City of Fallen Angels / Page 36

Page 36


At that, Simon, who had not felt cold in months, finally shivered. He had heard the name Lilith before. He couldn't remember where exactly, but he knew it was a name associated with darkness, with evil and terrible things.

"Your Mark presented me with a conundrum," said Lilith. "I need you, you see, Daylighter. Your life force-your blood. But I could not force you or harm you."

She said this as if needing his blood were the most natural thing in the world.

"You-drink blood?" Simon asked. He felt dazed, as if he were trapped in a strange dream. Surely this couldn't really be happening.

She laughed. "Blood is not the food of demons, silly child. What I want from you is not for myself." She held out a slender hand. "Come closer."

Simon shook his head. "I'm not stepping inside that circle."

She shrugged. "Very well, then. I intended only to give you a better view." She moved her fingers slightly, almost negligently, the gesture of someone twitching a curtain aside. The black cloth covering the coffin-shaped object between them vanished.

Simon stared at what was revealed. He had not been wrong about the coffin shape. It was a big glass box, just long and wide enough for a person to lie down in. A glass coffin, he thought, like Snow White's. But this was no fairy tale. Inside the coffin was a cloudy liquid, and floating in that liquid-naked from the waist up, his white-blond hair drifting around him like pale seaweed-was Sebastian.

There were no messages stuck to Jordan's apartment door, nothing on or under the welcome mat, and nothing immediately obvious inside the apartment, either. While Alec stood guard downstairs and Maia and Jordan rummaged through Simon's backpack in the living room, Isabelle, standing in the doorway of Simon's bedroom, looked silently at the place he'd been sleeping for the past few days. It was so empty-just four walls, naked of any decoration, a bare floor with a futon mattress on it and a white blanket folded at the foot, and a single window that looked out onto Avenue B.

She could hear the city-the city she had grown up in, whose noises had always surrounded her, since she was a baby. She had found the quiet of Idris terribly alien without the sounds of car alarms, people shouting, ambulance sirens, and music playing that never, in New York City, quite went away, even in the dead of night. But now, standing here looking at Simon's small room, she thought about how lonely those noises sounded, how distant, and whether he had been lonely himself at night, lying here looking up at the ceiling, alone.

Then again, it wasn't as if she'd ever seen his bedroom at home, which presumably was covered with band posters, sports trophies, boxes of those games he loved to play, musical instruments, books-all the flotsam and jetsam of a normal life. She'd never asked to come over, and he'd never suggested it. She'd been gun-shy of meeting his mother, of doing anything that might bespeak a greater commitment than she was willing to make. But now, looking at this empty shell of a room, feeling the vast dark bustle of the city all around her, she felt a twinge of fear for Simon-mixed with an equal twinge of regret.

She turned back toward the rest of the apartment, but paused when she heard a low murmur of voices coming from the living room. She recognized Maia's voice. She didn't sound angry, which was surprising in and of itself, considering how much she seemed to hate Jordan.

"Nothing," she was saying. "Some keys, a bunch of papers with game stats scrawled on them." Isabelle leaned around the doorway. She could see Maia, standing on one side of the kitchen counter, her hand in the zip pocket of Simon's backpack. Jordan, on the other side of the counter, was watching her. Watching her, Isabelle thought, not what she was doing-that way guys watched you when they were so into you they were fascinated by every move you made. "I'll check his wallet."

Jordan, who had changed out of his formal wear into jeans and a leather jacket, frowned. "Weird that he left it. Can I see?" He reached across the counter.

Maia jerked back so fast she dropped the wallet, her hand flying out.

"I wasn't..." Jordan drew his hand back slowly. "I'm sorry."

Maia took a deep breath. "Look," she said, "I talked to Simon. I know you never meant to Turn me. I know you didn't know what was happening to you. I remember what that was like. I remember being terrified."

Jordan put his hands down slowly, carefully, on the countertop. It was odd, Isabelle thought, watching someone so tall try to make himself look harmless and small. "I should have been there for you."

