City of lost souls – Chapter 21: Raising Hell

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Chapter 21: Raising Hell

Lukes sister looked up, her blue eyes, so much like Lukes, fastening on Clary. She seemed dizzied, shocked, her expression a little unfocused as if shed been drugged. She tried to start to her feet, but Cartwright shoved her back down. Sebastian started toward them, the Cup in his hand.

Clary scrambled forward, but Jace caught her by the arm, pulling her back. She kicked at him, but hed already swung her up into his arms, his hand over her mouth. Sebastian was speaking to Amatis in a low, hypnotic voice. She shook her head violently, but Cartwright caught her by her long hair and jerked her head back. Clary heard her cry out, a thin sound over the wind.

Clary thought of the night shed stayed up watching Jaces chest rise and fall, thinking how she could end all this with a single knife blow. But all this hadnt had a face, a voice, a plan. Now that it wore Lukes sisters face, now that Clary knew the plan, it was too late.

Sebastian had one hand fisted in the back of Amatiss hair, the Cup jammed against her mouth. As he forced the contents down her throat, she retched and coughed, black fluid dripping down her chin.

Sebastian yanked the Cup back, but it had done its work. Amatis made an awful hacking sound, her body jerking upright. Her eyes bulged, turning as dark as Sebastians. She slapped her hands over her face, a wail escaping her, and Clary saw in astonishment that the Voyance rune was fading from her hand-fading to pallor-and then it was gone.

Amatis dropped her hands. Her expression had smoothed and her eyes were blue again. They fastened on Sebastian.

“Release her,” Clarys brother said to Cartwright, his gaze on Amatis. “Let her come to me. ”

Cartwright snapped the chain binding him to Amatis and stepped back, a curious mixture of apprehension and fascination on his face.

Amatis remained still a moment, her hands lolling at her sides. Then she stood and walked over to Sebastian. She knelt before him, her hair brushing the dirt. “Master,” she said. “How may I serve you?”

“Rise,” Sebastian said, and Amatis rose from the ground gracefully. She seemed to have a new way of moving, all of a sudden. All Shadowhunters were adroit, but she moved now with a silent grace that Clary found oddly chilling. She stood straight in front of Sebastian. For the first time Clary saw that what she had taken for a long white dress was a nightgown, as if she had been awakened and spirited out of bed. What a nightmare, to wake up here, among these hooded figures, in this bitter, abandoned place. “Come here to me,” Sebastian beckoned, and Amatis stepped toward him. She was a head shorter than him at least, and she craned her head up as he whispered to her. A cold smile split her face.

Sebastian raised his hand. “Would you like to fight Cartwright?”

Cartwright dropped the chain he had been holding, his hand going to his weapons belt through the gap in his cloak. He was a young man, with fairish hair, and a wide, square-jawed face. “But I-”

“Surely some demonstration of her power is in order,” said Sebastian. “Come, Cartwright, she is a woman, and older than you are. Are you afraid?”

Cartwright looked bewildered, but he drew a long dagger from his belt. “Jonathan-”

Sebastians eyes flashed. “Fight him, Amatis. ”

Her lips curved. “I would be delighted to,” she said, and sprang. Her speed was astonishing. She leaped into the air and swung her foot forward, knocking the dagger from his grip. Clary watched in astonishment as she darted up his body, driving her knee into his stomach. He staggered back, and she slammed her head into his, spinning around his body to jerk him hard by the back of his robes, yanking him to the ground. He landed at her feet with a sickening crack, and groaned in pain.

“And thats for dragging me out of my bed in the middle of the night,” Amatis said, and wiped the back of her hand across her lip, which was bleeding slightly. A faint murmur of strained laughter went around the crowd.

“And there you see it,” said Sebastian. “Even a Shadowhunter of no particular skill or strength-your pardon, Amatis-can become stronger, swifter, than their seraphically allied counterparts. ” He slammed one fist into the opposite palm. “Power. Real power. Who is ready for it?”

There was a moment of hesitation, and then Cartwright stumbled to his feet, one hand curved protectively over his stomach. “I am,” he said, shooting a venomous look at Amatis, who only smiled.

