Home > Son of the Dawn (Ghosts of the Shadow Market #1)

Son of the Dawn (Ghosts of the Shadow Market #1)
Author: Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan

Son of the Dawn

New York City, 2000

Every world contains other worlds within it. People wander through all the worlds they can find, searching for their homes.

Some humans thought their world was the only world there was. Little did they know of other worlds as close to their own as a room, or the demons trying to find a door through to them, and the Shadowhunters who barred those doors. Still less did they know of the Downworld, the community of magical creatures who shared their world and carved out their own little space therein.

Every community needs a heart. There had to be a common area where everyone could gather, to trade for goods and secrets, to find love and riches. There were Shadow Markets, where Downworlders and those with the Sight met, all over the world. Usually they were held outside.

Even magic was a little different in New York.

The abandoned theater on Canal Street had stood since the 1920s, silent witness to but not part of the blaze of activity that was the city. Humans who did not have the Sight passed by its terracotta façade in a hurry about their own affairs. If they spared the theater a look, they thought it as dark and still as ever.

They could not see the haze of faerie light that turned the gutted amphitheater and bare concrete halls to gold. Brother Zachariah could.

He walked, a creature of silence and darkness, through halls with sunshine yellow tiles, panels of gold and red blazing on the ceiling above him. There were busts grimy with age set in alcoves along the walls, but for tonight faeries had coaxed flowers and ivy to twine around them. Werewolves had set little twinkling charms depicting the moon and stars in the boarded windows, lending brightness to the decayed red curtains still hanging in the arched frames. There were lamps with casements that reminded Brother Zachariah of a time long ago, when he and all the world had been different. In one vast echoing theater room there hung a chandelier that had not worked in years, but tonight warlock magic had encompassed each bulb with a different-colored flame. Like burning jewels, amethyst and ruby, sapphire and opal, their light created a private world that seemed both new and old, and restored the theater to all its former glory. Some worlds only lasted one night.

If the Market had the power to lend him warmth and illumination for only a night, Brother Zachariah would have taken it.

A persistent faerie woman had tried to sell him a love charm four times. Zachariah wished such a charm would work on him. Creatures as inhuman as he did not sleep, but sometimes he lay down and rested, hoping for something like peace. It never came. He spent his long nights feeling love slip through his fingers, more a memory by now than a feeling.

Brother Zachariah did not belong to the Downworld. He was a Shadowhunter, and not only a Shadowhunter but one of the cloaked and hooded brotherhood dedicated to arcane secrets and the dead, sworn and runed to silence and withdrawal from any world. Even his own kind often feared the Silent Brothers, and Downworlders usually avoided any Shadowhunter, but the Downworlders were used to the presence of this particular Shadowhunter at Markets now. Brother Zachariah had been coming to Shadow Markets for a hundred years, on a long quest that even he had begun to believe would be fruitless. Yet he continued searching. Brother Zachariah had little enough, but one thing he did have was time, and he had always tried to be patient.

Tonight, though, he had already been disappointed. The warlock Ragnor Fell had no word for him. None of his few other contacts, painstakingly gathered over the decades, had attended this Market. He was lingering not because he was enjoying this Shadow Market, but because he remembered enjoying Markets once.

They had felt like an escape, but Brother Zachariah hardly remembered the wish to escape from the City of Bones, where he belonged. Always in the back of his mind, cold as a tide waiting to wash all other things away, were the voices of his brothers.

They were urging him home.

Brother Zachariah turned under the glitter of diamond-paned windows. He was leaving the Market, making his way through the laughing, bargaining crowd, when he heard a woman’s voice saying his name.

“Tell me again why we want this Brother Zachariah. The normal Nephilim are bad enough. Angel in the veins, stick up the butts, and I bet with Silent Brothers it’s a whole staff. We definitely can’t take him out for karaoke.”

The woman was speaking in English, but a boy’s voice replied to her in Spanish: “Quiet. I see him.”

It was a pair of vampires, and as he turned, the boy lifted a hand to attract Zachariah’s attention. The vampire with his hand up looked fifteen years old at most, and the other like a young woman about nineteen, but that told Zachariah nothing. Zachariah still looked young too.

It was unusual for a strange Downworlder to want his attention.

“Brother Zachariah?” asked the boy. “I came here to meet you.”

The woman whistled. “Now I see why we might want him. Helloooo, Brother Mackariah.”

Did you? Brother Zachariah asked the boy. He felt what would once have been surprise, and now was at least intrigue. Can I be of any use to you?

“I certainly hope so,” said the vampire. “I am Raphael Santiago, second in command of the New York clan, and I dislike useless people.”

The woman waved her hand. “I’m Lily Chen. He’s always this way.”

Brother Zachariah studied the pair with new interest. The woman had hair streaked neon yellow and wore a scarlet qipao that suited her, and despite her own remark she was smiling at her companion’s words. The boy’s hair was curly, his face sweet, and his air disdainful. There was a burn scar at the base of his throat, where a cross might lie.

I believe we have a mutual friend, said Brother Zachariah.

“I don’t think so,” said Raphael Santiago. “I don’t have friends.”

“Oh, thank you very much,” said the woman at his side.

“You, Lily,” said Raphael coldly, “are my subordinate.” He turned back to Brother Zachariah. “I assume you refer to the warlock Magnus Bane. He is a colleague who always has more dealings with Shadowhunters than I approve of.”

Zachariah wondered if Lily spoke Mandarin. The Silent Brothers, speaking mind to mind, had no need for language, but sometimes Zachariah missed his. There had been nights—in the Silent City it was always night—when he could not remember his own name, but he could remember the sound of his mother or his father or his betrothed speaking Mandarin. His betrothed had learned some of the language for him, in the time when he had thought he would live to marry her. He would not have minded talking with Lily longer, but he did not particularly like her companion’s attitude.

Since you do not appear to care for Shadowhunters, and you have little interest in our mutual connection, Brother Zachariah observed, why approach me?

“I wished to talk to a Shadowhunter,” said Raphael.

Why not go to your Institute?

Raphael’s lips curled back from his fangs in a sneer. Nobody sneered like a vampire, and this vampire was particularly adept. “My Institute, as you call it, belongs to people who are … how do I put this tactfully … bigots and murderers.”

A faerie selling ribbons with glamour twined in them passed by, trailing blue and purple banners.

The way you put that was not particularly tactful, Brother Zachariah felt bound to point out.

“No,” said Raphael thoughtfully. “I am not gifted in that arena. New York has always been a place of heightened Downworlder activity. The lights of this city work on people as if we are all werewolves howling for an electric moon. A warlock tried to destroy the world here once, before my time. The leader of my clan made a disastrous experiment with drugs here, against my advice, and made the city her slaughter ground. The werewolves’ fatal struggles for leadership are far more frequent in New York than anywhere else. The Whitelaws of the New York Institute understood us, and we them. The Whitelaws died defending Downworlders from the people who now occupy their Institute. Of course the Clave did not consult us when they made us the punishment of the Lightwoods. We do not have any dealings with the New York Institute now.”

Raphael’s voice was uncompromising, and Brother Zachariah thought he should be concerned. He had fought in the Uprising when a band of renegade youths rose up against their own leaders, and against peace with the Downworld. He had been told the story of Valentine’s Circle hunting werewolves in New York City, and the Whitelaws getting in their way, resulting in a tragedy that even that group of angry Downworlder-hating youths had not intended. He had not approved of the Lightwoods and Hodge Starkweather being banished to the New York Institute, but the word was that the Lightwoods had settled down with their three children and were truly remorseful for their past actions.

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