|This article, Covenant Remnant (Labyrinth Canon), is currently under active construction.|
|This article, Covenant Remnant (Labyrinth Canon), was written by Specops306 and The All-knowing Sith'ari. Please do not edit this fiction without the writers' permission.|
For a little over three thousand years, the Covenant has stood as the pinnacle of post-Array technology and culture, gradually assimilating its component races, held together by the iron fist of the Sangheili and the benevolent rule of the Prophets - or, at least, so the historians of the Covenant would have you believe. In truth, given the long-standing tensions between the Sangheili and the San'Shyuum, it is difficult to see how the Covenant managed to last as long as it did. Its collapse in 2552 was due to a number of factors - secessionist groups were a constant problem late in its existence, with dissatisfaction over the Prophet's so far futile search for a way to begin the Great Journey, differences in religion and ideology, and political disputes giving rise to any number of dissident groups. The death of much of the High Council on High Charity, and the Prophet of Truth at the Ark, robbed the Covenant of the majority of their leadership and guidance. Worse still, rival Kig-yar and Jiralhanae clans and warlords almost immediately began gathering what resources they had to themselves, intent on setting themselves up as major powers in the Orion Arm. The continued existence of the New Covenant during such turbulent times is almost miraculous - but that they could rise again to rival the Sangheili is a testament to the political and diplomatic savvy of their Hierarch, the Prophet of Obligation. By the end of the War of Vengeance, most of the smaller sub-factions had either collapsed, or were beginning to turn on themselves as internal disputes, encouraged by external factors, pitted warlord against warlord, until at last the only factions of any real significance were the former New Covenant, now simply "the Covenant" once more, the Sangheili Armed Forces, and the United Nations Space Command.
- Main article: Blood Covenant
Though the New Covenant is ruled by three new Prophet Hierarchs, the Blood Covenant rejects this system entirely, and is more accurately described as "Covenant" in name only. Rather, it is led by a single Jiralhanae warlord, Alpha Chieftain Hephaestus, ruling over thirteen former Covenant colonies, based out on Glorious Ascension, a former Sangheili colony. While the Blood Covenant hold much less territory than the New Covenant, less than 47%, when the Covenant broke apart Hephaestus managed to bring together a significant number of ships and warriors under his sway, and today they maintain the largest military threat to the Sangheili, against whom all the Jiralhanae in the Blood Covenant have sworn eternal undying vengeance against for the murder of former Alpha Chieftain Tartarus at the hands of the Arbiter.
Though the Blood Covenant incorporate many of the races that once made up the Covenant, they hold the distinction of including no Prophets. Though the Jiralhanae remain outwardly pious and reverent to former San'Shyuum temples, there is a general undercurrent of belief that the ill tidings of the Jiralhanae in recent times - their devastation by the Sangheili fleet at Delta Halo, the humans at Earth, and against both at the Ark - are a direct result of Prophet meddling. Such "heresy" has particularly enflamed the representatives of the New Covenant, especially after the San'Shyuum Ministers of Malediction and Requisition were sent back brutally slaughtered by the Jiralhanae, and neither faction has ceased hostilities against each other. Part of the Unmoving Virtue Treaty's conditions was that the Sangheili deny assistance or recognition to the Blood Covenant - a foolish inclusion, as the Sangheili would never even consider such a move, nor would the Jiralhanae ever accept it.
New Covenant/True Covenant
- Main article: New Covenant (War of Vengeance)
The first, and to date largest, non-Sangheili group to emerge from the chaotic period as the Covenant collapsed, the New Covenant would form itself around a new trio of Prophet Hierarchs. Seeking to try and keep the Covenant as unified as possible, the Prophets of Objection, Protestation and Devotion made many changes in the internal structuring and organisation of their faction, seeking to make better use of each of their member-races' talents. Yanme'e were elevated to the Warrior Caste, with Huragok taking their former technical roles, while Unggoy were removed from the military totally, relegated to civilian roles to build up the New Covenant infrastructure and to deny them the resources for revolt. Even a small number of Sangheili, members of the traditionalist Governors of Contrition, were permitted to return to the fold, trusted with limited leadership roles and given command of military forces in exchange for technological innovations derived from the Prophets themselves.
