II. EASY IS THE DESCENT
Facilis descensus Averno:
Noctes atque dies patet atri ianua Ditis;
Sed revocare gradum superasque evadere ad auras,
Hoc opus, hic labor est.
—Virgil, The Aeneid
Chapter 10: CITY OF BONES
THERE WAS A MOMENT OF ASTONISHED SILENCE BEFORE BOTH Clary and Jace began speaking at once.
“Valentine had a wife? He was married? I thought—”
“That’s impossible! My mother would never—she was only ever married to my father! She didn’t have an ex-husband!”
Hodge raised his hands wearily. “Children—”
“I’m not a child. ” Clary spun away from the desk. “And I don’t want to hear any more. ”
“Clary,” said Hodge. The kindness in his voice hurt; she turned slowly, and looked at him across the room. She thought how odd it was that, with his gray hair and scarred face, he looked so much older than her mother. And yet they had been “young people” together, had joined the Circle together, had known Valentine together. “My mother wouldn’t …” she began, and trailed off. She was no longer sure how well she knew Jocelyn. Her mother had become a stranger to her, a liar, a hider of secrets. What wouldn’t she have done?
“Your mother left the Circle,” said Hodge. He didn’t move toward her but watched her across the room with a bird’s bright-eyed stillness. “Once we realized how extreme Valentine’s views had become—once we knew what he was prepared to do—many of us left. Lucian was the first to leave. That was a blow to Valentine. They had been very close. ” Hodge shook his head. “Then Michael Wayland. Your father, Jace. ”
Jace raised his eyebrows, but said nothing.
“There were those who stayed loyal. Pangborn. Blackwell. The Lightwoods—”
“The Lightwoods? You mean Robert and Maryse?” Jace looked thunderstruck. “What about you? When did you leave?”
“I didn’t,” said Hodge softly. “Neither did they …. We were afraid, too afraid of what he might do. After the Uprising the loyalists like Blackwell and Pangborn fled. We stayed and cooperated with the Clave. Gave them names. Helped them track down the ones who had run away. For that we received clemency. ”
“Clemency?” Jace’s look was quick, but Hodge saw it.
He said, “You are thinking of the curse that binds me here, aren’t you? You always assumed it was a vengeance spell cast by an angry demon or warlock. I let you think it. But it is not the truth. The curse that binds me was cast by the Clave. ”
“For being in the Circle?” Jace asked, his face a mask of astonishment.
“For not leaving it before the Uprising. ”
“But the Lightwoods weren’t punished,” Clary said. “Why not? They’d done the same thing you’d done. ”
“There were extenuating circumstances in their case—they were married; they had a child. Although it is not as if they reside in this outpost, far from home, by their own choice. We were banished here, the three of us—the four of us, I should say; Alec was a squalling baby when we left the Glass City. They can return to Idris on official business only, and then only for short times. I can never return. I will never see the Glass City again. ”
Jace stared. It was as if he were looking at his tutor with new eyes, Clary thought, though it wasn’t Jace who had changed. He said, “‘The Law is hard, but it is the Law. ’”
“I taught you that,” said Hodge, dry amusement in his voice. “And now you turn my lessons back at me. Rightly too. ” He looked as if he wanted to sink down into a nearby chair, but held himself upright nevertheless. In his rigid posture there was something of the soldier he had once been, Clary thought.
“Why didn’t you tell me before?” she said. “That my mother was married to Valentine. You knew her name—”
“I knew her as Jocelyn Fairchild, not Jocelyn Fray,” said Hodge. “And you were so insistent on her ignorance of the Shadow World, you convinced me it could not be the Jocelyn I knew—and perhaps I did not want to believe it. No one would wish for Valentine’s return. ” He shook his head again. “When I sent for the Brothers of the Bone City this morning, I had no idea just what news we would have for them,” he said. “When the Clave finds out Valentine may have returned, that he is seeking the Cup, there will be an uproar. I can only hope it does not disrupt the Accords. ”
“I bet Valentine would like that,” Jace said. “But why does he want the Cup so badly?”
Hodge’s face was gray. “Isn’t that obvious?” he said. “So he can build himself an army. ”
Jace looked startled. “But that would never—”
“Dinnertime!” It was Isabelle, standing framed in the door of the library. She still had the spoon in her hand, though her hair had escaped from its bun and was straggling down her neck. “Sorry if I’m interrupting,” she added, as an afterthought.
“Dear God,” said Jace, “the dread hour is nigh. ”
Hodge looked alarmed. “I—I—I had a very filling breakfast,” he stammered. “I mean lunch. A filling lunch. I couldn’t possibly eat—”
“I threw out the soup,” Isabelle said. “And ordered Chinese from that place downtown. ”
Jace unhitched himself from the desk and stretched. “Great. I’m starved. ”
“I might be able to eat a bite,” admitted Hodge meekly.
“You two are terrible liars,” said Isabelle darkly. “Look, I know you don’t like my cooking—”
“So stop doing it,” Jace advised her reasonably. “Did you order mu shu pork? You know I love mu shu pork. ”
Isabelle cast her eyes skyward. “Yes. It’s in the kitchen. ”
“Awesome. ” Jace ducked by her with an affectionate ruffle of her hair. Hodge went after him, pausing only to pat Isabelle on the shoulder—then he was gone, with a funny apologetic duck of the head. Had Clary really only a few minutes before been able to see the ghost in him of his old warrior self?
Isabelle was looking after Jace and Hodge, twisting the spoon in her scarred, pale fingers. Clary said, “Is he really?”
Isabelle didn’t look at her. “Is who really what?”
“Jace. Is he really a terrible liar?”
Now Isabelle did turn her eyes on Clary, and they were large and dark and unexpectedly thoughtful. “He’s not a liar at all. Not about important things. He’ll tell you horrible truths, but he won’t lie. ” She paused before she added quietly, “That’s why it’s generally better not to ask him anything unless you know you can stand to hear the answer. ”
The kitchen was warm and full of light and the salt-sweet smell of takeout Chinese food. The smell reminded Clary of home; she sat and looked at her glistening plate of noodles, toyed with her fork, and tried not to look at Simon, who was staring at Isabelle with an expression more glazed than the General Tso’s Duckling.
“Well, I think it’s kind of romantic,” said Isabelle, sucking tapioca pearls through an enormous pink straw.
“What is?” asked Simon, instantly alert.
“That whole business about Clary’s mother being married to Valentine,” said Isabelle. Jace and Hodge had filled her in, though Clary noted that both had left out the part about the Lightwoods having been in the Circle, and the curses the Clave had handed down. “So now he’s back from the dead and he’s come looking for her. Maybe he wants to get back together. ”
“I kind of doubt he sent a Ravener demon to her house because he wants to ‘get back together,’” said Alec, who had turned up when the food was served. Nobody had asked him where he’d been, and he hadn’t offered the information. He was sitting next to Jace, across from Clary, and was avoiding looking at her.
