|“||Ignis aurum probat. (Fire tests gold.)||”|
–The Iron Sisters' motto
The Iron Sisters are a communal organization of female Shadowhunters that forge weapons for their kind. The Iron Sisters are considered the female counterparts of the Silent Brothers, albeit more secluded. They reside in the Adamant Citadel, where they live in almost total solitude and speak only, and occasionally, to female Shadowhunters.
The Iron Sisters are a monastic order, like the Silent Brothers. They take upon themselves arcane runes that grant them access to the hidden, deeper sections of the Gray Book. For them, their Marks give them the ability to work the angelic stone adamas, making them the keepers and the only ones able to shape, craft, and handle the metal, particularly in its pure and unprocessed state, into arms, armor, and tools that the Nephilim need. These Marks of transformation also overwhelm and dissolve the parabatai Marks of binding and other ordinary Marks.
The Iron Sisters are even more private and removed from Nephilim society than the Silent Brothers. They do not like to be bothered and prefer to work in isolation, particularly not wanting interference from male Shadowhunters. The Iron Sisters rarely leave or venture outside of their usual domain, the Citadel, though they are also known to work in the basement levels of Alicante's Armory. Being remote, the Sisters have to rely on an accurate network of information to be aware of the happenings outside the Citadel.
The sigil of the Iron Sisters is a heart pierced with a blade. Their motto is "Ignis aurum probat", which translates to "Fire tests gold." It not only refers to their role as forgers for their kind, but also describes the Iron Sisters themselves: hard, unyielding, and strong. It also refers to how adversity tests one's strength of character.
The Iron Sisters are responsible for creating, forging, designing, and repairing the weapons, armor, and tools, among others, that aid the Nephilim in their quest against demons. With their forges that get fire from the heart of their Citadel volcano, using adamas along with several other materials, they craft seraph blades, steles, special leather for Nephilim battle gear, and much more.
The Iron Sisters refresh the power of exhausted or depleted seraph blades. They extract witchlight stones from the adamas rock and work them to give it its glowing function when touched by Shadowhunters. The Iron Sisters are also the keepers of the angelic exotic weapon aegis, rare daggers seethed and tempered in angel blood, which they unwillingly lend out to those who are in need of it.
Like the Silent Brothers, the Iron Sisters no longer fight, nor do they get married or attend Council meetings. Along with the Silent Brothers, Iron Sisters are also traditionally responsible for placing the protective spells on newborn Shadowhunters, each represented by one of theirs. They also maintain the Nephilim's relationships with mundane religions and their monastic orders across the globe.
Iron Sisters also seemingly have particular duties among themselves. Some, like Sister Cleophas, who identifies herself as a Maker, shape the adamas for others to carve. Whether Maker is a title that comes with their duties or just an alternate term for the Sisters is unknown.
Iron Sisters all wear pale, long white gowns, bound tightly at the wrists and waist by demon-wire, to protect their clothes from the holy fires in which their materials are worked. The gowns blend in with the mist that encroaches the Adamant Citadel, so when they come to speak with someone, they seem to appear out of nowhere. They appear ageless, both ancient yet unwrinkled, and their eyes glow orange, the color of flames.
The founder of the Sisterhood was Abigail Shadowhunter, Jonathan's elder sister. When she grew older and found that she could no longer wage war against demonkind as she had in her youth, she turned to the esoteric knowledge of the Gray Book and the beating angelic heart of adamas beneath Idris to become the first Iron Sister. Along with six other Nephilim, she constructed the first adamas forge, and the earliest incarnation of the Adamant Citadel upon its volcanic plain.
During the Uprising, one of the Iron Sisters, Sister Magdalena, crafted weapons for the Circle. When the Uprising failed, she fled the Citadel and the Sisterhood before her part in the Uprising could be discovered.
In late 2007, Isabelle and Jocelyn came to see the Iron Sisters in hopes of finding a weapon that could kill Sebastian without affecting Jace. They told them that such a weapon can't be forged or found on Earth, but informed them that a weapon of Heaven or Hell could separate Jace and Jonathan. Meanwhile, Jonathan sought Sister Magdalena's help in forging the Infernal Cup, mixed with Lilith's blood, which could endarken a Shadowhunter.
Known Iron Sisters
- Much like the Silent Brothers, the Iron Sisters also age slower than normal humans, and thus have a longer lifespan.
- On Shadowhunters, the TV show adaptation of The Mortal Instruments, the Iron Sisters hear the whispers of angels while they forge their weapons.