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   Chapter 4 The Shadow Market of Alicante

An Uncertain Present By Grace Estellar Characters: 24032

Updated: 2020-01-03 23:53


****Pippa's POV****

She had been in a great many Shadow Markets in her life, but this was the first time she'd ever been to the one in Alicante. Despite being in its infancy, the Market was bustling with life on that crisp fall morning.

The vendors were all out advertising their wares, luring in the unsuspecting Shadowhunter shoppers who had hardly ever been to Markets before. Pippa never understood why the nephilim had stopped using the Shadow Market after she and her siblings had left the group behind. The Downworlder get together place was one of the best sources of information there ever was. Not using it was a waste of a good opportunity.

Pippa felt she had every right to look through the wares that caught her eye on the way to Armando's trailer, and so she did. One of the blue tents held kegs of moonshine, lunar essence, and dream catchers. The werewolf couple that worked their had tried to pass her off a few samples of the sweet smelling drink. Pippa had politely declined before shuffling out the crinkly plastic flap that marks the entrance.

The red tent a few shops down consisted of several beer kegs that gave off the strong, metallic scent of blood. Pippa opened up the lid on one such keg to investigate, only to find -much to her own personal relief- that it was cow's blood, not of human origin. One wouldn't think any of the vampires here would be foolish enough to bring human blood by several large kegs to market, but it wasn't harmful to make sure.

The next few shops consisted mostly of artwork and several, several stacks of weapons. They had just about every type of sword Pippa could possibly think of. Each blade was neatly cleaned to gleam in the morning light of a new day. Her green gaze was particularly drawn to a set of gold adamas incrusted kindjals, the blades the stuff of platinum and a heavenly metal her brother Harry had worked with a long long time ago.

"Oh, I see the kindjals have caught your eyes young miss?" An old voice pipes in from behind her.

Pippa has to hold back a laugh. People never would know by her looks that she was almost eight hundred years old, nor would they suspect that she knew the creator of these blades quite well. Reaching out, she runs a finger down one of the gleaming blades, reading the description there.

"Divided we fall; together we rise." The words were written in German- Harry's favorite language at the time- but she had no trouble translating them.

"I'm surprised you were able to translate that. Wayland the Smith sure had a way with words." The vendor said.

Pippa turns to meet her company's gaze. The old man was so pale it was almost as though the sun had never touched his face before. The few freckles that marred his chin said otherwise though, as did the mole resting in the corner of one of his deep gray eyes. His hair was a tussled sort of black that matched decently enough with the black apron he wore.

"Yes, he does." Pippa mused.

If the old man recognized her use of present tense in speech, he did not say a word about it. Instead he reached out to touch the other blade, pulling it down from the wrack with practiced ease. Only by doing so was Pippa able to see the blade lying in the back of the room, like a perfect example of the phrase: out of sight, out of mind.

"So, do you think you might want to buy it. This is one of Wayland's finest works." The man attempts to persuade her.

Pippa does let out a chuckle at this. Of course, all Harry's works had brilliant craftsmanship. Her younger brother has always been a natural at blacksmithing after all. However, she knows that this isn't anywhere near the top one hundred of her brother's creations. The blade laying discarded on the table, out of view, on the other hand most certainly was.

"No thanks. I am interested in another one of your wares though." Pippa pointed at the hidden blade with a careless air. Best not to let this vendor know how well versed she is in these weapons unless she absolutely had too. It could attract unnecessary attention.

The kind that would put her under a lot of suspicion.

"Hmm, you can't possibly mean that old thing." The vendor said.

The old man strode over to the back counter, setting down the sword he'd picked up just moments before to snag up the item of interest. As he did so, the blade gleamed with white-gold-silver intensity, the writing on it still easy to see after a great many battles. Pippa had been lucky enough to see that blade in several of those battles back in the day. This blade, unlike the kindjals had two others just like it.

This blade was Joyeuse. Cortanna and Durendal's sibling.

"Yes. How much for it?" Pippa asks nonchalantly.

