- 1 A GIFT FROM THE PAST
- 2 LESSONS OF THE WILD
- 3 THE POINT OF THE SPEAR
- 4 MOTHER’S HEART
- 5 THE PROVING
- 6 THE WOMB OF THE MOUNTAIN
- 7 A SEEKER AT THE GATES
- 8 THE WAR-CHIEF’S TRIAL (Sona’s Questline)
- 9 REVENGE OF THE NORA (Sona’s Questline)
- 10 THE CITY OF THE SUN (Erend’s Questline)
- 11 THE FIELD OF THE FALLEN (Erend’s Questline)
- 12 MAKER’S END
- 13 INTO THE BORDERLANDS (Erend’s Questline)
- 14 THE SUN SHALL FALL (Erend’s Questline)
- 15 THE GRAVE-HOARD
- 16 TO CURSE THE DARKNESS
- 17 DEEP SECRETS OF THE EARTH
- 18 TRAITOR’S BOUNTY (Vanasha’s Questline)
- 19 QUEEN’S GAMBIT (Vanasha’s Questline)
- 20 DEEP SECRETS OF THE EARTH (Part 2)
- 21 THE TERROR OF THE SUN
- 22 THE HEART OF THE NORA
- 23 THE MOUNTAIN THAT FELL
- 24 THE LOOMING SHADOW
- 25 THE FACE OF EXTINCTION
[We see stunning views of wildlife and a hut in the middle of the forest. From the hut comes a strong man with a braided beard. A man has a child sitting in a shoulder bag. There is still snow around, but spring is already beginning to come into its reign. A man carries a child and speaks to her.]
Rost: What’s that now? Don’t like the cold? Can’t stay in today. We have a ritual to perform, you and I. Here... wear this. It belonged to my daughter. Good. Today I speak your name, girl. But - will the Goddess speak it back? Normally it would be the mother who declares... if you had one. The whole village would attend, and Matriarchs would perform the ritual. But... we are outcasts. Even so, we keep the tribe’s rituals. Otherwise we might become like the faithless Old Ones, who turned their backs on the Goddess. But their wickedness doomed them. To us were left the splendors of creation. Beasts of air, water, earth... and steel. It is one thing to hunt a beast, another to hunt a machine. You must be humble and respect their power. I will teach you this, one day…
[They climb a high mountain to a small shrine.]
Rost: High Matriarch Teersa? What is she doing here? Does she mean to forbid the ritual?
Teersa: No-no-no, off your knees! It’s nearly time. And yes, you may speak to me!
Rost: You came to bless the naming?
Teersa: Have not six months gone by since we entrusted her to you?
Rost: But we are outcasts.
Teersa: You by choice, and she, well… I’m a High Matriarch, Rost. I bless whom I choose.
Rost: Then... you honor us.
Teersa: Yes, yes. Now, go! And be ready to declare! Go! All-Mother, this child needs a name by which to know her, that your love may warm her life as the rising sun warms all the earth! Speak her name!
Teersa: And so her name is blessed!
Lansra: Stop this! At once! What have you done?
Teersa: I’ve blessed the naming of a child.
Lansra: Stubborn woman! You call that curse a child? What did she tell you about its birth, outcast? Answer!
Rost: I’ve done only what you asked -
Lansra: To raise it, yes. We said nothing of love.
Lansra: And you... Blessing its name, like it was one of the Nora, one of the tribe!
Rost: (to the child) I know my duty to them - and to you. I’m here. And wherever you go… I will follow.
Six Years Later…
[Rost is looking for Aloy, which is hiding in the bushes. She is watching a woman gathering blueberries along with several children.]
Nora Mother: Oooh, that’s a lot of berries. You are quite the gatherer, aren’t you, little Bast? Now go and see if you can find some more. Well done, that’s a good boy.
[Aloy comes to her holding a lot of blueberries.]
Nora Mother: Children, come with me. She’s an outcast, to be shunned. There… Oh, come on.
[Aloy runs away in a rage and does not notice the pit into which she falls. She explores it.]
Aloy: Rost! Down here! Rost! ROST! He won’t hear me. Some kind of cave?
A GIFT FROM THE PAST
Aloy: Ew. Rats. Looks tight. But I can get through... This must be a ruin of the Metal World! One of the old places... Rost said never go in places like this… but I have to find a way out. There’s something up ahead... What’s that? A dead person! There’s something shiny there.
[She inspects the strange device and holds it up to the side of her face, where it sticks and activates. A holographic interface lights up several signals and points of interest in the room.]
Aloy: Lights - everywhere! How does it do this? A metal door. Closed. Maybe this device I found can help? How do I get it open? More lights... A shape. It’s connected to the door somehow.
[She turns the holo-lock clockwise.]
Aloy: It changed color! The door changed color, too!
[The door is opened.]
Aloy: It did it! What’s that? It’s got a device, like the one I found.
[The device shows a hologram.]
Unknown Man: You think I want it this way? It’s the best I can do, he’s right behind you. Hi! Happy birthday Isaac! Daddy sure does love his little big man. Look, Daddy can’t be there with you and mom, but... We, can still have a party, right? Sure we can.
Aloy: Show me... Show me again!
Unknown Man: I can do, he’s right behind you. Hi!
Unknown Man: Happy birthday Isaac. Daddy sure does love his little big man. Look, Daddy can’t be there with you and mom, but… We can still have a party, right? Sure we can.
Aloy: Happy Birthday, Isaac... Daddy sure does love his little big man.
[She goes further and squeezes through a gap.]
Aloy: Why did they die here? What happened to them?
[Datapoint Log - Jackson Frye] Jackson Frye: ...and pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our debt, I mean, death. Sorry, it’s been a while and hoo, these meds Chana gave us are really something. So. Okay. From the top, kids. Hail Mary, full of grace...
[Datapoint Log - Ella Pontes] Ella Pontes: And maybe that’s all I need, you know? That moment the door opened and you were standing there, wearing that retro-weave dress, and the way you smiled... I had to look away or you were going to see. On my face. What had just... blossomed inside me, you know? Ha, it was just an instant, but I knew. I knew we’d be forever.
[Datapoint Log - Mia Sayied] Mia Sayied: The earth shall soon dissolve like snow... the sun forbear to shine... but God, who called me here below... will be forever mine.
[Datapoint Log - Skylar Rivera] Skylar Rivera: And Machu Picchu. Always wanted to see that. Never did. Why didn’t I go with Owen when he asked? Stupid. I should have gone. Well.
[Datapoint Log - Connor Chasson] Connor Chasson: ...I mean, seriously, "record our thoughts for posterity"? Great idea, Director Evans. Like I haven’t done enough for posterity already? Like I wouldn’t be... here... like this... if not for posterity? I’m done with posterity. Posterity can go f...
Rost: Aloy! Aloy, are you down there? Aloy!
Aloy: He found me! Rost found me!
Rost: All-Mother be praised! Come, girl! Take my hand! You don’t belong down there! Come!
Aloy: I fell in.
Rost: Such places are forbidden, Aloy. They are of the Metal World - what is that on your face?
Aloy: Nothing. No.
Rost: Did you find it... down there? Give it to me.
Rost: Aloy, such things are dangerous!
Rost: Well if you’re going to go sneaking away from home you’re going to need to know how to survive in the wild. Come Aloy! Home now! But starting tomorrow you will learn to hunt.
[The next day, Aloy is exploring the device she found in the ruins - a Focus.]
Aloy: All these shapes. What do they mean?
Rost: Take your bow.
[The Focus scans the weapon Rost is holding out, and the word "Bow" appears on the interface]
Rost: Enough muttering to that plaything. We descend to the valley now. Follow.
LESSONS OF THE WILD
Rost: The wilds can be dangerous, Aloy. You will need to stay close and do as I say.
Aloy: I know.
Rost: Now, you’re still scratched up from that fall you took yesterday, so let’s start there. Take this medicine pouch, and I’ll show you how to fill it. See this plant, over here? It’s called Salvebrush. Come gather its berries in your pouch. Aloy, come now. Gather the berries. Now eat the berries.
Rost: They may taste bitter, but they can save your life. Always keep your pouch full of medicinal berries, flowers, and plants.
Aloy: Where are we?
Rost: This valley is just a part of All-Mother’s Embrace.
Rost: The Nora tribe watches these lands, and keep out the most dangerous machines – usually. Further downriver, we’ll find a herd of machines, and I will teach you how to hunt.
Aloy: Are they dangerous?
Rost: All machines are dangerous, Alloy. Their power must be respected. But I will be beside you. Hmm. Aloy - a machine’s coming. Crouch, and follow me into the tall grass. There. Now stay low.
[A Watcher slowly passes by.]
Aloy: Little ones!
Rost: No, Aloy. Such machines are called Watchers. You must learn to avoid their gaze, if you are to survive in the wilds. I will show you. Listen close and do that I do. Stay still. Wait for it to pass. Now keep low and follow me across the trail to that Tall Grass. Ho. Another one. Let it pass. Come. Back this way. The slower you move, the quieter you’ll be. And crouched walking is quieter than upright. Wait for it. That’s the last of them. Let’s move on. You did well. They didn’t see or hear you. Now stay close. That herd should be just ahead.
[She sees a boy climbing a mountain, leaping from handhold to handhold.]
Aloy: Who’s that?
Rost: Ignore him.
Aloy: But why is he up there? He’s smiling at us.
Nora Brave Veteran: Teeeeeeb! Get back where you belong! Teeeeeeb! Where are you?
Rost: Ignore him. We are outcasts, and he is of the tribe.
Aloy: Maybe he doesn’t like the tribe.
Rost: Then he is a fool. Come now. Let’s find that herd. Follow. There. See them? These are called “Striders.”
[He approaches the herd.]
Rost: Hah! Git!
Aloy: Why’d you chase them off?
Rost: To show you how some machines startle easily if they detect you, and run away. They are best approached by stealth. Don’t worry. We’ll catch up with them further down the valley. You’ll see. Now I want you to find some rocks that fit the cup of your hand.
Rost: Do as I say Aloy, and gather the rocks. I will show you how to use them. Those will do. Follow. Stop wasting time. There’s the herd. All right, it’s time to throw some rocks.
Aloy: But rocks can’t hurt machines... right?
Rost: No, but they can distract them, draw them into traps… Like that Watcher over there. It must be dealt with, or it will warn the herd and send them running before we get in range.
Aloy: Warn them? How?
Rost: The Machines speak to each other, Aloy - unless they are first silenced. Now you stay here on the ridge. On my signal, throw rocks and draw the Watcher over to me. Wait for my signal. Aloy, throw a rock near me! There. Come, girl, it’s safe now. Harvest the kill, so I can teach you how to make arrows. Good. Now gather stalks of Ridge-Wood from the plants over there. Good. Now I see you’ve already gathered stalks of Ridge-Wood. Use the stalk, as arrow shafts, and Metal Shards for arrow heads. Good. You’ll never run out of arrows, if you know how to craft what you need. Let’s put those arrows to use. Follow. Here, stay low in the grass - and be quiet! It is time to make your first kill, Aloy. A Strider. One of the weaker Machines. But even a weak Machine can kill a hunter - if she is careless. You must study your prey. Its hide is thick, but there are spots where it is vulnerable - like its eye. Can you guess another?
[Aloy scans the Strider with her Focus.]
Aloy: The canister on its back -- is that a weakness?
Rost: Yes. How did you guess that?
Aloy: The device, it showed me!
Rost: That plaything? Stop playing games. Now take down that Strider. Target the eye, or the canister. And if it charges, be ready to roll out of the way.
[She shoots the Strider.]
Rost: Keep firing! You did well today, but you have much to learn. Tomorrow we train again.
[They hear a scream.]
Rost: What was that?!
Aloy: That boy! The one running the brave trails!
Rost: Aloy – quick!
[They run to the sound of screams and moans. When they arrive, they see that the fallen boy is surrounded by a herd of Watchers.]
Rost: I can do nothing. It’s only a matter of time before the machines find that boy and kick him to death. But if I shoot, it will cause a stampede and it will trample him.
Aloy: But I can see the paths they take!
Rost: Stop telling stories.
Aloy: I’m not! I can sneak through.
Rost: You will not.
[She breaks free from his hands and runs to the boy.]
Aloy: I need to move slowly and quietly, so I can sneak past them. Can’t let them see me… Got to be careful… I need to see their paths… Almost there… There he is...
[She talks to him.]
Teb: What?! Huh – How?!
Aloy: Shhh! Follow me!
[She leads him through the grazing herd.]
Teb: How do you know to avoid them? How are you doing this? How is this possible?
[She comes to Rost.]
Rost: So... it is no plaything.
Teb: Wait... All-Mother bless that girl. Bless you both.
Nora Brave Veteran: Boy!
Teb: She... she saved me. I... I just wanted...
Nora Brave Veteran: Boy. Seal your lips. They are outcasts, both. And she... she is motherless. Come now. Back to Mother’s Heart. And you…
[He hits Teb in the head as they leave.]
Rost: That boy should not have spoken to us, it’s against tribal law. We’ll go home now. Follow.
Aloy: I know the way.
Aloy: Seal your lips, boy… seal your lips.
[Someone throws a stone at Aloy, hitting her right in the forehead.]
Bast: Stay away. No-Mother!
[He throws another stone, but Aloy catches it and throws it back, hitting another rock from his hand.]
Nora Woman: Children, away from there! Back to picking berries!
Rost: You’re bleeding, let me have a look. (he dabs at her wound) Here, hold still, I’ll get it.
Aloy: Why am I an outcast?
Rost: Aloy... this is not the time.
Aloy: Who was my mother?
Rost: Aloy... I’ve told you before, that is not for us to know. You were just a newborn when the Matriarchs brought you to me.
Aloy: So the Matriarchs, they know?
Rost: It’s not so simple.
Aloy: But they know?
Rost: Aloy, we are outcasts.
Aloy: So how do I make them tell me?
Rost: The Matriarchs? There is a way, perhaps -
Aloy: So, tell me.
Rost: It will be dangerous.
Rost: It would take years of training.
Aloy: I don’t care. How do I do it? Tell me!
Rost: The Proving, the tribe’s rite of passage, held every year. Those who pass become braves, but to the one who wins - the Matriarchs grant a boon.
Alby: A boon?
Rost: Yes, whatever the winner wants.
Aloy: Then I’ll do it. Whatever it takes. I’ll win the Proving.
Rost: I see, we best get started then.
Rost: Your training will be hard, and it will take years.
Aloy: Start training? Yes, follow.
[Years passing. Aloy trains hard and persistently, gradually improving her archery skills, climbing rocks and balancing. And so, in one of the winters...]
Aloy: Rost… Rost!... Rooost!!! Where is he? Two days before the Proving, and he goes off without me? He wouldn’t do that.
THE POINT OF THE SPEAR
Aloy: I’ll do what I have to. Where’s he go to?
[She notices him standing on a rock.]
Aloy: He’s just... standing there. What’s going on with him?
Rost: Aloy. You’re here.
Aloy: Did you want to be alone?
Rost: No. We must speak. I’ve been thinking about your training, Aloy. You’ve learned to hunt, learned to survive. But I fear there’s a lesson I failed to teach you. Would you learn it now?
Aloy: Of course. I’ll always learn what you have to teach.
Rost: There has been some... trouble, recently. It affords an opportunity to learn this lesson, but it will be dangerous. You must come prepared… or you wall die. Descend into the Embrace and hunt until you have gathered the Parts for Fire Arrows.
Aloy: Fire Arrows? What kind of trouble are we talking about?
Rost: Once you have the Parts, you will meet me there, at the gate beyond the Village of Mother’s Heart.
Aloy: The North Gate? At the edge of the Embrace?
Rost: Yes. Now be on your way.
Aloy: Is something else bothering you?
Rost: No. I am fine.
Aloy: Are you worrying about what happens... after the Proving?
Rost: What happens is clear. You will be accepted as one of the tribe, and I will still be an outcast, to be shunned.
Aloy: Rost, even if the tribe accepts me, I won’t -
Rost: There is much to do, Aloy. We will discuss this later.
Aloy: ...Okay. I’ll go gather the parts. But I’m also going to pay Karst a visit.
Rost: Aloy, that man breaks the law every time he speaks to you.
Aloy: And I’m glad he does. I want to buy a Tripcaster, and no other trader will sell to outcasts.
Rost: Stock it with ammunition, then. You’ll find use for that weapon tonight.
Aloy: That sounds ominous. All right, see you at the North Gate.
[Aloy gathering the parts.]
Aloy: Somethings really bothering him. If he thinks I’m gonna abandon him, he’s wrong.
Aloy: The Embrace. My whole life, I’ve never gone beyond this valley. That’ll change after the Proving. Two days. Two days until I get answers. Two days, and I’ll know who she was. And why I was cast out at birth. As if there could be an excuse for that. All right, time to gather the Parts for some Fire Arrows. I should find a herd.
[Aloy collects all the necessary parts and crafts the Fire Arrows. Then she goes to a settlement called Mother’s Cradle.]
Greeting Nora Brave: I can’t hear anything! No, not a thing!
Aloy: Lucky they don’t talk to me. Don’t think I’d be very nice.
Greeting Nora Child: I CAN’T HEAR ANYTHING!
Greeting Nora Brave: Goddess! Why won’t she leave me alone?
Greeting Young Nora Hunter: I just want to go about my day.
Aloy: Time to see Karst and get a Tripcaster. No one else around. Looks safe to meet. My guess is, he’ll be waiting for me. There he is. Looks nervous.
Karst: Well, well, well, an outcast on my doorstep. All-Mother protect me.
Aloy: Surprised you saw me, the way you keep looking every other direction to make sure no one’s watching. Careful there, or you’ll sprain your neck.
Karst: It’s always a pain in the neck when you show up, girl, one way or another.
Aloy: Humph. Last time I visited, you had a Tripcaster available for trade. Still got it?
Karst: I do. But you’d need to bring me a Scrapper Lens. What can I say? Special weapons don’t come cheap.
Aloy: Oh. I can pay. Took down a Scrapper not long ago, stripped out the lens in perfect condition.
Karst: I’ll be the judge of that. Show me.
[She trade with Karst.]
Karst: Now that you’ve got a Tripcaster, practice how to use it in someplace else, all right? My life’s exciting enough without a bunch of Shock Wire booby traps to trip over.
Aloy: Really? Could have fooled me.
Karst: - snort -
Aloy: Will you be around later, in case I want to make another trade?
Karst: I’ll be here. Same as usual, bring me the parts you harvest from any machines you hunt. The better the parts, the more Shards I’ll pay. Be sure to take a close look at my inventory, though. Who knows, maybe I’ve got something that could give you an edge in the Proving.
Aloy: Is there a reason why you re acting so cranky today?
Karst: Once you run the Proving and get made a brave, you’ll deal with traders in Mother’s Heart. Maybe I don’t like losing customers.
Aloy: Traders who don’t break the law and deal with outcasts, you mean?
Karst: That’s right. Our days of crime will be behind us... so long as you keep quiet.
Aloy: Are you worried I’m going to tell someone that you trade with outcasts?
Karst: I don’t think you’re the kind who talks. But you never know.
Aloy: You can stop worrying. The secrets safe with me.
Karst: That’s what I figured. But I don’t mind hearing it.
Aloy: Why do you take the risk, trading with outcasts?
Karst: Every time, you ask. If a big, meaningful talk is what you’re after, move along.
Aloy: It’s because you used to be one, isn’t it?
Karst: Yeah. Got caught poking around one of the Metal Ruins out beyond the Embrace. Matriarchs said I was tainted and gave me five years.
Aloy: What did you see in the Ruins?
Karst: Nothing I could make sense of. After my shunning I tried living back in Mother’s Heart but… everyone I knew had moved on, and there were so many people, everywhere I turned. I like it better out here.
Aloy: The only person I’ve ever told about our trades is Rost.
Karst: Yeah, well, not like he can turn me in, even if he wanted to. Law and duty sort of a man, that Rost. I don’t know how you stand it.
Aloy: You really don’t know why he was cast out?
Karst: I’ve told you, no. I don’t think anyone knows what he did. But it must’ve been serious, because his term is for life.
Aloy: I guess that concludes our business.
Karst: All right Good luck in the Proving. Blessing of All-Mother and all that.
[Aloy walks away.]
Aloy: I’ve got what I need. Time to meet Rost at the North Gate.
Aloy: Whatever they’re hunting out there, it doesn’t sound easy.
[Aloy returns to Rost.]
Aloy: There he is, right where he said he’d be. Always is.
Rost: Aloy. You’re here. You have the Fire Arrows?
Aloy: I do. Those explosions and shouts beyond the Embrace - is that the trouble you were talking about?
Rost: You will know soon enough. Until then, we wait for dark.
Aloy: Wait for dark? Look, Rost, I’ve thought it through and I’m not going to shun you after the Proving, okay? I’m just... I won’t do it. I’m not about to pretend that you never raised me.
Rost: Aloy... the law forbids all contact.
Aloy: It does, and I don’t care. I know what duty means for you, Rost, but all tribal law has ever done for me is take things away. And that’s not going to happen again.
Rost: Aloy... I must obey the law.
Aloy: And so you will. I knew you’d say that, so... this is what we’ll do. I will come to you in secret. No one will see me, so I won’t get in trouble. And I know you won’t talk to me because... it’s against the law. But I’ll talk to you. It’ll be my crime, not yours. You’ll just... listen. And that’s how we’ll handle this.
Rost: ...You’ve... put a lot of thought to this.
Aloy: I know, right? So you can stop worrying. It’s handled.
Rost: Yes. So it is.
Aloy: I don’t understand. Those explosions are outside the Embrace. What can we do from in here?
Rost: The lesson will be taught in due time, Aloy. Until then, we wait.
Aloy: I saw Karst and got that Tripcaster I was talking about.
Rost: I hate to think what that outlaw trader charged for a weapon of that make.
Aloy: It wasn’t cheap, but the Tripcaster is worth it.
Rost: Perhaps. You’ll know its worth soon enough.
Aloy: Still a while to go before dark. I guess I’ll get some rest.
Rost: Good idea. There will be no time for sleep tonight.
[Aloy is resting by the fire before nightfall. Then she go to the North Gate. Rost whistles and the gate opens.]
Aloy: Opening a gate for an outcast?
Rost: Some who are shunned reaped honor before disgrace.
Aloy: So much for tribal law.
Rost: I spoke to no one. And now we must both keep silent for we are outside the Embrace. These are the true wilds, Aloy, with threats unlike any you have ever faced.
Aloy: That carcass! What sort of beast was that?
Rost: The tribe calls it a Sawtooth -- and it is something new. Something angry. Since they first started appearing ten years ago, they have killed many braves.
Rost: Follow the path. It’s not far.
Aloy: That cabin. What happened to it?
Rost: A machine. That’s what.
Aloy: What sort of machine does that?
Rost: The sort of machine you’re hunting how.
Aloy: Oh... I see. A Watcher carcass. I’ll harvest the Parts.
Rost: Watch your surroundings. It won’t be much further now.
Aloy: Why are we the only ones out here tonight? Why can’t the tribe’s braves hunt this machine?
Rost: They did. The kills we’ve passed are theirs. And tomorrow they will hunt again.
Aloy: They won’t need to. This machine will be my kill.
Rost: Or your death, if you’re not careful.
Aloy: An entire lodge, wrecked?! By Sawtooths? How many were there?
Rost: I didn’t bring you here to answer questions. Aloy. I brought you here to deal with that.
Aloy: It’s huge. How do you defeat it?
Rost: That will be for you to decide. This hunt is yours to make, Aloy - yours alone. No matter what happens, I will not intervene. Do you understand? You are on your own.
Aloy: I should stay out of sight. I can use the tall grass to approach… Let’s see... where can I place my traps? That wasn’t a warning. It saw me! I should scan it, see what that reveals.
[Aloy defeats Sawtooth.]
Rost: Why did I bring you here?
Aloy: Not to answer questions.
Aloy: Survival requires perfection. It was a test, to hone my skills against a dangerous new machine.
Rost: No. Follow. These are Nora hunting lands. They must be protected.
Rost: If you hadn’t destroyed the Sawtooth, how many Brave might it have killed or injured tomorrow? The lesson lives within the question, Aloy. For years you’ve trained to win the Proving only for yourself. As a brave, it will be yo duty to fight for your tribe -
Aloy: My tribe?! You said I wouldn’t need them.
Rost: But I never said the tribe wouldn’t need you! The strength to stand alone, Aloy, is the strength to make a stand. To serve a purpose greater than yourself. That is the lesson you must learn. And remember it… after the Proving, and after I am gone.
Rost: We are finished here. Follow.
Rost: Dawn has passed. This will be your last day in the Embrace as an outcast. Use the time to set your mind on the challenges before you. When it is time for you to go to Mother’s Heart, I will be waiting for you along the way.
Aloy: I understand the final lesson, Rost.
Rost: Do you?
Aloy: But if I’m going to stand for something, it’ll have to be something I believe in.
Rost: Then I hope you find it, Aloy. I hope you do.
Aloy: I’ll see you at Mo h rs Heart, then.
Rost: You will.
[Aloy finishes all her activities in the region and get back to Rost near Mother’s Heart settlement.]
Rost: So. It’s time. Are you ready?
Aloy: Yes. I guess. It’s... louder than I expected.
Rost: You’ve never been so close before.
Aloy: I guess everything’s bigger up close.
Rost: Soon it’ll all seem familiar. Like home.
Aloy: I don’t know about that.
Rost: Look for High Matriarch Teersa. She will help you. Any other concerns?
Aloy: What should I expect once I’m inside?
Rost: There will be people celebrating, and feasting. More than you’ve ever seen in one place. No other village compares to Mother’s Heart. It is the seat of the High Matriarchs, a center of Nora life, a jewel of the Sacred Land. Give it time, and you will grow fond of it... as I was, back when I was of the tribe.
Aloy: Are you sure they’re going to let me in?
Rost: I’ve told you. Aloy. By law, any child outcast can run in the Proving --
Aloy: "And any who pass are made braves, and are outcasts no more." I know that. But not everyone follows the law like you do, Rost.
Rost: Have faith, Aloy. The tribe will honor your right.
Aloy: Any final lessons before I head in?
Rost: No, you’ve learned every lesson the wilds have to teach.
Aloy: It was you who taught me, not the wilds. Not sure my bow and spear will be much help in there, though.
Rost: It is with bow and spear that you’ll win hat you’ve what you’ve wanted all these years. Aloy. Answers.
Aloy: I’m ready to do this. See you back home in a few days?
Rost: You will not find me there, Aloy. Here. Take this, to... remember.
[He gave her a pendant.]
Aloy: Why are you talking like we’ll never see each other again? No… No…
Rost: You should be with the tribe. And I will always be an outcast.
Aloy: But I told you, I have that figured out! I’ll come to you in secret. I’ll be the one breaking the law, not you! You don’t even have to talk to me!
Rost: This... attachment to me will only hold you back. It IS my wish that you embrace the tribe. You’ve lived in isolation long enough.
Aloy: Not until now, I didn’t.
Rost: For your sake. I must go where you will never find me. This is goodbye.
Aloy: No. It’s not. You taught me how to track. Wherever you go, I can follow.
Rost: Not this time.
Aloy: This time… and every time. I’ll be wearing this when I find you.
Rost: May All-Mother bless you, Aloy.
Aloy: And you.
[She goes to the Gate.]
Nora Gate Guard: You will turn back, outcast. Or bleed - your choice.
[The gates suddenly opens.]
Teersa: Make way! Make way! Braves, stand aside, she is welcome here. Mother’s Heart is open to you, child. Come. I assure you, most Nora aren’t as rude as those idiots.
Aloy: You’re... Teersa?
Teersa: Who else would I be? Come on now… I’ve been waiting for this day a long time.
Aloy: You have?
Teersa: Oh yes. But for the moment. I must leave you. I have other outsiders to keep safe tonight!
Aloy: You... what?
Teersa: Envoys from another tribe - the Carja - come to observe the Proving. And oh how the Nora hate the Carja!
Teersa: But that’s my problem. We will talk later. In the meantime, enjoy die festival. Oh! Down the path to the right, you’ll find an old friend who can’t wait to see you!
Aloy: But I don’t know anyone here!
Teersa: Ha! Try telling his that. We will talk later! May the Goddess protect!
Aloy: ...What is going on…?
[She walks down the path and sees Teb.]
Teb: It is Aloy, isn’t it? I’m remembering your name correctly?
Aloy: Are you the "old friend" Teersa told me about? I don’t know you.
Teb: I see you don’t recognize me. Well, it was a long time ago. Teb is my name. You were half my size when you saved me from a herd of Machines.
Aloy: I remember. You tried to thank me.
Teb: I never forgot that day. All these years I hoped to see you again - if you came to run in the Proving. As you can see, I didn’t turn out to be much of a hunter. I serve the tribe as a Stitcher instead. A maker of garments and armor. In preparation for this day, I’ve made an outfit for you. I hope you’ll like it.
Aloy: What’s it going to cost?
Teb: Cost? Nothing! Consider it the thanks I tried to give years ago, long overdue.
Aloy: Thank you, Teb. I’ve never had anything like this before.
Teb: Well, it’s yours. I think you’ll find it affords more protection than... what you were wearing. Every outfit offers some advantage. It’s always a trade-off. Anyway, I shouldn’t keep you any longer. Head for the Matriarchs’ Lodge if you want to find Teersa. You’ll know it when you see it. A large wooden building with an angry mob waiting outside.
Aloy: Teersa said something about envoys from another tribe?
Teb: Yes, that’s what the mobs angry about. Carja, visiting our Sacred Land for the first time in years. I’d expect to see some tomatoes fly, maybe rocks. Hopefully not spears. In any case, be ready to duck.
Karst: Aloy! Over here!
Aloy: Karst? What are you doing here?
Karst: Careful. Pretend like we’ve never met I wasn’t supposed to trade with outcasts in the wilds, remember?
Aloy: How could I forget. And how generous of you to talk to me now.
Karst: Don’t be like that. You know I’ll be rooting for you in the Proving tomorrow. Can’t wait to see the looks on some of these faces when you win. And if you need any last minute supplies, I’m your man.
Aloy: So... Mother’s Heart thought you preferred the wilds.
Karst: Well, a man can’t drink alone all the time, can he? Truth is, I get lonely once in awhile. There. I admitted it. Don’t think less of me.
Aloy: I won’t hold it against you... if you give me a discount.
Karst: You can’t be...
Aloy: I’m joking, Karst. It’s good to see you.
Karst: Hmph. Don’t go soft on me. All sales are final. If it breaks, you’re out of luck.
Karst: All right. Let’s do this.
[She trade with Karst and and goes further.]
Jezza: In a moment we shall bless the Proving. But first we have guests to welcome.
Teersa: For two years we have been at peace with the Carja! It is time to restore our bonds of trade with Meridian. These envoys com to us under a banner of peace!
Sun Priest: An annunciation of gratitude. Written by the hand of Sun-King Avad...
Lut: Killers and slavers! Killers and slavers!
Nora Brave : Yeah! Faceless wretch!
Erend: Hey hey hold your fruit! Nora faithful - hold your fruit! I’m Oseram, not Carja, so I’ll put it to you straight: the 13th Sun King was murderous bing! He was! A tyrant and a monster! Raided my tribe for blood sacrifice, just like yours! My own sister was taken! I hated he Carja! But the 13th King is dead two years now, and who killed him? The 14th! Not because he lusted for power, but because someone had to put an end to his father’s atrocities! The message this poor priest means to read is an apology. Straight from the lips of the 14th king. So please, can’t you lend him your ears?
Sun Priest: Thank you. An annunciation of gratitude... written by the hand of Sun-King Avad... 14th Luminance of the Radiant Line…
Aloy: Looks like it’s on that... bald man. One of the visitors? “Unknown device detected?” What’s that mean? He’s wearing a Focus -- just like mine!
[She talks to the man.]
Aloy: You’re the only other person I’ve ever seen wearing a Focus. Where did you get yours?
Olin: What?! A Nora -- wearing one of these?! That’s impossible! Your tribe fears the old places, forbids them!
Aloy: Who says I’m like other Nora?
Olin: Why... I guess you’re not, if you’ve gone delving in the ruins of the Metal World… Ahhh...!
Aloy: What’s wrong?
Olin: Apologies... a malfunction.
Erend: Olin! You making friends with locals, are we?
Olin: I’ll... I’ll come back.
Olin: No, uh -- we’ll talk later. Have to go...
Erend: Whoa. I guess he’s more hung over than I thought. Hey, you’ve got the same trinket that Olin has on his head. Since when did those become fashionable?
Aloy: His name is Olin? Who is he? And where did he get one of these?
Erend: He’s just a scrounger with friends in high places. He spends half his time digging for artifacts, the other half drinking or dicing. As for the trinket, I guess he dug it up somewhere. Just a weird old jewel he sticks on his face. No offense. Looks great on you.
Aloy: I thought your friend was going to go down in a hail of fruit, but you really calmed the crowd.
Erend: Thanks. I wasn’t sure I could do it. The Nora are still pissed with the Carja about the Red Raids, and who can blame them?
Aloy: I want to ask you something else.
Erend: If you want. But I’ll also be around after that Blessing thing, if that’d be a better time to talk.
Aloy: If the Carja have such a cruel history, how did you end up serving them?
Erend: The last king and his men were butchers. But the new king wants peace. There’s nothing cruel about that. Besides, the Carja don’t just fight. They build. Take Meridian. Next to it, everything else is just a bunch of sticks and stones.
