The Covenant is a collection of religious alien races ruled seeking the "Great Journey" that their gods, the Forerunners, had taken before them. The unique races of the Covenant are all bound together by their unquestioned belief in the long extinct Forerunners and their promise of the Great Journey. They include many species including the Grunts (Unggoy), Jackals (Kig-Yar), Brutes (Jiralhanae), Hunters (Mgalekgolo), Drones (Yanme'e), Engineers (Huragok), Prophets (San'Shyuum), and the Elites (Sangheili). The Covenant government is a hierarchy theocratic system, being ruled by a group of individuals (a mix of Elites and Prophets). Overall, the Covenant are lead by the Hierarchs, a group of three Prophets, most recently Regret, Mercy, and Truth. Most recently, the Covenant lead a genocidal war against Humanity, who they believe to be unfit for the Great Journey. With the majority of their fleets decimated and facing both political and cultural upheaval, Jul' Mdama leads the Covenant remnant.
The Covenant is governed by the High Council, which is made up of the Hierarchs, lesser Prophets, and Councilors (high ranking Elites). There are also many ministries, such as the Ministry of Fortitude, and lesser councils, such as the Council of Masters. Near the start of the Covenant Civil War, Brutes began to take the numerous high-ranking positions the Elites previous possessed. Fleetmasters, which were only held by the Elites, started to replaced by Brutes as seen in the novel Contact Harvest. With the events of Halo 2, when the Prophet of Regret was killed by Master Chief, the remaining Prophets used the excuse to replace even more Elite positions such as the Elite Guards, with Brutes. Ruling from High Charity, the central hub of the entire Covenant Empire, the government rules zealously, strictly following the ancient rules of the Covenant.
Prophets (San 'Shyuum)
The highest leaders of the Covenant, the Prophets exert complete control over everything including political and religious affairs. In addition to being the political leaders, they are also the spiritual leaders.
They are originally from a planet once inhabited by the Forerunner. There they revered the Forerunner as gods, and held everything made by them sacred. But when their meeting with the Sangheili turned into a devastating war, one group of San 'Shyuum locked themselves inside the Forerunner ship Dreadnought. Leaving their homeworld behind, they prove that Forerunner technology is superior to the Sangheili war-machine. The Sangheili was also familiar with the Forerunner, and so a peace treaty was made, creating the Covenant.
Because of the relative small number of San 'Shyuum which escaped in the Dreadnought, they was forced to monitor breeding, in order to lessen the inbreeding and maintaining a good gene-pool. The Dreadnought became the base of their new homeworld, High Charity, after their original homeworld was destroyed. This new world is actually a large moving half-moon-like structure, with the Forerunner ship in the middle. All the power comes from this ship.
The Prophets usually sit in a hovering chair, being more and more powerful the higher they are in society. A Hierarch, the three highest ranked leaders, have hover-chairs with plenty of features and a powerful grav-engine.
After the events in Halo 3, where the Flood rampages through High Charity, and the Sangheili rebels, their numbers reach near extinction.
The Sangheili (or as they are better known) the Elites are a Reptilian looking race that was part of the Covenant during the events of the first Halo and served as one of the primary foe. They are a very cunning and brave foe and as such they are a very difficult enemy to master. They match the Master Chief in strength and are very honour bound; they served as the field commanders of the Covenant ground forces and also held key positions throughout the Covenant Navy. In fact, it is shown in the books that they even served as undersecretaries to the Prophets themselves. They were once the mortal enemies of the Prophets until they were united for a common cause this was the start of the Covenant. For thousands of years they fought along side the prophets as their protectors and enforcers. However, during Halo 2 they were cast out of the covenant and formed the Covenant Separatists, who fought against the rest of the Covenant and in particular the Prophet of Truth for his betrayal.
