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   Chapter 16 Clary's Epiphany

A Hidden Past By Grace Estellar Characters: 38325

Updated: 2019-09-21 21:56

*****Jace's POV*****

Jace and Simon had rushed back into the Loft the second they heard some commotion coming from inside. They swung the glass pane doors open to see what had caused such a ruckus. Simon darts over to Isabelle's side, ignoring the newcomers in the room. Jace looks at the three hooded figures dumbfounded by the sight of them....them and their wings.

Red like a vibrant flame.

Gold like a sparkling sun.

And Black like a midnight sky.

"Who are you people?" Jace asks, keeping his gaze locked on the newcomers all the while edging closer to Clary.

His girlfriend is staring at the three winged people with studious interest, as though she's contemplating something very seriously. Clary is chewing on one of her chapped pink lips that Jace would kiss so fondly, her eyebrows furrowed in confusion. Jace is curious as to what the fiery red head might be thinking about.

His battle trained hands itch for a seraph blade, but he knew that wasn't in the cards right now. At the very least, he knows Clary has her stele stowed away in her jeans pocket (they'd changed out of their evening attire a few hours ago, when it had become clear they weren't leaving the loft anytime soon) and Magnus had his magic.

Both were formidable forces to be reckoned with, yet he still feels a flicker of annoyance toward his brother-in-law's ridiculous house rules. Magnus had made it a policy of sorts to deposit all weapons by the coat rack at the front entrance, the centuries old warlock arguing the point that weapons weren't needed in the house.

He's probably regretting that decision now.

Magnus stands in archway of his Apothecary, all rigid lines and deadly grace as his hands light up with sparkling blue red light. Waves of power emanate off his brother-in-law, a testament to how dangerous Magnus really is. I can almost see what Alec does in him. Jace and Magnus's relationship has improved steadily over the past few years they've known each other, Alec playing a large roll in their friendship. He can still remember talking to Magnus the morning of Max's rune ceremony, the words of warning he'd given the Indonesian man.

"I'm not going to let anything hurt him." Jace said tersely, his mismatched eyes fixated on Magnus sternly.

Magnus had given him a look as though he expected that line. "And we have that in common." The sparkly man had said.

Those had been simpler times, believe it or not. It was hard to believe how far they'd made it since then. Jace had went from threatening Magnus not to hurt his brother, his parabatai to entrusting him with Alec's heart and welcoming Magnus to their family.

The two men had gotten along even better after Magnus and Alec had gotten hitched, the warlock providing a great source of comfort when he was moping over the loss of Clary to the mundane world. Those were days he'd rather forget, as all days with Clary torn away from him were. And yet he could not deny there were some pleasant times then too, and with unexpected individuals at that.

Two of the figures pulled back their hoods to reveal a red headed woman and a dirty blonde haired man that he recognized immediately as the strangers who came to his and Alec's aid the other night against the Blixer demons. The shimmering black cloaks they wore made it impossible to tell what they were wearing underneath, Jace found that he couldn't for the life of him determine what weapons they might be carrying on their person, much to his frustration.

They could be carrying a full blown spear and I wouldn't know it!

The other stranger keeps his hood on, ink black wings like liquid shadows curving behind him frame. Out of all the wings these strangers had, those were the ones gave him the most unease. They reminded him of another man, of Clary's late brother.

Jonathan Morgenstern had been an absolute psychopath made even more dangerous when he received a pair of black wings. To his knowledge, only fallen angels (this includes princes of hell) possessed blackened feathers like that. Needless to say, he wasn't looking forward to getting to know the final stranger.

Not that I'm looking forward to getting to know any of them. They took Alec after all.

"Our names are Pippa, Harry and Daniel though I think you already knew that." The redhead, Pippa spoke. Her green gaze wasn't on Jace, instead flitting over Clary with mild intrigue before landing right on Magnus.

Jace carefully entwines his fingers in with Clary's own, giving them a reassuring squeeze as he pulls her close to his side. He doesn't want these winged strangers giving his girlfriend any strange looks. Clary returned the gesture, though her attention had turned to Magnus who was watching the newcomers with suspicion.

