What awaited Aliya Blackthorn and Christian Cornelius was a large room full of children. Ten multi-colored blobs running around the room. Ali immediately spotted the Jason kid from the market. He was sitting on the floor next to a tiny blonde haired girl and a preteen brunette boy. She could see them talking animatedly with each other.
“What is this?” She said. The two girls sitting on one of the room’s couches stood up and walked over. The first girl reminded her of the beautiful models you saw on television. She was tall, tan and had long dark hair. The most startling thing of all was how blue her eyes were. Ali thought she could see the ocean in them. The other girl was shorter. Still beautiful, but in a more reserved way. She was pale with ash brown hair and hazel eyes. Her most prominent feature was her straight nose and full lips, that seemed to compliment her small face.
“P’or, Kazimer I thought you said you were bringing back just Demyon?” Laughed the model looking one. The large man sighed. “I thought so too.” The short man hit him on the back. “Now, now P’or we got to see someone give Demyon a bloody nose. That hasn’t happened in ages.” The smaller girl looked at them with shock. “They gave him a bloody nose.” He laughed and pointed at Ali. “Meet Ali Blackthorn. She who breaketh thy noses.”
A loud slam was heard in the background. One of the kids had dropped their books. The others had turned to stare at the guests. “Did you say, Blackthorn?” asked the shorter one. Demyon nodded. “Augustine stumbled on Ruth’s daughter in the market.” The taller one looked dizzy, she put her hand on the shorter one for support. “The Clave. Do they know?”
Demyon shrugged. “I don’t think so. She doesn’t scream Shadow Hunter. I can see more of her father in her.” The shorter girl walked up to Ali and pulled out what looked like a crystal wand. “The quickest way to find out is test a rune on her.”
Christian suddenly stepped in front of her. “Don’t go near her with that.” The girl looked him up and down, a mixture of surprise and humor in her eyes. She turned to the four men next to them. “And who is this?” Demyon shrugged. “A friend of hers. He has the sight and Augustine said he could feel something.” She reached out for him and he shuddered on her touch. Ali watched the way her hands traced his face. “Blackthorn’s always seem to look the same. Even if their hair color is different.” His eyes opened in shock. “My last name is Cornelius.”
The girl waved the thought away. “One of your parents gave up their Shadow Hunter name. Probably to hide from The Clave.” Augustine smiled at Christian. “If it’s true it would mean you are related to Aliya.”Christian’s eyes lit up with delight for a second. That burst of green that came and went in his eyes.
“Tell me about my mom. It’s the only reason why I am here.” Ali said. She wanted the attention off of Christian. That was dangerous. The girl turned back towards her. “I can’t until you answer a few of my questions.” Ali’s hands tightened into fists. A fact everyone in the room noticed. Grinding her teeth she replied, “You get three.”
The tall girl sighed. “She reminds me of Emma Carstairs.” P’or and Kazimer burst out laughing. “She does kind of give off that vibe.” said Kazimer. The older girl stared at Ali. It seemed like a challenge to her. Ali thought the girl wanted to see her break.
Finally, she spoke. “When you came to the Night Market everyone looked different. Have you seen stuff like this before.” Ali’s tension melted away. She burst out laughing. Christian looked at her like She was stupid. “You’re kidding me. In Texas?” The girl raised her eye brow, but didn’t remark.
“Then allow me to ask another question. Have you had any unusual gifts or talents since you were a kid.” Ali looked at her like she was wasting her time. “Besides excelling at being a nerd, no.”
Christian sighed. “That’s not true. Ali can play the violin, draw and does martial arts.” Ali looked at Christian like he was insane. “I don’t excel particularly at any of them. I just dabble in many areas.”
The girl looked at the two of them. “What about you Christian? Do you excel at anything?” He looked at her surprised. No one expected her to ask him anything. “Rodeo.” The tall girl burst out laughing. The kids following suit behind her. The smaller one smiled. “Southern boy indeed.”
She turned back towards Ali. “My last question is simple. Are you willing to step into a world that is both exciting and terrifying as legends can be. Even if that world could cost you not just your life, but the lives of your loved ones?” Before she could answer, Christian spoke up. “She named her car, Sleipnir. Whatever her mother was involved with it definitely passed on to her.”
P’or turned to look at her. “Sleipnir seems like an odd chose from someone of your generation.” She shrugged. “My father’s family is Nordic. My best friend is a rodeo star. I like poetic ironies.” P’or smiled at her. Their was a look in his eyes like he was remembering something from long ago.
The smaller girl sighed. “Then I will tell you. I will tell you the story of the Nephilim.” Christian’s eyes grew wide. He looked as if someone was going to prove religion was true and that there was some validation to his parents craziness. It disgusted Ali. Christian didn’t need validation; he only needed to be a good person.
The girl began her story:
During the time of the Crusades a boy named Jonathan Shadowhunter begged the warlock Elphas to summon an Angel. The warlock managed to summon the Angel Raziel at Lake Lyn. Jonathan Shadowhunter requested Raziel give him a cup with the blood of angel and man mixed in it. Those who drank from the cup would become an army of demon hunters called the Nephilim. Raziel saw that Jonathan’s heart was true and so granted him his request. The deans were pushed back from the void they came from and we’ve been fighting them from retuning ever since. It is our blood Oath.
“That’s basically it.” She concluded with. Ali looked at the girl. She had been expecting some grand story, but instead she was given something brief and to the point. She couldn’t decided wither she appreciated it or was disappointed. But what could she do, It’s not like this was something Ali understood in the first place.
“Your telling me that my mother was descendent from a man who drank from a magical cup, given to him by an Angel, and had superpowers?” She said with sarcasm smothering her voice like a fat lady does to cake. The two girls look at each other, smiling like they knew it sounded ridiculous. P’or looked at Ali. “Trust me, little sister. As hard to believe, it is true. There are monsters that plague this world. The Shadow Hunters are but one.”
