Maryse Lightwood stood before the Council, stripped down to a tank top and leggings. Once the formalities were out of the way, those would go as well, as they slowly burned off each of her runes, burning away the only way of life she had ever known, burning away any right she had to keep contact with her children. Her children, who she had only now really started to know.
She closed her eyes. She couldn’t look at them. She wished that Alec and Isabelle hadn’t insisted on being there. Wished that they didn’t have to see her like this.
“Maryse Trueblood Lightwood. For your crimes as a member of the Circle and a supporter of Valentine, you have been sentenced to deruning and being cast out of Shadowhunter society forever. Do you have any final words before we begin?”
Maryse steeled herself and opened her eyes, looking straight at Alec and Isabelle. Isabelle was crying into Alec’s shoulder, but her son looked back at her with a steely gaze. But his look wasn’t for her, it was for the Clave. She knew how much he’d wanted to fight for her. She knew he’d burn down everything to stop it.
But she had told him not to. Not to risk all that he could accomplish in the future.
“Remember what I said.” Maryse said, looking at Alec. “My generation nearly destroyed everything in our passion to fix it. Yours will have to be wiser.”
“Let’s begin.” The Inquisitor said.
Maryse closed her eyes again as the Silent Brothers moved to her sides, their steles at the ready, when the doors flew open.
Stop. Came the voice of another Silent Brother. Maryse’s eyes flew open.
“Brother Zachariah, what is the meaning of this?”
An appeal has been launched.
“Who would launch an appeal at this hour?”
Three people followed Brother Zachariah into the room - a slight brown-haired woman that Maryse recognized as Tessa Gray, a warlock; Luke, and… Magnus? She looked to Alec, whose eyes were wide and he looked even more shocked than she felt. He hadn’t known.
Two factions of the Downworld are here to speak in her favour. As the Downworld has suffered the most from the Circle and Valentine’s crimes, it is our duty to listen to them.
“Lucian Graymark is the Alpha of the New York Pack, this much is true. But you don’t have a position to speak from, warlock.” The Inquisitor sneered.
“I do not speak from a title, that is true, but I speak from a position of wisdom. Let my centuries of experience speak for themselves.” Magnus said clearly.
“Speak then, warlock, don’t waste our time.”
“Maryse Lightwood was a member of the Circle twenty years ago and participated in the Uprising. After abandoning Valentine at the last minute and his subsequent defeat, instead of being imprisoned or deruned, she was given leniency and the New York Institute, where she raised four children who are renowned among Shadowhunters and Downworlders alike for the progress they’ve made in bringing peace among the different factions in the Shadow World, as well as being responsible for finally bringing Valentine to justice.
“You were content with her punishment when you gave it to her. But now, you’ve changed your minds. You’ve changed your minds, many years after the fact, about what her crimes deserved. But is it her past that you’re afraid of, or is it that her past crimes are an all too real reflection of your own prejudices, which you have yet to overcome? You’ll point a finger at her and say yes she’s guilty, but you don’t for a moment look at your own guilt. It is you who should be on trial, not her, for she is learning from her mistakes. And that scares you. You, who call me ‘warlock’, rather than by my name. You’re no different from Valentine.”
“Warlock Bane, the Clave is here to protect you. Protect you from people like Valentine. From people like her.”
“People like her.” Magnus said thoughtfully, circling the room, stopping back in front of the Inquisitor. “People like her. Was it not you, Inquisitor, who wanted to track Downworlders by tagging us with GPS chips? Was it not you, Inquisitor, who wanted a DNA database of Downworlders? Was it not you, Inquisitor, who just a few months ago, put her daughter Isabelle Lightwood on trial for saving the life of a Downworlder? Was it not you, Inquisitor, who initially denied the birthright of her son Alexander Lightwood to be the head of the New York Institute because he was in a relationship with me, a Downworlder? This all sounds an awful lot like people like her.
