(Latin Perosus latrunculus)
6.2 feet (190 cm) - 6.8 feet (210 cm)
206 pounds (93 kg) - 195 pounds (88 kg)
Sinewy and slender; avian features, large pale eyes, beaked head with teeth, clawed hands and feet.
- "Jackals may be superior marksmen and they're very sneaky, but that doesn't make them excellent snipers — they’re a little too bloodthirsty for that."
- —Anonymous UNSCDF serviceman
The Kig-Yar (sometimes rendered as "Kig-yar"; Forerunner designation: perosus latrunculus, Latin for "hateful bandit"; human designation: Covenant secundarium carnivora prœdonis, Latin for "Covenant secondary carnivorous combatant"), are a saurian species which serve the Covenant as mercenaries and privateers. There are two distinct races of Kig-Yar; the more common of these races are known to humans as Jackals, while the larger, less common specimens are called Skirmishers. In combat, Kig-Yar typically serve as snipers and scouts within the Covenant due to their excellent senses of sight, smell, and hearing.
The Ark and reseeding
The Kig-Yar were one of many species indexed by the Librarian and preserved on Installation 00 from the firing of the Halo Array. They were subsequently returned to their homeworld, where they began re-building their culture.
During their early history, Kig-Yar society was divided into clans that sailed across Eayn's seas as pirates, raiding the encampments and settlements of rival clans. Eventually, the clans united, and the Kig-Yar species worked together in developing space-travel technology. Shortly afterward, they established colonies on many small asteroids around Chu'ot. Some Kig-Yar continued their ancient ways of life and became pirates once more, preying upon merchant starships. These groups of pirates were the Kig-Yar's only effective response to the overwhelming Covenant military juggernaut that arrived in the Kig-Yar home system in 1342.
The war between the Covenant and Kig-Yar forces culminated in sieges of redoubts on the asteroids surrounding their world. Eventually, in order to survive, they accepted Letters of Marque: commissions from the Ministry of Tranquility to engage in the services of the Covenant, though often this was merely used as an excuse to continue their plundering lifestyle. The Kig-Yar would spend much of their time preying on the ships of the Covenant's enemies, such as Humanity.
Kig-Yar are around the same level as the Unggoy in the Covenant hierarchy, although the Kig-Yar despise the Unggoy and believe themselves to be superior. This reached a boiling point in 2462, when some Kig-Yar in High Charity attempted to poison Infusions, recreational narcotics the Unggoy enjoyed, which would have left the Unggoy sterile, in retaliation for the Unggoy encroaching on their habitats and displacing Kig-Yar nests. Although a junior staffer in the Ministry of Concert found evidence of this, the High Council failed to properly investigate the incident, culminating in the Unggoy Rebellion.
A Kig-Yar missionary ship, the Minor Transgression, was the first Covenant vessel to make contact with Humanity. The ship raided a commercial freighter leaving the planet Harvest, and the events that followed would later lead to full-scale military action on the part of Humanity and the Covenant.
Following the outbreak of the Human-Covenant War, a group of Kig-Yar under Reth made contact with the Rubble, a community of human survivors of the glassing of Madrigal. The Kig-Yar agreed to trade Covenant weaponry in exchange for slipspace drives. Although the humans believed the Kig-Yar were defying Covenant authority, they were in fact secretly proceeding with the blessing of the High Prophet of Truth to use the weapons to map UNSC space and learn the location of Earth. However, the plan fell apart due to the High Prophet of Regret sending Sangheili warriors to investigate the weapons, believing the Kig-Yar to be heretics.
Following the collapse of the Covenant and the end of the Human-Covenant War, the majority of Kig-Yar returned to a lifestyle of piracy.
Anatomy and physiology
Kig-Yar have features similar to birds of prey as well as reptiles. Their legs are sinewy and muscular, and are reverse-jointed in a similar fashion to birds. They have sharp claws on both hands and feet. Being carnivores, their sharp beaks are lined with rows of razor-sharp teeth; some have far more numerous teeth which bear a passing resemblance to baleen. Kig-Yar have been known to eat the flesh of fallen enemies, as well as live prisoners. Kig-Yar have extraordinary senses of sight, hearing, and smell.
Male Kig-Yar possess plumages of spiny quills at the back of the head and on the elbows; the color of this plumage indicates the Kig-Yar's mood. Females lack these quill plumages, instead having calloused plates at the forearms and the rear of the head. This thick skin helps protect the female during courtship: when mating, the male will often bite, chew, and tear on the back of the female's head, neck, and arms. Kig-Yar reproduce by laying eggs which the female incubates, similar to birds. When mating, the male can choose to fertilize the egg, in which a male is produced, whereas, if the eggs are not fertilized, a female is produced. This may imply that Kig-Yar have the ability to reproduce without mating, like some terrestrial birds.
