“I was trying to save him some pain. Isabelle will cut out his heart and walk all over it in high-heeled boots. That’s what she does to boys like that.”
“Is that what she did to you?” Clary said, but Jace only shook his head before turning to Church.
“Hodge,” he said. “And really Hodge this time. Bring us anywhere else, and I’ll make you into a tennis racket.”
The Persian snorted and slunk down the hall ahead of them. Clary, trailing a little behind Jace, could see the stress and tiredness in the line of Jace’s shoulders. She wondered if the tension ever really left him. “Jace.”
He looked at her. “What?”
“I’m sorry. For snapping at you.”
He chuckled. “Which time?”
“You snap at me, too, you know.”
“I know,” he said, surprising her. “There’s something about you that’s so—”
She wanted to ask if he meant that in a good or a bad way, but didn’t. She was too afraid he’d make a joke out of the answer. She cast about for something else to say. “Does Isabelle always make dinner for you?” she asked.
“No, thank God. Most of the time the Lightwoods are here and Maryse—that’s Isabelle’s mother—she cooks for us. She’s an amazing cook.” He looked dreamy, the way Simon had looked gazing at Isabelle over the soup.
“Then how come she never taught Isabelle?” They were passing through the music room now, where she’d found Jace playing the piano that morning. Shadows had gathered thickly in the corners.
“Because,” Jace said slowly, “it’s only been recently that women have been Shadowhunters along with men. I mean, there have always been women in the Clave—mastering the runes, creating weaponry, teaching the Killing Arts—but only a few were warriors, ones with exceptional abilities. They had to fight to be trained. Maryse was a part of the first generation of Clave women who were trained as a matter of course—and I think she never taught Isabelle how to cook because she was afraid that if she did, Isabelle would be relegated to the kitchen permanently.”
“Would she have been?” Clary asked curiously. She thought of Isabelle in Pandemonium, how confident she’d been and how assuredly she’d used her blood-spattering whip.
Jace laughed softly. “Not Isabelle. She’s one of the best Shadowhunters I’ve ever known.”
“Better than Alec?”
Church, streaking soundlessly ahead of them through the gloom, came to a sudden halt and meowed. He was crouched at the foot of a metal spiral staircase that spun up into a hazy half-light overhead. “So he’s in the greenhouse,” Jace said. It took Clary a moment before she realized he was speaking to the cat. “No surprise there.”
“The greenhouse?” Clary said.
Jace swung himself onto the first step. “Hodge likes it up there. He grows medicinal plants, things we can use. Most of them only grow in Idris. I think it reminds him of home.”
Clary followed him. Her shoes clattered on the metal steps; Jace’s didn’t. “Is he better than Isabelle?” she asked again. “Alec, I mean.”
He paused and looked down at her, leaning down from the steps as if he were poised to fall. She remembered her dream: angels, falling and burning. “Better?” he said. “At demon-slaying? No, not really. He’s never killed a demon.”
“I don’t know why not. Maybe because he’s always protecting Izzy and me.” They had reached the top of the stairs. A set of double doors greeted them, carved with patterns of leaves and vines. Jace shouldered them open.
The smell struck Clary the moment she passed through the doors: a green, sharp smell, the smell of living and growing things, of dirt and the roots that grew in dirt. She had been expecting something much smaller, something the size of the little greenhouse out behind St. Xavier’s, where the AP biology students cloned pea pods, or whatever it was they did. This was a huge glass-walled enclosure, lined with trees whose thickly leaved branches breathed out cool green-scented air. There were bushes hung with glossy berries, red and purple and black, and small trees hung with oddly shaped fruits she’d never seen before.
Clary exhaled. “It smells like …” Springtime, she thought, before the heat comes and crushes the leaves into pulp and withers the petals off the flowers.
“Home,” said Jace, “to me.” He pushed aside a hanging frond and ducked past it. Clary followed.