"Yes. I figured as much." Magnus spoke warily, the magic he'd summoned still very much apparent. If Pippa or her siblings were unnerved by the sight of the warlock's power, they did not show it. "Is my husband alright? Where have you taken him?" He asks.

"He's not wasting any time." Simon mutters to Izzy quietly.

Isabelle gave a small nod, her tentative gaze fixed on the newcomers in the center of the room. Belatedly, Jace wonders where the glass table went; the reflective surface object was no longer in the center of the room and was nowhere to be seen.

The blonde male looked over to Simon, gave him a little grin, which quickly faded when his golden green gaze landed on Isabelle. For whatever reason a flicker of sadness flashed through the winged male, though Jace could not determine why. Nor could he say why the blonde glanced worriedly at the still hooded man standing behind him. If the stranger- Daniel- was supposed to react to Isabelle, he did not.

Now was the moment that Daniel stepped forward, his hood still covering his face. Powerful, ink black wings stretch out beside him, the feathers glinting with light. Jace nudged Clary behind him even more, placing an outstretched arm in front of her.

I won't let him get near Clary. I don't trust him, not one bit. He could see Simon doing the same thing with Isabelle; the vampire had stepped in front of the female Shadowhunter, not blocking her view by any means but making it so that the winged people would have to go through him to get to Isabelle. Both men are perfectly aware their significant others can take care of themselves, but that didn't mean they wouldn't protect them regardless.

"Alexander Lightwood-Bane is fine I can assure you, but we need to talk." Daniel said.

Jace can see Magnus visibly tense as the hooded stranger inches closer to him. He can feel Clary's eyes on him without even glancing, the intensity of her green gaze impossible not to feel. The blonde Shadowhunter knows what he has to do, Jace just hopes that it doesn't cause any trouble....and that Alec would approve.

His speed rune glows gold as Jace makes it activate, giving him the power to dart over to stand in front of Magnus. The warlock looks surprised at his sudden intrusion, as does Pippa and Harry. Daniel, to his knowledge remains expressionless, blue eyes barely visible underneath the gloom of the hood to produce the effect of a gray gaze.

"Stay back!" He shouts, stretching out an arm to stop Daniel from getting any closer.

"Jace." Magnus said. Jace studiously ignores his brother-in-law's warning tone. The newcomer stops in his tracks, just inches before touching Jace's fingertips. Satisfied by this, the blonde continues.

"I don't care who you might be, but with wings like that, " He motions with his other hand to the dark expanse or blackness behind Daniel. The wings are still obsidian expanses, only the slightest bit of air conditioning sending bursts of life through them; Jonathan's wings were not dissimilar. "I don't think we have any reason to trust you. For all we know, you could be just like Jonathan." Jace practically spat out the name. Even in death Jonathan Morgenstern still bothered him. He doubts that will ever change.

He doesn't know what reply he expected, but he did not foresee the newcomers getting angry. Pippa is by Daniel's side within the blink of an eye, as is Harry. From this close up he can see every twitch in the redhead's expression, the deep downturn of Harry's lips as his frown deepens and the way his eyebrows furrowed.

"How dare you say that about him?!" Pippa all but yells, her hands fisting at her sides. Her voice and body language reminds him of Clary when she's upset and frustrated.

Harry responds to Jace's words without an outburst of rage, though the underlying rage he's feeling still lurks underneath. "I know that you've had some....unfortunate memories with someone with black wings before, but Daniel isn't like that. He isn't like Him." Harry needs not say who he is referring to, Jace along with the rest of the occupants of the room already know, Jonathan. Morgenstern.

"And why should we believe you?" Jace asks with an air of indifference.

"I aught to smack some sense into you." Pippa glares at Jace angrily, her feathers fluffing up like the fur of a hissing ginger tabby cat. The sight would be amusing if it wasn't directed at him.

Simon and Isabelle watch the exchange warily, as does Clary who at some point must've pulled her stele out. The metallic Adamas isn't glowing at the tip - the sign Clary's about to draw a rune- but Jace has a feeling that will only be a matter of time. He finds Clary's poised actions to be reassuring, a comfortable act of preparation for what may come.