While Kig-Yar have hollow avian bones and are physically frail, they are capable of moving quickly to evade harm. Their blood is bright purple in color, similar to that of the Sangheili, possibly showing a similar chemical makeup. They lack high amounts of calcium in their skeletons, which makes them a poor source of biomass for the Flood. Thus, Kig-Yar that are infected by the Flood are typically turned directly into carrier forms rather than combat forms. However, they have been utilized as combat forms during at least one engagement.
The Kig-Yar species is divided into at least two races: the lighter "Jackals" and the more muscular "Skirmishers". Each race exhibits distinct variations in appearance and physiology. Jackals typically exhibit light brown or tan skin tones, though some individuals feature gray-green or red skin; flexible quills on the head and forearms among males, with calloused plates among females; and elongated, beaked heads with bulbous eyes, though some Jackals have heads akin to those of the Skirmishers.
Skirmishers have darker skin and have shorter, squared heads with small yellow eyes; they also have more beak-like mouths. Skirmishers have true feathers on their heads and arms, unlike the Jackals' quills. Like Jackals, Skirmishers have sharp talons on their hands and feet. While both subspecies are quite agile, Skirmishers are capable of sprinting at great speeds and leaping long distances.
The reason for the morphological differences among the Kig-Yar races is unknown, though it may be a result of the Kig-Yar adapting to different colony worlds over millenia. Since Eayn is naturally a lower-gravity planet than Earth or Reach, it is possible that Jackals are from Eayn while the more heavily built Skirmishers may be from higher-G colonies that the Kig-Yar have settled. Alternatively, they may simply be variations that arose naturally on Eayn, much as early humanity was once divided into many species and subspecies.
The Kig-Yar are unique among Covenant races: rather than being faithful followers of the Prophets' religion, they serve the Covenant due to the monetary rewards the Prophets pay them. However, due to the long time they have been in the Covenant, a large number of them have accepted the Covenant religion. Kig-Yar have been known to coexist relatively peacefully with humans, as evidenced by the relationship between the Rubble and Reth's forces on Metisette, and the cooperation of Kig-Yar on New Llanelli with ONI operatives. When the Kig-Yar were finally ordered by the Prophets to attack and destroy the humans of the Rubble, many of them even regretted the order. This is likely due to the pragmatic, mercantile culture of their race: As long as it benefits them economically, Kig-Yar will co-operate with nearly any group, even declared enemies of the Covenant.
Role within the Covenant
Kig-Yar serve primarily as light infantry, police forces, overseers and marksmen. Kig-Yar privateers also commonly crew Covenant missionary ships, such as the Minor Transgression. Originally, they were intended to replace the Unggoy as the foot soldiers of the Covenant, but their temperament made this impractical. Instead, they were assigned roles that were better suited to their natural abilities, such as scouts and snipers.
Within Covenant society, Kig-Yar have little status and are subservient to all but the Unggoy. Because of this, Kig-Yar frequently harass Unggoy to assert what little authority they have. In some cases, Sangheili or Jiralhanae dispose of criminals or prisoners by feeding them to Kig-Yar convicts, who eat the victim alive.
Due to their unique position in the Covenant, the Kig-Yar often utilize starships of their own making instead of Covenant-made ones. In addition, they are forbidden to build their own slipspace drives, and have to rely on heavily regulated, unmodifiable drives engineered by the San 'Shyuum instead.
The Kig-Yar are not represented on the High Council but are instead vetted by the Ministry of Concert. The Kig-Yar do not vocally complain about their position but instead have selected to siphon off resources to their brethren. Whether the Covenant leadership was aware of this is currently unknown.
The Kig-Yar government on Eayn is a post-industrial capitalist system, with a population of 978 million. It is also described as an ochlocracy, a system of government best described as a government by mob, or the intimidation of constitutional authorities. Presumably, this implies that whatever form of local government the Kig-Yar possess is ineffective and ignored.
Kig-Yar names usually consist of a single syllable, with two consonants and one vowel, such as Yeg, Jak and Bok. However, Chur'R-Yar and Chur'R-Mut, who were both Shipmistresses, have multiple syllables in their names. It is speculated that the Kig-Yar naming system is at least partially based on sex, rank, or both. However, their naming system might not be the one of their own culture; it has been stated that Sangheili do not allow the Kig-Yar to have more than one name. Alternatively, it may be that the Kig-Yar language consists of single syllable words (their name for themselves, Kig-Yar, actually is two single syllable words combined).
