City of Bones – Chapter 7: THE FIVE-DIMENSIONAL DOOR

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MADAME DOROTHEA’S APARTMENT SEEMED TO HAVE ROUGHLY the same layout as Clary’s, though she’d made a very different use of the space. The entryway, reeking of incense, was hung with bead curtains and astrological posters. One showed the constellations of the zodiac, another a guide to Chinese magical symbols, and another showed a hand with fingers spread, each line on the palm carefully labeled. Above the hand Latinate script spelled out the words In Manibus Fortuna. Narrow shelves holding stacked books ran along the wall beside the door.

One of the bead curtains rattled, and Madame Dorothea poked her head through. “Interested in chiromancy?” she said, noting Clary’s gaze. “Or just nosy?”

“Neither,” Clary said. “Can you really tell fortunes?”

“My mother had a great talent. She could see a man’s future in his hand or the leaves at the bottom of his teacup. She taught me some of her tricks. ” She transferred her gaze to Jace. “Speaking of tea, young man, would you like some?”

“What?” Jace said, looking flustered.

“Tea. I find it both settles the stomach and concentrates the mind. Wonderful drink, tea. ”

“I’ll have tea,” Clary said, realizing how long it had been since she had eaten or drunk anything. She felt as if she’d been running on pure adrenaline since she woke up.

Jace succumbed. “All right. As long as it isn’t Earl Grey,” he added, wrinkling his fine-boned nose. “I hate bergamot. ”

Madame Dorothea cackled loudly and disappeared back through the bead curtain, leaving it swaying gently behind her.

Clary raised her eyebrows at Jace. “You hate bergamot?”

Jace had wandered over to the narrow bookcase and was examining its contents. “You have a problem with that?”

“You may be the only guy my age I’ve ever met who knows what bergamot is, much less that it’s in Earl Grey tea. ”

“Yes, well,” Jace said, with a supercilious look, “I’m not like other guys. Besides,” he added, flipping a book off the shelf, “at the Institute we have to take classes in basic medicinal uses for plants. It’s required. ”

“I figured all your classes were stuff like Slaughter 101 and Beheading for Beginners. ”

Jace flipped a page. “Very funny, Fray. ”

Clary, who had been studying the palmistry poster, whirled on him. “Don’t call me that. ”

He glanced up, surprised. “Why not? It’s your last name, isn’t it?”

The image of Simon rose up behind her eyes. Simon the last time she had seen him, staring after her as she ran out of Java Jones. She turned back to the poster, blinking. “No reason. ”

“I see,” Jace said, and she could tell from his voice that he did see, more than she wanted him to. She heard him drop the book back onto the shelf. “This must be the trash she keeps up front to impress credible mundanes,” he said, sounding disgusted. “There’s not one serious text here. ”

“Just because it’s not the kind of magic you do—” Clary began crossly.

He scowled furiously, silencing her. “I do not do magic,” he said. “Get it through your head: Human beings are not magic users. It’s part of what makes them human. Witches and warlocks can only use magic because they have demon blood. ”

Clary took a moment to process this. “But I’ve seen you use magic. You use enchanted weapons—”

“I use tools that are magical. And just to be able to do that, I have to undergo rigorous training. The rune tattoos on my skin protect me too. If you tried to use one of the seraph blades, for instance, it’d probably burn your skin, maybe kill you. ”

“What if I got the tattoos?” Clary asked. “Could I use them then?”

“No,” Jace said crossly. “The Marks are only part of it. There are tests, ordeals, levels of training—look, just forget it, okay? Stay away from my blades. In fact, don’t touch any of my weapons without my permission. ”

“Well, there goes my plan for selling them all on eBay,” Clary muttered.

“Selling them on what?”

Clary smiled blandly at him. “A mythical place of great magical power. ”

Jace looked confused, then shrugged. “Most myths are true, at least in part. ”

“I’m starting to get that. ”

The bead curtain rattled again, and Madame Dorothea’s head appeared. “Tea’s on the table,” she said. “There’s no need for you two to keep standing there like donkeys. Come into the parlor. ”

“There’s a parlor?” Clary said.

“Of course there’s a parlor,” said Dorothea. “Where else would I entertain?”

“I’ll just leave my hat with the footman,” said Jace.

Madame Dorothea shot him a dark look. “If you were half as funny as you thought you were, my boy, you’d be twice as funny as you are. ” She disappeared back through the curtain, her loud “Hmph!” nearly drowned out by rattling beads.

Jace frowned. “I’m not quite sure what she meant by that. ”

“Really,” said Clary. “It made perfect sense to me. ” She marched through the bead curtain before he could reply.

The parlor was so dimly lit that it took several blinks for Clary’s eyes to adjust. Faint light outlined the black velvet curtains drawn across the entire left wall. Stuffed birds and bats dangled from the ceiling on thin cords, shiny dark beads where their eyes should have been. The floor was layered with frayed Persian rugs that spit up puffs of dust underfoot. A group of overstuffed pink armchairs were gathered around a low table: A stack of tarot cards bound with a silk ribbon occupied one end of the table, a crystal ball on a gold stand the other. In the middle of the table was a silver tea service, laid out for company: a neat plate of stacked sandwiches, a blue teapot unfurling a thin stream of white smoke, and two teacups on matching saucers set carefully in front of two of the armchairs.

