So the chapter reveal of Clockwork Princess is coming along, but as you probably know due to a glitch earlier a whole bunch - thousands - of tweets didn’t get counted. So right now I’m just going to put up the whole Will/Cecily (er, not Will/Cecily per se, but the scene with them talking) scene from the first chapter, under a read more tag. It’ll be a while before the whole scene is played out on the website, and this is my way of apologizing for how disorganized and unpleasant this whole business has been. I wish I could do something about it, but I can’t. I’ll probably get a lot of flak for doing this. But anyway, here it is (and if it doesn’t match up with what’s eventually on the chapter reveal, that’s because I don’t actually have a copyedited, proofed, final version of the book. I only have a draft.)Keep in mind this is not the final version of the scene, merely a draft. CLOCKWORK PRINCESS SPOILERS UNDER THE CUT:
“Write to them, Will,” said Cecily Herondale. “Please. Just one letter.”
Will tossed his sweat-soaked dark hair back and glared at her. “Get your feet into position,” was all he said. He pointed, with the tip of his dagger. “There, and there.”
Cecily sighed, and moved her feet. She had known she was out of position; she’d been doing in intentionally, to needle Will. It was easy to needle her brother. That much she remembered about him from when he had been twelve years old. Even then daring him to do anything, even climb the steeply pitched roof of their manor house, had resulted in the same thing: an angry blue flame in his eyes, a set jaw, and sometimes Will with a broken leg or arm at the end of it.
Of course this brother, the nearly adult Will, was not the brother she remembered from her childhood. He had grown both more explosive and more withdrawn. He had all their mother’s beauty, and all their father’s stubbornness — and, she feared, his propensity for vices, though she had guessed that only from whispers among the occupants of the Institute.
“Raise your blade,” Will said. His voice was as cool and professional as her governess’.
Cecily raised it. It had taken her some time to get used to the feel of gear against her skin: the loose tunic and trousers, the belt around her waist. Now she moved in it as comfortably as she had ever moved in the loosest nightdress. “I don’t understand why you won’t consider writing a letter. A single letter.”
“I don’t understand why you won’t consider going home,” Will said. “You are not made of Shadowhunter stuff, Cecy; you only came here to convince me to go home with you, and that I will not do. If you would just agree to return home yourself, you could stop worrying about our parents and I could arrange —”
Cecily interrupted him, having heard this speech a thousand times. “Would you consider a wager, Will?”
Cecily was both pleased and a little disappointed to see Will’s eyes spark, just the way her father’s always did when a gentleman’s bet was suggested. Men were so easy to predict, she thought.
“What sort of a wager, Cecily?” Will took a step forward; he was wearing gear; Cecily could see the Marks that twined his wrists, the mnemosyne rune on his throat. It had taken her some time to see the Marks as something other than disfiguring her brother, but she was used to them now — as she had grown used to the gear, to the great echoing halls of the Institute, and to its peculiar denizens. She pointed at the wall in front of them. An ancient target had been painted on the wall in black: a bull’s eye inside a larger circle. “If I hit the center of that three times, you have to write a letter to Da and Ma and tell them how you are. You must tell them of the curse and why you left.”
Will’s face closed like a door, the way it always did when she made this request. But, “You’ll never hit it three times without missing, Cecy.”
“Well, then it should be no great concern to you to make the bet, William.” She used his full name purposefully and coolly; she knew it bothered him, coming from her, though when his best friend — no, his parabatai, she had learned since coming to the Institute that these were quite different things — Jem did it, he seemed to take it as a term of affection. Possibly it was because he still had memories of her toddling after him on chubby legs, calling Will, Will, after him in breathless Welsh. She had never called him William, only ever Will or his Welsh name, Gwilym.
His eyes narrowed, those dark-blue eyes the same color as her own. When their mother had said affectionately that Will would be a breaker of hearts when he was grown, Cecily had always looked at her dubiously. Will, it seemed to Cecily, was all arms and legs, skinny and disheveled and always dirty. She could see it now, though, had seen it when she had first walked into the dining room of the Institute and he had stood up in astonishment, and she had thought: That can’t be Will.
He had turned those eyes on her, her mother’s eyes, and she had seen the anger in them. He had not been pleased to see her, not at all. And where there had been a skinny boy with a wild tangle of black hair like a Gypsy’s and leaves in his clothes had been in her memories was this tall, frightening man instead.The words she had wanted to say had dissolved on her tongue and she had only matched him, glare for glare. And so it had been since, Will barely enduring her presence as if she were a pebble in his shoe, a constant annoyance.
