City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments 6) - Page 20

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Emma saw Julian tense. She almost felt it, as if his nerves were her nerves, his panic her panic. His face—already too thin—seemed to tighten, though he kept the same careful, gentle grasp on the baby. “Uncle Arthur?” he asked.

“He’s all right,” Helen said quickly. “He was injured. It’ll delay his arrival in Idris, but he’s all right. In fact, everyone from the London Institute is all right. The attack was unsuccessful.”

“How?” Julian’s voice was barely a whisper.

“We don’t know yet, not exactly,” said Helen. “I’m going over to the Gard with Aline and the Consul and the rest, to try to figure out what happened.” She knelt down and stroked her hand over Tavvy’s curls. “It’s good news,” she said to Julian, who looked more stunned than anything else. “I know it’s scary that Sebastian attacked again, but he didn’t win.”

Emma met Julian’s eyes with hers. She felt as if she ought to be thrilled at the good news, but there was a tearing feeling inside her—a terrible jealousy. Why did the inhabitants of the London Institute get to live when her family died? How had they fought better, done more?

“It’s not fair,” Julian said.

“Jules,” said Helen, standing up. “It’s a defeat. That means something. It means we can defeat Sebastian and his forces. Take them down. Turn the tide. It will make everyone less afraid. That’s important.”

“I hope they catch him alive,” said Emma, her eyes on Julian’s. “I hope they kill him in Angel Square so we can all watch him die, and I hope it’s slow.”

“Emma,” said Helen, sounding shocked, but Julian’s blue-green eyes echoed Emma’s own fierceness back to her without a hint of disapproval. Emma had never loved him so much as she did in that moment, for reflecting back to her even the darkest feelings in the depths of her own heart.

The weapons shop was gorgeous. Clary never thought she would have described a weapons shop as gorgeous before—maybe a sunset, or a clear night view of the New York skyline, but not a shop full of maces, axes, and sword-canes.

This one was, though. The metal sign that hung outside was in the shape of a quiver, the name of the store—Diana’s Arrow—inscribed on it in curling letters. Inside the shop were blades displayed in deadly fans of gold and steel and silver. A massive chandelier hung from a ceiling painted with a rococo design of golden arrows in flight. Real arrows were displayed on carved wooden stands. Tibetan longswords, their pommels decorated with turquoise, silver, and coral, hung on the walls alongside Burmese dha blades with hammered metal tangs in copper and brass.

“So what brought this on?” Jace asked curiously, taking down a naginata carved with Japanese characters. When he set it on the floor, the blade rose over his head, his long fingers curving around the shaft to hold it steady. “This desire for a sword?”

“When a twelve-year-old tells you the weapon you have sucks, it’s time to change it up,” said Clary.

The woman behind the counter laughed. Clary recognized her as the woman with the tattoo of the fish who had spoken out at the Council meeting. “Well, you’ve come to the best place.”

“Is this your shop?” Clary asked, reaching to test the point of a long sword with an iron hilt.

The woman smiled. “I’m Diana, yes. Diana Wrayburn.”

Clary reached for the rapier, but Jace, having leaned the naginata against the wall, shook his head at her. “That claymore would be taller than you. Not that that’s hard.”

Clary stuck her tongue out at him and reached for a short-sword hanging on the wall. There were scratches along the blade—scratches that on closer examination she could see were clearly letters in a language she didn’t know.

“Those are runes, but not Shadowhunter runes,” said Diana. “That’s a Viking sword—very old. And very heavy.”

“Do you know what it says?”

“?‘Only the Worthy,’?” said Diana. “My father used to say you could tell a great weapon if it had either a name or an inscription.”

“I saw one yesterday,” Clary recalled. “It said something like ‘I am of the same steel and temper as Joyeuse and Durendal.’?”

“Cortana!” Diana’s eyes lit up. “The blade of Ogier. That is impressive. Like owning Excalibur, or Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi. Cortana is a Carstairs blade, I think. Is Emma Carstairs, the girl who was at the Council meeting yesterday, the one who owns it now?”

Clary nodded.

Diana pursed her lips. “Poor child,” she said. “And the Blackthorns, too. To have lost so many in a single sweeping blow—I wish there was something I could do for them.”

“Me too,” Clary said.

Diana gave her a measured look and ducked down behind the counter. She came up a moment later with a sword about the length of Clary’s forearm. “What do you think of this?”

Clary stared at the sword. It was undoubtedly beautiful. The cross-guard, grip, and pommel were gold chased with obsidian, the blade a silver so dark it was nearly black. Clary’s mind ran quickly through the types of weapons she had been memorizing in her lessons—falchions, sabres, backswords, longswords. “Is it a cinquedea?” she guessed.

“It’s a shortsword. You might want to look at the other side,” said Diana, and she flipped the sword over. On the opposite side of the blade, down the center ridge, ran a pattern of black stars.

“Oh.” Clary’s heart thumped painfully; she took a step back and nearly bumped into Jace, who had come up behind her, frowning. “That’s a Morgenstern sword.”