Pippa stops seething when a pale hand rests on her shoulder. Daniel gripped her shoulder with a steel armed grip, his knuckles turning even whiter then the rest of his skin. Jace can see the faint criss cross of silvery marks adorning the man's wrist like pale strips of thin twine.

Most of the marks are much too small to have come from a stele or demon attack so he's unsure as to where the winged male might've gotten them. They look like something I've seen on.... he would not dare finish that thought, his blood running cold.

"It's okay Penelope. They have every right to be suspicious, it'll just make things awkward in the long run." Daniel tells her. Pippa still looks annoyed, but she does give the eldest a small nod, her anger simmering down ever so slowly.

She gives Jace a rueful glance. "I suppose I can forgive him this time. He is a Herondale after all..." Pippa seems to catch herself right on the precipice of revealing something. "Not that this means anything to us." She hurriedly adds. Jace raises an eyebrow at that, confused as to why the redhead had grown so nervous.

"That's all well and good, but like you said, we need to talk." Magnus says drolly.

Long, lithe arms reach up to an expanse of silk to pull back to reveal pale skin with sharp blue eyes. With the hood gone from Daniel's face Jace, Magnus and the others can now get a much clearer look at what lies beneath. Jace feels surprised at just how similar Daniel looks to his parabatai. There were very few noticeable differences between the two men (aside from the black wings and oceanic eyes of course).

Daniel lets out a laugh, the sound boring none of the humor it was supposed to. His expression is that of astute seriousness. "Yes. So let's talk."

*****Alec's POV*****

Alec fiddles with the hem of his shirt absentmindedly. The sun had long since made its descent below the horizon, giving a chance for stars to burst in

be beaten down. He can still remember the sting of the barbed ship from last time, burning white pain lancing across his vulnerable back and wings.

"Yes Master. The three remaining winged nephilim are up to something. How should we proceed?"

The Master rises from his chair, his burgundy robes swish down to the floor. Samuel is surprised the billowing garment does not hinder the Master's wings. Long stretching expanses of pitch black feathers furl behind the man, streaks of ash grey and blood red are splattered like paint across them. In his hand is clutched the white fletched arrow, the length of it still unmarried despite the many instances Samuel had seen it get bent with angry ministrations.

"Do you know how I got this arrow?" The Master is now a mere few inches away from Samuel, so close that he can smell the whiskey in the man's breath. The bitter taste of it makes Samuel wrinkle his nose.

He keeps himself stiff as the Master stalks around him like a predatory wolf, taunting him with every turn. "I'm not sure. You've never told me."

"It was five years ago, back when we were still prevalent." Master clutches the length tighter. "Back when we were still feared." Samuel doesn't dare comment that the screaming victims in the other rooms would likely disagree with that statement wholeheartedly.

"So...did someone attack you?" He asks.

Master smirks, his grin crooked with the downturn of wicked intentions. "You could say that. A group of foolish nephilim: the first nephilim dared to stand against us. One of them, Daniel Windemiere tried to stab me with this, " He spins the arrow. "After I disposed of his twin sister." Samuel holds back a flinch. The Windemieres had once been friends of his, their father an Angel he considered lucky to have as a brother.

But times are different now.... and I have changed.

Sometimes he can't believe that voice inside himself; sometimes he can't help but question everything.

"So did he? Uh, did he stab you?" He can't help being curious.

The Master's eyes darken. "Yes. He did." He tosses the arrow aside as though it was nothing more than a discarded piece of trash. Acting callous, Samuel had learned was one of the many ways the Master remains detached from his feelings. "And that is why we must stop them. Whatever they're doing must not be allowed to pass."

The chill in the room is unmistakable. Samuel shuffles uncomfortably in place, his eyes averted. During these meetings he always kept his wings as tightly folded to his back as he could, protecting the once bronze feathers from the wrath of gnarled hands.

"So what are your orders?" He asks.

The Master smirks evilly. The look on his face is one that shakes Samuel to his core. That expression is so vile, so awful that he knows whatever the man will say next is guaranteed to be horrible.

