The Imperium of Clarity was an interstellar empire founded after the outbreak of the Great Schism by former Fleet Master Toru 'Makhan. Initially comprised of Makhnan's fleet on the very fringes of the Covenant Empire and the far-flung colony worlds they had been assigned to protect, the Sangheili leader withdrew from the turbulent political climate in the aftermath of the Covenant's disintegration to establish his own personal fiefdom. Initially something of an isolationist faction that refused to participate in many of the smaller conflicts raging across the galaxy after the Human-Covenant War's end, the Imperium grew exponentially over the next few years into a genuinely powerful force under the command of its single, absolute ruler.
While its position far away from much of human and former Covenant space meant that the Imperium of Clarity went almost totally unchecked by both the Swords of Sanghelios and United Nations Space Command for several years, its rapid expansion starting in 2556 and the establishment of economic and political alliances with numerous independent groups coupled with a sudden military buildup drew the attention of opposing forces in the galaxy. These tensions would only rise after now-Imperial Admiral Makhan began a series of sweeping military advances that would eventually culminate in open warfare against rival groups in 2558.
What would become the Imperium of Clarity began as the Second Fleet of Outward Composure, a large group of vessels assigned to patrol and safeguard the very fringes of the Covenant Empire. While it policed a number of planets and kept some of the Covenant's client races, a position there was often seen as a sign of extreme misfortune or that one had been marked as a potential troublemaker by the military. While any bitterness towards being kept away from the far-off war against the human race was kept private, this would change in 2547 when the nearly-promoted Fleet Master Toru 'Makhanee was placed in command and began to reorganise the fairly relaxed fleet into a proper fighting force that was not only prepared to face any threats, but remained entirely loyal towards him. After a successful anti-piracy campaign across the fringe worlds and the establishment of a massive fortress on the Sangheili colony world of Iradu, Toru's power and influence spread as he continued to operate with little oversight from the rest of the Covenant military, who were too preoccupied with exterminating mankind to notice a single Fleet Master's actions far away from the frontline.
While some under Toru's command suspected that his ambitions were growing too bold, it was not until the Great Schism of 2552 and his refusal to take the fleet to join other Sangheili commanders in battle as the Covenant split asunder that any tried to move against him. This conspiracy was utterly crushed before it could take action, and following news of the sudden death of Imperial Admiral Xytan 'Jar Wattinree Toru rallied his forces together with the promise of a newer, stronger Covenant that would be free of San'Shyuum influence and other restrictions. Broadcasting what would become known as the 'Imperial Proclamation' across the worlds in his sphere of influence and abandoning his old military name, Toru 'Makhan took up the mantle of Imperial Admiral and founded a new faction: The Imperium of Clarity.
While Toru's ascension and the establishment of this new order came as a shock to most, the inhabitants of the fringe worlds his fleet had protected for years welcomed the Imperium, especially in the wake the destruction of High Charity. While most of the former Covenant empire collapsed and fell into anarchy, carved up by ruthless warlords, life in the Imperium carried on normally for most of its citizens, who enjoyed an influx of trade and a population boom as thousands flocked to these worlds seeking safety and order. While the Imperial Admiral's fleet had seen some desertions in early 2553 following the news of official end to the Human-Covenant War, many more veterans sought to join the Imperium due to its powerbase and relative stability, swelling the ranks of the military even further. While dominance was firmly established across their colony worlds, a campaign was launched to bring more leaders - mostly Sangheili - into the fold. One of the first major warlords to swear fealty to the Imperium was Orro 'Hendai, who became the first Fleet Master in the Imperium who did not originate from the Second Fleet of Outward Composure.
As the Imperium expanded, a major source of wealth and income for its inhabitants was a vast network that traded primarily in salvaged Forerunner technology. Originally a black market that had run for years under the Covenant, this was allowed to flourish under Toru 'Makhan's rule, albeit with some oversight from his forces. A prominent former Yonhet smuggler named Rak Ultin would oversee these efforts, and by mid-2554 held the high rank of Chief Councillor in the government due to his position as one of Toru's longstanding allies. The inclusion of numerous Yonhet within the Imperium's slowly-growing bureaucracy was somewhat controversial, as a number of high-ranking Sangheili that had served alongside 'Makhan's fleet during the war expected these positions of power alongside their role within the Imperium's military.