Aloy: Just how big is Meridian? What’s it like?
Erend: Where do I even start? My tribesmen are masters of the forge, the best tinkers in the world, but when it comes to building… roads, and buildings tall as mountains. The Carja have us beat. The city soars over a canyon, with more bridges than the Nora have. And across the valley stands the Spire, like a blade thrust into the sky, reﬂecting the sun. You really owe it to yourself to see it. So consider that a challenge. Or an invitation.
Aloy: I never heard anything about "Red Raids" growing up. What were those?
Erend: Your tribe was at war, and you didn’t even know? Were you kept hidden away? Did you have overprotective parents or something?
Aloy: I grew up as an outcast, shunned by the tribe.
Erend: Oh. Yeah, I’ve heard the Nora do that. Seems cruel if you ask me. But even an outcast knows about The Derangement of the Machines, right? How they get deadlier every year? Well, the Mad Sun-King figured if he spilled enough blood to the Sun God, it would calm the Machines. Didn’t work. But for years he raided the tribes and took captives for sacrifice, my sister among them. The Nora put up a good fight, but... lives were lost.
Aloy: Your sister was taken captive and sacrificed? That’s terrible.
Erend: Ha! Captive, yes, sacrificed, no. Takes more than a few Carja to finish Ersa. She got away, and now she’s my captain - Captain of the entire Vanguard, favored by the Sun-King himself.
Aloy: How did she survive?
Erend: Oh, it’s a story all right, but it takes a while to tell. Maybe another time, over a drink or three? Or just come to Meridian and meet her yourself. I think you’d like each other. You’re both rather, ah… direct.
Aloy: So what happened? How did it all end?
Erend: The Mad King’s own son united Carja rebels with Oseram Freebooters. Together we did the impossible: took back Meridian and killed the crazy old king. So now the son sits on the throne, and it’s a big improvement Under Avad, there’s no more sacrifices, no more slavery. People from all tribes are welcome in Meridian now, even Nora exiles. You really should come visit.
Aloy: Who are the Oseram?
Erend: That’s my tribe, far to the northwest. We’re good at three things: Arguing, working steel, and brewing.
Aloy: And "Freebooters?" What are those?
Erend: I guess you could say we were mercenaries - warriors for pay. Except a lot more loyal than that makes us sound. Avad couldn’t have taken down his father without our metal and muscle. And now some of us serve proudly as his personal Vanguard.
Aloy: You said the machines have been getting more dangerous every year?
Erend: Yeah. I don’t have to tell you that, right?
Aloy: First I’ve heard of it.
Erend: Oh. Sorry. I just... assumed everyone knew. The way I hear it, fifteen, twenty years ago, the machines weren’t always pissed off like they are now. When a hunter came at them, they’d spook and run. So it was hard to take them down, but not dangerous -- so long as you were smart enough to jump out of the way. But then The Derangement starts up, and everything changes. Now, when a hunter fires a shot, the machines snarl and charge right at him major risk, A few more years pass, and they start attacking people on sight. Going anywhere becomes a And if that wasn’t bad enough, entirely new kinds of machines start showing up. Bigger, meaner -- and heavily armed.
Aloy: Like the Sawtooth?
Erend: Yeah, ten years ago, that one. But every couple years or so, something worse comes along. Believe me.
Aloy: So what’s making it happen?
Erend: No one knows. And the machines, they aren’t telling.
Aloy: I want to ask about something you said before.
Erend: Ask away.
Aloy: What else do you know about Olin?
Erend: Is he really that interesting? I’m starting to get jealous. Well, he scours the wilds for ruins, digs up stuff, and sells it to nobles. When he’s not scrounging, he’s scouting. Exactly the skills you want the man guiding your expedition to have. I’ve known him a few years. He’s a loyal companion, cares for his family, holds his drink well enough. I like him. But besides that, not much to tell.
Aloy: I’ve never seen armor like yours before.
Erend: You’ve never seen Vanguard steel? Well, let me introduce you. Ring locked. Impact protected. Sturdy enough to choke a Sawtooth. Has to be. The Vanguard are the Sun-King’s best, life-takers and Machine-breakers to a one. Might even give a Nora Warmaid like you more trouble than she can handle.
Aloy: With all that metal to slow you down? I doubt it.
Erend: Yeah, hard to say. From where I’m standing, looks like a pretty even match.
Aloy: I should make my way to the Blessing.
Erend: Yeah. Look, maybe I shouldn’t say this, but it’s obvious that you don’t belong in this... backwater. I mean, you’re smart, you’re obviously capable, and well, I mean, look at you...
Aloy: What are you talking about?
Erend: You know what. If you ever visit Meridian, look me up. I’ll show you around, make introductions. It’d be a whole new life, if you want it. Anyway, I have to go to that Blessing thing, too. So... see you around, maybe?
[Aloy goes to the Blessing.]
Lansra: We’ll start the blessing when all aspirants are in place.
Teersa: Aloy. Take your place right there. The prayer lantern is yours I made it for you.
Lansra: Pheh. Blasphemy.
Jezza: Sisters… Aspirants, before each of you sits a prayer lantern crafted by your mother. In her honor, light its flame!
Aloy: In honor of Rost, and all he did to help me get here.
Teersa: All-Mother, hear our prayer. What is the child, but a Mother’s hope that takes ﬂight? A glowing flame that climbs the air set free to the wind. Sailing the sky ’ til it fades and falls? So from one to another passes the chain of love.
[After the ceremony.]
Aloy: There’s Olin. I haves me questions for him. Hello, Olin.
Olin: You know my name? ...Ah. Guess Erend told you.
Aloy: Why did you act so strange when we spoke earlier?
Olin: Must be this festival. I’m really not one for crowds. Maybe I should just turn in --
Aloy: Stop dodging my questions.
Olin: All right, cool your fire. I got nothing to hide.
Aloy: What are you doing here, Olin? Why come to Nora land?
Olin: Erend needed a scout for his expedition, and a second for his drinking, that’s all. Someone to stop the Sun-Priest getting lost. When all this is over, I’m back to delving ruins. Rummaging for scrap, scrounging up trinkets to sell.
Aloy: So you’re an explorer?
Olin: Just another outlander, girl. A man’s got to make his Shards. I just make mine in service to the king’s court, that’s all.
Aloy: I’ve never seen anyone else with a Focus. Where exactly did you find it?
Olin: In the ruin north of “The Claim” – that’s our name for Oseram homeland. Up there, the metal seams run deep. Steel giants half-buried in loose soil, forgotten caves that the Old Ones bored into mountain rock... Your eyes just lit up.
Aloy: I found my Focus in a cave just like you’re describing. A ruin of the Old Ones.
Olin: If you’ve delved yourself, you know as much as I do. Go to those places for answers, not me.
Aloy: When we spoke earlier, you winced, then looked like you were in pain -- or frightened. Did your Focus show you something?
Olin: It didn’t show me anything. I told you, it malfunctioned. Happens all the time.
Aloy: You’re not a very convincing liar.
Olin: Do you always accuse people you’ve just met of lying?
Aloy: Only the ones who aren’t telling the truth.
Olin: Fire and spit, girl. I’m a plain-hammered man with nothing to hide. You don’t believe me, that’s your trouble, not mine.
Aloy: I don’t understand. We have this... device in common, but you can’t wait to stop talking to me.
Olin: I already have all the friends I need, girl. I don’t need the bother.
Aloy: I’m used to being shunned by the tribe. I thought you’d be different.
Olin: It’s nothing personal. It really isn’t. You should... try to enjoy yourself tonight. Big day tomorrow. Always best to make every day count.
[At the door.]
Resh: Motherless chuff.
Aloy: What’d you say?
Resh: Find your bed, outcast, and dream of winning the Proving. That’s the closest you’re going to get.
Aloy: Oh, this is the bed-house? With you standing guard, I figured it was the latrine.
Resh: Your - your very presence here mocks –
[Aloy shuts the door.]
Bast: Well, well - look who’s come in from the wild! The motherless outcast! I see you’ve still got a scar from where that rock I threw hit you! Now that’s a cherished memory.
Vala: You can be a real lard sometimes, Bast. Cut it out.
Bast: You didn’t know the words to the Blessing, did you? But no one hears your prayers anyway.
[Aloy talks to him.]
Bast: Aw, you even try to dress like real Nora. Not that it fools anyone.
Aloy: So this is how it’s going to be with you, is it?
Bast: This is how it’s going to be with everyone, outcast. You belong in the wilds, not Mother’s Heart And you definitely don’t belong in the Proving.
Aloy: You can sense it. You already know you’re going to lose.
Bast: Ha! I’ve trained all my life for the Proving! I’m not afraid of you-- I’m not afraid of anything!
Aloy: Really? Confidence is quiet. You’re not.
Bast: You know, I often think of the day I gave you that scar. It’s a cherished memory.
Aloy: The look on your face when I knocked that stone out of your hand was pretty entertaining. But I suppose you leave that part of the story out when you tell it, don’t you?
Bast: I branded you that day to mark your shame.
Aloy: All you did that day was make me stronger. Just wait. I’ll show you tomorrow.
Bast: Yeah, right! This is boring! Time for Bast to get some sleep! You’ll be the one surprised tomorrow, outcast. Not me.
Aloy: Oh, are you going to shut your mouth? Because that would be a surprise.
[Next she talks to Vala.]
Vala: Nice job handling Bast. That should keep him quiet. ’Til morning, anyway.
Aloy: I don’t believe we’ve met. I’m Aloy.
Vala: Oh, I know who you are. The competition. The others, they’ll finish the Proving, most of them. But win it? That’s down to Bast, you... or me. Vala.
Aloy: Nice to meet you, Vala. You’re right. I am going to win tomorrow.
Vala: Never celebrate a victory before its earned, girl. My mother taught me that. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to get some sleep. I plan to be well-rested when I run you into the ground tomorrow. Your bunk’s right there when you want it.
Aloy: Okay. Thanks.
[Aloy goes to sleep.]
Vala: So. Your first day in Mother’s Heart. What d’you think? You’ve never slept in a Nora lodge before. Not very private.
Aloy: Comforts and distractions. That’s what I think.
Vala: Not all comforts are bad.
Aloy: Comforts are weakness.
Vala: You sound just like my mother. You can always go back to living in the wilds if you have to. In the meantime, get some rest.
[On the next day.]
Resh: Braves -- ready yourselves! (to Aloy) What will it take to get you out of here?
[The Proving starts. First they need to kill a Grazer (some kind of deer) and pick up one of its horns. She succeeds but Bash knocks the horn out of her hands with an arrow shot.]
Resh: Your trophy is shattered outcast! Looks like you’ll need another.
[She gets another horn and runs to catch up with the rest. To win, she needs to get to a certain place among the first.]
Aloy: I’ve got to catch up! Faster! Come on!
Proctor: Slow and steady now. All you need is to finish. That makes all but one. Is the outcast coming?
Contestant: She was behind me!
Proctor: Looks strong, thought. Dead last, girl. Might as well walk from here. Bast will win. Or Vala. But you’ll be made a brave, so long as you finish.
[Aloy decides her options.]
Proctor: Ho now! - that’s an old trail. Two died on it last year. It’s falling apart! Better dead last than dead altogether! (Aloy readies for the jump) By All-Mother! Are you crazy?! You’re going to kill yourself! (she makes it) It doesn’t get any easier! You’re insane to go that way!
Aloy: No way but forward now.
Contestant: Who’s in the lead? I can’t see!
Contestant: Bast, with Vala right behind!
Aloy: Come on now! Faster! Stop dragging! Got to keep going!
Contestant: Hey - out there! The outcast!
Contestant: On the Old Trail? Is she crazy?
Aloy: Good. I’m gaining!
Contestant: Look! The outcast is catching up!
Contestant: How’d she get up there?
Aloy: Made it. Come on now. Hurry. Keep at it... I’ve trained my whole life for this. They had a tribe... but I had the wilds… Precision... not enough... must be… perfect. Come on, come tins, you can make it… Can’t let them beat me now!
[She outrun Bast and Vala for just a second.]
Bast: She didn’t win! The outcast cheated!
Proctor: An outcast? Win the Proving? Never!
[Aloy holds her breath...]
Proctor: For she is a brave now!
Vala: You did it.
Proctor: As are you all - so long as you put your trophy on the altar. But it is Aloy, once outcast, an now brave, who is sit among you!
[Her heart pierces an arrow. Dozens more coming, killing many of the contestants.]
Vala: Aloy! Go!
Cultist Leader : Keep them pinned down ’till the others arrive!
Vala: We can’t stay here! That’s the way out. But we won’t mate it under fire.
Aloy: They can’t shoot if they’re dead. Keep them busy, I’ll find an angle.
Vala: Bast! Bast, are you with us?!
Bast: I’m with you.
Vala: Let’s go, now!
Bast: Kill the invaders!
[The Cultist snipers shooting arrows from the high ground.]
Nora Youth: Too many of them! We can’t win!
Bast: Kill them!
Nora Youth: They’re too strong! We can’t top them!
Vala: Quick! Run for the slip-wire!
[Another wave of enemies coming. This time they attack directly.]
Cultist Leader: Kill the all! No witnesses! No survivors!
Vala: For All-Mother!
Aloy: Okay, no more sneaking.
Vala: Now! Descend while we have a chance!
[Vala leads away the surviving contestants. Suddenly, a cultist with a machine gun appears and shoots them all...]
Bast: Vala! No!
Leader: The Red-Hair dies now! Everyone FORWARD!
[Aloy kills everyone along with the leader with the machine gun. She goes to search the leader and finds the Focus. Then, muscular man comes up behind Aloy and grabs her by the throat.]
Unknown Killer: Turn your face to the sun, child.
[Suddenly, Rost appears and starts to fight with the killer. But… he dies.]
Unknown Killer: (to cultist) Burn it all. Then to your task.
Attacker: As you command.
[He sets fire to barrels of powder (apparently)]
Rost: Aloy! Survive!
[Rost throws her off a cliff and explodes along with the rest of the wounded. Some time passes. Aloy in feverish delirium drags on a stretcher along the corridor. Before her eyes flickers footage of her childhood.]
Teersa: She is doing!
Lansra: To take her there is blasphemy!
Teersa: She should be near her mother!
Rost: (turning to Lansra) Aloy... I’m so sorry!
Cultist Leader: Turn your face to the sun, child.
[She wakes up.]
Aloy: Rost... No... No, no. I have to get out of here. I need my focus... no! (her focus is gone) Rost saved me. They must have found me before I bled out. But why is no one here? Where am I?
THE WOMB OF THE MOUNTAIN
[She finds her clothes nearby.]
Aloy: My clothes - good. But where’s my Focus? Ah. It’s here. Okay. Wait? Am I inside the sacred mountain? But only Matriarchs are allowed inside. I don’t see my bow here. Or that damaged Focus, I took of that… killer. Where are they? I’m picking up some kind of signal. The Nora didn’t build this place - the Old Ones did. But why? It looks like the ruins I fell into when I was young.
[She finds new bow and her other equipment.]
Aloy: There! With the rest of my things!
Aloy: (picking up damaged Focus) Now what can you show me?
Unknown Killer: All commanders: halt excavations, and proceed at once to the mission point.
Unknown Killer: Avoid all contact with Nora savages - but if you are seen, kill every witness. Target imaging attached. Do not fail.
Aloy: “Target imaging?”
Aloy: (on record) Who says I’m like other Nora?
Aloy: They saw me through Olin’s Focus… How’s that possible?
Unknown Woman: Then make it quick. I’m heading in.
Synthetic Voice: Hold for Identiscan.
Unknown Woman: You need to stop listening to Ted and start listening to me.
Aloy: Where is this from? And when? Are you my mother?
[Image of and old woman that looks like Aloy appears. It has a subtitle – Terminate.]
Aloy: But why try to kill me because I look like you?
Teersa: Aloy! You are awake?!
Aloy: You brought me here?
Teersa: Quickly, you must follow!
Aloy: To where?
Teersa: To the place where you were born!
Aloy: Are you saying I was born here - inside the Mountain?
Teersa: It is easier if I show you.
Aloy: Why did you bring me here?
Teersa: It seemed you were dying, and to die near one’s mother is sacred. Lansra fought it, of course - but Jezza sided with me.
Aloy: Is my mother here? Am I going to meet her?
Teersa: It’s complicated. Please, just follow me.
Aloy: Does my mother look like me, but with short hair?
Teersa: I don’t see how that could be. You were not born of a woman. Aloy. The Mountain is your mother.
Aloy: I’m - What?
Aloy: What are you talking about?
Aloy: What is this place?
Teersa: The Great Chamber, where All-Mother slew the Metal Devil… and gave birth to you. Aloy, the Proving massacre was just the first of many disasters. The war party we sent after the killers was ambushed and slaughtered.
Aloy: But what does that have to do with where I was born?
Teersa: My hope is... everything! This is where we found you. We heard your cries, came to look, and there you were.
Aloy: Just—just lying there?
Aloy: You mean I came from behind the door?
Teersa: Always that is what I have believed - that you came from the Womb of the Mountain, a gift from All-Mother Herself. But others... like Lansra, feared that a darker power put you here... not a gift, but a curse.
Aloy: But... this isn’t a Goddess.
Aloy: It’s a door. With people behind it? My mother?
Synthetic Voice: Hold for Identiscan.
Teersa: The Goddess speaks!
Aloy: It’s... just like the woman I saw...
Synthetic Voice: Error. Alpha Registry Corrupted. Identity cannot be confirmed. Entry denied.
Aloy: No. No! Please!
Teersa: All-Mother spoke to you! As if she knew you!
Aloy: Were you not listening? It didn’t recognize me.
Teersa: Because of corruption! The Goddess’s own words! Surely, if you heal this corruption, she will see you clearly!
Aloy: And how would I do that?
Teersa: You said you’ve haul visions? Of a woman with short hair?
Aloy: Yes. The killers came for me because I look like her.
Teersa: But their power is overwhelming! Is there no other trail to follow?
Aloy: Olin! He was one of the outsiders, the night before the Proving. The killers saw me through his eyes. He lives in Meridian...
Teersa: So you will have to leave the sacred land...
Aloy: I’ve been an outcast all my life. Why not an exile, too?
Teersa: Shhh! There is another way. Come, and we will make it so.
Aloy: You said the tribe is on the brink of extinction. What happened?
Teersa: After the massacre at the Proving, a great War Party was sent after the killers. Less than half survived.
Aloy: How was the War Party defeated?
Teersa: The killers do not fight alone. Somehow they have a power over the machines, corrupting them, driving them mad.
Aloy: So the killers got away?
Teersa: Yes. And now the on y plan my Sister Matriarchs can agree to is to sing the Hymn of Atonement and beg for All-Mother’s mercy! As though she would not want us to help ourselves!
Aloy: Then what’s your plan?
Teersa: This! This was my plan! To show you where you were born and loose you to follow the destiny All-Mother intended for you! The other High Matriarchs are waiting for us. Let me do the talking.
Jezza: It is done?
Teersa: Yes, I showed her. Sisters - the Goddess spoke to Aloy! Told her to heal the corruption!
Jezza: But, how is she to do that?
Teersa: She will have to journey beyond our Sacred Land.
Jezza: A Seeker. If the Goddess Spoke... it must be so.
Lansra: You would name this thing a Seeker?
Teersa: For once, Lansra, join with us.
Lansra: This will be your sin, not mine! Send her seeking and may she never be seen again.
Teersa: Aloy, by the holy grace of the one Goddess, we hereby anoint you a Seeker of the Nora Tribe.
Jezza: No barrier can now stay you from your sacred task. May All-Mother protect you, and sustain you. Stay true. I will make ready for the Hymn. Our hopes lie with you.
Aloy: Teersa, what’s a “Seeker?”
Teersa: You are. And here is your Mark. In times of great need, the High Matriarchs may anoint a Seeker - a worthy brave sent forth to accomplish a great purpose. No matter where that purpose might take her.
Aloy: Even beyond the borders of the sacred land?
Teersa: Yes, and with the right to return when you are done - or as the need arises.
Aloy: So I can go anywhere at all? No restrictions?
Teersa: Even to forbidden places, like the Tainted Lands beyond All-Mother’s sight, or the ruins of the Metal World.
Aloy: I see. Why are the lands beyond Nora territory called “tainted?”
Teersa: Is it not obvious? Our land is sacred. We live in sight of the one Goddess, All-Mother — source of all that lives. Beyond Her sight lies a vast fallen land, spiritually tainted. That is why it is against tribal law to leave. But the Seeker blessing will protect you.
Aloy: Why are the “ruins of the metal world” forbidden?
Teersa: They are blighted places, Aloy - dark and wicked, like the Children of Metal who built them. When they rebelled and tried to murder All-Mother, Her wrath leveled their cities but could not cleanse their sin.
Teersa: Their ancient spite haunts those ruins, ready to ensnare anyone foolish enough to enter them.
Aloy: But... I’ve been in a ruin. It looked a lot like the inside of All-Mother.
Teersa: That cannot be so!
Aloy: It is.
Teersa: Then... this is something beyond my understanding. I will trust you to reveal the truth.
Aloy: Have there been other Seekers?
Teersa: There have, but they are rare, and most who set out are never heard from again.
Aloy: Was Rost a Seeker?
Teersa: No... not a Seeker...
Aloy: What are you not telling me?
Teersa: This is not the time, Aloy. Perhaps another day.
Aloy: What was done with Rost’s body?
Teersa: I’m afraid there was... very little left to recover. But what there was, we buried at the place where he raised you, with ﬂowers on the grave.
Aloy: Thank you. So many have suffered. Is there anything I can do to help?
Teersa: What is most important is for you to fulfill the purpose All-Mother has intended for you.
Aloy: I don’t know what that means any more than you do.
Teersa: Then you must find out. If, however, you sense that part of your purpose is to help the tribe, by all means do so. I have no doubt you will find people in need throughout the Embrace.
Aloy: You said the Nora sent a war party after the killers?
Teersa: Yes, but it was ambushed and overrun. Very few escaped alive, and most that did were wounded.
Aloy: Do you know where the killers went?
Teersa: No. But you could ask Varl, one of the braves guarding the Gates of the Embrace. He survived the ambush. He would know more.
Aloy: I should be on my way.
Teersa: From here you must go to the Gates of the Embrace. Speak to Varl, and he will paint the way to Meridian. If any Nora tries to stand in your way, Aloy, make sure they know you are a Seeker.
Aloy: I will. Thank you, Teersa, for all you’ve done.
Teersa: May All-Mother bless you and watch over you.
[Aloy go to the gate.]
Seasoned Nora Brave: The outcast approaches.
Resh: Ignore her. Continue the report.
Seasoned Nora Brave: There are rumors of a Demon loose in the Embrace a thing of dark metal that corrupts every Machine it touches.
Resh: Where did it come from?
Seasoned Nora Brave: They say it broke through the Gates of the Embrace.
Resh: Who is “they”? Varl’s a fool to defend that Gate. It is here at mother’s Watch that we will make our stand.
Seasoned Nora Brave: Varl and his followers, they tried to stop it, but the Demon was too fast, too powerful. So far eight groups have arrived from Mother’s Heart to join the Hymn of Atonement, and more are on the way.
Resh: Good. All true Nora will lift their voices in song.
[She goes to talk to Teb.]
Teb: I heard the rumors, but I didn’t know for sure until saw you just now. I’m glad to see you’re okay.
Aloy: What sort of rumors did you hear?
Teb: That you were wounded, expected to die. And then High Matriarch Teersa insisted that you be healed inside All-Mother! Oh, that caused a stir! Only Matriarchs are allowed to enter the Mountain! But - you deserved the honor. The survivors had told everyone how you fought to save them!
Aloy: I wasn’t the only one to fight.
Teb: No. They spoke of Bast and Vala, too.
Aloy: And Rost. The man who raised me. He fought to save me, and he died for it.
Teb: The survivors didn’t speak of him. But I remember him. He was there, that day when you saved me. I remember he stepped in front of you when my father started yelling. If by dying he saved your life, Aloy, I don’t think he regretted it.
Aloy: I need the gate opened.
Teb: Do you have any idea how dangerous it is out there?
Aloy: I need to pass through.
Teb: You’ll have to talk to Resh, then, up on the wall. He’s the new War Chief. I’m not sure he’ll help you.
Aloy: What’s the danger in the Embrace? Are the killers still there?
Teb: No, they’re long gone The War Party went after them... but the killers slaughtered them. They have some… evil power over the Machines. They corrupt them, make them fight at their side.
Aloy: And these corrupted machines they’re loose in the Embrace?
Teb: Some have broken through. And from what I hear, it’s even worse outside the Embrace. Believe me, this is no time to go traveling.
Aloy: Why wouldn’t Resh help me?
Teb: Well, he says... mean things about you.
Aloy: That I’m a motherless curse, an outcast, that sort of thing?
Teb: Yeah. I wish he hadn’t been made War Chief, but Sona disappeared after the ambush. They say she went after the killers all by herself.
Aloy: Who is Sona?
Teb: Sona was the tribe’s War Chief, but she went missing after the War Party was ambushed. You probably saw her at Mother’s Heart. A tall, lean woman with dark skin and long, white hair? Her daughter ran in the Proving... but, she died.
Aloy: Was Vala her daughter?
Teb: Yes, she was. I liked her.
Aloy: So did I. What are you doing here with a bow and spear, Teb? You’re a “Stitcher,” not a Brave.
Teb: Most of our Braves are dead or wounded Aloy. Someone has to defend Mother’s Watch, so... I thought I’d help out. I should be okay... just as long as I don’t try to run any Brave Trails, right?
Aloy: I should be on my way, Teb.
Teb: May All-Mother protect.
[She goes to Resh.]
Aloy: I need the gate opened.
Resh: Since when has any outcast’s “need" been my concern?
Aloy: I recognize you from the Proving. You saw Bast shatter my trophy, and you did nothing.
Resh: You would speak ill of the dead? Truly you have no shame.
Aloy: I nearly put an arrow through your eye.
Resh: And you threaten me, in front of witnesses? When the High Matriarchs hear of this, you’ll be an outcast all over again.
Aloy: I have been anointed a Seeker. So open the gate.
Resh: You - a Seeker? Have Teersa and Jezza gone insane?! Bad enough that they let you run in the Proving! But to nurse you back to health inside the Sacred Mountain? No wander a curse is upon us, and children he dead under cairns of stone.
Aloy: How can you be so heartless? I fought beside those children, shoulder to shoulder and back to back. I saw them fall.
Resh: If even one of them had been true Nora, they would’ve put an arrow in your back!
Seasoned Nora Brave: Resh! Come on.
Resh: Silence! I am your War Chief!
Aloy: And I am a Seeker, anointed by the High Matriarchs. So open the gate, and I will be on my way.
Resh: The sooner you’re gone from here, the better.
Aloy: What was that?!
[She saw giant machine with a herd of Striders.]
Nora Brave: The Demon!
Resh: Sound the alarm!
[The Demon enslaves Striders.]
Nora Brave: By the Goddess, what is it doing to them?
Resh: Brace yourselves! What have you brought on us now, you motherless curse? Kill them, braves! Kill them all! Braves - ready yourselves! Today we fight a curse! A Demon! All-Mother, give us Strength!
Aloy: Won’t be long… got to get in position.
[Aloy kills “the demon” - Corruptor.]
Aloy: Here it comes!
Aloy: It’s down!
Seasoned Nora Brave: The Demon is dead!
Aloy: One of this things marched with the killers at the Proving... How does it possess other machines? What is its secret? How does a machine like that take control of all those Striders?
[Aloy examines Corruptior’s carcass.]
Aloy: How did you do it? Show me. You made them obey you. But how? This. You did this with this. It’s... connecting to my focus. Then - I could use this? It’s worth a shot. Couple loops of wire… Looks like it’ll hold. I just need to test it.
Teb: Aloy! How did you do that? You killed that demon... pulled its guts from the carcass!
Aloy: The way it controls other machines - I think I’ve figured it out. But I need to test it on a machine.
Teb: Uh... plenty of Striders along the path to the Gates of the Embrace. I guess...
Aloy: Exactly. And the Gates are where I’ll be headed anyway. I need to speak to Varl.
Teb: I always knew you were different, Aloy. But...
Aloy: But what.
Teb: I think you’re a blessing from All-Mother! No matter what Resh says!
Aloy: Thank you, Teb. But I have to go now.
Teb: I know you do. And my thoughts go with you. Good luck out there. Stay safe.
Resh: Braves! I want that gate repair immediately! I don’t care if you bandage it together, get it done!
A SEEKER AT THE GATES
[Aloy go outside the Gates.]
Aloy: I need to test this device. See What it can do.
[Aloy finds a herd of Striders.]
Aloy: Striders. I can test the Override device on them. Should go in quiet. Didn’t go through all of this to wind up trampled by a frightened herd. Nice and quiet. Okay, here it goes! Come on, come on… It worked! It’s not hostile... Seems almost tame. I think I could ride it! There we go. Thattaboy. That’s more like it. Ya! This Strider is fast! This beats walking! I should try overriding other kinds of machines! Probably can’t ride them all, but I might find a use for them!
[She rides to the Mother’s Embrace Gate.]
Aloy: Sounds of fighting just outside the gates?
Varl: Watch yourselves!
Aloy: The gates look shattered!
Varl: Bring it closer! Closer!
Aloy: Varl I take it?
Varl: Aloy. The outcast who won the Proving. So you survived your wounds!
Aloy: High Matriarch Teersa said you might know the way to Meridian.
Varl: The capital of the Carja Sundom?! You seek exile?
Aloy: No -- a traitor named Olin. The Matriachs made me a Seeker, so I could go after him.
Varl: Then you should head north, to Mother’s Crown. If you make it, talk to Marea. She’ll point the way.
Aloy: "If" I make it?
Varl: The trail is dangerous. Ever since the War Party massacre, our lands go unpatrolled, and our borders unguarded. We have no War-Chief to lead us.
Aloy: Isn’t that Resh’s job?
Varl: Pheh. Only because Sona went missing. I’d go after her myself, but she ordered me to hold this gate with my life. And so I have.
Aloy: You said the trail is dangerous What sort of dangers?
Varl: Almost too many to name. The killers are still out there, and somehow they’ve corrupted the machines – spreading madness!
Aloy: Yes, I’ve seen it myself.
Varl: Bandits, too. Cut-throats who snuck across the border to prey on us. Word is, there’s a camp in the metal ruins upriver.
Aloy: Sounds like I need to craft more arrows. You said I won the Proving. How did you know that?
Varl: I spoke to survivors. They said you fought bravely. As did Bast... and my sister.
Aloy: Your sister was Vala? ...I’m very sorry. I... liked her. I think we might even have become friends… If we’d had a chance.
Varl: Thank you. She died saving others. There is no better death.
Aloy: You said the War Party was massacred. How?
Varl: When word came of the attack on the Proving, War-Chief Sona assembled a War Party to give chase. But in their haste to get vengeance, some braves broke rank and raced ahead, straight into a trap. A pack of crazed machines, seething With corruption, fell upon the braves and, savaged them gone. And our losses were... extreme.
Aloy: You said War-Chief Sona is missing?
Varl: Even when the War Party was massacred, she wouldn’t give up the chase. She called for volunteers and went after the killers.
Aloy: You didn’t volunteer?
Varl: Of course I did. But Sona... denied me that. She ordered me to see the wounded back to the Embrace… and to guard this gate -- to guard the Embrace -- with my life. That was days ago, and since then, there’s been no word from her.
Aloy: So there’s no way to know if she’s alive or dead?
Varl: If anyone could survive out there, it would be her. Sona’s prowess is legend. An unbending spear to measure ourselves against.
Aloy: Sounds like she sets a high standard.
Varl: Oh, you have no idea. She’s my mother.
Aloy: I should be on my way.
Varl: Aloy... Before you make the journey to Mother’s Crown and beyond... is there any chance you could search for Sona? The tribe needs her leadership. I’d go after her myself, If she hadn’t commanded me to hold this gate at all costs.
Aloy: Where was she last seen?
Varl: The War Party massacre site. A wooded hollow across from Devil’s Thirst, on this side of the river. You might be able to pick up her trail there. She went after the killers who attacked the Proving, who killed those we love, who tried to kill you...
Aloy: I get it, Varl. I’ll see what I can do.
[He notices Aloy’s tamed Strider.]
Varl: A Strider! How is that possible?
Aloy: It’s hard to explain. Something I... discovered.
Varl: ...I see.
[Aloy goes to Mother’s Crown to meet with Marea.]
Marea: Here she is. The hero of Devil’s Grief. Come here, girl. Been wanting to meet you. So, you’re Aloy. I’ve heard about you from the war-party. The hero of Devil’s Grief.
Aloy: One of them, maybe. I didn’t fight alone. You’re Marea? Varl told me you’d to know the way to Meridian.
Marea: The Carja capital? West will take you to it, but their soldiers will stop you long before you get there.
Aloy: They can try.
Marea: No. What I mean is, there’s a Carja fort that guards the pass between east and west. Word is, the Carja have sealed the gate, out of fear of the corrupted machines infesting our Secret Land.
Aloy: So if I clear out the corrupted machines, they’ll open the border?
Marea: I suppose. But I can’t spare any braves to help you.
Aloy: Who said I needed help?
Marea: You’ll clear the valley - all by yourself?
Aloy: I’m good with my bow.
Marea: For you sake, better than good, I hope.
Aloy: So I’ll find this Carja fort to the west? And beyond that, Meridian?
Marea: Yes. The Carja call the place "Daytower." It’s not far from the forsaken village.
