This chapter is going to swap from different POVs a lot.
Chapter 18- Megalomania
Megalomaniac: According to the Oxford Dictionary of English, 'a person who has an obsessive desire for power.'
"I'm only going to ask you once more. Tell me what you know about Jonathan Morgenstern."
The interrogator shook his head, as if pained by what he was faced by, and lowered the man into the water. The man arched vainly to keep his head above the waterline, but it was no use. He remained rigid but calm, until panic kicked in. Until the realisation he was losing oxygen and dying registered with his most basic of instincts. Water flew around the chamber as the man thrashed and twisted, anything to escape the horrific knowledge that a breath now would flood his lungs.
Only was he allowed to gasp at the air when he was on the point of death.
"Tell me what you know about Jonathan Morgenstern." The interrogator was unaffected by the suffering before him.
"Master, please, I don't understand..." The man whined.
Lincoln Nightwine narrowed his eyes. "What is there not to understand? The Inquisitor and I are here to find out information for the Clave. You are to provide that information."
"But you are Jonathan Morgenstern."
"No. I am Lincoln Nightwine. Now, tell me what you know about Jonathan Morgenstern."
Grey eyes pleaded with him, but he merely lowered the board back into the water.
And so it went on. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
A pounding began in the back of my skull. I couldn't watch this any more. Out of my mouth exploded the words, "STOP! Stop it! You've made your point!"
Sebastian turned to look at me, and smiled. "But is this man not your enemy? Is this not the kind of person that your friends killed in Ireland? This man is evil, Clary, and he deserves to pay for his actions."
Anger at his words pulsed in my vision, even though they were true. But I couldn't watch him being tortured. I moved fluidly over to the bindings holding the man to the board, and pulled them free. I heard the splash as he fell into the water, but my eyes were on my brother's. I'd made a direct challenge to his authority, and I had a feeling he wouldn't like it. His black eyes blazed for a moment, and then calmed.
"Since you can't stomach this, you may as well return to the house. Sarah will go with you, and then she'll call a meeting about some new legislation."
"What is the new legislation?" I asked forcefully.
"You'll find out soon enough." He looked over to Sarah. "Take her back to the house. If she struggles or attempts to break free, her vampire will be dead within an hour."
I blanched at this information. How could we be so stupid? We thought that we were going to observe Sebastian, when really he'd been watching us the whole time.
"Away you go, little sister. Away to your tower, where your prince will never find you, because he doesn't know what face to look for."
"Mom, can we talk?" I looked up, startled, as my daughter entered the room. She did not often come to see me here.
"Of course, Aline," I said, smiling at her. Despite the workload I had, I knew it was important I made time for her. She was young, and surely as unsure and insecure as all teenagers feel.
She took a steadying breath. "Well, you see, I with Helen earlier, and she said, well that maybe- maybe-"
A powerful knock hammered on the door. "I'm sorry, Aline, but this may have to wait."
She began to protest weakly, but a strident voice interrupted, "Consul Penhallow, you're presence is requested in the Accords hall."
"There are no meetings today," I said impatiently. Was this man really such an incompetent fool? Could he not see I had more important things to deal with, namely my daughter, standing awkwardly by my desk?
"I know, Consul, but Inquisitor Highgate has called an assembly for a reading of new policies."
"I will be there in a moment," I said dismissively, and he left. I felt somewhat disconcerted; Sarah seemed to be stretching her authority a little too far.
"Do you really have to go?" Aline said softly, already knowing the answer.
"We'll speak later, okay?"
"'Kay." Her dark brown eyes glistened with frustration as I turned to go to the Accords Hall.
Maryse Lightwood, but from the third person.
The Shadowhunter woman looks uneasy as she looks out across the room. She knows there was no meeting scheduled for today. She knows she wouldn't be there if something devastating hadn't happened.
For a brief moment, worry flickers in her blue eyes. She wonders whether he sons and her daughter are safe; it had be a while since Jonathan Morgenstern had made any move, and from what she knew, he was a grandiose person. He was the kind of person who liked things to be big and dramatic. He would want the world to cower in fear before him. The grim line of her mouth suggests she would be one of the few who would refuse to bow down in defeat. She would fight to the end.
She can't afford to lose Alec or Jace or Isabelle. When she looked down into her youngest son's face, and realised she would never see him smile or laugh or frown again, it destroyed part of her. It killed the part that still believed in goodness or fairness. It made her more distant and cold than she'd ever been; she never wanted to love again. She promised herself that she would not open her heart to another person in her life. It was just too painful.
