|Biographical and armament information|
Limited Camo, Energy Shields
|Political and military information|
Missions of suicidal danger and grave religious or political importance
"The Blade, the 'Will of High Prophets'"
- “The Taming of the Hunters, the Grunt Rebellion. Were it not for the Arbiters, the Covenant would have broken long ago.”
The title of Arbiter was the highest possible honor bestowed upon a Covenant Sangheili by the Hierarchs during a time of great need. It is the greatest religious rank of the Sangheili, although the Councilor is considered to have superior political and military status. The Arbiter acts as a sort of field marshal, going on missions for the Prophets and during incidents such as the Taming of the Hunters, the Grunt Rebellion, the Human-Covenant war, and most recently, the threat of the Heretics.
The Arbiter is sent on the most perilous and daunting missions in desperate times of when he is needed which are often tantamount to suicide. In fact on those missions, the Arbiter is expected to die and be revered thereafter as another great martyr of the Covenant on their path to the Great Journey.
Evaluating the rank of ArbiterEdit
The definition for the word Arbiter is 'one who judges', originally the title of Arbiter was a position of privilege and may have once been a purely military rank. However this changed after Fal 'Chavamee's act of heresy and betrayal of the Covenant. To forever tar Chavamee's legacy the Prophets gave the title of Arbiter to disgraced Sangheili as a means of regaining their family honor by performing suicidal missions. Thus each subsequent Arbiter after Fal 'Chavamee has been "created and consumed in times of extraordinary crisis" in the words of the Prophet of Mercy.
Many members of the Covenant, especially Unggoy, see an Arbiter as their "Savior", and their peers consider him as the "Will of the Prophets" or, in his military role, the "Blade of the Prophets". The corpses, or perhaps only memorials in some cases, are housed in identical caskets in the great Mausoleum of the Arbiter. In the center of the Mausoleum is a floating pod that contains the sacred armor of the holy Arbiter, highly decorative and fully functional despite its apparent age. The Mausoleum houses a very large number of caskets that reach high into the air amidst references of the triumphs of past Arbiters including the settling of the "Grunt Rebellion", and "Taming of the Hunters".
While the Hierarchs expect that the one who is to chosen to bear the mantle of Arbiter it appears that Prophets choose Sangheili who held the highest ranks amongst the dishonored likely because of their battle experience.
However, Thel 'Vadam considered it to be a punishment to be in the Arbiter armor.
Though considered a status of high command, he who wears the armor of the Arbiter is condemned to a life of suicidal missions to regain his honor. This includes Thel 'Vadam, who failed to protect Installation 04 from the Demon. Other Sangheili join the Arbiter on his missions, though it seems they were both given the same task. The Arbiter is considered an equal to a SPARTAN-II, as both are highly skilled in combat and vehicular activities, and have the ability to instill morale even in the strongest or weakest of troops.
The armor an Arbiter wears is kept in the Mausoleum of the Arbiter until it is bestowed upon a new holder of that title. It is composed of a bronze/silvery metal, with ornate engravings and metal work, indicating the Arbiters ceremonial nature. However, it is fully functional as a combat suit, incorporating a Heads Up Display, Energy shield system, and Active camouflage.
The technology used is all common to the standard Sangheili Combat Harness, though of an older design. While modern Covenant active camouflage has a virtually unlimited duration, the Arbiter's camouflage lasts only for a few seconds, though still enough to give him a tactical advantage. Each Arbiter receives a different set of armor, though all of them have the same design. The very nature of the Arbiter means that they are sent on dangerous, often suicidal missions, where recovery of the corpse and the armor it wears may be impossible. This would make it appear as though each Arbiter receives a new set of armor. However, the technology used in the suit is usually the same, with no improvements in the design to improve its capabilities. It may be that this is intentional, in order to test the Arbiter's skills, or due to the tradition.
The armor may be subject to some small amount of customization. Ripa 'Moramee was taller than the average Sangheili, at over 8'7, while Thel 'Vadam stood at 7'10''. Further, when first donning the armor, Thel lacked mandible guards or a shoulder-mounted light that he possessed after the Great Schism, where his Active camouflage was also significantly upgraded. Ripa's armor seemed to be bulletproof but possessed no shields. Ripa's armor also had far more advanced Active camouflage as he was able to sneak up on Sgt. Forge on two separate occasions while fully cloaked. His unit in the game is also able to obtain a permanent cloak, however this may be just for game play purposes.