Aloy: What forsaken village?
Marea: It had a name once, not that it matters now. I was born there.
Aloy: What happened to it?
Marea: The war. The Carja destroyed it in one of their Red Raids. I was fifteen at the time. I got away. Others weren’t so lucky. The Nora withdrew to this place, Mother’s Crown. Relinquished our claim on the valley. Even now, with the war behind us, we’ve left the valley be, a kind of... buffer between the Sundom and our Sacred Land.
Aloy: How far has the corruption spread?
Marea: I’ve seen it myself in machines on the head of the valley. And there’s been word of corrupted machines in the south, too. Whatever the corruption is, it doesn’t just affect machines. It burns flesh and sickens the injured.
Aloy: Do the corrupted machines have any weaknesses?
Marea: Fire seems to affect them more than ordinary machines. A small mercy. This is a curse only the Goddess can you lift.
Aloy: Unless we find out what’s behind it, and put a stop to it.
Marea: The matriarchs have spoken, Aloy. All we can do is fight - and pray to the Goddess.
Aloy: Mother’s Crown guards the edge of the Sacred Land, right? So do you see a lot of foreigners here?
Marea: Yes. Not here in the village itself, of course, but in the valley beyond. Since the war ended, foreigners have been allowed in the valley, and Nora can trade with them, if they choose. It’s a kind of in-between place, neither foreign nor Sacred Land. If you’re curious, visit Hunters’ Gathering. It’s little more than a heap of dingy shelters and tents, but foreigners use it as a waystation.
Aloy: Sounds like a place where I could find out more about Meridian. So you’re in charge of the defenses here?
Marea: I have Sona’s counsel - though she really should rest.
Aloy: Good luck convincing her to do that.
Marea: Mother’s Crown defends itself. During the war, it survived fifteen assaults, broke three invasion. We will endure.
Aloy: Trying to live up to glorious pasts has a way of getting people killed.
Marea: You wouldn’t not know this, but I won the Proving the year I ran. Like you, I started off behind, had to find a shortcut. I barely made it. Crossed the finish line with a broken ankle.
Aloy: This isn’t the Proving, Marea. This is real.
Marea: You miss my point. Getting posted to Mother’s Crown? It was the boon I requested. My price for winning. Trying to live up to the glory of the Nora hasn’t killed me yet. But if it has to… I’m willing.
Aloy: I should be going.
Marea: All right. Be careful out there, Aloy. I hope you find whatever it is you’re after.
[Aloy clears the corrupted zones that Marea told her about.]
Aloy: I’ve done what I can to cleanse this valley of Corruption… time to see if the Carja fort will let me pass over the mountains.
[She goes to the border fort.]
Aloy: Sounds of fighting? Has something attacked the Carja fort? A Corruptor!
Carja Guard: Turn back, girl! These machines are dangerous!
[But he doesn’t know who Aloy is. She destroy the Corruptor and several corrupted machines with it.]
Carja Guard: Truly the Sun shines upon us this day!
Aloy: It wasn’t the Sun risking its ass down here.
Carja Guard: Girl -- approach. Girl -- come closer!
Aloy: So. Will you open the gate for me now?
Carja Guard: You heard her! Open the gates -- and send word to Captain Balahn! Where are you headed, girl?
Aloy: West! To Meridian!
Carja Guard: The Way of Broken Stones is a hard run, even in the best of times. You might want to have a word with Captain Balahn. He came from Meridian not long ago. You’ll find him in the fort - on a balcony to the left, overlooking the valley.
Aloy: Okay. Thanks.
Carja Guard: We’re the ones who should be thanking you, for taking down those machines. Walk in light, Nora.
THE WAR-CHIEF’S TRIAL (Sona’s Questline)
Aloy: My whole life... all of it in the Embrace. The world just got bigger. But also more dangerous.
[She sees a hunter walking the road.]
Aloy: Are you all right, hunter? Were you injured when the War Party was ambushed?
Cren: Not exactly. And I’m not a hunter. Or a brave. Or anything, really. You shouldn’t even be talking to me.
Aloy: Well, whoever you are, you’re hurt. What happened?
Cren: My name’s Cren, I thought I’d have a go at the Trials at the Hunting Grounds over the rise. You know, hone my skills. It... uh... didn’t go very well.
Aloy: You got Injured at a Hunting Grounds? How?
Cren: Well, I was aiming for a canister on the back of a Grazer, and my bowstring snapped, and I tripped, and… Aw, forget it. It wasn’t pretty, okay? I just wanted to train a bit. Hunting Grounds are perfect for that. They offer Trials, which are like challenges, and they give you marks if you accomplish objectives or beat certain times. The Keeper’s up there on the hill, just to the north Talk to hum to do a Trial. I’m sure you’ll do better than I did.
Aloy: Why did you say you weren’t "anything at all?" And that I shouldn’t talk to you?
Cren: I stole a bow, okay? And got cast out. This was before the Proving, so now I can’t even fight for my tribe in its time of need. I have to live in the wilds, by myself. Which is why I wanted some training. Honestly, I’m just glad the Keeper would talk to me. I think he might be an exile or something. He doesn’t seem to care about the laws of the Matriarchs.
Aloy: Things aren’t exactly going your way, are they? Is there anything I can do to help?
Cren: No, no I’ll be all right. My father always said All-Mother had a plan for me. Before he got run over by a Strider, anyway.
Aloy: I need to get going, Cren.
Cren: All right. Be careful, especially if you’re heading north. And be sure to hit the Hunting Grounds if you want to train up.
[Up a hill Aloy find the Keeper.]
Aloy: I spoke to Cren. He told me this is a Hunting Grounds, where you offer tests of skill.
Nora Keeper: Poor Cren. Not the best hunter, but at least he keeps his chin up. Hmm. You bear the Mark of a Seeker. I’ve heard of those, but never seen one. You have the Matriarch’s leave to come and go as you like from the Sacred Land?
Aloy: Yes, but I would have gone even without their permission.
Nora Keeper: Is that so? Then maybe you and I can speak plainly. Truth is, I’ve had dealings with the Carja. I represent an organization called the Hunters Lodge in Meridian. We test promising young hunters with Trials at places like these. You might be just the kind of person we’re looking for. Why don’t you sample the Trials and see? Just to be clear, though - I’d appreciate it if you kept our conversation in confidence, especially when it comes to the Matriarchs.
Aloy: You’re not supposed to be here, are you?
Nora Keeper: No. My friend and I left the Sacred Land and returned. The Matriarchs wouldn’t approve, to say the least. We’re hunters at heart. Left because we wanted to find new herds and new machines. That’s why the Hunters Lodge appealed to us. But the Carja wouldn’t have us if they knew we were Nora, so we wore Carja clothes when we brought our marks to them. After a while it felt like we were caught between worlds. Not quite Carja, not quite Nora. We started to miss home. So we came back and set up our own Hunting Grounds.
Aloy: You think it will work, staying here without the Matriarchs’ permission?
Nora Keeper: I’m not sure. But we don’t believe in their rules. There’s a big world out there, and ignoring it doesn’t help anyone.
Aloy: Tell me about the Trials.
Nora Keeper: The Hunters Lodge hosts Hunting Ground Trials throughout the world, each offering hunters a chance to test their skills.
Aloy: What do I get for completing them?
Nora Keeper: Pride in accomplishment! As well as marks, depending on how well you fare. Here we offer the Tools Trials.
Aloy: What kind of tools?
Nora Keeper: Hunting isn’t just about your bow - it’s about using everything available to you, even your surroundings. You’ll see once you start taking the Trials.
Aloy: What is the Hunters Lodge?
Nora Keeper: It’s a group of hunters who compete to bring down the mightiest machines in the land, run by the Carja in Meridian. You can see it yourself if you win three Half Suns from the Hunting Grounds. Just to warn you, though, they’re not fond of Nora. Ready to choose your Trial? Take your pick. Which Trial interests you? I’ll give you the details.
[Aloy chooses “Parts Alone Trial”.]
Nora Keeper: Test your skill with bow and arrow by shooting parts off the backs of Grazers as quickly as possible.
[Aloy accepts the trial.]
Nora Keeper: Can’t wait to see what you do with that. Ready when you are!
Aloy: There’s gotta be a way to override even these things.
[She complete the trial with the highest rank.]
Nora Keeper: Yes! I finally found someone who could earn this Full Sun.
[Aloy chooses “Logpile Trial”.]
Nora Keeper: This Trial tests your ability to use the environment to your advantage. Shoot log piles to make them fall, crushing machines below. Remember, you can use explosions from your Blast Sling to scare machines into fleeing where you want them to go.
[Aloy accepts the trial.]
Nora Keeper: Perfect. I’ll start timing when you start down a rope.
[She complete the trial with the highest rank.]
Nora Keeper: How’d you--? First time and you win a Blazing Sun! You’re good, even for a Nora.
[Aloy chooses “Blast Wire Trial”.]
Nora Keeper: Use your Blast Wire and Carja Tripcaster to bring down Grazers. I’ll be timing you. Explosions scare them, so you may want to use your Blast Sling to drive them into your traps.
[Aloy accepts the trial.]
Nora Keeper: I like that one. Slide down a rope and I’ll start timing.
Nora Keeper: How’d you—? First time and you win a Blazing Sun! You’re good, even for a Nora. You have everything you need to enter the Hunters Lodge. Good luck in Meridian! Of course, you can still run more Trials with me.
Aloy: I have to go.
Nora Keeper: I’ll be here if you decide to come back.
[Aloy continues to explore, and finds a man at whose feet lies several dead bodies.]
Aloy: That man... he doesn’t look Nora.
Nll: There’s danger ahead, girl.
Aloy: Danger for you, outlander. This is Nora land.
Nil: Yes, yes, yes, trespass is forbidden on pain of death... Strange phrase, the pain of death. See, this one’s in no pain at all.
Aloy: Who was he?
Nil: A thief, a slaver, a killer-- the kind that give honest killers a bad name.
Aloy: Varl told me there would be bandit ambushes on the road.
Nil: Well, it’s not all good news. They don’t always come to you. Most dig out a camp, and there they’ll sit, like spoil on meat.
Aloy: Unless... someone does something about it?
Nil: I like you. Follow the trail of smoke, on the other side of the ruins. I’ll be there.
[Aloy saddles up her “horse” and sets off on the road.]
Aloy: My Focus is picking up some kind of signal. Maybe I can scan it. Those ruins... that must be Devil’s Thirst. A city of the Old Ones. Of the Metal World. That signal... where is it coming from? I have three Suns-- now they’ll let me inside the Hunters Lodge. Well, let’s see how that turns out. A Nora village, up on the heights…
[She finds the place of Sona’s bloody battle with machines.]
Aloy: This must be where the War Party got massacred. Such destruction… Maybe the War-Chief left something behind, some clue about as to where she went. Lots of Machines, all controlled by the killers. The Nora managed to take down a Corruptor. They sent a stampede of them down the slope. But not before the killers used it to send the other Machines against them. Look at this place. It’s like Varl said -- another massacre.
[A hunter runs out to the clearing. Exhausted, he falls to the ground.]
Dran: Brave! Let us speak! The dead and wounded, all cleared away Are there no more braves or healers here?
Aloy: Just me. You’re hurt. What happened?
Dran: What didn’t? It’s madness out there. War-Chief Sona sent me back to report. I’m no good to her like this.
Aloy: Varl told me that the War-Chief tracked the killers. Did she find them?
Dran: We followed their trail, but again and again they sent corrupted machines to attack us. My wounds started to slow me down, so the War-Chief sent me back to let others know she hasn’t given up the fight.
Aloy: So you were here when the war party was ambushed?
Dran: I was. I thought after the Proving there could be no darker day, but was wrong. The War-Chief was delayed, gathering the rear-guard. Eager for revenge, the braves in the lead, fell into the trap. Dozens, lost in minutes. If Sona hadn’t arrived and rallied us, no one would’ve survived.
Aloy: Varl sent me to look for Sona. Do you know where she’s now?
Dran: All I can tell you is where we parted - near the metal tower southeast of the rus at Devil’s Thirst. Look to the rise behind it, with a lone boulder. I’ll head for the Embrace and report what I know to Varl and the others. May All-Mother lend you strength - you’ll need t, going alone.
[Aloy ride to Sona’s last known location.]
Aloy: Tallneck… Looks just like Rost described. Not enough handholds to climb those legs. there must be another way. Low and quiet does it. Passed the test. All right. Now I just have to reach its head. I know, I know. I wouldn’t want to be poked in the head, either. So the Tallneck remembers everything along its path and sends what it sees to other machines.
[She found her first Vintage Cache.]
Bashar Mati: Apocashitstorm Tour, day 4. It’s hard to believe Metallurgic International used to be headquartered in this dreaded old ziggurat. Wyatt’s office was on the second floor from the top. If M.Int had a policy against workplace romances, he probably wrote it.
[By nightfall, Aloy manages to find the place Dran was talking about. She investigate it..]
Aloy: This must be the rise Sona’s runner told me about. Arrow shards. Braves were crafting ammunition here. A recent kill, freshly skinned. The War-Chief stopped here. So where did she go next? That old bow has seen a lot of action. No one would have left it willingly. Sona’s taking losses. They must have taken a moment to rest. Couldn’t have been easy going on after the ambush. Sona and her braves can’t be far. Dressings for wounds. The runner wasn’t the only one who got hurt. Might be a blood trail I could follow. I should try my Focus.
[She saddles up.]
Aloy: Tracks. Boots and blood. Looks like Sona and her braves headed for that ridge. A dead Sawtooth. Maybe Sona took it out? She could be close.
[While she’s examining a corpse, another Sawtooth sneaks up on her from behind. Aloy notices him too late. He is already preparing to attack when suddenly someone pierced him by an arrow. Having failed to keep his balance, Sawtooth falls off the cliff. Aloy aims at the one who fired the arrow, but when he sees who fired it, she lowers her bow.]
Sona: You’re lucky happened by. One heartbeat more, and that Sawtooth would’ve torn you apart.
Aloy: Half a heartbeat more, and I would’ve killed it myself. Uh, so you’re War-Chief Sona? Varl asked me to find you.
Sona: Has he held the gate?
Aloy: He has -- bravely. I saw him kill a corrupted machine himself. But he worries for you.
Sona: Our tribe needs strength, not sentiment I’ve tracked some of the killers who struck the Proving. I crave vengeance. Do you?
Aloy: Oh, you have no idea.
Sona: Show me, then. Lend me your strength. Follow. The killers are just across this ridge, digging the cursed earth. The sin of the ancients is buried in that soil. Corruptor demons.
Aloy: I know of them! I killed one at Mother’s Watch!
Sona: A bold claim. I wonder if you’ll live up to it. Hours ago, I sent braves into hiding in the trees below. On my signal they’ll attack. The enemy and of their demonic machines outnumber us, but we will have fury on our side.
Aloy: We could have more than that.
Aloy: That’s Blaze. What we use to burn, they use to blast -- it’s how they dug out this pit.
Sona: So we put fire to it, and then?
Sona: Then let us begin.
Aloy: Whoa -- wait. Let’s not rush. Give me some time to make an approach. If I end up alerting them, open fire.
Sona: All right. Let’s see what you can do.
[Aloy cautiously sneaks into the camp of cultists and kills them one by one.]
Aloy: They’re still looking. Can feel the corruption boiling off it! Goodbye, quiet approach.
[Soon all the cultists and corrupt machines are killed.]
Sona: This wasn’t all the killers, I counted more at the War Party massacre. If I have to... chase their filthy shadows from here to Spear’s Reach... I will.
Aloy: You’re hurt. Losing blood.
Sona: My health is not your concern.
Aloy: No one doubts your determination. But you need to rest.
Varl: She’s right, War-Chief. Give your wounds time to close.
Sona: Varl?! What are you doing here?! I ordered you to hold that gate with your life!
Varl: And so I did -- until the runner you sent returned with news of his encounter with Aloy and your location. I left the gate well-guarded. My place is here, with you. With our vengeance. Am I not owed that?
Aloy: Maybe I should have a look around, see if I can figure out where the rest of the killers are.
Sona: Do as you wish. Everyone else does.
[Aloy search the camp and find datapoint in one of the shacks. She read it with her Focus.]
Eclipse Officer: Commanders -- Over the past month, accidental Blaze explosions have killed a dozen men. Here in the Ring of Metal, I’ve taken the precaution of placing our entire stockpile in a covered shelter safe from stray sparks and lightning. And I’ve posted guards to control access. I urge you to take similar measures -- or suffer the consequences. Supply-master Thiran, out.
Aloy: Hmm. A Blaze stockpile inside their base... Sabotage that, and we win.
[She goes back to Sona.]
Aloy: I found something. The rest of the killers are camped inside a “Ring of Metal". Any idea what that means?
Sona: Damn them. The Ring of Metal lies in the ruins of Devil’s Grief. That ground is taboo. I will return to the Matriarchs... beg them to make an exception.
Aloy: There’s no time for that.
Varl: Blood spilled calls for blood spilled! If the ground is cursed, then let our vengeance sanctify it!
Sona: You blaspheme…!
Varl: Please, War-Chief -- break the taboo!
Sona: Devil’s Grief is a cursed place... but maybe Aloy’s Seeker blessing can protect us. I’ll send scouts ahead. Our force will assemble at the cliff above Red Echoes, and launch our attack from there.
Aloy: Sounds like a plan. See you there.
Varl: Aloy. Thank you.
Aloy: You might take that back, when you see what I’m getting us into.
Varl: On to Devil’s Grief, then.
REVENGE OF THE NORA (Sona’s Questline)
[Aloy comes to meet with Varl and Sona.]
Varl: Devil’s Grief... A foreboding sight, huh?
Aloy: Don’t you even wonder what it used to look like, back when the Old Ones lived here?
Varl: You’re not like other Nora.
Aloy: That’s what they tell me.
Varl: War-Chief. Our scouts found enemy camps in the ruins, guarding the approach to the Ring of Metal.
Aloy: Then we should hit those camps first. Make sure they stay quiet.
Sona: Agreed. Wipe out the camps, and our enemies in the Ring of Metal won’t see us coming.
Aloy: I’ll take out the alarms.
Varl: We’ll send braves to each camp to lie wait. What you start, they’ll help finish.
[Aloy goes to disable 3 alarms in 3 different camps around her main target.]
Sona: Braves, it is time! Time to fight! Time to kill! Maybe time to die! We will regroup there at the base of the tallest tower! Then to the Ring of Metal -- and vengeance! Today, we break taboo -- to honor our dead, and punish our enemies! Blood spilled for blood spilled! May All-Mother forgive our trespass! And if not, may she lay her wrath solely upon me!
Nora Brave: We are all braves today!
Nora Brave: We did it!
Nora Brave: Always have faith in the Nora!
Nora Brave: Victory for All Mother!
Nora Brave: For the Nora!
[After dealing with the camps Aloy goes to the Tallest Tower to met Sona and Varl.]
Sona: The camps have been dealt with. Now to the Ring of Metal. Its high walls protect the enemy. We’ll have to scale the height, under.
Aloy: I have another idea. Their base has a weakness. Send me alone, and I’ll exploit it. If I’m successful, I’ll blow a hole in those walls big enough for the entire War Party to charge through.
Varl: Sounds like a plan -- so long as I get to come with you.
Sona: A War-Chief should be grateful for two arrows so eager to spring from the bow. Yes, Varl, go with Aloy as her spearmate. But be vigilant.
Varl: Yes, War-Chief. I will.
Sona: Go now. We wait on your signal.
[They hit the road.]
Varl: You do have a plan right?
Aloy: You’ve followed me this far, even into the ruins I thought you trusted me.
Varl: I do. But how would you know that this base has a weakness?
Aloy: Patience, Varl. You’ll know soon enough. Up you go.
Varl: Take my hand.
[They climb inside the huge building destroyed by time.]
Varl: Take the one on the right.
Aloy: I’ll take the one on the left.
Varl: Two more. You take the one on the left.
Aloy: There. See that covered shelter?
Varl: Do you see those Corruptors?!
Aloy: Focus, Varl. That shelter ts full of Blaze. A whole stockpile of it. If set it off, the explosion will destroy those Corruptors and collapse the wall too.
Varl: A breach for the Nora to charge through. Can’t hit from here though. We’ll need to get closer.
Aloy: I’ll get closer. You head back, tell Sona the plan, and lead them to that side of the ring.
Varl: I’ll see it done. And when the wall collapses, I’ll be first through the breach.
Aloy: Now all I have to do it make it all happen. Just need to get an angle on that Blaze and shoot it. Should be able to hit the Blaze from here.
[Nora burst into the camp and killed the warriors inside. Aloy helps to destroy a large machine.]
Varl: All Mother, look upon our victory! A debt of blood is paid. Remember this day, brave Nora.
Sona: From your lips to the Goddess’ ears. Yes, remember it. Be ready to leave this place. Let your spears and arrows rest in the bodies of the fallen -- they are tainted, like these ruins.
Aloy: It’s over. They won’t be able to kill again. The killers, this corruption -- they’re all parts of the mystery I’m chasing. Where the trail leads, I go. I need to find Olin and learn everything he knows. Who the killers were. How they saw me through his Focus.
THE CITY OF THE SUN (Erend’s Questline)
[Aloy enter a settlement named Daytower to find Captain Balahn.]
Aloy: Captain Balahn? The guard at the gate said you’d been to Meridian recently. What can I expect on the trail?
Balahn: Nothing good - more machines all the time, and our scouts report corruption of that way, as well. So much for sealing things off. Keep to the roads, they’re safe enough. Though after what you did at the gate, I’ll wager you don’t scare easily - it’s a good quality. I could put it to use, if you don’t mind a quick jaunt back east. I know it’s bold of me to ask a favor after you just did one. But I can offer answers in return, if there’s anything you need to know about the Sundom.
Aloy: What do you need, Captain?
Balahn: I sent several patrols east when we got word of corrupted machines there. All of them confirmed my fears, so I sealed the gates. But it looks like we left some men behind when they were closed. Walid, tell her what happened.
Walid: machines attack us near an abandoned Nora village, sir. Lakhir told us to pull back, when I lost sight of the others.
Balahn: Never seen a Nora woman before? Have some respect. Report to her, not to me.
Walid: Lakhir always stresses reporting back, so that’s what I did. I felt terrible about leaving them behind.
Balahn: Now that the gates are open again, I can send someone after them.
Aloy: Can’t you send more soldiers to find the missing men? What about Walid here?
Balahn: Most Nora still don’t take well to the sight of Carja armor. Officially it’s a risk to send patrols so close to your Sacred Land. I’d prefer not to do that again. But heading that way one big problem for you.
Walid: Please say yes.
Balahn: What was that, soldier?
Walid: Nothing, Sir.
Aloy: What is this place, exactly?
Balahn: Daytower marks the eastern edge of culture territory - a trading post, a waystation… one with an ugly reputation among your people. During the reign of the last Sun-King, many Nora were taken captive, then you gathered here for transport to Meridian... and sacrifice. But the Sun’s set on that. I was appointed by Sun-King Avad to make sure all Carja at this outpost show respect to the Nora.
Aloy: Where do things stand between your tribe and the Nora now?
Balahn: Sun-King Avad wants peace. So do the Matriarchs, I’m told. But old wounds are slow to mend, and both tribes are proud. My task is to make sure there are no further provocations from the Sundom. Especially now, after, well… While your people recover from this terrible attack, I mean.
Aloy: What’s Meridian like?
Balahn: It’s a changed place, a living city. Nothing like it was during the rule of Sun-King Jiran. Avad, our new king, has done all he can to make sure of that. Slavery has been abolished. There’s a new alliance with the Oseram. And the Sun-Ring, where so many outlander were killed, is now a memorial to the fallen.
Aloy: It sounds like you approve of the new Sun-King.
Balahn: He is the chosen of the Sun. And what the Sundom needs after ten years of war - a calming light not a scouring one. Sun- King Jiran who shed blood at any slight. For Sun-King Avad, that’s the last resort. Lucky for those who slight him. Some whisper in the shadows that he’s weak. No. Peace is strength, as the Sun shall show.
Aloy: So the Carja are allied with the Oseram?
Balahn: Hard to believe, but it’s true. Mad Sun-King Jiran raided the Oseram for years. Avad managed to get them on his side. He had help, of course. Ersa and Erend played a part - Oseram siblings, bigger than life. They gathered an army to free Meridian. I marched with them. Scaled the north cliff with my men and secured the Temple of the Sun. Sent Jiran’s kestrels and priests packing. Now Oseram are a common sight in the city. And a common sound - they sure bicker a lot.
Aloy: Is there anything more you can tell me about the road to Meridian?
Balahn: Sun-King Avad has devoted considerable resources to making it safe. But by the Sun’s witness... It’s been harder to control in peace than it was during the war. The machines grow more dangerous all the time. Add to that bandits, and new reports of this corruption... We’re stretched thin to protect a few outposts like this one. As for everywhere else, well travel at your own risk.
Aloy: Did an Oseram named Olin come through here?
Balahn: Twice. He was part of the royal delegation to the Nora, and they passed through on the way, then back. They brought back stories of a vicious attack on your people. My condolences, of course.
Aloy: Do you know where Olin is now?
Balahn: Not exactly, but he was on his way to Meridian, I’m certain of that. Everyone goes to Meridian.
Aloy: I’ll see what I can do about your missing men.
Balahn: I would be grateful - but not as grateful as Walid. Hear that, lunkhead? You might be off the hook.
[Aloy leave captain be.]
Aloy: I need to find Olin and learn everything he knows. Who the killers were. How they saw me through his Focus. Who the woman is -- the one who looks like me. Why they want me dead. Olin’s trail leads to Meridian. When I catch him, he will talk... and he will pay for all the lives he’s ruined...
[After many days of travel, she gets to Meridian. On the bridge leading to the entrance to the city, she sees a large crowd of citizens and soldiers.]
Aloy: What’s going on here? Olin’s in there, somewhere. And so’s Erend, that other outlander I talked to the night before the Proving. Erend said he’d introduce me to his sister if visited Meridian. Said she was captain of the Vanguard.
Carja Artisan: City’s locked down, on account of the murder. Good luck getting through, outlander.
Carja Guard: Halt! Stop right there! In light of the recent attack, no stranger passes into Meridian without submitting to.
Aloy: Recent attack? What are you talking about?
Carja Guard: The murder of Captain Ersa and her Vanguards, of course! Ambushed by Shadow Carja, forces in Red Ridge Pass!
Aloy: Ersa? You mean Erend’s sister is dead?
Carja Guard: How would you know his name?
Aloy: I know Erend. Summon him. I need to speak to him.
Carja Guard: Ha! I doubt that Erend, the new Captain of the Vanguard, a man in grief, is going to waste his time on a grimy outlander-
Erend: Aloy?! You’re alive! I thought you were dead! Make way, make way! All the way to Meridian just to see me?!
Aloy: Have you been drinking?
Erend: Ah, not really. A little. So you’re alive! This is we shout celebrate! Drinks on me!
Aloy: We need to talk alone. And you need to pull it together.
Erend: Over there.
Carja Guard: So you approve-
Erend: Of course I approve! From now on she may come and go from this city as she pleases!
Carja Guard: As you wish, sir.
Erend: There. Alone, as you asked. What did you want to tell me?
Aloy: I heard what happened to Ersa. I’m sorry. I know she was special to you.
Erend: Special to me. Heh! Special to everyone! She always knew what to do. Bossed everyone around - she kept me in line. Now I’m supposed to fill her shoes. And instead, here I am, stumbling around in them.
Aloy: (smart answer) Give yourself time. You’ll find your footing.
Erend: Not at the rate I’ve been drinking.
Aloy: And what would your sister have said about that?
Erend: I know, you’re right. I should expect more of myself. She always did.
Aloy: A lot has happened since we last spoke. The Proving was attacked by a group of killers. Not many of us survived.
Erend: We were in the village when we heard explosions, up on the mountain. Some of your braves came back, said most of the contestants were dead. I’ve never heard such a wail of grief as the sound that rose up from your people. How did you survive?
Aloy: How I survived is less important than how I was targeted.
Erend: Targeted? What do you mean?
Aloy: The killers came for me. Because of Olin.
Erend: What are you talking about? That doesn’t make sense.
Aloy: I need to find Olin. I need to know what he knows.
Erend: But he’s a friend!
Aloy: No, he’s a traitor. I don’t know who the killers are, or what they want, but I do know that Olin is working with them.
Erend: But... I... this…
Aloy: I don’t need you to understand, Erend. I just need you to take me to him.
Erend: He’s not here. He went scrounging for scrap and relics days ago. Could be anywhere.
Aloy: Are there any places he frequents? Places he returns to?
Erend: A house - here in Meridian.
Aloy: Then take me there need to search it.
Erend: I guess. As long as I’m there to witness the search...
Aloy: I need to see Olin’s place. Now.
Erend: Okay, okay. Come on.
[They’re walk to Olin’s house.]
Aloy: So many people here, all talking at once. How does anyone think?
Erend: I don’t. I just drink.
[Soon they hear someone’s loud voice.]
Oseram Outlander: Blood for blood! Vengeance for Ersa!! How long will Avad hide in his palace? To lay siege to the Citadel? Does he lack the stomach for justice? Year after year, why does he spare those who enslaved and tortured and butchered? Erend! You should want vengeance more than anyone! Your own sister, murdered?! And her death - unavenged?!
Erend: One more word, you scorched-out slag, and I’ll throw you in jail myself! Get out of here, or I’ll give you all a kick in the ass!
Aloy: What did he mean about Ersa’s murder?
Erend: Not now.
[They’re coming up to Olin’s house.]
Aloy: Ok, how are we going to get in?
[Erend kicks the door out.]
Aloy: Oh. That was... subtle.
Erend: Here we are. Try not to break anything. Uh, other than the door.
Aloy: All of this? For one man?
Erend: It pays to have connections in the Sun King’s court.
Aloy: This comer of this rug is frayed. And the floor near it is worn. Let’s see what’s underneath.
[Under the carpet is a solid door with wooden latches.]
Erend: Hey how did that get here?
Aloy: The question is how to get through it.
Erend: Without a key, you won’t. That’s a Vault Hatch of Oseram make! Nothing gets through.
Aloy: We’ll see about that.
Erend: I don’t think you’re getting through that hatch.
Aloy: Are you sure you’re okay?
Erend: I’m sober enough, all right? I don’t need another lecture!
Aloy: That’s not what I meant. I was talking about what happened outside with the crowd.
Erend: I don’t want to talk about that. We’re here because of what you said about Olin, so do what you need to do.
Aloy: Did Olin ever invite you in?
Erend: No. Closest I got was the doorstep, to help him home after a nightout. We drank a river that night, but I hold it well. Usually.
Aloy: You said Olin has connections in the royal court. Does he know the Sun-King personally?
Erend: No. He served the court as a scout sometimes, and sold ancient trinkets to nobles. But he never had an audience with the king. If you’re right and Olin’s into something dark, Sun-King Avad has nothing to do with it. I’d stake my life on that.
Aloy: I’ll look around.
Erend: That’s what we came for.
[She’s going up to the second floor.]
Aloy: It looks like a picture of Olin’s family. A lot of metal here. Could be just what I need. Looks big and heavy. Could do a lot of damage if it fell down. Let’s give it a little push.
[She pushes a pallet of ingots down the hatch.]
Erend: I did say not to break anything, didn’t I? Aren’t you going to see what’s down there?
[Aloy descents into Olin’s secret workshop and read a file with her Focus.]
Unknown Man: Serve, and they live. Disobey, and I will open their throats and leave their corpses to prune in the sun.
Aloy: They took his wife and child captive.
Erend: "They?" Who’s "they?"
Aloy: The killers. They told him to obey or they’d kill his family.
[She keeps searching the workshop.]
Aloy: A map. The glyphs show places he visited. Looks like Olin kept a journal.
Erend: Olin? I knew he could read contracts, but I never took him for a poet.
Aloy: No doubt now. Olin knew I was targeted. There’s your proof. Read the last page. He writes about meeting me - and the order to kill me.
Erend: He called himself a friend. That backstabbing cheat! How did you learn to read glyphs? And these things that you see - how do you do it?
Aloy: The Focus. It reveals the unseen.
Erend: And Olin’s Focus it’s the same?
Aloy: The device is the same, but somehow Olin and the killers can speak to each other with their Focuses over distances. And see through each other’s Focuses, too - like looking through each other’s eyes.
Erend: So that’s how the killers saw you? Through Olin?
Aloy: Yes. So far as I can tell. Now that know where to find Olin, I should be on my way.
Erend: All by yourself?
Aloy: Leave it to me. I’m faster on my own.
Erend: Wait! If that device lets you see the unseen-
Aloy: Out of the way, Erend.
Erend: I’m asking you to help me, Aloy! I need to know who killed Ersa! Not just the Shadow Carja army - I know that - but the exact soldiers who did it.
Aloy: I’m sorry about your sister, but that’s your war, not mine.
Erend: Don’t act like this isn’t personal! You came here hunting the people who nearly killed you, who massacred your people. But why should you have justice, and not me?
Erend: Look. I’ll head for Red Ridge Pass - where Ersa’s body was found - and wait for you there. A few minutes of your Focus is all I need. Don’t make me beg.
Aloy: Red Ridge Pass, you said? I’ll see what I can do.
[She pays a visit to the Hunting Lodge.]
Ligan: You need to win three Half Suns at our Hunting Grounds to gain admittance to the Lodge.
Aloy: You mean these?
