Home > Ghosts of the Shadow Market (Ghosts of the Shadow Market #1-10)

Ghosts of the Shadow Market (Ghosts of the Shadow Market #1-10)
Author: Cassandra Clare

By Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan

Old sins cast long shadows.

—English proverb

The Shadow Market, London, 1901

The railway viaduct passed only a hairsbreadth away from St. Saviour’s Church. There had been discussion among the mundanes about the possibility of demolishing the church to make way for the railroad, but it had met with unexpectedly fierce opposition. Instead the railway took a slightly more circuitous route, and the spire of the church still remained, a silver dagger against the night sky.

Beneath the arches, crosses, and rattling rails, a mundane market was held by day, the largest association of grocers in the city. By night, the market belonged to Downworld.

Vampires and werewolves, warlocks and fey, met under the stars and under glamour that human eyes could not pierce. They had their magic stalls set up in the same pattern as the humans’ stalls, under the bridges and through tiny streets, but the Shadow Market stalls did not hold apples or turnips. Under the dark arches the stalls shone, laden with bells and ribbons, gaudy with color: snake green, fever red, and the startling orange of flames. Brother Zachariah smelled incense burning and heard the songs of werewolves for the distant beauty of the moon, and faeries calling for children to come away, come away.

It was the first Shadow Market of the New Year by English standards, though it was still the old year in China. Brother Zachariah had left Shanghai when he was a child, and London when he was seventeen, to go to the Silent City, where there was no acknowledgment of time passing save that the ashes of more warriors were laid down. Still he remembered the celebrations of the New Year in his human life, from eggnog and fortune-telling in London to the setting off of fireworks and nibbling of moon dumplings in Shanghai.

Now snow was falling on London. The air was crisp and cold as a fresh apple, and felt good against his face. The voices of his Brothers were a low hum in his head, affording Brother Zachariah a little distance.

Zachariah was here on a mission, but he took a brief time to be glad he was in London, in the Shadow Market, to breathe air clear of the dust of the departed. It felt something like freedom, like being young again.

He rejoiced, but that did not mean the people of the Shadow Market rejoiced with him. He observed many Downworlders, and even mundanes with the Sight, casting him looks that were the opposite of welcoming. As he moved, a dark murmur threaded through the hum of conversation all around him.

The denizens of Downworld considered this Market time as space snatched away from angels. They clearly did not relish his presence among them. Brother Zachariah was one of the Silent Brothers, a voiceless fraternity that lived long amid old bones, sworn to seclusion with hearts dedicated to the dust of their City and their dead. Nobody could be expected to embrace a Silent Brother, and these people would not be likely to take pleasure in the appearance of any Shadowhunter at all.

Even as he doubted, he saw a stranger sight than any he had expected in the Market.

There was a Shadowhunter boy dancing a cancan with three faeries. He was Charlotte and Henry Fairchild’s younger son, Matthew Fairchild. His head was thrown back, his fair hair bright by firelight, and he was laughing.

Brother Zachariah had an instant to wonder if Matthew was spellbound before Matthew caught sight of him and sprang forward, leaving the faeries behind him looking discomfited. The Fair Folk were not accustomed to having mortals skip out on their dances.

Matthew did not appear to notice. He ran up to Brother Zachariah, threw an exuberant arm about his neck, and ducked his head under the hood of the Silent Brother to give him a kiss on the cheek.

“Uncle Jem!” Matthew exclaimed joyfully. “What are you doing here?”

Shadowhunter Academy, Idris, 1899

Matthew Fairchild hardly ever lost his temper. When he did, he tried to make the occasion memorable.

The last time had been two years ago, during Matthew’s short-lived stint at Shadowhunter Academy, a school intended to mass-produce perfect demon-fighting bores. It began with half the school crowded on a tower top, watching the parents arrive after an incident in the woods with a demon.

Matthew’s usual good humor had already been sorely tried. His best friend, James, was being blamed for the incident, simply because James happened to have a tiny, insignificant amount of demon blood and the—Matthew thought prodigiously lucky—ability to transform into a shadow. James was being expelled. The actual people to blame, unmitigated wart Alastair Carstairs and his rotten friends, were not being expelled. Life in general, and the Academy in particular, was a positive parade of injustice.

Matthew had not even had the chance to ask James if he wanted to be parabatai yet. He had been planning to ask him to be sworn warrior partners in a very elaborate and stylish fashion so Jamie would be too impressed to decline.

Mr. Herondale, James’s father, was among the first of the parents to arrive. They saw him stride in the doors with his black hair turbulent from wind and rage. Mr. Herondale undeniably had an air.

