Synopsis: Princess Clarissa is mandated by law to marry a prince of her choosing by her 17th birthday or be forced to marry her wicked half-brother. She has 13 days and with Prince Jonathan sure of his success, Clary is pushed to the breaking point. With her mother dead and her only friend, a warlock by the name of Magnus Bane she flees the palace in an attempt to gain her freedom. What she doesn't expect is to run into the handsome outlaw Jace Herondale. As well as the leader of the small group of people wanting to overthrow the king and bring peace to the war-torn starving kingdom. He steals food from the rich and gives it to the poor. Jace has also stolen the heart of the princess and a magical lamp that could be the key to the salvation or destruction of their Kingdom.
"But father I don't want to marry someone I don't love." The small redhead protested. She looked at her father who sat prominently in a giant gold slatted throne before her. She always hated the throne room. It was cold and lavished with riches; riches that should be going to the starving people not decorating the walls. "Enough Clarissa." Her father scolded. "I grow tired of your protesting. You are the princess and the law on this matter is clear. The law is hard- "but it is the law". She finished for him resisting the urge to roll her eyes. "Yes, my daughter and the law says that a princess must marry before her seventeenth birthday." The king stated firmly. Clary frowned averting her eyes downwards. She clenched her fist trying desperately to hold back tears. She was turning seventeen in thirteen days and there was nothing she could do to change her father's mind. He was determined to see her wed and miserable for the rest of her life. "Father please, I beg you! I, I don't want to marry a stranger father. I want to marry for love like you and my mother did. Please, father, I beg you to reconsider." She pleaded.
King Valentine's eyes looked down at her calmly. "I don't like the idea of my daughter marrying a stranger any more than you do. That is why I gave you the option of wedding your half brother Jonathan." King Valentine retorted bitterly. Her eyes rose sharply catching the broad smile lacing her half-brothers face. Prince Jonathan, her half-brother, was the result of one of her father's conquests. He was royal by blood and commanded respect in the court but he was not a legitimate heir to the throne. Of course, they all knew that it wasn't really an affair that brought her wicked brother to her. No, their father in a fit of cruelty pillaged and raped Queen Lilith of the country of Edom. Once done he brought her back to the palace to torture and publically execute her. She was to be made an example of what would happen to her mother princess Jocelyn should she ever defy his wishes and resist marrying him. He didn't foresee Queen Lilith falling pregnant. Not being able to kill his own child he had Lilith carry Jonathan to birth before banishing her. Jonathan, unlike Clarissa, turned out to be the spitting image of their father. She couldn't help but wish that her father would give Jonathan the throne instead of her but it was not to be. Jonathan although royal was a bastard and by law couldn't ascend the throne. She would also be doing a great disservice to her people if she allowed that to happen.
"I rather not marry Jonathan father." She grunted bowing her head in a proper curtsey. Even looking down she could feel Jonathan's heated gaze boring into her. She knew the stakes at hand. Find a husband or she would be forced to wed her half-brother. That was the game right and her opponent the prince, her brother would stop at nothing to gain the throne. Jonathan knew better than to lay a finger on her for fear of their father's wrath. Instead, he was clever and found other ways to make his attentions known. Her sketchbook would suddenly go missing. One time her pet cat was even found poisoned though Jonathan always insisted he had no part in that one. Still, the way he slithered around her or pointed out all of the low qualities of any potential suitor that came to call was driving her crazy. She knew he wanted her to fail and she cursed herself for being powerless to stop him.
"Then I suggest you get ready my daughter. A suitor is coming to call and should arrive this very hour." He replied quickly dismissing her. She bowed once more and turned to leave the room when an arm wrapped around her waist escorting her to the door. She cringed at her brother's touch but didn't give him the satisfaction of flinching. No, not in front of her father. As soon as the door closed and she was free from her father's gaze she shoved his arm away. "Get your hands off of me you snake!" She huffed. Jonathan chuckled as a dark joy washed through his ivory eyes. He was as cruel as he was beautiful. Her brother was tall, lean and muscular. He had bright blonde hair that he wore short and trimmed that matched their fathers. His defined jaw and dark eyes stood out prominently against his pale skin. He was breathtaking and if he wasn't making her life miserable she would have loved to draw him. Jonathan's long eyelashes fluttered as his long fingers lay flat against the door pinning her against the surface.
