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Escharum is a prominent Jiralhanae War Chief within the Banished. In the absence of the faction's founder and leader Atriox, Escharum rose to power within the Banished and would lead the faction to victory against the UNSC in late 2559, managing to seize control of Zeta Halo. He was also Atriox's former daskalo, or mentor.
Leading the Banished
Around April 2558, Atriox and Decimus departed for the Ark aboard the Enduring Conviction, leaving Escharum in charge of all the Banished forces that remained in the galaxy. Shortly after Atriox left, Escharum assigned Blademaster Inslaan 'Gadogai to Castor as an advisor so that the dokab could thrive amongst the other Chieftains; Castor's faction, the Keepers of the One Freedom, had joined the Banished just before the warmaster left for his mission to the Ark. The Sangheili consultant would also serve two other purposes: to act as a representative for Escharum and to punish Castor if he ever attempted to betray him.
In the summer of 2559, Escharum received a transmission from Atriox informing the War Chief of his posession of a Forerunner slipspace flake and his intention of using it to return to the galaxy via a slipspace portal facility hidden on Reach. He instructed Escharum to find and activate this portal as soon as possible. Escharum sent the Keepers to Reach, along with the Legion of the Corpse-Moon and the Ravaged Tusks—two Jiralhanae clans that had been absorbed into the Banished and reorganized into legions under the direction of Legionmasters Deukalion and Ballas, respectively. Their mission was locate the portal facility and report its location back to Escharum before activating it so that they all might be there together to witness the return of Atriox.
On October 12, 2559, Escharum arrived at Reach aboard his personal intrusion corvette to visit Castor and scold him in person for his inability to locate the portal. It had been roughly three months since the Keepers and the other legions had been assigned to the task, and none of them had anything to show for it other than some human towns and hardware that they had managed to capture. While Escharum approved of the dokab's plan to follow the recently-arrived team of Spartans to the hidden portal, he was dissatisfied with the lack of results. Landing at Figyelő Point, he confronted Castor and 'Gadogai, expressing his frustrations about both the still-missing portal and the fact that the UNSC was starting to gain a hold on Reach once again, putting pressure on their mission. However, the blademaster presented a plan—acting as if it had been the dokab's all along—that would buy them more time. If the Spartans did not lead them to the portal soon, they would use the human prisoners they had captured from the Viery Militia as hostages and force the rest off-world. This plan satiated the war chief's concerns until they were no longer relevant just moments later. The Keepers had detected a squadron of UNSC craft escorting a dropship into the Highland Mountains. Inspecting their path, Castor deduced that their destination was the "Missing Mountain".
Aboard his corvette, Escharum accompanied the Keepers as they converged on the basin that was once the mountain that sat atop CASTLE Base before it forcibly removed by the Covenant during their invasion of the planet. This base was the Spartan team's actual destination. Ironically, CASTLE Base was built on top of the Forerunner portal facility that the Banished sought. After excavating the entrance to the facility, Escharum gathered there with 'Gadogai, Castor, the Keepers, and other Banished forces to witness Atriox's return. The dokab had one of his human followers activate the portal and soon a Lich descended out of the stormy sky. Atriox and some of his most loyal warriors disembarked the vessel and greeted Escharum. As they prepared to be evacuated by the war chief's corvette before one of the Apparition's Guardians noticed the portal and arrived to investigate, Castor made his move. He had his men board the Lich while he announced to Atriox and Escharum his plan to travel to the Ark and begin the Great Journey. Realizing that they couldn't waste time and lives in a firefight, Atriox had Escharum direct his soldiers out of the facility instead of having them deal with the betrayers. Atriox did, however, order 'Gadogai to kill Castor and bring him his head. Escharum warned the dokab that even if he survived, he would personally slaughter him if they were to ever meet again. Leaving the blademaster to his task, Atriox, Escharum, and the loyal Banished forces boarded the corvette and fled the planet. Ultimately, 'Gadogai would instead join the Keepers and they all travelled to the Ark aboard the Lich knowing that they would encounter more Banished when they reached the installation.
Battle for Zeta Halo
In December 2559, Escharum led the Banished to victory against the UNSC in a battle for Installation 07. The conflict resulted in extensive damage to the installation as well as heavy UNSC casualties, especially among personnel attached to the UNSC Infinity. Escharum maintained control over the installation in the months that followed, leading the Banished once again in a resurgent conflict spearheaded by John-117.
The name Escharum may derive from the Latin word Eschara meaning "scar, scab". This would be fitting as early concept art shows Escharum with a more prominent facial disfigurement and his present model showing scars across his blinded eye and on the right side of his lip.
List of appearances