As it continued to expand, the Imperium's relative remoteness compared to some of the galaxy's more powerful and prominent factions proved to be quite a boon, as it could not only grow without interference, but was not an easy target for any would-be attackers. Several would-be warlords leading flotillas of Covenant-era military vessels launched raids into the Imperium's territory, only to find themselves overstretched and quickly destroyed by well-coordinated defensive fleets. Some of these attackers would be granted mercy on the condition that they swore fealty to Toru 'Makhan and the Imperium, providing its military with many much-needed military veterans to help lead the younger generation of newly-recruited soldiers. Alongside this came a number of sweeping military reformations devised by some of the Imperium's top strategists, which included the recruitment of both human and Jiralhanae into auxiliary Legions and the development of newer warships based on non-Covenant designs. Foremost among these was the Obedience-class cruiser, which was quickly mass-produced as the backbone of Imperial fleets.
In addition to its military expansion, the Imperium sought to capitalise on the surfeit of Forerunner materials flowing into the black markets of numerous planets. While the Covenant had possessed an overwhelming monopoly on this scarcely-understood technology for centuries, any attempts to develop new technology derived on these items had been excruciatingly slow due to religious reverence. Though Forerunner worship was still fairly abundant on some of the Imperium's colonies and occasionally clashed with the rise of ancestor-worship and other resurgent Sangheili beliefs, the secular system imposed by Toru 'Makhan on Iradu led to a massive spike in scientific research that was quickly put to use within their society. hard light technology, which had been reverse-engineered with very limited success in the past, soon saw some degree of usage within the military's upper echelons, while the art of slipspace translocation was also improved upon to allow for the mass teleportation of entire armies and after some testing in late 2557, entire capital warships. However, the Imperium hoarded most of these advancements, selling only what they had deemed safe or nonthreatening to wealthy traders.
By 2558, the Imperium of Clarity's influence had spread, with rumours of its series of rapid power plays on the frontier soon reaching the likes of the Unified Earth Government, though they considered the far-off faction to be of little consequence and an issue for the Swords of Sanghelios to deal with instead. While several diplomatic overtures had been made by emissaries from Arbiter Thel 'Vadam, Toru 'Makhan himself had given orders to ignore them while the Imperium focused on trading with smaller groups. Even the infamous remnant faction led by warlord Jul 'Mdama soon began to rely on them for supplies, risking trips across the frontier to barter with the Imperium for weaponry and supplies. This emboldened the empire, whose uncontrolled expansion soon spread to the edge of the Joint Occupation Zone, controlled by both the UNSC and Swords of Sanghelios.
It was at the height of their growth that the Imperium of Clarity would form a pact with two men from the human Guild of Free Traders, which ran a number of independent businesses across the frontier. Upon gaining an audience with 'Makhan, a man named Isaac Kenner would convince the Imperial Admiral to form an alliance with their group, promising their services as a mining company that would provide a generous amount of resources from the frontier world of Montak if the Imperium seized the planet for them. Shortly after an agreement was made, a military strike force accompanied members of the guild to Montak and quickly took over its one notable settlement: a sprawling mining facility run by the Liang-Dortmund Corporation. Fully aware that this would be seen as an act of war, the Imperium's military soon gathered its full strength, while Toru 'Makhan's flagship personally intercepted two ships sent to investigate the colony, formally declaring war on both the UEG and Swords of Sanghelios after destroying both vessels and taking a number of prisoners back to Iradu. This would mark the end of several years of uncontested expansion for the Imperium of Clarity, and the beginning of a major conflict that would decide the fledgling empire's fate.
