"There was a time when I would have watched their worlds burn and felt nothing. I would participate in endless slaughter and see it as naught but justice carried out by the righteous. Humans have every right to hate us, just as we once hated them so fervently. It is only my wish that we can atone by building a better galaxy, for the future's sake."
―Felo 'Ranak, 2555
Felo 'Ranak was a famed Sangheili leader in the 26th Century, and a known advocate of reform among his people in the wake of the Human-Covenant War. Born amidst of a bloody feud between his clan and several others, he faced battle at an extraordinarily young age and helped to lead his clan to victory during this period. He joined the Covenant Military shortly after, and fought against humanity in a number of battles throughout the genocidal crusade that was the Human-Covenant War. He would spend a number of years as part of Covenant Special Operations and survived multiple encounters with human 'Demons' on the battlefield.
By the end of the war he was an influential Shipmaster, and one of the first to return to Sanghelios when news of the Great Schism reached him. In the difficult years following the war, Felo was one of the most prominent Kaidons on the planet due to his reformist stance. Surviving many assassination attempts, including one from his own brothers, he was one of Arbiter Thel 'Vadam's most ardent supporters.
Felo 'Ranak was born into the powerful ruling family of the state of Ranak in 2497. He and his younger brothers Sur and Rol were raised alongside dozens of other children in their keep and trained by Ordam 'Ranakee, a capable warrior who would often leave for military duties and return with stories for the children. Though Felo and the other children were not allowed by tradition to know their true fathers, many believed that he and his brothers had been sired by the Kaidon, Yama 'Ranakee. Felo looked up to him as a father figure growing up, hearing stories of his legendary cunning and battle prowess. By the age of six Felo outstripped all of the other children in the arts of swordsmanship and was often subjected to praise by Yama, leading to some accusing their Kaidon of nepotism behind his back.
As a child Felo and his brothers would spend a great deal of time hunting small creatures outside their keep while not training, exploring the countryside of Ranak and visiting the towns there. His youngest brother, Rol, was once punished by the Kaidon for attempting to use his status as a member of the ruling family to demand food from a local farmer, something that Felo approved of privately. The first taste of real battle for the Ranak children was when Felo was thirteen, when several Sangheili from a neighbouring keep encountered the trio and attacked them after a dispute. Armed with only wooden staves Felo and Sur were able to drive them off while Rol pelted them with rocks. While this seemed like a relatively minor incident, it was discovered when they reported it that they had found scouts from a rivalling clan encroaching on their lands. Yama 'Ranakee and several of his advisors took Felo aside and revealed that the Ranak family itself was under threat from a wider conspiracy among the lesser clans, who wanted power for themselves. While still quite young, Felo was considered a warrior by the Kaidon and ordered to prepare for a possible assault.
Battle of Ranak
Yama's assumptions seemed unfounded for some time as there was absolutely no sign of an invading force for some time. Eventually the keep returned to normalcy and a number of years passed before one of Felo's cousins was found dead, having been gunned down by plasma weaponry. At the age of sixteen Felo was among the best swordsmen in his keep, with his violent brother Sur closely behind him in skill. As no culprit could be found, the state of Ranak was searched for the assassins for weeks until a weapons cache was found in one of the towns, along with the hidden murderers. Yama had them publicly executed before revealing to Felo that they had bore the insignia of a lesser clan. That night, Ranak Keep came under attack from a large attack force of not one, but half a dozen former clans seeking to destroy them. This resulted in a siege as even with military-grade equipment they could not breach the Keep's walls, which had stood for hundreds of years. Felo, who had been making one of his excursions with Sur and Rol, managed to escape after killing several warriors.
While their keep could last some time due to the large food supplies, their communications had been cut off in the attack and many people within the state of Ranak had been either killed or were forced to keep quiet to prevent them from informing allied clans of the situation. Felo and his brothers were forced to go on foot towards the nearest city, which was some distance away. As they made their way through a mountain pass, the young Sangheili were waylaid by outlaws, who opened fire and injured Rol before Sur and Felo drove them off. With one of his brothers wounded, Felo had them take cover in a nearby cave while he took the armour and weapon of one of their attackers. That night in the mountains there was a snowstorm, something rare on the generally warm Sanghelios, that provided ample cover for Felo to go out in search of the outlaws who had attacked them. Armed with only a carbine, he spent several hours hunting them down before finding their camp. The young warrior took the opportunity to slaughter them while they had their guard down before returning to his siblings. They transported the wounded Rol to the camp and commandeered their transport through the pass towards the city, Felo abandoning his stolen armour as they left.
They arrived in the city the following morning, Sur taking the wounded Rol to be healed while Felo made his way to the spaceport. There, he encountered several warriors in service to clan Ranak and explained the situation before requesting a long-distance transmission to be made. Though he did not hold a military rank, Felo was allowed to do so, requesting aid from his uncle Ordam 'Ranakee to lift the siege of their Keep. While he waited for a response, Felo found that Rol would make a full recovery though they were forced to pay a large sum to keep the doctor silent; the social stigma of visiting one would bring grave shame on their family if it were discovered. After several days at his family's holdings in the city Felo received word that Ordam's CCS-Class Battlecruiser, Beacon of Faith, had entered the system unannounced and was preparing to deploy troops to Ranak to lift the siege. In spite of his young age, Felo was given a combat harness and weapons, and would travel with a number of allied warriors to their keep before Ordam's forces arrived.
What followed was Felo's first taste of a real battle as hundreds of Sangheili warriors clashed across the state of Ranak, fighting through towns and villages towards the keep, which was badly damaged but still standing. Felo was blown from his Ghost by a plasma grenade and forced to fight with his blade against half a dozen foes, slaughtering them before several Spirit dropships arrived full of troops. These were not the young warriors and old men Felo had seen before; the ships contained hardened military veterans who routed the massed enemy army within hours and secured access to Ranak Keep. He was joined by his uncle and a team of elite warriors as they made their way inside where they found less than fifty defenders remaining; they had ran out of food days before. Kaidon Yama 'Ranakee, once the greatest warrior of his day, had lost an eye and an arm attempting to make a suicidal counter-attack, and was injured in one leg. Nonetheless, he ordered for the rival clans to be wiped out, their keeps to be burned to the ground and their citizens integrated into the now much larger state of Ranak. While harsh, these actions were carried out as the biggest clan war on Sanghelios in over a century came to a close.
In the weeks following the attack, Ordam 'Ranakee was forced to give up his rank of Shipmaster for returning his ship to Sanghelios without permission, and oversaw much of the keep's reconstruction. Sur and Rol, who had remained in the city, returned to their brother and helped him in dealing with the enemy clan leaders who had survived the attack. As Yama was recovering from his wounds, Felo took it upon himself to execute each one rather than give them a fighting chance; he deemed them unworthy of warrior's deaths. After several months it became clear that Yama 'Ranakee would not truly recover from his wounds and in Felo's mind, was unfit for leadership. As an act of kindness Felo asked him to step down from the position rather than assassinate him, something that the warrior took as a direct insult. He then attacked Felo, who duelled him for some time before cutting off his sword hand and stabbing him through the chest. In his last breath, Yama revealed that he was indeed Felo's father, though the young Sangheili paid this little heed as he watched the Kaidon die.
