Clary tried to speak, to say that she didn’t need to be warmed, that she was burning up, but the sounds that came out of her mouth weren’t the ones she’d intended. She heard herself whimper as Luke lifted her, and then there was heat, thawing her left side—she hadn’t even realized she was cold. Her teeth clicked together hard, and she tasted blood in her mouth. The world began to tremble around her like water shaken in a glass.
“The Lake of Dreams?” Amatis’s voice was full of disbelief. Clary couldn’t see her clearly, but she seemed to be standing near the stove, a long-handled wooden spoon in her hand. “What were you doing there? Does Jocelyn know where—”
And the world was gone, or at least the real world, the kitchen with the yellow walls and the comforting fire behind the grate. Instead she saw the waters of Lake Lyn, with fire reflected in them as if in the surface of a piece of polished glass. Angels were walking on the glass—angels with white wings that hung bloodied and broken from their backs, and each of them had Jace’s face. And then there were other angels, with wings of black shadow, and they touched their hands to the fire and laughed….
“She keeps calling out for her brother.” Amatis’s voice sounded hollow, as if filtering down from impossibly high overhead. “He’s with the Lightwoods, isn’t he? They’re staying with the Penhallows on Princewater Street. I could—”
“No,” Luke said sharply. “No. It’s better Jace doesn’t know about this.”
Was I calling out for Jace? Why would I do that? Clary wondered, but the thought was short-lived; the darkness came back, and the hallucinations claimed her again. This time she dreamed of Alec and of Isabelle; both looked as if they’d been through a fierce battle, their faces streaked with grime and tears. Then they were gone, and she dreamed of a faceless man with black wings sprouting from his back like a bat’s. Blood ran from his mouth when he smiled. Praying that the visions would vanish, Clary squeezed her eyes shut….
It was a long time before she surfaced again to the sound of voices above her. “Drink this,” Luke said. “Clary, you have to drink this,” and then there were hands on her back and fluid was being dripped into her mouth from a soaked rag. It tasted bitter and awful and she choked and gagged on it, but the hands on her back were firm. She swallowed, past the pain in her swollen throat. “There,” said Luke. “There, that should be better.”
Clary opened her eyes slowly. Kneeling beside her were Luke and Amatis, their nearly identically blue eyes filled with matching concern. She glanced behind them and saw nothing—no angels or devils with bat wings, only yellow walls and a pale pink teakettle balanced precariously on a windowsill.
“Am I going to die?” she whispered.
Luke smiled haggardly. “No. It’ll be a little while before you’re back on form, but—you’ll survive.”
“Okay.” She was too exhausted to feel much of anything, even relief. It felt as if all her bones had been removed, leaving a limp suit of skin behind. Looking up drowsily through her eyelashes, she said, almost without thinking, “Your eyes are the same.”
Luke blinked. “The same as what?”
“As hers,” Clary said, moving her sleepy gaze to Amatis, who looked perplexed. “The same blue.”
The ghost of a smile passed over Luke’s face. “Well, it’s not that surprising, considering,” he said. “I didn’t get a chance to introduce you properly before. Clary, this is Amatis Herondale. My sister.”
The Inquisitor fell silent the moment Alec and the chief officer were out of earshot. Simon followed him up the narrow witch-lit path, trying not to squint into the light. He was aware of the Gard rising up around him like the side of a ship rising up out of the ocean; lights blazed from its windows, staining the sky with a silvery light. There were low windows too, set at ground level. Several were barred, and there was only darkness within.
At length they reached a wooden door set into an archway at the side of the building. Aldertree moved to free the lock, and Simon’s stomach tightened. People, he’d noticed since he’d become a vampire, had a scent around them that changed with their moods. The Inquisitor stank of something bitter and strong as coffee, but much more unpleasant. Simon felt the prickling pain in his jaw that meant that his fang teeth wanted to come out, and shrank back from the Inquisitor as he passed through the door.
The hallway beyond was long and white, almost tunnel-like, as if it had been carved out of white rock. The Inquisitor hurried along, his witchlight bouncing brightly off the walls. For such a short-legged man he moved remarkably fast, turning his head from side to side as he went, his nose wrinkling as if he were smelling the air. Simon had to hurry to keep pace as they passed a set of huge double doors, thrown wide open like wings. In the room beyond, Simon could see an amphitheater with row upon row of chairs in it, each one occupied by a black-clad Shadowhunter. Voices echoed off the walls, many raised in anger, and Simon caught snatches of the conversation as he passed, the words blurring as the speakers overlapped each other.
“But we have no proof of what Valentine wants. He has communicated his wishes to no one—”
“What does it matter what he wants? He’s a renegade and a liar; do you really think any attempt to appease him would benefit us in the end?”
“You know a patrol found the dead body of a werewolf child on the outskirts of Brocelind? Drained of blood. It looks like Valentine’s completed the Ritual here in Idris.”
“With two of the Mortal Instruments in his possession, he’s more powerful than any one Nephilim has a right to be. We may have no choice—”
“My cousin died on that ship in New York. There’s no way we’re letting Valentine get away with what he’s already done. There must be retribution!”
Simon hesitated, curious to hear more, but the Inquisitor was buzzing around him like a fat, irritable bee. “Come along, come along,” he said, swinging his witchlight in front of him. “We don’t have a lot of time to waste. I should get back to the meeting before it ends.”
Reluctantly, Simon allowed the Inquisitor to push him along the corridor, the word “retribution” still ringing in his ears. The reminder of that night on the ship was cold, unpleasant. When they reached a door carved with a single stark black rune, the Inquisitor produced a key and unlocked it, ushering Simon inside with a broad gesture of welcome.
The room beyond was bare, decorated with a single tapestry that showed an angel rising out of a lake, clutching a sword in one hand and a cup in the other. The fact that he’d seen both the Cup and the Sword before momentarily distracted Simon. It wasn’t until he heard the click of a lock sliding home that he realized the Inquisitor had bolted the door behind him, locking them both in.
Simon glanced around. There was no furniture in the room besides a bench with a low table beside it. A decorative silver bell rested on the table. “The Portal … It’s in here?” he asked uncertainly.
“Simon, Simon.” Aldertree rubbed his hands together as if anticipating a birthday party or some other delightful event. “Are you really in such a hurry to leave? There are a few questions I had so hoped to ask you first….”