|This article, Qur'a 'Morhek, is currently under active construction.|
For much of his early life, Qur'a 'Morhek's family had great expectations of him. As hereditary heir to the Morhekan Autocracy, he was expected to become a politician and diplomat, forging a new future for his nation, pulling it out of its period of decadent stagnation. It therefore came as an unpleasant surprise when, upon reaching adolescence, Qur'a enlisted in the Valdaran War College on Ketesh, became a soldier in the Covenant Army, and was deployed to fight the enemies of the Covenant. Since then, Qur'a has gained a formidable reputation among both his own people and their Sanghelios brethren for his skills as a commander, leading his R'runu Warrior Creche, a hardened group of veteran special operations commandoes against human, heretic, and finally Blood and New Covenant foes.
The royal family of the Sovereign-State of Morheka has always been an attractive target to assassins, and since the death of Setha 'Morhek in 1234 the R'runu Warrior Creche have served as the personal body guards and security detail of the Morhekan royal family, a duty that was awarded to them after proving their courage against their own nation during the Seige of Quenyathar. In this role, they have proven themselves extremely effective as deterrents against potential assassinations, managing to foil these attempts, capture the perpetrators, find the people responsible for hiring them and dealing out swift, violent and overt retribution. Such responses have been the cause of diplomatic tensions between Morheka and several other powerful nations, such as Mopada and Duashe'era, but their concern is not diplomatic or political fallout - it is to keep the royal family safe. It was during one such attempt that young Qur'a witnessed his bodyguards in action, during a visit of his uncle, Othan 'Morhek, a senator in the Royal Morhekan Council, to the royal palace. Several mercenary assassins were hired from the Decided Heart colony of Sanghelios, renown for producing vicious and merciless warriors. The mercenaries were smuggled in aboard a Covenant freight transport, disembarking as civilians at the Warrum Spaceport and travelling to Morheka on foot. Intercepting a scheduled weapons cache, now armed with Beam Rifles and Focus Rifles, the mercenaries made use of anti-gravity thrust packs to select a sniper roost, took position, and waited for their target to leave the structure - Othan, with his nephew in tow.
The first shot narrowly missed Qur'a, the second killing a bodyguard, N'roth 'Kotarnam, as he jumped between the assassin and Qur'a. The third shot passed through the head of Othan, killing him instantly. Their target successfully killed, the mercenaries attempted to flee the area, using a civilian vehicle conveniently left close to the palace. The R'runu Warrior Creche leapt into action immediately - Ghost and Spectre craft combed the sountryside, Spirit and Phantom dropships on loan from the Covenant military conducted aerial sweeps, roads and spaceports were closed and help was drafted from the Covenant garrison nearby. The mercenaries were eventually found on the Morheka-Warrum border trying to cross the Quenyathar river. The commander of the guard, Thrawn 'Joralan had to be physically restrained by his deputy, Othnan 'Kotarq, from summarily executing them - they would die, killed in personal by Thrawn as was their right, but not before disclosing that the person who had hired them was a senator from the Mopadan Confederacy.
Preparations were made, supported by the connections made by the royal family. A Special Operations Phantom dropship was "borrowed", laden with stealth equipment, out of date but more than sufficient. The warriors of the R'runu staged their assault in the morning, storming the senators luxury apartments, cutting through his own guards, and leaving the Mopadan hanging by his entrails from his own balcony. Qur'a himself would stow aboard the Phantom, fitting his small frame inside a compartment, and by the time Othnan 'Kotarq found him it was too late to scrub the mission. He witnessed the savage ferocity of the warriors as they stormed the apartment block, and the brutal and savage vengeance they enacted - and from that point on, he swore that he would become a member.
A member of the royal family joining the R'runu is a rarity, but is not without precedent. Qur'a trained long and hard for his goal, keeping it a secret out of fear of disapproval by his father. His traditional adolescence rite of passage, the Wilderness Hunt, went spectacularly, and the celebrations at his survival were long and extravagant - but with the death of his father, the Autocrat, Qur'as plans were dashed. Now left as the head of the Morhek clan, Autocrat of Morheka, Qur'a had little hope of joining the R'runu, the clan assigned to protect him, even in a ceremonial role.
