Welcome and Congratulations. You have been chosen to become one of the Nephilim. Soon, if you have not done so already, you will drink from the Mortal Cup, taking into yourself the blood of angels, and you will become one of the “Shadowhunters,” named for the founder of our order. Our eternal work is the battle against the forces of darkness that encroach upon our world. We also keep the peace in the Shadow World—the hidden societies of magic and magical creatures wrought by the demons we fight—and keep it hidden from the mundane world. And this now is also your charge. You are protector, defender, knight errant in the name of the angels. You will be trained to fight demons, to protect mundanes, to negotiate the complex landscape of the Downworlders—werewolves, vampires, and the like—that you will encounter. Your life will be spent in the pursuit of the angelic against the demonic. And when you die, you will die with glory.
This may appear an intimidating description of the Shadowhunter’s life, but we must emphasize the sacredness and the weight of our mission. Joining the Nephilim is not like becoming a mundane policeman, or even a mundane soldier. “Shadowhunter” is not what you do; it is who you are. Every aspect of your life will change to accommodate the holy assignment you have been chosen for.
This Codex serves to assist you in acclimating to the new world into which you have been thrust. Most Shadowhunters are born into this life, raised and immersed in it constantly from birth, and thus many things about the world that are second nature to them will be new to you. You have been recruited out of your mundane life, and you will quickly encounter much that is confusing and dangerous. This book is designed specifically to reduce your confusion and, ideally, to keep you alive long enough to become a full Shadowhunter in good standing in your local Institute.
It goes without saying that it is against the Law for the Codex to be shared with any persons other than Shadowhunters and mundanes in the process of Ascension (see “Intermarriage,”).
WHAT IS A SHADOWHUNTER?
The Nephilim are the appointed warriors on Earth of the Angel Raziel. We are appointed specifically to control and preside over the demonic in our world, both demons and the supernatural creatures born of their presence among us. A thousand years ago Raziel bestowed on us the tools to accomplish this task. These tools are:
—The Mortal Instruments, by which we may know truth, speak with angels, and make more of our own kind
—The country of Idris, in which we may live safely away from both demons and the mundane world
—The Book of Raziel (or “Gray Book”), with which we may make use of the magic of angels to protect and augment ourselves
These were gifts given by Raziel to the first Nephilim, Jonathan Shadowhunter, and so after him we call ourselves Shadowhunters.
Yeah yeah yeah. Get to where I learn kung fu!
Sure is convenient that he was named that already. It makes a good name for them.
THE SHADOWHUNTER OATH
There have been many versions of the oath that is spoken by new Nephilim when they drink from the Mortal Cup and join our ranks. The one currently in use was created a little more than a hundred years ago, as part of the reforms that swept through the Shadow World around that time. It replaced an older oath whose language was very martial in tone and that focused mostly on the fact that Shadowhunters are good at killing things. Typically at that time the oath was spoken in one of several holy languages—Latin, Sanskrit, Hebrew, et cetera—and thus was treated more as a formality to execute rather than words to listen to and reflect upon.
The oath follows. You should commit it to memory. At the time you are made a Shadowhunter, you will need to recite it without any prompting. Many new Shadowhunters have complained that this is an unnecessary burden, to which we respond that half-angelic soldiers against the dark forces of the world should not be fazed by the need to memorize a hundred words.
I hereby swear:
I will be Raziel’s Sword, extending his arm to strike down evil.
I will be Raziel’s Cup, offering my blood to our mission.
I will be Raziel’s Mirror; when my enemies behold me, let them see his face in mine.
I hereby promise:
I will serve with the angels’ courage.
I will serve the angels’ justice.
And I will serve with the angels’ mercy.
Until such time as I shall die, I will be Nephilim. I pledge myself in Covenant as a Nephilim, and I pledge my life and my family to the Clave of Idris.
Would think the oath would be longer?
It’s not like that—there’s a zillion laws you’re agreeing to follow. It’s covered by the “in Covenant.”
Most Ascending mundanes like yourself give up their family name in favor of creating a traditional Shadowhunter name. By tradition most Shadowhunter family names are compound, like “Shadowhunter” itself—in this case, “shadow” + “hunter.” Jonathan Shadowhunter’s name was, obviously, not actually “Shadowhunter”—such a coincidence would beggar belief. NM, my complaint has been anticipated. Codex 1, Me 0.
That coincidence—beggars belief. A 60 ft tall angel appears to you—apparently does not beggar belief.
What Jonathan Shadowhunter was called, before he was made the first Nephilim by Raziel, is lost to history; we do not even know from what country he came. He was given the name Shadowhunter by Raziel (often found written as separate or hyphenated words, as in “Shadowhunter,” earlier in history) as a symbol of his transformation. According to many tellings of the story, Raziel told Jonathan, “I grant you the light and fire of angels, to illuminate your way in dark, for you and your companions will be Hunters of the Shadows.” Like Masters of the Universetm
Not much like them no.
Wait till you meet Jonathan Universemaster.
There is a kind of poetry in the selection of a Shadowhunter family name; combining just any two things into a name is not enough. Your name should try to reflect something about who you are, or where you’re from, or what you hope to be. In order to stimulate ideas of your own, we here supply a list of appropriate English words that can be combined to make names. Simply select two of them and put them next to each other. Usually they will sound better in one order than in the other order.
NOTE: USE YOUR JUDGMENT. Your name must be approved by those evaluating your petition for Ascension. Do not try to name yourself Dragonrider or Firedance or Elfstar. Nephilim are meant to be inconspicuous. Obviously things such as Hammerfist or Bloodsteel should also be avoided.
What is your Shadowhunter name?
Can’t believe you actually wrote that in.
