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Son of the Dawn, Page 2

Cassandra Clare

  "Magnus invented your Portals, not that he receives any credit for it from Shadowhunters. He is one of the most powerful warlocks in the world, and so tenderhearted he rushes to the aid of vicious killers. He is the best the Downworld has to offer. If the Circle targeted him, they would cut down any one of us."

  "Would've been a damn shame," Lily confirmed. "Magnus throws an amazing rager, too."

  "I wouldn't know," said Raphael, casting a look of distaste upon the joyful riot of the Market. "I do not enjoy people. Or gatherings."

  A werewolf wearing an enchanted papier-mache full-moon head shoved past Raphael, shouting "Awoooo!" Raphael turned to look at him, and the werewolf backed away with his hands up, mumbling: "Uh, sorry. My mistake."

  Despite slight fellow feeling with the werewolf, Brother Zachariah unbent a little at this evidence that this vampire was not entirely awful.

  I understand that you value Magnus highly. So do I. Once he aided someone very dear to--

  "No, I don't!" Raphael interrupted. "And I don't care about your story. Don't tell him I said any of that. I can have opinions on my colleagues. It does not mean I have personal feelings about them."

  "Hey, my man, great to see you," said Ragnor Fell, passing by.

  Raphael paused to fist-bump the green warlock before Ragnor disappeared among the stalls and sounds and many-colored lights of the Market. Lily and Brother Zachariah regarded him.

  "He's another colleague!" Raphael protested.

  I like Ragnor, said Brother Zachariah.

  "Good for you," snapped Raphael. "Revel in your hobby of liking and trusting everyone. It sounds as appealing to me as sunbathing."

  Zachariah felt he had become acquainted with another reason, besides Magnus's evil vampire ex, why Magnus always seemed to develop a migraine when people mentioned the vampire clan of New York in his presence. He, Lily, and Raphael strolled through the Market.

  "Love charm for the handsomest Silent Brother?" asked the faerie woman for the fifth time, leering through her dandelion-clock hair. Sometimes one could wish the Shadow Market had not become quite so comfortable with him.

  He remembered this woman, he thought, dimly recollecting her hurting a golden-haired child. It had been so long ago. He had cared very much at the time.

  Lily snorted. "I hardly think Brother Beast-with-two-backs-ariah needs a love charm."

  Thank you, but no, Brother Zachariah told the faerie woman. I'm very flattered, though Brother Enoch is a fine figure of a man.

  "Or perhaps you and the lady would enjoy some phoenix tears for a night of burning pass--" She went suddenly silent, and the whole stall scuttled away across the bare concrete floor on little chicken feet. "Ooops, never mind! Didn't see you there, Raphael."

  Raphael's thin eyebrows went up and down like a guillotine.

  "More of a buzzkill than the Silent Brother," murmured Lily. "Oh, the shame."

  Raphael looked smug. In Zachariah's head, Brother Enoch was annoyed at being the subject of a joke. The gleam and whirl of the Shadow Market shone with pale radiance in Brother Zachariah's eyes. He did not like the thought of yin fen spreading like silver wildfire in another city, killing fast as flame or slowly as choking smoke. If it was coming he had to stop it. This trip to the Market had been useful after all. If he could not feel, he could act.

  Perhaps tomorrow night the Lightwoods will earn your trust, said Brother Zachariah as he and the vampires stepped out into the mundane bustle of Canal Street.

  Raphael said, "Unlikely."

  I have found it always better to hope than despair, said Brother Zachariah mildly. I will wait for you outside the Institute.

  Behind them, enchanted lights shimmered and the sound of faery music rang through the halls of the theater. A mundane woman turned to face the building. Glittering blue light fell in a strange beam across her unseeing eyes.

  The two vampires were heading east, but partway up the street, Raphael turned back to where Brother Zachariah stood. In the night, away from Market lights, the vampire's scar was white and his eyes were black. His eyes saw too much.

  "Hope is for fools. I will meet you tomorrow night, but remember this, Silent Brother," he said. "Hate like that does not fade. The work of the Circle is not done yet. The Morgenstern legacy will claim more victims. I do not intend to be one of them."

  Wait, said Brother Zachariah. Do you happen to know why the ship is unloading its cargo at the passenger ship terminal?

