She opened the door and slowly walked down the hall. The first few people looked up. Soon whispers followed her down the hall, but she continued to walk keeping her head up. Even the walls of the school were beautiful. She had visited Idris before, but to live here was something else. She had been here only for a week, and even with the weight of what had forced her to be here bearing on her, she could not help but marvel at the beauty of everything around her. The room she was searching for was easy to find. It was straight down the main hall and to the left just as George Meadhaven had directed her. She opened the door to find several people inside, all dressed in their gear. An older gentleman approached her.
"You must be Julia?" he asked. "I am Brady Halloway. You will refer to me as instructor or Mr. Halloway. I am the fighting instructor, which you will have every morning. I was told you would be coming." Julia nodded, unable to answer. "Now, if you would come over and indicated which weapons you are trained in in at least any amount, that would be marvelous." She followed him to the row of weapons, conscious that everyone was staring at her. The room was large, like a high school gym without the basketball nets and court lines. The walls were a pale ivory, almost indistinguishable from white. The weapons were pushed against a wall, various types lined by size. There were seraph blades and long knives, chagrins, and throwing knives. She gestured her arm out indicating them all. "Are you to tell me that you are trained in all these weapons?" Mr. Halloway asked. Julia nodded.
"Doubtful," someone stated from behind her. She turned around to see a boy her age staring at her. He was beautiful. His golden eyes stared at her with curiosity. His hair was a soft brown, not too short, but not too long. "I'm Jacob Fireblade. My friends call me Jake," he said holding his hand out to her. It was rough and sturdy, the hand of a fighter. She took his hand but did not respond. He looked at her quizzically. Something about him made her heart beat faster and she immediately pulled her hand out of his and looked away. "Julia Herondale it must be?" he asked. "Too good to speak to one of us lesser Shadowhunters?" his voice was scornful, but his expression remained just as curious. Mr. Halloway was about to say something, but another student shouted for his help and he stared at the two of them before rushing over to help. Jake looked as if he was about to say something so she immediately turned away. She grabbed a long handled knife and began to twirl it. To her dismay, Jake followed her.
"You really know how to use all of these weapons?" he asked. She did not answer. She wanted to tell him to return to his friends. To let her and her tortured soul alone, but she could not. She couldn't say a word.
She was spared however by Mr. Halloway rushing back over. "Jacob, please join the rest of the group. You will all be working on knife throwing again today while I attempt to discover Julia's level on each weapon." Jake gave her one last glance and then went over to the group. She had a strong yearning to talk to him. To get to know him, but as the desire to speak came, so did the itching of the rune on her chest. The matrix of line and swirls hidden behind her gear kept her from saying the words she very much wanted to. She spent the class showing her skill with each weapon. At some she was a master, at others she had some difficulty. But Mr. Halloway praised her claiming she was advanced far beyond her level, and possibly matched some of the best Shadowhunters out there with her extensive knowledge of weapon use. She smiled lightly at the praise, but was grim. Using the weapons brought images of her life. She recalled the first time she had held a seraph blade. Out in the yard by the manorhouse, her father instructing her on how to hold the weapon and what it's uses were. His sterness when she swung it at a passing butterfly…
"So what's a guy gotta do around here to get you to speak to him?" Jake asked. She had hoped to leave the room unnoticed, but he had infuriatingly noticed and came to walk with her. She did not respond of course. "Come on," he said. "As pretty as you are, you must have a voice to match."
Julia stopped walking. He had just called her pretty. She had never thought about herself much in the ways of appearance. Her mom was beautiful with her fiery red hair. She had inherited most of her father's features though. Her dirty blonde hair, her golden eyes, even her nose were gifts from her father. The only noticeable feature of her mother's was her rounded cheeks, but even her father's angular structure took away from the roundness and left her somewhere in between. Both her parents were good looking, but she had never thought of herself as such.
"Was it something I said?" Jake asked staring at her in confusion. She gave him a wild look; something between being about to burst into laughter and having just witnessed someone dying, before she ran off in another direction leaving him standing confused and alone.
"Hey James," Jake said approaching his best friend since he was five, and also his parabati.
