Chapter 18: HAIL AND FAREWELL
THE VALLEY WAS MORE BEAUTIFUL IN REALITY THAN IT HAD been in Jace’s vision. Maybe it was the bright moonlight silvering the river that cut across the green valley floor. White birch and aspen dotted the valley’s sides, shivering their leaves in the cool breeze—it was chilly up on the ridge, with no protection from the wind.
This was without a doubt the valley where he’d last seen Sebastian. Finally he was catching up. After securing Wayfarer to a tree, Jace took the bloody thread from his pocket and repeated the tracking ritual, just to be sure.
He closed his eyes, expecting to see Sebastian, hopefully somewhere very close by—maybe even still in the valley—
Instead he saw only darkness.
His heart began to pound.
He tried again, moving the thread to his left fist and awkwardly carving the tracking rune onto the back of it with his right, less agile, hand. He took a deep breath before closing his eyes this time.
Nothing, again. Just a wavering, shadowy blackness. He stood there for a full minute, his teeth gritted, the wind slicing through his jacket, making goose bumps rise on his skin. Eventually, cursing, he opened his eyes—and then, in a fit of desperate anger, his fist; the wind picked up the thread and carried it away, so fast that even if he’d regretted it immediately he couldn’t have caught it back.
His mind raced. Clearly the tracking rune was no longer working. Perhaps Sebastian had realized he was being followed and done something to break the charm—but what could you do to stop a tracking? Maybe he’d found a large body of water. Water disrupted magic.
Not that that helped Jace much. It wasn’t as if he could go to every lake in the country and see if Sebastian was floating around in the middle of it. He’d been so close, too—so close. He’d seen this valley, seen Sebastian in it. And there the house was, just barely visible, nestled against a copse of trees on the valley floor. At least it would be worth going down to look around the house to see if there was anything that might point toward Sebastian’s, or Valentine’s, location.
With a feeling of resignation, Jace used the stele to Mark himself with a number of fast-acting, fast-disappearing battle Marks: one to give him silence, and one swiftness, and another for sure-footed walking. When he was done—and feeling the familiar, stinging pain hot against his skin—he slid the stele into his pocket, gave Wayfarer a brisk pat on the neck, and headed down into the valley.
The sides of the valley were deceptively steep, and treacherous with loose scree. Jace alternated picking his way down it carefully and sliding on the scree, which was fast but dangerous. By the time he reached the valley floor, his hands were bloody where he’d fallen onto the loose gravel more than once. He washed them in the clear, fast-flowing stream; its water was numbingly cold.
When he straightened up and looked around, he realized he was now regarding the valley from a different angle than he had been in the tracking vision. There was the gnarled copse of trees, their branches intertwining, the valley walls rising all around, and there was the small house. Its windows were dark now, and no smoke rose out of the chimney. Jace felt a mingled stab of relief and disappointment. It would be easier to search the house if no one was in it. On the other hand, no one was in it.
As he approached, he wondered what about the house in the vision had seemed eerie. Up close, it was just an ordinary Idris farmhouse, made of squares of white and gray stone. The shutters had once been painted a bright blue, but it looked as if it had been years since anyone had repainted them. They were pale and peeling with age.
Reaching one of the windows, Jace hoisted himself onto the sill and peered through the cloudy pane. He saw a big, slightly dusty room with a workbench of sorts running along one wall. The tools on it weren’t anything you’d do handiwork with—they were a warlock’s tools: stacks of smeared parchment; black, waxy candles; fat copper bowls with dried dark liquid stuck to the rims; an assortment of knives, some as thin as awls, some with wide square blades. A pentagram was chalked on the floor, its outlines blurred, each of its five points decorated with a different rune. Jace’s stomach tightened—the runes looked like the ones that had been carved around Ithuriel’s feet. Could Valentine have done this—could these be his things? Was this his hideaway—a hideaway Jace had never visited or known about?
Jace slid off the sill, landing in a dry patch of grass—just as a shadow passed across the face of the moon. But there were no birds here, he thought, and glanced up just in time to see a raven wheeling overhead. He froze, then stepped hastily into the shadow of a tree and peered up through its branches. As the raven dipped closer to the ground, Jace knew his first instinct had been right. This wasn’t just any raven—this was Hugo, the raven that had once been Hodge’s; Hodge had used him on occasion to carry messages outside the Institute. Since then Jace had learned that Hugo had originally been his father’s.
Jace pressed himself closer to the tree trunk. His heart was pounding again, this time with excitement. If Hugo was here, it could only mean that he was carrying a message, and this time the message wouldn’t be for Hodge. It would be for Valentine. It had to be. If Jace could only manage to follow him—
Perching on a sill, Hugo peered through one of the house’s windows. Apparently realizing that the house was empty, the bird rose into the air with an irritable caw and flapped off in the direction of the stream.
Jace stepped out from the shadows and set out in pursuit of the raven.
“So, technically,” Simon said, “even though Jace isn’t actually related to you, you have kissed your brother. ”
“Simon!” Clary was appalled. “Shut UP. ” She spun in her seat to see if anyone was listening, but, fortunately, nobody seemed to be. She was sitting in a high seat on the dais in the Accords Hall, Simon by her side. Her mother stood at the edge of the dais, leaning down to speak to Amatis.
All around them the Hall was chaos as the Downworlders who had come from the North Gate poured in, spilling in through the doors, crowding against the walls. Clary recognized various members of Luke’s pack, including Maia, who grinned across the room at her. There were faeries, pale and cold and lovely as icicles, and warlocks with bat wings and goat feet and even one with antlers, blue fire sparking from their fingertips as they moved through the room. The Shadowhunters milled among them, looking nervous.
Clutching her stele in both hands, Clary looked around anxiously. Where was Luke? He’d vanished into the crowd. She picked him out after a moment, talking with Malachi, who was shaking his head violently. Amatis stood nearby, shooting the Consul dagger glances.
