"I offer not words, but actions and promises. When I tell you that any who wrongfully cling to the Prophet's lies will perish by my blade, I intend to act on it. For I am a warrior, and any of those who believe otherwise can attempt my assassination. I welcome those with the courage to do so."
Arbiter Thel 'Vadam (Oracle Code: S2-T2323-49), formally Thel 'Vadamee before 2552, was a legendary fleet commander, soldier and Kaidon who would go on to lead the Swords of Sanghelios. Widely regarded as a human-lover by his people, 'Vadam was a gifted swordsman and politician whose revolutionary ideals and focus on awarding individual talent have earned him many friends and enemies.
Raised within the House of Vadam on Sanghelios, 'Vadam was always destined to become a great leader. Enrolling into the Covenant military once he came of age, he would quickly rise through the ranks to become one of the youngest Shipmasters and Supreme Commanders in the Covenant's history. 'Vadam would briefly retire to administrate his state, surviving a number of attempts on his life before rejoining the military. Earning the favour of the Hierarchs, he would compete with and ultimately replace Xytan 'Jar Wattinree as commander of the Covenant's war effort, winning dozens of major battles in the Covenant's name.
Unfortunately, 'Vadam would make a deadly mistake over his mishandling at Installation 04. Stripped of his rank and made an Arbiter, he would uncover the truth about the Covenant's beliefs, fracturing the hegemony apart during the Great Schism. He was instrumental in forming an alliance with humanity, which ultimately brought about the end of the war. Despite his attempts to unify the Sangheili, he would be forced into a civil war among not only his people, but with virtually every other Covenant Remnant in existence.
Sev: "If you think that I will follow you because of your lineage, 'Vadamee, you could not have been further from the truth."
Thel: "Nor should it. I need not remind you, Field Master, that it has not earned me my victories, or kept me alive."
A true believer of leading by example, Thel 'Vadam was a model specimen of his species; he upheld an obsession with a strict yet fair code-of-honour and utterly fearless. Despite his privileged upbringing, Thel was actually very well-disciplined, maintaining a professional attitude that never showed fear or concern for anyone around him. He never allowed his anger to control him even during stressful circumstances and never thought of his armies as expendable, both of which led to him speaking with a high level of respect and control to subordinates and superiors alike. He was confident in his own abilities, but did not have an ego and remained honest in public - he admitted that he sees himself no higher than most other Sangheili. As he wasn't a coward, he aspired to be the first into every battle and made an effort to stay in the fray. Finally, his pragmatism was not overshadowed by his devotion to the Great Journey, which has allowed him to maintain a level-head while making any decision - he would even take into account strategic solutions from an untested minor should he find it has potential. All this has contributed to the loyalty of his men and respect from his fellow commanders.
Unfortunately, this also meant that Thel was reluctant to accept help from other fleetmasters even in the face of defeat; during the Siege of Vadam in 2553, he repeatedly declined help from the UNSC Infinity until his fortress was almost breached. In addition, his traditionalist upbringing also made him extremely-patriotic, proud, and stubborn, and only rarely admitted he was wrong. This sometimes led to individuals who were unfamiliar with him wrongly believing he was superior or held contempt for them. This wasn't helped by his near-fanatical devotion to the Hierarchs, never openly questioning them and was always concerned with their safety, though he almost never bothered them about this. As a result, he was seen as nothing more than the most capable puppet of the Prophets, too concerned with tradition adapt and do what it takes to ensure victory. Time and time again, he proved that this stigma was not truthful in the slightest.
Remarkably, perhaps because of his inability to alienate his foes, 'Vadam was able to forgive and even negotiate with them, even give their rank-and-file the war rights enjoyed by any other Sangheili. He was a strong believer in the Impediments of the Path and Demons, not because they were dangerous enough to require his full attention, but because he grew genuine respect for them. It was because of these few individuals that he displayed an interest in humanity through their courage, tenaciousness, and above all fighting prowess. This was one of the reasons he did not hold any disregard for their equipment, even willingly using firearms of human design after he became an Arbiter. It was for these reasons, as well as the fact that he spearheaded the homo-Sangheili alliance, that he was mocked throughout the ex-Covenant territories as a human-lover, which cost him the peace he so desperately craved and led to the fragmentation of his people during the Blooding Years.
As with all other male Sangheili, 'Vadam was highly-skilled with all warfighting technologies, although his sheer talent and experience have made him a step above most of his species. He was a master of all arms, being deadly accurate with precision weapons such as the beam rifle, as well as keeping up a steady stream of suppressing fire with the plasma rifle. This knowledge about every weapon in both the Covenant and human arsenal ensured he could use them all to maximum effectiveness. His combat style was highly flexible, using every advantage he has to emerge victorious. For example, he would engage in protracted sniping duels before making offensive pushes to outflank them, even laying down a stream of fuel rods to leave nothing but destruction in his wake. This was bolstered by his carefulness to make sure he would never be outflanked, and his willingness to use even weapons stained by heretics meant that he was dangerous with any firearm within arms length. So skilled was he that he has proven capable of taking on multiple augmented personnel and emerging victorious.