Good news, Magnus and Alec enthusiasts! RED SCROLLS OF MAGIC is the featured novel for today, December 14, on… twitter.com/i/web/status/12058…
Magnus birthday snippet! - Happy birthday, High Warlock! I’m currently in Southeast Asia so my sense of global time… twitter.com/i/web/status/12038…
Matthew Fairchild * art by Cassandra Jean * Chain of Gold *The Last Hours Book One * March 2020 www.instagram.com/p/B5zjj5Yl_0…
The Shadowhunters of London love tea as much as I do... check out this giveaway from Sips by! www.instagram.com/p/B5qVgIepI4…
Art by Cassandra Jean. The last of this year’s flash fiction is up over at my Tumblr. Will, Gideon, Jesse, a dog an… twitter.com/i/web/status/12016…
Happy birthday, High Warlock! I’m currently in Southeast Asia so my sense of global time is a bit skewed, but I believe it to be Magnus’ birthday and will be snippeting accordingly! Hope you enjoy this scene from Lost Book of the White in which Magnus has a lot to contend with.
Magnus found his robe, blinked the sleep from his eyes, and went into the kitchen, where Jace Herondale was pouring coffee into Magnus’s “I’m Kind of a Big Deal” mug.
“Don’t you have your own coffeepot?” Magnus said blearily.
Jace, blond hair in its usual, preternaturally excellent state,flashed him a winning smile that Magnus was not prepared to deal with before he too had some coffee. “I hear you got stabbed by a weird Norwegian thorn,” Jace said. “Also, do you have any soy milk?Clary’s doing a whole soy milk thing now.”
“What are you doing in my apartment?” said Magnus.
“Well,” said Jace, now rummaging in the fridge, “I’d like to think I’d be welcome anytime, what with my close relationship with all three of you. But in this case, Alec called us. Said something about Shanghai.”
“Who is us?” Magnus said suspiciously.
Jace waved his coffee cup around. “Us! You know. All of us.”
“All of you?” Magnus repeated. He held up a hand. “Wait. Stop. I am going to go put on something more substantial than a kimono. You are going to use your angelic powers to pour me as large a mug of black coffee as you can find, and I will be right back, and then we can talk about terrible concepts like who ‘all of you’ are, or what Alec told you about last night.”
When he returned to the living room, now suitably dressed, he found Alec, arms folded, looking long-suffering. In the far corner of the room, next to the ceiling, Max floated, tumbling in the air. He didn’t seem to be in peril—indeed, he was yelling “Wheeeeeeeeeee” and appeared to be having an excellent time. Under him, Clary Fairchild and Isabelle Lightwood attempted to nudge him back to the ground with a broom handle. With her free hand, Clary was waving a red braid, trying to get Max interested as though he were Chairman Meow. Max was upside-down and obviously feeling good about it. Everyone else was in t-shirts and jeans, but Isabelle, of course, had shown up in a fitted black sweater over a tiered velvet maxi skirt. She was one of the few people who could occasionally make Magnus feel underdressed.
Our December flash fiction piece, A Lightwood Christmas Carol, is the second part of a two part story. If you didn’t read part one last month, or want to refresh your memory, click here:
Otherwise, read on!
“So,” Gideon said to Will the next night as they patrolled together in Mayfair, “the whole thing was a wash. I’m not murdering some poor bastard’s dog.”
Patrol with Will was normally a relaxing experience for Gideon. They enjoyed each other’s company, and demons had become so scarce in London that almost all of the time it was only a night stroll with a friend. Will even periodically recommended that they investigate for any suspicious activity in some local public house known to him.
Tonight, of course, there would be no ordering a quick round as a cover story for interrogating, i.e. merrily chatting up, the barstaff; Will was far too full of Christmas spirit. He had insisted on taking them by Trafalgar Square and spent many minutes in admiration of its temporary giant tree, and had stopped—twice!—to admire groups of carolers and applaud them. Gideon was bearing up well, he thought, considering. He even got into the spirit a very tiny amount, which is to say he was willing to eat some of the roast chestnuts Will bought.
Now Tatiana (and the dog news) had deflated Will’s mood, and Gideon felt a little badly about it. Will was frowning thoughtfully. “Why not just offer her money?” he said.
Gideon sighed. “Because Tatiana has plenty of money, all of our family money. And Gabriel and I have only our salaries as Shadowhunters. She doesn’t need money.”
Will looked scornful. “Everybody likes more money.”’
