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The Covenant are a religious alliance initially founded between the Elites (Sangheili) and the Prophets. Formerly at war with one another, the discovery of Forerunner technology solidified a union whereby the Elites would provide protection for the Prophets as they searched for the means by which the god-like Forerunner transcended this reality and found their "salvation". (The exact nature of the Covenant Gods themselves is unknown.) On the way, they have converted (read: subjugated) at least seven, though possibly more, species. These races include, but may or may not be limited to: Grunts (Unggoy), Jackals (Kig-yar), Drones (Yanme'e), Hunters (Lekgolo), Brutes (Jiralhanae), Engineers (Huragok; from the novels), and Drinol Beasts (possibly called the Sharquoi; seen only in concept art).
The Covenant have a relatively high level of technology, mainly accrued from excavated Forerunner installations. The seat of their power, and the only homeworld they seem to have, is the planetoid High Charity, a tremendous semi-spherical habitat and battle station dozens of kilometers across, powered at its center by an actual Forerunner vessel. Most of their weapons are plasma-based, with the exception of their fuel-rod, particle beam, and needle ordnance. Their starships are much faster than Human vessels, and are capable of pinpoint maneuvering while in FTL travel, as is made explicitly clear several times in The Fall of Reach, when Covenant ships materialize right in the middle of a Human battlegroup. Their technological feats seem coupled with what can only be described as a reverent ignorance; they seem unable, unwilling, and vehemently against attempts (by Covenant or Human agents) to improve upon any Forerunner relics they come to acquire. To do so would be blasphemy.However, this alliance is far from secure. The Covenant ranks have been rife with unrest, and even assassinations within recent years. With the exception of the two founding races, all others have joined the Covenant through force and now exist as part of the caste system with strict rules guiding their upbringing and socialization to prevent any true unity among the conquered peoples. In the times of trouble and insurrection that have inevitably occurred, a chosen Elite has risen to become the Arbiter, "The Will of the Prophets", and has inevitably reestablished the peace.Even still, though their hatred for those filthy primates called Humans is both harsh and powerful, there remains some confusion over their precise transgression the Human race has inflicted against the Gods. The details of this Holy War appear to be known only by the Prophets; there is confusion among the Elites as to why the Humans, having proven there tenacity and worth in battle countless times, have not been offered the sanctuary of the Covenant alongside the others. From where this hatred springs, how it relates to the Covenant's "Great Journey", and more importantly, how Man may manage to survive them both, has yet to be discovered.
Halo, according to Cortana and the Covenant databanks, holds some deep religious power over the Covenant. They have searched for these seven rings for some time, and it is through them, they believe, their Great Journey is to be accomplished. Needless to say, they are profoundly important to them; so much so that they avoid firing upon the Pillar of Autumn for risk of striking Halo 04. Upon the Human's arrival at Halo 04, the Covenant are already on the ring's surface, following course and scouring the ring for technology they can adapt to their own purposes. What is odd is the discovery of the Flood. They were come across and "released" (whether intentionally or not is unknown) by the Covenant; Human tinkering merely made the problem worse. While terrifying, the Flood is not entirely unexpected to the Covenant. It seems that they have encountered the Flood before, and may have quite a history with them.Spurned by the heresy of Halo 04's destruction, the Covenant juggernaut resumed their search for the other rings and installations, unwittingly stumbling upon Earth in the process. Not knowing that it was the Human homeworld, but only that it contained some Forerunner relic, the small fleet led by the impetuous Prophet of Regret was repelled relatively easily, but not before a distress signal could be sent to the rest of the armada. By following in the wake of his retreat, yet another ring was discovered, and it became apparent that the Great Journey so desperately sought by the Covenant hierarchs was nothing more than the activation of the Halo network; their Journey would not bring salvation, only death.
As these events unfolded, the ignorant ambition of the Brutes, coupled with some shadowy need of the Prophets to remove the Elites, spilled over into bloodshed. What began with the replacement of the Elite Honour Guard with Brutes (under mysterious circumstances) ended with the murder of the Elite Council members and total civil war. Sides have been drawn, with the religiously disillusioned Elites, Grunts, and Hunters at odds against the Prophets, Brutes, Jackals, and Drones.Whether this conflict will benefit Humanity as they continue to struggle against the still overwhelming Covenant armada at Earth remains to be seen.

