Of Seraph Blades And Ballgowns.
I find the 19th Century such a fascinating era, one that's always piqued my interest. So viola! An AU version of TMI with some big changes, some small. Yes the characters are a little OOC at times, but it's for the story's benefit. I hope you like my little attempt at something different and drop me a review? Thank you so much and read on! :)
:AU: 1866 and Clary is promised to marry a daring young Shadowhunter whom she's never met. What will happen when she finally meets her husband to be and realizes that he's nothing like she expected? –Clace-
-For my Shizzeh-
The gentle melody of a music box was what woke little Clary Morgenstern from her sleep. She rolled onto her side, gazing with tired emerald green eyes upon the trinket. Her father had bought it back from some far country on his travels when she had been five years old, eleven years ago. It was small, about the size of her fist in the shape of a dancing young woman and her escort. They were in silver, their poses gentle even when spinning together. The melody was Idrisian, a childrens song about the first of her bloodline. The Morgensterns. A young Shadowhunter lost his way in the dead of night, only to be guided the way out of the darkness by the light of a single star. The first star to light up the sky, and the last one to fade over Idris. One as beautiful as the fallen angel it had been named after. The Morning Star. Clary had once lost her key and spent the whole day sobbing, believing she would never hear its sweet melody ever again. Someone had found it in the night and left it upon her pillow to wake up to. No one stepped forwards to take the praise when the household staff was asked.
It was a mystery. Even now, all these years later.
Clary raised a hand and ran a finger gently over the girls' smooth silver ballgown, winding the key and watching her begin to spin with her handsome young man. Just as the music died down and she was about to wind it again, there was a knock upon the door. "Come in." She called.
With a quiet clatter, the heavy mahogany door was opened and a brown head peered past, causing a smile to creep across her face as she sat up with a rustle of bedcovers. "Good morning Simon."
"Good morning Clary." He grinned, making Clary laugh internally- her fathers face if she knew that his daughter was on first name terms with her servant.
Simon Lewis was from a mundane family that had been torn apart by vampires. Clary's mother, Jocelyn, had discovered the boy cowering under the table in the kitchen with his parents dead in the kitchen. She'd taken him in as her daughters servant when he was only six. But he was more her best friend than servant. He was nothing special to the eye, ragged brown hair and matching eyes with glasses perched crookedly before them on the bridge of his nose. He had no Sight, but that didn't matter.
Simon wandered over to the thick blood red velvet curtains and tugged them open, allowing the sunlight to stream in as he tied them back. Clary winced as the light stung her eyes, sighing out gently. "It's today, isn't it?"
A silence and Simon nodded, answering with regret in his voice. "It is."
"I do not suppose that you would like to take my place?"
A laugh later and the boy shook his head. "To wear a chest crushing corset topped off with a gown? Do you really think my hair has grown that long?"
Clary laughed too, swinging to her feet and getting up with a groan, eyes flickering around her bedroom- how different it was to most her age.
It had been a long and arduous argument between Valentine Morgenstern and his wife on the future of their only daughter. Jocelyn argued that Clary shouldn't be trained as a Shadowhunter, while Valentine pressed that she should. That she was of a noble bloodline of Shadowhunters. Eventually, they agreed on a deal-
She was to be Marked, trained so she wasn't useless, but that was it. Clary was a young lady, and that was her future.
Of ballgowns and dances, not seraph blades and blood.
Humming gently to herself, Clary slipped behind her screen and changed into her dark red morning dress, calling Simon afterwards to do up her corset. He had gentle hands, hands that never hurt her like her old maids did. It had taken Clary two weeks to convince her father to let Simon be the one to do her corsets, ignoring his snide comments about the boy looking where he shouldn't, that she was growing too attached to a servant boy.
"He might be a lovely gentleman." Simon told her quietly as he tugged at her strings. "You never know. Well, until tonight."
Clary laughed bitterly, wincing a fraction as the tightest string at the bottom of her spine was pulled on. "I hardly believe that this Shadowhunter gentleman will be entirely suitable. I am rather sure that my father chose him, not my mother. He shall be some uncouth boy who thinks himself the best Shadowhunter of his age, ugly, rich, strict and disgusting."
