User:Mailliw73/Steel Ministry

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The Steel Ministry was the religion of the Final Empire, made up of various divisions, named Cantons, that also served as the government's bureaucracy. Obligator is the title for those who are part of the Ministry. It also contains the Inquisitors.

One of the main purposes of the Ministry was to witness a myriad of contracts and agreements, even something as simple as promise to come to a game of shelldry. [1]

Steel Inquisitor



The Cantons were the subsections of the Steel Ministry.

Obligators visiting Lord Tresting's plantation

Canton of Orthodoxy[edit]

Organized the Steel Ministry and looked after the religious side of things.

Canton of Finance[edit]

The bank of the Final Empire. It was in charged of the financial operations of the Final Empire. Their work included the transport of funds. The Canton's headquarters was an imposing building. It was tall and blocky with a massive rose window in the front, with two red banners hanging down beside the window, proclaiming praises to the Lord Ruler. Upon entering the building, one would find a desk at the end of an extended entryway, with an obligator manning the desk. Decorations within the building were sparse and lacking. It was often described as austere, bearing only the most necessary furniture and simple grey carpeting, the walls also lacking adornments. An exception to that rule was the waiting room. With plush chairs and lavish décor, the room clearly catered to the tastes of visiting noblemen.[2]

Canton of Resource[edit]

There are many philosophers in the Steel Ministry and most end up in the Canton of Resource, the best place for those with analytical minds. [3] This Canton was tasked with trade, transport, and taxation. It was also in charge of maintaining supply lines to the other Cantons, for feeding the people and maintaining the canals.[4]

Canton of Inquisition[edit]

During the Final Empire the Canton of Inquisition was run by the Steel Inquisitors, and acted as law enforcement, especially over the allomantic community. Obligators of the Canton of Inquisition had tattoos that rimmed the eyes, spreading outward like cracks of lightning, with the addition of a stark red line on the side of their face. [5] 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. [5]

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.[4]

Obligator Ranks[edit]

  • Obligator
  • Prelan
  • High Prelan
  • Steel Inquisitor: Outside the regular chain of command, but technically ranked lower than the Lord Prelan [6]
  • Lord Prelan



Year 1022[edit]

In the year 1022, the Ministry is presided over by Lord Prelan Tevidian. The Canton of Orthodoxy was the currently leading Canton. After members of the Canton of Inquisition capture Vin and prove that she is the Lord Prelan's half-breed daughter, they gain control of the Ministry. [7]


The Steel Ministry doesn't exist in it's former state following Sazed's Ascension. There are echoes of the organization left, but because the leaders of the people were members of Kelsier's crew, most of it is gone. There were a few notable Obligators who made it through the Catacendre and they left their own marks. Some cities have more of an influence from the Ministry than others. [8] There is a Canton of Cartography in Elendel. [9] There is also a road named Canton Avenue in one of Allomancer Jak's stories, likely based on a real street in Elendel. [10] "Cantonesque" architecture is described as having long flights of steps and stained-glass windows banners. [11]


The Steel Ministry was notorious for taking bribes. It functioned similar to being its own noble house, with contracts and agreements to gain wealth and leverage. Corruption was commonplace, during the Final Empire. [[wob ref|5498}} Rising through the ranks of the Ministry was very influenced by Allomantic abilities. Those with abilities, especially with metals judged to be valuable, rose quickly and were placed in positions of power. [12] Atium mistings were one of the most valuable. In order to search them out and recruit them, Inquisitors would put trace amounts of the godmetal into the nobility's drinks at balls periodically. They would then cause a disturbance while burning bronze to seek out those who began to burn the metals instinctively. When someone joined the Ministry who was not already a Misting, they would unknowingly be given a larger amount of atium and forced through a series of rituals designed to drain the recruit physically so his body would reactively burn the metal. [13] Both men and women could be part of the Steel Ministry and some women even became Inquisitors. {wob ref|5533}} Noblemen would address Inquisitors, and presumably obligators, as "Your Grace". {wob ref|7764}} There was a long standing rivalry between the various Cantons for control of the Ministry.