By all rights, Felo could attain the rank of Kaidon within the keep, having bested the former one before a large audience. Instead he granted the title of leadership to his favoured uncle, Ordam 'Ranakee, and announced that he intended to join the Covenant military, as was the tradition in his family for hundreds of years. In early 2515 Felo had reached the minimum age for offworld service and joined up, adding the '-ee' suffix, as per the tradition for Sangheili in the military. As Felo 'Ranakee, he left Sanghelios aboard the Beacon of Faith to fight for the Covenant.
One of Felo's first missions as part of the Covenant military was as part of a task force sent by the Ministry of Preservation to quell the Sixteenth Unggoy Disobedience on Balaho. Though they were heavily outnumbered by their foe Felo's task force was able to slaughter the larger army with minimal casualties. His own commander, Ripa 'Moramee, was a brutal and violent leader who revelled in the bloodshed. Felo did not hold him in very high regard, viewing fighting as his duty rather than something to enjoy. Nonetheless, the uprising was quickly put down by the task force, who were then disbanded and moved into other units. By 2521 Felo had participated in a number of missions for the Ministry, from wiping out illegal Unggoy breeding grounds to killing rogue Kig-Yar pirates. His body count, impressive for a relatively young Sangheili, earned him a promotion to the rank of Major in 2523. By this point both Sur and Rol had come of age and joined the Covenant Military, Sur joining his Felo's lance while Rol took up a position within Fleet Security.
In early 2524, Felo would lead his first operation against a force of Sangheili heretics, those who had turned their backs on the Covenant religion and broken off from the military. Under cover of darkness, their group was deployed alongside several others with orders to wipe out the enemy encampment, securing any stolen Forerunner relics that they found. They were faced with a tough battle as a sentry spotted them and opened fire, prompting a prolonged firefight that got a number of soldiers killed. Felo and Sur were able to sneak away while the Unggoy in their lane provided covering fire and hit their foes from the side with a flurry of carbine fire that gave the others time to advance. Once they were inside the camp the battle raged on for a number of hours before reinforcements arrived in the shape of a Special Operations team, which quickly cleared out the remaining foes. By dawn the heretics had been hunted down and exterminated. For their actions during the mission, Felo and Sur were given the chance to join the branch, an offer that they took up immediately.
Felo and Sur's first missions as members of the Special Operations branch were as part of a large team dedicated to wiping out heretical factions within Covenant space. Their leader was a talented warrior named Rtas 'Vadumee, who was appointed to his position shortly after Felo joined the unit. While missions were regular and the Sangheili warriors often got a chance to prove themselves in battle, Felo began to find the routine fairly boring and considered returning to Sanghelios once his tour in the military had ended. This all changed in 2525 when two ships, the Minor Transgression and the Rapid Conversion, found and engaged an alien race while searching for Forerunner relics. Shortly after, the newly-appointed Hierarchs of the Covenant declared war on this race, stating that they were an affront to the gods. Felo's SpecOps team were among thousands of Sangheili dispatched to the human world shortly afterwards as the Seventh Age of Reclamation began.
When Felo's group arrived on the alien world, he was surprised to find that this new race had managed to hold its own against the might of the Covenant for so long fighting constantly over the planet wherever troops landed. Like many others, he privately wondered why the humans were not simply integrated into the Covenant Empire like those before it, though few openly voiced this opinion; defying the Hierarch's words usually marked one as a heretic. Within the first few days of conflict their SpecOps team had slain dozens of foes and secured a number of key locations to assist in the advance of their armies. In one particularly long engagement that saw over two thirds of their forces killed, Rol was badly wounded as he killed a particularly strong enemy soldier, and was taken off the battlefield for some time. While Felo cared little for the lives of those around him, he feared for his brother's lives and kept a close eye on Sur in subsequent missions.
While a quick victory was expected on Harvest, the human forces would always return or regroup before attacking once more. Though Felo despised his foe, he and many Sangheili grudgingly admitted that they were a much hardier race than they first appeared, though many of their victories were very costly. As replacements from other lances moved in as reinforcements, Felo, Sur, Rtas and a few others became respected veterans of the campaign and won a number of victories. Sur in particular was noted for his savagery and lust for battle, saving Felo a number of times. The Sangheili warrior was dismayed when after several years of campaigning on the ground, they were given orders to leave the planet while a new force took control. When it arrived, Felo was surprised to see it led by a holy Arbiter, none other than his old commander Ripa 'Moramee. The survivors of their lance were re-integrated with a larger force once they left the world and took part in a large-scale purge of heretics from a colony world. When news arrived that the Covenant would be abandoning the planet they had fought over for half a decade, Felo was annoyed, but glad to hear that they would be moving on to destroy the humans on other worlds.
For his years of service on Harvest, Felo was promoted to the rank of Special Operations Officer by the end of the conflict and given his own lance to command. The next few years were mainly spent under the command of larger groups, assaulting human worlds and eliminating key targets before the eventual glassing. It was not until 2537 that Felo's lance encountered a foe unlike any other. An asteroid that functioned as a Covenant shipyard had come under attack, it's security forces and first response team quickly wiped out. While it was initially believed that rogue Kig-Yar pirates had instigated the attack it soon came to light that a human force had landed and were quickly eliminating the plasma reactors used in the shipbuilding process. Felo's SpecOps team were among the first to arrive on the asteroid as part of a huge military force, intent on wiping out the human attackers.
Felo and the others landed on the asteroid and were tasked with reconnaissance; they would check the strength of their foe before the larger assault force landed. The Sangheili Officer witnessed a large group of strange warriors partaking in an all-out assault on their generator facilities. Felo's team signalled the attack and used their advantageous position to spy on the humans as the battle began in earnest. Though their attack force consisted of thousands of warriors, the few hundred humans held their own for some time and destroyed many more plasma reactors before they were finally whittled down and almost wiped out. Felo personally led a Sangheili force in pursuit of a small group of these armoured warriors as they fled, but was too late to stop them from destroying yet another reactor and escaping the system. While they were successful in absolutely crushing the enemy force, the asteroid became useless to the Covenant as a shipyard; a major blow in their war effort. The assault force's commander was summarily executed for this failure, while Felo's group was commended for their efforts in locating the human force. Though the battle had eventually turned into a slaughter, Felo was troubled by the appearance of this new foe, having heard rumours of human 'Demons' decimating Covenant forces on the battlefield.
Felo would participate in a number of battles over the next eight years, gaining the rank of SpecOps Commander during this period. He was assigned to the Fleet of Inner Knowledge in early 2544 and assumed command of all Special Operations forces there as they continued their campaign against the humans. In mid-2545, their fleet launched an assault on the colony world of Draco III, quickly breaking through the planet's defence fleet and sending troops groundside. Felo was aboard a super-destroyer, the Justicar, when the battle began and worked alongside it's Shipmaster, Ren 'Telamee. The pair did not get on very well, 'Telamee barely tolerating 'Ranakee's presence aboard the ship before ordering his team down to the planet in order to recover a supposed cache of Forerunner artefacts.
