City of lost souls – Chapter 18: RAZIEL

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Part Three

All Is Changed

All changed, changed utterly:

A terrible beauty is born.

-William Butler Yeats, “Easter, 1916”

Chapter 18: RAZIEL

“Clary?”

Simon sat on the back porch steps of the farmhouse, looking down the path that led through the apple orchard and down to the lake. Isabelle and Magnus were on the path, Magnus glancing toward the lake and then up at the low mountains ringing the area. He was making notes in a small book with a pen whose end glowed a sparkling blue-green. Alec stood a little distance away, looking up at the trees lining the ridge of hills that separated the farmhouse from the road. He seemed to be standing as far from Magnus as he could while remaining in earshot. It seemed to Simon-the first to admit that he was not that observant about these things-that despite the joking around in the car, a perceptible distance had come between Magnus and Alec recently, one he couldnt quite put a finger on, but he knew it was there.

Simons right hand was cradled in his left, his fingers circling the gold ring on his finger.

Clary, please.

Hed been trying to reach her every hour since hed gotten the message from Maia about Luke. Hed gotten nothing. Not a flicker of response.

Clary, Im at the farmhouse. Im remembering you here, with me.

It was an unseasonably warm day, and a faint wind rustled the last of the leaves in the tree branches. After spending too long wondering what sort of clothes you were supposed to wear to meet angels in-a suit seemed excessive, even if he did have one left over from Jocelyn and Lukes engagement party-he was in jeans and a T-shirt, his arms bare in the sunlight. He had so many happy sunlit memories attached to this place, this house. He and Clary had come up here with Jocelyn almost every summer for as long as he could remember. They would swim in the lake. Simon would tan brown, and Clarys fair skin would burn over and over. Shed get a million more freckles on her shoulders and arms. Theyd play “apple baseball” in the orchard, which was messy and fun, and Scrabble and poker in the farmhouse, which Luke always won.

Clary, Im about to do something stupid and dangerous and maybe suicidal. Is it so bad I want to talk to you one last time? Im doing this to keep you safe, and I dont even know if youre alive for me to help you. But if you were dead, Id know, wouldnt I? Id feel it.

“All right. Lets go,” Magnus said, appearing at the foot of the steps. He eyed the ring on Simons hand, but made no comment.

Simon stood up and brushed off his jeans, then led the way down the wandering path through the orchard. The lake sparkled up ahead like a cold blue coin. As they neared it, Simon could see the old dock sticking out into the water, where once they had tied up kayaks before a big piece of the dock had broken off and drifted away. He thought he could almost hear the lazy hum of bees and feel the weight of summer on his shoulders. As they reached the lakes edge, he twisted around and looked up at the farmhouse, white-painted clapboard with green shutters and an old covered sunporch with tired white wicker furniture on it.

“You really liked it here, huh?” Isabelle said. Her black hair snapped like a banner in the breeze off the lake.

“How can you tell?”

“Your expression,” she said. “Like youre remembering something good. ”

“It was good,” Simon said. He reached up to push his glasses up his nose, remembered he no longer wore them, and lowered his hand. “I was lucky. ”

She looked down at the lake. She was wearing small gold hoop earrings; one was tangled in a bit of her hair, and Simon wanted to reach over and free it, to touch the side of her face with his fingers. “And now youre not?”

He shrugged. He was watching Magnus, who was holding what looked like a long, flexible rod and drawing in the wet sand at the lakes edge. He had the spell book open and was chanting as he drew. Alec was watching him, with the expression of someone watching a stranger.

“Are you scared?” Isabelle asked, moving slightly closer to Simon. He could feel the warmth of her arm against his.

“I dont know. So much of being scared is the physical feeling of it. Your heart speeding up, sweating, your pulse racing. I dont get any of that. ”

“Thats too bad,” Isabelle murmured, looking at the water. “Guys getting all sweaty is hot. ”

He shot her a half smile; it was harder than he thought it would be. Maybe he was scared. “Thats enough of your sass and back talk, missy. ”

Isabelles lip quivered as if she were about to smile. Then she sighed. “You know what it never even crossed my mind I wanted?” she said. “A guy who could make me laugh. ”

Simon turned toward her, reaching for her hand, not caring for the moment that her brother was watching. “Izzy. . . ”

“All right,” Magnus called out. “Im done. Simon, over here. ”

They turned. Magnus was standing inside the circle, which was glowing with a faint white light. It was really two circles, a slightly smaller one inside a larger one, and in the space between the circles, dozens of symbols had been scrawled. They, too, glowed, a steely blue-white like the reflection off the lake.

