Chapter 5: CLAVE AND COVENANT
“DO YOU THINK SHE’LL EVER WAKE UP? IT’S BEEN THREE days already. ”
“You have to give her time. Demon poison is strong stuff, and she’s a mundane. She hasn’t got runes to keep her strong like we do. ”
“Mundies die awfully easily, don’t they?”
“Isabelle, you know it’s bad luck to talk about death in a sickroom. ”
Three days, Clary thought slowly. All her thoughts ran as thickly and slowly as blood or honey. I have to wake up.
But she couldn’t.
The dreams held her, one after the other, a river of images that bore her along like a leaf tossed in a current. She saw her mother lying in a hospital bed, eyes like bruises in her white face. She saw Luke, standing atop a pile of bones. Jace with white feathered wings sprouting out of his back, Isabelle sitting naked with her whip curled around her like a net of gold rings, Simon with crosses burned into the palms of his hands. Angels, falling and burning. Falling out of the sky.
* * *
“I told you it was the same girl. ”
“I know. Little thing, isn’t she? Jace said she killed a Ravener. ”
“Yeah. I thought she was a pixie the first time we saw her. She’s not pretty enough to be a pixie, though. ”
“Well, nobody looks their best with demon poison in their veins. Is Hodge going to call on the Brothers?”
“I hope not. They give me the creeps. Anyone who mutilates themselves like that—”
“We mutilate ourselves. ”
“I know, Alec, but when we do it, it isn’t permanent. And it doesn’t always hurt …. ”
“If you’re old enough. Speaking of which, where is Jace? He saved her, didn’t he? I would have thought he’d take some interest in her recovery. ”
“Hodge said he hasn’t been to see her since he brought her here. I guess he doesn’t care. ”
“Sometimes I wonder if he—Look! She moved!”
“I guess she’s alive after all. ” A sigh. “I’ll tell Hodge. ”
Clary’s eyelids felt as if they had been sewed shut. She imagined she could feel tearing skin as she peeled them slowly open and blinked for the first time in three days.
She saw clear blue sky above her, white puffy clouds and chubby angels with gilded ribbons trailing from their wrists. Am I dead? she wondered. Could heaven actually look like this? She squeezed her eyes shut and opened them again: This time she realized that what she was staring at was an arched wooden ceiling, painted with a rococo motif of clouds and cherubs.
Painfully she hauled herself into a sitting position. Every part of her ached, especially the back of her neck. She glanced around. She was tucked into a linen-sheeted bed, one of a long row of similar beds with metal headboards. Her bed had a small nightstand beside it with a white pitcher and cup on it. Lace curtains were pulled across the windows, blocking the light, although she could hear the faint, ever-present New York sounds of traffic coming from outside.
“So, you’re finally awake,” said a dry voice. “Hodge will be pleased. We all thought you’d probably die in your sleep. ”
Clary turned. Isabelle was perched on the next bed, her long jet-black hair wound into two thick braids that fell past her waist. Her white dress had been replaced by jeans and a tight blue tank top, though the red pendant still winked at her throat. Her dark spiraling tattoos were gone; her skin was as unblemished as the surface of a bowl of cream.
“Sorry to disappoint you. ” Clary’s voice rasped like sandpaper. “Is this the Institute?”
Isabelle rolled her eyes. “Is there anything Jace didn’t tell you?”
Clary coughed. “This is the Institute, right?”
“Yes. You’re in the infirmary, not that you haven’t figured that out already. ”
A sudden, stabbing pain made Clary clutch at her stomach. She gasped.
Isabelle looked at her in alarm. “Are you okay?”
The pain was fading, but Clary was aware of an acid feeling in the back of her throat and a strange light-headedness. “My stomach. ”
“Oh, right. I almost forgot. Hodge said to give you this when you woke up. ” Isabelle grabbed for the ceramic pitcher and poured some of the contents into the matching cup, which she handed to Clary. It was full of a cloudy liquid that steamed slightly. It smelled like herbs and something else, something rich and dark. “You haven’t eaten anything in three days,” Isabelle pointed out. “That’s probably why you feel sick. ”
Clary gingerly took a sip. It was delicious, rich and satisfying with a buttery aftertaste. “What is this?”
Isabelle shrugged. “One of Hodge’s tisanes. They always work. ” She slid off the bed, landing on the floor with a catlike arch of her back. “I’m Isabelle Lightwood, by the way. I live here. ”
“I know your name. I’m Clary. Clary Fray. Did Jace bring me here?”
