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A bloody fate awaits you and the rest of your incompetent race, and I, Tartarus, Chieftain of the Brutes will send you to it!
~ Tartarus the Chieftain of the Brutes.

Tartarus is the secondary antagonist and final boss of Halo 2. He is considered the main enemy to the Arbiter Thel 'Vadam.  

The last known Chieftain of the Jiralhanae to serve in the Covenant, Tartarus was the Hierarchs' chief enforcer and The High Prophet of Truth's second-in-command. Under Tartarus' leadership, the Jiralhanae ascended through the Covenant's ranks eventually ousting the Sangheili as the Prophet's main protectors and field soldiers.  

He was placed in charge of activating the Halo Rings and arrived at Installation 05's control room to do so. Before he could, however, the Arbiter, with the help of many Elites and UNSC forces, defeated Tartarus, ending his life, along with his Brute bodyguards.

He was voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson, who also played Doug the Pimple in Family Guy.

Appearance

Like the rest of his kind, Tartarus was very broad, muscular and stood over 9ft tall. Sharp canine teeth protruded from his mouth and he had deep red eyes. With the exception of his face, Tartarus' body was covered in thick fur. In contrast to the other Brutes in Halo 2, Tartarus had silver fur, which may have been an indication of advanced age and wore his hair in a mohawk.

Tartarus wore little armour, which was standard for the Jiralhanae prior to the Great Schism. An ornate silver belt ran from his left shoulder to his opposite hip and was attached to a similar belt at his waist. He also wore shin pads, along with a  shoulder and neck guard. A large golden shoulder guard rested on his left shoulder, to which Tartarus would attach a skull (most likely a Sangheili's) shortly before trying to activate Installation 05. 

Personality

Like most of the Jiralhanae outside of Atriox's Banished, Tartarus was deeply religious, firmly believing in the Great Journey and the divinity of the Forerunners. Despite this, he was shown to handle Forerunner artefacts, such as 343 Guilty Spark and Installation 05's control panels with roughness. His belief was so strong that he ignored Sparks revelation that the Great Journey was a lie. 

Tartarus is generally considered rude, rough and arrogant, which are typical characteristics of his race and holds a deep resentment and hatred for the Sangheili. Despite this, Tartarus should not be underestimated. He is not only very powerful but extremely intelligent, able to command obedience from the majority of the Jiralhanae, a species known to be fractious by nature. Those that serve under Tartarus respect him as much as they fear him.

By far, Tartarus seems to have the best relationship with the Prophet of Truth. He was the Hierarchs chief enforcer and arguably his most loyal servant. He even disregarded his instinct to save the Prophet of Mercy when the younger Prophet ordered him to do so. In contrast, his relationship with Thel 'Vadam(ee) was a negative one. It was Tartarus that branded Vadamee with the mark of shame, effectively marking him as a heretic in front of the entire Covenant. The Jiralhanae was delighted when the Hierarchs order the Arbiters death, an act he personally tried to carry out. His hatred of the Sangheili ultimately proved to be Tartarus' undoing as he could not let go of it when evidence was presented concerning the Prophet's deception.  

History

Early Life

Nothing is known about Tartarus' childhood. When he was old enough though, the young Jiralhanae joined the Covenant Empire's military. He quickly proved himself a distinguished soldier and a force to be reckoned with. Tartarus was the nephew of a religious Brute pack leader called Maccabeus. He served aboard his uncle's ship, Rapid Conversion in a search for Forerunner relics. During the contact at Harvest, however, Tartarus and his pack-brothers were caught in an ambush from which they barely escaped. After dealing with the humans, Tartarus returned to the Rapid Conviction and confronted his uncle about the validity of their mission. Unsatisfied with the older Brute's response, Tartarus challenged his wounded uncle to a fight to the death. To make the fight even, Tartarus allowed his opponent to wield his legendary weapon, whilst disarming his own weapon. Tartarus emerged victorious from the duel, killing Maccabeus with his own gravity-hammer, whereupon he took the Fist of Rukt, as his reward.  Although he was forced to retreat soon afterwards, Tartarus had begun his rise to power. 