Definitely either STORMWALKER
or NIGHTRAVEN—what do you think?
Not cool bro
THE SHADOWHUNTER’S GLOSSARY
Shouldn’t that be “glossarie”?
The world you are entering is a secret one. It is kept hidden from the vast majority of the mundane world, who do not know even that our kind exist, much less the many varieties of monsterHANDSOME INDIVIDUAL among whom we are responsible for keeping peace. Naturally, the denizens of that world may make common reference to places and things with which you are not yet familiar. We thus provide this handy short guide to some of the more common terms, which will be explored in more depth in later chapters as warranted.
Well, thank goodness.
I don’t know you. I can’t guess who you might be. But I’m done with this Codex now, and I think it’s time I pass it on.
Okay, I’ve written all over it. And . . . drawn all over it. But I think it’s better than a fresh clean Codex, because I’ve corrected some stuff and added some things. I think it’s more true, has less of the political stuff the Clave puts in to make themselves look good.
So this is yours now. Whoever you are. If you need to find this, you’ll find it.
Anyway, welcome. This is the Codex. I always thought it was like this great tome of wisdom, but it’s more like an army field manual—how you teach someone to be a Shadowhunter when you’re already being chased by demons. So I’m not the usual reader. Luckily, Jace has added some notes too. He’s taking my training a little too seriously, by the way. I think it’s because everyone already thinks we’re just pretending to train and actually making out. So, he’s Jace, he has to prove them wrong. Hence real serious training. Which is why I am writing this with an icepack on my hip, by the way.
Simon has appeared to announce that the Codex reminds him of a Dungeons & Dragons manual. “Like, you know, it tells you the rules. Vampires are weak to . . . fire! They bite you for 2d10 damage with their vicious fangs!” Now he is making a bitey face at me. He kind of looks like a hamster. Seriously, I love Simon, but he is like the worst vampire ever.
Simon, you don’t have to make pretend fangs with your fingers. You have actual fangs.
Why Do People Become Shadowhunters, by Magnus Bane
This Codex thing is very silly. Downworlders talk about the Codex like it is some great secret full of esoteric knowledge, but really it’s a Boy Scout manual.
One thing that it mysteriously doesn’t address is why people become Shadowhunters. And you should know that people become Shadowhunters for many stupid reasons.
So here is an addition to your copy.
Greetings, young aspiring Shadowhunter-to-be—or possibly already technically a Shadowhunter. I can’t remember whether you drink from the Cup first or get the book first. Regardless, congratulations. You have just been recruited by the Monster Police. You may be wondering, why? Why of all the mundanes out there was I selected and invited to this exclusive club made up largely, at least from a historical perspective, of murderous psychopaths?
Possible Reasons Why:
1. You possess a stout heart, strong will, and able body.
2. You possess a stout body, able will, and strong heart.
3. Local Shadowhunters are ironically punishing you by making you join them.
4. You were recruited by a local Institute to join the Nephilim as an ironic punishment for your mistreatment of Downworlders.
5. Your home, village, or nation is under siege by demons.
6. Your home, village, or nation is under siege by rogue Downworlders.
7. You were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
8. You know too much, and should be recruited because the secrecy of the Shadow World has already been compromised for you.
9. You know too little; it would be helpful to the Shadowhunters if you knew more.
10. You know exactly the right amount, making you a natural recruit.
11. You possess a natural resistance to glamour magic and must be recruited to keep you quiet and provide you with some basic protection.
12. You have a compound last name already and convinced someone important that yours is a Shadowhunter family and the Shadowhunteriness has just been weakened by generations of poor breeding.
13. You had a torrid affair with a member of the Nephilim Council, and now he’s trying to cover his tracks.
14. Shadowhunters are concerned they are no longer haughty and condescending enough—have sought you out to add a much needed boost of haughty condescension.
15. You have been bitten by a radioactive Shadowhunter, giving you the proportional strength and speed of a Shadowhunter.
16. Large bearded man on flying motorcycle appeared to take you away to Shadowhunter school. (Note: Presence of flying motorcycle suggests bearded man may be a vampire.)
17. Your mom has been in hiding from your evil dad, and you found out you’re a Shadowhunter only a few weeks ago.
That’s right. Seventeen reasons. Because that’s how many I thought of. Now run off, little Shadowhunter, and learn to murder things. And be nice to Downworlders.
PEOPLE AND PLACES
We are called Nephilim or Shadowhunters. We are the children of men and angels; the Angel Raziel gave us our power.
Our primary mission is to eliminate demons, who come in a large variety of species and forms. We also seek to keep the peace among several populations of demihumans, known collectively as Downworlders. These groups are werewolves, vampires, faeries, and warlocks. We preside over a treaty known as the Accords that ordains how we and all of these groups may interact, as well as each group’s rights, responsibilities, and restrictions. The Accords are revised and signed every fifteen years by representatives of the Nephilim and all Downworlder groups.
We have our own secret country, which is hidden in Central Europe and is known as Idris. Its capital city—indeed, its only city—is named Alicante, and that is where the Council resides, and where Clave meetings are held (see below).
Most Shadowhunters spend their younger years as warriors. The exceptions are the members of our two monastic orders, the Silent Brothers and the Iron Sisters. The Brothers serve as our keepers of lore and knowledge: They are our librarians, our researchers, our medics. They reside in the Silent City, a place deep underground, many of whose levels are kept secret even from normal Shadowhunters. The Sisters design and forge our weapons; they are the keepers of adamas, the holy metal given by Raziel for our use. They reside in the Adamant Citadel, which is even more hidden than the Silent City; except for a single receiving chamber, it can be entered only by Iron Sisters. Obsessed with secrecy? A little?