Showing posts with label City of Glass. Show all posts
Showing posts with label City of Glass. Show all posts

Saturday, July 20, 2013

'THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS' 4th Week at #1 on New York Times Best Sellers Series

The Mortal Instruments series has been on the New York Times Best Sellers (Series) for 95 weeks. Including next week: 96! On top of that, The Mortal Instruments is still #1 on the list; that's four weeks straight that The Mortal Instruments has been #1!

Major congratulations for Cassandra Clare are in need. Let's keep the streak going!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Becoming Sebastian Verlac

This is a short piece about how Jonathan Christopher Morgenstern became Sebastian Verlac in City of Glass.

It was a very small bar, on a narrow sloping street in a walled town full of shadows. Jonathan Morgenstern had been sitting at the bar for at least a quarter of an hour, finishing a leisurely drink, before he got to his feet and slipped down the long, rickety flight of wooden stairs to the club. The sound of the music seemed to be trying to push its way up through the steps as he made his way downward: he could feel the wood vibrating under his feet.

The place was filled with writhing bodies and obscuring smoke. It was the kind of place demons prowled. That made it the kind of place that demon hunters frequented.

And an ideal location for someone who was hunting a demon hunter.

Colored smoke drifted through the air, smelling vaguely acidic. There were long mirrors all along the walls of the club. He could see himself as he moved across the room. A slender figure in black, with his father’s hair, white as snow. It was humid down here in the club, airless and hot, and his t-shirt was stuck to his back with sweat. A silver ring glittered on his right hand as he scanned the room for his prey.

There he was, at the bar, as if he was trying to blend in with the mundanes even though he was invisible to them.

A boy. Maybe seventeen.

A Shadowhunter.

Sebastian Verlac.

Jonathan ordinarily had little interest in anyone his own age — if there was anything duller than other people, it was other adolescents — but Sebastian Verlac was different. Jonathan had chosen him, carefully and specifically. Chosen him the way one might choose an expensive and custom-tailored suit.

Jonathan strolled over to him, taking his time and taking the boy’s measure. He had seen photographs, of course, but people always looked different in person. Sebastian was tall — the same height as Jonathan himself, and with the same slender build. His clothes looked like they would fit Jonathan perfectly. His hair was dark — Jonathan would have to dye his own, which was annoying, but not impossible. His eyes were black, too, and his features, though irregular, came together pleasingly: he had a friendly charisma that was attractive. He looked like it was easy for him to trust, easy to smile.

He looked like a fool.

Jonathan came up to the bar and leaned against it. He turned his head, allowing the other boy to recognize that he could see him. “Bonjour.”

“Hello,” Sebastian replied, in English, the language of Idris, though his was tinged faintly with a French accent. His eyes were narrow. He looked very startled to be seen at all, and as if he was wondering what Sebastian might be: fellow Shadowhunter, or a warlock with a sign that didn’t show?

Something wicked this way comes, Jonathan thought. And you don’t even know it.

“I’ll show you mine if you show me yours,” he suggested, and smiled. He could see himself smiling in the grimy mirror over the bar. He knew the way it lit up his face, made him almost irresistible. His father had trained him for years to smile like that, like a human being.

Sebastian’s hand tightened on the edge of the bar. “I don’t …”

Jonathan smiled wider and turned his right hand over to show the Voyance rune on the back of it. The breath went out of Sebastian in relief and he beamed with delighted recognition: as if any Shadowhunter was a comrade and a potential friend.

“Are you on your way to Idris, too?” Jonathan asked, very professional, as if he was in regular touch with the Clave. Protecting the innocent, he projected to the world and Sebastian in particular. Can’t get enough of that!

“I am,” Sebastian replied. “Representing the Paris Institute. I’m Sebastian Verlac, by the way.”

“Ah, a Verlac. A fine old family.” Jonathan accepted his hand, and shook it firmly. “Andrew Blackthorn,” he said easily. “The Los Angeles Institute, originally, but I’ve been studying in Rome. I thought I’d come overland to Alicante. See the sights.”

He’d researched the Blackthorns, a large family, and knew they and the Verlacs had not been in the same city for ten years. He was certain he would have no problem answering to an assumed name: he never did. His real name was Jonathan, but he had never felt particularly attached to it: perhaps because he had always known that it was not his name alone.