While outwardly the New Covenant claims to follow the religious motivation of the past set of Hierarchs, internally many acknowledge that a holy war simply isn't feasible at the moment. The Treaty of Unmoving Virtue was signed between San'Shyuum, Sangheili and Human dignitaries in 2554, bringing an end to outward hostilities between the New Covenant and the UNSC-Sangheili alliance. This doesn't mean that peace has been declared, and there was no formal end to the war agreed between the parties, but the New Covenant and the allies agreed to a set boundary of territory that neither would cross, in exchange for which the Sangheili leaders agreed to deal with the less built-up "Covenant" groups instead, to ensure security.
In 2562, the New Covenant underwent a radical reorganisation after a violent but brief coup by the Governors of Contrition, ousting the Prophets as anything but puppet leaders and reorganising the New Covenant to begin a new war against humanity and the Sangheili. A small but powerful faction split away, calling itself the True Covenant, and after the defeat of the Governors would become the de facto "Covenant" faction.
- Main article: Holy Covenant
Certainly the briefest of the Covenant factions, the Holy Covenant was a dominantly Prophet-led faction, but since their species number less than thousand and will be extinct in a few generations, they were also the shortest-lasting. They merged with the New Covenant in 2553, brought into the fold of the rest of their kin, and taking high positions of power.
Unusually, they were the only faction that saw any Prophets deployed against their enemies. Without the legions of Unggoy, Sangheili or Jiralhanae bodyguards to protect them, the Prophets were forced to fend for themselves, adapting to conduct their own defenses, modifying their own hoverthrones, vehicles and weapons, and forced to "defile" their rechnology to keep up with the Sangheili fleets that were pursuing them. When they entered the New Covenant, much of their expertise were quickly applied to the New Covenant military.
- Main article: Imperial Covenant
For a long time, the Vatha System remained isolated from the New Covenant, believing itself to be the sole rightful heir to the Covenant's legacy. Always an isolated colony world, Victorious Avowal was one of the most built-up colonies in the Covenant, home to much of the Prophet's infrastructure not on High Charity, regarded by many as a backup homeworld in the event that something happened to High Charity. For nine years, the "Imperial" Covenant believed that it was all that was left of the Prophets, and attempted to restore order to the nearby war-torn Covenant systems, especially against the Blood Covenant, which it regarded as little more than barbarian warlords.
When they finally made contact with the "New" Covenant, the incorporation was swift and easy. Much of their military and civilian infrastructure remained virtually unchanged since the fall of the Old Covenant, and was perfectly compatable with the New Covenant. After the transition, the seat of power for the New Covenant was transferred to Victorious Avowal - always proud of the few worlds they possessed exclusively, Avowal would become the capital world for the New Covenant, and although it lacked the mobility of High Charity, it was no less defended - the New Covenant war machine expended a significant amount of effort in order to manufacture enough ships to guard the capital world, but by 2561 a fleet of three hundred held geosynchronous orbit at all times, with cycling shifts.
Brotherhood of Ruskt
- Main article: Brotherhood of Ruskt
Technically, the Brotherhood of Ruskt are an offshoot of the Covenant religion, modified by the Brutes for their purposes. After the Schism, and the collapse of the Old Covenant, the Brotherhood of Ruskt came to control thirteen colonies, significant enough to hold its own against rival factions, and build up its infrastructure, but too trivial for the Sangheili to bother with. As it built itself up, it waged a war of conquest against other groups, wresting control of isolated planets and star systems from would-be warlords and pirates, eventually holding two dozen colonies under its sway. Its relationship with the Blood Covenant is an odd one - while they admire the sheer power of Hephaestus' faction, and the fact that it is ruled by Jiralhanae rather than Prophets, they refuse to bow down to what they see as an honourless barbarian.
