City of Heavenly Fire – Chapter 12: THE FORMAL NIGHTMARE

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The bodies were burning on orderly rows of pyres that had been set up along the road to Brocelind Forest. The sun was beginning to set behind a cloudy white sky, and as each pyre went up, it burst in orange sparks. The effect was oddly beautiful, although Jia Penhallow doubted that any of the mourners gathered on the plain thought so. For some reason a rhyme she had learned as a child was repeating itself in her head. Black for hunting through the night For death and mourning the color’s white Gold for a bride in her wedding gown And red to call enchantment down. White silk when our bodies burn, Blue banners when the lost return. Flame for the birth of a Nephilim, And to wash away our sins. Gray for knowledge best untold, Bone for those who don’t grow old. Saffron lights the victory march, Green will mend our broken hearts. Silver for the demon towers, And bronze to summon wicked powers. Bone for those who don’t grow old. Brother Enoch, in his bone-colored robes, was striding up and down the line of pyres. Shadowhunters stood or knelt or cast into the orange flames handfuls of the pale white Alicante flowers that grew even in the winter. “Consul. ” The voice at her shoulder was soft. She turned to see Brother Zachariah—the boy who had once been Brother Zachariah, at least—standing at her shoulder. “Brother Enoch said you wished to speak to me. ” “Brother Zachariah,” she began, and then paused. “Is there another name by which you wish to be called? The name you had before you became a Silent Brother?” “?‘Zachariah’ will do fine for now,” he said. “I am not yet ready to reclaim my old name. ” “I have heard,” she said, and paused, for the next bit was awkward, “that one of the warlocks of the Spiral Labyrinth, Theresa Gray, is someone whom you knew and cared for during your mortal life. And for someone who has been a Silent Brother as long as you have, that must be a rare thing. ” “She is all I have left from that time,” said Zachariah. “She and Magnus. I would have wished to talk to Magnus, if I could have, before he—” “Would you like to go to the Spiral Labyrinth?” Jia interrupted. Zachariah looked down at her with startled eyes. He looked about the same age as her daughter, Jia thought, his lashes impossibly long, his eyes both young and old at the same time. “You’re releasing me from Alicante? Aren’t all warriors needed?” “You have served the Clave for more than a hundred and thirty years. We can ask no more of you. ” He looked back at the pyres, at the black smoke smearing the air. “How much does the Spiral Labyrinth know? Of the attacks on the Institutes, the Citadel, the representatives?” “They are students of lore,” said Jia. “Not warriors or politicians. They know of what happened at the Burren. We have discussed Sebastian’s magic, possible cures for the Endarkened, ways to strengthen the wards. They do not ask beyond that—” “And you do not tell,” said Zachariah. “So they do not know of the Citadel, the representatives?” Jia set her jaw. “I suppose you will say I must tell them. ” “No,” he said. He had his hands in his pockets; his breath was visible on the cold clear air. “I will not say that. ” They stood side by side, in the snow and silence, until, to her surprise, he spoke again: “I will not go to the Spiral Labyrinth. I will stay in Idris. ” “But don’t you want to see her?” “I want to see Tessa more than I want anything else in the world,” said Zachariah. “But if she knew more of what was happening here, she would want to be here and fight beside us, and I find that I do not want that. ” His dark hair fell forward as he shook his head. “I find that as I waken from being a Silent Brother, I am capable of not wanting that. Perhaps it is selfishness. I am not sure. But I am sure that the warlocks in the Spiral Labyrinth are safe. Tessa is safe. If I go to her, I will be safe as well, but I will also be hiding. I am not a warlock; I cannot be a help to the Labyrinth. I can be a help here. ” “You could go to the Labyrinth and return. It would be complicated, but I could request—” “No,” he said quietly. “I cannot see Tessa face-to-face and keep from telling her the truth about what is happening here. And more than that, I cannot go to Tessa and present myself to her as a mortal man, as a Shadowhunter, and not tell her the feelings I had for her when I was—” He broke off. “That my feelings are unchanged. I cannot offer her that, and then return to a place where I might be killed. Better she thinks there never was a chance for us. ” “Better you think it as well,” said Jia, looking at his face, at the hope and longing that was painted there clearly for anyone to see. She looked over at Robert