III. THE WAY TO HEAVEN
Oh yes, I know the way to heaven was easy.
—Siegfried Sassoon, The Imperfect Lover
Chapter 16: ARTICLES OF FAITH
SINCE THE NIGHT SHE’D COME HOME TO FIND HER MOTHER gone, Clary had imagined seeing her again, well and healthy, so often that her imaginings had taken on the quality of a photograph that had become faded from being taken out and looked at too many times. Those images rose up before her now, even as she stared in disbelief—images in which her mother, looking healthy and happy, hugged Clary and told her how much she’d missed her but that everything was going to be all right now.
The mother in her imaginings bore very little resemblance to the woman who stood in front of her now. She’d remembered Jocelyn as gentle and artistic, a little bohemian with her paint-splattered overalls, her red hair in pigtails or fastened up with a pencil into a messy bun. This Jocelyn was as bright and sharp as a knife, her hair drawn back sternly, not a wisp out of place; the harsh black of her gear made her face look pale and hard. Nor was her expression the one Clary had imagined: Instead of delight, there was something very like horror in the way she looked at Clary, her green eyes wide. “Clary,” she breathed. “Your clothes. ”
Clary looked down at herself. She had on Amatis’s black Shadowhunter gear, exactly what her mother had spent her whole life making sure her daughter would never have to wear. Clary swallowed hard and stood up, clutching the edge of the table with her hands. She could see how white her knuckles were, but her hands felt disconnected from her body somehow, as if they belonged to someone else.
Jocelyn stepped toward her, reaching her arms out. “Clary—”
And Clary found herself backing up, so hastily that she hit the counter with the small of her back. Pain flared through her, but she hardly noticed; she was staring at her mother. So was Simon, his mouth slightly open; Amatis, too, looked stricken.
Isabelle stood up, putting herself between Clary and her mother. Her hand slid beneath her apron, and Clary had a feeling that when she drew it out, she’d be holding her slender electrum whip. “What’s going on here?” Isabelle demanded. “Who are you?”
Her strong voice wavered slightly as she seemed to catch the expression on Jocelyn’s face; Jocelyn was staring at her, her hand over her heart.
“Maryse. ” Jocelyn’s voice was barely a whisper.
Isabelle looked startled. “How do you know my mother’s name?”
Color came into Jocelyn’s face in a rush. “Of course. You’re Maryse’s daughter. It’s just—you look so much like her. ” She lowered her hand slowly. “I’m Jocelyn Fr—Fairchild. I’m Clary’s mother. ”
Isabelle took her hand out from under the apron and glanced at Clary, her eyes full of confusion. “But you were in the hospital … in New York …”
“I was,” Jocelyn said in a firmer voice. “But thanks to my daughter, I’m fine now. And I’d like a moment with her. ”
“I’m not sure,” said Amatis, “that she wants a moment with you. ” She reached out to put her hand on Jocelyn’s shoulder. “This must be a shock for her—”
Jocelyn shook off Amatis and moved toward Clary, reaching her hands out. “Clary—”
At last Clary found her voice. It was a cold, icy voice, so angry it surprised her. “How did you get here, Jocelyn?”
Her mother stopped dead, a look of uncertainty passing over her face. “I Portaled to just outside the city with Magnus Bane. Yesterday he came to me in the hospital—he brought the antidote. He told me everything you did for me. All I’ve wanted since I woke up was to see you…. ” Her voice trailed off. “Clary, is something wrong?”
“Why didn’t you ever tell me I had a brother?” Clary said. It wasn’t what she’d expected to say, wasn’t even what she’d planned to have come out of her mouth. But there it was.
Jocelyn dropped her hands. “I thought he was dead. I thought it would only hurt you to know. ”
“Let me tell you something, Mom,” Clary said. “Knowing is better than not knowing. Every time. ”
“I’m sorry—” Jocelyn began.
“Sorry?” It was as if something inside Clary had torn open, and everything was pouring out, all her bitterness, all her pent-up rage. “Do you want to explain why you never told me I was a Shadowhunter? Or that my father was still alive? Oh, and how about that bit where you paid Magnus to steal my memories?”