The other Jonathan, being raised not so far away, in a house just like his, visited by hisfather. Daddy’s little angel.

“Haven’t seen another Shadowhunter in ages,” Sebastian continued — he had been talking, but Jonathan had forgotten to pay attention to him. “Funny to run into you here. My lucky day.”

“Must be,” Jonathan murmured. “Though not entirely chance, of course. The reports of a Eluthied demon lurking about this place, I assume you’ve heard them as well?”

Sebastian smiled and took a last swallow from his glass, setting it down on the bar. “After we kill the thing, we should have a celebratory drink.”

Jonathan nodded, and tried to look as if he was very focused on searching the room for demons. They stood shoulder-to-shoulder, like brother warriors. It was so easy it was almost boring: all he’d had to do was show up, and here was Sebastian Verlac like a lamb pushing its throat on a blade. Who trusted other people like that? Wanted to be their friend so easily?

He had never played nicely with others. Of course, he had not ever been given the opportunity: his father had kept him and the other Jonathan apart. A child with demon blood and a child with angel blood: raise both boys as yours and see who makes daddy proud.

The other boy had failed a test when he was younger, and been sent away. Jonathan knew that much. He had passed every test their father had ever set for him. Maybe he had passed them all a little too well, too flawlessly, unfazed by the isolation chamber and the animals, the whip or the hunt. Jonathan had discerned a shadow in Father’s eyes now and then, one that was either grief or doubt.

Though what did he have to be grieved over? Why should he doubt? Was Jonathan not the perfect warrior? Was he not everything his father had created him to be?

Human being were so puzzling.

Jonathan had never liked the idea of the other Jonathan, of Father having another boy, one who made Father smile sometimes at the thought of him without a shadow in his eyes.

Jonathan had cut one of his practise dummies off at the knees once, and spent a pleasant day strangling it and disembowelling it, slitting it from neck to navel. When his father had asked why he’d cut off part of the legs, he had told him that he wanted to see what it was like to kill a boy who was just his own size.

“I forget, you’ll have to excuse me,” said Sebastian, who was turning out to be annoyingly chatty. “How many are there in your family?”

“Oh, we’re a big one,” Jonathan replied. “Eight in total. I have four brothers and three sisters.”

The Blackthorns really were eight: Jonathan’s research had been thorough. He couldn’t imagine what that would be like, so many people, such untidiness. Jonathan had a blood sister, too, although they had never met.

Father had told him about his mother running off when Jonathan was a baby she was pregnant again, inexplicably weepy and miserable because she had some sort of objection to her child being improved. But she’d run away too late: Father had already seen to it that Clarissa would have angelic powers.

Only a few weeks ago, Father had met Clarissa for the first time, and on their second encounter Clarissa had proven she knew how to use her power as well. She had sent Father’s ship to the bottom of the ocean.

Once he and Father had taken down and transformed the Shadowhunters, laid waste to their pride and their city, Father said that Mother, the other Jonathan and Clarissa would be coming to live with them.

Jonathan despised his mother, who had apparently been such a pathetic weakling that she’d run away from him when he was a baby. And his only interest in the other Jonathan was to prove how superior he was: Father’s real son, by blood, and with the strength of demons and chaos in that blood as well.

But he was interested in Clarissa.

Clarissa had never chosen to leave him. She had been taken away and been forced to grow up in the midst of mundanes, of all disgusting things. She must have always known she was made of different stuff from everyone around her, meant for utterly different things, power and strangeness crackling beneath her skin.

She must have felt like the only creature like her in all the world.

She had angel in her, like the other Jonathan, not the infernal blood that ran through his veins. But Jonathan was very much his father’s son as well as anything else: he was like Father made stronger, tempered by the fires of hell. Clarissa was Father’s real daughter too, and who knew what strange brew the combination of Father’s blood and Heaven’s power had formed to run through Clarissa’s veins? She might not be very different from Jonathan himself.

The thought excited him in a way he had never been excited before. Clarissa was his sister; she belonged to no one else. She was his. He knew it, because although he did not dream often—that was a human thing—after Father had told him about his sister sinking the ship, he had dreamed of her.

Jonathan dreamed of a girl standing in the sea with hair like scarlet smoke coiling over her shoulders, winding and unwinding in the untameable wind. Everything was stormy darkness, and in the raging sea were pieces of wreckage that had once been a boat and bodies floating face down. She looked down on them with cool green eyes and was not afraid.

