|“||Like all Herondales, his ability to love without measure, without end, was both his great gift and his great curse.||”|
Tobias Herondale is a notorious Shadowhunter of the Herondale family in the early 19th century. Tobias's story, passed down through generations, became the prime example of what the Clave considers to be the worst crime a Shadowhunter could commit: the desertion of ones' comrades.
Tobias was born into the Herondale family, after his older brother William. The Herondales being infamous among their kind as heroes, or traitors, and brash and passionate people, Tobias was said to be different from the family and had been struggling to fit in and find his place among the Shadowhunters even as a child. He did not have a love for Shadowhunting. However, because his father was a hard man and his mother a bit of a hysteric (according to Catarina Loss), Tobias never even fully considered the thought of leaving to try to live the life he might want and followed his parents as they raised him, and few people ever knew about this.
Eventually, Tobias married Eva Blackthorn, a match that surprised everyone as they were seemingly opposites. Nonetheless, the pair loved each other deeply, and, in at least this aspect, Tobias loved like a Herondale.
In 1828, Tobias was sent among a group of five Shadowhunters to deal with a small cabal of warlocks wreaking havoc at Bavaria, Germany. Being the loyal soldier he was, Tobias went, even though he had not wanted to leave his ill and pregnant wife.
The story that was passed down through generations of Shadowhunters was that Tobias, being the youngest and least experienced in the group, fled during an attack by the Greater Demon summoned by the warlocks and left the others with him to die. They claimed that Tobias was frightened and distracted by the thought of his ill and pregnant wife at home. The four remaining Shadowhunters allegedly suffered immensely; three were slaughtered by the demon—one disemboweled, one burned alive, one doused with acidic blood that dissolved him into dust—while the fourth, though disfigured by demonic burns, was returned by the warlocks as a warning to the Shadowhunters.
The truth, however, was that, in the Bavarian woods, Tobias encountered a warlock who knew his greatest fear and used it against him. The warlock gave him visions of a possible future (one that only came to pass because Tobias was unable to resist the warlock's deceit), of Eva dying and being tortured. Thinking Eva was in terrible danger, worsened by the mental images the warlock kept hurling at him, Tobias's mind broke and he ran.
Even though the Clave had known that Tobias went mad, they still considered his life forfeit for abandoning his post in battle, considered an actual crime and treason by the Clave, more so than the crime did to him. Since Tobias never returned, the Clave claimed Eva 's life in exchange for his. Eventually, Catarina found him wandering mad in the forest, not even knowing his own name, but was unable to save him. Catarina, however, was able to save his and Eva's child. She raised him, and the boy grew up in the mundane world and originated what would be considered "a lost Herondale line".
Personality and traits
According to Catarina Loss, Tobias was mild, sweet, and kind, even to Downworlders. He was very obedient, responsible, and loyal, the kind of person who would do as he was told without question. Tobias did not have special Shadowhunting talents, nor did he have any passion for it.