This article is about the saurian species. For their language, see Sangheili (language).
- "On the blood of our fathers, on the blood of our sons, we swore to uphold the Covenant!"
- — Rtas 'Vadumee before the raid on the Threshold gas mine.
The Sangheili (Macto cognatus in Latin taxonomy, meaning "I glorify my kin") are a saurian sapient species known for their warrior culture and combat skill. Named after their home planet, Sanghelios, they have historically been known to humans as Elites for their former role in the Covenant's military hierarchy. Originally one of the Covenant's two founding species, the Sangheili formed the hegemony's military backbone until just before the end of its existence. They had a very strong rivalry with the Jiralhanae, which finally led to genocidal violence during the Great Schism at the conclusion of the Human-Covenant War.
After the High ProphetsTruth and Mercy ordered the genocide of the entire Sangheili race during the Great Schism, the species was forced into civil war against the Covenant proper. This was established after the assassination of the High Prophet of Regret at the hands of John-117. The two remaining Hierarchs held the Sangheili responsible for the Prophet of Regret's death, and the species was seen as "unfit" to continue to guard the Prophets. The Prophets sought to achieve this through the use of the other Covenant races, primarily the Jiralhanae. Consequently, the Sangheili led a rebellion against the Prophets. A significant number of Sangheili sided with the UNSC against the Prophet-led Covenant; this alliance continued to hold in the post-war era. The Great Schism formed the bedrock of the Covenant Empire's ultimate collapse and the end of the Human-Covenant War.
In the post-war years, the Swords of Sanghelios, led by ArbiterThel 'Vadam and a grand council of kaidons, emerged as the effective Sangheili government. However, they were opposed by multiple Sangheili factions with differing ideals of how to build a future for their civilization, and the species remained embroiled in civil war for several years while continuing hostilities with Jiralhanae groups, in a two-front war.
The Ark and reseeding
The Sangheili evolved in tropical wetlands of their homeworld, Sanghelios. Sanghelios had at one point been visited by or had been in contact with the Forerunners. During the Forerunner-Flood war, the Librarian visited the planet to retrieve specimens of the Sangheili for preservation aboard Installation 00. After the firing of the Halo Array, they were returned to their home planet to begin rebuilding their culture.
Development of civilization
After being returned to their homeworld, the Sangheili discovered artifacts left by the Forerunners on their planet. The Sangheili revered the objects these "gods" had left, and considered tampering with them a heresy beyond any other. However, some Sangheili scientists defied their species' dogma and studied Forerunner artifacts in secret; they would later become instrumental in helping the Sangheili reverse-engineer weapons against the San'Shyuum. Several hundred years prior to the formation of the Covenant, the Sangheili had developed slipspace technology and created dozens of independent colonies, though their homeworld of Sanghelios remaining central to governance and culture. The planet of Creck, discovered before the Sangheili's contact with the San'Shyuum was the seventy-sixth of designated worlds explored by Sangheili. At some point, an unknown number of Sangheili clans waged war upon each other for numerous years on Sanghelios. These engagements became known as the Clan Battles of Sanghelios.
Forming the Covenant
In 938 BCE the Sangheili encountered the ReformistSan'Shyuum, a race who also worshiped the Forerunners as gods, but had utilized Forerunner technology for their own needs, believing the technology had been left behind by the gods as gifts for their children. This sparked a war between the two races over how to treat the relics. Even though the Sangheili were much more physically imposing and numerous, they suffered extreme casualties under the sheer power of the San'Shyuum's Dreadnought, a surviving Keyship, and by 876 BCE even the most devout had to admit their survival depended on the reconstitution of their own Forerunner technology. This led both sides to an agreement that ended with the decommissioning of the Forerunner Dreadnought and a shaky alliance that eventually expanded into the Covenant.
The San'Shyuum helped assuage the Sangheili by informing them of the Great Journey: by seeking out the Holy Rings scattered throughout the galaxy and utilizing them, a "Great Journey" would transform believers into godlike beings. The Writ of Union was drawn up in 852 BCE in order to codify the Covenant. Its first canto clearly outlines the nature of the Covenant from the perspective of the Prophets.
Being one of the few races in the Covenant to achieve space-faring status without outside intervention, Sangheili interaction with the San'Shyuum was initially strained due to memories of the recent war. Many Sangheili felt that the Writ of Union meant surrender to the San'Shyuum, although most never voiced these concerns. The Sangheili Ussa 'Xellus led a major rebellion against the Covenant that was eventually neutralized with the rebel Ussans going into hiding. Over time, the San'Shyuum and Sangheili formed a prosperous relationship, eventually laying the foundation for the modern Covenant hegemony.
During their membership in the Covenant, the Sangheili were simply put, technological and societal equals of the San'Shyuum. However, for a significant period, they found themselves as the dominant military muscle for the entire Covenant structure - hardly surprising given the warlike, feudal nature of their homeworld. What was surprising was the cyclical stability this feudal society was able to offer. Technological and medical advancement prospered, and the intelligent, aggressive Sangheili were peerless until they encountered the San'Shyuum. With exchange of goods and ideas, the Sangheili adapted to and eventually embraced the Covenant religion, grafting its tenets to their own belief system.
- Main article: Human-Covenant War
When the Prophets declared war on a previously unknown species called humans, the Sangheili followed their lead without question. After a period of time, however, even though the Prophets insisted that the humans were "unclean beings" that must be eliminated from the galaxy, some seasoned Sangheili veterans began to question the refusal of the Prophets to even consider accepting the humans into the Covenant. They seem to believe that humans, although physically weak, at least compared to themselves, are brave and even honorable. As such, these few Sangheili believed that humans should be offered admittance to the Covenant due their ability to put up a fight on the ground. Some even believed that the humans were equal to them - a considerable step for a Sangheili, or any member of the Covenant, to make. These Sangheili admired how willing and brave the humans were when fighting to survive against outright extinction, they even respected to a certain degree those few soldiers who were willing to stay behind and cover their comrades from a Covenant attack. A few Sangheili even had more respect for the humans than they did for the San'Shyuum before the Great Schism.
The Great Schism
- Main article: Great Schism
During the final months of the Human-Covenant War, the political shift caused by the High Prophet of Truth and Tartarus, the Chieftain of the Jiralhanae, started a slippery slope that ended in the dissolution of the Covenant between the Sangheili and the San'Shyuum. Originally, the Jiralhanae were viewed as savagely aggressive and extremely goal-oriented, which the Sangheili viewed as a serious threat should the Brutes ever begin to desire political power. This fear became reality when the Honor Guards of the Prophets, originally an all-Sangheili class, were transformed into a duty of the Brutes. This was directly caused by the death of the High Prophet of Regret at the hands of John-117, the human "Demon", despite Regret's protection from his personal squad of Sangheili Honor Guardsmen. Soon the Jiralhanae found themselves in new positions of power, becoming veritable replacements for the Sangheili. During the concurrent Battle of Installation 05 and the Fall of High Charity, the Jiralhanae had begun to massacre the Sangheili under Truth's orders. Additionally, ArbiterThel 'Vadam and Special Operations CommanderRtas 'Vadum discovered the truth of the Halo rings from the Monitor343 Guilty Spark. From this, they learned that the Prophets' promises of the Great Journey were false causing further turmoil.
These events led the entire Sangheili species to secede from the Covenant, unified to bring down the empire that had betrayed them. They were aided by a few of the member species within the Covenant, such as many Unggoy and most Mgalekgolo, although many sided with the High Prophets despite the Sangheili's efforts. The secession included a movement to destroy the treacherous Jiralhanae and High Prophets, and the destruction of the Flood at all costs, eventually resulting in an alliance between the Fleet of Retribution and humanity.
The Great Schism stretched from the human homeworld, Earth, all the way back to Sanghelios as the Sangheili attempted to wrest their share of the hegemony away from their new-found enemies. The Jiralhanae stepped in to fill the military void in ever increasing numbers, sensing the vacuum and opportunity left by the departure of the Sangheili.
Fall of the Covenant
- "I am not Covenant. The Covenant is dead. It was a lie. I am Sangheili."
- — Jat to Dahlia on Carrow.
After the Battle of Earth, the Sangheili and humans managed to stop and subsequently kill the High Prophet of Truth, effectively dissolving the Covenant. However, the Sangheili and humans were coerced to deal with a more massive threat; the Flood. Finally, the Arbiter and the Master Chief, after activating the newly constructed replacement Halo ring, effectively ended the Flood threat.
Following the destruction of the Covenant, Sangheili society plunged into crisis. Already lacking centralized governance and splintered to independent city-states spread across several dozen major colonies, they fractured into multiple infighting factions with varying ideas on how to run their society, despite their ongoing war with the Jiralhanae. This was largely due to the fact they had become reliant of the Prophets during the millennia of the Covenant's existence. As they regained their independence, they were forced to re-learn to manage their society on their own, without the direction of the Prophets or the manual labor provided by the other client races.
During this time, Arbiter Thel 'Vadam managed to gather a sizable alliance of keeps under the banner of the Swords of Sanghelios, which became the preeminent governmental entity among the Sangheili. Many other factions, such as the Servants of the Abiding Truth, opposed Thel 'Vadam and his allies, specifically their rejection of the notion of the Forerunners being gods. This eventually led to the Sangheili civil wars known as the Blooding Years.
As the Great Schism went on, the Sangheili continued their fight against the Jiralhanae. This was proving largely unsuccessful and the Sangheili were accepting serious losses. Without the Covenant to provide them with ships, technology, and repairs, they slowly lost warships and technologies they could not repair or replace. After the San'Shyuum went into hiding, the Sangheili began to prevail against the Jiralhanae, who in turn began to fight among themselves. Having abandoned the Covenant, the Sangheili were now in a state of mass confusion in regards to their religion, because even though the San'Shyuum lied to them, they had still given them purpose for their actions. Many Sangheili were still religiously devoted to the Forerunners and were attempting to uncover the meaning of their faith.
While many Sangheili continued to genocidally hunt down and slaughter the Jiralhanae, a few were persuaded by Atriox to work for the Banished, as he claimed to have no complicity with Tartarus and the other Jiralhanae who had betrayed and massacred their kind. As such, a small minority of Sangheili joined the Banished as mercenaries, some of which used their earnings of military resources to fight out disputes with other Sangheili kin on their homeworlds. Joining the Banished was frowned upon in Sangheili culture, Let 'Volir's name was notably forever tarnished for working under a Jiralhanae.
After the Human-Covenant War, there was competition between the UNSC and the Sangheili, when it came to examining Forerunner ruins and relics like the Portal at Voi. By March 2553, a tentative ceasefire continued to exist between humanity and the Sangheili. Although Arbiter Thel 'Vadam campaigned for peace between the two species across various Sangheili states, many Sangheili continued to view humans with suspicion, perceiving them as a threat and wanting to destroy them once and for all. At the same time, the UNSC's Office of Naval Intelligence took advantage of the unstable political situation, attempting to keep the Sangheili splintered and disorganized by inciting the Servants of the Abiding Truth, led by Avu Med 'Telcam, to rebel against 'Vadam. This was to ensure the Sangheili would not pose a threat to humanity again, in spite of the UNSC's alliance with the Arbiter's faction.
ONI's aid allowed the Servants of the Abiding Truth to amass enough weapons to begin an all-out insurrection against 'Vadam and his allies in early 2553. Meanwhile, however, ONI's efforts also backfired; partially as a result of their actions the Sangheili Jul 'Mdama began a personal quest against humanity, forming a Sangheili-led reconstituted Covenant mainly from ex-Covenant forces. Four years after the battle at the Ark, this group launched an invasion on the Forerunnershield worldRequiem, intending to find and awaken the Didact, a Forerunner Promethean they revered as a living god.
In spite of ONI's underhanded mission, relations between humanity and Sangheili at large continued to be amicable. For example, the UNSC and the Sangheili under the Arbiter maintained mixed control over certain space territories, known as Joint Occupation Zones. The UNSC and Swords of Sanghelios participated in joint operations, including the Mission to Installation 00, where they successfully prevented the reactivation of the Halo Array and an attack on Earth. The UNSC Navy and the Sangheili also participated in joint naval operations, including one against pirates in 2557. Human and Sangheili scholars also gathered and studied the Covenant's records together on Sanghelios. Collaborative weapons research (such as the study of the physics behind the Type-33 Needler) and exchanges in military intelligence between the two species is also known to have taken place. and Zeta Halo containment efforts. In addition, a select number of Sangheili are known to have been offered the opportunity to train alongside Spartan-IVs in War Games simulations as part of the ANVIL initiative. A notable example of trust and technological exchange between humanity and Sangheili is the Helioskrill armor, a variant of MJOLNIR Powered Assault Armor, one of the most sophisticated pieces of human technology, which was designed by a Sangheili prodigy and manufactured by the Kolaar Manufactorum, a forge based on Sanghelios. Not all humans were amicable towards coexistence with the Sangheili, as seen with the Sapien Sunrise. In one notable incident, nine members from the aforementioned terrorist organization infiltrated Richard Sekibo's delegation at a peace summit on the colony world of Biko. They intended to assassinate Sekibo and a Sangheili delegation while framing the Sangheili of the crime. The assassination attempt was foiled by Spartan John-117 though Sekibo was mortally wounded. Unfortunately, the truth was covered up and John-117 was used as a scapegoat to hide the UEG's laxity towards preventing the attack, much to the frustration of the Sangheili delegation. Later John-117's name was cleared.
During the crisis that followed the dissolution of the Covenant, some Sangheili sought asylum on Earth. In 2558, at least one settlement of former-Covenant races was based in the South American city of Rio de Janeiro.
In one notable incident, the Office of Naval Intelligence deployed three prowlers to trail the allied Sangheili assault carrier Shadow of Intent. All three stealth vessels were reported destroyed under unclear circumstances; the losses were not reported to UNSC Naval authorities. Despite this, the alliance between the Arbiter and humanity continued to hold. On March 5, 2558, 'Vadam accepted the UNSC as mediators to oversee his peace negotiations with the Jiralhanae ChieftainLydus. However, the negotiations were put on hold due to an attack by New Colonial Alliancemercenaries.
On October 28, 2558 the Swords of Sanghelios emerged victorious over Jul 'Mdama's Covenant at the Battle of Sunaion. Sanghelios became a safe haven for surviving UNSC forces after the Created took control of Earth and most human colonies.
Sangheili are physically imposing beings, typically standing more than a foot taller than the average human. They are vaguely reptilian in overall appearance, with leathery skin, digitigrade legs and sharp claws and teeth. Their large hands have two fingers and two thumbs. Their most distinguishing trait is their jaw structure, which is made up of four separate mandibles attached to their face.
Sangheili are intelligent, agile, and extremely strong, and are often characterized by their bravery and honor. Sangheili warriors augment these natural abilities further through use of energy shields integrated into their armor. Depending upon rank and mission objective, they are commonly seen in battle with plasma rifles, carbines, needlers, needle rifles, along with their cultural signature weapons, energy swords. Sangheili employ coffin-like orbital insertion pods as well as Spirit and Phantom dropships for military transit purposes and rapid-response operations.
Historically, Sangheili have followed the Covenant mentality of maintaining hatred towards humanity, believing them to be an affront to their religion and a challenge towards the Great Journey. However, many Sangheili were able to put this animosity aside when an alliance of Sangheili joined the UNSC during their expedition to the Ark. After the Human-Covenant War, many Sangheili are still distrustful of humanity and some still wage war against them. Nonetheless a large number of Sangheili, most notably those loyal to Thel 'Vadam, have attempted to form steady alliances with their former enemies.
Anatomy and physiology
Sangheili are muscular and very tall, usually standing between 2.25 and 2.62 meters (7.38 and 8.6 feet), though they often seem slightly shorter due to their usual hunched position, but the armor they wear makes them appear more hunched then they actually are. Their jaws are quadruple-hinged, with an upper jaw and four lower mandibles arranged in two tiers. Mandible and upper jaw structure along with teeth shape and numbers result from different phenotypes; however they do not indicate reproductive isolation. These mandibles have between six and twelve teeth each and some Sangheili have an additional, larger fang on the tips of each mandible. Anywhere from eight to more than a dozen broader teeth may be mounted on the upper jaw structure. Adult Sangheili mandibles can be found in varying shapes, sizes, and ranges of dexterity, and are as distinctive as a human fingerprint. Some Sangheili also possess molars. Sangheili smell with the use of two nostrils, each slightly in front of and below the eye socket. Given their predatory nature, a Sangheili's sense of smell is likely very developed. Despite the Sangheili jaw structure, they are able to pronounce the letter "M" without difficulty, a fact that human scientists have been unable to explain. They do however have difficulty pronouncing "P." For example: Dr. Evan Phillips, one of the foremost human Sangheili experts, was addressed as and referred to as "Phillisss." Additionally, the Sangheili skull has a density sufficient enough to prevent a .40 caliber bullet from being able to exit the other side upon impact.
Their hands are tetradactyl, each having two fingers in the middle and an opposing thumb on either side. Contrary to what their anatomy might suggest, Sangheili could release a loud, sharp and piercing whistle by placing their thumbs on the same hand into their mouths and blowing through the narrow gap. Their legs are digitigrade, with short upper and lower legs, and elongated tarsals, using the distal and intermediate phalanges to support their weight when walking. This arrangement possibly allows them to run very quickly and jump large distances, compared to ordinary humans and other Covenant races. Their superior agility may also be attributed to their homeworld's higher gravity; the additional strength required to move normally in a high-gravity environment would likely cause them to be more powerful in lower gravity situations (though, curiously, their tall, large, and lean figure would be extremely disadvantageous and impractical on a high-gravity planet—an arrangement possibly allowed by other major factors in their biology and life cycles; alternatively, the impressive strength and agility may be the result of the capabilities of their standard-issue combat harnesses). They also appear to have a double set of pectoral muscles, which contributes to their incredible strength. On the other hand, their digitigrade stance makes it difficult for them to climb vertical constructs such as ladders.
Sangheili have a binary circulatory system that pumps indigo-colored blood. They breathe oxygen and their homeworld has a nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere comparable to Earth's, allowing them to breathe the same atmosphere as humans. Sangheili cannot breathe molecular nitrogen. Sangheili have a similar digestive system to that of humans. They are shown to have an esophagus and intestines, and are also depicted to have an anus.[Note 1]
Most Sangheili have leathery skin covered in many part by scales. Young Sangheili have pale protective scales hanging from their necks that they lose with age, an evolutionary leftover from the days when Sangheili parents used to carry their offspring in their jaws. Sangheili skin color can range from light brown to dark brown, light gray to black, and blue. They have forward-facing eyes with vertical slits and horizontal eyelids much like those of terrestrial reptiles,[Note 2] likely giving them high-resolution central vision and depth perception. Their eyes can have multiple colours ranging from red all the way to green and can be even gray. Most Sangheili though possess yellow or orange eyes.[Note 3][Note 4]
Sangheili exhibit minor sexual dimorphism, with the females being slightly smaller than the males. Sangheili males possess a subtle leathery scent, while females have been described as smelling like "clean feathers". Sangheili are oviparous, meaning that they lay eggs rather than giving live birth. They incubate their recently hatched young in tank-like pods. The species is remarkably long-lived; Sangheili over 60 or 70 years of age have shown to be fully fit for combat duty, and Jul 'Mdama was considered young, at least in keep elder terms, at 64 years old, while by 851 BCE, 'Crecka was over 90 years old.Nizat 'Kvarosee was stated to have served in the Covenant for roughly 200 human years. Circa 100,000 BCE Sangheili life expectancy was 27 Earth years. This discrepancy was likely due to their primitive culture at that time having little, if any, function medicine, whereas Sangheili of the 26th century have medicine and medical technology surpassing humanity.
Although Sangheili are naturally very intelligent, their culture's long dependence on a military-industrial schema has led to an emphasis on might over science. In some regards, the advent of the Covenant made this position easier, allowing the Sangheili to concentrate even more monomanically on military endeavors, while Prophets took care of science and technology. Despite this, their adeptness at using and creating technology is evident. In addition, despite their warrior culture being the most well-known, it has been noted that the Sangheili actually have almost innumerable roles within their society, from political entities like kaidons and keep elders all the way to the more technical artisan-engineers and farmers.
Raised from childhood to be warriors, other societal roles are treated as secondary endeavors or even hobbies. Doctors are considered outright dishonorable as they "spill blood" outside the battlefield; despite this, the Sangheili are known to employ advanced medical technology that is superior to humanity's. Few doctors exist within Sangheili society. Instead, Huragok and other species are employed as medical personnel. Most injuries sustained by the Sangheili can easily be treated by the medical technology employed by the species, otherwise they accept their fate. However, Sangheili hold disdain for using medical technology to treat themselves and some personally would rather suffer through their injury or die. There is evidence of this being overturned, however. Some Sangheili recognize that other species do not share the same views on medical treatment and were willing to lend them their medical technologies or even treat the wounded individual themselves. Sangheili are trained to be skilled in most ranged weapons, as well as hand-to-hand combat. A prominent example of this martial focus is that only aristocrats are allowed to wield energy swords and that sword-wielders are then no longer eligible for marriage; however, they may breed with any female they choose, married or otherwise, to ensure successful transmission of "swordsman" genes. Many Sangheili children are trained in basic swordsmanship early on, both for personal development and for them to be capable of using a sword later in life if necessary. Within the military, an aristocratic title is not necessary for wielding an energy sword.