The few girls permitted to come to the Academy were casting James speculative glances. James shuffled about the place with his head in a book and had an unfortunate haircut and an unassuming demeanor, but he bore a very marked resemblance to his father.

James, Angel bless his oblivious soul, failed to notice anyone’s attention. He slunk away to be expelled, sunk in despair.

“Gosh,” said Eustace Larkspear. “It would be something to have a father like that.”

“I heard he was mad,” said Alastair, and let out a bark of laughter. “You’d have to be mad, to marry a creature with infernal blood and have children who were—”

“Don’t,” said little Thomas quietly. To everyone’s surprise, Alastair rolled his eyes and desisted.

Matthew wanted to be the one who had made Alastair stop, but Thomas had already done it and Matthew could not think of any way to stop Alastair permanently short of challenging him to a duel. He was not even sure that would work. Alastair was not a coward, and would probably accept the challenge and then talk twice as much. Besides which, getting into fights was not precisely Matthew’s style. He could fight, but he did not think violence solved many problems.

Aside from the problem of demons laying waste to the world, that was.

Matthew left the tower top abruptly and wandered the halls of the Academy in a foul mood. Despite his commitment to dark brooding, he knew he was duty bound not to lose track of Christopher and Thomas Lightwood for long.

When he was six, Matthew’s older brother, Charles Buford, and their mama had left the house for a meeting at the London Institute. Charlotte Fairchild was the Consul, the most important person of all the Shadowhunters, and Charles had always been interested in her work instead of resenting the bothersome Nephilim for taking up her time. As they prepared to go, Matthew had stood in the hall crying and refusing to let go of his mother’s dress.

Mama had knelt down and asked that Matthew please take care of Papa for her while she and Charles were gone.

Matthew took this responsibility seriously. Papa was a genius and what most people considered an invalid, because he could not walk. Unless he was carefully watched, he would forget to eat in the excitement of invention. Papa could not get on without Matthew, which was why it was absurd that Matthew had been sent to the Academy in the first place.

Matthew liked to take care of people, and he was good at it. When they were eight, Christopher Lightwood had been discovered in Papa’s laboratory performing what Papa described as a very intriguing experiment. Matthew had noticed that there was now a wall missing in the laboratory, and he took Christopher under his wing.

Christopher and Thomas were real cousins, their fathers brothers. Matthew was not a real cousin: he only called Christopher’s and Thomas’s parents Aunt Cecily and Uncle Gabriel, and Aunt Sophie and Uncle Gideon, respectively, out of courtesy. Their parents were only friends. Mama had no close family and Papa’s family did not approve of Mama being Consul.

James was Christopher’s blood cousin. Aunt Cecily was Mr. Herondale’s sister. Mr. Herondale ran the London Institute, and the Herondales tended to keep to themselves. Unkind people said it was because they were snobbish or thought themselves superior, but Charlotte said those people were ignorant. She told Matthew the Herondales tended to keep to themselves as they had experienced unkindness due to Mrs. Herondale being a warlock.

Still, when you ran an Institute, you couldn’t be completely invisible. Matthew had seen James at various parties before and tried to acquire him as a friend, only Matthew was impeded because he felt he should contribute to parties being a success and James tended to be in a corner, reading.

It was usually a simple matter for Matthew to make friends, but he did not see the point unless it was a challenge. Friends who were easy to get might be easy to lose, and Matthew wanted to keep people.

It had been rather shattering when James seemed to actively dislike Matthew, but Matthew had won him over. He still was not entirely sure how, which made him uneasy, but James had recently referred to himself, Matthew, Christopher, and Thomas as the three Musketeers and D’Artagnan, from a book he liked. Everything had been going splendidly aside from missing Papa, but now James was expelled and everything was ruined. Still, Matthew could not forget his responsibilities.

Christopher had a tempestuous relationship with science, and Professor Fell had commanded Matthew not to let Christopher come into contact with any flammable materials after the last time. Thomas was so quiet and small they were always losing him, rather like a human marble, and if left to his own devices he would inevitably roll toward Alastair Carstairs.

This was a hideous situation with only one bright side. It was a simple matter to locate Thomas when he was lost. Matthew only had to follow the sound of Alastair’s irritating voice.

Unfortunately, this meant being forced to behold Alastair’s irritating face.

He found Alastair soon enough, gazing out a window, with Thomas shyly standing at his elbow.

Thomas’s hero worship was inexplicable. The only things Matthew could find to like about Alastair were his extraordinarily expressive eyebrows, and eyebrows did not make the man.

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