“I was trying to protect you—”
“Well, you did a terrible job!” Clary’s voice rose. “What did you expect to happen to me after you disappeared? If it hadn’t been for Jace and the others, I’d be dead. You never showed me how to protect myself. You never told me how dangerous things really were. What did you think? That if I couldn’t see the bad things, that meant they couldn’t see me?” Her eyes burned. “You knew Valentine wasn’t dead. You told Luke you thought he was still alive. ”
“That’s why I had to hide you,” Jocelyn said. “I couldn’t risk letting Valentine know where you were. I couldn’t let him touch you—”
“Because he turned your first child into a monster,” said Clary, “and you didn’t want him to do the same to me. ”
Shocked speechless, Jocelyn could only stare at her. “Yes,” she said finally. “Yes, but that’s not all it was, Clary—”
“You stole my memories,” Clary said. “You took them away from me. You took away who I was. ”
“That’s not who you are!” Jocelyn cried. “I never wanted it to be who you were—”
“It doesn’t matter what you wanted!” Clary shouted. “It is who I am! You took all that away from me and it didn’t belong to you!”
Jocelyn was ashen. Tears rose up in Clary’s eyes—she couldn’t bear seeing her mother like this, seeing her so hurt, and yet she was the one doing the hurting—and she knew that if she opened her mouth again, more terrible words would come out, more hateful, angry things. She clapped her hand over her mouth and darted for the hallway, pushing past her mother, past Simon’s outstretched hand. All she wanted was to get away. Blindly pushing at the front door, she half-fell out into the street. Behind her, someone called her name, but she didn’t turn around. She was already running.
Jace was somewhat surprised to discover that Sebastian had left the Verlac horse in the stables rather than galloping away on him the night he fled. Perhaps he had been afraid that Wayfarer might in some manner be tracked.
It gave Jace a certain satisfaction to saddle the stallion up and ride him out of the city. True, if Sebastian had really wanted Wayfarer, he wouldn’t have left him behind—and besides, the horse hadn’t really been Sebastian’s to begin with. But the fact was, Jace liked horses. He’d been ten the last time he’d ridden one, but the memories, he was pleased to note, came back fast.
It had taken him and Clary five hours to walk from the Wayland manor to Alicante. It took about two hours to get back, riding at a near gallop. By the time they drew up on the ridge overlooking the house and gardens, both he and the horse were covered in a light sheen of sweat.
The misdirection wards that had hidden the manor had been destroyed along with the manor’s foundation. What was left of the once elegant building was a heap of smoldering stone. The gardens, singed at the edges now, still brought back memories of the time he’d lived there as a child. There were the rosebushes, denuded of their blossoms now and threaded with green weeds; the stone benches that sat by empty pools; and the hollow in the ground where he’d lain with Clary the night the manor collapsed. He could see the blue glint of the nearby lake through the trees.
A surge of bitterness caught him. He jammed his hand into his pocket and drew out first a stele—he’d “borrowed” it from Alec’s room before he’d left, as a replacement for the one Clary had lost, since Alec could always get another—and then the thread he’d taken from the sleeve of Clary’s coat. It lay in his palm, stained red-brown at one end. He closed his fist around it, tightly enough to make the bones jut out under his skin, and with his stele traced a rune on the back of his hand. The faint sting was more familiar than painful. He watched the rune sink into his skin like a stone sinking through water, and closed his eyes.
Instead of the backs of his eyelids he saw a valley. He was standing on a ridge looking down over it, and as if he were gazing at a map that pinpointed his location, he knew exactly where he was. He remembered how the Inquisitor had known exactly where Valentine’s boat was in the middle of the East River and realized, This is how she did it. Every detail was clear—every blade of grass, the scatter of browning leaves at his feet—but there was no sound. The scene was eerily silent.
The valley was a horseshoe with one end narrower than the other. A bright silver rill of water—a creek or stream—ran through the center of it and disappeared among rocks at the narrow end. Beside the stream sat a gray stone house, white smoke puffing from the square chimney. It was an oddly pastoral scene, tranquil under the blue gaze of the sky. As he watched, a slender figure swung into view. Sebastian. Now that he was no longer bothering to pretend, his arrogance was plain in the way he walked, in the jut of his shoulders, the faint smirk on his face. Sebastian knelt down by the side of the stream and plunged his hands in, splashing water up over his face and hair.
