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In the aftermath of the collapse of the Covenant, the Sangheili found themselves in political, military, and religious turmoil. Having long depended on the San'Shyuum for political leadership, the Sangheili found that they lacked any form of political organization beyond their traditional feudal states. While Arbiter Thel 'Vadam began the process of forming a new government to lead Sanghelios and its various colonies, many kaidons began hoarding ships and weapons for their own agendas.
Additionally, while the Sangheili renounced the Prophet's deception, many did not wholly abandon worship of the Forerunners. As a result of this, the Servants of the Abiding Truth, an ancient order of monks, began preaching a return to the Sangheili's ancient ways of worshiping Forerunner artifacts. Consequently, they felt that Thel 'Vadam and those loyal to him were committing blasphemy by saying otherwise. Avu Med 'Telcam, a former Field Master, began recruiting dissident Sangheili into a force to rise up against the Arbiter's followers.
Admiral Margaret Parangosky, of the Office of Naval Intelligence, believed that keeping the Sangheili mired in internal dissent would leave them unable to threaten the weakened UNSC. This opinion contrasted with that of most of the Unified Earth Government, which believed a peace treaty was desirable. ONI took advantage of the Sangheili's unstable political situation, attempting to keep the Sangheili splintered and disorganized by inciting the Servants of the Abiding Truth to rebel against 'Vadam. 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.
Jul 'Mdama, a former member of the Servants of the Abiding Truth, eventually formed his own new Covenant, with the Sangheili serving as its leadership caste after learning of ONI's alliance with the Servants of the Abiding Truth.
Opening of hostilities
Following the end of the Human-Covenant War in March 2553, an attempted Jiralhanae insurrection in Ontom led Avu Med 'Telcam, leader of the Servants of the Abiding Truth, to the decision for an immediate assault on the state of Vadam against the newly formed Swords of Sanghelios. Along with nine ships and forces from Nuan keep and Rtova keep, 'Telcam commanded the assault from the frigate Unflinching Resolve. Eventually, however, the Unflinching Resolve suffered a direct hit and crash landed. Despite being caught off-guard it appeared as though the Arbiter would be victorious, however, news spread that he allowed humans to land on Sanghelios; this caused many keeps to ally with the Servants of Abiding Truth and the tide turned in their favor. The Arbiter was caught off guard and when his own reinforcements couldn't arrive on time, he reluctantly accepted Admiral Terrence Hood's offer for help in fending off the attackers. The tide turned when the UNSC's new flagship, Infinity, arrived over Sanghelios and destroyed the rebel destroyer Defender of Faith before finishing off the rebel ground forces with a MAC round. The UNSC Port Stanley, posed as a Kig-Yar pirate ship, destroyed a few of 'Vadam's ships in order to maintain the stalemate between the two factions, granting the Arbiter a pyrrhic victory, although he was able to destroy one of 'Telcam's four fleeing frigates as well.
After the battle 'Vadam entered talks to board Infinity. The remnants of the Servants of the Abiding Truth escaped to New Llanelli to regroup. One month later 'Telcam said he would remain on New Llanelli until he convinced more keeps to join his cause or obtained enough ships to destroy those who refuse.
However, the conflicts in Vadam led to other engagements throughout Sanghelios.
Massacre at Nes'alun keep
Unlike the majority of keeps in Acroli, Nes'alun keep was against the Arbiter. While the keep's males left to fight Vadam's forces, the keep females and children were left behind. The elder of Lacalu keep took advantage of this and attempted to seize the keep and its land. The keep's lady, Elar 'Nas, defended the other females and children in a small farmhouse for an unknown length of time. Soon the keep's Unggoy laborers Dengo and Gikak returned along with Evan Phillips, who had been teleported to the nearby Forerunner ruins. Elar allowed Phillips to come inside, armed him, and prepared themselves for another wave of attackers.
Soon afterwards Kilo-Five arrived at the keep to retrieve Phillips. Their extraction was stalled when the Tart-Cart, piloted by Lian Devereaux, was attacked by several Type-26 Banshees. After holding off more Lacalu warriors, Vasily Beloi, Malcolm Geffen, and Naomi-010 extracted Phillips in the midst of battle, leaving the women and children to fend for themselves. Elar and her clan were later killed which unsettled Phillips.
Over the next few months, unrest on Sanghelios was put down, while a rogue Covenant corvette crashed into the Tower of Ghalod'n at some point during the civil war. Fighting would continue for years and include a number of Sangheili worlds.
Attack on Hesduros
At some point in 2557, the Swords of Sanghelios launched an assault on Hesduros with the intent of killing 'Mdama and destroying his Covenant for good. The offensive devastated multiple redoubts, including Panom Keep, but Jul was able to escape. The defeat did force his faction to abandon Hesduros entirely, however.