The greenhouse was laid out in what seemed to Clary’s untrained eye no particular pattern, but everywhere she looked was a riot of color: blue-purple blossoms spilling down the side of a shining green hedge, a trailing vine studded with jewel-toned orange buds. They emerged into a cleared space where a low granite bench rested against the bole of a drooping tree with silvery-green leaves. Water glimmered in a stone-bound rock pool. Hodge sat on the bench, his black bird perched on his shoulder. He had been staring thoughtfully down at the water, but looked skyward at their approach. Clary followed his gaze upward and saw the glass roof of the greenhouse shining above them like the surface of an inverted lake.
“You look like you’re waiting for something,” Jace observed, breaking a leaf off a nearby bough and twirling it between his fingers. For someone who seemed so contained, he had a lot of nervous habits. Perhaps he just liked to be constantly in motion.
“I was lost in thought.” Hodge rose from the bench, stretching out his arm for Hugo. The smile faded from his face as he looked at them. “What happened? You look as if—”
“We were attacked,” Jace said shortly. “Forsaken.”
“Forsaken warriors? Here?”
“Warrior,” said Jace. “We only saw one.”
“But Dorothea said there were more,” Clary added.
“Dorothea?” Hodge held a hand up. “This might be easier if you took events in order.”
“Right.” Jace gave Clary a warning look, cutting her off before she could start talking. Then he launched into a recital of the afternoon’s events, leaving out only one detail—that the men in Luke’s apartment had been the same men who’d killed his father seven years ago. “Clary’s mother’s friend—or whatever he is, really—goes by the name Luke Garroway,” Jace finished finally. “But while we were at his house, the two men who claimed they were emissaries of Valentine referred to him as Lucian Graymark.”
“And their names were …”
“Pangborn,” said Jace. “And Blackwell.”
Hodge had gone very pale. Against his gray skin the scar along his cheek stood out like a twist of red wire. “It is as I feared,” he said, half to himself. “The Circle is rising again.”
Clary looked at Jace for clarification, but he seemed as puzzled as she was. “The Circle?” he said.
Hodge was shaking his head as if trying to clear cobwebs from his brain. “Come with me,” he said. “It’s time I showed you something.”
The gas lamps were lit in the library, and the polished oak surfaces of the furniture seemed to smolder like somber jewels. Streaked with shadows, the stark faces of the angels holding up the enormous desk looked even more suffused with pain. Clary sat on the red sofa, legs drawn up, Jace leaning restlessly against the sofa arm beside her. “Hodge, if you need help looking—”
“Not at all.” Hodge emerged from behind the desk, brushing dust from the knees of his trousers. “I’ve found it.”
He was carrying a large book bound in brown leather. He paged through it with an anxious finger, blinking owl-like behind his glasses and muttering: “Where … where … ah, here it is!” He cleared his throat before he read aloud: “‘I hereby render unconditional obedience to the Circle and its principles …. I will be ready to risk my life at any time for the Circle, in order to preserve the purity of the bloodlines of Idris, and for the mortal world with whose safety we are charged.’”
Jace made a face. “What was that from?”
“It was the loyalty oath of the Circle of Raziel, twenty years ago,” said Hodge, sounding strangely tired.
“It sounds creepy,” said Clary. “Like a fascist organization or something.”
Hodge set the book down. He looked as pained and grave as the statuary angels beneath the desk. “They were a group,” he said slowly, “of Shadowhunters, led by Valentine, dedicated to wiping out all Downworlders and returning the world to a ‘purer’ state. Their plan was to wait for the Downworlders to arrive in Idris to sign the Accords. They must be signed again each fifteen years, to keep their magic potent,” he added, for Clary’s benefit. “Then, they planned to slaughter them all, unarmed and defenseless. This terrible act, they thought, would spark off a war between humans and Downworlders—one they intended to win.”
“That was the Uprising,” said Jace, finally recognizing in Hodge’s story one that was already familiar to him. “I didn’t know Valentine and his followers had a name.”