As this unprovoked attack would see a military response before long, 'Makhan quickly gathered his military forces over Frendhal, where they were joined by thousands of mercenaries and allied forces from friendly factions. As the Imperial Admiral was delayed and forced to remain in the capital, a sizeable fleet under the overall command of Field Marshal Orro 'Hendai moved to dig in over Montak, with ground forces led by Fleet Master Kan 'Larom securing the mining complex that served as the planet's sole settlement in preparation for the battle to come. Though some members of the Imperium's High Command wanted to intercept and destroy anything that exited slipspace near Montak at once, 'Makhan ordered them to simply hold their ground and defend the captured world to test the strength of any invasion force; were their foe to achieve victory on the ground, then their forces were to withdraw from the system and retreat to the slightly more defensible Bineb and Yain systems.
As expected, both the UNSC and Swords of Sanghelios fleets pursued the Imperium's forces through slipspace, arriving in the Bineb and Yain systems a day later. Of the two, the Bineb system had little in the way of proper orbital defences, save for the Fortress of Watchful Peace, a sprawling military base built on Bineb II's moon of Irn. The combined forces of Fleet Master Kan 'Larom and Shipmaster Hedan Koti quickly built up a defensive line over Irn, while Bineb II's sizeable Unggoy population were given orders to prepare for evacuation should the Imperium's military fail in their duty to defend the system. A human fleet eventually arrived in-system, and after shaking off a surprise attack by Koti's forces moved forward and engaged the Imperium's primary battle line over Irn, eventually besieging the fortress.
Government and Politics
While all high-level decisions for the Imperium of Clarity come from its sole ruler, Toru 'Makhan, much of its government is run by civilian officials either chosen by the Imperial Admiral or their local communities. The head of the civilian government is the Chief Councillor, who provides leadership in most non-military matters and keeps most of the empire's day-to-day affairs in order. A number of ministries exist to govern public health, trade, agriculture and other sectors of the economy, and each world within the Imperium possesses at least one civilian official to voice their issues to their local ruler, usually a member of the Imperium's High Command. Most minor decisions are simply relayed to the central government on Iradu, but anything major is dealt with by the ranking military officer in the system.
As the Imperium is essentially a military dictatorship with no existing opposition to the Imperial Admiral, most governmental decisions are carried out immediately and as efficiently as possible and all colony worlds are expected to follow orders without question. The only area within the Imperium's sphere of influence with a high level of autonomy is the Bineb System, which is run almost exclusively by the Unggoy settlers who manage most of their own military defence as part of their agreements with the Imperium. Though military service is not mandatory for men and women of fighting age in the Imperium of Clarity, conscription can be brought in in times of dire crisis, such as the Imperial War of 2558.
Sphere of Influence
Utilising routes already established by the Covenant Empire, the Imperium of Clarity's leaders were soon able to secure access to many far-flung colony worlds for resources and manpower. In spite of its rather grandiose name, however, the Imperium holds barely a fraction of the territory and power that the Covenant once possessed, and with other factions fighting over the remnants it has had to make do with taking fringe worlds and building power since its creation to avoid any unnecessary conflict. From Toru 'Makhan's supposedly impregnable Imperial Fortress and the surrounding city on Iradu as its capital, the Imperium governs several dozen settled planets from afar, though its direct influence is usually relegated to dealing with pirates or collecting tribute where necessary.
Following agreements with Unggoy factions, the Imperium was able to set up and safeguard a number of new colonies on worlds suitable for terraforming for the methane-breathing species, though they too were lightly-guarded by the Imperium's watchful troops. Though most planets incorporated into the empire were simply former Covenant planets that had not yet been claimed by other factions, the Imperium did make a point to explore and settle several previously untouched worlds, importing settlers from other systems there to start entirely new colonies.
Iradu – capital world
Vandun – primary shipyard
Koros – Sangheili colony
Frendhal – Sangheili fortress world
Telwun – Sangheili colony
Yassa – trading port
Bineb II – Unggoy colony
Irn – Military outpost
Bineb III – Unggoy colony
While nowhere near as large as the massive Covenant military, the Imperium's own armed forces number in the millions, with most of its senior members having had extensive combat experience during the Human-Covenant War. While its upper echelons are comprised almost entirely of Sangheili warriors, the overwhelming majority of Imperial forces are made up of Unggoy soldiers, supplemented by Kig-Yar privateers and even small bands of armed Yonhet raiders. Humans are a rare sight in the Imperium's military and rarely hold notable positions, but are not unheard of.
