This article is about the collection of new factions after the Covenant's destruction. For the collection of Sangheili-led groups during the Great Schism, see Covenant separatists.
Covenant remnants are splinter factions originating from the former Covenant body and remain active after the dissolution of the Covenant, 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 materials they can find. Intact capital warships are considered coveted assets among the splinter factions, as many ships were destroyed in both the Great Schism and the Human-Covenant War as well as a significant portion of the Covenant's infrastructure and shipyards remaining inactive following the wars. 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, and have even recruited humans into their ranks.
Covenant remnants hostile to humanity have been informally referred to as Covies by the United Nations Space Command, despite the various remnants existing as entirely different organizations than the original Covenant empire.
The Great Schism and dissolution of the Covenant
While select remnant factions, such as the Ussans or the Banished, were already active before the Covenant's fall, many of the Covenant remnants can trace their origins to the aftermath of the Great Schism and the defeat of the Covenant. After the Hierarchs replaced the Sangheili with the Jiralhanae and ordered the genocide of the former, the Sangheili became separatists and rebelled against the San'Shyuum-led main body of the Covenant. Many of the Sangheili-led groups within the separatists that emerged from the conflict 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, all groups of Sangheili were called to 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 the forces gathered at Joyous Exultation 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.
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. With the Covenant fallen, the Sangheili-led separatists no longer had a common goal to unify them. Various high-ranked members of the fallen hegemony seized control of as many military assets as they could; many split off and 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 new 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.
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 Arbiter's Swords of Sanghelios, representing the majority of the Sangheili, several Sangheili-led factions—mainly religious cultists—once again rose to oppose humanity soon after the end of the war. Not long after peace was established in 2553, a faction led by Prelate Tem'Bhetek and Minister of Preparation Boru'a'Neem sought to destroy Sanghelios and all life in its system using a Prototype Halo installation. This plan was foiled by the crew of the CAS-class assault carrier Shadow of Intent, resulting in the dissolution of the faction. After discovering that he had been fooled by Preparation, the Prelate sacrificed himself to destroy the installation, ensuring the end of the threat it posed. In 2554, the planet of Draetheus V was attacked by a faction of 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 mercanary group 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 early 2556, the human colony of Sedra suffered a bioweapon attack from an unidentified splinter faction utilizing a new element native to a fragment of Installation 04. A subsequent mission to the shard destroyed the deposits of the element, preventing its future use, but the perpetrators behind the attack were left unknown. Part of the mission was to capture the smugglers mining the element to prove that the Covenant had broken the treaty which forbade either side from returning to Installation 04. However, both smugglers perished during the mission and the survivors were unable to retrieve any proof.
In 2557, some of Jul 'Mdama's Covenant led by Gek 'Lhar discovered the remnants of the Forerunner shield world known as the Etran Harborage which had been destroyed in 2531 by the long-lost UNSC Spirit of Fire. Following a brief skirmish with the crew of the Ace of Spades, the Covenant forces retreated. ONI subsequently found the debris field by forcing the Ace of Spades crew to give up their data. However, a subsequent mission encountered Gek 'Lhar's forces who had returned to plunder the debris field for themselves. Though the UNSC Taurokado retreated from the system, the UNSC returned again with a massive UNSC fleet which launched a huge nuclear bombardment against the shield world remnants, destroying it and keeping any surviving Forerunner technology out of the hands of Gek 'Lhar and thus Jul 'Mdama.
In 2558, tensions rose between two Sangheili factions on the planet Carrow in one of the Joint Occupation Zones. In September, it turned into an all-out conflict after the more extreme Thars 'Sarov called in a Jiralhanae faction led by Hekabe to aid him. However, Hekabe had plans of his own, intending to unleash hundreds of thousands of Sharquoi from their hive beneath the planet's surface to gain galactic dominance for himself and his forces. The conflict led to the decimation of all three factions, but the aid of Spartan-II Gray Team and the Surakan Militia Volunteers ensured the destruction of the Sharquoi hive and the death of Hekabe and the end of his plans as well as the death of Thars. The consequences of the conflict led the new Sangheili leader on the planet, Kaidon Akato 'Dakaj, to recognize the need for the humans and Sangheili to have a closer relationship if they were to survive. Though Rojka 'Kasaan, the leader of the more friendly of the three factions survived, he agreed to act as an envoy between the Sangheili and the humans rather than trying to take up a leadership position again.
