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Part III
Posted By: The Reclaimer<reclaimer_5@yahoo.com>
Date: 23 February 2006, 10:36 pm

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Part III

The Disgraced walked out of the chamber into the hallway where he was met by Tartarus, who immediately punched him in the stomach, making him fall to the floor.
"Your head is to be lower than ours, all of us." He declared.
They continued through to a door that went to the elevator. The Honor Guard silently opened the door. A rush of sound nearly knocked the Disgraced over even more.
The words Heretic and Treason echoed across the spectator's seats across the platform where he was headed to.
He was moved to his location and was latched in to the restraints. Tartarus moved forward. "You've drawn quite a crowd." The Disgrace of a zealot causes a large crowd naturally.
"If they came to see me beg, they will be disappointed." The Disgraced replied sternly to him.
"Are you sure?" Then Tartarus pulled a latch and an orange beam pulse out and hit the Disgraced. He felt himself burning, his reputation burning away. This went on for about two minutes, and then stopped when his armor was completely blackened.
Then Tartarus pushed another latch in, and a red hot brand rose before him. The crowd rose in sound responding to the final part of the Disgracing process- the brand. The symbol appeared in the middle of the brand- the mark of heresy. He barely saw it before the brute rammed the object into his chest. He felt burning again, this time worse. He was a heretic, worthy of neither death nor life. He yelled as it killed his life, his soul could not be saved from damnation.
Two brutes followed Tartarus in leaving. They merely picked the Disgraced up and held him and the elevator opened up and pulled them down. The Disgraced spoke up.
"Where are we going? Am I going to my death now?"
"No! You are to be placed in the condemned cells after one last audience with the Prophets. You shall not have the easy way out."
The disgraced passed out and was awakened by murmuring from the two brutes.
"How much further must we heft this baggage? Any cell will do." One of the brutes said.
"Why not toss him in with this lot?"
"They could use the meat."
"Them? what about us? My belly aches! And his flesh is seared just the way I like it."
"Quiet!" Tartarus yelled to stop the banter. "You two whimper like grunts fresh off the teat! He's not meant for the jails. The Hierarchs have something special in mind." He opened the door to a massive room, and inside the room was The Mausoleum.
They walked in. Honor guards lined the hall to the room. The door opened and there were the two Prophets Truth and Mercy inside.
"Noble Prophets of Truth and Mercy: I have brought the incompetent."
"You may leave, Tartarus."
"But- I thought", Tartarus wanted front row seats to his death.
"And take your brutes with you."
Tartarus said under his breath, "Release the prisoner."
The three brutes left slowly so they could possibly see some death.
The Noble Prophet of Truth spoke up. "The council decided to have you hung by your entrails and your corpse paraded throughout the city. But ultimately the terms of your execution are up to me."
"I am already dead."
"Indeed. Do you know where we are?"
"The Mausoleum of The Arbiter."
"Quite so. Here lies the vanguard of the Great Journey; Every Arbiter from first to last. Each one created and consumed in times of extraordinary crisis."
"The taming of the Hunters, the Grunt Rebellion," the Prophet of Mercy interrupted. "Were it not for the Arbiters, the Covenant would have broken long ago."
He felt out of place in this sacred room. "Even on my knees I do not belong in their presence."
"Halo's destruction was your error, and you rightly bear the blame. But the council was…overzealous. We know you are no heretic. This is the true face of heresy," a small hologram of an elite with a weird apparatus attached to his back. "One who would subvert our faith and incite rebellion against the high Council." The prophet played the hologram.
"Our prophet's are false! Open your eyes, my brothers. They would use the faith of our forefathers to bring ruin to us all! The Great Journey is a" the Prophet brought the tape to an instant halt.
"This heretic, and those who follow him, must be silenced."
"Their slander offends all who walk the path." The Prophet of Mercy added.
"What use am I? I can no longer command ships, lead troops into battle-"
The Prophet of truth spoke in a low and raspy tone as to keep the idea under the table. "Not as you are, no. But become the Arbiter and you shall be set loose against this heresy with our blessing."
The Disgraced spoke to Truth. "What of the council?"
"The tasks you must undertake are perilous, suicidal. You will die as each Arbiter has before you. The council will have their corpse." The Prophet of Mercy declared with a sort of grittiness. A Pod with the suit of The Arbiter glided to where the Sangheli stood.
The Arbiter picked the helmet out of the pod and asked, "What would you have your Arbiter do?"