While most of its ground forces are organised and deployed in a similar manner to the former Covenant, several other groups were established within the Imperium. A Special Operations division exists within their fleet, albeit mostly for spying purposes, while the Imperial Guards are Toru 'Makhan's personal protectors and the enforcers of his will on the battlefield; hardened veterans and zealots deployed on the most critical of missions. In addition, the Imperium's forces are supplemented by dozens of mercenary groups of varying races, bought either through monetary means or in deals regarding the usage of slipspace travel routes. Their accepting nature has made the Imperium a popular employer among these warbands, some of which eventually transitioning into full-time soldiers in the Imperial Military.
The Imperium of Clarity possessed a sizeable fleet for what was considered a 'remnant' faction, and faced major difficulties in maintaining their vessels in the years following the Human-Covenant War. As such, many of its best warships were among those assigned to the original Second Fleet of Outward Composure when the then-Fleet Master Makhan established the Imperium. The most powerful vessel in the Imperium's arsenal is the Watchful Custodian, a massive CSO-class supercarrier with enough firepower and troops to subjugate entire systems alone. After the establishment of shipyards on the moon of Vandun, the Imperium has been able to produce a limited number of functional corvettes and light cruisers, though it has gone to the effort of obtaining starships through purchase or salvage to bolster its ranks.
With no Hierarchs to command them, the Imperium of Clarity's military is led by the High Command: a group of seasoned field commanders who answer directly to Imperial Admiral Makhan. As of 2558, the Imperium's High Command is comprised of six individuals, each captaining their own warship:
Field Marshall Orro 'Hendai – DDS-class carrier Blissful Solitude
Fleet Master Nor 'Hudon – CCS-class battlecruiser Starlight
Fleet Master Kan 'Larom – CCS-class battlecruiser Advance Guard
Fleet Master Lora 'Deris – ORS-class heavy cruiser Emancipator
Shipmaster Hedan Koti – CPV-class heavy destroyer Blue Death
While the Imperium of Clarity does boast a number of recently-constructed foundries designed to produce both civilian and military vehicles, most of its arsenal still comes from gear left over from the Covenant days. While this includes easily-constructed light vehicles and tanks, the faction also possesses a number of near-irreplaceable Excavators. As relatively few Lekgolo reside within Imperial space, most of these are crew-operated machines that see duty both as platforms for mining and excavating, and as massive siege weapons in prolonged engagements. Backed up by smaller armoured divisions and rapidly-deployed infantry formations, these constructs have made the Imperium's advance through former colony worlds swift and unopposed in some cases.
Much like their Covenant predecessors, the Imperium are a 'Tier 2' civilisation and possess much of the same technology used in the former empire. However, its more open approach to technological experimentation and scientific advancement has gone a long way in advancing small sectors of the Imperium, partly thanks to the abundance of scavenged Forerunner items that had been seized or bought over the years and stockpiled within its capital on Iradu. As such, hard light technology has begun to emerge, primarily among select units of the Imperium's military.
These advances in technology have allowed the Imperium's fleet to make incredibly precise slipspace jumps with impressive speed, while slipspace translocation has become much more commonplace for transporting military units onto the field in lieu of massive and occasionally-exploited gravity lifts. Several worlds maintain a translocation network that can quickly deploy troops across the planet, usually overseen by an orbital 'nexus' station. However, the Imperium still retains a strict ban on artificial intelligence within its borders due to the incredibly damaging effects even a 'dumb' AI could have after infiltrating a networked system.
↑'Imperium of Clarity' is the closest English translation of the empire's name, which was largely derived from older Sangheili dialects to distance itself from the word 'Covenant', which had become synonymous with 'civilisation' or 'empire' across most of its former territories over the centuries.