Ghosts of the Shadow Market – Cassandra Clare

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. “Are you very sad, Alastair?” Matthew heard Thomas ask as he approached, bent on retrieval. “Stop bothering me, pip-squeak,” said Alastair, though his voice was tolerant. Even he could not strongly object to being adored. “You heard the low, snaky serpent,” said Matthew. “Come away, Tom.” “Ah, Mother Hen Fairchild,” sneered Alastair. “What a lovely wife you will make for somebody one of these fine days.” Matthew was outraged to see Thomas’s tiny smile, though Thomas quickly concealed it out of respect for Matthew’s feelings.

Thomas was meek and much afflicted by sisters. He seemed to think Alastair being rude to everyone was daring. “I wish I could say the same for you,” said Matthew. “Has no kind soul thought to inform you that your hairstyle is, to use the gentlest words available to me, ill-advised? A friend? Your papa? Does nobody care enough to prevent you from making a spectacle of yourself? Or are you simply too busy perpetrating acts of evil upon the innocent to bother about your unfortunate appearance?” “Matthew!” said Thomas. “His friend died.” Matthew strongly desired to point out that Alastair and his friends had been the ones to unleash a demon upon James, and their nasty prank going wrong was no more than their just deserts. He could see, however, that would distress Thomas extremely. “Oh, very well. Let us go,” he said. “Though I cannot help but wonder whose idea their nasty little trick was.

” “Wait a moment, Fairchild,” snapped Alastair. “You can go ahead, Lightwood.” Thomas looked deeply worried as he went, but Matthew could see he was loath to disobey his idol. When Thomas’s worried hazel eyes flicked to Matthew, Matthew nodded, and Thomas reluctantly departed. When he was gone, Matthew and Alastair squared off. Matthew understood that Alastair had sent Thomas away for a purpose. He bit his lip, resigned to a scuffle. Instead Alastair said, “Who are you to play the moralist, talking about tricks and papas, considering the circumstances of your birth?” Matthew frowned. “What on earth are you driveling about, Carstairs?” “Everyone talks about your mama and her unwomanly pursuits,” said awful, unthinkable worm Alastair Carstairs. Matthew scoffed but Alastair raised his voice, persisting.

“A woman cannot be a good Consul. Nevertheless your mother can continue her career, of course, since she has such strong support from the powerful Lightwoods.” “Certainly our families are friends,” said Matthew. “Are you unfamiliar with the concept of friendship, Carstairs? How tragic for you, though understandable on the part of everyone else in the universe.” Alastair raised his eyebrows. “Oh, great friends, no doubt. Your mama must require friends, since your papa is unable to play a man’s part.” “I beg your pardon?” said Matthew. “Odd that you were born so long after your papa’s terrible accident,” Alastair said, all but twirling an imaginary mustache. “Strange that your papa’s family will have nothing to do with you, to the extent of demanding that your mother renounce her married name.

Remarkable that you bear no resemblance to your papa, and your coloring is so like Gideon Lightwood’s.” Gideon Lightwood was Thomas’s papa. No wonder Alastair had sent Thomas away before making a ridiculous accusation like that. It was absurd. Perhaps it was true that Matthew had fair hair, while his mama’s was brown and his father’s and Charles Buford’s was red. Matthew’s mama was tiny, but Cook said she thought Matthew would be taller than Charles Buford. Uncle Gideon was often with Mama. Matthew knew he had spoken for her when she was at odds with the Clave. Mama had once called him her good and faithful friend. Matthew had never thought much about it before.

His mama said his papa had such a dear, friendly, freckled face. Matthew had always wished he looked like him. But he didn’t. Matthew said, his voice strange in his own ears, “I do not understand what you mean.” “Henry Fairchild is not your father,” spat Alastair. “You are Gideon Lightwood’s bastard. Everybody knows it but you.” In a white and blinding rage, Matthew struck him in the face. Then he went to find Christopher, cleared the area, and gave him matches. A short but eventful time passed before Matthew left school, never to return.

In that interval, a wing of the Academy blew up. Matthew realized it had been rather a shocking thing to do, but while he was deranged, he also demanded James be his parabatai, and by some miracle James agreed. Matthew and his papa arranged to spend more time at the Fairchilds’ London home so that Matthew could be with both his papa and his parabatai. It had all, Matthew considered, worked out rather well. If only he could forget. The Shadow Market, London, 1901 Jem halted in the midst of the dancing flames and black iron arches of the London Market, startled by the appearance of a familiar face in an unexpected context, and even more so by the warmth of Matthew’s greeting. He knew Charlotte’s son, of course. Her other boy, Charles, was always very cool and distant when he encountered Brother Zachariah on official business. Brother Zachariah knew that the Silent Brothers were meant to be detached from the world. His uncle Elias’s son, Alastair, had made that very clear when Brother Zachariah reached out to him.

