I asked how she had found me. She said that there were rumors in Alicante of a werewolf who had once been a Shadowhunter. Valentine had heard the rumors too, and she had ridden to warn me. He came soon after, but I hid from him, as werewolves can, and he left without bloodshed.
After that I began to meet Jocelyn in secret. It was the year of the Accords, and all of Downworld was abuzz about them and Valentine’s probable plans for disrupting them. I heard that he had argued passionately in the Clave against the Accords, but with no success. So the Circle made a new plan, steeped in secrecy. They allied themselves with demons—the greatest enemies of Shadowhunters—in order to procure weapons that could be smuggled undetected into the Great Hall of the Angel, where the Accords would be signed. And with the aid of a demon, Valentine stole the Mortal Cup. He left in its place a facsimile. It was months before the Clave realized the Cup was missing, and by then it was too late.
Jocelyn tried to learn what Valentine intended to do with the Cup, but could not. But she knew that the Circle planned to fall upon the unarmed Downworlders and murder them in the Hall. After such wholesale slaughter, the Accords would fail.
Despite the chaos, in a strange way those were happy days. Jocelyn and I sent messages covertly to the faeries, the warlocks, and even to those age-old enemies of wolfkind, the vampires, warning them of Valentine’s plans and bidding them prepare for battle. We worked together, werewolf and Nephilim.
On the day of the Accords, I watched from a hidden place as Jocelyn and Valentine left the manor house. I remember how she bent to kiss the white-blond head of her son. I remember the way the sun shone on her hair; I remember her smile.
They rode into Alicante by carriage; I followed running on four feet, and my pack ran with me. The Great Hall of the Angel was crowded with all the assembled Clave and score upon score of Downworlders. When the Accords were presented for signing, Valentine rose to his feet, and the Circle rose with him, sweeping back their cloaks to lift their weapons. As the Hall exploded into chaos, Jocelyn ran to the great double doors of the Hall and flung them open.
My pack were the first at the door. We burst into the Hall, tearing the night with our howls, and were followed by faerie knights with weapons of glass and twisted thorns. After them came the Night Children with bared fangs, and warlocks wielding flame and iron. As the panicked masses fled the Hall, we fell upon the members of the Circle.
Never had the Hall of the Angel seen such bloodshed. We tried not to harm those Shadowhunters who were not of the Circle; Jocelyn marked them out, one by one, with a warlock’s spell. But many died, and I fear we were responsible for some. Certainly, afterward, we were blamed for many. As for the Circle, there were far more of them than we had imagined, and they clashed fiercely with the Downworlders. I fought through the crowd to Valentine. My only thought had been of him—that I might be the one to kill him, that I might have that honor. I found him at last by the great statue of the Angel, dispatching a faerie knight with a broad stroke of his bloodstained dagger. When he saw me, he smiled, fierce and feral. “A werewolf who fights with sword and dagger,” he said, “is as unnatural as a dog who eats with a fork and a knife.”
“You know the sword; you know the dagger,” I said. “And you know who I am. If you must address me, use my name.”
“I do not know the names of half men,” said Valentine. “Once I had a friend, a man of honor who would have died before he let his blood be polluted. Now a nameless monster with his face stands before me.” He raised his blade. “I should have killed you while I had the chance,” he cried, and lunged for me.
I parried the blow, and we fought up and down the dais, while the battle raged around us and one by one the members of the Circle fell. I saw the Lightwoods drop their weapons and flee; Hodge was already gone, having fled at the outset. And then I saw Jocelyn racing up the stairs toward me, her face a mask of fear. “Valentine, stop!” she cried out. “This is Luke, your friend, almost your brother—”
With a snarl Valentine seized her and dragged her in front of him, his dagger to her throat. I dropped my blade. I would not risk his harming her. He saw what was in my eyes. “You always wanted her,” he hissed. “And now the two of you have plotted my betrayal together. You will regret what you have done, all the rest of your lives.”
With that, he snatched the locket from Jocelyn’s throat and hurled it at me. The silver cord burned me like a lash. I screamed and fell back, and in that moment he vanished into the melee, dragging her with him. I followed, burned and bleeding, but he was too fast, cutting a path through the thick of the crowd and over the dead.
