|This article, Guardians of Faith, was written by Ajax 013. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.|
The Guardians of Faith are a specialized Military Order, dedicated to the protection of religious figures, shrines, temples and pilgrimages. The Guardians of Faith are one of the larger Military Orders, but least experienced and least well equipped.
The Guardians of Faith were formed shortly after the Writ of Union, when the Prophets found many dissident Sangheili refused to submit to the Covenant and attacked temples erected to the Covenant faith. Many soldiers were unwilling to fight their kinsmen so the Prophets looked to the newly converted. They picked the most zealous and fervent warriors, regardless of skill, and selected them for the task of defending the temples. The warriors were equipped with many pieces of basic technology, such as standard issue Combat Harnesses, marked with holy text, plasma rifles and a Type-8 Energy Weapon/Glaive. The Guardians of Faith were assigned to these Temples as guards and fought to the death when attacks came to them. Though causalities were heavy, they turned back all but the most forceful of attacks and quickly saw more recruits flood in. It soon became one of the largest orders and their tasks expanded to protecting religious figures, other places of religious significance and protect pilgrimages.
During the Schism, and the following Sangheili civil war, they remained neutral, with the thousands of order members being called back to their home temples to convene in pray, hoping to find an answer. When the Sangheili were united and saw an explosion of religious diversity, the Guardians of Faith elected to break into sects, each sect devoted to a state recognised religion.
The Guardians of Faith are singularly dedicated to the protection of places of pray, and of religious learning. They stand guard over temples and shrines, and defend pilgrims. They also escort religious figures. They are funded by these religions, and divided by sects to defend different religions, even from one another.
When deployed to a temple, monastery or convent, two warriors are deployed to the main gate, while a single warrior may guard the other entrances, with a contingent of twelve to twenty-four warriors in sleeping quarters, with shifting watches, on stand by for any trouble. Size and risk of the structures denotes the amount of forces deployed to it. Larger Basilicas may have a force of thirty to seventy warriors, with a File or Lance constantly guarding the main gate. Small Shrines, Missions and similar places will receive a guard of four to ten warriors. Significant religious figures will receive a constant guard of eight warriors, often acting on a four man switching watch, or a six man watch with a two man night watch. Pilgrimages will often have a guard element consistent to the size and danger of the pilgrimage.
While they have many sects, they only acknowledge religions that are in turn acknowledged by the Republic. This prevents them falling into disrepute with cultists and dangerous practices. These state recognised religions include the Path of Ascension, the Seekers of the Holy Oracles and small sects splintered from the Covenant. Some foreign religions, such as Christianity, Buddhism and Sikhism have especially grown strong amongst the Sangheili, and have been recognised as religions of their own.
The Guardians of Faith are a volunteer force, and often zealous young warriors join them after serving their first tour. As a result, their order has many novices and young, head strong warriors. These warriors head to a Monastery where they learn to serve the religion, pray and learn how to defend their institutions with the powerful energy Glaive. They utilise these Glaives with extreme force in close combat, with the blade being capable of cutting through a man, or piercing the armour of a light vehicle, with some force they can even cut open tanks. During their training, they will receive tests of faith, such as fasts, pilgrimages and trials, which may be repeated at regular intervals.
The Guardians of Faith are not especially well armed, or well equipped, but often make up for it with zeal and determination. They wear light blue combat-harnesses, with an identifying mark to show their associated religion, such as a symbol of the path of ascension, a stylised image of a oracle, or a cross. Their armour is commonly decorated with religious text, psalms, passages or quotes, to give them strength in combat.
They are armed with plasma rifles for ranged defence, but all are equipped and trained to wield the deadly energy glaive, weapons ideal for the defence of their charges and their places of worship.