This is how it should be, said his Brothers in his mind. He could not always tell one of their voices from the others. They were a quiet chorus, a silent, ever-present song. Jem would not have held it against Matthew if he felt the same way as many others, but he didn’t seem to. His bright, delicate face showed dismay all too clearly. “Am I being too familiar?” he asked anxiously. “I only supposed since I was James’s parabatai and that is what he calls you, I might do so as well.” Of course you may, said Brother Zachariah. James did, and James’s sister, Lucie, and Alastair’s sister, Cordelia, had taken to doing so as well. Zachariah considered that they were the three sweetest children in the world.

He knew he might be a little partial, but faith created truth. Matthew glowed. Zachariah was reminded of Matthew’s mother, and the kindness that had taken in three orphans when she was hardly more than a child herself. “They all talk about you all the time in the London Institute,” Matthew confided. “James and Lucie and Uncle Will and Aunt Tessa too. I feel as if I know you a great deal better than I actually do, so I beg pardon if I trespass on your kindness.” There can be no trespass when you are always welcome, said Jem. Matthew’s smile spread. It was an extraordinarily engaging expression. His warmth was closer to the surface than Charlotte’s, Jem thought.

He had never been taught to close himself off, to do anything but delight and trust in the world. “I would like to hear all about your and Uncle Will’s and Aunt Tessa’s adventures from your point of view,” Matthew proposed. “You must have had a very exciting time! Nothing exciting ever happens to us. The way everyone talks about it, one might think you had a dramatic star-crossed passion with Aunt Tessa before you became a Silent Brother.” Matthew stopped himself. “Sorry! My tongue ran away with me. I am heedless and excited to talk to you properly. I’m sure it is strange to think of your past life. I hope I did not upset or offend you. I cry peace.

” Peace, echoed Brother Zachariah, amused. “I am certain you could have had a torrid affair with any person you wanted, of course,” said Matthew. “Anyone can see that. Oh Lord, that was a heedless thing to say too, wasn’t it?” It is very kind of you to say so, said Brother Zachariah. Is it not a fine night? “I can see you are a very tactful fellow,” said Matthew, and clapped Brother Zachariah on the back. They wandered through the stalls of the Shadow Market. Brother Zachariah was searching for one warlock in particular, who had agreed to help him. “Does Uncle Will know you are in London?” asked Matthew. “Are you going to see him? If Uncle Will finds out you were in London and did not come to call, and I knew about it, that will be curtains for me! Young life cut off in its prime. A bright flower of manhood withered untimely.

You might think of me and my doom, Uncle Jem, you really might.” Might I? asked Brother Zachariah. It was fairly obvious what Matthew was angling to know. “It would also be very kind of you if you refrained from mentioning that you saw me at the Shadow Market,” Matthew wheedled, with his engaging smile and a distinct air of apprehension. Silent Brothers are terrible gossips as a rule, said Brother Zachariah. For you, though, Matthew, I will make an exception. “Thanks, Uncle Jem!” Matthew linked his arm with Jem’s. “I can see we are going to be great friends.” It must be a horrible contrast for the Market to behold, Jem thought, seeing this bright child hanging so carelessly off the arm of a Silent Brother, hooded and cloaked and shrouded in darkness. Matthew seemed blissfully unaware of the incongruity.

I believe we will be, said Jem. “My cousin Anna says the Shadow Market is tremendous fun,” said Matthew happily. “Of course, you know Anna. She’s always tremendous fun herself and has the best taste in waistcoats in London. I met some very agreeable faeries who invited me, and I thought I would come see.” The faeries Matthew had been dancing with previously whisked past, streaks of light in flower crowns. One faerie boy, lips stained with the juice of strange fruit, paused and winked at Matthew. He appeared not to resent being deserted in their dance, though appearances were seldom reliable with faeries. Matthew hesitated, casting a wary eye upon Brother Zachariah, then winked back. Brother Zachariah felt he had to warn: Your friends may mean mischief.

Faeries often do. Matthew smiled, the lovely expression turning wicked. “I mean mischief frequently myself.” That is not exactly what I mean. Nor do I intend to insult any Downworlders. There are as many trustworthy Downworlders as there are Shadowhunters, which means the opposite is also true. It might be wise to remember that not all those at the Shadow Market look with favor on the Nephilim. “Who can blame them?” said Matthew airily. “Stuffy lot. Present company excepted, Uncle Jem! My papa has a warlock friend he talks of frequently.

They invented Portals together, did you know? I would like to have an intimate Downworlder friend too.”

.

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