Shadowhunter's Codex (Page 5)

Shadowhunter’s Codex(5)
Author: Cassandra Clare

The great advantage of witchlight stones is that their glow never fades or dissipates, for no fuel is being consumed in creating their light. Such a stone can, however, be destroyed by pulverizing it into dust, whereupon the angelic light absorbed into it will dissipate; thus one never finds “witchlight sand” or the like.

The largest single witchlight crystal in the world can be found in the Silent City in the form of the Angelic Colossus, a representation of the Triptych, the familiar motif of Raziel ascending from the water wielding the Mortal Instruments. The crystal stands roughly thirty feet tall, and it guards (and lights) the entrance to the Silent Brothers’ living quarters. The Colossus is rarely seen by anyone other than the Silent Brothers, however, and those interested in large installations of witchlight are encouraged to visit the Institute of Cluj, where the renowned Vampire Arch forms the threshold to the Institute. For many years it was thought that humans infected with vampirism were sensitive to natural and holy light and would recoil from it; the Arch was built under the belief that it would protect the Institute from infected humans. We now know this not to be true, but the Arch remains as a symbol of the Cluj Institute’s dedication to the Angel.

Or maybe they just like hurting vampires a lot.

Definitely that. Those Cluj guys are crazy.

See this is why you are a useful teacher. I get the inside scoop.

I believe I mentioned something about you two and a room a few pages ago?

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS AND THINGS TO TRY

1. What’s your everyday carry? What might you add to it to cover your new Shadowhunter responsibilities?

Wallet, watch, phone, stele, pencils, sketchbook, waterproof fine-tip pen for inking, pencil sharpener, witchlight, mint lip balm.

I hear chapped lips are a leading cause of death in Shadowhunters. My turn! Wallet, watch, phone, bass picks, pens, notebook, dice of various kinds, little cloth thingie to clean glasses with—except I don’t wear my glasses anymore, huh, I guess I don’t need to carry the cloth around anymore—super-nerdy pocketknife. Aaaand lip balm. Don’t even lie. You reek of strawberry right now.

2. What weapon might you like to specialize in? What about it draws your attention? Alas! My secret shame revealed!

Go ahead, say “rapier wit.” I know you want to.

RAPIER WIT FINE YES that is what I was going to say because I am so funny. Poor Simon.

Anyway, I have no idea of an answer to this question, and frankly, Codex, this kind of question is the least of my problems right now. I would like to specialize in not being nearly killed yet again.

I would like to specialize in being an immortal invulnerable killing machine who craves the blood of the living.

COMBAT TRAINING

Once you have familiarized yourself with the tools of the Shadowhunter, you must begin to learn the Shadowhunter’s arts: combat, stealth, agility, endurance.

It surprises most new Shadowhunters to learn that there is no single set of skills that define us as warriors. We are found all over the globe, just as demons are found all over the globe. As such, there are as many varieties of Shadowhunter combat style as there are varieties in the mundane world. Typically you will undergo training in several different fighting styles, often selected from across human culture, and you will naturally find the styles that most appeal to you and with which you are most effective. You will be likely to study Western combat style, Eastern martial arts, and often stylized combat sports such as fencing or judo. There is a vast common ground of physical ability and prowess underlying almost all of these styles, and so as a new Shadowhunter you should expect to spend plenty of time on basic training to enhance your strength, speed, flexibility, and so on, before you have so much as picked up a weapon.

Marks may be used to enhance physical traits, but this is not typically done during training, and Marks cannot substitute for the muscle memory that the body learns through repetition and practice.

Our emphasis on learning from a wide range of sources is supported by a tradition whereby when Shadowhunters advance to majority at eighteen years old, they often travel and spend time in residence at an Institute well away from their home. There is great variation in local Shadowhunter cultures, both in philosophy and in specific techniques. Shadowhunters who have grown up in Idris are especially encouraged to travel, since the protected environment of Alicante may not prepare them for the harsh realities of the mundane world.

The newly made Shadowhunter, too, should seek to travel during her training, if at all possible. There is no obvious occasion to mark as there is with born Shadowhunters becoming adults, so talk with your Institute head or local Enclave about scheduling.