Sebastian held up the Infernal Cup. “Then, come forward. ”

Cartwright moved toward Sebastian, and as he did, the other Shadowhunters broke formation, surging toward the place where Sebastian stood, forming a ragged line. Amatis stood serenely to the side, her hands folded. Clary stared at her, willing the older woman to look at her. It was Lukes sister. If things had gone as planned, she would have been Clarys step-aunt now.

Amatis. Clary thought of her small canal house in Idris, the way she had been so kind, the way she had loved Jaces father so much. Please look at me, she thought. Please show me youre still yourself. As if Amatis had heard her silent prayer, she raised her head and looked directly at Clary.

And smiled. Not a kind smile or a reassuring smile. Her smile was dark and cold and quietly amused. It was the smile of someone who would watch you drown, Clary thought, and not lift a finger to help. It was not Amatiss smile. It was not Amatis at all. Amatis was gone.

Jace had taken his hand from her mouth, but she felt no desire to scream. No one here would help her, and the person standing with his arms around her, prisoning her with his body, wasnt Jace. The way that clothes retained the shape of their owner even if they had not been worn for years, or a pillow kept the outline of the head of the person who had once slept there even if they were long dead, that was all he was. An empty shell she had filled with her wishes and love and dreams.

And in doing so she had done the real Jace a terrible wrong. In her quest to save him, she had almost forgotten who she was saving. And she remembered what he had said to her during those few moments when he had been himself. I hate the thought of him being with you. Him. That other me. Jace had known they were two different people-that himself with the soul scraped out wasnt himself at all.

He had tried to turn himself over to the Clave, and she hadnt let him. She hadnt listened to what hed wanted. She had made the choice for him-in a moment of flight and panic, but she had made it-not realizing that her Jace would rather die than be like this, and that shed been not so much saving his life as damning him to an existence he would despise.

She sagged against him, and Jace, taking her sudden shift as an indicator that she wasnt fighting him anymore, loosened his grip on her. The last of the Shadowhunters was in front of Sebastian, reaching eagerly for the Infernal Cup as he held it out. “Clary-,” Jace began.

She never found out what he would have said. There was a cry, and the Shadowhunter reaching for the Cup staggered back, an arrow in his throat. In disbelief Clary whipped her head around and saw, standing on top of the stone dolmen, Alec, in gear, holding his bow. He grinned in satisfaction and reached back over his shoulder for another arrow.

And then, coming from behind him, the rest of them poured out onto the plain. A pack of wolves, running low to the ground, their brindled fur shining in the variegated light. Maia and Jordan were among them, she guessed. Behind them walked familiar Shadowhunters in an unbroken line: Isabelle and Maryse Lightwood, Helen Blackthorn and Aline Penhallow, and Jocelyn, her red hair visible even at a distance. With them was Simon, the hilt of a silver sword protruding over the curve of his shoulder, and Magnus, hands crackling with blue fire.

Her heart leaped in her chest. “Im here!” she called out to them. “Im here!”

“Can you see her?” Jocelyn demanded. “Is she there?”

Simon tried to focus on the milling darkness ahead of him, his vampire senses sharpening at the distinct scent of blood. Different kinds of blood, mixing together-Shadowhunter blood, demon blood, and the bitterness of Sebastians blood. “I see her,” he said. “Jace has hold of her. Hes pulling her behind that line of Shadowhunters there. ”

“If theyre loyal to Jonathan like the Circle was to Valentine, theyll make a wall of bodies to protect him, and Clary and Jace along with him. ” Jocelyn was all cold maternal fury, her green eyes burning. “Were going to have to break through it to get to them. ”

“What we need to get to is Sebastian,” said Isabelle. “Simon, well hack a path for you. You get to Sebastian and run him through with Glorious. Once he falls-”

“The others will probably scatter,” said Magnus. “Or, depending on how tied they are to Sebastian, they might die or collapse along with him. We can hope, at least. ” He craned his head back. “Speaking of hope, did you see that shot Alec got off with his bow? Thats my boyfriend. ” He beamed and wiggled his fingers; blue sparks shot from them. He shone all over. Only Magnus, Simon thought resignedly, would have access to sequined battle armor.

Isabelle uncurled her whip from around her wrist. It shot out in front of her, a lick of golden fire. “Okay, Simon,” she said. “Are you ready?”

