Chapter 17: THE SHADOWHUNTER’S TALE
CLARY SAT ON THE TOP STEP OF THE ACCORDS HALL, LOOKING out over Angel Square. The moon had come up earlier and was just visible over the roofs of the houses. The demon towers reflected back its light, silver-white. The darkness hid the scars and bruises of the city well; it looked peaceful under the night sky—if one didn’t look up at Gard Hill and the ruined outline of the citadel. Guards patrolled the square below, appearing and disappearing as they moved in and out of the illumination of the witchlight lamps. They studiously ignored Clary’s presence.
A few steps below her Simon was pacing back and forth, his footsteps utterly soundless. He had his hands in his pockets, and when he turned at the end of the stairs to walk back toward her, the moonlight glossed off his pale skin as if it were a reflective surface.
“Quit pacing,” she told him. “You’re just making me more nervous. ”
“I feel like we’ve been out here forever. ” Clary strained her ears, but she couldn’t hear more than the dull murmur of many voices coming through the closed double doors of the Hall. “Can you hear what they’re saying inside?”
Simon half-closed his eyes; he appeared to be concentrating hard. “A little,” he said after a pause.
“I wish I were in there,” Clary said, kicking her heels irritably against the steps. Luke had asked her to wait outside the doors while the Clave deliberated; he’d wanted to send Amatis out with her, but Simon had insisted on coming instead, saying it would be better to have Amatis inside, supporting Clary. “I wish I were part of the meeting. ”
“No,” Simon said. “You don’t. ”
She knew why Luke had asked her to wait outside. She could imagine what they were saying about her in there. Liar. Freak. Fool. Crazy. Stupid. Monster. Valentine’s daughter. Perhaps she was better off outside the Hall, but the tension of anticipating the Clave’s decision was almost painful.
“Maybe I can climb one of those,” Simon said, eyeing the fat white pillars that held up the slanted roof of the Hall. Runes were carved on them in overlapping patterns, but otherwise there were no visible handholds. “Work off steam that way. ”
“Oh, come on,” Clary said. “You’re a vampire, not Spider-Man. ”
Simon’s only response was to jog lightly up the steps to the base of a pillar. He eyed it thoughtfully for a moment before putting his hands to it and starting to climb. Clary watched him, openmouthed, as his fingertips and feet found impossible holds on the ridged stone. “You are Spider-Man!” she exclaimed.
Simon glanced down from his perch halfway up the pillar. “That makes you Mary Jane. She has red hair,” he said. He glanced out across the city, frowning. “I was hoping I could see the North Gate from here, but I’m not high enough. ”
Clary knew why he wanted to see the gate. Messengers had been dispatched there to ask the Downworlders to wait while the Clave deliberated, and Clary could only hope they were willing to do it. And if they were, what was it like out there? Clary pictured the crowd waiting, milling, wondering….
The double doors of the Hall cracked open. A slim figure slipped through the gap, closed the door, and turned to face Clary. She was in shadow, and it was only when she moved forward, closer to the witchlight that illuminated the steps, that Clary saw the bright blaze of her red hair and recognized her mother.
Jocelyn looked up, her expression bemused. “Well, hello, Simon. Glad to see you’re … adjusting. ”
Simon let go of the pillar and dropped, landing lightly at its base. He looked mildly abashed. “Hey, Mrs. Fray. ”
“I don’t know if there’s any point in calling me that now,” said Clary’s mother. “Maybe you should just call me Jocelyn. ” She hesitated. “You know, strange as this … situation … is, it’s good to see you here with Clary. I can’t remember the last time you two were apart. ”
Simon looked acutely embarrassed. “It’s good to see you, too. ”
“Thank you, Simon. ” Jocelyn glanced at her daughter. “Now, Clary, would it be all right for us to talk for a moment? Alone?”
Clary sat motionless for a long moment, staring at her mother. It was hard not to feel like she was staring at a stranger. Her throat felt tight, almost too tight to speak. She glanced toward Simon, who was clearly waiting for a signal from her to tell him whether to stay or go. She sighed. “Okay. ”
Simon gave Clary an encouraging thumbs-up before vanishing back into the Hall. Clary turned away and stared fixedly down into the square, watching the guards do their rounds, as Jocelyn came and sat down next to her. Part of Clary wanted to lean sideways and put her head on her mother’s shoulder. She could even close her eyes, pretend everything was all right. The other part of her knew that it wouldn’t make a difference; she couldn’t keep her eyes closed forever.
“Clary,” Jocelyn said at last, very softly. “I am so sorry. ”
Clary stared down at her hands. She was, she realized, still holding Patrick Penhallow’s stele. She hoped he didn’t think she’d meant to steal it.