“It wouldn’t be my move,” Jace agreed. “First the candy and flowers, then the apology letters, then the ravenous demon hordes. In that order. ”
“He might have sent her candy and flowers,” Isabelle said. “We don’t know. ”
“Isabelle,” said Hodge patiently, “this is the man who rained down destruction on Idris the like of which it had never seen, who set Shadowhunter against Downworlder and made the streets of the Glass City run with blood. ”
“That’s sort of hot,” Isabelle argued, “that evil thing. ”
Simon tried to look menacing, but gave it up when he saw Clary staring at him. “So why does Valentine want this Cup so bad, and why does he think Clary’s mom has it?” he asked.
“You said it was so he could make an army,” Clary said, turning to Hodge. “You mean because you can use the Cup to make Shadowhunters?”
“So Valentine could just walk up to any guy on the street and make a Shadowhunter out of him? Just with the Cup?” Simon leaned forward. “Would it work on me?”
Hodge gave him a long and measured look. “Possibly,” he said. “But most likely, you’re too old. The Cup works on children. An adult would either be unaffected by the process entirely, or killed outright. ”
“A child army,” said Isabelle softly.
“Only for a few years,” said Jace. “Kids grow fast. It wouldn’t be too long before they were a force to contend with. ”
“I don’t know,” said Simon. “Turning a bunch of kids into warriors—I’ve heard of worse stuff happening. I don’t see the big deal about keeping the Cup away from him. ”
“Leaving out that he would inevitably use this army to launch an attack on the Clave,” Hodge said dryly, “the reason that only a few humans are selected to be turned into Nephilim is that most would never survive the transition. It takes special strength and resilience. Before they can be turned, they must be extensively tested—but Valentine would never bother with that. He would use the Cup on any child he could capture, and cull out the twenty percent who survived to be his army. ”
Alec was looking at Hodge with the same horror Clary felt. “How do you know he’d do that?”
“Because,” Hodge said, “when he was in the Circle, that was his plan. He said it was the only way to build the kind of force that was needed to defend our world. ”
“But that’s murder,” said Isabelle, who looked a little green. “He was talking about killing children. ”
“He said that we had made the world safe for humans for a thousand years,” said Hodge, “and now was their time to repay us with their own sacrifice. ”
“Their children?” demanded Jace, his cheeks flushed. “That goes against everything we’re supposed to be about. Protecting the helpless, safeguarding humanity—”
Hodge pushed his plate away. “Valentine was insane,” he said. “Brilliant, but insane. He cared about nothing but killing demons and Downworlders. Nothing but making the world pure. He would have sacrificed his own son for the cause and could not understand how anyone else would not. ”
“He had a son?” said Alec.
“I was speaking figuratively,” said Hodge, reaching for his handkerchief. He used it to mop his forehead before returning it to his pocket. His hand, Clary saw, was trembling slightly. “When his land burned, when his home was destroyed, it was assumed that he had burned himself and the Cup to ashes rather than relinquish either to the Clave. His bones were found in the ashes, along with the bones of his wife. ”
“But my mother lived,” said Clary. “She didn’t die in that fire. ”
“And neither, it seems now, did Valentine,” said Hodge. “The Clave will not be pleased to have been fooled. But more importantly, they will want to secure the Cup. And more importantly than that, they will want to make sure Valentine does not. ”
“It seems to me that the first thing we’d better do is find Clary’s mother,” said Jace. “Find her, find the Cup, get it before Valentine does. ”
This sounded fine to Clary, but Hodge looked at Jace as if he’d proposed juggling nitroglycerine as a solution. “Absolutely not. ”
“Then what do we do?”
“Nothing,” Hodge said. “All this is best left to skilled, experienced Shadowhunters. ”
“I am skilled,” protested Jace. “I am experienced. ”
Hodge’s tone was firm, nearly parental. “I know that you are, but you’re still a child, or nearly one. ”
Jace looked at Hodge through slitted eyes. His lashes were long, casting shadows down over his angular cheekbones. In someone else it would have been a shy look, even an apologetic one, but on Jace it looked narrow and menacing. “I am not a child. ”
“Hodge is right,” said Alec. He was looking at Jace, and Clary thought that he must be one of the few people in the world who looked at Jace not as if he were afraid of him, but as if he were afraid for him. “Valentine is dangerous. I know you’re a good Shadowhunter. You’re probably the best our age. But Valentine’s one of the best there ever was. It took a huge battle to bring him down. ”
“And he didn’t exactly stay down,” said Isabelle, examining her fork tines. “Apparently. ”
“But we’re here,” said Jace. “We’re here and because of the Accords, nobody else is. If we don’t do something—”
“We are going to do something,” said Hodge. “I’ll send the Clave a message tonight. They could have a force of Nephilim here by tomorrow if they wanted. They’ll take care of this. You have done more than enough. ”
Jace subsided, but his eyes were still glittering. “I don’t like it. ”
“You don’t have to like it,” said Alec. “You just have to shut up and not do anything stupid. ”
“But what about my mother?” Clary demanded. “She can’t wait for some representative from the Clave to show up. Valentine has her right now—Pangborn and Blackwell said so—and he could be …” She couldn’t bring herself to say the word “torture,” but Clary knew she wasn’t the only one thinking it. Suddenly no one at the table could meet her eyes.
Except Simon. “Hurting her,” he said, finishing her sentence. “Except, Clary, they also said she was unconscious and that Valentine wasn’t happy about it. He seems to be waiting for her to wake up. ”
“I’d stay unconscious if I were her,” Isabelle muttered.
“But that could be any time,” said Clary, ignoring Isabelle. “I thought the Clave was pledged to protect people. Shouldn’t there be Shadowhunters here right now? Shouldn’t they already be searching for her?”
“That would be easier,” snapped Alec, “if we had the slightest idea where to look. ”
“But we do,” said Jace.
“You do?” Clary looked at him, startled and eager. “Where?”
“Here. ” Jace leaned forward and touched his fingers to the side of her temple, so gently that a flush crept up her face. “Everything we need to know is locked up in your head, under those pretty red curls. ”
Clary reached up to touch her hair protectively. “I don’t think—”
“So what are you going to do?” Simon asked sharply. “Cut her head open to get at it?”
Jace’s eyes sparked, but he said calmly, “Not at all. The Silent Brothers can help her retrieve her memories. ”
“You hate the Silent Brothers,” protested Isabelle.
“I don’t hate them,” said Jace candidly. “I’m afraid of them. It’s not the same thing. ”
“I thought you said they were librarians,” said Clary.
“They are librarians. ”
Simon whistled. “Those must be some killer late fees. ”
“The Silent Brothers are archivists, but that is not all they are,” interrupted Hodge, sounding as if he were running out of patience. “In order to strengthen their minds, they have chosen to take upon themselves some of the most powerful runes ever created. The power of these runes is so great that the use of them—” He broke off and Clary heard Isabelle’s voice in her head, saying: They mutilate themselves. “Well, it warps and twists their physical forms. They are not warriors in the sense that other Shadowhunters are warriors. Their powers are of the mind, not the body. ”
“They can read minds?” Clary said in a small voice.