Simons shoulders tightened. They were still some distance from the line of the opposing army-he didnt know how else to think of them-who were holding their line in their red robes and gear, their hands bristling with weapons. Some of them were exclaiming out loud in confusion. He couldnt hold back a grin.

“Name of the Angel, Simon,” said Izzy. “Whats there to smile about?”

“Their seraph blades dont work anymore,” said Simon. “Theyre trying to figure out why. Sebastian just shouted at them to use other weapons. ” A cry came up from the line as another arrow swooped down from the tomb and buried itself in the back of a burly red-robed Shadowhunter, who collapsed forward. The line jerked and opened slightly, like a fracture in a wall. Simon, seeing his chance, dashed forward, and the others rushed with him.

It was like diving into a black ocean at night, an ocean filled with sharks and viciously toothed sea creatures colliding against one another. It was not the first battle Simon had ever been in, but during the Mortal War he had been newly Marked with the Mark of Cain. It hadnt quite begun working yet, though many demons had reeled back upon seeing it. He had never thought he would miss it, but he missed it now, as he tried to shove forward through the tightly packed Shadowhunters, who hacked at him with blades. Isabelle was on one side of him, Magnus on the other, protecting him-protecting Glorious. Isabelles whip sang out strong and sure, and Magnuss hands spat fire, red and green and blue. Lashes of colored fire struck the dark Nephilim, burning them where they stood. Other Shadowhunters screamed as Lukes wolves slunk among them, nipping and biting, leaping for their throats.

A dagger shot out with astonishing speed and sliced at Simons side. He cried out but kept going, knowing the wound would knit itself together in seconds. He pushed forward-

And froze. A familiar face was before him. Lukes sister, Amatis. As her eyes settled on him, he saw the recognition in them. What was she doing here? Had she come to fight alongside them? But-

She lunged at him, a darkly gleaming dagger in her hand. She was fast-but not so fast that his vampire reflexes couldnt have saved him, if he hadnt been too astonished to move. Amatis was Lukes sister; he knew her; and that moment of disbelief might have been the end of him if Magnus hadnt jumped in front of him, shoving him backward. Blue fire shot from Magnuss hand, but Amatis was faster than the warlock, too. She spun away from the blaze and under Magnuss arm, and Simon caught the flash of moonlight off the blade of her knife. Magnuss eyes widened in shock as her midnight-colored blade drove downward, slicing through his armor. She jerked it back, the blade now slick with reflective blood; Isabelle screamed as Magnus collapsed to his knees. Simon tried to turn toward him, but the surge and pressure of the fighting crowd was carrying him away. He cried out Magnuss name as Amatis bent over the fallen warlock and raised the dagger a second time, aiming for his heart.

“Let go of me!” Clary shouted, writhing and kicking as she did her best to wrench herself out of Jaces grip. She could see almost nothing above the surging crowd of red-clad Shadowhunters that stood in front of her, Jace, and Sebastian, blocking her family and friends. The three of them were a few feet behind the line of battle; Jace was holding her tightly as she struggled, and Sebastian, to the side of them, was watching events unfold with a look of dark fury on his face. His lips were moving. She couldnt tell if he was swearing, praying, or chanting the words of a spell. “Let go of me, you-”

Sebastian turned, a frightening expression on his face, somewhere between a grin and a snarl. “Shut her up, Jace. ”

Jace, still gripping Clary, said, “Are we just going to stand back here and let them protect us?” He jerked his chin toward the line of Shadowhunters.

“Yes,” Sebastian said. “We are too important to risk getting hurt, you and I. ”

Jace shook his head. “I dont like it. There are too many on the other side. ” He craned his neck to look out over the crowd. “What about Lilith? Can you summon her back, have her help us?”

“What, right here?” There was contempt in Sebastians tone. “No. Besides, shes too weak now to be of much help. Once she could have smote down an army, but that piece of scum Downworlder with his Mark of Cain scattered her essence through the voids between the worlds. It was all she could do to appear and give us her blood. ”

“Coward,” Clary spat at him. “You turned all these people into your slaves and you wont even fight to protect them-”

Sebastian raised his hand as if he meant to backhand her across the face. Clary wished he would, wished Jace could be there to see it happen when he did, but a smirk flashed across Sebastians mouth instead. He lowered his hand. “And if Jace let you go, I suppose youd fight?”

