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Great Schism
Beginning:

October 20th 2552[1]

End:

Still ongoing by 2559[2]

Place:

Milky Way Galaxy

Outcome:
  • Eventual fragmentation of the Covenant
  • Peace between the Humans and Separatist Members Established
  • Formation of various Brute controlled Covenant Loyalist factions.
Belligerents
Commanders
Strength
Casualties
  

The Great Schism[4], also known as the Covenant Civil War, was a major conflict between two factions, the Covenant Loyalists and the Separatists, which split apart between October 2552 and November 2552. During the Covenant Civil War, three major factions fought for victory: Humans and their Separatist allies, Covenant Loyalists, led by the San 'Shyuum and the Jiralhanae, and the Flood, which took over the Covenant Holy City of High Charity in an effort to assimilate the other warring factions.

Contents

Seeds of Conflict

Even long before the start of the Great Schism, the Prophet of Truth had plans of replacing the Sangheili with the Jiralhanae, as he saw them as more willing and unquestioning pawns, while he despised the Sangheili, doubting their reliability and loyalty. However, he kept these schemes strictly to himself, and waited until the time was right. After Truth learned the location of the Human homeworld, he secretly amassed a fleet of over five hundred warships, entirely commanded by the Jiralhanae, at the command-and-control station Unyielding Hierophant. However, this station was destroyed by a group of SPARTAN-IIs who learned of its purpose; putting a temporary halt to Truth's plan.[5]

Soon after, the Prophet of Regret made a move Truth did not expect: having discovered a significant Forerunner artifact on Earth on his own, but unaware of the fact it was humanity's homeworld, he took a fleet of fifteen ships to Earth. Immediately after Truth learned of this, he sent the remnants of the fleet he had amassed to Earth, and gave his Jiralhanae troops orders to forcibly overtake the Sangheili in command of the remaining forces on and above Earth. When Regret retreated from Earth, his Sangheili-led ships in orbit still continued to engage the UNSC, but now without a leader. Only moments after, the Jiralhanae forces within the fleet and on the ground killed any remaining Sangheili forces, as Truth had ordered. They continued to hold New Mombasa until the reinforcements sent by Truth arrived. As High Charity and rest of the Covenant fleet were now on their way to the newly-discovered Delta Halo, Truth's move remained a secret from the rest of the Covenant. Regret, who would arrive at Delta Halo some time before High Charity and the rest of the Covenant, would serve yet another purpose for Truth; the final stage in his plan.[5]

Conflict Erupts

After the Prophet of Regret was killed by Master Chief, the two remaining Prophets, most notably the High Prophet of Truth, reorganized Covenant society, seeing that the Elites could no longer protect the Prophets due to Regret's death, they replaced the Elites with the Brutes as the Prophets' protectors. The Elites viewed this as a violation of the principle that the Covenant had been founded upon and threatened to resign from the High Council. They also argued that if Truth had not withdrawn the Phantoms that had been en route to Regret's location, the Prophet's death would have been prevented and the Demon would have been killed instead.

However, Truth further demoted the Elites by giving command of their Covenant Fleets to the Brutes. Once enough Brutes were in place, Truth instigated the war by secretly ordering the assassination of many ruling Elites. Truth also freed all of the Brute prisoners and pardoned them after release (Seen on the Halo Timeline Edict of the High Prophet of Truth). This was disguised as a Brute insurrection against the Covenant to the Elites, the Hunters and most Grunts. Loyalist factions were led to believe it was an Elite revolt. After the killing of the Elite Council members, war broke out on High Charity, the two sides polarizing quickly. However, this was at first a debate over orthodoxy and leadership. The true split occurred when the Elites learned the truth about the Halos and the Great Journey. Their disillusionment changed their goal from reforming the purity of the Covenant to actively fighting against it.

The split was not cleanly divided by either race or faction. Loyalists followed the Prophets and included Brutes, Jackals, Drones, Grunts and some Hunters. Separatists included Elites, with most Hunters and an unknown number of Grunts also breaking away initially. The only Grunts who actually remained loyal to the Prophets were the most devout followers of the Covenant religion (ex. Deacons). This might also suggest that the Grunts' "new found courage" in Halo 3 might have been the result of fanaticism rather than cowardice. There is some evidence to support this since there are a number of Grunts who commit acts that are anything but cowardly (ex. Kamikaze Grunts).

Sangheili-Human Alliance

The shaky alliance between the Separatists and their former foes, the Humans, was forged entirely out of necessity. The UNSC forces were on the defensive, and they had two common enemies that wished for their extinction: the Covenant and the Flood. The alliance of circumstance was forged in the control room of Delta Halo, when Johnson and the Arbiter were coerced to unite in order to prevent Tartarus activating Delta Halo and firing the Halo Array, which would have killed every sentient being in the galaxy, including himself and the rest of his race, while he, and the rest of the Covenant Loyalist's, still believed the array would only start the Great Journey.[6]However, the Arbiter persuaded the rest of the Sangheili to join the humans. While the two factions experience some friction because their alliance is based on the the enemies of my enemies are my friends concept instead of good political relationships they learn to work with one another for their mutual survival. During the events of Halo 3, the Elites fight alongside humans in battle.

