City of Fallen Angels / Page 29

Page 29


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"But we had all of eternity," she protested. "You must have known I would come back to you-"

"Camille." Magnus spoke with infinite patience. "What do you want?"

Her chest rose and fell quickly. Since she had no need to breathe, Magnus knew this was mainly for effect. "I know you have the ear of the Shadowhunters," she said. "I want you to speak to them on my behalf."

"You want me to cut a deal for you," Magnus translated.

She cut her eyes at him. "Your diction has always been so regrettably modern."

"They're saying you killed three Shadowhunters," said Magnus. "Did you?"

"They were Circle members," she said, her lower lip trembling. "They had tortured and killed my kind in the past..."

"Is that why you did it? Revenge?" When she was silent, Magnus said, "You know what they do to those who kill Nephilim, Camille."

Her eyes shone. "I need you to intercede for me, Magnus. I want immunity. I want a signed promise from the Clave that if I give them information, they will spare my life and set me free."

"They'll never set you free."

"Then they'll never know why their colleagues had to die."

"Had to die?" Magnus mused. "Interesting wording, Camille. Am I correct that there is more to this than meets the eye? More than blood or revenge?"

She was silent, looking at him, her chest rising and falling artfully. Everything about her was artful-the fall of her silvery hair, the curve of her throat, even the blood on her wrists.

"If you want me to speak to them for you," Magnus said, "you have to tell me at least some small thing. A show of good faith."

She smiled brilliantly. "I knew you would speak to them for me, Magnus. I knew the past was not entirely dead for you."

"Consider it undead if you like," Magnus said. "The truth, Camille?"

She ran her tongue across her lower lip. "You can tell them," she said, "that I was under orders when I killed those Shadowhunters. It did not disturb me to do it, for they had killed my kin, and their deaths were deserved. But I would not have done it unless requested to do so by someone else, someone much more powerful than myself."

Magnus's heart beat a little faster. He didn't like the sound of this. "Who?"

But Camille shook her head. "Immunity, Magnus."

"Camille-"

"They will stake me out in the sun and leave me to die," she said. "That is what they do to those who slay Nephilim."

Magnus got to his feet. His scarf was dusty from lying on the ground. He looked at the stains mournfully. "I'll do what I can, Camille. But I make no promises."

"You never would," she murmured, her eyes half-lidded. "Come here, Magnus. Come close to me."

He did not love her, but she was a dream out of the past, so he moved toward her, until he was standing close enough to touch her. "Remember," she said softly. "Remember London? The parties at de Quincey's? Remember Will Herondale? I know you do. That boy of yours, that Lightwood. They even look alike."

"Do they?" Magnus said, as if he had never thought about it.

"Pretty boys have always been your undoing," she said. "But what can some mortal child give you? Ten years, twenty, before dissolution begins to claim him. Forty years, fifty, before death takes him. I can give you all of eternity."

He touched her cheek. It was colder than the floor had been. "You could give me the past," he said a little sadly. "But Alec is my future."

"Magnus-," she began.

The Institute door opened, and Maryse stood in the doorway, outlined by the witchlight behind her. Beside her was Alec, his arms crossed over his chest. Magnus wondered if Alec had heard any of the conversation between him and Camille through the door-surely not?

"Magnus," said Maryse Lightwood. "Have you come to some agreement?"

Magnus dropped his hand. "I'm not sure I'd call it an agreement," he said, turning to Maryse. "But I do think we have some things to talk about."

Dressed, Clary went with Jace to his room, where he packed a small canvas bag with things to bring with him to the Silent City, as if, she thought, he were going to some grim sleepover party. Weapons mostly-a few seraph blades; his stele; and almost as an afterthought, the silver-handled knife, its blade now cleaned of blood. He slid on a black leather jacket, and she watched as he zipped it, pulling loose strands of blond hair free of his collar. When he turned to look at her, slinging his bag across his shoulder, he smiled faintly, and she saw the slight chip in his front left incisor that she had always thought was endearing, a little flaw in looks that would otherwise be too perfect. Her heart contracted, and for a moment she looked away from him, hardly able to breathe.