The twenty-strong SpecOps team were deployed via drop pod to the city of New Albany, accompanied by Major Iroe 'Nemokee, one of the Justicar's best warriors. Their objective was to confirm the presence of these artefacts within the city and prepare them for extraction, as well as assisting the incoming Covenant legion in weakening human defences so they could take the city. Felo's team massacred the first group of Colonial Militia that attempted to engage them after landfall before moving on into the city proper, using the sewer system to bypass the UNSC defenders before emerging near the centre of New Albany, which had been deserted when the evacuation order was given. The Sangheili then moved to neutralise a Mass Driver that was being used to shoot down incoming ships, quickly killing the crew and destroying it with plasma charges before heading towards the location of the artefacts.
The SpecOps group arrived at a human museum, where the locals had stored a few seemingly insignificant items that had been found shortly after the colony was settled. While most were useless to Felo and his team, a collection of Forerunner crystals were discovered and the decision was made to recover them before the planet's eventual glassing. However, as the Sangheili searched the lower levels, 'Nemokee detonated a plasma charge on the floor above, collapsing much of the building and killing most of Felo's comrades. The Sangheili commander barely escaped the blast with Sur, Rol and a few others, taking refuge in one of the Museum's lower vaults while 'Nemokee escaped with the crystals. Felo and the other survivors were able to break through into New Albany's sewer system, though by this point the city was close to falling under the Covenant onslaught. The group was able to make it out of the city, only to discover that Shipmaster 'Telamee had placed 'Nemokee in charge of another attack force for an assault on a human base, claiming that Felo's entire team had been killed in an ambush. Furious at this revelation, the SpecOps Sangheili boarded a nearby Phantom dropship and headed back to the Justicar.
Once they were aboard, 'Telamee attempted to feign innocence over the assassination attempt, though several members of his own bridge crew revealed that the Shipmaster had personally ordered his subordinate to kill Felo and his team once the Forerunner artefacts were secured. It came to light that Ren 'Telamee's clan had been among those that surrendered to clan Ranak decades before and were nearly wiped out in the process, something that instilled a lifelong hatred for the Ranaks in it's surviving members. Felo challenged Ren to an honourable duel aboard the Justicar's bridge, and was able to quickly overcome and fatally injure the traitorous Sangheili. Due to his actions Felo was accepted as the super-destroyer's temporary Shipmaster just in time to see a much larger UNSC Fleet enter the system, prompting a retreat order to be given. Before the ship jumped into Slipspace to escape the incoming humans, Felo was informed of Iroe 'Nemokee's death on the planet below; he and his Legion had been obliterated when a human leader detonated a nuclear device after tricking the Sangheili Major. Though the Covenant did lose the battle, their forces had inflicted crippling damage on the forces below and massacred over 80% of the civilian population before being driven off. Felo was commended once more for taking action against 'Nemokee, and was privately told by the Fleet of Inner Knowledge's Fleet Master that he was slated for a promotion to full Shipmaster in the future.
Battle of Gress
The final mission Felo would undertake as a Special Operations Commander would be in early 2546, during an attack on the human colony world of Gress. While a number of battlecruisers began landing troops to eliminate the UNSC presence on the planet, Felo led a contingent of warriors in search of a Forerunner crystal, similar to those recovered from Draco III. They were deployed to a remote part of the planet where the crystal's location had been pinpointed and soon closed in on a well-defended research centre, which fought off wave after wave of dropships before Felo's own Phantom arrived. As the base was overrun, a small group of Humans were able to escape via a MagLev train, heading towards a spaceport many miles away. Felo ordered his troops to pursue, but not destroy the fleeing train for fear of accidentally losing the Forerunner crystal, and soon had dozens of dropships bearing down on the vehicle.
Much to his surprise, the train's defenders were not regular UNSC troops, but a team of power-armoured 'Demons' who killed dozens of Sangheili Rangers as they attempted to board the train. Felo and Sur ended up joining the combat personally, engaging and nearly killing one of their foes before they were driven off by another. Felo was badly wounded in a hail of gunfire as they fell back to his Phantom, which broke off while the others kept up the pursuit into the human spaceport. The Sangheili commander was taken back to their battlecruiser and brought to automated surgery suite, where his grievous wounds were tended to in secret. When one Sangheili officer mocked Felo for allowing himself to be wounded, Sur and Rol had him killed to avoid news of their brother's injury to spread. Felo approved of their loyalty, though he could not return to the battle himself.
The decision was made to hand over the operation to another SpecOps officer while Felo oversaw the mission as he recovered. It turned out that their forces been ambushed and decimated by a much larger human force, including a number of Demons. Even the reinforcements from two CCS-Class Battlecruisers had been unsuccessful in acquiring the Forerunner crystal, which was eventually destroyed by the humans as they retreated from their ruined city. In retaliation, multiple ships began to aggressively glass the entire planet, Gress quickly burning under the might of the Covenant. Felo's wounding ended up saving him, as the officer he had appointed to lead the operation was punished and executed for the crystal's loss. A few weeks after the battle, Felo was finally promoted to the rank of Shipmaster, and given command of the newly-refitted Justicar. His old unit was taken over by his younger brother, Rol.
In 2547, the Justicar was among dozens of ships attached to the Fleet of Holy Retribution, led by Fleet Master Alval 'Ulvanee. Having participated in several battles during his short term as a Shipmaster, Felo's super-destroyer was among the first ships to emerge in the Fargad system on September 11th. Leading eight other Covenant ships, the Justicar eliminated a human sensory outpost before moving towards the planet. They were met with a surprising number of UNSC ships, the combined firepower of thirty MAC rounds taking down six of their own before Felo broke through enemy lines and entered Fargad's atmosphere to deploy troops groundside. Felo was aware that this was a risky move, as the remaining two ships in his group remained in orbit despite being heavily outnumbered. While they too were destroyed after a lengthy battle, a the bulk of their fleet then emerged from Slipspace to engage the humans, diverting their attention away from Felo and the Justicar.
As per his orders from 'Ulvanee, Felo held his position for some time, setting up a landing zone and deploying several Legions to assault an incoming UNSC strike force. His forces were able to decimate a mechanised force attempting to assault their LZ, though further advancement was halted due to a number of strikes from a group of Demons in the mountains. In spite of these setbacks, reinforcements soon arrived to augment Felo's forces as the humans retreated towards their cities. As Fleet Master Alval 'Ulvanee's flagship Glorious Victory broke through the human fleet and began raining down plasma fire on the opposition below, Felo moved the Justicar forward to cover their advancing armies as they moved from settlement to settlement over the course of several days. Unlike many other human worlds, Fargad's military presence was incredibly high and forced the Covenant forces to slowly and methodically seek out and destroy pockets of resistance as they swept across the planet. While Rol and Sur led their own Special Operations teams on vital missions over the next few days, Felo was forced to simply remain within his ship and follow orders from the Fleet Master. While he did hold a highly-regarded position within the Fleet, he felt both bored and annoyed that his rank as Shipmaster prevented him from joining the ground battle personally as he had done in the past. Nonetheless, he remained at his post as the fighting spread, awaiting news from his brothers in the field.
