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The High Prophet of Truth, also known as the Minister of Fortitude, was the leader of three High Prophets|Hierarchs that lead the Covenant High Council. Since the Prophets of Mercy and Regret's death, he became the de facto leader of the entire Covenant.
Twenty Third Age of Doubt
During the Age of Doubt, 2524 by the United Nations Space Command calendar, the Prophet of Truth was widely known as the Minister of Fortitude. He had gained his standing during a stint as junior staffer in the Ministry of Concert. At that time, he unearthed a conspiracy by several Kig-Yar ship captains to poison several recreational narcotics often enjoyed by Unggoy, rendering them infertile and serving as petty revenge for the displacement of Kig-Yar nests caused by a recent Unggoy overpopulation. Despite the Prophet's warnings, the matter was ignored and soon escalated into a bloody skirmish known as the Grunt Rebellion.
Truth found himself involved in a conspiracy when the Vice Minister of Tranquility, later known as the Prophet of Regret, informed him of the massive amounts of "Forerunner artifacts", a Luminary had discovered on the planet Harvest. Truth planned to use these artifacts to spring himself into a position of high power, as a Hierarch, of the Covenant. This marked the first alliance between the Prophets and the Jiralhanae, as Regret wisely decided to use them to retrieve these artifacts, rather than upset the fine balance of power by allowing Sangheili to gain the treasures.
In order to push the three current Hierarchy, Tolerance, Obligation and Restraint from their positions, Truth utilized blackmail against the third Prophet, Restraint. Regret had shown himself as a sympathizer for those blacklisted from reproducing due to inborn genes, after being urged to do so by Truth who was aware that Restraint had illegitimately fathered two children. The Prophet of Restraint offered Regret a high position if he would adopt the children, but the scheming Prophets instead used this to their advantage, forcing the Prophet to step down or have his scandalous affair made public.
Before their coup, the Prophets visited an "Oracle" within the Forerunner Dreadnought, an ancient AI known as Mendicant Bias that had stored itself in the ship and had not spoken for several hundred years. When the Luminations of Harvest were inputted into its matrix, it suddenly came to light and revealed the symbols had been misinterpreted-that Humans stood as equals to the Forerunner, and the Covenant had been mistaken in their beliefs. As it tried to launch the Dreadnought from High Charity, the Prophets along with the Philologist, leader of the ascetic priests and later the Prophet of Mercy, disconnected the Oracle from the ship and decided that the Humans must be eradicated once and for all, before any of the Covenant could learn of this and shatter their society as well as their religion. Fortitude chose the name "Truth" as a reminder to himself of the lies he would have to tell to prevent the Covenant from fragmenting as it would 27 years later.
The three Prophets successfully implemented their plan and became the new rulers of the Covenant until Ninth Age of Reclamation.
The Reach Campaign and The Arbiter
|“||The council decided to have you hung by your entrails, and your corpse paraded through the city, but ultimately the terms of your execution are up to me.||„|
|~ Truth speaking to the new Arbiter.|
Truth was the first Prophet ever mentioned by name, at the end of Halo: First Strike. He waited in High Charity on the Step of Silence for Tartarus to arrive, with what remained of an ancient Forerunner Crystal that could manipulate time and space. He ordered the reward and secret execution of the remaining survivors from Operation: FIRST STRIKE.
Truth was first seen in Halo 2, during the trial of the Supreme Commander of the Fleet of Particular Justice. With a nod, he ignored the requests of Regret and the council to execute the Commander, and instead chose to make him an Arbiter. He then sent his new Arbiter against the Heretic rebellion forming on a nearby Gas Mine.
The Great Journey
|“||Your haste has jeopardized the fulfillment of our Covenant, threatened our grand design.||„|
|~ Cortana quoting Truth's words to Regret|
While on Installation 05, Regret transmitted an apology to Truth, apologizing for his reckless attack on Earth. Truth responded angrily, saying that it was only Mercy who had stopped Truth from publicly condemning Regret. Nevertheless, High Charity and its fleet rushed to Installation 05 and released a fleet of Phantoms full of forces to save Regret from the Humans who had overwhelmed Regret's soldiers. His sermons were interrupted when the Master Chief gained entry, and managed to attack and kill him. The rescue Phantoms were called back by Truth, and instead had a Covenant Cruiser decimate the ancient building with its weapons. It is likely that Truth allowed Regret to be killed as part of his plan to remove the Sangheili from power, as Rtas 'Vadum remarks they had called back his ships before the Prophet had been killed and the Elites would later be blamed, then taken out of power by Truth sighting their supposed failure to protect the Prophets.
