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Zealot redirects here. For the Halo: Reach multiplayer map, see Zealot (map).
The Zealots are a military order of high-ranking Sangheili warriors in the Covenant, as well as some of its splinter factions during the Blooding Years. They were supervised and deployed by the Ministry of Fervent Intercession, with their organization divided into multiple chapters. Zealots are among the most devout worshipers of the Forerunners, even after the dissolution of the Covenant and the abandonment of its religion.
Zealots are greatly experienced and unparalleled in combat skill. Equipped with advanced armor systems and equipment, they are also among the most resilient and powerful Sangheili fighters. Although all Sangheili males are trained in the arts of combat from a young age, Sangheili believe future Zealots are born with an innate desire to kill.
Unlike the majority of the Covenant's conventional military forces, which fell under the authority of the Ministry of Resolution, the Zealots were a separate group that reported to the Ministry of Fervent Intercession. Within the Ministry existed a number of chapters (such as the Devoted Sentries), many of which adhered to particular interpretations of ancient codes of honor or debt-packs. Some of these chapters traced their lineage back to long before the rise of the Covenant. The Zealots' internal structure, rankings, and equipment varied from chapter to chapter and from fleet to fleet. The ministry deployed small teams of Zealots during all significant engagements to locate, analyze, and amass intelligence regarding reliquary sites, as well as to recover Forerunner artifacts or otherwise important data. During the Human-Covenant War, many Zealots were assigned to battlefield duties in order to directly partake in the destruction of a species the Covenant viewed as heretical.
Artisan-armorers of the Covenant sometimes allied themselves particularly with the Zealot orders, and would produce specialty equipment such as the Suspa Al-pattern drop pod specifically for only the most pious of commanders. When deploying into battle, only warriors from within the Zealot ranks, or those seeking to aspire to join them, would be permitted to employ these insertion pods.
In addition to artifact retrieval, Zealots may serve in a variety of command roles ranging from Shipmaster to Supreme Commander. The rank of Field Marshal is exclusive to the Zealot class. Field Marshals hold supreme authority over Covenant land forces, effectively making them the groundside counterpart to a Fleet Master or Supreme Commander; Field Marshals are also occasionally tasked with leading Zealot strike teams.
As late as 2558, Zealots continued to serve within various Covenant remnant factions, including those which remained religiously devoted to the Forerunners following the hegemony's collapse. Despite still having a combat niche, Zealots now serve in political and social leadership positions (at least within Jul 'Mdama's Covenant), filling all roles previously occupied by the San'Shyuum. Zealot loyalties remain divided amongst the Covenant successor states, and now exercise less discretion in judging the worthy to join their ranks.
Zealots have access to a variety of armor types and styles, reflecting the multiple roles encompassed by those who hold the title. The armor worn by a Zealot can be reflective of his chapter or fleet assignment. Zealots most commonly wear ornate maroon armor that, while intricate, is more subdued in design than the suits worn by Sangheili of lower ranks. Despite the availability of specialized armor styles, many Zealots wore combat harnesses during the war with humanity. These suits were distinguished by their gold coloration (indicating a command role) and the nearly peerless durability of their energy shields.
Ceremonial battle harness
The ceremonial battle harness, most commonly utilized during the Human-Covenant War, features a smooth, organic thoracic cage harness; large, sloping shoulder pauldrons; and a long, back-swept helmet with mandible guards. The helmet and pauldrons feature decorative blue bands. This armour was most famously worn in maroon by the Devoted Sentries.  Zealots in command positions, including those attached to regular Covenant military forces, wore the same armor, albeit colored gold like the suits worn by lower-ranking Generals. The color scheme worn by Ultras (silver-white with black trim) is also used. Field Marshals wear a modified version of the ceremonial Zealot harness; the front of the helmet has two horn-like prongs and the pauldrons are wider. Zealot Supreme Commanders may wear a similarly colored doarmir fur cloak with their armor.[note 1]
Another armor type is derived from traditional designs worn on Hesduros. This style was in use by 2526, though the prevalence of its issue relative to other wartime models is unclear. It is commonly worn by Zealots serving various remnant factions in the wake of the Covenant's collapse, most notably the body led by Jul 'Mdama, which was formed on Hesduros. In addition to the standard maroon coloration, this version is also produced in blue and gold.
This suit has a very organic, almost chitinous appearance, reflecting its origin on Hesduros. The helmet, which encompasses most of the wearer's face, vaguely resembles those worn by the Ascetics and Covenant Special Operations forces. A cross-shaped pattern of purple, or blue, insets faces outward from a central point on the helmet; the helmets worn by Merg Vol and Jul 'Mdama emit distinctive holograms, perhaps produced by the aforementioned insets. A blade-like "talon", derived from the armor worn by kaidons on Hesduros, is located on the inner toe of either boot. The harness also has protective hand-armor, and raised foil-arcs on its back. Like the Infiltration harness worn by Special Operations and Stealth Sangheili, this armor is equipped with active camouflage. Zealots who wear this armor type are colloquially known as "Roaches" by UNSC personnel.
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