Ahsis is an antagonist character in Horizon Zero Dawn. At the time of his death, he was the Sunhawk of the Carja Hunters Lodge in the Carja capital Meridian. While he attained this position fairly according to the Bylaws of the Lodge, he was not above maintaining it by unscrupulous and even criminal means. Due to his bigotry, sexism, ego and wickedness, he quickly made an implacable enemy of Hawk Talanah Khane Padish. When she got the opportunity to supplant him as Sunhawk, he tried to have her murdered to prevent her from taking it. However intervention by Talanah’s Thrush, the Nora huntress Aloy, foiled his effort. He ultimately died trying to prevent Talanah from supplanting him.
Hawk of the Lodge
A skilled hunter, Ahsis was a Hawk of the Lodge during the despotic reign of Sun-King Jiran. Like many Hawks, he had a Thrush. He firmly adhered to the Carja culture of a strong patriarchy and bigotry against non-Carja that was a staple of Jiran’s reign.
Sunkawk Talavad and his son Hawk Brativin both died heroically in the Sun Ring along with many other Hawks due to their vocal opposition to the Red Raids. Ahsis became the new Sunhawk when he became the first Hawk to kill a Thunderjaw, the deadliest machine known at that time; according to Lodge Bylaws, the Hawk that kills the deadliest machine becomes the Sunhawk. As Sunhawk, Ahsis ran the Lodge according to his adherence to the aforementioned Carja culture. This culture was reflected in the Bylaws: no women or non-Carja could join the Lodge. Even when Avad, the new Sun-King, ordered the repeal of these rules, Ahsis underhandedly maintained them; women and non-Carja were discouraged from joining, and if they insisted, they were quietly denied advancement, causing them to leave in frustration.
After The Liberation, Talanah Khane Padish, daughter of Talavad and sister of Brativin, joined the Lodge, sponsored by Tarkas, a close friend of her father. Ahsis’ scornful reaction to her did not upset her; she merely regarded him with the same contempt with which he treated her. However Ahsis also forbade any mention in the Lodge of the sacrifice of her father, brother and the other Hawks who died in the Sun Ring. This policy made Talanah view him as an outright enemy. On discovering it, her contempt for him became loathing, and she developed an unshakable resolve to supplant him as Sunhawk.
The Nora huntress Aloy, upon fulfilling the requirement of earning three Half-Suns at one of the Lodge’s five Hunting Grounds, visited the Lodge during her time in Meridian, seeking to join. Since the Nora were viewed by Carja such as Ahsis as savages, he treated her with even more contempt than he treated other non-Carja, scornfully suggesting that she seek Talanah as a sponsor for membership. However, both women were kindred spirits, and got along quite well. Talanah subjected Aloy to a series of tests to evaluate her worthiness of sponsorship. One of these tests was her handling of a petition for aid from a poor Carja village that was incessantly attacked Glinthawks; Ahsis rejected it because he found the reimbursement to be too low. Aloy passed both tests with formidable ease. The two eventually conversed about their lives, Ahsis, why Talanah wanted to supplant him, and her plan to do so. The plan was for Talanah to kill the Thunderjaw known as Redmaw, considered by the entire Lodge to be the deadliest machine in the Lodge’s history. The Hawk who killed it would inarguably be elevated to Sunhawk. Aloy, who was as contemptuous of Ahsis as Talanah, readily agreed to help her do this. However Ahsis knew of Talanah’s intent and was prepared to prevent her supplanting him by any means necessary. Indeed, he had done so before, to another Hawk: Tarkas, Talanah’s sponsor. Tarkas had gotten word of Redmaw’s location, and had gone after it, leaving word with Ahsis to inform Talanah. Ahsis deliberately neglected to do so. Thus Tarkas faced Redmaw alone and was killed. This was unknown to Talanah, who believed Tarkas had gone after Redmaw alone out of pride. However, Aloy found out the truth from the retired Hawk Ligan. She told it to Talanah when they together went after Redmaw.
Talanah’s chance finally came when she received word of Redmaw’s location, deep in The Jewel. But Ahsis received word first and thus was ahead of her in the pursuit. Since Talanah had sent Aloy out to elevate her reputation as her Thrush by successfully hunting a Thunderjaw and Stormbird, Talanah had to go after Redmaw alone. Ahsis resorted to attempted murder to stop her. He hired a group of mercenaries to waylay and kill her at the earliest opportunity. They almost succeeded, but ultimately failed due to Aloy’s intervention. Meanwhile, Ahsis found Redmaw and engaged it. Talanah and Aloy arrived mid-battle. At first Ahsis held his own, but then he was caught by a deadly swipe of the machine’s tail.
Mortally wounded, Ahsis could do nothing to prevent Talanah and Aloy from engaging and killing Redmaw, sealing Talanah’s supplantation of him as Sunhawk. As the two women gathered over him where he lay, he was unrepentant, scorning them with petty insults and insisting falsely that he had kept the Lodge alive by keeping its patriarchal, bigoted policy. His last words were regret that he did not let them fight Redmaw first to soften it up. Thus he did not live to see Talanah’s ascension to Sunhawk.
Ahsis was arrogant, devious, and unrepentantly bigoted and sexist. He viewed non-Carja with contempt, especially Nora. He was disgusted with the reforms to the Lodge Bylaws ordered by Avad; reforms that opened the Lodge to all hunters who had the skill to be members, regardless of sex or tribe. He was also amoral, willing to have Talanah murdered to prevent her from supplanting him, and greedy, refusing to help a poor village of his fellow Carja because they could not pay him well. Moreover, his ego could not abide sharing accolades with anyone else. This led him to twice go after machines without his Thrush, including Redmaw, simply because he did not want to share the glory of success with anyone. Moreover, he forbade any mention of the heroic deaths his predecessor Talavad and the Hawks who died with him. Ironically, they are remembered and now memorialized with honor while he is relegated to an ignominious note in the Lodge’s history books.
- The Thunderjaw chassis on display in the Hunters Lodge is that of the Thunderjaw that Ahsis took down to become Sunhawk.
- Ahsis got the position of Sunhawk by being the first Lodge member to kill a Thunderjaw. It could be considered ironic that he lost the title and his life failing to hunt Redmaw, a Thunderjaw considered to be the fiercest and assumed first of its kind.