Isabelle nodded. “Hodge was furious. You got ichor and blood all over the carpet in the entryway. If he’d done it while my parents were here, he’d have gotten grounded for sure. ” She looked at Clary more narrowly. “Jace said you killed that Ravener demon all by yourself. ”
A quick image of the scorpion thing with its crabbed, evil face flashed through Clary’s mind; she shuddered and clutched the cup more tightly. “I guess I did. ”
“But you’re a mundie. ”
“Amazing, isn’t it?” Clary said, savoring the look of thinly disguised amazement on Isabelle’s face. “Where is Jace? Is he around?”
Isabelle shrugged. “Somewhere,” she said. “I should go tell everyone you’re up. Hodge’ll want to talk to you. ”
“Hodge is Jace’s tutor, right?”
“Hodge tutors us all. ” She pointed. “The bathroom’s through there, and I hung some of my old clothes on the towel rack in case you want to change. ”
Clary went to take another sip from the cup and found that it was empty. She no longer felt hungry or light-headed either, which was a relief. She set the cup down and hugged the sheet around herself. “What happened to my clothes?”
“They were covered in blood and poison. Jace burned them. ”
“Did he?” asked Clary. “Tell me, is he always really rude, or does he save that for mundanes?”
“Oh, he’s rude to everyone,” said Isabelle airily. “It’s what makes him so damn sexy. That, and he’s killed more demons than anyone else his age. ”
Clary looked at her, perplexed. “Isn’t he your brother?”
That got Isabelle’s attention. She laughed out loud. “Jace? My brother? No. Whatever gave you that idea?”
“Well, he lives here with you,” Clary pointed out. “Doesn’t he?”
Isabelle nodded. “Well, yes, but …”
“Why doesn’t he live with his own parents?”
For a fleeting moment Isabelle looked uncomfortable. “Because they’re dead. ”
Clary’s mouth opened in surprise. “Did they die in an accident?”
“No. ” Isabelle fidgeted, pushing a dark lock of hair behind her left ear. “His mother died when he was born. His father was murdered when he was ten. Jace saw the whole thing. ”
“Oh,” Clary said, her voice small. “Was it …demons?”
Isabelle got to her feet. “Look, I’d better let everyone know you’ve woken up. They’ve been waiting for you to open your eyes for three days. Oh, and there’s soap in the bathroom,” she added. “You might want to clean up a little. You smell. ”
Clary glared at her. “Thanks a lot. ”
“Any time. ”
Isabelle’s clothes looked ridiculous. Clary had to roll the legs on the jeans up several times before she stopped tripping on them, and the plunging neckline of the red tank top only emphasized her lack of what Eric would have called a “rack. ”
She cleaned up in the small bathroom, using a bar of hard lavender soap. Drying herself with a white hand towel left damp hair straggling around her face in fragrant tangles. She squinted at her reflection in the mirror. There was a purpling bruise high up on her left cheek, and her lips were dry and swollen.
I have to call Luke, she thought. Surely there was a phone around here somewhere. Maybe they’d let her use it after she talked to Hodge.
She found her Skechers placed neatly at the foot of her infirmary bed, her keys tied into the laces. Sliding her feet into them, she took a deep breath and left to find Isabelle.
The corridor outside the infirmary was empty. Clary glanced down it, perplexed. It looked like the sort of hallway she sometimes found herself racing down in nightmares, shadowy and infinite. Glass lamps blown into the shapes of roses hung at intervals on the walls, and the air smelled like dust and candle wax.
In the distance she could hear a faint and delicate noise, like wind chimes shaken by a storm. She set off down the corridor slowly, trailing a hand along the wall. The Victorian-looking wallpaper was faded with age, burgundy and pale gray. Each side of the corridor was lined with closed doors.
The sound she was following grew louder. Now she could identify it as the sound of a piano being played with desultory but undeniable skill, though she couldn’t identify the tune.
Turning the corner, she came to a doorway, the door propped fully open. Peering in she saw what was clearly a music room. A grand piano stood in one corner, and rows of chairs were arranged against the far wall. A covered harp occupied the center of the room.
Jace was seated at the grand piano, his slender hands moving rapidly over the keys. He was barefoot, dressed in jeans and a gray T-shirt, his tawny hair ruffled up around his head as if he’d just woken up. Watching the quick, sure movements of his hands across the keys, Clary remembered how it had felt to be lifted up by those hands, his arms holding her up and the stars hurtling down around her head like a rain of silver tinsel.
