Shadowhunter's Codex (Page 14)

Shadowhunter’s Codex(14)
Author: Cassandra Clare

Things to ask Jace about the existence of

You left this blank. What do you want to know about?

The book leaves a bunch of things out! Like mummies. Tell me about mummies.

Mummies exist. The Egyptians mummified people.

Mummies that get up out of their cursed tombs and walk around do not exist.

Do cursed tombs exist?

No. Sometimes you get a tomb guarded by a demon.

Zombies?

The voudun kind, yes—the braaaaaaiiiiinnnnsss kind, no.

Oh, oh, I’ve got one. What about a haunted car? Can you have a haunted car?

Do you count a demon-powered motorcycle?

No, like, the car talks to you and tells you to kill people.

Then no.

Leprechauns?

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS AND THINGS TO TRY

Why am I even answering you? You are not a Shadowhunter. No, no leprechauns.

Elder gods?

Jace is ignoring Simon. Elder gods, Jace—same question.

We’d just consider them Greater Demons, I think.

Transformers!

I don’t know what those are.

Alien robots that turn into other things that don’t look like robots!

Also, what about Smurfs? Also, and I am totally serious here, Santa Claus?

1. Do you come to the Shadowhunters with existing religious beliefs? Try reading some of the Shadowhunter scholars of your religion from the past, who will help you learn how to fit your new knowledge of the Shadow World into your worldview.

I will get right on that.

2. Can you see ghosts? If so, try to find a haunting near you. Someone in your Institute will know of one. Describe your spectral experience here.

I cannot see ghosts. I am actually pretty happy about that.

3. Seriously, how much do mundanes suck? So much.

Mundane rights!

I can’t believe I am defending the Clave, but really, guys, this section is pretty good by their standards.

This whole section is pretty ridiculous, by the way. Here’s the short version: We don’t do our own magic. We use magic from Raziel. That’s the whole point. And it’s not even true for you.

AN INTRODUCTORY NOTE ON MAGIC

Nephilim do not perform magic.

This is—far and away—the thing that most separates us from both demons and Downworlders. Demons perform magic—indeed, the vast majority of magic that you will see in the world is demonic in origin. The powers given to werewolves and vampires, too, are demonic magic. Faerie magic is the great unknown—it is very different from the magic of demons, but some believe that the two have the same origin.

According to Jace: weird Nephilim Pride stuff here. Most Shadowhunters don’t care that much.

Whatever the case, the Nephilim do not have any magic of their own. We use, rather, magical tools that have been gifted to us by higher powers. We cannot make new Marks. We have access only to the ones that were handed to us in the Gray Book. We can experiment with their use, but they are all the power we have been granted. Everything else that Nephilim are we have made on our own. Most of us cannot make new Marks, that is.

Through history many Nephilim, especially Silent Brothers, have spent countless thousands of hours trying to discover the underlying “language” and “grammar” of angelic Marks. If their constituent parts could be understood, it was believed, then perhaps new Marks could be created. These projects have inevitably led to failure. If there is an elemental grammar of Marks, then it seems that we humans are not permitted to know it, or are not capable of discovering it.

By comparison, demon magic is a much broader and more powerful magic in all its forms—whether wielded directly by demons or warlocks, or whether installed in the souls of vampires or lycanthropes. Faerie magic is more powerful still.

This is a lesson never to be forgotten by any Shadowhunter: We are outmatched. We are outgunned. What keeps us is our determination, our oath, our adherence to Law, our discipline, and our training.

WHY?

The great question of the Nephilim, the great mystery left unanswered by Raziel and unasked by Jonathan Shadowhunter, is this: Why have we been left with such limited powers? Why have the Downworlders been given such a range of superhuman abilities—immortality, strength, and speed beyond their physical bodies, the ability to invent and create new magic—when we have been given such limited and unchangeable weapons for our fight?

This is a question without an answer, and in fact to suggest a definitive answer is to presume to know the minds of angels. Let us, however, suggest that the Shadowhunter hold within her mind two qualities of great warriors—that of dignity and that of humility.

Dignity: Our power is that we are chosen. Unlike demons, born of the Void and without the free will to choose aught but evil; or Downworlders, whose powers are so often the result of accidents of birth, unpredictable events, terrible crimes; we have been selected to bear the blood of angels and lead the fight against Hell.

