City of Heavenly Fire / Page 10

Page 10


Magnus pushed himself away from the table, which was a relief, because it smelled like beer. “In a sense,” he said. “The world is changing. Don’t you feel it, Catarina?”
 
She looked at him over the rim of her drink. “I can’t say that I do.”
 
“The Nephilim have endured for a thousand years,” said Magnus. “But something is coming, some great change. We have always accepted them as a fact of our existence. But there are warlocks old enough to remember when the Nephilim did not walk the earth. They could be wiped away as quickly as they came.”
 
“But you don’t really think—”
 
“I’ve dreamed about it,” he said. “You know I have true dreams sometimes.”
 
“Because of your father.” She set her drink down. Her expression was intent now, no humor in it. “He could just be trying to frighten you.”
 
Catarina was one of the few people in the world who knew who Magnus’s father really was; Ragnor Fell had been another. It wasn’t something Magnus liked to tell people. It was one thing to have a demon for a parent. It was another thing when your father owned a significant portion of Hell’s real estate.
 
“To what end?” Magnus shrugged. “I am not the center of whatever whirlwind is coming.”
 
“But you’re afraid Alec will be,” said Catarina. “And you want to push him away before you lose him.”
 
“You said not to do anything that might accidentally contribute to the apocalypse,” Magnus said. “I know you were joking. But it’s less funny when I can’t rid myself of the feeling that the apocalypse is coming, somehow. Valentine Morgenstern nearly wiped out the Shadowhunters, and his son is twice as clever and six times as evil. And he will not come alone. He has help, from demons greater than my father, from others—”
 
“How do you know that?” Catarina’s voice was sharp.
 
“I’ve looked into it.”
 
“I thought you were done helping Shadowhunters,” said Catarina, and then she held up a hand before he could say anything. “Never mind. I’ve heard you say that sort of thing enough times to know you never really mean it.”
 
“That’s the thing,” Magnus said. “I’ve looked into it, but I haven’t found anything. Whoever Sebastian’s allies are, he’s left no tracks of their alliance behind. I keep feeling like I’m about to discover something, and then I find myself grasping at air. I don’t think I can help them, Catarina. I don’t know if anyone can.”
 
Magnus looked away from her suddenly pitying expression, across the bar. Bat was leaning against the counter, playing with his phone—the light from the screen cast shadows across his face. Shadows that Magnus saw on every mortal face—every human, every Shadowhunter, every creature doomed to die.
 
“Mortals die,” said Catarina. “You have always known that, and yet you’ve loved them before.”
 
“Not,” Magnus said, “like this.”
 
Catarina inhaled in surprise. “Oh,” she said. “Oh . . .” She picked up her drink. “Magnus,” she said tenderly. “You are impossibly stupid.”
 
He narrowed his eyes at her. “Am I?”
 
“If that’s the way you feel, you should be with him,” she said. “Think of Tessa. Did you learn nothing from her? About what loves are worth the pain of losing them?”
 
“He’s in Alicante.”
 
“So?” said Catarina. “You were supposed to be the warlock representative on the Council; you unloaded that responsibility onto me. I’m unloading it back. Go to Alicante. It sounds to me like you’ll have more to say to the Council than I ever could, anyway.” She reached into the pocket of the nurse’s scrubs she was wearing; she had come directly from her work at the hospital. “Oh, and take this.”
 
Magnus plucked the crumpled piece of paper from her fingertips. “A dinner invitation?” he said in disbelief.
 
“Meliorn of the Fair Folk wishes for all the Council Downworlders to meet for supper the night before the great Council,” she said. “Some kind of gesture of peace and goodwill, or maybe he just wants to annoy everyone with riddles. Either way it should be interesting.”
 
“Faerie food,” Magnus said glumly. “I hate faerie food. I mean, even the safe kind that doesn’t mean you’ll be stuck dancing reels for the next century. All those raw vegetables and beetles—”
 
He broke off. Across the room Bat had his phone pressed to his ear. His other hand gripped the counter of the bar.
 
