Irritated, Magnus tried to concentrate on the woman in front of him. But that wasn't exactly easy while an angry babble of voices was relentlessly pelting him. He saw for himself that this was a very tricky situation. Much trickier, than the three Nephilim were even aware of. Because this unexpected being in front of him couldn't control magic. That wouldn't be a problem in itself, but the magic she was using right now was unfiltered raw energy from their father! As if she had an active connection to him in Edom. And as much as Magnus fought it with his own, his magic was deflected and couldn't penetrate and break that powerful flow of energy. If he didn't think of something quickly, it would look bad for Izzy. And he hadn't just stood up to Imogen Herondale for Isabelle Lightwood, only to lose her now to Asmodeus' hellish energy pouring out of this young woman.

She was young, he felt that clearly. Yet she was a grown woman. Normally, all warlocks learned to master their magic at an early age. So why not this woman? Was she perhaps from such a special family background as Tessa? Or was she indeed an ifrit and Asmodeus had somehow just connected himself to her? Where had she suddenly come from and who had attacked her?

The Nephilim's aggressiveness was quite understandable, but it helped neither the woman nor Isabelle. Unfortunately, Magnus' words hadn't brought the desired result either to quell the fear, which her mind was exhibiting so clearly. And Magnus had a strong suspicion that this very fear was the catalyst for the magic she couldn't control because it wasn't even her own. Which only intensified her fear! A truly diabolical cycle...

"Magnus, do something! Or she'll have Izzy on her conscience!"

Alec's panicked words tipped the scales and Magnus no longer thought. He only acted. Ignoring the energy around her completely, he cupped her head with both hands and forced his magic directly into her mind. It was a brutal method, devoid of any finesse or aesthetics and only one step away from mind control, which Magnus abhorred! But at that moment it saved Isabelle's life, for the young woman immediately lost consciousness. Without hesitating, he pressed her against him with his left arm and sent a wave of his magic toward Isabelle to neutralize any leftover hellmist and force her heart and lungs to keep working.

It only took a brief moment for her to gasp for air with a wheeze and then cough. While her brothers were with her, tending to her, Magnus was more than aware that Lydia was standing right next to him. Granted, she had lowered her sword, but he could feel her eyes that seemed to be literally drilling a hole into the back of his head. It wasn't over yet and should he wish to save his sis- this young warlock from a life in a Clave prison, he would have to be very careful of his further actions.

Sliding his free hand under her knees, he lifted her up and retreated with her slowly to a stool that stood in the corner of the room and sat down. He would have liked to lay her on the couch and physically place himself between her and the others again, but then he would have no quick recourse should the magic burst out of her again. For as much as he disliked it, he had to admit that she resembled a magical time bomb in her current state. Even now, in her unconsciousness, he could feel the raw energy pulsing through her veins. But how exactly had Asmodeus managed to establish a connection with her that allowed him to perform an energy transfer between Edom and her?

Carefully, he propped her legs on his own while continuing to lean her upper body against him and wrapped his now free hand once more in his magic. Slowly, he slid it over her head and torso at a close distance. With half-closed eyes, he used his magic to feel inside her, but no matter how deeply he searched, he could find nothing unusual. Neither had she ever been to Edom, nor had she summoned a demon in her life so far. With another, subtler gesture, Magnus sent another gentle wave toward her heart for a moment. But even that didn't bring him any new insights. He would have to ask her exact age in the classic way, but at least he could say that she was older than her human appearance suggested. And her features were so like his that it was almost eerie. Granted, her eyebrows were more elegantly curved, her lips a little fuller and her hair certainly fell to at least her shoulder blades. Everything else... Especially her eyes... The hand he just placed on her cheek had the same skin tone as hers and seeing all this stirred something in him at the realization of having another blood relative that he wasn't ready to admit to himself at that moment...

Stealthily, he glanced around the room and was surprised to see that Isabelle had already sat up and was shaking her head slightly with one hand on her forehead. That girl was really tough, Magnus gave her credit for that without envy. But then again, she was a Shadowhunter and he had seen the Nephilim in action for centuries. For better or for worse... He was just glad that this young generation was so far the opposite of the previous one. That gave him hope. Isabelle Lightwood in particular was both perceptive and astute and Magnus had the strong suspicion that she had already drawn her own conclusions as to who the young warlock was. Otherwise, she wouldn't have had the Greater Demon alarm turned off.

Right now, she was approaching him while keeping the others in the background with a clear gesture.


He could see that she had absolutely peaceful intentions. Nevertheless, he couldn't suppress the impulse to tighten his hold on the young woman. This apparently didn't go unnoticed by Izzy for her gaze became gentle and a small smile played around her lips as she looked at the woman in his arms.

