Unidentified shipmaster (Righteous Vigilance)

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Unidentified shipmaster
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"We had done so much in the service of the Prophets' lies. I have done so much...all of it lies. I have so much to answer for, for my service to their lies. So after all these years I brought my ship back to this place of my greatest victory, now my greatest shame, to find a new purpose for my crew and my plan."
— The Shipmaster[1]

This unidentified shipmaster was the Sangheili commander of the Fleet of Righteous Vigilance, who fought in the Human-Covenant War and later seceded from the hegemony along with his Sangheili brethren when the Great Schism broke out.[1]


Early life[edit]

"My people were the chosen ones, we enforced the will of our Prophets. The holy sears who led our great Covenant believers along the path to transcendence; the path to the Great Journey."
— The Shipmaster

The Shipmaster was a member of the Covenant. He believed fervently in the Great Journey, and deemed the Sangheili the "chosen ones". He usually trained martial arts on Sanghelios alongside his brethren. One day, while training, he bested his rival, who fell into a lake. The other Sangheili was then captured by a sea creature, though the Shipmaster did not aid him.[1]

The war on humanity[edit]

"This planet is buried in war, and I know. For so long I know how every soldier here dies, how every battle here ends. But I don't know who won."
— The Shipmaster recounting the events on Kholo
The Prophet of Conviction watches as an unnamed shipmaster glasses Kholo.
The Shipmaster personally etches the glyph meaning "Faith" into the surface of Kholo.

In 2539, the Shipmaster served in the Fleet of Righteous Vigilance, under the command of the Prophet of Conviction. After discovering the location of the human colony Kholo by interrogating a human freighter pilot, the Shipmaster led his fleet to the planet and deployed forces on the surface. After the ground engagement, the Shipmaster hand-guided his ship's energy projector to carve the glyph representing "Faith" on the planet surface in a ritual glassing. After successfully carving the glyph, the fleet completed the glassing and the Shipmaster was bonded to the Prophet of Conviction.[1]

The Shipmaster fought at the Fall of Reach, where he destroyed three orbital defense platforms. He claimed that he saw the best of humanity's combat prowess at Reach.[1]

Great Schism[edit]

"Betrayal! Our people have been betrayed by the Prophets and their savage puppets! You have seen what they have done, how they stroke down our faith and our leaders! And you know what we must do in the face of such betrayal. Our war against these deceivers starts now!"
— The Shipmaster to his soldiers before killing the Prophet of Conviction

When the Great Schism began, he confronted the Prophet of Conviction, whose species, the San'Shyuum, had attempted to kill the Sangheili. The Prophet had heard of the start of the Schism and locked himself in his room, armed with his plasma pistol. On the way the Shipmaster was confronted by the Prophet's Honor Guards, with one raising his energy sword but the shipmaster only gently moved him aside and engaged the armed Prophet. The Shipmaster, however, overpowered the Prophet after dodging his overcharged shot and brought him forward in front of the crew, who were exposed to images of the Sangheili Councilors assassinated by the San'Shyuum's Jiralhanae "puppets". He then executed Conviction and left with the crew to join other Sangheili.[1]


"It was a terrible war. The Prophets provided the Brutes with powerful new weapons, hoping that they would in turn defend their Prophets against our wrath. But when the Prophets went into hiding, the lack of leadership allowed the Brutes to return to their savage nature and they soon began to fight against each other. This lack of solidarity made them much easier prey. Some of my fellow commanders continue that fight even now, but not enough. After generations spent obeying the Covenant and the words of the Prophets, we no longer know how to find what our gods want us to do. We don't know what our gods all. We have no scientist, no law and no reason to be. We risk extinction for the lack of a purpose and that is why I came to this planet where I last felt the virtue of gods; for guidance."
— The Shipmaster on the continuing Great Schism, the mysterious disappearance of the San'Shyuum and his return to Kholo during the post-war era
An unnamed shipmaster on Kholo's glassed surface.
The Shipmaster sees smoke on the horizon as he wanders the surface of Kholo.

From that day until at least 2559, he had been fighting the Jiralhanae in the ongoing Sangheili-Jiralhanae war. That year, the Shipmaster returned to Kholo so that he could atone for the sins he felt that he had committed. On Kholo, he discovered a human excavation operation among the ruins of a city. There, he observed humans in a firefight with a small group of Kig-Yar raiders, eventually fighting the Kig-Yar himself. Shortly thereafter he encountered two humans, one dead from multiple plasma shots in the legs and torso, and another who had been wounded. Thinking that the human would die from his wound, the Shipmaster moved on, but then stumbled upon pictures of humans observing Forerunner artifacts, including an "Oracle". He then returned to the wounded human; realizing that the carbine round had passed through the latter's body, the Shipmaster decided to try to save the human, calling in a medic from his ship, as well as a security squad, the ship's chief engineer, and a patrol of the surrounding area for Kig-Yar or human ships. It was his intention that once the human recovered, he would interrogate him in order to discover the reason for the excavations on the planet.[1]

Personality and traits[edit]

The Shipmaster of Rightous Vigilance was a firm believer of the Great Journey until the Great Schism began, but this did not stop him from revering the Forerunners as gods. He vowed revenge on the San'Shyuum, whom he labelled as "deceivers", when he found out that the Great Journey was a lie, and that lie resulted in the "death of the Covenant". Fighting alongside his fellow Sangheili, he took it upon himself to hunt down as many Jiralhanae he could, for their role in the Covenant's sudden betrayal of his race. As a warrior, he respected humanity's prowess, claiming he saw the best of it during the Fall of Reach. While it is unknown whether he became a Sword, he evidently held high regard for Arbiter Thel 'Vadam, once referring him as the Sangheili's "Champion". By the time of his walking on Kholo's surface, he felt great shame and sorrow for his role in the genocidal campaign he committed during the Human-Covenant War, and wished to atone for his sins, while also believing his people are slowly declining as a people and as a society. Since the San'Shyuum's betrayal and subsequent disappearance, he believed the Sangheili have lost their purpose and messenger between them and their gods. Not wanting his race to lose their way, he vowed to find himself a new purpose in life, even it meant reaching out to his gods, but he did not know what his gods wanted him to do nor did he know if they were still out there.[1]

Production notes[edit]

The shipmaster's identity is deliberately kept vague in The Return - something that 343 Industries has intentionally kept in place. This is due to the literary value of having the shipmaster represent a wider view of the Sangheili and their relationship with war, and a wish to preserve this value.[2]


List of appearances[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Halo: Evolutions - Essential Tales of the Halo Universe, The Return
  2. ^ Halo Waypoint, Canon Fodder - Encyclopedia Extravaganza (Retrieved on Jun 1, 2022) [archive]