She must have made some noise, because he twisted around on the stool, blinking into the shadows. “Alec?” he said. “Is that you?”
“It’s not Alec. It’s me. ” She stepped farther into the room. “Clary. ”
Piano keys jangled as he got to his feet. “Our own Sleeping Beauty. Who finally kissed you awake?”
“Nobody. I woke up on my own. ”
“Was there anyone with you?”
“Isabelle, but she went off to get someone—Hodge, I think. She told me to wait, but—”
“I should have warned her about your habit of never doing what you’re told. ” Jace squinted at her. “Are those Isabelle’s clothes? They look ridiculous on you. ”
“I could point out that you burned my clothes. ”
“It was purely precautionary. ” He slid the gleaming black piano cover closed. “Come on, I’ll take you to Hodge. ”
The Institute was huge, a vast cavernous space that looked less like it had been designed according to a floor plan and more like it had been naturally hollowed out of rock by the passage of water and years. Through half-open doors Clary glimpsed countless identical small rooms, each with a stripped bed, a nightstand, and a large wooden wardrobe standing open. Pale arches of stone held up the high ceilings, many of the arches intricately carved with small figures. She noticed certain repeating motifs: angels and swords, suns and roses.
“Why does this place have so many bedrooms?” Clary asked. “I thought it was a research institute. ”
“This is the residential wing. We’re pledged to offer safety and lodging to any Shadowhunter who requests it. We can house up to two hundred people here. ”
“But most of these rooms are empty. ”
“People come and go. Nobody stays for long. Usually it’s just us: Alec, Isabelle, Max, their parents—and me and Hodge. ”
“You met the beauteous Isabelle? Alec is her elder brother. Max is the youngest, but he’s overseas with his parents. ”
“Not exactly. ” Jace hesitated. “You can think of them as—as foreign diplomats, and of this as an embassy, of sorts. Right now they’re in the Shadowhunter home country, working out some very delicate peace negotiations. They brought Max with them because he’s so young. ”
“Shadowhunter home country?” Clary’s head was spinning. “What’s it called?”
“I’ve never heard of it. ”
“You wouldn’t have. ” That irritating superiority was back in his voice. “Mundanes don’t know about it. There are wardings—protective spells—up all over the borders. If you tried to cross into Idris, you’d simply find yourself transported instantly from one border to the next. You’d never know what happened. ”
“So it’s not on any maps?”
“Not mundie ones. For our purposes you can consider it a small country between Germany and France. ”
“But there isn’t anything between Germany and France. Except Switzerland. ”
“Precisely,” said Jace.
“I take it you’ve been there. To Idris, I mean. ”
“I grew up there. ” Jace’s voice was neutral, but something in his tone let her know that more questions in that direction would not be welcome. “Most of us do. There are, of course, Shadowhunters all over the world. We have to be everywhere, because demonic activity is everywhere. But to a Shadowhunter, Idris is always ‘home. ’”
“Like Mecca or Jerusalem,” said Clary, thoughtfully. “So most of you are brought up there, and then when you grow up—”
“We’re sent where we’re needed,” said Jace shortly. “And there are a few, like Isabelle and Alec, who grow up away from the home country because that’s where their parents are. With all the resources of the Institute here, with Hodge’s training—” He broke off. “This is the library. ”
They had reached an arch-shaped set of wooden doors. A blue Persian cat with yellow eyes lay curled in front of them. It raised its head as they approached and yowled. “Hey, Church,” Jace said, stroking the cat’s back with a bare foot. The cat slit its eyes in pleasure.
“Wait,” said Clary. “Alec and Isabelle and Max—they’re the only Shadowhunters your age that you know, that you spend time with?”
Jace stopped stroking the cat. “Yes. ”
“That must get kind of lonely. ”
“I have everything I need. ” He pushed the doors open. After a moment’s hesitation she followed him inside.
The library was circular, with a ceiling that tapered to a point, as if it had been built inside a tower. The walls were lined with books, the shelves so high that tall ladders set on casters were placed along them at intervals. These were no ordinary books either—these were books bound in leather and velvet, clasped with sturdy-looking locks and hinges made of brass and silver. Their spines were studded with dully glowing jewels and illuminated with gold script. They looked worn in a way that made it clear that these books were not just old but were well used, and had been loved.
The floor was polished wood, inlaid with chips of glass and marble and bits of semiprecious stone. The inlay formed a pattern that Clary couldn’t quite decipher—it might have been the constellations, or even a map of the world; she suspected she’d have to climb up into the tower and look down in order to see it properly.