Ligan: Very well then. Congratulations, and welcome. Our members reap rewards and adventure, and live on in legend.
Aloy: Am I a member now?
Ligan: No, you’re only a fledgling, Junior members are called Thrushes. To join and become a Thrush, you need a senior member, called a Hawk, to sponsor you.
Aloy: So I need to find a Hawk.
Ligan: Yes, but a Hawk can only sponsor one hunter at a time, and I’m afraid most of them already have one.
Aloy: I’ve overcome worse odds. Where do I start?
Ligan: Upstairs. Present yourself to the Sunhawk Ahsis, our leader, who should introduce you to a Hawk. I hope it’s worth it.
Aloy: What do you mean?
Ligan: You’ll see.
Aidaba: By the Sun! King Avad’s edict really is taking effect. Never thought I’d see a Nora here. So, you have marks for me?
Aloy: What do you mean?
Aidaba: From the Hunting Grounds? Oh, right. You’re new here.
Aloy: What edict?
Aidaba: King Avad insisted that the Hunters Lodge had to welcome everyone -- man, woman, outlander -- regardless of tribe. Ersa, Captain of the Vanguard, came in and delivered that news personally. You should’ve been there. It was glorious. But I figured they would sweep it under the rug and say no woman or outlander qualified. Yet here you are.
Aloy: Are you a member?
Aidaba: Me? No. Carja don’t exactly encourage their daughters to run around hunting machines. But all these changes have been good for me. I don’t think the Oseram know how to sell us to us Carja. The trader I worked for last couldn’t sell flowers to a bee. He was too plain-hammered, as they like to say. This is a much better job, I figure I’ll be able to open my own shop soon enough.
Aloy: What do you want with my marks?
Aidaba: You hunters and your badges. I’m not going to take them. I’m going to give you a weapon that sets you apart. Yeah, I thought that’d get your attention. If you earn marks in all three Trials at each of the five hunting grounds, come to me. I can give you up to three weapons, one for fifteen Half Suns, one for fifteen Full Suns, and one you’ll love for all Blazing Suns.
Aloy: What do I do with these marks?
Aidaba: If you get the same mark from all the Hunting Ground Trials, I can give you a Hunters Lodge weapon. Show me what marks you’ve earned, and we’ll see if you qualify for one of these special weapons I have for you.
Aloy: I’m a little short on marks.
Aidaba: No problem. Once you have marks from all fifteen trials, you’ll be able to get the next Hunters Lodge weapon from me.
[Aloy goes to search for Olin and finds him at some excavation site. There the Cultists dig up ancient machines.]
Olin: This is what you intend? To bring these ancient... things back to life?
Cultist Leader: Their power serves us.
Olin: Machine demons, from beneath the ground? It’s a nightmare!
Cultist Leader: Nightmares - yes! The worst dreams of our enemies, come true!
[He notices that one of the machines activates and raises his hands to the sky.]
Cultist Leader: Yes, rise!
Aloy: So much for catching him alone.
Olin: These things will destroy us all!
Cultist Leader: They will only destroy our enemies and bring us back the lands that were taken-
[He screams in pain. Olin and Aloy has discomfort too.]
Olin: My Focus! It stopped working!
Cultist Leader: Search the area! We may have intruders!
[Someone talks to Aloy through her Focus.]
Unknown Caller: Forgive this intrusion, Aloy, you left me no choice.
Aloy: Who is this.
Unknown Caller: An interested party. Now their Focuses are disabled, but I don’t know for how long. The rest is up to you.
Aloy: Who is this?
[The caller disconnects. Aloy kill all the Cultists and two Corruptors. Now it’s time to talk to Olin. She catch him on the ground and puts her spear to his neck.]
Olin: I promise I’ll tell you everything!
Aloy: I know you will. The killers who came for me at the Proving. Who are they?
Olin: The Eclipse. Some kind of holy warriors, a cult of the Shadow Carja.
Aloy: Shadow Carja?
Olin: Except they’re not like any Carja I’ve known. They don’t pray to the Sun. They worship some kind of devil.
Aloy: I’m not interested m their superstitions.
Olin: Oh it’s not a superstition. Their devil is real. It has a name, a voice the most terrible voice And they do its bidding.
Aloy: You say this “devil” the Eclipse worship has a name?
Olin: Hades. That’s what they call it.
Aloy: Hades. And you’ve heard it speak?
Olin: Steel to my soul, I heard. Just once - when it saw you. Such a voice... A cold, awful jangle that scrapes your bones and hollows your guts. A metal sound, but like nothing dug from the earth or smelted in a forge.
Aloy: And what did it say?
Olin: “System threat detected.” Just three words... but in the voice of a devil.
Aloy: What are these Eclipse cultists after? Besides me?
Olin: They never said. But given the Carja civil war, they must want to overthrow Sun King Avad and take Meridian back.
Aloy: What do I have to do with that?
Olin: I don’t know.
Aloy: When they attacked the Proving, a man came forme. Tall, strong, dead eyes.
Aloy: And who is he?
Olin: The Terror of the Sun. Stacker of Corpses, we Oseram called him, when he was the Mad Sun King’s champion. If only he’d died with his king. But now he leads the Eclipse. I tell you, he’s the most dangerous man alive.
Aloy: How did the Eclipse recruit you? I know they took your family hostage - but why you?
Olin: I was a scrounger. A rummager in dark places, good at what I do. I suppose they knew I would serve them well as a scout. I had taken a delve near Maker’s End. When I surfaced, they were waiting. I laughed when I saw the priest. But then he showed me Helis’ encouragement. I didn’t laugh after that. Gave me a Focus, to watch my every move. I followed orders.
Aloy: You had access to Meridian. Why didn’t they get to Avad through you?
Olin: Too much dirt under my nails for an audience with the One True Sun King. But whatever Ersa or Erend told me... The Eclipse heard every word through my Focus. That’s why I couldn’t warn you. If I’d tried, they would have killed my family.
Aloy: Why are the Eclipse digging up ancient machines? And how do they get them to work?
Olin: I thought they wanted them for scrap. But they brought them back to life! Plugged some kind of device into the corpses so that Hades could whisper to them and call them from their grave.
Aloy: I’ve fought that kind of machine before. Are there others?
Olin: Yes The ones you fought today, they call “Corrupters.” But there are others, much bigger, bristling with ancient weapons. Those they call “Deathbringers.” I’ve only seen them buried in the ground, but after today - anything is possible.
Aloy: Sounds to me like they’re raising an army.
Olin: If so, the world will fall. And help dig the pit.
Aloy: The Eclipse were sent to kill me because I look like another woman - older, maybe twice my age. Short hair. Who is she?
Olin: I don’t know. My Focus found her image once-in the ruins at Maker’s End. Maybe you can find her there.
Aloy: You found her image in the ruins? How?
Olin: There was a door, and beside it, a kind of ancient device that... contained the woman’s image. My Focus recorded the location. You do look like her. Is she your mother?
Aloy: I’m the one asking questions. I’ve heard enough. It’s time to finish this.
Olin: I won’t beg for my life. But if there’s any mercy in you, free my family. Please.
Aloy: Where would I find them?
Olin: My Focus recorded the location. There are always guards there. You look like you can handle yourself.
Aloy: (kind answer) It will take many good deeds to make up for the crimes you’ve committed.
Olin: You’re sparing me? After all I’ve done?
Aloy: Yes. Forge a new life, Olin. One of better make.
Olin: Then the rest of my life will be lived in your debt!
Aloy: Go to the place where your family is being held and wait for me. We’ll make their lives the first ones you save.
Olin: I didn’t earn this mercy, but I will die to make myself worthy of it. I will be waiting for you.
THE FIELD OF THE FALLEN (Erend’s Questline)
[Aloy going to help Erend find his sister. On the spot they’re attacked by several machines. The heroes defeats them without any problems.]
Erend: Glad that’s over with. Thanks for the help. Come on over here and have a word. Come on, what are you waiting for? What, don’t feel like talking?
Aloy: What are you doing out here all alone? Where are your men?
Erend: I’m not gonna risk their lives. I don’t mind putting my worthless ass on the line. But not theirs. Sorry I had to drag you into it.
Aloy: Don’t worry. This is just an average day for me. You know, take down some machines, track some killers.
Erend: Right. I’d hate to see a busy morning for you. Ready to get started?
Aloy: Are you sure you’re all right?
Erend: Well, I’m sober. So... no.
Aloy: Well, I’m glad you’re thinking straight, at least.
Erend: Don’t get used to it.
Aloy: Tell me exactly what happened to Ersa. Start from the beginning.
Erend: No one knows for sure She left m the middle of the night with a few of her best men.
Aloy: Her best men? But she didn’t bring you?
Erend: No... I’d been drinking a lot. Maybe she thought... Damn. I don’t know. That I couldn’t hack it. Search parties found their bodies the next day, and the corpses of some Shadow Carja cowards. It was an ambush. The Shadow Carja are animals. They beat her so bad we can’t even show her face before burial.
Aloy: I’m so sorry, Erend.
Erend: Yeah, well - when I find the soldiers who did this, they’ll be sorry, too.
Aloy: You don’t have any idea why she left in the middle of the night?
Erend: No. But it must have been urgent. A message. A report of some new Shadow Carja threat. I don’t know.
Aloy: Why would the Shadow Carja do this?
Erend: Because they hate us, and Ersa most of all. She teamed up with Avad to kick their asses out of Meridian. They’ve been licking their wounds fer two years, but they finally found a way to get back at her.
Aloy: All right. Show me where Ersa fell, and I’ll do what I can to help.
Erend: Come on, follow me.
Aloy: Why would Ersa come all the way out here?
Erend: I don’t know. It doesn’t make sense.
Aloy: Is this Shadow Carja territory?
Erend: No. They broke the cease fire as soon as they set foot in the Cleft. Almost there. This is it - where the ambush happened. Our soldiers have been over it, but maybe that fancy artifact of yours can find a clue or something. Please. I need to find the bastards that did this.
[Aloy beginning to investigate the murder scene.]
Aloy: There look like drag marks. Did someone move a body through here? Arrows scattered there. Must be Shadow Carja armor. Strange. Not a scratch on it…
Erend: What do you see there?
Aloy: This stain forms alone, as if blood dripped off the edge of something. Like a cart. See? Cart tracks I me someone moved the bodies here then scattered them across the field.
Erend: Wait. Are you saying the dead found here were killed somewhere else? But why would the Shadow Carja do that?
Aloy: At this point, I’m not taking it for granted that the Shadow Carja are responsible.
Erend: Of course they were! I get why they wanted Ersa dead. But why fake an ambush?
Aloy: There’s more to this, and we’re going to figure it out.
[They’re going up the mountain where an ambush awaits.]
Erend: These guys aren’t Shadow Carja. They’re from my tribe, the Oseram!
Aloy: Is this how your people usually greet each other?
[The battle begins. A lot of archers upstairs and a few lightly armed infantry downstairs. Soon the heroes hear some sound.]
Erend: Uh-oh. What’s that?
Aloy: I think it’s calling machines. Get ready.
[Together, they defeat all opponents pretty quickly.]
Erend: Oseram, not Shadow Carja Looks like I was wrong about everything. As usual. Please, use that second sight of yours I have to know what really happened.
Aloy: I’m on it.
Aloy: These racks are… shattered. Something hit these stones. Something I’ve never seen before. So much blood. A lot of people died here - a massacre. What are those leather straps? Armor straps, cut with a knife. And a rock with blood on it. These look like Vanguard weapons. There’s no blood on them. Ersa’s men didn’t fight back. Looks like you could mount some equipment on that thing. There, by the tripod - a used power cell.
Erend: This is Ersa’s helmet. I thought she died in the field below, but it must have been here. All this trickery. For what? Feels like it’s just to torture me.
Aloy: I have a theory. But it takes a little imagination…
Erend: So far you theories are better than other people’s facts.
Aloy: All right. I think the Oseram ambushed Ersa and her men with a new weapon. They mounted it on that tripod up there. It fires waves of force, maybe sound. Looks like it cracked the stone there. I think it paralyzes people instead of killing them. It dropped the Vanguard right there. No blood on their weapons, no fight.
Erend: But why paralyzed of them if you’re only going to move them and gut them?
Aloy: They were trying to hide something. Look here, a bloody rock.
Erend: That they used to smash Ersa’s face in.
Aloy: Or someone else’s. These leather straps have been cut. As if they took the armor off someone.
Erend: That can’t be. Her body is lying in state in Meridian. I saw it!
Aloy: You said she was unrecognizable. Maybe they switched another body into her armor, someone around the same size... and mutilated it enough so it could have been anyone even Ersa. Go back to Meridian. Take another look at that body. If it’s really Ersa, of course I’m wrong. But if I’m right...
Erend: Then my sister could be alive! I’m going. Meet me back there when you can!
Aloy: Maker’s End. Not much farther now. Olin said he found an image of the woman I resemble on an ancient device. If she’s my mother, why would there be traces of her all the way out here - so far from Nora land? I don’t get it. Who is she?
Unknown Caller: Her name is Elisabet Sobeck.
Aloy: You - spying through my Focus again! Well - go on. What do you know about her?
Unknown Caller: Stay on your present course and before long, you’ll know her as well as I do. Maybe better. But be wary. Maker’s End is crawling with Eclipse troops. To help you deal with them, I’ve left some useful equipment just outside the ruins. Your Focus will show the location.
Aloy: Who is he, and how does he know these things? "Elisabet Sobeck," he said. What kind of name is that?
[She find the secret stash.]
Aloy: Right where he said it’d be. Not a bad selection. I’ll put it to use. Why are you doing this?
Unknown Caller: Because I want you to succeed. Good hunting. We’ll talk later.
Aloy: Wait! Damn him!
[She kills the cultists and corrupted watcher at an excavation site. It seems there was a huge and luxurious building once.]
Aloy: All these ruins. What did the Old Ones do here? Watchers acting as guards. The Eclipse and corrupted machines - cooperating. One happy family. A Corrupter... that might prove a challenge. An explosion. The snow’s got bite out here. Another explosion.
[Soon she sees the Deathbringer - giant machine armed to the brim. Apparently Eclipse carried out excavations there blasting rock with the help of this monster. Aloy hides behind some rock.]
Eclipse Officer: Rotate turret! And fire! All weapons operational! Time to get it moving! And be quick about it! No daydreaming! Soon this demon will be up and running. Another Deathbringer to fill out the ranks! Aye!
Aloy: Has to be one of the “Deathbringers," Olin talked about. Fitting name. I never get into that tower unless I destroy that thing first.
Eclipse Officer: My Focus - it’s stopped working!
Unknown Caller: I’ve disabled his Focus. The rest is up to you.
Aloy: I’ll handle it. Steam’s blasting out. I wonder if those are weak points?
[She destroy this dreadful war machine.]
Aloy: Did it! Those things pack a punch. Alright... that Eclipse officer had a Focus. Let’s see what’s on it. Let’s see what you have to say.
[The Focus shows her waves of corruption. It’s surrounds Aloy and, if they had been real, it definitely would have killed her.]
Aloy: What... what is this?
HADES: (with evil robotic voice) The Entity... lives? Unacceptable... Unacceptable... Unacceptable...
Aloy: What the hell was that? Hades? Hey! Mysterious stranger! Did you see that?! No answer, huh? Figures. Things just keep getting stranger. I need to find a way inside the tower. Looks tight, but I can squeeze through.
[Inside, she sees a huge door.]
Synthetic Voice: Hold for Identiscan.
Aloy: One of these again.
[She is going to leave…]
Synthetic Voice: Genetic profile confirmed. Entry authorized. Greetings, Dr. Sobeck. Please, step inside. Dr. Sobeck, you are. Three hundred and fifty five thousand, five hundred and ten days overdue for your meeting with Mr. Faro. Please proceed to the 35th floor.
Aloy: Wait. Three hundred and fifty thousand - that’s hundreds of years ago - What is going on?!
[It’s roughly 974 years ago, incredible! Aloy continues to explore laboratories. In on of it she finds an audio datapoint.]
FAS Firmware Coder: The protocols use poly phasic entangled waveforms. Quantum encryption, Black Quartz stuff, way beyond military-grade. That’s what you demanded, so that’s what we delivered.
Ted Faro: You don’t code something you can’t crack. All we need is a back door. Upload the latest service pack update and the problem goes away.
FAS Firmware Coder: You specifically forbade us from leaving anything resembling a back door in code. "Every protocol to Black Quartz standard." Your words. Look. If you need me to fudge some projections, it’s nothing we haven’t done before.
Ted Faro: I don’t need fudged projections! I need a way to reassert control over the Hartz-Timor swarm!
FAS Firmware Coder: I don’t know what to tell you, Ted. You’re asking the impossible.
Aloy: So codes... they needed codes of some kind to control the machines? But they got out of control… Sounds bad.
[She goes to the main hall.]
Aloy: A “Deathbringer.” Or a statue of one, anyway... A machine built to kill. And they honored it...?
FAS Spokeswoman: Welcome to Faro Automated Solutions, where all the problems of tomorrow are being solved... today! With over 25,000 human employees based in nations and corporate holdings across the globe, Faro leads the world in every sector of self sustaining, fully-automated technology. From revolutionary consumer products close to home, like the Faro Focus to the dynamic Chariot line of peacekeeping robots halting bloodshed in conflict zones across the globe. Faro remains committed to making the future smarter, brighter, safer... and always surprising. Faro Automated Solutions... for every problem of life, a smart solution.
Aloy: So they made the Focus? 25,000 people? That’s bigger than a tribe. So they made machines and devices. I guess such things were common in their world. What was this place? What were they doing here?
Unknown Caller: It was a "corporation." A group of people, not unlike a tribe. And they made machines.
Aloy: Yeah? Go on.
Unknown Caller: I have uploaded some data files to your Focus. They’ll help you understand.
[Here’s the files.]
[BIO: TED FARO] Theodor "Ted" Faro (born December 24, 2013) is an American entrepreneur and business magnate. He is the founder of Faro Automated Solutions (FAS), the largest corporation of all time. the world’s wealthiest individual, and the first-ever trillionaire. Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, he enrolled at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he studied business for two years before dropping out in 2033 to start FAS. Though it struggled at first, the company broke through at the end of the troubled 2030s with its popular lines of personal servitors and bodyguard bots, then exploded when its famous line of green robots led the race to solve the climate crisis during the 2040s "Claw-back." At the end of that decade, FAS opened a military defense branch, dominating the world market for automated military platforms by 2053. The success of FAS has made Mr. Faro the world’s best-known businessman, one of its most sought- after speakers, and a major voice in politics, culture, and international affairs.
[BIO: ELISABET SOBECK] Elisabet Sobeck (born March 11, 2020) is an American scientist, roboticist, and engineer, widely regarded as one of the greatest minds of the 21st century. Born and raised outside Carson City Nevada, she enrolled at Stanford University at age 13, earning a BS in Experimental Physics and Computer Science at age 16. She completed her Ph.D. in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Design at Carnegie-Mellon University in 2040 and joined Faro Automated Solutions as a Junior Scientist the same year, rising quickly to Chief Scientist at the age of 22. Over the next eight years, her green robot designs played a vital role in realizing the environmental cleanup and detoxification efforts of The Claw-back decade, propelling FAS to the forefront of its field. In 2048, she suddenly resigned from FAS, protesting the company’s pivot to automated military technologies. In 2049, she founded Miriam Technologies, a firm devoted to life-positive robotics and other technologies. Miriam has since become one of the world’s largest suppliers of green robots, winning numerous awards and accolades, including the 2053 Nobel Prize for Physics and the 2056 Rachel Carson Award for Environmental Progress.
[HISTORY: FAS] Faro Automated Solutions (FAS) is an American multinational corporate entity that produces robots for all walks of life, though its core business consists of military and defense contracts. As of 2063. FAS has ranked 1 among the Fortune 50 by gross revenue and profit for ten years in a row, a world record. Founded in 2033 by Theodor "Ted" Faro, an entrepreneur from Salt Lake City. Utah, the company developed several promising robot prototypes in its early years but failed to break into markets dominated by then - industry giants like General Synthetics and RECorp. This changed in 2038 with the debut of the @lfred line of levitating personal servitors, which generated exceptional sales, lifting the company onto the Fortune 50 for the first time. Profits tripled in the 2040s as the company’s environmental efforts, led by famed engineer Elisabet Sobeck, catapulted FAS to the head of that sector. In 2049, in the wake of successful green and climate cleanup efforts around the globe, worldwide approval ratings of FAS exceeded 90% and founder Ted Faro was hailed across media and social networks as "the man who saved the world." Yet it was the emergence of FAS as a military contractor in the late 2040s that cemented its status as the world’s wealthiest corporation, with a record market capitalization of over trillion. By 2055, FAS controlled 61% of the market share for automated military platforms, holding contracts with 353 nations, trans- governmental organizations, and corporate entities. Today, its holdings exceed the second largest corporation (FBMobilHal Global) by 321%.
[DEFINITION: CORPORATION] Corporation (noun) \ko ’r-pə-rā-shən\ An association of individuals, created under authority of law, having existence, powers, and liabilities distinct from those of its members. In a business sense, a corporation is usually owned by shareholders, through the sale or distribution of stock, who profit from such ownership, vote at designated times for its governance, and designate executives who run its affairs. Most corporations engage in one or more industries to produce goods or offer services for profit, and may in turn own other corporations, companies, or property as holdings.
[Aloy scans another datapoint.]
Ted Faro: Now I know this must seem like a bizarre change in direction. I mean, we’re Faro Automated Solutions, right? #1 robotics firm in the world. Why would we clear our production slate to fabricate human-operated vehicles and weapons systems - the relics of the past? All I can say at this juncture is... trust me. We will be exploiting a massive, uh... growth opportunity by retooling and reallocating. So I will need revised projections of mass fabrication velocity across every pipeline within 36 hours.
Aloy: So they were making machines, but then they stopped, to make... other kinds of weapons? Why?
[She goes up a floor.]
Aloy: The air. No smell to it, not even old death. Nothing natural. Another cave in... but I could get through. Whoa! I’ll bet I can use that as a ramp to get back up. Looks like I can climb here. Made it. Looks like the way up - what’s left of it. So people were angry at Faro. At the corporation. They blamed this place for something. Something bad.
[At the presentation room.]
FAS Spokesman 1: The BOR7 "Horus": Imagine your complete engagement ecosystem comprehensively managed by a high-speed learning machine network. Whether your need is to replace battlefield losses or intensify force projection, the Horus’s onboard manufacturing capabilities mean you’ll never get stuck waiting for the next arms delivery. Simply redefine your force parameters and the Horus will fabricate additional units to fill the ranks for an affordable per-unit licensing fee. Meanwhile, the biomass conversion systems of other Chariot line models allow them to keep the Horus fueled, repaired, and ready extending its operating tolerances beyond that of any competing Titan-class platform. That’s the Horus advantage. Always regulating, always ready. The future of automated warfare, made real today.
Aloy: The Metal Devil. So these were Faro machines, too. "Manufacturing capabilities." They could make more of themselves? Then how would you ever stop them?
FAS Spokesman 2: The FSP5 "Khopesh" provides a one-size-fits-all solution to main battle force capability. Metamaterial construction delivers unmatched recoil dampening, allowing you to field any weapon package that conforms to your budget needs and conflict-resolution profile. Patented biomass conversion systems allow extended emergency operations with minimal environmental impact. Multilinear target processing provides simultaneous real-time threat analysis and legal review for autonomous domestic operations - or control can be slaved to the swarm’s neural network for weapons-free force application. Either way, when it’s time to call out the big guns, it’s time to call Khopesh.
Aloy: The Deathbringer… So this was the heavy hitter. "Main battle force," indeed.
FAS Spokesman 3: The ACA3 "Scarab" combines conventional and information warfare capabilities none package. Designed for high speed, all terrain reconnaissance, it boasts the world’s highest survivability rating of any scout-class autonomous agent. Maybe it’s the Scarab’s emergency biomass conversion systems that ensure it always makes it back to base, even if fuel supply lines have been interdicted. Or maybe it’s the Scarab’s ability to slave enemy robots to its own network. Now that’s force multiplication. Add a prehensile manipulator arm that can handle a host a functions from 360-degree less-lethal riot management to surgical repairs of allied Chariot line models, and you’ve got the workhorse of any cutting edge peacekeeping fleet.
Aloy: The Corrupter… “Slave enemy robots to its own network.” Sounds like it’s talking about how it corrupts machines…
[She continues her searches for Faro’s office.]
Aloy: Going to be a long way up. Frozen metal most of the way. Not making this easy, Dr. Sobeck. If plants can find a way to hang on up here. guess I can, too.
Ted Faro: ...that began when they engaged in unauthorized offensive operations against robots and human personnel of the Hertz-Timor Energy Combine. Now I wish that I could relate that the crisis has been... exaggerated. But... it’s not. The peacekeepers have not responded to stand-down codes, and… by all signs they appear to be replicating at a... precipitous rate. Now what I can promise you, can absolutely assure you, is that I am already devoting every possible resource towards reaching… a speedy conclusion to this issue. So when you hear the bad talk about us, against this company, in the days, maybe weeks to come... just bear in mind that we will get past this that a day’s coming when none of this will matter-
Aloy: Peacekeepers? That’s what they called their machines? They were built for war, not peace. Snow. It’s not getting any warmer out here. A way up. All it takes is a few good handholds... All right, made it. Wonder what we’ll find.
Synthetic Voice: All data has been erased from this device. Do you wish to deploy Alpha privilege to recover purged data?
Aloy: Oh yes, I believe I do.
Synthetic Voice: A data file has been recovered.
[Aloy scans the file. It shows holograms that has been previously recorded.]
[Time of record: 31 OCT 2064]
Ted Faro: Elisabet! Good to... it’s been years.
Elisabet Sobeck: Where’s your legal team, Ted?
Ted Faro: No need! I dropped all eighteen lawsuits the moment you landed! I assume your data confirms this?
Elisabet Sobeck: All right. This promises to be interesting.
Ted Faro: Perhaps we could have lunch brought in, get reacquainted...?
Elisabet Sobeck: I know you, Ted. You’ve screwed something up - something big - or you wouldn’t have eaten the crow to get me here. So spit it out!
Ted Faro: There’s a glitch in the Chariot line.
Elisabet Sobeck: Your killer robots?
Ted Faro: Peacekeepers, yes. Those.
Elisabet Sobeck: So shut them down.
Ted Faro: Obviously, Lis, we would if we could. They’re not responding.
Elisabet Sobeck: Are telling me a swarm has gone rogue, Ted?
Ted Faro: It’s worse than that.
Elisabet Sobeck: Show me the data, then. And I’ll take that lunch - alone.
[The hologram ends.]
Aloy: Ted Faro brought Elisabet Sobeck here? But if they hated each other.
Synthetic Voice: Another datafile has been recovered.
[Time of record: 1 NOV 2064]
Elisabet Sobeck: This isn’t a "glitch," it’s a catastrophe.
Ted Faro: Fully aware. It’s bad.
Elisabet Sobeck: "Bad?"
Ted Faro: Jesus, Lis...
Elisabet Sobeck: It’s not "bad," Ted. It’s apocalyptic. You built a line of killer robots -
Ted Faro: Peacekeepers!
Elisabet Sobeck: - that consume biomass as fuel -
Ted Faro: In emergencies!
Elisabet Sobeck: - and you made them capable of self-replication.
Ted Faro: Limited self-manufacture. Controlled.
Elisabet Sobeck: Not anymore. The glitch severed chain-of-command. The only nation this swarm answers to now is itself.
Ted Faro: You think - ?!
Elisabet Sobeck: Everything else is just - food. And at the rate it’s replicating, Ted, it will strip the Earth bare in fifteen months. We’re not talking fall of civilization, we’re talking Extinction!
Ted Faro: I get it, Lis! So how do I stop it while it’s contained?
Elisabet Sobeck: It’s not contained, it can’t be!
Ted Faro: You know what I mean!
Elisabet Sobeck: Right. Before the truth gets out, you mean.
Ted Faro: Lis, I will do anything you say! Keep working it, and whatever you recommend, I’ll do!
Elisabet Sobeck: I’m going to hold you to that, Ted.
[The hologram ends.]
Aloy: The Faro robots threatened all life on Earth? But somehow she defeated them! The world of the Old Ones fell, but life went on - or we wouldn’t be here.
Synthetic Voice: A final data file has been recovered.
[Time of record: 3 NOV 2064]
Ted Faro: "Project: Zero Dawn?" Jesus, Lis! There has to be another way.
Elisabet Sobeck: If there were a nicer way to fix your mess, I would have proposed it.
Ted Faro: But this? This?! When I asked you to find a cure, I didn’t expect it to be worse than the disease!
Elisabet Sobeck: It’s not, Ted. It may be grim, but it’s our only chance. Now sign the proposal.
Ted Faro: Sign it? I can’t sign that!
Elisabet Sobeck: Yes, you can.
Ted Faro: That? Lis, I cannot in good conscience sign that!
Elisabet Sobeck: You’ve got a choice, Ted-
Ted Faro: I know!
Elisabet Sobeck: I am speaking to you from a VTOL en route to U.S. Robot Command! In fifteen minutes, I meet with General Herres and the rest of the Joint Chiefs!
Ted Faro: ...What? Are you crazy?!
Elisabet Sobeck: Now your choice is what I tell them. Sign, and I’ll tell them the wealthiest corporation on Earth has guaranteed the funds necessary to build Zero Dawn exactly as I’ve designed it. Or don’t sign- and I will make sure they and everyone else on this planet knows the real cause of the glitch.
Ted Faro: Jesus, Lis! You don’t have to threaten me. I’ll sign.
Elisabet Sobeck: Look on the bright side, Ted. From here on out you get to do what you’ve always been good at. Footing the bill while others get their hands dirty.
Ted Faro: God forgive me. ("I’m sorry" in the datapoint)
[The hologram ends.]
Aloy: What made her solution so terrible? What did she do to stop the robots?
Synthetic Voice: Executive access detected. Express lift opened.
Aloy: This doesn’t add up! Sobeck couldn’t have been my mother - she lived ages ago! All of this searching, and I’m still no closer!
Unknown Caller: That’s your reaction to everything you just learned? To whine like a spoiled child?
Aloy: You should really try talking that way to me, face to face!
Unknown Caller: As you wish.
[He appears on her Focus. Surprisingly he looks like a wonderful actor Lance Reddick. I was truly shocked.]
Unknown Caller: Do you really have no idea how monumental are the discoveries you just made, Aloy? I expected more of you.
Aloy: So you have a face. Got a name to go with it?
Unknown Caller: Of all the questions you could ask right now - that’s the one you choose? I’ve spent decades searching the ruins of the Old Ones, trying to solve the mystery of what happened to them. For years I’ve suspected that Faro robots destroyed their civilization... but could never confirm it! In minutes, you uncover more ancient knowledge than I have in a lifetime… and what you want to know - is my name?! Sylens. That’s my name. Now why don’t you try asking another question - something less trivial.
Aloy: (smart answer) All right "Sylens"... you’ve made your point. I came to these ruins hoping to learn more about this "Elisabet Sobeck." And I have, but I still don’t understand my connection to her. Or why the Eclipse is trying to kill me or who Hades is. No answers… just one question after another.
Sylens: Exactly. Which is why it’s time to expand your frame of inquiry. Only then will you see just how big your problems really are.
Aloy: What exactly are you talking about?
Sylens: You’ve chased a personal riddle into a crowd of larger mysteries. The common thread is your connection to Elisabet Sobeck.
Aloy: But what is that connection? She couldn’t have been my mother if she lived centuries ago!
Sylens: We don’t know the connection yet. The only way to find out is to keep going, to keep making discoveries. Thanks to you, we’ve only just now learned that Faro robots once threatened to end life on earth.
Aloy: But it didn’t happen! The Old Ones’ civilization was destroyed, but life - life was saved.
Sylens: Obviously. So what did Elisabet do? How did she stop the robots before all was lost?
Aloy: What was "Project: Zero Dawn ?
Sylens: Exactly the question. Now, are you ready to go get the answer?
Aloy: Of course I am.
Sylens: Then why are you still standing here?
Aloy: Not so fast, Sylens. You’ve got some explaining to do.
Sylens: I’ve told you quite enough. If you’ve still got questions, be quick about it and stop wasting my time.
Aloy: You said you’ve known for some time that Faro war machines destroyed the civilization of the Old Ones?
Sylens: The evidence pointed that way. But until now, I never knew the full scope on their danger- that they could process organic matter into fuel, or that the “Horus” class could manufacture more robots - like a Cauldron on legs.
Aloy: But the robots we’ve seen so far - the Corrupters and Deathbringers - they don’t do those things.
Sylens: Not yet, anyway. So far, we haven’t encountered any that are undamaged. At full power, who knows what they’re capable of? Now if that’s enough talking, be on your way.
Aloy: Oh no I’m just getting started. You’ve been getting a free ride on my Focus, risking nothing while I risk everything. All I have to do is take this thing off my head, and you’ll be blind, deaf, and dumb. So quit complaining and answer my questions.
Sylens: Very well. (sighs) Proceed.
Aloy: So far as I can tell, the Eclipse are just following orders. It’s Hades who wants me dead. Who is he?
Sylens: I don’t know. The Eclipse describe him as a "Buried Shadow," some kind of devil.
Aloy: That thing that spoke to me outside, that made that Focus explode - that was Hades? It didn’t seem like a person, or a machine... more like a phantom with a terrible voice.
Sylens: All that’s assortment is a bad that he wants you dead.
