February 6, 2009

Thel (Page Two)

> — Vociferous @ 10:46 am

The Fleet of Particular Justice was a prominent force during the campaign against humanity. If one traced the reason for this stature, they’d likely find that it was inexorably linked to the fleet’s Supreme Commander.

Upon Thel’s return home as a seasoned warrior, he was finally offered the mantle of kaidon. The elders had bestowed this upon him, but they had not acted in unison. Perhaps because the eldership was composed of several of Thel’s uncles or due to a simple lack of faith in the keep’s new leader, Thel was betrayed in the first night of his rule. An elder by the name of Koida sent a trio of assassins to eliminate him, later claiming that he believed Thel to be too weak to properly govern the realm of Vadam.

Koida soon learned how wrong he was when Thel effortlessly dispatched the three assassins and immediately ordered a meeting of the elders. There he found out his traitor and immediately executed him, proving his strength and loyalty to the keep. In that same meeting, he told the elders that the Prophet of Regret, one of the three hierarchs who led the billion-fold Covenant body, had personally selected him for a mission. He would leave Vadam in the hands of the elders and expect to receive it back in good standing upon his return. Thel would now become a Shipmaster and his first mission would be to eliminate the human population on a planet called Charybdis IX.

While the late Koida may have believed that fighting a lesser race, like that of humanity, had made the kaidon soft, Thel knew that the humans were, in fact, different. Though he would not allow it to be spoken of in his presence, for it was heresy, Thel respected humanity’s tenacious and unflinching will. The Prophets, however, saw this element of human behavior as a threat. In their unquestioned wisdom, they ordered the complete eradication of every human world. It was believed that the humans had willfully taken the sacred properties of the Forerunners, the very foundation of the Covenant religion, and desecrated them — an act which could not go unpunished.

Madrigal’s Trials and the Birth of a Warrior

In his first military campaign as Shipmaster, Thel assisted in the obliteration of Charybdis IX. When he and his crew of hand-picked zealots failed to locate data which would lead them to the human homeworld, he thought that they might be punished; but instead, he was offered something else.

The Prophet of Regret personally commanded Thel to take his ship, Retribution’s Thunder and a second vessel, A Psalm Every Day, to the system of 23 Librae and the planet of Madrigal. There his Sangheili forces would seek out and investigate evidence which showed that some Kig-Yar had betrayed the Covenant by re-fabricating and selling their own weaponry to human enemies. It would have been a fairly simple mission for Thel and his crew had it not been for an unfortunate, yet somewhat expected, betrayal.

The second ship was occupied and maintained by Jackals and Brutes. The former was a mercenary race, driven only by the financial promise of military contracts established by the San’Shyuum’s Ministry of Tranquility. They had a disingenuous allegiance to the Covenant — something which could only be measured by their lust for wealth. The Jiralhanae, on the other hand, were barbaric and embarrassing kowtow fodder. Although they were physically impressive and devout in their beliefs, their historic savagery was a proof enough to the Sangheili that they could not be trusted.

Soon would Thel discover this firsthand as the Kig-Yar ship attacked Retribution’s Thunder without warning, leaving the crew stranded near the asteroid belt which girded Madrigal. Thel and the survivors of the attack soon found themselves jailed by the same local Jackals they had been sent to investigate; the creatures were living in a bizarre habitat fashioned by humans on one of the outlying asteroids. Here they learned that the Jackals had been working with a colony of human rebels, as was surmised from the modified Covenant weaponry Regret had discovered.

Thel ‘Vadamee’s impressive record often found him in the presence of the hierarchs, a reality he would eventually come to regret.

It was not long before Thel and his imprisoned allies escaped the hold and began to explore the depths of the Kig-Yar’s betrayal. They discovered that the Jackals occupying 23 Librae planned to build an army of Unggoy — the lowest race of the Covenant hegemony. On a methane-rich world nearby called Metisette, the Grunts were free from the breeding restrictions that their kind were forced to endure in other Covenant population centers, like High Charity. What’s more, the leader of this endeavor, a Kig-Yar by the name of Reth, claimed that a separate San’Shyuum hierarch had personally ordered all of this to be done.

When Thel’s forces laid siege to Metisette and captured Reth, they found him convinced that this was a plan fabricated by one of Regret’s closest counterparts — the Prophet of Truth. The elaborate scheme, Reth explained, had been hatched by Truth when they discovered insurrectionist humans on the outer rim of their occupied-space. The weapon trades had merely been a ruse to fully map out the network of human colonies and eventually lead to the discovery of their homeworld.

In addition, Reth claimed that the Prophet of Truth would offer the Jackals ownership of the entire asteroid belt once they leveraged the Grunt forces of Metisette to destroy the human infestation on the makeshift habitat. A human traitor had bargained to give Reth the location of humanity’s homeworld — and Reth, in turn, had planned to offer it to the hierarchs as a gift, alleging that they were already plotting to minimize the Sangheili’s role within the Covenant.

The rise of the Jiralhanae against the Sangheili was relatively predictable for many within the Covenant, but even a cunning military mind such as Thel’s would have never expected the San’Shyuum to be so openly traitorous of their ancient pact.

To Thel, this sounded absurd at the time. The Kig-Yar and the Unggoy despised each other, particularly after the Grunt Uprising years earlier — an event which had threatened to almost break the Covenant when breeding disputes erupted between the two races. For the Grunts, it ended poorly. The hierarchs commissioned an Arbiter and sanctioned the near-total destruction of their homeworld by way of plasma bombardment — an act typically saved for their most despised enemies.

In addition, the notion that the hierarchs would act out of sync with each other or that the Sangheili were being targeted for removal from the Covenant seemed far-fetched and ridiculous. Thel would likely return to Reth’s allegations years later when his whisperings resonated loudly during the Great Schism — but here, twenty years earlier, his mind was far-removed from any such possibility.

With this knowledge, Thel plotted against the rebel humans to capturing a powerful Kig-Yar ship called the Infinite Spoils. His goal was to use the vessel to obliterate all human inhabitants in accordance with the original objectives presented by Regret. During a brief and violent battle with the humans, Thel and his surviving team claimed Infinite Spoils and began laying waste to the human occupation amongst the asteroids.

During the battle, Metisette, Reth and all evidence of the encounter were destroyed. Suspecting duplicity amongst the hierarchs, Zhar, one of Thel’s own Elites, threatened the Prophets by raising his weapon in their presence. Without hesitation, Thel turned on his own compatriot and slew him in a display of complete loyalty to the San’Shyuum and the Covenant. The heirarchs told him that the mission was to be forgotten, and a short time later they promoted him to the position of Shipmaster in one of their most prominent fleets.

Within a matter of years, Thel would become Fleetmaster — the Supreme Commander of the Fleet of Particular Justice.

[Proceed to Page Three]

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