In the center of the room sat a magnificent desk. It was carved from a single slab of wood, a great, heavy piece of oak that gleamed with the dull shine of years. The slab rested upon the backs of two angels, carved from the same wood, their wings gilded and their faces engraved with a look of suffering, as if the weight of the slab were breaking their backs. Behind the desk sat a thin man with gray-streaked hair and a long beaky nose.
“A book lover, I see,” he said, smiling at Clary. “You didn’t tell me that, Jace. ”
Jace chuckled. Clary could tell that he had come up behind her and was standing there with his hands in his pockets, grinning that infuriating grin of his. “We haven’t done much talking during our short acquaintance,” he said. “I’m afraid our reading habits didn’t come up. ”
Clary turned around and shot him a glare.
“How can you tell?” she asked the man behind the desk. “That I like books, I mean. ”
“The look on your face when you walked in,” he said, standing up and coming around from behind the desk. “Somehow I doubted you were that impressed by me. ”
Clary stifled a gasp as he rose. For a moment it seemed to her that he was strangely misshapen, his left shoulder humped and higher than the other. As he approached, she saw that the hunch was actually a bird, perched neatly on his shoulder—a glossy feathered creature with bright black eyes.
“This is Hugo,” the man said, touching the bird on his shoulder. “Hugo is a raven, and, as such, he knows many things. I, meanwhile, am Hodge Starkweather, a professor of history, and, as such, I do not know nearly enough. ”
Clary laughed a little, despite herself, and shook his outstretched hand. “Clary Fray. ”
“Honored to make your acquaintance,” he said. “I would be honored to make the acquaintance of anyone who could kill a Ravener with her bare hands. ”
“It wasn’t my bare hands. ” It still felt odd to be congratulated for killing something. “It was Jace’s—well, I don’t remember what it was called, but—”
“She means my Sensor,” Jace said. “She shoved it down the thing’s throat. The runes must have choked it. I guess I’ll need another one,” he added, almost as an afterthought. “I should have mentioned that. ”
“There are several extra in the weapons room,” said Hodge. When he smiled at Clary, a thousand small lines rayed out from around his eyes, like the cracks in an old painting. “That was quick thinking. What gave you the idea of using the Sensor as a weapon?”
Before she could reply, a sharp laugh sounded through the room. Clary had been so enraptured by the books and distracted by Hodge that she hadn’t seen Alec sprawled in an overstuffed red armchair by the empty fireplace. “I can’t believe you buy that story, Hodge,” he said.
At first Clary didn’t even register his words. She was too busy staring at him. Like many only children, she was fascinated by the resemblance between siblings, and now, in the full light of day, she could see exactly how much Alec looked like his sister. They had the same jet-black hair, the same slender eyebrows winging up at the corners, the same pale, high-colored skin. But where Isabelle was all arrogance, Alec slumped down in the chair as if he hoped nobody would notice him. His lashes were long and dark like Isabelle’s, but where her eyes were black, his were the dark blue of bottle glass. They gazed at Clary with a hostility as pure and concentrated as acid.
“I’m not quite sure what you mean, Alec. ” Hodge raised an eyebrow. Clary wondered how old he was; there was a sort of agelessness to him, despite the gray in his hair. He wore a neat gray tweed suit, perfectly pressed. He would have looked like a kindly college professor if it hadn’t been for the thick scar that drew up the right side of his face. She wondered how he had gotten it. “Are you suggesting that she didn’t kill that demon after all?”
“Of course she didn’t. Look at her—she’s a mundie, Hodge, and a little kid, at that. There’s no way she took on a Ravener. ”
“I’m not a little kid,” Clary interrupted. “I’m sixteen years old—well, I will be on Sunday. ”
“The same age as Isabelle,” Hodge said. “Would you call her a child?”
“Isabelle hails from one of the greatest Shadowhunter dynasties in history,” Alec said dryly. “This girl, on the other hand, hails from New Jersey. ”
“I’m from Brooklyn!” Clary was outraged. “And so what? I just killed a demon in my own house, and you’re going to be a dickhead about it because I’m not some spoiled-rotten rich brat like you and your sister?”
Alec looked astonished. “What did you call me?”
Jace sounded as if he could barely contain his laughter. “She has a point, Alec. Plenty of Downworld activity going on in the boroughs, you know. It’s those bridge-and-tunnel demons you really have to watch out for—”
“It’s not funny, Jace,” Alec interrupted, starting to his feet. “Are you just going to let her stand there and call me names?”