"She couldn't control the magic. I'm sorry, Isabelle," he spoke imploringly on her behalf, but before Izzy could reply, Lydia joined in.

"That may well be. Nonetheless, her attack was a clear violation of the Accords. You have every right to report her for what she did, Isabelle. In my position, it is my duty to point this out to you."

Her words were like daggers stabbing swingingly into his heart. For a moment he threatened to lose control of his glamour and he felt his magic gathering under his fingertips, ready to defend his blood relative. Oh, it would have been no problem for him to disappear with her through a portal. A few years back, he would have been completely indifferent to the consequences. But by now, the Accords were no longer just empty words here in New York. Thanks to the understanding and acceptance these young Shadowhunters had toward the life and customs of Downworlders, they were on a path of lived peace even if the path was anything but easy. And even though he often liked to pretend not to care about these Nephilim and their actions, Magnus enjoyed immensely being part of this process of rethinking and seeing the changes manifest and take root.

With every fiber of his discipline, acquired over centuries, he therefore held on to his glamour. For to show his warlock mark to the Clave envoy right then and there would be seen as a blunt provocation.

"I'm well aware of that, Lydia. Thanks," Isabelle spoke toward the other woman before turning to the High Warlock again. "Don't worry, Magnus, I have no intention of reporting this incident. She had clearly been attacked and reacted negatively under stress. I won't hold that against her."

Her words eased his fear a bit and gratefully he raised a small smile.

"How about Magnus takes her to his place and calls us as soon as she is fit for questioning?"

"Absolutely not!" With a furrowed brow, Lydia shook her head. "We don't know anything about her. Even if you personally want to waive your right to report her, she still raised the alarm, the Greater Demon alarm, and that alone entails investigation. If it had happened somewhere outside the Institute, it would be possible to sweep this incident under the carpet. But not here! And you all know that very well," Lydia looked at her fellow Shadowhunters with a stern gaze but mild tone. "I'm sorry, High Warlock," she turned to Magnus and he knew she wouldn't allow any compromise once she had finished speaking, "her questioning will take place here. You will conduct it, along with Alec. He is the only one who hasn't actively attacked this woman, so there is a chance that she won't react too negatively to his presence. If things had gone differently, I'd have given you Isabelle by your side, but it is what it is. She would be a bad choice now, insofar as her presence could trigger a possibly guilty conscience. The last thing I want is for her to fall back into fear and resort to that demonic magic of her father again. I don't think either of us would want the consequences of that."

She looked at him expectantly. Magnus stared back as he tried to sort out his feelings. It was honestly hard for him at that moment. He knew, of course, that Asmodeus had fathered other children before him. Not many, like some other demons, and all had passed away over the centuries. Magnus had never met most of them, only felt how the thin bond of magic that had bound them all together due to the fact that they all had a similar magic signature to their father had dissolved, until in the end only he was left. The woman in his arms was an impossibility. It had been centuries since he had banished Asmodeus to Edom for good. Since then, he shouldn't have had the chance to force himself on a mundane woman again! Nor had anyone summoned him since. So where had she come from?

It was a delicate subject, but if he had to have a Shadowhunter along for the questioning, he could live with Alec.

"So be it," he finally spoke, inclining his head in agreement.

For a long moment, the two looked at each other silently before Lydia nodded too. "Good. Isabelle, Jace, with me. Alec, let Magnus talk to her. But if she turns out to be a danger..."


Magnus didn't look at him, didn't want to see his expression. For a brief moment he had actually forgotten their previous conversation due to the emotions swirling around inside him. But Alec's tone brought him back to the painful reality that his emotions had been in turmoil even before this stranger appeared.

Sighing softly, he watched as Lydia and the other two left the room and closed the door. What he had said to Alec in the armory was true. He liked Lydia Branwell. He readily acknowledged her good intention in meeting him halfway here. She didn't have to do that after the attack. But she too didn't want any more bad blood between Nephilim and warlocks and therefore went out on a limb here. On the one hand, he was grateful for that. On the other, however, his emotions were very raw right now and it would be a lot easier if he could let one of them out. Hating someone and letting them feel it would have been a good outlet.

As it was, though, his insides were a mess of seething chaotic nervousness because of the two other people in the room. After almost half a minute of lightly tapping his foot, he rose and carried the woman to the couch after all. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Alec put his bow on the desk and then wordlessly let himself sink into the armchair. Ignoring him for the moment, he gently lowered the woman in his arms and laid her down carefully. With a quick movement of his hand, he pulled out a chair and sat down directly in front of the couch, watching over her.