Simon heard Isabelles soft intake of breath, and he stepped away before he could look at her. It would just make it all harder. He moved forward, over the border of the circle, into its center, beside Magnus. Looking out from the center of the circle was like looking through water. The rest of the world seemed wavering and indistinct.

“Here. ” Magnus shoved the book into his hands. The paper was thin, covered in scrawled runes, but Magnus had taped a printout of the words, spelled out phonetically, over the incantation itself. “Just sound these out,” he muttered. “It should work. ”

Holding the book against his chest, Simon slipped off the gold ring that connected him to Clary, and handed it to Magnus. “If it doesnt,” he said, wondering where his strange calm was coming from, “someone should take this. Its our only link to Clary, and what she knows. ”

Magnus nodded and slid the ring onto his finger. “Ready, Simon?”

“Hey,” said Simon. “You remembered my name. ”

Magnus shot him an unreadable glance from his green-gold eyes, and stepped outside the circle. Immediately he was blurry and indistinct too. Alec joined him on one side, Isabelle on the other; Isabelle was hugging her elbows, and even through the wavering air Simon could tell how unhappy she looked.

Simon cleared his throat. “I guess you guys had better go. ”

But they didnt move. They seemed to be waiting for him to say something else.

“Thanks for coming here with me,” he said finally, having racked his brain for something meaningful to say; they seemed to be expecting it. He wasnt the sort who made big farewell speeches or bid people dramatic good-byes. He looked at Alec first. “Um, Alec. I always liked you better than I liked Jace. ” He turned to Magnus. “Magnus, I wish I had the nerve to wear the kind of pants you do. ”

And last, Izzy. He could see her watching him through the haze, her eyes as black as obsidian.

“Isabelle,” Simon said. He looked at her. He saw the question in her eyes, but there seemed nothing he could say in front of Alec and Magnus, nothing that would encompass what he felt. He moved back, toward the center of the circle, bowing his head. “Good-bye, I guess. ”

He thought they spoke back to him, but the wavering haze between them blurred their words. He watched as they turned, retreating up the path through the orchard, back toward the house, until they had become dark specks. Until he could no longer see them at all.

He couldnt quite fathom not talking to Clary one last time before he died-he couldnt even remember the last words theyd exchanged. And yet if he closed his eyes, he could hear her laughter drifting over the orchard; he could remember what it had been like, before they had grown up and everything had changed. If he died here, perhaps it would be appropriate. Some of his best memories were here, after all. If the Angel struck him down with fire, his ashes could sift through the apple orchard and over the lake. Something about the idea seemed peaceful.

He thought of Isabelle. Then of his family-his mother, his father, and Becky. Clary, he thought lastly. Wherever you are, youre my best friend. Youll always be my best friend.

He raised the spell book and began to chant.

“No!” Clary stood up, dropping the wet towel. “Jace, you cant. Theyll kill you. ”

He reached for a fresh shirt and shrugged it on, not looking at her as he did up the buttons. “Theyll try to separate me from Sebastian first,” he said, though he didnt sound as if he quite believed it. “If that doesnt work, then theyll kill me. ”

“Not good enough. ” She reached for him, but he turned away from her, jamming his feet into boots. When he turned back, his expression was grim.

“I dont have a choice, Clary. This is the right thing to do. ”

“Its insane. Youre safe here. You cant throw away your life-”

“Saving myself is treason. Its putting a weapon into the hands of the enemy. ”

“Who cares about treason? Or the Law?” she demanded. “I care about you. Well figure this out together-”

“We cant figure this out. ” Jace pocketed the stele on the nightstand, then caught up the Mortal Cup. “Because Im only going to be me for a little while longer. I love you, Clary. ” He tilted her face up and kissed her, lingeringly. “Do this for me,” he whispered.

“I absolutely will not,” she said. “I will not try to help you get yourself killed. ”

But he was already striding toward the door. He drew her with him, and they stumbled down the corridor, speaking in whispers.