“Yes,” Jace said kindly. “It’ll do you good—try to think of it as endurance training. ”
“We may be parabatai,” Alec said tightly. “But your flippancy is wearing on my patience. ”
“And your obstinacy is wearing on mine. When I found her, she was lying on the floor in a pool of blood with a dying demon practically on top of her. I watched as it vanished. If she didn’t kill it, who did?”
“Raveners are stupid. Maybe it got itself in the neck with its stinger. It’s happened before—”
“Now you’re suggesting it committed suicide?”
Alec’s mouth tightened. “It isn’t right for her to be here. Mundies aren’t allowed in the Institute, and there are good reasons for that. If anyone knew about this, we could be reported to the Clave. ”
“That’s not entirely true,” Hodge said. “The Law does allow us to offer sanctuary to mundanes in certain circumstances. A Ravener has already attacked Clary’s mother—she could well have been next. ”
Attacked. Clary wondered if this was a euphemism for “murdered. ” The raven on Hodge’s shoulder cawed softly.
“Raveners are search-and-destroy machines,” Alec said. “They act under orders from warlocks or powerful demon lords. Now, what interest would a warlock or demon lord have in an ordinary mundane household?” His eyes when he looked at Clary were bright with dislike. “Any thoughts?”
Clary said, “It must have been a mistake. ”
“Demons don’t make those kinds of mistakes. If they went after your mother, there must have been a reason. If she were innocent—”
“What do you mean, ‘innocent’?” Clary’s voice was quiet.
Alec looked taken aback. “I—”
“What he means,” said Hodge, “is that it is extremely unusual for a powerful demon, the kind who might command a host of lesser demons, to interest himself in the affairs of human beings. No mundane may summon a demon—they lack that power—but there have been some, desperate and foolish, who have found a witch or warlock to do it for them. ”
“My mother doesn’t know any warlocks. She doesn’t believe in magic. ” A thought occurred to Clary. “Madame Dorothea—she lives downstairs—she’s a witch. Maybe the demons were after her and got my mom by mistake?”
Hodge’s eyebrows shot up into his hair. “A witch lives downstairs from you?”
“She’s a hedge-witch—a fake,” Jace said. “I already looked into it. There’s no reason for any warlock to be interested in her unless he’s in the market for nonfunctional crystal balls. ”
“And we’re back where we began. ” Hodge reached up to stroke the bird on his shoulder. “It seems the time has come to notify the Clave. ”
“No!” Jace said. “We can’t—”
“It made sense to keep Clary’s presence here a secret while we were not sure she would recover,” Hodge said. “But now she has, and she is the first mundane to pass through the doors of the Institute in over a hundred years. You know the rules about mundane knowledge of Shadowhunters, Jace. The Clave must be informed. ”
“Absolutely,” Alec agreed. “I could get a message to my father—”
“She’s not a mundane,” Jace said quietly.
Hodge’s eyebrows shot back up to his hairline and stayed there. Alec, caught in the middle of a sentence, choked with surprise. In the sudden silence Clary could hear the sound of Hugo’s wings rustling. “But I am,” she said.
“No,” said Jace. “You aren’t. ” He turned to Hodge, and Clary saw the slight movement of his throat as he swallowed. She found this glimpse of his nervousness oddly reassuring. “That night—there were Du’sien demons, dressed like police officers. We had to get past them. Clary was too weak to run, and there wasn’t time to hide—she would have died. So I used my stele—put a mendelin rune on the inside of her arm. I thought—”
“Are you out of your mind?” Hodge slammed his hand down on top of the desk so hard that Clary thought the wood might crack. “You know what the Law says about placing Marks on mundanes! You—you of all people ought to know better!”
“But it worked,” said Jace. “Clary, show them your arm. ”
With a baffled glance in Jace’s direction, she held out her bare arm. She remembered looking down at it that night in the alley, thinking how vulnerable it seemed. Now, just below the crease of her wrist, she could see three faint overlapping circles, the lines as faint as the memory of a scar that had faded with the passage of years. “See, it’s almost gone,” Jace said. “It didn’t hurt her at all. ”
“That’s not the point. ” Hodge could barely control his anger. “You could have turned her into a Forsaken. ”
Two bright spots of color burned high up on Alec’s cheekbones. “I can’t believe you, Jace. Only Shadowhunters can receive Covenant Marks—they kill mundanes—”
“She’s not a mundane. Haven’t you been listening? It explains why she could see us. She must have Clave blood. ”
Clary lowered her arm, feeling suddenly cold. “But I don’t. I couldn’t. ”
“You must,” Jace said, without looking at her. “If you didn’t, that Mark I made on your arm …”
“That’s enough, Jace,” said Hodge, the displeasure clear in his voice. “There’s no need to frighten her further. ”
“But I was right, wasn’t I? It explains what happened to her mother, too. If she was a Shadowhunter in exile, she might well have Downworld enemies. ”
“My mother wasn’t a Shadowhunter!”
