Shadowhunter's Codex (Page 24)

Shadowhunter’s Codex(24)
Author: Cassandra Clare

• Yes, the Hunts were bad. • No, the Clave hasn’t ever really made up for it, except for making it illegal now. • There are still Shadowhunters who think it should be illegal to “collaborate” with warlocks.

THE ACCORDS

THE FIRST ACCORDS, 1872

• Easy for the Clave to take blame for something that ended three hundred years ago, think they’re so great

You got the idea, I think.

A group of serious-looking men and a few women stand around a table rough with years, and examine the twenty-eighth draft of what, since the twenty-first draft, has become known as the Accords. This is Consul Josiah Wayland’s high Victorian Council Hall; he runs things with the discipline and rigidity of a German schoolmaster. Across the table from the Council members are the various Downworlder representatives. They feel the rights of Downworlders in Reparations trials are not sufficiently spelled out. Wayland suspects them of trying to build loopholes into the Law.

Wayland, you fiend!

It is the hottest summer in fifty years in Alicante. temperatures remain above ninety degrees for weeks at a time; moist hot air drapes itself over the Accords deliberations like a robe, shortening everyone’s patience and goodwill. Tempers flare. A constant argument occurs about whether the windows should remain open or closed. When open they allow at least the slight relief of a cross breeze, but they also let in a population of black flies that must be waved off with flyswatters. Everyone is constantly physically uncomfortable, except for the faerie and vampire representatives, who take the experience in stride, thus irritating the rest of the assembly all the more.

That Wayland would preside over what is almost certainly the most important event in modern Shadowhunter history is an interesting accident of timing. Wayland was not much loved as a Consul, and has not been remembered fondly for either his personality or his wisdom. In truth the groundwork for the Accords had been laid across the entire nineteenth century, beginning with the historic European Downworlder Treaty that was signed at the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815 and marked the first time an official document promised any protection under the Law for Downworlders. Most of the credit for the ideas that led to the Accords should be given to the Consul at that treaty of 1815, Shimizu-Tokugawa Katsugoro. It is a testament to Shimizu-Tokugawa’s ideas and drive that even after his death in 1858, the work that led to the Accords continued until they were finally signed in 1872.

The other great hero of these First Accords was the head of the London Institute at the time, Granville Fairchild, who acted as a great peacekeeper throughout the long hot summer and constantly smoothed over relationships between the delegations at times when their clashing interests led to offense and resentment. He possessed a preternatural ability both to make the Council understand and appreciate the wishes of the Downworlder delegation, and to help the Downworlders understand and appreciate the wishes of the Nephilim. Sadly, Fairchild did not live to ratify the Accords he himself had worked so hard to complete. As negotiations were concluding, he traveled to the island of Cyprus to offer his expertise in demonology to the Institute there. The Cypriot Nephilim were fighting the Greater Demon Stheno, who was ravaging the countryside. There Fairchild died, as befits a Shadowhunter, in battle with Stheno. Though they were drastically different men, Fairchild and Consul Wayland had a great friendship, and Wayland dedicated the signing of the Accords to Fairchild’s memory.

(In an unusual end to the story, Stheno was eventually dispatched back to the Void in Scotland in 1894 by a team of English Shadowhunters; though Stheno was in disguise, he was recognized because he was wearing Granville Fairchild’s favorite Ukrainian fur hat, which had been a gift from Wayland.) Ha!

These First Accords were opposed heavily by some Shadowhunters, mostly those who stood to lose significant income as a result of the proposed Reforms. (See “Spoils.”) Luckily, compromises were found that allowed the Accords to be ratified and signed. The final draft, the thirty-third, was agreed upon near the end of the summer of 1872. Fifty signers were present to ratify it: ten vampires, ten werewolves, ten warlocks, ten faeries, and ten Nephilim. Vampire representative Aron Benedek famously described the final document as a “compromise of compromises,” but in truth the skeleton of the subsequent Accords was fully in place with this first agreement. The Accords that have followed have hewn to its model more often than not.

