From Halopedia, the Halo wiki
This article is about the character introduced in Halo Infinite. For the Halo 5: Guardians achievement, see Harbinger (achievement).
The Harbinger, or the Harbinger of the truth, was a female Xalanyn who was active in the year 2560 during the Battle for Zeta Halo. The Harbinger was awoken from a Cylix by the Banished as they both sought to repair Zeta Halo in order to unleash the Endless.
Early life and imprisonment on Zeta Halo
The Harbinger was a member of the Xalanyn's ruling class. She, along with the rest of her species, unexpectedly survived the firing of the Halo Array - a feat which alarmed the remaining Forerunners. In 97,368 BCE, the Harbinger and several other Xalanyn delegates traveled to Zeta Halo to parlay with the Forerunners. The parlay, however, was in fact a ruse devised by the Forerunners in order to judge the Xalanyn, whom the Forerunners viewed as a threat to their plan to pass the Mantle to Humanity. The Harbinger and most of her species were subsequently imprisoned on Installation 07 by order of the Grand Edict, with only a small handful of Xalanyn managing to escape this fate.
Installation 07 conflict
Freed by the Banished
Thousands of years later in 2559, the Jiralhanae Atriox, the leader of a group of mercenary raiders known as the Banished, discovered the existence of the Xalanyn. Seeking to uncover this secret hidden by the Forerunners, Atriox prepared his Banished forces to travel to Installation 07. He sought out for the Harbinger,  believing her to be the key to unlocking Zeta Halo's secrets. Following Atriox's apparent demise when Cortana sacrificed herself to destroy the Silent Auditorium and disable the Ring, his second-in-command and old mentor, War Chief Escharum, assumed his place as leader of the Banished and set out to fulfill Atriox's goal of releasing the Harbinger in order to seize control of the Ring.
After driving the UNSC away from the UNSC Mortal Reverie's crash site on February 2, 2560, the Banished established Outpost Tremonius, which they used as an excavation site and storage facility for Forerunner artifacts. Eventually, in April, the Jiralhanae Warlord Tremonius located and recovered the Harbinger's Cylix from beneath the Outpost. Escharum then forced a UNSC POW, Lucas Browning, to release the Harbinger from the Cylix. Upon being released, she introduced herself as the Harbinger of the truth. While the surrounding Sangheili, Kig-Yar, and even Jiralhanae were terrified of her, Escharum expressed delight over the Harbinger's declaration.
Alliance with the Banished
After her release, the Harbinger told Escharum of the Reformation, which would expedite the ring's self-repair process by creating materials for repairs. However, unbeknownst to Escharum, the Harbinger sought to rebuild the Silent Auditorium, which was destroyed when Cortana detonated the ring, and use it to locate her fellow Xalanyn. Despite Escharum being distrustful towards the Harbinger, the two formed an uneasy alliance, bolstering the Banished forces with the Harbinger's Skimmers. Eventually, the Harbinger told Escharum of her goal to rebuild the Silent Auditorium and locate the Endless. In truth, however, the Harbinger not only desired to restore the Auditorium, but she ultimately intended to remake the entire Ring to suit her own purposes.
In order to initiate the Reformation, the Harbinger required the Encephalon of Despondent Pyre, Zeta Halo's Monitor, who resided in an underground Forerunner facility called the Conservatory. The Banished subsequently accelerated their activity at Site Novem, aiming to breach the Conservatory and capture the Monitor. At one point, the Harbinger herself inspected the site. She modified a Banished mining laser, enabling it to pierce the Ring's Forerunner alloy. By May 15, 2560, the Banished had used their modified mining laser to successfully breach the Conservatory.
Encounter with John-117
Circa May 28, 2560, the Harbinger captured Despondent Pyre and forcibly extracted the Monitor's encephalon, killing Despondent Pyre in the process. Using the Forerunner routines contained within Despondent Pyre's encephalon, the Harbinger constructed a protocol capable of summoning the Reformation Spires across the fragmented section of Zeta Halo. Master Chief John-117, who had witnessed Despondent Pyre's abduction, followed the Harbinger to the top of the Conservatory and confronted her as she prepared to summon the Spires. The Harbinger initially told him that she wasn't his enemy, but John-117 recognized the threat posed by a repaired ring, and attempted to stop the Harbinger. The Harbinger initiated the Reformation, summoning dozens of Reformation Spires. She blasted John-117 out of the Conservatory, then escaped to the Command Spire, where she tried to send the initialization sequence needed to fully activate the Spires. However, the Spire network resisted her attempts because the summoning protocol she'd constructed from Despondent Pyre's routines hadn't been entirely correct.
