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Ath 'Taranee was a Sangheili active during the Human-Covenant War. He was officially executed in 2539 for disobedience, but was in reality replaced by a flash clone before the execution and became the Prophet of Truth's personal assassin and Enforcer. During the Necros War era, he founded a rogue group of assassins, the Acolytes of Silence.
Ath was born in the anarchy-status State of Taran, one of the states on Sanghelios. The State had become crippled after its last Kaidon, Nuth ‘Taranee, had declared war on the neighboring states in an attempt to give the state more territory and recognition, as well as reminding the Sangheilian race of how powerful the Taran lineage had been 200 years before. However, the state was now weak, and lost after a month against the neighbors. For their losses, the states demanded massive repayment and more territory, which the Kaidon had to give away. Due to being unable to pay the bill, he raised the taxes in his state by over 60 percent, ruining much of the state’s economy.
Shortly afterwards, the Kaidon was assassinated by usurpers, and since then governments and Kaidons replaced each other almost yearly in the State of Taran, turning it into a state of utter chaos and controlled by Marauders, Bandits and Pirates. When Ath was 15 years old, a Marauder gang struck his town, killing his family. Sorrowed and lusting for revenge, Ath took his father’s ancestral Energy Sword and started to follow the Marauders back to their hideout in the forests. When they fell asleep, Ath entered the hideout and killed all of them.
After that, Ath would continue to hunt down other criminals, seeing it as a revenge for his losses. He was ruthless, killing everyone that got in his way, even innocent people that had been forced to cooperate with criminal groups or gangs. Then, in 2534, he managed to gather himself a small army of weapon-able townsfolk and used them to attack the ancient Taran Fortress, which was currently held by Bandits that had kidnapped the new Kaidon. Ath and his forces managed to take the fortress, and then killed or locked in the remaining bandits, although Ath would have preferred to kill them all. Ath and his troops then allowed the Kaidon to return into service, and agreed to help fight other threats in the state.
However, the more Ath fought against enemies, the more bloodthirsty he became, and in 2535, the Kaidon and the Taran elders agreed that he was too dangerous, and banished him. Angered, Ath left, but not before killing the Kaidon’s son, who had been assigned to Ath’s army. He and a select few loyal soldiers continued to fight criminal organizations in an attempt to cleanse the state. After five months, there efforts came into fruition – their fighting had made the Covenant High Council aware of the state’s horrible status, and started to deploy troops to deal with and take control of the state. The operation succeeded, and three months later, the state was stabilized. For his deeds, the High Council allowed Ath and his men to join the Covenant Army.
Battle of New Constantinople
Siege of the Atlas Moons
"Executed" and becoming Truth's Assassin
After sacrificing his whole unit at the Siege of the Atlas Moons in order to kill a human leader, Ath was trialed by the High Council and marked with the Mark of Shame, expected to be paraded through the city and executed the next day. However, during the night, Truth, with help from loyal Jiralhanae under Tartarus’ command replaced Ath with a flash clone and brought him to safety in some abandoned chambers underneath Truth’s tower. The next day, the clone was executed, and Truth approached the real Ath with an offer: become Truth’s personal Assassin and Enforcer while remaining secret in an attempt to regain the lost honor, or be found and executed. Ath accepted, and was by truth given a new identity, the Vanguard of the Glorious Truth, officially becoming an important Zealot dignitary subordinate to Truth, but in reality, being an expert assassin and enforcer. Ath quickly learned to use his official title well, which allowed him to take temporary command of other Covenant forces or to get to nearly anywhere in the Covenant empire.
As his first assaignment, Truth ordered Ath to go to a human outpost station to assassinate the commander of the Covenant attack, a rogue Kig-Yar Shipmistress name Chur'R-Bul, who was going to sell the station to a group of rebels for their use.
