Ali’s uncle had taken her into the Institute’s library. It was a large Spanish Matador themed room. A large stained glass window depicting the descent of an Angel on it was the center piece of the room. Everyone sat below it, rainbow light refracting onto their skin. Grace and Amalia so characteristically silent in the corner. JC and Will flipping through books at the table. Christian busy chatting with Augustine about Warlocks and fashion commitment. The three Lost Boys sitting by each other whispering. Her uncle waiting silently at the head of the table. His eyes clouded over in thought.
The doors to the library opened and a tall man in grey robes seemed to float into the room. Everyone stood up, Ali slowly following them. JC ran to greet the man, shaking his hand. “Brother Cassiel.” The man floated closer to them and Ali and Christian looked upon him in shock. The man’s face was completely mutilated. His mouth and eyes were stitched shut. Large black markings swirled around his face.
Do not be alarmed, young ones. I am not a monster. Ali heard a voice in her head. She looked around the room. Everyone seemed calm and relaxed. We, Silent Brothers, communicate telepathically. You have not lost it. Ali turned to look at Christian, he seemed relaxed. Everything was still alright. Your desire to protect young Christian Blackthorn is noble. However, there is no need. He is more reassured then you. You are the one whose thoughts are on edge. Ali cursed in her head, the mutilated man smiling in real life. It was not a pretty picture to look at.
I believe you wish to reenter your family’s world. Do you not young, Blackthorns? Christian was smiling from ear to ear. All of this was proof to him that religion had merit, that the world indeed did function on some higher organization and plan. To her this was just a necessary requirement to keep going through her days. The whole room heard Christian say yes in his head. However, Ali remained silent. Her father’s meditation classes finally coming in handy. Brother Cassiel tilted his head at her. Still she said nothing.
I do not wish to force open your thoughts, young Blackthorn. I will if I must, though. Ali summoned the memory of her father reading to her on his lap the stories he had of her mother. Your admiration of your father is admirable, but it is misplaced. The room around them seemed to be filled with nervous energy. JC speaking up to break the tension. “Ali. Brother Cassiel is the most reliable Silent Brother I’ve ever met. You can trust him.” She thought he was naive. To trust was to be vulnerable. Brother Cassiel seemed to agree with her. Your mother on the other hand did not believe that. She often saw the good in people. Unlike you, you seem much more suited to this lifestyle then she was. The way you think, little Blackthorn, is how a soldier would think. You wait to know what the law allows you to kill. Christian looked at her from across the room, discomfort on his face. Where was it coming from?
“Ali, this could be your best bet.” Christian said out loud. Indeed. I am breaking rules to help you. No one else would stay silent about your burning hatred. Will you become a Shadow Hunter or not? Ali looked around the room. At all the people in black, tight fitting clothes, their bodies marked in runes. Did she really want to become like them? Texas was hot enough without the burden of wearing all black. Her father, her mother they surely had a reason to to keep her from this. Kazimer was smiling on the other side of the room. She inhaled deeply. This was her world now. “Go ahead, Brother Cassiel. Mark me.”
The Brother nodded and the room went into action. All of sudden everything became a blur. People began moving furniture, drawing marks on the floor, lighting candles, finding clothes. Grace Ravenscar pulled her into a bathroom, forcing her to change into a dark red dress. Her blonde hair was perfectly pinned up with a silver pin. Ali’s favorite locket the only thing from before staying on her. She was pushed out of the bathroom, led barefoot to the center of the circle. Instructed to carefully, step over the chalk lines. Christian waiting for her in a dark red suit. Before I begin I must ask you two something. Christian smiled at the man. Do you wish to become Parabatai? Your bond is close enough, but the choice is yours. Ali held her breath. This wasn’t something she could answer and be rejected afterwards by Christian. He looked at her, smiling.
She could see the love he had for her in his eyes. All the doubt and sadness washing away instantly. This was her best friend. I am not stepping into this world without her. He said in all of their heads. Ali just nodded at the man. The ceremony itself was fairly quick. They both recited an Oath, swearing loyalty to the Angel Raziel. Christian animated by the parts on the Angel’s courage, justice and mercy. Ali on the part of self sacrifice. Then, Brother Cassiel, moved forward, inscribing symbols on them. Christian screamed. Ali, bit her lip and grabbed his hand. All of his strength crushing her.
