This article is about the Sangheili group. For the practices involving asceticism in general, see asceticism.
The Ascetics are an order of warriors within the Sangheili culture with deep ties to ancient beliefs. The Ascetics use a unique, ancient design of harness which incorporates a fully enclosed helmet and a traditional bladed mandible guard.
Prior to the formation of the Covenant, the Ascetics were an order of religiously devout Sangheili who controlled and enforced ideological purity within their faith, which was achieved through the Ascetic guard. They also had other functions, mostly involving religious matters; for example, the study, explanation and interpretation of religious and historical texts. When the Sangheili first joined with the San'Shyuum to form the Covenant Empire, one of the terms of the Writ of Union was the dissolution of the Ascetic guard, though they were reconstituted as an organization under the authority of the San'Shyuum-controlled Ministry of Abnegation. The Ascetics continued to recruit worthy Sangheili warriors into their order with the intentions of keeping the ideals of their ancient beliefs and practices alive within the Covenant.
With the return of the Sangheili's sovereignty in the Great Schism came the revival of the Ascetics as an independent group. With the aid of Usze 'Taham and other like-minded Sangheili, the Ascetic guard was quickly resurrected and aided the Fleet of Retribution in combating the Jiralhanae and the San'Shyuum. By 2555, 'Taham continued to assist the Ascetics by serving as a liaison for several Sangheili factions, keeps, and the UNSC. At least one member of the Ascetics was present with the Swords of Sanghelios during their peace talks with Lydus' clan in 2558, though the efforts were soiled when the delegates were attacked and the Ascetic warrior was killed.
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