The man huffs in exasperation. "It's far more expensive then anything you've ever owned I'm sure." He gives her a rather rude once over that makes her want to reach out and slap him.

Of all the people such a revered sword could've ended up with, it just had to be a jerk. She knew well enough that the only one of these weapons that was being used and respected properly was Cortanna. Emma Carstairs was the owner of that blade now, and from what Pippa knew, she is one of the best and brightest Shadowhunters of her generation.

"Hmm, perhaps." Pippa knew that wasn't true. Her family had lived in riches their entire lives, but it wasn't her job to tell this guy that. Let him think whatever he pleases, but I'm leaving with that sword.

"I doubt you could pay for it." The man reiterates, his grubby hands gripping the hilt of the sword so wrong that she knew if Harry were here to see this he'd be utterly horrified. It may sound silly, but each of Harry's prized creations are precious to him. It had been painstaking work to create each piece, making them long lasting and weapons of mass destruction if left in the wrong hands.

"I'm sure I could. And I don't think you have any right to say such a thing to me. So, I'll ask again, how much?" Pippa asks.

"I don't like your attitude miss. I'm not going to sell it. Bad enough that one of the swords is in the hands of a foolish little girl. Best not to let Joyuese into the hands of another crazy woman who likely doesn't even know how to wield a blade." The man sneers.

Now, Pippa wasn't known to be the most patient of her siblings. If anything, describing her as temperamental would be more accurate. Fire was a beautiful thing to look at, but it could just as easily burn everything down if there was the right incentive. This man's blatant disrespect of herself and of Emma Carstairs would not go without judgement.

Fortunately for the terrible man, Pippa's wrath was not released that day. Instead, he had to deal with a much calmer, colder sort of rage from none other than Armando Drake.

"Altus Darkshire, that's enough. I will pay for the sword. You and I both know this is your sister Aria's shop anyways. She would gladly sell the blade to an experienced swordsman like Penelope, and you know it." Armando's voice is loud in the tent.

Pippa and Altus swing around to meet Armando's gaze. His hands crackled with a slew of orange magic. With one quick swish of his hand, the sword was in Pippa's hand and a sizable stack of cash was left on the table where the weapon had laid just a moment before.

"But, but..." Altus was sputtering, those freckles moving with the gesture like they were bouncing along.

Pippa still wanted to thrash Altus, but that was besides the point. Armando grabbed her gently by the hand, his fingers long in the way a musician's hands were. To her knowledge, there were at least five instruments the man played, but only when he was in the mood. Together they existed the tent, leaving the outrageous man behind them.

***Slight Time Skip/ Armando's POV***

It was only once Armando had closed the door to his trailer that he whirled around to face Penelope once more. The lights in the small room were a faded sort of yellow, a few of them winking in and out like buzzing fireflies. Armando had kept quite a few in his store during the summer seasons, finding their rhythmic glow up as amusing as it was soothing.

These lights were not fireflies tonight, though they were enchanted by himself to be like so. The photos hanging up on the wall glittered with the sheen of them, making Daniel's blue eyes gleam. Pippa wasn't surprised to see the eldest of her brothers in the vast majority of the photos Armando had hung up. The two men had a special bond that had only continued to grow with time. The redhead knew all too well just how far their relationship had come. Her only regret was that the two guys had yet to get together.

The signs are obvious. How much longer are they going to prance around each other before they finally get together? They're just so clueless sometimes.

"I'm glad you came Penelope, but I wish you hadn't caused such a scene at Altus's place." Armando mutters.

The warlock was dressed in one of his lavender waistcoats, the material of it velvety soft. A checkered black and white shirt peeks out from around the gray tie he wore. The get up was a business look she'd seen him wear before in the past, a strange thing considering today was supposed to be a day off for Armando.

Pippa huffs. "You and I both know he was asking for it. Just an all around jerk, that Altus guy."