“Among other things. They are among the most feared of all demon hunters. ”
“I don’t know,” said Simon, “it doesn’t sound so bad to me. I’d rather have someone mess around inside my head than chop it off. ”
“Then you’re a bigger idiot than you look,” said Jace, regarding him with scorn.
“Jace is right,” said Isabelle, ignoring Simon. “The Silent Brothers are really creepy. ”
Hodge’s hand was clenched on the table. “They are very powerful,” he said. “They walk in darkness and do not speak, but they can crack open a man’s mind the way you might crack open a walnut—and leave him screaming alone in the dark if that is what they desire. ”
Clary looked at Jace, appalled. “You want to give me to them?”
“I want them to help you. ” Jace leaned across the table, so close she could see the darker amber flecks in his light eyes. “Maybe we don’t get to look for the Cup,” he said softly. “Maybe the Clave will do that. But what’s in your mind belongs to you. Someone’s hidden secrets there, secrets you can’t see. Don’t you want to know the truth about your own life?”
“I don’t want someone else inside my head,” she said weakly. She knew he was right, but the idea of turning herself over to beings that even the Shadowhunters thought were creepy sent a chill through her blood.
“I’ll go with you,” said Jace. “I’ll stay with you while they do it. ”
“That’s enough. ” Simon had stood up from the table, red with anger. “Leave her alone. ”
Alec glanced over at Simon as if he’d just noticed him, raking tumbled black hair out of his eyes and blinking. “What are you still doing here, mundane?”
Simon ignored him. “I said, leave her alone. ”
Jace glanced over at him, a slow, sweetly poisonous glance. “Alec is right,” he said. “The Institute is sworn to shelter Shadowhunters, not their mundane friends. Especially when they’ve worn out their welcome. ”
Isabelle got up and took Simon’s arm. “I’ll show him out. ” For a moment it looked like he might resist her, but he caught Clary’s eye across the table as she shook her head slightly. He subsided. Head up, he let Isabelle lead him from the room.
Clary stood up. “I’m tired,” she said. “I want to go to sleep. ”
“You’ve hardly eaten anything—” Jace protested.
She brushed aside his reaching hand. “I’m not hungry. ”
It was cooler in the hallway than it had been in the kitchen. Clary leaned against the wall, pulling at her shirt, which was sticking to the cold sweat on her chest. Far down the hall she could see Isabelle’s and Simon’s retreating figures, swallowed up by shadows. She watched them go silently, a shivery odd feeling growing in the pit of her stomach. When had Simon become Isabelle’s responsibility, instead of hers? If there was one thing she was learning from all this, it was how easy it was to lose everything you had always thought you’d have forever.
The room was all gold and white, with high walls that gleamed like enamel, and a roof, high above, clear and glittering like diamonds. Clary wore a green velvet dress and carried a gold fan in her hand. Her hair, twisted into a knot that spilled curls, made her head feel strangely heavy every time she turned to look behind her.
“You see someone more interesting than me?” asked Simon. In the dream he was mysteriously an expert dancer. He steered her through the crowd as if she were a leaf caught in a river current. He was wearing all black, like a Shadowhunter, and it showed his coloring to good advantage: dark hair, lightly browned skin, white teeth. He’s handsome, Clary thought, with a jolt of surprise.
“There’s no one more interesting than you,” Clary said. “It’s just this place. I’ve never seen anything like it. ” She turned again as they passed a champagne fountain: an enormous silver dish, the centerpiece a mermaid with a jar pouring sparkling wine down her bare back. People were filling their glasses from the dish, laughing and talking. The mermaid turned her head as Clary passed, and smiled. The smile showed white teeth as sharp as a vampire’s.
“Welcome to the Glass City,” said a voice that wasn’t Simon’s. Clary found that Simon had disappeared and she was now dancing with Jace, who was wearing white, the material of his shirt a thin cotton; she could see the black Marks through it. There was a bronze chain around his throat, and his hair and eyes looked more gold than ever; she thought about how she would like to paint his portrait with the dull gold paint one sometimes saw in Russian icons.
“Where’s Simon?” she asked as they spun again around the champagne fountain. Clary saw Isabelle there, with Alec, both of them in royal blue. They were holding hands like Hansel and Gretel in the dark forest.
“This place is for the living,” said Jace. His hands were cool on hers, and she was aware of them in a way she had not been of Simon’s.
She narrowed her eyes at him. “What do you mean?”
He leaned close. She could feel his lips against her ear. They were not cool at all. “Wake up, Clary,” he whispered. “Wake up. Wake up. ”
She bolted upright in bed, gasping, hair plastered to her neck with cold sweat. Her wrists were held in a hard grip; she tried to pull away, then realized who was restraining her. “Jace?”
“Yeah. ” He was sitting on the edge of the bed—how had she gotten into a bed?—looking tousled and half-awake, with early morning hair and sleepy eyes.
“Let go of me. ”
“Sorry. ” His fingers slipped from her wrists. “You tried to hit me the second I said your name. ”
“I’m a little jumpy, I guess. ” She glanced around. She was in a small bedroom furnished in dark wood. By the quality of the faint light coming in through the half-open window, she guessed it was dawn, or just after. Her backpack was propped against one wall. “How did I get here? I don’t remember …”
“I found you asleep on the floor in the hallway. ” Jace sounded amused. “Hodge helped me get you into bed. Thought you’d be more comfortable in a guest room than in the infirmary. ”
“Wow. I don’t remember anything. ” She ran her hands through her hair, pushing draggled curls out of her eyes. “What time is it, anyway?”
“About five. ”
“In the morning?” She glared at him. “You’d better have a good reason for waking me up. ”
“Why, were you having a good dream?”
She could still hear music in her ears, feel the heavy jewels brushing her cheeks. “I don’t remember. ”
He stood up. “One of the Silent Brothers is here to see you. Hodge sent me to wake you up. Actually, he offered to wake you up himself, but since it’s five a. m. , I figured you’d be less cranky if you had something nice to look at. ”
“I didn’t agree to this, you know,” she snapped. “This Silent Brother thing. ”
“Do you want to find your mother,” he said, “or not?”
She stared at him.
“You just have to meet Brother Jeremiah. That’s all. You might even like him. He’s got a great sense of humor for a guy who never says anything. ”
She put her head in her hands. “Get out. Get out so I can change. ”
She swung her legs out of bed the moment the door shut behind him. Though it was barely dawn, humid heat was already beginning to gather in the room. She pushed the window shut and went into the bathroom to wash her face and rinse her mouth, which tasted like old paper.
Five minutes later she was sliding her feet into her green sneakers. She’d changed into cutoffs and a plain black T-shirt. If only her thin freckled legs looked more like Isabelle’s lanky smooth limbs. But it couldn’t be helped. She pulled her hair back into a ponytail and went to join Jace in the hallway.
Church was there with him, muttering and circling restlessly.
“What’s with the cat?” Clary asked.
“The Silent Brothers make him nervous. ”
“Sounds like they make everyone nervous. ”
Jace smiled thinly. Church meowed as they set off down the hall, but didn’t follow them. At least the thick stones of the cathedral walls still held some of the night’s chill: The corridors were dark and cool.
