Shadowhunters, also known as Nephilim or Children of Nephilim, are a secretive race of humans born with angelic blood. They are a demon-hunting race that has survived for over a thousand years. They have fought the demons valiantly, creating their own culture and civilization within human society. Their mandate is to keep the peace in the Shadow World and keep it hidden from the mundane world while protecting the inhabitants of both worlds.
One thousand years ago, the precise date unknown, the Earth was invaded by hordes of demons. A man, Jonathan, had a warlock summon the angel Raziel. He begged Raziel to help save humanity. The angel obliged and mixed his blood with that of Jonathan in the Mortal Cup, a mixture he let Jonathan drink. Raziel then gave Jonathan the fitting name of Shadowhunter as a symbol of his transformation. Soon, more men drank from the cup and became Nephilim warriors themselves. They soon became known as Shadowhunters, after the first of their kind. Their children, and their children's children, then became Shadowhunters themselves. They were given the Gray Book, listing all of the runes, to use in their fight against demons.
In 1878, the Shadowhunters of the London Institute face the Magister. He and his clockwork army attacked the Nephilim. Tessa Gray, with the ability to Change into other people, dead or alive, as well as hear and see their thoughts and memories, is sought by the Magister. Her ability also allowed her to be used as a volume for communication with the spirits of the dead.
The Uprising occurs in 1991. Valentine Morgenstern and the Circle plan to slaughter the unarmed Downworlders. This event is stopped by the Downworlders and some of the other Shadowhunters, informed by Valentine's wife, Jocelyn Fairchild-Morgenstern, and former best friend, Lucian Graymark, both of whom discovered the error of his ways.
In 2007, the Accords were signed again and Valentine plans to wipe out the current Shadowhunter race and make a new one by calling upon the angel Raziel again. A demon army he had summoned from their dimensions nearly slaughters all Shadowhunters and Downworlders, a great battle taking place. Valentine is defeated, nonetheless, after being killed by the angel Raziel.
If the Mortal Cup is reversed, it will be transformed into a demonic version known as the Infernal Cup. Using the Infernal Cup can turn Shadowhunters into Dark Shadowhunters. All that is required, as demonstrated by Sebastian and Amatis, is demon blood and the Infernal Cup. When a Shadowhunter consumes it, that person will become corrupted.
Idris is the homeland of the Shadowhunters and is protected by Demon Towers, forcing demons out and protecting the city, the only way to bring them down is to wipe demon blood on them from the inside—an almost impossible feat.
Idris is in Central Europe. It is a small country between Germany and France, with protective spells and wardings all around, all over the borders, preventing mundanes from entering. When they attempt to cross the border into Idris, they are simply transported into the next border without noticing.
Idris is mostly forest, littered with vampire nests and werewolf packs. There are mountains that can only be crossed in high summer without freezing to death. There is a small system of towns throughout Idris. These towns are not very big and are all sort of oriented around the one city, Alicante, which is also known as the Glass City.
Alicante is the only city and the capital of Idris. It is often called the Glass City because of the presence of the Demon Towers that guard the city against demon attacks, reflecting light and looking like glass. The entire city is lit and powered by witchlight. The houses throughout the city are built from all eras. The Gard, the meeting place for the Clave, sits atop a hill at the edge of the city. all around are residences of several Shadowhunter families and the Council. There are stores throughout the entire city that display and sell a wide array of objects from weapons to clothes.
Government and politics
The Nephilim follow a strict set of rules set out in the Shadowhunter's Codex. There are many rules and guidelines that must be followed.
The Clave is the general organization of all Nephilim, headed by the Council, the governing body of the Clave, the Consul being the highest appointed official. The Clave keeps and interprets the Law, and decides on important matters that affect the Nephilim. Members of the Clave all have rights to contribute to any Clave issue under discussion.
When Shadowhunters reach adulthood at the age of eighteen, they must decide whether to declare their allegiance to the Clave and become full Clave members, or to leave their life behind for some reason. Members of the Clave are then divided into smaller groups in different countries and cities of the world: Enclaves in most of the world, and Conclaves in the Americas and Australia. Institutes serve as their seats of power, and every active Shadowhunter answer to them. While these regional groups coordinate their own local decision making and organizational structures as they see fit, the Clave may still interfere in some cases.
The Covenant is the Law upheld by the Clave. It provides the rules of conduct for Shadowhunters and Downworlders. The Covenant protects the rights of Shadowhunters to enforce civilized relations among the Clave, Downworld, and the mundane world, and also protects the rights of Downworlders so that they may not be maltreated by Shadowhunters. It is also the Covenant that guarantees that the Shadow World remains shadowed from the mundane world. The Covenant also elaborates on the legal system of the Shadowhunters.
The Accords acts as amendments to the Covenant agreed to be taken as the law of the land by all of the Shadow World, a treaty that ordains how Shadowhunters and Downworlders interact with mundanes and one another, as well as each group's rights, responsibilities, and restrictions. With the Accords, groups of Downworlders also in peace with the Accords agree to the same oath to never reveal the truth of the Shadow World to mundanes. The Accords are revised and signed every fifteen years by representatives of these groups.
The goal of the Nephilim is to end the plague of demons on Earth. They are dispatched to every place on Earth to fight against demon hordes. The fight even continues after death. Their bones are used, as the bones of demon hunters are powerful protection, to fortify important buildings.
As with all populations, the Nephilim have developed their own culture and traditions. They have traditions and habits that, though not official laws, are expected of them.
