Thel sat alone in his quarters, mulling over what would become his newest battle scars. He was back on the Shadow of Intent, on his way back to Sanghelios, fresh from the battle at High Charity. He could catch his breath. He could briefly relax. And, most importantly, he could sort out his thoughts.
His mind was a raging hurricane. He'd done what had seemed so long to be impossible. He'd killed The Prophet. He'd killed that who had kept his people in bondage, those who had used his proud people as meaningless battle fodder for their own corrupt agendas. His belief system had been shattered, the assurance of a glorious reward for his faithfulness, the certainty of receiving that glorious reward after death, that had all been suddenly and cruelly taken from him. He had been marked, he had been humiliated, he had been dishonored. And for what? A mistake? But that mistake, the humiliation and death sentence that came after, all that had been handed down as a crushing blow to his pride, his career, his life, he had come to realize he wouldn't have wanted it any other way. Those events had opened his eyes. They had given him a new perspective, one that never would have come to him if none of it had happened. His disenchantment with the radical belief system that he had been soaking up since birth held nothing for him now. He was sure it had never held anything for him, other than dying for someone else's twisted cause.
He rubbed a hand over his face, the weariness settling into his bones.
His disenchantment with the Covenant and the way the prophets dishonored him, the way they dishonored his people by replacing the Sangheili Honor Guard with Brutes, the way they manipulated his proud people into becoming subservient, all under the false promise of eternal reward…that was what had ultimately cemented his decision to ally himself with the Demon. How could one soldier do more harm to him than the Covenant had? What reason was there to hate the Demon if they had a common goal? If they wanted the same thing? What meaning did his prejudice hold when he needed an ally?
Thel exhaled slowly, leaning his back against the wall.
They'd both wanted the same thing. To end the hold of great fear and suffering that the Prophets had inflicted on their people. But whereas the Demon and his people were the targets of intentional genocide, the genocide of his Sangheili would have been simply a consequence of war. His people meant so little to anyone. They had become a race of warriors, renowned, feared. But at what cost? You cannot build your cities with swords. You cannot grow crops with corpses. You cannot engineer ships with blood. You cannot trade with people whose planets you have turned to ash and dust.
"There is so much we must relearn if we are to survive." He said softly, to empty air.
Humanity was the only hope of his people now. The Prophets had given his people what they'd needed to survive, had gifted them what they needed to live, provided for all their needs so they could focus on war. But that was gone now. They had nothing anymore, save their own ability to fight and a hope that humanity had as much forgiveness as they did resilience.
Thel took off his helmet and turned it over in his hands. "Things have changed. Not only for my people, but in my own mind as well. " He said into the darkness.
Changes had come over him. He had much prejudice to unlearn. He only hoped the rest of his people, and humanity as well, would be willing to unlearn theirs.
His people needed humanity's help. And he would do whatever it took to make peace between his people and the Demon's.
But he suspected that one day humanity would have a desperate need for help that only Sanghelios could provide. He needed to convince his people to dismantle their old beliefs and their old prejudices do they could survive until such a time that they were needed. And he had to convince the humans that an alliance between his people and theirs would be to the benefit of all.
He'd always been a warrior. But now it was time for him to be a leader.
An arbiter, if you will.