Clarissa had done that, wreaked destruction like that, like he would have. In the dream, he was proud of her. His little sister.

In the dream, they were laughing together at all the beautiful ruin around them. They were standing suspended in the sea, it couldn’t hurt them, destruction was their element. Clarissa was looking down as she laughed, trailing her moonlight-white hands in the water. When she lifted up her hands they were dark, dripping: he realized that the seas were all blood.

Jonathan had woken from his dream still laughing.

When the time was right, Father had said, they would be together, all of them. Jonathan had to wait.

But he was not very good at waiting.

“You have the oddest look on your face,” Sebastian Verlac said, shouting above the beat of the music, bright and jagged in Jonathan’s ears.

Jonathan leaned over, spoke softly and precisely into Sebastian’s ear. “Behind you,” he said. “Demon. Four o’clock.”

Sebastian Verlac turned and the demon, in the shape of a girl with a cloud of dark hair, stepped hastily away from the boy it was talking to and began sliding away through the crowd. Jonathan and Sebastian followed it, out a side door with SORTIE DE SECOURS written across it in cracked letters of red and white.

The door led to an alley, which the demon was swiftly running down, nearly disappearing.

Jonathan jumped, launching himself at the brick wall opposite, and used the force of his rebound to arrow over the demon’s head. He twisted in midair, runed blade in hand, hearing it whistle through the air. The demon froze, staring at him. Already the mask of a girl’s face was beginning to slip, and Jonathan could see the features behind it: clustered eyes like a spider’s, a tusked mouth, open in surprise. None of it disgusted him. The ichor than ran in their veins, ran in his.

Not that that inspired, mercy, either. Grinning at Sebastian over the demon’s shoulder, he slashed out with his blade, It cut the demon open as he’d once cut open the dummy, neck to navel. A bubbling scream rent the alley as the demon folded in on itself and disappeared, leaving on a few drops of black blood splattered on the stones.

“By the Angel,” Sebastian Verlac whispered.

He was staring at Jonathan over the blood and the emptiness between them, and his face was white. For a moment Jonathan was almost pleased that he had the sense to be afraid.

But no such luck. Sebastian Verlac remained a fool to the end.

“You were amazing!” Sebastian exclaimed, his voice shaken but impressed. “I’ve never seen anyone move that fast! Alors, you have got to teach me that move. By the Angel,” he went on. “I’ve never seen anything like what you just did.”

“I’d love to help you,” Jonathan said. “But unfortunately I’ve got to get going soon. My father needs me, you see. He has plans. And he simply can’t do without me.”

Sebastian looked absurdly disappointed. “Oh come, you can’t go now,” he coaxed. “Hunting with you was so much fun, mon pote. We have to do this again some time.”

“I’m afraid,” Jonathan told him, fingering the hilt of his weapon, “that won’t be possible.”

Sebastian looked so surprised when he was killed. It made Jonathan laugh, blade in hand and Sebastian’s throat opening beneath it, hot blood spilling onto his fingers.

It wouldn’t do to have Sebastian’s body found at an inconvenient time and the whole game ruined, so Jonathan dragged the body as if he was carrying a drunken friend home through the streets.

It was not very far at all to a little bridge, delicate as green filigree or a dead child’s moldy, fragile bones, over the river. Jonathan heaved the corpse over the side and watched it hit the rushing black waters with a splash.

The body sank without a trace, and Sebastian forgot it before it had even sunk all the way. He saw the curled fingers, bobbing in the currents as if restored to life and begging for help or at least answers, and thought of his dream. His sister, and a sea of blood. Water had splashed up where the body went down, some of it splattering his sleeve. Baptizing him, with a new name. He was Sebastian now.

He strolled along the bridge to the old part of the city, where there were electric bulbs masquerading as gas lanterns, more toys for tourists. He was headed toward the hotel where Sebastian Verlac had been staying; he had scoped it out before coming to the bar, and knew he could scramble up through the window and retrieve the other boy’s belongings. And after that, a bottle of cheap hair dye and …

A group of girls in cocktail dresses passed him, angling their gazes, and one, silvery skirt skimming her thighs, gave him a direct look and a smile.

He fell in with the party.

“Comment tu t’appelles, beau gosse?” another girl asked him, her voice lightly slurred.What’s your name, pretty boy?