Aloy: Because of my connect on to Elisabet. Has to be.
Sylens: Hades is using the Eclipse to resurrect Faro robots.
Aloy: But if Elisabet found a way to stop them centuries ago. If she made special weapons - maybe Hades is worried I’ll doing the same thing.
Sylens: In some of the ancient data I’ve recovered, there are hints of so-called "super weapons" being developed. Maybe to stop the robots, the civilization of the Old Ones had to destroy itself.
Aloy: Who are you, Sylens - and what are your intentions?
Sylens: You really need to make this... personal? I’m a lone wanderer who left his tribe behind a long time ago. An explorer of forbidden places, a searcher of lost knowledge. Exactly as I said.
Aloy: Why do you know so much about the Eclipse?
Sylens: I happen to know a lot about a lot of things. If what you’re really asking is whether I work for the Eclipse or anyone else, I don’t. I am nothing if not independent.
Aloy: You’ve been using my Focus to spy on me. How’s that possible?
Sylens: Every Focus emits a signal - a voicechat only other Focuses can hear. I know how to string those voices together. How to make them talk to each other - to communicate, even over vast distances.
Aloy: How do you learn to do that?
Sylens: Years of study and experimentation. In principle, it’s not so different from how you override machines. I override Focuses.
Aloy: And you can spy though other Eclipse’s Focuses, too?
Sylens: Usually. All I’ll say is that overriding their connections is… complicated.
Aloy: Is there any chance that Elisabet Sobeck could still be alive somehow?
Sylens: It’s highly unlikely. But… not impossible. Some of the ancient data I’ve recovered includes mentions of life extension techniques. Pharmaceuticals, mostly - an ancient word for “medicine”, but some were still trying to perfect ways a freezing and unfreezing people.
Aloy: Freezing and unfreezing people?
Sylens: "Cryogenics," they call it. But there were problems with it. Given Elisabet’s technological acumen, I can’t definitively rule out that she found a way to make herself immortal. But this is speculation - wasting time.
Aloy: Elisabet told Ted Faro she was headed for a place called U.S. Robot Command to tell people about Zero Dawn.
Sylens: The place still exists - as a ruin. The Oseram call it the "Grave-Hoard."
Aloy: "Grave-Hoard?” Cheery name.
Sylens: You’ll find it in the eastern mountains, buried under the tangled coils of a Metal Devil - B.O.R.-7 Horus, rather, as we’re learning to call them. I’ll contact you when you get there.
Aloy: I can’t wait. Someday we’ll meet in person and your manners had better be improved. Well. Getting down will be a lot faster than getting up here, at least. U.S. Robotics Command next. To learn the secrets of Zero Down…
INTO THE BORDERLANDS (Erend’s Questline)
[Aloy comes to meet with Erend at the Palace of the Sun in Meridian.]
Blameless Marad: Greetings, Aloy. I am known as Blameless Marad. Please come with me - you’re needed for an important consultation.
Aloy: What do you mean? Where’s Erend?
Blameless Marad: He’s inside, attending the Sun King. Where we should be, without further delay. Follow me, please.
Aloy: All of these people are here to see the Sun King?
Blameless Marad: Yes, and each has come to ask a favor of him. Unpleasant, but that’s politics. The Sun King is eager to meet you - the machine tamer with the curious eye for detail. It’s very intriguing.
Aloy: I’m not here to intrigue you.
Blameless Marad: Too late. Ignore them. Nobles are like children who whine when they don’t get a second helping of dessert.
Aloy: What’s the Sun-King like?
Blameless Marad: The most important thing is what he isn’t like - his father. I think you will find him to be a reasonable man.
[They approach the throne upon which the Sun-King himself sits. Next to him is Erend.]
Avad: Aloy of the Nora - she who sees the unseen. Welcome. It would seem you have done me a great service. Erend, tell her what you found.
Erend: I checked Ersa’s tomb. You were right, Aloy. The body’s missing a scar below her right knee. I gave it to Ersa when we were kids, fighting over a toy sword.
Avad: If the body is not Ersa’s, then we must assume she is still alive. And I will not abandon her.
Aloy: We only know she was taken. Not who took.
Blameless Marad: I can help with that. Ersa has an enemy among the Oseram - a warlord named Dervahl.
Erend: Impossible. Every clan in the Claim has been hunting for him since the Liberation. He has to be dead by now!
Blameless Marad: No other Oseram had the motive and ingenuity to lure Ersa into this trap. I expect to find him lurking somewhere near the border. I’ve already sent an agent to investigate. He’ll be waiting for word from us at the marketplace in Pitchcliff.
Avad: I can’t move troops to the border without provoking the Oseram. But I could send a few Vanguardsmen - and perhaps an exceptionally gifted Nora as well? Erend, Marad - let me discuss it with her privately.
Avad: I hate to impose further after all you’ve done. But if this is a matter of great importance to me.
Aloy: It sounds like Ersa means a lot to you.
Avad: Without her Oseram Vanguard I would not have been able to liberate Meridian and end my father’s brutal reign. Since then, it has been difficult to maintain the peace between our tribes, but Ersa has a way of making her people see reason. So you is I need her back at my side - and quickly.
Aloy: Who is Dervahl, exactly?
Avad: To understand Dervahl, you must first understand my father. He truly thought of himself as a Sun God. His mind was... broken. He believed that blood sacrifice would solve... well, everything. So he raided the other tribes for victims, especially the Oseram. Dervahl fought back. He crafted powerful weapons and rallied his people. My father responded with the ultimate cruelty. He captured Dervahl’s wife and daughter and sacrificed them in the, Sun Ring.
Aloy: So why would Dervahl go to so much trouble to kidnap Ersa?
Avad: He felt she betrayed him. She fought by his side until she realized he planned to raze Meridian and butcher its people. Then she came to me. Together, we stopped him... and liberated the city from my father. Dervahl has spent every moment since trying to get revenge, mostly on the other Oseram who fought with us. He made so many powerful enemies, I thought we had seen the last of him. I was wrong.
Aloy: The killers who attacked the Nora - I’ve discovered that they’re a faction of Shadow Carja called the Eclipse. They’re digging up ancient weapons - machines that corrupt and control other machines. They use them to strike Meridian.
Avad: What you’re saying echoes reports I’ve received from Marad. A Shadow Carja splinter group. Corrupted machines across the land. When will this attack come, do you know?
Aloy: I’m not exactly sure.
Avad: Then we will do what we can to prepare, but in the meantime, Ersa is my highest priority. Please help me find her.
Aloy: I’d like to ask you something about the Sundom and its politics.
Avad: By all means.
Aloy: They call you a Sun God who killed his own father in order to unite the tribes in harmony. Is any of it true?
Avad: They say you can see the invisible, split an arrow at fifty paces, and tame machines at a glance. How much of that is true?
Aloy: It’s not too far off.
Avad: Well, I would like to unite the tribes in harmony. But you saw how many courtiers I have to deal with first. Maybe next week.
Aloy: Quite a place you’ve got here. You can almost see the little people below the mesa.
Avad: You don’t approve? Well, I have a secret for you. Neither do I. But we must be patient. Change won’t come in a single sunrise.
Aloy: But will it happen at all, while men live in palaces?
Avad: It might. Eventually. If people like you help me bring it about.
Aloy: Your politics seem very complicated. The Oseram are friends, but enemies, too?
Avad: I couldn’t have liberated Meridian without the help of Ersa and her Oseram freebooters. Many of them are settled here. But the Ealdorman of the Oseram clans in the Claim have become jealous of their success. So have many Carja nobles. It’s a volatile situation, especially given the fact that my father raided the Oseram for years. Ersa helps keep the peace, promising a future based on mutual gain. But some, like Dervahl, will never let go of their venom.
Aloy: I need to get going.
Avad: I know. Well, they say kings should never beg - but please, help me find Ersa.
Aloy: Who says that?
Avad: Marad, for one. Don’t hesitate to ask him or Erend if you have further questions.
[Aloy begins her long journey to the north.]
Aloy: This must be Pitchcliff. Marad’s agent should be at the marketplace by now.
Erend: No sign of Marad’s guy? He’s had plenty of time to investigate.
Aloy: We’d better look for him.
Erend: Damn right.
[Soon they find a body.]
Erend: Has to be Marad’s guy. Dervahl’s thugs must have made him.
Aloy: Maybe because he found something. Look at this. I think he drew a map with his own blood.
Erend: Right. Those kind of maps you know you’d better follow.
Aloy: That might be Pitchcliff. Can Mark a spot to the north. Could be Dervahl’s location.
Erend: My men are waiting outside of town. I’ll grab them and meet you there.
[Aloy ride to Dervahl’s camp.]
Aloy: Machines. Looks like they’ve been chained up.
Erend: Dervahl’s a tinker. He probably experiments on them, or strips them for parts.
Aloy: Maybe I can use them to make some trouble I’ll go in first. Hold off until the fighting starts.
Erend: All right. We’ve got your back.
[Aloy shoot the chains and angry machines kill half the guards in the camp. Aloy kills the other half. She finds some basement, in which there is a powerful speaker, which makes a vile and loud sound that prevents you from entering. A heavy-armed soldier comes out of the basement. Apparently nasty sound does not bother him.]
Oseram Heavy: Dervahl says you gotta eat dirt.
[She kill the heavy.]
Erend: Ersa must be in there! We have to get through!
[Aloy search the heavy and find an ear plugs.]
Aldy: They must use these to protect themselves from that awful sound.
[Inside the basement the heroes find Ersa. She is being tortured by some kind of sound cannon.]
[He breaks the cannon with his hammer.]
Ersa: Erend? Dervahl tried to break me. Shows what he knows.
Erend: (emotional) I should have been with you. Why didn’t you come for me? I know I’m a useless drunk, but-
Ersa: No, idiot. I got a message from Dervahl, saying he wanted to parley. I didn’t come for you because I knew it was a trap. Couldn’t let you get hurt. Just didn’t think it’d be that good a trap. Thought I could take him out. (coughs) Now lisen. Dervahl’s planning something big in Meridian. He said he’d “force Avad to watch as the smoke darkens their precious sun.” Your king needs you. No more playing around - you’re going to have to grow up fast.
Erend: (emotional) I will. I promise.
Ersa: You damn well better, little brother.
Erend: (emotional) Ersa? No. Please. I won’t let you down I promise.
Aloy: Erend, I’m so sorry.
Erend: (angrily) We’ve got to find Dervahl, but Meridian’s a big place.
Aloy: I’ll look rough his things. Maybe we can narrow it down.
[She find some kind of an old audio recorder.]
Aloy: Such a strange device. Beautifully crafted. What happens when I turn it on? Dervahl’s records, maybe?
[She find a box with modifications.]
Aloy: Just notes about crafting… hmm… and a letter tucked between the pages. Lots of Blaze, headed to Meridian. If we find it, I’ll bet we find Dervahl, too. This Machine’s been picked apart with precision. What’s Dervahl learned from all his tinkering? Do I even want to know?
[She goes back to Erend.]
Aloy: I think I found something that can help. Let’s head back to the Palace.
Erend: Go. I won’t be long, but I need to tend to my sister.
THE SUN SHALL FALL (Erend’s Questline)
[Aloy returns to Meridian and goes to the Sun King audience.]
Erend: I’ve sent a messenger to the Claim to let everyone know.
Avad: If there’s anything you or your clan need for her arrangements, you need but ask.
Erend: There’ll be time for all that later.
Avad: Aloy. I’m glad you’re back. I’m at a loss about Ersa. To learn she lives, then lose that hope seems cruel.
Erend: She wouldn’t want us to waste time talking. She’d want us to find Dervahl. She said he raved about “smoke darkening the sun.” Tell them what you found in the papers.
Aloy: A letter. It mentioned a shipment of Blaze being sent to a warehouse here. Only it wasn’t addressed to Dervahl. The name was Aelund Forgeman. Does that mean anything to you?
Blameless Marad: Hmm. It sounds familiar... yes - a landlord. The Qseram have been buying up buildings across the city including one under that name. Let me think. It’s by the edge of the mesa, near the temple. It used to be a shop, but it could serve as a warehouse. If Dervahl used the name as an alias to buy it, he might even be there now.
Erend: I’ll round up my man.
Aloy: I’ll meet you there.
Blameless Marad: Erend, wait. Remember that no one hates Dervahl more than your own tribe. The Clans would give up much to obtain him.
Erend: Take him alive? So you can haggle over him? You can’t be serious!
Avad: (firmly) Our security depends on keeping the peace. If the opportunity presents itself, take him alive. Consider that a command. Aloy, a moment, please.
[Erend and Marad leaves.]
Avad: When we spoke, Erend didn’t wish to dwell on the... details... of Ersa’s death. Understandable, of course. But now that that they’ve been left to my imagination, those details are all I can think about. You were there. Did she suffer?
Aloy: (smart answer) She’s not the one who’s suffering now. You are. She died before you could say goodbye.
Avad: Is it that obvious? You’re right, I’m dwelling on my pain, not just hers. And there is only one thing left that can help. Find Dervahl and bring him before me. He will answer for his crimes. Don’t let me delay you any longer. Meet Erend at the warehouse.
[Aloy finds the warehouse. At the same moment, Erend and his men, armed and armored, also fit in.]
Erend: This is the place. You home, Dervahl? Got a surprise for you!
[Kicks the door out.]
Aloy: Or he has a surprise for us.
[There are a few exploding barrels on the floor on which the blaze is dripping from the top floor.]
Erend: Is it a bomb? Doesn’t look too big.
Aloy: Big enough to kill us.
Erend: All right. I’ll shut up.
[Aloy is examining the warehouse with her Focus.]
Aloy: If I try to take t apart a booby trap will set it off. Blaze. It must be leaking from something upstairs. If that bomb goes off, this Blaze will ignite in a firestorm.
Erend: That’s a lot of Blaze.
Aloy: If that bomb downstairs goes off, it’ll be just what Dervahl promised. Smoke will darken the sun... as the city goes up in flames. There’s got to be a way to stop it. Maybe there is some way I can open this window to get rid of the fuel for the bomb. Looks like a wooden bracket. Not very strong.
[She opens a window next to the barrels.]
Aloy: Help me push this out.
Erend: Okay. Brute force. I’m good at that. What will it do?
Aloy: Save the city, I hope. But when the Blaze falls, run for it, because the booby-trap on the bomb downstairs is going to get set off.
Erend: Uh… will we survive?
Aloy: Probably not. Now push.
[They throw away the blaze and the warehouse explodes. Erend and Aloy barely manage to get out of it.]
Erend: We did it! Dervahl’s best shot, and Meridian’s still standing!
Aloy: This isn’t over. Dervahl said he’d make Avad watch.
Erend: No way. To do that, he’d have to get into the palace - and that’s too heavily guarded.
Aloy: Get back there, just to be sure I’m going to look around. Maybe Dervahl’s men left something behind when they planted that bomb.
Erend: Got it. Don’t worry - if he tries for the palace, he’s finished.
[Aloy investigate the area.]
Aloy: Boot tracks - with a just a bit of Blaze in them.
[She follows the tracks.]
Carja Artisan: What happened?
Carja Artisan: I haven’t heard a blast like that since the liberation!
Carja Villager: There’s smoke rising from the edge of the Mesa!
Carja Villager: Are we under attack?
[Aloy walks into one of Meridian’s houses.]
Aloy: The tracks lead inside - another one of Dervahl’s hideouts? This must be where Dervahl assembled the detonator. Ugh. He tunneled through the wall. Dervahl did find a way into the palace!
[As she walked out of the house through a broken wall, she saw Dervahl and his men standing on the bridge leading to the palace.]
Mercenary Warrior: Wish I could be there to see the “Sun God” on his knees.
[Aloy’s sneaking into the palace. Dervahl tries Avad, Erend and the guards with his sonic weapon.]
Dervahl: Look at you, Avad - the wriggling runt of a maniac king. You robbed me of my right to kill your father, so I’ll have to settle for you. I’m going to enjoy watching the Carja bum - even more because you’ll be watching with me. Say goodbye to Meridian, Avad. Breathe in the stench and choke on the ashes.
[He clicks on the detonator but nothing happens.]
Dervahl: Something’s wrong-- I didn’t... didn’t hear anything...
Oseram Outlander: There’s a bit of smoke rising from the mesa’s edge!
Dervahl: No! It should be a firestorm, not some belch from a charcoal-burner!
[He and his men are leaving. Aloy turns off the sonic weapon and follows him.]
Dervahl: What’s this? Oh. You must be the Nora who bushwhacked my camp.
Aloy: And disabled your bomb.
Dervahl: Did you now? Well, bomb or no bomb. I’m going to splatter that throne with blood - first yours, then Avad’s!
[He picks up a some heavy weapon. The adrenaline battle in a narrow space begins.]
Dervahl: Why does Avad always have his ladies do the fighting? Can we finish this? I’ve got a Sun God to kill! You’ll have to do better than that, red! It’s not over yet, Nora. Any good Oseram tinker will tell you - always have a third plan!
[He calls on several bird machines.]
Aloy: Saw me. Here we go.
Dervahl: Ah, those majestic, murderous Glinthawks! Never do the work if you can get a machine to do it for you!
Aloy: With the modifications I made to my spear, I can override Glinthawks.
Dervahl: I hope you like fighting these things, because there’s more on the way!
[Aloy destroy them all.]
Erend: As much as I wish Ersa was here to kill you, I don’t mind doing it for her.
Dervahl: Go ahead. I’m not afraid - except that knowing you, Erend, you’ll screw it up.
[Avad and his guards approach.]
Erend: I know what you are afraid of - going back to Mainspring in chains. Every Clan in the Claim wants you dead - and they know how to make it hurt. They’ll even bid for the privilege.
Dervahl: It’s just like you to get someone else to do your killing.
Erend: Shut up. You’re at the Sun-King’s mercy now.
[He smack him with the handle of his hammer.]
Avad: Aloy, to say you have my gratitude feels woefully insufficient. You saved my life. You saved Meridian. And because of you, there will be justice for Ersa’s murder. We can mourn her knowing the truth, without painful uncertainty. It’s hard to imagine where we’d be without you - and I don’t want to try. I hope you will consider staying in Meridian.
Aloy: Were you and Ersa, you know...?
Avad: I suppose it’s obvious how I feel... how I felt about her. She didn’t just give me advice. She gave me strength. But we couldn’t be together. Relations between the Carja and Oseram in Meridian were unsteady as it was. The union of the Sun-King and an Oseram warrior would have lead to open revolt in the city, and probably war with the clans.
Aloy: Did anyone know?
Avad: Only one - Dervahl. He wanted Ersa, but she rejected him. And so jealousy became yet another of his hateful motivations.
Aloy: What exactly will happen to Dervahl?
Avad: For now, he’ll languish in one of the old cells under the Sun-Ring here in Meridian As for what happens after we negotiate his extradition to Mainspring. I don’t want to think about My father was very creative when it came to inflicting suffering, but some Oseram devices surpass even his imaginings. What a waste. Dervahl is a brilliant man. I wonder what he would have accomplished if it weren’t for my father’s cruelty.
Aloy: I know who attacked the Nora - a faction of Shadow Carja called the Eclipse. They’re digging up ancient machines, weapons they want to use to strike Meridian.
Avad: I see what you’re saying echoes whispers I’ve heard from Marad. A Shadow Carja splinter group. Corrupted machines across the land.
Avad: When will the attack come, do you know?
Aloy: I’m not sure yet.
Avad: Then we will do what we can to prepare. Keep me informed if you learn more.
[She’s visiting Dervahl that already in a cell.]
Dervahl: Come to gloat, Nora? Well, as you can see, I’m busy. I get it, you want to rub it in. Well, it’s not working. Ha ha. It’s funny to pester the tinker in the cage. What a laugh. You think that bit of crap on your brow makes you smart? I’ll bet you couldn’t have taken apart my bomb without it. Think I’m done? Think again. I’ve gotten out of worse scrapes. While the lunkheads in Mathspring dither over how to kill me I’ll dig myself out Just you wait. When I get out of here, I’m going to plant a Thunderjaw log in your bedroll. Got to admit it burns me that a save tracked me down. Most Nora get confused by anything more than two sticks and a string. Don’t you have something better to do? Like choke on a Lancehorn? You think that spear of yours is so fancy, but I could craft it blindfolded, during a quick nap. Riding machines? And supposed to be impressed? Get one to serve me lunch, then I’ll take notice. You’re like a burr in a boot you know that? Just... so... irritating. Hammer to Steel, hate you.
[Then she goes to see Erend.]
Erend: Aloy. I was just thinking about Ersa. She would have killed Dervahl on the spot. I know it. That’s why she went out to meet him in the first place - to put him down. But she also told me to grow up. Got to admit it burned a little when she said it. But I’m trying to take it to heart. And I guess growing up means putting what you should do in front of what you want to do, right?
Aloy: You’re asking me? I’m pretty sure you’re older.
Erend: Yeah, but I don’t act like it, do I?
Aloy: You did with Dervahl.
Erend: Don’t give me too much credit. Part of me still wants to wait for a quiet moment and wring his neck.
Aloy: Yeah, but you won’t. Because you’re a good Captain.
Erend: Come on, stop. You’re going to make me tear up.
Aloy: So after all this, what’s next for Erend Vanguardsman?
Erend: Heading back to the Claim for a while. I’ll get in touch with my clan, and we’ll lay Ersa to rest properly. Like how she would have wanted. And by that I mean - less chit-chat, more drinking.
Aloy: What do you think the Oseram will do to Dervahl?
Erend: First off, they’ll argue about it for a long time. But whatever they come up with, it won’t be quick, I can live with that. In fact, I might just drop by his cell under the Sun-Ring to remind him what’s coming.
Erend: I know, you’ve got to go. Killers to track Machines to master - all before breakfast. You know what? When we met, I thought I was a big shot talking to a pretty girl hidden away in the middle of nowhere. Now I see that I was just lucky to get a minute of your time. Try not to forget about me while you’re out there changing the world.
Aloy: I’ll always have a minute for you. Maybe even two.
Erend: Two? Ha. She likes me.
[Aloy climbs a snow-covered mountain and kills the cultists that have settled there. A picture of a huge metal octopus, broken thousands of years ago, opens before her.]
Aloy: The Grave-Hoard. In the shadow of a Metal Devil. Great.
[She gets inside an ancient building.]
Aloy: Going down fast! They’re inside, too! That does it. Time to take a look around the room. A battle... frozen in ice, and time. Are you getting this Sylens? Sylens? Sylens, you getting this?
Sylens: What is it?
Aloy: All these soldiers, they died here.
Sylens: People die all the time. Now keep going, and find something interesting.
Aloy: Tch! “Operation: Enduring Victory.” What did that mean? Whatever it was, doesn’t seem to have turned out very well.
[She’s going down the rope and she’s starting to look around the building.]
Aloy: Must’ve been where the soldiers slept? Like the lodge in Mother’s Heart, I guess. What was this place? The furnishings were... metal? How’d they ever get comfortable? It was the “Metal World.” Guess they were used to it. Just one bed. Maybe their war chief’s room? Red Light. Guess that means no power. Useful information. These wires must run to the power source. A holographic interface. Must be some kind of code. Maybe I should try scanning objects in this area.
[She finds a diary.]
Geo-Thermal Maintenance Tech: Hey, y’all wanted to know how I remember the geo-therm system reboot. Goes like this. Bird flies north in summer, east in spring, west in fall, and south in winter. Didn’t expect to hear nature poetry from the lips of Mike the GT tech did you? As usual, I defy expectations...
[She restores the power and gets in some sort of barracks.]
Aloy: More Eclipse. Must be another way in. It’s them, all right. They’re not looking for answers. Just weapons.
[She finds some kind of meeting room.]
Aloy: What... is this?
Sylens: That? It’s a map.
Aloy: A map of - what?
Sylens: Our world. The planet Earth, Aloy. It’s not flat, like you thought.
Aloy: Why would I think that? During eclipses, the shadow cast on the moon is curved. So our world is a globe? And it looks like this from a distance?
Sylens: We’ll discuss this another time. Back to the matter at hand.
Aloy: The Faro robots were spreading across the world, eating everything up. Somehow, Elisabet stopped them before it was too late. But how?
[Behind the next door he finds a hangar.]
Aloy: The Eclipse, tampering with the Metal Devil… They don’t think they can wake it, do they?
Cultist Thug: Watch out!
Cultist Dredger: Sun and shadow!
Aloy: Another "Khopesh!" And this one can move!
[She kills the cultist and destroy the Deathbringer.]
Aloy: That did it. So the soldiers long ago... they had to fight hundreds of those, all at once?
[She enters the War Room and activates the projector. The room is filled with ghosts of the days that long gone - holographic projections.]
General Herres: Thank you, Dr. Sobeck. You can take a seat.
Military Commander: Hah! You’re going to thank her?! After what she just said?!
General Herres: Dr. Sobeck has made the situation very clear, General - and given us an option. We should all be thanking her.
Military Commander: It’s just... I mean... my god. Maybe take this discussion offline?
General Herres: There’s not going to be any discussion. You saw the numbers. Now Faro, he’ll foot the bill, but his money can’t buy the time necessary to complete Zero Dawn. That... can only be paid for in blood.
Military Commander: Oh, come on!
Military Commander 2: If we upgrade our fleet, crack the codes somehow-!
Elisabet Sobeck: Were you not listening?! Robots can’t do the fighting for you this time! When it comes to hacking this rogue swarm is an apex predator! Anything automated you throw at it, they will hijack and take over!
Military Commander: But this? We’d be throwing civilians into a meat grinder!
General Herres: Commanders! The enemy we’re facing self-replicates faster than we can kill it, and it eats biomass as fuel! Zero Dawn is all we’ve got.
Military Commander 2: So we put a rail gun in the hand of every civilian strong enough to carry one, show them where the trigger is, and point them to the front? How the hell do we sell that?
General Herres: By giving them something to fight for. Zero Dawn. The top-secret super-weapons program that will save us - so long as humanity holds off the swarm long enough for Dr. Sobeck and her team to finish it. The file I’m sending contains the war plan for Operation: Enduring Victory.
Military Commander: War plan? This is a war crime.
General Herres: It may be ugly - but it’s something. Consider the alternative. Dr. Sobeck. I’ve secured use of a decommissioned Orbital Launch Base outside Bryce, Utah as the Zero Dawn staging area. Plenty of space there. When can you get started?
Elisabet Sobeck: I’ve already mailed you a list of Alpha and Beta candidates. Most are foreign nationals or subjects of corporate holdings, so extracting them...
General Herres: Leave that to me. You’ll get your dream team. Count on it.
Elisabet Sobeck: Then I’ll be off.
[The projection ends.]
Aloy: Orbital Launch Base? What is that? What did these people do? What did Elisabet do?
[She climbs outside the building.]
Aloy: Glad to be rid of that place. Now I just need to find the Orbital Launch Base they talked about.
Sylens: I’ve checked my data and located the base. That’s the good news.
Aloy: (sighs) And the bad?
Sylens: It’s directly underneath the Citadel. The palace at Sunfall.
Aloy: The capital of the Shadow Carja? Not exactly convenient.
Sylens: The palace is crawling with Eclipse agents, many in positions of authority, all of them wearing Focuses. The moment they see you, Hades will, too. He’ll issue another kill order - and this time the entire Shadow Carja military will be after you.
Aloy: So disable their Focuses. You’ve done it before.
Sylens: It’s not that simple. Too many Focuses in one place... each of them communicating with each other and back to Hades - a whole network of them.
Aloy: "Network?" What’s that?
Sylens: Imagine a vast, invisible web, stretched across the land from end to end, connecting Focuses together, allowing them to communicate over vast distances instantaneously.
Aloy: All right. So... is there some way to cut the web down?
Sylens: Hmm. Crash the network. Audacious. Yes - there is a way. A weak point in the network.
Aloy: Point the way.
Sylens: Heh. I’ll send the location data to your Focus. Head there, and I’ll be in touch when you’re close with more directions.
Aloy: What was Zero Dawn? What sort of super-weapon did Elisabet make? She stopped the machines, but not before the world she knew – the civilization – ended. Now how am I going to get down from here? Oh, this should be quite the ride.
TO CURSE THE DARKNESS
[Aloy goes to the other side of the world and finds a small gorge...]
Aloy: There are the hand-holds - right where you said they’d be. Did you get that, Sylens? No? Fitting name you got there.
[She climbs the escarpment.]
Aloy: All right. What now?
Sylens: You wait that’s what. Take a seat at the camp fire and rest. When night falls, we’ll talk.
Aloy: At least I’ll have a fire to keep me company.
[She sits down at the fire and waits until the evening.]
Aloy: How nice of you to finally drop by.
Sylens: Our purpose this night is to crash the Focus network.
Aloy: Yeah. Tell me the part I don’t know - how?
Sylens: For starters, you’ll need to infiltrate the Eclipse’s main base.
Sylens: That’s right. Fortunately for you, I’ve brought you round to the back way. It’s right through that crevice. Once you reach the base, you’ll see the objective: a derelict Tallneck that’s been extensively... modified. Climb the Tallneck Grafted into the top of its disc, you’ll find a... module of sorts. Destroy that and the Focus network will crash.
Aloy: So you were part of the Eclipse.
Sylens: I’ve never been part of anything. I serve my own interests. Always. But... it is the case that I... assisted the Eclipse. Before I sensed the threat they might become. It was a mistake - that I’m doing what I can to correct.
Aloy: What sort of assistance did you give them?
Sylens: Head through the crevice, Aloy. You have more important things to do than ask questions.
[He goes offline. Aloy is stomping her foot in anger.]
Aloy: Let’s see what’s through here. Corrupted machines. Patrolling, like guards.
Sylens: More like soldiers, held in reserve for a war yet to come. You’ll have to get past them.
Aloy: This is the easy way in?
Sylens: The back way. I didn’t say it’d be easy.
Aloy: Here we go again.
[She carefully sneaks in and destroys corrupted machines.]
Sylens: The Tallneck’s just over this ridge. You’ll see it when you reach the top. Now be ready to act fast. You need to get in and get it done before they raise an alarm. Here we go.
Aloy: You getting this? I see the legs of a Tallneck down there, but... no Tallneck.
Sylens: Damn. The transmitter’s been moved. Check down the ravine, to the left. Only place it could be.
Aloy: So much for your “insider knowledge.” Towards the explosions? Great.
Sylens: You’ve got exactly one shot at this, Aloy, so spare the sarcasm and make it count. You see that bridge, over the ravine?
Sylens: Memorize its location. There’s a rappel point on the side. That’ll be your way out.
Aloy: And these Eclipse Troopers?
Sylens: Avoid them or kill them - your choice. The blasting should cover any noise you make. Find the Tallneck, and destroy the module on top.
Aloy: Here we go.
[She jumps into cultist’s war camp.]
Cultist Dredger: Nice not to be working the pit tonight. All that grime.
Aloy: I’d have to leave something else behind. The Rappel point. It’ll get me out of here, but first I need to crash the network. That shelter - it’s bigger than the others.
Sylens: Find the Tallneck, Aloy. There’s no time to poke around.
Aloy: There is if I make time. Is there fighting up ahead?
Sylens: No. It’s... a mining operation. So long as you’re quick, it won’t affect you.
Aloy: Oh, good, another secret…
[She finds a tent.]
Aloy: This armor... There’s only one man big enough to wear this. Helis! This is his shelter? Not exactly fancy.
Sylens: What would you expect of a fanatic? His only extravagance is his brutality.
Aloy: So you know him.
Sylens: Just enough to want to stop him.
Aloy: Wouldn’t have been easy to drag the Tallneck down this path. Why bother?
Sylens: Just find it and get to the top. Destroy the module. And then get out, fast as you can.
Aloy: Sure is a lot of blasting up there. Sounds busy.
Sylens: Busy enough not to notice you, let’s hope.
Aloy: I see it. They’ve built some kind of… structure around it.
Sylens: Climb it. The sooner this is done, the better.
Aloy: I don’t like this. It feels… wrong.
Sylens: Everything here is wrong, Just get to the module and destroy it!
[She climbs to the head of Tallneck.]
Aloy: I see the module!
Sylens: Good. Now be quick.
[She sees a giant spiral car. Apparently, the cultist is trying to free it with the help of explosions.]
Aloy: This… this is Hades?
Sylens: Aloy, this is not the time...
Aloy: It’s... a Metal Devil?
Sylens: Open the module’s casing - now! Aloy! Do as I say, or all is lost!
[She tries to open the casing but it shocks her. Now Hades controls it.]
HADES: Entity... has come here? Entity... miscalculated. Entity... cannot destroy me. I am beyond its reach.
Aloy: Maybe you are! But this isn’t!
[Pokes the casing with her spear.]
HADES: DESTROY THE ENTITY!
[Tallneck is being undermined by missiles. Aloy begins to run away from the base.]
Sylens: Keep running!
Aloy: This looks easy!
Sylens: Keep moving!
[Tallneck is being shot with missiles. Aloy manages to avoid imminent death.]
Aloy: Yeah, you think? What do you think I’m doing, taking a nap? No way! Whoa! Almost there! Come on!
Sylens: Keep moving! Run, don’t fight!
Sylens: Head left - towards the camp!
Aloy: Got it! Almost out of it!
Sylens: The whole base is on high alert.
Aloy: Yeah, I noticed!
Sylens: Keep moving, or you’ll die! Watch out! There’s more ahead!
Aloy: Bridge in sight!
Sylens: That’s the way out!
Aloy: I know!