Military promotion among the Sangheili is by merit. A Sangheili soldier must succeed to advance among the ranks, with this success being measured in combat kills. A Sangheili near the top of the military hierarchy may have personally slaughtered thousands of individuals to reach that status. This practice sometimes puts individuals of questionable strategic acumen in positions of command. In the case of Ripa 'Moramee, a particularly brutish Sangheili was appointed as Arbiter, both for his martial ability and for his unquestioning obedience to the Prophets.
Historically the Sangheili have considered most other species to be inferior to them, both culturally and in fighting skill; this thinking has caused Sangheili to treat other species cruelly and in an arrogant manner. This eventually led to the feud between the Sangheili and Jiralhanae, as the latter's strength threatened the Sangheili's superior military status. In the years following the Great Schism the Sangheili entered a period of cultural renaissance however, triggering a rethinking towards their practices under the Covenant. This included views on medicine, secularism (seen in the war between the theocratic Covenant and secular Swords of Sanghelios), gender roles, and technology, and there was also evidence to suggest that views on other species underwent a gradual ongoing alteration too. It was noted that an Unggoy was able to take command of Sangheili and lead them in such a way so as to inspire respect and admiration from them. This was unprecedented given the past observed relationship between the two species. The longstanding feud between the Sangheili and Jiralhanae was well documented, but in 2558 Thel 'Vadam engaged in peace talks with a Jiralhanae Chieftain known as Lydus on Ealen IV. Lydus accused Thel of engaging with the talks so that the Sangheili could simply acquire Jiralhanae resources, however Thel rebutted the notion with the idea that the Sangheili cared for more than just that.
One great indicator of the Sangheili's evolving attitudes towards other species was their interactions with humans in the decade following the end of the Human-Covenant War. During and immediately after the conflict, many Sangheili espoused the Covenant's position towards humans as being heretics, and humans were subject to much of the same cultural arrogance from the Sangheili that the other species received; perhaps worse. Even by 2552, however, a growing number of human sympathizers existed among the Sangheili youth, and by 2558, the social landscape within the Swords of Sanghelios appeared drastically different with regards to humans. Specific examples include the development of a GEN-2 Mjolnir variant known as Helioskrill armor by a Sangheili weaponsmith, training programs involving Spartan-IVs and Swords of Sanghelios troops in the ANVIL Initiative, joint-operations between UNSC and Swords of Sanghelios in the joint-occupation zone against pirate raiders, cooperative weapons and technology research and development (Such as with regards to the Needler and the ANUBIS-class Mjolnir variant's enhanced sensors) as well as other cooperative endeavors between the two powers (Archivist teams and Zeta Halo containment efforts). The obvious practical nature of much of these endeavors strongly implies that the Sangheili have come to view humans as a worthy investment, investor and ally, which is in stark contrast to their culture of 10 years past. Even in more remote locations on Sangheili colonies the culture appeared to be undergoing remarkable change. It was noted by Olympia Vale during her travel to Khael'mothka that she met many Sangheili who had become tired of the war and who were intrigued by the idea of a human staying with them. There were of course those who would try to harm Vale if they could, however she learned who to stay away from and for the most part found herself in no personal jeopardy.
There were many who refused to change their ways, such as Jul 'Mdama's Covenant, this was highlighted by the Sangheili civil war. Progressive factions in Sangheili society appeared to have won following the emergence of the Created, as Jul 'Mdama's Covenant was entirely wiped out by Swords of Sanghelios forces.
The small minority of Sangheili who joined the Banished have had their names forever tarnished in Sangheili culture. Sangheili working for the Jiralhanae was deeply frowned upon, especially after the massacres of the Great Schism.
Sense of honor
- "But you "warriors" have always been guided by...blinded by...the illusion of honor."
- — Atriox on Sangheili
The Sangheili display respect and admiration for honorable fighters, whether they are allies of the Sangheili or not; it is not unusual for the Sangheili to have such an admiration for their adversaries. Sangheili respect and revere veterans and often follow their lead. Their history is rife with victorious combatants welcoming the defeated enemies' remaining forces into their own army, provided of course that they fought with honor. During the Unggoy Rebellion, the most tenacious of the Unggoy who survived the conflict were admitted for the first time into previously all-Sangheili forces, much to the Prophets' discontent.
Despite their intelligence, the Sangheili often allow their obsession with honor to cloud their better judgement. The Sangheili usually employ complex strategy only if it either improves success in battle, allows them to inflict more casualties on their enemies, or if it conforms to their code of honor. Otherwise, in both tactical and strategic combat, Sangheili generally charge their enemies with reckless aggression, regardless of any damage they sustain. Only very seldom do they admit temporary defeat. While lower-ranked Sangheili might make numerous tactical mistakes, especially the Minors, such as standing in the open rather than taking cover, more experienced Sangheili tend to lure their enemies into traps and quickly dispatch them in close combat. Sangheili often sustain heavy casualties in the fervor to kill, though they use their client races to screen and protect themselves. The race's desire for grandeur has led to their defeat in many engagements, such as the Battle of Psi Serpentis, Operation: FIRST STRIKE, and the Onyx Conflict.
One of the clearest examples of how zealous the Sangheili are for honor comes from when Thel 'Vadamee engaged the UNSC during his time as Supreme Commander, when Thel and two Special Operations Sangheili attacked an unarmed 3rd Battalion Reserves during the assault on the planet Camber. When Thel saw the humans unable to defend themselves, he dropped his Type-25 plasma rifle and activated his active camouflage so the Marines could gear up and have a chance to fight. This was the first time the humans documented the Sangheili strive for honor, even if it endangered themselves or others.
Conversely, those who favor practicality over religious fervor in combat exhibit keen tactical and strategic acumen. The Zealots, despite being among the most fervent adherents of the Covenant's religion, use shrewd, pragmatic tactics and are willing to engage in subterfuge in lieu of open combat. Similarly, special operators and stealth specialists use active camouflage even in combat, though most would prefer to fight outright than to skulk in shadow. The separatist Fleet of Retribution destroyed the Prophet of Truth's fleet, despite the latter outnumbering the former three-to-one. Some Sangheili, such as Jul 'Mdama, see honor as more of an aspiration than a way of life and are willing to engage in deception if need be, particularly after seeing humans use such tactics to great effect.
The Sangheili honor code is similar to a few throughout human history, sharing concepts such as skill in combat (with an emphasis on swordsmanship), loyalty to master and family/clan, and views on death. Both systems promote death in battle as being the most honorable and proper way to die. If a warrior is critically injured, incapacitated, or captured, the only acceptable recourse is to commit ritualistic suicide, ensuring one's honor is kept intact. This is of such importance to Sangheili warriors that even if they are incapable of killing themselves, they may request the assistance of their fellow Sangheili in doing so. The Sangheili consider being captured in combat to be dishonorable. To retain his honor, a valiant Sangheili would typically commit suicide while in prison. Often when imprisoned Sangheili are freed those who have not killed themselves are executed anyway, as was the case with one of Thel 'Vadam's ancestors. However, escaping or staging an uprising is acceptable, by the same example.
Customs and superstitions
Despite their martial nature, the Sangheili have reservations to the spilling of one's own blood. This is an extension of the belief that the blood of a warrior is his essence, which is synonymous with his honor; thus, to spill one's blood is to lose one's honor. As a result, in Sangheili culture, doctors are seen by many as the lowest members of society because they "make [their] living slicing and causing another Sangheili to bleed without honor." This means that the only 'honorable' way for a Sangheili to be injured or bleed out is from combat with the enemy. This belief also makes visiting a doctor very shameful for some Sangheili.
The Sangheili seldom view personal weapons as anything more than tools of war, and rarely attach extra importance to a weapon simply because it once belonged to a great warrior. This was especially true during the Covenant's days, when weapons were mass-produced and warriors did not carry customized weapons. However, certain historical weapons, such as the End of Night, were so famous that they were said to possess a small part of the owner's heart, and were given names as a result.
Many Sangheili believe that a weapon is to be drawn only if it is to be used, because a drawn weapon "demands blood." However, it appears that the user's intention when it is being drawn matters more than the weapon actually being used. For example, a Sangheili may draw his weapon when he is not sure if an incoming dropship contains friends or foes, only to deactivate it upon seeing friends exit the dropship.
As a symbolic gesture of love for his people, a Sangheili leader may choose to walk among his followers and help them in their duties, even doing what is normally considered females' work such as helping them care for eggs. This is also done to inspire the Sangheili to work diligently so as to not be outdone by their superiors.
The Sangheili have no unified government; they are splintered into numerous feudal, meritocratic states. A given state is governed by a single clan residence and assembly house known as a keep, headed by a kaidon selected by a council of elders. There are usually a number of "client keeps" belonging to different clans under the leading keep's rule, though a state's elders will assume the kaidon's clan name as a title signifying their position, regardless of the name of their own family keep. Sanghelios was once governed by the Council of City States during the early history of the Covenant.
In Sangheili culture, it is customary to settle disagreements with authority by assassination, though one has to use personal weapons in order for the practice to be considered honorable. For example, if a council elder believes that his vote was ill-advised or had second thoughts, it is considered a tradition for council elders to initiate some form of attack, such as sending assassins, against the kaidon in order "...to test the true merit of [the] ruler's martial abilities." The belief was that "a kaidon who could not defend himself was not a true leader." Should the attack fail, the responsible elder will be executed immediately, and his family will be killed. However, punishment for this form of failure was usually flexible. As such, if the elder did something honorable, such as attack the kaidon himself, or attempted to make a final stand against the kaidon, then he would probably have managed to save his family from certain death, although they might still be banished.
Family history and lineage are greatly valued, with each family having their own unique "battle poem" and "saga wall" detailing the deeds and actions of its members during times of war.
Although Sangheili society is classified as being patriarchal, and while most males serve as warriors, female Sangheili hold considerable power in issues within their family keeps, including political matters, civil duties and trade, while Sangheili males are sent into service as warriors. The status quo of gender roles in Sangheili society has lately been challenged however by the Swords of Sanghelios, as Olympia Vale noted after meeting Mahkee 'Chava, a female shipmistress. Sangheili females have access to records of their own bloodlines, and are able to choose their mates. The maintaining of a clan's familial records is typically the duty of the wife of the keep elder. The concept of divorce is completely foreign to Sangheili.
Sangheili warriors form very close-knitted relationships, referring to their comrades as "brothers" or "sisters" and remaining intensely loyal to them. This loyalty is shown in the custom of grieving after the death of a fallen comrade, a ritual which includes prayer for the dead warrior.
Newly hatched Sangheili are called "childlings", and as they grow older, they are then referred to as "younglings". During the first decade of their lives, Sangheili children have protective scales that hang from their necks, an evolutionary holdover from the days when the Sangheili used to carry their offspring with their toothy mandibles away from danger. Sangheili children are typically raised in the communal environment of their family keep to ensure that all start on an equal footing and progress in rank by merit of their abilities. They are not allowed to know the identity of their true fathers and are usually raised by a maternal uncle instead. This is a method of preventing status from being inherited in order to force children to make their own way in the world so they actively work for and earn advancement, thus minimizing nepotism and promoting loyalty to the whole clan rather than their parents. However, as some children's fathers are swordsmen who have been granted the right to reproduce with any number of female Sangheili they desire, the use of a maternal uncle as a father-like figure is used to allow children to be raised equally. Sometimes the individual acting as a Sangheili's "uncle" is in fact the father, but this makes no difference to his role as the child will never know.
While traditional on Sanghelios, the custom of Sangheili children not knowing their fathers is not followed on all Sangheili-occupied worlds, particularly ones with smaller populations and tighter-knit families such as Rahnelo.Ussan Sangheili, who diverged from the mainline Sangheili culture at the dawn of the Covenant, are allowed to know their fathers, presumably because they wanted to be sure who was descended from legendary figures such as Ussa 'Xellus and Ernicka the Scar-Maker and to possibly avoid inbreeding given their limited numbers.
Both male and female Sangheili are taught to fight from a young age. Though only males go on to become warriors, it is believed that the females should be able to defend themselves in the event their keep is attacked. A popular pastime for Sangheili children is to hunt small rat-like creatures that live on their homeworld. Young Sangheili also learned and sang old narrative poems, the most famous and widely known being the legendary ballad of the demigod hero Kel 'Darsam.
- Main article: Sangheili (language)
The Sangheili language, which served as a lingua franca to the Covenant, is rather harsh and guttural to untrained ears. While much remains unknown about its overall structure and conventions, it is known that certain sounds are largely absent from the Sangheili language due to their unique mouth structure; for example, Sangheili have difficulty pronouncing human words containing the letter "v" or ending with "p", resulting in the name "Evan Phillips" (As in Dr. Evan Phillips, a scholar of the Sangheili language) being pronounced as "Efanphilliss" (however, there are names in the Sangheili language that use these letters, such as "Vadam" and "Ripa").
Certain Sangheili colloquial terms have been translated by human linguists; the majority of these are derogatory in nature. The word "Jir'a'ul" is a term of abuse for Jiralhanae, being a portmanteau of the name "Jiralhanae" and the word "a'ul," the Sangheili word for a lump of wood. The Sangheili often refer to humans using the word "nishum," which translates roughly to "worm" or "intestinal parasite." The origin of this term lies with the first encounters between Sangheili soldiers and human military personnel. Upon first sighting human infantry, the Sangheili mistook their body armor for an exoskeletal shell. After examining dead human soldiers, the Sangheili discovered the relatively weak, fleshy creatures underneath the "shells" and came to the conclusion that they were some sort of internal parasite. Even long after this misconception faded, the term remained in use among the Sangheili as an unflattering insult to their human enemies.
The Sangheili place great value in names and titles, and consider names to be a privilege given only to those who are worthy. The Sangheili generally regard humans as nameless, aside from generic labels, such as the "Demon" moniker for Spartans. They resent that the humans have assigned the label "Elite" to them, along with many other, far more derogatory names, such as Squid-head, Hinge-head, and Split Lip.
A Sangheili's first name is a given name that is attained at birth and persists throughout their life. After reaching adulthood, they are given a badge name. During the time of the Covenant, this was often composed of two core parts: an adjective describing the individual, and a family name. Ado 'Mortumee was one practitioner of this system, where 'Mor' was his personal descriptor, and 'Tum' identified his lineage. Alternatively, some may have their badge name drawn from their State of origin, which could be tied to a specific Keep or family. For example: Thel 'Vadam, (formerly 'Vadamee when he served the Covenant,) was from the Vadam lineage. Some lineages, such as Vadam, have control over their own states, although this is not always the case; it is typical for Sangheili of other lineages to occupy smaller keeps in a state named after another lineage. Client keep elders within a given state typically adopt the name of the state instead of using their own family name. An "ee" suffix denoting military service was adopted by personnel that served in the Covenant military. This latter portion was abandoned by most Sangheili rebels during the Great Schism, as they believed that the martial focus of their culture made distinguishing military service unnecessary. Typically, most elites followed either of the previous systems, although they were exceptions. Lengthened names, such as the prefix "Ika" (which meant that the Sangheili had been an aide to a Prophet of some sort), gave them higher status among other elites. Additional titles, such as "Jar" and "Nar," appear to be related to specific ranks (Imperial Admiral and Fleet Master, respectively). Apart from the "-ee" suffix, the suffix "-ai" denotes swordsmanship, as with Bero 'Kusovai and Toha 'Sumai. Some Sangheili have names tied to heroes, battles, and legends that harken back to early Sangheili history. These more ancient family names often retain the idiosyncrasies of a more antiquated Sangheili dialect.
The apostrophe in front of the clan name indicates a sound resembling a glottal stop or click.
Homeworld and colonies
- Main articles: Sanghelios and Sangheili colonies
Sanghelios is the homeworld of the Sangheili species with a population of under 4 billion as of 2558. Sanghelios is the fourth planet in a triple star system of stars Urs, Fied, and Joori. The planet has two moons called Qikost and Suban.
As a space-faring species, the Sangheili have colonized multiple planetary entities as they ventured space, first expanding the reach of their own civilization and later that of the Covenant empire. There are several dozen worlds considered as major centers of their civilization. Like their homeworld, the colonies house a number of independent city-states as opposed to a unified government.Joyous Exultation was a significant nexus of Sangheili military during the Covenant hegemony's reign, while Hesduros is an example of a more remote Sangheili colony.
Even before contact with the San'Shyuum the Sangheili had developed several types of starships like the Blockade Runner and Brigantine.
After ties deepened with Arbiter Thel 'Vadam and his Swords of Sanghelios following the Human-Covenant War, his Sangheili artisans began to reap the benefits of cheap and simple human automation aides, revelations of Forerunner language and command codes that had been locked away by the San'Shyuum, and entirely new modalities of thought and systems of investigation. Using Forerunner knowledge reclaimed by humans a Renaissance has begun among Sangheili artisans eager to explore new avenues of knowledge, demolishing opaque rules and taboos that shackled their craft under the Covenant. Even as the Created move to control both species and safely circumscribe their destructive tendencies it seemed inevitable that the combination of iconoclastic Sangheili artisans and insatiably curious human engineers would lead to wonders and terrors yet undreamed of.
- This section needs expansion. You can help Halopedia by expanding it.
Cultural and political
- High Councilor
- The High Councilor was one of the highest positions attainable by a Sangheili in the old Covenant hierarchy. As members of the High Council, they shared governance with the San'Shyuum High Councilors and answered directly to the Hierarchs.
- The title of Arbiter was originally granted to the warrior ruler of the Sangheili clans, and was considered a great privilege. However the conflict caused by Fal 'Chavamee in his refusal of the Covenant religion, had led the Prophets to significantly repurpose the role. In times of an extraordinary crisis, it would be reserved for the most disgraced Sangheili and offered as a means to regain their honor through suicidal missions of great importance to the Covenant. It also served as a convenient means for the San'Shyuum to silence Sangheili in positions of power who may have started to question the Covenant religion or the Prophets' rule.
- Honor Guardsman
- As part of the Covenant Honor Guard of the old Covenant empire, the Honor Guardsmen were highly skilled warriors, hand-picked for the duty of protecting members of the High Council and the Hierarchs. Although it was a great honor and they were expected to eliminate anyone who drew a weapon in the presence of a Hierarch, the position was seen by some Sangheili as merely a ceremonial duty too removed from battle. One of the most formidable groups in the Honor Guard is the Light of Sanghelios.
Ranks within the Covenant Empire
In Sangheili culture, it is customary to promote individuals based upon their skills, abilities, and the number of casualties they inflict upon their enemy. In the original Covenant, a fresh Sangheili recruit would start as a Minor (indicated by their blue-colored armor). When a Sangheili had acquired sufficient experience in the field, he would often be promoted as a Major (indicated by their red/crimson-colored armor), leading fellow Sangheili and lower-ranked species alike as field officers. Should a Sangheili choose to focus primarily on combat rather than leadership, he may eventually attain the rank of Ultra, a class composed of the most skilled Sangheili infantry.
A further advancement in the ranks is the rank of a General. They have been observed personally leading both warships and infantry on the battlefield. Whilst they can lead anywhere between hundreds to thousands of soldiers alone, when multiple Generals are required, they will fight in concert to resolve battles.
One of the highest ranks attainable by a Sangheili, an Imperial Admiral bestows the control of large combined fleets and operate on powerful capital warships, such as an assault carrier or supercarrier. Rather than require groundside combat proficiency, they are requested to be tactically excellent and to hold a great influence over the vastly numerous troops within their command. The only known Imperial Admiral is Xytan 'Jar Wattinree.
These military titles are retained for individuals who have garnered enough field experience and are not based on their military ranks.
The following are known titles:
- Weapons Master: Sangheili engineers who maintain and improve equipment used by the Covenant.
- Artillery Master: Sangheili who oversee artillery pieces.
- Field Master: Sangheili who lead land-based armies.
- Shipmaster: Reserved for Sangheili commander of individual ships, though they sometimes command small task forces, as well. The term "Shipmaster" is not exclusive to Sangheili, and is universally used by the Covenant to refer to an individual of any species in command of a starship.
- Fleet Master: Given to a high-ranking Sangheili in command of a fleet.
- Supreme Commander: The Covenant's equivalent of the human "Commander-in-Chief". The most well known Supreme Commander was Thel 'Vadam, who commanded three fleets during the Fall of Reach, while serving as fleetmaster of his own Fleet of Particular Justice, which he took to Installation 04.