“Sebastian,” he answered smoothly, with not a second’s hesitation. That was who he was from now on, who his father’s plans required him to be, who he needed to be to walk the path that led to victory and Clarissa. “Sebastian Verlac.”

He looked to the horizon, and thought of the glass towers of Idris, thought of them enveloped in shadow, flame and ruin. He thought of his sister waiting for him, out there in the wide world.

He smiled.

He thought he was going to enjoy being Sebastian.

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.

Weighed in the Balance

Outtake Three: Valentine and Luke.
In the orginal first draft of Glass, after the Angel brings Jace back to life, Clary and Jace were met at the lakeside by Alec, Isabelle, Jocelyn and Luke, who have come from the battle to join them. This was changed because in the original draft there was no epilogue; so this was all the closure the characters had. I decided an epilogue was necessary to bring them more, and resolve some of what wasn’t resolved — Magnus and Alec, Jocelyn and Luke’s relationships, for instance. The one thing I was a bit sad to lose was that in the first draft, Valentine had someone to be sorry that he died — in the final version, besides Jace, there really isn’t any mention of it.
There were figures racing down the beach toward them, their shadows made ungainly and long by the still-shining glow of the witchlight torches. Clary was glad for the torches now, glad if the glow made her and Jace easier to find. She recognized the running figures as they drew closer — her mother and Luke, and behind them Alec, and Isabelle. Her heart swelled hugely at the sight of them, as if it would crack her ribs apart. She felt as if she were bursting with relief.
It was Luke who reached them first, running along the sand as lightly as if he were still in wolf form. He saw Clary and Jace first and his face lit — and then his gaze went past them, and he saw Valentine, and his face changed.
Jocelyn was just behind him, and as she neared, Jace let go of Clary. She stood up, brushing sand from her clothes, just as her mother reached her and swept her into a hug. After her came Alec and Isabelle, full of exclamations and relief and — joy. They surrounded a shell-shocked-looking Jace, hugging him and shouting in his ears.
Only Luke was silent. Clary, her hand in her mother’s, turned to watch him. He had approached Valentine’s body and was looking down at it, his face a study in conflicting emotions — there was relief there, but also regret and even sorrow. In death, Valentine’s face had lost its hardness and for the first time Clary saw what her mother had once been drawn to about him, saw how he might have seemed gentle and even kind. As Luke knelt down beside his corpse, Clary couldn’t help but remember what he had said about having loved Valentine once, about having been his closest friend. Luke, she thought with a pang. Surely he couldn’t be sad — or even grieved?
But then again, perhaps everyone should have someone to grieve for them, and there was no one else to grieve for Valentine.
Luke knelt where he was for a long moment. At last he reached out and with a gentle hand, closed Valentine’s eyes.
“Ave atque vale, Shadowhunter,” he said.