"Here's what we're going to do..."

****Clary's POV****

"So Alec is some sort of reincarnated Archangel? When did all this start?" Maia's voice echoes from inside the loft.

When the alpha had spotted the three siblings disappear she and Bat both had been quick to start asking questions while food was being divvied out by Simon. As expected everyone else had been lost in their thoughts. Magnus had stalked out of the den as soon as Daniel, Pippa and Harry had left, Chairman Meow trailing behind him as he slipped into the Apothecary.

The warlock could not be persuaded to come back out to eat, too busy desperately trying to find his husband. This had left Isabelle to explain to Maia and Bat what had just occurred and been occurring for the past several weeks.

Clary ignores the conversation going on inside, allowing herself to get lost in the atmosphere of the night. Brooklyn is lively at night, the city's twinkling lights laid out around her like a gift as she stares out from her spot gripping the ledge. It was fascinating to recall all the memories that had happened out on this balcony. Some of them had been bad, but others had been amazing. She wonders what Magnus's favorite memory out here would be?

I could bet money that it has to do with Alec. Everything seems to do with him lately....wait a second.

A memory sparks at the back of her mind, or maybe it's better described as a dream. It had been unreachable before, the imagery of it faded into the unconsciousness of dream. But now it was being flung forward with the speed of a shot arrow, striking into the target that is her mind.

If that dream was real then that would mean....

She was so lost in thought that she doesn't notice Jace wrapping his arms around her. She tenses at the touch until she realizes it's her boyfriend which promptly makes her relax into the blonde's strong arms. It wasn't often, but sometimes when they became passionate enough the iridescent gold light of all their runes lighting up would appear, the angelic energy humming inside their bodies with the energy of a living thing.

A soft kiss is pressed to her cheek with care. Jace didn't treat her with delicacy often, always trying to exude his tough guy exterior. She wasn't surprised that tonight's revelations had softened him. Any talk of feelings usually had results like this, and Clary finds herself lucky that she gets to see this side of Jace: strong but vulnerable, arrogant yet caring. Jace Herondale is a man of many traits, far too numerous to understand unless you really tried.

"I figured you could use some company." He quietly murmurs in her ear, his breath is warm compared to the cool night air.

The warmth sends goosebumps down her spine along with a feeling of pleasure. A lot of the words said by the three winged nephilim had unnerved her greatly, but standing with Jace at her side made her feel immensely better.

We will get through this, she tells herself.

Clary pulls away from her boyfriend to look him in the eyes. Jace's smile seems strained, one of his hands is clutched over his abdomen right where the parabatai rune is. Clary supposes he must be trying to channel Alec.

She'd learned plenty about the sacred bond in the past couple months as her own anticipated parabatai ceremony with Izzy grew ever closer. Clary understands now just how complex it is, and she can only hope that herself and Isabelle never have to go through the separation Alec and Jace have to be dealing with now.

"I'm glad you came." Her eyes flick to the city below. She inhales a gulp of crisp air, steeling herself for what she would say next. "There's something I need to tell you."

"What is it?" Jace asks.

"I think I might know how to find Alec." Clary tells him steadily.

Jace's eyes widen with surprise. "What do you mean?" He reaches forward to wrap his hands around hers, his larger hands encompassing her own with ease. His mismatched orbs look hopeful now, Clary prays that hope is not misplaced. "Did...did the Angel tell you?"

"I....I don't think so. I had this dream Jace a few days ago. I couldn't remember it before, but now...."

"Now you do." Jace finishes for her. Clary nods minutely, her heart hammering away in her chest with its fast beat.

"I...we need to gather the others. Hopefully we can figure this out together." She murmurs.

"Of course." He steps away from her only to extend his arm. Clary looks at him speculatively. "Shall we?" He asks.

Clary wants to grin at her boyfriend's silly attempt at being romantic. But this was not the time or place for smiles and laughter. "Of course we shall." Is what she tells him. And so Jace takes her by the arm to press her against his side as they head indoors.

The night had only just begun.

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