"A snake is clever, ruthless, patient and poised to strike. A fair analogy to make of your dear brother my beautiful sister." He smiled. Clarissa took in a breath and locked eyes with him. She couldn't show weakness and breaking eye contact would mean submission to the psychopath. "I'm glad you find my words an accurate representation or your character, now go away. I am sure you have poor innocent prisoners to torture in the dungeons or something." She spat. He smiled but stood firm. "Oh, but toying with you is so much more fun. You and I both know that no suitor is coming. None that father would ever approve of anyway. I worked hard to see to that my darling and in thirteen days I will have my reward. The crown, father's approval and you squirming in the bed sheets beneath me."
Clary blushed at his prude sexual reference. Sure Jonathan was arrogant and cocky but never had he been so forthcoming. The hairs on her neck rose in fear as her breath quickened. She should have known better than to think that he would play fair. She knew he wanted the crown but never thought he would go to such great lengths to get it. A plan suddenly came to her and she acted on impulse blanketing her expression. "If you think that scares me, dear brother, you are sorely mistaken. Yet, I can't help but admire how much the crown calls to you." She replied sweetly. Her brother looked at her curiously.
"It would look better on your head Jonathan than mine. I think we could broker a deal here that would make us both happy." She suggested batting her eyelashes. Her brother's wicked grin assured her that she had his full attention. "I'm listing darling." He whispered lowering his face closer to hers. It made her uncomfortable.
"Let me go, help me run away and the crown will be all yours. I know you are clever, strong and resourceful. You are more than capable of hiding me away from our father. Help me escape, take the throne and marry whoever you like." She spoke slowly holding his gaze. She couldn't help smile at the surprised look that came over his face. He obviously had been expecting her to say something but obviously not that.
"Think about it Jon, please." She smiled sweetly and her hands to his chest. "All I have ever wanted was my freedom and all you ever wanted was the throne. We could help each other and then you really could marry anyone you want. Think about it, wouldn't you rather have princess Aline or Helen. They are a lot prettier and endowed than your poor innocent sister." She studied his face keeping her stance even though all she wanted to do was to take a step back from his face. She looked bemused and her heart leaped with hope. Maybe she would get out of here and find her own happiness. Her joy was short lived however as his eyes smoldered and his face drew even closer to hers. She gasped and attempted to look away as her brother's fingers gripped her chin, tugging her face back to look at him.
"Freedom is overrated my little dove. You are too sweet and naive to presume what a man desires." He grinned drawing his lips closer to her ear. "I'll let you in on a little secret my dear. Those women may be enough to sedate me but the attraction is lukewarm at best. It is nothing compared to what I want to do to you, sister." He whispered heatedly. Clary held her breath and tried to still her body from shaking. "There is nothing I want more than to lift up this long skirt and steal your innocence right here and now. I could only imagine how your virgin body would respond to me. I would fuck you until I have you screaming me a name." He grinned wickedly before bringing his lips to kiss hers. Clary struggled against him but failed. She was no match for his sheer strength. His blood and training made him too strong so she did the only thing she could think of. She parted her lips and bit down on his lip. Jonathan jerked back bringing his hand to his lip releasing her from his grip. She recoiled from his touch and tasted the bitter taste of blood in her mouth.
"You little bitch." He hissed wiping the blood from his lip. Clarissa fearing for her life bolted into a run down the hallway. Her brother may be stronger than her but she was faster or, at least, she would have been if it wasn't for the stupid heeled shoes she was forced to wear. Jonathan was on her in a moment grabbing her and tossing her roughly against the wall. She gazed up in horror at his hand raised poised to strike her as the doors to the throne room opened. "I don't think the King would approve of his daughter's face blemished before meeting the suitor downstairs your royal highness." Magnus Bane stated looking at the siblings. Jonathan hissed a low profanity under his breath before releasing her with a look that promised retribution later.
