City of Ashes – Chapter 3: THE INQUISITOR

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THE FIRST TIME CLARY HAD EVER SEEN THE INSTITUTE, IT HAD looked like a dilapidated church, its roof broken in, stained yellow police tape holding the door closed. Now she didn’t have to concentrate to dispel the illusion. Even from across the street she could see it exactly as it was, a towering Gothic cathedral whose spires seemed to pierce the dark blue sky like knives.

Luke fell silent. It was clear from the look on his face that some kind of struggle was taking place inside him. As they mounted the steps, Jace reached inside his shirt as if from habit, but when he drew his hand out, it was empty. He laughed without any mirth. “I forgot. Maryse took my keys from me before I left. ”

“Of course she did. ” Luke was standing directly in front of the Institute’s doors. He gently touched the symbols carved into the wood, just below the architrave. “These doors are just like the ones at the Council Hall in Idris. I never thought I would see their like again. ”

Clary almost felt guilty interrupting Luke’s reverie, but there were practical matters to attend to. “If we don’t have a key—”

“One shouldn’t be necessary. An Institute should be open to any of the Nephilim who mean no harm to the inhabitants. ”

“What if they mean harm to us?” Jace muttered.

Luke’s mouth quirked at the corner. “I don’t think that makes a difference. ”

“Yeah, the Clave always stacks the deck its way. ” Jace’s voice sounded muffled—his lower lip was swelling, his left eyelid turning purple.

Why didn’t he heal himself? Clary wondered. “Did she take your stele, too?”

“I didn’t take anything when I left,” Jace said. “I didn’t want to take anything the Lightwoods got for me. ”

Luke looked at him with some concern. “Every Shadowhunter must have a stele. ”

“So I’ll get another one,” said Jace, and put his hand to the Institute’s door. “In the name of the Clave,” he said, “I ask entry to this holy place. And in the name of the Angel Raziel, I ask your blessings upon my mission against—”

The doors swung open. Clary could see the cathedral’s interior through them, the shadowy darkness illuminated here and there by candles in tall iron candelabras.

“Well, that’s convenient,” said Jace. “I guess blessings are easier to come by than I thought. Maybe I should ask for blessings on my mission against all those who wear white after Labor Day. ”

“The Angel knows what your mission is,” said Luke. “You don’t have to say the words aloud, Jonathan. ”

For a moment Clary thought she saw something flicker across Jace’s face—uncertainty, surprise—and maybe even relief? But all he said was, “Don’t call me that. It’s not my name. ”

They made their way through the ground floor of the cathedral, past the empty pews and the light burning forever on the altar. Luke looked around him curiously, and even seemed surprised when the elevator, like a gilded birdcage, arrived to carry them up. “This must have been Maryse’s idea,” he said as they stepped into it. “It’s entirely her taste. ”

“It’s been here as long as I have,” said Jace, as the door clanged shut behind them. The ride up was brief, and none of them spoke. Clary played nervously with the fringe of her scarf. She felt a little guilty about having told Simon to go home and wait for her to call him later. She had seen from the annoyed set of his shoulders as he stalked off down Canal Street that he’d felt summarily dismissed. Still, she couldn’t imagine having him—a mundane—here while Luke petitioned Maryse Lightwood on Jace’s behalf; it would just make everything awkward.

The elevator came to a clanging stop and they stepped out to find Church waiting for them in the entryway, a slightly dilapidated red bow around his neck. Jace bent to rub the back of his hand along the cat’s head. “Where’s Maryse?”

Church made a noise in his throat, halfway between a purr and a growl, and headed off down the corridor. They followed, Jace silent, Luke glancing around with evident curiosity. “I never thought I’d see the inside of this place. ”

Clary asked, “Does it look like you thought it would?”

“I’ve been to the Institutes in London and Paris; this is not unlike those, no. Though somehow—”

“Somehow what?” Jace was several strides ahead.

“Colder,” said Luke.

Jace said nothing. They had reached the library. Church sat down as if to indicate that he planned to go no farther. Voices were faintly audible through the thick wooden door, but Jace pushed it open without knocking and strode inside.

Clary heard a voice exclaim in surprise. For a moment her heart contracted as she thought of Hodge, who had all but lived in this room. Hodge, with his gravelly voice, and Hugin, the raven who was his almost constant companion—and who had, at Hodge’s orders, nearly ripped out her eyes.