Among the landmark resolutions adopted as part of these First Accords were:

• The declaration of Downworlders as beings with souls, and thus entitled to the protections due to humans.

• The revoking of Laws making it illegal for Downworlders to adopt mundane children.

• The granting to Downworlders of the right to a court trial when accused of breaking the Law; no longer could Shadowhunters adjudge them guilty of crimes and punish them immediately.

• Legal language restricting the penalties that could be placed on Downworlders, to prevent punishment out of proportion to the crime.

• The granting of Downworlders’ right to their own internal organizational schemes—vampire clans, wolf packs, faerie courts, et cetera—without interference from the Clave. In fact, the Accords made membership in one of these internal organizations a requirement for Downworlders; “unaffiliated” vampires or werewolves were considered rogue and were not afforded the same protections under the Law.

• Acknowledgment of the Nephilim as the official law-keeping force of Downworld, and agreement by the Downworlders to abide by Covenant Law. Acknowledgment of the theoretical body of Heaven, through its representative Raziel, as the ultimate authority over our world.

It is interesting to examine the updates in the Accords over the years, and how the Accords today differ from the original document signed those many years ago. The major differences include:

• Increasingly detailed and specific language about the rights of Downworlders in criminal trials. The need for more and more legalism in the Accords came about as Consuls and Inquisitors varied wildly in how they interpreted things, sometimes adopting draconian rules against Downworlder groups, who had little recourse but to try to get the rules made more specific in the next Accords. Interestingly, the criminal law section of the Accords is now treated as a separate document and is framed by a different group of representatives—ones with legal expertise—from those who write the rest of the Accords. This is in part because the criminal law section of the Accords is now significantly longer than the entire rest of the Accords put together. This separate document is, however, the only place where a Downworlder’s right to trial is officially recognized by the Nephilim, and so the document has grown in importance with each successive Accords.

• A much stronger declaration of the rights of mundanes to live their lives unimpeded by the vicissitudes of Downworlders. It was at the Seventh Accords, for instance, that it first became illegal for vampires to keep subjugates.

• During the time of the first three Accords, warlocks were habitually summoning demons at the request of Nephilim. Technically this was illegal. The Fourth Accords specifically made it legal for warlocks to do whatever magic was deemed necessary in the course of a Nephilim investigation.

These and other such social reforms teach us that the spirit of the Accords is alive in Idris, and that we continue to refine and ever improve relations between Idris and Downworld.

So progressive, we couldn’t murder Downworlders in the street anymore.

Big change, though—from “Downworlders are basically demons” to “Downworlders are basically humans.”

* * *

1. Gibson, Marion, Witchcraft and Society in England and America, 1550–1750 (London: Continuum International Publishing Group, 1976), 1–9.

I did not know about this. It is pretty bad, yeah.

It’s not like your country or your religion behaved way better.

I hereby render unconditional obedience to the Circle and its principles. . . . I will be ready to risk my life at any time for the Circle, in order to preserve the purity of the bloodlines of Idris, and for the mortal world with whose safety we are charged.

—Loyalty oath of the Circle

The Accords have never had the unanimous support of the Clave. Almost every Accords negotiation has drawn protests, objections, internal squabbles from among the Nephilim. Those in far-flung territories, especially, with sparser populations, have often argued that Downworlder relations in such “wilds” require a looser hand, that the restrictions on Shadowhunter behavior in the Accords severely limit their ability to do their jobs.

These arguments have been heated and impassioned. Tempers have flared. Respected members of the Clave have stormed out of the Accords Hall in fury. Certain Downworlders and certain Shadowhunters have had to be carefully seated far from one another in the negotiation chambers.

At heart, though, the Nephilim’s and the Downworlders’ aims have aligned. We have all wanted peace. Everyone has, at root, wanted peace. Until the Circle.

Valentine Morgenstern, the only living son of a widely respected and long-standing Nephilim family, and his followers, disrupted the Accords. Not disrupted—invaded. I was there. Some have, in the years following, downplayed the horror and the violence of that day, to paint Morgenstern and his followers as noble dissidents, protestors using dramatic actions to make their point. But I was there.

