|Pale Kings and Princes|
Ki Hong Lee
|Release Date||July 21, 2015 (e-book)|
| Released after|
The Evil We Love
| Released before|
Bitter of Tongue
As a former vampire, Simon's always been sympathetic to Downworlders. But after a training exercise goes wrong, he gets a glimpse into the Shadowhunters' prejudice as he learns about the origin of Helen and Mark Blackthorn, principle characters in The Dark Artifices.
As a former vampire, Simon gets along with Downworlders. The Clave does not.
Simon has an encounter with Downworlders and is reprimanded for not following the rules for Academy students interacting with Downworlders. A story within a story: Andrew Blackthorn, while a student at the Academy, becomes enthralled by a faerie and has two children with her: Mark and Helen.
Simon Lewis sits in his room at the Shadowhunter Academy trying to write a 500-word Chthonian essay on how he spent his Summer holidays. As he ponders whether to ask for an extension, he muses over all the things he wishes he could remember, going over what he really did during the holiday, namely, wishing he were back at the Academy and having long talks with Clary about their past friendship.
Simon's roommate George Lovelace suddenly appears behind him. The two have a chat about how Simon's relationship with Isabelle Lightwood is going, with Simon revealing that he went on multiple dates with her during the Summer, all of which ended in disaster. He doesn't have high hopes for his future with her, as she has not called him since their last disastrous date. Simon decides to ask for an extension on his essay.
The next day, the students attend a lecture by Professor Freeman Mayhew, a scrawny, ill-tempered man who despises faeries and has made it his mission to educate the next generation on how untrustworthy and deserving of extinction the fey are. Simon, naturally, doesn't like him.
Instead of the usual procedure, Mayhew cedes the class to a girl a few years older than Simon, who notices that Mayhew seems rather afraid. He gruffly asks her to introduce herself, and she does, as Helen Blackthorn, daughter of Andrew and Eleanor Blackthorn. Simon recognizes the name, while Mayhew loudly calls her a liar, and demands she tell the truth. Helen becomes visibly angry, but Mayhew reminds her of the terms of her stay at the Academy. She reluctantly gives in, moving aside her hair to show her pointed ears, and introducing herself as Helen Blackthorn, daughter of Andrew Blackthorn and the Lady Nerissa of the Seelie Court. Julie Beauvale gets up and leaves, and Simon remembers that her sister was killed by a faerie in the Dark War.
Mayhew tells the class to be quiet and listen, as Helen is here to tell them a cautionary tale. She proceeds to tell them the story of her father's meeting with her mother.
When Andrew Blackthorn was at the Academy, him and his brother, Arthur, were sent on a mission with other Shadowhunters to Faerieland to retrieve a stolen Shadowhunter child. They were successful, but Andrew was tricked into staying by unwittingly consuming food from Faerieland. His teacher made a bargain for him; the fey could keep him for one day, after which he could go home. The faeries agreed, but outwitted the Shadowhunters as a single day on Earth could last years in Faerieland.
Andrew later met Nerissa, who Helen describes as a faerie whose beauty was surpassed only by her cruelty. Nerissa bound Andrew to her with dark faerie magic, and latched a silver choker around his neck, which made him fall desperately in love with the faerie. He forgot everything but her, and became her slave, a plaything.
While Andrew lived for seven years in love with Nerissa, Arthur was tortured by her, as she had no use for him. He was whipped, burned and broken by fey illusions within the year, and spent the next six being gloated over. Andrew took no notice, as he was enthralled by Nerissa.
Arthur was broken, but he was still a Shadowhunter, and he fought his way free of his bonds after seeing a vision of what his future would be like; endless torture and pain, growing old and eventually returning to the world as an old man. He faced Andrew, who had been enchanted to protect Nerissa, and knocked him down before killing Nerissa. He cut away the choker from Andrew's neck and together they escaped.
They made a report to the Inquisitor and went home, but they could no longer stand the sight of each other and went their separate ways. Years later, after Andrew married Eleanor and had Julian, two children were left on the doorstep of the Los Angeles Institute, Helen and Mark. Andrew never knew Nerissa had had children, but he and Eleanor raised them as their own.
