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In his youth, Tersa was mostly raised by his mother and uncle, like most Sangheili, on Sanghelios. His uncle served in the War of Beginnings, and told Tersa stories of the war, including an encounter with a Huragok when he had raided a San'Shyuum vessel. Due to an ancient pact between Tersa's clan and the 'Xellus clan, Tersa often trained in Xellus keep.
In 851 BCE, Kaidon Ussa 'Xellus, disgruntled with the recent formation of the Covenant, warned the Sangheili of Xellus to not trust the Covenant and to not surrender themselves to the San'Shyuum. Tersa, moved by his speeches, looked to Ussa as a leader. The next cycle, Tersa was training on the walls of the keep with N'oraq and another friend when nine Covenant attack fighters arrived at the keep. Tersa sounded the alarm, sending the keep's residents into a panic as the fighters bombed the keep, killing N'oraq. After the keep was destroyed and hundreds had been killed, the fighters departed. Tersa spent the rest of the day trying to help clean up and aid the wounded. The survivors of the attack were led to the desolate region of Nwari; despite his mother's warnings, Tersa followed. Once at Nwari, the insurgents hid from Covenant spies and assassins by establishing a small encampment inside a dormant volcano. Tersa helped Ernicka the Scar-Maker load the rebels' transport vessels with crates of dried food. After Ussa returned from a failed recruitment mission at Creck, the rebels departed the region for the Refuge, their new place of home and safety.
Caught in a conspiracy
Upon arriving at the shield world, Tersa was partnered with Salus 'Crolon to survey the south side of the uncompleted Forerunner devices in the Storage Chamber in 850 BCE. While the two worked, 'Crolon openly admitted his wariness to trust Ussa. Tersa grew uncomfortable by 'Crolon's near-treasonous prattle, but was unable to rebuke a senior Sangheili. Eventually, Tersa grew frustrated by 'Crolon's ramblings, and argued that Ussa was right and they could no longer return to Sanghelios. Ernicka ordered the two to set back to work, though Tersa began to question Ussa himself. Tersa's doubts were further strengthened when he witnessed monitor Enduring Bias destroying the shield world in a hologram. Ussa had tasked the monitor with discovering if the shield world's Disassembler process was functioning. However, Bias' vague explanation caused Tersa to begin to further doubt Ussa's intentions, as the monitor inadvertently implied that Ussa wished to test the Disassembler process himself—even if it lead to the deaths of all Sangheili in the colony. 'Crolon and 'Drem later approached Tersa while he was scanning pieces of technology. 'Crolon shared his theories with the two; the "gods" were using the shield world to decide what Sangheili was worthy of living. Tersa dismissed these theories and Enduring Bias arrived, claiming that the youngling was correct. After Bias stated that Sooln 'Xellus had reprogrammed him to some degree, the monitor stated that he would accept the presence of San'Shyuum on the world if they brought Huragok. 'Crolon and 'Drem, distrustful of Bias, came to believe that Sooln and Ussa were actually conspiring with the San'Shyuum, though Tersa again dismissed these claims. After the two left, Tersa warned Enduring Bias to never repeat what he had heard.
Not wanting to be involved in 'Crolon's and 'Drem's insurrection, Tersa debated telling Ernicka or Ussa about the duo's treasonous conversations. However, Tersa hesitated as he did not want to appear as a "dishonorable informer" before them. He was again confronted by 'Drem and 'Crolon, in the Hall of Feasts, who questioned Tersa about what he had heard the previous day. Tersa avoided answering the question, leading to 'Crolon and 'Drem to warn him that they would use their seniority statuses to shift any blame on Tersa, if he attempted to tell Ussa or Ernicka about the duo's conversations. Later, while helping Ernicka, 'Crolon, and two other Sangheili repair burnblades, when he started conversing with Lnur 'Mol, a female interested in combat whom Tersa had become infatuated with. While the two tested out burnblades, 'Crolon commented that Lnur did not know her place. Angered, Tersa challenged 'Crolon to either apologize or duel. 'Crolon declined both options and left the room.
Some time later, Tersa and Lnur were walking together in Ussa's Garden when they heard a group of Sangheili speaking nearby. The two eavesdropped on the conversation and discovered 'Crolon and 'Drem attempting to convince Scorinn and her mate Gmezza to join them in their rebellion against Ussa. However, 'Drem spotted the pair and he and 'Crolon gave chase. As they attempted to escape, Tersa saved Lnur from nearly slipping off a cliff. As they ran, Lnur grabbed a large tree branch and clubbed 'Drem with it over the head, as he attempted to kill them with a blade. Succeeding in dazing 'Drem, the two managed to escape, although they contemplated killing 'Drem. Although the two knew they should have reported what the heard to Ussa or Ernicka, they were reluctant to do so. Lnur was afraid of getting Scorinn possibly executed for treason, and he believed that 'Crolon and 'Drem would use their seniority statuses to shift the blame on Tersa and Lnur.
Shortly after the incident occurred, 'Crolon and 'Drem falsely reported to Ussa that Tersa and Lnur had been planning a rebellion against him and had attempted to murder 'Drem for allegedly knowing too much. Ernicka approached the two and brought them to the Hall of Strategy to be put on trial before Ussa. Once they were before Ussa, they explained that 'Crolon and 'Drem were lying. Lnur and Tersa also explained why they had not reported 'Crolon's and 'Drem's wrongdoings earlier. At Tersa's suggestion, Ussa had monitor Enduring Bias, Gmezza, Scorinn, 'Crolon, and 'Drem all brought before the court. When the five appeared before the court, Enduring Bias provided footage of 'Crolon and 'Drem plotting against Ussa. Ussa ordered their arrest, though 'Drem was killed by Ernicka when he attempted to escape. Following the trial, Ussa sent the other four Sangheili to go about their business so he could talk with Bias alone.
Later, when a Covenant fleet arrived at the Refuge, Ussa had Enduring Bias activate the shield world's Disassembler process in order to trick the Covenant into believing the world was destroyed. As the Refuge went through the process, Tersa survived aboard one of the several freight movers that was carrying the hundreds of Ussans. After the process was complete and the Covenant had left, the Ussans continued to inhabit the habitable sections of the Refuge. Tersa would later be remembered by Ussans as late as 2552, with Lnur as his mate. Three-dimensional images of Lnur and Tersa were placed in a sculpture garden within the Hall of Godminds in Section Five of the Refuge.
Personality and traits
As a youngling, Tersa was very curious. He was a devout follower of Ussa 'Xellus, although he began to doubt Ussa's intentions after listening to Salus 'Crolon's ramblings. Tersa enjoyed being told that he was correct, as he believed that it was rare for a youngling to be right. Tersa often quoted old Sangheili sayings or his uncle in order to appear mature before other Sangheili.
Tersa is the first adolescent Sangheili depicted in the Halo universe.
List of appearances