Lord of Shadows snippets
Here are snippets for the second installment of The Dark Artifices, Lord of Shadows (May 23, 2017). Please bear in mind that the book is still being edited so it’s possible that not every snippet will end up in the published version.
Kieran shook his head. “I cannot do it,” he said.
“Kier —“ Mark began angrily, but Kieran had his head down, like a beaten dog. His hair fell, sweat-tangled, into his face, and his shirt and the waist of his breeches were soaked in blood. “You’re bleeding again. I thought you said you were healing?”
“I thought I was,” Kieran said softly. “Mark, leave me here —“
A hand touched Mark’s shoulder. Cristina. She had put her knife away. She looked at him, levelly. “I’ll help you get him over the wall.”
And even odder, when Mark and Kieran had come into the library, Kieran had gone immediately over to Max and picked him up, delighted by his blue skin and his tiny horns.
Max had stuck his hand into Kieran’s wavy hair and pulled. Kieran had just laughed. “That’s right, it changes color, little nixie-like warlock,” he said. “Look.” And his hair went from blue-black to blue in an instant. Max giggled.
“I didn’t know you could do that on purpose,” said Mark, who had always thought of Kieran’s hair as a reflection of his moods, uncontrollable as the tides.
“You don’t know a lot of things about me, Mark Blackthorn,” Kieran said, setting Max down.
Alec and Magnus had exchanged a look at that, the sort of look that made Mark feel as if they had reached a silent and agreed-upon consensus …
“I know.” Mark brushed his lips across her forehead. Cristina could feel his heart pounding. “We’ll figure it out. We’ll fix it.”
Kieran sat up rather reluctantly. The waves of his hair had lightened to blue; he turned around, and leaned back against Mark, rather as if they were on horseback and Mark was behind.
“Oh. Right.” Kit glanced down at his split knuckles. “I hurt my hand at the Shadow Market.”
“How?” Ty asked, leaning against the edge of the counter.
“I punched a board,” Kit said. “I was angry.”
Ty’s eyebrows went up. He had interesting eyebrows, slightly pointed at the tops, like inverted V’s, and very black. “Did it make you feel better?”
“No,” Kit admitted. He felt ever so slightly judged.
Ty tilted his head to the side. “I can fix it,” he said, taking one of the Shadowhunters’ magic pencils out of his jeans pocket. Steles, they were called. He held out his hand.
Kit supposed he could have refused to accept the offer, the way he had when Julian had suggesting healing him in the car. But he didn’t. He held his forearm out trustingly, wrist turned upward so the blue veins were exposed to the boy who’d held a knife to his throat not that long ago.
Cristina spread her hands apart in bewilderment, and winced. Mark’s expression turned to one of concern.
“You’re not in pain?” he said.
“No,” she said. “Are you?”
“You’re near me,” he said. “There is no reason for me to hurt.”
“You’re going to have to learn to live with it,” Jules said. “Even if it horrifies you, Emma. Even if it makes you sick. Just like I’m going to have to live with whatever other boyfriends you have, because we are forever no matter how, Emma, no matter what you want to call what we have, we will always be us.”
#8 (illustrated snippet)
Ty: Why did you say you wanted to be my friend if you didn’t mean it?
On a towering brindled horse, just at the foot of the Institute steps, was Gwyn ap Nudd, the leader of the Wild Hunt. The horse’s eyes were blood-red, and so was the armor that Gwyn wore–tough crimson leather, torn here and there by claw marks and the rips made by weapons.
Under Gwyn’s arm he carried a massive helmet decorated with a stag’s antlers. His hunting horn lay across the pommel of his saddle. His eyes, like Mark’s, were two different colors: in his case, blue and black.
Emma heard Mark make an exasperated noise, pushing his way past his siblings so he stood beside Diana. “Gwyn,” he said. “I give you fair greetings. My heart is gladdened to see you.” Emma couldn’t help wondering if that was true. She knew Mark had complicated feelings for Gwyn. He’d spoken of them sometimes, during the nights in her room, head on his hand. She had a clearer picture of the Wild Hunt now than she ever had before, of its delights and horrors, of the strange path Mark had been forced to make for himself between the stars.
“I would that I could say the same,” said Gwyn. “I bring dark news from the Unseelie Court.”
#10 (illustrated snippet)
There was a commotion atop the pavilion, and a single blast from a horn shattered the murmuring quiet in the clearing. The gentry looked up. A tall figure had appeared beside the throne. He was all in white, salt-white, with a doublet of white silk and gauntlets of white bone. White horns curled from either side of his head, startling against the blackness of his hair. A gold band encircled his forehead.