* * *

A PHILOSOPHY OF WAR

The first Shadowhunters, including Jonathan himself, dreamed of a world where someday their people would not need to be warriors. David the Silent, especially, loathed fighting and violence, and he wrote eloquently of the Nephilim’s main mission to “discover Peace upon all the World.” It’s believed that the Silent Brothers were, in fact, founded with the primary mission of reversing the great evil acts of Sammael and Lilith, and closing our dimension again to demons. This philosophy continued to guide the Silent Brothers for hundreds of years. Brother Christopher de Sevilla could still write, in 1504, that the Nephilim’s job was to “obsolete ourselves” by “driving the horde back and sealing the doors behind them.”

The fact, however, is that a thousand years of work and research has brought us no closer to understanding how Sammael and Lilith accomplished their great Incursion, much less to discovering how it can be reversed. The thread of hope that the endless demonic horde could be turned back has frayed and is now so thin in Shadowhunter culture as to have nearly disappeared. Most believe today that if the demonic tide is to be turned, it will be Heaven’s doing, not ours. Our role is to stand behind the open gates and turn them back one by one. And so we fight.

RECOMMENDED WEEKEND TRAINING SCHEDULE FOR: CLARY FAIRCHILD

Just a proposed regimen for your weekend to keep you in good shape for next week. (Get ready for stick fighting!!!)

8–9 a.m.: Wake up. Eat breakfast (lean protein, light carb, NO CAFFEINE).

9–9:30 a.m.: Calisthenics @ home

9:30–10 a.m.: Yoga @ home

10 a.m.–12 p.m.: Language study (Greek, Latin)

12 p.m.–1 p.m.: Lunch

1 p.m.–3 p.m.: Intense cardio (running, probably)

3 p.m.–4 p.m.: Study demon weaknesses and appearances in textbook Demons, Demons, Demons.

4 p.m.–6 p.m.: Practice kata (your choice of martial arts school)

6 p.m.–7 p.m.: Dinner

7 p.m.–11 p.m.: Study (suggestions: history of faerie abductions, poisons and their antidotes, werewolf clan markings)

11 p.m.–12 a.m.: Free time!

12 a.m.: Sleep

WEEKEND TRAINING SCHEDULE FOR: ME

8 a.m.: Woke up.

9 a.m.: Woke up again; got up this time. Breakfast (bagel, scallion cream cheese, tomato, coffee w/milk). Calisthenics (walked briskly to deli and back).

10 a.m.–10:15 a.m.: Yoga. Very centering.

10:15 a.m.–11 a.m.: Language study (Looked through Latin textbook, watched last forty-five minutes of Gladiator. Fight scenes very inspiring. Took some notes.)

11 a.m.–12 p.m.: Took sketchbook to Prospect Park lawn. Simon brought lunch (noodles I like from place right by his house). Drew kids playing cricket on lawn. Studied cricket technique for potential application in combat. Drew gladiators playing cricket. Synthesis.

12 p.m.–1 p.m.: Lab: Interviewed vampire re: vampire history and culture, vampire combat techniques, etc. Very edifying.

1 p.m.–2 p.m.: Urban exploration (Took subway into Manhattan.)

2 p.m.–4 p.m.: Literary research (Visited comic book store, bought several volumes of long illustrated study of medieval combat in Japan.)

4 p.m.: Healthy midafternoon snack (smoothie)

4 p.m.–7 p.m.: Watched research film in multiplex.

7 p.m.–9 p.m.: Dinner, tiny Korean place on Thirteenth, soup. (Soup is healthy!) Critiqued fight techniques seen in movie—very unrealistic.

9 p.m.–10 p.m.: Orienteering (subway home)

10 p.m.–12 a.m.: Talked on phone with primary Shadowhunter trainer, updated him on status. Planned training regimen for following day. Exchanged positive affirmations.

12 a.m.–2 a.m.: Read illustrated study of medieval Japanese combat. Cultural exchange with vampire re: illustrated study, vampire’s current boredom. Fell asleep, practiced difficult “balance phone on face” technique for indefinite period of time before it fell onto the floor and woke me up.

2 a.m.: A refreshing, well-earned sleep.

SUBJECTS OF NEPHILIM STUDY

This Codex intends to provide you, the newly minted Shadowhunter, with the basic knowledge you will need to survive and understand your new world and your new people. We cannot possibly provide a full course of training in these pages, and mere written instruction, without the help of a skilled instructor who could not only demonstrate techniques but evaluate your abilities, would be a disservice to the training you deserve.

