|Release Date||March 8, 2016|
|Publisher|| Simon & Schuster|
(Margaret K.McElderry Books)
| Preceded by|
City of Heavenly Fire
| Followed by|
Lord of Shadows
| Released after|
City of Heavenly Fire;
TSA: Angels Twice Descending
| Released before|
Chain of Gold
Lady Midnight is the first novel in the upcoming The Dark Artifices series.
Los Angeles. It's been five years since the events of The Mortal Instruments when Nephilim stood poised on the brink of oblivion and Shadowhunter Emma Carstairs lost her parents. After the blood and violence she witnessed as a child, Emma has dedicated her life to discovering exactly what it was that killed her parents and getting her revenge.
Raised in the Los Angeles Institute with the Blackthorn family, Emma is paired as a parabatai with her best friend, Julian Blackthorn. A series of murders in the city catch her attention — they seem to have the same characteristics as the deaths of her parents. Could the murderer be the same person? And her attention isn't the only one caught: someone has been murdering Downworlders as well. The Fair Folk make a deal with the Institute: if the Blackthorns and Emma will investigate the killings, they'll return Mark Blackthorn to his home. The catch: they have only two weeks to find the killers. Otherwise it's open war between faeries and Nephilim.
The Shadowhunters of the Institute must race against time to catch the killers, even as they begin to suspect the involvement of those closest to them. At the same time, Emma is falling in love with the one person in the world she's absolutely forbidden by Shadowhunter Law to love. Set against the glittering backdrop of present-day Los Angeles, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches from the warlock-run nightclubs of the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica.
Glitz, glamours and Shadowhunters abound in this heartrending opening to Cassandra Clare's Dark Artifices series, a sequel to the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series. It's been five years since the events of City of Heavenly Fire that brought the Shadowhunters to the brink of oblivion. Emma Carstairs is no longer a child in mourning, but a young woman bent on discovering what killed her parents and avenging her losses. Together with her parabatai Julian Blackthorn, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches across LA, from the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica. If only her heart didn't lead her in treacherous directions... Making things even more complicated, Julian's brother Mark—who was captured by the faeries five years ago—has been returned as a bargaining chip. The faeries are desperate to find out who is murdering their kind and they need the Shadowhunters' help to do it. But time works differently in faerie, so Mark has barely aged and doesn't recognize his family. Can he ever truly return to them? Will the faeries really allow it?
The chapters listed below are in its current writing stages, as is the book, and are thus not final. There is currently set to be 27 chapters.
Part One: Steel and Temper
- Emma Carstairs — seventeen-year-old Emma is a Shadowhunter bent on discovering what killed her parents and avenging her losses.
- Julian Blackthorn — Emma's parabatai, Jules has been responsible for his younger siblings, and indirectly the Los Angeles Institute, from such a young age.
- Mark Blackthorn — half-faerie, half-Shadowhunter, Mark is returned to the his family in Los Angeles as a bargaining chip after years with the Wild Hunt.
- Cristina Rosales — Emma's eighteen-year-old best friend who currently resides at the Institute to learn about how their Shadowhunter culture differs from Mexico's.
- Diana Wrayburn — the tutor of the young Shadowhunters of the Institute.
- Arthur Blackthorn — the head of the Institute whose shock and trauma over the events of the Dark War has driven him over the edge.
- Other Blackthorn children, namely Dru, Livvy, Tavvy, and Ty
- Rosales brothers Diego and Jaime
Teaser #1(replaced on the site)
The cycle hit the beach and spun out. Emma went into a rolling crouch as she flew free of it, keeping her elbows in, pushing the air hard out of her lungs. She turned her head as she hit the sand, slapping her palms down to roll herself forward, absorbing the impact of the fall through her arms and shoulders, her knees folding up into her chest. The stars wheeled crazily overhead as she spun, sucking in her breath as her body slowed its rolling. She came to a stop on her back, her hair and clothes full of sand and her ears full of the sound of the wildly crashing ocean...
Emma swallowed. She was remembering Julian, two years ago, standing in the overlapping circles of fire where the parabatai ritual was performed. The look on his face as they each stepped into the central circle and the fire rose up around them, and he unbuttoned his shirt to let her touch the stele to his skin and carve the rune that would bind them together for their whole lives. She knew if she just reached out now, she could touch it, touch the rune cut into his shoulder, the rune she had put there...
"Have I?" asked Mark. "Is this my home?" He looked over at Emma. "I can say this to you because you are not a Blackthorn. You do not have Blackthorn blood running through your veins. I have been in the land of Faerie for years and it is a place where mortal blood is turned to fire. It is a place of beauty and terror beyond what can be imagined here. I have ridden with the Wild Hunt. I have carved a clear path of freedom among the stars and outrun the wind. And now I am asked to walk upon the earth again."
"You belong where you're loved," Emma said. It was something her father had said, something she had always believed. She belonged here because Jules loved her and the children loved her. "Were you loved in Faerie?"
A shadow seemed to come down over Mark's eyes, like curtains closing in a dark room.
Mark stepped out. The elegant lines of the suit seemed to sweep upward, making Mark appear taller, more polished. For the first time since his return every bit of the feral faerie child in him appeared to have been brushed away like cobwebs. He looked human. Like someone who’d always been human.
"Why do you bite your nails?" he said.
Julian, who hadn't even been conscious that he was gnawing on the side of his thumb - the satisfying pain of skin between his teeth, the metal of the blood in his mouth - dropped his hands into his lap. "Bad habit."
"People do that when they're stressed," said Mark. "Even I know that." His fingers scrabbled uselessly at his tie. He frowned down at it.
Julian got to his feet and went over to his brother, taking the loops of the tie in his hands. He couldn't remember who had taught him how to knot a tie. Malcolm, he thought. It had almost certainly been Malcolm.
"But what do you have to be stressed about, little brother?" Mark said. "You weren't carried away by Sebastian Morgenstern. You've spent your life here. Not that the life of a Shadowhunter isn't stressful, but why are you the one with the bloody hands?"
Julian's hands faltered for a moment. "You don't know everything about me, Mark. Just like I'm willing to bet I don't know everything about you."
"Did you tell my brother?" Mark asked.
Emma looked up at him. The spotlight had tracked away from them, thank Raziel, and Mark was sharp-boned light and shadows in the moving illumination. "Tell which of your brothers what?"
"You know," said Mark.
"Perfect Diego is the boy Cristina's mother wants her to marry," Emma told Livvy. Now it was Cristina's turn to look betrayed. "It's not an arranged marriage, not exactly, it's just that her mother loves him, he's a Rosales —"
"He's related to you?” Livvy asked Cristina. "Isn't that a problem? I mean, I know Clary Fairchild and Jace Herondale are a famous love story, but they weren't actually brother and sister. Otherwise I think it would probably be a …"
"Less famous love story," said Emma, with a grin.
Cristina waved her hand dismissively. "The Rosaleses are a huge Shadowhunting family. I don't think he's even a cousin. My mother just thinks it would help cement the Rosales empire. She thinks he's perfect, so handsome, so smart, such a Shadowhunter, perfect perfect perfect —"
"And now you know how he got his nickname," said Emma.
Emma took her witchlight out of her pocket and lit it—and almost screamed out loud. Jules's shirt was soaked with blood and worse, the healing runes she’d drawn had vanished from his skin. They weren't working.
"Jules," she said. "I have to call the Silent Brothers. They can help you. I have to."
His eyes screwed shut with pain. "You can't," he said. "You know we can't call the Silent Brothers. They report directly to the Clave."
