Queen of Air and Darkness snippets
Here are snippets from QUEEN OF AIR AND DARKESS, the third and final installment in THE DARK ARTIFICES trilogy scheduled to be released on December 4, 2018, that Cassandra Clare has shared online:
“Mark knocked, and a harried-looking Simon Lewis opened the door”
Fear prickled up and down Emma’s arms like goosebumps. Since she was twelve, she had been terrified of the ocean: she had always believed her parents had died in it, dragged below the surface by Raziel knew what, choked to death on bitter seawater. The surge and crash of waves, the imagined black velvet of the ocean’s depths, had filled her nightmares.
Even when she found out her parents had been murdered on dry land by Malcolm Fade, their bodies thrown into the sea after death, the fear remained. She reached for it now, welcomed it in. She could feel it filling the empty spaces, the hollows left by grief.
She glanced back down at the sea. The surging whirlpool below, the waves slamming like dark blue walls against sheer needles of stone, looked like a painting of a maelstrom, a photograph of a hellscape taken from a safe distance.
The wind screamed in Emma’s ears like a warning. Another wave hurled itself against the cliffs, sending up an explosion of spray. Emma smiled grimly into the wind and salt, and jumped.
“I can’t do this.” Helen tried to keep her voice steady, but it was nearly impossible. She hoped the strain would be covered by the sound of the waves crashing below them, but Aline knew her too well. She could sense when Helen was upset, even when she was trying hard not to show it.
“Baby.” Aline moved closer, wrapping her arms around Helen, brushing her lips softly with her own. “You can. You can do anything.”
Helen relaxed into her wife’s arms. When she’d first met Aline she’d thought the other girl was taller than she was, but she’d realized later it was the way Aline held herself, arrow-straight. The Consul, her mother, held herself the same way, and with the same pride — not that either of them was arrogant, but the word seemed a shade closer to what Helen imagined than simple confidence. She remembered the first love note Aline had ever written her. The curves of your lips rewrite history. The world is changed because you are made of ivory and gold. Later, she’d found out it was an Oscar Wilde quote, and had said to Aline, smiling, You’ve got a lot of nerve.
Aline had looked back at her steadily. “I know. I do.”
They both had, always, and it had stood them in good stead. But this —
“This is different,” Helen said. “They don’t want me here –“
“They do want you here.”
“They barely know me,” Helen said. “That’s worse.”
Kit glanced around, wondering if the growing number of people was bothering Ty. He hated crowds. Magnus and Alec were standing with their kids near the Consul; they were with a beautiful black-haired girl with eyebrows just like Alec’s and a boy — well, he was probably in his twenties — with untidy brown hair. The boy gave Kit a considering look that seemed to say you look familiar. Several people had done the same. Kit guessed it was because he looked like Jace, if Jace had suffered a sudden and unexpected height, muscle and overall hotness reduction.
Isabelle shook her head, then bent down and unclipped a chain from one ankle. She held it out to Emma. “This is blessed iron. Poisonous to faeries. Wear it and you can pack a hell of a kick.”
“Thanks.” Emma took the chain and wrapped it twice around her wrist, fastening it tightly.
“Do I have anything iron?” Simon looked around wildly, then reached into his pocket and pulled out a small metal figure of an archer. “This is my D&D character, Lord Montgomery —”
“Oh my God,” said Isabelle.
He wanted to ask Ty if he was all right, but he knew the other boy wouldn’t want it. Ty was staring at the Market, tense with curiosity. Kit turned to the phouka.
“Gatekeeper,” he said. “We request entrance to the Shadow Market.”
Ty’s gaze snapped to attention. The phouka was tall, dark and thin, with bronze and gold strands threaded through his long hair. He wore purple trousers and no shoes. The lamppost he leaned against was between two stalls, neatly blocking the way into the Market.
“Kit Rook,” said the phouka. “What a compliment it is, to still be recognized for one who has left us to dwell among the angels.”
“He knows you,” muttered Ty.
“Everyone in the Shadow Market knows me,” said Kit, hoping Ty would be impressed.
The phouka stubbed out his cigarette. It released a sickly-sweet smell of charred herbs. “Password,” he said.
“I’m not saying that,” said Kit. “You think it’s funny to try to make people say that.”
“Say what? What’s the password?” Ty demanded.
The phouka grinned. “Wait here, Kit Rook,” he said, and melted back into the shadows of the Market.
“He’s going to get Hale,” said Kit, trying to hide the signs of his nerves.
“Can they see us?” Ty said. He was looking into the Shadow Market, where clusters of Downworlders, witches and other assorted members of the magical underworld moved among the clamor. “Out here?”
It was like standing outside a lighted room in the dark, Kit thought. And though Ty might not express it that way, Kit suspected he felt the same.
“If they can, they’d never show it,” he said.
Emma had been halfway up the stairs on the way to Cristina’s room when she had seen Mark, leaning against the wall on the landing and looking dejected. “Dru won’t let me in to talk to her,” he said. “I am worried. It is like a faerie to grieve alone, but not, I understand, like a Shadowhunter.”
Emma hesitated. She was about to say that it wasn’t unlike Dru to lock herself in her room alone, but Dru had looked more than a little upset when she’d left the kitchen. “Keep trying,” she advised. “Sometimes you have to knock for twenty minutes or so. Or you could offer to watch a horror movie with her.”
Mark looked glum. “I do not think I would enjoy a horror movie.”
“You never know,” Emma said.
He turned to head back up the stairs, and hesitated. “I am worried about you and Jules as well,” he said, more quietly. “I do not like the Inquisitor, or the idea of you being questioned by him. He reminds me of the King of Unseelie.”
