Canon Fodder: Didact’s Domain
Time was your ally, and now it shall reward you. The Didact’s return is nigh!
In this issue of Canon Fodder, we take a look at the official description for Kelly Gay’s upcoming Halo: Epitaph novel, explore the Didact’s long history that has brought him to this point, hint at Fracture: FIREWALL’s canonical connections, and delve into a moment in time where the Scatterbound Heatwave was used by a Scutarii Warrior-Servant...
On the first day of the 2022 Halo World Championship back in October, we hosted a Canon Fodder LIVE panel which concluded with a special announcement: Kelly Gay is working on a new novel titled Halo: Epitaph, and it’s all about the Didact!
So, let’s take a look at the official description for Halo: Epitaph...
Stripped of armor, might, and memory, the Forerunner warrior known as the Didact was torn from the physical world following his destructive confrontation with the Master Chief and sent reeling into the mysterious depths of a seemingly endless desert wasteland. This once powerful and terrifying figure is now a shadow of his former self—gaunt, broken, desiccated, and alone. But this wasteland is not as barren as it seems. A blue light glints from a thin spire in the far distance…
Thus begins the Didact’s great journey—the final fate of one of the galaxy’s most enigmatic and pivotal figures.
We're putting the finishing touches on the cover art for Halo: Epitaph to make it a piece worthy of the Warrior-Servant himself and we’re excited to show that off to you—our dear Didactian disciples—in the near future.
The Didacts (both the original and his imprinted duplicate) are among the most tragic characters in the Halo universe.
“Didact” is a name Halo fans first became familiar with in 2007, during the Iris alternate-reality game which connected with the Terminals in Halo 3. These texts told of an enigmatic figure, one responsible for lighting the spark that would ignite the galaxy, burning our cosmic cradle of thinking life to defeat the Flood. In time, we would come to know this particular incarnation as Bornstellar-Makes-Eternal-Lasting, or the IsoDidact.
The original, the Ur-Didact, was conceived in part by the unparalleled mind of the late and legendary Greg Bear, who detailed his adventures, trials, and descent into madness within the pages of the Forerunner Saga—Cryptum, Primordium, and Silentium.
For those who have not yet explored these books, there are spoilers ahead for the Didact’s story in the associated media!
“You are what you dare.”Halo: Cryptum, p. 69
The Didact’s story began for us with his fateful reawakening on Earth at the hands of the young, treasure-seeking Bornstellar—along with his human companions, Chakas and Riser—as the threat posed by the Flood and the rogue Mendicant Bias escalated towards its dire terminus.
Within these books, we would learn of the Didact’s unconventional marriage to the Librarian and the subsequent death of their children in the war against the humans. We learned of his meeting with the creature known as the Primordial; his commissioning of the shield worlds, his opposition to the construction of Halo, and the political conflict which followed with the greed-driven Master Builder.
The Didact would guide Bornstellar for a time as they investigated the aftermath of all the old warrior had missed over several millennia. He would also serve as Bornstellar’s mentor, eventually imprinting his consciousness—his memories and wisdom—upon the young Forerunner, who would go on to assume command of the Forerunner military in the final years of the Flood War.
“We gave the Precursors reason to retreat into madness. A passion for vengeance. And the Gravemind gave it all right back to me. I am filled with that passion, that madness, that poison!”Halo: Silentium, p. 230
In Halo: Silentium, we learned about the Didact’s descent into madness. Captured by the Master Builder, he was marooned aboard a derelict ship in a region of space fully infested by the Flood.
It was here that he would meet with the Primordial once more, now in the form of a Gravemind.
Tortured into insanity, the Didact was turned into an agent of chaos during the Forerunners' darkest hour. A failed attempt to gain immunity to the Flood would mutate the warrior’s appearance into a dark mirror of what the Gravemind had done to him, and he would turn his desperate hopes to eradicate the parasite without firing Halo to another horrific device: the Composer.
“These large, ugly machines had originally been designed by Builders in a failed attempt to attain immunity against the Flood. Composers broadcast high-energy fields of entangled sympathies to gather victim mentalities—essences—and then translated them into machine data.”Halo: Silentium, p. 40
The Didact turned this device on human populations preserved by the Librarian in order to bolster the numbers of his Promethean Knight war machines—thus invoking his wife’s own terrible wrath.
Pursuing her husband to the shield world Requiem, the hub of all his operations, the Librarian imprisoned the Didact, sealing him in a Cryptum once more.
She had intended for this meditative exile to heal his mind by connecting him to the Domain, that he might awaken and serve as humanity’s teacher and guide on their path to inherit the Mantle... but a final bitter truth would be revealed to her by the Gravemind.
The firing of Halo wouldn’t just kill all thinking life in the galaxy, but it would burn the Domain as well, leaving the Didact to consciously stew in a hundred millennia of madness.