I ask you two again. Do you wish to commit your lives to each other. To be buried in the same grave and feel each other’s pain. Ali nodded immediately. She would always be here for Christian. Then I ask you two to choose witnesses, of your commitment for each other. Will and JC stepped forward, each holding up a paper with a symbol on it. Ali’s uncle walked forward, lighting three rings of fire on the ground. Grace and Amalia handing her and Christian a magic wand. You have chosen William Carstairs and JC Herondale as your witnesses. Now you two must recite the Oath and carve the mark of Parabatai on each other.
The Oath came floating into her head. Her and Christian reciting:
Entreat me not to leave thee,
Or return from following after thee—
For whither thou goest, I will go,
And where thou lodgest, I will lodge.
Thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.
Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried.
The Angel do so to me, and more also,
If aught but death part thee and me.
Then she looked at JC who was holding up the paper symbol in front of her. It was a simple enough rune. She looked at a hurting Christian, nudging him to show her where he wanted it. Where the anti-tattoo kid would chose a permanent mark. He pointed at his right forearm. She carefully drew the rune on his forearm. Watching his expression slowly relax as the rune neared completion. When it was his turn to draw, she looked at herself. No where visible on her she wanted a rune. Ali used the wand to tear her dress, much to the dismay of everyone around them. She pointed to her ribcage. Christian smiled and drew the rune. At first it stung, like an uncomfortable heat, but then it faded.
You two have promised to commit your lives to each other and to The Clave. And so you wrote, it will be. He raised his arms and the fire roared higher, snuffing itself out. She felt a wave of dizziness overcome her. She fell backwards into JC’s arms. Christian falling into Will’s. The Silent Brother turned around and headed for the door. I must go and report to The Clave Evelyn Blackthorn’s daughter has been found and has taken the pledge. Expect a visit from the Inquisitor, soon Anthony Blackthorn. He left the room, without another word. Demyon cracking up laughing. “All of your ceremonies are so pretentious.”
JC and Will nodding. “They really do get tedious at times.” Sighed Will, heading for the nearest chair. Anthony Blackthorn glared at him. “If it is so tedious you and JC will be in charge of cleanup.” JC groaned and threw a book at Will. He caught it and put it down on the table. “My niece and her parabatai shall be escorted to their rooms. Come.” He walked past the circle and everyone, as people slowly started filing out behind him. JC and Will heading the opposite direction.
Christian grabbed her hand, the one now marked with an eye, and pulled them out the door. His excitement coming off of him in waves. Her uncle took them to the front foyer. The Three Lost Boys and The two girls saying goodbye at the door. They had to return to check on the market and the children. Augustine went to hug Christian goodbye, but stopped when he saw Ali’s glare. Instead he gave him a nervous peck on the cheek and ran out the door.
Next her uncle showed Christian to his room. It was right next to Will Carstairs. Christian had never had a room so large. There was so many opportunities for him to make the perfect bedroom here, unlike the one he had on home. Across from his room was JC Herondales and hers. Her room was smaller then Christians, but it had a large balcony, facing where the sun would set. “Your mother always preferred cozy rooms.” Said Anthony Blackthorn. Ali thanked him and excused herself. There was no more talking she could take tonight. When the door closed she let herself fall on the large canopy bed. Too much had happened to her today. Too many decisions had to be made.
She heard a tap on her veranda doors. Slowly, she dragged herself from her bed to them. They opened and an acorn rolled to her feet. She bent down and picked it up. It cracked open, a little piece of parchment paper falling out.
Be careful, Ali.
The paper and acorn disintegrating after she read it. So her father was alive. He had learned about what she had just done. What a hypocrite.
Ali turned from the balcony to find a Will Carstairs standing in her doorway. He held a large box in his hand. “I know you are tired, but I thought maybe I could show you something.” Ali looked at the kid like he was the stupidest kid she ever met. How could she be related to him. JC popped his head into the door. Christian soon showing up. Did none of this people every dial down to one.
“Ali! They have the Great Debaters.” Said Christian excitedly. Of course they even had her favorite movie. JC slapped his back. “Curtesy of the William Carstairs movie collection.” Ali looked at Christian. He was like an Engizer Bunny. “Come on, Ali. We were supposed to see it anyways tonight.” She sighed and followed them out the room. These people…