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- "We are the Silent Shadow. Once our charge was varied—assassination, extraction—direct and thorough acts of violence. Our goals, strategic—pointed and precise. Our ends, religious, verging on Godly. Those days are over. Or, at best, on hold. Now we have but one aim… the slaughter of beasts."
- — Resa 'Azavayl
The Silent Shadow was a unit of special operations Sangheili within the Covenant's Special Operations branch. It was made up of several individual squads. They were often dispatched by the Hierarchs when they wanted to remove a high-ranking commander from their post. In the event that they might one day be ordered to kill them, members of the Silent Shadow are forbidden to show their faces to any of their superiors. The Silent Shadow undertook numerous missions during the Covenant War, including assassinations and extractions. Following the Great Schism, one such squad was led by First Blade officer Resa 'Azavayl and took it upon themselves to wipe out every Jiralhanae they encountered.
The Silent Shadow existed during the Sangheili's pre-Covenant spacefaring history. During the Age of Seven Worlds, the Silent Shadow venerated a nameless god said to wield a trikala; a spear outfitted with three blades intended to destroy the mind, body, and spirit - in the past, present, and future.
The Silent Shadow were a well distinguished Covenant Special Operations unit of Sangheili primarily tasked with assassination operations against both human and disobedient Covenant targets alike.
During the Human-Covenant War in 2526 a Sangheili First Blade named Tel 'Szatulai led the Bloodstars, a select group of Jiralhanae Stalkers that included Orsun and Castor, to find and destroy the Demons. However, before the Covenant realized the threat that the Spartans posed, 'Szatulai and his squad had been attached to then-Fleetmaster Nizat 'Kvarosee's Fleet of Inexorable Obedience to stealthily scout out the defenses of human colonies that they planned to destroy. They would also be searching these worlds for any hint that they had once been occupied by the gods. While scouting the world of Amasa, a courier from the United Rebel Front delivered a communications device to 'Szatulai's squad. It contained a message from General Harper Garvin, who wished to form a tentative alliance with the Covenant in exchange for information on the UNSC and their Spartans, which he claimed to be very dangerous. 'Szatulai took the message to 'Kvarosee aboard Pious Rampage as the fleet was in the process of glassing Etalan. The fleetmaster, as well as the Minor Minister of Artifact Survey, instructed him to meet with the insurgents on Seoba to see what more information they could provide, especially pertaining to these Spartans.
On March 19, 2526, Tel 'Szatulai's Bloodstar Flotilla arrived at Seoba to find the moon under the control of a UNSC task force. The ensuing battle resulted in the destruction of three of 'Szatulai's five intrusion corvettes and the deaths of many Bloodstars, forcing him to retreat with his remaining two vessels. Following the battle, the First Blade would meet with the intended insurrectionists aboard a transport craft as the Fleet of Inexorable Obedience arrived and began its assault on Biko, the human colony that Seoba orbits. The meeting with Garvin ended with 'Szatulai "agreeing" that the Covenant would help the insurgents take control of Biko in exchange for more information on the Spartans.
When the Spartans of Blue Team attempted to destroy the partially-constructed supercarrier Hammer of Faith within its docks on the Ring of Mighty Abundance over Zhoist, 'Szatulai and several of his warriors attacked the Spartans directly. Most of these warriors were killed by Linda-058 and Frederic-104 while 'Szatulai himself engaged John-117. After a fierce fight, 'Szatulai was disarmed by John and then killed by Kelly-087 with a point-blank shot from an M90 shotgun to the head. Castor and Orsun were able to escape in Banshees and reported back to 'Kvarosee on the death of 'Szatulai and all his Sangheili warriors.
In June 2526, another squad of Silent Shadow were sent with the Fleet of Swift Justice to hunt down the now-renegade 'Kvarosee and his forces. The Silent Shadow arrived at Netherop where they got caught in the middle of a conflict between the UNSC and 'Kvarosee who hoped to use the Spartans to get rid of the Silent Shadow. However, despite suffering heavy casualties, the Silent Shadow was able to destroy the Steadfast Strike and capture the renegade Fleetmaster, bringing in Honor Guards and a Sangheili Ultra from High Charity itself to deal with him. When 'Kvarosee claimed to no longer have the Luminal Beacons as they were supposedly destroyed with his ships, the Ultra had 'Kvarosee and his surviving warriors stripped of their armor and exiled on Netherop. Before leaving the planet, the Silent Shadow established an orbital mine shell of self-targeting plasma torpedos that would prevent even a drop pod from landing, thus keeping 'Kvarosee from being rescued by any of his surviving loyal Shipmasters. Blademaster Menuz 'Ra'ashai remained on Netherop, presumably to help enforce the exile, but he eventually joined forces with 'Kvarosee.
- Main article: Mission to an unidentified moon
- "You can sense your end, human. That is good. If it brings you any peace, the whole of your kind will soon follow suit."