And humility: We are dust and ashes. We are mortal. We are vulnerable. We bleed and we die.

And in these two extremes is our great strength and our great frailty.

This: Cheesy but true! This kind of describes all people.

We count as people!

Do I even have to say you can skip this sidebar?

What, I didn’t hear you. I was busy skipping this sidebar.

* * *

BASIC INTERDIMENSIONAL SPACE-TIME THEORY

So far you know of two worlds: the mundane world and the Shadow World. But there are worlds other than these. Our world overlaps with others, infinitely many others, that are separate from our world yet occupy the same space, in an alternate reality. These alternate realities have no obligation to hew to the same rules that our own universe follows, and so it’s generally assumed that we could not survive in most of them. Not only need they not have things such as water and air and a temperature that we can stand, but they need not have the same physical laws or forms of life, and in these worlds we might disintegrate, unable to sustain our existence in a universe totally hostile to it.

Some believe Faerie to be a dimension different from our world (see discussion of the fey, Bestiaire Part II, Chapter 4), but we know for sure that the Void, home of the demons, is a different dimension. Attempts to follow demons home through their Portals back to the Void have proved to be instantly fatal to humans. It’s suspected that angels come from yet another dimension, but this is mere speculation.

In truth we don’t know whether the Void is a single alternate dimension—or many dimensions, or even an infinitude of dimensions whose nexus lies at Pandemonium. In practice it does not much matter. Our vocation as Nephilim is to protect our own dimension; we will allow other universes to take care of themselves.

You shouldn’t have skipped it. This is cool stuff.

Space-time! Dimensions! More of this kind of thing please, thanks, love Simon.

GLAMOURS AND THE SIGHT

A glamour is the simplest magic in existence. It makes things look different from how they are. Performed correctly, it creates a perfect semblance in the mind of the observer and perfectly obscures the true shape of the thing glamoured. It is one of the few kinds of magic available to all known magic users—it is found in the Gray Book, in demonic spell books, in the researches of warlocks, and among the fey. And a glamour is the most widely and extensively used magic because of its necessity: It hides the Shadow World from mundanes, a goal that all of that world agrees upon.

Most glamours are easy to see through for any magical being, and they usually hide things only from mundanes. Vampires, faeries, and warlocks all may use more powerful glamours to hide their activities not just from mundanes but also from Shadowhunters and from one another. Faeries especially are considered the masters of glamour magic; some Nephilim theorize that everything we see of Faerie in this world is modified by a glamour in some way.

Glamours are most commonly used to put a false skin over something, as with the glamours we place on our Institutes. Nephilim also often glamour ourselves into invisibility, to move undetected through the mundane world. This is significantly easier than glamouring gear into the semblance of street clothes, weapons into the semblance of harmless tools, and so on. Similarly, demons may glamour themselves into nonspecific forms, so that a mundane attacked by a demon will perceive it as something generic, like a dog or another random mundane.

The ability to see past glamours to a thing’s true nature is often called the Sight, a term from mundane folklore. Most Shadowhunters are born with the Sight, inherited from their Shadowhunter parents. All Shadowhunters typically enhance their Sight with the permanent application of a Voyance rune, because Sight is the only means of seeing through glamours. Just knowing that something has been glamoured, or even knowing its true shape, does not remove the glamour effect.

This is notable because there are many folk beliefs among mundane cultures about rituals and tools that can be used to see through glamours. Some of these may successfully work to help us see through faerie glamours, by means we do not understand. These tools—clary sage, Seeing Stones, wearing clothing inside out, washing your face in a particular spring at sunrise, and so on—cannot, however, be used to see through the more common glamours used by warlocks, demons, and Shadowhunters.

Some mundanes do naturally possess true Sight, usually credited to fey blood in their ancestry, though no direct connection has ever been proved.

* * *

WHAT IS A GLAMOUR?

The origin of glamour magic is a subject that has puzzled generations of magical researchers—how is it that all of the Shadow World has access to it, and are the different versions related? There have been various theories, the most common of which historically has been that glamour magic originally belonged to the fey and was “stolen” from them by other creatures somehow. It’s not clear how this could have happened, though, and so the prevailing theory today is that there are at root two types of glamours—the angelic glamours that we Nephilim use, produced by the inscription of Marks, and demonic glamours, used by everyone else. It’s assumed that Raziel granted us the power of glamours, just as he granted us the power of Sight, to put us on an even footing with our foes, and to allow us to protect ourselves from mundane discovery.