“Of course I would-”

“On what side?” Sebastian took a quick step toward her, raising the Infernal Cup. She could see what was inside it. Though many had drunk from it, the blood had remained at the same level. “Lift her head up, Jace. ”

“No!” She redoubled her efforts to get away. Jaces hand slipped beneath her chin, but she thought she felt hesitation in his touch.

“Sebastian,” he said. “Not-”

“Now,” Sebastian said. “Theres no need for us to remain here. We are the important ones, not these cannon fodder. Weve proved the Infernal Cup works. Thats what matters. ” He seized the front of Clarys dress. “But it will be much easier to escape,” he said, “without this one kicking and screaming and punching every step of the way. ”

“We can make her drink later-”

“No,” Sebastian snarled. “Hold her still. ” And he raised the Cup and jammed it against Clarys lips, trying to pry open her mouth. She fought him, gritting her teeth. “Drink,” Sebastian said in a vicious whisper, so low she doubted Jace could hear it. “I told you by the end of this night you would do whatever I wanted. Drink. ” His black eyes darkened, and he dug the Cup in, slicing her bottom lip.

She tasted blood as she reached behind her, grabbing Jaces shoulders, using his body to push off against as she kicked out with her legs. She felt the seam rip on her dress as it split up the side and her feet slammed solidly against Sebastians rib cage. He staggered back with the wind knocked out of him, just as she jerked her head back, hearing the solid crack as her skull connected with Jaces face. He yelled and loosened his grip on her enough for her to tear free. She ripped away from him and plunged into the battle without looking back.

Maia raced along the rocky ground, starlight raking its cool fingers through her coat, the strong scents of battle assailing her sensitive nose-blood, sweat, and the burned-rubber stench of dark magic.

The pack had spread out widely over the field, leaping and killing with deadly teeth and claws. Maia kept close to Jordans side, not because she needed his protection but because she had discovered that side by side they fought better and more effectively. She had been in only one battle before, on Brocelind Plain, and that had been a chaotic whirl of demons and Downworlders. There were many fewer combatants here on the Burren, but the dark Shadowhunters were formidable, swinging their swords and daggers with a swift, frightening force. Maia had seen one slender man use a short-bladed dagger to whip the head off a wolf whod been in midleap; what had collapsed to the ground was a headless human body, bloody and unrecognizable.

Even as she thought it, one of the scarlet-robed Nephilim loomed up in front of them, a double-edged sword gripped in his hands. The blade was stained red-black under the moonlight. Jordan, beside Maia, snarled, but she was the one who launched herself at the man. He ducked away, slashing out with his sword. She felt a sharp pain in her shoulder and hit the ground on all four paws, pain stabbing through her. There was a clatter, and she knew she had knocked the mans sword from his hand. She growled in satisfaction and spun around, but Jordan was already leaping for the Nephilims throat-

And the man caught him by the neck, out of the air, as if he were catching hold of a rebellious puppy. “Downworlder scum,” he spat, and though it wasnt the first time Maia had heard such insults, something about the icy hatred of his tone made her shudder. “You should be a coat. I should be wearing you. ”

Maia sank her teeth into his leg. Coppery blood exploded into her mouth as the man shouted in pain and staggered back, kicking at her, his hold on Jordan slipping. Maia gripped him tight as Jordan lunged again, and this time the Shadowhunters shout of rage was cut short as the werewolfs claws tore his throat open.

Amatis drove the knife toward Magnuss heart-just as an arrow whistled through the air and thumped into her shoulder, knocking her aside with such force that she spun halfway around and fell face-forward to the rocky ground. She was screaming, a noise quickly drowned out by the clash of weapons all around them. Isabelle knelt down by Magnuss side; Simon, glancing up, saw Alec on the stone tomb, standing frozen with the bow in his hands. He was probably too far away to see Magnus clearly; Isabelle had her hands against the warlocks chest, but Magnus-Magnus, who was always so kinetic, so bursting with energy-was utterly still under Isabelles ministrations. She looked up and saw Simon staring at them; her hands were red with blood, but she shook her head at him violently.

“Keep going!” she shouted. “Find Sebastian!”

