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Zealot attack
Pryo 'Zarkum
Homeworld

Sanghelios

Date of birth

Year 58-176 (Sangheilian Calendar); roughly 2515 Human Calendar.

Physical description
Species

Sangheili

Gender

Male

Height

8'6''

Weapons
  • Beam Rifle
  • Carbine
  • Energy Sword
  • Plasma Rifle
  • Needler
Equipment
  • Sangheili Personal Energy Shield
  • Active Camouflage
Vehicles

All Covenant Vehicles

  • The assault carrier "Strenuous Passage"
Hair color

None

Eye color

Yellow

Chronological and political information
Era(s)

9th Age of Reclamation, Covenant Civil War

Notable Events

Graduated Iruiru College of War in the year 58-214 Sangheilian Calendar.

Affiliation

Covenant and later Covenant Separatists

  [Source]


Help This article, The Life of War - Book 1 - Creation, is currently under active construction.
Terminal This article, The Life of War - Book 1 - Creation, was written by Ghost sangheili. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.

Chapter 1: The Beginning

Pryo 'Zarkum was born during Year 58-176, Cycle 2 (Sangheilian Calender: 2 cycles = 1 year. 2 years = 1 Earth year. ). His father, Ronyu 'Norkum, was a retired shipmaster who had achieved the rank of ultra. He had gained a great deal of respect among his fellow warriors, but eventually grew weary of war, and decided to retire, marry, and start a family. Things weren't quite going as planned, as the Prophet of Mercy was asking Ronyu to join the High Council because of his extensive military experience. Ronyu was considering the offer, but preferred to be with his family.

Pryo had no brothers or sisters, which allowed him to take an early interest in war tactics and weapons. He was enthralled by the fast pace and complexity of what looked like a simple fire fight. He got a chance to sample a Carbine and a Particle Beam Rifle on a firing range before most Sangheili his age ever saw one. Still not quenched of his thirst for fascinating weaponry, he was instantly pulled in by the wonder and awe of the most famous weapon of all; the sacred Energy Sword. He had watch some of his father's younger comrades practicing with the amazing weapon. After 3 cycles of continuous asking and peppering, one of the soldiers reluctantly allowed him to try it out on the training course.

Pryo was given a quick suit of armor, as he would need every amount of energy shields he could get for the course. There were multiple rod-like machines floating off the ground in the course. They used magnets to slide and strafe over the dirt field, making somewhat worthy opponents. They carried weapons ranging from a Plasma Pistol to much more potent Carbines. He finished putting on all the armor, and after running last minute armor checks, prepared to begin. The operator of the training area removed all but four of the machines, one with each of the main weapons: a plasma pistol, needler, plasma rifle, and a carbine. The other trainees stood back, watching with mixed opinions and predictions of what would happen next. Would he get scared and hide? Or would he charge too aggressively, unthinking, and get hurt?

The square arena with three trees inside was ready. The buzzer sounded. Pryo suddenly leaped from the starting corner as if electrocuted. The constructs began to target him and fire plasma bolts and needles in his general direction. Pryo activated the sword, and made a sharp turn left, straight at the lone machine with the Carbine. Rather than running directly at it, he jumped into the air and lashed out with the sword. The machine was cut in two, no questions asked. He checked is HUD, and one half of his shield had already been drained. He heard a sudden FWISH and what was left of his shield disappeared. He dove behind a tree and waited, biding his time. His shields recharged just as the construct with the Needler had come looking for him. He leaped from his hiding place and lashed out again. But this time it dodged right, away from his swing. Pryo hadn't been expecting to miss, and fell off balance, surprise showing on his face. He pushed his left hoof down hard, threw himself at the machine, and split it in two.