“I never thought I’d see this place again,” Jocelyn went on. Clary stole a sideways glance at her mother and saw that she was looking out over the city, at the demon towers casting their pale whitish light over the skyline. “I dreamed about it sometimes. I even wanted to paint it, to paint my memories of it, but I couldn’t do that. I thought if you ever saw the paintings, you might ask questions, might wonder how those images had ever come into my head. I was so frightened you’d find out where I was really from. Who I really was. ”
“And now I have. ”
“And now you have. ” Jocelyn sounded wistful. “And you have every reason to hate me. ”
“I don’t hate you, Mom,” Clary said. “I just …”
“Don’t trust me,” said Jocelyn. “I can’t blame you. I should have told you the truth. ” She touched Clary’s shoulder lightly and seemed encouraged when Clary didn’t move away. “I can tell you I did it to protect you, but I know how that must sound. I was there, just now, in the Hall, watching you—”
“You were there?” Clary was startled. “I didn’t see you. ”
“I was in the very back of the Hall. Luke had told me not to come to the meeting, that my presence would just upset everyone and throw everything off, and he was probably right, but I so badly wanted to be there. I slipped in after the meeting started and hid in the shadows. But I was there. And I just wanted to tell you—”
“That I made a fool out of myself?” Clary said bitterly. “I already know that. ”
“No. I wanted to tell you that I was proud of you. ”
Clary slewed around to look at her mother. “You were?”
Jocelyn nodded. “Of course I was. The way you stood up in front of the Clave like that. The way you showed them what you could do. You made them look at you and see the person they loved most in the world, didn’t you?”
“Yeah,” Clary said. “How did you know?”
“Because I heard them all calling out different names,” Jocelyn said softly. “But I still saw you. ”
“Oh. ” Clary looked down at her feet. “Well, I’m still not sure they believe me about the runes. I mean, I hope so, but—”
“Can I see it?” Jocelyn asked.
“The rune. The one that you created to bind Shadowhunters and Downworlders. ” She hesitated. “If you can’t show me …”
“No, it’s all right. ” With the stele Clary traced the lines of the rune the angel had showed her across the marble of the Accords Hall step, and they blazed up in hot gold lines as she drew. It was a strong rune, a map of curving lines overlapping a matrix of straight ones. Simple and complex at the same time. Clary knew now why it had seemed somehow unfinished to her when she had visualized it before: It needed a matching rune to make it work. A twin. A partner. “Alliance,” she said, drawing the stele back. “That’s what I’m calling it. ”
Jocelyn watched silently as the rune flared and faded, leaving faint black lines on the stone. “When I was a young woman,” she said finally, “I fought so hard to bind Downworlders and Shadowhunters together, to protect the Accords. I thought I was chasing a sort of dream—something most Shadowhunters could hardly imagine. And now you’ve made it concrete and literal and real. ” She blinked hard. “I realized something, watching you there in the Hall. You know, all these years I’ve tried to protect you by hiding you away. It’s why I hated you going to Pandemonium. I knew it was a place where Downworlders and mundanes mingled—and that that meant there would be Shadowhunters there. I imagined it was something in your blood that drew you to the place, something that recognized the Shadow World even without your Sight. I thought you would be safe if only I could keep that world hidden from you. I never thought about trying to protect you by helping you to be strong and to fight. ” She sounded sad. “But somehow you got to be strong anyway. Strong enough for me to tell you the truth, if you still want to hear it. ”
“I don’t know. ” Clary thought of the images the angel had showed her, how terrible they had been. “I know I was angry with you for lying. But I’m not sure I want to find out any more horrible things. ”
“I talked to Luke. He thought you should know what I have to tell you. The whole story. All of it. Things I’ve never told anyone, never told him, even. I can’t promise you that the whole truth is pleasant. But it is the truth. ”
The Law is hard, but it is the Law. She owed it to Jace to find out the truth as much as she owed it to herself. Clary tightened her grip on the stele in her hand, her knuckles whitening. “I want to know everything. ”
“Everything …” Jocelyn took a deep breath. “I don’t even know where to start. ”
“How about starting with how you could marry Valentine? How you could have married a man like that, made him my father—he’s a monster. ”
“No. He’s a man. He’s not a good man. But if you want to know why I married him, it was because I loved him. ”
“You can’t have,” Clary said. “Nobody could. ”
“I was your age when I fell in love with him,” Jocelyn said. “I thought he was perfect—brilliant, clever, wonderful, funny, charming. I know, you’re looking at me as if I’ve lost my mind. You only know Valentine the way he is now. You can’t imagine what he was like then. When we were at school together, everyone loved him. He seemed to give off light, in a way, like there was some special and brilliantly illuminated part of the universe that only he had access to, and if we were lucky, he might share it with us, even just a little. Every girl loved him, and I thought I didn’t have a chance. There was nothing special about me. I wasn’t even that popular; Luke was one of my closest friends, and I spent most of my time with him. But still, somehow, Valentine chose me. ”
Gross, Clary wanted to say. But she held back. Maybe it was the wistfulness in her mother’s voice, mixed with regret. Maybe it was what she had said about Valentine giving off light. Clary had thought the same thing about Jace before, and then felt stupid for thinking it. But maybe everyone in love felt that way.
“Okay,” she said, “I get it. But you were sixteen then. That doesn’t mean you had to marry him later. ”
“I was eighteen when we got married. He was nineteen,” Jocelyn said in a matter-of-fact tone.