“Wow,” Clary said weakly. “This looks great. ” She took a seat in one of the armchairs. It felt good to sit down.

Dorothea smiled, her eyes glinting with a sly humor. “Have some tea,” she said, hefting the pot. “Milk? Sugar?”

Clary looked sideways at Jace, who was sitting beside her and who had taken possession of the sandwich plate. He was examining it closely. “Sugar,” she said.

Jace shrugged, took a sandwich, and set the plate down. Clary watched him warily as he bit into it. He shrugged again. “Cucumber,” he said, in response to her stare.

“I always think cucumber sandwiches are just the thing for tea, don’t you?” Madame Dorothea inquired, of no one in particular.

“I hate cucumber,” Jace said, and handed the rest of his sandwich to Clary. She bit into it—it was seasoned with just the right amount of mayonnaise and pepper. Her stomach rumbled in grateful appreciation of the first food she’d tasted since the nachos she’d eaten with Simon.

“Cucumber and bergamot,” Clary said. “Is there anything else you hate that I ought to know about?”

Jace looked at Dorothea over the rim of his teacup. “Liars,” he said.

Calmly the old woman set her teapot down. “You can call me a liar all you like. It’s true, I’m not a witch. But my mother was. ”

Jace choked on his tea. “That’s impossible. ”

“Why impossible?” Clary asked curiously. She took a sip of her tea. It was bitter, strongly flavored with a peaty smokiness.

Jace expelled a breath. “Because they’re half-human, half-demon. All witches and warlocks are crossbreeds. And because they’re crossbreeds, they can’t have children. They’re sterile. ”

“Like mules,” Clary said thoughtfully, remembering something from biology class. “Mules are sterile crossbreeds. ”

“Your knowledge of livestock is astounding,” said Jace. “All Downworlders are in some part demon, but only warlocks are the children of demon parents. It’s why their powers are the strongest. ”

“Vampires and werewolves—they’re part demon too? And faeries?”

“Vampires and werewolves are the result of diseases brought by demons from their home dimensions. Most demon diseases are deadly to humans, but in these cases they worked strange changes on the infected, without actually killing them. And faeries—”

“Faeries are fallen angels,” said Dorothea, “cast down out of heaven for their pride. ”

“That’s the legend,” Jace said. “It’s also said that they’re the offspring of demons and angels, which always seemed more likely to me. Good and evil, mixing together. Faeries are as beautiful as angels are supposed to be, but they have a lot of mischief and cruelty in them. And you’ll notice most of them avoid midday sunlight—”

“For the devil has no power,” said Dorothea softly, as if she were reciting an old rhyme, “except in the dark. ”

Jace scowled at her. Clary said, “‘Supposed to be’? You mean angels don’t—”

“Enough about angels,” said Dorothea, suddenly practical. “It’s true that warlocks can’t have children. My mother adopted me because she wanted to make sure there’d be someone to attend this place after she was gone. I don’t have to master magic myself. I have only to watch and guard. ”

“Guard what?” asked Clary.

“What indeed?” With a wink the older woman reached for a sandwich from the plate, but it was empty. Clary had eaten them all. Dorothea chuckled. “It’s good to see a young woman eat her fill. In my day, girls were robust, strapping creatures, not twigs like they are nowadays. ”

“Thanks,” Clary said. She thought of Isabelle’s tiny waist and felt suddenly gigantic. She set her empty teacup down with a clatter.

Instantly, Madame Dorothea pounced on the cup and stared into it intently, a line appearing between her penciled eyebrows.

“What?” Clary said nervously. “Did I crack the cup or something?”

“She’s reading your tea leaves,” Jace said, sounding bored, but he leaned forward along with Clary as Dorothea turned the cup around and around in her thick fingers, scowling.

“Is it bad?” Clary asked.

“It is neither bad nor good. It is confusing. ” Dorothea looked at Jace. “Give me your cup,” she commanded.

Jace looked affronted. “But I’m not done with my—”

The old woman snatched the cup out of his hand and splashed the excess tea back into the pot. Frowning, she gazed at what remained. “I see violence in your future, a great deal of blood shed by you and others. You’ll fall in love with the wrong person. Also, you have an enemy. ”

“Only one? That’s good news. ” Jace leaned back in his chair as Dorothea put down his cup and picked up Clary’s again. She shook her head.

“There is nothing for me to read here. The images are jumbled, meaningless. ” She glanced at Clary. “Is there a block in your mind?”

Clary was puzzled. “A what?”