The fighting on Fargad lasted for nine days in total, during which the Covenant forces took staggering losses in the field against the numerically inferior humans. Worse yet, the esteemed Field Marshall Ran Tur 'Ontokee had been killed in single combat with a Demon during an ambush, sending his forces into disarray for some time. In spite of this, the humans had few means of garnering reinforcements and by the ninth day, the last of their forces managed to escape the planet with the battered remnants of their fleet. While Fleet Master 'Ulvanee gave orders for some ships to pursue, the majority of the Fleet of Holy Retribution was in bad shape and was forced to call for reinforcements to hold the system. The Fleet Master had barely survived the loss of the Glorious Victory, and had taken to leading the ground assault by the battle's end. As such, the Justicar was visited by the Prophet of Piety, who had been sent to witness their assault on Fargad. Choosing Felo out of the surviving Shipmasters, Piety ordered him to lead the subsequent glassing of the human world; an act usually reserved for renowned commanders or the Fleet Master himself. Seeing it as an honour, Felo did as ordered, spending hours scorching a holy glyph into the planet's surface while the remainder of the fleet burned the colony world - a testament to the sheer destructive power of the Covenant. With the battle finally over, he was given permission by Piety to return his super-destroyer to Sanghelios for repairs as a secondary fleet moved in to secure the system.
Break from War
Following the bloody battle, Felo and his crew were given several months of leave by the Fleet of Holy Retribution's newly-appointed Fleet Commander; 'Ulvanee had been executed after his foolhardy tactics had incurred greater losses than were acceptable. As such, he returned to the State of Ranak and his keep alongside his brothers, and was greeted warmly by his uncle Ordam. After several days of celebration as those around him praised the returning warriors as mighty heroes - Felo especially - he chose to spend some time alone and ruminate on his actions. While he believed that the glassing of Fargad had indeed been the will of their Gods as the Prophets decreed, he could not help but feel an inkling of guilt over the destruction of so many lives from above. Felo had no love for mankind and knew how dangerous they were, and so attributed these feelings to his desire to fight on the ground once more against the humans.
Escaping the horde of praise-heaping relatives and hangers-on around Ranak Keep one day, Felo was able to sneak out in the garb of a commoner and travelled to a nearby town, eager to walk freely around his lands as he did in his earlier years before returning to the frontlines. While there, he was approached by a female named Tari 'Monok, who had recognised him from Covenant military propaganda as Fargad's 'purifier'. As it turned out, she was the sister of Haku 'Monokee, a former member of Felo's old Special Operations group. The two got along fairly well and despite his status as something of a local celebrity, Tari did not fawn over him like so many others did and even challenged the Shipmaster with several questions regarding the humans and the fact that they had not even been considered for entry into the Covenant.
Though surprised at her near-heretical views, Felo was privately glad he had someone to talk with in regards to his doubts about the war. While he had felt something nearing respect for mankind in the years spent fighting them, he believed that his unquestioning devotion to both his religion and the Covenant Military should come first in all matters. The pair parted on good terms that day, and after several more meetings in the following weeks a relationship would blossom between the pair. With less than a week to go before he was due to return to war, Felo announced that he intended to marry Tari despite protests from one of their keep's Elders. Kaidon Ordam ignored the protests of some, who viewed Felo's bethrothed as a commoner - her birthplace being the city of High Charity instead of Sanghelios - and wished for the warrior to arrange one with a suitable candidate of their own choosing.
The Shipmaster was grateful for his uncle's understanding, and while the older Sangheili told him he felt it was very early in the relationship for a marriage he accepted Felo's decision as one who might meet death at any time against mankind. In fact, the idea had been Tari's, as Felo had admitted that simply marrying someone he might not see for years was cruel in his eyes. Nonetheless, the ceremony went ahead as planned within the keep shortly after. The couple would only enjoy a few days of married life before the call arrived for Felo to return to the Justicar, which had been fully repaired and refitted since the Siege of Fargad. While he would be allowed leave to Sanghelios only once or twice a year if he was lucky, Felo felt relieved after his brief crisis of conscience and returned to continue waging their relentless campaign against mankind.
"Something changed in me after the battle. It was as though I had spent years in a dream, only to suddenly awaken to see the world around me for what it truly was."
―Felo looking back on the battle
In March of 2552, the Justicar was the Jiralhanae-run CPV-class Destroyer Divine Reclamation on what was initially thought to be a scouting mission after his vessel's Luminary detected a Forerunnner artefact on a lone planet, far away from the frontlines. After the two ships arrived, they discovered that the world was yet another human colony, and raced to exterminate its population after fearing that their foe were interfering in some way with Forerunner relics. The planet Harpa had very little in the way of orbital defences, with only four warships and a single orbital defence platform to stand against them. Though the pair of Covenant vessels made short work of their opposition, one ship managed to escape and entered Harpa's atmosphere in the southern hemisphere while the others managed to heavily damage the Divine Reclamation, forcing it to descend to make repairs while it disembarked troops. With a sizeable human presence on the ground, Felo gave the order to deploy their armies to the surface, hoping to capture Harpa instead of destroying it.
While eager to join in the fighting below, Felo remained aboard the Justicar and directed his troops from orbit, keeping his imposing vessel in a position where it could easily shoot down civilian vessels trying to escape from the cities below. When his officers on the ground reported the presence of Demons within the capital, Felo diverted thousands of troops with promises of a great reward for whoever slew their hated foe, though they had little luck and continued to take heavy losses. After four entire days, Felo's patience had run thin and he contacted the Divine Reclamation, ordering its Shipmaster to glass the entire capital to end the costly siege. As expected, this drove the surviving human forces out, giving his troops time to regroup while others tracked their convoys heading north, towards a well-defended fortress.
Soon after, news arrived from intercepted human broadcasts that the enemy commander was none other than Richard Mack Senior, an infamous military that had been identified as a target for assassination back when Felo had been part of Special Operations. While he held most human leaders in low regard for their lack of combat skill, Mack had become known even to the Covenant for acting as a frontline combatant in spite of his high rank - a rarity among his kind. Seeking to eliminate such a worthy opponent, Felo prepared an attack force while the Jiralhanae warship led the frontal assault on the human fortress, known as 'Hammer Base'. While his subordinate managed what would likely be a very costly battle even with reinforcements from the Justicar, the Shipmaster turned his attention towards the Forerunner artefact that had brought him to Harpa in the first place. Using the Luminary, his men were able to track it down to a barren desert, where the humans had unearthed a sprawling ruin. Within lay an item that their technology could only identify as the 'Keymaker', which thankfully had not been extracted by their foe. Before he could take action, news arrived from below: the Divine Reclamation had been destroyed.
