"The State of Urden is one of the smallest true states on Sanghelios in terms of usable land. Encompassing the entirety of the Dekek mountain range, in the far north of Sanghelios, the state is bitterly cold year round, with occasionally fatal cold snaps. The soil is rocky and acidic, incapable of agriculture and supporting only stunted, thorny plants. Doarmir and Helioskrill are numerous, preying on the goat-like herbivores the 'Urden have domesticated as well as unwary Sangheili. An ever present wind called the Irhz whips at exposed skin and creates gales that level all but the sturdiest buildings. The mountains are mineral poor and treacherous."
- Unnamed Sangheili on the State of Urden.
"And yet it is one of the ten richest states on Sanghelios. If the Urden were as numerous as they were pragmatic and deadly, the Arbiter might not have been a Vadam."
- Davoi 'Ontom.
Urden is a Sangheili clan. They live in the State of Urden, a relatively very young yet famous state in Yermo, Sanghelios. Their Kaidon during the end of the Human-Covenant war was Ensis 'Urdenee. Unusually, they were one of the last clans to have the honorary 'ee' suffix removed, adopting the change in late 2560. The clan is renowned for their skilled warriors and legendary swordsmen.
Ensis 'Urdenee was deposed as Kaidon by Thel 'Vadam because the former disobeyed orders and broke quarantine during a Flood outbreak. He was succeeded by his wife, Dama 'Urden, as Kaidon of Urden.
Urden Keep is situated somewhere in the Dekek Mountain Range on Sanghelios and was founded during the Covenant's 21st Age of Doubt (c. 2170). It is home to the Urden Academy of The Sword, where the legendary Urden warriors and a select few others are trained. Sixty miles away, there is a town in the lower regions of the range, Araam, which serves to connect Urden to the rest of Sanghelios. All other settlements in Urden are miniscule villages and homesteads that are clumped together to firm the Mazer Territory. Together, Urden Keep, Araam and the Mazer Territory form the infrastructure in Urden. The land is harsh and untended; predators like Doamir and Helioskrill pose constant threats to the Urden and their flicks. Agriculture is practically nonexistent beyond greenhouse gardens, and vegetables, fruit and grain are all imported. Buildings are short and sturdy to resist the harsh weather and continuous Irhz wind. Despite this, the Urden serfs seem strongly motivated and efficient, as their great ambitions are to rise, gain distinction and receive a position inside the Keep or to join the mythical Urden Academy.
The Urden are spiritually and partially biologically the descendants of the Chavam family, particularly a nephew of Fal 'Chavamee. When Fal defied the Prophets and slaughtered an entire Covenant legion before being killed by one of his own, the Chavam family was put to the sword in retaliation. Fal's nephew, Dumat 'Chavam, escaped the purge. Grief-stricken, Dumat branded himself with the Mark of Exile - sister brand to the Mark of Shame - and made his way into the wilderness. Abandoning his name entirely, he adopted the name Urden. Fal had personally trained Dumat in swordcraft, and Dumat was his star pupil. In the unforgiving wilderness of Sanghelios, Urden survived because of his skills with the sword, and eventually perfected new techniques of his own design.
In the following decades, a large gathering of vagabonds and outcasts formed around the wandering swordmaster, mostly for protection or out of respect and reverence. In time, Urden made his way into the Dekek Mountains. Due to their legendary inhospitability, no claims had been made on the range. Urden finally settled, and the entourage that followed him settled as well. They all took the surname Urden, and chose the Mark of Exile as their crest. Urden took a wife and began teaching younger Sangheili the sword techniques of Fal and his own techniques.
In the centuries that followed, the Urden were reintroduced to the Covenant, and joined their ranks. The martial expertise of the Urden soon became apparent. The Urden slowly became famous as their swordsmen garnered honor and prestige. The Academy was built, and the considerable tuitions of the Academy's students became Urden's largest source of income. The Great Schism did not affect Urden directly. Famous as they were, there were few Urden in the military when conflict erupted. Those that were abroad were recalled home, and under the command of Kaidon Ensis, the clan focused on assisting Sanghelios. Urden took a neutral stance, never showing favoritism toward any of the opposing factions. Bolstering the ranks of the Justiciars, the self-governed police force of Sanghelios, their respect and fame proved as invaluable in policing rogue states as their swordsmen. Urden proved to be surprisingly shrewd diplomats, and more conflicts involving them ended amicably rather than with bloodshed. Urden arguably prevented the utter collapse of Sanghelios while the Arbiter worked with humanity abroad. Upon his return, the Arbiter took over policing Sanghelios, and the Urden retreated back into the Dekek range. Their deeds rippled, however, and Urden was showered in glory and gifts by grateful - and opportunistic - Sangheili states. Ensis stubbornly refused to yield to any of the burgeoning factions seeking the sword arms of the Urden.
After Ensis' actions on Trost and subsequent punishment, his wife Dama was named the new Kaidon - one of a handful of female Kaidons in Sangheili history. She maintained Urden neutrality in an entirely different way than her husband intended: the Urden became mercenaries, contracting their swordsmen and warriors out for exorbitant fees. Urden lost face somewhat in this, but over the span of two short years, became obscenely rich. Dama was not a scoundrel, however; Urden mercenaries were never used as death squads, and the rest of her duties as Kaidon were met with skill and temperance. As of 2563, the Swords of Sanghelios held the highest number of Urden contracts, over two thousand swordsmen.
Dumat 'Urden possessed a rare allele which gave him purple eyes. The allele passed to his children, and so forth. By the 26th century, the allele is extinct in all Sangheili populations outside Urden. Having purple eyes has become something of a status symbol, as it implies direct descendance from Dumat 'Urden.
Ensis 'Urden- Former Kaidon
Dama 'Urden- Kaidon
Dumat 'Urden - Ancient Kaidon
- The name "Urden" is an homage to Drizzt Do'Urden, The famous drow warrior of the Forgotten Realms book series. In the series, Drizzt is a swordsman without peer, and possesses purple eyes.
- The Mark of Exile is an invention of Slaskia, an artist at Deviantart.