It wasn’t Hodge, of course. Behind the enormous mahogany plank desk that balanced on the backs of two kneeling stone angels sat a middle-aged woman with Isabelle’s ink black hair and Alec’s thin, wiry build. She wore a neat black suit, very plain, in contrast to the multiple brightly colored rings that burned on her fingers.

Beside her stood another figure: a slender teenage boy, slightly built, with curling dark hair and honey-colored skin. As he turned to look at them, Clary couldn’t hold back an exclamation of surprise. “Raphael?”

For a moment the boy looked taken aback. Then he smiled, his teeth very white and sharp—not surprising, considering that he was a vampire. “Dios,” he said, addressing himself to Jace. “What happened to you, brother? You look as if a pack of wolves tried to tear you apart. ”

“That’s either a shockingly good guess,” said Jace, “or you heard about what happened. ”

Raphael’s smile turned into a grin. “I hear things. ”

The woman behind the desk rose to her feet. “Jace,” she said, her voice full of anxiety. “Did something happen? Why are you back so soon? I thought you were going to stay with—” Her gaze moved past him to Luke and Clary. “And who are you?”

“Jace’s sister,” Clary said.

Maryse’s eyes rested on Clary. “Yes, I can see it. You look like Valentine. ” She turned back to Jace. “You brought your sister with you? And a mundane, as well? It’s not safe for any of you here right now. And especially a mundane—”

Luke, smiling faintly, said, “But I’m not a mundane. ”

Maryse’s expression changed slowly from bewilderment to shock as she looked at Luke—really looked at him—for the first time. “Lucian?”

“Hello, Maryse,” said Luke. “It’s been a long time. ”

* * *

Maryse’s face was very still, and in that moment she looked suddenly much older, older even than Luke. She sat down carefully. “Lucian,” she said again, her hands flat on the desk. “Lucian Graymark. ”

Raphael, who had been watching the proceedings with the bright, curious gaze of a bird, turned to Luke. “You killed Gabriel. ”

Who was Gabriel? Clary stared at Luke, puzzled. He gave a slight shrug. “I did, yes, just like he killed the pack leader before him. That’s how it works with lycanthropes. ”

Maryse looked up at that. “The pack leader?”

“If you lead the pack now, it’s time for us to talk,” said Raphael, inclining his head graciously in Luke’s direction, though his eyes were wary. “Though not at this exact moment, perhaps. ”

“I’ll send someone over to arrange it,” said Luke. “Things have been busy lately. I might be behind on the niceties. ”

“You might,” was all that Raphael said. He turned back to Maryse. “Is our business here concluded?”

Maryse spoke with an effort. “If you say the Night Children aren’t involved in these killings, then I’ll take you at your word. I’m required to, unless other evidence comes to light. ”

Raphael frowned. “To light?” he said. “That is not a phrase I like. ” He turned then, and Clary saw with a start that she could see through the edges of him, as if he were a photograph that had blurred around the margins. His left hand was transparent, and through it she could see the big metal globe Hodge had always kept on the desk. She heard herself make a little noise of surprise as the transparency spread up his arms from his hands—and down his chest from his shoulders, and in a moment he was gone, like a figure erased from a sketch. Maryse exhaled a sigh of relief.

Clary gaped. “Is he dead?”

“What, Raphael?” said Jace. “Not likely. That was just a projection of him. He can’t come into the Institute in his corporeal form. ”

“Why not?”

“Because this is hallowed ground,” said Maryse. “And he is damned. ” Her wintry eyes lost none of their coldness when she turned her glance on Luke. “You, head of the pack here?” she asked. “I suppose I should hardly be surprised. It does seem to be your method, doesn’t it?”

Luke ignored the bitterness in her tone. “Was Raphael here about the cub who was killed today?”

“That, and a dead warlock,” Maryse said. “Found murdered downtown, two days apart. ”

“But why was Raphael here?”

“The warlock was drained of blood,” said Maryse. “It seems that whoever murdered the werewolf was interrupted before the blood could be taken, but suspicion naturally fell on the Night Children. The vampire came here to assure me his folk had nothing to do with it. ”

“Do you believe him?” Jace said.