Two machines remained, one wielding the Plasma Pistol that had sent him hiding, the other firing away with a Plasma Rifle. Once the Needler-machine had stopped operating, the remaining two immediately fired with increased accuracy, and longer bursts. Of course, he thought What fun is a game that doesn't get any harder? He checked his HUD again; two thirds shield. He was doing better than last time. The two remaining machines moved close together, then separated. It was a well planned maneuver, and Pryo hesitated, not sure which to attack first. He decided the one with the Plasma Pistol, as it possessed the greatest threat to him. Another overcharge could be a problem, and with no cover nearby, he could easily be done for. He didn't want to have to stop the exercise, seeing as he was close to completing it, but one fatal mistake and the drill would be cut short, the operator would have to deactivate the machines. Pryo didn't want to have to accept failure. Pryo had to run much faster to get to the Pistol-machine, and by now he was panting. It dodged side to side, and the machine started to piss him off. "It's your own grave you're making!" he yelled. He leaped forward, and with one fluid motion, made two almost perfectly clean cuts in the machine with his sword. One third of his shield still remained, and with one machine left, he had to make good use of it. The final machine began to fire at him with increased intensity, the plasma bolts almost impossible to dodge. He heard the shots and miraculously managed to sidestep them. Only two bolts hit him, but he could now feel the heat from the shots through his armor and on his shield. He had two options: charge forward, hope for his shields to recharge before the machine could get a shot at him, and destroy the machine, or dodge repeatedly and hope for a recharge while looking for an opening. Before he could make up his mind, he was hit in the midriff by two plasma bolts. Now the audible alarm was going off. Without thinking, he kicked a piece of the machine he had just destroyed at the last one remaining. Pryo felt a sharp pain in his right hoof, but the piece sailed straight and true, crashing directly into the final machine. The machines fell to the ground in a heap and finally exploded in a fireball of shrapnel and flames.

Pryo was out of breath. He stood in place panting, placing more weight on his left hoof. The other Sangheili were quiet, simply staring. He wasn't sure if they were impressed or were going to burst out laughing. None of their faces gave away anything. He looked up and limped back towards them and waited for them to decide how well he passed the training course.

"He's his father's son," one of them said. Pryo smiled as his anxiety slowly ebbed away.

A Major stepped forward and said,"You just did out of instinct what I spent a third of a cycle learning. Child, you definitely have an instinct and mind for war."

All of a sudden Pryo was the proudest elite on Sanghelios. Not only did he love the feeling of the armor and how he looked impressively intimidating in it, but he could also tell that the Major wasn't simply telling him what he wanted to hear, it was the Major's honest opinion. He was two-thirds the height of the other elites, but from that point on they treated him and respected him like a member of their fire team. The operator removed the tape from the console and handed it to Pryo.

"Do what you will with it," the Major said.

While most Elites used it to watch and self evaluate, Pryo had something to show is father.

Ronyu 'Norkum watched the recording with disbelief etched on every inch of his face. This looks like a level two warrior in training! he thought. He knew he never would gave let his son take part in one of those exercises, but he knew it was good for Pryo.

"Would you be willing to risk your life to fight for what we believe?" Ronyu asked his son.

"Yes," Pryo replied. "I really want to pursue this even more to become a warrior, like what you were."

"Very well. It is in your blood. In nine cycles you will be old enough go to the Iruiru College of War, the place were I learned everything I know. Whether or not you train between now and then is up to you."

Pryo couldn't believe it. To become a warrior was his dream, and a dream that was suddenly a lot more tangible. In the next nine cycles Pryo finished his studies and trained with his father in the fundamental skills needed to be an infantryman.

Ronyu soon thereafter told Pryo, "My son, I have taught you almost everything I can. Use this knowledge well and let it help you in your future studies and battles."

He eventually mastered the Sacred Blade, proclaiming it as his weapon of choice. His father thinking him ready for more advanced learning, he heads towards the college with nothing but determination on his face.

Chapter 2: Settling In

Pryo walked through the gates to the largest military complex he had ever seen. There hundreds of vehicles lay at rest. He saw a huge buildings that were labeled "Simulators," "Conditioning," "Dormitories," and "Ranges." He had arrived at the Iruiru College of War. Pryo was now taller and stronger than the average Elite, this was a result of multiple cycles of training with his father. He headed to the dormitories, he knew that's where would need to find his room, sign in for the next three cycles, and begin the first level of his studies.

He found a box with his name on it on the left side of the entrance corridor. The key said "5-106." Floor 5, Room 106. He headed up and opened the door. He walked in to what seemed more like a condominium than a dormitory. He wandered in and took a left around a corner. The door to the room had PZ written on it. He walked in and found a bed and a dresser. He unloaded his stuff and picked up the letter:

Dear New Students:

Welcome to the Iruiru College of War. To become a fully certified member of the military, you will have to complete three levels of training. A large amount of applicants wash out, the next three cycles will be difficult yet priceless for your inner warrior. You are starting out as a Level One out of three.