"But the Praetor wouldn't let you be," Maia said. "And let's face it, you didn't know anything about being a werewolf; we would have been like two blindfolded people stumbling around in a circle. Maybe it's better you weren't there. It made me run away to where I could get help. From the Pack."

"At first I hoped the Praetor Lupus would bring you in," he whispered. "So I could see you again. Then I realized that was selfish and I should be wishing that I didn't pass on the disease to you. I knew it was fifty-fifty. I thought you might be one of the lucky ones."

"Well, I wasn't," she said, matter-of-factly. "And over the years I built you up in my head to be this sort of monster. I thought you knew what you were doing when you did this to me. I thought it was revenge on me for kissing that boy. So I hated you. And hating you made everything easier. Having someone to blame."

"You should blame me," he said. "It is my fault."

She ran her finger along the countertop, avoiding his eyes. "I do blame you. But ... not the way I did before."

Jordan reached up and grabbed his own hair with his fists, tugging on it hard. "There isn't a day goes by I don't think about what I did to you. I bit you. I Turned you. I made you what you are. I raised my hand to you. I hurt you. The one person I loved more than anything else in the world."

Maia's eyes were shining with tears. "Don't say that. That doesn't help. You think that helps?"

Isabelle cleared her throat loudly, stepping into the living room. "So. Have you found anything?"

Maia looked away, blinking rapidly. Jordan, lowering his hands, said, "Not really. We were just about to go through his wallet." He picked it up from where Maia had dropped it. "Here." He tossed it to Isabelle.

She caught it and flicked it open. School pass, New York state nondriver's ID, a guitar pick tucked into the space that was supposed to hold credit cards. A ten-dollar bill and a receipt for dice. Something else caught her eye-a business card, shoved carelessly behind a photo of Simon and Clary, the kind of picture you might take in a cheap drugstore photo booth. They were both smiling.

Isabelle took out the card and stared at it. It had a swirling, almost abstract design of a floating guitar against clouds. Below that was a name.

Satrina Kendall. Band Promoter. Below that was a telephone number, and an Upper East Side address. Isabelle frowned. Something, a memory, tugged at the back of her mind.

Isabelle held the card up toward Jordan and Maia, who were busy not looking at each other. "What do you think of this?"

Before they could respond the apartment door opened, and Alec strode in. He was scowling. "Have you found anything? I've been standing down there for thirty minutes, and nothing even remotely threatening has come by. Unless you count the NYU student who threw up on the front steps."

"Here," Isabelle said, handing the card over to her brother. "Look at this. Does anything strike you as odd?"

"You mean besides the fact that no band promoter could possibly be interested in Lewis's sucky band?" Alec inquired, taking the card between two long fingers. Lines appeared between his eyes. "Satrina?"

"Does that name mean something to you?" Maia asked. Her eyes were still red, but her voice was steady.

"Satrina is one of the seventeen names of Lilith, the mother of all demons. She is why warlocks are called Lilith's children," said Alec. "Because she mothered demons, and they in turn brought forth the race of warlocks."

"And you have all seventeen names committed to memory?" Jordan sounded dubious.

Alec gave him a cold look. "Who are you again?"

"Oh, shut up, Alec," Isabelle said, in the tone she only ever took with her brother. "Look, not all of us have your memory for boring facts. I don't suppose you recall the other names of Lilith?"

With a superior look Alec rattled them off, "Satrina, Lilith, Ita, Kali, Batna, Talto-"

"Talto!" Isabelle yelped. "That's it. I knew I was remembering something. I knew there was a connection!" Quickly she told them about the Church of Talto, what Clary had found there, and how it connected to the dead half-demon baby at Beth Israel.

"I wish you'd told me about this before," Alec said. "Yes, Talto is another name for Lilith. And Lilith has always been associated with babies. She was Adam's first wife, but she fled from the Garden of Eden because she didn't want to obey Adam or God. God cursed her for her disobedience, though-any child she bore would die. The legend says she tried over and over to have a child, but they were all born dead. Eventually she swore she would have vengeance against God by weakening and murdering infant humans. You might say she's the demon goddess of dead children."

"But you said she was the mother of demons," said Maia.