When they reached the library, Clary was surprised to see that the lamps were off. The library was lit only by the milky glow that filtered down through the high windows set into the vaulted roof. Hodge sat behind the enormous desk in a suit, his gray-streaked hair silvered by the dawn light. For a moment she thought he was alone in the room: that Jace had been playing a joke on her. Then she saw a figure move out of the dimness, and she realized that what she had thought was a patch of darker shadow was a man. A tall man in a heavy robe that fell from neck to foot, covering him completely. The hood of the robe was raised, hiding his face. The robe itself was the color of parchment, and the intricate runic designs along the hem and sleeves looked as if they had been inked there in drying blood. The hair rose along Clary’s arms and on the back of her neck, prickling almost painfully.
“This,” said Hodge, “is Brother Jeremiah of the Silent City. ”
The man came toward them, his heavy cloak swirling as he moved, and Clary realized what it was about him that was strange: He made no sound at all as he walked, not the slightest footstep. Even his cloak, which should have rustled, was silent. She would almost have wondered if he were a ghost—but no, she thought as he halted in front of them, there was a strange, sweet smell about him, like incense and blood, the smell of something living.
“And this, Jeremiah,” Hodge said, rising from his desk, “is the girl I wrote to you about. Clarissa Fray. ”
The hooded face turned slowly toward her. Clary felt cold to her fingertips. “Hello,” she said.
There was no reply.
“I decided you were right, Jace,” said Hodge.
“I was right,” said Jace. “I usually am. ”
Hodge ignored this. “I sent a letter to the Clave about all this last night, but Clary’s memories are her own. Only she can decide how she wants to deal with the contents of her own head. If she wants the help of the Silent Brothers, she should have that choice. ”
Clary said nothing. Dorothea had said there was a block in her mind, hiding something. Of course she wanted to know what it was. But the shadowy figure of the Silent Brother was so—well, silent. Silence itself seemed to flow from him like a dark tide, black and thick as ink. It chilled her bones.
Brother Jeremiah’s face was still turned toward her, nothing but darkness visible underneath his hood. This is Jocelyn’s daughter?
Clary gave a little gasp, stepping back. The words had echoed inside her head, as if she’d thought them herself—but she hadn’t.
“Yes,” said Hodge, and added quickly, “but her father was a mundane. ”
That does not matter, said Jeremiah. The blood of the Clave is dominant.
“Why did you call my mother Jocelyn?” said Clary, searching in vain for some sign of a face beneath the hood. “Did you know her?”
“The Brothers keep records on all members of the Clave,” explained Hodge. “Exhaustive records—”
“Not that exhaustive,” said Jace, “if they didn’t even know she was still alive. ”
It is likely that she had the assistance of a warlock in her disappearance. Most Shadowhunters cannot so easily escape the Clave. There was no emotion in Jeremiah’s voice; he sounded neither approving nor disapproving of Jocelyn’s actions.
“There’s something I don’t understand,” Clary said. “Why would Valentine think my mom had the Mortal Cup? If she went through so much trouble to disappear, like you said, then why would she bring it with her?”
“To keep him from getting his hands on it,” said Hodge. “She above all people would have known what would happen if Valentine had the Cup. And I imagine she didn’t trust the Clave to hold on to it. Not after Valentine got it away from them in the first place. ”
“I guess. ” Clary couldn’t keep the doubt from her voice. The whole thing seemed so unlikely. She tried to picture her mother fleeing under cover of darkness, with a big gold cup stashed in the pocket of her overalls, and failed.
“Jocelyn turned against her husband when she found out what he intended to do with the Cup,” said Hodge. “It’s not unreasonable to assume she would do everything in her power to keep the Cup from falling into his hands. The Clave themselves would have looked first to her if they’d thought she was still alive. ”
“It seems to me,” Clary said with an edge to her voice, “that no one the Clave thinks is dead is ever actually dead. Maybe they should invest in dental records. ”
“My father’s dead,” said Jace, the same edge in his voice. “I don’t need dental records to tell me that. ”
Clary turned on him in some exasperation. “Look, I didn’t mean—”
That is enough, interrupted Brother Jeremiah. There is truth to be learned here, if you are patient enough to listen to it.
With a quick gesture he raised his hands and drew the hood back from his face. Forgetting Jace, Clary fought the urge to cry out. The archivist’s head was bald, smooth and white as an egg, darkly indented where his eyes had once been. They were gone now. His lips were crisscrossed with a pattern of dark lines that resembled surgical stitches. She understood now what Isabelle had meant by mutilation.
The Brothers of the Silent City do not lie, said Jeremiah. If you want the truth from me, you shall have it, but I shall ask of you the same in return.
Clary lifted her chin. “I’m not a liar either. ”
The mind cannot lie. Jeremiah moved toward her. It is your memories I want.
The smell of blood and ink was stifling. Clary felt a wave of panic. “Wait—”
“Clary. ” It was Hodge, his tone gentle. “It’s entirely possible that there are memories you have buried or repressed, memories formed when you were too young to have a conscious recollection of them, that Brother Jeremiah can reach. It could help us a great deal. ”
She said nothing, biting the inside of her lip. She hated the idea of someone reaching inside her head, touching memories so private and hidden that even she couldn’t reach them.
“She doesn’t have to do anything she doesn’t want to do,” Jace said suddenly. “Does she?”
Clary interrupted Hodge before he could reply. “It’s all right. I’ll do it. ”
Brother Jeremiah nodded curtly, and moved toward her with the soundlessness that sent chills up her spine. “Will it hurt?” she whispered.
He didn’t reply, but his narrow white hands came up to touch her face. The skin of his fingers was thin as parchment paper, inked all over with runes. She could feel the power in them, jumping like static electricity to sting her skin. She closed her eyes, but not before she saw the anxious expression that crossed Hodge’s face.
Colors swirled up against the darkness behind her eyelids. She felt a pressure, a drawing pull in her head and hands and feet. She clenched her hands, straining against the weight, the blackness. She felt as if she were pressed up against something hard and unyielding, being slowly crushed. She heard herself gasp and went suddenly cold all over, cold as winter. In a flash she saw an icy street, gray buildings looming overhead, an explosion of whiteness stinging her face in freezing particles—
“That’s enough. ” Jace’s voice cut through the winter chill, and the falling snow vanished, a shower of white sparks. Clary’s eyes sprang open.
Slowly the library came back into focus—the book-lined walls, the anxious faces of Hodge and Jace. Brother Jeremiah stood unmoving, a carved idol of ivory and red ink. Clary became aware of the sharp pains in her hands, and glanced down to see red lines scored across her skin where her nails had dug in.
“Jace,” Hodge said reprovingly.
“Look at her hands. ” Jace gestured toward Clary, who curled her fingers in to cover her injured palms.
Hodge put a broad hand on her shoulder. “Are you all right?”
Slowly she moved her head in a nod. The crushing weight had gone, but she could feel the sweat that drenched her hair, pasted her shirt to her back like sticky tape.