and Maryse Lightwood, standing a distance apart from each other in the snow. Not far away was her own daughter, Aline, leaning her head against Helen Blackthorn’s curly blond one. “We Shadowhunters, we put ourselves in danger, every hour, every day. I think sometimes we are reckless with our hearts the way we are with our lives. When we give them away, we give every piece. And if we do not get what we so desperately need, how do we live?” “You think she might not still love me,” said Zachariah. “After all this time. ” Jia said nothing. It was, after all, exactly what she thought. “It is a reasonable question,” he said. “And perhaps she does not. As long as she is alive and well and happy in this world, I will find a way to be happy as well, even if it is not beside her. ” He looked over at the pyres, at the lengthening shadows of the dead. “Which body is that of young Longford? The one who killed his parabatai?” “There. ” Jia pointed. “Why do you want to know?” “It is the worst thing I can imagine ever having to do. I would not have been brave enough. Since there is someone who was, I wish to pay my respects to him,” said Zachariah, and he walked away across the snow-dusted ground toward the fires. “The funeral’s over,” Isabelle said. “Or at least, the smoke’s stopped rising. ” She was perched on the windowsill of her room in the Inquisitor’s house. The room was small and white-painted, with flowered curtains. Not very Isabelle, Clary thought, but then it would have been hard to replicate Isabelle’s powder-and-glitter-strewn room in New York on short notice. “I was reading my Codex the other day. ” Clary finished buttoning up the blue wool cardigan she’d changed into. She couldn’t stand to keep on for one more second the sweater she’d been wearing all yesterday, had slept in, and that Sebastian had touched. “And I was thinking. Mundanes kill one another all the time. We—they—have wars, all kinds of wars, and slaughter one another, but this is the first time Nephilim have ever had to kill other Shadowhunters. When Jace and I were trying to convince Robert to let us go through to the Citadel, I couldn’t understand why he was being so stubborn. But I think I kind of get it now. I think he couldn’t believe that Shadowhunters could really pose a threat to other Shadowhunters. No matter what we told them about the Burren. ” Isabelle laughed shortly. “That’s charitable of you. ” She pulled her knees up to her chest. “You know, your mom took me to the Adamant Citadel with her. They said I would have made a good Iron Sister. ” “I saw them at the battle,” said Clary. “The Sisters. They were beautiful. And scary. Like looking at fire. ” “But they can’t get married. They can’t be with anyone. They live forever, but they don’t—they don’t have lives. ” Isabelle rested her chin on her knees. “There’s all different ways of living,” said Clary. “And look at Brother Zachariah—” Isabelle glanced up. “I heard my parents talking about him on the way to the Council meeting today,” she said. “They said what happened to him was a miracle. I’ve never heard of anyone ending being a Silent Brother before. I mean they can die, but reversing the spells, it shouldn’t be possible. ” “A lot of things shouldn’t be possible,” Clary said, raking her fingers through her hair. She wanted a shower, but she couldn’t bear the thought of standing there alone, under the water. Thinking about her mother. About Luke. The idea of losing either of them, never mind both of them, was as terrifying as the idea of being abandoned out at sea: a tiny speck of humanity surrounded by miles of water around and below, and empty sky above. Nothing to moor her to earth. Mechanically she started to divide her hair into two braids. A second later Isabelle had appeared behind her in the mirror. “Let me do that,” she said gruffly, and took hold of the strands of Clary’s hair, her fingers working the curls expertly. Clary closed her eyes and let herself be lost for a moment in the sensation of someone else taking care of her. When she had been a little girl, her mother had braided her hair every morning before Simon had come to pick her up for school. She remembered his habit of undoing the ribbons while she was drawing, and hiding them in places—her pockets, her backpack—waiting for her to notice and throw a pencil at him. It was impossible, sometimes, to believe that her life had once been so ordinary. “Hey,” Isabelle said, nudging her. “Are you okay?” “I’m fine,” Clary said. “I’m fine. Everything’s fine. ” “Clary. ” She felt Isabelle’s hand on her hand, slowly unclosing Clary’s fingers. Her hand was wet. Clary realized that she had been gripping one of Isabelle’s hairpins so tightly that the ends had dug into her palm and blood was running down her wrist. “I