I staggered out into the moonlight. The Hall was burning and the sky was lit with fire. I could see all down the green lawns of the capital to the dark river, and the road along the riverbank where people were fleeing into the night. I found Jocelyn by the banks of the river, at last. Valentine was gone and she was terrified for Jonathan, desperate to get home. We found a horse, and she plunged away. Dropping into wolf form, I followed at her heels.
Wolves are fast, but a rested horse is faster. I fell far behind, and she arrived at the manor house before I did.
I knew even as I neared the house that something was terribly wrong. Here too the smell of fire hung heavy in the air, and there was something overlaying it, something thick and sweet—the stench of demonic witchcraft. I became a man again as I limped up the long drive, white in the moonlight, like a river of silver leading … to ruins. For the manor house had been reduced to ashes, layer upon layer of sifting whiteness, strewn across the lawns by the night wind. Only the foundations, like burned bones, were still visible: here a window, there a leaning chimney—but the substance of the house, the bricks and the mortar, the priceless books and ancient tapestries handed down through generations of Shadowhunters, was dust blowing across the face of the moon.
Valentine had destroyed the house with demon fire. He must have. No fire of this world burns so hot, nor leaves so little behind.
I made my way into the still-smoldering ruins. I found Jocelyn kneeling on what had perhaps once been the front doorsteps. They were blackened by fire. And there were bones. Charred to blackness, but recognizably human, with scraps of cloth here and there, and bits of jewelry the fire had not taken. Red and gold threads still clung to the bones of Jocelyn’s mother, and the heat had melted her father’s dagger to his skeletal hand. Among another pile of bones gleamed Valentine’s silver amulet, with the insignia of the Circle still burning white-hot upon its face … and among the remains, scattered as if they were too fragile to hold together, were the bones of a child.
You will regret what you have done, Valentine had said. And as I knelt with Jocelyn on the burned paving stones, I knew that he was right. I did regret it and have regretted it every day since.
We rode back through the city that night, among the still-burning fires and shrieking people, and then out into the darkness of the country. It was a week before Jocelyn spoke again. I took her out of Idris. We fled to Paris. We had no money, but she refused to go to the Institute there and ask for help. She was done with Shadowhunters, she told me, done with the Shadow World.
I sat in the tiny, cheap hotel room we had rented and tried to reason with her, but it did no good. She was obstinate. At last she told me why: She was carrying another child, and had known it for weeks. She would make a new life for herself and her baby, and she wanted no whisper of Clave or Covenant ever to taint her future. She showed me the amulet she had taken from the pile of bones; in the flea market at Clignancourt she sold it, and with that money purchased an airplane ticket. She wouldn’t tell me where she was going. The farther away she could get from Idris, she said, the better.
I knew that leaving her old life behind meant leaving me behind as well, and I argued with her, but to no avail. I knew that if not for the child she carried, she would have taken her own life, and since to lose her to the mundane world was better than to lose her to death, I at last reluctantly agreed to her plan. And so it was that I bid her good-bye at the airport. The last words Jocelyn spoke to me in that dreary departure hall chilled me to the bone: “Valentine is not dead.”
After she was gone, I returned to my pack, but I found no peace there. Always there was a hollow aching inside me, and always I woke with her name unspoken on my lips. I was not the leader I had once been; I knew that much. I was just and fair, but remote; I could not find friends among the wolf-people, nor a mate. I was, in the end, too much human—too much Shadowhunter—to be at rest among the lycanthropes. I hunted, but the hunt brought no satisfaction; and when it came time for the Accords to be signed at last, I went into the city to sign them.