After John-117 and the Weapon removed one of the Spires from the network and defeated the two Spartan Killers Hyperius and Tovarus, the Harbinger told Escharum to send all his forces against the human. Escharum, who desired to personally face the Chief in battle, replied that odds would not break the Spartan. The Harbinger noted that the Master Chief had an ally connected to the Ring, who could potentially be exploited. She then directed Escharum to have his forces defend the Command Spire while she initiated the Reformation. Escharum agreed, but warned her to prove her worth. The Harbinger rebuked him, ensuring him that they would achieve their goals.
When the Master Chief arrived at the Command Spire, the Harbinger altered the Forerunner sequence needed to open the the Spire's door, thereby making entry impossible. The sabotage forced the Chief and the Weapon to gather data from a network of Forerunner communication beacons in order to reconstruct a pure version of the sequence. During this time, the Harbinger spied on the Weapon and determined she could utilize the UNSC AI's routines in conjunction with those from Despondent Pyre's encephalon to break through the Spire network's resistance.
While collecting data from the beacons, the Weapon sensed the Harbinger's presence within the beacon network and eventually realized the latter's intentions. Since the Spires still hadn't been activated yet, the Master Chief initially wanted to abort their current plan, effectively leaving them and the Harbinger in a stalemate. However, the Weapon believed that the Harbinger would eventually find a way to activate the Spires on her own, so they had no choice but to finish gathering the data needed to enter the Command Spire.
Later, upon reaching the Nexus, the Weapon accessed the facility's systems in order to activate a gravity lift that would take the Chief and her into the Command Spire itself. The Harbinger sprung her trap and hacked the Weapon, intent on using her to start the Reformation. The Weapon, in turn, used her link to the Harbinger to try to steal Despondent Pyre's encephalon. Despite the Master Chief's attempt to delete the Weapon - an effort which the Weapon herself stopped - both the Harbinger and the Weapon succeeded in their respective goals.
John-117 ascended to the Command Spire's Observation Platform, where the Weapon used the encephalon to shut down the Spire network and stop the Reformation. While Escharum furiously accused the Harbinger of failure, the Harbinger retorted that Silent Auditorium had been partially rebuilt, but she wasn't sure if enough of it had been restored to achieve their goals.
The Harbinger traveled to the partially rebuilt Silent Auditorium, where she prepared to use the facility to locate and free the rest of the Endless. The Master Chief, after facing and killing Escharum inside the House of Reckoning, arrived at the Auditorium and confronted the Harbinger inside the central chamber. The Harbinger called out to the Forerunners and declared that the Endless would return this day. She then opened a connection between the Auditorium and somewhere else on the Ring. The connection, which the Weapon described as being sentient, began searching the Ring for the location of the other Endless. The Weapon attempted to intercept the connection by disabling the Auditorium's transmitters. With the help of an unknown entity, the Weapon managed to shut down all three transmitters, but not before the connection successfully located the Endless.
At the same time, the Master Chief fought and eventually defeated both the Harbinger and her Banished and Skimmer allies. As the Harbinger lay dying, she sent a message to an unseen ally of her own, telling them that they had what they needed and asked that they tell the Endless she was sorry it took so long. In her last moments, she once again vowed to the Master Chief that the Endless would return. After her death, the Auditorium's central chamber collapsed, though the Master Chief and the Weapon escaped through a mysterious portal that sent them three days into the future.
Personality and traits
Due to her imprisonment within Zeta Halo, the Harbinger held tremendous hatred and disdain for the Forerunners. She believed that her people had done nothing wrong and that they'd been imprisoned simply because the Forerunners couldn't control them.
Her partnership with Escharum was a tenuous one. The War Chief did not fully trust the Harbinger and questioned her true intentions. Her tendency to speak "in riddles" also annoyed him. The Harbinger, in turn, regarded the Banished as little more than primitives who were simply a means to an end. She did, however, sympathize with the Banished over the destruction of Doisac at the hands of Cortana and the Created. In her mind, both the Endless and the Banished were victims of the Forerunners' lies and arrogance.
Initially, she harbored no ill-will towards humanity. She even showed sympathy towards Lucas Browning for the torture he was subjected to at Chak 'Lok's Tower, though she still drove him insane by showing him her "truth". During her first confrontation with John-117, she claimed that she was not his enemy. However, after the Master Chief's interference became too much of a liability, her attitude towards him became much more hostile.
After being mortally wounded by the Master Chief, the Harbinger displayed no fear and peacefully accepted her fate with the belief that her people would be free.
Physical description and appearance
The Harbinger is a tall, slender female Xalanyn who has two legs with backward pointing feet, and two arms, with four fingers on each hand. Her skin is light blue, her eyes are large, round and reddish-purple, and her mouth is surrounded by a pair of flipper-like tentacles. The Harbinger wears a regal-looking crimson headdress and a matching set of armor with a trio of thrusters on her back which she uses to hover in the air due to her unusable feet. Golden light shines out of a cavity in her armored chestplate.
List of appearances