"Ah, I can see why you are worried. Expecting some rogue?"
"That I am." Clary muttered, taking as deep a breath as it was possible in her dress, smoothing the front of her skirt down. "I am more concerned that if he was chosen by my father, he shall be just like him."
"Punch in the face-able?" Simon offered and Clary tutted at him, slipping her shoes on with ease and braiding her hair back, knowing that the boy wasn't as good as her. "You should not say things like that. If my father heard you, you would be tossed onto the street missing your tongue."
Simon winced, raising a hand and prodding the tip of his tongue to make sure it was still there. "You've no idea of the nature of this boy?"
"None at all. Not even a name." Clary replied glumly, fixing the necklace with the Morgenstern crest of stars around her neck. A sigh later and her eyes flickered to the boy before she muttered out. "I must leave. Good day Lewis."
"Good day my lady." He grinned out, making Clary giggle as he swept off his invisible hat and sank into an exuberant bow.
As Clary descended the wide and sweeping white marble staircase, drawing steadily nearer to the dining room, she heard a voice. A voice that was loud and harsh. Her fathers, for she knew it anywhere.
"How dare you attempt to serve us breakfast on unsatisfactory china-!"
"I am sorry my Lord! But, I am not the one to clean or inspect the dishes; I only serve what I am given."
"What a smart mouth you have. You are excused from my service."
"Get out this instant and leave your uniform behind."
Clary paused at the bottom of the stairs to listen to her father having at a maid. She'd been dismissed anyway, like most of them. If a maid lasted more than a week before incurring his wrath, it was a miracle. The older staff were more than used to his outbursts, staying well out of the way in the fear that he'd go on a rampage. It wasn't unheard of.
"Ah, good morning Clarissa." Valentine Morgenstern told his daughter as he adjusted his tie that matched the dark hues of his eyes. He was a handsome man, tall with white blonde hair. Unusual everyone who had met him for the first time had said To have white hair and black eyes. He had joked once to a group that had commented that his eyes matched his soul. Clary knew he hadn't been joking. She forced out a smile, knowing better than anyone not to antagonize him. "Good morning Father."
"I shall be with you and your mother in just a moment." He told her as he walked off towards the red carpeted steps that led to the basement level. Clary had always wondered why her father spent so much time down there in the apparent darkness with no one but himself for company. What was he doing? What lay down there? She'd never know, for the area was strictly forbidden. Once, when she had been maybe six, she had wandered down five steps… but not before her father caught her red handed with his eyes blazing and dragged her upstairs by her arm, dislocating her wrist and throwing her into her bedroom, locking it with a rune until the next morning for punishment.
She'd never gone near the steps again.
Clary proceeded to the dining room and spied her mother looking resplendent in a dark green dress that clashed beautifully with her eyes, eating her eggs and bacon in silence. But as her daughter walked in, she looked up and a smile spread across her face, raising a hand to rub at her wrist. Shadowhunter women were rare, but not unheard off. It would be shameful to society to have a woman in such a beautiful ball gown, but her arms as scarred as a whipped prisoner. They were made to wear dresses with long sleeves, or gloves that completely obscured the dark Marks.
Jocelyn Morgenstern was one of the rare individuals that wore her Marks with pride, turning up to balls and meetings on her husbands arm with her own bare, ignoring the stares and looks of disgust that were sent her way. If it wasn't for her notable marital last name, she would have been excluded from all occasions.
No one wanted to argue with Valentine, for his argument concerning his wife and all women who chose to become Shadowhunters was a convincing one.
"These women chose to fight. Are they not allowed to wear their Marks with pride and show off their battle scars for fear of being excluded from society? They have as much right to bear the Marks of the Angel as we men do. Some women have done more for the Shadowhunter history than men have. I married a woman that is both beautiful on the battlefield as she is in the ballroom. Discriminating on who cannot fight based on gender must be ended."
There had been arguments, of course. For and against. And even now in the late summer of 1866, the outcome wasn't decided.
"Eat your breakfast Clarissa." Her mother told her as she took a seat to bacon and eggs. Clary fought the urge to wrinkle her nose in disgust at the sight of the eggs. She hated them. Normally, the chef knew. But today the youngest Morgenstern of the mansion's tastes had been forgotten.
