Faber-of-Will-and-Might (often shortened to Faber), most commonly known by his title as the Master Builder, was an immensely powerful but exceedingly corrupt Forerunner Builder. A ruthless and cunning figure, he commissioned the construction of the Halo Array and was the Ur-Didact's political arch-enemy for many millennia due to the latter's adamant opposition to the Halos. This conflict eventually culminated in Faber's takeover of the Old Council and the Didact's exile.
While he would later be known as the Didact's greatest opponent among the Forerunners, Faber was once the Didact's ally and even friend. When humanity first began attacking Forerunner worlds and vessels, Faber (already the Master Builder) attended a meeting of the Ecumene Council to determine the proper course of action. The Didact proposed a policy of neutralization rather than extermination, intending to defeat the enemy and exile them back to their homeworld, in accordance with the tenets of the Mantle. Faber conceded that the Didact made "a fair, if uncomfortable, point", and gave the Didact his support. At one point, he co-created the Contender-class artificial intelligence Mendicant Bias alongside the Didact. Faber also authorized the seed pattern for the Didact's Promethean command warship Mantle's Approach—without the Council's approval.
The Halo Array
Following the end of the human-Forerunner wars, Faber commissioned the creation of the Halos, an array of weapons capable of purging all sentient life from a star system and, if the situation became dire, the entire galaxy. The purpose of this project was two-fold: to be used as a defensive measure against the Flood were they ever to return to the galaxy, and to secure the pre-eminence of the Builder rate. Despite opposition from the Didact and the Prometheans, who managed to delay the construction of the Halos for thousands of years, the Ecumene Council eventually agreed to Faber's proposal, causing the Didact to go into exile. Under Faber's orders, the father of Bornstellar Makes Eternal Lasting designed the Halo Array, and twelve of the weapons were built by his guild. At some point between Bornstellar's departure for Edom and his return three years later, Faber sponsored Bornstellar's father for a mutation, resulting in Bornstellar's father bearing a distinctive and disturbing resemblance to Faber. Bornstellar came to believe that this suggested that Faber was grooming and tutoring his father for great advancement.
However, the Librarian and the Lifeworker rate strongly opposed the construction of the Halos, viewing them as contrary to the principles of the Mantle. With the Lifeworkers threatening to go on strike if the weapons were constructed, the Council agreed to the Librarian's demands to provide a workable plan to save sentient life in the galaxy in the event the rings were ever fired. This plan, known as the Conservation Measure, involved giving the Lifeworkers biological preserves for specimens of numerous species on several of the Master Builder's installations, including the Halos and their construction foundries, known as the Arks. After the onset of the Forerunner-Flood war, Faber authorized the use of the Lifeworkers' biological specimens on the Halo installations for experimentation on the Flood in hopes of finding a cure to the parasite. Of particular interest to his researchers were humans, primarily housed on Installation 07, many of whom seemed to exhibit an immunity to the parasite - unaware that this was due to an ongoing strategy on the Flood's part. He authorized that more humans with ancestral personality imprints provided by the Librarian be brought on the installation from Earth, against the instructions of the Council and the Lifeshaper.
Circa 97,495 BCE Faber, with the Council's authority, tasked Mendicant Bias with conducting the first test of a Halo installation near Charum Hakkor. Installation 07, fired on a system-wide power setting, released an ancient being known as the Primordial; the entity was taken on the installation by Faber's orders afterward. As he did not trust the Lifeworker scientists who at first studied the creature, Faber soon assigned Mendicant Bias to interrogate it. Faber had the Halo moved again to prepare for what he believed would be his crowning triumph - when he would reveal his solution to the Flood. Over the course of the extended conversation, the Primordial managed to encourage the Master Builder to continue the experiments on humans, and eventually convinced Mendicant Bias to turn to rampancy and defect to the Flood. As a result, the Primordial, the Halo and Mendicant Bias vanished, leaving Faber desperate to find them. The San'Shyuum became aware that Faber had lost something "so tremendous and important that surely it cannot be hidden."
43 years after Installation 07's test-firing, Faber arrived at Janjur Qom to seek information on the Flood from the San'Shyuum leadership. Their arrival, following the Librarian's indexing of the San'Shyuum, caused the San'Shyuum to rebel against the Forerunners. During the battle, Faber's forces intercepted the ship carrying Bornstellar and the Didact, who had also come to meet with the San'Shyuum leadership. During this time, Faber demanded information on the Primordial and supposed Flood cure, but had inadvertently killed the First Prophet, the only San'Shyuum the Didact knew of who had knowledge of the cure. As the conversation went on, Bornstellar perceived that Faber was desperate, having lost something so important that it's loss could not be hidden. Having witnessed the arrival of a second Halo ring, Bornstellar confronted Faber with the realization that Faber had lost not only the Primordial, but the Halo it was upon as well, leaving Faber horror-struck. Recovering quickly, he placed the Didact under arrest and sent Bornstellar back to his family thanks to Bornstellar's father asserting his authority. Shortly afterwards, the Master Builder had the Halo used to sterilize Janjur Qom in retaliation for the San'Shyuum rebellion. The Didact remained in captivity and was interrogated by the Master Builder, but Faber failed to extract any vital information regarding the Prometheans' shield worlds or the Contender-class AIs from him. Although the rest of the galaxy would come to believe the Didact to be dead, he would continue interfering in Faber's plans, as his memories and personality had been transferred to Bornstellar.
