been looking at his letters. The things in the box Amatis gave me. He wrote a
letter to me, you know, that he meant me to read after he died. He told me to be a
better man than he was.”
“You are,” Clary said. “In those moments in the apartment when you were you, you
cared about doing the right thing more than you cared about your own life.”
“I know,” Jace said, glancing down at his scarred knuckles. “That’s the strange thing. I
know. I had so much doubt about myself, always, but now I know the difference.
Between myself and Sebastian. Between myself and Valentine. Even the difference
between the two of them. Valentine honestly believed he was doing the right thing. He
hated demons. But to Sebastian, the creature he thinks of as his mother is one. He would
happily rule a race of dark Shadowhunters who did the bidding of demons, while the
ordinary humans of this world were slaughtered for the demons’ pleasure. Valentine still
believed it was the mandate of Shadowhunters to protect human beings; Sebastian thinks
they’re cockroaches. And he doesn’t want to protect anyone. He only wants what he
wants at the moment he wants it. And the only real thing he ever feels is annoyance
when he’s thwarted.”
Clary wondered. She had seen Sebastian looking at Jace, even at herself, and knew
there was some part of him as echoingly lonely as the blackest void of space. Loneliness
drove him as much as a desire for power—loneliness and a need to be loved without any
corresponding understanding that love was something you earned. But all she said was,
“Well, let’s get with the thwarting, then.”
A smile ghosted across his face. “You know I want to beg you to stay out of this, right?
It’s going to be a vicious battle. More vicious than I think the Clave even begins to
“But you’re not going to do that,” Clary said. “Because that would make you an idiot.”
“You mean because we need your rune powers?”
“Well, that, and—Did you not listen to anything you just said? That whole business
about protecting each other?”
“I will have you know I practiced that speech. In front of a mirror before you got here.”
“So what do you think it meant?”
“I’m not sure,” Jace admitted, “but I know I look damn good delivering it.”
“God, I forgot how annoying the un-possessed you is,” Clary muttered. “Need I remind
you that you said that you have to accept you can’t protect me from everything? The only
way that we can protect each other is if we are together. If we face things together. If we
trust each other.” She looked him directly in the eye. “I shouldn’t have stopped you from
going to the Clave by calling for Sebastian. I should respect the decisions you make. And
you should respect mine. Because we’re going to be together a long time, and that’s the
only way it’s going to work.”
His hand inched toward her on the blanket. “Being under Sebastian’s influence,” he
said, hoarsely. “It seems like a bad dream to me, now. That insane place—those closets
of clothes for your mother—”
“So you remember.” She almost whispered it.
His fingertips touched hers, and she almost jumped. Both of them held their breath
while he touched her; she didn’t move, watching as his shoulders slowly relaxed and the
anxious look left his face. “I remember everything,” he said. “I remember the boat in
Venice. The club in Prague. That night in Paris, when I was myself.”
She felt the blood rush up under her skin, making her face burn.
“In some ways, we’ve been through something no one else can ever understand but
the two of us,” he said. “And it made me realize. We are always and absolutely better
together.” He raised his face to hers. He was pale, and fire flickered in his eyes. “I am
going to kill Sebastian,” he said. “I am going to kill him for what he did to me, and what
he did to you, and what he did to Max. I am going to kill him because of what he has
done, and what he will do. The Clave wants him dead, and they will hunt him. But I want
my hand to be the one that cuts him down.”
She reached out then, and put her hand on his cheek. He shuddered, and half-closed
his eyes. She had expected his skin to be warm, but it was cool to the touch. “And what if
I’m the one who kills him?”
“My heart is your heart,” he said. “My hands are your hands.”
His eyes were the color of honey and slid as slowly as honey over her body as he
looked her up and down as if for the first time since she’d come into the room, from her
windblown hair to her booted feet, and back again. When their gaze met again, Clary’s
mouth was dry.
“Do you remember,” he said, “when we first met and I told you I was ninety percent
sure putting a rune on you wouldn’t kill you—and you slapped me in the face and told me
it was for the other ten percent?”
Clary nodded.
“I always figured a demon would kill me,” he said. “A rogue Downworlder. A battle. But
I realized then that I just might die if I didn’t get to kiss you, and soon.”
Clary licked her dry lips. “Well, you did,” she said. “Kiss me, I mean.”
He reached up and took a curl of her hair between his fingers. He was close enough
that she could feel the warmth of his body, smell his soap and skin and hair. “Not
enough,” he said, letting her hair slip through his fingers. “If I kiss you all day every day
for the rest of my life, it won’t be enough.”
He bent his head. She couldn’t help tilting her own face up. Her mind was full of the
memory of Paris, holding on to him as if it would be the last time she ever held him, and
it almost had been. The way he had tasted, felt, breathed. She could hear him breathing
now. His eyelashes tickled her cheek. Their lips were millimeters apart and then not apart
at all, they brushed lightly and then with firmer pressure; they leaned in to each other—
And Clary felt a spark—not painful, more like a fillip of mild static electricity—pass
between them. Jace drew quickly away. He was flushed. “We may need to work on that.”