“Your father, then,” Jace said. “What about him?”
Clary returned his gaze with a flat stare. “He died. Before I was born. ”
Jace flinched, almost imperceptibly. It was Alec who spoke. “It’s possible,” he said uncertainly. “If her father were a Shadowhunter, and her mother a mundane—well, we all know it’s against the Law to marry a mundie. Maybe they were in hiding. ”
“My mother would have told me,” Clary said, although she thought of the lack of more than one photo of her father, the way her mother never spoke of him, and knew that it wasn’t true.
“Not necessarily,” said Jace. “We all have secrets. ”
“Luke,” Clary said. “Our friend. He would know. ” With the thought of Luke came a flash of guilt and horror. “It’s been three days—he must be frantic. Can I call him? Is there a phone?” She turned to Jace. “Please. ”
Jace hesitated, looking at Hodge, who nodded and moved aside from the desk. Behind him was a globe, made of beaten brass, that didn’t look quite like other globes she had seen; there was something subtly strange about the shape of the countries and continents. Next to the globe was an old-fashioned black telephone with a silver rotary dial. Clary lifted it to her ear, the familiar dial tone washing over her like soothing water.
Luke picked up on the third ring. “Hello?”
“Luke!” She sagged against the desk. “It’s me. It’s Clary. ”
“Clary. ” She could hear the relief in his voice, along with something else she couldn’t quite identify. “You’re all right?”
“I’m fine,” she said. “I’m sorry I didn’t call you before. Luke, my mom—”
“I know. The police were here. ”
“Then you haven’t heard from her. ” Any vestigial hope that her mother had fled the house and hidden somewhere disappeared. There was no way she wouldn’t have contacted Luke. “What did the police say?”
“Just that she was missing. ” Clary thought of the policewoman with her skeletal hand, and shivered. “Where are you?”
“I’m in the city,” Clary said. “I don’t know where exactly. With some friends. My wallet’s gone, though. If you’ve got some cash, I could take a cab to your place—”
“No,” he said shortly.
The phone slipped in her sweaty hand. She caught it. “What?”
“No,” he said. “It’s too dangerous. You can’t come here. ”
“We could call—”
“Look. ” His voice was hard. “Whatever your mother’s gotten herself mixed up in, it’s nothing to do with me. You’re better off where you are. ”
“But I don’t want to stay here. ” She heard the whine in her voice, like a child’s. “I don’t know these people. You—”
“I’m not your father, Clary. I’ve told you that before. ”
Tears burned the backs of her eyes. “I’m sorry. It’s just—”
“Don’t call me for favors again,” he said. “I’ve got my own problems; I don’t need to be bothered with yours,” he added, and hung up the phone.
She stood and stared at the receiver, the dial tone buzzing in her ear like a big ugly wasp. She dialed Luke’s number again, waited. This time it went to voice mail. She banged the phone down, her hands trembling.
Jace was leaning against the armrest of Alec’s chair, watching her. “I take it he wasn’t happy to hear from you?”
Clary’s heart felt as if it had shrunk down to the size of a walnut: a tiny, hard stone in her chest. I will not cry, she thought. Not in front of these people.
“I think I’d like to have a talk with Clary,” said Hodge. “Alone,” he added firmly, seeing Jace’s expression.
Alec stood up. “Fine. We’ll leave you to it. ”
“That’s hardly fair,” Jace objected. “I’m the one who found her. I’m the one who saved her life! You want me here, don’t you?” he appealed, turning to Clary.
Clary looked away, knowing that if she opened her mouth, she’d start to cry. As if from a distance, she heard Alec laugh.
