City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments 6) - Page 36

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Here in Idris, though, in the house provided to the Fair Folk, the table was set with white linens. Luke, Jocelyn, Raphael, Meliorn, and Magnus were eating from plates of polished mahogany; the decanters were crystal, and the cutlery—in deference to both Luke and the faeries present—was made not from silver or iron but from delicate saplings. Faerie knights stood guard, silent and motionless, at each of the exits to the room. Long white spears that gave off a dim illumination were by their sides, casting a soft glow across the room.

The food wasn’t bad either. Magnus speared a piece of a really quite decent coq au vin and chewed thoughtfully. He didn’t have much of an appetite, it was true. He was nervous—a state he loathed. Somewhere out there, past these walls and this required dinner party, was Alec. No more geographical space separated them. Of course, they hadn’t been far from each other in New York either, but the space that had separated them hadn’t been made up of miles but of Magnus’s life experiences.

It was strange, he thought. He’d always thought of himself as a brave person. It took courage to live an immortal life and not close off your heart and mind to any new experiences or new people. Because that which was new was almost always temporary. And that which was temporary broke your heart.

“Magnus?” said Luke, waving a wooden fork almost under Magnus’s nose. “Are you paying attention?”

“What? Of course I am,” Magnus said, taking a sip of his wine. “I agree. One hundred percent.”

“Really,” Jocelyn said dryly. “You agree that the Downworlders should abandon the problem of Sebastian and his dark army and leave it to the Shadowhunters, as a Shadowhunter issue?”

“I told you he was not paying attention,” said Raphael, who had been served a blood fondue and appeared to be enjoying it immensely.

“Well, it is a Shadowhunter issue—” Magnus began, and then he sighed, setting down his wineglass. The wine was quite strong; he was beginning to feel light-headed. “Oh, all right. I wasn’t listening. And no, of course I don’t believe that—”

“Shadowhunter lapdog,” snapped Meliorn. His green eyes were narrowed. The Fair Folk and warlocks had always enjoyed a somewhat difficult relationship. Neither liked Shadowhunters much, which provided a common enemy, but the Fair Folk looked down upon warlocks for their willingness to perform magic for money. Meanwhile the warlocks scorned the Fair Folk for their inability to lie, their hidebound customs, and their penchant for pettily annoying mundanes by curdling their milk and stealing their cows. “Is there any reason you wish to preserve amity with the Shadowhunters, besides the fact that one of them is your lover?”

Luke coughed violently into his wine. Jocelyn patted him on the back. Raphael simply looked amused.

“Get with the times, Meliorn,” said Magnus. “No one says ‘lover’ anymore.”

“Besides,” added Luke. “They broke up.” He scrubbed the back of his hand over his eyes and sighed. “And really, ought we to be gossiping right now? I don’t see how anyone’s personal relationships enter into this.”

“Everything is about personal relationships,” said Raphael, dipping something unpleasant-looking into his fondue. “Why do you Shadowhunters have this problem? Because Jonathan Morgenstern has sworn vengeance against you. Why has he sworn vengeance? Because he hates his father and mother. I’ve no wish to offend you,” he added, nodding toward Jocelyn. “But we all know it’s true.”

“No offense taken,” said Jocelyn, though her tone was frigid. “If it were not for me and for Valentine, Sebastian would not exist, in any sense of the word. I take full responsibility for that.”

Luke looked thunderous. “It was Valentine who turned him into a monster,” he said. “And yes, Valentine was a Shadowhunter. But it is not as if the Council is endorsing and supporting him, or his son. They are actively at war with Sebastian, and they want our help. All races, lycanthropes and vampires and warlocks and, yes, the Fair Folk, have the potential to do good or do evil. Part of the purpose of the Accords is to say that all of us who do good, or hope to do it, are united against those who do evil. Regardless of bloodlines.”

Magnus pointed his fork at Luke. “That,” he said, “was a beautiful speech.” He paused. He was definitely slurring his words. How had he gotten so drunk on so little wine? He was usually much more careful than that. He frowned.

“What kind of wine is this?” he asked.

Meliorn leaned back in his chair, crossing his arms. There was a glint in his eyes as he replied. “Does the vintage not please you, warlock?”

Jocelyn set her glass down slowly. “When faeries answer questions with questions,” she said, “it’s never a good sign.”

“Jocelyn—” Luke reached to put his hand on her wrist.

He missed.

He stared muzzily at his hand for a moment, before lowering it slowly to the table. “What,” he said, enunciating each word carefully, “have you done, Meliorn?”

The faerie knight laughed. The sound was a musical blur in Magnus’s ears. The warlock went to set his wineglass down, but realized he had already dropped it. The wine had run out across the table like blood. He glanced up and over at Raphael, but Raphael was facedown on the table, still and unmoving. Magnus tried to shape his name through numb lips, but no sound came.

Somehow he managed to struggle to his feet. The room was swaying around him. He saw Luke sink back against his chair; Jocelyn rose to her feet, only to crumple to the ground, her stele rolling from her hand. Magnus lurched to the door, reached to open it—

On the other side stood the Endarkened, dressed all in red gear. Their faces were blank, their arms and throats decorated with runes, but none Magnus was familiar with. These runes were not the runes of the Angel. They spoke of dissonance, of the demonic realms and dark, fell powers.

Magnus turned away from them—and his legs gave out beneath him. He fell to his knees. Something white rose up before him. It was Meliorn, in his snowy armor, bending to one knee to look Magnus in the face. “Demon-fathered one,” he said. “Did you really think we would ever ally with your kind?”

Magnus heaved a breath. The world was darkening at the edges, like a photograph burning, curling in at the sides. “The Fair Folk don’t lie,” he said.

“Child,” said Meliorn, and there was almost sympathy in his voice. “Not to know after all these years that deception can hide in plain sight? Oh, but you are an innocent, after all.”

Magnus tried to raise his voice to protest that he was anything but innocent, but the words would not come. The darkness did, however, and drew him down and away.

Clary’s heart wrenched in her chest. She tried again to move her feet, to kick out, but her legs remained frozen in place. “You think I don’t know what you mean by mercy?” she whispered. “You’ll use the Infernal Cup on me. You’ll make me one of your Endarkened, like Amatis—”

“No,” he said, a strange urgency in his tone. “I won’t change you if you don’t want it. I will forgive you, and Jace as well. You can be together.”

“Together with you,” she said, letting just the edge of the irony of it touch her voice.

But he didn’t appear to register it. “Together, with me. If you swear loyalty, if you promise it in the name of the Angel, I will believe you. When all else changes, you alone I will preserve.”

She moved her hand down another inch, and now she was holding the hilt of Heosphoros. All she needed was to tighten her fist. . . . “And if I don’t?”

His expression hardened. “If you refuse me now, I will Turn everyone you love to Endarkened Ones, and then Turn you last, that you might be forced to watch them change when you can still feel the pain of it.”

Clary swallowed against a dry throat. “That’s your mercy?”

“Mercy is a condition of your agreement.”

“I won’t agree.”

Tags: Cassandra Clare The Mortal Instruments Young Adult