|This article, Blood Covenant, was written by Specops306 and The All-knowing Sith'ari. Please do not edit this fiction without the writers' permission.|
Although the term "Blood Covenant" is applied to this Covenant Remnant faction, it is more accurate to say that it is a fragment of the Old Covenant Jiralhanae-dominated military. After the collapse of the Old Covenant, many groups suddenly found themselves in positions of power, whether wanted or not. In this case, Hephaestus, Chieftain of one of the Beta Tribes, found his fleet in control iof a large and built-up colony, Unmoving Virtue, and a significant number of Unggoy and Kig-yar slaves, vast shipyards, and legions of Jiralhanae warriors. Using Unmoving Virtue as his base of operations as he conquered neighbouring star systems, the Blood Covenant would rise to be one of the greatest threats against the UNSC and Sangheili Armed Forces until the defeat at the Battle of Unmoving Virtue. The Blood Covenant would remain a threat for several more years as the remaining fleets still fought on, but the loss of their capitol world was the killing blow.
While the faction is referred to as the Blood Covenant because it styled itself in that manner, it is more accurate to say that it was merely an expansion of a single Jiralhanae Master-Pack, the Varthaka. Long exiled from Doisac for genocidal crimes committed just after first contact between the Jiralhanae and the Covenant, the Varthaka established Pious Ascension as its homeworld, and though it would later be incorporated into the Covenant along with the rest of the Jiralhanae species, they have long regarded themselves as separate from their own race. Before the Schism, the Varthaka were almost exclusively mercanaries, hired by those who possessed the wealth to purchase their skills, though many also served as body guards for lesser ministry officials. When the Sangheili resigned their Council seats and withdrew their Honour Guards in protest, it was the Varthaka who stepped up to serve as the new bodyguards of the Prophets. Suddenly finding itself with power above that even of other Master-Packs, the Varthaka soon set to work eliminating potential rivals. Though nothing has ever been proved, the assassinations of thirteen tribe-leaders has been attributed to the Varthaka Master-Packs ambitious plans. When the Schism erupted, nobody bothered to investigate any further, and the Varthaka consolidated their gains.
As the Covenant began to fall apart, Master Chieftain Hephaestus carved out a tidy space for his Master-Pack, with four star systems falling under the sway of his Blood Covenant. The Sangheili and UNSC were not the only ones to focus on their reconstruction, but the efforts of the Blood Covenant emphasised the military rather than civilian. It made quick gains - the Suithonak Tribe, itself trying to establish itself as a power, was the first to be conquered, its Jiralhanae absorbed into the Varthaka Master-Pack and its three worlds incorporated into the Blood Covenant. Until 2555, the Blood Covenant would make further gains, crushing nearby rivals and claiming their territory, until they controlled seventeen star systems and six major colonies.
2555 would see the beginning of the end for the Blood Covenant. After the conquest of th Suithonak Tribe, it had moved its capital from Pious Ascension to Unmoving Virtue, making use of the orbital shipyards captured from a former Sangheili territory to strengthen its fleet. Intelligence gathered before the end of the Great War allowed the UNSC and Sangheili to launch a massive offensive, hitting the colony with a NOVA bomb and capturing, destroying and liberating the shipyards. Such a blow was a hard one, especially given that Hephaestus himself had been inspecting the shipyards himself - such timing couldn't be more perfect for the Sangheili. Without their Chieftain, the various grievances held by each conquered clan or tribe began to unravel, and by 2564 the Blood Covenant had ceased to exist as a united entity. Many warriors, seeing the failure of Jiralhanae-only attempts, sought out the larger New Covenant faction. Others simply retreated to their own worlds, hoping the Sangheili would pass them by - they were sorely disappointed, as Sangheili fleets appeared in their skies, glassing their planets, and unleashing the full fury of Sangheili vindictiveness. A small number joined the Brotherhood of Ruskt, the only Jiralhanae clan to seek a non-aggression pact with the Sangheili, and although they remained insular and isolated from the Sangheili, they survived.
Originally, the capital world had been Pious Ascension, the homeworld of the Varthaka Master-Pack. As the number of worlds the Blood Covenant held sway over expanded, the seat of government was moved to Unmoving Virtue, which became the new capital of the Blood Covenant - although given the kratocratic nature of the Blood Covenant, the only true movement was Master Chieftain Hephaestus, who moved his private residence to Unmoving Virtue to keep close to the shipyards. In the event of political assassination, he expected to call in the orbiting fleet to glass the area, slaughtering the population and killing his killer - Jiralhanae failsafe plans have never placed a premium on lives, but emphasise impact.
The shipyards themselves were kept supplied by various mining operations among the conquered worlds. The Frathom and Suduma systems held gas giants with huge reservoirs of hydrogen, which was converted into tritium and deuterium for use in Blood Covenant reactors and weapons. At the same time, methane was harvested to keep the Unggoy population comfortable, although the Kig-yar distributors insisted on its scarcity, using the threat of cutting it off to keep the Unggoy population at manageable numbers.
The other six colonies would also be bastions of Jiralhanae power, though not to the extent of Pious Ascension or Unmoving Virtue. Volthakmana was the largest, and formerly home to the Suithonak Tribe - the debris field in orbit was given to the Kig-yar, and despite the threat of piracy that almost immediately sprung up, Kig-yar merchants and colonies brought a huge amount of wealth to the planet. Other planets were not so lucky - while methane-rich, Undar harboured only a small Unggoy colony with the intensely hostile climate preventing easy settlement of growth of the colony. After the fall of the Blood Covenant, these Unggoy would return to their ancestral home of Balaho, leaving the New Covenant behind in favour of peace and quiet.
- "Jiralhanae are not as stupid as the Sangheili would have you believe we are. We know, for example, that drawing the attention of a powerful military force that knows exactly where and how to annihilate your centre of operations is a bad idea. It's a pity Hephaestus didn't."
- ―Chieftain Erebus, Thetis Tribe
- ""Blood Covenant." Even the name perfectly matches the barbarous Jiralhanae. Pathetic warlords profaning an already blasphemous name. Even the Prophets were not sorry to see its fall."
- ―Supreme Commander Zuro Dun 'Xoramee, Second Fleet of Enlightened Benevolence
- "Covenant are supposed to worship Prophets and venerate Forerunner relics, right? I saw a Brute toss aside a relic like it was worthless on Thrakakrathak - not exactly the most reverent, are they?"
- ―General Verdani Forrester, 105th ODST Division
- "When my warriors kicked in the throneroom's doors and dragged the creature out into the light, it had the audacity to plead for mercy. It promised us his loyalty, his troops, his ships - anything to spare his worthless life. It would almost have been worth it to see the look of shock on its face as his own warriors turned against him. As it is, the feeling of my blade biting deep into his chest was satisfying enough."
- ―Sub-Commander Juno 'Joralan, R'runu Warrior Creche