Human-Covenant War - The Ninth Age of Reclamation

Branding Vadamee

Tartarus eventually achieved the position of second-in-command to the Prophet of Truth. The Brute Chieftain carried out several secret missions for the High Prophet. After Supreme Commander Thel 'Vadamee failed to stop the destruction of Installation 04, Tartarus was ordered to bring him before the Covenant High Council. The Brute Chieftain was present during the trial, standing adjacent to the three hierarchs. He watched on amused, but mostly silent apart from the occasional chuckle. During the proceedings, the Hierarchs, San Shyuum and Sangheili councillors questioned the young Ship Master about the fall of the Human Colony World Reach, the battle of Instillation 04 and Vadamee's encounter with The Flood. The Sangheili commander answered all of these questions truthfully and resolutely but the outcome of the 'trial' was never in any doubt. Having allowed the humans to destroy one of the Covenant's most sacred relics, Vadamee was stripped of all of his authority, labelled as a failure and a heretic. Tartarus, no doubt acting under Truth's authority then conducted a public shaming of the Elite. A large crowd gathered to watch, the size of which took even Tartarus by surprise. When Vadamee made it clear that he would not beg for mercy or show fear, the amused Tartarus appeared to take this declaration as a challenge. With the audience watching on The Jiralhanae Chieftain had the disgraced Sangheili chained by his wrists, tortured with electricity and stripped of his armour. During the final act of the proceedings, Tartarus personally branded Vadamee with the Mark of Shame, thus permanently stripping the Elite of all his honour.  Not long afterwards, Tartarus was ordered to bring the disgraced prisoner before the Hierarchs. With two of his subordinates dragging the barely responsive husk of what had once been Thel Vadamee to the Mausoleum of the Arbiter, Tartarus believed that he was leading the Sangheili to his execution. Upon arriving, however, Tartarus was ordered to leave by Truth, which took the Jiralhanae by genuine surprise. However, the Chieftain kept silent out of respect for the Prophets. Instead of being executed, Thel who was still a formidable soldier was offered the opportunity to redeem himself in the eyes of the Covenant. Accepting the offer, his death was commuted to a life sentence via his promotion to the rank of Arbiter, the Blade of the Prophets, much to Tartarus' displeasure.

Conflict on Threshold

Thel's first mission was to assassinate Sesa 'Refumee, the leader of a Covenant Splinter group simply known as the Heretics. With the renegades having taken shelter on a small gas mine above the planet of Threshold, the hierarchs dispatched Vadamee along with Tartarus and several special operation forces. Their aim was to bring the heretics to account for their treachery or (at least in the Arbiters case) die trying.

The operation was led by Special Operations Commander Rtas 'Vadumee, with Tartarus providing aerial support for the Arbiter. To the Jiralhanae's surprise, not only did The Arbiter successfully carry out his mission, he survived and found the sacred "Oracle" 343 Guilty Spark. Arriving at the conclusion of the mission, Tartarus captured the "Oracle" with the Fist of Rukt. His mishandling of the sacred object angered the Sangheili but the Jiralhanae brushed this aside, before personally extracting the Arbiter and taking both him and Spark back to High Charity.

The Great Schism

Finding the Icon and Betraying the Arbiter

Shortly after the death of the Prophet of Regret, Tartarus acting on the information provided to the Prophets of Truth and Mercy was dispatched to the surface of the recently discovered Installation 05, alongside the Arbiter. Their mission was to retrieve the installations Index or "Sacred Icon" as it was referred to. With it, the Covenant could activate the ring and finally begin the Great Journey. Before departing, however, both sides witnessed an exchanging of the guards, between the Sangheili and the Jiralhanae and Tartarus, was given a secret set of orders by Truth. 

Tartarus personally escorted the Arbiter to the Library, saving his life from a Forerunner enforcer. Once the shield was deactivated, he tried to retrieve the Sangheili but the attack of a second enforcer dissuaded him. Despite these setbacks, Vadamee managed to fight his way through the installations defensive sentinels, enforcers and flood forces. Backed up by Rtas 'Vadumee and his elites, the Arbiter eventually made his way to a gondola which would take him to the heart of the Library and the Index. 

