Chapter 6: FORSAKEN
THE WEAPONS ROOM LOOKED EXACTLY THE WAY SOMETHING called “the weapons room” sounded like it would look. Brushed metal walls were hung with every manner of sword, dagger, spike, pike, featherstaff, bayonet, whip, mace, hook, and bow. Soft leather bags filled with arrows dangled from hooks, and there were stacks of boots, leg guards, and gauntlets for wrists and arms. The place smelled of metal and leather and steel polish. Alec and Jace, no longer barefoot, sat at a long table in the center of the room, their heads bent over an object between them. Jace looked up as the door shut behind Clary. “Where’s Hodge?” he said.
“Writing to the Silent Brothers. ”
Alec repressed a shudder. “Ugh. ”
She approached the table slowly, conscious of Alec’s gaze. “What are you doing?”
“Putting the last touches on these. ” Jace moved aside so she could see what lay on the table: three long slim wands of a dully glowing silver. They did not look sharp or particularly dangerous. “Sanvi, Sansanvi, and Semangelaf. They’re seraph blades. ”
“Those don’t look like knives. How did you make them? Magic?”
Alec looked horrified, as if she’d asked him to put on a tutu and execute a perfect pirouette. “The funny thing about mundies,” Jace said, to nobody in particular, “is how obsessed with magic they are for a bunch of people who don’t even know what the word means. ”
“I know what it means,” Clary snapped.
“No, you don’t, you just think you do. Magic is a dark and elemental force, not just a lot of sparkly wands and crystal balls and talking goldfish. ”
“I never said it was a lot of talking goldfish, you—”
Jace waved a hand, cutting her off. “Just because you call an electric eel a rubber duck doesn’t make it a rubber duck, does it? And God help the poor bastard who decides they want to take a bath with the duckie. ”
“You’re driveling,” Clary observed.
“I’m not,” said Jace, with great dignity.
“Yes, you are,” said Alec, rather unexpectedly. “Look, we don’t do magic, okay?” he added, not looking at Clary. “That’s all you need to know about it. ”
Clary wanted to snap at him, but restrained herself. Alec already didn’t seem to like her; there was no point in aggravating his hostility. She turned to Jace. “Hodge said I can go home. ”
Jace nearly dropped the seraph blade he was holding. “He said what?”
“To look through my mother’s things,” she amended. “If you go with me. ”
“Jace,” Alec exhaled, but Jace ignored him.
“If you really want to prove that my mom or dad was a Shadowhunter, we should look through my mom’s things. What’s left of them. ”
“Down the rabbit hole. ” Jace grinned crookedly. “Good idea. If we go right now, we should have another three, four hours of daylight. ”
“Do you want me to come with you?” Alec asked, as Clary and Jace moved toward the door. Clary glanced back at him. He was half-out of the chair, eyes expectant.
“No. ” Jace didn’t turn around. “That’s all right. Clary and I can handle this on our own. ”
The look Alec shot Clary was as sour as poison. She was glad when the door shut behind her.
Jace led the way down the hall, Clary half-jogging to keep up with his long-legged stride. “Have you got your house keys?”
Clary glanced down at her shoes. “Yeah. ”
“Good. Not that we couldn’t break in, but we’d run a greater chance of disturbing any wards that might be up if we did. ”
“If you say so. ” The hall widened out into a marble-floored foyer, a black metal gate set into one wall. It was only when Jace pushed a button next to the gate and it lit up that she realized it was an elevator. It creaked and groaned as it rose to meet them. “Jace?”
“How did you know I had Shadowhunter blood? Was there some way you could tell?”
The elevator arrived with a final groan. Jace unlatched the gate and slid it open. The inside reminded Clary of a birdcage, all black metal and decorative bits of gilt. “I guessed,” he said, latching the door behind them. “It seemed like the most likely explanation. ”
“You guessed? You must have been pretty sure, considering you could have killed me. ”
He pressed a button in the wall, and the elevator lurched into action with a vibrating groan that she felt all through the bones in her feet. “I was ninety percent sure. ”
“I see,” Clary said.
There must have been something in her voice, because he turned to look at her. Her hand cracked across his face, a slap that rocked him back on his heels. He put his hand to his cheek, more in surprise than pain. “What the hell was that for?”
“The other ten percent,” she said, and they rode the rest of the way down to the street in silence.
Jace spent the train ride to Brooklyn wrapped in an angry silence. Clary stuck close to him anyway, feeling a little bit guilty, especially when she looked at the red mark her slap had left on his cheek.