With a wrench Simon turned himself around and plunged back into the battle. The tight line of red-clad Shadowhunters had started to come undone. The wolves were darting here and there, herding the Shadowhunters away from one another. Jocelyn was sword to sword with a snarling man whose free arm dripped blood-and Simon realized something bizarre as he staggered forward, pushing his way through the narrow gaps between skirmishes: None of the red-clad Nephilim were Marked. Their skin was bare of decoration.

They were also, he realized-seeing out of the corner of his eye one of the enemy Shadowhunters lunging for Aline with a swinging mace, only to be gutted by Helen, darting in from the side-much faster than any Nephilim he had seen before, other than Jace and Sebastian. They moved with the swiftness of vampires, he thought, as one of them slashed at a leaping wolf, slitting its belly open. The dead werewolf crashed to the ground, now the corpse of a stocky man with curling fair hair. Not Maia or Jordan. Relief swamped him, and then guilt; he staggered forward, the smell of blood thick around him, and again he missed the Mark of Cain. If he had still borne it, he thought, he could have burned all these enemy Nephilim to the ground where they stood-

One of the dark Nephilim rose up in front of him, swinging a single-edged broadsword. Simon ducked, but he didnt need to. The man was barely halfway through the swing when an arrow caught him in the neck and he went down, gurgling blood. Simons head jerked up, and he saw Alec, still atop the tomb; his face was a stony mask, and he was firing off arrows with machinelike precision, his hand reaching back mechanically to grasp one, fit it to the bow, and let fly. Each one struck a target, but Alec barely seemed to notice. By the time the arrow was flying, he was reaching for another one. Simon heard another one whistle by him and slam into a body as he darted forward, making for a cleared section of the battlefield-

He froze. There she was. Clary, a tiny figure fighting her way through the crowd bare-handed, kicking and pushing to get past. She wore a torn red dress, and her hair was a tangled mass and when she saw him, a look of incredulous amazement crossed her face. Her lips shaped his name.

Just behind her was Jace. His face was bloody. The crowd parted as he plunged through it, letting him by. Behind him, in the gap left by his passing, Simon could see a shimmer of red and silver-a familiar figure, topped now with white-gilt hair like Valentines.

Sebastian. Still hiding behind the last line of defense of dark Shadowhunters. Seeing him, Simon reached over his shoulder and hauled Glorious from its sheath. A moment later a surge in the crowd hurled Clary toward him. Her eyes were nearly black with adrenaline, but her joy at seeing him was plain. Relief spilled through Simon, and he realized hed been wondering if she was still herself, or changed, as Amatis had been.

“Give me the sword!” she cried, her voice almost drowned out by the clang of metal on metal. She thrust her arm forward to take it, and in that moment she was no longer Clary, his friend since childhood, but a Shadowhunter, an avenging angel who belonged with that sword in her hand.

He held it out to her, hilt first.

Battle was like a whirlpool, Jocelyn thought, cutting her way through the pressing crowd, slashing out with Lukes kindjal at any spot of red that she saw. Things came at you and then surged away so quickly that all one was really aware of was a sense of uncontrollable danger, the struggle to stay alive and not drown.

Her eyes flicked frantically through the mass of fighters, searching for her daughter, for a glimpse of red hair-or even for a sight of Jace, because where he was, Clary would be too. There were boulders strewn across the plain, like icebergs in an unmoving sea. She scrambled up the rough edge of one, trying to get a better view of the battlefield, but she could make out only close-pressed bodies, the flash of weapons, and the dark, low-running shapes of wolves among the fighters.

She turned to scramble back down the boulder-

Only to find someone waiting for her at the bottom. Jocelyn came up short, staring.

He wore scarlet robes, and there was a livid scar along one of his cheeks, a relic of some battle unknown to her. His face was pinched and no longer young, but there was no mistaking him. “Jeremy,” she said slowly, her voice barely audible over the clamor of the fighting. “Jeremy Pontmercy. ”

The man who had once been the youngest member of the Circle looked at her out of bloodshot eyes. “Jocelyn Morgenstern. Have you come to join us?”

“Join you? Jeremy, no-”

“You were in the Circle once,” he said, stepping closer to her. A long dagger with an edge like a straight razor hung from his right hand. “You were one of us. And now we follow your son. ”

“I broke with you when you followed my husband,” said Jocelyn. “Why do you think Id follow you now that my son leads you?”

