- "What does it mean to be 'Covenant' today? A hundred warlords claim they rule the Covenant, but each of them leads only a small faction."
- —Zef 'Trahl
Covenant remnants are splinter factions originating from the former Covenant body and remain active after the onset of the Great Schism, though no single group uses the specific term "Covenant remnant" to refer to themselves. These factions vary greatly in ethos and motives; while some consider themselves as upholding the legacy of the Covenant as it used to be, others have been shown to pursue more extensive reforms or their own specific agendas. Although many former Covenant members discarded the Prophets' religion and the belief in the "Great Journey" altogether in the wake of the revelation of the truth about the Halos, many Sangheili in particular have reverted to their species' ancient ways of worshiping the Forerunners and their technology, while others continue to maintain their belief in the "Great Journey" free from the influence of the Prophets. Thus, the various Covenant remnant factions range from pragmatic mercenaries to fanatical religious cultists.
Unlike the Covenant at its height, the general scarcity of resources has forced many of the remnant factions to use whatever they can find. Intact capital warships are considered coveted assets among the splinter factions, as many ships were destroyed in the Great Schism and a significant portion of the Covenant's infrastructure and shipyards remain inactive following the war. Additionally, with the majority of the Huragok mysteriously disappearing, many former Covenant no longer possess the capacity to repair and maintain most of their equipment. Still, select Sangheili armories have taken over the production of matériel formerly manufactured within High Charity and have even developed new assets such as the T-55 storm rifle. Despite this, many remnant groups are forced to employ obsolete or second-hand military equipment and weaponry in the absence of the Covenant's extensive supply chain. On the other hand, black markets—many of them operated by Kig-Yar profiteering from the Covenant's end, and others by Yonhet—were flooded with former Covenant matériel after the war. Because of their limited resources, some Covenant groups have resorted to terrorism to achieve their ends following the war. While previously considered a major taboo among the Sangheili, some groups are also known to utilize human weaponry, namely nuclear weapons.
- 1 History
- 2 Presently known groups
- 3 Former groups
- 4 List of appearances
- 5 Sources
The Great Schism and dissolution of the Covenant
While select remnant factions, such as the Banished, were already active before the Covenant's fall, most of the Covenant remnants can trace their origins back to the outbreak of the Great Schism in November 2552. After the Hierarchs replaced the Sangheili with the Jiralhanae and ordered the genocide of the former, the Sangheili rebelled against the San'Shyuum-led main body of the Covenant. Many of the emerging Sangheili factions would continue to regard themselves as the "true" Covenant, some noting that the Sangheili had "kicked out" the San'Shyuum. Amidst the turmoil of the Great Schism, the Sangheili factions assembled at their base world Joyous Exultation under the leadership of Imperial Admiral Xytan 'Jar Wattinree, who announced the treachery of the Prophets and proposed the creation of a new, Sangheili-led Covenant. After Wattinree and his forces were killed by a NOVA bomb, the bulk of the Sangheili rallied behind Arbiter Thel 'Vadam and Shipmaster Rtas 'Vadum. This group, initially centered around the Fleet of Retribution, would later come to call themselves the Swords of Sanghelios.
Many Unggoy, Mgalekgolo, Yanme'e and Kig-Yar remained within either the Jiralhanae's or the Sangheili's respective command hierarchies and continued to serve their masters throughout the Great Schism.
Formation of other remnants of the Covenant
After the death of the Prophet of Truth and many of the Prophets at the hands of the Sangheili, the remaining San'Shyuum went into hiding, leaving a power vacuum within the remains of the Covenant. Various high-ranked members of the fallen hegemony seized control of as many military assets as they could; many became independent warlords commanding their own factions, some of them claiming to be legitimate successors to the Covenant. Others, including many Sangheili kaidons, hoarded ships and weapons for their own purposes while avoiding involvement in larger conflicts.
Humanity was also entangled in the Covenant remnants' post-war power dynamics. Conducting its own operations unknown to the rest of the UNSC, the Office of Naval Intelligence armed Sangheili dissidents of the Servants of the Abiding Truth and even covertly attacked the Arbiter's forces to maintain the balance of power between the two factions. ONI was also indirectly responsible for the formation of one of the most prominent post-Covenant revival factions, led by the Sangheili Jul 'Mdama. After escaping ONI detainment on the shield world-based ONI research facility Trevelyan, 'Mdama learned of his wife's death during the Blooding Years and vowed revenge on the humans due to their involvement in his species' affairs. 'Mdama, assisted by Sangheili from a remote colony planet called Hesduros, formed a revival of the Covenant and proceeded to go to the Forerunner world Requiem and wake the "living god" known as the Didact to assist them in eradicating all humanity.