“I don’t care to talk about Clave business with you right now, Jace—especially not in front of Lucian Graymark. ”

“I’m just called Luke now,” Luke said placidly. “Luke Garroway. ”

Maryse shook her head. “I hardly recognized you. You look like a mundane. ”

“That’s the idea, yes. ”

“We all thought you were dead. ”

“Hoped,” said Luke, still placidly. “Hoped I was dead. ”

Maryse looked as if she’d swallowed something sharp. “You might as well sit down,” she said finally, pointing toward the chairs in front of the desk. “Now,” said Maryse, once they’d taken their seats, “perhaps you might tell me why you’re here. ”

“Jace,” said Luke, without preamble, “wants a trial before the Clave. I’m willing to vouch for him. I was there that night at Renwick’s, when Valentine revealed himself. I fought him and we nearly killed each other. I can confirm that everything Jace says happened is the truth. ”

“I’m not sure,” countered Maryse, “what your word is worth. ”

“I may be a lycanthrope,” said Luke, “but I’m also a Shadowhunter. I’m willing to be tried by the Sword, if that will help. ”

By the Sword? That sounded bad. Clary looked over at Jace. He was outwardly calm, his fingers laced together in his lap, but there was a shuddering tension about him, as if he were a hairsbreadth from exploding. He caught her look and said, “The Soul-Sword. The second of the Mortal Instruments. It’s used in trials to determine if a Shadowhunter is lying. ”

“You’re not a Shadowhunter,” said Maryse to Luke, as if Jace hadn’t spoken. “You haven’t lived by the Law of the Clave in a long, long time. ”

“There was a time when you didn’t live by it either,” said Luke. High color flooded Maryse’s cheeks. “I would have thought,” he went on, “that by now you would have gotten past not being able to trust anyone, Maryse. ”

“Some things you never forget,” she said. Her voice held a dangerous softness. “You think pretending his own death was the biggest lie Valentine ever told us? You think charm is the same as honesty? I used to think so. I was wrong. ” She stood up and leaned on the table with her thin hands. “He told us he would lay down his life for the Circle and that he expected us to do the same. And we would have—all of us—I know it. I nearly did it. ” Her gaze swept over Jace and Clary and her eyes locked with Luke’s. “You remember,” she said, “the way he told us that the Uprising would be nothing, hardly a battle, a few unarmed ambassadors against the full might of the Circle. I was so confident in our swift victory that when I rode out to Alicante, I left Alec at home in his cradle. I asked Jocelyn to watch my children while I was away. She refused. I know why now. She knew—and so did you. And you didn’t warn us. ”

“I’d tried to warn you about Valentine,” said Luke. “You didn’t listen. ”

“I don’t mean about Valentine. I mean about the Uprising! When we arrived, there were fifty of us against five hundred Downworlders—”

“You’d been willing to slaughter them unarmed when you thought there would be only five of them,” said Luke quietly.

Maryse’s hands clenched on the desk. “We were slaughtered,” she said. “In the midst of the carnage, we looked to Valentine to lead us. But he wasn’t there. By that time the Clave had surrounded the Hall of Accords. We thought Valentine had been killed, were ready to give our own lives in a final desperate rush. Then I remembered Alec—if I died, what would happen to my little boy?” Her voice caught. “So I laid my arms down and gave myself up to the Clave. ”

“You did the right thing, Maryse,” said Luke.

She turned on him, eyes blazing. “Don’t patronize me, werewolf. If it weren’t for you—”

“Don’t yell at him!” Clary cut in, almost rising to her feet herself. “It’s your fault for believing Valentine in the first place—”

“You think I don’t know that?” There was a ragged edge to Maryse’s voice now. “Oh, the Clave made that point nicely when they questioned us—they had the Soul-Sword and they knew when we were lying, but they couldn’t make us talk—nothing could make us talk, until—”

“Until what?” It was Luke who spoke. “I’ve never known. I always wondered what they told you to make you turn on him. ”

“Just the truth,” Maryse said, sounding suddenly tired. “That Valentine hadn’t died there in the Hall. He’d fled—left us there to die without him. He’d died later, we were told, burned to death in his house. The Inquisitor showed us his bones. Of course, that was another lie…” Her voice trailed off, and then she rallied again, her words crisp: “It was all coming apart by then, anyway. We were finally talking to one another, those of us in the Circle. Before the battle, Valentine had drawn me aside, told me that out of all the Circle, I was the one he trusted most, his closest lieutenant. When the Clave questioned us I found out he’d said the same thing to everyone. ”

“Hell hath no fury,” Jace muttered, so quietly that only Clary heard him.

