It’s my seventeenth birthday today. I know that to write to you is to break the Law. I know that I will likely tear this letter in pieces when it is finished, as I have done on all my birthdays past since I was twelve. Bt I write anyway, to commemorate the occasion, the way some make yearly pilgrimages to a grave to remember the death of a loved one. For are we not dead to each other?
I wonder if when you woke this morning, you remembered that today, seventeen years ago, you had a son. I wonder if you think of me, and imagine my life, here in the Institute in London. I doubt you could imagine it. It is so very different from our house surrounded by mountains and the great, clear blue sky and the endless green. Here everything is black and gray and brown, and the sunsets are painted in smoke and blood.
I wonder if you worry that I am lonely, or as mother always used to, that I am cold or that I have gone out in the rain again without a hat. No one here worries about those details. There are so many things that could kill us at any moment, catching a chill hardly seems important.
I wonder if you knew that I could hear you that ay you came for me when I was twelve. I crawled under the bed to block out the sound of you crying my name. But I heard you. I heard mother call for her bach, her little one. I bit my hands until they bled but I did not come down and eventually Charlotte convinced you to go away. I thought you might come again but you never did. Herondales are stubborn like that.
I remember the great sighs of relief you would both give, each time the Council came to ask me if I wished to join the Nephilim and leave my family, and each time I said no and sent them away. I wonder if you knew I was tempted: by the idea of a life of glory, of fighting and killing to protect as a man should. It is in our blood: the call to seraph and stele, to Marks and to monsters.
I wonder why you left the Nephilim, Father; I wonder why Mother chose not to Ascend and to become a Shadowhunter. Is it because you found them cruel or cold? I have not found them so. Charlotte especially is kind to me, little knowing how much I do not deserve it. Henry is mad as a brush, but a good man: he would have made Ella laugh. There is little good to be said about Jessamine, but she is harmless. As little as there is good to say about her, there is as much good to say about Jem—he is the brother Father always thought I should have, blood of my blood, though we are no relation. Though I might have lost everything else, at least I have gained one thing in his friendship. And we have a new addition to our household, too. Her name is Tessa. A pretty name, is it not? When the clouds used to roll over the mountains from the ocean—that gray is the color of her eyes —