“There’s something wrong,” Magnus said. “Something pack-related.”
 
Catarina set her glass down. She was very used to Magnus, and knew when he was probably right. She looked over at Bat as well, who had snapped his phone shut. He had paled, his scar standing out, livid on his cheek. He leaned over to say something to Sneaky Pete behind the bar, then put two fingers into his mouth and whistled.
 
It sounded like the whistle of a steam train, and cut through the low murmur of voices in the bar. In moments every lycanthrope was on his or her feet, surging toward Bat. Magnus stood up too, though Catarina caught at his sleeve. “Don’t—”
 
“I’ll be fine.” He shrugged her off, and pushed through the crowd, toward Bat. The rest of the pack stood in a loose ring around him. They tensed mistrustfully at the sight of the warlock in their midst, shoving to get close to their pack leader. A blonde female werewolf moved to block Magnus, but Bat held up a hand.
 
“It’s all right, Amabel,” he said. His voice wasn’t friendly, but it was polite. “Magnus Bane, right? High Warlock of Brooklyn? Maia Roberts says I can trust you.”
 
“You can.”
 
“Fine, but we have urgent pack business here. What do you want?”
 
“You got a call.” Magnus gestured toward Bat’s phone. “Was it Luke? Has something happened in Alicante?”
 
Bat shook his head, his expression unreadable.
 
“Another Institute attack, then?” Magnus said. He was used to being the one with all the answers, and hated not knowing anything. And while the New York Institute was empty, that didn’t mean the other Institutes were unprotected—that there might not have been a battle—one Alec might have decided to involve himself in—
 
“Not an Institute,” Bat said. “That was Maia on the phone. The Praetor Lupus headquarters were burned to the ground. At least a hundred werewolves are dead, including Praetor Scott and Jordan Kyle. Sebastian Morgenstern has taken his fight to us.”
 
 
 
 
 6
 BROTHER LEAD AND SISTER STEEL
 
 
 
“Don’t throw it—please, please don’t throw it—oh, God, he threw it,” said Julian in a resigned voice as a wedge of potato flew across the room, narrowly missing his ear.
 
“Nothing’s damaged,” Emma reassured him. She was sitting with her back against Tavvy’s crib, watching Julian give his littlest brother his afternoon meal. Tavvy had reached the age where he was very particular about what he liked to eat, and anything that didn’t pass muster was hurled to the floor. “The lamp got a little potatoed, that’s all.”
 
Fortunately, though the rest of the Penhallows’ house was quite elegant, the attic—where “the war orphans,” the collective term that had been applied to the Blackthorn children and Emma since they’d arrived in Idris, were now living—was extremely plain, functional and sturdy in its design. It took up the whole top floor of the house: several connected rooms, a small kitchen and bathroom, a haphazard collection of beds and belongings strewn everywhere. Helen slept downstairs with Aline, though she was up every day; Emma had been given her own room and so had Julian, but he was hardly ever in it. Drusilla and Octavian were still waking up every night screaming, and Julian had taken to sleeping on the floor of their room, pillow and blanket piled up next to Tavvy’s crib. There was no high chair to be had, so Julian sat on the floor opposite the toddler on a food-covered blanket, a plate in one hand and a despairing look on his face.
 
Emma came over and sat down opposite him, heaving Tavvy up onto her lap. His small face was scrunched with unhappiness. “Memma,” he said as she lifted him.
 
“Do the choo-choo train,” she advised Jules. She wondered if she should tell him he had spaghetti sauce in his hair. On second thought, probably better not.
 
She watched as he zoomed the food around before placing it in Tavvy’s mouth. The toddler was giggling now. Emma tried to shove down her sense of loss: She remembered her own father patiently separating out the food on her plate during the phase she’d gone through where she refused to eat anything that was green.
 