“Oh my God,” Clary said in horror. “You’d kill me if I wanted to get married when I was eighteen. ”
“I would,” Jocelyn agreed. “But Shadowhunters tend to get married earlier than mundanes. Their—our—life spans are shorter; a lot of us die violent deaths. We tend to do everything earlier because of it. Even so, I was young to get married. Still, my family was happy for me—even Luke was happy for me. Everyone thought Valentine was a wonderful boy. And he was, you know, just a boy then. The only person who ever told me I shouldn’t marry him was Madeleine. We’d been friends in school, but when I told her I was engaged, she said that Valentine was selfish and hateful, that his charm masked a terrible amorality. I told myself she was jealous. ”
“No,” said Jocelyn, “she was telling the truth. I just didn’t want to hear it. ” She glanced down at her hands.
“But you were sorry,” Clary said. “After you married him, you were sorry you did it, right?”
“Clary,” Jocelyn said. She sounded tired. “We were happy. At least for the first few years. We went to live in my parents’ manor house, where I grew up; Valentine didn’t want to be in the city, and he wanted the rest of the Circle to avoid Alicante and the prying eyes of the Clave as well. The Waylands lived in the manor just a mile or two from ours, and there were others close by—the Lightwoods, the Penhallows. It was like being at the center of the world, with all this activity swirling around us, all this passion, and through it all I was by Valentine’s side. He never made me feel dismissed or inconsequential. No, I was a key part of the Circle. I was one of the few whose opinions he trusted. He told me over and over that without me, he couldn’t do any of it. Without me, he’d be nothing. ”
“He did?” Clary couldn’t imagine Valentine saying anything like that, anything that made him sound … vulnerable.
“He did, but it wasn’t true. Valentine could never have been nothing. He was born to be a leader, to be the center of a revolution. More and more converts came to him. They were drawn by his passion and the brilliance of his ideas. He rarely even spoke of Downworlders in those early days. It was all about reforming the Clave, changing laws that were ancient and rigid and wrong. Valentine said there should be more Shadowhunters, more to fight the demons, more Institutes, that we should worry less about hiding and more about protecting the world from demonkind. That we should walk tall and proud in the world. It was seductive, his vision: a world full of Shadowhunters, where demons ran scared and mundanes, instead of believing we didn’t exist, thanked us for what we did for them. We were young; we thought thanks were important. We didn’t know. ” Jocelyn took a deep breath, as if she were about to dive underwater. “Then I got pregnant. ”
Clary felt a cold prickle at the back of her neck and suddenly—she couldn’t have said why—she was no longer sure she wanted the truth from her mother, no longer sure she wanted to hear, again, how Valentine had made Jace into a monster. “Mom …”
Jocelyn shook her head blindly. “You asked me why I never told you that you had a brother. This is why. ” She took a ragged breath. “I was so happy when I found out. And Valentine—he’d always wanted to be a father, he said. To train his son to be a warrior the way his father had trained him. ‘Or your daughter,’ I’d say, and he’d smile and say a daughter could be a warrior just as well as a boy, and he would be happy with either. I thought everything was perfect.
“And then Luke was bitten by a werewolf. They’ll tell you there’s a one in two chance that a bite will pass on lycanthropy. I think it’s more like three in four. I’ve rarely seen anyone escape the disease, and Luke was no exception. At the next full moon he Changed. He was there on our doorstep in the morning, covered in blood, his clothes torn to rags. I wanted to comfort him, but Valentine shoved me aside. ‘Jocelyn,’ he said, ‘the baby. ’ As if Luke were about to run at me and tear the baby out of my stomach. It was Luke, but Valentine pushed me away and dragged Luke down the steps and into the woods. When he came back much later, he was alone. I ran to him, but he told me that Luke had killed himself in despair over his lycanthropy. That he was … dead. ”
The grief in Jocelyn’s voice was raw and ragged, Clary thought, even now, when she knew Luke hadn’t died. But Clary remembered her own despair when she’d held Simon as he’d died on the steps of the Institute. There were some feelings you never forgot.
“But he gave Luke a knife,” Clary said in a small voice. “He told him to kill himself. He made Amatis’s husband divorce her, just because her brother had become a werewolf. ”
“I didn’t know,” Jocelyn said. “After Luke died, it was like I fell into a black pit. I spent months in my bedroom, sleeping all the time, eating only because of the baby. Mundanes would call what I had depression, but Shadowhunters don’t have those kinds of terms. Valentine believed I was having a difficult pregnancy. He told everyone I was ill. I was ill—I couldn’t sleep. I kept thinking I heard strange noises, cries in the night. Valentine gave me sleeping drafts, but those just gave me nightmares. Terrible dreams that Valentine was holding me down, was forcing a knife into me, or that I was choking on poison. In the morning I’d be exhausted, and I’d sleep all day. I had no idea what was going on outside, no idea that he’d forced Stephen to divorce Amatis and marry Céline. I was in a daze. And then …” Jocelyn knotted her hands together in her lap. They were shaking. “And then I had the baby. ”
She fell silent, for so long that Clary wondered if she was going to speak again. Jocelyn was staring sightlessly toward the demon towers, her fingers beating a nervous tattoo against her knees. At last she said, “My mother was with me when the baby was born. You never knew her. Your grandmother. She was such a kind woman. You would have liked her, I think. She handed me my son, and at first I knew only that he fit perfectly into my arms, that the blanket wrapping him was soft, and that he was so small and delicate, with just a wisp of fair hair on the top of his head. And then he opened his eyes. ”
Jocelyn’s voice was flat, almost toneless, yet Clary found herself shivering, dreading what her mother might say next. Don’t, she wanted to say. Don’t tell me. But Jocelyn went on, the words pouring out of her like cold poison.
