City of Heavenly Fire / Page 47

Page 47


Loading...
 24
 CALL IT PEACE
 
“Who stands, then, to represent the Faerie Courts?” said Jia Penhallow.
 
The Hall of Accords was draped with the blue banners of victory. They looked like pieces cut out of the sky. Each was stamped with a golden rune of triumph. It was a clear winter day outside, and the light that poured through the windows shimmered across the long lines of chairs that had been set up facing the raised dais at the center of the room, where the Consul and the Inquisitor sat at a long table. The table itself was decorated with more gold and blue: massive golden candlesticks that nearly obscured Emma’s view of the Downworlders who also shared the table: Luke, representing the werewolves; a young woman named Lily, representing the vampires; and the very famous Magnus Bane, the representative for the warlocks.
 
No seat had been placed at the table for a representative of Faerie. Slowly, from among the seated crowd, a young woman rose to her feet. Her eyes were entirely blue with no white, her ears pointed like Helen’s. “I am Kaelie Whitewillow,” she said. “I will stand for the Seelie Court.”
 
“But not for the Unseelie?” said Jia, her pen hovering above a scroll of paper.
 
Kaelie shook her head, her lips pressed together. A murmur ran through the room. For all the brightness of the banners, the mood in the room was tense, not joyful. In the row of seats in front of the Blackthorns sat the Lightwoods: Maryse with her back ramrod-straight, and beside her, Isabelle and Alec, their dark heads bent together as they whispered.
 
Jocelyn Fairchild sat beside Maryse, but there was no sign anywhere of Clary Fray or Jace Lightwood.
 
“The Unseelie Court declines a representative,” said Jia, noting it down with her pen. She looked at Kaelie over the rims of her glasses. “What word do you bring us from the Seelie Court? Do they agree to our terms?”
 
Emma heard Helen, at the end of her row of seats, take a deep breath. Dru and Tavvy and the twins had been considered too young to come to the meeting; technically no one under eighteen was allowed, but special considerations had been made for those, like her and Julian, who had been directly affected by what was coming to be called the Dark War.
 
Kaelie moved to the aisle between the rows of seats and began to walk toward the dais; Robert Lightwood rose to his feet. “You must ask permission to approach the Consul,” he said in his gravelly voice.
 
“Permission is not given,” said Jia tightly. “Stay where you are, Kaelie Whitewillow. I can hear you perfectly well.”
 
Emma felt a sudden brief burst of pity for the faerie girl—everyone was staring at her with eyes like knives. Everyone except Aline and Helen, who sat pressed close together; they were holding each other’s hands, and their knuckles were white.
 
“The Faerie Court asks for your mercy,” Kaelie said, clasping her slim hands in front of her. “The terms you have set down are too harsh. The faeries have always had their own sovereignty, our own kings and queens. We have always had warriors. We are an ancient people. What you ask for will crush us completely.”
 
A low murmur ran around the room. It was not a friendly noise. Jia picked up the paper lying on the table in front of her. “Shall we review?” she said. “We ask that the Faerie Courts accept all responsibility for the loss of life and damage sustained by Shadowhunters and Downworlders in the Dark War. The Fair Folk shall be responsible for the costs of rebuilding broken wards, for the reestablishment of the Praetor Lupus on Long Island, and the rebuilding of what in Alicante has been destroyed. You will spend your own riches upon it. As for the Shadowhunters taken from us—”
 
“If you mean Mark Blackthorn, he was taken by the Wild Hunt,” Kaelie said. “We have no jurisdiction over them. You will have to negotiate with them yourselves, though we will not prevent it.”
 
“He was not all that was taken from us,” said Jia. “There is that for which there can be no reparation—the loss of life sustained by Shadowhunters and lycanthropes in battle, those who were torn from us by the Infernal Cup—”
 
“That was Sebastian Morgenstern, not the Courts,” Kaelie protested. “He was a Shadowhunter.”
 
“And that’s why we are not punishing you with a war that you would inevitably lose,” said Jia coldly. “Instead we insist merely that you disband your armies, that there be no more Fair Folk warriors. You may no longer bear arms. Any faerie found carrying a weapon without a dispensation from the Clave will be killed on sight.”
 
“The terms are too severe,” Kaelie protested. “The Fair Folk cannot abide under them! If we are weaponless, we cannot defend ourselves!”
 
“We will put it to a vote, then,” said Jia, setting her paper down. “Any not in favor of the terms set down for the Fair Folk, please speak now.”
 
There was a long silence. Emma could see Helen’s eyes roving the room, her mouth pinched at the sides; Aline was holding her wrist tightly. Finally there was the sound of a chair scraping back, echoing in the silence, and one lone figure rose to his feet.
 