don’t—I don’t even remember picking that up,” she said numbly. “I’ll take it. ” Isabelle pulled it away. “You’re not fine. ” “I have to be fine,” Clary said. “I have to be. I have to stay in control and not fall apart. For my mom and for Luke. ” Isabelle made a gentle, noncommittal noise. Clary was aware that the other girl’s stele was sweeping over the back of her hand, and the flow of blood was slowing. She still felt no pain. There was only the darkness at the edge of her vision, the darkness that threatened to close in every time she thought about her parents. She felt like she was drowning, kicking at the edges of her own consciousness to keep herself alert and above the water. Isabelle suddenly gasped and jumped back. “What is it?” Clary asked. “I saw a face, a face at the window—” Clary seized Heosphoros from her belt and started to make her way across the room. Isabelle was right behind her, her silver-gold whip uncurling from her hand. It slashed forward, and the tip curled around the handle of the window and yanked it open. There was a yelp, and a small, shadowy figure fell forward onto the rug, landing on hands and knees. Isabelle’s whip snapped back into her grasp as she stared, wearing a rare look of astonishment. The shadow on the floor uncurled, revealing a diminutive figure clad in black, the smudge of a pale face, and a tousle of long blonde hair, coming free from a careless braid. “Emma?” Clary said. The southwest part of the Long Meadow in Prospect Park was deserted at night. The moon, half-full, shone down on the distant view of Brooklyn brownstones beyond the park, the outline of bare trees, and the space that had been cleared on the dry winter grass by the pack. It was a circle, roughly twenty feet across, hemmed in by standing werewolves. The whole of the downtown New York pack was there: thirty or forty wolves, young and old. Leila, her dark hair bound back in a ponytail, stalked to the center of the circle and clapped once for attention. “Members of the pack,” she said. “A challenge has been issued. Rufus Hastings has challenged Bartholomew Velasquez for the seniority and leadership of the New York pack. ” There was a muttering in the crowd; Leila raised her voice. “This is an issue of temporary leadership in the absence of Luke Garroway. No discussion of replacing Luke as leader will be had at this time. ” She clasped her hands behind her back. “Please step forward, Bartholomew and Rufus. ” Bat stepped forward into the circle, and a moment later Rufus followed. Both were dressed unseasonably in jeans, T-shirts, and boots, their arms bare despite the chill air. “The rules of the challenge are these,” said Leila. “Wolf must fight wolf without weapons save the weapons of tooth and claw. Because it is a challenge for leadership, the fight will be a fight to death, not to the blood. Whoever lives will be leader, and all other wolves will swear loyalty to him tonight. Do you understand?” Bat nodded. He looked tense, his jaw set; Rufus was grinning all over, his arms swinging at his sides. He waved away Leila’s words. “We all know how it works, kid. ” Her lips compressed into a thin line. “Then you may begin,” she said, though as she moved back into the circle with the others, she muttered, “Good luck, Bat” under her breath just loudly enough for everyone to hear her. Rufus didn’t seem bothered. He was still grinning, and the moment Leila stepped back into the circle with the pack, he lunged. Bat sidestepped him. Rufus was big and heavy; Bat was lighter and a shade faster. He spun sideways, just missing Rufus’s claws, and came back with an uppercut that snapped Rufus’s head back. He pressed his advantage quickly, raining down blows that sent the other wolf stumbling back; Rufus’s feet dragged along the ground as a low growl began in the depths of his throat. His hands hung at his sides, his fingers clenched in. Bat swung again, landing a punch to Rufus’s shoulder, just as Rufus turned and slashed out with his left hand. His claws were fully extended, massive and gleaming in the moonlight. It was clear he had sharpened them somehow. Each one was like a razor, and they raked across Bat’s chest, slicing open his shirt, and his skin with it. Scarlet bloomed across Bat’s rib cage. “First blood,” Leila called, and the wolves began to stamp, slowly, each raising their left foot and bringing it down in a regular beat, so that the ground seemed to echo like a drum. Rufus grinned again and advanced on Bat. Bat swung and hit him, landing another punch to the jaw that brought blood to Rufus’s mouth; Rufus turned his head to the side and spit red onto the grass—and kept coming. Bat backed up; his claws were out now, his eyes gone flat and yellow. He growled and flung out a kick; Rufus grabbed his