"In my younger years, I had thought the Covenant was the reason I took my birth in this cosmos. I deeply believed in them, accepted them as the single goal of my life. But, they did something unexpected. I was thrown out of them, branded as a heretic. But now, I know the true secrets of the Covenant. Thus, I take an oath to fight and destroy the empire until my last breath, no matter what it takes."
―Jez, revealing his experience of the betrayal of the Covenant Empire to him.
There are many tales of great Sangheili of the Covenant Empire, fighting their enemy for the honor of the Covenant and their own race. However, a few tales are not considered to be part of them. A few tales of certain individuals whose tremendous work has gone unnoticed in the tales of other Sangheili. They say of an individual who had led the Covenant to victory in many battles, determined to uphold the Empire's glory, but ultimately resulting in the noble Sangheili breaking away from the Covenant and fighting against it. The tale of Jez 'Varum is one of these. Some thought he was a great hero, others thought he was a devil in disguise, an enemy to the Sangheili and the Covenant in general. But out of all, he was just a Sangheili who was betrayed by the very empire he had deep devotion towards.
Born in the densely-populated urban areas of Qikost, Jez was from his childhood very interested in the Covenant Empire. Even though his ancestors were not in the military, Jez left his family's tradition and instead joined the Covenant. He was noted to be very effective and skilled at sword-to-sword combat, something only a few Sangheili were expert at. His expert sword fighting skills granted him with the honorific rank of a Zealot, in search for Covenant artifacts. But his life took a reverse turn when the Covenant accused him of being with the heretics, kicking him out of the Covenant for him to die. Enraged, he took an oath to fight the Covenant to his dying breath after learning of its true secrets.
In order to get his revenge, Jez allied himself with the ones he had slaughtered before, the Heretics and started involving in hit-and-run attacks. In one of these hit-and-run attacks did Jez find his ship, the Tenacious Esteem. He continued to use it until he heard of the Sangheili breaking away from the Covenant. Jez then joined the Sangheili, then called as the Covenant Separatists and later as the Swords Of Sanghelios, and aided them in their war against the Covenant Loyalists until the Covenant finally dissolved in 2552.
Since then, Jez had been a member of Swords of Sanghelios, while also conducting his own operations too. While the Varum state was completely remade and brought back to its pre-Clan war stage, Jez had opted to not be the Kaidon of the keep, instead giving the title to his brother, Ceb 'Varum.
Jez was born in the 23rd Age of Doubt, or according to the human calendar, in the year 2491. He was raised in the state of Varum by his uncle Daro 'Varum. He never knew his father, nor his occupation or anything about him. He used to constantly participate in battles with other Sangheili of his age, and was a champion, making his uncle proud. This made him grow his love for combat. Although his brother Ceb 'Varum wasn't a big fighter as Jez was, he too was quite strong, instead of fights Ceb used to focus more on history, politics, and literature. When the time had come, Jez refused to continue the tradition of his ancestry by being in the state politics and overlooking it and joined the Covenant military, leaving his family's tradition to his brother. This was because Jez wasn't interested in ruling; he was more fascinated in battles and the Covenant.
Jez joined the military as a Sangheili Minor, which was the starting for all Elites who joined the Covenant generally. His initial missions included fighting Heretics who opposed the Covenant, silencing down rogue Kig-Yar packs who had stolen Covenant ships and using for their own advantages, and as well as the search for the Halo rings, which, according to the Covenant's religion, were called the Sacred Rings and their activation will cause them to complete the Great Journey and become gods, just like the Forerunners they worshipped. Jez, initially reluctant to believe such religious facts, later came to accept them, as it would be deemed heresy if believed otherwise.
The Gladiatorial Duel
Not long after his joining in the Covenant military, he received word that the various states of Qikost were having conflicts within them. Rushing to the planet, Jez found out that the powerful states of Vulcam and Kronam were fighting each other. In this, the other states were getting destroyed. The Vulcam state had fallen, as the conflicts had destroyed his keep and the Kronam people had slaughtered Jez's men, with the belief that they were on the other side of the war. His uncle and his family were killed, except for his brother Ceb, who was not to be found. Seeing the destruction, Jez's heart sank. Everyone he ever knew gone, forever.
