“Absolutely,” Alec agreed. “I could get a message to my father—”
“She’s not a mundane,” Jace said quietly.
Hodge’s eyebrows shot back up to his hairline and stayed there. Alec, caught in the middle of a sentence, choked with surprise. In the sudden silence Clary could hear the sound of Hugo’s wings rustling. “But I am,” she said.
“No,” said Jace. “You aren’t.” He turned to Hodge, and Clary saw the slight movement of his throat as he swallowed. She found this glimpse of his nervousness oddly reassuring. “That night—there were Du’sien demons, dressed like police officers. We had to get past them. Clary was too weak to run, and there wasn’t time to hide—she would have died. So I used my stele—put a mendelin rune on the inside of her arm. I thought—”
“Are you out of your mind?” Hodge slammed his hand down on top of the desk so hard that Clary thought the wood might crack. “You know what the Law says about placing Marks on mundanes! You—you of all people ought to know better!”
“But it worked,” said Jace. “Clary, show them your arm.”
With a baffled glance in Jace’s direction, she held out her bare arm. She remembered looking down at it that night in the alley, thinking how vulnerable it seemed. Now, just below the crease of her wrist, she could see three faint overlapping circles, the lines as faint as the memory of a scar that had faded with the passage of years. “See, it’s almost gone,” Jace said. “It didn’t hurt her at all.”
“That’s not the point.” Hodge could barely control his anger. “You could have turned her into a Forsaken.”
Two bright spots of color burned high up on Alec’s cheekbones. “I can’t believe you, Jace. Only Shadowhunters can receive Covenant Marks—they kill mundanes—”
“She’s not a mundane. Haven’t you been listening? It explains why she could see us. She must have Clave blood.”
Clary lowered her arm, feeling suddenly cold. “But I don’t. I couldn’t.”
“You must,” Jace said, without looking at her. “If you didn’t, that Mark I made on your arm …”
“That’s enough, Jace,” said Hodge, the displeasure clear in his voice. “There’s no need to frighten her further.”
“But I was right, wasn’t I? It explains what happened to her mother, too. If she was a Shadowhunter in exile, she might well have Downworld enemies.”
“My mother wasn’t a Shadowhunter!”
“Your father, then,” Jace said. “What about him?”
Clary returned his gaze with a flat stare. “He died. Before I was born.”
Jace flinched, almost imperceptibly. It was Alec who spoke. “It’s possible,” he said uncertainly. “If her father were a Shadowhunter, and her mother a mundane—well, we all know it’s against the Law to marry a mundie. Maybe they were in hiding.”
“My mother would have told me,” Clary said, although she thought of the lack of more than one photo of her father, the way her mother never spoke of him, and knew that it wasn’t true.
“Not necessarily,” said Jace. “We all have secrets.”
“Luke,” Clary said. “Our friend. He would know.” With the thought of Luke came a flash of guilt and horror. “It’s been three days—he must be frantic. Can I call him? Is there a phone?” She turned to Jace. “Please.”
Jace hesitated, looking at Hodge, who nodded and moved aside from the desk. Behind him was a globe, made of beaten brass, that didn’t look quite like other globes she had seen; there was something subtly strange about the shape of the countries and continents. Next to the globe was an old-fashioned black telephone with a silver rotary dial. Clary lifted it to her ear, the familiar dial tone washing over her like soothing water.
Luke picked up on the third ring. “Hello?”
“Luke!” She sagged against the desk. “It’s me. It’s Clary.”
“Clary.” She could hear the relief in his voice, along with something else she couldn’t quite identify. “You’re all right?”
“I’m fine,” she said. “I’m sorry I didn’t call you before. Luke, my mom—”
“I know. The police were here.”
“Then you haven’t heard from her.” Any vestigial hope that her mother had fled the house and hidden somewhere disappeared. There was no way she wouldn’t have contacted Luke. “What did the police say?”
