Has anyone ever considered that the voice in the backward recording might be the Arbiter? I don't mean the Arbiter in the sense of the sangheili commander who was stripped of rank at the beginning of Halo 2, but rather the metaphysical gestalt of all the Arbiters throughout history, given voice by one of the hundreds or thousands of sangheili to bear the weight of the Arbiter's duty. I think it makes more sense than it being Mendicant Bias or the Gravemind, given the contradictions in the text and the title of the musical track that contains the recording.
"I have walked among men and angels for 3,000 years."
We have no way of knowing how long there have been Arbiters, but 3,000 years is not an unreasonable length of time for a society to maintain a spiritual belief. The Arbiter is a religious figure who straddles the worlds of men and gods and has been doing so for a long time, judging by the number of sarcophagi in the Mausoleum.
"Time has no end, no beginning, no purpose."
The Arbiter transcends time because death does not stop him. A new Arbiter will be anointed, and his endless work will continue.
"I wandered the earth seeking forgiveness for my horrible crimes against God and man."
We know that at least one Arbiter was created as penance for heresy -- it is possible that all the Arbiters have been faithful sangheili who failed the Covenant (and thus the gods) in some way, and have been given a second chance at a bloody salvation by the Prophets.
"I live to see death and destruction."
The Arbiter is a holy warrior, who exists only to bring the wrath of the gods to the enemies of the Covenant and then die.
"Evil over the light, but the light cannot be extinguished."
The Arbiter is a heretic, and thus evil, but he knows that within him the light of faith still burns.
"I live in a prison of my own demise. I am lost in time."
I often see this line misinterpreted as "I live in a prison of my own design," or "I live in a prison of my own devising," both of which make more sense grammatically but neither of which is what the voice actually says. A prison of one's own demise is a prison of one's own death. A sangheili who becomes the Arbiter is dead, both officially and perhaps in his own mind. In the words of the Prophet of Truth in Halo 2, "the Council will get their corpse." He is lost in time because that is the cost of time having "no end, no beginning, no purpose" to him -- he has no friends, no family, no identity. All there is for him is the eternal duty of the Arbiter.
What do you think? It's been bothering me ever since I found out about this recording a few weeks ago. Neither Mendicant Bias nor the Gravemind is a good fit. -DMZ2112 188.8.131.52 21:41, 20 October 2008 (UTC)
- Good theory, quite well supported. As another consideration, Elite voices in the first Halo were English tracks played backwards. Although I have to say that the interpreted voice when played backwards doesn't sound very much like an Elite but more like a Prophet.