Shadowhunter's Codex (Page 17)

Shadowhunter’s Codex(17)
Author: Cassandra Clare

I can’t believe Simon hasn’t said anything terrible here yet.

His absence is almost eerie.


1. Learn a new rune you haven’t ever used before. Practice it here on the page and try applying it in the field.

I draw enough runes, thanks. Here is a drawing of Chairman Meow instead.

1a. Who is a woobums? Is it Chairman Meow? Is it? Yes it is! That is correct!

2. If possible, witness some (safe and legal!) demonic magic being performed near your home Institute. Discuss with your fellow local Shadowhunters. What magic is taking place in your part of the world?

It’s New York, so . . . all magic? Is there anything we don’t have? I’m pretty sure we’ve got all of it.

3. It can be very useful to learn to make your own magical wards. Find instructions and place a ward on something small, like a jewelry box. Practice removing and resetting the ward, then move on to something a little more complex. And so on.

Do not do this. Seriously, wards are a big pain. And you almost never have to make your own unless you’re replacing a broken one. No one reading the Codex as a new Shadowhunter should jump into making wards. They’ll end up warding their own foot or something.

Note to self: Do not ward own foot. Check.



You have been immersed, quickly, in a whole world that is still beyond your reckoning. You’ve learned not just that there are intelligent magical creatures on Earth who are not purely human, but that there are many of them, and many who wear a human face. These people wield powerful magic and engage in powerful, sometimes violent feuds. You know of the Shadow World and what you will find there. Now we take up the question of how you should act there. In the most pompous way possible.

We Nephilim are, primarily in the Shadow World, the keepers of peace, and thus the keepers of the Law. The Law—our Covenant with Raziel—tells us what does and does not fall under our jurisdiction, how we may punish violations of the Law, and what rules we ourselves must obey in our interactions with mundanes, with Downworlders, and with one another.

The Law of the Nephilim is not a full code of conduct for Shadowhunters in all realms of their lives. First and foremost comes the injunction attributed to Jonathan Shadowhunter himself: “You are Man; serve Man; live among Man.” Though Idris may come with its own body of general laws, the Shadowhunters assigned all over the world are expected to live among the basic moral codes of their civilization. Our own Law is foremost in importance, but mundane law must be observed as well. Really? The Covenant says that? Note: Ask Jace.

Yes we are supposed to follow mundane laws.

. . . Really?

Some of us are more careful than others.


• You must investigate any known instances of Covenant Law being violated. In fact, you are required to consider even rumors, urban legends, and folktales, to assess their credibility.

• You cannot reveal the Shadow World to mundanes. In fact, Raziel’s guidance is that as we protect and save mundanes they must not know they are being saved.

What about mundane governments?

Mundanes who already know are ok

but . . . ?

• Whenever possible, you must obey the mundane laws in the place where you live. “Whenever possible,” nudge nudge.

• You must never commit a crime against another Shadowhunter. These violations are punished much more harshly by the Clave than crimes against mundanes or Downworlders. This is not because of moral superiority, or because a Shadowhunter is a more valuable person than a non-Shadowhunter, but rather because we Nephilim are few and our lives short. To cause another Shadowhunter to come to harm is to benefit the demons who seek to destroy us.

I am shocked! Shocked!

Oh, stop.


Okay okay fine.

• Collaboration or collusion with the demons who seek to destroy us is considered treason and is usually a capital crime. Colluding with demons to bring direct harm to Shadowhunters would bring down the Clave’s harshest possible punishment, the end of that family’s existence among the Nephilim. The perpetrator’s Marks would be stripped and he would be made Forsaken, left to go insane and die. The rest of his family would merely have their Marks removed and be made mundane, removed from our ranks entirely.

Do a lot of new Shadowhunters need to be warned not to collude with demons and not to kill each other?

I guess the Clave wants you to know they mean business.


