City of Fallen Angels
Page 30

 Cassandra Clare

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There is something you have not told us, Clarissa Morgenstern, said Brother Zachariah. A secret you both have been keeping.
An icy hand closed around Clary's heart. "What do you mean?"
The mark of death is on this boy. It was another of the Brothers speaking-Enoch, she thought.
"Death?" said Jace. "Do you mean I'm going to die?" He didn't sound surprised.
We mean that you were dead. You had passed beyond the portal into the shadow realms, your soul untethered from your body.
Clary and Jace exchanged a look. She swallowed. "The Angel Raziel-," she began.
Yes, his mark is all over the boy as well. Enoch's voice was without emotion. There are only two ways to bring back the dead. The way of necromancy, the black sorcery of bell, book, and candle. That will return a semblance of life. But only an Angel of God's own right hand could place a human's soul back into their body as easily as life was breathed into the first of men. He shook his head. The balance of life and death, of good and evil, is a delicate one, young Shadowhunters. You have upset it.
"But Raziel's the Angel," said Clary. "He can do whatever he wants. You worship him, don't you? If he chose to do this-"
Did he? asked another of the Brothers. Did he choose?
"I ..." Clary looked at Jace. She thought, I could have asked for anything else in the universe. World peace, a cure to disease, to live forever. But all I wanted was you.
We know the ritual of the Instruments, said Zachariah. We know that he who possesses them all, who is their Lord, may request of the Angel one thing. I do not think he could have refused you.
Clary set her chin. "Well," she said, "it's done now."
Jace gave the ghost of a laugh. "They could always kill me, you know," he said. "Bring things back into balance."
Her hands tightened on his arm. "Don't be ridiculous." But her voice was thin. She tensed further as Brother Zachariah broke away from the tight group of Silent Brothers and approached them, his feet gliding silently over the Speaking Stars. He reached Jace, and Clary had to fight the urge to push him away as he bent down and placed his long fingers under Jace's chin, raising the boy's face to his. Zachariah's fingers were slim, unlined-a young man's fingers. She had never given much thought to the ages of the Silent Brothers before, assuming them to be all some species of wizened and old.
Jace, kneeling, gazed up at Zachariah, who looked down at him with his blind, impassive expression. Clary could not help but think of medieval paintings of saints on their knees, gazing upward, their faces suffused with shining golden light. Would that I had been here, he said, his voice unexpectedly gentle, when you were growing up. I would have seen the truth in your face, Jace Lightwood, and known who you were.
Jace looked puzzled but didn't move to pull away.
Zachariah turned to the others. We cannot and should not harm the boy. Old ties exist between the Herondales and the Brothers. We owe him help.
"Help with what?" Clary demanded. "Can you see something wrong with him-something inside his head?"
When a Shadowhunter is born, a ritual is performed, a number of protective spells placed upon the child by both the Silent Brothers and the Iron Sisters.
The Iron Sisters, Clary knew from her studies, were the sister sect of the Silent Brothers; even more retiring than their brethren, they were in charge of crafting Shadowhunter weapons.
Brother Zachariah went on. When Jace died and then was raised, he was born a second time, with those protections and rituals stripped away. It would have left him as open as an unlocked door-open to any kind of demonic influence or malevolence.
Clary licked her dry lips. "Possession, you mean?"
Not possession. Influence. I suspect that a powerful demonic power whispers into your ears, Jonathan Herondale. You are strong, you fight it, but it wears you down as the sea wears down the sand.
"Jace," he whispered through white lips. "Jace Lightwood, not Herondale."
Clary, clinging to practicalities, said, "How can you be sure it's a demon? And what can we do to get it to leave him alone?"
Enoch, sounding thoughtful, said, The ritual must be performed again, the protections laid upon him a second time, as if he had just been born.
"Can you do it?" Clary asked.
Zachariah inclined his head. It can be done. The preparations must be made, one of the Iron Sisters called on, an amulet crafted... He trailed off. Jonathan must remain with us until the ritual is finished. This is the safest place for him.
Clary looked at Jace again, searching for an expression-any expression-of hope, relief, delight, anything. But his face was impassive. "For how long?" he said.