In October 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 counterattack by the Swords of Sanghelios and Fireteam Osiris 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. The Servants of the Abiding Truth continued to survive, instigating the Second Onyx conflict around the time that the Created conflict was beginning. After learning of the destruction of 'Mdama's Covenant, the Servants considered the Covenant to be completely gone and beli ved that only the Servants and the Swords of Sanghelios were left of the factions that developed after the Covenant fell.
Following the closure of the Portal at Voi due to the Created conflict, forces from the Jiralhanae mercenary group known as the Banished attacked the Ark in intergalactic space and took over the installation. In March 2559, the long-lost UNSC Spirit of Fire was pulled to the Ark through a slipspace portal under mysterious circumstances and engaged the Banished for control of the Ark. The Spirit of Fire managed to destroy the Banished flagship, the CAS-class assault carrier Enduring Conviction, stranding both forces on the Ark and later launched a new Halo ring in an attempt to get a distress beacon back to human space.
Presently known groups
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
The Servants of the Abiding Truth is an insurgent group formerly 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. 'Telcam was assassinated by SPARTAN-G059 in January 2558. However, they remain active in the Sarcophagus shield world after the onset of the Created conflict, now led by Dural 'Mdama, son of Jul 'Mdama.
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. Later that year, they became victims of a plot by Dark Moon Enterprises to frame the assassination of Admiral Graselyn Tuwa and the kidnapping of her family on the Keepers. This led to Operation: RETRIBUTION in which Blue Team and the Ferrets foiled a bioweapon plot. During the operation, the Keepers' Salvation Base was destroyed through the detonation of six HAVOK tactical nuclear weapons and it was estimated that ninety percent of the Keeper forces in that sector were eliminated in the blast.
The Banished are a mercenary group led by the Jiralhanae warlord Atriox. They fought against the Covenant long before the Great Schism in the early 2540s, and have consolidated a significant number of military assets in the wake of the Human-Covenant War. Similar to the Keepers of the One Freedom, the Banished are open to recruiting humans. 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. Despite having an advantage, the Banished suffered massive losses to the Spirit of Fire's forces including their flagship the CAS-class assault carrier Enduring Conviction and their second-in-command Decimus. The Banished later successfully contained a renewed Flood outbreak on the Ark caused by Pavium and Voridus' attempts to salvage High Charity.
'Taralumee's power consolidation
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.
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.
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.
Shields of Requiem
The Shields of Requiem are a Sangheili-led mercenary group. Little is known about them, though their name suggests a reverence and/ or that they took part in the Requiem Campaign.
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. After discovering the truth that he was being used by Boru, Tem sacrificed himself to destroy the Prototype Halo installation and end the threat it posed as well as Boru's plan. In the process, Rtas 'Vadum discovered that many more San'Shyuum had survived than was previously believed and resolved to track them down and determine who deserved punishment for their actions and who deserved forgiveness.
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, but was killed by Fireteam Crimson during the Requiem Campaign.
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. After the destruction of 'Mdama's Covenant, the Servants of the Abiding Truth considered the Covenant to be truly gone.
'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 UNSC Infinity. During the Ambush at Oth Lodon many of its forces, including 'Gajat himself, were killed, leaving the group's future uncertain.
On the former human outer colony of Carrow, now jointly-held between humans and Sangheili, a sea change in governance has come to Rak, the foremost Sangheili habitation on the planet. In 2558, a Sangheili known as Thars 'Sarov took power. Thars is utterly opposed to peace with humans and believes that sharing Carrow with them is impossible. Those loyal to him began to attack humans here and there, but it wasn't until July of 2558 that the first one was killed and hostilities between his group and the Surakan Militia Volunteers erupted. Things escalated into all-out war between Thars and his cousin Rojka 'Kasaan, escalated when Thars brought in Jiralhanae Chieftain Hekabe and his forces to help. In truth, Hekabe sought a Sharquoi hive located on the planet and betrayed Thars. Thars' faction was almost entirely wiped out by the civil war and Hekabe's betrayal and the rest of his forces fell when Sharquoi took over his surviving ships to escape the planet. In a final confrontation with Rojka, Thars' remaining warriors fell to Spartan-II Gray Team and a few surviving Sangeheili of Rojka's faction and Thars was executed by Rojka for his actions. During this time, Akato 'Dakaj took control of Rak and executed the kaidons who had lent their support to Thars.