Cristina exhaled. “The King.”
Emma could see his profile: it was beautiful. Clear, precise, clean like a drawing of something perfect. Emma couldn’t have described the shape of his eyes or cheekbones or the crook of his mouth, and she lacked Jules’ ability to paint it, but she knew it was uncanny and wonderful and that she would remember the face of the King of the Seelie Court for all of her life.
He turned, bringing his face into full view. Emma heard Cristina gasp faintly. The King’s face was divided down the middle. The right side was the face of a handsome young man, luminous with youth and beauty. The left side was an inhuman mask, gray skin tight and leathery over bone, eyesocket empty and black, mottled with red scars.
Kieran, bound to the tree, looked once at the monstrous face of his father and turned his head away, his chin dropping, tangled dark hair falling to hide his eyes.
They threw their weapons down and hurled themselves toward the row of horses, one after the other — Livvy leapt at Julian, throwing her arms around his neck. Mark flung himself from his horse and landed to find himself being hugged tightly by Dru and Tavvy. Ty came more quietly, but with the same incandescent happiness on his face. He waited for Livvy to be done nearly strangling her brother and then stepped in to take Julian’s hands.
And Julian, who Kit had always thought of as an almost frightening model of control and distance, grabbed his brother and yanked him close, his hands twisting in the back of Ty’s shirt. His eyes were shut, and Kit had to look away.
He had never had anyone but his father, and he was sure beyond any words that his father had never loved him like that.
Dru reached automatically for the weapons at her belt, but there was nothing there. She’d come here completely unprepared, in only jeans and a black t-shirt with cats on it.
“Not one of my best,” said Magnus, to Kieran. “I apologize — I’m not a big fan of your father’s.”
“My father does not have fans.” Kieran leaned against the edge of the table. “He has subjects. And enemies.”
“His sons are his enemies,” said Kieran, without inflection.
#14 (illustrated snippet)
When Emma came out into her bedroom, wearing sweatpants and a tank top and rubbing her hair dry with a green towel, she found Mark curled up at the foot of her bed, reading a copy of Alice in Wonderland.
He was wearing a pair of cotton pajama bottoms that Emma had bought for three dollars from a vendor on the side of the PCH. He was partial to them as being oddly close in their loose, light material to the sort of trousers he’d worn in Faerie.
If it bothered him that they also had a pattern of green shamrocks embroidered with the words GET LUCKY on them, he didn’t show it. He sat up when Emma came in, scrubbing his hands through his hair, and smiled at her.
Mark had a smile that could break your heart. It seemed to take up his whole face and brighten his eyes, firing the blue and gold from inside.
“A strange evening, forsooth,” he said.
Emma put her hands on her hips. “Don’t you forsooth me.”
#15 (illustrated snippet)
“It can’t last,” Emma said, staring at him, because how could it, when they could never keep what they had? “It’ll break our hearts.”
He caught her by the wrist, brought her hand to his chest. Splayed her fingers over his heart. It beat against her palm, like a fist punching its way out of his ribcage. “Break my heart,” he said. “Break it in pieces. I give you permission.”
“I haven’t told anyone but you.” Clary looked at Emma anxiously.
“Clary, what are you not telling me?”
There was a long silence. Clary looked out toward the dark water, biting her lip. Finally, she spoke. “Jace asked me to marry him.”
“Oh!” Emma had already begun opening her arms to hug the other girl when she caught sight of Clary’s expression. She froze. “What’s wrong?”
There was a long silence. Magnus sighed. “I have to hand it to you,” he said. “I never thought Jace and Clary would be topped by anyone else in terms of insane, self-destructive decisions, but you all are giving them a run for their money.”
“I really had nothing to do with this,” Kieran pointed out stiffly.
“I think you will find many poor decisions led you here, my friend,” Magnus said. “All right, you — all of you — wait here. And don’t do anything stupid.”
He strode out of the room on long, black-clad legs, swearing under his breath.
“He’s getting more and more like Gandalf,” said Emma, watching him go. “I mean, a hot, younger-looking Gandalf, but I keep expecting him to start stroking his long white beard and muttering darkly.
#19 (illustrated snippet)
I have always needed you, Kieran,” Mark said. “I have needed you to live. I’ve always needed you so much, I never had a chance to think about whether we were good for each other or not.”
Kieran sat up. “That is honest,” he said, finally. “I cannot fault you there.”
Mark almost crashed into Helen, half lifting her off her feet as he spun with her in a circle.
