“Simon…,” she whispered—then she heard the sharp two-tone beep that signaled that a text message had just arrived on her cell phone. The phone itself was lying folded on the bedside table; Clary picked it up and saw that the message was from Isabelle.
She flipped the phone open and scrolled hastily down to the text. She read it twice, just to make sure she wasn’t imagining things. Then she ran to the closet to get her coat.
The voice spoke out of the blackness: slow, dark, familiar as pain. Jace blinked his eyes open and saw only darkness. He shivered. He was lying curled on the icy flagstone floor. He must have fainted. He felt a stab of fury at his own weakness, his own frailty.
He rolled onto his side, his torn wrist throbbing in its manacle. “Is anyone there?”
“Surely you recognize your own father, Jonathan.” The voice came again, and Jace did know it: its sound of old iron, its smooth near-tonelessness. He tried to scramble to his feet but his boots slipped on a puddle of something and he skidded backward, his shoulders hitting the stone wall hard. His chain rattled like a chorus of steel wind chimes.
“Are you hurt?” A light blazed upward, searing Jace’s eyes. He blinked away burning tears and saw Valentine standing on the other side of the bars, beside the corpse of Brother Jeremiah. A glowing witchlight stone in one hand cast a sharp whitish glow over the room. Jace could see the stains of old blood on the walls—and newer blood, a small lake of it, which had spilled from Jeremiah’s open mouth. He felt his stomach roil and clench, and thought of the black formless shape he’d seen before with eyes like burning jewels. “That thing,” he choked out. “Where is it? What was it?”
“You are hurt.” Valentine moved closer to the bars. “Who ordered you locked up here? Was it the Clave? The Lightwoods?”
“It was the Inquisitor.” Jace looked down at himself. There was more blood on his pants legs and on his shirt. He couldn’t tell if any of it was his. Blood was seeping slowly from beneath his manacle.
Valentine regarded him thoughtfully through the bars. It was the first time in years Jace had seen his father in real battle dress—the thick leather Shadowhunter clothes that allowed freedom of movement while protecting the skin from most kinds of demon venom; the electrum-plated braces on his arms and legs, each marked with a series of glyphs and runes. There was a wide strap across his chest and the hilt of a sword gleamed above his shoulder. He squatted down then, putting his cool black eyes on a level with Jace’s. Jace was surprised to see no anger in them. “The Inquisitor and the Clave are one and the same. And the Lightwoods should never have allowed this to happen. I would never have let anyone do this to you.”
Jace pressed his shoulders back against the wall; it was as far as his chain would let him get from his father. “Did you come down here to kill me?”
“Kill you? Why would I want to kill you?”
“Well, why did you kill Jeremiah? And don’t bother feeding me some story about how you just happened to wander along after he spontaneously died. I know you did this.”
For the first time Valentine glanced down at the body of Brother Jeremiah. “I did kill him, and the rest of the Silent Brothers as well. I had to. They had something I needed.”
“What? A sense of decency?”
“This,” said Valentine, and drew the Sword from his shoulder sheath in one swift movement. “Maellartach.”
Jace choked back the gasp of surprise that rose in his throat. He recognized it well enough: The huge, heavy-bladed silver Sword with the hilt in the shape of outspread wings was the one that hung above the Speaking Stars in the Silent Brothers’ council room. “You took the Silent Brothers’ sword?”
“It was never theirs,” Valentine said. “It belongs to all Nephilim. This is the blade with which the Angel drove Adam and Eve out of the garden. And he placed at the east of the garden of Eden cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way,” he quoted, gazing down at the blade.
Jace licked his dry lips. “What are you going to do with it?”
“I’ll tell you that,” said Valentine, “when I think I can trust you, and I know that you trust me.”
“Trust you? After the way you sneaked through the Portal at Renwick’s and smashed it so I couldn’t come after you? And the way you tried to kill Clary?”
“I would never have hurt your sister,” said Valentine, with a flash of anger. “Any more than I would hurt you.”
“All you’ve ever done is hurt me! It was the Lightwoods who protected me!”