She didn’t really mind the silence; it gave her a chance to think. She kept reliving the conversation with Luke, over and over in her head. It hurt to think about, like biting down on a broken tooth, but she couldn’t stop doing it.
Farther down the train, two teenage girls sitting on an orange bench seat were giggling together. The sort of girls Clary had never liked at St. Xavier’s, sporting pink jelly mules and fake tans. Clary wondered for a moment if they were laughing at her, before she realized with a start of surprise that they were looking at Jace.
She remembered the girl in the coffee shop who had been staring at Simon. Girls always got that look on their faces when they thought someone was cute. She had nearly forgotten that Jace was cute, given everything that had happened. He didn’t have Alec’s delicate cameo looks, but Jace’s face was more interesting. In daylight his eyes were the color of golden syrup and were … looking right at her. He cocked an eyebrow. “Can I help you with something?”
Clary turned instant traitor against her gender. “Those girls on the other side of the car are staring at you. ”
Jace assumed an air of mellow gratification. “Of course they are,” he said. “I am stunningly attractive. ”
“Haven’t you ever heard that modesty is an attractive trait?”
“Only from ugly people,” Jace confided. “The meek may inherit the earth, but at the moment it belongs to the conceited. Like me. ” He winked at the girls, who giggled and hid behind their hair.
Clary sighed. “How come they can see you?”
“Glamours are a pain to use. Sometimes we don’t bother. ”
The incident with the girls on the train did seem to put him in a better mood. When they left the station and headed up the hill to Clary’s apartment, he took one of the seraph blades out of his pocket and started flipping it back and forth between his fingers and across his knuckles, humming to himself.
“Do you have to do that?” Clary asked. “It’s annoying. ”
Jace hummed louder. It was a loud, tuneful sort of hum, somewhere between “Happy Birthday” and “The Battle Hymn of the Republic. ”
“I’m sorry I smacked you,” she said.
He stopped humming. “Just be glad you hit me and not Alec. He would have hit you back. ”
“He seems to be itching for the chance,” Clary said, kicking an empty soda can out of her path. “What was it that Alec called you? Para-something?”
“Parabatai,” said Jace. “It means a pair of warriors who fight together—who are closer than brothers. Alec is more than just my best friend. My father and his father were parabatai when they were young. His father was my godfather—that’s why I live with them. They’re my adopted family. ”
“But your last name isn’t Lightwood. ”
“No,” Jace said, and she would have asked what it was, but they had arrived at her house, and her heart had started to thump so loudly that she was sure it must be audible for miles. There was a humming in her ears, and the palms of her hands were damp with sweat. She stopped in front of the box hedges, and raised her eyes slowly, expecting to see yellow police tape cordoning off the front door, smashed glass littering the lawn, the whole thing reduced to rubble.
But there were no signs of destruction. Bathed in pleasant afternoon light, the brownstone seemed to glow. Bees droned lazily around the rosebushes under Madame Dorothea’s windows.
“It looks the same,” Clary said.
“On the outside. ” Jace reached into his jeans pocket and drew out another one of the metal and plastic contraptions she’d mistaken for a cell phone.
“So that’s a Sensor? What does it do?” she asked.
“It picks up frequencies, like a radio does, but these frequencies are demonic in origin. ”
“Something like that. ” Jace held the Sensor out in front of him as he approached the house. It clicked faintly as they climbed the stairs, then stopped. Jace frowned. “It’s picking up trace activity, but that could just be left over from that night. I’m not getting anything strong enough for there to be demons present now. ”
Clary let out a breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding. “Good. ” She bent to retrieve her keys. When she straightened up, she saw the scratches on the front door. It must have been too dark for her to have seen them last time. They looked like claw marks, long and parallel, raked deeply into the wood.
Jace touched her arm. “I’ll go in first,” he said. Clary wanted to tell him that she didn’t need to hide behind him, but the words wouldn’t come. She could taste the terror she’d felt when she’d first seen the Ravener. The taste was sharp and coppery on her tongue like old pennies.
He pushed the door open with one hand, beckoning her after him with the hand that held the Sensor. Once inside the entryway, Clary blinked, adjusting her eyes to the dimness. The bulb overhead was still out, the skylight too filthy to let in any light, and shadows lay thick across the chipped floor. Madame Dorothea’s door was firmly shut. No light showed through the gap under it. Clary wondered uneasily if anything had happened to her.