There is a block in your mind, said Brother Jeremiah. Your memories cannot be reached.
“A block?” asked Jace. “You mean she’s repressed her memories?”
No. I mean they have been blocked from her conscious mind by a spell. I cannot break it here. She will have to come to the Bone City and stand before the Brotherhood.
“A spell?” said Clary incredulously. “Who would have put a spell on me?”
Nobody answered her. Jace looked at his tutor. He was surprisingly pale, Clary thought, considering that this had been his idea. “Hodge, she shouldn’t have to go if she doesn’t—”
“It’s all right. ” Clary took a deep breath. Her palms ached where her nails had cut them, and she wanted badly to lie down somewhere dark and rest. “I’ll go. I want to know the truth. I want to know what’s in my head. ”
Jace nodded once. “Fine. Then I’ll go with you. ”
Leaving the Institute was like climbing into a wet, hot canvas bag. Humid air pressed down on the city, turning the air to grimy soup. “I don’t see why we have to leave separately from Brother Jeremiah,” Clary grumbled. They were standing on the corner outside the Institute. The streets were deserted except for a garbage truck trundling slowly down the block. “What, is he embarrassed to be seen with Shadowhunters or something?”
“The Brotherhood are Shadowhunters,” Jace pointed out. Somehow he managed to look cool despite the heat. It made Clary want to smack him.
“I suppose he went to get his car?” she inquired sarcastically.
Jace grinned. “Something like that. ”
She shook her head. “You know, I’d feel a lot better about this if Hodge had come with us. ”
“What, I’m not protection enough for you?”
“It’s not protection I need right now—it’s someone who can help me think. ” Suddenly reminded, she clapped a hand over her mouth. “Oh—simon!”
“No, I’m Jace,” said Jace patiently. “Simon is the weaselly little one with the bad haircut and dismal fashion sense. ”
“Oh, shut up,” she replied, but it was more automatic than heartfelt. “I meant to call before I went to sleep. See if he got home okay. ”
Shaking his head, Jace regarded the heavens as if they were about to open up and reveal the secrets of the universe. “With everything that’s going on, you’re worried about Weasel Face?”
“Don’t call him that. He doesn’t look like a weasel. ”
“You may be right,” said Jace. “I’ve met an attractive weasel or two in my time. He looks more like a rat. ”
“He does not—”
“He’s probably at home lying in a puddle of his own drool. Just wait till Isabelle gets bored with him and you have to pick up the pieces. ”
“Is Isabelle likely to get bored with him?” Clary asked.
Jace thought about this. “Yes,” he said.
Clary wondered if perhaps Isabelle was smarter than Jace gave her credit for. Maybe she would realize what an amazing guy Simon was: how funny, how smart, how cool. Maybe they’d start dating. The idea filled her with a nameless horror.
Lost in thought, it took her several moments to realize that Jace had been saying something to her. When she blinked at him, she saw a wry grin spread across his face. “What?” she asked, ungraciously.
“I wish you’d stop desperately trying to get my attention like this,” he said. “It’s become embarrassing. ”
“Sarcasm is the last refuge of the imaginatively bankrupt,” she told him.
“I can’t help it. I use my rapier wit to hide my inner pain. ”
“Your pain will be outer soon if you don’t get out of traffic. Are you trying to get run over by a cab?”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” he said. “We could never get a cab that easily in this neighborhood. ”
As if on cue, a narrow black car with tinted windows rumbled up to the curb and paused in front of Jace, engine purring. It was long and sleek and low to the ground like a limousine, the windows curved outward.
Jace looked at her sideways; there was amusement in his glance, but also a certain urgency. She glanced at the car again, letting her gaze relax, letting the strength of what was real pierce the veil of glamour.
Now the car looked like Cinderella’s carriage, except instead of being pink and gold and blue like an Easter egg, it was black as velvet, its windows darkly tinted. The wheels were black, the leather trimmings all black. On the black metal driver’s bench sat Brother Jeremiah, holding a set of reins in his gloved hands. His face was hidden beneath the cowl of his parchment-colored robe. On the other end of the reins were two horses, black as smoke, snarling and pawing at the sky.
“Get in,” said Jace. When she continued to stand there gaping, he took her arm and half-pushed her in through the open door of the carriage, swinging himself up after her. The carriage began to move before he had closed the door behind them. He fell back in his seat—plush and glossily upholstered—and looked over at her. “A personal escort to the Bone City is nothing to turn your nose up at. ”
“I wasn’t turning my nose up. I was just surprised. I wasn’t expecting … I mean, I thought it was a car. ”
“Just relax,” said Jace. “Enjoy that new-carriage smell. ”
Clary rolled her eyes and turned to look out the windows. She would have thought that a horse and carriage wouldn’t have stood a chance in Manhattan traffic, but they were moving downtown easily, their soundless progression unnoticed by the snarl of taxis, buses, and SUVs that choked the avenue. In front of them a yellow cab switched lanes, cutting off their forward progress. Clary tensed, worried about the horses—then the carriage lurched upward as the horses sprang lightly to the top of the cab. She choked off a gasp. The carriage, rather than dragging along the ground, sailed up behind the horses, rolling lightly and soundlessly up and over the cab’s roof and down the other side. Clary glanced backward as the carriage hit the pavement again with a jolt—the cab driver was smoking and staring ahead, utterly oblivious. “I always thought cab drivers didn’t pay attention to traffic, but this is ridiculous,” she said weakly.
“Just because you can see through glamour now …” Jace let the end of the sentence hang delicately in the air between them.
“I can only see through it when I concentrate,” she said. “It hurts my head a little. ”
“I bet that’s because of the block in your mind. The Brothers will take care of that. ”
“Then you’ll see the world as it is—infinite,” said Jace with a dry smile.
“Don’t quote Blake at me. ”
The smile turned less dry. “I didn’t think you’d recognize it. You don’t strike me as someone who reads a lot of poetry. ”
“Everyone knows that quote because of the Doors. ”
Jace looked at her blankly.
“The Doors. They were a band. ”
“If you say so,” he said.
“I suppose you don’t have much time for enjoying music,” Clary said, thinking of Simon, for whom music was his entire life, “in your line of work. ”
He shrugged. “Maybe the occasional wailing chorus of the damned. ”
Clary looked at him quickly, to see if he was joking, but he was expressionless.
“But you were playing the piano yesterday,” she began, “at the Institute. So you must—”
The carriage lurched upward again. Clary grabbed at the edge of her seat and stared—they were rolling along the top of a downtown M1 bus. From this vantage point she could see the upper floors of the old apartment buildings that lined the avenue, elaborately carved with gargoyles and ornamental cornices.
“I was just messing around,” said Jace, without looking at her. “My father insisted I learn to play an instrument. ”
“He sounds strict, your father. ”
Jace’s tone was sharp. “Not at all. He indulged me. He taught me everything—weapons training, demonology, arcane lore, ancient languages. He gave me anything I wanted. Horses, weapons, books, even a hunting falcon. ”
But weapons and books aren’t exactly what most kids want for Christmas, Clary thought as the carriage thunked back down to the pavement. “Why didn’t you mention to Hodge that you knew the men that Luke was talking to? That they were the ones who killed your dad?”