"She was able to create demons by scattering drops of her blood on the earth in a place called Edom," said Alec. "Because they were born out of her hatred for God and mankind, they became demons." Aware that they were all staring at him, he shrugged. "It's just a story."

"All stories are true," said Isabelle. This had been a tenet of her beliefs since she was a child. All Shadowhunters believed it. There was no one religion, no one truth-and no myth lacked meaning. "You know that, Alec."

"I know something else, too," Alec said, handing her back the card. "That telephone number and that address are crap. No way they're real."

"Maybe," Isabelle said, tucking the card into her pocket. "But we don't have anywhere else to start looking. So we're going to start there."

Simon could only stare. The body floating inside the coffin-Sebastian's-didn't appear to be alive; at least, he wasn't breathing. But he clearly wasn't exactly dead, either. It had been two months. If he were dead, Simon was fairly sure, he'd look like he was in a lot worse shape than he did. His body was very white, like marble; one hand was a bandaged stump, but he was otherwise unmarked. He appeared to be asleep, his eyes shut, his arms loose at his sides. Only the fact that his chest wasn't rising or falling indicated that something was very wrong.

"But," Simon said, knowing he sounded ridiculous, "he's dead. Jace killed him."

Lilith placed a pale hand on the glass surface of the coffin. "Jonathan," she said, and Simon remembered that that was, infact, his name. Her voice had an odd soft quality when she said it, as if she were crooning to a child. "He's beautiful, isn't he?"

"Um," said Simon, looking with loathing at the creature inside the coffin-the boy who had murdered nine-year-old Max Lightwood. The creature who had killed Hodge. Had tried to kill them all. "Not my type, really."

"Jonathan is unique," she said. "He is the only Shadowhunter I have ever known of who is part Greater Demon. This makes him very powerful."

"He's dead," Simon said. He felt that, somehow, it was important to keep making this point, though Lilith didn't seem to quite grasp it.

Lilith, gazing down at Sebastian, frowned. "It's true. Jace Lightwood slipped up behind him and stabbed him in the back, through to the heart."

"How do you-"

"I was in Idris," said Lilith. "When Valentine opened the doorway to the demon worlds, I came through. Not to fight in his stupid battle. Out of curiosity more than anything else. That Valentine should have such hubris-" She broke off, shrugging. "Heaven smote him down for it, of course. I saw the sacrifice he made; I saw the Angel rise and turn on him. I saw what was brought back. I am the oldest of demons; I know the Old Laws. A life for a life. I raced to Jonathan. It was almost too late. That which was human about him died instantly-his heart had ceased to beat, his lungs to inflate. The Old Laws were not enough. I tried to bring him back then. He was too far gone. All I could do was this. Preserve him for this moment."

Simon wondered briefly what would happen if he made a run for it-dashed past this insane demon and threw himself off the roof of the building. He couldn't be harmed by another living creature; that was the result of the Mark, but he doubted its power extended to protecting him against the ground. Still, he was a vampire. If he fell forty stories and smashed every bone in his body, would he heal from that? He swallowed hard and found Lilith looking at him with amusement.

"Don't you want to know," she said in her cold, seductive voice, "what moment I mean?" Before he could answer, she leaned forward, her elbows on the coffin. "I suppose you know the story of the way the Nephilim came to be? How the Angel Raziel mixed his blood with the blood of men, and gave it to a man to drink, and that man became the first of the Nephilim?"

"I've heard it."

"In effect the Angel created a new race of creature. And now, with Jonathan, a new race has been born again. As Jonathan Shadowhunter led the first Nephilim, so shall this Jonathan lead the new race that I intend to create."

"The new race you intend-" Simon held up his hands. "You know what, you want to lead a new race starting off with one dead guy, you go right ahead. I don't see what this has to do with me."

"He is dead now. He need not remain so." Lilith's voice was cool, unemotional. "There is, of course, one kind of Downworlder whose blood offers the possibility of, shall we say, resurrection."

"Vampires," said Simon. "You want me to turn Sebastian into a vampire?"

"His name is Jonathan." Her tone was sharp. "And yes, in a sense. I want you to bite him, to drink his blood, and to give him your blood in exchange-"

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