Jace opened his eyes. Beneath him Wayfarer was contentedly cropping grass. Jace shoved the stele and thread back into his pocket, and with a single last glance at the ruins of the house he’d grown up in, he gathered up the reins and dug his heels into the horse’s sides.
Clary lay in the grass near the edge of Gard Hill and stared morosely down at Alicante. The view from here was pretty spectacular, she had to admit. She could look out over the rooftops of the city, with their elegant carvings and rune-Marked weather vanes, past the spires of the Hall of Accords, out toward something that gleamed in the far distance like the edge of a silver coin—Lake Lyn? The black ruins of the Gard hulked behind her, and the demon towers shone like crystal. Clary almost thought she could see the wards, shimmering like an invisible net woven around the borders of the city.
She looked down at her hands. She had torn up several fistfuls of grass in the last spasms of her anger, and her fingers were sticky with dirt and blood where she’d ripped a nail half off. Once the fury had passed, a feeling of utter emptiness had replaced it. She hadn’t realized how angry she’d been with her mother, not until she’d stepped through the door and Clary had set her panic about Jocelyn’s life aside and realized what lay under it. Now that she was calmer, she wondered if a part of her had wanted to punish her mother for what had happened to Jace. If he hadn’t been lied to—if they both hadn’t been—then perhaps the shock of finding out what Valentine had done to him when he was only a baby wouldn’t have driven him to a gesture Clary couldn’t help feeling was close to suicide.
“Mind if I join you?”
She jumped in surprise and rolled onto her side to look up. Simon stood over her, his hands in his pockets. Someone—Isabelle, probably—had given him a dark jacket of the tough black stuff Shadowhunters used for their gear. A vampire in gear, Clary thought, wondering if it was a first. “You snuck up on me,” she said. “I guess I’m not much of a Shadowhunter, huh. ”
Simon shrugged. “Well, in your defense, I do move with a silent, pantherlike grace. ”
Despite herself, Clary smiled. She sat up, brushing dirt off her hands. “Go ahead and join me. This mope-fest is open to all. ”
Sitting beside her, Simon looked out over the city and whistled. “Nice view. ”
“It is. ” Clary looked at him sidelong. “How did you find me?”
“Well, it took me a few hours. ” He smiled, a little crookedly. “Then I remembered how when we used to fight, back in first grade, you’d go and sulk on my roof and my mom would have to get you down. ”
“I know you,” he said. “When you get upset, you head for high ground. ”
He held something out to her—her green coat, neatly folded. She took it and shrugged it on—the poor thing was already showing distinct signs of wear. There was even a small hole in the elbow big enough to wiggle a finger through.
“Thanks, Simon. ” She laced her hands around her knees and stared out at the city. The sun was low in the sky, and the towers had begun to glow a faint reddish pink. “Did my mom send you up here to get me?”
Simon shook his head. “Luke, actually. And he just asked me to tell you that you might want to head back before sunset. Some pretty important stuff is happening. ”
“What kind of stuff?”
“Luke gave the Clave until sunset to decide whether they’d agree to give the Downworlders seats on the Council. The Downworlders are all coming to the North Gate at twilight. If the Clave agrees, they can come into Alicante. If not …”
“They get sent away,” Clary finished. “And the Clave gives itself up to Valentine. ”
“They’ll agree,” said Clary. “They have to. ” She hugged her knees. “They’d never pick Valentine. No one would. ”
“Glad to see your idealism hasn’t been damaged,” said Simon, and though his voice was light, Clary heard another voice through it. Jace’s, saying he wasn’t an idealist, and she shivered, despite the coat she was wearing.
“Simon?” she said. “I have a stupid question. ”
“What is it?”
“Did you sleep with Isabelle?”
Simon made a choking sound. Clary swiveled slowly around to look at him.
“Are you okay?” she asked.
“I think so,” he said, recovering his poise with apparent effort. “Are you serious?”