We offer 10 programs for Level Ones. They are: Introduction to the Beam Rifle and Carbine, The Fundamentals Swordsmanship (Swordsmen only), Introduction to Plasma Rifles, Introduction to Needlers, Introduction to Infantry and Fire Team Tactics, The Fundamentals Tactics of the Banshee and Ghosts, The Fundamentals Tactics of the Phantom and Use of the Orbital Insertions Pod, Introduction to Naval Battles in Outer Space, Introduction to the Plasma Pistol, and The Fundamentals of Hand to Hand Combat. You must sign up for a minimum of five and a maximum of eight, we recommend six. Introduction and Fundamentals courses are not needed to get into the Intermediate and Advanced courses, but you might want to be very sure you are good enough to skip the introductory courses. On the back of this letter is the course selection sheet, then put that sheet in your box for collection.

One thing we stress is for all individuals to find a specific skill. There are ten periods per day, leaving at least two frees. One is for the midday meal, another should be used to further pursue an interest.

Sincerely: Iro 'Potarmee - Head Master of Iruiru College of War.

Pryo began to consider to what to sign up for. He was interested automatically in the beam rifle and carbine, as well as Naval Battles. He decided to also sign up for banshee and ghost training. He didn't get much experience with the Needler at home, so he signed up for that. He also decide to sign up for the course on his favorite gun, the plasma rifle. He thought some of the early parts of the course would bore him, but eventually he would learn a thing or two He also wanted to do some hand to hand combat. At home he did a lot of strength training, and soon was one of the strongest Elites in his hometown. He was small individual, and didn't look as powerful as he really was. He chose to sign up for Hand to Hand Combat. He would not sign up for swordsmanship, his father had taught him enough.

He went downstairs and returned the form with his selection. Now in his box was a note saying At day point 25 an all school assembly will be held, attendance is necessary. He went back up to his dorm to find another individual in sitting on the other bed signing up for his courses.

"Day point 25?" he thought aloud. "Hmm... seems awfully rushed if its day point 20 now and days in this season end at 40…" He continued to mumble to himself as he headed back to the level where he would reside.

"Well hello there," Pryo said. The roommate looked up suddenly, somewhat startled.

"Oh hello. Looks like I'm your roommate. My name is Reko 'Retrum"

"Pryo Zarkum" he responded.

"Why did you decide to come to Iruiru?"

The two got into a long conversation and got to know each other. Already they knew they would be good friends. Having a great roommate only made Pryo' more excited for the coming year. They went to get their midday meal when Reko say someone he recognized.

"Rtas?" he said to the individual.

"Reko?" he responded.

"Wow, it is a small world. Pryo, this is a friend of mine from early childhood, Rtas 'Vadum."

They exchanged the ancient Sangheilien greeting, their dominant hand in a fist at the center of their chest. It was everything from a greeting to a general sign of respect.

"Pryo, this is companion and childhood friend: Verna 'Cenduul."

"Pleasure to meet you," she said.

Pryo was surprised. A female? Here? He had nothing against them, it was just something he didn't expect. The group of now four sat at a bench together and began to eat. They got into conversation again and got to know each other. They all seemed to come from different points of Sangheilios (with the exception of Rtas and Verna), but they were all brought together by force that splits, war.

Pryo realized that it was day point 24.5. He and his new friends headed to the assembly. They found a large assembly hall teeming with other trainees. Some of the second and third level trainees stood in their social groups laughing and discussing the upcoming year. On the elevated platform was a single warrior, but he stood out from the rest. Unlike the others who were not wearing armor, he was wearing bright gold combat armor. He stood with his arms crossed, and appeared to be waiting. "Attention! Take a seat now, so we can begin." The warrior yelled. Everyone got to a bench, still murmuring among their friends, it all subsided when the golden armored individual began his speech.

"My Name is Noga 'Putumee. I am Zealot Field Master, and I command a huge ground force on Halo." Pryo tried to remember what he knew about the Halo's. He had learned about them in his juvenile studies, but couldn't remember much. Then it came to him. The Great Journey, the Sacred Rings, the oracles, all built by gods.

Pryo stopped paying attention to the rules, they were simple things, and most could be avoided by common sense. Things about rank and fighting he already knew. He was about to fall asleep on Reko's shoulder when Reko gave him a little punch to the gut. Pryo jumped slightly.

"You okay?"

"Yea… I already know this stuff, I'm kinda bored."

"At least look normal and fall asleep on her shoulder."