Locating the "Sacred Icon"
After Regret was killed by the Master Chief, Truth began replacing the Elites with the Brutes as the Prophets' protectors, as the Elites had failed to protect Regret from his demise. This ultimately led to the start of the Covenant Civil War. Shortly thereafter, while Truth was addressing the Covenant about the Parasite, "The Sacred Icon” and The Great Journey, SPARTAN-117 was teleported into his chamber and pursued as he tried to escape to the Forerunner Dreadnought.
|“||We are, all of us, gravely concerned. The release of the parasite was unexpected, unfortunate. But, there is no need to panic. In truth, this is a time to rejoice. A moment that all the Covenant should savor. For the Sacred Icon has been found. With it, our path is clear, our entry into the Divine Beyond guaranteed! The Great Journey is nigh... and nothing, not even the Flood, can stop it.||„|
As the two remaining Prophets and their Human captives tried to escape, a mass of Flood Infection Forms attacked the Prophet of Mercy. Many were destroyed by Tartarus and his Brutes, but one managed to leap towards Mercy and kill him. Truth ordered him to be left behind, one of his final moves to take full control of the Covenant.
Truth sent Tartarus to Installation 05 to activate the rings while he escaped into the Forerunner Dreadnought. When the Master Chief questioned a dying Mercy, he told the Chief that the Prophet was going to Earth, "to finish what we started". This implies that Regret's attack on Earth might have been an attempt to activate The Ark, the massive Forerunner monument which could activate all the Halo rings.
Assault on Earth
|“||You are, all of you, vermin. Cowering in the dirt, thinking...what, I wonder? That you might escape the coming fire? No! Your world will burn until its surface is but glass!||„|
|~ Truth to the personnel of Crow's Nest|
After the assault on his Dreadnought by SPARTAN-117, Truth managed to break through the Human fleet and land his ship on the newly unearthed device beneath the sands of Africa. He successfully activated this device, opening a portal to the Ark. After get into this portal and travelling to an activation room on the installation, he shielded himself from attack and captured Sergeant Johnson to activate the rings for him. Despite his efforts, the UNSC and Elite forces broke through, as well as the newly Flood-controlled High Charity, who proceeded to assault the Citadel Truth was in from the opposite side.
Activating The Ark
|“||And so...you must be silenced!||„|
|~ The Arbiter, just before killing Truth|
As the High Prophet tried to force Johnson to activate the ring, Commander Miranda Keyes crashed a Pelican into the Control Room, in hopes of rescuing Johnson, but found herself surrounded by Truth's Brute Bodyguards.
She attempted to kill both herself and the Sergeant before either could be forced to activate the installations, but Truth managed to kill her himself by fatally severing her spine with a few shots of a Brute Spiker from behind her. As he began to activate the system, the Master Chief and the Arbiter found themselves allied with the Flood in a final, desperate attempt to stop him from firing the rings. After his guards were finished off by the Flood, Truth found himself being overtaken by the Flood's infection. The Arbiter warned Gravemind to not infect the Prophet, desiring to have his revenge on the Prophet before his consciousness was expunged. Truth in his last moments still found himself deluded, believing he would transcend as a god.
Before his very last words, the Arbiter held him up by his throat so he could watch the Demon halt all of his plans by shutting down the Ark. He spoke his last words, referring to himself as the voice of the Covenant, before being run through by the Arbiter's Energy Sword. With his death, the Covenant collapsed, finally bringing the Human-Covenant War, and Covenant Civil War to an end.
Seeing that during the Arbiter's trial he expressed little or no emotion whatsoever despite the fact that Halo was destroyed, it would seem at first that Truth has a very calm and stoic nature, giving him a hardy, stone-faced persona. However, he is quick to become impatient and angry towards those, like his fellow Hierarch Regret, who anger him, or do something foolish or reckless. An example of this is when Truth sends a transmission to Regret scolding him on how rash he was to attack the Humans' homeworld.
However, the reason he is harsh on him is probably because he worries that Regret will end up dead or worse according to a letter he wrote to Mercy saying that he is "perhaps worrying too much". After arriving on Earth, Truth appears noticeably more aggressive and impatient, possibly having grown more annoyed by the "Demon" and the Humans interfering in his plans. Interestingly, contrary to his name, Truth is very deceptive, often lying to accomplish his goals. He tells the Covenant that it was the Brutes who found the Sacred Icon instead of the Arbiter, who truly discovered it. Truth also secretly orders the killing of the Arbiter by the Brute Chieftain Tartarus after he has finished using him, as well as the assassination of the Elite council members. Another example is the fact that he stated that the Prophet of Mercy was by his side in the level "High Charity", when in fact, Mercy had died in an attack by the Flood moments earlier. Truth mercilessly denied him help, stating that "the Great Journey waits for no one". Truth also started the Human-Covenant War by ordering that the humans be expunged.
Another interesting thing to note is that throughout Halo 3 (and parts of Halo 2), Truth exhibits many psychopathic traits and even shows a slight sadistic side. It would seem that he loses his cool, calm behavior when face-to-face with a formidable enemy, such as the Arbiter or the Chief.