Where Angels Fear to Tread

Outtake from City of Glass: Clary, Sebastian, and Magnus.
This is the way the scene that begins on page 160 in City of Glass, where Clary and Sebastian visit Magnus at Ragnor Fell’s cottage, originally read. There was a much more elaborate set-up, which I cut for pacing reasons. Still, the original scene does feature Magnus in harem pants.
“We’re here,” Sebastian said abruptly — so abruptly that Clary wondered if she really had offended him somehow — and slid down from the horse’s back. But his face, when he looked up at her, was all smiles. “We made good time,” he said, tying the reins to the lower branch of a nearby tree. “Better than I thought we would.”
He indicated with a gesture that she should dismount, and after a moment’s hesitation, Clary slid off the horse and into his arms. She clutched him as he caught her, her legs unsteady after the long ride. “Sorry,” she said sheepishly. “Sorry — I didn’t mean to grab you.”
“I wouldn’t apologize for that.” His breath was warm against her neck and she shivered. His hands lingered just a moment longer on her back before he reluctantly let her go. “I like that coat,” he said, his eyes lingering on her as his hands had done a moment ago. “Not only does it feel great, but the color makes your eyes look even more green.”
All this wasn’t helping Clary’s legs feel any less unsteady. “Thanks,” she said, knowing full well she was blushing and wishing heartily that her fair skin didn’t show color so readily. “So — this is it?” She looked around — they were standing in a sort of small valley between low hills. There were a number of gnarled-looking trees ranged around a clearing. Their twisted branches had a sort of sculptural beauty against the steel-blue sky. But otherwise… “There’s nothing here,” Clary said with a frown.
“Clary.” There was laughter in his voice. “Concentrate.”
“You mean — a glamour? But I don’t usually have to —”
“Glamours in Idris are often stronger than glamours elsewhere. You may have to try harder than you usually do.” He put his hands on her shoulders and turned her gently. “Look at the clearing.”
Clary looked. And silently performed the mental trick that allowed her to peel glamour from the thing it disguised. She imagined herself rubbing turpentine on a canvas, peeling away layers of paint to reveal the true image underneath — and there it was, a small stone house with a sharply gabled roof, smoke twisting from the chimney in an elegant curlicue. A winding path lined with stones led up to the front door. As she looked, the smoke puffing from the chimney stopped curling upward and began to take on the shape of a wavering black question mark.
Sebastian laughed. “I think that means who’s there?”
Clary pulled her jacket closer around her. She felt suddenly, unaccountably cold — the wind blowing across the level grass wasn’t that brisk, but there was ice in her bones nevertheless. “It looks like something out of a fairy tale.”
Sebastian didn’t disagree, just started up the front walk. Clary followed. When they reached the front steps, Sebastian took her hand. Immediately, the smoke curling from the chimney stopped forming itself into question marks and began puffing out in the shape of lopsided hearts. Clary snatched her hand back, felt immediately guilty, and reached for the door knocker to disguise her embarrassment. It was heavy and brass, shaped like a cat, and when she let it fall it hit the wooden door with a satisfying thwack.
The thwack was followed by a number of popping and clicking noises. The door shuddered and swung open. Beyond it, Clary could discern only darkness. She looked sideways at Sebastian, her mouth suddenly dry. Like a fairy tale cottage, she’d said. Except the things that lived in cottages in fairy tales weren’t always benevolent…
“At least it isn’t decorated with candy and gingerbread,” Sebastian said, as if reading her thoughts. “I’ll go in first, if you like.”
“No.” She shook her head. “We’ll go in together.”
They’d barely cleared the threshold when the door slammed shut behind them, shutting out all light. The blackness was relentless, impenetrable. Something brushed up against Clary in the darkness and she screamed.
“It’s just me,” Sebastian said irritably. “Here — take my hand.”
She felt his fingers grope for hers in the darkness and this time she seized onto his hand with a feeling of gratitude. Stupid, she thought, clutching Sebastian’s fingers tightly, stupid to come in here like this — Jace would be furious —
Light suddenly flickered in the darkness. Two bright eyes appeared, green as a cat’s, hanging against the blackness like jewels. Who is there? said a voice — soft as fur, sharp as ice shards.
“Sebastian Verlac and Clarissa Morgenstern. You saw us coming up the walk.” Sebastian’s voice rang out clear and strong. “I know you’re expecting us. My aunt Elodie told me where to find you. You’ve done work for her before —”