“Don’t make me sorry I ever told you any of this, Simon,” Clary said, glaring at him. She’d done her best to give him a pared-down version of Jocelyn’s tale, mostly hissed under her breath as he’d helped her plow through the crowds to the dais and take her seat there. It was weird being up here, looking down on the room as if she were the queen of all she surveyed. But a queen wouldn’t be nearly so panicked. “Besides. He was a horrible kisser. ”
“Or maybe it was just gross, because he was, you know, your brother. ” Simon seemed more amused by the whole business than Clary thought he had any right to be.
“Do not say that where my mother can hear you, or I’ll kill you,” she said with a second glare. “I already feel like I’m going to throw up or pass out. Don’t make it worse. ”
Jocelyn, returning from the edge of the dais in time to hear Clary’s last words—though, fortunately, not what she and Simon had been discussing—dropped a reassuring pat onto Clary’s shoulder. “Don’t be nervous, baby. You were so great before. Is there anything you need? A blanket, some hot water …”
“I’m not cold,” Clary said patiently, “and I don’t need a bath, either. I’m fine. I just want Luke to come up here and tell me what’s going on. ”
Jocelyn waved toward Luke to get his attention, silently mouthing something Clary couldn’t quite decipher. “Mom,” she spat, “don’t,” but it was already too late. Luke glanced up—and so did quite a few of the other Shadowhunters. Most of them looked away just as quickly, but Clary sensed the fascination in their stares. It was weird thinking that her mother was something of a legendary figure here. Just about everyone in the room had heard her name and had some kind of opinion about her, good or bad. Clary wondered how her mother kept it from bothering her. She didn’t look bothered—she looked cool and collected and dangerous.
A moment later Luke had joined them on the dais, Amatis at his side. He still looked tired, but also alert and even a little excited. He said, “Just hang on a second. Everyone’s coming. ”
“Malachi,” said Jocelyn, not quite looking directly at Luke while she spoke, “was he giving you trouble?”
Luke made a dismissive gesture. “He thinks we should send a message to Valentine, refusing his terms. I say we shouldn’t tip our hand. Let Valentine show up with his army on Brocelind Plain expecting a surrender. Malachi seemed to think that wouldn’t be sporting, and when I told him war wasn’t an English schoolboy cricket game, he said that if any of the Downworlders here got out of hand, he’d step in and end the whole business. I don’t know what he thinks is going to happen—as if Downworlders can’t stop fighting even for five minutes. ”
“That’s exactly what he thinks,” said Amatis. “It’s Malachi. He’s probably worried you’ll start eating each other. ”
“Amatis,” Luke said. “Someone might hear you. ” He turned, then, as two men mounted the steps behind him. One was a tall, slender faerie knight with long dark hair that fell in sheets on either side of his narrow face. He wore a tunic of white armor: pale, hard metal made of tiny overlapping circles, like the scales of a fish. His eyes were leaf green.
The other man was Magnus Bane. He didn’t smile at Clary as he came to stand beside Luke. He wore a long, dark coat buttoned up to the throat, and his black hair was pulled back from his face.
“You look so plain,” Clary said, staring.
Magnus smiled faintly. “I heard you had a rune to show us,” was all he said.
Clary looked at Luke, who nodded. “Oh, yes,” she said. “I just need something to write on—some paper. ”
“I asked you if you needed anything,” Jocelyn said under her breath, sounding very much like the mother Clary remembered.
“I’ve got paper,” said Simon, fishing something out of his jeans pocket. He handed it to her. It was a crumpled flyer for his band’s performance at the Knitting Factory in July. She shrugged and flipped it over, raising her borrowed stele. It sparked slightly when she touched the tip to the paper, and she worried for a moment that the flyer might burn, but the tiny flame subsided. She set to drawing, doing her best to shut everything else out: the noise of the crowd, the feeling that everyone was staring at her.
The rune came out as it had before—a pattern of lines that curved strongly into one another, then stretched across the page as if expecting a completion that wasn’t there. She brushed dust from the page and held it up, feeling absurdly as if she were in school and showing off some sort of presentation to her class. “This is the rune,” she said. “It requires a second rune to complete it, to work properly. A—partner rune. ”
“One Downworlder, one Shadowhunter. Each half of the partnership has to be Marked,” Luke said. He scribbled a copy of the rune on the bottom of the page, tore the paper in half, and handed one illustration to Amatis. “Start circulating the rune,” he said. “Show the Nephilim how it works. ”
With a nod Amatis vanished down the steps and into the crowd. The faerie knight, glancing after her, shook his head. “I have always been told that only the Nephilim can bear the Angel’s Marks,” he said, with a measure of distrust. “That others of us will run mad, or die, should we wear them. ”
“This isn’t one of the Angel’s Marks,” said Clary. “It’s not from the Gray Book. It’s safe, I promise. ”
The faerie knight looked unimpressed.
With a sigh Magnus flipped his sleeve back and reached a hand out to Clary. “Go ahead. ”
“I can’t,” she said. “The Shadowhunter who Marks you will be your partner, and I’m not fighting in the battle. ”
“I should hope not,” said Magnus. He glanced over at Luke and Jocelyn, who were standing close together. “You two,” he said. “Go on, then. Show the faerie how it works. ”
Jocelyn blinked in surprise. “What?”
“I assumed,” Magnus said, “that you two would be partners, since you’re practically married anyway. ”
Color flooded up into Jocelyn’s face, and she carefully avoided looking at Luke. “I don’t have a stele—”
“Take mine. ” Clary handed it over. “Go ahead, show them. ”
Jocelyn turned to Luke, who seemed entirely taken aback. He thrust out his hand before she could ask for it, and she Marked his palm with a hasty precision. His hand shook as she drew, and she took his wrist to steady it; Luke looked down at her as she worked, and Clary thought of their conversation about her mother and what he had told her about his feelings for Jocelyn, and she felt a pang of sadness. She wondered if her mother even knew that Luke loved her, and if she knew, what she would say.
“There. ” Jocelyn drew the stele back. “Done. ”
Luke raised his hand, palm out, and showed the swirling black Mark in its center to the faerie knight. “Is that satisfactory, Meliorn?”
