The Hall of Accords was lit like a bonfire, witchlight pouring out of its doors and windows. They hurried up the stairs, Clary steadying herself when she stumbled. Her dizziness was getting worse. The world seemed to be swinging around her, as if she stood inside a great spinning globe. Above her the stars were white-painted streaks across the sky. “You should lie down,” Simon said, and then, when she said nothing, “Clary?”
With an enormous effort, she forced herself to smile at him. “I’m all right.”
Jace, standing at the entrance to the Hall, looked back at her in silence. In the harsh glare of the witchlight, the blood on his face and his swollen eye looked ugly, streaked and black.
There was a dull roar inside the Hall, the low murmur of hundreds of voices. To Clary it sounded like the beating of an enormous heart. The lights of the bracketed torches, coupled with the glow of witchlights carried everywhere, seared her eyes and fragmented her vision; she could see only vague shapes now, vague shapes and colors. White, gold, and then the night sky above, fading from dark to paler blue. How late was it?
“I don’t see them.” Alec, casting anxiously around the room for his family, sounded as if he were a hundred miles off, or deep underwater. “They should be here by now—”
His voice faded as Clary’s dizziness worsened. She put a hand against a nearby pillar to steady herself. A hand brushed across her back—Simon. He was saying something to Jace, sounding anxious. His voice faded into the pattern of dozens of others, rising and falling around her like waves breaking.
“Never seen anything like it. The demons just turned around and left, just vanished.”
“Sunrise, probably. They’re afraid of sunrise, and it’s not far off.”
“No, it was more than that.”
“You just don’t want to think they’ll be back the next night, or the next.”
“Don’t say that; there’s no reason to say that. They’ll get the wards back up.”
“And Valentine will just take them down again.”
“Maybe it’s no better than we deserve. Maybe Valentine was right—maybe allying ourselves with Downworlders means we’ve lost the Angel’s blessing.”
“Hush. Have some respect. They’re tallying the dead out in Angel Square.”
“There they are,” Alec said. “Over there, by the dais. It looks like …” His voice trailed off, and then he was gone, pushing his way through the crowd. Clary squinted, trying to sharpen her vision. All she could see were blurs—
She heard Jace catch his breath, and then, without another word, he was shoving through the crowd after Alec. Clary let go of the pillar, meaning to follow them, but stumbled. Simon caught her.
“You need to lie down, Clary,” he said.
“No,” she whispered. “I want to see what happened—”
She broke off. He was staring past her, after Jace, and he looked stricken. Bracing herself against the pillar, she raised herself up on her toes, struggling to see over the crowd—
There they were, the Lightwoods: Maryse with her arms around Isabelle, who was sobbing, and Robert Lightwood sitting on the ground and holding something—no, someone, and Clary thought of the time she had seen Max at the Institute, lying limp and asleep on a couch, his glasses knocked askew and his hand trailing along the floor. He can sleep anywhere, Jace had said, and he almost looked as if he were sleeping now, in his father’s lap, but Clary knew he wasn’t.
Alec was on his knees, holding one of Max’s hands, but Jace was just standing where he was, not moving, and more than anything else he looked lost, as if he had no idea where he was or what he was doing there. All Clary wanted was to run to him and put her arms around him, but the look on Simon’s face told her no, no, and so did her memory of the manor house and Jace’s arms around her there. She was the last person on earth who could ever give him any comfort.
“Clary,” Simon said, but she was pulling away from him, despite her dizziness and the pain in her head. She ran for the doors of the Hall and pushed them open, ran out onto the steps and stood there, gulping down breaths of cold air. In the distance the horizon was streaked with red fire, the stars fading, bleached out of the lightening sky. The night was over. Dawn had come.
WHERE THERE IS SORROW
CLARY WOKE GASPING OUT OF A DREAM OF BLEEDING ANGELS, her sheets twisted around her in a tight spiral. It was pitch-black and close in Amatis’s spare bedroom, like being locked in a coffin. She reached out and twitched the curtains open. Daylight poured in. She frowned and pulled them shut again.
Shadowhunters burned their dead, and ever since the demon attack, the sky to the west of the city had been stained with smoke. Looking at it out the window made Clary feel sick, so she kept the curtains closed. In the darkness of the room she closed her eyes, trying to remember her dream. There had been angels in it, and the image of the rune Ithuriel had showed her, flashing over and over against the inside of her eyelids like a blinking WALK sign. It was a simple rune, as simple as a tied knot, but no matter how hard she concentrated, she couldn’t read it, couldn’t figure out what it meant. All she knew was that it seemed somehow incomplete to her, as if whoever had created the pattern hadn’t quite finished it.
These are not the first dreams I have ever showed you, Ithuriel had said. She thought of her other dreams: of Simon with crosses burned into his hands, Jace with wings, lakes of cracking ice that shone like mirror glass. Had the angel sent her those, too?
With a sigh she sat up. The dreams might be bad, but the waking images that marched across her brain weren’t much better. Isabelle, weeping on the floor of the Hall of Accords, tugging with such force on the black hair threaded through her fingers that Clary worried she would rip it out. Maryse shrieking at Jia Penhallow that the boy they’d brought into their house had done this, their cousin, and if he was so closely allied with Valentine, what did that say about them? Alec trying to calm his mother down, asking Jace to help him, but Jace just standing there as the sun rose over Alicante and blazed down through the ceiling of the Hall. “It’s dawn,” Luke had said, looking more tired than Clary had ever seen him. “Time to bring the bodies inside.” And he’d sent out patrols to gather up the dead Shadowhunters and lycanthropes lying in the streets and bring them to the plaza outside the Hall, the plaza Clary had crossed with Sebastian when she’d commented that the Hall looked like a church. It had seemed like a pretty place to her then, lined with flower boxes and brightly painted shops. And now it was full of corpses.
Including Max. Thinking of the little boy who’d so gravely talked about manga with her made her stomach knot. She’d promised once that she’d take him to Forbidden Planet, but that would never happen now. I would have bought him books, she thought. Whatever books he wanted. Not that it mattered.