Verna reached around Pryo and gave Reko a good shove, he almost fell off the bench.

"Stop it, you three. How old are you, 9 cycles?" Rtas had actually been paying attention, and was interested. Pryo knew Rtas would excel, and he decided to be quiet as a sign of respect to the future warrior.

"That concludes this assembly" Noga turned off the projector that had been his aid.

As Pryo' prepared to rest for the night he recollected his first day. He had made three friends. A serious and intellectual Rtas 'Vadum, a tough and witty Verna Cenduul, as well as a scruffy and well hearted Reko Retrum. "It's going to be a great year," he thought. And with that he went to rest for the dark hours.

Chapter 3: The First Morning

Pryo awoke to a bright morning Sol. Reko had already awoken, and was slouched over the table shared in the dorm. He was half awake and reading a recent issue of the "Sangheilien Herald," one of most well known and respected news chronicles.

"Since when is it so bright early in the day?" Pryo exclaimed trying to drag himself from his resting place.

"Ugh," Reko replied "Let's just hope the food here is good, hopefully something that will awaken me!"

"Bah. It’s a boarding school. It'll be really good or really bad."

"Hope for the best and prepare for the worst."

Pryo dragged himself up and looked out his window. The facilities weren't yet lit, shadows where elongated across the field. He could see the tall, curving structures of businesses and a few military structures out on the skyline of Yermo. The sky lacked vapor, and was its beautiful light orange color.

"No wonder the Sol is so bright. There isn’t a drop of vapor in the sky!"

"I like it when the vapor falls though, makes any kind of outdoor event more intense." Reko replied.

"If we are in a desert… that'll just be no fun."

"Ever tried running through the desert? You think you've made progress but in reality you just started."

"I don't run that often, I prefer to sprint." Pryo never had run a long distance, nothing more than 6 and ½ units. He could sprint 2 units faster than most anyone, but in the longer 12 unit movements, he didn’t do too well.

"Let's go get our morning meal, see if we are in any of the same courses."

"Food sounds pretty good right now."

They locked their room and headed down from the fifth floor to the dining hall. They headed down to the dining hall to find the doors locked. Morning meals would not be served until day point 07, as of now it was day point 05. The two decided to check their boxes, see if there was anything new. Indeed there was.

Welcome recruits:

As of day point 04 your armor will be ready for fitting and use, head to the armory on the other side of the weaponry ranges.

Sincerely: Iro 'Potarmee - Head Master of Iruiru College of War.

Pryo and Reko headed outside to the ranges. He could see people out on the ranges taking a few early morning practice shots at some of the targets. Pryo noted three distinct armor colors in the crowd. The most abundant was an orange color. A slightly less common color was brown, but those wearing this armor seemed bigger and stronger than those in the orange armor, in demeanor and movement. The least common color was teal. As Pryo headed to the armory he spotted a familiar face at one of the ranges. It was Rtas, but in gleaming teal armor. As Pryo watched over, Rtas was at one of the ranges laid out. He lifted a carbine and aligned its sights. Two people in Orange armor were watching with interest. Rtas appeared to be scanning the area. Two mechanical drones deactivated active camouflage, they looked exactly like those Pryo had faced many cycles ago. They both had the same weapon. They started firing at Rtas.

He leapt of the line as if he had been electrocuted. The mechanical drones, began strafing towards the back right corner, Rtas sprinted into the bottom right. He fired a four round burst. They ricocheted off the shields of the machines. Eventually he collapsed the shields of one, and it fell to the ground.

The other one started firing like mad at him. The entire twelve round clip was emptied as fast as possible. The first three shots hit Rtas, causing his shields to gleam. But Rtas did a move that surprised everyone, including those in the orange armor. All of the sudden, he stuck his right leg way out, and completely lowered his body. He then pulled back up. In a matter of half a second, he had completely shifted, and throne off the drone's targeting. It fired five rounds at where he was. Rtas threw in a quick reload, while the machine did the same. Rtas managed to get the new clip set first. The machine attempted to dodge the rounds, but Rtas maintained vigilance and put round after round into it. Its shields collapsed. Rtas simply put a round through the machine's computer; it made a few erratic maneuvers, and crashed to the ground. "Excellent shooting!" Pryo exclaimed.

"Nice to see Pryo. I see you haven't gotten your armor yet."

"Bah! I'm on my way."

"Better hurry, it takes those grunts a few minutes to figure it out."

"Grunts? Here?"