“Meliorn?” said Clary. “I’ve met you, haven’t I? You used to go out with Isabelle Lightwood. ”
Meliorn was almost expressionless, but Clary could have sworn he looked ever so slightly uncomfortable. Luke shook his head. “Clary, Meliorn is a knight of the Seelie Court. It’s very unlikely that he—”
“He was totally dating Isabelle,” Simon said, “and she dumped him too. At least she said she was going to. Tough break, man. ”
Meliorn blinked at him. “You,” he said with distaste, “you are the chosen representative of the Night Children?”
Simon shook his head. “No. I’m just here for her. ” He pointed at Clary.
“The Night Children,” said Luke, after a brief hesitation, “aren’t participating, Meliorn. I did convey that information to your Lady. They’ve chosen to—to go their own way. ”
Meliorn’s delicate features drew down into a scowl. “Would that I had known that,” he said. “The Night Children are a wise and careful people. Any scheme that draws their ire draws my suspicions. ”
“I didn’t say anything about ire,” Luke began, with a mixture of deliberate calm and faint exasperation—Clary doubted that anyone who didn’t know him well would know he was irritated at all. She could sense the shift in his attention: He was looking down toward the crowd. Following his gaze, Clary saw a familiar figure cut a path across the room—Isabelle, her black hair swinging, her whip wrapped around her wrist like a series of golden bracelets.
Clary caught Simon’s wrist. “The Lightwoods. I just saw Isabelle. ”
He glanced toward the crowd, frowning. “I didn’t realize you were looking for them. ”
“Please go talk to her for me,” she whispered, glancing over to see if anyone was paying attention to them; nobody was. Luke was gesturing toward someone in the crowd; meanwhile, Jocelyn was saying something to Meliorn, who was looking at her with something approaching alarm. “I have to stay here, but—please, I need you to tell her and Alec what my mother told me. About Jace and who he really is, and Sebastian. They have to know. Tell them to come and talk to me as soon as they can. Please, Simon. ”
“All right. ” Clearly worried by the intensity of her tone, Simon freed his wrist from her grasp and touched her reassuringly on the cheek. “I’ll be back. ”
He went down the steps and vanished into the throng; when she turned back, she saw that Magnus was looking at her, his mouth set in a crooked line. “It’s fine,” he said, obviously answering whatever question Luke had just asked him. “I’m familiar with Brocelind Plain. I’ll set the Portal up in the square. One that big won’t last very long, though, so you’d better get everyone through it pretty quickly once they’re Marked. ”
As Luke nodded and turned to say something to Jocelyn, Clary leaned forward and said quietly, “Thanks, by the way. For everything you did for my mom. ”
Magnus’s uneven smile broadened. “You didn’t think I was going to do it, did you?”
“I wondered,” Clary admitted. “Especially considering that when I saw you at the cottage, you didn’t even see fit to tell me that Jace brought Simon through the Portal with him when he came to Alicante. I didn’t have a chance to yell at you about that before, but what were you thinking? That I wouldn’t be interested?”
“That you’d be too interested,” said Magnus. “That you’d drop everything and go rushing off to the Gard. And I needed you to look for the Book of the White. ”
“That’s ruthless,” Clary said angrily. “And you’re wrong. I would have—”
“Done what anyone would have done. What I would have done if it were someone I cared about. I don’t blame you, Clary, and I didn’t do it because I thought you were weak. I did it because you’re human, and I know humanity’s ways. I’ve been alive a long time. ”
“Like you never do anything stupid because you have feelings,” Clary said. “Where’s Alec, anyway? Why aren’t you off choosing him as your partner right now?”
Magnus seemed to wince. “I wouldn’t approach him with his parents there. You know that. ”
Clary propped her chin on her hand. “Doing the right thing because you love someone sucks sometimes. ”
“It does,” Magnus said, “at that. ”
The raven flew in slow, lazy circles, making his way over the treetops toward the western wall of the valley. The moon was high, eliminating the need for witchlight as Jace followed, keeping to the edges of the trees.
The valley wall rose above, a sheer wall of gray rock. The raven’s path seemed to be following the curve of the stream as it wended its way west, disappearing finally into a narrow fissure in the wall. Jace nearly twisted his ankle several times on wet rock and wished he could swear out loud, but Hugo would be sure to hear him. Bent into an uncomfortable half crouch, he concentrated on not breaking a leg instead.
His shirt was soaked with sweat by the time he reached the edge of the valley. For a moment he thought he’d lost sight of Hugo, and his heart fell—then he saw the black sinking shape as the raven swooped low and disappeared into the dark, fissured hole in the valley’s rock wall. Jace ran forward—it was such a relief to run instead of crawl. As he neared the fissure, he could see a much larger, darker gap beyond it—a cave. Fumbling his witchlight stone out of his pocket, Jace dived in after the raven.
Only a little light seeped in through the cave’s mouth, and after a few steps even that was swallowed up by the oppressive darkness. Jace raised his witchlight and let the illumination bleed out between his fingers.
At first he thought he’d somehow found his way outside again, and that the stars were visible overhead in all their glittering glory. The stars never shone anywhere else the way they shone in Idris—and they weren’t shining now. The witchlight had picked out dozens of sparkling deposits of mica in the rock around him, and the walls had come alive with brilliant points of light.
They showed him that he was standing in a narrow space carved out of sheer rock, the cave entrance behind him, two branching dark tunnels ahead. Jace thought of the stories his father had told him about heroes lost in mazes who used rope or twine to find their way back. He didn’t have either of those on him, though. He moved closer to the tunnels and stood silent for a long moment, listening. He heard the drip of water, faintly, from somewhere far away; the rush of the stream; a rustling like wings; and—voices.
He jerked back. The voices were coming from the left-hand tunnel, he was sure of it. He ran his thumb over the witchlight to dim it, until it was giving off a faint glow that was just enough to light his way. Then he plunged forward into the darkness.