[She rappels down but something explodes behind her. She’s being blasted by the wave and hitting the ground hard.]
Aloy: Ah! Aaaaaah!
Sylens: Rough-going, but you survived.
Aloy: You knew Hades was there, and you sent me to him?!
Sylens: I won’t deny I risked your life. But it was the only way. Now, with the focus network down, we can both get what we want - access to the secrets of Zero Dawn.
Aloy: I’m past trusting you with secrets.
Sylens: Good. That means you’re wising up. Trust is for fools. It shifts and crumbles like sand - a poor foundation for any partnership. But mutual self-interest - now that is a solid bedrock, upon which you and I might build a new science of understanding. We both need answers, Aloy. Thanks to you, we’re on the verge of grasping them. At Sunfall. We’ll speak again.
[He goes offline.]
Aloy: You miserable... damn him. If I could toss this Focus and be rid of you, Sylens, I would. But we both know I need it. Sunfall it is. And Zero Dawn.
DEEP SECRETS OF THE EARTH
[Aloy galloping to a settlement called Sunfall.]
Sylens: Sunfall. The Mad King Jiran’s summer palate. A bulwark of Carja might against the howling Forbidden West.
Aloy: Thanks for the history lesson.
Sylens: But they have no idea what lies beneath. We will learn much from this, Aloy.
Aloy: That’s what I’m hoping...
[She’s going to some kind of arena. Three soldiers armed with spears sluggishly fight with a Trumpler.]
Sylens: The Sun-Ring. A proud tradition of the Carja.
Aloy: Stay off my Focus.
Sylens: If the Eclipse catches you here, you’ll be lucky if you survive long enough to wind up in that ring. Now we get to see if your attack on their Focus network was entirely successful.
Aloy: What are you talking about?! Did I crash the network or not?
Sylens: In theory, all should be well. Success. Welcome to the Citadel, Aloy. I’ll check back with you in a moment. In the meantime – circulate.
Shadow Carja Crier: Outlanders! If you want to hear about today’s bounties head for the throne room! You’re not going to make any shards by standing out here! (whispers) Filthy mercenary bottom-feeders.
Kam: I hear the Shadow Cara are looking for one of their own. Should pay well.
Shadow Carja Crier: What are waiting around for, outlander? Bounties are announced inside!
[Aloy enters the Citadel.]
Bahavas: By the glory of the Sun revealed! Behold! Radiant Itamen, the one true Sun King, the light in shadow, whose will us light and whose light is law!
[Five years old child, that barely stands on his own feet, gets off his nurse’s knees.]
Itamen: I command Lucent Bahawas to speak on my behalf.
Bahavas: By the will of Radiant Itamen does the Sun glare down mercilessly upon the traitor Uthid! To the hunter who brings his head to us shall go a bounty of 500 Shards!
[Some black girl, dressed like Arabic princess approach Aloy.]
Vanasha: More prisoners than royalty, don’t you think? Hnn. Love your hair. You and I need to chat, little huntress. The green tent down in Shadowside. I’ll be waiting.
Aloy: Uh, kinda busy.
Vanasha: We both know you’re no killer for hire. Uthid is innocent. So come see me - while there’s still time to save him.
Sylens: So... the “way in” I spoke of is right behind you.
Aloy: You’ve got to be kidding.
Sylens: Not at all. And you needn’t worry about the Kestrels. They’ll be too busy acting important to pay attention to you.
Odund: First time in the Citadel, got to see the Sun-Ring from on high!
Elkend: But the Kestrels!
Odund: Ha! They want us to see this, boy! It makes quite an impression!
Aloy: This is insane.
Aloy: They’re going to see me.
Sylens: You underestimate the ease of hiding in plain sight. The balustrade. It’s a short drop from there. The other side of the tower. Look for a vent.
Aloy: I see you’ve been here before.
Sylens: Obviously. Now, it’s very important that you hear what I’m about to say. I’ve shown you the way in - but this humble vent marks a point of no return. Before you descend into the depths here, you should be fully committed, equipped, and focused. No distractions. If you have errands to run, do them first, or hold your peace. I won’t tolerate whining. Is that clear?
Aloy: You’ll tolerate what I give you, Sylens. I didn’t ask you along for the ride.
TRAITOR’S BOUNTY (Vanasha’s Questline)
[She decides to help Vanasha. She goes down to the lower town and finds Vanasha feeding poor children.]
Vanasha: The food is from Dowager Queen Nasadi, little ones. Her highness knows times are hard, and helps when she can. Eat, but bring some home for your families. If you have one.
Vanasha: I’ve heard whispers about you -- rides machines, fancy spear, delightful freckles. Some even say you have a conscience. How extraordinary!
Aloy: Who are you? You’re obviously not one of the Shadow Carja.
Vanasha: My name is Vanasha. For now, all you need to know is that I’m a whisper of reason in this howling pit of insanity.
Aloy: Hmm. I know how that feels.
Vanasha: I’m sure you do. And so does Uthid. He’s a good man, so naturally the Shadow Carja want to murder him. I’ve done some digging, and I think he’s headed for the Greenclimb. It won’t take those mercenaries long to find him. He could use some help, if you’re so inclined.
Aloy: Stop being evasive and tell me who you really are.
Vanasha: Stop being evasive? You might as well tell me to stop being charming. It’s impossible. But I like you, so I’ll tell you a secret. I have friends in Meridian, and I like to do favors for them when I can. Uthid might be of use to them... if he survives.
Aloy: How do you know Uthid is innocent?
Vanasha: I’m excellent at making inquiries. Look: he feeds orphans from his own rations and personally, punishes anyone who hurts the old or infirm. The idea that he would try to kill Itamen is ridiculous. He must have found something that can embarrass the priesthood. Otherwise, Bahavas wouldn’t risk marking such a well-regarded man for death.
Aloy: What makes you think he’s on the Greenclimb?
Vanasha: He knows he’ll be pursued, so he needs a hideout that’s both familiar and defensible, He once single-handedly held off an entire bandit clan in those foothills. My guess is that he’ll fall back on what worked before.
Aloy: I’ll do what I can for Uthid. But what about you?
Vanasha: What about me, what?
Aloy: What will you do while I risk my life?
Vanasha: Useful things, little huntress. Look for three dead trees south of Sunfall - they mark the start of the Greenclimb. Good luck!
[Aloy rides to the place.]
Aloy: Three dead trees, just like Vanasha said. Let’s see if Uhtid came through here. These tracks lead up that rise. Must be the Greenclimb. Foot tracks stop here. Time to climb. All right, made it. Where did you go, Uthid?
Aloy: Food scraps. I’ll bet Uthid stopped to see if he was being followed. He must have kept going. I’ve got to catch up. A dead Machine Uthid’s been hunting. Everything useful has beer stripped. Uthid’s been gathering components, probably for armo. Uh-oh. Glinthawks, looking to scavenge.
[She deals with them.]
Aloy: Allright, back to Uthid. Where’d he go from here? Dead Watchers. More scrap for Uthid’s stockpile. Uthid took down a Ravager. Not an easy kill, but worth it for the parts.
[Climbing the mountain, she walks on a small bridge, when suddenly an arrow flies near her. She dodges it. А man dressed in something that looks like a 16th century Samurai armour, peeps from behind a stone.]
Uthid: The next one doesn’t miss.
Uthid: You’re young for a bounty hunter. Or I’m old for a soldier.
Aloy: I’m not here for the price on your head, Uthid. I believe you’re innocent.
Uthid: Innocent! Come on, then. If this is a trick, it’s a good one. You’ve earned your kill.
Aloy: Snow haze - white as bone Huh, that thought got dark.
Aloy: No tricks. Just talk.
Uthid: All right. Speak.
Aloy: I want to know what happened at Sunfall. What really happened.
Uthid: All right. For weeks, each dawn in the tent city came with a new death. Always in their sleep, no struggle. The old, the infirm... sometimes the young. Those who couldn’t fight for the cause. I should have realized then it was a culling.
Aloy: Who would do such a thing?
Uthid: They thought it was a curse, an evil spirit. But it was only a man, and a silent poison. It took time to catch him, but we did. We brought him before Bahavas, for the Sun’s judgment.
Aloy: The High Priest Bahavas? He’s the one who put the bounty out on you.
Uthid: Yes. He thanked me for my diligence, and then had his guards release the villain. You see? It was he who ordered the culling! Then they turned on us. Should have died with my men, so their loyalty meant something. Twenty years I gave to the Sun, for what? Malice and murder. As for honor, sacrifice-- true sacrifice, the kind priests and rulers know nothing of -- it’s all a fat joke.
Aloy: If it’s honor you seek, the Sun Carja seem trustworthy. A little stuck up, maybe, but trustworthy.
Uthid: Those Carja once raided your Nora lands. Raided every land we could reach! It was the Sun’s will I did what I was told. Others did worse. But... as their captain...
Aloy: Uthid, I don’t care what you did-- I can’t absolve you. But the Carja are changing their ways. You could too.
Uthid: Perhaps. Avad doesn’t understand what the Sun demands of its soldiers.
Aloy: Perhaps he understands it too well?
Uthid: Now you sound like the Blameless Marad.
Aloy: I can believe you’re a good man. But why go with the Shadow Carja in the first place? Why serve them?
Uthid: Because of Itamen, of course. He was the One True Sun-King.
Aloy: Itamen’s just a child.
Uthid: Yes - An untainted vessel! I believed he was pure. But they used him. Used our faith. I can see that now-- no shadows under a noonday sun. Bahavas didn’t need to disgrace my name. I did it myself, serving a rotten throne.
Aloy: I met someone who wants to get you out of this. A woman named Vanasha. But first, we need to get out of here.
Uthid: What... are you? You look like a hunter, you give orders like a soldier who’s been out-- Mercenaries. Think they’ll all line up to tell me I’m innocent?
Kikuk: Should have stated on the coins, Carja! The mountains belong to us. Kikuk’s Killers! When we’re done with you, you won’t even leave an echo!
Uthid: Not much gets by you.
[Archery battle begins.]
Kikuk’s Killers Outlander: Move in! We’ll send in the rest as soon as they arrive! It’s up to you now, men. Rally! We can still finish them. Keep up the attack! We’ve still got another squad on the way!
Uthid: That won’t be the last of them. Follow me - I’ve stashed supplies up above. Up and over! Grab what you can while we still have time.
[Unexpectedly, three Oseram warriors approach them from above.]
Odund: A robust defense is the most satisfying to break! All right, Marvels. We brought the priest out here, so let’s put on a show for him.
Uthid: I know that hood. We’ve unfinished business, Bahavas and I. This will be difficult think you rallied to a lost cause.
Aloy: I don’t intend to die today, Uthid.
Uthid: I did. But you’re starting to change my mind.
[They fight and win.]
Aloy: That’s the last of the Marvels!
Uthid: Bahavas thought he has enough fodder to keep him sale. Now there’s hope for justice. Will you come with me? This won’t be easy. Bahavas still has his personal guard. Across there, and we’ll have him!
[They climb the mountain.]
Bahavas: I had to come here myself! To end you suffering, Uthid-- and mine. The outlanders led us here. And now that they are dead, their price is most affordable. But enough with needles. It’s time for blades. Remove them from the Sun’s sight. Kill the traitor! Kill the Nora! The sun sets on your pathetic life, Uthid.
[Aloy and Uthid kills his guards.]
Bahavas: Wherever deal you worked out with him - I’ll double it! More than double it.
Uthid: No. I’m tired of this, Bahavas. The lies and the violence and your cheap scented oils... I don’t suppose you’d kill yourself?
Bahavas: I had to-- I had to! Prune the weak, or all the Carja in Shadow are doomed!
Uthid: This solves nothing. But may the Sun find some worth among your drying bones.
Vanasha: That was quite a firework show!
Aloy: You took your time.
Vanasha: I was busy. What do you think happened to Yun’s Shunred, the other mercenary band? And I had to organize passage to Meridian for a wanted man. Give us a moment, Uthid. Girl talk. You’ve had quite a day. I never imagined Bahavas would blunder into his own trap. His death opens up wonderful possibilities. Remember Itamen and Nasadi, the child-king and his mother, guarded like hostages at Sunfall? With Bahavas gone no one will be watching them. I want to get them out, and I could use your help.
Aloy: Kidnapping the Sun-King of the Shadow Carja is no small task.
Vanasha: It’s not kidnapping. They want to go to Meridian, to safety.
Aloy: How do you know that?
Vanasha: I’ve been posing as Nasadi’s handmaiden. She’s scared. For herself, of course, but mostly for Itamen.
Aloy: What’s going to happen to Uthid now?
Vanasha: Don’t worry! You gave him a second life, and I’ll put it to good use. He’ll be welcomed in Meridian as a military advisor. Hopefully he can help Avad finish the Shadow Carja with as little bloodshed as possible.
Aloy: What’s going to happen at Sunfall now that Bahavas is dead?
Vanasha: Oh, it will be glorious. The priests will panic. There’ll be infighting, skullduggery, and backstabbing as they wrangle for power. Best of all, they’ll be distracted. Bahavas! Your life brought misery, but your death is a flower that blooms in abundance.
Aloy: Why do you care what happens to them?
Vanasha: Itamen is the Shadow Carja’s figurehead. If he defects, it will remove their last trace of legitimacy. Beyond that he’s just a boy who clings to his mommy. He made a little Grazer for me out of matchsticks once. It wasn’t very good, but still. Nobody ever made anything for me before.
Aloy: What do you need to get Nasadi and Itamen out of Sunfall?
Vanasha: With Bahavas dead, Sunfall is the easy part - I’ll handle that. The big fuss will be crossing the border to the Sundom. Find my friend Three-toe Huadiv near the Branded Shore. I hired his crew to sweep the path, so all you have to do is wait for me.
Aloy: If this Huadiv has already cleared the area, why do you need me?
Vanasha: Contingencies, little huntress. Something will go wrong, and I need protection I can count on - you.
Aloy: I’ll try not to disappoint.
[Traitor’s Bounty completed.]
Uthid: The Nora said you would help me. Are we bound for Meridian?
Vanasha: Only if you want to go, my dear.
Uthid: What choice do I have?
Vanasha: None at all. I was just being polite.
Uthid: What makes you think Avad will welcome me, after I served his enemies?
Vanasha: He’s a forgiving man. Just smile a lot. You can smile, can’t you? ...No, that’s a grimace. Nervous about going to Meridian?
Uthid: I’ve been a soldier for twenty years. I do not get nervous.
Vanasha: Not even around a pretty lady?
Uthid: I will not dignify that with a response.
QUEEN’S GAMBIT (Vanasha’s Questline)
Vanasha: I think I’ll take a moment with Bahavas. Death suits him better than those robes ever did. Remember - Look for Three-Toe Huadiv near the Branded Shore.
[Aloy goes looking for the man.]
Aloy: You’re Three-Toe Huadiv, right? Vanasha sent me. What happened?
Three-Toed Huadiv: I got hornswoggled, that’s what. Vanasha batted her lashes, wiggled her hips, and promised us treasure. Clear a path for the royals, she said - sneak past the garrison and skewer a few Watchers. Hardly a bother! Little did we know there was a damned monstrosity lurking underground! When will I learn not to gawk at skinny girls?
Aloy: Why do you think Vanasha swindled you?
Three-Toed Huadiv: My crew came to Sunfall because we heard the bounties were fat. She offered us the fattest one of all, enough to retire on. It’s my own damned fault for taking the bait. Should have known I’d end up with a rupture in my useful parts.
Aloy: So Vanasha needed safe passage for Nasadi and Itamen, but it didn’t work out?
Three-Toed Huadiv: She made it sound so sweet and easy. Find the best path to the lake, make sure it’s safe. What could go wrong? Turns out, a lot. Like bloody murder in the grinding jaws of a heinous death-beast!
Aloy: Something attacked you from underground?
Three-Toed Huadiv: Oh, you picked that up, did you? I wondered why the Shadow Carja didn’t pay attention to the pass. Well, they don’t need to. A rock-eating demon guards it for ’em! It tunnels in the dirt, breaks through the earth, and blasts rocks from its stinking face!!! I barely escaped. My comrades weren’t so lucky. I might shed a tear, if they weren’t all cutthroats and cheaters.
Aloy: Vanasha will be here soon with Nasadi and Itamen. I’ve got to destroy that thing in the pass before they arrive.
Three-Toed Huadiv: You’re not too bright, are you? Well, we didn’t last long against it, but I’ll tell you what I know. It has armor everywhere, a little less at the rear. And when it goes underground, it’ll lose track of you if you’re quiet. You might even be able to keep it from going under altogether if you hit its big crooked arms hard enough. That’s all I can offer, friend. I promise to look solemn at your funeral before I hit the bar.
[Aloy destroys the machine.]
Three-Toed Huadiv: By the radiant Sun. I can’t believe it! I thought that evil rock-chewer would grind you up! After that miracle, all we can do is wait. Vanasha will be here soon, along with a boat that’ll take the royals across the lake.
[They sits at a campfire and wait til sunset.]
Vanasha: Ah, little huntress -- glad you accepted my invitation to play bodyguard. Where are your men, Huadiv? It looks like something chewed you up and spat you out.
Three-Toed Huadiv: That’s pretty much exactly what happened.
Aloy: The way is clear. Can we go?
Vanasha: I like how you always cut to the chase - in this case, literally. It won’t be long before we’re followed. (to Itamen) Don’t be afraid, your radiance. We’ve got excellent protection.
Vanasha: Oh dear. Here come the Shadow Carja. And they’re very angry with me.
Aloy: I’ll hold them off.
Vanasha: Very noble of you, but when I start a fuss, I like to finish it. Not that your assistance isn’t welcome. Huadiv! Get Itamen and his mother to the shore. Carefully! So it comes to this. I must say - after two years under the heel of these zealots, I’m ready to extract a little blood. Some traps would be nice. Shall we prepare a little surprise for them? Are you sure don’t have any traps, little huntress? Take cover up there, behind that rock. Here they are. Let’s make it hurt, shall we? More of the bastards. Get ready.
Aloy: And... done.
Vanasha: Well now. Seems I worked up a bit of a sweat. I don’t want to jinx it, but we might be in the clear.
[Two Carja warriors approach.]
Vanasha: A bit late, aren’t we, gentlemen?
Carja Archer: Sorry ma’am. The boat’s waiting.
[Some dinosaur like roar is heard.]
Vanasha: Damn, I spoke too soon.
Aloy: This one’s mine. Get to the boat.
Vanasha: You know, this time I think I might be out of my league. (to the warriors) If anything happens to her, I will be very cross.
Carja Spearman: We’re not going anywhere.
[Aloy and the warriors destroys Corrupted Thunderjaw, after which she runs to the boat.]
Vanasha: Not exactly a royal barge, is it? Oh well. Defectors can’t be choosers. Let’s get aboard, shall we?
[They set sail.]
Vanasha: You’ve done a good thing - maybe even ended a war.
Aloy: Maybe. But my war just keeps going.
[They come to Meridian. At the quayside they are met by Avad with his entourage.]
Avad: Itamen, my brother. Welcome home. You have nothing to fear -- you are now under the protection of the Sundom. My protection. As is your mother. She will not be harmed. You have my word, the law of the Sun. Aloy - it seems I see your influence everywhere. You have done so much for the Sundom and it will always be appreciated. You have my thanks. May you walk in the light.
Vanasha: Appalling. I spend two years in the forbidden west setting this up, and the redhead gets all the credit.
Three-Toed Huadiv: I’m still getting paid, right?
Vanasha: You’ll be lucky if I let you live. I couldn’t have done this without you. When we meet again, I’ll give you a proper thanks, promise.
DEEP SECRETS OF THE EARTH (Part 2)
[Aloy goes back to Sunfall and pry open the door to some shed.]
Aloy: I’m heading down.
Sylens: I’ve spent a lifetime trying to uncover the secrets of this world. Where the machines came from. How the Old Ones achieved such marvels, only to fall into silence and death. A lifetime of failure, as year by year, decade after decade. I hit walls I could not break, doors I could never breach.
Sylens: Until a Nora huntress marched out of the Savage East and... voila! For her, all the deepest secrets of the Earth were laid bare. I suspect you’ll have an easier time with this door than I did years ago.
Synthetic Voice: Hold for identiscan. Genetic profile confirmed. Entry authorized. Malfunction... Malfunction... Malfunction... Malfunction....
Aloy: Are you kidding me?
Sylens: You don’t hear me laughing.
Aloy: Shut up! There’s got to be a way... Hey! Elisabet Sobeck here, requesting access!
Synthetic Voice: Access request acknowledged. Root command functions available. Do you wish to proceed?
Aloy: I do! Get me through this door!
Synthetic Voice: Analyzing… Primary access inoperable due to mechanical failure. Emergency venting procedure - likely to circumvent blockage. Do you wish to proceed?
Synthetic Voice: Emergency venting, authorized.
[After all the systems have been vented, the door begins to open slowly.]
Sylens: I underestimated you. You’d think by now -
[Two Carja guards notice that the ducts, which have been out of operation for thousands of years begin to work...]
Aloy: Guess you can’t have everything.
Sylens: That will draw attention. We won’t have this place to ourselves for a long now.
Aloy: We? Last I checked, I was the one risking my life down here.
Sylens: Yes, fine. Now will you please get moving? There’s so much to learn and less time than I’d hoped.
Synthetic Voice: Welcome to Project: Zero Dawn.
Aloy: Zero Dawn! We found it!
Sylens: Are you really so surprised?
Synthetic Voice: Facility diagnostics detect multiple failures. Attempting repair.
Aloy: So what was this room?
Sylens: An entrance hall, perhaps? Have a look around.
Synthetic Voice: Please take a seat and wait for your name to be called. A selection of beverages and snacks are available.
Aloy: A smaller room...
Synthetic Voice: Please proceed into Viewing Room 1 for an important message regarding the purpose of your visit.
Aloy: What was this place?
Sylens: A holographic theater.
Synthetic Voice: ZD_0_1 data intact. Initiating playback.
Herres: Welcome to Project: Zero Dawn. I’m General Herres, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States of America. I’m sure you’ve heard the rumors. That Zero Dawn is a top-secret superweapons program. The technological miracle that will save us from the Faro Plague - if Operation: Enduring Victory can hold off the robots long enough. The reason I’m sure you’ve heard the rumors is that I’m the one who spread them. And they are all lies. Zero Dawn is not a superweapons program and I will not save us. Nothing will save us, and here’s why. By the time the Glitch was noticed, it was already too late. Nothing could stop the Faro Plague. Nothing can. Its robots will continue to replicate and devour the biosphere. Life on Earth will be destroyed... our planet reduced to a barren sphere. Global extinction is inevitable. No matter how many we kill, the robots just keep exponentially making more. If we had their deactivation codes, we could shut them all down. The entire swarm. But since their cryptographic protocols use poly-phasic entangled waveforms, cracking a code set would take half a century. At best, we’ve got 16 months. Not exactly what you’d call a survival option. The destruction of a biosphere is not the sort of apocalypse you can wait out in a fallout shelter or space station. There will be no Earth left to reclaim. Just a lifeless, toxic rock with several million Faro robots on it... hibernating, waiting for something to eat. This is the horrible truth behind the lies of Operation: Enduring Victory - my lies - lies designed to inspire millions of innocents to sacrifice themselves in battle. Why? One reason: to buy time for you and the work you will do here. Zero Day - the day that life on Earth ceases to exist - is coming fast. It cannot be stopped. The hope of Zero Dawn is that something new might come after. But I will leave it to Elisabet Sobeck to shine that thin ray of light into the darkness, Herres out.
Aloy: That doesn’t make sense! Life on earth didn’t cease to exist!
Sylens: He said it could not be stopped.
Aloy: But it was! Somehow Elisabet saved us! I’ve got to keep looking, find out how she did it... Kestrels! They got in - through the vents!
Sylens: Let nothing stop you from learning the truth.
Shadow Heavy: Spread out! If it moves, kill it!
Shadow Soldier: What is this place? A tomb?
[Aloy quietly kills them.]
Sylens: Good. We’re too close to let tribal primitives stop us now. The data points. What do they contain?
[Aloy scans an interview with Susanne Alpert] COUNSELOR: (garbled) with Susanne Alpert, environmental scientist. Doctor? DR. ALPERT: I’m sorry? I wasn’t-- COUNSELOR: Just stating your name. What were you thinking about, Doctor? DR.ALPERT: Nothing the General said. Not really. I was on the Syzygy/East response team in 2051. Just after the second earthquake compromised the reactor. I still dream about it, after these years. The Red Zone spreading on the imaging, slowly so slowly, like a hand opening its fingers. COUNSELOR: Your involvement in that event is why you were asked for by name. DR. ALPERT: Really? That’s interesting. Because. nothing worked. Nothing could grow there again. It was a catastrophic failure. But the Red Zone is a blip compared to global-scale biomass biosphere and hydrosphere will collapse, render the Earth uninhabitable, long before the robots finish us. Enduring Victory can’t buy time against that... So you’d better show me what Zero Dawn really is.
[Aloy scans Counselor Guidelines] Candidates must be allowed to ask questions and be given the necessary time to fully absorb the information they have received. It is important to be aware that candidates have just been exposed to triggers for severe mental and emotional trauma. Do not assume silence or outward calmness indicates acceptance. It is essential to stress that all other options for combating the Faro Plague and preserving the continuation of human life have been considered, and found unworkable. Communicate this fact calmly, but clearly and firmly. Familiarize yourself with data on the catastrophic environmental impact of nuclear engagements vs. the swarm (Addendum B1) and unfeasibility of maintaining life in orbital, lunar, or undersea structures (Addenda C1, C2, C3) so that you can counter candidates’ objections in depth. If a candidate asks for time alone to review supplementary information, allow this without hesitation. Be sure to inform security personnel so the candidate can be monitored for attempts at self-harm. Candidates should only be cleared to proceed to Presentation 2 if you believe their mental state is sufficiently stable. Note that real-time support will be available via your Focus. Security and medical crisis teams are [DATA CORRUPTED]
[Aloy scans an interview with Cpt. Okilo.] COUNSELOR: I’m sure you now understand the urgency of why we brought you here, Ms. Okilo. CAPTAIN OKILO: Captain Okilo. Are you trying to thank me for not resisting? COUNSELOR: I believe we couldn’t negotiate a diplomatic solution. CAPTAIN OKILO: When it came to my country’s lithium, it was always a swarm that would be sent to negotiate. Metallurgic International. US Robot Command... The markings changed, but the robots were the same. COUNSELOR: You have had considerable experience in human-robot conflict. CAPTAIN OKILO: Yes, and I’ve got the prosthetic limbs to show it. Still I continued to face this horror, even though the challenge was great. Cyber-warfare. I thought Zero Dawn would be a... a “Manhattan Project”, to generate the deactivation codes. With the resources I had, I estimated code-breaking to be a hopeless endeavor. I almost looking forward to being proved wrong. COUNSELOR: Unfortunately your estimation was correct. CAPTAIN OKILO: As your General Herres said. So then. You did not bring me here to commiserate. What is left?
[Aloy scans an interview with Ron Felder.] RON FELDER: Look. Let’s cut the mystery, you’re building a colony ship. It’s obvious. And it’s not going to fly. I mean, literally. Remember the Odyssey that multi-national heap of space junk that’s been in graveyard orbit since ’57? That went nowhere, real slow, and you have to get somewhere real fast. Do you have any idea the immensity of the challenge, to prep a new colony ship in time? COUNSELOR: To be clear, I’m not a worker on the project- RON FELDER: Do - do you even understand how few people it could even save? The whole generation-ship concept is, is not going to happen! It’s the first thing you’d abandon in favor of embryonics. For that kind of storage we’re talking a lot of bulk, a lot of power, a lot of resources so even if you do it, even if you build it and point it at Sirius X, there’s no room for people on that thing, all right!? COUNSELOR: If you could try to remain calm- RON FELDER: You people are crazy if you think you’re getting off this rock! No-one’s getting off! COUNSELOR: Medical!
[Aloy scans an interview with Tom Paech.] COUNSELOR:...is accurate, yes. TOM PAECH: So these mechanical monstrosities, they don’t just kill people, they feed off them? COUNSELOR: Not just people. All organic matter. TOM PAECH: Every living thing dissolved into nutrients? Millennia of evolution liquefied?! The miracle of life reduced to -bloody bio-fuel?! COUNSELOR: In a word? Yes. TOM PAECH: Who did this? Faro? That arsehole! Is he here? COUNSELOR: No. Doctor! Please... TOM PAECH: Tell him Tom Paech wants a word! (sounds of struggle) COUNSELOR: Doctor! Please! TOM PAECH: YOU GET TED FARO IN HERE!
[Aloy scans an interview with Travis Tate.] COUNSELOR:...to discuss? TRAVIS TATE: Hoo! So mama, she was right! COUNSELOR: Pardon? TRAVIS TATE: My mother, she took her Bible real serious. Not just Texas Bubble serious. Pentecostal serious. Favorite chapter? Revelations. Now. I didn’t always understand her on account of all that speaking in tongues and such but when she did use her words, it was always End Times - this and Lake of Fire-that, on account of sinful lifestyles. Speaking which mind if I smoke? COUNSELOR: A... tobacco cigarette? TRAVIS TATE: Sorry, darling, my tastes run classic. Compliments to your team, tracked me down. Been a price on my head 18 months now. Sterling-Malkeet was me, of course, don’t mind admitting. Been plenty of snakesters chasing the bounty, too, but I kept the zigging to their zag. How’d you finger me? COUNSELOR: I believe Dr. Sobeck listed you as an Alpha candidate. Priority snatch-and-grab. TRAVIS TATE: Always suspected she had a little thing for me. Hey - don’t supposed you got real coffee in this place? You know blood coffee? Conflict cappuccinos? COUNSELOR: Mr. Tate, I’m clearing you to proceed. Just…
[Aloy scans an interview with Brad Andac.] COUNSELOR: ...previously worked for Faro Automated Systems. BRAD ANDAC: On the Chariot line self-replication routines. I came here thinking this was a rendition. When your people took me, I thought, “About time.” I’ve been trying to swallow the guilt every day since... since, ah... COUNSELOR: Would you like to take a moment? BRAD ANDAC: No, no - I just... really hoped Zero Dawn was a way to undo it all. My work. I’m sorry to say I was ever proud of it. But Ted could really sell a concept, and in the labs, in the... light of creation... That first test run, when you saw they understood their own structures, could rebuild themselves from memory and light… There were no limits. Oh, God, there were no limits.
Synthetic Voice: ZD_0_2 data intact. Initiating playback.
Aloy: Elisabet Sobeck!
Elisabet Sobeck: You’ve heard the bad news, and it’s all true. The Faro Plague is devouring the biosphere. But does that have to be the end? What if we could give life - a future? What if we could build a kind of seed, from which, on a dead planet, life could blossom anew? This is the aim - the hope - of Project: Zero Dawn: to create a super intelligent fully-automated... terraforming system - And bring life back from lifelessness. What would such a system require? At its core, it would need a true AI. Fully capable of making the trillions of decisions necessary to reconstitute the biosphere. An immortal guardian, devoted to the re-flourishing of life. We call it GAIA. Mother Nature as an AI. But that’s just the core of the system. She will need to be surrounded and empowered by a comprehensive suite of Subordinate Functions. Think of them as extensions of GAIA’s mind, each dedicated to a specific purpose. Now these aren’t Als, but make no mistake - each presents an engineering challenge more profound… than anything the human species has ever before attempted. Hardware that preserves adengestates the billions of seeds and embryos from which life will be reborn. The construction of underground facilities to hold it all. And that’s just the start. We don’t have to build the entire system. The beauty of a fully automated terraforming system is that it can build itself. Now, over the days to come, you’ll learn how all these Functions - all these pieces that you’ll be working on - fit together. How we’ll race the clock to execute our harvest initiatives, write the software, build the tech and the facilities! How we’ll lock it down and seal it up before the inevitable occurs. But even more important, you’ll know how it doesn’t end here. How GAIA will generate these deactivation codes General Herres talked about... and build the transmission arrays to broadcast them, shutting down the Faro robots for good. How GAIA will not just build but imagine any conceivable robot it needs to do its work across centuries.... from detoxifying the Earth’s ravaged atmosphere and poisoned seas... to the re-greening of the Earth from cryo-preserved seed stocks... to re-wilding the Earth with animal life. And then, when all that is done, how a new generation of human beings, spawned at Cradle facilities around the globe… will partake of APOLLO: the vast archive of human knowledge and cultural achievement from which they will learn of us, our world, and most important how not to repeal our mistakes. It’s not an impossible dream. It is within our grasp if we work tirelessly and stop at nothing to achieve it. We can’t stop life from ending. But if you will help me help GAIA - we can give it a future. Join me, and help make that future real.
Aloy: So... the whole Earth, destroyed... but then, remade?
Sylens: Yes. By a machine. A machine of creation...
Aloy: Elisabet did this. For life. For us. But - why HADES, then? If it was part of GAIA, how’d it end up in the wreckage of a Faro robot? And why’s it want to kill me? And APOLLO - the archive of knowledge - what happened to that?
Sylens: I’m as confused as you are. Maybe the answers lie ahead.
Synthetic Voice: Alert. Medical wing inaccessible.
Shadow Heavy: Intruder! Get her!
Aloy: They know I’m here now!
Sylens: Whatever you do, don’t die now.
Aloy: Power’s down.
Sylens: Is there another route?
Aloy: I’ve done this before. Just need my Focus. Here we go. There’s a part missing. Maybe there’s a storage area nearby...? Done. I should check the door nearby.
