Shadowhunter's Codex (Page 15)

Shadowhunter’s Codex(15)
Author: Cassandra Clare

Neither Downworlders nor mundanes can be compelled by the Soul-Sword. This limit is believed to have been placed purposefully, to prevent the Shadowhunters from using the Sword as a general tool of interrogation. It is intended to maintain the integrity and honor of the Nephilim ourselves, and not to be a weapon wielded against others.

It is assumed that the Sword will not work on demons or angels, but this has never been tested. Since the fey are unable to speak untruths in the first place, its use on them would be redundant.

The Sword’s shape is more or less typical of an arming sword or a knightly sword of Jonathan Shadowhunter’s period. (It is believed that Raziel would have produced, in the Mortal Instruments, weapons and items that would have been somewhat familiar to Jonathan, so that their intention for use by humans would be clear.) It has a one-handed hilt and a straight double-edged blade. Unlike most Western swords of the period, it does not have a cruciform hilt but rather an elaborate design of outspread wings, emerging from the point where blade meets handle. Here the sword’s heavenly origin is clear; the details of the sword are significantly more intricate and flawless than any human artisan could produce.

See, that was better. No one was unexpectedly tortured and murdered.

Except in real life, by Valentine, using that sword. Remember?

Yes, of course. I couldn’t deal with more of that, is what I am saying.


The Mirror, also sometimes called the Mortal Glass, is the great mystery of the legend of Jonathan Shadowhunter. It is clearly the third of the Mortal Instruments given by Raziel, and it is mentioned in all Shadowhunter histories, so we do not believe that it is a later addition. No specifics, however, are given about the Mirror—where it resides, what it looks like, or even its intended function. There have been many searches for the Mirror in our history, in excavations and old libraries, through crypts and ancient Shadowhunter ruins—none of them successful. There have also, of course, been many false Mirrors that have been claimed as real, either by charlatans seeking power among the Nephilim or by naive and hopeful Shadowhunters desperate for an answer to the riddle.

Legend tells us that Raziel can be summoned by the use of the Mortal Instruments: One must hold the Cup and the Sword and stand before the Mirror. This claim must, however, remain but a story, since the Mortal Glass is lost to our knowledge, perhaps lost entirely to time. You know what is weird? When this came out, the Cup was lost. No one knew where it was. People thought it was gone for good. No mention here at all!

Official position was “temporarily misplaced.” The Codex is about as official as it gets. That is ridiculous.

Hey, we got the Cup back, didn’t we? So they were right!


The most common tools of the Shadowhunter, the source of our ability to fight the demonic Incursion at all, are of course the Marks of Raziel, the complex runic language given to us by the Angel to grant us powers beyond mundanes. You will learn these Marks for yourself—it is one of the most important tasks of your training. No one person knows every Mark, of course, but you will begin with the most common and useful, and will gradually learn more as they become useful or necessary to you.

Learning Marks can be difficult, especially for Shadowhunters from Western countries. Many beginning students, and especially Westerners, will tend to think of Marks as a discrete set of “powers”—spells from a spell book that you have to memorize how to draw. Those Shadowhunters who are from cultures that use logographic written language, such as China, Vietnam, or the Mayan Empire, may have an easier time absorbing the truth—that the angelic Marks are a language that we as humans cannot know in the particulars of its grammar. But we can acquire an intuitive sense of the relationships among the Marks that can make the learning experience more like becoming fluent in a language and less like memorizing a list of symbols. As with all other human talents, some Nephilim are naturally skilled at this, and some must work harder to gain competence.

Yes yes, you’re some kind of Marks savant, you don’t really need to worry about these. Check to make sure you know all of them, I guess.

All of them?

All of them.

We are restricted in our power in that we are permitted to use only the runes found in the Gray Book. There are demonic runes—possibly multiple different demonic runic languages—that are forbidden to us, by Law and also because they cannot work alongside the seraphic blood of the Nephilim. We cannot understand the underlying language of the Marks we have, and thus we cannot create new angelic Marks. But there are also other angelic runes, we know not how many, that have existed since time immemorial and that are, for whatever reasons, not given to us for our use. The most well-known of these is the so-called first Mark, the Mark of Cain, the first time that Heaven chose to Mark a human and provide protection. It is easy to see the origin of our magic in the first of all murderers as a dire omen, to see the affiliation as one we would prefer not to have. Yet we would argue the opposite: The Mark of Cain is a Mark of protection. It tells us that the justice of Heaven is not absolute and that this justice still contains the possibility of compassion and mercy.

Represent! Compassion and mercy! Booyah!

Please never say “booyah” again.


The Book of Gramarye is the official name for the book of Marks that all Shadowhunters learn from. Each copy exactly replicates the contents of the original book of the Covenant in which the Angel Raziel inscribed the Marks given to Jonathan Shadowhunter. Unlike many other such holy books that claim exact replication through history, the Gray Book’s quality is maintained by a built-in check: in any given copy, all the Marks must work as drawn! This, and the continuity of Shadowhunter authority across the years, has allowed us to speak with confidence in saying that the Gray Book represents, indeed, the language of Raziel.

Preparing pages to hold the runes involves some complex magical legerdemain, which makes the process of creating a Gray Book an arduous one, always performed by Silent Brothers. Because of this complexity, the binding is often decorative and highly ornamented, to celebrate the effort involved in creating the interior. Institutes and a few old Shadowhunter families guard their Gray Books carefully and pass them down through the generations, often with much ceremony.