- Main article: Post-Covenant War conflicts
The greater Sangheili-Jiralhanae feud continued in the background for years in the wake of the Great Schism, taking its toll on both species. While seemingly more subdued in the first months after the Schism's beginning, the conflict began to intensify again as the years passed and the Jiralhanae's resources began to dwindle. This prompted them to raid Sangheili-held territories for foodstuffs and other supplies, as they were unable of obtaining the resources themselves due to their disorganized and barbaric nature.
Defying the tenuous peace between humanity and the majority of the Sangheili, aligned with the Arbiter, several Sangheili-led factions—mainly religious cultists—once again rose to oppose humanity soon after the end of the war. In 2554, the planet of Draetheus V was attacked by Covenant cultists led by Zealot Merg Vol. This group was eventually stopped by UNSC forces and Merg Vol was executed by Spartan Sarah Palmer. In 2557, Jul 'Mdama's Covenant engaged UNSC forces, including their flagship Infinity, at Requiem. During these events, the Didact was awakened and soon joined forces with the Covenant, although he was eventually defeated by Spartan John-117 over Earth, and shortly after in the Composer's Forge. After the Didact's apparent death, control over his mechanical Promethean armies passed on to 'Mdama. Six months later, the UNSC again contested the occupying Covenant forces in the Requiem Campaign, ending in the shield world's destruction at the hands of 'Mdama.
Only weeks after the destruction of Requiem, an offshoot of 'Mdama's Covenant was hired by the human insurgent group New Colonial Alliance to disrupt peace negotiations between the Arbiter and the Jiralhanae Chieftain Lydus on Ealen IV. During July 2558, another offshoot of 'Mdama's Covenant attempted to rebel against the main faction, but 'Mdama's forces managed to capture its leader, Sali 'Nyon, and eliminate all his followers. Eventually, however, 'Nyon would escape captivity and lead a mutiny aboard the Assault Carrier Breath of Annihilation, successfully breaking away and gathering followers.
Several of the more fanatical splinter factions have resumed the practice of glassing human colonies after the end of the Covenant War. The colony of Cleyell fell victim to such an attack in 2556.
In October of 2558, 'Mdama's Covenant suffered a disastrous setback when its leader was killed by Fireteam Osiris while engaging Promethean forces. 'Mdama's forces would continue in his name, including an attempt to secure the ONI research vessel Argent Moon and an attack on Arbiter Thel 'Vadam's keep, but were ultimately destroyed by a counter-attack by the Swords of Sanghelios against their last major stronghold on Sanghelios, Sunaion. While it is likely that other Covenant factions remained, 'Mdama's faction was the largest, and Created Guardians were deployed across the galaxy almost immediately afterward, rendering their status unknown.
Presently known groups
Swords of Sanghelios
- Main article: Swords of Sanghelios
Arbiter Thel 'Vadam and then-Special Operations Commander Rtas 'Vadum of the Fleet of Retribution successfully rebelled against the San'Shyuum-led Covenant during the Great Schism, assassinating its remaining political leadership alongside the UNSC. Following the conclusion of the Human-Covenant War, 'Vadam and his allies formally established the Swords of Sanghelios and sought to make peace with the humans. The Swords are the most prominent post-Covenant faction to abandon not only the Covenant religion but also question the Sangheili's traditional worship of the Forerunners as well, which has been a point of controversy among some of the more conservative Sangheili. The Abiding Truth, in particular, consider 'Vadam and his allies blasphemers.
Servants of the Abiding Truth
- Main article: Servants of the Abiding Truth
The Servants of the Abiding Truth is an insurgent group led by Sangheili religious extremist and former Field Master, Avu Med 'Telcam. Unlike most of the post-Covenant factions, the Servants have their roots in an ancient order, mostly suppressed by the Prophets during the Covenant's reign and revived after the San'Shyuum were overthrown. Outspoken in their opposition of the Arbiter and his abandonment of the worship of the Forerunners, the Abiding Truth launched an armed insurgency against 'Vadam in March 2553, assisted by elements of the human Office of Naval Intelligence.
Keepers of the One Freedom
- Main article: Keepers of the One Freedom
The Keepers of the One Freedom are a militant religious cult devoted to the worship of the Forerunners based on Venezia. The Keepers are unusual among post-Covenant factions in that they welcome human followers to their ranks, provided they swear to oppose the "heretic tyranny" of the Unified Earth Government. Because of this, the Keepers quickly gained popularity within the Outer Colonies after the Covenant War. As of July 2553, they were also supported by separatist elements within Gao's planetary government, namely minister Arlo Casille, who covertly supplied them with money and weapons.
