The priests of the Itreyan College of Iron are inducted into their order after their second truedark, and tested for aptitude in the Ars Machina. The boys are never taught to read, nor to write. On the eve of their fifth truedark, those found worthy to serve are taken to a brightly lit room in the heart of the Collegium. Here, amid the scent of burning tar and the breathless beauty of the college choir, they recite their vows, and are then relieved of their tongues via a set of red-hot iron snips. The secrets of constructing and maintaining the Itreyan war walkers are the most tightly guarded in the Republic – taught by doing, not speaking – and the priesthood take their vows of silence rather seriously.

They priests do not, however, take vows of celibacy, and are free to partake in all the pleasures of the flesh and in the institution of marriage. Their lack of tongues, however, can prove to be quite a hindrance in the search for wives.