Surprised that the Destroyer had fallen, Felo checked the security records that had been transmitted from the vessel towards the Justicar in its last moments and discovered that a single badly-wounded Demon had infiltrated the vessel alone and had detonated a nuclear device as he was overwhelmed by its security forces. Unsure of whether to feel joy over the creature's destruction or annoyance at the loss of their only other warship, Felo decided to finally take to the field personally and set out alongside his personal guard and hundreds of others to secure the Forerunner ruins, which the surviving human forces were retreating through following the eventual loss of their fortress. Arriving in the midst of a sandstorm, Felo's troops launched a vicious attack on their foe, who were attempting to reach their sole remaining warship to flee the planet's surface. In the midst of the battle Felo's bodyguards reported that they were engaging the enemy commander, though by the time he arrived he found that the elderly man had slain several of his veteran warriors in a desperate last stand. While he half-jokingly attempted to reason with Mack and gave him the opportunity to surrender information on his homeworld in exchange for his life, the man simply slew another bodyguard and taunted the Sangheili. Ordering his subordinates to stand aside, Felo fought Mack in a brief sword duel that culminated in him swiftly stabbing his opponent through the chest. Defiant to the end, Mack uttered a few last words and spat in Felo's face before succumbing to his injuries. Moments later, the Shipmaster and his retinue were confronted by a red-armoured Demon.
The supersoldier's sudden appearance took Felo off-guard, giving his foe time to rush in and brutally execute two of his bodyguards with frightening speed. While he had seen first-hand how Demons fought in battle, Felo quickly realised that this one was particularly furious, swiftly killing his warriors with excessive force before turning his attention towards Felo himself. Seeing that his foe had expended all of his ammunition and was prepared to face him armed with only a primitive combat knife, Felo tossed one of his personal blades towards the Demon as a sign that he wanted a fair duel. His opponent accepted the challenge without a word and immediately attacked Felo. While he had prepared himself for the Demon's strength and agility, the Sangheili soon realised that he had met someone who matched him with a blade. Though Felo's technical skill and training clearly outstripped the Demon's, he struggled to keep up with the blinding flurry of slashes and swipes and soon found himself overwhelmed, taking glancing blows across his armour and several minor wounds before a precise cut sliced through his sword's hilt, destroying his weapon and giving the human a chance to slash Felo across the face.
Badly injured and clearly defeated, Felo accepted his defeat and waited for the Demon to finish him off. However, his opponent refused, and instead picked up Mack's corpse and prepared to leave. Confused and furious that he would not be granted a warrior's death, he demanded that the Demon kill him in the alien's tongue, only to be laughed at. The armour-covered supersoldier told him that he didn't feel like killing Felo, and gave his real name - Jax - before asking if he intended to fight another day. Stunned by this interaction, the Sangheili did not reply and allowed his enemy to depart. While he considered committing suicide out of shame, Felo was inflamed by Jax's words and decided to survive, if only to hunt down and kill the Demon himself. Calling for a transport, he was eventually picked up by his personal dropship, though mere minutes after they left the Forerunner site it was demolished by a fusillade of missiles from the single remaining human frigate. Contacting the Justicar, he ordered the vessel to block off the enemy escape route and to set up a communication channel between him and the human ship.
Knowing that they lacked the armament and speed required to destroy or escape the Justicar, Felo chose to contact the ship - the UNSC Bright New Day - directly with the same ultimatum he had presented Mack. In exchange for their lives, they would send their ranking officer to the Justicar directly with hard copies of all their navigational data, which would be scanned by the super-destroyer's technicians for signs of tampering before the deal was confirmed. While reneging on this agreement was dishonourable, Felo believed that their latest blasphemy - the destruction of the Keymaker site - was more than enough reason to destroy them at all costs without complaints from his men. While he was treated for his injuries aboard his dropship, Felo watched the security feed from the Justicar's primary hangar bay as a single human vessel landed, disembarking yet another Demon. As his security teams closed in, the Demon revealed that much like his predecessor on the Divine Reclamation, he had brought a nuclear device aboard. The weapon detonated, utterly ripping apart the Justicar from the inside while Felo and those still on Harpa's surface watched in absolute horror. Without any more resistance, the human vessel quickly sped away and jumped to Slipspace, escaping Felo's wrath.
It would be two days before a pair of CCS-class battlecruisers arrived on Harpa to recover what remained of Felo's forces. In that time the Shipmaster had been sure to recover recordings of the battle itself as part of a battle report, ensuring that the footage of both Demons killing themselves was prepared, hoping that this might spare him from punishment after losing his valuable ship and thousands of troops to a vastly inferior human force. Felo was taken back to High Charity and stood before a court of councillors, who debated on whether or not he was to be executed, exiled or left unpunished for what had gone on at Harpa. While the planet had been secured and two of their most hated foes had been slain, their losses - including an irreplaceable Forerunner site - were not unnoticed. Given his exemplary service record, Felo was spared execution by a slim margin and even allowed to return go the military to command ships yet again, though it was made clear that he would never again advance in rank or command more than a single vessel. Unsure of whether or not to feel shame or relief at this result, Felo returned to Sanghelios until he was allocated a new warship, where he dwelled on the battle's events. For the first time ever, he began to seriously question why they were even fighting against mankind as fatigue over what he saw as the pointlessness of the war began to set in.
By August of 2552, Felo had been given command of the CCS-class battlecruiser Undying Faith, and was assigned to the Fifth Fleet of Glorious Consequence. After news arrived that a particularly formidable human world, Reach, had been found, they were among over three hundred vessels dispatched to utterly crush any enemy resistance on the planet. While his past failure had led to him being shunned by many other Shipmasters who believed him unworthy of his station, Felo had heard rumours that the Covenant were close to discovering mankind's homeworld, based on analysis of their foe's dwindling fleets and shrinking supply lines. While he wished for the war to be over, Felo felt a great sense of melancholy over the prospect of wiping out the humans entirely, though he never spoke of this to anyone.
Their attack force arrived in the Epsilon Eridani system on August 30th, with Felo's vessel stationed as part of the secondary attack line as they drew closer to the besieged planet. The combined Covenant fleets were met with a startling level of resistance from a much smaller array of human vessels, backed up by a network of orbital defence platforms that inflicted heavy casualties on their incoming ships. Though the Undying Faith avoided any serious damage, a glancing blow from a MAC round forced Felo to take evasive action, launching salvos of plasma torpedoes as they continued to advance towards the UNSC's defensive line. After eliminating four enemy vessels, the battlecruiser fled the system alongside the rest of its fleet to regroup, and eventually launched a second, more successful assault.
Felo would spend the next of the battle slowly picking off the remaining human ships from afar, quickly turning the tide in Reach's orbit as their foe finally broke and scattered. What ensued was the gradual destruction of enemy forces on the ground, with the Undying Faith offloading hundreds of troops to assist in these operations while it held its position in orbit. While the Covenant had won, they had taken massive casualties in the battle and the surviving vessels held their position in orbit while the rest of the fleet began to glass Reach's surface. Watching from the battlecruiser's bridge, Felo observed the process for several hours until he was contacted by a force of Silent Shadow led by his younger brother. Sur. The unit, which had just finished cleansing operations on the planet's surface, were welcomed aboard as Felo reunited with his sibling after several years apart.