"So we'll lie to them. Say it was a routine demon patrol. I'm calling," she said, and reached for her phone.
"No!" Julian said, forcefully enough to stop her. "Silent Brothers know when you're lying! They can see inside your head, Emma. They'll find out about the investigation. About Mark—"
"You're not going to bleed to death in the backseat of a car for Mark!"
"No," he said, looking at her. His eyes were eerily blue green, the only bright color in the dark interior of the car. "You're going to fix me."
Emma could feel it when Jules was hurt, like a splinter lodged under her skin. The physical pain didn't bother her; it was the terror, the only terror worse than her fear of the ocean. The fear of Jules being hurt, of him dying. She would give up anything, sustain any wound, to prevent those things from happening.
"Okay," she said. Her voice sounded dry and thin to her own ears. "Okay." She took a deep breath. "Hang on."
She unzipped her jacket, threw it aside. Shoved the console between the seats aside, put her witchlight on the floorboard. Then she reached for Jules. The next few seconds were a blur of Jules's blood on her hands and his harsh breathing as she pulled him partly upright, wedging him against the back door. He didn't make a sound as she moved him, but she could see him biting his lip, the blood on his mouth and chin, and she felt as if her bones were popping inside her skin.
"Your gear," she said through gritted teeth. "I have to cut it off."
He nodded, letting his head fall back. She drew a dagger from her belt, but the gear was too tough for the blade. She said a silent prayer and reached back for Cortana.
Cortana went through the gear like a knife through melted butter. It fell away in pieces and Emma drew them free, then sliced down the front of his T-shirt and pulled it apart as if she were opening a jacket.
Emma had seen blood before, often, but this felt different. It was Julian's, and there seemed to be a lot of it. It was smeared up and down his chest and rib cage; she could see where the arrow had gone in and where the skin had torn where he'd yanked it out.
"Why did you pull the arrow out?" she demanded, pulling her sweater over her head. She had a tank top on under it. She patted his chest and side with the sweater, absorbing as much of the blood as she could.
Jules's breath was coming in hard pants. "Because when someone—shoots you with an arrow—" he gasped, “your immediate response is not—'Thanks for the arrow, I think I'll keep it for a while.'"
"Good to know your sense of humor is intact."
"Is it still bleeding?" Julian demanded. His eyes were shut.
She dabbed at the cut with her sweater. The blood had slowed, but the cut looked puffy and swollen. The rest of him, though—it had been a while since she'd seen him with his shirt off. There was more muscle than she remembered. Lean muscle pulled tight over his ribs, his stomach flat and lightly ridged. Cameron was much more muscular, but Julian's spare lines were as elegant as a greyhound's. "You're too skinny," she said. "Too much coffee, not enough pancakes."
"I hope they put that on my tombstone." He gasped as she shifted forward, and she realized abruptly that she was squarely in Julian's lap, her knees around his hips. It was a bizarrely intimate position.
"I—am I hurting you?" she asked.
He swallowed visibly. "It's fine. Try with the iratze again."
"Fine," she said. "Grab the panic bar."
"The what?" He opened his eyes and peered at her.
"The plastic handle! Up there, above the window!" She pointed. "It's for holding on to when the car is going around curves."
"Are you sure? I always thought it was for hanging things on. Like dry cleaning."
"Julian, now is not the time to be pedantic. Grab the bar or I swear—"
"All right!" He reached up, grabbed hold of it, and winced. "I'm ready."
She nodded and set Cortana aside, reaching for her stele. Maybe her previous iratzes had been too fast, too sloppy. She'd always focused on the physical aspects of Shadowhunting, not the more mental and artistic ones: seeing through glamours, drawing runes.
She set the tip of it to the skin of his shoulder and drew, carefully and slowly. She had to brace herself with her left hand against his shoulder. She tried to press as lightly as she could, but she could feel him tense under her fingers. The skin on his shoulder was smooth and hot under her touch, and she wanted to get closer to him, to put her hand over the wound on his side and heal it with the sheer force of her will. To touch her lips to the lines of pain beside his eyes and—
Stop. She had finished the iratze. She sat back, her hand clamped around the stele. Julian sat up a little straighter, the ragged remnants of his shirt hanging off his shoulders. He took a deep breath, glancing down at himself—and the iratze faded back into his skin, like black ice melting, spreading, being absorbed by the sea.
He looked up at Emma. She could see her own reflection in his eyes: she looked wrecked, panicked, with blood on her neck and her white tank top. "It hurts less," he said in a low voice.
The wound on his side pulsed again; blood slid down the side of his rib cage, staining his leather belt and the waistband of his jeans. She put her hands on his bare skin, panic rising up inside her. His skin felt hot, too hot. Fever hot.
"I have to call," she whispered. "I don't care if the whole world comes down around us, Jules, the most important thing is that you live."
"Please," he said, desperation clear in his voice. "Whatever is happening, we'll fix it, because we're parabatai. We're forever. I said that to you once, do you remember?"
She nodded warily, hand on the phone.
"And the strength of a rune your parabatai gives you is special. Emma, you can do it. You can heal me. We're parabatai and that means the things we can do together are . . . extraordinary."
There was blood on her jeans now, blood on her hands and her tank top, and he was still bleeding, the wound still open, an incongruous tear in the smooth skin all around it.
"Try," Jules said in a dry whisper. "For me, try?"
His voice went up on the question and in it she heard the voice of the boy he had been once, and she remembered him smaller, skinnier, younger, back pressed against one of the marble columns in the Hall of Accords in Alicante as his father advanced on him with his blade unsheathed.
And she remembered what Julian had done, then. Done to protect her, to protect all of them, because he always would do everything to protect them.
She took her hand off the phone and gripped the stele, so tightly she felt it dig into her damp palm. "Look at me, Jules," she said in a low voice, and he met her eyes with his. She placed the stele against his skin, and for a moment she held still, just breathing, breathing and remembering.
Julian. A presence in her life for as long as she could remember, splashing water at each other in the ocean, digging in the sand together, him putting his hand over hers and them marveling at the difference in the shape and length of their fingers. Julian singing, terribly and off-key, while he drove, his fingers in her hair carefully freeing a trapped leaf, his hands catching her in the training room when she fell, and fell, and fell. The first time after their parabatai ceremony when she'd smashed her hand into a wall in rage at not being able to get a sword maneuver right, and he'd come up to her, taken her still-shaking body in his arms and said, "Emma, Emma, don't hurt yourself. When you do, I feel it, too."
Something in her chest seemed to split and crack; she marveled that it wasn't audible. Energy raced along her veins, and the stele jerked in her hand before it seemed to move on its own, tracing the graceful outline of a healing rune across Julian's chest. She heard him gasp, his eyes flying open. His hand slid down her back and he pressed her against him, his teeth gritted.
"Don't stop," he said.
Emma couldn't have stopped if she'd wanted to. The stele seemed to be moving of its own accord; she was blinded with memories, a kaleidoscope of them, all of them Julian. Sun in her eyes and Julian asleep on the beach in an old T-shirt and her not wanting to wake him, but he'd woken anyway when the sun went down and looked for her immediately, not smiling till his eyes found her and he knew she was there. Falling asleep talking and waking up with their hands interlocked; they'd been children in the dark together once but now they were something else, something intimate and powerful, something Emma felt she was touching only the very edge of as she finished the rune and the stele fell from her nerveless fingers.
"Oh," she said softly. The rune seemed lit from within by a soft glow.
"And where were the papers of the Cold Peace signed?"
It was a distractingly bright day. Sunlight poured in through the high windows, illuminating the board in front of which Diana paced, tapping the palm of her left hand with a stele.