“Well, you were gone all night. ”
Simon was silent for a long moment. Finally he said, “I’m not sure it’s your business, but no. ”
“Well,” said Clary, after a judicious pause, “I guess you wouldn’t have taken advantage of her when she’s so grief-stricken and all. ”
Simon snorted. “If you ever meet the man who could take advantage of Isabelle, you’ll have to let me know. I’d like to shake his hand. Or run away from him very fast, I’m not sure which. ”
“So you’re not dating Isabelle. ”
“Clary,” Simon said, “why are you asking me about Isabelle? Don’t you want to talk about your mom? Or about Jace? Izzy told me that he left. I know how you must be feeling. ”
“No,” Clary said. “No, I don’t think you do. ”
“You’re not the only person who’s ever felt abandoned. ” There was an edge of impatience to Simon’s voice. “I guess I just thought—I mean, I’ve never seen you so angry. And at your mom. I thought you missed her. ”
“Of course I missed her!” Clary said, realizing even as she said it how the scene in the kitchen must have looked. Especially to her mother. She pushed the thought away. “It’s just that I’ve been so focused on rescuing her—saving her from Valentine, then figuring out a way to cure her—that I never even stopped to think about how angry I was that she lied to me all these years. That she kept all of this from me, kept the truth from me. Never let me know who I really was. ”
“But that’s not what you said when she walked into the room,” said Simon quietly. “You said, ‘Why didn’t you ever tell me I had a brother?’”
“I know. ” Clary yanked a blade of grass out of the dirt, worrying it between her fingers. “I guess I can’t help thinking that if I’d known the truth, I wouldn’t have met Jace the way I did. I wouldn’t have fallen in love with him. ”
Simon was silent for a moment. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard you say that before. ”
“That I love him?” She laughed, but it sounded dreary even to her ears. “Seems useless to pretend like I don’t, at this point. Maybe it doesn’t matter. I probably won’t ever see him again, anyway. ”
“He’ll come back. ”
“He’ll come back,” Simon said again. “For you. ”
“I don’t know. ” Clary shook her head. It was getting colder as the sun dipped to touch the edge of the horizon. She narrowed her eyes, leaning forward, staring. “Simon. Look. ”
He followed her gaze. Beyond the wards, at the North Gate of the city, hundreds of dark figures were gathering, some huddled together, some standing apart: the Downworlders Luke had called to the city’s aid, waiting patiently for word from the Clave to let them in. A shiver sizzled down Clary’s spine. She was poised not just on the crest of this hill, looking down over a steep drop to the city below, but at the edge of a crisis, an event that would change the workings of the whole Shadowhunting world.
“They’re here,” Simon said, half to himself. “I wonder if that means the Clave’s decided?”
“I hope so. ” The grass blade Clary had been worrying at was a mangled green mess; she tossed it aside and yanked up another one. “I don’t know what I’ll do if they decide to give in to Valentine. Maybe I can create a Portal that’ll take us all away to somewhere Valentine will never find us. A deserted island, or something. ”
“Okay, I have a stupid question myself,” Simon said. “You can create new runes, right? Why can’t you just create one to destroy every demon in the world? Or kill Valentine?”
“It doesn’t work like that,” Clary said. “I can only create runes I can visualize. The whole image has to come into my head, like a picture. When I try to visualize kill Valentine or rule the world or something, I don’t get any images. Just white noise. ”
“But where do the images of the runes come from, do you think?”
“I don’t know,” Clary said. “All the runes the Shadowhunters know come from the Gray Book. That’s why they can only be put on Nephilim; that’s what they’re for. But there are other, older runes. Magnus told me that. Like the Mark of Cain. It was a protection Mark, but not one from the Gray Book. So when I think of these runes, like the Fearless rune, I don’t know if it’s something I’m inventing, or something I’m remembering—runes older than Shadowhunters. Runes as old as angels themselves. ” She thought of the rune Ithuriel had showed her, the one as simple as a knot. Had it come from her own mind, or the angel’s? Or was it just something that had always existed, like the sea or the sky? The thought made her shiver.
“Are you cold?” Simon asked.
“I don’t get cold anymore. ” He put an arm around her, his hand rubbing her back in slow circles. He chuckled ruefully. “I guess this probably doesn’t help much, what with me having no body heat and all. ”
“No,” Clary said. “I mean—yes, it does help. Stay like that. ” She glanced up at him. He was staring down at the North Gate, around which the dark figures of Downworlders still crowded, almost motionless. The red light of the demon towers reflected in his eyes; he looked like someone in a photograph taken with a flash. She could see faint blue veins spidering just under the surface of his skin where it was thinnest: at his temples, at the base of his collarbone. She knew enough about vampires to know that this meant it had been a while since he’d fed. “Are you hungry?”
