In less than two months Cassandra Clare’s Chain of Gold will finally be published! We are going to read about James and his parabatai Matthew, his sister Lucie and her best friend and soon-to-be parabatai Cordelia, Christopher and Thomas, and many more characters we already know from multiple short stories.
Some of these short stories were published in The Bane Chronicles, Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy, and Ghosts of the Shadow Market, but others are available for free on Cassie’s website. These flash fiction pieces have been released since May 2019 and now we are almost at the finish line. Here’s January’s flash fiction, the second and final part is released in February:
The Anniversary Party
Cordelia did not like Menton very much. She should have, in theory. Menton was a pretty seaside town, a jumble of pink and yellow buildings along a small harbor, mostly slips for sailboats and some fishing boats. The air was warm and Mediterranean, the fish was exceptionally fresh, she could see Italy from her bedroom window across the far side of the harbor. What was there not to like?
They had come for her father’s health—why else did they go anywhere, after all—and Cordelia could understand why Menton had a reputation as a healing destination for the sick and the elderly. Indeed, her father’s health had rebounded since their arrival a few weeks earlier and he was in a period of good spirits, willing to dance with her in the parlor and even managing to drag a smile out of Alastair on occasion. Alastair had entered a turbulent adolescence, as Cordelia overheard her mother say to her father. Cordelia hoped that when she was Alastair’s age she would maintain her composure a little better than he was managing.
But Menton’s charms quickly faded for her. Its popularity with the sick and the elderly meant that the town’s population had a large proportion of both, and while Cordelia wished them all well, they did not offer her much in the way of companions or even adults interested in conversation with a girl for whom French was her third language, and not very strong. The beach turned out to be made not of sand but of large round pebbles—Cordelia had never heard of such a thing, a beach made of rocks, very uncomfortable on bare feet, not pleasant to lie on, and offering no opportunity for building castles or digging trenches.
Worst of all, her parents continued to be as antisocial as ever, making no efforts to reach out to the local Shadowhunter community (the closest Institute being in Marseilles). And so Cordelia was alone. Sometimes she was alone with Alastair, but he mostly ignored her, and even so they were both duly sick of each other’s sole company after a week.
The only source of relief was the knowledge that this, too, would pass—the Carstairs family moved constantly, obsessively, for the sake of her father’s health. Cordelia could never understand the logic of it, except that she agreed that it was worth doing anything if it meant her father’s wellbeing. In this case, it was a bit of a relief. She knew they would not stay in Menton more than a few months.
This was, she felt, why she was so alone. Her family never stayed anywhere long enough for her to meet anyone her age, much less make friends. Her only real friends in the world were Lucie and James Herondale, and only because, Cordelia knew, Will and Tessa Herondale had always worked very hard to make sure that their children saw the younger Carstairs. It was still a rare treat to see them, as the Herondales ran the London Institute, and thus were usually in London, and occasionally in Idris, while Cordelia and her family were all over the map.
And here again, the Herondales came to her rescue, this time in the form of a letter her father read aloud at the breakfast table.
I’m so glad Cordelia has Lucie. She seemed so lonely and I can’t wait to see more of these two once Chain of Gold is published!
I’m curious to see how this final flash fiction will end. Fingers crossed for a cute Jordelia scene. 😀
You can read the other short stories here.
Chain of Gold is published on 3 March!