Kit had only recently found out what a flail was, and now there was a rack of them hanging over his head, shiny and sharp and deadly.
He had never seen anything like the weapons room at the Los Angeles Institute before. The walls and floors were white-silver granite, and granite islands rose at intervals throughout the room, making the whole place look like the arms and armor exhibit at a museum. There were staves and maces, cleverly designed walking sticks, necklaces, boots and padded jackets that concealed slim, flat blades for stabbing and throwing. Morning stars covered in terrible spikes, and crossbows of all sizes and types.
The granite islands themselves were covered with stacks of gleaming instruments carved out of adamas, the quartz-like substance that Shadowhunters mined from the earth and that they alone knew how to turn into swords and blades and steles. Of more interest to Kit was the shelf that held daggers.
It wasn’t that he had any particular desire to learn how to use a dagger—nothing beyond the general interest he figured most teenagers had in deadly weapons, but even then, he’d rather be issued a machine gun or a flamethrower. But the daggers were works of art, their hilts inlaid with gold and silver and precious gems—blue sapphires, cabochon rubies, glimmering patterns of thorns etched in platinum and black diamonds.
He could think of at least three people at the Shadow Market who’d buy them off him for good money, no questions asked.
Kit stripped off the denim jacket he was wearing—he didn’t know which of the Blackthorns it had belonged to originally; he’d woken up the morning after he’d come to the Institute to find a freshly laundered pile of clothes at the foot of his bed—and shrugged on a padded jacket. He caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror at the far end of the room. Ragged blond hair, the last of fading bruises on his pale skin. He unzipped the inside pocket of the jacket and began to stuff it with sheathed daggers, picking the ones with the fanciest hilts.
The door to the weapons room swung open. Kit dropped the dagger he was holding back onto the shelf and turned around hastily. He thought he’d slipped out of his bedroom without being noticed, but if there was one thing he’d come to realize during his short time at the Institute, it was that Julian Blackthorn noticed everything, and his siblings weren’t far behind.
But it wasn’t Julian. It was a young man Kit hadn’t ever seen before, though something about him was familiar. He was tall, with tousled blond hair and a Shadowhunter’s build—broad shoulders, muscular arms, the black lines of the runic Marks they protected themselves with peeking out from the collar and cuffs of his shirt.
His eyes were an unusual dark gold color. He wore a heavy silver ring on one finger, as many of the Shadowhunters did. He raised an eyebrow at Kit.
“Like weapons, do you?” he said.
“They’re all right.” Kit backed up a little toward one of the tables, hoping the daggers in his inside pocket didn’t rattle.
The man went over to the shelf Kit had been rifling through and picked up the dagger he’d dropped. “You picked a good one here,” he said. “See the inscription on the handle?”
“It was made by one of the descendants of Wayland the Smith, who made Durendal and Cortana.” The man spun the dagger between his fingers before setting it back on its shelf. “Nothing as extraordinary as Cortana, but daggers like that will always return to your hand after you throw them. Convenient.”
Kit cleared his throat. “It must be worth a lot,” he said.