She focused on his smile again. Something about it sent wave after wave of shivers down her spine. Something about him was off. He was different then the other men in the room.They seemed like something inside of them was glowing, sparked with power. Not him. He gave off feelings of coldness. Not the type of cold that invites hot coco and snowmen, but the type of cold that reminded her of a corpse.
Ali turned to him and frowned. “Sister?” He looked at her surprised and then remembered an idea that made his eyes flash with loneliness. He explained that traditionally Nordics greet each other as brother and sister when they run into each other abroad. She looked at him like he was nuts. Although, inside of her there was a little girl that smiled. Her family hadn’t had tradition in a long time.
The shorter girl coughed, making Ali turn back to her. “If you really are Ruth Blackthorn’s daughter then there aren’t many options for you. If you return back to your life the Clave can find you. Depending on who that is, makes the result an nightmare or a blessing. There will be no in-between and probably no gentleness. Alternatively, you can have Deymon take you to the Institute right now. He would get a reward and leniency would be taken towards you. They would most likely send you away to train how to become a Shadow Hunter. From what I see, neither of you are prepared for that outcome.”
Ali looked at the girl. There had to be more then two options. Always was there a third or fourth option. You just had to look at the issue differently. She did not believe a matter could be just black and white. “There’s a third choice, isn’t there?”
The short girl smiled and turned to point at the kids behind her. “These kids have all left or have been abandoned by the Clave. This collection of children are mixed with Downworlder and Shadow Hunter Blood. You can stay here and become part of this. However, it would mark you in the eyes of the Clave. Ali Blackthorn would be a risk. A liability to get rid of.”
She looked at the children. For the first time she started noticing odd things about them. One had what looked like frog eyes. Another, girl had tiny horns from her head. The girl beside her had pointed ears. Ali was looking at what she assumed to be the defects. The law was always harsh. This she always understood.
“And here is?” She said turning back to the girl. The three musketeers stepped forward. Demyon smiling. “This is the home of the Lost boys. For all who wonder in their path, shall be lured by the sweet pipers pipe. Let loose the pack of schoolboys. For all who wonder from the laws wrath, shall be forever ripe.”
Christian cracked up laughing. “Ali, you aren’t thinking of going a Peter Pan cult?” Ali tuned to him and smiled. “Laugh all you want, little boy, but if I join you are stuck with my decision.” Understanding flashed in his eyes. He started fiddling with his belt buckle again. The shorter girl looked at him, like she had seen this before. Yet, she said nothing out loud to him. She just turned back to Ali and said, “You need to make a decision now. This isn’t something you have time for.”
Ali thought about it. She could go join an institution that most likely would separate her from Christian and her father. A man who desperately needed her to take care of him. Ali could take the risk of being discovered, only to end up in the same institution with a harsher fate. Her last option was to join an underbelly organization made up of children and magical men that potentially could protect her from the cult of people who believed they were descended form Angels. Stupid people who thought they drank form the Holy Grail of Delusions. These were great options.
Ali sighed. “I guess I am staying here. Separation from Christian is not an option.” The shorter girl looked at her and smiled. “You remind me of Amelia and I.” Amelia grasped her hand and Christian freaked out. “No, No-no. We aren’t like that. I’m gay.” The two girls laughed. The tall one replying, “So are we.” The kids behind them giggling. Ali annoyed that Christian felt like he needed to validate and put into terms their relationship. The taller one said, “In Shadow Hunter terms, friends as close of you would undergo a ceremony which would result in them being called Parabatai, The shared mark represents their bond.” He looked at them and sighed in relief. “Oh well, that’s something Ali and I can be. No one knows me better then Ali.”
They looked at each other. Ali could see them remembering sadness. There must be a dark side to being that close to someone. She wanted to know, but asking them something like that seemed to personal.
Demyon clapped his hands. “Now that a decision has been made, I need to go find the Shadow Hunters that caused a scene in the Night Market. Off to the holy hell I go.” P’or and Kazimer hit his back. “You were the one who accepted the High Warlock position.” said Kazimer. P’or nodded. “The classic Narcissism strikes again.” Demyon frowned. “I was doing what I thought was best. Shadow Hunters never take no very well.”
The group heard a knock on the door from the other room. Demyon turned and started cursing. “It’s the two from the market.” P’or looked at him. “If they are here something happened in the market besides demons.” Kazimer looked at his friend. His eyes seemed the loneliest of the bunch. She could see a woman in them, screaming.
Demyon looked at his friends. “I am not the best at glamour charms.” Augustine snorted. “What are you good at besides destruction.” He winked. Kazimer waved his hands. Ali and Christian had sparkles swirling around them. “Sparkles, are you kidding me?” She accused him. He winked at Christian. It was for him. Christian looked down at what he was wearing. He was wearing a matching suit to Augustine but in a black design. His long horn belt became a random accent to the traditional attire. His eyes now looked charcoal black and bull horns sprouted from his head.
Ali looked at Christian. ”You people take the cow thing way to far.” Christian nodded. Ali looked down at herself. She was in a long cloth skirt. A tight fitting tunic with a large belt above her hips. Her hair seemed as white as her fathers, her ears as pointed and her eyes a shocking violet. “So I need to match P’or over here.” She remarked.
Kazimer smiled. “A Nordic Fae seemed the most believable glamor.” She turned to Christian who was comparing lapels with Augustine.The knocks got louder. The shorter girl turned to the kids. “Perseus you are in charge. No talking till they leave.” The kids nodded and they left the room to the sitting room. Demyon arranged them in a scene before opening the door. The two annoyed and dirty boys eyes opened in shock when they saw the room.