“I’m not the one who locked you up here. I’m not the one who threatens and distrusts you. That’s the Lightwoods and their friends in the Clave.” Valentine paused. “Seeing you like this—how they’ve treated you, and yet you remain stoic—I’m proud of you.”
At that, Jace looked up in surprise, so quickly that he felt a wave of dizziness. His hand gave an insistent throb. He pushed the pain down and back until his breathing eased. “What?”
“I realize now what I did wrong at Renwick’s,” Valentine went on. “I was picturing you as the little boy I left behind in Idris, obedient to my every wish. Instead I found a headstrong young man, independent and courageous, yet I treated you as if you were still a child. No wonder you rebelled against me.”
“Rebelled? I—” Jace’s throat tightened, cutting off the words he wanted to say. His heart had begun pounding in rhythm with the throbbing in his hand.
Valentine pressed on. “I never had a chance to explain my past to you, to tell you why I’ve done the things I’ve done.”
“There’s nothing to explain. You killed my grandparents. You held my mother prisoner. You slew other Shadowhunters to further your own ends.” Every word in Jace’s mouth tasted like poison.
“You only know half the facts, Jonathan. I lied to you when you were a child because you were too young to understand. Now you are old enough to be told the truth.”
“So tell me the truth.”
Valentine reached through the bars of the cell and laid his hand on top of Jace’s. The rough, callused texture of his fingers felt exactly the way it had when Jace had been ten years old.
“I want to trust you, Jonathan,” he said. “Can I?”
Jace wanted to reply, but the words wouldn’t come. His chest felt as if an iron band was being slowly tightened around it, cutting off his breath by inches. “I wish…,” he whispered.
A noise sounded above them. A noise like the clang of a metal door; then Jace heard footsteps, whispers echoing off the City’s stone walls. Valentine started to his feet, closing his hand over the witchlight until it was only a dim glow and he himself was a faintly outlined shadow. “Quicker than I thought,” he murmured, and looked down at Jace through the bars.
Jace looked past him, but he could see nothing but blackness beyond the faint illumination of the witchlight. He thought of the roiling dark form he had seen before, crushing out all light before it. “What’s coming? What is it?” he demanded, scrabbling forward on his knees.
“I must go,” said Valentine. “But we’re not done, you and I.”
Jace put his hand to the bars. “Unchain me. Whatever it is, I want to be able to fight it.”
“Unchaining you would hardly be a kindness now.” Valentine closed his hand around the witchlight stone completely. It winked out, plunging the room into darkness. Jace flung himself against the bars of the cell, his broken hand screaming its protest and pain.
“No!” he shouted. “Father, please.”
“When you want to find me,” Valentine said, “you will find me.” And then there was only the sound of his footsteps rapidly receding and Jace’s own ragged breathing as he slumped against the bars.
On the subway ride uptown Clary found herself unable to sit down. She paced up and down the near-empty train car, her iPod headphones dangling around her neck. Isabelle hadn’t picked up the phone when Clary had called her, and an irrational sense of worry gnawed at Clary’s insides.
She thought of Jace at the Hunter’s Moon, covered in blood. With his teeth bared in snarling anger, he’d looked more like a werewolf himself than a Shadowhunter charged with protecting humans and keeping Downworlders in line.
She charged up the stairs at the Ninety-sixth Street subway stop, only slowing to a walk as she approached the corner where the Institute hulked like a huge gray shadow. It had been hot down in the tunnels, and the sweat on the back of her neck was prickling coldly as she made her way up the cracked concrete walk to the Institute’s front door.
She reached for the enormous iron bellpull that hung from the architrave, then hesitated. She was a Shadowhunter, wasn’t she? She had a right to be in the Institute, just as much as the Lightwoods did. With a surge of resolve, she seized the door handle, trying to remember the words Jace had spoken. “In the name of the Angel, I—”
The door swung open onto a darkness starred by the flames of dozens of tiny candles. As she hurried between the pews, the candles flickered as if they were laughing at her. She reached the elevator and clanged the metal door shut behind her, stabbing at the buttons with a shaking finger. She willed her nervousness to subside—was she worried about Jace, she wondered, or just worried about seeing Jace? Her face, framed by the upturned collar of her coat, looked very white and small, her eyes big and dark green, her lips pale and bitten. Not pretty at all, she thought in dismay, and forced the thought back. What did it matter how she looked? Jace didn’t care. Jace couldn’t care.