Since the Accords, Downworlders have been subject to the Law of the Covenant, with their consent. Downworlders are meant to police themselves, with Shadowhunters interfering only in cases where problems are too severe, or where issues affect other parts of Downworld or the mundane world. Downworlders also have the right to conduct their internal business privately, without the interference or oversight of the Nephilim. For instance, we allow werewolves to fight to the death for control of their packs. We cannot protect these werewolves from possible interference from mundane law enforcement, but we also don’t consider these deaths to be murder under the Law.

A special exception here is the case of dark magic (see the Grimoire, Chapter 6). The practice of dark magic—necromancy, demon-summoning, magical torture, and so on—is strictly forbidden, and neither warlocks nor faeries are permitted to practice it. Exceptions are sometimes made for specific rituals done as part of a Shadowhunter investigation, but they are very rare.


Downworlders have the right under the Law to appeal to the Clave if they believe they have been mistreated by Shadowhunters, or believe that Shadowhunters have broken the Law in their dealings with them. They may request Reparations, monetary compensation for the harm brought to them. They may also call a trial, which will be administered by representatives of the Clave, and Reparations will be paid if the Downworlder can prove their case.

Mundanes also have the right to petition for Reparations, but obviously this comes up infrequently; only a few cases have been seen of mundane Reparations in the entire history of the Nephilim.

The Accords greatly improved the rights of Downworlders under the Law, and so the nature of Reparations changed significantly. Prior to the Accords, Downworlders had essentially no recourse or specific protection under Shadowhunter law; a Shadowhunter could kill a Downworlder under only the suspicion of wrongdoing, and all that could be done would be for a next of kin to file for Reparations. In the last hundred years claims for Reparations have decreased, now that Nephilim can be held legally responsible for abusing Downworlders whether or not someone comes forth to demand Reparations.


The term “spoils” refers to the taking of the possessions and wealth of a Downworlder as part of the punishment for a crime. Typically these spoils are forfeited to the Shadowhunter who has been wronged by the Downworlder. Or the spoils are forfeited to the Clave’s treasury if no specific Shadowhunter seems the proper recipient. In practice, however, Downworlders’ spoils have almost always ended up in the hands of individual Shadowhunter families. In fact, for many old wealthy Shadowhunter families, a goodly portion of their prosperity originates in spoils granted by the Clave.

The practice of taking spoils probably began very early in Nephilim history, but in isolated and informal ways. Spoils are first mentioned in official Clave Law around 1400, but records indicate that the Clave had been officially granting spoils in trials for years already. The awarding of spoils was no more or less popular than other forms of punishment, until the Hunts and the Schism of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries made the awarding of spoils the most common punishment doled out by the Clave. There were two reasons for this. The first was to legitimize and place some limits on the pillaging of Downworlder property that was happening regardless of Clave involvement; the second, which may seem counterintuitive, was to save Downworlders’ lives. In the existing frenzy of Downworlder persecution, which could easily have involved widespread murder, it was hoped that the promise of spoils would stay the Shadowhunters’ weapons in favor of the larger benefit to them of spoils. See, we had to steal their stuff to help them.

The practice of granting spoils lost some of its popularity with the end of the Hunts, but it was still the most common punishment for Downworlder offenses until the First Accords. For all of the language of philosophy and Law thrown about, much of the Shadowhunter opposition to the First Accords came down to economics. Those families strongly dependent on spoils for their wealth stood to lose quite a lot. They argued that the rules restricting spoils would harm the Clave directly. Although spoils were not technically taxed, it was considered virtuous for Shadowhunters, especially the wealthier families, to tithe a percentage of them to the Clave. The First Accords created the beginnings of complex legal language that did not eliminate spoils but strongly restricted the severity of the punishment, and also provided that the punishment of taking spoils from Downworlders could be executed only as part of an official sentence at a trial performed by the Clave. Many spoils have been returned in the past hundred years. Although, in cases where the family of the original owner could not be located, many other spoils have been placed on display in various Institutes, as historical curiosities.

Nice motorcycle, by the way, Jace.

That’s not spoils. That was illegal. I was impounding it.


Mom suggested that I talk to Luke about spoils. I did. He went off on a lecture again. Here are the notes.

