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Ballad of Kel 'Darsam

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"Kel 'Darsam fell, spear in his back, Down to the rocks where the waves did crack."
— A verse from the ballad

The Ballad of Kel 'Darsam is a very old Sangheili narrative song widely known and sung to Sangheili children.[1] It recounts the legendary demise of the beloved warrior-hero Kel 'Darsam during his famous right of release rescue of his kaidon-uncle. Oddly, there exist two versions of the ballad but both versions share the same ending. In their youth both Shipmaster Rtas 'Vadum and Blademaster Vul 'Soran learned to sing the ballad in a native dialect of Sangheili. The CRS-class light cruiser Spear of Light was named in reference to the song.[2]

Background[edit]

In the ballad, the demigod Kel 'Darsam was mentored by his uncle Orok 'Darsam. Kel became a warrior renowned for his bravery and cunning. He famously sailed the mysterious seas of Sanghelios, slaying semi-mythical terrors like the Sand Dwellers of Il'ik, the many-mouthed Watcher of the Lonely Harbor, and the nine serpents of Dur'at'dur. Because he was so keen on ridding the seas of monstrous creatures, Kel had little interest in becoming kaidon, and so he gladly left the position to his uncle.[1]

During one of many enemy assaults on 'Darsam's familial keep, his uncle was captured by the powerful sea lord and rival kaidon, Nesh 'Radoon. In response, Kel dutifully invoked the "right of release" and set off to liberate Orok. Without a navy of his own, Kel sailed alone to infiltrate 'Radoon's keep under cover of night. After scaling the walls of the keep and slaying his rival's best swordsmen, Kel and Orok raced to make their escape. As Kel prepared to dive off the keep's wall to safety, he was mortally wounded when a spear struck him in the back. As he fell to his death toward the waves below, Kel was touched by the rising light of his divine father, the god-star Urs, and was then transformed into pure light.

With two versions of the ballad in existence, modern Sangheili are unsure who threw the spear that struck down the great hero. One version claims that Nesh 'Radoon himself is responsible for throwing the spear and killing Kel. In the other account of the legend, Kel is said to have been betrayed by his own uncle. This telling holds that the entire capture was an elaborate ruse designed by Orok, who was fearful that Kel would one day decide to claim his title of kaidon.[3]

Although many old Sangheili myths faded away after the rise of the Covenant and its religion, the ballad of Kel 'Darsam was not forgotten and the Sangheili continued to pass the song along to their offspring, also teaching them that the Sangheili word kel meant "light (that dances on the waves)."[3]

List of appearances[edit]

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ a b Halo: Shadow of Intent, page 22 (Google Play edition)
  2. ^ Halo: Shadow of Intent, page 65 (Google Play edition)
  3. ^ a b Halo: Shadow of Intent, page 23 (Google Play edition)