“He’s not eating enough,” Jules said in a quiet voice, even as he made a piece of bread and butter into a chugging train and Tavvy reached for it with sticky hands.
 
“He’s sad. He’s a baby, but he still knows something bad happened,” Emma said. “He misses Mark and your dad.”
 
Jules scrubbed tiredly at his eyes, leaving a smear of tomato sauce on one cheekbone. “I can’t replace Mark or my dad.” He put a slice of apple in Tavvy’s mouth. Tavvy spat it out with a look of grim pleasure. Julian sighed. “I should go check on Dru and the twins,” he said. “They were playing Monopoly in the bedroom, but you never know when that’s going to go south.”
 
It was true. Tiberius, with his analytical mind, tended to win most games. Livvy never minded but Dru, who was competitive, did, and often any match would end in hair-pulling on both sides.
 
“I’ll do it.” Emma handed Tavvy back and was about to rise to her feet when Helen came into the room, looking somber. When she saw the two of them, somberness turned to apprehension. Emma felt the hair on the back of her neck rise.
 
“Helen,” Julian said. “What’s wrong?”
 
“Sebastian’s forces attacked the London Institute.”
 
Emma saw Julian tense. She almost felt it, as if his nerves were her nerves, his panic her panic. His face—already too thin—seemed to tighten, though he kept the same careful, gentle grasp on the baby. “Uncle Arthur?” he asked.
 
“He’s all right,” Helen said quickly. “He was injured. It’ll delay his arrival in Idris, but he’s all right. In fact, everyone from the London Institute is all right. The attack was unsuccessful.”
 
“How?” Julian’s voice was barely a whisper.
 
“We don’t know yet, not exactly,” said Helen. “I’m going over to the Gard with Aline and the Consul and the rest, to try to figure out what happened.” She knelt down and stroked her hand over Tavvy’s curls. “It’s good news,” she said to Julian, who looked more stunned than anything else. “I know it’s scary that Sebastian attacked again, but he didn’t win.”
 
Emma met Julian’s eyes with hers. She felt as if she ought to be thrilled at the good news, but there was a tearing feeling inside her—a terrible jealousy. Why did the inhabitants of the London Institute get to live when her family died? How had they fought better, done more?
 
“It’s not fair,” Julian said.
 
“Jules,” said Helen, standing up. “It’s a defeat. That means something. It means we can defeat Sebastian and his forces. Take them down. Turn the tide. It will make everyone less afraid. That’s important.”
 
“I hope they catch him alive,” said Emma, her eyes on Julian’s. “I hope they kill him in Angel Square so we can all watch him die, and I hope it’s slow.”
 
“Emma,” said Helen, sounding shocked, but Julian’s blue-green eyes echoed Emma’s own fierceness back to her without a hint of disapproval. Emma had never loved him so much as she did in that moment, for reflecting back to her even the darkest feelings in the depths of her own heart.
 
   
 
 
 
The weapons shop was gorgeous. Clary never thought she would have described a weapons shop as gorgeous before—maybe a sunset, or a clear night view of the New York skyline, but not a shop full of maces, axes, and sword-canes.
 
This one was, though. The metal sign that hung outside was in the shape of a quiver, the name of the store—Diana’s Arrow—inscribed on it in curling letters. Inside the shop were blades displayed in deadly fans of gold and steel and silver. A massive chandelier hung from a ceiling painted with a rococo design of golden arrows in flight. Real arrows were displayed on carved wooden stands. Tibetan longswords, their pommels decorated with turquoise, silver, and coral, hung on the walls alongside Burmese dha blades with hammered metal tangs in copper and brass.
 
“So what brought this on?” Jace asked curiously, taking down a naginata carved with Japanese characters. When he set it on the floor, the blade rose over his head, his long fingers curving around the shaft to hold it steady. “This desire for a sword?”
 