This celebration was short-lived, as the battlecruiser received a transmission from a newly-arrived vessel belonging to the Ministry of Preservation. Felo answered it, and was greeted by the Prophet of Piety for the first time since his actions on Fargad. The San'Shyuum, whose ministry oversaw the quashing of rebellions, was in need of a military vessel to oversee the destruction of a renegade Kig-Yar group who had deserted the military during the Fall of Reach. Welcoming the Prophet aboard, Felo noted that Piety was guarded not by a group of Sangheili Honour Guard, but by a large pack of well-armed Jiralhanae. While he did not question his superior for the company he kept, Piety assured him that his bodyguards were there to assist in operations under Felo's command. Shortly afterwards, the Undying Faith left the rest of the fleet to pursue this new mission.
While Felo had anticipated some resistance from the often-cowardly Kig-Yar deserters after tracking them for some time, it turned out that the group - largely T'vaoans who had fled after incurring horrific losses on Reach - had not turned to piracy as first expected and were simply attempting to escape to the Covenant's fringe worlds in a small flotilla of stolen vessels. While he intended to spare them in exchange for letting them join his crew to fight once more, Piety ordered Felo to exterminate them. While it sickened him to do so, the Shipmaster gave the order to open fire, and wiped the defenceless group out in a single salvo of plasma torpedoes. Before he could reflect on his actions, the battlecruiser intercepted an emergency hail from a Covenant military base known as 'Second Sanctum', which had come under attack. While he had never heard of such an installation, the Prophet of Piety evidently had and urged him to move there at once. After reuniting with several other ships from the Fifth Fleet of Glorious Consequence nearby, they raced towards Second Sanctum, ready for battle.
Arriving in-system some time later at the head of his fleet, Felo discovered that a small but well-equipped human fleet had somehow been able to eliminate the defences orbiting a small moon and had landed an attack force that was currently laying waste to Second Sanctum, a heavily-guarded redoubt belonging to the San'Shyuum. Catching the human ships off-guard, the newly-arrived Covenant easily destroyed four of them in a brief exchange of fire, though they lost a single SDV-class corvette to a well-placed MAC round. With only two human vessels now visible, Felo ordered reinforcements to the moon's surface immediately to assist their beleaguered allies, including Sur and his battle-hungry Silent Shadow.
While they initially had little idea of the human force strength on the ground, Felo's officers soon reported sightings of Demons engaging their warriors in combat while their foe held their ground by using the terrain against incoming Covenant infantry. Still feeling the humiliation of his prior defeat against Jax-007, the Shipmaster ordered the immediate deployment of a Scarab to supplement his troops on the ground. While they still took losses against the dwindling human force, Felo's forces had the numbers and firepower to slowly overwhelm their attackers and soon had them on the run. Patiently waiting in orbit, Felo continued to direct troops while the rest of his fleet searched for the remaining human warships, but was surprised to find that they had moved into the moon's atmosphere to stage an emergency pickup of their few surviving troops. Realising that they intended to flee, Felo moved to eliminate them before they could make the jump to slipspace while the humans used the moon as cover from his pursuing ships.
As they closed in on the survivors, one of their patrolling fighter squadrons detected a third enemy vessel - a stealth ship - perilously close to Felo's fleet. While he initially feared that it intended to self-destruct to take out more of his ships, it instead fired several nuclear missiles onto the planet's surface, utterly obliterating the fortress and killing any remaining troops on the ground. After ensuring that Sur had survived - his younger brother had departed the moon shortly before the strike - the Shipmaster directed all fire towards the Prowler, though its captain was able to transmit a message mocking the Covenant beforehand. Before he could turn his attention back towards the fleeing warships, they finally jumped to slipspace, escaping Felo's wrath and leaving him orbiting a now-useless military installation.
Much like Harpa, the 'victory' at Second Sanctum was a bitter one for Felo 'Ranakee, especially since a group of Demons had escaped from him once again. In the battle's immediate aftermath, he attended a private meeting with the Prophet of Piety, who scolded the Shipmaster for allowing the destruction of a very important fortress. This would be another humiliating blow to the Covenant military, who had just lost their prized battlestation Unyielding Hierophant barely a month prior. Forced with stand by and face the litany of insults and threats from the furious Prophet, Felo came to the realisation that he would likely not escape this failure without some form of punishment, especially after the results of the battle were passed on to his superiors on High Charity. Until an official verdict was made on how Felo would be treated for the loss of Second Sanctum, the Undying Faith was assigned to patrol a fairly unimportant supply route.
For the next few weeks, discontent grew between Felo and the Prophet, who spent increasingly long periods confined within his chambers and surrounded by his Jiralhanae bodyguards. While he wanted the San'Shyuum off his battlecruiser, the Shipmaster could do nothing about Piety as he awaited news from High Charity. As more time went by without further communication Felo began to grow worried, and was soon contacted by a transport ship carrying his other sibling, Rol. Acting under the pretence of being on a special mission on behalf of Special Operations, Rol sought a private meeting with Felo, away from prying eyes. Bringing Sur along, the Ranakee brothers had little time to enjoy their reunion as Rol began to warn them of a potential conspiracy brewing within High Charity. From what he had uncovered, the High Prophets had begun to heavily favour the Jiralhanae and were outfitting them with entire fleets - something incredibly rare for a race seen as little more than obedient servants - and there were rumours of some plot against high-ranking Sangheili. Had this news come from anyone else Felo might have disregarded it as the paranoid ramblings of a traitor, but he did not question his brother. Taking Piety's recent actions into account, Felo had the Prophet put under discreet surveillance while he awaited further news.
In early November of 2552, Felo's worst fears were confirmed when the Undying Faith was contacted by a far-off Sangheili-led fleet led by none other than the legendary Imperial Admiral Xytan 'Jar Wattinree, who had returned from exile to report news of terrible betrayal. While details were scarce, it seemed that just as Rol had warned, the High Prophets had betrayed the Sangheili, beginning a bloody civil war that had already consumed High Charity. While most of Felo's bridge staff joined him instantly, there were a few who refused to believe that the Prophets would do such a thing and saw their Shipmaster as a traitor. Acting quickly, Felo slew five dissidents himself as they attempted to assassinate him before giving the order to immediately hunt down and detain the Prophet of Piety. Leaving the bridge, Felo, Sur and Rol raced towards the hangar, where Piety was trying to flee towards his shuttle.