Now he did glance down at her. “Afraid I’m going to bite you?”
“You know you’re welcome to my blood whenever you want it. ”
A shiver, not from cold, passed over him, and he pulled her more tightly against his side. “I’d never do that,” he said. And then, more lightly, “Besides, I’ve already drunk Jace’s blood—I’ve had enough of feeding off my friends. ”
Clary thought of the silver scar on the side of Jace’s throat. Slowly, her mind still full of the image of Jace, she said, “Do you think that’s why …?”
“Why sunlight doesn’t hurt you. I mean, it did hurt you before that, didn’t it? Before that night on the boat?”
He nodded reluctantly.
“So what else changed? Or is it just that you drank his blood?”
“You mean because he’s Nephilim? Yes, but not just because of that. You and Jace—you’re not quite normal, are you? I mean, not normal Shadowhunters. Whatever makes you different is what makes me different as well. Like the Seelie Queen said. You were experiments. ” He smiled at her startled look. “I’m not stupid. I can put these things together. You with your rune powers, and Jace, well … no one could be that annoying without some kind of supernatural assistance. ”
“Do you really dislike him that much?”
“I don’t dislike Jace,” Simon protested. “I mean, I hated him at first, sure. He seemed so arrogant and sure of himself, and you acted like he hung the moon—”
“I did not. ”
“Let me finish, Clary. ” There was a breathless undercurrent in Simon’s voice, if someone who never breathed could be said to be breathless. He sounded as if he were racing toward something. “I could tell how much you liked him, and I thought he was using you, that you were just some stupid mundane girl he could impress with his Shadowhunter tricks. First I told myself that you’d never fall for it, and then that even if you did, he’d get tired of you eventually and you’d come back to me. I’m not proud of that, but when you’re desperate, you’ll believe anything, I guess. And then when he turned out to be your brother, it seemed like a last-minute reprieve—and I was glad. I was even glad to see how much he seemed to be suffering, until that night in the Seelie Court when you kissed him. I could see …”
“See what?” Clary said, unable to bear the pause.
“The way he looked at you. I got it then. He was never using you. He loved you, and it was killing him. ”
“Is that why you went to the Dumort?” Clary whispered. It was something she’d always wanted to know but had never been able to bring herself to ask.
“Because of you and Jace? Not in any real way, no. Ever since that night in the hotel, I’d been wanting to go back. I dreamed about it. And I’d wake up out of bed, getting dressed, or already on the street, and I knew I wanted to go back to the hotel. It was always worse at night, and worse the closer I got to the hotel. It didn’t even occur to me that it was something supernatural—I thought it was post-traumatic stress or something. That night, I was so exhausted and angry, and we were so close to the hotel, and it was night—I barely even remember what happened. I just remember walking away from the park, and then—nothing. ”
“But if you hadn’t been angry at me—if we hadn’t upset you—”
“It’s not like you had a choice,” Simon said. “And it’s not like I didn’t know. You can only push the truth down for so long, and then it bubbles back up. The mistake I made was not telling you what was going on with me, not telling you about the dreams. But I don’t regret dating you. I’m glad we tried. And I love you for trying, even if it was never going to work. ”
“I wanted it to work so much,” Clary said softly. “I never wanted to hurt you. ”
“I wouldn’t change it,” Simon said. “I wouldn’t give up loving you. Not for anything. You know what Raphael told me? That I didn’t know how to be a good vampire; that true vampires accept that they’re dead. But as long as I remember what it was like to love you, I’ll always feel like I’m alive. ”
“Look. ” He cut her off with a gesture, his dark eyes widening. “Down there. ”
The sun was a red sliver on the horizon; as she looked, it flickered and vanished, disappearing past the dark rim of the world. The demon towers of Alicante blazed into sudden incandescent life. In their light Clary could see the dark crowd swarming restlessly around the North Gate. “What’s going on?” she whispered. “The sun’s set; why aren’t the gates opening?”
Simon was motionless. “The Clave,” he said. “They must have said no to Luke. ”
“But they can’t have!” Clary’s voice rose sharply. “That would mean—”
“They’re going to give themselves up to Valentine. ”
“They can’t!” Clary cried again, but even as she stared, she saw the groups of dark figures surrounding the wards turn and move away from the city, streaming like ants out of a destroyed anthill.