“Horror washed over me. It was like being bathed in acid—my skin seemed to burn off my bones, and it was all I could do not to drop the baby and begin screaming. They say every mother knows her own child instinctively. I suppose the opposite is true as well. Every nerve in my body was crying out that this was not my baby, that it was something horrible and unnatural, as inhuman as a parasite. How could my mother not see it? But she was smiling at me as if nothing were wrong.
“‘His name is Jonathan,’ said a voice from the doorway. I looked up and saw Valentine regarding the scene before him with a look of pleasure. The baby opened his eyes again, as if recognizing the sound of his name. His eyes were black, black as night, fathomless as tunnels dug into his skull. There was nothing human in them at all. ”
There was a long silence. Clary sat frozen, staring at her mother in openmouthed horror. That’s Jace she’s talking about, she thought. Jace when he was a baby. How could you feel like that about a baby?
“Mom,” she whispered. “Maybe—maybe you were in shock or something. Or maybe you were sick—”
“That’s what Valentine told me,” Jocelyn said emotionlessly. “That I was sick. Valentine adored Jonathan. He couldn’t understand what was wrong with me. And I knew he was right. I was a monster, a mother who couldn’t stand her own child. I thought about killing myself. I might have done it too—and then I got a message, delivered by fire-letter, from Ragnor Fell. He was a warlock who had always been close to my family; he was the one we called on when we needed a healing spell, that sort of thing. He’d found out that Luke had become the leader of a pack of werewolves in Brocelind Forest, by the eastern border. I burned the note once I got it. I knew Valentine could never know. But it wasn’t until I went to the werewolf encampment and saw Luke that I knew for certain that Valentine had lied to me, lied to me about Luke’s suicide. It was then that I started to truly hate him. ”
“But Luke said you knew there was something wrong with Valentine—that you knew he was doing something terrible. He said you knew it even before he was Changed. ”
For a moment Jocelyn didn’t reply. “You know, Luke should never have been bitten. It shouldn’t have happened. It was a routine patrol of the woods, he was out with Valentine—it shouldn’t have happened. ”
“Luke says I told him I was afraid of Valentine even before he Changed. He says I told him I could hear screams through the walls of the manor, that I suspected something, dreaded something. And Luke—trusting Luke—asked Valentine about it the very next day. That night Valentine took Luke hunting, and he was bitten. I think—I think Valentine made me forget what I’d seen, whatever had made me afraid. He made me believe it was all bad dreams. And I think he made sure Luke got bitten that night. I think he wanted Luke out of the way so no one could remind me that I was afraid of my husband. But I didn’t realize that, not right away. Luke and I saw each other so briefly that first day, and I wanted so badly to tell him about Jonathan, but I couldn’t, I couldn’t. Jonathan was my son. Still, seeing Luke, even just seeing him, made me stronger. I went home telling myself that I would make a new effort with Jonathan, would learn to love him. Would make myself love him.
“That night I was woken by the sound of a baby crying. I sat bolt upright, alone in the bedroom. Valentine was out at a Circle meeting, so I had no one to share my amazement with. Jonathan, you see, never cried—never made a noise. His silence was one of the things that most upset me about him. I dashed down the hall to his room, but he was sleeping silently. Still, I could hear a baby crying, I was sure of it. I raced down the stairs, following the sound of the crying. It seemed to be coming from inside the empty wine cellar, but the door was locked, the cellar never used. But I had grown up in the manor. I knew where my father hid the key…. ”
Jocelyn didn’t look at Clary as she spoke; she seemed lost in the story, in her memories.
“I never told you the story of Bluebeard’s wife, did I, when you were a little girl? The husband told his wife never to look in the locked room, and she looked, and found the remains of all the wives he had murdered before her, displayed like butterflies in a glass case. I had no idea when I unlocked that door what I would find inside. If I had to do it again, would I be able to bring myself to open the door, to use my witchlight to guide me down into the darkness? I don’t know, Clary. I just don’t know.
“The smell—oh, the smell down there, like blood and death and rot. Valentine had hollowed out a place under the ground, in what had once been the wine cellar. It wasn’t a child I had heard crying, after all. There were cells down there now, with things imprisoned in them. Demon-creatures, bound with electrum chains, writhed and flopped and gurgled in their cells, but there was more, much more—the bodies of Downworlders, in different stages of death and dying. There were werewolves, their bodies half-dissolved by silver powder. Vampires held head-down in holy water until their skin peeled off the bones. Faeries whose skin had been pierced with cold iron.