On average, Elites are about 8"6" tall standing at full height and are much stronger than an average Human. Their strength is Equal to that of a Spartan in full MJOLNIR armour. Elites are a proud race and truly intelligent when it comes to all forms of war. Elites are extremely dexterous, as they are able to wield just about any weapon whether it be covenant or Human made. They have a lean and muscular body structure and they weight in at between 300 and 500 lbs. They have lean powerfully built limbs and torso with a long hunched neck. Their mouths consist of four mandibles, These are lined with sharp teeth suggesting that they might have been a race that relied on capturing Prey. Their skin is very much reptilian, as it is very leathery in nature and their colour can vary from black to Grey. Unlike Human eyes their eye colour can include colors like dark red and in some cases yellow but for the most part it is either Black, blue or green. They have multiple internal organs, namely they have two heats and look to have a double set of pectoral muscles. Like Spartans they too wear armour with its own Personal shields however unlike spartan armour it does not increase their speed or strength. The Elites rebelled against the Prophets, being replaced by Brutes part way through Halo 2 and joined with Humanity to fight against the Covenant. After the war, Jul' Mdama led the Covenant remnant alongside the Sangheili, Kig-yar, Mgalekolo and Unggoy.
Giant gorilla-like creatures, which also resembles rhinos and bears. They are a fanatical race, following the words of the Prophet with no second thoughts. They look down on Elites, thinking they are unfit for the role of protectors of the Prophets. They take that role during Halo 2, after the Elites fail to protect the Prophet of Regret from assassination in Halo 2.
Being a very fierce and brutal race, they have reached spacefaring technology at least once, before wars have reverted them back to pre-industrial stages. When the Covenant discovered them, they had just re-learned radio- and rocket technology. Because of this, they are excellent fighters, although less refined than Elites. Instead of using complex tactics they use a more head-on approach. Being large and very bulky, they are more than a match for Elites and SPARTANs.
They do not like the plasma technology which the Covenant typically uses, and instead favour weapons from their homeworld. These weapons are more brutal, and often sport a bladed attachment. They are said to be fond of the Human shotgun.
Being a pack-species, the last member of the pack will go into a berserker state if the rest is killed. This affects gameplay, as a Brute will charge at the player without any care for its well-being, and will attempt to cause massive melee damage.
A small methane-breathing race, primarily used in the military as normal soldiers. Or in most cases, cannon fodder. They are also used for menial tasks and various forms of labor. Very intelligent Grunts are usually trained as Deacons, which help to keep the word of the Covenant. Because they breathe
methane instead of oxygen, as the rest of the Covenant does, they have to wear methane packs. These can be easily destroyed, making their lives quite short-lived in combat.
Usually being led by an Elite or a Brute, they will attack when being pushed forward. But if the leader is slain, they are more likely to flee. Not much of a threat by themselves, they are dangerous in numbers. There are stories of an army of Grunts vaporizing a Hunter in seconds by firing at the same time.
Lizard-like creatures, employed to replace the Grunts. This did not work out, due to their temperament and lack of numbers. In addition , they act more as privateers, not believing in the Forerunner or the Great Journey as the Covenant do. They do have superior senses in comparison to most species, so they are primarily used as scouts and snipers. They are also using a wrist-mounted energy shield instead of the armor based shield. This works more like a traditional metal shield.
A pirate-like species, they scout for new species and Forerunner planets.
A unique species, because of their appearance. This creature is in fact many creatures. Lekgolo are a colony of sentient symbiotic orange eels. The "weaponized" or Mgalekgolo, which are called Hunters by humans, Massive 12 foot tall 10,500 pound creatures in blue armor, with a big shield on one arm and a Fuel rod gun on the second arm. The Hunters encountered in the games always come in pairs. They are so called "bond brothers", one colony too big to fit in one armor.
The Hunters are never used as normal soldiers, but work excellent as demolition-workers and defense.
The Hunters was brought into the Covenant when they proved to be too hard to exterminate. The Covenant wanted them destroyed because they desecrated Forerunner relics, due to their fondness of burrowing through Forerunner architecture. Some Lekgolo even ate Forerunner relics. But the Elite acting as the Arbiter at the time suggested taming them instead. They where also used at High Charity to discover new things about the Dreadnought, letting them burrow through the ancient ship in hope of finding out new things about it.
The Huragok are the engineers of the Covenant. Created by the Forerunner, they are made to fix things. Using their tentacles, which can split into many fine cilia, they are able to manipulate and fix almost everything. Despite their connection to the Forerunner, they are impossible to question on that subject, and they only care about repairing or discerning the purpose of items.
While they look organic, they are actually made by nano-mechanical surrogates resembling organic material. This is most likely the reason why they survived the firing of the Halo arrays. Because of this, a Huragok is not born, but manufactured by it's parents. This can be as much as three Huragok. At the end of this manufacturing, the new Huragok is filled with gasses. It's name depends on how it floats with these gasses. Some known names are Far Too Heavy, Lighter Than Some or Easy To Adjust.