"Hey Jake," James responded turning away from the girl he was speaking to. She seemed to take it as the end of a conversation and left after greeting Jake.
They talked for a minute and then Jake found an opening for the question he so desired to ask. "So what's with the new girl?" He tried to make it as nonchalant as possible but could hear the desire to know in his own voice.
"What makes you think I know anything about her?" James asked, smiling.
"Because you know everything."
James weighed messing around with Jake a little bit before telling him anything but decided against it. "She's Julia Herondale, the daughter of Jace and Clary Herondale."
"Yes, I know that," Jake responded impatiently.
"About a week ago, her parents went missing. They had asked for assistance to their manorhouse, but by the time the Shadowhunters arrived, Julia was unconscious in the library. Rumor has it several others with close connections to her parents have also gone missing. Including Isabelle and Alec Lightwood."
"Why did they all go missing?"
"No one knows. Well perhaps Julia does, but she's not telling anyone anytime soon."
"Why not?" Jake asked.
"She has a silencing ruin on her chest. The strongest the Clave has ever seen. They do not know how long it will last. They don't think it's permanent, but it doesn't seem to be fading at all."
"That explains so much," Jake responded. Of course she would not talk to him. She could not.
"You've met?" James asked.
"She's in my weapons training," Jake responded. James did not respond but one was not necessary. "She knew how to use every weapon in the room. Every weapon! Is that not crazy?" he asked. "I've barely moved on to chagrins and I'm the best in the class."
"Not surprising at all seeing as who her parents were. Well her father at least."
"True," Jake responded. "I'm going to go find her."
He did not in fact go to find her. He moved on to his next class. Latin. It was his least favorite, but he understood the importance. He did find her later quite by accident as he entered the library looking for a book. She was curled in a ball on the couch by the giant window. He approached her slowly not wanting to disrupt her. But she looked up as he neared her.
"Hi," he said. She just looked at him. He had momentarily forgotten she could not speak. He wondered what her voice sounded like. It was probably very sweet. He imagined it to be like honey. Smooth and flowing like it just rolls off her tongue. "What're you reading?" he asked.
She held up the book. The title was written in a language he had never read. It said A Fekete Varos and underneath that Kalman Mikszath. "What is that?" he asked, but once again remembered she could not answer. He looked around and saw paper and a pen nearby. He grabbed it and handed it to her. "You could have found some way to tell me you couldn't speak," he added, but kindly.
She wrote: It's not as easy as you think.
It's Hungarian. It means The Black City.
"You read Hungarian?" he asked. She nodded.
"How many other languages do you know?" he asked. She knew how to use every weapon and could speak Hungarian? Who was this girl?
12, she wrote.
"Twelve?" he asked, his voice incredulous. "Twelve languages?"
Monday was Italian and Spanish, Tuesday was Hungarian and Romanian, Wednesday was Chinese and Japanese, Thursday was French and Bulgarian, and Friday was Latin and learning English sentence structures and stuff, Saturday was German and Russian.
"Nothing on Sunday?" he asked, amused.
Sundays were for learning more common demonic languages.
"Plus you're trained in all weapons by the time your 16. Doesn't sound like a very appealing childhood," he said. Her expression went from friendly to bitter immediately.
I had a great childhood, she scribbled.
"I didn't mean to offend you," he said afraid she was angered, "It just seems like a lot for someone so young."
I'm not younger than you
"A year actually, but that's what I'm saying. I can scarcely speak Latin. I do know Italian, and I know how to use about 6 weapons. And I've trained six days a week since I was 5. I cannot imagine how you can learn so much, let alone be good at it. You must be fluent in Hungarian if you can comfortably read a book written in that language."
Her expression softened. It was tough, but I wouldn't have it any other way. My father trained me to be what I am, but I had loving parents and friends all the same. Well, family friends
He noticed her expression turned sad at the end. He tried to remember that she had just lost everyone she had known a week ago. "I'm sorry," he said. She looked at him with surprise. "I haven't been sympathetic to your situation at all. I have been rude and forward and I apologize. It cannot be easy for you being here, let alone the fact that you cannot speak. If you will allow me, I will become your personal guide to this place."