“Even now I don’t think of him as a torturer. Not really. He seemed to be pursuing an almost scientific end. There were ledgers of notes by each cell door, meticulous recordings of his experiments, how long it had taken each creature to die. There was one vampire whose skin he had burned off over and over again to see if there was a point beyond which the poor creature could no longer regenerate. It was hard to read what he had written without wanting to faint, or throw up. Somehow I did neither.
“There was one page devoted to experiments he had done on himself. He had read somewhere that the blood of demons might act as an amplifier of the powers Shadowhunters are naturally born with. He had tried injecting himself with the blood, to no end. Nothing had happened except that he had made himself sick. Eventually he came to the conclusion that he was too old for the blood to affect him, that it must be given to a child to take full effect—preferably one as yet unborn.
“Across from the page recording those particular conclusions he had written a series of notes with a heading I recognized. My name. ‘Jocelyn Morgenstern. ’
“I remember the way my fingers shook while I turned the pages, the words burning themselves into my brain. ‘Jocelyn drank the mixture again tonight. No visible changes in her, but again it is the child that concerns me…. With regular infusions of demonic ichor such as I have been giving her, the child may be capable of any feats…. Last night I heard the child’s heart beat, more strongly than any human heart, the sound like a mighty bell, tolling the beginning of a new generation of Shadowhunters, the blood of angels and demons mixed to produce powers beyond any previously imagined possible…. No longer will the power of Downworlders be the greatest on this earth…. ’
“There was more, much more. I clawed at the pages, my fingers trembling, my mind racing back, seeing the mixtures Valentine had given me to drink each night, the nightmares about being stabbed, choked, poisoned. But I wasn’t the one he’d been poisoning. It was Jonathan. Jonathan, who he’d turned into some kind of half-demon thing. And that, Clary—that was when I realized what Valentine really was. ”
Clary let out the breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding. It was horrible—so horrible—and yet it all matched up with the vision Ithuriel had showed her. She wasn’t sure whom she felt more pity for, her mother or Jonathan. Jonathan—she couldn’t think of him as Jace, not with her mother there, not with the story so fresh in her mind—doomed to be not quite human by a father who’d cared more about murdering Downworlders than he had about his own family.
“But—you didn’t leave then, did you?” Clary asked, her voice sounding small to her ears. “You stayed…. ”
“For two reasons,” Jocelyn said. “One was the Uprising. What I found in the cellar that night was like a slap in the face. It woke me up out of my misery and made me see what was going on around me. Once I realized what Valentine was planning—the wholesale slaughter of Downworlders—I knew I couldn’t let it happen. I began meeting in secret with Luke. I couldn’t tell him what Valentine had done to me and to our child. I knew it would just drive him mad, that he’d be unable to stop himself from trying to hunt down Valentine and kill him, and he’d only get himself killed in the process. And I couldn’t let anyone else know what had been done to Jonathan either. Despite everything, he was still my child. But I did tell Luke about the horrors in the cellar, of my conviction that Valentine was losing his mind, becoming progressively more insane. Together, we planned to thwart the Uprising. I felt driven to do it, Clary. It was a sort of expiation, the only way I could make myself feel like I had paid for the sin of ever having joined the Circle, of having trusted Valentine. Of having loved him. ”
“And he didn’t know? Valentine, I mean. He didn’t figure out what you were doing?”
Jocelyn shook her head. “When people love you, they trust you. Besides, at home I tried to pretend everything was normal. I behaved as though my initial revulsion at the sight of Jonathan was gone. I would bring him over to Maryse Lightwood’s house, let him play with her baby son, Alec. Sometimes Céline Herondale would join us—she was pregnant by that time. ‘Your husband is so kind,’ she would tell me. ‘He is so concerned about Stephen and me. He gives me potions and mixtures for the health of the baby; they are wonderful. ’”
“Oh,” said Clary. “Oh my God. ”
“That’s what I thought,” said Jocelyn grimly. “I wanted to tell her not to trust Valentine or to accept anything he gave her, but I couldn’t. Her husband was Valentine’s closest friend, and she would have betrayed me to him immediately. I kept my mouth shut. And then—”
“She killed herself,” said Clary, remembering the story. “But—was it because of what Valentine did to her?”
Jocelyn shook her head. “I honestly don’t think so. Stephen was killed in a raid, and she slit her wrists when she found out the news. She was eight months pregnant. She bled to death…. ” She paused. “Hodge was the one who found her body. And Valentine actually did seem distraught over their deaths. He vanished for almost an entire day afterward, and came home bleary-eyed and staggering. And yet in a way, I was almost grateful for his distraction. At least it meant he wasn’t paying attention to what I was doing. Every day I became more and more frightened that Valentine would discover the conspiracy and try to torture the truth out of me: Who was in our secret alliance? How much had I betrayed of his plans? I wondered how I would withstand torture, whether I could hold up against it. I was terribly afraid that I couldn’t. I resolved finally to take steps to make sure that this never happened. I went to Fell with my fears and he created a potion for me—”
“The potion from the Book of the White,” Clary said, realizing. “That’s why you wanted it. And the antidote—how did it wind up in the Waylands’ library?”