Emma looked sideways at Jules, but he had his head bent over some papers. They hadn't really spoken so far today, aside from being polite to each other at breakfast. She had woken up with her stomach feeling hollow and her hands hurting from clenching the bedclothes.
Also Church had abandoned her sometime during the night. Stupid cat.
"In Idris," said Livvy. "At the Hall of Accords. The Seelie Queen had gone into seclusion by then, so the papers were signed by the Regent. The Unseelie King didn't attend, so technically the Unseelie faeries aren't part of the Cold Peace."
"Correct." Diana flashed a smile. "What does that mean for the Unseelie faeries?"
"They aren't protected under the Accords," said Ty. "It's forbidden to help them, and they're forbidden from contacting Shadowhunters."
"Shadowhunters aren't allowed to help any faeries at all without the permission of the Clave," Jules added. He looked calm—he looked exhausted, actually. There were dark circles under his eyes.
Emma and Julian didn't fight. They never fought. She wondered if he was as baffled as she was. She kept hearing what he’d said over and over: that he wouldn't have wanted a parabatai. Part of her never wanted to talk about it again, but another part of her wanted clarification. Was it any parabatai he didn't want, or her specifically?
"And what is the Clave, Tavvy?" It was a question too elementary for any of the rest of them, but Tavvy looked pleased to be able to answer something.
"The government of the Shadowhunters," he said. "Active Shadowhunters are all in the Clave. The ones who make decisions are the Council. There are three Downworlders on the Council, each one representing a different Downworlder race. Warlocks, werewolves, and vampires. There hasn't been a faerie representative since the Dark War."
"Very good," said Diana, and Tavvy beamed. "Can anyone tell me what other changes have been wrought by the Council since the end of the war?"
"Well, the Shadowhunter Academy was reopened," said Emma. This was familiar territory for her she had been invited by the Consul to be one of the first students. She'd chosen to stay with the Blackthorns instead. Partly so she could be parabatai with Julian. "A lot of Shadowhunters are trained there now, and of course they bring in many Ascendant hopefuls—mundanes who want to become Nephilim."
"The Praetor Lupus was restored by Maia Roberts and Bartholomew Velasquez," said Livvy, flipping through her Codex.
"They're not Clave," said Ty. "They're Downworlders. And the Praetor Lupus is a Downworlder organization."
Livvy stuck her tongue out at him.
"The Scholomance," said Julian. His curls fell against his cheek as he lifted his head, dark and glossy. "The Scholomance trains the most elite Shadowhunters. Those who have graduated with the highest honors from the Academy. Some of them become Centurions, entrusted with special missions. Some become heads of Institutes."
"Was Uncle Arthur a Centurion?" asked Tavvy, eyes wide.
"No," said Diana. "Arthur became Institute head before the Scholomance was reopened."
Cristina, who had the seat closest to the window, raised her hand to interrupt. "There's someone coming up the path to the house," she said. "Several someones, in fact."
Emma glanced over at Jules again. It was rare that anyone paid an unscheduled visit to the Institute. There were only a few people who might—even most of the members of the Conclave would have made an appointment with Arthur. Then again, maybe someone did have an appointment with Arthur. Though by the look on Julian’s face, if they did, it was one he didn't know about.
Cristina, who had risen to her feet, drew her breath in. "Hadas," she said, the word emerging on a staccato beat of astonishment. "Faeries."
Everyone bolted to the one long window that ran across the main wall of the room. The window itself looked out onto the front of the Institute and the winding path that led from the doors down to the highway that divided them from the beach and the sea. The sky was high and blue and cloudless. The sunlight sparked off the silver bridles of three horses, each with a silent rider seated on its bare back.
The first horse was black, and the rider who sat on him wore black armor that looked like burned leaves. The second horse was black as well, and the rider who sat on him wore a robe the color of ivory. The third horse was brown, and its rider was wrapped head to toe in a hooded robe the color of bark. Emma couldn’t tell if it was a man or a woman, a child or an adult.
"So first let pass the horses black and then let pass the brown," Jules murmured. His shoulder bumped against Emma's. She bit her lip.
"One black, one brown, one white—it's an official delegation. From the Courts." Julian looked across the room at Diana. "I didn't know Arthur had a meeting with a delegation from Faerie. Do you think he told the Clave?"
She shook her head, clearly puzzled. "I don't know. He never mentioned it to me."
Julian's body was taut like a bowstring; Emma could feel the tension coming off of him. A delegation from Faerie was a rare, serious thing. Permission from the Clave had to be granted before a meeting could be held. Even by the head of an Institute. "Diana, I have to go," he said.
Frowning, Diana tapped her stele against one hand, then nodded. "Fine. Go ahead."
"I'll come with you." Emma slid down from the window seat.
Julian, already headed to the door, paused and turned. His eyes were unreadable. What was he thinking? "No," he said quietly. "It's all right. I'll take care of it."
He walked out of the room. For a moment Emma didn't move.
Normally if Julian told her he didn't need her with him, or that he had to do something alone, she wouldn't have given it a second thought. Sometimes events necessitated splitting up.
But the night before had solidified her feeling of unease: She didn't know what was going on with Jules. She didn't know if he didn't want her with him, or did but was angry with her or angry with himself, or both.
She only knew that the Fair Folk were dangerous, and there was no way Julian was facing them alone.
"I'm going," she said, and headed toward the door. She stopped to take down Cortana, which was hanging beside it.
"Emma," said Diana, her voice tight with meaning. "Be careful."
The last time faeries had been in the Institute, they had helped Sebastian Morgenstern wrench the soul from the body of Julian's father. They had taken Mark. They had ended the life of the Blackthorns' tutor.
Emma had carried Tavvy and Dru to safety. She had helped save the lives of Julian's younger brothers and sisters. They had barely escaped alive.
But Emma hadn't had years of training then. She hadn't killed a single demon herself, not when she was twelve. She hadn't spent years training to fight and kill and defend.
There was no way she was hanging back now. She went out the door and let it slam shut behind her.
Julian raced down the corridor and into his bedroom, his mind whirling.
Faeries at the doors of the Institute. Three steeds: two black, one brown. A contingent from a Faerie Court, though Seelie or Unseelie, Julian couldn't have said. They seemed to have been flying no banner.
They would want to talk. If there was anything faeries were good at, it was talking circles around humans. Even Shadowhunters. They could pierce the truth of a lie, and see the lie at the heart of a truth.
He grabbed up the jacket he'd been wearing the day before. There it was, in the inside pocket. The vial Malcolm had given him. He hadn't expected to need it so soon. He had hoped—
Well, never mind what he had hoped. He thought of Emma, briefly, and the chaos of broken hopes she represented. But now wasn't the time to think about that; clutching the vial, Julian broke into a run again. He reached the end of the hallway and yanked open the door to the attic. He pounded up the steps and burst into his uncle's study.
Uncle Arthur was seated at his desk, wearing a slightly ragged T-shirt, jeans, and loafers. His gray-brown hair hung nearly to his shoulders. He was comparing two massive books to each other, muttering and marking down notes as he went.
"Uncle Arthur." Julian approached the desk. "Uncle Arthur!"
Uncle Arthur made a shooing gesture at him. "I'm in the middle of something important. Something very important, Tiberius."
"I'm Julian." Julian spoke automatically. He moved up behind his uncle and slammed both books shut. Arthur looked up at him in surprise, his faded blue eyes widening. "There's a delegation here. From Faerie. Did you know they were coming?"