He held out his hand to her. "Let's go."

There was no way to summon the Silent Brothers to come and get them, so Jace and Clary took a taxi heading downtown toward Houston and the Marble Cemetery. Clary supposed they could just have Portaled into the Bone City-she'd been there before; she knew what it looked like-but Jace said there were rules about that sort of thing, and Clary couldn't shake the feeling that the Silent Brothers might find it rather rude.

Jace sat beside her in the back of the taxi, holding one of her hands and tracing patterns on the back of it with his fingers. This was distracting, but not so distracting that she couldn't concentrate while he filled her in on what had been going on with Simon, the story of Jordan, their capture of Camille, and her demand to speak to Magnus.

"Simon's all right?" she said worriedly. "I didn't realize. He was in the Institute, and I didn't even see him-"

"He wasn't in the Institute; he was in the Sanctuary. And he seems to be holding his own. Better than I would have thought for someone who was so recently a mundane."

"But the plan sounds dangerous. I mean Camille, she's absolutely crazy, isn't she?"

Jace traced his fingers over her knuckles. "You have to stop thinking of Simon as the mundane boy you used to know. The one who required so much saving. He's almost beyond being harmed now. You haven't seen that Mark you gave him in action. I have. Like the wrath of God being visited upon the world. I suppose you should be proud."

She shivered. "I don't know. I did it because I had to do it, but it's still a curse. And I didn't know he was going through all this. He didn't say. I knew Isabelle and Maia had found out about each other, but I didn't know about Jordan. That he was really Maia's ex, or-any of it." Because you haven't asked. You were too busy worrying about Jace. Not good.

"Well," Jace said, "have you been telling him what you're up to? Because it has to go both ways."

"No. I haven't really told anyone," Clary said, and filled Jace in on her trip to the Silent City with Luke and Maryse, what she had found at the morgue at Beth Israel, and her subsequent discovery of the Church of Talto.

"Never heard of it," Jace said. "But Isabelle's right, there are all sorts of bizarro demon-worshipping sects out there. Most of them never actually succeed in summoning up a demon. Sounds like this one did."

"Do you think the demon we killed was the one they were worshipping? Do you think now they might-stop?"

Jace shook his head. "That was just a Hydra demon, a sort of guard dog. Besides, 'Her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead.' Sounds like a female demon to me. And it's the cults that worship female demons that often do horrible stuff with babies. They have all sorts of twisted ideas about fertility and infants." He sat back against the seat, half-closing his eyes. "I'm sure the Conclave will go to the church and check it out, but twenty to one they don't find anything. You killed their guard demon, so the cult's going to clear out and ditch the evidence. We might have to wait until they set up shop again somewhere else."

"But-" Clary's stomach clenched. "That baby. And the pictures in the book I saw. I think they're trying to make more children like-like Sebastian."

"They can't," said Jace. "They shot up a human baby with demon blood, which is pretty bad, yes. But you get something like Sebastian only if what you're doing is using demon blood on Shadowhunter children. Instead the baby died." He squeezed her hand lightly, as if for reassurance. "They're not nice people, but I can't imagine they'd try the same thing again, since it didn't work."

The taxi came to a screeching halt at the corner of Houston and Second Avenue. "Meter's broken," said the cabbie. "Ten bucks."

Jace, who under other circumstances would probably have made a sarcastic remark, tossed the cabbie a twenty and got out of the car, holding the door open for Clary to follow. "You ready?" he asked as they headed toward the iron gate that led to the City.

She nodded. "I can't say my last trip here was much fun, but yes, I'm ready." She took his hand. "As long as we're together, I'm ready for anything."

The Silent Brothers were waiting for them in the entryway of the City, almost as if they had been expecting them. Clary recognized Brother Zachariah among the group. They stood in a silent line, blocking Clary and Jace's farther ingress into the City.