"Just a few assistants of Noga 'Putumee, the Zealot that spoke to us yesterday."

Pryo and Reko headed to the armory. They passed a room that had two elites and an individual with red armor. "A Major Domo warrior," he whispered to Reko. They got down to the armory, and found Noga helping an elite. This one was exchanging some teal armor for orange. Reko was having trouble not cracking up as he watched the grunts waddle back and forth, getting the various armor pieces. "And how can I help you two?"

"Well, we got the note. Apparently we need armor."

"Indeed you do. Kwasab! Two sets of teal."

"Yes sir!" Reko couldn't contain himself, a little snicker made its way through. The grunt turned and shot a stare at him. "What's so funny!?" He said angrily. Reko wasn’t sure what to do, he turned to Pryo.

"Ignore him, carry on!" Noga said breaking the silence. Kwasab grabbed the little cart and headed off. "I hope you don't find their voice so funny for much longer. Every trainee in this academy must learn to work well with the Unggoy."

Kwasab came with the armor. "Master! I only have half a unit left in my tank! I need to…"

"Go." Noga interrupted, "But no benzene! And trust me, I can tell"

"I would never…"

"Go!"

And with that Kwasab ran to a room with an airlock. The door sealed and Kwasab was in an underground chamber that the college kept full of methane, it was the living quarters for the grunts.

"I'm assuming you're of the first level, so your armor color is teal. Just put on the armor and make sure it fits snugly. The helmet is the tricky part." Pryo and Reko had no difficulty assembling the pieces onto themselves. Reko's helmet fit fine, Pryo's would need to be tweaked. "My head is a little too flat, the helmet slides from side to side." Noga grabbed it and took out a small device. It looked like a hammer. But he activated it, and a field of energy enveloped it. He gave the helmet three hard whacks. "That should do it."

Pryo put it on, it fit perfectly.

"Alright, I'm going to activate it. This may feel like a bit of a lurch, or make you feel nauseous, but it will pass." Noga came around Reko, and pushed on a small marking on the back of the arm. The armor seemed to contract. The energy shields then charged, it was quite a sight to see. Noga did the same to Pryo. The armor's contraction startled him, but it ended up fitting snuggly to his skin.

PZ+RR

Pryo and Reko in their new armor.

Pryo looked at his hands, his arms and his legs. He noticed nothing special about having the shields, but he had a feeling of strength and power with his new armor.

"Now I have to test it. Do not be afraid." Noga pulled out a plasma pistol. But it was not a normal plasma pistol, Pryo noted a small attachment. He charged it. "Reko, this will not injure you. It will feel very hot, it could leave you with a small burn, but that's nothing compared to what you may experience in combat, and what you will experience here." Reko nodded. Noga released the plasma pistol, the overload washed over Reko's shields, completely collapsing them. The module on the bottom of the gun turned red. Noga pointed the gun at the floor, and attempted to fire. It did not.

"Your armor is working perfectly. That was just a test to make sure that the training will work. If your shields reach critical levels, the weapons attacking you will lock, as will yours. Once your shields recharge, your opponents gun will continue to work, but you will register as killed, and will leave the exercise." Noga gave the same pre-speech to Pryo, then charged and fired the gun, with the same result. "Both of your armor is fully operational, you are free to go. The morning meal is being served now, you will get your schedule of courses there. Be ready."

Noga went to a weapons rack. "We supply all trainees with the basic weapons, a Type-51 Carbine and a Type-25 Directed Energy Rifle. The carbine can be placed on your back, the rifle on your leg."

Chapter 4: Training Day

Pryo already loved his armor. He remembered the armor he had borrowed back in his childhood, but this was different. The way it fit him was much snugger. Because it moved exactly as he did, it gave Pryo a sense of strength and power. He headed back out onto the grounds, the ranges were near empty.

"Everyone is eating" Reko thought aloud.

"Let's get while the getting is good. I'm sure that eating a decent amount would be a good idea, we'll need the energy."

Pryo ate his meal with his three friends, there was not much conversation. This was true with all the others in the teal armor, the first levels. They were apprehensive. Not surprising, considering what was soon to happen. As Pryo exited he checked his box, his schedule was there. His first course was to be Level 1 sniping. Verna 'Cenduul shared the same course at that block; they walked over to the ranges silently. As they arrived they found a few people there, but not as many as they would expect. Snipers were iconic in Sangheili culture. Among the people with orange armor, there was one with teal armor standing along someone in red armor.