Clary’s mind was still whirling. “Okay.”
He was staring straight ahead, still breathing hard. “I have something I want to give
“I gathered that.”
At that he jerked his gaze back to hers and—almost reluctantly—grinned. “Not that.”
He reached down into the collar of his shirt and drew out the Morgenstern ring on its
chain. He pulled it over his head and, leaning forward, dropped it lightly into her hand. It
was warm from his skin. “Alec got it back from Magnus for me. Will you wear it again?”
Her hand closed around it. “Always.”
His grin softened to a smile, and, daring, she put her head on his shoulder. She felt his
breath catch, but he didn’t move. At first he sat still, but slowly the tension drained from
his body and they leaned together. It wasn’t hot and heavy, but it was companionable
and sweet.
He cleared his throat. “You know this means that what we did—what we almost did in
“Going to the Eiffel Tower?”
He tucked a lock of hair behind her ear. “You never let me off the hook for a single
minute, do you? Never mind. It’s one of the things I love about you. Anyway, that other
thing we almost did in Paris—that’s probably off the table for a while. Unless you want
that whole baby-I’m-on-fire-when-we kiss thing to become freakishly literal.”
“No kissing?”
“Well, kissing, probably. But as for the rest of it…”
She brushed her cheek lightly against his. “It’s okay with me if it’s okay with you.”
“Of course it’s not okay with me. I’m a teenage boy. As far as I’m concerned, this is the
worst thing that’s happened since I found out why Magnus was banned from Peru.” His
eyes softened. “But it doesn’t change what we are to each other. It’s like there’s always
been a piece of my soul missing, and it’s inside you, Clary. I know I told you once that
whether God exists or not, we’re on our own. But when I’m with you, I’m not.”
She closed her eyes so he wouldn’t see her tears—happy tears, for the first time in a
long time now. Despite everything, despite the fact that Jace’s hands remained carefully
together in his lap, Clary felt a sense of relief so overwhelming that it drowned out
everything else—the worry about where Sebastian was, the fear of an unknown future—
everything receded into the background. None of it mattered. They were together, and
Jace was himself again. She felt him turn his head and lightly kiss her hair.
“I really wish you hadn’t worn that sweater,” he muttered into her ear.
“It’s good practice for you,” she replied, her lips moving against his skin. “Tomorrow,
Against her side, warm and familiar, she felt him laugh.
“Brother Enoch,” said Maryse, rising from behind her desk. “Thank you for joining me and
Brother Zachariah here on such short notice.”
Is this in regards to Jace? Zachariah inquired, and if Maryse had not known better, she
would have imagined a tinge of anxiety in his mental voice. I have checked in on him
several times today. His condition has not changed.
Enoch shifted within his robes. And I have been looking through the archives and the
ancient documentation on the topic of Heaven’s fire. There is some information about the
manner in which it may be released, but you must be patient. There is no need to call on
us. Should we have news, we will call on you.
“This is not about Jace,” said Maryse, and she moved around the desk, her heels
clicking on the stone floor of the library. “This is about something else entirely.” She
glanced down. A rug had been carelessly tossed across the floor, where no rug usually
rested. It did not lie flat but was draped over an irregular humped shape. It obscured the
delicate pattern of tiles that outlined the shape of the Cup, the Sword, and the Angel. She
reached down, took hold of a corner of the rug, and yanked it aside.
The Silent Brothers did not gasp, of course; they could make no sound. But a
cacophony filled Maryse’s mind, the psychic echo of their shock and horror. Brother Enoch
took a step back, while Brother Zachariah raised one long-fingered hand to cover his face,
as if he could block his ruined eyes from the sight before him.
“It was not here this morning,” said Maryse. “But when I returned this afternoon, it
awaited me.”
At the very first glimpse she had thought that some kind of large bird had found its way
into the library and died, perhaps breaking its neck against one of the tall windows. But
as she had moved closer, the truth of what she was looking at had dawned on her. She
said nothing of the visceral shock of despair that had gone through her like an arrow, or
the way she had staggered to the window and been sick out of it the moment she’d
realized what she was looking at.
A pair of white wings—not quite white, really, but an amalgamation of colors that
shifted and flickered as she looked at it: pale silver, streaks of violet, dark blue, each
feather outlined in gold. And then, there at the root, an ugly gash of sheared-off bone and
sinew. Angel’s wings—angel’s wings that had been sliced from the body of a living angel.
Angelic ichor, the color of liquid gold, smeared the floor.
Atop the wings was a folded piece of paper, addressed to the New York Institute. After
splashing water on her face, Maryse had taken the letter and read it. It was short—one
sentence—and was signed with a name in a handwriting oddly familiar to her, for in it
there was the echo of Valentine’s cursive, the flourishes of his letters, the strong, steady
hand. But it was not Valentine’s name. It was his son’s.
Jonathan Christopher Morgenstern.
She held it out now to Brother Zachariah. He took it from her fingers and opened it,
reading, as she had, the single word of Ancient Greek scrawled in elaborate script across
the top of the page.
Erchomai, it said.
I am coming.


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