Jez was unable to bear the pain, and more importantly, the rage he had within. In his enraged state, Jez went to the Kronam state and challenged its Kaidon, Fenr 'Kronam, for a gladiatorial fight. News spread all over the planet, as Fenr had accepted the challenge. Everybody advised Jez to forget the challenge and run away, but Jez had no intention to be mocked by the public for challenging someone and later surrendering; that simply wasn't Sangheili honor. Besides, he wasn't going to let Fenr live, Jez's thirst wouldn't be quenched until he cut off Fenr's head.
Jez, clashing with Fenr 'Kronam, in the duel. Although Fenr was a cruel and an experienced warrior, Jez was able to overcome and slay him.
On the day of the duel, Jez went to the Coliseum of the Brave and the Fearless, the ancient and famous arena of Qikost, where the previous Kaidon of the Kronam state, Xolo 'Kronam, was fought and defeated. Jez looked forward to continuing that tradition, only that this time, he would kill the kaidon. The crowd was huge; quite a large amount of people had gathered to see the fight. Fenr arrived, and passed an Energy sword to Jez, for the duel. Jez clenched the sword and activated it. When the sound came, both Jez and Fenr ran towards each other to strike first. Both of them slashed, their swords hitting against each other and bouncing. Fenr kept on slashing on the offensive, and Jez was trying to defend himself. Jez kicked Fenr's abdomen, making him fall backward, but he broke the fall and stood his ground.
This time, Jez attacked Fenr. He kept slashing continuously, and Fenr kept on defending. Fenr was a great warrior, but Jez knew that Fenr was underestimating him. Fenr silently activated his energy dagger and tried to attack, but Jez saw it at the right time and backstepped. He then slashed again, aiming for the dagger. The sword cut through the mechanism of the dagger and severed it, rendering it useless. Fenr, enraged, took Jez by the neck and lifted him, but before he could throw him, Jez thrust himself outwards, kicking the chest of the Jez and at the same time cutting off one arm of Fenr by his sword. The pain weakened Fenr and the blow made him stagger backward and fall down. Taking the chance, Jez ran and pierced Fenr at his hearts with the sword, before swinging the sword again and separating Fenr's head from his body, killing him brutally.
Emerging as the champion and having finally taken his revenge, Jez stood high with pride and honor. The crowd cheered on, and many also felt justified as the malicious Kaidon was finally killed, while some felt angry, especially the members and allies of the Kronam state. This gladiatorial fight earned Jez a name across Qikost, as 'the Slayer', both good and bad. Some thought of him as the bringer of good days on Qikost, one that would help them get rid of their problems and worries. Others thought of him as someone to be removed from Qikost, someone that would cause civil wars that would engulf the planet. Rumors spread that he is "a devil who'd consume the moon one day." But despite the good name, the states together had decided that Jez should be banished from Qikost for some time, believing his presence to be bad for Qikost and that he would return as a changed person. Thus, as a punishment, Jez was banished from Qikost for a long time, starting in 2529 and ending in late 2553, according to human terms of calculating time.
Not able to go back to Qikost anymore soon, Jez took a brief leave from the military to search for his brother. He searched Sangheilios and its moons but was unable to find him. His brother was nowhere to be found; he was either dead or had escaped to a distant, unknown place. After a long time of searching with no success, Jez was finally able to overcome his feelings and accept his brother to be dead. He then returned to the Covenant military, to keep him away from his thoughts of his dead family and brother. Little did he know, his life would be forever changed due to the Covenant Empire, from the famous 'Slayer' name earned on the Sangheili moon to being an important figure in the history of the Covenant.
Battle of Eridanus II
After training and enlistment, Jez's talent was finally put to test in his first battle with the humans, the Battle of Eridanus II in the Eridanus system. The Covenant had found the location of Eridanus II fairly easy, due to them infiltrating computer networks during their visit and the subsequent war on Harvest, known to the humans as the First Battle of Harvest. From the edge of the system, they found out there were neither any UNSC ships in orbit, nor any Orbital defense platforms, making it easy for the Covenant to invade the human colony. However, as they reached the planet, they witnessed a battle group of ships speeding towards them. Believing to be a surprise attack, the Covenant fleet quickly sent in Jez and his troops to the surface of the planet, for a quick assault and a search for the locations of human worlds in the galaxy, by infiltrating their databases.
"The humans are indeed clever to defend themselves without a main military force. They're not cowards. So aren't we."