“So fades the great harvest of my betrayal.”Halo 4 (2012), Mission 3: Forerunner
We would see the Didact appear as the central antagonist of Halo 4. Unwittingly released from his Cryptum by the Master Chief and Cortana, he would continue his campaign against the humans—deeming them unworthy of the Mantle, as he believed that was a responsibility only the Forerunners could shoulder.
So great was the Didact’s influence that his awakening led to the revival of many long-dormant Forerunner elements across the galaxy. Though he would be prevented from assimilating all of Earth with the Composer, he succeeded in harvesting seven million human essences that formed the basis of a renewed Promethean army.
This conflict culminated in the Didact being blasted into slipspace, where he was sent back to where the Composer was found—on Gamma Halo, Installation 03.
“You would fire the Halo. Just to eliminate me?”Halo: Escalation, Issue 10
The immediate aftermath of Halo 4 was followed up on in the “The Next 72 Hours” arc of the Halo: Escalation comic series, where the Master Chief reunited with Blue Team before being sent to investigate Gamma Halo.
There, the Spartans would engage the Didact once more, as he gained control of Gamma Halo and sought to use the very weapon he had campaigned against the creation of. A final confrontation with the Master Chief proved to be his undoing—tearing him from the physical world, burning away his flesh, and depositing his digitized essence into the Domain...
But this would not be his true end.
Halo: Epitaph represents the culmination of the Didact’s journey—from page, to game, to comic, we have come full-circle, back to the page.
In a novel that is all about his past, present, and the future he will forge for himself within the hallowed halls of the Domain, this is a chapter of Halo universe history you definitely won’t want to miss!
In closing, we return to a pertinent exchange between Guilty Spark and the Librarian at the end of Kelly Gay’s first novel, Halo: Renegades.
I want to ask her what it is that she wants. Not what she hopes to achieve or the responsibilities she has taken upon her shoulders, but her own desire, her heart’s wanting.
But I realize I do not have to ask this. I already know. “Can the Didact find peace?”
The sorrow that flashes through her eyes instantly pains me. “I fear my husband is beyond redemption.”Halo: Renegades, p. 298
At the end of our final Canon Fodder issue of 2022, we said that our next Fracture event would be a little different to what has come before.
Let’s talk about that...
For Fracture: FIREWALL in Season 3, we’re expanding the scope of the event to encompass narrative threads that are more firmly rooted into the Halo canon that you know and love.
Born from the ashes of a failed AI uprising, the CHIMERA core offers a unique vision of a potentially dangerous digital future where artificial minds and augmented bodies become one.
Even with just that sentence, there is undoubtedly much for you all to dig into and infer.
And rest assured, you can expect to see us expand upon the narrative aspects and implications of FIREWALL explored in a four-part series of Story Shards when Season 3 begins to unfold in Halo Infinite.
For those of you who may have missed this feature in our previous Canon Fodder issue, Armory Infinitum provides a brief exploration of a moment in time in which Halo Infinite’s special weapon variants were used.
Many of these weapons can be acquired in the campaign by eliminating high-value targets, but some of their histories run much further back than their contemporary use.
Last time, we learned how Okro ‘Vagaduun acquired his Duelist Energy Sword—claiming it after being ordered by Atriox to eliminate his old master, the legendary swordsman Toha ‘Sumai. So yes, by killing ‘Vagaduun, that does indeed technically mean that you avenged the father of Usze ‘Taham in Halo Infinite.
This time, we’re going a bit further back in time to look at the Scatterbound Heatwave...
The heatwave shuddered and whirred as it reloaded, before kicking back into Salient-Lance's grip. The first shot took two of them out, energized shards of hardlight ricocheted off the alloyed bulkhead and tracked their targets with remarkable accuracy, disintegrating them. He fired the weapon twice more as he heard more of them coming.
By the Mantle, there were so many of them...
The wounded Scutarii struggled to shift the immense support beam that had crushed his leg as his armor’s ancilla attempted to dull his mind to the pain. He wished he had better cover.
He wished they had simply destroyed the vessel from the comforting distance of their dragoon.
And, as they turned the corner, prompting Salient-Lance to switch the heatwave to its horizontal firing mode, he wished he wasn’t the last one left.
PRETTY FLY FOR A HALO GUY
Yesterday, we dropped our latest issue of the Community Corner, and our guest on this occasion was Halo Guy!
Known for tracking the journey of the survivors from Halo: The Rubicon Protocol in the campaign spaces of Halo Infinite, we sat down to talk with Halo Guy about his journey with the series, the lore videos he creates for YouTube, and more.
While this issue has come to an end, those of you who have reached this point can rejoice in the knowledge that this is just one of two Canon Fodder issues coming this month!
The sixth anniversary of Halo Wars 2 is imminent, so we’ll be back with you in very short order to deliver some fun things connected to that...
We’ll see you soon.