“Are you serious, Simon? It’s really true? That’s fantastic! It’s wonderful!” Isabelle reached out for her brother’s hand. “Alec, did you hear what Simon said? Jace isn’t Valentine’s son. He never was. ”
“So whose son is he?” Alec replied, though Simon had the feeling that he was only partly paying attention. He seemed to be casting around the room for something. His parents stood a little distance away, frowning in their direction; Simon had been worried he’d have to explain the whole business to them, too, but they’d nicely allowed him a few minutes with Isabelle and Alec alone.
“Who cares!” Isabelle threw her hands up in delight, then frowned. “Actually, that’s a good point. Who was his father? Michael Wayland after all?”
Simon shook his head. “Stephen Herondale. ”
“So he was the Inquisitor’s grandson,” Alec said. “That must be why she—” He broke off, staring into the distance.
“Why she what?” Isabelle demanded. “Alec, pay attention. Or at least tell us what you’re looking for. ”
“Not what,” said Alec. “Who. Magnus. I wanted to ask him if he’d be my partner in the battle. But I’ve no idea where he is. Have you seen him?” he asked, directing his question at Simon.
Simon shook his head. “He was up on the dais with Clary, but”—he craned his neck to look—“he’s not now. He’s probably in the crowd somewhere. ”
“Really? Are you really going to ask him to be your partner?” Isabelle asked. “It’s like a cotillion, this partners business, except with killing. ”
“So, exactly like a cotillion,” said Simon.
“Maybe I’ll ask you to be my partner, Simon,” Isabelle said, raising an eyebrow delicately.
Alec frowned. He was, like the rest of the Shadowhunters in the room, entirely geared up—all in black, with a belt from which dangled multiple weapons. A bow was strapped across his back; Simon was happy to see he’d found a replacement for the one Sebastian had smashed. “Isabelle, you don’t need a partner, because you’re not fighting. You’re too young. And if you even think about it, I’ll kill you. ” His head jerked up. “Wait—is that Magnus?”
Isabelle, following his gaze, snorted. “Alec, that’s a werewolf. A girl werewolf. In fact, it’s what’s-her-name. May. ”
“Maia,” Simon corrected. She was standing a little ways away, wearing brown leather pants and a tight black T-shirt that said WHATEVER DOESN’T KILL ME … HAD BETTER START RUNNING. A cord held back her braided hair. She turned, as if sensing their eyes on her, and smiled. Simon smiled back. Isabelle glowered. Simon stopped smiling hastily—when exactly had his life gotten so complicated?
Alec’s face lit up. “There’s Magnus,” he said, and took off without a backward glance, shearing a path through the crowd to the space where the tall warlock stood. Magnus’s surprise as Alec approached him was visible, even from this distance.
“It’s sort of sweet,” said Isabelle, looking at them, “you know, in kind of a lame way. ”
“Because,” Isabelle explained, “Alec’s trying to get Magnus to take him seriously, but he’s never told our parents about Magnus, or even that he likes, you know—”
“Warlocks?” Simon said.
“Very funny. ” Isabelle glared at him. “You know what I mean. What’s going on here is—”
“What is going on, exactly?” asked Maia, striding into earshot. “I mean, I don’t quite get this partners thing. How is it supposed to work?”
“Like that. ” Simon pointed toward Alec and Magnus, who stood a bit apart from the crowd, in their own small space. Alec was drawing on Magnus’s hand, his face intent, his dark hair falling forward to hide his eyes.
“So we all have to do that?” Maia said. “Get drawn on, I mean. ”
“Only if you’re going to fight,” Isabelle said, looking at the other girl coldly. “You don’t look eighteen yet. ”
Maia smiled tightly. “I’m not a Shadowhunter. Lycanthropes are considered adults at sixteen. ”
“Well, you have to get drawn on, then,” said Isabelle. “By a Shadowhunter. So you’d better look for one. ”
“But—” Maia, still looking over at Alec and Magnus, broke off and raised her eyebrows. Simon turned to see what she was looking at—and stared.
Alec had his arms around Magnus and was kissing him, full on the mouth. Magnus, who appeared to be in a state of shock, stood frozen. Several groups of people—Shadowhunters and Downworlders alike—were staring and whispering. Glancing to the side, Simon saw the Lightwoods, their eyes wide, gaping at the display. Maryse had her hand over her mouth.
Maia looked perplexed. “Wait a second,” she said. “Do we all have to do that, too?”
For the sixth time Clary scanned the crowd, looking for Simon. She couldn’t find him. The room was a roiling mass of Shadowhunters and Downworlders, the crowd spilling through the open doors and onto the steps outside. Everywhere was the flash of steles as Downworlders and Shadowhunters came together in pairs and Marked each other. Clary saw Maryse Lightwood holding out her hand to a tall green-skinned faerie woman who was just as pale and regal as she was. Patrick Penhallow was solemnly exchanging Marks with a warlock whose hair shone with blue sparks. Through the Hall doors Clary could see the bright glimmer of the Portal in the square. The starlight shining down through the glass skylight lent a surreal air to all of it.
“Amazing, isn’t it?” Luke said. He stood at the edge of the dais, looking down over the room. “Shadowhunters and Downworlders, mingling together in the same room. Working together. ” He sounded awed. All Clary could think was that she wished Jace were here to see what was happening. She couldn’t put aside her fear for him, no matter how hard she tried. The idea that he might face down Valentine, might risk his life because he thought he was cursed—that he might die without ever knowing it wasn’t true—
“Clary,” Jocelyn said, with a trace of amusement, “did you hear what I said?”
“I did,” said Clary, “and it is amazing, I know. ”
Jocelyn put her hand on top of Clary’s. “That’s not what I was saying. Luke and I will both be fighting. I know you know that. You’ll be staying here with Isabelle and the other children. ”
“I’m not a child. ”
“I know you’re not, but you’re too young to fight. And even if you weren’t, you’ve never been trained. ”
“I don’t want to just sit here and do nothing. ”
“Nothing?” Jocelyn said in amazement. “Clary, none of this would be happening if it weren’t for you. We wouldn’t even have a chance to fight if it weren’t for you. I’m so proud of you. I just wanted to tell you that even though Luke and I will be gone, we’ll be coming back. Everything’s going to be fine. ”
Clary looked up at her mother, into the green eyes so like her own. “Mom,” she said. “Don’t lie. ”
Jocelyn took a sharp breath and stood up, drawing her hand back. Before she could say anything, something caught Clary’s eye—a familiar face in the crowd. A slim, dark figure, moving purposefully toward them, slipping through the thronged Hall with deliberate and surprising ease—as if he could drift through the crowd, like smoke through the gaps in a fence.
