Queen of Air and Darkness (The Dark Artifices #3)

Queen of Air and Darkness (The Dark Artifices #3)

Cassandra Clare


For Sarah.

She knows what she did.





Lo! Death has reared himself a throne In a strange city lying alone

Far down within the dim West,

Where the good and the bad and the worst and the best Have gone to their eternal rest.

There shrines and palaces and towers (Time-eaten towers that tremble not!) Resemble nothing that is ours.

Around, by lifting winds forgot, Resignedly beneath the sky

The melancholy waters lie.

No rays from the holy heaven come down On the long night-time of that town; But light from out the lurid sea Streams up the turrets silently— Gleams up the pinnacles far and free— Up domes—up spires—up kingly halls— Up fanes—up Babylon-like walls— Up shadowy long-forgotten bowers Of sculptured ivy and stone flowers— Up many and many a marvellous shrine Whose wreathed friezes intertwine The viol, the violet, and the vine.

Resignedly beneath the sky

The melancholy waters lie.

So blend the turrets and shadows there That all seem pendulous in air, While from a proud tower in the town Death looks gigantically down.

There open fanes and gaping graves Yawn level with the luminous waves; But not the riches there that lie In each idol’s diamond eye— Not the gaily-jewelled dead

Tempt the waters from their bed; For no ripples curl, alas!

Along that wilderness of glass— No swellings tell that winds may be Upon some far-off happier sea— No heavings hint that winds have been On seas less hideously serene.

But lo, a stir is in the air!

The wave—there is a movement there!

As if the towers had thrust aside, In slightly sinking, the dull tide— As if their tops had feebly given A void within the filmy Heaven.

The waves have now a redder glow— The hours are breathing faint and low— And when, amid no earthly moans, Down, down that town shall settle hence, Hell, rising from a thousand thrones, Shall do it reverence.

—Edgar Allan Poe, “City in the Sea”





PART ONE


Feel No Sorrow




In the Land of Faerie,

as mortals feel no sorrow, neither can they feel joy.

—Faerie proverb





1


DEATH LOOKS DOWN


There was blood on the Council dais, blood on the steps, blood on the walls and the floor and the shattered remnants of the Mortal Sword. Later Emma would remember it as a sort of red mist. A piece of broken poetry kept going through her mind, something about not being able to imagine people had so much blood in them.

They said that shock cushioned great blows, but Emma didn’t feel cushioned. She could see and hear everything: the Council Hall full of guards. The screaming. She tried to fight her way through to Julian. Guards surged up in front of her in a wave. She could hear more shouting. “Emma Carstairs shattered the Mortal Sword! She destroyed a Mortal Instrument! Arrest her!”

She didn’t care what they did to her; she had to get to Julian. He was still on the ground with Livvy in his arms, resisting all efforts by the guards to lift her dead body away from him.

“Let me through,” she said. “I’m his parabatai, let me through.”

“Give me the sword.” It was the Consul’s voice. “Give me Cortana, Emma, and you can help Julian.”

She gasped, and tasted blood in her mouth. Alec was up on the dais now, kneeling by his father’s body. The floor of the Hall was a mass of rushing figures; among them Emma glimpsed Mark, carrying an unconscious Ty out of the Hall, shouldering other Nephilim aside as he went. He looked grimmer than she’d ever seen him. Kit was with him; where was Dru? There—she was alone on the ground; no, Diana was with her, holding her and weeping, and there was Helen, fighting to get to the dais.

Emma took a step back and almost stumbled. The wood floor was slippery with blood. Consul Jia Penhallow was still in front of her, her thin hand held out for Cortana. Cortana. The sword was a part of Emma’s family, had been a part of her memory for as long as she could recall. She could still remember Julian laying it in her arms after her parents had died, how she’d held the sword to her as if it were a child, heedless of the deep cut the blade left on her arm.

Jia was asking her to hand over a piece of herself.

But Julian was there, alone, bowed in grief, soaked in blood. And he was more of herself than Cortana was. Emma surrendered the sword; feeling it yanked from her grip, her whole body tensed. She almost thought she could hear Cortana scream at being parted from her.

“Go,” Jia said; Emma could hear other voices, including Horace Dearborn’s, raised, demanding she be stopped, that the destruction of the Mortal Sword and the disappearance of Annabel Blackthorn be answered for. Jia was snapping at the guards, telling them to escort everyone from the Hall: now was a time of grief, not a time for revenge—Annabel would be found—go with dignity, Horace, or you’ll be escorted out, now is not the time—Aline helping Dru and Diana to their feet, helping them walk from the room . . .

Emma fell to her knees by Julian. The metallic smell of blood was everywhere. Livvy was a crumpled shape in his arms, her skin the color of skimmed milk. He had stopped calling for her to come back and was rocking her as if she were a child, his chin against the top of her head.

“Jules,” Emma whispered, but the word sat bitterly on her tongue: that was her childhood name for him, and he was an adult now, a grieving parent. Livvy had not just been his sister. For years he had raised her as a daughter. “Julian.” She touched his cold cheek, then Livvy’s colder one. “Julian, love, please, let me help you. . . .”

He raised his head slowly. He looked as if someone had flung a pail full of blood at him. It masked his chest, his throat, spattered his chin and cheeks. “Emma.” His voice was barely a whisper. “Emma, I drew so many iratzes—”

But Livvy had already been dead when she hit the wood of the dais. Before Julian even lifted her into his arms. No rune, no iratze, would have helped.

“Jules!” Helen had finally forced her way past the guards; she flung herself down beside Emma and Julian, heedless of the blood. Emma watched numbly as Helen carefully removed the broken shard of the Mortal Sword from Livvy’s body and set it on the ground. It stained her hands with blood. Her lips white with grief, she put her arms around Julian and Livvy both, whispering soothing words.

The room was emptying around them. Magnus had come in, walking very slowly and looking pale. A long row of Silent Brothers followed him. He ascended the dais and Alec rose to his feet, flinging himself into Magnus’s arms. They held each other wordlessly as four of the Brothers knelt and lifted Robert Lightwood’s body. His hands had been folded over his chest, his eyes carefully closed. Soft murmurs of “ave atque vale, Robert Lightwood,” echoed behind him as the Brothers carried his body from the room.

The Consul moved toward them. There were guards with her. The Silent Brothers hovered behind them, like ghosts, a blur of parchment.

“You have to let go of her, Jules,” Helen said in her gentlest voice. “She has to be taken to the Silent City.”

Julian looked at Emma. His eyes were stark as winter skies, but she could read them. “Let him do it,” Emma said. “He wants the last person to carry Livvy to be him.”

Helen stroked her brother’s hair and kissed his forehead before rising. She said, “Jia, please.”

The Consul nodded. Julian got slowly to his feet, Livvy cradled against him. He began to move toward the stairs that led down from the dais, Helen at his side and the Silent Brothers following, but as Emma rose too, Jia put a hand out to hold her back.

“Only family, Emma,” she said.

I am family. Let me go with them. Let me go with Livvy, Emma screamed silently, but she kept her mouth firmly closed: She couldn’t add her own sadness to the existing horror. And the rules of the Silent City were unchangeable. The Law is hard, but it is the Law.

The small procession was moving toward the doors. The Cohort had gone, but there were still some guards and other Shadowhunters in the room: a low chorus of “hail and farewell, Livia Blackthorn,” followed them.

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