“This is crazy,” Clary hissed. “Putting yourself in the path of danger-”

He blew out an exasperated breath. “As if you dont. ”

“Right, and it makes you furious,” she whispered as she raced after him down the staircase. “Remember what you said to me in Alicante-”

They had reached the kitchen. He put the Cup down on the counter, reaching for his stele. “I had no right to say that,” he told her. “Clary, this is what we are. Were Shadowhunters. This is what we do. There are risks we take that arent just the risks you find in battle. ”

Clary shook her head, clutching both his wrists. “I wont let you. ”

A look of pain crossed his face. “Clarissa-”

She drew a deep breath, barely able to believe what she was about to do. But in her mind was the image of the morgue in the Silent City, of Shadowhunter bodies stretched out on marble slabs, and she could not bear for Jace to be one of them. Everything she had done-coming here, enduring everything she had endured, had been to save his life, and not just for herself. She thought of Alec and Isabelle, who had helped her, and Maryse, who loved him, and almost without knowing she was about to do it, she raised her voice and called out:

“Jonathan!” she screamed. “Jonathan Christopher Morgenstern!”

Jaces eyes widened into circles. “Clary-” he began, but it was too late already. She had let go of him and was backing away. Sebastian might already be coming; there was no way to tell Jace that it wasnt that she trusted Sebastian but that Sebastian was the only weapon she had at her disposal that could possibly make him stay.

There was a flash of movement, and Sebastian was there. He hadnt bothered with running down the stairs, just flipped himself over the side and landed between them. His hair was sleep-mussed; he wore a dark T-shirt and black pants, and Clary wondered distractedly if he slept in his clothes. He glanced between Clary and Jace, his black eyes taking in the situation. “Lovers spat?” he inquired. Something glinted in his hand. A knife?

Clarys voice shook. “His runes damaged. Here. ” She put her hand over her heart. “Hes trying to go back, to give himself up to the Clave-”

Sebastians hand shot out and grabbed the Cup out of Jaces hand. He slammed it down on the kitchen counter. Jace, still white with shock, watched him; he didnt move a muscle as Sebastian stepped close and took Jace by the front of the shirt. The top buttons on the shirt popped open, baring his collar, and Sebastian slashed the point of his stele across it, gashing an iratze into the skin. Jace bit down on his lip, his eyes full of hatred as Sebastian released him and took a step back, stele in hand.

“Honestly, Jace,” he said. “The idea that you thought you could get away with something like this just knocks me out. ”

Jaces hands tightened into fists as the iratze, black as charcoal, began to sink into his skin. His words were eked out, breathless: “Next time. . . you want to be knocked out. . . Id be happy to help you. Maybe with a brick. ”

Sebastian made a tsk noise. “Youll thank me later. Even you have to admit this death wish of yours is a little extreme. ”

Clary expected Jace to snap back at him again. But he didnt. His gaze traveled slowly across Sebastians face. For that moment there was only the two of them in the room, and when Jace spoke, his words came cold and clear. “I wont remember this later,” he said. “But you will. That person who acts like your friend-” He took a step forward, closing the space between himself and Sebastian. “That person who acts like they like you. That person isnt real. This is real. This is me. And I hate you. I will always hate you. And there is no magic and no spell in this world or any other that will ever change that. ”

For a moment the grin on Sebastians face wavered. But Jace didnt. Instead, he tore his gaze from Sebastian and looked at Clary. “I need you to know,” he said, “the truth-I didnt tell you all the truth. ”

“The truth is dangerous,” said Sebastian, holding the stele before him like a knife. “Be careful what you say. ”

Jace winced. His chest was rising and falling rapidly; it was clear that the healing of the rune on his chest was causing him physical pain. “The plan,” he said. “To raise Lilith, to make a new Cup, to create a dark army-that wasnt Sebastians plan. It was mine. ”

Clary froze. “What?”

“Sebastian knew what he wanted,” said Jace. “But I figured out how he could do it. A new Mortal Cup-I gave him that idea. ” He jerked in pain; she could imagine what was happening under the cloth of his shirt: the skin knitting together, healing, Liliths rune whole and shining once again. “Or, should I say, he did. That thing that looks like me but isnt? Hell burn down the world if Sebastian wants him to, and laugh while hes doing it. Thats what youre saving, Clary. That. Dont you understand? Id rather be dead-”

His voice choked off as he doubled over. The muscles in his shoulders tightened as ripples of what looked like pain went through him. Clary remembered holding him in the Silent City as the Brothers rooted through his mind for answers-Now he looked up, his expression bewildered.

His eyes shifted first not to her but to Sebastian. She felt her heart plummet, though she knew this was only her own doing.

“Whats going on?” Jace said.

Sebastian grinned at him. “Welcome back. ”

Jace blinked, looking momentarily confused-and then his gaze seemed to slide inward, the way it did whenever Clary tried to bring up something that he couldnt process-Maxs murder, the war in Alicante, the pain he was causing his family.

