Book 1 in the Falling series. Enjoy!
The ashes began to fall.
Part I: FlamesEdit
Chapter One-Memory BoxEdit
Harriet sat on her bed, twisting the ring round and round in her hands. It gleamed silver in the light, shimmering like a mirror. The stars engraved in it blinked back up at her. Harriet blinked back tears, feeling lonely for what felt like the first time in years.
The ring had belonged to her parents, it was embellished with the Morgenstern family emblem: stars. Harriet didn't remember Clary and Jace Lightwood very much, the nicest memory she had of them was feeling happy, baby happy, gurgling away in her mother's marked arms. Harriet barely recalled Jace at all. She didn't think he'd ever been there very much, away on important Shadowhunter buisness. The only feature Harriet never forgot was that Jace had very strong amber eyes, and a lot of blonde hair. She remembered feeling safe and joyful when her father held her and laughed along with her.
Ben knew more about their parents; he was two years older, and he thought he was superior to Harriet in every way, just because he was sixteen. Big brothers, she thought with a scowl. Ben had more of Jace's old belongings:a box of their grandfather, Stephen Herondale's stuff, Jace's stele and a seraph blade of his as well. Harriet sifted through the rest of Clary's things, trying to envision what person she would've been should she still be here.
The wooden chest held lots of grainy photos, likely to have been taken on ancient moblie phones. Harriet examined each one carefully, but there wasn't anything she saw that was new. She looked through the box when she was feeling depressed, or lonely, or angry, or all three. Most of the pictures were of Jace and Clary: her mother's wild red hair fanning out like a lion's mane and Jace grinning cooly at the camera. There was a photo of Harriet's parents at a party, Clary's engagement ring winking in the flash of a camera, standing next to a handsome and pale man with tousled brown hair who looked about sixteen.
Harriet always wondered who she was, but she was afraid to ask Isabelle in case the Head got angry. The final photo was on the Harriet had always poured over, and she almost knew the image by heart. It was of her Mum and Dad, Ben when he was only two, and her six month old self. Tears always sprung to Harriet's eyes when she looked at the picture. Everyone looked so happy; Ben grinning like the Cheshire cat, Jace and Clary beaming, and baby Harriet sleeping in her blanket, looking cute. The same brown haired, pale teenager was there again in the photo, and he didn't look any older than he had been before. He had his arms round Isabelle, who looked delighted. There were several other adults in the background that Harriet never knew, but she did recognise Alec Lightwood, who had once visited Isabelle at the Institute several years back. Harriet had liked him,
Sighing, Harriet got up, sliding the ring on her right middle finger. She always wore it, it made her feel closer to her parents. She wore her mother's engagement ring on her left ring finger. The jewelery almost made her feel safe. Harriet stalked into the bathroom, taking her frustration out on her hair, brushing it vigorously. Her hair was honey blonde and just touched her collarbone. Isabelle always said that Harriet had her mother's green eyes and her father's tanned skin.
Done with her hair, Harriet left her room altogether and decicded to talk to Annabel. Isabelle's youngest child was always up for a fight, and was a master with her bow and arrow. Harriet liked to think she inherited her fiesty nature from her mother, but having two older brothers might've helped.
Isabelle never talked about her children's father. The Head of the Institute owned no photographs, no ring, no nothing. Harriet had always wondered who Annabel's dad was, but there was no clue as all of Isabelle's kids looked just like her:dark hair and dark eyes.
So lost in thought, Harriet almost ran over Harry in the hall. 'Sorry,' she mumbled apologetically.
Annabel's oldest brother smiled. 'It's ok.' He pulled out a sword from his heavy, huge belt. 'Check out this baby. Birthday gift from Uncle Alec.'
Harriet couldn't help but grin. Last week was Harry's birthday, and since Alec still lived in New York, his present's tended to be late. Harry had an obsession with weapons, and was always arguing over them with his younger brother Jay. Jay's real name was actually Benjamin but he insisted everyone called him by his nickname. Annambel remarked that he was trying to be like the rock vampires down in Stratford, to which Jay glared at his sister and snorted grumpily.
'Cool,' Harriet replied. 'Ready to kill some demons?'
Harry backflipped down the corridor. 'Course I am.' He did a pretend ninja pose. 'I'm always ready.'
Shaking her head in amusement, Harriet pushed open the door to Annabel's room. 'Hey? Babs, are you there?'
'Yeah!' the yell came from the bathroom.
Harriet wandered over to the other side of the room, trying to breath through her nose. Annabel's room always smelt of sweet perfume. Today, the scents of grapefrut and orange wafted through the air, almost choking Harriet. Annabel never seemed to care what people thought of her, but she had a very good dress sense. Her wardrobe was filled with tops, tights and trousers. Clothes were always strewn across the floor like litter, and the bathroom was no different.
Pushing through another door, Harriet walked in to Annabel twisting her dark hair up into a tight knot. She held it in place with a dagger and a crystal seraph blade. The items stuck through her hair like chopsticks. 'You look like a Japanese woman,' Harriet said brusquely, trying to stifle giggles.
Harriet turned and raised a dark brown eyebrow at her. 'Thanks for the complement.' She looked back at the mirror on the wall. 'It looks fine.' She turned back to Harriet. 'Besides, I have training this afternoon and I can't find any hair ties.'
Rolling her eyes, Harriet pulled one off her wrist. 'Take my emergency one. It'll save you from looking like an Asian freak.'
Annabel smiled. 'Do you ever think before you speak Harriet?'
'Never,' Harriet said airily. 'I'm my own character.'
Annabel opened her mouth, as if she were about to reply with a sarcastic comment, but was interrupted by the Institute gong sounding downstairs. Annabel frowned. 'Who's at the door? It can't be a Shadowhunter, we're allowed in without permission.'
'Might be a Downworlder,' Harriet suggested. 'They might be coming for council buisness.'
Annabel shrugged, then sprang out of the room with the agility of a trained Shadowhunter. 'Let's move. That dagger in my hair might come in handy.'
Chapter Two-The VampireEdit
Harriet and Annabel rushed down the corridor. Harriet had always loved the Institute-it was really homely and despite being born in New York, she always felt she belonged in London. After reaching the end of the passage, the girls turned left into a similar white corridor. At the end of it was a set of winding steps that spiraled down to the bottom floor, not unlike those in a castle. Jay always complained about the steps and moaned that they should install a lift instead.
Harriet bounded down the stairs two at a time. She wondered who could be hiding behind the large brown oak doors of the Institute. There were two in London: the one here, in Westminster, and the other in Hackney. Harriet reached the end of the steps, and rushed down the pews. She had loved gazing at all the different carvings on them as an eight year old, staring deep into each picture. She heard another pair of feet clumping down from the upper floors; it must be Jay, Harriet thought, he always had a heavy step.
Annabel had reached the door now, and turned round to see Jay running his hand through his hair. She grinned. 'Hey big bro.' She looked him up and down. 'Nice shirt. Where did you get it?'
Harriet turned at glanced at her step brother. He was wearing a T-shirt that had CLEARLY I HAVE MADE SOME BAD DESICIONS written across the faded fabric. Jay grinned. 'Mum gave it to me. Second hand thing of hers she had in her wardrobe.'
Harriet eyed it carefully. 'It looks more like a men's shirt to me. Why would Izzy have it?'
Jay shrugged. 'Who cares? It's vintage. Maybe I will be able to join the vampire rockers after all.'
Annabel rolled her eyes, then said impatiently. 'Come on, the person outside will be waiting.' And she flung open the doors, using her strong muscles to push them out wide.