Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Demon Tower

Outtake 2: Simon arrives in Alicante and meets Aline and Sebastian.
In the original version of the story, Simon wound up in Idris as a result of Jace’s trickery and not as an accident. I decided I didn’t like that — it made Jace too manupulative and Clary too forgiving of his bad behavior — so I altered it; this is, however, the original first scene in which Simon wakes up in Alicante and meets Sebastian and Aline. Bonus: inclusion of Simon’s mysterious last name.
“Where are we?” Simon hissed through his teeth.
“Alicante,” said Jace. “The City of Glass.” And, when Simon only stared at him, he added with a touch of impatience: “We’re in Idris.” He leaned out the window a little. “See,” he said, indicating the towers, “those are the demon towers. They’re made of the same material our steles and seraph blades are made out of. It’s a demon-repellent —”
“Why have you taken me here?” Simon demanded, interrupting Jace’s lesson in local geography.
Jace’s eyes met his, and for a moment there was something in them — something almost beseeching — and then Jace said, “You agreed. This is for Clary.”
“I didn’t agree to anything!” Simon struck the window ledge with his fist. He’d expected to it to hurt, but it didn’t; he still wasn’t used to his new strength, and the blow left a dent in the stone. “Wait.” A thought occurred to him. “Clary — you mean she’s here?” He whirled around as if half-expecting to see her, but there was only the same stone room. “Where is she?”
Jace pushed his hair back impatiently. “She’s not here — that’s just it. I traded her for you.”
“You what? What are you talking about? Why would anyone want me instead of Clary?”
“Search me,” said Jace with a little of his old malice, “I certainly wouldn’t, but the Clave is a little peculiar that way. They have their ways —”
“The Clave?” Simon stared at Jace. “You brought me here because the Clave wanted Clary, and you agreed to give them me instead?”
“I know — bit of a dirty trick, wasn’t it?”remarked a light voice. Simon turned and Isabelle Lightwood standing in the open doorway. She wore dark trousers and a form-fitting white leather jacket against which her hair looked impossibly black. Beside her was her brother, Alec, in jeans and a long-sleeved t-shirt with a black runic mark scrawled across the front. “Jace didn’t tell us that you didn’t know about it until we were already well through the Portal,” Isabelle went on, ignoring the dirty look Alec was giving her. “Mom and Dad were livid, but what can they do? The Clave is the Clave and Jace made a deal with them. We couldn’t go back on it if we wanted to.”
“I didn’t make a deal,” Simon said. He looked from Jace’s impassive face to Isabelle — smiling as if this were all a game — to Alec, who looked at him out of suspicious blue eyes and said nothing. “I didn’t agree to any of this.”
“You did,” Jace said, “when you said you’d do anything for Clary. This is anything.”
Jace was looking at him almost expectantly; Simon felt a spark of rage inside him flicker and then die. “Fine.” He turned away from the window. “I did say I’d do anything for Clary, and it’s true. But tell me one thing: why is it you want Clary out of Idris so badly?”
“Oh, I don’t care one way or the other,” Isabelle said airily, then saw Simon’s expression and threw her hands up. “Sorry, you were asking Jace, weren’t you?”
“Isabelle,” said Alec, in a voice like a groan.
Jace just looked at Simon, steadily. For a moment, Simon thought he wasn’t going to say anything at all. Finally, he sighed. “Look, Simon —”
“Is that the vampire?” came a soft voice from the doorway.
A slender teenage girl stood there, a tall, dark-haired boy beside her. The girl was small-boned, with glossy black hair pulled back from her face, and a mischievous expression. Her delicate chin narrowed into a point like a cat’s. She wasn’t exactly pretty, but she was very striking.
The boy beside her was more than striking. He was probably Jace’s height, but seemed taller: he was broad-shouldered, with an elegant, restless face, all sharp cheekbones and black eyes. There was something strangely familiar about him, as if Simon had met him before, though he knew he never had. The black inky swirls of Marks rose up from the collar of the boy’s shirt, and there was a curving Mark on his face, just below his left eye, which surprised Simon — most Shadowhunters were careful to keep Marks off their faces.
“Can we see him?” the girl went on, moving into the room, the boy just behind her. “I’ve never really been this close to a vampire before — not one I wasn’t planning to kill. I can’t believe my parents let you bring him into the house.” She looked Simon up and down as if she were taking his measurements. “He’s cute, for a Downworlder.”
“You’ll have to forgive Aline; she has the face of an angel and the manners of a Moloch demon,” said the boy with a grin, coming forward. He held his hand out to Simon. “I’m Sebastian. Sebastian Verlac.”
It took Simon a moment to realize that the boy was offering his hand for Simon to shake. Bemused, he shook it, and the same strange sensation passed over him that he’d had before: the sense that this boy was someone he knew, someone familiar. “I’m Simon. Simon Lewis.”
Sebastian was still grinning. “And this is my cousin, Aline Penhallow. Aline —”
souls, you know. Vampires.””I don’t shake hands with Downworlders,” Aline said quickly, and went to stand by Jace. “Really, Sebastian, you can be so bizarre sometimes.” She spoke with a faint accent, Simon noticed — not British or Australian, something else. “They don’t have souls, you know.”
Sebastian’s smile disappeared. “Aline —”
“It’s true. That’s why they can’t see themselves in mirrors, or go in the sun —”
Very deliberately, Simon stepped backward, into the patch of sunlight in front of the window. He felt the sun hot on his back, his hair. His shadow was cast, long and dark, across the floor, almost reaching Jace’s feet.
Aline took a sharp breath, but said nothing. It was Sebastian who spoke, looking at Simon with curious black eyes: “So it’s true,” he said. “The Lightwoods, said, but I didn’t think —”
“That we were telling the truth?” Jace said. “It’s true. That’s why the Clave’s so curious about him. He’s unique.”
“I kissed him once,” Isabelle said, to no one in particular.
Aline’s eyebrows shot up. “They really do let you do whatever you want in New York, don’t they?” she said, sounding half horrified and half envious. “I remember the last time I saw you, Izzy, you wouldn’t even have considered—”
“The last time we all saw each other, Izzy was eight,” Alec said. “Things change. Now, are we all going to stand around in here for the rest of the day, or are we going to go downstairs and find something to eat — which is what were discussing before Jace came up here to check on Simon, wasn’t it?”
“I could eat,” Simon said, and grinned at Aline, wide enough to show his pointed canines. She gave an appreciative shriek.
“Stop that, Lewis,” Jace said. “Look, you can come downstairs with us if you promise to behave.”
“Lewis? You’re calling me by my last name now?”
“I figured it was better than ‘vampire’,” Jace said as they all began to file out of the room, and Simon had to agree that on the whole, this was true.


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