Magnus Bane. He was still pale from his ordeal in Edom, but his gold-green eyes burned with an intensity that Emma could see from across the room. “I know that mundane history is not of enormous interest to most Shadowhunters,” he said. “But there was a time before the Nephilim. A time when Rome battled the city of Carthage, and over the course of many wars was victorious. After one of the wars, Rome demanded that Carthage pay them tribute, that Carthage abandon their army, and that the land of Carthage be sowed with salt. The historian Tacitus said of the Romans that ‘they make a desert and call it peace.’ ” He turned to Jia. “The Carthaginians never forgot. Their hatred of Rome sparked another war in the end, and that war ended in death and slavery. That was not peace. This is not peace.”
 
At that, there were catcalls from the assembly.
 
“Perhaps we don’t want peace, warlock!” someone shouted.
 
“What’s your solution, then?” shouted someone else.
 
“Leniency,” said Magnus. “The Fair Folk have long hated the Nephilim for their harshness. Show them something other than harshness, and you will receive something other than hate in return!”
 
Noise burst out again, louder than ever this time; Jia raised a hand, and the crowd quieted. “Does anyone else speak for the Fair Folk?” she asked.
 
Magnus, taking his seat again, glanced sideways at his fellow Downworlders, but Lily was smirking and Luke was staring down at the table with a fixed look on his face. It was common knowledge that his sister had been the first taken and Endarkened by Sebastian Morgenstern, that many of the wolves in the Praetor had been his friends, including Jordan Kyle—and yet there was doubt on his face—
 
“Luke,” Magnus said in a soft voice that somehow managed to echo through the room. “Please.”
 
The doubt vanished. Luke shook his head grimly. “Don’t ask for what I can’t give,” he said. “The whole Praetor was slaughtered, Magnus. As the representative of the werewolves, I cannot speak against what they all want. If I did, they would turn against the Clave, and nothing would be accomplished by that.”
 
“There it is, then,” Jia said. “Speak, Kaelie Whitewillow. Will you agree to the terms, or will there be war between us?”
 
The faerie girl bowed her head. “We agree to the terms.”
 
The assembly burst into applause. Only a few did not clap: Magnus, the row of Blackthorns, the Lightwoods, and Emma herself. She was too busy watching Kaelie as the faerie sat down. Her head might have been bowed submissively, but her face was full of a white-hot rage.
 
“So it is done,” said Jia, clearly pleased. “Now we move to the subject of—”
 
“Wait.” A thin Shadowhunter with dark hair had risen to his feet. Emma didn’t recognize him. He could have been anyone. A Cartwright? A Pontmercy? “There remains the question of Mark and Helen Blackthorn.”
 
Helen’s eyes closed. She looked like someone who had been half-expecting a guilty sentence in a trial and half-hoping for a reprieve, and this was the moment after the guilty sentence had fallen.
 
Jia paused, her pen in her hand. “What do you mean, Balogh?”
 
Balogh drew himself up. “There’s already been discussion of the fact that Morgenstern’s forces penetrated the Los Angeles Institute so easily. Both Mark and Helen Blackthorn have the blood of faeries in them. We know the boy’s already joined up with the Wild Hunt, so he’s beyond us, but the girl shouldn’t be among Shadowhunters. It isn’t decent.”
 
Aline shot to her feet. “That’s ridiculous!” she spat. “Helen’s a Shadowhunter; she’s always been one! She’s got the blood of the Angel in her—you can’t turn your back on that!”
 
“And the blood of faeries,” said Balogh. “She can lie. We’ve already been tricked by one of her sort, to our sorrow. I say we strip her Marks—”
 
Luke brought his hand down on the table with a loud slam; Magnus was hunched forward, his long-fingered hands covering his face, his shoulders slumped. “The girl’s done nothing,” Luke said. “You can’t punish her for an accident of birth.”
 
“Accidents of birth make us all what we are,” said Balogh stubbornly. “You can’t deny the faerie blood in her. You can’t deny she can lie. If it comes down to a war again, where will her loyalties stand?”
 
Helen got to her feet. “Where they stood this time,” she said. “I fought at the Burren, and at the Citadel, and in Alicante, to protect my family and protect Nephilim. I’ve never given anyone reason to question my loyalty.”
 
“This is what happens,” Magnus said, raising his face. “Can’t you see, this is how it begins again?”
 
“Helen is right,” said Jia. “She’s done nothing wrong.”
 
Another Shadowhunter rose to her feet, a woman with dark hair piled on her head. “Begging your pardon, Consul, but you are not objective,” she said. “We all know of your daughter’s relationship with the faerie girl. You should recuse yourself from this discussion.”
 
“Helen Blackthorn is needed, Mrs. Sedgewick,” said Diana Wrayburn, standing. She looked outraged; Emma remembered her in the Accords Hall, the way she had tried to get to Emma, to help her. “Her parents have been murdered; she has five younger brothers and sisters to care for—”
 
“She is not needed,” snapped Sedgewick. “We are reopening the Academy—the children can go there, or they can be split up among various Institutes—”
 
“No,” Julian whispered. His hands were in fists on his knees.
 
