Prophet of Mercy
Hod Rumnt was elected to the High Council before either of his fellow Hierarchs, the High Prophets of Truth and Regret, were even born. His tenure was marked by several tense debates with Sangheili High Councilors over the proper dispensation of Forerunner artifacts. During that time, he was considered one of the last of the Old Guard, as he publicly questioned the wisdom of the San'Shyuum's demilitarization at the close of the Sangheili-San'Shyuum war. This brand of thinking may have contributed to his later willingness to help replace the Sangheili with the Jiralhanae.
By 2525, during the 23rd Age of Doubt, Rumnt had apparently given up politics in order to more effectively indulge his spiritual side. He served as the Philologist on the Forerunner Dreadnought, where he led the ascetic priests prior to his ascension to Hierarch.
Rise to power
The Philologist was present when the Minister of Fortitude Ord Casto and the Vice Minister of Tranquility Lod Mron came to ask for confirmation of the "reliquaries" found on Harvest. As the three San'Shyuum were analysing the data collected over the planet, the Oracle of the Dreadnought suddenly came online. The Oracle revealed that the humans were Reclaimers that were left behind and largely proved the Great Journey to be false. Shortly after, the Oracle attempted to launch the Dreadnought in order to transport the human population of Harvest to the Ark, during which time it referred to the humans as its creators. The Philologist, overcome with spiritual awe, beseeched the Oracle to complete its task; however, when the Dreadnought's electrical pathways were short-circuited by the Lekgolo worms that had been moving within them, thus stopping the Dreadnought's launch, the Philologist regained enough sense to disconnect the Oracle from the Dreadnought's systems.
Because the Philologist had heard the Oracle's secrets, which would shatter the Covenant if they became known, the other two Prophets offered for him to be their third Hierarch. The Philologist agreed, if perhaps reluctantly; he was later seen picking irritably at his new robes during the Hierarch initiation ceremony. With his help (doubtlessly his former career as a member of the High Council was very helpful for their campaign), the three San'Shyuum successfully rose to the mantle of Hierarch. The Philologist procured the name the Prophet of Mercy.
Being the oldest member of the Prophet triumvirate, Mercy was well-acquainted with the Covenant's governmental systems and history. The three Hierarchs worked together to ensure the Covenant's dominance over humanity, while making sure that no individual discovered the truth of the Covenant religion.
Mercy was present with the High Prophet of Truth and the High Prophet of Regret at the trial of Supreme Commander Thel 'Vadamee with the High Council. Mercy questioned why Thel did not destroy the UNSC Pillar of Autumn over Reach and later had to demand order in the Council when an argument broke out amongst the Councilors. After the trial, Mercy and Truth had Chieftain of the Jiralhanae Tartarus bring 'Vadamee before them. While the Jiralhanae had though the Sangheili would be executed, the San'Shyuum instead talked with 'Vadamee. During the conversation, Mercy mentioned a bit of Covenant history, citing the Unggoy Rebellion and the Taming of the Lekgolo as cases where an Arbiter was appointed to resolve the conflict. 'Vadamee was given the title of Arbiter, but Mercy warned that he would die undertaking the Council's tasks.
After Regret foolishly and partially unintentionally began the attack on the human homeworld, Earth while severely outnumbered, Regret sent a formal apology to Mercy and Truth, asking them to 'forgive his premature arrival' and claiming that he was unaware of the human presence on the planet. Although Truth wished to give Regret a public display of his and Mercy's contempt, he was spared due to Mercy's "wise counsel". Following Regret's death on Installation 05 at the hands of John-117, the Jiralhanae replaced the Sangheili's position on the Covenant Honor Guard. After Tartarus and the Arbiter captured monitor 343 Guilty Spark, he was interrogated by Mercy and Truth. They discovered that they required Installation 05's Activation Index to fire the Halo and begin the Great Journey. After meeting with the Arbiter, the two remaining Hierarchs tasked 'Vadamee with acquiring the Index.
The Great Schism
While the Arbiter was retrieving the Index, Mercy and Truth began the Great Schism. The Hierarchs believed that the Sangheili were unfit for the Great Journey and would interfere with the activation of the Halo Array, the Jiralhanae were given the position of the Sangheili in the Covenant and all Sangheili were ordered to be executed, by orders of the Hierarchs. As the Great Schism began, Mercy still supported Truth's actions, even as it seemed that Truth was unraveling the very foundations of the Covenant. This indicates that Mercy was fully involved in Truth's machinations from the beginning, something that even Regret failed to completely achieve.
After Tartarus retrieved the Activation Index, allegedly killing the Arbiter in the process, he gave the Index to the Hierarchs on High Charity. While Truth gave a religious speech, Mercy observed. Suddenly, John-117 entered High Charity near the Hierarchs through the use of a teleportation grid, with the help of the Gravemind on Installation 05. The Spartan stole the Type-33 Needler of an Unggoy and aimed it at the Mercy and Truth. However, two Jiralhanae interfered and attacked John, allowing Mercy and Truth to escape with some escorts.
Just as the two were about to depart for Earth, with the captured 343 Guilty Spark, Sergeant Major Avery Johnson, and Commander Miranda Keyes, with the Forerunner Dreadnought to begin the Great Journey, a swarm of Flood Pod infectors attacked them and the Jiralhanae Honor Guardsmen. A single Pod infector managed to, despite the efforts of both Tartarus and the guards, latch onto Mercy's neck, and begin devouring his windpipe.
Even as Tartarus attempted to save him, Truth intervened and left Mercy for dead in order to become the sole leader of the Covenant, saying, "The Great Journey waits for no one, brother. Not even you." As Mercy struggled on the ground, Truth, Tartarus, and their captives left the Hierarch in Type-52 Phantoms. Before his death, he was found by the Master Chief, who questioned where Truth was going. He answered, "Earth, to finish what we started. And this time, none of you will be left behind." The Master Chief then violently tore the Pod infector from Mercy's neck, killing the old Prophet instantly, but saving him from being infected by the Flood. However, Mercy's corpse was later assimilated into the Gravemind anyway as the Flood took over High Charity.
Personality and traits
Mercy can be seen as passionate, lively, and knowledgeable, as evidenced by his excitement about Halo, expressing hope that the Great Journey should begin very soon. It is possible that he has a sense of propriety, seeing that he talked the High Prophet of Truth out of condemning High Prophet of Regret, although this does not necessarily mean that he is merciful. While serving as the Philologist, he did sincerely care for the Great Journey, yet he was still susceptible to bribes and blackmailing like all powerful San'Shyuum politicians on High Charity.
He is perceptible and an authority on the Forerunners and their knowledge, he can be considered the Prophet of Truth's right-hand. Truth himself stated that Mercy was at his side, always with "wise counsel" in his ears. Without Mercy to advise him later, Truth became much more irrational and aggressive, even toward his subordinates (very much like Regret was before the Great Schism), although it is just as likely that Truth is showing his true personality after years of cool political veiling. He stayed by Truth's side after the death of the High Prophet of Regret, and seemed to be more of an adviser or supporter of Truth than an equal. Whereas Truth and Regret often clashed, there appeared to be no sign of conflict between Mercy and the other two Hierarchs. Although the three Hierarchs are meant to be equals, Truth held more power than Mercy.
List of appearances