  Raphael shrugged. "I told you the ship was carrying cargo from Idris. I believe some Shadowhunter brat is onboard."

  Brother Zachariah walked away from the Market alone, thinking of a child on a ship with deadly cargo, and the potential of more victims.

  Isabelle Lightwood was not accustomed to feeling nervous about anything, but anyone might be apprehensive when faced with the prospect of a new addition to the family.

  This was not like before Max was born, when Isabelle and Alec had laid bets on whether it would be a boy or a girl and afterward Mom and Dad trusted them enough to let them take turns holding him, the smallest and tenderest bundle imaginable.

  A boy older than Isabelle was being dumped on their doorstep and was supposed to live with them. Jonathan Wayland, the son of Dad's parabatai, Michael Wayland. Faraway in Idris, Michael Wayland had died, and Jonathan needed a home.

  For herself, Isabelle was a little excited. She liked adventure and company. If Jonathan Wayland was as much fun and as good a fighter as Aline Penhallow, who came to visit sometimes with her mother, Isabelle would be glad to have him.

  Except there was not just Isabelle to consider.

  Her parents had been fighting over Jonathan Wayland ever since the news of Michael's death came. Isabelle gathered Mom had not liked Michael Wayland. She was not sure Dad had liked him much either. Isabelle herself had never met Michael Wayland. She had never even known that Dad had a parabatai. Neither Mom nor Dad ever talked about when they were young, except that Mom had once said they made many mistakes. Isabelle sometimes wondered whether they had been mixed up in the same trouble as their tutor, Hodge. Her friend Aline said Hodge was a criminal.

  Whatever her parents had or had not done, Isabelle did not think her mother wanted Jonathan Wayland to be a reminder of her mistakes in her own home.

  Dad did not seem happy when he talked about his parabatai, but he did seem determined that Jonathan would come to live with them. Jonathan had nowhere else to go, Dad insisted, and he belonged with them. That was what being parabatai meant. Once when she was eavesdropping on them shouting, Isabelle heard Dad say, "I owe Michael this."

  Mom agreed to let Jonathan come for a trial period, but now that the shouting had died down, she was not really speaking to Dad. Isabelle was worried about both her parents, and especially her mom.

  Isabelle also had to consider her brother.

  Alec did not like new people. Whenever new Shadowhunters arrived from Idris, Alec would mysteriously slope off. Once Isabelle had found him lurking behind a large vase, claiming he got lost trying to find the training room.

  Jonathan Wayland was taking a ship to New York. He should be in the Institute by the morning after next.

  Isabelle was in the training room, practicing with her whip and pondering the problem of Jonathan Wayland, when she heard rushing footsteps, and her brother Alec poked his head around the door. His blue eyes were sparkling.

  "Isabelle!" he said. "Come quickly! There's a Silent Brother meeting with Mom and Dad in the Sanctuary. And a vampire!"

  Isabelle ran to her room to get out of her gear and into a dress. The Silent Brothers were fancy company, almost as if the Consul had come to visit.

  By the time she got downstairs, Alec was already in the Sanctuary observing the proceedings, and her parents were deep in conversation with the Silent Brother. Isabelle heard her mom say something to the Silent Brother that sounded like "Yogurt! Unbelievable!"

  Maybe not yogurt. Maybe it was a different word.

  "On the sh
ip with Michael's son!" Dad said.

  It couldn't be yogurt, unless Jonathan Wayland had a very serious allergy to dairy.

  The Silent Brother was a lot less scary than Isabelle had been expecting. In fact, from what Isabelle could see beneath the hood, he resembled one of the mundie singers she had seen in posters around the city. From the way Robert was nodding at him and Maryse was leaning toward him in her chair, Isabelle could see they were getting along.

  The vampire was not conversing with their parents. He was leaning against one of the walls, arms crossed, and glaring at the floor. He did not seem as if he was interested in getting along with anyone. He looked like a kid, hardly older than they were, and he would have been almost as handsome as the Silent Brother if not for his sour expression. He was wearing a black leather jacket to go with his scowl. Isabelle wished she could see the fangs.

  "Can I offer you a coffee?" Maryse said to the vampire in a cool, stilted tone.

  "I do not drink ... coffee," said the vampire.

  "Odd," said Maryse. "I heard you had a delightful coffee with Catherine Ashdown."