Why have you come here, daughter of Valentine and son of the Institute? Clary wasn't sure which of them was speaking to her inside her head, or if all of them were. It is unusual for children to enter the Silent City unsupervised.

The appellation "children" stung, though Clary was aware that as far as Shadowhunters were concerned, everyone under eighteen was a child and subject to different rules.

"We need your help," Clary said when it became apparent Jace wasn't going to say anything. He was looking from one of the Silent Brothers to the other with a curious listlessness, like someone who had received countless terminal diagnoses from different doctors and now, having reached the end of the line, waited without much hope for a specialist's verdict. "Isn't that your job-helping Shadowhunters?"

And yet we are not servants, at your beck and call. Nor does every problem fall under our jurisdiction.

"But this one does," Clary said firmly. "I believe someone is reaching into Jace's mind-someone with power-and messing with his memories and dreams. Making him do things he doesn't want to do."

Hypnomancy, said one of the Silent Brothers. The magic of dreams. That is the province of only the greatest and most powerful users of magic.

"Like angels," said Clary, and she was rewarded by a stiff, surprised silence.

Perhaps, said Brother Zachariah finally, you should come with us to the Speaking Stars. This was not an invitation, clearly, but an order, for they turned immediately and began walking into the heart of the City, not waiting to see if Jace and Clary followed.

They reached the pavilion of the Speaking Stars, where the Brothers took their places behind their black basalt table. The Mortal Sword was back in its place, gleaming on the wall behind them like the wing of a silver bird. Jace moved to the center of the room and stared down at the pattern of metallic stars burned into the red and gold tiles of the floor. Clary watched him, feeling her heart ache. It was hard to see him like this, all his usual burning energy gone, like witchlight suffocating under a covering of ash.

He raised his blond head then, blinking, and Clary knew that the Silent Brothers were speaking inside his mind, saying words she couldn't hear. She saw him shake his head and heard him say, "I don't know. I thought they weren't anything but ordinary dreams." His mouth tightened then, and she couldn't help wondering what they were asking him. "Visions? I don't think so. Yes, I did encounter the Angel, but it's Clary who had the prophetic dreams. Not me."

Clary tensed. They were getting awfully close to asking about what had happened with Jace and the Angel that night by Lake Lyn. She hadn't thought about that. When the Silent Brothers pried into your mind, just what did they see? Only what they were looking for? Or everything?

Jace nodded then. "Fine. I'm ready if you are."

He closed his eyes, and Clary, watching, relaxed slightly. This must have been what it had been like for Jace to watch her, she thought, the first time the Silent Brothers had delved into her mind. She saw details she hadn't noticed then, for she had been caught inside the nets of their minds and her own, reeling back into her memories, lost to the world.

She saw Jace stiffen all over as if they had touched him with their hands. His head went back. His hands, at his sides, opened and closed, as the stars on the floor at his feet flared up with a blinding silver light. She blinked away tears from the brightness; he was a graceful dark outline against a sheet of blinding silver, as if he stood in the heart of a waterfall. All around them was noise, a soft, incomprehensible whispering.

As she watched, he went to his knees, his hands braced against the ground. Her heart tightened. Having the Silent Brothers in her head had nearly made her faint, but Jace was stronger than that, wasn't he? Slowly he doubled in on himself, hands gripped against his stomach, agony in every line of him, though he never cried out. Clary could take it no longer-she darted toward him, through the sheets of light, and went on her knees next to him, throwing her arms around his body. The whispering voices around her rose to a storm of protest as he turned his head and looked at her. The silver light had washed out his eyes, and they looked flat and as white as marble tiles. His lips shaped her name.

And then it was gone-the light, the sound, all of it, and they knelt together on the bare floor of the pavilion, silence and shadow all around them. Jace was shaking, and when his hands released each other, she saw that they were bloody where his nails had torn the skin. Still holding him by the arm, she looked up at the Silent Brothers, fighting back her anger. She knew it was like being furious at a doctor who had to administer a painful but lifesaving treatment, but it was hard-so hard-to be reasonable when it was someone that you loved.


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