leg and twisted, sending Bat to the ground. He flung himself after Bat, but the other werewolf had already rolled away, and Rufus landed on the ground in a crouch. Bat staggered to his feet, but it was clear that he was losing blood. Blood had rolled down his chest and was soaking the waistband of his jeans, and his hands were wet with it. He slashed out with his claws; Rufus turned, taking the blow on his shoulder, four shallow cuts. With a snarl he seized Bat’s wrist and twisted. The sound of snapping bone was loud, and Bat gasped and pulled back. Rufus lunged. The weight of him bore Bat to the ground, slamming Bat’s head hard against a tree root. Bat went limp. The other wolves were still pounding the earth with their feet. Some of them were openly weeping, but none moved forward as Rufus sat up on Bat, one hand pressing him flat to the grass, the other raised, the razors of his fingers gleaming. He moved in for the killing blow— “Stop. ” Maia’s voice rang out through the park. The other wolves looked up in shock. Rufus grinned. “Hey, little girl,” he said. Maia didn’t move. She was in the middle of the circle. Somehow she had pushed past the line of wolves without them noticing. She wore cords and a denim jacket, her hair pulled tightly back. Her expression was severe, almost blank. “I want to issue a challenge,” she said. “Maia,” Leila said. “You know the law! ‘When ye fight with a wolf of the pack, ye must fight him alone and afar, Lest others take part in the quarrel, and the pack be diminished by war. ’ You cannot interrupt the battle. ” “Rufus is about to deliver the death blow,” Maia said unemotionally. “Do you really feel like I need to wait that five minutes before I issue my challenge? I will, if Rufus is too scared to fight me with Bat still breathing—” Rufus leaped off Bat’s limp body with a roar, and advanced on Maia. Leila’s voice rose in panic: “Maia, get out of there! Once there’s first blood, we can’t stop the fight—” Rufus lunged at Maia. His claws tore the edge of her jacket; Maia dropped to her knees and rolled, then came up onto her knees, her claws extended. Her heart was slamming against her rib cage, sending wave after wave of icy-hot blood through her veins. She could feel the sting of the cut on her shoulder. First blood. The werewolves began to stamp the earth again, though this time they weren’t silent. There was muttering and gasping in the ranks. Maia did her best to block it out, ignore it. She saw Rufus step toward her. He was a shadow, outlined by moonlight, and in that moment she saw not just him but also Sebastian, looming over her on the beach, a cold prince carved out of ice and blood. Your boyfriend’s dead. Her fist clenched against the ground. As Rufus threw himself at her, razor claws extended, she rose and flung her handful of dirt and grass into his face. He staggered back, choking and blinded. Maia stepped forward and slammed her boot down on his foot; she felt the small bones shatter, heard him scream; in that moment, when he was distracted, she jammed her claws into his eyes. A scream ripped from his throat, quickly cut off. He slumped backward, collapsing onto the grass with a loud crash that made her think of a tree falling. She looked down at her hand. It was covered in blood and smears of liquid: brain matter and vitreous humor. She dropped to her knees and threw up in the grass. Her claws slid back in, and she wiped her hands on the ground, over and over, as her stomach spasmed. She felt a hand on her back and looked up to see Leila leaning over her. “Maia,” she said softly, but her voice was drowned out by the pack chanting the name of their new leader: “Maia, Maia, Maia. ” Leila’s eyes were dark and concerned. Maia rose to her feet, wiping her mouth on the sleeve of her jacket, and hurried across the grass to Bat. She bent down beside him and touched her hand to his cheek. “Bat?” she said. With an effort he opened his eyes. There was blood on his mouth, but he was breathing steadily. Maia guessed he was already healing from Rufus’s blows. “I didn’t know you fought dirty,” he said with a half smile. Maia thought of Sebastian and his glittering grin and the bodies on the beach. She thought of what Lily had told her. She thought of the Shadowhunters behind their wards, and of the fragility of the Accords and Council. It’s going to be a dirty war, she thought, but that wasn’t what she said out loud. “I didn’t know your name was Bartholomew. ” She picked up his hand, held it in her own bloody one. All around them the pack was still chanting. “Maia, Maia, Maia. ” He closed his eyes. “Everyone’s got their secrets. ”