It was with a mixture of suspicion and hope that he regarded the call of the Covenant as it asked for all able-bodied warriors to marshall their forces for the coming war with humanity. Seizing his change to finally leave his life of imposed decadence and insularity, Qur'a enlisted in the Covenant Military. Initially,, he had planned to become a Ship Master, commanding a warship against Covenant fleets, but found a need to micro-manage details a hindrance. Instead, he found a proficiency for small-scale engagements and a love of covert operations, and transferred to the Special Operations Division. Trained in stealth, taught that killing was not always the key to victory, Qur'a would be deployed as one of hundreds of Special Operations warriors to fight the humans, proudly changing his name to 'Qur'a 'Morhekee.
At first, Qur'a placed much faith in the propaganda of the Prophets. His early engagements with the humans on Harvest as the UNSC fought to retake it did nothing to alleviate his perception of humans as weak and fragile things, and their primitive weapons and equipment only reinforced his belief in their heresy. Over the years, however, he would see much - acts of courage and sacrifice that matched, or even exceeded, those which a Sangheili might perform. He watched as terrified families were vaporised by plasma artillery, human fighters drove the Covenant Banshees from the sky, and human troopers and Marines stalled the advance of the Covenant. Through sheer tenacity, humanity was almost holding back the war machine of the Covenant. Qur'a could not help but give them his respect.
Over the next decade, Qur'a would be deployed with the rest of his Lance as part of the Covenant's infiltration attempts to gain access to navigational data. A successful boarding of an Insurrectionist freighter would lead the Covenant to the Algolis research site, one of the few successful breacheds of the Cole Protocol, and he took part in the surface assault to destroy the colony. Surviving the engagement where others in his Lance were not so lucky, he personally rallied his warriors to break through a human defensive perimeter surrounding the colonial administration structure, hoping to claim the coordinates to other human worlds - the data had already been erased, and the mission was a failure. In orbit, Qur'a would see the explosion of the UNSC Destroyer Heart of Midlothian, destroying two stealth cruisers preparing to dock. As the Covenant set to work scouring the site of such "defilement" as they percieved technological progress, Qur'a and his troop were evacuated by Phantom - just in time, as a HAVOC nuclear warhead detonated, destroying the site and the legion of Covenant still present.
If the Covenant expected Qur'a to be eager for vengeance, then they would be sorely disappointed. Now promoted to Ultra, Qur'a would continue his campaign against the humans with the same professionalism he had made a name for himself for. Overtures were made by the Honour Legion to recruit him as a Zealot, but were respectfully declined. Returning home once more, Qur'a would recruit the members of the R'runu Legion as a new Covenant military unit, the R'runu Warrior Creche, a new special operations unit of the Covenant. His first trial would not be the humans he so respected, however - it would be a threat much closer to home.
The heretic movement was not a new occurrance in 2552, and its roots stretched right back to before even the Human-Covenant War as more and more Sangheili became disillusioned by the Prophets' failure to begin the Great Journey, and increasingly concerned at the incorporation of the Jiralhanae into the Covenant military. Not all heretics were even Sangheili - Kejz, the Kig-Yar Pirate Prince, would lead an entrenched asteroid rebellion against the Kig-Yar, hoping to go off on their own outside the Covenant. A raid by the R'runu creche would leave the asteroid shattered, falling into the gravity well of Chu'ot. Uprisings on Teash would see Qur'a unwillingly cooperate with the local Thetis tribe to put down the rebellion, and as dissidents began to gain ground on Cloistering Expectancy Qur'a's creche was sent in to neutralise the threat. Between the battle for Algolis and the Delta Pavonis campaign, Qur'a would fight mainly heretic forces, finding some amount of honour in defending the Covenant from itself, yet increasingly found his own sympathies under question. The war against the humans seemed unwarranted to Qur'a, and the words of the Prophets sounded less like their ancient wisdom and more like mere zealotry.