While Piety had struck first, killing dozens of crewmen with the help of his loyal Jiralhanae forces, they were still hopefully outnumbered by Felo and his men. Arriving just in time to assist his warriors in the hangar, Felo personally led the charge, slaughtering numerous Jiralhanae with Sur fighting by his side as they carved a bloody path towards Piety. After slaying an enemy Chieftain, he was attacked by the pistol-wielding Prophet, whom he swiftly disarmed and threw to the ground. Overcome with rage, Felo dragged the frail alien towards his gathered crew, and allowed Piety to beg for mercy before executing the Prophet. Feeling the need to keep up this revolutionary momentum, Felo briefly conversed with Sur and Rol over what to do next and briefly suggested that they consider an alliance with the humans to fight against the Prophets. This shocked his brothers, who rebuked him for even considering it and suggested that they continue fighting mankind after winning this civil war. After this disagreement, Felo returned to the bridge and learned of the newly-formed Swords of Sanghelios, who were assembling to take the fight to the Prophet-led Covenant and had discarded their military names in the process. Rather than join them, however, Felo had the Undying Faith return directly to Sanghelios, both to warn their people and to protect it against any Jiralhanae attacks.
Felo's battlecruiser was the first to arrive at Sanghelios with news of the Great Schism, informing local forces of the San'Shyuum's betrayal while Sur interrogated their Jiralhanae prisoners. While they were unable to fully ascertain as to why the Hierarchs had orchestrated this civil war, Felo was able to learn that the High Prophet of Truth intended to travel to some Forerunner site of great value after disposing of the Sangheili. After leaving the Undying Faith under the command of one of his officers, Mal 'Sorol, Felo took a detachment of his best warriors and headed to the state of Ranak, intent on defending his Keep against any potential attacks from those who would proclaim him a liar and heretic for revealing the Prophets' lies.
The Shipmaster's entourage was greeted at Ranak Keep by a number of civilians, though they greeted the warriors as returning war heroes. Meeting Tari 'Ranak at the gate, Felo informed his wife of everything that had happened since he last saw her, from his humiliation on Harpa to the Covenant's fracturing. With the sudden demise of his uncle Ordam at the hands of the Jiralhanae, Felo realised that their clan was without leadership and had Tari call the keep's elders together to discuss his replacement. While Felo's position as the new Kaidon was without question, he faced some resistance from those who had difficulty believing that the Covenant as they knew it was truly over. In the midst of their meeting, Sur arrived with more news: Xytan 'Jar Wattinree had died along with most of his forces in a massive explosion, while those who continued to fight against the Covenant had been united by Felo's old Special Forces commander Rtas 'Vadum and the newly-appointed Arbiter, Thel 'Vadam. This new development swayed the elders to Felo's side, and after a brief but formal ceremony he was declared the three-hundred and eighth Kaidon of Ranak.
After so much had happened, Felo decided to recuperate in his Keep while he consolidated his forces and awaited more information on the war effort. That night, however, he was attacked by a group of well-trained assassins. Felo might have died were it not for Tari's quick actions in fending off their attackers, killing one while he swiftly killed several more after retrieving his sword. The final assassin was slain by Sur as he attempted to flee the keep, and as the pondered over who had sent attackers after the new Kaidon Rol appeared, dragging one of the keep's elders with him. Felo was surprised to see that it was Yuen 'Ranak - the oldest Sangheili in his clan - that had gone after him instead of one of his more conservative peers, and the elder soon revealed that he wanted Felo dead not because of his actions against the Prophets, but because of his desire to seek peace with humanity. After listening to Yuen rant about Sangheili supremacy, Felo eventually executed the elder and had those of his closest family who had not died escaping the keep exiled. Rather shaken by this event, he would publicly declare his support for the House of Vadam and chose to remain on Sanghelios as its self-appointed defender against outside threats for the time being.
Rol 'Ranak: "You were a warrior once, brother. Now I see nothing but an appeaser of our foes. How can you seek peace after all this time?"
Felo: "I seek only to lessen the number of enemies without further bloodshed, Rol. We cannot leave ourselves mired in hatred forever."
―An argument between Felo and his younger brother, shortly before Rol's disappearance
Felo's transition into the role of Kaidon did not go as smoothly as he would have liked. Though many Sangheili did desire an end to the war, giving up their religious beliefs and forming an alliance with mankind was much more difficult. Though he initially intended to disband his troops and rule over the lands of Ranak, Felo soon found himself forced to pick a side between the Arbiter's faction and more traditionalist groups as a civil war erupted on Sanghelios. Choosing to join the Swords of Sanghelios under Thel 'Vadam, Felo allowed those under his command who disagreed with his position to leave peacefully, though he made it clear that he would show no mercy if they returned as enemies. Thankfully, few deserted him and Felo retained a fairly powerful force, which he used to seize warships and supplies from Covenant bases to help their cause.
After months of skirmishes, Felo would claim his greatest victory in the civil war in late 2553 when he launched a surprise attack on an enemy warlord as his ships occupied a Covenant refuelling station. Slipping teams of Special Operations personnel aboard in advance of his main fleet, Felo's troops caught the enemy off-guard and seized the warlord's flagship, a powerful ORS-class heavy cruiser. After killing or imprisoning his foes, Felo took the ship for his own, renaming it as Questioner. This display of power was a boon for the Swords of Sanghelios, as several Covenant remnant groups chose to surrender or defect to their faction after hearing of Felo's exploits. He would continue to patrol trade routes for a number of months, gathering resources and dealing with pirates until he came into direct conflict with the powerful remnant faction led by Jul 'Mdama.
Though Felo saw success in several battles against Jul's forces, neither faction had the strength to gain total victory, which triggered a gradual war of attrition. Seeking to return to Sanghelios to continue lending his aid to the Arbiter, Felo embarked on a final mission to save one of his battlecruisers from a hostile pirate group. Arriving to find a battle raging throughout an asteroid field, Felo had the Questioner easily disable two enemy warships in the hope of forcing a retreat, only to be surprised as they launched a desperate attack against his vessel instead. Though most of the pirates died en-route, a single Lich carrying over fifty warriors boarded the Questioner in an attempt to seize the ship. The pirates slaughtered their way through the ship's corridors and may have even reached Felo himself on the bridge had he not trapped them in a corridor and vented the airlocks. When the Shipmaster and his bodyguards moved to secure the room, they discovered a single living soul: an infamous warrior known as the Outrider.
Though some of Felo's officers wanted the Outrider dead, citing his violent actions against the Swords of Sanghelios as enough reason for his execution, the Shipmaster gave the order to have him imprisoned and his wounds treated. When the Outrider eventually woke up, Felo greeted him and was surprised by how young the infamously brutal mercenary was. Though he faced resistance from the uncooperative captive, Felo continued to treat the Outrider kindly and after some research discovered his true identity: Rora 'Marak, a fugitive who had fled Sanghelios after most of his family was massacred. Though he initially believed the youth to be a simple killer, Rora would eventually confess to Felo that his clan's Kaidon had kept a Demon captive within their keep in secret until he chose to release their prisoner, leading to her savage attack on the civilians there before both were forced to flee the planet. Though there was no truth to back up such an outlandish story, Felo believed Rora and gave him the opportunity to begin working for the Swords of Sanghelios instead. The grateful young warrior accepted, and swore not only an oath of fealty, but one to never take up the traditional energy sword in battle again as a sign of repentance for his past crimes. Having secured Rora's loyalty, Felo brought him to a secret base on Khael'mothka to join a secretive commando force known as the Shadows of Retribution.
