The Coppermind has spoilers for all of Brandon's published works. Information about books that have not yet been released, like the secret novels releasing in 2023 and Stormlight 5, is allowed only on very specific pages. For more details, see our spoiler policy. To view an earlier version of the wiki without spoilers for a book, go to the Time Machine!
The Steel Inquisitors were a type of Hemalurgic construct on Scadrial created from humans. Steel Inquisitors were created and controlled by the Lord Ruler as the policing force for his ministries. The Steel Inquisitors made up the Canton of Inquisition whose job it was to control the use and spread of Allomancy.
Description and Physiology
The most notable feature is the large steel spikes where their eyes should be. These spikes fill the eye socket and protrude out the back of the head by several inches. Steel Inquisitors, like the obligators from which they were created, are bald with a large number of tattoos spreading from their eye sockets across their heads. These tattoos indicate many things, including rank and what kind of Allomancer the obligator was before recruitment. The Lord Ruler's Steel Inquisitors have eleven spikes in all: two through the eye sockets, one in the middle of the spine on the back, and eight--one for each known Allomantic power--in the torso.
Although created from humans, they are physiologically and mentally distinct. They can, however, still mate with humans. Children from Steel Inquisitors are more likely to be Allomancers compared to children from two humans, but the strength of Allomancy and Feruchemy would still weaken over time. There are also complications that can happen with the children of an Inquisitor. Steel Inquisitors have slightly longer lifespans compared to humans.
According to Aradan Yomen, one of the ways in which the number 16 made itself known in their time was that the Lord Ruler had originally made 16 Steel Inquisitors. The number 16 in relation to the Inquisitors showed up once again, as Ruin created or otherwise used 16 Inquisitors to further his goals during the time after the Collapse (as there were 13 during the final battle, while Elend and Vin had already dispatched 3 previously).
To create an Inquisitor, metal spikes are inserted at various points in the subject's body by hammering the metal spike through the heart of a Misting or Feruchemist into the new Inquisitor; this reduces the loss of power through the Hemalurgic process due to the spike spending a minimal amount of time outside of a body. These spikes, now Hemalurgically charged, tear into and forcibly splice information from the victim to the subject's Spiritweb. This process moves vital organs, allowing the spikes to be inserted practically anywhere without fatally wounding the subject. The process is not painless for either person involved, as both violent changes to the Spiritweb and having metal spikes driven into one's body causes pain. The steel spikes inserted into eye sockets allow the Inquisitor to navigate via the blue Allomantic lines from the traces of metals in everything. The spikes create a chain in an Inquisitor's body, and there is a central spike or 'linchpin' that acts as a connector to the lower and upper spikes. If this spike is removed, the Inquisitor dies. A linchpin is needed to avoid deadly side effects if four or more spikes are used on an Inquisitor.
Inquisitors are typically granted many Allomantic and some Feruchemical abilities (detailed below). These abilities are granted on top of the Inquisitor's own natural Allomantic powers (if any), and any abilities the subject had prior to the transformation are augmented by the spikes. As such, Mistborn and Seekers were the preferred subjects, as their increased Seeking ability would allow them to pierce copperclouds.
There are forty-seven known bindpoints that can be used for an Inquisitor. Eleven are physical, twelve are mental, twelve are temporal, and twelve are spiritual. There are no differences in bindpoints between males and females. To grant every possible Allomantic and Feruchemical power, it would take thirty two spikes (one for each power) plus a linchpin, leaving room for fourteen extra spikes.
Regular humans who were turned into Inquisitors could fully remember who they were and what life had been like before their transformation.
During the days after the Collapse, Ruin gave his Inquisitors several advantages which the Lord Ruler had never allowed them, lest they become too strong. This included extra spikes to give them additional Feruchemical powers, as well as a metal plate which would cover the linchpin spike between their shoulder blades.
Steel Inquisitors were very powerful and - with Feruchemical healing - nearly invincible. Rumors in the skaa underground held that Inquisitors were immortal, that they could see into people's souls, and that they were warriors with no equal. However, removing spikes from an Inquisitor could effectively kill them, most notably the linchpin spike located between the shoulder blades. This was a weakness built into them by The Lord Ruler. Similarly, Inquisitors could not survive a beheading. Removing one eye spike is not enough to kill most Inquisitors. Inquisitors also require much more rest and sleep than a normal human would.
Another major weakness in Inquisitors came from the Hemalurgic spikes, though this was not a problem before Ruin was released. Any spike in a person allows for influence to be more easily pushed on them via the tears in their Spiritweb. These tears allow certain Allomancers to control a Hemalurgic construct. This weakness is also present in both kandra and koloss. This weakness allowed them to be controlled by Ruin - the more spikes they had, the greater the weakness was. However, the stronger a creature's will, the more it can resist that influence or even break free from it for a time. Because of their Hemalurgic origins, all Steel Inquisitors were able to hear the voice of Ruin.
All Inquisitors exhibit a high tolerance to pain and most forms of physical damage. Depending on which Hemalurgic spikes the Inquisitor had, their abilities could vary immensely. The number of spikes varied; Marsh had eleven pre-Collapse, and after the Collapse an Inquisitor at Vetitan had a new one. After Ruin took control of them, Marsh was given 10 more spikes, making him the most powerful Inquisitor.
- Steel spikes: Inquisitors had five steel spikes. They had one spike in their back between their shoulder blades, which sealed together all the other spikes. Then they had one spike in each eye and two between the ribs, to give them the four Allomantic Physical Powers (iron, steel, tin, and pewter). With the spike through their eyes, Inquisitors weren't able to see normally, but they could see via the blue lines that appeared when they burned iron or steel.
