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"As you may have noticed, violence is the native tongue of the Tenakth. To survive, one must master it."

The Tenakth are a human tribe in Horizon Zero Dawn and Horizon Forbidden West. They are the westernmost tribe on the North American continent, inhabiting and controlling the Clan Lands located within the Forbidden West.[1] A tribe divided into three clans, the Tenakth have spent much of their history warring amongst themselves, having only achieved peace and unity within the last two decades, and are mostly viewed by the other tribes as bloodthirsty and aggressive.


"It is heavy with blood and death. But also with honorable deeds and vanquished tyrants."
Kotallo in regards to Tenakth history

Formation and Clan Wars

Like most known tribes, the Tenakth descended from the inhabitants of ELEUTHIA-9. Their foundation began with the Memorial Grove, the ruins of the Mojave Battlefield Memorial Museum. Even in the early days of the Tenakth, the holographic displays of the museum were glitched and incomplete. But it was from these displays, which the Tenakth deemed "Visions", that they learned of JTF-10, whom they dubbed "the Ten" and formed a sense of honor and duty based on their interpretations.

The Tenakth divided into three clans: Desert, Sky, and Lowland, all of whom whom became embroiled in generations of war for control of the Clan Lands and the Grove held sacred to all of them. Beyond this and their foundation, only one event is known of their history: the tribe once attacked the Sundom during the reign of the 9th Sun-King Ranan, who personally led his armies against them.[2] The Carja were successful in defeating the Tenakth horde, although the Tenakth managed to horribly and permanently disfigure Ranan.

Unification and Red Raids

On the day of GAIA's self-destruction, the Memorial Grove was taken by the Lowland Clan. As the Lowland Commander Hekarro stood alone in the grove, the rogue subordinate function AETHER entered a server beneath the grove in its escape of GAIA's sacrifice. Its presence activated a Vision never before seen by the Tenakth: one of Anne Faraday calling for unity and peace in light of war against machines. While the projection only appeared once, it left Hekarro profoundly changed.

Following his understanding of Faraday's vision, Hekarro renounced the war that had dominated the Tenakth for generations and strove to unify the clans in preparation for war against machines. With his efforts, the three clans entered an uneasy alliance, with Hekarro ruling above them as Chief. The rank of Marshal was formed to build peacekeepers that would serve the Tenakth as a whole, with a competition called the "Kulrut" to appoint them.

This newfound unity would serve the Tenakth well during the Red Raids; no tribe had greater success repelling the invading Carja than them. One such victory was the destruction of Barren Light, the fort at the Sundom's westernmost edge, after which the Tenakth occupied the Daunt for the remainder of the Red Raids. Hekarro refused to push further into the Sundom, knowing such an assault would be too costly for his people.

Peace and rebellion

Following the Liberation of Meridian, Hekarro accepted Avad's entreaties, sharing the new Sun-King's hopes for a lasting peace. However, some were unable to accept this change. Among them was Hekarro's greatest Marshal, Regalla, who unsuccessfully attempted to overthrow Hekarro. Over the following two years, a series of Embassies were held, in which the Tenakth would return items taken during the War in exchange for food, weapons, or other resources of value.

In one Embassy, the Tenakth agreed to return Fashav, a Carja prisoner who earned his survival as a Tenakth Marshal, to the Sundom. However, the Embassy was attacked by Regalla, who had assembled an army of both warriors and overridden machines. Unprepared and outnumbered, the Marshals were overwhelmed and most were slain along with the Carja of the Embassy. This marked the beginning of Regalla's rebellion and the re-ignition of inter-tribal war. The brutal assault left Hekarro's forces greatly depleted, and the clans were either unable or unwilling to provide much aid to the chief: the Desert Clan was dealing with a water shortage and hoped to avoid direct conflict; the Sky Clan's commander Tekotteh was plotting to wait out the rebellion and then steal chiefdom from the weakened victor; the Lowland Clan, as the clan most loyal to Hekarro, was strategically targeted by the rebels, and was already blighted with toxic algae growths sickening their people.