They were far out from shore now—it was a shining line in the distance, the highway a ribbon of moving lights, the houses and restaurants along the coastline glimmering. “Well, as it turns out, my parents didn’t die in the ocean.” Emma took a shuddering breath. “They didn’t drown.”
“Knowing that doesn’t wipe out years of bad dreams.” Julian glanced toward her. The wind blew soft tendrils of his hair against his cheekbones. She remembered what it felt like to have her hands in that hair, how holding him had anchored her not just to the world, but to herself.
“I hate feeling like this,” she said, and for a moment even she wasn’t sure what she was talking about. “I hate being afraid. It makes me feel weak.”
“Emma, everyone’s afraid of something.” Julian moved slightly closer. “We fear things because we value them. We fear losing people because we love them. We fear dying because we value being alive. Don’t wish you didn’t fear anything. All that would mean is that you don’t feel anything.”
“Jules—” She started to turn toward him in surprise at the intensity in his voice, but paused when she heard Cristina’s footsteps quicken, and then her voice, raised in recognition, calling:
Cristina was there, in the middle of the room, looking up at one of the chandeliers. There was a row of three of them, unlit but glittering with crystal drops.
Mark let the door fall shut behind him and she turned. She didn’t look surprised to see him. She was wearing a plain black dress that looked as if it had been cut for someone shorter than her — it probably had been.
“Mark,” she said. “Couldn’t you sleep?”
“Not well.” He glanced ruefully down at his arm, though the pain had gone now that he was with Cristina. “Did you feel the same?”
She nodded. Her eyes were bright. “My mother always said that the ballroom in the London Institute was the most beautiful room she’d ever seen.” She looked around, at the Edwardian striped wallpaper, the heavy velvet curtains looped back from the windows. “But she must have seen it very much alive and filled with people. It seems like Sleeping Beauty’s castle now. As if the Dark War surrounded it with thorns and since then it has slept.”
Mark held out his hand, his wound circling his wrist like Julian’s sea-glass bracelet circled his. “Let us wake it up,” he said. “Dance with me.”
Kieran gave a soft, impatient noise and flopped down on the bed, among the sheets. The blankets were already flung onto the floor. With his black hair tangled against the white linen, his body sprawled out with no regard for human modesty, Kieran looked even more of a wild creature. “Come with me, then,” he said. “Stay with me. I saw the look on your face when you saw the horses of the Hunt. You would do anything to ride again.”
Suddenly furious, Mark leaned down over him. “Not anything,” he said. His voice throbbed with low anger.
Kieran gave a slight hiss. He caught at Mark’s shirt. “There,” he said. “Be angry with me, Mark Blackthorn. Shout at me. Feel something.”
Mark stayed where he was, frozen, just above Kieran. “You think I don’t feel?”
More Shadowhunters had entered the Council Hall. They were a mix of ages, from old to young. Some wore Centurion uniforms. Most wore gear or ordinary clothes. What was unusual about them was that they were carrying placards and signs. REGISTER ALL WARLOCKS. DOWNWORLDERS MUST BE CONTROLLED. INTERNMENT CAMPS FOR WEREWOLVES. CREATE THE REGISTRY. PRAISE THE COLD PEACE.
Among them was a stolid brown-haired man with a bland sort of face, the kind of face where you could never really remember the features later. He winked at Zara.
“My father,” she said proudly. “Registering all Downworlders was his idea.”
“What interesting signs,” said Mark.
“How wonderful to see people expressing their political views,” said Zara. “Of course the Cold Peace has truly created a generation of revolutionaries.”
“It is unusual,” said Cristina, “for a revolution to call for fewer rights for its people, not more.”
For a moment Zara’s mask slipped, and Cristina saw through the artifice of politeness, the breathy little-girl voice and demeanor. There was something cold behind it all, something without warmth or empathy or affection. “People,” she said. “What people?”
Diego took hold of her arm. “Zara,” he said. “Let’s go sit down.”
“You’re the heart of this family, sweet girl,” he said in the voice that only his brothers and sisters ever heard. “You’re our heart.”
Ty laughed. The salt air had tangled his arrow-straight black hair, and his eyes glowed like moonlight on the water. Kit just stared.
Kieran muttered something under his breath and said, “I will swear loyalty to Mark. I will do as he bids me do, and follow the Nephilim for his sake. And I shall argue with Prince Adaon for your cause, though it is his choice in the end.”
Something flickered in Julian’s eyes. “No,” he said. “You will not do this for Mark.”
Mark looked at his brother, startled; Kieran’s expression tensed. “Why not Mark?”
“Love complicates things,” said Julian. “An oath should be free of entanglements.”