“When a twelve-year-old tells you the weapon you have sucks, it’s time to change it up,” said Clary.
 
The woman behind the counter laughed. Clary recognized her as the woman with the tattoo of the fish who had spoken out at the Council meeting. “Well, you’ve come to the best place.”
 
“Is this your shop?” Clary asked, reaching to test the point of a long sword with an iron hilt.
 
The woman smiled. “I’m Diana, yes. Diana Wrayburn.”
 
Clary reached for the rapier, but Jace, having leaned the naginata against the wall, shook his head at her. “That claymore would be taller than you. Not that that’s hard.”
 
Clary stuck her tongue out at him and reached for a short-sword hanging on the wall. There were scratches along the blade—scratches that on closer examination she could see were clearly letters in a language she didn’t know.
 
“Those are runes, but not Shadowhunter runes,” said Diana. “That’s a Viking sword—very old. And very heavy.”
 
“Do you know what it says?”
 
“ ‘Only the Worthy,’ ” said Diana. “My father used to say you could tell a great weapon if it had either a name or an inscription.”
 
“I saw one yesterday,” Clary recalled. “It said something like ‘I am of the same steel and temper as Joyeuse and Durendal.’ ”
 
“Cortana!” Diana’s eyes lit up. “The blade of Ogier. That is impressive. Like owning Excalibur, or Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi. Cortana is a Carstairs blade, I think. Is Emma Carstairs, the girl who was at the Council meeting yesterday, the one who owns it now?”
 
Clary nodded.
 
Diana pursed her lips. “Poor child,” she said. “And the Blackthorns, too. To have lost so many in a single sweeping blow—I wish there was something I could do for them.”
 
“Me too,” Clary said.
 
Diana gave her a measured look and ducked down behind the counter. She came up a moment later with a sword about the length of Clary’s forearm. “What do you think of this?”
 
Clary stared at the sword. It was undoubtedly beautiful. The cross-guard, grip, and pommel were gold chased with obsidian, the blade a silver so dark it was nearly black. Clary’s mind ran quickly through the types of weapons she had been memorizing in her lessons—falchions, sabres, backswords, longswords. “Is it a cinquedea?” she guessed.
 
“It’s a shortsword. You might want to look at the other side,” said Diana, and she flipped the sword over. On the opposite side of the blade, down the center ridge, ran a pattern of black stars.
 
“Oh.” Clary’s heart thumped painfully; she took a step back and nearly bumped into Jace, who had come up behind her, frowning. “That’s a Morgenstern sword.”
 
“Yes, it is.” Diana’s eyes were shrewd. “Long ago the Morgensterns commissioned two blades from Wayland the Smith—a matched set. A larger and a smaller, for a father and his son. Because Morgenstern means Morning Star, they were each named for a different aspect of the star itself—the smaller, this one here, is called Heosphoros, which means dawn-bringer, while the larger is called Phaesphoros, or light-bringer. You have doubtless seen Phaesphoros already, for Valentine Morgenstern carried it, and now his son carries it after him.”
 
“You know who we are,” Jace said. It wasn’t a question. “Who Clary is.”
 
“The Shadowhunter world is small,” said Diana, and she looked from one of them to the other. “I’m on the Council. I’ve seen you give testimony, Valentine’s daughter.”
 
Clary looked doubtfully at the blade. “I don’t understand,” she said. “Valentine would never have given up a Morgenstern sword. How do you have it?”
 
“His wife sold it,” Diana said. “To my father, who owned this shop in the days before the Uprising. It was hers. It should be yours now.”
 
Clary shuddered. “I’ve seen two men bear the larger version of that sword, and I hated them both. There are no Morgensterns in this world now who are dedicated to anything but evil.”
 
Jace said, “There’s you.”
 
She glanced over at him, but his expression was unreadable.
 
“I couldn’t afford it, anyway,” Clary said. “That’s gold, and black gold, and adamas. I don’t have the money for that kind of weapon.”
 