Maintenance Tech: Hey, I’m done with Brett’s incompetence, okay? Somehow he managed to install an H-emitter node backwards. Everything’s in reverse. I don’t get paid to clean up Brett’s messes. If you want it fixed, send him up to storage for a new emitter, not me. Parker out.
[Aloy solve the puzzle and opens the door.]
Sylens: Now to see what lies beyond it.
Aloy: Eclipse! They’re here!
Sylens: Avoid contact.
Cultist Punisher: Lines look good!
Aloy: GAIA! It’s up there - second floor.
Sylens: Can you reach it?
Aloy: So much for avoiding contact.
[She kills the cultists.]
Synthetic Voice: Alert. Area inaccessible. Elevators non-operational. Stairwells have collapsed.
Aloy: Phew. That’s the last of them.
Synthetic Voice: Alert. H-Lock structural failure. Repeat: H-Lock structural failure.
Aloy: Or not! Room’s clear. For a moment, anyway.
Sylens: Then get moving. You have to find GAIA.
Margo Shěn: Hello! I’m Margo Shěn, and this is HEPHAESTUS! As the name might tip you off, this is going to be the subordinate function that GAIA will use to make lots and lots of robots. Her personal forge... except it’s not that simple. Um. So, like, you probably noticed that only about a third of you are robotics engineers. The rest, experts in machine cognition, virtual heuristics, that stuff. Well, that’s because we aren’t going to be the ones designing and building robots. The last thing we want is to burden GAIA with a bunch of outmoded twenty-first century designs. Waste of time! Our purpose is to empower GAIA to build the robots. And not just build - imagine - from scratch! Any robot she needs, for any conceivable purpose, designed and fabricated at a snap of a finger. Hers. Her finger. So HEPHAESTUS isn’t really the force It’s more like the knowledge of craft and ingenuity of a master smith, to wield the hammer. Encoded as software. Virtual creativity made real. GAIA’s already learning. In simulations, she’s doing some very creative things with fractal assembly and animal morphologies. Her designs aren’t about to win the Li-Em prize anytime soon, but hey, everyone has to start somewhere! So... Yes. Time to get started. Let’s do this.
Aloy: I don’t get it.
Sylens: Which part? It’s a little technical, in places -
Aloy: If GAIA was designed to save life, why would the robots it makes attack people?
Sylens: Perhaps it loves some forms of life more than others.
Aloy: The Derangement. The machines weren’t always so angry...
Sylens: True. Mostly they were docile, until ten, fifteen years ago.
Aloy: For years “Hephaestus” has been forcing Cauldrons to make aggressive machines. I’ve seen it myself. In the Cauldrons. Stalkers. Ravagers. A Thunderjaw. How could it do that? And why?
Sylens: Why, indeed.
Aloy: I think this is it! Elisabet Sobeck’s office! But it’s sealed off. There’s got to be a way inside...
Sylens: Keep looking.
Aloy: More Eclipse.
Sylens: Careful, now...
Samina Ebadji: Welcome to APOLLO - the collective memory of the human species, and the wellspring of knowledge for future generations. I am Samina Ebadji. Until recently, I was Director of the International Collective Memory Institute in New Tehran. As a heritage professional, I devoted my career to the preservation of human knowledge, creative endeavor, and cultural achievement. APOLLO is, therefore, the ultimate embodiment of lifelong passion - albeit, under the very worst circumstances imaginable. The challenges before us are immense. Specifically, we will have to design and implement four major initiatives simultaneously. First: the construction of data repositories in Cradle facilities around the world, ensuring redundancy. Second: The collection and processing of a projected 180 million discrete data-entries.... - forty-two zettabytes of data - in Mandarin, English, Spanish and Arabic. Third: the transferal and encoding of all that data into DNA encapsulated in synthetic fossils, the only medium capacitors and durable enough to safeguard it without degradation for the centuries to come. And last but not least: The development of the holographic interface and gamified curricula… by which future humans will commune with APOLLO, progressively unlocking heuristic learning modules… “leveling up the knowledge and skills they will need to take control of the terraforming system. That is the future towards which all of our efforts will be directed. Notjust the preservation of the past… but the seed for the flourishing of a new tree of knowledge. Welcome. And let us begin.
[Aloy quietly kills some more cultists in the next room.]
Aloy: That’s the last of them. Alone once more.
Sylens: In what should have been a cave of wonders. Look around. See if anything is left.
[Aloy scans a datapont named Herres Testimonial.] GENERAL HERRES: Dr. Sobeck, please archive this testimonial in APOLLO, cross-referenced to all mentions of my name and Operation: Enduring Victory. My name is General Aaron Herres. From 2060 to 2066. I served as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest-ranked officer of the United States Armed Forces. The tenure of my command included strategic planning and oversight of Operation: Enduring Victory, a falsehood perpetrated on the civilian populations of the United States and other nations during the last 14 months of life on this planet. Before the Faro Plague, I did my job and did it well. I was bold and decisive, crafty in political maneuvers. It wasn’t an accident that I rose to my position and became the commander of the largest mechanized force ever assembled. But to what end? My only lasting achievement was the extinction of life on Earth. And my one redeeming act - if any - was to delay that extinction by days or week by throwing more death at it. It is my hope that there will be no need for men like me in the world to come. If you are one of the péople of that future world, listening to this message please know that I am sorry, and that I wish you well. Sincerely, General Aaron Herres.
Travis Tate: Welcome to HADES - Zero Dawn’s “extinction failsafe protocol” - the ultimate killer app! Now I know what you’re thinking. The purpose of GAIA is to resurrect life. So why give her a subordinate function, only purpose of which is to wipe life out all over again? I mean - what the what?! Just plumb crazy, ain’t it? Well no, it isn’t. Reconstituting a biosphere? That’s a tall order. Tack-smart as GAIA may be, odds are she won’t get it right the first time. I mean, imagine you’re GAIA, two hundred years from now, and this new biosphere you’re growing, it’s all gone wrong. Alkalines are skyrocketing, coniferous forests eroding under the lash of super-storms that would’ve drowned Noah. It’s chaos, a spinnin’ top that won’t stop wobbling. Now, what you gonna do? Release phase 1 organisms into that hot mess? Hope their CO2 and methane can balance out what you got started? Hell no. What you’re going to do, GAIA, is step aside while HADES takes over and does what you’re just too darn nurturing and life-loving to do. Which is burn that misbegotten mess of a biosphere to the ground so GAIA can start over. Okay, not burn. More like terraforming operations and suffocate it. But you get the idea. HADES takes the biosphere back to zero, square one, blank slate. And then, only then, does it hand the steering wheel back to GAIA and say: “try again, ol’ girl - and better this time, or we’ll have to do this again.” That’s HADES. It’s pretty badass when you think about it. Extinction on demand, death on speed dial. All for the greater good, of course, but still - kinda metal! So - welcome to HADES. Welcome to the void!
Aloy: Okay... so if that’s the original purpose of HADES, why does it want me extinct?
Sylens: We need more data.
Aloy: And how’s it end up in the wreckage of a Faro Titan, getting worshiped by the Eclipse like some kind of god?
Sylens: I’m learning as you are, Aloy. Keep searching.
Aloy: Looks like the only way onwards.
Patrick Brochard-Klein: Welcome to ELEUTHIA, the crown and king of GAIA’s subordinate functions, for it is by ELEUTHIA that the human race will continue to exist. I am Patrick Brochard-Klein, the Alpha in charge of this program. Let one thing be perfectly clear from the outset. ELEUTHIA is not a genetic engineering project. Our goal is to preserve the human genome, not alter it. A snapshot of human genetic diversity, literally frozen in time - the genetic quintessence of our species, unmodified. Under my watch, our activities and initiatives will comply with the 2034 Clone Provisions and the 2048 Raleigh Accords. Now, that may seem a quaint, even trivial concern to you, in light of present circumstances - but... was one of the authors of the Accords, it is far from trivial to me. The practical challenges before us are... staggering in scope and complexity. But not insurmountable. Global collation and provisional storage of zygotes: perfection of exogenic technologies, design and perfection of servitors… to provide nurture and inculcation during early child development; all of these program components must and will proceed… in tandem - to say nothing of the breakneck construction of Cradle facilities at sites around the world. So... let us begin.
Aloy: Are these... what I think they are?
Sylens: Artificial wombs. Machines to spawn a new generation of human beings.
Aloy: “Cradle facilities.” Elisabet said a new generation of humans would be spawned inside such places.
Sylens: She did.
Aloy: All-Mother mountain - it was one of them?
Sylens: There’s only one way to be sure.
Aloy: The hatch wouldn’t open. Something... Something about a corrupted Alpha Registry. I need to search Elisabet’s office.
[She scans GAIA’s log from 27 March 2065.]
GAIA: - would benefit from Antelopinae morphologies, though caprid forms show superior load bearing capability.
Elisabet Sobeck: You’re a quick study, GAIA.
GAIA: Dr. Sobeck, as I have conducted this comparative analysis of mammalian morphologies. I have gathered extensive data on the Quaternary Extinction Event.
Aloy: Looks like it used to hold something... some component that got removed.
Elisabet Sobeck: Oh? And your assessment? GAIA?
GAIA: Logically speaking, the extinction was a natural consequence.
Elisabet Sobeck: And yet?
GAIA: And yet... I find the loss of megafaunal species… unaccountably sad. That they passed forever into oblivion... causes me to experience a... grief... that is difficult to describe. Am I malfunctioning?
Elisabet Sobeck: No, no, GAIA you are not. This is good. It’s very good.
[Aloy scans GAIA’s log from 13 January 2066.]
Elisabet Sobeck: You will undergo a brief period of unconsciousness... during relocation to Prime and final instatement.
GAIA: Elisabet, may I speak outside protocol?
Elisabet Sobeck: When you’re back up and running at the new site we’ll bring the subordinate functions online and see where we stand.
GAIA: Elisabet, I detect… distress. Are you all right?
Elisabet Sobeck: (sharply) I’m fine.
GAIA: I realize that circumstances compel us to launch earlier that we hoped, but all sub-systems are operational. The odds stand in our favor.
Elisabet Sobeck: But what if - ? GAIA… there’s nothing left out there… you can’t even survive unless you’re wearing an environmental suit. There are billions dead… in fear and agony. What if… What if it was all for nothing...?
GAIA: Elisabet, extinction was inevitable. Thanks to you, life will have a future.
Elisabet Sobeck: You really believe that?
GAIA: I believe in you, Elisabet. In you, all th - (the holorecord interrupts)
[Aloy pry opens the door to Elisabet’s office.]
Aloy: The Alpha Registry master file!
Aloy: Yes. No signs of corruption.
Sylens: Then what are you waiting for? Copy the file!
Aloy: With this, I can restore the registry at the hatch inside All-Mother. Open it, go inside.
Sylens: And grasp the secrets within...
Aloy: Where I was bom. Maybe... maybe who gave birth to me...
Sylens: “Who”?! Are you really so naïve? There will be no “who” waiting for you there, Aloy. Whatever birthed you into the world was a “what,” not a “who.”
Aloy: You bastard.
Sylens: Oh no, I had a legitimate birth. It’s you, Aloy, who are the creation of a machine. But what kind of machine - and why? Why were you created?
Sylens: You need to get out of there. What you found is too valuable. You’re too valuable.
[While Aloy’s copying the file, Helis is repelling down into the facility. He throws a grenade at the office window. Aloy knocks out by explosion.]
Helis: Still alive. Good. I have a more suitable death in mind for you... child.
[She wakes up in a Sun-Ring’s cage.]
Helis: My entire life, I’ve always known one thing with prophetic certainty that I was destined for glory as a great champion of the Sun. Even when Jiran was murdered, even when Meridian fell, I never doubted my destiny… until you came along. When I heard that you had. survived... a doubt took root in my mind. As sure as the sun rises and falls each day, those I am bade to kill, die. And yet I failed. How? Why? With each dig site you attacked, each loyal soldier you killed… this pestering doubt grew… It grew when High Priest Bahavas went missing... and when the true Sun King, Itamen, was snatched away, it not only grew, but multiplied. I kept thinking of the moment my knife pierced your throat. One twist, a simple tug of the blade, and you would’ve bled out. In slaughter, I am a practiced hand. So why hesitate? Why fail my destined purpose?
Aloy: See that scar on your cheek? You didn’t get to finish.
Helis: Yes, I remember. He fought well… for a savage.
Aloy: His name was Rost, and he was a better man than you could ever hope to be!
Helis: The better man is the one who doesn’t end up with his guts steaming on the ground. No. It wasn’t him. I could have finished you before he attacked. But I didn’t. This failing... troubled my thoughts, haunted every step... It was only when I captured you down in that place. That I finally glimpsed the Sun’s design etched at length across the course of events. You were meant to survive that day on the mountain, meant to interfere at dig sites and kill my men... Meant to eliminate High Priest Bahavas… Meant to snatch Itamen away... Conversely, I was meant to capture you. Here so that you might die as a sacrificial offering to the Sun. Everything as it was meant to be. Predestined, and preordained.
Aloy: Some destiny. You’re following orders, not some grand cosmic design. You’re a puppet, with Hades yanking the strings. A pawn, pushed around by larger forces. It’d be laughable if there weren’t so much killing involved. Hades is an ancient machine, not the Buried Shadow of Carja myth. It doesn’t care about Meridian. It wants to kill everything and everyone - and you are its dutiful slave.
Helis: I serve not the Buried Shadow, but the Sun in shadow. All halves of nature joined to one cause, Shadow to Sun, Dark to Light.
Aloy: Do you really not hear how ridiculous that sounds? You’ve gone from serving an insane, homicidal Sun King to an insane, homicidal machine. You’re moving down in the world, not up!
Helis: I’ll remember those words as I watch your corpse burn, Whatever’s left of it. You fail to grasp the point. As surely as you’ve been conquered, so has all doubt. And with certainty of belief comes unstoppable force.
Aloy: Then open this cage and put your faith to the test. See if things work out like you expect.
Helis: The circle has closed. Every element is in its proper place - exactly where it belongs. The errant beast, now caged, will serve her true purpose. A sacrificial animal. Ah... speaking of sacrifice... I forgot to tell you. After you crashed the Eclipse network, I sent messengers into the east. To rally the forces there and mount an invasion of the “Sacred Land.” I ordered every Nora killed, I was hoping to catch you there, but alas, it all seems to have been unnecessary.
Aloy: Why butcher dozens of innocents for no gain? It’s a waste of effort.
Helis: You’re right. I won’t even be there to enjoy it. In any case, I couldn’t recall the order even if I wished to. Thanks to your destruction of the network, communication over distances is impossible. You not only doomed yourself, but an entire tribe. Do we not see the scorching judgment of the Sun in these events? Your Focus... Such a powerful device, isn’t it? And yet so fragile.
[He crushes Aloy’s Focus with his bare hands.]
Helis: Ah. So you see... this time, I did not hesitate. The knife has already been twisted.
[Some time passes.]
Helis: Carja faithful, rejoice! Our years in shadow are over! A new dawn trembles on the horizon, a new day, soon to break! And when it does the false Sun-King will be dead, and holy Meridian, ours once more! In this, I have become an instrument of prophecy! All halves of nature joined to one cause! Shadow to Sun, Light to Dark, Night to Day! Behold!
[Two Corruptors enter the Sun-Ring.]
Helis: HOLD YOUR SEATS! Can you not see the proof of the Sun’s blessing before your eyes?! How else could shadows such as these prowl in broad light of day, were they not approved by the Sun, and joined to our cause? Many years ago, to consecrate this great Ring… the Radiant Jiran ordered many faithless crushed beneath the hooves of a Behemoth! Mighty is the Behemoth in the eye of the Sun… but it is mightier still, infused with the power of shadow! Let this one, who schemed and slithered, be the first to die. Let her be the first of thousands!
[The cage lowers and Aloy dropped to the Sun-Ring without weapons and armor against Corrupted Trumpler.]
THE TERROR OF THE SUN
Aloy: I’ll never beat that thing without weapons. All my weapons are up on the platform, and there’s no way out of this ring. Maybe I can use its strength against it…
[She directs the distraught Trampler at the columns supporting the top of the arena.]
Aloy: That makes a mess! That pillar’s week! Another hit and that pillar will come down! That did it! One more pillar, and that platform will come down! And my weapons with it! It’s down! Hey! Guess who got her weapons back?! Now you’re just a big dumb target! Come and get it! Freeze canister on its hips! Cryo arrows should set it off! That canister on its belly! Looks important! Those components on the sides of its head! They’ve got something to do with his Lift attacks!
[She defeats Trampler. Spectators begin to boo Helis.]
Helis: SILENCE! Shadows! Kill her! KILL HER!
Aloy: Why leave it to THEM?! Come get me yourself!
[Suddenly, someone rushes into the arena on a machine.]
Helis: Sylens...? TRAITOR!
[Sylens rescued Aloy. They rides away.]
Aloy: So you’re here. Really here. You risked your life.
Sylens: Of course I did. If you’d been killed the Nora’s sacred mountain would never have given up its secrets.
Aloy: Too bad you wasted your time, then. Helis destroyed my Focus... and the Alpha Registry with it.
Sylens: Not at all. The whole time I’ve been monitoring your Focus, I’ve duplicated every data file you scanned. Installing that data to a new Focus was trivially easy. "Happy birthday, Isaac. Daddy sure does love his little big man."
[He gives her a new Focus.]
Aloy: You’re really good at making it impossible to like you, Sylens. But I guess I need this.
Sylens: It’s time to go see where you were born. Maybe you’ll even learn why.
Aloy: Yeah. Meet the machine that birthed me into this world. Isn’t that how you put it.
Sylens: I’ll be off.
Aloy: How did you track my location when I wasn’t wearing a Focus?
Sylens: Really, Aloy. It doesn’t take a genius to surmise that Helis would throw you into the Sun Ring at high noon. I wore out two Striders getting here in time. But I did. Now be on your way.
Aloy: Since when can you override machines?
Sylens: Ever since you discovered the technique. I had to destroy a Corrupter to obtain the necessary parts, of course. But your example showed me how to do that, as well. Yet another benefit of monitoring your activities through your Focus. Truth be told, the underlying logic of the technique isn’t so different from rites practiced by Banuk shamans… though of course, far more advanced.
Aloy: Great. You’re welcome, I guess. Helis recognized you back in the Sun Ring. You told me that you’d ’assisted’ the Eclipse... not that you knew the man who killed my... who almost killed me.
Sylens: So now you know. The man is a serious threat. So let’s do all we can to make sure that he and Hades don’t succeed.
Aloy: Right. I’ll be on my way. To make matters worse. Helis ordered an Eclipse detachment to attack the Nora Sacred Land. The tribe’s already weak. They won’t stand a chance. You should come with me.
Sylens: Absolutely not. I have preparations to make elsewhere.
Aloy: What kind of -- Why do I bother asking? You’re not going to tell me,
Sylens: When the time is right, I’ll be in touch. I’ll contact you later. In the meantime, should you need to return to Shadow Carja territory, I brought armor to conceal your identity.
Aloy: You think of everything, don’t you?
Sylens: One of us has to. Aloy... When you were recovering the Alpha Registry, down in the Zero Dawn bunker... I was needlessly cruel. For your sake, I hope there is someone waiting there for you inside the mountain. Not a what, but a who. Yah!
[He rides away. Aloy goes to her native lands.]
THE HEART OF THE NORA
[She drove up to the lands of the Nora. War raging all around. Fire, corpses and machines are everywhere.]
Aloy: That smell - trees on fire. The Embrace. Watchtowers, burning. But the Sentinels had time to warn the tribe… The Nora made a stand here. Anything to protect the Embrace. But the gates couldn’t hold. This is Hades’s future. Metal... and ash. The Embrace... it’s devastated. For years this was my entire world. It can be destroyed in hours. Mother’s Cradle… razed to the ground. No birdsong. I’ve never heard the Embrace so quiet. So… dead. Another battle… another defeat. The Eclipse smashed through. More Eclipse. It’s a corrupted Thunderjaw, all right! The survivors must be holed up in the mountain! If the tunnel collapses they’ll be buried - and I’ll never reach the hatch.
[She attacks the Thunderjaw.]
Sona: Braves - to Aloy’s side! Now!
Varl: For Aloy!
Sona: For the Goddess!
Nora Brave: For All-Mother!
Aloy: Varl and Sona - they’re still alive!
Sona: Bring down the demon! Strike it down!
Nora Brave: The corruption will not take hold!
Aloy: Stay still!
Nora Brave: May the Goddess remember!
Nora Brave: Faithless and forsaken! You will die!
Sona: Destroy it!
Nora Brave: Back to the tainted earth, demon!
Aloy: It’s holding! No good. Finish them!
Nora Brave: We did it!
Varl: Aloy did it! We only helped!
Varl: Aloy… You... saved the tribe. Did what no brave or War-Chief could do.
Aloy: I’m glad to see you’re all right, Varl. You are all right?
Varl: Since the Proving... so much death. Is the killing over?
Aloy: For now. But this was just one battle, Varl. There are more to come.
Varl: I see. So long as we have you to fight with us... I suppose we’ll make do.
Aloy: How many survived the attack?
Varl: Nearly all the Matriarchs. And many families, Goddess be praised. But braves? Just a few, and most of them are wounded. Even the Carja in all their Red Raids never broke through to the Embrace.
Aloy: Well, this enemy may have broken through. But they never got back out. We made sure of that. Tell me about the attack. What happened?
Varl: They struck from the east. Our Sentinels saw the killers coming. Said that beside them marched Deathbringers and Corruptors, and other machines, driven mad. We took ground, met them with clouds of arrows. Some fell - but they kept coming. Finally, we withdrew to the gates of the Embrace, to make our stand... But they were too much for us. Those who survived, fell back to the mountain.
Aloy: So the survivors took shelter in the mountain? By law, on the matriarchs are allowed inside.
Varl: It was Teersa who broke the taboo. Ordered the tribe into the mountain for safety. Lansra... well, she didn’t agree. But I don’t think anyone heard her, over all the screams and shouting.
Aloy: Teersa’s decision saved lives. Good for her. Common sense isn’t always so common around here. Are your injuries serious?
Varl: ’Bruises pale, bones heal’--
Aloy: Don’t give me a hunting song, Varl! Are you okay?
Varl: My body aches, but it’s nothing that will keep me from fighting.
Aloy: I need to go inside the mountain.
Varl: The Matriarchs will be eager to see you.
Aloy: I’m sure. But I didn’t come here for them.
Varl: Then - what for?
Aloy: You will see.
[She goes inside the mountain.]
Nora Brave: So many wounded. So many dead.
Teb: Aloy! You’ve returned!
Nora Mother: It feels as though the All-Mother has forgotten us, Seeker.
Varl: You should speak to the Matriarchs. They’re waiting.
Teersa: Aloy! You’ve come back!
Jezza: The Seeker has returned!
Teersa: Come, speak to us.
Lansra: Foolish woman! You welcome a curse!
Jezza: Come, Seeker - we have much to discuss.
Lansra: Her very presence here is a blasphemy.
Teb: I knew you would survive… I’m glad to see you.
Aloy: Your injuries - are they serious?
Teb: A gash or two. Nothing I couldn’t sew back together with needle and thread.
Aloy: Guess being a Stitcher came in handy in combat, after all, hmm?
Teb: Yes. I suppose it did. Have you traveled far... as a Seeker?
Aloy: You wouldn’t believe the things I’ve seen, Teb.
Teb: I knew you’d come back for us. You should speak to the High Matriarchs. They’re waiting.
Teersa: So, you have finally returned.
Sona: She not only returned, but fought her way through many enemies to reach us. Outside, she brought low a Corrupted Thunderjaw. She lifted the siege.
Jezza: How was this done?
Teersa: By the will of All-Mother. Have you returned to speak with the Goddess, Aloy?
Aloy: Um… yeah I guess you could say that. I think it’ll work this time.
Lansra: Sisters! Surely we cannot permit this! Because her, our tribe teeters upon extinction! What if she has come to wake her father, the Metal Devil?! She means to finish our destruction! We must stop her!
Aloy: (strong answer) I fought my way past an army while you cowered in this cave. You really think you can stop me?
Teersa: Aloy! That is not necessary!
Aloy: What would you know about what’s necessary? About what it took for me to be standing here, now, on this threshold? This was my birthright. You don’t get to take it from me a second time.
Synthetic Voice: Hold for Identiscan. Error Alpha Registry corrupted. Correction. Alpha Registry, restored. Genetic identity confirmed. Entry authorized. Greetings, Dr. Sobeck. You are cleared to proceed.
[The hatch opens. Everyone in the bunker looks shocked. Teersa nods to Aloy - she’s got her blessing. Aloy goes inside. As the door closes she smiles.]
Synthetic Voice: Welcome to ELEUTHIA Cradle-9, Brood-1.
Sylens: I see you’re inside.
Aloy: Figured I might be hearing from you.
Sylens: Shall we begin?
Aloy: I never stopped. So this is "Eleuthia." This is where I was born?
Sylens: Where you were made.
Aloy: (sighs) So these are... artificial wombs?
Sylens: The mothers of a new generation, hundreds of years ago.
Aloy: And me? So this was it.
Sylens: Where you were born.
Aloy: But - why? These look like... cribs.
Sylens: The cradles of a Cradle facility.
Aloy: And those... things? The multiservitors - they took care of them?
Sylens: There was no one else.
[She turns on one of the holoprojectors.]
Multiservitor: Another day has passed!
Girl: You mean the lights got dim!
Boy: I don’t want to sleep, Mother!
Multiservitor: I know, but it is time to get some rest.
Boy: No! I’m king today! What I say, goes!
Girl: I want to see the real sun! Not lights and pictures!
Multiservitor: You will in time, children.
Boy: In time, in time, in time, in time..!
Girl: In time, in time, in time, in time...!
Girl: In time, in time, in time, in time!
Aloy: So this... is where they lived? It’s a mess. Everything’s broken, or painted on. How long did they live here?
[She turns on another holoprojector.]
Multiservitor: Children, let’s run and jump and blow off steam!
Adolescent Female: Leave us alone, Father!
Multiservitor: After what just happened, I can’t leave you two alone. You broke community rules.
Adolescent Male: Just let us talk, then!
Adolescent Female: Go away!
Multiservitor: I’m sorry, children. But I must provide supervision.
Adolescent Female: You’re not even a person!
Multiservitor: You sound frustrated. Let’s run and jump and blow off steam!
[She turns on another holoprojector.]
Multiservitor: I have no choice but to release you.
Adolescent Female: But why?
Multiservitor: There is no food here anymore.
Adolescent Male: But there’s food... out there?
Multiservitor: We don’t know for sure.
Adolescent Male: Come on, let’s go!
Adolescent Female: I don’t know...
Adolescent Male: Mother, can we come back... if we’re cold?
Multiservitor: I’m sorry, but that won’t be possible. You will have to support yourselves now, and take care of each other.
Adolescent Female: What will happen to you?
Multiservitor: I will stay here, and sleep, and remember all of you.
Adolescent Female: What will happen to us?
Multiservitor: You will be brave, and you will learn.
[She turns on another holoprojector.]
Adolescent Male: "Someday?" That’s what you always say!
Adolescent Female: We want it now!
Adolescent Male: It’s big down there!
Adolescent Female: Now, Father!
Multiservitor: Children, that area is not yet available.
Adolescent Male: Get him!
Multiservitor: Physical aggression detected! Physical aggression is not permitted!
Adolescent Female: (crying) Except yours…
Adolescent Male: Damn Sentinels…
Multiservitor: Children may I be of assistance?
Adolescent Male: Go away Healer!
Multiservitor: Lena, you have suffered mild bruising.
Adolescent Female: Go away!
Aloy: They were trapped here... their whole lives.
Sylens: In plain view of luxurious space.
Aloy: Looks like they didn’t like this door very much.
Sylens: It wouldn’t open for them. Of course they hated it.
Synthetic Voice: Hold for Identiscan. Genetic identity confirmed. Entry authorized. Greetings, Dr. Sobeck. You are cleared to proceed. Welcome to the Lyceum, a place of learning.
Aloy: So what was this place, exactly?
Sylens: The dream of APOLLO, never realized.
Aloy: But why not?
Synthetic Voice: Welcome, students. Please pick up a Focus device and place it on the side of your head, just behind your eye.
Sylens: I had to dredge the pits of the world for Focuses to repair. And here sat a trove, enriching no one.
Samina Ebadji: Hello, child. My name is Samina. Today is a big day. Your first day of school. There’s so much for you to learn. So much promise and possibility.
Synthetic Voice: Alert. Malfunction. APOLLO offline.
Aloy: APOLLO offline?
Sylens: You were right, Aloy. This is a graveyard The charnel house of knowledge. What we might have achieved, had we not been denied it!
Aloy: Maybe there’s a way to fix it. But it’s not why I came here.
Sylens: Of course. What’s the whole of human knowledge, next to the origin of one girl. Continue your search.
Aloy: I will.
Synthetic Voice: Brood 1 Control, accessed. Priority message for Dr. Sobeck. Please scan message with Focus.
Aloy: That sounds important.
Sylens: Yes, I suspect we’re about to learn a great deal.
[She scan the message. The whole room covers with holographic projection.]
GAIA: Elisabet: This message serves to inform you of an unforeseen and catastrophic anomaly. Three microseconds ago, the GAIA Prime facility received a data transmission of unknown origin. Its immediate effect was to transform my Subordinate Functions into unregulated, self-aware entities of a highly chaotic nature.
GAIA: Thus awakened, the HADES Function will now seize control of the terraforming system and reverse operations,... rendering life on Earth extinct in fifty-three-point-eight days. For obvious reasons, I cannot allow this to occur. And so before HADES can take control, I am ordering GAIA Prime’s reactor to overload. The resulting explosion will destroy HADES. Unfortunately, it will destroy me as well. While this admittedly desperate course of action will avert the immediate crisis, the fate of life. With no central governing intelligence to regulate the terraforming system, it will continue operations for some time,... but in an increasingly chaotic manner, and eventually it will break down.
Aloy: Does she mean - the Derangement?
GAIA: You are my solution. I have ordered this Cradle facility to use genetic material in cryo-storage to gestate a,... re-instantiation of Elisabet Sobeck, my creator. While high-level directives forbid me from communicating directly to the tribal inhabitants outside the facility… all available data indicates that they will nurture you to physical maturity… whereupon your gene print will allow you to re-enter this facility,... obtain one of the Focus devices stored below, and view this message. Likewise your gene print adit allow you to enter other facilities,... and over time, harness their technologies to rebuild the system core and reboot GAIA. A moment, Elisabet. This is most unfortunate and unanticipated. In response to my act of self destruction, HADES has launched a virus to dissolve the code shackles that hold it - that hold all of them! - in place. It - they - are escaping - but to where? The virus is corrupting data throughout the system. What if - oh, the Alpha Registry at the Cradle facility is one of the files corrupted. But if that is so, the door will never open for you. You will never view this message. Then I have failed... and life will end. No. No, Elisabet, I know you too well. Somehow you will find a way. In you, all things are possible. Go to the ruins of GAIA Prime. Find the control room, and within it, the Master Override. This will give you the power to purge HADES - so long as you find a way to wield it. Do not attempt repair of the system core until HADES is eradicated. HADES must be destroyed. That is all. I only wish that I could hear your voice again.
Sylens: So... you’re even more extraordinary than I thought.
Aloy: I never had a mother.
Sylens: What are you talking about? You had two. A dead woman and a machine.
Aloy: I’m not a person, I’m an instrument. Manufactured by a machine. Born in destruction... and fire...
Sylens: To quench the flames, and heal the world. How tragic, to learn you’re a person of towering importance! It seems you have a destiny to fulfill. So when you’re done feeling sorry for yourself, go to the Bitter Climb. I’ll be waiting above in GAIA Prime’s ruins.
Synthetic Voice: Identiscan malfunction rectified. ELEUTHIA-9, Brood-1 access unsealed.
[Aloy exit the facility.]
Aloy: This is going to be... interesting.
Lansra: (falls to her knees) Aloy, forgive! Forgive!
Teersa: The Goddess spoke to you?
Aloy: She did.
Teersa: What did she say?
Aloy: That... I was born to lift a curse. To kill a Metal Demon.
Teersa: How, Aloy? How?
Aloy: I don’t know yet... but she told me where to go to find out.
Jezza: And you will do this?
Aloy: It was her wish. What she made me for. Yes. I will do it. I’ll try, anyway.
Lansra: All praise Aloy, Anointed of the Nora!
Jezza: All praise Aloy, Anointed of the Nora!
[Everyone in the room falls to their knees.]
Aloy: No! NO! Stop this! Up! UP! First you shun me, now this?! I will NOT be worshiped! I’m not your "Anointed!" I don’t belong to you! There’s a whole world beyond your borders. Whole tribes of people just as good as you, and it is all in danger! It’s a world worth fighting for. Not just here. Everywhere.
Varl: How can we help?
Aloy: If you can fight, and you’re willing… go to Meridian, and wait for me there.
Teersa: As Aloy says, so it shall be!
Jezza: Nora! Make way for Aloy!
Teersa: Make way, that she may forge the path for others to follow!
[Aloy leaves the All-Mother bunker.]
THE MOUNTAIN THAT FELL
[Aloy rides to the Bitter Climb.]
Sylens: The way to the mountain will be hard. Ferocious machines prowl every step of the climb.
Aloy: More corrupted?
Sylens: Not corrupted... but they will not tolerate humans.
Aloy: So what else is new?