“I hid it there one night during a party,” said Jocelyn with the trace of a smile. “I didn’t want to tell Luke—I knew he’d hate the whole idea of the potion, but everyone else I knew was in the Circle. I sent a message to Ragnor, but he was leaving Idris and wouldn’t say when he’d be back. He said he could always be reached with a message—but who would send it? Eventually I realized there was one person I could tell, one person who hated Valentine enough that she’d never betray me to him. I sent a letter to Madeleine explaining what I planned to do and that the only way to revive me was to find Ragnor Fell. I never heard a word back from her, but I had to believe she had read it and understood. It was all I had to hold on to. ”
“Two reasons,” Clary said. “You said there were two reasons that you stayed. One was the Uprising. What was the other?”
Jocelyn’s green eyes were tired, but luminous and wide. “Clary,” she said, “can’t you guess? The second reason is that I was pregnant again. Pregnant with you. ”
“Oh,” Clary said in a small voice. She remembered Luke saying, She was carrying another child, and had known it for weeks. “But didn’t that make you want to run away even more?”
“Yes,” Jocelyn said. “But I knew I couldn’t. If I’d run away from Valentine, he would have moved heaven and hell to get me back. He would have followed me to the ends of the earth, because I belonged to him and he would never have let me go. And maybe I would have let him come after me, and taken my chances, but I would never have let him come after you. ” She pushed her hair back from her tired-looking face. “There was only one way I could make sure he never did. And that was for him to die. ”
Clary looked at her mother in surprise. Jocelyn still looked tired, but her face was shining with a fierce light.
“I thought he’d be killed during the Uprising,” she said. “I couldn’t have killed him myself. I couldn’t have brought myself to, somehow. But I never thought he’d survive the battle. And later, when the house burned, I wanted to believe he was dead. I told myself over and over that he and Jonathan had burned to death in the fire. But I knew …” Her voice trailed off. “It was why I did what I did. I thought it was the only way to protect you—taking your memories, making you into as much of a mundane as I could. Hiding you in the mundane world. It was stupid, I realize that now, stupid and wrong. And I’m sorry, Clary. I just hope you can forgive me—if not now, then in the future. ”
“Mom. ” Clary cleared her throat. She’d felt like she was about to cry for pretty much the last ten minutes. “It’s okay. It’s just—there’s one thing I don’t get. ” She knotted her fingers into the material of her coat. “I mean, I knew already a little of what Valentine did to Jace—I mean, to Jonathan. But the way you describe Jonathan, it’s like he was a monster. And, Mom, Jace isn’t like that. He’s nothing like that. If you knew him—if you could just meet him—”
“Clary. ” Jocelyn reached out and took Clary’s hand in hers. “There’s more that I have to tell you. There’s nothing more that I hid from you, or lied about. But there are things I never knew, things I only just discovered. And they may be very hard to hear. ”
Worse than what you’ve already told me? Clary thought. She bit her lip and nodded. “Go ahead and tell me. I’d rather know. ”
“When Dorothea told me that Valentine had been sighted in the city, I knew he was there for me—for the Cup. I wanted to flee, but I couldn’t bring myself to tell you why. I don’t blame you at all for running from me that awful night, Clary. I was just glad you weren’t there when your father—when Valentine and his demons broke into our apartment. I just had time to swallow the potion—I could hear them breaking the door down …” She trailed off, her voice tight. “I hoped Valentine would leave me for dead, but he didn’t. He brought me to Renwick’s with him. He tried various methods to wake me up, but nothing worked. I was in a sort of dream state; I was half-conscious that he was there, but I couldn’t move or respond to him. I doubt he thought I could hear or understand him. And yet he would sit by the bed while I slept and talk to me. ”
“Talk to you? About what?”
“About our past. Our marriage. How he had loved me and I had betrayed him. How he hadn’t loved anyone since. I think he meant it too, as much as he could mean these things. I had always been the one he’d talked to about the doubts he had, the guilt he felt, and in the years since I’d left him I don’t think there’d ever been anyone else. I think he couldn’t stop himself from talking to me, even though he knew he shouldn’t. I think he just wanted to talk to someone. You’d have thought that what was on his mind would be what he’d done to those poor people, making them Forsaken, and what he was planning to do to the Clave. But it wasn’t. What he wanted to talk about was Jonathan. ”
“What about him?”