"Yes. You're not wrong there." Armando sirs down in the leather chair he had sitting out. Pippa takes the seat across the table from him, eyeing the two mugs that had been set on the table curiously. They were surprisingly empty.

"So, what did you call me over for? You sounded pretty anxious on the phone." She folds her hands in her lap. Armando had called her in the early hours of the morning, right before dawn, to tell her she had to drop by. Pippa had been rather disgruntled by such an early call, but she trusts that a serious guy like Armando wouldn't have done it for no good reason.

"Uh, yes yes. There is something important I'd like to talk to you about. But, first, " he gestures to the cups. "coffee?"

"Oh yes please. That would be great." She still felt a little sleepy from waking up so early. A cup of coffee would be great in solving that problem for sure.

He passes it over to her. Pippa breathes in the musty smell of it: coffee beans, a swirl of caramel, cream, and plenty of sugar. While it was true that Harry would put the most sugar in his morning drink, Pippa was pretty partial to cream and caramel herself. Daniel was the black sheep out of the three of them, liking his coffee black. Then again, Daniel did like hot chocolate so she supposed it all worked out.

Only once they'd both drank a copious amount of the steaming liquid did Armando continue. "I called you here today to talk about what I found a few days ago....and also about Daniel."

Her eyebrows furrow at that. "What are you talking about?"

"As you know, the anniversary of Sara's death is coming up, so Daniel has been rather...upset." Armando explained.

"I noticed. So has Harry."

That was true. Harry was acting much more subdued compared to his normal, cheery self. As for her other brother, Pippa knew how Daniel got each and every year, as the anniversary of Sara's death drew ever closer. The eldest became all the more anxious and depressed, to the point where he'd often withdraw from most everyone to grieve. Pippa has attempted to get Daniel to stay close to herself and Harry and Armando during this time, but Daniel always ended up declining no matter what she tried.

Perhaps this year will be different. Dad is back, so maybe he'll know what to do. Of course, there was the issue that Alec had yet to learn about Sara, which was a whole big problem in itself. Pippa hoped he didn't react too horribly to the news, but with everything going on lately, one could never be sure.

"Yes. So he went back to The Place not that long ago, and-"

"Daniel should've known better. I told him not to. Going ba

ck to that place has never helped him before and it's just makes it more difficult to heal." Pippa runs a hand through her hair, the red strands ending up in a bit of disarray.

"Well, you know Daniel isn't prone to listening. And besides, I don't think anything would've kept him from the last place he saw Sara. And, well, that's not the biggest thing I'm getting at." Armando seems a little nervous now, wringing his hands tiredly.

"Then what is?" Pippa inquires.

She leans over the table now, her green eyes narrowed at her friend. Now that she was looking closely, Pippa could see the dark circles under Armando's eyes, the way exhaustion clung to him like a sleepy shroud. It was easy to forget sometime just how connected Armando was to Daniel, and how Sara had been the warlock's friend too once upon a time. He too was in grief. Maybe not as bad as hers, Harry's and Daniel's, but grief just the same.

"I went with him, and I used my magic to scan over the area, just like I have done each and every year. Usually I get the same readings but..." He trails off.

"But what? Armando, you have to tell me." Pippa stresses emphases on those words.

"Pippa, the readings I detected there this time around. Well, they were a lot more darker, much more rampant than they'd ever been before. Pippa, it's almost as if..." Armando swallows, his voice tight. Pippa can already guess the words he wants to say, without him even saying them.

"It's almost as if the Dark Order has returned. That's what you wanted to say, isn't it?" She asks.

"I...Yea. That's what I wanted to say." Armando agrees. "I can't be certain though, it could very easily be something else entirely."

"You're right, I-I hope you're right." Pippa sighs.

If what Armando said was true, the return of the Dark Order could very well be on the horizon.

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

Alec and Daniel were training alone today as the other winged nephilim were busy doing something else. The two males had decided to train in the heart of Brocelind forest today. The trees stretched up high over them, the thick canopy blocking out the sky. Pine cones lay sprawled on the ground, the smell of tree sap heavy in the air. Alec had spotted a good number of paw prints imprinted in the earth, most likely from the several wild wolf packs that called these woods their home.