The Brotherhood are particularly notable for their peace treaty with the Sangheili, the only group of Jiralhanae to seek it. The exact circumstances of the treaty are unknown, and both the Sangheili and the Brotherhood refuse to talk about, but a limited exchange of information, technology, goods, and personnel has allowed both groups to secure their borders. Exactly how long this brief alliance will last is unknown, but the Brotherhood don't seem particularly eager to return to their jihad against the Sangheili and UNSC.
Alliance of Free Covenant Colonies
- Main article: Alliance of Free Covenant Colonies
Although bearing "Covenant" in their name, the alliance was a short-lived collective of former colonies, largely consisting of Unggoy, Yanme'e, Kig-Yar and Lekgolo refugees who refused to join either the Sangheili or the New Covenant after the Great Schism. Over time, the Alliance would disintegrate - the Kig-Yar were the first to leave, choosing to join the Privateer Alliance as smugglers, privateers, pirates and mercenaries. The next were the Lekgolo, who joined the Sangheili during their efforts to gain control of Te, the Lekgolo homeworld - for their valiant efforts, many dominantly-Lekgolo Alliance worlds were gifted "protectorate" status under Sangheili protection, but retained their autonomy, a diplomatic coup allying the Sangheili with the Lekgolo. The last members, the Unggoy, would merge with the Unggoy Star Empire.
Unggoy Star Empire
- Main article: Unggoy Star Empire
The Unggoy Star Empire was an all-too-brief explosion of Unggoy culture, technology, and territory that immediately followed the collapse of the Covenant. As the Jiralhanae and Sangheili engaged in a bitter struggle for supremacy, the Unggoy managed were largely left to their own devices. A small number of ships docket at the Balaho Shipyards were captured by nggoy workers with little in the way of a struggle, and by 2555 the Unggoy were using these warships to escort massive passenger liners and freighters, captured or stolen, to transport thousands of their people offworld. Long confined to Balaho or small orbital colonies to keep their numbers down, they finally saw their chance to set up an empire of their own. Spreading to the seven nearest star systems, the Unggoy declared their independence and neutrality in the conflict, hoping that their ill-gotten-gains would be ignored.
Unfortunately, neither the Sangheili nor the Jiralhanae were eager to see the spread of the Unggoy, especially since both thought the other might recruit large numbers of conscripts for their own militaries. In separate strikes, the Sangheili and Jiralhanae crippled the fledgling Unggoy Imperial Navy badly, with movements against the colonies. Unwilling to waste time and resources glassing the planets, the Sangheili were content to destroy any space travel infrastructure - space docks, ships, orbital gravity evelators, and so on. The Jiralhanae were not so minimalist, and wasted much time attempting to conquer colonies before finally realising that there were other fronts where their troops were better needed. Content with cutting the Unggoy colonies off, both the Sangheili and Jiralhanae shifted their focus back to battling each other.
The colonies themselves would keep in contact, but without space travel, further colonisation was impossible. The colonies of Atatna and Panga would rise to become havens of Unggoy learning and knowledge, becoming colonies to rival the Unggoy homeworld itself - though considering their rather more temperate climates, and the harshness of Balaho's own ecosystem, that wasn't hard. Isolated, the Star Empire would be largely left alone during the War of Vengeance, though by 2583 population pressures, combined with the traditional Unggoy reluctance towards birth control and population management, was beginning to put pressure on the colonies for expansion.
- Main article: Yanme'e Hives (War of Vengeance)
While most of the Yanme'e hives were initially loyal to the Prophets or ambivalent to the Great Schism, the rise of the Governors of Contrition to power would result in the alienation of the Yanme'e by the increasingly contemptible treatment of them by their new Sangheili masters. Resources were appropriated without even the pretence of cordiality, and vital parts of the Yanme'e social infrastructure were pressganged as common soldiers, causing havoc among the civilian populace. Faced with such mistreatment, after the tolerant attitudes of the previous administration, the Yanme'e hives would secede en mass, taking with them a significant chunk of former New Covenant territory and resources. Using appropriated ships and weapons, as well as that provided by the exiled True Covenant and the Sangheili Armed Forces, the Yanme'e would create a formidable military force that would fight alongside UNSC, SAF, Unggoy Star Empire, True Covenant, and Brotherhood forces in the Second Great War, at first independently and later as part of the multi-species coalition forces.