Jace looked down at his hands. They were slim and careful hands, the hands of an artist, not a warrior. The ring she had noticed earlier flashed on his finger. She would have thought there would have been something feminine about a boy wearing a ring, but there wasn’t. The ring itself was solid and heavy-looking, made of a dark burned-looking silver with a pattern of stars around the band. The letter W was carved into it. “Because if I did,” he said, “he’d know I wanted to kill Valentine myself. And he’d never let me try. ”
“You mean you want to kill him for revenge?”
“For justice,” said Jace. “I never knew who killed my father. Now I do. This is my chance to make it right. ”
Clary didn’t see how killing one person could make right the death of another, but she sensed there was no point saying that. “But you knew who killed him,” she said. “It was those men. You said …”
Jace wasn’t looking at her, so Clary let her voice trail off. They were rolling through Astor Place now, narrowly dodging a purple New York University tram as it cut through traffic. Passing pedestrians looked crushed by the heavy air, like insects pinned under glass. Some groups of homeless kids were crowded around the base of a big brass statue, folded cardboard signs asking for money propped up in front of them. Clary saw a girl about her own age with a smoothly shaved bald head leaning against a brown-skinned boy with dreadlocks, his face adorned with a dozen piercings. He turned his head as the carriage rolled by as if he could see it, and she caught the gleam of his eyes. One of them was clouded, as though it had no pupil.
“I was ten,” Jace said. She turned to look at him. He was without expression. It always seemed like some color drained out of him when he talked about his father. “We lived in a manor house, out in the country. My father always said it was safer away from people. I heard them coming up the drive and went to tell him. He told me to hide, so I hid. Under the stairs. I saw those men come in. They had others with them. Not men. Forsaken. They overpowered my father and cut his throat. The blood ran across the floor. It soaked my shoes. I didn’t move. ”
It took a moment for Clary to realize he was done speaking, and another to find her voice. “I’m so sorry, Jace. ”
His eyes gleamed in the darkness. “I don’t understand why mundanes always apologize for things that aren’t their fault. ”
“I’m not apologizing. It’s a way of—empathizing. Of saying that I’m sorry you’re unhappy. ”
“I’m not unhappy,” he said. “Only people with no purpose are unhappy. I’ve got a purpose. ”
“Do you mean killing demons, or getting revenge for your father’s death?”
“Would your father really want you to kill those men? Just for revenge?”
“A Shadowhunter who kills another of his brothers is worse than a demon and should be put down like one,” Jace said, sounding as if he were reciting the words from a textbook.
“But are all demons evil?” she said. “I mean, if all vampires aren’t evil, and all werewolves aren’t evil, maybe—”
Jace turned on her, looking exasperated. “It’s not the same thing at all. Vampires, werewolves, even warlocks, they’re part human. Part of this world, born in it. They belong here. But demons come from other worlds. They’re interdimensional parasites. They come to a world and use it up. They can’t build, just destroy—they can’t make, only use. They drain a place to ashes and when it’s dead, they move on to the next one. It’s life they want—not just your life or mine, but all the life of this world, its rivers and cities, its oceans, its everything. And the only thing that stands between them and the destruction of all this”—he pointed outside the window of the carriage, waving his hand as if he meant to indicate everything in the city from the skyscrapers uptown to the clog of traffic on Houston Street—“is the Nephilim. ”
“Oh,” Clary said. There didn’t seem to be much else to say. “How many other worlds are there?”
“No one knows. Hundreds? Millions, maybe. ”
“And they’re all—dead worlds? Used up?” Clary felt her stomach drop, though it might have been only the jolt as they rolled up and over a purple Mini. “That seems so sad. ”
“I didn’t say that. ” The dark orangey light of city haze spilled in through the window, outlining his sharp profile. “There are probably other living worlds like ours. But only demons can travel between them. Because they’re mostly noncorporeal, partly, but nobody knows exactly why. Plenty of warlocks have tried it, and it’s never worked. Nothing from Earth can pass through the wardings between the worlds. If we could,” he added, “we might be able to block them from coming here, but nobody’s even been able to figure out how to do that. In fact, more and more of them are coming through. There used to be only small demon invasions into this world, easily contained. But even in my lifetime more and more of them have spilled in through the wardings. The Clave is always having to dispatch Shadowhunters, and a lot of times they don’t come back. ”
“But if you had the Mortal Cup, you could make more, right? More demon hunters?” Clary asked tentatively.
“Sure,” Jace said. “But we haven’t had the Cup for years now, and a lot of us die young. So our numbers slowly dwindle. ”
“Aren’t you, uh …” Clary searched for the right word. “Reproducing?”
Jace burst out laughing just as the carriage made a sudden, sharp left turn. He braced himself, but Clary was thrown against him. He caught her, hands holding her lightly but firmly away from him. She felt the cool impress of his ring like a sliver of ice against her sweaty skin. “Sure,” he said. “We love reproducing. It’s one of our favorite things. ”
Clary pulled away from him, her face burning in the darkness, and turned to look out the window. They were rolling toward a heavy wrought-iron gate, trellised with dark vines.
“We’re here,” announced Jace as the smooth roll of wheels over pavement turned to the jounce of cobblestones. Clary glimpsed words across the arch as they rolled under it: NEW YORK CITY MARBLE CEMETERY.
“But they stopped burying people in Manhattan a century ago because they ran out of room—didn’t they?” she said. They were moving down a narrow alley with high stone walls on either side.
“The Bone City has been here longer than that. ” The carriage came to a shuddering halt. Clary jumped as Jace stretched his arm out, but he was only reaching past her to open the door on her side. His arm was lightly muscled and downed with golden hairs fine as pollen.
“You don’t get a choice, do you?” she asked. “About being a Shadowhunter. You can’t just opt out. ”
“No,” he said. The door swung open, letting in a blast of muggy air. The carriage had drawn to a stop on a wide square of green grass surrounded by mossy marble walls. “But if I had a choice, this is still what I’d choose. ”
“Why?” she asked.
He raised an eyebrow, which made Clary instantly jealous. She’d always wanted to be able to do that. “Because,” he said. “It’s what I’m good at. ”
He jumped down from the carriage. Clary slid to the edge of her seat, dangling her legs. It was a long drop to the cobblestones. She jumped. The impact stung her feet, but she didn’t fall. She swung around in triumph to find Jace watching her. “I would have helped you down,” he said.
She blinked. “It’s okay. You didn’t have to. ”
He glanced behind him. Brother Jeremiah was descending from his perch behind the horses in a silent fall of robes. He cast no shadow on the sun-baked grass.
Come, he said. He glided away from the carriage and the comforting lights of Second Avenue, moving toward the dark center of the garden. It was clear that he expected them to follow.
The grass was dry and crackling underfoot, the marble walls to either side smooth and pearly. There were names carved into the stone of the walls, names and dates. It took Clary a moment to realize that they were grave markers. A chill scraped up her spine. Where were the bodies? In the walls, buried upright as if they’d been walled in alive …?