Let us not mince words. The Circle despised Downworlders. They believed in the purity of humans and the impurity of Downworld, believed that Downworlders were at their root demons, and believed that Downworlders should be slaughtered to keep the world pure for humans. They viewed those Shadowhunters who disagreed with them as complicit in the profanity they believed Downworlders brought to our world. The Circle members were not protestors; they were violent fanatics.

(It is worth noting, in fairness to certain families, that many of the original members of the Circle, and many of the closest of Morgenstern’s original followers, had before the Accords fled from him because of the extremity of his views and the brutality of his plan, and were not present for the events in the Accords Hall. Not all of Valentine’s followers went along forever with his heinous crimes.)

Like so many other Shadowhunters, the Circle were in the Accords Hall that day, among the vast audience of Nephilim and Downworlders in the gallery awaiting the signing of these Ninth Accords. Unbeknownst to anyone else present, they had smuggled demonic weapons into the Hall—their fanaticism was such that they would use the tools of the explicitly demonic if they believed it would satisfy their supposedly noble ends. At the moment when the Accords were presented for signing, the Circle, as one body, rose and bared their weapons. Panic broke instantly over the Hall like a wave in a storm.

Amid the tumult it became clear that a number of Downworlder groups had been aware of the Circle’s plans and had laid in wait outside the Hall in secret to fight them. At the explosion of chaos these groups burst into the Hall and joined the battle. In truth this was not the shock it might have been. Valentine had been vocal in his protests for many months, and many expected some demonstration from him and his followers during the Accords—but nothing like the melee that occurred.

To attempt to describe the disarray and carnage of battle calls to my mind age-old clichés that cannot convey the power of the moment: It was horrible. It will stay with me forever. It was worse than your imagining. But all of these things are true. Good men and women were cut down in front of me, for no better reason than that the blood spattering their Accords robes would highlight the message of the Circle’s attack. Downworlders whose only crime was a demonic parent, or a demonic disease beyond their control, were murdered for having the misfortune of being present. Council members and Downworlder representatives alike shouted themselves hoarse, trying to restore order, unable to be heard over the din of metal smashing against metal and into human bodies.

I can close my eyes today, ten years later, as I write these words in my quiet office atop the tall crystal towers of the Melbourne Institute, and the smell of blood and the sound of slaughter come back to me as if I were still there. I think that probably the memory will never depart the dark places behind my eyes.

Worst harmed in the battle were the Shadowhunters unaffiliated with the Circle. They were killed, often indiscriminately, both purposefully by the Circle and accidentally by Downworlders who believed them to be among the enemy. Nevertheless, with the help of the Downworlder armies, the Circle was beaten back, and fled. They were only barely defeated. Valentine Morgenstern fled the Hall and retreated to his own house on the outskirts of Alicante, where he set a great fire and burned himself to death, along with his wife and his young child. Defeated, Valentine must have known that his life was forfeit; he was guilty of the greatest of Nephilim crimes, the murder of Nephilim. It is only fitting that he dispatched two last innocent victims, his own family, as his final act in the world. The Uprising ended in failure. The Nephilim and the Downworlders treated their wounded and saw to their dead. A great funeral was held in Angel Square in Alicante to honor the memory of those lost. Many surviving members of the Circle threw themselves upon the mercy of the Clave, and cooperated with the investigations into the whereabouts of those still loyal to Valentine. There was much speculation that the Accords had fallen apart, that peace between Idris and Downworld was impossible.

But the Ninth Accords were signed. In a stroke of irony Valentine’s terrible acts helped to uphold the Shadow World’s commitment to the Accords’ passage. It had been a difficult negotiation that year, full of clashing personalities and strong opinions, but after the Uprising a great sense of fraternity was felt by Downworlder and Shadowhunter representatives alike, united against their common foe, and they were able to ratify the Accords only a few weeks later.

The Tenth Accords (2007), just terrible for everyone.

Things turned out okay, though, right? Guys?