And he was, Clary realized, as he neared the dais. It was Raphael, dressed in the same white shirt and black pants she’d first seen him in. She had forgotten how slight he was. He looked barely fourteen as he climbed the stairs, his thin face calm and angelic, like a choirboy mounting the steps to the chancel.
“Raphael. ” Luke’s voice held amazement, mixed with relief. “I didn’t think you were coming. Have the Night Children reconsidered joining us in fighting Valentine? There’s still a Council seat open for you, if you’d like to take it. ” He held a hand out to Raphael.
Raphael’s clear and lovely eyes regarded him expressionlessly. “I cannot shake hands with you, werewolf. ” When Luke looked offended, he smiled, just enough to show the white tips of his fang teeth. “I am a Projection,” he said, raising his hand so that they could all see how the light shone through it. “I can touch nothing. ”
“But—” Luke glanced up at the moonlight pouring through the roof. “Why—” He lowered his hand. “Well, I’m glad you’re here. However you choose to appear. ”
Raphael shook his head. For a moment his eyes lingered on Clary—a look she really didn’t like—and then he turned his gaze to Jocelyn, and his smile widened. “You,” he said, “Valentine’s wife. Others of my kind, who fought with you at the Uprising, told me of you. I admit I never thought I would see you myself. ”
Jocelyn inclined her head. “Many of the Night Children fought very bravely then. Does your presence here indicate that we might fight alongside each other once again?”
It was odd, Clary thought, to hear her mother speak in that cool and formal way, and yet it seemed natural to Jocelyn. As natural in its way as sitting on the ground in ancient overalls, holding a paint-splattered brush.
“I hope so,” Raphael said, and his gaze brushed Clary again, like the touch of a cold hand. “We have only one requirement, one simple—and small—request. If that is honored, the Night Children of many lands will happily go to battle at your side. ”
“The Council seat,” said Luke. “Of course—it can be formalized, the documents drawn up within the hour—”
“Not,” said Raphael, “the Council seat. Something else. ”
“Something—else?” Luke echoed blankly. “What is it? I assure you, if it’s in our power—”
“Oh, it is. ” Raphael’s smile was blinding. “In fact, it is something that is within the walls of this Hall as we speak. ” He turned and gestured gracefully toward the crowd. “It is the boy Simon that we want,” he said. “It is the Daylighter. ”
The tunnel was long and twisting, switchbacking on itself over and over as if Jace were crawling through the entrails of an enormous monster. It smelled like wet rock and ashes and something else, something dank and odd that reminded Jace ever so slightly of the smell of the Bone City.
At last the tunnel opened out into a circular chamber. Huge stalactites, their surfaces as burnished as gems, hung down from a ridged, stony ceiling high above. The floor was as smooth as if it had been polished, alternating here and there with arcane patterns of gleaming inlaid stone. A series of rough stalagmites circled the chamber. In the very center of the room stood a single massive quartz stalagmite, rearing up from the floor like a gigantic fang, patterned here and there with a reddish design. Peering closer, Jace saw that the sides of the stalagmite were transparent, the reddish pattern the result of something swirling and moving inside it, like a glass test tube full of colored smoke.
High above, light filtered down from a circular hole in the stone, a natural skylight. The chamber had certainly been a product of design rather than accident—the intricate patterns tracing the floor made that much obvious—but who would have hollowed out such an enormous underground chamber, and why?
A sharp caw echoed through the room, sending a shock through Jace’s nerves. He ducked behind a bulky stalagmite, dousing his witchlight, just as two figures emerged from the shadows at the far end of the room and moved toward him, their heads bent together in conversation. It was only when they reached the center of the room and the light struck them that he recognized them.
Hoping to avoid the crowd, Simon took the long way back toward the dais, ducking behind the rows of pillars that lined the sides of the Hall. He kept his head down as he went, lost in thought. It seemed strange that Alec, only a year or two older than Isabelle, was heading off to fight in a war, and the rest of them were going to stay behind. And Isabelle seemed calm about it. No crying, no hysterics. It was as if she’d expected it. Maybe she had. Maybe they all had.
He was close to the dais steps when he glanced up and saw, to his surprise, Raphael standing across from Luke, looking his usual near-expressionless self. Luke, on the other hand, looked agitated—he was shaking his head, his hands up in protest, and Jocelyn, beside him, looked outraged. Simon couldn’t see Clary’s face—her back was to him—but he knew her well enough to recognize her tension just from the set of her shoulders.
Not wanting Raphael to see him, Simon ducked behind a pillar, listening. Even over the babble of the crowd, he was able to hear Luke’s rising voice.
“It’s out of the question,” Luke was saying. “I can’t believe you’d even ask. ”
“And I can’t believe you would refuse. ” Raphael’s voice was cool and clear, the sharp, still-high voice of a young boy. “It is such a small thing. ”
“It’s not a thing. ” Clary sounded angry. “It’s Simon. He’s a person. ”
“He’s a vampire,” said Raphael. “Which you seem to keep forgetting. ”
“Aren’t you a vampire as well?” asked Jocelyn, her tone as freezing as it had been every time Clary and Simon had ever gotten in trouble for doing something stupid. “Are you saying your life has no worth?”
Simon pressed himself back against the pillar. What was going on?
