Z here, entering yet another fandom.
So here's the scoop with this... Originally I was goign to have a love story for Will, since this does take place a year and a half before Tessa leaves for England, and have the main character die right around the time Tessa was supposed to arrive. But I changed my mind. I think it's more effective this way.
And makes you think. Are there really Downworlders out of the Clave's control? Or is it all an elaborate ploy by Alma? What else could explain away Alma's tail? Remember, Alma's mother's identity is confirmed.
Just food for thought. I had fun writing it, and that's all that matters. Plus, I bet you can't guess who the devil is. ;P
Also, I did all the spanish from my own limited vocabulary, so there might be some mistakes there. (Translations at the bottom).
When Will first saw her, nothing special caught his attention; she was a simple mundane with an uncanny knack for following him with her eyes. No matter where he stood in the park, staking out the faeries' den, she watched him through the drizzle.
Yet, the rain cleared, the sun began to shine, and her face seemed to light up like diamonds. No mundane should have sparkled like that, but she did. A beckoning finger had Will out of his stakeout and standing before her. At only twelve, he was not yet used to the oddities that permeated the inhabitants of Downworld.
"What a handsome boy you are," The woman purred, "and so young! Why are you alone, Nephilim? Where's your parabatai?It's not safe for you alone."
"I can take care of myself," Will harrumphed, noticing that the woman's face didn't sparkle because of diamonds, but rather fish scales that covered her cheeks and eyelids. A warlock.
"Yes, yes, you must be able to, or you would not have been trusted to come here. But, I must insist on your leaving. Bad things are happening today, and, should you stay, Magnus will be very cross with me. Run along boy," She flicked her wrist, and Will was forced into a march out of the park.
She hated meddling with Nephilim, more so than anything else. After the Accords were put into place, nothing could have bugged her more than meddling with the enforcers of the Accords. And still she sat in the park, clearing it of mundanes and Nephilim so that she could receive a package, which none could see save her.
One of the Great Warlocks of Spain, Olinda Castro-Moreno was exiled to England under the watch of the warlocks there. Stopping her from continued participation in the activities causing her exile was more difficult; the package being sent to her was a kidnapped half-Nephilim or half-Downworlder child, the approximate age of ten. Children of this description were hot commodities among the oldest of the warlocks, who found the raising of these creatures with such short life spans to be exceedingly entertaining, especially with the occasional experiment or spell. They were also often sold by a family member, and thus legally the warlock's property. Of course, Olinda was not stupid, she made a profit on each child, after a session of... refinement.
The Clave did not see her business as legal, due to the dealing in children, but she'd lived much longer than the Accords, as had all of her clients. Many had been explorers to the New World and had first dealt in the native Mundanes in the Americas. Halflings proved more... entertaining.
The child appeared just then out of thin air, unconscious, her dress muddied, torn, dull, and much too small. A band encircled her wrist.
Alma Garza-Byrne. 11 años. Madre: Nephilim, Padre: No información pero no mundano.
Herma argentina. No habla inglés.
"No inglés. Oh dear, that's no bueno, chica," the warlock purred as she picked the child up.
"Alma, get up!" Olinda commanded, coming into the room of her current project and ripping open the curtains.
The girl opened her eyes slowly and groaned at the bright light, "No lo quiero...", and her black head of hair disappeared under the coverlet.
Olinda frowned, this girl was so troublesome, and several times over the past five years, Olinda had tried to get rid of the girl, but none wanted her. The Nephilim had put a larger price of the trafficking of Halflings since the time this girl had been collected, and none were ready to risk it. She ripped the covers off of the sleeping girl. "You will get up or I will dehead you, girl!"
Alma looked up at Olinda with shining green eyes, "I'm fairly sure it's 'behead', Master."
Olinda raised her hand to smack the girl and stopped herself. There was a potential buyer coming today, and the product had to be spotless. But, the girl had only known English fluently for about a year. How dare she correct Olinda. Balling her fist, she lowered it. "Get dressed in the dress in the chair and then get your ass downstairs. We have to work on manners before the buyer comes."