After the Second Great War, the Yanme'e would largely withdraw from galactic politics, content with their established hives, setting to work repairing the damage wreaked by the Governors. Few have since set foot on a Yanme'e world - they defend their territories forcefully, though are usually successful enough to deter attempts to land through intimidatory firepower. The few Sangheili emissaries tolerated by the Hives that have report that the Yanme'e have become extremely technologically advanced, and UNSC intelligence reports indicate several large construction facilities in orbit over Yanme'e colonies, likely space stations or shipyards. If they ever return to play a part in galactic affairs, they will be a significant force to reckon with.
Kig-Yar Privateer Alliance
- Main article: Kig-Yar Privateer Alliance
The Kig-Yar have always been an opportunistic species - their acceptance into the Covenant was largely because they sought access to Covenant interstellar ships, with which they have gained a reputation as formidible privateers, pirates and raiders. When the Covenant collapsed into a multitude of factions, all competing for dominance in the post-Great War era, they saw this as perhaps the greatest opportunity in their history - most Kig-Yar declared themselves independent contractors, reneging on the Covenant factions they served and establishing their independence. While Eayn has never officially recognised them, it is well known that they backed the majority of these independent Kig-yar, eventually forming a loose coalition of the largest privateer clans into the Privateer Alliance. Offering their services as privateers and mercenaries, the Privateer Alliance would fight on virtually all sides during the War of Vengeance - they were hired by the Blood Covenant to bolster their own flagging naval power, while the UNSC and SAF would use their skills as pirates to sap Blood Covenant shipping. While the New Covenant restored its military might and began its campaign against the Blood Covenant, they would use Kig-Yar mercenary ships to patrol frontline worlds, allowing their own ships to patrol their own systems.
The fall of the Kig-Yar Privateer Alliance would come in a catastrophic stroke of bad luck - the unprovoked attack by a renegade Pirate Prince, Jezh, and his forces. Routed from Expansive Judgement in 2561, Jezh's forces hoped that by plundering the rich Sangheili colony they would be able to reestablish themselves elsewhere. Instead, they succeeded only in bringing the full wrath of the Sangheili upon themselves, which would turn to the larger Privateer Alliance. While "officials" insisted that it was the act of a single fool, the Sangheili declared the existence of the Alliance to be a threat that none would tolerate, and began a campaign to wipe out the privateer groups to protect their colonies and trade routes, known later as the Interminable Reprisal Campaign. Rumours claim that many leading figures were smuggled out by ONI agents to maintain intelligence contacts within the Kig-Yar community, a valuable commodity to the war - the UNSC has repeatedly denied this claim. With the Kig-Yar crippled, they were unable to participate in the Second Great War, and were therefore spared the devastation of the Governors of Contrition. Population surges brought on by economic and political prosperity would bring a resurgence of the Kig-Yar, and the reestablishment of many of the former privateer clans.
- Main article: Sangheili Armed Forces
Formed from what was left of the Sangheili military might, the SAF is the military power at the head of the disparate Sangheili states. Though technically a military force, it has been forced to take the place of a government in absentia - with the fierce independent spirit kindled within the Sangheili, it is difficult for the many rival tribes, clans and groups to agree on anything other than military affairs, and for the past decade the SAF has been the only force keeping them together as a single united force.
While officially a member of the Sangheili Armed Forces, with an appointed representative on the SAF High Council, Ketesh remains, for the most part, an independent planet. Its cultural distinctiveness from wider Sangheili society produces radically different warriors to its Sanghelios brethren, and Ketesh commanders have been present at most major post-Great War victories against the enemies of the SAF. Politically, Ketesh enacts its own laws and keep them itself, but chooses to pay lip service to the SAF. Their choice to remain loyal to the SAF during the Schism, rather than forge an independent path, was the result of difficult and tense political wrangling by Autocrat Qur'a 'Morhek, and an impassioned plea for racial unity in the face of Covenant betrayal.