Tartarus provided air cover during the final stage of the journey, shielding the Arbiter from the attacking Flood forms. As the Arbiter rushed ahead to retrieve the relic, Tartarus and a small squad landed, arriving just in time for the Chieftain to capture the human Commander Miranda Keyes, who was in possession of the Icon. With the mission complete, he congratulated the Arbiter on a job well done.

Remembering his mission, Vadamee ordered Tartarus to hand the Index to him, stating he was responsible for delivering it to the Hierarchs. The Brute Chieftain's attitude, however, suddenly changed and he told the Arbiter quite firmly that that responsibility now rested with him. As one of Tartarus' retinue carried off the unconscious forms of Miranda Keyes and Avery Johnson the other two surrounded the injured/exhausted Sangheili, their weapons trained on the Arbiter.

Picking up the Fist of Rukt, Tartarus gloatingly informed his now cornered adversary that he intended to kill him here and now. He also stated that this act of betrayal was merely the beginning. The Jiralhanae were going to commit genocide against the Sangheili and commit genocide against them. Realising that he couldn't fight his way out, the shocked and angered Arbiter defiantly told the Jiralhanae that when the San Shyuum, specifically the Hierarchs learnt of Tartarus' actions they would have him executed.

This declaration amused Tartarus, who delivered a shocking revelation: -

"When they learn? [Laughs] Fool. They ordered me to do it!"

With that, Tartarus blasted the stunned Vadamee with an energy pulse from the Fist of Rukt, knocking the Sangheili into a chasm at the heart of the Library to his apparent death. With his prize secure, his rival "dead", Tartarus returned triumphantly to High Charity, with Miranda Keyes, Avery Jonson, Marcus Stacker and Marcus Banks as his prisoners.

Taking Command and Sacred Mission

Tartarus returned to the Covenant Holy City a hero. Thanks to the successful retrieval of the icon, the Covenant could finally achieve its long-awaited dream and begin the Great Journey. Civil unrest, however, prompted by the changing of the guard was starting to take over when a second obstacle presented itself. The Master Chief Petty Officer John 117 suddenly appeared in the centre of the Council Chamber. Tartarus dispatched additional forces to the Council Chambers, whilst simultaneously alerting the rest of High Charity to "The Demon's" presence. Despite this, the Spartan successfully massacred the Hierarchs Jiralhanae honor-guards and Tartarus' reinforcements, although Truth and Mercy managed to escape. 

As the Chief fought his way through the City, The Great Schism began in earnest. The High Prophet of Truth publicly denounced the Sangheili and promoted the Jiralhanae to the overall commanders of the Covenant forces. With this Tartarus effectively took command of all the Covenants forces. However, a rift soon developed, as the Sangheili rose up in revolt against their would-be exterminators. Despite the urgings of both the Hierarchs and Tartarus, some of the Unggoy and most of the Mgalekgolo sided with Sangheili, perhaps fearing the wrath of the Elites more than they did the Brutes or the Hierarchs. 

Tartarus apparently stayed clear of the fighting, but frequently broadcast messages relaying information about the Chief's position, whilst urging the Covenant Loyalists to help the Jiralhanae overthrow the Elites. To Tartarus, Truth bestowed the most sacred of missions; he was to return to the Installation and activate the ring. Knowing that he needed a Reclaimer to interact with the Installation's controls, Tartarus had Miranda Keyes, 343 Guilty Spark and Avery Jonson brought along. 

Before leaving, Tartarus meet with The Prophets of Truth and Mercy for what would be the last time. Kneeling respectfully before the two Hierarchs, Tartarus reaffirmed his faith and assuring them he would succeed. Suddenly, a new threat presented itself. A number of Flood infection forms ascended the wall and climbed onto the platform. Without hesitation, Tartarus and the Prophet's honour guards threw themselves protectively in front of the San Shyuum. They slew many, but one infection form managed to jump over Tartarus' gravity hammer and latched itself onto the Prophet of Mercy.