Grinning slightly as Olinda's form retreated through the doorway, Alma got out of bed and stretched. The dress sitting in the chair was emerald with black ribbons and lace coming off of it, and was the same one she wore every time a buyer came to look. It even included a hole in the back for the furry black monkey tail that Olinda had had a shock upon discovering.
Unlike most women, Alma did not need assistance with dressing, which made her appealing to those without many servants; however, it also meant that she had an unusual protrusion at the base of the bosom of her dresses unless the dress was specially designed for her. Sliding on the corset, she pulled the strings tight with her tail and tied it shut at the base. She pulled on the dress and buttoned it up the back as high as she could, before using a fastening device she could hold with her tail and watch in the mirror while holding up her skirts. With this particular dress, she then dropped her skirts and worked her tail through the hole. If she held it still, it looked like the missing black ribbon that fell down the back of the dress.
Alma looked at herself in the mirror and grinned, the green dress matched her eyes, and her messy black hair, which she knew Olinda would fix, went well with the ribbons, and her dark skin set off her bright white teeth, which Olinda had enchanted, although her slightly elongated incisors gave her smile a demonic quality.
Turning from the mirror, Alma picked up the shoes she was supposed to wear and the jewelry and left without putting either on.
The dark creature that descended the stairs with messy hair, shoes and jewelry in hand and a completely natural face took his breath away. Never had a Halfling been so beautiful, or... unrefined, especially coming from the great Olinda Castro-Moreno.
"Alma, I thought I told you to get dressed," The warlock stated sweetly, hiding the fury well.
"And I thought you said there was a buyer coming," Alma replied, and he saw her tail twitch on the back of her dress.
"I represent the buyer," Magnus Bane replied, his cat eyes fixed on the tail that was otherwise undistinguishable from the other ribbons on her dress.
"And he won't be interested if you're not looking your best," Olinda added, glaring at the teenager that stood before the two old acquaintances.
"¿Y si no quiero estar comprado?" The girl asked, flopping down on the stairs and dropping what she held. Alma picked up a shoe and began to try and put it on.
"It's not your decision. I'll seal your mouth shut girl," Olinda threatened. Alma stuck out her tongue. Snapping her fingers, Olinda attempted to set the appendage on fire, but it retreated into its haven before her spell succeeded. Boiling on the inside, Olinda strode over to the girl and brushed through her hair, pulling half of it back into an emerald ribbon. She retrieved the jewelry from the floor and put it on her product. At this time, Alma had managed to put on one shoe, and Olinda slipped the other one on expertly.
"You will go with Magnus Bane to the buyer. Should he choose to keep you, I will not see you again," Olinda pulled the girl up before leaving her in the room with the other warlock. He was grinning at her.
"I'm impressed. You do a good job of agitating her." The warlock offered his arm, and Alma took it silently. The two walked out of the front door. Magnus glanced around at the mundanes and at Alma's tail, which sat motionless upon her dress. "Your mother is Nephilim, correct?" Magnus asked.
"Was. She died about a year before Olinda took me in," Alma seethed inwardly, the words 'kidnapped' and 'stole' had been banished from her vocabulary in both English and Spanish.
"And your father was what?'' The warlock asked.
"Something not known to the European World, Mister Bane," Alma hedged, and out of the corner of his eyes, Magnus saw her tail twitch. "And they prefer to stay that way."
"Where exactly did Ms. Castro-Moreno steal you away from, Miss Garza-Byrne?"
"So the rumors are true."
"What rumors?" Alma asked as Magnus helped her around a puddle on the street.
"That there are Downworlders out there the Clave has no knowledge of, and thus no power over," Magnus mused, casting a sideways glance at Alma. He slowed down, and a smile crawled onto his lips. "Speak of the devil." Coming toward the pair of Downworlders was a small woman and a blonde girl about Alma's age, who looked very sour.