“Like a spell that might conceal a memory, or might have blocked out your Sight. ”

Clary shook her head. “No, of course not. ”

Jace leaned forward alertly. “Don’t be so hasty,” he said. “It’s true that she claims not to remember ever having had the Sight before this week. Maybe—”

“Maybe I’m just a late developer,” Clary snapped. “And don’t leer at me, just because I said that. ”

Jace assumed an injured air. “I wasn’t going to. ”

“You were working up to a leer, I could tell. ”

“Maybe,” Jace acknowledged, “but that doesn’t mean I’m not right. Something’s blocking your memories, I’m almost sure of it. ”

“Very well, let’s try something else. ” Dorothea put the cup down, and reached for the silk-wrapped tarot cards. She fanned the cards and held them out to Clary. “Slide your hand over these until you touch one that feels hot or cold, or seems to cling to your fingers. Then draw that one and show it to me. ”

Obediently Clary ran her fingers over the cards. They felt cool to the touch, and slippery, but none seemed particularly warm or cold, and none stuck to her fingers. Finally she selected one at random, and held it up.

“The Ace of Cups,” Dorothea said, sounding bemused. “The love card. ”

Clary turned it over and looked at it. The card was heavy in her hand, the image on the front thick with real paint. It showed a hand holding up a cup in front of a rayed sun painted with gilt. The cup was made of gold, engraved with a pattern of smaller suns and studded with rubies. The style of the artwork was as familiar to her as her own breath. “This is a good card, right?”

“Not necessarily. The most terrible things men do, they do in the name of love,” said Madame Dorothea, her eyes gleaming. “But it is a powerful card. What does it mean to you?”

“That my mother painted it,” said Clary, and dropped the card onto the table. “She did, didn’t she?”

Dorothea nodded, a look of pleased satisfaction on her face. “She painted the whole pack. A gift for me. ”

“So you say. ” Jace stood up, his eyes cold. “How well did you know Clary’s mother?”

Clary craned her head to look up at him. “Jace, you don’t have to—”

Dorothea sat back in her chair, the cards fanned out across her wide chest. “Jocelyn knew what I was, and I knew what she was. We didn’t talk about it much. Sometimes she did favors for me—like painting this pack of cards—and in return I’d tell her the occasional piece of Downworld gossip. There was a name she asked me to keep an ear out for, and I did. ”

Jace’s expression was unreadable. “What name was that?”

“Valentine. ”

Clary sat straight up in her chair. “But that’s—”

“And when you say you knew what Jocelyn was, what do you mean? What was she?” Jace asked.

“Jocelyn was what she was,” said Dorothea. “But in her past she’d been like you. A Shadowhunter. One of the Clave. ”

“No,” Clary whispered.

Dorothea looked at her with sad, almost kindly eyes. “It’s true. She chose to live in this house precisely because—”

“Because this is a Sanctuary,” Jace said to Dorothea. “Isn’t it? Your mother was a Control. She made this space, hidden, protected—it’s a perfect spot for Downworlders on the run to hide out. That’s what you do, isn’t it? You hide criminals here. ”

“You would call them that,” Dorothea said. “You’re familiar with the motto of the Covenant?”

“Sed lex dura lex,” said Jace automatically. “‘The Law is hard, but it is the Law. ’”

“Sometimes the Law is too hard. I know the Clave would have taken me away from my mother if they could. You want me to let them do the same to others?”

“So you’re a philanthropist. ” Jace’s lip curled. “I suppose you expect me to believe that Downworlders don’t pay you handsomely for the privilege of your Sanctuary?”

Dorothea grinned, wide enough to show a flash of gold molars. “We can’t all get by on our looks like you. ”

Jace looked unmoved by the flattery. “I should tell the Clave about you—”

“You can’t!” Clary was on her feet now. “You promised. ”

“I never promised anything. ” Jace looked mutinous. He strode to the wall and tore aside one of the velvet hangings. “You want to tell me what this is?” he demanded.

“It’s a door, Jace,” said Clary. It was a door, set strangely in the wall between the two bay windows. Clearly it couldn’t be a door that led anywhere, or it would have been visible from the outside of the house. It looked as if it were made of some softly glowing metal, more buttery than brass but as heavy as iron. The knob had been cast in the shape of an eye.

“Shut up,” Jace said angrily. “It’s a Portal. Isn’t it?”

“It’s a five-dimensional door,” said Dorothea, laying the tarot cards back on the table. “Dimensions aren’t all straight lines, you know,” she added, in response to Clary’s blank look. “There are dips and folds and nooks and crannies all tucked away. It’s a bit hard to explain when you’ve never studied dimensional theory, but, in essence, that door can take you anywhere in this dimension that you want to go. It’s—”

“An escape hatch,” Jace said. “That’s why your mother wanted to live here. So she could always flee at a moment’s notice. ”

“Then why didn’t she—” Clary began, and broke off, suddenly horrified. “Because of me,” she said. “She wouldn’t leave without me that night. So she stayed. ”

Jace was shaking his head. “You can’t blame yourself. ”

Feeling tears gather under her eyelids, Clary pushed past Jace to the door. “I want to see where she would have gone,” she said, reaching for the door. “I want to see where she was going to escape to—”

“Clary, no!” Jace reached for her, but her fingers had already closed around the knob. It spun rapidly under her hand, the door flying open as if she’d pushed it. Dorothea lumbered to her feet with a cry, but it was too late. Before she could even finish her sentence, Clary found herself flung forward and tumbling through empty space.

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