“Is it time?” he said.

Sebastian made a show of looking at his watch. “Just about. Why dont you go on ahead and well follow? You can start getting things ready. ”

Jace glanced around. “The Cup-where is it?”

Sebastian took it off the kitchen counter. “Right here. Feeling a little absentminded?”

Jaces mouth curled at the corner, and he grabbed the Cup back. Good-naturedly. There was no sign of the boy who had stood in front of Sebastian moments ago and told him he hated him. “All right. Ill meet you there. ” He turned to Clary, who was still frozen in shock, and kissed her cheek. “And you. ”

He drew back and winked at her. There was affection in his eyes, but it didnt matter. This was not her Jace, very clearly not her Jace, and she watched numbly as he crossed the room. His stele flashed, and a door opened in the wall; she caught a glimpse of sky and rocky plain, and then he stepped through it and was gone.

She dug her nails into her palms.

That thing that looks like me but isnt? Hell burn down the world if Sebastian wants him to, and laugh while hes doing it. Thats what youre saving, Clary. That. Dont you understand? Id rather be dead.

Tears burned at the back of her throat, and it was all she could do to hold them off as her brother turned to her, his black eyes very bright. “You called for me,” he said.

“He wanted to give himself up to the Clave,” she whispered, not sure who she was defending herself to. She had done what shed had to, used the only weapon at hand, even if it was one she despised. “They would have killed him. ”

“You called for me,” he said again, and took a step toward her. He reached out and lifted a long lock of her hair away from her face, tucking it back behind her ear. “He told you, then? The plan? All of it?”

She fought back a shiver of revulsion. “Not all of it. I dont know whats happening tonight. What did Jace mean Its time?”

He leaned down and kissed her forehead; she felt the kiss burn, like a brand between her eyes. “Youll find out,” he said. “Youve earned the right to be there, Clarissa. You can watch it all from your place at my side, tonight, at the Seventh Sacred Site. Both of Valentines children, together. . . at last. ”

Simon kept his eyes on the paper, chanting out the words Magnus had written for him. They had a rhythm to them that was like music, light and sharp and fine. He was reminded of reading aloud his haftarah portion during his bar mitzvah, though he had known what the words meant then, and now he didnt.

As the chant went on, he felt a tightening around him, as if the air were becoming denser and heavier. It pressed down on his chest and shoulders. The air was growing warmer as well. If he were human, the heat might have been unbearable. As it was, he could feel the burn of it on his skin, singeing his eyelashes, his shirt. He kept his eyes fixed on the paper in front of him as a bead of blood ran from his hairline to drip onto the paper.

And then he was done. The last of the words-“Raziel”-was spoken, and he lifted his head. He could feel blood running down his face. The haze around him had cleared, and in front of him he saw the water of the lake, blue and sparkling, as untroubled as glass.

And then it exploded.

The center of the lake turned gold, then black. Water rushed away from it, pouring toward the edges of the lake, flying into the air until Simon was staring at a ring of water, like a circle of unbroken waterfalls, all shimmering and pouring upward and downward, the effect bizarre and strangely beautiful. Water droplets shivered down onto him, cooling his burning skin. He tipped his head back, just as the sky went black-all the blue of it gone, eaten up in a sudden shock of darkness and clamoring gray clouds. The water splashed back down into the lake, and from its center, the greatest density of its silver, rose a figure all of gold.

Simons mouth went dry. He had seen countless paintings of angels, believed in them, had heard Magnuss warning. And still he felt as if he had been struck through with a spear as before him a pair of wings unfolded. They seemed to span the sky. They were vast, white and gold and silver, the feathers of them set with burning golden eyes. The eyes regarded him with scorn. Then the wings lifted, scattering clouds before them, and folded back, and a man-or the shape of a man, towering and many stories tall, unfolded itself and rose.

Simons teeth had started to chatter. He wasnt sure why. But waves of power, of something more than power-of the elemental force of the universe-seemed to roll off the Angel as he rose to his full height. Simons first and rather bizarre thought was that it looked as if someone had taken Jace and blown him up to the size of a billboard. Only he didnt quite look like Jace at all. He was gold all over, from his wings to his skin to his eyes, which had no whites at all, only a sheen of gold like a membrane. His hair was gold and looked cut from pieces of metal that curled like wrought ironwork. He was alien and terrifying. Too much of anything could destroy you, Simon thought. Too much darkness could kill, but too much light could blind.