"Of course warlock. A lapse in judgment on my part. My sister is still learning her place now if you'll excuse me." Jonathan said promptly turning and leaving Clarissa and Magnus alone in the deserted hallway. The princess took in a deep breath as her knees buckled under her. Magus caught her in his arms before she hit the floor. "Hush now my dear, everything will be alright." He said soothingly. Clary shook her head and allowed the tears to fall. "No, it's not Magnus. Jonathan is hell bent on claiming the throne." She cried. Magus rubbed her back and pulled her into his chest. "Calm yourself my little Clary Sage You have always known that your brother wanted the throne. You can still advocate it and join the priesthood."
"Father would never allow that and neither would Jonathan. He wants me, Magnus. I offered him his choice of any bride and he refused. He actually wants me, me, in his bedroom to torture and do twisted things to. I knew he looked at me with that look of determination in his eyes. I always thought he wanted to murder me and claim the throne but no. He wants to marry me and you and I both know how is gets when he is dead set on something." She cried. Magnus closed his eyes trying to process this new information. While Clary was innocent Magnus recognized Jonathan's look of lust and possessiveness he gazed at his sister longingly with. A complication that Magnus had shared himself with the king but instead of being disgusted King Valentine seemed to be all the more delighted by the idea of his children marrying. It wasn't uncommon for royalty to marry family and there was little Magnus could do to persuade the king otherwise. He just wished his darling princess hadn't known about the twisted things the prince wished to do to her.
"Don't worry my pet we are going to get you out of this," Magnus replied. Clary's tears broke as she looked up into the warlock's eyes. "How Magnus?" she squeaked. Magnus gave her a reassuring smile looking around the deserted hallway carefully making sure they were truly alone. "Tonight, we are getting you out of here. You are going to run away and I am going to help you." Clary looked at him in awe before nodding her head obediently. She was willing to do anything to get out.
Jonathan passed around his father's lab deep in thought. His fingers itched to touch his throbbing lip but he resisted the urge. He hadn't meant to kiss his darling sister, no not yet. He merely wished to scare her and put her in her place. He had been disgusted listening to her pleading with their father to abolish the marriage creed. Little did she know that their father was the one who changed the law from 20 to 17 last year to push her into marriage. After their father confronted him about his feelings for Clarissa he quickly enlisted help to see that his only son and daughter would be united. Day by day Clarissa looked more and more like her mother, Valentine's queen, and their father hated her. He would never forgive her mother for having an affair. Their father quickly and quietly had his queen and his captain of the guard Luke killed and buried claiming an assassin entered the castle killing both of them. Little did the people know that it was by his hand blood was shed.
"I actually did her a favor Sira." He said addressing the serpent. "Father wanted to kill her and would have if it wasn't for my infatuation. I technically saved her life! She should be coming to my bedroom, bare, offering herself up in gratitude but no instead I get bitterness and reluctance." he hissed punching the hard wall with his fist. After a few moments of heavy breath, he collected himself. "It is of little consequence, though. She will soon be mine and no one would dare stand between me and what I desire. Once she is my daddy dearest will have an accident and the throne will finally be mine." The small serpent hissed with approval. The snake had been a present from his mother and the only thing he had left to remember her by. The large python was long, beautiful and obedient to him. He often pictured his giant python Sira wrapped around Clarissa's delicate naked body holding her in place while he did things that no brother should rightly do to a sister. Sister, the title was of little concern to him, though. He was only her half sibling and that was before his father tainted his blood with demon blood. They were not related enough for it to affect things, not that he would care either way.
Jonathan frowned recalling the conversation from the hallway once more. How dare she ask him to help her run away? Was she really so innocent and naive not to see the way he looked at her? He thought he had made his intentions pretty well known especially after getting their fathers approval. Still she had the gall to ask him to help her run away and marry someone else. As if anyone compared to her. Jonathan sat down and ran his fingers through his hair. She would see soon how much he desired her. Fighting him was a lost cause and defiance would be punished. He would have Clarissa as his wife and he would kill anyone who stood in the way.