Zachariah spread his thin hands wide. A day, perhaps two. The ritual is meant for infants; we will have to change it, alter it to fit an adult. If he were older than eighteen, it would be impossible. As it is, it will be difficult. But he is not beyond saving.
Not beyond saving. It was not what Clary had hoped for; she had wanted to be told that the problem was simple, easily solved. She looked at Jace. His head was bowed, his hair falling forward; the back of his neck looked so vulnerable to her, it made her heart ache.
"It's fine," she said softly. "I'll stay here with you-"
No. The Brothers spoke as a group, their voices inexorable. He must remain here alone. For what we must do, he cannot afford to be distracted.
She felt Jace's body tighten. The last time he had been alone in the Silent City, he had been unfairly imprisoned, present for the horrible deaths of most of the Silent Brothers, and tormented by Valentine. She could not imagine that the idea of another night alone in the City would be anything but awful for him.
"Jace," she whispered. "I'll do whatever you want me to do. If you want to go..."
"I'll stay," he said. He had raised his head, and his voice was strong and clear. "I'll stay. I'll do whatever I have to do to fix this. I just need you to call Izzy and Alec. Tell them-tell them I'm staying at Simon's to keep an eye on him. Tell them I'll see them tomorrow or the next day."
"Clary." Gently he took both her hands and held them between his. "You were right. This isn't coming from inside me. Something is doing this to me. To us. You know what that means? If I can be ... cured ... then I don't have to be afraid of myself when I'm around you anymore. I'd spend a thousand nights in the Silent City for that."
She leaned forward, heedless of the presence of the Silent Brothers, and kissed him, a quick press of her lips against his. "I'll be back," she whispered. "Tomorrow night, after the Ironworks party, I'll come back and see you."
The hopefulness in his eyes was enough to break her heart. "Maybe I'll be cured by then."
She touched his face with her fingertips. "Maybe you will be."
Simon woke still feeling exhausted after a long night of bad dreams. He rolled onto his back and stared at the light coming in the single window in his bedroom.
He couldn't help but wonder if he'd sleep better if he did what other vampires did, and slept during the day. Despite the fact that the sun didn't harm him, he could feel the pull of the nights, the desire to be out under the dark sky and the glimmering stars. There was something in him that wanted to live in shadows, that felt the sunlight like a thin, knifelike pain-just like there was something in him that wanted blood. And look how fighting that had turned out for him.
He staggered upright and threw on some clothes, then made his way out into the living room. The place smelled like toast and coffee. Jordan was sitting on one of the counter stools, his hair sticking out every which way as usual, his shoulders hunched.
"Hey," Simon said. "What's up?"
Jordan looked over at him. He was pale under his tan. "We have a problem," he said.
Simon blinked. He hadn't seen his werewolf roommate since the day before. He'd come home from the Institute last night and collapsed in exhaustion. Jordan hadn't been here, and Simon had figured he was out working. But maybe something had happened. "What's wrong?"
"This was shoved under our door." Jordan pushed a folded newspaper toward Simon. It was the New York Morning Chronicle, folded open to one of the pages. There was a grisly picture up toward the top, a grainy image of a body sprawled on some pavement, stick-skinny limbs bent at odd angles. It hardly looked human, the way dead bodies sometimes didn't. Simon was about to ask Jordan why he had to look at this, when the text under the photo jumped out at him.
Police say they are pursuing leads in the death of fourteen-year-old Maureen Brown, whose body was discovered Sunday night at eleven p.m. stuffed into a trash can outside the Big Apple Deli on Third Avenue. Though no official cause of death has been released by the coroner's office, the deli owner who found the body, Michael Garza, says her throat was cut open. Police have not yet located a weapon...
Unable to read on, Simon sat down heavily in a chair. Now that he knew, the photo was unmistakably Maureen. He recognized her rainbow arm warmers, the stupid pink hat she'd been wearing when he'd seen her last. My God, he wanted to say. Oh, God. But no words came out.
"Didn't that note say," Jordan said in a bleak voice, "that if you didn't go to that address, they'd cut your girlfriend's throat?"