- Imperial Admiral: The commander of the Covenant Fleet.
Managed under the Ministry of Fervent Intercession, the Zealots are a specialized group of Sangheili tasked with the search and recovery of Forerunner artifacts. They are involved in deep-infiltration, high-risk operations, sometimes led by a Field Marshal. In addition to artifact retrieval, the Zealots can also serve in other command roles.
In the new Covenant order led by Jul 'Mdama, most of the Zealots originate from Hesduros.
Special Warfare Group
- Main article: Covenant's Special Warfare Group
The Special Warfare Group is a military organization responsible for overseeing all special operations for the purposes of achieving the objectives for the previous Covenant body.
A part of Covenant's Fleet Security, the Rangers are a group of Sangheili specializing in zero-gravity, exoatmospheric environment and extra-vehicular space combat. Their suits provide a great degree of mobility in such extreme environment.
The Fleet Security's cover units are the Stealth Sangheili. Their role focuses on acquisition of intelligence and strategic countermeasures than direct combat. Like the Special Operations, they utilize active camouflage in their operation. The Ossoona, or "Eyes of the Prophets", is a subset that operates under the Stealth Sangheili for the purposes of information gathering on enemy weapons and military data.
After the collapse of the old Covenant empire, the role of Rangers persists in the Covenant remnant faction led by Jul 'Mdama.
The Special Operations are the Special Warfare Group's division for unconventional warfare. Comparable to Zealots, the Special Operations are tasked with suppressing enemy progression and disable enemy installations. The division is controlled by the Special Operations Commander.
Special Operations Sangheili operate in small squads and boast superior shielding system and active camouflage. They are often led by Special Operations Officers and supported by Special Operations Unggoy.
The Commando Unit is a branch of the Special Warfare Group based upon pre-contact ground forces.
The Ascetics are a special group of Sangheili devoted to ensuring stability and purity within Covenant society. At the formation of the Covenant, the Writ of Union termed the dissolution of their order. Instead, they were reconstituted as an organization under the Ministry of Abnegation. The wake of the Great Schism brought the return of the Ascetics as an independent group.
- Oracle Master
- Advisors to the Hierarchs, the Oracle Masters specialize in intelligence gathering and providing religious counsel to the Hierarchs.
- Prison Guard
- Prison guards, as their name suggests, provide security for Sangheili prisons such as Weeping Shadows of Sorrow.
About NEXT • JIRALHANAE ▶The Sangheili are a proud warrior race whose civilization developed rapidly following the Great Purificationin 97,445 BCE. Assisted by an abundance of Forerunnerartifacts on their homeworld of Sanghelios, the Sangheili grew to worship the Forerunners, espousing a hands-off culture that sparked conflict with the San'ShyuumReformiststhey came into contact with in 938 BCE. Eventually a peace was formed between the two species, creating the Covenantand giving the Sangheili leadership roles in the military.
The Sangheili were one of the many species that was repopulated as part of the Conservation Measure following the Great Purification around 100,000 years ago. Their homeworld, Sanghelios, is the resting place for many Forerunner relics, and because of this the Sangheili civilization grew up worshiping the Forerunners and their creations. When the San’Shyuum arrived in Sangheili-occupied space in 938 BCE, conflict arose quickly between the San’Shyuum who wanted to exploit the Forerunner artifacts for their benefit, and the Sangheili who wanted to leave the artifacts undisturbed. Known as the War of Beginnings, fighting continued between the two species for over eighty years until 852 BCE when a peace treaty known as the Writ of Union was signed. In addition to ending the conflict, the Writ of Union joined the two races in an alliance known as the Covenant, starting a galactic hegemony that would last the next three-thousand years.
As part of the Covenant, the Sangheili acted as the primary fighting force, commanding fleets of warships, leading ground troops into battle, and even serving as the Honor Guard in charge of protecting the San’Shyuum Hierarchs. Though a handful of Sangheili were brave enough to challenge the high prophets’ rule throughout the years, albeit unsuccessfully, most were content to be the military commanders of the Covenant. This arrangement continued for millennia until the end of the Human-Covenant War, when the Prophet of Truth forcibly replaced the Sangheili with the Jiralhanae as the military leaders of the Covenant. This act, known as the Changing of the Guard, was not taken well by the Sangheili, and sparked a massive civil war within the Covenant that directly led to its collapse.
Following the end of the Covenant and war with humanity in 2552, the Sangheili struggled to form a new centralized power structure, starting their own civil war known as the Blooding Years where the most powerful factions vied for power over Sanghelios and their species. Having been a member of the Covenant for so many years, very few Sangheili were skilled at anything other than fighting, leading to a lack of skilled and unskilled labor on the planet and an overabundance of warriors. After years of fighting on and off-world, however, the conflict finally abated with the destruction of Jul ‘Mdama’s Covenant and the cementing of power by Thel ‘Vadam and the Swords of Sanghelios in October 2558.
WorldsThe Sangheili were space-faring and colonizing extrasolar planets even before they came into contact with the San'Shyuum in 938 BCE. Though it isn't known how many Sangheili colonies there are, there are at least over a dozen worlds that are considered uner Sangheili control.
Notable SangheiliAs the heads of the Covenant military, there are many Sangheili who became well-known leaders, both to the Covenant, but also to the UNSC. By far the most famous is the former ArbiterThel 'Vadam, who commanded the Fleet of Particular Justiceinthe later years of the Human-Covenant War, being held responsible for billions of human casualties. He is even more well-known for his defection to the side of the UNSC during the final days of the war, helping the Master Chiefto defeat the Prophet of Truth on the Ark.
Halo: 10 Things You Didn't Know About The Sangheili
Out of all the alien species that make up the Covenant in the Halo series, none are more beloved by fans than the imposing Sangheili, or Elites, as they are referred to by the humans. To the average player, the Sangheili are probably just the bipedal, reptile-like enemy within the ranks of the Covenant who pose the most consistent threat throughout most firefights.
RELATED: Halo: 10 Interesting Things You Never Knew About Sarah Palmer
Then in the third game, they switch sides because they are replaced by the ferocious and war-hungry Brutes, or Jiralhanae. Outside of that though, little else is revealed until Halo 5: Guardians at least, when fans finally get to see their homeworld of Sanghelios. So who are they really, this race of "Elites?" Here are a few things you probably did not know about them.
10 Unusual Allies
The Sangheili are people who have always thought highly of themselves. They respect honor and great prowess in combat, so those who do not show such characteristics are typically looked down upon. With this in mind, it was only inevitable that the Great Schism would occur between the Prophets and the Elites, breaking the Covenant apart. What was not expected was the Elites finding aid in the Grunts (Unggoy) and the Hunters (Mgalekgolo). As it turns out, even though the Grunts and Hunters were ridiculed by the Elites as being of the more "simple" species within the Covenant, the ridicule these two groups faced from the hegemony as a whole was much worse. In the Unggoy and Mgalekgolo's choice to join them, the Sangheili gained a newfound respect for these two species and now profit from mutual alliances.
9 Dishonor To Doctors
Blood has a powerful physical and metaphorical significance to the Sangheili. Blood is the essence of all. It is sacred and revered for being more of who the Sangheili are than their actual bodies. To see another's blood is to see the true self. This is why combat is so revered, to draw blood from another through the thrill of survival, there is respect and honor won in such a thing due to its difficulty. Doctors, however, are another story. Sangheili who study medical arts is pariahs in society, if any do at all.
RELATED: Halo: Everything You Didn't Know About Catherine Halsey
They see just as much blood as a warrior, but to society, the fact that it is drawn far from a battlefield and from an "opponent" in a weakened state, where is the honor in that? So who does give the Elites medical care? If they do accept any, it will rarely be from another Sangheili. They would prefer someone outside of their species to take care of them and that's usually as long as another is not around to see it.
8 Saga Walls
Following the trend of parallels that Sangheili culture has with some Earth cultures, the militaristic and warrior lifestyle usually ties in with a strong family or community unit as well. The Sangheili do share this. One unique feature of their families is that each one possesses something called a Saga Wall or Battle Poem that details said family's history, particularly highlighting great deeds and conflicts. Elites are physiologically excellent for the role of warriors, so it follows that they would laud all of these martial achievements of their ancestors.
7 Lingua Franca
Something else that is not generally discussed is that the Sangheili is one of the two founding species of the Covenant. They and the Prophets (San'Shyuum). The Sangheili acted as the military backbone while the San'Shyuum took more of the religious and scientific roles. With that in mind, it is surprising to learn that the Sangheili language served as the principal language, the lingua franca, of the Covenant. The prevalence of their language was probably due to the fact that they were much more prevalent in society overall in comparison to the Prophets. Much to the chagrin of the Covenant's leadership.
6 Watch Your "P"s And "V"s
Remaining on the topic of language, another interesting fact about the language of the Elites is that they can pronounce any phonetic sound in the English language, except for the fricative "p" and "v." Fans who are used to hearing Sangheili voices from the game most likely have not heard or noticed such a thing. But this information is pulled from some of the Halo novels, as a character known as Dr. Evan Phillips, who specializes in Sangheili culture, is described as having his name pronounced as "Efanphilliss."
5 Family Matters
On the Elite's homeworld of Sanghelios, the typical family unit's overall goal is contributing valued members of society. Children are raised by everyone in the household and no one typically learns who their father is. The bonds of family are so strong within the cultural foundation, that the institution of divorce is completely alien to the Sangheili.
RELATED: Halo: 10 Things You Never Knew About The UNSC
This is so that each child is raised on equal footing and taught that merit is what allows for one's betterment within society. This communal living and sense of family persist into adulthood as well, as warriors generally refer to their comrades in arms as "brothers" or "sisters" respectively.
4 Deadly Politics
The general structure of Sangheili politics is not entirely foreign to a human perspective. Indeed, much of their society is feudalistic, with a family's council of elders typically selecting the "kaidon" or head within a particular household or "keep". However, the main difference that humans might find shocking is that assassination is a tool that is employed and readily accepted by society at large. It is normal for any new leadership to expect at least one assassination attempt from a political rival, as Elites believe that if a leader cannot survive a "test of martial prowess," then the leader was probably not fit to lead anyway.
3 Human "Nishum"
An interesting anecdote exists within Sangheili culture about the origins of one of the words for "human" within their language; "nishum". The word translates to something along the lines of "worm" or "intestinal parasite." The anecdote goes that during the first encounters the Sangheili had with humanity, the Elites believed the creatures they were fighting were the actual sets of armor that humans wore into battle. When Sangheili first inspected the dead and opened the armor to find the humans residing within them, they immediately assumed that homo sapiens were a parasite that was infecting the "beings" of body armor and they were disgusted.
2 No Love For Swordsmen
Energy swords and those with the skill to wield them are highly prized within Sangheili culture. Sword wielders are typically members of the aristocracy, but exceptions do exist, and if society recognizes an individual as such, they are never allowed to marry. The trade-off to that is, they are allowed to mate with any female they see fit, so that for the good of society, the genetics and traits of a mighty sword-bearer will be passed on as the bearer sees fit. Such is the idolization of individuals within a culture that is foundational communal.
1 Wort Wort Wort
The last interesting fact that players may not have known about the Sangheili is the origin of their language and their manner of speaking. It stems from a small feat of technical magic that was performed all the way back during the development of Halo: Combat Evolved. When trying to figure out how the Elites would sound, some of the audio designers decided to experiment with Sgt. Avery Johnson's unique voice. What they ended up doing was cutting apart various parts of his lines, reversing the audio for said snippets, then lowering the pitch. With that, the iconic voices of the Elites were born in the first Halo game.
NEXT: Halo: Every Game In The Master Chief Collection, Ranked Worst To Best
The detail put into Sora's presence in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate continues to impress, as even his Classic Mode route features tons of references.
Read NextAbout The Author
Characters / Halo: Sangheili
WARNING: UNMARKED SPOILERS BELOW. CONTINUE?
ENCRYPTION CODE: [CLASSIFIED]
SUBJECT: COVENANT CORE SPECIES - SANGHEILI
open/close all folders
The Sangheili (Elites) (Macto Cognatusnote "I Glorify My Kin")
The second founding race of the Covenant, the Sangheili are a Proud Warrior Race in charge of everything military within the Covenant, and are the most variable enemy in the games. Tall, bipedal saurians, the Sangheili's lives revolve around honor and combat, and social standing is reliant on one's acquisition and skills in both. Prior to the Human-Covenant War, they were the right-hand of the Prophets, upholding their will and crushing all opposition. The events of Halo 2, however, saw their fall from grace in the eyes of the Covenant due to the machinations of the current High Prophets, leading to an Enemy Mine with humanity in pursuit of vengeance. Following the war, they traveled back to their homeworlds, where they realized that the thousands of years spent as a race of warriors had dulled their skills in every other aspect, particularly with regards to social organization and science. To top it off, their internal ideological and pragmatic differences have lead to civil war even as various factions continue their fight against the Brutes and/or humanity.
- Achilles' Heel: In nearly every game, the Plasma Pistol can help make short work of even the toughest of Elites. The overcharged plasma bolt will instantly sap their shield and leave them vulnerable to die instantly to a headshot, or at least let the player riddle their now exposed body with bullets.
- Arch-Enemy: The humans and the Brutes are their main ones, depending on the faction and/or individual. By the end of the war, there's also understandably not much love for the Prophets or Flood.
- Armored But Frail: In Halo 2, Halo 3, and Halo 4, they're surprisingly squishy once their energy shields are gone, being able to survive no more damage than a Grunt. They are somewhat resistant to plasma weapons, though. They're more durable in Combat Evolved and Reach, even without their shields, though not nearly as tough as a Brute.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: The Elite hierarchy is based on who's a better warrior.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Because you need to be a powerful warrior to advance in the military, you can bet that higher ranking Elites are significantly more dangerous.
- Badass Army: More than any other in the Covenant.
- Best Her to Bed Her: Sangheili history is full of orphaned kaidon daughters who fought back against powerful suitors seeking to gain their inheritances, with some holding out for years or even decades.
- Big Fancy Castle: Elite clans live in keeps, which function as both fortresses and assembly houses for the clans.
- Bizarre Alien Biology: Elites have two distinct traits to their species - their digitigrade knees and their teeth-lined mandibles. The former gives them a heavy walk and actually makes things like ladders incredibly difficult to climb (something that Brute Chieftain Maccabeus deliberately installed on his own ship to screw with any visiting Elites as an ironic revenge for them severely downgrading his ship). Their dangling mandibles also bring to mind how an Elite is supposed to chew and eat food, along with their exposed esophagus making drowning especially easy. According to an audio file you can find in Halo 5, they also have two hearts.
- Blade Below the Shoulder: The Type-1 Energy Weapon/Sword is this, effectively being an over-sized katar. These are normally seen on upper-ranked Elites, like Special Operations, and Zealots.
- The Elites in Halo: Reach are fond of wrist-mounted energy daggers.
- Bling of War: In the later games, Elite armor becomes increasingly elaborate as they advance in rank. Just compare a Minor◊ with a General◊.
- In particular, it's stated in an artbook that field/fleet commanders generally wear gold armor; namely, the Zealots in the first two games and the Generals in Halo: Reach. Additionally, maroon armor seems to be worn by the very highest ranks, if the Zealots of Reach and the 343 games are any indication.
- Brilliant, but Lazy: As noted in Genius Bruiser, they are stronger than humans and arguably smarter, having achieved FTL travel long before humanity did. The problem is that they tend to focus more on their martial culture more than peaceful endeavours.
- Civil War: In the post-war era, Sanghelios in particular has suffered badly from this; its population has dropped from over 8 billion to less than 4 billion, with much of the loss due to mass migration to other worlds (particularly Sanghelios's two moons).
- The Clan: Each Sangheili state is basically a collection of allied clans gathered under the banner of their leading keep.
- Death Equals Redemption: The purpose of the Arbiter at the time of the game: die as the will of the Prophets and you will reclaim your honor in death. The Irony of the last Arbiter the Hierarchs chose leading the rebellion against the San'Shyuum is lost on no one.
- Defector from Decadence: Being lied to repeatedly by the Prophets eventually drives them away from the Covenant. With the Covenant having fed their Proud Warrior Race tendencies to the point of atrophying all their other skills, rebelling against the Prophets turns out to be the best thing for the Sangheili's long-term interests.
- Easy Evangelism: The majority of them never believed in the Covenant religion, and upon learning the truth about the Halo array, they simply shifted back to worshipping their original gods.
- Elective Monarchy: A Sangheili state's leader, known as the kaidon, is selected by a council of elders representing all of the state's clans.
- Elite Mooks: The species as a whole have this role in the Covenant and many of its successors (hence the Reporting Name of "Elites"), but the higher ranking Elites are this compared to the rest of their brethren, most noticeably Ultras, Generals, Warriors, and Zealots.
- Enemy Mine: The vast majority with the humans during the last year of the war, though pro-Covenant splinter factions grew prominent afterwards.
- Family Honor: Upholding clan honor is a top priority for most Sangheili, since their actions and deeds affect not only their own individual prestige, but that of their entire clan. Particularly shameful behavior might even result in one's entire family being executed.
- Fantastic Caste System: Notably, there are many Sangheili who are not warriors, but they generally do not leave their homeworlds. Their warrior families form the ruling caste, and all non-warrior Sangheili are beneath them both in esteem and in authority (with the possible exception of Oracle Masters). Social mobility is valued, however, and even Sangheili serfs can ascend to a position of authority within their keeps, particularly if they undergo military service. Additionally, the post-war Sangheili have grown to better appreciate the value of their civilian kin.
- Fantastic Naming Convention: Sangheili are born with both a given name and a surname indicating their clan, with the latter prefixed by an apostrophe. As they accrue honors, they'll usually append a suffix to their surname denoting status, with some also gaining status-based middle names, so an Avu 'Telcam may eventually become an Avu Med 'Telcamee. In general, Sangheili consider all names meaningful, with the more names you have meaning the more important you are; they actually forbid the Grunts and Jackals from having surnames, and are disgusted by humanity's cavalier approach to naming things. A few more details on Sangheili naming conventions:
- During the Covenant's heyday, Sangheili who served in the Covenant military would usually add an "ee" to their surname.
- Those who are Master Swordsmen are allowed to add "ai" to the end of their surname instead.
- Additionally, an Elite who becomes the elder of a client keep will replace their original surname with the name of their state.
- Fantastic Racism: Traditionally, the Sangheili have tended at best to look down upon any Covenant species that isn't themselves, the Lekgolo, or the San'Shyuum; in fact, this was a major contributor to the enmity between them and the Jiralhanae. Post-war, a growing number of Elites are starting to move away from this tendency towards speciesism.
- Feudal Future: How their society is organized; each of their worlds is divided into a number of independent states, each ruled by (and named after) its most prominent keep (itself ruled by the kaidon), which in turn controls any number of client keeps (themselves ruled by clan elders).
- To the Prophets, the other founding race of the Covenant. While Elites are huge, stand tall and proud, value honor and combat prowess, were initially fought by the Prophets while they had inferior technology and favor leading the Covenant military, the Prophets are rather hunchbacked, aren't above betrayl along with being very poorly suited for combat, had the technological upperhand during the Elite/Prophet war, and they favor handling Covenant politics.
- They also serve as one for the Brutes, with the two races sharing a lot of traits (see Interservice Rivalry) in their roles in the Covenant, but Brutes are far detached from honor in their love of warfare, while Elites are honorable to the point of fault in battle.
- Forgiven, but Not Forgotten: Averted utterly; it's made crystal clear at several points that even though (mostly) everyone is willing to move past the war forward to the future, humanity at large has not forgiven nor forgotten what the Sangheili did to them, and that the relationship between the two species will be rocky for some time into the future. Forgiveness aside, both species just decide to kind of move on for the time being since there are way more pressing concerns to deal with in the post-war galaxy.
- Genius Bruiser: Significantly stronger than an average human and arguably smarter, given that they managed to achieve FTL space travel at least 3,000 years before humanity did.
- Goomba Stomp: One can be performed on them as an Assassination in Reach as a spartan. When falling from a large height and landing an Assassination, the spartan will break their fall by landing on the Elite's back and knocking them face-first to the ground, before jumping directly on their their head with all the weight of a several ton spartan to crush them.
- Hated by All: During their Covenant days. Due to many of their arrogance, blunt belief in their superiority and their tendency to take Kick the Dog at every opportunity the Elites were by and large despised by other races in the Covenant. There are countless tales of Elites abusing or even killing subordinates for pointless reasons. Notable examples include The Executioner who sent waves of Brutes to their death out of sheer racist hatred for them, and Ripa 'Moramee who commissioned and sent legions of grunts to their death as suicide bombers... just because. This attitude came back and bit them hard when the Brutes began their uprising, and many of the Covenant turned against them and almost every Elite on High Charity Earth and several other locations was slaughtered wholesale. Unsurprisingly, their only allies during the time were any Hunters sympathetic towards them, any Grunts under their immediate command, and humans (albeit, out of sheer necessity and not out of respect).