―Jez, commenting on the determination of the Vanguard soldiers to protect the planet against the Covenant invaders.
Jez 'Varumee and Rego 'Betazee fighting on Eridanus II
Jez and his squad travelled to the surface using a Troop Carrier Type-44 Troop Carrier. They landed at the edge of the city, for a clear landing zone since the city was crowded with buildings and also that they might be taken down by any unknown Anti-Air weapons. Advancing into the city, the squad inspected human architecture and style, adding the information to their reports as they progressed. On entering, they found out that the United Nations Space Command, the main strategic military force of the humans, had removed their presence from this planet, indicating the importance of only specific human colonies. However, though, there was a smaller scale military force present on the planet, different from the ones they've faced before, a force they later learned the name to be "Vanguard Forces", who tried to fight Jez's squad back.
The Vanguard Forces, although having technology and weapons inferior to those found on Harvest, proved to be a tough opposition, but they were soon defeated by a diversion using the Unggoy and an ambush, where they were massacred by leading them into a trap and detonating Covenant mines placed in the area. All forces gone, Jez's squad entered a huge human facility, which they thought to be important. There, they found lots of machines and databanks, possibly containing the location of their homeworld. Before they could analyze the machines, some of the human soldiers, who were cut off from the massacred unit, tried to ambush the Sangheili. The Elites managed to kill them all, but witnessed the deaths of two, one of which was Rego 'Betazee, Jez's close friend. Just then, they were called back by the Covenant fleet in orbit, which had won the battle in space and were now moving to glass the planet. Retreating back to the ship, Jez witnessed the glassing and destruction of the human world.
"This war won't be an easy one. There will be more humans, with more reinforcements. This is only the beginning..."
―Jez, thinking about the possible outcome of the war.
Battle of Algerion IV
"With this sacrament of blood, we journey into the Divine Beyond."
―Jez, reciting the Sangheili Field Marshal's mantra.
Jez's first mission as a Field Marshal was the Battle of Algerion IV. Algerion IV was a small Outer Colony, located in the Algerion star system. Originally an Insurrectionist planet, Algerion IV was firmly taken over by the UNSC in 2548. Since then, it has become a military planet. The Covenant attacked Algerion in May of 2552. The Covenant fleet was led by the CAS-class assault cruiser Ardent Inquisitor, and consisted of about 15 ships in total. As there weren't many ships in orbit and those that were already present were just frigates and destroyers, the fleet just sent a moderately sized army to the surface. Their goal was the same, infiltrate human databases in order to get coordinates for the humans' strategic worlds, especially their home world, Earth. However, it was a huge mistake made as they realized soon.
Jez was sent along with about four Phantom carriers to the planet for invasion. However, what they didn't know was that the city that they attacked, New Calicut, contained many Mass drivers that were actually used for launching payloads into orbit. In the case of Covenant invasion, they were quickly re-purposed into weapons for fighting the enemy ships. The mass driver shot down two of the phantoms right at their central area, crippling them. Jez's phantom was shot at too, and although it hit across the side, the damage was too much for the ship to bear, and so it went down. Crash through an industrial building, the Phantom hit the ground near the coastal area of the city. The impact was huge enough to kill more than half of the Jackals and Grunts, and a few Elites too. The survivors including Jez, after a few minutes, salvaged all the weapons they could and set out.
Jez led the survivors into the city, in an attempt to find the survivors of the other phantoms, and group together for more chances of survival. They went underground, thinking it as the better option. There, he met the GeneralSed 'Gcada, with his small squad of Minors and Majors. Grouped, they continued their search. They were attacked by a platoon of human Marines, and although they killed them all, they faced a few losses; two Minors and an Ultra died of the injuries. Just then, he was contacted by the Supreme Commander of the Ardent Inquisitor, who ordered the survivors to retreat back to the ship, as they had won the battle in orbit. For this, Jez's squad was asked to neutralize the humans manning the mass drivers.
Jez led his squad to the place of the mass drivers, at the edge of the city. Time was running out, so the Sangheili disregarded stealth and sprinted towards the mass drivers. On reaching and waiting for a few moments to take a breath after the pretty long sprint, Jez split up his team into two; Sed's team would go to the generator facility to take it out in order to cut off the power to the mass drivers, while Jez's team would attack and kill the humans manning the mass drivers inside the control room. For this, Jez opted for stealth; they had to take out all the humans without them calling for reinforcements.