Who dares to summon me? The Angel spoke in Simons mind, in a voice like great bells sounding.

Tricky question, Simon thought. If he were Jace, he could say “one of the Nephilim,” and if he were Magnus, he could say he was one of Liliths children and a High Warlock. Clary and the Angel had already met, so he supposed theyd just chum it up. But he was Simon, without any titles to his name or any great deeds in his past. “Simon Lewis,” he said finally, setting the spell book down and straightening up. “Nights Child, and. . . your servant. ”

My servant? Raziels voice was frozen with icy disapproval. You summon me like a dog and dare to call yourself my servant? You shall be blasted from this world, that your fate may serve as a warning to others not to do likewise. It is forbidden for my own Nephilim to summon me. Why should it be different for you, Daylighter?

Simon supposed he should not be shocked that the Angel knew what he was, but it was startling nevertheless, as startling as the Angels size. Somehow he had thought Raziel would be more human. “I-”

Do you think because you carry the blood of one of my descendants, I must show you mercy? If so, you have gambled and lost. The mercy of Heaven is for the deserving. Not for those who break our Covenant Laws.

The Angel raised a hand, his finger pointed directly at Simon.

Simon braced himself. This time he did not try to say the words, only thought them. Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one-

What Mark is that? Raziels voice was confounded. On your forehead, child.

“It is the Mark,” Simon stammered. “The first Mark. The Mark of Cain. ”

Raziels great arm lowered slowly. I would kill you, but the Mark prevents it. That Mark was meant to be set between your brows by Heavens hand, yet I know it was not. How can this be?

The Angels obvious bafflement emboldened Simon. “One of your children, the Nephilim,” he said. “One especially gifted. She set it there, to protect me. ” He took a step closer to the edge of the circle. “Raziel, I came to ask a favor of you, in the name of those Nephilim. They face a grave danger. One of their own has-has been turned to darkness, and he threatens all the rest. They need your help. ”

I do not intervene.

“But you did intervene,” Simon said. “When Jace was dead, you brought him back. Not that were not all really happy about that, but if you hadnt, none of this would be happening. So in a way it rests on you to set it right. ”

I may not be able to kill you, Raziel mused. But there is no reason I should give you what you want.

“I havent even said what I want,” said Simon.

You want a weapon. Something that can sever Jonathan Morgenstern from Jonathan Herondale. You would kill the one and preserve the other. Easiest of course to simply kill both. Your Jonathan was dead, and perhaps death longs for him still, and he for it. Has that ever crossed your mind?

“No,” said Simon. “I know were not much compared to you, but we dont kill our friends. We try to save them. If Heaven didnt want it that way, we ought never have been given the ability to love. ” He shoved his hair back, baring the Mark more fully. “No, you dont need to help me. But if you dont, theres nothing stopping me from calling you up again and again, now that I know you cant kill me. Think of it as me leaning against your Heavenly doorbell. . . forever. ”

Raziel, incredibly, seemed to chuckle at that. You are stubborn, he said. A veritable warrior of your people, like him whose name you bear, Simon Maccabeus. And as he gave everything for his brother Jonathan, so shall you give everything for your Jonathan. Or are you not willing?

“Its not just for him,” said Simon, a little dazed. “But, yes, whatever you want. I will give it to you. ”

If I give you what you want, will you also vow never to bother me again?

“I dont think,” said Simon, “that that will be a problem. ”

Very well, said the Angel. I will tell you what I desire. I desire that blasphemous Mark on your forehead. I would take the Mark of Cain from you, for it was never your place to carry it.

“I-but if you take the Mark, then you can kill me,” Simon said. “Isnt it the only thing standing between me and your Heavenly wrath?”

The Angel paused to consider for a moment. I shall swear not to harm you. Whether you bear the Mark or not.

Simon hesitated. The Angels expression turned thunderous. The vow of an Angel of Heaven is the most sacred there is. Do you dare to distrust me, Downworlder?

“I. . . ” Simon paused for an excruciating moment. His eyes were filled with the memory of Clary standing on her tiptoes as she pressed the stele to his forehead; the first time he had seen the Mark work, when he had felt like the conductor for a lightning bolt, sheer energy passing through him with deadly force. It was a curse, one that had terrified him and made him an object of desire and fear. He had hated it. And yet now, faced with giving it up, the thing that made him special. . .

He swallowed hard. “Fine. Yes. I agree. ”

The Angel smiled, and his smile was terrible, like looking directly into the sun. Then I swear not to harm you, Simon Maccabeus.

