“Valentine,” Jocelyn said with a smile, “enough about politics, please.” She reached up and twined her arms around Valentine’s neck, her expression full of love—and his was as well, but there was something else in it, something that sent a shiver down Clary’s spine….
Valentine knelt in the center of a circle of trees. There was a bright moon overhead, illuminating the black pentagram that had been scrawled into the scraped earth of the clearing. The branches of trees made a thick net overhead; where they extended above the edge of the pentagram, their leaves curled and turned black. In the center of the five-pointed star sat a woman with long, shining hair; her shape was slim and lovely, her face hidden in shadow, her arms bare and white. Her left hand was extended in front of her, and as she opened her fingers, Clary could see that there was a long slash across her palm, dripping a slow stream of blood into a silver cup that rested on the pentagram’s edge. The blood looked black in the moonlight, or perhaps it was black.
“The child born with this blood in him,” she said, and her voice was soft and lovely, “will exceed in power the Greater Demons of the abysses between the worlds. He will be more mighty than the Asmodei, stronger than the shedim of the storms. If he is properly trained, there is nothing he will not be able to do. Though I warn you,” she added, “it will burn out his humanity, as poison burns the life from the blood.”
“My thanks to you, Lady of Edom,” said Valentine, and as he reached to take the cup of blood, the woman lifted her face, and Clary saw that though she was otherwise beautiful, her eyes were hollow black holes from which curled waving black tentacles, like feelers probing the air. Clary stifled a scream—
The night, the forest, vanished. Jocelyn stood facing someone Clary couldn’t see. She was no longer pregnant, and her bright hair straggled around her stricken, despairing face. “I can’t stay with him, Ragnor,” she said. “Not for another day. I read his book. Do you know what he did to Jonathan? I didn’t think even Valentine could do that.” Her shoulders shook. “He used demon blood—Jonathan’s not a baby anymore. He isn’t even human; he’s a monster—”
She vanished. Valentine was pacing restlessly around the circle of runes, a seraph blade shining in his hand. “Why won’t you speak?” he muttered. “Why won’t you give me what I want?” He drove down with the knife, and the angel writhed as golden liquid poured from its wound like spilled sunlight. “If you won’t give me answers,” Valentine hissed, “you can give me your blood. It will do me and mine more good than it will you.”
Now they were in the Wayland library. Sunlight shone through the diamond-paned windows, flooding the room with blue and green. Voices came from another room: the sounds of laughter and chatting, a party going on. Jocelyn knelt by the bookshelf, glancing from side to side. She drew a thick book from her pocket and slipped it onto the shelf….
And she was gone. The scene showed a cellar, the same cellar that Clary knew she was standing in right now. The same scrawled pentagram scarred the floor, and within the center of the star lay the angel. Valentine stood by, once again with a burning seraph blade in his hand. He looked years older now, no longer a young man. “Ithuriel,” he said. “We are old friends now, aren’t we? I could have left you buried alive under those ruins, but no, I brought you here with me. All these years I’ve kept you close, hoping one day you would tell me what I wanted—needed—to know.” He came closer, holding the blade out, its blaze lighting the runic barrier to a shimmer. “When I summoned you, I dreamed that you would tell me why. Why Raziel created us, his race of Shadowhunters, yet did not give us the powers Downworlders have—the speed of the wolves, the immortality of the Fair Folk, the magic of warlocks, even the endurance of vampires. He left us naked before the hosts of hell but for these painted lines on our skin. Why should their powers be greater than ours? Why can’t we share in what they have? How is that just?”
Within its imprisoning star the angel sat silent as a marble statue, unmoving, its wings folded. Its eyes expressed nothing beyond a terrible silent sorrow.
Valentine’s mouth twisted. “Very well. Keep your silence. I will have my chance.” Valentine lifted the blade. “I have the Mortal Cup, Ithuriel, and soon I shall have the Sword—but without the Mirror I cannot begin the summoning. The Mirror is all I need. Tell me where it is. Tell me where it is, Ithuriel, and I will let you die.”
The scene broke apart in fragments, and as her vision faded, Clary caught glimpses of images now familiar to her from her own nightmares—angels with wings both white and black; sheets of mirrored water, gold and blood; and Jace, turning away from her, always turning away. Clary reached out for him, and for the first time the angel’s voice spoke in her head in words that she could understand.
These are not the first dreams I have ever showed you.
The image of a rune burst behind her eyes, like fireworks—not a rune she had ever seen before; it was as strong, simple, and straightforward as a tied knot. It was gone in a breath as well, and as it vanished, the angel’s singing ceased. Clary was back in her own body, reeling on her feet in the filthy and reeking room. The angel was silent, frozen, wings folded, a grieving effigy.
Clary let out her breath in a sob. “Ithuriel.” She reached her hands out to the angel, knowing she couldn’t pass the runes, her heart aching. For years the angel had been down here, sitting silent and alone in the blackness, chained and starving but unable to die….
Jace was beside her. She could see from his stricken face that he’d seen everything she had. He looked down at the seraph blade in his hand and then back at the angel. Its blind face was turned toward them in silent supplication.
Jace took a step forward, and then another. His eyes were fixed on the angel, and it was as if, Clary thought, there were some silent communication passing between them, some speech she couldn’t hear. Jace’s eyes were bright as gold disks, full of reflected light.
“Ithuriel,” he whispered.
The blade in his hand blazed up like a torch. Its glow was blinding. The angel raised its face, as if the light were visible to its blind eyes. It reached out its hands, the chains that bound its wrists rattling like harsh music.
Jace turned to her. “Clary,” he said. “The runes.”
The runes. For a moment she stared at him, puzzled, but his eyes urged her onward. She handed Jace the witchlight, took his stele from her pocket, and knelt down by the scrawled runes. They looked as if they’d been gouged into the stone with something sharp.
She glanced up at Jace. His expression startled her, the blaze in his eyes—they were full of faith in her, of confidence in her abilities. With the tip of the stele she traced several lines into the floor, changing the runes of binding to runes of release, imprisonment to openness. They flared up as she traced them, as if she were dragging a match tip across sulphur.