"Yes, very tiresome." Uncle Arthur sighed and gestured vaguely toward the skylights. "Message after message, when they must know how busy I am."
Julian prayed silently for patience. "The messages, where are the messages?"
"They were written on leaves," Arthur said. "They crumbled. Words are so fickle, Julian. Did you know that when Keats died, he had Here lies one whose name was writ in water inscribed on his grave? All our names will be forgotten someday."
"Yes," Julian said.
"My monograph is nearly complete. Yet they insisted."
"Insisted on what, exactly?"
"Why, a meeting, of course."
Julian took a deep breath. "Do you know what the meeting is about, Uncle Arthur?"
"I'm sure they mentioned it in their correspondence... ," Uncle Arthur said vaguely. "But I don't recall it." He looked up at Julian. "Perhaps the ghosts took it."
Julian tensed. Arthur had different kinds of days: quiet ones, where he sat silently without responding to questions, and dark days, where he was sunk into a bitter gloom. Mentioning the dead meant not a dark day or a quiet day but the worst kind, a chaotic day, a day when Arthur would do nothing Julian expected—when he might lash out in anger or crumple into tears. The kind of day that brought the bitter taste of panic to the back of Julian's throat.
Julian put his hand over Arthur's. His uncle's hand was slender and bony; it felt like the hand of a much older man. "I wish you didn't have to go to the meeting. But they'll be suspicious if you don't."
Arthur drew his glasses off his face and rubbed the bridge of his nose. "My monograph..."
"I know," Julian said. "It's important. But this is also important. Not just for the Cold Peace but for us. For Helen. For Mark."
"Do you remember Mark?" Arthur said. His eyes were brighter without the glasses. "It was so long ago."
"Not that very long ago, Uncle," said Julian. "I remember him perfectly."
"It does seem like yesterday." Arthur shuddered. "I remember the Fair Folk warriors. They came into the London Institute with their armor covered in blood. So much blood, as if they had been in the Achaean lines when Zeus rained down blood." His hand, holding his glasses, shook. "I cannot see them."
"You have to," Julian said. He thought of everything unspoken: that he himself had been a child during the Dark War, that he had seen faeries slaughter children, heard the screams of the Wild Hunt. But he said none of it. "Uncle, you must."
"If I had my medication... ," Arthur said faintly. "But I ran out while you were gone."
"I have it." From his pocket, Julian produced the vial. "You should have asked Malcolm for more."
"I didn't remember." Arthur slid his glasses back onto his nose, watching as Julian tipped the contents of the vial into the glass of water on the desk. "How to find him...who to trust."
"You can trust me," Julian said, almost choking on the words, and held the glass out to his uncle. "Here. You know how the Fair Folk are. They feed on human unease and take advantage of it. This will help keep you calm, even if they try their tricks."
"Yes." Arthur looked at the glass, half with hunger and half fear. The contents of it would affect him for an hour, maybe less. Afterward he would have a blinding, crippling headache that might keep him in bed for days. It was why Julian hardly ever gave it to him: the aftereffect was rarely worth it, but it would be worth it now. It had to be.
Uncle Arthur hesitated. Slowly he lifted the glass to his mouth, tipped the water in. Slowly he swallowed.
The effect was instant. Suddenly everything about Arthur seemed to sharpen, to become crisp, clear, precise, like a sketch that had been refined into a careful drawing. He rose to his feet and reached for the jacket that hung on a peg by his desk. "Hurry downstairs, Jules," he said. "They'll be in the Sanctuary. Tell them I'm coming." His voice was calm. Normal.
If there was any such thing as normal.
"Go on, then," Arthur said. "I'll have to change my clothes. I'll be down as quickly as I can. Stall them."
Julian bit his lip, and absently tasted blood. Copper and salt. He glanced down at his watch and started off toward the Sanctuary.
Every Institute had a Sanctuary.
It had always been that way. The Institute was a mixture of city hall and residence, a place where Shadowhunters and Downworlders alike came to meet with the Institute's head. The head was the local representative of the Clave. In all of Southern California, there was no more important Shadowhunter than the head of the Los Angeles Institute. And the safest place to meet him was the Sanctuary, where vampires did not need to fear hallowed ground, and all Downworlders were protected by oaths.
The Sanctuary had two sets of doors. One led outside, and could be entered by anyone, who would find themselves inside the massive stone-bound room. The other set of doors connected the inside of the Institute to the Sanctuary. It could be used only by Shadowhunters. Like the front doors of the Institute, the inner doors of the Sanctuary yielded only to those with Shadowhunter blood.
Emma had paused on the landing of the stairs to look out the window for the Fair Folk delegation. She had seen their horses, riderless, tied up near the stairs. If the Fair Folk delegation had experience with Shadowhunters, and they likely did, then they were already inside the Sanctuary, waiting.
The inner doors to the Sanctuary were at the end of a corridor that led off the Institute's main entryway. They were made of copper metal that had long gone green with verdigris; runes of protection and welcome wound their way around the framework of the doors like vines.
Emma could hear voices from the other side of the doors: unfamiliar voices, one clear like water, one sharp like a twig snapping underfoot. She tightened her hold on Cortana and pushed through the doors.
The Sanctuary itself was built in the shape of a crescent moon, facing the mountains—the shadowy canyons, the silver-green brush scattered across the landscape. The mountains blocked the sun, but the room was bright, thanks to a pendant chandelier hanging from the ceiling. Light bounced off the cut glass and illuminated the checkerboard floor: alternating squares of darker and lighter wood. If you climbed to the chandelier and looked down, they revealed themselves as the shape of the Angelic Power rune.
Not that Emma would admit she'd done that.
In the center of the room were the faeries. There were only two of them, the one in white robes and the one in black armor. Nowhere could she see the brown rider. Neither of their faces was visible. She could see the fingertips of long, pale hands extending beyond their sleeves, but couldn't tell if they were male or female.
Emma could sense a wild, unwieldy power rolling off them, the breathy edge of otherworldliness. A feeling like the cool damp of wet earth brushed her skin, carrying the scent of roots and leaves and jacaranda blossoms.
The faerie in black laughed and drew his hood down. Emma started. Hair the color of dark green leaves, pale skin, yellow owl's eyes. His hands were rough and barklike, and each nail was a thorn.
It was the faerie she had seen at the Sepulchre the previous night.
"We meet again, fair one," he said, and his mouth, which was like a slit in the bark of a tree, grinned. "I am Iarlath of the Seelie Court. My companion in white is Kieran of the Hunt. Kieran, lower your hood."
The faerie lifted two slender hands, each of them tipped by nearly translucent, square nails. He took hold of the edges of his hood and thrust it back with an imperious, almost rebellious gesture.
Emma suppressed a gasp. He was beautiful. Not like Julian was beautiful, or Cristina—in softened human ways—but like the hard, glittering cutting edge of Cortana. Dark blue hair, the color of cobalt paint, framed a sculpted face. His eyes were twocolored: the left black and the right silver. He wore the battered white armor that proclaimed him a prince of Faerie, but his eyes—his eyes said that he was part of the Wild Hunt.
"Is this because of the other night?" Emma said, looking from Iarlath to Kieran. "At the Sepulchre?"
"In part," said Iarlath. His voice sounded like boughs creaking in the wind. Like the dark depths of fairy-tale forests, where only monsters lived. Emma wondered that she hadn't heard it at the bar.
"Is this the girl?" Kieran's voice was very different: It sounded like waves sliding up the shore. Like warm water under pale light. It was seductive, with an edge of brittle cold. He looked at Emma as if she were a science experiment. "She's pretty," he said. "I didn't think she'd be pretty. You didn't mention it."