Advancing slowly, Jez's squad reached the control room. Inside were about eight human technicians, three military soldiers, and an Artificial Intelligence. Jez guessed that the AI was vital in the mass drivers' functioning. Igniting his energy sword, Jez signaled his zealots to go for the soldiers, while he'd go for the AI. Giving the go signal, Jez darted forward, with unpredictable steps and with his sword, slashed the AI's core database. The AI's avatar sputtered and went dark. Meanwhile, the Zealots took on the Marines by surprise, slashing and beheading them. Jez took no prisoners, he ordered the zealots to kill the technicians too and watched as they were slaughtered. He took a look at the computers and screens, before destroying them.
With his work done, Jez proceeded towards Sed's group, in order to assist them. He took out his Fuel Rod cannon, ready to use. Going to the generator complex, he saw that Sed's group were pinned down by a huge force of Marines and Army soldiers. The soldiers were like fish in a barrel for Jez, he thought, as he pointed the fuel rod cannon at them. He pulled the trigger thrice, and the weapon spat out three huge bursts of green energy. Three explosions followed, with many humans flying in the air with burnt bodies. This sudden attack caused confusion among the soldiers, which gave an upper edge for Sed's squad, who attacked back too. The combined fire finally finished off the humans. With their missions accomplished, they requested evac from the Ardent Inquisitor. The phantoms soon arrived, and they got on them and rode away from the planet. After reaching the ship and going to the deck, Jez observed the glassing of the planet, with the same thoughts of leaving the Covenant. For now, he held his feelings, with the intention of staying for a little more time.
Second Battle of Deston
In November 2552, the Covenant, at the peak of their power and almost winning the Human-Covenant War, attacked the planet of Deston again, having failed at glassing it the first time decades ago in 2530. Since 2530, Deston was significantly improved on its defenses, with new military bases and training complexes set over the planet, and more MACs and ships guarding the planet, in the case of a surprise attack. The Covenant, however, hadn't come without a purpose. The Luminary of the Ardent Inquisitor had detected a massive Forerunner structure in the deserted forest part of the planet, the one which was almost fully glassed by the Covenant during the previous battle. The Prophet Of Regret had, secretly, ordered the Ardent Inquisitor and its fleet to go back to the planet, and investigate the Forerunner structure, in order to find any new technology helpful for the Covenant and take it, with the conception that humans were unaware of the Forerunner site. Thus were sent a huge force of troops to the surface for an ambush, as the humans were fish in a bowl.
Jez was leading a huge battalion of Zealots, Jackals, Drones and Grunts, to the surface of the planet, near the site. On landing, they were immediately encountered by teams of Spartans, or as the Covenant called them, "Demons", and a small fight ensued. Jez's team had some cover in the dense forests and the advantage of being more in number. Although the Spartans mysteriously vanished in a few minutes, possibly due to them getting new orders, Jez was still impressed at their skills, their bravery, and tactics. As they reached the area of the site, they realized their mistake; the humans had already guessed the Covenant's destination and had assembled a huge force around the installation, due to their recently acquired information of the Forerunners from the Battle of Installation 04.
Fearlessly and confidently, Jez attacked the Spartans with his Zealots, ambushing them
Jez, realizing he had no choice, charged with his huge force at the humans, with the confidence of overcoming them. While most of the Sangheili and the infantry were indulged in the conflict, Jez led a small task force of Zealots and Jackals into the interior of the installation through a secret back entrance. There, he saw the same Spartan he had faced before, with the gray and blue colored armor, along with his teammates, near a control panel studying a giant hologram. Jez ambushed them, engaging in a brief conflict with them. At this moment, a Jackal, trying to do something in order to distract the Spartans, quickly pressed a button on the console, initiating something that caused the entire room to shift and tremble. Lights from the ground turned on, and before they could realize, Jez and the others felt nausea and dizziness. Jez's vision started to go shaky, giving him a sense of discomfort. In truth, the installation was teleporting them through the Forerunner's advanced slipspace manipulation technology, to a distant Forerunner installation light-years away, floating in space, undisturbed.
