One of a Haruspis's main tasks was to act as an intermediary between the Domain and individual Forerunners accessing it, aiding them in seeking out specific topics within the Domain's vast stores of knowledge. Because of their intimate knowledge on the Domain, Haruspices were closely involved with the Juridicals, who would often consult the Domain as part of their investigations. Haruspices and their associates were regarded as servants to the Domain, which they viewed with a particular reverence. Because of the religious aspect of their post, they also oversaw important Forerunner rituals. Similar in a manner to Catalog, Haruspices forwent individual identity and were all simply known as "Haruspis". As with many other details about them, the appearance or even physical nature of the Haruspices themselves remains nebulous.
A Haruspis had a collection of subordinate functionaries known as "associates" whose duties included assisting other Forerunners in functions involved with the Domain, such as the preparation ritual for a Cryptum hibernation process. The associates functioned much like a monastic order, leading austere lifestyles and even undergoing voluntary sterilization as a sign of their lifelong dedication to the Domain. They viewed the display of worldly wealth and power typically exhibited by the other rates with extreme distaste.
As a result of having been connected to the Domain for so long, Haruspices knew a great deal more about its nature than other Forerunners. In the final years of the Forerunner-Flood war, a Senior Juridical attempting to access the part of the Domain containing details on the Precursors and Forerunner origins was refused by a Haruspis, as no Juridical had the authority to access that knowledge. The Juridical threatened to use the authority granted to him to remove the Haruspis and directly access the Domain; the Haruspis calmly stated that if it were to be removed from the network, it would quickly pass into the Domain, which it saw as a fitting fate for itself. During the exchange, the Domain itself unexpectedly requested to testify to the Juridical, who reacted to this with disbelief, asserting that the Domain was not a self-aware entity; the Haruspis knew otherwise and opened the link, causing the Domain to quickly overwhelm the Senior Juridical with knowledge.
By the endgame of the Forerunner-Flood war, after the Domain had been inaccessible for over a year, Haruspices were no longer present in the network and were suspected to be dead by the Juridicals.
The word "Haruspis" is derived from haruspex, a title given to a type of Ancient Roman priest who practiced divination by inspecting entrails; the plural form "haruspices" is shared by the real-world term. In-universe, like most of the terminology in The Forerunner Saga, this is an instance of the AI translator picking the closest Earth equivalent when translating the original Forerunner terms to English.
List of appearances
- Halo: Silentium (First appearance)
- Halo: Silentium, pages 241-242
- Greg Bear: Discussion Board, Topic: Silentium
- Halo: Silentium, page 54
- Halo: Silentium, pages 13-15
- Halo: Silentium, pages 50-51