"Welcome Level 1s. I am V'tar Zornam, and I am the instructor of all sniping courses here. I am better at close range, but that’s a story for another day. Everyone get a rifle off the rack."

Pryo grabbed one off the rack and held it in his hands. It was somewhat heavy, but it was still lighter than he expected, the weapon looked bulky. Like the plasma pistol Noga had been using earlier, it had a little red module. He swapped it with the carbine, and put the rifle on his back. He went back to the line were the group lined up.

"This is a simple demonstration of what we are aiming for by the end of your three years. If you fall too far behind, you may be asked to leave this course."

V'tar nodded to the elite in orange armor. He took the rifle off his back, and pressed the red button. He aligned the sights in his arms, and began scanning the range. All of the sudden he seemed to disappear. He had activated active camouflage. Pryo tried to keep an eye on what little refraction was left. The elite in the teal armor fired. Where it seemed only air once was, one of the drones suddenly appeared and exploded. The drones were using the camo.

He dodged the way Rtas had, as three purple beams streaked at where he was. He fired at them again. Two shots exploded from his rifle, leaving only one of the original four still operable. He began sprinting down the range. He went to fire again. He missed, and the gun overheated. It fired back, just ahead of him in the direction he had been running. He broke his stride, and fired again. The drone was hit.

This entire fight went down in a few moments, at ranges of over 70 units, so far that the drones could only barely be seen by the naked eye.

"Thank you, and well done." V'tor said. Then the one in teal armor put his gun on the rack and left, not saying one word.

V'tar began his intro to the course: "Each of you will start today with a simple drill. You will have some stationary targets at great distance. Simply fire at them. I want you all to get a feel for the gun." Pryo stepped up to the line and shouldered the rifle.

"Bet I can find one first." Verna challenged.

"Ha. We'll see about that." Pryo removed the gun from his back and looked through the scope. He tried to pull from meory everything he knew about sharpshooting. He knew to use a lesser magnification when searching for targets, then to zoom in on it once located. He also knew to relax any non-essential muscles. In doing this, he could also slow his breathing.

With his eye looking through the sights, he began to scan the horizon. He expected the targets to be easy to find. But the reality was to the contrary. After sweeping across the entire range, he had found nothing. "Perhaps the zoom I'm using is too broad..." Pryo tapped the side of the scope, and the magnification went from 5x to 10x. The difference was huge, every detail was far sharper. But on the down side, even the tiniest movements in his arms translated into a significant shift in his view.

Pryo spotted something, in the top left corner of his scope, that didn't fit into the natural landscape. He immediately tried to snap to it, but he made to large a movement. It wasn't even in his sights. He began to scan through the area he thought it might be. He found it.

He looked at the display in the scope. It read 106.98 units. Pryo adjusted the shot up by about 5 units. No one else had fired yet. He took a deep breath, and tapped the trigger.

The gun seemed to explode in his hands. He had held it too close to his body. He managed to move his eye out of the way of the scope, but the recoil slammed the butt of the gun into his shoulder. It was so powerful, he had to take a step back so as not to fall over.

Those who were lucky enough to see Pryo's beam in their scopes tried to track it, a few moments later multiple rounds were fired by different individuals. V'tor looked down at a notepad, and used an ink imprinter to put down some notes. Pryo wasn't sure what to do now.

Without looking up from his pad, V'tor addressed the group. "Once you have hit a target, come over here."

Verna, without looking up from her scope, simply muttered "Lucky hit..." Pryo laughed under his breath, and walked over to V'tor.

"Just a few questions. How did you find the target?"

"I slowly scanned the horizon."

"Very well," he began to scribble down notes about what Pryo said. "How did you find the target?"

"Well, as I was scanning, I noticed something that simply seemed out of place. I took a closer look, and found it."

"Were you thinking about anything as you fired the shot?"

"No."

"Continue your training here, what do you have scheduled for your next?"

"Nothing scheduled, I've decided to do some strengthening."

"Then come with me when this is over. Understand?"

"Yes sir."

And with that Pryo went back to the range and began looking for other targets. As he walked back to the line, Verna was heading over to Vtor after successfully hitting a target.

"So you finally hit something?" Pryo teased

She punched him in the shoulder, it was meant in a totally friendly way, but it almost knocked him over. He shouldered the gun, and began to scan the horizon for something out of place.