Battle of the Orbital Installation
Betrayal by the Covenant
After the battle of the Orbital Installation, Jez had learned the true secrets of the Sacred Rings, the Great Journey and the Forerunners in general. The actual facts behind them made his decision to quit the Covenant almost final, but Jez was able to stop his rebellious thoughts and still decided to continue working for the Covenant. His banishment time from Qikost was nearing its end, but it was still a long time. Besides, Jez had devoted his life to the Covenant Empire and served for it, so he was reluctant yet. When he finally seemed to suppress his inner thoughts and continue his life as he knew it, the Covenant turned on him.
Jez was called by the High Prophets, who claimed that he was a heretic who tried to change or even destroy the holy Forerunner station and kicked him out of their society. He was branded with the Mark of Shame, to signify that he was a heretic and lost his rank as well as his respect and dignity in the Empire. Only those who knew him close were able to support him but to no avail. In reality, the Prophets removed him because he had learned of the true nature of the Forerunners and the Sacred Rings, and they did not want to risk him spreading this information throughout the Empire.
Allying with the Knights
Kicked out of the Empire, Jez had nothing to do but wander around the galaxy in search of any work or job to spend his time until his banishment time for Qikost would get over. Going to Sanghelios and staying there was not an option; any allies of Qikost's states would notify them of Jez's presence and would worsen the situation. Not long after that, Jez was greeted by a Sangheili who said he came to recruit Jez into a secret Heretic organization, called the 'Knights of Loyalty', after hearing what they did to him. He said that the organization's head was someone Jez knew personally, and himself had called for Jez's recruitment.
Opting to go with the Sangheili, Jez was led into a secret location in the galaxy, a planet in an unknown star system that was guarded by many Covenant cruisers and destroyers, with one CAS-class assault carrier in the lead, presumably the flagship of the fleet. The ship Jez was traveling in entered the planet's atmosphere and docked in a huge tower, with Sangheili architectural designs all over its surface. Jez was led into a big room, where he met the leader of the faction, none other than his brother himself, Ceb 'Varum.
Happy to see his brother alive, and also curious to know of him, Jez and Ceb hugged and greeted each other, before Jez asked Ceb of what happened on that fateful day on Qikost. Ceb replied that as soon as the fights began, the Varum family was about to leave the state for safety when a huge plasma bolt, presumably from an anti-air cannon destroyed Jez's home. Ceb had narrowly managed to escape by jumping out of the building just at the right moment. Realizing that he was outnumbered, Ceb, instead of fighting, chose to run away. That was when he found a derelict Type-44 Phantom and escaped the planet, searching for Jez. With nowhere to go, Ceb chose to join the Covenant military too, in hoped of searching for Jez, but continuous missions and battles had diverted him.
With all the questions regarding that event clarified, Jez asked what was Ceb doing in this organization, to which Ceb replied saying that he was fed up of the Covenant and met others like him with whom together formed the Knights. He later recruited smaller species of the Covenant such as Unggoy, Kig-Yar, and Yanme'e, and formed an army with which he was able to successfully take over a Covenant ship refit-and-repair center in order to get a fleet of ships for themselves. Jez then told him and the others about the lies the Covenant Empire had told them all, and the real truth behind the Forerunners and the Great Journey. Shocked to know this, and more importantly, enraged, Ceb took an oath to destroy the Covenant Empire, no matter what it takes. This was the beginning of the good times for Jez and Ceb too, the dawn of a new era.
Taking the Tenacious Esteem
Jez's first mission as a Knight was the capture of the Tenacious Esteem. The Esteem was a CVS-class assault cruiser, and was originally used by the then-Shipmaster Erus 'Redamee. Later, it was used as a Missionary ship by the Ministry of Tranquility when it was attacked by a Kig-Yar pirate group, who took over the ship. They had parked it near their hideout in interstellar space and was left empty except for a small Huragok crew. The Knights had found out the pirates' hideout's location, and a huge force was sent in to take over all the useful ships of the pirates, who were somewhere else on a different mission, and left the ships unguarded.
Jez and the soldiers came equipped in Ranger harnesses, and reached the location in the CAS-class assault carrier Infinite Transcendence. They all selected different ships as their mission, with Jez selecting the Esteem. Using Type-52 Phantom Gunboats, they came close to the ships when the Infinite Transcendence fired on all the ships, bringing down their energy shields. The Sangheili quickly launched themselves and navigating themselves in space, they entered the ship from the minor hole caused by the attack.