Steel Inquisitor

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Steel Inquisitor
Steel Inquisitor.jpg
by Ben McSweeney
Magic Hemalurgy
World Scadrial
Featured In Mistborn

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[edit]

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 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 head. These tattoos indicated many things including rank and what kind of Allomancer they were 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 were physiologically and mentally distinct. They could, however, still mate with humans.[1]

Gallery of Steel Inquisitor appearances


Common binding points for creating a Steel Inquisitor, art by Ben McSweeney

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to Aradan Yomen, one of the ways in which the number 16 made itself known in their time was that the Lord Ruler had originally made 16 Steel Inquisitors.[2] The number 16 in relation to the Inquisitors showed up once again, as Ruin created or otherwise used 16 Inquisitors to further his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).[3][4]

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.[5] This 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 spike that acts as a connector to the lower and upper spikes. If this spike is removed, the Inquisitor dies.

Creating an Inquisitor bestows many Allomantic and some Feruchemical abilities to the subject, on top of their own natural Allomantic powers, meaning 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.[6][7]

Regular humans who were turned into Inquisitors could fully remember who they were before being transformed and what life had been like before their transformation.[8]

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.[9][10]


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.[11] However, removing spikes from an Inquisitor could effectively kill it, most notably the linchpin spike located between their 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 required more rest and sleep than a normal human would.

Another major weakness in Inquisitors came from the Hemalurgic spikes they bore, though this was not a problem before Ruin was released. Any spike in a person allows for influence to be more easily pushed on a person via the tears in their Spiritweb. These tears allow for people to control a Hemalurgic construct using Allomancy. This weakness is also present in both kandra and koloss. This also 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. Not all Inquisitors had an atium spike, nor could all of them tap health. During the time of Kelsier, however, most had those spikes.

  • Steel spikes: Inquisitors lacked eyes, so they saw via the blue lines from burning iron or steel enhanced by the use of steel spikes
  • Pewter spikes:[12] offered extremely effective, almost immediate healing via Compounding gold. Not all Inquisitors had this. Feruchemical

strength and speed offered by additional pewter spikes dramatically increased strength and speed.

  • Bronze spikes: Allows Inquisitors to pierce copperclouds. Mistborn and Bronze Mistings like Marsh are usually chosen to allow for this to be easily attained through minimal additional spikes

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.

Canton of Inquisition[edit]

During the Final Empire the Canton of Inquisition of the Steel Ministry was run by the Steel Inquisitors, and acted as law enforcement, especially over the magical elements of society. Obligators of the Canton of Inquisition were marked by the regular Ministry tattoos with the addition of a stark red line.[13]

In addition to dealing with anyone that went against Ministry protocol, the Canton of Inquisition also had bases all around the city of Luthadel, called Soothing stations. These were to dampen the emotions of everyone in the area, calming and depressing them. In addition, it is possible that many Inquisitors found skaa Mistings this way.[13]

By revealing that Vin was the daughter of the Lord Prelan Tevidian, shortly before the death of the Lord Ruler, the Canton of Inquisition gained dominance over the other Cantons.[14]

In The Well of Ascension, Sazed and Marsh visited Conventical of Seran, was a sort of temple for the Inquisitors. Sazed is the only non-Inquisitor to ever enter and leave alive. While there, Sazed discovers a message inscribed in a sheet of metal. The epigraphs in The Well of Ascension are taken from this message.

During his argument with Elend, Yomen mentions how the Canton of Inquisition had been formed sometime during the sixth century, and it was this Canton which suggested the Terris breeding programs to the Lord Ruler in order to keep that population under control. The Lord Ruler agreed to it provisionally, and the programs were then kept until the collapse of the Final Empire. However, it is also mentioned that the subjugation of the Terris people had started far before the Canton of Inquisition had come up with the idea of the breeding programs.[15]

Known Steel Inquisitors[edit]

Inquisitors After the Final Ascension[edit]

The Inquisitors' spikes were melted down by Harmony to make earrings, and given to members of the Path by assorted Kandra. MeLaan gave Waxillium Ladrian his earring.

Marsh is the only known surviving Inquisitor.

Inquisitors are often depicted as ravens in artwork and are known as the Lord Ruler's wraiths.[16]


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