Ath had to enter through the use of a Ranger Elite's harness, cutting his way inside, and started to fight his way to his target. After killing dozens of the Shipmistress' subordinates, he finally reached and killed her brutally. Then he activated the station's self-destruct sequence and left before it detonated and destroyed the remaining rogue Kig-Yar. He was then picked up and returned to his ship.
Battle of Miridem Assassination
In 2544, during the Battle of Miridem, Ath was ordered to take out Khjo 'Ckeree, a Sangheili Field Master that Truth declared corrupt and wanted dead. On his way to the Field Master's camp, however, Aths dropship was shot down by human artillery, so he had to make it to the camp on foot, fighting through groups of Human Marines as they fought against the Field Master's forces. Indirectly, Ath's fighting allowed the camp to withstand the human assault and counterattack, which would result in the death of Spartan Sheila.
When in position, Ath engaged his camouflage and used a human Sniper Rifle to kill the Field Master, making the crowd believe a human survivor killed him. After his successful kill, Ath returned to his ship and left the battle.
Assassinating the Minister of Tranquility
After returning to High Charity from the Battle of Miridem, Truth immediately gave Ath a new mission: To Assassinate the Minister of Tranquility.
The Minister was accused of opposing the current Hierarchs' rule and to have called them imbeciles compared to the former hierarchs. Truth couldn't let this grow into a powerful resistance, so he dispatched Ath to kill the minister. Ath broke into the Minister's private chamber when he was working at the ministry, and laid in wait until the minister returned home, where Ath brutally killed the frail prophet and his Sangheilian guards and took the corpses away to the cemetery where he dug them down to eliminate all traces of Ath being in the chamber. The death of the Minister effectively stopped the resistance against Truth and his fellow Hierarchs, making the mission a great success.
Eradication of the Taran Rebels
After the Minister of Tranquility's mysterious disappearance, the Covenant was stable for some time. In the beginning of 2545, though, a rebellion took place in the State of Taran, Ath's home. The Hierarchs contained the area, while Truth secretly sent Ath to silence the rebellion. Ath didn't like to go against his brethren, however. He started to feel bad when he was forced to kill Taran Rebels in order to infiltrate their stronghold; The Taran Fortress.
After successfully infiltrating the Fortress, he placed Plasma charges at important places in the Fortress. After he activated the charges, the walls crumbled, allowing the Covenant troops outside to attack inside the Fortress and gaining the rebels' attention while Ath continued towards the Rebel Commander. Eventually, he entered the Commander's chamber, only to find out that it was his cousin and best childhood friend: Goth 'Taran. Very unwillingly, he attacked Goth and killed him and his bodyguards. After the confrontation, Ath sneaked out of the fortress and returned to his ship, heartbroken to have been forced to kill his friend. The destruction of the Taran Fortress and the murder of its leader put an end to the Taran Rebellion, but was the start of Ath's slowly increasing doubt in the Prophet of Truth's judgement and wisdom.
Siege of Paris IV
In 2549, the Covenant Fleet sieged the planet Paris IV, a human colony. Ath was sent along, officially as the Hierarchs' representative in the fleet, but in reality to follow the current Arbiter on his mission to infiltrate deep into the human plantet's outposts in an attempt to gather intelligence about the human homeworld. If the Arbiter died before getting the intelligence, Ath would finish the assignment, and if the Arbiter didn't die during the assignment, Ath would kill him. Ironically, the Arbiter was one of Ath's followers in the teenager years in the State of Taran.
Ath followed the Arbiter well, and secretly saved him several times by taking out human patrols ahead of him, allowing the Arbiter to complete his assignment, although he could only get intelligence on the human colony Draco III, since the information relating to Earth had been deleted. The Arbiter also survived the way out and brought the intelligence back to the closest Covenant base. Ath, however, killed him after he had finished giving it to the base using a human Assault Rifle to avoid suspicion of a murder. Although successful, Ath once again felt horrible to have been forced to kill a friend, leading to further anger against the Prophet of Truth.