"Mother, I detest eggs." Clary told her mother who looked up from her breakfast and groaned, rolling her eyes. "They are good for you, get them down you."
I have no desire to eat something that came out of a chicken's backside Clary thought internally as she cut one up with a little shiver at the bright yellow yolk. Disgusting.
They ate in silence, only looking up to acknowledge Valentine's return as he seated himself down at the head of the table with a low groan, the open curtains causing the sunlight to hit his hair and make it shine like white gold. There was a clink of china as he raised his cutlery. The room was in utter silence until he asked his daughter "Are you ready for tonight?"
Clary nodded, a little too stiffly. "I am Father."
"Come now Clarissa." He said in amusement, setting his knife and fork down. "It is a joyous affair. He is a handsome young man I assure you. You doubt my choice?"
"No, I do not." Clary said hastily, but she did. God only knew what 'handsome young man' he'd chosen for her. She knew his friends, what brutal and unruly creatures they were. The only one she could stand the sight of was Lucian, her fathers parabatai. He was a good man, the one who slid her new books to read under the table. The one who had more or less taught her to read when her tutors failed.
"Good." He said in a crisp voice, glancing up as the maid filled up his cup of tea, picking it up with his left hand and taking a sip.
It was a quiet affair, breakfast. One that Valentine left early, taking Jocelyn along with him. Clary ate the rest of her breakfast alone and in silence until Simon walked in, seating himself opposite, causing the girl to tut out "If my father saw you sitting there, he would throw you out for being lazy."
"Well, he can try. But I am a fighter, you of all people should know that." He put his feet up on the table, making Clary giggle. "Are your parents having another child?"
Clary arched a brow. "How should I know? Why do you ask?"
"Because it certainly sounded like they were trying last night. All last night, I might add."
"Urgh. Simon, I really and truly did not want to know of my parents nightly activities. What were you doing listening? Sitting outside their door (?)"
He wrinkled his nose. "I heard something."
"Well now you know what it was."
"No no. Not your parents, it was coming from the corridors. Like… someone was walking around." There was a light frown upon his young face. "It was… strange. I got there and the person was gone."
"Are you saying someone is wandering the corridors by night?"
"Wandering the town as well. You are familiar with the stories?"
Clary nodded a little- it had started when she was five. There had been tales of a figure, a figure with eyes as dark as a demons and hair as white as snow. Wandering Alicante by night, stealing everything from food to weapons. Valentine had put it down to a rogue werewolf that was of a pure white color and black eyes. It seemed he had been correct, for when the beast was slain, the thieving stopped. But then, a few months later, it started up again. No one seemed to be able to capture or even clap eyes upon the person or creature responsible.
"It makes me feel uneasy." Simon muttered, sliding his feet down from the table and getting to them. "I am no Shadowhunter, but I sleep with a knife under my pillow because of all this."
Clary burst out laughing. "You could not hit anything with a knife if your life depended on it!"
"Thank you for the confidence, Miss. Morgenstern. I shall see to you later. Have a good day." Simon said with a scoff, walking out of the room without another word. Clary groaned, closing her eyes for a second. She hadn't meant to offend him, not at all. If desired, she could have him punished… but Clary would never do that to him. She endured his little temper tantrums with good grace because who else would there be to talk to if he wasn't around?
She'd be Little Miss Morgenstern, all on her own.
Clearing her throat lightly, Clary rose to her feet and retreated back up to her bedroom where there was a dress, a massive ball gown hanging upon her mirror. It was a dark, dark red edged with black, a sweetheart neckline. Yeah… if only she had something to show off. So expensive looking that it made her blink twice. Trust her father to go all elaborate.
I do not… want to do this. She thought glumly as she raised a hand and let her fingers brush the tight fitting bodice of the garment. Why would I want to marry some boy or man or whatever just because it is expected of me? To carry on a bloodline?
She rolled her eyes, breathing out to herself. "I shall meet this rogue and tell him I am not like other girls. That love has to be earned, not forced upon someone. I refuse to follow such infernal rules."
Clary smiled to herself at the end, catching sight of her confident expression in the vanity mirror upon its table.
But inside, she was terrified.
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