“Ceremonial marriage can be a very powerful thing,” Charlotte said. “Performed properly, it could allow someone access to your ability, Tessa, even the power to control you.” She drummed her fingertips thoughtfully on the tabletop. “As for ‘the Magister,’ I’ve researched the term in the archives. It is often used to denote the head of a coven or other group of magicians. The sort of group the Pandemonium Club imagines itself to be. I can’t help but feel that the Magister and the Pandemonium Club are connected.”
“We’ve investigated them before and never managed to catch them doing anything dodgy,” Henry pointed out. “It isn’t against the Law to be an idiot.”
“Lucky for you,” Jessamine said under her breath.
Henry looked hurt, but said nothing. Charlotte cast Jessamine a freezing look.
“Henry is right,” said Will. “It isn’t as if Jem and I didn’t catch them doing the odd illegal thing—drinking absinthe laced with demon powders, and so forth. As long as they were only hurting themselves, it hardly seemed worth involving ourselves. But if they’ve graduated to harming others …”
“Do you know who any of them are?” Henry asked curiously.
“The mundanes, no,” Will said dismissively. “There never seemed a reason to find out, and many of them went masked or disguised at club events. But I recognized quite a few of the Downworlders. Magnus Bane, Lady Belcourt, Ragnor Fell, de Quincey—”
“De Quincey? I hope he wasn’t breaking any laws. You know how much trouble we’ve had finding a head vampire we can see eye to eye with,” fretted Charlotte.
Will smiled into his tea. “Whenever I saw him, he was being a perfect angel.”
After a hard look at him, Charlotte turned to Tessa. “Did the servant girl you mentioned—Miranda—have your ability? Or what about Emma?”
“I don’t think so. If Miranda did, they would have been training her as well, wouldn’t they, and Emma didn’t remember anything like that.”
“And they never mentioned the Pandemonium Club? Some larger purpose to what they were doing?”
Tessa racked her brain. What was it the Dark Sisters had talked about when they’d thought she wasn’t listening? “I don’t think they ever said the name of the club, but they would talk sometimes about meetings they were planning on attending, and how the other members would be pleased to see how they were getting on with me. They did say a name once… .” Tessa screwed her face up, trying to remember. “Someone else who was in the club. I don’t remember, though I recall thinking the name sounded foreign… .”
Charlotte leaned forward across the table. “Can you try, Tessa? Try to remember?”
Charlotte meant no harm, Tessa knew, and yet her voice called up other voices in Tessa’s head—voices urging her to try, to reach into herself, to draw out the power. Voices that could turn hard and cold at the slightest provocation. Voices that wheedled and threatened and lied.
Tessa drew herself upright. “First, what about my brother?”
Charlotte blinked. “Your brother?”
“You said that if I gave you information about the Dark Sisters, you’d help me find my brother. Well, I told you what I knew. And I still don’t have any idea where Nate is.”
“Oh.” Charlotte sat back, looking almost startled. “Of course. We’ll start investigating his whereabouts tomorrow,” she reassured Tessa. “We’ll start with his workplace—speak to his employer and find out if he knows anything. We have contacts in all sorts of places, Miss Gray. Downworld runs on gossip like the mundane world does. Eventually we’ll turn up someone who knows something about your brother.”
The meal ended not long after that, and Tessa excused herself from the table with a feeling of relief, declining Charlotte’s offer to guide her back to her room. All she wanted was to be alone with her thoughts.
She made her way down the torchlit corridor, remembering the day she had stepped off the boat at Southampton. She had come to England knowing no one but her brother, and had let the Dark Sisters force her into serving them. Now she had fallen in with the Shadowhunters, and who was to say they would treat her any better? Like the Dark Sisters, they wanted to use her—use her for the information she knew—and now that they were all aware of her power, how long would it be before they wanted to use her for that, too?
Still lost in thought, Tessa nearly walked directly into a wall. She brought herself up short—and looked around, frowning. She had been walking for much longer than it had taken her and Charlotte to reach the dining room, and still she hadn’t found the room she remembered. In fact, she wasn’t even sure she had found the corridor she remembered. She was in a hallway now, lined with torches and hung with tapestries, but was it the same one? Some of the corridors were very bright, some very dim, the torches burning with varying shades of brightness. Sometimes the torches flared up and then faded as she passed, as if responding to some peculiar stimulus she couldn’t see. This particular corridor was fairly dim. She picked her way to the end of it carefully, where it branched into two more, each identical to this one.
“Lost?” inquired a voice behind her. A slow, arrogant voice, immediately familiar.
Tessa turned and saw that he was leaning carelessly against the wall behind her, as if he were lounging in a doorway, his feet in their scuffed boots crossed in front of him. He held something in his hand: his glowing stone. He pocketed it as she looked at him, dousing its light.
“You ought to let me show you around the Institute a bit, Miss Gray,” he suggested. “You know, so you don’t get lost again.”
Tessa narrowed her eyes at him.
“Of course, you can simply continue wandering about on your own if you really wish to,” he added. “I ought to warn you, though, that there are at least three or four doors in the Institute that you really shouldn’t open. There’s the one that leads to the room where we keep trapped demons, for instance. They can get a bit nasty. Then there is the weapons room. Some of the weapons have a mind of their own, and they are sharp. Then there are the rooms that open onto empty air. They’re meant to confuse intruders, but when you’re as high as the top of a church, you don’t want to accidentally slip and—”
“I don’t believe you,” Tessa said. “You’re an awful liar, Mr. Herondale. Still—” She bit her lip. “I don’t like wandering about. You can show me around if you promise no tricks.”