The elevator came to a clanging stop and Clary pushed the door open. Church was waiting for her in the foyer. He greeted her with a disgruntled meow.
“What’s wrong, Church?” Her voice sounded unnaturally loud in the quiet room. She wondered if anyone were here in the Institute. Maybe it was just her. The thought gave her the creeps. “Is anyone home?”
The blue Persian turned his back and headed down the corridor. They passed the music room and the library, both empty, before Church turned another corner and sat down in front of a closed door. Right, then. Here we are, his expression seemed to say.
Before she could knock, the door opened, revealing Isabelle standing on the threshold, barefoot in a pair of jeans and a soft violet sweater. She started when she saw Clary. “I thought I heard someone coming down the hall, but I didn’t think it would be you,” she said. “What are you doing here?”
Clary stared at her. “You sent me that text message. You said the Inquisitor threw Jace in jail.”
“Clary!” Isabelle glanced up and down the corridor, then bit her lip. “I didn’t mean you should race down here right now.”
Clary was horrified. “Isabelle! Jail!”
“Yes, but—” With a defeated sigh, Isabelle stood aside, gesturing for Clary to enter her room. “Look, you might as well come in. And shoo, you,” she said, waving a hand at Church. “Go guard the elevator.”
Church gave her a horrified look, lay down on his stomach, and went to sleep.
“Cats,” Isabelle muttered, and slammed the door.
“Hey, Clary.” Alec was sitting on Isabelle’s unmade bed, his booted feet dangling over the side. “What are you doing here?”
Clary sat down on the padded stool in front of Isabelle’s gloriously messy vanity table. “Isabelle texted me. She told me what happened to Jace.”
Isabelle and Alec exchanged a meaningful look. “Oh, come on, Alec,” Isabelle said. “I thought she should know. I didn’t know she’d come racing up here!”
Clary’s stomach lurched. “Of course I came! Is he all right? Why on earth did the Inquisitor throw him in prison?”
“It’s not prison exactly. He’s in the Silent City,” said Alec, sitting up straight and pulling one of Isabelle’s pillows across his lap. He picked idly at the beaded fringe sewed to its edges.
“In the Silent City? Why?”
Alec hesitated. “There are cells under the Silent City. They keep criminals there sometimes before deporting them to Idris to stand trial before the Council. People who’ve done really bad things. Murderers, renegade vampires, Shadowhunters who break the Accords. That’s where Jace is now.”
“Locked up with a bunch of murderers?” Clary was on her feet, outraged. “What’s wrong with you people? Why aren’t you more upset?”
Alec and Isabelle exchanged another look. “It’s just for a night,” Isabelle said. “And there isn’t anyone else down there with him. We asked.”
“But why? What did Jace do?”
“He mouthed off to the Inquisitor. That was it, as far as I know,” said Alec.
Isabelle perched herself on the edge of the vanity table. “It’s unbelievable.”
“Then the Inquisitor must be insane,” said Clary.
“She’s not, actually,” said Alec. “If Jace were in your mundane army, do you think he’d be allowed to mouth off to his superiors? Absolutely not.”
“Well, not during a war. But Jace isn’t a soldier.”
“But we’re all soldiers. Jace as much as the rest of us. There’s a hierarchy of command and the Inquisitor is near the top. Jace is near the bottom. He should have treated her with more respect.”
“If you agree that he ought to be in jail, why did you ask me to come here? Just to get me to agree with you? I don’t see the point. What do you want me to do?”
“We didn’t say he should be in jail,” Isabelle snapped. “Just that he shouldn’t have talked back to one of the highest-ranked members of the Clave. Besides,” she added in a smaller voice, “I thought that maybe you could help.”