- Heavyworlder: Sanghelios has a gravity of 1.375 times Earth's.
- HeelRace Turn: The Brutes attempting to genocide the Elites on Truth's orders with very few of their fellow Covenant attempting to stop them because of how racist and abusive the Elites have been in the past, alongside Thel 'Vadam telling them the truth about the Halo Rings, caused many of the Elites to seriously reconsider many aspects of their culture that led them down this path of violence and hatred. They become more willing to use human weapons, ditch their hatred of doctors, and at large become a vastly more peaceful race than they were in the first game, with the Arbiter even being willing to negotiate peace with the Brutes.
- Heel Realization: For many, the truth that they had been genociding humanity, their gods' chosen successors, under the orders of Prophets desperate to maintain their social and political power under the guise of a holy war really hit them hard. Some, however, continue to hate humanity for more personal reasons.
- Heir Club for Men: Only the male children can inherit the title of kaidon (feudal lord) of their clan. Females technically serve as advisors or rule the keep as scions, not the clan, and on the occasions where all her brothers are dead she is expected to marry another male, be they a lesser kaidon or one of their sons. That said, being a Sangheili, it isn't uncommon for scions to refuse and fight for the right to rule alongside loyal vassals, and some have even managed to rule this way for their entire lives.
- Honor Before Reason:
- Traditionally, they would rather die than use a human weapon because it would be "heresy". They dump this rule once they start to fight against the Covenant.
- In fact, they value honor over reason for just about everything, something which the UNSC and Brutes fully exploit. More and more Elites themselves are recognizing the limitations of their honor system, and seek to educate their kin on the value of pragmatism.
- This is partially why the Brutes uprising against them was so successful. Sans-shield Elites aren't actually very tough and can fall quickly to plasma fire. Furthermore, Elites refused to use human weapons despite being vastly more effective against Brutes. Brutes, in Halo 2, require almost a quarter charge of a Plamsa Rifle to drop ONE and would use whatever weapon worked best, particularly human shotguns known for dropping fully shielded targets in a single blast. And that isnt even going into how ridiculously strong an enraged Brute is compared to an Elite. As a result, in close quarter combat Elites rarely survived, unless they had a sword or numbers on their side.
- Honorary Uncle: To ensure that they rise on their own merits, Elites do not know the identity of their biological father, and are instead raised by their mothers and maternal uncles. However, the previous generations often lie to the younger ones as to who their uncles are, to the point that every male Elite at a keep is regarded as an uncle. Jul 'Mdama's own sons Dural and Asum believe that he is their uncle, and Usze 'Taham was also told that his biological father, Toha 'Sumai, was his uncle. However, Sangheili from smaller colony worlds often directly raise their offspring.
- Interservice Rivalry: With the Brutes, being two highly developed warrior races with a passion for combat and the desire to have their kind run the Covenant military; as such, the two species constantly clash with each other for power and prestige. It reaches a boiling point and spills over completely when the Great Schism begins, with the two races gladly jumping on the excuse to exterminate each other.
- Interspecies Romance: An audio log in 5 has a lovestruck Elite reciting a sappy love poem he's writing to a wonderful female warrior he witnessed... AKA the Spartan Sarah Palmer. Hes interrupted halfway through by an Unggoy spying on him who promptly starts laughing his little ass off over the scene.
- Invisible Monsters: Some Elites come with Active Camouflage, which turns them fully invisible. (But only lore-wise; gameplay-wise, the player can still see a vague Elite-shaped distortion.)
- Klingon Promotion: Assassination is considered a perfectly acceptable way of getting rid of a kaidon, the reasoning being that if he let himself be killed, then he wasn't strong enough to rule anyways. Of course, if the kaidon survives the attempt, the life of the assassin(s) (and whomever may have sent them) becomes completely forfeit.
- Klingon Scientists Get No Respect: Elites despise doctors, because they cause their patients to bleed and the species views blood as sacred, demanding it should only be shed in battle. Halo 5: Guardians indicates that a small but growing number of Elites, including the Arbiter, are starting to rebel against this rather unreasonable worldview.
- Large Ham: Just about every single one of them.
- Laser Blade: Energy swords, which are just as much symbols of rank as they are weapons.
- Laser-Guided Karma: The Sangheili were for the most part more than happy to prosecute the war which would lead to the near-annihilation of the human species. Then their beloved prophets turn on them and try to have the Brutes and the rest of the Covenant do more or less the exact same thing to them. Even worse when they realize Truth is in fact an Omnicidal Maniac psychopath with a god-complex and are forced to team up with humanity, the very race they've spent decades trying to wipe out, to stop him from firing off the halo array and killing off everyone.
- Legacy Character: The title of Arbiter, which dates all the way back to the Sangheili's pre-industrial days.
- Lightning Bruiser: They're just as agile and fast as they are strong and smart. For comparison, the standard Elite is the physical equal of a Spartan-II.
- Lonely at the Top: A side effect of the No Blood Ties below. In Halo: Glasslands Jul 'Mdama notes that it can be rather lonely being a Sangheili male, as he has been able to rise to the post of Elder of Bekan keep and the rank of Shipmaster, but his life with his wife is in private, and he must never show his biological sons favor over the other children at the keep.
- Long-Lived: Implied, given that 80 year old Elites are still fully capable of frontline combat, with 64 considered young for a clan elder.
- Meaningful Rename: All Sangheili who served in the Covenant military were allowed to add "ee" to the end of their surname as a sign of their service. When the Great Schism occurs, almost all of them drop the "ee" from their surnames to signify that they no longer serve the Prophets.
- Mirroring Factions: With the humans, which many on both sides notice. This is probably why the alliance between the Swords of Sanghelios and the UNSC has mostly been working better than the Elites' previous 3,400 years of alliance with the Prophets as the Covenant.
- Monstrous Mandibles: They have four teeth-filled mandibles in place of a lower jaw.
- Named After Their Planet: "Sangheili" from the planet "Sanghelios". They're the only core Covenant race to play this trope straight.
- No Fathers Allowed: Elite males are not allowed to know the identity of their father, so that they can be judged on their own merits rather than the merits of their father. Sangheili on more developed worlds are raised by maternal uncles instead of their actual fathers. However, smaller colony worlds often ignore this custom.
- Planet of Hats: They all love combat, discipline, and honor. And they are all Large Hams.
- Gets deconstructed after the Human/Covenant war is over. They return to their homeworld and realize that three and a half millenia of service in the militaristic, caste-based, and innovation-averse Covenant has left them with a LOT of catching up to do in the areas of medicine, science, and basically everything that doesn't revolve around shooting/stabbing your enemies for glory. Supplementary information has indicated that in the rough half-decade since then, the Elites have managed to successfully recover a lot of their lost non-combat skills; the Sangheili-manufactured vehicles in Halo 5: Guardians are even stated to be superior to their Covenant-era counterparts.
- Halo: Broken Circle subverts this by giving us both cowardly Sangheili, and scientifically-inclined ones.
- Power Armor: Standard issue; it comes with energy shielding and, like MJOLNIR, boosts the wearer's strength and speed. The higher the rank, the stronger and more ornate the power armor becomes.
- Predator Pastiche: Their segmented mandibles, honor-based culture, blades, and cloaking devices give them this vibe.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: Taken to wall-banger levels, to the point of fault and sometimes stupidity. Though, later works have shown them becoming far more sensible about this after recognizing how inconvenient parts of their warrior culture are.
- Religious Bruiser: Even before the formation of the Covenant, they were already worshiping the Forerunners.
- Roundhouse Kick: In Reach, they can perform one as an Assassination. When landing an Assassination from the side, the Elite will gut the spartan with a slash of their their wristblade and then deliver a spinning kick while they're still dazed to kill them, launching them a couple feet.
- Roar Before Beating:
- In most games, Elites who are especially pissed off or have their shields drained will roar into the air and start rushing the player with little sense of self-preservation, pumping them full of plasma or getting close enough to beat them to death in a fit of rage. It makes them pretty easy to headshot since they lose all sense of tactical nuance, provided you see them coming first. Otherwise, your skull may as well already be shattered in a single punch.
- Also poked fun at in Halo 5 with rare Elite dialogue when they berserk.
- Space Romans: Think Imperial JapanIN SPACE! This is especially apparent in The Duel, where their outfits and buildings give a strong Jidaigeki vibe. Additionally, Tobias Bucknell (who has written several novels and stories for the franchise) has stated that substantial parts of their culture were based on Norse society.
- Super Strength: Enough to match Spartans.
- Undying Loyalty: Most of them were fiercely loyal to the Covenant...until they found out about the Awful Truth behind the Halos.
- Warrior Monk: As the name indicates, Elite Zealots are among the most faithful followers of the Covenant religion. This particularly applies to those serving under the Ministry of Fervent Intercession, which is even described as being "semi-monastic".
- World of Ham: Sanghelios, their homeworld.
- Worthy Opponent: Some of them, particularly among the youth, came to consider humanity as this towards the end of the war. One even vocally wonders why the Prophets are bent on wiping them out, when they could be very useful additions to the Covenant. The Elites seem to be particularly impressed with how willing the outnumbered and technologically inferior humans are to give up their own lives in order to delay the Covenant onslaughtor simply deny them easy victory.
- Yank the Dog's Chain: Yay! The Swords of Sanghelios faction led by The Arbiter kicked the Covenant faction off Sanghelios! And here comes one of the Guardians to shut down the planet as part of Cortana's Zeroth Law Rebellion.
Swords of Sanghelios Elites
Arbiter Thel 'Vadam
Arbiter Thel 'Vadam
Homeworld: Sanghelios (Vadam keep, Vadam)
Birthdate: December 10, 2485
Debuted in: Halo 2
One of the Covenant's most renowned military leaders, Thel 'Vadam (known as Thel 'Vadamee while serving the Covenant military directly) was the former Supreme Commander of the Fleet of Particular Justice and kaidon of the State of Vadam on Sanghelios, but fell into disgrace after a serious failure. Given one last chance to redeem himself (or die trying) by stepping into the armor of the Arbiter, he becomes the second main Player Character in Halo 2 and Halo 3, eventually spearheading a diplomatic and military effort to rebel against the Covenant and seek alliance with humanity. After the end of the Human-Covenant War, he is regarded by most as the formal, interim leader of the Sangheili, and is seeking to end his people's civil conflicts, with those following his banner known as the Swords of Sanghelios.
During the events of Halo 5: Guardians, he is contacted by SPARTAN-IV Jameson Locke to help him track down the AWOL Master Chief.
- Adaptational Angst Upgrade: His agreement with Rtas that his life doesn't matter. In the original Halo 2, he glares, making him seem confident and defiant. In the remastered edition, his eyes shift downwards, emphasizing his guilt and the resulting Death Seeker tendancies.
- Adaptational Wimp: A minor example. In the original ending of Quarantine Zone, the Arbiter has full control over his battle with Johnson and Miranda, easily dispatching the former with a headbutt and remaining calm even when Miranda depletes his shields. In the remastered cutscenes of Halo 2, the Arbiter has a tougher time against Johnson and Miranda, with the former blocking and landing several blows on the Elite and Thel audibly panicking under the latter's fire, and fighting with less overall finesse. That said, he did seem to be clearly wounded after both versions of the fight.
- Ambadassador: Becomes an advocate for peace after the war, but is still a born combatant; in Halo: Escalation, when his peace conference with Lydus's Brutes comes under attack from a Covenant remnant group, both he and Lydus are more than ready to jump into the fight themselves.
- Assassin Outclassin': In Halo: The Cole Protocol, Thel spends the night of the day he is elected to position of kaidon of his keep waiting in his room for any assassins sent by the elders to test him. Sure enough, they show up and he kills them easily before his guards can break down his locked door, showing off to them and to the elders he didn't even get marked.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: Bungie noted before Halo 2 that an Elite who had a rank equivalent to an admiral would have killed over a thousand individuals in personal combat to earn that kind of merit. Given that Thel was the Supreme Commander of an enormous Covenant armada, well... (what makes it even more exceptional is that Thel is one of the youngest to ever achieve his rank).
- The Atoner: Until he is betrayed and promptly learns that he really didn't have much to atone for in the first place. Plays this straight in that he seems to feel some remorse for formerly aiding the war against humanity.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Was a Supreme Commander and kaidon of his own state on Sanghelios before being "Shamed", and is probably the best soldier in the original trilogy next to the Chief, with The Cole Protocol showing him capable of fighting a Spartan-II to a stalemate in a one-on-one encounter. And considering how the Sangheili promotion system works...
- Back-to-Back Badasses: With the Master Chief in Halo 3, when the Gravemind betrays them and sics his Flood on them.
- Badass Baritone: Given who voices him, this should be obvious.
- Badass Boast:
- After Tartarus mocks him by pointing out how many people have come to seen his public torture session:
Thel: If they came to hear me beg, they will be disappointed.
- Most people would panic upon the Flood getting back up after killing them. The Arbiter's response?
Thel: Rise up and I will kill you! Again and again!
- After Tartarus mocks him by pointing out how many people have come to seen his public torture session:
- Badass Cape:
- While a Supreme Commander in the Halo Graphic Novel and the Halo 2: Anniversary terminals.
- He dons one again after retaking his mantle as kaidon, as shown in Halo: Escalation.
- Badass Normal: While he is a member of a species with particularly powerful physical capabilities, he's otherwise physically a completely normal member of said species, unlike the Master Chief, who's a heavily augmented cyborg in Powered Armor. The Gravemind even notes that the Arbiter is merely "flesh and faith". And yet, through skill and determination alone he's proven himself to be one of the galaxy's greatest warriors.
- Benevolent Boss: Becomes something this after the war, to the point where he actually shows mercy even to those who oppose him, to the chagrin of some of his subordinates. He doesn't have much mercy for traitors, though, as his cousin finds out the hard way.
- Before the war not so much...Although, He does take full responsibility to the destruction of Halo, even though it wasn't his fault. He refuses to pass the buck, which spared all of his subordinates any reprocussions.
- Big Good: Becomes this for the Sangheili, particularly the Swords of Sanghelios, after the war.
- Blue Blood: Born to Vadam's most prominent family.
- Body Paint: Has two white Vs and splotches of red painted on his uncovered arm in Halo 5.
- Character Development: Goes from being a brash and racist Jerkass in The Cole Protocol to a thoughtful and merciful progressive by the end of the original game trilogy. He also becomes increasingly willing to shed the ridiculous parts of the Sangheili honor code, like their taboo against medical treatment.
- Combat Pragmatist: Notably, considering how honor-bound the Sangheili usually are, Thel is not above flouting convention to complete a mission. He is willing to use human weapons to combat the Flood, and though one Halo 2 Anniversary terminal shows him allowing a barracks of unarmed UNSC Marines to arm themselves first, Thel and his Elites then proceed to activate their active camouflage, making it nearly impossible for the humans to put up a decent fight.
- Cool Sword: His personal energy sword, "Prophets' Bane", which is usable in Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer, giving the wielder increased running speed and lunge range. It also generates active camouflage that doesn't wear off until the sword runs out of power.
- Crisis of Faith: Goes through this in The Cole Protocol when he all but realizes that the High Prophets are merely fallible politicians, despite killing his best friend Zhar when the latter tries to murder them. He continues to serve them loyally, but no longer fully trusts them, which explains his relatively quick HeelFace Turn when he finds out the truth about the Covenant religion.
- Death Seeker: At the beginning of Halo 2, since an Arbiter is supposed to take on dangerous assignments until they die. Once he realizes that the "Great Journey" is a sham, he snaps out of it to lead the Elites in rebellion.
- Demoted to Extra: 'Extra' would be too harsh of a word to describe it, but his role in the storyline is diminished in his appearance in Halo 3 compared to Halo 2. In Halo 2, he's the second Player Character with his own sub-plot, cast of characters who he interacts with and huge role in the main story alongside Master Chief, up to being the one who saves the galaxy from extinction in the final moments of the game. In Halo 3, he's been pushed back a bit as the games co-op partner with Chief taking the starring role across most of the game. If you don't have a co-op player, then Thel will usually be off-screen fighting his own battles until he sparingly arrives to provide support as an immortal NPC in some fights, sometimes not even appearing in a level at all. With all that said, he's put front and center in Truth's death and the closing Warthog Run, both being what fans consider to be some of the greatest moments of Halo 3
- Determinator: Nothing can deter him from pursuing his goals. Imprisoned by Jackals? Escape and capture their leader. Prophet misappropriating military forces? Relieve him of command by taking over his ship. Heretic locking himself in tight? Cut the cable keeping his facility in the air, then chase him down through a Flood infestation.
- Deuteragonist: In Halo 2 and (arguably) Halo 3. In fact, he's the one who saves the galaxy in the former, not Chief.
- The Dreaded: Responsible for over one billion human casualties, he was so feared by the UNSC for his ability to curbstomp UNSC forces, due to his sheer flexibility and unpredictability in battle, that prior to his HeelFace Turn, Jameson Locke considered him the Covenant's most dangerous commander, and top priority for assassination, reasoning that as long as 'Vadam was serving the Covenant, humanity's chances of surviving the war were nonexistent.
- By Halo 3, if playing as the Arbiter in co-op, the Jiralhanae and the Unggoy will regard Thel as such, with the former addressing him as Tartarus' murderer.
- Dub Name Change: 'Inquisidor' in Spanish, as the more literal translation of 'Árbitro' is usually used in-reference to sporting referees rather than legal and civil dispute mediators.
- Enemy Mine: Technically, he is the first Sangheili to side with Humans, specifically Sgt. Johnson, in stopping the Covenant from firing Halo. After the truth of Halo was revealed by Guilty Spark, other Sangheili would follow suit.
- Fatal Flaw: In his Pre-Arbiter days was Pride. The Fleet of Particular Justice was HIS fleet and he was deeply hostile to any challenges to his authority. This was shown when the Prophet of Stewardship claimed authority over the assault of Installation 04, on the grounds that as Halo was a Religious Icon. Even though the Prophet was correct, Thel refused to relinquish command. As a result, quarreling and even open fighting between the groups loyal to him and those loyal to the Prophet. This badly hamstrung the Covenant Leadership right when the Flood was released resulting in the fleet being thrown into chaos. Thankfully, being stripped of his command and branded the Arbiter broke him of this.
- Fashionable Asymmetry: His new armor◊ in the post-war era leaves his left arm bare.
- Fantastic Racism: The Cole Protocol shows that he was utterly dismissive of other species in his pre-Supreme Commander years; however, he outgrows this by the time we see him in the games.
- However, in his post-war days, it is clear he holds disdain and anger towards the San'Shyuum, which is understandable given their lies about Halo and the Great Journey. His personal energy sword is called "Prophets Bane" for very good reason.
- Fire-Forged Friends: With the Chief during Halo 3.
Locke: May I ask you something? Your people used to call him demon. Was that an insult or a compliment?
Thel 'Vadam: An insult to be sure, but one with a modicum of respect. He was indeed my enemy, but in time I named him ally, even friend. The events that forged this bond were... complicated.
- He was this to Johnson between the final mission of 2 and the final mission of 3, and it went to the point he shared his condolences for the sergeant's death.
- Four-Star Badass: First as a Supreme Commander, then as the Arbiter.
- Frontline General: Locke notes in the H2A terminals that during his time as Supreme Commander, the frequency of his personal participation in ground assaults was exceptional even for a high-ranking Elite.
- Good Is Not Soft: Just because he's a Benevolent Boss willing to make positive changes in Sangheili society, it doesn't mean he won't kick your ass if needed. He's even willing to go as far as to execute his own cousin for betraying the Swords of Sangheilios.
- Greater-Scope Villain: Of Halo: Combat Evolved and the second half of Halo: Reach, as the leader of the Covenant fleet in both games. It's more of a background detail, though, and Halo 2 remains his first direct appearance.
- Guest Fighter: Sort of. An Arbiter appears as a playable character in Killer Instinct: Season 3. While this is not the first time the Halo series has been involved a fighting game crossover (that would be Dead or Alive 4), this is the first time a Halo character has been in a 2D fighting game. However, while the KI Arbiter is heavily based on Thel 'Vadam, Word of God says the character is meant to be an amalgam of multiple Arbiters, leaving his place in the canon uncertain (much like his predecessor Spartan Nicole-458 from DOA4).
- Headbutting Heroes: The Halo 5 audio logs indicate that he and Dr. Halsey do not get along at all.
- HeelFace Turn: His arc in Halo 2 is about his.
- Heroes Prefer Swords: His trademark Weapon of Choice is the plasma sword. In Halo 5, he has an Ace Custom sword called the Prophet's Bane.
- Hero of Another Story: Even after the Chief retook the spotlight after Halo 2, the Arbiter has continued to play a key role in the events of the series, as the leader of the Swords of Sangheilios. Lasky even credits him in Escalation to be the main reason why humanity has been able to survive in the post-war era.
