FEATURED ARTICLE OF THE WEEK: THEL’ VADAM
SUPREME COMMANDER OF THE FLEET OF PARTICULAR JUSTICE
SWORDS OF SANGHELIOS
7FT 10IN (238.6CM)
DECEMBER, 10, 2485
Thel ‘Vadam was once a devoted Covenant warrior and the Supreme Commander of the Fleet Of Particular Justice. During the fall of Reach, his pursuit of a human vessel led to the discovery and eventual destruction of Halo. However, his failure to protect the sacred ring placed him at odds with the head of Covenant leadership–the High Prophet of Truth. As punishment, he was appointed Arbiter and sent on a suicidal mission. After the Prophet had betrayed him, ‘Vadam discovered the entirety of the Covenant’s belief system was based on a lie. He then forged a bond with humanity and led a band of rebel Sangheili against the Covenant, helping crush his former allies and bring an end to the war. Returning home, he was installed as a leader, seeking peace between their kind and the humans, though others rose against him and brought Sanghelios into civil war for several years. He currently seeks unity for his people and an end to civil war.
‘Vadam generally wears the traditional armor style worn by the Arbiters who served before him. More recently he dons a ceremonial battledress as both a tribute to the previous Arbiters and as a symbol of transition towards his vision of a united Sanghelios. The Energy Sword is his weapon of choice, and he occasionally uses his personal blade which carries the sobriquet “Prophets’ Bane”.
The Arbiter, known previously as Thel ‘Vadamee, was placed into Covenant service at a young age. Early in his military career, he received a leadership role, an appointment that grew during the critical Metisette Conflict in 2535, and eventually granted him the mantle of Supreme Commander. In this capacity, ‘Vadamee flourished, conquering and laying waste to numerous human colonies in the name of the Covenant. However during the battle for the planet Reach, his pursuit of a single enemy vessel ultimately led to the destruction of the Covenant.
THE HALO CONFLICT
In chasing the rogue human ship (UNSC Pillar of Autumn), ‘Vadamee’s forces discovered Alpha Halo, one of the Forerunners’ Sacred Rings the Covenant had sought since their founding thousands of years earlier. This represented the culmination of the Covenant’s core goal: the activation of Halo, an event that allegedly offered divinity to all members of the Covenant.
However, due to a political conflict with the Prophet of Stewardship, ‘Vadamee’s efforts to contain both the human threat and the Flood outbreak were subverted. This allowed an enemy known as the Master Chief to destroy the ring. The resulting catastrophe, as well as the capture of his flagship Ascendant Justice, put him at odds with Covenant leadership—specifically the San’Shyuum Hierarch known as the High Prophet of Truth. The Hierarch forced on him the shamed mantle of the Arbiter and the task of locating the Sacred Icon – an Activation Index. Only with the holy relic could the Hierarchs ignite the newly discovered Delta Halo installation and return ‘Vadamee former glory.
Upon acquiring the Sacred Icon, the Arbiter was struck down by the Prophets’ Jiralhanae guards. This act revealed the Prophet’s secret betrayal of the Sangheili and initiated the Great Schism—a civil war that tore their longstanding alliance apart. Along with his encounter with a Flood Gravemind, the Arbiter uncovered the disturbing truth of Halo. It wasn’t a sublimation device capable of imbuing divinity on the faithful, as the Prophets had instructed, but rather a devastating weapon which, if activated, would destroy all sentient life in the galaxy. Working with the Master Chief (the very same human who destroyed the first ring), the Arbiter prevented the Covenant from activating Delta Halo. He then followed his newfound allies back to Earth to fight the last vestige of the Covenant.
BREAKING THE COVENANT
Allied with a handful of rebel Sangheili who had survived the Great Schism, the Arbiter and the Master Chief pursued the Covenant to the massive Forerunner installation known as the Ark. It was here that he assassinated the Prophet of Truth, ushering an end to the Covenant and the threat of Halo. Despite this victory, his species remained fragmented in the months that followed. Those allied with him against the Covenant stayed in his service, as did his family state. Others found political and ideological solidarity in him while the Sangheili’s entire religious framework went through the process of redefinition. However, some Sangheili still held to the strictures and theology of the Covenant religion, although they did not deny the San’Shyuum’s deception or the many failings of the original Covenant. Others were indifferent to the Covenant religion and faith as a whole, but remained staunchly belligerent toward any peace with the humans, still holding to their old ways and the hostilities of previous years.
Currently, Arbiter Thel ‘Vadam is considered the formal, interim leader of the Sangheili (Elites), and specifically his species’ homeworld called Sanghelios. His role to end their war with the humans created a traumatic dichotomy within the Sangheili. Some support his authority and leadership, gathering under the banner “Swords of Sanghelios”. Others, however, find it heretical on historically-religious grounds, and yet others find cross-species alignment with the humans politically naive. Even further, many Sangheili regard ‘Vadam as a “false Arbiter.” They claim that since he did not ultimately sacrifice himself in battle, he represents the ultimate heresy against both the Great Journey and Sanghelios itself. They view him as a coward that must be extinguished for the Sangheili to truly ascend.