I know who you are. The eyes blinked, plunging them both momentarily back into darkness. Follow the torchlight.
“The what?” Clary turned, her hand still in Sebastian’s, in time to see a number of torches flare up in a line, one catching fire from the next, until a blazing path was lit before them. They followed it hand it hand like Hansel and Gretel following the breadcrumb trail in the dark forest, although Clary wondered if the children in the fairy tale had been holding hands quite so tightly…
The ground crunched softly underneath. Looking down Clary saw that the path was lined with shards of gleaming black, like the carapaces of enormous insects. “Dragon scales,” Sebastian said, following her gaze. “I’ve never seen so many…”
Dragons are real? Clary wanted to say, but stopped herself. Of course dragons were real. What was it Jace always said to her? All the stories are true. Before she could repeat that thought aloud, the path opened out and they found themselves standing in a wide-open garden bathed in sunlight. At least, at first glance it looked like a garden. There were trees, whose leaves gleamed silver and gold, and paths laid out between banks of flowers, and in the center of the garden a sort of pavilion with bright silk walls. The torchlit path continued in front of them, leading up to the pavilion, but as they followed it Clary saw that the flowers on either side of the path were ingenious creations of paper and cloth. There were no insects buzzing, no birds chirping. And when she glanced up, she saw that there was no sky overhead, just a painted backdrop of blue and white, with a single blazing light shining down on them where the sun ought to have been.
They had reached the pavilion. Inside it, Clary could just glimpse the soft, moving gleam of candlelight. Her curiosity won out over her nerves and she let go of Sebastian’s hand and ducked through a gap in the heavy silk hangings.
Clary stared. The inside of the pavilion looked like something out of an illustrated copy of the Arabian Nights. The walls were gold silk, the floor covered in embroidered rugs. Floating golden balls spilled incense that smelled like roses and jasmine, the scent so thick and sweet it made her cough. There were beaded pillows scattered everywhere and a big low couch, scattered with tasseled cushions. But that wasn’t the reason she was staring. She had been prepared for something fantastical, even bizarre. She had not, however, been prepared for the sight of Magnus Bane — wearing a gold mesh vest and a pair of transparent silk harem pants — puffing gently on a fantastically large hookah with a dozen snaky pipe-arms curling out of it.
“Welcome to my humble abode.” The smoke that floated up around Magnus’ ears formed itself into little stars as he grinned. “Anything I can get you? Wine? Water? Ichor?”
Clary found her voice. “An explanation would be nice. What the hell are you doing here?”
“Clary.” She hadn’t even noticed Sebastian follow her into the pavilion, but there he was, staring at her in horror. “There’s no need for you to be rude.”
“You don’t understand!” She turned to Sebastian, dismayed by the look on his face. “Something’s not right —”
“It’s all right, Clary,” he said. He turned to Magnus, his jaw set firmly. “Ragnor Fell,” he began, “I am Sebastian Verlac —”
“How nice for you,” Magnus said kindly, and snapped his fingers once.
Sebastian froze in place, his mouth still open, his hand partially outstretched in greeting.
“Sebastian!” Clary reached out to touch him, but he was as rigid as a statue. Only the slight rise and fall of his chest showed that he was even still alive. “Sebastian?” she said, again, but it was hopeless: she knew somehow that he couldn’t see or hear her. She turned on Magnus. “I can’t believe you just did that. What on earth is wrong with you? Has whatever’s in that pipe melted your brain? Sebastian’s on our side.”
“I don’t have a side, Clary darling,” Magnus said with a wave of his hookah. “And really, it’s your own fault I had to freeze him outside Time for a short while. You see, you were awfully close to telling him I’m not actually Ragnor Fell.”
“That’s because you’re not actually Ragnor Fell.”
Magnus blew a stream of smoke out of his mouth and regarded her thoughtfully through the haze. “Actually,” he said, “for all intents and purposes, I am.”
Clary’s head had begun to ache, whether from the thick smoke in the room or the effort of restraining her overwhelming urge to punch Magnus in the eye, she wasn’t sure. “I don’t get it.”
Magnus patted the sofa beside him. “Come sit down next to me and I’ll explain,” he purred. “You trust me, don’t you?”
Not really, Clary thought. But then again, who did she trust? Jace? Simon? Luke? None of them were around. With an apologetic glance at the frozen Sebastian, she went to join Magnus on the couch.