“It almost doesn’t seem to make a difference,” said Jace, curled into the window seat in his and Alec’s attic room. “It all feels like prison. ” “Do you think that’s a side effect of the fact that armed guards are standing all around the house?” Simon suggested. “I mean, just a thought. ” Jace shot him an irritable look. “What is it about mundanes and their overwhelming compulsion to state the obvious?” he asked. He leaned forward, staring through the panes of the window. Simon might have been exaggerating slightly, but only slightly. The dark figures standing at cardinal points surrounding the Inquisitor’s house might have been invisible to the untrained eye, but not to Jace’s. “I’m not a mundane,” Simon said, an edge to his voice. “And what is it about Shadowhunters and their overwhelming compulsion to get themselves and everyone they care about killed?” “Stop arguing. ” Alec had been leaning against the wall, in classical thinking pose, with his chin propped on his hand. “The guards are there to protect us, not keep us in. Have some perspective. ” “Alec, you’ve known me for seven years,” said Jace. “When have I ever had perspective?” Alec glowered at him. “Are you still mad because I broke your phone?” Jace said. “Because you broke my wrist, so I’d say we’re even. ” “It was sprained,” Alec said. “Not broken. Sprained. ” “Now who’s arguing?” said Simon. “Don’t talk. ” Alec gestured at him with an expression of vague disgust. “Every time I look at you, I keep remembering coming in here and seeing you draped all over my sister. ” Jace sat up. “I didn’t hear about this. ” “Oh, come on—” said Simon. “Simon, you’re blushing,” observed Jace. “And you’re a vampire and almost never blush, so this better be really juicy. And weird. Were bicycles involved in some kinky way? Vacuum cleaners? Umbrellas?” “Big umbrellas, or the little kind you get with drinks?” Alec asked. “Does it matter—” Jace began, and then broke off as Clary came into the room with Isabelle, holding a small girl by the hand. After a moment of shocked silence, Jace recognized her: Emma, the girl whom Clary had run off to comfort during the Council meeting. The one who’d looked at him with barely concealed hero worship. Not that he minded hero worship, but it was a bit odd to have a child dropped suddenly into the middle of what had, admittedly, begun to be a somewhat awkward conversation. “Clary,” he said. “Did you kidnap Emma Carstairs?” Clary gave him an exasperated look. “No. She got here on her own. ” “I came in through one of the windows,” Emma supplied helpfully. “Like in Peter Pan. ” Alec started to protest. Clary held her free hand up to stop him; her other hand was now on Emma’s shoulder. “Everyone just be quiet for a second, okay?” Clary said. “She’s not supposed to be here, yeah, but she came for a reason. She has information. ” “That’s right,” Emma said in her small, determined voice. She was actually only about a head shorter than Clary, but then Clary was tiny. Emma would probably be tall one day. Jace tried to remember her father, John Carstairs—he was sure he’d seen him at Council meetings, and thought he recalled a tall, fair-haired man. Or had his hair been dark? The Blackthorns he remembered, of course, but the Carstairs had faded out of his memory. Clary returned his sharp look with one that said: Be nice. Jace closed his mouth. He’d never given much thought to whether he liked children or not, though he’d always liked playing with Max. Max had been surprisingly adept at strategy for such a little boy, and Jace had always liked setting him puzzles. The fact that Max had worshipped the ground he walked on hadn’t hurt either. Jace thought of the wooden soldier he’d given to Max, and closed his eyes in sudden pain. When he opened them again, Emma was looking at him. Not the way she’d looked at him when he’d found her with Clary in the Gard, that sort of startled half-impressed, half-frightened You’re Jace Lightwood look, but with a little bit of worry. In fact, her whole posture was a mix of confidence that he was fairly sure she was faking, and clear fright. Her parents were dead, he thought, had died days ago. And he remembered a time, seven years before, when he’d faced the Lightwoods himself with the knowledge in his heart that his father had just died, and the bitter tang of the word “orphan” in his ears. “Emma,” he said as gently as he could. “How did you get into the window?” “I climbed over the rooftops,” she said, pointing out the window. “It wasn’t that hard. Dormer windows are almost always bedrooms, so I climbed down to the first one, and—it was Clary’s. ” She shrugged, as if what she’d done hadn’t been either risky or impressive. “It was mine, actually,” said Isabelle, who was looking at Emma as if she were a fascinating specimen. Isabelle sat down on the trunk at the foot of Alec’s bed, stretching out her long legs. “Clary lives over at Luke’s. ” Emma