Clary grasped the sides of her hood tightly. She was cold in the cool night air and shivered from her bare midriff. She was dressed up in a palace dancer and the revealing clothes made her feel uncomfortable. The green lace pants were sheer and lacked real resistance to the elements, still they were beautiful. The crop top hugged her small chest and accented her flat stomach. She had taken off the coined skirt to avoid making any necessary noise. Her long auburn hair was braided on the sides and into a thick luscious braid down her back. Her make-up had been done beautifully and made her deep sea green eyes sparkle. She had always felt like an ugly duckling but what Magnus friend Isabelle had done to her was striking. Isabelle and her brother worked in the palace and traveled back and forth for work. They were going to smuggle her out of the palace and be far away by the time anyone realized she was gone. She had already told her maid that she wasn't feeling well and left a note asking to be left alone for the day. She even laid pillows under the blankets for added effect.
She placed the hood over her hair hiding her face as Isabelle pulled her into the cart. "Okay, sweetheart don't worry we are going to get you out of here. Just follow our lead and everything will be okay." The raven-haired beauty smiled. The cart began pulling forward as they made their way to the gate. Clary waited with bated breath as the cart drew nearer expecting Jonathan or the guards to stop them at any moment and sure enough, they did.
"Halt." The guard commanded. Isabelle shook her head quietly at Clary before removing her hood. "Oh Meliorn, what a delight to see you again." Isabelle flirted. The guard halted and stood in his tracks stunned. Clary couldn't blame him after all Isabelle was breathtakingly beautiful. She was tall a lean with long raven hair and silky sun-kissed skin. She was curvy and wore tight fitting clothes with a bright ruby accented her chest. The girl's almond eyes stood prominently against her delicate face which was smiling brightly at the guard. "Lady Lightwood, it has been many moons since you have visited the castle." The guard replied trailing his eyes down Isabelle's frame.
"It has Meliorn but duty calls. The princess is getting married shortly and will require entertainment. Something my family specializes in if you recall." She winked. The guard nodded pleasantly looking away. "It is a shame I had to catch you leaving my lady," he replied. Isabelle smiled glances back to her brother. "It is but you will see us shortly. As for tonight, I am afraid we are in a rush. It is late and there is much planning to do. If I do not do a good job, I doubt the king will ask for us back. I pray you understand?" she smiled. "But of course, my lady. Please proceed. I hope to see you and your beautiful friend back again shortly." The guard smiled addressing Clary.
Isabelle laughed. "I am glad you like her, though forgive my friend. She is very shy which is a good quality. Rather quiet not to draw attention from the prince I always say." She added. The guard stiffened and grew serious. "Alas, my lady I fear you are right. I pity the poor princess if she is forced to marry that monster. She is too kind for this world. I bid you goodnight and hope to see you soon." He sighed before bowing and turning to open the gates. Clary's eyes followed the guard trying not to meet her gaze. Isabelle sensed her stress and patted her shoulder. "It's okay sweet girl, we will get you out of here. The prince has been infatuated with the princess and has not bothered with a servant in a while." Clary nodded looking away. Magnus had not told his friends that she was the princess and asked her not to reveal such information to anyone. Isabelle seemed obvious. She was very kind but oblivious while the frequent looks Alec gave her the feeling that Isabelle's brother was anything but a fool.
The trio watched the gates open and waved to the guard as they departed. Once they finally made it over the bridge and out of the town Clary finally released a breath. "Our home is just passed the next hill," Isabelle spoke after an hour. "You will be safe there." Clary doubted she would be safe anywhere. The trees passed as Clary spotted the sun began to rise. A sudden shout caused her to jump out of her skin.