In the Hall of the Angel, scrubbed free of blood, the Shadowhunters and the four branches of half humans sat down again to sign the papers that would bring peace among us. I was astonished to see the Lightwoods, who seemed equally astonished that I wasn’t dead. They themselves, they said, along with Hodge Starkweather and Michael Wayland, were the only members of the former Circle to have escaped death that night in the Hall. Michael, racked with grief over the loss of his wife, had hidden himself away at his country estate with his young son. The Clave had punished the other three with exile: They were leaving for New York, to run the Institute there. The Lightwoods, who had connections to the highest families in the Clave, got off with a far lighter sentence than Hodge. A curse had been laid on him: He would go with them, but if ever he were to leave the hallowed ground of the Institute, he would be instantly slain. He was devoting himself to his studies, they said, and would make a fine tutor for their children.
When we had signed the Accords, I rose from my chair and went from the Hall, down to the river where I had found Jocelyn on the night of the Uprising. Watching the dark waters flow, I knew I could never find peace in my homeland: I had to be with her or nowhere at all. I determined to look for her.
I left my pack, naming another in my stead; I think they were relieved to see me go. I traveled as the wolf without a pack travels: alone, at night, keeping to the byways and country roads. I went back to Paris, but found no clue there. Then I went to London. From London I took a boat to Boston.
I stayed awhile in the cities, then in the White Mountains of the frozen north. I traveled a good deal, but more and more I found myself thinking of New York, and the exiled Shadowhunters there. Jocelyn, in a way, was an exile too. At length I arrived in New York with a single duffel bag and no idea where to look for your mother. It would have been easy enough for me to find a wolf pack and join it, but I resisted. As I had done in other cities, I sent out messages through Downworld, searching for any sign of Jocelyn, but there was nothing, no word at all, as if she had simply disappeared into the mundane world without a trace. I began to despair.
In the end I found her by chance. I was prowling the streets of SoHo, randomly. As I stood on the cobblestones of Broome Street, a painting hanging in a gallery window caught my eye.
It was the study of a landscape I recognized immediately: the view from the windows of her family’s manor house, the green lawns sweeping down to the line of trees that hid the road beyond. I recognized her style, her brushwork, everything. I banged on the door of the gallery, but it was closed and locked. I returned to the painting, and this time saw the signature. It was the first time I had seen her new name: Jocelyn Fray.
By that evening, I had found her, living in a fifth-floor walk-up in that artists’ haven, the East Village. I walked up the grimy half-lit stairs with my heart in my throat, and knocked on her door. It was opened by a little girl with dark red braids and inquisitive eyes. And then, behind her, I saw Jocelyn walking toward me, her hands stained with paint and her face just the same as it had been when we were children ….
The rest you know.
FOR A LONG MOMENT AFTER LUKE FINISHED SPEAKING, THERE was silence in the room. The only sound was the faint drip of water down the stone walls. Finally, he said:
“Say something, Clary.”
“What do you want me to say?”
He sighed. “Maybe that you understand?”
Clary could hear her blood pounding in her ears. She felt as if her life had been built on a sheet of ice as thin as paper, and now the ice was beginning to crack, threatening to plunge her into the icy darkness below. Down into the dark water, she thought, where all her mother’s secrets drifted in the currents, the forgotten remains of a shipwrecked life.
She looked up at Luke. He seemed wavering, indistinct, as if she looked through a blurred glass. “My father,” she said. “That picture my mother always kept on the mantel—”
“That wasn’t your father,” said Luke.
“Did he ever even exist?” Clary’s voice rose. “Was there ever a John Clark, or did my mother make him up too?”
“John Clark existed. But he wasn’t your father. He was the son of two of your mother’s neighbors when you lived in the East Village. He died in a car crash, just like your mother told you, but she never knew him. She had his photo because the neighbors commissioned her to paint a portrait of him in his Army uniform. She gave them the portrait but kept the photo, and pretended the man in it had been your father. I think she thought it was easier that way. After all, if she’d claimed he’d run off or disappeared, you’d have wanted to look for him. A dead man—”
“Won’t contradict your lies,” Clary finished for him bitterly. “Didn’t she think it was wrong, all those years, letting me think my father was dead, when my real father—”
Luke said nothing, letting her find the end of the sen-tence herself, letting her think the unthinkable thought on her own.
“Is Valentine.” Her voice shook. “That’s what you’re telling me, right? That Valentine was—is—my father?”
***P/S: Copyright -->Novel12__Com