“My life has great worth,” said Raphael, “being, unlike yours, eternal. There is no end to what I might accomplish, while there is a clear end where you are concerned. But that is not the issue. He is a vampire, one of my own, and I am asking for him back. ”
“You can’t have him back,” Clary snapped. “You never had him in the first place. You were never even interested in him either, till you found out he could walk around in daylight—”
“Possibly,” said Raphael, “but not for the reason you think. ” He cocked his head, his bright, soft eyes dark and darting as a bird’s. “No vampire should have the power he has,” he said, “just as no Shadowhunter should have the power that you and your brother do. For years we have been told that we are wrong and unnatural. But this—this is unnatural. ”
“Raphael. ” Luke’s tone was warning. “I don’t know what you were hoping for. But there’s no chance we’ll let you hurt Simon. ”
“But you will let Valentine and his army of demons hurt all these people, your allies. ” Raphael made a sweeping gesture that encompassed the room. “You will let them risk their lives at their own discretion but won’t give Simon the same choice? Perhaps he would make a different one than you will. ” He lowered his arm. “You know we will not fight with you otherwise. The Night Children will have no part in this day. ”
“Then have no part in it,” said Luke. “I won’t buy your cooperation with an innocent life. I’m not Valentine. ”
Raphael turned to Jocelyn. “What about you, Shadowhunter? Are you going to let this werewolf decide what’s best for your people?”
Jocelyn was looking at Raphael as if he were a roach she’d found crawling across her clean kitchen floor. Very slowly she said, “If you lay one hand on Simon, vampire, I’ll have you chopped up into tiny pieces and fed to my cat. Understand?”
Raphael’s mouth tightened. “Very well,” he said. “When you lie dying on Brocelind Plain, you may ask yourself whether one life was truly worth so many. ”
He vanished. Luke turned quickly to Clary, but Simon was no longer watching them: He was looking down at his hands. He had thought they would be shaking, but they were as motionless as a corpse’s. Very slowly, he closed them into fists.
* * *
Valentine looked as he always had, a big man in modified Shadowhunter gear, his broad, thick shoulders at odds with his sharply planed, fine-featured face. He had the Mortal Sword strapped across his back along with a bulky satchel. He wore a wide belt with numerous weapons thrust through it: thick hunting daggers, narrow dirks, and skinning knives. Staring at Valentine from behind the rock, Jace felt as he always did now when he thought of his father—a persistent familial affection corroded through with bleakness, disappointment, and mistrust.
It was strange seeing his father with Sebastian, who looked—different. He wore gear as well, and a long silver-hilted sword strapped at his waist, but it wasn’t what he was wearing that struck Jace as odd. It was his hair, no longer a cap of dark curls but fair, shining-fair, a sort of white-gold. It suited him, actually, better than the dark hair had; his skin no longer looked so startlingly pale. He must have dyed his hair to resemble the real Sebastian Verlac, and this was what he really looked like. A sour, roiling wave of hatred coursed through Jace, and it was all he could do to stay hidden behind the rock and not lunge forward to wrap his hands around Sebastian’s throat.
Hugo cawed again and swooped down to land on Valentine’s shoulder. An odd pang went through Jace, seeing the raven in the posture that had become so familiar to him over the years he’d known Hodge. Hugo had practically lived on the tutor’s shoulder, and seeing him on Valentine’s felt oddly foreign, even wrong, despite everything Hodge had done.
Valentine reached up and stroked the bird’s glossy feathers, nodding as if the two of them were deep in conversation. Sebastian watched, his pale eyebrows arched. “Any word from Alicante?” he said as Hugo lifted himself from Valentine’s shoulder and soared into the air again, his wings brushing the gemlike tips of the stalactites.
“Nothing as comprehensible as I would like,” Valentine said. The sound of his father’s voice, cool and unruffled as ever, went through Jace like an arrow. His hands twitched involuntarily and he pressed them hard against his sides, grateful for the bulk of the rock hiding him from view. “One thing is certain. The Clave is allying itself with Lucian’s force of Downworlders. ”
Sebastian frowned. “But Malachi said—”
“Malachi has failed. ” Valentine’s jaw was set.
To Jace’s surprise Sebastian moved forward and put a hand on Valentine’s arm. There was something about that touch—something intimate and confident—that made Jace’s stomach feel as if it had been invaded by a nest of worms. No one touched Valentine like that. Even he would not have touched his father like that. “Are you upset?” Sebastian asked, and the same tone was in his voice, the same grotesque and peculiar assumption of closeness.
“The Clave is further gone than I had thought. I knew the Lightwoods were corrupted beyond hope, and that sort of corruption is contagious. It’s why I tried to keep them from entering Idris. But for the rest to have so easily had their minds filled with Lucian’s poison, when he is not even Nephilim …” Valentine’s disgust was plain, but he didn’t move away from Sebastian, Jace saw with growing disbelief, didn’t move to brush the boy’s hand from his shoulder. “I am disappointed. I thought they would see reason. I would have preferred not to end things this way. ”
Sebastian looked amused. “I don’t agree,” he said. “Think of them, ready to do battle, riding out to glory, only to find that none of it matters. That their gesture is futile. Think of the looks on their faces. ” His mouth stretched into a grin.
“Jonathan. ” Valentine sighed. “This is ugly necessity, nothing to take delight in. ”
Jonathan? Jace clutched at the rock, his hands suddenly slippery. Why would Valentine call Sebastian by his name? Was it a mistake? But Sebastian didn’t look surprised.
“Isn’t it better if I enjoy what I’m doing?” Sebastian said. “I certainly enjoyed myself in Alicante. The Lightwoods were better company than you led me to believe, especially that Isabelle. We certainly parted on a high note. And as for Clary—”
Just hearing Sebastian say Clary’s name made Jace’s heart skip a sudden, painful beat.
“She wasn’t at all like I thought she’d be,” Sebastian went on petulantly. “She wasn’t anything like me. ”
“There is no one else in the world like you, Jonathan. And as for Clary, she has always been exactly like her mother. ”
“She won’t admit what she really wants,” Sebastian said. “Not yet. But she’ll come around. ”
Valentine raised an eyebrow. “What do you mean, come around?”