"No," Simon whispered. "It's not possible. No."
But he remembered.
Eric's little cousin's friend. What's her name? The one who has a crush on Simon. She comes to all our gigs and tells everyone she's his girlfriend.
Simon remembered her phone, her little pink phone with the stickers on it, the way she'd held it up to take a photo of them. The feeling of her hand on his shoulder, as light as a butterfly. Fourteen years old. He curled in on himself, wrapping his arms around his chest, as if he could make himself small enough to vanish completely.
Chapter 14
Jace tossed uneasily on the narrow bed in the Silent City. He didn't know where the Brothers slept, and they didn't seem inclined to reveal it. The only place there seemed to be for him to lie down was in one of the cells below the City where they usually kept prisoners. They'd left the door open for him so he didn't feel too much like he was in jail, but the place couldn't by any stretch of the imagination be called pleasant.
The air was close and thick; he'd taken off his shirt and lay atop the covers in just his jeans, but he was still too hot. The walls were dull gray. Someone had carved the letters JG into the stone just above the bedstead, leaving him to wonder what that was about-and there was nothing else in the room but the bed, a cracked mirror that gave him back his own reflection in twisted pieces, and the sink. Not to mention the more than unpleasant memories the room stirred up.
The Brothers had been in and out of his mind all night, till he felt like a wrung-out rag. Since they were so secretive about everything, he had no idea if they were making any progress. They didn't seem pleased, but then, they never did.
The real test, he knew, was sleeping. What would he dream? To sleep: perchance to dream. He flipped over, burying his face in his arms. He didn't think he could stand even one more dream about hurting Clary. He thought he might actually lose his mind, and the idea frightened him. The prospect of dying had never frightened him much, but the thought of going insane was nearly the worst thing he could imagine. But going to sleep was the only way to know. He closed his eyes and willed himself to sleep.
He slept, and he dreamed.
He was back in the valley-the valley in Idris where he had fought Sebastian and nearly died. It was autumn in the valley, not high summer as it had been the last time he had been there. The leaves were exploding in gold and russet and orange and red. He was standing by the bank of the small river-a stream, really-that cut the valley in half. In the distance, coming toward him, was someone, someone he couldn't see very clearly yet, but the person's stride was direct and purposeful.
He was so sure it was Sebastian that it was not until the figure had come close enough to see clearly that he realized it couldn't possibly be. Sebastian had been tall, taller than Jace, but this person was small-the face in shadow, but a head or two shorter than Jace-and skinny, with the thin shoulders of childhood, and bony wrists sticking out of the too-short sleeves of his shirt.
The sight of his little brother hit Jace like a blow, and he went down on his knees on the green grass. The fall didn't hurt. Everything had the padded edges of the dream that it was. Max looked as he always had. A knobby-kneed boy just on the verge of growing up and out of that little-kid stage. Now he never would.
"Max," Jace said. "Max, I'm so sorry."
"Jace." Max stood where he was. A little wind had come up and lifted his brown hair off his face. His eyes, behind their glasses, were serious. "I'm not here because of me," he said. "I'm not here to haunt you or make you feel guilty."
Of course he isn't, said a voice in Jace's head. Max has only ever loved you, looked up to you, thought you were wonderful.
"The dreams you've been having," Max said. "They're messages."
"The dreams are a demon's influence, Max. The Silent Brothers said-"
"They're wrong," Max said quickly. "There are only a few of them now, and their powers are weaker than they used to be. These dreams are meant to tell you something. You've been misunderstanding them. They're not telling you to hurt Clary. They're warning you that you already are."
Jace shook his head slowly. "I don't understand."
"The angels sent me to talk to you because I know you," Max said, in his clear child's voice. "I know how you are with the people you love, and you'd never hurt them willingly. But you haven't destroyed all of Valentine's influence inside you yet. His voice still whispers to you, and you don't think you hear it, but you do. The dreams are telling you that until you kill that part of yourself, you can't be with Clary."
"Then I'll kill it," Jace said. "I'll do whatever I have to do. Just tell me how."