The prefix "Chur'R-" is believed to indicate the title of Shipmistress, as both Chur'R-Yar and Chur'R-Mut were female Kig-Yar in command of a vessel.
- Main article: Eayn
Eayn is the homeworld of the Kig-Yar species and is the primary satellite of the planet Chu'ot. It is characterized by its single equatorial ocean, sparse volcanism, and almost total lack of glaciation. Only about one-third of all Kig-Yar who still reside in the Y'deio system call Eayn their home; many have chosen to live among the minor planets within the asteroid belt since their initial contact with the Covenant. However, it is theorized that the Kig-Yar have colonized many other planets, due to their physiological diversity.
Some Jackals have gained the rank of Shipmaster, and are able to lead their own ships in the Covenant Navy. Because of their pirating reputation, the rank of Shipmaster is usually given only to Elites and Brutes.
Although not formally considered a rank, the Jackal Krith was known to be one before his death.
- The Kig-Yar were the first Covenant species fought by human beings. Staff Sergeants Avery Johnson and Nolan Byrne fought and killed two of them in the skirmish on Minor Transgression over Harvest, shortly before the First Battle of Harvest. Later, they became the first Covenant species encountered by the SPARTAN-IIs aboard Unrelenting at Chi Ceti IV.
- The name "Jackal" comes from a wild dog that is similar to the coyote, and is a reference to their scavenger appearance and nature.
- "Kig-Yar" is Breton for "chicken" and Phonetic Welsh for "chicken meat".
- Chur'R-Yar and Chur'R-Mut are the only known female Kig-Yar, and were also the first two female Covenant characters to appear in Halo canon.
- Although Jackals carry grenades in Halo 2 , they are never seen using them. This is possibly because of the fact that, in terms of game mechanics, they 'dual-wield' their energy shield with whatever other weapon they are carrying.
- In all games prior to Halo: Reach, all Jackals shoot left-handed and are the only Covenant species to do so. However, in Halo: Reach Jackals shoot with their right hands and carry their shields with their left hands.
- Kig-Yar possess a strong salty, occasionally acrid stench, which is described by Staff Sergeant Malcolm Geffen as "mudflats at low tide after a passing tanker carrying acetic acid had shed its load on the beach."
- Occasionally, Jackals can be seen without their usual bright spines on their heads. Canonically, these would likely be females, this appearance is probably the result of a glitch.
- "Wild Jackals" appear in early concept art for Halo Wars. Their dress resembles that of the eponymous aliens from the Predator franchise.
- The Jackal "language" is comprised of speech recordings of Bungie composer Marty O'Donnell, played backwards.
- In Halo: The Fall of Reach, Kig-Yar blood is said to be blue, despite its actual purple coloration.
- The first time Jackals are encountered in-game is in Halo: Combat Evolved on the level Halo. They do not appear in the first level, Pillar of Autumn, due to the Covenant's mistrust of them being on enemy vessels because of their pirating ways. However, in Halo: The Flood, they are mentioned as boarding the UNSC Pillar of Autumn during their initial attack.
Jackal in the level Assault on the Control Room in Halo: Combat Evolved.
A Kig-Yar sniper from Halo 2 wields a particle beam rifle.
A Kig-Yar Minor on patrol on The Ark in Halo 3.
A Kig-Yar Major in Halo: Reach.
Renders from The Package.
- ^ a b Halo Encyclopedia: page 147
- ^ halo.bungie.org: Bestiarum Latin names translated
- ^ Dr. Halsey's personal journal
- ^ a b Bungie.net: ODST Guide
- ^ Halo: Combat Evolved
- ^ Halo: Contact Harvest, pages 56/58
- ^ Halo Wars
- ^ a b Halo: Combat Evolved
- ^ Halo Waypoint: Kig-Yar
- ^ Halo: The Cole Protocol, page 222
- ^ Bestiarum
- ^ Halo: The Fall of Reach, pages 125/126
- ^ Halo: Glasslands, page 159
- ^ The Fall of Reach, page 327
|Member and client races of the Covenant|
|San 'Shyuum • Sangheili • Jiralhanae • Huragok • Lekgolo (Mgalekgolo) • Yanme'e • Kig-Yar (Skirmisher) • Unggoy|