“Either you stand with us or against us, Jocelyn. ” His face hardened. “You cannot stand against your own son. ”

“Jonathan,” she said softly. “He is the greatest evil Valentine ever committed. I could never stand with him. In the end, I never stood with Valentine. So what hope do you have of convincing me now?”

He shook his head. “You misunderstand me,” he said. “I mean you cannot stand against him. Against us. The Clave cannot. They are not prepared. Not for what we can do. Are willing to do. Blood will run in the streets of every city. The world will burn. Everything you know will be destroyed. And we will rise from the ashes of your defeat, the phoenix triumphant. This is your only chance. I doubt your son will give you another. ”

“Jeremy,” she said. “You were so young when Valentine recruited you. You could come back, come back even to the Clave. They would be lenient-”

“I can never come back to the Clave,” he said with a hard satisfaction. “Dont you understand? Those of us who stand with your son, we are Nephilim no longer. ”

Nephilim no longer. Jocelyn began to reply, but before she could speak, blood burst from his mouth. He crumpled, and as he did, Jocelyn saw, standing behind him bearing a broadsword, Maryse.

The two women looked at each other for a moment over Jeremys body. Then Maryse turned and walked back toward the battle.

The moment Clarys fingers closed around the hilt, the sword exploded with a golden light. Fire blazed down the blade from the tip, illuminating words carved blackly into the side-Quis ut Deus?-and making the hilt shine as if it contained the light of the sun. She nearly dropped it, thinking it had caught on fire, but the flame seemed contained inside the sword, and the metal was cool beneath her palms.

Everything after that seemed to happen very slowly. She turned, the sword blazing in her grip. Her eyes searched the crowd desperately for Sebastian. She couldnt see him, but she knew he was behind the tight knot of Shadowhunters she had punched through to get here. Gripping the sword, she moved toward them, only to find her way blocked.

By Jace.

“Clary,” he said. It seemed impossible that she could hear him; the sounds around them were deafening: screams and growls, the clatter of metal on metal. But the sea of fighting figures seemed to have fallen away from them on either side like the Red Sea parting, leaving a clear space around her and Jace.

The sword burned, slippery in her grip. “Jace. Get out of the way. ”

She heard Simon, behind her, shout something; Jace was shaking his head. His golden eyes were flat, unreadable. His face was bloody; she had cracked her head against his cheekbone, and the skin was swelling and darkening. “Give me the sword, Clary. ”

“No. ” She shook her head, backing up a step. Glorious lit the space they stood in, lit the trampled, blood-smeared grass around her, and lit Jace as he moved toward her. “Jace. I can separate you from Sebastian. I can kill him without hurting you-”

His face twisted. His eyes were the same color as the fire in the sword, or they were reflecting it back, she wasnt sure which, and as she looked at him she realized it didnt matter. She was seeing Jace and not-Jace: her memories of him, the beautiful boy shed met first, reckless with himself and others, learning to care and be careful. She remembered the night they had spent together in Idris, holding hands across the narrow bed, and the bloodstained boy who had looked at her with haunted eyes and confessed to being a murderer in Paris. “Kill him?” Jace-who-wasnt-Jace demanded now. “Are you out of your mind?”

And she remembered that night by Lake Lyn, Valentine driving the sword into him, and the way her own life had seemed to bleed out with his blood.

She had watched him die, there on the beach in Idris. And afterward, when she had brought him back, he had crawled to her and looked down at her with those eyes that burned like the Sword, like the incandescent blood of an angel.

I was in the dark, he had said. There was nothing there but shadows, and I was a shadow. And then I heard your voice.

But that voice blurred into another, more recent one: Jace facing down Sebastian in the living room of Valentines apartment, telling her that he would rather die than live like this. She could hear him now, speaking, telling her to give him the sword, that if she didnt, he would take it from her. His voice was harsh, impatient, the voice of someone talking to a child. And she knew in that moment that just as he wasnt Jace, the Clary he loved wasnt her. It was a memory of her, blurred and distorted: the image of someone docile, obedient; someone who didnt understand that love given without free will or truthfulness wasnt love at all.

“Give me the sword. ” His hand was out, his chin raised, his tone imperious. “Give it to me, Clary. ”

“You want it?”