This Guilty Blood

I toned it down for the published version of the book, mostly for pacing reasons. No, it is not particularly racy -- but it's a bit more detailed than what made it into the book, so if you're wanting more Clary/Jace it might be up your alley. -Cassandra Clare
The roar of the collapse faded slowly, like smoke dissipating into the air. It was replaced by the loud chirruping of startled birds; Clary could see them over Jace’s shoulder, circling curiously against the dark sky.
“Jace,” she said softly. “I think it’s over.”
He drew back slightly, propping himself on his elbows, and looked down at her. They were close enough that even in the darkness she could see herself reflected in his eyes; his face was streaked with soot and dirt, the collar of his shirt torn.
Without thinking, she reached up, her fingers brushing lightly through his hair. She felt him tense, his eyes darkening.
“There was grass — in your hair,” she said by way of explanation. Her mouth was dry; adrenalin sang through her veins, and not just because of the danger she’d just been in. Everything that had just happened: the angel, the shattering manor, seemed less real than what she saw in Jace’s eyes.
“You shouldn’t touch me,” he breathed.
Her hand froze where it was, her palm against his cheek. “Why not?”
“You know why,” he said, and then, ‘You saw what I saw, didn’t you? The past, the angel. Our parents.”
“I saw.”
“You know what happened.”
“A lot of things happened, Jace —”
“Not for me.” The words breathed out on an anguished whisper. “I have demon blood, Clary. Demon blood. You understood that much, didn’t you?”
“It doesn’t mean anything. Valentine was insane. He was just ranting —”
“And Jocelyn? Was she insane?” His eyes bored into her like golden drills. “I know what Valentine was trying to do. He was trying to create hybrids — angel/human, and demon/human. You’re the former, Clary, and I’m the latter. I’m part monster. Part everything I’ve tried so hard to burn out, to destroy.”
“It’s not true. It can’t be. It doesn’t make sense—”
“But it does.” There was a sort of furious desperation in his expression as he looked down at her. She could see the gleam of the silver chain around his bare throat, lit to a white flare by the starlight. “It explains everything.”
She shook her head so hard that she felt grass tickle her cheek. “You mean it explains why you’re such an amazing Shadowhunter? Why you’re loyal and fearless and honest and everything demons aren’t —”
“It explains,” he said, evenly, “why I feel the way I do about you.”
Breath hissed between her teeth. “Jace — what do you mean?”
He was silent for a long moment, staring down at her — for so long, in fact, that she wondered if he ever planned to speak at all, or if just looking was enough; after all, she was staring at him just as helplessly. Their gazes were locked like gears; she could no more have looked away than she could have breathed with water in her lungs.
“You’re my sister,” he said, finally, “My sister, my blood, my family. I should want to protect you —” he laughed soundlessly and without any humor — “to protect you from the sort of boys who want to do to you exactly what I want to do to you.”
Clary’s breath caught. He was still looking down at her, but his expression had changed — there was a look on his face she’d never seen before, a sleepy, deadly, almost predatory light in his eyes. She was suddenly and acutely conscious of the hard pressure of his body on her body, the bones of his hips fitting themselves against hers, and she ached everywhere that she didn’t touch him, ached with a nearly physical pain.
What I want to do to you, he had said. Not thinking of anything else but how much she wanted him, she let her fingers trail down his cheek to his lips, outlining the shape of his mouth with the tip of her index finger.
She was rewarded by the catch in his breathing, the sudden darkening of his eyes. He didn’t move.
“What is it, exactly, that you want to do to me?” she whispered.
The light in his eyes was a blaze. Slowly he inclined his head until his lips were against her ear. When he spoke, she felt his breath tickle her skin, making her shiver: “I could show you.”
She said nothing. Even if she could have gathered her scattered thoughts to compose the words, she didn’t want to tell him to stop. She was tired of saying no to Jace — of never letting herself feel what her body wanted her to feel. Whatever the cost…
She felt him smile, his lips against her ear. “If you want me to stop, tell me now,” he whispered. When she still said nothing, he brushed his mouth against her hollow of her temple, making her shiver. “Or now.” His lips traced her cheekbones in the lightest of kisses, a butterfly kiss. “Or now.” His mouth traced the line of her jaw. “Or now.” His lips were against hers, his words spoken into her mouth. “Now,” he whispered, and kissed her.
At first the pressure of his lips was gentle, seeking; but when she responded instantly — sliding her arms around him, tangling her hands in his hair — she felt the cautious tension in his body change to something else. Suddenly he was kissing her with a bruising pressure, his lips crushing hers. She tasted blood in her mouth, but didn’t care. There were rocks digging into her back, and her shoulder ached where she’d fallen from the window, but she didn’t care about that either. All that existed was Jace; all she felt, hoped, breathed, wanted and saw was Jace. Nothing else mattered.
He broke off the kiss, drawing back, and she released him with a soft noise of reluctant protest. His mouth was swollen, his eyes huge and dark, nearly black with desire. He reached for the buttons of her coat, tried to slip the first one free, but his hands were shaking so badly he couldn’t manage it. Clary put her hand over his, marveling inwardly at her own calm — surely she should be shaking as badly as he was?
“Let me,” she said.
He went still. He watched her as she undid the buttons, her fingers working as fast as they could. The coat fell open. Beneath it she was wearing only a thin blouse of Amatis’ and the cold night air struck through the material, making her gasp. She raised her arms up. “Come back,” she whispered. “Kiss me again.”
He made a stifled noise and fell into her arms like someone coming up for air after nearly drowning. He kissed her eyelids, her cheeks, her throat, before returning to her lips: their kissing was frenzied now, almost clumsy in its fever — so unlike Jace, who never seemed to rush, or to hurry anything . . . Without the coat between them, she could feel the heat of him, burning through his shirt and hers; his hands slipped around her, under her the strap of her bra, tracing her spine, his touch scorching her bare skin. She wanted more of his touch, his hands on her, his skin on her skin — she wanted to be touching him everywhere, to hold him while he trembled like he was trembling now —and for there to be no more space between them.
She tugged his jacket off and then somehow his shirt was off, too. Their hands explored each other’s bodies: she ran her fingers down his back and felt soft skin layered over lean muscle, and something she had not expected, though she should have — scars, like thin wires laid across his skin. She supposed they were imperfections, these scars, but they didn’t feel that way to her; they were the marks of Jace’s history, cut into his skin: the raised, topographical map of a life of killing and fighting.
She stroked the star-shaped scar on his shoulder and raised herself up to brush her mouth across it. Something banged against her collarbone with a sharp cold shock. She drew back with an exclamation of surprise.
Jace raised himself up on his elbows to look down at her. “What is it?” His voice was slow, almost drugged. “Did I hurt you?”
“Not really. It was this.” She reached up and touched the silver chain around his neck. On its end hung a small silver circle of metal. It was ice cold to the touch.
That ring — the weather-beaten metal with its pattern of stars — she knew that ring.
The Morgenstern ring. It had been Valentine’s, and Valentine had passed it along to Jace, as it had always been passed along: father to son.
“I’m sorry,” Jace said. He was tracing the line of her cheek with his fingertip, a dreamlike intensity in his gaze. “I forgot I was wearing the damn thing.”
Sudden cold flooded Clary’s veins. “Jace,” she said, in a low voice. “Jace, don’t.”