- Hidden Depths: His portrayal in The Cole Protocol, which takes place before he becomes Supreme Commander, is mostly that of a typical arrogant honor-obsessed Elite (to the point where one non-Sangheili character sees him as insane), but there are several glimpses of the cunning and flexible leader he'd become later in life; he shows a surprising capacity for manipulating others despite his disdain towards politics and intrigue, and in the final battle, he even swallows his pride to work with the Jackal leader Reth despite their previous violent disagreements.
- Honor Before Reason: Was a firm adherent of the Sangheili honor code in his pre-Supreme Commander days, but starts outgrowing this after becoming Supreme Commander. Nonetheless, he still has his moments; during his assault on Camber, UNSC forces were caught so off-guard by his fleet's arrival that he deliberately halted his forces and allowed the 3rd Battalion Reserves' Marines to gear up before attacking them. He's noted to be the first recorded Elite to show honor to human opponents.
- Iconic Sequel Character: He doesn't appear in the franchise until Halo 2, and Thel has been a major figure in the series ever since.
- Ignored Epiphany: He has a noticeable crisis of faith after The Cole Protocol which shakes his belief in the Prophets and Covenant Society. It ends with him becomming more wary and less loyal to the Prophets. However, by Halo 2 he's gotten over this and returned to being a fanatic believer, accepting the Prophet's word wholesale. It isn't until his betrayal at their hands that he abandons the Prophets altogether. This second epiphany is not forgotten.
- Invisibility Cloak: In Halo 2 it only lasts for 5 seconds. Come Halo 3 and it lasts as long as he wants... as an NPC.
- Irony: The Elite who would grow disillusioned with the Prophet's lies and eventually kill the Prophet of Truth with a Laser Bladeactually saved his life from being slain by an energy-blade wielding Elite (who was his friend to boot) who grew disillusioned with the Prophet's lies as revealed in The Cole Protocol. Thel even tells himself in an inner monologue that to strike the Prophets was beyond madness. One wonders if he flashbacked to that day when he prepared the killing blow.
- The Juggernaut: In his pre-Arbiter days; according to the first three Halo 2: Anniversary terminals, he was the single most dangerous Covenant commander out there, managing to destroy at least seven planets and inflicting over one billion human casualties. Locke makes it clear that Thel would have played a key role in the complete annihilation of the human race if the Prophets didn't force him to pull a HeelFace Turn.
- Large Ham: Becomes a bit of one in Halo 3. Not as over the top as the rest of his people, though.
- The Lancer: During Halo 3.
- Laser Blade: Scarcely seen without his energy sword.
- Legacy Character: The rank of Arbiter dates to long before the formation of the Covenant, with him being the current one.
- Magnetic Hero: Whether it was as Fleetmaster, as Kaidon, or as Arbiter, Thel 'Vadam was magnetic force of loyalty and alliance within the Sangheili, even if not all of his people agreed with him.
- Several Sangheili, such as Sesa 'Refumee, spoke very highly of him and regarded him as trustworthy. Others, like Rtas 'Vadum (before and during Halo 2), pledged allegiance to him, even if it meant siding with the Humans.
- By Halo 5, several Sangheili chose to defect from the frailing Covenant remnant and join his Swords, as they felt dishonor in killing their own kind.
- One particular Sangheili, Rhu 'Vrath, was a Covenant assassin sent to kill the Arbiter while he was readying his armor. But it wasn't until seeing the Mark of Shame (as described below) when he slowly switched sides and joined the Swords of Sanghelios.
Rhu 'Vrath: Perhaps there is more to [the Arbiter] than I thought.
- Mark of Shame: In the opening of Halo 2, he is branded with this for failing to stop the destruction of Installation 04. When the Covenant try to exterminate the Elites, it becomes a mark of pride among them. Go figure.
- Master Swordsman: To the point where he can single-handedly defeat multiple skilled assassins at once.
- Meaningful Rename: Twice. Sangheili add the "-ee" suffix to their name when joining the Covenant military in a direct capacity, and so on joining up, he became Thel 'Vadamee. When shamed for his heresy after the destruction of Installation 04, the "-ee" suffix was dropped and he became Thel 'Vadam once again as he took up the mantle of Arbiter. Once the Great Schism occurs, other Sangheili follow his example.
- Mirror Character: To John-117 / The Master Chief. In both of their respective armies, they're famed as highly dangerous and practically unstoppable One Man Armies. The Covenant feared Chief AKA The Demon for single handily wiping out scores their forces and holy relics, while the UNSC feared Thel for his unstoppable, planet destroying crusade and unpredictable Navy.
- Nice Guy: By Halo 3, he's one of the friendliest and most morally healthy Sangheili of his race so far, comforting John 117 during Johnson's death, and not losing his cool with Lord Hood unlike the more Hot-Blooded Rtas Vadum.
- Nice to the Waiter: When they're on his side, Arbiter will often rescue units that are in trouble (though the player can ignore them if they want). Notably, several Grunts outright praise, compliment, and thank Arbiter for his deeds when they're around. Some of them even joined on the Elites' side of the Great Schism purely because they would rather follow Thel than the Prophets and Tartarus.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Thel and his followers play a key role in preventing humanity from going extinct, and ONI repays them by trying to cause division among their people so that "they'll never pose a threat to humanity ever again".
- Older Is Better: Averted. His armour in Halo 2 and Halo 3 is the traditional armour worn by the "Arbiters" who came before him, making it ancient....and extremely outdated. Unlike his comrads whose armour can cloak pretty much indefinitely, his armour can only cloak for a few seconds and takes a long time to recharge. This is purposeful on the part of the Prophets, since the purpose of the Arbiter is to get killed in battle.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: He feels this way about Truth, insisting that he, not the Flood, be the one to kill him. When he finally gets to Truth and sees that he has already been infected, he even tells the Gravemind to back off: "I will have my revenge, on a Prophet not a plague".
- One-Man Army: When Fireteam Osiris are sent to rescue him from the Covenant remnant on Sanghelios, it turns out the rescue part of the mission wasn't entirely necessary: Thel was easily holding off his attackers alone.
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "And so... you must be silenced." (Right before stabbing Truth and killing him for good)
- Reasonable Authority Figure: He is among the most significant of the Sangheili.
- After he becomes the formal leader of the Elites, he tries to establish peace with the humans, despite the protests of many of his own people.
- Escalation shows that he's even willing to try for peace with the Brutes. Heck, in Halo 2, he even tried to politely reason with Tartarus and show him the truth of Halo, despite the Brute Chieftain's earlier betrayal in Halo's Library. It was only with lack of reasoning did the two fight to the death with the Arbiter as the victor.
- The Rival: To Tartarus. They were both highly powerful and influential leaders of their respective species while under the Covenant, and Tartarus plainly enjoys seeing Thel brought low.
- Shameful Strip: Has his armor torn off before a large audience and is branded with the Mark of Shame, as part of his punishment for losing Alpha Halo.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: Delivers an epic one to Truth before finally killing him.
- The Strategist: One of the few advantages that Humanity had over the Covenant was how the latter stubbornly refused to use innovative tactics against the former. Thel 'Vadam completely subverted this handicap by being so unpredictable that the even the most experienced and educated strategists of the UNSC couldn't counter his strategies. What makes this all the more remarkable is that Thel 'Vadam came from a culture that ostracized traits such as innovation and creativity, yet he somehow managed to develop these qualities independently.
- Supporting Leader: To Fireteam Osiris during the Sanghelios levels in Halo 5: Guardians.
- Villain Protagonist: Until his HeelFace Turn.
- Warrior Monk: A former Zealot.
- Weapon of Choice: If the Assault Rifle is the Master Chief's, the Energy Sword is his. By Halo 5 he's upgraded to a personal custom sword, the "Prophets' Bane".
- If he's using ranged weapons, it'll either be the Plasma Rifle (frequently two) or Carbine.
- Worthy Opponent: Viewed Master Chief as this before they became Fire-Forged Friends.
Shipmaster Rtas 'Vadum
Shipmaster Rtas "Half-Jaw" 'Vadum
Birthdate: September 21, 2487
Debuted in: Halo 2
"You are the Arbiter, the will of the Prophets, but these are my Elites. Their lives matter to me, yours does not."
Originally Spec-Ops Commander of the Fleet of Particular Justice, Rtas accompanied the Arbiter on several missions in Halo 2, then left to reclaim a Covenant vessel from Brutes after the Great Schism. He returns in Halo 3 as Shipmaster of the Shadow of Intent (and Fleetmaster of the Fleet of Retribution), and allies with humanity to combat the Flood and the Prophet of Truth. After the events of Halo 3, he continues to serve as one of the Arbiter's most trusted commanders.
- A Father to His Men: He even treats the Grunts with respect.
- Badass Boast: He gets a big one just before fighting Truth's fleet above the Ark.
Elite Major: Ship-Master, they outnumber us, three to one!
Rtas: Then it is an even fight. All cruisers fire at will! Burn their mongrel hides!
- Combat Pragmatist: How he beats his sub-commander Bero 'Kusovai in both of their duels during the events of The Last Voyage of the Infinite Succor, despite 'Kusovai being superior in swordsmanship to him.
- Cool Starship: His assault carrier flagship, the Shadow of Intent.
- Deus Exit Machina: Because as an NPC he's invincible, he has a tendency to just randomly leave you to take care of some offscreen task just before the hardest portions of Halo 2. A Diabolus ex Machina also disables his ship before a critical moment in Halo 3.
- The Dreaded: From audio found from a crashed Phantom in Halo 3, the Jiralhanae fighting his Sangheili forces above the Ark were more focused on "killing the Half-Jaw". With his tactical expertise as Shipmaster, he must have left quite an impression during the closing hours of the battles of Delta Halo and High Charity.
- Enemy Mine: His feelings towards the humans are far less amicable than the Arbiter's come Halo 3, but he still teams up with them. He softens by the end, too.
- Fire-Forged Friends: With Thel 'Vadam, to whom he regains his respect for through the course of Halo 2 and 3.
- Four-Star Badass: Of a sort. In the end, Rtas wasn't a Special Operations Commander for nothing.
- I Did What I Had to Do: Will not hesitate to take extreme measures to stop the Flood, as evidenced on multiple occasions:
- In Halo 3 after Hood reprimands him for glassing a good chunk of Africa, Rtas retorts that one spore left could doom an entire species and that the Arbiter actually talked him down from glassing the whole planet. It's implied though that Rtas is gloating a bit.
- He was also the one who gave the order to quarantine and sterilize High Charity after it had fallen to the Flood, despite all the people still trapped there. He clearly wishes he didn't have to, but still feels it was necessary.
- In-Series Nickname: Half-Jaw, due to the fact that he lost his two left mandibles in a fight against his Flood-infected sub-commander during the events of Halo 1.
- Large Ham: In Halo 2 Rtas Vadum is full of charismatic energy, especially when motivating his Sangheili to take the sacred icon, "AND BURN EVERY FLOOD THAT STANDS IN OUR WAY!". He's more subdued in Halo 3, but still has his moments when he angrily says to Lord Hood that were it not for Thel Vadam's council, he would have "glassed your entire planet!".
- Master Swordsman: Capable of holding his own in a duel against Bero 'Kusovai; as the suffix indicates, 'Kusovai is a master sword fighter himself.
- The Men First: As shown in the profile quote.
- My Greatest Failure: Despite knowing it was necessary, he clearly regrets having given the order for his ships to fire on High Charity to sterilize the Flood before being able to rescue more of the inhabitants.
- No Name Given: He's only ever referred to by name in the expanded universe.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Halo: Shadow of Intent reveals him to be fairly progressive for an Elite, having approved of both Stolt's initial transfer to an all-Elite Ranger unit despite him being a Grunt, and Tul 'Juran joining his crew despite her being female.
- He even showed signs of this progressivism during the first battle of the Ark. When conversing with Miranda Keyes, he made no discontented remark toward her. And openly abided by a couple of her commands.
- Rebuilt Pedestal: Prior to Halo 2, he was actually Thel 'Vadamee's subordinate. However, Rtas was most displeased with his former supreme commander following the destruction of Installation 04 and stripping of his rank, and tells him point-blank the next time they meet that his life doesn't matter to him. Thel wins back Rtas's respect quite quickly after dismantling Sesa 'Refumee's Heretic faction, to the point where he simply exchanged a passing and friendly nodded with him after protesting to the Prophets after the "Changing of the Guard". By the end of the game, he helps him disrupt Tartarus's activation of the ring. While he didn't appear in Halo 5: Guardians, come that time period, he's happily serving under the Arbiter in the Swords of Sanghelios again.
- Rugged Scar: As mentioned above, his missing left mandibles. Undoubtedly, Rtas could get a prosthetic replacement, but the wound serves as a reminder of the dangers of the Flood.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Not the type to blindly adhere to convention. Even during the events of Halo: CE, he openly disobeys the Infinite Succor's Prophet in order to stop the Flood aboard from leaving the system (and punctuating his intent by slamming the bastard into the floor).
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Is one of the few survivors of the Battle of Installation 04 where the Flood was first encountered, and as such was not shy about what measures he could use to defeat them next time.
- Shadow of Intent reveals that he's grown weary of the ceaseless fighting he's been engaged in; it's only the opportunity to potentially make peace with his former foes that prevents him from accepting the Arbiter's offer of retirement at the end.
- At the end of Halo 3, Rtas expresses a desire to see his old home again. The Arbiter reassures him that it's safe, and Rtas helped make it safe.
- Sole Survivor: Of the Spec-Ops team sent aboard the Infinite Succor.
- Supporting Leader: In Halo 3.
- Undying Loyalty: He develops this for Arbiter Thel 'Vadam by Halo 3. Had it not been for Thel's word, the entirety of Humanity on Earth would have been glassed along with the Flood that was dangerous enough to infest it. It took tremendous restraint for him, and a trust in the former fleetmaster of Particular Justice, to focus on just glassing a portion of Africa rather than the whole planet.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Was willing to (and almost did) sacrifice humanity to protect the galaxy from the Flood, even after he had entered an alliance with them.
- You Are a Credit to Your Race: It's a brief moment, but 'Vadum held this in regard toward Master Chief. He was clearly impressed when the SPARTAN-II blew up a Covenant-controlled Scarab. It must have been a contributor toward his softening toward humans.
Rtas: Not bad, Spartan. I saw that explosion from orbit.
Commander N'tho 'Sraom
Commander N'tho 'Sraom
Debuted in: Halo 3
The third player character in Halo 3's co-op mode, N'tho was the youngest member of his Special Operations unit near the end of the Human-Covenant War, joining the Fleet of Retribution after the outset of the Great Schism. After the war, he becomes an adjunct to the Arbiter.
- Ascended Extra: Goes from being a silent bit character in Halo 3 to part of the main cast in Halo: Hunters in the Dark.
- All There in the Manual: Until the release of Hunters in the Dark, his entire backstory came from this Bungie news bulletin.
- The Captain: Commands his own ship, the Mayhem, after the war.
- Custom Uniform: Wears the blue of a Minor in Halo 3 despite being in Special Operations; it could well be that he was only promoted to the position during the Schism, and never had a chance to change his armor. His getup by the time of Hunters in the Dark is the crimson and ivory typical of those aligned with the Swords of Sanghelios.
- Deadpan Snarker: So dry that he really verges on being The Comically Serious.
- Fire-Forged Friends: Comes to a mutual understanding with Spartan-IV Frank Kodiak, who had hated N'tho for cutting off his right arm during the war, after the events of Operation: FAR STORM, even personally inviting him to visit Sanghelios one day.
- Master Swordsman: Can more than hold his own in a sword duel against a top-notch Spartan-IV.
- Nerves of Steel: Always maintains a collected demeanor, even when he's at the mercy of an opponent or ordering his ship to ram a Retriever Sentinel.
- Patriotic Fervor: A romantic nationalist, he deeply resents the Sangheili politicians who stood by as the Prophets sidelined his people in favor of the Brutes. He also has nothing but disdain for any fellow Sangheili who continue to carry the banner of the Covenant.
- Rank Up: From a regular Spec-Ops Elite in Halo 3 to a highly-regarded Commander in Hunters in the Dark.
- The Smart Guy: Gave the UNSC intelligence information on Covenant weaponry, such as the mechanics of the Brute Chopper.
- The Stoic: If Hunters in the Dark is any indication, N'tho's default demeanor is cool and calm.
- Unscrupulous Hero: When ONI decides to postpone the (second) mission to the Ark to stop the Halos from firing, N'tho takes things into his own hands by sending his own ship through the portal, despite the potential risks to the entire population of Earth, kidnapping several humans already on-board and violating major treaties between the UNSC and the Swords of Sanghelios by doing so. He even admits that he's ready to kill who anyone tries to stop him, though he's happy he didn't have to.
- The Voiceless: Until Hunters in the Dark.
- Worthy Opponent: One of a growing number of human sympathizers among Sangheili youth, he has a healthy respect for humanity's audacity and resolve, which might be one of the main reasons why he was apparently his fleet's former liaison with the UNSC.
- Young and in Charge: Despite his youth, he rose quite quickly through the ranks due to his talent for leadership and strategy, becoming a trusted sword of the Arbiter.
Spec-Ops Commando Usze 'Taham
Special Operations Commando Usze 'Taham
Homeworld: Sanghelios (Sumai keep, Bothaes)
Debuted in: Halo 3
A top graduate from the most famed war college in Sangheili space, Usze is a distinguished Special Warfare Group veteran who has evaded countless punitive actions and at least two assassination attempts. He is the fourth player character in Halo 3's co-op mode, as a member of the Fleet of Retribution's security force.
- Ambadassador: Becomes a liason to the UNSC after the war. Additionally, his position in the Ascetic guard has him often acting as an intermediary between various feuding Sangheili factions and keeps.
- Ascended Extra: Goes from being a silent bit character in Halo 3 to part of the main cast in Halo: Hunters in the Dark.
- All There in the Manual: Like with N'tho, his entire backstory before the release of Hunters in the Dark came from this Bungie news bulletin.
- Blue Blood: Born into a respected merchant family.
- Custom Uniform: It's claret in Halo 3, a color no other pre-Halo 4 Elite wears, nor is it selectable in multiplayer. After the war, he wears the crimson and ivory typical of the Swords of Sanghelios.
- The Faceless: In Halo 3.
- Heroic Bastard: The son of the famed swordsman Toha 'Sumai, and given that swordsmen aren't allowed to marry...
- That said, Toha did train him in combat while masquerading as his uncle.
- Heroic Lineage: His true father Toha 'Sumai was considered one of the greatest swordfighters in all of Sanghelios.
- Interspecies Friendship: With fellow Ambadassador Olympia Vale during Operation: FAR STORM.
- Master Swordsman: One of the Arbiter's best; he's even capable of deflecting lightrifle fire with his energy sword.
- Military Maverick: To the point where his old superiors warned him that his behavior could be "misinterpreted" as apostasy.
- Nice Guy: The most friendly of the Mayhem's Elites, comforting both Luther Mann after Henry Lamb's death and Vale about her regrets regarding her part in Operation: FAR STORM.
- One-Man Army: During his second trip to the Ark, he and one other Elite are at one point ambushed by dozens of Forerunner armigers; they not only survive, but destroy every single one of their foes.
- Praetorian Guard: Was offered a place on the Honor Guard twice; he declined both times. Though he originally claimed it was because he felt he was unworthy for the position, it was really because he saw them as a largely ceremonial unit that would keep him from his true calling as a warrior.
- Religious Bruiser: Despite his seemingly irrelevant attitude towards his superiors, the fact that the Ascetics eventually picked him to become one of their liasons would suggest this.
- Undying Loyalty: To the Arbiter.
- The Voiceless: Until the release of Hunters in the Dark.
Shipmistress Mahkee 'Chava
Shipmistress Mahkee 'Chava
Debuted in: Halo 5: Guardians
Voiced by: Jean Gilpin
A female Sangheili Shipmistress who aids Fireteam Osiris during the events of Halo 5: Guardians by piloting a Phantom.
- Gunship Rescue: Helps Osiris rescue the Arbiter from a Covenant ambush during their first mission on Sanghelios.
- Mission Control: One of the characters providing mission guidance to Osiris during their time on Sanghelios.
- The Squadette: The only female Sangheili soldier we see in the games; Vale even lampshades this by noting that Elites like her are a rare sight, with her presence in the Swords' military being a sign of the Arbiter's relative social progressiveness.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: She plays a similar role to Foehammer from Halo: Combat Evolved, as she is a female pilot who ferries the player around and gives occasional advice without being visually depicted onscreen.
- The Voice: Makes no direct physical appearance.