Iarlath shrugged. "You've always been partial to blondes," he said.
"Okay, seriously?" Emma snapped her fingers. "I am right here. And I was not aware I was being invited to a game of 'Who's the Hottest?'"
"I wasn't aware you were invited at all," said Kieran.
"Rude," said Emma. "This is my house. And what are you doing here, anyway? Did you show up to tell me that he"—she pointed at Iarlath—"isn't responsible for the murder at the Sepulchre? Because that seems like going way out of your way just to say you didn't do it."
"Of course I didn't do it," Iarlath snapped. "Don't be ridiculous."
Under any other circumstances, Emma would have dismissed the comment. Faeries, though, couldn't lie. Not fullblooded faeries, anyway. Half faeries, like Mark and Helen, could tell untruths, but Iarlath didn't look half.
Emma crossed her arms over her chest. "Repeat after me: 'I did not murder the victim you speak of, Emma Carstairs,'" she said. "So I know it's true."
Iarlath's yellow eyes fixed on Emma with dislike. "I did not murder the victim you speak of, Emma Carstairs."
"Then why are you here?" Emma demanded. "Oh, is this one of those missed connections things? We met the other night, you felt a spark? Sorry, but I don't date trees."
"I am not a tree." Iarlath looked angry, his bark peeling slightly.
"Emma," said a warning voice from the doorway.
To Emma's enormous surprise, it was Arthur Blackthorn. He stood at the entrance to the Sanctuary, wearing a somber dark suit, his hair neatly combed back. The sight gave Emma a jolt; it was a long time since she remembered him wearing anything but a ragged robe over old, coffee-stained pajamas.
Standing beside him was Julian, his brown hair rumpled. Shock passed across his face when he saw Emma. She searched his face for signs of anger, but saw none—he looked like someone who'd run a marathon, actually, and was holding himself back from crumpling with exhaustion and relief.
"My apologies for the behavior of my ward," said Arthur, striding into the room. "Though it is not forbidden to squabble in the Sanctuary, it is against the spirit of the place." He sank down in the massive stone chair. "I am Arthur Blackthorn. This is my nephew Julian Blackthorn." Julian, who had come to stand beside Arthur's seat, inclined his head as Kieran and Iarlath introduced themselves. "Now, pray tell us why you are here."
The faerie convoy exchanged glances. "What," said Kieran, "no words about the Cold Peace or about how this visit breaks your Law?"
"My uncle does not administrate the Cold Peace," said Julian. "And it is not what we wish to discuss. You know the rules as well as we do; if you've chosen to break them, it must be for an important reason. If you don't wish to share the information, my uncle will have to ask you to leave."
Kieran's eyes narrowed. "Very well," he said. "We have come to ask a favor."
"A favor?" Emma said in amazement. The wording of the Cold Peace was clear: Shadowhunters were not to give aid to either the Seelie or the Unseelie Court.
"Perhaps you are confused," Arthur said coldly. "You might have heard of my niece and nephew; you might think that because our relatives Mark and Helen have faerie blood you will find a kinder hearing here than you would at some other Institute. But my niece was sent away because of the Cold Peace, and my nephew was stolen from us."
Kieran's lip curled up at the corner. "Your niece's exile was a Shadowhunter decree, not a faerie one," he said. "As for your nephew—"
Arthur took a shaking breath. His hands were gripping the armrests of his chair. "The hand of the Consul was forced by the betrayal of the Queen of the Seelie Court. Unseelie warriors fought beside hers. No faerie hand is free of blood. We are not well disposed toward faeries here."
"The Cold Peace wasn't what took Mark away from us,” said Julian, his cheeks burning with color. "That was you. The Wild Hunt. We can see by your eyes that you ride with Gwyn, don't deny it."
"Oh," said Kieran with a slight smirk on his lips, "I would not deny that."
Emma wondered if anyone else heard Julian's intake of breath. "So you know my brother."
The smirk never left Kieran's face. "Of course I do."
Julian looked as if he were holding himself back by main force. "What do you know about Mark?"
"What is this pretense of surprise?" demanded Iarlath. "It is foolishness. We mentioned Mark of the Hunt in the letter we sent."
Emma saw the look on Julian's face, a flicker of shock. She stepped forward quickly, not wanting him to be the one to have to ask. "What letter?" she demanded.
"It was written on a leaf," Arthur said. "A leaf that crumbled." He was sweating; he took the handkerchief from his breast pocket and mopped at his forehead. "There were words on it about killings. About Mark. I didn't believe it was real. I was—"
Julian stepped forward, half-blocking his uncle from view. "Killings?"
Kieran looked at Julian, and his bicolored eyes darkened. Emma felt the uncomfortable sensation that Kieran thought he knew something about her parabatai, something she didn't know herself. "You know of the murders," he said. "Emma Carstairs found one of the bodies the other night. We know you are aware there have been others."
"Why do you care?"said Julian. "Faeries do not normally involve themselves in the bloodshed of the human world."
"We do if the blood being shed is faerie blood," said Kieran. He looked around at their surprised faces. "Whoever is the killer, they have been murdering and mutilating faeries, too. That is why Iarlath was at the Sepulchre the other night. That is why Emma Carstairs encountered him. You were chasing the same killer."
Iarlath reached into his cloak and drew out a handful of glittering mica. He tossed it into the air, where the particles hung and separated, coalescing into three-dimensional images. Images of bodies, faerie bodies—some very humanlooking; some nixies, with their gills and green hair; some pixies, with their all-blue eyes and petite frames. All were dead. All had skin carved with the twining markings that had adorned the body Emma and Cristina had found the night before.
Emma found herself unconsciously leaning forward, trying to get a better view of the illusion. "What are these? Magic photographs?"
"Memories, preserved with magic," said Iarlath.
"Illusions," said Julian. 'Illusions can lie."
Iarlath turned his hand to the side, and the images changed. Emma was suddenly looking at the dead man she'd found in the alley the other night. It was an exact image, down to the twisted look of horror on his face.
"You saw him," said Emma. "You came across him before I did. I wondered."
Iarlath closed his hand, and the glittering pieces of mica fell to the floor like drops of rain, the illusion vanishing. "I did. He was already dead. I could not have helped him. I left him for you to find."
Emma said nothing. It was quite evident from the picture that Iarlath was telling the truth.
And faeries didn't lie.
"Shadowhunters have been killed too, we know," Kieran said.
"Shadowhunters are often killed," said Uncle Arthur. "There is no safe place."
"Not so," said Kieran. 'There is protection where there are protectors."
"My parents," Emma said, ignoring Julian, who was shaking his head at her, as if to say, Don't tell them, don't share, don't give them anything. She knew he was likely right—it was in the nature of faeries to take your secrets and turn them against you. But if there was the chance, the smallest chance that they knew something... "Their bodies were found with those same markings on them, five years ago. Within a day they'd crumbled to ashes."
Kieran glanced at her with shimmering eyes. Neither looked quite human: The black eye was too dark, the silver too metallic. "We know about your parents," he said. "We know of their deaths. We know of the demon language with which their bodies were inscribed."
"Mutilated," Emma said, her breath catching, and felt Julian's eyes on her, a reminder that he was there, a silent support. "Disfigured. Not inscribed."
Kieran's expression didn't change. "We understand as well that you have tried for years to translate or understand the markings on the bodies, with no success. We can help you change that."
"What are you saying, exactly?' Julian demanded. He eyes were guarded; his whole posture was. The tension in his body kept Emma from bursting out with questions.