“The name isn’t spoken often nowadays,” said Hodge. “Their existence remains an embarrassment to the Clave. Most documents pertaining to them have been destroyed.”
“Then why do you have a copy of that oath?” Jace asked.
Hodge hesitated—only for a moment, but Clary saw it, and felt a small and inexplicable shiver of apprehension run up her spine. “Because,” he said, finally, “I helped write it.”
Jace looked up at that. “You were in the Circle.”
“I was. Many of us were.” Hodge was looking straight ahead. “Clary’s mother as well.”
Clary jerked back as if he’d slapped her. “What?”
“I know what you said! My mother would never have belonged to something like that. Some kind of—some kind of hate group.”
“It wasn’t—” Jace began, but Hodge cut him off.
“I doubt,” he said slowly, as if the words pained him, “that she had much choice.”
Clary stared. “What are you talking about? Why wouldn’t she have had a choice?”
“Because,” said Hodge, “she was Valentine’s wife.”
EASY IS THE DESCENT
Facilis descensus Averno:
Noctes atque dies patet atri ianua Ditis;
Sed revocare gradum superasque evadere ad auras,
Hoc opus, hic labor est.
—Virgil, The Aeneid
CITY OF BONES
THERE WAS A MOMENT OF ASTONISHED SILENCE BEFORE BOTH Clary and Jace began speaking at once.
“Valentine had a wife? He was married? I thought—”
“That’s impossible! My mother would never—she was only ever married to my father! She didn’t have an ex-husband!”
Hodge raised his hands wearily. “Children—”
“I’m not a child.” Clary spun away from the desk. “And I don’t want to hear any more.”
“Clary,” said Hodge. The kindness in his voice hurt; she turned slowly, and looked at him across the room. She thought how odd it was that, with his gray hair and scarred face, he looked so much older than her mother. And yet they had been “young people” together, had joined the Circle together, had known Valentine together. “My mother wouldn’t …” she began, and trailed off. She was no longer sure how well she knew Jocelyn. Her mother had become a stranger to her, a liar, a hider of secrets. What wouldn’t she have done?
“Your mother left the Circle,” said Hodge. He didn’t move toward her but watched her across the room with a bird’s bright-eyed stillness. “Once we realized how extreme Valentine’s views had become—once we knew what he was prepared to do—many of us left. Lucian was the first to leave. That was a blow to Valentine. They had been very close.” Hodge shook his head. “Then Michael Wayland. Your father, Jace.”
Jace raised his eyebrows, but said nothing.
“There were those who stayed loyal. Pangborn. Blackwell. The Lightwoods—”
“The Lightwoods? You mean Robert and Maryse?” Jace looked thunderstruck. “What about you? When did you leave?”
“I didn’t,” said Hodge softly. “Neither did they …. We were afraid, too afraid of what he might do. After the Uprising the loyalists like Blackwell and Pangborn fled. We stayed and cooperated with the Clave. Gave them names. Helped them track down the ones who had run away. For that we received clemency.”
“Clemency?” Jace’s look was quick, but Hodge saw it.
He said, “You are thinking of the curse that binds me here, aren’t you? You always assumed it was a vengeance spell cast by an angry demon or warlock. I let you think it. But it is not the truth. The curse that binds me was cast by the Clave.”
“For being in the Circle?” Jace asked, his face a mask of astonishment.
“For not leaving it before the Uprising.”
“But the Lightwoods weren’t punished,” Clary said. “Why not? They’d done the same thing you’d done.”
“There were extenuating circumstances in their case—they were married; they had a child. Although it is not as if they reside in this outpost, far from home, by their own choice. We were banished here, the three of us—the four of us, I should say; Alec was a squalling baby when we left the Glass City. They can return to Idris on official business only, and then only for short times. I can never return. I will never see the Glass City again.”
Jace stared. It was as if he were looking at his tutor with new eyes, Clary thought, though it wasn’t Jace who had changed. He said, “‘The Law is hard, but it is the Law.’”
***P/S: Copyright -->Novel12__Com