Mundanes are not subject to Covenant Law. They are not signers of the Accords, and only a few in the world know of the existence of Shadowhunters or the Shadow World. Even mundane members of demonic cults cannot be prosecuted under the Law, since they are meddling with forces beyond their ken. (Tip! Demonic cults can be most easily neutralized by going after the demon being worshipped, who can be prosecuted and indeed killed under the Law.) Well, thank goodness.

Luke says:

• No limits on spoils during werewolf hunts. All that in the Codex ridiculous; just made pillaging nice and legal.

• Returned some spoils after Accords, but not much—couldn’t find families.

• Didn’t even try to return money taken. That would be impossible.

• Apparently in Germany there’s an Institute that was taken as a spoil from some vampires. They’re still fighting about it.

This is one of the most controversial parts of the Law. Every Accords proceeding has featured strident demands from both Shadowhunters and Downworlders that mundanes be held accountable for their behavior. These demands are always declined, for the simple reason that our charge to keep our world hidden from mundanes must be paramount.

* * *


The Inquisitor is the Shadowhunter responsible for investigating breaches of the Law by Nephilim. Not even the Consul can refuse to cooperate with her investigations. When Nephilim are put on trial before the Council, the Inquisitor typically serves as the prosecuting attorney, and recommends or requests specific sentences for guilty parties. (These recommendations must then be ratified by the Council.)

The Inquisitor stands outside the rest of Shadowhunter government of Clave and Council. She is typically disliked by the Nephilim at large, because of the authority she wields. It is an infamously thankless job. But our history is full of the stories of heroic Inquisitors who have kept our society from falling into corruption, by rooting out Lawbreakers and seeing that they are punished.

* * *


The Inquisitor’s most recent high-profile task was the investigation of the Circle, Valentine Morgenstern’s band of dissident Shadowhunters, after the failure of his Uprising against the Clave. The Inquisitor had to perform a complex task of separating out those who had been made to follow Morgenstern, those who had done so of their own free will, those who had recanted his beliefs but had been unable to leave out of fear for their lives, those who still believed in his apocalyptic vision, and so on. Most Circle members’ lives were spared, and the punishments of the guilty varied widely, from compulsory tithes, to incarceration, to the loss of administrative duties, to exile from Idris. Thus is the Inquisitor’s job a difficult one, and her role in meting out justice complex and imperfect.


Though Shadowhunters come from all corners of our world, we are Shadowhunters first, and citizens of our own ancestral homelands second. In the thousand years that we have existed, we have lived apart from mundanes, and the life of a Shadowhunter includes many features unique to us and our history. These are outlined here so that they may be recognized, and so that you may behave appropriately at times of celebration, struggle, and grief. I had a book like this section for Judaism when I was little.


The birth of a new Shadowhunter is an occasion for great celebration. We are not a numerous people, and we tend to die young; therefore any new young Shadowhunter is a cause for joy and delight. Births are normally presided over by Silent Brothers, who are able to use both their Marks and their knowledge of medicine to keep mother and child safe and healthy. As a result, we have always enjoyed a much higher rate of survival and healthiness in births than the mundane population.

When a Shadowhunter is born, it is traditional for a number of protective spells to be placed on the infant by an Iron Sister and a Silent Brother, representatives of their orders. (Usually the Silent Brother is the same person to have presided over the birth.) These are meant to strengthen the child, both physically and spiritually, in preparation for her first Marks later in life, and also to protect her from demonic influence and possession.

Note: ask Mom about this, me?!


Most new Shadowhunters want to know where they, or their children, will go to school. There is no such thing as a Shadowhunter school in the way mundanes use the term. Instead young Nephilim are tutored, either in their family homes or in small groups at their local Institutes. The training of new Shadowhunters is one of the responsibilities of all adult Shadowhunters, who are meant to share teaching duties, each from his own expertise. Parents are meant to lead the project of training their own children; orphaned Shadowhunters under the age of eighteen are the responsibility of the Clave, and will usually be sent to be raised and trained in their local Institute.