Chapter 5: A Warm Welcome

Six cycles had passed. Not a single cycle had gone without pain and bloodshed. Not a single cycle had passed without triumph and glory. From each and every one of them, something had been forged. Or had it been built? Molded? He couldn't find the right word, and wouldn't be any time soon.

He had no clue what was going on. Everyone was allowed two weapons. Pryo had taken a sword without even thinking, his skill was nearly unmatched. He waited and watched others get their weapons. One critical lesson was he had learned was to make sure a squad had a diversity of weapons if unsure of what lay ahead. He noticed very few people picking up Needlers. He grabbed one from the rack, and managed to shove ten extra clips into his belt. Pryo then took four grenades, the standard quantity.

108 of his comrades remained from the original 174. 66 had washed out through the two years. They were assembled into lances of 12. Pryo looked scanned through, Rtas was in his group. He figured that this would just be for transport. Each of the nine lances was assembled in front of a Phantom, and they were ordered to board. After a few had loaded, Pryo stepped into the lift. He felt his weight lessen, until he slowly floated up and into the craft.

Once all were aboard, the pilot powered down the lift. For a while, the craft hovered, he could hear the pilot talking to others on the communications channel. The vibrations within the Phantom began to strengthen, and Pryo could feel the acceleration. The Phantom was off, wherever it was going.

He knew exactly where they were going. The ceremonies had completed, and Pryo 'Zarkumee look at his blue armor. He was now a member of the Covenant military, a Minor Domo Elite. A service record had been created in his name, his only credential was his training at Iruiru. But that's now behind him.

"Left side panel unload, arrival five units out." The pilot informed. He, and everyone else, was about to reach the point of no return. The Phantom decelerated, and Pryo felt the lateral forces build up. Eventually, the Phantom had halted. Pryo stepped out along with all the others, he tried to stand tall and seek out his friends. He saw Reko and Verna come out of a Phantom, and made his way there.

They Still didn't know where they were. It was a large round space, big enough for all the Phantoms. with platform in the middle, and a causeway to the edge, and a large door. They stood on the Platform, and watched as all the Phantoms exited through a single tunnel. An energy shield then covered the tunnel.

The door at the end of the causeway ended. A warrior in gold armor, along with two in white, began to walk towards them. They weren't bearing any weapons, although all of them had a sword handle on their leg.

The elite with gold armor spoke. "Come with us, and you will be assigned."

While hesitant at first, the entire group began to walk across the causeway. Once they got close to the group of high ranking officers, they began to lead them. The door opened into another causeway. This one went away from this structure. Its walls were clear, and as the group walked onto it, there was a universal gasp.

They were walking to a huge, gleaming, dome-like structure. It was huge, it looked like it could cover an entire city. "What is this!?" Pryo thought aloud.

A warrior Pryo had never met before responded. "It's for ship maintenance. Every once and a while a cruiser or carrier gets a complete inspection, and they come here." They both heard a rumble; everyone except the officers turned to see what it was. They all watched in awe as an Assault Carrier began to exit a hangar. It's engines continued to power up, and it changed it's heading to an upward direction. By the time they had finished crossing the causeway, it was barely in sight.

They went through a door, into an assembly room. "All recruits, take a seat in the front rows." In the center were two more Ultras, they sat patiently. Pryo had hopes about attaining that high a rank, yet he couldn't keep his hopes up. War is death. Pryo, his friends, everyone that had taken the trip here knew and accepted this.

The Zealot began speaking. "I will call your name, then give a digit, 1-4. Go to the Shipmaster with the corresponding number." He began reading off the names. Pryo came second, and was assigned to group two. He then listened for his friend's names. Rtas was assigned to a different group, but he would be going with Verna and Reko.

Everyone had been sorted, the Ultra they had been assigned to stood up. "Follow me," he said. They went through a door, the other groups went through different ones. They reached another door, it opened into one of the huge hangars. In it, a CSS-Class Battlecruiser was suspended by it's grav lift. They were about 200 units away from it, Reko pointed out a whole team of Minors and majors going up the lift.

The Ultra turned to face them. "My name is Varas 'Sanamee," he said "and I am the shipmaster of the cruiser you see here. It's name is Purity of Spirit." I have read about each and every one of you, and you will be assigned to various legions. Iruiru is a good enough school that we bypass Warrior Crèches for those from that school. But for now, head up the lift, where an office will direct you to the living quarters. This cruiser is departing at day point twelve. We will be leaving Sangheilios and heading for Eayn. An insurrection on this world has caught the attention of the Prophets, and the High Council has decided that they must be silenced. Follow me."