“Just that she was missing.” Clary thought of the policewoman with her skeletal hand, and shivered. “Where are you?”
“I’m in the city,” Clary said. “I don’t know where exactly. With some friends. My wallet’s gone, though. If you’ve got some cash, I could take a cab to your place—”
“No,” he said shortly.
The phone slipped in her sweaty hand. She caught it. “What?”
“No,” he said. “It’s too dangerous. You can’t come here.”
“We could call—”
“Look.” His voice was hard. “Whatever your mother’s gotten herself mixed up in, it’s nothing to do with me. You’re better off where you are.”
“But I don’t want to stay here.” She heard the whine in her voice, like a child’s. “I don’t know these people. You—”
“I’m not your father, Clary. I’ve told you that before.”
Tears burned the backs of her eyes. “I’m sorry. It’s just—”
“Don’t call me for favors again,” he said. “I’ve got my own problems; I don’t need to be bothered with yours,” he added, and hung up the phone.
She stood and stared at the receiver, the dial tone buzzing in her ear like a big ugly wasp. She dialed Luke’s number again, waited. This time it went to voice mail. She banged the phone down, her hands trembling.
Jace was leaning against the armrest of Alec’s chair, watching her. “I take it he wasn’t happy to hear from you?”
Clary’s heart felt as if it had shrunk down to the size of a walnut: a tiny, hard stone in her chest. I will not cry, she thought. Not in front of these people.
“I think I’d like to have a talk with Clary,” said Hodge. “Alone,” he added firmly, seeing Jace’s expression.
Alec stood up. “Fine. We’ll leave you to it.”
“That’s hardly fair,” Jace objected. “I’m the one who found her. I’m the one who saved her life! You want me here, don’t you?” he appealed, turning to Clary.
Clary looked away, knowing that if she opened her mouth, she’d start to cry. As if from a distance, she heard Alec laugh.
“Not everyone wants you all the time, Jace,” he said.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” she heard Jace say, but he sounded disappointed. “Fine, then. We’ll be in the weapons room.”
The door closed behind them with a definitive click. Clary’s eyes were stinging the way they did when she tried to hold tears back for too long. Hodge loomed up in front of her, a fussing gray blur. “Sit down,” he said. “Here, on the couch.”
She sank gratefully onto the soft cushions. Her cheeks were wet. She reached up to brush the tears away, blinking. “I don’t cry much usually,” she found herself saying. “It doesn’t mean anything. I’ll be all right in a minute.”
“Most people don’t cry when they’re upset or frightened, but rather when they’re frustrated. Your frustration is understandable. You’ve been through a most trying time.”
“Trying?” Clary wiped her eyes on the hem of Isabelle’s shirt. “You could say that.”
Hodge pulled the chair out from behind the desk, dragging it over so that he could sit facing her. His eyes, she saw, were gray, like his hair and tweed coat, but there was kindness in them. “Is there anything I could get for you?” he asked. “Something to drink? Some tea?”
“I don’t want tea,” said Clary, with muffled force. “I want to find my mother. And then I want to find out who took her in the first place, and I want to kill them.”
“Unfortunately,” said Hodge, “we’re all out of bitter revenge at the moment, so it’s either tea or nothing.”
Clary dropped the hem of the shirt—now spotted all over with wet blotches—and said, “What am I supposed to do, then?”
“You could start by telling me a little about what happened,” Hodge said, rummaging in his pocket. He produced a handkerchief—crisply folded—and handed it to her. She took it with silent astonishment. She’d never before known anyone who carried a handkerchief. “The demon you saw in your apartment—was that the first such creature you’d ever seen? You had no inkling such creatures existed before?”
Clary shook her head, then paused. “One before, but I didn’t realize what it was. The first time I saw Jace—”
“Right, of course, how foolish of me to forget.” Hodge nodded. “In Pandemonium. That was the first time?”