“Normally I would agree with you,” Gideon said, shaking his head, “but you did not see Tatiana’s state of mind. She cannot be approached in the way you would approach a rational person. I must do this task for her, but of course I cannot. Hurt a dog, of all things. I would never. Disgusting.”
Will stood looking past him for a long moment, and eventually Gideon said, “Will?”
“We will take care of it,” Will suddenly said. His gaze snapped back to Gideon’s face, and he was smiling. “We will give Tatiana what she wants, and we will not hurt any animals in the process.”
“We?” said Gideon, raising his eyebrows.
“Well, it’s my plan,” Will said reasonably. “So obviously I’ll be along.”
Despite himself, a smile played at the edges of Gideon’s mouth. That was the one thing he had over Tatiana, after all. He wasn’t alone.
The front door of Chiswick House swung open with somewhat more speed than it had two days prior, and Tatiana’s suspicious face appeared. She was wearing the same dress she had been wearing before, to Gideon’s dismay. In her left hand she carried the cleaned skull of some unidentifiable small mammal; Gideon didn’t wish to inquire why.
Tatiana’s glare quickly moved from Gideon to Will, who was bopping up and down nervously behind him. Will had insisted on coming, against Gideon’s better judgment, and only now did he realize the possibility that Tatiana might not even see him if Will was along.
Will, for his part, did his best. “Hullo, Tatiana my love,” he said. “Many greetings of the season! How excellently you’ve kept up the place.”
Tatiana blinked at him, startled out of whatever she had been about to shout. Gideon knew that Will had three good nips of brandy in him, and reckoned that was probably the best way to handle the situation. Meet the unexpected with the unexpected.
“Why have you brought my nemesis to my house?” Tatiana said, in the same tone she might have used if she were asking why Gideon had failed to return a book he’d borrowed.
“Crikey,” said Will. “Nemesis? Tatiana, I bear you no ill will. Have I ever, even once, interfered with your life? With your going about your business?”
“Yes,” said Tatiana. “Twice. Once when you murdered my husband, and once when you murdered my father.”
Will made a choked noise. “I murdered your father because he murdered your husband! And I didn’t murder him, he’d changed into some kind of great serpent.”
“A worm, Will,” said Gideon quietly. “He was a giant worm. Not a serpent.”
“As I remember,” said Will, “it were a great wyrm, from the depths of the Abyss, that we dispatched.”
“It was not,” said Gideon.
“It was my father,” ground out Tatiana, “and I wish to know, Gideon, why you have brought him here? I asked you to perform a task for me.”
“And I have performed it,” Gideon said briskly. “Mr. Herondale was good enough to come along, to help protect me from this most vicious of dogs that you described.”
“It’s actually quite vicious,” Will agreed.
“If you’ll just let us come in,” Gideon said.
Tatiana squinted at both of them as if trying to see through a possible glamour. “Well, come in, then. But you won’t get tea.”
“Tatiana,” Will said with an understanding chuckle. “There’s obviously no way I would ever consume any food or drink at your house.”
This was going rather well, Gideon thought.
Ensconced back in his father’s office, with no tea offered nor taken, Tatiana said, “Well?”
Gideon reached into his jacket and lay a dog’s collar, a weathered length of leather cord, down on the desktop with a flourish.
Tatiana looked at it and then up at him. “What is this?”
“It is the dog’s collar,” Gideon said. “A trophy of our dispatching it.”
She looked at it again. “This tells me nothing. You could simply have taken the collar off of that dog.”
“Madam,” said Will, “if I may? No man could possibly have taken the collar off of that dog. I would advise no man to put their hand within several feet of that dog’s neck, if they wish to retain said hand. Now that that collar is off, no man could ever put it back on.” He spoke in serious tones.
“I need something more,” Tatiana said. “If you killed the dog, you must know where it is. Go back and bring me the dog’s tail, or something.”
“Tatiana,” Gideon began, but Will interrupted.
“If I may again,” he said, “the dog resides on the far side of the very tall and very pointy iron fence that stands between the dog’s property and the road. Climbing over that fence at all is a feat that I would advise only the most well-trained of Shadowhunters to attempt once, and I would recommend they do it empty-handed, rather than carrying some random bit of dog. I’m afraid that the collar will have to suffice.”
Tatiana sat back and shook her head, dissatisfaction wrinkling her mouth. “Proof that you have dispatched the dog,” she said, “and not merely that you have encountered it.”