  The vampire shrugged. Isabelle knew vampires were dead and soulless and all, but she did not see why they had to be rude.

  She nudged Alec in the ribs. "Get a load of the vampire. Can you believe that?"

  "I know!" Alec whispered back. "Isn't he amazing?"

  "What?" Isabelle said, grabbing Alec's elbow.

  Alec did not glance at her. He was studying the vampire. Isabelle started to get the same uneasy feeling that she got whenever she noticed Alec looking at the same posters of mundie singers that she did. Alec always got red and angry when she saw him looking. Isabelle sometimes thought it would be nice to talk about the singers, the way she'd heard mundie girls doing, but she knew Alec wouldn't want to. Once Mom had asked them what they were looking at, and Alec had looked afraid.

  "Don't go near him," Isabelle urged. "I think vampires are gross."

  Isabelle was used to being able to whisper to her brother in a crowd. The vampire turned his head slightly, and Isabelle remembered vampires did not have pathetic hearing like mundanes. The vampire could definitely hear her.

  This nasty realization caused Isabelle to relax her hold on Alec. She watched in horror as he pulled away from her and advanced with nervous determination toward the vampire. Not wanting to be left out, Isabelle trailed a few steps behind him.

  "Hello," said Alec. "It's, um, very nice to meet you."

  The vampire boy gave him a thousand-yard stare that suggested a thousand yards was too close up and the vampire wished he were enjoying blissful solitude in the far reaches of space. "Hello."

  "I'm Alexander Lightwood," said Alec.

  Grimacing as if the introduction were vital information being tortured out of him, the vampire said: "I am Raphael."

  When he made that face, Isabelle did see the fangs. They were not as cool as she had hoped.

  "I'm basically twelve," continued Alec, who was totally eleven. "You don't look a lot older than me. But I know it's different with vampires. I guess you kind of stay the same age you stop at, though, right? Like you're fifteen, but you've been fifteen for a hundred years. How long have you been fifteen?"

  Raphael said flatly, "I'm sixty-three."

  "Oh," said Alec. "Oh. Oh, that's cool."

  He advanced several steps toward the vampire. Raphael did not take a step back, but he looked like he wanted to.

  "Also," Alec added shyly, "your jacket is cool."

  "Why are you talking to my children?" Mom asked sharply.

  She was already up from her chair opposite the Silent Brother, and as she spoke she seized hold of Alec and Isabelle. Her fingers pinched; she was holding them so hard, and fear seemed to travel to Isabelle through her mother's touch, even though she had not been afraid before.

  The vampire had not been looking at them as if he thought they would be delicious at all. Maybe that was how he lured you in, though, Isabelle considered. Maybe Alec was just ensorcelled by vampire wiles. It would be nice to be able to blame the Downworlder for making Isabelle worry.

  The Silent Brother rose from his chair and glided to join them. Isabelle heard the vampire whisper to the Silent Brother, and she was pretty sure he said: "This is my nightmare."

  Isabelle stuck her tongue out at him. Raphael's lip curled the tiniest fraction farther from his fangs. Alec did glance at Isabelle then, to make sure she was not scared. Isabelle wasn't scared of much, but Alec was always fussing.

  Raphael came here out of concern for a Shadowhunter child, said the Silent Brother.

  "No, I didn't," Raphael sneered. "Better watch your children. I once killed a whole gang of boys not much older than your boy here. Shall I take this as a refusal to help with the shipment? I am deeply shocked. Well, we tried. Time to go, Brother Zachariah."

  "Wait," said Robert. "Of course we will help. I will meet you at the drop-off point in New Jersey."

  Naturally her dad would help, Isabelle thought indignantly. This vampire was an idiot. Whatever mistakes they might have made when they were really young, her parents ran this whole Institute and had killed lots and lots of evil demons. Anyone sensible would know you could always count on her dad.

  "You can consult with us on other Shadowhunter matters at any time," her mom added, but she did not let go of Alec and Isabelle until the vampire and Brother Zachariah had left the Institute.

  Isabelle had thought the visit would be exciting, but she had ended up feeling terrible. She wished that Jonathan Wayland was not coming.

  Guests were terrible, and Isabelle never wanted any more.

