Terminal.png This article, Impediments of the Path, was written by DirgeOfCerberus111 and Sev40. Please do not edit this fiction without the writers' permission.

The Impediments of the Path were a list of titles given by Sangheili Shipmasters to a group of high-ranking human individuals during the Human-Covenant War. They were named after the legendary "Seven Impediments of the Path" prophesied in their faith. It was said that during the last Age of Reclamation, the Covenant would be faced with seven near-impossible obstacles which would test their faith and worthiness to reach eternal life. The more superstitious of their warriors believed these commanders, along with the Demons, to be the Seven Impediments foretold by their dogma. Regardless of whenever this was true or not, all recognised them as worthy adversaries, and the rush to kill one would reduce its significance to a hit-list among the more pragmatic individuals within the Covenant.

Although there were no formal rules that defined what constituted an Impediment, which led to some Covenant soldiers creating lists of 'mini-Impediments', it was generally-acknowledged that each held enough courage, skill, and honour to distinguish them from the rank-and-file. Each Impediment was recognised for their ability to lead their fleets into battle regardless of the dangers, with each inflicting embarrassingly-large casualties on the Covenant. While only a few of the Impediments were known by name, their identities were transcribed through various epitaphs attributed to them by Sangheili commanders. Occasionally, this information led to them becoming high-priority targets for assassination by the Prophets. These orders were refused on several times by Sangheili, who believed they proved they could be given the dignity to die in battle.

The death of any one of these Impediments was marked as a great occasion by the Covenant and resulted in their slayer, their unit, and sometimes their commanders receiving incredible recognition and glory from the rest of the empire. This was followed by a period of mourning observed by fasting and prayer by those who held a particular reverence for them, such as Fleet Masters who had fought and lost against them several times. However, to treat an Impediment as someone of insignificance could cause the troops to become disillusioned with the individual who stated it. With this stigma, it was likely that the officer would lose their lives when they were challenged in duels to prove themselves.

Discounting the Demons whose assassins were kept within their own prestigious group, only seven people were counted as being apart of this elite designation. Following the Great War, only two Impediments were confirmed to have survived the conflict, both of whom would become part of the Magnificent Five.

List of Recognised Personnel

 Name   Bio  Cause of Death 
Vice Admiral Cole, the First Impediment
The First and arguably the greatest of the Impediments. It was he who dealt the Covenant their first true defeat with the destruction of the Vanguard of Rapture above Harvest, and became famous as the only human commander who never lost a major battle with the Covenant. It was his introduction of the Cole Protocol that would give humanity the time it needed to stave off extinction, even when it was made useless when Earth was discovered in 2552.
Presumed dead during the Battle of Psi Serpentis, 2543
Vice Admiral Shelby, the Second Impediment
Vice Admiral Sebastian T. Shelby was an British nobleman, and known as the first of the Impediments to perish against the Covenant. Overshadowed at the time by Vice Admiral Cole, Shelby would become notable for leading a stubborn defence at seven colonies, refusing to leave until every last colonist was accounted for. His determination would lead to disproportionate casualties being inflicted on the invaders, which saw him become a daunting foe to fight.
Killed in single-combat by Shiru ‘Nagan during the Battle of Thorney, 2529
Oscar FaceRef.jpg
Admiral Oscar Jørgensen, the Third Impediment
Whereas all other Impediments were well-known for their valiant defence above numerous human colonies, Admiral Oscar Jørgensen was one of the few UNSC strategists who regularly coordinated attacks within the Covenant's borders. Known to the UNSC as the "Father of Unrestricted Prowler Warfare" and the "Laughing One" to the Covenant, he utilised wolfpacks of prowlers and destroyers to ambush and harry the Covenant supply chain and rear lines for years. His slippery tactics and his irreverent mocking during battle made him the most infuriating of all the Impediments. He survived death on no less than four occasions before he was finally outmanoeuvred and killed in 2539. Even after his death, his innovations in prowler warfare would haunt the Covenant for the rest of the war.

Killed during the Battle of Wolf's Head Nebula, 2539

Vice Admiral Stanforth, the Fourth Impediment
Although he would only be identified following Cole's disappearance, Vice Admiral Michael Stanforth had been a part of the conflict since its very beginning, where he acted as the head of ONI Section 3. In this role, he had already fabricated operations that had cost the Covenant its most shocking defeats, and eliminated some of their most capable fleetmasters. He retained these connections when he migrated into Fleet Command, where he used a combination of advanced technologies, black ops teams, and overwhelming force to defeat his opponents. After the supposed death of Preston Cole in 2543, Stanforth took a more direct role in leading UNSC fleets, which he would do until his death during the Fall of Reach.
Killed during the Fall of Reach, 2552
Fleet Admiral Hood, the Seventh Impediment
Rising up to become the Chief of Naval Operations in the latter years of the conflict, the soft-spoken and respectful Lord Terrence Hood was the last flag officer to gain distinction. Once a very aggressive tactician who stopped at nothing to take the fight to the enemy, his experiences later saw him embracing strategies centered around the concept of defence in depth, often by luring their fleets into his orbital defences so he could continuously batter them with relentless attacks. It was his direct leadership of all UNSC naval forces during the Siege of Sol that earned him great respect among the Sangheili, something that would benefit him in future negotiations with the species.


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