Helen ends the story by saying that Andrew and Eleanor were good Shadowhunters, and probably knew deep down that she and Mark could never be trusted. She warns the students to trust faeries at their own risk, as they care for nothing but themselves.
After the class Simon is angry at Helen's treatment and complains to the other students, only to find they don't share his opinion on faeries. Julie hates them because of her sister's death, and the rest dislike them due to what they have been taught in the Academy. None of them feel sorry for Helen, or Mark, saying there's no proof he doesn't want to be with the Wild Hunt. Simon's defense of the fey upset the group, and they all leave, except for George, who admits he doesn't think Helen deserved what she got.
He and Simon begin walking back to their room, but Catarina Loss appears in front of them, and George runs away from her due to a previous encounter where she turned him into a sheep. Catarina asks to speak with Simon, who tries to tell her what happened in Mayhew's class. To his surprise, she cuts him off, and they have a short talk during which Simon realises that Dean Penhallow, who he was planning to complain to, cannot help. He is disappointed, until Catarina tells him that Helen wants to see him, and gives him directions to her lodging.
Simon goes to see Helen, though he is confused and nervous as he doesn't know her very well. She is surprisingly happy to see him, and is in a much better mood than he thought she would be. They have a short talk, wherein Helen reveals she is getting married to Aline Penhallow, and made a deal with the Clave to visit the Academy and be paraded around in exchange for one day where she and Aline could come back to Idris and get married.
Helen gives Simon a letter from Isabelle, who wants to talk with him. After he expresses his excitement Helen laughs and calls for Isabelle, who appears from the bedroom. Helen leaves them alone while they talk, and Isabelle says that although their last few dates have been disastrous, she would like to go on another one in Alicante. They decide to go immediately, but after Simon suggests Helen come with them, Helen reveals she can't actually leave due to an enchantment on her cabin, angering Isabelle. However, Helen convinces the two of them to go on their date anyway.
Simon and Isabelle ride to Alicante on horses, and Isabelle takes him to Diana's Arrow to go shopping for weapons. While there, Simon's unenthusiastic attitude angers Isabelle and the two have a fight which is quickly resolved. They talk about the Cold Peace, and their differences in opinion on the trustworthiness of the fey causes another fight, which leads to a fight about their relationship.
Isabelle storms out, and Simon follows her. They have a long conversation where Isabelle reveals she got the idea for the date from Jace. They bond by making fun of Clary and Jace's "epic love story", and decide to go on a picnic by Lake Llyn, where Simon tells Isabelle why he's afraid of having a relationship with her, and the two spend three hours together before Isabelle goes home and Simon returns to Helen.
Helen confides in Simon that she has doubts about marrying Aline and forcing her to live on Wrangel Island, and Simon reassures her, though she also admits she is afraid of becoming like her mother; cruel and selfish. She tells him she sometimes feels as if Mark took after her father, and is worried that she will eventually take after Nerissa. Simon does his best to reassure her, and succeeds in making her feel slightly better.
In the flashback, it is revealed that the story about Arthur and Andrew was a lie. Andrew fell in love with Nerissa, and she with him, and she gave him the silver choker as a token of love, not enslavement. Arthur was claimed by Nerissa's sister and tortured, and Nerissa lied to Andrew to keep him happy, not particularly caring about Arthur. They spent seven years together while Nerissa showed him the wonders of Faerieland, but in the end, he found out the truth about Arthur, and was devastated.
Because she loved him, Nerissa lied to him and spun him the story of being enthralled by her and bound by dark magic, letting him believe that he had never loved her. She let Arthur escape and believe it was his doing, and let him attack her and believe he had killed her. She let the boys run away, and tried to love her two half-fey children, but they were only a reminder of her love for Andrew and so she sent them to him. She had nothing to live for, so she died, letting Andrew and her children believe she had been cruel and cold-hearted, when in reality she had loved Andrew enough to let him go.
- The title shares its name with the 10th chapter of Clockwork Angel.
- This story was set in September 2009.