“You would cast her out to make yourselves feel better. Make you feel like you’re doing something. But she is one of the only ones who has truly cast aside her prejudices. You don’t want to exile her because of what she’s done, you want to exile her because of what you’re not doing. You want to convince yourselves that you don’t have the same opinions and prejudices as Valentine. That you couldn’t become him. But you could. And if you go through with this, if you go through with deruning Maryse Lightwood, you will.
“Maryse Lightwood is not a perfect woman. But she is a repentful one. And out of anyone in this room, I am the one who would have the greatest grievance against her - for I don’t believe she has actively sought to end any of your lives. But she did, once, try to end mine. I once called her an enemy, but now - I call her family.”
“Lucian Graymark? What is your position?”
“Magnus said everything better than I could. But you would rather listen to me, because I used to be a Shadowhunter. You even call me by my Shadowhunter name. But I have not been a Shadowhunter for many years now. You only treat me as a Shadowhunter when it is convenient for you, and not when it is inconvenient for you. I’m a werewolf now. A Downworlder. I know what the Clave’s like from both sides, and that’s not something many people can say. Everything I’ve seen on both sides of that line tells me one thing - that the Clave is afraid. And fear breeds hatred. I’ve seen it everywhere - in the Clave, in the Circle, hell, even in my own pack. But hatred and fear have gotten us nowhere. It is time to try something different - and that something different is listening to each other. Respecting each other. Learning from each other. And that’s something that Maryse Lightwood has been doing a lot better than any of you. If you derune and exile her now, you’ll lose the start of that change that you all so desperately need. You need to learn from her, be like her, not exile her. You want to show the Downworld that you’re not like Valentine? This is how you start. Release her.”
Everyone in the room looked to the Inquisitor. The Inquisitor looked at the Council members on either side of her, and they all nodded at her.
“It appears that I’m outnumbered.” The Inquisitor said, a note of displeasure in her voice. “I would still have you deruned, Maryse Trueblood Lightwood, but your supporters have swayed the rest of the Council. But I will commute your sentence to a milder form of exile. You will be sent back to New York. You are never to set foot in Idris again. If you ever leave New York, you will be subject to the punishment that you were to receive today. Is that clear?”
Maryse bowed her head and nodded. “Thank you.” She whispered.
Inquisitor Imogen Herondale didn’t respond, she merely stood, and left the chamber, the other Council members following behind her.
Alec and Isabelle vaulted over the railing, converging on Maryse, along with Magnus and Luke. When they got there, Maryse was holding both of Luke’s hands between hers.
“Thank you, Luke.” Maryse said softly. “Can I call you Luke? I’ve always called you Lucian, but from what you said, that - that might not be what you want.”
“Luke is fine. And I’m glad the Clave saw reason, for once. I didn’t have much hope, but Magnus convinced me it was worse not to try.”
Maryse turned to Magnus, who was enveloped in a hug by both Alec and Isabelle. He nodded to her over their shoulders, pulling himself out of their embrace.
“I don’t know how I can begin to thank you, Magnus.” Maryse said to him. “I really can’t.”
“Oh, I could think of a few things.” Magnus said playfully, a mischievous glimmer in his eye. “But you’ve already given me the greatest gift that you possibly could.” Magnus squeezed Alec’s hand.
“Thank you, for loving him. I meant it then and I mean it now.”
“Alexander’s not the gift I was referring to.”
Maryse raised an eyebrow. “Oh?”
“I was going to love him whether you wanted it or not. But your acceptance, that is a gift I will truly cherish.”
Maryse bit her lip, eyes tearing up and overflowing, despite her attempts to stop it. “I’m sorry it took so long.”
“Don’t be. It did, and that is what matters.”
Magnus drew her into a hug, and Alec joined them, holding both his mother and his boyfriend tightly.
“Thank you, Magnus.” Alec whispered. “Thank you for saving our family.”
Our family. That would still take some getting used to, but Magnus wouldn’t change it for the world.