“Yes, it is.” Diana’s eyes were shrewd. “Long ago the Morgensterns commissioned two blades from Wayland the Smith—a matched set. A larger and a smaller, for a father and his son. Because Morgenstern means Morning Star, they were each named for a different aspect of the star itself—the smaller, this one here, is called Heosphoros, which means dawn-bringer, while the larger is called Phaesphoros, or light-bringer. You have doubtless seen Phaesphoros already, for Valentine Morgenstern carried it, and now his son carries it after him.”

“You know who we are,” Jace said. It wasn’t a question. “Who Clary is.”

“The Shadowhunter world is small,” said Diana, and she looked from one of them to the other. “I’m on the Council. I’ve seen you give testimony, Valentine’s daughter.”

Clary looked doubtfully at the blade. “I don’t understand,” she said. “Valentine would never have given up a Morgenstern sword. How do you have it?”

“His wife sold it,” Diana said. “To my father, who owned this shop in the days before the Uprising. It was hers. It should be yours now.”

Clary shuddered. “I’ve seen two men bear the larger version of that sword, and I hated them both. There are no Morgensterns in this world now who are dedicated to anything but evil.”

Jace said, “There’s you.”

She glanced over at him, but his expression was unreadable.

“I couldn’t afford it, anyway,” Clary said. “That’s gold, and black gold, and adamas. I don’t have the money for that kind of weapon.”

“I’ll give it to you,” said Diana. “You’re right that people hate the Morgensterns; they tell stories of how the swords were created to contain deadly magic, to slay thousands at once. They’re just stories, of course, no truth to them, but still—it’s not the sort of item I could sell elsewhere. Or would necessarily want to. It should go to good hands.”

“I don’t want it,” Clary whispered.

“If you flinch from it, you give it power over you,” said Diana. “Take it, and cut your brother’s throat with it, and take back the honor of your blood.”

She slid the sword across the counter to Clary. Wordlessly Clary picked it up, her hand curling around the pommel, finding that it fit her grip—fit it exactly, as if it had been made for her. Despite the steel and precious metals in the sword’s construction, it felt as light as a feather in her hand. She raised it up, the black stars along the blade winking at her, a light like fire running, sparking along the steel.

She looked up to see Diana catch something out of the air: a glimmer of light that resolved itself into a piece of paper. She read down it, her eyebrows knitting together in concern. “By the Angel,” she said. “The London Institute’s been attacked.”

Clary almost dropped the blade. She heard Jace suck in his breath beside her. “What?” he demanded.

Diana looked up. “It’s all right,” she said. “Apparently there’s some kind of special protection laid on the London Institute, something even the Council didn’t know about. There were some injuries, but no one was killed. Sebastian’s forces were rebuffed. Unfortunately, none of the Endarkened were captured or killed either.” As Diana spoke, Clary realized that the shop owner was wearing white mourning clothes. Had she lost someone in Valentine’s war? In Sebastian’s attacks on the Institutes?

How much blood had been spilled by Morgenstern hands?

“I—I’m so sorry,” Clary gasped. She could see Sebastian, see him clearly in her head, red gear and red blood, silver hair and silver blade. She reeled back.

There was a hand on her arm suddenly, and she realized she was breathing in cold air. Somehow she was outside the weapons shop, on a street full of people, and Jace was beside her. “Clary,” he was saying. “It’s all right. Everything is all right. The London Shadowhunters, they all escaped.”

“Diana said there were injuries,” she said. “More blood spilled because of Morgensterns.”

He glanced down at the blade, still clutched in her right hand, her fingers bloodless on the hilt. “You don’t have to take the sword.”

“No. Diana was right. Being afraid of everything Morgenstern, it—it gives Sebastian power over me. Which is exactly what he wants.”

“I agree,” Jace said. “That’s why I brought you this.”

He handed her a scabbard, dark leather, worked with a pattern of silver stars.

“You can’t walk up and down the street with an unsheathed weapon,” he added. “I mean, you can, but it’s likely to get us some odd looks.”

Clary took the sheath, covered the blade, and tucked it through her belt, closing her coat over it. “Better?”

He brushed a strand of red hair back from her face. “It’s your first real weapon, one that belongs to you. The Morgenstern name isn’t cursed, Clary. It’s a glorious old Shadowhunter name that goes back hundreds of years. The morning star.”

“The morning star isn’t a star,” Clary said grumpily. “It’s a planet. I learned that in astronomy class.”

“Mundane education is regrettably prosaic,” said Jace. “Look,” he said, and pointed up. Clary looked, but not at the sky. She looked at him, at the sun on his light hair, the curve of his mouth when he smiled. “Long before anyone knew about planets, they knew there were bright rips in the fabric of the night. The stars. And they knew there was one that rose in the east, at sunrise, and they called it the morning star, the light-bringer, the herald of dawn. Is that so bad? To bring light to the world?”

Impulsively Clary leaned up and kissed his cheek. “Okay, fine,” she said. “So that was more poetic than astronomy class.”

He dropped his hand and smiled at her. “Good,” he said. “We’re going to do something else poetic now. Come on. I want to show you something.”

Tags: Cassandra Clare The Mortal Instruments Young Adult