Another theory about different armor sizes and apparent customization is that the armor was not ancient as it was made out to be. It may, in fact, be made new if the old armor is lost or if the current armor doesn't fit the new Arbiter. A prime example of this is in Halo Wars, when the crew of Spirit of Fire rolls his body into the mist below the Apex.
This is a list of all known Arbiters in chronological order.
- Unnamed Arbiter during the Taming of the Lekgolo, tasked with pacifying the Lekgolo resistance.
- Unnamed Arbiter during the Unggoy Rebellion, tasked with quelling the uprising.
- Fal 'Chavamee - Arbiter during the period between the discovery of the Unggoy and the contact with humanity.
- Ripa 'Moramee - The seventeenth Arbiter in the line of Immaculate Succession who led Covenant forces on Harvest, Arcadia, and Shield 0459.
- Unnamed Arbiter during the Battle of Jericho VII.
- Unnamed Arbiter during the Fall of Reach.
- Thel 'Vadam - The current Arbiter. He defeated the heretics led by Sesa 'Refumee, led the Covenant Separatists during the Great Schism, and was John-117's companion during the end of the Human-Covenant war.
- In a Halo Wars cutscene, it shows Ripa 'Moramee, the Arbiter at the time, being pushed off the side of a platform and then the entire area getting destroyed by a supernova. So, the Covenant would have to make another set of armor to be used for Thel 'Vadam (this would have been necessary anyway as Ripa was massive, even for a Sangheili, while Thel was of average stature). Also, this would mean that his crypt in the Mausoleum of the Arbiter would be empty.
- Note that the Arbiter armor is different in Halo 3 and Halo 2. The Arbiter's mandibles in Halo 2 are unprotected, while in Halo 3, the armor covers the mandibles. Also, the Halo 2 Arbiter armor is silver/gray, while the Halo 3 armor is closer in coloration to copper or bronze (however, this is due to the improved lighting effects, as his armor is grey in levels with sparse light). Similarly, the Arbiter now has a flashlight on his left shoulder, but it only works when playing with other players or a guest.
- The Arbiter was originally meant to be called the "Dervish". The name was changed because it might create an unintended parallel between the game and the real-life conflict between the Western World and the Middle East. In the Spanish version of Halo 2 and Halo 3, the Arbiter is called "Inquisidor". This is because the false cognate (similarly spelled word with different definition) "árbitro" means "umpire" instead of "Arbiter."
- Before Halo 2 was released, the Elite bipeds in Multiplayer had the armor of an Arbiter, but their armor was changed to the regular Elite armor.
- In Halo 2, the Arbiter's right side shoulder armor contains a mini-sculpt of the Legendary Difficulty Skull. This can be seen in cut scenes (if you look carefully) and in co-op.
- The Arbiter armor was originally going to be an armor permutation in Halo 3, but it was later removed, likely for the same reason players cannot choose the same armor color as Master Chief's.
- It is stated in the Halo Wars instruction manual that the Arbiter is theorized to be the equivalent of a UNSC Four-Star General when it comes to ranks.
- In Halo 2 and Halo Wars, both Arbiters refer to themselves in third person as "Your Arbiter" when asking a Prophet for orders.
- Since the Arbiter armor has been remade before (Ripa Moramee's was destroyed in a supernova), it's unusual that the Covenant would not add more modern features such as infinite camouflage. It could be that the armor is as symbolic as the wearer or that it is simply traditional. Another possibility is that the suit worn by Ripa Moramee was a unique one created specifically for him due to his large size and the one worn by Thel 'Vadam is in fact the old suit that has been passed down from Arbiter to Arbiter. However there is no absolute proof of this, because as with Ripa Moramee's own customized armor during his tenure, the original was most likely destroyed after hundreds of years of service.
- During certain levels on Halo 3, it is possible to get multiple Arbiters through a glitch.
- ↑ Ripa 'Moramee's body could not possibly have been retrieved
- ↑ Halo 2, The Arbiter (Level)
- ↑ Halo Wars, Escape (Level)
- ↑ Halo 3
- ↑ Frankie: This is quite late into the Covenant as a society, with most of the client species either absorbed or in the process of absorption...
- ↑ Strategy Game back, the Blurb is talking about Jericho VII
- ↑ Covenant players in the Reach campaign missions of the Halo Interactive Strategy Game play as an Arbiter
- ↑ Google Video: Halo 2 Bonus DVD : Multiplayer Featurette