Using Rora's legend as the Outrider to bolster the group's reputation and mystique, Felo made the controversial decision of placing him in charge of the commandos, which consisted largely of fellow outcasts and misfits who were willing to partake in operations most honourable warriors would baulk at. Aware that Arbiter Thel 'Vadam had to uphold his public persona of a righteous, forward-thinking leader, Felo chose to use the Shadows of Retribution to carry out discreet operations that the rest of the Swords of Sanghelios could deny having any part in. Though he rarely met with the group in person after making Rora their leader, Felo remained as their superior and would sent out mission dossiers to their remote headquarters while dealing with the bloody day-to-day politics on Sanghelios itself. After the Shadows continued success and his own efforts to bring non-aligned clans into the Swords of Sanghelios, Felo 'Ranak was officially promoted to the rank of Fleet Master in 2555 and was given command of a sizeable fleet of warships, meant to protect existing Sangheili colonies on the frontier from pirates and warlords.
Trained to fight from a young age by renowned warrior Yama 'Ranakee, Felo quickly developed into an excellent swordsman. By the age of six it was clear just how far he outstripped his younger brothers in sheer skill; he would practice against seasoned warriors with live energy swords while his peers still used wooden blades and training dummies. While a preference for using a sword in combat was common among Sangheili officers serving in the Covenant Military, Felo rarely even bothered to use ranged weapons except as a last resort early in his military career, seeing his close combat skills as more than enough to handle what their foe could throw at him. His own particular style of swordsmanship involved quick bursts of movement and aggression to quickly cripple foes in single combat, though unlike his brother Sur's strength-heavy swipes and slashes each move Felo made was swift and precisely calculated; it was not until Harpa in 2552 that he met a swordsman anywhere near his level of skill. Following his defeat at the hands of the Spartan Jax-007, he would work to refine his swordsmanship even further and even took to using two blades at once in battle with great proficiency; a rare feat even for the most accomplished fighters. Following the demise of his siblings, he was able to recover one of Sur's lost bloodblades and took it into battle, naming the weapons after his fallen brothers.
Despite his immense prowess in ground combat, Felo was a fairly unremarkable Shipmaster by Covenant standards. While he destroyed a number of human ships and fought in over a dozen space battles, he never distinguished himself greatly during this period and was fairly competent in the handling of both his super-destroyer, the Justicar, and later his CCS-Class Battlecruiser Undying Faith. What he became surprisingly adept at, however, was the direction of troops on the battlefield as a commanding officer. When he wasn't leading a charge personally, Felo would show a surprising amount of tactical insight and was incredibly adaptive as a commander; most Sangheili relied heavily on simple strategies and the chain of command, which humans could easily exploit to outmaneuver Covenant foes. Felo saw this as a weakness, preferring to take the initiative and adapt with unconventional strategies.
Post-War, Felo found himself to be rather at home in an entirely new style of combat: Politics. With the power vacuum following the massacre of the Covenant High Council and the Great Schism that followed, many Sangheili clans were reluctant to side with the then-Separatists under Thel 'Vadam. As one of the Arbiter's most ardent followers, Felo's diplomatic skills were a great boon as he convinced some of the more hardline traditionalist clans and other factions to align with his allies instead of splitting off or joining a warband to continue fighting. His political prowess not only gave him influence across Sangheili space, but assured that his authority would not be undermined by his own rivals within the state of Ranak back on Sanghelios.
Following his near-fatal injuries at the hands of Orro 'Hendai during the Battle of Montak, Felo's fighting abilities were severely hampered. Though he was still able to hold a gun and could wield a sword defensively, he could not fight with the speed and ferocity that he once did and was forced to avoid open conflict wherever possible. His tendency to tire more easily due to these wounds made him unfit for protracted engagements, though he was still capable of ending fights quickly when pressed.
Yama: "You fought well. Skill. Bravery. Determination. You are truly my son."
Felo: "Of course I am. Nobody else could have accomplished this."
―Felo's last conversation with his father, seconds before ending his life.
Felo 'Ranak was noted by his tutors and peers for being strong-willed and independent even as a child. His sense of superiority meant that despite the fairly equal standing all young Sangheili within Ranak Keep grew up in, he would inevitably be in charge of any activities and after a number of scuffles emerged as a leader before picking up his first training sword. This attitude made the young Felo both respected and disliked by those around him; some believed that he lacked a sense of honour or humbleness that would make him inferior as a warrior in later life. Nonetheless, he was rarely cruel or petty even if he looked down on those of lower social status than himself during his youth.
Following the events of the Siege of Ranak in 2513, Felo took charge of his keep in spite of his young age and was looked upon by many as a hero for helping to reclaim his home earning him the respect of those around him. He did nothing to lessen the praise heaped upon him, leading to a paranoid Kaidon Yama challenging him to a duel for fear of having his position usurped. The complete emotional detachment from killing his father revealed another side of the young Sangheili: One of a power-hungry warrior and not the haughty aristocrat many saw him as previously. Though giving the position of Kaidon to another might have been seen as Felo being humble for once, in reality he saw the position as a dead end for him at the time, as he intended to climb the military hierarchy and attain greater rank and status than that of a mere clan leader.
After joining the Covenant military, Felo would gradually lose his incredibly arrogant streak after a few years of service. While he remained very confident in his martial skill, he grew calmer and was less prone to bragging as he rose through the ranks and joined the Covenant's elite Special Operations forces. While like most Sangheili he looked down upon humans as little more than vermin after the Human-Covenant War's outbreak, he did respect their ingenious battle tactics and willingness to sacrifice themselves to attain their goals. Having lost numerous comrades to their alien foe, Felo soon became very protective of the warriors under his command, especially his blood brothers Rol and Sur. By the late 2540s little remained of Felo's younger, brasher personality, as he cared little for rank or status and wished only to attain victory against a foe he felt he could no longer despise, but fought anyway out of a sense of duty. However, it was not until the Battle of Harpa in early 2552 that he would first feel guilty for his actions. Killing Richard Mack Senior left him feeling ashamed for slaying such a warrior, forcing him to detach himself completely from the war in an emotional manner as his guilt soon turned to misery over the Covenant's slow extermination of the human race; the religious fervour he had once felt was completely gone.
Following the Great Schism of late 2552, Felo was among many Sangheili Shipmasters who enacted bloody vengeance on their Jiralhanae betrayers, though after months of intense fighting he found himself at peace for the first time in years and realised the advantages of diplomacy and even friendship with mankind. As he became a prominent member of the Swords of Sanghelios, Felo was a constant advocate of tolerance and persuasion and opposed using overwhelming force unless absolutely necessary, taking an even-handed approach as both a Kaidon and a Fleet Master.
Behind the Scenes
Felo was the first non-human character written for the Sigmaverse, created as a villain in the author's very first article.