Temple of the Abiding Truth

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The Temple of the Abiding Truth[1] or the Sanctuary of the Abiding Truth[2] as named by the Sangheili, is a Forerunner complex in Ontom, Sanghelios. Theorized to once have been a form of command center or garrison building,[3] the structure contains data on the Halo Array and the Didact, as well as a translocation portal linking to other locations on Sanghelios. It was later appropriated by the Sangheili religious sect known as the Servants of the Abiding Truth as the hub of their operations.

Description[edit]

The structure is located on an island in the middle of the urban city-state of Ontom, and is surrounded by a large walled courtyard. Although not particularly large on the outside, the structure contains a labyrinthine tunnel network running for many kilometers underneath the island.[4] Some of these passages have been closed off by the Sangheili, who have also added certain features to the original construction, such as additional lights.[5] However, further down in the tunnels, the passages are alight via original Forerunner lighting systems which lack visible light fixtures of any kind.[6] Additionally, the interiors further down the complex are completely clean and pristine, despite over 100,000 years of abandonment.[7]

Largely constructed of stone, the walls within the temple are perfectly smooth and the seams in the stonework are barely visible.[5] The stonework exhibits a curious, malleable quality; the walls are capable of reconfiguring themselves to some extent.[8] Invisible energy fields cover some of the walls,[9] which makes the solid stone walls feel unnaturally soft,[8] even "furry".[10] Many of the walls are covered in crisply carved Forerunner symbols in cartouche-like arrangements.[11] An instruction not to release the Didact without the permission of an unspecified individual, apparently of a superior rank, is repeatedly displayed among the symbols.[12] In addition, the symbols have references to the Halo installations and their possible locations.[13] One of the symbols was similar to a glyph found in the Onyx Dyson sphere, Shield World 006, roughly translated as "storehouse", "garage" or "sarcophagus".[14] Despite being apparently carved out of stone, the symbols are also capable of shifting and assuming different shapes.[15] This feature may be facilitated through the use of hard light, a technology used by the Forerunners to create realistic surfaces mimicking various forms of corporeal matter.

The entrance to the complex contains a field which mutes all sound coming from the outside;[16] similar auditory dampening technology is also present inside the temple, where the passages do not echo as they would based on normal acoustics; the air inside the temple was described as being abnormally thick and muffled.[17] This causes an unnerving, buzzing sensation to people inside the structure.[6] Like certain other Forerunner facilities, the structure interferes with human communications equipment, with communications to the outside breaking up some hundred meters into the tunnels.[18]

A chamber deep within the structure houses a translocation portal which links to another structure in Acroli approximately 80 kilometers away. By the modern times, the structure in the receiving end has fallen into disrepair, although the portal remains functional. The activation system for this portal, generated on the spot from the wall panel upon touching the right symbol, greatly resembles a Sangheili arum, being comprised of multiple concentric spheres that must be aligned to release a small object within.[10] Such locks may have served as the original inspiration for arums.

History[edit]

Constructed by the Forerunners over 100,000 years ago, the structure is one of many Forerunner creations on Sanghelios that the planet's Sangheili inhabitants have come to revere as sacred, eventually building the city of Ontom around it. At some point, the religious order known as the Servants of the Abiding Truth made the complex their main base of operations, a function it also filled during the Abiding Truth's resurgence following the end of the Human-Covenant War and the outbreak of the Blooding Years. The Abiding Truth, now a militant cult under the leadership of Avu Med 'Telcam, coordinated their operations and stored large amounts of their arms and equipment in the structure.[19]

In March 2553, the grounds of the temple became the site of a battle as a group of Jiralhanae servants rebelled against their Sangheili masters. Evan Phillips, a human scientist covertly working for the Office of Naval Intelligence, was visiting Ontom at the time in order to gather data on the ancient Forerunner sites, and gained access to the structure at the permission of 'Telcam. Exploring the warrens, Phillips deciphered some of the Forerunner symbols and recorded his findings with the aid of a fragment of the AI Black-Box. Phillips and the BB fragment eventually found their way to the room with the translocation portal. Solving the arum-like activation system, Phillips was translocated to the portal's receiving end in Acroli.

Soon after, Kilo-Five arrived to rescue Phillips. After brief negotiations with Olar, the Sangheili guarding the temple, the ONI team entered the tunnels but failed to locate Phillips. The humans' entry into the temple greatly agitated the Sangheili outside, who gathered into a mob and attempted to stop the humans from desecrating their supposed holy relic. As Kilo-Five returned from the structure without Phillips, they barely managed to evacuate aboard the Pelican Tart-Cart while under fire from the furious Sangheili mob.

List of appearances[edit]

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ Halo: The Thursday Way, page 17
  2. ^ Halo: Glasslands, page 170
  3. ^ Halo: The Thursday War, page 175
  4. ^ Halo: The Thursday War, page 117
  5. ^ a b Halo: The Thursday War, page 84
  6. ^ a b Halo: The Thursday War, page 160
  7. ^ Halo: The Thursday War, page 122
  8. ^ a b Halo: The Thursday War, page 159
  9. ^ Halo: The Thursday War, page 85
  10. ^ a b Halo: The Thursday War, page 164-165
  11. ^ Halo: The Thursday War, page 118
  12. ^ Halo: The Thursday War, page 163-164
  13. ^ Halo: The Thursday War, page 157-158
  14. ^ Halo: The Thursday War, page 176
  15. ^ Halo: The Thursday War, page 158
  16. ^ Halo: Glasslands, page 137
  17. ^ Halo: The Thursday War, page 104
  18. ^ Halo: The Thursday War, page 172
  19. ^ Halo: Glasslands, pages 138-139