Needing to host the Kulrut to replace his slain Marshals, Hekarro enlisted Aloy's help in convincing Tekotteh of the Sky Clan to send his challengers and to thwart Regalla, whom he expected to attack during the Kulrut, in exchange for access to AETHER. Though Regalla stormed the arena with an army of machines, she was ultimately forced to retreat. Subsequently, Aloy's acquisition of AETHER caused the same Vision of the Ten Hekarro had seen to appear, inspiring his loyalists to rally around his goal of peace.

Aloy's assistance would once again prove instrumental in turning the tide in the loyalists' favor. In Regalla's final assault on the Grove, the outlander flew in on a Sunwing and defeated the rebel's army of machines in a single blow, allowing Hekarro's forces to reclaim what seemed a lost battle, and eventually bested Regalla in single-combat, effectively ending the rebellion.

Culture and society

While the tribe is divided into three distinct clans, the Tenakth share a strong warrior-culture, and with it many shared values.

Much of Tenakth culture derives from their capital, the Memorial Grove and its holographic exhibits, dubbed as "Visions" by the Tenakth. The static glitching of the Visions is a clear inspiration for their material culture and art style, with each Clan basing their colors on those found in the Vision that inspired their formation. It is also from these Visions that they have picked up certain Old World gestures that they may not fully understand – like using a military salute to say hello. Their Old World inspired military history has influenced the names of positions in the tribe, such as the warriors being known as soldiers and the healers being known as medics.

All Tenakth are trained as warriors, joining squads within their clans and forming extended family units: the squad will take care of raising their squad mates' children should they die in battle. Such a fate is common, as the harsh lands and frequent war make it rare for Tenakth to live past the age of thirty (although peace under Hekarro has raised life expectancy at least somewhat). Tenakth are frequently aggressive and hot-blooded, although this is curtailed by fierce loyalty and a strong sense of honor. While rare, it is possible for outlanders to earn their way into the tribe, although they must survive a trial by combat to do so. All Tenakth squads are named after animals (e.g. Eagle Squad, Scorpion Squad).

Tenakth tribe members will tattoo themselves to mark their accomplishments made throughout their life, and adorn their faces with pigments. Facial hair is invariably absent among the men of the tribe, regardless of age.

The Tenakth have no method of writing, although Hekarro has expressed his interest in adopting glyphs from the Carja.

During the Clan Wars, the Tenakth would drink the blood of fallen enemies in order to honor their martial deeds. Orphans from conquered settlements would be taken in by the conquering clan and raised as their own as an act of mercy. These practices have been outlawed by Hekarro and are continued only by exiles or stubborn traditionalists.[3]


Tenakth mythology revolves around the military unit JTF-10, hailed by the Tenakth as simply "the Ten" and immortalized in the Visions of the Grove. In the eyes of the Tenakth, the Ten were paragons of strength, honor and bravery, and the example they set is one that all Tenakth strive to emulate. Among the lore of the Ten is the "Wings of the Ten", the winged machines from which the Ten leapt into battle. Imitating this act is considered the ultimate act of military prowess.

The Tenakth acknowledge their understanding of the Ten is incomplete, of which the slow but steady faltering of the Visions is a grim reminder. Elders called Chaplains are entrusted with interpreting the Visions to the best of their ability and passing down their teachings to the next generations.


After centuries of warring amongst themselves, the Tenakth clans have agreed to an uneasy peace. Presently, the highest authority within the tribe is the Chief. Serving the Chief are Marshals, who forsake their clan to serve the Tenakth as a whole. Marshals act as representatives in diplomatic missions, as well as peacekeepers within the tribe. Marshals are easily identifiable by their white, blue, and yellow color palette, although their armor itself generally belongs to a specific clan. Another order in service to the Chief is the Chief's Guard. These few are some of the greatest soldiers of the Tenakth, like the Marshals, but serve as protectors of the Memorial Grove and the Chief himself instead of being a peacekeeping force.[4]

Each of the clans are led by a Commander, whose authority is second only to the Chief. An aspirant wishing to replace the commander can do so through victory in a challenge, with the loser paying with their life. Elders named Chaplains serve as advisors to the commander and the clan as a whole, their age and experience providing necessary insight to balance the clan's hotblooded youth and to study the Visions.

