"I would be entirely overset myself, if my ensemble had been spoiled by demons who know nothing of fashion," said Magnus, and Camille laughed.
Her eyes looked like grass under the dew, and she was brave and beautiful and would fight for their kind and yet rest against him. It was in that moment that Magnus felt as if he had stopped searching for love.
Magnus looked up from Camille's enchanting face to see that the Shadowhunters and Downworlders were, for a wonder, not arguing. Instead they were all observing one another, standing in the suddenly-quiet street with the bodies of their foes around them, vanquished because they had stood together. There was a certain wonder in the air, as if the Nephilim could not see the Downworlders as demonic when they had fought alongside them against true demons. The Shadowhunters were warriors; the bonds of war meant a great deal to them.
Magnus was no warrior, but he remembered how the Shadowhunters had moved to protect a mermaid and a werewolf. That meant something to him, too. Perhaps there was something to be salvaged here this night. Perhaps they could make this wild idea of the Accords work after all.
Then he felt Camille move in his arms, and saw where she was looking. She was gazing at Ralf Scott, and he was looking back at her. There was a world of hurt in his eyes.
The boy climbed to his feet, and vented his ire on the Shadowhunters.
"You people did this," he raged. "You want us all dead. You lured us here-"
"Are you mad?" Fairchild demanded. "We are Nephilim. If we wanted you dead, you would be dead. We do not require demons to do our killing for us, and we certainly do not wish for them to befoul our very doorstep. My daughter lives here. I would not put her in danger for anything you care to name, and certainly not for Downworlders."
Magnus had to admit he had a point.
"It is you people who brought that filth to us!" Starkweather bellowed.
Magnus opened his mouth to argue, and then he recalled how excessively vehement the queen of the faeries had been when she argued against an agreement with Shadowhunters, and yet how strangely curious she had been about the details thereof, such as the time and place of their meetings. He closed his mouth.
Fairchild gave Magnus a condemning glance, as if the Shadowhunter could read the guilt of all Downworlders on his countenance. "If what Starkweather says is true, you have lost any opportunity to forge an agreement between our people."
It was done, then, and Magnus saw the rage pass from Ralf Scott's face as he visibly gave up his struggle. Ralf looked up at Fairchild with clear eyes, and spoke in a calm, ringing voice.
"You will not give us aid? Very well. We do not need it. Werewolves will take care of their own. I will see it done."
The werewolf boy evaded de Quincey's detaining hand and paid no heed to Fairchild's sharp reply. The only one he paid attention to was Camille. He looked at her for a moment. Camille lifted her hand, then dropped it, and Ralf whirled and walked away from both Shadowhunters and his fellow Downworlders. Magnus saw him square his thin shoulders as he went, a boy accepting a heavy burden and accepting that he had lost what he loved best. Magnus was reminded of Edmund Herondale.
Magnus did not see Edmund Herondale again, but he heard him once more.
The Shadowhunters decided that Magnus and Camille were the most reasonable among the Downworlders that they had assembled. Given that the other choices were intemperate werewolves and Alexei de Quincey, Magnus could not feel himself noindentattered by the preference.
The Nephilim asked Magnus and Camille to come for a private meeting, to exchange information so that they could continue to correspond, independent of Ralf Scott. Implicit in their request was the promise that the Shadowhunters might offer their protection if Magnus and Camille needed it at some future time. In exchange, of course, for magic or Downworlder information.
Magnus went to the meeting to see Camille, and for no other reason. He told himself that he was not thinking at all of that fight against the demons, and how they had been united.
When he stepped into the Institute, however, he was pulled up short by the sounds. The noises came from the depths of the building, and they were the rattling, tormented sounds of someone being noindentayed alive. They sounded like the screams of a soul in Hell, or a soul being ripped from Heaven.
"What is that?" Magnus asked.
There were only a few Shadowhunters present at this unofficial meeting, instead of the mass of Clave representatives. Only Granville Fairchild, Silas Pangborn, and Josiah Wayland were in attendance. The three Shadowhunters stood in the small hall, cries of agony reverberating from the tapestry-covered walls and the domed ceiling, and all three Nephilim appeared entirely indifferent.
"A young Shadowhunter by the name of Edmund Herondale has disgraced his family name and forsaken his calling so that he might noindenting himself into the arms of a mundane chit," Josiah Wayland answered, with no sign of emotion. "He is being stripped of his Marks."
"And being stripped of your Marks," Magnus said slowly. "It is like that?"
"It is being remade, into a baser thing," said Granville Fairchild, his voice cold, though his face was pale. "It is against the will of the Angel. Of course it hurts."
There was a shuddering scream of agony to underlie his words. He did not turn his head.
Magnus felt cold with horror. "You're barbarians."
"Do you want to rush to his aid?" inquired Wayland. "If you try, every one of us will move to strike you down. Do not dare to question our motives or our way of life. You speak of that which is higher and nobler than you can possibly understand."
Magnus heard another scream, and this one broke off into desperate sobbing. The warlock thought of the bright boy he had spent one night at a club with, his face radiant and untouched by pain. This was the price Shadowhunters set on love.