"So, we did some quick drills and an obstacle course already. What's next?" Alec asks.

Daniel was standing a few feet away from him, chugging down some of the water he'd brought with him. Alec had taken a good few sips out of his own black canister earlier. White wings and black wings fluttered with the wind, the sweet scent of sap painting the air with an easygoing sort of warmth despite the colder temperatures and the crispness that came with the cold gusts of wind.

"I was thinking we do some diving maneuvers, but first, why don't you tell me what's on your mind." Daniel said.

That made Alec startle slightly. How on Earth could he possibly guess that? Am I really that easy to read? Daniel always seemed to know when something was troubling him. And for that to be the case when even his own husband, Magnus had told him that Alec was hard to understand sometimes, that just made it all the more impressive. And to Alec, all the more worrisome.

But then his thoughts were tugged back to the dream he had the night before.

His dream of the girl in the sunflower dress.

Alec had yet to tell Daniel about this girl. He knew that as he was an archangel, he must have plenty of history that his eldest son was not around for. And likely never heard about either. I have a feeling Remiel was a private archangel. It makes me wonder what the rest of them were like.

Angels were something of an untouched topic since he had gained his wings. As was talk of the Dark Order. The sinister group of fallen angels responsible for shattering his grace. To be honest, Alec wasn't all that keen on asking about them. He counted himself lucky to not have any nightmares about them yet, but for all he knew, it could be just a matter of time.

Not quite ready to say what's on his mind as of yet, Alec asks another question that's been niggling around in the back of his head. "How do you always know? What I'm feeling, that is. Most people say they have a hard time doing that, but never you. So, why?"

Daniel gives a thoughtful nod before moving over to a fallen log. The thing had clearly been laying there for some time in the dirt. Nature had grown around it, spindling vines and clumpy moss grew on it in disarray. The bark was hardly visible on it, to covered in fauna or chipped away to the point where it was a mostly clean, yellow thing. Alec carefully sat down next to his son, mindful of the few twig like branches poking out of it, the kind that had never been able to grow properly.

"I suppose I can tell you this. It isn't exactly something you don't already have access to if you just tried hard enough." Daniel murmured. The words just made Alec feel even more perplexed, tilting his head to the side to show his confusion, not that Daniel needed any of the body language to figure him out.

"So tell me then." Alec murmurs.

He shifts slightly in his seat as the prickliness of the log brushes up against his wings. The feathers were extra sensitive, noting each small sharp twig that jabbed into them.

Daniel inclines his head, that sharp chin of his jutting out towards the sky. The blue up in atmosphere was nowhere near the intensity of the winged nephilim's eyes. The same ran true for the starry pattern of the eldest child's wings. Eventually, that face turns to meet his gaze. Daniel's words are brief and succinct as he gives his answer.

"Like my father -you- or Remiel rather, I have a special gift I was given at birth. A gift that lets me see the emotions of each and every person if I chose." Daniel explains.

"So you can do that with everyone, " Alec processes the words carefully. "that really is something else. I never would've thought that was possible."

Daniel lets out a chuckle. "You can do it too. That's where I get it from. And, there's more to it than just that."

"Really? I can?" Alec studies his hands, trying to picture such magic being in his grasp. "And what do you mean, there's more?"

Instead of explaining right away, Daniel places a hand atop Alec's own. The new Angel is about to ask why, but then he feels a tingly sensation that reverberates down to his bones, right into his very core. Some might think the sensation was painful, but to Alec, it felt as natural as breathing. Hazel eyes briefly flutter closed as the feeling of warmth encompasses him. When he opens his eyes they balk in astonishment at what he sees.

From Daniel there shoots out a great many lines of light. The things are so real, so there, that they feel tangible. That if he were to touch one, they would wiggle with the prod. These lines were of many different colors. They stretched out like an endless rope, their reach extending far beyond the forest to places unknown. So much emotion pulsed from each one. Alec could see each one for what they were: a bond with another person.

