Welcome and Congratulations. You have been chosen to become one of the Nephilim. Soon, if you have not done so already, you will drink from the Mortal Cup, taking into yourself the blood of angels, and you will become one of the “Shadowhunters,” named for the founder of our order. Our eternal work is the battle against the forces of darkness that encroach upon our world. We also keep the peace in the Shadow World—the hidden societies of magic and magical creatures wrought by the demons we fight—and keep it hidden from the mundane world. And this now is also your charge. You are protector, defender, knight errant in the name of the angels. You will be trained to fight demons, to protect mundanes, to negotiate the complex landscape of the Downworlders—werewolves, vampires, and the like—that you will encounter. Your life will be spent in the pursuit of the angelic against the demonic. And when you die, you will die with glory.
This may appear an intimidating description of the Shadowhunter’s life, but we must emphasize the sacredness and the weight of our mission. Joining the Nephilim is not like becoming a mundane policeman, or even a mundane soldier. “Shadowhunter” is not what you do; it is who you are. Every aspect of your life will change to accommodate the holy assignment you have been chosen for.
This Codex serves to assist you in acclimating to the new world into which you have been thrust. Most Shadowhunters are born into this life, raised and immersed in it constantly from birth, and thus many things about the world that are second nature to them will be new to you. You have been recruited out of your mundane life, and you will quickly encounter much that is confusing and dangerous. This book is designed specifically to reduce your confusion and, ideally, to keep you alive long enough to become a full Shadowhunter in good standing in your local Institute.
It goes without saying that it is against the Law for the Codex to be shared with any persons other than Shadowhunters and mundanes in the process of Ascension (see “Intermarriage,”).
WHAT IS A SHADOWHUNTER?
The Nephilim are the appointed warriors on Earth of the Angel Raziel. We are appointed specifically to control and preside over the demonic in our world, both demons and the supernatural creatures born of their presence among us. A thousand years ago Raziel bestowed on us the tools to accomplish this task. These tools are:
—The Mortal Instruments, by which we may know truth, speak with angels, and make more of our own kind
—The country of Idris, in which we may live safely away from both demons and the mundane world
—The Book of Raziel (or “Gray Book”), with which we may make use of the magic of angels to protect and augment ourselves
These were gifts given by Raziel to the first Nephilim, Jonathan Shadowhunter, and so after him we call ourselves Shadowhunters.
Yeah yeah yeah. Get to where I learn kung fu!
Sure is convenient that he was named that already. It makes a good name for them.
THE SHADOWHUNTER OATH
There have been many versions of the oath that is spoken by new Nephilim when they drink from the Mortal Cup and join our ranks. The one currently in use was created a little more than a hundred years ago, as part of the reforms that swept through the Shadow World around that time. It replaced an older oath whose language was very martial in tone and that focused mostly on the fact that Shadowhunters are good at killing things. Typically at that time the oath was spoken in one of several holy languages—Latin, Sanskrit, Hebrew, et cetera—and thus was treated more as a formality to execute rather than words to listen to and reflect upon.
The oath follows. You should commit it to memory. At the time you are made a Shadowhunter, you will need to recite it without any prompting. Many new Shadowhunters have complained that this is an unnecessary burden, to which we respond that half-angelic soldiers against the dark forces of the world should not be fazed by the need to memorize a hundred words.
I hereby swear:
I will be Raziel’s Sword, extending his arm to strike down evil.
I will be Raziel’s Cup, offering my blood to our mission.
I will be Raziel’s Mirror; when my enemies behold me, let them see his face in mine.
I hereby promise:
I will serve with the angels’ courage.
I will serve the angels’ justice.
And I will serve with the angels’ mercy.
Until such time as I shall die, I will be Nephilim. I pledge myself in Covenant as a Nephilim, and I pledge my life and my family to the Clave of Idris.
Would think the oath would be longer?
It’s not like that—there’s a zillion laws you’re agreeing to follow. It’s covered by the “in Covenant.”
Most Ascending mundanes like yourself give up their family name in favor of creating a traditional Shadowhunter name. By tradition most Shadowhunter family names are compound, like “Shadowhunter” itself—in this case, “shadow” + “hunter.” Jonathan Shadowhunter’s name was, obviously, not actually “Shadowhunter”—such a coincidence would beggar belief. NM, my complaint has been anticipated. Codex 1, Me 0.
That coincidence—beggars belief. A 60 ft tall angel appears to you—apparently does not beggar belief.
What Jonathan Shadowhunter was called, before he was made the first Nephilim by Raziel, is lost to history; we do not even know from what country he came. He was given the name Shadowhunter by Raziel (often found written as separate or hyphenated words, as in “Shadowhunter,” earlier in history) as a symbol of his transformation. According to many tellings of the story, Raziel told Jonathan, “I grant you the light and fire of angels, to illuminate your way in dark, for you and your companions will be Hunters of the Shadows.” Like Masters of the Universetm
Not much like them no.
Wait till you meet Jonathan Universemaster.
There is a kind of poetry in the selection of a Shadowhunter family name; combining just any two things into a name is not enough. Your name should try to reflect something about who you are, or where you’re from, or what you hope to be. In order to stimulate ideas of your own, we here supply a list of appropriate English words that can be combined to make names. Simply select two of them and put them next to each other. Usually they will sound better in one order than in the other order.
NOTE: USE YOUR JUDGMENT. Your name must be approved by those evaluating your petition for Ascension. Do not try to name yourself Dragonrider or Firedance or Elfstar. Nephilim are meant to be inconspicuous. Obviously things such as Hammerfist or Bloodsteel should also be avoided.