looked confused. “I don’t know where that is. And everyone was talking about all of you being here. That’s why I came. ” Alec looked down at Emma with the half-fond, half-worried look of a much older brother. “Don’t be afraid—” he began. “I’m not afraid,” she snapped. “I came here because you need help. ” Jace felt his mouth quirk up involuntarily at the corner. “What kind of help?” he asked. “I recognized that man today,” she said. “The one who threatened the Consul. He came with Sebastian, to attack the Institute. ” She swallowed. “That place he said we would all burn in, Edom—” “It’s another word for ‘Hell,’?” said Alec. “Not a real place, you don’t have to be worried—” “She’s not worried, Alec,” Clary said. “Just listen. ” “It is a place,” said Emma. “When they attacked the Institute, I heard them. I heard one of them say that they could take Mark to Edom, and sacrifice him there. And when we escaped through the Portal, I heard her calling after us that we’d burn in Edom, that there was no real escape. ” Her voice shook. “The way they talked about Edom, I know it was a real place, or a real place to them. ” “Edom,” said Clary, remembering. “Valentine called Lilith something like that; he called her ‘my Lady of Edom. ’?” Alec’s eyes met Jace’s. Alec nodded, and slipped out of the room. Jace felt his shoulders relax minutely; in among the clamor of everything, it was good to have a parabatai who knew what you were thinking, without you having to say it. “Have you told anyone else about this?” Emma hesitated, and then shook her head. “Why not?” said Simon, who had been quiet until that moment. Emma looked at him, blinking; she was only twelve, Jace thought, and had probably barely encountered Downworlders up close before. “Why not tell the Clave?” “Because I don’t trust the Clave,” said Emma in a small voice. “But I trust you. ” Clary swallowed visibly. “Emma . . . ” “When we got here, the Clave questioned all of us, especially Jules, and they used the Mortal Sword to make sure we weren’t lying. It hurts, but they didn’t care. They used it on Ty and Livvy. They used it on Dru. ” Emma sounded outraged. “They would probably have used it on Tavvy if he could talk. And it hurts. The Mortal Sword hurts. ” “I know,” Clary said, quietly. “We’ve been staying with the Penhallows,” Emma said. “Because of Aline and Helen, and because the Clave wants to keep an eye on us too. Because of what we saw. I was downstairs when they came back from the funeral, and I heard them talking, so—so I hid. A whole group of them, not just Patrick and Jia, but a lot of the other Institute heads too. They were talking about what they should do, what the Clave should do, whether they should turn over Jace and Clary to Sebastian, as if it was their choice. Their decision. But I thought it should be your decision. Some of them said it didn’t matter whether you wanted to go or not—” Simon was on his feet. “But, Jace and Clary offered to go, practically begged to go—” “We would have told them the truth. ” Emma pushed her tangled hair out of her face. Her eyes were enormous, brown shot through with bits of gold and amber. “They didn’t have to use the Mortal Sword on us, we would have told the Council the truth, but they used it anyway. They used it on Jules until his hands—his hands were burned from it. ” Her voice shook. “So, I thought you should know what they were saying. They don’t want you to know that it’s not your choice, because they know Clary can make Portals. They know she can get out of here, and if she escapes, they think they’ll have no way to bargain with Sebastian. ” The door opened, and Alec came back into the room, carrying a book bound in brown leather. He was holding it in such a way as to obscure the title, but his eyes met Jace’s, and he gave a slight nod, and then a glance toward Emma. Jace’s heartbeat sped up; Alec had found something. Something he didn’t like, judging from his grim expression, but something nonetheless. “Did the Clave members you overheard give any sense of when they were going to decide what to do?” Jace asked Emma, partly to distract her, as Alec sat down on the bed, sliding the book behind him. Emma shook her head. “They were still arguing when I left. I crawled out the top floor window. Jules told me not to, because I’d get killed, but I knew I wouldn’t. I’m a good climber,” she added with a tinge of pride. “And he worries too much. ” “It’s good to have people worry about you,” said Alec. “It means they care. It’s how you know they’re good friends. ” Emma’s gaze went from Alec to Jace, curious. “Do you worry about him?” she asked Alec, surprising a laugh out of him. “All the time,” he said. “Jace could get himself killed putting his pants on in the morning. Being his parabatai is a full-time