Jace raised his hand and ran it along the banister. It came away wet, streaked with something that looked blackish red in the dim light. “Blood. ”
“Maybe it’s mine. ” Her voice sounded tinny. “From the other night. ”
“It’d be dry by now if it were,” Jace said. “Come on. ”
He headed up the stairs, Clary close behind him. The landing was dark, and she fumbled her keys three times before she managed to slide the right one into the lock. Jace leaned over her, watching impatiently. “Don’t breathe down my neck,” she hissed; her hand was shaking. Finally the tumblers caught, the lock clicking open.
Jace pulled her back. “I’ll go in first. ”
She hesitated, then stepped aside to let him pass. Her palms were sticky, and not from the heat. In fact, it was cool inside the apartment, almost cold—chilly air seeped from the entryway, stinging her skin. She felt goose bumps rising as she followed Jace down the short hallway and into the living room.
It was empty. Startlingly, entirely empty, the way it had been when they’d first moved in—the walls and floor bare, the furniture gone, even the curtains torn down from the windows. Only faint lighter squares of paint on the wall showed where her mother’s paintings had hung. As if in a dream, Clary turned and walked toward the kitchen, Jace pacing her, his light eyes narrowed.
The kitchen was just as empty, even the refrigerator gone, the chairs, the table. The kitchen cabinets stood open, their bare shelves reminding her of a nursery rhyme. She cleared her throat. “What would demons,” she said, “want with our microwave?”
Jace shook his head, mouth curling under at the corners. “I don’t know, but I’m not sensing any demonic presence right now. I’d say they’re long gone. ”
She glanced around one more time. Someone had cleaned up the spilled Tabasco sauce, she noticed distantly.
“Are you satisfied?” Jace asked. “There’s nothing here. ”
She shook her head. “I want to see my room. ”
He looked as if he were about to say something, then thought better of it. “If that’s what it takes,” he said, sliding the seraph blade into his pocket.
The light in the hallway was out, but Clary didn’t need much light to navigate inside her own house. With Jace just behind her, she found the door to her bedroom and reached for the knob. It was cold in her hand—so cold it nearly hurt, like touching an icicle with your bare skin. She saw Jace look at her quickly, but she was already turning the knob, or trying to. It moved slowly, almost stickily, as if the other side of it were embedded in something glutinous and syrupy—
The door blew outward, knocking her off her feet. She skidded across the hallway floor and slammed into the wall, rolling onto her stomach. There was a dull roaring in her ears as she pulled herself up to her knees.
Jace, flat against the wall, was fumbling in his pocket, his face a mask of surprise. Looming over him like a giant in a fairy tale was an enormous man, big around as an oak tree, a broad-bladed ax clutched in one gigantic dead-white hand. Tattered filthy rags hung off his grimy skin, and his hair was a single matted tangle, thick with dirt. He stank of poisonous sweat and rotting flesh. Clary was glad she couldn’t see his face—the back of him was bad enough.
Jace had the seraph blade in his hand. He raised it, calling out: “Sansanvi!”
A blade shot from the tube. Clary thought of old movies where bayonets were hidden inside walking sticks, released at the flick of a switch. But she’d never seen a blade like this before: clear as glass, with a glowing hilt, wickedly sharp and nearly as long as Jace’s forearm. He struck out, slashing at the gigantic man, who staggered back with a bellow.
Jace whirled around, racing toward her. He caught her arm, hauling her to her feet, pushing her ahead of him down the hall. She could hear the thing behind them, following; its footsteps sounded like lead weights being dropped onto the floor, but it was coming on fast.
They sped through the entryway and out onto the landing, Jace whipping around to slam the front door shut. She heard the click of the automatic lock and caught her breath. The door shook on its hinges as a tremendous blow struck against it from inside the apartment. Clary backed away to the stairs. Jace glanced at her. His eyes were glowing with manic excitement. “Get downstairs! Get out of the—”
Another blow came, and this time the hinges gave way and the door flew outward. It would have knocked Jace over if he hadn’t moved so fast that Clary barely saw it; suddenly he was on the top stair, the blade burning in his hand like a fallen star. She saw Jace look at her and shout something, but she couldn’t hear him over the roar of the gigantic creature that burst from the shattered door, making straight for him. She flattened herself against the wall as it passed in a wave of heat and stink—and then its ax was flying, whipping through the air, slicing toward Jace’s head. He ducked, and it thunked heavily into the banister, biting deep.
Jace laughed. The laugh seemed to enrage the creature; abandoning the ax, he lurched at Jace with his enormous fists raised. Jace brought the seraph blade around in an arcing sweep, burying it to the hilt in the giant’s shoulder. For a moment the giant stood swaying. Then he lurched forward, his hands outstretched and grasping. Jace stepped aside hastily, but not hastily enough: The enormous fists caught hold of him as the giant staggered and fell, dragging Jace in his wake. Jace cried out once; there was a series of heavy and cracking thumps, and then silence.