She had forgotten to look where she was going. When she collided with something unmistakably alive, she yelped out loud.
It was Jace. “Don’t screech like that. You’ll wake the dead. ”
She frowned at him. “Why are we stopping?”
He pointed at Brother Jeremiah, who had come to a halt in front of a statue just slightly taller than he was, its base overgrown with moss. The statue was of an angel. The marble of the statue was so smooth it was almost translucent. The face of the angel was fierce and beautiful and sad. In long white hands the angel held a cup, its rim studded with marble jewels. Something about the statue tickled Clary’s memory with an uneasy familiarity. There was a date inscribed on the base, 1234, and words inscribed around it: NEPHILIM: FACILIS DESCENSUS AVERNO.
“Is that meant to be the Mortal Cup?” she asked.
Jace nodded. “And that’s the motto of the Nephilim—the Shadowhunters—there on the base. ”
“What does it mean?”
Jace’s grin was a white flash in the darkness. “It means ‘Shadowhunters: Looking Better in Black Than the Widows of our Enemies Since 1234. ’”
It means, said Jeremiah, “The descent into Hell is easy. ”
“Nice and cheery,” said Clary, but a shiver passed over her skin despite the heat.
“It’s the Brothers’ little joke, having that here,” said Jace. “You’ll see. ”
She looked at Brother Jeremiah. He had drawn a stele, faintly glowing, from some inner pocket of his robe, and with the tip he traced the pattern of a rune on the statue’s base. The mouth of the stone angel suddenly gaped wide in a silent scream, and a yawning black hole opened in the grassy turf at Jeremiah’s feet. It looked like an open grave.
Slowly Clary approached the edge of it and peered inside. A set of granite steps led down into the hole, their edges worn soft by years of use. Torches were set along the steps at intervals, flaring hot green and icy blue. The bottom of the stairs was lost in darkness.
Jace took the stairs with the ease of someone who finds a situation familiar if not exactly comfortable. Halfway to the first torch, he paused and looked up at her. “Come on,” he said impatiently.
Clary had barely set her foot on the first step when she felt her arm caught in a cold grip. She looked up in astonishment. Brother Jeremiah was holding her wrist, his icy white fingers digging into the skin. She could see the bony gleam of his scarred face beneath the edge of his cowl.
Do not fear, said his voice inside her head. It would take more than a single human cry to wake these dead.
When he released her arm, she skittered down the stairs after Jace, her heart pounding against her ribs. He was waiting for her at the foot of the steps. He’d taken one of the green burning torches out of its bracket and was holding it at eye level. It lent a pale green cast to his skin. “You all right?”
She nodded, not trusting herself to speak. The stairs ended in a shallow landing; ahead of them stretched a tunnel, long and black, ridged with the curling roots of trees. A faint bluish light was visible at the tunnel’s end. “It’s so … dark,” she said lamely.
“You want me to hold your hand?”
Clary put both her hands behind her back like a small child. “Don’t talk down to me. ”
“Well, I could hardly talk up to you. You’re too short. ” Jace glanced past her, the torch showering sparks as he moved. “No need to stand on ceremony, Brother Jeremiah,” he drawled. “Lead on. We’ll be right behind you. ”
Clary jumped. She still wasn’t used to the archivist’s silent comings and goings. He moved noiselessly from where he had been standing behind her and headed into the tunnel. After a moment she followed, knocking Jace’s outstretched hand aside as she went.
Clary’s first sight of the Silent City was of row upon row of tall marble arches that rose overhead, disappearing into the distance like the orderly rows of trees in an orchard. The marble itself was a pure, ashy ivory, hard and polished-looking, inset in places with narrow strips of onyx, jasper, and jade. As they moved away from the tunnel and toward the forest of arches, Clary saw that the floor was inscribed with the same runes that sometimes decorated Jace’s skin with lines and whorls and swirling patterns.
As the three of them passed through the first arch, something large and white loomed up on her left side, like an iceberg off the bow of the Titanic. It was a block of white stone, smooth and square, with a sort of door inset into the front. It reminded her of a child-size playhouse, almost but not quite big enough for her to stand up inside.
“It’s a mausoleum,” said Jace, directing a flash of torchlight at it. Clary could see that a rune was carved into the door, which was sealed shut with bolts of iron. “A tomb. We bury our dead here. ”
“All your dead?” she said, half-wanting to ask him if his father was buried here, but he had already moved ahead, out of earshot. She hurried after him, not wanting to be alone with Brother Jeremiah in this spooky place. “I thought you said this was a library. ”
There are many levels to the Silent City, interjected Jeremiah. And not all the dead are buried here. There is another ossuary in Idris, of course, much larger. But on this level are the mausoleums and the place of burning.
“The place of burning?”
Those who die in battle are burned, their ashes used to make the marble arches that you see here. The blood and bone of demon slayers is itself a powerful protection against evil. Even in death, the Clave serves the cause.
How exhausting, Clary thought, to fight all your life and then be expected to continue that fight even when your life was over. At the edges of her vision she could see the square white vaults rising on either side of her in orderly rows of tombs, each door locked from the outside. She understood now why this was called the Silent City: Its only inhabitants were the mute Brothers and the dead they so zealously guarded.
They had reached another staircase leading down into more twilight; Jace thrust the torch ahead of him, streaking the walls with shadows. “We’re going to the second level, where the archives and the council rooms are,” he said, as if to reassure her.
“Where are the living quarters?” Clary asked, partly to be polite, partly out of a real curiosity. “Where do the Brothers sleep?”
The silent word hung in the darkness between them. Jace laughed, and the flame of the torch he held flickered. “You had to ask. ”
At the foot of the stairs was another tunnel, which widened out at the end into a square pavilion, each corner of which was marked by a spire of carved bone. Torches burned in long onyx holders along the sides of the square, and the air smelled of ashes and smoke. In the center of the pavilion was a long table of black basalt veined in white. Behind the table, against the dark wall, hung an enormous silver sword, point down, its hilt carved in the shape of outspread wings. Seated at the table was a row of Silent Brothers, each wrapped and cowled in the same parchment-colored robes as Jeremiah.
Jeremiah wasted no time. We have arrived. Clarissa, stand before the Council.
Clary glanced at Jace, but he was blinking, clearly confused. Brother Jeremiah must have spoken only inside her head. She looked at the table, at the long row of silent figures muffled in their heavy robes. Alternating squares made up the pavilion floor: golden bronze and a darker red. Just in front of the table was a larger square, made of black marble and embossed with a parabolic design of silver stars.
Clary stepped into the center of the black square as if she were stepping in front of a firing squad. She raised her head. “All right,” she said. “Now what?”
The Brothers made a sound then, a sound that raised the hairs up all along Clary’s neck and the backs of her arms. It was a sound like a sigh or a groan. In unison they raised their hands and pushed their cowls back, baring their scarred faces and the pits of their empty eyes.