Her face smoothed out as the Inquisitor approached the stand. She was a practical woman, and knew she could not act until she knew what was wrong.
"The Reykjavik Institute has fallen."
Maryse gasped softly, despite her resolve to hide any feelings. The Reykjavik Institute was, despite it's isolated location in Iceland, one of the most heavily guarded of the Institutes. It's foundations were built on the pulsing of the crossing of the highest number of ley lines on Earth. Downworlders had protested when a Shadowhunter domain was built there, as warlocks especially saw the incredible potential for magic. It was this potential that was the reason it was built there.
Ley lines were unpredictable, and often the provided weaker entry point for demons to enter the Earth. With the Shadowhunters there, it was a well-defended site, and had a surprisingly low demon count. Until now.
"I'm sure each and every one of you understands the significance of this. It is clear that Jonathan Morgenstern desires to target the weak spots in our defence, and now that he had captured arguably the most important Institute in the world, he'll think he can do anything. He'll think he can take Alicante. And of course, he and Valentine have done it before, so why not again?"
Highgate was quiet again, and there was a large rumbling of people. Scared people, too. These people had endured more in the last few years than most did in a lifetime; it was easy to see how they could think that it was the end this time. That the demons would finally conquer the Shadowhunters in the last saga of an eternal war.
"Things have to change, and they have to change now. We are not weak, and Morgenstern will discover this to his cost. We can adapt to our situation and draw closer as a people with a united goal. We showed that in our battle against Valentine, when Downworld were on our side of the battlefield for the first time.
But we must draw together. There can be no fighting within our ranks, and unfortunately we must conform to rules that we do not wish to if we want to survive."
Maryse lifted her head at this, and her voice was filling the room suddenly with its icy tones, "Conform to what rules, Inquisitor?"
Sarah turns to face Maryse. Behind her pleasant face, there is an undetectable smugness. "I mean simple things that will ensure the continuity of our races. We will be undoubtedly hit hard by this, even if we do win."
"Specifics," Maryse called out, and there was a collective sound of agreement Sarah was trying to avoiding saying something, trying to evade any contention. Trying to stay in good graces with the people present.
"Well, I think you know exactly what I'm talking about, Maryse Lightwood." When she didn't reply, Highgate continued, with a patronising tone, "Does the mention of your eldest son, Alexander, shed any light on the situation?"
"I don't know what you're trying to imply, but-"
"I think we all can see, Nephilim and Downworlders alike, that homosexuality is not healthy for the survival of our species. However, as we don't wish to cause any upset with Downworld relations, we will not impose any rules on you. However, we expect our own people, a people already low in numbers, to uphold such laws."
"And how are you going to enforce such a law?" she challenged.
"Well, over the next few weeks Alexander will have visits from the Clave, and they will see whether he can control his own desires. If he cannot, he will be brought to Idris, and we will reform his mindset."
"He is my son, Highgate, and you will not be sending anyone out to him."
"He is the property of the Clave, Maryse. If he does not obey our Law, he is not a Shadowhunter and he will have his marks stripped. I'm sure he'll see this our way, though. Surely your son understands the necessity of only traditional relationship being sanctioned in these difficult times.
And now, we will put it to vote anyway. All those in favour of the ban on homosexual relationships raise your hand.."
Maryse did not stay to watch the vote. She knew how it would go; only small dents had been made in the Clave's conservative mindset, and so everyone would quickly revert to being close-minded again. Downworlders wouldn't care because it didn't affect them.
She ripped a piece of paper from a notebook in her pocket, and wrote words,
My children, and Guardians of the New York Institute,
It's started. Highgate has just brought in her first new law, and all without Jia's consent. It won't be long before she usurps Jia's position.
Alexander, you cannot be seen with Magnus. Highgate wants to destroy the main force of opposition to Morgenstern, and right now that's us; the Lightwoods, the Fairchild women and Simon and Magnus. If she can find any excuse to strip your Marks, she'll do it. She knows you and Jace are parabatai, and whatever she does to you will hurt him. -
She then removed a stele from her pocket and inscribed a rune on the paper. It burst into bright gold flames, which were reflected in her eyes. It made them look darker, closer to the black of her daughters, the contrast of the white-centre of the flame and her blue irises sharp.
I know this is a little short, but I hope that I will be beginning to write regularly again. Tell me if there are any mistakes.