Kieran looked as if he might explode. His hair had gone com- pletely black. With an angry look at Julian, he strode toward the Shadowhunters—and knelt in front of Cristina.
Everyone looked surprised, none more than Cristina. Kieran tossed his dark hair back and looked up at her, a challenge in his eyes. “I swear fealty to you, Lady of Roses.”
“Because when this universe was born, when it blasted into existence in fire and glory, everything that would ever exist was created. Our souls are made of that fire and glory, of the atoms of it, the fragments of stars. Everyone’s are, but I believe ours, yours and mine, are made from the dust of the same star.”
You have blood on your hand,” Ty said. “I noticed it earlier.”
“It is a weakness of your kind, to regard death as so final,” said the Queen.
Ty climbed up onto the porch beside Kit and sat down. He smelled faintly of desert, sand and sage. Kit thought of the way he liked the sound of Ty’s voice: It was rare to hear someone get that kind of sincere pleasure out of simply sharing information, but Ty did.
“Why are you outside?” Ty asked. “Are you thinking about running away again?”
“No,” Kit said. He wasn’t, really. Maybe a little. Looking at Ty made him not want to think about it. It made him want to discover a mystery so he could present it to Ty for solving, the way you might give someone who loved candy a box of See’s.
“I wish we all could,” Ty said, with disarming frankness. “It took us a long time to feel safe here, after the Dark War. Now it feels as if the Institute is full of enemies again.
#32 (illustrated snippet)
Julian bought some food and supplies at a small grocer’s shop, while Emma darted next door to pick up pajamas and t-shirts at a small New Age shop that sold tarot cards and crystal gnomes. When she emerged, she was grinning. She produced a blue and purple t-shirt emblazoned with a smiling unicorn for Jules, who stared at it in horror. She tucked it into his pack carefully before they started across the town to find the beginning of the path to the coast.
“Please,” said Cristina, “please, don’t fight. We need to be on the same side in this.”
Kieran turned puzzled eyes on her. Then he stepped close to Mark; he put his hands on Mark’s shoulders. They were nearly the same height. Mark didn’t avert his gaze. “There is only one way I know that you cannot lie,” Kieran said, and kissed Mark on the mouth.
There was no way Mark could reject the kiss, not without rejecting Kieran and severing the delicate chain of lies that kept the faerie prince bound here.
If, indeed, Mark didn’t want to kiss Kieran back. Cristina couldn’t tell; he returned the kiss with a fierceness like the fierceness Cristina had seen in him the first time she’d glimpsed him with Kieran. But there was more anger in it now. He gripped Kieran’s shoulders, his fingers digging in; the force of the kiss angled Kieran’s head back. He sucked at Kieran’s bottom lip and bit it, and Kieran gasped.
They broke apart. Kieran touched his mouth; there was blood on his lip, and triumph in his eyes. “You did not look away,” he said to Cristina. “Was it that interesting?”
“It was for my benefit.” Cristina felt odd and shivery and hot, but refused to show it. She sat with her hands in her lap and smiled at Kieran. “It would have seemed rude not to watch.”
At that Mark, who had been looking furious, laughed. “She understands you, Kieran.”
“Manuel is limping,” said Cristina. She had come up behind Emma and wrapped her arms around her from behind, resting her chin on her friend’s shoulder. “Did you do that?”
“I might have,” Emma murmured. She heard Cristina giggle. “He was trying to talk me into joining the Cohort.”
Kieran’s gaze seemed dazzled by moonlight. He reached for Mark and laid his hands on Mark’s shoulders. There was a moment where Mark could have drawn away, but he didn’t.
“I would that you would meet me, formally, that I might court you,” said Gwyn. His large hands moved aimlessly at his sides — he was nervous, actually nervous. “We could together slay a frost giant, or devour a deer.”
Thoughts of home tore at Cristina. Her mother, her cousins. Better, past days with Diego and Jaime: She remembered a weekend she had spent with them once, tracking a demon in the dilapidated ghost town of Guerrero Viejo. The dreamlike landscape all around them: half-drowned houses, feathery weeds, buildings long discolored by water. She had lain on a rock with Jaime under uncountable stars, and they had told each other what they wanted most in the world: she, to end the Cold Peace; he, to bring honor back to his family.
Do you remember,” Emma said, “before you saw Diego again, you said we should go to Mexico together? Spend a travel year there?”
“It’d be a while before I could go,” said Emma. “I don’t turn eighteen until the winter. But when I do …”
Leaving Los Angeles. Spending the year with Cristina, learning and training and traveling.
Without Jules. Emma swallowed against the pain the thought caused. It was a pain she’d have to learn to live with.