One of the SAF's newest and most violent colonies, Thorak'tamin was an extreme penal colony until its invasion by the Blood Covenant during the War of Vengeance. Actions by Thorak'tamin partisans were rewarded by the Arbiter with an upgrade to its status as a full colony, although the UNSC were permitted to establish a small naval resupply base during the war. After the War of Vengeance, Kaidon Aesk 'Thorak assumed total command of the planet, and reforme it into a significant political player, operating second-hand Covenant ships bought or captured from the Kig-Yar Privateer Alliance, or captured during the War of Vengeance, as its own personal fleet. Although Aesk has pledged continuing loyalty to the SAF, his own ambitions have made many suspicious. An ancient Sangheili saying comes to mind when dealing with Thorak'tamin: "Close friends provide a shield; Close enemies make stabbing easier."
Servants of Abiding Truth
Religiously conservative, the Servants hold many of their Covenant traditions and beliefs, even after their rejection of the Prophets' authority. Although they have severed all ties to the New Covenant, they remained a presence among the Sangheili political infrastructure, with a strong anti-human bias and a simmering resentment at being ignored my the majority moderates. Although technically classed as "separatists", a more accurate name would be "dissidents", working within the SAF system to further their aims and goals. Intelligence reports claim that they are assisted by a shadowy section of the Office of Naval Intelligence, though none have been confirmed.
Acolytes of Devotion =
- Main article: Acolytes of Devotion
The decision for the Sangheili to split from the Covenant was a unanimous one, though the reasons for it were varied. The Acolytes of Devotion left the Covenant because of the betrayal of the Prophets and the rise of the Jiralhanae, but still retained a strong belief in the Covenant religion and the Great Journey, choosing to believe that the Prophets had strayed from the path, and that it was the task of the Sangheili to lead everyone back to it. Although equally religious conservative as the Servants of Abiding Truth, the "Acolytes" differ only in their extremism, rejecting political action in favour of more militant means. In true Sangheili fashion, the Acolytes quickly set to work weeding out the rival cults and religions that strove for dominance near its centre of operations, a closely guarded secret, and covertly established its dominance over a small number of built-up worlds. Although loosely affiliated with the Governors of Contrition, they differ doctrinally and remain separate entities, even after the Second Great War.
Governors of Contrition
- Main article: Governors of Contrition
Though they existed before the Great Schism, the Governors of Contrition have experienced a pronounced resurgence, especially amongst the more conservative members of the Sangheili who, though they agree with the secession from the Covenant, disagree with the theological and political outcomes. The cult has historically been tolerated by the Covenant because, despite the differences, it still pays homage to the Prophets, but afterwards most of the Governors were exiled by the Sangheili. Establishing themselves on the fringes of Sangheili space, the Governors have since attracted a sizeable number of warriors who still believe in the Great Journey and harbour resentment against the direction the Arbiter is taking their species. Initially controlling a mere three worlds, the Treaty of Unexpected Clarity between the Governors of Contrition and the Acolytes of Devotion has seen a proposed merger between the two, or at the least closer cooperation. Prior to the Second Great War, the Governors requested to rejoin the New Covenant - initially treated sceptically, they were permitted to serve, and became trusted commanders and warriors, and even served as personal bodyguards - a complex and well-executed ploy to get close to the heart of the New Covenant so they could rip it out, and assume control, using its military to attack humanity and the Sangheili and search for Forerunner relics. Even after their defeat during the Second Great War, the Governors still remain a potent force, infiltrating Sangheili society, working behind the scenes to accomplish their secretive goals, and have expended considerable resources scraping together any and all materials, no matter how relevant, regarding the mysterious Labyrinth Array.