“I’ve become skeptical of the unwritten rule that just because a boy and girl appear in the same feature, a romance must ensue. Rather, I want to portray a slightly different relationship, one where two people mutually inspire each other to live. If I’m able to, then perhaps I’ll be closer to portraying a true expression of love.” -Hayao Miyazaki
“Actually, it’s short for Maximum Lightwood,” said Magnus. “As in the most amount of Lightwood you can have.”
Far below them the world spun by, a patchwork of summer-gold fields, green hills, and luminous, winding rivers of blue and green. It was beautiful, but Julian could not take his eyes off his brother. So this is the Wild Hunt, he thought. This freedom, this expanse, this ferocity of joy. For the first time, he understood how and why Mark’s choice to stay with his family might not be an easy one. For the first time he thought in wonder of how much his brother must love him after all, to consider giving up the sky for his sake.
3. And even odder, when Mark and Kieran had come into the library, Kieran had gone immediately over to Max and picked him up, delighted by his blue skin and his tiny horns.Max had stuck his hand into Kieran’s wavy hair and pulled. Kieran had just laughed. “That’s right, it changes color, little nixie-like warlock,” he said. “Look.” And his hair went from blue-black to blue in an instant. Max giggled.“I didn’t know you could do that on purpose,” said Mark, who had always thought of Kieran’s hair as a reflection of his moods, uncontrollable as the tides.“You don’t know a lot of things about me, Mark Blackthorn,” Kieran said, setting Max down.Alec and Magnus had exchanged a look at that, the sort of look that made Mark feel as if they had reached a silent and agreed-upon consensus …
“You’re going to have to learn to live with it,” Jules said. “Even if it horrifies you, Emma. Even if it makes you sick. Just like I’m going to have to live with whatever other boyfriends you have, because we are forever no matter how, Emma, no matter what you want to call what we have, we will always be us.”
5. They threw their weapons down and hurled themselves toward the row of horses, one after the other — Livvy leapt at Julian, throwing her arms around his neck. Mark flung himself from his horse and landed to find himself being hugged tightly by Dru and Tavvy. Ty came more quietly, but with the same incandescent happiness on his face. He waited for Livvy to be done nearly strangling her brother and then stepped in to take Julian’s hands.And Julian, who Kit had always thought of as an almost frightening model of control and distance, grabbed his brother and yanked him close, his hands twisting in the back of Ty’s shirt. His eyes were shut, and Kit had to look away.He had never had anyone but his father, and he was sure beyond any words that his father had never loved him like that.
6. “Clary, what are you not telling me?”There was a long silence. Clary looked out toward the dark water, biting her lip. Finally, she spoke. “Jace asked me to marry him.”“Oh!” Emma had already begun opening her arms to hug the other girl when she caught sight of Clary’s expression. She froze. “What’s wrong?”
7. There was a long silence. Magnus sighed. “I have to hand it to you,” he said. “I never thought Jace and Clary would be topped by anyone else in terms of insane, self-destructive decisions, but you all are giving them a run for their money.”“I really had nothing to do with this,” Kieran pointed out stiffly.“I think you will find many poor decisions led you here, my friend,” Magnus said. “All right, you — all of you — wait here. And don’t do anything stupid.”He strode out of the room on long, black-clad legs, swearing under his breath.“He’s getting more and more like Gandalf,” said Emma, watching him go. “I mean, a hot, younger-looking Gandalf, but I keep expecting him to start stroking his long white beard and muttering darkly.
8. There was a commotion atop the pavilion, and a single blast from a horn shattered the murmuring quiet in the clearing. The gentry looked up. A tall figure had appeared beside the throne. He was all in white, salt-white, with a doublet of white silk and gauntlets of white bone. White horns curled from either side of his head, startling against the blackness of his hair. A gold band encircled his forehead.Cristina exhaled. “The King.”Emma could see his profile: it was beautiful. Clear, precise, clean like a drawing of something perfect. Emma couldn’t have described the shape of his eyes or cheekbones or the crook of his mouth, and she lacked Jules’ ability to paint it, but she knew it was uncanny and wonderful and that she would remember the face of the King of the Seelie Court for all of her life.He turned, bringing his face into full view. Emma heard Cristina gasp faintly. The King’s face was divided down the middle. The right side was the face of a handsome young man, luminous with youth and beauty. The left side was an inhuman mask, gray skin tight and leathery over bone, eyesocket empty and black, mottled with red scars.Kieran, bound to the tree, looked once at the monstrous face of his father and turned his head away, his chin dropping, tangled dark hair falling to hide his eyes.
9. When Emma came out into her bedroom, wearing sweatpants and a tank top and rubbing her hair dry with a green towel, she found Mark curled up at the foot of her bed, reading a copy of Alice in Wonderland.He was wearing a pair of cotton pajama bottoms that Emma had bought for three dollars from a vendor on the side of the PCH. He was partial to them as being oddly close in their loose, light material to the sort of trousers he’d worn in Faerie.If it bothered him that they also had a pattern of green shamrocks embroidered with the words GET LUCKY on them, he didn’t show it. He sat up when Emma came in, scrubbing his hands through his hair, and smiled at her.Mark had a smile that could break your heart. It seemed to take up his whole face and brighten his eyes, firing the blue and gold from inside.“A strange evening, forsooth,” he said.Emma put her hands on her hips. “Don’t you forsooth me.”