- — First Blade of Silent Shadow to Jonah
At some point prior to December 2552, a unit of the Silent Shadow laid a trap for two two-person teams of Spartan-III Headhunters. On an unnamed moon, ten Covenant base camps were established to field crew for a Forerunner artifact dig site, which the Spartans were ordered to destroy. The Spartans observed the base for the next two days, identifying patrol routes, high-ranking enemies, and important control sites, unaware of the trap prepared for them. On the third day they infiltrated the base, eliminating all hostiles and setting demolition charges around the base. At the moment the Spartans let their guard down, the cloaked First Blade impaled one of the Headhunters with his energy sword, while his subordinates appeared and surrounded Jonah-B283. The First Blade suggested the Spartan surrender, informing him that the second Spartan team was already dead. Refusing, Jonah lured the Sangheili closer to the charges before setting them off, killing himself and the Elites.
- "I see you for what you are and what you could be. We can do great things together. Not as master and slaves, but as the warriors you truly are—free to continue your crusade without the shackles of outdated faith."
- — Atriox, offering the Silent Shadow a place within the Banished
After the Covenant's betrayal of the Sangheili and the outbreak of the Great Schism, the squad led by First Blade Resa 'Azavayl dedicated themselves to eliminating all Jiralhanae that they came across, as well as any forces under their control. The Silent Shadow wiped out a Jiralhanae pack in an armory on the fourth moon of Victors' Truth, runaway Jiralhanae forces aboard the stolen Covenant corvette Adherent, "butchers" encamped in a resource enclave in the northern highlands of Thalia, Covenant holdouts aboard a derelict colonial substation in the low orbit of Sansar, and the last remaining members of Chieftain Tartarus' crew aboard the Covenant cruiser Rapid Conversion.
At some point, the Silent Shadow embarked on a mission to eliminate Jiralhanae aboard the Ceudar-pattern heavy corvette Elegy's Lament. Unbeknownst to the Silent Shadow, Elegy's Lament was crewed by the Banished and commanded by the faction's chief, Atriox. Infiltrating the corvette, the Silent Shadow eliminated several Jiralhanae before entering the ship's bridge. Despite being cloaked, the Banished detected the Sangheili's infiltration and Atriox noticed the assassins' arrival when they entered the bridge. Atriox stated that he and the Banished are different from the Jiralhanae that betrayed the Sangheili. He also offered the members of the Silent Shadow a place within the Banished, where they would serve as warriors and fight under their own free will. While the other members of the Silent Shadow were greatly tempted by Atriox's offer, 'Azavayl refused, citing that Atriox and the Banished deserved death for their "sins". The rest of the Silent Shadow squad tried to convince 'Azavayl that Atriox and the Banished were "other", but to no avail. As 'Azavayl moved to attack, he was slain by the rest of his squad, who desired to join the Banished. Afterwards, Atriox allowed the remaining members of the Silent Shadow to join the Banished, offering to reward them with "blood and sport and spoils".
In November 2559, the UNSC and the Swords of Sanghelios encountered Silent Shadow Blademaster Menuz 'Ra'ashai who had been stranded on Netherop with Nizat 'Kvarosee and his forces since their exile on the planet in 2526. Thel 'Vadam's forces dismantled the orbital mine shell that the Silent Shadow had established around the planet and 'Ra'ashai agreed to defect to their side, becoming the only survivor of 'Kvarosee's faction. 'Ra'ashai left Netherop on a UNSC Owl along with all of the human and Sangheili survivors of the battle.
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Artwork of a Silent Shadow Sangheili for the Halo Encyclopedia.
List of appearances
- Halo 3 (Mentioned in Halo: The Master Chief Collection-only)
- Halo: Evolutions
- Headhunters (First appearance)
- Halo: Tales from Slipspace
- Halo: Retribution (Mentioned only)
- Halo: Silent Storm
- Halo: Oblivion
- Halo: Shadows of Reach (Mentioned only)
- Halo: Divine Wind (Mentioned only)
- Halo Infinite (Mentioned only)
- Halo: The Rubicon Protocol (Mentioned only)
- Halo: Outcasts (Mentioned only)
- Halo: Tales from Slipspace, Hunting Party
- Canon Fodder: Brute Force - "The Silent Shadow are a unique Sangheili special forces division made up of several different individual squads. In Halo: Tales from Slipspace, readers encounter one such squad led by Resa 'Azavayl, a 1st Blade officer in the Silent Shadow.", Jeff Easterling
- Halo: Silent Storm, chapter 18
- Halo: Shadows of Reach, chapter 3
- IGN, Halo Infinite Campaign: Get to Know Jega, a ‘Spartan Killer’ – IGN First (Retrieved on Nov 9, 2021) [archive]
- Halo: Silent Storm, chapter 9
- Halo: Outcasts, chapter 6
- Halo: Retribution, page 265
- Halo: Silent Storm, chapter 12
- Halo: Silent Storm, chapter 15
- Halo: Silent Storm, pages 367-369
- Halo: Silent Storm, page 377
- Halo: Oblivion
- Halo: Outcasts
- Halo Evolutions, Headhunters pages 188-192
- Halo: Tales from Slipspace, Hunting Party - "I am not Tartarus or some fanatic. I am not Truth. I am not Regret. I am their remedy."
- Halo: Tales from Slipspace, Hunting Party - "Agreed. Atriox is of a kind with our enemies, but he is OTHER, and an ally worth considering."
- Halo Waypoint - Community Update: Brute Force