Although inspiring and charismatic, he is most likely insane considering how fanatical and manipulative he is. He essentially caused the Covenant Civil War, along with Mercy's and Regret's easily preventable deaths.
The motivation for Truth's actions have been called into question as one of the biggest mysteries of the Halo universe. His choices in allowing both Mercy and Regret to die seem to suggest that he wanted supreme power over the entire Covenant, yet he already seemed to possess a high amount of power over the other Hierarchs.
After the death of the Prophet of Regret, the Prophet of Truth charged the Elites with no longer being able to guarantee their safety, and despite arguments that they could have stopped SPARTAN-117 if they had not been withdrawn due to his order, the Prophet began to set in motion a plan that seemed to be preconceived, the shifting of power within the Covenant that elevated the Brutes into the former Elite position of protector. He killed two birds with one stone, one giving himself greater power after Regrets death, and two, to pass power to the Brutes before the Schism.
Though the Prophet has questioned and learned from 343 Guilty Spark, it is not truly known if he believes in and desires to transcend on the "Great Journey". As the Minister of Fortitude he learned from the AI stationed on the Forerunner Dreadnought, Mendicant Bias, that the Humans were the true heirs of the Forerunner. Despite this knowledge, he had the AI's connections to the Dreadnought severed as much as possible and initiated the bloodbath that would become the Human-Covenant War.
Although it is only speculation, it seems likely that Truth always intended to journey to the Ark, explaining why he was so eager to allow both Regret and Mercy to perish, clearing his path. He may have sought to activate the rings while safe in the Ark to clear all of his nemesis, both Elites and Humans alike. This theory is supported by the fact that on the Halo 3 level, The Ark, in which he states that all the Covenant races will be saved from the rings, which also may lead to the fact that he told the Covenant the truth and what power the whole empire would wield during the beginning of the Covenant Civil War. An interesting note is that when Johnson asks Truth, "Can't start your own party?", Truth replies: "I admit. I need your help. But that secret dies with all the rest." This hints that he knew what the Halos did as well.
Truth's animosity towards the Elites may stem toward the fact that both races competed in a bloody war many decades before the forming of the Covenant, forcing a resignation for the race in Truth. He did have a higher regard for the Brutes as they were able to move quickly through the ranks, the real reason they had the Elites as their guards.
Although a description for the Prophet describes him as "deluded, possibly insane" as well as a true believer, it is noted that he has always been far less ascetic in his views, accepting the dogma but not acting in reverence toward it.
Evidence for Truth's knowledge of the Rings exists in his confidential conversation with Sergeant Avery Johnson. He still strives to become "A God", but it is possible that the power he would gain from wiping out every contending race would garner him the kind of "Godliness" he imagines.
- The Prophet of Truth is voiced by Michael Wincott in Halo 2 and by Terence Stamp in Halo 3. There is no canon source at the moment stating why his voice changed, but it was probably done to make him seem more like a villain than a priest.
- Like other Prophets, his title is ironic. For "Truth" it is that he lied constantly: the Human-Covenant War was started directly due to one of his lies, and he may have known the truth about Halo but continued on with the Great Journey.
- Like the Prophet of Regret, the Gravemind comes to speak through Truth at some point.
- The Prophet of Truth is the only Covenant who referred John-117 as the "Master Chief".
- Holograms of Truth will occasionally flash to true color, rather than all turquoise like normal holograms.
- Truth has one of the three remaining shards of the Forerunner Slipspace crystal, and it may have been used when he escapes High Charity to Earth in the Dreadnought.
- In Halo 3 on the level The Covenant, Truth was beginning to be infected by the Flood. While the Arbiter was next to him, short tentacles began to come out of Truth's face, and the Gravemind began to speak through him, Flood spores coming from his mouth as he spoke.
- On the level The Covenant, after the Arbiter impales Truth on his energy sword, his crown falls off, but the crown is still on the head of his lifeless body after the cutscene ends.
- Truth's manipulative deeds are reminiscent to Emperor Palpatine from the Star Wars Universe, both utilizing political corruption to undermine the basis of their governments for a singular purpose of controlling an Empire. Both also instigated civil war in an attempt to achieve said goals.
- In Halo 3, you can destroy Truth's hologram projectors, but you can't in Halo 2.
- It is shown that Truth can hold a Brute Spiker as he killed Miranda Keyes from behind. However, this contradicts the fact that the Marines stating it is really heavy for them to hold it. Based on facts laid down, Prophets are supposed to be weaker than Humans. However, it is possible that the fact contradict the other fact.
- Truth only appears in person on the level The Covenant. All other cases in which he appears is through holograms or the viewing screen in the UNSC base Crow's Nest.