"Be still where you are!" A voice called out. Alec halted the carriage as dozens of men appeared with arrows armed and pointed at them. "Give us your money and no harm will come to you." Alec stood up slowly raising his hands in the air. "We are dancers and have no money on us." Isabelle's brother called. A vibrating laughter ensued. "You came from the palace. Save your lies for the dungeons. You will find no sympathizers with the king here." The hooded figure spoke dropping from the tree branch above them. He aimed his sword at Alec who stood his ground.
"Leave my brother alone you coward," Isabelle replied leaping forward. She was quickly drawn back by a pair of hairy arms. "We have a feisty one here Jace. What should we do with her?" the man said addressing his leader. The leader, Jace smiled removing his hood. "I saw we kill them." He smiled. All thoughts went out of the window as Clary lunged forward a knocked the bandit down. The man's sword went flying as Alec rushed the man holding his sister, hitting him and breaking his nose. Blood spattered everywhere as Jace leaped up and rushed at the dark haired man. Clary crawled forward and grabbed the blade. The commotion set off a series of chaos and shouts. The horses got scared and roared forward galloping.
The leader and Alec struggled to roll on the back of the cart. Isabelle rushed forward to grab the reigns as Alec tried desperately to push the golden haired man off. Clary got to her feet and moved to help him. At that moment, the blonde hit Alec in the gut. The dark haired boy leaned over trying to catch his breath as the blonde's eyes fell on her. "The sword princess and no one gets hurt," Jace called extending his hand. Clary's fingers trembled. He couldn't know that she was the princess could he? He said it himself he didn't support Valentine... then again the crowned princess would be a mighty fine barging chip. Clary stood her ground and took in a deep breath thankful that her brother had insisted on her leaning sword fighting.
"Come and get it blondie." She spat taking a proper stance. Jace looked at her, his golden eyes growing wide with amusement. "Have it your way little mouse." He replied. Clary knew that she needed to make the first move. She was smaller and the element of surprise was something she needed if she hoped to throw him off. She went to lunge forward at the same time the cart his rocks. The bumps shook her off balance and caused her to crash into the blonde. The momentum was strong enough to send both of them over the railing and off the cart. The sword fell through the air as Jace's arms wrapped around her bracing for impact. Jace slammed down against the dirt landing on back with a startled Clary on top of him. The impact caused the wind to knock out of him and he lay on the ground gasping desperately trying to catch his breath.
Clary was in shock and got up slowly looking at the cart moving quickly down the road away from her. Jace's quick intake of breath alerted her to the danger of her new predicament. She quickly rolled off of him and got up to her feet. She grabbed the sword from the ground and turned to face the leader. Her hood falling down to her shoulders revealing her hair and face in the process. The blonde looked at her gasping surprised by her appearance. Clary thought about killing him in his defenseless state. Despite being a thief he had saved her life and surely that attributed to something. Still he wasn't alone and she still wasn't sure if he knew her true identity. She had to get out of here. She met the golden man's eyes before turning and running. The small slippers were not good for running through the woods but she had to make due. She slipped and almost fell many times in her rush to get away.
She had run for twenty minutes before she found that she was lost. Stopping she turned to look around trying to get her baring's, the sword still gripped tightly in her hand. "I was wondering when you were going to come to terms with the fact you are alone and don't know where you are going." A voice spoke. Clary turned upward and spotted the clan leader looking down at her casually from the tree. "Come any closer and I'll kill you." She said keeping her voice study. Jace chuckled. "If you wanted to kill me you would have already done that sweetheart. Now put down the sword and I'll help you find your way back to your friends. I don't want to hurt you." He said cockily leaping down from the tree. Clary took a step backward raising the blade. "Sure. Don't think I don't know that bandits rape, pillage and steal." She retorted. At this Jace just shrugged. "That might work for some but not us. True we steal but it's only from those who can afford it. We use that money to feed the poor darling. As far as the rape thing goes I prefer my damsels willing." He smiled arrogantly. A part of hi reminded her of her brother in the good days before father twisted him.
