What are the odds this is going to come up again?!
* * *
ON ANGEL BLOOD
Nephilim are raised knowing that in their veins flows some of the blood of angels, and thus angel blood is a substance about which many stories and tall tales have been told—that it grants superior strength, that it cures any disease, that it lengthens the human life. All of these claims must be considered less than credible, if only because stories claiming the appearance of angels in our world are, to our knowledge, universally false. A Downworlder who claims to be selling angel blood, or anything derived from angel blood, is lying to you. Shadowhunters should be too smart to be taken in by such claims, but sadly over the years a number of young Nephilim have shaken in Institute infirmaries, recovering from the ingestion of whatever substances have been mixed together to give the semblance of angel blood. There are no vials of angel blood floating around that grant superpowers. None. Do not fall for this ruse. Ahem.
I guess this is another one where I get credit for real-life experience.
I believe so, yes.
Oh, I can’t wait.
The mundane world is the world you know. It is the world from which, new Nephilim, you have come, and its people, the mundanes, are the people you knew and the people you yourself were, until recently when you were changed. We often speak of the mundane world as though it is a minor aspect of our lives and our world, but in truth we exist by necessity because of mundanes. When Nephilim say we are protectors of the world, what we mean is protectors of the mundanes. They are our charges and our responsibility. Chumps!
Mundanes live their lives in ignorance of the shadows surrounding them, and it is our job to protect that ignorance and, as much as possible, maintain it. As you walk the streets of your cities and towns, as you patrol, you will be surrounded by mundanes living their lives, celebrating and mourning, knocked about by happiness and sadness and anger and sorrow and joy. These emotions you see may be at odds with what you, with the true Sight, know to be the truth. Sometimes drastically at odds. Many are the Nephilim who have been shaken by their need to run down and fight to exhaustion a demon who threatens to destroy an entire town of smiling, oblivious mundanes. This is one of the burdens we bear. It is our job to bear it appropriately.
Mundanes are, of course, not allowed into Idris, or into any Institute, under normal circumstances. The Law allows for Shadowhunters to offer mundanes sanctuary if they are in imminent danger from a demon or Downworlder attack, or danger from the results of a demon or Downworlder attack. Note that the Law does not obligate Shadowhunters to do this. The Nephilim’s holy mission is to protect mundanes, but not at the expense of our own safety. Shadowhunters must judge whether a mundane can be given sanctuary without compromising the larger secrecy, and therefore safety, of the Shadow World.
It is easy to feel contempt, and even envy, for mundanes. They are, after all, in danger from a demonic threat of which they know nothing. They go about their lives complacently; they have the luxury of not knowing the truth of the great battle of good and evil that looms over their world constantly. They have the luxury of not being in a state of constant war, of knowing that each of your friends, of your family members, is in battle every day from which, every day, there is a chance they might not return.
We urge you: Have compassion for the mundane world. It is our lot to fight for them and for them not to know of our sacrifices. This is not their fault.
Oh, come on, it’s not that bad. They want us to be kind to mundanes!
Those poor bastards. I pity them. Just . . . pity them.
MUNDANES WHO ARE NOT ENTIRELY MUNDANE
They are somewhat cool. But not as cool as Shadowhunters.
Lays it on a little thick though. Shadowhunter doth protest too much, methinks.
There are, of course, mundanes who are not entirely mundane—whose families have, somewhere in their history, faerie blood, or werewolf blood, or even, rarely, Nephilim blood. This blood persists through generations, and these mundanes may be identified by having the Sight and by being able to see through some glamours. (Most, however, still never notice any supernatural activity, because they are not prepared to see it. An important rule of glamours: For the most part people see what they wish to see. (See “Glamours and the Sight.”) Even Sighted mundanes will often look past strange appearances and explain them as illusions or misunderstandings.)
Many of these mundane-yet-Sighted families used to act as the servants and caretakers of various Institutes and wealthy Shadowhunter families; however, in most parts of the world, the practice of keeping servants has long gone out of fashion, and these families have ceased their relationships with the Nephilim. Several generations have passed since this happened in North America and Europe, and most living members of these families no longer even know that their ancestors once served the Nephilim.
