Author’s Note: “Tul” was originally written in 2015. I fondly remember waking up from having read Joe Staten’s Halo: Shadow of Intent the evening prior, jumping out of bed, and whipping this up. It’s a rough, early attempt at fan fiction but I’m nevertheless proud of this interpretation of Halo’s first Sangheili female warrior, Tul ‘Juran.
On the surface Tul’s entire being stood in stark contrast to long-ingrained notions of what it meant to be Sangheili. You can’t be a woman and fight on the frontlines, as lore would often suggest. It’s made crystal clear throughout Shadow of Intent that women like Tul are a model of Sangheili zeal.
For my kaidon, my eedahyuhkoh, and countrymen, this Great Schism is a new page. Once more we are independent. No longer will be victim to alien tyrants; all manipulative, seemingly pragmatic, and outwardly admiring false prophets. We are Sangheili. But as a woman, am I?
This illusion of freedom is as real today as it was underneath the Prophet’s limp grip. I can claim no land. Dominions of House Juran far and wide are not mine to rule. I am forced to sit idly by as my brothers, old and young, conversed endlessly in each other’s company over how they would lead these keeps. Our world, Rahnelo, will be respected, feared, and modeled after, they say.
She will be free.
Yet I am unheard. They acknowledge, even respect me to an extent, but they gaze past me. To them I am a passing monolith. Was I merely the daughter of a kaidon? It is expected of me to be a proud warrior appreciative for scraps of honor? Is that all I am? I am mere fodder for my Kaidon’s political and martial whims. Of all my eedahyuhkoh I was his only daughter and yet I also took our father’s name. Am I not his legacy equally?
Captain of his guard, scion of his keep? Makes me sound important. I continue to spout this drivel to myself. How much longer will I utter these words so they seem tangible? Why can I not simply be Tul?
My kaidon could marry me off without hesitation. Or, he could send me to the depths in some forlorn attempt at peace. Same as all the others. They are going to get me killed either way. None can guarantee my safety.
No one but me.
I will not challenge the order. What my eedahyuhkoh have before them is theirs. I simply cannot wither away as a daughter, a wife, a mother, and be nothing else without definition. Our records have no subtext to female kind. We are who we are as the gods blessed. Who are anyone but our creators to say what I am able of and what is forbidden? Only they know what my life’s trial is. Only I can define it. I will not allow anyone to steal that from me.
We hear fire off in the distance. Keeps away and across the celestial sea, war cries out and gasps for its waking breath. Same as usual. These bloody years ahead will ensure my place.
To hell with it all. I am leaving Rahnelo.
Only my past and promises still reside on this rock. I will go where a soldier and her arms are demanded. The old ways remain in this promised new day. No woman can assume freedom is a guarantee. We must achieve it for ourselves.
Be proud of me, mother. I am sorry for having been such a burden in my youth. Take comfort that I would not be at this juncture if you were not my idol. Your sister will always be your guardian, my Kaidon. When ascension comes be a wise and passionate leader for our kin. Father, I hope to define what it meant to be your daughter. If the Sangheili are to be free then I am implored to make that a truth. Surely I am not long for what lies beyond. Father, embrace me proudly when that time comes.
In Urs’s everlasting light.