“He lied not just to the Clave but to us. He used our loyalty and our affection. Just as he did when he sent you to us,” Maryse said, looking directly at Jace now. “And now he’s back, and he has the Mortal Cup. He’s been planning all this for years, all along, all of it. I can’t afford to trust you, Jace. I’m sorry. ”

Jace said nothing. His face was expressionless, but he’d gone paler as Maryse spoke, his new bruises standing out livid on his jaw and cheek.

“Then what?” Luke said. “What is it you expect him to do? Where is he supposed to go?”

Her eyes rested for a moment on Clary. “Why not to his sister?” she said. “Family—”

“Isabelle is Jace’s sister,” interrupted Clary. “Alec and Max are his brothers. What are you going to tell them? They’ll hate you forever if you throw Jace out of your house. ”

Maryse’s eyes rested on her. “What do you know about it?”

“I know Alec and Isabelle,” said Clary. The thought of Valentine came, unwelcome; she pushed it away. “Family is more than blood. Valentine isn’t my father. Luke is. Just like Alec and Max and Isabelle are Jace’s family. If you try to tear him out of your family, you’ll leave a wound that won’t ever heal. ”

Luke was looking at her with a sort of surprised respect. Something flickered in Maryse’s eyes—uncertainty?

“Clary,” Jace said softly. “Enough. ” He sounded defeated. Clary turned on Maryse.

“What about the Sword?” she demanded.

Maryse looked at her for a moment with genuine puzzlement. “The Sword?”

“The Soul-Sword,” said Clary. “The one you can use to tell if a Shadowhunter is lying or not. You can use it on Jace. ”

“That’s a good idea. ” There was a spark of animation in Jace’s voice.

“Clary, you mean well, but you don’t know what the Sword entails,” Luke said. “The only one who can use it is the Inquisitor. ”

Jace sat forward. “Then call on her. Call the Inquisitor. I want to end this. ”

“No,” Luke said, but Maryse was looking at Jace.

“The Inquisitor,” she said reluctantly, “is already on her way—”

“Maryse. ” Luke’s voice cracked. “Tell me you haven’t called her into this!”

“I didn’t! Did you think the Clave wouldn’t involve itself in this wild tale of Forsaken warriors and Portals and staged deaths? After what Hodge did? We’re all under investigation now, thanks to Valentine,” she finished, seeing Jace’s white and stunned expression. “The Inquisitor could put Jace in prison. She could strip his Marks. I thought it would be better…”

“If Jace were gone when she arrived,” said Luke. “No wonder you’ve been so eager to send him away. ”

“Who is the Inquisitor?” Clary demanded. The word conjured up images of the Spanish Inquisition, of torture, the whip and the rack. “What does she do?”

“She investigates Shadowhunters for the Clave,” said Luke. “She ensures the Law hasn’t been broken by Nephilim. She investigated all the Circle members after the Uprising. ”

“She cursed Hodge?” Jace said. “She sent you here?”

“She chose our exile and his punishment. She has no love for us, and hates your father. ”

“I’m not leaving,” said Jace, still very pale. “What will she do to you if she gets here and I’m gone? She’ll think you conspired to hide me. She’ll punish you—you and Alec and Isabelle and Max. ”

Maryse said nothing.

“Maryse, don’t be a fool,” Luke said. “She’ll blame you more if you let Jace go. Keeping him here and allowing the trial by Sword would be a sign of good faith. ”

“Keeping Jace—you can’t be serious, Luke!” Clary said. She knew using the Sword had been her idea, but she was beginning to regret ever having brought it up. “She sounds awful. ”

“But if Jace leaves,” said Luke, “he can never come back. He’ll never be a Shadowhunter again. Like it or not, the Inquisitor is the Law’s right hand. If Jace wants to stay a part of the Clave, he has to cooperate with her. He does have something on his side, something the members of the Circle did not have after the Uprising. ”

“And what’s that?” Maryse asked.

Luke smiled faintly. “Unlike you,” he said, “Jace is telling the truth. ”

Maryse took a hard breath, then turned to Jace. “Ultimately, it’s your decision,” she said. “If you want the trial, you can stay here until the Inquisitor comes. ”

“I’ll stay,” Jace said. There was a firmness in his tone, devoid of anger, that surprised Clary. He seemed to be looking past Maryse, a light flickering in his eyes, as if of reflected fire. In that moment Clary couldn’t help but think that he looked very like his father.

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