|This article, Erebus (Specops306), is currently under active construction.|
Few Jiralhanae have achieved the fame achieved by Erebus, Chieftain of the Thetis Tribe. A prominent figure during the War of Vengeance, leading the New Covenant campaign against the Blood Covenant and Privateer Alliance, he participated in a number of engagements during the Human-Covenant War, notably on Minorca and Ares IV, both important facets of the war. Despite ardently despising the Sangheili, he is well known to have been a self-taught student of Sangheili tactics and strategies, making him an expert on Sangheili thinking - while this allows him to anticipate Sangheili actions, it also allows him to put them into practice himself to great success. After the War of Vengeance was concluded, Erebus was a key figure in the Brotherhood of Ruskt's intergration into the New Covenant, and following the coup by the Governors of Contrition, found himself allying with the Sangheili and UNSC against the religious zealots.
Born on Teash, Erebus was the heir to one of the largest Jiralhanae tribes, the Thetis. Despite encompassing several hundred thousand Jiralhanae, though, the Thetis tribe was also one of the lowest-ranked, lacking any members in the Covenant military, and with a poor standing among the Jiralhanae as a species. By 2499, it had begun to crumble, its foundations eroded by the introduction of the Covenant faith - as followers flocked to follow the Prophets, they saw that the Thetis tribe offered them few opportunities to do so. Erebus' childhood was a tough one, the heir to a dying tribe, and he was forced to take a greater hand in its operations as his father, Quintus, contracted a rare and debillitating disease. When Erebus had become an adult, and Quintus fell further and further into senility, he was forced to put him out of his misery, ascending to become the full leader of what was left of the Thetis tribe.
Erebus saw little hope for his tribe in rising through the Jiralhanae ranks, neither did he believe that the larger and more influential clans would allow it. Instead, he sought a place within the Covenant, where fame gained and skills taught would allow him to further his interests. Erebus applied for membership in the Covenant army, and was granted - as a lowly grunt, a member of another pack, that of Chieftain Mamercus of the Kappan tribe.
Despite these less-than-optimal circumstances, Erebus managed to impress Mamercus enough to recieve a promotion first to Major, then to Ultra, eventually granted his own sub-pack. In the Covenant's war against humanity, Erebus gained valuable experience on the battlefields of Harvest and a dozen other UNSC colonies, and saw firsthand that the humans, while physically small and comparatively weak, were also experts at tactical and strategic warfare. In humanity, Erebus saw the future of warfare, and was inspired to study Sangheili doctrines. Initially, his attempts at accessing even public files were denied by Sangheili information distributors, but eventually they relented, and Erebus become a nearly fanatical student of the ancient Sangheili generals of history - famous admirals and Arbiters of the past, studying their exploits, and devising strategies of his own. By the time he rose to sub-Chieftain under Chieftain Potitus, Erebus had already begun to put these strategies into practice, and was noticed by the Council of Masters as a masterful tactician - something that every Sangheili feared.
When he slew Potitus in battle, taking over his pack, Erebus declared that the fates of him and of the Thetis tribe were intertwined, recruiting what was left of it to be a part of his pack. Hardened by the tough environments of hostile Teash, constantly attacked by thugs from larger tribes, the Thetis warriors had become battle-hardened veterans even without going to war, and with the armour and weaponry supplied by the Covenant, reestablishing their sovereignty was an almost simple matter. Erebus hired a pair of Kig-Yar Missionary Ships, transporting his pack to Teash, and using them to land an invasion force around Vortuk, his ancestral home - while the Ministry of Tranquility would no doubt have disapproved of their precious Missionary Ships being used for a Jiralhanae civil war, the operation recieved the approval of Sangheili Fleetmasters Ulmar 'Thanagaree and Jag 'Chenquie'ee, seeing it as an opportunity to hinder the ascension of the other tribes, who they deemed greater threats. By the time the fighting had finished, Thetis had destroyed or assimilated another three tribes, establishing a new stronghold, and declaring Erebus as the ruler of a fifth of the moon.
Present to observe the battle, the Covenant stealth corvette, with a Sangheili crew, were alarmed at the fluid nature of the Thetis troop movements, the rapid-fire way Erebus gave orders and deployed his warriors, and the brilliant use of the Kig-Yar ships as transports and gunships. Their report to the Council of Masters warned the Sangheili that their actions may have accidentally created a much larger threat than they had realised - rather than create a Jiralhanae civil war, they had united a large number under the banner of a Jiralhanae Chieftain who had proven to be a fearsome leader and brilliant tactician. As such, they immediately reassigned Erebus to a frontline fleet, hoping that he would be killed in battle with the humans.
