Sanctum of the Hierarchs
The Sanctum of the Hierarchs is the name given to the private quarters of the High Prophets on High Charity. They were restricted to virtually all other creatures, except the Honor Guard, San'Shyuum and Sangheili Councilors and high-ranking Covenant officers, such as Special Operations Commanders and Arbiters.
The Sanctum consisted of many rooms, the most important being the inner chamber. The Sanctum featured unique architecture, highly ornamented doors and various other luxuries.
The inner chamber of the Sanctum had several entrances; one was via a lift in the High Council Chamber, and another was a large hallway where dozens of Honor Guardsmen used to stand watch. The center of the inner room also featured a holotank which also had another mechanisms, such as serving as a stasis field emitter.
One of the rooms in the sanctum was a massive chamber with its walls, floor, and ceiling ornamented with smooth glass from all the worlds glassed by the Covenant. This chamber was a large, round room with an illuminated pedestal in the center. On the perimeter of the room, there was space for three hundred Honor Guard Sangheili, should a Prophet be present. The walkways lining the room housed folding platforms with gravity bridges allowing passage over the void in the center of the room.[note 1]
After Operation: FIRST STRIKE, during the Step of Silence, the High Prophet of Truth and Tartarus, Chieftain of the Jiralhanae discussed the events that took place on Installation 04, as well as the fate of the future Arbiter, the destruction of the Unyielding Hierophant and the Covenant personnel who survived it, in the Sanctum's chamber housing the glass shards.
Many events took place here, including the Changing of the Guard when the Jiralhanae supplanted the Sangheili as the Honor Guardsmen and minders of the Prophets, after the assassination of the Prophet of Regret. It was here that the Prophet of Truth and the Prophet of Mercy explained to the Arbiter his task of landing on the surface of Installation 05 and retrieving the Index from the Flood-infested Library.
Later, when the Flood invaded High Charity during the fall of the Holy City, the infection quickly spread to the Sanctum. Flood biomass soon appeared both in the main hall and the inner sanctum. A bastion of Covenant led by several Jiralhanae Honor Guardsmen, fortified the main hall in preparation for a final stand against the Flood. At the same time, the Master Chief entered the area in his pursuit of the High Prophet of Truth, and after a pitched battle, he slaughtered all combatants.
When John-117 returned to High Charity in order to rescue Cortana, she was being held inside a stasis field in the holotank in the center of the Sanctum. The room had been dramatically altered by the Flood infestation: there was Flood biomass everywhere as well as widespread structural failures that occurred as a result of the Flood infestation as well as High Charity colliding with the surface of Installation 00.
List of appearances
- It is never definitely stated that the chamber featured on the level Gravemind is the one described in First Strike. The novel makes no indication that the Sanctum of the Hierarchs encompasses multiple rooms, which would suggest that the Sanctum chamber featured in the book is not meant to be separate from the inner Sanctum room seen in Halo 2. However, the novel describes the Sanctum as capable of accommodating 300 Honor Guards and its ceiling being ornamented with shards of glass; neither fit the description of the room identified as the Sanctum of the Hierarchs in Halo 2, which would not have enough space for 300 Sangheili and has a ceiling of plain purple Covenant material. These differences are likely a result of artistic decisions or miscommunication between First Strike writer Eric Nylund and Halo 2 level designers, although it is apparent that the novel's description of the Sanctum inspired the separate shard chamber featured in Halo 2. Although quite distant from the Prophets' inner Sanctum, the chamber has a prominent ceiling fixture of what appear to be shards of glass, although most of the room is dominated by a bottomless pit with only several platforms allowing passage. This makes it somewhat suspect that 300 warriors would fit in the space simultaneously, unless the chamber is capable of reconfiguring itself for such occasions.