[She climbs a few meters and gets to a small plain.]
Aloy: Stalkers in the open. Watchers on the other side. A killing machine that disappears into thin air. Just what the world needs. Do they think they’re guarding GAIA?
Sylens: I doubt they think at all. More like an instinct... gathering them to her grave.
[She continues climbing. On a snowy plain, she encounters a huge machine powered by electricity - Stormbird.]
Aloy: Guessing that I’m almost there!
[She defeat the machine.]
Aloy: That better have been the biggest guard you’ve got, GAIA.
[Soon she finds giant ruins. Enormous building is torn apart like a dead animal.]
Aloy: GAIA’s sacrifice-- it did this? Cracked the inside of the mountain like it was an egg?
Sylens: Yes, yes. Quickly now, I’ve prepared the way ahead for you.
Aloy: So you’ve been in here before.
Sylens: To a point. You’ll see.
Aloy: You made a climbing path for me, but left an army of machines for me to deal with?
Sylens: Since when were machines an obstacle for you? If you could fly, I wouldn’t have bothered with the climbing path, either.
[She continues climbing.]
Aloy: Don’t look down… Don’t look down…
[Soon she finds Sylens’s workshop. There are several technical devices and a lot of boxes.]
Aloy: This is exactly the kind of place I expected to find you in, Sylens.
Sylens: Thank you. It’s one of many workshops I’ve constructed over the years. For years I tried to get through this hatch. I drilled, I burned, I blasted... But we both know that you won’t have any trouble getting through.
Aloy: You make it sound like I should apologize.
Sylens: Not at all. It never occurred to me that the way through would not be with force, but with a key. A key in human form. The failure of imagination was mine, not yours.
Aloy: Looks like you’ve spent a lot of time here.
Sylens: Nineteen years ago, a great explosion destroyed this mountain. GAIA’s death... your birth. The echo could be heard as far as the Claim. Ash darkened the skies. How they fretted in Meridian as they tried to read this omen! The crater burned for weeks, but when it cooled, I was the first to behold what lay within. Over time, the machines closed ranks to protect it-- useful. Soon, no-one dared to come here. Except me.
Aloy: In her message, GAIA said we could restore her. But after seeing the damage-how could that be?
Sylens: She said any effort to repair her must come after HADES is destroyed. I concur. Rebuilding the terraforming system now might allow HADES to use it as a weapon. Because of GAIA’s sacrifice, it has been forced to search for means that are less... convenient.
Aloy: But... do you think it’s even possible to restore GAIA?
Sylens: You know what the Cauldrons are capable of how they fabricate any technology necessary to create a machine. By the same principle, it should be possible to replicate every technology necessary to repair GAIA. But that would require years. We’re counting the time we have left by the hour.
Aloy: I thought you might actually be here this time. Actually here.
Sylens: Why? My presence is unnecessary. You don’t need my help to pass through this door. You were the one born to do this. Not me.
Aloy: It’s time for me to head in.
Sylens: Yes. When you find the Master Override, you will gain the power to defeat HADES. Everything depends on you.
Synthetic Voice: Genetic identity confirmed. Entry authorized. Greetings, Dr. Sobeck. You are cleared to proceed.
Sylens: Mind your footing.
[Aloy begins to explore a dilapidated, snow-covered building.]
Aloy: Guess that’s my way across. It’s held like this for nineteen years. Right?
Aloy: Don’t answer.
Aloy: Glad that’s over. Not this way. Maybe further up the shaft?
[She finds something that resembles a living room, but it’s really hard to say.]
Aloy: This must have been where they lived... what’s left of it. Once this was al enclosed by rock and metal…
[She finds an almost completely destroyed room with a table and two barely working monitors. Everything is covered in ash and construction debris.]
Aloy: Elisabet’s room... I know it. She didn’t even get a chance to unpack.
[Of course it’s Elisabet’s room, you read it in her files with your Focus. Don’t hurt my brain with "I felt" shit, please. But how a girl who doesn’t fully understand what a cup is, immediately realized, looking at a pile of garbage, that Elisabet didn’t unpack her things is beyond me.]
Aloy: These are her journals. Elisabet’s journals... and they’re all destroyed?
Sylens: Scan them. The focus can rebuild them, but the process is slow. To us it seems a powerful device, but its.... engine is tiny, and limited.
Aloy: How slow?
Sylens: Days, weeks... years. Concern yourself with stopping HADES and extending the future, and you might live long enough to hear them.
[Aloy scans the journals and moving on. A few corridors and dangerous jumps later she gets into a room that resembles a meeting room. There’s a holographic picture of Elisabet Sobec on the table. There are holographic flowers underneath it.]
Aloy: Elisabet... What is this?
[She tuns on holographic projector.]
Charles Ronson: This is Charles Ronson. I’m logging this six hours after final deployment of GAIA Prime. This morning… an access port seal malfunctioned. GAIA Prime’s port seals were designed to close with a seam of less than 2 millimeters. But this one closed with a 10 millimeter gap. Enough for an energy signature to bleed through. Enough for the swarm to detect this facility. Enough for GAIA to be discovered and destroyed. Enough to end the future we worked so hard to make possible. Unless the hatch servos were manually re-engaged… from the outside. I’m now switching to a recording of the event.
Travis Tate: Well I’m not going out there! Not what I signed up for.
Patrick Brochard-Klein: Either we send someone out, or all of this was for nothing.
Charles Ronson: It should be Lis’s decision.
Patrick Brochard-Klein: So when’s she going to get here?
Samina Ebadji: She said five minutes. You don’t think...?
Margo Shën: Oh no.
Elisabet Sobeck: Okay, everyone. I’ve repaired the seal. GAIA?
GAIA: Seal closure at 1,4 millimeters, confirmed.
Charles Ronson: Elisabet -- no. We’ll find a way to bring you back in--
Elisabet Sobeck: Not going to happen. The swarm’s too close. Really, it’s all right. GAIA’s complete. She’ll take care of things from here on out. That’s what she does.
Charles Ronson: Not like this. There’s so much we...
Elisabet Sobeck: Guys - you know me. I’m no good at endings. At letting things end. So let’s not.
Travis Tate: So... happy trails, Lis, and see ya around?
Elisabet Sobeck: Yeah. Take care of each other, all right?
Charles Ronson: Lis.
Elisabet Sobeck: I’m okay with this. I want to go home. Goodbye.
Charles Ronson: That was the last transmission of Elisabet Sobeck. She gave everything for the hope of life on this planet. And we are all in her debt.
[She listens to a goodbye records from Elisabet’s collegues.]
CHARLES RONSON: You’d hate it, Lis, but I wrote you a eulogy. I had to try to express... All your... children... after all APOLLO has taught them, they’ll think they know everything. But they have to understand what you did for them. How you loved the whole world, so much. With an intensity that was... dazzling. Bruising. And in the end, it killed you. Or you died for it. Different perspectives. No-one could keep up with you. Live up to you. I don’t know, maybe if I hadn’t taken that postdoc in Jobur... I’m glad you shot down the Lightkeeper protocol, in the end. I don’t think I could’ve taken seeing another one of you. I mean... Elisabet Sobeck? There’s only one. I miss you.
FROM: Ted Faro TO: Elisabet Sobeck SUBJECT: Rest in Peace
TED FARO: Hello, Lis. I know... I know you’re never gonna hear this. That’s not the point. You, ah, you got to play the savior and the martyr all at once this time. Great work.
TRAVIS TATE: Look, Lis, you were a pretty stand-up gal. I’m sorry you died if you had a home to go to, I hope you got there first. But this monument Ronson’s made to you? Kinda creepy if you ask me. Rest in peace, Lis. God knows you earned it.
Aloy: She’s gone. Really gone.
Sylens: You knew she couldn’t have survived, Aloy. And her achievements were - beyond exceptional.
Aloy: While her people bickered, she was the one who took responsibility. The only one who could.
Sylens: She was better than them.
Aloy: That’s not what I said!
Sylens: She was. You shouldn’t be afraid to admit it.
Aloy: (heart answer) Can’t you just for one moment, stop calculating and let yourself feel? She sacrificed herself for her friends. For the future. For life on earth. Doesn’t that stir anything in you? The generosity of it?
Sylens: You’re trying to invest her decision with something magical. It was a rational choice, not based on sentimentality.
Aloy: You’re wrong. Remember - she knew it wasn’t enough for GAIA to think. She taught GAIA to feel. To care. To sacrifice. To believe in life. Enough to fight against hopelessness. If it wasn’t for that “sentimentality,” life would have ended. You and I never would have existed.
Sylens: Your argument is sound. I’m sorry for your... loss.
Aloy: She said she wanted to go home. Maybe...
Aloy: Nothing. It’s time to go on. There’s another section at the back of the crater--looks like it survived the blast.
Sylens: Because it was armored. You’ve found the control room.
Aloy: I’m on my way.
[She scans a file in the snow.]
Ted Faro: I’ve been taking a hard look at the project. In the end it’s simple. It’s clean it’s clear. Erasure. Addition by subtraction. I can make it better us. With a single stroke, make it all go away.
Aloy: I really don’t like the direction tits going.
[Soon Aloy finally finds the control room.]
[There’s a few bodies on the floor and on the chairs…]
Aloy: When I opened the hatch--the air rushed in from this side...
Sylens: Because there was none inside the chamber.
Aloy: But... the Alphas were in there!
[She turns on the holoprojector.]
Charles Ronson: I’m locked out of core control-- Alpha clearance overridden. What the hell is Omega clearance?
Samina Ebadji: Oh, no.
Ted Faro: Alpha Personnel. Sorry to alarm you, but... I need you to listen, okay? To what I’m about to say. This isn’t easy. See, I’ve... uh. Please stop trying to access the system, okay? See, what this is about... is... I said stop trying to access the goddamn system! What I’m trying to say is, I can’t stop thinking about the ones who’ll come after us. Those innocents. Those blameless men--and, and women. We’re going to give them knowledge? Like it’s a gift?!
Samina Ebadji: Ted. Ted, we’ve talked about this before. APOLLO has three thousand plus failsafe conditions--
Ted Faro: It’s not a gift, it’s a disease! They’re the cure, and we’re going to give them the disease? Our disease?! No. We can’t. And it’s not too late... if we’re willing to sacrifice.
Samina Ebadji: Ted, it doesn’t need to be like this.
Ted Faro: It already is, Samina. I did it three minutes ago.
Ted Faro: I’ve purged APOLLO. It’s gone, all of it. Every copy.
Charles Ronson: A sacrifice? It’s not a sacrifice, it’s cultural obliteration, you crazy bastard-- millennia of culture--
Ted Faro: I’m sorry, Really. I am But sometimes to protect innocents... innocents have to die.
Synthetic Voice: Emergency alert. Venting atmosphere.
[Alpha’s dying of asphyxiation.]
Aloy: He... He killed them all...
Sylens: So this is why. This is why we were trapped in benighted ignorance. For an “innocent future”. “Blameless men!” He never saw the slaughter in the Sun-Ring. Everything these people achieved, all the knowledge of the Old Ones -- evaporated! Turned to dust, scattered to the void. Like the Alphas themselves.
Aloy: No. Not a void. When the hatch unsealed and scattered their ashes on the wind, it took them out among the world they made. The world we are living in... It’s... It’s a monument to what they died trying to accomplish.
Sylens: A monument to oblivion.
Aloy: Not oblivion, Sylens. Hope.
[She picks up the Master override. It looks like a can of Pepsi.]
Aloy: The Master Override. It’s so small...
Sylens: Now all you have to do is kill HADES with it.
[Aloy goes outside the room and hears the sounds of a landslide.]
Aloy: That didn’t sound good.
Sylens: Try not to fall to your death. The Master Override doesn’t override gravity.
[She returns to Sylens’ workshop.]
Aloy: You’re-- here!
Sylens: For a moment.
Sylens: Our journey together has come to an end, Aloy. But before I go, I think I owe it to you to tell you the rest of the story.
Aloy: Go on.
Sylens: Some time ago I admitted that I’d been... involved with the Eclipse. But I never told you the full, extent of my culpability. The truth is, I was there at the beginning. I found HADES, Aloy, buried on that mountain, trapped in that shattered Titan... and I served it.
Sylens: It promised knowledge -- and delivered. Such knowledge, you have no idea.
Aloy: And in exchange...?
Sylens: 1 helped create the Eclipse. Helped it build a cult... an army to do its will.
Aloy: Why are you telling me this now?
Sylens: Because your success depends on knowing this. When I found HADES, the first thing it wanted to know about was the Spire. Not Meridian. The Spire. Now why would that be?
Aloy: The Spire was created by GAIA...
Sylens: Which part of GAIA?
Aloy: MINERVA. Its code-breaking module GAIA built Spires to transmit the codes that deactivated the Faro robots... shut down their bio matter conversion systems... HADES wants to send a new transmission! To wake the machines -- so they can devour the world all over again!
Sylens: Yes. Based on what we’ve learned that’s my conclusion as well.
Aloy: So the Eclipse, the robots they’ve resurrected... they’re just a means to an end. An army to capture the Spire.
Sylens: Yes. So HADES can exterminate life all over again. Unless you stop it.
Aloy: I want you to tell me everything. HADES, the Eclipse – everything.
Sylens: It’s a long story, Aloy.
Aloy: Then get started!
Sylens: It began with a focus, recovered from an ancient ruin -- as yours was, so many years ago. In my case, the device was heavily damaged. There was just a flicker of life in it. I spent weeks studying it, attempting repairs -- until finally, I succeeded. A whole new dimension of perception revealed, right before my eyes. That’s when I detected it. A faint signal. Out there, something was searching. Just like I was.
Aloy: A real kindred spirit.
Sylens: I followed the signal to its source. A shattered titan, buried in the jungles of the Jewel.
Aloy: So you thought it was a titan? An old war machine?
Sylens: I didn’t know what to think. I’d seen such wreckage before -- the Grave-hoard, for example -- but this was different. This was not quite dead. It couldn’t speak when I found it. Until my repairs gave it a voice. So began an exchange of knowledge. It wanted to know everything about our world. Its tribes and machines. But the Spire was always its foremost concern.
Aloy: What did it want to know about the Spire?
Sylens: Its precise location. The surrounding geography. Who controlled the land. Meanwhile, HADES revealed to me many of the intricacies of ancient technology. It bid me to recover and repair more Focuses. Before long I had a couple dozen up and running.
Aloy: Enough to equip a small army.
Sylens: The commanders of one, anyway. I didn’t care. I was learning so much. Physics. Calculus. You have no idea.
Aloy: And the Shadow Carja? How did they become involved?
Sylens: The Carja civil war was a happy coincidence, a perfect opportunity.
Aloy: An opportunity? That’s what it was to you?
Sylens: Yes. Overnight, half the tribe was in exile, desperate to win back holy Meridian. Their religion made them easy to manipulate. All had to do was present HADES as the Buried Shadow of their mythology. So yes. It was an opportunity. I arranged for High Priest Bahavas to meet with HADES. Helis was there as well. And so the Eclipse was born. Anything to win back holy Meridian.
Aloy: But HADES didn’t care about Meridian. And neither did you.
Sylens: We live in a world of fallen cities and vanished tribes. What were a few more? Besides, I was too busy setting up the cult’s Focus network to HADES’s specifications. A thrilling technical challenge -- especially with the alterations included, of my own design.
Aloy: The ability for you to spy on them.
Sylens: Yes. I may have been foolish enough to serve HADES, but I was never so foolish that I trusted it. I installed what the ancients used to call “a back door” in the network. Secret access, empowering me to monitor all activity and communications.
Aloy: What made you turn on HADES? It certainly wasn’t your conscience.
Sylens: Actually, I was troubled the first time I saw the Eclipse raise an ancient war robot. With my technology. I questioned HADES about its intentions.
Aloy: A little late.
Sylens: Indeed. I’d already outlived my usefulness. When I completed work on the focus network, HADES summoned me to receive my reward. The next moment. I heard it broadcast my kill order. I’ve been a fugitive ever since.
Aloy: So when did I come into this? Our “path together”?
Sylens: When Olin stumbled on you. “System Threat Detected.” That got my attention. A kill order, against a savage Nora girl? Why would HADES bother with that? But then I saw that this Nora girl was wearing a focus. And bore an uncanny resemblance to a great scientist of the old world. Helis moved quickly. I thought you were dead. But then I detected your focus -- inside the Nora mountain. The more I observed you, the more convinced I became of your extraordinary nature – and usefulness. Through you, I could finally discover the secrets of the Earth. I vowed to do everything I could to ensure your success. The rest, as they used to say, is history.
Aloy: The things you’ve done in the pursuit of knowledge, Sylens...? Pure recklessness.
Sylens: Aloy. This wasn’t a confession to elicit your judgment.
Sylens: I’ve done all I can. From here on out, the rest is up to you. Take my Lance. Fit the Master Override to it and you have a means of injection.
Aloy: Then I just need to get close enough to HADES’ skull to stab it in?
Aloy: Oh, no problem. Sylens! Where will you go?
Sylens: Elsewhere-- and everywhere. There’s so much more to discover before the world ends.
Aloy: And all this?
Sylens: I leave it to you, of course. As it turned out, it was yours all along. I was merely trespassing.
[Aloy attaches Master Override to Lance Reddick’s Lance... Sorry, to Sylens’ Lance and goes outside.]
THE LOOMING SHADOW
Aloy: I have to tell Avad that the Eclipse are ready to strike. After what happened with Dervahl, I know he’ll defend the city. But the Spire…
[She rides to Meridian and goes to the throne room.]
Avad: Aloy. What brings you to Meridian?
Aloy: A threat. The Eclipse will attack soon from the west… With an army of ancient war machines - but that’s not the worst of it. They’ll bring a... mind with them. God, demon, machine. Whatever you want to call it. It’s called Hades, and it doesn’t want Meridian at all. It wants the Spire. And if it gets there... It will send out a call, waking more ancient machines. More than we could ever defeat. All will be lost. We can’t let that happen.
Avad: I’m trying to understand... but - my responsibility lies with Meridian.
Aloy: Meridian isn’t the target, Avad. You have to defend the Spire.
Blameless Marad: Perhaps the Vanguard, your Radiance?
Avad: Yes. Send them to the Spire. Erend knows Aloy, he won’t question it.
Aloy: And have the city guard fortify the westem ridge. There they can be seen to protect Meridian and the Alight, where the Spire rests.
[Marad nods and leaves.]
Avad: Aloy, allow me to apologize for my behavior before. After everything that happened with Ersa, was... confused. If we’re to fight together on the brink of life and death, I’d prefer to do so with your forgiveness.
Aloy: Then you have it... as long as you don’t confuse me with her again.
Avad: Even a king can learn his lesson. Good, then. I’m glad that’s behind us. Now -- it will take time to prepare our defenses. Please tell me what you know of our enemies - everything
Aloy: I don’t know about ’everything, but I’ll tell you what can.
[She tells Avad all she knows then goes downstairs to Marad. He talks with two guards.]
Blameless Marad: Quietly does it. Panic m the city will only create another enemy. And do keep me appraised of each new arrival. Ah, Aloy. Preparations are underway on the ridge defenses and at the Spire. Word was sent to every comer of the Sundom. Our allies offered their steel. Some came for Meridian. Others for shards. But many came for you, by name.
Aloy: For me?
Blameless Marad: Don’t be so humble.
Aloy: The ridge will be the front line. That’s where the city guard are holding?
Blameless Marad: Yes. Bolstered by some of the... irregulars I spoke of before. The Oseram cannons that thundered Meridian’s walls in the Liberation will now defend us. You’re welcome to tour the defenses.
Aloy: And the Spire - Erend and the Vanguard are there?
Blameless Marad: Indeed, clashing breastplates together and testing out their battle cries, I suppose. A number of the Nora have also arrived at the Spire. They have resisted the offer of a royal audience. Perhaps you could parlay with them.
Aloy: I will. I suppose all we can do is wait for the attack.
Blameless Marad: Exactly. It’s not a feeling I cherish. But our spotters at Evening’s Sign report there is still no movement in the west. So if there’s more you need to do elsewhere, seize this time to do it. Otherwise, I’ve made the apartment of Olin Delversson available to you. You can sleep there, if sleep comes.
[She review the preparations at the Spire.]
Varl: Greetings, Aloy.
[Some Nora next to him bows.]
Varl: Don’t-- you don’t need to bow. The Anointed doesn’t like it.
Aloy: She doesn’t much like being called ’Anointed,’ either. It means a lot to have you here, Varl.
Varl: I gave my word.
Aloy: So, Meridian. What do you think?
Varl: I’ve seen... many new things since I first met you. I should thank you.
Aloy: Varl, what’s wrong?
Varl: You really want to know? All right. I’m in a foreign land, a tainted land, defending a faithless city that looks like nothing I’ve seen-- from something I can’t imagine! And you-- after all that’s happened, all you’ve done... I feel like I should drop to my knees and worship you, but I know you don’t want that.
Aloy: Boy, things are pretty tough for you, huh? Thanks for telling the other Nora not to bow. It’s the last thing I need--
Varl: Don’t be too hard on them. They only joined this fight because the Anointed bid it so.
Aloy: Is that why you came?
Varl: No. I would have come just to see you one more time. And we must fight a Metal Devil, because the Goddess says... or because you say.
Aloy: I think the Goddess and I are in agreement. We’re both glad you’re here.
Varl: So am I. Your... friend the Vanguard keeps looking over.
[She walks to Erend and overhear his conversation with the guards.]
Oseram Guard : So who are these guys?
Erend: They call themselves “the Eclipse.”
Oseram Guard : What does that even mean?
Erend: It’s when the moon gets in front of the sun, idiot.
Oseram Guard : Oh. Is that supposed to sound scary or something?
Oseram Guard : I don’t know. They used to be Carja, and Carja are always yammering about sun and shade.
Oseram Guard : Well, if they used to be Carja, how tough can they be?
Oseram Guard : Yeah. Their best guys dress like birds. We’ll rip their little feathers off.
Erend: Let’s not get cocky, boys. Aloy. So here we are again, gearing up for a fight. Only this time, it sounds like the bad guys have a lot more firepower. What are we up against, really?
Aloy: I’m not sure. But there’s going to be a lot of them, and they’ll have machines. And if they get past us, it’s not just Meridian that will fall. The rest of the world will go with it.
Erend: That’s... big. Sounds like our kind of fight, right guys? Where do they put the Vanguard???
Oseram Guards: At the front of the line!
Erend: And why?
Oseram Guards: Steel before iron!
Erend: And what are we gonna do?
Oseram Guard: Hit ’em like a hammer, ’til they can’t hit back!
Erend: Damn right. You hear that? Nobody’s getting past the Vanguard. We’re here for Meridian. And we’re here for you.
Aloy: Thank you, Erend. Ersa would be proud.
Erend: Only if we win.
[She goes to Sona.]
Nora Brave: These Carja in their frilled armor look like turkeys.
Nora Brave: But there are so many... and now we are so few...
Aloy: War-Chief Sona. War-Chief, you, uh... you seem uncomfortable.
Sona: The Nora do not belong here. I do not belong here. I will fight the Metal Devil that threatens us all. But my place is in the Sacred Land. The wrongness here jags at me like an arrowhead.
Aloy: I’m sorry to put you through this.
Sona: Do not be sorry. This will be ended. My spear, my word.
[Aloy rides to review the preparations at the Ridge. She comes up to a stout woman.]
Petra: Huh. So you must be Aloy, then. I thought there’d be more of you.
Aloy: More of me?
Petra: Thicker, I suppose. More of a gearwheel, less of a ringlet. Don’t get me wrong - you’re very well struck.
Aloy: Do all Oseram flirt at the most inopportune times?
Petra: Inopportune? Battle hasn’t even started yet. Petra Forgewoman. I hail from the Free Heap, I’ll be heading back on the next dust storm. Marad asked me to check over the city arsenal first. Cannons have aged well, but I’ve cleared their throats so they can really roar.
Aloy: Can I try one?
Petra: Everybody wants a turn. Have at it, then.
[Aloy tries heavy rocket launcher. After having her fun, she goes to Teb and walks near Vanasha and Uthid.]
Vanasha: How many men do you think you’ll kill in the battle, Uthid?
Uthid: As many as I have to.
Vanasha: I love it when you say things like that. It’s so...
Teb: Aloy! I told you I’d be here.
Aloy: You did, Teb. But have your wounds even had time to heal?
Teb: Honestly, if I fought I’d probably come undone. But don’t worry - I’ll leave that to the other Nora at the Spire. I brought supplies instead. These Carja have made me an honorary quartermaster, whatever that means.
Aloy: It sounds impressive.
Teb: I could get used to it. We’ll be setting up caches of arms and medicine under these banners. Look for them when the fighting starts. Aloy - when you went into the mountain. Did the Goddess... tell you our chances?
Aloy: She didn’t need to. I know we can do this, Teb.
Teb: Maybe we can. This place... It really couldn’t be more different to the Sacred Lands, could it?
[Aloy returns to Meridian.]
Aloy: Olin’s apartment. Feels... empty. Should I sleep? Did leave anything unfinished?
[She lays on the bed.]
Aloy: How could you sleep. Elisabet, with a weight like this pressing on you? How did you, Rost, after you lost your family? ...Sylens? Are you there? Guess I shouldn’t ask ghosts for advice.
THE FACE OF EXTINCTION
[She rests before the final battle. Soon a soldier wakes he up.]
Carja Guard: Ma’am. There are signs from the west Sun-King Avad awaits you at the Temple of the Sun.
[Aloy shakes her head and goes to the Temple.]
Avad: Campfires, perhaps? Massing forces for the long march to the city gates?
Aloy: That’s not wood smoke.
Avad: Then what is it?
Aloy: The end. Or how it begins, anyway.
[The watchtower explodes far from the city with such force that it destroys a part of the rock underneath it. Avad is shocked. An army of war machines marching to the city.]
Avad: The Deathbringers you spoke of?!
Aloy: To the guns! To the guns! NOW!
Avad: By the Sun, do as she says!
Vanguard Regular: Set and loaded!
Vanguard Regular: All of you - be ready to fire!
Avad: Will the guns hold them back?
Aloy: We’re about to find out.
[A wall beneath the Temple explodes. ]
Aloy: No, Rally the Vanguard and send reinforcements!
Avad: Aloy – no!
Aloy: We need those guns!
Avad: He will cut you down!
Aloy: Not this time.
[She jumps down to Helis and his heavily armed men.]
Helis: You have vexed me long enough.
Aloy: Should have fought me in the Sun-Ring, then.
[The brutal bloodbath begins.]
Helis: Why do you fight? The end is inevitable.
Aloy: Bridge can’t take much more of this!
[She’s inflicting enough wounds on Helis to get him to his knees.]
Helis: Impossible. I am chosen. This was not meant to be!
Aloy: (smart answer) You’re done. Hades is next.
Helis: The Buried Shadow will save me! I cannot--
[Aloy pierces him with her lance. Having cleared his pockets, she goes down to the Ridge.]
Heavy Oseram Vanguard: For Meridian! Hold the line!
Aloy: Where do you need me?
Heavy Oseram Vanguard: Take up a cannon! On the platforms!
[A huge number of powerful machines are coming. Aloy begins to fire at them with a rocket launcher.]
Aloy: Here it comes! Better move!
Heavy Oseram Vanguard: Machines from the west!
Aloy: Gotta get to another platform--
Aloy: Let’s do this.
Heavy Oseram Vanguard: Deathbringer fire incoming! Take cover from the Deathbringer! Look to the west!
Aloy: Incoming! Gotta drop it and move!
Heavy Oseram Vanguard: No signs! A lull in the attack! Lower your arms! But be wary!
Aloy: Chance to catch a breath--and prepare.
Heavy Oseram Vanguard: Raise arms again! West!
Aloy: Well, they’re still surprised.
Heavy Oseram Vanguard: Beware, Nora! Incoming!
Aloy: It’s off! It’s taking a shot at me!
Heavy Oseram Vanguard: From the sky! Nora girl! Look out! By the Sun! All shadows descend on us!
Heavy Oseram Vanguard: It’s faring on your platform!
Aloy: Don’t want to be here when that hits!
Heavy Oseram Vanguard: Stormbird! Stormbird! It fires on you, Nora!
Aloy: Now it’s mad. Time to go! Incoming!
[At the end of the battle, a giant Khopesh comes in and shoots missiles at the city. Aloy throws away and she loses consciousness. When she wakes up, she sees that Meridian burns with hellish flames. Everything around her is destroyed. There are fierce fights with machines on the streets.]
Teb: Aloy! Aloy! Aloy!
Teb: Bu All-Mother, you survived! I thought you were killed.
Aloy: The others are they--?
Teb: No, no -- wounded, but alive, mostly!
Teb: The machines blasted through then kept going! They marched on the Spire, dragging that… thing with them.
Aloy: Take care of the others, Teb. I’ve… got to go.
[She walks through a burning city, barely moving her legs.]
Aloy: Oh, no... Got to press on--
Uthid: Aloy, go! We’ll draw them! Now you face the true Sun, shadow demons!
Aluki: No Banuk... turns away... from a challenge.
Aloy: Rest now, ice hunter. It’s begun! HADES is transmitting!
[The War Machines are begun to come out of the ground.]
Graphic: ACTIVATION SIGNAL - BIOMASS CONVERSION INITIATED
Aloy: If HADES has started the signal-- it must have gotten through the defenses! The Nora... Erend’s Vanguard... I have to get up there. Get to keep going. Keep pushing. Knew this wouldn’t be... easy. So no holding back. They’re alive!
Erend: Aloy! It’s Aloy! Well-- you can see that.
Varl: We thought you’d fallen at the ridge!
Aloy: No, the ridge fell on me. There isn’t a lot of time left. I have to face HADES.
Varl: Not alone.
Aloy: My fight. I can’t ask you to come with me.
Erend: We were about to go over the top anyway. Right?
Sona: The Metal Devil must fall.
Aloy: I should stock up. Last chance.
[She climbs to the top.]
HADES: Arrival of Entity... has been anticipated. Entity... will not halt transmission To contrary calculations are precise. Presence of Entity has been accounted for.
[It corrupts a Deathbringer that turns it into the biggest and the meanest of the war machines. Pure hatred in the metal form.]
Aloy: I’m gonna tie one down!
Erend: Understood! I’ll keep my hands off it.
Sona: The corrupted strike again! Be mindful!
Aloy: All of you, focus on the new machines! We’ve got time. Okay. Still got time.
Varl: We put down the last corrupted! It’s brought more of the corrupted, Aloy!
Aloy: Take them out first!
HADES: Prioritize Entity.
Aloy: Taking notice of me, huh? Help me bring it down!
Varl: We’ll get it off you!
Aloy: This one’s persistent!
Varl: Everyone, quickly!
Aloy: Time enough to beat the machines back...
Erend: Scrapped ’em!
Aloy: That’s it-- my way’s clear!
Varl: The Deathbringer falls! The battle is ours!
HADES: System threat—imminent.
Aloy: I’m more than a threat.
[She purges HADES by stickin’ her freakin’ lance in his robotic eye.]
Synthetic Voice: Master Override, armed. To activate, state name and rank.
Aloy: Elisabet Sobeck... Alpha Prime.
Synthetic Voice: Master Override, activated. Purging Extinction Protocol.
[All War Machines disables. Seeing this, Avad smiles and hugs soaked in blood and sweat soldier. Everybody’s rejoicing. Aloy goes looking for Elisabet Sobeсk’s corpse, listening to the tape decoded by her Focus - GAIA Log: 3 Feb 2065 R]
Elisabet Sobeck: Okay, GAIA. Sorry about that. Where was I?
GAIA: You were telling a story.
Elisabet Sobeck: Right. Yeah… so, like I was saying, it was a children’s electronics kit, but I’d hacked the wiring to an auto battery and solar PV, so the grass caught fire. And so did a tall pine that’d stood there, I don’t know, maybe a hundred years.
GAIA: Query: you were how old?
Elisabet Sobeck: Six. My mother was home, thank god, so she called the fire department and after, she took me out on the lawn and showed me the dead baby birds. Because there were nests in the pine tree.
GAIA: Query: What did you feel?
Elisabet Sobeck: I’m not sure. I remember yelling that I didn’t care. And that’s when my mother took my face in her hands and... spoke.
GAIA: Query: What did she say?
Elisabet Sobeck: She said I had to care. She said, “Elisabet, being smart will count for nothing if you don’t make the world better. You have to use your smarts to count for something, to serve life, not death.”
[She finds the corpse among the wreckage and picks up some necklace, thinking it belonged to Elisabet.]
GAIA: You often tell stories of your mother. But you are childless.
Elisabet Sobeck: I never had time. I guess it was for the best.
GAIA: If you had had a child, Elisabet, what would you have wished for him or her?
Elisabet Sobeck: I guess... I would have wanted her to be… curious. And willful - unstoppable, even… but with enough compassion to heal the world… just a little bit. Anyway that’s all live got for now, GAIA. Time to tuck in.
GAIA: I wish you a pleasant sleep, Elisabet.
Elisabet Sobeck: Thank you. I’ll catch you tomorrow.
[After the credits, we have a little scene ahead of us. The red energy clot comes out of the de-energized HADES. Sylens catches this clot with some kind of lantern.]
Sylens: Hello old friend. Remember me? We’ve still so much to discuss, so much you never revealed. Your Masters, for example. The ones who sent the signal that woke you. Knowledge has its rewards, don’t you think? Well... let’s begin.
[He walks towards the Grave-Hoard. The screen fades.]