Gideon waited for Will to jump in again, but Will was silent. He seemed unsure how to proceed. Finally, he said, “Tatiana, give him the papers. Because it’s Christmas.”
“What?” said Gideon in disbelief.
Tatiana looked at Will with loathing. “Mundane holidays are meaningless to me.”
“I should have guessed, yes,” muttered Will.
“Please,” said Gideon, at the end of his rope. “My son—he’s…he’s like your son.” Tatiana stared at him in silence for a moment, so he pressed on. “He’s…he’s very small, and he’s often ill, and we worry about his survival. We worry about when we will put Marks on him. Like you do, with your son.”
Tatiana continued to watch Gideon in silence with a lizard-like stare.
“I know we do not see eye-to-eye on our family history,” he said doggedly, and ignored Will’s quiet hmph! from beside him. “But we are family nevertheless, and we may both have…inherited something. From our father. Something we’ve now passed to our sons. I must look through the papers to see if there is any clue there.”
She stared for a long and agonizing moment, and then she said, “Get out of my house.”
“Tatiana,” he began.
“How dare you compare your son and mine!” she said, her voice rising in volume. “Anyone could guess where the weakness in your son originates, and it is obviously with your decision to mix your blood with the most mundane you could find!” Her voice had risen to a shout.
“Sophie is an Ascended Shadowhunter!” Will shouted back, staunchly, and Gideon realized he was happy that Will was there.
“I don’t care!” Tatiana shouted. “My son is of the blood of two of the oldest of the Shadowhunter families. He is not weak like your son. Go back to your weakness, Gideon. Get out of my sight, get out of my house, and do not darken my door again. I have not missed your company, nor your brother’s, and I am relieved that my child will not grow up under the corrupting influence of either of you.”
Gideon made to stand up, but Will said “Tatiana, if I may yet again,” and he sat back down. Tatiana glowered at him. “I think,” Will went on, in a newly serious tone, “that if you and I could step outside into the hallway for a moment and talk in private—just for a moment. Give me three minutes, that is all. And after that, we will depart and we promise never to return. Right, Gideon?”
Gideon did not much wish to promise never to return to the house he’d grown up in, so he only said, “Whatever you wish.”
Tatiana examined Will’s face carefully, and then said, “You have two minutes, starting from this moment.” She rose from her seat and made for the door.
“Will, what are you—” Gideon began.
Will put the tip of his finger to his lips to quiet Gideon. “Trust me,” he said. “I believe that I can create a Christmas miracle.”
Helplessly Gideon watched his sister and his friend depart and close the door behind them. The seconds ticked by. Two minutes passed, then another two, then three more.
Then Tatiana came back into the room, followed by Will. Gideon tried to read Will’s expression, but it was neutral, nonchalant.
In Tatiana’s hands were two notebooks, packed with loose papers supplementing their own contents. Their covers, and the loose pages, were densely smeared with soot. “The papers of Benedict Lightwood,” she said. “You do not deserve them. And I am not gifting them to you. They are part of the house, and the house is mine, and they are also mine. You shall have them to peruse or copy at your leisure for the term of one week, and if they are not returned by that date, in their original condition, may the Angel have mercy on your souls. Both of you,” she added in Will’s direction.
Will threw up his hands in surrender. “I really just came for the dog-wrestling.”
Wondering, Gideon took the papers from her. He turned to look at Will, who murmured to him, “A Christmas miracle,” with a small smile.
“Come now,” Gideon said in the carriage on the way back from Chiswick, “what did you say to Tatiana to make her concede?”
It was snowing, that rare snow with very little wind, so flakes fell in a picturesque fluttering, rather than battering at the carriage like they might have as they made their way through Hammersmith, back in the direction of Central London. Will leaned back in his seat and gazed out the window.
“Well, if you must know,” he said, “I delivered an extremely well-considered speech, touching on the topics of the importance of family, the virtue of forgiveness, the need for all Shadowhunters to be allied in the fight against demons, the smallness of the sacrifice being asked of her, the pointlessness of revenge, and, of course, the giving nature of the season.”
“Yes,” said Will eagerly. “And then, I counted banknotes totalling two hundred British pounds sterling directly into her hand.”
“Will!” said Gideon, shocked.
“I told you,” Will said airily. “Everyone likes money. Even mad revenge-seeking sisters, with the dried blood of their husbands on their frocks, like money.”
Gideon was flummoxed. It was an enormous sum. “You didn’t have to do that, Will,” he said. “She doesn’t deserve the money.”