She raised Glorious, the way he had taught her to, balancing the weight of it, though it felt heavy in her hand. The flame in it grew brighter, until it seemed to reach upward and touch the stars. Jace was only the swords length away from her, his golden eyes incredulous. Even now he couldnt believe she might hurt him, really hurt him. Even now.

She took a deep breath. “Take it. ”

She saw his eyes blaze up the way they had that day by the lake, and then she drove the sword into him, just as Valentine had done. She understood now that this was the way it had to be. He had died like this, and she had ripped him back from death. And now it had come again.

You cannot cheat death. In the end it will have its own.

Glorious sank into his chest, and she felt her bloody hand slide on the hilt as the blade ground against the bones of his rib cage, driving through him until her fist thumped against his body and she froze. He hadnt moved, and she was pressed up against him now, gripping Glorious as blood began to spill from the wound in his chest.

There was a scream-a sound of rage and pain and terror, the sound of someone being brutally torn apart. Sebastian, Clary thought. Sebastian, screaming as his bond with Jace was severed.

But Jace. Jace didnt make a sound. Despite everything, his face was calm and peaceful, the face of a statue. He looked down at Clary, and his eyes shone, as if he were filling with light.

And then he began to burn.

Alec didnt remember scrambling down from the top of the stone tomb, or pushing his way across the stony plain among the litter of fallen bodies: dark Shadowhunters, dead and wounded werewolves. His eyes were seeking out only one person. He stumbled and nearly fell; when he looked up, his gaze scanning the field in front of him, he saw Isabelle, kneeling beside Magnus on the stony ground.

It felt like there was no air in his lungs. He had never seen Magnus so pale, or so still. There was blood on his leather armor, and blood on the ground beneath him. But it was impossible. Magnus had lived so long. He was permanent. A fixture. In no world Alecs imagination could conjure did Magnus die before he did.

“Alec. ” It was Izzys voice, swimming up toward him as if through water. “Alec, hes breathing. ”

Alec let his own breath out in a shaking gasp. He held a hand out to his sister. “Dagger. ”

She handed him one silently. She had never paid as much attention as he had in field first aid classes; she had always said runes would do the job. He slit open the front of Magnuss leather armor and then the shirt beneath it, his teeth gritted. It could be that the armor was all that was holding him together.

He peeled back the sides gingerly, surprised at the steadiness of his own hands. There was a good deal of blood, and a wide stab wound under the right side of Magnuss ribs. But from the rhythm of Magnuss breathing, it was clear his lungs hadnt been punctured. Alec yanked off his jacket, wadded it up, and pressed it against the still-bleeding wound.

Magnuss eyes fluttered open. “Ouch,” he said feebly. “Quit leaning on me. ”

“Raziel,” Alec breathed thankfully. “Youre all right. ” He slipped his free hand under Magnuss head, his thumb stroking Magnuss bloody cheek. “I thought. . . ”

He looked up to glance at his sister before he said anything too embarassing, but she had slipped quietly away.

“I saw you fall,” Alec said quietly. He bent down and kissed Magnus lightly on the mouth, not wanting to hurt him. “I thought you were dead. ”

Magnus smiled crookedly. “What, from that scratch?” He glanced down at the reddening jacket in Alecs hand. “Okay, a deep scratch. Like, from a really, really big cat. ”

“Are you delirious?” Alec said.

“No. ” Magnuss eyebrows drew together. “Amatis was aiming for my heart, but she didnt get anything vital. The problem is that the blood loss is sapping my energy and my ability to heal myself. ” He took a deep breath that ended in a cough. “Here, give me your hand. ” He raised his hand, and Alec twined their fingers together, Magnuss palm hard against his. “Do you remember, the night of the battle on Valentines ship, when I needed some of your strength?”

“Do you need it again now?” Alec said. “Because you can have it. ”

“I always need your strength, Alec,” Magnus said, and closed his eyes as their intertwined fingers began to shine, as if between them they held the light of a star.

Fire exploded up through the hilt of the angels sword and along the blade. The flame shot through Clarys arm like a bolt of electricity, knocking her to the ground. Heat lightning sizzled up and down her veins, and she curled up in agony, clutching herself as if she could keep her body from blowing to pieces.