"And why should I believe you? You're the one who attacked us unprovoked if I recall?" She stuttered trying to find her footing. Damn these shoes she thought. Jace took another step forward. "Listen Mouse, I'm not going to hurt you. I will trade you, the sword for help back to the road. Deal?" he asked. Clary looked at him confused slipping and bracing herself against a tree. "Why is this sword so important to you?" she asked. Jace's face grew stern and looked reluctant to answer. "It was my fathers and it's all I have left to remember him by. Do we have a deal?"
Clary looked down at her feet, her surroundings and then the sword before turning to look back at the blonde man before her. By the angel he was handsome. His golden eyes shone brightly against his golden long hair. He had a prominent jaw and smooth light skin. He was tall and muscularly built mostly likely due to all of his extracurricular activities. Clary thought it over as Jace stood in front of her growing impatient. She could say no but the chances of her beating him were not good and running away in these shoes even less likely. She really didn't have a choice; he would win no matter what; might as well extend the olive branch. "Do I have your word that you will take me safely to the road and point me in the direction of York if I give you your precious sword?" she stated. Jace's jaw grew taunt. "You have my word that I will lead you safely to the road and point you in the direction of York." He said sternly.
Clary nodded and lowered the sword. Jace took a step and hesitantly took the sword from her. Now was the moment of truth, he could kill her or make good on their bargain. She waited patiently for him to move. He sheathed the sword in his belt and took a step forward. Clary leaned back meekly as he moved closer and pushed the hood back. "A face like yours is too lovely to hide beautiful. May I have the honor of knowing your name before we take leave?" He asked.
Clary bit her lip nervously. "Ah, I see. We'll my dear lady my name is Jace. Come and let's get you out of these woods." She said extending his hand. She accepted it begrudgingly knowing that with these shoes she needed all the guidance she could get. Jace led her silently to the road not making a noise. She was surprised when she spotted the road after ten minutes. He lifted her up onto a rock and helped her climb onto the road before hoisting himself up. Clary smiled pleasantly. The sun was up in the sky and it was early morning now. She still had time before they realized she was missing. She quietly turned to Jace. "Thank you for keeping your word. Will you please tell me which direction York is now?" she asked excitedly. Jace looked at her cautiously before smiling flirtatiously. "It is just beyond that hill sweetheart. Now would you agree that I have honored our bargain?" he asked,
Clary smiled and nodded her head. "Yes, you took me to the road and pointed out the direction to York. I can take it from here. Thank you." She replied and started to turn to leave when he took a sudden step in front of her. "I wouldn't thank me just yet angel." He smiled cockily. Clary took a step back sensing something wasn't right. "But you promised-"
"I promised to take you to the road safely and point you in the direction of York. I never agreed I would let you go after that mouse." He replied coyly. Clary turned to run but Jace was faster. His strong arms wrapped around her as she struggled veraciously. After a few minutes, Jace grew tired of her protests and took out a small rag from his pocket. He placed it over her mouth as she inhaled deeply. Clary felt her vision swarm and her body grow weak before everything went dark.
Her soft body fell limp against him. Finally, she was out, he hadn't expected such a small thing to make so much fuss. He couldn't help but wonder who she was. She was beautiful and he had planned to take her back to the hideout as soon as saw face after taking that fall. By the angel, his ribs still hurt but nothing was broken. He looked down at the small redhead before pulling her up and heaving her body over his shoulder. The cart had come from the palace and they were always looking for a henchman to help infiltrate the palace. She could be a very useful ally once she was made to see things his way. Still there was something different about this girl. After saving her life and helping her he couldn't help feel attached to her.
He didn't normally partake in kidnapping yet as soon as he saw her he threw all of those notations out the window. She was tiny, delicate and beautiful. He smiled recalling her beautiful green eyes stuck on him as they parlayed in the forest. Jace Herondale wanted this girl he just needed to give her some time and learn who she was. He heard the familiar trot of horses and knew his friends were out looking for him. He made his way to the wagon with a sleeping redhead unconscious over his shoulder. It was daylight and the guards would be out soon, they had to hurry.