Publically, in order to retain his tribe's support and power, Erebus decried this as an outrage and petitioned the High Council to keep his hard-won seat of power on Teash. Secretly, however, he made sure that all of his petitions were vehemently denied. Battle against the humans had taught him the value of preparation, a cool head, and making use of every advantage you possessed, and he eagerly looked forward to what he had to learn from humanity again. taking part in another seven battles, Erebus would eventually attract the attention of the Minister of Acquisition, who requested a meeting with him - though perhaps demanded is a better description.
Acquisition offered Erebus a proposition - personal leader of the Prophet's Honour Guards, able to handpick his guardsmen, access to the fabled Heresy Archives to further his studies of forbidden Sangheili battle doctrines, and a significant rise in status in the Covenant. In return, Acquisition deployed Erebus on a covert operation on Minorca, to excavate and recover a number of Forerunner artefacts - these would be the only relics to make it off the planet, with the rest destroyed when the UNSC activated a NOVA bomb in 2552. With the operation percieved as a success, demonstrating the value of the Jiralhanae to the High Prophets themselves, Erebus also followed Acquisition as he accompanied what was left of the Fleet of Enlightened Benevolence under Fleetmaster Zuro Dun 'Xoramee to Earth aboard the Bringer of Holy Light. He would later fight at Ares IV, the last engagement of the war between the UNSC and the Sangheili.
Managing to escape from the Bringer of Holy Light with the Minister of Acquisition, Erebus would eventually become a warrior in the Blood Covenant, given command of one of the precious Vrathek-class cruisers, and was present as part of the naval contingent during Operation: TACK HAMMER. Forced to flee from the battle, Erebus realised that the Blood Covenant was not what he envisaged the Jiralhanae as, and orchestrated the mass exodus of the Thetis tribe in secret - by the time the Blood Covenant realised that thousands of Jiralhanae warriors and a million civilians had simply abandoned it, it was too late. Erebus would make tentative contact with the New Covenant colony of Promised Sanctity, once again meeting with the Minister of Acquisition - now the Prophet of Devotion, one of the new Hierarchs of the New Covenant. Recognising his skills, Erebus was elevated to the rank of Fleetmaster, leading the Thirteenth Fleet of Eternal Sanctity, implementing many of his own tactics, strategies and practices to improve its performance. As they conquered would-be breakaway Unggoy and Kig-Yar worlds, and fended off Privateer raiders, the fleet proved extremely capable and efficient, and the Prophet of Devotion would order Erebus's innovations applied on a wider scale. At the pinnacle of his career, he was allowed to lead the attack on Expansive Judgement - the homeworld of the Blood Covenant he had once served.
At the end of the War of Vengeance, he would meet now Supreme Commander Zuro Dun 'Xoram, the two old enemies grudgingly acknowledging a mutual respect, though they never entirely forgave each other for the events at Ares IV. During the Second Great War, as the Governors of Contrition slaughtered the Prophets and declared themselves the leaders of the resurrected Covenant, he would find himself yet again protecting the Prophet of Devotion, this time as the latter forged a mutual alliance between the Sangheili Armed Forces and what was left of the Prophet-controlled New Covenant to prevent the Governors from launching a second campaign of conquest.
While Jiralhanae warfare has always emphasised the importance of superior numbers and brute force above all else, Erebus's implementation of better use of tactical and strategic training is emblamatic of his own personality. In comparison to other Jiralhanae, he is cold and calculating, measuring others by a set of standards that he keeps close to him, forming few attachments. Those he does form attachments with are not always "friends" - the closest individual Erebus became attached to, perhaps the closest he has to a kinsman, was Zuro Dun 'Xoram, in whom he perhaps saw a reflection of himself - a brilliant leader, on and off the field, hindered by the stifling environments they found themselves in and bound by difficulties neither could help. After the war, the two would talk frequently as Sangheili-New Covenant liaisons, though it is perhaps going too far to describe their relationship as a friendship - both warriors would gladly have annihilated the other, and they both respected this fact.
- "Fear is good. Fear is natural. Fear is the part of the mind that warns you that leaping from a cliff at full tilt is not always the right course of action. A warrior who listens to his fear learns caution, and reason. Ignore that fear, and you fall off the cliff to your death - give in to the fear, and you become paralysed on the edge. But listen to it, learn from it, and you can dive gracefully into the waters below, and survive. So few survive."
- "For centuries, we denied the Jiralhanae access to our texts. To allow "barbarians" access to our battle codices, the closest we had to holy texts until the Schism, would be sacrilege. After seeing what happened during the Schism, and the rise of Erebus, can you say we wrong to do so?"
- "He kept a few items in his personal chambers - trophies from his battles against the humans. Among them was a primitive binding of paper with written text on it - a "book". He would read a translated version long into the night - I believe the name was "The Art of War"."
- "Leader of the Thetis tribe, hero of Minorca, champion of the Schism and reformer of the New Covenant; the list of accolades goes on. He just shrugs them off, sees to his work, and then crushes whatever enemies are set before him - I'm glad the New Covenant never declared war on the UNSC during the Vengeance campaigns. He would have been a tough opponent."