10. “It can’t last,” Emma said, staring at him, because how could it, when they could never keep what they had? “It’ll break our hearts.”He caught her by the wrist, brought her hand to his chest. Splayed her fingers over his heart. It beat against her palm, like a fist punching its way out of his ribcage. “Break my heart,” he said. “Break it in pieces. I give you permission.”
11. “I have always needed you, Kieran,” Mark said. “I have needed you to live. I’ve always needed you so much, I never had a chance to think about whether we were good for each other or not.”Kieran sat up. “That is honest,” he said, finally. “I cannot fault you there.”
12. Cristina spread her hands apart in bewilderment, and winced. Mark’s expression turned to one of concern.“You’re not in pain?” he said.“No,” she said. “Are you?”“You’re near me,” he said. “There is no reason for me to hurt.”
“I know.” Mark brushed his lips across her forehead. Cristina could feel his heart pounding. “We’ll figure it out. We’ll fix it.”
Kieran sat up rather reluctantly. The waves of his hair had lightened to blue; he turned around, and leaned back against Mark, rather as if they were on horseback and Mark was behind.
15. Kieran shook his head. “I cannot do it,” he said.“Kier —“ Mark began angrily, but Kieran had his head down, like a beaten dog. His hair fell, sweat-tangled, into his face, and his shirt and the waist of his breeches were soaked in blood. “You’re bleeding again. I thought you said you were healing?”“I thought I was,” Kieran said softly. “Mark, leave me here —“A hand touched Mark’s shoulder. Cristina. She had put her knife away. She looked at him, levelly. “I’ll help you get him over the wall.”
16. “Not one of my best,” said Magnus, to Kieran. “I apologize — I’m not a big fan of your father’s.”“My father does not have fans.” Kieran leaned against the edge of the table. “He has subjects. And enemies.”“And sons.”“His sons are his enemies,” said Kieran, without inflection.
The Playlist Series: Songs You Will Hear at an African American Family Function
Sister Sledge: “We Are Family” Frankie Beverly & Maze: “Before I let Go” S.O.S. Band: “Don’t Stop the Music” Slave: “Just A Touch of Love” One Way: “Cutie Pie” Patrice Rushe: “Forget Me Nots” The Isley Brothers: “For the Love of You” Juvenile: “Back that Ass Up” Curtist Mayfield: “Pusherman” Al Green: “Let’s Stay Together” Stevie Wonder: “Isn’t She Lovely” R. Kelly: “Step in the Name of Love” Luther Vandross: “Never Too Much" Shalamar: “Make That Move” Teena Marie: “Square Biz” Kool & the Gang: “ Get Down On it” Sugar Hill Gang: “Rappers Delight” Earth, Wind & Fire: “Reasons” Strafe: “Set it Off” The Gap Band: “You Dropped A Bomb on Me” Chic: “Good Times” Montel Jordan: “This “is How we Do It” Evelyn Champagne King: “Love Come Down” Club Nouveau: “Why You Treat Me So Bad” McFadden & Whitehead: “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now” Sly and The Family Stone: “Family Affair: Al Green: “Love and Happiness” Switch: “I Call Your Name” 68 Boyz: “Tootsee Roll” The O'Jays: “Love Train“ Carl Carlton: "She’s A Bad Mama Jama” The Whispers: “Rock Steady” Johnny Kemp: “Just Got Paid” Kool & the Gang: “Celebration” Ohio Players: “Love Roller Coaster” Al Green: “Tired of Being Alone” Marcia Griffiths: “ Electric Boogie (The Electric Slide)” Roger: "I Want to Be Your Man” Ohio Players: “Fire” Earth, Wind & Fire: “September” The Commodores: “Brick House” Michael Jackson: “Billie Jean” Chaka Khan: “Ain’t Nobody” Whitney Houston: “I wanna Dance With Somebody” Parliament: “Flashlight” DJ Casper: “Cha Cha Slide” Zap: “ Computer Love” The Whispers: “And the Beat Goes On” S.O.S.: “Just Be Good to Me” Frankie Beverly & Maze: “Happy Feelings” Cameo: “Candy” Vaughan Mason & Crew: “Bounce, Rock, Skate, Roll“ Guy: “I Like” Cheryl Lynn: “Got to Be Real” Cupid: “Cupid Shuffle” The Gap Band: “Outstanding”
Now this one is about a man out late on a fairy hill on the eve of Samhain who hears the sound of a woman singing sad and plaintive from the very rocks of the hill. "I am a woman of Balnain. The folk have stolen me over again, the stones seemed to say. I stood upon the hill, and wind did rise, and the sound of thunder rolled across the land. I placed my hands upon the tallest stone and traveled to a far, distant land where I lived for a time among strangers who became lovers and friends. But one day, I saw the moon came out and the wind rose once more, so I touched the stones and traveled back to my own land and took up again with the man I had left behind.”