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Canon Fodder: Lorelord

Issue 151
Image of the Halo 2: Anniversary map Warlord with art of Bitterness-of-the-Vanquished imposed over it
Photo of Alex
  -  4 months ago

Some fodder for your canon?

This issue, we’ve got some insights into Halo: Epitaph, including all-new art of a previously unseen character, a new Armory Infinitum entry, and more.

Let us start by saying...


...Halo: Epitaph is out! It’s been out for almost a month now, which is unbelievable in itself, but it wasn’t yet out when we did our last issue. So, let it be known: You humans sought Halo: Epitaph, you will have it.

You wanna read Epitaph? Grab a physical copy or ebook here.

You wanna listen to Epitaph? No, that’s not actually a question—you want to listen to Epitaph, as it’s narrated by Keith Szarabajka, the voice and motion-capture actor for the Didact himself. Secure the audiobook for your ears here.

(Buy one. Heck, buy two—that's an order, soldier!)


Introduced in Halo: Silentium, Bitterness-of-the-Vanquished was a character who played a pivotal part in the Didact’s early life, which was something we were thrilled to have the opportunity to explore with greater detail in Halo: Epitaph.

Shadow-of-Sundered-Star's time on Nomdagro at Bitterness’s estate in many ways drew parallels with John-117's early years of training as part of the SPARTAN-II program. Indeed, Bitterness and her aide Silence-in-the-End are similarly reflective of the relationship John had with Dr. Catherine Halsey and Chief Franklin Mendez respectively.

We’ve made something of a habit of showing off some cool new art in Canon Fodder to represent certain characters and settings found in Halo’s expanded universe, and I see no reason to buck tradition here and now!

“Bitterness-of-the-Vanquished steps through the projected forge, and stands surrounded by ghostly images of damaged Forerunner transports. Bitterness commanded Warrior forces during the Kradal conflicts at the galactic center. She trained me—trained my original. She is the eldest among us, not to be taken lightly.” ~ Halo: Silentium, String 29

Formidable and highly disciplined, Bitterness-of-the-Vanquished was known as one of the most decorated and powerful Warrior-Servants in the Forerunner ecumene.

Bitterness earned renown as an expert among princeps and coordinators, demonstrating a particular affinity for dragoon warships that would ultimately see her rise to the rank of Commander of the Second-Order Dragoons.

With a keen interest in understanding the inner workings of her peoples’ incredible technology, Bitterness would go on to personally oversee the development of many new weapons and ships. This included early iterations of the Sojourner-class dreadnought that proved their effectiveness breaking through the Ancestors’ defensive lines during the battle of Charum Hakkor, later entering widespread assembly as the last of the dragoon lineage around the onset of the Flood War.

However, it was the Kradal Conflict that would prove to be an immense turning point in Bitterness’s military career. This somber civil war would culminate in the execution of the Didact's parents, their names disgracefully besmirched as “warlords” before they were erased from the collective record. Bitterness was present for their execution and inherited their only son as her ward.

Halo 2: Anniversary multiplayer screenshot of the map Warlord

Bitterness grew weary of serving the Builders’ appropriation and assimilation of greater political power, choosing to instead focus on training new generations of Warrior-Servants in her role as Chancellor of the College of Strategic Defense of the Mantle.

Though the young Shadow-of-Sundered-Star fled his training on Nomdagro after learning that Bitterness was debating whether to erase the knowledge of his parents’ fate once it became known, they would later reconcile, whereupon Bitterness introduced him to her protege—Endurance-of-Will.

In her later years, Bitterness would ultimately be folded into Builder Security after the diminishing of the Warrior-Servant rate. Her loss of sight became the subject of wild speculation by both her peers and young warriors in training, as the exact nature of how—whether this was due to advanced age or an injury sustained in battle—remains unknown.

Bitterness perished when the senescent Ark and Omega Halo came under attack by the Flood and a nexus of reawakened star roads, eviscerating both gyre and forge.