Medic Cham 'Lokeema
Medic Cham 'Lokeema
Debuted in: Halo 5: Guardians
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: He would rather patch up the wounded than to let them die; but being a medic itself is a lowly taboo in Sangheili culture. Fortunately, thanks to the Arbiter's post-war open-mindedness, this is a taboo the Swords of Sanghelios is trying to shed.
- The Voice: Makes no direct physical appearance, but his voice is heard in hidden audio logs.
Debuted in: Halo 5: Guardians
- Broken Pedestal: He clearly lost all respect for Jul 'Mdama by the time he became a Sword of Sanghelios.
Rhu: It shames me to think I once took orders from such a fool.
- He Who Must Not Be Seen: While not seen, he was one of the Sword Banshees attacking the Covenant's Kraken in Halo 5: Guardians.
- HeelFace Turn: He was a Covenant Assassin before he switched sides to the Swords of Sanghelios. It took one look at the Arbiter's Mark of Shame.
Rhu 'Vrath: Perhaps there is more to [the Arbiter] than I thought.
- Humans Are Warriors: A brief mention, but he was impressed and surprised as to how Fireteam Osiris successfully repelled Covenant ground forces while fighting uphill and being outnumbered.
- The Voice: Makes no direct physical appearance, but his voice is heard in hidden audio logs.
- Worthy Opponent: While "Opponent" was a far stretch at that point, he was very impressed with Humanity's warrior prowess, particularly Fireteam Osiris, when he saw them fighting the Covenant on Sanghelios.
Rhu: [The humans] were fighting uphill, greatly outnumbered, and the Covenant forces barely slowed them down.
Debuted in: Halo 5: Guardians
- Hero-Worshipper: It's the basis of his Audio Log: his admiration towards to the Arbiter.
- Undying Loyalty: He's this to Arbiter Thel 'Vadam.
- The Voice: Makes no direct physical appearance, but his voice is heard in hidden audio logs.
Debuted in: Halo 5: Guardians
- Berserk Button: He definitely hated it when an Unggoy was watching him and making fun of him for his poem.
- Interspecies Romance: He, a male Sangheili, was evidently captivated by the sight of SPARTAN Commander Sarah Palmer. Whether it was reciprocated is unknown.
- The Voice: Makes no direct physical appearance, but his voice is heard in hidden audio logs.
Debuted in: Halo 5: Guardians
- Mutual Kill: His fate at the hands of his Covenant-allied brother Kitun.
- Sibling Rivalry: While there is no animosity between them, he has repeatedly pleaded with his brother to switch sides. This failure for either sibling to see reason resulted in them killing each other at Sunaion.
- Together in Death: It was Kitun's hope that he and Jacul would meet again in the afterlife.
- The Voice: Makes no direct physical appearance, but his voice is heard in hidden audio logs.
Arbiter Ripa 'Moramee
Arbiter Ripa 'Moramee
Homeworld: Malurok (Moram)
Birthdate: June 2, 2478
Debuted in: Halo Wars
Prophet of Regret:"Do you enjoy the slaughter?"
Ripa:"I feel the joy of doing what I was born to. I have no regrets, save that I will not die fighting."
Originally a prominent warrior who participated in numerous important campaigns against rebellious Unggoy and Kig-Yar, Ripa was imprisoned following an attempted coup of his clan. Picked to become Arbiter by the Prophet of Regret, he was given command of the Fleet of Glorious Interdiction and charged with spearheading humanity's destruction, being the Dragon-in-Chief of Halo Wars. Notable for deviating from Elite's Honor Before Reason mentality: he just wants to kill things.
- Ambition Is Evil: After he got too powerful, he attempted to overthrow his clan's leaders, but got locked up. When he became the Arbiter, he gave this trope a new ugly face.
- The Atoner: Subverted. The Arbiter rank is supposed to be this, but 'Moramee clearly doesn't care. He's just in it for the bloodshed.
- Ax-Crazy: Or Plasma Sword Crazy. He's little more than a vicious killer, albeit a genuinely religious one, and this even ties into his gameplay as a hero unit.
- Bad Boss: Not the best Elite to work for, with his abuses including strapping remote-controlled bombs onto his Grunts and striking down a subordinate Sangheili commander for simply giving him bad news.
- Base-Breaking Character: In-Universe example. His appointment to Arbiter was highly controversial among the Sangheli.
- Big Bad: Of Halo Wars; while subordinate to Regret, he serves as the main antagonist since Regret has very little interaction with the plot and is Put on a Bus shortly into the game.
- Blood Knight: Lives for the slaughter.
- The Berserker: It's even incorporated into gameplay, where he can go into "rage" modes that buff his damage and resistance for a short time.
- The Brute: Unlike some other wiser Arbiters, it's pretty clear he was chosen primarily to serve as Regret's muscle. Ironic, considering his species; this goes into straight into Personality Swap Territory when you read the backstory of Thrallslayer, the multiplayer-only Brute Army Commander.
- Death by Irony: Neck Lifts Forge, so that his face will be the last thing the sergeant ever sees. Then Forge stabs him in the head.
- The Dragon: To the Prophet of Regret, much to the Covenant warriors' grief.
- Dragon-in-Chief: The Prophet of Regret commands him, but his role is small and 'Moramee is both an authoritative and physical threat, and the effective Big Bad for Halo Wars.
- Dual Wielding: He dual-wields two energy swords, and was one of the first Elites shown doing so.
- Evil Counterpart:
- To Thrallslayer, the Brute Army Commander, surprisingly.
- And to the current Arbiter, who's far calmer than him.
- Establishing Character Moment: His first scene consists of him ordering the Relic to be opened against the advice of his subordinates and openly stating he doesn't care if they die in the process. We also get a nice shot of his gruesome mug, establishing he's a short-tempered brute who cares little for how many troops he has to sacrifice to achieve his goal.
- Evil Is Petty: Ordered his rival Thrallslayer off the Shield World with Regret to solely deprive him of the war-glory.
- Expy: Of Darth Vader, as a Laser BladeBad Boss clad in special armour, albeit not as special as Vader's. The developers specifically described him as "Darth Vader times ten". He is not a Darth Vader Clone however.
- Fantastic Racism: Ripa holds a very low opinion on humans, and takes the time to insult humanity as a whole after defeating Forge in combat. The Arbiter's opinion is undermined, however, by the interluding shots of SPARTAN-II Red Team dominating a horde of Sangheili elite guards.
- Foil: To Thrallslayer, the Brute Army Commander. At their core, they are Stereotype Flips of their species; the normally honorable Elite is actually an Ax-CrazyCombat Pragmatist with a severe case of Fantastic Racism towards humanity, and is so large that he dwarfs even a Brute. Thrallslayer is noted to be short for his species, and a Genius Bruiser who sees humanity as a Worthy Opponent. As such, they are rivals.
- Gonk: He's one of the ugliest, if not the ugliest Elites in the franchise, with drooping, skinny mandibles that make his mouth gape like a fish's.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Oh yeah. Just giving him bad news is enough to provoke him to violence.
- Hero's Evil Predecessor: To Thel 'Vadam, as the last known holder of the title of Arbiter before Thel. Whereas Thel was a noble if misguided warrior and commander who genuinely wanted to be The Atoner and ultimately chose to rebel against the Covenant and ally with humanity to make things right, Ripa was a Psycho for Hire who abused his own and could care nothing for "atoning" for any of his crimes.
- Hidden Weapons: His sword hilts seem to integrate with his Arbiter gauntlets. During one cutscene he flicks his wrists to draw his swords.
- Hot-Blooded: More then the rest of the Elites, but it comes more likely from his psychopathic disorder rather from religious fanaticism.
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Whilst walking alongside the High Prophet of Regret, the latter notices the Arbiter being unusually quiet. Ripa seems troubled by the fact he's charged with the destruction of humanity, implying the Arbiter who's fine with sacrificing his men dislikes the idea of genocide, only to clarify that he's grateful for his task, and his actual concern is that searching ancient ruins and empty temples doesn't seem to help him accomplish his goal.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Killed by Forge with his own plasma sword, after being stabbed in the neck.
- Insane Admiral: Supplemental information mentions that he's viewed as unsuitable for command by many in the Covenant.
- Invisibility Cloak: Has one built into his armor. With upgrades it can be made to last permanently with the cost of resources.
- Large and in Charge: Huge, even for an Elite. His arms alone are nearly as big around as a human marine.
- Laser-Guided Karma: He ordered Thrallslayer, the Brute Army Commander, off the Shield World with Regret to rob him of the war-glory of the battle. In summation, he ensured the survival of his rival when his forces were defeated and he himself was killed.
- Legacy Character: Not the first nor the last Arbiter, though certainly one of the most psychotic ones.
- One-Man Army: Can be this in multiplayer. In-universe, he once put down an entire Grunt rebellion all by himself.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Does Ripa 'Moramee sound nice to you?
- Neck Lift: Seems fond of them. It helps that his hands are about twice as big as his victims' entire head and neck.
- Psycho for Hire: The Arbiter is supposed to be The Atoner for past misdeeds. About the only thing Ripa seems to regret is the fact he hasn't killed more people.
- Recruiting the Criminal: How Regret appoints him, to the consternation of many in the Covenant.
- The Rival: Forge of course, but his primary rival was Thrallslayer, the Brute Army Commander.
- Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: While talking to Regret, he briefly brandishes his energy swords, before putting them away without using them. This is in direct violation of Covenant law (drawing a weapon in the presence of a High Prophet) and Sangheili tradition (a drawn weapon must spill blood before being put away). His rank and the fact he wouldn't hesitate to use those swords on them are likely the only reasons the Honor Guards didn't kill him on the spot.
- Smug Snake: Tends to stupidly underestimate his foes tremendously, which leads to his death. That said, he's more than capable of backing up his threats physically.
- The Starscream: Before he was Arbiter, he attempted a coup on his clan's leader, but the coup failed and he was exiled.
- State Sec: Ironically enough (considering what he did to land himself in jail), he used to be an agent for the Ministry of Preservation, the Covenant organization responsible for quelling internal dissent.
- The Unfettered: His savagery makes him far more ruthless than most Elites and several times he commits acts considered blasphemous by them, such as drawing his weapons in the presence of a Prophet, or brandishing a weapon without any intention of using it.
- Too Dumb to Live: He lets his guard down as a result of Sergeant Forge taunting him.
- Villain Teleportation: Has a habit of appearing out of nowhere thanks to his cloaking.
- We Have Reserves: Ripa clearly has little regard for how many of his men he has to sacrifice as long as he can achieve his goals. This is most evident in the cutscene in which he's introduced when the Covenant excavate a Forerunner relic on Harvest where he makes it clear he'd rather risk his troops getting infected by the Flood than displease the Hierarchs.
Ripa: The Hierarchs grow impatient! We can delay no longer!
Field Master Re'gish Wamik: What if the infection defiles the relic?
Ripa: I care not for your little life! Open... The relic!
The Field Marshal
The Field Marshal
Debuted in: Halo: Reach
An elusive and mysterious character who appears several times in Halo: Reach. Little is known about him other than that he was a high-ranking member of the Devoted Sentries, a hand-picked unit of Zealot artifact hunters attached to the Fleet of Valiant Prudence.
- Adventurer Archaeologist: An artifact hunter who also happens to be a Four-Star Badass.
- Arc Villain: He's the closest thing Reach has to a visible Big Bad, given that none of his superiors make a direct appearance in that game.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Implied to be one of the highest-ranking Covenant ground officers on Reach, subordinate only to Supreme Commanders Rho 'Barutamee and (later) Thel 'Vadamee. In-game he has very powerful shields, which combined with his Fuel Rod Gun, makes him pretty challenging to face.
- BFG: He wields a Fuel Rod Gun in addition to his plasma sword.
- Cold Sniper: His shooting of Kat with a Needle Rifle was certainly cold.
- Dirty Coward: When he's first encountered in the Visegrad Relay station, he spends just a few seconds fighting NOBLE Team before fleeing the heck out of there, leaving his other two Zealots to fight for him (and be killed).
- The Dragon: He's possibly this to Valiant Prudence's Supreme Commander Rho 'Barutamee, depending on whether there were any other Field Marshals in the Devoted Sentries.
- Final Boss: In Halo: Reach, though Six still has a couple more battles to fight after defeating him.
- Flunky Boss: In the final battle against him, he's accompanied by a trio of Elite Zealots, a small squad of Spec-Ops Grunts, and an Engineer which grants him and his minions stronger shields.
- Hero Killer: Apart from shooting Kat, he's also indirectly responsible for the death of Noble Six; the only reason Noble Six had to stay to man the Onager as opposed to a generic Marine was because the Field Marshal and his cronies were standing in between Six and the gun. His warriors also killed Emile, who was formerly manning the gun.
- It's Personal: That he happens to encounter Noble Team three times over the course of the game could be chalked up to this. Perhaps he recognized that Noble Team's presence indicated important human assets.
- King Mook: Gameplay-wise he has similar stats and tactics as an Elite General, though with slightly more health and a backup energy sword he'll pull out if you get too close to him.
- Horns of Villainy: His armor sports horns.
- Laser Blade: Pulls out an energy sword if you get too close to him.
- No Name Given
- Recurring Boss: While he isn't fought multiple times, he shows up several times in the story. First on the level "Winter Contingency", where he gets into a fight with Noble Team before fleeing and letting his Zealots finish the job (they fail). The second is when he snipes Kat with a Needle Rifle. His third and last appearance is where he and Six finally throw down, resulting in his death.
- Warrior Monk: All Field Marshals are also Zealots.
- Wolfpack Boss: His Zealot minions are almost as powerful as he is.
Supreme Commander Rho 'Barutamee
Supreme Commander Rho 'Barutamee
Birthdate: March 23, 2479
Debuted in: Halo: Reach (Indirect appearance only)
An agent of the Ministry of Fervent Intercession, Rho 'Barutamee led the Fleet of Valiant Prudence, an archaeological research and retrieval group tasked with the security and stewardship of Forerunner artifacts. During his search for the fabled Capital of the Forerunners, his fleet inadvertently stumbled upon the location of Reach, thus starting one of the largest battles of the Human-Covenant War.
- Adventurer Archaeologist: His main job, though he's illegally secreted away a large hoard of Forerunner artifacts for his own purposes.
- All There in the Manual: Virtually everything we know about him, including his appearance and name, come from ancillary materials, mostly the Halo: Fleet Battles rulebook and campaign guide.
- Badass Cape: A big purple one, as seems to be the standard for Supreme Commanders.
- Cool Ship: His flagship, the 29-km (18-mile) long CSO-class supercarrier Long Night of Solace.
- Disc-One Final Boss: Indirectly serves as this for Halo: Reach, since his fleet is the one fought in the first part of the game, with the other Covenant fleets arriving only after he and his flagship are destroyed by a slipspace "bomb" that the player helped deliver.
- Dragon with an Agenda: His personal goal of finding the Capital is unknown even to his superiors; in fact, the reason his fleet attacked Reach on its own was so that he could have a chance to secret away both relics and information about the Capital's location from the rest of the Covenant, to the point where he felt nothing but dismay when he got the news about another Covenant fleet coming in to reinforce him.
- Manipulative Bastard: Is said to have achieved his rank largely by exploiting the greed, zealotry, and ignorance of his comrades and superiors.
- Punch-Clock Villain: Sort of. Unlike most of his peers, he has no real interest in fighting against humanity. That said, he still has no problems with killing them if they get in the way of his search for Forerunner artifacts.
- The Unfought: Noble Team never directly meets him even once in Reach, though they still get to kill him by destroying his flagship.
- Warrior Monk: A Zealot, though he's noted as being surprisingly reserved and thoughtful for one.
Arbiter Fal 'Chavamee
Arbiter Fal 'Chavamee
Debuted in: The Duel
Voiced by: John Gremillion
A prominent Sangheili leader from about four centuries before the events of the original trilogy, who got into trouble with the Hierarchs for his lack of belief in "the Great Journey".
- Ascended Extra: Makes an appearance in three of the Halo 2 Anniversary terminals, and is even mentioned by name in one of them.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: The head of his clan and if his Curb-Stomp Battle of a Covenant army is anything to go by, he's well-earned that status.
- Badass in Charge: Head of his clan, and its mightiest warrior.
- Crusading Widower: Goes to confront his wife's killer right after he discovers her body, despite knowing that he's almost certainly going to his death.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Fal inflicts this against Haka's Praetorian Guard and the massive Covenant force—including armor support and Hunters—sent to kill him.
- Doomed by Canon: Anyone who's played Halo 2 knows Fal's struggle ultimately results in his death and that the once prestigious rank of Arbiter becomes a mark of shame.
- Happily Married: Is in a very loving relationship with his wife Han.
- Heart Broken Badass: After his wife is killed as punishment for his heresy.
- Honor Before Reason: Turns against the Covenant because he can no longer bear the shame of following the Prophets' lies, and later goes off to duel his kinsman Haka for killing his wife despite being warned that it's a trap.
- Legacy Character: He's the reason why the rank of Arbiter becomes a mark of disgrace for future generations of Covenant.
- Master Swordsman: Probably the best example seen in the franchise so far, being capable of taking on an entire army with just a couple of energy blades.
- Mutual Kill: He and Haka end up killing each other in a Single Stroke Duel.
- One-Man Army: He wouldn't have reached Arbiter without being one, and he slaughters an entire Covenant army single-handedly in The Duel.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: When he finds his wife dead, he immediately sets off to confront Haka and his cronies.
Debuted in: The Duel
Voiced by: Melissa Davis
Fal 'Chavamee's wife. She's notable as the first female Sangheili to be depicted onscreen in Halo media.
- Happily Married: Is in a very loving relationship with Fal.
- Non-Standard Character Design: Her face looks much more human-like than those of other Sangheili depicted before or after, and she also has hair. Elite females are described in other Halo media as being much closer in appearance to the males than Han is; the creators of The Duel admitted that they took some Artistic License with her appearance to make her more sympathetic.
- Stuffed in the Fridge: Her brutal death at the hands of Haka primarily serves to motivate Fal into confronting her killer.
- Undying Loyalty: Refuses to leave Fal's side despite his rejection of the Covenant.
"There will be time for talk when I rule in your stead and declare your shame, Arbiter."
Debuted in: The Duel
Voiced by: Josh GrelleA Sangheili warrior assigned by the Prophets to eliminate Arbiter Fal 'Chavamee and his closest kin as punishment for their defiance.
- Ambition Is Evil: It's implied he desired to take over Fal's position as head of their clan/state, and gladly jumped at the opportunity to depose him once the Prophets called for his head.
- BFS: He wields a metal sword instead of the energy blades favored by most Sangheili warriors, and it's a truly massive blade.
- The Dragon: For the Prophets in The Duel. His utter devotion to the Covenant's doctrine makes him the perfect enforcer to carry out the Hierarchs' orders when they decide to punish Fal for his defiance.
- Evil Is Bigger: Haka's imposing stature towers over everyone else, ensuring he's always the biggest person in the room in whatever scene he's featured in.
- Evil Sounds Raspy: He speaks in a malevolent, raspy voice.
- Fatal Flaw: Pride. In his duel with Fal, he arrogantly proclaims his victory after inflicting a mortal wound on the Arbiter, only to realize at the last moment that Fal had in turn impaled him with his own blade.
- Guttural Growler: His voice has a gravelly tone to it.
- The Heavy: The main plot of The Duel is kicked off by him killing Fal's wife Han, but the flashbacks leading up to the titular duel reveals he was acting on the Prophets' orders.
- Kick the Dog: When he's given the go-ahead to kill Han, Haka forces her servant Roh to do the deed to prove his devotion. If one looks closely when Roh standing over Han, he appears to be bruised, implying Haka had beaten him to force his compliance. He then kills Roh anyway. He also rubs Han's death in Fal's face right before their duel.
Haka: A shame that sword of yours was too late to save Han. Such a price for your honor, Arbiter.
- Mutual Kill: How his duel with Fal 'Chavamee ends, with Haka dying first.
- Red and Black and Evil All Over: The few instances of color exhibited in The Duel shows Haka's armor to be predominately black with red highlights, and he's as villainous as they come.
- Shoot the Dog: After forcing a very reluctant Roh to kill Han and provoke Fal into a duel, he coldly murders Roh afterward.
- The Starscream: It's implied he was of the same clan/state as Fal, and he saw the opportunity to usurp his position when Fal's dissent was perceived as a threat by the Prophets.
Major Thel 'Lodamee
Major Thel 'Lodamee
Homeworld: Sanghelios (Lodam)
Debuted in: The Package
Voiced by: Jason Carroll
A Sangheili Major in the Third Fleet of Glorious Consequence who lost his entire battalion at Miridem.
- Hero Killer: Personally killed Sheila-065 during the Battle of Miridem.
- Hot-Blooded: According to Halo: The Fall of Reach, his bloodthirstiness worries his commander.
- Honor Before Reason: When he finds the Master Chief out of ammo, he tosses an extra energy sword to him so they could duel it out.