The devastated UNSC Fleet in Earth's space were glad to accept the help of the superior Separatist Warships. The Elites' understanding of enemy equipment and Covenant's combat tactics proved invaluable in the Battle of Installation 00, where a fleet three times larger than that sent by the Elites was completely destroyed by the smaller force. Recurrently the heroes of battle, the Arbiter and Master Chief fought alongside one another many times in the desperate and long conflict. The Arbiter's presence at memorial services for the Master Chief indicated that in the wake of victory, Separatists and humans remained friendly to one another as they both had made tremendous sacrifices in order to stop Truth and the Loyalist forces, as well as the Gravemind and the Flood.

With Truth dead, High Charity destroyed, and the Ark essentially lost to the reborn Installation 04's firing, the remaining Loyalist forces remained active in at least some form, rebuilding their tattered strength to continue their war of conquest.[7]Even though the Brutes eventually collapsed into various civil wars, they still posed enough of a threat that Elite commanders kept up the offensive against them for at least another six years, even as they continued to lose irreplaceable warships and the war continued with no end in sight.[2]

According to the Bestiarum in Halo 3's Limited Edition, the Grunts were too indecisive to continue the rebellion and the true political motivation of the Hunters, if any, remained a mystery. Ship Master Rtas 'Vadum stated that Truth's Fleet was destroyed. Had any of the Covenant survived on the Ark or in the ruins of their Fleet, they were either taken by the Flood or killed when the unfinished Installation 04 (II) fired and destroyed itself and heavily damaged the Ark.

Timeline

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2552

September 22:

October 20:

October 21st:

  • Jiralhanae-led reinforcement fleet arrives to Earth and starts the excavation of the Portal.[10]

November 2:

November 2-3:

November 3:

November 8, 2552:

November 17, 2552:

Late November through December, 2552

  • Battle of Installation 00.
  • All Loyalist vessels destroyed over the Ark by the Separatist Fleet.
  • The final Covenant religious leader, the Prophet of Truth, is executed by Thel 'Vadam with help from the Flood. The Master Chief stops the Ark from firing the Halo Rings.
  • High Charity is destroyed by the Master Chief after he overloads the city's main reactors causing them to detonate.
  • Rtas 'Vadum evacuates all humans and Sangheili via the Shadow of Intent, back to Earth.
  • The Battle of Installation 04 (II). Thel 'Vadam, Master Chief and Johnson battle to the control room of Installation 04 (II). Guilty Spark runs rampant, killing Johnson before being subsequently destroyed by John-117. Installation 04(II)'s Sentinels turned on the Master Chief, Thel 'Vadam, and the Elites. The unfinished Installation 04 is activated, damaging the Ark and destroying the entire local Flood infestation including the Gravemind. These final events ended The Human-Covenant War.
  • The Master Chief, Cortana, and Thel 'Vadam escape but only Thel 'Vadam gets back to Earth. The Master Chief and Cortana are drifting in space due to the portal closing. They are inside the back half of Forward Unto Dawn, and while technically MIA, are presumed KIA by the UNSC.[14]

2553

March 3:

  • The Humans and the Elites make a memorial near Mt. Kilimanjaro on planet Earth to commemorate those who were lost in the Battle of the Ark, while also serving as a small memorial for those lost in the Human-Covenant war. The memorial has the number 117 engraved on it in the corner.

2559

  • The Great Schism rages on. While the Jiralhanae wage their own internecine wars, the Sangheili themselves are gradually losing their fleets in a war of attrition, having lost the technical expertise kept exclusively by the Prophets.[2]
  • A Sangheili Shipmaster returns to the partially-glassed human colony of Kholo.[2]

Trivia

Sources

  1. Halo 3: ODST
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Halo: Evolutions - Essential Tales of the Halo Universe
  3. http://www.bungie.net/projects/halo3/content.aspx?link=h3plasmarifle
  4. Halo: Ghosts of Onyx
  5. 5.0 5.1 Halo Waypoint, "Ten Twenty" history article
  6. Halo 2, The Great Journey (level) Final Cutscene
  7. Halo 3, Assembly (Level)
  8. Halo: First Strike
  9. Halo Waypoint, "Ten Twenty" history article
  10. Halo 3: ODST, Coastal Highway
  11. Halo:Ghosts of Onyx, pages 244-245
  12. http://www.bungie.net/News/content.aspx?type=topnews&cid=16989
  13. http://www.bungie.net/News/content.aspx?type=topnews&cid=16989
  14. Halo 3, Halo_(Halo_3_Level)#The_Storm_Has_Passed_.28March_3.2C_2553.29 Halo (Level)

Related Links

Internal Links

Wars In Covenant History

San 'Shyuum Civil War (Age of Conflict) | Sangheili-San 'Shyuum War (Age of Conflict) | Struggle for Ideological Purity | Second Illumination | Taming of the Hunters (Age of Doubt) | Unggoy Rebellion (Age of Conflict) | Sixteenth Unggoy Disobedience | Human-Covenant War (Age of Doubt to Age of Reclamation) | Great Schism (Age of Reclamation)


This article uses material from the "Great Schism" article on the Halo wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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