“The Gravemind no more understands the whole truth than we do. It is past all our understanding, from the greatest to the smallest. This reserve was wrapped in Precursor architecture, protected for many billions of years. Out there.” ~ Halo: Silentium, String 37

Halo 5 screenshot of the Master Chief in a vision of the Domain

Let us speak of the Domain...

The Domain can be understood in many different ways—all of which can be thought of as true depending on the point of view.

It is a quantum repository containing knowledge and wisdom that has been gathered over eons, used by the Forerunners to store, transmit, and interpret information.

It is a living consciousness of some kind with its own guiding set of rules. It is the soul and record of life’s interaction with the Cosmos. It is akin to an afterlife. It is a network that can exercise control over technology across the galaxy... tangible and intangible, it is a thing that exists beyond us all.

When the Gravemind sent the spirit of Forthencho, the Lord of Admirals, to speak with the Librarian on Earth at the very end of the Flood War, he revealed that the compound mind of the parasite—the essence of the Primordial, itself a child of the Precursors—is limited in its own understanding of the Domain as well.

This they were told...

The Precursors have lived in many shapes—flesh and spirit, primitive and advanced, spacefaring and locked to their worlds. They have evolved over and over again, died, been reborn in countless forms, and seeded many galaxies, and all that they learned was stored within a repository in this galaxy.

This reserve was wrapped in Precursor architecture and protected for millions of years. It is alleged that much of what has been gathered comes from a time before there were stars.

And so, our minds are filled with many questions.

Did the Precursors create the Domain, or was it something they found during their extragalactic travels? Did they give purpose to this reserve, forging it into the Domain as we know it, or was it always something like this? What was the Precursor architecture that was wrapped around the reserve intended to protect it from? What is the true nature of the Domain’s consciousness and its strange “rules,” which it has been known to occasionally break? And just like the Forerunners, who required an ancilla to aid their connection to the Domain, was Abaddon created for a similar purpose for the Precursors?

We can offer no answers to these questions.

Perhaps there are none.

After all, for it to be beyond all of our understanding, some things must remain dark mysteries held in obscure corners of liminal knowledge.


The Pulse Carbine was a new weapon introduced in Halo Infinite, and for me it quickly became a personal favorite for stripping enemy shields and the satisfying feedback one gets for landing a kill with it.

In the campaign, the Master Chief can acquire the unique Rapidfire Pulse Carbine variant from a deadly encounter with the high value target known as Inka ‘Saham, who resides on a separate island beside the wreckage of the UNSC Mortal Reverie. (Sucks for him, I got it just by respawning in Super Husky Raid.)

I always felt bad about just how much I had to go out of my way to get to that island and end him when he and his Banished buddies seemed perfectly content to admire the pretty scenery around them!

Anyway, for this issue’s Armory Infinitum entry, let’s explore a moment in time with Inka ‘Saham and his unique weapon variant.

Halo Infinite screenshot of Inka 'Saham

The shattered landscape of Zeta Halo was a sight to behold. The horizon was fractured, a wound in the superstructure of this immense construct, but even in destruction there was great beauty. Inka ‘Saham watched for a time as machines tended to the great islands that lay suspended in the open space between the broken ends of the ring, rolling hills and grasslands grown atop a foundation of metal that found itself lying between a line of clouded sky above and an abyss of stars below.

It was difficult not to hold this sight with reverential awe. The passing of the Covenant was not so long ago that the immensity of this vision could not tug at the old ways that many Sangheili were still, in their own myriad ways, attempting to unlearn.

Much as 'Saham recognized that the Covenant had been held together by a lie, there were times when that clarity of divine purpose was something he missed.

“Shipmaster,” came the voice of Aengus, who still insisted on using ‘Saham’s old title from their shared service aboard Heresy’s Sorrow. “Sentinels approaching in standard attack formation.”