- Large Ham: "I had him! Commander, you fool! A THOUSAND HELLS AWAIT YOU!"
- Majorly Awesome: One of the few characters in the Haloverse capable of matching a SPARTAN-II in one-on-one combat; in fact, he's the one who killed Sheila-065.
- Master Swordsman: Beats the Master Chief in a one-on-one duel, and would have killed him if not for Thel's commander suddenly carrying his subordinate away via gravity lift while under the false impression that he was "saving" him.
- Mythology Gag / Discontinuity Nod: His commander says that all that awaits the Major is "death, or Arbiter". This line would have alluded to his later role, but retroactively became a Discontinuity Nod, see Retcon below.
- One Steve Limit: Shares his first name with the future Arbiter. In fact...
- Retcon: His entire existence is one: the Elite Major in The Package was supposed to be Thel 'Vadamee (the Arbiter of the Halo trilogy), but this was changed in the 2010 rerelease of Halo: The Fall of Reach. Long story short, 'Vadamee's appearance would have added an extra layer of Irony to the later games where he team-ups with John, but The Cole Protocol showed that he was already a Zealot when he fought his first Spartan, not a lowly Major. Thus the change.
- Sole Survivor: 'Lodamee's entire battalion was killed with only him surviving. His Fleet Master calls him out for this, saying Thel must have lacked the heart to die with honor.
Spec-Ops Officer Zuka 'Zamamee
Special Operations Officer Zuka 'Zamamee
Debuted in: Halo: The Flood
A member of the Fleet of Particular Justice's Spec-Ops division who develops an obsession with killing the Master Chief during the events of Halo: Combat Evolved.
- Adaptation Expansion: Originally, he was just a nameless Elite Mook who arrives alongside the rest of his squad on the elevator near the end of Combat Evolved's last level. It was the novelization Halo: The Flood that gave him a name and backstory, and detailed what he was doing off-screen.
- Alliterative Name
- Cassandra Truth: He knows from the very start that the Master Chief is the greatest threat to his fleet, but none of his superiors takes his concerns seriously until the Chief spearheads a devastating assault against the Truth and Reconciliation.
- Combat Pragmatist: Has no compunctions about using trickery against the humans.
- Composite Character: At the end of the actual game, among the final enemies faced by the Chief are a Spec Ops Elite leading a squad of Grunts on an elevator, and a Spec Ops Elite in a Shade turret in the final Warthog escape sequence. The book combines these two enemies to form the final encounter with Zuka.
- Continuity Snarl: His battles against the Chief in The Flood play out very different in the actual game; in the latter, he's not actually even present in most of said battles.
- Dead Person Impersonation: Assumes the identity of Huki 'Umamee to avoid being executed for his repeated failures.
- Egocentrically Religious: His personal journal in the 2010 rerelease of The Flood shows him developing signs of this, as he increasingly sees everything that happens to him as a sign that he's passing his gods' tests.
- Glory Hound/Glory Seeker: Part of his reason for going after the Chief, though most of the glory he seeks is from his gods.
- Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: It's not hard to almost feel sorry for him after a while.
- Knight Templar: His personal journal shows that he believes anything he does is justified as long as it leads to the Chief's death, even if it means violating the Sangheili honor code.
- The Neidermeyer: His Unggoy assistant Yayap views him as this, and it's clear Zuka cares little for the Grunts under his command.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: He may be almost completely ineffectual against the Chief, but his team does kill a lot of humans during the assault on Alpha Base.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: While he doesn't actually do anything to help the Chief, his personal journal shows that he fervently believes it's his Forerunner-given destiny to kill John.
- Post-Final Boss: He shows up out of nowhere with a Spectre turret and tries to kill the Chief after the Chief's "final confrontation" with 343 Guilty Spark in the Pillar of Autumn's engine room.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: Given his pragmatic tendencies, he's a relatively rare example of the "Proud Soldier" variant among the Elites.
- Religious Bruiser: His journal reveals that he was not particularly devout until he had a born-again experience after he barely survived his first encounter with the Chief; he now sees every setback as merely his gods testing him to make sure he doesn't waver in his faith again.
- Smug Snake: Has a highly arrogant demeanor, and is always certain that his next crazy plan to kill the Chief is the one that'll work. Even after he's forced to go into hiding for fear of being executed, he still retains some of his high-and-mighty airs. Heck, Zuka continues to treat Yayap like a servant even after the latter shows himself capable of successfully threatening the former.
- Stalker Without a Crush: Towards the Master Chief.
- Unknown Rival: The Chief is completely unaware that it's the same Elite trying to kill him again and again. This actually works out in Zuka's favor, as he completely catches the Chief by surprise in their final encounter.
Fleetmaster Voro Nar 'Mantakree
Fleetmaster Voro Nar 'Mantakree
Debuted in: Halo: Ghosts of Onyx
The former second-officer aboard the Incorruptible, Voro executed his mentor and shipmaster Tano 'Inanraree during the beginning of the Great Schism after the latter tried to fly the ship onto Halo to allow its crew to be infected by the Flood. Taking over as Shipmaster, Voro quickly distinguished himself through quick thinking and rationality, stopping the Flood from spreading off Halo and High Charity. He was granted the rank of Fleetmaster and sent to investigate the world of Onyx, where an intercepted human transmission had revealed it contained a Forerunner ruin which was guarded by Spartans.
- Arc Villain: Along with the Sentinels, he's the main antagonist of Ghost of Onyx's final arc.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: Distinguished himself by his actions in the opening salvos of the Great Schism.
- Combat Pragmatist: A notable exception to the Elites' usual Honor Before Reason tendencies (though he's not completely devoid of it himself). One example is during the battle around High Charity; when the Incorruptible's engines are still recharging, Voro fakes out an approaching Brute frigate by depressurizing a launch bay to turn his ship and venting excess plasma into the cannons to fool the enemy's heat sensors. Later, during the battle on Onyx, he forces his Elite troops to use Jackal shields in addition to their own.
- Enemy Mine: Manages to convince both sides of the Schism to call a temporary truce in order to deal with the Flood.
- Four-Star Badass: A highly capable tactician who's certainly not afraid to mix it up in the frontlines, whether in space or on foot.
- Klingon Promotion: A relatively heroic variation; while Voro does take command of the Incorruptible by killing its previous shipmaster, he did it solely because said shipmaster was a Governor of Contrition who was about to force his men to let the Flood aboard their ship. Heck, even Tano's personal bodyguards acknowledge that Voro did the right thing.
- Kicked Upstairs: After being given a fleet to investigate isolated Onyx by Imperial Admiral Xytan 'Jar Wattinree, Voro wonders if he was assigned to do so because his new status as a hero and outspoken nature was viewed as a threat by Xytan. He vows that it will not work, but Kurt kills him and his entire army, making it a moot point.
- Nay-Theist: Shows signs of becoming the Covenant equivalent of one after the Schism; while he still seems to recognize the Forerunners as being divine, he quickly comes to the conclusion that they're not going to be of any help in securing the Sangheili's future, and emphasizes to his troops that they'll have to shed their religious beliefs if they're going to thrive in a post-Covenant galaxy.
Voro's thoughts: [Qunu] had demonstrated for them all that the old ways of devout placation had no place in this new Age. The Sangheili would forge their own way, with their own blood, if need be.
- Only Sane Man: A downplayed example; in Ghosts of Onyx, he's always the one who has to point out to his fellow Elites that the Flood is their main threat, not the humans or the Brutes. While his advice is taken at least somewhat seriously, it's still probably not as much as he would have liked.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: When his commanding officer Tano 'Inanraree gives the order to let their ship go down to Delta Halo to be intentionally infected by the Flood, Voro chooses to ignore the chain of command and shoots him in the back of the head to save the crew, despite knowing that Tano's Hunter bodyguards would be honor-bound to avenge him (they don't, acknowledging Voro did the right thing).
- Small Role, Big Impact: In a sense. While Voro is overall a very minor character in the franchise, to the point where he's never even been mentioned outside of Ghosts of Onyx, he's likely a major reason why the Flood wasn't able to spread across the Milky Way after the Gravemind escaped Delta Halo.
- We Have Reserves: Like most Elite commanders, he regards his Grunts as expendable cannon fodder.
Ranger Vil 'Kthamee
Ranger Vil 'Kthamee
Debuted in: Halo: Broken Circle
A young Ranger who served with the Covenant during its early years, Vil is more imaginative than most of his kind.
- Conflicting Loyalty: He's ultimately loyal to the Covenant, but he sometimes wonders if he's dishonoring the memories of those who fought against the San'Shyuum.
- Interspecies Friendship: Has a close bond with the Huragok Floats Near Ceiling, to the point where Vil finds its presence comforting.
- Famed in Story: It's hinted that he's the reason why future generations of Sangheili would add an "ee" to their surname after joining the Covenant military.
- The Smart Guy: Shows himself to be quite resourceful for a young Sangheili, enough to convince Mken to make him his bodyguard.
- Translator Buddy: Has served as Floats Near Ceiling's translator many times.
Commander G'torik 'Klemmee
Commander G'torik 'Klemmee
Debuted in: Halo: Broken Circle
The nephew of High Councilor Torg 'Gransamee, G'torik is a dear friend of Zo Resken.
- Interspecies Friendship: Is very close to Zo Resken and regards him very highly, even personally saving his life during the Great Schism.
- Master Swordsman: Is quite adept with the energy sword, being capable of holding his own against Tartarus's second-in-command Melchus in close combat.
- Nephewism: Was raised by Torg in accordance with Sangheili tradition, though Zo suspects that the Councilor is actually his father.
Debuted in: Halo: Broken Circle
An engineering officer, Tul finds himself part of a small group attempting to escape High Charity during the outbreak of the Great Schism.
- Badass Bookworm: Despite not being a warrior, he's still capable of handling himself in a firefight.
- Shorter Means Smarter: Is relatively small for a male Sangheili, but is more technologically adept than the other Sangheili in his group.
- Translator Buddy: Has worked with Sluggish Drifter many times, and is capable of translating its signs for others.
Shipmaster D'ero 'S'bud
Shipmaster D'ero 'S'bud
Homeworld: Sanghelios (Zolam)
Debuted in: Halo: Broken Circle
Shipmaster of the supply ship Journey's Sustenance, D'ero was stationed at High Charity during the outbreak of the Great Schism.
- Defector from Decadence: He leaves the Covenant because of their massacre of the Sangheili High Councilors, but is implied to resent his own defection; he still regards Zo Resken as an authority, and even continues to call him "Prophet".
- Perpetual Frowner: Is virtually always scowling; even during one of his rare good moods, he's described as only looking "almost cheerful".
- Sour Supporter: Is very much on the side of Zo and his companions, but that doesn't stop him from being perpetually irritable.
Shipmaster Thon 'Talamee
Shipmaster Thon 'Talamee
Homeworld: Sanghelios (Thasan)
Debuted in: Halo: Blood Line
One of the last two survivors of the Talam lineage, Thon spent his entire life looking after his weaker brother Reff. By mid-2552, he had become Shipmaster of the assault carrier Clarity of Faith, but would find himself and his crew trapped on a mysterious world after their ship was shot down by Forerunner Line Installation 1-4.
- Cain and Abel: When Reff decides that he wants to take over the Covenant himself, and plans to use Installation 1-4 against incoming Covenant reinforcements, Thon realizes that Reff has to die. Played with in that from the UNSC's perspective, Reff is the slightly better of the two, since he at least plans to halt the genocide against humanity.
- Big Brother Bully: Thon rarely hesitates to hurt and threaten Reff whenever the latter annoys him.
"On the blood of our fathers, on the blood of our sons... we swore to uphold the Covenant!" — Rtas 'Vadumee
The Sangheili, known to humans as Elites, are a humanoid saurian species of highly adept warriors and skilled combat tacticians and strategists. Sangheili are named after their home planet, Sanghelios.
The Sangheili once formed the military backbone of the Covenant for almost the entirety of its existence, and were one of the original founding members of the Covenant. They recently lead a twenty-seven year long crusade against Humanity by order of the Prophets, and are principally responsible for the near extinction of the human race, leaving a little over 200 million humans alive and 23 billion dead, and a single human world, Earth, partially intact out of an original 800. They had a very strong rivalry with the Brutes, which finally became open hatred during the Great Schism, and the conclusion of the Human-Covenant War. They led the Covenant breakaway faction known as the Covenant Separatists, who grudgingly sided with the humans in a temporary cease fire against their former allies after losing most of their forces to an as of yet unknown-about human "NOVA" warhead.
They are a highly evolved species who are vastly superior to humans in every way; they possess far greater strength, reflexes, durability, endurance, speed, sensory abilities, agility and intelligence, in addition to many other qualities. After the fall of the High Prophets, tensions between the two remained high and old grudges lingered and strengthened whilst new ones emerged. As such, there is a good chance that the temporary ceasefire between the Sangheili and humans will break down.
Anatomy and Appearance
very muscular and range in height from 7'4" to 8'6" tall. Their jaws are quadruple-hinged, with an upper jaw and four mandible-like lips. Their mandibles normally hold six teeth each, with as much as ten teeth being present on the upper central jaw. Some Sangheili have also been observed with much larger fangs extruding from the tips of their mandibles. The Sangheili as depicted in both Halo: Wars and Halo: Reach appear to have far more teeth than this description however, and these teeth posses a more feral look. Some Sangheili such as Han and Fal 'Chavamee, and Roh, keep their mandibles closed, using only the front two joints of their lower mandibles to speak, giving them a more humanoid appearance. It is a possibility that the Sangheili in general don't usually use all four of their mandibles, except when breathing heavily; an example would be during combat situations. The mandibles appear to be made for gripping small prey, which insinuates that the Sangheili evolved from a quadroped race and that they are much larger than their natural prey. It should be noted that the Sangheili are omnivores however and consume a variety of crops, one example being Irukan rice, in addition to meats.
Their hands are tetradactyl, having four digits; two middle fingers, and two opposing thumbs on the outside for grasping. Such an arrangement grants them greater manual dexterity and a more secure grip. Their legs are digitigrade, with short upper and lower legs, and elongated tarsals, using the distal and intermediate phalanges to support their weight when walking. This arrangement allows them to run very quickly and jump large distances compared to humans and other Covenant species. They are capable of leaping over other Sangheili, indicating a vertical jump height of over eight feet. Their superior agility can also be attributed to their home world's higher gravity; the additional strength required to move normally in a high-gravity environment would cause them to be more powerful in lower gravity situations. Sangheili are strange for bipedal species in that their knees do not bend backwards but forwards. This unusual hinging does not impair their mobility on the ground but climbing, especially on standard ladders, is difficult for them.
The Sangheili als
o possess an enormous amount of upper and lower body strength. During an encounter with a black armored Special Operations Sangheili on board the Covenant Supercarrier “Ascendant Justice”, Master Chief John-117 observed that their muscles possess an iron like hardness, indicating a far greater muscle density and degree of strength than ordinary Humans. It is noted from this confrontation, and others like it, that a trained Sangheili is physically superior to Spartan-IIs in Mjolnir Mk-V armour which implies an ability to lift over 1200kg.[Notes 1]. They have also been observed snapping and misshaping human rifles with their bare hands, denting titanium-A bulkheads with only their fists and even knocking down heavy titanium-A blast doors. There are also multiple instances of Sangheili lifting Spartans in Mjolnir armour with a single arm, which is well over 400kg of mass, and kill Mjolnir clad Spartans with a single massive melee blow; feats that even Spartans haven't demonstrated. Their leg strength is also capable of propelling their high mass eight feet into the air and of sending other 150+kg Sangheili flying over several feet with a single kick. They also appear to have a double set of pectoral muscles, which contribute to their incredible strength. Being able to fight and seriously challenge Spartan-II super-soldiers in close combat also implies an equivalent reaction time and similar reflexes, but they are likely faster. This indicates that their reflexes are faster than 4 milliseconds, or over seventy-five times the Human norm[Notes 2]. Given that they can receive powerful kicks and punches from Spartan-IIs in Mjolnir Mk-V armor and receive multiple bullet wounds, some even penetrating the chest, yet still keep on fighting suggests a much higher level of durability compared to ordinary humans. This is likely attributed to their iron hard musculature, and quite possibly the presence of their own ultra-hardened bones similar to the Spartans. The ability to distort titanuim-A with only their fists implies that their bones are extremely hard. This also implies a much greater level of pain tolerance in order for them to continue fighting with such wounds.
Sangheili senses appear to be far more acute and sensitive than the senses of most other species, which is not surprising given their predatory background. They smell with the use of two nostrils, each a little in front and below the eye socket, and it is highly developed. Sangheili have been known to use their sense of smell to root out humans on board their ships when boarding them, and are even able to analyze their surroundings with it in great detail whilst confined to a single small room with only a small viewing port for access to the outside environment. Their eyesight and hearing are also extremely sensitive; Ripa 'Moramee was able to casually observe a cliff face from a great distance away which Sergeant Forge required binoculars to see over, indicating a greater visual acuity than human eyes. Zuka 'Zamamee was able to hear John-117 moving and reloading his gun, despite John's best attempts at stealth and the fact that he was also in separate room a decent distance away. Jul 'Mdama was also able to hear all the subtle mechanical noises throughout the Port Stanley that he was being kept prisoner on, and was usually able to identify what kind of ship was approaching simply by listening to the sound of its engines.
Sangheili have at least two hearts, which circulate indigo-colored blood through their veins; the coloration is most likely caused by bimetallic hemoglobin, possibly cobalt-iron, whereas the crimson-blooded humans possess monometallic iron-based hemoglobin. Though there are many theories on the subject, the chemical formula(e) of Sangheili hemoglobin is still unknown. Their multi-vascular system likely underlies their superhuman levels of endurance and alertness, as their brain and muscles would receive an excellent blood supply. It is assumed that they breathe oxygen, as they can breathe the same atmosphere as humans without any trouble, and their homeworld has a nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere, similar to Earth's.
Sangheili skin tones and textures vary from dark drown and smooth to light grey and scaly, however the majority of Sangheili appear to fall closer towards the former. Most also have either dark blue, black, or brown eyes, although there are a few exceptions such as green and orange. It has been theorized that the reason Sangheili seem to have dark blue eyes is because they wear eye coverings. Sangheili have laterally-positioned eyes with slit-shaped pupils, large irises, and horizontal eyelids.
Female Sangheili are described as being far more similar in appearance to male Sangheili than they are in Halo: Legends. The best canonical instance, Raia 'Mdama, was described as being slightly shorter than the average male and having a paler skin tone. As is expected from their saurian anatomy, Sangheili lay eggs. These eggs are kept in incubators until they hatch. They do not appear to reproduce as fast as humans, a fact that puts the Sangheili at odds with them when faced with Humanity's relatively rapid colonization.
They have a much longer lifespan than humans that is around 3 times as long, or roughly 300 years. Thel and Rtas, who are 68 and 66 years old respectively, are still be in their prime given that they continue to display incredible feats of agility, fitness and strength that is emblematic of their race. This is also perhaps to be expected from their implied slower reproduction rate. An advantage that this grants them is that the average Sangheili would have a greater degree of experience and knowledge from their longer life time. Their commanders and soldiers would have had more time to train, and would have been in more battles and hence would have accumulated a greater degree of experience than that of their non-Sangheili counterparts.
Although Elites are naturally very intelligent, their culture's long dependence
on a military-industrial schema has led to an emphasis on might over science. In some regards, the advent of the Covenant made this position easier-allowing the Elites to concentrate even more singularly on military endeavors, while Prophets took care of science and technology.