As the Covenant assaulted Delta Pavonis, Qur'a's warriors were deployed to the surface to ease the Covenant's invasion of the asteroid colony by the Fleet of Enlightened Benevolence. Anti-ship emplacements were destroyed with plasma charges, air/space traffic control towers were demolished, and pinpoint strikes against Army and Colonial Militia emplacements tied up the human defenders as the Covenant unloaded their warriors, tanks and aircraft for the occupation. To Qur'a's consternation, Jiralhanae shock troops were approved by Fleet Master Huna 'Warrumee for deployment against civilians, slaughtering and butchering hundreds as they fled their homes. With some reluctance, Qur'a led his warriors into the mining tunnels, hoping to find a way to flush the humans out, but eventually withdrew in the face of some ingenious traps and defences, once again impressing Qur'a. When a UNSC counterattack force arrived, the R'runu were sent to retrieve sacred artefacts uncovered by a Scarab dig team, delivering a number before the digsite was captured by ODST and Spartan forces. Forced too abandon their invasion, and having secured what they had come for, the fleet withdrew, leaving the colony to evacuate.
- Main article: Halo: Minorca Saga
The success of the Delta Pavonis attack would eventually lead to one of the most infamous engagements of the entire war - Operation: HOT GATES. Following coordinates on the captured relic, the Covenant expected to find an abandoned Forerunner world, ripe for plundering. Instead, they found a slaughterhouse - the unique conditions of Minorca, the planet they were led to, neutralised the shields and weapons of their ships, leaving them wide open to attack, a fact that was fully taken advantage of by the UNSC. Of more than fifty ships that tried to reach the planet, only seven survived, deploying their ground troops before being forced to flee. Qur'a 'Morhekee' would be among these troops, working with Field Master Tulo 'Kotarqee, a fellow Kaaranese Sangheili, to lead the guerilla effort to evade the humans and find the artefacts they sought for in the thick jungles of Minorca.
While there, Qur'a and his warriors stumbled upon an entirely separate attempt to find the relics, this one spearheaded by the Thetis Jiralhanae tribe pack using Scarab excavation vehicles and a stealth corvette. Infuriated by the sight of Jiralhanae performing tasks exclusively the purview of the Sangheili, Qur'a would watch with satisfaction as a human Spartan team destroyed the Scarabs, slaughtered many of the Jiralhanae guarding the entrance to an uncovered structure, and led a platoon of Marines in to investigate. With both the R'runu creche and the Jiralhanae following suite, Qur'a would discover that this operation was not an opportunistic power grab by rebellious Jiralhanae, but a Prophet-approved and sanctioned mission from the Ministry of Acquisition, a test case for further Jiralhanae integration.
The structure they wandered through was old, confusing, and filled with dangers that had not been seen for millenia - the ancient machines set to maintain and protect the facility, as well as the horrors that they guarded. Encountering the Marines and Spartans, the humans, Sangheili and Jiralhanae were forced into a temporary truce just to escape the facility, working together to hold off the Flood as it tried to infect them, and evade the Sentinels of the Caretaker, with the help of the Guardian. After fleeing the structure, hostilities resurfaced, and the three factions violently broke away to warn their respective chains of command of the dangers.
Time passes slowly in the Labyrinth, and while the intruders had spent a few days within, outside the rest of the planet experienced the passage of two years of Covenant and UNSC fighting, going back and forth across the planet as both sides reinforced their positions. With the fall of Reach on August 30, all UNSC personnel were recalled to Earth for its defence, forcing the abandonment of Minorca by September 13th. The Covenant would have little time to celebrate their victory, however - a NOVA bomb would be detonated, destroying the planet, the Labyrinth facility, and the secrets it contained. Qur'a and the leadership of the Fleet of Enlightened Benevolence were already on their way to High Charity, however, to report on the events, and to explain their failure.
- Main article: Battle of Ares IV
The failure of the Minorca Campaign would be a disaster for the Covenant - a human victory of unparalleled scale, the loss of priceless Forerunner relics, and the death of thousands of Covenant lives and hundreds of ships. The Fleet of Enlightened Benevolence was reduced to a mere fifteen ships, two assault carriers and thirteen cruisers, a handful of its former strength. The Fleet Master of the Fleet of Enlightened Benevolence was tried by the Council of Masters of incompetence, though found not guilty. And in Qur'a's mind, it proved once again that the humans were not the heretics the Covenant claimed they were.
