The Institute is a school that the elite amongst the elites of The Society will attend, a school for Gold children. Through a rigorous testing process, the Board of Quality Control sends out 'invitations' to prospective students that are illegal to turn down. There are Institutes on all colonised planets. Each expect to receive 1200 students a year (100 per school house), with half of them instantly culled in the Passage.
The head of each house is known as the Proctor, and is responsible for choosing the students under his or her house, taking care of them, and briefing them about the Institute and their missions. They only serve as guides and mentors, and are not allowed to interfere directly during the trial, when the students go to war with each other. It is unknown how the Proctors themselves are nominated or appointed.
Due to the political affiliations involved with some students from powerful families, corruption between the Proctors is widespread, as seen in Red Rising.
Process of determining who is fit to attend the Institute. The Proctor of each school house first interviews the student, and then they are selected one by one by the Proctor and the house's influential alumni.
The student selected on the first pass of drafting by each house. Darrow was the house Mars firstDraft after being passed over by house Mercury.
Students that were selected late in the drafting process and were generally in the bottom one percent of applicants to the Institute. lowDraft's were expected to be killed in the Passage, however, "Natural selection sometimes has its surprises" such as when Sevro au Barca, the last drafted, kills his opponent.
Students selected in between the beginning and end of the drafting process. MidDrafts presumably make up the majority of Institute students.
Students that were selected early in the drafting process, these students were generally in the top one percent of applicants to the Institute.
The method of selection in which roughly half of the students die. They are roused in the middle of the night by Obsidian and brought to a room where they must fight and kill another Gold. The stronger ones are pitted against weaker ones to cull the weak, as a method of "reinforcing natural selection". However, this sometimes backfires, since the strength of the student is judged by the entrance tests alone. Sometimes more powerful Golds, like the ArchGovernor, use the Passage as a method of killing off political enemies.
Three sorts of people graduate: the Peerless Scarred, the Graduates, and the Shamed. The Peerless can ascend in society; the Graduates can as well, but their prospects are relatively limited and they still must earn their scars; and the Shamed are sent to the distant, hard colonies like Pluto to oversee the first years of terraforming.
Students are chosen by the highest ranking members of Society to receive training and by getting sorted into thirteen different Houses. Some of the House crests are depicted in the picture to the right. During their time in the Institute, Students are identified from different houses with their house symbol on each sleeve of their fatigue and either side of their high collars, as well as a ring bearing the house symbol. The house ring can be kept outside of the game, and are worn on the middle finger of the right hand. The list of houses and affiliated people in the 542nd class of Mars are as follows:
|Proctor||Primus||Other students||Conquered by|
|1||Apollo||Unnamed male; slain by Darrow for helping The Jackal by cheating||Novas||Mars|
|5||Juno||Unnamed female||Unknown||Milia; Dax||Jupiter|
|6||Jupiter||Unnamed male, aided Darrow before his Iron Rain||Unknown||Pluto|
|7||Mars||Fitchner au Barca||Darrow||Won|
|8||Mercury||Unnamed male. Killed by Obsidian Valkyries under Sefi the Quiet in Morning Star.||Unknown|
Following graduation, the schoolHouses function as networking tools and social clubs for the newly gradualted Peerless Scarred to find sponsorships and professional connections.
The Primus is the leader of their house, and is determined by the merit system. For each act of merit, which includes getting high marks on the entrance tests, capturing or recapturing a standard, the student gains a merit bar. The first student to gain five merit bars becomes the Primus.
The Primus is indicated by a badge and a "hand", worn around the neck.
The Primus that manages to lead their House to victory against all the other Houses, enslaving them and ending the "game."
The graduates who achieve highest prestige eventually sit in as Drafters to assist in choosing future students of their House.
Drafters of House Mars for the 542nd class include the current archGovernors of Mercury and Europa, a senatorial Tribune, two Justices, the Imperator of a fleet, dozens of Praetors, and Rage Knight Lorn au Arcos.
The Institute on Mars
Darrow is part of the 542nd class, which attended from 737-738 PCE.
The dining hall is constructed from white marble with classical architectural style and laden with scenery. It has pillars. There are 12 tables that correspond to each House, with names decorated with bars and numbers representing merit projected above the 100 seats. The seating is arranged in order of draft.
Other Institutes in the Solar System
The other Institutes throughout the Solar System are based on the following planets, moons and astronomical locations:
- Eastern Hemisphere of Earth
- Western Hemisphere of Earth
- Titan (For all of Saturn's moons)
- The Astrodian Greek Cluster
- The Astrodian Trojan Cluster
- Joint ventures of Enceledas & Ceres
- Far Pioneers of Hildas
- Rhea (presumably)
Aside from the Institute of Mars, little is known about the lifestyle and description of the others.
The Institute of Mars is famed for its violence and brutality. Whereas the Institutes of Venus is famed for its rape, and lustful nature. While the Institute on Io is famed and acknowledged for its harsh terrain, brutal weather and extended time cycles. It is claimed that the "games can last for years in temperatures that freezes your blood before it drips from a wound." Of all the Institutes, "there is none more brutal."
Venus or Vulcan?