Sebastian grinned, a grin that filled Jace with an almost uncontrollable rage. He bit down hard on his lip, tasting blood. “Oh, you know,” Sebastian said. “To our side. I can’t wait. Tricking her was the most fun I’ve had in ages. ”
“You weren’t supposed to be having fun. You were supposed to be finding out what it was she was looking for. And when she did find it—without you, I might add—you let her give it to a warlock. And then you failed to bring her with you when you left, despite the threat she poses to us. Not exactly a glorious success, Jonathan. ”
“I tried to bring her. They wouldn’t let her out of their sight, and I couldn’t exactly kidnap her in the middle of the Accords Hall. ” Sebastian sounded sulky. “Besides, I told you, she doesn’t have any idea how to use that rune power of hers. She’s too naive to pose any danger—”
“Whatever the Clave is planning now, she’s at the center of it,” Valentine said. “Hugin says as much. He saw her there on the dais in the Accords Hall. If she can show the Clave her power …”
Jace felt a flash of fear for Clary, mixed with an odd sort of pride—of course she was at the center of things. That was his Clary.
“Then they’ll fight,” said Sebastian. “Which is what we want, isn’t it? Clary doesn’t matter. It’s the battle that matters. ”
“You underestimate her, I think,” Valentine said quietly.
“I was watching her,” said Sebastian. “If her power were as unlimited as you seem to think, she could have used it to get her little vampire friend out of his prison—or save that fool Hodge when he was dying—”
“Power doesn’t have to be unlimited to be deadly,” Valentine said. “And as for Hodge, perhaps you might show a bit more reserve regarding his death, since you’re the one who killed him. ”
“He was about to tell them about the Angel. I had to. ”
“You wanted to. You always do. ” Valentine took a pair of heavy leather gloves from his pocket and drew them on slowly. “Perhaps he would have told them. Perhaps not. All those years he looked after Jace in the Institute and must have wondered what it was he was raising. Hodge was one of the few who knew there was more than one boy. I knew he wouldn’t betray me—he was too much of a coward for that. ” He flexed his fingers inside the gloves, frowning.
More than one boy? What was Valentine talking about?
Sebastian dismissed Hodge with a wave of his hand. “Who cares what he thought? He’s dead, and good riddance. ” His eyes gleamed blackly. “Are you going to the lake now?”
“Yes. You’re clear on what must be done?” Valentine jerked his chin toward the sword at Sebastian’s waist. “Use that. It’s not the Mortal Sword, but its alliance is sufficiently demonic for this purpose. ”
“I can’t go to the lake with you?” Sebastian’s voice had taken on a distinct whining tone. “Can’t we just release the army now?”
“It’s not midnight yet. I said I would give them until midnight. They may yet change their minds. ”
“They’re not going to—”
“I gave my word. I’ll stand by it. ” Valentine’s tone was final. “If you hear nothing from Malachi by midnight, open the gate. ” Seeing Sebastian’s hesitation, Valentine looked impatient. “I need you to do this, Jonathan. I can’t wait here for midnight; it’ll take me nearly an hour to get to the lake through the tunnels, and I have no intention of letting the battle drag on very long. Future generations must know how quickly the Clave lost, and how decisive our victory was. ”
“It’s just that I’ll be sorry to miss the summoning. I’d like to be there when you do it. ” Sebastian’s look was wistful, but there was something calculated beneath it, something sneering and grasping and planning and strangely, deliberately … cold. Not that Valentine seemed bothered.
To Jace’s bafflement, Valentine touched the side of Sebastian’s face, a quick, undisguisedly affectionate gesture, before turning away and moving toward the far end of the cavern, where thick clots of shadows gathered. He paused there, a pale figure against the darkness. “Jonathan,” he called back, and Jace glanced up, unable to help himself. “You will look upon the Angel’s face someday. After all, you will inherit the Mortal Instruments once I am gone. Perhaps one day you, too, will summon Raziel. ”
“I’d like that,” Sebastian said, and stood very still as Valentine, with a final nod, disappeared into the darkness. Sebastian’s voice dropped to a half whisper. “I’d like it very much,” he snarled. “I’d like to spit in his bastard face. ” He whirled, his face a white mask in the dim light. “You might as well come out, Jace,” he said. “I know you’re here. ”
Jace froze—but only for a second. His body moved before his mind had time to catch up, catapulting him to his feet. He ran for the tunnel entrance, thinking only of making it outside, of getting a message, somehow, to Luke.
But the entrance was blocked. Sebastian stood there, his expression cool and gloating, his arms outstretched, his fingers almost touching the tunnel walls. “Really,” he said, “you didn’t actually think you were faster than me, did you?”
Jace skidded to a halt. His heart beat unevenly in his chest, like a broken metronome, but his voice was steady. “Since I’m better than you in every other conceivable way, it did stand to reason. ”
Sebastian just smiled. “I could hear your heart beating,” he said softly. “When you were watching me with Valentine. Did it bother you?”
“That you seem to be dating my dad?” Jace shrugged. “You’re a little young for him, to be honest. ”
“What?” For the first time since Jace had met him, Sebastian seemed flabbergasted. Jace was able to enjoy it for only a moment, though, before Sebastian’s composure returned. But there was a dark glint in his eye that indicated he hadn’t forgiven Jace for making him lose his calm. “I wondered about you sometimes,” Sebastian went on, in the same soft voice. “There seemed to be something to you, on occasion, something behind those yellow eyes of yours. A flash of intelligence, unlike the rest of your mud-stupid adoptive family. But I suppose it was only a pose, an attitude. You’re as foolish as the rest, despite your decade of good upbringing. ”
“What do you know about my upbringing?”
“More than you might think. ” Sebastian lowered his hands. “The same man who brought you up, brought me up. Only he didn’t tire of me after the first ten years. ”
“What do you mean?” Jace’s voice came out in a whisper, and then, as he stared at Sebastian’s unmoving, unsmiling face, he seemed to see the other boy as if for the first time—the white hair, the black anthracite eyes, the hard lines of his face, like something chiseled out of stone—and he saw in his mind the face of his father as the angel had showed it to him, young and sharp and alert and hungry, and he knew. “You,” he said. “Valentine’s your father. You’re my brother. ”
But Sebastian was no longer standing in front of him; he was suddenly behind him, and his arms were around Jace’s shoulders as if he meant to embrace him, but his hands were clenched into fists. “Hail and farewell, my brother,” he spat, and then his arms jerked up and tightened, cutting off Jace’s breath.