Tartarus immediately rushed to the Prophets aid but was ordered to stand down by the opportunistic Truth. Usurping full control of the Covenant, Truth dismissively told his dying ally that their mission waited for nobody. With that the surviving Hierarch gave Tartarus a parting nod, indicating he should continue with his mission, then departed unaware he would never see his loyal enforcer again. The Jiralhanae Chieftain hesitated only for a second before abandoning the elderly Prophet to his fate, alongside everyone else.

Delta Halo's control room, Learning the Truth and Death

Tartarus selected Miranda Keyes to activate Delta Halo and descended with her into Installation 05's control room. Bringing along 343 Guilty Spark for good measure, the Jiralhanae was meet by several fellow commanders to oversee the start of the Great Journey. To prevent any interruptions, Tartarus had his forces seal the entrance to the building and instructed his local forces to kill the remaining humans. With that, the Jiralhanae Chieftain made his way towards the heart of the complex, where he threatened violence against both  "the Oracle" and "Reclaimer" unless the later co-operated. 

Before the Brutes could carry out their orders, however, Tartarus was ordered to stand down by an unexpected voice. Saved from certain death by the Gravemind, Arbiter Thel Vadamee was teleported back to the surface. Witnessing the destruction of his species at the hands of the Jiralhanae, Vadamee with the aid of several Special Operations Elites, Grunts and Hunters massacred Tartarus' forces before rescuing the human prisoners. Remembering the warning provided by the Gravemind and Master Chief about Halo's true purpose, the Sangheili resolved to prevent the activation of the rings until he learnt the true purpose of the Halo Installations. Recognising the immediate threat Tartarus posed, Jonson and Vadamee formed an alliance of necessity and rushed to the control room.

The Jiralhanae's shock at seeing his adversary alive turned to anger when the Sangheili ordered him to disobey an order that came directly from the Hierarchs. Thel tried to warn Tartarus that the Halo's true purpose was not divine but sinister, but Tartarus and his retinue (though angered) refused to listen, the former labelling this declaration as blasphemy. Undeterred, Vadamee turned to the one person in the room that could provide a definitive answer, 343 Guilty Spark. 

Angered at being interrupted at the cusp of his victory, the furious Tartarus ordered the monitor to remain quiet but was forced to stand down when Avery Johnson levelled a rifle at his head. With this, the Jiralhanae Chieftain was forced to listen alongside Keyes, Johnson and his Jiralhanae retinue to listen, as Spark answered the Arbiters questions concerning the purpose of the Halo Rings and the final fate of the Forerunners. To Tartarus' shock, the Oracle revealed that the rings were not sacred relics as the Covenant preached. They were weapons used to kill off all sentient life in order to combat the Flood and that the Forerunners, unable to stop the parasite ultimately turned the weapons on themselves alongside the galaxy at large and perished.  

With this, Vadamee's doubts were confirmed. He finally accepted what the Master Chief and Gravemind had told him and realised that The Hierarchs were aware of the Halo's true purpose. Renouncing his ties to the Covenant forever, Thel 'Vadam tried to reason with Tartarus telling his adversary that they had both been betrayed. Tartarus, however, refused to accept these revelations, staying blindly loyal to the Hierarchs and their promise of salvation. Lobbing Guilty Spark at Johnson, the Jiralhanae forced Keyes to unify the Index with Installation 05's control panel activating the ring. Taking up the Fist of Rukt Tartarus declared that the Jiralhanae, not the Sangheili, would be the escorts of the Prophets into the Divine Beyond.

With Delta Halo now armed and preparing to fire, the Jiralhanae retinue placed themselves protectively between the controls and the Sangheili-Human alliance. Recognising that Tartarus could not be reasoned with, Thel 'Vadam and Sgt. Johnson, knew there was only one choice left to them. Aided by several other Sangheili who joined the fight, The Arbiter set out to kill the Prophet's enforcer with Johnson providing covering fire. Though he fought off many of Thel's Elites, a now frenzied Tartarus' shields were repeatedly devastated by Johnson's Beam Rifle eventually allowing the Arbiter to strike a fatal blow, ending the life of the Jiralhanae Chieftain.