Instead we here provide the outlines of a general course of Shadowhunter training, along with touchstone goals for beginners, for more intermediate students, and for those seeking true expertise. It can be difficult for new Shadowhunters to understand their own training progress. We do not have ranks, promotions, “belts,” levels, merit badges, or anything of the kind. Most of your fellow Nephilim have lived in our warrior culture their whole lives, and the qualities of the well-tempered Shadowhunter have been part of their upbringing. These suggestions therefore should not be taken as rigid requirements but rather as guidelines that may help you understand your progress as you train.

One final note for the especially ambitious Shadowhunter: No one can be an expert at all things. As you train, one of your goals will be to find those elements of Shadowhunter life that you wish to pursue more closely, because of either your natural aptitude in them or your interest in deeper study. All Shadowhunters should first aim to achieve at least beginner competence in all of these categories before seeking more advanced study.

MONOMACHIA (HAND-TO-HAND COMBAT)

Beginner: Basic competence (“black belt” equivalent) in at least one Eastern martial art or Western fighting tradition. Ability to reliably fend off two to three simultaneous attackers.

Intermediate: Competence in three to five mundane fighting traditions. Ability to reliably fend off five to eight simultaneous attackers.

Expert: Competence in more than ten mundane fighting traditions. Ability to reliably fend off an arbitrarily large army of demons.

RANGED-MISSILE COMBAT

Beginner: Competence with standard set of ranged weapons—longbow, crossbow, sling, thrown daggers, javelins, big heavy rocks.

Intermediate: Competence with above while blindfolded.

Expert: Competence with above while blindfolded and lying down.

STEALTH

Beginner: Ability to pass undetected through darkened alley or room.

Intermediate: Ability to pass undetected through darkened alley or room filled with small breakable objects precariously balanced atop other breakable objects.

Expert: Ability to pass undetected through open terrain in broad daylight.

BLENDING AND CONCEALMENT

Beginner: Ability to pass as a mundane in a typical public scenario (“driving a car,” “shopping for food,” etc.). Please see Mundanes Do the Darndest Things, 1988 edition, in your local Institute library, for suggestions.

Intermediate: Ability to pass as a mundane at a small cocktail party or reception.

Expert: Ability to pass as a mundane in the midst of a mundane demonic cult performing a human sacrifice.

AGILITY AND GRACE

Beginner: Basic competence at acrobatics, tumble, trapeze, gymnastics, etc.

Intermediate: Competence at above skills while wearing thirty kilograms of gear and several heavy weapons.

Expert: Competence at above skills while wearing thirty kilograms of gear, several heavy weapons, a blindfold, and iron manacles.

ENDURANCE

Beginner: Competence at improvised survival skills in typical harsh environments (e.g., high desert, drifting ice floe).

Intermediate: Competence with above in extreme environments (e.g., inside a building that is on fire, free-falling from an airplane at high cruising altitude, in outer space, in Hell).

Expert: Ability to withstand torture by Greater Demon while in above harsh or extreme environments.

TRACKING

Beginner: Knowledge of tracking runes; ability to identify telltale signs of animal or demon activity and maintain pursuit.

Intermediate: Ability to maintain pursuit while also evading similar pursuit by different animal or demon.

Expert: Ability to maintain pursuit while in harsh or extreme environments (see Endurance, above).

ORIENTEERING

Beginner: Intuitive grasp of altitude, cardinal direction, time of day, weather conditions, etc.

Intermediate: Ability to find way to known safe location when dropped into arbitrary environment.

Expert: Ability to find way to known safe location when dropped into extreme or harsh environment (see above).

OBSERVATION AND DEDUCTION

Beginner: Basic forensics knowledge; ability to “read” the scene of a crime and reconstruct events there with high probability of accuracy.

Intermediate: Ability to reliably identify revealing details of a scene that mundane law enforcement would typically overlook.

Expert: As above, but while blindfolded.

LANGUAGES

Beginner: Knowledge of several mundane languages, preferably a mixture of living languages spoken near your geographical base and ancient languages used in religious writings (e.g., Sanskrit, Hebrew, ancient Greek, Sumerian).

Intermediate: Knowledge of the above and at least two demonic languages.

Expert: Knowledge of the above, at least four demonic languages, and ability to intuit basic meanings from written or spoken language never encountered before.

DIPLOMACY

Beginner: Ability to talk your way out of being eaten by a demon or killed by angry Downworlder horde.

A Quick Evaluation of Me and My Friends By the Above Scale:

Alec: Intermediate, Expert, Intermediate, Intermediate, Expert, Intermediate, Intermediate, Beginner, Intermediate, Beginner, Intermediate.