Jace fell to his knees. The sword still pierced him, but it was burning now, with a white-gold flame, and the fire was filling his body like colored water filling a clear glass pitcher. Golden flame shot through him, turning his skin translucent. His hair was bronze; his bones were hard, shining tinder visible through his skin. Glorious itself was burning away, dissolving in liquid drops like gold melting in a crucible. Jaces head was thrown back, his body arched like a bow as the conflagration raged through him. Clary tried to pull herself toward him across the rocky ground, but the heat radiating from his body was too much. His hands clutched at his chest, and a river of golden blood slipped through his fingers. The stone on which he knelt was blackening, cracking, turning to ash. And then Glorious burned up like the last of a bonfire, in a shower of sparks, and Jace collapsed forward, onto the stones.

Clary tried to stand, but her legs buckled under her. Her veins still felt as if fire were shooting through them, and pain was darting across the surface of her skin like the touch of hot pokers. She pulled herself forward, bloodying her fingers, hearing her ceremonial dress rip, until she reached Jace.

He was lying on his side with his head pillowed on one arm, the other arm flung out wide. She crumpled beside him. Heat radiated from his body as if he were a dying bed of coals, but she didnt care. She could see the rip in the back of his gear where Glorious had torn through it. There were ashes from the burned rocks mixed in with the gold of his hair, and blood.

Moving slowly, every movement hurting as if she were old, as if she had aged a year for every second Jace had burned, she pulled him toward her, so he was on his back on the bloodstained and blackened stone. She looked at his face, no longer gold but still, and still beautiful.

Clary laid her hand against his chest, where the red of his blood stood out against the darker red of his gear. She had felt the edges of the blade grind against the bones of his ribs. She had seen his blood spill through his fingers, so much blood that it had stained the rocks beneath him black and had stiffened the edges of his hair.

And yet. Not if hes more Heavens than Hells.

“Jace,” she whispered. All around them were running feet. The shattered remains of Sebastians small army was fleeing across the Burren, dropping their weapons as they went. She ignored them. “Jace. ”

He didnt move. His face was still, peaceful under the moonlight. His eyelashes threw dark, spidering shadows against the tops of his cheekbones.

“Please,” she said, and her voice felt as if it were scraping out of her throat. When she breathed, her lungs burned. “Look at me. ”

Clary closed her eyes. When she opened them again, her mother was kneeling down beside her, touching her shoulder. Tears were running down Jocelyns face. But that couldnt be-Why would her mother be crying?

“Clary,” her mother whispered. “Let him go. Hes dead. ”

In the distance Clary saw Alec kneeling beside Magnus. “No,” Clary said. “The sword-it burns away whats evil. He could still live. ”

Her mother ran a hand down her back, her fingers tangling in Clarys filthy curls. “Clary, no. . . ”

Jace, Clary thought fiercely, her hands curling around his arms. Youre stronger than this. If this is you, really you, youll open your eyes and look at me.

Suddenly Simon was there, kneeling on the other side of Jace, his face smeared with blood and grime. He reached for Clary. She whipped her head up to glare at him, at him and her mother, and saw Isabelle coming up behind them, her eyes wide, moving slowly. The front of her gear was stained with blood. Unable to face Izzy, Clary turned away, her eyes on the gold of Jaces hair.

“Sebastian,” Clary said, or tried to say. Her voice came out as a croak. “Someone should go after him. ” And leave me alone.

“Theyre looking for him now. ” Her mother leaned in, anxious, her eyes wide. “Clary, let him go. Clary, baby. . . ”

“Let her be,” Clary heard Isabelle say sharply. She heard her mothers protest, but everything they were doing seemed to be going on at a great distance, as if Clary were watching a play from the last row. Nothing mattered but Jace. Jace, burning. Tears scalded the backs of her eyes. “Jace, goddamit,” she said, her voice ragged. “You are not dead. ”

“Clary,” Simon said gently. “It was a chance. . . ”

Come away from him. That was what Simon was asking, but she couldnt. She wouldnt. “Jace,” she whispered. It was like a mantra, the way he had once held her at Renwicks and chanted her name over and over. “Jace Lightwood. . . ”

She froze. There. A movement so tiny, it was hardly a movement at all. The flutter of an eyelash. She leaned forward, almost overbalancing, and pressed her hand against the torn scarlet material over his chest, as if she could heal the wound she had made. She felt instead-so wonderful that for a moment it made no sense to her, could not possibly be-under her fingertips, the rhythm of his heart.

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