Magnus started forward, but the Shadowhunters drew together with bared blades and stern faces. An angel with a noindentaming sword, proclaiming that Magnus should not pass, could not have expressed more conviction of his own righteousness. He heard the echoes of his stepfather's voice in his mind: devil's child, Satan's get, born to be damned, forsaken by God.
The long lonely cry of a suffering boy he could not help chilled Magnus through to the bone, like cold water seeping through to find a grave. Sometimes he thought they were all forsaken, every soul on this earth.
Even the Nephilim.
"There is nothing to be done, Magnus. Come away," said Camille's voice in his ear in an undertone. Her hand was small but held Magnus's arm in a firm grip. She was strong, stronger than Magnus was, perhaps in all ways. "Fairchild raised the boy from a child, I believe, and yet he is throwing him away like refuse into the street. The Nephilim have no pity."
Magnus allowed her to draw him away, into the street and away from the Institute. He was impressed that she was still so calm. Camille had fortitude, Magnus thought. He wished she could teach him the trick of being less foolish, and less easily hurt.
"I hear you are leaving us, Mr. Bane," Camille said. "I shall be sorry to see you go. De Quincey hosts the most famous parties, and I hear you are quite the life and soul of any party you attend."
"I am sorry to go, indeed," said Magnus.
"If I might ask why?" said Camille, her lovely face upturned, her green eyes glittering. "I had rather thought that London had caught your fancy, and that you might stay."
Her invitation was almost irresistible. But Magnus was no Shadowhunter. He could have pity on someone who was suffering, and young.
"That young werewolf, Ralf Scott," Magnus said, abandoning pretense. "He is in love with you. And it seemed to me you looked at him with some interest as well."
"And if that is true?" Camille asked, laughing. "You do not strike me as the sort of man to step aside and renounce a claim for the benefit of another!"
"Ah, but I am not a man. Am I? I have years, and so do you," he added, and that was glorious too, the idea of loving someone and not fearing they would soon be lost. "But werewolves are not immortals. They age and die. The Scott boy has but one chance for your love, where I-I might go and return, and find you here again."
She pouted prettily. "I might forget you."
He bent to her ear. "If you do, I shall have to recall myself forcibly to your attention." His hands spanned her waist, the silk of her dress smooth under the pads of his fingertips. He could feel the swell and rise of her under his touch. His lips brushed her skin, and he felt her jump and shudder. He whispered, "Love the boy. Give him his happiness. And when I return, I shall devote an age to admiring you."
"An entire age?"
"Perhaps," said Magnus, teasing. "How does Marvell's poem go?
"An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast,
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart. . . ."
Camille's eyebrows had lifted at the reference to her bosom, but her eyes were sparkling. "And how do you know that I have a heart?"
Magnus raised his own eyebrows, conceding the point. "I have heard it said that love is faith."
"Whether your faith is justified," Camille said, "time will tell."
"Before time tells us anything more," Magnus said, "I humbly beg of you to accept a small token of my regard."
He reached inside his coat, which was made of blue superfine fabric and which he hoped Camille found dashing, and produced the necklace. The ruby glinted in the light of a nearby streetlamp, its heart the rich color of blood.
"It is a pretty thing," said Magnus.
"Very pretty." She sounded amused at the understatement.
"Not worthy of your beauty, of course, but what could be? There is one small thing besides prettiness to recommend it. There is a spell on the jewel, to warn you when demons are near."
Camille's eyes went very wide. She was an intelligent woman, and Magnus saw she knew the full value of the jewel and of the spell.
Magnus had sold the house in Grosvenor Square, and what else had he to do with the proceeds? He could think of nothing more valuable than purchasing a guarantee that would keep Camille safe, and cause her to remember him kindly.
"I will think of you when I am far away," Magnus promised, fastening the pendant about her white throat. "I would like to think of you fearless."
Camille's hand noindentuttered, a white dove, to the sparkling heart of the necklace and away again. She looked up into Magnus's eyes.
"In all justice, I must give you a token to remember me by," she said, smiling.
"Oh, well," said Magnus as she drew close. His hand settled on the small silk circle of her waist. Before his lips met hers, he murmured, "If it is in the cause of justice."
Camille kissed him. Magnus spared a thought to making the streetlamp burn more brightly, and the noindentame within the iron and glass case filled the whole street with soft blue light. He held her and the promise of possible love, and in that warm instant all the narrow streets of London seemed to expand, and he could even think kindly of Shadowhunters, and one more than the rest.
He spared a moment to hope that Edmund Herondale would find comfort in the arms of his beautiful mundane love, that he would live a life that made all he had lost and all he had suffered seem worthwhile.
Magnus's ship would sail that night. He left Camille so that she might search out Ralf Scott, and he boarded his steamship, a glorious iron-hulled thing called the Persia that had been made with the latest of mundane inventiveness. His interest in the ship and his thoughts of an adventure to come made him regret his departure less, but even so, he stood at the rail as the ship departed into night waters. He looked his last on the city he was leaving behind.
Years later Magnus would return to London and Camille Belcourt's side, and find it not all that he had dreamed. Years later another desperate Herondale boy with blue, blue eyes would come to his door, shaking with the cold of the rain and his own wretchedness, and this one Magnus would be able to help.
Magnus knew none of that then. He only stood on the deck of the ship and watched London and all its light and shadows slide away out of sight.
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