Jocelyn’s mouth tightened. “He wanted to tell me he was sorry for what he’d done to Jonathan before he’d been born, because he knew it had nearly destroyed me. He’d known I was close to suicide over Jonathan—though he didn’t know I was also despairing over what I’d discovered about him. He’d somehow gotten hold of angel blood. It’s an almost legendary substance for Shadowhunters. Drinking it is supposed to give you incredible strength. Valentine had tried it on himself and discovered that it gave him not just increased strength but a feeling of euphoria and happiness every time he injected it into his blood. So he took some, dried it to powder, and mixed it into my food, hoping it would help my despair. ”
I know where he got hold of angel blood, Clary thought, thinking of Ithuriel with a sharp sadness. “Do you think it worked at all?”
“I do wonder now if that was why I suddenly found the focus and the ability to go on, and to help Luke thwart the Uprising. It would be ironic if that was the case, considering why Valentine did it in the first place. But what he didn’t know was that while he was doing this, I was pregnant with you. So while it may have affected me slightly, it affected you much more. I believe that’s why you can do what you can with runes. ”
“And maybe,” Clary said, “why you can do things like trap the image of the Mortal Cup in a tarot card. And why Valentine can do things like take the curse off Hodge—”
“Valentine has had years of experimenting on himself in a myriad of ways,” said Jocelyn. “He’s as close now as a human being, a Shadowhunter, can get to a warlock. But nothing he can do to himself would have the kind of profound effect on him it would have on you or Jonathan, because you were so young. I’m not sure anyone’s ever before done what Valentine did, not to a baby before it was born. ”
“So Jace—Jonathan—and I really were both experiments. ”
“You were an unintentional one. With Jonathan, Valentine wanted to create some kind of superwarrior, stronger and faster and better than other Shadowhunters. At Renwick’s, Valentine told me that Jonathan really was all those things. But that he was also cruel and amoral and strangely empty. Jonathan was loyal enough to Valentine, but I suppose Valentine realized that somewhere along the way, in trying to create a child who was superior to others, he’d created a son who could never really love him. ”
Clary thought of Jace, of the way he’d looked at Renwick’s, the way he’d clutched that piece of the broken Portal so hard that blood had run down his fingers. “No,” she said. “No and no. Jace is not like that. He does love Valentine. He shouldn’t, but he does. And he isn’t empty. He’s the opposite of everything you’re saying. ”
Jocelyn’s hands twisted in her lap. They were laced all over with fine white scars—the fine white scars all Shadowhunters bore, the memory of vanished Marks. But Clary had never really seen her mother’s scars before. Magnus’s magic had always made her forget them. There was one, on the inside of her mother’s wrist, that was very like the shape of a star….
Her mother spoke then, and all thoughts of anything else fled from Clary’s mind.
“I am not,” Jocelyn said, “talking about Jace. ”
“But …” Clary said. Everything seemed to be happening very slowly, as if she were dreaming. Maybe I am dreaming, she thought. Maybe my mother never woke up at all, and all of this is a dream. “Jace is Valentine’s son. I mean, who else could he be?”
Jocelyn looked straight into her daughter’s eyes. “The night Céline Herondale died, she was eight months pregnant. Valentine had been giving her potions, powders—he was trying on her what he’d tried on himself, with Ithuriel’s blood, hoping that Stephen’s child would be as strong and powerful as he suspected Jonathan would be, but without Jonathan’s worse qualities. He couldn’t bear that his experiment would go to waste, so with Hodge’s help he cut the baby out of Céline’s stomach. She’d only been dead a short time—”
Clary made a gagging noise. “That isn’t possible. ”
Jocelyn went on as if Clary hadn’t spoken. “Valentine took that baby and had Hodge bring it to his own childhood home, in a valley not far from Lake Lyn. It was why he was gone all that night. Hodge took care of the baby until the Uprising. After that, because Valentine was pretending to be Michael Wayland, he moved the child to the Wayland manor and raised him as Michael Wayland’s son. ”
“So Jace,” Clary whispered. “Jace is not my brother?”
She felt her mother squeeze her hand—a sympathetic squeeze. “No, Clary. He’s not. ”
Clary’s vision darkened. She could feel her heart pounding in separate, distinct beats. My mom feels sorry for me, she thought distantly. She thinks this is bad news. Her hands were shaking. “Then whose bones were those in the fire? Luke said there were a child’s bones—”
Jocelyn shook her head. “Those were Michael Wayland’s bones, and his son’s bones. Valentine killed them both and burned their bodies. He wanted the Clave to believe that both he and his son were dead. ”
“Is alive,” said Jocelyn, pain flashing across her face. “Valentine told me as much at Renwick’s. Valentine brought Jace up in the Wayland manor, and Jonathan in the house near the lake. He managed to divide his time between the two of them, traveling from one house to the other, sometimes leaving one or both alone for long periods of time. It seems that Jace never knew about Jonathan, though Jonathan may have known about Jace. They never met, though they probably lived only miles from each other. ”
“And Jace doesn’t have demon blood in him? He’s not—cursed?”