Quotes

  • "You've drawn quite a crowd."
  • "Are you sure?"
  • "Quiet! You two whimper like Grunts fresh off the teat! He's not mean't for the jails. The Hierarchs have something special in mind."
  • "Noble Prophets of Truth and Mercy, I have brought the incompetent."
  • "But, I thought..."
  • "Release the prisoner."
  • "So it is. Come, we are leaving this system."
  • "Once the shield is down, we will head straight to the Library. I do not wish to keep the Hierarchs waiting."
  • "Who do you think?"
  • "Hmph. Why, looking for a little payback?"
  • "Ha ha ha ha ha, of course."
  • "Lower the shield, Arbiter! I'll pick you up when you've finished!"
  • "You're getting close to one of the Shield Generators, many of my Brutes have fallen attempting to take it down. Let's see if you fare better."
  • "You've reached the power source, Arbiter. Overload the locks holding it in place. It is useless to attack the Enforcer from the front, especially when it's shields are up. Stay in the shadows, wait until it loses interest, then strike the beast when it's back is turned."
  • "Blasted machines! Make your own way through the wall, Arbiter!"
  • "I see that coward didn't join you. I'll do what I can to keep the Flood off your back."
  • "We cannot let the Humans capture the Icon. The Hierarchs do not look kindly on failure."
  • "I'll thin their ranks."
  • "Humans, I'll deal with them."
  • "Hurry, Arbiter! Get the Icon!"
  • "Was your responsibility. Now it is mine."
  • "A bloody fate awaits you and the rest of your incompetent race, and I, Tartarus, Chieftain of the Brutes will send you to it!"
  • "When they learn? Ha ha, fool! They ordered me to do it!"
  • "The Demon has infiltrated the Council Chambers! Protect the Hierarchs! Seal the exits!"
  • "Reinforce all approaches to the holding pens, slay the Demon on sight!"
  • "The Elites are falling back Mausolem. Fools! Their Arbiter can do nothing for them now."
  • "Rise up my brothers, cast down the Elites!"
  • "My faith is strong. I will not fail."
  • "Mine will do. Kill the others."
  • "Come Human, it is easy. Take the Icon in your hand...and do as you are told!"
  • "One more world, Oracle, and I'll rip your eye from its socket."
  • "Which is nothing compared what I'll do to you..."
  • "Impossible."
  • "Put it down? And disobey the Hierarchs?"
  • "Not another WORD!"
  • "Take care, Arbiter. What you say is heresy!"
  • "No, Arbiter! The Great Journey has begun, and the Brutes, not the Elites, shall be the Prophets escort!"

Gallery

Navigation

            Halo Villains

Species
The Flood | Huragok | Mgalekgolo | Jiralhanae | Kig-Yar | Sangheili | San Shyuum | Unggoy

Covenant Empire
Covenant High Council: Prophet of Truth | Prophet of Mercy | Prophet of Regret
Covenant Sangheili: Ardo 'Moretumee | Bako 'Ikaporamee | Field Marshal | Harka | Lat 'Ravamee | Luro 'Taralumee | Merg Vol | Ontomee | Re'gish Wamik | Rho 'Barutamee | Ripa 'Moramee | Rtas Vadum | Thel 'Vadam
Covenant Jiralhanae: Lepidus | Parabum | Tartarus

Storm Covenant
The Didact | Jul 'Mdama | Gek 'Lhar | Parg Vol | Kitun 'Arach

Created
Cortana | Warden Eternal | Guardians | Prometheans

The Banished
Atriox | Decimus | Let 'Volir

Office of Naval Intelligence
Jameson Locke | James Ackerson

Insurrectionists
Jerald Mulkey Ander | Robert Watts

Other
343 Guilty Spark | Commissioner Kinsler | Gravemind | Heretics (Sesa Refumee)

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