Fall of the First Arbiter
Posted By: Daaaah Whoosh<DavidDaaaah@hotmail.com>
Date: 18 January 2010, 5:10 am
Long before the war between San 'Shyuum and Sangheili, there was a great and wise Sangheili king. His kingdom was small, yet his warriors were honorable and his subjects loyal.
For many years, the king's people enjoyed a time of great peace and prosperity. The animals of the land grew fat and the fish of the sea grew numerous. Many children were born under the king's rule and all grew to be strong, courageous warriors, even the king's two sons.
But their time of peace was cut short as dark clouds covered the suns one day, plunging the plains and the kingdom of the wise Sangheili into darkness. The trees and bushes died, and many animals became thin and sickly. The waters became black, and the fish could not find air. The Sangheili were devastated by the calamity, for they had relied on the animals and the fish for food. They prayed to the gods for help, offering sacrifices and chanting as their ancestors had done during such times, but the gods were silent, and did not ease their suffering.
And so the wise king journeyed to the source of the darkness, to see what had caused it. With him, he took his two sons, who were his kingdom's best warriors. They soon came upon a great multitude of Sangheili, all with the same destination. They, too, wished to save their people from the terrible darkness that had fallen over their lands.
After seven days, the wise king and his two sons came upon a giant fortress with walls of cold black metal. Above its vast turrets rose the terrible darkness, and as the wise king drew near, he realized that it was smoke.
Guarding the immense fortress was an army of thousands of Sangheili, their entire bodies covered by thick armor. At their sides were swords of blue fire, which had never before been seen in battle. At their head stood a massive Sangheili, whose armor was the greatest and the strongest of all, and many commented on how there were no conceivable weak spots.
The massive Sangheili spoke in a loud voice to the multitude that had gathered at their gates. He told them that there was not a Sangheili on the entire planet who could defeat him, or his army. He told them the black smoke came from his forges, which had made the armor of his warriors so that no sword could pierce them. He told them that their swords of blue fire were a gift from the gods, and were able to cut through solid rock. He then challenged any of the Sangheili to a duel to prove his statement.
The wise king's two sons were eager for a fight, for never in their lifetimes had they seen a battle, nor had they ever spilled the blood of another, save for that of their brethren during training. They clothed themselves in their kingdom's armor, and drew their swords to fight the massive armored Sangheili who had turned the sky black. But all he had said was true, and they could find no weakness in his armor. So, when they grew tired, he cut through their weapons with his sword of blue fire and beheaded both of them in one swing.
The wise king did not draw his sword, for he knew there was no honor in death. He wished vengeance on the invulnerable army and their general, but knew that a fight with warriors who cannot die would be unwise. So he journeyed back to his kingdom, defeated.
Almost two cycles passed before the wise king ever saw the one who had killed his sons. In such a short time, however, the army had conquered twenty kingdoms, and the darkness became more complete, until it was difficult to tell whether or not it was morning or night. The wise king's people became thin and weak, until they had difficulty holding their armor on their shoulders. And still the army of the black smoke pushed on, seemingly unhindered by hunger or exhaustion.
Then, one day, three messengers entered the wise king's keep and told him of the unstoppable army's approach. They had offered peace if the king surrendered his lands and his title.
The wise king walked far from his kingdom, wishing to be alone as he contemplated the offer. There was dishonor in surrender, but his kingdom was home to thousands of Sangheili, many who were not warriors and who would be slaughtered if the king chose to fight and lost.
And so the king walked across the desert that had once been a forest, and looked into the murky sludge that had once been a river full of life. He walked among the houses abandoned by those who could no longer survive the hunger, and who had passed into the kingdom of their ancestors. He remembered how, so long ago, in the time of peace, how young children had played in the streets, and he finally decided that he could no longer walk away from the massive Sangheili and his impenetrable army.
In the morning, when the first sun made a valiant effort to shine light on the kingdom, the wise king gathered his warriors. He told them to shed their armor, and their swords, and instead fight with staves of wood. The warriors trusted their king, but as they marched to battle, they shook with fear, for they had heard many stories of the army that could not be stopped, and did not know how wooden staves could fight swords of blue fire.
Before the battle, the wise king met with the one who had killed his sons on the top of a steep hill, between both armies. The massive Sangheili, seeing the king's warriors, thought that they were surrendering.
"I see you truly are wise, then," he said, "For there is no Sangheili who can oppose my word. I am the great Arbiter of all Sangheili."
"You are mistaken, Arbiter, for I still oppose you, as long as I have honor left in me," the wise one said, "Draw your sword and we shall see who really judges the fate of my people."
The Arbiter drew his sword, and in the first strike cut the king's staff in two, but the wise king had expected this. Unhindered by armor or heavy weapons, the wise king swiftly jumped to the back of his foe, and drew back what was left of his staff, for the Arbiter, with his sword of blue fire, had made the end sharp and white-hot. And as the Arbiter spun to face his enemy, the wise king stabbed him in the eye, the armor's only weak spot.
It is believed that the armor of the Arbiter's army prevented them from looking up to see the fight, for they ran to meet the wise king's army as they attacked. The two armies met at the base of the hill, and the wise king's warriors, thin as they were and not weighted down, dodged every one of the attackers' blows, except to sharpen their own staves in preparation for the kill. Within the first minute, half the armored soldiers were dead, and the rest were fleeing from the warriors who had killed their brothers with mere sticks. Some shed their armor and covered themselves in the blood of their fallen brethren to look more like the wise king's army, so they would not have to be killed.
And it came to pass that the black clouds disappeared, and once again the wise king's kingdom was at peace. Many stories and poems were written about the wise king, for he had proven that a single Sangheili can overcome any foe, and that no one could ever become an Arbiter of the Sangheili and survive. Many warriors began wearing armor with an opening in the front, to remind themselves that there is always a weak spot in an enemy.
The wise king died with no sons, but many had become as wise and as honorable as him, and they preserved his honor for many generations. His grave was made from the armor of the Arbiter's army, melted into a permanent monument that proved, and still proves, that no one attempt to conquer the Sangheili and live.