“Absolutely not,” Helen shouted. “Jia, you must—”
 
Jia met her eyes and nodded, a slow, reluctant nod. “Arthur Blackthorn,” she said. “Please rise.”
 
Emma felt Julian, beside her, freeze in shock as a man on the other side of the room, hidden among the crowd, rose to his feet. He was slight, a paler, smaller version of Julian’s father, with thinning brown hair and the Blackthorn eyes, half-hidden behind spectacles. He leaned heavily on a wooden cane, with a discomfort that made her think the injury that required the cane was recent.
 
“I wished to wait until after this meeting, that the children might meet their uncle properly,” Jia said. “I summoned him immediately on news of the attack on the Los Angeles Institute, of course, but he had been injured in London. He arrived in Idris only this morning.” She sighed. “Mr. Blackthorn, you may introduce yourself.”
 
The man had a round, pleasant face, and looked extremely uncomfortable being stared at by so many people. “I am Arthur Blackthorn, Andrew Blackthorn’s brother,” he said. His accent was British; Emma always forgot that Julian’s father had originally come from London. He had lost his accent years before. “I will be moving into the Los Angeles Institute as soon as possible and bringing my nieces and nephews with me. The children will be under my protection.”
 
“Is that really your uncle?” Emma whispered, staring.
 
“Yes, that’s him,” Julian whispered back, clearly agitated. “It’s just—I was hoping—I mean, I was really starting to think he wouldn’t come. I’d—I’d rather have Helen look after us.”
 
“While I’m sure we’re all immeasurably relieved that you’ll be looking after the Blackthorn children,” said Luke, “Helen is one of them. Are you saying, by claiming responsibility for the younger siblings, that you agree that her Marks should be stripped?”
 
Arthur Blackthorn looked horrified. “Not at all,” he said. “My brother may not have been wise in his . . . dalliances . . . but all records show that the children of Shadowhunters are Shadowhunters. As they say, ut incepit fidelis sic permanet.”
 
Julian slid down in his seat. “More Latin,” he muttered. “Just like Dad.”
 
“What does it mean?” Emma asked.
 
“ ‘She begins loyal and ends loyal’—something like that.” Julian’s eyes flicked around the room; everyone was muttering and glaring. Jia was in muted conference with Robert and the Downworld representatives. Helen was still standing, but it looked as if Aline was all that was holding her up.
 
The group at the dais broke apart, and Robert Lightwood stepped forward. His face was thunderous. “So that there is no discussion that Jia’s personal friendship with Helen Blackthorn will have influenced her decision, she has recused herself,” he said. “The rest of us have decided that, as Helen is eighteen, at the age where many young Shadowhunters are posted to other Institutes to learn their ways, she will be posted to Wrangel Island to study the wards.”
 
“For how long?” said Balogh immediately.
 
“Indefinitely,” said Robert, and Helen sank down into her chair, Aline at her side, her face a mask of grief and shock. Wrangel Island might have been the seat of all the wards that protected the world, a prestigious posting in many ways, but it was also a tiny island in the frozen Arctic sea north of Russia, thousands of miles from Los Angeles.
 
“Is that good enough for you?” Jia said in a cold voice. “Mr. Balogh? Mrs. Sedgewick? Shall we vote on it? All in favor of assigning Helen Blackthorn to a posting on Wrangel Island until her loyalty is determined, say ‘aye.’ ”
 
A chorus of “aye,” and a quieter chorus of “nay,” ran around the room. Emma said nothing, and neither did Jules; both of them were too young to vote. Emma reached her hand over and took Julian’s, squeezed it tightly; his fingers were like ice. He had the look of someone who had been hit so many times that they no longer even wanted to get up. Helen was sobbing softly in Aline’s arms.
 
“There remains the question of Mark Blackthorn,” said Balogh.
 
“What question?” demanded Robert Lightwood, sounding exasperated. “The boy has been taken by the Wild Hunt! In the unlikely event that we are able to negotiate his release, shouldn’t this be a problem to worry about then?”
 
“That’s just it,” said Balogh. “As long as we don’t negotiate his release, the problem takes care of itself. The boy is likely better off with his own kind anyway.”
 
Arthur Blackthorn’s round face paled. “No,” he said. “My brother wouldn’t have wanted that. He’d have wanted the boy at home with his family.” He gestured toward where Emma and Julian and the rest were sitting. “They’ve had so much taken away from them. How can we take more?”
 