“I’ll give it to you,” said Diana. “You’re right that people hate the Morgensterns; they tell stories of how the swords were created to contain deadly magic, to slay thousands at once. They’re just stories, of course, no truth to them, but still—it’s not the sort of item I could sell elsewhere. Or would necessarily want to. It should go to good hands.”
 
“I don’t want it,” Clary whispered.
 
“If you flinch from it, you give it power over you,” said Diana. “Take it, and cut your brother’s throat with it, and take back the honor of your blood.”
 
She slid the sword across the counter to Clary. Wordlessly Clary picked it up, her hand curling around the pommel, finding that it fit her grip—fit it exactly, as if it had been made for her. Despite the steel and precious metals in the sword’s construction, it felt as light as a feather in her hand. She raised it up, the black stars along the blade winking at her, a light like fire running, sparking along the steel.
 
She looked up to see Diana catch something out of the air: a glimmer of light that resolved itself into a piece of paper. She read down it, her eyebrows knitting together in concern. “By the Angel,” she said. “The London Institute’s been attacked.”
 
Clary almost dropped the blade. She heard Jace suck in his breath beside her. “What?” he demanded.
 
Diana looked up. “It’s all right,” she said. “Apparently there’s some kind of special protection laid on the London Institute, something even the Council didn’t know about. There were some injuries, but no one was killed. Sebastian’s forces were rebuffed. Unfortunately, none of the Endarkened were captured or killed either.” As Diana spoke, Clary realized that the shop owner was wearing white mourning clothes. Had she lost someone in Valentine’s war? In Sebastian’s attacks on the Institutes?
 
How much blood had been spilled by Morgenstern hands?
 
“I—I’m so sorry,” Clary gasped. She could see Sebastian, see him clearly in her head, red gear and red blood, silver hair and silver blade. She reeled back.
 
There was a hand on her arm suddenly, and she realized she was breathing in cold air. Somehow she was outside the weapons shop, on a street full of people, and Jace was beside her. “Clary,” he was saying. “It’s all right. Everything is all right. The London Shadowhunters, they all escaped.”
 
“Diana said there were injuries,” she said. “More blood spilled because of Morgensterns.”
 
He glanced down at the blade, still clutched in her right hand, her fingers bloodless on the hilt. “You don’t have to take the sword.”
 
“No. Diana was right. Being afraid of everything Morgenstern, it—it gives Sebastian power over me. Which is exactly what he wants.”
 
“I agree,” Jace said. “That’s why I brought you this.”
 
He handed her a scabbard, dark leather, worked with a pattern of silver stars.
 
“You can’t walk up and down the street with an unsheathed weapon,” he added. “I mean, you can, but it’s likely to get us some odd looks.”
 
Clary took the sheath, covered the blade, and tucked it through her belt, closing her coat over it. “Better?”
 
He brushed a strand of red hair back from her face. “It’s your first real weapon, one that belongs to you. The Morgenstern name isn’t cursed, Clary. It’s a glorious old Shadowhunter name that goes back hundreds of years. The morning star.”
 
“The morning star isn’t a star,” Clary said grumpily. “It’s a planet. I learned that in astronomy class.”
 
“Mundane education is regrettably prosaic,” said Jace. “Look,” he said, and pointed up. Clary looked, but not at the sky. She looked at him, at the sun on his light hair, the curve of his mouth when he smiled. “Long before anyone knew about planets, they knew there were bright rips in the fabric of the night. The stars. And they knew there was one that rose in the east, at sunrise, and they called it the morning star, the light-bringer, the herald of dawn. Is that so bad? To bring light to the world?”
 
Impulsively Clary leaned up and kissed his cheek. “Okay, fine,” she said. “So that was more poetic than astronomy class.”
 
He dropped his hand and smiled at her. “Good,” he said. “We’re going to do something else poetic now. Come on. I want to show you something.”
 

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