Clary was exhausted. A dull, pounding headache, the aftereffect of drawing the Alliance rune, had taken up residence in her frontal lobe. It felt like someone trying to kick a door down from the wrong side.
“Are you all right?” Jocelyn put her hand on Clary’s shoulder. “You look like you aren’t feeling well. ”
Clary glanced down—and saw the spidering black rune that crossed the back of her mother’s hand, the twin of the one on Luke’s palm. Her stomach tightened. She was managing to deal with the fact that within a few hours her mother might actually be fighting an army of demons—but only by willfully pushing down the thought every time it surfaced.
“I’m just wondering where Simon is. ” Clary rose to her feet. “I’m going to go get him. ”
“Down there?” Jocelyn gazed worriedly down at the crowd. It was thinning out now, Clary noted, as those who had been Marked flooded out the front doors into the square outside. Malachi stood by the doors, his bronze face impassive as he directed Downworlders and Shadowhunters where to go.
“I’ll be fine. ” Clary edged past her mother and Luke toward the dais steps. “I’ll be right back. ”
People turned to stare as she descended the steps and slipped into the crowd. She could feel the eyes on her, the weight of the staring. She scanned the crowd, looking for the Lightwoods or Simon, but saw nobody she knew—and it was hard enough seeing anything over the throng, considering how short she was. With a sigh Clary slipped away toward the west side of the Hall, where the crowd was thinner.
The moment she neared the tall line of marble pillars, a hand shot out from between two of them and pulled her sideways. Clary had time to gasp in surprise, and then she was standing in the darkness behind the largest of the pillars, her back against the cold marble wall, Simon’s hands gripping her arms. “Don’t scream, okay? It’s just me,” he said.
“Of course I’m not going to scream. Don’t be ridiculous. ” Clary glanced from side to side, wondering what was going on—she could see only bits and pieces of the larger Hall, in between the pillars. “But what’s with the James Bond spy stuff? I was coming to find you anyway. ”
“I know. I’ve been waiting for you to come down off the dais. I wanted to talk to you where no one else could hear us. ” He licked his lips nervously. “I heard what Raphael said. What he wanted. ”
“Oh, Simon. ” Clary’s shoulders sagged. “Look, nothing happened. Luke sent him away—”
“Maybe he shouldn’t have,” Simon said. “Maybe he should have given Raphael what he wanted. ”
She blinked at him. “You mean you? Don’t be stupid. There’s no way—”
“There is a way. ” His grip on her arms tightened. “I want to do this. I want Luke to tell Raphael that the deal is on. Or I’ll tell him myself. ”
“I know what you’re doing,” Clary protested. “And I respect it and I admire you for it, but you don’t have to do it, Simon, you don’t have to. What Raphael’s asking for is wrong, and nobody will judge you for not sacrificing yourself for a war that isn’t yours to fight—”
“But that’s just it,” Simon said. “What Raphael said was right. I am a vampire, and you keep forgetting it. Or maybe you just want to forget. But I’m a Downworlder and you’re a Shadowhunter, and this fight is both of ours. ”
“But you’re not like them—”
“I am one of them. ” He spoke slowly, deliberately, as if to make absolutely sure that she understood every word he was saying. “And I always will be. If the Downworlders fight this war with the Shadowhunters, without the participation of Raphael’s people, then there will be no Council seat for the Night Children. They won’t be a part of the world Luke’s trying to create, a world where Shadowhunters and Downworlders work together. Are together. The vampires will be shut out of that. They’ll be the enemies of the Shadowhunters. I’ll be your enemy. ”
“I could never be your enemy. ”
“It would kill me,” Simon said simply. “But I can’t help anything by standing back and pretending I’m not part of this. And I’m not asking your permission. I would like your help. But if you won’t give it to me, I’ll get Maia to take me to the vampire camp anyway, and I’ll give myself up to Raphael. Do you understand?”
She stared at him. He was holding her arms so tightly she could feel the blood beating in the skin under his hands. She ran her tongue over her dry lips; her mouth tasted bitter. “What can I do,” she whispered, “to help you?”
She looked up at him incredulously as he told her. She was already shaking her head before he finished, her hair whipping back and forth, nearly covering her eyes. “No,” she said, “that’s a crazy idea, Simon. It’s not a gift; it’s a punishment—”
“Maybe not for me,” Simon said. He glanced toward the crowd, and Clary saw Maia standing there, watching them, her expression openly curious. She was clearly waiting for Simon.
Too fast, Clary thought. This is all happening much too fast.
“It’s better than the alternative, Clary. ”
“It might not hurt me at all. I mean, I’ve already been punished, right? I already can’t go into a church, a synagogue; I can’t say—I can’t say holy names; I can’t get older; I’m already shut out from normal life. Maybe this won’t change anything. ”
“But maybe it will. ”
He let go of her arms, slid his hand around her side, and drew Patrick’s stele from her belt. He held it out to her. “Clary,” he said. “Do this for me. Please. ”
She took the stele with numb fingers and raised it, touching the end of it to Simon’s skin, just above his eyes. The first Mark, Magnus had said. The very first. She thought of it, and her stele began to move the way a dancer begins to move when the music starts. Black lines traced themselves across his forehead like a flower unfolding on a speeded-up roll of film. When she was done, her right hand ached and stung, but as she drew back and stared, she knew she had drawn something perfect and strange and ancient, something from the very beginning of history. It blazed like a star above Simon’s eyes as he brushed his fingers across his forehead, his expression dazzled and confused.
“I can feel it,” he said. “Like a burn. ”
“I don’t know what’ll happen,” she whispered. “I don’t know what long-term side effects it’ll have. ”
With a twisted half smile, he raised his hand to touch her cheek. “Let’s hope we get the chance to find out. ”