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Who would have doubt the Prophets? What have we foretold that has not come to pass?
~ The Prophet of Truth

San Shyuum are a species of aliens who hold leadership of the Covenant Empire, and serving as some of the more mysterious members of the empire. They appear to exert complete control over religious and political affairs, thus fulfilling the role as leaders. They enforce a misguided theology based on the false belief, that firing the Halo Array will start the Great Journey and transcend them to a god like status. Although physically frail and weak compared to the other species within the Covenant, they wield near absolute power throughout the Covenant. Before the formation of the Covenant, the Prophets had a war against the Sangheili and had Forerunner technology to support them in combat. At the end of their war, the two species formed the Covenant and made an oath: Prophets would act as religious leaders while the Elites would be in charge of military operations and act as their protectors.

The three main Prophets throughout the Halo series were Truth, Mercy and Regret, who were the leaders of the empire though Truth appeared to have more control. With the exception of Regret who was assassinated by John 117 on Installation 05, Mercy and Truth planned to remove the Elites from power and replace them with Brutes. Truth encouraged the other aliens to stay loyal to their Prophets and turn on their Elite commanders.

Ranks

Prophet Hierarchs

The leaders of the Covenant High Council and rulers of the entire Covenant Empire. They are elected by Councilors each age. Hierarchs can always be seen being protected by Honor Guards or Brute Bodyguards.

Lesser Prophets

The San Shyuum representatives of the Covenant Empire's High Council. While the Hierarchs are the most prominent of San Shyuum governors, councilors or lesser prophets are extremely important in the Covenant society and share power with the Sangheili councilors. They also appear to be slightly higher than Elite councilors, at least in military proceedings when the Prophet of Stewardship ordered the execution of Sangheili Councilor Soha Rolamee for failure to contain the Flood.

During the Great Schism, the Lesser Prophets were disposed by the Prophet of Truth as part of his plan to become the sole ruler of the Covenant Empire by getting rid of the other San Shyuum such as Prophet of Mercy who had abandoned High Charity only to be killed by the Flood, as ordered by Truth himself.

The Lesser Prophets are the San Shyuum representatives of the Covenant Empire's High Council. While the Hierarchs are the most prominent of San Shyuum governors, councilors or lesser prophets are extremly important in the Covenant society and share power with the Sangheili councilors. They also appear to be slightly higher than Elite councilors, at least in military proceedings when the Prophet of Stewardship ordered the execution of Sangheili Councilor Soha Rolamee for failure to contain the Flood.

During the Great Schism, the Lesser Prophets were disposed by the Prophet of Truth as part of his plan to become the sole ruler of the Covenant Empire by getting rid of the other San Shyuum such as Prophet of Mercy who had abandoned High Charity only to be killed by the Flood, as ordered by Truth himself.

Notable San Shyuum

Truth and Mercy

High Prophets Truth and Mercy.

Prophet of Truth

Main Article: Prophet of Truth

Originally holding the position as Minister of Fortitude, Truth appeared as the leader of the last set of Hierarchs as well as ruler of the entire Covenant Empire. Truth ultimately betrayed the Elites, replacing them with the Brutes who became the Prophets new protectors as well as the Covenant's new military leaders. Truth led a Covenant fleet on Earth aboard his Forerunner Dreadnaught, although he went to the Ark at Installation 00 where he planned to activate the Halo Array and fulfill the Covenant's religion. He held Sergeant Johnson captive and planned to use him to activate the rings, and had Brute Bodyguards to protect them as well as a Chieftain who was killed by the Arbiter and Chief. The Arbiter personally confronted Truth while John 117 deactivated the Halo Array which angered the Prophet, Arbiter then killed Truth by impaling him with his Energy Sword as revenge for betraying the Elites.

Prophet of Mercy

Main Article: Prophet of Mercy

Mercy was originally a Philologist, and soon became a Hierarch alongside Truth and Regret as the eldest of the three. He followed Truth around and agreed with what he said, but he was soon betrayed by Truth himself and was attacked by the Flood, before being left to die on High Charity.

Prophet of Regret

Main Article: Prophet of Regret

Prophet of Regret Villain

Prophet of Regret as seen in Halo Wars.

Regret was originally the Vice Minister of Tranquility before blackmailing one of the Hierarchs to being promoted to a Hierarch himself. He intended on reviving a Forerunner fleet on Harvest with the help of an Arbiter: Ripa 'Moramee. He later went to lead a Covenant fleet on Earth and soon left to go to Installation 05, where he planned to activate Halo but failed his mission and was assassinated by John 117.