Clary scrambled to her feet and raced downstairs. Jace lay sprawled at the foot of the steps, his arm bent beneath him at an unnatural angle. Across his legs lay the giant, the hilt of Jace’s blade protruding from his shoulder. He was not quite dead, but flopping weakly, a bloody froth leaking from his mouth. Clary could see his face now—it was dead-white and papery, latticed with a black network of horrible scars that almost obliterated his features. His eye sockets were red suppurating pits. Fighting the urge to gag, Clary stumbled down the last few stairs, stepped over the twitching giant, and knelt down next to Jace.
He was so still. She laid a hand on his shoulder, felt his shirt sticky with blood—his own or the giant’s, she couldn’t tell. “Jace?”
His eyes opened. “Is it dead?”
“Almost,” Clary said grimly.
“Hell. ” He winced. “My legs—”
“Hold still. ” Crawling around to his head, Clary slipped her hands under his arms and pulled. He grunted with pain as his legs slipped out from under the creature’s spasming carcass. Clary let go, and he struggled to his feet, his left arm across his chest. She stood up. “Is your arm all right?”
“No. Broken,” he said. “Can you reach into my pocket?”
She hesitated, nodded. “Which one?”
“Inside jacket, right side. Take out one of the seraph blades and hand it to me. ” He held still as she nervously slipped her fingers into his pocket. She was standing so close that she could smell the scent of him, sweat and soap and blood. His breath tickled the back of her neck. Her fingers closed on a tube and she drew it out, not looking at him.
“Thanks,” he said. His fingers traced it briefly before he named it: “Sanvi. ” Like its predecessor, the tube grew into a wicked-looking dagger, its glow illuminating his face. “Don’t watch,” he said, going to stand over the scarred thing’s body. He raised the blade over his head and brought it down. Blood fountained from the giant’s throat, splattering Jace’s boots.
She half-expected the giant to vanish, folding in on itself the way the kid in Pandemonium had. But it didn’t. The air was full of the smell of blood: heavy and metallic. Jace made a sound low in his throat. He was white-faced, whether with pain or disgust she couldn’t tell. “I told you not to watch,” he said.
“I thought it would disappear,” she said. “Back to its own dimension—you said. ”
“I said that’s what happens to demons when they die. ” Wincing, he shrugged his jacket off his shoulder, baring the upper part of his left arm. “That wasn’t a demon. ” With his right hand he drew something out of his belt. It was the smooth wand-shaped object he’d used to carve those overlapping circles into Clary’s skin. Looking at it, she felt her forearm begin to burn.
Jace saw her staring and grinned the ghost of a grin. “This,” he said, “is a stele. ” He touched it to an inked mark just below his shoulder, a curious shape almost like a star. Two arms of the star jutted out from the rest of the mark, unconnected. “And this,” he said, “is what happens when Shadowhunters are wounded. ”
With the tip of the stele, he traced a line connecting the two arms of the star. When he lowered his hand, the mark was shining as if it had been etched with phosphorescent ink. As Clary watched, it sank into his skin, like a weighted object sinking into water. It left behind a ghostly reminder: a pale, thin scar, almost invisible.
An image rose in Clary’s mind. Her mother’s back, not quite covered by her bathing suit top, the blades of her shoulders and curves of her spine dappled with narrow, white marks. It was like something she had seen in a dream—her mother’s back didn’t really look like that, she knew. But the image nagged at her.
Jace let out a sigh, the tense look of pain leaving his face. He moved the arm, slowly at first, then more easily, lifting it up and down, clenching his fist. Clearly it was no longer broken.
“That’s amazing,” Clary said. “How did you—?”
“That was an iratze—a healing rune,” Jace said. “Finishing the rune with the stele activates it. ” He shoved the slim wand into his belt and shrugged his jacket back on. With the toe of his boot he prodded the giant’s corpse. “We’re going to have to report this to Hodge,” he said. “He’ll freak out,” he added, as if the thought of Hodge’s alarm gave him some satisfaction. Jace, Clary thought, was the sort of person who liked it when things were happening, even things that were bad.
“Why will he freak?” Clary said. “And I get that that thing isn’t a demon—that’s why the Sensor didn’t register it, right?”
Jace nodded. “You see the scars all over its face?”