Even those mundanes who do not possess the Sight may often find themselves drawn to places of magic and power, though they will not understand why. Sometimes they will find themselves compelled to make some physical mark on such a place—to build barriers separating it from the places around it, to decorate it, even to deface or vandalize it. This can be annoying to Nephilim and Downworlders who need to make use of these sites of power, but again we urge you to have patience and pity for these mundanes. There must be some magic deep within the collective memory of all humans, for otherwise how could we (and Downworlders) make use of any magic, even with the addition of angel or demon blood? We must, all of us, have at least the potential to be of the Nephilim. That magic spills out into all the world, and it is part of our responsibility as Shadowhunters to maintain it.
(See also: “Mundane Demonic Cults.” )
Just your everyday run-of-the-mill demonic cult.
A NOTE ON MUNDANE RELIGION
Many new Shadowhunters come to us from their own religious history and want to know which religion is “right.” This knowledge is not something that Shadowhunters possess any more than mundanes do. Shadowhunters proudly originate from all points of the globe, and we naturally see and think about the Shadow World within the context of our personal beliefs.
This diversity may seem like a weakness, keeping Shadowhunters separated from one another, just as mundanes are by their beliefs. But these mundane religions have much to teach us. Encased in their mythologies and legends are practical truths about angels, demons, perhaps even Downworlders. We include all of them in our researches.
Also, mundane religion represents the moral and ethical beliefs, and spiritual insights, of our species, and we have much to learn from these as well. We ignore the teachings of the wisest of mundanes at our peril. If all the stories are true, we must remember that those stories have mostly been written down by mundanes.
The world’s religions always have assisted, and will continue to assist, the Nephilim in our mission. Religious communities and holy buildings are universally available as havens for Shadowhunters, and often contain secret caches of weapons and tools for Shadowhunter use. The agreements concerning these caches often go back five hundred or more years. In fact, the oldest continually operating Nephilim weapons cache in the world can be found in Milan—one of the largest mundane trade cities closest to Idris—in the Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio. The Milanese Nephilim claim that this cache was established by Jonathan Shadowhunter himself, late in his life, in what was then the new bell tower of the church.
Traditionally, entrance to caches was effected by the recitation of the so-called Martyr’s Creed:
In the name of the Clave, I ask entry to this holy place. In the name of the Battle That Never Ends, I ask the use of your weapons. And in the name of the Angel Raziel, I ask your blessings on my mission against the darkness.
Today most caches follow the more expedient method of opening to the presence of a Voyance rune, but the traditional method still works in most places, for those Shadowhunters who prefer a little more drama.
I actually have to memorize that, don’t I. I’ve heard Jace say it.
Yep. You have to memorize a million Marks, too, you know.
But that is eeeeasy. This is haaaard.
There’s no whining in Shadowhuntering!
Oh, you know that’s not true.
It was only shortly after the creation of the first Nephilim that humanity came to know, to its detriment, what happens if you Mark a person who does not have Shadowhunter blood, or who has not been made a Shadowhunter by drinking from the Mortal Cup. A single Mark is likely only to cause a burning pain where it has been inscribed on the skin, but a number of Marks—and it does not take many—will drive a mundane to agonizing pain and mindless, insane rage. The Mortal Cup, or inherited Shadowhunter blood, steels the body against the overwhelming strength of angelic power that flows through the Marks, but an unprepared mortal will die.
Okay. Here’s my question, Codex. Why did Valentine stop using Forsaken? Why doesn’t every bad guy create a giant Forsaken army?
They do not eat or sleep, and they ignore their injuries and wounds. As a result they are short-lived creatures, and it is only a matter of chance whether they are killed off first by starvation, exhaustion, or infection.
IF YOU MEET A FORSAKEN
Killing Forsaken is, in short, a mercy. Do not, however, take on a Forsaken one-on-one. It is easy to underestimate their strength and cunning. If necessary, flee and return with backup.