job. ” “I wish I had a parabatai,” Emma said. “It’s like someone who’s your family, but because they want to be, not because they have to be. ” She flushed, suddenly self-conscious. “Anyway. I don’t think anyone should be punished for saving people. ” “Is that why you trust us?” Clary asked, touched. “You think we save people?” Emma toed the carpet with her boots. Then she looked up. “I knew about you,” she said to Jace, blushing. “I mean, everyone knows about you. That you were Valentine’s son, but then you weren’t, you were Jonathan Herondale. And I don’t think that meant anything to most people—most of them call you Jace Lightwood—but it made a difference to my dad. I heard him say to my mom that he’d thought the Herondales were all gone, that the family was dead, but you were the last of them, and he voted in the Council meeting for the Clave to keep looking for you because, he said, ‘The Carstairs owe the Herondales. ’?” “Why?” Alec said. “What do they owe them for?” “I don’t know,” Emma said. “But I came because my dad would have wanted me to, even if it was dangerous. ” Jace huffed a soft laugh. “Something tells me you don’t care if things are dangerous. ” He crouched down, putting his eyes on a level with Emma’s. “Is there anything else you can tell us? Anything else they said?” She shook her head. “They don’t know where Sebastian is. They don’t know about the Edom thing—I mentioned it when I was holding the Mortal Sword, but I think they just thought it was another word for ‘Hell. ’ They never asked me if I thought it was a real place, so I didn’t say. ” “Thanks for telling us. It’s a help. A huge help. You should go,” he added, as gently as he could, “before they notice you’re gone. But from now on the Herondales owe the Carstairs. Okay? Remember that. ” Jace stood up as Emma turned to Clary, who nodded and led her over to the window where Jace had been sitting earlier. Clary bent down and hugged the younger girl before reaching over to unlatch the window. Emma clambered out with the agility of a monkey. She swung herself up until only her dangling boots were visible, and a moment later those were gone too. Jace heard a light scraping overhead as she darted across the roof tiles, and then silence. “I like her,” Isabelle said finally. “She kind of reminds me of Jace when he was little, and stubborn, and acted like he was immortal. ” “Two of those things still apply,” said Clary, swinging the window shut. She sat down on the window seat. “I guess the big question is, do we tell Jia or anyone else on the Council what Emma told us?” “That depends,” said Jace. “Jia has to bow to what the whole Clave wants; she said so herself. If they decide that what they want is to toss us into a cage until Sebastian comes for us—well, that pretty much squanders any upper hand this information might give us. ” “So it depends on if the information’s actually useful or not,” said Simon. “Right,” said Jace. “Alec, what did you find out?” Alec pulled the book out from behind him. It was an encyclopedia daemonica, the sort of book every Shadowhunter library would have. “I thought Edom might be a name for one of the demon realms—” “Well, everyone’s been theorizing that Sebastian might be in a different dimension, since he’s untrackable,” said Isabelle. “But the demon dimensions—there are millions of them, and people can’t just go there. ” “Some are better known than others,” said Alec. “The Bible and the Enochian texts mention quite a few, disguised and subsumed, of course, into stories and myths. Edom is mentioned as a wasteland—” He read out loud, his voice measured. “And the streams of Edom shall be turned into pitch, and her soil into sulfur; her land shall become burning pitch. Night and day it shall not be quenched; its smoke shall go up forever. From generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it forever and ever. ” He sighed. “And of course there’s the legends about Lilith and Edom, that she was banished there, that she rules the place with the demon Asmodeus. That’s probably why the Endarkened were talking about sacrificing Mark Blackthorn to her in Edom. ” “Lilith protects Sebastian,” said Clary. “If he was going to go to a demon realm, he’d go to hers. ” “?‘None shall pass through it forever and ever’ doesn’t sound very encouraging,” said Jace. “Besides, there’s no way to get to the demon realms. Traveling from place to place in this world is one thing—” “Well, there is a way, I think,” said Alec. “A pathway that the Nephilim can’t close, because it lies outside the jurisdiction of our Laws. It’s old, older than Shadowhunters—old, wild magic. ” He sighed. “It’s in the Seelie Court, and it is guarded by the Fair Folk. No human being has set foot on that pathway in more than a hundred years. ”