Daily prayer was a facet of the religion. [14] There is a ritual that involves an altar made of gold. It is centered in a room with four candelabra at the corners. Near the altar, Alendi's journal, written in Khlenni, was kept. Near the doorway, a bowl of small, triangular knives was kept on a pillar to be used in the ritual. [15] The knives were occasionally used for the worshipper to slice their own body. [14] Marsh later uses these triangle knives as a weapon of choice. The Ministry's position on sexuality was dependent on how much they were paid. [16] Skaa and nobles alike were required to fulfil their roles in the Empire and obey the Lord Ruler, but neither devotion nor faith was requested. Weddings were characterized only by the presence of an obligator to witness the fact. Sometimes additional ceremony would be added, but there wasn't a standard; the obligator's presence was the only requirement. [17]


The obligators would have to be called in to witness or approve of anything significant going on in the Final Empire. They were required to practice their religion and maintain a religious air with devotion that was unnecessary for nobles. Part of those requirements were daily prayers and ceremonies to the Lord Ruler. [14] Obligators were allowed to marry. [18] In addition to their bureaucratic functions the obligators served as the Lord Ruler's religious leaders. They would teach the Lord Ruler's religion to skaa and noblemen alike. They were required to witness any wedding, even that of skaa. [17]

Obligators were distinguished by intricate tattoos around their eyes to signify to their rank and Canton membership. [19][5] There were also assassins in the Steel Ministry. [1] Any assassination in the Empire would have required the Ministry's approval through bribery. [20]

Known Obligators[edit]


Obligators were originally just called priests and the Steel Ministry was called the Steel Priesthood, but when Brandon decided they would be bureaucrats, he wanted a new name for them. A member of his writing group, Nate Hatfield came up with the term "obligator" from a thesaurus. [22] [23]


  1. a b The Final Empire chapter 23 Summary: The Final Empire/Chapter_23#
  2. The Final Empire chapter 2 Summary: The Final Empire/Chapter_2#
  3. a b Annotation for The Hero of Ages chapter 43 Cite: Annotation/The Hero of Ages/43#
  4. a b The Hero of Ages chapter 44 Summary: The Hero of Ages/Chapter_44#
  5. a b c The Final Empire chapter 27 Summary: The Final Empire/Chapter_27#
  6. The Final Empire chapter 26 Summary: The Final Empire/Chapter_26#
  7. The Final Empire chapter 36 Summary: The Final Empire/Chapter_36#
  8. JordanCon 2016
    Arcanum - 2016-04-23#
  9. Map of Elendel
  10. House_Record_broadsheet.jpg
  11. The Bands of Mourning chapter 11 Summary: The Bands of Mourning/Chapter_11#
  12. Annotation for The Hero of Ages chapter 74 Cite: Annotation/The Hero of Ages/74#
  13. Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide
    Arcanum - 2008-10-15#
  14. a b c Annotation for The Hero of Ages chapter 34 Cite: Annotation/The Hero of Ages/34#
  15. The Final Empire chapter 14 Summary: The Final Empire/Chapter_14#
  16. Oathbringer release party
    Arcanum - 2017-11-13#
  17. a b Annotation for The Well of Ascension chapter 48 Cite: Annotation/The Well of Ascension/48#
  18. 17th Shard Forum Q&A
    Arcanum - 2012-09-25#
  19. The Final Empire chapter 1 Summary: The Final Empire/Chapter_1#
  20. Alloy of Law 17th Shard Q&A
    Arcanum - 2011-11-05#
  21. The Well of Ascension chapter 27 Summary: The Well of Ascension/Chapter_27#
  22. Annotation for The Final Empire chapter 12 Cite: Annotation/The Final Empire/12#
  23. Firefight Seattle Public Library signing
    Arcanum - 2015-01-07#