However, the Master Builder had overestimated his control over his allies. They believed that the Halo Array was intended as a last resort weapon, not to punish uprisings. Many of his closest allies felt he had violated the Mantle with his actions, and a political revolution occurred, with many Councilors resigning in protest. Meanwhile, many Lifeworkers and Warrior-Servants on Installation 07 violently rebelled against the Master Builder, but this revolt was mostly suppressed by Faber's loyal Builder Security forces. Though Faber put down the armed rebellion, he lost the political rebellion; the Builders stripped Faber of his title, and he was put on trial before the Ecumene Council for the unsanctioned use of a Halo and other war crimes. However, the trial was interrupted by Mendicant Bias' assault on the Capital. During the battle, with the Warden's help, Faber was delivered to Sharp-by-Striking, a former Promethean now working for the Builders, who took him to a fast frigate. Aboard the ship, Faber ordered the Builder Security crew to escape the system. Before they did, Faber's personal security attacked and killed all but Sharp. Faber exiled Sharp-by-Striking along with the Ur-Didact, a Catalog, and a high ranking Builder known as Maker-of-Moons to an ancient Builder hulk near the Flood-infested Uthera Midgeerrd.
Although some believed Faber had been killed on Installation 07, he went into exile in an isolated region of the ecumene. There, he remained active in fighting against the Flood for many years with Builder Security and disgraced Warrior-Servants under the regional commandant's Letter of Marque. While claiming to have overcome vast Flood forces, Faber was actually capturing small, weak Flood ships. He put the ships through inadequate decontamination before extorting them to Warrior-Servant crews for a disproportionately high payment. Due to the inadequate decontamination, many of the crews assigned to these ships were overwhelmed by Flood forces still onboard.
During this campaign, he came across the Ur-Didact, adrift on an empty vessel; the Gravemind, who had held the Didact in captivity, had intentionally sent the Didact the Master Builder's way with a painful message: the Master Builder's wives and children, who had relocated to Path Kural, had all been absorbed by the Flood and were now taunting him from within a Gravemind. With sadistic delight, the Didact remarked that Faber had himself caused this with his Halos. Afterwards, the Master Builder returned to the core of the ecumene and brought the Didact with him. Faber was subsequently interrogated by the Master Juridical as part of the Juridicals' investigation into his possible crimes against the Mantle.
After the ecumene's leadership was placed on the greater Ark, the last survivors of the New Council gave all power over to Faber, regardless of the evidence against him and the inconclusive outcome of his interrogations. Subsequently, the Forerunner leadership conferred to lay out their final defense plans. During this meeting, the Master Builder unexpectedly spoke on the behalf of the IsoDidact, whose position was being put to question due to the return of the Ur-Didact. While the other commanders were eager to put their faith in the legendary Promethean as opposed to his copy, Faber asserted that the IsoDidact was superior to his original in many ways - not only had the Master Builder outwitted and defeated the Ur-Didact twice, but the latter had also been driven mad by the Gravemind. Faber cited the Ur-Didact's delivery of the Gravemind's message about his family as proof of the Didact's mental instability and gained the sympathies and support of the other leaders.
As the greater Ark came under siege by the Flood led by Mendicant Bias and supported by Precursor star roads, Faber joined the IsoDidact, Bitterness-of-the-Vanquished and the Examiner on Omega Halo, stationed over the greater Ark. The ring was to be fired at Path Kethona, purging the satellite galaxy of Precursor constructs and potential Flood infection, while opening a corridor past the star roads surrounding the Ark. Without ceremony, he handed the coordinates of the secret lesser Ark, Installation 00, to the IsoDidact, who was to carry out the distribution and activation of the final Halo Array. Faber had specifically asked to meet the IsoDidact on Omega Halo—seemingly for no reason other than having him see the ring fire. The Master Builder then primed the ring and announced that he would make no attempt to escape, sharing the fate of "his" Ark and the last of the original Halo installations. With uncharacteristic humility, he declared this as an act of penance for his many crimes. Even though the firing of Omega Halo destroyed a portion of the Precursor constructs, the remaining star roads soon converged on the ring and tore it asunder, with the destruction complemented by the installation's own kinetic energy. The floor of the control center collapsed and Faber and the other commanders were plunged to their deaths; only the IsoDidact survived, having been saved by Monitor Chakas.
Personality and traits
Despite his high standing in Forerunner society, Faber displayed arrogance and cruelty wholly at odds with the Forerunner ideals of peace and enlightenment. He held utter contempt for less-advanced species, as well as lower-ranking Forerunners. He also was not above using torture against those who crossed him. Regardless of his cruelty, Faber was exceptionally powerful in many ways; in addition to his political power, he was noted as being an individual of "near-infinite complexity and mental resources," equally cunning to the Didact, and possessed immense knowledge of Forerunner politics and technology.
However, Faber's behavior in his final hours stood as a stark contrast to his previous callousness. With the Ur-Didact gone mad and the IsoDidact struggling to maintain authority, he successfully united the bickering Forerunner commanders at the greater Ark. Choosing to die with his Halo as atonement for his sins, Faber's "uncharacteristic display of courage and humility" in the face of death impressed even the IsoDidact. His final prayer to the Mantle before firing Omega Halo also suggests that he retained some belief in that ideal.
"Faber" (the root of the word "fabricate") is Latin for "artisan" or "smith", echoing his role as the Master Builder.
List of appearances