Simon’s face was waxy in the fading light. “I guess,” he said, “they really hate us that much. They’d really rather choose Valentine. ”
“It’s not hate,” Clary said. “It’s that they’re afraid. Even Valentine was afraid. ” She said it without thinking, and realized as she said it that it was true. “Afraid and jealous. ”
Simon flicked a glance toward her in surprise. “Jealous?”
But Clary was back in the dream Ithuriel had showed her, Valentine’s voice echoing in her ears. I dreamed that you would tell me why. Why Raziel created us, his race of Shadowhunters, yet did not give us the powers Downworlders have—the speed of the wolves, the immortality of the Fair Folk, the magic of warlocks, even the endurance of vampires. He left us naked before the hosts of hell but for these painted lines on our skin. Why should their powers be greater than ours? Why can’t we share in what they have?
Her lips parted and she stared unseeing down at the city below. She was vaguely aware that Simon was saying her name, but her mind was racing. The angel could have showed her anything, she thought, but it had chosen to show her these scenes, these memories, for a reason. She thought of Valentine crying, That we should be bound to Downworlders, tied to those creatures!
And the rune. The one she had dreamed of. The rune as simple as a knot.
Why can’t we share in what they have?
“Binding,” she said out loud. “It’s a binding rune. It joins like and unlike. ”
“What?” Simon stared at her in confusion.
She scrambled to her feet, brushing off the dirt. “I have to get down there. Where are they?”
“Where are who? Clary—”
“The Clave. Where are they meeting? Where’s Luke?”
Simon rose to his feet. “The Accords Hall. Clary—”
But she was already racing toward the winding path that led to the city. Swearing under his breath, Simon followed.
They say all roads lead to the Hall. Sebastian’s words pounded over and over in Clary’s head as she sprinted down the narrow streets of Alicante. She hoped it was true, because otherwise she was definitely going to get lost. The streets twisted at odd angles, not like the lovely, straight, gridded streets of Manhattan. In Manhattan you always knew where you were. Everything was clearly numbered and laid out. This was a labyrinth.
She darted through a tiny courtyard and down one of the narrow canal paths, knowing that if she followed the water, she’d eventually come out in Angel Square. Somewhat to her surprise, the path took her by Amatis’s house, and then she was racing, panting, down a wider, curving, familiar street. It opened out onto the square, the Accords Hall rising up wide and white before her, the angel statue shining at the square’s center. Standing beside the statue was Simon, his arms crossed, regarding her darkly.
“You could have waited,” he said.
She leaned forward, her hands on her knees, catching her breath. “You … can’t really say that … since you got here before me anyway. ”
“Vampire speed,” Simon said with some satisfaction. “When we get home, I ought to go out for track. ”
“That would be … cheating. ” With a last deep breath Clary straightened up and pushed her sweaty hair out of her eyes. “Come on. We’re going in. ”
The Hall was full of Shadowhunters, more Shadowhunters than Clary had ever seen in one place before, even on the night of Valentine’s attack. Their voices rose in a roar like a crashing avalanche; most of them had gathered into contentious, shouting groups—the dais was deserted, the map of Idris hanging forlornly behind it.
She looked around for Luke. It took her a moment to find him, leaning against a pillar with his eyes half-closed. He looked awful—half-dead, his shoulders slumped. Amatis stood behind him, patting his shoulder worriedly. Clary looked around, but Jocelyn was nowhere to be seen in the crowd.
For just a moment she hesitated. Then she thought of Jace, going after Valentine, doing it alone, knowing that he might well get himself killed. He knew he was a part of this, a part of all of it, and she was too—she always had been, even when she hadn’t known it. Adrenaline was still coursing through her in spikes, sharpening her perception, making everything seem clear. Almost too clear. She squeezed Simon’s hand. “Wish me luck,” she said, and then her feet were carrying her toward the dais steps, almost without her volition, and then she was standing on the dais and turning to face the crowd.
She wasn’t sure what she’d expected. Gasps of surprise? A sea of hushed, expectant faces? They barely noticed her—only Luke looked up, as if he sensed her there, and froze with a look of astonishment on his face. And there was someone coming toward her through the crowd—a tall man with bones as prominent as the prow of a sailing ship. Consul Malachi. He was gesturing at her to get down from the dais, shaking his head and shouting something she couldn’t hear. More Shadowhunters were turning toward her now as he made his way through the throng.
