“Why?” She rose to her feet and began to pace. “Why would you do all that for me? For the book? Because I will not give it to you.”
“Because I need you to stand up in front of the Council and say that you killed Malcolm,” he told her. She had left the Black Volume on the table before him. She was still pacing, not looking at him. Recalling Magnus’s warning—under no circumstances should you try to take the Black Volume from her, even if she isn’t holding it—Julian opened it cautiously, peered at a page of cramped, unreadable lettering. An idea was beginning to unfurl inside his mind, like a cautious flower. He reached into his pocket.
“That I killed Malcolm?” She spun to stare at him. He had his phone out, but he suspected it meant nothing to her—she’d probably seen mundanes wandering around with cell phones, but she’d never think of it as a camera. In fact, a camera wouldn’t mean anything to her either.
“Yes,” he said. “Believe me, you’ll be hailed as a hero.”
She’d begun pacing again. Julian’s shoulders ached. The position he was in, both hands occupied and leaning forward, was an awkward one. But if this worked, it would be more than worth the pain.
“There is someone who is lying,” he said. “Taking credit for Malcolm’s death. She is doing it so that she can get control of an Institute. Our Institute.” He took a deep breath. “Her name is Zara Dearborn.”
The name electrified her, as he had suspected it would. “Dearborn,” she breathed.
“The Inquisitor who tortured you,” said Julian. “His descendants are no better. They will all be there now, carrying their signs shaming Downworlders, shaming those who stand up to the Clave. They would bring an awful darkness down on us. But you can prove them liars. Discredit them.”
“Surely you could tell them the truth—”
“Not without revealing how I know. I saw you kill Malcolm in the Seelie Queen’s scrying glass. I’m telling you this because I am desperate—if you heard Malcolm speaking of the Cold Peace, you must know contact with faeries is forbidden. What I did would be considered treason. I’d take the punishment for it, but—”
“Your brothers and sisters couldn’t bear that,” she finished for him. She turned back toward him just as he leaned away from the book. Were her eyes more like Livvy’s or Dru’s? They were blue-green and depthless. “I see things have not changed as much as all that. The Law is still hard, and is still the Law.”
Julian could hear the hate in her voice, and knew he had her.
“But the Law can be circumvented.” He leaned across the table. “We can trick them. And shame them. Force them to confront their lies. The Dearborns will pay. They’ll all be there—the Consul, the Inquisitor, all those who have inherited the power that was abused when they hurt you.”
Her eyes glittered. “You will make them acknowledge it? What they did?”
“And in return—?”
“Your testimony,” he said. “That’s all.”
“You wish me to come to Idris with you. To stand before the Clave and Council, and the Inquisitor, as I did before?”
“And if they call me mad, if they declare I am lying, or under Malcolm’s duress, you will stand for me? You will insist I am sane?”
“Magnus will be with you every step of the way,” Julian said. “He can stand beside you on the dais. He can protect you. He is the warlock representative on the Council, and you know how powerful he is. You can trust him even if you don’t trust me.”
It was not a real answer, but she took it for one. Julian had known she would.
“I do trust you,” she said with wonder. She came forward and picked up the Black Volume, hugging it to her chest. “Because of your brother’s letter. It was honest. I had not thought of an honest Blackthorn before. But I could hear the truth in how he loves you. You must be worthy of such love and trust, to have inspired it in one so truthful.” Her eyes bored into him. “I know what you want—what you need. And yet now that I have come to you, you have not once asked for it. That should count for something. Though you failed my trial, I understand it now. You were acting for your family.” He could see her swallow, the muscles moving in her thin, scarred throat. “You swear that if the Black Volume is given to you, you will keep it hidden from the Lord of Shadows? You will use it only to help your family?”
“I swear on the Angel,” said Julian. He knew how powerful an oath on the Angel was, and Annabel would know it too. But he was speaking only the truth, after all.
His heart was beating in swift and powerful hammer-blows. He was blinded by the light of what he could imagine, what the Queen could do for them if they gave her the Black Volume: Helen, Helen could come back, and Aline, and the Cold Peace could end.
And the Queen knows. She knows . . .
He forced the thought back. He could hear Emma’s voice, a whisper in the back of his mind. A warning. But Emma was good in her heart: honest, straightforward, a terrible liar. She didn’t understand the brutality of need. The absoluteness of what he would do for his family. There was no end to its depth and breadth. It was total.
“Very well,” Annabel said. Her voice was strong, forceful: He could hear the unbreakable cliffs of Cornwall in her accent. “I will come with you to the City of Glass and speak before the Council. And if I am acknowledged, then the Black Volume will be yours.”
The sun was shining in Alicante.
The first time Emma had been in Idris, it had been winter, cold as death, and there had been death all around—her parents had just been killed, and the Dark War had ravaged the city. They hadn’t been able to burn the bodies of Shadowhunters killed in the streets fast enough, and the corpses had stacked up in the Hall like discarded children’s toys.
“Emma.” Julian was pacing the long corridor in the Gard, lined with doors, each leading to the office of a different official. Alternating between the doors were windows letting in the bright light of late summer, and tapestries depicting significant events in Shadowhunter history. Most had small woven banners across the tops, describing what they were: THE BATTLE OF THE BUND, VALENTINE’S LAST STAND, THE PARIS ENGAGEMENT, THE UPRISING. “Do you remember . . . ?”
She did remember. They’d stood in this exact place five years ago, listening to Lucian Graymark and Jia Penhallow discuss the exile of Mark and Helen, before Emma had thrown open the door to shout at them. It was one of the few times she’d seen Julian lose control. She could hear his voice in her head, even now. You promised the Clave would never abandon Mark while he was living—you promised!
“Like I could forget,” she said. “This is where we told the Consul we wanted to be parabatai.”
Julian touched her hand with his. It was only a brush of fingers—they were both conscious anyone could come down the corridor at any moment.
Getting to Alicante had been difficult—Magnus had managed the Portal, though it seemed to have taken the last of his energy in a way that frightened Emma. He had been kneeling by the time the familiar swirling lights had formed, and he’d had to lean on Mark and Julian to rise.
Still he had brushed off all concerns and informed them that they needed to go through the Portal quickly. Idris was warded and Portaling there was a complex business, since someone had to be on the other side to receive you. It was doubly complex now since Kieran was with them, and though Jia had waived the anti-Faerie protections on the Gard temporarily, the window for safe travel was short.
Then the Portal had terrified Annabel.
She had never seen one before, and despite everything she had been through, despite all the awful magic she had seen Malcolm wreak, the sight of the whirling chaos inside the doorway made her scream.