— 343 Guilty Spark in the Bestiarum
In addition to their superior physical and martial prowess, the Sangheili are also gifted with a keen intellect, impressive creativity and sharp, decisive minds. Due to their place within the Covenant as of late, their culture's recent sole devotion to warfare as encouraged by the Prophets, and the Prophet's restrictions on altering Covenant technology due to its supposed holy origin, the Sangheili have somewhat stagnated technologically. They mostly currently lack the technical expertise to innovate on a large scale and so have had little opportunity to demonstrate their technical skills and creativity in the area of technology. Despite this however their past demonstrates their creativity and adeptness at using and creating technology. Even though they were a martial focused society that treated all paths that were not warriors as hobbies or less, medical and technological advancements flourished, and they were able to achieve technology Tier 2 before joining the Covenant without the use of Forerunner technology, at approximately 1000BCE - 3300 years before Humanity became space faring. They also developed most if not all of the Covenant's weaponry and vehicles, and likely designed many of its starships as well. Only five years after the fall of the Covenant had they begun to demonstrate technical skills when they improved upon the Plasma Rifle design, replacing it with the Storm Rifle.
ss and intelligence has however been mostly demonstrated through battle in recent times. They are capable of commanding their troops with brilliant strategy and tactics, outwitting and deceiving the enemy, bolstering their troop’s morale through powerful leadership and can adapt to situations on the fly, coming up with newer strategies and adapting old ones as needed. This is demonstrated through their numerous victories against much larger Brute and human fleets. Whilst they were outnumbered 3:1 over Installation 00, the Sangheili prevailed. They also fought off and repeatedly defeated Human fleets of equal or larger numbers with relatively few casualties, and when suffering a defeat they managed to inflict massive asymmetric casualties on human fleets before being destroyed. During the battle over High Charity at the outbreak of the Great Schism, Voro Nar ‘Mantakree was able to demonstrate extremely quick and decisive thinking in making full and creative use of his ship's technology; his crew were able to quickly reprogram plasma-guidance signals on the fly to combat Jiralhanae counter-guidance signal technologies, and he demonstrated an intuitive grasp of warfare in space by maneuvering his ship, via depressurizing some hanger bays for additional thru
st, behind shielded allied ships when his own vessel's shields were down in order to prevent his own ship being gutted by plasma fire, whilst being able to time the trajectory to intercept, charge and fire on the enemy when they emerged from cover. In ground battles, they were typically able to inflict over three times more casualties on the humans than what the humans were typically able to inflict on them, assuming that they were not able to outright annihilate human ground forces completely which appears to have seldom happened. On a number of occasions they were able to successfully employ decoys and stealth against human forces to retrieve vital intelligence and artifacts or destroy important infrastructure such as Reach's Orbital Defense Generators, by drawing the human forces' attention away. Cunning tactics of this sort were also used to destroy a number of Spartan super-soldiers, most notably the Headhunter teams, by luring them into traps.
Overall the Sangheili appear to possess a much greater degree of intelligence and creativity than humans and most other Covenant species without the Prophet's imposed limitations upon their thinking, with an IQ likely approaching 200. They typically regard human tactics as poor, and amounting to nothing more than "drowning [them] in their own blood". Additionally, they made it to Tier 2 technology over 3000 years before humans were even Space-Faring (Tier 3), and have likely been Space-Faring for far longer themselves. Humanity however has still to attain Tier 2 technology even as of 2557. They seem to demonstrate a similar scope of emotions to humans however they appear to either feel them more acutely or express them more succinctly, or both, as Jul ‘Mdama described human anger as lacking any eloquence. Despite being able to feel fear, the Sangheili do not display it in battle at all and are therefore universally regarded as fearless by their foes. This likely stems from a greater ability to keep their emotions under check; their mental fortitude and resolve appears to be stronger, in other words.. They also demonstrate a stronger analytical mind, constantly observing and analyzing their surroundings and remembering important details. One example of this is that Sangheili can easily tell whether a person is agitated, lying or in a multitude of other various emotional states by picking up on small changes in the person’s scent, posture, voice and facial expressions. So far this has only been seen with humans whom they consider to be "a mass of signals". They also generally demonstrate superb problem solving abilities as shown by Jul 'Mdama when being held prisoner on Port Stanley; he thought it perfectly feasible for himself to work out where he was in the galaxy by simply analyzing the stars, however he could not given that he had no viewing point in his cell. Additionally, they appear to have an impressive ability to learn as Sangheili such as 'Telcam can speak several Human languages, and despite only being their captor for a few weeks Jul 'Mdama was able to learn the tricks of the human's deception from them before quickly turning it around and using it on them, eventually outsmarting them at their own game to find out important information and eventually escape. 'Telcam was also able to see right through one of ONI's gambles to control Sanghelios by setting him up as a puppet.
However the Sangheili's one big weakness, other than their recent dependency on the Prophets for technology, is their code of honor and overconfidence, which can severely get in the way of their pragmatism and intelligence; they are never allowed to retreat, and must kill themselves if wounded. This very frequently leads to unnecessary casualties. Additionally, many times they have underestimated their opponents, proceeding without taking the proper precautions and lost needlessly, such as at the battle of Onyx or the battle of Psi Serpentis, both of which involved recklessly chasing down Human fleets that they thought they could effortlessly destroy.
Society and Culture
Sangheili have a strong warrior culture, similar to that of the ancient Japanese; they fight for the glory of combat and to uphold the Covenant Oath. Sangheili names with the suffix "-ee" are used to denote warrior-hood as part of the Covenant. However as of post Halo 3 they appear to have abandoned this naming convention. They are typically promoted based on merit, which is always the number of enemies they have killed and casualties inflicted on the opposing force, meaning that a single Zealot may have slaughtered thousands before attaining that rank.
The Energy Sword, an ancestral weapon, continues to be a favorite weapon for high-ranking warriors and aristocrats, and is limited to their use only. Aristocrats who become sword wielders are no longer permitted to marry, but may breed with any female of their choosing, married or otherwise, in order to ensure the transmission of so called "Swordsman genes" to the next generation. Energy Sword fighting styles and duels have been developed, including styles based around wielding two separate blades. Energy Sword wielding Sangheili are extremely dangerous foes. Many UNSC Marines have met a grisly end at the hands of a Sword wielding Sangheili. Their natural speed and agility means that any distance can be closed quickly and hitting them is extremely difficult, and once in close their reaction time and reflexes, strength, endurance and agility combined with their skill with close combat weapons and their tactical intelligence in utilizing the terrain, analyzing their foe’s positions and planning their attacks effectively spell almost certain doom for any squad with one in their midst. During a conflict on Asmara, a single Sword wielding Sangheili was able to slaughter no less than 11 ODST’s one immediately after the other, and was only stopped by another ODST firing a Jackhammer missile at it at almost point black range. All Sangheili no matter what sex, and from the mightiest Zealot to the humblest peasant, has undergone compulsory military training since the first moment they could walk and is very skilled in the use of most weapons and fighting techniques..The only legitimate path to glory and honor in their society is by being a warrior; most other activities and roles receive little to no praise at all. Males however typically fight off world in campaigns whilst the females remain at home and run the States and worlds of their Empire.
Respectful but authoritative commanders, Sangheili rarely fail to elicit a strong bond of loyalty with their troops: it was noted that two separate Arbiters suppressed the Grunt Rebellion and tamed the Hunters, and these two races remain faithful to the Elites when they cast out of the Covenant. Sangheili believe that only the powerful are worthy of naming things, and find it an affront for a lesser species such as humans to do so. Sangheili generally regard humans as nameless creatures as apparently a name implies legitimacy which the Sangheili do not recognize humans to have, and despise them greatly for daring to name their race, with words such as "Elite", "squid face", "split-chin" and "Hinge-Head". They also despise humans due to a combination of over-colonization, untrustworthiness and dishonorable conduct throughout the war. What these actions may refer to is not known. Although Sangheili society has a past rife with warfare between rival clans and states, their more recent history under the Covenant appears to have been devoid of such civil unrests of at least large scale as when confronted by the notion of humans fighting and killing each other, Avu Med 'Telcam criticizes humans as leading such "tangled lives".
Sangheili government appears to be a feudal meritocracy, and is partially democratic, as elders of different clans rule different areas. The ruler of these areas, a Kaidon, is elected by a group of council elders that reside in that area. If a council elder believes that his vote was "ill advised" or "had second thoughts", it was considered a tradition for council elders to initiate some form of attack, such as sending assassins, against the Kaidon in order "...to test the true merit of [the] ruler's martial abilities". The belief was that "a Kaidon who could not defend himself was not a true leader". Should the attack fail, the responsible elder will be executed immediately and his family will be killed. However, punishment for this form of treason was usually flexible. As such, if the elder did something honorable, such as attack the Kaidon himself or attempt to make a final stand against the Kaidon, then he would probably have managed to save his family from certain death, although they might still be banished.
The Sangheili seem to run a rather primitive and cruel form of eugenics similar to Ancient Sparta. When an infant hatches, it is inspected to see if it is large, strong and healthy enough according to whatever standards exist. If the infant is not, then they are left at the mercy of childhood diseases. Not all infants deemed unworthy die though, some are lucky to survive into adolescence. However upon reaching this age, a Sangheili must endure the "War Games" - combat simulations in which Sangheili warrior trainees are pitted against each other in lethal combat. Few Sangheili who do not meet the criteria manage to survive, unless they have an older sibling willing to look out for them, as was the case with Reff' Talamee being protected by his older brother Thon 'Talamee. Their training regimes are also extremely dangerous and taxing, and are in many ways designed to kill them. One example is practising the use of a close combat weapon whilst standing on a small paddling boat over a cold lake. Sangheili who cannot maintain their balance inevitably fall in and are attacked and killed by predators in the waters.
This cruel system ensures that only the strongest and most intelligent Sangheili survive in their culture. Those who do endure these trials can proceed to various colleges that presumably teach the fledgling Sangheili warriors the more technical aspects of warfare in the context of their advanced civilization. One example of such an institution is the Iruiru war college on the Yermo continent, which is apparently a top war college in that region from which graduated Rtas 'Vadumee. Despite a warrior being perhaps the only exalted career path in their society, not all Sangheili remain on that course after all this. Females primarily take charge of other more domestic roles such as running keep finances and logistics, as well as governing in the males stead whilst he is away at war. Other males can also take other career paths, in most cases in addition to being warriors, such as being advisers to the Prophets, political leaders (E.g. High Councillors, Kaidons, etc), technicians, engineers and doctors.
Honour and Respect
It is not entirely uncommon for the Sangheili to feel respect and sometimes even admiration for their adversaries. Sangheili respect and revere veterans and often follow their lead. Their history is full of examples where victorious combatants welcomed the remaining forces of their defeated enemies' into their own armies, provided of course that they fought with honor. An example of where this is applicable was during the Unggoy Rebellion, where the most tenacious of the Unggoy who survived the conflict were admitted for the first time into previously all-Sangheili forces, much to the Prophets' discontent. It is quite likely that survivors of this group of Unggoy were among the Unggoy supporting the Sangheili during the Great Schism out of respect for them, and out of dislike of the Covenant. It is not always the case though where the Sangheili respect an adversary. Even though Humanity had fought for the longest and hardest against the Sangheili than any other race, the Sangheili do not seem willing to extend the same courtesy to their human enemies, believing them to have fought dishonorably on too many occasions to achieve victory. It is also believed that Humans are inherently untrustworthy, parasitical and will seek to undermine the Sangheili in future if they can. This has driven a renewed wave of hatred against Humanity after Halo 3 in place of previously religiously justified hatred, which started an uprising on Sanghelios that almost had the Arbiter overthrown were not for the timely intervention of the UNSC Infinity.
The Sangheili code of honor appears quite similar to Japanese Bushido,
sharing concepts such as skill in combat (with an emphasis on swordsmanship), loyalty to master and family/clan, and views on death. Both systems promote death in battle as being the most honorable and proper way to die. If a warrior is critically injured, incapacitated, or captured, the only acceptable recourse is to commit ritualistic suicide, ensuring one's honor is kept intact. This was of such importance to Sangheili warriors that even if they were incapable of killing themselves, they requested the assistance of their fellow Sangheili in doing so.
The Sangheili have a number of aversions and beliefs in their culture. One example is how they view the shedding of blood. In spite of their martial nature, the Sangheili, or at least some, have reservations to the spilling of one's own blood. This appears to be an extension of the belief that the blood of a warrior is his essence (honor); thus, to spill one's blood is to lose one's honor. As a result, in some areas of Sangheili culture, or perhaps all of it, doctors are seen by many as the lowest members of society because they "...make [their] living slicing and causing another Sangheili to bleed without honor". This meant that the only 'honorable' way for a Sangheili to be injured or bleed out is from combat with the enemy. This belief also makes visiting a doctor very shameful for some Sangheili. Given how medical technologies flourished in their society over 3000 years ago, this aspect of their culture likely developed during their time in the Covenant.
It appears to be a belief among some Sangheili that a weapon is only to be drawn if it is to be used, because a drawn weapon "demands blood". Some Sangheili appear to follow this belief to tragic ends, such as when Thel 'Vadamee was forced to kill one of his friends as he had already drawn his blade.
As previously mentioned, the Sangheili place great value in their names, and it is considered both a privilege and an honor for only those proven worthy to both possess a name and have the right to name other things. The Sangheili generally consider humans to be nameless (There are a few notable exceptions, such as the Spartans encountered in the battlefield whom they exclusively refer to as "Demons". Humans in general are sometimes referred to as "Nishum", which in their language translates as "worm" or "Intestinal parasite"), and detest the fact that the humans have assigned the label "Elite" to them (although they have been given many other names far more derogatory, such as squid-head, split lip, hinge-head, Dino, etc.). The word "Elite" is often transposed as an English translation of their own name in-game and in other media.
Sangheili names are constructed from a series of parts, each of them with a specific or special meaning. The first name is a given name that is attained at birth, which persists until adulthood. As they come of age, they earn the right to carry a badge name. This name is made up of three parts: an adjectival descriptor, such as "fast" or "deadly," a crèche or family name, and the "-ee" suffix, an honorific indicating that the Sangheili is a military participant. Since the Great Schism, most Sangheili in the rebellious faction have removed their name of the '-ee' suffix. Most Sangheili have names with this kind of construction. It appears that additional titles may be given to those of very high rank, such as Xytan 'Jar Wattinree. Since "Jar" is not a part of the standard Sangheili name, it may be assumed that it denotes Xytan's status as Imperial Admiral, although this has yet to be confirmed. There is only one other known instance of this naming structure: Voro 'Mantakree, who was given the additional title "Nar" to denote his status as a Fleet Master. Apart from the "-ee" suffix, the suffix "-ai" denotes swordsmanship, as with Bero 'Kusovai and Toha ‘Sumai.
Family history and lineage are greatly valued in Sangheili culture, with each family having their own unique "Battle Poem" detailing the deeds and actions of its members during times of war. These "epics" may have influenced the recitation of war poetry among the Mgalekgolo, due to their deep respect for Sangheili. Sangheili males are sent into service as warriors and soldiers, whereas the females are kept home to tend to their respective houses, however they too are also trained to fight from a very young age. This training allows the Sangheili to have a potent home guard should an attack on their homeworld ever make it past the males fighting on the front lines.
Sangheili warriors form very close-knitted relationships, referring to their comrades as "brothers" and remaining intensely loyal to them. This loyalty is shown in the custom of grieving after the death of a fallen comrade, a ritual which includes prayer for the dead warrior.
In some clans, Sangheili children are raised in "common rooms" to ensure that all start on an equal footing and progress in rank by merit of their abilities. Members of some Sangheili clans rarely know their true fathers, and are usually raised by a maternal uncle instead. This may be a method of preventing status from being inherited in order to force children to make their own way in the world so they actively work for and earn advancement. However, as some children's fathers were swordsmen who were granted the right to reproduce with any number of female Sangheili they desire, the use of a maternal uncle as a father-like figure may have also been used to allow children to be raised equally. Sangheili believe that copulation without regard for the bloodline is uncultured, something which puts them at odds with the Brutes. A popular pastime for Sangheili children is to hunt small rat-like creatures that live on their homeworld.
The Sangheili are a Tier 2 civilization, aka an interstellar species, and have been for more than 3000 years, hence they very likely control a vast Empire with populations spread across likely thousands of worlds. It is known that the Covenant Empire extends over the majority of the Orion Arm of the Milky Way Galaxy. Their home world, Sanghelios, has a population of 8.125 billion. A few other named colonies have been mentioned such as Joyous Exultation, Decided Heart and Hesduros. Sanghelios itself is highly defended, and was regarded as being practically impenetrable.
Sanghelios is similar in almost every way to Earth, however it is larger with a higher surface gravity and its land masses are more scattered than Earth’s. Sangheili live in a variety of permanent settlements such as ancient stone walled keeps built into tall mountain ranges, such as Vadam Keep; sprawling coastal metropolis’ such as the City of Ontom; and rural and agricultural settlements such as Mdama Keep. The general structure of Sangheili settlements seems to be a variety of smaller keeps and towns throughout the state, with the Kaidon living in a large Keep within what is likely the “State Capitol”. For instance Vadam keep, an elaborate and ancient stone walled keep built into the Kolar mountain range, overlooks a large settlement extending many miles to the coast of Vadam State.
The rate of Sangheili population growth seems to be slower than that of human’s, and therefore they do not seem to colonize as fast as Humanity does; an unfortunate fact that puts the two species at odds with each other after the fall of the High Prophets.
heili are a Tier 2 species, or in other words are classified as an Interstellar level civilization. The requirements for a species to fall into this category are accurate slipspace navigation, near-instantaneous interstellar communication and man-portable application of energy manipulation. The Sangheili meet each of these requirements by a significant margin rather than making a borderline pass. Whereas Humanity around the time of 2557 may now be classified as having Tier 2 technological capability, it is in the strictest sense as such technologies are still cutting edge, expensive and have minimal application. On the other hand the Sangheili have been using these technologies for millennia, and have fully integrated such technologies into their military and navy and even civilian sectors, and see extensive application in all areas. They were also capable of mass producing this technology at a faster rate than Humanity, however due to the recent collapse of the Covenant they have been unable to maintain this rate of production due to a shortage of relevantly skilled labor and facilities. It remains to be seen whether they will rebuild their logistics and military-industrial power before Humanity reaches their level of applied Tier 2 technology.
Their slipspace transportation technology is capable of astoundin
g temporal and spatial accuracy. Their ships are capable of plotting a course and arriving at its destination with an error no more than the diameter of an atom, in comparison to human slipspace travel which have errors of several million kilometers. Additionally, travel through slipspace is subject to arcane temporal effects; human fleets have often entered slipspace at the same time and information only to arrive at their destination out of synchronization and scattered. Sangheili ships however manage to avoid this remarkably well. The average speed of Sangheili vessels through slipspace is approximately 900 light years per day, compared with the best human speed of roughly 2.8 light years per day. Their sensor technologies are so sensitive that they can measure the quantum filaments of space-time, allowing them to enlarge and slip through them to plot a slipspace course with amazing accuracy using minimal energy. This is contrasted with the human method which, in the absence of such sensors, simply involves tearing a hole in space-time with massive amounts of energy, which has proven to be highly inaccurate and energy inefficient. Additionally, their slipspace technology can also plot a course through gravitation fields, although they have not explored this avenue due to the Prophet’s injunctions against altering Covenant technology. Additionally, the Sangheili possess near-instantaneous communication capabilities, giving them yet another massive tactical advantage over the UNSC whose signals in general take many weeks to arrive at their destination.
lication of energy manipulation refers to technology which manipulates high energies that are easily used by people, such as plasma weaponry, energy generation and energy shielding. The Sangheili have adapted this to their entire military. Every Sangheili is equipped with advanced energy shielding; a feat that the UNSC has only recently been able to give a very select few, i.e. the Spartans. Energy shielding has also been adapted to some domestic uses, such as hydroelectric power stations with dams that are enormous energy shields rather than some physical material. Their entire arsenal is almost entirely comprised of plasma based weaponry. Their warrior’s energy shields in addition to their natural toughness, speed and agility make them very durable, and an assortment of devastating plasma weaponry further increases the extreme effectiveness of their ground troops. Their plasma weapons can melt through UNSC Marine armour and garments with frightening ease an
d rapidity, often a single shot being enough to blow off entire limbs and gouge gruesomely large holes in the body. Even the Spartans Mjolnir armour succumbs in only a few hits. Heavier hand held weapons also exist that are easily capable of gutting heavy UNSC vehicles such as tanks in a single shot. Their deadly marksmanship also compliments the destructive power of these weapons to great effect. Their vehicles also sport much larger versions of these weapons with vastly increased destructive capabilities.
Ship based versions of these technologies also exist. Their ship based shields are highly durable and capable of resisting multiple hits from the UNSC’s most powerful ship based weapons, the MAC guns. Nuclear weaponry seems to have a greater effect, though not by much unless detonated within the ships shield bubble, which contains and intensifies the blast. Their ships also possess plasma torpedoes. These torpedoes are powerful enough to gut a UNSC ship in a single hit, and are also capable of t
The excursions were wonderful - Diorama and Panorama, the South Coast of Crimea is a classic. But in the evening again the passion of sex - Olya in the morning was just happy, humming something cheerfully and invited to come again. Two weeks later I was again in paradise - Olya was so delighted with me. And also In those distant times, I accidentally started working in a travel agency.
There were some women and they persuaded me to work with them - no one wanted to do the so-called "Weekend Routes".
- Reddit audiophile
- Mamamoo hwasa
- Mcdougal nashville
- Amazing dinoworld
- Homes for sale kendall florida
- 802 toyota
- Moto ringtone
- 5e bless
- Outdoor gun ranges in kentucky
- 1994 johnson outboard motor specs
- Petfinder dogs
The evening office was buzzing in different parts of the company, divided into interest groups. Somewhere music was playing, somewhere female laughter was heard, but the hero of the occasion was nowhere to be seen. Today the office celebrated the anniversary of the chief accountant, Olga Viktorovna, a plump blonde, a woman pleasant in all respects.
And loved by all employees of the company. The birthday itself took place on Tuesday, but, in order to avoid the loss of employees on Wednesday, it was decided to.