Foreign relations

Due to their distance, ferocity, and bloody history, the Tenakth are feared by many of the other tribes, especially those east of Barren Light. Lack of understanding regarding Tenakth customs (especially those abandoned after Hekarro's reforms) has lead to stereotypes of cannibalism and kidnapping.

For their part, Tenakth have little tolerance for trespass and fiercely guard their settlements. However, it is possible for outlanders to gain rite of passage, and Tenakth will usually tolerate outlanders that have earned their respect.


The strongest intertribal relations the Tenakth have are with the neighboring Utaru. While there is history of raids and invasion, the Tenakth managed to form a mutually beneficial system with the Utaru, sending soldiers named "Veterans" to Plainsong in exchange for a portion of the Utaru's harvests. This practice has been abandoned with the onset of the Derangement, although the clans seem to continue leaving the Utaru in peace.

The Tenakth tend to view the Utaru as simple farmers and as such rarely take them seriously.


The history of the Tenakth and Carja is long and bloody, their first recorded interactions being a Tenakth invasion of the Sundom during the reign of the ninth Sun-King Ranan. Like most tribes in the known world, memories of the Red Raids are fresh in the Tenakth's minds. The Tenakth were the most successful in driving the Carja from their lands, destroying the border fort of Barren Light in a decisive charge, although many Tenakth were either enslaved or slaughtered during the war.

While animosity remains high, the Tenakth as a whole are tentatively accepting of the Carja's reparation efforts, largely due to Hekarro's wish to establish lasting peace. Unfortunately, a sizable portion of Tenakth were unwilling to forgive the Carja, leading to civil conflict.


Oseram are frequently among the Easterners foolhardy enough to venture into the Clan Lands, whether they have right of passage or not. Tenakth appear to have a generally negative stance on the Oseram, and have been known to bury delvers alive.[5]

Known members


Clan members

Desert Clan

Lowland Clan

Sky Clan

Regalla's Rebels

Main article: Regalla's Rebels


NPC archetypes

  • Tenakth Child
  • Tenakth Climber
  • Tenakth Conqueror
  • Tenakth High Marshal
  • Tenakth Guard
  • Tenakth Marshal
  • Tenakth Soldier
  • Tenakth Survivor
  • Tenakth Youngster

Known settlements


  • A couple of Tenakth can be found in Sunfall. However, like the settlement's Utaru visitors, they cannot be interacted with.
  • The Tenakth tattooing process of striking the tattooing instrument with a wooden mallet is clearly inspired by the tattooing style of Polynesian tribes.
  • All Tenakth names include doubled consonants (Hekarro, Ullia, Kotallo), and are two to three (but generally two) syllables long.
  • Each Tenakth clan is as different as the lands they dominate.
  • In Horizon Zero Dawn, the Tenakth are described by Janeva as reavers from the south, but Horizon Forbidden West places all of their known territory within the Forbidden West.
  • Similarly to the Oseram, the Tenakth spit on the ground to show contempt, disapproval, or annoyance.



  1. Horizon Zero Dawn #0, page 17
  2. The Sun-Kings
  3. The Memorial Grove
  4. Dialogue with Natikka
  5. Dialog with Untalla
  6. Dialogue during A Tribe Apart
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Dialogue with Regalla
  8. Appears during The Taste of Victory
  9. Dialogue during Shining Example
  10. Drakka during The Wound in the Sand
  11. Brief appearance in Tides of Justice
  12. Dialogue during The Valley of the Fallen
  13. Tenakth Reaver face paint description
  14. 14.0 14.1 Mentioned during Call And Response
  15. Dialogue during First To Fly
  16. Brief appearance in A Soldier's March