The Arbiter

In times of crisis, an Elite warrior is chosen to don the ancient armour, and assume the role of the Arbiter, "The Will of the Prophets". The nature of the Arbiter's challenges (to quell threats and insurrections) guarantee his death, but also his internment in the hallowed Mausoleum to sleep with the other Blessed.

And so, the Fleet Commander of the armada at Halo 04 was condemned to death for heresy, having failed at his charge and allowing the Sacred Ring to be destroyed. His appeals on the grounds of the unpredictable nature of "The Demon" (Master Chief) and of the struggles encountered with the release of the parasite (The Flood) were ignored. Following his public torture, he was brought before Truth and Mercy and allowed the chance to redeem himself in concert with his execution. He would become the Arbiter in order to quell a band of Heretics, but he would surely die in the process; the Council would have their corpse. And yet, he survived time and time again.

Following the betrayal of the Elites, the Arbiter remained in shock and disbelief that the Prophets would turn on them and that the Great Journey was a lie. Even his introduction to the Master Chief in the presence of Gravemind was not enough. But as he continueed his quest for revenge, the pieces fell into place. In the end, only an alliance with Johnson and Miranda allowed him the opportunity both to "stop the key from turning" and avenge his murdered comrades.


The lowest depths of the Earth, the realm of the dead, and in our case, the Chieftain of the Brutes. The Brutes are the most recent amalgamation into the Covenant, and appear to be one of its most zealous members. Their affinity for violence, their "brute" strength, and their unquestionable dedication to the Prophets have made them the favored race of the Hierarchs. While Truth may hide some motive for replacing the Elites, Tartarus and his company are lead by a pure desire to usurp the Elites and become the Prophet's honoured escort on the Great Journey. Tartarus schemed to acquire power and a place for himself in this "salvation", but even his mighty hammer, the "Fist of Rukt", could not deliver him; at his death at the hands of the Arbiter, he remained only a blind pawn.


Once locked in a bitter war with the Elites, the discovery of Forerunner technology quelled hostilities long enough to form a pact where the Elites would protect the Prophets and facilitate the scourging of the galaxy in a joint attempt to discover the mode of the Forerunner's ascension from physical reality (what they refer to as The Great Journey). Though formed through mutual agreement and governed by a Council of both races, the three Prophets known as the Hierarchs ultimately control all aspects of the Covenant's government, military, and theology. Whether their claim to have evolved on a planet laden with Forerunner tech or their intrinsic skill at manipulation has secured this place as the Covenant priest-leaders is not fully known. Regardless, the Prophets are by far the most subtle and mysterious of the Covenant races.


Though the Covenant is driven by religious zeal, not all have ascribed to it. Insurrections and rebellions have happened often throughout the Covenant's long history: the Hunter problem and the Grunt Rebellion are just a couple that we know of.The most recent organization against the powers that be saw Elites and Grunts rallying behind another Elite known only as the Heretic Leader. Further encouraged by information volunteered by the rescued 343 Guilty Spark, the Heretics set up their base on a Forerunner station and lab orbiting in the atmosphere of Threshold (that predates Halo 04 by several hundred years). Though it is uncertain how long his movement had been going on, it is from this station that he intended to spread his message. Whether the release of the Flood on the orbital platform was accidental or merely part of his plan to "make [the Elites] see" is unknown. His death seems unnecessary now, and we can only hope that his onetime followers will hold no grudge against the Arbiter, and rally behind the Elites left over from the now fractured Covenant.

Spec-Ops Leader "Half-Jaw"

Somber and professional, this high-ranking Spec-Ops Elite (nicknamed "Half-Jaw") leads his troops into battle with a rare care and sensibility. He has been through a great deal, from quelling heresies to repeated skirmishes with the Flood, but will find his greatest challenge yet as he fights against the betrayal and attempted annihilation of his race by the Prophets and Brutes.

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