“Lewis,” Simon said. “My last name is Lewis. ”

But you are of the blood and faith of the Maccabees. Some say the Maccabees were Marked by the hand of God. In either case you are a warrior of Heaven, Daylighter, whether you like it or not.

The Angel moved. Simons eyes watered, for Raziel seemed to draw the sky with him like a cloth, in swirls of black and silver and cloud-white. The air around him shuddered. Something flashed overhead like the glint of light off metal, and an object struck the sand and rocks beside Simon with a metallic clatter.

It was a sword-nothing special to look at either, a beaten-up-looking old iron sword with a blackened hilt. The edges were ragged, as if acid had eaten at them, though the tip was sharp. It looked like something that an archeological dig might have turned up, that hadnt been properly cleaned yet.

The Angel spoke. Once when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing before him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went to him and said, “Are you one of us, or one of our adversaries?” He replied, “Neither, but as commander of the army of the Lord, I have now come. ”

Simon glanced down at the unprepossesing object at his feet. “And thats this sword?”

It is the sword of the Archangel Michael, commander of the armies of Heaven. It possesses the power of Heavens fire. Strike your enemy with this, and it will burn the evil out of him. If he is more evil than good, more Hells than Heavens, it will also burn the life from him. It will most certainly sever his bond with your friend-and it can harm only one of them at a time.

Simon bent down and picked the sword up. It sent a shock through his hand, up his arm, into his motionless heart. Instinctively he raised it, and the clouds above seemed to part for a moment, a ray of light arcing down to strike the dull metal of the sword and make it sing.

The Angel looked down upon him with cold eyes. The name of the sword cannot be spoken by your meager human tongue. You may call it Glorious.

“I. . . ,” Simon began. “Thank you. ”

Do not thank me. I would have killed you, Daylighter, but your Mark, and now my vow, prevent it. The Mark of Cain was meant to be placed upon you by God, and it was not. It shall be wiped from your brow, its protection removed. And if you call upon me again, I will not help you.

Instantly the beam of light shining down from the clouds intensified, striking the sword like a whip of fire, surrounding Simon in a cage of brilliant light and heat. The sword burned; he cried out and fell to the ground, pain lancing through his head. It felt as if someone were jabbing a red hot needle between his eyes. He covered his face, burying his head in his arms, letting the pain wash over him. It was the worst agony he had felt since the night he had died.

It faded slowly, ebbing like the tide. He rolled onto his back, staring up, his head still aching. The black clouds were beginning to roll back, showing a widening strip of blue; the Angel was gone, the lake surging under the growing light as if the water were boiling.

Simon began to sit up slowly, his eyes squinted painfully against the sun. He could see someone racing down the path from the farmhouse to the lake. Someone with long black hair, and a purple jacket that flew out behind her like wings. She hit the end of the path and leaped onto the lakeside, her boots kicking up puffs of sand behind her. She reached him and threw herself down, wrapping her arms around him. “Simon,” she whispered.

He could feel the strong, steady beat of Isabelles heart.

“I thought you were dead,” she went on. “I saw you fall down, and-I thought you were dead. ”

Simon let her hold him, propping himself up on his hands. He realized he was listing like a ship with a hole in the side, and tried not to move. He was afraid that if he did, he would fall over. “I am dead. ”

“I know,” Izzy snapped. “I mean more dead than usual. ”

“Iz. ” He raised his face to hers. She was kneeling over him, her legs around his, her arms around his neck. It looked uncomfortable. He let himself fall back into the sand, taking her with him. He thumped down onto his back in the cold sand with her on top of him and stared up into her black eyes. They seemed to take up the whole sky.

She touched his forehead in wonder. “Your Marks gone. ”

“Raziel took it away. In exchange for the sword. ” He gestured toward the blade. Up at the farmhouse, he could see two dark specks standing in front of the sunporch, watching them. Alec and Magnus. “Its the Archangel Michaels sword. Its called Glorious. ”

“Simon. . . ” She kissed his cheek. “You did it. You got the Angel. You got the sword. ”

Magnus and Alec had started down the path to the lake. Simon closed his eyes, exhausted. Isabelle leaned over him, her hair brushing the sides of his face. “Dont try to talk. ” She smelled like tears. “Youre not cursed anymore,” she whispered. “Youre not cursed. ”

Simon linked his fingers with hers. He felt as if he were floating on a dark river, the shadows closing in around him. Only her hand anchored him to earth. “I know. ”

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