  The plan was to stow away aboard ship undetected, apprehend the smugglers, and dispose of the yin fen. The child would never have to know about any of it.

  It was almost nice to be in one of the sleek Shadowhunter boats again. Brother Zachariah had been in the multi-hulled trimarans as a child on lakes in Idris, and once his parabatai had stolen one and they had rowed it down the Thames. Now he, an edgy Robert Lightwood, and two vampires had used one to navigate the black nighttime waters of the Delaware River, coming down from the port of Camden. Lily kept complaining that they were practically in Philadelphia, until the boat drew close to the tall cargo ship. Dawn Trader was painted in dark blue letters against its gray side. They waited for their moment, then Robert threw a grappling hook.

  Brother Zachariah, Raphael, Lily, and Robert Lightwood made it onto the boat and into a deserted cabin. This journey, short and stealthy though it was, left them with the impression that there was no mundane crew onboard at all. Hiding there, they counted the voices of the smugglers and realized there were far more than had been reported.

  "Oh no, Brother Hop-in-the-sack-ariah," Lily whispered. "I think we're going to have to fight them."

  She looked very cheerful about the prospect. As she spoke, she winked and pulled her feathered flapper's headband from her yellow-streaked hair.

  "It's actually from the 1920s, so I don't want to damage it," she explained, and nodded to Raphael. "I've had it longer than I've had him. He's from the 1950s. Jazz baby and greaser teen take on the world."

  Raphael rolled his eyes. "Desist with the nicknames. They are getting worse."

  Lily laughed. "I will not. Once you go Zachariah, you never go backariah."

  Raphael and Robert Lightwood both looked appalled, but Zachariah did not mind the nicknames. He did not hear laughter often.

  What worried him was the child.

  We cannot allow Jonathan to be scared or hurt, he said.

  Robert was nodding, and the vampires looking supremely unconcerned, when a boy's voice came from outside the door.

  "I'm not frightened of anything," he said.

  Jonathan Wayland, Zachariah presumed.

  "Then why are you asking about the Lightwoods?" asked a woman's voice. She sounded irritated. "They're taking you in. They won't be unkind to you."

  "I was only curious," said Jonathan.

  He wa
s clearly doing his best to sound airy and aloof, and his best was not bad. His voice almost swaggered. Brother Zachariah thought it would have convinced most people.

  "Robert Lightwood's got some influence in the Clave," remarked the woman. "Solid man. I'm sure he's ready to be a father to you."

  "I had a father," said Jonathan, cold as the night wind.

  The woman was silent. Across the cabin, Robert Lightwood's head was bowed.

  "But the mother," said Jonathan, a touch tentative. "What's Mrs. Lightwood like?"

  "Maryse? I barely know her," the woman replied. "She's already got three kids. Four's a lot to handle."

  "I'm not a kid," said Jonathan. "I won't bother her." He paused and observed, "There are a lot of werewolves aboard this ship."

  "Ugh, kids raised in Idris are exhausting," said the woman. "Werewolves are a fact of life, unfortunately. Creatures are everywhere. Go to bed, Jonathan."

  They listened as another cabin door shut, and a lock was shot home.

  "Now," said Robert Lightwood. "Vampires, starboard. Brother Zachariah and I, port. Contain the werewolves by any means necessary, then locate the yin fen."

  They spilled out onto the deck. It was a rough night, the wind pulling Zachariah's hood down farther, the deck jerking beneath their feet. Zachariah could not open his lips to taste the salt in the air.

  New York was a glimmer on the horizon, shining like the lights of the Shadow Market in the dark. They could not allow the yin fen to hit the city.

  There were a couple of werewolves on the deck. One was in wolf form, and Zachariah could see a tinge of silver in his fur. The other had lost color in his fingertips. Zachariah wondered if they knew that they were dying. He remembered, too vividly, how it had felt when the yin fen was killing him.

  Sometimes it was good to be without feeling. Sometimes being human hurt too much, and Zachariah could not afford pity now.

  Brother Zachariah slammed his staff against one of their heads, and when he turned, Robert Lightwood had already dealt with the other. They stood braced, listening to the howl of the wind and the surge of the sea, waiting for the others to come from belowdecks. Then Zachariah heard the sounds from the other side of the ship.

  Stay where you are, he told Robert. I will go to the vampires.