Author's Note: I have just finished editing my stories, adding some new scenes and even chapters in some cases. I am also working to finish The Devil's Crucible (I know you probably thought it would never happen) and I will begin reposting it as soon as I have the rest of the edited stories updated. Thanks for your patience.

Chapter 1

The Witching Hour; that time of night when witches, ghosts and demons are thought to appear and black magic is at its strongest;

It was a beautiful early fall morning in New York City. Alec Lightwood lay nestled with his warlock boyfriend Magnus Bane under the bright yellow comforter on their king-sized bed. Alec enjoyed the light breeze and city sounds that floated up through the slightly opened loft window. He and Magnus had been living together officially for two years now and yet when Alec saw the long, lithe body of his boyfriend cuddled close to him, it still sent shivers of excitement down his spine and made the breath hitch in his throat. Magnus Bane, powerful, confident, High Warlock of Brooklyn loved him … shy, insecure, 'blend into the woodwork' Alec Lightwood. How was it even possible?

Alec let a small smile play across his face because whether or not it made any sense, Magnus loved him, and he knew it in the depths of his soul. Gently he lifted his head off the pillow and placed a soft kiss on Magnus' cheek before rolling up off the bed and padding to the bathroom for a quick shower. It was far too early to wake Magnus so he would have to leave a note. Izzy had texted him half an hour ago to let him know there was an important meeting being held at the Institute, and his mother, Maryse expected him to attend.

After his shower, Alec dressed quickly in shadowhunter gear, there would probably be patrolling to do with Jace and Izzy when the meeting broke up. Fully geared up, Alec moved toward the small kitchen, noticing as he did so that a tiny, fluffy gray kitten was following him like a second shadow. Chuckling, he scooped up Chairman Meow cradling him in the crook of his arm as he proceeded to the kitchen. Alec fed the Chairman and made enough coffee for himself and Magnus when the warlock finally managed to roll out of bed.

As he wrote a brief note to let Magnus know where he'd gone, Alec found his mind worrying about the purpose of the sudden meeting. There had been no indication yesterday of any impending issues that might account for it, yet he couldn't quite shake the feeling that something bad had happened. Shivering slightly, Alec scolded himself, there was really no point borrowing trouble. Time enough to worry when you knew you had something to worry about.

Returning to the bedroom, Alec placed the note carefully on the bedside table where Magnus was sure to find it. He bent over the peaceful body of his lover and placed a soft kiss on his slightly parted lips. Magnus looked so beautiful laying there with his soft black hair framing his exotic features. Alec found himself wishing he could just crawl back under the covers and hold Magnus in his arms forever. With a soft sigh, he stole one more kiss and turned away leaving Magnus blissfully unaware of his departure.

~~~~~!~~~~~

Alec arrived at the institute and was surprised to find several high ranking Clave officials already assembled in the principle conference room. Whatever this meeting was about, it was obviously important. Alec quietly took a seat at the far end of the massive oak table that dominated the rectangular room. Large stain glass windows flanked the wall at the head of the table, the early morning light filtering through the coloured glass seemed to highlight the fact that the chairs at the head of the table were still vacant.

Jace and Izzy entered the room a few minutes after Alec and took the seats on either side of him. He couldn't help heaving a small sigh of relief at seeing their familiar faces, although his quick glance had also confirmed they seemed to be just as much in the dark as he was about the reason for this gathering.

As the old mantle clock finished chiming the early morning hour, the final two shadowhunters entered the conference room, Consul Jia Penhallow and the new Inquisitor, Ezra Highsmith. Alec heard Izzy give a small gasp as the two entered but then found his attention drawn to the new Inquisitor possibly because his own father, Robert, had wanted the job. Ezra Highsmith was a tall, lean man in his early fifties. He had piercing gray eyes, cold and shrewd, in a patrician face that might have been handsome once, but it was marred by his haughty expression.

Jia Penhallow called the meeting to order and wasted no time getting down to business. She looked sternly around the room as if trying to look into the very souls of those gathered around the table. Her voice echoed slightly in the silence of the room.

"I have called this meeting to address some very serious allegations that have been levelled against the Clave and if they are not investigated appropriately and action taken our recent Accords with Downworlders may be in jeopardy."

Alec whose eyes were still focused on the Inquisitor as Consul Penhallow spoke, thought he detected the smallest hint of a sneer on Highsmith's face at the word Accords. Before he could be sure, however, the man's face appeared as cool and unemotional as before and Alec's attention wandered back to the Consul who was reading the prepared statement of a young warlock, Adele Hedgewitch.

I swear that the statement I am about to give is the truth, the whole truth. On the night of September 3rd, I, Adele Hedgewitch and my partner werewolf Daniel Greyback were passing Grayfriar's Kirkyard on our way to a meeting with the High Warlock of Edinburgh. We were planning to set up a magical herb's business in the old town and our purpose in meeting with the High Warlock was to introduce ourselves and explain our reasons for being in Edinburgh. As we were passing the old graveyard, five men, their faces covered by masks approached and surrounding us; we were quickly overpowered, robbed of our valuables and left for dead. I believe these men were shadowhunters, though I could not see their faces, the weapons they carried were the blessed swords you call seraph blades. My partner Daniel died of his injuries and but for the sudden appearance of the High Warlock, I might have died as well.

Consul Penhallow waited a few minutes to allow the buzz of conversation generated by the warlock's statement to die down. Once she was sure she had the attention of the group, she continued; "A preliminary investigation into this matter was conducted by the Edinburgh Institute. That investigation concluded that the Warlock, Adele Hedgewitch, was mistaken in her belief that shadowhunters were responsible, but does not shed any light on who might be. I need hardly tell you that the situation cannot remain like that. The Warlock representative to the Clave has personally requested we intervene to get to the bottom of this incident."

"What do you propose Consul?" asked one of the Clave members seated near the head of the table.

Before Jia Penhallow had a chance to respond to the question, Inquisitor Highsmith interrupted; "I believe, with your approval of course Consul;" he said with a small self-deprecating smile; "that an independent investigation be launched by my office."

Looking slightly irritated, Consul Penhallow stated; "I do agree that an independent inquiry must be launched, but I believe it would be more appropriate if it is conducted by a sister Institute, until we are sure that formal charges through the Inquisitor's office are warranted. In light of this I would like the New York Institute to assign shadowhunter Alexander Lightwood to do this investigation on behalf of the Clave."

At the mention of his name, Alec felt a slight shock run through him surely he had misheard what the Consul just said. He was to do the initial inquiry!? He glanced up to see a small, pleased smile on his mother's face, had she known this would happen? He continued to watch Maryse as she responded to the Consul's request.

"Agreed Consul, I will ensure that Alexander is briefed and ready to go first thing tomorrow morning."

Consul Penhallow nodded then rose as she prepared to call the meeting to a close. "Good, I need hardly remind all of you that this matter must be treated with great discretion. We will meet again when Alexander has concluded his inquiry and discuss the next steps." With that her eyes swept the room and she left without a backward glance, the Inquisitor, looking none too pleased, hot on her heels.