'The scholars of the Unseelie Court have studied the markings,' said Iarlath. "It looks like a language from an ancient time of Faerie. One long before your human memory. Before there were Nephilim.'
"Back when faeries were more closely tied to their demonic ancestry," said Arthur hoarsely.
Kieran's lip curled as if Arthur had said something distasteful. “Our scholars began to translate it,” he said. He drew a sheet of thin, parchment-like paper from his cloak. Emma recognized on it the markings that she was so familiar with. The ones that her parents' dead bodies had borne. Below the markings were more words, written in a spidery script.
Emma's heart started to pound.
"They translated the first line," he said. "It does appear to perhaps be part of a spell. There our knowledge fails us—the Fair Folk do not deal in spells; that is warlock territory—"
"You translated the first line?" Emma burst out. "What is it?"
"We will tell you," said Iarlath, "and give you the work our scholars have done so far, if you will agree to our terms."
Julian looked at them with narrowed eyes. "Why would you translate only the first line?" he said. "Why not the whole thing?"
"Scarce had the scholars worked out the meaning of that first line, when the Unseelie King forbade them to continue," said Kieran. "The magic of this spell is dark, demonic in origin. He did not want it awakened in Faerie."
"You could have continued the work yourself," said Emma.
"All faeries are forbidden by the King to touch these words," snapped Iarlath. "But that does not mean our involvement ends. We believe this text, these markings, may help lead you to the killer, once they are understood."
"And you want us to translate the rest of the markings?" Julian said. "Using the line you've worked out as a key, I take it."
"More than that," said Iarlath. "The translation is but the first step. It will lead you to the murderer. Once you have found that person, you will turn them over to the Unseelie King that they might stand trial for the murder of the fey, and receive justice."
"You want us to conduct an investigation on your behalf?" Julian snapped. "We're Shadowhunters. We're bound by the Cold Peace, just like you. It is forbidden for us to help the Fair Folk, forbidden for us to even entertain you here. You know what we'd be risking. How dare you ask?"
There was rage in Julian's voice—rage out of proportion to the suggestion, but Emma couldn't blame him. She knew what he saw when he looked at faeries, especially faeries with the broken eyes of the Wild Hunt. He saw the cold wastes of Wrangel Island. He saw the empty bedroom in the Institute where Mark no longer was.
"It isn't just their investigation," Emma said quietly. "It's mine, too. This has something to do with my parents.'
"I know," Julian said, and his anger was gone. There was an ache in his voice instead. "But not this way, Emma—"
"Why come here?" Arthur interrupted, looking pained, his face gray. "Why not to a warlock?"
Kieran's beautiful face twisted. "We cannot consult a warlock," he said. "None of Lilith's Children will deal with us. The Cold Peace has left us shunned by other Downworlders. But you can. You can visit the High Warlock Malcolm Fade, or Magnus Bane himself, and demand an answer to your question. We are chained, but you—" He spoke the word with scorn. "You are free."
"This is the wrong family to have come to," said Arthur. "You are asking us to break the Law for you, as if we have some special regard for the Fair Folk. But the Blackthorns have not forgotten what you have taken from them."
"No," Emma said. "We need that paper, we need—"
"Emma." Arthur's look was sharp. "Enough."
Emma dropped her gaze, but her blood was singing through her veins, a determined melody of rebellion. If the faeries left and took the paper with them, she would find some way to track them down, to retrieve the information, to learn what she had to learn. Some way. Even if the Institute couldn't risk it, she could.
Iarlath looked at Arthur. "I do not think you wish to make such a hasty decision."
Arthur's jaw tightened. "Why do you second-guess me, neighbor?"
The Good Neighbors. An old, old term for faerie folk. It was Kieran who replied: "Because we have something that you want above all other things. And if you help us, we are willing to give it to you."
Julian paled. Emma, staring at him, was for a moment too caught up in his reaction to realize herself what they were implying. When she did, her heart gave an uneven throb inside her chest.
"What is it?" Julian whispered. "What do you have that we want?"
"Oh, come now," Kieran said. "What do you think?"
The door of the Sanctuary, the one that went to the outside of the Institute, opened, and the faerie in the brown robes came in. He moved with grace and silence, no hesitation or trepidation—without anything human about his movements at all. Entering the pattern of the angelic rune on the floor, he came to a stop. The room was completely silent as he raised his hands to his hood and—for the first time—hesitated.
His hands were human, long-fingered, tanned pale brown.
Emma wasn't breathing. She couldn't breathe. Julian looked as if he were in a dream. Arthur's face was blank, confused.
"Take your hood down, boy," said Iarlath. "Show your face."
The familiar hands tightened on the hood and yanked it down. Pushing, then shoving the cloak off his shoulders, as if the material of it clung unpleasantly. Emma saw the flash of a long, lithe body, of pale hair, of tanned skin, as the cloak was wrenched away and slid to the ground in a dark puddle.
A boy stood in the heart of the rune, panting. A boy who looked about seventeen, with fair hair that curled like acanthus vines, tangled with twigs and briars, hanging to his shoulders. His eyes showed the shattered doubling of the Wild Hunt: two colors—one gold, one Blackthorn blue. His feet were bare, black with dirt, his clothes ragged and torn. His skin bore a hundred scars.
A wave of dizziness passed through Emma, and a terrible mixture of horror and relief and amazement. Julian had stiffened, as if he'd been shocked with electricity. She saw the slight tightening of his mouth, the twitch of the muscle in his cheek. He didn't open his mouth; it was Arthur who spoke, half-rising from his chair, his voice thready and uncertain:
Mark's eyes widened in confusion. He opened his mouth to answer. Iarlath whirled on him. "Mark Blackthorn of the Wild Hunt," he snapped. "Do not speak until given permission to speak."
Mark's lips slammed together. He bowed his head.
"And you," said Kieran, holding up a hand as Julian started forward, "stay where you are."
"What have you done to him?" Julian's eyes flashed. "What have you done to my brother?"
"Mark belongs to the Wild Hunt,' said Iarlath. "If we choose to release him to you, it will be at our recognizance."
Arthur had sunk back into the chair behind him. He was blinking owlishly from Mark to the faerie host and back again. The gray color was back in his face. "The dead rise and the lost return," he said. "We should fly blue banners from the tops of the towers."
Kieran narrowed his eyes. "Why does he say that?"
Julian looked from Arthur to Mark to the other two faeries. "He's in shock," he said. "His health is fragile; it has been since the war. You've shocked him."
"It's from an old Shadowhunter poem," said Emma. "I'm surprised you don't know it."
"Poems contain much truth," said Iarlath, and there was humor in his voice, but a bitter sort. Emma wondered if he was laughing at them or himself.
Julian was staring at Mark, a look on his face of unmitigated shock and longing. "Mark?" he said.
Mark did not look up.
Julian looked as if he had been pierced by elf-bolts, the sly faerie arrows that burrowed under the skin and released deadly poison. Any anger Emma had felt toward him about the night before evaporated. The look on his face was like knife blades in her heart. “Mark,” he said again, and then in a half whisper, "Why? Why can't he speak to me?"
Julian's pulse hammered in his throat. Emma saw it and hated the faeries, suddenly and fiercely, for in holding Mark, they also held Julian's human, breakable heart.
"He is forbidden by Gwyn to speak until our bargain is sealed," said Kieran. He glanced at Mark, and there was something cold in his expression. Hatred? Envy? Did he despise Mark for being half-human? Did they all? How had they showed their hate all these years, when Mark was at their mercy?
