Newcomers to my blog may be wondering, ‘what’s with the name?’ as it is true that I have given little explanation as to why this blog is called what it is. It may sound like a rather odd name, especially with no context as to what it means, so I will explain it here. At first glance it seems as though the name comes from a level in Halo, and that is indeed true, to an extent. ‘Sacred Icon’ is the tenth level of Halo 2, which is not only my favourite Halo game but possibly even my favourite game of all time, but the name ‘Sacred Icon’ has an even deeper meaning and importance within the Halo franchise, and further explanation is needed to articulate why this name in particular is the one I chose for my blog.
The Halo Rings or, more specifically, the Halo Installations that appear in the Halo series are, essentially, gigantic superstructures built by an ancient, long-dead race (the ‘Forerunners’) that engineered the rings to be habitable via a terrestrial surface that lines the inner surface of the ring. The rings themselves are huge, approximately 10,000km in diameter, and have a variety of different biomes across the vast inner surface, ranging from snowy canyons to temperate plains to thick, humid jungles – all populated with various angular and incongruous Forerunner structures that dot the landscape of the ring, a constant reminder to anyone walking around on the inner surface that they are indeed standing on an artificial world (that, and the fact that in anywhere outdoors you can see the ring arcing up into the sky). But these seemingly idyllic paradises hold a dark secret that is unlocked as across the games of the first Halo trilogy you explore deeper into the underground chasms of various Installations in the Halo Array.
The Halos were built for a reason, as the Forerunners needed a way to essentially commit genocide on an entire Galaxy, wiping out all life on every single planet in the Milky Way. This was done by the Forerunners 100,000 years before the events of Halo: Combat Evolved take place, as they were under attack by an extragalactic parasite known as ‘The Flood’, which was consuming all life in the Galaxy to form one gigantic hive-minded Galaxy-spanning Flood dominion. After the Halos were activated, the Forerunners re-seeded the Galaxy using specimens that they had collected in the lead up to the Halo activation, before disappearing entirely from the Galaxy.
To facilitate another activation should the Flood ever return, the Forerunners left the keys (‘Indexes’) that are required to activate the rings in various locations on the rings themselves. The structures, called ‘Libraries’ vary – on one ring, the Index was located in the center of a huge multi-leveled cathedral with gigantic elevators leading to a complex labyrinth, whilst another example (from Halo 2) required the player to conquer a complex gauntlet but whilst playing as The Covenant.
The Covenant, an interstellar empire comprising a conglomerate of various species of aliens who all believe that the Forerunners are Gods and the Halos will bring them transcendence, venture into the Library to recover the Index and activate the ring. However, the Covenant religious name for the artifact they are seeking is not ‘Index’, despite the fact that the Forerunners themselves referred to it as such, as they instead use their own term for the key: “Sacred Icon.”
So, in short, that is what the Sacred Icon is. It is the key, hidden away on a gigantic ringworld that, when correctly used, destroys all life in the Galaxy by activating the ring.
It’s also a pretty cool name for a blog I reckon.