Being only concerned about fixing things and knowing how things work, they are not an aggressive race. Friend or foe has no meaning to them, and they have at one time fixed Master Chief's energy shield. They can talk, and have made friends. But due to the nature of their communication, which is using their tentacles to make patterns and the like, it is not easy to talk with them.
The Engineers was made for Halo: Combat Evolved, but was cut from the game due to time constraints, however they were later implemented into Halo 3: ODST, Halo Wars, and Halo: Reach.
An insectoid race mostly used for mechanics and engineering. They see the Engineers as rivals. Because of difficulties in communicating with other species, they do not take much part in social life as a member of the Covenant, though they wouldn't have much to add anyway, as Drones have no emotions, and it is implied that they have a hivemind and lack even individual identities. They do, however follow the Covenant religion very carefully.
The Yanme'e are used as soldiers now and then, but because of their fragile form they are easily killed, if they can be hit. Drones are capable of flight, and travel in large packs. Most carry Plasma Pistols, and are similar to Grunts in that they are only dangerous in groups.
The Covenant Separatists are comprised of Elites, most Hunters, and some Grunts and are led by the Arbiter and Ship Master Rtas 'Vadum. The Covenant Separatists are a breakaway faction of
the Covenant Empire who are fighting in the Covenant Civil War against the Covenant Loyalists. The Covenant Separatists have discovered the truth about the Halo rings and will do anything to prevent them from being fired by Loyalist forces. The Separatists are allied with UNSC forces as they now both have the same ultimate goal of stopping the Prophet of Truth from firing the rings. The Covenant Separatists end up victorious in the Covenant Civil war with the total destruction of all Flood and Covenant Loyalist Forces.
Being Separatists, they are labelled Heretics by the rest of the Covenant.
After the events of the first Halo trilogy, in which the Prophet leadership of the Covenant was annihilated, the capital city of High Charity was destroyed, and the Great Journey was revealed to be genocide on a galactic scale, not ascension to a higher plane of existence, the Covenant Empire fell to pieces, and the vast, overwhelming majority of its membership splintered back into their separate species, retreating to their homeworlds. However, a comparatively small remnant faction refuse to believe that the Forerunners were not gods, and cling to the Covenant religion, carrying on the old ways, including their hatred of Humans. Although tiny compared to the vast Covenant Empire, this remnant still comprises a rather impressive fleet of powerful warships, and thousands of soldiers who are even more fanatically devoted to the cause than any encountered in the past, including Elites, Jackals, Grunts, and even Hunters among their number, and lead by the Elite warlord Jul 'Mdama. In particular, they believe the Forerunner shield world Requiem is a sacred, holy place, and that the Didact, the last living Forerunner, is a living god. Working together with the Prometheans commanded by the Didact, the Covenant Remnant are absolutely determined to see the Didact's will done, and to bring about the end of Humanity and the resurrection of the Forerunner race.
Tartarus is a Brute Chieftain during the events of Halo 2. Annoyed by the lack of respect shown his race, and always being overshadowed by the Elites, he partners with the Prophets to
overthrow the Elites. After the Prophet of Regret is killed by the Master Chief, Tartarus uses this as a chance to wrest control from the Elites, securing Honor Guard positions for his Brutes, and throwing the Eltes out, although they are still members of the Covenant. However, after the Arbiter retrieves the Index from Delta Halo's Library, Tartarus and the Prophets initiate their coup. Tartarus takes the Index from the Arbiter, then casts the Arbiter down a pit in the center of the Library, where he is caught by Gravemind. At the same time, all across the Covenant, the Brutes turn against and attack the Elites on the Prophet's orders. While this conflict is going on, Tartarus takes Miranda Keyes and the Index to Delta Halo's control room. It is here that the Arbiter catches up with him, and reveals the truth about the Halo rings. Refusing to believe what he is being told, Tartarus activates the ring and draws his gravity hammer for combat. While the ring is charging, the Arbiter fights and eventually kills Tartarus with the help of other Elites and Sergeant Johnson. After his death, Miranda Keyes is able to safely retrieve the Index from Halo's control center, aborting the firing sequence of the installation.