- Bronze spikes: Inquisitors had four bronze spikes between the ribs, to give them the four Allomantic Mental Powers (zinc, brass, copper, and bronze). The Ministry often made Inquisitors from people who already had the power to reveal Allomancy by burning bronze (either Mistborn or Seekers), so that the spike would enhance that power beyond the normal amount, and allow them to pierce copperclouds.
- Atium spike: Most Inquisitors were able to see into other people's futures by burning atium. This would've been gained by an atium spike. It was located in their chest. Not all Inquisitors had this spike.
- Gold spike: Most Inquisitors had a gold spike between the ribs to give them the Hybrid Feruchemy ability to store health. Not all Inquisitors had this ability; those who did often spent much of their time resting so as to store up reserves of health.
- Pewter spikes: Gained after Ruin's release, the Inquisitor at Vetitan had a pewter spike through his heart which granted the Physical Feruchemical ability to store physical speed.
- Brass spikes: Gained after Ruin's release, granted Cognitive Feruchemical abilities, such as mental speed.
- Electrum spikes: Gained after Ruin's release, granted Enhancement Allomantic abilities, such as duralumin. Only a few, such as Marsh, were given these, and they had to be taken from Mistborn.
Inquisitors who had been made from Mistborn were notably more powerful, having their Allomantic abilities almost doubled. Some of the Inquisitors who obtained Feruchemical spikes also discovered how to compound, gaining more power from their metalminds. This is not something the Lord Ruler taught the Inquisitors. Compounding was something they had to figure out themselves.
Known Steel Inquisitors
Inquisitors After the Final Ascension
Marsh is the only known surviving Inquisitor.
Inquisitors are often depicted as ravens in post-Catacendre artwork and are known as the Lord Ruler's wraiths "of whom only death himself remained."
- The early editions of the books said Feruchemical healing was granted by pewter spikes, even though the Hemalurgic table says pewter spikes only give Physical Feruchemical abilities. The early editions didn't mention the health spike in The Hero of Ages chapter 5. Later editions of the books changed that to a gold spike in both places.
- A group of Inquisitors is called a murder.
- Kelsier was not the first person to kill a Steel Inquisitor.
- The Hero of Ages Annotations
— Arcanum - 2009-11-19#
- Barcelona signing
— Arcanum - 2016-11-03#
- Ancient 17S Q&A
— Arcanum - 2010-05-01#
- /r/Fantasy_Bookclub Alloy of Law Q&A
— Arcanum - 2012-01-17#
- Berlin signing
— Arcanum - 2019-05-14#
- Ancient 17S Q&A
— Arcanum - 2010-05-01#
- The Hero of Ages chapter 70#
- The Hero of Ages chapter 55#
- The Hero of Ages chapter 73#
- The Hero of Ages chapter 41#
- Hemalurgy Table
- The Hero of Ages chapter 37#
- The Hero of Ages chapter 45#
- Ancient 17S Q&A
— Arcanum - 2010-05-01#
- The Hero of Ages chapter 40#
- The Hero of Ages chapter 3#
- The Hero of Ages chapter 6#
- The Final Empire chapter 3#
- The Hero of Ages chapter 13#
- The Hero of Ages chapter 5#
- The Hero of Ages chapter 45 epigraph#
- The Final Empire chapter 34#
- The Final Empire epilogue#
- The Hero of Ages chapter 36 epigraph#
- The early editions of the books said Feruchemical healing was granted by pewter spikes, even though the hemalurgy table says pewter spikes only give Physical Feruchemical abilities. And the early editions didn't mention the health spike in The Hero of Ages chapter 5. Later editions of the books changed that to a gold spike in both places.
- 17th Shard Interview
— Arcanum - 2010-10-03#
- Stormlight Three Update #5
— Arcanum - 2016-11-21#
- The Hero of Ages chapter 72#
- Alloy of Law 17th Shard Q&A
— Arcanum - 2011-11-05#
- The Bands of Mourning chapter 12#
- Mistborn: Secret History part 6 chapter 7#
- Miscellaneous 2021
— Arcanum - 2021-12-01#
|The Metallic Arts|
|Arts||Allomancy · Feruchemy · Hemalurgy|
|Concepts||Metalborn · Snapping · Savants · Metalminds · Twinborn · Compounding · Blessings|
|Constructs||Steel Inquisitors · Koloss · Kandra · Chimeras|
|Base Metals||Iron · Steel · Tin · Pewter · Zinc · Brass · Copper · Bronze · Cadmium · Bendalloy · Gold · Electrum · Chromium · Nicrosil · Aluminum · Duralumin|
|God Metals||Atium (Malatium) · Lerasium · Ettmetal · Trellium|
|Era 1 books||Mistborn: The Final Empire · The Well of Ascension · The Hero of Ages |
(The Eleventh Metal · Mistborn: Secret History)
|Era 2 books||The Alloy of Law · Shadows of Self · The Bands of Mourning · The Lost Metal |
(Allomancer Jak and the Pits of Eltania)
|Shards||Preservation · Ruin · Harmony|
|History||Classical Scadrial · Final Empire · Catacendre · Elendel · Southern Scadrian|
|Magic||Metallic Arts (Allomancy, Feruchemy, Hemalurgy) · Metalborn · Mistborn · Misting · Savant · Ferring · Twinborn · Compounding · Atium · Lerasium · Ettmetal|
|Other Media||Mistborn Adventure Game · Mistborn: Birthright · Mistborn film · Mistborn: House War|