It wasn't long before the silence in the room became uncomfortable, but Magnus had neither the desire nor the need to lessen or even dissolve the palpable tension with words. Rather, he kept his mind focused on the woman to catch even the slightest change immediately.

"Magnus-" Alec began minutes later when he obviously couldn't stand it any longer, and he might even have let him finish. But just then the woman's hand twitched and a low moan escaped her lips. He quickly held up a hand and gestured for the Shadowhunter to be silent as he felt her slowly awaken.

Alea's eyes were heavy and inert. She hardly felt her body and what she sensed gave her the impression of floating. Completely weightless, she existed in the air, staring at dark stone on which clumps of ash and withered leaves danced together as if by a light breeze. It was an oddly strange sight. Even stranger was the slightly tickling sensation the breeze caused her, yet her own body seemed transcendent. But it was a pleasant feeling, almost like a dream. Many times in her life had she dreamed of climbing onto her desk or the cupboard in her room, jumping and just before she hit the floor, rising into the air and flying. It had always been as if she had invisible wings... Unlike her current situation, however, she had never been so aware of her surroundings in her dreams. Right now, Alea clearly felt that she was surrounded by an all-encompassing warmth that wrapped itself around her like a second skin. It was still pleasant and soothing to a certain degree, but at the same time brought her the certainty that she was definitely not dreaming.

Something was moving next to her. Something that felt familiar, but sent a slight shiver down her spine too. She opened her eyes fully and slowly turned her head. What she saw made her blink - in front of her was an imposing throne on which a man sat who looked at her serenely. His almost shoulder-length dark hair framed a face whose age she couldn't possibly estimate. For from every pore radiated a deep infinity that made her swallow a little nervously. But she was especially drawn to his eyes. These special eyes, of which she now knew that there were two other beings on this planet besides her who possessed them.

With unshakable certainty, Alea knew that it had been he who had sent her in Magnus Bane's direction.

"That's my girl. It took you less time to shake off Magnus' magic than it takes Lilith to rip off the wings of a wraith for sports. Your spirit is strong."

Elegantly he rose and came toward her with slow steps. There was something gliding about his gait, and she recognized it as the same movement she had perceived earlier.

"My dear child..." he spoke with a soft smile and raised his right hand. She felt it stroking her head and gently running through her long hair. At the same moment she felt a slight pressure on-

"Ah," she groaned out and her eyes widened as her mind, her entire being, condensed and became more grounded in the here and now. "What's happening to me?" she asked as the jolt that went through her subsided. Her body then left its floating horizontal position and her feet touched the ground in front of him. She almost lost her balance, as if she no longer had any control over her legs, but his second hand was right on her arm, holding her supportively.

"Your mind is separated from your body right now, Alea. Magnus did a tremendous job of practically catapulting your mind straight to me."

She looked at him in disbelief. "This raises so many questions at once..." she muttered, shaking her head but still not quite feeling it. "May I sit down please?"

"So polite. Of course."

The hand in her hair disappeared, and only a short moment later, he helped her sit down in a chair that had appeared out of nowhere behind her. This one was surprisingly comfortable, and with a soft sigh, she closed her eyes for a moment and just tried to feel her body. When she looked back at him, he had also sat down and was now enthroned in his chair of power again.

"How did you know my name? How did you know I was in trouble and most importantly, who exactly is Magnus and who are you?"

"You haven't figured it out yet?"

His tone still sounded neutral, but for a second his expression radiated slight disappointment.

"Look... I just buried my mother, had a sword or dagger or… or something rammed into my back, and I didn't just see magic, I used it myself! Or at least pretended to use it... Forgive me if I don't have any energy and brain cells left for astronomically large puzzles. Right now, I can barely feel my head!"

One eyebrow went up surprisingly far on his face, and Alea almost laughed at the sight. But her counterpart didn't exactly give her the vibe of being grandly humorous. Elegant and powerful, yes. But humorous? Well, not really.

"Well, I admit that this has indeed been an eventful day for you." With a slight tilt of his head, he nodded to her before continuing. "I am Asmodeus, your father. You-"

"You're still alive?" Alea interrupted him, joyful surprise suddenly coursing through her body.

"I beg your pardon?"

"Those cat eyes are a hereditary thing then, right? Sorry, if I were sure I could defy gravity like I normally would, I'd hug you, but I'd rather not risk it to fall down again. Asmodeus..." she tested out the sound of his name and saw his slightly crooked and engaging smile reach his eyes, making them gleam with joy.

"Your eyes are indeed inherited from me. Only my children wear them."

"So this Magnus is my stepbrother?"

"In human idiom, yes. You, my child, are a warlock. That means like your brother you are able to use the magic you gained access to through me."