Though she had seen Brother Jeremiah’s uncovered face already, Clary’s stomach knotted. It was like looking at a row of skeletons, like one of those medieval woodcuts where the dead walked and talked and danced on the piled bodies of the living. Their stitched mouths seemed to grin at her.
The Council greets you, Clarissa Fray, she heard, and it was not just one silent voice inside her head but a dozen, some low and rough, some smooth and monotone, but all were demanding, insistent, pushing at the fragile barriers around her mind.
“Stop,” she said, and to her astonishment her voice came out firm and strong. The din inside her mind ceased as suddenly as a record that had stopped spinning. “You can go inside my head,” she said, “but only when I’m ready. ”
If you do not want our help, there is no need for this. You are the one who asked for our assistance, after all.
“You want to know what’s in my mind, just like I do,” she said. “That doesn’t mean you can’t be careful about it. ”
The Brother who sat in the center seat templed his thin white fingers beneath his chin. It is an interesting puzzle, admittedly, he said, and the voice inside her mind was dry and neutral. But there is no need for the use of force, if you do not resist.
She gritted her teeth. She wanted to resist them, wanted to pry those intrusive voices out of her head. To stand by and allow such a violation of her most intimate, personal self—
But there was every chance that had already happened, she reminded herself. This was nothing more than the excavation of a past crime, the theft of her memory. If it worked, what had been taken from her would be restored. She closed her eyes.
“Go ahead,” she said.
The first contact came as a whisper inside her head, delicate as the brush of a falling leaf. State your name for the Council.
The first voice was joined by others. Who are you?
I’m Clary. My mother is Jocelyn Fray. I live at 807 Berkeley Place in Brooklyn. I am fifteen years old. My father’s name was—
Her mind seemed to snap in on itself, like a rubber band, and she reeled soundlessly into a whirlwind of images cast against the insides of her closed eyelids. Her mother was hurrying her down a night-black street between piles of heaped and dirty snow. Then a lowering sky, gray and leaden, rows of black trees stripped bare. An empty square cut into the earth, a plain coffin lowered into it. Ashes to ashes. Jocelyn wrapped in her patchwork quilt, tears spilling down her cheeks, quickly closing a box and shoving it under a cushion as Clary came into the room. She saw the initials on the box again: J. C.
The images came faster now, like the pages of one of those books where the drawings seemed to move when you flipped them. Clary stood on top of a flight of stairs, looking down a narrow corridor, and there was Luke again, his green duffel bag at his feet. Jocelyn stood in front of him, shaking her head. “Why now, Lucian? I thought that you were dead …” Clary blinked; Luke looked different, almost a stranger, bearded, his hair long and tangled—and branches came down to block her view; she was in the park again, and green faeries, tiny as toothpicks, buzzed among the red flowers. She reached for one in delight, and her mother swung her up into her arms with a cry of terror. Then it was winter on the black street again, and they were hurrying, huddled under an umbrella, Jocelyn half-pushing and half-dragging Clary between the looming banks of snow. A granite doorway loomed up out of the falling whiteness; there were words carved above the door: THE MAGNIFICENT. Then she was standing inside an entryway that smelled of iron and melting snow. Her fingers were numb with cold. A hand under her chin directed her to look up, and she saw a row of words scrawled along the wall. Two words leaped out at her, burning into her eyes: MAGNUS BANE.
A sudden pain lanced through her right arm. She shrieked as the images fell away and she spun upward, breaking the surface of consciousness like a diver breaking up through a wave. There was something cold pressed against her cheek. She pried her eyes open and saw silver stars. She blinked twice before she realized that she was lying on the marble floor, her knees curled up to her chest. When she moved, hot pain shot up her arm.
She sat up gingerly. The skin over her left elbow was split and bleeding. She must have landed on it when she fell. There was blood on her shirt. She looked around, disoriented, and saw Jace looking at her, unmoving but very tense around the mouth.
Magnus Bane. The words meant something, but what? Before she could ask the question aloud, Jeremiah interrupted her.
The block inside your mind is stronger than we had anticipated, he said. It can be safely undone only by the one who put it there. For us to remove it would be to kill you.
She scrambled to her feet, cradling her injured arm. “But I don’t know who put it there. If I knew that, I wouldn’t have come here. ”
The answer to that is woven into the thread of your thoughts, said Brother Jeremiah. In your waking dream you saw it written.
“Magnus Bane? But—that’s not even a name!”
It is enough. Brother Jeremiah got to his feet. As if this were a signal, the rest of the Brothers rose alongside him. They inclined their heads toward Jace, a gesture of silent acknowledgment, before they filed away among the pillars and were gone. Only Brother Jeremiah remained. He watched impassively as Jace hurried over to Clary.
“Is your arm all right? Let me see,” he demanded, seizing her wrist.
“Ouch! It’s fine. Don’t do that; you’re making it worse,” Clary said, trying to pull away.
“You bled on the Speaking Stars,” he said. Clary looked and saw that he was right: There was a smear of her blood on the white and silver marble. “I bet there’s a law somewhere about that. ” He turned her arm over, more gently than she would have thought he was capable of. He caught his lower lip between his teeth and whistled; she glanced down and saw that a glove of blood covered her lower arm from the elbow to the wrist. The arm was throbbing, stiff, and painful.
“Is this when you start tearing strips off your T-shirt to bind up my wound?” she joked. She hated the sight of blood, especially her own.
“If you wanted me to rip my clothes off, you should have just asked. ” He dug into his pocket and brought out his stele. “It would have been a lot less painful. ”
Remembering the stinging sensation when the stele had touched her wrist, she braced herself, but all she felt as the glowing instrument glided lightly over her injury was a faint warmth. “There,” he said, straightening up. Clary flexed her arm in wonder—though the blood was still there, the wound was gone, as were the pain and stiffness. “And next time you’re planning to injure yourself to get my attention, just remember that a little sweet talk works wonders. ”
Clary felt her mouth twitch into a smile. “I’ll keep that in mind,” she said. And as he turned away, she added, “And thanks. ”
He slid the stele into his back pocket without turning to look at her, but she thought she saw a certain gratification in the set of his shoulders. “Brother Jeremiah,” he said, rubbing his hands together, “you’ve been very quiet all this time. Surely you have some thoughts you’d like to share?”
I am charged with leading you from the Silent City, and that is all, said the archivist. Clary wondered if she were imagining it, or if there was actually a faintly affronted tone to his “voice. ”
“We could always show ourselves out,” Jace suggested hopefully. “I’m sure I remember the way—”
The marvels of the Silent City are not for the eyes of the uninitiated, said Jeremiah, and he turned his back on them with a soundless swish of robes. This way.
When they emerged into the open, Clary took deep breaths of the thick morning air, relishing the city stench of smog, dirt, and humanity. Jace looked around thoughtfully. “It’s going to rain,” he said.
He was right, Clary thought, looking up at the iron-gray sky. “Are we taking a carriage back to the Institute?”
Jace looked from Brother Jeremiah, still as a statue, to the carriage, looming like a black shadow in the archway that led to the street. Then he broke into a grin.
“No way,” he said. “I hate those things. Let’s hail a cab.”