“What she doesn’t deserve,” Will said hotly, “is the moral victory. It was money well-spent to be gone from that house.”
Gideon opened the journals, marveling at Will Herondale. His financial standing was better than Gideon’s own, surely, but two hundred pounds was an enormous amount of money, well more than Will could throw away on a lark. And yet he’d not hesitated to wield that money for Gideon’s sake, had in fact, Gideon now realized, brought the money with him on purpose.
So strange, Gideon thought with a sidelong look at Will, who continued harrumphing to himself quietly in victory. At this moment this boy he’d despised as a child was more his family than his own actual sister. And he found he was able to accept that. A Christmas miracle indeed.
“I really had better return these to Tatiana in a week,” he said, examining the journals again before he started reading. “Or she’s like to set a demon on me.”
Will chuckled. “Ha. Maybe she would at that.”
Gideon paused. “She might, you know. All jokes aside. It’s a legitimate possibility.”
“It is,” agreed Will, a little more grimly.
Minutes passed, during which Gideon skimmed the papers, frowning. After a time he found himself back at the beginning, and he wrinkled his brow, bemused.
Will turned back from where he had been watching the Bath Road go by. “What is it?” he said.
“There’s nothing here,” Gideon said, frustrated. “Plenty of terrible things, of course. My father was a…a…” He struggled for the right word.
“Monster?” suggested Will.
“Pervert,” said Gideon carefully. He shuffled through the pages until he found one that was only an elaborate diagram his father had made up in pencil and showed it to Will.
Will blinked at it. “Jiminy,” he said.
“But there’s nothing here that would cause weakness or fragility in his descendants,” Gideon went on. “No curses, no hexes, no demon poisons….”
“Only the pox, then,” Will said dryly.
“Yes, but that isn’t hereditary,” Gideon said. “We looked into that years ago for our own sakes.” He shuffled the papers. “All that trouble, and for nothing. Thomas remains frail and I remain unable to do anything for him.”
There was a silence and then Will said, “Gideon, it is Christmastime, and Christmas is a time to tell the truth. Wouldn’t you agree?”
“If you say so,” Gideon said, waving his hand. From his experience Christmas a time to sing in the street and eat a goose, but who knew what strange traditions Will had from his mundane childhood. “In any event, I’d agree you should tell the truth whatever the time of year.”
“Gideon,” Will said, clapping his hand on Gideon’s shoulder. “There is nothing wrong whatsoever with Thomas.”
Gideon sighed. “That’s very kind of you to say, Will, but—”
“But nothing. Thomas is just small. Sometimes children are small. He’s not cursed or hexed.”
“He gets sick,” Gideon pressed. “All the time.”
Will laughed. “Do you have any idea how sick Cecily was as an infant? She was colicky, and then she had fevers…she cried more than she slept, those first few years.”
“And then what?”
Will threw up his hands. “And then nothing! She grew! She fell ill less and less often. That is the way of children. And we did not have terrifying mute telepathic doctors to take care of us. Does Thomas eat? Does he exert himself when he does feel well?”
“Yes,” Gideon admitted.
“Well then,” said Will, leaning back as if his point was made. “Put your mind aside from your supposed cursed family. Tatiana’s son is sickly—does that surprise you, now you’ve seen the house? Now you’ve seen Tatiana? No, of course not.” He looked at Gideon intently. “Thomas’s only trouble,” he said firmly, “is that he is an adorable wee thing.”
Gideon stared at Will. Then he broke into laughter. Will laughed too, his usual hearty chuckle, and Gideon found himself feeling better. He was still worried about Thomas—he would be for a few years, he knew, until the boy had passed the time of worrisome childhood ailments and could be protected with runes—but he felt better nonetheless. He had thought of many ways he might feel on the way back from his sister’s house, but “better” had not been one of them.
“Christmas miracle,” Will whispered gleefully.
Well, thought Gideon. Some kind of miracle, anyway.
The Parabatai Curse
Queen of Air and Darkness SPOILERS
Woo! Adorable art from Cassandra Jean, feels like Christmas! Her fave scene and one of mine.
Read by Jack Falahee
In the early nineteenth century, Tobias Herondale abandoned his fellow Shadowhunters in the heat of battle and left them to die. His life was forfeit, but Tobias never returned, and the Clave claimed his wife’s life in exchange for Tobias’s. Simon and his fellow students are shocked to learn of this brutality, especially when it is revealed the woman was pregnant. But what if the child survived…could there be a lost Herondale line out in the world today?