- Main article: Tem'Bhetek's faction
After the end of the war, several former Covenant members that were loyal to the Covenant during the Great Schism sought revenge against the Sangheili. Predominantly composed of Jiralhanae, this faction was led by San'Shyuum Tem'Bhetek and Boru'a'Neem. It is one of the few post-war factions to contain San'Shyuum, and to resume hostility against the Sangheili but not humanity.
- Main article: Banished
The Banished are a mercenary group led by the Jiralhanae warlord Atriox. They fought against the Covenant before the hegemony's fall, and have consolidated a significant number of military assets in the wake of the Human-Covenant War. In 2559, they had a major presence on Installation 00 and clashed with the UNSC forces from the UNSC Spirit of Fire when the long-lost support vessel mysteriously stumbled upon the Ark.
After the events of the Great war, Luro 'Taralumee used his previous station within the Covenant in an attempt to consolidate power for unknown reasons and is considered dangerous by the UNSC due to his zealous devotion to the Great Journey and adherence to Covenant ideals.
- Main article: Vata 'Gajat's mercenary group
Vata 'Gajat was a former member of Jul 'Mdama's faction, until he saw the benefit of human capitalism and turned mercenary. The faction's equipment and resources are a mixture from both the original Covenant and 'Mdama's group. By March 2558, 'Gajat and the group were employed by the New Colonial Alliance. The group was responsible for the disruption of a Sangheili and Jiralhanae peace meeting on Ealen IV. They later assisted the New Colonial Alliance in their attempt to assassinate Lord Hood and destroy the Infinity. During the Ambush at Oth Lodon many of its forces, including 'Gajat himself, were killed, leaving the group's future uncertain.
- Main article: Lydus' clan
Lydus is a Jiralhanae Chieftain leading a master-pack which emerged in a position of power among the Jiralhanae after the fall of the Covenant. In 2558, Lydus and the pack agreed to enter peace negotiations with the Swords of Sanghelios to exchange Jiralhanae resources for food, overseen by the UNSC. However, the subsequent attack by 'Gajat's forces left these peace negotiations in doubt.
- Main article: Sali 'Nyon's Covenant
Sali 'Nyon was a former member of Jul 'Mdama's faction, until he decided that he was the true "Didact's Hand". After gaining followers from within 'Mdama's faction, he betrayed Jul and stole the UNSC's half of the Janus Key. Despite this, one of his followers had a change of mind and stole his half of the Janus Key, delivering it to Dr. Halsey. Shortly after this, Jul's Covenant captured Sali 'Nyon and destroyed all of Nyon's hideouts, killing all his followers and ending his rebellion temporarily. Months later during Operation: ATHENA Ayit 'Sevi released Sali from custody, allowing Sali and his new followers to take over the Breath of Annihilation and escape from Jul 'Mdama's forces. 'Nyon remained as the de facto "Hand of the Didact" after 'Mdama's assassination and the collapse of his Covenant at Sunaion.
Since the collapse of the Covenant, Kig-Yar society has shown little to no change. It is still overwhelmingly matriarchal in nature and is prone to piracy. Significant Kig-Yar activities have been recorded on planets such as Venezia and Ven III. Kig-Yar scavengers have also continued to occupy glassed human colonies, as in the case of Cleyell.
Summit at Joyous Exultation
- Main article: Joyous Exultation Covenant
This assembly of Sangheili forces was a short-lived predecessor to the more prominent faction led by Arbiter Thel 'Vadam. At the onset of the Great Schism, Imperial Admiral Xytan 'Jar Wattinree summoned all Sangheili to the base world Joyous Exultation for an emergency meeting. 'Wattinree revealed the Prophets' treachery to his comrades and issued a fleet-wide missive of an alliance among the Sangheili to destroy both the Prophets and their Jiralhanae allies. With the exception of Voro Nar 'Mantakree's fleet, the entirety of this force was destroyed by a UNSC NOVA bomb during the summit. Meanwhile, the survivors were wiped out at Onyx by the Forerunner world's automated defenses.
- Main article: Merg Vol's Covenant
Led by Zealot Merg Vol, the faction initiated one of the first post-Covenant War conflicts, attacking the human research world of Draetheus V to access the Forerunner artifacts on its moon. Ultimately, the UNSC defeated the group and Vol was executed by Spartan Sarah Palmer, leading to the faction's dissolution. Parg Vol, a former member of this group, joined the faction led by 'Mdama following the battle.