Learning Marks can be an intimidating process for young Nephilim; invoking the power of Heaven and likely failing the first few times is an understandably unnerving experience. The risks are, however, relatively low. In most cases poorly drawn Marks will have no effect at all and can be removed with no consequences. Most new Shadowhunters at some point perform the experiment of drawing randomly on themselves or on objects with their steles. This will cause the same “icy hot” feeling on the skin that actual Marks bring about, but no other consequences. Similarly, a mundane must be inscribed with actual Marks, and not just random stele sketching, in order to be turned into a Forsaken. One of the first tricks most young Nephilim learn, in fact, is to take advantage of the neutral character of non-Marks and inscribe an incomplete Mark on themselves, which can then be quickly completed and activated at the moment it is needed.

Only Shadowhunters can create Marks. A mundane or Downworlder can hold a stele, and it will not hurt them, but they cannot use it to create Marks; no lines will appear from the end of the stele, no matter what surface it is drawn against. Among Shadowhunters the strength of a given Mark is based on the inscribing Shadowhunter’s talent for runic magic. That is, a rune to hold against pursuit will do so in relation to the strength and accuracy of its Mark.

Some Marks are applied to the bodies of Shadowhunters, and some are applied to physical objects. It is usually not dangerous to draw a body Mark on an inanimate object—a rock that has been given the Voyance rune will remain the same inanimate rock it was before. Applying object Marks to a Shadowhunter is somewhat more dangerous, as they will apply to the person’s body as a physical object. This is occasionally useful. Note that Marks intended for inanimate objects, like all Marks, cannot be placed on mundanes or Downworlders, as the usual risks of madness, death, or becoming Forsaken still apply.

A Mark’s power can be minimized or broken by the Mark’s being disfigured. Shadowhunters should pay special attention to this potential target on their bodies; some more intelligent and well-informed foes may attempt to burn or cut Marked skin in order to deprive a Shadowhunter of the benefits of those Marks.

What happens if you Mark a dead body?


Really? Nothing undead or creepy?


Well. I am disappointed.


It is a common misconception that the only Marks used by Shadowhunters are those of battle. While we are warriors—and as such, conflict is part of our lives—we also make use of many Marks that speak in gentler tones. There are Marks for funerals, that tell of healing, grief, and comfort, and there are Marks for celebration, that tell of joy and gratitude. And, of course, there are the Marks that most Nephilim will never encounter, those arcane runes accessible only to Silent Brothers and other runes accessible only to Iron Sisters.

All Marks have names in the Gray Book; only the most common are typically referred to by their true names—iratze, for instance—rather than by informal descriptive names (e.g., “strength rune”). But the names of Marks are meaningful: They are in the language of Heaven and are, in fact, the only words of the language of Heaven we have ever been permitted to know. They are our most direct communication with the angels who gave us our lives and our mission.

There are literally thousands of Marks. We offer here a sampling of their designs and basic functions, but the Codex should not be used as a definitive source from which to learn runic manuscription. Please consult the Gray Book and your tutors for help.

Some of the Marks you will likely want to learn early in your education include:

• The Voyance Mark—This is the most basic and permanent Shadowhunter Mark, found on essentially all Nephilim, typically on the back of the right hand. It serves to focus the Sight and enable Shadowhunters to see through glamours and, with training and practice, to identify Downworlders on sight.

• Opening Marks—There are several variations on these, and it would be wise to learn a few of them before you begin your active duty. These Marks ensure that no mundane lock, in theory, is closed to the Nephilim. Unfortunately, this also means that many demons and Downworlders will shut things away behind more magical locks.

• The Tracking Marks—Another set of indispensible runes for the pursuit of demons, these Marks are easy to learn to draw but difficult to use correctly. They are used as follows: An object possessed by the subject to be tracked is held in a fist in the non-stele hand. Then the tracking rune is drawn on the back of the hand. If the rune is used successfully, the Shadowhunter should see visions of the subject’s location. Usually these visions will be accompanied by a knowing sense of orientation: Even if the place seen is unfamiliar, the tracker will have the knowledge of where it is, and in what direction it lies. (A common question about this process: What defines “possession” of an object? “Possession” is here defined literally. Someone is understood to possess something if they can be said to own it or if it is within the place where they live. Thus someone who has sold their house and its furnishings to a new occupant cannot be tracked using those furnishings, which are now in the possession of the new occupant.)

• Healing Marks—There are also several of these to be learned. The first is the iratze, the basic healing rune, which closes cuts and wounds in Shadowhunters. Note that this means that an iratze is not always the best treatment for an injury—for instance, if the Mark would cause the skin to heal over an embedded claw or thorn that needed to be removed. The iratze also raises the body temperature temporarily, helping to burn out infection in much the same way a fever does. This rune is mostly ineffective against demon poisons and injuries caused by demonic runes. In these cases the injured should be quickly brought to a Silent Brother, but in the meantime it can be useful to apply a mendelin rune, which strengthens the victim’s constitution, and/or an amissio rune, which slows blood loss and speeds natural blood replacement.












































































* * *


You’ve probably heard your fellow Shadowhunters talk about the “wards” of your Institute. Wards are, put simply, magical walls. They are the simplest magic we know of, other than glamours. All Shadowhunter wards are pale reflections of the great wards of our world, the protections that largely prevent demons from entering at whim and that are believed to have been put in place by Heaven, long ago, before the measuring of the passage of time. It is these wards that were somehow “thinned” by the combined power of Sammael and Lilith, to allow the Incursion that prompted the creation of the Nephilim. Although these wards still stand, protecting us from a complete invasion, they allow a steady stream of demonkind that shows no sign of slowing and in fact may be increasing.