Battle of Draco III
Slightly before the assault on Draco III, Truth ordered Ath to follow, but Ath openly and loudly questioned Truth why he was deployed to kill so many important Covenant officials during a time of need of powerful men, and when they had done little that posed a direct threat to the Covenant itself. Truth revealed that all that Ath had killed were part of a combined conspiracy aiming to seize control of the Covenant. Ath was still suspicious, but accepted the explanation for that time out of loyalty to the Prophet. He and his ship joined the fleet going to Draco III, with the Supreme Commander and leader of the invasion, Iklo 'Adheree himself, as his target.
When the battle started, Ath infiltrated the Fleet's Flagship where Iklo resided. Using his official title and identity, he managed to get an audience with the Supreme Commander in his chamber alone. Ath took the chance and killed Iklo, completing his mission. He then sneaked out of the ship - after activating the ship's self-destruct sequence, in order to eliminate all possible witnesses. He escaped in a Spirit, and returned to his ship, which then left the battle along with the rest of the Covenant forces.
Attempted assassination of the Prophet of Regret
Later in 2552, Truth gave Ath his most extreme assignment so far; to murder the High Prophet of Regret himself! According to Truth, Regret was part of the conspiracy, in fact its head conspirator, having provided intel and resources to it for a long time. Ath was this time very doubtful, and questioned Truth's argument more than he had done before. Truth grew increasingly annoyed with his questioning, ending in sending him out of his chamber, shouting his order to fulfill his mission, and Ath finally followed the order, but still suspicious of Truth's true reasons and goals.
Ath discovered, through investigations, that Regret would soon leave High Charity to go to a believed planet full of holy relics. So Ath infiltrated Regret's ship, waiting outside the command bridge for Regret to pass, giving him a killing angle. When Regret passed and entered his private quarters, Ath killed the guards and attacked the defenseless Prophet, only to discover that it was a Holo-Drone. The Holo-drone announced that the real Regret was safe onboard his other Assault Carrier, and that the Holo-Drone was a trick to trap Ath and kill him, proving that he knew of the coming assassination. After that, a detachment from Regret's bodyguard entered the chamber and attacked Ath, who still managed to kill most of them and fight his way out of the ship, escaping in an Orbital Insertion Pod and crashing in High Charity's lower districts, were he disappeared in the masses from Regret's Sentries.
Truth raged on him when he returned in failure, stripped him of his position and banished him to High Charity's lower districts. For a few weeks, Ath wandered the districts, greatly dishonored, but also thinking over why Truth and Regret were such mortal enemies. One day, however, he was approached by one of Truth's agents and taken back to in front of Truth. Truth restored his position and title, and tasked him with going down to Installation 05 to kill Regret once and for all. He was put in command of one of the Assault Carriers that was, officially, sent to help Regret against the attacking John-117 "Master Chief". The Spartan killed Regret first, however, and as vengeance, Ath ordered the destruction of Regret's temple, which would most certainly kill the Spartan as well. He then returned to Truth with this knowledge, satisfying the Prophet enough to let Ath continue his work.
Battle of High Charity
After that, Ath let his curiosity take the best of him, and started to investigate Truth and his assassinated targets. He soon found out that the charges Truth had accused them for were false. But he did discover a connection between his assassinations: Chur'R-Bul had been ordered by Regret to capture the human station and to sell it to rebels so that Regret then could destroy them. Field Master Khjo 'Ckeree was a popular Sangheili leader known for never losing a battle, often referred to as a Sangheili morale amplifier, and also a friend to Regret. The Minister of Tranquility had in reality gotten information about Truth's plans, and were planning to contact Regret to help stop Truth. Goth 'Taran had been encouraged by Regret to do rebellion in an attempt to dispose of the increasingly corrupt and despotic Covenant governor assigned there by Truth. The Arbiter at the Siege of Paris IV had been an experienced Fleet Master in Regret's fleet, serving a flawless career. Supreme Commander Iklo 'Adheree had long protested against Truth's policies, as well as the Jiralhanae's increasingly improving position in the Covenant, and had affiliated himself with Regret.