“Not everyone wants you all the time, Jace,” he said.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” she heard Jace say, but he sounded disappointed. “Fine, then. We’ll be in the weapons room. ”
The door closed behind them with a definitive click. Clary’s eyes were stinging the way they did when she tried to hold tears back for too long. Hodge loomed up in front of her, a fussing gray blur. “Sit down,” he said. “Here, on the couch. ”
She sank gratefully onto the soft cushions. Her cheeks were wet. She reached up to brush the tears away, blinking. “I don’t cry much usually,” she found herself saying. “It doesn’t mean anything. I’ll be all right in a minute. ”
“Most people don’t cry when they’re upset or frightened, but rather when they’re frustrated. Your frustration is understandable. You’ve been through a most trying time. ”
“Trying?” Clary wiped her eyes on the hem of Isabelle’s shirt. “You could say that. ”
Hodge pulled the chair out from behind the desk, dragging it over so that he could sit facing her. His eyes, she saw, were gray, like his hair and tweed coat, but there was kindness in them. “Is there anything I could get for you?” he asked. “Something to drink? Some tea?”
“I don’t want tea,” said Clary, with muffled force. “I want to find my mother. And then I want to find out who took her in the first place, and I want to kill them. ”
“Unfortunately,” said Hodge, “we’re all out of bitter revenge at the moment, so it’s either tea or nothing. ”
Clary dropped the hem of the shirt—now spotted all over with wet blotches—and said, “What am I supposed to do, then?”
“You could start by telling me a little about what happened,” Hodge said, rummaging in his pocket. He produced a handkerchief—crisply folded—and handed it to her. She took it with silent astonishment. She’d never before known anyone who carried a handkerchief. “The demon you saw in your apartment—was that the first such creature you’d ever seen? You had no inkling such creatures existed before?”
Clary shook her head, then paused. “One before, but I didn’t realize what it was. The first time I saw Jace—”
“Right, of course, how foolish of me to forget. ” Hodge nodded. “In Pandemonium. That was the first time?”
“And your mother never mentioned them to you—nothing about another world, perhaps, that most people cannot see? Did she seem particularly interested in myths, fairy tales, legends of the fantastic—”
“No. She hated all that stuff. She even hated Disney movies. She didn’t like me reading manga. She said it was childish. ”
Hodge scratched his head. His hair didn’t move. “Most peculiar,” he murmured.
“Not really,” said Clary. “My mother wasn’t peculiar. She was the most normal person in the world. ”
“Normal people don’t generally find their homes ransacked by demons,” Hodge said, not unkindly.
“Couldn’t it have been a mistake?”
“If it had been a mistake,” Hodge said, “and you were an ordinary girl, you would not have seen the demon that attacked you—or if you had, your mind would have processed it as something else entirely: a vicious dog, even another human being. That you could see it, that it spoke to you—”
“How did you know it spoke to me?”
“Jace reported that you said ‘it talked. ’”
“It hissed. ” Clary shivered, remembering. “It talked about wanting to eat me, but I think it wasn’t supposed to. ”
“Raveners are generally under the control of a stronger demon. They’re not very bright or capable on their own,” explained Hodge. “Did it say what its master was looking for?”
Clary thought. “It said something about a Valentine, but—”
Hodge jerked upright, so abruptly that Hugo, who had been resting comfortably on his shoulder, launched himself into the air with an irritable caw. “Valentine?”
“Yes,” Clary said. “I heard the same name in Pandemonium from the boy—I mean, the demon—”
“It’s a name we all know,” Hodge said shortly. His voice was steady, but she could see a slight tremble in his hands. Hugo, back on his shoulder, ruffed his feathers uneasily.
“No. Valentine is—was—a Shadowhunter. ”
“A Shadowhunter? Why do you say was?”
“Because he’s dead,” said Hodge flatly. “He’s been dead for fifteen years. ”
Clary sank back against the couch cushions. Her head was throbbing. Maybe she should have gone for that tea after all. “Could it be someone else? Someone with the same name?”
Hodge’s laugh was a humorless bark. “No. But it could have been someone using his name to send a message. ” He stood up and paced to his desk, hands locked behind his back. “And this would be the time to do it. ”
“Because of the Accords. ”
“The peace negotiations? Jace mentioned those. Peace with who?”
“Downworlders,” Hodge murmured. He looked down at Clary. His mouth was a tight line. “Forgive me,” he said. “This must be confusing for you. ”
He leaned against the desk, stroking Hugo’s feathers absently. “Downworlders are those who share the Shadow World with us. We have always lived in an uneasy peace with them. ”
“Like vampires, werewolves, and …”
“The Fair Folk,” Hodge said. “Faeries. And Lilith’s children, being half-demon, are warlocks. ”
“So what are you Shadowhunters?”