Newborn Shadowhunters have spells cast on them to protect their minds from demonic influences. These rituals protect the Shadowhunters from demon visions for example. The rituals are performed by a Silent Brother and an Iron Sister.
Most Shadowhunters spend their younger years as warriors. An exception would be when Shadowhunters join one of their two monastic orders: the Silent Brothers and the Iron Sisters. The Brothers serve as the keepers of their lore and knowledge; they serve as their librarians, researchers, and ocassional medics. They reside in the Silent City. The Sisters design and forge their weapons; they are the keepers of adamas, the holy metal given to them by Raziel. They reside in the Adamant Citadel.
Ceremonies and rituals
Shadowhunters may be trained at a very young age, by their parents or other mentors and guardians. Some Shadowhunters may train at an academy in Alicante, or at Institutes in other parts of the world.
Most used is the seraph blade, the primary weapons of the Nephilim. They are made of adamas crafted by the Iron Sisters. They call upon the power of an Angel's name to access the blade's power.
In addition to seraph blades, Jace also uses a sword, Alec alternatively uses a bow and arrow and a featherstaff, and Isabelle uses a whip in battle. Valentine used a kindjal, a Circassian dagger, in his first encounter with both Clary and Jace. Hodge Starkweather's, and Luke's weapon of choice were chakrams. Maryse Lightwood used a naginata.
The Sensor, invented by Henry Branwell, is a weapon that allows Shadowhunters to detect demonic energies. They can be fooled by Greater Demons, as Abbadon was able to keep his ethereal form just outside a portal before he attacked Jace and the others.
Shadowhunters are known to hide weapons in churches for their use in case of emergencies, since some forms of demons can only be killed and fought through a certain method of a belief systems. As long as Shadowhunters cleave to no single religion, all religions will assist in their battle. The weapons are usually hidden by a church's altar, with the Nephilim rune drawn over its hiding place.
In London, monarchies through the ages have tithed to the Shadowhunters in secret to keep their kingdoms safe. In USA, the Department of War and the Department of Justice have both affiliated with Shadowhunters, according to Will Herondale.
Each species is weak to a certain element. Blessed iron is effective against fairies, silver powder and bullets against lycanthropes, holy water and other religious symbols against vampires, etc.
Shadowhunters were given runes by the Angel Raziel, all contained in the Book of the Covenant and copied into the Gray Book. Then runes, or marks, are applied on the Shadowhunters' skin and gives different effects.
|“||The ritual is taken from the Song of Solomon. 'Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death.'||”|
The color of marriage is gold. Shadowhunter women generally wear gold dresses and black ceremonial gear marked with gold runes for men. Marriages are often done in The Accords Hall in Alicante. The Shadowhunters mark each other with permanent runes of love and commitment over their heart and arm, signifying their love and devotion toward one another.
Relationships with mundane, and any other species other than fellow Nephilim, are generally looked down upon by the Clave. However, a Shadowhunter may marry a mundane if one chooses to, but they must leave the Clave and are stripped of their Marks. In the old days, another choice was for their lover to ascend, which meant drinking from the mortal cup to become a Shadowhunter if approved by the Clave. This was soon outlawed because it did not always work and sometimes ended with the mundane becoming Forsaken, suffering a lot of pain, or going mad.
Since Nephilim blood is dominant, if a Shadowhunter has children with a mundane, their children will still be Nephilim.
There are three rules for those who leave the Clave. First, the Shadowhunter must sever contact with any and all Shadowhunters they have ever known, even their own family. Second, they cannot call upon the Clave for help. And third, the Clave can still lay claim their children.
Long before it was outlawed and discovered to be dangerous, Shadowhunter who wished to marry mundandes may appeal to the Clave to have their lover turned into a Shadowhunter through a process called Ascension. After the Shadowhunter applies to the Clave for an Ascension for their partner, the Clave is required to consider it for at least three months, and the mundane will be studying to learn about Shadowhunter culture.
Ascension, which involves making the mundane drink from the Mortal Cup, was still allowed during The Infernal Devices, but has since then been disallowed because the dangers of letting adult mundanes drink from the Mortal Cup has since then been recognized.
Shadowhunters often die young. The fight against demons kills off many of them. Therefore, when a Shadowhunter dies in battle, the words Ave Atque Vale and their name are spoken. This means "hail and farewell" in Latin. Their bodies are burned to ashes and laid in the tombs. The color of funerals is white. They do not use black because that is the color of fighting and it isn't appropriate. They also wear red runes for mourning.
Parabatai is the term for two Shadowhunters who fight alongside each other. These Shadowhunters are partners and are particularly close to each other. Shadowhunters must choose their parabatai before they turn 18.
The runes drawn by one's parabatai are stronger than those used by another. Also, there are some runes that can only be used by parabatai. It is forbidden for two parabatai to fall in love with each other. If this happens, they will be separated. Most Shadowhunters don't have a parabatai, so they are not very common. In a Shadowhunters life, they can only have one parabatai, even if their partner dies.
|“|| Black for hunting through the night|
For death and mourning, the color’s white.
Gold for a bride in her wedding gown,
And red to call enchantment down.
White silk when our bodies burn,
Blue banners when the lost return.
Flame for the birth of a Nephilim,
And to wash away our sins.
Gray for knowledge best untold,
Bone for those who don't grow old.
Saffron lights the victory march,
Green will mend our broken hearts.
Silver for the demon towers,
And bronze to summon wicked powers.
–Shadowhunter children's rhyme, City of Heavenly Fire
Colors mean different things to Shadowhunters than they do to mundanes. Black is the color of their gear; white is for mourning; gold for weddings and red is ceremonial.