After his cousin Thars 'Sarov betrayed him to take control of Rak on the planet Carrow, Rak's leader Rojka 'Kasaan formed a faction loyal to him to oppose Thars' forces. However, in the ensuing conflict, Thars called upon the help of a Jiralhanae faction led by Jiralhanae Chieftain Hekabe which gave him the edge over Rojka in a space battle. Rojka's fleet was destroyed while his ORS-class heavy cruiser Unwavering Discipline crashed on Carrow. Rojka gave chase to Gray Team, the Spartans responsible for the destruction of his homeworld Glyke while Thars relentlessly pursued Rojka even with Hekabe betraying him. Thars succeeded in slaughtering the entire faction aside from Rojka and three Sangheili he sent back to Rak. With Hekabe taking control of the Sharquoi, Rojka and his remaining warriors, who unexpectedly traveled to Suraka to help their leader, allied themselves with Gray Team to defeat Thars and stop Hekabe from using Thars' surviving ships. With one Sangheili piloting a Banshee and the other two cloaked, the were able to catch Thars and his warriors by surprise and defeat them with the help of Gray Team. However, at least one if not all three of the surviving warriors were killed in the process. Rojka subsequently aided in the defeat of Hekabe and survived to return to Rak where the kaidons who had supported Thars had been executed by Akato 'Dakaj and his forces. Despite having won his conflict with Thars, Rojka did not retain power as the leader of Rak which instead went to Akato. Instead, Rojka agreed to act as the envoy between Rak and the human population of Suraka, the conflict having created the need for both species to come closer together.
Hekabe's faction was a powerful force made up of several Jiralhanae war packs led by the Jiralhanae Chieftain Hekabe. During the Battle of Installation 00, Hekabe led a force into the depths of the Ark where he retrieved the vertex, a Forerunner device that allowed the user to control the Sharquoi. This faction was known to ONI along with the threat they posed, especially if it discovered the location of a Sharquoi hive on Carrow containing hundreds of thousands of the creatures. During the erupting conflict on Carrow in 2557, Thars 'Sarov brought Hekabe and his forces to the planet as mercenaries to aid in his fight with his cousin Rojka 'Kasaan. Having learned the location of the Sharquoi hive, Hekabe ultimately betrayed Thars and unleashed the creatures, planning to use them to gain dominance over the galaxy and refusing to be beholden to anyone else for help, even the Banished. Hekabe and his forces were narrowly defeated by a small force made up of Surakan Militia Volunteers, Governor Ellis Gass, Melody Azikiwe, Spartan-II Gray Team and Rojka 'Kasaan. Hekabe himself was killed by Sharquoi under Gass' control and his surviving Jiralhanae were slaughtered by the Sharquoi as well. The Sharquoi hive and all of the creatures were subsequently destroyed with a HAVOK tactical nuclear weapon, ending the faction and their plans.
This ancient group was the very first Covenant splinter faction, created by Ussa 'Xellus and other Sangheili who opposed the Writ of Union. During the time of the Covenant's creation, the Sangheili and Reformist San'Shyuum had united to create the empire. Ussa and like-minded Sangheili who opposed this union, fled their homeworld as it was occupied by the newly formed Covenant empire. They had arrived at the shield world known as the Refuge and continued to practise pre-Covenant Sangheili traditions for many generations since. However, many fell victim to the Blood Sickness over the centuries since. In 2553, the Refuge was rediscovered by the crew of the supply ship Journey's Sustenance led by San'Shyuum Zo Resken, descendant of the Prophet of Inner Conviction who had pursued the Ussans to the Refuge in the first place and chose to leave them be even though he suspected the Ussans not to be gone when they had the shield world's Disassembler process initiated. With the help of Huragok Sluggish Drifter, the Refuge's monitor Enduring Bias was repaired and he helped to put down a rebellion and cure the Blood Sickness. Enduring Bias reassembled the Refuge into a circular structure similar to a Halo ring and those Ussans who wished to return to Sanghelios were allowed to do so while many remained on the Refuge.
Way of 'Greftus
This splinter group splinter off from the Ussan's splinter group. Like most groups, without a common enemy the Ussans began to fight amongst themselves. A Sangheili named 'Greftus started this group.
List of appearances