Emma could sense how hard Julian was holding himself back from going to his brother. She spoke for him. "So Mark is your bargaining chip."
Rage flashed across Kieran's face, sudden and startling. "Why must you state things that are obvious? Why must all humans do it? Foolish girl—"
Julian changed; his attention snapped away from Mark, his spine straightening, his voice hardening. He sounded calm, but Emma, who knew him so well, could hear the ice blades in his voice. "Emma is my parabatai," he said. "If you ever speak to her like that again, there will be blood on the floor of the Sanctuary, and I do not care if they put me to death for it."
Kieran's beautiful, alien eyes gleamed. "You Nephilim are loyal to your chosen partners, I will give you that." He waved a dismissive hand. "I suppose Mark is our bargaining chip, as you put it, but do not forget that it is the fault of the Nephilim that we need one at all. There was a time when Shadowhunters would have investigated the killings of our kind because they believed in their mandate to protect more than they believed in their hate."
"There was a time when the Fair Folk would have returned to us one of our own that they had taken," said Arthur. "The pain of loss goes both ways, as does the loss of trust."
"Well, you will have to trust us," said Kieran. "You have no one else. Do you?"
There was a long silence. Julian's gaze went back to his brother, helplessly, as if he were being pulled toward him on a string. "So you want us to find out who is responsible for these killings," he said. "Stop the murders of faeries and humans. And in return you will give us Mark, if we succeed?"
"The Court is prepared to be far more generous," said Kieran. "We will give you Mark now. He will assist you in your investigation. And when the investigation is over, he may choose whether he remains with you or returns to the Hunt."
"He will choose us," Julian said coldly. "We are his family."
Kieran's eyes shone. "I would not be so sure, young Shadowhunter. Those of the Hunt are loyal to the Hunt."
"He isn t of the Hunt," Emma said. "He s a Blackthorn."
"His mother was fey," said Kieran. "And he has ridden with us, reaped the dead with us, mastered the use of elf-bolt and arrow. He is a formidable warrior in the faerie fashion, but he is not like you. He will not fight like you. He is not Nephilim."
"Yes, he is," said Julian. "Shadowhunter blood breeds true. His skin can bear Marks. You know the laws."
Kieran did not reply to that, just looked at Arthur. "Only the head of the Institute can decide this. You must let your uncle speak freely."
Emma looked to Arthur; they all did. Arthur picked nervously, fretfully at the arm of his chair. "You wish the fey boy here that he might report on us to you," he said, finally, in a quavering voice. "He will be your spy."
The fey boy. Not Mark. Emma looked over at Mark, but if a flicker of hurt passed across his stony face, it was invisible.
"If we wished to spy on you, there are easier ways," said Kieran in a tone of cold reproach. "We would not need to give up Mark—he is one of the best fighters of the Hunt. Gwyn will miss him sorely. He will not be a spy."
Julian drew away from Emma, fell on his knees by his uncle's chair. He leaned in and whispered to Arthur, and Emma strained to hear what he was saying, but could make out only a few words—"brother" and "investigation" and "murder" and "medicine" and "Clave."
Arthur held up a shaking hand, as if to silence his nephew, and turned to the faeries. "We will accept your offer," he said. "On the condition that there will be no tricks. At the end of the investigation, when the killer is caught, Mark will make his own free choice to stay or to go."
"Of course," said Iarlath. "As long as the murderer is delivered to us. We wish for the one with the blood on his hands—it will not be enough for you to say 'it was done by that one or this one' or 'vampires were responsible.' The murderer or murderers will be placed in the custody of the Courts. We will mete out justice."
If you were capable of justice, we would not all be here now, Emma thought, but she said nothing.
"First you swear," said Julian, his blue-green eyes bright and hard. "Say, 'I swear that when the terms of the bargain are fulfilled, Mark Blackthorn will make his own free choice whether he wishes to be part of the Hunt or return to his life as a Nephilim.'"
Kieran's mouth tightened. "I swear that when the terms of the bargain are fulfilled, Mark Blackthorn will make his own free choice whether he wishes to be part of the Hunt or return to his life as a Nephilim."
Emma looked at Mark. He was expressionless, unmoving as he had been all this time, as if they weren't discussing him but someone else. He looked as if he were seeing through the walls of the Sanctuary, seeing the distant ocean perhaps, or a place even farther away than that.
"Then I think we have an arrangement," Julian said. 'Raziel help us," he muttered.
The two faeries looked at each other, and then Kieran walked over to Mark. He laid his white hands on Mark's shoulders and said something to him in a guttural language Emma didn't understand—it was nothing Diana had taught them, not the high, fluting speech of the Court fey or any other magical speech. Mark didn't move, and Kieran stepped away, looking unsurprised.
"He is yours for now," he said, looking at Arthur. "We will leave his steed for him. They have become...attached."
"He won't be able to use a horse," Julian said, his voice tight. "Not in Los Angeles."
Kieran's smile was full of contempt. "I think you'll find he can use this one."
"God!" It was Arthur, crying out. He lurched forward, his hands cradling his head. "It hurts—"
Julian moved to his uncle's side, reaching to grip his arm, but Arthur threw him off, rising to his feet, his breath uneven. "I must excuse myself," he said. "My headache. It is unbearable."
He looked horribly unwell, it was true. His skin was the color of dirty chalk, his collar sticking to his throat with sweat.
Both Kieran and Iarlath said nothing. Neither did Mark, who still stood swaying blindly on his feet, his eyes fixed on the ground. The fey watched Arthur with avid curiosity burning in their eyes. Emma could read their thoughts. The head of the Los Angeles Institute. He is weak, unwell....
The inner doors rattled, and Diana came in. She looked cool and calm as always. Her dark gaze took in the scene before her; she seemed neither surprised nor worried. "Arthur," she said. "You are needed upstairs. Do go. I will escort the convoy outside to discuss the bargain."
How long was she out there eavesdropping? Emma wondered as Arthur, looking desperately grateful, limped past Diana and toward the door. Diana was as quiet as a cat when she wanted to be, and she'd clearly been listening.
"Is he dying?" Iarlath asked with some curiosity, his gaze following Arthur as he left the Sanctuary.
"We're mortal," Emma said. "We get sick, we age. We're not like you. But it's nothing that should be a surprise."
"Enough," Diana said. "I will lead you from the Sanctuary, but first—the translation." She held out a slim brown hand.
Kieran handed over the near-translucent paper with a wry look. Diana glanced down at it. "What does the first line say?" Emma said, unable to stop herself.
Diana frowned. "Fire to water," she said. "What does that mean?"
Iarlath gave her a single cool look and moved to join her. "It will be the job of your people to find out."
Fire to water? Emma thought of the bodies of her parents, drowned and then crumbling like ashes. Of the body of the man in the alley, scorched and then soaked in seawater. She looked at Julian, wondering if his mind was following the same paths as hers—but no, he was looking at his brother, unmoving, as if frozen in place.
She itched to get her hands on the paper, but it was folded into Diana's jacket, and Diana was leading the two faerie men toward the Sanctuary exit. "You understand that we will be investigating this without the knowledge of the Clave," she said, as Iarlath fell into step beside her. Kieran walked behind them, scowling.
"We understand that you fear your government, yes," said Iarlath. "We fear them too, the architects of the Cold Peace."
Diana didn't rise to the bait. "If you must contact us during the investigation, you'll need to take care in doing so."
"We will come only to the Sanctuary, and you may leave messages here for us," said Kieran. "If we hear that you have spoken of our bargain to anyone outside these walls, especially one who is not Nephilim, we will be most displeased. Mark, too, is under orders of secrecy from the Hunt. You will find he will not disobey them."