Cecily took a deep breath, raised her chin, and threw the first knife. Will did not know, would never know, of the hours she had spent up her, alone, practicing, learning to balance the weight of the knife in her hand, discovering that a good knife throw began from behind the body. She held both arms out straight now and drew her right arm back, behind her head, before bringing it, and the weight of her body, forward — the tip of the knife was in line with the target — she released it and snapped her hand back, sucking in a gasp.
The knife stuck, point-down in the wall, exactly in the center of the target.
“One,” Cecily said, giving Will a superior smile.
He looked at her stonily, yanked the knife from the wall, and handed it to her again.
Cecily threw it. The second throw, like the first, flew direct to its target and stuck there, vibrating like a mocking finger.
“Two,” Cecily said, in a sepulchral tone.
Will’s jaw set as he took the knife again and presented it to her. She took it with a smile. Confidence was flowing through her veins like new blood. She knew she could do this. She had always been able to climb as high as Will, run as fast, hold her breath as long …
She threw the knife. It struck its target and she leaped into the air, clapping her hands, forgetting herself for a moment in the thrill of victory. Her hair came down from its pins and spilled into her face; she pushed it back and grinned at Will. “You shall write that letter. You gave your word.”
To her surprise, he smiled at her. “Oh, I will write it,” he said. “I will write it, and then I will throw it in the fire.” He held up a hand against her outburst of indignation. “I said I would write it. I never said I would send it.”
Cecily’s breath went out of her in a gasp. “How dare you trick me like that!”
“I told you that you were not made of Shadowhunter stuff, or you would not be so easily fooled. I am not going to write a letter, Cecy, it’s against the Law, and that’s the end of it.”
“As if you care about the Law!” Cecily stamped her foot, and was immediately more annoyed than ever; she detested girls who stamped their feet.
Will’s eyes narrowed. “And you don’t care about being a Shadowhunter. How is this: I shall write a letter and give it to you if you promise to deliver it home yourself — and not to return.”
Cecily recoiled; she had many memories of shouting matches with Will, of the china dolls she had owned that he had broken by dropping them out an attic window; but there was also kindness in her memories: the brother who had bandaged up a cut knee, or retied her hair ribbons when they came loose. That kindness was absent from the Will who stood before her now. Her mother had used to cry for the first year or two after Will went; she had said, in Welsh, holding Cecily to her, that they — the Shadowhunters — would “take all the love out of him.” A cold, unloving people, she had told Cecily, who had forbidden her marriage to her husband. What could he want with them, her Will, her little one?
“I will not go,” Cecily said, staring her brother down. “And if you insist that I must, I will — I will —”
The door of the attic slid open and Jem stood silhouetted in the doorway. “Ah,” he said, “threatening each other, I see. Has this been going on all afternoon or did it just begin?”
“He began it,” Cecily said, jerking her chin at Will, though she knew it was pointless. Jem, Will’s parabatai, treated her with the distant sweet kindness reserved for the little sisters of one’s friends, but he would always side with Will. Kindly, but firmly, he put Will above everything else in the world.
Well, nearly everything. She had been most struck by Jem when she had first come to the Institute — he had an unearthly, unusual beauty, with his silvery hair and eyes, and the delicate foreignness to his features. He looked like a prince in a fairy tale book, and she might have considered developing an attachment to him were it not so absolutely clear that he was entirely in love with Tessa Gray. His eyes followed her where she went, and his voice changed when he spoke to her. Cecily had once heard her mother say in amusement that one of their neighbors’ boys looked at a girl as if she were “the only star in the sky” and that was the way Jem looked at Tessa.
Cecily didn’t resent it: Tessa was pleasant and kind to her, if a little shy, and with her face always stuck in a book like Will. If that was the sort of girl Jem wanted, she and he never would have suited — and the longer she remained at the Institute, the longer she realized how awkward it would have made things with Will. He was ferociously protective of Jem, and he would have watched her constantly in case she ever distressed or hurt Jem in any way. No — she was far better out of the whole thing.
“I was just thinking of bundling up Cecily and feeding her to the ducks in Hyde Park,” said Will, pushing his wet hair back and favoring Jem with a rare smile. “I could use your assistance.”
“Unfortunately, you may have to delay your plans for sorocide a bit longer. Gabriel Lightwood is downstairs and I have two words for you. Two of yourfavorite words, at least when you put them together.”
“Utter simpleton?“ inquired Will. “Worthless upstart?”
Jem grinned. “Demon pox,” he said.
Keep tweeting #ClockworkPrincess to unveil the entire 5,464-word first chapter, which will require roughly 500,000 tweets.