“Ready yourselves,” ‘Saham unslung the modified Erudo’ma’keth-pattern pulse carbine from his back and signalled for his troops to spread out to form a perimeter. He moved forwards and let loose rapid bursts of superheated plasma before leaping into cover as several beams from the sentinels converged on his position.

'Saham tightened his grip on the pulse carbine and considered in that moment that what bound the Banished together in his mind was not false fables of ascension, but something more practical.

One weapon against another as instruments of their will. Hunter and prey held in the rapture of crisis, in service of renown, brotherhood, and power.

And that, as Escharum had taught, was the supreme authority that all would ultimately bow to.


Cover art of Halo: Battle Born

Coming next week on March 26 is the rerelease of Halo: Battle Born by Cassandra Rose Clarke, with Meridian Divide following up at the end of next month on April 30.

Halo: Battle Born tells the story of Evie Rousseau, Saskia Nazari, Dorian Nguyen, and Victor Gallardo—four ordinary young civilians living their everyday lives on the colony world Meridian. Each faces their own problems, from absent parents to their aspirations for what they want to do after leaving school, set against the backdrop of the Covenant War.

When the alien alliance comes to Meridian, it is the help of an injured Spartan that will forge these teenagers into scouts with expert local knowledge as they seek to discover what the Covenant are after and free the inhabitants of their town from the local shelter to evacuate from the planet.

Cassandra tells a fantastic story of loss from the unique perspective of ordinary civilians facing the end of their world as they knew it. If you’ve not read Battle Born before, this is the perfect time to jump in—and if you have, this is the definitive edition to pick up for your Halo collection.

As we announced in our previous issue: Each character’s point-of-view chapter has a different narrator (Ryan Do, Caitlin Kelly, Lee Osorio, and Angel Pean), and these rereleases feature some additional back-of-book story elements.

Halo: Battle Born is available in paperback, ebook, and audiobook formats.


A collage of all thirty-six Halo novels as of August 2023

As a reminder: we’ve got an official guide to the Halo novels for you to check out.

Within, you will find all thirty-six books currently available (composed of novels, novellas, and anthologies) categorized and featuring a short summary of what they are about.

Are you looking for stories heavier on military science fiction? Or perhaps to learn more about the ancient era of the universe during the time of the Forerunners? The start of the Covenant War, short story anthologies, particular characters...

You’ll find all that and more in our up-to-date book guide, which also features links to where you can grab these stories.


Women's History Month 2024 collage featuring forty-nine female Halo characters

Following on from that, March marks the arrival of Women’s History Month.

To celebrate the occasion this year, we have put together a collection of fifty female characters—human and alien—from across the Halo universe, spanning games, books, comics, animation, short stories, and more.

From daring, valiant heroes to messy and problematic faves, this list is by no means exhaustive, but we reached into corners of the fiction both familiar and esoteric, ensuring that there is quite undoubtedly a new story waiting for you.


The fine folks of the Pixel Lit podcast have a three-part video on Halo: Epitaph, featuring a spoilerific breakdown and discussion of the story within the book.

The JumperScape lorecast duo have done a non-spoiler interview with Kelly about Halo: Epitaph as well, which you can listen to on their YouTube channel—followed by a spoiler-focused follow-up on Spotify.

MegMage continues her great journey with Halo, this time diving into some of the Halo Legends animated episodes. Check out her latest reaction to ‘Prototype.’

And to close us out, our latest issue of the Community Corner features Alejandro González Ledesma, who you may know as Katarn343—a huge fan of the universe, a pillar of Halo’s LATAM community, and the creator of some truly incredible lore videos that bring to life stories and moments from the background of the games and beyond.

So fades the great harvest of this Canon Fodder issue.

Grab yourself a copy of Epitaph and Battle Born if you haven't already, check out some of the great interviews with Kelly Gay about the Didact’s great journey. Oh, and we just released the March Update for Halo Infinite yesterday, bringing a slew of improvements along with a Squad Battle map refresh that you can read about here.

By the time we catch up with you next month, it is likely that the Unggoy will have taken over...