“Those were made with a stele. Like this one. ” He tapped the wand in his belt. “You asked me what happens when you carve Marks onto someone who doesn’t have Shadowhunter blood. Just one Mark will only burn you, but a lot of Marks, powerful ones? Carved into the flesh of a totally ordinary human being with no trace of Shadowhunter ancestry? You get this. ” He jerked his chin at the corpse. “The runes are agonizingly painful. The Marked ones go insane—the pain drives them out of their minds. They become fierce, mindless killers. They don’t sleep or eat unless you make them, and they die, usually quickly. Runes have great power and can be used to do great good—but they can be used for evil. The Forsaken are evil. ”
Clary stared at him in horror. “But why would anyone do that to themselves?”
“Nobody would. It’s something that gets done to them. By a warlock, maybe, some Downworlder gone bad. The Forsaken are loyal to the one who Marked them, and they’re fierce killers. They can obey simple commands, too. It’s like having a—a slave army. ” He stepped over the dead Forsaken, and glanced over his shoulder at her. “I’m going back upstairs. ”
“But there’s nothing there. ”
“There might be more of them,” he said, almost as if he were hoping there would be. “You should wait here. ” He started up the steps.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” said a shrill and familiar voice. “There are more of them where the first one came from. ”
Jace, who was nearly at the top of the stairs, spun and stared. So did Clary, although she knew immediately who had spoken. That gravelly accent was unmistakable.
The old woman inclined her head regally. She stood in the doorway of her apartment, dressed in what looked like a tent made of raw purple silk. Gold chains glittered on her wrists and roped her throat. Her long badger-striped hair straggled from the bun pinned to the top of her head.
Jace was still staring. “But …”
“More what?” Clary said.
“More Forsaken,” replied Dorothea with a cheerfulness that, Clary felt, didn’t really fit the circumstances. She glanced around the entryway. “You have made a mess, haven’t you? I’m sure you weren’t planning on cleaning up either. Typical. ”
“But you’re a mundane,” Jace said, finally finishing his sentence.
“So observant,” said Dorothea, her eyes gleaming. “The Clave really broke the mold with you. ”
The bewilderment on Jace’s face was fading, replaced by a dawning anger. “You know about the Clave?” he demanded. “You knew about them, and you knew there were Forsaken in this house, and you didn’t notify them? Just the existence of Forsaken is a crime against the Covenant—”
“Neither Clave nor Covenant have ever done anything for me,” said Madame Dorothea, her eyes flashing angrily. “I owe them nothing. ” For a moment her gravelly New York accent vanished, replaced with something else, a thicker, deeper accent that Clary didn’t recognize.
“Jace, stop it,” Clary said. She turned to Madame Dorothea. “If you know about the Clave and the Forsaken,” she said, “then maybe you know what happened to my mother?”
Dorothea shook her head, her earrings swinging. There was something like pity on her face. “My advice to you,” she said, “is to forget about your mother. She’s gone. ”
The floor under Clary seemed to tilt. “You mean she’s dead?”
“No. ” Dorothea spoke the word almost reluctantly. “I’m sure she’s still alive. For now. ”
“Then I have to find her,” Clary said. The world had stopped tilting; Jace was standing behind her, his hand on her elbow as if to brace her, but she barely noticed. “You understand? I have to find her before—”
Madame Dorothea held up a hand. “I don’t want to involve myself in Shadowhunter business. ”
“But you knew my mother. She was your neighbor—”
“This is an official Clave investigation. ” Jace cut her off. “I can always come back with the Silent Brothers. ”
“Oh, for the—” Dorothea glanced at her door, then at Jace and Clary. “I suppose you might as well come in,” she said, finally. “I’ll tell you what I can. ” She started toward the door, then halted on the threshold, glaring. “But if you tell anyone I helped you, Shadowhunter, you’ll wake up tomorrow with snakes for hair and an extra pair of arms. ”
“That might be nice, an extra pair of arms,” Jace said. “Handy in a fight. ”
“Not if they’re growing out of your …” Dorothea paused and smiled at him, not without malice. “Neck. ”
“Yikes,” said Jace mildly.
“Yikes is right, Jace Wayland. ” Dorothea marched into the apartment, her purple tent flying around her like a gaudy flag.
Clary looked at Jace. “Wayland?”
“It’s my name. ” Jace looked shaken. “I can’t say I like that she knows it. ”
Clary glanced after Dorothea. The lights were on inside the apartment; already the heavy smell of incense was flooding the entryway, mixing unpleasantly with the stench of blood. “Still, I think we might as well try talking to her. What have we got to lose?”
“Once you’ve spent a bit more time in our world,” Jace said, “you won’t ask me that again.”