Clary had what she wanted now—all eyes riveted on her. She heard the whispers running through the crowd. That’s her. Valentine’s daughter.
“You’re right,” she said, casting her voice as far and as loudly as she could, “I am Valentine’s daughter. I never even knew he was my father until a few weeks ago. I never even knew he existed until a few weeks ago. I know a lot of you are going to believe that’s not true, and that’s fine. Believe what you want. Just as long as you also believe I know things about Valentine you don’t know, things that could help you win this battle against him—if only you let me tell you what they are. ”
“Ridiculous. ” Malachi stood at the foot of the dais steps. “This is ridiculous. You’re just a little girl—”
“She’s Jocelyn Fairchild’s daughter. ” It was Patrick Penhallow. Having pushed his way to the front of the crowd, he held up a hand. “Let the girl say her piece, Malachi. ”
The crowd was buzzing. “You,” Clary said to the Consul. “You and the Inquisitor threw my friend Simon into prison—”
Malachi sneered. “Your friend the vampire?”
“He told me you asked him what happened to Valentine’s ship that night on the East River. You thought Valentine must have done something, some kind of black magic. Well, he didn’t. If you want to know what destroyed that ship, the answer is me. I did it. ”
Malachi’s disbelieving laugh was echoed by several others in the crowd. Luke was looking at her, shaking his head, but Clary plowed on.
“I did it with a rune,” she said. “It was a rune so strong it made the ship come apart in pieces. I can create new runes. Not just the ones in the Gray Book. Runes no one’s ever seen before—powerful ones—”
“That’s enough,” Malachi roared. “This is ridiculous. No one can create new runes. It’s a complete impossibility. ” He turned to the crowd. “Like her father, this girl is nothing but a liar. ”
“She’s not lying. ” The voice came from the back of the crowd. It was clear, strong, and purposeful. The crowd turned, and Clary saw who had spoken: It was Alec. He stood with Isabelle on one side of him and Magnus on the other. Simon was with them, and so was Maryse Lightwood. They formed a small, determined-looking knot by the front doors. “I’ve seen her create a rune. She even used it on me. It worked. ”
“You’re lying,” the Consul said, but doubt had crept into his eyes. “To protect your friend—”
“Really, Malachi,” Maryse said crisply. “Why would my son lie about something like this, when the truth can so easily be discovered? Give the girl a stele and let her create a rune. ”
A murmur of assent ran around the Hall. Patrick Penhallow stepped forward and held a stele up to Clary. She took it gratefully and turned back to the crowd.
Her mouth went dry. Her adrenaline was still up, but it wasn’t enough to completely drown her stage fright. What was she supposed to do? What kind of rune could she create that would convince this crowd she was telling the truth? What would show them the truth?
She looked out then, through the crowd, and saw Simon with the Lightwoods, looking at her across the empty space that separated them. It was the same way that Jace had looked at her at the manor. It was the one thread that bound these two boys that she loved so much, she thought, their one commonality: They both believed in her even when she didn’t believe in herself.
Looking at Simon, and thinking of Jace, she brought the stele down and drew its stinging point against the inside of her wrist, where her pulse beat. She didn’t look down as she was doing it but drew blindly, trusting herself and the stele to create the rune she needed. She drew it faintly, lightly—she would need it only for a moment—but without a second’s hesitation.
The first thing she saw when she’d finished was Malachi. His face had gone white, and he was backing away from her with a look of horror. He said something—a word in a language she didn’t recognize—and then behind him she saw Luke, staring at her, his mouth slightly open. “Jocelyn?” Luke said.
She shook her head at him, just slightly, and looked out at the crowd. It was a blur of faces, fading in and out as she stared. Some were smiling, some glancing around the crowd in surprise, some turning to the person who stood next to them. A few wore expressions of horror or amazement, hands clamped over their mouths. She saw Alec glance quickly at Magnus, and then at her, in disbelief, and Simon looking on in puzzlement, and then Amatis came forward, shoving her way past Patrick Penhallow’s bulk, and ran up to the edge of the dais. “Stephen!” she said, looking up at Clary with a sort of dazzled amazement. “Stephen!”