Then there was the ones that did not seem to connect at all. These lines were gray, plain and painful in a way that was almost out of Alec's comprehension. It was only from the whispers in his mind that he was able to understand that these were for the ones long lost. Those loves and friends Daniel had that had passed on into a place the winged nephilim could not follow.

Daniel seems to notice where his attention is, those blue eyes directing him to stare at the strongest bond of the colorful bunch. The one that connects Daniel to Alec. This one is a brilliant white color, twined with so many different filaments of color, too many to possibly name. None of the other lines that Alec had seen were this colorful....

Well, there are a few that come close, he notes three other lines in particular that are interwoven with the strange white light. These lines presumably come from Harry and Pippa. But then why is there three of them? What was even more odd was that one of these lines was tinged with some rather angry colors.

Red was the main color, along with that same lifeless gray and...a new color entirely. A sickly, almost rotten to the core sort of black. Alec does not like the look of this line. Not one bit. He gives Daniel a gesture towards that line, a silent question if there ever was one. In response, a shadow seemed to pass over Daniel's face, a brief strand of blue slipping through the line that connected him to Alec.

The mysterious angry line was gone as quick as it came. Alec blinked in confusion, thinking it was a trick of the eye, but the line did not reappear. It made it wonder if perhaps he had imagined it.

"These are what you liked to call the ties that bind. Every person on earth has them, regardless of whether or not they're nephilim, human, Downworlder, or Angel. You liked to say that no matter how different everyone was, we were all connected by these lines of fate." Daniel explains.

"That's...that's really something." Alec breathes. The lines are entrancing in their beauty. They call out to him, asking for something. What that something is, he does not know.

"Yes it is." Daniel says with a smile. "Now, about that thing that was bothering you..." the lines around them all vanish now, allowing Alec to regain his focus on the conversation.

"Oh, that. Well, " Alec tries to find the words. "I'm not sure how to explain it."

"A lot of things can be hard to explain. If you're not ready to tell me, that's fine." The nephilim reassures.

"No, I do want to tell you. I just....Daniel, did you ever know a little girl. Ugh, that sounds so weird." Alec rubs his eyes with clenched fists, trying to knit those runaway thoughts together into tangible words. "She's got these big hazel eyes and she's always so sweet...she wears a sunflower dress." He tries to explain.

Something in his words Daniel must have understood, because he freezes up immediately. The change to him is so monumental that even the night expanse of those black wings pull tight against his broad back, the tiny rustling those feathers would make stilling completely. Alec finds himself frowning worriedly, peering at his eldest son with concern.

"That...." Daniel licks his lips. "That.....sounds interesting. This girl, did she give a name."

There is something underlying in the nephilim's tone. Alec can't detect everything there, but he can feel the danger of those words. It was almost as though he had walked into the darkest part of the woods, without his weapons. Unarmed, he faced the demons of the night, defenseless against the threat they held inside them. Oddly enough, fear is there too, but it seems so meek in the face of danger that Alec almost misses it entirely.

Just what is so dangerous about this? What makes Daniel so afraid?

"No, she didn't. The girl was rather nice." Alec rubs his chin thoughtfully. "It felt as though I knew her. Like she was important to me for some reason, though I don't know why." The next words he says with a bit of nerves building up in his chest. "Daniel, do you know who she is?"

"I....I can't say for certain." The lie is there, so obvious and blatant that there is no way Alec could've missed it. "I....I need some air. Y-you did good. I'll see you later." Daniel ran off like a hunted animal, taking into the air like a duck would to water. Alec was so stunned by his sudden departure that he did not follow Daniel, still confused by his son's actions.

"Was it something I said?" Alec asked himself.

Even more importantly, just who is that girl to Daniel?

Knowing that he wouldn't get answers from the winged nephilim now, Alec rose to his feet and flew back home to Alicante. Questions could always come later. Hopefully then he would get some answers next time.

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