Crisis at Rakoi
In September 2558, conflict erupted on the former Outer Colony of Carrow where humans had resettled as well as Sangheili survivors of the destroyed Sangheili colony of Glyke. Kaidon Thars 'Sarov rebelled against his cousin Fleetmaster Rojka 'Kasaan who had previously been the leader of the Sangheili forces on the planet. To make matters worse, Thars made a deal with the Jiralhanae Chieftain Hekabe to aid him against Rojka, unaware that Hekabe had his own sinister intentions for the planet. The resulting civil war devastated both Sangheili factions while Hekabe was able to uncover the Sharquoi hive hidden beneath the human city of Suraka, intending to unleash the creatures upon the galaxy in order to consolidate his own power. With the help of Spartan-II Gray Team - the very team that had destroyed Glyke in the first place - Rojka and his few remaining forces managed to defeat Thars, but Thars refuses to listen to reason until it was too late, allowing Hekabe to take control of Thars' remaining ships. Rojka executed Thars for his actions and teamed up with Gray Team and the Surakan Militia Volunteers to stop Hekabe once and for all.
Following the destruction of Hekabe and the Sharquoi, Rojka returned to Rak where he discovered that Kaidon Akato 'Dakaj had taken control of the city in his and Thars' absence and presumably executed the kaidons who had supported Thars. With their entire fleet destroyed in the conflict and Rak heavily damaged, Akato sought closer relations with the Surakans rather than continuing hostilities with them and Rojka agreed to act as an envoy to help build peace between the two species inhabiting Carrow.
On January 21, 2558, SPARTAN-G059 was sent by ONI to assassinate Avu Med 'Telcam, the leader of the Servants of the Abiding Truth, who had outlived his usefulness to them. Making her way through the Servants' forces in a ruined city, SPARTAN-G059 faced off against 'Telcam and killed his two subcommanders. Finally, she succeeded in overpowering 'Telcam and killed him with a pistol shot to the head. However, her secondary target was not present at the time and as a result, Dural 'Mdama rose to power as the new leader of the Servants of the Abiding Truth.
In October 2558, the increasing threat of the rogue AI Cortana caused Doctor Catherine Halsey, who was working with Jul 'Mdama, to secretly reveal his location on the remote Forerunner world of Kamchatka to the UNSC. As Jul 'Mdama's Covenant battled against his rebelling Promethean forces, Fireteam Osiris made their way to the location where 'Mdama and Halsey were attempting to access the Forerunner Domain. In the battle that followed, 'Mdama was killed by Spartan Jameson Locke with his combat knife after a brief fight between the two.
Global conflict on Sanghelios
'Vadam's failed assassination attempt
On October 27, 2558, the remnants of Jul 'Mdama's Covenant attacked the Elder Council Chamber in Nuusra on Sanghelios in an attempt to kill Thel 'Vadam. At the same time, due to the need to find Blue Team, Fireteam Osiris was sent to Sanghelios to enlist Thel's help to use the Forerunner Guardian on the planet to follow Blue Team. Arriving as the attack was underway, Osiris aided the Swords of Sanghelios in repelling the attack and rescued Thel.
In order to access the Guardian, Doctor Catherine Halsey came up with a plan to retrieve a Forerunner Constructor from a support facility nearby. As Osiris fought to reach the facility, the Swords of Sanghelios battled against the remaining Covenant forces in the area, including a Kraken walker. Osiris destroyed the Kraken, ending the battle with the Covenant forces in Nuusra and leaving Sunaion as their last stronghold.
Battle of Sunaion
After Halsey succeeded in programing the Constructor, the Swords of Sanghelios, aided by Fireteam Osiris, launched an attack on Jul 'Mdama's Covenant's final stronghold in the city of Sunaion. Osiris aided Thel's forces in clearing out the anti-air defenses so that Thel's ships could move in and fought their way through the city to reach the Guardian before it could launch. With the help of Halsey and Sarah Palmer, Osiris succeeded in boarding the Guardian before it launched into slipspace though they had to face Prometheans and the Warden Eternal first. Having previously witnessed the launch of a Guardian, Locke warned Thel to move his ships back as the construct would release a series of concussive blasts before making the jump. As a result, 'Mdama's Covenant would take the brunt of the blasts instead which could be used by the Swords to their advantage. This tactic succeeded with much of 'Mdama's Covenant's ships knocked out by the final blast as the Guardian jumped to Genesis.
With the Prometheans and Guardian gone and the Covenant forces devastated, Thel had his warriors hunt the survivors to the last, bringing a final end to Jul 'Mdama's Covenant.
Second Onyx conflict
However, even though Jul 'Mdama's Covenant was destroyed, it was not the end of the Blooding Years. The Servants of the Abiding Truth, now under the leadership of Dural 'Mdama following the assassination of Avu Med 'Telcam, traveled to Jul's former base of Hesduros and used the slipspace portal there to access the Sarcophagus shield world in an effort to take it from the UNSC and the Swords of Sanghelios who shared the world together and explored its secrets side-by-side. The Servants' invasion was complicated by the start of the Created conflict and the rising of a Guardian on Sarcophagus. The shield world was returned to its slipspace bubble for protection and the Huragok Prone to Drift managed to destroy the Guardian. However, despite all three factions suffering heavy casualties in the conflict, the Servants were far from defeated. Having learned of the death of his father and the destruction of Jul's Covenant, Dural announced to his people that only the Servants of the Abiding Truth stood between the Arbiter and utter victory over the Sangheili factions. Dural intended to rebuild his forces in a Forerunner warship docked on Mackintosh and take the shield world from the humans and the Swords of Sanghelios before using the technology that they recovered there to take the fight back to Sanghelios and take it back from the Arbiter.
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