Part IV

"Where are we off to, my old friend?" The Arbiter asked the white clad elite. He had been through many battles, but this one was the most shrouded in secrecy. They walked towards the Phantoms.
"Our heretical enemies are residing on a makeshift base on the moon called basis, and the Mining Facility holding position over Threshold's surface. We are sending a Destroyer to mop up the Basis base. We are to take care of the Leader of these heretics personally. He is on The Mining Station."
"Is there anything else I should know?
"Yes. A recent transmission intercepted from the station says that there was an accidental interaction with an unknown species. Best keep your shield up and sword handy."
"Something doesn't feel right. Why would our Lord's creations be so lightly guarded?"
"There is a failsafe, Arbiter. The cable that suspends the station can be easily cut if anything gets way out of hand. Let's try to not have that happen. We have already lost one of the Forerunner's sacred installations." He gave a short chuckle to himself.
The Arbiter did not enjoy that joke. He was already condemned for his act; he didn't need a comedy hour to remind him of that.
They reached the Phantoms and loaded up. The Arbiter grabbed a handful of grenades. He also grabbed a plasma rifle and went into the gravity lift. He was then joined by a handful of Elites and then his friend. The ship's engines rumbled and he felt a jolt upward and then outwards. He was latching into his seat when Half- Jaw handed him a handle.
"This sword has been in my family for two ages. May it serve you well on you mission, Arbiter."
This sword reminded him of the old swords when they were still made as axes. They were truly beautiful back then, but only Honor Guards could use them.
"We are approaching the ring now."
The Arbiter's mind flooded with emotions as he saw the space junk, once a holy structure, floating off into space.
"Time to prepare for the battle," Half- Jaw said aside to himself. "When we joined the Covenant, we took an oath!"
The elites responded simultaneously, "According to our stations, all without exception!"
"On the blood of our fathers, on the blood of our sons, we swore to uphold the Covenant."
"Even to our dying breath!"
The Arbiter cringed at the next line of the battle preparedness. He knew what line was next.
"Those who would break this oath are Heretics, worthy of neither pity nor mercy! Even now, they use our lords' creations to broadcast their lies!"
"We shall grind them into dust!"
"And continue our march to glorious salvation!"
The Arbiter was not used to this. He was going to fight, to kill his brothers. No, they were no longer his brothers. They are Heretics now, and are already dead to him.
Half-Jaw approached the Arbiter. "This armor suits you, but it cannot hide that mark."
The Arbiter had accepted his fate. It was his responsibility. He has paid for it. Well, is about to pay. "Nothing ever will."
"You are the Arbiter, the will of the Prophets. But these are my elites. Their lives matter to me, yours does not."
"That makes two of us."
The leader huffed in respect. The Arbiter had totally accepted his fate.

The quiet was soon ended by the loudness of the wind on the Phantom. The radio crackled open. "Leader, no doubt, the storm will strike the facility."
"We will be long gone before it arrives."

The phantoms arrived very close to a building and rose about 10 feet from the building. The first elites dropped into the gravlift. The other phantoms released their grunts. The Arbiter was last to leave.
"Warriors prepare for combat!" Half Jaw then opened a personal com to The Arbiter. "We are the arm of the Prophets, Arbiter, and you are the blade. Be silent and swift and we shall quell this heresy without incident."
"Time to fulfill the Prophet's will."