“We are sometimes called the Nephilim,” said Hodge. “In the Bible they were the offspring of humans and angels. The legend of the origin of Shadowhunters is that they were created more than a thousand years ago, when humans were being overrun by demon invasions from other worlds. A warlock summoned the Angel Raziel, who mixed some of his own blood with the blood of men in a cup, and gave it to those men to drink. Those who drank the Angel’s blood became Shadowhunters, as did their children and their children’s children. The cup thereafter was known as the Mortal Cup. Though the legend may not be fact, what is true is that through the years, when Shadowhunter ranks were depleted, it was always possible to create more Shadowhunters using the Cup. ”
“Was always possible?”
“The Cup is gone,” said Hodge. “Destroyed by Valentine, just before he died. He set a great fire and burned himself to death along with his family, his wife, and his child. Scorched the land black. No one will build there still. They say the land is cursed. ”
“Possibly. The Clave hands down curses on occasion as punishment for breaking the Law. Valentine broke the greatest Law of all—he took up arms against his fellow Shadowhunters and slew them. He and his group, the Circle, killed dozens of their brethren along with hundreds of Downworlders during the last Accords. They were only barely defeated. ”
“Why would he want to turn on other Shadowhunters?”
“He didn’t approve of the Accords. He despised Downworlders and felt that they should be slaughtered, wholesale, to keep this world pure for human beings. Though the Downworlders are not demons, not invaders, he felt they were demonic in nature, and that that was enough. The Clave did not agree—they felt the assistance of Downworlders was necessary if we were ever to drive off demonkind for good. And who could argue, really, that the Fair Folk do not belong in this world, when they have been here longer than we have?”
“Did the Accords get signed?”
“Yes, they were signed. When the Downworlders saw the Clave turn on Valentine and his Circle in their defense, they realized Shadowhunters were not their enemies. Ironically, with his insurrection Valentine made the Accords possible. ” Hodge sat down in the chair again. “I apologize; this must be a dull history lesson for you. That was Valentine. A firebrand, a visionary, a man of great personal charm and conviction. And a killer. Now someone is invoking his name …”
“But who?” Clary asked. “And what does my mother have to do with it?”
Hodge stood up again. “I don’t know. But I shall do what I can to find out. I will send messages to the Clave and also to the Silent Brothers. They may wish to speak with you. ”
Clary didn’t ask who the Silent Brothers were. She was tired of asking questions whose answers only made her more confused. She stood up. “Is there any chance I could go home?”
Hodge looked concerned. “No, I—I wouldn’t think that would be wise. ”
“There are things I need there, even if I’m going to stay here. Clothes—”
“We can give you money to purchase new clothes. ”
“Please,” Clary said. “I have to see if—I have to see what’s left. ”
Hodge hesitated, then offered a short, inverted nod. “If Jace agrees to it, you may both go. ” He turned to the desk, rummaging among the papers. He glanced over his shoulder as if realizing she was still there. “He’s in the weapons room. ”
“I don’t know where that is. ”
Hodge smiled crookedly. “Church will take you. ”
She glanced toward the door where the fat blue Persian was curled up like a small ottoman. He rose as she came forward, fur rippling like liquid. With an imperious meow he led her into the hall. When she looked back over her shoulder, she saw Hodge already scribbling on a piece of paper. Sending a message to the mysterious Clave, she guessed. They didn’t sound like very nice people. She wondered what their response would be.
The red ink looked like blood against the white paper. Frowning, Hodge Starkweather rolled the letter, carefully and meticulously, into the shape of a tube, and whistled for Hugo. The bird, cawing softly, settled on his wrist. Hodge winced. Years ago, in the Uprising, he had sustained a wound to that shoulder, and even as light a weight as Hugo’s—or the turn of a season, a change in temperature or humidity, too sudden a movement of his arm—awakened old twinges and the memories of pains better forgotten.
There were some memories, though, that never faded. Images burst like flashbulbs behind his lids when he closed his eyes. Blood and bodies, trampled earth, a white podium stained with red. The cries of the dying. The green and rolling fields of Idris and its endless blue sky, pierced by the towers of the Glass City. The pain of loss surged up inside him like a wave; he tightened his fist, and Hugo, wings fluttering, pecked angrily at his fingers, drawing blood. Opening his hand, Hodge released the bird, who circled his head as he flew up to the skylight and then vanished.
Shaking off his sense of foreboding, Hodge reached for another piece of paper, not noticing the scarlet drops that smeared the paper as he wrote.