She glanced at him with curiosity. Then she took the piece of paper she had written on, put it in the book and got up. She smiled and grabbed his arm dragging him with her. She put the book on a shelf and then gestured around as if to say, show me. He liked her smile. It went all the way up into her eyes and set off a flutter in his heart. He laughed at her eagerness. "Maybe you should bring the pen and paper. Just in case." She silently laughed and quickly went to retrieve it.
He took her on a tour of the entire school. Beyond its walls you could see the glass towers gleaming around Idris. He showed her the buildings, where certain rooms were. She would already know where the dormitories were. He took her on a walk across the grounds, the green fields with little hills. They were standing at the stables. Her admiring one of the horses and him admiring her. She turned to him smiling. He did not know what it was about this girl but she was taking his breath away every time she moved. "Come on," he said holding his hand out. "I want to show you something."
They were standing at the far end of a field. In front of her Julia saw an enormous tree. The branches were intertwined with each other almost as if someone had shaped it over the years. It wasn't exactly a beautiful looking tree, but she could not look away from its gracefulness. "This is my favorite spot to come. None of my friend's come here. They think it's a blip on the land and should be taken down. But this spot right here fits perfectly with my body. It's where I come to think and just relax," he confided. She smiled down on him. Her heart was beating rapidly. She had met this boy just this morning, and yet she already felt comfortable with him. He didn't seem to mind her either even though she couldn't say a word. She internally sighed. It was so hard not to speak! But then again, if she could not speak then she could not tell what happened.
They walked slowly back to the school him telling her stories of growing up in Alicante, the main city. She was smiling almost the entire time back. She did not think she would be smiling so much this soon after that night…
Her smile cut off almost as soon as they reached the school. Two men were standing right inside the entrance speaking quietly with each other. She slowed her walk and tensed slightly.
"Are you okay?" Jake asked, looking at her. "Do you know them?" he continued, following her gaze. She nodded. At that moment they seemed to notice her presence.
"They you are," one of the men said coming over to them. "We have been looking everywhere for you Julia." She took a step away from him subconsciously. "Now don't be like that," he said, his calm voice masking his anger. He grabbed an arm out for her but she moved quickly away, quicker than Jake had ever seen any Shadowhunter move. "Julia," the man said, his voice angry now. "This is not a game. You have been summoned for questioning. The council has decided that despite the er unfortunate circumstance of your voice, the information you could provide would be invaluable. You must have some information about what happened a week ago. The Silent Brothers are on their way. Please come peacefully or it will be worse for you in the long run." Julia stood stubbornly staring at him.
"Julia," the other man said, his voice much softer than the other's. "I doubt your parents would want you to resist us right now. They would want you to cooperate would they not?"
She pulled the paper and pen out of her pocket. We have no way of knowing that now do we?
"Do not be stubborn Julia," he said. "Unless you're hiding something." She tensed again but so slightly Jake thought he was the only one who noticed it.
"You do not have an option Julia," the other man said. "Just come with us. The school has already been informed you will be gone the rest of the day."
She felt like a trapped animal. She would betray a secret her parents had kept for years. But what could she do. She did want to find them didn't she? Her mind debated back and forth but she knew she really had no option. She nodded in resignation and followed them waving a goodbye to Jake and giving him a small smile in thanks for the day.
They led her out of the school. Near the gate three horses were waiting for them. She expertly climbed onto one of them and followed them out of the city. Their ride was nearly a half an hour. They arrived at a building she remembered as one of the council buildings. They dismounted and handed their horses off to several men standing by. She was led down a narrow hallway and through a door on the left. The hall was made of a grim gray stone and made the hallway feel even narrower. Her heart was beating rapidly but she kept a mask of grim detachment on her face. At the end of the hall was a thick wooden door. They opened the door and gestured for her to go in. She hesitated for a moment fearing it was some kind of a trap for her, but then figured it did not matter either way and went it.
The room was dark and it took a moment for her eyes to adjust to the light. But once they had she stared in shock. Someone was sitting in a chair in the middle of the room, their arms wrapped in chains holding them to the chair. The person lifted their head to look at her and she gasped. Simon? She thought.