Putting all of this together, Ath realized that Truth had used him to weaken Regret, his main opposition from reaching total control of the Covenant (as Mercy was more of Puppet than an equal to Truth) and to dispose of the Sangheili and replace them with the more loyal and less questioning Jiralhanae. After having realized this, Ath decided to assassinate Truth, hoping to stop the dangerous situation before it escalated into absolute chaos. However before he could start, he was knocked unconscious and locked up in High Charity's lower districts.
The next day, the Covenant Civil War had started, causing massive fighting all over the city. Ath took the chance and led a massive prison riot, hoping to still have a chance to get to Truth. However, the Flood crashed into High Charity, spreading quickly, and eventually overwhelmed the city's remaining defenses. Ath attempted to round up the remaining left behind forces to fight the Flood, but had to undersand that the city was lost, and left with some other Covenant forces on board a decommissioned Frigate in High Charity's docks. He linked up with the Sangheili forces, that soon allied with the humans and started to contain Installation 05 and High Charity.
Post War Era
Confused and seeking his life's purpose, Ath quit the military and became a freelancer, mercenary, enforcer and assassin for the highest bidder. At one point, he was hired by Fol Darr, a San'Shyuum collecting Forerunner artifacts, both legally and illegally. He hired Ath to recover The Pendant, a Forerunner artifact discovered on a mining asteroid by a joint Majoran-Unggoy expedition. Instead of immediately traveling to the asteroid, he captured and interrogated Fup, a Unggoy merchant believed to be involved with the artifact.
Through the interrogation, Ath discovered that the artifact was guarded by mercenaries until an armed escort could be prepared to deliver it to a safe location. Realizing the danger of the contract, Ath proceeded to force the merchant to pay him a small fortune to let him go. Using his new fortune, he hired mercenaries from Claws of Eayn, an organization of Kig-Yar mercs. He then stole a Majoran merchant vessel and used it to get to the asteroid.
When on the asteroid, Ath's mercs engaged the guards while he moved towards the artifact's hiding place. After killing several guards, he finally found the artifact in a chamber in the deep center of the mining tunnels. After retrieving the necklace, he placed several anti-matter charges throughout the tunnels to remove any possible witnesses. He fled in the captured merchant vessel while the asteroid was covered in explosions. For the successful job, he was paid well by the San'Shyuum collector.
As the Alliance of United Races imposed restrictions on mercenary business and limiting it to Extra Outcomes and their associated companies, Ath's business became officially illegal and a large bounty was placed on his capture. Despite this, he continued to take assassination contracts from employers, although he mostly had to work with Crime syndicates as most others hired Extra Outcomes to avoid tampering the law (officially). He also found several individuals like him, outcasts without a purpose. He rallied these individuals and formed a group of assassins, the Acolytes of Silence, with himself as leader and fellow assassin. After founding the group, Ath could expand the business and gradually began to make a name for the group in the criminal underworld, often killing key individuals and taking over their resources or fortunes.
Slowly, the group became an influential crime syndicate, which gained the attention of the United Sangheili Republic. The crew of the USR Reborn Oracle, of which some had had run-ins with Ath, was ordered to attempt to take down Ath and his acolytes.
Preferred Weapons, Equipment and Vehicles
- Type-25 Directed Energy Rifle "Plasma Rifle"
- Type-51 Carbine "Carbine"
- Type-25 Directed Energy Pistol "Plasma Pistol"
- Type-1 Energy Weapon/Sword "Energy Sword"
Grenades and Equipment
- Type-26 Ground Support Aircraft "Banshee"
- Type-32 Rapid Assault Vehicle "Ghost"
- Type-47 Ultra Heavy Assault Platform "Scarab"
- The character was loosely based on Altaïr from Assassin’s Creed and Starkiller from Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.