- Main article: Jul 'Mdama's Covenant
This faction was founded on Hesduros by Jul 'Mdama, who initially started as a member of the Servants of the Abiding Truth but grew disillusioned with their religious zeal and willingness to collaborate with humanity even temporarily. Despite the ostensibly religious trappings of the group and the genuine zeal of many of its members, 'Mdama himself does not view the Forerunners as gods, only projecting the façade of a religious leader to motivate his followers. Since the events of the first Requiem campaign, Jul 'Mdama's faction was considered by the UNSC to be the biggest threat among the many Covenant remnant factions, and absorbed elements of one large faction, spun off two smaller groups, and allied themselves with the Ur-Didact's Promethean constructs, and with the greatest mind of the UNSC: Dr. Catherine Halsey. During the Battle of Kamchatka in October 2558, this Covenant faction received three fatal blows: Halsey was rescued by Fireteam Osiris, the Prometheans betrayed their Covenant allies, and the leader Jul 'Mdama was assassinated. After this devastating event, the Covenant—temporarily led by Kitun 'Arach and other high ranking Sangheili—launched a final, desperate assault to Sanghelios, but it failed and the faction was destroyed by the Swords of Sanghelios.
List of appearances
- Halo 2 (First appearance)
- Halo: Ghosts of Onyx
- Halo 3
- Halo: Evolutions - Essential Tales of the Halo Universe
- Halo: Glasslands
- Halo: The Thursday War
- Halo 4
- Halo: Spartan Assault
- Halo: Initiation (Mentioned only)
- Halo: Escalation
- Halo: Mortal Dictata
- Halo 2: Anniversary
- Halo: New Blood (Mentioned only)
- Halo: Spartan Strike
- Halo: Hunters in the Dark
- Halo: Fleet Battles
- Halo: Last Light
- Halo 5: Guardians
- Limited Edition (Mentioned only)
- Halo: Shadow of Intent
- Halo Fractures
- Halo: Tales from Slipspace
- ^ a b c d e f g h Halo: Escalation, Issue #5
- ^ Halo: Escalation, Issue #3
- ^ Halo Waypoint: Canon Fodder: 05.05.15
- ^ Halo Waypoint - Universe: Covenant
- ^ a b c Halo: The Thursday War
- ^ Halo: Last Light, pages 126-128 (Google Play edition)
- ^ Halo Waypoint: The Halo Bulletin: 4.16.14
- ^ Halo: Glasslands, page 256
- ^ Halo 4 Official Site: ORDNANCE + ARMOR (defunct)
- ^ Halo 4: Official Game Guide (Collector's Edition), page 263
- ^ Halo: Glasslands, page 247
- ^ Halo 4: The Essential Visual Guide, page 29
- ^ Spartan Ops, S1E1 Departure
- ^ Halo: Glasslands, page 58
- ^ Halo 3
- ^ Halo 2, campaign level Uprising
- ^ Halo 2, campaign level The Great Journey
- ^ a b Halo: Evolutions The Return page 506
- ^ Halo: The Thursday War, pages 295-296
- ^ Halo: Glasslands
- ^ a b c d Halo: Escalation, Issue #1
- ^ Spartan Ops, S1E1 Departure
- ^ Halo: Escalation - Issue #16
- ^ Halo: Escalation - Issue #24
- ^ Halo: Escalation, Issue #17
- ^ Halo 5
- ^ Halo 3, campaign level, The Covenant
- ^ Halo Waypoint: Arbiter Thel 'Vadam
- ^ Halo Glasslands, pages 58-61
- ^ Halo Glasslands, page 130
- ^ Halo: Glasslands, page 18
- ^ Halo: Glasslands, page 19
- ^ Halo The Thursday War, page 114
- ^ Halo: Last Light, page 62 (Google Play edition)
- ^ Halo: Fractures - Halo: Shadow of Intent - Page 133 - "And I promise the Sangheili will pay for everything they have done"
- ^ YouTube: Halo Wars 2 E3 Trailer BTS
- ^ Halo Waypoint: Halo Wars 2
- ^ Halo Waypoint: Canon Fodder
- ^ Halo: Escalation, Issue #6
- ^ Halo: Escalation, Issue #14
- ^ Halo: Escalation, Issue #16
- ^ Halo: Escalation, Issue 24
- ^ Halo 5: Guardians, campaign level Battle of Sunaion
- ^ Halo Waypoint: Kig-Yar
- ^ Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, pages 239-245
- ^ Halo: Spartan Assault - Operation A: Umbra
- ^ Halo: Spartan Assault, Battle for the Moon
- ^ a b Spartan Ops, S1E3 - The VIP
- ^ Halo The Thursday War, pages 436-441
- ^ Halo The Thursday War, page 437