Sunlight speared into the Sanctuary as Diana opened the doors to the outside. Emma felt a flash of gratitude for her tutor as Diana and the two faeries vanished. Gratitude for sparing Arthur—and for sparing Julian one more second of pretending that he was all right.
For Jules was looking at his brother—finally, really looking at him, with no one to see or judge his weakness. With no one to, at the last moment, take Mark away from him again.
Mark raised his head slowly. He was thin as a lath, so much narrower and more angular than Emma remembered him. He didn't seem to have aged so much as sharpened, as if the bones of chin and cheek and jaw had been refined with careful tools. He was gaunt but graceful, in the manner of the fey.
“Mark,” Julian breathed out, and Emma thought of the nightmares Jules had woken up from over the years, screaming for his brother, for Mark, and how hopeless he had sounded, and how lost. He was pale now, but his eyes were shining as if he were looking at a miracle. And it was a sort of miracle, Emma thought: The faeries didn't give back what they had taken.
Or at least, they never gave it back unchanged.
A chill suddenly ran up Emma's veins, but she didn't make a sound. She didn't move as Julian took a step toward his brother, and then another one, and then spoke, his voice breaking.
"Mark," he whispered. "Mark. It's me."
Mark looked Julian straight in the face. There was something about his two-colored eyes; both eyes had been blue when Emma had last seen him, and the bifurcation seemed to speak to something broken inside him, like a piece of pottery cracked along the glaze. He looked at Julian, taking in his height, his broad shoulders and lanky frame, his tousled brown hair, his Blackthorn eyes, and he spoke for the first time.
His voice sounded rough, scraped, as if he had been screaming.
"Father?" he said, and then, as Julian drew in a startled breath, Mark's eyes rolled back in his head and he collapsed to the floor in a dead faint.
"Emma." Raw pain. "I said what I said because—sometimes I think I asked you to be my parabatai because I wanted you to be tied to me."
She clutched at him, at his shoulders, his sides, her fingers digging into his skin, dragging him harder against her. He gasped into her mouth when she reached down to grab his soaking wet shirt and tore it up over his head. Her knees came up to clasp his hips and he shuddered, once, as if he were going to break.
"I’m here," he said, and went over to pick up Tavvy. Tavvy put his head down on Jules’ shoulder, looking sleepy, and getting paint all over Jules’ t-shirt. But Jules didn’t seem to care. He put his chin down in his younger brother’s curls and smiled at Emma.
"Forget it," he said. "I’m going to take this one off to bed. You should probably get some sleep, too."
But Emma’s veins were buzzing with a sharp elixir of anger and protectiveness. She could almost taste it in her mouth. No one hurt Julian. No one. Not even his much-missed, much-loved brother.
"I will," she said. "I’ve got something to do, first."
Julian’s blue-green eyes narrowed. "Emma, don’t try to —"
But she was already gone.
[...] there was a man coming down the steps. He was tall and narrow, dressed in a long coat the color of crow feathers [...]
Magnus grinned at her, sideways. "Anyway. It was no big deal for me to stop by here on my way to Buenos Aires."
"What's in Buenos Aires?" said Julian.
"Alec," Magnus said.
"It isn't easy, having the Sight, if you're a mundane," Julian said in a low voice. "You see things nobody else sees. You can't talk about it because no one will understand. You have to keep secrets, and secrets — they break you apart. Cut you open. Make you vulnerable."
The low timbre of his voice shuddered down through Emma's bones. There was something in it that frightened her. Something that reminded her of Mark's eyes, distant and lonely.
"Jules," she said, surprised. He was hardly a mundane with the Sight, and as far as she knew, he didn’t know anyone who was.
Muttering something like "never mind," he spun her away, then pulled her back toward him. Years of practicing fighting together made them an almost perfect dancing team, she realized with surprise. They could predict each other’s movements, glide with each other's bodies. She could tell which way Julian would step by the cadence of his breath and the faint tightening of his fingers around hers.
Julian's dark curls were wildly tousled; when he drew her near him, she could smell the clove spice of his cologne, the faint scent of paint underneath.
The song ended. Emma looked up and over at the band; the clarinetist with the red hair was watching her and Julian. Unexpectedly, he winked. The band struck up again, this time a slower, softer number. Couples moved together as if magnetized, arms wrapping around necks, hands resting on hips, heads leaning together.
Ty lifted his face. He'd always had delicate features, more elfin than Helen or Mark's. His father had said he was a throwback to earlier generations of Blackthorns, and he looked not unlike some of the family portraits in the dining room they rarely used, slender Victorian men in tailored clothes with porcelain faces and black, curling hair and names like Jesse and Rupert. "Then what is it?"
Julian hesitated. The whole house was still. He could hear the faint crackle of the computer on the other side of the door.
He had thought about asking Ty to look into the poison. But that would require him to say, I should be dead. The words wouldn't come. They were like a dam, and behind them were so many other words: I'm not sure about anything. I hate being in charge. I hate making the decisions. I'm terrified you'll all learn to hate me. I'm terrified of losing you. I'm terrified of losing Mark. I'm terrified of losing Emma. I want someone to take over. I'm not as strong as you think. The things I want are wrong and broken things to want.
He knew he could say none of this. The façade he showed them, his children, had to be perfect: a crack in him would be like a crack in the world to them.
"You know I love you," he said, instead, and Ty looked up at him, startled, meeting his gaze for a flicker of a moment.
- Hardback first editions in English: Every first page will be hand-stamped with a rune. A short story of a party mentioned in Lady Midnight attended by the Mortal Instruments characters. The story will allow the readers to check back in with the TMI characters more thoroughly and emotionally, "to see what's going on with them and how it ties into the events of TDA. It's a chance to check in on couples, life, politics, and just see how things are going for everyone: we'll obviously see Jace, Clary, Magnus, Alec, Bat and Maia, Simon and Isabelle, baby Max, Jocelyn and Luke and Lily and some of the characters from Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy — and, it's not just any party; the night contains a marriage proposal for one of our couples."
- The book is set in August 2013, coincidentally the same month The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones premiered.
- The book was originally supposed to be set in 2012.
- The book is set to be told from different points of views, namely: Emma, Jules, and Cristina's, among others yet to be revealed.
- Aside from beginning the pattern of nobility titles for The Dark Artifices book titles, Lady Midnight is also named after the Leonard Cohen song.
- The final cover was revealed at the New York Comic-Con in October 2015.
- ↑ http://www.shadowhunters.com/App/
- ↑ http://www.cassandraclare.com/my-writing/novels/the-dark-artifices/
- ↑ https://www.waterstones.com/book/dark-artifices-lady-midnight/cassandra-clare/9781471116612
- ↑ https://twitter.com/cassieclare/status/612738470130356225
- ↑ http://cassandraclare.tumblr.com/post/45930475334/spoilers-the-dreaded-read-more-tag-questions-about
- ↑ https://twitter.com/cassieclare/status/452840661038161920
- ↑ https://twitter.com/cassieclare/status/602958206940409856
- ↑ https://twitter.com/cassieclare/status/486295749366272000
- ↑ Lady Midnight chapter sampler
- ↑ http://cassandraclare.tumblr.com/post/94644201804
- ↑ http://twishort.com/8d6bc
- ↑ https://twitter.com/cassieclare/status/510811897340649473
- ↑ http://cassandraclare.tumblr.com/post/19332943016/lady-midnight
- ↑ http://cassandraclare.tumblr.com/post/127676213264/comic-con-shadowhunters-and-lady-midnight