"Hello Magnus. Who is this you have with you?" The small woman asked as she approached.
"Miss Alma Garza-Byrne, a young warlock visiting from Spain," Magnus lied fluently.
"Pleased to make your acquaintance," Alma curtsied.
"Miss Garza-Byrne, it's nice to meet you too, I'm Charlotte Branwell. I run the London Institute."
"Please, just Alma is fine. My name is such a mouthful for English speakers," Alma smiled.
"Oh, and this is Jessamine Lovelace," Charlotte introduced the blonde teenager, who simply nodded in Alma's direction.
"So, Alma, what brings you to London?" Charlotte asked.
"Curiosity. I've heard a bunch about many of the great warlocks in London, like Olinda Castro-Moreno and Magnus Bane. I had the good luck of running into him just this morning," Alma said sweetly, "Now, if you'll excuse us, we have an appointment we can't be late for." As much as Alma loathed potential buyers, Shadowhunters made her nervous. Her mother had taught her everything she could about Shadowhunter ways, Alma knew how to use a steele, about Idris and the city of glass, Alacante, which resided within the country. But when she'd been in the village visiting her mother, she never fit in with the Nephilim. They pulled her tail and called her names.
"Well, don't let us keep you. It was a pleasure to meet you." The women curtsied and left and the Downworlders continued on their way.
"Where are we headed, Magnus?" Alma inquired as they turned yet another corner, only to discover that there were no houses on the street.
"What is at the docks? The buyer?"
Magnus stopped and turned toward Alma. "There is no buyer. The Nephilim are raiding Olinda's house today because of rumors of you."
"I'm sending you home."
The great warlock Olinda Castro-Moreno sat at her couch sipping tea when her front door was broken open. The young Nephilim boy who'd been in the park the day Alma had been received stood next to his parabatai. A teenager from China with the fairest hair and eyes, they almost sparkled silver.
"How can I help you, young masters?" Olinda purred, setting her tea down and standing to greet them.
"We have orders to apprehend you for illegal trafficking of Downworlders."
"Ah, but where is your proof?"
"Yes. I will definitely help to send Olinda to Alacante for questioning!" Alma replied.
"You realize that you will have to be present in Alacante?"
"I am half Nephilim. It's my city, too."
"You must promise not to give up your father's people."
"I haven't yet. Not to anyone. Tateur will stay a mystery in all but name."
"Tateur?" Magnus tested the word.
"For you, whose name is known even in my village, I will tell you."
The warlock's curiosity was so strong that he had a hard time refusing the offer. "Keep the secret to those who belong among their ranks. I'm honored, but it is not entirely your secret to give, love." He touched the tip of Alma's nose lightly.
Alma nodded and smiled. "You truly are a great warlock." She stood on tip toes to kiss him.
Magnus watched the young Halfling board the ship that would take her first to the United States and then to Argentina. He was moved by all forms of beauty, and this young half-Nephilim was one of the finest examples he'd seen in his life. But he would not give up England for her, and he knew that she would not give up going home for a warlock like himself, when warlock pleasure was the reason she was there to begin with.
After considering purchasing the young woman many times over the course of five years, he'd realized that she was not a creature of his world. And she was not a creature of the Nephilim world, not matter her blood status. Of course, Magnus had never intended to send her home, but the alternative was to allow the Nephilim to get hold of her and pump her for information.
Sometimes beauty had to be let go.
Spanish to English
Alma Garza-Byrne. 11 años. Madre: Nephilim, Padre: No información pero no mundano. Herma argentina. No habla inglés.
Alma Garza-Bryne. 11 years old. Mother: Nephilm, Father: No information, but not mundane. Argentinian. Doesn't speak English.
No inglés - No English
no bueno, chica - Not good, girl
No lo quiero... - I don't want to
"¿Y si no quiero estar comprado?" - "And if I don't want to be bought?"