Alea winced at the memory of magic. "If Magnus hadn't stopped me, I would have hurt someone very badly with it!"

"That is correct. You attacked the hand that came to your aid. But do not worry, you will learn to control your magic. The one you used had been mine, lent to you for your protection."

"Thank you for that," she spoke, placing her right hand over her heart. Alea was very grateful to him for saving her. But it raised another question. Uncertainly, she broke the eye contact with her father and began to chew on her lower lip as she tried to sort out her thoughts. Only, unfortunately, it didn't have the desired distracting effect, because she didn't feel the pressure on the sensitive skin. Frowning, she sighed.

"How come you just contacted me today? Not that I'm complaining, but... It would have been nice to know you… You know, hear from you sooner?"

Asmodeus leaned back and intertwined the fingers of his hands in his lap as he looked at her sadly. "You have made contact with me, my child."

"What do you mean?" she asked, raising her hand to soothe an itchy spot on her left shoulder.

"The attack has made you angry. Rage is in our blood. Because of that, you will always be linked to me and that's how you were able to open our connection. I first felt it back then when you came into the world. I sensed that my gift to your ancestor gave birth to new life." A small smile played around his lips and his eyes suddenly looked past her, taking on a faraway expression. "You did not want to leave the womb of your mother. You protested angrily against it and thus opened a small window to me for the first time. It wasn't open for long, but it was enough to hear her call you Alea. Throughout your life I was able to perceive short glimpses again and again and it pleased me tremendously. Unfortunately, I wasn't capable of more, because I cannot leave this place."

"Why not? And where exactly are we? I don't have the feeling that this is somewhere on Earth?"

"Your feeling is not deceiving you," he replied with a proud tone. "This is Edom, and I rule over this realm. Normally it would be no problem to cross over to the Plane of Man, but unfortunately, my son has banished me from it."

"Why?" Alea asked incredulously and let her hand move from her shoulder to her neck as her skin there felt as if the dead leaves had wrapped around it.

"Well, Magnus and I have a somewhat strained relationship. He disagreed with one of my decisions concerning him and has decided he never wants to see me again. But since he knew I would always want to be there for him despite our argument, he banished me. Time passes differently here than in the human world, but even there hundreds of years must have passed since then. And I haven't seen him again and, because of his doing, I couldn't participate in your life, my daughter."

"I understand," she whispered, swaying slightly in her chair. The strange sensation that had initially been content to be brushed by her fingers was spreading more and more. She hadn't noticed it at first because Edom's air was so dry and warm, but by now she was having trouble breathing properly. Alea swallowed hard and in her father's eyes she saw something appear she couldn't place. It reminded her a little of a teacher she had had to endure during her school days - always waiting for his students to give the right answers to his questions. And if one said something wrong, there would be a frown, coupled with a shake of the head and a disappointed look, as if one had made a mess of one's whole life with that one wrong answer.

Alea's eyes widened as she realized Asmodeus was giving her that same look. Scrutinizing, waiting, anxious to know if she would prove herself worthy. But worthy of what? To be his daughter? The pain that slowly choked her throat abruptly moved on to her chest and she had to pull herself together not to burst into tears as the image of her mother appeared in her mind's eye.

Then, when she also felt something wet under her nose and shortly after saw blood on the back of her hand, which she had used to wipe it off, she almost felt sick. "I... I don't feel good. What's happening to me?"

"It is not just your mind being here. Your spirit has also been magically separated from your body. For a short time this is possible without any problems, but at some point the body cannot function without the spirit and the spirit loses its grip on reality without its body and drifts further and further away. Where to is completely unclear, for never has a soul returned from this state."

When he didn't speak further, Alea knew what he was waiting for, what he expected from her. The child in her that she had tried to preserve all these years curled up disappointed and incredibly sad. At the same time, her eyes, the eyes she had inherited from him, were able to see behind his facade and weakly she reached out a hand to him.

"Can you help me, Bapa?"

Alea didn't see his movements, perhaps her field of vision was already too covered with black spots or he had simply been too fast. What mattered was that in the next moment she was in his arms and he was stroking her head soothingly.

"Close your eyes, my daughter. I will send you back for now. Tell your brother to teach you well. Embrace your magic, my child, learn all you need to take up your inheritance, and know that even though I am banished, I can be called upon. I want and will be there for you, Alea. Don't forget that," she heard him say, but whatever he did caused his voice to become quieter and quieter.

One last time she felt his hand on her cheek, and just before a strong tugging rose in her innermost being, the image of a pentagram manifested itself in her. Then she was no longer in his presence and instead felt her brother's magic enveloping her body.