I did not know this, but it turned out to be because I did not care.

ANGELIC MAGIC

THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS

The Mortal Instruments are the greatest gifts entrusted to the Nephilim. Without them there are no Shadowhunters, no Marks used by humans, and no recourse against the demonic threat. The Instruments are venerated by Shadowhunters as our most sacred relics and are given to the Silent Brothers to keep and protect.

It is believed that the Mortal Instruments have functions beyond those that we know; old writings, especially among the Silent Brothers, speak obscurely of angelic powers essential to the Instruments that could be wielded if only we knew what they were. These powers remain ineffable to us. Sadly, no use has ever been found for the Cup or the Sword beyond those enumerated below, and, of course, we do not know what power, if any, the Mirror might possess.

The power of dunking you in a lake and then driving you mad. Well done there. So glad we know about that now.

THE CUP

The Mortal Cup is the means by which Nephilim are created. It is often called Raziel’s Cup, or the Cup of the Angel. As our legends tell us, the Angel Raziel presented himself to Jonathan Shadowhunter and filled the cup with a mixture of his own angelic ichor and Jonathan’s mundane blood. Jonathan drank from the cup and became the first Nephilim. Thereafter the Cup was imbued with angelic power, and drinking holy liquid from it would transform a mundane into a Nephilim.

The Cup is not as ornate and decorative as most new Shadowhunters assume. No jewel-encrusted chalice, it is the size of only an ordinary wineglass, and it is dipped in unadorned gold. It is carved from adamas, which is much heavier than glass. It is unusual that the Cup was gilded, considering the essential holiness of adamas—which to Shadowhunters is holier than gold.

Its adamas construction, however, is not the source of its power, any more than its gilding. It is assumed that the Cup is made of adamas because that is the angels’ metal, unbreakable by any substance on earth (except the sacred fires of the Adamant Citadel). It is generally believed that Raziel could have made any cup into the Mortal Cup. It became sacred when the Angel used it as the vessel for his blood.

There have been periods of history in which the Cup was in frequent use by the Clave, but in the past fifty years this practice has mostly died out. The 1950s saw a large expansion of Shadowhunter families across the world, mostly to replenish the ranks of Nephilim lost in major world conflicts, but the Clave then saw a period of relative stability, and the current Shadowhunter families were considered sufficient to fill our ranks.

The worst use of the Mortal Cup, historically, was during the Hunts, when it was used for a form of inquisitional torture and murder. Downworlders, of course, cannot drink from the Cup and cannot bear Marks. They will typically, if given to drink from the Cup, vomit up its contents, but if they are forced to continue to drink from the vessel, it will soon burn the life out of them entirely, and they will die in paroxysms of suffering as the demonic and angelic war fruitlessly within them. (This fate is similar to that of the offspring of a demon and Shadowhunter, who cannot survive to birth.) This method of capital punishment was considered by some Shadowhunters—and, shamefully, the Clave as a whole for a time—to be not only just but merciful, since it infused the Downworlder with angelic power before death. Now viewed as barbaric and torturous, the practice fell off in most parts of the world in the early eighteenth century. It was eliminated as an official form of punishment by Consul Suleiman Kanuni in 1762 but was only made fully illegal in the Second Accords of 1887. This is terrible! Why must you tell me these terrible things, Codex? I just wanted to learn about the Cup.

At least they admit to doing it and agree it was bad. That’s a big step for the Clave.

THE SWORD

The Mortal Sword, often called the Soul-Sword, is the second of the Mortal Instruments. It resides in the Silent City and normally is hung above the Speaking Stars in the Silent Brothers’ council chamber. When it is needed, it is typically wielded by Silent Brothers. Its primary use is to compel Nephilim to tell only truth. As Raziel said, the Sword cuts the knot of lies and deceptions to reveal the golden truth beneath. It is used in modern times mostly during trials, to compel honest testimony from witnesses, those who would have a vested interest in lying. Shadowhunters who wish to have their claims tested and proved may submit themselves to “trial by the Sword.” In this process a suitable judge—usually a Silent Brother—“wields” the sword by placing it in the hands of the deponent, where it adheres and from whence it cannot be removed until the judge wills it.