Runes are markings given to the first generation of Shadowhunters by the Angel Raziel to assist them in fighting the Demons they were tasked to eradicate. Every rune known to the Shadowhunters is recorded in The Gray Book. This is a specially crafted book with each rune place in its pages. Copies of the book are rare because each book must be specially made as many of the runes would burn normal paper.
Many Runes are temporary, fade with time. These runes will always leave behind a faint silver scar symbolic of the rune that was once placed there. These runes would need to be drawn again for their effects to be felt again. Other runes are permanent. These runes never fade and their effects constantly work on the Shadowhunter they were placed on.
The placement of runes also adds to their effectiveness. The closer a rune is place to the heart, the more effective it is. Some runes are place on hands and arms and legs because they target that particular area. The force that the rune is drawn with is also a factor in how long it lasts. The harder someone presses when drawing the rune makes it last longer.
Runes are what make Shadowhunters different from average humans as they are the only beings able to bear the Angel's marks. Most marks can only be worn by Shadowhunters. When drawn on mundanes, they burn. However, several marks, powerful ones, would drive any average person insane. They would be turned into Forsaken, mindless servants to the one who marked them, and they would never be the same. Downworlders that are marked cannot bear the runes. They will kill them on contact.
Most runes are meant to be used on Shadowhunters, which may fade over time and affect the Shadowhunter in a variety of different ways.
However, there are many runes that are used on other things. Runes are placed on the weapons Shadowhunters use to prevent demons from healing when wounded by them. There are runes that can be used to lock and unlock doors, create fires, and a wide array of other abilities.
Though most runes have immense power, there are runes used by the Nephilim that are purely symbolic. The love rune, for example, is merely a symbol of two people's love and cannot create the actual feeling. The same can be said for the mourning rune; it cannot diminish the loss that its wearers feel and only symbolizes the pain of their loved ones' deaths.
This is a list of many of the runes mentioned throughout the Shadowhunter Chronicles. This is not a complete list of runes but many are mentioned throughout the series.
- Acid: Burns away any surface like acid touched it.
- Alliance: allows Nephilim and Downworlders to share each other's abilites, such as the Shadowhunters' fighting skills and a werewolf's strength. It was created by Clary for the Battle of Brocelind Plain against Valentine's army of demons in City of Glass. It's shaped like a simple, yet complex tie of knot.
- Binding: Creates a ring of fire-like handcuffs around someone's wrists and is used on criminals to bind their hands. Other binding runes can prevent one's legs from supporting their weight.
- Clairvoyant Sight: Allows the Shadowhunter to see past glamours.
- Courage: Used on weapons. (different Rune from the Fearless Rune)
- Destruction: Looks like an unfinished Opening Rune, created by Clary in City of Lost Soulsand used to destroy Sebastian's apartment.
- Dexteritas: Gives the Shadowhunter agility.
- Enkeli: a Rune of Angelic Power. They are placed on weapons Shadowhunters use to give them angelic power. This washes away all demonic power from the object and prevents demons stabbed by the weapons from healing.
- Fearless: Makes the user afraid of nothing and was created by Clary. It was used on both Alec and Jace in City of Ashes.
- Fire: Used to create fire.
- Fortis: Give the Shadowhunter strength.
- Iratze: the iratze is a healing rune. It is often partially drawn by Shadowhunters before going to battle to allow them to quickly finish it and heal themselves.
- The Mark of Cain: If someone tries to harm the person who bears the Mark of Cain, they will be harmed by a power seven times stronger than the one used to harm the bearer of the Mark of Cain. Clary used it in order to prevent Raphael from killing Simon in the City of Glass.
- Mendelin: the mendelin rune grants invisibility. It casts a glamour over the wearer and allows them to hide from mundanes and, in some cases, demons.
- Mnemosyne: The memory rune.
- Necromancy: A rune, when placed on a deceased Shadowunter, brings them back to life. It is not permanent and will fade over time, but it allows them to talk for a short time. However, their soul had been forcefully pulled back to the world of the living. That combined with any pain their injuries would have caused them would cause them immense pain and would make it nearly impossible to speak. When the rune is destroyed, they die once again. Clary creates this rune in City of Fallen Angels, though it goes horribly wrong. Luke uses a green acid to destroy the rune on the man's body.
- Night-Vision: Allows the Shadowhunter to see in the dark.
- Open: a simple rune Clary uses to open various things throughout the series.
- Parabatai: A rune that partners two Shadowhunters together, so they can draw on each other's strength.
- Permanant Loyalty: Valentine mentioned that there was a rune that bound Nephilim to the person who marked them.
- Rune of Quietude: This rune is used by the Silent Brothers to silence themselves and placed on the back of the neck. Valentine places this rune upon Clary in City of Glass, silencing her while he summons Raziel.
- Sangliers: it is used to transfer blood when the body needs it, but is extremely dangerous. (also known as Blood Transfer Runes)
- Soundless Rune: Silences the user's movements.
- Thermis: Keeps the Shadowhunter warm.
- Tracking Runes: Allows someone to track a person's whereabouts and, in some cases, see what the person is seeing, if one has a possession of the person being tracked. Often used by the Clave to track down criminals. Isabelle uses it to track Jace in City of Glass.
- Voyance: A "permanent" rune given to a Shadowhunter at a young age on the back of the hand to aid in steadiness. However, it fades if Nephilim drink Lilith's blood from the Infernal Cup as shown in City of Lost Souls.
- The official runes approved by Cassandra Clare and used for the rest of the official Shadowhunter Chronicles franchise was created by Val Freire on deviantArt, who also drew most of the character fanart initially used on this wiki.