Bad Blood

So below is, in fact, the original version of the scene that begins on page 137 in City of Glass.
In the original version, Jace actually does kiss Alec, more to
make a point than anything else, but the resultant scene made me laugh, made all my critique partners laugh, and made my editor laugh, hysterically. It was, actually, too riduculous to work. -Cassandra Clare
Jace looked at Alec steadily. Then he said, “What’s between you and Magnus Bane?”
Alec’s head jerked to the side, as if Jace had slapped him or pushed him. “I don’t — there’s nothing —”
“I know better,” Jace said, forestalling him. “I’m not stupid. Tell me the truth.”
“There isn’t anything between us,” Alec said — and then, catching the look on Jace’s face, added with great reluctance, “any more. There’s nothing between us any more. Okay?”
“And why is that? Magnus really liked you.”
“Drop it, Jace,” Alec said in a warning tone.
Jace was having none of being warned. “Magnus says it’s because you’re hung up on me. Is that true?”
There was a moment of utter silence. Then Alec gave a despairing howl of horror and put his hands up to cover his face. “I am going to kill Magnus. Kill him dead.”
“Don’t. He cares about you. He really does. I believe that,” Jace said,
managing to sound only a little bit awkward. “Look. I don’t want to push you into anything, but do you maybe want to —”
“Call Magnus? Look, that’s a dead end, I know you’re trying to be helpful, but —”
“—kiss me?” Jace finished.
Alec looked as if he were about to fall off his chair. “WHAT? What? What?”
“Once what would do.” Jace did his best to look as if this were the sort of suggestion one made all the time. “I think it might help.”
Alec looked at him with something like horror. “You don’t mean that.”
“Why wouldn’t I mean it?”
“Because you’re the straightest person I know. Possibly the straightest
person in the universe.”
“Exactly,” Jace said, and leaned forward, and kissed Alec on the mouth.
The kiss lasted approximately four seconds before Alec pulled forcefully
away, throwing his hands up as if to ward Jace off from coming at him again.
He looked as if he were about to throw up. “By the Angel,” he said. “Don’t ever do that again.”
“Oh yeah?” Jace grinned, and almost meant it. “That bad?”
“Like kissing my brother,” said Alec, with a look of horror in his eyes.
“I thought you might feel that way.” Jace crossed his arms over his chest.
“Also, I’m hoping we can just gloss over all the irony in what you just said.”
“We can gloss over whatever you want to,” Alec said fervently. “Just don’t kiss me again.”
“I’m not going to. I have other business to take care of.” Jace stood up, kicking his chair back. “If anyone asks where I am, tell them I went for a walk.”
“Where are you actually going?” Alec asked, watching him walk to the door.
“To see Clary?”
“No.” Jace shook his head. “I’m going to the Gard. I’m going to break Simon out of jail.”