Nevertheless, the Fleet of Enlightened Benevolence was selected for one last mission - the excavation of the Ark, an act that might finally bring about the Great Journey the Covenant had searched the stars so long for. Handpicking his crew, Fleet Master Zuro Dun 'Xoramee chose Tulo Kotarq as his second-in-command, and Qur'a 'Morhekee and the R'runu creche as the special operations detachment of the Bringer of Holy Light, new flagship of the fleet. With the Prophet of Acquisition aboard, Qur'a watched in horrified indignation as the Prophet's honour guard detachment were the same Jiralhanae he had fought on Minorca - members of the Thetis tribe, led by now-Chieftain Erebus. Such squabbled would soon be forgotten as the fleet arrived at Earth, and stumbled blindly into the hail of fire from Earth's defences. Qur'as creche would be one of dozens deployed to insert anti-matter charges in orbital defence platforms, an attempt to punch a hole in the orbital perimeter wide enough for the fleet to pierce, and he would successfully spearhead the destruction of the Athens ODP. The Bringer of Holy Light would try to follow the Prophet of Regret's ship to the surface of Earth, but a daring assault by SPARTAN-117 using one of the Covenant's own anti-matter bombs from the Cairo ODP would critically damage the ship. Faced with two massive ships reaching the surface of Earth, and thirteen cruisers left to harrass the orbital perimeter, the damaged Carrier UNSC Aeneas got in close, activating its slipspace drive ona random vector, taking both itself and the damaged Covenant ship out of the battle.
After the conclusion of the Battle of Earth, and the end of the Human-Covenant War, a joint human/Sangheili taskforce would be sent to investigate the fates of the human and Covenant crews of the Aeneas and Holy Light, recovering survivors from the debris field where Ares IV had once been.
War of Vengeance
- Main article: War of Vengeance
Returning to Sangheili territory, the survivors of the Bringer of Holy Light were horrified by the changes that had occurred during their two-month absence. The Sangheili had broken away from the Covenant as it tried to exterminate them, the Jiralhanae filling their role; the Prophets were revealed as liars; High Charity was destroyed; and conflict now ravaged the Covenant's once great empire, trning world against world, brother upon brother, and leaving only chaos where order had once reigned.
The first decision facing Qur'a would be a significant one - the entry of Ketesh into the Sangheili Armed Forces. Strictly speaking, Ketesh has always been an independent entity, and representatives from Sanghelios were alarmed to find the possibility that Ketesh might secede, remaining neutral in the conflict to build its own power base. Using his old political ties, combined with a formidable military reputation, Qur'a returned as Morhekan Autocrat, managing to have himself elected as Representative of Ketesh for the League, and threw his support behind the SAF - the first Morhekan representative to gain the approval of the Confederacy of Mopada and its voting block for more than four hundred years. Unifying his own planet behind the cause, Qur'a would return to fighting the enemies of his people, leading the R'runu Warrior Creche through more than two dozen battles - battles against the Blood Covenant on Unmoving Virtue, responding to the attack on Devout Foreboding, the destruction of the Kig-Yar Privateer Alliance, and skirmishes with the Governors of Contrition. Half a century of resentment and rage was poured forth by the entire Sangheili war machine, obliterating the Blood Covenant, leaving the Kig-Yar privateers broken and confused, and forcing the Governors of Contrition further underground. Qur'a would also be instrumental in the Battle of Expansive Judgement and the formation of the New Covenant/UNSC/SAF non-aggression pact.
For the rest of the war, Qur'a and his warriors would be deployed against smaller-scale threats. With the shattering of the Covenant, many clans hoped to find their own independence from the SAF, gathering their own weapons, ships, and warriors to their cause. Such clans would eventually either be won over by Arbiter Thel 'Vadam's overtures and the promise of honour and glory in combat, or destroyed utterly. Qur'a would see further action in engaging Sangheili rebels, as well as continuing to hammer the remnants of the Blood Covenant until its final destruction, the last vestiges incorporated into the New Covenant. With final defeat of their current enemies, the Sangheili expected to withdraw on itself, rebuilt its damaged strength, and engage the New Covenant in a cold war, Qur'a expecting to return to ketesh to serve as the representative of his people to the SAF, and continue his position as Autocrat of Morheka.
Second Great War
Third Great War
- "He's almost a warrior monk. He's be chopping Brute arms and legs off left, right and centre one moment, and then reciting some arcane text the next. The guy loves his contradictions."
- "If not for him, none of us would have made it off Ares. We would either have succumbed to the Mutineers, or to the Flood."
- "I've found him to be quiet and thoughtful. In politics, this is usually a handicap, allowing others to shout you down. Nobody shouts around Qur'a. Nobody."