“And your mother never mentioned them to you—nothing about another world, perhaps, that most people cannot see? Did she seem particularly interested in myths, fairy tales, legends of the fantastic—”
“No. She hated all that stuff. She even hated Disney movies. She didn’t like me reading manga. She said it was childish.”
Hodge scratched his head. His hair didn’t move. “Most peculiar,” he murmured.
“Not really,” said Clary. “My mother wasn’t peculiar. She was the most normal person in the world.”
“Normal people don’t generally find their homes ransacked by demons,” Hodge said, not unkindly.
“Couldn’t it have been a mistake?”
“If it had been a mistake,” Hodge said, “and you were an ordinary girl, you would not have seen the demon that attacked you—or if you had, your mind would have processed it as something else entirely: a vicious dog, even another human being. That you could see it, that it spoke to you—”
“How did you know it spoke to me?”
“Jace reported that you said ‘it talked.’”
“It hissed.” Clary shivered, remembering. “It talked about wanting to eat me, but I think it wasn’t supposed to.”
“Raveners are generally under the control of a stronger demon. They’re not very bright or capable on their own,” explained Hodge. “Did it say what its master was looking for?”
Clary thought. “It said something about a Valentine, but—”
Hodge jerked upright, so abruptly that Hugo, who had been resting comfortably on his shoulder, launched himself into the air with an irritable caw. “Valentine?”
“Yes,” Clary said. “I heard the same name in Pandemonium from the boy—I mean, the demon—”
“It’s a name we all know,” Hodge said shortly. His voice was steady, but she could see a slight tremble in his hands. Hugo, back on his shoulder, ruffed his feathers uneasily.
“No. Valentine is—was—a Shadowhunter.”
“A Shadowhunter? Why do you say was?”
“Because he’s dead,” said Hodge flatly. “He’s been dead for fifteen years.”
Clary sank back against the couch cushions. Her head was throbbing. Maybe she should have gone for that tea after all. “Could it be someone else? Someone with the same name?”
Hodge’s laugh was a humorless bark. “No. But it could have been someone using his name to send a message.” He stood up and paced to his desk, hands locked behind his back. “And this would be the time to do it.”
“Because of the Accords.”
“The peace negotiations? Jace mentioned those. Peace with who?”
“Downworlders,” Hodge murmured. He looked down at Clary. His mouth was a tight line. “Forgive me,” he said. “This must be confusing for you.”
He leaned against the desk, stroking Hugo’s feathers absently. “Downworlders are those who share the Shadow World with us. We have always lived in an uneasy peace with them.”
“Like vampires, werewolves, and …”
“The Fair Folk,” Hodge said. “Faeries. And Lilith’s children, being half-demon, are warlocks.”
“So what are you Shadowhunters?”
“We are sometimes called the Nephilim,” said Hodge. “In the Bible they were the offspring of humans and angels. The legend of the origin of Shadowhunters is that they were created more than a thousand years ago, when humans were being overrun by demon invasions from other worlds. A warlock summoned the Angel Raziel, who mixed some of his own blood with the blood of men in a cup, and gave it to those men to drink. Those who drank the Angel’s blood became Shadowhunters, as did their children and their children’s children. The cup thereafter was known as the Mortal Cup. Though the legend may not be fact, what is true is that through the years, when Shadowhunter ranks were depleted, it was always possible to create more Shadowhunters using the Cup.”
“Was always possible?”
“The Cup is gone,” said Hodge. “Destroyed by Valentine, just before he died. He set a great fire and burned himself to death along with his family, his wife, and his child. Scorched the land black. No one will build there still. They say the land is cursed.”
“Possibly. The Clave hands down curses on occasion as punishment for breaking the Law. Valentine broke the greatest Law of all—he took up arms against his fellow Shadowhunters and slew them. He and his group, the Circle, killed dozens of their brethren along with hundreds of Downworlders during the last Accords. They were only barely defeated.”