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 The San 'Shyuum (Prophets) (WIP)

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PostSubject: The San 'Shyuum (Prophets) (WIP)   Sat Apr 04, 2009 3:37 am

San 'Shyuum, also known as Prophets, are a mammal-like species, who are the leadership caste within the Covenant and one of the more mysterious member races of the hegemony. Prophets appear to exert complete control over religious and political affairs, fulfilling the role of religious and political leaders. Prophets enforce a misguided theology based on the belief that the Forerunners where a God-like race that transcended to a higher plane of existence. Although physically frail compared to other Covenant species they wield absolute power over the Covenant.


Summary
Very little is known about the Prophets, beyond the fact that they are the sole members of the leadership caste of the Covenant hierarchy. They are extremely important in the Covenant because they not only study the holy Forerunner artifacts, but they keep order in the Covenant. They are an integral part of the Covenant High Council, sharing this responsibility with the Elites. There is a triumvirate of Covenant leaders. They were known as the Prophet of Truth, Prophet of Mercy and the Prophet of Regret.

Prophets appear extremely frail either as an adaptation to a low-gravity world or because of age. The archives suggests that inbreeding and a lack of concern for physical health, perhaps superseded by the single-minded desire to achieve "trans-sentience", is probably responsible for this outcome.

It is known that they claim to have evolved on a former colony of an ancient race called the Forerunners which the Covenant revere as their gods. Prophets derive their legitimacy as leaders as well as their colloquial names from this connection. According to the Prophets their world was destroyed thousands of years ago (approx. 648 BC) as the result of a stellar collapse; and because of this they have since elected to make their home on the mobile-planetoid High Charity. It is also known that they waged a fierce and bloody war against the Elites at some point, halted only by the discovery of Forerunner artifacts near the field of battle. The two races united to learn their secrets, forming a mutually beneficial arrangement that would eventually become the Covenant. The Elites would become the protectors of the Prophets while the Prophets would dedicate themselves to studying their "gods" and learning the secrets behind the "ascension" they left on.

As the representatives of the gods, the Prophets hold a great amount of power over the other races of the Covenant, earning reverential titles such as "Holy One" and "Eminence". They are protected at all times by the mighty Legions of Elite Honor Guards, and rarely involve themselves in combat, preferring to dedicate themselves to studying Forerunner artifacts. However, important events to the Covenant usually require a high-ranking Prophet, such as a Hierarch, to be present.

The majority of the Prophets use anti-gravity belts to support themselves. Higher ranking Prophets, such as the Hierarchs (a group of three Prophets with total control of the Covenant), use anti-gravity thrones to support themselves. These however, are not so much for support as they are for personal defense - they are fitted with holographic emitters, an energy shield generator, a teleportation device, and a built-in Gravity Cannon. In the event of assassins getting past their guards, they are able to defend themselves quite well with the Gravity Cannon.

The Bestiarum contains a most curious reference to the Prophets. Where the rest of the races have one entry for population, the Prophets have two: Their current population, and one noted as "At time of Reseeding", exactly 500,000,000.


Anatomy and Physiology
Since they bear the status of political figureheads, most Prophets are physically frail creatures, preferring to move around via Gravity Belts, or Gravity Thrones outfitted with an impenetrable shield, a powerful particle beam gun, and a short-range teleportation device, in the case of the High Prophets. A life of physical inactivity leaves most if not all Prophets withered and weak. It should also be noted that the Prophets are at an odd middle-point in mass. Each Prophet has distinct, often fur-covered lobes of skin hanging underneath their chin similar to a beard, known as "wattles". Prophets of greater age, for example the High Prophet of Mercy, have skin lobes on either side of their heads reminiscent of ears; despite this resemblance, the San 'Shyuum actually receive sound at the back of the head. The Prophet of Truth (and possibly others) appears to have slits on both sides of his head. Prophets have three digits on each hand, and are usually found wearing ornamental pieces that may also double as life support systems. These head-pieces bear a holographic representation of a Halo (indicating that the Covenant have known about the Halo rings for much longer than originally thought), but each is uniquely shaped and highly ornamental. However Prophet Councilors have been seen wearing more functional robes that lack any ornamentation whatsoever. These Prophets have a lower status and as a result wear simple robes and can be found on the seating above the Council Chamber accompanying Sangheili Councilors. Prophets also seem to have parts of their brain showing through absences of skin on their heads, while skin is still there, it may be possible that they evolved to allow their brain to grow to such a size that the skin is there simply to hold it in place.

The lifespan of a Prophet appears to be extensive, largely through the development of technologies to increase it. Such a process began in about 1552. The San 'Shyuum have put considerable effort into the increase of lifespan of their own species, as more than a quarter of their population are now super-bicentarians.

In an unknown time, before the Covenant was formed, a thousand or so pro-technology Prophets called Reformists (who believed in using Forerunner technology for their use and wished to explore the Dreadnought) left their homeworld, leaving the anti-tech Stoics (those who only wished to worship the technology and not explore the Dreadnought) stranded. The resulting calamity created a log of Prophets who were not allowed to breed so that negative recessive genes would stay out of the gene pool.
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