Emma was startled. “He does?”
“They give me the same feeling,” Mark said. “I cannot explain it, but —“
A door opened on the landing overhead: it was Cristina’s. She stepped out, glancing down. “Emma? I wondered if you were —“
She stopped when she saw Mark, and she and Mark stared at each other in a way that made Emma feel as if she had disappeared completely.
“I didn’t mean to interrupt,” Cristina said, but she was still looking at Mark, and he was looking back as if their gazes were hopelessly tied together.
Mark had shaken himself, as if he were casting off cobwebs or dreams. “It is all right — I must go speak with Drusilla.” He had bounded up the stairs and out of sight, disappearing around the bend in the corridor.
Cristina had snapped out of it and invited Emma in, and now it was as if the moment with Mark had never happened, though Emma was itching to ask about it. “Mark will need you,” she said again, and Cristina twisted her hands in her lap.
“Mark,” she said, and paused. “I don’t know what Mark is thinking. If he is angry at me.”
“Why would he be angry at you?”
“Because of Kieran,” she said. “They did not end things well, and now Kieran is at the Scholomance, and far away, which was my doing.”
“You didn’t break him up with Kieran,” Emma protested. “If anything, you helped keep them together longer. Remember — hot faerie threesome.”
Cristina dropped her face into her hands. “Mrfuffhfhsh,” she said.
“I said,” Cristina repeated, lifting her face, “that Kieran sent me a note.”
“He did? How? When?”
“This morning. In an acorn.” Cristina passed a small piece of paper to Emma. “It isn’t very illuminating.”
Lady of Roses,
Though the Scholomance is cold, and Diego is boring, I am still grateful that you found enough value in my life to save it. You are as kind as you are beautiful. My thoughts are with you.
“Why did he send you this?” Emma handed the note back to Cristina, shaking her head. “It’s weird. He’s so weird!”
“I think he just wanted to thank me for the escape plan,” Cristina protested. “That’s all.”
“Faeries don’t like thanking people,” said Emma. “This is a romantic note.”
Cristina blushed. “It’s just the way faeries talk. It doesn’t mean anything.”
“When it comes to faeries,” Emma said darkly, “everything means something.
Faerie magic was quiet, Kit thought. There was no noise, no tumult, no flashing warlock lights. In between one breath and another, Mark, Kieran and Cristina simply disappeared.
“You hated the Shadow Market in London,” Kit said. “It really bothered you. The noises, and the crowd —“
Ty’s gaze flicked down to Kit. “I’ll wear my headphones. I’ll be all right.”
“…and I don’t know if we should go again so soon,” Kit added. “What if Helen and Aline get suspicious?”
Ty’s gaze darkened. “Julian told me once,” he said, “that when people keep coming up with reasons not do something, it’s because they don’t want to do it. Do you not want to do this?”
Ty’s voice sounded tight. The thrumming wire again, sharp with tension. Under the cotton of his shirt, his too-thin shoulders had tightened as well. The neck of his shirt was loose, the delicate line of his collarbones just visible.
Kit felt a rush of tenderness toward Ty, mixed with near-panic. In other circumstances, he thought, he would just have lied. But he couldn’t lie to Ty.
A ghost, Kit thought. Like Jessamine. He looked around wildly: surely there would be more ghosts here, their dead feet leaving no traces on the grass?
But he only saw the Blackthorns, clinging together, Emma and Cristina side by side, and Julian with Tavvy in his arms, as the smoke rose up and around them. Half-reluctantly he glanced back: the young man with the dark hair had moved to kneel beside Robert Lightwood’s pyre. He was closer to the flames than any human could have gotten, and they seemed to eddy within the outline of his body, lighting his eyes with fiery tears.
Parabatai, Kit thought, suddenly. In the slump of the young man’s shoulders, in his outstretched hands, in the longing stamped on his face, he saw Emma and Julian, he saw Alec as he spoke about Jace; he knew he was looking at the ghost of Robert Lightwood’s parabatai. He didn’t know how he knew it, but he did.
“You have changed, son of thorns,” said the Queen.
“Please. I’ve taught at Shadowhunter Academy. I —” Catarina began to cough, her shoulders shaking. Her eyes widened in alarm.
Cristina slid out of bed, alarmed. “Are you all right —?”
But Catarina had vanished. There wasn’t even a swirl of air to show where her Projection had been.
Cristina hastily threw on her clothes: jeans, an old t-shirt. She wished with all her heart that Emma was here, that they could talk about last night, that Emma could give her advice and a shoulder to cry on.
But she wasn’t. Cristina touched her necklace, whispered a quick prayer to the Angel, and headed down the hall to Mark’s room.
He’d been up as late as she was, so there was a high possibility he was still sleeping. She knocked on the door hesitantly and then harder; finally Mark threw it open, yawning and stark naked.
“Híjole!” Cristina shrieked, and pulled her t-shirt collar up over her face. “Put your pants on!”
“Sorry,” he he called, ducking behind the door. “At least you’ve already seen it all.”
The pyres were still burning as the procession turned and headed back toward the city. It was customary for the smoke to rise all night, and for families to gather in Angel Square to mourn among others.
Not that Emma thought it was likely the Blackthorns would do that. They would remain in their house, closeted in with each other: they had been too much apart all their lives to want comfort from other Shadowhunters who they barely knew.
She had trailed away from the rest of the group, too raw to want to try to talk to Julian again in front of his family. Besides, he was holding Tavvy, who was cried out and almost asleep.
“Emma,” said a voice beside her.
She turned and saw Jem Carstairs.