“Cursed?” Jocelyn looked surprised. “No, he doesn’t have demon blood. Clary, Valentine experimented on Jace when he was a baby with the same blood he used on me, on you. Angel blood. Jace isn’t cursed. The opposite, if anything. All Shadowhunters have some of the Angel’s blood in them—you two just have a bit more. ”
Clary’s mind whirled. She tried to imagine Valentine raising two children at the same time, one part demon, one part angel. One shadow boy, and one light. Loving them both, perhaps, as much as Valentine could love anything. Jace had never known about Jonathan, but what had the other boy known about him? His complementary part, his opposite? Had he hated the thought of him? Yearned to meet him? Been indifferent? They had both been so alone. And one of them was her brother—her real, full-blooded brother. “Do you think he’s still the same? Jonathan, I mean? Do you think he could have gotten … better?”
“I don’t think so,” Jocelyn said gently.
“But what makes you so sure?” Clary spun to look at her mother, suddenly eager. “I mean, maybe he’s changed. It’s been years. Maybe—”
“Valentine told me he had spent years teaching Jonathan how to appear pleasant, even charming. He wanted him to be a spy, and you can’t be a spy if you terrify everyone you meet. Jonathan even learned a certain ability to cast slight glamours, to convince people he was likable and trustworthy. ” Jocelyn sighed. “I’m telling you this so you won’t feel bad that you were taken in. Clary, you’ve met Jonathan. He just never told you his real name, because he was posing as someone else. Sebastian Verlac. ”
Clary stared at her mother. But he’s the Penhallows’ cousin, part of her mind insisted, but of course Sebastian had never been who he’d claimed he was; everything he’d said had been a lie. She thought of the way she’d felt the first time she’d seen him, as if she were recognizing someone she’d known all her life, someone as intimately familiar to her as her own self. She had never felt that way about Jace. “Sebastian’s my brother?”
Jocelyn’s fine-boned face was drawn, her hands laced together. Her fingertips were white, as if she was pressing them too hard against one another. “I spoke to Luke for a long time today about everything that’s happened in Alicante since you arrived. He told me about the demon towers, and his suspicion that Sebastian had destroyed the wards, though he had no idea how. I realized then who Sebastian really was. ”
“You mean because he lied about being Sebastian Verlac? And because he’s a spy for Valentine?”
“Those two things, yes,” said Jocelyn, “but it actually wasn’t until Luke said that you’d told him Sebastian dyed his hair that I guessed. And I could be wrong, but a boy just a little older than you, fair-haired and dark-eyed, with no apparent parents, utterly loyal to Valentine—I couldn’t help but think he must be Jonathan. And there’s more than that. Valentine was always trying to find a way to bring the wards down, always determined that there was a way to do it. Experimenting on Jonathan with demon blood—he said it was to make him stronger, a better fighter, but there was more to it than that—”
Clary stared. “What do you mean, more to it?”
“It was his way of bringing down the wards,” Jocelyn said. “You can’t bring a demon into Alicante, but you need demons’ blood to take down the wards. Jonathan has demon blood; it’s in his veins. And his being a Shadowhunter means he’s granted automatic entrance to the city whenever he wants to get in, no matter what. He used his own blood to take the wards down, I’m sure of it. ”
Clary thought of Sebastian standing across from her in the grass near the ruins of the Fairchild manor. The way his dark hair had blown across his face. The way he’d held her wrists, his nails digging into her skin. The way he’d said it was impossible that Valentine had ever loved Jace. She’d thought it was because he hated Valentine. But it wasn’t, she realized. He’d been … jealous.
She thought of the dark prince of her drawings, the one who had looked so much like Sebastian. She had dismissed the resemblance as coincidence, a trick of imagination, but now she wondered if it was the tie of their shared blood that had driven her to give the unhappy hero of her story her brother’s face. She tried to visualize the prince again, but the image seemed to shatter and dissolve before her eyes, like ash blown away on the wind. She could only see Sebastian now, the red light of the burning city reflected in his eyes.
“Jace,” she said. “Someone has to tell him. Has to tell him the truth. ” Her thoughts tumbled over themselves, helter-skelter; if Jace had known, known he didn’t have demon blood, maybe he wouldn’t have gone after Valentine. If he’d known he wasn’t Clary’s brother after all …
“But I thought,” said Jocelyn, with a mixture of sympathy and puzzlement, “that nobody knew where he was …?”
Before Clary could answer, the double doors of the Hall swung open, spilling light out over the pillared arcade and the steps below it. The dull roar of voices, no longer muffled, rose as Luke came through the doors. He looked exhausted, but there was a lightness about him that hadn’t been there before. He seemed almost relieved.
Jocelyn rose to her feet. “Luke. What is it?”
He took a few steps toward them, then paused between the doorway and the stairs. “Jocelyn,” he said, “I’m sorry to interrupt you. ”
“That’s all right, Luke. ” Even through her daze Clary thought, Why do they keep saying each other’s names like that? There was a sort of awkwardness between them now, an awkwardness that hadn’t been there before. “Is something wrong?”
He shook his head. “No. For a change, something’s right. ” He smiled at Clary, and there was nothing awkward about it: He looked pleased with her, and even proud. “You did it, Clary,” he said. “The Clave’s agreed to let you Mark them. There will be no surrender after all. ”