The only known method of ending the agony of a Forsaken, other than killing him, is to make him drink from the Mortal Cup, whose power will eliminate the unfathomable pain of the Marks. Technically this will turn the Forsaken into a full Shadowhunter. There are, however, zero recorded cases in which the sufferer survived the dual shock of becoming Forsaken and then becoming Nephilim, so it is best to consider them beyond help.
WHERE DID FORSAKEN COME FROM?
We cannot know the horror of the first Forsaken, whose story is lost to history, but it must have been early in the spread of Nephilim through the world. As early as the mid-1200s, not long after the believed death of Jonathan Shadowhunter, we have notes from the Silent City suggesting that the Brothers were seeking a cure for the Forsaken. Forsaken are mentioned by that name in the first written version of Covenant Law, by the first Consul, Edward the Good and Ready, and are condemned as illegal and in fact blasphemous.
The real problem with Forsaken is that in their madness they are dangerously suggestible, and they have some affinity for the one who has Marked them. This enables the wielder of the Mark to command them. They can be made to survive for longer than normal by being ordered by their master to eat, drink, and sleep, and they can understand other simple commands. They are thus occasionally used as slave labor, but their unending rage and pain make them mostly useful only for committing violence. Forsaken are unable to build or construct anything, and they are unable to speak.
There have been surprisingly few attacks by Forsaken recorded in our history. They are certainly a threat to mundanes, but they are not actually very strong. Despots do not raise Forsaken armies, because Forsaken make terrible soldiers: They can’t wield weapons, and they can’t implement tactics or defend themselves. They are much less intelligent than human soldiers, and they require the same resources to maintain. They are easily neutralized as a threat by prepared Nephilim, or indeed by a powerful warlock or a significant force of werewolves or vampires. Because of all of these aspects, most Forsaken we know of were the result of errors, such as a mundane foolishly trying to turn himself into a Shadowhunter. There have also been isolated occasions in which being made Forsaken was used as a punishment, but it has always been against Nephilim Law to do so, and those Shadowhunters who were caught doing this would have been arrested and imprisoned in the Silent City for their crime.
Note that we do not see parallel “demonic Forsaken.” Demonic magic, of course, has its own runes that could be theoretically inscribed on a person’s flesh. In practice, though, these runes tend to produce an effect not unlike a strong demon poison. Thus we do not find, say, warlocks using them to enhance themselves; these runes cause not the mindless rage and pain of the Forsaken but the wasting collapse of the poisoned and are of no real use in practice.
Well, ten points to you, Codex. You answered my question: no Forsaken army because they fall apart and they are really stupid. Fair enough.
GHOSTS AND THE DEAD
Ghosts and spirits rarely appear in usual Shadowhunter business, but nevertheless for many Nephilim the Sight includes the ability to see, hear, and speak with the spirits of the dead. You may have it yourself! This aspect of the Sight is entirely hereditary and cannot be enhanced with Marks.
Even those Shadowhunters who cannot actually speak to or see the forms of ghosts can nevertheless usually sense their presence nearby, by noting the existence of an unnatural cold feeling. When ghosts manifest themselves in our world, they must draw energy from around them in order to maintain their ectoplasmic form, and thus suck the heat from their surroundings.
The strongest ghosts may in fact be able to manifest themselves into a close semblance of life. We can, however, always tell a ghost by its eyes: They will be hollow and empty.
Sometimes, in the case of the strongest spirits, the eyes will have flames flickering in their depths, but this is fairly rare.
The prevailing theory of ghosts is that they are trapped in our world by some wrong or crime they are seeking to resolve; they are literally “restless” and seek the talisman that will allow them to pass out of our world and into theirs fully. It takes a certain amount of strength for a ghost to be aware enough of itself and its former life to identify its talisman, and ghosts have no magical knowledge of what that talisman might be or what act might put them to rest; they are, in most cases, just guessing, and may be wrong, or too demented to accurately comprehend their situation.
Wait wait wait, we could have been dealing with ghosts all this time too?
Where are the ghosts? Bring on the ghosts! You don’t actually want that. New York has some bad ghosts. Trust me.