“Oh,” Clary said. “Oh, Amatis, no,” and then she felt the rune magic slip from her, as if she’d shed a thin, invisible garment. Amatis’s eager face dropped, and she backed away from the dais, her expression half-crestfallen and half-amazed.
Clary looked out across the crowd. They were utterly silent, every face turned to her. “I know what you all just saw,” she said. “And I know that you know that that kind of magic is beyond any glamour or illusion. And I did that with one rune, a single rune, a rune that I created. There are reasons why I have this ability, and I know you might not like them or even believe them, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is that I can help you win this battle against Valentine, if you’ll let me. ”
“There will be no battle against Valentine,” Malachi said. He didn’t meet her eyes as he spoke. “The Clave has decided. We will agree to Valentine’s terms and lay down our arms tomorrow morning. ”
“You can’t do that,” she said, a tinge of desperation entering her voice. “You think everything will be all right if you just give up? You think Valentine will let you keep on living like you have already? You think he’ll confine his killing to demons and Downworlders?” She swept her gaze across the room. “Most of you haven’t seen Valentine in fifteen years. Maybe you’ve forgotten what he’s really like. But I know. I’ve heard him talk about his plans. You think you can still live your lives under Valentine’s rule, but you won’t be able to. He’ll control you completely, because he’ll always be able to threaten to destroy you with the Mortal Instruments. He’ll start with Downworlders, of course. But then he’ll go to the Clave. He’ll kill them first because he thinks they’re weak and corrupt. Then he’ll start in on anyone who has a Downworlder anywhere in their family. Maybe a werewolf brother”—her eyes swept over Amatis—“or a rebellious teenage daughter who dates the occasional faerie knight”—her eyes went to the Lightwoods—“or anyone who’s ever so much as befriended a Downworlder. And then he’ll go after anyone who’s ever employed the services of a warlock. How many of you would that be?”
“This is nonsense,” Malachi said crisply. “Valentine is not interested in destroying Nephilim. ”
“But he doesn’t think anyone who associates with Downworlders is worthy of being called Nephilim,” Clary insisted. “Look, your war isn’t against Valentine. It’s against demons. Keeping demons from this world is your mandate, a mandate from heaven. And a mandate from heaven isn’t something you can just ignore. Downworlders hate demons too. They destroy them too. If Valentine has his way, he’ll spend so much of his time trying to murder every Downworlder, and every Shadowhunter who’s ever associated with them, that he’ll forget all about the demons, and so will you, because you’ll be so busy being afraid of Valentine. And they’ll overrun the world, and that will be that. ”
“I see where this is going,” Malachi said through gritted teeth. “We will not fight beside Downworlders in the service of a battle we can’t possibly win—”
“But you can win it,” Clary said. “You can. ” Her throat was dry, her head aching, and the faces in the crowd before her seemed to meld into a featureless blur, punctuated here and there by soft white explosions of light. But you can’t stop now. You have to keep going. You have to try. “My father hates Downworlders because he’s jealous of them,” she went on, her words tripping over one another. “Jealous and afraid of all the things they can do that he can’t. He hates that in some ways they’re more powerful than Nephilim, and I’d bet he’s not alone in that. It’s easy to be afraid of what you don’t share. ” She took a breath. “But what if you could share it? What if I could make a rune that could bind each of you, each Shadowhunter, to a Downworlder who was fighting by your side, and you could share your powers—you could be as fast-healing as a vampire, as tough as a werewolf, or as swift as a faerie knight. And they, in turn, could share your training, your fighting skills. You could be an unbeatable force—if you’ll let me Mark you, and if you’ll fight with the Downworlders. Because if you don’t fight beside them, the rune won’t work. ” She paused. “Please,” she said, but the word came almost inaudibly out of her dry throat. “Please let me Mark you. ”
Her words fell into a ringing silence. The world moved in a shifting blur, and she realized that she’d delivered the last half of her speech staring up at the ceiling of the Hall and that the soft white explosions she’d seen had been the stars coming out in the night sky, one by one. The silence went on and on as her hands, at her sides, curled themselves slowly into fists. And then slowly, very slowly, she lowered her gaze and met the eyes of the crowd staring back at her.