Varas walked them all to the gravity lift. A Lance of Major officers where about to step on the lift, but upon noticing Varas, the immediately stepped out of the way. The moment Pryo stepped into the purple field, he felt his weight decrease. Upon reaching the center, he began to float up. At first he was a bit freaked out, but he prevented it from showing. Weakness was to be avoided. Inside, two Major officers were waiting. "Go with them," Varas ordered "I must prepare for departure." Varas turned, and headed to the bridge. The two officers, one on each side of a door. They turned, the door automatically opened, and the group began to walk through. The group followed, completely silent. The hallways were dimly lit, shades of purple and blue glowed off the walls and floor. There was very little background noise, a slight hum was the only audible sound above their foot steps. They approached another automatic door, and Pryo thought he heard a strange high pitched laugh on the other side. As the officers approached the doors, they swung open. Two Unggoy soldiers were on the other side. They were each carrying a Deployable Plasma turret, and wore the distinct green armor for the Unggoy heavy weapons rank. They were so startled by the door's opening that they seemed to jump their own height into the air.

"What are you two doing here!?" The officer's weren't happy.

"We taking these to armory!" The soldier defended.

"You're nowhere near the armory! And this isn't even the right way!" The officer was really intimidating the two, they both got defensive.

"We take this way to go around bridge. Very busy, we just get shoved out of way!"

The officer took a moment to respond, he looked carefully at their stance and eyes. "Fine. Go. But we're departing soon, I don't want to see you two around again." The two soldiers slowly waddled down the path. Pryo sympathized somewhat for Grunts. Their chances of surviving a decent engagement were quite slim, and those tanks on their back didn't help their agility. The officers continued. After a few more automatic doors they came into a large hallway, both sides with small living quarters.

The officer turned to face them. "These are the barracks, you will be here unless ordered otherwise. The rules we set are enforced strictly, that's just the way it is for recruits. As you are accepted by the legion, you will gain more freedom." My name is Ikor Arcuum, I am in charge of these barracks. Find a place you wish to live, and place your weapons in the case."

Pryo did as instructed. He took a look around within the barracks, he noticed the ceiling had a slight purple glow. As everyone settled in, the entire craft seemed to come to life. A low, and somewhat subtle rumble increased slowly in magnitude. Then there was a sudden jerk forward and to the side. Quite a few of the recruits were knocked off of their feet, or from their bunks. One of the original officers that had taken them here left, Ikor was now the only officer in the room. The bumps continued, a few people were jarred into ever corner of the room. Ikor couldn't help to laugh. Pryo glanced at him, Ikor was having no trouble at all. Ikor met Pryo's gaze, and Pryo turned away uncomfortably.

"Calm down everyone, we are departing. Soon we will be entering the Slipstream, and will take you throughout the ship so you can understand it's layout." Ikor couldn't help but to laugh at some of them being jostled around. Eventually they would all get used to it.

Pryo put his weapons in the holder, along with the spare rounds and grenades. The purple he had noticed in the ceiling began to grow in intensity. A low hum was becoming more and more audible, he could feel the cruiser accelerating.

The automatic door at the end of the hall flashed, made a tone, and opened. Ikor lazily looked to see why the door opened, and was somewhat surprised to see a Zealot standing before him.

Ikor greeted him. "Field Master Putumee. Welcome back." Ikor had spoken louder than usual to gain everyone else's attention. All of them jumped from their bunks and turned to face him; as a sign of respect.

Noga 'Putumee, who Pryo had trained with for two cycles, was now back on active duty. He spoke professionally and firmly to Ikor. "It appears Iruiru did well this cycle. Have they been organized into their divisions?"

"Not yet. Shipmaster awaits your presence, and their profiles will be reviewed."

"Once this vessel is in the slipstream, we'll get to work. For now, he is busy. A fight lies ahead of us, brother. I hope they are prepared."

"Iruiru's judgment can be trusted. They'll be ready to fight."

Noga departed. As he did so, the cruiser exited the atmosphere of Sangheilios. The cruiser then charged it's generators, and prepared to make the jump to Eayn. Purity of Spirit left the very dimension Pryo had spent his entire life. He and his allies were leaving everything they knew behind.

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