“We’re protecting them,” snapped Sedgewick. “From a brother and sister who will only betray them as time passes and they realize their true loyalty to the Courts. All in favor of permanently abandoning the search for Mark Blackthorn, say ‘aye.’ ”
 
Emma reached to hold Julian as he hunched forward in his chair. She clung awkwardly to his side. All his muscles were rigid, as hard as iron, as if he were readying himself for a fall or a blow. Helen leaned toward him, whispering and murmuring, her own face streaked with tears. As Aline reached past Helen to stroke Jules’s hair, Emma caught sight of the Blackthorn ring sparkling on Aline’s finger. As the chorus of “aye” went around the room in a terrible symphony, the gleam made Emma think of the shine of a distress signal far out at sea, where no one could see it, where there was no one to care.
 
If this was peace and victory, Emma thought, maybe war and fighting was better after all.
 
   
 
 
 
Jace slid from the back of the horse and reached up a hand to help Clary down after him. “Here we are,” he said, turning to face the lake.
 
They stood on a shallow beach of rocks facing the western edge of Lake Lyn. It was not the same beach where Valentine had stood when he had summoned the Angel Raziel, not the same beach where Jace had bled his life out and then regained it, but Clary had not been back to the lake since that time, and the sight of it still sent a shiver through her bones.
 
It was a lovely place, there was no doubt about that. The lake stretched into the distance, tinted with the color of the winter sky, limned in silver, the surface brushed and rippled so that it resembled a piece of metallic paper folding and unfolding under the wind’s touch. The clouds were white and high, and the hills around them were bare.
 
Clary moved forward, down to the edge of the water. She had thought her mother might come with her, but at the last moment Jocelyn had refused, saying that she had bidden good-bye to her son a long time ago and that this was Clary’s time. The Clave had burned his body—at Clary’s request. The burning of a body was an honor, and those who died in disgrace were buried at crossroads whole and unburned, as Jace’s mother had been. The burning had been more than a favor, Clary thought; it had been a sure way for the Clave to be absolutely certain that he was dead. But still Jonathan’s ashes were never to be taken to the abode of the Silent Brothers. They would never form a part of the City of Bones; he would never be a soul among other Nephilim souls.
 
He would not be buried among those he had caused to be murdered, and that, Clary thought, was only fair and just. The Endarkened had been burned, and their ashes buried at the crossroads near Brocelind. There would be a monument there, a necropolis to recall those who had once been Shadowhunters, but there would be no monument to recall Jonathan Morganstern, whom no one wanted to remember. Even Clary wished she could forget, but nothing was that easy.
 
The water of the lake was clear, with a slight rainbow sheen to it, like a slick of oil. It lapped against the edges of Clary’s boots as she opened the silver box she was holding. Inside it were ashes, powdery and gray, flecked with bits of charred bone. Among the ashes lay the Morgenstern ring, glimmering and silver. It had been on a chain around Jonathan’s throat when he had been burned, and it remained, untouched and unharmed by the fire.
 
“I never had a brother,” she said. “Not really.”
 
She felt Jace place his hand on her back, between her shoulder blades. “You did,” he said. “You had Simon. He was your brother in all the ways that matter. He watched you grow up, defended you, fought with and for you, cared about you all your life. He was the brother you chose. Even if he’s . . . gone now, no one and nothing can take that away from you.”
 
Clary took a deep breath and flung the box as far as she could. It flew far, over the rainbow water, black ashes arcing out behind it like the plume of a jet plane, and the ring fell along with it, turning over and over, sending out silver sparks as it fell and fell and disappeared beneath the water.
 
“Ave atque vale,” she said, speaking the full lines of the ancient poem. “Ave atque vale in perpetuum, frater. Hail and farewell forever, my brother.”
 
The wind off the lake was cold; she felt it against her face, icy on her cheeks, and only then did she realize that she had been crying, and that her face was cold because it was wet with tears. She had wondered since she had found out that Jonathan was alive why her mother had cried on the day of his birth every year. Why cry, if she had hated him? But Clary understood now. Her mother had been crying for the child she would never have, for all the dreams that had been wrapped up in her imagination of having a son, her imagination of what that boy would be like. And she’d been crying for the bitter chance that had destroyed that child before he had ever been born. And so, as Jocelyn had for so many years, Clary stood at the side of the Mortal Mirror and wept for the brother she would never have, for the boy who had never been given the chance to live. And she wept as well for the others lost in the Dark War, and she wept for her mother and the loss she had endured, and she wept for Emma and the Blackthorns, remembering how they had fought back tears when she had told them that she had seen Mark in the tunnels of Faerie, and how he belonged to the Hunt now, and she wept for Simon and the hole in her heart where he had been, and the way she would miss him every day until she died, and she wept for herself and the changes that had been wrought in her, because sometimes even change for the better felt like a little death.
 
Jace stood by her side as she cried, and held her hand silently, until Jonathan’s ashes had sunk under the water’s surface without a trace.

Prev Next
Loading...