Tessa woke, gasping, the book sliding off her lap as she sat up. The dream was gone, but the music remained, high and haunting and sweet. She made her way to the door and peered out into the hallway.
The music was louder in the corridor. In fact, it was coming from the room across the hall. It was ajar slightly, and notes seemed to pour through the opening like water through the narrow neck of a vase.
As if in a dream, Tessa crossed the hall and put her hand gently to the door; it swung open under her touch. The room within was dark, lit only by moonlight — she saw that it was not unlike her own bedroom across the hall: the same large four-poster bed, the same dark heavy furniture. The curtains had been pulled back from one tall window and pale silver light poured into the room like a rain of needles. In the square patch of moonlight just before the window, someone was standing. A boy — he seemed too slight to be a grown man — with a violin propped against his shoulder: his cheek rested against it, and the bow sawed back and forth over the strings, wringing notes out of it.
His eyes were closed. “Will?” he said, without opening them or ceasing to play, “Will, is that you?”
Tessa said nothing. She could not bear to speak, to interrupt the music – but in a moment, the boy broke it off himself, lowering his bow and opening his eyes with a frown.
“Will —” he started, and then, seeing Tessa, his lips parted in surprise. “You’re not Will.”
He sounded curious, but not at all annoyed, despite the fact that Tessa had barged into his bedroom in the middle of the night and surprised him playing the violin in his nightclothes, or what Tessa assumed were his nightclothes — he wore a sort of light, loose-fitting set of trousers and a shirt with a black silk dressing-gown tied over them. She had been right: he was young, probably the same age as Will, and the impression of youth was heightened by his slightness. He was tall but very slender, and disappearing below the collar of his shirt, she could see the curling edges of the black designs that she had earlier seen on Will’s skin, and on Charlotte’s.
She knew what they were called now. Marks. And she knew what they made him. Nephilim. The descendant of men and angels. No wonder that in the moonlight his pale skin seemed to shine like Will’s witchlight stone: his hair was pale silver as well, as were his eyes.
“I’m so sorry,” she said, clearing her throat. The noise sounded terribly harsh to her, and loud in the silence of the room; she wanted to cringe. “I — I didn’t mean to come in here like this. It’s just — my room is across the hall, and . . .”
“That’s all right.” He lowered the violin from his shoulder. “You’re Miss Gray, aren’t you? The shapechanger girl. Will told me a bit about you.”
“Oh,” Tessa said.
“Oh?” His eyebrows rose. “You don’t sound terribly pleased that I know who you are.”
“It’s just that I think Will is angry with me,” Tessa explained. “So whatever he told you —”
He laughed. “Will is angry with everyone,” he said. “I don’t let it color my judgement.”