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We are Forerunners, guardians of all that exists. The roots of the galaxy have grown deep under our careful tending. Where there is life, the wisdom of our countless generations has saturated the soil. Our strength is a luminous sun towards which all intelligence blossoms and the impervious shelter beneath which it has prospered.”— The Ur-Didact

The Forerunner (Latin Primoris Prognatus meaning "first born") race were a highly advanced and ancient Tier 1 species whose empire, the Ecumene, was spread across three million fertile worlds in the Milky Way galaxy approximately 100,000 years ago. The Forerunners were the creators and builders of many significant installations, including the Halo Array, the Ark, and the Shield Worlds, as well as numerous lesser artifacts later found on many worlds.

The Forerunners had taken up a role as custodians of the galaxy and believed that the "Mantle of Responsibility," the center of their society and culture, had been passed down to them by the Precursors, an even more powerful race that preceded the Forerunner civilization. "Forerunner" is a literal translation of the species' name for themselves; they identified themselves as such because they believed that they held an impermanent place in the universe's Living Time and that they would be succeeded by other, better races. Before their disappearance from the galaxy, the Forerunners would name humanity their successors, identifying them with the title "Reclaimer".

The alien alliance known as the Covenant worshiped the Forerunners as gods, deriving much of their technology from Forerunner artifacts found throughout the galaxy, and believing any who defaced these relics to be Heretics.

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